Irish American Writers & Artists

December 7, 2015

12.1.15 IAW&A Salon: Magic Mix of Talent

Filed under: Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 6:11 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas 

The early December IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia had that magic mix of talent and personalities that makes each Salon unique. The night’s offerings ranged from intensely felt social commentary to satire, comedy, poetry and rock’n’roll.

kearns    John Kearns

John Kearns, Salon producer and host, welcomed the group to the first December salon and kicked off the night with a passage from his novel,Worlds. In the continuing story of the Logan family, Sarsfield Logan, S.J. explains in a letter to his sister that he was raised with two faiths – in Catholicism and in American social mobility. His faith in the latter is shaken, however, when he observes life in the slums near Greenwich Village and the ornate buildings on Riverside Drive owned by the factory owners who exploit the slum dwellers.

fitz

Michael Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick’s satirical blog “Humans of Irish America” features real interviews with imaginary immigrants. Tonight he read one piece from the blog, and on a more serious note, a poem about the events in Paris two weeks ago, and another poem, about dropping his 5-year-old son at school. Find them on his website: heraldypress.com.

rosina

Rosina Fernhoff

Inspired by Malachy McCourt’s impassioned speech at the last Bar Thalia Salon, actor Rosina Fernhoff created a monologue from The Visit by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Rosina describes the piece as “dark, sardonic and profound play about corruption, greed and the disintegration of human value.” One stunning line: “The world made me a whore. I will make the world a brothel.”


brent

Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer, making his IAW&A debut, read his story about getting an Irish passport and his dream of going on the dole in Ireland. Let’s just say he got the passport. A writer who blogs about going to a lot of readings at  inthefrontrowonthedole.blogspot.com, Brent says “So when I say your Tuesday night thing at Bar Thalia rocked, I’m speaking ex cathedra.”

john mcd

John McDonagh

John McDonagh did a segment from his solo play Cabtivist. Tonight he compared the life of a Central Park carriage horse to that of a NYC cabdriver. Guess which one gets medical check-ups, mandated time-off, lives on the Upper West Side and retires to a stud farm? You’ll have a chance to see the full show at The Cell on December 16. Tickets at www.thecelltheatre.org/events/2015/12/16/cabtivist

break

Socializing during the break

mark

Mark Butler enjoying the Salon

aud

The supportive IAW&A Salon audience

 

maureen

Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read a chapter from one of her novels in progress, Gaitham Hall, a thriller with supernatural undertones. The advantage of having two books in progress, she says, is that she can turn to the thriller for respite when she gets frustrated with her more serious novel. Maureen entertained the audience with the banter of two main characters in a scene from Gaitham Hall, set in the midlands of Ireland.

jenifer

Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Jenifer Margaret Kelly calls herself  “mainly a playwright” but she’s presented several beautiful poems at recent Salons. Tonight she read three more: “Charcoal Autumn Sunday,” “ You Could Have Written This Poem” and “Evened Out.”

doris

Judy Doris

Sister act: Judy Doris read her sister Adrienne Foran’s charming story “The Princess Bus,” about the love between the M15 bus and her driver —from the bus’ point of view.

honor

Honor Molloy

Author/playwright/actor Honor Molloy delivered a passionate reading of her Irish Echo article extolling Irish women in New York City’s theatre scene and their contribution to New York’s cultural life. Her essay is particularly relevant given the controversy raging about the Abbey Theater and its signal failure to adequately represent a female perspective during their 2016 Season. Its yearlong tribute to the 1916 Rebellion and its aftermath features ten plays, with only one authored by a woman.

skojo

John Paul Skocik

Musician/singer/songwriter John Paul Skocik closed out the night playing original songs. John’s former band on the self-titled album “Girl To Gorilla,” is available on ITunes and at ♫ Girl to Gorilla – Girl to Gorilla. Listen @cdbaby  John is writing more songs and working on a short play, and beginning a novel, which he hopes to share at a future Salon.

Mark your calendar:  December 15 is our IAW&A Christmas Salon co-hosted by Honor Molloy and John Kearns at The Cell at 7 pm. With a party after the salon!

June 7, 2015

6.2.15 IAW&A Salon: A Touch of the Poet in a Varied, Thrilling 4th Anniversary

Filed under: Literature,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 11:10 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by John Brennan

In a month that celebrates Yeats and Joyce, we had more than a touch of the poet at our fourth anniversary IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on June 2. Several distinctive poets presented their work; two new singer/songwriter/musicians joined the group, creating a varied and thrilling line-up.

jk

John Kearns

Finishing the story he presented at last month’s Thalia salon, the night’s host John Kearns read a tender excerpt from his generational novel-in-progress, Worlds about the Logans of Philadelphia. After his mother’s death, Paul Logan meets his old friend, Joe, in a Wall Street area bar. Joe reveals a secret he had been keeping since the two were in high school — that after Joe’s father had lost his job and subsequently died, Janey Logan had quietly slipped Joe money so that he could go out with the other boys.

jeffrey

Jeff Barstock

First time presenter Jeff Barstock, poet and playwright, read several poems — heartfelt, spiritual, and cosmic in nature.

