Monday, October 26, 2009

How Uncommon is Our Valley

The Pocono Communality Theater* in East Stroudsburg, PA hosted the premier showing of the film entitled, “Our Uncommon Valley” on Sunday October 25th. A festive environment ensued as the theater was populated with supporters of the Cherry Valley area and preservation of its natural resources. There were many opportunities to lend financial support to the family effected by the Tornado which touched the Blakeslee, PA area through silent auctions prior to the screening of the film which was produced by The Friends of Cherry Valley in collaboration with WVIA (PBS)* and will be broadcast at a later date.

After an introduction of the film by Gary Bloss which included an outline of all the Cherry Valley Region has to offer, additional comments were give by Rose Shock who is selling books about the area in an endeavor to help lend further support to a family in Blakeslee effected by the Tornado. The film itself detailed the vastness of the area which extends from Delaware Water Gap to Saylorsburg, PA. The film also explored how those living in the area are working to conserve its watershed and its numerous plants and animals in addition to helping farmers maintain the plentiful open fields and forests to be enjoyed by future generations.

More information about The Friends of Cherry Valley, the work they do, and how you can participate can be gained by calling them at 570-460-0463. The next event at The Pocono Community Theater will be their Halloween Fest featuring Silent Movies shown to Loud Music on Thursday October 29th beginning at 8pm. Please Contact The Pocono Community Theater at 570-421-3456 for more information. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Film 2009 Gallery.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are The Pocono Community Theater* at, WVIA* at, and The Friends of Cherry Valley at

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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poets in The Dale

Dale’s Café* in Bartonsville, PA held their 3rd Annual Poetry Festival and Competition on Sunday October 18th. A huge crowd of poetry lovers gathered to fill the coffeehouse as they were met by the music of singer/song writer Eric Becker* on guitar and Abby* on Banjo. The event was organized by The Pocono Writers‘* Poetry Workshop and featured readings from the 16 semi finalist with an award of $100 cash given to the winning poet. The judges of the competition were Amana Crowell, Eric Derby, Nicole Davalos, and Steph Moey.

After a welcoming introduction by Helen Victoria*, who leads The Pocono Writers‘* Poetry Workshop, guest poet Edwin Romond read a number of his work including those found in his recently published a book entitled, “Dream Teaching.” His words skillfully combined the amusing aspects of life with the sorrow one encounters while living it proving to be an excellent foundation for the poetry yet to come.

The words of Edwin Romond were followed by the presentation of eight of the finalist and followed by the remaining eight after a break. This break provided an opportunity to listen to more of the music provided by Eric* and Abby*, engaging in conversation among new and already established friends, and to enjoy the many beverages and culinary delights Dale and Lee Crowell* of Dale’s Café* had to offer. The festival then moved into it finalist stage when the three top poems were re-read with one becoming the winner of the competition.

The poetic readings were as varied in styles as they were in topics. Poets included Hank Aldrich* whose poem entitled, “The End of Summer” was read by Penny Dee, Tricia McGarvin* who is the founder and mentor of Urban Mountain Voices, which encourages youth from all backgrounds to explore their poetic talents, read her work entitled, “’Til Death To Us,” Valerie Cruz* read her poem entitled, “Food for Thought,” Steve Truglio* of The Beaner and Weevil Show entitled, “The Real Great Debate” found every Friday Evening beginning at 9pm on The Pocono Internet Broadcasting Company (PIBCO)* read his poem entitled, “A Tale of Topographic Oceans,” Ellen Bihler* who read her poem entitled, "More Shine," Norma Bernstock* read her poem entitled, “Hickory Hill Motel, Buttzville, NJ,” Debbie Burke* of Pocono Jazz and Poetry* read her poem entitled, “Problematic Mango,” Michael Wetmore* read his poem entitled, “Just One Day,” and the winner of the competition was John H Abel who read his poem entitled, “For Beverly.”

The Pocono Writers‘* Poetry Workshop meets the second Monday of every month with its next meeting scheduled for Monday November 9th at 7pm in the Community Room of The Eastern Monroe Public Library (EMPL)* in Stroudsburg, PA. The workshop invites poets who has a poem to be explored to have copies of their original poetry to be read by everyone present. After the poet’s reading, the group discusses and share their comments. Published and unpublished Poets are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Please Contact The Pocono Writers‘* Poetry Workshop at 484-221-3592 for more information and feel free to leave a voice mail message. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Dale's Poetry Festival 09 Gallery.

