‘BeKind’ and carry on City resident and ‘Hugging Army’ creator continues day-long kindness event

‘BeKind’ and carry on City resident and ‘Hugging Army’ creator continues day-long kindness event

The reason Vanessa White Fernandes picked up the BeKind Scranton project stems from her appreciation of the city.
The Scranton resident sees the downtown flourishing with events like First Friday and an increase in foot traffic from block to block.
“I feel really proud to be living here, and I want people to feel that, too,” she said.
White Fernandes already does work in the region and beyond with the Hugging Army, which offers free hugs to people who need them. She will continue spreading positivity and hugs through the second year of BeKind Scranton, a day dedicated to promoting acts of kindness throughout the city. The event takes place Saturday, July 22, starting at 10 a.m.
Organizers and participants will meet on Courthouse Square to branch out across the city. White Fernandes hopes to convene at approximately 4 p.m. back at the square for a community drum circle.
BeKind Scranton was launched last summer by West Scranton native Monica Simon, who overcame her own obstacles with anxiety and depression and wanted to pay it forward to the whole city. As she has moved out of town for her career, White Fernandes felt it was important to continue the event.
“It was a beautiful event last year, it was a lot of fun and there was an incredible response from the city,” White Fernandes said. “People saw everything as they walked through, as they drove through and it was a feel-good event.”
During the day, people are encouraged to write positive sayings with sidewalk chalk, on signs to hang on poles and storefronts, on Post-it notes for car windows and library books and to give hugs.
As everyone scatters across the city, White Fernandes hopes people jump right in.
“Even if people don’t connect with the formal organizers, they can take it in their own hands,” White Fernandes said. “I want various kinds of people to branch out across the city as far as they want.”
Since today’s political and financial climate can make people feel scared or uncertain, she said, offering hugs and random acts of kindness may seem extra timely. However, White Fernandes would be doing the work regardless, following an important mantra.
“I know when I give hugs to people, they will often say things like, ‘We need to be doing things like this, especially right now,’ but I feel now is as good a time as any. We just need to do this more often,” White Fernandes said. “We need to care more about each other. Period.”
— paul capoccia


If you go
What: BeKind Scranton Summer Version 2017
When: Saturday, July 22; organizers and participants will meet at 10 a.m. on Courthouse Square and reconvene at approximately 4 p.m. for drum circle.
Where: Throughout Scranton
Details: For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Clubs – July 20, 2017

Clubs – July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 20
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Line dancing with Chris and Darlene
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: TimeBomb
Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Trivia Night
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmoney Road, Lake Harmony: Strawberry Jam
Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, 195 N. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Kartune
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Rice Crew Music
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Know Limit Trivia
Levels Bar & Grill, 519 Linden St., Scranton: DJ NRG and Behind the Grey
Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones tribute)
Nosh, 280 Main St., Dickson City: John Smith
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: 3IB, Bryn Brophy
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Matthew Jenkins and Erik Miller and DJ Famous
Patisserie Fauchere, 403 Broad St., Milford: Robin Lore
Sidney’s Lounge, 820 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Jazz Night with John and Geri
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Jackson Vee
Waldo’s Tavern, 406 Green Ridge St., Scranton: Pink Slip Duo

Friday, July 21
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Bill Hoffman
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton: Jay Orrell
Ali Baba Liquor Lounge, 219 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Funk Master Flex
Andy Gavin’s, 1392 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: Grace’s Downfall Duo
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Flatland Ruckus
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Erich & Tyler
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: The Music Room
The Beaumont Inn, 4437 Route 309, Dallas: Ted and Frog
Benny Brewing Co., 1429 Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre: Cruise Control
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmoney Road, Lake Harmony: Doug Drost
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Dustin Switzer Duo
C.J.’s Lounge, 5431 Haas Pond Road, Madison Twp.: Dashboard Mary
Cove Haven Resort, 194 Lakeview Drive, Lakeville: DJ BK and Pat O’Donnell, David James and Paul Bond
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Asialena Duo
Franklin’s Bar & Grill, 53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre: the Sellout Soundtrack
Gober’s Deco Lounge, 1248 Wyoming Ave., Exeter: Open Mic/Grassroots Night with the Charming Beards
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: D-West Duo
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Euphoria
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Third Degree
Harry’s Bar, 302 Penn Ave., Scranton: Blush
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Inferno Drag Show
III Guys Pizzeria, 51 S, Wyoming Ave., Kingston: Picture Perfect
JJ Bridjes Restaurant, 925 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: The Wanabees
Lakewood Lodge, Route 370, Lakewood: Rick Horvath Solo Acoustic Show
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Jonny D Duo
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: The Electric Gentleman
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Paul LaQuintano and Anthony and SOS Band
Paradise Stream Resort, 6213 Carlton Road, Mount Pocono: Somethin’ Else and Mike Burton
Pocono Palace Resort, 5241 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg: DJ Chris, KP Burke, Moody McCarthy and Tom Briscoe
Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton: Light Weight Duo and Black Tie Stereo
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Boomer Happy Hour with Frankie and Toby, The Chatter
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Blind Choice and Jackson Vee
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: The Alpha Betas
Waldo’s Tavern, 406 Green Ridge St., Scranton: Speaker Jam Karaoke
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Charlie Wiener, Vinnie Mark and Eric Navarro

Saturday, July 22
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton: Neil Nicastro
Andy Gavin’s, 1392 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: South Side Bandits Duo
Arlo’s Tavern, 10340 Route 171, Union Dale: Asialena
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: The Third Nut
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Iron Cowboy
The Bog, 341 Adams Ave., Scranton: SaturBae Shakes It Up
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: That 90’s Band
Cove Haven Resort, 194 Lakeview Drive, Lakeville: Somethin’ Else and DJ Trex
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Kate Hearity
Evolution Nightclub at the Woodlands, 1073 Highway 315, Plains Twp.: Dance Party
Franklin’s Bar & Grill, 53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre: Zayre Mountain
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Random Rock
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Blanks 77 with Heart Out, Queeftones and Disorders
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton: Acoustic Night
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Sugar Ray Solojam
Nosh, 280 Main St., Dickson City: Jimmy Cerminaro
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Pink Slip
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: DJ Famous
Paradise Stream Resort, 6213 Carlton Road, Mount Pocono: Exsoullence and Paul Bond
Pocono Palace Resort, 5241 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg: Byrd Pressley Band and Pat O’Donnell
Sidney’s Lounge, 820 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Crazy Acres Duo
Skytop Lodge, 1 Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop: Doug Smith Orchestra
Sleepy Hollow Lounge at Idle Hour Lanes, 2008 Scranton-Carbondale Highway, Dickson City: Marilyn Kennedy
Smiler’s Grill & Bar, 600 Main St., Dickson City: Dashboard Mary, Jim Barrett
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Moodswing
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Anytime Soon and Ron Schoonover
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Project 90’s
Waldo’s Tavern, 406 Green Ridge St., Scranton: Dance Hall Devils
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Charlie Wiener, Vinnie Mark and Eric Navarro

