Irish American Writers & Artists

March 1, 2016

2/26 IAW&A Road Salon at Molloy College

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

Photos by Tom Mahon

cathy speaks

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

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John Brennan read about the writer’s need to write


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


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


Jack O’Connell performed a monologue and recited two poems


Marie Reilly on fiddle 

krista plays

Krista Charles on piano


Full house at Molloy

Guen Karen laugh

xkearns break

karen daly and familyKaren Daly and family

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Tom Phelan read from The Canal Bridge


John Kearns read from Dreams and Dull Realities


Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt from Killer Is My Name

marie krista

Marie Reilly and Krista Charles concluded the salon

More fun at Molloy:


Val enjoys the salon

fun2 Nancy Oda traveled to Rockville Centre for the salon



February 26, 2016

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Tom Mahon

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

And if the children remember
The spirit will stay

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

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

February 16, 2016

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

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

By Mark William Butler
Photos by Kevin McPartland

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


Andrew Byrne, Artistic Director of Symphony Space

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


John Kearns

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


Ray Lindie

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


Rosina Fernhof

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


Sean Carlson

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


Sarah Fearon

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

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


Marcia Loughran

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


Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

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


Mark Tompkins

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


Jack DiMonte

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


John Paul Skocik

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

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

January 27, 2016

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

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

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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

mark byrne

Mark Byrne and Penny O’Brien

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


Thom Molyneaux

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


Rosina Fernhoff

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


John McDonagh

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


Brendan Costello

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


Adrianna Mateo

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


John Kearns

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

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


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

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Derek Murphy and friends … 


Joel Weinberg

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

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William Lee Coakley

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


Kathleen O’Sullivan

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


Childlike theology …


Seamus Scanlon

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

Bernadette Cullen

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


John Munnelly

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

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






January 11, 2016

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Kevin R. McPartland

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


Seamus Scanlon

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


Jenifer Margaret Kelly

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


Sheila Agnew

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


Tom Mahon

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


Brent Shearer

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


Eilin O’Dea

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


Bill McGarvey

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


Katharine McNair

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


Sean Carlson

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


Rita Reidy Lennick

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


Jim Rodgers

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


John Munnelly

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


Malachy McCourt

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

And we can’t add to that.

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

Happy New Year!



December 22, 2015

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer



Marni Rice

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

joeJoseph Goodrich

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

kevinKevin Holohan

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

More of Kevin and the book at:   New video on


Kira Citron

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


Seamus Scanlon

Author Seamus Scanlon read a flash fiction piece, which he says, is more suited to Easter than Christmas. You can read the chilling “The Resurrection Love Song” “in its entirety at  You can also see a promotional video for his play “The McGowan Trilogy” at


Maeve Price

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

brendanBrendan Costello Jr.

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

honHonor Molloy

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


Honor Molloy

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Mark Butler and Honor Molloy poetically passing the hat



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Mark William Butler

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


Eilin O’Dea

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



Marni Rice

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


John Kearns

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

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

sarah jon

Sarah Fearon and Jon Gordon


Jon Gordon

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


Larry Kirwan

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

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

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


Kathleen Donohoe

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


Karl Scully

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


Malachy McCourt

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

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


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

Here is the schedule for 2016 salons:

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

Merry Christmas and see you in 2016!


December 8, 2015

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

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

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

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


Dan Dennehy

Dan Dennehy welcomed everyone to the salon.


John Kearns

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


Kathleen Donohoe

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


Tim Murphy

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


Ray O’Hanlon

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

marie & krista

Marie Reilly and Krista Charles

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


Delicious food during the break!


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


Shane Cahill

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

john mcd

John McDonagh

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


Guenevere Donohue

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


Marianne McShane

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

tim D

Tim Dwyer

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


Ray Bermingham

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


Malachy McCourt

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

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

December 7, 2015

12.1.15 IAW&A Salon: Magic Mix of Talent

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas 

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

kearns    John Kearns

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


Michael Fitzpatrick

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


Rosina Fernhoff

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


Brent Shearer

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

john mcd

John McDonagh

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


Socializing during the break


Mark Butler enjoying the Salon


The supportive IAW&A Salon audience



Maureen Hossbacher

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


Jenifer Margaret Kelly

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


Judy Doris

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


Honor Molloy

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


John Paul Skocik

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

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

November 24, 2015

11.17.15 IAWA Salon at The Cell: Theatricality, music, storytelling from newcomers and regulars

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:13 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The late November IAW&A Salon brought gifted actors, comic and serious, great storytellers, two new presenters (one named McCourt), along with musicians, novelists and one poet to the stage at The Cell on November 17th.


Peadar Hickey

Guitarist/singer Peadar Hickey opened with two songs that told stories about the Irish in America. “Fighting Tom Sweeney” with words by James Kelly and music by Derek Warfield tells of the Cork-born Colonel of the 52nd Missouri who fought bravely in the Civil War Battle of Shiloh. The tender “Lost Little Children” by Tim O’Brien is about two young brothers who sail to America to meet their parents who preceded them to earn the money for the children’s passage.

