Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Woodrow OMN-mas

The Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA celebrated the upcoming holidays with special culinary offerings to be enjoyed during their Sunday December 20th installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom. A table which consisted of donations of clothing to benefit those in need of such items for the winter was being filled while Bobby Jo Moran was at another table continuously stirring a crock pot filled with a chocolaty brew. Canned whip cream and mini marshmallows were available to those wishing to experience the full effects of the mesmerizing Hot Cocoa while an assortment of cookies adorned the snack table alongside Styrofoam cups filled with popcorn. All this enhanced not only the flavor of the season but the performances that populated the evening.

After the customary sign in ritual which allowed those who wish to share their talents to give a voice to their desires, co host, Theresa Ratcliff, took the stage to welcome the company to the venue and to make some announcements. One of these proclamations shared the news that she and Brian Bramkamp would be performing as the featured act as “Woodrow” and thus the hosting of the evening would be handed to co host Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) and guest host Renee Elizabeth Eisenhardt.

The first performer the dazzling duo introduced was a comedian known as Wilbur who explore the multitudinous levels of crying and the frustration one faces while receiving bilingual directions to Spruce St. Wilbur was followed by a poet known as Juice Box Fairy whose turbulent words traveled into the listener's thoughts like whitewater vessels skipping along the rapids of a calm blue sea. The Juice Box Fairy was followed by a guitarist known as Vincent who sang songs populated with words that expanded upon their meaningfulness with every utterance.

The conclusion of Vincent's performance led to the presentation of The Forwardian Players' Christmas Pageant which was written by Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that's me). It starred Renee Elizabeth Eisenhardt as Mary and Wilbium Mohlenhoff as Joseph. The acting was stunning as the well received piece answered the question “How Jesus Got His Name.” The Forwardian Players' were followed by Ann Mathews who shared a song she had written so recently that its lyrics had to be attached to Pizza boxes with duct tape to aid in her memory of their content. A brief break ensued after Ms. Matthew's performance as Woodrow prepared to share their considerable talents with the gathering.

The duo shared a number of original pieces whose ability to touch the heart filled the soul with their otherworldly embodiments. They later shared songs written by other artists with interpretations that transcended the essence of the performers associated with them. A meaningful countenance filled the gathering as they listened to the mystic music generated by Theresa Ratcliff and Brian Bramkamp. You can learn more about “Woodrow” by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf.

Another break took place as an old friend of The Living Room prepared to perform. Jesse Morales was a frequent performer many months ago during the Open Mic Nites and his eagerly awaited return gladdened the hearts of many who remembered him. The first notes that accompanied his powerfully rich voice elevated the delight of those who appreciated his talent as well as those who were newly initiated toward its magnificence. Jesse was followed by Poet Cody Wyoming who utilized a guitar to emphasize the haunting beats that laid quietly within her poetry. She was later joined by Jesse Morales who accompanied her on guitar while she gave voice to the deepest realms of each listener's soul.

Cody Wyoming and Jesse Morales' performance was followed by that given by Melissa Ann whose powerful voice surrounded her first selection with an A Capellic embrace that gave the song an unique substance unheard by any previous interpretation. Her later pieces were joined by music which only enhanced their effects on those who listened with the fullness of their being. She was followed by Michelle Leanna Zbinden who enchanted the crowd through her songs and her voice. Michelle was followed by John who began his set with some Christmas and was joined by Brad. Their combined musical talents delighted the crowd. Later, John sung some songs from musicals in a manner that brought their grace and theatricalities to the room.

As John completed his set, Wilbium took to the stage and prepared his electronic keyboard, guitar, and other computerized apparatuses to end the evening with wild and abandoned dancing. The lights were dimmed so special colored illuminations could merge with the dancers as they moved about the room. The palpitated beats of the music joyfully effected the bodies that explored their physical limitations upon which forms came into being once such boundaries were surpassed. It was wow.

