Saturday, September 30, 2006

Joe and Lee at the Bookhouse 09-29-06

Our Good Friends at The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA opened their new Fall season of Bookhouse presentations with the music of Singer/Songwriter Duo Joe and Lee. Joe Lutton and Lee Morgan has extensive credits on Broadway and on stages around the world. They met while working with Pete Townshend and director Des McAnuff in two separate productions of “The Who’s Tommy.”
The evening was fill with their original songs including those found on their most recent CD entitled, “Basic.” It was a great evening with even greater music as each song touched every audience member with their emotions and their ability to delight. Our Good Friends Rob Ramos and John Cusumano of The Eastern Monroe Public Library along with Arline M. Smeltz and Dr. Marie A. Mastria with her children were there to enjoy the evening.
You’ll find numerous photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Music JAS Gallery at The next Bookhouse event at The Eastern Monroe Public Library will be a play written and performed by Our Good Friend John Cusumano entitled, “Dracula and Mina” which is a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s horror classic on Friday October 27th. Please contact Our Good Friend at 570-421-0800 for more information.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mountain Madness at The Sherman 09-22-06

Our Good Friends at The Sherman Theatre and Center for the Performing Arts in Stroudsburg, PA presented the group Mountain. It was a great evening with a three hour show that included two opening bands. They were One Eyed Willie and Kozmic Blues – A Tribute to Janis Joplin. Our Good Friends Richard Berkowitz, Theresa, and Brook (all of The Sherman Theatre) along with Our Good Friend Arline M. Smeltz, Cheryl Perez, and Ken were part of an appreciated and lively audience. You’ll find numerous photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Music JAS Gallery at The next event at The Sherman will be Parrot Beach: Your Ultimate Vacation Destination on September 30th. Please contact Our Good Friend at 570-420-2808 for more information.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Habitat for Humanity Concert 09-17-06

Our Good Friends at The Monroe County, PA Chapter of Habitat for Humanity held their annual concert entitled, “Raise the Roof” to raise money for their endeavors to help homeless families build homes for themselves. Many choirs from area churches participated in the events. They were The First Presbyterian Church in Stroudsburg, PA, Our Good Friends at The Presbyterian Church of Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, PA with Our Good Friends Arline M. Smeltz and Nancy Scheirer among the many talented voices in the choir, The Stroudsburg Methodist Church, The Blakeslee United Methodist Church, and The St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tannersville, PA where the event was held. Our Good Friends Anna Busteed and Suzanne Mc Cool were among the voices who participated in St. Paul’s Choir. Our Good Friends Donald, Thomas, and Rose Busteed were among those who made up an appreciative audience. We hope you’ll support Our Good Friends long with Habitat for Humanity in their endeavors and good works.

Monday, September 11, 2006

COTA 2006

Our Good Friends at The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held their grand and glorious three day festival in Delaware Water Gap, PA. This wonderful event takes place every September on the weekend after Labor day. This is their 29th year which began as a small concert with bands placed on the steps of the old Castle Inn (which has since been destroyed by fire) and only had a few hundred people in attendance. It is now a huge event in several venues with the main events occurring on a permanent outdoor stage with a natural amphitheatre with several thousand jazz lovers eager to listen to the wide variety of jazz performers of whom many are nationally and internationally known.

It began Friday evening at Our Good Friends at The Antoine Dutot Museum and Art Gallery with an Opening Reception for the Music Motif Show which is a juried exhibition featuring numerous local artist including many of Our Good Friends. The evening continued with some wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking Theatrical, Dance, and Musical performances held at Our Good Friends at The Presbyterian Church of Mountain. Many of Our Good Friends participated in the performances of The Water Gap Players, Calliope, Anita Bondi and Company, and Kate and Richie Roche and Friends.

The second day of the festival began with the arousing sounds of The Skip Wilkins Quintet. This was a fantastic way to start a Saturday afternoon and gave everyone a fore taste of the delicious musical feast that was yet to come. The day continued with The Eddie Severn Group, The Urbie Green All Stars with a special tribute to Urbie on his 80th birthday, The Sweet Sue Terry Quintet, JARO which is a big band conducted by Wolfgang Knittel and features many well known and talented jazz musicians, The Jay Rattman Quartet with Spencer Reed, Five Play with numerous musicians who are from Japan that come to COTA to perform, The Dave Liebman Group who celebrated John Coltrane’s 80th Anniversary, and the evening ended with a rain storm and The Moutin Reunion Quartet. As you can see, it was a full day for the audience. But, there was more to come.

The third and final day of the festival began with The annual Jazz Mass which celebrated their 20th service. After the service, the Sunday afternoon was kicked off by Paul Hubbell who presented “Swing N Dixie” honoring the music of New Orleans. The concert continued with The Matt Vashlishan Quartet, Phil Woods and John Coats, Jr., The Eric Doney Project, J. D. Walter and The Orrin Evans Trio, Ejiro Nakagawa and Jim Pugh’s E n J, and the entire festival send everyone home exhausted but yearning for more with the lively Blue Sparks from Hell. The dancing they inspired will continue in the souls of many until next years festival.