Peadar is part of the touring group Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones. You can catch him regularly in NYC at Donoghue’s, Times Square, Tuesdays at 8pm and Saturdays at 10pm, the Pig ‘n Whistle, Times Square, W. 46th St., Wednesdays at 9pm, and the Dog and Duck, Sunnyside, Thursdays at 8.30pm and Sundays at 5.30pm


Suzanna Geraghty and Mark Byrne

Here from Dublin to perform her award-winning solo show, Auditions, Zoe’s Auditions, Suzanna Geraghty treated us to a few minutes of the show, in which a hapless actor tries to demonstrate the full range of her talents in an audition that doesn’t go so well. Suzanna lived up to her description in The New York Times as “…a gifted physical comedian…” Suzanna’s “Auditions, Zoe’s Auditions” won the Best Comedy Award at United Solo 2015!


David McLoghlin

We welcomed new member David McLoghlin who read from his memoir-in-progress, The Travelled Child.  It describes his family’s emigration from Ireland to Belgium and Darien, CT, in the 1980s, and a young boy’s struggle to belong in a variety of countries, including Ireland, upon his return home with a New England accent.  David is author of Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2012), and recipient of a grant from Ireland’s Arts Council. David notes that the Salon was only the second time he has read from the memoir and was grateful for such an appreciative audience. Visit


Rosina Fernhoff

Noted actor Rosina Fernhoff performed an excerpt from the solo play Snow People by Av Inlender. Weaving history with personal experiences, the play explores the controversy surrounding Nazi looting of art treasures during World War II and Swiss complicity in the thefts. Rosina played a woman whose daughter confronts her with contemporary questions of guilt and restitution.


Jon Gordon

Jazz sax player Jon Gordon has played and read from his memoir For Sue at several IAW&A Salons. Tuesday he chose the Malachy McCourt route (“Just tell the story!”) with anecdotes from a book he’s working on titled Jazz Lives. Jon had unique stories about some of great musicians he met as a very young man starting out: Jay McShann, Doc Cheatham, Joe Williams, Clark Terry and Cab Calloway, among others.


John McDonagh

Another IAW&A member who can tell a story, John McDonagh did a few minutes from his solo play Cabtivist. In this hilarious segment, John is chosen to show British actor Stephen Fry around New York for his TV show, so naturally John brings him to Queens to meet some authentic goodfellas. John graciously thanked IAW&A members for encouragement, feedback and support of his work. After two sold-out shows this fall, John will perform another one at The Cell on December 16.  Get your tickets here:

crowd david

The supportive IAW&A Salon crowd listens to David McLoghlin


Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux’s play about 9/11, White Ash Falling premiered at The Detroit Repertory Theatre in May. Tonight he read two monologues. White Ash Falling is structured as a play within a play. The first dialogue had Richard, an actor, telling the other actors what he did on 9/11 and followed with Richard’s character, Greg, telling his story of that unforgettable day. Pleased with the reception and good reviews, Thom hopes to produce White Ash Falling in or around New York.


John Kearns

Having returned from a conference in Belfast and a vacation in Madrid, IAW&A Salon producer and host John Kearns read a brief excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Paul Logan reminisces about an incident that took place when he started teaching at an all girls’ school in the South Bronx. When Paul sends a student to detention, she returns to the classroom and attacks him.  After learns that she will be expelled, two students in his class start arguing about the incident and have to be sent to separate guidance counselors.


Alphie McCourt

In his first Salon appearance, Alphie McCourt charmed with three selections from his The Soulswimmer, A Collection. Two selections, “Quiet Time” and “The Prose Nose” were in verse. “Albanese” is a story, fictional, we presume, about a returned emigrant farmer whose erotic encounter with his wife is enhanced by a cow’s tail.  More about him at:


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s true story about an incident in Vietnam, “Sergeant Murray’s Problem” is another dramatic vignette from his collection Tomorrow Never Came.  In it, a sergeant dies when he is forced to recover his lieutenant who was injured in ambush.


Marcia Loughran

The accomplished poet Marcia Loughran was happy to be back at the Salon, sharing three poems, one of which (“Imagine October”) has been published by the Riding Light Review.  The other two were new, one “Allen Ginsberg Goes to Costco” and “Ceasefires.”

let it be

John Kearns, Jack DiMonte, Mark Butler, and Sarah Fearon

The full night came to a close, with an impromptu sing-along of “Let It Be” led by Jack DiMonte, Mark Butler, and Sarah Fearon, with John Kearns on guitar.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget the Salon at Bar Thalia on December 1st!   See you soon!



November 9, 2015

11.3.15 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Rich Brew of Music, Drama, Humor & More

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:25 am

“Wonderful night that evolves each time out of goodwill and fun…” Tom Mahon

By Karen Daly
Photos by Tom Mahon and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy

Musician/writer/ singer Marni Rice graciously hosted the early November IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia that was a rich brew of story, song, humor and poetry.  As that sage Tom Mahon says, “Even when it gets serious, it’s still fun”.


