Irish American Writers & Artists

July 27, 2015

7/21 IAW&A Salon at the Cell: A Summer Night of Drama, Video, Readings, and Music!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:26 pm

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by Bernadette Cullen
Photos by Cat Dwyer

A large and supportive crowd turned out for the July 21st IAW&A Salon at the Cell that featured presentations in several media: prose, drama, poetry, video, dance, and music!
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A great and supportive summer audience

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Sean Carlson

The evening began with Sean Carlson, an IAW&A board member and writer.  At prrevious Salons, Sean Carlson has shared early glimpses from his first book, a yet-untitled narrative of emigration through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with an essay about the East Village from a series he’s writing about New York.

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Ray Lindie

Ray Lindie ‘played’ several characters as he read from his screenplay, Mad Dogs of August.  In the first ten pages, through brilliant role playing, Lindie introduced his audience to eight characters (four of whom are principal characters). The story…

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July 15, 2015

IAWA Salon July 7, 2015: “Wild Mountain Wishes for Malachy McCourt”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 11:31 pm

 by Jeanne D’Brant
Photos by Kevin McPartland

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Get Well Card for Malachy

The IAWA July Salon at Bar Thalia was favored with a solid turnout who sent their support in song to founder, Malachy McCourt. Donie Carroll led the group in singing “Wild Mountain Thyme,” a song of the Scottish Highlands readapted by an Ulsterman. Salon Producer John Kearns forwarded the video to Himself.

The night featured the return of some familiar faces along with a few first-time presenters and an innovative mother/son poetry performance.      

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Sarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon read a short piece called “Hurry Up and Relax.” While approaching the July 4th Holiday Weekend, a conscious effort is made to go against the city’s grain of “hurry up and relax.” Starting off at the zoo’s Delacourt clock, she gives us a walking meditation through the weekend’s events. Taking in a massage at an insanely deluxe spa, compliments of a gift certificate; watching fireworks on a Brooklyn rooftop, making the trek to a Rockaway bungalow, and feeling nostalgia for the old days when life was slower and more relaxing.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read a story called “LUCK” from his collection: Tomorrow Never Came.  A new Lieutenant arrives in country and is immediately sent to replace a platoon leader in a firefight. The instant he gets off the helicopter, he’s shot. He’s evacuated, and we learn the man he was supposed to replace was killed along with his radio operator and two others by a direct hit from a mortar.

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Jonathan Goldman

Jonathan Goldman read a poem, “Aunt Rose,” from his in-progress suite of poems about his dead relatives, imaginatively entitled, Dead Relatives. The poem alludes to the unknowability of previous generations, and is kind of about how the author used to be a shit.

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John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Paul Logan reminisces about a gluttonous day spent in the French Quarter of New Orleans during a Catholic school teachers’ convention. Paul recalls eating beignets and muffulettas and drinking beers in the Old Absinthe House and from a lovely young street vendor while listening to live music coming from the bars of Bourbon Street. Paul will meet his girlfriend and other fellow teachers for a dinner that evening, in an excerpt John will read at the next salon.

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John McDonough

In a piece from his one man play Cabtivist, John McDonagh commented that the upper east side never changes: no one dies, and the only places they go are to Bloomingdales, and psychiatrists’ and doctors’ appointments. His pithy stories of interactions between cops and cabbies show how quickly things can get out of control in the city, and how society and cab drivers deal with the homeless. To paraphrase William Butler Yeats, driving a Yellow cab in NYC too long “makes a stone of the heart.”

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Bernadette Cullen

Bernadette Cullen lead off the second half of the evening with a reading of two pieces from a series of long poems in development which explore the themes of loss and remembrance. She will continue to write poetry, but is also interested in exploring short fiction pieces.

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Jack DiMonte

Frequent presenter and ever suave crooner, Jack DiMonte sang “On Second Thought,” a poetic ode to the regrets one can experience after a romantic break-up. It was written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, who penned many well-known hit songs, including, “Witchcraft.”

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Maureen Daniels

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Maureen’s son, Asher

This mother and son poetry team of Maureen Daniels and her son, Asher, was a first-ever for the Salon.

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Donie Carroll

Donie Carroll sang three songs, including, “Are Ye Right There, Michael?” by Percy French, describing comical adventures on the West Clare Railway.  The song appears on Donie’s album, Divil of a Noise.  The Corkman also sang the Wexford song, “The Bantry Girl’s Lament for Johnny.”

Donie finished the evening’s presentations accompanying himself on guitar whilst singing “Wild Mountain Thyme” in an accent redolent of the Auld Sod (County Cork, to be specific). The crowd joined in to wish Malachy well and expects to see him dancing at a ceili before Yule (with the Rockettes)!  Watch the video!

See you on 7/21 at the Cell!

June 23, 2015

6.16.15 IAW&A Bloomsday Salon: film, poems, stories, song make an “invigorating” and “raucous” night

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:16 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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The IAW&A Salon at the Cell occurred on that revered date on the Irish cultural calendar: Bloomsday. Despite many competing events around town, we had a great crowd enjoying a night that was variously described as “raucous,” “invigorating and inspiring.” The line-up featured our first mini film festival, arranged by Conor McCourt and Laure Sullivan, as well as poetry, fiction, stories, song and of course, the famous Molly Bloom. In honor of the wanderings of Ulysses and Leopold Bloom, several odysseys were presented throughout the evening.

