Monday, April 30, 2012

A Flowery Vacation at The PCT

The Pocono Community Theater (PCT) in East Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Saturday April 28th for their exhibitions presented in their front and back galleries. The images shown in the front gallery featured the work of Andrea Robbins-Rimberg titled “Wild About Flowers.” The images shown in the back gallery featured the work of Penny Ross titled “Vacation Time.” Although the images with their contrasting hues and detail seemed to be worlds apart, there was a certain psychological aura created when one contemplated their combining effects.

The work presented by Andrea Robbins-Rimberg offered photographs depicting flowers in all their glorious arrays. The vibrancy and colorful detail one has come to eagerly expect to experience while viewing her work joyfully adorned the walls of the Theater. In many instances, I personally found myself beginning to feel like a Bee buzzing about in order to contemplate the soft intricacies of the flowers before partaking of their nourishing nectar.

Of course, the buzzing sensation I mentioned could have been partially produced by the wine I consumed during the reception. But, the images Ms. Rimberg expertly magnifies has the uncanny ability to create a desire within the viewer to co-join with the subjects she photographically captures. One can philosophically speculate this desire is a nostalgic reminiscence of a time when the human population of the planet was much more akin to its natural environment than it is now. Yet, regardless of the reason why one is so attracted to her work, it isn’t as pertinent as the fact the beauty of the images produces a joy in which one wants to be a part of.

While the colorful array found in Ms. Rimberg’s work entices viewers with their vibrant beauty and detail, Penny Ross’ skill to attract those who desire to explore her work is much more subtle. Instead of the sharp lines and detail the media of Digital Photography utilizes, Ms. Ross allows the softer elements found in the medium of Water Colors, Crayons, and Woodcuts to produce a calming effect enticing the viewer of her work to enter so they can simply relax.

The cool calming colors prominent in Ms. Ross’ work reminded me of an interview Fred Rogers, gave in regards to how his PBS show for children, “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” came about. His creation of the show came when he realized, while children love the excitement the world has to offer them with all its colorful adventures, they sometime would also like to have someone simply sit down and talk to them. Ms. Ross’s work takes the mind away from the hustle and bustle of an excited life and simply talks to it while taking it on vacation.

Although the work presented by Ms. Rimberg and Ms. Ross appeared to be a stark and irreconcilable contrast to one another, together they produced a certain balance that many a counterbalances sometimes inexplicably produces. Ms. Rimberg’s exciting depictions flowers and Ms. Ross’s images of places where one can rest seem to say, “While one’s soul can be enhanced through the excitement and joy found in the act of Buzzing about like a Bee, one’s soul can be enhanced through finding a place where one can just be.” You’ll find more photographs taken during the reception in The Pocono Community Theater (PCT) 2012 Gallery at

Andrea Robbins-Rimberg has had her work displayed throughout numerous locations around the world. Throughout her life, she has served the arts in just as numerous capacities. Among her may current positions, she is serving as the President of the Board of Directors for The Pocono Arts Council and as the Art and Photography Director for The Forwardian Arts Society Literary and Arts Magazine “Forwardian.”

On Ms. Rimberg’s website, she states, “… I keep my eye on living subject matter and make my language as plastic as possible in the description of it. Human observation might gradually discover and define these universals … man is beauty, magnificence, a miracle being - ART… representations of gods.” It is in these representations a divine spirit inspiring many with laughter and hope touched the gathering who enjoyed the celebration. You may learn more about Ms. Rimberg by exploring her website at

Penny Ross has been painting watercolors in the Northeast Region (aka The Poconos) of PA for over 30 years. She has received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Cincinnati in June 1962. She later received her Master of Arts degree from New York University in 1987 where she concentrated on Japanese woodblock printing under the tutelage of Bill Paden. In addition to The Pocono Community Theater Gallery, her work can be seen in numerous galleries and venues throughout the area.

On Ms. Ross’ website, she states, “…I use painting to discover what is hidden in me as well as in nature. I strive to find the truth about my subject and myself and to bring it before the viewer. It has been said that I paint because I have to. Perhaps that is true….I did not know that a life time of painting would effect my philosophy of life or my spiritual growth. The work you do makes you who you are.” And indeed, the work one does can not only bring out who the artist is but also who those who experience it is as Ms. Ross’ work clearly exemplifies. You may learn more about Ms. Ross by exploring her website at

In addition to hosting art exhibits, The Pocono Community Theater presents a variety of films both popularly current as well revivals of those films released in the past. They also host special events such as their Pocono Got Talent competition and their Book Club which explore novels that have been adapted to the screen and are currently being shown. The exhibitions titled, “Wild About Flowers” and “Vacation Time” will continue until June 17th while the dates for their next exhibition is yet to be announced. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Website for more information.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The 2012 Senior Show

The East Stroudsburg University of PA held an Artists’ Reception on Wednesday April 25th for their Senior Seminar and Portfolio Exhibition in the Madelon Powers Gallery which is located within the campus’ Fine and Performing Arts Building. The Reception was well attended as family, friends, and faculty members filled the gallery to view the Portfolios and other work the students who are art majors created in order to market their talents in art related fields.

