Monday, June 29, 2009

Jazz Juice is Good Stuff

The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented another installment of their Summer Gazebo Concert Series on Sunday June 27th featuring some lively Jazz sounds of Jazz Juice. Although rain did threaten to quicken the evening, it’s threat proved to be of an idle variety and the only quickening which took place came from the music traveling into the soul of each person who heard it. The darkening clouds held no significance as the light hearted sounds nourished its audience as a healthy elixir would after a trying day.

The Concert began with an introduction by the PCOM* Committee Chairperson Bonnie Childs* and the band consisting of Jesse Green* on Keyboard, Daniel Gonzalez* on Drums, Vinny Bianchi on Saxophone, and special guest Kristine Green* on vocals took the stage. The music began soon afterwards and what music it was. The songs ranged to unique arrangement of some familiar tunes to lively Latino pieces entreating some to dance.

A sizable crowd gathered upon the PCOM* lawn which included Arline M. Smeltz*, Davbid Larabee*, Steve Krawitz* of WVIA FM (NPR), Jazz Pianist David Lantz III*, Dan Dunn* of The Pocono Community Theater*, James and Terri Delaria*, and Pastor Karen Nickles* of The PCOM*. There were also those who hike along the Appalachian Trail who often find a respite in the PCOM Hikers’ Center which is near the trail.

The Next performance in The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* Gazebo Concert Series will be on Sunday July 5th beginning at 6pm featuring Jazz Diva Michele Bautier*. Please Contact Bonnie Childs* at 570-992-3934 for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society The POCM Gazebo Concerts 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

A Memorial Concert for a Musical Friend

The American Legion Pavilion in East Stroudsburg, PA hosted The Gary Curtis’ Memorial Party on Sunday June 28th featuring a variety of musicians paying tribute to the local musician who passed away some time ago. While most of the songs played were from the Gary Curtis Songbook, many were originally written in honor of his memory and influence on their careers. Many music fans also came to pay their respects as well as partaking in the festive atmosphere which was a tribute in itself to the spirit of the man and his music.

Among those performing included Chris London (co publisher of the Northeast Music Organization (NEMO) Magazine), Dwight Spencer, Michael Kessler* (co publisher of NEMO Magazine), T-Bone, Blues Brethren*, Mark Hamza*, Bob Weidner*, Bob White*, and many more. There were too many people attending the event to mention and in attempting to do so would certainly neglect my naming a few. However, it should be noted that Scott Flax* who is also the co publisher of NEMO Magazine was also there to pay homage to Gary Curtis.

The next event honoring Gary Curtis will be Sunday July 5th at Lippy’s in Marshall’s Creek, PA with an Open Jam beginning at 9pm in which everyone who are musically inclined are encouraged to participate. This weekly event is hosted by the band “Last Licks” and will be rescheduled to Friday nights beginning July 10th. Please call 570-223-2252 for more information.

You’ll find more pictures in The Forwardian Arts Society Music 2009 Gallery. www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

James O’Malley in the House

The Don Slepian's* ArtMusic Coffeehouse in East Stroudsburg, PA began its Summer House Concert Series on Saturday June 27th with a performance by Singer-Songwriter James O'Malley. A sizable crowd were fitted into the large living room who were treated not only by the wonderful hospitality but by the conversation such an enchanting atmosphere never fails to provide. Those who have attended the winter series were pleased to learn the change in seasons did not change the flavor of these gatherings.

The evening began with a meditative interlude by its host, Don Slepian*, whose original compositions opened the senses as they prepared to embrace the music of the evening’s guest performer. The music of James O’Malley were very easy to embrace as their folksy stylings brought a thoughtful delight with each cord change and musical measure. What was particularly pleasing was his singing voice. One can close their eyes and swear they were in the presence of Paul Simon. Yet, the songs of James O’Malley are his own with the very few exceptions of some cover songs he presented. And, even those he sang as it he wrote them.

The next in The Don Slepian's* ArtMusic Coffeehouse Summer House Concert Series will featuring literary songwriter Amilia K. Spicer www.AmeliaSpicer.com on Saturday July 25th beginning at 8pm. All of our concerts are house concerts take place in the living room of the Slepian’s* home. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to call ahead at 570-476-6307 as seating is limited and to arrive around 7pm. Please Explore The Don Slepian's ArtMusic Coffeehouse Website for more information. Please Explore The James O'Malley Website at www.jamesomalley.com for more information on him and his music.

