Up Close & Personal – Marisa Fabri

Up Close & Personal – Marisa Fabri

Marisa Fabri always dreamed of owning her own business, but soon after opening Design 2 Consign Boutique in Olyphant, a strong desire to provide the best customer service led her to becoming the personal stylist for many of her customers. She is a graduate of Valley View High School and studied biology at Penn State University. She lives in Jessup with her rescue dog, Wicky.

Meet Marisa Fabri…

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
I grew up in this area, but I fell in love with the West during a ski trip. I went to live there for 20-some years and came back to live here when my parents got older.

Q: What first got you interested in fashion?
I wanted to own my own business, and consignment was a way of getting started without all the hundreds and thousands of dollars of inventory. Consignment stores were popular out West but not as well-known here. They were new to this area, and I wanted to bring the idea back home.

Q: Talk about the styling and work you do.
When people have a special event and need to dress up with a theme for a gala or event like red carpet, Hollywood, British-themed weddings, Gatsby, Kentucky derby outfits, any theme, people call me to see if I have something that will work for them. I even did Steampunk for the Steampunk festival in Honesdale. Basically if somebody calls me for a Gatsby outfit, I’d pull together all my beaded, fringe outfits. I add hats, headbands, jewelry and anything else they may wear. I go through the entire store and create a rack of only Gatsby-lookalike items. People share their fashion nightmares with me and tell me what they want to hide and disguise with their bodies. There’s nobody the same size or shape. I have to be honest with people if something looks just OK, too big or too tight. We work together until we get fabulous. The best reward is when people come back and say, “I got so many compliments from the outfit.” That is so satisfying and rewarding. Sometimes a group of women will come in at once and help each other out by putting pieces together, and it turns into a girlfriend day. I’ll serve coffee and order pizza because sometimes they are here for hours and hours.

Q: How did the concept of you styling others come out of your consignment store?
I learned so much from my customers and from Vogue magazine. I was never a big fashionista, but the more demand that was put on me, the more I tried to learn and got the hang of it. Everyone has a particular item they need. Everyone has a different body shape; I’m here to help and provide good, old-fashioned customer service. What’s great is it always turns into friendships, and it seems to be an ongoing thing.

Q: I hear you have a big secret?
A lot of my consignment comes from referrals. Someone had told a specific consigner that I like show-stopper and statement pieces. The consigner came to me and asked if I was interested in carrying pieces that were purchased for the wardrobe and entourage of a very famous female Grammy Award winner. Due to privacy for the artist, I like to keep it a fun mystery, but many people guess correctly upon seeing the display.

Q: What is your own style like? And include your go-to outfit choice.
My typical outfit is jeans, boots, leggings, Uggs and almost always black. My friends and customers say I should put some color on. So I like to pop the outfit with turquoise jewelry or other colors, so I’m not in black all the time. And bling. Bling will brighten up black all the time.

Q: For you, what is a show-stopper piece, and why?
Anything that people are going to admire and stare at and ask, “Where did she get that?” For me, it would be a piece of vintage. A phenomenal white faux-fur vest. I’d mix it with jeans or leggings and boots and a gorgeous sweater. The other piece for me is a hat. I have a hat that is one of my signature pieces. It’s a silver faux-fur hat. I love to wear it all day long. It keeps me warm, and a lot of people like it. It also gets them interested in trying on fur hats.

Q: What other community organizations are you part of
or hobbies/interests you have?
I like to donate coats and clothes to a local church on our block and to other local charities and anybody else in need. There are always clothes that can be given off the rack, and my consigners say if anybody is in need of a coat, give them a coat. I like to go shopping when I’m not working. I like keeping up with new styles in fashion. I also like to go out to dinner with friends. It’s not really a hobby, but it’s something that is near and dear to my heart is being kind to people. I want to show everyone some positivity and happiness. You never know who is going to walk through the door, what may have just happened to that person or what story they’re carrying with them. A word of kindness can help somebody out so much, and you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Q: What is something about you that would surprise a lot of people?
I’m so serious all the time, but I really love when people tease me or tell me a joke. A lot of jokes go over my head, and that person will get a kick out of me missing the point, then I crack up too.

Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape the person you are today?
My faith has gotten so much stronger. Meeting so many different people from my travels and my time out West has helped me look for the best in them. People have shared things with me that I never really thought much about. I later realized that what they shared was very giving and real and kind. It made me realize I want to be the best person I can possibly be and keep working on myself. I can’t let circumstances dictate my feelings. I try to find blessings even in lousy circumstances. A lot of the people I met were very happy people. Happiness is a choice, and I am glad that I choose to be happy.

Q: Do you have anything else to add?
Let’s all spread kindness and positivity to strangers. We don’t know what people have been through. I know people say the world is dark, but I choose to believe that love and people are better.

Feel the love Open your heart to Valentine’s Day events for all

Feel the love Open your heart to Valentine’s Day events for all

The weather outside may be cruelly cold, but the feelings that make up February are warm and fuzzy.
From family dances to romantic rendezvous to female friendship celebrations, Weekend Times has you covered with a roundup of Valentine’s (and Galentine’s) Day-themed events for all ages and relationship statuses.
For kids and families
Family Valentine’s Dance: Hosted by West Scranton Community Development at the Club, featuring a DJ, crafts, games and bake sale for kids in elementary school; older siblings welcome; Friday, Feb. 8, 6 to 8 p.m., 1018 Lafayette St., Scranton; $10 per family. Visit the Facebook event page.

Annual Family Valentine Party: Featuring crafts, games and bake sale; Saturday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to noon, Waverly Community House, 1115 N. Abington Road; free, with donations of pasta and canned goods accepted at the door for United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Visit the Facebook event page or call 570-586-8191.

Valentine’s Open Studio: Create a Valentine’s Day collage or painting; Tuesday, Feb. 12, 3 to 7 p.m., Spirited Art Scranton, 253 Scranton/Carbondale Highway, Dickson City; ages 5 and older, $25. For information and to choose order, email spiritedartscranton@gmail.com.

Valentine Party: Featuring stories, songs and special Valentine’s craft for ages 2 to 8; babies and siblings welcome; Tuesday, Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m., Nancy Kay Holmes Library, 1032 Green Ridge St., Scranton; free, but registration is required by calling 570-207-0764. Visit the Facebook event page.

Danger Club: My Bloody Valentine: Kids in grades three to five create a model showing the different components of blood; Thursday, Feb. 14, 6 to 7 p.m., Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St., Scranton; free, but registration is required by visiting lclshome.org. Visit the Facebook event page or call 570-348-3000.

Valentine Party: Featuring free dessert bar with chocolate fountain, crafts, games, contests, and music for kids and teens; Friday, Feb. 15, 6 to 9 p.m., Act Out Theatre Group LLC, 150 E. Grove St., Dunmore; $5. Email actouttheatre1@gmail.com or visit the Facebook event page.
Celebrate with gal pals
Grrrls Night Returns: Galentine Edition: Featuring 10-minute individual performances in comedy, poetry, theater and music by more than a dozen local women; Friday, Feb. 8, 8 to 11 p.m., Ale Mary’s, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton; free and for all ages, though pieces may contain strong content and language. Visit the Facebook event page.
Galentine’s Day: Featuring take-home craft, mimosa bar, chocolate treats and pictures taken by professional photographer; Saturday, Feb. 9; 40-minute time slots available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Chippy White Table, 5 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock; $40 per person, and free for children under 3. For reservations, visit the Facebook event page or chippywhitetable.bigcartel.com.
Galentine’s Day: Wednesday, Feb. 13; refreshments, chair massages, tarot card readings and make-your-own-massage-oil instruction, 5 to 8 p.m.; Slow Flow and Restore Yoga with TRYBE Boutique Fitness Studio, 8 to 9 p.m.;the Giving Tree Wellness Center, 311 Penn Ave., Scranton; $60. Visit the Facebook event page and, to register, visit thegivingtree.simpletix.com.
Galentine’s Day: Featuring mini tarot card readings by Janine, calligraphy lettering class by StoneFawx Studios, gourmet chocolate by Nibbles & Bits Pop-up Shop and gourmet cupcakes by Zummo’s; Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7 to 9 p.m., Zummo’s Cafe, 918 Marion St., Scranton; BYOB; $35, plus fees, at eventbrite.com. Visit the Facebook event page.
Galentine’s Day: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Spirited Art Scranton, 253 Scranton/Carbondale Highway, Dickson City; $30, ages 16 and older. Visit the Facebook event page.
SaturBae’s Galentine’s Day Gala: Dance party featuring an hour of song requests and dedications, plus sticker and button sale celebrating sisterhood by Second Banana; Saturday, Feb. 16, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the Bog, 341 Adams Ave., Scranton; $5, ages 21 and older. Visit @SaturBaeScranton on Instagram and Facebook.
For couples, or anyone
Speed Dating: Find Your Valentine: Social features drink specials; Friday, Feb., 8, 7 to 10 p.m., Tomato Bar & Bistro, 7 Tomato Fest Drive, Pittston; $15, benefits Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Derby league. Visit the Facebook event page.

