Friday, December 19, 2014

A Funn House Becomes a Home

On an unseasonably warm evening, an uncommonly hospitable home in Stroudsburg, PA opened its doors on Tuesday December 16th to music lovers who eagerly walked through its thresholds to partake of the loving atmosphere and the sounds the residence would produce throughout the night. The home was that of Eric Funn and the music to be performed was shared by guitarists Spencer Kellum (aka The Loneliness Monk), George Pettis (aka The 100 Watt Horse), and Theomar Chakey Francois (aka Sunny Shading). The sizable gathering shared in the congenial conversation the welcoming mood of the abode inspired as well as in the delicious victuals that were made available for consumption. The later was especially true of the homemade Vegetable soup which garnered many praise worthy exclamations.

The evening began as Spencer Kellum leaped into his performance with a song that captivated the senses through the depth of its lyrics and the haunting qualities of his instrumentations. The songs that followed ranged from those that inspired thoughtful contemplation to those entreating members of the audience to engage in childlike dancing accompanied by the additional beats found in the clapping of hands. Spencer Kellum is from Memphis, TN and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Transmutation.” You can learn more about Spencer Kellum and his music at

A break ensued after the performance given by Mr. Kellum which allowed many to be replenished by the cuisine as well as by the conversations the music inspired. A thoughtful delight mingled with the words that were embellished by the taste of the morsels that were digested. The stimulating yet relaxing intercourse came to its conclusion as the next performance of the evening began to take its place in the living room.

George Pettis took his solitary spot before a waiting audience with his guitar in hand. He began his set by gently mesmerizing the gathering with a homegrown melody that possessed the ability to linger in one's thoughts long after its brief visit trailed off into the collective memories of the gathering from which it was born. This and the subsequent songs held a soothing quality about them that resembled the dreams one dreams when a restless sleep begs for peaceful slumber so the fullness of the nocturnal wanderings can be absorbed. The soft renditions of each song drew the listener closer to its essence which made it all the more connected with the soul who heard it. George Pettis is from Atlanta, GA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “The 100 Watt Horse.” You can learn more about George Pettis and his music at

As the echo of the music Mr. Pettis performed slowly dissipated throughout the room, a brief but satisfying break ensued. This respite was followed by the appearance of a local musician that had become a favorite among many members of the audience through his numerous appearances at The Sherman Theater's Living Room during their Open Mic Nights and other events in which quality music is presented. A momentum grew in each anticipatory breath as the musician began to take his place upon the stage and made the final tuning preparations on his guitar.

Theomar Chakey Francois moved the gathering with the very first notes he strummed along with the initial words he uttered from the song he began with. They flowed from his being like a breath of fresh air that refreshed every soul they touched. Stories relating to many of the songs were shared which enhanced their depth and allowed their histories to be embraced by similar pasts found in each audience member. Mr. Francois ended his set and the evening's concert with a joyful tune in which many happily dooted along to. Theomar Chakey Francois is from Bushkill, PA and has recorded several CDs including one titled, “Lorelei.” You can learn more about Sunny Shading and his music at

The evening proved to be a wonderful one filled with great music and even greater company. The conclusion of the concert left many reluctant to leave the Funn abode as it had become their home in what seemed a very short amount of time they were there. But, the road magnified its call to many of them and they ventured out with the reassuring hope there will be many such musical offerings as the new year of 2015 progresses. You'll be able to view the photographs taken during the concert at The December 16th Funn House Concert Gallery at You'll also be able to view concerts presented at other homes throughout the year in our House Music 2014 Archives at as well as events related to the performing arts throughout 2014 in our Archive at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Music and Trains Makes a Winter Festive

The EastBurg Community Alliance held their Annual Winter Fest at The Historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday December13th.A modest gathering of local citizens shared in the activities presented outside the depot while a larger number explored the offerings presented within the structure. This was due partly to the brisk weather conditions indicative to this time of the year in the northeast PA region in which the festival took place but there was also a fascination within the building that lured many of the festival goers to its magical properties.