You’ll find more photograph at The Forwardian Arts Society Don Slepian's ArtMusic Coffeehouse Series 2009. www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

DWG Founder’s Day 2009

The town of Delaware Water Gap (DWG), PA Celebrated Founder's Day on Saturday June 27th. The warm, gentle day provided a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle found in larger populated areas and more attended events. Yet, the lack of crowds moving about added to its charm as most people who are drawn to The Delaware Water Gap are pleased to find.

The town was established in the 1700’s by a Frenchman named Antoine Dutot and was once named, “Dutotsville” before a change was decided upon. No one I’ve ever spoke to could tell me why the change was made, but it’s origins may explain the unique feel of Delaware Water Gap. From its architecture to its prominence in the Jazz community, it is small wonder many has referred to the town as “The New Orleans of the Poconos.”

Events joining in the town’s founding included a car show while artists and artisans shared their talent throughout the town. These included music performed by Jazz pianist David Lantz III* while numerous displays were presented by Artist Arlene Hertz-Conklin 1-570-992-4244, Ellen Jamioklowski ejamio@hotmail.com, and Marie L. Gelsomino* woofie@noln.com, along with Margaret L. Benson* of Clay on Wheel clayonwheel@gmail.com, Roxanne Sagala* of Barley Rose Natural Bodycare barleyrose@earthlink.net, Tari Zarka of Aspiring Artists of the Earth www.aaote.com, and Christine M. Griffen* of The Shawnee Gallery www.theshawneegallery.com. In addition to these wonderful artists and artisans, some wonderful photography was on display by Alex Pietersen www.alexpietersen.com and Kate Hughes of Intoxikate Photos www.intoxikatephotos.photoreflect.com.

Please Explore The Delaware Water Gap (DWG), PA website for more information about the town and all it has to offer.

You’ll find more photograph at The Forwardian Arts Society DWG Founder’s Day 2009 Gallery. www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Indoor Gazebo

The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented another installment of their Summer Gazebo Concert Series on Sunday June 21st featuring the smooth jazzy sounds of Kate and Richie Roche* with Kate* on Drums and Vocals and Richie* on Piano and Vocals. They were joined by Allan Baldwin on Trumpet and percussion. This particular concert was held indoors due to the potential rain that was predicted but never materialized. However, the quaint and friendly atmosphere of The PCOM* provided the modest crowd attending the concert a wonderful place to enhance their Fathers’ Day Celebrations with the excellent music and the culinary treats lovingly prepared by members of the congregation and presented by those working the concessions area.

The Concert began with an introduction by the PCOM* Committee Chairperson Bonnie Childs* and the music began soon afterwards. Those who have had the good fortune of hearing Kate and Richie Roche* perform in the past were delighted that their wonderful memories did not fail them. The soothing sounds they expressed throughout their set allowed their long time fans to re experience the calm joy they have come to know through their previous encounters.

However, those who have never experienced their performances, found themselves enchanted by not only by the smoothness of their music by my the smoothness of their manner. This relaxed manner is often found in numerous jazz ensembles, but Kate and Richie Roche* seem to have it down to a science. Trumpeter Allan Baldwin added his own relaxed style into the mix making the entire performance a perfect one to help those who have had a stressful week, weekend, and/or day to unwind their obligated lives and to experience something wonderful. Those who attended the concert included Arline M. Smeltz*, Jazz Vocalist Vicki Doney*, and Pastor Karen Nickles* of The PCOM*.

The Next performance in The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* Gazebo Concert Series will be on Sunday June 28th beginning at 6pm featuring the intoxicating sounds of Jazz Juice featuring Jesse Green*, Daniel Gonzalez, Viunny Bianchi, and special guest Kristine Green*. Please Contact Bonnie Childs* at 570-992-3934 for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society The POCM Gazebo Concerts 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Patriotic Gazebo

The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented the first in their first Summer Gazebo Concert Series on Sunday June 14th with the classical musical group known as “Calliope” performing Americana and classical pieces during warm early evening hours. This particular concert proved to be very opportune as the music presented coincided with the Flag Day Holiday which was that very day. A modest crowd gathered upon the lawn facing the Gazebo while appetites were not only intrigued by the musical renderings but by the foods lovingly prepared for the those working the concessions area.

The Concert began with an introduction by the PCOM Committee Chairperson Bonnie Childs* of Calliope which consists of Gina Bertucci and Barbara McMahon on Flute and Piccolo (in addition to Barbara playing a piece on a Penny Whistle), Laura Goss* on Oboe, and Steve Mathiesen on Miranda. This is one of many PCOM* creative gifts to the community and each season seems to offer an opportunity to inspire more wonderful memories then the previous one. As the music began to play, it was made apparent this 2009 season was no exception.

