Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SheilaMark in the Park

The Downtown Stroudsburg, PA Business Association in partnership with the Sherman Theater presented an installment of their Music in the Park Series for 2013. The concert featuring SheilaMark took place on Saturday June 22nd in the vacant lot located between Josephine's Fleur-de-lis and The 14KT Outlet’s Fine Jewelry Design. Grass and gravel mingled upon the ground as the small audience who ventured into the urban corridor found their way to sit among the plentiful chairs placed there for their comfort. A cool breeze tunneled itself between the buildings bordering the right and left sides of the stage which enhanced the enjoyment of the experience as drinks were later offered free of charge by the management of Josephine's Fleur-de-lis.

The blues band consisted of Mark Hamza on The Hammond Organ, Sheila Stratton on vocals, Dean Rickard on Drums, and Teddy Young on guitar. From the very first notes played by this exceptional group of performers to the echoing resonance of their very last song, the music moved the small audience to a quiet appreciation of their talents. The powerful voice of Sheila Stratton touched each ear before burrowing itself into the hearts and souls of all who were fortunate enough to experience it. The music accompanying the songs she sang wrapped itself around each chord with each musician producing a melodic fiber to enhance the piece’s overall tensile strength. In other words, it was a cool afternoon with great sounds to enjoy.

SheilaMark varied musical repertoire ranges from some great, classic blues to uniquely soulful interpretations of recently released songs. It also includes a number of instrumental pieces such as the mind melding composition titled, “Icarus” who, in Greek mythology, attempted to escape a prison in Crete by flying away with wings his father, Daedalus, made for him but failed in the endeavor when he flew too close to the sun which melted his wings of wax and feathers. SheilaMark has performed in a variety of venues including the Community Concert series at Shawnee Inn and resort in Shawnee on Delaware, PA, the Home Grown Concert Series on WVIA (NPR) Radio in Pittston, PA, and at the Celebration for the Arts (COTA) in Delaware Water Gap, PA. You can learn more about SheilaMark by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/sheilastrattonmarkhamza.

The next installment of The Downtown Stroudsburg, PA Business Association and the Sherman Theater Music in the Park Series will take place on Saturday June 30th beginning at 6:45pm featuring the band Woodrow. The concert is a free event with seating available. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Saturday June 22nd SheilaMark performance in The Music in the Park 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151718928905421.1073741839.636000420&type=1.

The Downtown Stroudsburg, PA Business Association (aka The Jacob Stroud Corporation) is an organization dedicated to a vibrant Downtown Stroudsburg by improving the municipality’s image by enhancing its physical appearance, building consensus among organizations and the community, promoting downtown's unique characteristics, and restructuring and diversifying our economic base. According to their Facebook Page, Stroudsburg, PA has been a well-established center for Monroe County commerce. You can learn more about The Stroudsburg, PA Downtown Stroudsburg Business Association long with it’s perceptions and vision for the town at their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Downtown-Stroudsburg-Business-Association/242126962482288?ref=ts&rf=168378193176439.

The Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA was built in the 1920s and has been renovated during the 2000s to become a venue presenting a variety of related events such as those associated with the arts of theater, dance, and music. In addition to the performances presented within the theater itself, the Sherman Theater also hosts a number of festivals throughout the town along with events presented at their extended non-profit venues known as The Living Room which featuring art exhibitions and a weekly Open Mic Nite Series which are free of charge and invites the public to participate. You can learn more about The Sherman Theater at www.facebook.com/ShermanTheater?fref=ts.

Playing Ball at The Bookhouse

The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA presented an installment of their Bookhouse Concert Series on Friday June 21st featuring a solo performance given by Cedric Liqueur on the life of baseball legend Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Mr. Liqueur’s portrayal of the man was a believable one as noted by the nods of recognition many attendees who were fans of the sport frequently gave of when aspects in Mr. Paige’s history were mentioned throughout the performance. There were, however, a number of dead spots in the presentation which the flow of the piece was interrupted by several awkward pauses. But, this aspect of the play may be attributed to as an accurate depiction of Mr. Paige himself during his later years.

Leroy “Satchel” Paige was born on July 7th, 1906 and died June 8, 1982. His baseball career spanned 40 years and he pitched in over 2,500 games. Mr. Paige was the oldest rookie to sign a major league contract which was with the Cleveland Indians and was the first Negro League baseball player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The play was written by Cedric Liqueur in collaboration with the Satchel Paige family and is licensed by Satchel Paige Enterprises.

Cedric Liqueur is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has written and produced historical biographies as solo performances since 1997. He has performed in a variety of venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. You’ll find more photographs taken during his performance at The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA in the EMPL 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151585206515421.1073741827.636000420&type=1.

The Eastern Monroe Public Library (aka The Hughes Library) Bookhouse Concert Series take place in the Edinger Community Room which is located on N. 9th Street (aka route 611) in Stroudsburg, PA. The Hughes Library is the main branch of the Monroe County, PA library system which include their Pocono Township Branch in Tannersville, PA and their Smithfield’s Branch in Marshalls Creek, PA. The library offers access to numerous books, DVDs, Audio Recordings, and cultural programs free to the public. The library’s BookHouse series is part of its cultural programs designed to provide a venue for literary and musical events which are outside of the commercial and literary mainstream.

The next Bookhouse event will feature an evening with Singer Brad Roccanova on Friday July 26th beginning at 7:30pm with the doors opening at 7pm. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Refreshments will be available for a small charge. Please Contact Linnae Cintron at 570-421-0800 x28 or explore The Eastern Monroe Public Library Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EasternMonroePublicLibrary?ref=ts&fref=ts to learn more information about the library, their BookHouse series, and all the institution has to offer the community.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Austin Miller and his Friends at TLR

The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA once again opened its doors to present their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday June 16th. I arrived late to the session and was pleased to find a number of friends listening to guitarist Stephan performing. I quickly got my camera out of its bag in order to capture the performance. However, I was spotted by someone with whom I happily engaged in a conversation with which left little time to take pictures of Stephan’s performance but meeting up with my friend was a wonderful way to begin my visit to the evening’s event.

After Stephan ended his set, the evening’s hosts A. P. and J. R (aka Jessie Roth) announced there would be a break while the featured guest set up their band. It was a short while before Guitarist Austin Miller and his Friends who included Kyle Miller on upright bass, Matthew Fowler on Guitar, and Sam Coplin on Drums took the stage. From the very first note to the lingering echoes that bounced off the Living Room’s walls at the completion of their set, Austin Miller and his Friends set the room and its denizens reeling through their country flavored songs which also included a lot of spicy ingredients from other musical genres as well.

Throughout the performance, one could see a joy embodied in the eyes of those who felt the music coursing through their souls. Heads moved to the beats and rhythms as if that portion of their anatomy were in a dance. While moving from one area of the room to another in order to capture the flavor of the performance with my camera, I found my feet moving in ways enticing me to modify my steps to resemble a dance. I nearly complied to my feet’s desire but I succeeded in my resistance. After all, I’m shy. Smiles.

 Austin Miller is from Orlando, FL and has recently began touring around the country performing in various venues. Austin is often joined onstage by friends and family members who happen to be where he is or going to be. Austin has recently released a CD titled, “More Than One Way” which includes 10 of his original compositions. You can learn more about Austin Miller and his music by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/austinmillermusic?ref=ts&fref=ts.

As Austin Miller and his friends left the stage, another break was announced in order for those who attended the event to chat with the musicians and purchase a copy of the CD. Guitarist Nick Desouza and Percussionist Tyler Hartle then took their places behind the mic to performs several songs. They were later joined by the evening’s co-host A. P. who lent his astounding vocals and vocalizations to many of the songs.

Nick, Tyler, and A. P. were followed by Matthew Fowler of Austin Miller and Friends who returned to the microphone to perform a number of pieces alone until Austin joined him on vocals. They were followed by Chris D. who performed on his guitar with some help from Ashley Johnson who held the lyrics of one of the songs he sung as well as providing some backup vocals, too. They were followed by Sammy who shared his musical talents A Cappella. The evening came to an end as co-host J. R. (aka Jessie Roth) shared a poignant poem about how the human element of relating to one another is being lost in the technology we utilize in the modern age. Ironically, she read her poem off the screen of an I Pad. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday June 16th Open Mic Nite with Special Guest Austin Miller and Friends in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite series will take place on Sunday June 23rd beginning at 7pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. The featured performer for the evening is yet to be announced. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which is currently presenting their June exhibition featuring the work of Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince. The exhibition will be on display at The Living Room Gallery until June 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

The Sweet Sounds of Juice

The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain (PCOM) in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented Jazz Juice (aka The Vinny Bianchi Quartet) on Sunday June 16th as part of their 2013 Summer Gazebo Concert Series. A nice sized crowd gathered upon the Church’s lawn as Vinny Bianchi on Saxophone led his band mates Marko Marcinko on Keyboard, Paul Rostock on Bass, and Daniel Gonzalez on Drums upon their musical journeys. Together they filled the evening’s air with the gentle sounds of jazz standards along with several contemporary pieces which enlivened the pulse of those who heard them.

One who experiences a performance presented by the quartet can’t help but be taken by the sense of camaraderie and love for the music these multitalented musicians share with one another with a great deal of joy. One aspect indicative to the musical art of Jazz is to begin a composition as it was originally written with each musician later adding improvised melodies and riffs as they delve deeper into the mechanics of the work. This pleasing aspect of the art form was demonstrated again and again as musical explorations took the audience on one wonderful journey after another until the musicians once again combined their talented sounds to bring everyone home.

A great many discoveries were made during these journeys by the audience which enhanced their appreciation to the music as well as those who became their guides. Each note brought with it a lesson eager to be absorbed into the consciousness of those who experienced them until the entire curriculum of chords and measures was eventually returned along with a more loving understanding of life making Jazz Juice good for everyone. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Jazz Juice concert in The PCOM 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151682942230421.1073741834.636000420&type=1.

According to their website, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain is “… a community of disciples illuminated by God’s love who care for others spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially as we explore new avenues of grace and grow in faith through worship and service.” In an endeavor to manifest the goals of this statement, they hold weekly services every Sunday beginning at 10am, providing a hostel for those hikers who travel along the Appalachian Trail as well as holding a Hikers’ Dinner every Thursday evening throughout the Summer Months to replenish their energies, supporting the Kenyan village of Amilo by providing a school feeding program for 15 orphans, a well, housing, and simple medical care and information to the villagers, and by sharing a partnership with the Reformed Church located in Cardenaz, Cuba. They also support the local Fire Company and Women’s Resources Center as well as provide community aid funds for residents who are suffering economic burdens. The size of the congregation is approximately 200 people.

The Summer Gazebo Concert Series began in 1990 and is presented every Sunday evening throughout the Summer months until the end of August in order to support the local musicians and provide a venue where all ages could learn to appreciate Jazz and acoustic music. In reflection of Delaware Water Gap, PA being considered a Mecca for Jazz, the concerts has a great number of Jazz performances in their schedule. However, all musical styles are showcased during the summer which includes Blue Grass and Classical Music. The next installment in The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Summer Gazebo Concert Series for 2013 is scheduled for Sunday June 23rd and will feature the talents of Kate and Richie Roche. The concert is free to the public and begins at 6pm. Please Explore The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 for more information.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dutot Down the River (The River)

The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery in Delaware Water Gap, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday June 14th for “The Riv10 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture” Exhibition featuring the work of a variety of artists. The exhibition is an annual event inviting area artists to share their unique vision and interpretation of the Delaware River which runs from the town of Jefferson, NY into the Delaware Bay near Philadelphia, PA before entering the Atlantic ocean. It is the largest river near the eastern coastline of the United States.

A sizable gathering of art lovers flowed into the gallery and were soon engulfed by the overwhelming sense of serenity embedded in the majority of the works presented in the display. This was a welcomed sensation for those who hectically paddle through their lives and, in their weariness, embrace any and every opportunity to row their boats gently down a stream. The exhibition and the congenial conversation it inspired among attendees encouraged many to forgo the everyday rushes and to merrily place their lives in perspective since, after all, life is but a dream.

As mentioned earlier, a number of artists participated in the exhibit which was echoed by the varied approach each artist pursued while utilizing the show’s theme in their creative endeavors. This also was reflected in the medium each artist utilized giving their particular piece a distinct flavor to it. This distinctiveness related well with the show’s theme as The Delaware River is a multifaceted river which is not only characterized by its ebbs and flows but by the people who live near its banks.

Those who have lived in sight of the river often marvel at its mighty beauty and find a solace whenever they take pause to contemplate it. However, there are also times when fear touch the hearts of those who reside within the water’s reach as a number of life threatening floods has been a part of their histories. Still, in living with both the calm beauty and the raging desolations The Delaware River is capable of, a love for the river remains in many hearts.

Although the overall quality of the work presented in the exhibition was very good, one individual and his endeavors stood out to become designated as the exhibit’s featured artist. The work titled, “Delaware River, July 16, 2006” illustrates its creator’s, Will Rothfuss, impressive aptitude with the medium of oil painting through both the physical size of the piece and the precise definition of the images presented on the canvas. Many, including myself, had to be reminded the work was not a photograph but was a painting. Those of us who were amazed and wanted our doubts reassuringly dispelled were able to do so only after a close examination of the work revealed the brushstrokes Mr. Rothfuss employed while creating the piece. Cool.

