Perspective is a funny thing. From far enough away Gimme Some Sugar artist Samantha Blinn’s fruit tarts, cupcukes and other colorful dessert masterpieces might make your mouth water. They certainly look good enough to eat until you get close enough to notice the texture isn’t quite right and just maybe there’s a faint chemical smell. Blinn’s medium is polymer clay. Sure they’re convincing, She studied to be a pastry chef before combining what she’d learned in the kitchen with her other passion – art.
Her online activity seems to have slowed down since this spring but maybe your best artist votes will lure her and her little works of art out of hiding.
Sometimes it takes someone from out of town to point out the regional quirks to which area natives have become accustomed. Like the mental wall dividing Luzerne and Lackawanna counties that some locals hesistate to cross as if it might shock them ala invisible electronic dog fence. The visual and theatre artists among us don’t blink at crossing the line. Looking at the arts opportunities in any one municipality is depressing. Considering the variety of opportunities available for artists to share their work throughout The 570 is Prozac.
For example, actor Bill Amos is appearing this weekend in Three Witches Productions’ presentation of Moonlight and Magnolias at The Radmada in Clarks Summit. Previously, he performed along side perennial favorite Dawn Winarski in Hay Fever at Providence Playhouse in Scranton. Both performers were seen in prominent roles in North River Theatrical Society’s production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Downtown Arts in Wilkes-Barre in May. They’d never let a little thing like the 20 minute drive from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre keep them from their adoring fans. And they’re no exceptions. Gaslight Theatre Company, who wowed you with a downtown Wilkes-Barre pop-up storefront production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Kimberly Akimbo in October will stage its next show – the classic Arthur Miller work Death of a Salesman – at The Mellow Theatre at Lackawanna College in Scranton January 5-8.
Mischelle Anthony’s playfully observant verse is more a reflection on her own past experience than a comment on life in NEPA. An associate professor of Engligh at Wilkes University, the poet grew up in a tiny Oklahoma town — there were only 33 people in her high school graduating class according to an interview she gave Wilkes’s The Beacon. It’s a unique point of view and its captured in her chapbook [Line], published by FootHills Publishing in late spring. You’ve clearly enjoyed her readings in support of the volume because she won your praise in this year’s poll. Another writer you’ve thought to admire publically is Bill Thomas of Nanticoke whose blog Cinema Cyclops (http://cinemacyclops.blogspot.com) provides another opinion of the films playing in a theater near you.
Proud as you are of the Fine Arts Fiesta’s 56 years of bringing visual and performing arts to Public Square in Wilkes-Barre for a long weekend every May, you were understandably stoked to welcome Oktoberfest to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this September. Modeled on Munich’s annual celebration of Bavarian culture, the event brought not only a full program of song and dance to your ears and eyes, but also selection of seasonal beers to your lips.
Beer. It’s yet another thing we have in common. Like your peers in Lackawanna County, you gave nods this year to local funny girl-gone-Gotham Teri Granahan for best comedian, and county hopping producer/actor Joe Van Wie of Revere Pictures as best filmmaker. Speaking of movies, you’re just as inclined to take advantage of the Dietrich Theatre’s twice annual film festivals packed with all the foreign, art, and independent films you frowned about not having the opportunity to see locally at R/C Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 as easily as Horrible Bosses.
Still, it would be misguided of us to deny some differences exist across county lines. Our diamond city readers apparently prefer the off beat antics of WNEP’s Joe Snedeker to the station’s endlessly energetic Ryan Leckey, who netted electric city’s votes for best local celebrity.
A category not even in electric city’s poll was best dance company — you gave the honors to Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre. The conpany was seen most recently in The Story of the Nutcracker at Downtown Arts earlier this month. A crew of community dancers including Bridget Giunta Husted joined 50 students on stage. And it was only a few weeks before that the company collaborated with dancers from Without Walls to present Together on the DownBeat starring children and adults with Down syndrome.
Home to Arts YOUniverse, Downtown Arts has also emerged as a venue to catch live music by artists including Mike Mizwinski of MiZ when you aren’t in the mood to collect at the local bars where favorites Cabinet and M80 most often play or at big venues like the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza where you were disappointed by Guns N’ Roses or Toyota Pavilon at Montage Mountain where you rocked out to Poison and Motley Crue.
Best Local Actor Bill Amos – Best Local Actress Dawn Winarski – Best Local Author Mischelle Anthony – Best Local Band Name Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots – Best Local Blogger Bill Thomas, Cinema Cyclops- Best Local Celebrity Joe Snedeker – Best Local Comedian Teri Granahan – Best Local Festival PA Oktoberfest – Best Ongoing Cultural Event Fine Arts Fiesta – Best Museum Everhart Museum- Best Art Venue Arts YOUniverse – Best Local Visual Artist Samantha Blinn – Best Magician Damian – Best Dance Company Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre – Best Local Dancer Bridget Giunta Husted – Best Theater Production Kimberly Akimbo, Gaslight Theatre Co. – Best New Local CD East Hope Avenue, MiZ – Best Original Band Cabinet – Best Party/Cover Band M80 – Best Big Concert Venue Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza – Best Concert in 2011 Poison/Motley Crue – Worst Concert in 2011 Guns N’ Roses – Best Solo Musician Mike Mizwinski – Best TV Show in 2011 Revenge – Best Movie in 2011 Horrible Bosses – Worst Movie in 2011 Straw Dogs – Best Mainstream Movie Theater R/C Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 – Best Independent Movie Theater Dietrich Theater – Best Local Filmmaker Joe Van Wie – Best Casino Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs