Saturday, January 17, 2015

Enjoying Nahabedian between a Rock and Funn Place

The always hospitable residence of Eric Funn, located in Stroudsburg, PA, opened its doors on Wednesday January 14th to a modest number of music lovers who filled the living and other rooms with their enthusiasm as they chatted and nibbled upon the variety of snacks that were offered while waiting for the music to begin. This music would come from the evening's host Eric Funn along with Greg Nahabedian, Cee Rock, and Special guest Steve Stenersen. The concert would prove to be a satisfying combination of musical qualities with performances flowing seamlessly among the commonality of their styles while maintaining each musician's unique interpretive approach the their songs and the life experiences they convey.

Eric Funn began the evening's performances as he took his guitar in hand to share a number of compositions whose effects upon the audience ranged from serious contemplation of the thoughtful imagery they created to smiles and laughter with those songs that deftly contained some amusing attributes. The series of songs Mr. Funn selected established a mood that would permeate the entire concert. This mood would be echoed throughout the evening as the eyes of the audience shared their joyous and perceptive reflections.

Eric was followed by Greg Nahabedian after a break to give the musician time to set up his keyboard ensued. From the very first notes that were touched upon his keyboard to the final chords of his concluding song, Mr. Nahabedian captivated the wonderment of the audience through his harmonies and lyrics that traveled upon the inward roads built by the experiences of each listener. Mr. Nahabedian also shared an amusing story relating to losing his hair as a young man and trying to obtain sex after unwittingly drinking a concoction his father made which combined beer and a powdered substance he was prescribed in preparation of a colonoscopy he was scheduled for that had very effective laxative qualities with music serving as an intricate component of the narrative. A population of smiles and giggles filled the room as the unique details of the tale transcended themselves to create an universal understanding among the gathering.

As Mr. Nahabedian's performance reached it's conclusion, a brief break ensued before the musician known as Cee Rock took the stage with his guitar. The acoustic aura of his music began to manifest into its familiar forms as his first selection lyrically sailed its introspective meaning into the estuaries of our dreams. The songs that followed shared a profound poetic sense that reached beyond the boundaries of their detonated essences and touched the imagination with the connotative images they constructed. It was during his set did Cee Rock invite guitarist Steve Stenersen to the stage as a special guest to play a number of his songs. Mr. Stenersen amused the gathering with the universal truths contained in his compositions which were appreciated by all during his brief performance. Cee Rock returned to the stage after Mr. Stenersen's set in which he concluded his performance with a number of songs familiar to members of the crowd inspiring many to quietly sing along.

It was after Cee Rock's performance did a elongated break ensued which provided the company of friends who attended the event an opportunity to learn more about and from the music they heard through conversations with those who originated the works. Some concepts were shared through the conventional method of conversing with one another utilizing auditory stimulation while others utilized the chalkboard that was available in the dining room area of the home to convey their interpretations of the music and life in general through a piece of chalk. Regardless of the mode that was used, the content and subtext of the conveyances shared enhanced the evening as the absorbent nature of their intercoursal depth seeped into the consciousness of all who received their utterances.

It was after this time did Eric Funn retake the stage to bring the evening to its conclusion. He shared a folksy blend of tunes that combined the joy of the evening while creating a yearning among the gathering to return to the abode when the next concert is scheduled. It was during this time did a poet, known simply as The Carlton, was reading some of his new poetic works in the kitchen to those who chose to congregate there. The subtle complexity embodied in his profound words gave further impetus to those who would leave the premises to return so they could experience more of his words. The music, poetry, and good company provided everyone with good reasons to return. You'll be able to view the photographs taken during the concert at The January 14th Funn House Concert www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153524574893761.1073741829.91146283760&type=1. You'll also be able to view concerts presented at other homes throughout the year in our House Music 2015 Archives at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10153021107075421.1073741963.636000420&type=3 as well as events related to the performing arts throughout 2015 in our Archives at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=3.