L Is for Love: A Valentine Revue: Featuring complimentary dessert bar and performances by Julia Cirba, Kalen Churcher, Jen Kozerski, Liv Anderson, Tony Thomas, Frank Carey, Emily Carey, Allie Katz, Sam Lipperini, Dan Pittman, Caelan Baden, Lorcan Baden, Rocco Pugliese, Sarah Pugliese and Kim Pugliese; Friday, Feb., 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., Act Out Theatre Group LLC, 150 E. Grove St., Dunmore; $10 individual/$15 per couple. Email actouttheatre1@gmail.com or visit the Facebook event page.
Inaugural Valentine’s Spectacular: Gerard Mayer and John Lewis perform golden oldies and love songs; Saturday, Feb. 9; doors open, 5:30 p.m.; buffet dinner, 7 p.m.; dancing, 7 to 10 p.m.; Lucca Restaurant & Catering, 802 S. Main St., Taylor; BYOB; $35. Call 570-499-4904.
Annual Valentine’s Dance: Saturday, Feb. 9; buffet dinner with beer and soda, 7 to 8 p.m.; dancing to music by the Jeffrey James Band, 8 p.m. to midnight; St. Stanislaus Polish National Catholic Church Youth Center, 530 E. Elm St., Scranton; $35. Call Jake Stankowski at 570-341-0986 or visit the Facebook event page.
Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Dance: Featuring semi-formal dress code and entertainment by DJ Optimum; Saturday, Feb. 9; cocktail hour, 6 to 7 p.m.; dinner by JustFred Custom Catering plus cash bar, 7 p.m.; Pittston Knights of Columbus Home Association, 55 S. Main St., Pittston; $30. Visit the Facebook event page.
Dance for Hearts: Hosted by Swingin’ in NEPA; Saturday, Feb. 9; lesson, 7 to 8 p.m.; dancing, 8 to 11 p.m.; Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton; $20 advance/$25 at door/$15 students; benefits Jacks of Hearts PA, which supports local pediatric cardiac patients and families. Visit the Facebook event page or nepaswing.com or call 570-335-2445.
Valentine’s Day Dinner Benefit: featuring raffles and prizes, plus 20 percent of guests’ dinner bills will be given to Tracey’s Hope Hospice Care & Rescue for Domestic Animals Inc., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4 to 9:30 p.m., Lucca Restaurant & Catering, 802 S. Main St., Taylor.

For the Love of Dogs: Donation-based Yoga Benefit: Features a 75-minute, all-level vinyasa yoga class led by Kelly Bedford, plus meet-and-greet with dogs available for adoption; Thursday, Feb. 14, 5:30 p.m., Mission Yoga, 1440 Capouse St., Scranton; $10 suggested donation accepted at the door to benefit the Misfits Dog Rescue PA. Visit the Facebook event page.
Sexual Health and Wellness Forum: Co-hosted by Queer NEPA and Caring Communities, event features a moderated discussions on topics including LGBT+ positive sex education, sexually transmitted disease testing, consent, intersection of disability and sexuality, and more; Thursday, Feb. 14, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Osterhout Free Library, 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. Call 570-829-2700 or visit the Facebook event page.
Valentine’s Day Restorative: Featuring 60-minute yoga class; Thursday, Feb. 14, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Yoga West LLC, 311 Adams Ave., Scranton; $12. Visit the Facebook event page.
Eighth annual Valentine’s Day Dance Party: Includes refreshments, dinner and dancing; Friday, Feb. 15, 6 to 9 p.m., Coal City Tavern, 75 Main St., Luzerne; $10 by Tuesday, Feb. 12. Call ballroom dance instructors Andrew McGee at 570-406-0748 or Amy Zavaskas at 570-574-8873. Visit the Facebook event page.

