Thom Molyneaux started us off with three pieces from his one-man show, “Me and the Monologue,” a lyrical blank verse, part eulogy, part confession from Willian Alfred’s Hogan’s Goat, a riveting speech from Paddy Chayefsky’s Network, and Holden Caulfield’s contentious taxi ride with Horowitz the cabbie in Catcher in the Rye.
March 15, 2017
February 28, 2017
By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
We welcomed new voices at the IAW&A Salon at the Cell on February 21 and they in turn appreciated the warm reception. Pat Lavin thanks us for having “a great, supportive audience” and says she was honored to “share the stage with such exceptional talent.”
Gordon Gilbert, Jr., pictured at left, started off the night taking us from the political – with excerpts from his satirical piece titled “Dee Jay T and the Deplorables in the Battle of the Bands” – to the sublime, with a love poem “Contemplating A Distant Love,” in recognition of Valentine’s Day just celebrated
In her Cell debut Pat Lavin read “I Am Crimson,” invoking red images in nature and life, dedicating the poem to “our bruised little planet.” Unsurprisingly, Pat’s favorite color is red and she says, “…the poem wrote itself! I sat down at my computer, blinked, and when I opened my eyes…there it was on the screen.” A Certified Hypnotherapist, journalist and writer whose work has been published nationwide, Pat works with creative people to overcome blocks and free the imagination. For more info, see Pat Garrett Lavin on Facebook.
Distinguished actress Rosina Fernhoff performed a scene from The Conversion of Alice B. Toklas by Carol Polcovar. In this one-woman play, Toklas steps out of the shadow of her late love Gertrude Stein and talks about her dream to become a Catholic. Rosina has performed this role at The Fresh Fruit Festival where she won the Outstanding Actor Award and she hopes to recreate the role this year or next.
Rosina Fernoff, left. Amy Barone
Another first time presenter, Amy Barone read poems from her yet-to-be published first full collection, We Became Summer, as well as work from her latest chapbook, Kamikaze Dance. Her work is inspired by the essence of place, music and her adopted homes of Milan and New York City. https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/kamikaze-dance-by-amy-barone-nwvs-114/
Mary Deady ended the Salon’s first half by singing two songs in her exquisite voice. Each was a love song, of sorts. The West Cork ballad “The Blue Handkerchief” is about a young couple. In “Times Like This” from the Broadway musical Lucky Stiff, a woman yearns for that most faithful companion, a dog.
Mary Deady, left. Olivier Sublet and Maria Deasy
Maria Deasy and Olivier Sublet starred in a scene from Derek Murphy’s play currently in development, Dyin’ For It, a dark comedy all about dying and deciding not to. Murphy’s play Appendage just completed a successful at Theatre for the New City in the East Village.
Nina Sokol’s poems have appeared in such journals as Miller’s Pond and The Hiram Poetry Review. Tonight she read from her poetry collection Escape and Other Poems, which was published by Lapwing Publications, a poetry press in Belfast. http://www.freewebs.com/lapwingpoetry/ A resident of Denmark, Nina will be making an audio version of her work in connection for The Missouri Review and promises to return when she visits New York.
Nina Sokol, left. Aimee O’Sullivan
Aimee O’Sullivan’s Salon introduction was a powerful short poem/monologue about the struggle in equality and sexuality between men and women. Aimee says she was “somewhat influenced by Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth” in creating this work, with its reoccurring theme of regality.
Host John Kearns’s latest episode from his nearly completed novel, Worlds, is set in late 1970s suburban Philadelphia. Frustrated about how her house looks, Janey Logan goes out shopping for new shoes. When a pair of blue heels catches her eye in the window of Florsheim’s, she enters the store to find that the mother of her son’s friend now works there. Embarrassed as the woman helps her try on the shoes, Janey decides that she can’t make such a frivolous purchase while her friend is struggling to make ends meet. In an act of kindness, she puts money aside for the woman’s son. John’s happy to announce that his play, Sons of Molly Maguire, will be staged on May 10th and 11th at Dublin’s Liberty Hall: Sons of Molly Maguire, a drama by John Kearns
John Kearns, Maura Mulligan
“Rúile Búile on the Bus” describes Maura Mulligan’s recent experience as a passenger in a broken-down bus in the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s an Irish term meaning confusion or chaos. Maura was returning home from IAW&A’s transatlantic Salon with Belfast. Not only was the bus stopped, scared passengers started the rumor that the driver was a terrorist. Calming herself by recalling the Belfast art: images of hats and lines of poetry, Maura blocked out the rúile búile on the bus. Maura Mulligan is author of the memoir, Call of the Lark and teaches Irish language and céilí dancing and enjoys performing sean nós (old style) dancing. She is founder of Nollaig na mBan NYC – a group of artists dedicated to supporting a women’s shelter – The Dwelling Place of New York: http://thedwellingplaceofny.org Check her soon to be updated website: www.mauramulligan.com
Salon newcomer Gerry Maguire’s poem “Phil McDonnell’s Fire,” written 15 years ago, recalled carefree nights in a small community nestled in the foothills of Cuilcagh Mountain in west County Cavan. Phil McDonnell acted as teacher, priest and friend to a rambunctious group of teenagers. In his glory days, strangers arrived at his house eager to have their fortunes told and “darkness” lifted from their lives. He entertained them with music, songs and stories. Through emigration, Phil’s fireside grew quiet, with only an occasional visitor. Gerry gifted him with this poem when Phil was in a nursing home, blind and melancholy, with no one to entertain – and he loved it.
