Irish American Writers & Artists

July 8, 2013

New talent, high spirits at IAW&A salon at Bar Thalia

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By Karen Daly

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That smart comedy duo of Sarah Fearon and Mark Butler hosted the Irish American Writers & Artists salon on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 with great charm. Hot weather, holidays, vacations…nothing seems to prevent a robust turnout at the Bar Thalia. Moreover, nothing stops the creativity and fun from flowing or stops new members from adding their talents to the mix.

The versatile Tom Mahon read the first chapter of a novel with the working title American Mastery. Set in territory that Tom knows well, rural upstate New York, it’s about two brothers who couldn’t be less alike, but who join forces to create a business that provides them and their families an independent, creative and rewarding life together. Tom began (and stopped) writing this novel years ago and recently picked up where he had left off.

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon  (http://jongordon.artistshare.com) read from his recently released memoir, For Sue – A Memoir, which has been  called “…an American Angela’s Ashes…” (Guillermo Echanique, publisher Chimbarazu Press Brooklyn, NY). The best-selling, award-winning author, Peter Straub says:  “… the exceptional alto player Jon Gordon has written an emotionally honest, in fact painfully open-hearted account of himself as the loving son of an all but entirely inadequate alcoholic, drug-mesmerized mother who forced him to become more her parent than child. This is a book to cherish.”

Si

First time presenter Sile Houlihan Fee said she’d been “sitting, just watching salons long enough” and it was time to present. She told the story of Chicago May, based on a Nuala O’Faolain book. At 15, May fled Co. Longford, Ireland, travelled alone to America in the late 1890’s and pursued a lifestyle that Sile says “ would make a sailor blush.” In O’Faolain’s foreword, she talks about how she learned of May’s existence and her fascinating, though criminal, life. Sile met the late author at a reading at Lolita’s Pub downtown. Sile tried to tell May’s story with Nuala’s enthusiasm and she surely did. A New Yorker with Co. Limerick born parents, Sile grew up in a “thatched cottage” in Woodside. She has been studying the Irish language for four years. She won a Fulbright/Irish government grant to study Irish in the Galway Gaeltacht, the first such grant for Americans studying the language. She is also the mother of two sons and proud seanmháthair of three.

Brendan Costello Jr. read, “De-Fused,” a short piece inspired by Franz Kafka’s “An Imperial Message.” He started by reading the Kafka passage, a parable of hopelessness and entropy, followed by his own darkly comic response, about the 2010 attempt to bomb Times Square. His piece managed to combine road rage, fireworks, and antidepressants, in what he called a tribute to “the 4th of July, the most Kafkaesque of American holidays.”  We called it brilliant!

Maura Mulligan read a poem “Beannacht” (blessing) from the late John O’ Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us. Widely praised for his gift of drawing on Celtic spiritual traditions to create words of inspiration and wisdom for today, his work offers readers comfort and encouragement on their journeys through life.  Maura has a personal connection to O’ Donohue. The Irish teacher, poet and philosopher was a college classmate of her brother John Mulligan and she cherishes her signed copies of his books. Here’s the link to the poem: http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/on_the_day_when_the_weight_deadens.html

In July, Maura will be reading from her memoir, Call of the Lark in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, Westport, Co. Mayo and Achill Island. She has a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Co. Monaghan for three weeks in August. In between all the writing and reading, of course, she’ll be dancing.

The many talented Guenevere Donohue, self-described raconteur-in-training, as well as playwright, director, singer, told a charming story from her childhood, and followed with the song “Love is Teasing.”

Karen Daly is a fan of the Irish born writer Maeve Brennan, who wrote for the New Yorker magazine in the 1950’s and 60’s. Tonight she read Brennan’s Talk of the Town feature set on the miserably hot Sunday of July 3, 1966, when there was “nothing to breathe except heavy displeasure.” Brennan was in a midtown restaurant observing the few customers who happened by — a family, two showgirls  (“Their dresses did all the work.”) and a man from  seemed to be from out-of town. Karen chose this piece because of its timing, but  mainly because Brennan’s powerful description and completeness of expression.  Karen is now tweeting about NYC history, Irish American and Irish events, and books and looking for followers at Kdaly321 on Twitter.

