Electric City Best Of 2018

Electric City Best Of 2018

LOVE AND ROMANCE

Best Flower Shop
Mcarthy’s

Best Limo Service
Gilbride Limo

Best Place For a Bachelor Party
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Place For a Bachelorette Party
Maiolatesi Wine Cellars

Best Place For a First Date
Adezzo

Best Place to Buy An Engagement Ring
Glint of Gold

Best Wedding Gowns
Tunis Bridal

Best Wedding Registry
Over The Moon

Best Wedding Venue
Constantino’s Catering & Events

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Best Bowling Alley
South Side Bowl

Best Gym/ Health Club
Keystone Crossfit

Best Pilates
Jaya

Best Place to Go Camping
Shore Forest Campground

Best Place to Picnic
Lackawanna State Park

Best Skiing
Montage Mountain
Best Trip Just an Hour Away
Jim Thorpe

Best Yoga
Mission Yoga

Best Zumba
Crunch Fitness

MEDIA

Best College Radio Station
Marywood University’s VMFM 91.7

Best Morning Radio Show
Prospector

Best Radio Station
ALT 92.1

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Best All Ages Venue
Scranton Cultural Center

Best Art Venue
Afa Gallery

Best Casino
Mohegan Sun Pocono

Best Concert Venue
The Pavillion at Montage

Best Dance Company
Dave Ragnacci School of Dance

Best Local Band
The Wanabees

Best Local Festival
La Festa Italiana

Best Movie Theater
Cinemark

Best Museum
Everhart Museum

Best New Event
Food Truck Friday at Nay Aug Park

Best New Local CD
Tatiana “Unspoken”

Best Ongoing Cultural Event
St. Patricks Day Parade

Best Open Mic
The V-Spot

Best Original Band
Black Tie Stereo

Best Party Cover Band
Flaxy Morgan

Best Place to Shoot Pool
The NYX

Best Theater Production
Sound and Song: Over done and over-sung
c4 studios

EATS AND DRINKS

Best Ambiance
AV

Best Bagels
National Bakery

Best Bakery
Lynn Sandy’s Bakery

Best Beer Menu
Backyard Ale House

Best Boneless Wings
Nina’s Wing Bites & Pizza

Best Breakfast
The Eatery By Jessica

Best Brunch
State Street Grill

Best Cheesesteak
Steve & Irenes

Best Chinese Restaurant
China Moon

Best Chocolate
Gertrude Hawk

Best Coffee Shop
Northern Light

Best Cup Of Coffee
Zummos Cafe

Best Deli
Cara Mia’s

Best Desserts
Electric City Bakehouse

Best Diner
Glider

Best Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme, South Abington Township

Best Food Truck
The Sweet Lush Cupcake Camper

Best French Fries
Ale Mary’s

Best Frozen Yogurt
Sweet Frog

Best Hamburger
Five Guys

Best Hoagie
Catalano

Best Hot Dogs
The Original Coney Island (Cedar Ave.)

