#ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Professional Development Series offers a technology seminar for arts professionals, “#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies,” on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Butz Corporate Center, Ninth and Hamilton streets, Allentown.

Hit the ground running! Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Presenters will demonstrate how mobile technology acts as a driver for events, products, art sales and website traffic. Arts entrepreneurs and arts administrators will learn how to:

  • Enhance your marketing efforts through social media websites
  • Set up and use an Instagram account
  • Ensure your website is mobile device friendly
  • Adopt e-commerce solutions such as Etsy, Big Cartel and Amazon Marketplace and Mobile Technology point-of-sale devices such as Square, Intuit and Paypal to boost your sales.

Featured presenters, Matt McKernan, President of Mosaic Interactive, an award–winning, interactive and traditional marketing agency, and Steven Leibensperger, graphic and exhibit designer for Crayola, fine artist, and musician will provide both the developer and artist perspective.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Buy Tickets Today! www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org
For more information:  www.LVArtsCouncil.org/ArtsMobile.html

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Allentown Hockey Arena Sees Milestone As Concrete Slab Is Poured

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allentown hockey arena construction saw another milestone today as more than 30 trucks worth of concrete were poured for what will be a 17,000-square-foot ice floor.

A total of 315 cubic yards of concrete were poured today, and the next major step will be making the ice itself, which will occur in the summer.

“This took a great team effort,” said Jim Brooks, co-owner of the Phantoms hockey team that will start its 2014 season at the PPL Center in September.

“There’s not too many 10,000-seat venues in the world, let alone the United States, and even less that have ice-making capabilities,” Brooks said. “It’s very difficult to pull off.”

Read more:http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/04/allentown_hockey_arena_sees_mi.html

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Muhlenberg College To Present Premiere Circus Workshop

Allentown, PA – The circus is coming to town! A group of Muhlenberg College dancers, actors, gymnasts and aerial acrobats — 30 students in all — have pooled their talents to produce Muhlenberg’s first Circus Workshop. Their work will culminate in two performances on April 25.

Noah Dach ’16, a dance and business double-major, launched the project. Henry Evans ’16 serves as an assistant director and performs. Paige Klibanoff ’15 and MJ Hodge ’16 helped to develop the script and will be performing as well.

“I’ve always wanted to form a dance company,” Dach said. “I had experience in aerial before I came to Muhlenberg, and thought it would be interesting to combine that with the skills that students have been working on here. I approached Karen Dearborn, the head of Muhlenberg’s dance program, with the idea, and she helped me get it on its feet.”

The project builds on the aerial acrobatics classes that the Muhlenberg dance program began offering in spring of 2012, under the instruction of experienced aerialist and Muhlenberg alumna Madeleine Hoak.

Aerialists who had taken Hoak’s class auditioned for the Circus Workshop in January. Other auditioners performed dance combinations or gymnastics skills or recited song lyrics as dramatic monologues. From those who auditioned, Dach assembled an ensemble of diverse performers and began weekly rehearsals.

“What is most fulfilling about directing this project is how my ensemble members are always surprising me with new things,” Dach said. “I could never imagine this project being where it is now after setting this idea in motion last semester.”

The 30-minute performance tells the story, through motion, music and circus art, of a young woman looking back on her life. The other performers represent different aspects of her life, including Joy, Love, and Temptation.

“I’ve always wanted to create something modern that could tell everyday stories through art,” Dach said. “With this project, we have focused on creating something very true and human that cannot be captured in a grand, enormous circus setting. I think that we have found an intimate balance between the abstract and the reality.”

Response on campus has been enthusiastic. Of the 70 seats available for each performance, all sold out in less than two weeks. Dach said he would hopes the project will grow from here.

“Going forward, I would love to see this project expanded and incorporated into more of Muhlenberg’s productions, or even to use the members of this workshop to start forming a performance company after graduation,” Dach said. “This has been a great beginning, and it would be wonderful to see the project move into a larger theater so that more audience members could see it and support it around campus.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

For more information about the Department of Theatre and Dance, visit http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

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Lehigh Valley Arts Council Presents #ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Allentown, PA – Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Professional Development Series offers a technology seminar for arts professionals, “#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies,” on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Butz Corporate Center, Ninth and Hamilton streets, Allentown.

This interactive session focuses on the adaptation and implementation of mobile technology to help tell the story of your brand, expand your marketing efforts, and grow your business.