Sunday, July 23
Arlo’s Tavern, 10340 Route 171, Union Dale: Tumbleweed Highway
The Beaumont Inn, 4437 Route 309, Dallas: Dex
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Shelly’s Underground
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Not Yo Granny’s Bingo
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Terrorize This, Traverse the Abyss, Talon Co. and Crookshanks
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Booze Donkey
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Karaoke with DJ Huff

Monday, July 24
Duffy’s Coffee House, 306 S. State St., Clarks Summit: Open jam session
Skyy Vu Deckbar at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre: Strawberry Jam
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: DJ APTRIK

Tuesday, July 25
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Strawberry Jam Duo
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: See You Next Tuesday
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Streamside Karaoke
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Chris Shrive

Wednesday, July 26
Bazil, 1101 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Marko Marcinko Jazz Trio
The Crimson Lion Hookah Lounge, 37 E. South St., Wilkes-Barre: Trivia Night
Irem Temple Country Club, 397 Country Club Road, Dallas: RJ Scouton
Levels Bar & Grill, 519 Linden St., Scranton: Open Mic with JR Huffsmith
Nay Aug Park, 500 Arthur Ave., Scranton: Gerard Mayer Band
Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant & Pub, 31 S. River St., Plains Twp.: Karaoke
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Steal Your Face
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Speaker Jam Karaoke
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Live Music Wednesdays
Skyy Vu Deckbar at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre: Smoke on the Water featuring Marty Edwards & Heartbeat
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Riley Loftus
Whiskey Dick’s, 308 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: Trivia Night

Fab 5 – July 20, 2017

Fab 5 – July 20, 2017

  1. Ja Rule at the Sherman Theater
    Ja Rule comes to the Sherman Theater, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg, on Thursday, July 20.
    Tickets are $35 in advance or $38 at the door for the general admission standing show.
    Known for hits in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart like “Between Me and You” featuring Christina Milian and “Ain’t It Funny” with Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule received Grammy nominations and praise for his hip-hop rapping and songwriting.
    Also performing with Ja Rule are special guests Benatton, Raheem Greene and Nox the Truth.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.shermantheater.com.
  2. A Day For Denise dinner benefit
    A pasta benefit set for Saturday, July 22, aims to raise funds for Denise Fuga, who was diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer this past March, and her family while she undergoes chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
    The dinner will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at Artisan Volunteer Fire Co., 20 Maple St, Jermyn.
    Dinner tickets are $10 for take-out or dine-in meals. A Day for Denise also features music by a DJ, 50/50 raffle, basket raffles and a bake sale.
    To purchase tickets, contact Jim Mackrell at 570-983-9663, Trish Dabney at 570-430-6431 or Kayla Fuga 570-604-2345.
  3. Waverly Twp. Square Fair
    Come out for the Waverly Twp. Square Fair hosted by Waverly
    Community House, 1115 N. Abington Road, on Friday, July 21.
    Admission is free for the fair with ticketed games and food available for purchase. The event runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m, and a free concert
    featuring Doug Smith Band and vocalist Erin Malloy starts at 7.
    The fair offers circus games, a bouncy house, picnic dinner, raffle baskets and more. Games are suitable for children of all ages.
    Outside seating is available or guests can bring their own lawn chairs.
    For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
  4. Satisfaction — A Tribute to the Rolling Stones
    Mohegan Sun Pocono’s upcoming Party on the Patio on Thursday, July 20, will feature Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band.
    Satisfaction is an international group dedicated to embodying the “Brown Sugar” and “Sympathy for the Devil” rockers, and has toured since 2001 with more than 1,600 performance dates.
    Party on the Patio is a free event at the casino open to guests ages 21 and up. Doors open at 6 p.m. in advance of Satisfaction’s two hour-long sets at 7:30 and 9 p.m.
    Mohegan Sun Pocono is located at 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre. For more information about Party on the Patio, visit the casino’s website.
  5. Inaugural Cruisin’ for Recovery Car Cruise
    On Saturday, July 22, from 3 to 8 p.m. Just Believe is hosting its first Cruisin’ For Recovery Car Cruise.
    There will be food and refreshments available, along with a bake sale, basket raffles, 50/50 raffles, door prizes and trophies. The event has no admission cost.
    Proceeds will benefit the Alumni Association and Just Believe Recovery PA, headquartered at 100 Lincoln Ave., Carbondale, in the mission to help people in recovery stay connected and feel supported.
    For more information, contact Rich at 570-687-3487.
Movie marathon – Summer Film Festival returns to Tunkhannock’s Dietrich Theater with more than 20 films

Movie marathon – Summer Film Festival returns to Tunkhannock’s Dietrich Theater with more than 20 films