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Conor McCourt and Laure Sullivan introduced the first brief film segment. The Irish Tapes, produced by John Reilly and Stefan Moore in association with Global Village. Reilly and Moore shot over one hundred hours of footage on videotape in Northern Ireland in 1971-1973. Our sample showed a man on short release from Long Kesh prison to get married.

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Poet Tony Pena started off the readings with three poems: “A dance before New York,” and his Irish tribute “Upon kissing a Celtic princess” and “The island of untitled poems” which implores poets to name their works. Tony found his first Salon “invigorating and inspiring” and felt that even “rain could not dampen the great vibes brought on by the welcoming spirit…” We hope to welcome Tony again. See more of Tony’s performance poetry and caterwauling punk tunes at www.youtube.com/tonypenapoetry.

The three other segments were interspersed during the night. They included Guard Vincent: Fatima Mansions Beat. In 1999 filmmakers Conor McCourt and Laure Sullivan followed police officer Vincent on his beat in one of the toughest housing projects in Dublin. The result was a vérité look at the people, the place and the long-term effects of drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and systemic dysfunction. Filmmakers are trying to do a follow-up and return to the place and re-visit the people Vincent encountered on his beat. For more information, contact Comor at mccourtvideo@aol.com.

Camino by Sea, in which a Writer, a Musician, an Artist and a Stonemason follow an ancient Camino route from Ireland to Spain in a daring voyage; rowing a traditional hand-made boat across the open sea. Filmmaker Dónal Ó Céilleachair documents two voyages of this intrepid group and their relationship to the sea. Visit http://www.anupictures.com/.

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Tom McGrath

Lazarus Running: A tale of redemption and salvation in the story of Guinness Book of World Records marathon runner Tom McGrath. Tom was at the Salon to share a heartfelt description of his life as an athlete and New York City bar owner who faced his struggle with alcohol.

We thank Laure and Conor for their work in selecting these films and helping create another unique Salon.

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Karen Daly

IAW&A Board member and frequent editor of this blog, Karen Daly read a piece of memoir called “Listen.” Inspired by – or maybe incited by — the wonderful musical talent in IAW&A, Karen regrets that she was not gifted with the singing gene. Having been anointed “a listener” in school may have fueled her lifetime, unabashed love of music and dancing.

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John McDonagh

John McDonagh told the hilarious story “How the Irish peace process cost me one million dollars.” John and a friend spent seven long days in Los Angeles auditioning for The Amazing Race, which he calls “one of a long list of reality TV shows that I was rejected from. Spoiler: Honey Boo Boo and the Duck Dynasty boys pass the sniff test, but not a yellow cab driver from New York.” John’s on Twitter and Facebook at cabtivist.

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Jack DiMonte

Another New York story came from Jack DiMonte. Jack, a singer, told a charming story about an incident that happened to him many years ago.  A young man showed up at his door at 3 AM with an improbable story about an acquaintance of Jack’s, a neighbor who had been in a car accident in the Bronx and needed $22 to get home in a taxi.  Despite the near-certainty that this was a scam, the con man got the $22 from Jack and went on his way. In true NY fashion, the woman’s husband heard about the scam and kindly reimbursed Jack for the cash.  His name was Graydon Carter, now the long-time editor of Vanity Fair.

ship“Moving through the air high spars of a threemaster, her sails brailed up on the crosstrees, homing, upstream, silently moving, a silent ship.” –Ulysses

Salon producer and night’s host John Kearns read an excerpt about Sarsfield Logan, S.J. from his generational novel in progress, Worlds.  One night in 1910 New York, Father Logan is unable to sleep because his superiors have rejected his proposal to help nearby Italian immigrants.  He writes in his journal to calm himself down.  Throughout his journal entry, his anger and pride struggle against his vow of obedience and his need for humility until he finally abandons any notions of revenge and begins to pray the rosary.

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Margaret McCarthy

In honor of the Summer Solstice, Margaret McCarthy read her poem, “The Tangible Illumination of Summer” from her poetry collection Notebooks from Mystery School, just published by Finishing Line Press.   She began:

One morning I sank into summer and summer sank into me;
unexpectedly,

The collection, a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Award, is available Amazon.com.  For a signed copy, contact Margaret or go to www.notebooksfrommysteryschool.com at artist@margaretmccarthy.com.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read a chilling story called “Revenge” from his collection of vignettes called Tomorrow Never Came. Mathew Bender’s only daughter was killed by a man and for the rest of his life Matthew Bender went to the prison where her murderer was kept to look into the eyes his daughter last saw in life. For 57 years neither man ever exchanged a word, until Mathew lifted his phone and said,  “I’m not coming anymore.” The prisoner left and Mr. Bender sat staring into space. When a guard came to his assistance, Mathew Bender was dead. Visit Tom-Mahon.com

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Nicola Murphy

Every Bloomsday celebration needs a Molly Bloom and we were privileged to have Nicola Murphy perform a ravishing soliloquy. An accomplished actor, seen this year in the Irish Rep’s Da, Nicola’s profile may be found at http://nicolacmurphy.com/NicolaMurphy/Welcome.html.

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Guenevere Donohue and Brendan Costello

An “Ulysses-ian” evening concluded with our own guitarists Brendan Costello and John Kearns accompanying soulful singer, Guenevere Donohue on three Joyce-inspired selections: Tom Waits’ mournful neo-trad “The Briar and the Rose,” a rockin’ Doors sea-song, “Land Ho!” and an IAW&A sing along about Dublin’s sweet “Molly Malone.”

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Guen and the Bespectacled Baldies present “Molly Malone”

‘til next time. Tuesday, July 7 at Bar Thalia at 6 pm!  Keep en eye out for news on our 100th IAW&A Salon celebration!

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

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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?

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Mark Butler

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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.

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ULU’s Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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.”

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Daisy Kearns sells raffle tickets to Seamus Scanlon

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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!

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April 14, 2015

4.7.15 IAW&A Salon “…warm and loving atmosphere in that intimate Bar Thalia space…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:31 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

We don’t often start the recap with a description of our closing act, but this note from playwright Thom Molyneaux is too good to wait until the end. 

 I have to add that the highlight of the evening for me (aside from the reception to my reading) was Malachy’s impromptu rendition of “‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.”  When the audience spontaneously and harmoniously joined him in the chorus, the warm and loving atmosphere in that intimate Bar Thalia space made me feel as if I was in the middle of a scene from just the best John Ford movie ever. 

Thanks, Thom. We couldn’t have said it better.

Singer, composer, accordionist, writer and creator of performance works, Marni Rice was the night’s superb guest host.

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Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence

Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence (neé Flynn Kirby Higgins) continues her family obsession with a ripped-from-her-life piece called “On the Lam with Mom,” which poses the riddle: How many Irish-American siblings does it take to care for one 90-year-old mother? Kathleen sees it as a cautionary tale against the good old Irish way of prolific procreation as old-age insurance.

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John Ganly

New member John Ganly appreciated the Salon hospitality for his first presentation. John talked about his novel Celtic Crossings and read from the introduction. Three sisters leave 19th century Belfast to pursue their dreams in a changing world. John chose “crossings” because their journeys cross oceans and continents; social barriers from immigrants to establishment and from organized religion to self-realization. As their family story develops, it reflects rapid social changes: the Irish struggle independence, women emerge as a political force and technology permits rapid communication and transportation.

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Find the book on Amazon,com.

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John Kearns

Salon producer John Kearns’s recent trip to Ireland inspired him to create new poems and revisit an old one. “Aboard the Aran Seabird: Leaving Inishmore,” written in 1988 and published in Feile-Festa in 2010, sympathizes with Aran Islanders trying to sell rides in their ponies and traps to tourists. His brand-new poem “Ceol Na Farraige: Return to Inishmore” portrays the changes on the island since the previous visit: new ferries with international daytrippers, not a single pony and trap, an old church locked. The third poem, “On Galway Golf Course by the Bay,” depicts a moment when a father and two sons got caught in a rainstorm in a golf cart and careened sightlessly around the hills and fairways, laughing.

 sarahSarah Fearon

In honor of National Poetry Month and the anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s birth on April 13, the Ireland-like weather and the change of season Sarah Fearon read Seamus Heaney’s poems: “The Call,” “Rite of Spring”, “Song”, and “Anything Can Happen.”

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Mark Butler

Mark Butler announced the IAW&A benefit for Urban Librarians Unite, a grassroots advocacy organization, will be held on May 19th at the Cell Theatre.  He also introduced Lauren Comito, who told us about her group’s work.  The fundraiser, called The Amazing Library Variety Hour, will feature readings, music, comedy and dance.  More details will be coming soon, and more information about Urban Librarians Unite can be found at http://urbanlibrariansunite.org/.

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Lauren Comito

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Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux read more from “Cassidy’s Story” his play about a former IRA leader who finds himself in New York in 1968 fighting the same battles he fought in the 1920’s Ireland. He was “testing” the structure of his play, which progresses through characters’ telling stories of their own. Thom was “truly gratified” by our intense attention and enthusiastic response. An actor, Thom is rehearsing his role as the mysterious Isaac Strauss in “Lost In History” a play having its world premiere at the Garage Theatre Group in Teaneck New Jersey.  The Detroit Repertory Theatre (the oldest professional theatre in Michigan) will present the world premiere of Thom’s play “White Ash Falling 9/11” in May.

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Marni Rice

In the spirit of the IAW&A upcoming benefit in support of Urban Librarians, Marni Rice described how important the public library was to her as a kid. To supplement the record collection of folk music field recordings she found at home, the public library had the full Alan Lomax archives. She sang an unaccompanied ballad recorded by the great song collector, Paddy Tunney, “The Lowlands of Holland” from the Sarah Makem collection. For additional information about her upcoming performances, please visit: http://www.dejouxmusique.com.

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Jeanne D’Brant

More true, spellbinding adventures from Jeanne D’Brant. She led off the second half of the evening with “Dasht-I-Kavir”, the story of her journey across the edge of the Great Salt Desert of Iran from her book Heartlands of Islam. This harsh and alien landscape is the only place in her travels to 45 countries whose stunningly bizarre visuals provoked her to question if she was still on planet earth. Jeanne is journeying this month to the wilds of Fort Lauderdale, where she will present original research on the function of cellular biochemical pathways at the national symposium of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. Visit her website http://drjeanne.org.

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Tom Mahon

Salon regular Tom Mahon read “The Man in the Pendleton Hat” from his collection of vignettes, Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a woman comes to town to surprise her husband and she’s dressed to the nines. She catches the eye of a man desperate for money for gambling debts. He kills her and takes her fur coat, pearls, and diamonds. The woman had left her husband a phone message that said a man in a Pendleton hat was following her. The husband finds his wife’s murderer through that hat.

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Jack DiMonte

Jack Di Monte adds some background detail to his wonderful songs. Tonight he gave us the highlights of David Raksin’s career, the composer of the song “Laura.” As a young Hollywood orchestrator, Raksin turned Charlie Chaplin’s hummed melodies into written songs (without credit!). Jack then sang Raksin’s haunting ballad “The Bad and The Beautiful,” written for the movie of the same name, with lyrics by Dory Previn.

