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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
“I totally enjoyed the Showcase. The level of professionalism was captivating, and inspirational…the The Cell is an exceptional venue. Thank you for an enjoyable evening….I plan to be there again soon.” Maia Nero
Sam Adelman opened the evening, reading a humorous piece from his upcoming book “Getting Out of Show Business,” offering an anecdotal account of getting stiffed for cash on an editing job, only to receive a world-famous photograph and a hand shake from Muhammed Ali. This picture was certainly worth a thousand words. A perfect opening to what became a grand evening.
Charles R. Hale, one of Artists Without Walls’ cofounders and a Resident Artist at The Cell Theatre, premiered his short film “Jazz and the City: The New York Connection.” The film is a companion piece to his show of the same name, which debuted at The Cell in April. From the best of times to the worst of times, songwriters have captured every corner of New York City through music. Weaving story, sidebars, images and the music of the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Billy Strayhorn and others, Charles’s film connects New York City through the songs of the composers and performers who lived in the city, through the venues in which the songs were popularized and through his own recollection of New York and song. “Sharp film…and that voice…as usual, great tone and presence.” David Goldman
Actor/singer Almeria Campbell followed with a stirring performance combining her acting and singing skills. “Performing at AWoW was my first time singing (outside of voice lessons ) for an audience in quite some time. It was amazing. The audience, or I should say community, is so supportive.” Despite her concerns, Almeria’s voice was in very fine form, seamlessly incorporating two songs, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and “Maybe This Time” into her presentation.
Joel Cruz, the story teller, will make you cry…and then smile. He’s not just toying with emotions; His songs are borne from his personal story. They pull your heart in all directions the way life does. He takes his time, as if he really wants you to listen and hear. Joel demonstrated his vulnerable side, sharing his most inner thoughts, but the audience loved and appreciated his work. Additionally, it was a joy to see singer/songwriter Martina Fiserova and Joel perform together. They were clearly having a good time! The music was complex– lots of lyrics, yet catchy enough for listeners to sing along. We look forward to more unexpected surprises from Joel Cruz.
Mark Donnelly channeled his inner child with a funny monologue based on his boyhood desire tobe a cowboy and ride the range with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. But it seems the audience was most impressed with Mark’s father, who stepped up, defended his son, and won the day…and the audience.
David Raleigh was joined by Annette Homann for a moving and evocative “Stormy Weather,” a pop standard built around a classic weather metaphor. From the moment Annette’s bow struck her instrument, through the moment David sang, “Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky…stormy weather…” through their last playful notes, the audience was held rapt. A beautiful duet. David closed out the show with a brilliant medley, incorporating tunes by Al Green, Stevie Wonder, George Gershwin and one of David’s tunes, “One Together.” The perfect finishing touch to another sensational evening of diverse talents.
The next Artists Without Walls’s Showcase at The Cell, 338 West 23rd St, NY, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26. The doors and the bar open at 6:45. The performances begin at 7:30. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Artists Without Walls’ artistic directors and cohosts, Niamh Hyland and Charles R. Hale for its June Showcase at The Cell Theatre, Tuesday, June 28th. The doors and the bar open at 6:45 and presentations begin at 7:30. The Cell Theatre is located at 338 W23rd St. NYC.
Pianist/vocalist David J Raleigh was last scene at The Cell in April when he and his quartet performed in Charles R. Hale’s “Jazz and the City: The New York Connection.” David, whose heartfelt music crosses musical boundaries and transport listeners to a timeless era of music and passion, will be returning to The Cell Tuesday night, 6/28 to perform a few songs from the show. Lauded by Time Out Magazine as the ‘Nat King Cole’ for a new generation, David has the ‘old soul’ songwriting sensibilities of some of the greatest performers of our time.
Film editor Sam Adelman has worked on over 70 feature films and documentaries including “Easy Money,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Donnie Branco ” “Pollock,” “Sweet Lorraine,” “Changing Lanes,” “Screen Door Jesus,” and the soon to be released “Hometown Hero” with Eric Roberts. Partially inspired by the recent passing of Muhammad Ali, Sam will be reading a piece from his coming-up-on-retirement project “Getting Out of Show Business.”
