Fashion fundraiser aims to help floral programs blossom
A good cause is always in vogue, and so fashionistas and philanthropists alike will gather for a common purpose at Fashion & Compassion, a fundraiser to benefit the Greenhouse Project’s community programs.
The event functions as a marketplace with a variety of local vendors, and Scranton native and celebrity stylist Marni Senofonte will be curate her must-have looks for the season and talk about her career working with the likes of Beyoncé, Ciara, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill.
Tickets are $25 through eventbrite.com and include light fare and a cash bar. Proceeds from the event benefit Greenhouse Project program Petal Share PA, which aims to grow a healthy, sustainable community by repurposing donated flowers. The Greenhouse Project’s other efforts include horticulture therapy for elderly and vulnerable community members and creating a multi-generational space in Nay Aug Park.
Senofonte rose to prominence in her field after a stint as designer Norma Kamali’s assistant and working partnerships with brands such as Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and more. She maintains a large international audience on her popular Instagram account, @marnixmarni, where she models high-end fashions. Her mother, Kathee Sonofonte, spearheads Petal Share PA as its program director and brought her daughter into the fold to make the event a marquis happening.
Fashion & Compassion also is a NEPA Match Day event, with a guarantee from Scranton Area Community Foundation to match proceeds up to $1,000.
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: Fashion & Compassion fundraiser featuring guest speaker and celebrity stylist Marni Senofonte
When: Friday, April 28, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: POSH at the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Tickets are $25, available at eventbrite.com, and include light fare, cash bar and a vendor marketplace. Proceeds benefit the Greenhouse Project’s program Petal Share PA and horticulture therapy for elderly and vulnerable community members.
Roll all night
As revelers heading to the 37th annual Rock 107 Birthday Bash gear up for the concert blowout tonight at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Plains Twp., perhaps no one is more excited than Foghat’s Roger Earl.
“I love a party,” the drummer and sole remaining founding band member said.
Foghat hits the stage at approximately 10:30 p.m., and doors open at 7. Entertainment before the main act includes sets by Flaxy Morgan, 7800° Fahrenheit — A Tribute To Bon Jovi and Facing the Giants. The traditional giant birthday cake, door prizes and a cash bar also will be back for the 21-or-older event.
Earl spoke recently by phone from outside his sunny Florida studio, where the English group — known for the classic blues-rock hits “Slow Ride,” “Fool for the City” and “Drivin’ Wheel” plus a standout cover of “I Just Want To Make Love To You” — practices and records. He promised Birthday Bash guests a mixed bag of all the recognizable singles as well as a taste of his band’s newest album, “Under the Influence,” which continues Foghat’s signature catalog of funk-, blues- and R&B-infused rock music.
Citing artists like the late Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, he explained that his music endures because its predecessors are rooted in rock history.
“It was always about the music with Foghat. Our biggest influence is blues music. … We altered it a bit to suit us. That music’s been here since the ’40s — if you count jazz and bebop in that heritage — and it’s still here,” Earl said. “Rock ‘n’ roll endured as part of an American tradition. I don’t think (it’s) a fad. (Late Foghat frontman) Lonesome Dave said it once: asked why he likes blues and rock, he said it has an honesty about it.
“It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we like it,” he added, joking, “That wasn’t our song, was it?”
Earl splits his time between homes in Florida and Long Island, New York, and several family members will travel to Northeast Pennsylvania for tonight’s show. Audiences at Foghat concerts have grown more multi-generational over the years, he noted, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We have some fans with us for many years we’ve been doing this, but I’m really excited turning younger folks and new fans on. We have a lot of young people turned on by grandparents and siblings. That’s what’s enabled the band to keep playing on,” Earl explained. “I feel very fortunate at this time in life that I can earn a decent living doing 60 or 70 shows a year.”
The band will mix up the setlist to keep longtime listeners and show-goers happy, and though the musicians might dance a little less on stage these days, Earl quipped, guests can expect an energetic show full of music they love.
“The selfish part of being a musician is we do it because we love doing it,” he said. “(But) I’m very grateful being able to do this. Life is real good.”
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: 37th annual Rock 107 Birthday Bash featuring Foghat
When: Tonight; doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Woodlands Inn & Resort, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.
Details: Tickets are free through the Rock 107 mobile app, text and email club plus online at rock107.com. Guests also can buy tickets at the door for $15.
The spirit of French beauty and decadence makes its way into the convention center at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday for the 30th annual Gourmet Gala.
Under the theme “Springtime in Paris,” more than 40 local restaurants present sumptuous appetizers, entrees and desserts for the major fundraiser that benefits Ronald McDonald House of Scranton.
Organizers set a goal of $80,000 this year, which will fund the house at 332 Wheeler Ave., Scranton, plus satellite rooms in three area
hospitals that provide respite for families of pediatric patients.
Picture Perfect Band provides entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m., and the casino offers free valet parking for guests. Admission is $45 at the door, which grants guests access to a wide variety of samples from area eateries.