For movie buffs in the area, the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock will be the hottest summer spot over the next few weeks. The theater’s annual film festival runs from Friday, July 14, through Thursday, Aug. 3, and will showcase a total of 23 films over 21 days, with “something for everyone,” said assistant general manager Ronnie Harvey.
“This year we have an expanded list of 23 independent, foreign and documentary films that range from music concert biopics, historical docu-dramas and films that capture the heart of family struggle and the bonds that unite us in our humanity,” he said.
Harvey said the event began with the intention of bringing foreign and independent films to the local area — those that previously could only be found in major cities such as New York City.
“As the years progressed, we realized the viability of these festivals for their ability to bring in people from outside of the area, and that they were a big boon for not only us, but the local businesses in town,” he explained.
“We saw the desire and passion surrounding these films and this festival, and decided that we were in the business of giving the public what they wanted.”
The festival’s opening night will feature two films. “Paris Can Wait,” a rated-PG road trip comedy starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, screens first. After intermission will be a showing of “Their Finest,” rated R, based on the novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half,” which tells of a female script writer who is asked to help bring a heartwarming touch to propaganda films during the war.
Other films to be shown throughout the three-week festival include “Alive and Kicking,” “Churchill,” “The Freedom to Marry,” and “Mr. Gaga.”
Harvey said his personal favorite is “Beatriz at Dinner,” starring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, which tells events that unfold when the lives of a poor immigrant and a cutthroat billionare collide.
Since its inception, the popularity of the film festival continued to grow along with the number of films screened to its enthusiastic audiences.
“With each passing year, we see an expanded audience, and the old die-hards never leave,” Harvey said, adding that increased demand from the public caused the theater to schedule more festivals throughout the year.
Admission to opening night festivities on July 14 will cost $25 and includes both films as well as appetizers, drinks and dessert. Admission to all other films will be $8.50 per screening. The festival concludes with a film discussion on Friday, Aug. 4, at 1 p.m. to give the public a chance to share ideas and opinions on the festival’s content.
“We have an expanded concession area with new specialty drinks and products that might better cater to our film festival attendees,” Harvey said, noting that the Dietrich’s reputation for providing quality arts, entertainment and culture to the public makes it a good place to hold the festival.
“We think it is very important to provide this type of programming to our area because they don’t usually get the kind of exposure to other cultures, religions and areas of the world that they do outside of these movies.”
— jacqueline kurovsky

Fun for all – Camp Bisco returns to Montage for weekend of eclectic music and camaraderie

Fun for all – Camp Bisco returns to Montage for weekend of eclectic music and camaraderie

Where electronic, dance and rock music meet, there’s Camp Bisco.
The music festival, which features acts ranging from EDM to jam music to hip-hop to rock, returns to its home for the past two years — the Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton — from Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15.
Camp Bisco started in the late ’90s as the brainchild of the Disco Biscuits, a Philadelphia-borne jam band. According to Biscuits keyboard player and Bisco co-founder Aron Magner, the Pavilion is a perfect home for the festival due to its proximity all around.
“There’s a special set of pros to having (Bisco) in Scranton,” he said during a recent phone interview from his home in Philadelphia. “Not just its proximity to major metros, but you can leave the campsite and have all these hotels and other amenities. And people can still camp and have that experience, too.
“There’s also a water park right in the middle of the festival,” he added. “There’s not many places you can be in the lazy river or the wave pool and dancing to your favorite band.”
The musical experience is just as unique as the venue, Magner said. At its inception, the “ethos of Camp Bisco” was a chance for the Biscuits to introduce their fans to the music they liked and, in turn, a chance for fans to tell the band what kind of music they liked. The other artists didn’t necessarily sound like the Biscuits, he said, but they made music that was complementary. The process changed slightly over time, but the mission remains.
“We would sit around with a pen and paper and kind of go down this rabbit hole of who to bring into the fold,” he said. “Now, instead of just the Disco Biscuits, it’s a team of people and we all put our heads together. But, we really keep with the essence of what Camp Bisco is and create the best fan experience.”
With a range of music and different kinds of artists, bands like Lotus, which has rock roots mixed with electronic and house, find a place at Camp Bisco. Jesse Miller, who plays bass and sampler for the band, said that at festivals like Peach Music Festival (a festival Lotus also plays at the Pavilion in August), the band is one of the more dance-oriented and electronic acts, while at Bisco, with its abundance of DJs and EDM acts, they lean more toward the rock side. The Biscuits’ festival allows for that spectrum and for Lotus to bring its signature mix of genres.
“We’ve seen the days when electronic dance music and rock music did not have places to come together,” Miller said during a phone interview from his Philadelphia home. “Over time, these two things got closer to where the lines eventually started to cross and blur. Camp Bisco was always a place where you could find these two things come together before it was necessarily the norm.”
With a plethora of music and genres offered, there is something for every music festival lover at Camp Bisco. Miller joked the festival’s only real worry is the skies.
“Fingers crossed the weather holds out,” he said. “That’s always the toss-up at a festival.”
Rain or shine, however, fans come to Bisco each year for the chance to bond over their love of music.
“It’s a community of like-minded fans that are all in this together, in what is Camp Bisco,” Magner said. “It’s an intangible experience to be able to have one collective borg — for lack of a better word — of 25,000 people all supportive of each other and the community and the music and everything that makes up the message of Camp Bisco.”
— gia mazur


If you go
What: Camp Bisco music festival
When: Thursday, July 13, through Saturday, July 15. Guests with RV passes may arrive Wednesday, July 12, at 4 p.m. Those with VIP camping parking can arrive at 8 p.m., and all other guests may arrive at 10 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
Details: Saturday single-day passes start at $99.50. Three-day passes start at $215.50 general admission and $499.50 VIP. Camp Bisco guests must be 18 or older with a valid ID. For a complete list of acts and set times, to purchase tickets or for more information, visit campbisco.com.

Fab 5 – July 13, 2017

Fab 5 – July 13, 2017

  1. Bike Night at Rommel Harley-Davidson
    Ride in to Rommel Harley-Davidson Scranton, 1534 Scranton Carbondale Highway, Scranton, for a Friday Night Bike Night on July 14.
    Join other bike enthusiasts for this monthly bike night that includes food, live music, contests, prizes and beer, provided by Olyphant Ambulance & Rescue Station 26 EMS.
    Admission for the 6 to 9 p.m. event is free.
    For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
  2. Green Jelly at the Irish Wolf Pub
    Comedy rock band Green Jelly comes to Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton, on Sunday, July 16.
    Joining Green Jelly are local acts including Earthmouth, Family Animals, Candi Vee and more. Green Jelly is known for its sophomoric humor, theatrical antics and crude lyrics. The band is touring following a successful Kickstarter campaign for a DVD documenting the band’s travels to dive bars around the world.
    Doors open at 5 p.m.
    In advance, tickets are $20 at the venue and $22 online. Tickets are $25 at the door.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the event’s Facebook page or eventbrite.com.
  3. Foreigner 40th Anniversary Tour
    On Friday, July 14, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel, New York, hosts rock band Foreigner during the band’s 40th anniversary tour.
    Foreigner, known for hits including “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Cold as Ice” and “Hot Blooded,” is joined by Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience.
    Parking lots open at 4 p.m., gates open at 6 and show starts at 7. Tickets start at $53.45 for the performance at the pavilion.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bethelwoodscenter.org.
  4. Peculiar Cook Out with the Dawgs
    Enjoy brews and barbecue on Saturday, July 15, during a cook out with Peculiar Culinary Co. at Susquehanna Brewing Co., 635 S. Main St., Pittston.
    The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature lawn games and live entertainment from the Dawgs from 2 to 6 p.m. Food will be served from 1 to 4 p.m. The beer garden opens at noon.
    Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 570-947-2548. For more information visit
    peculiarculinary.com.
  5. Yoga & Brunch at the Ale House
    Namaste, sunny-side up.
    Nearme Yoga and Backyard Ale House present a yoga practice followed by a brunch on Sunday, July 16, at 9:30 a.m.
    The event includes an hour-long yoga class on the Ale House patio, 523 Linden St., Scranton, with Chelsea Manganaro. Brunch includes guest’s choice of an omelette, Belgian waffle or breakfast sandwich combined with a Bloody Mary or a craft draft. Mimosas can be substituted for additional charge.
    The event is $22 to $24, not including gratuity, and pre-registration is required. For more information or to pre-register, visit the event’s Facebook page.