Through his creativity, Jeff wants to uplift and induce healing laughter throughout world. He succeeded tonight especially with the tribute, “Firefighter” and spiritual works such as “Flame” and “Broken Angel.” Jeff appreciates the warm IAW&A welcome.
maura

Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan read a lovely introduction to her memoir, Call of the Lark, which describes how she discovered her writer’s voice as well as her reasons for writing the book. Maura will present this piece this summer at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Sligo, accompanied by esteemed fiddle player, Marie Reilly. Some audience members asked for a link: Call of the Lark by Maura Mulligan.

john_mcD John McDonagh

John McDonagh, who has been driving a yellow cab in New York City for 35 years, read two poems with his observations of the city and which he read at PEN World Voices Festival this year. In “200 West Street Story,” John describes the irony of taking passengers to Goldman Sachs headquarters and then going to Occupy Wall Street, a few blocks away. “What Happened to My City” decries the changes in our town. John is working on a one-man play about his adventures driving a yellow cab in NYC called “Cabtivist” and can be heard on Talk Back-New York, Thee and We Edition, with Malachy McCourt and Corey Kilgannon, on Wednesday mornings at 10 am, WBAI.

jeanne

Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant read a sensual new poem called “Green Man,” and an ethereal chapter titled “Palace of Dreams” from her book, Heartlands of Islam. She is planning a summer trip to Ireland to research her next project on the Irish genome. She has been invited to present on the philosophical aspects of biochemical pathways for the quarterly seminar at Harvard University’s Mahindra Center for Poetry, Philosophy and Ethics.

mark_lauren

Mark Butler presents Lauren Comito of Urban Librarians Unite with $1700 raised at the Amazing Library Variety Show

In a happy follow up to last month’s successful benefit Salon, Mark Butler presented Lauren Comito of Urban Librarians Unite a check with the proceeds. Lauren and Mark again expressed their gratitude for the night’s performers, audience, and volunteers.

adriannakmateoAdrianna Mateo

TimeOut New York called Adrianna Mateo’s performance at the Bang on a Can marathon “triumphant.” A solo violinist and singer-songwriter, who has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The TimesCenter, she came to the Thalia and sang a lush, emotive acoustic set from her upcoming rock album. Find Adrianna’s debut single (and the surreal story behind it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adriannamateo/adrianna-mateo-the-album.

peter_Christy

Irish Echo Deputy Editor, Peter McDermott, and Christy Kelly

christy

Christy Kelly

Poet, screenwriter and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress titled Nobody Said, set in the Bronx in 1976. Christy writes beautifully of “natives and immigrant citizens.”

conor

Conor McGlone

Conor McGlone read excerpts from two poems, one “A Thought in Summer” and second about the ocean and the collapse of ego. An accomplished young writer, Conor was introduced to the Salon by his CCNY writing instructor, Brendan Costello Jr.

honor

Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy treated us to a segment from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. She calls this excerpt “a funny and poignant look at the clash between classes and the way words can divide and wound. It’s 1966. The Irish Government has recently established a Commission on Itinerancy to urbanize “the walking people”—or today’s travelers. Noleen and two kids from the Carlow Encampment battle it out with epithets, curses and fists.”  jon

John Paul Skocik

A popular Salon presenter who performs his own compositions, singer/songwriter guitarist John Paul Skocik performed two original tunes. You can find John’s songs on iTunes and other online outlets, under his former band Girl To Gorilla.

andrea

Andrea Wright

Another distinctive talent, singer- songwriter and recording artist, Andrea Wright often performs at Rockwood Music Hall. In her IAW&A Salon debut, she sang two original songs, in “Going Places” she urges listeners to “create their own journeys.” Find her work at http://www.andreawrightmusic.com.

brennan

2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award winner, John Brennan, and Christy Kelly

Our next IAW&A Salon will be on Bloomsday, Tuesday, June 16 at 7pm at The Cell.  Conor McCourt and other filmmakers will be presenting their short films.  Don’t miss it!

May 29, 2015

5.19.15 IAW&A Special Edition Salon “The Amazing Library Variety Show”

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:28 am

“A rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.” –Tom Mahon 

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

banner

The stars came out for IAW&A’s first fundraising Salon, The Amazing Library Variety Show on Tuesday, May 19 at The Cell Theatre. Mark Butler, the show’s producer and host, corralled members to donate their time and talent to support the work of the NYC-based grassroots advocacy group, Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). The Show, which brought out an SRO crowd, was a testament to the generosity and breadth of talent in IAW&A and to Mark’s artistic, organizational and hosting skills. And dare we say it was truly an amazing night?

mark

Mark Butler

kathleen walsh

Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy announces raffles prizes

In keeping with IAW&A’s mission to encourage full participation in and access to the arts, the night’s proceeds will go to Urban Librarians Unite, which has been described by The Wall Street Journal as “Guerrilla Librarians Making Noise.” ULU Founder and Executive Director Christian Zabriskie described the group’s work. They operate a Save NYC Libraries Campaign and the Volunteer Library Brigade that brings books, maps, Wi-Fi, and free eBooks to city sidewalks and parks. Their Hurricane Sandy Children’s Book Campaign distributed over 20,000 books through free mini-libraries in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where libraries were damaged by the storm.

