Irish American Writers & Artists

June 25, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:08 pm

By Maureen Hossbacher

Photos by Cat Dwyer

DSC_0729.jpgSalon stars line up at the night’s end

It has been a privilege and pleasure to watch the development of Derek Murphy’s play, Dyin’ For It, at our Salons. It has also been great fun, as evidenced by the torrent of laughter at The Cell on Tuesday night. The scene was brilliantly played by Maria Deasy and Aoife Williamson as mother and daughter trying their best to grieve for the man of the house who is taking his sweet time dying in the best bedroom upstairs. According to Derek, the play is finished, and we look forward to seeing a full production.

DSC_0668.jpgMaria Deasy,  left, Aoife Williamson with Derek Murphy

Plenty of drama and surprises transpired, as the Salon welcomed several new presenters as well as regulars, all of whom electrified a delighted audience. First-timer Katharine McNair started things off with a trilogy of brief scenes from her comedy, The Traveling Irish, set in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans, in which actors Sophia Romma and Jason Okanlawan conveyed the fraught romantic relationship between coworkers at a college. A poet and emerging playwright and screenwriter, McNair currently teaches at Fordham University. Her poetry and children’s literature have been published online and in print.


Jason Okanlawan and Sophia Romma


Next was the riveting debut performance of Leilani McInerney, (pictured at right) who chose our Salon to kickstart her return to the stage after an interlude of child rearing and teaching. Her original monologue, in the character of a slightly unhinged lady with pyromaniacal tendencies, was a gem. (When she lit that match I don’t mind telling you I was a little uneasy). The former Leilani Johnson has performed in regional theatre, in the Fantastiks in NYC and the Amato Opera Company in Brooklyn. As her first name suggests, she was born in Hawaii, which as far as we know Donald Trump has not contested.

Yet another newcomer to the Salon, Sheryl Simler, then took the stage to perform a monologue from her original work, Inside the Blessing Jar — as the character Simca, who has left behind the life of a Hasidic housewife to pursue her artistic dreams. For a finale, Sheryl charmed us with a little ditty she wrote about “John, handsome in his hat.”

DSC_0625   Sheryl Simler

John Kearns (hatless) read an excerpt from near the end of his novel in progress, Worlds. As Laura and the Englishman Gavin drop off Paul Logan in Times Square, Paul is surprised to learn that Laura’s father is from Northern Ireland and that her last name is Maze, like the famous prison. When Paul gets out of the car, he is shocked to hear that Laura is headed back downtown, where they had started hours before, so that Gavin can catch the Staten Island Ferry.  “Sorry, Paul,” the barmaid says, “if you only had an accent…” John recently returned from Ireland where he didn’t pick up an accent but where his play, Sons of Molly Maguire, had a successful run in Dublin.

DSC_0637  John Kearns

As MC for the evening, Kearns segued by introducing Mark Bulik, a senior editor at The New York Times, who read from the first chapter of his book, The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America’s First Labor War.   Bulik’s book explores the origins of the violent secret society that fought on behalf of Ireland’s starving peasantry during the Great Famine, then re-emerged in the Pennsylvania coal fields to battle the all-powerful mining companies, giving America its first taste of class warfare. Dublin Review of Books hailed the history as a “milestone.”

Mark Bulik, left and with Geraldine McCleary, visiting from Co. Monaghan

Monologist, playwright and poet Gordon Gilbert, a frequent presenter, shared three poems that turned our summertime fancies to thoughts of love in the Big Apple, a metropolis where many a potential couple, alas, have ended up “parallel lines that never met.” That sad fate was not Gordon’s, however, a well known denizen of the West Village, where he has lived and loved, and where he shares his life with Mary Jane, the audience member to whom the final poem was dedicated on her birthday.

Gordon Gilbert, left, Tom Mahon

Another regular, Tom Mahon, with his usual verve, delivered an excerpt from his short story, “Going After Bigfoot”. Two brothers-in-law pursue Warren Nelson, alias Bigfoot, a 300 lb. muscle-bound vet with four tours in Iraq. Nelson has stolen $25 K from his father-in-law and there is a reward for his capture. The narrator, who has never held a gun, is skeptical of his brother-in-law’s schemes, though the brother-in-law is confident because he can’t think beyond what he wants. To be continued . . .


