Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An OMN Beyond Our Control

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

I arrived a bit later that usual to The Sherman Theater's Living Room (which was recently renamed “The Sherman Showcase”) in Stroudsburg, PA on Sunday April 24th for another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series. The venue was packed with people who were enjoying the talents of the first performer who was a pianist named, “Andrew T. Miles.” He was a new comer to the series and rendered a number of Jazz and experimental compositions that pleased the audience. He was followed by a crowd favorite known as Brad who, in spite of several technical difficulties, moved the gathering through his dance routine to such an extent that when, the audio ceased working, they compensated for the by rhythmically clapping their hands.

Brad was followed by comedian Tommy Stone who shared several topics which included getting Lei (a garland or wreath) in Hawaii as compared to getting laid, friends who are pussy whipped, Preteen Boners, and old films from the 1990's. He was followed by Harmonicist Emmitt who shared a number of his older compositions which included a tribute to a coffeehouse that existed several years about and known as “The Cheeky Monkey.” Emmitt was followed by the appearance of A. P. (aka Andrew Paul) who once served as an Emcee several years ago at the event before leaving to raise a family. His presence was a joyous occurrence to be experienced as he shared his love for the series while the next performers were preparing themselves to be introduced which A. P did.

The band known as, “Darling Creeps” rocked the room as they electrified the gathering with a centrifugal force that had everyone who were penetrated by the music and voice of the lead singer, Hannah Gernand, spinning out of control in ecstasy. Along with Ms. Gernand, the band's membership consisted of Carmelo Risquet along with Chris and Mike Iasiello. It was revealed that one of the band members of Darling Creeps is related to a band member of the evening's featured band. This led to A. P. taking the stage once again in order to introduce them to the eagerly awaiting audience.

The featured performer for the evening was the band known as “Wait for the Day.” They continued the kick ass rock sensations began by their friends and relative in Darling Creeps. Their music resonated through each vibrational frontier embodied in the soul in spite of several technical difficulties they encountered during their set. The band is from Henryville, PA and consists of Frank Belfiore, Jake Czarnecki, Connor Quick, Anthony Staiano, and Rob Staiano. As Wait for the Day concluded, they were asked to give an encore which they gladly provided. They stated afterwards this was the first time such a request came their way. It was also true that this was the first time the audience of the venue requested one. You can learn more about Wait for the Day by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

After the performance of Wait for the Day concluded, a member of the band partook in the venue's custom in helping the event's co-host, Theresa Ratliff, select a ticket to determine who would win the night's raffle. The winner received two tickets to The Sherman Showcase's upcoming Open Mic All Stars Show scheduled to take place on Friday May 20th beginning at 7pm. It was amidst the congratulatory sentiments expressed by the band and denizens to the winner did a break ensue. This afforded an opportunity for the gathering to share the perceptions of their experiences with one another before the next performer took the stage.

A duo known as “Zephyr Starship” were new comers to the venue, consisting of Kevin Benoit on Drums and Gregory Benoit on Guitar and Vocals, who perforated the audience's astro-projected dreams with their musicalities. They were followed by the appearance of co-host, Satilia Rose (aka Tilly), on stage who proceeded to introduce the duet known as Woodrow who consists of Theresa Ratliff on Vocals and Brian Bramkamp on Guitar sharing songs that paid special tributes to Prince Rogers Nelson aka Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) and Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 - April 6, 2016). Woodrow was followed by John who announced he passed the auditions to become a part of an internship program offered by The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on Delaware, PA after which he sang the song “The Trap” from the musical titled, “The Addams Family” along with a piece from the musical “Les Misérables.”

John was followed by Guitarist Joe Craig who delighted the audience with his friendly and thoughtful renderings that filled the heart with smiles. He was followed by a guitarist know as Stephan who sang a series of songs that touched upon the essence of humanity. Stephan was followed by Wilbium who concluded the evening by leading the gathering in a pied pipered dance through the mountains of their lives outside the experiences of everyday existence and into the caves of dreams that are inspired by their dance. It was after Wilbium performance were the bidding of farewells shared by the company who departed the venue in order to eagerly await the next Open Mic Nite to occur.