Best Ice Cream
Manning Farm Dairy

Best Italian Food
La Trattoria

Best Italian Ice
Ritas Of Scranton

Best Japanese Restaurant
Kyoto

Best Liquid Lunch
Backyard Ale House

Best Long Lunch (tie)
■ Posh
■ Peculiar Slurp Shop

Best Lunch On a Budget
McDonalds Dollar Menu

Best Lunch on The Go
Zuppa Del Giorno

Best Mexican/ Southwestern Restaurant
Italos

Best New Restaurant
Alter House

Best Patio Dining
State Street Grill

Best Pierogies
Windsor Inn

Best Place to Eat Organic
Terra Preta Prime

Best Potato Pancakes
Christ The King Parish Picnic, Eynon

Best Restaurant
Bar Pazzo

Best Romantic Restaurant
AV

Best Round Pizza
Andy’s Pizza

Best Salads
Loading Dock

Best Sandwiches
Caravia Fresh Food

Best Seafood
Coopers Seafood House

Best Service
Alter House

Best Soup
Zuppa Del Giorno

Best Square Pizza
Alfredos

Best Steakhouse
Terra Preta Prime

Best Stromboli
Fratelli’s

Best Sushi
Sushi and Thai

Best Thai Restaurant
Thai Rak Thai

Best Vegetarian Menu
Eden; A Vegan Cafe

Best Wine Menu
Lucchi Family Wine Cellars

Best Wings
Kelly’s

GOODS AND SERVICES

Best Animal Hospital
Memorial Veterinary Hospital

Best Barber Shop
Loylaty Barber Shop

Best Bicycle Shop
Veloce

Best Boutique
The Daisy Collective

Best Car Dealership
Toyota of Scranton

Best Car Wash
Johnny’s

Best Cigar Shop
Big House Tobacco

Best Comic Book Store
Comics on the Green

Best Dry Cleaner
Dempsey’s Fashionable Laundry

Best Farmers Market
Scranton Farmers Market

Best Garden Store
Corky’s Garden Path

Best Hair Salon
Sanderson Place Salon & Spa, Greenridge

Best Health Food Store
Everything Natural

Best Jewlery Store
Steve Pronko Jewelers

Best Local Brewery
Susquehanna Brewing Company

Best Men’s Clothing Store
The Haberdashery

Best Mom/ Pop Grocery Store
Catalano

Best Pet Supply Store
Stately Pet Supply

Best Pipe Shop
Headdies

Best Place To Buy Beer
Sabatinis

Best Place to Buy Music
Gallery of Sound

Best Shoe Store
Scranton Running Co.

Best Ski Shop
The Ski Shack, Montage Mountain

Best Music Store for Equipment
Magdon Music

Best Tanning Salon
Abbronzatura Tanning

Best Tattoo Parlor
Electric City Tattoo

Best Unique Gift Shop
Live With It by Laura Hobbs

Best Vintage Clothing Store
ON & ON

Best Winery
Maiolatesi Wine Cellars

Best Womens Clothing Store
The Daisy Collective

Best Bar in a Restaurant
Jack’s Draft House

Best Bar You Can Smoke In
V-Spot

Best Bike Night
Thirst T’s

Best Cocktails
Billy B’s Restaurant and Martini Bar

Best College Bar
Levels

Best Drink Specials
Crottis on Ash

Best Gay/ Lesbian Friendly Bar
12 Penny

Best Happy Hour
The Bog

Best Happy Hour Food
Ale Mary’s

Best Jukebox
The Bog

Best Karaoke
Pour Richards

Best Looking Bar Crowd
The Bog

Best Margaritas
La Toleteca

Best Martinis
Billy B’s Restaurant and Martini Bar

Best New Bar / Club
Center City Wine Cellar

Best Place to Shake it
Levels

Best Pub Trivia
AJ’s Club Soda

Best Sports Bar
Happy Valley Sports Bar
Best St. Patricks Day Parade Bar
Andy Gavins

Best Strip Club
Grandview

Best Venue to Hear Live Music
River Street Jazz Cafe

Best Young Professional Bar
Backyard Ale House

SUPERSTARS

Best Bartender
Brian Craig
The Bog

Best Bouncer
Rich DePoley
The Bog

Best Chef
Tony Mendicino
Montage Mountain

Best Dentist
Dr. Jason Hanyon
Century Dental

Best Dentist
Dr. Jason Hanyon
Century Dental

Best DJ
EJ the DJ

Best Doctor
Casey Burke

Best Local Actor
George Conrad

Best Local Actress
Rebekah Conrad

Best Local Author
Margo Azzarelli

Best Local Blogger
Tiff Kline/Kilne’s Korner

Best Local Comedian
Sam Falbo

Best Local Dancer
Nick Lazor

Best Filmmaker
Jon Yonkondy

Best Local Radio Personality
Prospector
Rock 107

Best Local TV News Personality
Ryan Leckey

Best Local Visual Artist
Devon O’Keefe

Best Mechanic
Manning Garage

Best Newspaper Reporter
Patrice Wilding

Best Nip/ Tuck
Dr. Scott McKenna

Best Pet Groomer
Meredith Reese
Fetching Grooming Salon

Best Piercer
Eli
Electric City Tattoo

Best Solo Musician
Christian Gratz

Best Stylist
Autumn Osborne

Best Tattoo Artist
Vinny Worden
Slingin Ink

Best Travel Agency
TravelWorld

Best Wedding DJ
DJ Dakota Jones

Best Wedding Photographer
Amber Rought Photography

Best Wedding Planner
Constantino’s Catering & Events
(Kelly, Alicia and Brooke)

