The Bells of Hell Ring at the IAWA Salon! Charles Hale Reports

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How It’s New York:  Irish American Writers & Artists is based in NY, though founded after a conference in Virginia in 2008.  Its board of Advisors includes New Yorkers Peter Quinn, Mick Moloney, Ellen McCourt.  The Salon began last spring, and now meets bimonthly,  at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space, and at the Cell Theatre in Chelsea.  We’ve reported on the Salon before:  read Orla O’Sullivan’s report from February or mine from August, too!
How It’s Irish:  From their mission statement:   Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. (IAW&A) welcomes Irish-American writers, actors, filmmakers, musicians and artists of every (and no) religion.

A version of this article was first published in the Irish Echo.  We’re delighted to have Charles Hale of IAWA blogging for us and sharing these columns for them here!  We love the Salon and have posted about it a few times.  If you’re Irish or Irish American and literary or artistic, it is a must.  The work is good, the craic is even better.  It’s a warm, welcoming environment all around!

Upcoming Irish American Writers and Artists’ salons are March 20 at The Cell, located at 338 W.23 Street, April 3 at the Thalia Café at 95th Street and Broadway and The Cell on April 17. The salons start at 7PM.

For the past ten months The Irish American Writers &Artists, whose signature event is the annual presentation of the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, has sponsored another event, the IAW&A Salon, which has grown in popularity in the Irish-American community. The Salon allows members ten minutes to present a reading, musical performance, comedy skit, video or any performance art of their choice. The Salon is open to all, but readers and members are drawn from membership. Occasionally, visitors from Ireland and other places do get to the microphone.

Hell’s Bells and the “The Bells of Hell” was a central theme of Tuesday’s salon, held in front of a full house at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space.  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, as has become the tradition at the Thalia Salon, Malachy closed out the evening with a song, leading the attendees in a chorus of “The Bells of Hell.”

There were a number of highlights: David Coles invoked the spirit of Hell’s Bells, reading from his novel In the Midnight Choir.  Coles writes of New York City life in the 1970s, which includes many nights in two Village saloons, Hell’s Bells and The Lion’s Head. A wonderful story from a first-time reader.

Charles Hale

Salon regular John Kearns reminded the audience that his play, In the Wilderness, will be opening in early June, while another first-time presenter, Guenevere Donohue, read and sang from her new play Killer 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 hearing more from this talented artist.


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 thirty years ago. Jones’ artfully presented this taut, riveting tale.

Upcoming Irish American Writers and Artists’ salons are March 20 at The Cell, located at 338 W.23 Street, April 3 at the Thalia Café at 95th Street and Broadway and The Cell on April 17. The salons start at 7PM.

For more information about the salons or the Irish American Writers &
Artists, contact Charles R. Hale.

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