“No question, if you weren’t there, you missed out on the wonderful and talented performances of a fine group of artists.” Vin Nauheimer
Kathleen Frazier opened the AWoW Showcase with a riveting reading from her memoir in progress, Somniloquies: The Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Sleepwalker. Kathleen described how her somnambulism turned dangerous at adolescence when her oldest brother first attempted suicide – a sort of nighttime mirroring of his waking pain – and her failed efforts to self-medicate with alcohol. Kathleen’s proposal is currently being shopped to publishing houses… fingers crossed.
In the words of playwright Arthur Miller, “The audience sat in silence before the unwinding of All My Sons and gasped when they should have…” John Moran and Jason Kirk gave excellent performances as a father and son, bravely grabbing this American classic and wrestling it to the ground. John and Jason asked that we express their gratitude to Artists Without Walls for providing a forum for their development. They said they feel honored to be working with the group’s incredible talent.
Michele Cetera read from “Mickey’s Girl” a section from her monologue memoir. “Mickey’s Girl” is the poignant story of the night Michele’s father was mugged and murdered in May 1975. Michele searches for closure, left with the feeling she did not have a chance to say a proper goodnight to her father. On Monday night she said it in a very special way, through dance, a gift she received from her mother and father. “Dancing celebrates life and the passion to live it.” Michele said, “On the dance floor, there is always a center and light and its one of the happiest places to be.” With her dance partner, Harry Dominicci, Michele celebrated her father’s life and finally got to say “I love you and goodnight” to her father through the rhythms and energy of a salsa dance.
A few months ago, Nancy Oda was part of a scene study group conducted by veteran actor Jack O’Connell. On Monday night Nancy and Jack gave a reading from Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, which they had worked on in the study group. In the scene they chose, Matt tells Anna he has signed onto another ship that will take him far from her, setting off a near deadly confrontation. A dynamic performance by two very talented actors.
First time performers MbiraNYC enlivened the Showcase and delighted the audience with their soulful harmonies, beautiful melodies and complex polyrhythms. The traditional songs of the shona people from Zimbabwe, played on the metallic prongs of mbira, accompanied by rocking percussion, brought people to their feet in dance. It was a wonderful taste of Zimbabwe in Chelsea.
Honor Molloy, author of Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage, and marvelous actor Caroline Winterson read “The Deadevens” in which Noleen O’Feeney waits in the Rotunda Maternity Hospital for her mammy to come out from a visit to the doctor. It’s there in the waiting room that a roadwoman shares an Aerobar and tells her an ancient tale Irish endurance. Wonderfully spirited performance by two great talents.
A scene from Joe Davidson’s play the Rekindling drew plenty of laughs as the foul mouthed Nancy Morris threatened to have her husband Barney Morris incarcerated by exposing an old secret in a game of emotional ping pong. Nancy Morris was performed by Mary Tierney and her husband Barney Morris was played by actor Ron Ryan. Both actor’s performed brilliantly bringing an unmistakable chemistry and energy to this comical yet tragic marriage.
Ray Lindie followed with a stirring performance of the opening soliloquy of Richard III. Ray said, “I think it was probably my best presentation of the piece and I credit the ambiance of the theatre, created by our members and friends, for allowing all presenters the latitude needed for their best performances.” Actress Mary Tierney said, “Best Richard I’ve seen, including some prime-time actors.” Great work.
Singers/songwriters Tara O’Grady and Sasha Papernik, who recently tourned together in Montana, closed the show. Sasha, accompanying herself on the piano, sang “Kiss Me Faster” from her upcoming album. Sasha and Tara then sang a beautiful duet, “Black is the Color” off of Tara’s Celt in the Cotton Club album. And thus, an evening filled with diverse and eclectic talent, ended on the perfect note.
The next Showcase will be at The Cell Theatre, 338 W 23rd St, October 22, 7pm. For more information about Artists Without Walls write to email@example.com
“I thought this kind of free flowing music, spoken word, anything goes evening, went out years ago. Terrific night at the ‘Artists Without Wall Showcase’ at The Cell Theater in Chelsea.” Marion Stein, attendee at Tuesday night’s “Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell.”
Iranians Navid Kandeousi and Mehdi Darvishi began the evening with a rhythmic improvisation. Navid wrote the work for an ensemble but for this performance it was arranged for the “kamancheh,” played by Navid, and the “daf,” a percussion instrument and the most common instrument in Iran, played by Mehdi. The work, calling on traditional Persian folk tunes, included complex passages and difficult bowing techniques, which were perfomred by Navid with dazzling results. Mehdi’s accompaniment was perfect, calling upon subtle forces to transmit great energy. A dynamic opening to the evening.
Carl Capotorto, “Little Paulie” Germani in the Sopranos, expressed his gratitude to the group for allowing him a few moments to honor and remember his friend and colleague, James Gandolfini. “Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity. And I was delighted to read a few pages from my book for the wonderfully diverse and highly sophisticated audience. It’s great work that AWoW is doing!” And thank you to Carl for sharing this thoughts on the Soparanos and James Gandolfini, and for his witty reading from his memoir Twisted Head.
The Leni Stern Trio, which includes bass player Mamadou Ba, percussionist Alioune Faye and jazz guitarist Leni Stern, has recently written a set of ten songs that are based on old traditional Senegalese rhythms, blended with sounds of blues and jazz from America. The songs they played on Tuesday were from that project, one of them performed for the very first time in public. The trio will soon be traveling to Senegal to record their next album with a group of local percussionists, but they can be heard next Tuesday night, July 2,10pm, at 55 Bar on Christopher Street in New York. Commenting on the diverse mix of talent that was presented throughout the evening Leni said “I was especially moved by the two young poets, Koro and Ciara. What spirit!”
Back from a trip to Ireland where she was awarded the Poetry Award at the prestigious Listowel Writer’s Week, Connie Roberts introduced the two young poets, Koro Koroye and Ciara Thompson. Connie, while a professor at Hofstra University, was instrumental in shaping the paths of each of these rising stars. Spoken word artist Koro Koroye, who has dazzled the Showcase audiences in the past, performed her poem “My Name,” with power and verve, while Ciara Thompson read five soulful poems, which reflected on her life and her experiences. Two great young talents.
Michele Cetera and Jack O’Connell acted the closing scene of “Frankie and Johnny In The Clair DeLune. “ “What made this exercise very special was that it was the first time Michele had ever tried this off book,” Jack said. “We practiced this scene many times outdoors in parks from Greenpoint to Central Park. Michele translated her personal life right into the shoes of her character “Frankie” with brilliant results.” And, as always, Jack who played Johnny, was perfect in his role. Ray Lindie handled the music in this wonderful scene from Terrence McNally’s play.
Catahoula Cajun Band played rocking two steps and a sweet waltz, which enticed audience members to jump up and dance. Catahoula is a New York-based group that plays Cajun dance music of Southern Louisiana. While all the band members hail from north of the Mason-Dixon line, their love of the rocking two-steps, sweet waltzes, and soulful blues of Acadiana inspired them to bring their Northern take on this Southern sound to the parks, streets, and subway platforms of New York. They delighted the audience with toe-tapping, infectious rhythms, perhaps inspiring a pop-up Louisiana dancehall on a street corner or two. Great music.
Matt Keating ended the evening with a few of what TimeOut London calls his “beautiful and honest songs of substance and melancholy”. His first song, “Maker of Carousels,” from his most recent album, Wrong Way Home (Sojourn Records) was a moving tribute written after Matt read an obituary about the man who designed the Bryant Park carousel. Matt followed “Carousels” with some amusing banter about nitrous oxide abuse as he finished the evening with his Willie Nelson-esque ode to summer jobs and un-requited love, “Between Customers.” Time ran out on the evening–it felt like we were just getting warmed up–and Matt left the crowd wanting more. You can hear this outstanding musician and his band playing these tunes and others on July 10th, 8pm, at The Living Room in New York City.
The next “Showcase at The Cell” will be held on July 31, 7pm. For more information on becoming a member click on “Membership” above or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Come on out to the “AWoW Showcase at The Cell” for a taste of “Northern Fried” Cajun music of Southwest Louisiana: Upbeat, danceable roots music, spirited two-steps and beautifully heartwarming, bittersweet waltzes. The Catahoula Cajun Band is a New York based group and while all the band members hail from north of the Mason-Dixon line, their love of toe-tappin’ dance and traditional music inspired them to tackle the two-steps, waltzes, and Cajun-French lyrics of Acadiana.
Here’s the rest of the evening’s line-up:
Timeout London said of singer/songwriter Matt Keating “Beautiful and honest songs of substance and melancholy.”Matt’s newest album, Wrong Way Home, a 16 song emotional piece, is his tenth release. Matt’s music is tinged by nostalgia while being entirely modern. It is contemplation on life’s narrative, offering moments of joy and melancholy, epiphany and regret.
Leni Stern, who was born in Munich, Germany, and educated at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, is a New York based guitarist whose recent recordings are lush, deeply felt explorations of the sound of Africa colored by Stern’s soulful lyrics, lightly sanded voice and dazzling instrumental prowess. Leni will be joined by one of her fine musicians, bassist Mamadou Ba.
Carl Capotorto, born and raised in the Bronx, is a playwright, screenwriter and actor, well known for his six seasons in the role of “Little Paulie” Germani in the Sopranos. Carl will be performing a work from his book, Twisted Head, a darkly comic memoir of growing up in the Bronx in the 60s and 70s.
Jack O’Connell, Michele Cetera and Ray Lindie, Showcases regulars, will be performing a scene from Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune by Terrence McNally. This two character play focuses on two lonely middle aged people who work in a Diner, he as a cook, she as a waitress. Johnny is certain that he’s found his soulmate in Frankie. She, on the other hand is far more cautious and disinclined to jump to conclusions.
Classical musicians Navid Kandelousi and Ava Nazar not only perform classical music but Persian traditional music as well. Navid, a violinist will be playing the Kamancheh, a traditional Persian instrument, and Ava will be playing the piano during their performance of Persian music.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stephanie Silber will be reading from her short story The Lemon Tree, which follows a little girl through an eventful day with her grandmother in a 1960’s cityscape both alluring and menacing. This excerpt finds the duo visiting the grandmother’s stricken friend in a New York hospital for rehabilitation.
Artists Without Walls was created to provide artists of all disciplines an opportunity to experiment with new ideas in front of a live audience; create an environment that fosters collaborative and creative effort and promote members’ careers in the arts, whether they have already established themselves or are at the beginning of their artistic career. We’re looking forward to a great night. Hope you can join us.