NITROUS OXIDE INSIGHTS: RON VAZZANO on ROOT CANALS

NITROUS OXIDE INSIGHTS

by RON VAZZANO

 

There’s the Erie Canal. The Panama Canal. And the Root Canal. This last of which I encountered for the first time ever, last month.

 

No big deal here, this being commonplace and hardly life threatening. Yet no day at the beach either, as this dental rite of passage has long been synonymous with that dreaded euphemistic phrase uttered by white-coated professionals: “you may experience some discomfort.” We lay people and patients call it for what it is. PAIN.

 

"Of course, I would suggest a shot of novacaine."To ward off such anxiety in the dental chair—call it a throne as many of us have been crowned there on several occasions— I have gone under the influence of nitrous oxide. (To which I attribute the preceding bad pun as well as what might follow for which I claim no responsibility.). The goal has been to temper any “discomfort,” not so much physically—though it does help to dull the number of piercing shots of Novocain in nerve sensitive areas, but without which such a “procedure” as root canal would be unendurable—but equally important, psychologically. Or maybe it’s just me. Call me a wuss. I’ve been called worse.

 

With a nitrous infusion now wafting through my nostrils, they proceed to put goggles on me. (“What are these for?” “I will be working with sharp instruments.” I had to ask.). Then something made of rubber gets stuffed into my mouth that challenges the gag reflex. I feel that I am now in the hands of terrorists. I would gladly tell them whatever they want to know if I could speak—the mouth kept wide open by some sort of doorstop device. But as the nitrous begins to peak, the terrorist illusion gives way to one of a car. They might be mechanics probing under my hood. A small tune-up and I’ll be out of the garage and back on the road in no time. But that playful notion is literally drilled out of me.

 

5Suddenly, Dr. Whitecoat Professional—wall-mounted diplomas implying competence—goes all Con Edison on me. He proceeds to jack-hammer my street with no prior warning or explanation. There are now sounds coming from down below, that in all my visits to the chair, I’ve never heard. Weird variations on a drilling theme in the key of Eek sharp!

 


One particular adagio drill bit passage, reminding me of a mandatory machine shop class I had to take as a high school student at Brooklyn Tech ( “Tech alma mater, molder of men”♫), somewhere in the deep recesses of the previous millennium. And in the absence of any sign of gracefulness in the execution, there is pressure, penetration and screaming metal, hell-bent on reaching China. And while I feel no actual pain by this point, I am sweating. Audibly. What if he slips? His assistant will no doubt cover up the evidence of this unfortunate accident, which could result in years of expensive litigation…and all to no avail.

 

6In need to go elsewhere, the brain heads off to the movies. Appearing on its screen now, is that crazed dentist played by Steve Martin in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Followed shortly, by the dental scene from “The Marathon Man” with Dustin Hoffman and a menacingLawrence Olivier.  (“Is it safe? Is it safe?”) And though such imagery and attendant associations race along, time seems eternal.

 

I was in that chair for about a week. And as I wandered into the dessert of resignation by say the sixth day, a thought seeped in and took hold, and repeated itself through the nitrous haze. That with all the advances in science and technology, with all its robotics and killer apps— even in the sci-fi sounding year of 2015— reality is literal, not virtual. We look to science, or God, to eliminate the discomforts that come with living. And neither can do it.

 

Ron Vazzano

Ron Vazzano

Oxygen now finally freely flowing, and having come back fully to my all too common senses, it was time to leave to go pick up my computer that had crashed and was in the shop. Okay, I’ll admit to “going Brian Williams” here. My computer did not crash at that particular time. Nor was it even shot at. I misremembered. You know, the nitrous oxide and all.

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS: AROUND TOWN THIS WEEK

Martina Fiserova

Martina Fiserova

 

 

Prague born singer/songwriter Martina Fiserova has established a following on the NYC music scene with her unique songwriting approach and intimate yet emotional vocal performance. Come hear how she uses Moravian melody, unusual harmony and haunting Eastern European imagery to spin her tale at her upcoming show at The Way Station on Tuesday March 3rd at 8pm, 683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn. No cover.

 

 

 

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"Lily Sparks" including Kg Noble, Niamh Hyland, Margaret LaBombard and Mick Fumento

“Lily Sparks” including Kg Noble, Niamh Hyland, Margaret LaBombard and Mick Fumento

 

 

 

Niamh Hyland and her band, “Lily Sparks” will be performing at Arlene’s Grocery on Friday, March 6th, 8pm. 95 Stanton Street, NYC.

