Way back in the 1990s, I started going to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
Every March, I’d go back to find not only that the festival had gotten bigger and bigger – too big, it became clear this year, when four people were killed by a runaway drunken driver – but also that the city was mushrooming along with it.
In Austin, the livability factor is high – warm temperatures, live music, BBQ – and the stream of transplants so steady it doesn’t take long for new residents to start moaning about how everything was better before people who arrived after them came to town.
Which brings me to the latest indicator that everybody has figured out Philadelphia is a cool place to live. It’s the modeled-after-SXSW Forbes Under 30 Summit, the money magazine’s inaugural gathering of boldface billionaires and tech titans (and upstart entrepreneurs who wish to emulate them) that will take place in its planned-to-be permanent home from today until Wednesday.
Boyertown, PA – Stepping through a rock-strewn railyard in Boyertown, families lined up to board the historic train that made its unofficial debut on the Colebrookdale line Saturday.
Beginning with a 10:30 a.m. departure for the first train, hayrides on the “Secret Valley Line” offered by the Colebrookdale Railroad drew in patrons of all kinds.
They were treated to a two-hour ride in a train used in 1869 through a valley of scenic fall foliage and other natural and historic attractions, travelling from Boyertown to Pottstown through Colebrookdale and Douglass (Berks) townships. Throughout the ride, historical narration was provided by train workers to give context to the sights along the way.
The line follows the Ironstone and Manatawny creeks and passes by the village of Pine Forge.
York may not be known for its oysters, but according to the York County Heritage Trust, it hasn’t always been that way.
“When they were doing the restoration of the Colonial Complex, they found oyster shells in the ground surrounding the buildings,” said Melanie Hady, director of marketing and public relations at the trust.
“There was obviously some trade going on between our area and the Chesapeake Bay area.”
In tribute to that historic link, the trust is celebrating its 40th annual Oyster Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
POTTSTOWN, PA – Officials are hoping that as the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, a collective effort of the borough’s revitalization efforts will result in greater sums of grant money and tourist dollars.
Steve Bamford, executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. outlined a plan to borough council Tuesday that would see the many attractions clustered near Pottstown’s western gateway joining together in pursuit of funding and marketing.
The joint undertaking as part of a “tourism and recreation district” includes: Pottsgrove Manor, the Carousel at Pottstown, theColebrookdale Railroad, Manatawny Green miniature golf, Memorial Park with the splash park and Trilogy Park BMX track, Montgomery County Community College’s art gallery, the Schuylkill River Trail,Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill Heritage Area’s River of Revolutions interpretive center.
“There are some in place, some underway and some nearly ready,” Bamford told The Mercury Friday, referring to the state of the various sites.
West Chester, PA On a chilly fall day, residents warmed up in the borough with hot peppers for the 12th year in a row during the Rotary Club’s Chili Cookoff.
More than 70 chili recipes were shared with thousands of patrons on Gay Street Sunday in an effort to raise more than last year’s $50,000 to support 14 local nonprofits.
Among the dozens of recipes shared at the festival were some crowd favorites, like those of the Habanero Brothers.
The brothers, who have been coming to the event for the past 10 years, compete in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, for chances to show off their varying recipes.
Allentown, PA – Stephen Sondheim’s rarely produced musical comedy “Anyone Can Whistle” will get a Fiftieth Anniversary production at the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department, Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. An absurdist satire about insanity, conformity, miracles, and local government, the 1964 musical is also a great love story, according to director Beth Schachter, and has become a cult classic among musical theater fans.
“The music is quite lovely,” says Schachter, a member of the theater faculty at Muhlenberg, and the chair of the Theatre & Dance Department. “The humor is also very enjoyable. The show is witty in a way that many musicals are not.
“Anyone Can Whistle” plays on the stage of the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts. Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre and 484-664-3333.
The show tells the story of a bankrupt town with a corrupt mayoress, in which the only business still thriving is Dr. Detmold’s Sanitarium for the Socially Pressured — known locally as The Cookie Jar. The town needs a miracle — which is precisely what it gets when a local girl licks a rock and water gushes out. Bingo! A modern-day Lourdes, with the tourist trade to boot. (The miracle was staged by the mayor’s cronies, of course.)
Things get even more complicated when the Cookie Jar patients get mixed up with the pilgrims, and no one can tell who’s crazy and who isn’t — not that it was entirely clear to begin with.
The show satirizes issues and attitudes that are still very much germane 50 years later, Schachter says: issues of gender norms and gender equality, questions of individuality and conformity, social protest and civil disobedience.
“The show argues for standing up for change and not waiting for the people in charge to change things for you,” she says. “That’s something that appeals to me, as the people of Hong Kong flood the streets with their umbrellas in support of democracy.”
Schachter says the show offers a particularly sophisticated and compelling depiction of women, with two powerful female characters in Fay, a nurse who works at the Cookie Jar, and Cora, the town’s mayor.
“The show is interested in women, in their desires, ambitions, and wishes,” she says, “which is part of the reason I like it so much.”
Senior Samantha Simon, from Hawthorne, N.J., plays the central role of Cora — a villain of the piece, but a complicated character nevertheless. Simon appeared last fall as Rosa Bud in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
“Samantha is having a terrific time playing this hilarious villainess,” Schachter says. “She is a powerful presence on stage. She really takes over.”