Eric Funn is from Aberdeen, SD and currently lives in Stroudsburg, PA where he holds concerts to entertain and enhance music lovers and musicians alike in his home. His musical talents are not only well known throughout the community but the country as well through the numerous concert tours he either participates in or organizes. Mr. Funn has recorded several CDs with the most recent one titled, “No More Blue Tomorrows.” You can learn more about Eric Funn and his music by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EricFunn.

Greg Nahabedian lives in Northampton, MA and performed at the home of Eric Funn in conjunction with a solo concert tour he is currently undertaking. His most recent CD is titled, “If The Lord Should So Incline My Heart.” In addition to sharing his keyboard, song writing, and story telling skills with audiences around the country, Mr. Nahabedian teaches the art of music as found through the playing of a piano to pianist enthusiasts and performs in a band known as “Dérive.” www.facebook.com/derivetheband In addition to this, he publishes a zine titled, “Dérive Speaks” containing Literature, Poetry, and Images. You can learn more about Greg Nahabedian and his many endeavors by exploring his website at www.gregnahabedian.bandcamp.com

Cee Rock is well known throughout Monroe County, PA as he is a frequent performer at The Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA during their Sunday Open Mic Nite Series. He has also performed in various venues throughout the region and beyond bringing the poetic nature of his work to many. Cee Rock has recently recorded a CD titled, “Common Cents” which was recorded at his recording studios known as “Suisyde System Records.” www.facebook.com/OfficialSuisydeSystemRecords You'll be able to learn more about Cee Rock and his endeavors by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/crock113officialmusic.

Steve Stenersen lives in East Stroudsburg, PA and is a member of the band known as Gutsack who consists of a trio of musicians who performs a musical sub-genre of grindcore and death metal known as “Goregrind.” The musical form is recognized for its highly distorted, "watery" sounding vocals and abrasive musicianship. Gutsack is presently in the process of recording their debut CD. You can learn more about Steve Stenersen and the band by exploring their Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/6gut6sack6.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Monday, January 12, 2015

Finding an Amazonian Faith in The Mantras of Humanity

“Remember what you wanted to be
And still have faith in humanity”
Elizabeth Starship

The Gallery at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA held the first of their Artists’ Receptions for 2015 on Saturday January 10th. The work of Martelle Fine Art and Design in an exhibit titled, “Finding Faith in Humanity” was presented in the venue's front gallery while the work of Jennifer Amazon in an exhibit titled, “Mantra of the Amazons” was placed in their hallway gallery. I arrived early to the theater and was able to enter before the gathering of the many art lovers who would come to share heir marvel and conversations that were enlightened by the exhibit. This afforded me time to intimately commune with the work as I stood alone before it.

Although the pieces were not extraordinarily large in their physical dimensions, I was immediately struck by the overwhelming enormity that was contained in the scope and depth of each image. The photographic work of Martelle Fine Art and Design pushes beyond the boundaries of the camera to which his approach and proficiency in the medium is able to include pieces whose surreal depictions and atmosphere intrigues and challenges the perceptions of the viewer while his abstract images entreats the observer to create their own unique interpretation of what they were experiencing at the viewing moment as well as throughout the moments that compose their life's journeys. The work of Jennifer Amazon celebrated the strength and viracity of womanhood igniting the passions of those who explored the images while the signposts filled with thoughtful and reassuring words allowed those who delve into their deeper meaning to manifest the power of their human-hood (especially those among the female gender) into the wakening experiences of their lives. Together, the body of work presented by these two outstanding artists creates an all encompassing image drawn by the hand of life and etched into the soul so it would be remembered in our dreams and essential realities as we continue through our living with a deeper understanding of why.

As the time I spent with the work past, people who came to partake of the exhibit began entering the theater. Their numbers grew until the venue was filled to capacity with their presence as well as their conversations which enhanced the work even further than the already impressive qualities they possessed. A culinary setting of light snacks, home made dips, and beverages brought in by the artists and their friends made the afternoon even more enjoyable. The reception was a thoroughly satisfying one filled with meaningful art and photography along with good company that was plentiful. I recommend exploring the pieces during the exhibit's continuation while waiting to view a film. It will certainly give more value to the ticket you purchased. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the afternoon in The January 10th Artists' Reception at The January 10th Pocono Community Theater Artists' Reception Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153512113453761.1073741828.91146283760&type=1 along with other events taking place at the venue in The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center 2015 Archives at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153010517235421.1073741962.636000420&type=3 as well as art related events occurring at various locations in the Creative Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.819876711417115.1073741834.250942068310585&type=1.