The Artists’ Reception for The Riv10 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibition was an enjoyable one with art and conversation pleasing to the senses. The experience embodied in the reception encouraged many to slow one’s pace to view the river and perhaps everything we encounter in life with a new, refreshed perspective. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Reception in The Dutot 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151703218890421.1073741837.636000420&type=1.

The exhibition’s featured artist, Will Rothfuss, received an A. B. (Artium Baccalaureatus aka Bachelor's in Arts) Degree from Cornell University in Theatre and Art and studied at The Art Students’ League in NYC where he received a Merit Scholarship. Mr. Rothfuss has shown his work in numerous galleries throughout the United States and has been awarded several prizes in recognition of his talent. Mr. Rothfuss also works as a freelance set designer in both television and in theater. You can view images presented in previous The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibitions at www.iriv.wordpress.com/riv-show.

The Riv10 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibition is part of an annual event which is part of the Delaware River Project who encourages attendees to the exhibit to explore the Delaware River through multiple artistic perspectives. Since its beginning in 2003, The Delaware River - A Big Picture has showcased the works of local and regional fine artists, poets, and musicians through a series of events dedicated to the river. Please Explore The Delaware River - A Big Picture Website at www.iriv.wordpress.com for more information.

The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery originated as a brick school house built c. 1850 by Antoine Dutot who founded the town of Dutotsville before it was renamed to Delaware Water Gap, PA. In addition to the exhibitions presented at the gallery, the museum offers tours and educational opportunities for those who would like to learn more about the area. The current exhibition titled, “The Riv10 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture” will be on display at the gallery until June 30th. Their next exhibition will feature the work of Tina Madonia beginning with an Artists’ Reception on Friday July 5th and will continue to be displayed until July 21st. Please Explore The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DutotMuseumAndGallery?fref=ts for more information.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Musically Festive Day in Milford

I seldom have an opportunity to travel from my hometown of Stroudsburg, PA to Milford, PA. But, when I do, I’m never disappointed by my arrival to this quaint little town. Being present for second of the three day Milford Music Festival proved to be an enjoyable experience consistent with those visitations I had with the festival and other art related events in the past. The only regret I do have in regards to my visit to the festival is that I’ve missed a number of them in previous years.

However, my arrival to this year’s welcoming event banished such regrets as the harmonious flavor of the festival filled my ears and my heart. It was good to walk upon the sidewalks of the town to experience a variety of musical styles emanating from the porches and front entrances of the businesses who encouraged musicians to share their gifts with all who took a moment to pause before moving on to the next aural treat. It was a great way to spend my Saturday June 8th birthday.

My series of pauses began at a business called, “The Flying Tea Room” whose lawn was graced by the traditional sounds of Irish and Celtic melodies and reels performed by The Tara Minstrels. This group of hearty musicians transformed those who visited with their love for the musical style through the variety of instruments that individual expressed their communal joy. The crowd who gathered to adorn their hearts with the music smiled as their eyes danced to each beat of the musicians offerings. You can learn more about The Flying Tea Room by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/TheFlyingPigTeaRoom?fref=ts and The Tara Minstrels by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/tara.minstrels?fref=ts.

Although a part of me wanted to remain with the dance inducing melodies of The Tara Minstrels, the knowledge there was more wonderful music waiting for me to enjoy tugged at me like a Siren’s song. So, I reluctantly move my earthly vessel and entered into The Patisarri Fauchere which is one of the restaurants a part of the Hotel Fauchere. The aroma of freshly made breads and pastries filled the air as the relaxed atmosphere welcomed me by bidding me to sit in one of the establishment’s chairs.

It was soon after experiencing this comfort did the first smoothed chords of Jazz flow from the guitar of Glenn Heller become a part of my relaxations. Each note of every measure was played expertly from this gifted musician complimenting the flavor of the room while creating an ambiance of its own. Even as I write this article some time after the festival, the memory of Mr. Heller’s performance brings to me relaxed sensation. You can learn more about The Patisarri Fauchere by exploring the Hotel Fauchere Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hotel.fauchere.3 and the talents of Glenn Heller by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/MilfordJazzGuitar?fref=ts.

Again, as it soon became a common desire during the day, I wished to spend more of my time listening to Mr. Heller but the call of the musical adventures yet to be realized beckoned me onward. So, I traveled the length of the small town and met some street musicians and visited a spot where the Milford Quilter’s Guild were selling tickets to raise funds by raffling off a quilt. Eventually, I arrived at a destination that appeared upon a listing of the day’s offerings as it was presented in the Thursday June 6th edition of The Pike County Dispatch. The section of the publication was given to me by a wonderful woman whom I met at The Flying Pig Tea Room.

I arrived at the Harrington House Bed and Breakfast to find the band called, “The Merchants of Groove” beginning to perform. It wasn’t long before the first set of bluesy notes inspired those who gathered to rhythmically sway their heads while keeping the beat with the more than occasional utterances of “Oh, Man. Yeah” forming on their lips. The band not only performed on the lawn of the Bed and Breakfast establishment but they also played their songs upon the vast soulful expanse contained in the amalgamation of the human experience. In other words, it was groovy. You can learn more about The Harrington House Bed and Breakfast by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Harrington-House-Bed-and-Breakfast/119367203630 and The Merchants of Groove by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/McCallJazz?fref=ts.

Again, I reluctantly moved on to explore the festival’s offerings and found myself at the Upper Delaware GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi sexual, Transgender) Center who also had their Open House event that day. A variety of snacks and beverages was as welcoming as those who greeted me when I entered the center since I was accompanied on my journeys by a slight sensation of thirst and hunger. Once these culinary yearnings of the flesh were quenched, I joined those who gathered at the center to enjoy the musical offerings of  a trio known as “In Spite of Ourselves” consisting of Anna, Michelle, and Quasi. Together, the presented a number of songs previously created by established artists but made each song their own through their definitive interpretations.

I was especially impressed by the trio’s rendition of the song, “Ode to Billy Joe” written in 1967 by Bobbie Gentry who was as one of the first female country artists to compose and produce her own material. The song is about the suicide of a man named, “Billy Joe McAllister” who did so by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge in Money, MS during the 1950’s. The song inspired a film to be made in 1976 on which Ms. Gentry collaborated with the screenwriter. The film reveals the reason for Billy Joe McAllister suicide was due to an incident involving gay sex. For me, recalling this information made the performance of the song at the Upper Delaware GLBT Center a very poignant one.

