Story-telling via multiple media

Salon Diary / By Bernadette Cullen

Ryan Winter Cahill.


A large and supportive crowd turned out for the July 21 IAW&A Salon at the Cell, which featured presentations in several media: prose, drama, poetry, video, dance and music.

First up, Sean Carlson has previously shared early glimpses from his first book, a yet-untitled narrative of emigration through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with an essay about the East Village from a series he’s writing about New York.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Ray Lindie read from his 1985-set screenplay, “Mad Dogs of August,” with characters involved with Noraid, the IRA and NYPD.

Actress Ryan Winter Cahill gave a lovely dramatic reading of Tom Mahon’s “That That Keeps Us Alive”. The short narrative is from the viewpoint of a young woman who is forced by war from her home in the Middle East, which action forces her to leave behind the man she loves.

Newcomer Kathleen O’Sullivan presented two videos of the neighborhood she grew up in, i.e., upper Manhattan, on Isham Street in Inwood. Having the story in ibook and audio book form already, Kathleen is experimenting with translating the story into video form.

Brendan Costello, a creative writing professor at City College, read a short piece/memoir about the day his father told him that he was gay. The fact that the young Brendan, then 16, already suspected his father’s sexuality, added a poignancy to the moment between father and son.

Two Brooklyn-based actors, Taylor Rynski and Jason LaCombe, acted out a scene from Marina Neary‘s play, “The Last Fenian,” a historical tragicomedy scheduled for filming in August. Set in 1910 Ireland, “The Last Fenian” tells the story of an Irish nationalist whose sons end up on the opposite sides of the barricades.

Mary Tierney, Ron Ryan, and Larry Fleischman led the audience on a raucously delightful trip in the one-act play, “The Best Cup of Coffee.” Mary played the proprietor, a proud woman whose reputation rests on her making the perfect cup of coffee — anywhere. That day two strangers, who are driving around the country sampling coffees to determine which is the most perfect, pull up at her cafe.

Tony Pena read four poems, giving each poem an impassioned Pena-style rendition. The poems were a mix of heartbreak, history, and humor.

Russell Brown presented two dance videos he has completed. Both of which had the lovely feel of sharing that true dance always invites.

John McDonagh performed another piece from his one man play “Cabtivist.” A comedic and sometimes heartbreaking look at the world through the eyes of a New York City cabdriver, McDonagh focused this vignette on his brush with fame on Fox TV.

Completing the episode he began sharing at the July 7th IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia, John Kearns read an excerpt from his novel in progress, “Worlds. After spending an afternoon eating beignetts and mufulettas and drinking beer in the French Quarter, Paul Logan continues his gluttonous day at an official dinner for the Catholic schoolteachers’ convention he is attending.

Tom Mahon read the first chapter of a children’s book he wrote, which was inspired by his son’s fascination with Bigfoot. Jamie, a young boy, wakes to his grandfather’s dog barking. He follows it to the barn, where they discover a strange animal covered in hair and no bigger than Jamie.

Marni Rice, chanteuse-accordioniste-composer presented a vintage French Chanson from the 1930’s entitled “L’Etranger” (“The Foreigner”), about a woman who meets a mysterious man in a train station on a rainy night. It was followed by an original instrumental composition, “The Tango of 106th Street,” and closing the Salon with an Irish ballad, “My Bonnie Boy,” from the Sarah Makem songbook.

The IAW&A meeting for all members will take place tomorrow, Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at the Irish Consulate. Email IASalon@hotmail.com to reserve your spot.

The next IAW&A Salon will be on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Bar Thalia at 7 p.m. We are switching to first Wednesdays of the month for August, September, and October. We’ll have the space to ourselves — and that’s not trivial.