     

International Encore – Scranton artists to stage original show locally before bringing it to Scotland festival

International Encore – Scranton artists to stage original show locally before bringing it to Scotland festival

Some people take their show on the road, but a group of Scranton performers will take theirs across the pond.
“The Darling Core,” co-created and co-starring local artists Simone Daniel and Conor Anthony O’Brien, makes its international debut at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland this summer.
In case they can’t make the trip to Europe, Northeast Pennsylvania residents have the chance to see it a little closer to home as the Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale, hosts two performances of the play on Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8. There is no admission price, but donations to benefit the Cooperage are accepted.
The show also will appear as a part of East to Edinburgh Festival at 59e59 Theatres, New York City, on Tuesday, July 11, and Sunday, July 16.
The story centers on Adam, the first man, and Lillith, the original first woman that “revisionist history has kind of wiped away,” said Daniel. According to lore, Lillith left Adam and the Garden of Eden, refusing to be subservient to him, and thus became known as a demon. In “The Darling Core,” Adam and Lillith are a vaudeville duo and the play takes place backstage at one of their gigs.
“After all these years of working together, they continue to butt heads and not understand each other. Pretty much like most men and women,” Daniel said with a laugh.
Daniel and O’Brien originally wrote the show and presented it at Pittsburgh Fringe Festival in 2014, then at local venues including O’Brien’s former Vintage Theater and Olde Brick Theatre and at the Cell Theatre in Manhattan. Both Daniel and O’Brien acknowledged how much the play has grown and changed over the years.
“It’s funny now how different we are and the writing is since we started,” Daniel said. “Three years ago we were like, ‘This is exactly what we want to say.’ But, we’ve changed, and the world is changed, and looking at it now, we think maybe that isn’t what we wanted to say anymore. It’s been a very cool experience.”
The pair also enjoys collaborating with an extended group of artists. As part of New Vintage Ensemble, a collective of regional writers, directors and actors, fresh eyes take a look at the piece each time it’s presented. For example, they noted that the different perspectives offered from original director Maggie O’Brien (now supervising producer) to Daniel Holme, who currently fills that role, have been the most invigorating part.
“It’s been a joy from beginning to end,” O’Brien said, adding that the ensemble’s mission is to “reinvent the familiar” with its works. “Working with this group of talented artists has been an amazing experience. Whether they’ve been with the production since 2014 or came on a little later, the guidance, support, creativity is just unparalleled.”
As co-founder of Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, along with co-founder Elizabeth Bohan, will attend meetings and workshops in Scotland to bring back to the city’s festival, which returns this fall. “The Darling Core” continues to elevate all who are a part of it to new heights.
“This has gone places that we never thought was it was going to,” Daniel said. “We’ll keep working on it and see what changes, but whatever happens is further than we thought we were going to be three years ago. And that’s really exciting.”
— gia mazur


If you go
What: “The Darling Core,” presented by New Vintage Ensemble
When: Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8; doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8
Where: The Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale
Details: Admission is free, but donations to benefit the Cooperage will be accepted.

Gathering speaker asks, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’

Gathering speaker asks, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’

Following a wildly partisan presidential campaign and election, civil discourse between friends, family and colleagues seemed to all but disappear.
Instead, heated arguments, social media blocking and namecalling became a shockingly pervasive trend.
Yet a solution, or at least a conversation about finding the solution, looms on Northeast Pennsylvania’s horizon. The Gathering, a three-day, annual symposium now in its 11th year, is set for Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 16, at Keystone College, La Plume, with a theme aimed at improving relations between people who disagree.
“Finding the Better Angels of Our Nature” relies on a weekend of lectures, discussions and workshops that will look for paths to common ground among bitter rivals. For this year’s event, The Gathering brings in a trio of speakers fluent in political rhetoric and dissection, including journalist Mara Liasson, the political correspondent for National Public Radio and a contributor to Fox News; poet, historian, essayist and commentator Jennifer Michael Hecht and author Steve McIntosh, who also is president of the Institute for Cultural Evolution.
Liasson has covered seven presidential elections during her career and appears regularly on NPR programs “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” for which she analyzes trends across the country and policies coming out of the White House and Capitol Hill.
During a recent phone interview, Liasson admitted that the most recent election was unlike any she had ever seen, and that many are still trying to find their footing following a highly divisive race for the new term of office.
“It was completely different. It broke all the rules, and everything we thought we knew was wrong,” she said. “All the things Donald Trump did and said, according to what we know about politics, were supposed to disqualify him, and they didn’t.
“I’ll talk about what’s going on in politics at the moment — because that’s what I do, that’s what I cover — then I’ll also talk about the kind of challenges to democracy, the democratic norms and why all those norms are important to uphold,” Liasson continued. “If you don’t (uphold them), then you can’t have civil disagreement, and then our democratic institutions fray and disappear and you don’t have democracy anymore.”
During her appearance at The Gathering, Liasson plans to offer real-world solutions — plus a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions — to those in attendance on how to re-establish patience, respect and peaceful conversations in their own lives.
“I actually have five or six practical things to suggest. I have a whole bunch of specific things,” she promised.
Tapping into empathy and rediscovering ways to study politics and the news without turning to anger is necessary for everyone, regardless of whether they have interest in those topics or not, Liasson explained. As Americans, it’s the only way to ensure continued freedoms.
“We’re at a point where Western democracy, globally, in general, is under threat. Ideals that we hold like reason and science are also under threat,” Liasson said. “It’s a very scary, consequential time to be a citizen let alone journalist. It’s certainly more fraught. Politics are more tribal. That means there’s less reasoned debate. There’s a lot of apocalyptic thinking: “If the other guy gets elected, it’ll be the end of the world.
“I think it’s been a kind of steady deterioration in that direction, for a lot of different reasons, and I guess I’ll be talking about some them when I go to (The Gathering),” she said.
— patrice wilding