The Upper Delaware GLBT Center welcomes, supports and empowers the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) community living in and visiting the Upper Delaware region. The center is located in the Old School House in Milford, PA. The present a number of events throughout the year which will include a Pride Dance on Saturday June 22nd, a Family Picnic on Sunday June 23rd, and participation in the NYC PRIDE Parade on Sunday June 30th. You can learn more about The Upper Delaware GLBT Center by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Upper-Delaware-GLBT-Center/75258021683.

Although I immensely enjoyed my time at The Upper Delaware GLBT Center, I stayed true to my adventurous spirit and left to explore more of the festival. I met more street musicians until I ventured upon the duo, “They Know” who consists of Daniel Ehart and Lee Raden and was performing at Pike County Licensing. Playing before a magical piscine backdrop, the two men rendered their songs to a crowd eagerly awaiting to partake of the abundant catch of poetic symbolism brought ashore through their compositions. The songs not only allowed those who listened the fathom the depth of each piece but enticed each person to explore the caverns of their thoughts as well. You can learn more about They Know by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/theyknow1?fref=ts.

Again, I moved on to experience more music and found it at the Block Party which took place at The Jorgensons’ at the Dimmick Inn where a band was playing. The festival within a festival attracted a great number of people who enjoyed the music while consuming beer and sausage sandwiches as they danced. Some of the band members left the performance area in order to sing alongside those who were enjoying the show. You can learn more about The Jorgensons’ at the Dimmick Inn by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Jorgensons-At-The-Dimmick-Inn/123917469924.

I moved away from the spirited crowd and arrived at Davis Chant Reality whose porch offered the band known as The SaRon Crenshaw Trio. Their free flowing style was perfect for the bluesy tunes they performed. There was several times during the performance when guitarist SaRon Crenshaw moved into the audience to share his love for the music more intimately with those who eagerly partook of its properties. You can learn more about The SaRon Crenshaw Trio by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/groups/magicsaron.

As their set came to a close, I traveled to the Artisan Exchange to once again experience a performance by The Merchants of Groove. It was good to hear them again. You can learn more about The Artisan Exchange by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Artisan-Exchange-Milford-PA/111789235518623?fref=ts. I then went to The First Presbyterian Church of Milford and partook of a group who sang a number of songs relating to the Christian faith. Their performance struck a meaningful chord in many who heard them and the deftness of the musical skills were quite evident. As I left the church, I partook of the free lemonade and popcorn they offered. You can learn more about The First Presbyterian Church of Milford by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/First-Presbyterian-Church-of-Milford/116189901736460?fref=ts.

I then ventured to The Golden Fish Gallery where The Tara Minstrels where playing. It was good to see them once again especially since their number have grown to include additional musicians. Their sound maintained the joyous flavor I’ve heard earlier in the day but it was enhance by the presence of their friends. As I experienced this, my thoughts reminded me that love can never be divided. It can only multiply and this was made evident by the performance given by The Tara Minstrels. You can learn more about The Golden Fish Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Golden-Fish-Gallery-Pike-County-PA-Fine-Arts-and-Crafts/164248230348753?fref=ts.

There were, of course, much more music to be enjoyed throughout the day. However, being human and not being able to be in more than one place at a time, I did not experience it all. But, for what I did manage to take with me, I am thankful as it has enriched me. There were more music to enjoy along with some truly remarkable art as the day progressed. But, at this point in the article, I would like to share with you something else that made my birthday this year a truly memorable one.

As many of you know, I’m part of an art group called, “The Forwardian Arts Society” and we are a fellowship for people who love the arts. In the spirit of that love, we’re recently began a Photography Club known as “The Forwardian F Stops” and our first event was scheduled to take place during The Milford Music Festival on Saturday June 8th. The Photographic Shooting Spree invited interested photographers to capture images relating to the festival and the town of Milford itself.

Meeting some of our club’s membership was a wonderful gift as we shared conversations reflecting our love for photography and other topics close to our hearts. However, there were also some members of our club who did partake of our Photographic Shooting Spree in Milford whom I haven’t met in person and this was mainly due to my cell phone not receiving a signal. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet up with these individuals but I’m very happy to learn they were there. Thank you for letting me share this aspect of my adventures in Milford. You can learn more about The Forwardian F Stops by exploring our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-F-Stops/210338035772997?fref=ts.

The next part of my adventure occurred when I returned to The Patisarri Fauchere to partake an artist’s reception featuring the photographic work of Jennifer Doherty. The vibrant colors of her floral depictions contrasted well with her black and white images. There was a intricacy in her work that enticed the viewer to delve deeper into each piece very much like a flower entreats a bee to taste its nectar.

During the reception, a musical performance was given guitarist Linda Hadley. To say her approach and style was powerful would render the clich├ęd term “an understatement” meaningless. The experience of her music was so much more than powerful. It was “whoa-ly shit.” Every song she sang beat the crap out of the listener until the shear pleasure of it instilled in one the desire to be hit more times than a gambling addict at a Blackjack table. Even the second part of her set which might be considered by those who have a extremely well developed imagination as more docile had the teeth kicking ability as her first set of songs; only slower.

It was during this time did Maxwell Kofi Donkor who has gained a well deserved reputation as a teacher and practitioner of African Drumming approach Ms. Hadley to perform percussion alongside her. Together, they blended their talents until one voice spoke through the music which became enhanced by the lyrics Ms. Hadley sung. It was cool. The Jennifer Doherty exhibition at The Patisarri Fauchere continues to be on display until July 8th. You can learn more about Ms. Doherty and her work by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/jnndhrty while you can learn more about Linda Hadley and her music by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hadleysmusic.

In addition to the music presented throughout the festival, a number of art galleries who are part of the newly named, “Milford Art District” held Artists’ Receptions in the evening as part of the town’s monthly Art After Dark event. The galleries included in this newly established district are The Artery, The Artisan Exchange, The BlueStone Studio, The Forge Studio and Gallery, The Golden Fish Gallery, Moon Gravel Arts, and The Highland Photographic Guild. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit all the galleries who held an Artists’ Reception but, if the ones I did attend were an indication, I’m sure the work the presented and the atmosphere the venue created to welcome its visitors proved to be an enchantment that will abide with many for a long time.

The first of the galleries I visited was The Forge Studio and Gallery who presented the work of Christine Griffin and her exhibition titled, “Cosmoscope.” The reception also presented the work of Elizabeth Garrison  featuring her exhibition titled, “Mandalas.” The universal energies as alluded to by the exhibitions’ titles enhanced the mood of anyone who entered the gallery through the bright and vibrant colors embodied in the majority of the pieces. It should be noted that the arrangement of the work and (what seemed to be) the freshly painted white walls as a sense that each piece was an island unto itself. This allowed each visitor to the gallery to put aside the distractions of the day and to bring their attention to each piece.