These properties were embodied primarily in the Model Train display presented by The PMMRRC which is a local railroad club whose members share their enthusiasm of the mode of transportation with one another by comparing personal collections and the insights they inspire while playfully running them on the club’s tracks. The tracks displayed at the Winter Fest were lovingly laid upon the landscape of a child’s imagination with trains filled with dreams making whistle stops at every station of the human heart. It was a delight to witness the illumination of eyes that were ignited every time the trains circled in the vicinity of the children who were present and whose ages varied from 5 to 75.

Along with The PMMRRC’s Model Train display, there were a number of activities within the depot that had their own ability to entertain its visitors. These included arts and crafts which children were invited to lend their creativity to construct, an opportunity to have one’s photograph taken with Santa’s elves, information about The EastBurg Community Alliance and its endeavors as well as those of other community organizations was available, and tickets were on sale for the event’s “Silent Night” Auction, for rides upon a horse drawn carriage, and upon a train that stood patiently outside the depot. The offerings and opportunities presented throughout the building intrigued those who explored them and added a level of pleasure to the festivities.

Although the chilled temperatures inspired many to seek the warmth provided in an interior dwelling, there was much to be experienced upon the grounds of the structure. These included choral performances of holiday music presented by Susan McCool and Friends and The New Approach Singers as well as by choirs composed of students attending local schools, craft displays presented by CJ’s Crafting Corner,Lucky Me Jewelry, and Mountain Dog Candles, hot dogs skillfully cooked by the depot’s volunteers, and tours of the depot’s switch tower provided by The East Stroudsburg Railroad Tower Society The offerings of deftly created crafts, culinary treats, and insightful explorations of the past all enhanced the day’s festivities but the gentle blending of voices inspired a song to be sung within the hearts of all who braved the chilled weather to hear its warmth.

The festival was scheduled to end with a Tree Lighting Ceremony which I wasn’t able to attend but, by accounts shared with me by those who were present during previous occasions, it was sure to had been an uplifting experience to commence the holiday season. Although I was unable to attend the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, I can say the portion of the festival I did attend and the experiences I encountered were very pleasant ones and left a feeling of delight that continues to linger within me. You’ll find more photographs taken during The EastBurg Community Alliance’s Annual Winter Fest at

The Eastburg Community Alliance was established over 30 years ago by local leaders and business owners and is funded through a combination of local grants, direct fund raising, memberships, and local contributions. Besides their Annual Winter Fest, The EastBurg Community Alliance will Celebrate The Historic Dansbury Depot’s Opening on Wednesday December 17thand hold a Santa Train on Saturday December 20thin cooperation with the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society. You’ll be able to learn more about The Eastburg Community Alliance and what they offer to the community by visiting their Facebook Page at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Sense of Belonging Shared at The PoconoArts

As the wintry weather cascaded into the Northeast PA Region known as “The Poconos,” a warm respite was found within The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday November 21st as an Artists Reception was held celebrating the creative endeavors of artists who recently added their considerable talents to the Pocono Arts Council’s membership. A wide variety of styles and creative approaches were on display with their images and calming hues becoming enhanced by the conversations that were shared by the modest number of art lovers who attended. The exhibit was further enhanced by the general feeling of belonging that was shared by the new members who were present in that they were part of a camaraderie of established artists whom the council welcomes into their midst. 

The event was created out of the desire to recognize artists who have joined the council since their Annual Members’ exhibit took place last May. And, like the May exhibition, awards were given to those who shown
exceptional talent in their creative endeavors. The difficulty in determining who would receive special
recognitionis speculated to be a considerable one as the quality of the work is contemplated upon. However, awards were distributed to a number of worthy artists.

The awards for photography went to William McKee who received the Second Place award as the First 
Place for the medium went to Eileen Noelle. The Second Place award for Three Dimensional Art (Sculpture) went to Candy DeJesus while Elizabeth Urbanowski was awarded First Place in the medium. The Second Place award for Two Dimensional Art (Paintings) went to Michael Pizzuto while George Miller was awarded First Place in the medium. The award given to the piece that was considered to be the Best in Show went to Beverly Lambert. Enthusiastic applause accompanied the announcement of each recipient’s name and
congratulations were shared after the ceremony.