Rosina Fernoff

Demonstrating what happens when exquisite acting meets exquisite writing, veteran actress Rosina Fernhoff brought the house down with her tour de force rendering of playwright Jenifer Margaret Kelly’s monologue, “Antibodies”, a stand-alone piece from a larger collaborative work entitled The Body. Kelly’s play, My Brooklyn, was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Conference this summer. Fernhoff, an Obie winner, performs frequently at the “Actors Chapel Presents” readings of plays at St. Malachy’s Church on West 49th Street.

DSC_0725.jpgAnalisa Chamberlain, accompanied by John Kearns

The Salon was brought to a lovely close by actress/singer Analisa Chamberlin’s rendition of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, accompanied on guitar by John Kearns. The coda of a perfect evening, it left us wanting more, more, more.

The next IAW&A Salon will be at Bar Thalia, at 95th Street & Broadway, on Thursday, July 6, at 7:00 p.m.


















June 8, 2017

6.1.17 IN THE COMPANY OF ACCLAIMED AUTHOR MARY GORDON — IAW&A and AIHS sponsor talk and reception

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 7:24 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

DSC_0087.JPGMary Gordon

IAW&A’s first joint program with the American Irish Historical Society featured the renowned novelist Mary Gordon in conversation with Mary Pat Kelly, on the release of Gordon’s novel, There Your Heart Lies, just published by Pantheon. Described as “historically [and] emotionally satisfying,” the story deals with an American woman’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War and its influence on her granddaughter’s life.

AIHS’ genial chairman Brian McCabe welcomed the audience to its elegant 120-year-old headquarters on Fifth Avenue. He offered guests a special keepsake: a 1995 issue of the Society’s former journal, The Recorder, that contained an original Mary Gordon story about her Irish-born grandmother.


DSC_0075.jpgBrian McCabe welcomes the group to AIHS


As Lauren Bufferd notes in BookPage, “Mary Gordon has been writing compelling books about faith, love and family for four decades.” And many of us who have admired her work for decades turned out to meet her.

Introducing her friend and fellow novelist, IAW&A vice-president Mary Pat Kelly observed that Gordon’s first book Final Payments in 1978 was the first to give voice to “our experience,” meaning the inner lives of Irish Catholic raised women. Many of the women in the audience seemed to concur.

In a distinguished career since publishing Final Payments, Mary Gordon has produced several important, critically praised novels including The Company of Women and Pearl. Among her nonfiction works are the memoirs Circling My Mother and The Shadow Man and an award-winning biography of Joan of Arc. A professor of literature at Barnard, she’s been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an O. Henry Award, an Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The Story Prize.

DSC_0085 (2).JPGMary Pat Kelly, left.  Mary Gordon

In a wide-ranging conversation, she talked about why she chose to write about the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930’s. The book has contemporary setting, with the character, at the end of her life, revealing the full story of hardships she endured during her time in Spain. Mary Gordon said she was “brought up in conservative Irish Catholic 1950’s New York in a family who believed that Franco had saved the world for the Catholic Church.” When she went to Columbia in the late 60’s, she found a very different interpretation, “that Franco had blood on his hands.” Gordon wanted to present “the unglamorous side of war” instead of the glorification seen in such writers as Hemingway and Orwell.

Writers in the audience were full of questions about Gordon’s research and writing process. For this novel, she undertook deep research and read widely to supply the history and to look for unexpected details. As an example, she discovered a little known fact that NY fur trade workers supplied fur coats to women participants in the Spanish Civil War. Remarkably, an audience member had grown up hearing the story through her own family.

As far as process, Gordon writes with a fountain pen and notebook, finding satisfaction in the motion and rhythmicality of writing. And yes, she writes every day, saying the “business of writing is being there; it’s not what you produce.” Gordon tells her Barnard students, “An imperfect something is better than a perfect nothing.”

Gordon was eloquent in reply to a question was about the role of shame in Catholicism, admitting its power and that in her experience, shame was often a default setting.