The Forge Studio and Gallery presents work created by contemporary artists in its gallery which is adjacent to the working studio of Phil Rachelson. Their current exhibitions are titled, “Cosmoscope” featuring the work of Christine Griffin and “Mandalas” featuring the work of Elizabeth Garrison. They will continue to be on display at the gallery until a closing reception takes place on July 7th. Please Explore The Forge Studio and Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/theforgestudioandgallery?fref=ts  for more information.

The Second gallery I visited was The Highland Photographic Guild who held an Artist’s Reception featuring the work of Julia Zimmermann for her exhibition titled, “The White Album.” The photographic work featured in the exhibition centered around a musical theme reflecting the festival. The images were imaginative and many contained a wicked sense of humor bound to delight those who allow themselves to partake of it.

The Highlands Photographic Guild was established in July 2006 as a cooperative gallery for contemporary photographers to exhibit and sell their work. The gallery also provides a gathering place for working artists and the public to share information with the photographic community in a creative environment. The current exhibition titled, “The White Album” featuring the work of  Julia Zimmermann will be on display until July 7th. Please Explore The Highlands Photographic Guild Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/HighlandsPhotoGuild for more information.

The third gallery I visited was The ARTery Gallery who held an Artist’s Reception featuring the work of Al Bialos. A celebration of life was depicted in each painting reflecting the culture and people in Latin America. It was mentioned to me that many people are surprised to learn the artist himself isn’t Hispanic which shows the artistic perception and imagination can bring a realness to any artistic endeavor regardless of heredity or experience. Music was presented by Jazz Pianist Eric Hedik whose sounds complimented the reception well.

The ARTery first opened their gallery in 1999 and continues to be owned and operated by a cooperative of successful and emerging artists and artisans from the Tri-State area. The current exhibition featuring the work of Al Bialos is presented alongside other artists of the cooperative and will be on display until July 8th. Please Explore The ARTery Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/groups/128865803875836/?fref=ts for more information.

The fourth and final gallery I visited was The BlueStone Studio which is a workshop and showroom presenting the works of potter David Greenbaum and artist Joann Wells Greenbaum. The gallery featured a number of ceramic item including their renowned Shohola Bells along with several vibrant and whimsical paintings and prints. Please Explore The BlueStone Studio Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/BlueStoneStudio for more information.

After I left The BlueStone Studio, I left Milford to journey home after a full day. My sense of reluctance was stronger than ever. It was a wonderful day but it has come to a close and it was time to leave it behind so another day can begin. I realize while ending this article the fullness of the experience of attending the Milford Music Festival can never be expressed in words or in the images that accompany the written record of my visit to the town. But, here it is and I invite those who have attended the festival to share your comments relating your experiences and reflections. I look forward to reading them. You’ll be able to view more photographs I took during my visit to The Milford Music Festival in The Milford Music Festival 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151693475150421.1073741836.636000420&type=1.

The Milford Music Festival began in 2010 and has since become one of the areas definitive event for all lovers of the art of music. The most recent festival took place over the weekend which began Friday June 7th and concluded on Sunday June 9th. A variety of musicians, artists, and businesses participate in the free event every year. The schedule for the 2014 festival has yet to be determined.  Please Explore The 2013 Milford Music Festival Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Milford-Music-Festival/152081921522374 for more information.

Sharing a Launch with TVPocono

The SOHO in the BURG art gallery in Stroudsburg, PA hosted a Launch Party to celebrate the commencement of a new online television (aka webivison) station called, “TVPOCONO” on Friday June 7th. It was a well attended affair filled with the excitement associated with such innovative ventures. This was enhanced by the food prepared on site by Chef Warren. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Launch Party in the Stroudsburg Art District 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151420282390421.539464.636000420&type=1.

The new “webivison” station is the brainchild of Bridget Williams who is also the owner of Shoppes on Main which is a boutique located in Stroudsburg, PA featuring a variety of upscale merchandise presented by a number of vendors. Although the station is in its infancy, several programs are already available to be viewed online at anytime those who visit the website chooses to do so. They include a talk show titled, “MY OPINION” consisting of co hosts chatting about a number of topics and the original soap opera titled, “The Newberrys.” Both programs are recorded at The SOHO in the BURG.

Unfortunately, some technical difficulties with the computer available at the Launch Party kept those attending the event from viewing the programs the station broadcasts. However, I visited the website in my own computer soon after the party and found a number of shows are indeed available catering to an upscale predominantly female audience. Still, as mentioned earlier, the station is in its infancy as it was noted they are seeking ideas for shows to be added to their programming schedule. This bit of sharing led me to eagerly anticipate a variety of future programs to be enjoyed by a more diverse audience. You learn more about TVPOCONO, view their programs, and learn how you can become a part of the station’s future by visiting their website at www.tvpocono.com or by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/TVPoconocom-Your-source-for-innovative-and-fun-programs/104220372560.

SOHO in the BURG in Stroudsburg, PA is an extension of the Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie which opened its doors to the public in April of 2012. In addition to serving as a studio from which many of TVPocono programs are recorded, the gallery is presently presenting the “Farm Field Forest” exhibition featuring the work of Patricia A. Griffin which will continue to be on display until July 21st. An Artist’s Talk will be given by Ms. Griffin at the Gallery on Saturday July 6th at 4pm. The next exhibition presented at the Gallery will be their Water Show which welcomes artists to submit their work depicting Boats, Bridges, Beaches, or any subject relating to water. The Artists’ Reception is scheduled to take place Saturday August 3rd beginning at 4pm and will continue to be displayed at the Gallery until September 16th. You can learn more about SOHO in the BURG and all their creative endeavors by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/BackstreetStudioAndArtGallerie.

Friday, June 07, 2013

An Almost Summer OMN

A touch of Summer filled the air as the Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA once again opened its doors to present their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday June 2nd. I arrived late to the session to find the number of attendees noticeably smaller in number than ordinary. This may have been due to an universal desire to spend the glorious day exploring outside endeavors or to the fact many have found Summer Jobs whose prohibitive schedules keeps them from their heart’s pursuits. Regardless of the population’s size, the same energies that welcomes and encourages those who have come to love the venue remained abundant with A. P. and Jessie Roth presenting each performer to the gathering.

When I arrived, Mikey B. was sharing his poetry with another poet named Brad on stage beside him. His words were accompanied by some soft guitar music performed by Dee Smoov Allen. As Mikey B. concluded his reading, Brad shared his words with the gathering. When the last echoes of his words faded from the room, Brad was followed by Vinnie whose familiar kick ass renditions of well known songs was amplified by some musicians who was inspired to accompany him. They included Jason DeLima, Nick Desouza, and Tyler. As Vinnie concluded his set, a Young Man known as Brad took the stage to perform some songs a cappella.