 

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Guen Donohue and John Kearns

Guenevere Donohue performed a haunting rendition of Belfast-born Van Morrison’s, “Into the Mystic,” despite some technical problems with John Kearns’s guitar.

The one-and-only Malachy McCourt close the night with some words of wisdom, and yes, that song.

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Malachy McCourt

See you next time, April 21 at the Cell — with a later start, at 7:30 pm!

March 6, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/3/15 – Eclectic Presentations to a Full House on a Snowy Night

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:27 pm

“Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry.” Author Tim O’Mara

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer and Mark Butler

The IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on March 3 featured two brand new book releases, two new member/presenters, two singer-songwriters named John (plus the singular Jack) and a ton of laughs packed in between poetry, drama, fiction and memoir. Our new members commented on the friendly atmosphere and the ease of connecting with other artists. First-timer Thom Molyneaux enjoyed the Salon’s “exuberantly appreciative” audience.

jkJohn Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns revised and extended the excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, which he read at the last IAW&A Salon. The Logans are moving from their West Philadelphia home to the more prosperous suburbs. As the movers begin loading furniture onto the truck, Janey Dougherty Logan watches them nervously. Distracted by thoughts of how her children will be affected by the move, Janey converses with her old neighbor, Tom Dugan. After Tom leaves, she reflects on her in-laws’ family history in her new parish and the advantages the move will have for her children. She decides that the suburbs will come to seem like home to her in time. Dare we call this a “moving” passage from John’s multigenerational story?

erik_MErik Mackenzie

NYPD officer Erik Mackenzie pens political thrillers that mirror today’s Middle Eastern conflicts and Russian organized crime. Making his IAW&A Salon debut, Erik read from his new novel The Kingdom of Assassins: Political Perception is Not Political Reality, just released on Kindle and available soon in paperback. Mike Maclaymore, a counter-terrorism detective and former US Special Forces “Green Beret” veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq gets an anonymous tip about a terror plot in New York City. Behind the plot is an Iranian-backed warlord ¾the same man Maclaymore once tried to capture in Afghanistan. A Saudi Princess is in danger after she attempts to be given evidence of financial fraud against the state-owned oil company. Tension rises between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the princess’s brother starts to prepare for war. Find Erik at: http://www.thekingdomofassassins.com/

https://twitter.com/erikmackenzie

https://www.facebook.com/erik.mackenzie.3

 

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Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux read the opening pages of his new play Cassidy’s Story. A former IRA leader in the 1920’s who fought in the War of Irish Independence, Cassidy finds himself in 1968 New York City facing the same violence, bloodshed and betrayal he thought he left behind in Ireland. This time it’s not about country and freedom. It’s more personal; it’s about family and honor. A playwright and actor, Thom will play Isaac Strauss, a holocaust survivor, respected psychiatrist and gay icon in Adam Siegel’s Lost in History for The Garage Theatre Group in April in Teaneck, New Jersey. In May, the Detroit Repertory Theatre will present the world premiere of Thom’s play, White Ash Falling 9/11.

marni

Marni Rice

Singer, composer, accordionist and writer Marni Rice can now add poet to her artistic accomplishments. She read selections from her poetry collection titled It’s Not the End of the World, including “This Blue Dress” and “A Blended Whiskey.”

jackJack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte sang “Mr. Sellack” an early ‘80s song by The Roches that is a comic send-up of struggling artists who work soul-sucking survival jobs while pursuing their dreams. (“Mr. Sellack, can I have my job back?…)

brian

 

Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave another glimpse into his show celebrating the St. Pat’s For All Parade, A Sacrilegious Lesbian & Homosexual Parade, currently at the New York Frigid Festival. There are two more chances to see the whole hilarious work, so hurry, last performances on March 7 and 8. www.frigidnewyork.info

aud

A great IAW&A Audience!

johnSJohn Skocik

Singer-songwriter John Skocik always enlivens the crowd with his original songs. Tonight he sang “This Ain’t Love” and “This Condition of Yours.” He’ll be playing at Three Jolly Pigeons in 6802 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this Saturday.

brendan Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello asked for event and writing/performance tip submissions for the IAW&A Weekly Action Update.

timTim O’Mara

The ebullient Tim O’Mara returned to the Salon to celebrate the release of his third Raymond Donne mystery, Dead Red, following the popular and well received Crooked Numbers and Sacrifice Fly.  The hero is a NYC public school teacher and former cop. Find it at your local bookstore and at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Red-Raymond-Donne-Mysteries/dp/1250058635

Tim comments: “What a great crowd and atmosphere Tuesday night at the salon. Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry. It’s always a blast to be with a bunch of talented artists who look like they’d all fit in at an O’Mara Family reunion.”

jeanneJeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant created no controversy this month (LOL). At the mid-February Salon, she read a sensuous story whose title couldn’t be printed in our newspaper column. Tonight Jeanne recounted more of her fearless travels in “Call of the Faithful” a chapter from her second book Heartlands of Islam. Jeanne’s next project is a two-hour presentation for the LI chapter of the National Council on Geocosmic Research. Her website, drjeanne.org, is in the final stages of updating.

munJohn Munnelly

John Munnelly performed three original songs: one loosely based on the story of Oisin and Tir na nOg of Irish myth, “I Think I’m Going Back” and another that John calls “a little ditty about our ‘hood,” “We’re Livin’ in Brooklyn.” He closed the Salon with the world premier of “The Wayfarer” and notes that Salon members joined in the chorus splendidly!

