Curtain Call: Serendipitous Shows


Two 1940s French masterpieces to run this weekend

Translated from the French “L’enfer, c’est les autres,” Jean-Paul Sartre’s witticism “Hell is other people,” is one of those quotes that’s achieved a fame well beyond that of its source material. A new production of Sartre’s 1944 play Huis Clos or No Exit by the fledgling Electric City Repertory Company opened last weekend at the Phoenix Performing Arts Centre in Duryea under the direction of Paul J. Gallo, and continues this weekend. It finds a cowardly army deserter, a lesbian postal worker, and a high-society gold digger escorted to a drawing room by a mysterious valet. The trio, we glean, is damned and this is hell, or at least its waiting room. None is eager to admit his/her wrongs but after some arguing over the circumstances of their predicament, they decide to confess to their crimes.
Sixty some miles away at NACL Theatre in Highland Lake in New York on Saturday, Kicking Mule Theatre Company will present its adaptation of Jean Genet’s 1947 play The Maids under the direction of Francine Roussel. The director is an associate professor of theatre at Muhlenberg College and holds M.A. degrees from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, in both modern European and classical French literature. From NACL, she will be taking the production to Philly Fringe in September.
To say that Sartre and Genet were contemporaries is a gross understatement. The son of a prostitute put up for adoption when he was still an infant, Genet was a juvenile delinquent who spent his early adult years in and out of prison on charges of indecency, lewd conduct (i.e. homosexual acts), vagrancy and petty theft. He began writing in prison and would go on to impress the likes of Jean Cocteau and find friends in contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso as well as Sartre.
After first basing a character on Genet ­— Goetz in The Devil and the Good Lord, a ruthless militant who transforms from war criminal to a do-gooder — Sartre wrote a hefty exploration of the man titled Saint Genet in 1952. It’s said that the treatise so profoundly moved its subject that he did not write for five years after reading it. In it, Sartre describes The Maids as offering “the most extraordinary examples of the whirligig of bring and appearance, of the imaginary and the real.” A work about power, class, and the roles we play, The Maids is based on the story of the infamous Papin sisters charged with murdering their employer and her daughter.
Both the victim and the maids, Solange and Claire, are meant to be performed by male actors. The same artificiality of theatre that attracted Genet to the art form in the first place, reasoned Sartre, is what leads him to ask the women be portrayed by young men.
“By virtue of being false,” the philosopher wrote, “the woman acquired a poetic density,” he wrote, further describing the domestics as “others,” outcasts created by their masters.
“When we see Solange and Claire in the presence of Madame, they do not seem real. Fake submission, fake tenderness, fake respect, fake gratitude. Their entire behavior is a lie.”
No Exit continues with shows Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. before closing on Sunday with a matinee at 2 p.m. The cast includes Andrew Gruden as Garcin, Shaun Pierre as the Valet, Margaret Walther as Inez, and Julia Rudolf as Estelle. All tickets are $10. Call 457-3589 for reservations. The Maids plays Saturday at 7 p.m. only. Tickets are $15 to $25 (sliding scale) call (845) 557-0694 for reservations or visit www.nacl.org for more information.

Ear Full: Lewis & Clarke, Jonathan Byerley and Morris Mertz

Knockaround Guys

Lewis & Clarke, Jonathan Byerley and Morris Mertz at The AFA Gallery

Three very unique storytellers are ready to bare their musical souls this Friday night in downtown Scranton in an intimate, artistic space readily waiting to accept their offering. Join in celebrating music, art and life in the Electric City when La Société Expéditionnaire presents Lewis & Clarke, Jonathan Byerley and Morris Mertz at The AFA Gallery’s recently opened 2nd floor, 514 Lackawanna Ave., June 29 at 7 p.m. Admission is $6 and it is an all-ages show.
Lewis & Clarke is the musical project of Lou Rogai and a number of featured collaborators. Hailing from Delaware Water Gap and prominent in the indie-folk scene, the group focuses its musical energy by creating vast sonic soundscapes while leaving plenty of room for personal reflection and interpretation. Rogai is currently playing a string of shows before wrapping up production on another Lewis and Clarke record.
“I’m doing a few solo shows, which I haven’t done for years,” Rogai said. “Solo shows are crazy for me because I can mess with the song structures and lyrics on the spot. I like to do that. I also feel very exposed performing music alone that was intended for thick arrangement.”
The sound of Lewis & Clarke has evolved throughout the years as Rogai began to search for ways to create the music firmly planted in his brain. He claims he is closing in on the sounds stuck in his head.
“In the early stages of L & C, there were no real goals, just open space to fill. I also didn’t know how to achieve the sound I had in my head. I still don’t, but I’m getting closer. I think if I ever actually achieve that I’ll quit music and start doing paint-by-numbers.”
Rogai also dedicates his time exposing unique music of like-minded artists through his own record label, La Société Expéditionnaire. Byerley and Mertz fall into that category of people Rogai wants to work with; people who offer something soulful and truly genuine.
Byerley hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., and is releasing his first solo LP on La Société Expéditionnaire. “I think he’s a phenomenal and unique songwriter,” Rogai said. “He gave me a demo copy of his new record, Catherine Market. It floored me; the lyrics, production, everything.”
Mertz is a Scranton personality and showman Rogai is looking forward to working with. Mertz recently released a two-song single entitled Mo’Sho and is gearing up for production on a full length LP for release on the La Société Expéditionnaire label. “If you know Morris, you know about how he’s always going on with his rhymes,” Rogai stated. “Not just the predictable rain/train standards — he’s got skills. I’m happy to help him share his new album with the world via La Société Expéditionnaire once it’s finished.”
Rogai is looking forward to the upcoming Scranton performance, as well as the opportunity to soak up the inviting atmosphere of The AFA Gallery.
“AFA is such a unique entity,” Rogai said. “They are a magnet for community and host great events for people all ages. It’s always optimal to work with folks who foster the idea that music and art are to be appreciated as a creative expression and focal point. That is very important to me.”
— tom graham