Many of those who attended came to relive the memories of past seasons, many came in appreciation of the quality of music Calliope has become known for, but everyone left the concert with a profound sense of peacefulness gained by the reassurance these concerts give that Summer is finally here. Among those who attended this first concert of the series were Mike Wetmore* of Support Your Local Poet - Hooray (SYLP-H)* along with Gary Lambert* and Arline M. Smeltz*. The warm weather, conversation, and music melted away the hectic pace many finds themselves in during their week filled tasks and gave hope for a respite from future estrangements from a tranquil perspective with the promise of another such experience is only a week away.

The Next performance in The Presbyterian Church on the Mountain (PCOM)* Gazebo Concert Series will be on Sunday June 21st beginning at 6pm featuring the smooth Jazz sounds of Kate and Richie Roache*. Please Contact Bonnie Childs* at 570-992-3934 for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society The POCM Gazebo Concerts 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Theatrical Review: “Always…Patsy Cline”

ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE
Written by Ted Swindley
Director: Michael-Alan Read
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presented “Always…Patsy Cline” as a musical revue and tribute to the country music star who died at the age of 30 in a plane crash. I must admit, I don’t particularly care for country music so I am not among those who came into the show as a fan of Ms. Cline. But, by the show’s end, I came to appreciate her and her music a great deal more then I thought I would.

The tribute to Ms. Cline were presented not only by a re creation of her songs by Erin Parker, but by the point of view of a devoted fan Louise Seger (portrayed by Liza Grando) from whom we learn more about the influence she had among those who admired her and her talent. As a matter of fact, the impressive talent of the two actresses on stage made the presentation much more interesting than those of lesser skills could have made it. Ms. Grando’s performance could have easily gone way over the top making her role more of a caricature than a character, but the complex subtleties making up humanity was evident throughout the show.

Ms. Parker’s performance was as equally impressive as it was intriguing. It would not be quite accurate to say her portrayal of Patsy Cline was a biographical one as the nature of as it was largely based upon the Louis Seger’s understanding of whom Patsy Cline was and not necessarily of what she was really like. This may have seemed like a flaw in the production but for the interesting approach Ms. Parker gave to the character. While Ms. Parker demonstrated Patsy Cline’s to be quite accessible to those she contacted in a very human way, she also had a certain aloofness which is often created by fans who place the object of their fascination on a slightly elevated pedestal. This vision is what many fans often hold on to even when their favorite celebrities are shown to have feet made of clay and lives made out of…. Well, you know.

The musicians in the show consisted of Ronan Mariano* on Piano who portrayed Joe Bob and served as the production’s Music Director, Robin A. Kessler* on Guitar who portrayed Billy Bob, Chris Pavlishin on Guitar who portrayed Jim Bob, and Marshal Haskall on drums who portrayed Bob Bob.

The Shawnee Playhouse* production of “Always…Patsy Cline” by Ted Swindley was Directed by Michael-Alan Read and Stage Managed by Josh Daniels who also served the Company Manager. The Technical Director was Scot Cleaveland with Alex Wilson as Spot Light Operator. The Production’s Interns were Luke Swierczek, Lydia Watson, and Michael Demyan*. The Shawnee Playhouse* producers are Ginny and Charlie Kirkwood while group Sales of their productions are handled by Mary Horn* (who also served as a member of the Box Office Staff) while The Shawnee Playhouse publicity is handled by Amy Cramer*. The Box office staff includes Becky Haskell, Barbara Ross, and Melinda Clemente. The Executive Director of The Shawnee Playhouse* is Midge McClosky*.

This production of “Always…Patsy Cline” by Ted Swindley continues its run at The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA until July 12th and is based upon a true story. Even if you’re not a fan of country music or of Patsy Cline, I would recommend seeing this play. The music is interesting and the acting is even more so. In combination, the experience of seeing this revue makes for a very interesting time at the theatre. The next Shawnee Playhouse* presentations will be their production of “Camelot” presented June 26th - August 9th, “Wit” presented July 10th - August 2nd, “Dames at Sea” presented July 24th - August 30th, and Sylvia” presented August 7th - 30th. In addition to these productions, “The Jungle Book” will be presented July 10th - August 22nd as part of their children’s theatrical offerings. Those who enjoy the Passionate Art Lover level of membership in The Forwardian Arts Society are offered a $2.00 discount off the admission fee of The Shawnee Playhouse* Productions (excluding Children Theatrical Productions and those presented by non Shawnee Production Companies). Please contact The Shawnee Playhouse* at 570-421-5093 for more information and to reserve your ticket.