Waverly Twp. resident Kathy Nelson co-chairs the event this year with Peggy Hennemuth and expects upward of 1,000 people to attend. Nelson worked on the annual fundraiser for the last four years, first by rounding up restaurants to participate and then by taking on a greater role with Ronald McDonald House after she toured the Scranton home.
“Once I did that, I was hooked. It’s a great cause,” Nelson said. “They help families really when they need it most.”
The Parisian theme came to mind in light of a trip to France she made with her husband a few years back.
“I loved it. First of all, it’s a beautiful city, and from what I hear, springtime there is spectacular,” she said. “Spring, to me, is a season of hope, so that’s kind of what we’re looking for.”
To bring Paris to Northeast Pennsylvania, she hired designer John Mackey to transform the event space with flowers and decorations. Nelson also reverted back to the original floor plan of years past, which makes room for several aisles of vendors and offers better traffic flow. Last year’s setup didn’t work as well for guests, she said, so she hopes they’ll return to enjoy the redesigned pattern, which also includes two entrances.
Mostly, she and Hennemuth look forward to seeing (and tasting) the creative ways restaurants interpret the theme.
“There will be a little bit of everything,” Nelson said. “Some really get into it. They often dress up and make it fun.”
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: “Springtime in Paris” — 30th annual Ronald McDonald House Gourmet Gala
When: Sunday, 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Pocono,
1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.
Details: Admission is $45 at the door, or call 570-969-8998 for tickets. For more information, visit www.rmhscranton.org.
• A Little Pizza Heaven
• Angelo’s Italian Ristorante
• Ambers Restaurant & Bar
• Andy Gavin’s Eatery & Pub
• Arcaro & Genell
• Bazil Ristorante Italiano
• BBQ by Barry’s B3Q Smokehouse
• Bartolai Winery
• Bella Faccias Personalized
Chocolates & Gifts
• Cafe Rinaldi
• Camelot Restaurant & Inn
• Constantino’s Catering & Events
• Cooper’s Seafood House
• Down Home Rice Pudding
• Edible Arrangements
• Fire and Ice on Toby Creek
• The French Manor:
Pocono Bed & Breakfast
• Gerrity’s Supermarkets
• Gertrude Hawk Chocolates
• Glider Restaurant
• Harvest Seasonal Grill
& Wine Bar
• Holiday Inn Wilkes-Barre —
• Isabella Restaurant and Bar
• La Buona Vita
• LongHorn Steakhouse
• Loose Moose Cottage
at Great Wolf Lodge
• Manning Farm Dairy
• Market Street Bar & Grill
• McDonald’s restaurants
of Greater Scranton
• Mendicino’s Italian Specialities
• Moses Taylor Hospital Culinary
• Nibbles & Bits
• Nimble Hill Vineyard & Winery
• Olde Brook Inn
• Peggy’s Wing Sauce
• P.J. Brown’s Restaurant
• Pocono Provisions
• POSH at the Scranton Club
• Rustic Kitchen
• Ruth’s Chris Steak House
• State Street Grill
• Stirna’s Restaurant
• Terra Preta
• Truly Scrumptious
• Villa Maria II
• Wolfgang Puck Express
From classic to cliché, parade fashion all about taste
For many, a true hallmark of Parade Day is dressing in theme with the celebration.
Walking through downtown on Saturday will have most seeing green — in a spectrum of shades, such as Kelly green, hunter green, fern, avocado, lime, shamrock and chartreuse. Add hints of orange and white, and you hit the triad of colors found in the Irish flag.
Plenty of local costume and party-supply stores, such as Cal-Ideas in Dunmore or Party City in Dickson City, offer zany accessories such as green wigs, buttons, beads, socks, feather boas, stickers and temporary tattoos. Graphic T-shirts with Irish puns, phrases and mascots are big sellers, too.
But showing your pride doesn’t mean you need to buy everything green in the store. Many area residents prefer a more classic, traditional approach to celebrating their heritage.
Timeless pieces such as cable-knit Aran
or merino wool sweaters and cardigans, claddagh jewelry, tweed suits and newsboy caps
all hark back to the culture of the Emerald Isle, and can be found online or locally in shops such as Cronin’s Irish Cottage in the Marketplace at Steamtown.
Take an even more subtle approach and honor Irish designers — wear a fascinator in homage of famed milliner Philip Treacy, whose detailed, delicate hats and head accessories made him a favorite of European royalty. Or, for those who know their ancestral history and can trace it back to a specific region or county in Ireland, kilts carry the story of lineage through specific tartan designs and colors.
Whether showy or restrained, Parade Day fashion can make for great conversation starters.
— patrice wilding
Clarks Summit’s Festival of Ice returns this weekend with a theme sure to give you chills — and multiply them.
The 13th annual festival kicks off Friday with a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions. Visitors can check out close to 50 ice sculpture variations on the “Ice, Lights, Broadway!” theme, including homages to “Grease,” “Hamilton,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “West Side Story,” among other beloved musicals.