christian lauren

ULU’s Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito

dewey

Richard Butler as Dewey Decimal dewey job

Richard Butler and Jon Gordon

A surprise visit from library lover, Mr. Dewey Decimal, singing the jazzy “Librarians Really Dew It for Me” set the night’s upbeat tone. Dewey’s identity was later revealed to be Richard Butler, an actor, director, and acting coach with over 30 years experience working in the New York City and San Francisco Bay areas. Richard has played everything from a presidential assassin in Sondheim’s Assassins to a frumpy Baltimore housewife in Hairspray to Santa Claus in a cocktail dress. As a director, he has worked on both established and new plays, including In the Wilderness by IAWA treasurer John Kearns, and Bad Christmas Sweater, The Laundry War, and other plays by his brother, IAWA Secretary Mark William Butler. He is currently directing Mark’s dystopian comic fantasy, Heaven Is a Beer Commercial, to be performed as part of the Manhattan Rep Summer One Act Play Competition in early June.

tj banner

T.J. English

Best-selling author, social historian and journalist T.J. English read a selection from his new book about Whitey Bulger that is scheduled for publication in September of this year. His books include The Westies, Paddy Whacked, Havana Nocturne and The Savage City. His journalism has appeared in such national publications as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Playboy and Newsweek, among others. Along with his accomplishments as a writer, T.J. is one of the founders of Irish American Writers & Artists and served as the organization’s President for two years.

crowd 2

We note with pleasure that IAW&A’s first President, Peter Quinn, attended the Show, so all three IAW&A chiefs were present.

maxine

Maxine Linehan

Irish native, adopted New Yorker Maxine Linehan, actress, singer and recording artist whom The New York Times calls “fiercely talented” sang two original songs. As a cabaret and concert performer, Maxine has performed at Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. The Huffington Post says Maxine’s new album “Beautiful Songs is “glorious.” Find her at http://www.maxinelinehan.com

jk

John Kearns

IAW&A Treasurer and Salon Producer John Kearns chose a short excerpt from his novel, The World, in which the protagonist, called “The Youth,” goes to the library to discover his Irish identity. In his introduction, Mark complimented John for his fantastic work in running the Salon, our organization’s signature event and expanding it to such faraway lands as Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, St. Louis and Connecticut!

marni

Marni Rice

Uniquely talented Marni Rice, a chanteuse-accordionist, sang in French. An author and composer, Marni’s original plays with music have been performed in French and English at Theatre Festivals worldwide. In 2012 she co-founded the Xio Evans- Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre to create original musical and dance performance works dedicated to issues of social justice. They are currently co-teaching a dance-theatre class for children at a NYPL in the Bronx. http://www.dejouxmusique.com

sarah

Sarah Fearon

Stand-up comedienne, actor and IAW&A Board Member Sarah Fearon brought the laughs with her routine. Sarah describes herself as a native New Yorker by way of Northern Ireland. You may have seen her get whacked in The Departed. Or you may have seen her this spring at the Irish Arts Center “Sundays at Seven” comedy night. Sarah has a play in the Players Theater Short Play Festival opening June 18. So far she is keeping her New Year’s resolution of returning her library books on time!

tony

Tony DeMarco

One of the top “trad” musicians in the country, Tony DeMarco played two reels that had our collective feet tapping. Tony has been performing and teaching the Irish fiddle for over 30 years, and is acknowledged as a master of the New York/Sligo fiddle style. Find his performances at http://www.tonydemarcomusic.net

karl

Karl Scully

Internationally known tenor Karl Scully delighted us with his rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “Poisoning Pigeons in The Park.” Karl was for six years, one of The Irish Tenors who recorded two albums and performed in hundreds of venues in Europe and the US. As a soloist Karl has performed all over the world including Carnegie Hall and the Avery Fischer Hall. One of his very first gigs he starred as Count John McCormack in the film “Nora.”

break

daisy

Daisy Kearns sells raffle tickets to Seamus Scanlon

larry

Larry Kirwan

IAW&A President Larry Kirwan recalled the book selections at the library in his native Wexford, and read a section from his brand new book, A History of Irish Music. In this hilarious excerpt, Larry described Black 47’s being asked to back-up one of Shane McGowan’s first post-Pogue gigs. In addition to being founder of the rock band Black 47, Larry is an author, playwright, Irish Echo columnist and solo performer.

lauren

Lauren Comito

ULU Chair and Director of Operations Lauren Comito charmed the crowd with a song she wrote about the trials of a librarian. Lauren accompanied herself on the ukulele.

honor

Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy can be counted on to thrill salongoers with her presentations and she did again tonight reading Backwards Library, a piece about summers, libraries and time. Honor’s autobiographical novel Smarty Girl tracks her life as a mischievous little gurrier running the streets of Dublintown.

skojo

John Paul Skocik

A popular Salon presenter who performs his own compositions, singer/songwriter guitarist John Paul Skocik performed two original tunes. You can find John’s songs on iTunes and other online outlets, under his former band Girl To Gorilla.

jon

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon played a soulful solo of “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Jon, winner of the Thelonious Monk award, is a world-renowned artist and one of the most successful, accomplished and in-demand alto and soprano saxophonists of his generation. Jazz Improv magazine calls him “an elite musician of our time.” Jon has often played and read from his memoir, For Sue at our Salons.

cathy

Cathy Maguire

Cathy Maguire sang two beautiful songs, one country-inflected, one Irish. Cathy began her career as a successful child star in Ireland. She’s back in New York, by way of Nashville, where she studied and worked with country music stars. Her CD Ireland In Song explores the ten most famous Irish songs.

