Charles R. Hale and Niamh Hyland

Many thanks to  Artists Without Walls’ cofounders Charles Hale and Niamh Hyland for another great Showcase at the Cell Theatre. The artistic presentations  ran the gamut: Poetry, film, music and storytelling. Playing to a standing-room-only house, the skilled performers generously shared their talents with Artists Without Walls’ members, friends and guests.

David Hofstra, Joel Forrester and Michi Fuji

The Michi Fuji trio, with Michi, violin, David Hofstra, bass and Joel Forester, piano, opened the show. The trio played two of Foster’s original compositions, which had the audience swaying and tapping their feet to the beat. Michi, a Japanese born violinist, who has found her niche in jazz, delighted the audience with her dazzling performances in both works.

Ron Vazzano

Ron Vazzano followed with a poetry reading, a unique and nuanced performance, combining reading and singing skills. Ron either recited or sang a verse from a song, always relevant to the pithy poem that followed. His reading of “Comey Quartet,” incorporated lines from both Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence.” Then, incorporating lines from Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” Ron created the warm sound of singer Nat King Cole. He then wrapped a poem around the music, which described daily life in a nursing home. His reading of the poem beautifully enhanced his poem’s message.

Gabriel Charles and Christina Jolie Breza

Next up was the lovely Christina Jolie Breza, who was accompanied by pianist Gabriel Charles. Christina presented the love story of her life in story and song. Her stories and choices of songs, “Basket Case” by Green Day and “Falling Slowly” from the musical “Once” held deep and special meaning; She was talking and singing about her husband, Gui. Christina’s presence and grace on the Artists Without Walls’ stage is always well received by the adoring audience.

After accompanying Christina on the piano, Gabriel took center stage. In the past, Gabriel has provided piano accompaniment for performers at Artists Without Walls’ Showcases but on Tuesday he made his debut as a soloist, backed up by vocalists Jasmine Brown and Jenna McDonald. Gabriel sang two songs from his recently released, inspirational CD “Free Falling.” It was the first time religously inspired music was presented at an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase and judging by the audience’s receptivity, it won’t be the last.


Amanda Thorpe

A surprise is always an unexpected pleasure and London’s Amanda Thorpe’s appearance was no exception. Backed by vocalists Serena Jost and Teresa Sareo, Amanda performed an impromptu, melodious tune, filled with harmony that was reminiscent of folk music’s heyday. Many thanks to Amanda, Serena and Theresa for this special treat.

Gary Ryan

Gary Ryan followed with a short story filled with vivid details from his childhood on the east side of the Mississippi River, in the hill country of Mississippi. The story centered on a “big old dog” that had been tearing up his family’s back yard at night and their effort to get rid of it. After hearing the story, it’s no wonder that the event has captivated Gary all these years later and that he felt moved to write about it. A compelling story in the hands of a compelling storyteller.

Sam Adelman

Artists Without Walls’ charter member, filmmaker and editor Sam Adelman delighted the audience, presenting an episode from “Don’t Shoot the Messenger,” a comedy series that can be seen here.   The series explores the humorous side of communication between people who use signing as a language and those who don’t. Episode six, which delighted the audience, dealt with the humor that arises when a person thinks they know sign language, but doesn’t.

Deni Bonet, Anana Kaye and Irakli Gabriel

The duo of Anana Kay and Iraki Gabriel, who emigrated from Georgia in the USSR, wrapped up the entertainment portion of the evening. The talented couple presented a video of their work and followed with a song, “American Smile.” Anna and Irakli capped off a wonderful and varied AWoW showcase.

Join us for the next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell on August 22nd. The doors and bar open at 6:45 and the performances begin at 7:30.

All photos by Vera Maura Hoar

Artists, Performers, Creators and Emcees


Artists Without Walls’ May Showcase by Vincent Nauheimer

The attendees at Tuesday night’s Artists Without Walls’ performance at the Cell were richly rewarded by a diverse group of artists and, for a number of the performers, a debut in grand style.

