Irish American Writers & Artists

September 22, 2015

Jubilant 100th IAW&A Salon 9/15: Celebrating Our First Four Years

Filed under: dance,Essay,Film,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized,Visual Arts — by scripts2013 @ 8:56 pm

”…a fine green thread binds us together…” Colin Broderick

By John Kearns and Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

We had much to celebrate at the Cell Theatre on September 15. Our 100th Manhattan Salon featured readings and performances of works developed over the Salon’s first four years and a retrospective of IAW&A Salon photographs by Cathleen Dwyer.


Audience enjoying Cat Dwyer’s photos

annaDeputy Irish Consul General, Anna McGillicuddy

The Consulate General of Ireland/New York, represented by Anna McGillicuddy, Deputy Head of Mission, congratulated IAW&A on the occasion. Origin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director George C. Heslin welcomed the IAW&A Salon to its prestigious 1st Irish Theatre Festival this year.

georgeGeorge C. Heslin

And Salon founder Malachy McCourt returned after a brief absence this summer. Malachy’s presence and performance meant a lot to everyone in the SRO house, as he truly is our guiding spirit.


Malachy McCourt


John Kearns

IAW&A Treasurer John Kearns produced and hosted the 100th Salon as a curated program of fiction, memoir, poetry, music, dance, visual and performance arts. Cathleen Dwyer, special events, portrait and urban landscape photographer, has taken photographs at the Salon since the early days. Tonight we enjoyed a slideshow of over 100 striking pictures from the first four years. Cat also photographs concerts and does headshots for performers. She is always available for hire and offers discounts to IAW&A members. To purchase prints and see more of her work, go to

sarahSarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon has shared her comedy routines with us since the beginning of the IAW&A Salon. Her play, “Ted Talks NYC” was developed from her comedy and won first prize at the Short Play Festival at the Players Theatre this summer. From tonight’s sample we can see why: Sarah was fiery, funny and profound.

tomTom Mahon

Frequent Salon reader Tom Mahon has presented fiction, poetry, film and even a children’s book. He credits the Salon with helping him complete his novel. “Unforgivable,” a tragic story with a shocking ending, is a vignette from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. Tom told it with his usual dramatic force.

mpkMary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly is author of the best-selling novel Galway Bay, and award winning documentary filmmaker. She charmingly described her Chicago Irish roots and her research for her latest novel, Of Irish Blood, excerpts of which she had debuted at salons.

colinColin Broderick

Author and filmmaker Colin Broderick delivered a knockout piece about his development as a writer. He has written two memoirs, Orangutan about his first twenty years in New York City and That’s That about his early life in Northern Ireland. He is now editing the collection The Writing Irish of New York.

honorHonor Molloy

Speaking of knockout pieces, Honor Molloy described her childhood journey from Dublin to America and finding encouragement for her work in NY’s Irish American community. Author of Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage, playwright, instructor, Honor has been a regular contributor since the start of the IAW&A Salon.

cathyCathy Maguire

Cathy Maguire originally from Dundalk, Co. Louth, showcased her talents as a singer/ songwriter. Her beautiful country song “Portrait” looks at an old wedding picture and wonders how the couple’s life turned out. In addition to her country album made in Nashville, her Ireland in Song explores the top ten most famous Irish ballads. Guitar virtuoso, Irish born Damien Kelly accompanied Cathy and we hope to hear more of his work. Find him at


Damien Kelly and Cathy Maguire 


Backstage at the Cell….


Karen Daly, with Malachy on the laptop screen

aud    Full house enjoying Salon 1oo


Mary Lou Quinlan

At a fall 2011 Salon, Mary Lou Quinlan read her earliest work on The God Box, a loving tribute to her late mother. She turned that book into a New York Times bestseller, website and mobile app. And with theater veteran, Martha Wollner, a one woman play “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” Performances around the US, Ireland and at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 have raised over $300,000 for charities. Brava, Mary Lou!

meg  Megan O’Donnell

Poet Megan O’Donnell describes her poems as “…attempts to deal with the complexities of gender, race, violence, and survival through the lens of poetry.” They were “Letter to a Young Man,” “ Survival Guide,” “Window Shopping,” “Make Waves,” and a haiku “When. ” The multitalented Megan is award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and lyricist for the jam band, Sofus.


Maura Mulligan and Patty Furlong

In another example of work debuted at a Salon, Maura Mulligan performed sean nos stepdancing for the first time at a Bar Thalia earlier this year. Just a few months later, in August, she won third-place medal in the All-Ireland sean nos competition in the Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo. Trad musician Patty Furlong accompanied Maura on the button-accordion. Patty is a winner of All-Ireland titles and founding member of the world famous Cherish the Ladies traditional music group.


Mary Lannon

More congratulations to Mary Lannon.  Her story, “Frank N. Stein,” first presented at a Salon became her first publication in The story tells of a young woman’s quest to leave an imagined monster behind her, for those imaginary monsters can the hardest to shake!


Maxine Linehan

“Fiercely talented “ (NY Times) Maxine Linehan introduced her song “I Think of You” by Andrew Koss and Bob Stillman at a Salon. The song, about the trials and tribulations of life in NYC is now a standard part of her repertoire. Accompanied on piano by her husband Andrew Koss, Maxine also performed a tender rendition of U2’s “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.”   You can catch her solo show on October 17 at


Composer and accompanist, Andrew Koss


Larry Kirwan

Larry Kirwan, IAW&A President, premiered a beautiful new song, “Floating My Way Back to You”, written about his great grandfather, a Wexford sea captain, whose ship went down off Cornwall in 1898.

malMalachy McCourt

And it was only fitting that the great Malachy McCourt, author and raconteur brought the 100th Salon celebration to a close with story and song. Recently sidelined with a leg injury, Malachy, as Tom Mahon notes, was “…in rare form last night after escaping his current confinement.”

Numerous other artists credit the IAW&A Salon with encouraging and offering a supportive environment to present their work and fostering a sense of community. Some of them include John Brennan, John Cappelletti, Kathleen Donohoe, Kathleen Frazier, John Kearns, Maura Knowles, Margaret McCarthy, and Vivian O’Shaughnessy.

On the occasion of 100th IAW&A Salon, may we take this space to thank all IAW&A members and Salon goers and volunteers for their participation, encouragement and support. Special thanks to the hardworking staff at The Cell Theatre. More about IAW&A Salons at

Please note the next Salon is WEDNESDAY, 10/7 at 7pm at Bar Thalia.

And get your tickets now for our big annual bash. For fast and easy ticket purchases:

2015 Eugene O’Neill Award Honoring Patricia Harty of Irish America Magazine

Monday, October 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM

The Manhattan Club, Upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, New York, NY

October 2, 2013

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

Filed under: Events,Film,Social Activism,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 7:54 pm
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Irish Film New York and Irish American Writers & Artists co-present When Ali Came to Ireland, which tells the story of Ali’s visit to Ireland in 1972 at the height of his career.  Self-proclaimed ‘World’s Strongest Publican’ Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue pulled off a massive sporting coup when he convinced Ali’s promoter he was good for the $300k down-payment required to bring Ali to Ireland.  He then largely paid for the proceedings in beer-stained bank notes. The trip had a huge impact on those Ali met and, some say, on the man himself and how he viewed white people in the aftermath of his conversion to Islam.  When Ali Came to Ireland screens Sunday, October 6 at 6:00pm.

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

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

September 23, 2013

Member Artists: Promote Your Work in Eugene O’Neill Awards Program

Filed under: Events,Film,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized,Visual Arts — by scripts2013 @ 9:16 pm

Attention Writers and Artists with works to sell! You can advertise your books and CDs or other artistic work in the IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration program.

Promote your works. Let attendees know the kind of work our members are producing.


If you are a member and would like to place an ad:

1. Send camera-ready ads of 1/8 of a page (business card size) to:

2. Send $50 to:

Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc
511 Avenue of the Americas #304
New York, NY 10011

DEADLINE: October 1, 2013. 

August 23, 2013

Giant Penises and Small Dogs: IAW&A’s Blue Moon Salon at the Cell, 8/20/13

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Theater,Visual Arts — by scripts2013 @ 3:56 pm

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Philomena Connors

Giant penises made by the artist Judith Bernstein as discussed by Ann McCoy, and two random appearances by the Cell’s dog, Harry, were moments that stood out among more meditative pieces from a slate of talented writers and artists at the Cell on Tuesday night.

McCoy explained that she deliberately rebelled against the academic conventions of art criticism in her provocative and witty piece, “Judith Bernstein-Hard,” recently published in The Brooklyn Rail.  Bernstein painted and sculpted giant penises beginning in 1966, McCoy said, directly linking violence and men.  This groundbreaking work went largely unrecognized, McCoy added, until quite recently.  McCoy teaches at Yale in the YDS design section and is an art critic for the Brooklyn Rail. 


Ann McCoy

The cell’s dog Harry made one of his appearances during Stephanie Silber’s reading from the short story “Making Stories,” in which a blocked writer heads to the Marshlands for solace only to find haunting memories of her father and yes, the appearance of a dog.  As if on cue and to much laughter, Harry appeared as Silber described the story’s dog. Silber’s story was a contemplation of how the past informs the present, may shape the future for the better, if not precisely with the promise of a happy ending.


Stephanie Silber

Harry also appreciated John Munnelly’s songs that ended the evening.  Munnelly, with Harry’s occasionally accompanying him, sang “Angel Tears,” a meditation on stillness versus agitation; “We Should Go Blind” from his new album, Hello World, available from iTunes:; and “Does My Bum Look Big in This? (The Bum Song) ” released on YouTube last year and described as “hilarious:”  Munnelly will be at the 1st Irish Music Festival on September 20th at Arlene’s Grocery.  Details at his website: and his blog:


John Munnelly

Like Silber’s reading, many of the pieces touched on the past’s hold on us.


Sheila Walsh

Two lonely people who engaged in a love affair in the 1960s reflect on meeting up again decades later in Sheila Walsh’s new comedy Surrender in Somerville.  Kathy MacGowan directed Walsh and Daniel MacGowan in two scenes from the funny and touching play. We look forward to seeing future work from Walsh and the MacGowans, both new members.