Gerry Maguire, left. John Skocik
Singer/songwriter/musician John Paul Skocik closed the full night by trying out some engaging new material in progress. Finishing with “The American Dream,” an important tune about what we assume we are entitled to and learning what really matters.
Two reminders: Next Salon will be Thursday, March 2 at Bar Thalia.
Don’t forget St. Pat’s for All Parade Sunday, March 5. http://www.stpatsforall.org
February 7, 2017
By Karen Daly
Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.
History — actual, mythological and personal — was on the agenda at the early February IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia. In addition, we had several poets, at least one saint and possibly some sinners.
Singer/songwriter/artist John Munnelly, armed with his poetry instead of his guitar, showed another facet of his creativity. He read three short poems: “The Great God of Battle (Lies),” “The Revenant” and “I Am from Dirt.” John also read the lyrics to his latest single, “Nowhere Without You.” To hear the sweet love song, and spend a few imaginary minutes in Antigua, see his video and be sure to share the link http://bit.ly/NowhereWithoutYou
John Munnelly. Photo by Christopher Booth.
In the history department, Patrick Mahoney gave us glimpses of some of the fascinating characters in From a Land Beyond the Wave: Connecticut’s Irish Rebels 1798-1916, just published by The Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society. Pat, a PhD student, co-authored this volume together with Neil Hogan, to tell the story of the Connecticut Irish who joined and supported Ireland’s fight for independence.
You can meet the authors at the book’s launch on Friday, February 24, from 5 pm to 9 pm at the Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Avenue, Hartford. Pat Mahoney and Neil Hogan will read, along with other guests. They’ll be followed by a traditional music session, led by John Whelan and Jeanne Freeman of the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music. All traditional musicians are welcome to join the session. Producer Ed Patterson invites everyone to the event and he promises a lively night of books, music and craic.
Pat Mahoney, left. Cormac O’Malley
Cormac O’Malley, an author and son of Ernie O’Malley (militant nationalist, author, art critic and historian) read from his father’s renowned memoir, On Another Man’s Wound. The lyrical passage describes the rustic landscape that Ernie cycled through while he was on the run in the IRA. Cormac talked about Ernie O’Malley’s life with the IRA in the War of Independence and later in the Irish Civil War. Captured and seriously wounded, he went on a 41-day hunger strike, avoiding execution because he was too weak to stand trial. Cormac O’Malley has edited has Modern Ireland and Revolution: Ernie O’Malley in Context, pubbed by Glucksman/Ireland House. Leading Irish and Irish-American academics in examine O’Malley’s life relating to literature, modern arts and photography in Ireland, his role in the War of Independence including its depiction in the movie The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
Jack DiMonte shared his fascination with the history of the Great American Songbook, singing two ballads composed by Harry Warren: “This Heart of Mine” and “I Wish I Knew.” Warren, a lesser-known but most prolific songwriter wrote many of the best-loved and best-known songs from the 1920s through the 1950s, primarily for Hollywood, including the score of the movie 42nd Street.
Actor and writer Nancy Oda shared the legends of the goddess Brigid, forerunner of St. Brigid, who is celebrated on February 1st. A harbinger of spring, symbolized by milk and dairy products, Brigid is a triple Celtic goddess. She represents the fire of inspiration, fire of the hearth and of the forge. Thus she is a patroness of poets, writers, mothers, and artisans, who are well represented in IAW&A.
Nancy Oda, left. Bernadette Cullen
The poet Bernadette Cullen read two poems. The first poem was a meditation on Andrew Wyeth’s haunting painting “Christina’s World,” in which she says I have not moved. Bernadette calls “Requiem” “a poetic narrative on the political climate in this country in the wake of Trump’s election.”
Salon producer and host John Kearns reports that his novel, Worlds, an Irish American family story, is nearly finished. In 1890s Philadelphia, young Seamus Logan makes suggestions to his boss about how he can improve his construction company’s tough business. After his boss fails to take his ideas seriously, Seamus wanders the streets of South Philly and decides to stop into Boyle’s Tavern to see a friend who has encouraged Seamus to go into business for himself.
Ed Patterson, in addition to producing the Irish American Film Festival, is a writer. Tonight he sampled his new screenplay, about a suburban couple going out to celebrate their anniversary. In the process they discover who they’re not and rediscover their own love. We look forward to hearing more and seeing where the story ends.
John Kearns, left. Ed Patterson
Raised by Nuns and Drunks is the title of Kathleen Vaughan’s memoir-in-progress. Kathleen and her family arrived from Co. Cork when she was a year and a half old. When she was five, after her mother died, she and two of her four siblings were placed into the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home, an orphanage in the Bronx. “It will be only for six months,” said her overwhelmed father. Seven and a half years later Kathleen went home. Tonight, she read an excerpt describing an indelible incident that took place during a relatively rare weekend visit home to 11 Hillside Avenue.