The websites and email addresses of those mentioned in the article are Dale’s Café* at, Edwin Romond at, Eric Becker* at, Abbie* at, Steve Truglio* of The Beaner and Weevil Show at, PIBCO* at, Debbie Burke* of Pocono Jazz and Poetry* at, and The Eastern Monroe Public Library (EMPL)* at

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Hell Night at The Sherman

The Sherman Theatre* in Stroudsburg, PA presented another installment in their Severed Sinema* Series on Friday October 16th hosted by Earl Kessler*. The films shown were the horror classics “The Exorcist” (1973) and “Phantasm” (1979) along with a midnight screening of “Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated” (2009) which is an animated version of the 1968 classic horror film. In addition to the films, there were musical performances by Rooster Baby and Nu Prosta Kief*.

“Phantasm” was, as most low-budget films are, directed, written, photographed, co-produced and edited by Don Coscarelli featuring the film’s iconic character known as The Tall Man (portrayed by Angus Scrimm) The film is about a 13 year old named Mike Pearson (portrayed by A. Michael Baldwin) who is being raised by his 24 year old musician Jody Pearson (portrayed by Bill Thornbury) after the death of their parents. While (for reasons unknown) spying on a funeral procession at the burial site, Mike notices the undertaker (The Tall Man) picking up the coffin with seemingly supernatural strength and placing it back into the hearse. He begins to investigate this odd occurrence later involving his brother and his friend Reggie as portrayed by (Reggie Bannister). They soon discover The Tall Man is turning the dead into dwarf zombies to do his bidding and take over the world.

The first thing one is struck with is how beautifully filmed “Phantasm” is. It’s colors are crisp and the film’s mise-en-scene (the way the images on the screen are constructed) is very pleasing to the eye. It’s sound quality is quite intriguing at times as it’s well used to create suspense and mood. Well, I did say at times it does. There are other times the sound quality during conversations are quite overdone and doesn’t seem to match up with what is going on in the scene.

Yet, the film does draw you into it in spite of the often farfetched plot and uneven acting. It is scary and this element of the film is made more so by its well photographed scenes. As mentioned earlier, they are pleasing to the eye which betrays the viewer to become comfortable with the images making the shocking scenes the film has become famous for more disturbing. In fact, the scenes were so disturbing the Motion Picture Academy of America (MPAA) originally gave “Phantasm” an X rating due to the now famous scenes with the Killing Spheres. They soon relented to giving the film an R rating when some phone calls were made by some influential distributors. Ah, Hollywood Politics at its best.

Unlike “Phantasm,” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” is anything but low budgeted. In fact, it was nominate for Ten Academy Awards including Best Picture which it lost to “The Sting.” However, it did win the Award for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was adapted from the same named novel written by William Peter Blatty which was based upon a 1949 exorcism performed on a 13 year old boy named Robbie. The rite lasted several months and took place in the Midwest. The film itself was made during the time when the horror genre was focused on themes which dealt with demonic possession of children such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Omen.”

What strikes one watching “The Exorcist” is how it takes its time to build a relationship between its characters and the audience. They develop before our eyes into people we might know therefore allowing us to identify with their plight. This adds a sense of realism to the film even though we know it’s all just a story to entertain and scare us. This is commonly known as the suspension of disbelief and the film does this with great effect making the horrific parts the film is well known for all the more terrifyingly real.

The film begins in Iraq as a Father Merrin (as portrayed by Max von Sydow) is on an archaeological dig. He finds a small statue of Pazuzu who was considered the king of the demons of the wind in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. He later comes across a much larger version of the statue and sees two dogs fighting nearby. The supernatural elements of this scene foretells the development of the remainder of the film although the audience does not quite know how it will do so. We just know it does.

The film then travels to Georgetown University in Washington, DC where a film is being made staring Chris MacNeil (as portrayed by Ellen Burstyn) who is noticed by Father Damien Karras (as portrayed by playwright Jason Miller) who admires her performance from afar. It is soon revealed Father Damien is having doubts about his faith as his mother’s physical condition is worsening. We then meet Chris MacNeil’s 12-year-old daughter Regan (as portrayed by Linda Blair in her first role) and begin to become familiar with their relationship.