Admission and parking are free all weekend. For an official map, sculpture list and updates, visit the Facebook event page. Addresses listed below are in Clarks Summit unless otherwise noted.
Noon to 2 p.m.: Live music by Just Us Duo, Citizens Savings Bank, 538 S. State St.
1 to 3 p.m.: Live music by Ken McGraw and Joe Cole, Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, MetLife, 1028 Morgan Highway
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, Toyota of Scranton, 3400 N. Main Ave., Scranton
5 to 6 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, Crystal Cabin Fever, Purdytown Turnpike, Lakeville
5 to 7 p.m.: Live music by Tom Rogo, Golden Coast, 535 S. State St.
5:30 to 7 p.m.: Complimentary trolley tour of the festival with on/off stops at Everything Natural, 426 S. State St.; Depot Street; and First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, 300 School St.
6 to 8 p.m.: Northeast Photography Club art show opening reception, First Presbyterian Church
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Family Fun Faire with DJ Jack Martin, storytelling with Chris Archangelo, children’s complimentary face painting by Happy Faces and post-parade juggling performance by Rob Smith, the Gathering Place, 304 S. State St.
7:30 p.m.: Festival of Ice Parade throughout downtown along South State Street
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Live music by Mark Woodyatt, Peoples Security Bank & Trust Co., 1100 Northern Blvd., South Abington Twp.
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, Peoples Security Bank & Trust Co.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Northeast Photography Club art show, First Presbyterian Church
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Children’s Art Show (with Northeast Photography Club), Barry’s Art Room, First Presbyterian Church
Noon to 2 p.m.: Photobooth by Dynamic Duo Entertainment, the Gathering Place
Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, Frontier Communications, 108 N. State St.
Noon to 5 p.m.: Horse-and carriage-rides, outside the Gathering Place (tickets are $3, available at Clarks Summit borough building, 304 S. State St.)
1 to 3 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration plus live music by Von Storch Project, Everything Natural
1 to 3 p.m.: Live music with Mike Waskovich, Clel’s Place, 120 Barrett St.
1:30 p.m.: All About Theatre special adult theater group original play performance, the Gathering Place
2 p.m.: Broadway Musical Revue with Erin Malloy Marcinko, First Presbyterian Church
2:30 p.m.: Jill and Gehred Wetzel dance performance, the Gathering Place
3:30 to 5 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, Toyota of Scranton
4 to 5 p.m. Live ice-carving demonstration, Gerrity’s Market, 100 Old Lackawanna Trail
5 to 7 p.m.: Live music by Lights Out, La Tonalteca Mexican Restaurant, 821 Northern Blvd.
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Live ice-carving demonstration, State Street Grill, 114 S. State St.
11 to 12:30 p.m.: Live Broadway Brass with Brass Reflections, the Gathering Place
Noon to 5 p.m.: Horse-and-carriage rides from the Gathering Place (tickets are $3, available at borough building)
1 to 3 p.m.: Drop-in children’s craft, Abington Art Studio, 208 Depot St.
1 to 3 p.m.: Live music by Dixieland All Stars, Gerrity’s Market
1 to 3 p.m.: Live music by Doreen Coleman, Everything Natural
1:30 p.m.: All About Theatre Junior Actors original play performance, the Gathering Place
2:30 p.m.: All About Theatre Senior Actors original play performance, the Gathering Place
3 to 5 p.m.: Live music by Old Man River Band, the Gathering Place
4 p.m.: “Ice, Lights, Cabaret!” performance, First Presbyterian Church
Festival of Ice Golden Ticket Scavenger Hunt: Pick up entry form at any location with an ice sculpture, then visit all nine Festival of Ice zones to find the hidden Golden Ticket. List each ticket location and drop off completed entries by Monday at 5 p.m. at any participating location. Random drawing from completely correct entries will be held after the festival.
Also, check with Clarks Summit-area businesses throughout the weekend for specials and giveaways.
— patrice wilding
Legendary British actor John Cleese brings ‘Holy Grail’ to F.M. Kirby Center
Comedy legend John Cleese promises to answer more than “these questions three” and allow “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” fans insider access to the movie’s world of humor.
The famed British actor, who co-wrote the Camelot farce and starred as its Sir Lancelot the Brave, appears on stage for a conversation and Q&A following a screening of the 1975 classic on Saturday at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre.
During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, where he rested in the sun after an exhaustive 30-city tour with fellow Monty Python co-founder Eric Idle, Cleese revealed why people need a laugh now more than ever. As followers of his Twitter page know, Cleese closely follows world and American politics, and he has engaged in public discourse regarding the results of the recent presidential election.
“Eric and I said it was our jobs as Limeys to cheer the Americans up,” the 77-year-old said. “(President Donald Trump) doesn’t seem to have any of the qualifications. I wouldn’t immediately call him a gentleman, particularly regarding his remarks to women.
