Enjoying Mike Nichols

November 20th, 2014

Award-winning and beloved film director Mike Nichols has died.
For me, I have a love-hate relationship with the director. It’s mostly love. But, when things go bad, it’s not just awry. It’s gallons of water shooting out of your basement furnace terrible.
I loved “The Graduate,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Regarding Henry,” “Primary Colors, “Silkwood,” and “The Birdcage.” I own the first four on that list. He had a beautiful way to subtly show you how a foibled and flawed person could do astounding things. I haven’t seen all of “Angels in America” but have seen enough to know I’m cheating myself for not having seen the entire thing.
But “Closer” and “What Planet Are You From” were boring, incredibly lazy and major disappointments. Sure, there were scenes that fulfilled the promise of a Nichols’ film. But on the whole, they were incomplete. “E! True Holywood Story” when I wanted Ken Burns.
Instead of concentrating on those two films, however, I look at the brilliance of the others.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman had a career of fantastic, deep performances, but his role as Gust Avrakatos in “Charlie Wilson’s War” was his best. You could tell he was having fun and working hard on this brilliant, cantankerous real person. The way he uses his body and how he finds a way be understated at points with a very overstated character is astounding. Check out this scene. I didn’t imbed the video, instead giving you a link, because this blog is part of a family newspaper chain and the language is very blue.
Compare that scen with this.

I probably like “Primary Colors” more than I should. It’s not a better movie than “The Graduate” or “Regarding Henry,” but I watch it more. I enjoy all the performances. Part of it is that the movie doesn’t use Travolta to show who the character is. We learn more about him by the reactions of his wife, his staff and the voters.
In many ways, it’s similar to the “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold” profile by Gay Talese.
Then, there’s “The Graduate,” his best known and best loved film.
Everyone remembers the iconic exchange with Mrs. Robinson, but I love the final scene.
The shot of them running to the bus and the looks of the other passengers as they sit, laughing in the back.
It’s scenes like that that were the backbones of his brilliant career.

Author: Categories: National entertainment Tags:

Kirby Center adds Tedeschi Trucks band to schedule

November 17th, 2014

The Kirby Center has booked another act for the winter season. This time it’s the Tedeschi Trucks Band for a February show.

They have a made up mind; Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are bringing the band to Wilkes-Barre. It was announced today that Tedeschi Trucks Band will visit the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, November 20 at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Kirby Center box office, online at www.kirbycenter.org or by phone at (570) 826-1100. A special Kirby Member Pre-Sale begins Wednesday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Tedeschi Trucks Band is an 11-member collective that thrills audiences worldwide with its transcendent live performances and award-winning albums. Formed in 2010 by husband-and-wife Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, and featuring two harmony singers, a three-piece horn section, keyboards, bass and a pair of drummers, the band disproves the adage “less is more” while building a devoted following of fans and critics alike.

Tedeschi Trucks Band has taken its roots-rich musical mix to audiences across the globe and become a proven powerhouse on stage. Driven by Trucks’ signature slide-guitar sound and Tedeschi’s honey-to-husk voice, the group consistently delivers an electrifying blend of blues, soul, jazz, and rock drawing from an ever-evolving song list.

They have headlined the venerable Newport Jazz Festival, co-headlined tours with B.B. King and The Black Crowes and have played to packed houses in the world’s most celebrated venues, from Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Beacon Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl and Royal Albert Hall.

The band’s debut release, Revelator, earned both a Grammy and Blues Music Award, while 2011′s live follow-up, Everybody’s Talkin’, delivered a double-disc classic reminiscent of legendary concert recordings like The Allman Brothers Band’s At Fillmore East. Currently the band is touring in support of its second studio effort, Made Up Mind, which entered the Billboard 200 at #11 and was hailed by Rolling Stone as “equal parts Stax and Muscle Shoals without dilution of either.”

Emerging as one of the most respected guitarists of his generation, Trucks led his own Derek Trucks Band for more than 15 years, prior to teaming up with Tedeschi. For the past 13 years the Florida native has also performed as a full member of The Allman Brothers Band and has toured with both Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. Trucks was voted #16 on the top 100 Guitarists of All Time (Rolling Stone – November 2011) by a panel of fellow musicians and industry experts.

No stranger to centerstage herself, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi started playing in bands in her hometown of Boston at age 13. Her knack for combining American roots music, particularly electric blues, Southern soul, and gospel, with passionate, awe-inspiring vocal prowess has resulted in a prolific solo career full of award-winning records, six Grammy nominations, and a devoted following. Blessed with a voice that ranges from powerful R&B belters to gentle ballads, Tedeschi is a talented guitarist as well, her style alternately recalling post-war electric blues and Hendrix-inspired rock.