Don’t forget John will be opening for Grammy-winner Susan McKeown this Saturday at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City.

IAW&A members, use this link for a $5 discount:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=PYAJq4lBBQ36w7qMUHIwB4i8S36Au4zB-RRyzpzEwmeWPk-7zRowVTpaGDy&dispatch=50a222a57771920b6a3d7b606239e4d529b525e0b7e69bf0224adecfb0124e9b61f737ba21b081984ae437d023107361d4fe9244fda54de7

Please note that the second #iawasalon at The Cell this month will be on Monday, March 16 at 7pm. Don’t miss St. Patrick’s Eve at the IAW&A Salon.

 bodhran

 

 

February 5, 2015

1/30/15 IAW&A Salon in St. Louis: Poetry, Prose, Music, and a Full House!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:15 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

On January 30, 2015, thanks to the generosity of IAW&A Boardmember’s University of Missouri at Saint Louis (UMSL), I hosted the first IAW&A Salon west of the Mississippi. Thanks to the hospitality of the Webster Groves Public Library, it was a warm evening of poetry, music, prose, and an enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd!

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 Tom Cooper of Webster Groves Public Library welcomes us

eamonn

 IAW&A Boardmember Eamonn Wall welcomes us on behalf of Irish Studies at UMSL

kearns_STL

John Kearns introduces IAW&A and Salons

andrew_terry

Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran played three times during the salon

jennifer

Jennifer Fandel

Jennifer Fandel started off the readings with selections of her poetry.  Jennifer had this to say about her experience, “What a wonderful night! I’m honored to have asked to read. Beautiful, transporting music by Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran, and arresting poetry and fiction. And, to top everything off, a huge and amazing audience. Many thanks to Eamonn Wall for his organization of the event, and to John Kearns for producing the Irish American salons.”

ebest

 Ron Ebest

Ron Ebest author of Private Histories: the Writing of Irish-Americans, 1900-1935 and The Dave Store Massacre, about Walmart culture, read from his novel-in-progress.

poet

 Sharon Bangert Corcoran

Native St. Louisan and translator of the works of Isabelle Eberhardt, Sharon Bangert Corcoran, shared some of her poetry with us.

eamonn_reads

Eamonn Wall

Eamonn Wall read poems about his aunts who taught him how to drink and about Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.  He has a poem appearing in the Irish Times on Saturday, February 7th, and his new book Junction City: Selected Poems 1990-2015 will be published in April.

crowd

The Webster Groves Public Library ran out of chairs

katy gordon

 Katy Gordon

Poet Katy Gordon, who holds a Ph.D in Scottish Literature, read “Ghost Estate,” “For My Daughter on Her Birthday,” “Road Trip,” and “The Difference Between Love and Poetry.” “Ghost Estate” was inspired in part by time spent studying in Galway at the National University of Ireland.

mark

Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Eagles Circle the Drum, set on his reservation (the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation) in Northwoods, Wisconsin. Being of Irish and American Indian descent, Mark began my presentation discussing how Irish Literature and Native American Literature have a lot of common themes: the importance of their language, the importance of their art, the importance of the representation of their people, and the struggles of coexisting with a dominant culture.

dru

 Drucilla Wall

UMSL professor, Drucilla Wall, author of The Geese at the Gates and winner of the Prairie Schooner Short Story Award, shared a few poems, including one about a possible bat home invasion.

keaarns

John Kearns

I read an excerpt from my novel in progress, Worlds, in which Janey Logan finds that the A&P has sent her son, Paul, home on his bicycle on a rainy day with a jar of mayonnaise in only a single brown paper bag.  Janey takes Paul back to the store and makes a scene to humiliate the manager into giving her a new jar — in a double bag.

bow

Presenters take a bow

music

Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran conclude the evening

arch

More IAW&A Salons in Saint Louis to come!

January 12, 2015

1/6/15 IAW&A Salon at the Thalia: A rousing start for the New Year!

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:43 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The New Year got off to a lively start, at an IAW&A Salon full of song, laughter, drama, affecting personal essays and acknowledgements of Women’s Christmas, Nollaig na mBan.

The new year will be busy, too, with several members announcing events in the next few weeks. Our talented friend, Richard Butler, will be appearing in a production of Sweeney Todd in New Jersey. Mark Butler will be organizing an IAW&A trip there on February 8. Watch our Facebook page for details.

jk

John Kearns

The night’s host— and the man to thank for organizing and scheduling another Salon year— John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. He’s been covering the deadly sins in this book and in this section college-student Paul Logan gives into sloth by procrastinating on his research paper due the following morning. Instead of writing and typing the paper, Paul makes himself some food and allows himself to be distracted by two M*A*S*H* episodes and a sensationalistic live broadcast, The Mystery of Henry Ford’s Secret Underground Chamber. For the conclusion of this episode, tune into the next IAW&A Salon on 1/20.

sarah

Sarah Fearon

Comic performer Sarah Fearon shared a rant titled “The City Is Going to Be a Sinkhole Soon.” She posed some questions of concern to New Yorkers, such as whatever happened to saying “excuse me,” what happened to tokens, and how many glass towers and people can fit onto the island before it sinks? For the full-on Fearon, come to Sarah’s stand-up show at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St. on Wednesday January 21 at 7:00pm. Please make a reservation at 212-367-9000. http://gothamcomedyclub.com/index.cfm

maureen

 Maureen Hossbacher

In keeping with the spirit of Nollaig na mBan, Maureen Hossbacher presented four gorgeous poems which evoked the themes of women’s lives:  love, work, motherhood, sisterhood, sexuality and survival — ending with a hopeful salute to the new year:

The river reprises mantras
of sailed ships
Still
The sky is new and blue
and I suddenly ravenous!

brendan

 Brendan Costello

Frequent salon contributor (and new IAW&A board member!) Brendan Costello Jr. read an autobiographical essay about breaking his leg and winding up in the same hospital room he had been in when he was first paralyzed 18 years ago. The experience prompted numerous personal and philosophical insights, challenging ideas of hope, hopelessness, and the value and meaning we place on our personal experience.

mpk

 Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly announced that her new novel Of Irish Blood will be published in February. She gave a spirited description of growing up Irish in Chicago, and why she wrote this historical fiction inspired by the life of her great-aunt. In Of Irish Blood, a young Irish woman goes to Paris in 1903 where she meets artists, designers and Left Bank intellectuals and eventually joins Ireland’s fight for freedom, associating with Maud Gonne, W.B. Yeats, Countess Markievicz, and de Valera, among other historical figures. Mary Pat invites everyone to her reading on Wednesday, February 4 at 7pm at Barnes & Noble on Broadway at 82nd Street.

munnelly

 John Munnelly

Singer/composer John Munnelly notes that he seems to run into snow or storms when he comes to the Thalia but the warm reception to his songs at the IAW&A Salon make up for the weather. Tonight he sang two original songs: “Kings & Jesters” and introduced a thought-provoking brand-new one, “Much Wants More.” Some lyrics:

Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain
pay no heed to the fate we have in store
it’s not a movie,
and there’s no happy ending to much wants more 

Pay no tithes to the idols of distraction
don’t submit your eyeballs to explore
the sweets and fancies that keep us motivated
and working for
much wants more

Join John’s mailing list at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/ and mark your calendar for his show at Irish Haven Bar in Sunset Park at 5721 4th Avenue, Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb 15, 8 -11pm.

tom

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon showed his acting chops by reading a short story from his collection Delusions, called “When Con Men Meet.” A young man discovers he lacks the talent or time necessary to be a great artist and instead works for one and steals the man’s work. He makes a fortune, goes to Mexico, and changes his identity. He sells his beach house to a drug king for twenty million and goes to Rio. Caught in customs, he’s sentenced to ten years; the customs people are promoted, but the money is never mentioned.

jeanne

 Jeanne D’Brant

In keeping with Women’s Christmas, Jeanne D’Brant read a thrilling chapter called “Rage of Purdah” from her second book Heartlands of Islam, about her exploration. She is hard at work on her upcoming two-hour presentation for the American Clinical Board of Nutrition’s national symposium in Fort Lauderdale.

dj

 DJ Sharp

Actor, writer and new IAWA member DJ Sharp delivered a brilliant monologue about Tennessee Williams.

skocik

John Skocik

Singer-songwriter of the group Girl to Gorilla, John Skocik sang two of his original songs: “An Ordinary Life” which he wrote for his wife, and a new song, “Rockaway Baby” that had the crowd laughing.

mark

Mark Butler seeks volunteers for The Weekly

guen

Guenevere Donohue

We welcomed singer/actor/writer Guenevere Donohue back to the Salon and she thrilled us with her version of the Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”

mal

Malachy McCourt

When we’re at the Thalia, the Salon creator, Malachy McCourt, closes the night with song and story. Tonight he had words of inspiration, “Fight to be heard” and news about a new way to hear him: a weekly radio show on Wednesdays at 10 am – noon on WBAI, 99.5FM. Malachy and friends will talk about New York from an Irish/Irish American view on Talk Back: New York, Thee and We.

And he ended by singing a round of “The Bells of Hell.”

Mark your calendar for the Salon at the Cell on January 20th!

December 19, 2014

12.16.14 IAW&A Salon at The Cell: Our One-of A Kind Holiday Extravaganza ‪#‎iawasalon

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:47 pm

“Excellent. So moving and so much fun. A true variety show!”

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The IAW&A December Salon at The Cell has become a don’t-miss event on the Holiday Calendar. Salongoers know they’ll find an array of talented artists bringing their gifts of music, language and dance, genuine good cheer and a unique setting in the Chelsea performance space. This year, the high-energy SRO crowd got all that, plus some Christmas treats. Santa made an appearance in black sequins; we sampled Wren Day, right here in NYC; environmentally conscious elves, award winning songs, jazz riffs, laughs and a tour de force by Honor Molloy were on the program.

crowd

We congratulate John Kearns on his two-year anniversary as Salon producer and thank him for his excellent, generous work. (He’s probably blushing by now.)

gilbert

First time IAW&A presenter Gordon Gilbert Jr. braved the leadoff spot with poignant monologues about loss and growing old. They included “Heaven” in which a woman enjoys life after the death of the husband who had abused her verbally for over sixty years and “I Do Not Fear the Dark” in which an elderly jazz musician has just learned he has Alzheimer’s. Gordon read his lyrics to a song about facing the holidays alone, “Waking Slow.” Currently at work on two novels and poetry, Gordon performs regularly at spoken word events. In February, he will resume hosting monthly events celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

To learn more, contact him at gordonagilbertjr@usa.net Gordon’s comment about the night – “What a wonderful evening! What wonderful people!”

sarah_jon

A merry combo, comic performer Sarah Fearon teamed up with world-class jazz musician Jon Gordon to present “The Real Holiday Letter.” A spoof on the classic year-in-summary Holiday bragging letter, Sarah’s version shows what the letter would really say if it were truthful. Jon Gordon’s twisty saxophone accompanied Sarah with “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and other Christmas standards. Jon finished the set with famous tune “Christmas Time is Here.”