 

 

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Tara O'Grady

Tara O’Grady

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Tara O’Grady returns to Swing the Teapot to perform all your favorite Irish standards off of her four albums, from “Danny Boy” to “Irish Black Bottom.” Get a chance to buy Tara’s new cd Irish Bayou a week before its release date! A lucky raffle winner will go home with a free cd.  Make your resevations now as this venue always sells out fast.

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Swing the Teapot
9:00pm Friday, March 6
6 Verbana Ave, Floral Park
$10 – Reserve tix – 516-488-2180

Click here for directions to Swing the Teapot

 

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John Shea

John Shea

 

 

Craicfest presents the 17th annual KIDS FILM FLEADH in association with Irish Arts Center. Saturday, March 7th | 11 am $10

 

A fun program of award-winning shorts such as the award winning short “Rockmount” and Oscar nominated “Short Give Up Yer Aul Sins.” Also we have Irish Step Dancing (Niall O’Leary dancers) and Storytelling (John Liam Shea & Honor Molloy). The event is followed by a reception including goodie bags for the kids and free refreshments and scones.

 

Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy

For more information visit thecraicfest.com or call 917-373-6735. At Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, New York, NY

 

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Richard Stillman

Richard Stillman

Singer, storyteller & musician, Richard Stillman will be performing his Irish Balladeer show on Long Island next week. The family show combines traditional and original Irish music, storytelling and step dancing accompanied on cittern guitar, banjo, mandolin, bagpipes, concertina, pennywhistle, bones, bodhran and harmonica. He’ll be at the Amityville, NY Library on March 7th at 2 pm. For information call 631 264 0567. He’ll repeat the show at the Island Park, NY Library on March 12th at 7 pm. For information call 516 432 0122 .

 

 

 

 

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS: MEMBERS ON THE TOWN the WEEK of 2/22/15

Brona Crehan

Brona Crehan

Ever wonder what your life would be like if you’d made one different choice? An unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events in the lives of three people in Pillow on the Stairs. What follows creates a web of secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime. Every decision has lasting consequences in this intimate story about love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.

 

Brona Crehan’s Pillow on the Stairs runs from February 25 – 28 at The Cell – Wednesday – Friday at 7pm with an additional performance on Feb 28 at 7pm. Tickets are $30.00.  Click here for tickets.

 

 

Honor Finnegan

Honor Finnegan

 

Honor Finnegan with Aviv Roth on guitar – Sunday, February 22nd, 4:00 pm.  Empty Nest House Concerts. Private residence, Maplewood, NJ.  Price: $20 suggested donation.  RSVP to: emptynestconcerts@hotmail.com

 

 

Erin Layton

Erin Layton

 

 

 

Erin Layton’s one-woman show “MAGDALEN will be presented by the Irish Studies Dept. of Hofstra University on Wednesday, February 25 at 7:30PM at The Spiegel Theatre on campus. Free Admission! Click here for directions to the Spiegel Theatre at Hofstra.

 

Richard Stillman

Richard Stillman

 

 

Richard Stillman will be presenting his “Italian Carnevale Show ” on Sat. Feb. 28th at 1 pm at the Kip Center. The show combines Italian & Italian American songs sung and played on the mandolin, guitar, bagpipes & concertina with storytelling and tap dancing. The Kip Center is located at 55 Kip Ave. Rutherford, NJ. For information call 201 460 1600.

 

 

“TALENTED PERFORMERS, FRIENDLY PEOPLE and TIME TO MINGLE…FANTASTIC” AWoW’s SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE

“As a first time visitor … I really enjoyed everything about the evening. Talented performers, friendly people, time to mingle … fantastic. I will be back for certain.”  Clyde Berger

 

Sybil Scoby

Sybil Scoby

 

Sybil Scoby, portraying Donna Summer, took us all down memory lane, reminding us of how great it was to watch and listen to Donna’s disco.  For many, Sybil’s renditions of Donna’s songs reignited memories of an era gone by.  A feel good musical experience to begin the evening.

 

 

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Annette Homann

Annette Homann

Violinist Annette Homann returned to her classical roots with a performance of the 1st movement of Serge Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata, crafting a performance of  technical skill and passion.  Switching gears, Annette held the audience rapt with virtuosic fiddling during her second piece, Caprice No. 2 by Mark O’Connor. 