Martelle Jones of Martelle Fine Art and Design began his journeys in photography several years ago as a means to get back to the arts after a very tumultuous period in his life in order to rejoin the human race. Mr. Jones endeavors is known to explore ways to go beyond the simple image of a camera and to convey a deeper meaning through the subject he captures. His searching approach to the medium is demonstrated by the pieces presented in the exhibit at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center indicating a new direction in his recent works including those encased in custom salvaged barn wood frames created by Christian Menses of the band The Current www.facebook.com/pages/The-Current.

Mr. Jones enjoys meeting with other artists around the community whose advice and inspiration continues to sustain him. They include Vinzon Lee, Nova Chan, Sean Turrell, and Elizabeth Starship who wrote a poem to accompany the “Finding Faith in Humanity” exhibit which is posted upon the gallery's wall and can be read alongside it. In addition to his photographic work, Mr. Jones has created a local, community based empowerment movement called, “Come As You Are” in which everyone who would like to be involved would have an opportunity to become the model for a day to create art with a shared humanity at it's core. You can learn more about Martelle Jones, Martelle Fine Art and Design, Come As You Are, and more by exploring his website at www.martelle.smugmug.com.

Jennifer Amazon is the Director and Educator at The Amazon Art Studio located in Pocono Pines, PA. The studio offers art classes for all ages, paint parties, gallery shows, and private art parties. They also offer Photography services in the studio shots to include glamor shots, acting/modeling head shots, family portraits, photo booth services, Save The Dates shots, and Engagement Photos as well as those taken on locations such as birthday's, weddings, bar/bat mitzvah's, holiday parties, company photos, and more.

The work Ms. Amazon presents in the exhibit at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center is said to run the gamut of the artist's Amazon journey from her first painting which sparked the series to the last painting she created to date. Ms. Amazon has stated that this current exhibit will probably be her last show for a while as she is stepping away from it all. It is hope this period will not be of a long duration as the new discoveries she records upon her canvases never fail to enhance all who view them. You can learn more about Jennifer Amazon, her work, The Amazon Art Studio with all it has to offer by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/AmazonArtStudioPA.

The Gallery at The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA will continue to display their “Finding Faith in Humanity” and “Mantra of the Amazons” exhibitions featuring the works of Martelle Fine Art and Design and Jennifer Amazon until March 1st. The artists featured in their next exhibition are yet to be announced. In addition to hosting art exhibits, The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center presents a variety of films both popularly current as well revivals of those films released in the past. They also host special events such as their Book Club which explore novels that have been adapted to the screen and are currently being shown in the theater. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PoconoCommunityTheater for more information.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Kwanzaa de la SOHO

On Saturday January 3rd, The SOHO in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA and (as yet) the unofficial candidate for Commissioner of Monroe County, PA, Andre Reames, www.facebook.com/pages/Andre-Reames ushered in 2015 with a Kwanzaa Celebration for the community. The afternoon and early evening festival included dance, music, learning opportunities, and great food. A huge number of people attended the event in spite of the inclement weather that raged throughout the area but the warmth of the gallery's welcoming atmosphere and the congeniality of those who partook of the celebration created a beautiful day.

I arrive early to the event as it's organizer, Alicia LaRaine Jenkins Middleton of A New Life Ministry, Inc. www.facebook.com/anewlifeministry and Co Host of Sistah Chat 90.3 WESS FM www.facebook.com/SistahChat90.3, was generous enough to provide me with a ride to the celebration. I helped to set up for the gathering by bringing in tables and other items that would be needed and shared throughout the day. This activity provided me with an intimate perspective of the event's infrastructure as I learned more about and from those who were involved in its manifestation.