Photograph provided by The Shawnee Playhouse and depicts Erin Parker and Liza Grando.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Abstractions of the Community

The Pocono Community Theater* in East Stroudsburg, PA held an Opening Reception on Saturday June 13th featuring numerous area artists in an exhibition entitled, “The Abstract Show.” The opening was well attended which enhanced the afternoon as conversations were engaging bringing not only more meaning to the works but into the lives of each participant as well. This was much to do with the Theater’s welcoming atmosphere which has become common place to those who come to see the films and partake of the events taking place there.

Although the styles were of an abstract nature, the approach to the style was very different as it was based upon each artist’s individual talents and selection of the elements going into his or her works. Some utilized colors to create a mood or theme while others created three dimensional images which brought the viewer into the piece in a more physical manner. However, all the pieces had the quality of bringing all who viewed them into the work whether it was in a physical manner which I mentioned or in a physiological/spiritual one.

Among the artists who presented their work were Jan Selving*, Edward Evans* of Gallery 705* www.gallery705.com, Helen Heeren*, Jan Ward, and Susan Lange. Among those who attended were Mike Wetmore* of Support Your Local Poet - Hooray (SYLP-H)* along with Eric Hanston*, Dan Dunn*, Kimberly Fisher*, and Ray Scheetz of The Pocono Community Theater*. The exhibition continues until July 15th. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater website for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Visual Arts 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Nature of Art

The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery* in Delaware Water Gap, PA held an Opening Reception on Friday June 12th for an exhibition featuring the work of Oils and Watercolors Artist Beverly Abel. The work depicted many of the splendors nature has to offer which coincided with the natural flow of conversations among the art lovers who were reminded of their affections with every painting they experienced. The variety of styles from Ms. Abel was quite impressive as they ranged from some simple watercolor renderings resembling images one finds in coloring books to nearly photographic pieces created with oils.

Among the numerous pieces of high quality, I personally was most attracted to the one entitled, “The Swimming Hole.” It reminded me of those days in my childhood when my mother took my sister and I to Lake Lenepe (near the Appalachian Trail) in Delaware Water Gap, PA to go fishing for Sun Fish. I seldom caught anything, but when I did, it was only my younger sister who was brave enough to take the fish off it’s hook. Since my mother didn’t know how to cook the fish, we threw them back. In the chats I engaged with during the Opening, I found the work inspiring many such recollection among the attendees.

Among those who attended the Seasonal Opening at The Dutot* were Artist Tricia Lowrey Lippert* and Mike Wetmore* of Support Your Local Poet - Hooray (SYLP-H)* along with Marty and Sue Wilson* of The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery*. I met a great number of new friends during the Opening and I look forward to seeing them again in the near future. If you were there and would like to make yourself know, please feel free to leave a comment sharing your reflections and recollections of the evening.

The next Opening Reception at The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery will be on Friday June 12th beginning at 7pm featuring the work of Miharu Lane* in an exhibition entitled, “Painting on the Trail of the Hudson River School III.” That Exhibition Continues until July 19th while the current one featuring the works of Beverly Abel continues until June 28th. Please Explore The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery* Website for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Visual Arts 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A COTA June Meeting

The General Meeting to plan for The September 32nd Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* Jazz and Arts Festival took place at The Deer Head Inn* in Delaware Water Gap, PA on Tuesday June 9th. It was a great time for friends to gather as it was to make the acquaintance of new comers to those who would like to be more of a part of the festival through their service as volunteers. The meeting was highlighted by the announcement of the new design selected for The COTA poster. All delighted in the colors and many eagerly pictured themselves wearing the T Shirts on which the image upon them.

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* general meeting is open to all who would like to take of this year’s festival which is scheduled to occur September 11th - 13th in the Delaware Water Gap, PA. The meetings now run the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month with the next one scheduled for July 14th at 7:30pm in The Deer Head Inn* (www.deadheadinn.com). Please Explore The Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* Website for more information.

You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society COTA Meetings 2009 Gallery at www.mysapce.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Film Review: Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons
Directed by: Ron Howard
Performances by: Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor
Film Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

As many readers of this review may know, “Angels and Demons” is the sequel of “The Da Vinci Code” which are both adaptations from novels written by Dan Brown. I must admit I haven’t read these novels but my friends have told me they are very well written and they’re of the caliber of which it’s easy to take them at their word. Yet, the film version of these novels may well prove the old adage the book is better.

When I saw “The Da Vinci Code” some time ago, I didn’t like it. My dislike wasn’t caught up in the controversy as to the implications it made in regards to Jesus’ private life. I could care less if Jesus was married, had kids, or still owes for child support. What disappointed me was the quality of the film considering the caliber of the Director (Ron Howard) and the actor (Tom Hanks) involved in its production. I expected a better treatment of “The Da Vinci Code” or any other novel placed in their hands and I was glad someone else paid for my ticket.