Kathleen Vaughn, left. Brent Shearer
Brent Shearer, who dubs himself NYC’s oldest unemerged writer, presented his short story “Skirts Up, Jeans Down, Butts Bare” to a mixed audience response. He was happy with the reaction of the Thalia’s bartenders, noting that he has “followed in the footsteps of the McCourts for whom diversity and inclusion are core values.” He adds that “the community Malachy and others created performed its essential function well…” at the Thalia.
Marcia Loughran shared a good-natured ode to the IAW&A Salons, plus her poem about a New Yorker visiting LA in January. Her chapbook, “Still Life with Weather” said to be “full of music” is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com https://www.amazon.com/Still-Life-Weather-Marcia-Loughran/dp/1539481182/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Marcia Loughran, left. Malachy McCourt
Malachy McCourt brought a very full night to a close with his usual words of wisdom, humor and song.
Mark your calendar:
Next salon will be Tuesday, February 21, 7 pm at The Cell.
St. Pat’s-for-All Parade on 3/5 on Concert on 3/3. For full details, go to http://www.stpatsforall.org
Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy spreads the word about St. Pat’s-for-All.
Photo by Christopher Booth.
January 25, 2017
by John Kearns
Photos by John Kearns, Sile B. Fee, and Bronagh Lawson
On Tuesday January 17th, Irish American Writers and Artists held a special event — a transatlantic salon in which New York and Belfast artists shared their work via Google Hangouts. Bronagh Lawson hosted the artists in Belfast and John Kearns hosted in New York.
Bronagh Lawson is a visual artist/ curator and art blogger who has been tracking the emerging Belfast art scene since 2010. Bronagh is a long-term collaborator with Suellen Semekoiski from School of Art Institute Chicago, looking at Art and its impact on healing violence. Her 2016 exhibition, The Ebb and Flow of East Belfast was exhibited at www.iarc.ie as part of the 1916-2016 Commemorations supported by British Council and An Roinn Ealaion Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, the Department of Arts and Gaeltacht. Bronagh’s work based on the experience of visiting every church in Belfast for a service to is to be completed in October 2017 for the 500 anniversary of the Reformation.
John Kearns opened the proceedings with his poem, “Transmigration of Soul,” about how Irish and African music traveled across the Atlantic to blend into the American music of rock ‘n’ roll. The poem, an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, was a finalist in the 2012 James Hearst Poetry Prize and was published in North American Review.
A Ruth Gonsalves Moore photo
From Belfast, Ruth Gonsalves Moore, winner of the Taylor Art Award for 2014, presented 10 photographic images including from the series Bethel, A glory to her, Inheritance, and Angels and Ordinances. Interested in faith and worship practices, Ruth works from an insider/ outside position speaking to female sensibilities, around “dress” and dress codes
In New York, Anthony Roberts shared poems that are snapshots of a worldview of a Soldier and a Citizen questioning the responsibilities of both. There is an old curse, “may you live in interesting times.” The silver lining is that interesting times often produce interesting poetry.
Geraldine O’Kane, originally from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is a poet, creative writing facilitator, arts administrator, curator and mental health advocate. She is part of Poetry NI, a multimedia platform offering opportunities and resources for poets in Northern Ireland. She recently received an Artist’s Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) award from Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is working towards her first full collection. Her pamphlet “Quick Succession” is available to purchase via Pen Points Press.
Geraldine is co-host Purely Poetry monthly mic nights held in The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Her poetry is mostly inspired by observation, addresses the issues society would prefer not to talk about, and is firmly seeded in the oral tradition of storytelling. She specializes in micropoetry. Her work has been published in anthologies from Community Arts Partnership, The Galway Review, Poethead, the Poetry Super Highway, The Incubator, and elsewhere. Her work can be found at theppoetokane.weebly.com and PoetryNI.com.
Maureen Hossbacher read an amusing memoir entitled ”Tables” that traced her culinary adventures from the less than ideal environs of her mother’s kitchen to the gleaming steel and tile domain of a professional cooking school.
The afternoon crowd in New York
The evening crowd in Belfast
John Kearns opened the second half with his poem, “Valentine Avenue, Bronx, NY” about a miserable seeming February 14th in the Bronx, which ends with a helium heart rising above the ugliness.
Work of Gerry Gleason
Gerry Gleason enjoyed sharing selected art works from a career spanning over forty years by Google Hangouts with the Irish American Writers and Artists of N.Y.C.. He was also happy that the image of the painting, “Raining Dollars N.Y.C” could be finally seen digitally in the city that inspired the image in 1993.
Mary Lannon read an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Tide Girl. The dystopian novel satirizes a corporate, pornography-soaked world that is a little too close to our own.