Mara Liasson’s insights about President Trump
“When I started (covering him) in January (following the inauguration), the way I thought about it was, is Donald Trump different in degree or kind? In other words, is he just rougher, ruder and cruder than other presidents, or is he really something completely different? And I thought he was a stress test for democratic institutions, and so I’ve been watching to see how they hold up — the judiciary, press, Congress, federal bureaucracy, citizens, etc.
“I would say at first he was maybe certainly more hostile to the press in certain ways, in scary ways — the violent rhetoric at his rallies. But when he got to the White House, he didn’t kick journalists out of the West Wing. He continued to have briefings. He was actually, in a kind of weird way, the most accessible president we’ve ever had, because we know what he’s thinking the minute he thinks it — because he tweets it without any filter. His psyche is incredibly accessible, even though his administration operates in incredible secrecy in many other aspects.
“Lately they’ve been toying with the briefings, which we’ll be watching very carefully. This White House is also super leaky, in a chaotic way. Those are all things that we’re dealing with as journalists. We’re just trying to do our job. The hostility that he directs toward us and encourages his supporters to feel is extreme. The partisan outrage machine has gone too far — how do we reign it in?”


If you go
What: The Gathering featuring journalist Mara Liasson and others
When: Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16; panel times vary
Where: Evans Hall, Hibbard Campus Center, Keystone College, La Plume
Details: For a complete list of speakers and schedule of events or to register, visit www.the gatheringatkeystone.org or call 570-945-8510.

Shock rockers promise  to shower audience with mayhem

Shock rockers promise to shower audience with mayhem

Since 1984, shock rock band GWAR has terrorized the world to the delight of its minions, who relish the ferocious ontage antics that leave none within spitting distance safe.
This summer, GWAR serves as one of the headlining acts of Vans Warped Tour, which stops at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Monday, July 10. After the untimely death of its frontman and founding member Oderus Urungus, the band found new leadership under lead singer Blothar, the berserker. The mighty vocalist recently spoke with a reporter by phone to detail what fans (and GWAR newcomers) can expect from the live show.

Q: Tell us a little about the history of the band.
A: GWAR is a rock band … originally we are all from outer space. We are members of an elite fighting force called Scumdogs of the Universe who were banned to the planet Earth after we made some pretty serious mistakes. So Earth is pretty much a prison planet for GWAR. Once we got here, we met an unscrupulous manager named Sleazy P. Martini, who figured that if he could teach us how to speak the language, he was like, ‘These guys don’t have much of a skill set, but they are really stupid so they can probably handle playing rock music.’ And that’s what we wound up doing, was picking up instruments and learning how to kick ass on them and then take over your planet.

Q: We have a new president in the United States this year. Will he factor into your stage show at all?
A: We’re probably going to slap around his son onstage a little bit, I don’t know. This guy is a clown and when he comes up onstage, which he will — he has been every night — Trump shows up at the last minute with his Murdercade and he’s trying to wave to the people and just generally get attention and we cut his stomach up and rip his guts out and feed them to him and then, somehow, he shows up the next night again. He’s indestructible, like a cockroach.

Q: What can the audience expect at your performance?
A: For the uninitiated who come to see GWAR, you can expect to see the greatest rock ‘n’ roll spectacle in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. You can see a group of space aliens onstage who are under continuous attack as they try to play really great metal-rock, punk-rock — the music that GWAR plays. It’s a rock concert, but at the same time, there’s a steady parade of deplorables who attack us and we do battle with them. And you get to see all of the spectacular action and gore that’s associated with these fights. There’s blood spraying everywhere, all kinds of bodily fluids shooting out of all kinds of hideous alien orifices. It’s a good time had by all. The kids go away covered and soaked in the blood, they walk into a Convenient store and trying to buy Big Gulps and people stare at them and policemen ask them what they’ve been doing. That’s how a GWAR show goes.

Q: Will your set list focus on any specific albums?
A: We do have one song from our new album called “F*** This Place” … there’s that to look forward to. Other than that, it’s just old, classic GWAR songs. GWAR has a long history. We’ve got a lot of albums to choose from when writing a set list. We only have a half-hour or so, so it’s packed with some good tunes. Then, after that, I think you can look forward to an AC/DC cover, and what it is will be a surprise, but people who are in the know can probably figure it out: What would be the ultimate AC/DC song for GWAR to do?

Q: What can you share about your forthcoming album, “Blood of Gods”?
A: “Blood of Gods” is awesome. It’s destined to become a classic. It’s certainly a turning point for the band, musically. It’s the first album without Oderus Urungus, our fallen lead singer. The record is dedicated to him. In his absence, GWAR soldiered on, as he would have wanted, and I think this is a record that will speak for itself when they hear it. I think people are going to be amazed by this record, both GWAR and non-GWAR fans, probably mostly non-GWAR fans. As they were when they came to see GWAR, and, lo and behold, it was still a GWAR show despite all of the loss and tragedy that the band had experienced. It’s still the greatest, most exciting rock band to take the stage. You’re not going to go and watch four dudes trying to be as cute as possible, trying to stare at their shoes. That’s not what GWAR is. We give the people what they want, and what they want is nonstop death and mayhem. And that’s what this record is. It’s a great hard rock album. I think people will hear it and they’ll understand that GWAR is a force to be reckoned with, musically. GWAR is a band that has been run down by critics, repeatedly. I have never seen a positive critical review of a GWAR album, just as there was never a positive critical review of a KISS album. And rarely of Alice Cooper albums. Because people have their nose stuck in the air, and we’re going to rub those noses in a pile of (expletive) with this album.

Q: Any parting words for the masses?
A: Can I have a hug?