It was with some trepidation in which I ventured into the theatre showing “Angels and Demons.” I was perplexed to why Ron Howard and Tom Hanks wanted to visit the same well which proved to me to be a dry hole. However, some friends have told me they’ve seen the film and found it much better than the prequel. Well, they were right; sort of.

“Angels and Demons” did do a better job at creating an atmosphere of suspense than it’s predecessor, but the porosity of it’s premise left this reviewer flat. It’s all based upon the so called age old conflict between science and religion. The film would have you believe the Modern Roman Catholic’s Church survival is dependent upon its ability to squash scientific enquiry. Oh really.

It seems this latest conflict derives from the discovery of a “God Particle” which is a substantial amount of Anti Matter sufficient enough to destroy (conveniently enough for the film) the Vatican. A plot just to do that is supposedly devised by a scientific underground group who is seeking revenge on the Roman Catholic Church for some executions of some of its members 400 years ago. There’s a twist toward the end of the film which I would not wish to reveal as it may ruin it for many potential viewer, but it strikes the reviewer as odd it would take a group of scientist over 400 year to get even.

The film almost managed to convince this reviewer to why the characters in the film cared the issue they were confronting, but it didn’t convince me why I should care. Do any Roman Catholic Clergy with an IQ above 3 care about the discoveries of the scientific community to think they’re a threat to all Christianity? Do they think they’re a threat to even the Roman Catholic Church?

In short, the film just didn’t work for me. I’ve been told “Angels and Demons” is much like “The Da Vinci Code” which means it’s a puzzle solving film. They may be right in this as I’ve seen many such elements in the film. Maybe this genre is simply not my kind of film. After all, those I’ve chatted with after seeing the film enjoyed it. It just goes to show any reviewer’s opinion is only their opinion and should not be taken too seriously.

“Angels and Demons” is rated PG-13 and is based upon the novel written by Dan Brown (which was written prior to “The Da Vinci Code”). It is currently running at The Pocono Community Theatre in East Stroudsburg, PA. You may visit their website at www.poconocommunitytheater.org or call 570-421-3456 for show times and dates. Most films run one week from Friday to Thursday but some films may be held over for an additional week or two depending on ticket sales.

“Angels and Demons” was featured in The Forwardian Arts Society Film and Chat Gathering which is held the first Friday of every month at The Pocono Community Theater. This is an event which provides an opportunity for film lovers to see a film shown during the 4pm hour together and discuss it afterwards in the Theater’s CafĂ©. Those participating in this month’s chat were Arline M. Smeltz* along with Bernie and Candice Nilsson*. The next Film and Chat Gathering will take place Friday July 3rd featuring a film to be announced. Please Contact The Forwardian Arts Society through it’s Website for more information.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Girls Talking in June at the Tapestry

The Tapestry Corner* in located in The Shoppes on Main Complex on the corner of 8th and Main Streets in Stroudsburg, PA presented the music of “Girl Talk” on Saturday June 6th. The group consists of Vicki Doney* on Piano and Percussions along with Nancy Reed* and Valerie Hawk on Guitar. A smooth blend of original and cover tunes filled the evening and enhanced the relaxed atmosphere The Tapestry Corner8 is well known for.

During the intermission, the members of “Girl Talk” were interviewed by Paul Adam Smeltz* (yeah that’s me) for Bridge TV which is owned by Bridgette Williams (also owner of The Tapestry Corner*). Bridge TV is a new internet Television Station presenting a variety of programs including those on cooking, heath and fitness, and the arts. You may learn more about the station and see the interview by exploring its website once it has been launched.

The next concert to be presented at The Tapestry Corner* will take place on Saturday June 13th and feature Blue Planet/Planeta Azul* www.myspace.com/blueplanetplanetaazul at 8pm. Please Explore The Tapestry Corner Website for more information. For more information on “Girl Talk”, please Explore Vicki Doney‘s* Website at www.myspace.com/vickidoney. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Music 2009 Gallery on www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Mooney in the Jukebox

The Main St Jukebox* in Stroudsburg, PA held an opening Reception on Saturday June 6th featuring the work of Joe Mooney*. The work showed a variety of subjects ranging from household pets to some unique renderings of some very famous people. These renderings not only depicted the images of the individual but also the memories these personages continue to inspire.

Joe Mooney* has a way to bring such reflections into being through his use of color which also serves to emphasize certain characteristics of his subjects. His use of color also seems to have a similar effect on his non famous subjects such as the cats portrayed in some of the work shown at The Jukebox*. I’m not particularly inclined to own a pet, but their depictions do give me a better understanding of why many do. Music for the opening was provided by DJ B-Gaffe. The Exhibition continues until June 30th.

