Irish American Writers & Artists

October 12, 2016

10.6.16 IAW&A Salon: Provocative mix of monologues, a dynamic man from Mullingar and one lovely soprano

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 1:15 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth and Cat Dwyer

 The audience at the first October IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was rewarded with mighty performances. First time host and frequent contributor Tom Mahon presided easily over a bill of stunning monologues, new fiction, an essay and phenomenal spoken word poetry.


Tom Mahon warms up the crowd

Musical interludes were supplied by actor and singer Annalisa Chamberlin who performed a selection of contemporary and classical songs, including “Songs My Mother Taught Me” by Antonin Dvorák in her lovely soprano.

DSC_0056.JPGAnnalisa Chamberlin

We had a mostly male slate, and many stories about, well, men. Mark Donnelly’s original story/monologue “Pale Green Walls” is about a middle-aged man who moves upstate from Long Island after getting divorced. Alone, he faces a new job and a new life. In Mark’s effective telling, the audience saw the pale green walls in his empty apartment.

DSC_0020.JPGMark Donnelly

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read three pieces from a series he’s calling “The Dick Monologues,” the message being “Love may be true; lust is ever fickle.” He also gave an original bawdy limerick, especially for the man from Limerick, Malachy McCourt.

dsc_0231Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Jack DiMonte chose a monologue from David Mamet’s Oleanna. A college professor on the verge of receiving much-coveted tenure must deal with an obstacle, an ambiguous charge of harassment from a female student. Jack portrayed him trying to reason, cajole and finally pleading with her to withdraw her complaint.


Jack DiMonte

In an explosive monologue, actor Thom Molyneaux took Eddie Harrington, a Vietnam vet with a devastating secret, from the pages of Tom Mahon’s new play Closing Civelli’s to the mini-stage of the Thalia. Explosive performance, too, notes the author Tom Mahon. “I can’t believe what he did with the character I wrote.”


Thom Molyneaux

In the fiction department, two Salon regulars shared new installments of work-in-progress. Short story writer and novelist Kevin R. McPartland read from Brooklyn Rhapsody. In a brief, entertaining piece, he described a relationship about to go on the rocks in newly gentrified Park Slope, Brooklyn. Kevin appreciated its enthusiastic reception.

dsc_0218Kevin McPartland

IAW&A Board member John Kearns read from his novel, Worlds. Nora Logan, mother of Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J., tells how she came to America from County Cork and it’s a clever story. Unwilling to go along with an arranged marriage, the young Nora asked for a bicycle as an engagement present and then she cycled to Dublin and boarded a boat to New York.

dsc_0196John Kearns

Another work-in-progress was a candid, thought-provoking essay by IAW&A Board member Brendan Costello Jr. In “On Making an Entrance,” Brendan writes about Boris, a friend who had a huge impact on his adjustment to living life in a wheelchair.

bcBrendan Costello

Marty Mulligan from Mullingar, storyteller and spoken word artist, was visiting New York and performing poetry in America for the first time. Salon producer John Kearns invited him to the Salon, and result was thrilling: two spoken word pieces, rhythmic and furiously fast. “My Idea of Poetry” explains what poetry means to him and “I’m Sorry” explains what to do when arguing with a loved one, namely apologize for everything. Marty sends his thanks for “a great night’s entertainment” and hopes to return and perform stories from Ancient Ireland.

DSC_0180.JPGMarty Mulligan

Malachy McCourt summed up the night with his appreciation for all those “words” and added a few of his own, with hilarious stories from the Irish courts. He sang us out with “I Don’t Work for A Living.”

csc_0270Malachy McCourt

We’re counting down to the big night Monday, October 17, when Malachy receives IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. Don’t miss this event. Get your tickets now

And see you next WEDNESDAY, October 19 at The Cell, 7pm

Scene at the Thalia








October 9, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:08 pm

September 30, 2016

IAW&A Teams with Friends of Firefighters for Kathleen Donohoe’s Book Launch

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:46 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Kathleen Donohoe’s new novel Ashes of Fiery Weather was launched with a party co-sponsored by Irish American Writers & Artists and Friends of Firefighters at Pier A Harbor House on Monday, 9/22. It was a fitting combination: Kathleen’s an IAW&A board member, and her book depicts six generations of women in a family of New York City firefighters.

kd-launchKathleen Donohoe

Playwright Honor Molloy, who served as host, stage actor Margie Catov and NY Times bestselling author Marian Fontana portrayed characters from the book. Kathleen told them, “It was amazing hearing the stories in your voices.”

