ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ MEMBERS: THIS WEEK in NYC

 

Martina Fiserova

Martina Fiserova

Martina Fiserova, a singer songwriter originally from Prague, will perform her original songs on Monday January 26th at 10pm at The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, no cover charge.

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Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St., Tuesday, January 27th, 6:45pm. 

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Moonlight Sonata, written by Brona Crehan and starring Grainne Duddy, made it to the finals at Manhattan Rep’s winter one act competition. Thirty plays participated and six move on to the finals on January 29 and 30 at 6.30pm and 9.00pm each night.

 

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

RESERVATIONS for THE FINAL SHOWDOWN performances will open up on MONDAY MORNING January 26 at 9 am.  Any reservation received before January 26 at 9 am will not be honored.  Manhattan Rep will only accept 4 ticket reservations per email address per show for THE FINAL SHOWDOWN performances to prevent one play from reserving the entire show. (6:30 pm and 9 pm.)  Tickets for the performance are $20

 

The Manhattan Repertory Theatre is located at 303 W42nd St, NYC. Reservations can be made at: mrtreserve@gmail.com

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10830101_10203399488163587_4476325946391380429_oDeborah Monlux producer of: Bayou ‘n Brooklyn Music Festival, (next years fest is May 8, 9, 10, 2015) invites you to a free event at Jalopy Theatre 315 Columbia Street Brooklyn NY 11231; Saturday, January 31st, 2015, from 2-5PM.

 

Join them for the next session of their traditional Brooklyn Cajun Jam Session at the fabulous Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn. This jam will be led by Jesse Lége.

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The Brooklyn Cajun Jam focuses on the traditional Cajun & Creole music of southwest Louisiana. Vocals are sung in Cajun French and are backed up by button accordion, fiddle, guitar, and occasionally, ‘tit fer (triangle) bass and mandolin. Since most tunes are played in the keys of C and G, fiddles are usually tuned down a whole step to FCGD. Bring your instruments, join the music session, dance, or just come by and listen to some great traditional Cajun music.

 

 

 

ANNETTE HOMANN’S “CD” LAUNCH: PHOTOS by RICHARD VELASCO

Photos from Artists Without Walls’ member Annette Homann’s wonderful CD launch “Heimatgefühle” at the Duplex Cabaret and Piano Bar in NYC.

 

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From left: Sofia Chiarandini, Richard Neal, Annette Homann and Ursula Homann

 

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From left: Sofia Chiarandini, Richard Neal, Annette Homann and Jordan Jancz

 

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Annette Homann and special guest, Ursula Homann

 

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Richard Neal and Annette Homann

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Annette Homann, Richard Neal and Sofia Chiarandini

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JE SUIS “MAD” by RON VAZZANO

Je Suis MAD

by Ron Vazzano

 

In the aftermath of the terrorist bloodbath in Paris at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, reportedly three million people took to the streets in solidarity, many holding up signs proclaiming “Je suis Charlie.” In translation, it might read something along the lines of…

 

“Though we were not even aware of the existence of this magazine…or, while we were aware of it and even thought it crude at times in its lampooning of religious beliefs and institutions, we are at one with Charlie in the right to freedom of expression without being murdered for it.”

 

When CBS’s Sunday Morning program asked the Editor-in-chief of MAD magazine, John Ficcara, for a commentary on this tragedy, he admitted to giving pause. He had a couple of concerns not the least of which was, that by appearing on TV denouncing terrorists and defending the rights of satirists and cartoonists, would he be endangering his own life and that of his colleagues?

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.25.39 AMHe went ahead all the same and noted in his two and a half minute statement, something so obvious that we’ve always taken for granted. Yet in the lunacy of a terrorist world, it is newly appreciated and even profound in its assumption. He said in part:

 

“…we were merciless on the Catholic Church for covering up the child abuse scandal. And after 9/11, we went after Jerry Falwell hard for blaming the 9/11 attacks on gay feminists, abortionists and the ACLU.

 

We knew at the end of the day, no matter how much we lampooned Falwell or the Catholic Church, we shared a common set of rules of engagement.

 

The worst that could happen to us was that we got a stern letter from their lawyers—we live for those. Not once did we ever fear for our safety.”

