Irish American Writers & Artists

March 22, 2016

3.15.16 IAW&A Salon: A grand event full of hilarity, poignancy and authentic Irish voices

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:22 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer 

No foreboding at the IAW&A Salon at the Cell on the Ides of March!

In the spirit of the month-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration, we had tremendous good cheer and our hallmark mix of talent and genres. We had music from history and new music and humor that was broad as well as humor that was black. And scenes from two plays, stories, fiction, memoir and, of course, poetry and song.

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IAW&A’s award for Organization of the Year from the Irish American Heritage Committee of the NYC Board of Education

The month of April will see many celebrations in remembrance of the Easter Rising of 1916. Salon producer and host John Kearns announced that the April Salon at the Cell will be built around 1916, and on Sunday, April 24, IAW&A will be part of the Irish American arts community event at Pier A Harbor House on the Battery. Details will be posted on https://www.facebook.com/IrishAmericanWritersAndArtistsInc  and in our IAW&A Weekly, iawaweekly@gmail.com

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Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill returned to Salon action with the short story “For Richer, For Poorer,” a departure from the mysteries he often does. Gary first presented it at the Bergen County New Jersey Irish Festival last June. A Robin Hood priest is in over his head with gambling debts, but friends do the right thing and bail him out. The action takes place during the May 2015 weekend when Ireland stuns the world and votes to legalize same-sex marriage. As Gary likes to say, “antics ensue.” Welcome back, Gary.

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Derek Murphy

Dublin-born playwright Derek Murphy presented another darkly funny scene from “Dyin’ For It.” Derek’s play is about the “extremely inappropriate grieving by the dying Wally Kelly’s wife and daughter.”

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Penny O’Brien and Karin de la Penha

Played perfectly by Karin de la Penha and Penny O’Brien, the women pose the big questions such as “Do we put the Christmas tree up or not?” and “Who’s dying next?” We’re eager to find out.

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Sean Carlson

With a nod to the migrant journeys of so many people today, IAW&A board member Sean Carlson shared an excerpt from his first book, a yet-untitled nonfiction narrative about emigration. Sean took us to the day his mother left home shortly before her seventeenth birthday, traveling across Ireland for the first time, boarding the ferry to Wales and arriving in London, only to realize all she had left behind. Sean’s reading tonight was made more poignant by the presence of his mother Nuala Sheehan Carlson in the audience.

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John Anthony Brennan

Armagh native John Anthony Brennan read two original poems to a rapt house. “The Poet’s Glen” pays tribute to the South Armagh Gaelic poets Art McCooey, Bard to the O’Neills, Padraig McAliondain and the outlaw poet, Seamus Mor MacMurphy. All are buried in the graveyard of Creggan Church near the family vault of seventy members of the O’Neil clan. John’s “The Poet” is a tribute to Padraig H. Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rebellion.

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David Nihill

Next, Dublin born, San Francisco resident David Nihill had us laughing in the aisles. To overcome his fear of public speaking, he decided to learn from the experts. So he left a business career to spend a year pretending to be a stand-up comedian, Irish Dave. The hilarious results of this experiment were on display tonight, and in Dave’s book, Do You Talk Funny? which is #1 in its category on Amazon. To order (and the Salon audience is likely to want to), here’s the link.

http://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Talk-Funny-Funnier/dp/1942952279/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Krista Charles and Marie Reilly

Trad music stars Marie Reilly on fiddle and Krista Charles on piano presented rare music from the South Leitrim/Longford area. They began with “Scots Measures,” followed by “McCoy’s” from Marie Reilly’s grandfather’s manuscript and “The Stafford Dance” from a Stephen Grier Manuscript dated 1883. After a set of Sligo jigs, Krista Charles played the beautifully haunting piece,“Ashokan Farewell.”  The duo finished with an uplifting reel, “The Bunch of Keys.”

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Enjoying the craic at the break

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Brian Fleming

Irish entertainer Brian Fleming comes to town for the St. Pat’s for All celebration each year and we’re glad that he includes the Salon on his busy schedule. Dedicating his performance to the #wakingthefeminsts movement in Ireland, he opened with a song, accompanying himself on the traditional Irish drum, the bodhran. Brian performed a humorous extract from Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister, one of his trilogy of shows performed in March at Under St. Mark’s. He performed that show and Have Yis No Homes To Go To at Under St. Mark’s 94 St Mark’s Place on Monday, March 21 at 7pm and 8:3o pm.

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Ray Lindie

Ray Lindie’s terrifc short story, “The Beefeater” recounts how he unknowingly met Tennessee Williams when he mixed him a Beefeater Martini at Elaine’s. When Ray started working there, he relieved the actress Elaine Stritch, who introduced her Broadway friends. Ray has more stories about the fabled joint where he worked for a time in the 60s and then in the 70s.

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Rosina Fernhoff

The inimitable Rosina Fernhoff performed a segment from Shadows, a play by her late husband Av Inlender. Shadows gives voice to Russian choreographer Nadia Arkadina’s saga of war and repression. Years of hiding, political purges and her grandmother’s cryptic messages suppress her faith as an individual and a creative spirit.

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Tom Mahon

“Death on a Beach,” a vignette from Tom Mahon’s collection, Tomorrow Never Came is based on a true story of a temporarily deranged young student who was shot and killed by police on a beach near Sydney, Australia. Tom added the dramatic twist of vacationing NYC police officers, just married, and trying to intervene by throwing sand in the assailant’s eyes. The result was tragedy for the newlyweds.

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Gordon Gilbert

Playwright, singer/songwriter, and poet Gordon Gilbert entertained tonight by reading the lyrics to two songs he composed. “Come Home” is a woman’s prayerful plea for her love to return home safe from war. Gilbert adapted music from the wonderful intricate melody of a song by Senegalese mezzo-soprano Julia Sarr. In “To Your Heart Again,” a country/western song, a rowdy, large-living man asks for another chance, having wronged the woman he loves.