The evening proved to be an enjoyable one even though the scarcity in the number of those attending was a bit surprising. In fact, as I entered the main gallery, no one was there. However, I then ventured into the studio gallery of the center because I smelled food and found a number of the attendees who arrived before I did gathered around and munching the culinary treats that were provided by The Thai Orchid which is located on 9th Street in Stroudsburg, PA. It was good to be with people who shared similar appetizing desires as myself.

Still, It was unfortunate more art lovers in the local and surrounding communities weren’t present to enjoy the
festivities and conversation. However, it has been a bit colder temperature wise than usual and many people
who frequent the events at The Pocono Arts Cultural Center may have decided to forego the reception to
begin an early hibernation. Perhaps when there is more familiarity with the seasonal change many of these
individuals will be use to the weather and make their way to the venue.

In addition to the work created by Artists who recently joined The Pocono Arts Council, a number of pieces
were on display honoring the memory of an artist who brought a great deal of meaning to the life of the
community through his work and endeavors to help others realize the creativity within themselves. The
paintings and pottery created by Aldof “Hank” Aldrich were placed throughout the gallery in both their main and Studio galleries. Memories flowed from the pieces as those who knew him fondly reflected upon their encounters with his loving presence. You’ll find more photographs taken during the New Members’ Artists’
Reception in The PoconoArts New Member Reception Gallery at as well as other events held at The Pocono Arts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA in The Pocono Arts Cultural Center 2014 Gallery at 

The PoconoArts Council was founded in 1975 and serves the community as a “Chamber of Commerce” for artists, arts organization, and others in the Northeast PA area as the region’s leading art service, education, and advocacy organization. The PoconoArts Council has endeavored to enrich the cultural atmosphere through their many projects such as their High School Students’ Juried Exhibition, their Annual Members'
Exhibition, and and The Pocono State Craft Festival. They have recently created a 2015 Expose Yourself to
Art Calendar which depicts local artists and prominent citizens in the nude which is available for purchase. The
next event to be presented by The PoconoArts Council will be their Annual Meeting on Friday December 5th 
beginning at 5pm to plan for the upcoming year upon which a discount will be given to attendees for items
purchased that evening. You can learn more about The PoconoArts Council and all they have to offer the
community and its artists by exploring their Facebook Page at

Photography by PaparazzPaul.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A night of Life at TLR

On a crisp autumnal evening, The Sherman Theater’s Living Room (TLR) in Stroudsburg, PA opened their weekly Open Mic Nite event on Sunday November 9th to a room filled with musicians, poets, and numerous individuals who shared a loving desire to partake of the creativity the evening had to offer. I arrived just prior to the sign in ritual which has become an event in and of itself as those wishing to perform affixed their signatures or mom de plume to the sacred list determining the order of appearances for the evening eagerly endeavor to do so. A number of newcomers to the event were among the signatories which enhanced the anticipatory excitement of those who awaited their gifts to be revealed.

As the 7pm hour approached, the evening’s co hosts, Andrew Paul (aka A. P.) and Jesse Morales, took the stage to share their welcoming sentiments along with the house rule regarding the performance content of which profanity was allowed but a warning that it will be prevalent throughout the set should be given. These remarks were followed by a performance given by Jesse and his guitar with a slow thoughtful song that brought the souls of those who listened to its melodies and lyrics to a place of rest. He was followed by guitarist Sunny Shading who, with Jesse accompanying him, sang a number of songs whose effervescent qualities elicited joyous clapping and uplifted hearts from the audience.

Sunny Shading was followed by poetry rendered in succession by newcomers Drew and Moonbeam whose words moved the dreams shared by gathering of listeners to a new home within their poetic imagery. They were followed with more poetic explorations shared by a favorite among the venue’s denizens known as The Carlton. His powerful words grabbed the thoughts of all who felt the depths their impact as they delve into their own existence revealed through the silent contemplation of what their souls had heard.

The Carlton was followed by another favorite of The Living Room Crowd who were the duet known as Woodrow which consists of Theresa Ratcliff on vocals and Brian Brancamp on vocals and guitar. They began their set with the Beatles classic “Across the Universe” whose spiritually attuned qualities were enhanced by their interpretation of the work from which they moved the audience to become a community of friends who shared their One (Uni) Song (Verse) with one another. Woodrow followed this song with a sing along which created an air of excitement among the gathering as they eagerly partook of the opportunity to participate in their performance.

