Irish American Writers & Artists

June 7, 2015

6.2.15 IAW&A Salon: A Touch of the Poet in a Varied, Thrilling 4th Anniversary

Filed under: Literature,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 11:10 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by John Brennan

In a month that celebrates Yeats and Joyce, we had more than a touch of the poet at our fourth anniversary IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on June 2. Several distinctive poets presented their work; two new singer/songwriter/musicians joined the group, creating a varied and thrilling line-up.


John Kearns

Finishing the story he presented at last month’s Thalia salon, the night’s host John Kearns read a tender excerpt from his generational novel-in-progress, Worlds about the Logans of Philadelphia. After his mother’s death, Paul Logan meets his old friend, Joe, in a Wall Street area bar. Joe reveals a secret he had been keeping since the two were in high school — that after Joe’s father had lost his job and subsequently died, Janey Logan had quietly slipped Joe money so that he could go out with the other boys.


Jeff Barstock

First time presenter Jeff Barstock, poet and playwright, read several poems — heartfelt, spiritual, and cosmic in nature.

Through his creativity, Jeff wants to uplift and induce healing laughter throughout world. He succeeded tonight especially with the tribute, “Firefighter” and spiritual works such as “Flame” and “Broken Angel.” Jeff appreciates the warm IAW&A welcome.

Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan read a lovely introduction to her memoir, Call of the Lark, which describes how she discovered her writer’s voice as well as her reasons for writing the book. Maura will present this piece this summer at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Sligo, accompanied by esteemed fiddle player, Marie Reilly. Some audience members asked for a link: Call of the Lark by Maura Mulligan.

john_mcD John McDonagh

John McDonagh, who has been driving a yellow cab in New York City for 35 years, read two poems with his observations of the city and which he read at PEN World Voices Festival this year. In “200 West Street Story,” John describes the irony of taking passengers to Goldman Sachs headquarters and then going to Occupy Wall Street, a few blocks away. “What Happened to My City” decries the changes in our town. John is working on a one-man play about his adventures driving a yellow cab in NYC called “Cabtivist” and can be heard on Talk Back-New York, Thee and We Edition, with Malachy McCourt and Corey Kilgannon, on Wednesday mornings at 10 am, WBAI.


Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant read a sensual new poem called “Green Man,” and an ethereal chapter titled “Palace of Dreams” from her book, Heartlands of Islam. She is planning a summer trip to Ireland to research her next project on the Irish genome. She has been invited to present on the philosophical aspects of biochemical pathways for the quarterly seminar at Harvard University’s Mahindra Center for Poetry, Philosophy and Ethics.


Mark Butler presents Lauren Comito of Urban Librarians Unite with $1700 raised at the Amazing Library Variety Show

In a happy follow up to last month’s successful benefit Salon, Mark Butler presented Lauren Comito of Urban Librarians Unite a check with the proceeds. Lauren and Mark again expressed their gratitude for the night’s performers, audience, and volunteers.

adriannakmateoAdrianna Mateo

TimeOut New York called Adrianna Mateo’s performance at the Bang on a Can marathon “triumphant.” A solo violinist and singer-songwriter, who has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The TimesCenter, she came to the Thalia and sang a lush, emotive acoustic set from her upcoming rock album. Find Adrianna’s debut single (and the surreal story behind it at


Irish Echo Deputy Editor, Peter McDermott, and Christy Kelly


Christy Kelly

Poet, screenwriter and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress titled Nobody Said, set in the Bronx in 1976. Christy writes beautifully of “natives and immigrant citizens.”


Conor McGlone

Conor McGlone read excerpts from two poems, one “A Thought in Summer” and second about the ocean and the collapse of ego. An accomplished young writer, Conor was introduced to the Salon by his CCNY writing instructor, Brendan Costello Jr.


Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy treated us to a segment from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. She calls this excerpt “a funny and poignant look at the clash between classes and the way words can divide and wound. It’s 1966. The Irish Government has recently established a Commission on Itinerancy to urbanize “the walking people”—or today’s travelers. Noleen and two kids from the Carlow Encampment battle it out with epithets, curses and fists.”  jon

John Paul Skocik

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


Andrea Wright

Another distinctive talent, singer- songwriter and recording artist, Andrea Wright often performs at Rockwood Music Hall. In her IAW&A Salon debut, she sang two original songs, in “Going Places” she urges listeners to “create their own journeys.” Find her work at


2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award winner, John Brennan, and Christy Kelly

Our next IAW&A Salon will be on Bloomsday, Tuesday, June 16 at 7pm at The Cell.  Conor McCourt and other filmmakers will be presenting their short films.  Don’t miss it!

May 29, 2015

5.19.15 IAW&A Special Edition Salon “The Amazing Library Variety Show”

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:28 am

“A rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.” –Tom Mahon 

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer


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


Mark Butler

kathleen walsh

Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy announces raffles prizes

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

christian lauren

ULU’s Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito


Richard Butler as Dewey Decimal dewey job

Richard Butler and Jon Gordon

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

tj banner

T.J. English

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

crowd 2

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


Maxine Linehan

Irish native, adopted New Yorker Maxine Linehan, actress, singer and recording artist whom The New York Times calls “fiercely talented” sang two original songs. As a cabaret and concert performer, Maxine has performed at Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. The Huffington Post says Maxine’s new album “Beautiful Songs is “glorious.” Find her at


John Kearns

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


Marni Rice

Uniquely talented Marni Rice, a chanteuse-accordionist, sang in French. An author and composer, Marni’s original plays with music have been performed in French and English at Theatre Festivals worldwide. In 2012 she co-founded the Xio Evans- Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre to create original musical and dance performance works dedicated to issues of social justice. They are currently co-teaching a dance-theatre class for children at a NYPL in the Bronx.


Sarah Fearon

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


Tony DeMarco

One of the top “trad” musicians in the country, Tony DeMarco played two reels that had our collective feet tapping. Tony has been performing and teaching the Irish fiddle for over 30 years, and is acknowledged as a master of the New York/Sligo fiddle style. Find his performances at


Karl Scully

Internationally known tenor Karl Scully delighted us with his rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “Poisoning Pigeons in The Park.” Karl was for six years, one of The Irish Tenors who recorded two albums and performed in hundreds of venues in Europe and the US. As a soloist Karl has performed all over the world including Carnegie Hall and the Avery Fischer Hall. One of his very first gigs he starred as Count John McCormack in the film “Nora.”



Daisy Kearns sells raffle tickets to Seamus Scanlon


Larry Kirwan

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


Lauren Comito

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


Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy can be counted on to thrill salongoers with her presentations and she did again tonight reading Backwards Library, a piece about summers, libraries and time. Honor’s autobiographical novel Smarty Girl tracks her life as a mischievous little gurrier running the streets of Dublintown.


John Paul Skocik

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


Jon Gordon

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


Cathy Maguire

Cathy Maguire sang two beautiful songs, one country-inflected, one Irish. Cathy began her career as a successful child star in Ireland. She’s back in New York, by way of Nashville, where she studied and worked with country music stars. Her CD Ireland In Song explores the ten most famous Irish songs.

Near the end of a very full program, host Mark Butler described Malachy McCourt as a man “who needs no introduction” but Mark introduced him anyway, for the thrill of saying: “Writer, actor, storyteller, singer – that’s right singer – radio personality, legendary innkeeper, Salon founder and godfather, teacher, inspiration, mentor, and most recently – Facebook assassin -the only one and one and only ­ Malachy McCourt.”


Malachy McCourt

Malachy began by quoting Henry VIII, who said to his wives, “I won’t keep you long.” But he did. He told how two poor urchins in County Limerick, he and his brother Frank, read library books under street lamps because there were no lights at home. Encouraged by the lively reception, he went off on a riff about labels, about snakes and God, Adam and Eve, pausing to thank God he’s an atheist, which slid smoothly into St. Patrick chasing the snakes from Ireland. Salon newcomers were treated to the “full Malachy.”

Frequent Salon contributor Tom Mahon sums it up perfectly: ”Then Malachy sang and asked us to sing along and we sang, feeling that this is fine, don’t let this end, but it did. Yet we felt better after a rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.”

On behalf of IAW&A, our sincere thanks to all the performers for contributing to a wonderful night and a great cause; to superb pianist Ryan Shirar; to the artists who donated their work for the raffle; to our generous members, guests and volunteers; to the helpful staff of The Cell Theatre; and kudos to impresario Mark Butler!


May 11, 2015

IAW&A Salon 5-5-15: Members Debut New Songs, Stories, Plays and Talents

Filed under: dance,Events,Film,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:22 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The early May Salon at Bar Thalia was a merry and mellow affair, with members introducing brand new compositions, fictional works, and theater pieces. We were also introduced to a centuries’ old fiddle tune and Irish dance form.


DJ Sharp

Actor and writer, DJ Sharp started off the proceedings with a reading from his screenplay.