However, Regan soon shows disturbing signs of what is first perceived as physical and then mental illness by the medical community after she finds a Ouija Board and begin communicating with a “Captain Howdy.” After all medical and psychiatric examinations fail to find a cause to Regan’s increasingly violent behavior, the doctors suggest she seek an exorcism for her daughter believing whatever is ailing poor Regan is psychosomatic and the rite will shock her out of it. How little do they know.

Father Damien is then approached by Regan’s mother and he eventually agrees to seek permission from the Church to perform the exorcist. He is accompanied by Father Merrin who is revealed to one of the few people who has had experience in performing the rite. This is where the fun begins as the most terrifying segments of the film are revealed and it becomes easy to understand why there were lines of movie goers stretching a number of city blocks waiting to see the film only to leave the theater in fright before its conclusion.

However, this is not exactly the film those who saw it during it’s original release was introduced to. The now infamous "spider-walk scene" was added to the film when it was re-released in 2000 and known as “The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen” utilizing CGI for the special effect. The scene was made but cut from the original as it was considered technically ineffective and added nothing to the film.

Unfortunately, the year 2000 was a time when it was felt re working films with the new technology would somehow make them better as it did (but really didn’t) for the Star Wars trilogy (chapters IV, V, and VI). So, the scene was put back in the “enhanced” version to gain more financial life from the film. Ah, Hollywood at its worse. But, since we only have to endure the unnecessary scene for a few seconds, the horrifying joy of “The Exorcist” remains in tact.

The third and final film of the evening was the near Midnight screening of something quite unique. It was an animated version of the 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead” Directed by George A. Romero. Entitled, “Night of the Living Dead: Re-Animated” this re-envisioning of the film involved a multitude of artists and animators from around the world who placed their work on celluloid ranging from classic animation to sock puppets over the original film’s sound track.

The pieces by individual artists were organized by it’s curator Mike Schneider who said that this film takes the original and emphasizes certain images and themes one may miss during a typical screening of the film. Therefore, according to Mr. Schneider, it encourages the audience to take another look at the original with eye prepared to not only see what was re revealed to them but to seek out other aspects of the film they may not have noticed before. Indeed, this film does just that and is well worth watching.

In addition to the films being shown, musical guest Rooster Baby and Nu Prosta Kief* performed between the films. They were loud, bizarre, and perfect for the event. The crowd who came out for the films danced in their appreciation of the music they heard which made the watching of the films even more enjoyable.

The Severed Sinema* Series showcases the best classic horror, cult, and art house cinema each month whose goal is to act as a vessel for people to experience, re-live, and enjoy the golden era of extreme cinema in all its scary, sleazy, and sometimes cheesy glory. The next installment of The Severed Sinema* Series will be held at The Sherman Theatre* in Stroudsburg, PA on Thursday November 19th beginning at 7pm featuring the films entitled, “Horror Hotel” and “Carnival of Souls” along with a midnight showing of the classic experimental film “Un Chien Andalou.”

The next events taking place at The Sherman Theater includes a performance by Natural Breakdown* on Saturday October 24th at 8pm whose music is known to raise the consciousness of all who hear them through a winding river of sound and the annual midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Saturday October 31st which will be preceded by a pre party beginning at 10pm. Please Contact The Sherman Theatre* at 570-420-2808 for more information. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Film/Video 2009 Gallery.

The websites and email addresses of those mentioned in the article are The Sherman Theatre* at, Severed Sinema at, “Night of the Living Dead Re-Animated” at, Mike Schneider at, Nu Prosta Kief* at, and Natural Breakdown* at

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Crescent Moon at Shawnee

The Shawnee Playhouse* in Shawnee on Delaware, PA hosted The Robert Taylor Foundation for Children presentation of their Crescent Moon Concert on Wednesday October 14th to benefit Rebecca Johnson who is a 15 year old suffering from Hodgkin’s Disease. The event began with a performance by Ross the Mentalist and continued with an Elvis impersonator. The evening concluded with a performance by The Robb Taylor Band.