Daniel MacGowan

Ray Lindie’s novella “Lone Hero” also featured a main character dealing with his past.  In the scenes Lindie read, his protagonist meets up with his ex-girlfriend after being home for five months.  The two plan a rendezvous, as her new boyfriend, Aldo, is unavailable.


Ray Lindie

Some of Christy Kelly’s poems also touched on the passing of time and the past’s hold on us, notably in the form of the complex feelings involved in a child’s relationship to the father.  Kelly is working on a new book of poetry entitled Dear Father. Additionally, he is finishing a novel called Nobody Said.


Christy Kelly

Lissa Kiernan’s work also in part dealt with time’s passing.  She read three poems, a pantoum entitled “Anniversary,” a blues poem called “Icarus Blues,” and “Still Life with Irish Dirt.” The last poem can be heard set to music at Penduline Press, whose current issue features Irish writers and artists:

The audience also eagerly welcomed the latest installments of novels that have been read over the last two months at the salons.

First, John Kearns read from his novel-in-progress, Worlds.  This time the Revered Sarsfied Logan, S.J. visits the 1910 picket lines outside of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and hears Esther Rosenfeld, a young woman he had found beaten on the street and taken to the hospital, speak to the strikers.  Father Logan brings the bandaged and limping young woman for a cup of coffee among the well-heeled shoppers of the “Ladies’ Mile” of Lower Broadway.  Esther and Father Logan discuss how the priest might help the strikers’ cause and Father Logan is pleased to see the young woman devour a piece of cake she had at first refused.


John Kearns

Then Tom Mahon read the third chapter of his novel American Mastery.  The Fenton brothers meet their mentor, Mr. Keller, who’s the last manufacturer in their little upstate New York town.  The man is ill but wants to expand his business so needs to work quickly to get a loan to build bigger.  When he learns that Raymond, the older brother, knows Japanese, he asks if he’d return to Japan to find a manufacturer to build and export his thermal windows. The story takes place in 1976 between the disruptions the oil embargoes caused in 1973 and 1979.  The reading went well because the audience was so attuned.


Tom Mahon

Another standout of the night was new IAWA member and crime fiction writer Gary Cahill who read selections from two short stories set in Hell’s Kitchen.  “Rollover I.R.A.” told of past and present-day very hard men raising money for the struggle in Northern Ireland in the shadows of 42nd Street.  We also followed two loan-shark “collectors” inexorably pushing a couple of loud-mouth real estate speculators toward land’s edge on a bleak November night from “Corner of River and Rain.”  Catch Cahill in September at NY Public Library Mid-Manhattan, and in October at bar 2A and KGB Bar in the East Village.


Gary Cahill

Finally, another highlight of the evening came from Bernadette Cullen’s long poem called “When the Stars Turned Sideways.” A montage of catastrophe, some mythical and some man made, it was inspired by a class on long poems that Cullen took at Poets House. She teaches part-time at The College of New Rochelle.


Bernadette Cullen

A great night of poetry, prose, drama, and music at the blue-moon Salon!  See at the Thalia on September 3rd!

March 5, 2013

Irish History and Heritage Site “The (New) Wild Geese” Celebrates Relaunch with On-Line Event

IAW&A member Gerry Regan officially unveils  on Sat., March. 9 

An online kick-off to the St. Patrick’s Day season, the re-imagined Irish history and heritage website The Wild Geese goes live Saturday, March 9 at 9 AM (ET) as with a seven-hour digital launch party, featuring contests, prizes, online panels and an open invitation to connect, chat and collaborate with others around the world who cherish the epic history of the Irish … worldwide.

All the events of the day and benefits of the site are open to all who sign-up, for free, as Wild Geese members. Once members, they can set-up their own personal pages, begin blogging on their Irish topics of interest, create groups around their Irish passions, share videos, photos, and music, or join existing groups that match their interests.

new look and social sharing functions highlight

new look and social sharing functions highlight

On “Launch Day,” members will participate in live panel discussions and Q & A with subject-matter experts and devotees, covering the wide breadth of The Wild Geese’s content, with six sessions, focused on travel, cooking, genealogy, the legacies of Ireland’s Cillini and Magadelene Laundry abuses, and the Irish who fought in America’s Civil War. The venues will include the site’s Main Chat Room and Google Hangout. (panel schedule follows)

Festivities hosted on the redesigned site will include a members-only prize drawing of Irish-themed film posters, jewelry, CDs and books every hour and contests for members that will be judged by members, including:

·  Tell Us Your Irish Story – where members post their personal takes, or stories, on epic Irish history.
·  The Irish ExperienceFreeze Frame! where members share photos they’ve shot, and voters (fellow members) acknowledge their favorite iconic images of the global Irish community among those uploaded.

Saturday’s launch is the culmination of more than 15 years of dedication to preserving, exploring and discussing the great themes of Irish history and heritage, in Ireland and among the world’s 70 million of Irish descent. The (New) Wild Geese re-emerges on Saturday with its rich historical and narrative content showcased on a sharp, contemporary-looking, easy-to-navigate site and with compelling new community and social-sharing capabilities that encourage members to research, write and broadcast articles and multimedia and post events focused on their own Irish interests to a passionate worldwide community.