Thom Molyneaux

Playwright Thom Molyneaux read from his new play Miller Kazan HUAC… and Marilyn Monroe that tells the story of the creative partnership of Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller. That partnership was destroyed when Kazan “named names ” for the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950’s and they confronted each other, not directly, but via their art — Miller striking first with The Crucible; Kazan hitting back with On The Waterfront. Thom will be off soon for the world premiere of his play White Ash Falling 9/11 at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, the oldest professional theatre in Michigan.


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher gave a delightful reading from her untitled novel-in-progress. Set in a small parish in the midlands of Ireland, this section introduces two of the main characters, Fr. Thomas Doyle, a local priest, and his childhood friend, Desmond Long, a psychiatrist returned to his home town after years abroad. The priest’s housekeeper, Maude, steals the scene, as she contrives a subtle revenge against her employer, the supercilious, alcoholic pastor of St. Fintan’s.


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s short, dramatic story was about a black family who move into a white neighborhood, and whose young son is beaten for no reason. His parents refuse to allow anything to stop them from loving and supporting their children. After years of working steadily, the black kids go to college on scholarships and make something of themselves, while the white family next door slide deeper into the cesspools of pride and prejudice.


Memoirist and dancer, Maura Mulligan, accompanied by fiddler, Marie Reilly introduced us to Sean Nós dancing – the oldest style of dancing in Ireland. Long before Set, Céilí or the formal Step dancing, Sean Nós was popular all over Ireland. Like the Irish language, the form was stamped out and only survived in the very far corners of the country, the Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking areas. Often danced on half doors and on tabletops, this loose and free style form of dance is now enjoying a huge revival. There are no specific steps and so individual dancer must improvise. An accomplished step dancer and céilí teacher, this was Maura’s debut as a Sean Nós dancer. Check her website: Follow her memoir, Call of the Lark on Facebook: Follow Call of the Lark on Facebook


Marie Reilly and Maurs Mulligan

Marie Reilly followed with a lively march tune known as “Conmachne” which she told us is untitled in the manuscript dated 1846 of Thomas Kieran, a nineteenth century fiddle master from Drumlish, Co. Longford. Marie told the fascinating story of the tune’s discovery. In 1962 Pierce Butler, a fiddle player and carpenter happened to be working on the removal of a thatched roof and found the manuscript hidden in the thatch. It seemed to be a manuscript Thomas Kiernan used in teaching in the period 1844-1846. Kiernan taught widely, travelling on foot from house to house, lodging at night in the houses where he taught. The accommodation was part of his payment along with a noggin of whiskey for breakfast and a plentiful supply of his favorite tobacco. Marie’s music can be found on her website:


Maura Megan Knowles and John Kearns

Back from L.A where she is shooting a film, Maura Megan Knowles debuted a brand new, very powerful song, “Shamed & Silent No More,written with composer Kevin McNally and accompanied on guitar by the talented John Kearns. Maura has been busy in L.A., where she did a pilot with Danny Trejo and the new ABC Family Series, Stitchers. She’s also recording songs and writing. Please visit for more.


Mark Butler


Christian Zabriskie

Mark Butler, producer of IAW&A’s fundraiser to benefit Urban Librarian Unite introduced ULU’s Executive Director
, Christian Zabriskie. ULU is grassroots advocacy group of librarians from all over the city. They bring Mini Libraries and public storytelling to the streets and parks, sponsor a 24 Read In to promote reading, and they ran a hugely successful campaign to distribute children’s books after Hurricane Sandy. ULU embodies IAW&A’s mission of fostering access to the arts and education. We think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Some of the artists scheduled to appear in The Amazing Library Variety Show: Maxine Linehan, Jon Gordon, Richard Butler, Marni Rice, Hammerstep, Honor Molloy, TJ English, Larry Kirwan, Karl Scully and several beloved Salon presenters.

The Amazing Library Variety Show. May 19 at 7pm at The Cell. Donation $25; all proceeds will go to ULU. Reserve now at


John Kearns

Salon host John Kearns shared a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Writing in his journal, Paul Logan tells the story of meeting a childhood friend, Joe Boyle, at his mother’s wake in Ardmore, PA and then running into Joe again at Bowling Green in New York.  We’ll get to hear about the encounter between these two old friends at the next IAW&A Salon.


Kevin R. McPartland

Novelist and short-story writer, Kevin R. McPartland held the Salon crowd in rapt attention as he told a tale of old Brooklyn meets new Brooklyn with a looming eviction from a basement apartment at stake, a story that indeed had an interesting, comical, and poignant plot twist at the end.