Although the number of people attending were of a modest number, it proved to be an enjoyable evening. The Ross the Mentalist portion was quite enjoyable as was the performance by the Elvis impersonator. The place began to really rock, however, when The Robb Taylor Band came on stage with Robb Taylor* on Rythme Guitar and lead vocals, Jennifer Smeraldo* on Back Ground Vocals, Darrin Bentley* on Base Guitar, John O'Carroll on Guitar, Ed More on Drums, and Dwight Spencer on Keyboards. Their performance got everyone swaying, dancing, and clapping their hands which made the benefit concert an event to be remembered.

The Robert Taylor Foundation for Children is an organization dedicated to the welfare of children who are handicapped, abused, and/or in any other way considered disadvantaged with the goal to raise funds for their medical care, placement, and other life necessities. The Robert Taylor Foundation for Children puts on concerts and special shows to help raise funds supporting their endeavors. Their next presentations will be their Halloween Concert on Saturday October 31st at The Mauch Chunk Ballroom in Jim Thorpe, PA and a play entitled, “Catch Me If You Can” performed at The Shawnee Playhouse* November 14th and 15th. Please contact The Robert Taylor Foundation for Children at 570-643-2917 for more information and tickets. You find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Music 09 Gallery.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are The Robert Taylor Foundation for Children at, Ross the Mentalist at, and The Shawnee Playhouse* at

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

COTA Wrap Up

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* held their annual wrap up meeting on Tuesday October 13th at The Deer Head Inn* in Delaware Water Gap, PA to relive all aspects of this year’s Arts and Jazz festival which took place September 11th - 13th and to discover areas in which the 32 year old event can be improved upon. A great deal of reminiscing took place as friends who came to know each other throughout the years praised one another on their participation in the festival which led to dreams of future endeavors. And, those dreams were plentiful leading to passionate discussions.

The General Meeting are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month with the next one scheduled for Tuesday March 9th. It will be held at The Deer Head Inn* at 7:30pm. All who love jazz and the arts are welcomed to attend. The Festival itself is scheduled to be held the weekend after Labor Day. Please contact The Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* at 570-424-2210 for more information. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society COTA Meetings 2009 Gallery.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are The Celebration of the Arts (COTA)* at and The Deer Head Inn* at

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Interview at PIBCO

On Monday October 12th, I was interviewed at The Pocono Internet Broadcasting Co (PIBCO)* which is (as the name implies) a radio station broadcasted over the internet. I talked about The Forwardian Arts Society and our collaborative endeavors with Pocono Jazz and Poetry* in putting together “ArtSmash of the Poconos 1 and 2” and “The Pocono Jazz and Poetry Festival” with Steve (Omni) Parker and Shane Izykowski* on The Stroudsburg Social Show. The interview went very well and it was followed by another interview with a band known as, “Nu Prosta Kaif.”

Artists Socials (which were initiated by The Stroudsburg Area Art Alliance (SAAA))* are held every Tuesday at The Starbucks Coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, PA encouraging artists to bring their sketchbooks, supplies and to draw whatever they desire. The Show itself airs Monday evenings from 9pm to 11pm. Nu Prosta Kaif* will be appearing at The Sherman Theatre* in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday October 16th during their Severed Sinema Series* beginning at 7pm featuring the films “The Exorcist” and “Phantasm” followed by an animated version of “Night of the Living Dead.” They will share the stage with “Rooster Baby.” You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society gallery.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are Steve (Omni) Parker* of The Stroudsburg Social Show* at, Shane Izykowski at, The Pocono Internet Broadcasting Co (PIBCO)* at, Pocono Jazz and Poetry* at, The Forwardian Arts Society at, The Sherman Theatre* at, and Nu Prosta Kaif at

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

Partying the Block Away

The Eastburg (East Stroudsburg) Community Alliance* held a Block Party on Crystal Street on Sunday October 11th. Although it had a modest attendance, it was a really fun day for everyone who did come out. The Forwardian Arts Society and Pocono Jazz and Poetry* helped supply (along with Erik Knoll* of EA Knoll* Productions) some of the Music and Poetry performed throughout the day which proved to be as varied as the food and other festivities including a wandering musician and a costume fashion show featuring the kids who came to enjoy the party.

In spite of the small area Crystal Street covers, there were three areas for music to be performed. One was by The Gorman Chiropractic Life Center* area who were offering free adjustments throughout the day, one was by The Dansburry Depot with music presented throughout the day by a DJ playing a variety of songs made popular during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and one was by The Liztech Gallery* provided by The Sherman Theater* and was considered the main stage. It was quite impressive how the sounds coming from these areas did not overlap or interfere with the performance taking place elsewhere. Some interesting acoustics could be why, but it may be largely due to the respect the performers had for one another coupled with their desire to make sure everyone who came enjoyed whatever experience they chose to partake of.

The music began at The Gorman Chiropractic Life Center* area with Ron Gorman* who sand and played his guitar. This simple presentation was a good start to a day rich in a home town flavor. It seemed to set the tone for most of what transpired.

The performances on the main stage began with Ear Ecstasy* who performed an acoustic set as they are well known for their harder stylings of music. I have noticed how interesting some bands known for one genre of music (such as Hard-Core, Scream-o, and Heavy Metal) are capable of adjusting the arrangements of their songs to compliment whatever venue they find themselves performing in. While many bands admirably choose to remain in the style they have chosen for their band, this flexibility allows the musicians to explore the depth of their talents gaining new fans and supporters wherever they go. I am please to see Ear Ecstasy* as one of these bands. In fact, they were later seen at The Gorman Chiropractic Life Center* area and continued to match their music to the setting.

The second performer on the Main Stage was Randy Bigness* and his band. The bluesy tunes echoed throughout the soul of everyone who stood before the stage. Although the songs were mostly covers, he made them all his own. Randy Bigness* has performed in a variety of venues and audiences with large numbers as well as those who consists of small gathering. Regardless of the venue or the number of people who attend, he belts his music out and everyone is the better for it.

Randy* was followed by Eric Becker*. Eric is widely known for the Open Mic Nights he hosts at The Starbucks Coffeehouse every Sunday evening beginning at 6:30pm. Not only does he help those with considerable music talent to share their skills with an appreciative audience, but his unique talents compliment the event encouraging everyone with music related abilities to develop them. His performance on the main stage was reminiscent of the Open Mic event as familiar songs met a new audience. Yet, those who have attended the Open Mics, embraced the music as one would embrace an long time friend.

Keith Leslie Haynes* of The Business Fairy* followed Eric onto the Main Stage providing some new material to his musical repertoire. He is another denizen of the Sunday Open Mic Nights at Starbucks whose quick and energetic movements on his guitar has become legendary. Much of the same energies were unleashed during his performance amazing those who do not frequent the coffeehouse.

He was followed by the poetry of Urban Mountain Voices* founded and mentored by Tricia McGarvin* which is an organization giving a voice to poets consisting of talented young people in all economic and social situations ranging from those in school and those who are not, those who are from loving families and those who suffer dysfunctional abuse, and those who live at home and those who have none. The poetry presented ranged from experiences in an abusive home to the loss of a friend, in an automobile accident, to racial bigotry, to discovering a kiss making the search for another “Game Over.” Tricia* also presented some of her poetic “spits” which not only echoed the talent embodied by her charges but demonstrated her passion to have their words come forth as their experience are not so very different than her own.

Once the external sounds of the poetry concluded, an East Stroudsburg University* group who seeks to enhance awareness of the devastating effects of drug and alcohol use known RISK presented a costume fashion show for the kids. Prizes were handed out and a great time was had by all. It was fun watching the children show off their costume and get into the characters the wardrobe inspired. In other words, they were cute.

The music continued with a solo performance by Eric Hanston* who is part of a group called, “Dewey Decimal and the System.” He is also known as the general manager of The Pocono Community Theater whose screenings of independent and foreign films are seldom done in larger commercial venues. The slow, sad renderings consisting much of his material communicated soul to soul. He was followed by another member of The Pocono Community Theater staff, Alicia Johnson*, whose own compositions were equal (f not surpassed) to the quality of the covers she performed. Her performance ended the day which left those who were there eager to experience it all again next year.

Other happenings at the Crystal Street Block Party not already mentioned in this article included exhibits by The Sherman Theater*, The Stroud Region Open Spaces and Recreation (SROSRC)*, and The Pocono Community Theater*. There was also a farmers’ market comprising of all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Magician Michael St. James* was roaming around the Block Party creating many illusions to entertain the minds of all who wished to be mystified.