La Société Expéditionnaire presents Lewis & Clarke, Jonathan Byerley and Morris Mertz, June 29 at 7 p.m., The AFA Gallery Upstairs $6. The show is all ages. For more information, check out www.la-soc.com.

Rogai on the photo shoot: “It’s inspired by Michael Halsband’s Warhol and Basquiat shots. We basically re-created the shot, and it was important to do it as an homage, not as a spoof. Photographer Dino DeNaples really took to the idea, and we made it happen. Morris was full of vigor, our friends were there, and it was a super fun shoot to do in the upstairs space at AFA.”

City Butterfly

City Butterfly

From good picks to bad pick-ups
Reports of American Pickers picking through northeastern Pennsylvania were prolific last week.
Say that three times fast…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, American Pickers airs on the History Channel on Mondays at 9 p.m. It features “pickers” who scour the country in search of hidden gems. They dig through basements and backyards, garages and barns to find forgotten treasures that give us a glimpse into our country’s history. They really are the ultimate antiquers.
Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz were spotted in The 570 last week, including parts of South Scranton and in Carbondale. Fans of their show can pick them out of a crowd any day.
Just ask Carbondale’s Jennifer Kraft, who was kind enough to give us an eye-witness account of her Pickers encounter. Kraft was driving home from work when she saw the Antique Archaeology van at a stop sign waiting to pull onto Rte. 6. The timing was just right, and their van pulled up behind her vehicle. “Mike was driving and Frank was riding shotgun (like they always are on the show), and I was such a geek. I kept trying to catch Mike’s eye in the side mirror, waving and smiling,” she said. “I knew exactly where they were going — Baumann’s.”
And she was right.  Kraft and husband, Perry, are huge fans of the show and are always saying the Pickers should visit Baumann’s Antiques and Candles.
Seizing the opportunity to meet Mike and Frank, she pulled into the parking lot with about six cars full of producers and members of the crew behind her. Mike asked her if she was the owner, and she explained that Baumann’s wasn’t her place; she was a fan who saw them in traffic and pulled over in the hopes that they might meet.
“He and Frank were both really cool and laid back,” she said. “They said ‘hello,’ allowed me to sufficiently embarrass myself, gushing over them and the show, and then they were rushed away by producers.”
Looks like Kraft was in the right place at the right time to pin down a pair of Pickers!
In other social news, we’re bringing in our good friend and second cousin twice removed, the City Bitterfly, to help us pen the next part of our column. Read on…
You’ve heard the saying, “If looks could kill….” right?
Well, if they could, there would be fewer modern-day neanderthals dragging their knuckles through downtown hotspots these days.
Lest we sound too surly, we want to qualify our edgy opening with a notation that the anecdotes you are about to read are all true. They have not been embellished in any way, and in spite of it all, we had a steaming good time flitting through the bars in the Electric City on Friday night. We just couldn’t resist sharing some behavior that elicited more than a few dirty looks in the dark from our crew, not to mention lines that made us reference terribly small appendages on more than one occasion (giggle, giggle). As good goes, this wasn’t it.
So, here goes. Asinine pick-up lines that we actually heard on Friday night:
1. “How old are you?” Guys, come on. Didn’t your mama tell you never to ask a lady her age?
2. “You look like my mother.” That’s a direct quote from Dumb. His buddy, Dumber, took it to another level when he said, “You look like my grandma.” This trend of negging a woman in order to bring her down a notch so her self-esteem is low enough to go out with you is pathetic. Stop doing it.
3. “Hey, Doe Eyes, come here.” Really?
4. An oldy, and still not a goodie — inappropriate grabbing. To the dude who did this, you are really fortunate you didn’t pull back a bloody stump the other night. You’re welcome.
5. And we saved the best (or worst depending on your outlook on life) for last: nothing catches a lady’s eye like pointing at her and air humping. Yes, air humping. Need we say more? We wonder if this behavior was also extended to the women who wore shirts as dresses to the bar (skankerdoodle-dooooo!), or if it was strictly reserved to those of us who weren’t observing a pants-optional Friday.
Too bad we didn’t catch the names of these charm boys sporting “Bros Before Hoes” tees so we could have immortalized them in print; their mamas would be so proud.
— cb

