A book by John O’Brien Jr. ’88
The luck of the Irish has surrounded John O’Brien his whole life, with his father establishing the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival in 1982 and O’Brien starting the Ohio Irish American News in 2006. Now O’Brien, a first-generation Irish-American, is deputy director of the festival and has positioned his interest in Irish culture into a fourth book, The Lyrics of Irish Freedom. It celebrates the music of freedom — especially timely with 2016 as the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Ireland’s revolution. “We can only know ourselves in the seminal songs and stories of our past,” O’Brien said. Capturing the stories behind the songs sung in Irish pubs and festivals, the book features the background of 80 songs.
All of O’Brien’s books can be found at songsandstories.net.
A podcast by Rob Walch ’88
What started as a hobby has turned into a hall of fame induction for Rob Walch. Walch is vice president for podcaster relations for Libsyn and is host and producer of several podcasts, including the award-winning “podCast411,” an informative interview session for podcasters, which he started in 2004. In July, Walch was named to the Podcaster Hall of Fame in Chicago. Utilizing the skills he learned in speech class at UD, Walch has spoken about podcasting at more than 100 events. “The professor said the first day of class that it would be the most important class we would take at UD. I didn’t believe him then, but he could not have been more right,” Walch said. Listen to all of Walch’s podcasts at podcast411.libsyn.com/about.
A book by Richard Flammer ’85
The story of publishing Reality Check is filled with challenges and triumphs, as is the story of B.J. MacPherson, a popular professional hockey player in the ’90s whose career was cut short by a cheap shot in a championship game that would leave him paralyzed. Richard Flammer experimented with marketing plans — including selling the book at the games of the San Diego Gulls, then co-coached by MacPherson. But the franchise folded and the book was put on hold until the Anaheim Ducks reinvigorated the local market for hockey storytelling. While self-publishing wasn’t the original plan, Flammer released the book in October 2015 and hopes to write a screenplay about MacPherson. The true story can be found on Amazon at bit.ly/UDM_realitycheck.
Pat McGann ’98 has teamed up with the Chicago White Sox to produce “The Cycle,” a weekly podcast. The comedian will host the hour-long show throughout the 2016 season, interviewing former players and others related to the franchise. McGann, who has made appearances on late night talk shows, believes teaming with the White Sox gives him a ready-made audience as well as a topic he’s interested in. “Being a lifelong White Sox fan, it is really cool. I want to talk about things they are not talking about in press conferences.”
Listen in at bit.ly/UDM_TheCycle.
—Shelby Quinlivan ’06
Margo Orlando Littell ’99
Margo Orlando Littell published her debut novel in June 2016. “A poem I heard during a poetry class more than 20 years ago wound up becoming the epigraph of this book. I began writing short stories during my time at UD and then wrote novellas at Columbia University.” In 2011, she turned one of her novellas into a full-length novel that would become Each Vagabond by Name. “I’m driven to write about characters who are rooted to a place and who, even if they succeed at leaving, feel pulled toward home for one reason or another.” The novel recently received the University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize. Visit her website at margoorlandolittell.com.
Jen Aprahamian ’06 believes that “every woman deserves a great #girlsquad.” However, she and a friend found that making new girl friends was a challenge once they left college. After using dating apps to try to reach out to other women to become friends, they realized it was time to make an app for that specific purpose. Hey! VINA is the result. On the app, women create profiles and can match with other women in the area who have similar interests. After that, they are encouraged to meet up and let the friendship grow. As the co-founder and CTO, Aprahamian has seen the app go viral and continue to grow. At the time of the launch, the app was available in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City, and Aprahamian said they are adding new cities as more women sign up on the free app.
A book by Shary Hauer ’79.
In her professional life, Shary Hauer was a confident, successful, high-caliber executive coach who advised big-time corporate leaders around the globe — but her personal life was in shambles. “I
was insecure, clingy, desperate and willing to do anything and everything to win and keep a man,” she admits. In Insatiable, Hauer chronicles her emotional journey from self-hate to self-love. “At my book signings and talks, there is always an engaging conversation about love, relationships, what worked, what didn’t and lessons learned. When I was writing this book, I had no idea that my story would resonate with every woman who reads it, but it has,” Hauer said.
A film by Matthew Arnold ’99.
Much of Matthew Arnold’s film career originated at UD. He programmed monthly movies that aired via the campus cable network as inaugural chair of Flyer Movie Channel and produced and directed live campus television broadcasts, which featured Student Government Association debates. Arnold’s first documentary feature, The Long Green Line, was released in 2014 and follows the record-setting career of Chicago cross-country coach Joe Newton. He’s followed it up with two Web series and several independent feature films he’s helped produce. “I love telling stories and working with actors to convey real people and real human emotions,” he said. View Arnold’s work at longgreenlinemovie.com.
An album by Libby Gill ’15
For singer/songwriter Libby Gill, music is therapy. So, she decided to study both. “Music has always been a big part of my life, and I also had a desire to help people,” said the recent music therapy graduate. As a teenager, Gill found her mother’s 1970s guitar in the basement, looked up some chords on the Internet and never looked back. With a sound that ranges from pop to blues to folk, Gill enjoys pushing her own genre boundaries, gets inspiration from artists like Sara Bareilles and Imagine Dragons, and is, she says, “a Swifty for life.” Gill’s threesong EP, Soldier, was released in February 2015 and is available on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify. Her first full-length album is nearing completion; follow along at libbygill.bandcamp.com.
An album by Chris Yakopcic ’09.
A musician’s life vacillates from hours of solitary work to roars of au-dience appreciation. Blues writer and guitarist Chris Yakopcic heard quite a roar earlier this year at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. He was one of 10 finalists in the solo competition, performing four tunes, including “Sweet Time Blues.” Yakopcic plays fingerstyle acoustic guitar, drawing from both Delta and Piedmont blues. His first CD, Done Found My Freedom ’fore My Technique, will be followed this fall by a new release. Yakopcic plays several venues in the Dayton region; he can most often be found at Dayton’s Tumbleweed Connection and always at chrisyakopcicmusic.com.