Best Wedding Singer/ Band
Light Weight

WTF MOMENTS

From the camel that was stranded on Route 309 during the November snow storm, to presidential tweets, 2018 was full of facepalm-worthy moments. And when it came to bringing these to light, voters did not disappoint.
Here are the top five:

1 “Camel on 309 during snow storm” and “the drive home after the Nov. 15 snowstorm.”

2 “Trump,” “anything trump tweeted” and “Trump trucks.”

3 “Pennsylvania Diocese Victims Report.”

4 “Wyoming Valley Tornado.”

5 “My life.”

Up Close & Personal – Devon O’Keefe

Up Close & Personal – Devon O’Keefe

Devon O’Keefe makes his living as a full-time artist, and while he loves art, music is his full-time hobby. He works as a tattoo artist at Glass Heart Tattooing & Arts in Plains Twp. but also is an illustrator who has given his talents to many children’s books and does commissioned paintings, too. He studied voice and piano at Baptist Bible College (now Clarks Summit University) and graduated with a degree in graphic design and illustration from Marywood University. He and his wife, Danielle, have two daughters, Story, 3, and Ivy, 2.

Meet Devon O’Keefe…

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in a church setting. My parents were heavy into faith, and my whole family still is. When I graduated, I worked at a church for seven years as the worship and art director. I met my wife at the youth group at Grace Bible (Church) in Dunmore.

Q: Tell me about your background in art.
A:
I started drawing when I was little. I drew animals all the time. I decided I wanted to be an illustrator, so I took a class at Marywood, as well as a graphic design class. At first, I got a lot of work in graphic design working with small businesses on logos and signs. I’ve been in contact with authors and worked on different books. One of them was my sister; she wrote a book, and I illustrated it. I’ve done book projects, and I started getting into the gallery scene where I do these big paintings. I do a lot of commissions for people, and I love to do that. When I was working at the church, I would also do a lot of live speed paintings.

Q: Describe your style as an artist.
A:
When I start drawing something, I’ll have a vision in my head, but when it comes out, you can tell it’s mine. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is, but if I had to choose words to describe my work, it would be earthy with spiritual undertones and kind of eclectic. As far as tattooing goes, I’m not a fan of traditional tattoos. My tattoos aren’t traditional at all; they’re more illustrative. I tackle each piece as an individual piece of artwork that my style can flow into, then I tattoo it.

Q: Which came first, the studio art or tattoo art? How did one lead to the other?
A:
I illustrated a book cover, and it was a collection of poems someone wrote. He asked me to do the book cover, which was a watercolor conch shell. He ended up going to Derek Zielinski, who is now the owner of (Glass Heart Tattooing & Arts), to get that tattooed on his arm. He showed it to me after, and I thought it was really cool. I decided I was going to go to him for my next tattoo. He tattooed my hand, and he knew of my art before I came to him. While he was tattooing me, he was secretly interviewing me, and he told me afterwards. He called me a week later and asked if I wanted to be his apprentice and tattoo with him. I fell in love with it. Coming into it was a totally different way from the normal way of getting into tattooing.

Q: What is your favorite medium?
A:
There is something special about each one. There are certain things that I can do with one that I can’t do with another. I like tattooing my artwork because it’s a permanent thing, and it’s not going anywhere. I love that aspect, and the process of tattooing and the conversations we have. I also love creating giant paintings. I’d say my favorite art is this style of watercolor. I did a series, and each one is big with a decorative Victorian frame. I pack in a lot of symbolism. One of my favorite things is when they’re in art galleries, watching people look at them for a while and pick things out. The other joy that comes from this style is I love making people think about things they haven’t thought about before in a deeper way.