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John Kearns

Once again John Kearns was thrilled to have Rosina Fernhoff bring to life a new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Picking up from the passage Rosina read last month at the Cell, the excerpt has James Logan reflecting on the life he is leaving behind in 1882 New York City and the new life he is going to begin in Philadelphia.  As the ferry takes James from Manhattan to the Hoboken train station, James remembers the horrors he has seen in New York’s Five Points and knows he will not miss them. Admiring the energy and agility of the American sailors on the boats around him, he sees them as “personifications of his new country and harbingers of his new life.”

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Adrianna Mateo

Adrianna Mateo, rock singer-songwriter and new-music solo violinist, concluded the night’s lineup with an acoustic performance of original songs from her upcoming debut album. Her next single, “August Sun,” will be available on iTunes, BandCamp, SoundCloud, and on social media in the end of March 2016. More about this unique talent at www.adriannamateo.co

Next salon is Thursday, April 7 at Bar Thalia at 7pm hosted by Sarah Fearon!

The April 19th Salon at the Cell will be a special event marking the 1916 centenary.  If you have 1916 material, email John Kearns at IASalon@hotmail.com.  (A few slots available.)

Also, in April 24th (sometime between 1 & 6 pm), there will be a mini-salon as part of NYC’s commemoration of the 1916 centenary on the third floor of Pier A Harbor House.  Stay tuned for details.

See you soon!

March 10, 2016

3/3/16 IAW&A Salon: Poetry, politics, and the real “New York Values”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:04 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by Tom Mahon

The first March IAW&A Salon saw the return of some old friends, featured stories with breathless endings and a few comments on the sorry state of presidential politics. Our new night at Bar Thalia, the first Thursday of the month, allowed for a relaxed atmosphere and general good cheer in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day.

Host John Kearns announced that IAW&A has been recognized as “Organization of the Year” by the Irish American Heritage & Culture Committee of the NYC Department of Education. The award will be presented on Friday, March 11, at 5pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom at 209 Joralemon Street. We’re delighted that our group, barely eight years old, has been so honored.kevin

Kevin McPartland

IAW&A Salon regular, novelist and short story writer Kevin R. McPartland kicked off the program with a continuation of his zany short story “The Cruise.” In the piece, an old school New Yorker finds himself on a cruise with a group of drunk magicians. A surprise ending, coupled with Kevin’s delivery, delighted the crowd.     eammon

Eamon Loingsigh

We welcomed the return of Eamon Loingsigh, who read from Exile on Bridge Street, the second novel of his Auld Irishtown trilogy, following the acclaimed The Light of the Diddicoy. In Exile, teenage Irish immigrant Liam Garrity struggles to adulthood in early 1900s Brooklyn, while back home, Ireland’s fight for independence erupts with the 1916 Easter Rising. We’ll hear more about Exile on Bridge Street near its pub date, scheduled for October. maura

Maura Mulligan

Frequent Salon contributor, author, teacher and dancer, Maura Mulligan gave an account of a recent visit to her sister’s grave at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorn, NY in “The Search for Mag.” She died of a stroke at a young age many years ago, leaving Maura heartbroken. At her gravesite, Maura tenderly reminisces about their childhood and updates Mag on events in her life. Maura dedicated her memoir, Call of the Lark to her. www.mauramulligan.com
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John Anthony Brennan

John Anthony Brennan’s first book, Don’t Die with Regrets, won the prestigious 2015 “Next Generation Indie Book Award.” His second, The Journey: A Nomad Reflects was published in October 2015. Tonight, with his Armagh tones, he gave life to three poems: “The Rhythm of Time” by Bobby Sands, “Requiem for the Croppies” by Seamus Heaney, and John’s own composition “The Singing Bones.” callaghan

Jim Callaghan

Jim Callaghan’s “New York Values” offered a powerful rebuke to Ted Cruz’s famous insult. He argued that we New Yorkers know exactly what Cruz meant— the various ethnic and religious groups and so many others that make New York work. Jim described how New York led the way, long before the Bill of Rights, in establishing freedom of speech (1734), freedom of religion (1707) and later in women’s rights at the Seneca Falls convention (1848). Jim concluded, “Despite our reputation as a contentious lot, we get along by being respectful and in keeping the immigrant dream alive for those who came before us and who still see New York as the place to fulfill their dreams.”

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Jack Di Monte

In another nod to the political season at hand and the imminent Ides of March, Jack Di Monte delivered an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Jack showed another of his many talents with his portrayal of Cassius’ first overture to Brutus as he tested his tolerance of the emperor’s arrogant power-grab.gilbert.JPG

Gordon A. Gilbert

Gordon A. Gilbert is re-working the script for his play, Monologues from the Old Folks Home, and plans to produce it for the 7th time this spring. He performed monologues from the play, including a sharp piece about outsourcing the duties of attending to a loved one’s death. jk

John Kearns

John Kearns dedicated his reading to Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay whose long struggle has finally helped make the St. Patrick’s Day Parade more inclusive. To that end, he chose monologues from his play, In the Wilderness, about a South Bronx Catholic girls’ school in the 1980s. In the monologues, teachers and students give their perspectives on the myth of Sisyphus who was condemned for all eternity to push a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll down again brent

Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer presented a short story in the voice of an addled woman from Queens, a communicant at St. Joan of Arc parish. Brent claims that he “publishes short things in obscure places.” inthefrontrowonthedole.blogspot.comthom

Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux is an actor, director, playwright and a semi-regular at our IAW&A Salons. Tonight he read his timely new short play, White Cop/Black Kid in public for the first time. Thom was thrilled by the audience reaction, “…better than he even dreamed and wished for…”

His experience reminds him how valuable the attentive IAW&A Salon is for himself and other artists.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon has been reading from his collection of vignettes called Delusions. Tonight he read “A Cosby” with his usual dramatic flair.guen

Guenevere Donohue

Multi-talented Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt of her solo show, Killer Is My Name. This section featured a snowy Sunday, uncovered secret poetry and Guen’s original composition, “The Evolution Song.”  malachy

Malachy McCourt

No one tells it like Malachy McCourt, and he closed our night with his unadulterated opinions on the recent death of Antonin Scalia, on other political figures, on St. Patrick, and closed with the soulful “The Foggy Dew.”