Colm Clarke is an artist based in Belfast creating actions, sonic scores and situations. Colm develops his work as a tactile strategy with collaboration, humor and interventions. Colm is a member of Queen Street Studios and Bbeyond performance collective. Colm Clarke presented recent project HOME AGAIN – a project in two parts focusing on a film and radio broadcast working with pigeon fanciers and asylum seekers that reside in Belfast. He is interested i the pigeon clubs as social spaces and the enormous distance these birds navigate in their flight back to captivity and as a counterpoint to this interviews and radio program in collaboration with asylum seekers to tell their own story and journeys.
Accompanied on guitar by Adam Bilchik, violinist and singer-songwriter Adrianna Mateo concluded the salon with three songs: “Coney Island,” “August Sun,” and another inspired by show tunes. It was a rousing and beautiful end to our second transatlantic salon! Adrianna’s most recent single is available on iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
Hopefully, this is was the first of many events in which we can share our work with our friends in Belfast!
See you at our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, February 2nd! We will be welcoming guests Patrick Mahoney and Cormac O’Malley with their new books about the Irish in Connecticut and about Irish rebel and writer Ernie O’Malley.
Here is the 2017 IAW&A Salon schedule.
January 9, 2017
Planes, Cars, Tuk-tuks, and Shank’s Mare: Travelling on with Irish American Writers & Artists at their first salon of 2017
by Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Mark Butler
The first salon of the year was a well attended gathering of both familiar and new faces. Let’s start with the new — first time presenter Rich Stone, who read his clever and entertaining short story “Beyond Superman” about Max the philosophy professor who, after his car breaks down, finds himself wandering in the desert near Las Vegas, where he encounters several not quite human entities with some interesting answers to the eternal question “Is there a God?”
Also wandering — this time down Mott Street — was poet Marcia Loughran, in her “messay” entitled “Parable of the Tawdry Fish.” Having arrived too early for a brunch date in Chinatown, she wanders into a New Year’s Day mass in a church with a less than stellar choir. The choir may have sung off key, but Marcia’s new year’s message was right on pitch, including her lovely poem “Momentary Sighting.” Loughran’s award-winning poetry chapbook Still Life With Weather is now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Monologist, political activist and radio personality John McDonagh, in the flesh, accompanied by a virtual Malachy McCourt (cardboard cutout) was on hand to preview an upcoming 2-man play that John is developing which will feature stories from some of Malachy’s memorable broadcasts over his 40-year radio career.
The scene: a police station; the date: February. 25, the day of Tennessee Williams’ death some years prior at a hotel in the precinct. In this segment from his one-man show focusing on the life and work of the great playwright, actor and dramatist D.J. Sharp, in character as world weary Detective Tommy Gillespie, recalls the details of that fateful but otherwise routine night and his impression of Williams, whom he once met in a bar.
Visual artist and poet Vivian O’Shaughnessy brought a little warmth to the chilly evening with her recitation of “Pocket” : . . . mmm / sanctum of love / warmth . . . from which we cherish / bygone times / the present.
Novelist Tim O’Mara shared with us the pleasure of writing book dedications, introduced us to two dedicatees in the audience (his wife and daughter) and then read an excerpt from his 4th and latest Raymond Donne crime novel, Nasty Cutter (dedicated to his brother and available now from Severn House, in hard cover and on Kindle).
On a flight from NYC to San Francisco, novelist and travel writer Judith Glynn experiences an attitude adjustment when she strikes up a conversation with a generously tattooed heavy metal guitarist half her age. The essay, entitled “ Seatmates by Design” charmed the audience. For more of Judith’s adventures, real and imagined, check out her book-length nonfiction taleThe Street or Me and her novel A Collection of Affections.
Salon host, John Kearns, debuted a new song inspired by his recent trip to India. “Tuk Tuk Trip” has fun with the comical aspects of riding in an auto-rickshaw through the congested streets of Delhi and describes the beautiful Muslim and Hindu sights seen along the way.
Gordon Gilbert presented two of his most recent poetic monologues, both of which deal with getting older: “All My Aches & Pains”, in which he personified the subjects as unwelcome guests, and “OK, So I’m an Addict!”, inspired by spending time with family. A familiar presenter at IAW&A salons, Gordon also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village.
Sarah Fearon, having frequently killed us with her comedy routines, tonight intrigued us with excerpts from a story titled “You Must Pay the Rent.” The protagonist, Sally, is a real estate agent traveling through the magical labyrinth of the real estate world in New York. This work in progress guarantees its readers a lot of inside dope, as, in addition to her regular appearances at comedy clubs, Sarah was recently named one of our City’s top 25 RE agents.
The salon was brought to an uplifting close by the multi-talented Guen Donohue who delivered a heartfelt rendering of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a fitting selection as the new Administration in Washington DC approaches. She followed the recitation with the moving and seasonally relevant Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”
Performing “The Rebel Jesus”
The snow held off until midnight, when most of the salon audience members were, presumably, safely home, via their various modes of transport, if not already tucked in their beds.
Maria Deasy made an announcement about the Women’s March on NYC on January 21st
Please note the early start time of our next salon at 3:00PM , on January 17, at the Cell theatre, 328 West 23rd Street. This will be a special collaborative afternoon shared with presenters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who will appear live via video hookup.