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New member Daniel MacGowan, a physician, wowed the group with his rendition of  the folk song “Sam Hall,” an old favorite of his. It’s about an unrepentant criminal sentenced to hang. Dan looks forward to hearing and telling more tales at the Salon. We can’t wait to hear what else he has in store.

In her salon debut Jen Callan read her first published piece “ Who Do You Think You Are and Is it Limiting You?” Jen shared her yearlong experiment of challenging everything she believed to be true about herself. She discovered that she was much more amazing than she once believed. Although this was her first experience on a mic, she harnessed the energy flowing inside to deliver a heartfelt presentation. She is slowly learning to call herself a writer. She is honored to share her work in a group of such talented artists who shine so brightly. Jen will continue to be a lover of the light. You can find her story at http://www.tinybuddha.com/.

Michele Cetera celebrated the anniversary of her first IAW&A reading one year ago by revisiting the moving story she read that night. Hectic Day is about the life of an oncology nurse, who is pulled in five different directions at once. Nursing can be rewarding and yet exhausting, some days you just want to give it all up. The nurse in the story is having a hectic day:  a patient nearly faints in the hallway, another demands test results and a young patient gets a diagnosis of less than a year to live. Needing a few minutes for herself, the nurse finds a quiet office where she discovers the chart of a previous patient. She reflects on how nurse, patient and patient’s husband dealt with Mattie’s, breast cancer, which she called an “inconvenience.” And  she realizes that in our busy lives and minor  inconveniences, we often lose site of the gift of everyday.

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Mark William Butler presented a comedic sketch called “ Greater Than/Less Than” which is about the tumultuous domestic lives of mathematical symbols. The dynamic acting duo of  Gwen Eyster and  Richard Butler  brought the piece hilariously to life. Mark himself made a cameo appearance as a numeral. The sketch is part of Mark’s comedy revue “Instant Happy!” which played at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in 2009.

Congratulations to Mark for another short comedy. Mark’s “The Laundry War,” also directed by Richard Butler just won a Best Play award at The Players Theatre Short Play and Musical Festival, here in NYC. Link to the festival blog, which includes an interview with the author. http://shortplaynyc.com/blog/

Richard Butler quickly switched from math to history as he celebrated Independence Day and brought the house down with a stirring rendition of the song “Is Anybody There?” from the musical 1776, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards.

The evening ended with the traditional talk by Malachy McCourt. Tonight he read a piece about his views on what religion has wrought.  “I’m an atheist, thank God.” And  he led us in a stirring version of  “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.”

Next salon will be Tuesday, July 16, 7 pm at the Cell Theatre.

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March 3, 2013

Men at Lunch – Lón sa Spéir March 7th at 7:30pm

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Engaging documentary film Men at Lunch is the untold story of New York’s greatest legend and one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Lunch atop a Skyscraper – taken on the 69th floor of the Rockefeller Building in the autumn of 1932.

Irish backstory to iconic image, includes interview with IAW&A past president Peter Quinn

$20 includes film & party (Heinken & Tullamore Dew open bar 9-11pmhttp://www.ticketweb.com/snl/Search.action?query=men+at+lunch

Click HERE to read Huffington Post blogpost about Men at Lunch  by IAW&A board member John Lee.

January 7, 2013

Larry Kirwan on the IAW&A Salons

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IAW&A Salons

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

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

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

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

For more info on the NJ salons contact Mike Farragher at: irishwriter@optonline.net

Best,

Larry Kirwan

michelle_cetera_ricardo_villa

November 15, 2012

After Sandy-related Postponement, “Irish Lark” Returns to Laurie Beechman Theatre

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Singer Mary Deady returns to the West Bank Cafe on Wed., Nov. 28 at 7 pm to take her audience on another musical journey from Ireland to New York through the American Songbook  – songs by Burton Lane, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Sondheim, and more.   Her last appearance there drew rave reviews; we recap one of them below.

