By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
The New Year got off to a lively start, at an IAW&A Salon full of song, laughter, drama, affecting personal essays and acknowledgements of Women’s Christmas, Nollaig na mBan.
The new year will be busy, too, with several members announcing events in the next few weeks. Our talented friend, Richard Butler, will be appearing in a production of Sweeney Todd in New Jersey. Mark Butler will be organizing an IAW&A trip there on February 8. Watch our Facebook page for details.
The night’s host— and the man to thank for organizing and scheduling another Salon year— John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. He’s been covering the deadly sins in this book and in this section college-student Paul Logan gives into sloth by procrastinating on his research paper due the following morning. Instead of writing and typing the paper, Paul makes himself some food and allows himself to be distracted by two M*A*S*H* episodes and a sensationalistic live broadcast, The Mystery of Henry Ford’s Secret Underground Chamber. For the conclusion of this episode, tune into the next IAW&A Salon on 1/20.
Comic performer Sarah Fearon shared a rant titled “The City Is Going to Be a Sinkhole Soon.” She posed some questions of concern to New Yorkers, such as whatever happened to saying “excuse me,” what happened to tokens, and how many glass towers and people can fit onto the island before it sinks? For the full-on Fearon, come to Sarah’s stand-up show at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St. on Wednesday January 21 at 7:00pm. Please make a reservation at 212-367-9000. http://gothamcomedyclub.com/index.cfm
In keeping with the spirit of Nollaig na mBan, Maureen Hossbacher presented four gorgeous poems which evoked the themes of women’s lives: love, work, motherhood, sisterhood, sexuality and survival — ending with a hopeful salute to the new year:
The river reprises mantras
of sailed ships
The sky is new and blue
and I suddenly ravenous!
Frequent salon contributor (and new IAW&A board member!) Brendan Costello Jr. read an autobiographical essay about breaking his leg and winding up in the same hospital room he had been in when he was first paralyzed 18 years ago. The experience prompted numerous personal and philosophical insights, challenging ideas of hope, hopelessness, and the value and meaning we place on our personal experience.
Mary Pat Kelly
Mary Pat Kelly announced that her new novel Of Irish Blood will be published in February. She gave a spirited description of growing up Irish in Chicago, and why she wrote this historical fiction inspired by the life of her great-aunt. In Of Irish Blood, a young Irish woman goes to Paris in 1903 where she meets artists, designers and Left Bank intellectuals and eventually joins Ireland’s fight for freedom, associating with Maud Gonne, W.B. Yeats, Countess Markievicz, and de Valera, among other historical figures. Mary Pat invites everyone to her reading on Wednesday, February 4 at 7pm at Barnes & Noble on Broadway at 82nd Street.
Singer/composer John Munnelly notes that he seems to run into snow or storms when he comes to the Thalia but the warm reception to his songs at the IAW&A Salon make up for the weather. Tonight he sang two original songs: “Kings & Jesters” and introduced a thought-provoking brand-new one, “Much Wants More.” Some lyrics:
Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain
pay no heed to the fate we have in store
it’s not a movie,
and there’s no happy ending to much wants more
Pay no tithes to the idols of distraction
don’t submit your eyeballs to explore
the sweets and fancies that keep us motivated
and working for
much wants more
Join John’s mailing list at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/ and mark your calendar for his show at Irish Haven Bar in Sunset Park at 5721 4th Avenue, Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb 15, 8 -11pm.
Tom Mahon showed his acting chops by reading a short story from his collection Delusions, called “When Con Men Meet.” A young man discovers he lacks the talent or time necessary to be a great artist and instead works for one and steals the man’s work. He makes a fortune, goes to Mexico, and changes his identity. He sells his beach house to a drug king for twenty million and goes to Rio. Caught in customs, he’s sentenced to ten years; the customs people are promoted, but the money is never mentioned.
In keeping with Women’s Christmas, Jeanne D’Brant read a thrilling chapter called “Rage of Purdah” from her second book Heartlands of Islam, about her exploration. She is hard at work on her upcoming two-hour presentation for the American Clinical Board of Nutrition’s national symposium in Fort Lauderdale.
Actor, writer and new IAWA member DJ Sharp delivered a brilliant monologue about Tennessee Williams.
Singer-songwriter of the group Girl to Gorilla, John Skocik sang two of his original songs: “An Ordinary Life” which he wrote for his wife, and a new song, “Rockaway Baby” that had the crowd laughing.
Mark Butler seeks volunteers for The Weekly
We welcomed singer/actor/writer Guenevere Donohue back to the Salon and she thrilled us with her version of the Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”
When we’re at the Thalia, the Salon creator, Malachy McCourt, closes the night with song and story. Tonight he had words of inspiration, “Fight to be heard” and news about a new way to hear him: a weekly radio show on Wednesdays at 10 am – noon on WBAI, 99.5FM. Malachy and friends will talk about New York from an Irish/Irish American view on Talk Back: New York, Thee and We.
And he ended by singing a round of “The Bells of Hell.”
Mark your calendar for the Salon at the Cell on January 20th!