 

Actually, from what I’ve heard about Charlie Hebdo, I would not have associated it in any way with MAD magazine. As a piece in The New Yorker noted, “they (Charlie) worked in a peculiarly French and savage tradition, forged in a long nineteenth-century guerilla war between republicans and the church and the monarchy.” Hardly the raison d’être for MAD. Yet former Chicago Seven defendant and later California state senator Tom Hayden has been quoted as saying, “My own radical journey began with MAD magazine.”

 

Having been a reader of MAD over forty years ago, I loved the great caricatures of the people it was spoofing in the pop culture, its sendups of ad campaigns, its regular features of “Spy vs. Spy,” “The Lighter Side of…” Don Martin cartoons and the Fold-in, and the like. I didn’t remember it being particularly controversial or scathing on any great political or social issues. Yet a quick Google scan of some covers over the years that jumped out at me, suggests that it has taken on the establishment and those things we hold dear. Sacrebleu, even Facebook.

 

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The Fidel Castro cover from 1963 is particularly ironic, in that it has since been alleged, that one of the methods the CIA was considering in assassinating him, was with an exploding cigar. “Out-spying” even “Spy vs. Spy”?

 

From there it was but a short walk to a Barnes & Noble to pick up the current copy, to see if my remembrance of the magazine (comic book?) as being something merely mischievous, had developed into something more satirically venomous in my long absence. In two words…not really.

 

In its annual tribute to the year’s biggest idiots issue, “The 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things 2014,” it roasted some of the more low moments in the news of the past year. These included jabs at the “NFL’s Domestic Violence Problem,” “Ebola Hysteria,” the “Militarization of the Police Department” (though nothing on Ferguson) “Obama Caught Off Guard” (“Fail to the chief.”), “Hillary Clinton Crying Poverty,” “Chris Christie’s Traffic Scandal,” “Putin Invading the Ukraine,” “White House Security Breaches.” It also featured in a cartoon spread, “A MAD look at the Old Testament,” in which for example, the pharaoh’s daughter upon finding Moses in a basket, leaves him on the Nile river bank and just takes the basket. Not the sort of stuff that is going to result in a massacre of their staff by outraged fundamentalists. It will be interesting to see if MAD addresses Charlie Hedbo, even obliquely, in their next issue.

 

To be Charlie means going over the top and never having to say you’re sorry. It means believing in a right to freedom of expression that doesn’t cause an endangerment to people, as say yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater would. The only danger here being to themselves. And they knew it, as their office had been fire bombed before. And that takes guts. Or some might say stupidity. But in that sense, Je ne suis pas Charlie. Je suis MAD. And I suspect most of us are.

 

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Ron Vazzano, a writer, poet and actor, has been a frequent contributor to this website as well as performer at Artist Without Walls monthly showcases. 

 

 

AWoW MEMBERS in the “NEWS”

Nice article about upcoming AWoW events in today’s Irish Echo. Come on out and see some great performers including Brona Crehan, Grainne Duddy, Annette Homann, Jim Hawkins and Terry McCarthy. 

 

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ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ MEMBERS “AROUND TOWN”

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

If you missed Grainne Duddy at Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase on December 23rd, here is your chance to see her perform again. An extract from Moonlight Sonata, written and directed by Brona Crehan, will be part of Manhattan Repertory Theater’s Winter One Act Competition.

 

Show dates are, Tuesday January 13 at 6:30 pm, Wednesday January 14 at 6:30 pm, Thursday January 15 at 6:30 pm and Friday January 16 at 6:30 pm.

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Manhattan Repertory Theater is located at: 303 W. 42nd St. Suite 614, right past Duane Reade on 42nd St. Enter Right Door to Elevator – go to 6th floor – Suite 614 – You will see signs.  Tickets are $20 and reservations are made by email at: mrtreserve@gmail.com

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Annette Homann

Annette Homann

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Join Annette Homann for her CD release at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, 61 Christopher St, January 15th, 9:30pm. Tickets are officially on sale now. “I Would love to share my excitement with all of you!” says Annette. For tickets click here

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Jim Hawkins

Jim Hawkins

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Jim Hawkins will be telling Frank O’Connor Stories on Friday, January 16 at 7pm, at the Inquiring Mind Book Store and Gallery, 200 Main Street, Saugerties, New York. Storyteller Janet Carter who runs this monthly event will also tell Irish stories. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

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Terry McCarthy

Terry McCarthy

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Terry McCarthy premieres his new five piece electric band on Friday, January 16th, at Tierney’s, 136-138 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ. Terry will be joined by the fantastic Bern and the Brights. $10 cover.