Nightlife – February 7, 2019

Nightlife – February 7, 2019

Thursday, Feb. 7
Alter House, 926 Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit: John Smith
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Open mic with Big Al and Billy Edwards
Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, 195 N. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Kartune
Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Mike Baresse
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: Bingo Night
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Know Limit Trivia
HEAT Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Karaoke
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Music for Models Trio
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Jackson Vee and Lissa
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: The Lab — Comedy Showcase

Friday, Feb. 8
BADS, 415 Main St., Luzerne: Karaoke
Bean and Vine Cafe & Wine Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Piano Night
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: DJ Jay Velar
Case Quattro, 702 N. Blakely St., Dunmore: Bill & Donna Arnold
Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club, 514 Ash St., Scranton: 7800 Fahrenheit
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: Eddie Delucca
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Triple Fret
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Liar, Liar
HEAT Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Inferno Drag Show
M&J’s Bar N Grill, 542 Wildcat Road, Olyphant: Marilyn Kennedy
Molly O’Shea’s at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Bill Hoffman
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: The Ruth’s Chris Jazz Trio
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Militia
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Mike Yard and Bill Boronkay

Saturday, Feb. 9
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Drive
Barrett’s Pub, 474 Main St., Archbald: Tom and Wiggy
Bean and Vine Cafe & Wine Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Piano Night
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Chasing Ashlee
Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Dance Hall Devils
Molly O’Shea’s at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: A Proud Monkey solo
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: The Ruth’s Chris Jazz Trio
Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton: Daddy-O & the Sax Maniax
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Nowhere Slow
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Mike Yard and Bill Boronkay
Woodlands Inn & Resort, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots

Sunday, Feb. 10
Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club, 514 Ash St., Scranton: DJ Famous
HEAT Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Not Yo Granny’s Bingo
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Karaoke with DJ Huff

Monday, Feb. 11
Border Bar, 170 Laurel Plaza, Pittston: Whiskey Hill Project
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Erin McClelland

Tuesday, Feb. 12
Alter House, 926 Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit: Chris Mullineaux
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Erin McClelland

Wednesday, February 13
BADS, 415 Main St., Luzerne: Open mic night
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Erin McClelland

Up Close & Personal – Tatiana Tell

Up Close & Personal – Tatiana Tell

Tatiana Tell is a Scranton-based musician who recently broke into the local music scene. At just 21, the Scranton High School alumna is working to grow her musical career while majoring in journalism and minoring in advertising and digital media at Marywood University. She plans to graduate this spring. In the little time she is not working on music or school, she can be found bartending at Thirst T’s Bar & Grill in Olyphant. Her recently released debut album, “Unspoken,” received recognition as Electric City’s best new album in 2018.

Meet Tatiana Tell…

Q: What first got you interested in music?
A: It started when I was around 6. I really wanted to learn how to play piano. I was always passionate about singing, so my parents put me in classes. I learned how to play piano, they put me in vocal class, and I got involved in theater. It’s been my whole life for as long as I can remember. I was that kid who never did anything else besides music and practicing.

Q: Describe your musical style and who influences you.
I would probably be categorized into alternative, rock and pop. I’m really influenced by Stevie Nicks, old school No Doubt, Lana Del Rey, and Lady Gaga and her style. I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan. A lot of people say they’re surprised by that, because I like the rock, grunge-era and ’90s (music), but she is just so talented, and she’s what inspired me to start writing. I’m obsessed with the ’90s era, even though I was born in ’97 — so I didn’t experience all of it, but I grew up listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam and the Seattle ’90s aesthetic.

Q: As a young and new performer, what is something you feel you are lucky to have already learned?
My whole life has been preparing me for the criticism and the way the industry works. Because I got to experience constructive criticism throughout my whole life, I feel like I handle it maybe a little better than other people. I get that not everyone is going to like my music or even like me as a person. It doesn’t really upset me, because I know who I am. I know what my music is and what it means to me.