Eventually, the music and dancing came to an end. It was at this time did those who hosted the Open Mic Nite share their wishes for an enjoyable holiday as they bade their farewells. These sentiments included some touching words shared by guest host Renee Elizabeth Eisenhardt whose sentiments expressed a love for the venue that reflected the language spoken within everyone's heart. Her utterances inspired the entire gathering to hope her presence will continue to bless the event forever.

It was soon after Ms. Eisenhardt spoke did Theresa Ratcliff and Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) sing a final song as an expression of goodbye before the company departed in anticipation of another installment of the Open Mic Nite in the new year of 2016. This will be take place on Sunday January 3rd 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. In the meantime, you'll be able to view photographs taken during the Sunday December 20th event in the A Woodrow OMN-mas Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154438062013761.1073741933.91146283760&type=3.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Sherman Theater’s Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery. Their next exhibition is yet to be announced
. The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Sherman Theater’s 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 Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 or call 570-421-2808 for more information on the venue, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Darkened Canvases Illumines Art's Origins

The joyous promises of the holidays embedded within the winter season found their potentials to be kept on Saturday December 19th as an Artists' Reception for The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA's Black Canvas Exhibition greeted the many art lovers who filled the gallery. Area artists were invited to share works created on black canvas, in black frames, or matted in black and the results of their endeavors adorned the walls along with the subconscious meanderings of the mind. Burnt Toad Studios www.facebook.com/burnttoadstudios/?fref=ts celebrated the holidays with a Christmas Party during the reception while a delicious cuisine was catered by Scarpelli's Italian Specialties www.facebook.com/Scarpellis-Italian-Specialties-311929348826641. Music was provided by Public Displays of Rejection, a sleigh was being filled with store-bought toys, non-perishables, and other items for those in need, and the gallery's famous Art Raffle was held.

As one walked through the gallery, the unmistakable presence of each piece embracing the exhibit's theme became more deeply undeniable with every step. The contrasting symmetry between the diametrical hues and shapes implodes the imagination by allowing the psyche to touch the now congenial darkness that dwells within. In the process, a previously unexplored depth was discovered once the cautions against becoming entwined with one's darker nature were set aside. While each work reflected the unique approach to the exhibit's theme by each artists, a common thread ran through the entire collection which induced the exploration of the wholeness of oneself to take place and other profound sensations that were presented during the event.

The mind bending sounds of the duet known as Public Displays of Rejection added to these sensations as their other worldly interpretations of the compositions in the repertoire occupied realms whose foundations were placed before the songs' creation. This was especially true of the selections that originated with the band, “Pink Floyd” in which the effects of the haunting melodies and the psychologically searching lyrics in their work were uncannily surpassed by the talents of Ricky "Dum Dum" Delgado and Shane Reimer. This was achieved mostly through the technology they employed to create certain moods and emphasis upon some instruments phrasing. But, the overall vision of the musicians inspired each song to go beyond their psychedelic boundaries so it can emulate the duo's imagination. You can learn more about Public Displays of Rejection by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PublicDisplaysOfRejection/?fref=ts or their Website at www.soundcloud.com/PublicDisplaysofRejection.

At certain intervals during the reception, the gallery's curators, Jody Singer and Ashley Catherine Fontones, took the stage to share their appreciation with those who attended the event along with news of upcoming endeavors of the gallery and the art community. A tentative schedule of future exhibitions was revealed that has yet to be solidified. But, the knowledge of what The Origins Gallery envisions for its future enlivened the hearts of all who were enlightened by it. It was also announced that the gallery would be taking a well deserved break during the month of January in order to prepare both physically and aesthetically for 2016.

It was after these announcements that the famous Art Raffle was held. The naming of digits and items floated around the room until an exclamation of joy revealed who had won the object. This continued until the final item was collected which led to the bidding of farewells between members of the gathering. It was agreed the new year of 2016 will be another great one for the arts as those who learned of the envisioned exhibits and other art related adventures will be drawn to the gallery and find something wonderful throughout the coming year and beyond.