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Noah Hoffeld, Dan Yurkofsky and Melissa Sytlianou

Noah Hoffeld, Dan Yurkofsky and Melissa Sytlianou

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Singer, composer, and songwriter Dan Yurkofsky will perform songs from Hoverhill, his recent album on Sunday, January 18th, 4pm, at The Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd St., NYC. This will be a full group show and the first ever performance of all the songs from the record.

 

With Anna Dagmar – piano and keyboard, Thad Debrock – guitar, Noah Hoffeld – cello, and Melissa Stylianou – voice.  Click here for tickets, which are $10

 

 

Montage by Vera Hoar

Artists Without Walls Montage by Vera Hoar

 

 

Artists Without Walls Showcase at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St. Tuesday, January 27th, 6:45 pm. 

 

 

 

“SPOTLIGHT ON” ACTRESS MELISSA RITZ

Who is Melissa Ritz?

 

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I’m an Army brat. My father was in the military and although I was born in Fort Sill, OK, I’ve lived all over the United States and Europe.

 

I’ve always had an interest in the arts. When I was attending an American high school in Germany I learned of a local English-speaking theater called The Frankfurt Playhouse. I immediately signed up to audition for their first show of the season, Funny Girl, and I got cast in the chorus. My relationship with the community of artists was magical. It opened my eyes to theater, music, acting and rehearsing. Working with military spouses, German locals, and defense contractors I also performed in Oklahoma! and Hello, Dolly!

 

My family moved from Germany to Alabama during my senior year of high school, but after graduating from high school I longed to return to Europe. The easiest way was to join the military. This stunned my parents; I was the ‘artsy’ type and never had expressed any desire to go into the Air Force. I mean, I had purple hair!

 

IMG_0574I learned about a military entertainment program called Tops in Blue while working as a medical laboratory technician in the Air Force. The program is comprised of musicians, technicians, vocalists, and dancers who perform a 90-minute show at military installations around the world. I auditioned and was accepted for the program. My confidence burgeoned; I began to see the “big picture” and years later drew from my experiences to create a one-woman show, “Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story.” 

 

Just after 9-11, I was working in a hospital in Germany. I was on a 24-hour standby deployment for a MASH unit in Baghdad City, and although I never deployed to Baghdad, many who suffered casualties from the Iraqi invasion were brought to the hospital. I reevaluated my life after seeing so many soldiers die at such a young age. Was I following my passion? Where was my heart guiding me? All answers led back to the theater.

 

Military_Mel_2001I wanted to go somewhere new, somewhere that wasn’t as stressful and completely different from the military. I moved to Las Vegas, where I worked as a cocktail waitress in a major “Strip” casino. How’s that for different!

  

I used my GI Bill to get my BA in Dance, and MFA in Theater Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. My training and experiences were empowering; I was ready for a move to New York City, which I did in October 2013.

 

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What are you working on at the moment? 

 


Cocktail South PointMy one-woman show, Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story. Ina Ray Hutton was a ‘female bandleader’ of an all-girl band, The Melodears, in the 1930’s. What started out as a novelty act became one of the most sought out and lucrative musical acts of the Big Band era. Ina was the first woman to conduct male bands; she pioneered women in jazz and often arranged women performers’ initial gigs.

 

Born on the South Side of Chicago, Ina had to deal with racial issues, which created a number of challenges in music and in the theatre during the early part of the 20th century. Ina’s life off stage was equally challenging: She was married six times but never had children.  She was, however, in many respects, business savvy, including negotiating her own contracts and creating her own image. 

 

IMG_2039After I arrived in NYC I volunteered at the United Solo Theater Festival. I saw a gorgeous show called Magdalen, by Artists Without Walls’ member Erin Layton and Erin put me in touch with her director Julie Kline. After meeting Julie, I asked her to direct my show.

 

During the show I highlight Ina’s career accomplishments through songs, tap dancing, and video projection. We debuted “Ina” at United Solo this past October and sold out all four performances. I’m very proud that I was honored as “Best Emerging Actress.” I hope to take the show to Las Vegas this summer. More info can be found at Journey of a Bombshell.

 

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Do you have upcoming events you’d like people to attend? 

 

I’ll be performing a scene from “Ina” at Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre on Tuesday, January 27th. I will also be performing the full length show on Sunday, February 15th, 9pm, at the Triad Theater/Stage 72. It’s located just above Seven’s Turkish Grill on 72nd and Broadway. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets

 

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5006_A Journey Of A BombshellWho are the actors/writers / playwrights, past and present, you admire?