 

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David Sharp and Noel Lawlor

David Sharp and Noel Lawlor

Noel Lawlor followed with a superb rendition of the “Muse Of Fire” speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. In this scence, Shakespeare asks his audience for their willing suspension of disbelief, to come along with him on an epic journey on land and sea using only their imaginations as he depicts vast battle scenes over a period of time during the 100 year war between England and France, with just a few actors on a bare stage.  Spellbinding performance from Noel. 

 

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Melissa Ritz

Melissa Ritz

Melissa Ritz brought “glitz” to Artists Without Walls Showcase. Melissa  impressed with a skillful assortment of singing, tap dancing and character work from her award-winning one-woman show, Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story. Melissa’s show makes its west coast debut in March in Las Vegas, where audiences are sure to be charmed by her talents.   

  

 

Nancy Redman

Nancy Redman

Award-winning actress and comedian Nancy Redman was described as brilliant, hilarious, and hysterically funny in the her preview of her sci-fi comedy, The Doctor Is Not In , exploring the hypocrisy of Hippocrates. She demonstrated perfect comedic timing in her performance, which is directed by Austin Pendleton.  Nancy can be seen in a benefit performance of the play at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, 312 W. 36th Street, NYC on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 7pm.  Ticktes are $20.  Use Code DOC315 for a $15 ticket

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Amy Virginia Buchanan

Amy Virginia Buchanan

 

Amy Virginia Buchanan’s lilting tunes tricked us–seeming simple and sweet–but then tugged on our coldest, furthest heart strings. She has a gentle, chatty voice that floats above a steel ukulele, and weaves stories about whales and birds and boats and other such things. She sings about loneliness and love, clearly knowing the pain of it, but also remaining optimistic and hopeful. Her joy on stage is palpable, and by the end we were all pleased to have the chance to sing along.

 

 

"Lily Sparks" including Kg Noble, Niamh Hyland, Margaret LaBombard and Mick Fumento

“Lily Sparks” including Kg Noble, Niamh Hyland, Margaret LaBombard and Mick Fumento 

Niamh Hyland brought her rock band Lily Sparks to Monday’s Showcase and although they kept it acoustic, the band absolutely rocked the crowd with their original tunes. Niamh’s voice revealed surprising new dimensions to those familiar only with her traditional and acapella singing talents. Their passionate final song, “Ressurection,” gave the audience at taste of what’s to come in their full electric show at Arlene’s Grocery on Friday, March 6th, 7pm. Not to be missed! 

 

The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell will be on March 24, 6:45pm. For more information on Artists Without Walls write to info@artistswithoutwalls.com

 

 

Photos by Vera Hoar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VERA HOAR’S PHOTOS from ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE: FEB 16, 2014

Vera Hoar’s photos from Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell, February 16, 2015. The names of the photographed appear below the photos:

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IMG_1939Amy Buchanan

IMG_1544David Sharp and Noel Lawlor

IMG_1550Melissa Ritz

IMG_1537-2Sam Adelman

IMG_1943-2Ashley Bell 

IMG_2019Sybil Scoby

IMG_1773“Lily Sparks” including Kg Noble, Mick Fumento, Niamh Hyland and Margaret LaBombard

IMG_18252Nancy Redman

IMG_1649-2Annette Homann

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ SHOWCASE at THE CELL: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16TH, 6:45.

Amy Virginia Buchanan

Amy Virginia Buchanan

The weather may be cold and dreary but inside The Cell Theatre, tomorrow night, Monday 2/16, 6:45, there’ll be great cheer and warmth, not to mention a wonderful array of talent as Artists Without Walls presents it’s February Showcase.  Here’s the lineup:

 

Amy Virginia Buchanan is a musician, actor, writer, and producer, hailing from the midwest and living in Brooklyn. She recently released her first album, “I’ll Sing You Songs When You Aren’t Around,” and is presently writing an EP loosely titled “You/Me/Us.” 

 

Annette Homann

Annette Homann

 

Violinist Annette Homann, who recently performed her CD release program in NYC, will be playing a piece by Russian composer Serge Prokofiev and a dazzling fiddling piece by Mark O’Connor, which she played at her CD show.

 

 

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Noel Lawlor

Noel Lawlor

 

You may have seen Noel Lawlor perform a scene from “Shakespeare” a number of months ago. Good news: Noel will be returning to The Cell performing the Prologue from Henry V, in which Shakespeare asks his audience for their willing suspension of disbelief, to come along with him on an epic journey on land and sea, using only their imaginations as he depicts vast battle scenes during the 100 years war between England and France with just a few actors on a bare stage.  