Margie Catov,  Marian Fontana

Mary Pat Kelly, speaking on behalf of IAW&A, acknowledged our group’s pride in Kathleen’s success and well-deserved recognition. We thank Brendan Costello who produced the event for IAW&A and brought a great, appreciative audience to that beautiful location on the Battery.

Nancy Carbone, FoF founder and Executive Director, described about how she founded the group after 9/11 to aid the mental health and wellness needs of FDNY firefighters and their families. FDNY Battalion Chief John Dillon expressed his appreciation for their work. Find out more at

Chief John Dillon, Nancy Carbone

hmHonor Molloy

Ashes of Fiery Weather Book LaunchLiam Collins, Kathleen Donohoe.   Signing books alongside his mom, Liam told her “I need my own pen,” and was so inspired that he wrote his own book the next day, The Book of Animals.

Early praise for Ashes of Fiery Weather

Kathleen Donohoe must have had to assimilate the entire postwar history of the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to produce such a remarkably authentic portrait, rich in memorable detail, with characters that come so vividly to life one forgets one is reading a novel… Anyone Irish will face an uncanny recognition in these pages; everyone else will be enthralled meeting such captivating figures. Prepare to settle in.” —Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves






September 29, 2016

9.22.16 IAW&A Salon’s 5th Anniversary Party Celebrates Our Community, Collaborations and Successes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:01 pm

 By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Irish American Writers & Artists held a jubilant Salon at the Cell Theatre on 9/22, celebrating the Salon’s 5th Anniversary, and our second year participating in Origin’s 1st Irish Festival.

waitingFull house at The Cell, eager for the 5th Anniversary Salon to begin

Salon buffs may know that the first Salon was held in Jue 2011. After an event-filled spring and summer that included IAW&A taking part in NYC’s Easter Rising Centenary commemorations, a Salon showcasing award-winning graduates of the Frank McCourt High School and an evening with Italian American writers, September seemed the ideal time for the “official” anniversary.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16John Kearns

duetMick Moloney on the banjo, Dan Gurney on accordion

Salon producer and host John Kearns featured some of the many IAW&A members who have shared developing work over the years, and whose participation and efforts have helped the Salon grow. One special guest, folklorist and musician Mick Moloney made his first Salon appearance. Mick is welcome any time he’s not traveling the world entertaining, teaching and sharing the legacy of Irish and Irish American music. Mick introduced young accordion phenom Dan Gurney.

Kathleen Donohoe gives the “thumbs up”

IAW&A Board member Kathleen Donohoe,  has read from her novel about six generations of women in family of a firefighters, as she was writing it over the last three years. Ashes of Fiery Weather just been released by a major publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and described by Publishers Weekly as “a moving testament to the men and women who risk their lives every day.


Poet John Brennan likes to inspire the reader/listener with tales of long forgotten Ireland and the history embedded in its rocks and soil. Tonight the County Armagh native changed it up with a witty poem offering some fatherly advice.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16

Karen Daly

Karen Daly spends her time researching and writing about the lives of famous New Yorkers for a NYC landmark, and of course, for the IAW&A Salon. Her essay, “Miles” describes her other great interest beyond New York history, namely, bicycling. The subtitle tells the story: “How one broken heart lead to two broken arms, great friends, adventures and maybe even God.”


Guen Donohue brought to life an excerpt from John Kearns’s novel in progress, Worlds, in which a 1950s teenager grounded by her mother imagines the conversations  that she is missing among her friends at the diner. Guen’s a multi-talented artist who writes, sings and often  performs her own work at our Salons.

Guen Donohue

ptPete Kennedy and Tara O’Grady

Singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady debuted two original songs with the Grammy-award winning guitarist Pete Kennedy. Tara has released four CD’s and has performed at festivals from Butte, Montana to Austin, Texas’s famous South By Southwest-SXSW.

We heard more of Tara’s music when Darrah Carr Dance company members Trent Kowalik and Alexandra Williamson performed two dances from their forthcoming collaboration at the Irish Arts Center “Celtic Jazz Tryst.” Artistic Director Darrah Carr calls her style ModERIN, as it combines modern and Irish dance, and judging from tonight’s performances, it’s a “must-see” for dance fans.

Trent Kowalski in the air

An award-winning author and playwright from Galway, Seamus Scanlon presented a scene from his play in development “The Blood Flow Game,” a tensely charged interaction between a couple played by actors Maria Deasy and Mark Byrne

duoMaria Deasy and Mark Byrne


Playwright and composer of over thirty plays, musicals and revues, Board member and salon stalwart  Mark Butler produced, hosted and wrote material for last year’s fundraiser for Urban Librarians Unite. Mark did a monologue on his elusive relationship with money. More comedy came from Richard Butler, who sang a song his brother Mark composed “I’m Sick of All the Toys” for his full-scale musical Bad Christmas Sweater.