Brad was followed by a duo known as Woodrow who featured Theresa Ratliff on vocals and Brian Bramkam on Guitar. They belted out some great songs reminiscent of the era of love that is associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s. One who is familiar with those times could close one’s eyes and easily feel the presence of Janis Joplin or another singer of her caliber from the period. Groovy. They were followed by Nick Desouza on Guitar and Tyler on Bongo Drums who presented a number of songs. Nick and Tyler were followed by Chicken Nuggex (aka Amy Swagg, Swag Amy, or Amy Burowski) who shared poetry that never fails to touch the essence of those who hear it. Chicken Nuggex was followed by J. R. (aka Jessie Roth) who shared a song while Tycho accompanied her on drums. She was followed by Jason DeLima and Tycho who performed on Guitars as they were accompanied by A. P. on vocals. At the conclusion of their set, Jason remained on stage to share additional songs he sung from his soul.

Due to the unusually small number of attendees for the event, a great deal of time was left which enabled many who performed earlier to do so again. Woodrow returned to the stage with some additional songs as did Brad whose songs were now accompanied by music. The evening came to a close with a performance by Vinnie who asked if there were any requests. I was pleased when he accepted mine which was to sing a song written by Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam). The song Vinnie selected was titled, “Wild World” which Cat #wrote for Patti D'Arbanville with whom he had a relationship with. The song brought the evening to an end sending those who attended out into wild worlds of their own. However, living with the assurance there will be another Open Mic Nite the following week made it easier to get by just upon a smile. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday June 2nd Open Mic Nite in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite series will take place on Sunday June 9th beginning at 7pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. The featured performer for the evening is yet to be announced. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which is currently presenting their June exhibition featuring the work of Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince. The exhibition will be on display at The Living Room Gallery until June 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

A Gazebo in Mintel Condition

On a night that happily reflected hopes embodied in the upcoming Summer season, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain (PCOM) in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented the first installment in their 2013 series of Summer Gazebo Concerts on Sunday June 2nd. A moderately sized gathering came to listen to the music in the outdoor setting while sitting on their chairs or reclining on their blankets. The concert featured The Eric Mintel Quartet with Eric Mintel on Keyborad, Nelson Hill on Saxophone and Flute, Jack Heggi on Bass, and Dave Mohn on Drums.

Among other things, Delaware Water Gap, PA is well known for presenting an abundance of the musical form known as Jazz. In fact, the town is considered a Mecca for all who love the musical form as demonstrated by the existence of the Annual Jazz and Arts Festival which has been held in the town every September since 1977. The first gazebo concert of 2013 reflected the mood of the area as well established practitioners of the musical art form took the stage and shared their considerable talents with the gathering on the lawn.

The performance given by The Eric Mintel Quartet was smooth as silk coupled with the excitement one experiences while listening to the intricate modulations so indicative of the form placing new meaning to each musical phrase. Original compositions along with those written by established artists (including a tribute to Dave Brubeck passed away in December of 2012 and is best known for his compositions which include, “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “The Duke,” and “Take Five.”) carried the day and the audience who were comfortably embraced by the sounds. The solo performance of each musician led the audience on journeys to landscapes beyond the songs’ measures until the blending of all the instruments brought every traveler home to hear its resonance with refreshed ears. This adventure lead many to verbally respond to it by simply saying, “Yeah.” You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during The Eric Mintel Quartet concert in The PCOM 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151682942230421.1073741834.636000420&type=1.

Pianist and composer Eric Mintel was born in 1967 and was known to create his own melodies on the piano at the age of three. By 1982, Eric was playing compositions such as “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” “Take Five,” and other demanding pieces. The Eric Mintel Quartet was formed in 1993. They have performed at the White House for President Clinton and opened for Dave Brubeck. A CD titled, “Just Around The Corner” was recently released containing original compositions written by Eric Mintel. You’ll be able to learn more about Eric Mintel and his music by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Mintel-Quartet/67884606805?fref=ts.

According to their website, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain is “… a community of disciples illuminated by God’s love who care for others spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially as we explore new avenues of grace and grow in faith through worship and service.” In an endeavor to manifest the goals of this statement, they hold weekly services every Sunday beginning at 10am, providing a hostel for those hikers who travel along the Appalachian Trail as well as holding a Hikers’ Dinner every Thursday evening throughout the Summer Months to replenish their energies, supporting the Kenyan village of Amilo by providing a school feeding program for 15 orphans, a well, housing, and simple medical care and information to the villagers, and by sharing a partnership with the Reformed Church located in Cardenaz, Cuba. They also support the local Fire Company and Women’s Resources Center as well as provide community aid funds for residents who are suffering economic burdens. The size of the congregation is approximately 200 people.

The Summer Gazebo Concert Series began in 1990 and is presented every Sunday evening throughout the Summer months until the end of August in order to support the local musicians and provide a venue where all ages could learn to appreciate Jazz and acoustic music. In reflection of Delaware Water Gap, PA being considered a Mecca for Jazz, the concerts has a great number of Jazz performances in their schedule. However, all musical styles are showcased during the summer which includes Blue Grass and Classical Music. The next installment in The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Summer Gazebo Concert Series for 2013 is scheduled for Sunday June 9th and will feature the talents of Spencer and Nancy Reed. The concert is free to the public and begins at 6pm. Please Explore The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 for more information.

June Artists in the Living Room

On a beautiful Saturday evening, The Living Room Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception for their June Exhibition on Saturday June 1st featuring the work of Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince. In addition to presenting the work of these talented artists, the reception also featured a musical performance given by guitarist Dee Smoov Allen who performed alongside Tycho. The event also featured a live Portrait Artist Auction.

The number of attendees of the June Reception was a bit less than those of those held previously at the gallery but the energies deriving from a profound love for the arts was noticeably present. Curiosity, excitement, and wonder filled those who came out to the reception as the work presented by the featured artists ranged from the peculiar, to the macabre, to the classical surrealism, and to realism. Experiencing such a variety of created approaches and styles to the arts  was enjoyable.

The beauty found in the pieces presented by Heidi Hooper is quite captivating but the most interesting aspect of her work is not what is depicted but the materials she utilized in their creation. Those of us who do their laundry every couple of months and feel a great sense of accomplishment when our clothing is placed in the dryer before too much mold and mildew builds up upon them knows performing the annual task of emptying the dryer’s lint catcher thingy can be a chore. But, one of the amazing aspects of the artistic perspective of life is the ability to transform an everyday menial task into something wonderful. Ms. Hooper demonstrates this ability as the images she presents in the exhibition were created from the lint she pulled out of her dryer and formed into images reflecting the style associated with Andy Warhol. During my conversation with her I discovered she welcomes donations of lint so to benefit her endeavors which led me to contemplate an annual pilgrimage to her studios. You can learn more about Ms. Hooper and her artistic approach by exploring her website at www.heidihooper.com.