 

 

Melissa Ritz

Melissa Ritz

 

Actor/dancer/singer/writer Melissa Ritz will perform an excerpt from her award-winning one-woman show Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story. Based on true events, 1930′s famed Big-Band leader Ina Ray Hutton found success and heartache on the stages of Broadway and beyond, with a secret she couldn’t afford to reveal at that time.

  

 

Nancy Redman

Nancy Redman

 

Award-winning actress and comedian Nancy Redman stars in THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN, her sci-fi comedy exploring the hypocrisy of Hippocrates, directed by Austin Pendleton at Abingdon Theatre Company Dorothy Strelsin Theatre 312 West 36th Street, 1st Floor  NYC Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 7pm For her recent “The Doctor Is Not In,” performed twice in the United Solo Theatre Festival 2014 at Theatre Row, Redman has been honored with the Best Comedian Award.

 

 

Sybil Scoby

Sybil Scoby

 

And there’ll be a fair share of rock and pop including former world-touring back-up-singer and native New Yorker Sybil Scoby, who’ll  pay tribute to Donna Summer, the woman who inspired her to sing, and Lily Sparks, a local rock band consisting of AWoW cofounder Niamh Hyland, Kg Noble and Margaret LaBombard. Here’s how one critic described Lily Sparks: “If Heart and Joan Jett had a baby and sent it to boarding school with Florence and the Machine you’d get a hard rocking band with killer vocals called Lily Sparks!” 

 

Lily Sparks

Lily Sparks

 

The bar will be open at 6:45, so you can come and “chill out” or, as the case may be, “warm up” and chat with new and old friends before the event. We have an amazing line up from Shakespeare to “stand up,” from a disco icon to a “Bombshell,” from classical violin to Irish fiddling mixed with the virtuosic techniques in the style of Paganini and Tartini, and some “folk” and “rock.” This is going to be great. Hope to see you there

 

The Cell Theatre is located at 338 W23rd St. 

 

 

 

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ MEMBERS “ON THE TOWN”

Martina Fiserova

Martina Fiserova

 

 

 

Martina Fiserova (guitar&voice) will perform her originals on Monday February 9th at 11pm at The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, no cover charge.

 

 

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Tara O'Grady and Pete Kennedy

Tara O’Grady and Pete Kennedy

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Pete Kennedy of The Kennedy’s joins Tara O’Grady this week at Winnie’s in the Refinery Hotel on Tuesday, February 10 @ 7:30pm, and again at Desmond’s on Thursday, February 12 @ 7:00pm performing everything from Billie Holiday to Patsy Cline to Etta James.

 

For more info on Tara click here 

 

 

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Deni Bonet

Deni Bonet

 

 

This coming Tuesday night, February 10 @ 7 PM, Deni Bonet will be a special guest of the wonderful singer/songwriter, Rachael Sage at Joe’s Pub. Click HERE for show details.

 

 

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Honor Molloy at NYFA

Honor Molloy at NYFA

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Honor Molloy will be reading at the “Literary Salon” hosted by NYFA on Wednesday, February 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, 7th Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201. Readings alo include Kaitlyn Greenridge, Catherine Lacey, Amy Lawless, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado and Carlos and Cesar Valle. This exciting new program was developed to serve the community of literary artists.

 

You can join them for an evening of readings exploring the broad theme of marginalized groups worldwide. The event will host six award winning and published poets and writers. The readings and discussions of the work will take place from 6 PM to 8 PM. After the readings there will be time to network and socialize. This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

 

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Brona Crehan

Jacqueline Kealy, John McConnell and Brona Crehan

Any AWOW members who saw the wonderful Grainne Duddy perform Moonlight Sonata at the December showcase might be interested in seeing Pillow on the Stairs–where the story starts….

 

Ever wonder what your life would be like if you’d made one different choice? An unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events in the lives of three people in Pillow on the Stairs. What follows creates a web of secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime. Every decision has lasting consequences in this intimate story about love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.

 

Pillow on the Stairs stars John McConnell (The Weir on Broadway), Jacqueline Kealy (Eclipsed at Irish Rep) and Brona Crehan. The production team includes: John Keating (Production Director), Gertjan Houben (lighting), Florian Staab (sound design) and Mackenzie Meeks (stage manager).