Q: Talk about the development of your album “Unspoken.”
When I was 12, I started writing, and I told my parents I wanted to create an album. I started it when I was 14. I was working on it for about two years. It took so long. I was still in high school at the time. I ended up taking a really big break between the time I was 16 and went to college. I don’t think I was confident enough to put my own stuff out there. When I got to college, I rerecorded the songs at Saturation Acres Recording Studio, and the album was born. A lot of the songs on my album were written when I was really young.

Q: How did you feel about releasing music that you wrote so early in your career?
That was something I struggled with before releasing the album. I remember talking to Bret Alexander from Saturation Acres. I said I didn’t know if I felt comfortable putting these out there and I didn’t know if they were good enough. I had changed so much. I’ll never forget what he said, and that was (how) that’s still a part of who I am. This is my first album, so it would be a good growing experience. The way I arranged the set list, it’s most recent to least recent, so it kind of shows growth too.

Q: What is the theme throughout the album?
A lot of the songs have to do with heartbreak and lost love. I wrote a lot of these songs when I was heartbroken, but I feel like there was a lot of resentment and hate put into the songs. The album is definitely angry. It’s a feeling we all feel, and I just had to let it out. I’ve had a lot of not-so-great relationships in my life starting from a young age, but I think anyone can relate to songs like this, because everyone has been heartbroken or resented a person for the way they made them feel.

Q: What are your plans/goals for the near and long-term future?
My near-term goals would definitely be to perform out more and get into the bar scene. More than anything in the world, I want to be performing my own stuff and covers too. Eventually, it would be great to go somewhere with this. I’m not saying be famous, but go somewhere other than local. If not, it’s OK, because I go to school for something that I still love just as much as music.

Q: What has been the coolest musical experience so far in your young career?
There’s a competition called neXt2rock. This was for the East Coast, and each area had its own venue. I competed in that. I didn’t win, but it was still an awesome experience, because there were so many people. It was my first real time performing my songs in front of a lot of people in a stage setting. I got to meet other musicians who are also really passionate about what they do. I loved talking with them. I entered the competition, and then later on we found out that the venue was going to be my dad’s bar (Thirst T’s Bar & Grill), so that was pretty cool too.

Q: What are your other hobbies, interests or activities?
At Marywood, they have the Wood Word, the school paper; I love writing and am the editor for arts and entertainment, so I write about a lot of music-related things and entertainment and pop culture. I am also really into art. I’m really into graphic design and sketching. It relaxes me. At school, I’ve been a TV anchor for TV Marywood. I like everything that has to do with the communications field, whether it is advertising, creating content or something else like that.

Q: What is it like to balance an up-and-coming music career and student life?
Difficult. I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard, especially when I was still in the recording process. I was in school while I was creating the album. Doing all of that while going to school is hard, but since I love it, I have to push for it.

Q: Have you had a specific moment or time in your life that helped shape the person you are today?
At a young age, specifically around high school, I don’t think I liked myself or gave myself the respect that I deserve or that I have for myself now. I was putting myself in positions with people who truly didn’t care about me or put me in bad situations. That was rough, and it’s something that I still think about to this day. Now, I look back on it, and I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t have the experience that I have, and this album probably wouldn’t exist.

Up Close & Personal – George Conrad

Up Close & Personal – George Conrad

George Conrad is a Scranton native who discovered a love for acting. After being homeschooled, he went on to earn a degree in human services after taking classes at Lackawanna College and online through Purdue University. He is a customer service associate at Cigna Insurance Co. and won Electric City’s award for best actor in 2018. Now, he is working to build his own theater group, C4 Studios.

Meet George Conrad…

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
I didn’t really start acting until 10 years ago. My four siblings and I were homeschooled, and we were allowed to do some extra-curricular activities at Scranton High School. They invited me to come to their show to audition. My mother used to perform. One day I thought, “Hey, what if I go and do the drama stuff?” So I auditioned.

Q: Tell me about your work at Cigna.
I answer calls from people from all over the U.S. I work in the dental department. I love it. Cigna is a fantastic place to work. Some of the people there I have performed with or know through performing. I just started in August.

