Hell’s Bells and the The Bells of Hell were a central theme of Tuesday’ night Irish American Writers and Artists’ salon at the Thalia Cafe on Tuesday. Malachy McCourt, one of the owners of the old Greenwich Village saloon Hell’s Bells, told a riotous story of how the name of the saloon was banned from the New York telephone directory and then led the attendees in a chorus of The Bells of Hell. New member David Coles also invoked the spirit of the old saloon, reading from his novel In the Midnight Choir, based on his New York City life in the 1970s, hanging out in two Village saloons, the aforementioned Hell’s Bells and The Lion’s Head. Wonderful story.

John Kearns reminded the audience that his play In the Wilderness will be on stage in early June. John read two St. Patrick’s Day selections.  The first, from his book, Dreams and Dull Realities, was about a young boy’s refusing to wear a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button on Saint Patrick’s Day.  The second, a story called “Making a Visit,” described a Paddy’s Day memory of a young woman’s dancing a jig on top of a bar.   

First time presenter Guenevere Donohue read and sang from her new playKiller is My Name. As Guenevere described it, Killer is personal myth, memory as legend, and the mystery of the Marine, poet and spy who was her father. I look forward to this multi-talented woman sharing more of her art. 

Tom Mahon shared a story “Lat Life Happiness,” a love story for seniors, which he noted there are far too few.  Sheila Walsh read from her new play“Mr. Tweedy’s Nieghbors,’ a play about spiritural renewal the Irish-American way.  John Kearns and Sarah Fearon assisted Sheila in the reading. Sarah then provided the evening’s comic relief reading from new comedy notes.  

Mikelle Terson read three poems.  ”So No, We Cannot Be Friends”, a poem about betrayal and soap, “Behind”, which speaks to the depth of story behind “the bones of the brow” of each person we meet in our everday lives, and ”For Those Who Can Hear” which addresses the urgent situation of the African Elephant.

Mikelle also asked the audience to “hear  the calling” by entering her “What Made the Elephant Happy?” writing contest.  Deadline is March 15th, 2012.  The five dollar entrance fee goes to the elephants.
Judges are the venerable Malachy McCourt and jazz great, David Amram.  

Maureen Walsh followed with a story “The Enemies of Rose” about an eccentric godmother who enlivens the narrator’s childhood during the Irish-American heyday of 1950′s New York, when St Patrick’s balls were held at midtown hotels and everyone summered at the ‘Irish Riviera,’ also known as  Rockaway Beach. 

Robert Haydon Jones read “My Tawdry Story” a tale about what happens to a highly respected senior citizen from Connecticut when his DNA is a perfect match with semen found at an unsolved rape murder in Miami more than 30 years ago. A riveting story and well read.

Kathy Callahan’s laugh out loud memoir in progress, A Tale of Two Snoring Readers was anything but sleep inducing. She read of those suffering from sleep apnea, discovering how to overcome its significant challenges, the stigmas and complications that effect intimate relationships, daily functioning and emotional health.   

And Kate Vaughan, calling on her substantial Irish wit, read from her novel in progress Shennanigans, which takes place at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home and shows how even in sad times we can always make the best of it, and know that with God’s help/love anything is possible.  

Great evening enjoyed by a full house. 

The next Irish American Writers and Artists’ salon will be at The Cell theatre, 338 W.23 Street, on March 20, beginning at 7PM.  For more information about the salons or the Irish American Writers and Artists contact Charles Hale at