 

Pillow on the Stairs runs February 11 – 28 at The Cell – Wednesday – Friday at 7pm with an additional performance on Feb 28 at 7pm. Tickets are $30.00. For AWoW discounted tickets email info@artistswithoutwalls.com for the codes

 

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Annette Homann

Annette Homann in “Soprano and Strings”

Annette Homann will be perfuming in “Soprano and Strings” on February 13th, 7 pm, at the Bloomingdale School of Music, 323 W 108th street, David Greer Recital Hall

 

Music from Respighi, Rota, Schubert, Previn and Villa-Lobos

 

Free admission

 

ARTIST and SOCIAL ACTIVIST SANA MUSASMA: NOTES FROM CAMBODIA

Sana Musasama

Sana Musasama

Artist, social activist and Artists Without Walls’ member Sana Musasama returned to New York last week from Cambodia after another self-sponsored journey to help bring art, craft, economic independence and love to orphaned and rescued girls living in safehouses. Welcome home, Sana.

 

Here are a few journal entries written shortly before she left:

 

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Very sad to update my status here in Cambodia. The Tom Dy Center, a place that was filled with many staffers last year now has only four. The offices looked like people ran from their desks mid-day in a rush to escape something. I noticed that there were new guards outside. I assumed they were hired to keep the place from being robbed.

 

Crafts made in Cambodia

Crafts made in Cambodia

The Center was a ghost town. Eight girls this year, last year 121.  They were still in their street clothing, hair tangled, and uncombed. There was a far away look in their eyes and tremendous distrust of any staff including me. I laid out the supplies, was introduced and began working with them. They were slow in the beginning, but I knew once we started the laughter would start. But it never did.The girls worked in silence.

 

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Cambodia has been hard this time. Tom Dy, my favorite shelter, closed the next day.

 

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I saw Somaly Mam, today for the first time. I saw her before she saw me. She was very thin. When she saw me, her eyes lit up and she ran to me. She held me by the hand and whispered, ” Sana, I am not perfect, I have made mistakes, human mistakes, not all they say is accurate. But now, I care less what people think of me, but what about the girls?”  Somaly Mam continued, “I am a volunteer in my organization now. I work here eighteen hours a day. I will rebuild this foundation and then I will disappear with retirement. I am tired and my youngest child has never had a mother in me. I am not perfect. Time will tell.”  She then said “Thank you for loving my girls Sana”

 

Bracelets

Bracelets

She will no longer run shelters she said but instead will do outreach from the brothels in Cambodia.

 

I said bye and I left. I shouted back as I drove off on my motorbike, “You brought them back to life, Somaly, you did it and you will do it again.”

 

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I returned today from the Lighthouse Orphanage, where Shey Nich lives, the young girl I met 7 years ago. She was taken to the orphanage at 6 years of age by her uncle and has grown up there. She is now 17.  She told me that she cried for three days straight when she arrived. She missed her mother and family that lived in the countryside, but they could not feed her and saved her life by placing her in the orphanage. She says now ” Lighthouse is my home and I love it, Sana. “

 

Sana Musasama

Sana Musasama

On the way home, I was counting my funds trying to figure out what to pay the driver, Mr. Ton. He is a gentle young man that has taken me everywhere I needed to go these past 6 years. I was being careful counting and holding on, when $10 blew out of my hand. My head rotated about-face, but my eyes never lost contact with the $10 blowing behind me.

 

Somehow I found the Khmer word for stop, “Chop, chop!!” and must have screamed it as he stopped so suddenly that I almost flew forward. I never took my eyes off the money. Before he could turn around, I jumped off the motorbike and made a speeding dash for the money.

 

Mr. Ton stood frozen and watched me run down the road. “I got it!” I yelled.  I ran back to Mr. Ton. I pushed it into his hands with an additional $5 and said to him “Thank you for the day.” He looked traumatized. I wondered what he thought of this crazy women running down the highway after a few dollars. He probably would have done the same.

 

10714551_563977317070383_6644995279589495930_oThe average salary for a Cambodian policeman is $2 per day. This money was five days of salary rolling down the street. For me, it’s three days of eating simple food, or it’s one week of water. It’s dear to all of us.

 

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Sana returned from Cambodia on on Tuesday, January, 27th at 10:30 pm. She taught at 9 am in NJ the next day and Hunter College in NYC–her 20th year–that same night. The following day she taught at John Jay College in NYC.

