Thursday, January 21, 2016

And The Bands Played O(M)N

The second installment of The Sherman Theater's Living Room weekly Open Mic Nite Series in Stroudsburg, PA www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom for 2016 was held on Sunday January 17th. The night began as it usually does with musicians and poets preparing their performances while those who enjoy experiencing their talents prepared themselves for another satisfying evening. The venue began to fill to near capacity as the time for those wishing to share their creativity to place their signatures upon the sign in sheet arrived and many eagerly took their spot in line to do so. It was after some time did the event's co-host, Satilia Rose (aka Tilly), take the stage to welcome those who were present and to introduce the first performers on the list.

The performances began with a band named, “Azure” which consisted of Jazz Ortiz on guitar and vocals, Lauren Bruckstein on Rhythm Guitar, Andrew Baer on Bass, and Victor Valez on Drums. From the first riffs of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's “Purple Haze” which is found on their 1967 album titled, “Are You Experienced?” to the final echoes of Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their 1991 album titled, “Nevermind,” the quartet elicited a number of inaudible utterances of “Holy Shits” and “WTFs” from a mesmerized audience. The excellent performance skills and the uncanny musical phrasings flowing from each musician proved to be a mind blowing journey which were catapulted by the vocals of Ms. Ortiz whose audibilities created favorable comparisons to Cherie Currie of the band known as “The Runaways” (of whom Joan Jett was a member) and to Debbie Harry of “Blondie” in the minds of many. However, Azure's mastery of the music they interpret stands alone and a future where of upcoming bands will be compared to their qualities can be seen in their performance. Azure will be performing during The Rock Your School Benefit Concert on Saturday February 6th at The Charter Arts Theater in Bethlehem, PA. You can learn more information about Azure and their future gigs by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/AzureBandPA.

Azure was followed by a solo performance given by guitarist Brian Bramkamp of Woodrow www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf who struck a chord within all who listened while elevating their perception of the dreams he inspired through his songs. Brian was followed by Frenesi Gates whose conceptional phrasing found in his poetry were strung together by his voice, his body language, and the imagination of the audience. He was followed by a performance given by The Forwardian Players who presented a piece titled, “Oh, That's Cold” which was written by Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that's me) who appeared in it along with Anthony DeRobertis (aka Frenesi Gates). The presentation was well received by the generous audience. The Forwardian Players' were followed by Ann Mathews who shared a spoken word performance centered around a desire to enjoy a salad. As Ms. Mathews performance concluded, a brief break ensued.

The break was followed by the appearance of Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) and Emillie Day who invited Dayanara Howard to the stage. She spoke at length about her entering a business management competition among the regional DECA membership and came in 4th place. This honor gives her the opportunity to move on to the state competition in Hershey, PA which is planned for March. Successfully competing in the state competition will allow her to move on to the national competition in Nashville, TN.

However, participating in these competitions are costly and are paid for by the competitors and their families. Ms. Howard asked the gathering for their financial help. A raffle was offered by The Living Room which offered 2 tickets to The Pink Floyd Laser Light Spectacular which will be presented at The Sherman Theater on Saturday March 5th along with a $25 gift certificate to the Flood's Restaurant in Stroudsburg, PA. A number of individuals purchased raffle tickets but more funds are still needed. Donations are accepted through Crowdrise which can be accessed at their website at www.crowdrise.com/dayanaragoestostated/fundraiser/bobbymoran.

DECA (formally known as the “Distributive Education Clubs of America”) is a national association of marketing students and competitions that is designed to encourage leadership and managements skills. The organization prepares leaders and entrepreneurs for careers and education in marketing, finance, hospitality, management, and other business areas. It is one of ten organizations listed as Career and Technical Student Organizations by the United States Department of Education. The organization has more than 5,000 chapters with over 220,000 members. You can learn more about DECA by exploring their Website at www.deca.org or from their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/decainc?_rdr=p.

As Ms. Howard's words concluded, Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) and Emillie Day remained on stage to render a duet of spoken word poetry whose separate experiences epitomized in their individual works complimented each other's until new memories emerged to fill the audience's imaginative consciousness. Ms. Rose and Ms. Day were followed by Brad who shared a number of dance routines which enlivened the audience as demonstrated by their supportive vociferation. Brad was followed by Chris “Cee-Rock” Roberts who reconstructed the foundations of the listeners' souls through the poetry and philosophical perceptiveness found in his deftly composed pieces along with those written by other artists which he seamlessly performed.

