Irish American Writers & Artists

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


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


Mark Butler

kathleen walsh

Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy announces raffles prizes

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

christian lauren

ULU’s Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito


Richard Butler as Dewey Decimal dewey job

Richard Butler and Jon Gordon

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

tj banner

T.J. English

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

crowd 2

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


Maxine 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


John Kearns

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


Marni 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.


Sarah Fearon

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


Tony 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


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.”



Daisy Kearns sells raffle tickets to Seamus Scanlon


Larry Kirwan

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


Lauren Comito

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


Honor 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.


John Paul Skocik

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


Jon Gordon

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


Cathy 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.”


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!


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.


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.


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.


Find the book on Amazon,com.


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.”


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


Lauren Comito


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.


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:



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


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.


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.



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.


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:



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 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 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.


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

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,, 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:

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.




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!


 Tom Cooper of Webster Groves Public Library welcomes us


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


John Kearns introduces IAW&A and Salons


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


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.”


 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.


 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 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.


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 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.


 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.


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.


Presenters take a bow


Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran conclude the evening


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.


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 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.


 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
The sky is new and blue
and I suddenly ravenous!


 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.


 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.


 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 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 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 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 Sharp

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


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 Butler seeks volunteers for The Weekly


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.”


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.


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.)


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 Gordon’s comment about the night – “What a wonderful evening! What wonderful people!”


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.”



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.



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 Molloy’s gift to us was her reading of “Sixpence the Stars”–a story from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. 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: 


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 Michael also performed songs from his latest Christmas CD “Some Things Never Change,” available here:


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.



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


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.


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 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.


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.”


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 Her spring session of weekly dance classes begins Friday, February 6. More at:


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.


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. (



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!

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 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:


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.


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 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.


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.


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 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 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

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.



November 18, 2014

IAW&A November Salons: Distinct Evenings of Talent and Heart

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:38 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAW&A November Salons were held early in the month, each distinctive, and each with an array of presenters offering talent and heart. Here’s the rundown on November Salons – two for the price of one!

11.4.14 IAW&A Election Day Salon: “…Something for everyone, politics tonight!”

On Election Day, November 4, Salon boss John Kearns hosted at the Bar Thalia. John gave wry election updates during the night, of the kind that fascinate writers like himself …. on races between Metaphor and Personification … Hyperbole and Litotes…. and a noisy celebration by the campaign supporters of Onomatopoeia….


Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson kicked off our evening with a moving selection from his yet-untitled family memoir. In this piece, the family gathers outside their farmhouse in County Kerry, Ireland to say goodbye as the oldest sisters Maureen and Bridie May leave home together to enter a convent in Wales. Sean’s mother Nuala was only five months old at the time. Ten years passed before they saw one another again.


Michele Fulves

In advance of Veterans Day, Michele Fulves, a memoirist and solo performing artist read, “So Much to Be Thankful For,” from her collection of writings of conscience. The story unfolds in the minutes following the Veterans Day parade in 2011. Cameron, an Iraqi war veteran, has a simple request – he wants to get down to Foley Square to meet Michael Moore. The problem – he doesn’t know how to get there. A fellow marcher, thinking she’s doing him a favor by taking him downtown, soon realizes that he is actually the one helping her. Michele is currently in rehearsal for The Price of Courage, a solo piece she wrote and will perform about the risks, rewards, and unintended consequences of blowing the whistle.


Tom Mahon

The versatile Tom Mahon read a short story from his collection of vignettes, Tomorrow Never Came. In “Something So Passionately Wished Must Come True,” a girl loves a boy since she first sees him in the third grade and keeps loving him even though he marries another woman and has a family, which only emboldens Marianne Noonan more in her need and desire for him. When his wife dies from an ectopic pregnancy, Marianne insinuates herself into her lover’s life so thoroughly he succumbs and marries her and she gives birth to twins.


Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Visual artist, translator, creator of hand-made books, Vivian O’Shaughnessy, read her own poem, titled “HIM.” Please visit her website to see her work:


Maura Mulligan announcing her upcoming events


Ryan Cahill

Singer Ryan Winter Cahill capped the first half of the evening with what she calls “morbid folk tunes.” “Lady Gay” tells about a woman whose three children die from illness soon after being sent away to study. She refuses to believe in any god or heaven “unless this night in their earthly flesh, my three babes return to me”…and they do. A most sorrowful song, “I am Stretched on Your Grave” is a translation of an anonymous 17th century poem called “Táim sínte ar do thuama.”  A few lines give the story:

“…It’s time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather….”


Sarah Fearon

Comedian Sarah Fearon shared new and seasoned material for her standup routine. She was preparing for her mid-November show at the Metropolitan Room.


John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his multi-generational novel in progress, Worlds. After punching out the foreman and losing his construction job, Seamus Logan leaves New York by ferry and train for Philadelphia. As he travels farther away from the sea and from Ireland, Seamus thinks about his future: how he will work hard to improve his lot and to help “his countrymen still in chains.”

maura K

Maura Knowles

Maura M. Knowles sang an original song, “The American River,” which she wrote with composer Will Collyer, about her life growing up on the American River in Sacramento, California.


Malachy McCourt

What do you expect Malachy McCourt to talk about on Election Day? He gave us a hilarious discourse on politics and politicians, a subject he’s well acquainted with. Malachy ran for Governor of New York on the Green Party line in 2006, and was defeated by Eliot Spitzer. The rest, as they say, is history.

We left humming “Carrickfergus.”


11.11 IAW&A Veterans Day Salon: A brilliant, emotional night.

Thanks to Marni Rice for smoothly hosting the November 11 Salon at The Cell. Marni began with a moment of silence to honor Veterans on their day. Several presenters gave tributes to vets in prose, poetry and song, giving the night an especially emotional feeling. More than one salongoer called the night “brilliant” and we don’t disagree.


Tom Mahon

In the first of several salutes to veterans, Tom Mahon read another story from his collection of vignettes. In “Not All Heroes Die,” a young student sees a man on the subway many times. One morning another man gets on, pulls out a revolver, and shoots a woman dead. As he turns to shoot the man the student has noticed, that man gets up and struggles with the shooter. He is shot but keeps fighting him until he kills the shooter and dies himself. The student learns the man was a Vietnam Vet and knows he saved his life. He realizes “Not all heroes die in war. Some die here for us.”


Maura Knowles and cast

Maura M. Knowles, bi-coastal actor/singer/writer treated us to a section from her new play with music, Insult to Injury, based on true events. Maura wrote the book and lyrics; Nathania Wibowo wrote the music. Insult to Injury examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings. Maura thanks Sean Irawan on piano and her talented cast:  Diane J. Findlay, Luis Villabon, Alan Ariano, Tom Mahon, Sheila Walsh and Julie Currie for stage directions.


Stephanie Silber

Stephanie Silber read a beautifully crafted essay that touched many in the audience, “Ode to a Familiar” about a neighborhood’s collective reaction to some new residents — a colony of feral cats. You may read her essay on her current blog post.



Pat Fenton

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton’s tender piece about his father also touched many in the audience. “The Ancient Swirl of Time That Is Always Present Over Coney Island” is a true story about Pat’s going to Nathan’s in Coney Island in the dead of winter, searching for a room that existed for many years only in his mind. And finding it. The discovery stirred Pat’s long ago memory of sitting in that room with his Galway-born father who went there every winter to be close to the sea. Pat would like to pitch the story to an independent filmmaker to turn into a short film shot in black and white. He adds, “In the dead of winter, of course.” Find it now on the literary web site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood at:


Marni Rice

Tonight’s emcee, singer, composer, accordionist and writer Marni Rice performed two songs. The first, a French song, was in memory of her grandfather, a WWI veteran who served in France. Marni attributes her fascination with France to his experience. She also sang her original song called “Pub Tune.”