Val Cooke, Brendan Costello, Mark Butler and John Brennan, and Karen Daly enjoying the salon!

See you next time, 3/15 at the Cell, 7pm!

 

 

 

March 1, 2016

2/26 IAW&A Road Salon at Molloy College

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:25 pm

Photos by Tom Mahon

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Catherine Tully Muscente, Director, Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College welcomed artists and audience

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John Brennan read about the writer’s need to write

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Karen Daly read about growing up in Brooklyn (Photo John Brennan)

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Tom Mahon read a story about a run-in with Homeland Security (Photo John Brennan)

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Jack O’Connell performed a monologue and recited two poems

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Marie Reilly on fiddle 

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Krista Charles on piano

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Full house at Molloy

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Tom Phelan read from The Canal Bridge

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John Kearns read from Dreams and Dull Realities

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Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt from Killer Is My Name

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Marie Reilly and Krista Charles concluded the salon

More fun at Molloy:

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Val enjoys the salon

fun2 Nancy Oda traveled to Rockville Centre for the salon

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February 26, 2016

2.16.16 IAW&A SALON: Tales of love, sex, and NY Irish Childhoods

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:22 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by Tom Mahon

 The Valentine’s Day spirit may have still been in the air at the IAW&A Salon at The Cell, where we had fictional and dramatic pieces that dealt with matters of love and sex. We also had reflections on growing up in New York Irish neighborhoods; trad music; great storytelling; a stirring new song; and the debut of an assured new talent.

Some members have events next week that are highlighted here in bold. Go and support their work.

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Playwright Sheila Walsh and Tom Mahon performed Sheila’s play-in-progress, When Love Comes Tumbling Down, in which a daughter’s wedding announcement exposes the regrets and longings in her parents’ long marriage. Done with wit, drama and soundtrack!

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First time presenter Judith Glynn read a powerful personal essay, “My Father’s Forgotten Grave” that described her search for a grave never visited. She revealed that alcoholism overtook her father, resulting in neglect and a poverty-stricken childhood. Only in Judith’s later years as a fulfilled and successful woman does she want to thank her father for her life and absolve him graveside for his unintended abandonment. See Judith’s travel articles and books at www.judithglynn.com.

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Journalist and playwright, (his Stoopdreamer played at The Cell to great acclaim), Pat Fenton brought us back with him to 1950s Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn with “Still the Same.” After being part of a teenage gang war, Pat concludes that he was influenced more by the innocence of the neighborhood than the violence.

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Actor Rosina Fernhoff chose a monologue from Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine, a play about gender confusion and change and matters pertaining to sex and time. She delivered a witty and sly portrayal of a young woman’s sexual discovery.

On Thursday, 3/3, Rosina will be in The Piano Teacher at St. Malachy, the Actors Chapel at 239 West 49th Street between Broadway and 8th Ave. It’s at 7:30pm, and it’s free.

IMG_9169IMG_9166 Sex was also the subject, or perhaps the non-subject of Kathleen O’Sullivan’s chapter from her memoir Isham Street, because she learned that her family would do anything to avoid the topic. When her inquiry about where babies came from was met with misinformation, the child spent her time wondering what life would be like if another family had bought her at the hospital first.  After much analysis – and charming drawings – she was relieved that the O’Sullivan’s got to the hospital first and bought her. Kathleen presented the chapter as an iMovie video with illustrations and voice-over narration.

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Trad music star/expert Don Meade performed several tunes. On octave harmonica, he played “The Road to the Isles” and “The Galop” both from Tom Doherty, a Donegal melodeon player and regular at the Eagle Tavern in the 1980s. Don sang “You Rambling Boys of Pleasure,” from Co. Antrim singer Robert Cinnamond. He ended with a slow air “An Binsin Luachra” and reel, “The Volunteer” on a chromatic harmonica, in memory of Sandy Boyer. Follow Don at www.blarneystar.com and join his sessions at the Landmark Tavern on Monday nights.

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Do you remember Grandpa Al Lewis from The Munsters? John McDonagh revealed that Lewis was an Irish Republican and he talked about their time together as WBAI radio hosts. In another funny bit, John also showed a video clip of himself calling in from his Yellow cab to legendary radio host Bob Fass about what was happening in the city in the wee small hours. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hnTTutCH0

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In Tom Mahon’s story “First Date,” a future power couple have already fallen in love via Skype, but have been too busy to meet until tonight. They’re both very tall, and played basketball in college and work in New York. The woman arrives late, and takes four phone calls, until finally the man leaves the table. When he returns, he asks her to marry him. Lest you think this is a happy ending, Tom has a new version in which the man doesn’t return.

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In Maureen Hossbacher’s piece, “Telling Stories,” a young girl at her father’s wake recalls his flair for storytelling, especially his tales of ghosts and banshees and other typically Irish malarky that makes light of death. The tale was enhanced by Maureen’s lilting reading.

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Seamus Scanlon read a flash fiction piece called “The Kray Twins” about the famous criminals.