“I am worried he’s only taking one security briefing a week when (President Barack) Obama takes six. It’s an unnecessary risk to take.”
His distinct brand of absurdist comedy offers a timely departure from the post-election blues for many, especially those who established a cult following of the Monty Python movies and sketch-show bits.
“They often know the lines better than we do. It’s an extraordinary thought, it really is,” Cleese said. “What a nice bunch of fans we have. They don’t take life too serious. They’re sort of warm and friendly, so you couldn’t play for a better crowd.”
While diehards can quote his most celebrated jokes and lines verbatim, Cleese continues to evolve his comedy through innovative means. Whether it’s adapting his hit BBC show “Fawlty Towers” for the Australian stage or promoting a “Ministry of Silly Walks” app for mobile devices, he learned to rebrand the familiar for new audiences and mediums.
“People actually want to see the old stuff. The irony is, people — artists — always want to do something new, but people who put shows on want something old and familiar,” Cleese explained. “So we’re caught in a bit of a quandary: do stuff you want to do, and we try to find a way of doing some old stuff in a way that’s reasonably new.”
Incorporating the Q&A into his appearances is one way to guarantee a different, quality show every night. That, and getting plenty of sleep beforehand.
“You need to go rested, with energy. That’s how these things work, or else it doesn’t have that bounce,” Cleese said. “It’s much more interesting to interact than to stand and say the same thing you said in the past.
Audience members write out their questions, he added, and “we go through them to pick out the best ones.”
“We go off in all sorts of directions,” Cleese said. “We don’t know where we’re going. What is nice about it is the interaction.
“Some work is hard, some work is a bit of a grind, and some is just downright pleasant. And since I still have to make money, this is the nicest way to do it.”
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: Screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” followed by John Cleese on stage for conversation and a Q&A
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Details: Tickets start at $79.50, plus fees, and are available at the box office, online at www.kirbycenter.org and by calling 570-826-110.
Escape winter blues with new experiences
When the winter doldrums kick in, some people make their way outdoors for fun in the snow.
But for those who prefer to stay warm indoors, Northeast Pennsylvania offers plenty of ways to stay entertained and engaged during the coldest part of the year.
Weekend Times takes a look at some of the creative and cozy ways to beat your cabin fever and post-holiday blues.
Whether you maintain a practiced hand or never picked up a brush, group paint nights are a trendy way to delve into the art world.
Spirited Art Scranton, 253 Scranton-Carbondale Highway, Dickson City (in the Fashion Mall shopping plaza), boasts a robust calendar that includes sketching/drawing lessons, “Mommy and Me” classes as well as “tween,” family and fundraising events. Private parties for birthdays, reunions and other special occasions can be arranged for groups big or small. The studio provides all materials and helpful instruction, and guests are invited to take snacks and beverages. For more information, visit myspiritedart.com/scranton or call 570-507-1560.
Many fine art galleries offer guided instruction for novice or advanced artists, too. AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., hosts drawing socials Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m., and Tuesday night figure drawing from 7 to 9 each week. ArtWorks Gallery & Studio, 503 Lackawanna Ave., offers classes for adults with special needs, including sculpture, print-making, mixed media, drawing and painting. For more information, visit
artworksnepa.com or call 570-207-1815.
Plenty of bars and restaurants also offer special paint-night events, so check for more local art events frequently.
The weather outside is frightful, but indoor water parks across Northeast Pennsylvania offer warm temps and year-long pool play.
Visit H20ooohh!! in Lake Harmony, a family water park adjacent to the Galleria at Split Rock Resort that features five body, tube and raft slides; a wavepool; activity pool and more. Visit splitrockresort.com/waterpark for booking and information.
Camelback Resort in Tannersville is home to Aquatopia, which houses 13 tube-, body-, mat-, bowl- and aqua-launch capsule slides as well as several “kiddie” slides. Go to
camelbackresort.com for rates, hours and reservations.
Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun offers numerous options in its indoor water park, where guests can enjoy a lazy river, slideboarding, raft rides and body-drop tubes plus cabanas. Visit greatwolf.com/poconos for more information.
Kalahari Resort in Pocono Manor has its own indoor water park set beneath a retractable roof. Experience the water roller coaster, lazy river and various kids’ areas spread over 100,000 square feet. Visit
Find the exit
Escape rooms are an up-and-coming experience-based, immersive group activity that have taken hold of NEPA. Electric City Escape, housed in the historic Scranton Electric Building, 507 Linden St., is described as a place of “physical adventure games, where players are locked in a room and have to find clues, break codes and open locks in a series of puzzles within 60 minutes in order to win.” The Scranton location offers several spins on this premise for $25 per person, including “Escape the Art Gallery” for two to eight people and “Escape the PI’s Office” for two to six people. New in January are “Escape No. 109 Mine” for two to eight people and “NEPA Virus” for larger groups of 10 to 30. To register or learn more, contact email@example.com or 570-862-8858.