The next to perform was a guitarist named “Alex” of the band known as “Mona's Staircase.” He was joined by other members of the band who were Joey on Bass and Ryan on Drums. Together, they performed a number of smooth, psychedelic instrumentals that led the subconscious thoughts of all who listened to the realm of forever. You can learn more about Mona's Staircase by exploring their Website at www.monasstaircase.tumblr.com or from their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/Monas-Staircase-980144132058640.

Alex and his band mates were followed by a poet named, “Michael” whose words created out of the memories of the past spoke their humorous truths to the present and future. Micheal was followed by a woman known as “EQ” who moved the audience with a series of life filled songs that were lovingly presented through a voice and ukulele whose wonderful effects of their gentle minglings were reflected in the joyous countenance of the audience. You can learn more about EQ by exploring her Website at www.eqchannel.com or from her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EQ-340799832691077.

EQ was followed by Michael Palomino whose words explore the eternal depths of emotion through the brief language of poetry. Mr. Palomino was the last performer recorded upon the event's main list which allowed those who were upon the waiting list to perform during the remainder of the evening. The first of those to perform from the list was POP PA DOC who performed an A Capella version of the song titled, “Sharp Dressed Man” originally performed by ZZ Top and can be found on their 1983 album titled, “Eliminator.” POP PA DOC was followed by a succession of members of the band “Azure” who shared extensions of their considerable talents with the audience through their poetry.

The fist of these was Andrew Baer whose words explored the cultural malaise of the United States. The next member of Azure to share her words was Jazz Ortiz who touched those who explored her imageries with their heart found new realities to call home. She was followed by the band's drummer, Victor Valez, whose poetic beats echoed throughout the room and the minds of all who inhabited it. Mr. Valez was followed by the final performer of the evening who was Olivia Watt. She sang an A Capella version of the song titled, “Sunday Morning.” The song is performed by the band known as “Maroon 5” and can be found in their 2004 album titled, “Songs About Jane.” Ms. Watt's rendition of the song elevated it's playful properties toward a higher plane of meaning as her voice enhanced the essence of each lyric.

It was after Ms. Watt's performance did the evening come to a close with some appreciative words shared by co-hosts Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) and Emillie Day. This led to numerous conversations between those who performed and those whose understanding of music and poetry were expanded by them. These words soon mingled with those bidding adieu to one another in anticipation of another installment of the Open Mic Nite.

The next Open Mic Nite is scheduled to take place on Sunday January 24th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured performers for the evening will be the band, “Wait for the Day.” www.facebook.com/wftdmusic/?fref=ts Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. In the meantime, you'll be able to view photographs taken during the Sunday January 17th event in the And The Bands Played O(M)N Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154509259668761.1073741937.91146283760&type=3.

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. In addition to their Open Mic Nites series, the venue also holds a number of concerts and special events. Please Explore The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 or call 570-421-2808 for more information on the venue, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, January 18, 2016

We Sing The Weekend Eclectic

Among those who are often seen wandering around The Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA www.stroud-mall.com, a group of multi-generational music lovers gathered in the mall's food court area on Saturday January 16th to participate in an event titled, “We Sing Weekend.” 60 people stood in front of a banner created by artists inhabiting the town's Origins Gallery www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg as an audience numbering over 200 people waited to experience their voices. Bob Riday led the choir and the audience in an eclectic variety of sing-along compositions like “Row, Row, Row your boat,” “Rubber Ducky,” “This Old Man,” and “Hokey Pokey” while Donna Molan accompanied the assembly on piano. A delight was reflected in the voices and eyes of all who were present as the childlike joy that was embodied in each song touched their hearts.


TheWe Sing Weekend” endeavor actually began on Friday January 15th. Prior to the Stroud Mall event, a large number of music lovers shared sing-along songs with over 250 Seniors Citizens who resides in senior communities located throughout the Monroe County, PA area. Many of these singers were part of the event at The Stroud Mall along with others whose desire to share their voices came to join. I did not attend the sing ins at the senior communities but, if the experience at the Saturday performance can be used as an faithful indication of their qualities, it could be reasonably surmised that the senior community performances were highly enjoyable. You'll be able to find more photographs taken during the “We Sing Weekend” held at The Stroud Mall in the We Sing The Weekend Eclectic Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154504743238761.1073741936.91146283760&type=3.