John Paul Skocik

We got to enjoy John Paul Skocik performing three original tunes, two of them performed for the very first time anywhere. “Masquerade,” a happy sounding pop piece attempts to musically conceal the sardonic and self-loathing lyrics of an unrequited love. Next was a snippet of the unfinished “Cocktail Hour,” sung a capella, and inspired by Frank Sinatra’s contribution to the great American songbook. John premiered the rough, comical and lyrically sentimental punk styled tune “My Place.” It tells the brief tale of a man frustrated that he can’t be more to the woman he loves, yet he is also frustratingly content that he at least has what he has. Find John’s songs on iTunes and other online outlets, under his former band Girl To Gorilla.


Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang a gorgeous new composition that she wrote for the children of Palestine. Guen was inspired and moved by hearing that one of those children said “I have never seen the sea,” and she composed a song with that title. You can see the kids’ painting for Rogue Foundation’s I Am Palestine: “I Have Never Seen the Sea” Exhibit at the Chelsea Fine Arts building.

Prompted by Guen’s lovely song, Malachy McCourt recounted a not-so-lovely childhood memory of a promised trip to the sea that didn’t happen. He closed the night leading us with, “The Sea Around Us.”



Malachy McCourt

“The sea, oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide.
Long may it stay between England and me.
It’s a sure guarantee that some hour we’ll be free.
Oh thank God we’re surrounded by water!”

Don’t forget: The “Special Edition Salon” The Amazing Library Variety Show. May 17 at 7pm at The Cell. Donation $25; all proceeds will go to ULU. Reserve at

April 26, 2015

4.21.15 IAW&A Salon and Book Party: Festive doubleheader of readings, performances, and song!

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 9:18 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

“…the amazing worlds that you all create…”  Karl Scully

A lively celebration for the launch of IAW&A President and Wexford man Larry Kirwan’s new book, A History of Irish Music brought out an SRO crowd to the Cell. Malachy McCourt gave a moving introduction to Larry and his book.  Larry enchanted the crowd by reading a chapter about the iconic blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher. Our Salon followed, with producer John Kearns hosting topnotch presentations that included music, memoir, poetry, fiction, and humor. mary

Mary Tierney

The actress Mary Tierney started the Salon with a scene from an untitled novel-in-progress by writer Joseph Davidson. In 1966, a young woman named Bobby Joe Lang is hitchhiking from Kansas to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury in search of love and peace. She is picked up by a stranger in a truck and her life is soon threatened. Mary’s dramatic reading brought both characters to life. jk

John Kearns


Christy Kelly

Poet, screenwriter, and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress called, Nobody Said. He dedicated this section to Larry Kirwan. In Nobody Said, two cops cruise the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx (Bruckner Boulevard) in the Olympic Year of 1976, when, Christy says, “The sky was pink with arson.” bernadette

Bernadette Cullen

Poet and professor Bernadette Cullen read “Ruminations While Standing on the Edge of the Precipice” which she describes as a longish poem on uncomfortable ‘truths’…. sean

Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson has serialized chapters from his yet-untitled family memoir of emigration at previous Salons. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with excerpts from a travel series recently shortlisted as a finalist in a contest judged by the editor of the Paris Review. “Notes from Cambodia” is scheduled to publish this summer in Nowhere Magazine.


Larry Kirwan enjoying the Salon


 Stephanie Silber

Stephanie Silber gave a powerful reading from her first novel, Other People’s Houses, a coming of age story set in the early seventies. Pregnant teenager Queenie has been shipped off from her humble roots for the duration to live with a wealthy family on Long Island. Complications ensue when their foundering son returns unexpectedly from Harvard. This scene plays out on a beach and on a boat, in a haze of heat one Fourth of July; a high school friend of Queenie’s has come to visit — and has set her sights on the troubled, glamorous, son. Feelings run high. larry_book

Larry Kirwan

We had more enchantment from Larry Kirwan when he read another passage from A History of Irish Music. You can purchase Larry’s book at www.black47.comor Find the schedule for his upcoming solo solo gigs karl

Karl Scully

Karl Scully, one of the world famous Irish Tenors, graced us with a song, “My Lagan Love.” Karl has appeared in movies, performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and around the world. So we appreciate his appreciation of the Salons. Karl was delighted to enter “…the amazing worlds that you all create…” crowd

A full house for the IAW&A Salon and book launch party


Marie Reilly on fiddle and Maura Mulligan

Accompanied by the fiddler Marie Reilly, Maura Mulligan presented an excerpt from her memoir, Call of the Lark. The piece, depicting school days in Ireland of the 40s/50s will be part of a performance at the Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo this summer. Maura is honored to work with Marie in preparing to introduce passages from the book with musical interludes.You can find a video of their performance, courtesy of Dee Nolan, on brendan

Brendan Costello Jr.