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Fine Food and Wine


Fine Food and Wine
A tasteful tradition at Scranton Cultural Center

 

On Sunday, April 29, The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple will be filled with the aroma of fine cuisine and the sweet sounds of wine glasses toasting as people from across the region enjoy An Evening of Fine Food and Wine.
A fundraiser for the Scranton Cultural Center, the event has grown into a spring tradition that many look forward to each year. We recently caught up with two people who have been instrumental to bringing this event to life since its inception 12 years ago: Nada Gilmartin, president of the board of the Scranton Cultural Center, and Chef Gary Edwards, co-owner and executive chef of Fire and Ice on Toby Creek, Trucksville.
This event not only showcases the finest food and wine that local restaurants have to offer, it also showcases the beauty of the Scranton Cultural Center. “It really utilizes the entire building,” Gilmartin said. “You begin your evening with appetizers in the ballroom, and then you form into groups and go through the various rooms.” The names of the groups are, appropriately, names of wines, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet. “You’ll stay with that group for the whole evening. And what’s really fun is that you go to all the rooms and they give a cooking demonstration and pair the food with wine. By the end of the evening, you’ve really made new friends,” Gilmartin said.
Among the chefs these new friends will meet along the way is Chef Gary, who will demonstrate how to prepare paella, a dish that’s perfect for parties. A familiar face in the area, Edwards served as the executive chef at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station for six years prior to opening Fire and Ice on Toby Creek. Prior to that, you may have enjoyed his dishes at the (former) Ryah House in Clarks Summit and the Sojourner at the Inn at Nichols Village in Clarks Summit. “I’ve always had some sort of dedication to the Scranton area and the Cultural Center. It’s a beautiful building and a great event for us to support. I think I speak for many of the chefs when I say we put our hearts into what we prepare, and we’re dedicated to providing local foods and supporting the local community and small restaurants. I think it’s important that people support the restaurants and the Cutural Center.”
After enjoying Chef Gary’s paella and a host of other entrées throughout the building, guests will return to the ballroom for desserts. Throughout the night, there will be musical entertainment, inspiring some to close the evening with a dance. “It’s a great experience and it’s an opportunity to see the Scranton Cultural Center and some of the rooms you don’t get to see all the time,” Gilmartin said.

— julie imel

Tickets to An Evening of Fine Food and Wine are $85 and $100. For tickets, visit www.scrantonculturalcenter.org or call the box office at 344-1111.

Featured Restaurants:

Appetizers: City Café – a Mediterranean Restaurant, Constantino’s Catering, Coopers Seafood House, Rustic Kitchen – The Cooking Show, State Street Grill, The Colonnade/POSH at the Scranton Club, The Dunmore Homestead.
Entrées: Carmen’s at the Radisson, Fire and Ice on Toby Creek, Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, Patsel’s, The French Manor.
Desserts and Coffee: Accentuate Catering, BellaFaccias Personalized Chocolates, Electric City Roasting Company, Epicurean Delight, Igourmet.com, Truly Scrumptious, Zummo’s Café