Mark Butler 

raptMalachy McCourt enthralling the crowd at the end of grand night

The 5th Anniversary celebration closed on a fitting note, an energetic, entertaining reading by Salon founder and spiritual godfather, Malachy McCourt.

Join us next Thursday, 7pm at Bar Thalia as we begin the next five years.

And get your copy of this wonderful book!








September 7, 2016

9.1.16 IAW&A Salon: Lively scene at Bar Thalia: Exciting new fiction, stunning monologues, award-winning poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

The city may be quiet before the Labor Day weekend, but the IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was lively on Thursday, September 1. The audience included visitors from Florence, Italy and IAW&A’s friend from Israel, Yona Gonik who visits every summer, proving that you don’t need to be Irish to appreciate our work and enjoy our hospitality.

Among the night’s offerings were short stories, poetry, monologues, fiction, song and the category-spanning Malachy McCourt.


In the short story category, Tom Mahon read a story about a man who can’t die. A president of a country starts two unnecessary and unwinnable wars. Fated to live one year for every lie he’s told and for each person he’s killed, he’ll live for thousands of years — in infamy.


Tom Mahon

Another chilling new story came from Guenevere Donohoe. A woman witness to a terrible crime realizes that the perpetrator is her new next-door neighbor and agonizes over whether to identify him.


Guen Donohoe

Among the poets, Vivian O’Shaughnessy, also a visual artist and translator, charmed with her poem, “Love.”

dsc_0030Vivian O’Shaughnessy

John Brennan’s poems were inspired by his travels. “Valleys and Dust” came out of a trip to learn about the ancient connection between Ireland and Egypt. “Canyons and Dust” is about his trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, to try and connect with the Anasazi, mysterious ancient people who disappeared without a trace.  More about John’s roaming in his book: The Journey: A Nomad Reflects

dsc_0175John Brennan

Award winning poet Marcia Loughran read two poems to mark the end of summer, one about camping in Big Sky country and another one set in Vermont. Marcia shared a family memory of summers at Bettystown on the northeast coast of Ireland.

dsc_0131Maura Loughran

Tonight we heard segments from three novels, all of which we’ve been hearing in development. Salon producer and tonight’s host, John Kearns, is happy to report that his book, Worlds, is nearly complete. In the latest chapter, a major character, Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J. has died and the Logan family reflects on his extensive learning and love of education as they prepare for his funeral.

dsc_0196John Kearns

A wake in a bleak tenement features in Eamon Loingsigh’s excerpt from Exile on Bridge Street, the second title in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, coming from Three Rooms Press in October. The first book, Light of the Diddicoy, was described by Cahir O’Doherty of Irish Central as “A vivid portrait of the hardscrabble world of Irish gangs along the Brooklyn waterfront in the early 20th century.”

dsc_0197Eamon Loingsigh

In Jim Rodgers’ excerpt from “Long Night’s End,”Johnny Gunn is returning from a visit to his father at Rockaway Beach, after Johnny’s wife threw him out for drinking and debauchery. Not finding solace from the old man, Johnny returns to Manhattan and contemplates the beach-spent New Yorkers returning to their city neighborhoods. Johnny heads for the Lower East Side for some beer and much needed sympathy from the mysterious and beautiful bartender, Olive.

dsc_0058Jim Rodgers

Obie-Award winning actress Rosina Fernhoff gave a stunning monologue form Donald Margulies’ play Collected Stories, in which woman fictionalizes her teacher’s affair with a renowned poet.

dsc_0086Rosina Fernhoff

Back after the summer, Gordon Gilbert delivered two original pieces. In “Dark Angels” a young boy of loses his entire family to a drone strike. Changing up the mood, Gordon created a dog hosting a radio show, ranting about why he hates cats.

dsc_0231Gordon Gilbert

John Munnelly enjoys trying out new work at the Salon. Tonight he read a new poem “I Am from Dirt” and a new song waiting for a title, possibly, “Nothing Wrong with Me” or “What if I’m No Good?” and a song called “Alien.” If you’d like to learn John’s technique, you can take his Songwriting Class at the Irish Arts Center starting September 29. Find it at   Read more here:

dsc_0264John Munnelly

As the custom at Bar Thalia, Malachy McCourt closed the Salon with a free-ranging display of wit, wisdom and a song, demonstrating why he is our choice for the IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 17. As founder of the Salon, Malachy is proud of this “wonderful collection of talented people.” We’re in awe of his talents, in addition to his generosity and encouragement to Salon members.