The next Open Mic Nite is scheduled to take place on Sunday May 1st beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured performer for the evening will be The Foxfires. 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 we took during the Sunday April 24th event in The “An OMN Beyond Our Control" Gallery at

The Sherman Showcase (formally known as The Sherman Theater's Living Room) is located at 522 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA. You'll be able to view additional photographs taken during installments of their Open Mic Nites Series by their staff along with videos taken of interviews with the featured artists and the performances of some who attended the event on their Facebook Page. In addition to their Open Mic Nites Series, the venue also holds a number of concerts and special events. Please Explore The Sherman Showcase's Facebook Page at, The Sherman Theater's Website at, or call 570-421-2808 for more information.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When Origins Gets Technical

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

A plethora of imagination and creativity populated The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA as they held an Artists' Reception for their Monroe County Technical Institute (MCTI) Student Exhibition on Saturday April 23rd. The exhibit featured the work of the students of the institute manifested out of the materials representing the trades they are learning about. These trades include Flori-culture, Landscaping, Masonry, Electrical Technology, Welding, and more. Along with the work on display, the evening offered music as performed by guitarist Vanessa Marchiano and gallery's famous Art Raffle.

The evening's festivities began as the gallery's Director, Jody Singer, and his Assistant, Ashley Catherine Fontones, took the stage to share their welcoming remarks and news of what will be presented at the venue as well as in other galleries throughout the area. The completion of their words included an introduction of Ms. Marchiano who immediately cast her musical spell upon the large gathering utilizing her uniquely haunting interpretation of the song titled, “Purple Haze” which was written by Jimi Hendrix and released as the second record single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on March 17th, 1967. She later sang an earlier piece sung by Mr. Hendrix in 1966 titled, “Hey Joe” whose authorship is unknown.

Although Ms. Marchiano is a sophomore attending High School, her soulful immersions into the music she performed were transcendental as she revealed the essence of each composition to the gathering. There are few individuals of her age who know, not alone comprehend the truth of, the work of many of the musical artists she honored with her skills. But, Ms. Marchiano's otherworldly grasp of the lyric and melodies inspired many among the audience to speculated upon the response of the now deceased artists would have to her renditions and whether their pleasure in them would inspire them to emulate her. Ms. Marchiano also performed a number of original pieces whose superb quality further entranced the audience. She was later joined on stage by a young man whose name I don't recall but his guitar and voice enhanced the performance to an even higher level. It was after their performance concluded did the Art Raffle begin.

A plentiful and varied array of objects adorned a table upon which the prizes offered for the Art Raffle were covetously displayed. The gathering that remained in the venue dwindled in their numbers by the time this moment arrived but the enthusiasm that greeted the raffle did not diminish in the slightest. Those who were present held tightly onto the tickets they had purchased throughout the evening while listening intently to the digits that were called out. Excited cries were heard as the numbers announced correlated with the winning tickets that were held and the items were embraced by its new owners. This repeatedly occurred until the last item was given out and the gathering to begin bidding their adieus to one another as they embarked upon their journey home.

The Monroe County Technical Institute (MCTI) Student Exhibition will be on display at The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA until May 1st. Their next show will be their Outta Space Exhibition featuring the work Cat Burbage and local artists. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Saturday May 6th beginning at 6pm. The drop off dates are May 2nd and 4th. All artists are invited to participate. Musicians and other performing artists who would like to perform during the Artists' Reception are also encouraged contact the gallery.

In addition to their exhibitions, The Origins Gallery holds a number of special events like classes and workshops, their Last Minute Monday Series, their Underground Series (such as the one scheduled for Friday April 29th beginning at 6pm featuring K-Oz along with C-Rock113, ONEmanSHO, and Azure), festivals (such as The Forwardian Film Festival which scheduled for May 14th and 15th featuring original cinematic works), and their Below the Surface: An Arts Experience Series (such as the one scheduled for Wednesday May 18th beginning at 6:30pm featuring Lobo Marino) are presented. 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 exhibit at The When Origins Gets Technical Gallery at

