ERIN LAYTON COMMENTING on ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS

As Artists Without Walls celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, we’ve asked members to share a few thoughts about their experience with the group. Here’s what actor and playwright Erin Layton wrote:

 

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Erin Layton

Erin Layton

“April 2015. New York City: I need to raise $15K to bring my one-woman play to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. This feels insurmountable. I have a few ideas aside from crowd-funding in order to raise what I perceive as a struggling artist to be above and beyond any appropriate ask for a solo show. One of my ideas is to throw a benefit. I write an email to Charles Hale, co-founder of Artists Without Walls in a panic and suggest that maybe somehow could I possibly ask for Charles and Niamh to assist me with potentially putting on this benefit and kindly pool interest from the AWoW community… I’m sweating:

 

“Sure, Erin. What are you thinking?” Charles writes back.

 

Loyalty. This is word that most prominently comes to mind when I think of AWoW. No other community and its founders that I’ve ever encountered in my eleven year track as a struggling city theatre artist, have so championed, so supported, so stood behind and held up as a presence of strength, warmth, humility and perseverance as AWoW. I am honored to stand as one among a line of artists – musicians, poets, writers, singers, solo performers, dancers – who truly represent the cream of the crop. Bravo, Charles and Niamh. And thank you for making all of us feel like heroes.”

 

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Erin Layton, originally from St. Louis, MO,  is a writer and sole performer of a one woman play, MAGDALEN about the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.  MAGDALEN premiered at the New York City International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August 2012 and was listed as top FringeNYC reviewer pic in nytheatre.com’s Indie Theater Now.  MAGDALEN was also the recipient of the Best Documentary Script from The 2013 United Solo Festival. This past summer Erin’s performance of MAGDALEN received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: “The highest level of performance” – The Public Reviews and “A well crafted, sympathetic piece of theatre” – The Scotsman. 

 

 

JACK O’CONNELL COMMENTING on ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS

As Artists Without Walls celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, we’ve asked some members to share a few thoughts about their experience with the group. Here’s what actor Jack O’Connell wrote:

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Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 5.35.20 PM“An Artists Without Walls Showcase: What a great place to keep one’s instrument tuned.  Singers, musicians, storytellers, dancers and actors find a safe and warm haven here.  As an actor, I have tried new, and for me, unusual presentations at AWoW’s Showcases, a number of which I’ve always wanted to try but would only try in my room, some out in the garage.  The reason? No Q and A; No “feedback.”  I’m at the point in life where I can live without “feedback.”  That would also cut into the evening’s schedule of events. 

 

An eclectic evening is always in order in the beautiful, well kept, Cell Theatre.  There have been so many great presentations that I’m loathe to mention just one, but I will:  David Sharp’s piece on Tennessee Williams.  Original, well prepared, respectful of the allotted time limit, and funny as hell. 

 

In these days of sophisticated communication it’s refreshing to witness this sort of communion among flesh and blood folks. Bottom line, I’m very happy to be part of Artists Without Walls.”

 

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Veteran stage, film and television actor Jack O’Connell, an AWoW charter member and frequent performer, has appeared in many popular TV programs including The Sopranos, Law and Order, Blue Bloods, and Boardwalk Empire, and films such as “Doubt” with Meryl Streep, “Men In Black” and most recently in the Coen brothers, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

WHAT THE …”L” by RON VAZZANO

I was so looking forward to the “L” in the logo, and in every promotion and ad. But in announcing Super Bowl “50” this year, “they” have decided to deep six this whole Roman number thing from here on in, and go Arabic.

 

Though given the troubles in the Middle East, don’t be surprised to hear someone declare: “When I’m President we won’t be using Arabic numbers, I can tell ya’ that right now.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.42.03 AM

 

I was so ready to point out that this would be the last time that a single Roman numbered letter would be used to designate a Super Bowl, until “C”! In other words, until 2066. When those of us of a certain age, will certainly be dead. (Don’t you hate when that happens?). And that it has now been 40 years since the last single letter marked still another over-hyped and much anticipated Sunday—“X” (a game played in MCMLXXVI).

 

With “X” being an unknown factor, it is unsurprising that I have no recollection of that game. But really, by that point I had stopped caring, what with so many more important life events just up ahead. Like Divorce “I” and then just prior to Super Bowl XLV, Divorce “II”.

 

Of course I remember the first Super Bowl very well. It was trumpeted in all the on-air TV promos, as if the Second Coming. Though hype is not exactly something that hasn’t existed throughout the ages. (“Mary Stuart gets the ax tomorrow. News at XI!”).