IAW&A board member and frequent Salon contributor, Brendan Costello Jr. read the opening of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem “The Waste Land.” Brendan reworked that section as a Buzzfeed lifestyle article, proving that April may still be the “cruellest month,” but at least it’s user friendly.  “What I’ve found in this handful of dust might just haunt you for years to come!” Brendan also edits the IAW&A “Weekly” newsletter. He encouraged members to share news of upcoming events, gigs, performances and publication, or other events that may be of interest to the group. Send your news or send an email to subscribe to mun

John Munnelly

Singer/songwriter John Munnelly says: “Thank you for the love, artistic freedom and support I receive regularly from the IAW&A and friends…” John played two original compositions. His new song about love, from a distance, was inspired by the title of Theresa Lennon Blunt’s memoir, “I Sailed the Sky in A Silver Ship.” The melody for his second song came from a dream he had one morning while in Dublin attending a launch event for his soccer supporters song “King of Cambridge.” John asks for your vote on the song’s title. He’s wavering between “No More Than A Boy” and “Through the Passing of the Years.” Find him at malachy

Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt brought the night to a rollicking close, with a story about his days as a gold smuggler. Saying he wasn’t sure about remembering the lyrics, he delivered verse after verse of the Noel Coward (a Salon first?) song about British officers in India. “I Wonder What Happened to Him?”

Whatever became of old Tucker?
Have you heard any word of young Mills
Who ruptured himself at the end of a chukka
And had to be sent to the hills?
They say that young Lees Had a go of D.T.’s’
And his hopes of promotion are slim. 

Next IAW&A Salon will be May 5, at Bar Thalia. Join us and see what surprises are in store.

April 14, 2015

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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

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

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

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


Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence

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


John Ganly

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


Find the book on Amazon,com.


John Kearns

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

 sarahSarah Fearon

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


Mark Butler

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


Lauren Comito


Thom Molyneaux

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


Marni Rice

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



Jeanne D’Brant

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


Tom Mahon

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


Jack DiMonte

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



Guen Donohue and John Kearns

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

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


Malachy McCourt

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

March 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15: Soaring on Saint Patrick’s Eve!

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature — by scripts2013 @ 1:17 am

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15

“Only fitting we’d soar on St. Patrick’s Eve.”  Tom Mahon

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer


Tom Mahon, Kevin McPartland, and the full house at the Cell

That’s a perfect summary of the IAW&A Salon on Monday 3/16. The packed house at the Cell seemed to expect an extraordinary night – and they got one. We had a lively mix of fiction, poetry, personal journeys and music. And in the spirit of IAW&A’s mission statement, tonight especially, many members expressed their belief in freedom and acceptance for all people.


Gordon Gilbert

We welcomed Gordon Gilbert, in his second Salon appearance, reading from his unfinished novel, Speedway Romance, set in contemporary western New York and in antebellum Louisiana, covering certain events in the life of an abolitionist named John Woodworth. In Gordon’s excerpt, John visits his older brother, a slaveholder with a plantation outside of New Orleans. John has seized an opportunity for a clandestine encounter with a young house servant with whom he has become enthralled. We’re privy to John’s thoughts as he waits impatiently on a path near a river, far from the mansion and others’ prying eyes. Gordon hosts a series of readings celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Café. Mark your calendars:

April 30th – Lawrence Ferlinghetti; May15th – Lenore Kandel – 


Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Vivian O’Shaughnessy, poet, artist, translator, read “Blood on the Tracks” her English version of the original French poem created for the anthology about to be published in France, We Are Charlie Hebdo. (Corps Puce Publishers).  It opens:

Baudelairien Paris
in search of Pigalle
flocked by what I see not



Brendan Costello Jr.

We heard a moving and insightful new essay by Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A Board member and creative writing instructor at City College. The parades around St. Patrick’s Day (the one on Fifth Avenue and the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens) brought back a memory of accompanying his father to the 1994 Gay Pride Parade. Brendan illustrates how we all have multiple identities and affiliations, and ended with a sharp critique of those who would have excluded his father from celebrating his Irish heritage for being gay.


Tom Mahon

In “The Bluest Eyes,” Tom Mahon told a true story of two men he’d worked for in the 70s. Coming home one bitter cold night, they got stranded in the building vestibule, looking for the keys. A man entered behind them and forced them to the floor.  After taking their valuables, he taunted them for being gay, and shot one in the back of the head. The victim, the handsomest and most Irish one, was a major male model in New York at the time.  His murderer was never caught. The police weren’t motivated to find the killer of a gay man.