dsc_0338-2Malachy McCourt

Don’t miss our salute to him on 10/17. Get your tickets here:

Enjoying  the presentations at IAW&A September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:dsc_0204Yona Gonik

dsc_0218Kevin McPartlandcsc_0270-2Malachy McCourt

dsc_0225Karen Daly


Enjoying the break at IAW&A  September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:



August 24, 2016

8.16.16 IAW&A Salon: Hot August Night: Poets, Singers, Memoirists, History, and “Abrazos”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 3:02 pm

 By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

We tried not to mention the recent heat wave but we do want to thank the terrific presenters and appreciative audience who came to the mid-August IAW&A Salon at The Cell on a steamy NY night. They were rewarded with a program featuring several poets, singers, fiction writers, and two glimpses of growing up Irish American.

It’s safe to say that the emotional heart of the night belonged to a special guest, Guatemalan-American filmmaker Luis Argueta. Abrazos, the second documentary film in his immigration trilogy, shows a group of children who travel from the US to Guatemala to meet their grandparents, cousins, and in some instances, siblings, for the first time. Luis showed a few minutes of the film and entertained our many questions about his work and about the families shown in Abrazos. By the way, abrazos means “hugs” and salongoers, all of us descended from immigrants, did embrace Luis and his work. Find it at

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Filmmaker Luis Argueta

In honor of “The Races of Castlebar” in August of 1798, when the French landed in Mayo to help the United Irish rebellion, Salon producer and the night’s host John Kearns cleverly taught some Irish history in an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. John’s character Seamus Logan entertains his fellow steerage passengers with tales of the first heady days when the Irish and French armies first took Ballina and later forced the Redcoats to break ranks and flee from the county seat, Castlebar.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Host John Kearns

Kathleen O’Sullivan presented two iMovies from her charming illustrated memoir about her childhood on Isham Street in upper Manhattan. In “Flushed,” she’s a kindergartener traumatized by the long marches to the bathroom with the whole class and the resulting lack of privacy. In “Learning to Pray,” the young Kathleen, drying dishes, practicing her prayers, begs her mother to say a certain prayer to “Cheeses.”


Kathleen O’Sullivan

Another presenter who stepped back in time to his childhood, Mark Donnelly shared a funny monologue about his boyhood desire to be a cowboy. Complete with hat and bandanna, Mark showed the audience why Gene Autry and Roy Rogers were kid favorites in the 1950s.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Mark Donnelly’s cowboy

A poet published in the “Paris Review” and other magazines and publications here and abroad, William Leo Coakley read his poem “Votive” about a widow lighting a votive candle in an Irish church. Then he read from an unpublished novel by his late friend Mary Bringle, The Children’s Bullet. Set during the Troubles in Belfast, it describes a visitor and a family being invaded by what William calls “the delicate British troops.” Bringle wrote more than 20 novels including Hacks at Lunch and Murder Most Gentrified and based on the sample, we agree that The Children’s Bullet deserves to find a publisher.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

William Leo Coakley

Bernadette Cullen, an adjunct professor at the College of New Rochelle, read three poems: “So Many Questions,” “If Only We Could,” and “A Deep Thirst,” an evocation of how to greet the day after a long night.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Bernadette Cullen

Versatile singer/actress Ryan Cahill— she studied acting and musical theater at the HB Studios, performed off Broadway and in light opera companies—sang two folk songs:  “My Johnny Was A Shoemaker,” in which a woman hopes that her intended will return from his navy service as a decorated officer and marry her. In “The Bird Song,” birds of all shape and size converse, sometimes sidetracked, about the art of love and courting.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Ryan Cahill

Saluting his muse with the poem, “She,” John Anthony Brennan offers his poem in recognition of “all Muses without whose inspiration and encouragement we as artists would surely struggle much harder.” “Gullion: Mountain of the Slopes”, is John’s tribute to Sleive Gullion, the ancient volcanic mountain that played an important role in Irish history, mythology and folklore, and which sits near John’s hometown of Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh. You can read these poems at

Better yet, buy John’s memoir

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

John Brennan

Andre Archimbaud says that while he carries a very French name, he carries Ireland in his heart. He revealed that heart tonight by reading two tribute poems: “A Lot of Everything” for a friend’s late mother, and “My Luck of the Irish” about his uncle, Ken Corrigan.