Please Explore The Main St Jukebox* Website for more information about the exhibition and all they have to offer. To learn more about Joe Mooney* and his work, please feel free to Explore his website at www.myspace.com/artistjoemooney. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Visual Arts 2009 Gallery on www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

The Pocono Raceway Festival 2009

The first annual Pocono Raceway Festival was held on Saturday June 6th all along the streets of Stroudsburg, PA. Music, Art, food, merchandise, and race cars were brought together in a celebration to the delight of NASCAR Fans of every kind. However, the day held some treasures for non fans of the sport who enjoyed not only the entertainment and everything else the festival had to offer but also the opportunity to meet some friends who were among the very large crowds who attended the festival.

I must admit, I’m not a NASCAR fan, but I did enjoy myself meeting up with many of my friends who are and aren’t. The day was a full one filled with plenty to do and see. Many of my friends and I marveled at how successful this festival was especially considering the fact it was the very first one. It has been our collective experience many first endeavors have a very small attendance and often need to take place several years before enough of an interest develops before a substantial number of people begin to attend.

However, this was not the case here and this was much to do with the excellent work of Rich Berkowitz* and the staff of The Sherman Theatre* www.shermantheatre.com who made some major contributions in organizing and providing the main entertainment. Of course, the success of this festival could not rely on the efforts of The Sherman Theatre* alone. Other groups who helped make the festival happed included The Sticks and Stones Bar and Grill* www.sticksnstonesbarandgrill.com and The Jacob Stroud Corporation www.stroudsburg.net. They are among the many whose expertise and desire to put on a great festival created a fun day for all.

Many musicians filled the streets of Stroudsburg during the festival which included a yet to be named band performing in front of The Quench Juice and Smoothie Bar located in The Shoppes on Main Complex on the corner of 8th and Main Streets in Stroudsburg, PA consisting of Walter Lee*, Lucas Martins, Jesse Eppinger, and Ashley Matos*. Other performers along the streets included Randy Bigness* www.myspace.com/randybignessproductions and his band and Eric Becker* www.myspace.com/ericjbecker and Abby Braman* while bands on the main stage included special acoustic set by Dealer in Wares* www.myspace.com/dealerinwares and a performance by the eagerly anticipated The Marshall Tucker Band.

Numerous vendors were lined up eager to offer those who attended the festival. Their wares were as varied as those who came out for the day. They included all sorts of food, jewelry, clothing, and some wonderfully crafted Baby Grand Pianos by Turner’s Piano Restorations. In keeping with The first annual Pocono Raceway Festival, there were a few NASCAR vehicles available for a much closer observation one would otherwise have from watching them at a safe distance during an actual race. In addition to all this, many of the staff and volunteers of The Sherman Theatre* were traveling among the crowds to offer chances to win several prizes associated with the event and to drum up much deserved financial support to the venue may continue its endeavors to provide the Poconos and beyond with the performances, workshops, and other culturally enriching programs they offer.

The next Pocono Raceway Festival is scheduled to take place during next year’s Pocono 500 Racing Event held near Long Pond, PA. Please Explore The Pocono Raceway Website for more information. You’ll find more photographs in The Pocono Raceway Festival 2009 Gallery on www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Racy June Photographs

The very first of The Forwardian Photography Gatherings took place on Saturday June 6th in front of The Tapestry Corner* located in the Shoppes on Main Complex on the corner of 8th and Main Streets in Stroudsburg, PA. After meeting and sharing some introductory greetings, we began to click away with our digital cameras. Our excursions began with the group of musicians performing in front of the store and continued down the rest of Main Street partaking of the first annual Pocono raceway Festival which was held throughout the day.

A variety of photographs were taken of numerous subjects. We later met by the Water Falls on Ann St. to share our accomplishments with one another while receiving some encouraging critiques on our endeavors. We also talked about digital photography in general sharing tips on hoe to become better photographers and how to obtain some equipment in order to enhance what we do.

The Forwardian Photography Gathering was attended by Candice Nilsson*, a man simply know as Ryan, and myself. It was a wonderful time and very enjoyable. Based upon our conversation, our next Forwardian Photography Gathering will take place on Saturday June 20th at The Columcille Megalithic Park and Celtic Center* in Bangor, PA during the Summer Solstice Celebrations. There should be numerous photographic opportunities abounding that day while enjoying the meaningful events it has to offer so we’re quite excited about the prospects.