“As a Wild Geese member, you’ll be able to participate in exclusive forums, video and teleconferences and other dynamic learning experiences for free, as well as enjoy concierge services connecting you to heritage products, events and services to best fit your needs,” Executive Producer Gerry Regan said. “As Heritage Partners, marketers will be engaging the true faithful, the masses who’ve never stopped believing that the Irish story, including their own, remains epic in scale.”

“Join us in supporting the preservation of Irish heritage worldwide by adding your voice to the growing number within The Wild Geese community,” he added.

Recap: The (New) Wild Geese Online Launch Party, Sat, Mar. 9, 9AM to 4PM (ET). Become a member for no charge at to join the festivities.

Panel discussion schedule (all times ET):

  • 9 AM: “Travel Hag” blogger, author, tour guide Mindie Burgoyne fields questions about Irish travel and the “Thin Places” in Ireland where our world intersects with ‘the other.’
  • 10 AM: Dublin-based genealogist Nicola Morris focuses on researching your Irish family history.
  • 11 AM: Bloggers and Irish cooking devotees Mairead Geary aka “Irish American Mom” and WG’s own Maryann Tracy will field discussion of Irish cooking, traditional and otherwise.
  • NOON: Ireland-based author & archaeologist Damian Shiels, writer & WG Associate Editor Robbie Doyle and WG Editor at Large Liam Murphy field questions on the Irish in America’s Civil War.
  • 2 PM: Archaeologist Toni McGuire, Magdalene activist Mari Steed and WG Preservation Editor will discuss the Legacy of Ireland’s Cillini and Magdalene Laundries.
  • 3 PM: Our final panel of the day, headed by William Patterson University’s Richard Kearney, will focus on The Dublin Lockout and leading Irish activists in the American labor movement.

Background on The Wild Geese
Year of Launch: 1997
Mission: Every day, with the help of  members, readers, and Irish Heritage Partners, The Wild Geese explores, promotes, preserves, and celebrates the epic heritage of the Irish around the world — through compelling content, evolving technologies, a dynamic community, and collaborative marketing connections.
Namesake: Those 12,000 Irish soldiers, families in tow, coerced into emigrating in the aftermath of the 1691 Treaty of Limerick. Many of these “Wild Geese” rose to prominence in armies and navies throughout the world. Though some would get another chance to strike a blow for Ireland, they were truly, as poet Emily Lawless said, “Fighters in every clime — Every cause but our own.”
Best Read Interviews: 2007 Q&A with indie film director Ken Loach (“Hidden Agenda,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”); The Wolfe Tones’ Derek Warfield (2003), Black 47 front man Larry Kirwan (2006), and former Boston College Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney (2011).
Number of Articles Online: 700+, a number increasing weekly.
‘Best’ Plug: Wall Street Journal “Best Pick” (2003) “for serious fans of Ireland’s contribution to world culture.”
Most Commented-On Series: ‘One Love: The Black Irish of Jamaica” (2003), by Rob Mullally
Co-Founders: Irish-Americans Gerry Regan and Joe Gannon
Slogan: “Exploring, Promoting, Preserving and Celebrating the Epic Heritage of the Irish … Worldwide”

For updates on the launch event, please go to
Contact Information:

February 22, 2013

IAW&A Sponsors “Focus on Ireland and the Women Who Call the Shots”

By Maura Kelly

Over the past 20 years Ireland has played host to a number of very successful international productions from Saving Private Ryan to Harry Potter.  In the last five years alone, Ireland has become a key destination for TV dramas –Games of Thrones, The TudorsThe Borgias to the new VIKINGS on the History Channel.

Photo info -Gabriel Byrne as Earl Haraldson and Jessalyn Gilsig as his wife, Siggy. VIKINGS, History Channel 3/3/13

With this as the backstory, I created Focus on Ireland and the Women Who Call the Shots. I have been involved in New York Women in Film and TV for many years and regularly produce interactive events for the 2000 plus member organization. I am also a member, since its inception, of IAW&A. This event is an opportunity to bring two creative organizations together and explore Ireland’s evolving Film and TV industry; and the women who create compelling programs for screens worldwide. With March being Women’s History Month and also, Irish American Heritage Month, it is a perfect time to shine a spotlight on the players and the country.  The esteemed panel of women I’ve assembled will discuss HOW they do it and WHAT role Ireland plays.  We’ll explore international co-productions and review what Ireland offers with tax incentives, talent and geography.

Focus on Ireland and the Women Who Call the Shots–

March 4th at NYU (20 Cooper Square -7th FL at 6:30 pm)

To register, click  HERE. The special IAW&A member rate is $15.00.

To send in questions in advance email 

The panelists include:

Lelia Doolan is a producer and director who has worked in various roles in Irish TV, film and theatre for the past 40 years. Her recent documentary Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey is the story of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, a formidable figure in the Irish civil rights movement. Doolan is a former artistic director of the acclaimed Abbey Theatre, founder of the Galway Film Festival, and was the first woman chairperson of the Irish Film Board. She received a PhD in Anthropology from Queens University, Belfast, and has taught community video and adult education in Belfast.