It was during this time did individuals from the Monroe County NAACP www.facebook.com/pages/Monroe-County-NAACP-Pocono-Mountains-PA and the National Council of Negro Women www.facebook.com/pages/THE-NATIONAL-COUNCIL-OF-NEGRO-WOMEN along with  Althea Aikens who facilitated craft activities for the many children who would come to the event arrive to set up their tables. A wide variety of food arrived at this time as well that intrigued my taste buds. It took a great deal of fortitude and will power not to enthusiastically sample any of the culinary delights until the event was opened to the public. Luckily, I didn't have to wait very long as people began to arrive in slow trickles which eventually increased to a steady flow of community members and leaders.

Conversations filled the air as those who arrived congregated around the tables to learn more about the organizations that were represented and how to become involved with their endeavors while food and napkins were served by a number of young people whose smiles and positive attitudes flavored the treats they offered. Children who arrived with their parents and guardians eagerly partook of the youthful activities offered from Ms. Althea Aikens with laughing smiles. The festivities began as Andre Reames shared some welcoming words along with those of appreciation with those who were present. His remarks also included introductions of Cleo Jarvis (President of the African American Network www.facebook.com/pages/African-American-Network-Youth), Sharone Glasco (President of the National Council of Negro Women), and Bobbie Purcell-Clark (President of the Monroe County NAACP). These remarks were followed by some welcoming sentiments expressed by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who is the owner of The SOHO in the BURG Gallery.

All this was followed by a presentation given by the children who were present on the meaning of the Kwanzaa holiday as led by Ms. Aikens. The presentation was followed some inspiring words shared by Cleo Jarvis which led to the gentle singing of a song. It was after the echo of Ms. Jarvis' voice permeated the gallery did Andre Reames introduce H. Lloyd Weston whose incredible visual work adorned the establishment's walls. He shared his sentiments which included some thoughtfully profound words that etched themselves upon the souls of all who heard them. The depth of Mr. Weston's words were still being felt as a young pianist by the name of Cerdigen Caines took his place at the gallery's instrument and deftly performed a number of pieces to the delight of all who were present.

The soul touching musical interlude was followed by a stunning performance given by The Elevé Dance Theater www.facebook.com/EleveDanceTheater which is located in East Stroudsburg, PA. The movement of the dancers captivated the audience as the graceful characteristics of the choreography were epitomized by their considerable skills. As the performance reached its exuberant crescendo, those who witnessed the conclusion of the piece found themselves transformed by the experience. Some brief closing remarks by Mr. Reames ensued which were followed by those of Alicia LaRaine Jenkins Middleton who expanded upon the transformational qualities of The Elevé Dance Theater performance and entreated all who were present to participate in a line dance to which many did so.

As the line dance concluded, the denizens of the festival shared in conversations relating to all that had transpired throughout the day while Mr. Caines returned to the piano to share more of his musical renderings with the gathering. It was during this time did many shared their farewells with one another and begin their departure from the event. It was an enjoyable day filled with good company and entertainment mixed with opportunities to gain some meaningful information and to learn more about Andre Reames who will officially announce his candidacy for Monroe County Commissioner on Monday January 19th at the Monroe County Democratic Party Headquarters in Stroudsburg, PA www.facebook.com/monroedemspa. You’ll find photographs taken during the festival in The Kwanzaa 2105 Celebration at The SOHO In the Burg Photo gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153486144783761.1073741827.91146283760&type=1 as well as other events that occurred at the gallery and neighboring galleries in The Stroudsburg Art District 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152996701080421.1073741929.636000420&type=3 and events relating to the Performing Arts in 2015 in The Performing Arts 2015 Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.789279141163124.1073741841.207838092640568&type=1.

According to Wikipedia, Kwanzaa was created in 1965 by Maulana Karenga as an “oppositional alternative” to Christmas and derives from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits of the harvest.” However, he later altered his his original intentions so that practicing Christians would not be alienated. The holiday has its roots in the black nationalist movements predominant during the 1960s and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage.

Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles which according to Mr. Karenga, is “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Various symbols are incorporated in the holiday to further convey the seven principles which include a decorative mat (Mkeka), corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikombe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. Many African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas.