Peggy Miley

Two new members made their Salon debuts, but definitely not their stage debuts. Accomplished film, TV, theatre actress Peggy Miley performed a brief monologue by Ruth McKenney (author of My Sister Eileen) about an Irish immigrant woman proud that her daughter is going to college. You’ve seen Peggy in one of her many roles. Check them out on:


Mark Butler announcing IAW&A group outing to see Major Barbara


Dan Milner

Another Salon first-timer,traditional singer Dan Milner offered two different types of songs. A NY street song, circa 1870s, “The Hodman’s Lament,” praises Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall and bemoans changes in the construction industry that threatened the livelihood of Irish laborers. His other choice was a love song from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, “When First I Came to Caledonia.” A few lines:

“If I had pens from Pennsylvania
If I had paper of snowy white
If I had ink from a rosy morning
A true love letter to you I’d write.”

Dan is a geographer, a former ranger in the National Park Service, and an instructor at St. John’s University. We look forward to hearing songs from Dan’s five CDs, including two for the Smithsonian: Irish Pirate Ballads and Civil War Naval Songs.

Margaret McCarthy reading at The Cell Theatre, Irish American Writers & Artists Salon, Nov.11.2014

 Margaret McCarthy

In her Veterans Day salute, artist and poet Margaret McCarthy read her poem “An Argument in the Kitchen,” from her collection Notebooks From Mystery School, finalist for the New Women’s Voices Award and coming from Finishing Line Press in February, 2015. Finishing Line is an award winning small press providing a place for poets and poetry. The collection is available for pre-sale. Pre-orders help determine the print run, so order yours here!


John Kearns

Salon producer John Kearns read from his lyrical short story, “Backstage,” about a college woman who is acting in an evening of one-act plays. As she puts her makeup on, the actress reflects on the transformation she is undergoing and the life of the woman she is about to play — a middle-aged woman who loses her grown son. While she removes her makeup after the short play, she thinks about how her performance came so automatically and unconsciously and she overhears other actors preparing for their turns on the stage.


Richard Butler

Vocalist/actor/director Richard Butler graced us with two dramatic songs –

“Mama Look Sharp” from 1776 The Musical (music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards) and “Be On Your Own” from the musical Nine (music and lyrics by Maury Yeston). Bravo, Richard!


Congrats, Mary Lannon!

Mary Lannon is thrilled to report that her story “Frank N. Stein” will be published online at Story. Mary read from the piece tonight. It’s about being young and reveling in irresponsibility and making a man into a monster and finally, whattayaknow, growing up. Congratulations, Mary!


John Munnelly

Closing a very full night, award winning song writer/singer John Munnelly ( made a welcome return to the Salon with two songs. He’s still tweaking them but they’re definitely “road ready.” “Flagpole,” part of John’s social justice canon, speaks from the point of view of an injured and lonely war veteran.  John is considering two titles: “Can’t Take Anymore, Sick of It Blues” or “Flagpole Blues” and he welcomes your vote at He had us singing along to “Brooklyn” about a recent import/ possible gentrifier of the borough. “Now we’re living in Brooklyn.”


Don’t miss the Salon magic. Join us next time at Bar Thalia, 12/2 at 6 pm. For a ten-minute slot, email

October 14, 2014

Legendary New York City Journalist, Novelist Pete Hamill, to be Honored by IAW&A

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 12:18 pm

Legendary New York City Journalist, Novelist, and Irish-American, Pete Hamill, to be Honored in NYC on October 20th

Irish American Writers and Artists Inc. (IAW&A) will bestow its annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on legendary New York City journalist and author, Pete Hamill, during a convivial evening of food, drink, conversation, and song on Monday, October 20, 2014 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’ Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m. Joining Pete Hamill in the celebration will be past O’Neill Award honorees William Kennedy, Ciarán O’Reilly and Charlotte Moore, John Patrick Stanley, and more.  The most prominent event on the IAW&A calendar, the gala promises to be a gathering of renowned journalists, writers, artists, musicians, and Irish and American luminaries.