Besides the great music on the main stage, there were many other side events and activities going on during the festival. There was music traveling around the festival grounds keeping everyone entertained while the eagerly awaited their favorite or soon to be among their favorite performers to be ready to play. These were The Dixie Gents and The Lost Ramblers. Although they weren’t performing on the main stage, their music never ceased to entertain and delight those who listened to it. There were artisans who shared their work in and outside the festival areas. They included Rachel Val Cohen, David W. Coulter, Shelly-Anne D’ Anna, Robert E. Doney (who also designed this year’s poster), Harriet Ford, Ron Ford, James Gloria, Tim Helman, Patricia A. Jiunta, Minda Krawitz, Linda Newswanger, Elizabeth Pemberton, Ursula Pooley, Paul Reiche, Linda Schwartz, Olaf Sigurdsson, Pia Somerlock, and Kathleen Sweeny. Our Good Friends at The 3 Moon Gallery and Yoga Studio also had an exhibition going on. In addition to all this, there was a children’s area which featured music, story telling, and lots of activities to keep even the fussiest of children entertained while their parents enjoyed the sights and sounds unencumbered by their beloved children. I think many of you who are parents can appreciate such a service COTA provides in this area.

I met a great many of Our Good Friends during the festival and made many new ones. Many of them participated as Artisans, Musicians, and Organizers of the festival. I’m pleased to report they are too numerous to mention individually. However, I want you all to know, as much as the internet is a blessing since it gives me the opportunity to learn of our love for the arts, it was a pleasure meeting many of you in person and to learn even more about you. It was a joy for me to volunteer as a member of the security staff and many of Our Good Friends also served in this and other areas which make a vital contribution to the delightful atmosphere of the festival beyond the performances. Please explore COTA’s Website at for more information about the Festival and how you can volunteer for their 30th Annual festival. You’ll find nearly 200 of the event photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society COTA 2006 Gallery at

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Film Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

It’s almost too sad to be funny when a family that is as dysfunctional as the family portrayed in this comedy is viewed and recognized to have many dynamics similar to our own. But, it is also true to say, “If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.“ “Little Miss Sunshine” is one of those comedies which allows us to look into the sad situations life often deals out to some of us in a way we can. The humor in the film shields us from the horrific family situations presented throughout the film just enough so we’re not overcome by them. This is the essence of most meaningful comedies which goes beyond those who are just after some laughs. However, those hilarious comedies play a role in enhancing the soul as well. But, I digress.

The film, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, tells the story of the misadventures a family has as they attempt to take the youngest member of their tribe to California from Arizona so she can compete in a beauty pageant. The cast consists of what every dysfunctional family shouldn’t be without. A ineffectual father, a co dependent mother, a gay, educated, and suicidal uncle, a socially inappropriate and drug infested grand father, a brooding Nietzschesk complete with a vow of hateful silence son, and a hopeful daughter with the innocence we wish most children would have. In fact, it is her innocence which moves the film.

Our society is filled with cynicism. We become cynical because our experiences lead us to believe life is filled with pitfalls we can only avoid by not believing there is something good about being alive. We are no longer children but adults with adults “understandings” of how it all really works. Yet, by abandoning the knowledge we had as children, we become dysfunctional and can no longer accept the magic all around us.

The little girl “Olive” (played exquisitely by Abigail Breslin) demonstrates to her family and to us how the childlike qualities we have put away for the sake of our maturity can be our saving graces. The cynicism we embrace may keep us from the pain of everyday life, but it also keeps us from its wonders. I would recommend this film to those who would like to look beyond the dysfunctional of their sadly mature lives and catch a glimpse of the hope a bit of humor can bring.

The film was seen during The Forwardian Arts Society’s Film and Chat Nite which took place at The Grand Cinema and Coffeehouse in East Stroudsburg, PA on Friday September 1st. The next and final Film and Chat Nite for 2006 is scheduled to take place Friday October 6th. Please call 570-421-3456 or email for more information.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Final Touches on COTA 09-05-06

Our Good Friends at The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held a meeting at Our Good Friends at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA to place the final touches on the Jazz Celebration occurring September 8th, 9th, and 10th. Our Good Friends Rev. Karen Nickels of The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain, Richard Chamberlain, Lauren Chamberlain-Mussner, Frank Disalvo, Cyndie Dutkiewicz, Bob and Jamie Garner, Jill and Bill Goodwin, Patricia and Terry Gaughan, Tim Helman, Cheryl A. Read, Jim Wyckoff, Marie Steeger, Cheryl Joubert, Christine Trembly, Brian Stone, Steve Krawitz, Gary Lambert, and Arline Smeltz were among those present during the evening. Please contact COTA at 570-424-3210 for more information about the entire Festival. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society COTA Gallery at