Sheila Hockin is an executive producer on Vikings, the first scripted one-hour drama series for History Channel, and MGM, shot In Ireland. She is also executive producer on The Borgias for Showtime, now in its third season. Experienced in international co-productions and formats, Hockin’s past drama work also includes four seasons of the international co-production The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, also shot in Ireland. All three drama TV series are Irish /Canadian co-productions. She also EP’ed five seasons of the ground-breaking Showtime series Queer as Folk.

Hilary Kehoe is a production executive and coordinator who has worked on major films and TV series in Ireland and the U.S. For six years she worked at Samson Films/Accomplice TV in Dublin with David Collins. Since moving to New York in 2006, she has worked on My Super Ex-Girlfriend and I Am Legend, and has looked after the production needs of the cast and crew on Ugly Betty, Blue Bloods and most recently, Michael J. Fox’s new venture for Sony/NBC, The Henrys, airing fall 2013.

Naomi Sheridan is a film and television screenwriter. One of her first screenplays In America was co-written with her father, Jim, and sister, Kirsten. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a WGA award. It won the Critics Choice award and the National Board of Review award. Sheridan’s upcoming projects include an adaptation of the acclaimed novel Galway Bay, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Rose Madder, and Thirty Eight, an original screenplay which she has written with the support of the Irish Film Board.

Moderator Maura Kelly is an Emmy-winning producer and marketing executive. From developing kids transmedia projects to producing television broadcasts, Maura  has built a rich media career. She has been a TV executive producer, director of marketing, journalist, adjunct professor, and is now principle of Purple Mountain Media. A former executive producer at (WNET) PBS for over 15 years, she developed and produced award-winning programs for a family audience, including Planet H2O with America Ferrera, ZOOM, Close to Home with Bill Moyers, and MythQuest. She is a member of WGA East

Produced by Maura Kelly and Marcia Rock/ NYU – to register go to

January 7, 2013

Larry Kirwan on the IAW&A Salons

Filed under: Film,Music,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 5:29 pm
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IAW&A Salons

The IAW&A salons will resume in 2013 on Tuesday January 8 at The Thalia, 2537 Broadway (96th St), NYC and on Tuesday January 22 at The Cell, 338 W. 23rd Street (between 8/9 avenues), NYC. Both will begin at 7pm sharp.

I was in attendance at the most recent Cell salon on Dec. 18th and was astounded by the sheer breadth of talent. What had begun as a simple reading series has now grown into a dizzying artistic experience that encompasses prose, poetry, theatre, performance art, music, song and dance. The ingenuity and innovation of our member/presenters never faltered and I was not alone in feeling that our salons provide some of the most entertaining evenings in town – and with no admission charge. It was standing room only on Dec. 18th and I have no doubt that soon enough we’ll be taking reservations for attendance.

I might also add that the atmosphere is so warm and nurturing and quite unlike any other I’ve witnessed in NYC or anywhere else for that matter. Much thanks to Nancy Manocherian and Kira Simring of The Cell for providing us with this wonderful theatrical space.

For those who wish to present on either Jan. 8th or 22nd, please drop a line to I’ll personally be back at the Cell on Jan. 22nd. I’m sure other members of the board will be enjoying the salon at the Thalia on January 8th.
Musicians & singer_WREN_DAY
Meanwhile, out in New Jersey, IAW&A member, Mike Farragher, has initiated a salon at the Irish American Cultural Institute, One Lackawanna Place, Morristown, NJ 07960 that has been attracting a stellar collection of writers, musicians, poets and dancers. The next gathering will be Thursday, Jan. 31st at 7pm when among the highlights Mike and John Liam Shea will read from their soon-to-be-published books.

For more info on the NJ salons contact Mike Farragher at:


Larry Kirwan


November 15, 2012

SRO for IAW&A Salon at the Thalia!