A tragic story, emotionally delivered.


Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant led us on a vivid journey across the Sahara and the Tenezrouft, the “Land of Thirst” in a chapter from her book Heartlands of Islam. The chapter, titled “The Hajj” offers a glimpse of the dazzling white sands of the Sahara and its fierce warrior cultures, dappled with humorous glimpses of life as a stewardess in the glory days of flight. Jeanne’s rich imagery evokes moments in history, which were forerunners to today’s jihadism. Her work is a voice for tolerance of the complex societies, which have spawned the radicalism that now terrorizes the West and threatens the peaceable Muslim majority with indiscriminate backlash Jeanne Is developing “Becoming Irish,” the story of her journey through her Celtic past and the DNA discoveries of her strong Irish roots.


Mark Butler,Honor Molloy, Noel Lawler, Conor McGlone, and Jordan Ortega

Salon producer, host and expert on the Molly Maguires (among his other talents) John Kearns presented a rewritten scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. In a 19th-century upstate Pennsylvania shebeen, miner John Kilbride urges his friend O’Donnell to embrace non-violent tactics against unjust mine bosses and swears that his son will get an education and not be part of any violence. When a group of disguised Molly Maguires bursts into the bar celebrating their burning of a boss’s barn, Kilbride is shocked to find that his son, Jack, is one of them. John is grateful to the actors who brought the scene to life: Noel Lawler, Honor Molloy, Mark Butler, Jordan Ortega, and Conor McGlone.


Larry Kirwan

Hail to the Chief! Musician, singer, author – and IAW&A President Larry Kirwan read from his new book, A History of Irish Music, which will be published in April.  Larry combined passages from his chapter about the iconic Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher with a version of the Black 47 song, “Rory” (from the Green Suede Shoes CD.) Advance copies of A History of Irish Music are now on sale at


Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy read from her manuscript “In the Becoming,” poems based on Ireland’s classic story of Deirdre. The poems give Deirdre a direct voice to tell her story. McCarthy spoke of the story as a metaphor for finding voice, both as a woman and as an artist.

Published in numerous literary journals, she would like to publish this collection as a book. The poems also became poetic monologues in her stage play, Deirdre Retrograde. Her poetry collection Notebooks from Mystery School is coming from Finishing Line Press next month.

Margaret sends her heartfelt thanks to IAW&A for invaluable camaraderie and support during the book’s productio


Peggy Miley

Peggy Miley presented a short piece from her one-woman show, Irish Bread and Tea, telling a funny, poignant story of the late-blooming love of an Irish-American couple. Peggy performed her show in LA and last week at the Barrow Group Theatre in NYC. She says that this show gav e her more satisfaction than all her TV and film roles over the years. You can find out about them all, including her recent appearance on an episode of CBS hit comedy Mike & Molly at


Jordan Ortega

Jordan Ortega presented an eerie short story titled “Ever Watchful Eyes” about an older man following a young woman late at night.  A recent graduate from The City College of New York, Jordan is writing a novel and short stories set it the same fictional universe, and we expect to hear more from him.


Honor Molloy  standing O

Standing ovation for Honor

The Dublin-born, American raised Honor Molloy read “Writhing in America”, an essay about conflicting notions of identity, living and working in an ever-changing Manhattan, and how the IAW&A helped her to thrive once again among the Clan na Gael. In one of the emotional highs of an exciting night, Honor received a standing ovation.


Conor McGlone (center)

Talented City College undergrad Conor McGlone read a short poem, “Venus de Milo,” about a statue that wonders about the sculptor’s muse. And he sang and played what he calls “the skeleton of a pop song about love or, more to the point, unspoken obsession” called “no, I can’t talk.”

As we traditionally close with a song, John Kearns stepped in for Guen Donohoe with his own song, “Save Your Breath.”

“If your advice isn’t free/When you try to change me/Save your breath you might need it someday/’cause going halfway there/Is like going nowhere/And I can’t see it another way …


John Kearns

Some of us had no breath left to save after this night’s extraordinary Salon.

Join us next time at Bar Thalia, Tuesday, April 7 at 6pm — with guest host, Marni Rice!