Q: Thanks for your time today. Safe travels to Scranton.
A: Thank you. Fare thee well.
— patrice wilding


If you go
What: Vans Warped Tour featuring GWAR on the Mutant South stage
When: Monday, July 10; doors open at 12:30 p.m., set times posted day of show
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
Details: Tickets start at $43.50 and are available through the box office or livenation.com.

Fab 5 – July 6, 2017

Fab 5 – July 6, 2017

  1. John Mellencamp at Bethel Woods
    Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp performs at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel, New York, on Friday, July 7.
    Emmylou Harris and Carlene Carter join Mellencamp as part of the tour for his newest album, “Sad Clowns and Hillbillies.”
    Mellencamp, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award-winner, is known for hits such as “Pink Houses,” “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane.”
    Tickets start at $56 for lawn seats. Lots open at 4 p.m., gates open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bethelwoodscenter.org.
  2. Party in the Park
    On Saturday, July 8, Tobyhanna Twp., 105 Government Center Way, Pocono Pines, hosts Party in the Park community day.
    Admission is free, as are the bounce attractions. The event begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m.
    Bands Organized Resistance and Everything Annie will provide live music throughout the afternoon. Susquehanna Brewing Co. will be on hand with food and drink at Pocono Beer Garden at the Jubilee Restaurant. A fireworks show will take place at dusk.
    For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
  3. 69th Annual Firemen’s Picnic
    Join the Covington Independent Fire Company, Inc., 452 Daleville Highway, Moscow, for its 69th annual picnic running Tuesday, July 11, through Saturday, July 15.
    The picnic features food, rides and entertainment throughout each night. On Saturday, the Inferno 5K takes place as well as an antique parade and a fireworks display at 5 p.m. Tricky tray raffles also will be available.
    Grounds open at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
    Wristbands are $15 Wednesday through Friday and $20 on Saturday with a special preview night cost of $1.25 on Tuesday for all rides.
    For more information, visit fightin14.com or the event’s Facebook page.
  4. 2017 Bug Fest
    Join a celebration of insects during Bug Fest on Saturday, July 8, at the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center, 8050 Running Valley Road, Stroudsburg.
    The annual festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring live critters, displays, games and crafts. There also will be insect safaris, a butterfly tent and the Insect Olympics.
    Due to limited parking, the center encourages families to attend in either the morning session, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or the afternoon session, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.
    Admission for children under 12 is $5 and parents are free. Children dressed as their favorite bug receive a $1 discount. No pre-registration is necessary.
    For more information, visit mcconversation.org.
  5. Summer Fest Preview Day
    The Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, previews its third annual Summer Film Festival on Thursday, July 6, at noon and 6 p.m.
    Trailers for all 14 films to be featured in the annual event (which begins Friday, July 14 and continues through Aug. 3.) will be shown, including “Paris Can Wait” and “Their Finest.”
    Admission is free and discounted concessions will be available. Tickets for the film festival will be on sale for $25.
    For more information for either event, visit dietrichtheater.com.
Sky’s the limit – Plenty of firework displays to see over holiday week

Sky’s the limit – Plenty of firework displays to see over holiday week

Northeast Pennsylvania Northeast Pennsylvania hosts more than a dozen Fourth of July celebrations, complete with live music, vendors and more. With displays slated up and down the valley, there’s plenty of options to choose from when planning your holiday weekend.

Saturday, July 1
Clarks Summit’s 4th of July Fireworks display will be held July 1 at Abington Heights Middle School, 1555 Newtown Ransom Blvd, Clarks Summit. Admission is free but event parking costs $5. There will be food, live music and activities beginning at 5 p.m., followed by the fireworks show at dusk sponsored by the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. The show’s rain date is Sunday, July 2.The Moscow Fireworks Extravaganza also is set for July 1 at dusk behind North Pocono Middle School on Church Street. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for entertainment and food, and the fireworks commence at approximately 9:30 p.m. The rain date is July 2 at dusk. Camelback Resort Fireworks Celebration occurs July 1 from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Enjoy an extended day of splashing and relaxing at Camelbeach until 8 p.m. The dance floor opens at 6:30 p.m. with live music from UUU until 10:30 p.m. The fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. The Minisink Lions of North Pocono High School host the Minisink Lions Fireworks Extravaganza at North Pocono Football Stadium on Route 690 on July 1. The gates open at 6 p.m., and live music by the Poets starts at 7. Sit in the bleachers or bring your own chair/blanket to enjoy the display. Admission is free, and food and refreshments will be available for purchase. All proceeds benefit the North Pocono community. The rain date is July 2. Finally, the Hurricane Hills Motocross Fireworks commence at approximately 9 p.m on July 1. The display will take place at the Hurricane Hills Sports Center, 200 Route 106, Greenfield Twp.. Pa. Admission for adults is $12 and children ages 4 to 10 are $6. 

Sunday, July 2
The Honesdale Independence Day Fireworks Display and Celebration happens July 2 at 9:30 p.m. in Central Park, Main Street, Honesdale. There will be food, music and fun beginning at 6:30 p.m. with children’s games, vendors and entertainment in the park provided by the Wayne County Creative Arts Council.Also on July 2, the Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company hosts Fireworks on Lake Ariel Beach at the Lake Ariel station, 1381 Lake Ariel Highway, beginning at dusk. The rain date is July 5. 

Monday, July 3
The Skytop Lodge Fireworks Spectacular will be held on July 3 at Skytop Lodge, 1 Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop, PA. Bring a blanket or your favorite chair and watch the grand fireworks display. The event is open to the public and parking is $10 for non-resort guests. There will be a concession stand and a cash bar. Live music from the Dixieland Band begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk. The Wright Twp. Municipal Park, 321 S. Mountain Blvd., Mountain Top, will be the scene on July 3 for the Wright Township Recreation Board Fireworks Display. There will be treats sold in the park before the show at 9:30 p.m. The rain date is July 5.The NEPA Philharmonic offers two patriotic pops concerts, the first of which is set for July 3 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Lackawanna County Courthouse Square in Scranton. The Scrantastic Spectacular fireworks display follows the concert. Parking in all city parking garages will be $5. Food and entertainment starts at 4 p.m. and includes face painting, inflatables, games and live music.  The fireworks display, which will sync with the music, begins at dusk.