Mary Deady’s American Songbook at the West Bank Cafe

By Cahir O’Doherty, Posted in IrishCentral.com on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 07:39 AM

Mary Deady

Some singers are so good you can literally hear how much a song means to them as they perform it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it did last week at the West Bank Cafe on 42nd Street as Irish singer Mary Deady unveiled her latest musical journey at the Broadway hotspot.

A familiar face on the Irish scene in the city, it felt as though we were being collectively re-introduced to her since she is perhaps best known for singing Irish music. For many, including myself, this was our first introduction to her as a singer of the American songbook.

Aided by the utterly flawless musicianship of pianist and musical director Jeff Cubeta, Deady’s show From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey In Song was a marvel from the opening number.

It was Deady’s good fortune to be born in Co. Kerry, holy ground for generations of world-class singers and musicians. There she learned to play the harp, and later she left for Dublin for classically trained singing lessons that would eventually take her far from home on the musical journey that was her own life.

Deady chose songs that conveyed the immigrant love (and sometimes secret pining for) the homeland, and this she did as well as I have ever had the good fortune to hear. But the show has wider ambitions than merely relying on all too easy sentiment. Deady has a compelling tale to tell, and that is part of what takes this performance to the next level.

What I did not anticipate was being so moved by the deep connections between her life and the music that she took ownership of, each time from the first note…

To read the rest of this post, please go HERE

Mary Deady
The Irish Lark

From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey in Song
traces Mary’s origins from a small village in County Kerry,
to traveling the world,
finding in time a home in New York City.
Although Mary is known for singing Irish music,
she has yearned to sing from the American Songbook
– from Porter to Sondheim –
where the heart and soul of this journey unfolds.
Mary is accompanied by Jeff Cubeta, Musical Director.
West Bank Cafe, The Laurie Beechman Theatre,
407 West 42nd
Street & 9th
Avenue
Nov. 28th at 7:00 pm
$15 cover
$15 food/beverage minimum
Call 212-695-6909 to reserve

 