On Wednesday, 3/2 at 6:00 pm, Seamus’ one act play “The Long Wet Grass will be at the Center for Worker Education (City College) 25 Broadway (1 train to Rector, 4/5 to Bowling Green). Free and open to the public. ID needed.

http://www.tribecatrib.com/content/cell-one-act-play-seamus-scanlon

Salon producer and the night’s host John Kearns was thrilled to hear Rosina Fernhoff bring to life his latest excerpt from his novel in progress Worlds. In the excerpt, Logan family patriarch, James, stands at the stern of a Hudson-River ferry, reflecting about the new phase of his life that is about to begin.  As he embarks upon his move from 1880s New York to Philadelphia, he looks back at the city that has been his first home in the New World and forward to the city his friend has recommended.

On Wednesday, Mar 3/2 at 6:30 pm John will be giving a talkback on Sean O’Casey and his times after a reading of  “A Pound On Demand” and “Bedtime Story” at the Mid-Manhattan Library.

https://www.evensi.us/an-evening-of-ocasey-mid-manhattan-library/170928295

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Guenevere Donohue gifted us with two folk songs to close out the evening. She debuted a brand new composition created in celebration of the Easter Rising, “The Spirit Rises.” Two lines from the chorus of this tribute:

And if the children remember
The spirit will stay

Then, with a dedication to Sandy Boyer, Guen sang Brendan Behan’s “The Old Triangle” with us joining on the chorus.

Don’t forget our March date at Bar Thalia, on Thursday, March 3rd.

February 16, 2016

2/3/16 IAW&A Salon: Postcards, Sheep, Faeries, and Something for Everyone

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:21 am

By Mark William Butler
Photos by Kevin McPartland

It was business as usual at the Irish American Writers & Artists Salon at Bar Thalia on Tuesday February 3rd, when the topics included postcards, sheep, Celtic faeries, dunce caps, James Dean, St. Grace’s Day, finger snapping, and the inherent humor of male genitalia – a little something for everyone, as it were.

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Andrew Byrne, Artistic Director of Symphony Space

John Kearns got things rolling by introducing special guest Andrew Byrne, the Artistic Director of Symphony Space, who dropped by to say hello and offer words of encouragement to the IAW&A, which he called “a member of the Symphony Space family.”

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John Kearns

John then read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, about Seamus Logan’s arrival in the New World in the late 19th century.  Wandering the streets of Lower Manhattan after getting off of the boat at South Street Seaport, Seamus finds his way to Saint James’s Church near Chatham Square.  After saying a few decades of the rosary, Seamus meets the church’s cleaning lady who is also from Mayo, tells her his name is James, and accepts a room in her nearby boarding house.

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Ray Lindie

Ray Lindie was up next, reading from his new play, Jimmy Dean’s Alive. The lead character, James, is enamored of James Dean, and often thinks of himself as Dean, an escape mechanism he uses to separate himself from the three women he is forced to live with: his mother, her lover (a large masculine southern lesbian), and her new found friend, a young pregnant Irish Au-Pair. As Ray so devilishly put it; “Let the games begin.”

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Rosina Fernhof

Rosina Fernhof then performed a monologue from Synge’s most beautiful play, “Riders to the Sea,” which is the story of a mother who has seen all of her sons swallowed by the sea. “They are all together now,” she laments. “The end has come.”  Tinged with bitterness but final acceptance, the monologue reflects the life of this Irish woman.

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Sean Carlson

Board member Sean Carlson shared a short story about an airport without postcards as an introduction to an essay he wrote about one of his childhood favorites (Rush Hour – Ireland) and a car-travel game it provoked. One attendee tweeted her favorite line about “traffic woes that do not implicate sheep,” and plenty of discussion followed at the bar afterwards about other memories of postcards and the past. Sean also took the opportunity to introduce a new form — available at http://bit.ly/IASalon — for anybody interested in reading or performing at future Salons.

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Sarah Fearon

Fellow board member and fearless comedian Sarah Fearon then wrapped up the first half of the evening by trying a first draft of some new comedic material. Focusing on people who drive us crazy – ranging from those who use the phrase “Full Disclosure” inappropriately to those we should be intolerant of for their intolerances – and some who narrate every train of thought they have at the expense of our sanity. Also on tap were a few inventions for an APP and a new GPS system to improve our lives. Sarah promises that her train of thought will be continued. We hope so.

After the break, and the inevitable beverages, Mr. Kearns continued the proceedings with a reminder about the St. Pat’s for All Parade fundraiser, to be held at the Irish Arts Center on Friday, March 4th from 6-10pm. The event includes a reception, music, and some literary shenanigans, with an appearance by the man himself, the legendary Malachy McCourt. Enjoy some great food at a great show for a great cause!

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Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran then delighted the crowd with her poetry, reading three pieces that all had a winter theme, and succeeded in warming up the room.

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Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. then shared a monologue based on an interview with Dr. Raymond Barfield, in which the doctor discussed children, cancer, and death. The interview appeared in the January 2016 issue of the literary magazine The Sun. He followed that up with a second monologue, “Dick”, which is part of a play Gordon himself wrote called Monologues from the Old Folks Home. The character is a World War Two veteran who chose to reside at the rest home called, “Serendipity” instead of a V.A. home, because of the larger number of women there. Most of the monologue is about his good relationship with his, well, “dick”.

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Mark Tompkins

Newcomer Mark Tompkins then read from his Irish-themed debut novel, The Last Days of Magic. The novel is being published by Penguin Random House on March 1st and his official book tour concludes at the April 7th IAW&A salon. The Last Days of Magic is an epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and traitorous faeries, mad kings and exorcists, and a broken Goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost – medieval Ireland.