The Black Canvas Exhibition will continue to be on display at The Origins Gallery until until December 31st. The theme of next exhibition and how artists can place their work in it is yet to be officially announced. In addition to the exhibitions they hold a number of special events like their Last Minute Monday Series, classes and workshops, and festivals are held at the gallery. They are quite enjoyable and I hope to see you at many of them. In the meantime, you can view photographs taken during the Artists' Reception of the current exhibit at The Darkened Canvases Illumines Art's Origins Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154430406223761.1073741932.91146283760&type=3.

The Origins Gallery is located on the lower level of The Gamers Edge Comics and Games Store www.facebook.com/TheGamersEdgeStroudsburg?fref=ts which can be found at 580 Main St. in Stroudsburg, PA. The Origins Gallery is a contemporary arts gallery within the Pocono Art District having one of the highest and fastest sales records in the Stroudsburg area, provides a space to those who teach the arts to those who would like to learn from them, and continues to do everything with the local community in mind. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg or their Website at www.originsgallery.org.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

An OMN Birthday Bash

On Sunday December 13th, I entered the Sherman Theater's Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA to partake of another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom. Bobby Jo Moran, Theresa Ratcliff, and others who manage the event were busy adorning the room with balloons and Star Wars themed materials in preparation of Ted Hebert's 25th Birthday which would be celebrated that night. Mr. Hebert would serve as the evening's featured performer as well.

It was shortly after the room began to fill toward its capacity was it announced the time had arrived for those wishing to make their desires known about sharing their talents to sign. A line formed quickly as an assemblage of singers, musicians, poets, and comedians eagerly approached the list to add their names to it. Excited conversations followed the ritual as final preparations were being made by those who were to perform that evening. This was until the evening's host, Theresa Ratcliff, took the stage in order to welcome the gathering and share her appreciation for their presence.

It was after her words did she introduce the first act on the list which was a young man known as Creez who moved the house through his original hip hop compositions with a voice that soothed the soul toward an exploration of the deeper avenues of their meaning. Creez was followed by the return of Theresa Ratcliff who was joined by Brian Bramkamp so they could form the popular duo known as “Woodrow” www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf who began their set by singing the Happy Birthday song for Mr. Hebert. Their performance continued as voices and music mesmerized the gathering allowing them to transcend the familiar expectations of their dreams.

Woodrow was followed by a guitarist named Burt who sang with a power which moved each composition toward an orbital lair in which each listener could dwell. Burt was followed by another guitarist known as Dee who is a favorite among the frequent visitors of the room as her ability to bring each song to a new level elevated them. She was followed by a performance artist named Ann Matthews who proceeded to inspire the audience to participate in a song that required movement as well as voice thus transforming the company into a relaxation nation. The conclusion of her performance led to a break as preparations were made for Ted Hebert to share his comedic talents.

Mr. Hebert shared his views on many aspects of popular culture including relationships and the modern requirement of declaring one's status by making it Facebook Official. He also shared his desire to be a time traveler so he could experience certain things for the first time. All this proved to be hilarious as Mr. Hebert's perceptions and delivery of his material inspired a great deal of laughter among the gathering. You can learn more about Ted Hebert by exploring his Facebook Profile at www.facebook.com/ted.hebert.III.

Ted Hebert was followed by another comedian named Zack Hammond who shared his politically incorrect humor which elicited a great deal of laughter. As the last laugh echoed throughout the room, Theresa Ratcliff and Ted Hebert took the stage to select and announce the winners of the prizes that were raffled off for the evening. They were followed by Guitarist Joe Craig who will be the Open Mic Nite's featured performer on Sunday February 28th. He shared songs that sang to the soul and he was followed by The Carlton who shared a in-depth exploration of his life that led to a profound sadness.