Mary Pat Kelly reminded us of Gordon’s wonderful storytelling ability and the book’s emphasis on women’s lives. One reviewer says,

“There Your Heart Lies depicts pleasure in the loving bonds between generations and in acts of generosity and selflessness between friends…”


We’re grateful to Mary Gordon for her generous conversation this night, and for her esteemed body of work. You may want to go and read them all. You can find the new book at Amazon or indie

Special thanks to the night’s organizers:

Brian McCabe and Sophie Colgan at AIHS

IAW&A’s Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Mary Pat Kelly




May 23, 2017

More of Malachy McCourt’s Book Launch: Fans, Friends, Family

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:37 pm








DSC_0874 copy












May 22, 2017

5.16.17 IAW&A Salon: Far from Funereal Party for Malachy McCourt’s new book Death Need Not Be Fatal

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:56 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth 

DSC_0878Malachy McCourt


Malachy McCourt’s fans lined the street outside The Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street to enter the launch party for his latest book Death Need Not Be Fatal.

IAW&A was proud to host the event on the book’s publication date, May 16. Malachy is a founder of IAW&A, and the inspiration for our bi-monthly Salons, which have been going strong for more than five years. Honoring one of his favorite ideas, we devoted the first half of this night to storytelling, and the second to the man himself, with two splendid musical interludes.

IAW&A Board member, comedian and writer Sarah Fearon served as host and organizer. She thanked Malachy for his generosity, his contribution to our community and dedication to freedom of speech. Other guests echoed these themes throughout the night in personal stories and in “Malachy” stories.




Sarah Fearon

Sarah invited Leah Tehrani, a Julliard-trained soprano and her fellow Friar to open the program with two songs. Accompanied on piano by Karim Merchant, Leah gave us Puccini’s beautiful aria “O Mio Babbino Caro.” An Irish arts enthusiast, Leah set the tone for the evening with Loreena McKennitt’s “The Old Ways.”


 Leah Tehrani

First of the fabulous storytellers, IAW&A president, playwright, musician and founder of Black 47, Larry Kirwan first met Malachy back when Larry was a budding rock singer and Malachy the proprietor of the famed Bells of Hell bar in the Village. Malachy let Larry and his partner sing in the back room, and the rest is history.


Larry Kirwan

Conor McCourt has an even longer history with Malachy, as Conor is his son. He’s a retired NYPD sergeant, a documentary filmmaker and private investigator. In Conor’s story, he was working undercover in midtown, when Malachy showed up.


Conor McCourt

A writer, performer and author of the memoir and New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Walk, Marian Fontana told a very personal story. Ever the entertainer, she tried to make the best of a scary medical situation only to find the medical personnel not responding to her humor. Marian succeeded in amusing her doctor by dint of an only-in-New York- six-degrees-of-separation moment.

DSC_0826.JPGMarian Fontana

Next, Malachy’s co-hosts and co- conspirators on a weekly radio show John McDonagh and Corey Kilgannon showed awe and appreciation for Malachy’s talent and generosity. John McDonagh, creator of the hilarious solo piece Cabtivist, noted that guests on the show “can’t out-poverty Malachy” when he compares their stories to his childhood in Limerick. NY Times reporter Corey Kilgannon called his story “Driving Himself.” In the course of driving to do the radio show each week, he learns that Malachy – by virtue of his storied career as an actor, tv star, tavern owner and political activist – is connected to just about everyone in NY. Listen to their show, Talk Back – New York, We and Thee Edition every Wednesday 10:00am to noon on 99.5FM.

DSC_0746John McDonagh, left,  Corey Kilgannon

Mary Pat Kelly, IAW&A Vice President, author of Irish Blood and Galway Bay paid sweet tribute to Malachy for teaching her a thing or two about selling books. She noted the great coverage of Death Need Not Be Fatal in the Washington Post and her pleasure in often seeing Malachy and his wife Diana on the Upper West Side.



Mary Pat Kelly

Malachy had bookselling advice for Colin Broderick, too. Author of Orangutan, and That’s That and producer of the new film Emerald City, Colin acknowledged Malachy as one of the “most influential people in his career and his life in America.” Malachy’s advice: “Sing a song, and they’ll remember you.” So Colin sang Spancil Hill, a folk song about an Irish immigrant.


Colin Broderick

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton, whose Stoopdreamer received five nominations in the First Irish Theatre Festival, talked about “Malone’s Wake.” Pat deemed it the last Irish wake in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn now that hipsters are moving in. After the mass, mourners toasted Jack Malone’s ashes on a stool at Farrell’s Bar.



Pat Fenton

DSC_0747.JPGDiana McCourt, right, and Malachy before the show

After a lively intermission and long line for autographing those books, harpist and singer Alice Smyth opened the second half of the program with two exquisite songs including the “Connemara Cradle Song.”

DSC_0774Alice Smyth

Another of Malachy’s co-conspirators, Brian McDonald is an acclaimed memoirist and author of Last Call at Elaine’s and My Father’s Gun: One Family, Three Badges. Brian, who helped organize and “decode” Malachy’s notes for the book, gave a heartfelt introduction to working with and knowing Malachy and his family.


DSC_1001Brian McDonald

Then the man himself, Malachy McCourt took the stage to talk about Death Need Not Be Fatal. After thanking his beloved Diana, and his children and grandchildren, he commented that the tributes tonight were like “hearing his own obituary.”

DSC_0987Malachy McCourt

Malachy talked about his fortunate life. He arrived in America in 1952 with $4, because “I had a dream I’d be happy here.” He believes that dreams can come true, as he looked at his wonderful family in the audience and offered some wisdom of his 85 years. “Love people, not countries.” “Do the right thing, love children, don’t stop working.” And his signature line: “Live each day as if it’s your last. Someday you’ll be right!”

Malachy read excerpts from the book, including his thoughts on why Americans never die. They “pass, expire, go to the Lord” and a raft of other euphemisms. Who else but Malachy can put the “fun” in funerals? You’ll be surprised, entertained and moved by his book

Malachy gave his fans, standing room only until the end, more of his massive charm, more laughs and raucous comments. He closed, in his fashion, with a song:

“Let’s not have a sniffle

Let’s have a bloody-good cry.

And always remember:

The longer you live

The sooner you’ll bloody-well die”


Special thanks to host Sarah Fearon, our storytellers and musicians, photographer Christopher Booth, Brendan Costello and IAW&A Salon Committee for a wonderful night!

Please note our next event on Thursday, June 1 will be renowned author Mary Gordon’s book release and interview by Mary Pat Kelly at the American Irish Historical Society.  REGISTER TO ATTEND




May 9, 2017

5.4.17 IAW&A Salon: Sensational Gathering of Poets, Actors and Singers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 3:28 am

By Karen Daly

Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAW&A’s inimitable sister act, produced and co-hosted a sensational early May Salon at Bar Thalia. They gathered a distinguished group of poets, actors and singers, adding new talents to our roster and bringing out a lively crowd.

IMG_9294       Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. Photo by Tom Mahon.

First of the night’s wonderful poets and new presenters, KC Trommer is a prizewinner (Academy of American Poets and the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize) and author of a chapbook The Hasp Tongue (Dancing Girl Press). Tonight she read new poems that will appear in her next collection, including “Fear Not, Mary” and “When We See.” KC says she chose work that “speaks to the current political moment and are concerned with women’s agency and about how we can work together to create real change.” KC, pictured at right, will be the featured reader at the Queens Central Library on May 21 at 2 pm. For more information, please go to


In her first Salon, Kelly Sullivan, (at left) a poet, fiction writer and teacher of Irish literature at New York University, read from her chapbook, Fell Year, published just last month by Green Bottle Press Kelly’s poem’s included “Mount Desert Island, Maine.”  Her knowledge of Irish art is revealed in  “Anatomy School for Artists” which depicts the great stained glass artist Harry Clarke in Dublin in 1913. Kelly’s recent work has been published in SalmagundiThe Hopkins ReviewUnderwater New York and The Clearing (UK). For more information about her poetry and fiction as well as her academic work on Irish writers and artists, at

dsc_0011.jpg                                   Tom Mahon

With his usual panache, Tom Mahon read from his story “Going After Bigfoot.” A young man helping his brother-in-law catch a fugitive before he crosses the Canadian border learns that the wanted man is large, irrational and dangerous. Though frightened, the young man aids his incompetent relative because he needs the money. Tom gave away copies of his children’s book Little Bigfoot created when his son was young and was fascinated with the myth of Bigfoot.