The We Sing Weekend” initiative was begun by Tassy Gilbert and Gary Raish as they realized that everyone likes to sing and everyone has a voice. And, sing along songs were compositions mostly everyone knew and could easily sing. So, an invitation was issued to the community a few weeks prior to the event encouraging anyone who loved to sing to join. Joining promised a wide degree of flexibility as there were no rehearsals scheduled for weekend event and there were no restriction regarding the age one could be to participate nor were there any thought given to the level of singing experience one had. All one had to do was to show up and sing.



A wonderful blending of voices came together enhancing the community building qualities of the songs they performed. I found the afternoon at The Stroud Mall to be a very pleasing one as I enjoyed being reminded of songs taught to me as a child in elementary school and on records my parents bought me during my preschool years. A hope that there will be other such community sing ins scheduled for the future was shared by all who were present. The leaders of the endeavor indicated there will be a number of them but they were currently in the planning stages. But, it was anticipated such plans would be solidified soon. You can learn more about We Sing Weekend” and future events by exploring their Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/925548060874110 or by emailing Gary Raish at garyraish@hotmail.com and Tassy Gilbert at tassy.gilbert@gmail.com.



Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Friday, January 15, 2016

An Interview with Jezabelle

On Wednesday January 13th, I was afforded with an opportunity to meet and chat with Jezabelle Von Jane who is the art director and house mother of the Aerial Gypsy Burlesque www.aerialgypsyburlesque.com prior to her radio interview for the Your voice with (Tu Voz con) Christina show. The interview was to be held at the Stroudsburg, PA location of Lehman Township, PA station WABT aka Pocono 96.7 www.Pocono967.com. We got together earlier at Artisans of the Anvil www.facebook.com/artisansoftheanvil which is an artist-blacksmithing company in Stroudsburg, PA in a meeting that was arranged by Armand Masque Scholaris who produces the Aerial Gypsy Burlesque shows. The experience proved to be a pleasurable one as I found a delightment in learning about Ms. Von Jane along with her love for the art forms of Burlesque and Vaudeville.

During our conversation, I learned that Ms. Von Jane sees herself mainly as a Vaudevillian whose numerous talents include dancing, comedy, emceeing, and more in addition to her considerable skills in creating wonderful productions through her stage set designs and artistic perceptions. The manifestation of her talents and skills began when she discovered that a number of employment opportunities in the Burlesque companies she encountered paid considerably higher wages than other local businesses. Her love for the business grew as she learned doing what she wanted to do was more profitable both financially and artistically than what people around her thought she should be doing. This was enhanced when she began participating in the process of creating productions for the Burlesque troupes she was associated with until she formed her own company. Since then, Ms. Von Jane has earned great acclaim for the shows she elevates to an even higher stratosphere through her plethora of skills and talents. You can learn more about Jezabelle Von Jane by exploring her Website at www.jezabellevonjane.com.

It was after our talk did we travel to the WABT aka Pocono 96.7 studios so Ms. Von Jane and Mr. Scholaris could be interviewed by Christina Luna Zabih Boldu of the Your voice with (Tu Voz con) Christina show. A variety of Latino foods were present when we arrived which were eagerly consumed while Armand and Jezabelle waited to be individually interviewed. Armand was the first to enter the studio adorned with microphones and other technology relating to broadcast radio. The door closed behind him to assure the pristine audio conditions needed for a quality recording of the interview. This inspired Ms. Von Jane to listen with an inquiring ear at the door.

After Mr. Scholaris concluded his interview with Ms. Boldu, Ms. Von Jane entered the studios. The closing of the door did not impede the ability to hear a great deal of laughter from behind it's structure. The joy of the inaudible words were felt throughout the building and everyone in it. It was during this time did I partake of an opportunity to meet and chat with the station's personnel. This included the Station Manager, Kerri-Anne Freeo, with whom I shared a wonderful conversation which allowed me to learn more about the station and all it offers to the community. It was during this chat did Ms. Boldu's interview with Ms. Von Jane concluded and the remainder of our time at the station was spend bidding appreciative adieus to everyone present. You'll find more photographs taken at WABT aka Pocono 96.7 in the “An Interview with Jezabelle” Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154496494858761.1073741935.91146283760&type=3.

