By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Well, the weather outside may have been “beastly” as Brendan Costello described it but inside the Bar Thalia the first IAW&A salon of 2014 was cozy and warm. More than a dozen members presented their work and an upbeat SRO crowd got the salon year off to great start.
John Kearns started the evening off with an announcement about IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s play, Hard Times, at the Cell Theatre on January 23rd. Tickets are still available.
David Sharp and Mary Tierney
The fun began with two fine actors, Mary Tierney and David Sharp, performing a scene from playwright Joe Davidson’s “Looking for Cans.” Mary has been hosting TimeBanksNYC (TBNYC) free Acting/Writing class for the last two years at Theater for the New City (TNC), where David, a veteran actor, and Joe are both members. Mary first met Joe through IAW&A and is pleased to see such artistic collaborations flourish. Joe Davidson’s “Looking for Cans” will be a part of the Veterans Administration Hospital program.
The multi-talented Guenevere Donohue read her brand new poem, which she has now titled, “Rushlight.” A lovely ode to the odd little lamp, “the people’s candle” that illuminated her ancestor’s home in Castlecomer, Kilkenny.
Speaking of multi-talented women, Marni Rice has presented her work as a singer, accordionist, composer and writer at previous salons. Tonight Marni presented an excerpt from her play “After the Storm,” about a small village being looked after by a family of birds.
Brendan Costello Jr. likes to surprise and challenge the audience. Tonight he read from the first chapter of Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. In the tragicomic description of a suburban community theater’s disastrous opening night, Yates captures the heart, and the despair, of the novel and its characters. Brendan chose to share it because he found it inspirational (in fact he assigns it to his creative writing students at The City College of New York.)
Maureen Hossbacher gave a spirited reading of another excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March, the story of two generations of an Irish-American family in NYC. In this segment, set in the 1960’s, Bernie, a young nun, decides to bend her Order’s rules, to accommodate the close bond she has with her sister Nance.
In a new excerpt from John Kearns’s novel-in-progress, Worlds, Paul Logan reminisced about his younger days as an advertising proofreader and his opportunity to see ONE word he had suggested appear in an ad in the New York Times. The laughs of recognition showed that this story resonated with the crowd of writers in the audience. Offered the chance to do more copywriting, Paul turns it down, realizing that advertising is not the type of writing he had come to New York City to do and not what he was meant to do with his talents. John, salon producer and host, poet, playwright, and novelist, does not work in advertising.
Aghamore’s and New York’s own Maura Mulligan
Alternating in Irish and English language, Maura Mulligan presented Oíche Nollaig na mBan – “The Eve of Women’s Christmas” – a poem by the Irish language poet, Seán Ó Riardáin. The poem is based on “The Night of the Big Wind” when a hurricane swept through Ireland on the eve of January 6, 1839 causing much destruction and death. Sarah Lundberg and Oran Ryan of the Seven Towers Literary Agency in Dublin translated the poem. Last summer, Maura read from her memoir Call of the Lark and was interviewed on the Seven Towers podcast. John Kearns was also a guest on the podcast in 2013.
A few laughs during the break
A quick — and only — rehearsal during the break
Mark William Butler refused to acknowledge the fact that Christmas is over when he presented one of his holiday songs, “Remember” from his musical “Santa Forever.” The tune was performed beautifully by vocalist Richard Butler and on the soprano saxophone by Jon Gordon. Mark – and we − thank Richard and Jon for sharing their wonderful gifts.
Richard Butler and Jon Gordon
Later in the program, jazzman Jon Gordon read from his poignant book, For Sue – A Memoir, the story of his childhood growing up alone with an alcoholic single mother. It’s no exaggeration to say that the audience held its breath as Jon read a section about his friend Mario and Mario’s family. For Sue is published by Chimbarazu Press and available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ACOR48A
Sarah Fearon combines her skills in comedy, writing, and real estate in the work-in-progress story titled “While You Were Out.” It’s a tale with old school New York characters including a doorman, a paralegal and an actor. A little bit crazy and a little bit lucky, they help themselves to an estate sale that includes a penthouse with river views. The lesson: dreaming is free and sometimes it pays off.
Many salongoers have heard Jim Rodgers read from his novel Long Night’s End. Tonight Jim gave an animated reading from his earlier book, Tierney’s Plate, in which newspaperman, Phineus Tierney seeks to expose a group of New York lawyers intent on the destruction of the Good Friday Agreement. After fleeing to a cottage in West Cork, and barely surviving an attempt on his life, Phineus gets drunk in the dark countryside, wondering if he should ditch the story and leave Irish politics to the Irish.
Honor and Bronagh
Honor Molloy presented a tribute to her magnificent friend and collaborator Bronagh Murphy. Honor read two monologues from their play, Maiden Voyages, that takes place in Dublin’s Rotunda Lying In Hospital − the oldest maternity hospital in Europe. Bronagh −nurse, midwife, actress − trained at the Rotunda in the 1980s, thus providing the fodder for the play. Honor provided a spellbinding delivery.
Closing the night with a song, Jack DiMonte reprised one he presented once before titled “Robert Frost” by the great jazz bassist Jay Leonhart. A struggling writer speculates on how sweet his life would be if he only had the life of the great poet as he imagines it must have been − carefree and patron-sponsored!
Happy New Year from IAW&A!
Ready for your turn at the mic? Email John Kearns at IASAlon@hotmail.com.
Next salon at the Cell Theatre on January 21st. See you there!
And, don’t forget IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s play, Hard Times, at the Cell Theatre on January 23rd! Tickets are still available.