October 26, 2012

“Fireworks” at Salon at the Cell

“The whole night was like fireworks,” playwright Janet Noble said of Tuesday night’s IAW&A’s Salon at The Cell.  The perfect blend of presentations and talents made for an electric evening. There were two singers, three one-person acts that included music, two films, a scene from a play and four writers reading their works. It would be hard to pick the evening’s highlight but Janet’s play,  Hello, Mr. Chops, was certainly a candidate.  The one act play was given an hilarious reading by, as Janet calls them, “two gorgeous actors,” Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell. It was brilliant and as Janet added, “Completely unrehearsed.” Bravo!
Mary Tierney and Jack O’Connell
Singer/songwriter Tara O’Grady opened the evening performing a melancholic tune called, “An Cuileann Sul Glas” (The Green Eyed Girl). Tara was recently introduced to her ninety-five year old cousin, Packie Moore, the author of thousands of tunes and stories, and her lyrics tell the story of his secret…marrying a Protestant girl in England. Eventually Packie was faced with a harsh dilemma: Which funeral does he attend when his wife and his father die on the same day?  “This but begins the woe, a modern Irish Romeo. Deny thy father, oh he could not.” The songwriting skills are obviously in the blood.
Charles R. Hale presented a film created by Lucy Mathews Heegaard and Charles called Judy Collins: A Life in Music and Video, which  which was debuted at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event last week. I told of my “creative process,” how I likened my work to a four movement classical symphony and how the “movement” of the images in the last section of the video called “Peace” were inspired by the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony., Charles noted that mentioning Beethoven and him in the same breath might be a stretch, so, as he said, “Go ahead, sue me.” 
Guenevere Donohue
Guen Donohue once again combined her acting, singing and writing talents in a performance from her stage piece, Killer is my Name. Beginning with a haunting Irish funeral dirge known as keening, she then stood on a table and improvised her father’s time spent walking the beams while building the WTC.  As she balanced “on the beam” she told of her father’s lost friends who “took the fall” as well as those who inhaled the asbestos, pronouncing that the buildings had taken lives before it had even been built. Her finale was an original song, “Revered,” yet another haunting vocal performance, weaving together the grandness and melancholy of the WTC experience in the Sean Nos tradition. Poignant, beautiful, cathartic.
Brendan Connellan jumped up and told a fast paced tale of unhealthy addiction, frantic flirtation, tottering self regard, Burgerking bags of cash  and sorry and abrupt endings, taken from his Wall Street dark comic novel-in-progress, Trading Ninja
Cathy Maguire
First time presenter, Cathy Maguire, brought her guitar and sang two beautiful tunes. One, “Portrait” is also the title tune of her recently released CD and tells the story of the songwriter looking at a very old and worn wedding photo and wondering how their lives turned out. It was a great treat hearing this talented singer who was warmly received by salon crowd. 
Kevin R.McPartland began the second half of the evening reading a short passage from his soon to be released novel Brownstone Dreams. Kevin describes the protagonist Bobby Dutton’s sad reflections at his grandfather’ s wake. Kevin also announced a slight delay in the release of his book by Boann Books & Media due to a glitch in the book jacket design and a final edit. Kevin is now anticipating a launch in the early spring.
Seamus Scanlon read from his highly regarded new collection As Close As You’ll Ever Be.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Mysterious Bookshop, Centre for Fiction, City College Bookstore and direct from Seamus (seamus.scanlon@gmail.com).
Malachy McCourt rounded out this dynamic evening with a few fine words and a stirring rendition of “Go, Lassie Go.” A perfect ending to the perfect event.
For more on the Irish American Writers and Artists or their salons, contact Charles R. Halechashale1@yahoo.com  Salons are normally the first and third Tuesday of each month; however, the next salon will be on the second Tuesday of the month, Nov. 13, 7PM at the Thalia Cafe at 95th and Broadway. 
Photos by Cathleen “Cat” Dwyer

October 19, 2012

Judy Collins’s O’Neill Award Celebration Reunites Folk Legends and Inspires Artists

by John Kearns

“I have always believed that, in my heart, I am first and foremost a storyteller descended from a long line of Irish storytellers and balladeers.”   Judy Collins

Eugene O’Neill Award, crafted by Tiffany & Co.

On Monday, October 15, 2012, in the middle of the one of the year’s great celebrations, the The Irish American Writers & Artists Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration, 93-year-old folksinger, songwriter, and fighter for civil rights, peace, and the environment, Pete Seeger, stood strumming his enduring banjo before a hushed audience of over 200.

“If the world is still around in another 100 years,” he declared, “it will be because of the arts.”

 

And the large crowd in attendance at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s on a rainy Monday night was testament to the truth of Seeger’s declaration.  The crowd, representing all genres of the arts, had gathered to celebrate Judy Collins’s lifetime of artistic achievement and to show its commitment to further such achievement.  The spirit of inspiration, encouragement, generosity, and cross-pollination was abundant in the friendly atmosphere of the Manhattan Club.  Indeed, Judy Collins’s long-time friend on the folk music scene, Tom Paxton, was on hand to honor her, as was Pete Seeger.  Even the City of New York showed its support for the arts: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued a special proclamation in honor of the event.

 

In keeping with the musical theme of the evening, Black ’47 bandleader, author, and playwright, Larry Kirwan, acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Larry got the ceremony started by introducing IAW&A President, T.J. English.

TJ English

 

T.J. who has taken over the presidency from Peter Quinn, apologized for not being as eloquent as his speech-writer predecessor.

 

“While Peter was writing about ‘a shining city on a hill’ for Mario Cuomo, I was saying, ‘Get the fuck out of my cab.’”