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Jack DiMonte

Salon regular Jack DiMonte then treated us to a Jimmy Buffett song, “He Went To Paris”, which encapsulates one man’s story from youth in Paris to old age in Florida.  In a few minutes it has the impact of a sweeping biography as it carries the listener through the emotional highs and lows of its unnamed protagonist, hurdling across the eras of his life.

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John Paul Skocik

Closing out the show was the dynamic John Paul Skocik, who returned with three songs: “One In a Million”, piece about youth and it’s impending end; “Alien” a pretty tune (though lyrically misanthropic, as it asks why should we deal with the problems of others when we don’t want to deal with our own); and lastly “California Time,” the tale of a New York man-about-town engaging in a catch-up phone conversation with an ex currently on the west coast, only to realize (too late, of course) that he wishes that he was also in California. John continues to write but has not performed a live show in some time, something he plans to remedy soon. In the meantime, we’re always happy to have him jam with us.

We’ll see you next time – in this case on Tuesday, February 16th (7pm) at The Cell Theatre – which promises to be another celebration of words, music, and occasional nonsense.

January 27, 2016

IAW&A’s Second Salon of 2016: Enjoyable Dramas of Many Types!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:01 pm

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Drama of the good variety featured in many of the enjoyable presentations at the Irish American Writers salon at the Cell on Tuesday January 19th.

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Mark Byrne and Penny O’Brien

Kicking off the night and the drama, Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy presented the first scene from his new play, Dyin’ For It.  It starred  Mark Byrne and Penny O’Brien as estranged brother and sister dealing, rather inappropriately, with what should be some very sad news. Byrne trained with Wynn Handman in New York and at The Gaiety School and at the Samuel Beckett Centre in Dublin and has acted in New York, Dublin and Los Angelas.

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Thom Molyneaux

Next up Thom Molyneaux did not perform a play excerpt but told how his mother wrote out in longhand four copies of her”biography” for her sons. Reading from a copy, he recounted his mother’s telling of her life on a farm in Kerry. In the story a young mother, (Thom”s grandmother) overwhelmed with farm chores and the caring of her first half dozen or so children (there would be 16 in all), has her life changed by an unannounced visitor.

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Rosina Fernhoff

Adding to the drama, Rosina Fernhoff performed a monologue from the solo play, The Conversion of Alice B. Toklas by Carol Polcovar.  Alice examines her life and desire to become a Catholic at the age of 92.  She has these conversations with herself and with her great love, Gertrude Stein. And in the course of these talks, reviewing her life with Gertrude Stein, she finds her own voice…herself.

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John McDonagh

John McDonagh performed a hilarious sketch from his one man play, Cabtivist, recounting all the machinations involved in sending Christmas greetings to families of IRA prisoners on a sign in Times Square during the height of the Troubles.

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Brendan Costello

IAW&A board member Brendan Costello discussed the new online sign-up form to be used by IAW&A Salon presenters.  He also asked for news and volunteers for the IAW&A Weekly newsletter.  

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Adrianna Mateo

After some technical drama involving microphones during which Adrianna Mateo told the audience about performing on the Stephen Colbert show, Mateo read her short short stories and performed her single, “August Sun.”

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John Kearns

Just before the dramatic break (i.e. intermission), our dedicated host John Kearns read a brief excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds: part of the overture to the novel’s section focused on Greed and Charity.

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Adrianna, Rosina, Margaret McCarthy, and Kira Citron enjoy the break

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IAW&A board member Kathleeen Walsh D’Arcy has a refreshment during the break

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Derek Murphy and friends … 

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Joel Weinberg

The first presenter of the second half, Joel Weinberg (J.L. Weinberg), made his first dramatic entrance to the IAWA salons, reading from his just-published novel, True Religion, a genre-bending fusion of paranormal horror, spiritual therapy, American history, and New Age enlightenment. An unexpected encounter with an otherworldly spirit at a holiday party in Pennsylvania’s Orenda Valley sends the main character, Seth Davis, a gay journalist from Manhattan, on a profound religious journey. Being able to introduce Joel was a special treat for John Kearns as Joel and John are friends and former coworkers.  

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William Lee Coakley

Another new member William Lee Coakley introduced himself with poems appropriate to the Selfie Age and then mocking ones on the barbarian English, thieves of our language, and on the ancient order of homophobes, followed by a memorial to the Irish-American poet Walter McElroy, defector to England during the McCarthy period among other thought-provoking and moving poems.

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Kathleen O’Sullivan

Next up Kathleen O’Sullivan presented her memoir Isham Street in the dramatic iMovie form with illustrations and voice-over narration. The chapter titled “The Church” illustrated the domination of the Catholic church in her Irish community, and her childhood quest to understand the concepts of God, Purgatory, Limbo, Heaven, and Hell.

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Childlike theology …

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Seamus Scanlon

Seamus Scanlon read another flash-fiction piece, “Across The Harlem River,” about Dominican gangsters stealing money from the badlands of Woodlawn. He is making a short film of another flash fiction piece he read previously at the IAW&A Salon, entitled, “The Resurrection Love Song.” He is looking for three Irish teens to star in it. Email seamus.scanlon@gmail.com cullen

Bernadette Cullen

Bernadette Cullen recommended the movie, Analisa, and then read a surreal prose piece, a poem responding to a painting by an Italian artist, and a third piece that was an epilogue to a much longer work that is in progress. Cullen is an adjunct instructor with the College of New Rochelle.

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John Munnelly

Closing out the night in his inimitable dramatic fashion, John Munnelly sang “Flower Shop in the Day (yeah, yeah, yeah),” a cynical take on gentrification, “Julius Caesar, a meditation on life filtered through historical biography, and a new song, “Is it Love that We’re Here For?” a meditation on meaning and reconciliation.

