by Mary Lannon
Photos by Christopher Booth

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


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