Near the end of a very full program, host Mark Butler described Malachy McCourt as a man “who needs no introduction” but Mark introduced him anyway, for the thrill of saying: “Writer, actor, storyteller, singer – that’s right singer – radio personality, legendary innkeeper, Salon founder and godfather, teacher, inspiration, mentor, and most recently – Facebook assassin -the only one and one and only ­ Malachy McCourt.”

mal2

Malachy McCourt

Malachy began by quoting Henry VIII, who said to his wives, “I won’t keep you long.” But he did. He told how two poor urchins in County Limerick, he and his brother Frank, read library books under street lamps because there were no lights at home. Encouraged by the lively reception, he went off on a riff about labels, about snakes and God, Adam and Eve, pausing to thank God he’s an atheist, which slid smoothly into St. Patrick chasing the snakes from Ireland. Salon newcomers were treated to the “full Malachy.”

Frequent Salon contributor Tom Mahon sums it up perfectly: ”Then Malachy sang and asked us to sing along and we sang, feeling that this is fine, don’t let this end, but it did. Yet we felt better after a rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.”

On behalf of IAW&A, our sincere thanks to all the performers for contributing to a wonderful night and a great cause; to superb pianist Ryan Shirar; to the artists who donated their work for the raffle; to our generous members, guests and volunteers; to the helpful staff of The Cell Theatre; and kudos to impresario Mark Butler!

mark2

February 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 2/17/15: The Good Times Rolled on Mardi Gras

Filed under: Events,Film,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:27 am

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Nobody mentioned Mardi Gras but the mood at the IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, February 17 was sure celebratory. Highlights included three wonderful new presenters, unique music, great fiction and a one-of-a-kind performance from our friend from Dublin, Brian Fleming.

walsh

Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, and Nancy Oda

Ryan Cahill and Jack DiMonte hit all the right notes reading the roles of the seductive Pamela Churchill and the stately Averill Harriman in Sheila Walsh’s musical Pamela. The playwright was delighted when audience members asked her the magic question, “What comes next?” Sheila thanks Ryan, Jack, and Nancy Oda who read stage directions.

tom_ph

Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan kept the audience laughing as he read from his latest novel, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Shelf Awareness calls the book a “masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery” and notes “Phelan finds humor and warmth in every poignant moment.” Tom will read from Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told and talk about life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s/1950s at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY on Saturday, 28 February, at 1pm. More at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.
You will be able to hear Tom on the radio at Glucksman Ireland House NYU Radio Hour. Tune in on 2/28, 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5FM and on irishradio.com and on nyuirish.net/radiohour.

sheila

Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon

We watched a charming short film by Tom Mahon of last year’s St. Pat’s for All Parade. Parade organizer and co-founder Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy invited everyone to join the fun this year on Sunday, March 1. Come march under the IAW&A banner. Watch this space and our Facebook page for details.
https://www.facebook.com/IrishAmericanWritersAndArtistsInc. Visit
www.stpatsforall.com.

kearns

John Kearns

Tonight’s host, the Salon producer John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. The book follows the Logan family over several generations, and reflects the experiences of many Irish-American families. In this excerpt, Janey Logan is preparing to move her family from her native West Philadelphia to her husband’s family home in the suburb of Ardmore. She reflects on what she and her children will gain and lose by moving to the suburbs and on her lifetime of memories in St. Francis de Sales parish. Her old neighbor, Tom Dugan, stops to chat and, as Janey watches the familiar sight of Mr. Dugan’s walking up the street smoking his pipe, she wonders if she’ll ever see it again.

don_meade

Don Meade

Traditional musician Don Meade, a great supporter of the Salon, showed his versatile talent by playing harmonica and banjo, singing and sharing his knowledge. Don played a jig called “The Haunted House,” the reels “The Abbey” and “The Custom Gap” and sang “Omagh Town” by Michael Hurl.

You can see Don and friends every Monday night at The Landmark Tavern for a traditional music session. More at Blarneystar.com.

break

Laissez le bon temps roulez

guen

Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang her jazz/blues version of Tom Waits’s story song, Small Change. Her sultry voice riffing on the Sax intro of the original created a totally new enthralling version of a classic.

Poet Mary E. Gonzalez is the daughter of Mary Kate Lohan of Dublin and of George Ugactz, a first generation Russian American. A graduate of Columbia University and host of a YouTube channel, Loving Life and Words, Mary read from two of her three poetry books currently available via Amazon:

  • Four Folded Corners (M.E. Gonzalez): Poems read include  “Love,” “Hate: In response to Extremism,” “The Strength of Trees”, “Summery Day”, “A Winter’s Farewell”, On an Amtrak Train to Utica
  • Two of Cups: A New York Poet in Galway (under pen name Mary E. Lohan) Poems read include “Clonmacnoise,” “Love is Not,” “Nothing is Constant”
  • Speaking to the Darkness (under pen name Mary E. Lohan)

peter

Peter Digan

Peter Digan, newly imported from County Offaly and recently married to Mary Gonzalez, sang two songs — a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”and had us singing along with “The Wild Rover.”  Welcome Mary and Peter!

tom

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon took us to upstate New York with “The Burial” from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a farmer brings his dead wife to a minister to have him say some words over her before he buries her. New to the community, the minister pries into the life of the farmer and his wife and family. The man answers but is as guarded and private as the preacher is public. Tom-Mahon.com.

brian

Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave a hilarious preview of his performance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade, playing now as part of the Frigid New York Festival. Described as “a romp through 14 years of celebration and resistance with the inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens…through music, projections, bad dance and bad striptease…” Support this artist who visits the Salon when he’s in New York. Get your tickets here: www.frigidnewyork.info.

celeste

Celeste Ray

In her Salon debut, musician Celeste Ray, a founding member of Four Celtic Voices, played several songs on a double Bowed Psaltery.

