By Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Dan Brown
Photos by Dan Brown
Host John Kearns kicked off the evening with two short excerpts from his first novel, The World, about the summer experiences of a 16-year-old as he learns what it means to be an artist and a man. In the first excerpt, The Artist approaches his beloved Claire and offers her the novel, Trinity, whose protagonist shares her last name, but Claire snaps, “I don’t read!” In the second excerpt, The Artist tries to hide his “fathomless grief” at seeing Claire for the last time that year. at a swim team awards banquet.
Remy Roussetzki returned to the salon to present an excerpt from his novelette, John Milton at Dusk, written in homage to a friend who introduced him to the most radical thoughts in Paradise Lost; and, in particular, to the passage where Eve says no to the entire creation, thus threatening the Apocalypse before there was even a humanity to speak of.
Paula Nance, actor educator, writer and comedian, made her salon debut with a stand-up routine hilariously celebrating powerful women’s positive sexuality. If you missed it, you can catch her act at the 4th U Artivists Cabaret 160, on November 22 and 23.
Playwright/actor and frequent presenter, Thom Molyneaux explored the playwright’s sometimes tricky problem of clarifying the world of the play in its opening moments. His excellent example was a reading of the first few pages of The Kerryman. Set in 1968 NYC, this Celtic tale is a theatrical mix of Greek tragedy, family drama and “the best damned Law and Order episode ever.”
The next treat, projected on a large overhead screen, was the first two chapters of Kathleen O’Sullivan’s video memoir, The Irish of Isham Street, which is part of a 70-minute collection of stories. This whimsical tour of the Inwood neighborhood is seen through the innocent eyes of a child who lives in a spiritual euphoria, which underpins the outrageous incidents of her ordinary life. The engaging narrative with charming illustrations was developed at the IAW&A salons. It was presented as a full-length piece in August, at ICON- Iowa Contemporary Art, in Fairfield Iowa, to rave reviews.
Giving us a taste of what happens when you put jazz tap shoes on an Irish dancer, Darrah Carr Dance Company members, Michelle Esch and Trent Kowalik, performed excerpts from a new work entitled “Dancing The Coral Suite,” delighting the audience with Carr’s signature style of ModERIN, a unique blend of modern dance and traditional Irish step. The full-length work, a collaboration with musical artists Dana Lyn & Kyle Sanna, will premiere at the Irish Arts Center November 23 & 24.
Call Me Ishmael is the working title of a play in progress by Martin Alvin, sampled at the salon with the author — a newcomer to IAW&A — playing a scene opposite the always compelling Rosina Fernhoff. In the play, Jack Maguire is a washed-up actor, an alcoholic recluse, broke and out of hope, visited by three women who tempt him, torment him, enlighten him, and eventually redeem him. But who are they? And are they really there? Thom Molyneaux read stage directions.
Gordon Gilbert announced a forthcoming production of his play, Monologues from the Old Folks Home, on Tuesday, October 22nd, at 7 pm, at St John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street. Among the cast will be IAW&A regulars, Nancy Oda, Rosina Fernhoff, Jack DiMonte and Ray Lindie. The author then gave us a preview reading of three of the monologues from the play, the first a cynical take on “The Family Visit,” followed by the poignant “Another One Whom I Have Loved Is Gone,” and finally “The Break,” in which one of the staff talks to another about the residents and about a gift she should not have accepted.
Since her last appearance at our salon, the amazingly talented Adrianna Mateo made her Broadway debut in Tootsie, was featured on CNN as a violin soloist, acted in HBO’s Succession, and performed her original songs at Joe’s Pub. This evening, accompanying herself on piano, she crash-tested two new original songs, “Is Love a Word?” and “Crush,” in preparation for her first stadium performance at MCU Park, in Coney Island, this Fall. Between songs, Adrianna took a moment to express her appreciation for the opportunity the salon offers artists to develop work and performance skills — a gratifying reminder to the salon collective and our audience of what these gatherings are all about.
Treat yourself to a festive evening and membership in IAW&A by joining us at our annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Gala, this year honoring novelist and historian Peter Quinn, on Monday, Oct. 21, 6-9 p.m., at Manhattan Manor (upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s) 7th Ave. & 52nd St. The award ceremony and cocktail reception includes hors d’oeuvres, buffet dinner and open bar. Tickets include one year of membership. Visit iamwa.org for more information.