IAWA Salon, Cell, 8/16/16

Andre Archimbaud

Actor/singer/writer Annalisa Chamberlin’s new passion project is building a portfolio of classical and folk music. Tonight she shared a sample with “Then You’ll Remember Me” from M. W. Balfe and Alfred Bunn’s 1843 opera “The Bohemian Girl, ending the Salon on a clear, sweet note.


Annalisa Chamberlain

Keep cool.


August 15, 2016

8/2 IAW&A Salon: An Intense, Intimate Summer Evening

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:28 pm
by Mary Lannon
Photos by Christopher Booth

Song, storytelling, acting, memoir and even a joke entertained the crowd at a short but intense Irish American Writers and Artists Salon on Thursday night, August 2nd, at Bar Thalia.


John McDonagh
One of the many stand-out performances of the evening was by John McDonagh who
will soon perform at the NYC Fringe Festival. To much laughter, he told the story of how
the Northern Irish Peace process cost him the million dollars that he would have won on
the reality TV show The Amazing Race. McDonagh will tell that story and others in his
one-man show, Cabtivist, at the NYC Fringe Fest beginning August 14th. See for more information.
John Brennan
The evening opened with John Brennan reading “Back When,” his memoir condensed to
1200 words and 10 minutes. It was, as Sarah Fearon termed it, “The microwave version
of his award winning book, Don’t Die with Regrets.”
Sarah Fearon introduced John McDonagh and talked about the WordWaves reading in Rockaway
Kathleen Vaughan
Next Kathleen Vaughan read a moving chapter from her upcoming memoir about being
orphaned called, Raised By Nuns & Drunks. The reading told the story of her Police
Athletic League(PAL) sponsored outing from The Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home for
Kids to the Palisades Amusement Park. Vaughan remains thankful to PAL. Vaughan, a
Director of Career Services at the Grace Institute is a member of the County Cork
Association, Irish Business Organization, and a Director of Cathedral High School
Alumnae Association.
John Kearns
Then our gracious host for the evening, John Kearns, read an excerpt from his novel in
progress, Worlds, in which Kitty and Paul Logan travel to Ireland with their father in part
to help him cope with his death of his wife, Janey, six months before. Discovering that
they are in a touristy pub with amplified music in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, Paul
insists on finding some authentic traditional music (which his mother had loved.) At the
more authentic pub, the Logan family runs into an orthodontist who knows Janey’s family
and the traditional music house parties they were known for hosting in West Philadelphia.
David Newkirk
In presenting two parts of the long poem Radii, first-time IAWA reader David Newkirk unraveled the mystery of a young woman feigning deafness and blindness (“Malingering”) and celebrated his preschooler son’s repulse of manipulation by a narcissistic relative (“The Refusal of Hate”). More of David’s writings are available at
Peadar O’Hici
Peadar O’Hici ended the first half singing “The Ballad of Sean McLoughlin,” an
original song about a socialist from Dublin. He became Commandant-General of the
army of the Irish Republic at the end of the Easter Rising in 1916. James Connolly was
injured and stretcher bound on the Thursday of that week and command was handed over to the 21-year old McLoughlin for the duration of the fighting.
Enjoying the break … 
Eilin O’Dea
Award-winning actress from Cork Eilin O’Dea performed a section from Antigone, a section from As You Like It and read some section from Edna O Brien’s, House of Splendid Isolation.
Sheila Houlihan Fee
Sheila Houlihan Fee had the crowd laughing at her joke: “An Amusing Confessional from
1916.” Fee is a New Yorker whose parents are from Limerick. She studied Irish Gaelic at
NUIG as a Fulbright winner.
Jack DiMonte
In a salute to Tony Bennett on his 90th birthday, Jack DiMonte told a brief story of
seeing the great singer in a live performance some years ago, and then launched into an
impromptu impression of Mr. Bennett’s singing “Because of You,” one of Tony’s first hits.
Marni Rice
The evening ending with the versatile Marni Rice reading an excerpt of a new play in
progress From the Flora Dora to Interpretive Dance. The play is about her grandmother,
a farm girl, vaudeville performer, and student of Martha Graham in the 1920’s. Rice also
sang us out with a traditional Irish ballad.
Don’t miss our next IAW&A Salon at the Cell on 8/16 starting at 7 pm!

July 27, 2016

7-19 IAW&A Salon: A Spirited Evening with Italian American Writers Association

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:25 pm
by Mary Lannon
Photos by Christoper Booth

In a spirited night with much joking and much seriousness, writers and singers celebrated the common and uncommon ground of the Italian and Irish American experience as the Irish American Writers and Artists Salon welcomed Italian Americans Writers at the cell on Tuesday July 19th.