Or, try PA Escape Rooms, 350 Main St., Dickson City, where a Game Master watches guests via camera to help with hints if they get stuck in Pirates Cove, KAOS or The Heist scenarios. Admission is $25 and open to all ages and abilities. Visit www.paescaperooms.com or call 570-382-8902 for booking and more information.
— patrice wilding
Home is where the heart is, but for many local artisans, it’s also where the market resides.
For area natives who feel homesick or current residents simply bursting with hometown pride, products that feature the names, images and memories of Northeast Pennsylvania make great gifts.
Here’s a helping of creative, NEPA-inspired items sure to please everyone on your holiday list this year. Support local artists, lavish your loved ones, and recall what makes Scranton and surrounding towns so special with these Pennsylvania-themed presents.
Tig and Cooney’s
Lisa Malsberger designs a variety of products that feature the names and geographies of cities, towns and boroughs throughout NEPA. Her napkins stamped with Scranton, Abingtons and Moscow areas retail for $18 each, two for $35 and four for $60; handkerchiefs with Scranton or the Abingtons run $20 each; and bandanas depicting Scranton, Abingtons, Moscow, Mid Valley and Valley View areas are available in limited quantities for $20 each.
“We all have a story of where we’ve come from, and we have pride in our story and our hometown,” Malsberger explained. “Maps tell that story, and they are timeless. Even though a specific place or person may change, the map stays the same. It’s a comforting constant.
“I specifically use vintage maps (from the ’60s and ’70s). These gifts are unique but also are for anyone; they’re not gender- or age-specific,” she added. “I’ve given these gifts to my 88-year-old grandmother, who will recall an area on the map where she went to school or walked over a bridge to her friend’s house. And I’ve also given them to my (almost) 10-year-old nephew, who our family will show where his mother and father grew up when they were his age. Everyone can appreciate an area on a map and point out a place that brings back a memory.”
Buy it: Online at www.tigandcooneys.com or at Lavish Body & Home, 600 Linden St., Scranton, and the Waverly General Store, 1201 North Abington Road, Waverly Twp.
Made in small batches and poured into hand-cut, repurposed bottles, these soy wax candles are produced in Scranton and feature familiar names and brands, such as Crystal Club, Mid-Valley Quality Beverage, B-1, Dixie Spring Beverage and Finn’s Beverages. Prices range from $10 for small sizes to $22 for the largest.
“So many of the older, big brands were designed with great bottles and logos. But there were also local smaller brands,” said Andrew Planey, who sells WaxJunky. “At one time, every area had a local bottling company that made all kinds of different flavors. These company logos and descriptions were super cool.
“The bottles were also made to last. With thick glass and screen-printed labels, the bottles would last through hundreds of refills,” he added. “These bottles deserve a second life. They are just made to be repurposed. Not everyone wants to put a bottle on their shelf — but everyone likes candles.”
Buy it: Online at www.waxjunky.com or at On&On, 518 Lackawanna Ave.
Valerie Kiser Designs
Scranton-based artist Valerie Kiser brands high-end pillows, sweatshirts, T-shirts, baby onesies and ornaments with her spin on the iconic “Electric City” sign that illuminates the downtown each night.
Items range in price from $15 to $75 for men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, and $16 to $85 for house and lifestyle items.
“(My company) is founded on creating clean and simple designs that are unique — but familiar — for hand-printed clothing, accessories and home decor, with a niche market for custom design for individuals and businesses,” Kiser said. “I feature local icons in my design because I was looking for a way to be more connected to myself and my community.”
Buy it: Online at www.valeriekiserdesign.com or at Lavish Body & Home, 600 Linden St.
Whether you spent your childhood in the Electric City or you simply know a fan of the familiar Scranton skyline, ScrantonMade’s mugs keep hometown memories warm and close at hand.
Mugs are $12 each or $20 for a pair.
“ScrantonMade celebrates all things local, and we like to show our Scranton pride with assorted merchandise like the best-selling cityscape mugs,” said Cristin Powers, the company’s founder. “They are the perfect gift for anyone that was born and raised here. Or, for those who have moved on to another city: we know your heart is still in Scranton.”
Buy it: Online at www.scrantonmade.com.
Steamtown souvenirs and collectibles
The sounds of trains chugging and whistling their way through the Lackawanna Valley remain a welcome sensory memory for many NEPA natives. Visitors to Steamtown National Historic Site can pick up souvenirs at the park, but online shoppers, too, have the opportunity from afar to purchase collectibles that depict the region’s railroad heritage.
Magnets, patches, pins, mugs, books and DVDs are among the cache of Steamtown-themed items available, as are wooden train and Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4012 ornaments. Everything on the site, including an album of historic railroad songs and a Steamtown pocket watch, retails for less than $20. Proceeds from online sales are donated to the National Park Service.
Buy it: Online at eparks.com (search for Steamtown), visit the Museum Shop and Bookstore at the park (350 Cliff St.), or call 570-340-5213.