 

Playwrights: Tennessee Williams, Lynn Nottage, Shakespeare, John Patrick Shanley

 

Actors: Tilda Swinton, Cherry Jones, Anna Deavere Smith, Joaquin Phoenix, John Lithgow

 

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Who is your greatest inspiration and why?

 

WWII Veterans, WAC/WAAC’s, and war Vets. During my time in the military, I met many amazing people who changed the course of history including The Tuskegee Airmen, Medal of Honor recipients and the first women admitted to military. Their sacrifices and accomplishments inspire me to make the most of opportunities that become available.

 

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Name five things you’d like to do or accomplish in the next five years.

 

1. Visit Borobudur

2. Write a screenplay version of my show & have it optioned

3. Financially support myself as an actor

4. Speak a foreign language fluently.

5. Open my hips enough so I can finally do lotus pose in yoga!

 

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If you could dream of trying something in the arts you haven’t tried, but would like to, what would it be?

 

I’d love to play a musical instrument. Any instrument! Having the ability to play an instrument really well seems like a super power.

 

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What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

Bikram yoga. I teach at Bikram Yoga NYC and Bikram Yoga East Harlem. Try it out!

 

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Melissa’s Facebook page   

 

Melissa’s “Journey of a Bombshell” Facebook page. Click here to like her page. 

 

Journey of a Bombshell website

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAINNE DUDDY PERFORMING in BRONA CREHAN’S “MOONLIGHT SONATA”

Grainne Duddy

Grainne Duddy

If you missed the lovely Grainne Duddy at Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase on December 23rd, here is your chance to see her perform. An extract from Moonlight Sonata, written and directed by Brona Crehan, will be part of Manhattan Repertory Theater’s Winter One Act Competition.

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

Brona Crehan and Grainne Duddy

 

Moonlight Sonata is a young woman’s story of finding out and coming to terms with who she is. It received a very warm reception on December 23rd at The Cell and Brona is delighted to have it be part of Manhattan Rep’s competition. The audience members will be the judges so come on out and let us know what you think!

 

Show dates are:

 

Tuesday January 13 at 6:30 pm
Wednesday January 14 at 6:30 pm
Thursday January 15 at 6:30 pm
Friday January 16 at 6:30 pm

 

moonlightsonatapicManhattan Repertory Theater is located at:  303 W. 42nd St. Suite 614, right past Duane Reade on 42nd St. Enter Right Door to Elevator – go to 6th floor – Suite 614 – You will see signs.

 

TICKET RESERVATIONS
Tickets are $20 and reservations are made by email at: mrtreserve@gmail.com

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS: MEMBERS’ UPCOMING EVENTS

10257529_745226985537782_9024837493141026561_oTuesday, Jan 6, 2015, 7pm, Michael Brunnock will be performing at Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., NYC. Click here to listen to this very talented musician

 

 

 

 

 

pathcafeSinger/songwriter Martina Fiserova will be performing at the Path Cafe, 131 Christopher Street, West Village, NYC on Friday January 9th at 7pm, and featuring a special guest, Yuka Kameda (tap dance). There is no cover.

 

 

 

 

1743644_10205383322359653_8084954977430302602_nSam Adelman’s “That Daughter’s Crazy” starring Rain Pryor will be premiered at The New York African Diaspora International FIlm Festival, Saturday, January 10, 2015at 8:00pm. Teacher’s College, Columbia University 525 W. 120th Street “The Chapel”  Click here tickets which for are $15 for the  film, Q&A and reception. 

 

 

1622821_10152812230327422_406748820111495804_nJoin Annette Homann for her CD release at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, 61 Christopher St, January 15th, 9:30pm. Tickets are officially on sale now. “I Would love to share my excitement with all of you!” says Annette. For tickets click here.

 

 

 

Jim Hawkins will be telling Frank O’Connor Stories on Friday, January 16 at 7pm, at the Inquiring Mind 548071_168452269953327_178632753_nBook Store and Gallery, 200 Main Street, Saugerties, New York. Storyteller Janet Carter who runs this monthly event will also tell Irish stories. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEAR

Thanks to all our members, friends and performers for a great year. And thanks to Vera Hoar for this wonderful montage.

We wish you all you hope for in the new year.