There was a great deal of emphasis on the field of Graphic Design as modern technology such as laptops or note books or whatever they’re called this week were placed upon tables along side the traditional portfolios in which one has to physically turn the pages to discover their content. Regardless on how one was able to view the work of these students, the overall work was quite impressive with many in the management positions from whom they would like to seek employment may agree. On a personal note, if The Forwardian Arts Society had the funds to hire artists to be a part of its fellowship, there would be some additions in place as I write this.

The exhibit featured students who will soon graduate from East Stroudsburg University seeking a degree in Art. Among those who presented their work for the exhibition were Erin Raught, Abby Oxford, Kelsey Caballero, Caitlyn Foley, Kayla Littrell, Bethany Wert, Dominick Frabizio, Michelle R. Dill, Krysta Lee Schwuchow, Spencer Hartey, Daniel M. Hopkins, Kelly Oxman, Erin Gittens, Emily Lesoine, Sam Peterson, Christopher Briscoe, and John Knox. Please feel free in joining me in wishing these individuals good fortune in their economic adventures in which their portfolios will (with fingers crossed) enable them to embark upon.

The Artists’ Reception also served as an opportunity to recognize the achievement of artists not only of the visual arts but of other disciplines as well. The faculty of the Art, Music, and Theater Departments presented the University’s Excellence in the Arts Awards to Samantha Peterson for her dedication to the Visual Arts, Michael A. Peragallo for his dedication to the art of Music, Shannon Leigh Christmann for her dedication to the Theatrical Arts, and Erin Kleinguenther for her dedication to Art History. The presentation ceremony revealed much about the awards as well as the caliber of their recipients with the revelation proving to be quite substantial. Please feel free in joining me in congratulating these individuals and wishing them the best in all their future endeavors.

The ESU Senior Seminar and Portfolio in Art Student Exhibition continues at Madelon Powers Gallery which is located in The Fine and Performing Arts Building on the ESU Campus until May 8th. This exhibit marks the final one in which students are showcased in for the 2011/2012 Academic  Year. Future exhibitions presented by The East Stroudsburg University of PA Art Department showcasing their students will resume in the Fall semester which will being in September 2012. Please contact The East Stroudsburg University Art Department at 570-422-3695 for more information. You’ll find more photographs taken during the reception and award ceremony in The ESU 2012 Gallery at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Theatrical Review: An Evening of Comedy

Theatrical Review: An Evening of Comedy
Written by: Various Authors.
Directed by: Juliet K. Dunham and David Schappert
Theatrical Review by: Paul Adam Smeltz

The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA presented The Center Stage Players’ production of “An Evening of Comedy” which consisted of a number of short pieces. Many years ago, my nephew drew for me the distinction between the concepts of having fun and doing something enjoyable. He said that having fun is like going to an amusement parks, riding all the death defying rides, and surviving to the point with the desire to do it all again. On the other hand, doing something enjoyable was like going to a concert presenting Classical music and simply partaking of the experience along with all of its pleasant effects. The Center Stage Players’ production of “An Evening of Comedy” draws the distinction between watching a performance that is funny and one that is amusing.

If anyone comes to The Shawnee Playhouse to see The Center Stage Players’ production of “An Evening of Comedy” expecting to experience a rip roaring night of laughter, they would be sadly disappointed. However, if one enters the theatre with an open and thoughtful mind, they would leave with a little more insight into the world which they encounter throughout their daily lives. The revelations of the absurdities in human nature the plays reveals may induce a smile or even a chuckle. But, uproarious laughter? Maybe for some, but not many.

The show began with a piece written by Christopher Durang who is known for his outrageous and often absurd approach to theatrical comedy. The work presented was titled, “Mrs. Sorken” who was portrayed by Juliet K. Dunham (director of the piece and who serves on The Center Stage Players’ Board of Directors). The piece evolves around a monologue consisting of a talk on the properties of the theater. As with all such formal dissertations, the simple elements crucial to the artistic nature of the form becomes dissolved to the sum of it’s dissectible  parts. This takes the fun right out of art and the play relishes the effects of this academic exercise by pointing out its absurdities.

Mrs. Sorken was followed by a collection of pieces titled “Life is Short” written by Craig Pospisil who has written more than forty short plays and musicals throughout his career winning awards for many of them. “Life is Short” consists of six pieces exploring several aspects of everyday life but contains enough absurd twists in each of them to make our familiar experiences more theatrical. They were directed by Juliet K. Dunham as well.

The first of these pieces was titled, “Whatever” in which two women named Jessica (as portrayed by Jessica Santos) and Liz (as portrayed by Jessica Moy) explore the darker sides of relationships.

The next piece was titled, “On the Edge” in which a man named Gene (as portrayed by Kris Wolter) is contemplating suicide until a fellow partygoer named Sammy (as portrayed by Marjorie Lawler) strikes a less than comforting conversation with him.

The next piece was titled, “Class Conflict” in which a kindergartener named Billy (as portrayed by Jon Baptiste) meets a fellow kindergartener named Megan (as portrayed by Jessica Moy) who informs him of his legal rights.

The next piece was titled, “The Last December” in which an elderly couple (as portrayed by Sue Butler who serves as the vice president of The Center Stage Players and Jack Butler) prepares for their annual task.