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.41.41 AMI also remember Super Bowl II, and most especially “III”, when Joe Willie Namath guaranteed that his New York Jets from the upstart American Football League would—and did— defeat the powerhouse Baltimore Colts of the supposed superior National Football League. The Jets were 17 points underdogs that day. That’s a lot of points. Even in Latin. Though I had forgotten how dorky its logo.

 

The other single letter one, “V,” was the first following the AFL-NFL merger, and it would forever serve as the official league championship game. For the record and for those keeping score, those aforementioned Colts, on a field goal by Jim O’Brien, beat the Miami Dolphins in the final five seconds, 16-13.

 

While I often lean towards nostalgia and love traditions and rites of passage—I even look forward to my annual flu shot—the loss of those Super Bowl designations, are really no skin off my un-Roman nose. (All my Italian roots aside). The use of Roman numbers in titles, events, sequels, dates and the like, has always struck me as a bit pompous. As if to announce that, “This is really important.” Whereas, in its rather convoluted alternative to Arabic numbers, it suggests just the opposite to me.

 

MCMLXXXVIII as a date for example— which is about the length of a freight train and looks like something foreboding out of ancient history—is simply 1988; the year that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was released. That’s why I wryly suggested once, that given the humility of Pope Francis I, he might consider referring to himself as Francis1. Or even better, using lower case…francis1.

 

You don’t even want to know about a Roman calendar and how it is organized, and its days counted. But if you do, you can reference it in a short piece I once offered on the subject called, Kalends and Nones and Ides Oh My! (March, 2013, Muse-Letter)   

 

To cut to the tackle, the monthly date for this year’s Super Bowl would be expressed via a Roman calendar as “VII Ides.” In English and Arabic…February 7. And as I’ve also said before, (with a license I got down at the DRM; the Department of Repeating Myself), this method of date keeping also suggests still one more reason for the fall of the Roman Empire. (Though not of the Roman Polanski).

 

As for the game itself? Like so many who will watch—and are not in any betting pool— I’ll have no rooting interest in the participants or the score. Or even the ads really (“been there; done that”). Just pass the chicken wings and let’s raise a Bud (remember the “Bud Bowl?”), to the days of Roman numbers past. Who the “L” needs ‘em!

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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.

 

KATHLEEN BENNETT BASTIS COMMENTING on ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS

As Artists Without Walls celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, we’ve asked some members to share a few thoughts about their experience with the group. Here’s what Kathleen Bennett Bastis wrote:

 

Kathleen Bennett Bastis

Kathleen Bennett Bastis

‘The first time I went to an Artists Without Walls’ event I was immediately struck with the sense of community – a palpable vibe that seemed to take “ego” out of the equation – casual yet professional. The talent pool performing at an AWoW event is deep, many with impressive pedigree, bringing a broad range of musical and theatrical artists, dance, spoken word and comedy to their stage. I’m not sure there is anywhere in the city that a spoken word artist shares the stage with a belly dancer. The enthusiasm, variety and the high level of talent rarely wanes and keeps me coming back month after month.”

 

Mixed media artist Kathleen Bennett Bastis’s work is inspired by the distinctive character, energy and form found in the fragments of discarded, washed up, broken or otherwise overlooked materials which she salvages from the street, river bank and scrap yards. Their unique shape, texture and hue guide her creative process as she reinterprets the history of this detritus and constructs a contemporary visual narrative.  Click here to visit her website. 

 

 

 

 

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ MEMBERS AROUND TOWN THIS WEEK

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 9.59.32 PMToday at 2:00 PM EST the curtain will rise on the seventh sold out Writers Read live event, “The First Time” at The Cell theater on West 23rd Street in New York City. In keeping with the theme, for the first time we’ll be beta testing a live stream via our Writers Read YouTube channel. If you’d like to see the show, please log in at 1:55 PM EST by clicking the link here.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.54.26 AMOn Thursday, February 4th, Marty Plevel and Artists Without Walls will be bringing AWoW’s Showcase to Sid Gold’s Request Room, 165 W26th St., one of the hottest new piano bars in town. Marty, a generous supporter and promoter of AWoW, will be presenting a night of musical and spoken word performers, including Martina Fišerová, Noah Hoffeld, Annette Homann, Liv Mammone, Connie Roberts, & Niamh Hyland.

 

Doors open at 6:30pm and performances will start at 7:00pm sharp, so come early with your friends to grab a seat, catch-up with other AWoWers and sip on a delicious cocktail. Entry is free, but donations supporting Artists Without Walls are greatly appreciated.

