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Stories, Songs, Poetry help SAOL

March 13, 2020

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AW&A welcomes Ray Hegarty from the SAOL Project of Dublin. Clockwise from top left are Board Member John McDonagh, President Maria Deasy, Board Member Siobhán McCourt, Founder Malachy McCourt, and Vice President Brendan Costello.  PHOTO BY DAN BROWN

 

Salon Diary / By Karen Daly

Co-hosted by Brendan Costello and Siobhán McCourt, the IAW&A Salon  packed the Thalia Studio and rewarded salongoers with an eclectic array of talent and featured a guest from a Dublin community program to which IAW&A has contributed.

Alan Gary’s essays tend to be about growing up in “a mostly mystical place called Brooklyn” where he recalls simple acts of kindness. Of his two tales tonight, one described a stranger’s work ethic; in the other Gary’s sister’s hijinks at a mall helped cheer him during a bad breakup. A prolific writer and actor (TV series, commercials, movies), Alan plays a serial killer on Fox-TV’s Prodigal Son.

By day Rebecca Coffey is a science journalist contributing to prestigious journals and popular media. By night she is a novelist (Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story) and humorist (Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake: And Other “Recipes” for the Intellectually Famished). In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, she chose the most decidedly Irish recipe from Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake, a parody of the last chapter of “Ulysses,” “James Joyce’s Spotted Dick” its sole ingredient being Molly Bloom. Of course, the book seems to be a cookbook, but it’s really literary humor of the most delicious kind.

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Brian Kasymaliev-Kelly’s brief experimental theater piece was a hybrid of monologue, poetry and prose, titled respectively, Rio Lobo, Don’t Even Think About It and Last Ditch Apologia. Consummately talented— a professor, artist, literary anthropologist and journalist, and high school teacher— Brian’s short fiction “A Room in the World” appears in the literary arts journal Ragazine. He’s received a Vaclav Havel Scholarship for a summer writing program in Prague but plans instead to drift the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia.

From New York City via Tennessee and back again, award winning singer/songwriter Diana Jones has been described as “a performer with a voice to break your heart.” And she surely could have, with three original songs, in her Southern folk style —”Cold Grey Ground,” “Santiago” about an immigrant child, and “We Believe You.”  These last two songs will be on Diana’s upcoming release Song To A Refugee, a song cycle based on refugee stories due in April from Proper Records.

As part of IAW&A’s mission to support other arts groups, we donated to The SAOL (“Life”) Project of Dublin, a community program that helps improve the lives of women affected by addiction and poverty. IAW&A members have visited SAOL’s program in Dublin, participating in arts projects with its clients. SAOL’s Ray Hegarty, visiting New York, thanked us on the women’s behalf. We are gratified to know that our gift will help them produce a book!

Cait Mullen McDonagh, a juvenile public defender, advocates for legislative and policy reform for sexually exploited youth. She’s also working on a collection of stories, Lessons from My Mother, as a more creative outlet than legal briefs and motions. Cait says that her stories express “the joy of the ordinary in a mother/daughter relationship and finding meaning in a lifetime of memories.” Trying out a story in public for the first time, her account of bringing her elderly mother to a doctor’s appointment was funny and poignant.

Ray Lindie’s dramatic screenplay Mad Dogs of August takes place in1985 when donations to NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee) became scarce. He shows how local NY supporters of the IRA pitched in when Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan classified NORAID as a terrorist group. In addition to writing plays and screenplays, Ray was a soldier and bartender extraordinaire.

Making his second Salon visit, Paul Fiore says that he studies philosophy at the City College of New York “as a front for writing poems.” He showed what a fine choice that is with several short poems infused with New York life. Paul is published in Tanka Journal and Atlas Poetica.

Malachy McCourt, actor, author, raconteur, author of numerous books, offered his blessing to end the night. Malachy’s blessing was an eloquent statement about the beauty and the power of words and his trademark song, “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are suspending our salon schedule at this time. We hope to return soon, and will determine an exact date when the current health crisis begins to resolve in a positive direction.  For updates: https://www.facebook.com/IrishAmericanWritersAndArtistsInc
 
Thank you to all the generous and spirited members of the IAW&A community.  Keep healthy; stay creative.

 

 

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