The Monroe County Technical Institute (MCTI) provides tuition-free career and technical education for secondary students of the four school districts located within Monroe County, PA. They offer a number of courses in various vocations such as Automotive Collision Repair, Carpentry, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, Electronics, Graphic Communications, Hotel, Resort, and Tourism Management, Marketing, Masonry, Plumbing, and more. MCTI also offers Adult Learning courses with many of them available on line. You can learn more about The Monroe County Technical Institute (MCTI) and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

The Origins Gallery is located on the lower level of The Gamers Edge Comics and Games Store 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 and view images and videos of the event taken by members of their staff and others by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Showcase is Born

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

The Sherman Theater Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA has undergone a number of changes in 2016. These included a new floor, new colors painted on the walls, the installation of a permanent stage, and tables with stools. The transformation from it's lounge décor and feel experienced another phase as the venue held a grand opening on Thursday April 21st debuting as The Sherman Showcase. A great number of community members attended the event with many commenting on the interior attributes which were met favorably by the crowd.

After the attendees spent some time in conversation with their friends over a glass or two of beverages, the Grand Opening event began with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Members of the Sherman Theater Staff and the town's Mayor, Tarah Probst, took their places in order to do the deed that would symbolically initiate the welcoming invitation to those who would pass through The Sherman Showcase's doors. The ceremony was recorded by BRCTV which is a local television station located in Lehighton, PA.

It was after this did the gathering return to the venue's interiors to resume chatting with their friends, munching on the cuisine the establishment provided, and to enjoy the performances that were about to begin. It wasn't long before The Sherman Theater's Executive Director, Richard Berkowitz, took the stage to share his welcoming remarks with the audience and to introduce the first of the many performers who would bless the stage. A crescendo of anticipation built to fever pitch as the musicians made their way to the front of the room.

From the very first moments they stepped foot on stage, Joey and The T-Birds roused the audience with their songs that touched upon all of the aspects that is associated with the classic rock era of the 1950s and early 60s. Their renderings and faithful interpretations of the songs they shared resonated in the hearts and souls of all who recognized the soundtrack of their lives. Joey and The T-Birds consists of Joey Romagno, Robbie Romagno, Michael McNeely, Charlie Pastorelli, Jim Hummel, and Tim Zappa. Together, they have performed over thirty years as they continue in their endeavors in “keeping real music alive.” You can learn more about Joey and the T-Birds by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

At the completion of their performance, Joey and The T-Birds were followed by Porter and Sayles who consists of Christian Porter and Regina Sayles. The duo's presence on stage charged the venue with an energy of such magnitude that it proved to be a contagion to all who were touched by it. They performed a number of songs established by other artists along with original compositions which often out shown the qualities of the better known pieces. This was especially true of some of their songs that lifted phrases or musical signatures from other works. In doing so, the original songs they sampled were truly lifted to an extraordinary height as their qualities were enhanced by the duo's decision to include them in their innovations. This was further enhanced by their Sirenic voices that had the ability to guide those fortunate enough to hear them toward a place within that is filled with joy and contemplation. You can learn more about Porter and Sayles by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

Porter and Sayles were followed by Schmidtwood Flow which consists of Bryan Schmidt, Jon Kirkwood, Jason Eske, and Skip Derick. They began their set with some classic Rolling Stones tunes which enticed the audience enough to be drawn into the subtle mysteries embodied in the songs they subsequently performed. An uncanny recipe of gentleness and severity mingled the properties of their songs' ingredients until a cuisine was created that fed the souls of all who were touched by each composition's attributes. You can learn more about Schmidtwood Flow by contacting Bryan Schmidt at

It was after Schmidtwood Flow's performance that a raffle was held with members of the band helping to select the winning tickets. A number of prizes were given out until the final item was gratefully embraced by the holder of the lucky ticket. Farewells were shared as a pondering silence filled the room as the company began their endeavors to depart from the venue while taking the meaningful memories of the night with them. You'll find more photographs taken during the Grand Opening in the A Showcase is Born Gallery at

The New Sherman Showcase (formally the Sherman Theater's Living Room) is located at 522 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA which is next door to the Sherman Theater. The Sherman Showcase is the much smaller space than the Sherman Theater and has roughly a 100 person capacity. The newly designed facilities will serve as a listening room while housing small concert performances and pre parties, meet and greets, open mic nights, and more.