 

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2016-02-05-4Annette Homann will be performing “Dancing and Singing with Violin,” Friday, February 5 at 7 PM. Bloomingdale School of Music, 323 W 108th St, New York, New York 10025.  This is a free event. 

 

Also on February 7th, 3pm, at the Bloomingdale School of Music, 323 W 108th street, NYC, Annette will be performing in a program called “Pop Arrangements for String Quartet.”  This is a free event.

 

GREAT PERFORMANCES at AWOW’S SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 1/26/16

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

Superb night of entertainment at Artists Without Walls’ Showcase this past Tuesday night at The Cell Theatre. Some familiar faces as well as some new and all extremely talented. Singer/songwriters Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald, high school students from Montclair New Jersey, made their New York City debut, displaying beautiful vocal harmonies and poise.  The talented team performed three songs in front of an enthusiastic, full-house audience. Remarkable musicians!  I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about them in the future. 

 

Ron Vazzano

Ron Vazzano

Ron Vazzano opened the night with a series of seven poems, collectively entitled Notes on Slumming Through the Continuum, which was accompanied by a dramatic visual presentation. The poems were said to be inspired by a quote of his own making, “Time waits for no man in its mad rush to infinity” (to which he noted, “Yes, in a ‘Trumpian’ fit of self-adoration I’m actually quoting myself”), it was highly applauded by an audience that seemed to hang on every word.

 

Mountain Maidens

Mountain Maidens

The Mountain Maidens, including Lorraine Berger, Candice Baranello  and Marie Mularczyk O’Connell, captured the Awow audience with tight modal Appalachian harmonies wonderful energy and spirit.  The room soon became a magical “sing along,” with old familiar mountain tunes and high energy remincent of a Pete Seeger concert. The audience loved the ancient sounds, particularly the “magical two sisters’ sibling rivalry” and its funky lyrics.

 

Mary Tierney and David Loughlin

Mary Tierney and David Loughlin

Laughter filled the room as David Loughlin and Mary Tierney took the stage in David’s play, THE SENIOR CASE MANAGER. Mary’s touching, yet comedic portrayal of a woman’s desperate need for love, and David’s beleaguered civil servant, who clings to his sanity in a world where the sane don’t always survive. Their quest for love touched our hearts, and made us laugh—what more could one ask for on a cold winter night?

 

Richard Stillman

Richard Stillman

Multifaceted performer Richard Stillman and guitarist Flip Peters gave us a wonderful taste of Jazz Age Vaudeville. Richard started off with a story about Moishe Fiedlespieler and the All Star Klezmer Hot Shots and then went into a tap dancing hat trick dance. Then he wove the narrative into an Irish theme and broke into an Irish step dance while simultaneously playing jigs and reels on the mandolin. The final song was about an old time song and dance man in need of a bit of rejuvenation. Richard’s mix of storytelling, singing, instrumental music and tap dancing always leaves AWOW audiences with a warm glow in their hearts. Richard and Flip will be performing their Spirit of Vaudeville show in Brooklyn, NY on Feb 16, in Montclair, NJ on Feb 21 and in Watchung, NJ on Apr. 16. For details click here.

 

Craig MacArthur

Craig MacArthur

Craig MacArthur, actor and Fitzmaurice voice work instructor, made his AWoW debut on Tuesday with a riveting performance from “Misterman” by Enda Walsh. Using multiple voices and dialects Craig held the audience rapt with a stunning performance. The full show, which runs 85 minutes, had its Western Regional premiere in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, last year. Upcoming roles for Craig include Kaffee in A “Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin.

 

The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase–its Anniversary Showcase, which will be a great evening of entertainment–is on Tuesday, February 23rd at The Cell Theatre. Also, next Thursday, February 4th, keep in mind “Marty Plevel and Artists Without Walls presents “A Night at Sid Gold’s.”

 

Photos by Mitch Traphagen. 

 

 

MITCH TRAPHAGEN’S PHOTO from ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 01/26/16

Mitch Traphagen’s photos from Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell, 1/26/16.