10409068_10152923703471225_7181618541252853921_n-1A new member of IAW&A, and first time presenter, actor and writer Matthew Maw is a native of Belfast and a graduate of NYU’s Irish Studies program. Currently experiencing the joy of being processed for a green card, he eloquently explored the theme of the immigrant as ‘stranger.’ First he read Kipling’s “The Stranger Within My Gates” and then Shakespeare’s masterful pro-refugee speech from his work Sir Thomas More. Matthew says he chose the two pieces to demonstrate that “the traditions of humanism, empathy and understanding will always win out over bigotry.” Matthew is pictured at left.


Another newcomer to IAW&A (this was her second performance) Ailbhe Fitzpatrick is another multi-talent: a singer, music producer, pianist, documentary filmmaker and fluent Irish speaker. Ailbhe sang two emotional songs: the ballad “The Parting Glass” and the 18th century folk song, “Mo Ghile Mear” (“My Gallant Darling”) by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, a lament for a loved one in exile.

aidbhe                                           Ailbhe Fitzpatrick


Madeline Artenberg, at right,  began creating and performing poetry at the famed Nuyorican Poets Café in the 90’s.  She has been writing, performing and studying ever since, and collecting prizes and accolades for her work. In her Salon debut, her work dealt with women’s relationships and empowerment: between a wife and a Sultan (in the sensual “The Sultan’s Wife”) a daughter and mother in “After Death” and a woman poet and a blind man. In addition to her poetry in print and online publications, Madeline co-authored the play The Old In-and-Out, which was produced in New York in 2013 and is based on her poetry and that of Karen Hildebrand. She will be featured next in the show at the Cornelia Street Cafe on May 19, What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?  More information at

We’ve been eager to have Rosette Capotorto back after her appearance at last year’s Salon with the Italian- American writers group. A poet and author of Bronx Italian, she is a two-time recipient of the Edward Albee Fellowship Award. Rosette’s work has appeared in The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, and in Curragia: Writings by Women of Italian Descent.  She read her poems “Mother of A Priest” and “Broken Windows,” which documents Hoboken’s renaissance.rosette.jpg                                Rosette Capotorto. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Jack DiMonte and Guen Donohue reprised their stellar roles as Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois in a scene from Thom Molyneaux’s new play Tennessee’s Waltz. Their meeting, years after the events in A Streetcar Named Desire, took a metaphysical twist. Thom appreciated the audience response and promises to reveal another section soon at IAW&A.

    Thom Molyneaux, left.  Jack DiMonte, Guen Donohue. Photos by Tom Mahon.

As one of the famous Irish Tenors, Karl Scully has performed all over the world. He’s performed in the operas Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti and Lucia De Lammermoor, and in the film Nora, he played the legendary John McCormack. Karl feels very much at home at IAW&A, where is becoming a legend himself with his glorious voice. He closed the show with “My Lagan Love” and with the Malachy McCourt anthem, “Go, Lassie, Go.”

karl.jpg                                 Karl Scully.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

Speaking of Malachy, the next Salon will launch his newest book, Death Need Not Be Fatal, with stories and song. Don’t miss it.

That’s Tuesday, May 16, 7 pm at The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC


April 11, 2017

4.6.17 IAWA Salon: Fabulous night at the Thalia: Heartfelt poetry, superb acting and original music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:14 am

By Karen Daly

Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

A great audience for the April Salon at Bar Thalia  was rewarded with wonderful poetry, skillful comic performances, exceptional music and three Salon debut presentations.

Cormac OMalleyCormac O’Malley, at right, returned to the Salon with poems by his father, the militant Irish nationalist and literary character Ernie O’Malley (1897-1957). When O’Malley lived in the US in the 1930’s, he wrote romantic, nostalgic poems about Ireland including “Picturesque Connemara,” “County Mayo” and “Mary Anne Jordan.” Other works reflected the struggle for independence and those who did not survive it. They include “Ghosts,” “Friends Shot in Gaol” and “Mountjoy Hanged, 1921.” Cormac will launch his books Modern Ireland and Revolution, Ernie O’Malley in Context and Western Ways: Remembering Mayo Through the Eyes of Helen Hooker and Ernie O’Malley with the First Irish and IAW&A members at the Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Avenue in Hartford on Friday, April 28, 9pm.