Look out for the new IAW&A Salon sign-up form!  See you at the next salon on Wednesday February 3rd at 7 pm at Bar Thalia!

 

 

 

 

 

January 11, 2016

1.5.16 IAW&A Salon: In the beginning was the Word, but first came the Irish. -Malachy McCourt

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:29 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Kevin R. McPartland

Judging by our first Salon of the year at Bar Thalia, 2016 will be a banner year for IAW&A. Host and Salon producer John Kearns announced the first road Salon (Molloy College, Long Island, February 26th) and that IAW&A will participate in the NYC commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising. At the Thalia, we welcomed three new presenters, saw the return of old friends, and had so many talented folks on the bill, we had no time for intermission.

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Seamus Scanlon

Starting the fireworks, Seamus Scanlon read a flash fiction piece about a pyromaniac called, “The Great Fire of Galway.” The story will be published in February on the AkashicBooks.com Mondays Are Murder feature. Seamus went from the freezing NYC to the Key West Literary Seminar where, he reports, he has met no Irish people so far! His new website is www.seamusscanlon.com

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Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Demonstrating the range of her talent, Jenifer Margaret Kelly read a poem “The First Snow,” a prose poem, “ Antibody” and a monologue, “The Muffin Man.”

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Sheila Agnew

Sheila Agnew described her journeys from New York to Dublin, London, Mexico City and back and from lawyer to novelist. Author of several popular YA novels, Sheila has a timely new adult thriller, The Exclusion Wars, about a Latino teenager in hiding in New York in 2025 after President Trent has come to power. Says Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl, “Slick writing, a fascinating premise and a rollercoaster plot, Agnew’s The Exclusion Wars is a book that needed to be written and needs to be read.” More at http://sheila-agnew.com

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon told a poignant story of two weary sisters caring for their mother on Christmas Eve. Their brother is a veteran, who is in prison for using and selling drugs. The son is their mother’s favorite. So one sister writes a letter for him so their mother, in her dementia, can dream of her son holding her before she dies.

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Brent Shearer

In his second IAW&A appearance, Brent Shearer read his short story “Piss of the Faithful.” A writer whose blog can be found at  inthefrontrowonthedole.blogspot.com, Brent claims that he “publishes short things in obscure places.

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Eilin O’Dea

Yes, I said yes. Irish actor/singer Eilin O’Dea gave a thrilling interpretation of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from her “Joyce’s Women” production. More about her at EilinODea.com

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Bill McGarvey

IAW&A Salon first-timer (and John Kearns’s fellow Saint Joe’s Prep alumnus) Bill McGarvey, musician, singer, songwriter sang two terrific compositions. “Not Alone,” from his Beautiful Mess album is a quiet meditation on the search for one’s place in the cosmos. “Standing Next to Gloria Steinem” from his Tell Your Mother album deals with a real-life experience of encountering the feminist icon on the #6 train in NYC. For more of Bill’s work, go to billmcgarvey.com.

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Katharine McNair

In another Salon debut, Katharine McNair presented her poetry, “The FDR,” “Brothers,” “Broken Heart Melodies,” and three pieces from her musical in progress, a Cinderella story set in 1929 New Orleans. An MFA and multi-talent, Katharine’s work has been published in Poetry in Performance Volume 43, and online at BigCityLit.com, and her children’s literature has been published on StoryShares.org. Find her at Zincrest.com

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Sean Carlson

IAW&A board member Sean Carlson has returned after his recent wedding to Cathlin Olszewski in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cathlin and her mother joined us at Bar Thalia for Sean’s first reading in several months. His piece from his yet-untitled family memoir reflected on immigrant journeys and those left behind. The heartbreaking story of a young woman departing Ireland for Sacramento by way of airports in Newfoundland, New York and Los Angeles carries echoes of Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. More at www.seancarlson.net.

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Rita Reidy Lennick

Another writer making her Salon debut, Rita Reidy Lennick read a sensitive piece from her memoir and we encourage her to come back and read more.

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Jim Rodgers

A welcome return to the Salon, Jim Rodgers read the first chapter from his novel, Long Night’s End. The chapter introduces the main characters, the themes to be explored, and the continual angst and heartache the protagonist, Johnny Gunn, will exhibit throughout the novel. This all comes out through Johnny Gunn’s thoughts as he plays his guitar in a Lower East Side club, along with his aging band mates.

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John Munnelly

Singer, songwriter, musician John Munnelly finds the Salon a comfortable place to debut new work. Tuesday he played for the first time a song he’s been working on since the summer, and that he was rewriting and editing right up until he played it for us. John’s take on a Zen Koan, the likely title is “Why is the One, Both the Same?”

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Malachy McCourt

In summing up a fine evening, Malachy McCourt, self-described “anchor baby,” declared, “In the beginning was the Word, but first came the Irish.”

And we can’t add to that.

The next IAW&A Salon will be on January 19th at the Cell at 7 pm!  The next Bar Thalia Salon will be on WEDNESDAY February 3rd at 7 pm with nothing trivial to rush or interrupt us.

Happy New Year!

 

 

December 22, 2015

12.15.15 IAW&A Salon: An abundance of talent, heart and Christmas cheer

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:27 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

 

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Marni Rice

The late December Salon at the Cell has quickly become a holiday tradition for members and guests who know there will be an extraordinary array of talent and heart as well as abundant IAW&A-style Christmas cheer. Curated and co-hosted by Honor Molloy and John Kearns, the program began with Marni Rice performing a haunting original accordion composition.

joeJoseph Goodrich

Playwright, actor and expert on mystery writing, Joseph Goodrich then showed his tender side with the story “The New Boy,” a reminiscence of Christmas in a small Minnesota town, circa 1970. Funny and poignant, Joe’s tale prompted smiles and tears.

kevinKevin Holohan

Kevin Holohan brought to life Lar Lawrence and Con Conway, two electricians escaped from his novel The Brothers’ Lot. Quintessential Dubliners, Lar is the straight man and Con, the one convinced that not only is the glass half empty but its contents will probably give you cholera, dysentery, Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, maybe all together. Con’s twisted view of Christmas was a hilarious downward spiral of misanthropic naysaying, defeat and begrudgery.