Q: Tell me about your own tattoos and what they say about you.
A:
A lot of them are spiritual. I have one for Ivy and one for Story. I also love the design on my hand, because when I’m wearing long sleeves, it shows. I have a matching tattoo with my wife. It’s a tree with an open bird cage and two birds flying out of it. That was kind of our theme at our wedding too. My entire family, my four siblings and my parents, got our family crest together.

Q: What is a tattoo design that you are most proud of?
A:
One of my favorite tattoos that I’ve done is a series of watercolor and ink that was an animal with some kind of fantasy element to it. For example, there was a rabbit with flowers coming out of his ears. A client of mine wanted something from the series, maybe an alligator or crocodile. I thought it would be cool to do a crocodile head with crystals coming out of it instead of the bumps on its head. That one was awesome and so much fun.

Q: You switch between using large and small canvases and people skin as your surface. What is the transition like?
A:
My first tattoo on a person was myself. I’m so glad I did that, because it looks terrible. Everybody’s skin is a different canvas; it’s got different consistency, different skin tones and, of top of it, the place (on their body) they get the tattoo. I love it, and the challenges are great.

Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A:
Music is a big part of my life, just as much as art. Me, my sister and my brother-in-law have played music together (for) years. My brother-in-law and I have been playing together for 10 years. The day we met, we became best friends. Then he married my sister, and I was all for that. That was awesome because we could still hang out. We played together at the church every Sunday for years. We recently went to audition for “America’s Got Talent” in New York City. Good things are coming, and we’re still blown away by it. My daughters like to sing along; they know all my songs by heart. We like dancing and singing together. I love being outside. My buddy and I … do rock climbing. I love bringing the girls on hikes too. They love every second of that.

Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A:
The first thing that comes to mind is having kids. They’ve taught me so many lessons in life. I’ve also been a spiritual person trying to practice the presence of God in every day, but these girls have taught me unconditional love and lessons of just existing. These girls are everything to me.

Up Close & Personal – Zack Graham

Up Close & Personal – Zack Graham

Zack Graham co-owns and manages the Haberdashery, a men’s clothing store in Forty Fort, which won the Times-Tribune 2018 Readers’ Choice Award for best men’s clothing store and also received the same honor in Electric City’s 2017 Best Of awards. When he is not keeping up on the latest fashion trends, he can be found performing as a solo musician or with his band, the Groove Berries. He is a 2012 graduate of Abington Heights High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in business management and leadership from Marywood University. He also is employed by Bold Gold Media and lives in Clarks Summit.

Meet Zack Graham…

Q: What is your musical background?  
A:
I started when I was 7 or 8 years old with guitar. Originally, I didn’t love it and wanted to quit because I thought it was hard. I stuck with guitar and singing. I like to at least have a handle on a bunch of different things. So, I started playing the drums, then keyboard and now I play bass.

Q: Describe your personal musical style.
A:
I’ve really gotten into taking covers and revamping them. I try to make things fit me as a musician. Anything melodic is what catches me in songs. Whether it’s on keyboard, guitar or vocals, I’ve always liked that.

Q: The Groove Berries is your most recent project. Describe its style.
A:
We’re a fusion mix of jazz, rock, funk and blues. We’re just a group of guys who have been playing together for more than 10 years. It’s myself, Matt Montella and Matt Domenico. We’ve been playing together since Little Matt (as I call him, Matt Domenico) was 12. As the years went on, we stayed really close. One night, we thought we should play it out sometime. We had no idea how it was going to go. We played at a First Friday, and people loved it. We wanted to keep rolling with it. We know each other so well, so our chemistry as musicians is great. We’re all best friends, and we hang out way more than people would think. If I go two days without seeing either one of them, it’s like a reunion when I see them.


Q: Who are your musical inspirations?
A:
Led Zepplin for sure, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra and the band Cream. I love them. It’s a trio, and they’re very rock and roll, bluesy, but have that psychedelic twist. They’re really diverse.