jon

john_cap

Playwright John Cappelletti brought two professional actors, Barry Sacker and Maura Knowles to play elves in his vaudeville “What’s Bode?” Concerned with the polar caps melting at an unprecedented rate, (thus causing the oceans to rise dangerously and eventually end civilization as we know it) Santa’s tiny helpers think they can save the world. They plan to prevent jolly St. Nick from making his annual journey and shut down Christmas. The elves hope to teach us to respect Mother Nature, the environment and her people and animals. Christmas stockings will only have dirty lumps of coal, along with crude, shale and nuclear waste. John says the situation is nothing to laugh about, yet the audience couldn’t help laughing at his clever dialogue.

maura_k

kearns

Salon producer and tonight’s host-with-the-most John Kearns chose a Christmas themed excerpt from his novel-in- progress, Worlds. In Center City Philadelphia in the early 70s, Janey Logan takes her children to meet their father, James, and to see the Christmas light show and Santa Claus at John Wanamaker’s department store. During the show, which depicts many of the famous Christmas stories like the Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman, the children, Kitty and Paul, alternatively bicker and look out for each another.

honor

Honor Molloy’s gift to us was her reading of “Sixpence the Stars”–a story from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. http://www.smartygirlthebook.com Often referred to in our wee community as The Little Oranges, this jaunty trip winds its way through Dublintown on Christmas Eve, 1966. There’s the nativity tale as told by a fruit dealer on Moore Street–Dublin’s open-air market. Molloy takes the audience back through time, when mechanicalized toys and Cheeky Charlies were hawked with wild cries and even wilder abandon. Watch Honor perform it here and share her gift with friends: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCE 
t

sheeahan

Singer songwriter Michael Sheahan charmed us with his award winning Christmas songs from his three-time award winning Christmas Book, CD and Dance DVD “Mr. Holidays Presents The Roof Top Hop.” If you need a gift for a youngster, purchase by calling 1-800-2476553 or www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/03080.htm Michael also performed songs from his latest Christmas CD “Some Things Never Change,” available here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/some-things-never-change/id572999634

larry

Before the break, IAW&A President Larry Kirwan greeted the crowd and described the origins of the IAW&A and the growth of the Salons. Larry encouraged the audience to introduce new people to the group. Where else can you find such community and experience an evening like tonight that’s free? We do take voluntary contributions to cover expenses at The Cell.

break

marni

A uniquely talented artist, a vocalist, accordionist and writer, Marni Rice, gave a thrilling rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Marni sang a lively original song called “The Market” and an Edith Piaf song, “Fais-moi Valser” (Let Me Waltz) Find Marni at www.dejouxmusique.com

murphy

Padraig Murphy read a thrilling excerpt from his novel Placebo, a story about loss and recovery that gave us a peek into the backwater places in the Caribbean rarely seen by tourists. We come face to face with the remote, startlingly simplistic birth of a force 4 hurricane. We see Padraig’s protagonist pass unaware into harm’s way, leading to major consequences. You can find the book on Amazon and find Pat on FB at Padraig Murphy Writer.

kath_smile

An IAW&A Co-Director, Kathleen Donohoe read from her essay about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a writer, long before ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘writer’ were synonyms. We’re excited to see Kathleen’s novel The Ashes of Fiery Weather, the story of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, that will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

marcia

Marcia Loughran presented three poems– a new one, “Bargaining with God at the Price Chopper,” and a couple on one of her favorite themes, Marriage: What Nobody Told You. Marcia says she was honored to be at the Cell and enjoyed her fellow readers, dancers, singers and performers immensely. And we’re honored to share her work.

dancers

wren dancers

Dressed in bright ribbons and traditional disguise, Maura Mulligan and her dance students Bill Duggan, Deirdre Batson, Ryan Cahill, Hara Reiser and Vera Wrenn recreated the traditional Irish and Welsh celebration Wren Day. On Wren Day, December 26, young people in colorful costumes went from house to house performing. In old times, a wren was sacrificed but over the last 100 years, the holiday has been celebrated with music, song and dance and no murder victim. Maura and company expertly danced “Peeler and the Goat” and “The Galway Reel” and Maura performed a sean nós (old style) dance known as “The Brush Dance.” Ryan Cahill and Vera Wrenn told the story through their lovely singing of “The Wren Song.”

marie

The talented fiddler, Marie Reilly who recently released a second CD, “The Road to Glannagh,” accompanied the group. Maura’s memoir, Call of the Lark is available from http://www.greenpointpress.org Her spring session of weekly dance classes begins Friday, February 6. More at: http://www.mauramulligan.com

mark_elizabeth

Another ensemble, Mark William Butler and his band of merrymakers closed out the festivities with three of his original Christmas songs and one naughty bit of comedy business. With ace accompanist Tyler Knauf on the ivories, Elizabeth Inghram started things off with a beautifully mournful rendition of “The Christmas I Remember” from Mark’s show Christmas Anonymous. Richard Butler then shimmied down the chimney, donning a dress and flashing his gams as an angry, cross-dressing, not-so-secret Santa, and then bringing the house down with the rousing neo-burlesque number, “Look At Me.” Then Mark joined Elizabeth, Richard and Tyler, wrapping up the party with the uplifting holiday anthem, “Christmas Is You,” also from Christmas Anonymous.

santa

How ‘bout a Christmas shout-out to Mark? He’s another tireless IAW&A contributor; he helps stage manage the Salons, and edits the popular IAW&A Weekly. (iawaweekly@gmail.com).

finale

half_king

As you can see from the pictures, the merriment continued at the Salon afterparty at the Half King restaurant. No posts about the party, though. What happens at the Half King, stays at the Half King.