Filed under: Events,Film,Music,Television,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
by Charles R. Hale
One of the outgrowths and benefits of  the Irish American Writers & Artists’ salons has been an increasing number of collaborative efforts among its members.  Before a jam-packed, standing-room-only crowd at the Thalia Cafe, four members–two writers and two singers–provided perfect examples of this trend. 
Sarah Fearon
Inspired by a New York Times story about the Brooklyn apartment where she grew up, Karen Daly presented an evocative tribute to her grandmother, which brought tears to the eyes of at least one man in the room.  In “Mama’s Window,” she pictured her grandmother keeping watch on her from a building on Lincoln Place, and showed how the little girl would come to resemble her grandmother in so many ways.
Knowing the barest facts about the O’Connor family of Rector Street, New York, Karen wonders how their daughter became a woman of such dignity and fierce resolve. Like many Irish family stories, theirs had sadness and secrets and great love.
Karen movingly described her grandparents’ marriage and her grandmother’s desolation at her husband’s death. The emotion was perfectly expressed when singer Jack Di Monte surprised the room with a beautiful rendition of Irving Berlin’s “When I Lost You.” This seamless collaboration resulted from a chat at the prior salon. This was Jack’s first performance at a salon, but we learned that he sings at the Thalia on Monday nights.  We look forward to hearing more of Jack’s great voice, and more about Karen’s family.
We’ve heard Maura Mulligan read passages from her engaging memoir, Call of the Lark. Maura showed her true roots as a storyteller when she stood and recounted the night she left her home in County Mayo for America She movingly evoked the Ireland of her childhood in images of the turf fire, the boxty and butter-making. 
Maura Mulligan
When the neighbors come to bid farewell, they take turns churning the butter, a custom said to bring good luck to all in her thatched cottage.  Maura wonders  “Would that include me as well since I was to leave the following morning”?  Through the kitchen window young Maura sees “the rising of the full May moon as it climbs over the hill near the Well Field, where the fairy bush stands alone.”
Member Kathy Callahan said, “While listening to Maura tell her story I became so totally immersed in the rhythm of her voice and visual imagery that I lost track of time and place.”
John Kearns read two poems based on poetic passages in his novel-in-progress, Worlds. The first, “From the Brooklyn Bridge,” is a meditation upon immigration and on similarities between the Brooklyn Bridge and other sites in the New World to sacred sites in the ancient Celtic world.  In the second, “Seamus Logan’s Passage to the New World,” Seamus is in steerage between the Old World and the New World, telling a story of his wanderings through Mayo and Connemara and his other worldly vision of an abandoned village’s coming to life and being destroyed by the Great Hunger. 
Sarah Fearon work-shopped some new comedy material. Some of her ideas included, dealing with the beginning of the end of the world, and getting old.  Sarah also riffed on thinking outside the box before we wind up inside the box, the theory on identifying if you’re economically one of the 99% or 1%, and a new discovery revealed from Jesus’ shroud which seems to be examined far too often, which suggests that God was originally from New York. And my favorite, Sarah wondered why doctors ask us “What are we doing here today?” From the crowd’s response a good percentage of Sarah’s material is worth developing.
Guenevere Donohue
“This is for you all, an artist’s voice, but really a writer’s voice.” Playwright, actress and singer, Guenevere Donohue gave the Writers & Artists a vocal gift, a soulful sweet song, an original composition of melody to Charles Bukowski’s poem, “Bluebird.”  Guen’s open-hearted, tender take on the infamous Charles B was a great way to end the first half of the evening.
Jim Rodgers read an excerpt from his novel, Long Night’s End. His protagonist, Johnny Gunn, stands at his friend Jimmy’s wake at Lynch’s funeral parlor and the reader is brought into Johnny’s private thoughts– thoughts filled with sadness, bitterness, and rage at his friend’s tragic death. At the same time, we witness the characters of the story being weaved into the scene, highlighting the incomprehensible loss to Jimmy’s wife, Sunnyside, and his fellow New York City firemen. A strong and visceral end to Jimmy’s battle with the demons who had haunted him since that sunny day. 
Our thoughts went to the victims of hurricane Sandy when Maureen Hossbacher read a poignant excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March.  The excerpt, set in Rockaway Beach of the 1950’s, at the end of summer, after a hurricane,   introduced us to Nance Moran,  a young girl wrangling with the dissonance between sexuality and Catholicism. No doubt many in the captivated audience could relate to similar childhood awakenings and dilemmas. 
Malachy McCourt
Popular salon presenter, Tom Mahon, read a section of a children’s short story about a horse and a boy in upstate NY. The boy is out riding and discovers two hunters in his family’s woods, and boldly but cleverly gets them to leave. While raising his son, Tom discovered the shortage of good stories for boys that does not exist for girls. Tom mentioned that he’d like to work on remedying that shortage. 
Malachy McCourt closed the evening with a personal essay that dealt with the damage death does to familial relations and how death arouses sub-conscious anger toward the deceased. “We have no recourse or ability to settle matters when some one buggers off and dies leaving stuff undone,” Malachy said.  Fittingly, Malachy ended the evening with a song ” Isn’t it Grand Boys to be Bloody Well Dead”  After the applause and cheers subsided, Malachy called out “Great night !” And it was. 
For more about the Irish American Artists and Writers contact Charles R. Hale at

November 13, 2012

The (New) Wild Geese Takes Wing on Crowdfunding Campaign

Finding a financial support for projects, albums, films, festivals, plays and more is increasingly challenging.  IAW&A member Gerry Regan took on that challenge when he decided to revamp his popular website on “Irish Heritage Worldwide,” deciding to seek support from friends and fans through a 30-day campaign in Crowdfunding.  Here’s the sory in Q&A form:

Soaring With The Wild Geese: Q&A With Gerry Regan

Gerry Regan

On our 15th anniversary as a leading destination for those passionate about the history and heritage of the Irish everywhere,The Wild Geese is at a crossroads. Our team has recommitted itself to our mission, “to explore, promote, preserve and celebrate the heritage of the Irish … worldwide.” But to accomplish this, we realize we need more resources, and we need to increasingly incorporate the voices of the Diaspora with ours. So, on the verge of a brave new world for The Wild Geese, our Associate Producer, Tiffany Silverberg, posed to co-founder Gerry Regan questions about the venture’s past, present and future, and how we are dramatically turning to those Irish worldwide who, with us, want to insure Irish heritage remains ‘green,’ in the words of William Butler Yeats, “wherever green is worn.”

How did The Wild Geese come about?

Gerry Regan (right) and Joe
Gannon (left) at the 1992 St.
Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.