The “Your voice with (Tu Voz con) Christina” show is hosted by Christina Luna Zabih Boldu and the show can be heard every every Sunday beginning at 8am on WABT aka Pocono 96.7. It is designed to give a voice to the Hispanic community through the presentation of entertainment, music, and interviews. Her interview with Armand Masque Scholaris and Jezabelle Von Jane of the Aerial Gypsy Burlesque can be heard on Sunday January 17th. You can learn more about Christina Luna Zabih Boldu and her show by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/tuvozconchristina?fref=ts or her Website at www.tuvozconchristina.com.

The interview itself was designed to promote an upcoming production of the Aerial Gypsy Burlesque which will be presented at The Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday January 23rd as part of their Dinner Series. The event includes a buffet dinner and a performance of the Aerial Gypsy Burlesque (or, if a patron wishes, he/she can experience the show only). The evening offers a delightful fusion of burlesque, Vaudevillian, and cabaret arts featuring the skill and challenge of aerial performances. Performances will be given by Lilith Noir www.facebook.com/lilith.noir.39, Bunny Bedford www.bunnybedford.com, ViVi Noir and her Follies www.facebook.com/vivinoirburlyq, Venus Man Trap www.facebook.com/VenusTheAmazonMantrap/?fref=ts, and Zsa Zsa L'Amour www.facebook.com/zsazsalamour777/?fref=ts along with a Tittilizing number performed by Jezabelle Von Jane. The evening will also feature comedian Andy Malafarina www.facebook.com/andy.loblaw and crooner extraordinaire Brad Roccanova www.facebook.com/brad.roccanova/?fref=ts. The Buffet Dinner begins at 6:30pm while the Show begins at 8pm. You'll find more information about the show and ticket information at The Sherman Theater's Facebook Page at www.face­book.com/ShermanTheater?fref=ts or their Website at www.shermantheater.com. Additional information can be gained through the event's Facebook Invitation at www.facebook.com/events/503405449839774.

The word Burlesque derives from the Italian “burlesco,” which, in turn, is derived from the word “burla” of the same language which means a joke, ridicule, or mockery. The English translation of the word has been in effect since the late 17th century but the concept wasn't presented as a theatrical art form until the Victorian era (1800s) which consisted of songs and ribald comic sketches, assorted male acts such as acrobats, magicians, and solo singers, chorus numbers, and an exotic dancer or a sports (wrestling or boxing) match at it's conclusion. A variety show format was introduced in United States from the 1860s to the 1940s and often featured bawdy comedy and female striptease.

Burlesque shows in England went out of fashion towards the end of the 19th century and were replaced by Edwardian musical comedy. However, Burlesque in the United States continued while gradually increasing its focus on female nudity and, by the late 1930s, burlesque shows would have up to six strippers supported by one or two comics and a master of ceremonies. But, by the 1970s, Burlesque declined as nudity became commonplace in theaters and other media. This decline continued It wasn't until the 1990s when a revival (Neo-Burlesque) movement offered a nostalgic experience of the perceived glamor of the classic American burlesque. The Aerial Gypsy Burlesque is not only a continuation of this revival but also an enhanced extension of the art form.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Night of New Decors and Jettstorms

On the 10th day of a new year (Sunday January 10th, 2016), The Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA opened its doors to those who have called it home while preparations were made to present another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom. A room adorned with newly painted walls, hard wood floors, and an actual stage greeted the assembly who shared their wonderment through a multitude of ooos and ahhhs as they explored the spectacle. These pleasured expressions sprinkled the conversations the newness of the environs inspired until the call was given to signify the customary sign in ritual has begun. Those who wished to share their talents throughout the evening took their places in line and placed their signatures or pseudonyms upon the laminated document.

It was shortly after this did co host, Theresa Ratcliff, take the stage to welcome the company to the venue and made some appreciatory comments about the venue's new look. A number of announcements were made which included the reveling of the night's raffle prizes which were CDs and Gift Cards from Main St. Jukebox in Stroudsburg, PA www.facebook.com/mainstjukebox and who the featured performer of the evening was. The excitement of the room swelled to a fevered pitched as Ms. Ratcliff's remarks concluded with the introduction of the evening's first performer of the new year.