Easily capable of shining as individuals, this 11-piece ensemble is concerned more with the sound than the spotlight. Sharing a level of respect and camaraderie rarely found in rock and roll, Tedeschi Trucks Band has found a magical combination that delivers an unforgettable, can’t-miss concert experience, one the Boston Herald says, “booms like a soul thunderclap.”

For these musicians and their audiences, more is indeed more.

“Survivor” casting call announced at Mohegan Sun

October 31st, 2014

Here is what arrived in the email last night.

CBS’s hit reality show, Survivor, is coming to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for a contestant casting call on November 17th!


If you think you have what it takes to outwit, outplay and outlast your competitors, join us from 11:00am – 3:00pm on November 17th for the chance to become a castaway in the running for 1 million dollars! Participants cannot line up until 5:00am the morning of the event. Eligibility requirements and applications are available at http://www.pahomepage.com/casting-call-survivor.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Convention Center at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Registration in Salon E, Keystone Grand Ballroom

Auditions in Salon F, Keystone Grand Ballroom

11:00am – 3:00pm


For more information, please see the event listing. If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to reach me at this email.

Author: Categories: Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Tags:

Kirby Center books Vince Gill

October 21st, 2014

The F.M. Kirby Center has booked Vince Gill.

Here’s the release.

Direct from Nashville’s “Music Row,” 20-time Grammy Award winner Vince Gill and the rest of The Time Jumpers will bring a one-of-a-kind evening of western swing to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, November 22 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to see this 11-piece, country ensemble are on sale NOW and available at the Kirby Center Box Office, online at www.kirbycenter.org and by phone at (570) 826-1100.

The Time Jumpers was established in Nashville in 1998 by an assemblage of high-dollar studio musicians who wanted to spend some spare time drinking beer and jamming with their sonically gifted buddies. The notion of building a rabidly devoted following was the last thing on their minds, but that’s what happened.

Learning that Monday evenings were the slowest in the week for Nashville’s Station Inn bluegrass club, the super-pickers settled into that fabled venue at the start of each week and set up shop.

Pretty soon Monday nights were sounding a lot like Saturday nights—and drawing commensurately lively crowds.

As word spread along Music Row that something special was happening at Station Inn, big stars began dropping by, some to sit in with the band, others just to enjoy the vast array of country, swing, jazz and pop standards The Time Jumpers rejoiced in playing. Among those drop-bys were Bonnie Raitt, Reba McEntire, Norah Jones, Robert Plant, The White Stripes, Kings Of Leon, Jimmy Buffet and Kelly Clarkson.

None asked for their money back.

The Time Jumpers includes 11 members, each a master of his (and, in one case, her) instrument. Alphabetically—which is the only diplomatic way to present such a phalanx of evenly matched talent—they are Dennis Crouch (upright bass), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Vince Gill (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), “Ranger Doug” Green (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), Andy Reiss (electric guitar), Dawn Sears (vocals), Kenny Sears (vocals, fiddle), Joe Spivey (fiddle, vocals), Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano) and Billy Thomas (drums, vocals).

To list the artists these pickers have recorded and toured with would be tantamount to posting all the Billboard country charts for the past 30 years. Suffice it to say that the list ranges from Ray Price to John Anderson to Carrie Underwood. And the stages these luminaries have graced extend from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall.

The Fresh Beat Band is headed to the Kirby Center

October 3rd, 2014

The F.M. Kirby Center has booked a show.
At first I thought the Fresh Beat Band was something from Dwight Schrute’s farm, but it’s a Nickelodeon thing.

The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon’s preschool music group and stars of the Emmy Award-winning TV series of the same name, head back on the road for a brand-new nationwide concert tour Nov. 5–Feb. 15. The Fresh Beat Band Greatest Hits Live presented by Nickelodeon will travel to nearly 40 cities including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and one night in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The Fresh Beat Band will visit the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, December 5th at 6:00 p.m. This show sold out two performances back in 2012, so seats are sure to fill up quickly! Tickets go on sale next Friday, October 10 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Kirby Center Box Office, online at www.kirbycenter.org and by phone at 570-826-1100.

A special Kirby Member Pre-Sale begins this Wednesday, October 8 at 10:00 a.m.

The show will feature Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout performing the band’s greatest hits including “Bananas,” “Here We Go” and a remixed version of “Great Day,” plus new songs including the pop classic, “Walk Like An Egyptian.”