The evening started out with a heart-warming story told in spoken word and song by first time Artists Without Walls’ presenter, Mary Catherine Bolster, or MC as she is known. She was accompanied on the piano by Gabriel Charles. In a beautiful voice, MC recalled how she and her sister grew up with music and then moved on with their lives in separate directions. The one thing that was quite obvious from her words, emotion and song, was that the love they had for each other never diminished. Her performance ended with a beautiful rendition of the Ave Marie in tribute to her now deceased sister.

Gabriel Charles and MC Bolster

Cynthia Neale, who was in New York this week to celebrate the early release of her book, “The Irish Milliner” at McSorley’s Old Ale House, followed MC. Cynthia, together with our own Charles Hale, (Co-founder of Artist’s Without Walls) performed a scene from her play, which revolved around the prejudice shown to both the Irish and women in the 1850’s. The irony of the scene is that it depicted a woman trying to get a drink in McSorley’s and the bartender played by, Charles, promptly showing her the door. The scene ended with Cynthia and Charles doing a modified version of the Irish Jig which would have made Fred and Ginger envious!

Charles R. Hale




Cynthia Neale









Peter Stoopack, also a first time Artists Without Walls’ performer, added drama to the evening, delivering two engaging pieces. Peter’s first piece was Robert Frost’s poem, “Death of the Hired Man.” Skillfully delivered, the poem examines what the word home means and recounts Frost’s tale of the hired hand coming back, to what he considered his home, to die. Next, Peter launched into the famous St. Crispin’s Day monologue from Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” It was a rousing performance of Henry the V’s call to his army to beat the French at Agincourt. If Peter had been Henry, we would have followed him into battle following his amazing delivery of this emotional charged speech.

Peter Stoopack

Next to take center stage was Patrick Bamburak, who is best known as a founding member of the indie-rock band, bait-oven, (pronounced “Beethoven” – as a pun on the composer’s name.), but is also globally recognized as a contributing editor for Black Belt Magazine. Patrick, a veteran artist, songwriter and singer played three of his own compositions including his opening number, America Can’t Last and then added, Without Love. He recognizes that it is the artists who are called to be the keepers of the flame and speak their truth especially concerning the power of love and compassion. Patrick finished up his set with a splendid rendition of another appropriate song for the times, “America” by Simon & Garfunkel.

Patrick Bamburak

Gui Augustini and Christina Jolie Breza extracted numerous belly laughs from the audience in a hilarious scene from “Sight Unseen” by Donald Margulies. The action began as a first time artist’s model, played by Christine, cajoles the artist, Gui, to show her his sketches. She then comes on strongly to the rather timid artist, who obviously doesn’t know what to make of it. This was an amazing, high energy performance, playing off each other so incredibly well, which the scene’s hilarity. It was a pleasure watching these two perform and judging by the abilities displayed at the Cell, we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of them.

Christina Jolie Breza and Gui Agustini

The final performance was comedic, one that included an underlying message of great importance. Jennifer Rawlings was welcomed for the first time to the Artists Without Walls’ stage by Niamh Hyland, co-founder of Artists Without Walls. Jennifer,who has appeared on Comedy Central, CMT, PBS, FOX, VH-1, A&E, CNN, Joy Behar and TEDx talks, highlighted the pain and suffering of mothers and women in warzones and asked the question, “What am I/we going to do about it?” Jennifer then proceeded to discuss the making of her documentary “I Only Smoke in War Zones” which documents the effects of war on women. The underlying theme was a magnificent and inspirational story about the power one woman wielded when she set her mind to it.  A brilliant ending to a wonderful evening. And lastly, as a veteran, I would like to personally thank Jennifer for the over 300 shows she has done for members of our armed forces all over the globe.

Jennifer Rawlings and Niamh Hyland


Photos by Vera Hoar