March 6, 2015

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

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer and Mark Butler

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

jkJohn Kearns

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

erik_MErik Mackenzie

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



Thom Molyneaux

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


Marni Rice

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

jackJack DiMonte

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



Brian Fleming

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


A great IAW&A Audience!

johnSJohn Skocik

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

brendan Brendan Costello

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

timTim O’Mara

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

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

jeanneJeanne D’Brant

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

munJohn Munnelly

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

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

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

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




February 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 2/17/15: The Good Times Rolled on Mardi Gras

Filed under: Events,Film,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:27 am

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Nobody mentioned Mardi Gras but the mood at the IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, February 17 was sure celebratory. Highlights included three wonderful new presenters, unique music, great fiction and a one-of-a-kind performance from our friend from Dublin, Brian Fleming.


Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, and Nancy Oda

Ryan Cahill and Jack DiMonte hit all the right notes reading the roles of the seductive Pamela Churchill and the stately Averill Harriman in Sheila Walsh’s musical Pamela. The playwright was delighted when audience members asked her the magic question, “What comes next?” Sheila thanks Ryan, Jack, and Nancy Oda who read stage directions.


Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan kept the audience laughing as he read from his latest novel, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Shelf Awareness calls the book a “masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery” and notes “Phelan finds humor and warmth in every poignant moment.” Tom will read from Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told and talk about life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s/1950s at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY on Saturday, 28 February, at 1pm. More at and
You will be able to hear Tom on the radio at Glucksman Ireland House NYU Radio Hour. Tune in on 2/28, 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5FM and on and on


Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon

We watched a charming short film by Tom Mahon of last year’s St. Pat’s for All Parade. Parade organizer and co-founder Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy invited everyone to join the fun this year on Sunday, March 1. Come march under the IAW&A banner. Watch this space and our Facebook page for details. Visit


John Kearns

Tonight’s host, the Salon producer John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. The book follows the Logan family over several generations, and reflects the experiences of many Irish-American families. In this excerpt, Janey Logan is preparing to move her family from her native West Philadelphia to her husband’s family home in the suburb of Ardmore. She reflects on what she and her children will gain and lose by moving to the suburbs and on her lifetime of memories in St. Francis de Sales parish. Her old neighbor, Tom Dugan, stops to chat and, as Janey watches the familiar sight of Mr. Dugan’s walking up the street smoking his pipe, she wonders if she’ll ever see it again.


Don Meade

Traditional musician Don Meade, a great supporter of the Salon, showed his versatile talent by playing harmonica and banjo, singing and sharing his knowledge. Don played a jig called “The Haunted House,” the reels “The Abbey” and “The Custom Gap” and sang “Omagh Town” by Michael Hurl.

You can see Don and friends every Monday night at The Landmark Tavern for a traditional music session. More at


Laissez le bon temps roulez


Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang her jazz/blues version of Tom Waits’s story song, Small Change. Her sultry voice riffing on the Sax intro of the original created a totally new enthralling version of a classic.


Mary E. Gonzalez

Poet Mary E. Gonzalez is the daughter of Mary Kate Lohan of Dublin and of George Ugactz, a first generation Russian American. A graduate of Columbia University and host of a YouTube channel, Loving Life and Words, Mary read from two of her three poetry books currently available via Amazon:

  • Four Folded Corners (M.E. Gonzalez): Poems read include  “Love,” “Hate: In response to Extremism,” “The Strength of Trees”, “Summery Day”, “A Winter’s Farewell”, On an Amtrak Train to Utica
  • Two of Cups: A New York Poet in Galway (under pen name Mary E. Lohan) Poems read include “Clonmacnoise,” “Love is Not,” “Nothing is Constant”
  • Speaking to the Darkness (under pen name Mary E. Lohan)


Peter Digan

Peter Digan, newly imported from County Offaly and recently married to Mary Gonzalez, sang two songs — a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”and had us singing along with “The Wild Rover.”  Welcome Mary and Peter!


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon took us to upstate New York with “The Burial” from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a farmer brings his dead wife to a minister to have him say some words over her before he buries her. New to the community, the minister pries into the life of the farmer and his wife and family. The man answers but is as guarded and private as the preacher is public.


Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave a hilarious preview of his performance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade, playing now as part of the Frigid New York Festival. Described as “a romp through 14 years of celebration and resistance with the inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens…through music, projections, bad dance and bad striptease…” Support this artist who visits the Salon when he’s in New York. Get your tickets here:


Celeste Ray

In her Salon debut, musician Celeste Ray, a founding member of Four Celtic Voices, played several songs on a double Bowed Psaltery.

Those of us who were unfamiliar with this string instrument were stunned by its gorgeous sound and by her superb talent. Celeste closed the night by singing an IAW&A favorite, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Learn more at and find her on Facebook:

The good times will still be rolling at the Salon at the Thalia on March 3. See you then!