The next piece was titled, “Infant Morality” in which a couple whose names are Phillip Hackett (as portrayed by Jon Baptiste) and Stephanie Hackett  (as portrayed by Jessica Santos) who enter a hospital with their new born baby only to learn from a nurse named Trish (as portrayed by Sarah McCarroll) and her supervisor named Pamela Warden (as portrayed by Juliet K. Dunham) the hospital has no return policy.

The final piece of the collection written by Craig Pospisil was titled, “A Mother’s Love” in which a woman named Melissa (as portrayed by Sarah McCarroll) seeks to defend her preschool age child from the harmful aspects of a school environment along with the actions she took to safeguard her child.

The concluding piece for “An Evening of Comedy” was titled, “Out At Sea” and was written by Sławomir Mrożek who has become notable for his work in the Theater of the Absurd which often portrayed non-realistic situations and approaches to the problems such situations created. While the previous works by Christopher Durang and Craig Pospisil presented offered a more subtle wandering into the absurdities of life, Sławomir Mrożek takes a sledge hammer to such subtleties and forces the audience see his messages unfiltered. The piece was Directed by David Schappert who also served as the production’s Lighting Designer and Technician.

The work itself is about three well dressed socialite women named Fat (as portrayed by Pat Van Varick who serves on The Center Stage Players’ Board of Directors), Medium (as portrayed by Katie Rubino), and Thin (as portrayed by Shannon Christmann) who find themselves adrift on a raft at sea and running out of food. Their solution to their dilemma is to resort to cannibalism and therefore endeavor to decide who will be their next meal. During their deliberations, they are met by a mail carrier (as portrayed by Audrey Haskell) and a servant (as portrayed by Marjorie Lawler) for various reasons. It’s a bit much to comprehend the logic but that is what makes the play enjoyable.

The over all production of “An Evening of Comedy” was very well done. The direction given consisted of some simple blocking which fit well with the material. The acting was very well done with notable exception to that done by 11 year old Katie Rubino who demonstrated a talent beyond her years. It is hoped by this reviewer she will be seen in many future productions presented at The Shawnee Playhouse and other theatrical venues. There is, however, one note relating to the production that should be made.

Shortly before the production was to be presented, an actress named Judy Lawler took ill and had to be taken to the hospital where (to the best of this reviewer’s knowledge) she still remains in recovery. Her roles for the production were that of  Pamela Warden in “Infant Morality” and the Mail Carrier in “Out at Sea.” They were filled for the presentation I saw by the actresses mentioned earlier. However, these roles may be filled by others in future productions and, hopefully, by Ms. Lawler herself once she returns to the stage. I hope you’ll join with me and the entire playhouse in providing a good thought toward her wellness.

The pieces written by Christopher Durang and those by Craig Pospisil in The Center Stage Players’ production of “An Evening of Comedy” were Directed by Juliet K. Dunham. The piece written by Sławomir Mrożek was Directed by David Schappert and Choreographed by Kaitie Kaiser. The production was Stage Managed by Lillian Ramirez-Gonzalez who also serves as The Center Stage Players’ Secretary. This presentation of The Center Stage Players’ production of “An Evening of Comedy” will conclude its run at The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on the Delaware, PA on April 29th. I would recommend seeing this production to all those willing to look at the absurdities of life and be amused by them.

The Center Stage Players is a non-profit community theater group which was formed in April of 1990 and led by a board of directors. Membership is open to everyone regardless of experience. All auditions to their productions are open to the public as they strive to provide an environment in which persons with an interest in theater can grow and develop in all aspects of theater. Besides those listed in leadership positions earlier in this review, Patrick Turner serves as The Center Stage Players’ President, Katherine Neville serves as The Center Stage Players’ Treasurer, and Dan Eash who serves on The Center Stage Players’ Board of Directors. Please feel free to Explore The Center Stage Players Facebook Page at to learn more information about them.

The Shawnee Playhouse provides professional quality year-round entertainment in a historic yet comfortable setting while bringing their guests a variety of theatrical experiences to the residents and vacationers of the area. They also serve as a training ground for young theatre performers and technicians. The Executive Director of The Shawnee Playhouse is Midge McClosky while the producers are Ginny and Charlie Kirkwood. Their Group Sales Manager is Mary Horn with Becky Haskell serving in Marketing and Sales. The Box Office Staff consists of Stacey Mattern.

Future presentations at The Shawnee Playhouse will include The Center Stage Players’ production of “The Lion in Winter” running May 4th to the 13th, The SCOMC production of “Trying” running May 18th to the 27th, and “They’re Playing Our Song” running May 30th to September 1st. Please contact The Shawnee Playhouse at 570-421-5093 or Explore their Website at for more information and to reserve your ticket.

Those who enjoy the Passionate Art Lover level of membership in The Forwardian Arts Society are offered a $3.00 discount off the admission fee for all productions of The Shawnee Playhouse designated as Feature or Headline Shows.

Image provided by The Center Stage Players.

A Little Slap Happy Artmusic

The ArtMusic Coffeehouse in East Stroudsburg, PA presented Guitarist Vicki Genfan on Saturday April 21st. The home provided by Don and Jan Julia Slepian greeted a sizable gathering as music fans who frequented their abode arrived alongside music lovers who came to visit for the very first time. Those new to the coffeehouse series were quickly enchanted by the performance space created for those who came to share their talents, the carousel horses hanging from the ceiling, the variety of food placed upon their dining room table, and the delightful conversation those who have enjoyed the musical offerings of the past were eager to engage them in. Although it was (as many writers aspire to begin their compositions with) a dark and stormy night, the welcoming atmosphere brought many rays of sunshine into the hearts of those who entered.