Please feel free to explore The Columcille Megalithic Park and Celtic Center* Website at www.columcille.org for more information about the event and all they have to offer and feel free to message me for more information on The Forwardian Photography Gatherings and everything The Forwardian Arts Society has to offer. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Photography Gathering 2009 Gallery on www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Friday, June 05, 2009

June Film and Chat

The Pocono Community Theater* in East Stroudsburg, PA hosted The Forwardian Arts Society Film and Chat Gathering on Friday June 5th. This month’s film was “Angels and Demons” directed by Ron Howard and starred Tom Hanks as a sequel to “The DaVinci Code.” You’ll read my review of the film elsewhere on this blog but the discussion after the film’s screening proved to be quite interesting with differing points of view expressed throughout.

Among those who participated in the discussion were Bernie and Candice Nilsson* along with Arline M. Smeltz*. “Angels and Demons” is scheduled to continue it’s run at The Pocono Community Theater* until Thursday June 11th. However, some films are occasionally held over due to their popularity. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater* Website for more information.

The next Film and Chat Gathering is scheduled for Friday July 3rd. Please Contact The Forwardian Arts Society through this blog for more information and learn how you can participate in the selection of the film we’ll be watching and chatting about.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Folksinging at The Library

The Eastern Monroe Public Library* in Stroudsburg, PA presented Folk singer and guitarist Chris Wilhelm who performed alongside Ken Porter on percussion on Friday May 29th as part of their Bookhouse Concert Series. The concert consisted in a mixture of original compositions blended nicely with some cover pieces ranging from the Beatles, The Band, and lots of Paul Simon. Chris Wilhelm’s original work had a range of their own as well in they were inspired by anything from a cell phone conversation he overheard on a bus to a statue of Jesus with missing fingers whose plague stated, “This statue will not heal until the world does.”

Regardless of whether the songs Chris Wilhelm were his original work or not, his unique rendition of the songs made them all his own. This satisfying performance was further enhanced by several opportunities given to the audience to sing along with the tunes they knew. This made them the audiences as well. Of course, the songs in Chris Wilhelm’s repertoire did belong to everyone who heard them for they were written from that part of the human heart which we all possess.

The Bookhouse concert was moderately attended but those who came were treated to a good show. It was a fitting way to bring an end to the week especially those who find the world a stressful place to live in. Chris Wilhelm’s performance kept such emotions at bay by reminding his audience there is something more to life than what it appears to be. I would like to invite those of you who were there to share your reflections and recollections of the performance along with anything relating to it.

You’ll find more information about Chris Wilhelm at www.chriswilhelm.net while more information about The Eastern Monroe Public Library* and future Bookhouse Concert Series Performances can be found at their website. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Music 2009 Gallery at www.myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Post Memorial Night of Music

Starbucks in Stroudsburg, PA held their weekly Open Mic Night on Sunday May 31st. It was the weekend after the Memorial day weekend and the last weekend in May. This time of year often signifies the beginning of many summer weekends to be enjoyed as June is just around the thinly seasoned corner creating a craving to experience all the warmth of the upcoming months have to offer. A taste of this was featured among the musicians and singers from throughout the area who performed their original material along with some cover tunes enchanting all who experienced them.

The event was initiated by its host Eric Becker* who also performed much of his work on guitar while being accompanied by a woman simply known as “Amy” on Banjo. His performance led to many others whose diverse talents made for a wonderful evening out. The first of those who performed was a Starbuck Favorite Keith Haynes* of The Business Fairy www.myspace.com/thebusinessfairy whose quick movements on the guitar pleasantly amazed and mystified those who attended the event almost as much as they songs themselves. Keith* was followed by members of the group “Blue Planet/Planeta Azul*” www.myspace.com/blueplanetplanetaazul whose renditions of some classic songs mixed in with some original work left all who heard them breathless and hoping their debut at Starbucks will lead to them becoming regulars.

This hope was extended unto the next two guitarists whose performances enlivened the evening with their songs. Greg Currier played a number of tunes displaying a great deal of skill with a Celtic touch while the smooth sounds of some classic Jazz guitar were provided by a man simply known as “Barry.” Their performances inspired a sense of gratitude among Starbucks’ patrons for the existence of such a place to showcase a variety of talented people.

After the impressive performances by these two newcomers, it was time to re embrace two more favorites. The first was Rick Delgado* www.myspace.com/rickblue77 who played more of his original work and was followed by Barbara VanBuskirk* whose soulful renderings have caused me to dub her the Joni Mitchell of the Poconos. The evening concluded with Eric* taking the stage again to close the show. At least, that is what I think happened as I left at this point.