Tuesday, July 4
The second NEPA Philharmonic show is slated for July 4 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre. Following the concert, An Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration will take place. Attendance to the fireworks display is free, but other activities or events, such as live entertainment, carnival rides, food, games and contests, may have a cost. The Montrose Independence Day Celebration will commence at dusk on July 4 at Montrose High School, 75 Meteor Way. There is no cost for admission but donations are appreciated.  RailRiders Post-Game Fireworks Displays will take place throughout the months of July and August at PNC Field, 235 Montage Mountain Road, Moosic. Select dates include July 4, 7 and 21 and Aug. 4, 18 and 25 following the regularly scheduled games.

— isabella cordaro

Fab 5 – June 29, 2017

Fab 5 – June 29, 2017

  1. Kool & the Gang
    Celebrate good times when Kool & the Gang performs at Mount Airy Casino Resort, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, on Sunday, July 2.
    Tickets start at $45. The show will be on the outdoor summer stage. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the show starts at 7.
    Joining American funk and R&B band are Morris Day & the Time and Sister Sledge. This performance comes ahead of Kool & the Gang’s “Keeping The Funk Alive Tour” with the likes of Bootsy’s Rubber Band and Big Daddy Kane.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit mountairycasino.com.
  2. Rise Up 5K
    The Community Alliance Running Event Series, Inc. hosts a virtual 5K run/walk on Saturday, July 1.
    The Rise Up 5K costs $45 and includes a race shirt and commemorative bib with net proceeds benefiting civil liberty charities of choice.
    The virtual 5K can be run or walked from any location, or participants can join a run organized through the event’s Facebook pages. Charities the event benefits include Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. and the National Immigration Law Center.
    Rise Up 5K promoting liberty, freedom and justice for all, and encourages all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations to participate.
    For more information, visit the event’s web page atlocalraces.com or its Facebook page.
  3. Surf’s Up! Inaugural Electric City Boogie
    The inaugural Electric City Boogie comes to The Bog, 341 Adams Ave., Scranton, on Friday, June 30, at 9 p.m.
    Cover for the event, which will be held every last Friday of the month with a different theme, is $5. Guests must be ages 21 and older.
    Organized by Electric City Boogie DJs Just Boogie and Samuel Niles, the night will feature surfing tunes from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. Event attendees are encouraged to wear their “beachy best” or a favorite sea creature costume. Prizes will be awarded for best costume and best dancing.
    For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
  4. Cars and Coffee
    Waverly Community House, 1115 N. Abington Road, welcomes back its Cars and Coffee event on Sunday, July 2.
    Join car enthusiasts on the back lawn of the building with exotic, classic, antique and hot rod cars and motorcycles for a community gathering. Coffee and pastries will be provided.
    No registration is required, but donations will be accepted for the House’s recent parking lot project.
    For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
  5. The Ultimate Queen Celebration
    On Saturday, July 1, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, hosts the Ultimate Queen celebration.
    Tickets start at $28. The doors open for the show at 6:30 p.m., and the performance starts at 8.
    Tickets purchased for the cancelled performance of God Save the Queen in February will be valid and refunds will be available at the customer’s point of purchase.
    Marc Martel has led the group since 2012, when he won a vocal contest arranged by original Queen band members Roger Taylor and Brian May. Martel also appeared on American Idol.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, visit kirbycenter.org or call the box office at 570-826-1100.
     
Island influence – Couple from the Caribbean brings taste of their native countries to Wilkes-Barre

Island influence – Couple from the Caribbean brings taste of their native countries to Wilkes-Barre

In Caribbean culture, food creates distinct connections between people and other cultures.
For Carleen and Garfield Hartman, the Hartman Jerk Center created a space to share their love for their home countries and their native food.
The couple opened the Caribbean restaurant in April with hopes of bringing the flavors of both Jamaica and Guyana to Wilkes-Barre.
“We migrated from New York about five years ago, and we noticed there was not much of a variety of our culture around here,” Carleen Hartman said.
After serving Caribbean fusion-styled food out of a parking lot in downtown Wilkes-Barre for some time, the couple jumped on the opportunity to open up shop where a sushi restaurant previously stood.
And the restaurant itself embodies the culture of the Caribbean.
Upon walking into the 35-seat restaurant on South Main Street, customers are greeted by a bright yellow welcome mat. Strains of reggae music flow through the eatery and 25 small flags that represent each of the Caribbean nations hang above the countertop. Larger flags from Guyana, Jamaica and the United States are posted on the walls as a nod to the owners’ countries of origin as well as their current home.
Garfield Hartman cooks each dish for the restaurant, blending his experience cooking in the Army, hints from his grandmother and the influence of flavors he grew up surrounded by.
“(Garfield) is Guyanese and I’m Jamaican,” Carleen Hartman said. “The food is a sort of fusion between both. It’s authentic Jamaican and Guyanese … We all (in the Caribbean) eat the same foods. We might call it something different, or cook it in a different way, but it’s the same food.”
Some customer favorites include oxtail and butterbeans and variations of jerk fish, chicken and pork.
“We can’t have enough oxtail,” Carleen Hartman said. “We’re here working from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and we constantly have oxtail cooking. People love it because of the flavor and the way it’s cooked.”
Other specialties include a featured soup every Friday, ranging from cow foot and chicken foot to goat head soup. Each Friday, the restaurant also serves national dishes such as ackee and salt fish or callaloo with salt fish, which are served with festival dumplings.
When asked about future goals for the restaurant, Carleen Hartman quickly said she wanted to open two more restaurants — one in the Poconos and one in Hazleton. Though, she said they would also like to expand into Scranton as well, due to requests from residents in those regions.
“I love meeting different people from the different cultures,” she said. “When they come in, they first check to see if their flag is up there. And every single flag from inside here, I’ve seen someone come in from that place.”
The restaurant gained a widespread fanbase through radio ads and word of mouth, she added. One customer, originally from St. Lucia, drove more than two hours to get to the restaurant, tacking on additional time on for getting lost along the way. But when she arrived, the restaurant had every bit of food she was hoping for.
“She sat down, ate her food and said it was well worth the drive, that she’d definitely be back,” Carleen Hartman said with a smile. “Those are the things I’m happy for. Representing the Caribbean, the language, the culture. People start talking the way they would in their home countries, and they get a taste of home away from home.”
— charlotte l. jacobson


Hartman Jerk Center
Address: 72 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
Phone: 570-871-3013
Established: April 1
Cusine: Jamaican and Guyanese fusion
Owners: Carleen and Garfield Hartman
Hours: Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Online: Visit Hartman Jerk Center on Facebook.