 

Past President Peter Quinn & Current President TJ English

TJ updated the audience on some of the progress made by the IAW&A over the past year, in particular the burgeoning success of the semimonthly Salons at the Café Thalia and the Cell Theatre.  These evenings have become so popular that IAW&A is preparing a third monthly gathering of artists to share their work with one another.

 

T.J. also talked about the mission of the IAW&A and of the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.  The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill.  O’Neill Awards have been presented to Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, and Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre.  Judy Collins is the first musician to receive the award.

 

However, the IAW&A president added, there is another purpose of the award that might not be found in its official description.  By recognizing an individual such as Judy Collins who, with her 38 albums and five books, has spent a lifetime as an artist, the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award can inspire others to forge a career in the arts, a career for which “there are no entry-level positions and there is no blueprint.”

 

Larry Kirwan next introduced Tom Moran, Chief Executive Officer and President of Mutual of America Life Insurance.  Tom began by saying, like T.J., he had been a New York City cab driver.  But, unlike T.J., before chasing customers out of the cab, “I always made sure to get the tip.”

 

Tom Moran

Tom Moran said that he has no talent himself but he does have the ability to listen — not only with his ears but with his heart.  Listening with both ears and heart, Moran explained, was necessary to appreciate the beautiful voice and the soulful emotion in the music of Judy Collins.  He also praised Judy Collins’s work for Concern Worldwide, the Irish charity of which he is chairman.

 

Introducing IAW&A Co-Director Charles Hale, Larry Kirwan attributed much of the success of the Salons to the welcoming atmosphere created by Charles whom, Larry recognized for being particularly good at encouraging first-time presenters.  Charles introduced and showed the original short film he created with Lucy Matthews Heegaard about the life and music of Judy Collins, “Walls: We Are Not Forgotten.” Watch the video.

 

The film, featuring the Judy Collins’s voiceover taken from Charles’s interview with the folksinging legend, takes us through Collins’s life from childhood to the present, focusing on her mother and father, her son, her music, and her work for peace.  The soundtrack on the film features the soaring song “Walls: We Are Not Forgotten” composed and sung by Collins with lyrics from a poem by her husband, Korean-War-Memorial designer, Louis Nelson.

 

“Everyone at their heart is in some ways Irish, I’m convinced,” Collins says in the film, “because there’s a piece of all of us that has this deeply wounded place that needs to be healed by music.  The Irish do that all the time.”

 

Before bringing Peter Seeger to the stage, Larry Kirwan told the story of how he first met the indomitable folksinger in the ’70s, when Seeger was beginning his campaign to clean up the polluted Hudson River.  Larry recalled playing some concerts near Seeger’s hometown, which did not always have the most receptive audiences.  As a young man newly arrived from Ireland, Larry marveled at Seeger’s determination to change things and his confidence that his effort would succeed.  Seeger’s career, Larry stated, reminds him of the words of Bobby Sands, “Everyone … has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”

 

Pete Seeger did not make a speech.

Pete Seeger

Instead, he strummed his banjo and softly sang, “Quite Early Morning,” about the power of song to inspire the next generation to sing and play and to fight for justice.   Seeger’s voice is not as strong as it once was, but his spirit certainly is, and he had a full house willing to join in with him.

 

“And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger … ”

 

I don’t know of any “young ones stronger” who can take up Pete Seeger’s banjo when he finally grows too tired to play.  But, perhaps the song did inspire some younger artists listening, as T.J. English suggested the Eugene O’Neill Award has the power to do, and as Peter Seeger has done for decades.

 

“I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing.”

 

Seeger exhorted us to keep the song going.  With considerable gusto, the 93-year-old urged us to sing it, “One more time!”