Paul Moses

The event was inspired by the recent publication of Paul Moses’s book An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians, according to event organizer and gracious emcee Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. Moses read an excerpt featuring radical labor organizers and lovers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca who met during the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike in Lawrence, Massachussetts. Despite their unconventionality, Moses recounted, the cultural differences in that era between the Irish and Italians ultimately divided them.

Curator and host Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy


Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn, a founder and former president of Irish American Writers and Artists, provided a gracious and funny introduction for Moses.  In the spirit of the evening, he gave a bit of history of the divide between Irish and Italians. Then to great laughter, he jokingly explained the cultural differences by imagining an Italian Joseph and an Irish Mary producing a Hispanic Jesus, noting, for one that Joseph could not have gotten into the carpenter’s union unless Mary was Irish. Quinn, a celebrated journalist and political historian, is the author of Banished Children of Eve, Hour of the Cat, Looking for Jimmy, and The Man Who Never Returned.


Alisa Rose

The evening began appropriately with Alisa Rose who has a background in opera but now is engaged in Irish Studies. First, she sang, “Turna A’ Surriento,” a traditional Neapolitan song composed in 1902 by the Italian musician Ernesto De Curtis with words written by his brother, the poet and painter Giambattista De Curtis.  Then Rose sang “McNally’s Row of Flats,” an Ed Harrigan song from his comedy McSorley’s Inflation as revived by Mick Moloney.  To help Rose fund her album, see and to see her event schedule go to


Elizabeth Primamore

 Next up, Elizabeth Primamore read the prologue of her play in-progress called, Nevarca (Newark, New Jersey), which sketches the emotional and psychological edges of three generations of an Italian American family.  Primamore’s work has been published in the anthologies Literature and Gender and New America. She studied at HB studio and her full-length play, Undone, received readings at The Flea, The Cherry Lane, and Ensemble Studio Theatre.


Maria Lisella

Co-Curator of the Italian American Writers Association and Queens Poet Laureate, Maria Lisella, read poems about leaving home and living in a new country.  Lisella’s most recent book is Two Naked Feet.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won the Allen Ginsburg Poetry Award among other honors.


Malachy arrives for a rare appearance at the Cell


For the first time, an IAW&A Salon break included cookies

The second half of the evening also began with song.  Mary Deady, a celebrated singer, keeping with the evening’s theme, talked about the song in the Christmas scene in the immigrant coming-of-age movie Brooklyn.  Then she sang a song in the same vein, ‘An Clár Bog Déil,’ – The Soft Deal Board,” a Munster love song written in the early 19th century and attributed to an Augustinian friar, presumably before he took the habit!  Deady’s second song, “Good Night, New York,” written by Judy Gold, is about immigration, the journey and finding courage.  Deady was a lead soprano in the National Folk Theater of Ireland, touring extensively throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada.  More recently she performed with Jeff Cubeta at The Laurie Beechman Theater in their show, My Love is a Wanderer—A Fictional Memoir in Song.


Mary Deady


Rosette Capotorto

 Rosette Capotorto, a Bronx native, read poems from Bronx Italian, including “The Mother of a Priest.” Her fiction and poetry have been published in many anthologies including Are Italians White and The Milk of Almonds.


John Liam Shea

Another Bronx native John Shea read a ghost story that included the ghost of a very disappointed Irish mother.  Shea’s novel, Cut and Run in the Bronx, published in 2012 by Dublin’s 7Towers Press, met with critical and commercial success.


Tim Ledwith

Staten Island was also in the house in the person of Tim Ledwith, a writer and editor, who was raised in an Irish-American family in a mostly Italian-American neighborhood on Staten Island.  Ledwith delighted the crowd with an excerpt from his memoir featuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge construction’s impact on his Irish American family.


Maureen Hossbacher

The versatile Maureen Hossbacher shared three poems, including “Lesser Known Saints”, which will appear in the next Paterson Literary Review.  Another, entitled “Artists,” appealed to other poets in the room, Maria Lisella and Margaret McCarthy, who acknowledged some essential attributes of artists:  “the insight / the eye / the ear / the tongue / a steady hand / but mainly the gall.”


Malachy McCourt

The inimitable Malachy McCourt who founded the IAWA Salon, ended the evening recounting tales of the “Italian influence” in his hometown of Limerick to the delight of the crowd. He included one story of how a Limerick local got invited to a box seat at an Italian opera in Dublin. McCourt then sang, “There is an Isle” to end a lovely evening.