Q: What is C4 Studios?
C4 is a theater group. It stands for Conrad Four, which is me; my brother, Jacob; and my sisters, Kayla and Rebekah. We all decided we wanted to do some stuff on our own. We wanted to do musicals and have adults and kids of any color, size, shape and race be in them in an inclusive group. We did a show this past Fringe Festival, and it was really cool. We like to give back to the community. Around Christmas, we took a small group of people and Christmas caroled for the people at the St. Joseph’s Center.

Q: What recent shows or theater groups have you been part of?
I did stuff with Phoenix Performing Arts Centre in Duryea. I did stuff with Act Out when that was just starting up and Actors Circle for the majority. I’ve done stuff with Diva Theater. Each group had its own individual type of thing. I started at Scranton High School. I did the musical review with Act Out before it was Act Out. After that, I found out about Phoenix, and my entire family did “Cats.” That was a lot of fun. Last year, I did “Sherlock Holmes” with Actors Circle; that was one that I really enjoyed. I also directed my first show last year, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” It was a big accomplishment for me. I’ve always wanted to direct and thought I could see myself doing that.

Q: Was acting something you always knew you wanted to do?
Yes and no. It’s something that I loved, but I never knew I really wanted to do it until I got older. It ran in my blood, with my mom being a performer. My dad, after he met my mother, they did church plays together.

Q: What is it like to do acting with your entire family?
I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my family, and they’re one of the reasons I do it. With our busy schedules, now that we’re older, we all have work. We try to sit down and eat dinner each night, but if someone is out doing something or has work, this is the one place where we can all get together and be with each other.

Q: What is it like to take elements of New York City, such as Broadway shows, and bring them to this area?
Just bringing all of that from the city to here, where you’re standing there and performing these pieces, it’s just really nice. Every night is different with the audience. Some audiences are dead, but you’ll stand there afterwards and they tell you how fantastic you did. Other audiences come out crying. Some audiences of older crowds see something that they loved when they were a kid, and they tell you they feel like a kid again. It’s diverse, the group of people that comes to see shows. Just to see the difference you can make in a person’s life, even for an hour or two, whether it be a good difference or a bad difference, it makes a difference in you, too. You see their faces when they’re walking out the door and if they enjoyed it or not.

Q: What do you most enjoy about acting?
Probably that (above comment) and just being with my family. Seeing the different types of people who come out to see shows and seeing people connect. It’s people who may not agree on a daily basis over politics or other stuff, but they can sit next to each other in the theater and have a great time.

Q: If you could play any character from a movie, TV show, Broadway show, etc., who would it be and why?
Very easy question. Bob Gaudio from “Jersey Boys.” I’m a huge Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fan. I have been since I was about 16. I fell in love with the music. I ended up really connecting with Bob Gaudio’s character. He was a really fantastic man and a musical genius. I actually got to meet the guy who plays Bob Gaudio. He gave me some really good advice. His name is Quinn VanAntwerp. He said to me, “Don’t be afraid to try something. Do everything, even if it’s something you’re not 100 percent comfortable with or good at, do it anyway and do the best that you can at it.” To get that from someone who has toured on shows and performed on Broadway before meant a lot.

Q: What is something about you that would surprise a lot of people?
I’m an avid “Lord of the Rings” fan. From my first show, I’ve had the one ring, and I’ve had that with me for just about every single show I’ve been in. If it’s not in my pocket or on me, it’ll be in my bag. It connects me to where it all started.

Q: What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I like music. I am not the world’s greatest player, but I can play piano and guitar a little and read sheet music. I write. I don’t tell a lot of people. I published a book when I was 16. I’m still working on a sequel.

Q: Have you have a moment or time in your life that helped shape
who you are today?
My family, for the six of us, the past 10 years that we’ve been doing theater, it was our escape from things going on in our lives. Things which are sometimes very hard to talk about. We went through a lot in the last 10 years, and without saying too much, it was tough. Now, 10 years later, our lives are starting to look better and get back on track. My entire family was affected, and a lot of people who know us know some of the things we’ve gone through. There were those moments where we stopped and we didn’t know what we were going to do. One day, we woke up and we knew everything was going to be OK again. Now, looking back, it made me who I am today. It was our escape to become someone who we weren’t. We loved it, and it helped us get through the hard times we had.