The SOHO in the BURG Gallery is located on the corner of 6th and Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA which was the location of the J. J. Newberry’s store. The gallery opened its doors to the public in April of 2012 and is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who has become well known for her exuberant energies and creativity as many of her pieces are on display in prestigious galleries throughout the United States. The first exhibition to be presented at the Gallery in 2015 will open on Friday February 13th with an Artists' Reception featuring the works of Penny Ross www.pennyrosspainter.com, Jill Swersie www.jillswersie.com, and Andrei Protsouk www.facebook.com/AndreiProtsoukArt along with the work of local artists in a group show titled, “Black Valentine.” The exhibition will continue to be on display until the end of March. You can learn more about SOHO in the BURG, their future exhibits, and all the gallery has to offer the creative community by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Soho-In-The-Burg-Gallery.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Omega and Alpha of Years at The SOHO

In what has become an annual tradition among the artistically minded people in and around Monroe County, PA, The SOHO in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA held it's 3rd New Year’s Eve Party on Wednesday December 31st, 2014 since the establishment opened its doors in 2012. As incredible as it seemed, this year's celebration transcended the one welcoming 2014 as the culinary treats created by Chef G (aka Guarino Cortese C. W. C.) chefIIgo@yahoo.com and served throughout the evening by male and female butlers whose grace enhanced the flavor of the morsels delighting the pallid while the music provided by DJ Jose Santamaria who also curates the Castle Inn Gallery in Delaware Water Gap, PA www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Art-Gallery filled the air and dance floor with happy spirits. The night was a memorable one made even more so through the conversations shared among a wide variety of party goers whose number were even more plentiful than those attending last year's gathering.

I arrived at the venue a bit early which provided me with an opportunity to witness to the great amount of the care given in the making of preparations for the evening. Every glass to be filled with seasonal elixirs, every hors d'oeuvre conjured to be eagerly consumed, and holiday adornment placed to beautify the visions of the eye that touched it were done with a love that would later permeate the soul that partook of it. It wasn't long before the first of many celebrants entered the large gallery with many following them soon afterward. The expression of their eyes and countenance as they crossed the gallery's threshold displayed a deep love for it and it's owner which created an atmosphere of profound intimacy that would linger in the heart throughout the coming year.

Those who were invited to the event were asked to bring a bottle of whatever they would like to drink throughout the evening. This allowed for a variety of liquors and liqueurs to be shared among the denizens ranging from the smooth flowing flavors found in PA Dutch Eggnog as well as the potency found in a bottle of extra dry gin that was so dry one would swear it was powered. However, a plentiful assortment of wines were the popular choice of beverage and while many were opened and joyfully served by Kevin, the evening's bar tender, a number of bottles were opened with the aide of an eroticized electronic bottle opener by two wily women whose cork popping antics delighted the spectators who witnessed them.

In addition to the wine and other liquids, the music flowed through the room inspiring conversations as their minuets of words moved eloquently between trivial and meaningful topics to the rapid rhythms and beats provided by the sounds of the variety of musicians and singers who were set free of the electronic bonds they found themselves captured within by the evening's DJ who opened the doors that held the music back within its computerized confines so it can freely roam among those whose social intercourses would lead to dancing. It was in the midst of the abundant dancing and the plentiful conversations did the midnight hour approach. A quiet excitement filled the room as glasses of champagne were handed out while the televised countdown displayed upon a computer monitor commenced toward the zero digit. Cheers, hugs, and kisses exploded among the gathering as the appointed time arrived and each glass was raised to welcome the new year and to express a profound appreciation to the gallery's owner and others who made the evening a celebration of the heart.

Thank you Andrea Robbins Rimberg (owner of The SOHO in the BURG Gallery), Kathleen Lockwood (Community leader and Andrea's Landlord), and everyone who made the evening great and Happy New Year. I experienced a few midnight kisses so you know where I'll be spending New Years Eve next year. Smiles. You’ll find more photographs taken during The SOHO in the BURG Gallery New Year’s Eve party in The New Years Eve 2014 at The SOHO Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153471943843761.1073741826.91146283760&type=1 as well as other events that occurred at the gallery and neighboring galleries in The Stroudsburg Art District 2014 Archive at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10152239353790421.1073741877.636000420&type=3. While the majority of the photographs were taken by Paparazzi Paul (that's me), a number of them were taken by photographers who borrowed my camera to take some shots of their own. They are Charles de Burbon of www.bgastudios.com and Alisa Tongg www.facebook.com/AlisaTonggCelebrant.