For history and trivia buffs
The Times-Tribune teamed up with local organizations, including Lackawanna Historical Society, in the past year to market a pair of items that explore Scranton’s roots and idiosyncrasies and celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary.
“You Live Here! You Should Know This!” Trivia Quest, Scranton and Lackawanna County edition, makes learning fun with a board game the whole family can enjoy. It’s priced at $19.95, and proceeds benefit the historical society.
Buy it: Online at www.TriviaQuestScranton.com or at local businesses, such as Everything Natural in Clarks Summit and Library Express in the Marketplace at Steamtown, Geisinger Community Medical Center, Nina’s, Gerrity’s supermarket, POSH at the Scranton Club, Duffy Accessories and Southside Seafood, all in Scranton.
Gift-givers also can pick up copies of the hardcover coffee table book “Scranton, the First 150 Years: 1866-2016,” which includes archival newspaper and submitted photos that show life in the Electric City over the last century and a half. The books are $44.95, plus tax.
Buy it: During regular business hours at The Scranton Times Building, 149 Penn Ave. For more information, call 570-348-9100.
— patrice wilding
The Ataris first earned chart-topping success for a pop-punk cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer,” but now the group brings its winter tour to Scranton for a dose of cold-weather rock.
The band behind hits such as “In This Diary” and “The Saddest Song” plays Thursday at 6 p.m. at The Leonard Theater, 335 Adams Ave. In a recent phone interview from the Chicago area, lead singer, rhythm guitarist and founding member Kristopher Roe said the band looks forward to returning to the Electric City as a sort of winter vacation.
Since forming in 1996, the band played Vans Warped Tour and headlined several other cross-country tours in support of its music catalog, which combines influences as diverse as the Replacements, Foo Fighters and Tom Waits. The newest songs show a more personal side of the band, explained Roe, the main lyricist.
“I like more singer-songwriter-storyteller lyrics with vivid imagery,” he said. “I’m from the Midwest originally, so I like that sad, broken beauty you find in small-town Americana. I think every song needs these kinds of in-depth, detailed pictures, like little postcards.
“That became more what this band was about and fans related to as I got better as a songwriter. Musically, the songs are straight-forward rock-and-roll songs, but big, kind of atmospheric and droney, with pretty, lush breakdowns.”
It’s a marked maturation since the band’s days of popularity in the underground, DIY market that appeals to teen fans. Much of the old audience grew up with the group, but the evolution of its sound brings in new listeners, too.
For Ataris supporters old and new, Roe promised a show of old material that sounds new, and new material that harkens back to classic rock artists who inspired the band.
“We’re very no-frills, just two guitars, bass and drums,” he said. “I like honesty and unpredictability, that danger that was in rock-and-roll bands in the ’60s and ’70s and ’90s, like Nirvana, that’s lost on newer bands.
“Being in a band for so long, we definitely see the songs have taken on a new life. When you see us live, we play the songs we feel as a fan you’d want to see, fan favorites. I feel stronger as a live band. There’s a lot more energy; you just have to come out and see it. We evolve on the songs and try to make it different live. We mix it up every night the way the songs come across.”
Despite some lineup changes over the years, the Ataris remain as polished and tight as ever, thanks to a shared mentality among band members happy to still play music for a living.
“In the studio, the band is a very angular, focused thing. With the live lineup, there’s an energy and vibe of four individuals playing off each other,” Roe said. “For me, the most important thing is the crowd. You feed off the energy.
“Hopefully, people have as much fun as we do. As long as you’re out doing what you love and giving it your heart, there’s not a day in my life I don’t feel blessed or grateful to be doing what I love.”
The world was in turmoil when Harry Wayne “KC” Casey started making music as the founder and leader of KC and the Sunshine Band.
It was the early 1970s, and everything from the Vietnam War to the oil crisis threatened to overcome people across the country in grief. KC sat down to write some of the most enduring pop and disco hits to transport listeners to a happier place.
“I felt music got very dark, so I wrote music that is high-energy and uplifting,” he explained during a recent phone interview from Hawaii. “That’s what it was created to do.
“It’s still doing that for people, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel that’s been my purpose.”
The maestro behind songs like “Boogie Shoes,” “Get Down Tonight,” “Shake Your Booty” and “Keep It Comin’ Love” makes his way to Keystone Grand Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Plains Twp., on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m.
Guests at the show will relive all the hits, including “I’m Your Boogie Man” and “That’s The Way (I Like It),” though the band’s classics never strayed far from the limelight thanks to appearances in modern movies, commercials and song samples.
“When you start creating this art — which it is art — you’re not even thinking of where it’s going to end up from that moment on,” KC said. “It’s flattering. It’s a really great feeling. I’m happy when I see I’ve influenced someone’s creativity, because it’s an honor to be thought of that way.”