 

Growing up in Wexford, Ireland, Larry Kirwan said he wanted to play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix.  Then one day, he turned on Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), the only channel available on his black-and-white TV at the time, and saw a man alone on stage playing a quiet acoustic guitar and singing.  The singer, Tom Paxton, revealed to Larry a new type of communication between artist and audience and Larry realized that music did not have to be “blasted out” to be effective.  After this story, Larry got the crowd to sing a few bars from Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind.”

 

Tom Paxton took to the stage with his guitar, and he did sing “The Last Thing on My Mind.”  However, he first sang a song about falling in love simultaneously with a woman and with Ireland.

Tom Paxton

 

Finishing the tune, he quipped, “Never let it be said that I don’t know how to pander to an audience.”

 

When Paxton did perform “The Last Thing on My Mind,” a song beautifully recorded by Judy Collins, the Manhattan Club crowd sang along with him.

 

Using a slang term, he picked up in Ireland and the U.K., Paxton paid Judy Collins the tribute of dubbing her a true “muso,” or a “lifer” dedicated to the creation and performing of music.

 

Next up was the man that Larry described as needing no introduction, IAW&A Co-Director, Malachy McCourt. In presenting Judy Collins with her Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, created and donated by Tiffany & Co., Malachy thanked Judy Collins for being a true friend and a treasure throughout the many years that he has known her.  He jokingly wished that she would become a Mormon so that she could welcome him as a second husband.

Judy Collins happily accepted the award and thanked and hugged Malachy and Larry.  She spoke of how happy she was to have her name associated with the great Eugene O’Neill and agreed with Pete Seeger’s assertion that whatever future we will have will be because of the arts.  Interspersing bits of a cappella singing, Collins told amusing tales about her career and about how she met her husband.

 

Emcee Larry Kirwan & Honoree Judy Collins

To wrap up the ceremony, Co-Director Ashley Davis gathered Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Judy Collins on stage to sing, “Will You Go Lassie, Go?”  The audience, of course, was very willing to help out.

 

Then it was back to the socializing at the open bar with generous hors d’œuvre that kept coming and coming.  Novelists, musicians, poets, actors, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators, and artists of all stripes made and renewed connections well past the party’s official closing time.  Here’s hoping that they also renewed their commitment to keep the music going, until their “fingers can strum no longer.”

Congratulations to Judy Collins on her Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award!  Judy Collins believes she is from a long line of storytellers and balladeers.  A line that’s still being drawn …

And a special thanks to all our patrons, advertisers, supporters, volunteers, presenters and to the great crew at Rosie’ O’Grady’s Manhattan Club for making this event such a success!

October 15, 2012

LAST CALL for Eugene O’Neill Award honoring JUDY COLLINS

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Social Activism — by johnleemedia @ 2:07 am
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A trio of folk music legends will reunite at next Monday’s annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Celebration as one of the founding fathers of American folk music, Pete Seeger, has just confirmed that he will join another folk legend, Tom Paxton, on the program honoring singer-songwriter Judy Collins.
The Eugene O’Neill Award is given annually by Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. to a writer, actor, musician, painter or other type of artist who has created a body of work that places them among the great artists and entertainers of all time.
“There is no one in the history of the folk music movement who casts a bigger shadow than Pete Seeger,” said IAW&A president and best-selling author T.J. English. “As a song writer, singer, and activist for human rights for more than 50 years, Seeger is a legend, and his desire to honor Judy Collins at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event will make this a night of significant historical importance.”
Celtic rock legend Larry Kirwan will emcee a program that will include writer-director John Patrick Shanley (winner of the artist’s trifecta – an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize); actor-author Malachy McCourt; Celtic songstress Ashley Davis; and a video tribute by Charles Hale to highlight a festive evening of “Literary Libations.”
The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Mon., Oct. 15, 2012 at a celebration starting at 6:00 PM at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born. Ticketing information is on the IAW&A website.