Those of us who were unfamiliar with this string instrument were stunned by its gorgeous sound and by her superb talent. Celeste closed the night by singing an IAW&A favorite, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Learn more at http://FourCelticVoices.com and find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Celtic-Voices-with-Celeste-Ray/323027821102985

The good times will still be rolling at the Salon at the Thalia on March 3. See you then!

July 9, 2014

IAW&A Salon Fireworks at Bar Thalia on July 2, 2014

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 10:53 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Jon Gordon, Sarah Fearon, John Kearns

As a warmup to Independence Day, IAW&A had its own fireworks at the July 2 Salon at the Bar Thalia hosted by John Kearns. Poet Marcia Loughran credits IAW&A with providing lightning and flash floods for the occasion. The real excitement came from our unique mix of talent, creativity, and warm enthusiasm.

DSCN0453

Tom Mahon

IAW&A Salon regular Tom Mahon read a parable from his collection called Allusions. This vignette tells of allusions that especially affect men who stop using their brains. Not that IAW&A men are in that category. Women are usually spared similar problems, except for those affected by the men’s allusions. Salongoers responded to Tom’s wit and confident delivery.

DSCN0455

Michelle Fulves

Mary Pat Kelly brought two newcomers, both exceptional presenters. First Michele Fulves read a moving piece of memoir, The Girl Who Didn’t Want to Be There. As a recalcitrant adolescent, she traveled to Italy with her family to meet her grandfather, Fiorangelo, who was forced to return to his village in Benevento, Italy, without his children. Straddling past and present, Michele discovers the secret message in his final wish to reunite with his son before he dies. A frequent reader at the Upper Westside’s Red Harlem Readers, Michele has written and performed two solo shows in local venues. Roadside Angels, her first show about redefining success, was the happy result of a mid-life crisis. Her current show, The Price of Courage, explores the risks, rewards and unintended consequences of blowing the whistle. Michele plans to tour it throughout the city next spring and we hope that the IAW&A Salon will be on her agenda.

DSCN0456

Jane Altman

Actress Jane Altman shared a parable (second of the night) called “The Glowstones”, which “was in my mind in its entirety when I woke up one Wednesday morning — all I had to do was write it down.” Jane has been acting since she was 15 and went to her first summer stock company. Experienced in the classics and contemporary theatre as well as Gilbert & Sullivan, she’s also done corporate and medical/pharmaceutical narration. Jane plans to return and share some of her writing, and, of course, whatever wonderful story is in her mind in the morning. She enjoyed our welcoming group that was “so responsive to a complete stranger.”  You’re not a stranger for long at the IAW&A Salon.

DSCN0457

Megan O’Donnell

In her second IAW&A Salon appearance, Megan O’Donnell read six short poems that showed her range and talent, prompting several audience members to call her “the real deal.” Among them were “Window Shopping,”  “Amsterdam Avenue” and “Bone to-Bone.” Megan graduated this year from City College, where Brendan Costello was her professor.  She’s an actor, activist, and award-winning writer.

DSCN0458

Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill read from his brick-tough crime fiction short story “Corner of River and Rain”, wherein a couple of Hell’s Kitchen “debt collectors” take out frustration andpersonal loss on two loud-mouth real estate speculators lame enough to celebrate big- money success at the expense of other peoples’ lives, and run into — you guessed it — the wrong guys. Antics ensue, if being prodded along a dark street toward a rendezvous with the Hudson could be considered “antics.” Find the story in its first-published form free online at Short Story Me Genre Fiction, in the “crime” file — http://www.short-story.me/crime-stories/194-corner-of-river-and-rain.html.

DSCN0459

Sarah Fearon made some announcements

DSCN0460

Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran is a part-time nurse practitioner, part-time poet, working on a manuscript after completing her MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars. Marcia read three poems covering topics from fishing to Queens, among them “Ode to Queens” and “What We Look for Out the Window in winter.” She is pleased to be back at the IAW&A Salon, even in “biblical weather” and we are pleased to have her unique voice. She plans to return soon, as her Irish relatives are arriving imminently and she needs a place to take them

DSCN0461

Maureen Hossbacher taking to the mic on the eve of her birthday

To mark her birthday, Maureen Hossbacher entertained us with a hilarious parody, written by Pam Peterson, of the song “Memory” from the musical Cats. Maureen has a great voice and presence, and the song especially resonated for some of us.