Guitarist Drew Breder www.facebook.com/C-Drew-Breder-1599922153565038/?fref=ts was the first to take the stage and began to quietly move the room's denizens toward a profound sense of peace through his soul touching instrumentals. He was followed by the popular duo known as “Woodrow” www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf which consists of Theresa Ratcliff on vocals and Brian Bramkamp on vocals and guitar. Together, they brought forth a power from their music that opened the passageways to the energies embodied within each listener. Woodrow was followed by Nick Pecca who shared songs through his voice and guitar that took the audience along with him on journeys that led to the demolition of the emotional barricades that impede their ability to lead their lives with all of the fullness it can embrace.

Nick was followed by a performance given by The Forwardian Players who presented a piece that celebrated the arrival of a new year which was written by Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that's me). It was titled, “So, You Wanna Have a Resolution” and starred Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that's still me) along with Ann Matthews. Ms. Matthew's performance proved to be a stunning one as the entire piece was well received by the generous audience. The Forwardian Players' were followed by Ann Mathews who returned to the stage in order to present a highly energetic dance performance that revealed the intricacies inherent in the explorations associated to finding one's higher self. The dance was well performed and allowed the audience to gain insight to the process of the spiritual journey. Ms. Matthew was followed by the evening's featured performer.

After some preparations of the stage were completed, a woman known as “Poet,” who would accompany Jett Storm Burgess (aka JettStorm) throughout the set, shared her spoken word poetry which echoed upon the soul of each listener and added an inaudible depth to the songs that would follow. As the strings of JettStorm's guitar were touched and its voice joined his in song, a storm of emotions encompassed the gathering as each composition flowed through their senses creating a new light upon their subconscious horizons composed of the simple complexity of each lyric and note. Poetry and song complimented one another throughout the performance with both elements enhancing the essence of each art form as well as all who had to good fortune to embrace the experience.

Jett Storm Burgess (aka JettStorm) is a member of a band known as “Snot Nosed Kids” which has recently changed its name to “Bi-Curious Slumber Party” www.facebook.com/snkfolkpunk. The band performs a variety of material which includes Punk, Ska, and Grunge. However, Mr. Burgess also enjoys performing alone as JettStorm alongside Poet. Together, they share music in the Folk Punk and Experimental genres as well as some Spoken Word poetry. The combination of these art forms creates a mystical experience for their audience which not only enhances their understanding the subtle intricacies of each song and poem but of life itself. You can learn more about JettStorm by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/jettstormpa.

As JettStorm and Poet concluded their performance, a break ensued which gave the gathering an opportunity to converse with the featured and other performers while sharing their appreciatory sentiments. The break eventually came to an end as JettStorm and the event's co-host, Satilia Rose (aka Tilly), took the stage to select the winning tickets for the night's raffle. Many eagerly peered into the digits of their tickets awaiting for the corresponding sequences to be read aloud. When they were, a joy touched the individuals as they approached the stage to collect their coveted prize. It was after this awarding interlude did the next performer take the stage.

The first post interludial artist to perform was a musician known as “Atilc” who sang a number of meditative songs while being accompanied by his bongos whose rhythms amplified the effect. He was followed by Brad who has been a favorite among the Living Room gathering for a number of years and is well known for his creativity and unique mannerisms. The evening would witness to Brad's renowned flexibility as he danced with a flowing energy that captivated the room. Brad was followed by John who sung number of songs from musicals while announcing his endeavors to be cast in a play he would soon audition for. The audience shared their good wishes in his undertaking and communally expressed a desire to be kept informed regarding his progress.

As John completed his performance, Raven share a number of songs that delighted those who heard them. He was followed by Vid Ryan whose poetry flowed like a river of deeper meanings concentrating their ponderings until they filled the pools of our apprehensions. It was after Mr. Ryan's performance did the evening come to a close with some appreciative words shared by co-hosts Theresa Ratcliff and Satilia Rose (aka Tilly). This was followed by a request that all present be a part of a photograph commemorating the first Open Mic Nite for 2016 as presented in the venue's new d├ęcor. Many of the gathering eagerly took a place upon the stage to have their image recorded for prosperity before bidding adieu to one another in anticipation of another installment of the Open Mic Nite.

The next Open Mic Nite is scheduled to take place on Sunday January 17th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. In the meantime, you'll be able to view photographs taken during the Sunday January 10th event in the A Night of New Decors and Jettstorms Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154489763553761.1073741934.91146283760&type=3.

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. In addition to their Open Mic Nites series, the venue also holds a number of concerts and special events. Please Explore The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 or call 570-421-2808 for more information on the venue, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.