The macabre nature of Rob Hafner’s sculpted pieces could well create a sensation of dread and discomfort if they weren’t so captivating to the eye. Although Mr. Hafner depicts horrific scenes with some presented encased in glass to create the illusion the sculptures are actually found specimens, they all contain a sense of fun. Mr. Hafner’s work can be favorably compared to the images found in the cinematic work of Director Tim Burton but a certain degree of originality enhances each piece so it isn’t merely an imitation of the style. I did have a nightmare about Mr. Hafner’s pieces but found myself laughing myself awake as one had a hard time leaving it’s jar. You can learn more about Rob Hafner and his work by exploring his Facebook Profile at www.facebook.com/rob.hafner?fref=ts.

A great variety of creative styles and approaches could be found in the work presented by Erick Bakke. Pieces created through the mediums of Oil, Watercolor, Lithoprint, and Pastel filled the majority of the room depicting surreal images reminiscent of those conjured up by artists like Salvador Dali to images reflecting the beauty found in the human form. One piece in particular depicted a nude whose features were subtly obscured by the shadows that surrounded her. This enticed those who viewed the work to enter its realm more deeply by adding a sense of mystery to the subject. Once upon a time I would have lifted the piece to see if the lighting was more conducive to viewing the nude’s attributes but I’m much too mature to contemplate such things now. You can learn more about Erick Bakke and his work by exploring his Facebook Profile at www.facebook.com/eric.bakke.56?fref=ts.

The Black and White images found in the Photography presented by Sepia Prince were few in number but each had a power in its essence which spoke the truths inherent in subject depicted. Each photograph shared a non verbal statement about life, politics, and/or society that spoke loud enough to create a deafness in those who would seek not to listen. The spacing of the work enhanced the significance of each piece as the vastness encouraged the viewer to spend a considerable amount of time with one image before moving along the wall to view another. I found myself contemplating upon some of the voices I’ve heard from within while viewing Mr. Prince’s work several hours after I left the gallery. You can learn more about Sepia Prince and his work by exploring his Website at www.sepiaprince.com.

Although one can’t quite say the combined presentation of the artists’ works in The Living Room Gallery was a seamless one in which a flow was created connecting one set of pieces with another, but the slight perception of a loose stitch here and there proved to make it an interesting exhibit as distinctions between the creative approaches and styles of the individual artists were emphasized. All in all, it was a good collection of work encouraging many to view it while expressing their appreciation through a series of Oooos, Ahhhs, and Hmmms.

In addition to the work created by Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince. The event presented music performed by Dee Smoov Allen who shared the stage with Tycho. Those who frequent The Living Room’s Open Mic Nite on Sunday evenings are well aware of the talents of Dee and Tyco. Their weekly performances never fails to heighten the Open Mic events and their considerable talent proved to be an asset to the reception as well.

Prior to their performance, Shane Izykowski took the stage to welcome those who gathered for the event while sharing a number of announcements related to the arts. One of which was the search conducted by Sky Gallery for artists who would like to have their work considered for being presented on Billboards. The project is a joint venture being offered by Adams Outdoor Advertising and The Living Room. All artists and photographers meeting the submission criteria are welcomed to participate. The deadline for submissions is Saturday August 3rd. More information can be gained by contacting Shane at thelivingroomgallery@gmail.com.

As the announcement regarding Sky Gallery’s search concluded, the auctioning of artists to create a portrait began. Sonia Leticia, Rendi, Kara Williams, John Catalano, and Eric Bakke were the artists up for bid. Those attending the reception who wished to have their portraits produced by any of the artists were encouraged to make a bid in order to raise funds for The Living Room and its endeavors. The auction proved to be fun as art lovers were engaged in a friendly bidding wars filled with laughter.

As the auction concluded and the artists prepared to create a portrait for the winning bidders, Guitarist Dee Smoov Allen took to the stage with Tycho. The songs they performed encouraged many who frequent the Living Room’s Open Mic Nites to happily relive the moments they performed there while those who haven’t seen them perform in the venue were struck by the quality of their performance. Many among the Reception’s attendees place money in their tip picture to show their appreciation for their musical talents. The appreciation was reciprocal.

The Living Room Gallery’s June exhibition featuring the work of Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince will continue to be displayed until June 30th. The next exhibit will be a group show in which local artists are invited to participate. The theme for the exhibit is yet to be announced. You’ll be able to find more photograph taken during the June Artists’ Reception in The Living Room 2013 Part 3 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Art Gallery is organized by members of The Living Room Art Committee. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information about the venue, what it offers to the community, and how to participate and become involved with the art related work it does.

In addition to their exhibitions, The Living Room presents a weekly Open Mic Nites which occurs every Sunday Evening beginning at 6pm. Musicians, Poets, Writers, and anyone who would like to share their talents with an eagerly accepting audience are welcomed to participate. There is occasionally a featured band scheduled each week that enhances the enjoyment of the event. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series at it’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

A Rural SOHO

SOHO in the BURG in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artist’s Reception on Saturday June 1st for their exhibition titled, “Farm Field Forest” featuring the work of Patricia A. Griffin. Huge canvases depicting various animals in this ark-like exhibit filled the spacious gallery. The intrinsic beauty of each animal found its way into the paintings which was particularly noticeable when one would look into its eyes.

It may be debatable whether or not a non human animal has a soul or that it could be discovered by looking through its eyes. After all, what one may see could be merely a reflection of what we wish to attribute to the creature. And, there is also the debate on whether the soul exists or not. Regardless of the deposition of all these debates, Ms. Griffin uncannily captures the essence of each animal in her work whether one considers this essence to be evidence of a soul embodied in a non human being or not.

In fact, one wonders if it really matters. I found in my wanderings through the gallery that each image created by Ms. Griffin contained what I sensed as love. Whether the love I sensed came from the eyes of the animal depicted, the admiration felt by the artist for the subjects she painted, or the image merely reflected something that has been hidden inside of me does not matter. What matters is experiencing the love that exists within us whether it is found in the talent of an artist, a touch of a lover, of in the mew of a kitten because love enhances us regardless of its source. In any case, the effect I experienced while viewing Ms. Griffin’s work enhanced me.

In addition to Ms. Griffin’s work, the creative endeavors of other artists such as Steven Washington, Susan Molina-Washington, Andrei Protsouk, James Chesnick, Jim Smeltz, and many more could be found throughout the gallery as well as a number of deftly crafted sculpted and photographic works created by the Gallery’s Owner and Curator Andrea Robbins Rimberg. Along with the delightful conversation to be partaken of during the reception, Don Slepian shared his gentle musical talents and Chef Guarino Cortese of Chef II Go masterfully created a cuisine purposely reflecting the work found throughout the gallery which was prepared on site. You’ll find more photographs taken during the “Farm Field Forest” Artist’s Reception in The Stroudsburg Art District 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151420282390421.539464.636000420&type=3.