 

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WALL-TO-WALL TALENT at AWoW’s HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL

Niamh Hyland and Honor Molloy

Niamh Hyland and Honor Molloy

“What a great night of talent…and Niamh Hyland’s voice is stunning. I literally get goosebumps. Amazing. ” Mitch Traphagen

 

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Joseph Goodrich started things off with “The New Boy”—a poignant and humorous look at Christmas in a small Minnesota town. Goodrich’s story skillfully conveyed the turbulent emotions of its main character, a seven-year-old boy whose life has been touched with loss. Sensitive writing and a bravura performance by Goodrich made “The New Boy” a welcome guest.

 

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Vera Hoar

Vera Hoar

 

Ron Vazzano’s poem “Trains: A Christmas Story,” suggested paradoxically, the joy and peril of getting what you wish for, in that it can come at a cost of a loss of innocence and humiliation in the process.  Beautifully done.

 

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Award winning singer/songwriter/author Michael Sheahan opened his performance with “Jingle Jangle Jingle All Night Long” from his award winning Christmas Book, CD and Dance DVD, Mr. Holidays Presents The Roof Top Hop. This up-beat, joyful Christmas song had the audience smiling, laughing, and tapping their feet to it’s wonderful Christmas spirit.  His second song “Some

Jim Hawkins and Maeve Price

Jim Hawkins and Maeve Price

Things Never Change,” the title track from Michaels Christmas CD, touched the audience’s heart with it’s loving sentiment for Mom and Dad as they physically change over the years. Michael finished his set, appropriately ringing in the New Year, with “Year Out…Year In.”  You can hear all the above mentioned songs on Michael’s latest  Christmas CD Some Things Never Change. 

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Grainne Duddy and Brona Crehan

Grainne Duddy and Brona Crehan

Here’s what the audience had to say about playwright Brona Crehan and actress Grainne Duddy:

Moonlight Sonata – a roller coaster of a ride. “

“Beautifully written and wonderfully told.”  

“We felt like we were eavesdropping on something deeply personal and could have listened all night.” 

 

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Singer/songwriter Ed Romanoff began his performance sharing the ironic discovery of his own Irish heritage and being welcomed to Ireland by Phillip King on the RTE program, “Where The South Wind Blows.”  Ed then continued his engaging rootsy storytelling with an Irish twist by becoming the voice of Willie Sutton in a ballad about the famed Irish bank robber, paroled on Christmas Eve by Governor Rockefeller.  Ed also played a crowd pleasing new song, “A Golden Crown,” about a boxer and a claddagh ring.   

 

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Admiring Vera's 2014 AWoW Poster

Admiring Vera’s 2014 AWoW Poster

Nicholas Garr gave a wonderfully moving, and hysterically funny performance, from his solo theatre piece Paper Tigers, which explores our shared issues of love, sex, ambition, and self image, in a world where things are often not as they appear. In the scene Nick performed, Father Rodney, a teacher at an all boys Catholic school, gives his final religion class, to a group of graduating seniors.  In Nicholas’ Paper Tigers, a Mafia psychic, channels a variety of characters from the underbelly of the familar, in order to help his audience find “spiritual understanding and their true inner selves.”

 

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Guess Who?

Guess Who?

What if 19th century Paris’ most infamous party-girl were undead and on the loose in the Big Apple? Marion Stein read from her new novel Blood Diva (published under the pen name VM Gautier) which reimagines the heroine of Camille and La Traviata as a vampire-about-town enjoying the human smorgasbord that is New York.  Blood Diva is available in paper book and as an ebook at Amazon and other fine booksellers.  Click here for a link to the Blood Diva blog.

 

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Charles R. Hale

Charles R. Hale

Honor Molloy and Niamh Hyland brought the evening to a close with “Christmas on an Island.” Adapted from a Radio Eireann script written by Honor’s mother Yvonne Voight, this selection from Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage is set in the wilds of Inish Maan during the last days of 1954. Honor played the mother and the mischievous Noleen O’Feeney. Niamh played a handful of Island Women, including the Mighty Spirit, Bridgie Flaherty. There was a song—miracle a song–as Niamh sang the first verse of “Silent Night” in Irish. Then the whole crowd joined in to celebrate the season and send each other home (with a quick stop at the Westside Tavern first.)

 

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The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase is on January 27th, 7pm at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St., NYC

 

All photos by Vera Hoar and Mitch Traphagen.