DSCN0467

John Munnelly

Award winning song writer/singer John Munnelly (www.johnmunnellymusic.com) sang three songs and shared a bit of his creative process with the song “Julius Caesar”. At a creative retreat, John intended to read Shakespeare’s plays, including Julius Caesar. Before he had a chance to read the play, “along came this song.” John knew about Caesar’s life “from, yes, my good Irish education.” He is still tweaking parts of the song to deal with what happens after Caesar crossed the Rubicon but John thinks that what we heard is likely close to the final version. Then he had us singing about love, love, love, with his song “Peace.”  Though written and recorded some time ago, “Peace” was selected as one of ten  finalists in the annual International Peace Award & Song Contest in Tipperary. John has just gone there to take part (and win) the contest. We’re rootin’ for you, John.  You can hear a recording with choir, strings and band at sonicbids.com/band/johnmunnelly/audio/

In case you haven’t had enough soccer, you can watch Jon’s Dublin- based project, “King of Cambridge” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9brCB-5A6Y

 DSCN0470

Brendan Costello

Frequent presenter Brendan Costello Jr. read an essay-in-progress about Kara Walker’s just-closed art exhibit in the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. The installation features a huge sugar-coated sphinx with exaggerated African features, and several small “sugar boys” made of resin and burnt sugar. Ostensibly about the people affected by the exploitative and harsh process of sugar production and refinement, the work’s context and symbolism produce a wide range of responses and interpretations. An expanded, processed and refined (though non-caloric) version of Brendan’s piece will appear in next month’s Openlettersmonthly.com.

chris_bradley_mpk

Chris Bradley and Mary Pat Kelly

Chris Bradley shared an intimate story about a man who spent a night in Rye, New York, with the most beautiful, strong woman he had ever seen. It included the man’s observations about the woman, the pain she had obviously endured and his hope she would just let him love her, forever.

DSCN0475

Christy Jones

Irish-born New Yorker, Christy Jones, whom Malachy McCourt introduced to the IAW&A Salon, read a piece many audience members related to – about the need to make a living while pursuing creative dreams. Christy worked as a cabdriver to support his family while pursuing his dream of being an actor and studying at the famed Stella Adler studio.

DSCN0476

John Kearns

John Kearns read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Seamus Logan travels to 19th century America in steerage and entertains a young boy with stories. When a fellow passenger objects to all of the fairies and ghosts in the yarns, Seamus tells the tale of the Donegal Doubter. Ignoring the warning from neighbors that his new home was haunted, the Donegal Doubter moved into the house only to have his own boots get up and tramp around the house on their own and finally kick him in the rear end until he was forced to leave.

DSCN0479

Malachy McCourt

Though Malachy McCourt jokes about being “a man of good taste”, tonight he displayed great taste and sensitivity in choosing to read a story about his “big brave father” taking him to drink water from the loveliest well in Ireland. The story is from his bestselling memoir, A Monk Swimming.  Malachy closed the evening with a Limerick song, “Bonnie Isle.”

We can’t promise lightning or floods but we can guarantee more talent, creativity and enthusiasm at the salon at the Cell on July 15 at 7pm.  Join us and see for yourself.

February 24, 2014

As they say on Broadway, “A Boffo Night!”: The 2/18 IAW&A Salon at the Cell

Filed under: dance,Essay,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 1:59 am

by Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

What do you call a night that featured poems, plays, a world-renowned fiddle player, a percussionist/clown, fiction, memoir, an Irish ballerina, a sly Sinatra tribute, and the massive charm of Malachy McCourt?

Just say it was the Irish American Writers & Artists Salon at the Cell on Tuesday, February 18.

ray

Ray Lindie

mary_bartender

Mary Tierney, Ron Ryan

actor
Michael Burrell 

First up, Ray Lindie presented short scenes from his play, Pearl’s Paradise, set in a famous bar/restaurant/writers’ hangout in NYC. These scenes introduce the principal characters, Pearl and Neil, partners in the business and the bartender, Michael. The play is seen from Michael’s perspective. The roles were expertly played by the pros: Mary Tierney, Michael Burrell, Ron Ryan, respectively. The author, Ray, who took the part of Fredo, once worked at Elaine’s, the former famous bar/restaurant/writers’ hangout in NYC.

gary

Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill returned to the salon after a short absence with a reading from his newly published short story. A spooky, noir crime tale, “Sirens” is about misguided love, sex, death and madness at the south Jersey Shore. You can enjoy the shocking story for free at http://www.plan-b-magazine.com/sirens-by-gary-cahill/. Soon there will be a free audio posting at the Plan B site. Please post a comment at the end of the story on Plan B. You can reach Gary at garycahill66nj@yahoo.com.

viv

Vivian O’Shaughnessy

In the first of the night’s three poetry offerings, translator and artist Vivian O’Shaughnessy read a charming poem “Colors,” which she translated from the French. “Colors” is from the collection Woman, I Am (Je La Femme, Enfin), 70 poems about women by French/Italian academician Giovanni Dotoli. Vivian will be presenting the poem at the poetry fair, Saint Sulpice Marché de la Poésie in Paris in June 2014. Vivian is often at the salons at The Cell with her sketchpad. You can see her art at vivianoshaughnessy.com.

kearns

John Kearns

Salon producer and host (and novelist, playwright, poet) John Kearns read two short poems, “Mindsong” about remembering and forgetting and “No Longer a Summertime Self” about internal growth and maturity. Find a selection of John’s poems at http://kearnscafe.com/Poets_Pub/Poet.htm.

tom\

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon has been serializing his novel, American Mastery. In tonight’s piece, the Fenton brothers are in Japan looking for a manufacturer for their mentor’s products. Just when they’re about to sign contracts, they get the news that their father has had a heart attack back home. Like his father, Charlie Fenton has elevated blood pressure, so he’s thrown by the news. Charlie is beginning to see the importance of good health. Told by Tom, with his usual panache.

maura

Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan served as harbinger of spring with two offerings. First was a spirited passage from her memoir, Call of the Lark that vividly described the procedure of dibbling the spuds. As a child in her native County Mayo, Maura participated in this springtime family farm work. (We noticed she was signing copies of her book at the intermission).

