Salon honors Dr. King at IAC

Irish American Writers & Artists members, from left, Cat Dwyer, Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, Mark Butler, Maureen Hossbacher and Karen Daly. PHOTO BY PETER MCDERMOTT

Salon Diary /By Karen Daly

The IAW&A took the stage at the Irish Arts Center for the first time on Tuesday, Jan. 22, with a social justice themed Salon, in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. We were proud to have this event included in the Origin Theatre Company’s prestigious 1st Irish Festival held each January and to welcome Origin’s founder George Heslin to our stage.

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Hosts Miranda Stinson and John Kearns, together with IAW&A Board members Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Costello, invited an accomplished group of artists to participate in an extraordinary, inspiring night.

Vice Consul General of Ireland in New York Kerry O'Sullivan attended her first Salon and IAW&A President Mary Pat Kelly announced the release of her new novel “Irish Above All,” which tells, as she says, “How Irish Americans saved the world in World War II.” []

Singer, writer and historian of Irish and Irish American songs,

Dan Milner reminded the audience of Irish hard times with an Irish-American street song about the Great Depression of 1875. Look for Dan’s new book, “Unstoppable Irish: Songs and Integration of the New York Irish,” coming from Notre Dame University Press this spring.

Eileen Markey told the story of Maura Clarke, an Irish-American girl from Rockaway who became a Maryknoll sister and was murdered by a death squad in El Salvador in 1980 along with three other missionaries. Markey's critically acclaimed “A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sr. Maura” explores how Clarke’s father, a veteran of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, influenced her work in Central America. An investigative journalist who teaches journalism at Lehman College/CUNY, Eileen Markey declares herself “a proud Bronxite.”

Eileen Markey signing a copy of her book about Sr. Maura Clarke for Tom Myles. PHOTO BY PETER MCDERMOTT

An internationally heralded novelist, a widely published poet, community organizer and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in fiction, Bino Realuyo read from his recently completed poetry collection titled “The Rebel Sonnets.”

Musician Michael Brunnock performed two songs from his Roger Casement song cycle, using Casement’s own words from poems, letters and diaries to tell his story. An Irish patriot executed in 1916 for his role in the run-up to the Rising, Casement was a diplomat who exposed the enslavement of people in the Belgian Congo and of tribes in the Amazon.

Michael Brunnock. PHOTO BY CAT DWYER

Native New York theatre artist Guenevere Donohue gave an excerpt of her musically driven performance piece, “Killer Is My Name,” inspired by Sophocles’ Ajax, and set in the Bronx. “Killer” tracks warrior culture through stories of Guen's father who was a Marine, ironworker and covert agent for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Guen produced, directed and performed the piece at the Boulder International Fringe Festival.

Author of “Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage” and “Crackskull Row,” Honor Molloy came to America as a child. In her first winter in Pennsylvania, Honor says “her big sister Siobhan would read to the family from Helen Hunt Jackson’s ‘A Century of Dishonor.’” Published in 1881, this book chronicled the treatment of Native Americans from Colonial times though the 1870s. Honor’s piece, “Real Americans” interleaved the tribulations of the Conestoga Tribe with language derived from First Nation accounts currently at the Tijuana border. Honor’s play “Round Room” will have a reading at IAC in March.

Sherese Francis’s chapbook, “Lady Liberty Smashes Stones,” is a collection of thoughts on “liberty, freedom and resistance.” She read a selection of poems from it, performing some for the first time. They included "Fingertips Filled with Light (In Memory of Harriet Tubman)," "The Liberty Way (A Code of Conduct According to Liberty University)," "Counter Pied Piper Religion and Politics." A southeast Queens-based poet whose work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, Sherese is also a speculative fiction writer, blogger, workshop facilitator and literary curator.

Writer and photographer Dan Brown has presented a series of monologues, often about contemporary relationships, and now Dan will publish them in a collection later this year. Tonight he invited actress and comic performer Marian Murray to present his short story, “Night of the Flat-Chested.”

Members of THISISPOPBABY introduced their groundbreaking entertainment combining “popular culture, counter culture and high art.” Known for their legendary arena at Electric Picnic Music & Arts Festival in Ireland and long-term collaboration with drag queen Panti, their latest international smash-hit show is RIOT.

Malachy McCourt, always a fighter for free expression and human rights, had the final words and ended a very full night with a song.

Mary Pat Kelly’s Book Launch will take place on Monday Feb. 11, 7 p.m., at the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd St., New York City. Free event. Please

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