UPCOMING ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS MEMBERS’ EVENTS


1508010_10206194379677520_1046217525645611344_nThe Cell Theatre invites you to a developmental reading of “Crackskull Row” by Honor Molloy with some of the best Irish actors this side of the Atlantic. It’s Dublin, 1999 and the Celtic Tiger’s roaring, but no one hears it on Crackskull Row – where Dolly and her darkclan are caught in ould sins and ancient lusts. Where ghosts return, nothing is forgotten – to hell with forgiveness.

 

Directed by Joe Hendel, this AEA-Approved Staged Reading features: Terry Donnelly, Jo Kinsella, John Charles McLaughlin and Aidan Redmond. Thursday – feb 5th – 4pm at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St. NYC  RSVP – thecelltheatre@gmail.com

 

Melissa Ritz

Melissa Ritz

Melissa Ritz’s award-winning one-woman show, Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story, will run for one night only at the Triad Theater/Stage 72, on Sunday, Feb. 15th at 9pm. Located at 72nd & Broadway.

 

 

Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St. Monday, February 16th, 6:45pm.

 

 

 

Erin Layton

Erin Layton

Erin Layton’s one-woman show “MAGDALEN will be presented by the Irish Studies Dept. of Hofstra University on Wednesday, February 25 at 7:30PM at The Spiegel Theatre on campus. Free Admission! Click here for directions to the Spiegel Theatre at Hofstra.

 

 

 

Amanda Ritz

Amanda Ritz

Amanda Thorpe will be back in New York with a rare performance of songs from her latest album, Bewitching Me: The Lyrics of Yip Harburg at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3. March 2, 7:00pm Advanced tickets $8. Door $10.

 

“Leave it to a British artist to once again to remind us Yanks of a neglected American musical treasure through an album before and after its time: Amanda Thorpe’s Bewitching Me. … Ms. Thorpe’s artistry traverses folk, rock, jazz, cabaret, and every conceivable variation thereof.” — Huffington Post

 

 

Serena Jost

Serena Jost

Serena Jost returns to Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, her favorite downtown venue, on March 12, 8:30pm. Come hear new songs, some favorites and hang out with Serena after the show. Special Guests.

Here’s what New York Music Daily said about Serena’s 2014 Rockwood Concert: “…a lush, sweeping, richly enveloping, tuneful show by the art-rock cellist/multi-instrumentalist singer (Serena) and her band.” Click here for tickets, which are $10.

 

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Nancy Redman

Nancy Redman

Nancy Redman won Best Comedian Award United Solo 2014 for her one woman play “THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN” directed by Austin Pendleton. She will be performing “THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN” Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 7pm at Abingdon Theatre Company
Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, 312 W36th St. 6th Fl., NYC

 

Nancy recently performed “The Doctor Is Not In” at the United Solo Theatre Festival 2014 and received the award for “Best Comedian.”

 

Click here for tickets, which are $20.

 

 

Tara O'Grady

Tara O’Grady

Tara O’Grady is releasing her 4th album Irish Bayou, a tribute to New Orleans with original songs in a gumbo of genres, from zydeco and rockabilly, to folk, funk, swing, jazz and blues. Special guests joining her on stage will be AWOW member Sasha Papernik on piano and vocals, as well as Pete Kennedy of The Kennedy’s on guitar and ukulele, Justin Poindexter of The Amigos on lap steel and vocals, and Tara’s full swing band – bass, drums, trumpet, sax, clarinet, washboard and all!

 

Irish Bayou CD Launch Party
Thursday, March 26 @ 7pm, doors 6:15pm
Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd
Click here for reservations

BILL BELICHICK, ALEX RODRIGUEZ, the PATRIOTS and YANKEES: WHY FANS are FANATICS

 

BILL BELICHICK, ALEX RODRIQUEZ, the PATRIOTS and YANKEES: WHY FANS are FANATICS

by Charles R. Hale

 

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

Given all of the hoopla surrounding “Deflategate” and Sunday’s upcoming Super Bowl, I thought I’d revisit a topic I’ve often pondered, a topic that at times has baffled me. Considering the bizarre and egregious behavior of so many sports’ personalities, the win-at-any-and-all-costs mentality that pervades sports and the disregard many teams and pro leagues appear to exhibit toward their fans, I wonder: Why are people so fanatical about a particular team? Why do fans tie themselves in knots trying to explain away apalling behavior? Why are teams and players acts dismissed and rationalized, when if the same acts were committed by others not associated with one’s team, they’d see it for exactly what it is. What clouds people’s judgement? Why are fans fanatical?