Michael St. James* will be seen at The Pocono Community Theater* on Saturday October 17th as part of their "A Toast to the Ghosts" event. The Next event for The Eastburg Community Alliance* will include Scarecrow Building along with the arrival of the Steamtown Excursion Train on Saturday October 17th, The Annual Unity Tree Lighting Ceremony at Miller Park in December, and The Books, Brushes, Blooms featuring local Writers, Visual Artists, Florists, and Gardeners at Miller Park in May. Please Contact The Eastburg Community Alliance* at 570-424-7540 for more information.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are The Eastburg Community Alliance* at, Pocono Jazz and Poetry at, The Sherman Theatre* at, The Stroud Region Open Spaces and Recreation (SROSRC)* at, The Pocono Community Theater* at, The Gorman Chiropractic Life Center* at, Ear Ecstasy* at, Randy Bigness* at, Eric Becker* at Keith Leslie Haynes* at, EA Knoll* Productions at, Eric Hanston* of Dewey Decimal and the System* at, Alicia Johnson* at, and Contact Michael St. James at

You find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Crystal Street Block Party 2009 Gallery.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Cars Came Out

An Autos in Autumn Show took place throughout downtown Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday October 10th featuring cars from The DWG Classic Car Club, The Keystone Region MG Club, The Porsche Club of America, and TriCounty Corvettes. There were a great deal of food, crafts, arts, and music to complement the day. Among those performing were Randy Bigness* who was there with EA Knoll* Productions and Christian Porter* who was there with his father. Both had distinctive styles which reflected the variety of the automobiles shown throughout the day. Among the artists was Barbara Robinson* who recorded the event on her canvas. It was an enjoyable event proving to be a relaxing outing as the fall season begins its approach. You find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Autos in Autumn 2009 Gallery.

The websites of those mentioned in the article are Randy Bigness*, EA Knoll* Productions, and Christian Porter*

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

Monday, October 05, 2009

Starbucks in the Fall

The Starbucks Coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, PA held their weekly Open Mic Night hosted by Singer/Song writer Eric Becker* on Sunday October 4th. A modest number of musicians, singers, and music lovers came out which made the event all the more intimate. After performing some of his own work, Eric* brought to the mic Chris Hallett* and Dustin Schoof* of the group Bluejean. They were followed by guitarist Keith Leslie Haynes* of The Business Fairy*, Singer David Harris, and by Holly Avila* of the group Blue Planet*. Eric* brought the evening to a close by performing more of his work.

The evening was a very relaxed one filled with enjoyable music. The Starbucks Coffeehouse Open Mic Nights hosted by Eric Becker* are held every Sunday Evening beginning at 6:30pm. Please Explore Eric Becker‘s* profile on Myspace for more information. You’ll find more photographs on The Forwardian Arts Society Starbucks Coffeehouse Open Mic Night Gallery.

His is a listing of websites of those I mentioned in the article. They are Eric Becker* at Keith Leslie Haynes* at, Chris Hallett* and Dustin Schoof* at, and Holly Avila* at

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

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Masking the Community

The Pocono Community Theater* in East Stroudsburg, PA held an Opening Reception for their exhibition entitled, “Masks Art Show” on Saturday October 3rd featuring the works of numerous artists. The variety of work was impressive as each mask (which are commonly designed to hide an identity) revealed something about the artist who created the piece. Besides the revelation of the creative talent the artist processes, exploring each piece touched something deeper. And, if one ventured even further, they would see themselves and the masks they wore. The exhibition continues until October 31st. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Website for more information. You’ll find more photographs in The Forwardian Arts Society Visual Arts 2009 Gallery.

The artists (and their Website or email address if available) presenting their work in the exhibition included Tom LeFerve* of The Main St. Jukebox*, Marcia Flammonde*, Andrea Rimberg*, Shane Izykowski*, Jane Bartholomew*, Don Manza*, Thomas Augusta*, Jan Selving*, Jorge Cruz*, Clarissa Jan Ward*, Joan Polishook*, Rose Marie Cutropia*, and Lois Kirkwood*. The Pocono Community Theater* Website is

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

Writers Gather at the Community

The Forwardian Arts Society Literary Gathering met at The Pocono Community Theater* in East Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday October 3rd. It was a small gathering but it fit the comfortable surroundings quite well. Poet Juanita Kirton* read from her recently published book of poetry entitled, "Inner Journey" to some welcoming ears. She’ll be holding a poetry reading and book signing at The Tapestry Corner* on Sunday November 8th beginning at 2pm and her Book is presently available at and

The date, time and location of next Literary Gathering of The Forwardian Arts Society will be determined soon. Invitations will be sent to all of their members. Please explore their Website for more information on how to receive yours. You’ll find more photographs at The Forwardian Arts Society In Writing 2009 Gallery.