October 8, 2012

Folk Music Founding Father PETE SEEGER Joins TOM PAXTON to Honor JUDY COLLINS

Wasn’t That a Time! Tom Paxton & Pete Seeger, back together to honor Judy Collins

Pete Seeger Joins Tom Paxton on Eugene O’Neill Award Line-up

Folk Legends and Irish American Notables Gather to honor JUDY COLLINS in NYC on Mon. Oct 15, 2012
 
A trio of folk music legends will reunite at next Monday’s annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Celebration as one of the founding fathers of American folk music, Pete Seeger, has just confirmed that he will join another folk legend, Tom Paxton, on the program honoring singer-songwriter Judy Collins.
 
The Eugene O’Neill Award is given annually by Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. to a writer, actor, musician, painter or other type of artist who has created a body of work that places them among the great artists and entertainers of all time.
 
“There is no one in the history of the folk music movement who casts a bigger shadow than Pete Seeger,” said IAW&A president and best-selling author T.J. English. “As a song writer, singer, and activist for human rights for more than 50 years, Seeger is a legend, and his desire to honor Judy Collins at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event will make this a night of significant historical importance.”
 
Celtic rock legend Larry Kirwan will emcee a program that will include writer-director John Patrick Shanley (winner of the artist’s trifecta – an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize); actor-author Malachy McCourt; Celtic songstress Ashley Davis; and a video tribute by Charles Hale to highlight a festive evening of “Literary Libations.”
 
The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Mon., Oct. 15, 2012 at a celebration starting at 6:00 PM at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born. Ticketing information is on theIAW&A website.

October 3, 2012

Folk Legend Tom Paxton to Honor Folk Icon Judy Collins…

…When She Receives Eugene O’Neill Award

Singer, Author and Irish American, Judy Collins to be Honored in NYC on Mon., Oct. 15 with Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. Writer/actor Malachy McCourt, musician/author Larry Kirwan and Mutual of America CEO Tom Moran, and  John Patrick Shanley—winner of the artist’s TRIFECTA—an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize!
Judy Collins to be joined by Tom Paxton at Eugene O'Neill Award Celebration
Judy Collins to be joined by Tom Paxton at Eugene O’Neill Award Celebration

Grammy Lifetime-Achievement-Award winning folk singer Tom Paxton will extol the musical career of singer, activist, author, and Sixties icon Judy Collins at the Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, a convivial evening of food, drink, conversation, and song on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m.

With a career spanning five decades, Judy Collins has recorded and performed with the greatest singers of her era, bringing her inimitable style to her own songs as well as to classics by the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan. She has recorded 38 albums, featuring such top-40 singles as “Both Sides Now,” and “Send in the Clowns,” and has won numerous music awards, including two Grammys. She is also an author of five books—three memoirs, a self-help book, and a novel. In 1975, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her co-direction of a feature-length documentary.

Likewise, Tom Paxton has been writing, performing and recording music for fifty years. Paxton is credited as the first to emphasize original songs in the folk music scene of the early 60s. Now known to audiences throughout the world, his songs are emotional, comical, and topical and have been recorded by artists such as Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, and Joan Baez. In addition to his Grammy, Paxton has received the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award in Folk Music, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards, and three Washington, DC Area Music Awards (Wammies).

Thomas Moran, Chief Executive Officer and President of Mutual of America Life Insurance, will speak about Judy Collins’s career as an activist.

Also joining the festivities, John Patrick Shanley—winner of the artist’s TRIFECTA—an Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize.

Black ’47 bandleader, author, and playwright of the hit musical, Hard Times, Larry Kirwan, will act as Master of Ceremonies. Malachy McCourt, actor, author, IAW&A co-director, and Collins’s personal friend, will present the award to Collins.

“Judy sings like an angel but has the strength of an iron worker,” said McCourt. “Her career has been like a beacon of light, even though—as befalls us all over a full life–-she has known tragedy and despair.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be given this wonderful award named after the great Eugene O’Neill,” said Collins. “I have always believed that, in my heart, I am first and foremost a storyteller descended from a long line of Irish storytellers and balladeers.”