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Allison Sylvia and Craig MacArthur

Allison Sylvia and Craig MacArthur

 

"Mountain Maidens" Lorraine Berger, Candice Maranello, and Marie Mularczyk O'Connell

“Mountain Maidens” Lorraine Berger, Candice Baranello, and Marie Mularczyk O’Connell

 

Mary Tierney and David Loughlin

Mary Tierney and David Loughlin

 

Niamh Hyland

Niamh Hyland

 

Richard Stillman and Flip Peters

Richard Stillman and Flip Peters

 

Charles R. Hale

Charles R. Hale

 

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

 

Ron Mazzano

Ron Vazzano

 

Artists Without Walls January 2016 Showcase held at the Cell Theatre in Manhattan, New York City on January 26, 2016. Featuring artists Ron Vazzano, Richard Stillman and Flip Peters, Craig MacArthur, Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald, The Mountain Maidens (Marie Mularczyk O'Connel, Candice Baranello and Lorraine Berger), Mary Tierney and David Loughlin. Presented by Charles Hale and Niamh Hyland

Craig MacArthur

ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS, TONIGHT, at THE CELL THEATRE in NYC

Artists Without Walls December Showcase at the cell theater in New York City, NY. December 23, 2014. Charles Hale, Niamh Hyland, Joseph Goodrich, Ron Vazzano, Ed Romanoff, Michael Sheahan, Nicholas Garr, Honor Molloy, Marion Stein, Grainne Duddy.

Ron Vazzano

It made for an event the likes of which you will rarely, if ever, experience. A melding of artists within the walls… it was a memorable night. Yes, it was that good,” said writer Ron Vazzano about a recent  Artists Without Walls’ Showcase in Kathleen Bennet Bastis’s art gallery. Ron will be opening tonight’s (Tuesday, January 26) Showcase at The Cell Theatre with a new multimedia creation. 

 

Richard Stillman and Flip Peters

Richard Stillman and Flip Peters

Richard Stillman,  accompanied by Flip Peters, perform a few numbers from, “The Spirit of Vaudeville,” a show that won the Best Concert Award at the 2014 United Solo Theater Festival in New York City. Richard writes and performs shows that combine music, storytelling, singing and percussive dance, and plays a wide variety of folk instruments from around the world. As an actor, Richard has performed on Broadway, the Kennedy Center, National tours, PBS Television and in regional theaters from New Jersey to Alaska. He was in “Hamlet” with Rip Torn and Geraldine Page and he performed with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in “Take it From the Top.”

 

Craig MacArthur

Craig MacArthur

Craig MacArthur, actor and Fitzmaurice voice work instructor, will be making his AWoW debut on Tuesday.  Craig received his MFA in Acting from Rutgers University and he will be sharing a monologue from “Misterman” by Enda Walsh. The full show, which runs 85 minutes, had its Western Regional premiere in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, last year. Upcoming roles include Kaffee in A “Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin.

 

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

Izzy Levine and Ella McDonald

 

 

Not only does Artists Without Walls strive to bring diverse cultures together in artistic achievement, but we aim to give young performers an opportunity to step onto a New York stage as well. Performing at tonight’s Showcase at The Cell will be Izzy Levine, daughter of AWoW member Phoebe Farber, and Ella McDonald. Izzy and Ella are juniors at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey and have been performing together for the past two years. We are thrilled to be presenting them to our AWoW audience.

 

Mountain Maidens

Mountain Maidens

First time presenters, “Mountain Maidens,” including Marie Mularczyk O’Connell , Candice Baranello and Lorraine Berger, are three voices blended in splendid harmonies that will lift your spirits and warm your heart. They sing ballads, folk songs, love songs, country and gospel songs, including themes of social justice, to the accompaniment of guitars, banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, spoons and castanets. Marie, Candice and Lorraine are greatly inspired by Appalachian mountain music and have brought the deep modal harmonies of this tradition to their repertoire.

 

Mary Tierney

Mary Tierney

AWoW regulars, actress Mary Tierney and playwright David Loughlin will be performing a scene from David’s “The Senior Case Manager, a comedy about civil service, devil’s food, red-headed rivals,space aliens, intense loneliness, and unrequited love… and all in less than twelve minutes.

David Laughlin

David Loughlin

 

Niamh Hyland and Charles R. Hale, Artists Without Walls’ Artistic Directors, will be emceeing the event. The doors and the bar at The Cell Theatre, which is located at 338 W23rd St., open at 6;45. Hope to see you there. 

POWERFUL, TALENTED and FESTIVE: ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS’ HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 12/22/15

“Oh, my gosh, what a night. The rafters rang.” Cara De Silva

 

James Phelan

James Phelan

The buzz was palpable as the audience filed into The Cell Theatre last Tuesday for Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase at The Cell Theatre.  First time presenter Jim Phelan opened the night’s proceedings and was met with, silence…a high compliment, at least for writers reading their own work. And silence, lots of it, is what Jim Phelan received while reading his story, “Sketches of China.” Jim’s story was a tale well written and well told of a man dying of cancer, wafting in and out of a morphine fog, remembering a love affair when he lived in China half a century earlier. We hope the character, “Mr. J” lives and Mr. Phelan continues to tell his story. Well done, Jim. 