Making her debut appearance at an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be actor/singer Yvonne Almeria Campbell. Almeria, from Tyler, TX is a Resident Artist at The Cell Theatre. She attended Texas Christian University ( receiving her B.F.A.) and then Rutgers University, Mason Gross school of the arts (receiving her M.F.A.). Her TV acting credits include “Law and Order,” “Person of Interest” and “Guiding Light.” Her theatre credits include the lead role of Nelly in “Hard Times” at The Cell, as well as Yolanda in “10 Minutes Deep,” also at The Cell.Almeria will be performing a scene about love, loss and winning. You can check out her upcoming webisodes at almeriacampbell.com.
Come meet and hear Artists Without Wall’s charter member Mark Donnelly, who will be performing “Cowboy Time,” a short, humorous monologue based on his boyhood dream of becoming a cowboy. Mark is a playwright, poet and short story writer, who teaches English at St. Francis College and Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Joel Cruz, a regular AWoW attendee, will be making his initial performance appearance at Tuesday’s Showcase. Joel is a saxophonist, artist instructor, and writer, who music incorporates all genres. His team is most important to him and each show features a different instrumentation and the use of different styles according to the team on-hand. Every event in his life goes into his writing. Every emotion in the stories goes into his performance. Every moment on stage goes his teaching.
Charles R. Hale, one of Artists Without Walls’ cofounders and a Resident Artist at The Cell Theatre, will be premiering his short film “Jazz and the City: The New York Connection,” at this Tuesday’s Showcase. The film is a companion piece to his show of the same name, which debuted at The Cell in April.
From the best of times to the worst of times, songwriters have captured every corner of New York City through music. Weaving story, sidebars, images and the music of the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Billy Strayhorn and others, Charles connects New York City through the songs of the composers and performers who lived in the city, through the venues in which the songs were popularized and through his own recollection of New York and song.
Singer/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.
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.
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.
“Absolutely amazing night. Thank you so-so much for all that Artists Without Walls does. It was a stellar line-up filled with love, light and laughter.” Author Honor Molloy
Last Thursday’s “Showcase at The Cell” opened with two works that were recently performed at Lehman College as part of the Artists Without Walls’ performance of “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement.” Honor Finnegan opened with a rousing rendition of Jack Hardy’s “Ain’t I a Woman,” and spoken word artist Koro Koroye followed with a poem she wrote for “Rise Up” called “Sickness of Freedom” about the struggles of African American women after the Civil War. Koro added an additional poem, “I Can Write About That Too.” Her performance, which highlighted the art of storytelling and spoken-word, was filled with energy, passion, and strength.
Drummer Scott Kettner followed with a dazzling blend of Brazil and New Orleans sounds in a pandeiro solo that pulsed with rhythm and energy. His drumming seamlessly blends the Louisiana second-line sound with a Brazil-ified backbeat. Neatly juxtaposed between Scott’s music and a theater piece to follow, Gary Ryan beautifully read a passage about the self-sacrifice of Percival’s sister, from “The Quest of the Holy Grail.”
Kate McLeod, producer of New York City’s “Bacon Theater Festival,” presented two short works from the festival. First, Kirby Sybert, Anna Smeragliuolo and Rob Ackerman performed Ackerman’s six-minute play “Forgiveness,” a rhapsody on the guilty pleasures, spiritual overtones, and persuasive powers of the world’s most compelling pork product…bacon. Doug Shapiro and Cristin Hubbard were also on the “bacon plate,” singing the high notes and the deep bass for Rob Hartmann and Kate’s short opera—an AWoW first—“One Weird Trick.” A couple in trouble find their way back to loving each other through a bacon cleanse. (That’s right a “bacon cleanse.”) To say it succinctly, the talented duo of Shapiro and Hubbard nailed it.
Nestled snugly into the middle of a talented and diversified lineup, producer and editor Sam Adelman presented several sequences from “That Daughter’s Crazy,” a new documentary starring Rain Pryor. Using footage from her autobiographical one-woman show, and mixing that with family interviews, an entertaining portrait emerges of a confused, multi-racial child of a celebrity icon. The full film is an official submission for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Young singer/composer Brían Farrell from County Leitrim Ireland kicked off the second half of the evening. The singer-songwriter performed two of his own acoustic rock songs “Moondance” and “Try,” and rounded out his set with a Roy Orbison cover of “Mystery to Me,” which was written by Bono. Clearly, Brian’s a star on the rise.