 

When I was a young boy I developed an interest in professional sports. Each morning I’d await the delivery of the New York Daily News to our garden apartment in Glen Oaks, Queens. I’d eagerly review the box scores from the previous day’s ballgames and then I’d read Dick Young’s Clubhouse Confidential, a “behind the scenes” look at the Brooklyn Dodgers’ community. I even had the opportunity to attend a few Dodger games at Ebbets Field before they left for Los Angeles in the late 50′s.

 

Chuck Bednarik standing over Frank Gifford

Chuck Bednarik standing over Frank Gifford

In 1960 my father purchased season tickets for the New York Giants’ football games and for the next decade my dad and I spent autumn Sundays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. We shared memorable sports’ moments:  Y.A. Tittle threw seven touchdown passes against the Redskins; Big number 60, Chuck Bednarik knocked Frank Gifford unconscious, and the Giants lost to Lombardi’s Packers in the ’61 Championship game.

 

At the same time my interest in sports was burgeoning, professional athletes began moving into my community. The New York Rangers came to Glen Oaks in the 1950s, followed by the New York Mets in the 1960s. We lived next door to the Ranger defenseman and Hall of Famer, Harry Howell. Harry and other Rangers, including Andy Bathgate, Bill Gatsby and Andy Hebenton were visible members of the community. They’d watch us play roller hockey on the streets; they’d sign our sticks, and my father would even help Howell when he had car problems. They were real, flesh and blood characters, and for a kid, an important part of the community’s fabric.

 

Willie Mays

Willie Mays

But soon, our city and country’s appetite for professional sports exploded, salaries skyrocketed and many athletes moved to suburban enclaves. They became increasingly insulated from the public. The days of Willie Mays playing stickball in Harlem, hitting a “spaldeen” three sewers are long gone.

 

So what keeps us so captivated? Why do people hang onto “their” teams? Twenty years ago I developed an interest in my family genealogy. While seeking a link to the past, I may have stumbled upon a reason fans are so hooked on their teams. I think the reason might have something to do with our need for community and connection, both with the past and the present.

 

Joe Namath

Joe Namath

Our connection to the past runs deep. Rollo May, a well known psychologist wrote, “Our powerful hunger for myth is a hunger for community, to be a member in one’s community is to share in its myths.” In New York, rooting for a  team satisfies many sports’  fans need for community. Fans cling to the memory of the city’s mythic sports’ moments: Willis Reed limping onto the court and carrying the Knicks to a championship; Joe Namath guaranteeing a Jet’s Super Bowl victory and Bobby Thompson’s “shot heard round the world” in the ’51 Giant/Dodgers’ playoff.  Fans embellish the past, revere the exploits and events, create “heroes” of mythic proportions and talk about sports incessantly–ever listen to Mike Francesa on sports’ talk radio?–as if it would vanish from our memories if we didn’t.

 

Alex Rodriquez

Alex Rodriquez

And…we often dismiss the foibles of those connected to “our” teams, such as two sports’ figures who constantly make headlines, Alex Rodriguez and Bill Belichick. Why do so many sports’ fans defend these two men who have both been exposed as cheaters? Perhaps this exchange between my sister and me a few years ago serves to answer that question. I was carrying on about the moronic behavior of a few members of a local sports team, wondering how I could root for a team with so many unappealing characters. She condensed my theory of community and connection with this answer. “It’s simple,” she said. “Yes, they are morons, but they’re our morons.”  Thus, if we are a Yankees or Patriots’ fan, are ARod and Bill Belichick cheaters, but “our” cheaters?

 

Willis Reed

Willis Reed

So I guess it’s no coincidence that we “root, root, root for the home team,” as songwriter Jack Norworth wrote aboard a train to Manhattan in 1908. He too felt, “If they don’t win it’s a shame.” Maybe he understood that no matter how egregious a player or a team’s behavior, the teams carry the myth of our city, connect the past and the present, and become our passion. The athletes, whom many considered the “heroes” of their youth, leave the stage and the uniforms too are redesigned, even some of the stadiums go to dust. But the names still resonate: New York Yankees, New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Rangers; Reed, Thompson, and Namath. And personally, and maybe most importantly, sports connect me to memories of my youth, Glen Oaks, my friends, my dad and the times we spent together. That connection runs very deep.