The SOHO in the BURG Gallery is located on the corner of 6th and Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA which was the location of the J. J. Newberry’s store. The gallery opened its doors to the public in April of 2012 and is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who has become well known for her exuberant energies and creativity as many of her pieces are on display in prestigious galleries throughout the United States. The first exhibition to be presented at the Gallery in 2015 will open on Friday February 13th with an Artists' Reception featuring the works of Penny Ross www.pennyrosspainter.com, Jill Swersie www.jillswersie.com, and Andrei Protsouk www.facebook.com/AndreiProtsoukArt along with the work of local artists in a group show titled, “Black Valentine.” The exhibition will continue to be on display until the end of March. You can learn more about SOHO in the BURG, their future exhibits, and all the gallery has to offer the creative community by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Soho-In-The-Burg-Gallery.

Photograph by Paparazzi Paul

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Funn House Becomes a Home

On an unseasonably warm evening, an uncommonly hospitable home in Stroudsburg, PA opened its doors on Tuesday December 16th to music lovers who eagerly walked through its thresholds to partake of the loving atmosphere and the sounds the residence would produce throughout the night. The home was that of Eric Funn and the music to be performed was shared by guitarists Spencer Kellum (aka The Loneliness Monk), George Pettis (aka The 100 Watt Horse), and Theomar Chakey Francois (aka Sunny Shading). The sizable gathering shared in the congenial conversation the welcoming mood of the abode inspired as well as in the delicious victuals that were made available for consumption. The later was especially true of the homemade Vegetable soup which garnered many praise worthy exclamations.

The evening began as Spencer Kellum leaped into his performance with a song that captivated the senses through the depth of its lyrics and the haunting qualities of his instrumentations. The songs that followed ranged from those that inspired thoughtful contemplation to those entreating members of the audience to engage in childlike dancing accompanied by the additional beats found in the clapping of hands. Spencer Kellum is from Memphis, TN and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Transmutation.” You can learn more about Spencer Kellum and his music at www.thelonelinessmonk.bandcamp.com.

A break ensued after the performance given by Mr. Kellum which allowed many to be replenished by the cuisine as well as by the conversations the music inspired. A thoughtful delight mingled with the words that were embellished by the taste of the morsels that were digested. The stimulating yet relaxing intercourse came to its conclusion as the next performance of the evening began to take its place in the living room.

George Pettis took his solitary spot before a waiting audience with his guitar in hand. He began his set by gently mesmerizing the gathering with a homegrown melody that possessed the ability to linger in one's thoughts long after its brief visit trailed off into the collective memories of the gathering from which it was born. This and the subsequent songs held a soothing quality about them that resembled the dreams one dreams when a restless sleep begs for peaceful slumber so the fullness of the nocturnal wanderings can be absorbed. The soft renditions of each song drew the listener closer to its essence which made it all the more connected with the soul who heard it. George Pettis is from Atlanta, GA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “The 100 Watt Horse.” You can learn more about George Pettis and his music at www.facebook.com/The100WattHorse.

As the echo of the music Mr. Pettis performed slowly dissipated throughout the room, a brief but satisfying break ensued. This respite was followed by the appearance of a local musician that had become a favorite among many members of the audience through his numerous appearances at The Sherman Theater's Living Room during their Open Mic Nights and other events in which quality music is presented. A momentum grew in each anticipatory breath as the musician began to take his place upon the stage and made the final tuning preparations on his guitar.

Theomar Chakey Francois moved the gathering with the very first notes he strummed along with the initial words he uttered from the song he began with. They flowed from his being like a breath of fresh air that refreshed every soul they touched. Stories relating to many of the songs were shared which enhanced their depth and allowed their histories to be embraced by similar pasts found in each audience member. Mr. Francois ended his set and the evening's concert with a joyful tune in which many happily dooted along to. Theomar Chakey Francois is from Bushkill, PA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Lorelei.” You can learn more about Sunny Shading and his music at www.facebook.com/SunnyShading.

