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 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

Azure was followed by a solo performance given by guitarist Brian Bramkamp of Woodrow 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

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 or from their Facebook Page at

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 or from their Facebook Page at

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 or from her Facebook Page at

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.” 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

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 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.

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