KC insisted that picking a favorite song or album from his Grammy Award-winning catalogue was like asking someone to choose their favorite child. He acts as his own worst critic, too, when it comes to delivering a standout performance.
“I give 200 percent every night,” KC said. “The audience, too, controls a lot of what happens. When they’re really feeling it, I’m really feeling it. People pay money to come see us, and I want them to be fully entertained.
“I encourage everybody in the band to fully participate and be involved and bring something different to the show every night,” he added. “I think it’s important to feel like they got their money’s worth. If you want to have a good time, it’s the show to come to. Get a little crazy, baby. Leave your troubles at the door, and come in and have fun.”
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: KC and the Sunshine Band
When: Sunday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m.
Where: Keystone Grand Ballroom, Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.
Details: Tickets are $29 through $119, available online at www.ticketmaster.com and though Ticketmaster outlets.
Art can be more than a framed piece hanging on an office wall or a handcrafted design displayed in a home.
Art can be an immersive experience.
Organizers of the 28th annual Holiday Art Auction drew upon this philosophy to enhance the offerings available during the bidding war set for Saturday, Nov. 19, at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
In addition to the variety of pieces of fine art donated from members, which include sculptures, photography, woodworking, batik and watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings and prints, supporters placed service items on the auction block this year.
Among them are a year’s access and use of Moscow Clayworks’ studio, plus participation in the open studio sessions; a garden landscape tour and opportunity for sketching and photography on the picturesque property belonging to Gretchen Ludders, who also will provide the winner with gourmet picnic fare; a visit to Crystal Earth Studio hosted by Bill Tersteeg, plus discussion, demonstration and refreshments there; a series of drawing classes by Rick Huck; and a 90-minute portrait session and five prints from KAE Imagery.
“That is the most exciting part of the auction this year,” said Melissa Carestia, gallery coordinator. “Almost all are fun, group activities.”
Visitors can view the artwork up for auction during this week’s First Friday art walk from 6 to 9 p.m. at AFA, and the pieces then remain on display during regular gallery hours.
“People think of art as monetary investments, which it is, but at the same time, it’s to collect things that really make you happy,” Carestia said. “People looking to start collections, such as young couples who just purchased a home, can get well-known artists’ (works) for possibly less than it usually goes for and support a great organization at the same time. Take a look around and figure out what really speaks to you so the night of the auction you know what you need to have.”
Thirty-year-old Dunmore resident Allison LaRussa provided the featured raffle piece for the auction, an oil-on-canvas painting titled “Wild” that one of her many nature hikes inspired.
“Basically, I like creating these places that are very peaceful, places you can escape reality from,” LaRussa said. “I always am inspired by nature, and I add my own flare to it.”
AFA’s primary fundraiser for the year, the auction begins with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by the live bidding at 7, guided by Ken Rivenburg. Proceeds benefit general operations of the gallery, including rent and utilities, as well as programming, such as the weekly life drawing classes.
“AFA is just a great place for people to support each other,” LaRussa said. “They’re always doing different events and trying to bring the community together, so I think it’s important that everyone gives back to them.”
Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, Champagne, open bar and live music with their $25 admission, which guests can pay at the door or in advance through AFA members. Raffle tickets are three for $5.
“It’s a really fun evening. You’re able to come down to the gallery, and the live auction is very exciting,” Carestia said. “It’s usually how we are able to keep our doors open.”
If you go
What: 28th annual Holiday Art Auction
When: Saturday, Nov. 19; cocktails begin at 6 p.m. The art also is on display starting with the First Friday art walk, Friday, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Details: Admission to the gallery is free during First Friday and regular business days. Auction admission is $25 at the door or through AFA members. Raffle tickets are three for $5. For information and reservations, call 570-969-1040.
First Friday activities
Obscured Faces: Works by Alex Seeley with music by Aiden Jordan, ArtWorks Gallery & Studio, 503 Lackawanna Ave.
Grand opening celebration: Featuring various
artists and dancers, 8 Count Dancewear, 534 Lackawanna Ave.
Art by Sam Kuchwara: With handmade, vintage and repurposed pieces by various artists, On&On, 518 Lackawanna Ave.
Unique home decor and style accents: Works by the Bhakti Collective, NOTE Fragrances, 401 Spruce St.
Be Your Best Self jewelry and accessories: Outrageous Pop-up Shop, 349 N. Washington Ave.
Printed Matter: Works by Abraham Camayd and Cliff Prokop, Laura Craig Galleries, 307 Linden St.
A.R.T. (Active Random Thoughts): Works by Eliud Nieves, Eden — A Vegan Cafe, 344 Linden St.
Norton: Recent Works in Mixed Media and Landscape Painting: Works by Sam Kuchwara with music by DJ Honeyman Lightnin’, Terra Preta Restaurant, 222 Wyoming Ave.
2016 Globe Store ornament release: Works by Valerie Kiser, Lavish Body & Home, 600 Linden St.
Harvest Festival: Rosa’s Southern BBQ, 414 Spruce St.