As with all concerts held at The ArtMusic Coffeehouse, it was begun by the evening’s host, Don Slepian, who performed upon his keyboards an eclectic mix of musical styles created instantaneously as he improvised each piece. While each piece were distinct in their properties, their combined effect brought about a peacefulness among those who heard the melodies not only with their ears but with their souls as well. At the completion of his performance, Ms. Genfan took the stage with her guitar as her sound person Tay Hoyle took her place among the amplification equipment. Their dog named, “Lucky” also took her place as she spent the evening equally between listening attentively to the music and taking naps.

Ms. Genfan began her set with an explanation of the techniques she employs while performing her songs. The first is known as “slap-tap” in which the body of the guitar is slapped at various intervals in order to create a percussion effect to accompany the pieces she performs. This “slap-tap” technique can also used upon the neck of the guitar producing a tonal effect resembling that of bells. The second technique Ms. Genfan employs is the frequent manipulation of the tuning tools of the guitar. This allows her to create a more full bodied sound of the songs she performs. Combined, all these techniques provides a sensation of listening to more than one musician.

This the result of these uniquely creative manipulations became prominent as the first note of the first song was played. The beauty and depth of her songs were greatly enhanced by her technique. I, personally, have never been particularly interested in the techniques musicians and other artists utilize to produce what they create. I would rather just enjoy the work and to explore its meaning. However,  Ms. Genfan performance inspired me to learn more about the guitar and the possibilities the instrument can explore to create such sounds. I may never have the opportunity to learn how to play it, but I want to learn more.

The songs themselves consisted of both original compositions and works created by other song writers. As with all talented musicians, Ms. Genfan presented non original material as if they were her own. However, Ms. Genfan took it one dimension further as her uniquely applied techniques transformed the songs into compositions far beyond where the composers could have ever envisioned them to be. Few experiences can truly be considered magical in their nature but the listening of Ms. Genfan’s performance was certainly one of those experiences. You’ll find more photographs taken during the concert at The Artmusic Coffeehouse 2012 Gallery at

Vicki Genfan has gained a reputation of being an innovation in the art of performing on guitar. She draws her styles from a variety of influences including those of folk, jazz, pop, soul, and world music. She has performed in many prestigious venues and festivals including The International Montreal Jazz Festival, Germany’s Open Strings Guitar Festival, and Italy’s Soave Guitar Festival. She was also won the distinction of becoming the first woman to win Guitar Player magazine’s Guitar Superstar Competition. You’ll be able to learn more about Vicki Genfan, her future performances, and how to purchase a CD by exploring her website at

The ArtMusic Coffeehouse is held in the home of Don Slepian and Jan Julia who reside in the borough of East Stroudsburg, PA as part of the Concerts In Your Home Series. A variety of musical forms are presented including folk, jazz, classical, and electronic music. Although the concerts welcomes all who wish to attend, seating is limited as they take place in a private home. The next concert scheduled to be held at The ArtMusic Coffeehouse will feature Miché Fambro on Friday May 18th beginning at 8pm. Please Explore The ArtMusic Coffeehouse Website at or Call 570-476-6307 for more information and to reserve your seats.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Festive Environment in the Gap

The very 1st Enviro Film Fest and DWG Earth Fair took place at The Antoine Dutot Gallery and Museum located in Delaware Water Gap (DWG), PA on Sunday April 15th. The festival featured numerous vendors whose desire to do what is right by the Earth and all who dwell upon it takes great precedence in all they do. The festival also offered opportunities for attendees to become active in the decisions government and other entities make in regards to the environment  through the signing of petitions and other means. A modest number of people came out to the festival, but their modesty was in their size only and did not extend to the voicing of their thoughtful opinions on how to protect and improve the environment.

Many conversations could be overheard as topics pertaining to environmental issues such as a process known as “Fracking” which is utilized to extract natural gas from underground shale deposits through the use of various chemicals were discussed. Some of the participants of these discussions included Liz Forrest who is seeking a seat representing the 189th District of the Commonwealth of PA in the state’s legislature and Maureen Madden is seeking a seat for the 176th District. Representatives of other candidates running for office were also there to listen to the concerned voices of their potential constituents and to offer their views on how their presence in the position they’re seeking would help remedy the damage caused to the Earth and how to prevent such practices to occur in the future.

Aside from the conversations, a number of films were presented giving further explorations into the issues related to the care of the Earth and the effects that often occur when that care is forfeit by those who seek to enrich themselves regardless of the local and worldwide consequences. The films were titled “Living Downstream”  and “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees telling us?” There were also musicians to underline the message of the day which was to care and protect the Earth and all who dwell in it as if the life of the entire planet depends upon it because it does.