Next Maura introduced the poem, “Anois Teacht an Earraigh” by Antoine Raftery, a wandering 19th century bard from Cill Aodáin, a village near her own birthplace. She read an English translation of this poem by Michael Coady titled, “The Blind Poet’s Vision of Spring” and followed with an enchanting recitation of the original Irish version.

brian

Brian Fleming

Visiting for the St. Pat’s for all Parade, and literally a one-man band, Brian Fleming, entertainer and drummer, wowed us with a unique performance that showcased his musical and comedic skills, as well as his colorful briefs in an extract from one-man show, Have Yis No Homes To Go To. Brian, who formed the Afro-Irish music group De Jimbe, demonstrated some of the clown skills he learned so he could participate in the charity Clowns without Borders (www.cwbireland.com)

break

Enjoying the break

fraser

Fraser Brown

monica

Monica Loughman

Two charismatic representatives of the Monica Loughman Ballet Company, Ireland’s classical ballet company, Fraser Brown and the ballerina, Monica Loughman, described their efforts to get national arts funding for their program, and to stage a ballet based on the Children of Lir legend, the precursor to Swan Lake. You really need to see their website to appreciate Monica’s unique accomplishments. Monicaloughmanballet.ie.

pat

Pat Fenton

Writer and storyteller Pat Fenton, told a great tale about tracking down Jack Kerouac’s hangouts in Ozone Park, especially the library where he researched and mapped out the route for the journey that became the classic On the Road. Pat read a scene from his film script Jack’s Last Call that imagined Kerouac consulting the librarian.

A radio version of Pat’s a stage play about Kerouac’s last night in Northport, Long Island was produced on CD by Sue Media Productions, and later nominated for the prestigious Audie Awards.

tony

Tony DeMarco

World-class fiddle player Tony DeMarco thrilled the audience a few songs. First was a slow air called “The Blackbird” that he played for Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chair of the St. Pat’s for All Parade who invited Tony to the IAW&A Salon. Tony also played some reels. More about Tony and his music at co-www.tonydemarcomusic.net.

mike

Mike Swift

Playwright Mike Swift made his salon debut in February at the Thalia and returned Tuesday with a second reading from his one man play, First Born, about five generations of men in an Irish-American family over a hundred year period. Tonight he read the monologues of Todd Donahoe, whose father moved the family from New York City to New Jersey. Todd lost his father when he was six so he was raised predominantly by a single mother. Mike describes Todd as “Turnpike Trash” and self- aware, with a mean streak of loyalty. Todd’s story takes place in 1994. Salon goers look forward to hearing more of the Donahoes.

karen

Karen Daly

Following Mike, Karen Daly read a piece about one hundred years of another Irish-American family. The subject here was Karen’s family, and it dealt with four generations of women. “Finding Nora” describes how she discovered details about her great grandmother, Nora Hogan O’Connor, whose history was hidden by the family. Karen found the location of Nora’s grave in Calvary Cemetery, which she plans to visit in the spring.

sean

Sean Carlson

In his salon debut, Sean Carlson, read his Irish Times essay, “The Reach of a Single Village,” a reflection on the significance of emigration through the experience of Moyvane, Co. Kerry (near the literary hub of Listowel). Sean has been completing his first book, a nonfictional narrative of love and loss through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. A former manager of global communications and public affairs at Google, Sean was named by the Irish Echo as one of its Top 40 Under 40 in 2012. After such a warm reception, Sean looks forward to taking the stage again at future salons. Here is a link to his essay: http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/generationemigration/2013/04/25/the-reach-of-a-single-village/.

david

David Coles

Our friend from Washington, DC, David Coles loves New York, and tonight he read an essay exploring the mix of constancy and relentless change that often greets him on his return to the city. In this case, he laments the remaking of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village into luxury condos, a further unraveling of the city as he knew it in the 1970’s. It seemed like many salongoers shared Dave’s point of view.

jack

Jack DiMonte

Ever surprising and educating the audience with his song choices, Jack Di Monte sang “The Singer” a tribute to Frank Sinatra written by Vincent Falcone and Joseph Cocuzzo, two musicians who spent many years in Sinatra’s band. The song manages to celebrate the crooner’s impact with perfect clarity without ever mentioning his name, a feat that any writer should envy!

applause

Applauding the Boffo Night

As a perfect ending to an incredible night, raconteur, wit, singer Malachy McCourt shared his latest adventures, and sent us off with the song, “Carrickfergus.”

malachy

Malachy McCourt

See you at Bar Thalia on March 4th at 7 pm!

January 27, 2014

St. Pat’s for All Fundraiser at Molly Bloom’s, Feb. 1st!

Filed under: Events,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 5:06 am

Join fellow IAW&A members at a fundraiser for the Saint Pat’s for All Parade!

pats for all

And, save the date for the February 28th concert at the Irish Arts Center and for the parade itself on Sunday, March 2nd!

Visit www.stpatsforall.com for details.