Woodrow was followed by Ann Matthews who presented a captivating performance piece titled, “You Need Me” which spoke its truth to every experience in which the dichotomy of encouraging support comes into conflict with the need to grow through one’s meeting life’s challenges alone with the potential one would fail an ever present possibility embedded in the endeavor. Ann was followed by Kevin Tails whose lyrical qualities gave  the a cappella renderings of each song the gift of inspiration that led to the rhythmic moving of heads while the emotions embodied in his voice reached further than the words. It was after Kevin’s performance that a break ensued which provided those in attendance an opportunity to share their words of appreciation to the performers who took the stage thus far and to enrich the experience through the conversations which were inspired by their communal experience.

As the break came to its conclusion, a newcomer to the stage known as Momo verbalized her nervousness as she waited for the music that would accompany her to be played upon the venue’s sound system. Her voice moved the room as she sang with a rawness of emotion that transcended the qualities of the music that shared her audio space. She was followed by another newcomer to the venue known as The Beka who, with guitar in hand, sang with a soul that echoed the depths of the compositions she rendered which were written upon the hearts of life’s experiences. She was followed by Brad M who began his set accompanied by co host Andrew Paul (aka A. P.) on vocal percussion as he offered his rendering of the song “Royal” to an appreciative audience. A. P. then left the stage at the song’s conclusion leaving Brad to share a number of pieces whose eclectic nature infused the audience with their overlapping qualities.

As Brad M completed his performance, The Carlton took the stage to introduce a guest host named Julian Chiaro who shared some introductory words about the next performers who were Rich and Angel from the band Buffalo 66. Their hard core renderings pierced the consciousness of all who felt the raspy voice and heavy guitar chords that epitomized the weight of each song. As Rich and Angel completed their performance, Julian Chiaro retook the stage to share her humorous observations of life with the audience. The topics she explored included dating in the Facebook age in which the seriousness of a relationship (which could consist of a slice pizza with an engagement ring inside of it) is determined on whether or not a profile’s relationship status is changed. Her remarks struck a chord with the gathering as evident in the plentiful laughter they shared. Ms. Chiaro was followed by Wilbium whose electronic renderings created dancing dreams among the crowd as demonstrated by the infectious joy eluding from the lively movements emanating from dancers Satilla Rose and Emillie Day.

It was with the conclusion of Wilbium’s musical journeys did the completion of the main list of performances come into being. However, the allotted time given to the event had not yet expired which meant those who placed their names on the waiting list were now able to add their talents to the evening. They included Gabbie whose poetry mesmerized the gathering with their enlightened qualities as they emotions and situations they relayed were revealed, Cee Rock whose acoustic renderings upon his guitar moved the audience through geometric journeys leading the algorithms of imagination to expand itself into the full emptiness of the conscious reckonings the lyrics of his songs demanded, and Andrew Paul (aka A. P. Box) who ended the evening by sprinkling his vocal percussions with humor until he accompanied Cee Rock who returned to the stage to share a hip hop stream of words that flowed like a flooding river of concepts that saturated the mind with their abundance.

As the final ephemeral utterance of A. P. and Cee Rock left the indelible mark upon the human psyche, A. P. ended the evening with some vocal manipulations which were enjoyed by those who were present. It was at their conclusion did he bid the gathering a fare thee well and invited all to return to the next session of the weekly Open Mic Nite event. Those who remained reluctantly gathered their belongings to venture home with reflections of the evening and all it provided their dreams accompanying them through the door. An eagerness followed them as they anticipated the offerings their experiences promised them for the following week bringing a smile to their hearts. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday November 9th Open Mic Nite Session in The Living Room 2014 Gallery Part 4 at

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite Series will take place on Sunday November 16th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which presents their current exhibition titled, “Day of the Dead” featuring the work of artists from around the area and will be on display until December 28th. Their next exhibit will take place in January with a theme yet to be announced. Please contact the gallery’s Director and Curators, Keyaira and Drew Ozkenel, at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Living Room is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, exhibitions, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Making It in the SVPA Art Market

The School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) in Stroudsburg, PA held their first Maker’s Market on the weekend of November 8th and 9th. The two day event filled the school with eye catching art, delicately crafted pieces, alluring jewelry to adorn the physical form, beautification products designed to assure a healthier texture to the body and soul of those who purchased them, and some really good samplings of cookies. All of the items presented were created and/or sold by artists and other individuals who made a home in the area.