Patricia A. Griffin was born in Philadelphia, PA and received her B. F. A. from Moore College of Art and Design. She has spent the past 24 years traveling, teaching, and painting. According to her website, the animals she depicts in her work gives her an endless opportunity for reflection, growth, and human expression. Her saturated palette generates a powerful and dynamic “push-pull” vibration which dominates her paintings. These elements transform her paintings from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Ms. Griffin has received numerous awards with her work which are being shown in museums throughout the world. Her work can also be seen in The Forwardian Arts Society literary and Art magazine titled, “Forwardian.” You can learn more about Patricia A Griffin and her work by visiting her website at www.patriciaagriffin.com.

The “Farm Field Forest” featuring the work of Patricia A. Griffin will continue to be on display at  SOHO in the BURG (aka Backstreet Studio and Gallery) in Stroudsburg, PA until July 21st. A Painting on Site demonstration will be given by Ms. Griffin on Saturday June 8th beginning at 11am. Ms. Griffin will also give an Artist’s Talk at the Gallery on Saturday July 6th at 4pm. The next exhibition presented at the Gallery will be their Water Show which welcomes artists to submit their work depicting Boats, Bridges, Beaches, or any subject relating to water. The Artists’ Reception is scheduled to take place Saturday August 3rd beginning at 4pm and will continue to be displayed at the Gallery until September 16th.

SOHO in the BURG is an extension of the Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie which opened its doors to the public in April of 2012. The space is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who has become well known for her creativity as many of her pieces were and continues to be presented in prestigious museums throughout the United States. She is also know for her undying dedication to the arts which she utilizes her exuberant energies to promote at every opportunity. Among her many positions serving in organizations and groups relating to the arts, she is the former president of the Pocono Arts Council and currently is the Arts and Photography Director of The Forwardian Arts Society literary and Art magazine titled, “Forwardian.” You can learn more about SOHO in the BURG, Ms. Rimberg, and all their creative endeavors by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/BackstreetStudioAndArtGallerie.

An Existential OMN

It was nearing the end of a chilled holiday weekend as the temperatures hovered around some unseasonable numbers when the Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA once again opened its doors to present their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday May 26th. A gathering of music and poetry lovers were eager to enter the venue to experience a warmth generated not only from the building’s heating system but from the camaraderie of the friends they grew in knowing along with those they had yet to meet. It was a good feeling.

However, those who have experienced the Open Mic Series for a number of weeks were touched with a bit of sadness as its long time host and originator, Billy Mack, was no longer part of the event as he has moved to the north west region of the United States. He will be missed by many as his personality lent itself to create a welcoming atmosphere which inspired many to share their talents. This was especially true for those who have never stepped before an audience prior to entering the Living Room as Billy’s relaxed nature diluted their nervousness.

Still, the Open Mic Series has been left in very good hands as A. P. and Jessie Roth (aka J. R.) stepped up to the task of welcoming and inviting those whose talents yearned to be shared. The night began with Poetry read by Brad which was followed by a group titled, “Sundays on Main” in honor of the Open Mic event. The group consists of Dee Smoov Allen on vocals and Guitar along with Tyco and A. P on vocals. They were followed by Chicken Nuggex (aka Amy Swagg, Swag Amy, or Amy Burowski) who shared her poetry. She was followed by Guitarist Eric Funn who sang a number of original songs along with a song written by Billy Mack. He was joined by Zeke Bird on Violin and Dan Levin on Banjo. Many found themselves singing along with their hearts as if they were saying to Billy, “I don’t know where you are these days. I don’t know where you are.”

As the quiet contemplation inspired by Eric’s performance faded, BBQ took the stage with their wonderfully odd renditions of sounds and vocalizations which has made them a favorite among those who frequent the event. BBQ consists of Mike Mitchell and his son Frank. They were joined by Dee Smoov Allen on drums and Zeke Bird who performed on Violin and Trumpet for a number of tunes which seemed to set the tone consisting of psychological and psychedelic wanderings for the remainder of the evening. They were followed by the evening’s featured performers Jack Wright and Ron Stabinsky.

The duo of Jack Wright and Ron Stabinsky presented a number of instrumental compositions which flavored the room with touch of jazz. But, the performance went beyond the musical form many are familiar with. With Jack on Saxophone and Ron on Keyboards and Trumpet, the music twisted and turned the psyche of their listeners into unknowable shapes until they blended with essence of their compositions. A new recognition took place as each denizen of the gathering opened their inner eye to comprehend the secrets long held in the mysteries of their lives as they were illuminated by the music. Wow.

As Jack and Ron concluded their performance, Batt Opry (aka Battery Operated) featuring Mike Mitchell and his son Frank who retook the stage to explore regions of the mind even deeper than those touched by the featured performers. They were followed by Vinnie whose powerful renditions of some kick ass songs made him a favorite among those who frequent the Open Mic Nites. It was a treat to find this same quality was to be presented in an original piece titled, “I don’t Want to Smell Your Stinking Ass.” Vinnie was followed by Mike and Kate who performed poetry and music that delighted the soul while taking it upon some journeys. Mike and Kate were followed by Zeke Bird who presented several compositions designed to expand the consciousness beyond its ordinary abilities to dream. He was joined by Dan Levin on Electric Guitar and Saxophone for several songs.

As the mind expanding haze conjured up by Zeke Bird lifted, Jesse Morales took the stage to perform several songs that served to bring the audience back from the nether reaches of the unexplored in order to celebrate the energies that makes one alive in this realm of consciousness. He was joined by Vid on drums and A. P. on vocals. He was followed by a poet known as… Well, it was me. Smiles. I was followed by a duo known as Woodrow which consisted of Theresa Ratliff on vocals and Brian Bramkam on Guitar. Together they belted out some Hot Damn songs that shook the place.

Woodrow was followed by J. R. (Jessie Roth) Box who shared her voice with the gathering. The evening concluded with performance given by a number of denizens of the Open Mic Series. They included Dee Smoov Allen, Tyler Hartle, Nick Desouza, Jesse Morales, A. P., and others who provided a musical send off instilling a desire in everyone to eagerly await the arrival of another Open Mic Nite Event at The Living Room.  You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday June 2nd Open Mic Nite  with special guests Jack Wright and Ron Stabinsky in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite series will take place on Sunday June 9th beginning at 7pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. The featured performer for the evening is yet to be announced. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which is currently presenting their June exhibition titled, “The Human Form” featuring the work of Eric Bakke, Rob Hafner, Heidi Hooper, and Sepia Prince. The exhibition will be on display at The Living Room Gallery until June 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.