More of Kevin and the book at:http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog/the-brothers-lot/   New video on http://youtu.be/pQ_bkzGIDNo

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Kira Citron

If you’re thinking of attending Art Basel Miami, the global art world’s invasion of South Beach during the first week of December, you may want to read Kira Citron’s essay about her visit, “Nowhere Else Do Naked Emperors Have Such Fabulous Clothes.”

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Seamus Scanlon

Author Seamus Scanlon read a flash fiction piece, which he says, is more suited to Easter than Christmas. You can read the chilling “The Resurrection Love Song” “in its entirety at http://www.akashicbooks.com/the-resurrection-love-song-by-seamus-scanlon/.  You can also see a promotional video for his play “The McGowan Trilogy” at https://youtu.be/pLbRvXZrpQY

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Maeve Price

Singer/writer/actor Maeve Price told the story of her recent singing engagement in a local cemetery. Despite flying sheet music, a hole in her Civil War era dress, a chat with Frederick Douglass and a cameo appearance by a local raccoon, Maeve lived to tell the tale with a little singing and a dash of graveyard humor.  In February, Maeve will appear in the play “The Donahue Sisters” by Geraldine Aron. She’ll supply the details as available

brendanBrendan Costello Jr.

IAW&A board member Brendan Costello Jr. read an excerpt of his novel-in-progress Winning. The scene features a middle aged CEO sitting alone in his fancy office, where he is visited by the ghost of his recently deceased father. Brendan chose this scene for its shades of a famous encounter, from that seasonal classic by Charles Dickens.

honHonor Molloy

Honor Molloy closed the first half of the evening with her wonderful “Sixpence the Stars” (a/ka “The Little Oranges”) from her novel Smarty Girl.  This comical re-telling of the Nativity story is a Salon holiday favorite. You can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCE.

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Honor Molloy

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Mark Butler and Honor Molloy poetically passing the hat

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Mark William Butler

Speaking of holiday favorites, IAW&A Board member, playwright and composer Mark William Butler confessed to his obsession with writing Christmas musicals, especially Bad Christmas Sweater.

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Eilin O’Dea

Classically trained actor and soprano Eilin O’Dea stopped by to present a segment from James Joyce’s “The Dead” from her portrayal of Joyce’s Women. http://eilinodea.com

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Marni Rice

Marni Rice performed two of her own compositions for accordion,Complainte de la Femme Toute Seule,” featured in Robert Haufrecht’s film Subterranean Love which premiered at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. Her other selection was from the score to Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea about the life of Mary Magdalene. This collaboration by The Xio Evans Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre will play at the Wow Café Theatre on East 4th Street on April 8th and 9th. For details and tickets, please visit http://www.dejouxmusique.com

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John Kearns

Salon producer (for three years!) John Kearns chose a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Set at Christmastime in the early days of legalized gambling, the Logans visit Atlantic City for a weekend getaway, which the wife hopes will be a romantic one. However, the husband stays out playing the slot machines and drinking with his friend and falls asleep as soon as he returns to the hotel room.

On behalf of the IAW&A Board of Directors, John also presented Cat Dwyer with a B&H Photo gift card to thank her for her 4 1/2 years of taking salon photos.

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Sarah Fearon and Jon Gordon

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Jon Gordon

In their holiday duet tradition, Sarah Fearon brought her deadpan holiday wishes, a spin on the Year in Review set to the jazzy tune of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” performed by Jon Gordon on sax. Then Jon gave us a sax solo rendition of the Vince Guaraldi song, “Christmas Time is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Larry Kirwan

Our chieftain, IAW&A president, Larry Kirwan paid special thanks to the Board, the volunteers, and the members for their contributions to a successful year, which in addition to regularly scheduled Salons and road Salons, featured two outstanding special nights, The Amazing Library Variety Show fundraiser and the 100th Salon Celebration.

Larry sang Ewan MacColl’s “Ballad of the Carpenter” which begins:

Jesus was a working man
And a hero you will hear
Born in the town of Bethlehem
At the turning of the year

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Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen Donohoe read an excerpt of a short story titled “Kringle,” about Cait, wife of Kristopher, a native of Ireland who is lonely in the North and in her marriage. We are excited to note that Kathleen’s debut novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2016.

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Karl Scully

Irish tenor Karl Scully didn’t come with a Christmas song tonight; he came with a sad love song entitled,“Knocknashee,” but we’re grateful whenever Karl can join us.

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Malachy McCourt

In closing, we had a rousing Gospel according to Malachy McCourt, who calls himself God’s atheist advisor.

Thanks to Honor and John and Cat and all the presenters for creating another smash Holiday Salon.

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No room in the inn, but a little on the stairs

Here is the schedule for 2016 salons: http://i-am-wa.org/salons/

We look forward to those and to the road salons planned for Long Island, upstate Pennsylvania, Saint Louis, Washington, DC, Belfast (online) and other points unknown …

Merry Christmas and see you in 2016!

 

December 8, 2015

IAW&A Road Salon at the Hudson Valley Irish Center on 12/4: An Irish House Party

Filed under: Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 8:27 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

On Friday December 4, 2015,  a group of IAW&A artists from New York City traveled to Verplanck, NY to share the stage with artists from the Hudson valley.  Dan Dennehy of the Hudson Valley Irish Center was our gracious host and the Irish Consulate of New York was generous enough to provide funding for transportation and other expenses.