February 12, 2015

2/5 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Newly Published Works, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Song!

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 9:12 pm

by Mary Lannon 
Photos by Wei Lu 

Announcements of newly published work by Mary Pat Kelly, Mary Lannon, and John Kearns wove through presentations by a talented slate of artists at the Irish American Writers and Artists salon at the Thalia held on (a rare) Thursday night.


Mary Pat Kelly

First, Mary Pat Kelly read from her recently published novel Of Irish Blood. Kelly also explained how it started from a long search to find where her family in Ireland was from and led her to placing her character Nora Kelly in the artist enclaves of early 20th century Paris.


Mary Lannon

After the break Mary Lannon read from her soon-to-be published story “Frank N. Stein.” See The story tells of a young woman’s quest to leave an imagined monster behind her, for those imaginary monsters can be the hardest to shake!


John Kearns

Salon host John Kearns announced that an excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds, called, “Approaching Madison Avenue,” has been published at!john-kearns/czih.

He then read a brand-new excerpt from the same work. In 1910, the Logan Construction Company is celebrating its 25th anniversary and family patriarch, Seamus Logan (now known as James), is being honored.  The Logans’ eldest son, Sarsfield Logan, S.J., does not attend the ceremony and remains in New York grading final exams.  His brother, Young James, sits in the front row with his mother and seethes about what he considers his Jesuit brother’s phony excuses.

Other artists also presented fiction, non-fiction, and song:


Kevin R. McPartland

 To start off the evening, salon regular and novelist Kevin R. McPartland read a gripping passage from a short story called “Eamon’s Promise.” In the story, McPartland describes the desperate attempt of a fourteen-year old Irish immigrant at attaining work on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.


Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson shared another excerpt from his yet-untitled family memoir, introducing us to the devastating experience of Down syndrome in Ireland during the 1950s. Learn more about his book and subscribe to his email list here:


Brendan Costello Jr.

Frequent salon contributor Brendan Costello Jr. changed the pace a bit with a short story he wrote for his nieces and nephew, “After the Horses.”  A continuation of the Humpty Dumpty story, it picks up where the nursery rhyme leaves off, and examines how friendship can help heal even the most broken eggs.  It also addresses the tricky question of whether anyone should trust a doctor who is a duck.


Jack Di Monte

Jack Di Monte sang “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen, a song written in the form of a haunting letter to an old friend who once stole the heart of the writer’s wife. Despite the heartbreak of his ruined marriage, the writer confesses that the lover actually did his wife some good.  A listener may ponder if it’s a true story for it ends with the line “Sincerely, L. Cohen.”


Tom Mahon

In the second half, Tom Mahon told the story of a middle-aged man who’s dying a slow death from his senseless killing of two young girls when he was young.  Mason Webb then let his step-father convict an innocent 14-year-old African-American boy who died in the electric chair for him (true story) But “The Slow Death of Mason Webb” was Tom’s from his collection Tomorrow Never Came.


Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant read a sensual polyphony of steaming jungle adventures and earthy concupiscence from her latest work of nonfiction, FUCKED.


John Munnelly

John Munnelly ended the evening on a rousing note with three new songs including one that had the crowd singing along. First, he sang “Cruel Cruel World” inspired by a late 2014 New York Times article about the birth of a child. Next he sang “Only Something Small” originally inspired by Pastor Martin Neimoller’s famous quote that begins. “First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist” and ends, “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” To end, Munnelly led the crowd in a partial sing-a-long of “Devil Gets His Due,” a song he recently discovered in his files about his experience at a start-up.

More fun at Bar Thalia:


Kevin McPartland, Sean Carlson, Mary Pat Kelly, Brendan Costello, John Kearns

brendan listens

Brendan Costello listens


Singer Minnie Dee will perform at an upcoming salon


 Crowd enjoying Mary Pat Kelly’s stories

See you on February 17th at the Cell at 7 pm!

February 5, 2015

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

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

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

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


 Tom Cooper of Webster Groves Public Library welcomes us


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


John Kearns introduces IAW&A and Salons


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


Jennifer Fandel

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


 Ron Ebest

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


 Sharon Bangert Corcoran

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


Eamonn Wall

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


The Webster Groves Public Library ran out of chairs

katy gordon

 Katy Gordon

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


Mark Shaw

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


 Drucilla Wall

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


John Kearns

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


Presenters take a bow


Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran conclude the evening


More IAW&A Salons in Saint Louis to come!

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