Websites of those mentioned in this article are The Forwardian Arts Society, The Pocono Community Theater, and The Tapestry Corner

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

Friday, October 02, 2009

Film Review: Bright Star

Film Review: Bright Star
Directed by: Jane Campion
Performances by: Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish
Film Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

The film “Bright Star” is said to be inspired by the sonnet appearing above and by the love letters 19th-century Romantic poet John Keats (who is portrayed by Ben Whishaw) exchanged with Fanny Brawne (who is portrayed by Abbie Cornish) during the later stages of his life around the year 1820. The film takes place in the time when Keats’ brother Tom is dieing of tuberculosis and his change of residence near Hampstead Heath in which Fanny Brawne was staying with her mother soon after his brother succumbs to the condition. He quickly falls in love with Miss. Brawne even though his affection for her (by historical accounts) seemed to bring him more vexation than comfort.

The film touches very little on this vexations rather focusing on the romantic nature of the relationship. Yet, it does this in a very interesting way. The pace of the film is very slow as if the director wanted to capture the period and its character with all its nuance in tact. This is a monumental endeavor and it seemed to work. But it seemed to work all too well. This reviewer could not help but speculate a person who lived in the early 1800’s could relate to everything happening in the film as it depicted recognizable aspects of their lives. But, this tortoise like slowness of movement and gentile speech lacked what we now perceive as the honest human emotion we express in our day to day living we‘re all convinced makes life worthwhile.

The film seems to hold very little members of a 21st century audience could maintain an interest in. Yet, we soon discover this stillness of movement both physically and emotionally proves to be a very potent tool the film maker utilizes as she explore the depth of what is means to be human. Just as the moving waters rippling across a pond is more note worthy to those who only know of its stillness, the lack of emotional expressions throughout the film intensifies them when they do occur.

Normally, the recitation of poetry can be very boring in a film. Yet, the emotion expressed in the letters exchanged between Keats and Brawne is enlivening since the lack of passion throughout the film creates a void the audience desperately seeks to fill. We are compelled to listen to every word the poet utters even to the extent of staying seated during the closing credits as a one of Keats works is recited. Perhaps this is a commentary on life and the effects love has on it.

There are many times when we encounter love do that we seem to realize how dull and ordinary our lives were before that moment. We are touched by how love has changed not only who we perceive ourselves to be but the whole world as well. We become more gentle and kind to ourselves and others or as the words of Keats puts it, “More fairer than fair.” We experience something that can not be explained but we all recognize it.

We call it love, but this is only because we lack the wisdom to ascertain it’s true name. But, in spite of this unknowing (or because of it) we embrace it as we instinctively know it is what makes us worthwhile. But, what makes this love (as we call it) worthwhile? Is it not the entirety of our lives that preceded our encounter with it. Would we know it if it or of anything else were not for experiencing what it is not?

The film heightens our emotional connection to the those of its characters by keeping them hidden until a rare moment reveals them. It is then we reveal ourselves to ourselves as we begin to realize what we have kept hidden underneath the facade of our modern day etiquettes. Perhaps there will be a time when these mannerisms will be judged lacking of emotion by those who claim to be more alive than we.

While to say the film is enjoyable to watch could be a stretch due to the nature of its pacing. But, the emotions it inspires in contrast are worthwhile experiencing. Especially, since they could not be experienced in quite the same way by many in our period.

“Bright Star” is rated PG and is currently running at The Pocono Community Theatre in East Stroudsburg, PA. You may call 570-421-3456 or visit their website at for show times and dates. Most films run one week but some films may be held over for an additional week or two depending on ticket sales.

“Bright Star” was the film viewed and discussed during the October Film and Chat Gathering presented by The Forwardian Arts Society on Friday October 2nd at The Pocono Community Theater. The next Film and Chat Gathering will take place Friday November 6th. The Pocono Community Theater provides a free beverage to all who participate in the chat after the film. All film lovers are invited to attend.

The Forwardian Arts Society emails invitations to their Film and Chat Gathering to their membership on Wednesday November 4th which includes the film’s title and screening time. Please visit The Forwardian Arts Society website at to learn how to join.