Jose Roldan performed a scene from his one man show “Father Forgive Me for I Have Sinned,’ an award winning auto-biographical coming of age story of a young Latino boy who grew up in the South Bronx of New York City in the 80′s/90′s. Jose masterly took the audience on a roller coast ride of emotion, from hilarity to poignancy and back. Positively brilliant work.
Honor Finnegan stepped up once again and sang two witty, topical, seasonal songs: “Snow Day,” about the need to pause and “Jesus’s Birthday,” about rampant holiday consumerism. Accompanied by guitarists Aviv Roth, she closed with Internet Junkie – a satirical blues number, about “internet addiction.” Not only is this lady talented, she’s incredibly versatile. Great performance.
Honor Molloy closed the Holiday program reading a piece from her novel “Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage.” It’s 1966 and Noleen O’Feeney goes wandering among the market stalls on Moore Street. She gets an earful from a tangerine dealer about the first Christmas Eve. This was Honor Molloy at her absolute best, instantly transporting the reader—shes’ as good at doing that as anyone I’ve heard—to another time and place, in this instance, the streets of Dublin.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be at The Cell Theater, January 28th, 7pm. For more information about Artists Without Walls write to email@example.com. Happy New Year to all.
“Brilliant! Somehow egos are left at the door and you sit there absorbing these wonderful performances. And by the end of the evening you find yourself connected to your soul.” Ray Lindie commenting after a recent Artists Without Walls’ Showcase
And this Thursday night’s Showcase promises to be equally absorbing.
Jose Roldan will be performing from his one man show Father Forgive Me for I Have Sinned, an award winning auto-biographical coming of age story of a young Latino boy who grew up in the South Bronx of New York City in the 80’s/90’s. José takes the audience into his family’s apartment and onto the mean streets of the Bronx as he searches for self-acceptance and personal identify in a world of stereotypes.
Spoken word artist and rising star Koro Koroye will present two poems “I Can Write About That Too” and the “Sickness of Freedom,” which she triumphantly performed at Lehman College in “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement.”
Honor Finnegan, whose performances of “Aint I A Woman,” “Bread and Roses” and “West Virginia Mine Disaster” drew raves in “Rise Up Singing” will be performing whimsical holiday tunes, including her song from Christine Lavin’s Holiday compilation, “Just One Angel 2.0.”
Drummer Scott Kettner made his biggest mark on the music scene as the leader of Nation Beat. His drumming seamlessly blends the Louisiana second-line sound with a Brazil-ified backbeat. Scott will be making his first Showcase appearance performing a pandeiro solo. In addition to his enormous music talent, Scott has also written a book called Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion, the first in-depth English-language instructional book on the 400 year-old traditions of Maracatu de Baque Virado.
Sam Adelman will be presenting a film he has co-produced called That Daughter’s Crazy, a documentary portrait of Rain Pryor, daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor. A talented performer/singer/actress in her own right- Rain has written and stars in a one-woman semi-autobiographical show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, which has played around the world to terrific reviews and in front of enthusiastic audiences.
Kate McLeod, producer of NYC’s “Bacon Theater Festival will be presenting two short works from the Festival. Here’s what the New York Daily News said about Kate and the festival. New York Daily News’ article
Rounding out the evening: “Showcase” favorite Honor Molloy will tell a classic Irish version of the Nativity Tale–a la a Moore Street Market Woman, Dublin, 1966, in an excerpt from her book Smarty
Girl – Dublin Savage; poet/writer and photographer Gary Ryan will read a passage from The Quest of the Holy Grail, “Percival’s sister,” accompanied by his photographs, and Brian Farrell a pianist/guitarist/singer and songwriter from County Leitrim Ireland, who made his first appearance with a brilliant short performance accompanied by fiddler Deni Bonet at AWoW’s Swift Showcase , will be singing a few tunes.
All that plus the friendliest group of folks and the best “intermission” in NYC. The fun begins at 7pm, The Cell Theater, 338, West 23rd Street. See you there.