Sondheim wrote “Anyone Can Whistle” very early in his career as a composer. He had contributed lyrics to the hits “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” but had only written the score for one Broadway show, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” The show closed after nine performances, but went on to become a cult favorite among musical theater fans, particularly Sondheim-philes. The show offers a preview of the complex melodies and innovative structures that characterize the composer’s later shows.
“‘Whistle’ marks the beginning of Sondheim’s distinctive voice and style,” Schachter says. “He develops that style much further in his mature work, but it’s fascinating to see this early expression of his talents as a composer.”
Tim Averill designs the scenery, which has “a zany, cartoony, fairy-tale feel to it,” Schachter says. “We were inspired by the set of ‘Laugh-In,’ with its bright colors and crazy angles.” The choreography, by Lynn Wiener, is similarly outlandish, highlighted by a comic ballet in which the ballerinas play deputies in an epic chase scene — on pointe.
“It’s a total hoot,” Schachter says. “But it’s a hoot with something to say, and what it has to say is still interesting and relevant 50 years later. It has been a revelation for me.”
Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for seven years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.
Performances of “Anyone Can Whistle” are Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 25. Regular admission tickets are $22. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. Group and season subscription rates are available.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.
Easton Garlic Fest chairwoman Jo Moranville learned one thing about garlic lovers this weekend.
“We’ve clearly reached the point where garlic-crazy people don’t care if they get wet,” Moranville says.
Despite a rainy start to the 14th annual festival on Saturday, Easton Garlic Fest saw its biggest crowd – ever – for the two-day festival.
More than 20,000 visitors flocked to Centre Square to “eat, drink and stink,” according to festival and police reports.
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and theLehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community invite you to join our cultural organizations, social agencies, artists with disabilities, and people of all abilities to engage each other with skills, compassion, humor and commitment:
The Lehigh Valley ARTS & ACCESS EXPO | November 10, 2014
Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2100 Mack Boulevard in Allentown
This event heralds the twenty-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act which occurs on July 26, 2015. The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community are planning a yearlong celebration to unite the community around creating a more inclusive region and expanding access to the arts for all people.
“Let’s remove barriers and open our doors to persons with disabilities,” says Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council Executive Director. “It’s easier than you might think, and this event will give arts groups the help they need.”
Sponsors: Lehigh Valley Health Network | Just Born
|EXPO: Schedule and Details|
Editor’s note: We love it when folks use existing successful business models for a blueprint. Why reinvent the wheel when a tweak will due :)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — About $1 billion in development around an arena primarily for hockey transformed a dreary section of downtown Columbus that used to be an industrial area and home to a run-down prison.
“People didn’t come downtown very often, and they certainly didn’t live here. Things are different now. This is a place to be,” said Sherri Lyle, 44, of suburban Powell, who works in Columbus’ 14-year-old Arena District.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are paying attention. The team is preparing to develop a 28-acre site where the Civic Arena stood, across Centre Avenue from the $321 million Consol Energy Center that opened in 2010.
“We’ve sat down and talked with them several times about what they have done relative to development,” said Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams, noting the team studied similar projects in Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
A vacant parking lot on South Side Bethlehem could see new life under a $6.7 million plan for a Mexican restaurant and brewpub under one roof.
Ashley Development Corp., based in the city, proposes transforming the 0.38-acre plot at 404 E. Third St. from a former Bethlehem Steel Corp. parking lot into a multi-restaurant space owned by Bethlehem 21st Century, according to Alicia Miller Karner, director of community and economic development for Bethlehem.
Ashley Development Corp. President Lou Pektor says the project would complement and be within walking distance of the entertainment venues that have been developing in that area of the city.
Left for dead a year ago, and several times before that, a plan to build a 500-room hotel attached to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center is being resurrected by top political leaders.
Mayor Bill Peduto said Thursday that he and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald have asked the Sports & Exhibition Authority to gauge the interest in and to study the feasibility of the proposed hotel, which would be built in a parking lot next to the convention center.
The full-service hotel, Mr. Peduto said, always was meant to be “the final part” of the convention center and to serve as its front entrance. “The building’s never been completed,” he said. “The hotel was supposed to be done.”
SKIPPACK TOWNSHIP, PA – When it comes to Skippack Days, Butch Kaelin is a purist.
Visitors strolling through Skippack Village during the two-day festival — set for Oct. 4 and 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — a time the town welcomes vendors from all over the country, will find only true craftsmen setting up shop outdoors on the Victorian Carriage Shops property, 4039 Skippack Pike, which is owned by Kaelin.
If you’re looking for all things artisanal, authentic and guaranteed to be fully twenty-four carat, genuinely, unequivocally handmade, this is where you’ll find them.
With so many farms just a short drive from downtown York, organizers of this year’s Farm to City Dinner say there’s no excuse for not eating locally grown food.
For the second year in a row, three local nonprofits are teaming up to show how easy and affordable it can be to support local agriculture.
At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the Horn Farm Center is joining York County Buy Fresh Buy Local and the Healthy World Café in closing off North Beaver Street in York for an afternoon feast, complete with wine and music, showcasing area farms through a sampling of their meat and produce.
At $65 a plate, organizers said it’s cheaper than similar dinners held in other cities; and they noted that purchasing produce and other food from local farms doesn’t have to break the bank.
For more information: http://www.artsquest.org/festivals/oktoberfest/brewersvillage.php
Sat & Sun, Oct 4th & 5th
10am – pm, rain or shine
Centre Square, downtown Easton
Check out their website for all the information you need: http://www.eastongarlicfest.com/index.php