In good humor

In good humor

Kiwanis Club hosts ‘fabulous’ community roast for Laurie Cadden

It takes a brave woman to agree to be the subject of a community roast in front of family, friends and colleagues.
And, make no mistake, Scranton’s Laurie Cadden is ready for her big night. Friends will roast Cadden on Thursday, April 12, at the Scranton Cultural Center, as part of an annual fundraising tradition for the Kiwanis Club of Scranton. Celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, club members are working diligently to ensure this year’s celebration is extra special. (And by working diligently, we mean staying up late at night drafting delightfully funny copy to tease their friend).
There’s a fine art to the roast, you know. One must not be too timid or the jokes will put the audience in snooze mode, but one must also not cross that fine line from funny into rude or tasteless. We are certain that roasters Brenda Bistocchi, Wendy Wilson and Mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney will strike that perfect balance as they take center stage next week, and keep us all in stitches.
Will they mention her famous grand entrances? Her flair for talking on her cell phone 90 percent of the day? (Some sources tell us this is a conservative estimate, by the way). Will they discuss the origins of her many nicknames, such as Diva and Scranton’s Oprah Winfrey?
Sworn to secrecy about what they might be teasing Cadden about next week, the roasters remain tight-lipped about their program. So we turned to a few non-roasters who know her best for some clues. As we prompted and pried, we heard a recurring theme, one that is, in all seriousness, quite nice. All described Cadden as a generous and giving person who has a wonderful way of dealing with others, is funny and fun-loving, active and energetic and a savvy business woman.
Such attributes serve her well as the owner of a fundraising, public relations and special events business, Laurie Cadden Enterprises, LLC, which she launched in 2010. Prior to that, she served as the Community Development Director at the Scranton Cultural Center. Before joining the staff at the Cultural Center, she served as the Assistant Executive Director at the Everhart Museum in Scranton, a position that helped her transition from a career in the banking world into the arts.
A well-known personality in the greater Scranton community, Cadden grew up in West Scranton, the oldest of four children of James and Ann LeBoutillier Cadden. A proud graduate of West Scranton High School, she attended Robert Packer School of Nursing in Sayre, Pa. After seven months, she realized that nursing wasn’t the right field for her, and began her career in banking. She completed courses offered by the American Institute of Banking working towards an associate degree at Lackawanna College and earned paralegal certification and completed coursework in preparation for the Pennsylvania Real Estate exam from Penn State University.
Dr. Michael Illuzzi, now a research scholar at Rutgers University, worked with Cadden at the Everhart Museum. “We had four unbelievable years together,” he said. “We forged a friendship that lasts to this day. If you ask her to do something, she will do it. And she will find four or five different ways to ensure that it’s done and she does it in her own unique way.”
While there was serious work at hand, Dr. Illuzzi said they always had fun. “We were like a family and Laurie was the glue around which that family circulated and operated.” As families often do, they would tease each other with nicknames. Illuzzi often greeted her with a “Good Morning, Diva!” to which she would reply, “Good morning, Frances Ford Illuzzio” – a jab at his interest in movies. “We never really called each other by our real names,” he said, laughing. “I miss her. She’s a wonderful person. There are very few people I’ve met in my life who light up a room the way Laurie does. You just feel better after being with her.”
Her fiancé, Myer Moskovitz, would agree with those sentiments. “She’s a very giving person, and very community oriented. She volunteers all over the place, and she has a great heart.” If he were among the roasters, Moskovitz said he may tease her about the amount of items on her to-do list for any given day. “There’s not enough hours in the day for Laurie Cadden to accomplish what she sets out to do. She’s just too busy being fabulous,” he said, chuckling.
Fabulous indeed. It’s a compliment that came up in almost every conversation we had with those close to Cadden. Longtime friend Marcie Griffin, who has known her for 32 years, said she has always enjoyed her friend’s energy, humor and big heart. “She’s a great mom and she has a wonderful sense of style and she’s a fabulous business woman,” she said. “She’s well liked and admired.”
In her spare time, Cadden enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially her sons, Thomas J. Foley IV and Sean Cadden Foley. She enjoys quiet evenings at home cooking and the company of her fiancé, Myer Moskovitz, and her dogs, Phoebe and LuLu.
— julie imel

The Kiwanis Club of Scranton presents a Commmunity Roast for Laurie Cadden on Thursday, April 12, at the Scranton Cultural Center. A cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Doug Smith/Marko Marcinko Ensemble and Ballet Theatre of Scranton. Tickets are $50 per person and proceeds benefit Kiwanis Club charities. For tickets and more information, call 347-5616.

 

A VOLUNTEER SPIRIT
It seems that everyone in the Electric City knows Cadden, and this may be attributed to her long history of community service in the area. Cadden serves on nine non-profit boards, including Voluntary Action Center, Friendship House; Chairman of the Board, Greater Scranton YMCA; First Vice President, Community Intervention Center, Scranton Tomorrow; Secretary, Neighborhood Housing Services of Lackawanna County, Lackawanna Historical Society; Second Vice President, Electric City TV, and Lackawanna County Commission for Women.
Her past volunteer leadership positions were with Jr. League of Scranton, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Scranton Community Concerts, Lackawanna Lawyers Auxiliary, Ballet Theatre of Scranton Advisory Board and founding member the Society of Irish Women and the Scranton Jazz Festival.
She also volunteers with the Koman Foundation as co-chair of Pink Elegance Fashion Show and is the Project Director for the Scranton Jazz Festival. For the first time this year, she was Mistress of Ceremonies for the Dress for Success Fashion Show.
Cadden co-hosts WILK’S “Live with Laurie and Lynn” show every Saturday morning and serves as a moderator on ECTV for “Health Talk with Laurie Cadden” and hosts “Talk of the Town with Laurie Cadden, Exposed: “It’s Your Business.” Plans for a ballroom dance show are also underway.