A very happy, healthy, productive, satisfying New Year to all!
December 30, 2016
By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
The popular Christmas Salon took place on Tuesday, 12/20 in the elegant upstairs space at the Cell. Salon producer and host John Kearns greeted an SRO crowd and welcomed Shane Cahill, Vice Consul General of Ireland in New York. John congratulated IAW&A board member Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, just back from Ireland where she and Brendan Fay received a 2016 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for their work as the co-chairs of St. Pat’s For All.
Jack Di Monte, left, John Kearns
Versatile singer Jack Di Monte kicked off the celebration with “The Christmas Song,” universally known by its first words “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Jack gave it a bossa nova feel, and the crowd spontaneously joined him. In a more somber mood, he paid tribute to the great musical performers lost in 2016, choosing to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Calling it a song of hope in opposition to chaos and despair, Jack notes the famous line that alludes to the Liberty Bell, among other things, “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”
Poet/professor Bernadette Cullen, pictured at right, gave a sensitive reading of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky’s Nativity poem, “Flight into Egypt (2)” translated by Seamus Heaney.
That night, as three, they were at peace.
Smoke like a retiring guest
slipped out the door.
Continuing the nativity theme, Bernadette read two of her own poems.
More poetry, this time in tribute to the Irish poet John Montague, who died recently, was read by writer/ filmmaker of Emerald City, Colin Broderick, together with actor and former Irish boxing champ John Duddy. More about Montague at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/john-montague
Larry Kirwan, left, Colin Broderick
In honor of the season, IAW&A president Larry Kirwan sang Phil Ochs’ song “Ballad of the Carpenter” and spoke about IAW&A’s role in encouraging artists. In an eloquent reminder of what we stand for, IAW&A Board member and actor Maria Deasy read our mission statement, which includes the sentence. While avoiding party affiliation and endorsing no candidates for public office, IAW&A is outspoken in defense of artistic freedom, human rights and social justice. Find the mission statement in its entirety here: i-am-wa.org/about-us/mission-statement/
Urban Librarians Unite Executive Director Christian Zabriskie and Board Chair Lauren Comito with Mark Butler
This year, we donated to three groups whose work fits with our mission. They are Urban Librarians Unite, a library advocacy and support group,urbanlibrariansunite.org; The Dwelling Place of New York, a transitional residence for homeless women, thedwellingplaceofny.org and Friends of Firefighters, which provides counseling and wellness services to active and retired NYFD members and their families, www.friendsoffirefighters.org
In addition to these gifts, each year we present the Frank McCourt Literary Prize to graduating seniors of the Frank McCourt High School.
Karen Daly, left, Sr. Joann Sambs of The Dwelling Place of New York
Eamon Loinsigh, left, Mark Byrne
Author Eamon Loingsigh introduced his brand new novel, Exile on Bridge Street, the second book in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, following the well-received Light of the Diddicoy, both pubbed by Three Rooms Press. Then actor Mark Byrne gave a dramatic reading of a section of Exile, which James T. Fisher, author of On the Irish Waterfront, calls “…this gripping tale, soaked in the Irish immigrant dockworker experience and laden with real life legends from a vanished world.” Find Eamon at artofneed.wordpress.com
Richard Butler, left, as Lulu, John Skocik as Cazz
Mark William Butler and company brought the holiday fun with two songs from his play, Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical. The amazing Richard Butler as Lulu the evil Christmas Fairy sang “The One and Only Me” and John Skocik brought to life Cazz, the virtuous ugly Christmas sweater with “A Chance to Fit In.”
Author and playwright Honor Molloy’s vivid reading of her glowing piece “Sixpence the Stars,” fondly known as “Duh Lickle Arrr-anges,”an excerpt from her autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage, has become an IAW&A Christmas tradition. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCEWe hear that Honor’s play, Crackskull Row, will be produced at the Irish Repertory Theatre in the spring. Honor is pictured at left.
We had music and musical collaboration, including the talented cellist Leah Rankin who played “Julie-O” by Mark Summer, and an Irish holiday medley featuring Pachelbel’s “Frolics.” Singer, songwriter, musician Cathy Maguire sang, “Off to Join the World” by Cowboy Jack Clement.
Goodbye cruel circus
I’m off to join the world…
Noting that while Malachy McCourt couldn’t join us on Tuesday, it wouldn’t be a holiday Salon without his favorite song, Cathy led us in “Wild Mountain Thyme.”
Leah Rankin, left, Cathy Maguire and Leah Rankin
The McCourts were represented by Siobhan McCourt in her first IAW&A reading. Saying that the McCourt brothers were “a hard act to follow,” Siobhan charmed us with “Santa’s Present” by Alphie McCourt, whom we mourned this year. You can find his stories on I-tunes, read by the man himself.
John Munnelly, left, Siobhan McCourt
Closing the Salon on a high note, Leah Rankin joined John Munnelly on his composition “Angels’ Tears” and Cathy Maguire joined them for “Happy Christmas” from the CD Together for Christmas, A Contemporary Celtic Christmas Collection. For John’s music, videos and appearances, go to JohnMunnellyMusic.com John’s also a visual artist whose commemorative #1916 Signatories Portraits are available. For further info, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to our presenters, hosts, members, supporters, committee members, volunteers and the hard-working staff of the Cell for contributing to a fantastic IAW&A year.
Happy New Year! Mark your calendars for the first Salon of 2017 on Thursday, January 5th at 7pm at Bar Thalia.
December 6, 2016
By Karen Daly
Photos by Mark Butler
Before we get to the Salon rundown, please note two intriguing Irish literature events this week.Tonight (Tuesday, 12/6) Honor Molloy and friends will present Voices Carry — Irish Women Writing, a program of dramatic readings from memoir, novels, poetry, and drama at the Irish Arts Center. We hear it’s sold out.
Irish composer Stano’s unique film In Between Silence, where we really exist is playing now until 12/13 at the Barrow Street Theatre. The film collects intimate stories by leading Irish writers, including Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor and Paula Meehan. (stanoarts.com) For tickets:http://www.barrowstreettheatre.com/what-s-on/in-between-silence-where-we-really-exist
Our early December Salon at Bar Thalia was a casual night when members comfortably shared a number of works-in-progress. Storytellers, fiction writers, and singers were on the program.
John Kearns, left, photo by Christopher Booth. Brendan Costello.
Salon producer and host John Kearns quieted the chattering non-salon crowd with a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. In this segment, the aging Sarsfield Logan, S.J., meets the young priest whom he suspects will be his replacement to teach his favorite course.
More fiction from Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A board member and writing instructor at City College. The scene from his novel-in-progress reflected a character’s ambivalent feelings toward his father in the grim irony of the father’s passing. Brendan promises to share something lighter next time!
Brendan’s former student, Kristen Daniels read a part of her story tentatively, and intriguingly titled Irish Anonymous. She’s developing it in a workshop class at City College and plans to expand it into a novel.
Kristen Daniels, left. Bernadette Cullen
Bernadette Cullen read a small section from what she calls “a forever work in progress” in which she evokes a family beach outing on a hot July Saturday.
Sampling her program at IAC, Honor Molloy read “The Bride,” not a work in progress, in fact, a story written in the 1950’s by Maeve Brennan. “The Bride” is an Irish-born maid working for a Westchester family. The story is set on the eve of Margaret’s marriage and she is terrified.
Jazzman and author Jon Gordon told stories from his book project “Finding the Miraculous.” In one story, Jon was on a jazz cruise, wishing for shooting star and miraculously seeing one.
Jon Gordon. Photo by Cat Dwyer.
In the music department, Mark William Butler shared a funny new song, “What It Is” from one of his latest writing projects, Cubikill, The Musikill, a corporate horror movie parody. Check out Mark’s work at www.markwilliambutler.com and www.uglychristmassweatermusical.com.
Mark Butler. Photo by Christopher Booth.
Singer Clare Horgan, visiting from Ireland, showed her range with two songs, one a sean nos song about Skellig Rock on St. Michael’s Day, and the other a ballad. Learn more at www.clarehorgan.com Musician/singer Adrianna Mateo sang two of her originals: “August Sun” (better to burn than keep feeling numb) and the haunting “Come with Me to Coney Island.” More at http://adriannamateo.tumblr.com
Clare Horgan, left, photo from her website. Adrianna Mateo. Photo by Cat Dwyer.
We’re gearing up for the grand Holiday Salon at the Cell on Tuesday, 12/20 with such wonderful talent as Leah Rankin, Jack DiMonte, Honor Molloy, John Munnelly, Cathy Maguire, Eamon Loinsigh, and surprise guests. Plus, after-party and plenty of good cheer. Mark your calendars!
November 27, 2016
By Brendan Costello, Jr.
Photos by Donna Simone
The Irish American Writers & Artists Salon at the Cell on November 15th demonstrated once again how sharing our work fills the soul. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, falling a week after the election and a week before the holidays would be at our throats. The multi-talented Marni Rice was host for the evening.
Dublin-born playwright Derek Murphy presented a scene from his play “Stand Up Man,” originally produced a few years ago at the Baby Grand Opera House in Belfast. The scene starred Nick Hardin from the original Belfast production and the wonderful Mary Tierney.
Derek Murphy, left, with Mary Tierney and Nick Hardin
Next, we heard from a new presenter, Claire Fitzpatrick, a poet, fiction writer, and budding Sligo fiddler from New York City. She is an alum of Bowling Green State University’s MFA creative writing program, way back when she and her compadres decried Poppy Bush’s election as President of the United States. She now realizes that those were the good old days. Her poems deftly wove timely and timeless themes of social consciousness, at times poignant and at others humorous.
Newcomer Ian Javier shared a powerful dialogue between a young African-American man and his deceased father. This heartfelt and moving piece touched on current and past civil rights martyrs and their issues, and was originally created for IAW&A member Brendan Costello’s writing class at CCNY.
Rosina Fernhoff performed a monologue from The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard. The play confronts the wrenching conflict between the artist who must create and the society which demands her to conform.
“the soul selects her own society–
Then– shuts the door–
On her divine majority –
Present no more–” – Emily Dickinson
Songwriter, artist, writer, music teacher at the Irish Arts Center and actor John Munnelly performed a trio of songs including the perhaps-unfortunately relevant “Hail Caesar.” He also sang a moving piece written about his mother who passed away last year, and a musical tribute to Leonard Cohen who passed away a few days before the Salon.
Poet Rosalie Calabrese is a native New Yorker, a management consultant for the arts and a writer of poetry, stories, and librettos for musicals. She is also a member of the PEN America Women’s Literary Workshop, and she shared several poems, including a few from her latest book, “Remembering Chris,” which is published by Poets Wear Prada.
Sarah Fearon, fresh off a fabulous NY Times profile by Corey Kilgannon, wasted no time trying out some new material. She worked out some ideas, from Artisanal Holiday pop up shops selling expensive gifts made from recycled materials to Pigeons protesting Trump, and other moments that beg us to wonder how close the apocalypse may be. Sarah will be performing at Gotham Comedy Club on TUES NOVEMBER 29 at 7 PM, please call and make a REZ! (http://gothamcomedyclub.com/)
Sarah Fearon, at an earlier salon, photo by Cat Dwyer
John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious one‑man show Cabtivist which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC. Among the tales he related were taxi safety. John’s a writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at www.cabtivist.com.
Gordon Gilbert read a series of poems: “Love and Loss,” “Thoughts of You Are Never Far,” “Always Shades of Blue” and “You.” They were something of a follow-up to the poem about a lost love that he read in the first November salon: “Remembering Loss.”
Actor, director, and playwright Thom Molyneaux is a frequent performer at our salons. The last time he performed here at the cell he did the first three monologues from a one man show he’s working on called “Me and the Monologue.” This time he read James Thurber’s “The Night the Bed Fell.”
Ray Lindie told a few stories from his days bartending at Elaine’s and on Long Island.
Playwright and actor D.J. Sharp presented a monologue in the voice of Tennessee Williams, speaking in an East Side hotel room about his life, his career, and what it means to be an artist.
Our host Marni Rice closed the night with her spirited rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Alleluia.”
Please join us for our next salon on Dec. 1st at Bar Thalia, and mark your calendars for our annual Holiday Salon on December 20th at the cell! To sign up to present at a future salon, go to http://bit.ly/IASalon.
November 8, 2016
By Karen Daly and Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Christopher Booth
Music – pop, jazz, theater, Irish, folk – filled the air at the early November Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, November 3rd. Maureen Hossbacher skillfully hosted a program that, in addition to all the wonderful music, had poetry, comedy and Irish history.
Gordon Gilbert, Jr.
Poet, playwright and well-known monologist on the Greenwich Village literary scene Gordon Gilbert, Jr., read two love poems. One, short and poignant, is about a brief affair and the second poem recalled a lost love on the first anniversary of the loss.
Ghosts of the 1916 Easter Rising extended their Halloween visit with a Salon appearance. Dolores Nolan, Dublin native, New York media executive, actress and singer, tenderly portrayed the nurse Margaret Keogh, who was the first victim of the Easter Rising. Rebel leader James Connolly dashed on stage to rouse the troops, in the person of Mark Donnelly. Fresh from a meeting of the Industrial Workers of the World, the firebrand Connolly let his audience know that Labor was fully behind Ireland’s movement to be free from British rule. He left the stage just as quickly as he appeared, needing to keep his movements secret in the buildup to the Easter Rising. Karen Daly told the story of Winifred Carney, known as the “Typist with a Webley (revolver).” A close ally of Connolly’s, she was with him in the GPO, and dedicated her life to improving the conditions of workers in the linen mills of Belfast.
Mark Donnelly, Karen Daly
Marcia Loughran, a prize-winning poet, and nurse practitioner, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her chapbook, Still Life With Weather, won the 2016 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Prize. She read a summer poem, “Wading with Isabella,” and “Airplane Poem,” which she claims is looking for a middle and a new Messay, Marcia’s term for mini-essay. Marcia was thrilled to get feedback on her new work and the feeling is mutual.
Mary Deady has travelled the world as the lead soprano with the National Folk Theater of Ireland, and in New York, her performances have ranged from a solo concert at the Irish Repertory to cabaret at the West Bank Cafe. Tonight she sang in Irish An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? ( “Were You at the Rock?”) and a beautiful rendition of “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” that brought a tear to many an eye.
Our host Maureen Hossbacher marked the recent death of Tom Hayden, calling him as “a great Irish American, a great patriot, (and)…courageous warrior for peace and equality.” Echoing the theme of the 1916 Rising, Maureen sang “Four Green Fields.”
Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and friends enjoying the break
John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious (no exaggeration) one-man show Cabtivist which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC. Among his tales, we learned that Brooklyn hipsters want their babies born in Manhattan. John’s a writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at cabtivist.com
Two Salon regulars gamely stepped in to accommodate schedule changes. Mark William Butler sang one of his original Christmas songs, “I’m Sick of All the Toys.” That’s Santa’s song from Mark’s play Ugly Christmas Sweater, the Musical. Mark says he hadn’t rehearsed, but had a lot of fun with it, as did the audience. Jack DiMonte, whose voice Maureen described as “a sexy baritone” performed two songs that are very popular among jazz singers and jazz fans – “Small Day Tomorrow” and “All The Sad Young Men,” both with lyrics by Fran Landesman.
Jack DiMonte, left, Mark Butler
The John Munnally School of Songwriting was ably represented by John Munnally himself and two of his students. John, a musician, songwriter, visual artist, and actor is always happy to try out new work at the Salon. He describes tonight’s song, so new it’s not titled, as “…a pop song with a BoDiddley/Buddy Holly rhythm, a ‘whoopy chorus’ and a boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl theme and a modulation thrown in for good measure.”
John Munnelly, left, John Kearns and Dee Gavin
John’s student, Dee Gavin, sang “The Cruel Mother,” also known as “The Greenwood Side,” a ballad about murder, which she cites for its hypnotic quality. Dee is an artist, musician, designer and photographer originally from the West of Ireland, whose landscape informs much of her visual art. John’s other student is Board Member and Salon producer host, novelist, playwright, poet, and historian John Kearns. He tried out a new (and rough) song with old words — based on his poem, “The Song of the Anthracite Coal Miner” from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Dee Gavin created the chorus and helped sing it. John notes that the poem was published five years ago this week in the broadsheet, Poetry for the Masses: https://www.behance.net/gallery/1119461/Poetry-for-the-Masses. To learn more about the John Munnelly School of Songwriting, go to http://songcompose.com/teach-songwriting/http://www.irishartscenter.org/classes/voice.html
The legendary Malachy McCourt, author, raconteur, actor, singer and Salon founder, was particularly eloquent tonight, still basking in the love and joy that attended our party honoring him with the Eugene OʼNeill Lifetime Achievement Award last month. He spoke of his love for words (“There’s no bad language, only bad usage.”) and of his lucky, charmed life. And we’re lucky and charmed by his presence.
See you next time, Tuesday, November 15 at The Cell.
An audience member enjoying the night.
October 26, 2016
by John Kearns
Photos by John Kearns
Sarah Fearon hosted an intimate and varied salon two nights after the IAW&A’s biggest party of the year, our annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, keeping 2016 honoree Malachy McCourt’s Salon spirit moving forward!
Sarah presented some poetic and humorous new material. One bit with some authentic New York spin on the old classic question “Where are you from?”
Sarah also read a poem highlighting some annoying phrases like “really quick” and the over usage of the word “so.” Sarah brought up Lizzie Donahue, a new IAWA member, to join in a reading of a new scene titled “And Again…Niiiiiiiiiiice” where the two characters sit and talk on a beach in Rockaway looking out to sea.
Sarah Fearon and Elizabeth Donahue
Lizzie Donahue read a short fiction piece based on a conversation her 8-year-old self allegedly had with her mom. The subject: compulsory motherhood.
Marian Fontana read a humorous and insightful piece called “A History of Shrinks” about her experiences with therapists over the years.
Rita Mullaney presented two stories about her days in the New York Police Department, including the tale of a woman who cooked for and took care of officers in the local precinct. Rita rescued a portrait of this woman from the garbage.
Sheila Walsh and Tom Mahon
Tom Mahon and Sheila Walsh read the last scene in Act One of Sheila’s play-in-progress: When The Deep Purple Falls. In the scene, a daughter’s wedding announcement exposes the regrets and longings in her parents’ long marriage. Sheila thanks Tom for hitting all the right notes.
John McDonagh tried out some new material for his one man play, Cabtivist, about driving a yellow cab in NYC for the last 35 years. Cabtivist was developed at the IAW&A Salon and had a successful run in the New York Fringe Festival.
Rosina Fernhof moved the audience with a dramatic monologue.
Kathleen O’Sullivan’s iMovie
Kathleen O’Sullivan presented an iMovie chapter from her graphic novel Isham Street. This chapter, “The Movies,” describes the child’s adventure every Saturday going to Woolworth’s for her ritual bag of chips followed by a six-hour movie extravaganza where she and all the neighborhood kids swarm up and down the aisles, eat, visit, and conspire to help kids sneaking in. There’s so much going on, she doesn’t know where to look – at Laurel & Hardy running from the cops or the matrons running after the illegal kids.
Marcia Loughran was happy to be back at the Cell with this wonderful group of writers and musicians. The weather was crazy hot so she read a poem about the end of times/ apocalypse, “Imagine October”, published in the Newtown Literary last fall. She also read a mini-essay or ‘messay’ about Cuba, and shared a new poem.
Louise Crawford read a story about dealing with a sexually-harassing bartender and how she was able to use social media to get a sincere apology from the man.
Join us for our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, November 3rd! Maureen Hossbacher will be hosting.
The IAW&A Salon schedule: http://i-am-wa.org/salons/