To the best of my knowledge, the next weekly Open Mic Night at Starbucks is scheduled to take place Sunday June 14th beginning at 6:30pm. There will be no event Sunday June 7th as Eric* will be performing at The Dreamland Creations* www.dreamlandcreations.com Opening Art Exhibition beginning at 4pm featuring the work of Chris Francz* www.chrisfrancz.com . Please contact Eric Becker* at 570-872-7896 or explore his website for more information.

You’ll find more photographs at The Forwardian Arts Society Starbucks Open Mic Night 2009 Gallery at myspace.com/forwardian_arts.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.

Theatrical Review: A Walk in the Woods

A WALK IN THE WOODS
Written by: Lee Blessing
Directed by: Neal Johnson*
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presented The Worthington Players* production of “A Walk in the Woods” by Lee Blessing. The presentation of this play was originally scheduled to take place in March of 2009, but it had to be canceled due to the sudden illness of one of its cast members. However, after the cast member’s full recovery, it was decided to re-present the play for a limited run. In this reviewer’s opinion, this was a very good decision as this production is well worth experiencing.

The play centers around two negotiators working to resolve the US and USSR differences over a nuclear reduction treaty. The fact the Soviet Union has dissolved sometime ago and the world no longer faces an immanent nuclear holocaust may lead some to believe this play is somewhat outdated. But, the play isn’t really about the negotiations, but about the two men and the relationship they develop. On this, the play works on many levels while exploring the nature of relationships and the obstacles we create in obtaining them.

From the very first few moments of the play, the audience is drawn into the relationship as the two characters enter the stage already in heated discussion. The conversation continues to enhance the audience’s attention by becoming a dance in which each character moves to obtain a better position in order to take advantage of the knowledge they obtain. It was amusing to see how the older diplomat was able to clandestinely learn much from the younger one without revealing anything about himself.

As the play progressed, a genuine friendship emerges and the audience begins to recognize the dynamics of their own relationships though what is portrayed upon the stage. The mistrust, internal anxieties, histories, and other factors explored in the production can be interposed upon our own productions. After all, much of the stress we place on forming criteria in our search for companionship is pretty much a production of our own making and this play pretty much mirrors this.

Yet, the alternative is isolation and becoming disengaged from humanity and our humanness. The play ultimately reminds us (as the director puts it in his notes) embrace “the wonderful treasures we have in each other” while not becoming consumed by what we push aside to get to them. The play eventually end with the two characters sitting in silence which allows such treasures to be discovered and much more profound unspoken things to be communicated.

The Cast consisted of Scott E. McIntosh who Portrayed Andrey Botvinnik the elder Soviet Negotiator and Patrick Turner who portrayed John Honeyman the younger US Negotiator. This reviewer have seen these two actors in numerous productions presented on The Shawnee Playhouse* stage and it’s my opinion their performances are among their best work. Their interpretations of the characters they portrayed were right on the mark and made their believability to the audience easy to accept allowing each member to see themselves in them.

The Worthington Players* production of “A Walk in the Woods” by Lee Blessing was Directed by Neal Johnson* who demonstrated considerable skills as this play would merely be a presentation of two talking heads by a director not seeking the play’s more in-depth themes. The production was Stage Managed by Salome Kingsley* with Heather Dean as the Second Stage Manager. The Lights and Siound Director was Jessica Johnson*. The Executive Director of The Shawnee Playhouse* is Midge McClosky* while the producers are Ginny and Charlie Kirkwood. Group Sales of their productions are handled by Mary Horn* (who also served as a member of the Box Office Staff) while The Shawnee Playhouse publicity is handled by Amy Cramer*. The Box office staff includes Becky Haskell, Barbara Ross, and Lillian Gonzalez*.

Unfortunately, this production of “A Walk in the Woods” by Lee Blessing has concluded its run at The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA but it was a superb theatrical experience while it lasted. The next Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presentations will be a musical review entitled, “Always… Patsy Cline” June 5th - July 12th along with their productions of “Camelot” June 26th - August 9th, “Wit” July 10th - August 2nd, and “Dames at Sea” July 24th - August 30th. Those who enjoy the Passionate Art Lover level of membership in The Forwardian Arts Society are offered a $2.00 discount off the admission fee of The Shawnee Playhouse* Productions (excluding Children Theatrical Productions and those presented by non Shawnee Production Companies). Please contact The Shawnee Playhouse* at 570-421-5093 or Explore their website for more information and to reserve your ticket.

Photograph provided by The Shawnee Playhouse depicting Patrick Turner and Scott E. McIntosh.

(*) denotes members of The Forwardian Arts Society in good standing and are considered Our Good Friends.