Q: What led you to opening the Haberdashery? 
A:
I started in the radio world in college. I also really liked TV and did Marywood’s TV station. I was the anchor, and I absolutely loved it. I thought I wanted to be on MTV or something goofy, and that was what I was going to pursue. As time went on, it pulled me away from that. I was in grad school, and my (now) business partner was there. I was wearing a suit because I had just come from work. He said he liked my pocket square. I complemented his outfit, because he was and was always well-dressed. We just clicked and became friends. He worked for a clothing store in Dunmore which was closing, but he wanted to open up a men’s clothing store. I always used to look up to designers and people, so it was something I wanted to do. It was just the right time and place.

Q: Where does your interest in upscale clothing come from?
A:
I’ve always loved clothing. Anyone from high school or Marywood can probably tell you that you’ll always see me in something that you won’t see anywhere else. At Marywood, I was known as the Yeti. I wore a big fur coat, I carried a cane, and I wore big dressy boots. Years later, there was a page, and it would say “spotted again,” and it was pictures of me, like a Bigfoot sighting. When I was in grade school, I was really anxious and always wanted to fit in. One day in high school, it hit me like a sack of bricks, and I didn’t want to fit in anymore. I decided I’m just going to do my own thing. I didn’t care if people liked it or didn’t like it; I’m just going to be a good person.

Q: Describe some other elements that go into running your business.
A:
There’s so much that goes into it. Right now, we do all of our buying in New York City. We go to Fashion Week twice a year. People think it’s just clothes, but there are 600 to 700 or more vendors. You have to look at the cuts, fabrics and swatches then go to showrooms and do the buying. You buy a year in advance, so in January of 2019, I’ll be buying for January 2020. I see the trends before they’re out, but my business partner and I have to be smart enough to predict what people are going to buy in a year. In showrooms, they give you Champagne and show you swatch books; it’s very elegant. It’s very rigorous, but it’s amazing.

Q: What other hobbies or interests do you have?
A:
I am a Freemason member of Lodge 597. We get together for meetings once a month and plan charity events. It’s a great organization that not a lot of people know much about. I’m also a part of the Wilkes-Barre Power Group. It’s young professionals getting together to talk business and network. I love the gym and working out. I also enjoy just walking. I used to always need to be around people, but now in my free time, I like to decompress and go on walks. And, of course, music is a hobby. I always look forward to shows. I also love Netflix, TV and the show “Friends.” I love watches, I collect them, and I love cars, but I can’t afford to collect them. I love spending time with family too.

Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A:
I’m very close with my family. We’re all very Italian, and in the Italian family structure, the maternal figure is everything. What my grandma says is gold. I have so many conversations with her, and I noticed that a lot of her conversations start with, “We almost did this, but we didn’t, and I wish we did.” I realized I don’t ever want to regret anything. I’m just going to go for it.

Photos by Emma Black

Up Close & Personal – Aubrey McClintock

Up Close & Personal – Aubrey McClintock

Aubrey McClintock, a Hudson Valley, New York native, is a former middle school math and science teacher. She has a degree in elementary education from Marywood University and a master’s degree in library science from Clarion University. She now runs A Daily Obsession, through which she makes and sells fascinators. She and her husband, Lee, have two children, Kaylee, 9, and Jack, 7. They live in Old Forge.

Meet Aubrey McClintock…

Q: For those who may not be familiar, tell me about fascinators and their background?
A: Fascinators are miniature hats, for the most part. The styles that I do kind of have a hod to 1940-style hat, but with more modern, kitschy or ridiculous themes. Philip Treacy is one of the famous milliners. He’s in England, and he kind of introduced the idea and brought back the term fascinator and turned it into ridiculousness. A lot of people don’t (know) the term fascinator, so I usually say I make hats or miniature hats.

Q: Describe your design style.
A: I like to have fun with it, and I entertain myself with my colors. I’ve always dressed different, and that has always been a way to express myself. In high school, I was just a straight-up nerd. I did not do anything remotely artistic. But I expressed myself through clothing. I had a pair of powder blue, big, polyester bell bottoms that I wore, not as a joke. I always had fun with clothing. It’s more fun and colorful, and it makes people smile.