I was unable to see the film titled, “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees telling us?” but I was able to view “Living Downstream.” The film was released by The People’s Picture Company Inc. and is based on the book of the same name written by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. This film follows the author as she travels across North America examining the causal links between cancer and certain environmental conditions. The film adequately links Dr. Steingraber’s private struggles with cancer and her public quest to bring attention to the urgent human rights issue of cancer prevention. In doing so, the film creates not only a human face to the issues it raises but an urgency as Dr. Steingraber’s life is effected by the answers to the questions she asks throughout her journeys. You can watch a trailer of “Living Downstream” at and a trailer of “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees telling us?” at

As mentioned earlier, musicians filled the air with their song as the dominant message of the day echoed within their performances. These included Guitarist and Activist Lois “Earth Lovin’” Heckman, Jazz Icon Bob Dorough, and World Music by African Drummer Maxwell Kofi Donkor and company. Each lent their distinctive style and approach to the musical form they presented but the underlining theme of the day not only remained a focal point as a result of their creative endeavors but was enhanced by them. In other words, they made the seriousness of the topics discussed throughout the day fun by setting them to music.

As also mentioned earlier, numerous vendors participated in the festival. They included Josie Porter Farm and CSA, Brodhead Watershed, Pocono Wildlife Rehab, Dierdre Nonnemacher Jewelry, Youth Infusion and Trips for Kids, Lehigh Valley Gas Truth, Stop Fracking PA, Seed Mandala Necklaces for Kids with Flora and Friends, and snacks and munchies were provided by Black Bear Farm Organic Catering. It was a great time and a very informative one. This was first festival presented by Christine Griffin and Sustainable Pennsylvania with hopes this will become an annual event. You’ll be able to see more photographs taken during this year’s festival at The Enviro Film Fest and DWG Earth Fair 2012 Gallery at

Sustainable Pennsylvania is a group committed to 100 percent individual, local, and community sustainability. These include in areas effecting the health of individual persons, the economy, and the environment. You can learn more about Sustainable Pennsylvania and how to become involved by visiting them on face book at

Art Takes A Back Street

As galleries and spaces presenting art in the Stroudsburg, PA and surrounding areas continue to experience an ongoing series of closures, it gladdens the heart of many local art lovers to witness the Grand Opening Celebration of Andrea Robbins Rimberg’s Backstreet Studio which occurred on Saturday April 14th. The gallery features Ms. Rimberg’s varied work which includes those created in the medium of acrylics, sculpture, and photography capturing the vibrancy of their creator’s effervescent soul. An intriguing smile never fails to touch the face of all who catch a glimpse of her work which is almost constantly seen in numerous sites throughout the area as well as other parts of the United States and the world.

However, the physical dimensions of The Backstreet Studio could not contain the number of admirers of Ms. Rimberg and her work. So, those who came to the studio were quickly directed to partake of the festivities at the neighboring Galleria located across the street. Upon entering, one discovered a treasure-trove of food, art, music, and friends all waiting to be welcomed by those who ventured in. This included a performance by Jazz Icon Bob Dorough on piano who was accompanied by Jay Sanchez on percussion as Ms. Rimberg’s son, Robbie Robbins, also provided music.  You’ll find more photographs taken during the reception at The Galleries 2012 gallery at

The experience of the Grand Opening brought to mind the recollection of the monthly Art Walks events prevalent during the 1980s and 90s. Art lovers were able to traverse among numerous galleries located throughout the town of Stroudsburg in order to partake of the variety of art they displayed while enjoying the many treats ranging from strolling, musicians and clowns to horse drawn carriage rides they encountered on their routes. Although the events were scheduled to end at a specific time, they were well known to devour the majority of the evening to the delight of all who partook of them.

Admittedly, the Grand Opening of The Backstreet Studio wasn’t quite as elaborate as the Art Walks of the past were, but it’s energy and lack of an end time (official or otherwise) allowed its attendees to continue to create wonderful memories together. And, that very ability to do so is what many who remember those times were inspired to recall with a hope those days will begin their return so even greater memories can be created in a more vibrant creative environment. But for now, a good amount of memories were created by the Grand Opening Celebration to sustain the happy gathering until future events associated with The Backstreet Studio and its neighbors in the back streets of Stroudsburg, PA are revealed.

As mentioned earlier Andrea Robbins-Rimberg has her work displayed throughout numerous locations around the world. Throughout her life, she has served the arts in just as numerous capacities. Among her may current positions, she is serving as the President of the Board of Directors for The Pocono Arts Council and as the Art and Photography Director for The Forwardian Arts Society Literary and Arts Magazine “Forwardian.”

On Ms. Rimberg’s website, she states, “… I keep my eye on living subject matter and make my language as plastic as possible in the description of it. Human observation might gradually discover and define these universals … man is beauty, magnificence, a miracle being - ART… representations of gods.” It is in these representations a divine spirit inspiring many with laughter and hope touched the gathering who enjoyed the celebration. You may learn more about Ms. Rimberg, The Backstreet Studio, and all they have to offer the community at her website at or by calling 570-223-2222.

The Galleria in Stroudsburg, PA in which the reception was held is a space shared by Bridget William, Gigi and Company Dance Studio, and Sara Smith-Katz who is the founding Director of “For ArtzSake” and curates the art gallery aspect of the space. The artists featuring their talents in their next exhibition are yet to be announced. Please feel free to contact The Galleria at 570-580-0996 for information about their future exhibitions and all the establishment has to offer.