January 24, 2014

Member Tim Dwyer Calls for Action on Imprisonment of Activitist/Writer/Actress Margaretta D’Arcy

Filed under: American Politics,Irish Politics,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:50 pm
by Tim Dwyer
IAW&A Members: Please, as concerned individuals, support the release of Margaretta D’Arcy from Limerick Prison. She is one of the original members of Aosdana. Whether you agree with her political beliefs and her non-violent actions that preceded her incarceration- walking onto a runway at Shannon Airport with one other person to protest U.S. military use of the airport-it is unethical to place a 79 year old woman with cancer and Parkinson’s Disease in Limerick prison for 3 months.
A 2012 official Irish report concluded that Limerick prison has a number of serious deficiencies, including its medical care. With Margaretta’s medical issues, incarceration could be a death sentence.  There were more humane, healthy and safe ways to incarcerate Margaretta, such as house arrest.
darcy
I am calling on concerned members, particularly those strongly networked, involved with the media, with leadership and organizing abilities, to help us identify and execute means of expression, that may include letters, meetings or vigils  promoting these concerns to such entities as the Irish Consulate and the Irish Minister of Justice.  As I have none of these strengths and live 100 miles north of NYC, I am calling on our esteemed and accomplished members to lead the way in this important issue.  Believe me, I am not experienced in activism, so I am asking others for help.
Please respond so we can begin identifying and executing our expressions of concern.  This will be the expression of concerned individuals, and not an official statement of IAW&A.   I thank you for Margaretta!

October 2, 2013

Irish Film New York and Irish American Writers & Artists co-present “When Ali Came to Ireland”

Filed under: Events,Film,Social Activism,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 7:54 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Irish Film New York and Irish American Writers & Artists co-present When Ali Came to Ireland, which tells the story of Ali’s visit to Ireland in 1972 at the height of his career.  Self-proclaimed ‘World’s Strongest Publican’ Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue pulled off a massive sporting coup when he convinced Ali’s promoter he was good for the $300k down-payment required to bring Ali to Ireland.  He then largely paid for the proceedings in beer-stained bank notes. The trip had a huge impact on those Ali met and, some say, on the man himself and how he viewed white people in the aftermath of his conversion to Islam.  When Ali Came to Ireland screens Sunday, October 6 at 6:00pm.

With the support of Glucksman Ireland House, Irish Film New York’s third season of contemporary Irish cinema also includes Run & Jump, Made in Belfast, Silence, King of the Travellers and The Hardy Bucks Movie. Irish American Writers & Artists members can buy discounted $10 tickets (normally $12) here for any of the films by using the promotional code IAWA.

Irish Film New York, NYU’s Cantor Center, East 8th St, NYC. October 3-6, 2013.

http://www.irishfilmnyc.com/2013/08/when-ali-came-to-ireland/

September 18, 2013

Black 47: calling it quits, in its final year!

Filed under: Events,Music,Social Activism — by johnleemedia @ 2:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Black 47 will disband in October 2014 exactly 25 years later. In the meantime, Black 47 will record a final album, Last Call and tour the country for a year returning to old haunts and doing an extended tour of summer festivals.

 BLACK 47 attitude
“The band has never sounded better, we’re working on twelve new songs, it seemed like a great time to call it a day,” said leader and IAW&A co-founder Larry Kirwan. “We decided to go out when we’re ahead and, as always, on our own terms.”
Formed by Chris Byrne an NYPD detective and Kirwan, a playwright, Black 47 – who took their name from the worst year of the Irish Potato Famine – caused an immediate stir by introducing original music and political context into the Irish bar scene. “It was a bracing sound, we were setting Irish jigs and reels to Hip-Hop beats, singing about James Connolly and Michael Collins, and creating pub anthems like Livin’ in America and 40 Shades of Green.” Soon Black 47 was signed to EMI Records, Funky Ceili lit up FM Radio and MTV, and the band became a feature on Leno, Letterman and O’Brien.
“It was a different world back in 1989, the streets were edgy, we played recession gigs where you could get a pint for $2, the Guildford Four had just been freed from a British prison, we were campaigning for the release of Joe Doherty from the MCC. Still we were very much about entertainment and innovation – how to unleash the power of Irish melodies and link them to the beats of the day, how to portray the lives of modern immigrants, always with an eye on current events.”
Black 47 became popular nationally because of heavy airplay and television exposure. In many ways though the band has always been synonymous with New York City; their CD, New York Town is an incisive document of the city during the 9/11 period. “We played every Saturday night in Connolly’s for years after the tragedy trying to get people to come back to mid-town while providing a scene for first responders and New Yorkers who needed to kick back and let off some steam.”
black 47 color staged
Many think Black 47’s finest hour was their opposition to the war in Iraq even while supporting their many fans serving there in the military. “It was a tough time, speaking out on a nightly basis particularly to the unconverted. But the troops loved the Iraq CD – a band was singing about them and what they were going through.”
Geoff Blythe (saxophones), Fred Parcells (trombone/whistle) & Thomas Hamlin (drums) are the other three original members. Joseph Mulvanerty (uilleann pipes/bodhran) joined when Chris Byrne left in 2000, and Joseph “Bearclaw” Burcaw (bass) came aboard in 2007. All members add their own spin to the arrangements of the songs from Last Call, described as “a very up, horn driven, celebration of American and Irish life.” Then again, that’s what Black 47 has always been about. It should be a great final year for “the only band that matters,” as their friend Joe Strummer once described them.
Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.