Artists who presented their work included Josue Guardia, Cara Parmagiani of Near Enemy Comics, Ashley Fontones of BeastyFeast, Shane Izykowski, and Marty Carr with her daughter Emma Wirth serving at her business manager. The high caliber of quality embodied in the work presented among the varied artists represented the zenith of the creativity that has come to the fore throughout the area in recent years. Some images presented brought a heartwarming smile to the soul while others inspired insightful contemplations of the meaningful messages they conveyed through their visions. Yet, there were also some images that shocked the senses through their horrific depictions while deftly maintaining a great degree of beauty and awe which was reflected in the countenance of all who experienced them.

Crafters who presented their work included Bonnie O’Fee of Bonnies Salves and Ointments who has been making great smelling and healing salves, ointments, natural healing remedies, and aromatherapies for many years, Mary Elizabeth Ranieri-Fontones of Once Upon a Fairy who offered glamorous Fairy houses and their furnishings that lights up every room with sparkle and magic, Melissa Benzinger of Dancing Vulture Designs who harnesses the natural spirit of playfulness and the joy of wildlife through her meticulous needle felt, sculpture, jewelry, and more, Carol Petrucci of Metaphysically Speaking who offered an assortment of holistically inspired jewelry containing energies designed to heal the soul, and Camille Theresa who, along with her daughter, offered a delightful assortment of palm trees and other delicately made items that brought a smile to all who visited their table. A delicious assortment of cookie samplings were provided by Flying Merswine whose creative menus and tasty dishes from a family run catering company truly compliments any event.

It is often a challenge among artists whose creative nature seldom embraces the intricate complexities of marketing their endeavors to partake of any initiative to do so. It can almost be said there is something in the genome of the artistic temperament that prohibits this metaphysical mergence from taking place. However, the combination of the items and the manner in which they were presented throughout the day at the School of Visual and Performing Arts proved to be a wonderful mixture of creativity and marketing combined to create a satisfying cuisine that gently bridged the dichotomic gap between the two concepts for all who participated along with the modest number of art lovers who came to explore the offerings. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Makers’ Market of  November 8th and 9th in The SVPA 2014 Gallery at

The Maker’s Market presented at the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) in Stroudsburg, PA continued it’s weekend of opportunities for its participants to offer their endeavors for purchase until Sunday November 9th. The event proved to be a wonderful respite where one can casually view some wonderful work and engage in some thoughtful conversations with the vendors who are present. In other words, it was a great place to do some early Christmas Shopping for the unordinary items that would make the holiday an unique one.

In addition to the Maker’s Market, the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) in Stroudsburg, PA presently houses its exhibition titled, “Beyond The Harvest” which will be on display until December 15th. Their next exhibit is titled, “Winter’s Wishes” with an Artists’ Reception scheduled for Saturday December 20th beginning at 6pm. The date upon which the exhibit will continue to be on display is yet to be announced. All area artists are welcomed to participate by placing their work related to the theme in the exhibit. The drop off dates are December 18th and 19th. Please contact Jody Singer at for more information.

Also, a full performance of “The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky will be presented at The Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, PA December 6th and 7th as performed by The Northeast Ballet Ensemble. In addition to preparing for “The Nutcracker” performance, Ms. Verdi shares her extensive knowledge of the art form of dance through the classes she conducts at the school. You can learn more information about them, how to reserve your place by registering for them, and learn how to obtain tickets to attend the performance of “The Nutcracker” by calling 570-619-4113 or by emailing her at

The School of Visual and Performing Arts is located in Stroudsburg, PA and has been instrumental in the creative development of its students for over 20 years. The facility holds classes in dance, ballet, and movement led by Diane Verdi, Paula Heeschen, and Kathy Kroll as well as classes in the theater arts led by Jazmin Ospa and Shellie Bransford. The school also offers a number of workshops with each focusing on a variety of creative disciplines. You can learn more about The School of Visual and Performing Arts by exploring their Website at or their Facebook Page at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.