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Dan Dennehy

Dan Dennehy welcomed everyone to the salon.

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John Kearns

John Kearns introduced IAW&A and read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds.

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Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen Donohoe read from her forthcoming novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather.

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Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy, “the Bard of the Hudson Valley,” performed two songs including a moving original about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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Ray O’Hanlon

Ray O’Hanlon, Senior Editor of the Irish Echo, spoke about immigration and the difficult process of writing books.

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Marie Reilly and Krista Charles

Marie Reilly, Protocol Officer of the Irish Consulateand Krista Charles played some traditional Irish and American tunes including, “Ashokan Farewell.”

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Delicious food during the break!

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Irish Business Organization President, Sean McNeill, enjoyed the salon.

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Shane Cahill

Vice Deputy Irish Consul General of New York, Shane Cahill, spoke a few words of welcome.

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John McDonagh

John McDonagh presented a scene from his play, Cabtivist, in which Stephen Fry visits an Italian social club in Queens.

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Guenevere Donohue

Surprise performer, Guenevere Donohue, sang an original Christmas song.

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Marianne McShane

Marianne McShane told a traditional story about Saint Brigid and Bethlehem.

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Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer presented his poetry in English and original music in Irish.

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Ray Bermingham

Ray Bermingham sang a song and recited Percy French’s, “Galloping Hogan.”

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Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt shared his memories about Christmas, including his receiving a toy train 75 years after praying for it.

See you at the IAW&A Christmas Salon at the Cell Theatre, 338 W. 23rd St., at 7 pm on December 15th!  Honor Molloy and John Kearns will co-host.

December 7, 2015

12.1.15 IAW&A Salon: Magic Mix of Talent

Filed under: Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 6:11 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas 

The early December IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia had that magic mix of talent and personalities that makes each Salon unique. The night’s offerings ranged from intensely felt social commentary to satire, comedy, poetry and rock’n’roll.

kearns    John Kearns

John Kearns, Salon producer and host, welcomed the group to the first December salon and kicked off the night with a passage from his novel,Worlds. In the continuing story of the Logan family, Sarsfield Logan, S.J. explains in a letter to his sister that he was raised with two faiths – in Catholicism and in American social mobility. His faith in the latter is shaken, however, when he observes life in the slums near Greenwich Village and the ornate buildings on Riverside Drive owned by the factory owners who exploit the slum dwellers.

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Michael Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick’s satirical blog “Humans of Irish America” features real interviews with imaginary immigrants. Tonight he read one piece from the blog, and on a more serious note, a poem about the events in Paris two weeks ago, and another poem, about dropping his 5-year-old son at school. Find them on his website: heraldypress.com.

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Rosina Fernhoff

Inspired by Malachy McCourt’s impassioned speech at the last Bar Thalia Salon, actor Rosina Fernhoff created a monologue from The Visit by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Rosina describes the piece as “dark, sardonic and profound play about corruption, greed and the disintegration of human value.” One stunning line: “The world made me a whore. I will make the world a brothel.”


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Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer, making his IAW&A debut, read his story about getting an Irish passport and his dream of going on the dole in Ireland. Let’s just say he got the passport. A writer who blogs about going to a lot of readings at  inthefrontrowonthedole.blogspot.com, Brent says “So when I say your Tuesday night thing at Bar Thalia rocked, I’m speaking ex cathedra.”

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John McDonagh

John McDonagh did a segment from his solo play Cabtivist. Tonight he compared the life of a Central Park carriage horse to that of a NYC cabdriver. Guess which one gets medical check-ups, mandated time-off, lives on the Upper West Side and retires to a stud farm? You’ll have a chance to see the full show at The Cell on December 16. Tickets at www.thecelltheatre.org/events/2015/12/16/cabtivist

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Socializing during the break

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Mark Butler enjoying the Salon

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The supportive IAW&A Salon audience

 

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Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read a chapter from one of her novels in progress, Gaitham Hall, a thriller with supernatural undertones. The advantage of having two books in progress, she says, is that she can turn to the thriller for respite when she gets frustrated with her more serious novel. Maureen entertained the audience with the banter of two main characters in a scene from Gaitham Hall, set in the midlands of Ireland.

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Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Jenifer Margaret Kelly calls herself  “mainly a playwright” but she’s presented several beautiful poems at recent Salons. Tonight she read three more: “Charcoal Autumn Sunday,” “ You Could Have Written This Poem” and “Evened Out.”

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Judy Doris

Sister act: Judy Doris read her sister Adrienne Foran’s charming story “The Princess Bus,” about the love between the M15 bus and her driver —from the bus’ point of view.

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Honor Molloy

Author/playwright/actor Honor Molloy delivered a passionate reading of her Irish Echo article extolling Irish women in New York City’s theatre scene and their contribution to New York’s cultural life. Her essay is particularly relevant given the controversy raging about the Abbey Theater and its signal failure to adequately represent a female perspective during their 2016 Season. Its yearlong tribute to the 1916 Rebellion and its aftermath features ten plays, with only one authored by a woman.

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John Paul Skocik

Musician/singer/songwriter John Paul Skocik closed out the night playing original songs. John’s former band on the self-titled album “Girl To Gorilla,” is available on ITunes and at ♫ Girl to Gorilla – Girl to Gorilla. Listen @cdbaby  John is writing more songs and working on a short play, and beginning a novel, which he hopes to share at a future Salon.

Mark your calendar:  December 15 is our IAW&A Christmas Salon co-hosted by Honor Molloy and John Kearns at The Cell at 7 pm. With a party after the salon!

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