The next event to be held at The Sherman Showcase will be an installment of their Open Mic Nite Series which is scheduled to take place every Sunday evening 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 participate in their Open Mic Nites Series. Their next concert will be Cash'd Out: A Tribute to Johnny Cash scheduled for Tuesday April 26th. You can learn more by exploring The Sherman Theater's Facebook Page at or their Website at

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Walking Down the Earthy Streets

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

The creative energies of the Burgs (ie Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg, PA) flowed into the heart of all who visited the towns on Saturday April 16th. Numerous galleries and performance venues welcomed the many visitors as they celebrated and honored the planet during the 2nd Annual Earth Speaks Festival. These included exhibitions held at The Historic Dansbury Depot, The Pocono Arts Council's ArtSpace Gallery, The Soho In The 'Burg Gallery, Origins Gallery, and The School of Visual and Performing Arts. There were also other events occurring during the day including a Record Store Day party held at The Main Street Jukebox as well as the creation of sidewalk art and songs sung by street musicians throughout the town.

The first venue I visited was The Historic Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA who presented the work of local artists as part of the Eastburg Community Alliance's celebration of Earth Month. Although the work hanging upon the walls of the station was stunning, there were hardly a soul within the building who experienced them while I was there. This was unfortunate as the work does deserve to be seen and the venue merits support from the community. However, the exhibit will continue to be on display until April 30th and it is recommended that one should stop by to view the work. You can learn more about the exhibit by exploring The Eastburg Community Alliance's Facebook Page at or their Website at

The second venue I visited was The School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) in Stroudsburg, PA who held an extravaganza titled, “Every Day is Earth Day.” The event included an Artists' Reception for their Annual Student Art Show featuring the work created by the pupils of the Evergreen School, the Stroudsburg Middle School, and the Curious Minds Preschool at the YMCA. In addition to the student's creative endeavors, the work of origami artist Hiro Okamoto was on display as part of the NYC Metro Card Sculpture Series as was the window sculptures created by Minnie Ospa using recycled plastics. Performances were held throughout the afternoon featuring student dancers from the classes taught by Kathy Kroll and Diane Verdi as well as members of the Theater Studio: A Confidence Theater.

The performances began with a sing along of the song titled, “This Land is Your Land” written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 in critical response to Irving Berlin's “God Bless America” when he got tired of hearing Kate Smith singing it on the radio. The sing along included a dance performance and an additional verse written by Kathy Kroll reflecting a desire to care for the Earth and its environment. Leading the sing-a-long was Shellie Bransford, Kathy Mosier Kroll, and Marianne Santilli along with Chris Centrella on piano.

This was followed by a dance piece based upon The Beatles' song titled, “Octopus' Garden” which was written and originally sung by Ringo Starr. It appears on the group's 1969 album “Abbey Road.” The piece was performed by the Theater Studio who consists of Aleni Slizofski, Abigail Grella, Julian Bone, and Savannah Bone. This was followed by a dance piece based upon the song titled, “Sunshine on my Shoulder” which was written by John Denver and appears on the 1971 Album titled, “Poems, Prayers, and Promises.” It was performed by Kathy Kroll's Adult and Kids' Modern Dance Class who consists of Janet Ewers, Sorel Dalhouse, Kiana Ortiz, and Jasmine Ospa.