 

Too Many Lauras

Too Many Lauras

The Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase was also the debut performance of the band Too Many Lauras featuring Peter Chance, guitar, vocals, Cecil Hooker, violin, Susan Hwang, accordion, vocals, Mike Muller, bass and Jagoda on percussion.  The first tune was the premier of “Living in Sin,” which Peter originally wrote as a woman’s response to a bad breakup. Susan’s backing vocals were psycho-samba! Second was “Rita,” the story of a woman who blames all of her life’s struggles on an ice skating accident she experienced as a child.  The band closed with “Burn Me Like a Cross,” the struggles of a young couple in love, against their town that disapproves. The addition of the newest members Susan and Pagoda, who was on an acoustic guitar body, tricked with percussion pieces, rounded out the original trio which appeared at Artists Without Walls’ June Showcase. Of course, Cecil’s beautiful violin and Michael’s bass were evident throughout.  The band will be recording an EP over the next few weeks.

Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy

 

Honor Molloy read from Betty Smith’s classic novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”  Honor carried the audience back to Christmas Eve, 1912 when Francie and Neeley Nolan brought home the biggest tree in Williamsburg.  Honor, one of the finest readers on the New York literary scene, was brilliant. She perfectly captured the spirit of Smith’s scene, casting her voice in pitch-perfect Brooklynese, tossing our imaginations from one vivid scene to the next.

 

Mary Susan Sinclair-Kenning

Mary Susan Sinclair-Kenning

Diversity is a strength and Mary Susan Sinclair-Kuenning has an uncommon diversity of talents including dance, voice and athleticism, which is rarely seen. Additionally,  Mary Susan executes her art forms with a passion that was immediately evident to AWoW’s audience.  Her Oriental dance, accompanied by Mid-Eastern classical music  performed by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, was both vibrant and artistic.  Her sensual performance, the pulsating music and shimmering costume made her dance a joy to watch. Mary Susan followed her dance with a short film of her work on the Cyr wheel, which  demonstrates her incredible strength and precision.  A wonderful, show-stopping performance. 

 

Allison Sylvia

Allison Sylvia


Allison Sylvia read poems from two chapbooks, “Marginalia” and “Scattered Ethos,” which she had been making and leaving in subway cars, parks, on benches, statues over the past two years. She sang a small poem from a journal she has been keeping lately and–collaborating with the talented Cecil Hooker (violin), Peter Chance (guitar) and Amy Yamashiro (cajon)–she danced the first dance of her one woman show, “Girl Rising” to the sounds of “Amazing Grace.” “As always, I’m grateful to have such a supportive as receptive audience as Artists Without Walls to workshop my work in progress,” Allison said.   As always, Allison performed with open hearted eloquence.

 

Cast of Thousands

Cast of Thousands

A number of great performers including Artists Without Walls’ Artistic Director Niamh Hyland, saxophonist Erik Lawrence, singer/songwriter Ed Romanoff, fiddlers Annette Homann and Deni Bonet with assisting vocals from Nicholas Garr, Mary Susan Sinclair-Kenning, Charles R. Hale and the entire audience, rounded out one of the most festive holiday endings in memory. Niamh Hyland closed out the evening with a beautiful and stirring rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas.” 

 

It was a grand night!  The next AWoW Showcase at The Cell Theatre will be on January 25, 2016.

 

All photos by Vera Hoar. 

 

 

VERA HOAR’S PHOTOS from AWoW’s HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 12/22/15

Vera Hoar’s wonderful photographs from Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase at The Cell Theatre. 

Peter Stoopak and Cara DaSilva

Peter Stoopack and Cara De Silva

Rafiq Kathwari and Allison Sylvia

Rafiq Kathwari and Allison Sylvia

Sofia Stefanowicz and Sedly  Bloomfeld

Zofia Stefanowicz and Sedly Bloomfield

James Phelan

James Phelan

Erik Lawrence, Deni Bonet, Niamh Hyland and Ed Romanoff

Erik Lawrence, Deni Bonet, Niamh Hyland and Ed Romanoff

Charles R. Hale

Charles R. Hale

Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy

Cecil Hooker and Annette Homann

Cecil Hooker and Annette Homann

Mary Susan Sinclair-Kenning

Mary Susan Sinclair-Kuenning

Front Row Seats

Front Row Seats

Peter Nolan, Susan Hwang, Pagoda Will, Michael Muller

Peter Nolan, Susan Hwang, Pagoda Will, Michael Muller