Merry Christmas from IAW&A!

star
Hey, how much for that star?

See you January 6 at the Bar Thalia.

December 12, 2014

12.2.14 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Tales of Generosity, Dignity, Bravery, and Puppy Love

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:08 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

One guarantee of the IAW&A Salon is that the night will never be repeated…that particular mix of artists and forms and audience won’t happen again. We often find surprising threads that connect many of the night’s presentations. At the 12/2 Salon at Bar Thalia, we had generosity and dignity, from Sean Carlson’s valiant young uncle to the patrons of Murphy’s Bar in Kevin McPartland’s piece to Jon Gordon’s “Jazz angels” and Malachy McCourt’s benefactor.

And strong women were represented, in a salute to the iconic Maureen O’Hara, and in person by three new IAW&A Salon participants:

  • Jeanne D’Brant,
  • poet Maureen Daniels, and
  • Sophia Monegro.

sean

 Sean Carlson

Opening the Salon with a heartbreaking reading, Sean Carlson shared excerpts from another chapter in his yet untitled family memoir. Transporting us again to the Irish countryside in the 1950s, Sean captured the suffering of his uncle Jack as he struggled with an illness during his teenage years — especially painful during the Christmas season. Learn more about the book and subscribe to his email list here: www.seancarlson.net.

kevin

Kevin R. McPartland

Frequent salon contributor and author of the novel Brownstone Dreams, Kevin R. McPartland was next up. Kevin read a tender short story titled “The Sad Lament of Bicycle Johnny.” Set in a friendly Irish pub called Murphy’s in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, the tale tells of a down- and- out drifter whose trademark is a worn-out bicycle.

celia

Sophia Monegro

Sophia Monegro is an English major and Mellon Mays Fellow at City College of New York, where she studies with Brendan Costello. In her first reading at IAW&A, she shared a short story. Sophia wants to contribute to the literary community by voicing her unique Hispanic, feminist perspective.

jon

Jon Gordon

For Sue, Jon Gordon took Malachy’s advice about “just telling the story” and dazzled the crowd with two anecdotes from his work-in-progress

Jazz Lives about the generosity of artists to each other. One story told how the drummer Art Blakey and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie took saxophonist Phil Woods aside and told him they cared about him and believed in him and how that changed his life. Jon’s other story was how Jackie Gleason broke the color barrier in the studio scene in NY in 1951 by insisting that his new TV show hire to the great jazz bass player Milt Hinton.

kearns

John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds that brilliantly told some grim Irish history. In steerage on his way to America, Seamus Logan tells stories he heard as a boy about the Rising of the United Irishmen in 1798. After the French landed in Killala, Mayo, together with the local rebels, they had some initial success, which ended a few weeks later with the surrender of the French and the slaughter of the Irish. www.Kearnscafe.com

maureen

Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher paid tribute to that other Maureen –- legendary actress Maureen O’Hara, recent recipient of a long overdue Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for her body of work. Noting especially O’Hara’s roles in two classic films, Miracle on 34th Street and The Quiet Man, Hossbacher sang the theme from the latter, “Isle of Innisfree” ably accompanied on guitar by John Kearns.

tom

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s true story happened on Key Biscayne in the ‘60s while he was a student at the University of Miami.  “Max the Dog” will be part of Tom’s collection of vignettes, Delusions.  Max, a scruffy, yellow mongrel fell in love with an English springer spaniel named Daffney, who was deaf, though Max didn’t know. His lover’s owner threw a party one night and after everyone left a man attacked her owner.  Max bit the man viciously and saved her owner, but Daffney, being deaf, slept through it all and never knew what a heroic little dog Max truly was. They became inseparable with Max doing everything Daffney needed, even when she didn’t know she needed him. Max hoped she’d value him more someday, but she never did, and that was his delusion.

maureen D

Maureen Daniels

Professor Maureen Daniels read  few of her poems for us, including one about the birth of her son.

christy

Christy Jones

Christy Jones, actor, writer and former cabbie, read more of his memoir, Taxi! A child in Ireland, Christy meets his Aunt Madge for the first time. Madge, who played the piano, had returned from England as the war was ending. The young Christy elevated Madge; she was a performer, she was also his godmother. He wanted to learn the piano. His mother bought an old one at an auction. But they never had it fixed or tuned. Christy says plaintively, “There were always notes missing.”

jeanne_d'brant

Jeanne D’Brant

First time presenter Jeanne D’Brant shared a gripping tale of the rigors of her travel through the Khyber Pass, from a chapter in her book, Heartlands of Islam. A holistic physician, professor and world traveler, Jeanne leads adventure tours to the rainforests of Central America and writes for scientific publications.

mal Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt told a story that could be called “How Malachy Got His Christmas Wish After 75 Years.” As an impoverished child in Limerick, Malachy would pray for a train set, but his wish was never granted. He told this to a journalist who interviewed him years later in New York. The journalist invited Malachy and his wife Diana to lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central, and after lunch, they went to the NYC Transit Shop in GCT, and guess what, Malachy was presented with a train set! Many people would say the story demonstrates the power of prayer, but our Malachy says it messes up his atheism.

Next one-of-a-kind night: December 16 at The Cell, 7pm.

 

 

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