The science of fun – RiverFest on the Susquehanna returns for weekend of entertainment, educational activities

The science of fun – RiverFest on the Susquehanna returns for weekend of entertainment, educational activities

Kayaks, environmental exhibitions, live music and more mark the annual RiverFest along the Susquehanna River.
The Riverfront Parks Committee-run event aims to raise awareness about the waterway that cuts through the Wyoming Valley and to educate those who live within the river’s reach, while also providing a fun-filled weekend for families.
The event kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 23, in Nesbitt Park, Kingston, with a food truck rally and live musical performances, and continues on Saturday, June 24, in the park.
According to John Maday, executive director of the Riverfront Parks Committee, the event has been ongoing for more than 20 years, but has drastically increased in size since its inception.
The nonprofit group began with just a few informational tables but, eventually, the event grew to span three-days full of educational activities, food and live music as well as canoe and kayak paddle trips down the Susquehanna River.
Each day of the event, a different river trip takes place — West Pittston to Wilkes-Barre on Friday; Harding to Wilkes-Barre on Saturday and Wilkes-Barre to West Nanticoke on Sunday. Participants meet at Nesbitt Park and then take a shuttle bus to the starting location.
For the second year in a row, RiverFest begins with a food truck rally organized by Maday and Mike Raub of Metz foods. Some of the trucks at the event will include Manning’s Ice Cream, Nina’s Bitemobile, Southwest Savory Grill, El Jefe, Sweet Lush Cupcake Camper and Sammy’s Caribbean Grill among others.
New to the activities this year are demonstrations by 24th Connecticut Recreated Militia Revolutionary War reenacted military regiment and Five Mountain Bear Clan Native American teaching village. The reenactment group will set up an encampment on Saturday to honor those involved in the Wyoming massacre that occurred during the Revolutionary War.
Five Mountain Bear Clan sets up its village — teepees and lodges included — prior to the beginning of RiverFest.
“They’ll have a fairly large presence on site,” Maday said. “They’re coming as early as Thursday and camping over until Saturday. It’s a big deal. They’ll have stuff for kids and adults. They like to teach about the Native American ways and traditions. They’ll have hand crafts for kids to work with.”
In addition to the new groups attending, the standard RiverFest items remain on the docket for Saturday, ranging from fly-casting practice, birds of prey and live mammals exhibitions to guided nature walks, painting a community mural and pony rides. The environmental tent will be filled with more than 40 booths of educational and environmental information provided by the Riverfront Parks Committee.
“Because we’re an environmental organization, every event we host has a component of that,” Maday said. “We’re a teaching organization. We have to get the people into our classroom. We have to get them there and have to make it fun in order for them to learn.
“Everything we do is environmental education-based,” Maday added. “We’ve committed for a long time. We’re all volunteers. We’ll continue to do it as long as people come to our events, we can recruit volunteers and are able to get financial support from the community.”
— charlotte l. jacobson


RiverFest 2017
When: Friday, June 23, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, June 24, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Nesbitt Park, Kingston
Schedule of Events
June 23
Live music by the Indigo Moon Brass Band and Fife & Drom
4 to 7 p.m.: River Trip — paddle from West Pittston to Wilkes-Barre
5 to 9 p.m.: Food Truck Rally and Childrens’ Activities
June 24
Live music by the Three Imaginary Boys and Don Shappelle and the Pickups
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: River Trip — paddle from Harding to Wilkes-Barre
1 p.m.: Live mammals from Second Chance Wildlife Center
3 p.m.: Birds of Prey from Endless Mountains Nature Center
June 25
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: River Trip — Wilkes-Barre to West Nanticoke

Southern rock quintet Blackberry Smoke to bring live show to Kirby Center

Southern rock quintet Blackberry Smoke to bring live show to Kirby Center

Blackberry Smoke never stands still.
According to lead singer Charlie Starr, the group doesn’t just tour when it releases albums, but rather remains in a constant state of touring.
But the musicians love every minute of it.
The Southern rock quintent brings its “Like An Arrow” tour to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre, on Friday, June 23, at 8 p.m., with opening act the National Reserve.
“We play a bit of a different show each night, never the exact same song order or song list,” Starr said in a recent phone interview from his Atlanta home. “It’s not choreographed, we don’t have any explosions or backflips. It’s just five guys playing a bit of rock ‘n’ roll. We’ll pull some from each record with a surprise here and there. We really try to cover as much ground as possible in two hours.“
Blackberry Smoke is made up of Starr on lead vocals and guitar, Richard Turner on bass and vocals, Brit Turner on drums, Paul Jackson on guitar and vocals and Brandon Still on keyboards.
The songs on the rock outfit’s sixth album, “Like An Arrow,” were influenced by various aspects of the musicians’ lives, the people around them and even sometimes influenced from media or books they’ve absorbed, Starr said.
“Each of our albums are different. There’s not one that sounds like the last one,” Starr said. “That’s done on purpose because we want to keep it fresh for ourselves and the fans, too. This one has some moments that might be something different, whether its funkier or heavier, but we’re always about variety and keeping it fresh.”
The album reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Country and Americana/Folk charts.
After forming in 2001, the fivesome developed a blue-collar work ethic and road rules attitude by averaging 250 shows per year. Their willingness to jam for hours developed their grassroots fan base, which continues to grow with each show.
“Musically, I think we’ve evolved quite a bit,” Starr said. “We played together almost 17 years now … we finally found our thing. I think that we’ve learned how to tour better. In the early days, we just beat ourselves to death. But we learned to be smarter about it, that takes a team. We learned how to sustain ourselves.”
Over the years, the group played through major venues including Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl. Blackberry Smoke created music alongside some of the industry’s biggest names, including the late Gregg Allman and Grammy Award-winning producer Brendan O’Brien, and toured with the likes of ZZ Top, Zac Brown Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“We just want to continue on the path we’re on,” Starr said. “Just try to make the best records we can and continue to take the music to the people.”
— charlotte l. jacobson


If you go
What: Blackberry Smoke with opening act the National Reserve
When: Friday, June 23; doors at 6:30 p.m.,
show at 8
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Details: Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 570-826-1100 or online at kirbycenter.org.