The Wild Geese started 15 years ago this month, in fact, when Joe Gannon, Micah Chandler and I, three huge history buffs and fellow Civil War ‘living historians,’ searched for “Irish History” online and found very little. A few months earlier, we had formed GAR Media with the goal of “Forging New Frontiers for the Past.” This largely unexplored Irish focus seemed a good fit, so we launched The Wild Geese, then known as The Wild Geese Today. This big anniversary seems like auspicious time to revamp the site.

Micah, our graphic designer, left in 1998, but Joe and I pressed on. We remain passionate about the drama of history, the stories of history, and military history, where the stakes were immense. We found that Ireland’s centuries-long struggle to gain sovereignty from one of the world’s foremost powers was among the most dramatic we’d encountered. And with millions of emigrants worldwide, we came to see the outsized impact the Irish had on the world. With these insights, we set about “Chronicling the Epic History of the Irish Worldwide.”
Keeping it simple, we were about sharing this history, not revenue. Fifteen years, 700-plus articles, drawing 1,100 visits and more than 2,000 page views daily – not bad considering we spent a pittance on marketing.
So why change tracks now, 15 years in, with a new business strategy?
We came to realize our limitations in fully exploring Irish history. Think about it – hundreds, perhaps thousands, of traditional and folk tunes recorded and packaged each year by consummate, passionate artists, on several continents. The same with books about the Irish experience around the world. Irish studies programs springing up in universities. A huge literary and artistic milieu, spoken word, theatre, filmmaking, dance, visual arts, sculpture, all interpreting and exploring the Irish experience through centuries, millennia in many cases.
     Gerry Regan, far right, with Trinity College
classmates in TCD’s Buttery Bar in
November 1973.

This is a big Irish world. Much of it is not readily accessible to most of us, who find some info on one site, some on Facebook, and some offline.

We thought: Why not create a community of people and organizations devoted to exploring and celebrating the heritage of the Irish worldwide — a place where each of us can bring our own Irish stories and connect with those from around the world with particular expertise to share, as we share what we know best, our own stories. It will be a dynamic place where we are all, together, pushing the boundaries of what we’ve come to know about the Irish experience worldwide.
We also want The Wild Geese, going forward, to play a vital role in preserving Irish heritage “wherever green is worn,” wherever it faces becoming irrelevant.
We can’t accomplish that without a profit — to allow us to keep our focus, day in and day out; to pay writers, artists, photographers and producers; to underwrite research; to create new online platforms to take advantage of technological advances; to gain new audiences for this culture and ultimately to create a worldwide community of those committed to our mission, whether they be individuals or our Heritage Partners, marketers who like us remain passionate about the Irish brand worldwide.
So what is The Wild Geese crowdfunding campaign?
The crowdfunding campaign is how we will raise the funds we need to better serve our constituency and our focus — the heritage of the Irish worldwide.
We still use the same hand-coded HTML on our site as we did 15 years ago. Our navigation is not intuitive, nor user-friendly. Our site taxonomy, intended to help one find one’s way through 700 features, is confusing, even to us. To carry out our mission, we need a newly designed site, one that allows speedy updating, that allows visitors ready access to precisely the information they want or need, and that helps us connect our Heritage Partners with our readers and members.
We need page design and functionality that allow readers to share articles and information quickly, via social media, pages that carry our partners’ marketing messages and professionally written and edited content that speaks powerfully of the Irish and their exploits around the world. We need a smarter taxonomy, using channels and search engines, to explore in a more thorough, user-friendly manner the arts, folklore, genealogy, living history, military history, freedom struggle, foreign climes, travel, Gaeilge, accomplishments in labor, law, government, technology, science, poetry, on and on.
Most of all though, we need a full-featured online community alongside the newly designed web site – a place where our members, the Irish diaspora around the globe, can share their stories, connect with their heritage, and explore their history. And a place, as well, where marketers who share our passion and our mission can connect with us naturally.
These require money, and further, support, both from our many fans and from Heritage Partners who believe in what we are trying to accomplish. Our upcoming crowdfunding campaign allows members to show their support for what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we will all accomplish together with the new features. Heritage Partners have stepped up to offer the best of their products and services as perks to those who support us in this campaign with donations at any and all levels.
Why should devotees of Irish culture worldwide get involved now?
For many years we’ve presented stories of the Irish, worldwide, with looks at the culture fostered by the Diaspora, as our time and resources allowed. We’ve had a largely one-way conversation, though. We spoke to you. To explore and celebrate our heritage worldwide, we need more. Simply put, we need you. In this campaign, we need your support, and with our new platforms your dollars will help fund your voice and your unique, poignant, humorous Irish stories and perspectives.
How will the energy of the campaign continue into The New Wild Geese?
We are humbled and gratified, but frankly not surprised, to find such enthusiasm for our mission from Heritage Partners. With the help of your donation, in early January, we will launch our newly designed public site, along with The New Wild Geese community. We are already planning new content, such as editorial cartoons, op-ed pages, expanded travel coverage, and launch of nine channels and dozens of sub-channels, along with The Wild Geese Directory of Irish Heritage and Hospitality Network. I direct you to the full list of benefits we envision from their support, listed after this interview.
So many individuals, even many Irish Americans, don’t look back. What draws you and your colleagues to focus on Irish heritage?
For us, The Wild Geese continues to be about two things: exploring and presenting the dramatic and often transformative stories of our ancestors, and finally, the drive to find, and reconnect, to our roots. These will continue to inspire and inform us as we move forward.
One of the most satisfying aspects of my work producing The Wild Geese all these years has been the thanks we’ve received from individuals who credit us with helping them reconnect to their roots, to their kith and kin, to Mother Ireland herself.
My Irish-American mother relinquished me for adoption within a week of my birth, and I find myself particularly moved by such comments as this from Michael Patrick Fleming, writing us a decade ago: “Hello, was surfing the web and found your site. I am an Irish American / Catholic / and living in exile. My mother was born in Dublin, and died while giving birth to me. I would be honored to be associated with an Irish group online like yours.” Or this comment from Runnel Riley: “I am an Irish-American, who thoroughly enjoyed your web page. Thank you for helping us remember who we are.”
Michael, Runnell, and everyone else out there finding themselves overcome with sadness when contemplating the emigrant’s trail of tears, or thrilled by narratives of the Irish struggle for nationhood, this campaign is, above all, for you. We need your support and ask for it now. Go raibh maith agat. (Thank you.)
To see The Wild Geese crowdfunding campaign page, go to