In addition to the speakers, IAW&A Co-Director Charles Hale will present an original short film about the life and music of Judy Collins entitled “Walls: We Are Nor Forgotten”  and Co-Director Ashley Davis will conclude the ceremony with a song.

The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill. O’Neill Awards have been presented to Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, and Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre. Judy Collins is the first musician to win the award.

The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Mon., Oct.15, 2012 at a generous hors d’œuvre and open bar reception and ceremony at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born. Ticketing information is available at the IAW&A website.

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website at http://i-am-wa.org/ or its Facebook page for updates and information.

photos of Judy Collins available at http://www.judycollins.com/index1.php

MEDIA CONTACT: John Lee, John Lee MEDIA
(0) 917-475-6981, (c)  917-653-3444. johnlee@johnleemedia.com , http://www.johnleemedia.com

September 10, 2012

Judy Collins, from age 13 to today…

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 1:58 pm
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On October 15, Judy Collins will be honored with the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award at a festive celebration in New York.  For more on the event, go to  http://www.i-am-wa.org/ ; for more on Judy, read on…

Judy Collins has thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique blend of interpretative folksongs and contemporary themes. Her impressive career has spanned more than 50 years. At 13, Judy Collins made her public debut performing Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos but it was the music of such artists as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, as well as the traditional songs of the folk revival, that sparked Judy’s love of lyrics. She soon moved away from the classical piano and began her lifelong love with the guitar.

Judy with Tom Rush, Arlo Guthrie, Judy and Eric Andersen

In 1961, Judy Collins released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, at the age of 22 and began a thirty-five year association with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. She interpreted the songs of fellow artists – particularly the social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. Judy was instrumental in bringing other singer-songwriters to a wider audience including poet/musician Leonard Cohen – and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman.

Judy Collins is also noted for her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” on her 1967 album, Wildflowers which has since been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Winning “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards was Judy’s version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music.”

Judy has continued an impressive musical career with an extensive catalog from every decade throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and up to the present. On July 27, 2010, Collectors’ Choice Music will reissue (digitally remastered) nine CDs of Collins’ Elektra titles: Fifth Album (1965), In My Life (1966), Whales & Nightingales (1970), True Stories & Other Dreams (1973), Bread & Roses (1976), Running for My Life (1980), Times of Our Lives (1982), Home Again (1984) and Christmas at the Biltmore (1997). These albums contain newly commissioned liner notes by Ritchie Unterberger that include interviews with Collins.

Judy has authored several books, including the inspirational memoir Sanity & Grace, focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy; it speaks to all who have endured the sorrow of losing a loved one before their time. She is also co-director, with Jill Godmillow, of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world—and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young. In 1999, Judy founded her own record label, Wildflower Records – a grass roots artist driven label committedtonurturing fresh talent. The aim of the label is to develop long-term relationships with artists and their representatives in a way that Judy’s own career was nurtured by major labels. For more information about Wildflower Records you can visit the label’s website at http://www.wildflowerrecords.com

Judy Collins’ social history has always been linked with her musical history. Judy is drawn to social activism and is a representative for UNICEF and campaigns on behalf of the abolition of landmines, amongst many other causes.

Judy with Nelson Mandela & Tracey Chapman

Judy’s two latest creative projects, due out June 2010 are: a new CD, Paradise (Wildflower Records), a collection of 10 songs that include duets of Judy with the legendary Stephen Stills and Joan Baez; and Over the Rainbow(Imagine Publishing) a magnificent oversized children’s picture book and 3-song CD set, featuring artwork by renowned painter Eric Puybaret illustrating the lyrics of this #1 movie song of all-time, coupled with Judy Collins’ enchanting recording of the title song makes this destined to become a beloved classic storybook, delighting children of all ages for decades to come.

Judy Collins, now 71, is still writing, performing, and nurturing fresh talent. She plays 80 to100 dates a year around the country. Judy Collins, a relentlessly creative spirit, is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

From http://www.judycollins.com/

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