Join us for a mixture of presenters new and familiar at our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia (95th & Broadway) at 7 pm.

More fun with photos by Christopher Booth: fun1




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July 13, 2016

7.7.16 IAW&A Salon: Our Tribute to Alphie McCourt’s “instant humanity”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 2:19 am

What a night! Loud, soft, moving, funny and memorable! –Tom Mahon

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAW&A’s July Salon at Bar Thalia featured a tribute to writer, memoirist and much loved member Alphie McCourt, who died this week. Salon producer John Kearns organized readings of Alphie’s poems and stories, mainly from his book The Soulswimmer,  A Collection of Stories, Verses and Songs.



Guenevere Donohue


Michele Fulves

Guenevere Donohue and Michele Fulves gave sensitive readings of Alphie’s poems, and Mark Butler and Mark Donnelly, his wry and funny true stories. Mark Butler captured the feeling of many IAW&A folks, when he described first meeting Alphie and feeling the man’s “instant humanity.”markd

Mark Donnelly

Treat yourself to more Soulswimmer.


Mark Butler


Vivian O’Shaughnessy

In addition to Alphie’s work, Salon goers enjoyed the work of two poets, two singers in the Irish tradition, and two novelists. The many-talented Vivian O’Shaughnessy, visual artist, translator, poet, read “Stone Garden” which she translated, hand brailled and created an audio/music book edition for Perkin’s International School for the Blind. Andre Archimbaud, continued the elegiac mood in his Salon debut, with “Last Breath” written in the wake of Maya Angelou’s passing and “God’s Last Gasp” about the last known recording of John Coltrane.


Andre Archimbaud

The night’s host John Kearns has been covering the major sins in his generational novel in progress, Worlds. Tonight he gave us sloth, in the character of Janey Logan. After getting her kids off to school one dull morning, she listlessly lies around the house, thinking about how apathetic her married life has become. Finding proof that her husband has cheated, she can’t work up the energy to confront him.


John Kearns


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon kicked up the mood with funny excerpt from a from his young adult novel, The Incredible Heroics of Timothy Egan. We watch Tom’s character, a kid in Bayonne, NJ, grow up from kindergarten, where he meets more kids than he knew existed. Learning about “pagan babies,” he becomes the best Pagan Baby Saver of St. Andrews School.  When he tires of them, he takes up stickball, baseball and girls. He likes one girl so much he can’t describe what’s happening, except being with her makes him feel like he’s riding a magic carpet.


Alisa Rose

One of our two wonderful singers, Alisa Rose, is among Irish music’s most celebrated, up-and- coming performers. She showed why in her second Salon appearance, singing two traditional songs “Yankee Land,” and the Scottish “Ae Fond Kiss” by Robbie Burns, accompanying herself on guitar.


Annalisa Chamberlin

In her first Salon performance, actress and singer Annalisa Chamberlin sang two lovely Irish folks songs, which are in Eileen Connolly’s new Irish tale “Daughter of the Waves” which premiered at the NY Musical Theater Festival.

In all, the night was full of emotion and special IAW&A connection.

See you next time at The Cell on July 19. Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy will host our first Italian American and Irish American Salon.




June 27, 2016

6.21.16 IAW&A Salon: School’s Out!: Saluting Young Talent with our McCourt Award, plus Teachers, Students, Life Lessons

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 4:17 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Christopher Booth

The end of June brings the end of school and, for the IAW&A, a time to honor the legacy of Frank McCourt by giving an award for literary excellence to a graduate of NYC’s Frank McCourt High School. In fact, the submissions were so strong this year, we gave awards to three students. Winners of IAW&A’s 2016 McCourt Award for Creative Writing, Natasha Neil, Evony Morel and Milena Blue Spruce, were our special guests at the Salon on June 21. Graduating this week, the young women read sections of their winning entries and wowed the audience with their talent and poise. We were delighted to cheer them on!


Natasha Neil, Evony Morel and Milena Blue Spruce

In keeping with the educational theme, Brendan Costello, IAW&A Board Member and teacher of Creative Writing at City College organized a Salon dedicated to teachers and students and enlivened with great musical performances. Brendan hosted the night with Salon producer John Kearns.


Brendan Costello


Joseph Stanton

Showing how IAW&A’s fame is growing, the Salon attracted presenters from Hawaii and Australia. A poet and scholar from Hawaii, Joseph Stanton read selections from his five poetry collections. His choices dealt with themes of baseball and film, including “The Birds” (yes, Hitchcock) and “Fernando Tatis Hits Two Grand Slams in One Inning.” You can appreciate and see the inspiration for “Michael Langenstein’s Play Ball” at A professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Hawaii, Joseph recently gave a workshop at Poets House. For his latest collection,


Kristen Daniels

IAW&A Salon first timer Kristen Daniels, a student in Brendan Costello’s creative writing workshop, read a heartfelt piece “On Earth as It Is in Heaven” about her struggle with faith and about the journey she went on in search of a sign.


Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux is creating a one-man show called Me and the Monologue, which he performed in front of a live audience for the first time at the Salon. Thom demonstrated his acting chops by delivering Shakespeare’s “Oh, for a muse of fire…” He stepped into the role of Tom, in the brilliant opening and closing monologues of The Glass Menagerie and ended with Malachi Stack, a charming slightly disreputable Irish philosopher, from Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker.


Frances O’Neill

Composer and singer Frances O’Neill, visiting from Australia, described her journey to learning about her Scottish/Irish roots, on hearing that her family had “royal” O’Rourke blood. That journey resulted in her composing a musical, The Last Torch, set at the turn of the 16th century when an O’Rourke saved survivors of a shipwreck from the Spanish Armada on the West Coast of Ireland. Frances shared a lovely song called “Eleanor’s Aria” from The Last Torch, which premiered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.


Maura Mulligan

Author and dance teacher, Maura Mulligan told a story from her memoir, Call of the Lark, about her first feis – a dancing competition in her native County Mayo. Maura’s mother reminded her to “bow to the ferret,” the dance judge known locally as “Ferret Flatly.” Having lost a medal to her sister Mag, the young Maura kicked her shoe off and was disqualified from the competition when the shoe “went flying through the air, landing with a bang on the Ferret’s table.”


Marie Reilly


Anne Kelly, Alice Ryan, Silpa Sadhujan and Kim Tulloch

Maura’s students Anne Kelly, Alice Ryan, Silpa Sadhujan and Kim Tulloch brought the scene to life dancing a vivacious and flawless Four Hand Reel, accompanied by renowned fiddler Marie Reilly. Next stop for Maura and Marie will be the Fleadh Cheoil in Ennis this summer.

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Alice Smyth

IAW&A Salon newcomer Alice Smyth trained her voice and on harp with Eily O’Grady Patterson and her husband, the late tenor, Frank Patterson. This year’s NY Rose of Tralee’s People’s Choice Rose, Alice was inspired to get back to performing her Irish folk song repertoire. She did so tonight with two lovely songs, a Gaelic song, plus “Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry.”


Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read a charming excerpt from her first novel with the impossibly long title of An Explanation of the Fundamentals of the Derivation of Dilapidated Brown Station Wagon aka How I Became a Scientist and Discovered the Truth About Getting Stuck in the Wrong Universe by Miranda J. McCleod. At work on her second novel, Mary is an Associate Professor of English at Nassau Community College.


Kevin Holohan

Kevin Holohan’s passage from his darkly funny novel The Brothers’ Lot described the questionable educational methods deployed by The Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means. Kevin describes “the laughably clumsy vocation recruitment tactics of the doddering Brother Kennedy and the boys’ brilliantly exasperating use of deliberate obtuseness and feigned stupidity.” When not engaged in trying to finish his second novel, Kevin puts occasional little mad bits of scribbling here


Alisa Rose

Vocalist Alisa Rose studied opera before finding her connection to traditional Celtic and folk music. Her powerful voice filled the Cell with “I Wonder What’s Keeping My True Love Tonight.” A musician and scholar, she notes that it was one of the few songs that seems to have survived purely by oral tradition. More about her at Learn about, and support her premiere album at


Guenevere Donohue

Fearless Guenevere Donohue delivered a brand new rant/monologue/essay she calls “Fear of Teaching,” about good and bad teachers, humility, and hubris being their respective hallmarks. Guen ended with an illustration of how a stranger can become a teacher by witnessing our effort, and offering encouragement. In Guen’s case, a man overheard her practicing her singing in a park and offered, “I see you. I hear you. Keep going.”


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher brought the evening to a hilarious conclusion with her parody of “My Favorite Things,” itemizing some of the less gratifying aspects of her teaching career at Hunter College.

But when nostalgia for the classroom
leaves me feeling sad
I simply remember the things I don’t miss
And then I don’t feel so bad 

Christopher Booth, whose photographs appear here,invites everyone to his reading from James Joyce on Monday, June 27 at 7:30 pm at Swift Hibernian Lounge, 34 East 4th Street, NYC. Readings are in the back room, past the bar. Readings take place on the 4th Monday of each month. For more info, go to

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


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