“The Fresh Beat Band is back on the road to give kids a chance to see their favorite rock stars live in concert,” says Doug Cohn, SVP, Music, Nickelodeon. “This re-imagined, high-energy production features the band’s biggest hits, never-before-performed songs, and fun surprises that will deliver an unforgettable experience for families.”

Nickelodeon is currently in production on Fresh Beat Band of Spies, a brand-new animated preschool series based on the hit live-action show, The Fresh Beat Band. In the new series, Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Marina (Tara Perry), Twist (Jon Beavers) and Shout (Thomas Hobson) are bandmates and also undercover spies. The pop band uses their individual talents and the coolest transforming spy gadgets to outwit a goofy cast of bad guys and solve wild and wacky mysteries. The series, which teaches problem-solving to preschoolers, is created by Nadine van der Velde and Scott Kraft (The Fresh Beat Band). Fresh Beat Band of Spies will premiere in 2015.

The Fresh Beat Band soundtracks – The Fresh Beat Band: Music From The Hit TV Show and The Fresh Beat Band: More Music From The Hit TV Show Vol 2.0 – are currently available on iTunes and in stores everywhere. For more information, visit the tour website at http://www.freshbeatbandlive.com and for Fresh Beat activities and fun go to http://www.nickjr.com/the-fresh-beat-band/.

In each episode of The Fresh Beat Band preschoolers sing and dance along as they help The Fresh Beat Band solve everyday challenges. Preschoolers learn the fundamentals of music such as melody, rhythm, tempo and performance styles and the importance of friendship, working together, and respecting each other’s differences. Ne-Yo, Justin Bieber, Jason Mraz, Wayne Brady and Sarah Chalke have all hung out with the Fresh Beats and the group is beloved by many celebrity parents.

Nickelodeon, now in its 35th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in almost 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 19 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B).

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Audition for Music Box Dinner Theater

September 29th, 2014

We just got this in from the Music Box Players.

Auditions for the Northeast PA premiere of A CHRISTMAS STORY, musical based on the popular Jean Shepherd movie (Ralpie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, the famous Leg Lamp) will be held at the Music Box Dinner Playhouse on October 20 at 7PM for children ages 8 to 13, and Oct 21 at 7 PM for adults. Those who audition are asked to sing a song of choice and read from the script. The director is Debbie Zehner. Performance dates are Dec 4 to 7, 11 to 14, and 18 to 21.

So if you’re looking too play Santa or Scott Farcus, this is your chance.

Author: Categories: Music Box Players, theater Tags:

Catch a free flick at the Kirby Center

September 26th, 2014

Just got this from the Kirby Center. Looks like it could be an interesting evening

The F.M. Kirby Center Announces A Life in Theater:

The W. Curtis Montz Playbill Collection

The F.M. Kirby Center is excited to announce a FREE screening of the film, It Happened One Night (1934 Not Rated). This free event will also introduce A Life in Theater: The W. Curtis Montz Playbill Collection. Curtis Montz worked at the Kirby Center from 1986 until 2010, and his passion for film and theater was unmatched. In 2006, the film series was renamed the W. Curtis Montz Film Series. Now we have a way to celebrate his love for theater, as well. Earlier this year, the Montz family donated Mr. Montz’s playbill collection to the F.M. Kirby Center.

The Kirby will be showing the collection of almost 600 playbills, spanning 80 years of performances on Sunday, October 12th. Playbills include Broadway, Off-Broadway,

Little Theater of Wilkes-Barre, Music Box Theater, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and many more! Come celebrate with the Kirby as we say THANK YOU!

It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father’s thumb, and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable). The plot was based on the August 1933 short story “Night Bus” by Samuel Hopkins Adams, which provided the shooting title.

The film was the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In 2013, the film underwent an extensive restoration.

King’s Theatre schedule announced

September 4th, 2014

King’s Theatre announced its season schedule this week.
Here’s the rundown:

September 3, 2014 – The King’s College Theatre Department’s upcoming theatre season features new productions of award-winning plays for local and regional audiences, including a classic rock opera, two award-winning comedies, and a capstone presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated historical plays.
The season kicks-off with a performance of 60s rock opera, “Tommy,” The Who’s Pete Townshend’s electrifying tale of a suffering, catatonic adolescent’s journey into a pinball wizard. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-4 and Oct. 6 and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 5.
The riveting Pulitzer Prize-finalist searing comedy “Other Desert Cities” by Jon Robert Baitz will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20-21 and Nov. 23-24 and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 22. Named Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play by the Outer Critics Circle and winner of the Drama League Award for Distinguished Play, the story follows Brooke Wyeth’s return to Palm Springs to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family, only to announce her plans to publish a memoir, exposing a family tragedy.
“Moon over Buffalo,” a madcap comedy of playwright Ken Ludwig centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading 1950s stars with one last shot at stardom. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 23 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 22.
The season will conclude with full-dressed productions of the Bard’s historic play, “Henry V.” Chronicling the life of young King Hal as he abandons a life of leisure to unite his English countrymen and become King. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on April 15-17 and April 19 and 2 p.m. on April 18.
King’s Theatre Department also features free, lunch-time, brown-bag performances, as well as a series of one-act plays. All theatre productions will be performed in the George P. Maffei II Theatre, located in the Administration Building on North River Street.
Tickets are $12 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens, and $5 for King’s alumni and non-King’s students. For more information on upcoming performances or to reserve tickets, call the box office at (570) 208-5825 or e-mail boxoff@kings.edu.
King’s College is a Catholic College sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Author: Categories: Colleges, King's Tags:

Events planned at Wyoming Free Library

August 28th, 2014

*The Walking Dead Discussion Group*
The Wyoming Free Library will hold a discussion group during the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. The first discussion will be held on Monday, October 13 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. The discussion group will meet every Monday and discuss what happened on Sunday night.

*Upcoming Adult Book Discussions*
“The Leftovers” by Tom Perrotta
Saturday, October 25 – Noon

“The Strain” by Guillermo del Toro
Saturday, November 15 – 1:00 p.m.

“The Silkworm ” by Robert Galbraith
Saturday, December 13 – Noon

There will be a limited number of books available for the discussion, so call the library at 570-693-1364 to register.

*The Furry Tails Reading Program*
The Furry Tails Reading Program meets every third Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Please call the library at 570-693-1364 to register.

*Great Pumpkin Halloween Party*
The Wyoming Free Library will host a Great Pumpkin Halloween party on Sunday, October 26 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the John Jude Bolin Memorial Park in Wyoming.
Children of all ages are welcome to a day of Halloween activities followed by pictures with Snoopy and a costume parade. Refreshments and giveaways will be offered at the party.
There will be a showing of the cartoon, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on Saturday, October 18 at Noon at the library.

*Books to Screen Discussion Group*
The Wyoming Free Library will host a book/film discussion for the book, “Horns” by Joe Hill and starring Danielle Radcliffe.
The group will meet to compare the movie to the book.

The film viewing will be on Sunday, November 2 at the R/C 14 Movie Theater in Wilkes-Barre. The time will be determined at a later date. If people are unable to make the viewing date, they can view the movie on their own.

The book/film discussion will be on Saturday, November 8 at Noon. There will be a limited number of books available for the discussion, so call the library at 570-693-1364 to register.
Future discussions in the series are: Divergent, Gone girl and Fifty shades of grey.

Author: Categories: Libraries, Wyoming Free Library Tags:

Locals and celebrities react to Robin Williams’ death

August 12th, 2014

Of course, you felt like you knew him.
He made you laugh, so often and with such force that there was a human connection even if you never once met Robin Williams. That was his brilliance. But he didn’t just make you laugh. His roles inspired you. The characters he brought to life challenged you. And they almost always made you feel better.
For a brief moment in your life, Robin Williams could make the pains, sorrows and terrors of reality go away.
In one of the greatest casting decisions of all time, Williams was chosen to play a grown up Peter Pan in Steven Speilberg’s “Hook.”
It’s surely not Williams’ best or most famous role. That honor probably belongs to John Keating in “Dead Poets Society” or Adrian Cronauer in “Good Morning Vietnam.” Maybe even the genie in “Aladdin” or Sean Maguire in “Good Will Hunting.”
But there was no one who could have brought Peter Banning to life as brilliantly and effervescently as Williams.
See, Peter Pan is hard to relate to. He’s the boy who never grew up. He’s sometimes dark. He’s mischievous. And, yes, he’s kind of fun (especially in the white-washed Disney version).
But in “Hook,” the grown up Peter is someone who has forgotten what it means to be young. He’s forgotten everything that makes us human. He’s just a man with a job; a provider. We can all relate to that.
But when Peter realizes who he is, and what he can be, we find ourselves realizing who we are and what we can be.
It’s a character that has far less of the improvisational Williams than most of his other roles, but it’s still got all of his heart.
Here’s what people are saying about the loss of the beloved actor.

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