Pete Hamill to be honored by IAW&A with Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

Pete Hamill to be honored by IAW&A with Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

In a storied career spanning fifty years, Pete Hamill has excelled as a newspaper reporter and columnist — the only man to serve as editor of both the New York Daily News and the New York Post.  He is an award-winning novelist and a best-selling author of many non-fiction books on subjects ranging from Mexican muralist Diego Rivera to Frank Sinatra to his beloved home borough of Brooklyn.  As a journalist, Hamill covered wars in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, as well as race riots in the U.S and numerous political campaigns.  He is credited as the man who convinced Robert F. Kennedy to run for president in 1968 and was present on the night RFK was assassinated.

Hamill’s best-selling books include A Drinking LifeDowntown, Forever, and North River.  His essays and articles have appeared in such publications as Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, and Rolling Stone.

“This is our sixth annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award and it may prove to be the most popular,” says IAW&A President and leader of the band, Black 47, Larry Kirwan, “from barroom to boardroom Pete Hamill is recognized as one of the great New Yorkers.  His writing skill is matched only by his humanitarianism and devotion to friends, family, and his beloved city.  In Gaelic we call him a seanchaí — a man of wisdom and deep experience.”

IAW&A Treasurer and Salon Producer, the novelist and playwright, John Kearns, will act as Master of Ceremonies.


The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill.  O’Neill Awards have been presented to Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre, folksinger Judy Collins, and playwright John Patrick Shanley.

The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Monday, Oct. 20, 2013 at a generous hors d’œuvre and open-bar reception and ceremony at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born.  Ticketing information is available at the IAW&A website.


For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website at or its Facebook page for updates and information.

MEDIA CONTACT: John Lee, John Lee MEDIA, (0) 917-475-6981,
(c) 917-653-3444. ,

September 23, 2014

From toe-tapping to heart-tugging to awe-inspiring, 9/16/14 IAWA Salon had it all!    

Filed under: American Politics,Essay,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:44 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Host John Kearns kicked off another sensational IAW&A Salon at The Cell by reminding everyone to get their tickets for our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit and Cocktail Party honoring the legendary writer Pete Hamill, on Monday, October 20, 2014.  Visit to purchase. And spread the word!

Dublin born Peadar Hickey, who plays with The Young Wolftones and teaches traditional guitar at the Irish Arts Center started the music with two great Scottish tunes in recognition of the Independence Vote taking place this week.  They were “The Roses of Prince Charlie” and “Brave Caledonia.” You can also see Peadar in the duo Peadar and Pio. Find their events here.


Peadar O’Hici

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton who has been interviewing his great friend, Pete Hamill, for a forthcoming article in The Irish Echo, talked up our O’Neill Benefit as one of the great literary gatherings of the year. Pat read from Breslin, his one-man play about another New York journalism legend, Jimmy Breslin. Pat wants to show aspects of Breslin that few know about. He’s “a lot more sensitive than readers of his columns may think, and yeah, he is very spiritual and attended the Catholic Church most of his life. And he has a sense of humor. And yes, he’s been very generous to me in my own writing career.”

Pat adds his usual disclaimer on all things Breslin: “If you don’t like something he wrote, don’t revisit it with me, please. As Breslin would simply say “GOODBYE.”


Pat Fenton

Tom Phelan read a selection from his first novel In the Season of the Daisies, which centers on the IRA’s murder of a child and the devastating effects on the survivors. Tom had just turned fifty when In the Season of the Daisies was accepted for publication in Dublin, and Books Ireland’s reviewer later wrote, “The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan been?” The novel received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, indicating a book of unusual merit and interest, and was chosen for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series.  Tom, a native of Mountmellick, Co. Laois, is also the author of Iscariot, Derrycloney, The Canal Bridge, Nailer, and the upcoming Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told.  More information at and


Tom Phelan

Board member and editor of the hit “The IAW&A Weekly” Mark Butler has spearheaded our outreach to the library community and found a kindred group called Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). They are an independent non-profit group committed to ensuring access to libraries for all New Yorkers.


Mark Butler

Mark introduced ULU board member Lauren Comito who described some initiatives, which include setting up mini-libraries in neighborhoods damaged by the recent hurricanes, a volunteer library brigade and 24 Read-Ins to encourage reading. Their efforts are imaginative, fun, and done-on-a shoestring. We’ll be exploring how we can work with and help them. Contact Mark at to help.