The Carlton was followed by a guitarist known as Andy who moved the gentleness embodied in the audience's serenities through his voice and music. He was followed by Poet Cody Wyoming who shared her thoughtful reflections on some previous performers that allowed those who listened with their heart to gain an elevated perspective. She was followed by duo known as BBQ which consists of Rick and Frank Mitchell. Their sounds guided the psyche to realms left unexplored until their hypnotic beats and words opened the Taco Bellian doors from within. It was after the conclusion of BBQ's performance did the evening's Open Mic Nite reach its conclusion.

The evening's host, Theresa Ratcliff, shared her appreciation with the audience and all who shared their talents as their endeavors and participation help make the night another wonderful one. It was soon after her words did the company bid each other farewell and begin to leave in anticipation of returning the following week for another Open Mic Nite at the Sherman Theater's Living Room. This will be take place on Sunday December 20th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The feature performance for the evening will be the band known as The Set Up www.facebook.com/thesetupp/?fref=ts who won the Battle for your SPOT band competition held at The Living Room on Sunday December 6th. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. In the meantime, you'll be able to view the photographs I took during the Sunday December 13th event in the An OMN Birthday Bash Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154422734043761.1073741931.91146283760&type=3.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Sherman Theater’s Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery. Their next exhibition is yet to be announced. The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Sherman Theater’s 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 Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 or call 570-421-2808 for more information on the venue, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Festive Depot for the Winter

The Borough of East Stroudsburg, PA and The EastBurg Community Alliance held their Annual Winter Fest at the town's Historic Dansbury Depot on Saturday December 12th. The unseasonably warm weather met a modest gathering of local citizens as they shared the spirit of the season with one another. The blessings of the temperature allowed for a great deal of enjoyment of the festival both inside the depot and out.

Inside the depot was a Garden Miniature Railroad Display, several items related to the depot and The EastBurg Community Alliance were for sale, and a display of artistic work created by students enrolled in The Lehman Township, PA Intermediate School's 8th Grade. The exhibit is titled, “Confessions” and the work is a result of students anonymously writing their secrets on a piece of paper. Their words were later drawn randomly in a lottery by an artist who would utilize the secret as inspiration for the image he/she would create. The work was very well done and those who viewed it felt the energies of youth as well as the thoughtful contemplation of each revelation embodied in each brush stroke.

Outside the depot a choir of friends gathered to share their rendition of a number of seasonal songs. Each tune lifted the heart of the listener toward a higher altitude than the previous one allowing the full blessing of the holiday to populate the soul. There were also many vendors lining the sidewalk and grassy areas that enticed several individuals to partake of their wares in preparation to the gift giving traditions that are associated with the season.

These vendors included Veli Naturals www.facebook.com/Velinaturals whose beautification products are organic, raw, and unrefined, Pure Romance as represented by Danielle Comerford www.pureromance.com/daniellecomerford whose products are designed to empower, educate, and entertain couples, Daisy Mae Crochet rerrico@ptd.net whose fabric designs are certain to warm one both inside and out, Cowboy and Angel who shared their jewelry and leather products, Jamberry beauty products as represented by Mandie Adones www.mandieadones13.Jamberry.com, Bath Fitter www.bathfitter.com as represented by Alicia Summers, Mid Atlantic Waterproofing www.basements.com as represented by Duke, representatives from Anderson Windows and Doors www.andersonwindows.com, and Little Italy Cookies littleitalycookies@aol.com that tasted all so good. Meeting the vendors and learning of their love for their merchandise proved to be very enjoyable. The music from the choir enhanced the experience and helped make the festival a very festive occasion.

In addition to the vendors and choral music, tours of the depot's train tower and Horse Drawn Carriage Rides provided by Sugar Mountain Carriages were taking place throughout the day. Hot dogs were being cooked for those whose hunger for the victuals stood in line awaiting their sustenances and Santa came to visit all the children of all ages who were present. 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. You’ll find more photographs taken during the day in the A Festive Depot for the Winter Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154412708513761.1073741930.91146283760&type=3.