Mary Pat Kelly

Fresh from her success hosting our Eugene O’Neill Award for Irish America magazine co-founder and editor-in-chief Patricia Harty, Mary Pat Kelly was first up. She described the research for her next novel (following Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood) and took a show of hands as to where the plot should go. Mary Pat found sharing her ideas and the feedback from fellow writers and artists “very helpful.”


Sarah Fearon

Comic performer and IAW&A Board member Sarah Fearon also shared work in development — new ideas and comedy notes. After her terrific performance at 100th Salon and her efforts in helping organize the O’Neill event, Sarah’s gone back to the drawing board to find the “new funny.” And she did.


Jack DiMonte

Singer and frequent Salon contributor Jack DiMonte showed his comic side by imagining how celebrated actor Richard Burton would have played Vegas. Jack’s impression of Burton doing a segment from this nightclub act started with a brief soliloquy from “Hamlet” that segued into the Billy Strayhorn jazz classic “Lush Life.”


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read a dramatic story about one man’s hypocrisy. In “Elite Only,” a group of well-off men in a small town drink and swap stories.  When they leave, one of them comes upon an accident involving two women. Gerry Simmons, a country judge, elects not to help and the women die. In the aftermath, his wife divorces him; he marries his young assistant; moves to Florida and doesn’t stand for re-election. Why didn’t he help them?  He was drunk and a judge known for being tough on crime.


Kevin R. McPartland

Salon regular, novelist and short story writer Kevin R. McPartland read from a recently completed short story titled “The Cruise,” a tale of magic and moonlight on the high seas. Kevin left the audience eager to hear the rest of this delightful tale.


Mary Deady

Singer Mary Deady, who wowed us at the O’Neill Award, wowed again tonight with two very different songs. The first was a traditional Irish air, “On the Brink of the White Rock Air” (Ar bhruach Na carriage).She followed with a funny, sophisticated Cole Porter song, “The Physician”

Once I loved such a shattering physician,
Quite the best-looking doctor in the state
He looked after my physical condition
And his bedside manner was great!


Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Still in the Halloween spirit, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read “I Know Why You Are Here Tonight” from his as-yet-unpublished book of vampire poetry: The Vampiricals, Book of Waters. He read two short pieces: a stand-alone monologue “Summers Are the Hardest Time” and “A Kiss for Miss Ellie”, which will be included in the seventh production of his play “Monologues from the Old Folks Home” when he produces it again in the spring.

Gordon hosts monthly celebrations of the Beat Generation writers at Cornelia Street Cafe, and he performs regularly there in Monologues & Madness on the first 1st Monday of each month.


Jordan Ortega

Jordan Ortega, a recent graduate of CUNY, shared an excerpt from his short story  “Ever Watchful Eyes,” a tale about a mysterious man following and watching a young girl from a distance throughout an eventful night. Jordan has presented several times at the IAW&A Salon, and is “always invigorated by the experience and feedback.”


John Paul Skocik

A crowd favorite, John Paul Skocik played a few songs including a new one called  “Making You Mine.”  His  “We Should Go Home” is performed with John’s former band on the self-titled album “Girl To Gorilla,” available on ITunes and at ♫ Girl to Gorilla – Girl to Gorilla. Listen @cdbaby John’s last tune was a poppy punk original, “The Phone Song” about the self-doubt and inner turmoil of a young man trying to get a young lady to answer her phone.  John is busy writing new songs and working on a short play, as well as beginning a novel, which he hopes to share at the Salon sometime in the near future.


Rosina Fernhoff

Actor Rosina Fernhoff mesmerized the audience with a monologue from The Piano Teacher, a three-character play by Julia Cho.  Mrs. K., a retired piano teacher who lives alone, reminisces about her husband and the children she taught long ago. One day she feels compelled to call her old students. Is it out of loneliness or some darker need?  It may not be what we cannot know what troubles us most, but what we cannot bear to know. The Piano Teacher will be presented in February at St. Malachy’s.

We’ll keep you posted on the details.


Marni Rice

The night’s host, Marni Rice, presented a poem from her new theatre piece “Magdala: Stories from the Net & The Sea,” co-created by The Xio Evans Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre.  It’s an original interpretation about the life of a woman named Mary from a fishing village called Magdala, Mary Magdalene The original text by Xio Evans and Marni Rice is in Spanish and English; choreography by Xio Evans (from Costa Rica) and original music by Marni Rice (from NYC). “Magdala” was produced at the WOW Café Theatre in October 2015 with additional dates TBD in 2016.  You can see an excerpt of this piece at the Riverside Church Latino Ministry meeting on Sunday, November 15th at 1pm. For additional details, please visit:


Malachy McCourt

We said it was a night of story, song, humor, and poetry and Malachy McCourt combined them all in his wrap-up, talking about “the freedom and eloquence” of the Salon, offering a clear-eyed assessment of The Quiet Man, and just a few riffs on politics.  He questions the politicians who talk about taking back America —Malachy didn’t know America had been taken away and to make his point, started us singing “This Land is Your Land.”

See you at our next IAW&A Salon at the Cell Theatre at 7 pm on November 17th!

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