A Man and Wife’s Union Becomes A Castle

The Castle Inn Gallery in Delaware Water Gap, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Saturday April 14th for their exhibition titled, “A Union of Art” featuring the work of husband and wife Ka-Son Reeves and Morgan (aka Cee Crespo). The images presented at the gallery reflected a very stark contrast in styles of the two artists which generated a great amount of interest in the individual pieces as well as the entire exhibit among the many who attended the reception. In spite of this contrast (or maybe because of it), the work deftly combined their aspects resulting in a stimulation of the senses of those who enjoy the depictions of life and all its narratives which Ka-Son’s work is well known for as well as those who seek a challenge to their perceptions through more abstract depictions of reality which increases their horizons found in Morgan’s work.

Most of the work presented by Ka-Son for the exhibit made their debut at The Castle Inn Gallery. However, the narrative nature which I mentioned earlier could still be found in many of the pieces. In this, the imagination is encouraged to explore the stories the depictions found on the canvas have to tell of their lives. This is true whether the images are of people or of inanimate objects.

The work presented by Morgan is her first exhibition in the Northeastern PA area known as the Poconos and is much more abstract in nature than the work of her life’s partner. Yet, each image also reveals a sense of narrative which can be ascertained by an astute eye through the movement of colors and lines contained (if that’s a proper word for it) in each piece. If one endeavors to do so, they would be well rewarded for their explorations as their discoveries would lead them to a deeper story contained (again, if that’s a proper word for it) within themselves.

Ka-Son and Morgan’s separate approaches to the creation of thoughtful art didn’t just compliment each other. Their collaborative presentation gave birth to children whose individual and collective personalities provided those who partook of the exhibition to discover the properties of what makes this union of art truly blissful. It can be said the deep and profound love a couple has for one another can often be seen in the soulful smile of their children’s heart. This could not only be seen in the children found upon the walls of The Castle Inn Gallery but also in the quiet smile of their daughter who was also present for the reception. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the reception in The Castle Inn 2012 Gallery at

Ka-Son Reeves was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. His unique approach to the arts can be attributed his natural artistic ability and by his exposure to the creative processes of his father who was a portrait artist and his eldest brother who was a Graffiti artist. Both styles can be seen in his work. In regards to the content on his work, Ka-Son says, “My art represents the myriad spirit and emotion of urban life, with an emphasis on LIFE, as seen through my eyes, imagined in my mind and felt in my heart. That Life in my art is not limited to any one physical location, but expanded upon in an attempt to embrace a universal perspective.” You can learn more about Ka-Son and Morgan along with their creative endeavors by exploring Ka-Son’s Facebook Page at

The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA was built in 1906 and was the last of the great hotels to be built in area. It housed an ice cream parlor, a mosaic floor, bowling alleys, a pool, and a billiard parlor. Performances were presented which included those given by Opera legend Enrico Caruso, Marching Band Leader John Phillip Sousa, and Big Band Leader Fred Waring along with the Pennsylvanians. This all came to an abrupt end when fire touched the Inn in the 1970s and it laid dormant until 2005 when it was purchased by Theresa Veltri and Frank Paccione who continues their endeavors to bring the Inn back as an asset to the community and all who visit it.

The exhibition titled, “A Union of Art” featuring the work of Ka-Son Reeves and Morgan (aka Cee Crespo) continues in The Castle Inn Gallery located in Delaware Water Gap, PA until June 15th. Jose and Maggie Sanatmaria serves as the Gallery’s Curators. More information about The Gallery, The Castle Inn, and all the establishment has to offer can be gained by exploring their website at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Springtime for COTA

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held its monthly general meeting on Monday April 9th to plan their 35th Annual Jazz and Arts Festival to be held September 7th - 9th. The meeting took place at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA which, by all accounts, the festival was conceived during a conversation renowned jazz musicians Phil Wood, Rick Chamberlain, and the now deceased Ed Joubert had while enjoying a few drinks. The first festivals began modestly during the 1970s and soon grew requiring numerous volunteers to assure and enhance it’s qualities as it sought to become an asset to the cultural community of the area.

The monthly general meeting provides an opportunity for those who wish to enhance their love for jazz and the festival to participate in a variety of aspects connected to the annual event. These include gate workers, security, stage crew, and more. The Monday April 9th meeting was indicative of previous meetings as ideas were shared to explore how the festival experience can be enhanced by maintaining and improving upon its infrastructure. Some of these ideas included increasing COTA’s presence on the internet so jazz lovers can access information about the festival and all it does for the creative community more easily and discovering ways COTA can participate in festivals in order to enhance its presence in the community it serves. These ideas and others discussed during the meeting are certain to create more opportunities for volunteerism allowing more intimate relationships with the festival to develop.

However, as interesting the discussion of the many opportunities which are and will be available to those who wish to partake of them are, the most satisfying aspect of attending The Celebration of the Arts general meetings is reconnecting with friends established throughout the many years of the festival’s existence as well as meeting new friends eager to become a part of it. There is a certain energy that is present among attendees whose only gage for fluctuation is derived by how many are there. While the April 9th meeting proved to produce a smaller amount of Jazzy sparks, there were enough sparks to warm the enthusiasm which will become blazed as the months bring the reality of the festival closer. This is greatly anticipated. You’ll find more photographs taken during the meeting in The COTA Meetings 2012 Gallery at

The mission of The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is to present and to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area. It’s next general meeting is scheduled to be held at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap on Monday May 14th beginning at 7:30pm. The public is invited and encouraged to attend as all ideas are welcomed. Please Explore The Celebration of the Arts Website at or call 570-424-2210 to learn how you can become a volunteer and to learn for more information all about COTA has to offer.