The afternoon continued with a theatrical performance given by the Theater Studio titled, “Back Yard Super Hero” that was written by the group, a tap dance performance given by Marianne Santilli, and a dance piece based on the song titled, “Thank God I'm a Country Boy” which was written by John Martin Sommers and appears on John Denver's 1974 album “Back Home Again.” It was after this performance given by The Pocono Youth dance theater consisting of Jordin Ewers, Sorel Dalhouse, and Kiana Ortiz did the show conclude. It was followed with an opportunity for the audience to share their reflections on the performances they experienced while snacking on some goodies and partaking of some introductory classes in Origami and Tap dancing. You can learn more about The School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

The next venue I visited was The SOHO in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA who held an Artists' Reception for their 50 Shades of Green exhibition which featured the work of local artists. The gallery also presented the work of artist James Chesnick in a special exhibit. Delicious culinary treats were prepared on site by Chef Warren E. Cortese that never fails to delight the taste buds of those who partake of his wonderful cuisine. The work on display proved to be astounding as epitomized by the conversations it inspired the large gathering of art lovers to engage in. The 50 Shades of Green exhibition will be on display until Mid to Late May with their next exhibit planned to begin around June 2nd. You can learn more about The SOHO in the BURG Gallery and their exhibits by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

While walking towards The PoconoArts Cultural Center to partake of their exhibition titled, “The Earth Speaks II,” I heard music coming from within the interiors of The Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg, PA. I entered and soon discovered they were in the midst of their Record Store Day party that included performances by the bands known as Lorg, Disposable, Mongooch, and Skysleeper Unfortunately, I wasn't around to listen to these band but I did have the opportunity to listen to legendary guitarist Lenny Kaye from the Patti Smith Group play a solo set. His renditions of the songs he played resonated among the large audience who absorbed every note into their being. You'll learn more about The Main Street Jukebox by exploring their Facebook Page at

I eventually arrived at The PoconoArts Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA and my ears were met by guitarist Vanessa Marchiano who performed outside the center during the Artists' Reception they held for their The Earth Speaks II Juried Exhibition. The music from her instrument and the outstanding qualities of her voice mesmerized the crowd that continued to grow exponentially with every note and lyric. My eyes were later met by an incredible array of creative works once I entered the gallery. The beauty and love for the Earth as expressed by the artists who participated in the exhibit proved to be overwhelming as each piece touched each viewer's heart. The exhibition will continue to be on display until April 23rd. You can learn more about The The Pocono Arts Council who runs the Center by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

Unfortunately, I was unable to visit The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA who was displaying their A Voice For The Earth II exhibition featuring objects made out of Recycled and Found Items by local artists along with work by featured artist Adia Gibbs. The day in the venue included a lecture given by Professor Michael Kessler on his amazing gemstone and minerals collection. Their next event will be their Monroe County Technical Institute Student Exhibition with an Artists' Reception scheduled for Saturday April 23rd. The Origins Gallery will also present K-Oz along with C-Rock113, ONEmanSHO, and Azure on Friday April 29th beginning at 6pm as part of their Underground Series and The Forwardian Film Festival on May 14th and 15th. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

It was while I was exploring the work at The PoconoArts Cultural Center did I meet up with two of the many friends I encountered that day. They shared with me that they had two tickets to see a performance of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” that was to be presented at the Stroudsburg, PA High School later that evening. My mother and I accepted them with great appreciation and prepared our journey to the production.

Upon arriving at the school, I found it not to be the same high school I graduated from in 1977. It has grown quite a bit. And, so has the quality of the theatrical productions that are presented on its stage. I was very impressed by the scale and caliber of the staging of the play as well as the excellent performances given by the actors. Under the superb stage direction and choreography of Ms. Billye Kubiak, the young actors movements flowed upon the acting surface as they flawlessly delivered their lines thus allowing the audience to become fully involved in the enjoyable production.

The presence of a full orchestra, as directed by Ms. Gretchen Taylor, provided a dimension to the production that allowed the audience to become more involved with the visual aspects of the play and the characters in it. And, speaking of the characters, the stellar skills possessed by the actors who represented them brought their essences to life. I found production to be a breathtaking one and I'm sure to attend the school's theatrical endeavors in the future. You'll find more information about the Stroudsburg, PA High School at their Facebook Page at or their Website at

As my day came to it's conclusion, I began to reflect upon all that transpired. I experienced a great deal of wonderful art, engaged in meaningful conversations, and discovered some new things along the way. This was especially true of the the high school musical I enjoyed. My only regret in this regards is I was unable to take any photographs during the performance. However, you'll find plenty of photographs taken during the day prior to my attending the play in The Walking Down the Earthy Streets Gallery at