October 26, 2012

“Fireworks” at Salon at the Cell

“The whole night was like fireworks,” playwright Janet Noble said of Tuesday night’s IAW&A’s Salon at The Cell.  The perfect blend of presentations and talents made for an electric evening. There were two singers, three one-person acts that included music, two films, a scene from a play and four writers reading their works. It would be hard to pick the evening’s highlight but Janet’s play,  Hello, Mr. Chops, was certainly a candidate.  The one act play was given an hilarious reading by, as Janet calls them, “two gorgeous actors,” Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell. It was brilliant and as Janet added, “Completely unrehearsed.” Bravo!
Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell
Singer/songwriter Tara O’Grady opened the evening performing a melancholic tune called, “An Cuileann Sul Glas” (The Green Eyed Girl). Tara was recently introduced to her ninety-five year old cousin, Packie Moore, the author of thousands of tunes and stories, and her lyrics tell the story of his secret…marrying a Protestant girl in England. Eventually Packie was faced with a harsh dilemma: Which funeral does he attend when his wife and his father die on the same day?  “This but begins the woe, a modern Irish Romeo. Deny thy father, oh he could not.” The songwriting skills are obviously in the blood.
Charles R. Hale presented a film created by Lucy Mathews Heegaard and Charles called Judy Collins: A Life in Music and Video, which  which was debuted at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event last week. I told of my “creative process,” how I likened my work to a four movement classical symphony and how the “movement” of the images in the last section of the video called “Peace” were inspired by the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony., Charles noted that mentioning Beethoven and him in the same breath might be a stretch, so, as he said, “Go ahead, sue me.” 
Guenevere Donohue
Guen Donohue once again combined her acting, singing and writing talents in a performance from her stage piece, Killer is my Name. Beginning with a haunting Irish funeral dirge known as keening, she then stood on a table and improvised her father’s time spent walking the beams while building the WTC.  As she balanced “on the beam” she told of her father’s lost friends who “took the fall” as well as those who inhaled the asbestos, pronouncing that the buildings had taken lives before it had even been built. Her finale was an original song, “Revered,” yet another haunting vocal performance, weaving together the grandness and melancholy of the WTC experience in the Sean Nos tradition. Poignant, beautiful, cathartic.
Brendan Connellan jumped up and told a fast paced tale of unhealthy addiction, frantic flirtation, tottering self regard, Burgerking bags of cash  and sorry and abrupt endings, taken from his Wall Street dark comic novel-in-progress, Trading Ninja
Cathy Maguire
First time presenter, Cathy Maguire, brought her guitar and sang two beautiful tunes. One, “Portrait” is also the title tune of her recently released CD and tells the story of the songwriter looking at a very old and worn wedding photo and wondering how their lives turned out. It was a great treat hearing this talented singer who was warmly received by salon crowd. 
Kevin R.McPartland began the second half of the evening reading a short passage from his soon to be released novel Brownstone Dreams. Kevin describes the protagonist Bobby Dutton’s sad reflections at his grandfather’ s wake. Kevin also announced a slight delay in the release of his book by Boann Books & Media due to a glitch in the book jacket design and a final edit. Kevin is now anticipating a launch in the early spring.
Seamus Scanlon read from his highly regarded new collection As Close As You’ll Ever Be.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Mysterious Bookshop, Centre for Fiction, City College Bookstore and direct from Seamus (
Malachy McCourt rounded out this dynamic evening with a few fine words and a stirring rendition of “Go, Lassie Go.” A perfect ending to the perfect event.
For more on the Irish American Writers and Artists or their salons, contact Charles R.  Salons are normally the first and third Tuesday of each month; however, the next salon will be on the second Tuesday of the month, Nov. 13, 7PM at the Thalia Cafe at 95th and Broadway. 
Photos by Cathleen “Cat” Dwyer
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