A Jukebox in the Field

The Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artist’s Reception on Saturday April 7th for their Potter's Field Exhibition featuring The Art of Abby Braman. A sizable gathering of the artist’s fans along with those who just love to experience good art filled the record store to partake of the images and all they represented. There was much to partake as Ms. Braman’s work moved the viewer of each piece as if he/she were exploring a graveyard of unknown denizens like detectives endeavoring to ascertain the identities of those who lie beneath them. Yet, as the clues resembling the adornments of each work began to unravel, we begin to recall the words spoken by Batman in a DC Comic Book so long ago who said, “We have looked into the abyss only to see our own reflection.” You’ll be able to learn more about Abby Braman and her work from her facebook Profile at

The music for the reception was presented by King Dead whose Spaghetti Western with extra meatballs musical style filled the room with a melodious spell hypnotizing its listeners with their measured enchantments. The directions each note played seemed to be random wanderings which transfixed the mind to follow regardless of the un proclaimed destinations. However, once a still unnamable shoreline appeared, the company of travelers quickly explore their surroundings before embarking once again upon another song which soon brought to the imaginable mind the resemblance of the ferry mastered by Charon who have brought other souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron to the underworld to meet the king of the dead.

King Dead is composed of Charlie Abriel on drums, Wil McG on 6-string bass, Will Sovinski on slide guitar and/harmonica, and Kevin Vanderhoof on bass and synthesizer. The music blended well with and complimented the exhibit as the concepts of a potter’s field filled with graves of the unknown dead and the musical journey into the nether worldly realms of the mind seemed to merge in a seamless manner. You’ll be able to learn more about the band and their music on their Facebook Page at

In addition to their Potter's Field Exhibition featuring The Art of Abby Braman, the Main Street Jukebox presents numerous events relating to art and music throughout the year along with offering a variety of musical forms recorded on Vinyl Records. The next exhibition is yet to be announced while the current exhibition continues until April 30th. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Artist’s Reception for the Potter's Field Exhibition featuring The Art of Abby Braman in The Main Street Jukebox 2012 Gallery at Please Explore The Main St. Jukebox Facebook Page at or call 570-424-2246 for more information about these events and all they have to offer.

Reading Jazz by The Starbuck Light

The Starbucks Coffeehouse in Stroudsburg, PA featured author Debbie Burke who read excerpts from her first book titled, “The Poconos In B Flat” on Saturday April 7th. A modest but extremely supportive crowd came out to experience the beauty of the written word but they were soon joined by those who frequent the establishment as their interest in the author’s voice increased with every sip of coffee they drank. The readings proved to be a much more satisfying additive to their elixirs than the cream or sugar which was available.

“The Poconos In B Flat” consists of a series of interviews Ms. Burke conducted over a course of time with many of those considered iconic figures in the International Jazz scene who reside and often perform in the local Monroe County, PA (aka Pocono) area. Being a Jazz Saxophonist herself, Ms. Burke lends a musician’s insight to her interviews as clearly demonstrated by the stories which are revealed in her book. Even those who actually know some of the subjects presented may find themselves surprised by their stories which not only includes anecdotes on their lives but their perceptions of the musical form as well.

The readings were very entertaining and often amusing. One example of how amusing they were occurred when Ms. Burke read excepts from her interview with Bob Dorough who is not only famous for composing the songs utilized in the ABC Saturday morning shorts known as “Schoolhouse Rock” and his other musical achievements but also for his Arkansan twang spoken to a Beatnik bebop rhythm. However, Ms. Burke is from the borough of Brooklyn located in New York City, NY and maintains much of the accent associated with the area. To hear Bob Dorough’s words spoken in in a brooklynesse dialect was an unusual experience which brought a smile to many a face. Yet, her writing skills of the maintained the essence of musician’s voice which enable many to easily imagine him there speaking. The readings concluded with a drawing in which the person’s name chosen from a hat was given a free copy of the book. You’ll find more photographs taken during the reading in The Special Events Gallery at

As mentioned earlier, “The Poconos In B Flat” is the first book written by Debbie Burke. However, she has become well know for her numerous articles she has written for a variety of publications such as The Pocono Business Journal for which she served as its editor and The Northeast Music Organization (NEMO) magazine which she wrote a column about her experiences as a Jazz Saxophonist titled “Midlife Sax.” She was also the editor (aka mover and shaker) of The Forwardian Arts Society Literary and Arts Magazine titled, “Forwardian” and co founded The Forwardian Arts Society “ArtSmash of the Poconos” which presents music, poetry, and other art forms in a festival setting. To learn more about Ms. Debbie Burke, her book, and all of her achievements, please explore her page on facebook at

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Holy Week of Choral Concerts

The Reeders United Methodist Church in Reeders, PA hosted The Pocono Mountain Community Chorus of Churches as they presented the first performance of their 33rd Annual Holy Week Concert Series on Sunday April 1st. A choir consisting of members of churches established in the Monroe County PA and surrounding areas (including New Jersey) joined together to honor a week in which many of those practicing the Christian religion consider to be of paramount importance to their faith. The Choir was led by Jack Hamblin and accompanied by Gary Raish on Organ and Piano along with Cellist Agnieszka Rybska. You’ll find more photographs taken during the concert in The Special Events 2012 Gallery at