The evening proved to be a wonderful one filled with great music and even greater company. The conclusion of the concert left many reluctant to leave the Funn abode as it had become their home in what seemed a very short amount of time they were there. But, the road magnified its call to many of them and they ventured out with the reassuring hope there will be many such musical offerings as the new year of 2015 progresses. You'll be able to view the photographs taken during the concert at The December 16th Funn House Concert Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152926641220421.1073741912.636000420&type=1. You'll also be able to view concerts presented at other homes throughout the year in our House Music 2014 Archives at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10152300688790421.1073741887.636000420&type=3 as well as events related to the performing arts throughout 2014 in our Archive at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.728863920537980.1073741840.207838092640568&type=1.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Music and Trains Makes a Winter Festive

The EastBurg Community Alliance held their Annual Winter Fest at The Historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday December13th.A modest gathering of local citizens shared in the activities presented outside the depot while a larger number explored the offerings presented within the structure. This was due partly to the brisk weather conditions indicative to this time of the year in the northeast PA region in which the festival took place but there was also a fascination within the building that lured many of the festival goers to its magical properties.

These properties were embodied primarily in the Model Train display presented by The PMMRRC which is a local railroad club whose members share their enthusiasm of the mode of transportation with one another by comparing personal collections and the insights they inspire while playfully running them on the club’s tracks. The tracks displayed at the Winter Fest were lovingly laid upon the landscape of a child’s imagination with trains filled with dreams making whistle stops at every station of the human heart. It was a delight to witness the illumination of eyes that were ignited every time the trains circled in the vicinity of the children who were present and whose ages varied from 5 to 75.

Along with The PMMRRC’s Model Train display, there were a number of activities within the depot that had their own ability to entertain its visitors. These included arts and crafts which children were invited to lend their creativity to construct, an opportunity to have one’s photograph taken with Santa’s elves, information about The EastBurg Community Alliance and its endeavors as well as those of other community organizations was available, and tickets were on sale for the event’s “Silent Night” Auction, for rides upon a horse drawn carriage, and upon a train that stood patiently outside the depot. The offerings and opportunities presented throughout the building intrigued those who explored them and added a level of pleasure to the festivities.

Although the chilled temperatures inspired many to seek the warmth provided in an interior dwelling, there was much to be experienced upon the grounds of the structure. These included choral performances of holiday music presented by Susan McCool and Friends and The New Approach Singers as well as by choirs composed of students attending local schools, craft displays presented by CJ’s Crafting Corner www.facebook.com/CJsCraftingCorner,Lucky Me Jewelry www.facebook.com/ShopLuckyMeJewelry, and Mountain Dog Candles www.facebook.com/pages/Mountain-Dog-Candles, hot dogs skillfully cooked by the depot’s volunteers, and tours of the depot’s switch tower provided by The East Stroudsburg Railroad Tower Society www.esrrtower.org. The offerings of deftly created crafts, culinary treats, and insightful explorations of the past all enhanced the day’s festivities but the gentle blending of voices inspired a song to be sung within the hearts of all who braved the chilled weather to hear its warmth.

The festival was scheduled to end with a Tree Lighting Ceremony which I wasn’t able to attend but, by accounts shared with me by those who were present during previous occasions, it was sure to had been an uplifting experience to commence the holiday season. Although I was unable to attend the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, I can say the portion of the festival I did attend and the experiences I encountered were very pleasant ones and left a feeling of delight that continues to linger within me. You’ll find more photographs taken during The EastBurg Community Alliance’s Annual Winter Fest at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.681193235328703.1073741836.265779613536736&type=1.