Q: Talk about the design and construction part.
A: Sometimes I start with a problem to solve, such as, “How can I put a martini on your head?” Other things I just kind of collect little bits and bobs and pieces. I’m the one at an estate sale who buys a box of ornaments that are odds and ends and I repurpose them. I’ll start with a general idea, but there’s a lot of playing with it, holding things up; it kind of has to evolve.

Q: Why on your head?
A: I know, right? I don’t have a good reason exactly. It just evolved that way. It’s so unexpected and ridiculous and makes people smile. People will look at me like I’m nuts and think there’s no way I’m putting that on my head. … I am inspired, too. There is a guy in Chicago; Bess Ben was the name of the millinery shop, and he, back in the ’40s, was making ridiculous stuff. He was putting lobsters and little toys and mice from doll houses and all sorts of crazy stuff on there.

Q: Tell me about your upcoming trip to Las Vegas.
A: I’ve been asked to do a trade show. So, I’ve never done a trade show before, and I’m a little nervous but super excited. It’s for London Edge, and they work with a lot of designers and retailers who have a retro, funky (style), like Modcloth and other shops that have that retro nod but with a more modern approach. They have a makers and designers section, which I’m going to be in, and we’ll what happens. I’ll have to curate a collection for it, because so many of my things are one-of-a-kind, and that won’t work for a trade show.

Q: What is the most unusual custom request you’ve received?
A: I did do a set of two flamingoes, one like a bride and the other a groom with a top hat and everything. I gave them a champagne bottle, and that hat went to Japan, I think, or somewhere overseas, and they sent me pictures. So that’s one of the more odd ones.

Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
A: I am a huge reader. I love to read; I’m a big book nerd. Lately I’m reading a lot of nonfiction. I like a good, cozy mystery, not too gory. I like to read things that make me feel nice. I enjoy a lot of British literature, young adult stuff, partially because I have to screen what my daughter reads.

Q: What activities do you enjoy doing with your kids?
A: We read together. My son likes to read to me; my daughter is more independent. They’re both very athletic, and we spend a lot of time at sporting events. We just finished football and cheer; now we’re into basketball, and the spring will bring Little League. They’re very good at estate sales and thrifting. They have pretty rich little lives.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I tell people and they don’t believe it, but in high school and college, art classes brought down my overall GPA. It hurt my nerdy average, so it’s kind of amazing that I do this now.

Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped who you are today?
A: It would be, I guess, feeling truly comfortable in my own skin, and I think that came from having a healthy relationship. So I would like to attribute that to my husband, but to be totally comfortable with all your weirdness and not trying to fit in anymore. Just being OK with not being everyone’s cup of tea has really helped me leave teaching when it was the right time and not feel like I had (an) identify as a teacher. I don’t just identify as a mom or anything else, so it gives validity to all of your different quirks.

For more information on Aubrey McClintock and to purchase her products, visit adailyobsession.com 

Photos taken at Eclectic City Studio in Scranton.

 

Up Close & Personal – Rachel Lucille Woodworth

Up Close & Personal – Rachel Lucille Woodworth

Rachel Lucille Woodworth has always been interested in music. After graduating from North Pocono High School and studying at Pratt Institute and New York Film Academy, she went abroad to study acting at the Theater of Changes and guitar, harmony and theory under the guidance of guitarist Yiorgos Argyropoulos at Musical Praxis Conservatory, both in Athens, Greece. When a medical condition forced her to return home to Northeast Pennsylvania, she pursued a music career. She is now a singer, songwriter, composer and guitarist who leads LittleStarRun.

Meet Rachel Lucille Woodworth…

Q: What is your music background?
A: I’m influenced by shoe gaze music and a lot of indie rock and some punk elements. I definitely grew up listening to that type of music. Also, I was really passionate about jazz from a young age, and my first instrument was the clarinet. I have a jazz and classical background. Ultimately, I have been influenced by that as well, perhaps in the way I approach my compositions.

Q: What is LittleStarRun?

A: LittleStarRun is music project I started around 2009. I had a few incarnations of my project LittleStarRun with other band members, but I really had trouble keeping it together. I tried to put together a band for a long time, but it’s very difficult to find the right chemistry and people whose schedules align. I’ve found two musicians that I really enjoy playing with, Justin Padro and Chelsea Taylor. I call (our music) indie dream folk, but it actually has maybe a lot more elements to it.