To many, this week contains events in which Joshua son of Joseph (aka Jesus The Messiah or Christ) partook of toward the end of his life c. 33 C. E. (Common Era). These include holidays known as Palm Sunday in which he reportedly rode upon a donkey into the city of Jerusalem located in the Roman province of  Judea, Maundy Thursday in which he held his final meal celebrating the Passover holiday with his disciples, Good Friday upon which he was executed by crucifixion for sedition, and Easter Sunday in which some claim he was reanimated (resurrected) after his death and resumed his role as a leader to his disciples until his “ascension into the Heavens” echoing that of an act performed by the Hebrew profit Elijah several centuries earlier.

The first performance of The Pocono Mountain Community Chorus of Churches’ 33rd Annual Holy Week Concert Series was held at The Reeders United Methodist Church in Reeders, PA on Sunday April 1st. Future concerts of the series will take place at The East Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church in East Stroudsburg, PA on Tuesday April 3rd and The Mt. Pocono United Methodist Church in Mt. Pocono, PA on Wednesday April 4th. The Chorus invites members of the community to lend their voices and participate in their annual concert series. To learn more about this year’s series, how to participarte in next year’s series, or The Pocono Mountain Community Chorus of Churches, Please Contact them at 570-839-9464 for more information.

Juking It Out With The Dead

The Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg, PA hosted a CD Release Party on Saturday March 31st Celebrating the release of the CD titled, “Bring Out the Dead” featuring the macabre and psychologically absorptive music of Rezlep and the Apparatus. Numerous denizens of the darker recesses of the imagination manifested themselves in their decorative garb to make their presence known as they filled the Jukebox partaking of demonic splendor they have come to sanctify with their love throughout the years. The evening proved to be especially satisfying as it afforded an opportunity to take home the musical offerings of Rezlep and the Apparatus so they, their children, and their children’s children can enjoy and be influenced by its divinity.

Rezlep and the Apparatus has gained a reputation to encourage a frolicking enjoyment of the darker pathways of the human psyche through an unique combination of music, lyrics, and sound bites from various sources including those of film and radio theater. This is all done through the keyboard and other devices (his Apparatus) which he employs to create a Cabaret Atmosphere to allow all the spirits in this world and the next to dance, drink, and share a conversation with one another. What a delightful departure it is to enjoy a deviation from the norm. Or, at least, what is considered norm by the mundane.

The performance of Rezlep and the Apparatus proved to be consistent with the memories of previous performances yet the availability of the long awaited CD titled, “Bring Out the Dead” enhanced the mood of the gathering. This mood was further enhanced by the posters designed by John Kolbek and Pezleps designed by Sherley Escribano (who also provided the Album’s Back Cover image titled, “Rose of Embers”) which were given to those purchased the first 50 copies of the CD. You may learn more about the work of John Kolbek at and Sherley Escribano at

As the evening at the Main Street Jukebox concluded, a funeral procession began to form along the sidewalk whose destination was to be The Sarah Street Grill. The costumes already adorning the hosts were further accessorized with veils and other items befitting the joy inherent in the collective panache of the party. You’ll find more photographs taken during the party in The Main Street Jukebox 2012 Gallery at

I was fortunate enough to purchase a copy of Rezlep and the Apparatus’ “Bring Out the Dead” and, while it’s safe to say the CD or any of the songs that it contains won’t be positioned on the Pop/Country Top 40 Charts, it does capture the flavor and essence of the performances Rezlep and the Apparatus is well known for. However, unlike CDs created by several local bands and musicians, “Bring Out the Dead” isn’t just a an echo of a live performance whose energies becomes lost in the transition in attempts to record it.

Instead, the CD skillfully accounts for the difference between presenting music live and recording it in the studio. Each approach has its own dimensionality. A live performance allows fans to enjoy the musical offerings in an atmosphere filled with like minded friends who become an intricate part of the listening experience. However, a studio version of the music a band or musician presents also needs to be enjoyable in the absence of the effects associated with a live performance. In other words, the pertinent question is, “Does the music sounds good sober?” In this regards, Rezlep and the Apparatus’ “Bring Out the Dead” succeeds as a CD as it sounds great regardless of the mental or inebriated state of its listener and would be a welcomed addition to any collection.

Rezlep and the Apparatus’ “Bring Out the Dead” presents music which has been described as Trip-hop Cabaret and as Steampunk Horror. Shane Izzykowski provided the Album’s Front Cover Photograph. You may learn more about the work of Shane Izzykowski at You may learn more about Rezlep and the Apparatus, his musical styling’s and influences, and how to obtain your copy of   the CD titled, “Bring Out the Dead” at his facebook page at or at his website at

In addition to The Rezlep and the Apparatus CD Release Party held at The Main Street Jukebox hosts Exhibitions featuring local artists. The next Exhibition will be titled, “Potter's Field” featuring the work of Abby Braman. The Artist’s Reception will take place Saturday April 7th beginning at 6pm featuring musical guest King Dead. The Exhibition Continues Until April 30th. Please Explore The Main St. Jukebox Facebook Page at or call 570-424-2246 for more information about these events and all they have to offer.