mauraMayo native Maura Mulligan read two poems about Ireland’s beauty. “Dawning of the Day” evokes the morning mist on Minaun Cliffs. She composed it during her writer’s residency at the Heinrich Böll cottage on Achill Island, where she worked on her memoir, Call of the Lark. “Evening in Dooagh” was inspired by a windy evening in the village of Dooagh. Maura founded Nollaig na mBan NYC, a group of artists dedicated to celebrating Celtic holidays to fundraise for The Dwelling Place of NY – a transitional residence for homeless women in NYC. The next event, celebrating Bealtaine will take place on Sunday, April 30th at Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Ave at 3:30 p.m. For more information,

Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty gave wonderfully comic performances as a less-than-loving mother and daughter in Dyin’ for It by Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy. As the man of the house is upstairs fighting for his life, the women fight over the merits of being kidnapped and tortured overseas vs. staying home in Ireland and being kidnapped and tortured. Their argument is prompted by the Taken movies starring Liam Neeson.

sarah maria

Maria Deasy reads the movie reviews, while Sarah Lafferty,  playing her daughter, waits.

Bernadette Cullen read two beautiful, topical poems: “Conversation in Black and White” and a piece that contrasted the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”) with the US response to the tragedy in Syria. Our audience responded with tears to this moving work.

Bernadette Cullen, Freddie White

The fabulous Freddie White sang three original songs — “Some Stupid Song” and “Last Man Standing” from his latest CD Prodigal Songs and “That Loving Touch” from his Better Days CD. For more about this singer/songwriter/musician, go to where you can find listings for his upcoming performances.

Salon newcomer Ailbhe Fitzpatrick brought her many talents to New York a year and a half ago. A singer, music producer, pianist and documentary filmmaker from Dublin, she demonstrated her beautiful voice by singing the Patrick Kavanagh poem “Raglan Road” set to the music of “Dawning of the Day” by Luke Kelly and Patrick Kavanagh. As an encore, Ailbhe sang the traditional ballad “Red Is The Rose. Hear her again at the first May Salon.

Ailbhe Fitzpatrick, left.  Sheila Houlihan

A great Salon supporter, Sheila Houlihan  was delighted with the reception of her first-ever attempt at writing a poem. Her autobiographical poem, “When I Was A Child” highlights the popular music that formed the soundtrack her life. Of Elvis, she writes

Those hips didn’t lie. New sounds and rhythm of his guitar.

Passing fad. Devil’s music, said the critics.

Yet its pulse spoke to me…


Another poet new to IAW&A, Indiana born Miranda J. Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2016, after a year in Ireland. Miranda shared some of her work, including “Trench Cello,”  “My Father Thought the Bomb Would Drop on Minnesota,” and a beautiful love poem  called  “Sorcha.” Miranda, pictured at left,  works in publishing and will be participating in the New York Rose of Tralee selection night on April 30, 2017.

Producer of the Irish American Film Festival, Ed Patterson has written a screenplay called Separation Anxiety. Ed calls it “a love story of a middle-aged couple on their anniversary…” though they’re not quite loving when we first meet them. Maria Deasy played Ed’s wife, and Sarah Lafferty the babysitter in the engaging segment we heard tonight.ed, etc

Ed Patterson, Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty.

Salon producer John Kearns presented a brand-new song whose title he came up with during John Munnelly’s Songwriting Bootcamp at the Irish Arts Center. John had the crowd singing along to “They Wouldn’t Call Them Crushes If They Didn’t Hurt Your Heart.” The song tells four stories in which the narrator develops feelings for a woman — a coworker, a bartender, a fellow student, and a singer — but the relationship doesn’t work out.

John Kearns, left.  John Munnelly

Then John Munnelly himself closed the show with four songs from his soon-to-be-released acoustic EP Expanding Universe or XU. They included “Kings and Jesters,” “Angels Tears” “ Expanding Universe” and “Hallelujah (Encore).” John recorded them in Brooklyn with a trio of acoustic guitars, vocals and an upright bass. A graphic artist, John is handcrafting each CD cover. Watch this space for the XU release show and come support a Salon favorite.


March 28, 2017

3.21.17 IAW&A SALON: 3 Playwrights. 3 Poets. Killer Fiction and Soulful Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

That’s a recipe for a stimulating IAW&A Salon at The Cell. Even post-St. Pat’s, there’s no let-up in talent or audience enthusiasm. We were particularly happy to welcome two new presenters, Meredith Trede and Freddie White and to hear a fine tribute to Jimmy Breslin.