Photos taken by Emma Black at Mary Mother of God Parish at Holy Rosary Church

Fab 5 – January 31, 2019

Fab 5 – January 31, 2019

1. Reaper’s Revenge’s Zombie Prom
Embrace you inner undead as Reaper’s Revenge and Stage West team up for the Zombie Prom.
The event will take place Friday, Feb. 1, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Stage West, 301 N. Main Ave., Scranton.
Guests can enjoy music, dancing and drinks and enter to win various giveaways, contests and awards, including a chance for tickets to this fall’s Reaper’s Revenge attraction. Costumes are welcome but not required, and Reaper’s Revenge’s special effects team will be on site to make up guests for a fee.
Shakenbake, Hostyle and K-one will provide the musical entertainment.
Admission to the 21-and-older event costs $10 at the door. Call 570-343-7100 or visit the Facebook event page for details.

2. ‘Wait Until Dark’
Actors Circle will present Frederick Knott’s thriller “Wait Until Dark” starting this week at Providence Playhouse, 1256 Providence Road, Scranton.
The play will run Thursday, Jan 31, through Sunday, Feb. 10, with shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and $8 for students.
A preview performance will take place Thursday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. Tickets for that show cost $8 for general admission and seniors and $6 for students.
Kaylah Hodgins directs the show about a blind woman who, alone in her apartment, must deal with a group of con-men. The show stars Marnie Azzarelli, Chris Eibach, Peter Miles, Rafe Rickard, Abby Hanson and Michael Madajeski.
For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or email tickets@actorscircle.com. Reservations are held until 10 minutes before show time.

3. Philadelphia Freedom: A Tribute to the Music of Elton John
Settle in for a night of legendary music with Philadelphia Freedom: A Tribute to the Music of Elton John at River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 S. River St., Plains Twp.
The concert will take place Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. Doors open at 7.
Admission to the 21-and-older show cost $8 in advance and $12 that day. For more information or tickets, call 570-822-2992 or visit riverstreetjazzcafe.com.

4. Big Game Party
Watch this year’s Super Bowl with members of the International Bikini Team.
Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono, will host a party Sunday, Feb. 3, in Gypsies Lounge. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the game, featuring the New England Patriots versus the Los Angeles Rams, kicks off at 6:30.
Tickets for the 21-and-older event cost $15. For more information, call 877-682-4791 or visit mountairycasino.com.

5. Barnes & Noble opening weekend
Barnes & Noble in the Arena Hub, Wilkes-Barre Twp., will celebrate its reopening this weekend with several activities.
The store will welcome the Cat in the Hat for photos with customers, who also can join some crafts and activities. The popular book character will visit Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the store will host a storytime and book signing with author E.T. Vera from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a book signing with author Stephanie Longo from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and a reading, discussion and book signing with author Steve Corbett from 4 to 6 p.m.
The celebration comes after an EF2 tornado damaged the store and several others nearby in June, causing the shop to close for repairs. It later opened a temporary pop-up shop in the nearby East End Centre.
For more information, call 570-829-4210 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

Up Close and Personal – Kelly Bedford

Up Close and Personal – Kelly Bedford

Things haven’t always been easy for animal-loving yogini Kelly Bedford. A graduate of North Pocono High School and Marywood University, where she studied history, she discovered a love for yoga following her time in drug rehabilitation. Bedford is an avid world traveler who owns and is an instructor at Mission Yoga, which has locations in Scranton and South Abington Twp. She and her husband, Brian, live in Clarks Summit.

Meet Kelly Bedford…

Q: How long have you been teaching yoga? What is your
yoga background?

A: I started practicing yoga 12 or 13 years ago. It’s been one of the most consistent things in my life. I tried vinyasa yoga first, and it’s the linking together of breath and postures. It focuses a lot on breathing, and when you’re consciously breathing, you’re able to quiet your mind. At the time, I really needed that because there was a lot going on.