Lauren Comito

Christy Jones has been sharing pieces of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title) in which he details his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater in New York. Tonight he read a tender piece about a priest back home, Father Moynihan. Says Christy: “He was such a gentle man, a real man, a holy man. I never remember a word of anger from him. He was so complete as a person. He was content with his bicycle. He never complained about it…I still remember the last time … in the hospital. You could not help believe that he was saved.”


 Christy Jones

Salon producer John Kearns read the opening from “Displacement,” a short story set in 1940s Brooklyn. An obsequious witness tells detectives how his friend started a fight with a stranger who had come into their waterfront dive wearing a porkpie hat with a red feather. Unbeknownst to the witness, the detectives were conducting a murder investigation. We know John was not around the 1940s Brooklyn waterfront, but he sure sounded like it tonight.


 John Kearns

More, “Yes.’ Well-known trad musician Don Meade played some Scottish tunes in honor of the “Yes” campaign and gave historical background for each. They were a pipe march from World War I, “King George V’s Army”, and on the mouthorgan “Hector, the Hero”, a lament for a Scottish general named Hector MacDonald. Don runs the monthly Irish traditional music concerts at Glucksman Ireland House/NYU and sessions every Monday at the Landmark Tavern. You can find his schedule at


Don Meade

Storyteller and musician Russell Patrick Brown shared selections from his upcoming site-specific production at Jefferson Market Library on September 27 at 8pm. Russell has written and is directing a cast of dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers in the Mercy of Trees, which is presented as part of Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival. Come out and support this unique talent. The event is free, reservations suggested:

More information:


Russell Patrick Brown

The Smarty Girl herself Honor Molloy presented “I Broke In,” a loving tribute to her favorite Dublin neighbor–the Irish American poetess, and Honor’s babysitter, Claire McAllister. Then Honor introduced McAllister’s daughter, Wonderly White, who talked vividly about her mother and read several short poems.


Honor Molloy and Wonderly White

Sean Carlson was greeted by a great round of applause for his Irish Times essay, “The reach of a single village,” receiving a bronze prize from the Society of American Travel Writers.

Again reading from his yet-untitled family memoir of immigration, Sean introduced two new characters, Maureen and Bridie May– the oldest daughters in an Irish family of sixteen children — and the beginning of their path to the convent. Responding to the touching and humorous nature of this chapter, one Salon attendee tweeted: “I think the world needs more stories about these beautiful people you shared with us last night.” To learn more or join his email list, please visit


Sean Carlson

John Anthony Brennan, in his second Salon presentation, read from his new book, Don’t Die With Regrets. A native of Crossmaglen, a small, tough town in County Armagh, John has visited most of the sacred sites in this world and is convinced that a common thread connects them. The book represents his life’s journey and was written to inspire the reader. And inspire he did tonight with a section called “Back When.” While living in London in the late sixties, John was fortunate to meet many of his favorite musicians, some of whom have sadly, departed from this mortal coil. In “Back When” he tells that story in one thousand words. More about John at or at the blog,


John Anthony Brennan

Guenevere Donohue sang the Irish folk song, “Molly Ban” in her unique hypnotic story-telling style. In this tragic song, a man shoots mistakenly shoots his love:

Her white apron wrapped around her
He took her for a swan
But a hush and a sigh
‘Twas his own Molly Ban

Says Guen, “a swan song to remember.”


 Guenevere Donohue


Ryan Winter Cahill

We went out on high note as Ryan Winter Cahill ended the Salon with two short, amusing songs. First was the energetic, childlike “Sweet Zoo,” by Jeffrey D. Harris, in which “someone” (not revealed until the song’s close) recounts a most interesting dream. She ended with the poignant, ironic “Virtue” by Michael John LaChiusa from his song cycle “Marlene Dietrich’s ABC”, based on a dictionary of wisdom written by the classic film star.

See you next time at Bar Thalia, on Wednesday, October 1 at 7pm. And should you be tweeting, or talking about us on other social media, please use our hashtag #iawasalon!

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