The Eastburg Community Alliance was established over 30 years ago by local leaders and business owners and is funded through a combination of local grants, direct fund raising, memberships, and local contributions. Besides their Annual Winter Fest, The EastBurg Community Alliance will Celebrate The Historic Dansbury Depot’s Opening on Wednesday December 17thand hold a Santa Train on Saturday December 20thin cooperation with the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society. You’ll be able to learn more about The Eastburg Community Alliance and what they offer to the community by visiting their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EastburgAlliance.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Sense of Belonging Shared at The PoconoArts






As the wintry weather cascaded into the Northeast PA Region known as “The Poconos,” a warm respite was found within The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday November 21st as an Artists Reception was held celebrating the creative endeavors of artists who recently added their considerable talents to the Pocono Arts Council’s membership. A wide variety of styles and creative approaches were on display with their images and calming hues becoming enhanced by the conversations that were shared by the modest number of art lovers who attended. The exhibit was further enhanced by the general feeling of belonging that was shared by the new members who were present in that they were part of a camaraderie of established artists whom the council welcomes into their midst. 

The event was created out of the desire to recognize artists who have joined the council since their Annual Members’ exhibit took place last May. And, like the May exhibition, awards were given to those who shown
exceptional talent in their creative endeavors. The difficulty in determining who would receive special
recognitionis speculated to be a considerable one as the quality of the work is contemplated upon. However, awards were distributed to a number of worthy artists.

The awards for photography went to William McKee who received the Second Place award as the First 
Place for the medium went to Eileen Noelle. The Second Place award for Three Dimensional Art (Sculpture) went to Candy DeJesus while Elizabeth Urbanowski was awarded First Place in the medium. The Second Place award for Two Dimensional Art (Paintings) went to Michael Pizzuto while George Miller was awarded First Place in the medium. The award given to the piece that was considered to be the Best in Show went to Beverly Lambert. Enthusiastic applause accompanied the announcement of each recipient’s name and
congratulations were shared after the ceremony.

The evening proved to be an enjoyable one even though the scarcity in the number of those attending was a bit surprising. In fact, as I entered the main gallery, no one was there. However, I then ventured into the studio gallery of the center because I smelled food and found a number of the attendees who arrived before I did gathered around and munching the culinary treats that were provided by The Thai Orchid www.facebook.com/pages/Thai-Orchid which is located on 9th Street in Stroudsburg, PA. It was good to be with people who shared similar appetizing desires as myself.

Still, It was unfortunate more art lovers in the local and surrounding communities weren’t present to enjoy the
festivities and conversation. However, it has been a bit colder temperature wise than usual and many people
who frequent the events at The Pocono Arts Cultural Center may have decided to forego the reception to
begin an early hibernation. Perhaps when there is more familiarity with the seasonal change many of these
individuals will be use to the weather and make their way to the venue.

In addition to the work created by Artists who recently joined The Pocono Arts Council, a number of pieces
were on display honoring the memory of an artist who brought a great deal of meaning to the life of the
community through his work and endeavors to help others realize the creativity within themselves. The
paintings and pottery created by Aldof “Hank” Aldrich were placed throughout the gallery in both their main and Studio galleries. Memories flowed from the pieces as those who knew him fondly reflected upon their encounters with his loving presence. You’ll find more photographs taken during the New Members’ Artists’
Reception in The PoconoArts New Member Reception Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152871043985421.1073741911.636000420&type=1 as well as other events held at The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA in The Pocono Arts Cultural Center 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152285998065421.1073741882.636000420&type=3. 

The PoconoArts Council was founded in 1975 and serves the community as a “Chamber of Commerce” for artists, arts organization, and others in the Northeast PA area as the region’s leading art service, education, and advocacy organization. The PoconoArts Council has endeavored to enrich the cultural atmosphere through their many projects such as their High School Students’ Juried Exhibition, their Annual Members'
Exhibition, and and The Pocono State Craft Festival. They have recently created a 2015 Expose Yourself to
Art Calendar which depicts local artists and prominent citizens in the nude which is available for purchase. The
next event to be presented by The PoconoArts Council will be their Annual Meeting on Friday December 5th 
beginning at 5pm to plan for the upcoming year upon which a discount will be given to attendees for items
purchased that evening. You can learn more about The PoconoArts Council and all they have to offer the
community and its artists by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil.

Photography by PaparazzPaul.