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 www.facebook.com/EastburgAlliance/?fref=ts or their Website at www.eastburgalliance.com.

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. www.facebook.com/Theater-Studio-A-Confidence-Theater-258915317642152

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 www.facebook.com/schoolofvisualandperformingarts/?fref=ts or their Website at www.schoolofvisualandperformingarts.org.

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 Www.carzwellco.com 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 www.facebook.com/sohointheburg/?fref=ts or their Website at www.sohointheburg.com.

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 www.facebook.com/pages/Record-Store-Day/107974209222606 that included performances by the bands known as Lorg www.facebook.com/lorgreggae, Disposable www.facebook.com/DisposableNJ, Mongooch www.facebook.com/Mongooch-182490521904865, and Skysleeper www.facebook.com/skysleeperband. Unfortunately, I wasn't around to listen to these band but I did have the opportunity to listen to legendary guitarist Lenny Kaye www.facebook.com/pages/Lenny-Kaye/103095589730488 from the Patti Smith Group www.facebook.com/pages/Patti-Smith-Group/1638924983004408 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 www.facebook.com/mainstjukebox/?fref=ts.

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 www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil or their Website at www.poconoarts.org.

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 www.facebook.com/OriginsGalleryStroudsburg/?fref=ts or their Website at www.originsgallery.org.

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 www.facebook.com/pages/Stroudsburg-High-School/108651269158474 or their Website at www.sburg.org.

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 www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154793327038761.1073741963.91146283760&type=3.

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