Gary Cahill opened the evening with his short-short story “Responsorial”a taut, edgy, dark tale of Irish-American revenge for a decades-old IRA killing, and the sorrow that lived on in a Hell’s Kitchen denizen’s broken heart. Gary is a member of the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter and International Thriller Writers. Catch Gary reading from his crime novel-in-progress on Saturday, April 15th at 7:00 pm at the KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th Street.

Brent Shearer, who says he’s now a “blaggard living on the lower West Side,” started out as a reporter for a local New Jersey newspaper, where he became smitten with the great journalist Jimmy Breslin. Brent read a fine essay about Breslin who died last week. As Jimmy put it in his last column, “Thanks for the use of the hall.”

Gary Cahill, left.  Brent Shearer

In her first Salon visit, Meredith Trede read from her recent collection of poems, “Tenement Threnody” poems in voices from Inwood, her childhood New York City neighborhood. Called “wonderfully evocative persona poems of Irish-American tenement life,” they are the latest in her prize-winning body of work. Find it at  Meredith “appreciated the friendliness and enthusiasm” of Salon goers.

We benefitted from Marcia Loughran’s recent Lenten vow to try to produce a poem a day. She read two of her resulting poems “Birds, Trains, Birds” and “Take Two” in which she reminisced about going to movies with her father. Marcia also shared her signature “messay” or mini essay, about the journey of her stolen credit card. Her chapbook, “Still Life with Weather” said to be “full of music” is available at

unspecified copy

Meredith Trede, left.  Marcia Loughran


John Kearns, pictured at right,  read a short scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Mine owner and prosecutor Franklin B. Gowen declares that the accused Molly Maguires have offended the majesty of the law, stand in the way of progress, and must be hanged as an example to others. When undercover detective James McParland enters, he tells Gowen that he shares his goals and is disgusted that the Molly Maguires call themselves Irishmen. We’re happy to announce that our Salon producer and host’s play will be staged in Dublin in May

In Thom Molyneaux’s Tennessee’s Waltz, Stanley Kowalski meets Blanche DuBois some years after Streetcar Named Desire. The result was a scene that was serious, funny and mysterious. Jack DiMonte and Guenevere Donohue brought Stanley and Blanche to vivid life.

THOM.jpgHost John Kearns thanking actors Jack DiMonte and  Guenevere Donohue and playwright Thom Molyneaux


Poet, playwright and man about Greenwich Village, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read the lyrics to a song he created in the style of Bob Dylan, “When Her World Caught Fire.” He followed with a short love poem, “Forever In-Between” and a light-hearted piece titled “An Old Lover Stays Over.” Gordon, pictured at left also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Café.

Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy presented two scenes from his comic play Inside Danny’s Box, which he calls “a love story of sorts, set in Ireland.” Actors Sarah Lafferty and Zack Gafin had remarkable chemistry in that love story.


Sarah Lafferty, Zach Gavin

Guenevere Donohue’s original song “The Spirit Rises” is her soulful take on the spirit of rebellion, and the positive effects of self-sacrifice, challenge, and change.

Guenevere Donohue, Freddie White

Speaking of soulful, Cork-born musician Freddie White has been a vital part of Ireland’s music scene since the 1970s and has been recognized throughout the world for his multiple talents. Tonight he sang two original songs form his recent CD “Prodigal Songs.” Freddie’s exquisite rendition of “The Parting Glass” was a perfect end to our evening.

See you next time, Thursday, April 6, 7 pm at Bar Thalia.

March 15, 2017

3/2/17 – First IAW&A Salon of March an Engaging Mix of Regulars & Newer Presenters

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 12:21 am

February 28, 2017

2.21.17 IAW&A Salon: Hearing fresh new voices, poets and storytellers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 10:29 pm

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

lavinIn 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.

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. 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: Check her soon to be updated website:

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.

February 7, 2017

2.2.17 IAW&A SALON: History on tap at Bar Thalia, plus poets, and at least one saint

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 9:15 pm

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



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.

100_5942 Jack DiMonte

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

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


Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy spreads the word about St. Pat’s-for-All.

Photo by Christopher Booth.




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