Q: How did you first become interested in yoga?
A: In my 20s, I got into a lot of trouble with drugs, and when I got out of rehab, one of my friends brought me to a yoga class. It really changed my recovery at the time and really helped to shape who I was. I wanted to be able to bring that to other people.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being part of the local yoga
It’s just nice to feel more connected to people. I’m starting to see people between the two locations, people who were primarily coming to Scranton and are now coming here (to Clarks Summit) and really stepping outside of their comfort zone and trying different things. I also like being part of some sort of change and seeing more people being helped by it and their internal shift.

Q: After studying history in college, how did you end up as a yoga instructor?
When I went to college, I was young and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew that history interested me. It always did. I’ve traveled a lot throughout my life. I’ve been very fortunate to travel to different countries, and the history in the places always fascinated me. When I was told to pick a major, I picked that thinking I’d be a history teacher or something. Then I got into trouble with drugs but still was going to school. Throughout that time I needed a job, so I started working for my family; they have a steel fabrication company. It took me a while to finish my degree because of my 20s being kind of crazy. It took me about eight years to finish, and throughout that time a lot of stuff happened — working for my family, moving to New York and working in a yoga studio. I knew that I needed to finish the degree, but I knew I wasn’t going to do much with it. I had been doing yoga for about a year when I decided I wanted to get trained (to) teach it. I moved to New York City and got trained to teach. I came back here and was working for my family, and it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. I knew I needed a change, so I called the woman in New York who trained me and asked if she had any position open. She said yes and asked if I wanted to be a manager. I said absolutely, so I just picked up and moved there. I lived there, but I came home. My family and friends were here; the people I knew who could really benefit from yoga were here. When we opened Mission Yoga, I had a business partner, and he kind of had the same vision as me, so we opened downtown first and just grew from there. It was part of our vision to bring it here and make it more accessible to people here.

Q: How have you benefitted personally by doing yoga?
When I first started practicing yoga, I was extremely fearful, insecure, had a lot of anxiety and all kinds of things going on. Yoga helped to move me past that. The whole point of it, in the ancient philosophies, the word “yoga” means “to unite.” It’s the unification of yourself with a higher version of yourself, so you have truer potential. It just made me believe in myself more, be less anxious and fearful. It helped to clear my mind enough to know that I have something to offer and I could be helpful to other people. The girl who took me to my first yoga class, I just ended up training her to teach last year, so it was really cool how it came full circle. The physical part is definitely a benefit, but moreso it’s a mental shift.

Q: What is the most challenging part of yoga, either as an instructor or student?
Making sure that I’m taking care of myself enough so that I have something to offer. I even tell that to people in training. When you get trained to teach, sometimes you’re teaching so much that you forget that you have to take care of yourself too or you’re not able to bring that to other people.

Q: Are there any other organizations you are a part of or things you
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 14, so I’m going on 21 years. My friend has a sanctuary called the Farmhouse Sanctuary in Sterling Twp. We just had a bunch of fundraisers for her. I also do a lot of stuff with the Lackawanna County drug and alcohol programs to try to bring yoga to people in recovery. I developed a program a few years ago. People who are in recovery can come have use of the yoga studio. I get funding for that through the county.

Q: What is something about you that might surprise a lot of people?
People probably don’t know that I worked for a steel fabrication company and (that) I know how to build houses and buildings. If you ask me what size a piece of steel is, I can tell you. Even for the rigging here and in Scranton, when we rigged it for aerial yoga, I designed it.

Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
A: I try to stay physically active. I go to CrossFit pretty often. When it gets warm out, I’ll walk and hike more and go on runs. I like to try new things. We have aerial silks; they’re pieces of fabric that hang from the ceiling but aren’t joined at the bottom. You can climb them and do tricks. We also have lyra hoops, the hoop apparatus that you can do tricks in. It hangs from the ceiling. I like to try stuff like that. I’m not very good at it, but it’s fun. Also, my animals; I’m a big animal person.

Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
There is a period of time that I reflect back on often to remind me where I was. I remember being in a room with a bunch of strangers having to read a very basic thing and being so scared to read it, I couldn’t even get the words out. It was such a difficult moment in my life, and sometimes I’ll think about it and see how yoga has helped me change. It taught me I have to get out of my own way in order to help other people.