Q: How did you come up with the name LittleStarRun?
A: A friend of mine in Athens started calling me “Little Star,” and it sort of just became this weird, iconic name. The LittleStarRun came about a strange way; it was influenced by (a) song (by) the Velvet Underground and the lyrics “run, run, run.”

Q: Talk about your experience in Greece. What led you there?
A: I went on tour with a circus theater company. While I was performing there, I was much more interested in Athens and Greece in general than what I was doing with the circus theater company. I had planned to do acrobatics in Greece, but there isn’t much of a scene there. Now there’s actually a thriving scene, but I wasn’t able to get jobs, and it just wasn’t working. Then I saw an ad for a theater school that was putting on an international theater festival, and I decided to try it out. I was a participant in the festival, and I really enjoyed all of the workshops. I decided to enroll. This was probably two years into my time in Greece. When I was in theater school, that’s when all of the musical stuff started to happen for me.

Q: Describe yourself as a songwriter.

A: I think my theatrical background definitely affects the way I write songs, the way I put words together, the way I see images; and songs, to me, are all about images. It’s like I’m watching these scenes that flow through me, then I’m kind of describing what I’m experiencing in that imaginary realm. I don’t ever really set out to write about something specific. When I’m writing for a job or something like that and I have to produce something specific, then I can. But when I’m just doing my own music for my own project, I don’t choose subjects to write about.

Q: Can you compare and contrast the music scene here and the music scene in Greece?
A: There is actually a good English-language indie rock scene in Athens. A lot of bands from all over come through and play shows, so it’s a really eclectic and thriving music scene. I got to experience a lot of world music as well, also Greek traditional music, Italian traditional music and a lot of other types of music (that) I really (hadn’t) been exposed to in that depth. Also, that’s where I really got exposed to shoe gaze music from the United Kingdom.

Q: Talk about the album you’re working on.
A: The album is really about the emotions I experienced when I had to leave Greece and move back to the United States. The songs are a combination (of) those two countries and also just the chaos that ensued when I had to move back. It’s been a very interesting return, and I’ve been dealing with a lot. I’ve been processing a lot and put all of that into my music.

Q: What brought you back to the United States?
A: I got a really severe injury in my ankle, and it wouldn’t heal. I was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called CRPS/RSD. It can affect the whole body and can spread onto the nerves. I had to come back to the United States for treatment. I try to raise awareness because it’s not something people understand or know a lot about even within the medical community. It’s something that can happen to anyone, no one is immune, and it completely changed my world view. I had to slow my life down in a way that I never expected. It’s definitely made me more compassionate and understanding to anyone who is experiencing any kind of suffering. Also, how fragile life can be, how quickly things change. If I had been doing acrobatics when it happened, it probably would’ve devastated me even more, but in a way, it’s good that I was a musician because I could still play.

Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
A: I’m really into film. I like writing. I am actually in a theatrical (playwrights) group. We’re working on some pieces for theater. Songwriting is a huge part of my existence. Over the last two years, I started working with some writers in other countries and in other places to do collaborations and to write for film and television.

Q: After working with many international artists, you immersed yourself in the NEPA music community quickly. What’s it like to be a part of that?
A: I love our music scene and have collaborated with a lot of people around here. I was part of the band Brian TV for a while, which is an indie-psychedelic rock band. We released a short album over the summer called “Animal Worship.” We have so much talent in this area, and there’s a really good community.

Q: What is a fun fact about you?

A: I’m really into genealogy. When I first got (diagnosed with) my illness, I had to spend a lot of time at home in bed. I did extensive genealogy research on my family. I can get really into nerdy stuff like that.

Q: We’ve talked about many things that were life-changing for you, but can you pinpoint a specific time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A: There was a time in New York City where I lived and worked at a small jazz club in the West Village. I got to experience being next to amazing, world-class musicians every night. It was a really inspiring time for me. I think that really changed me in a lot of ways.

Photos taken at Adezzo

 

Thanksgiving Eve downtown Scranton 2018

Thanksgiving Eve downtown Scranton 2018