Organic Abstract Symmetry: Works by Michael Lloyd with music by Fake Uncle Jack, Ale Mary’s, 126 Franklin Ave.
’90s Flashback Friday: Works by NEPA Design Collective, the Workshop, 334 Adams Ave.
Do You See What I Hear? A Visual Symphony: Works by Dominic Cioffi with music by Jimmy Carro, Bar Pazzo, 131 N. Washington Ave.
Stage Portraits: Works by Jason Riedmiller, the Bog, 341 Adams Ave.
Group show: Works by stained glass students, Tammy’s Stained Glass Treasures, 350 Adams Ave.
Young Artist Showcase: Featuring Skylar Conway, Phoebe Sebring and Carolyn Lyon, the Post Home and Body, 344 Adams Ave.
Oil paintings: Works by Cathy Bianchi Arvonio, Bella Faccias Personalized Chocolates & Gifts LLC, 516 Lackawanna Ave.
First Friday Steamtown Winter Market: Featuring various vendors and artists, the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave.
The truth often is stranger than fiction.
Lackawanna Historical Society and Steamtown National Historic Site play up this scary premise with a collaboration that carves a niche in the local haunted attractions around Halloween. Spooky Spectacular encompasses two days of spine-tingling entertainment for adults and children that plays off local historical characters and the stuff of urban legends.
The fun kicks off Saturday with daytime children’s activities at Steamtown, Cliff Street and Lackawanna Avenue, which opens at 9 a.m. Kids 6 to 15 can enjoy spooky storytelling and age-suitable movies in the on-site theater, and trick-or-treaters can follow clues throughout the park as part of the Trick-or-Train Treasure Hunt.
Pumpkins on Parade gives artistically inclined revelers a chance to show off their designs by bringing in carved jack-o’-lanterns Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon for judging by a special panel. Categories include best historical theme, most creative, funniest and scariest. The pumpkins remain in the park for public display until Halloween, when the owners can pick them up by 5 p.m.
“We have been trying to develop more experiential-type programming related to the railroads, and Halloween is such a big event and big holiday for folks,” explained Debbie Conway, superintendent at the historic site. “We started brainstorming on what we can do and started small, and it kind of grew. Ideas started flowing. One of our other goals is to try to reach audiences that are not your traditional rail fans, but they like scary adventures and want to do something different. We want to give them a taste of the park so, hopefully, they come back.”
Among notable characters from the railroad era that ghoulish actors will portray are Phoebe Snow, the historic spokesgirl for the Delaware and Lackawanna lines, as well as conductors and transients well-known in train culture.
“Hitching rides was a sort of traditional part of that life, so we have something centered around the hobo story,” Conway said. “And (we have) some of the geographic names, like the Hogtown switch area, pulling some of the history of the railroad into the vignettes.”
Older audiences are encouraged to arrive in costume for Sunday’s activities, which include screenings of old horror movies as well as short train rides aboard the Nay Aug Limited, during which an actor portraying Edgar Allan Poe recites “The Raven.” Riders also can meet Dan Yeager, who played Leatherface in the 2013 film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D.”
An Ohio native and California resident, Yeager visited Scranton in recent years for other events, and he relished the idea of returning to the Electric City to participate in Halloween-themed activities.
“It’s the best time of year,” Yeager said recently by phone. “The people of Scranton are my people.”
Spooky Spectacular offers the Roundhouse of Terror both days from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. for after-dark fun aimed at guests 16 and older. It reminded Yeager of his mother schooling him on jump scares when she decorated the family homestead.
“The roundhouse itself, I swear, it’s haunted,” Yeager said. “You go into a place like that, it’s old, a little cobwebby and has giant machines I don’t understand.
“That’s the essence of fear, things you don’t understand, but it’s fun that way. It’s the perfect, perfect Halloween venue to me. I believe they’re going to up the ante with augmented hauntings in keeping with the spirit of the season. There’s a lot of dark history there.”
Yeager also echoed Conway’s sentiments about drawing multi-generational audiences who may pick up on some of the historical context buried within the thrills.
“It makes it more vivid. It’s a better educational opportunity to me,” he said. “It helps kids get engaged with where they are.
“Steamtown is where the rubber hits the road. It’s a visceral experience. It’s authentic.”
If you go
What: Spooky Spectacular, featuring Roundhouse of Terror, scary train rides,
Trick-or-Train Treasure Hunt and Pumpkins on Parade
When: Saturday and Sunday; event times vary
Where: Steamtown National Historic Site, Lackawanna and Cliff avenues
Details: Park entrance for daytime events is $7 for anyone 16 and older; children 15 and younger are free with an adult. Train rides cost an additional $5 for ages 6 and older. For general information, contact the park at 570-340-5204 during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily), or visit www.nps.gov/stea. Tickets to Roundhouse of Terror are $20, available only with reservations made directly through Lackawanna Historical Society at 570-344-3841.