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 and The Historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA will host a fun-spirited wine and appetizer social and art show on Wednesday December 16th beginning at 6pm featuring artwork on loan from private collectors of scenic locales from around the world along with music provided by the Mountain Winds Ensemble. 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 www.facebook.com/EastburgAlliance?fref=ts or their Website at www.eastburgalliance.com.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Tis the Season to be Meeting

The Pocono Arts Council held their Annual Business Meeting for 2015 on Friday December 4th at The PoconoArts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA. The meeting proved to be an opportune time for the creative community to come together to share and explore their mutual love for the art as well as to learn what the 40 year plus organization is doing to promote the arts throughout the Pocono region. A sizable gathering attended the meeting which included representatives from various art related groups and organization, State Legislators and/or members of their staff, Members of the Pocono Arts Council's Board of Directors, and several inquisitive art lovers.

The evening began with some members of the gathering leaving the room where the meeting was being held in order to have a group picture taken. These individuals were among the recipients of the PA Partner in the Arts' Project Stream Grants distributed to those who consistently endeavor to enhance the creative nature of the area and its people. The Grants recipients returned to the meeting room after their images were recorded for prosperity. Once there, secretary for the Pocono Arts Council, Tassy Gilbert, welcomed the gathering to the meeting and officially distributed the grants to those recipients in attendance. Many shared their grateful words to the arts' council along with news of their endeavors.

This was followed by the official commencement of the Annual Business Meeting in which was brought to order by Board of Directors' President, Jeffrey Kash. A number of reports regarding the group's financial, out reach, and membership situation were given. Elections were held in order to select individuals from a list of candidates who desired to serve the Pocono Arts Council as new members of their Board of Directors. This was followed by some sentiments relating to the arts and the work of the group shared by President Kash and the Pocono Arts Council's Executive Director, Laura Goss.

It was soon after this that the meeting was adjourned. This provided an opportunity for the gathering to share congratulatory conversations with those who receive their grants and to learn more about the inspiring endeavors they mentioned. A great deal of food catered by The Thai Orchard Restaurant www.thaiorchidtakeout.com and other culinary delight provided by friends of the arts council were available which added spicy flavor to some of these conversations. An energy filled each voice as words embraced one another with the arms of love.

In addition to all this, The PoconoArts Cultural Center's Artspace Gallery housed the Pocono Arts Council's Annual Holiday Store which had on display a wide variety of arts and crafts items available for purchase with assurances their presence in the buyer's life will make any holiday a special one. These items included Medusa Pots www.medusapots.com created by Larry E. Buss, Photography by Ron Ford, Paintings by Jim Smeltz www.etsy.com/shop/jimsmeltzgallery, Bags and Scarves created by Joanies Creations www.facebook.com/Joanies-Creations-232925090055524, Wood Carved figures created by Claire Marcus www.clairemarcusfinearts.com, and Jewelry along with other adornments created by Mira's Baubles, Bangles, and Beads www.facebook.com/pages/Miras-Baubles-Bangles-and-Beads/221087701287897. The quality and beauty of the work proved to be stunning and will be available for purchase until January 2nd. You'll find more images taken during the Pocono Arts Council's Annual Meeting and Holiday Store in the Tis the Season to be Meeting Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154393734578761.1073741929.91146283760&type=3.

The PoconoArts Council is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through The PoconoArts Cultural Center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. Their next exhibition will be their June in January Exhibition featuring Floral and Botanical Art created by local artists. The exhibit will be on display from January 8th to the 30th with an Artists' Reception scheduled for Saturday January 9th beginning at 1pm. The exhibit is an open one and welcomes all artists to participate. The Drop Off Date is Monday January 4th. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center and all it has to offer the creative community by exploring The PoconoArts Council Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil or their Website at www.poconoarts.org.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.