Featured presenters, Matt McKernan, President of Mosaic Interactive, an award–winning, interactive and traditional marketing agency, and Steven Leibensperger, graphic and exhibit designer for Crayola, fine artist, and musician will provide both the developer and artist perspective. Arts entrepreneurs and arts administrators will learn how mobile technology can enhance their social media marketing, increase website traffic, and serve as a sales platform.

Hit the ground running: attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Tickets are available at www.LVArtsCouncil.org /www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information:
Call: 610-437-5915.
Email: operations@LVArtsCouncil.org 
Web: http://www.lvartscouncil.org/ArtsMobile.html

Location: Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton Street (Suite 200 Conference Room), Allentown Pa. 18101
Date / Time: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Fee: The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45.
Attendance: Reservations are required. Tickets can be purchased online
Tickets:
http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSearch.jsp?performance_id=1803990&cobrand=lvartsboxoffice
http://www.lvartscouncil.org/ArtsMobile.html

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Pennsylvania Partners In The Arts Project Stream Grant Workshops

LVAC-4LinesCalling all artists, community groups and arts organizations!

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to apply for up to $2,500 from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream to fund arts projects or activities benefiting the communities of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to join us for one of our free PPA grant workshops.

May 6th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council (Allentown)

May 8th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Sigal Museum (Easton)

Mark your Calendar! The PPA deadline for Project Stream Applications is June 20th, 2014!

Click here for more information: http://lvartscouncil.org/programs/workshops.html

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#ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council will host,#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies on Wednesday April 30th, 2014 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m at the Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton St., Allentown PA 18101

This interactive session focuses on the adaptation and implementation of mobile technology to help tell the story of your brand, expand your marketing efforts, and grow your sales and business. To hit the ground running, bring your laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Refreshments will be provided.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Tickets are available at www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org 

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More People Moving To Lehigh Valley, More Leaving Northwest New Jersey, Census Data Show

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the latest U.S. Census Bureau data are any indication, the Delaware River is the great divider between growth and decline in this region’s population.

More people are moving out of Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey while more are moving into Northampton and Lehigh counties in Pennsylvania.

The Census Bureau this morning released county-by-county population estimates for last year. The data show both New Jersey counties lost population; both Pennsylvania counties gained population. This pattern has continued for three straight years, the data show.

Births outpaced deaths in all four counties; the population changes are instead tied to people migrating to or emigrating out of the counties, according to the census.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/03/more_people_moving_to_lehigh_v.html

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Muhlenberg’s Production Of “Mad Forest” Offers Innovative Take On Romanian History

Allentown, PA– As history unfolds in the Ukraine, Muhlenberg College Theatre and Dance presents the story of similar events from a quarter century ago. “Mad Forest,” by award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill, set during the 1989 Romanian Revolution, plays on the Muhlenberg mainstage April 24-26.

Directed by Beth Schachter, “Mad Forest” captures the events of the 1989 Romanian Revolution through the eyes of many who experienced it. On the eve of the revolution, and under the pressures of a paranoid society with secret police, two families, one poor and one wealthy, struggle to survive the chaos and deprivations of Nicolae Ceaucescu’s megalomaniacal Communist regime. A play of romance and politics, bookended by weddings, “Mad Forest” blends together documentary theatre and magical realism to explore the psychological landscapes of people trying to find freedom.

“‘Mad Forest’ tells the story of what happens when people who were once oppressed have the freedom to speak truthfully,” says Schachter, who serves as chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Muhlenberg. “It comments on the fragile nature of families and relationships in a very human way.”

Schachter became familiar with “Mad Forest” when she served as dramaturg for the American premiere of the play in New York City in 1991. She has wanted to revisit the play ever since then.

“Working on that production gave me insight into what is going on underneath the words, and more importantly, underneath the silences,” says Schachter. “This play clarifies what so often goes unsaid between people in difficult situations.”

Shortly after the 1989 revolution, Churchill travelled to Bucharest with director Mark Wing-Davey and a team of students to interview eye-witnesses and experience post-revolution Romania first hand. While there, they lived with Romanian families and collaborated with Romanian drama students. What emerged was “Mad Forest,” which premiered in London in 1990 and opened in New York the following year.

The Romanian Revolution refers to a series of protests and riots that took place in December of 1989 and led to the overthrow of Ceaucescu. Schachter hopes to bring these stories of revolution to a new generation.

“These stories have become particularly relevant in the last few months,” Schachter says. “History is unfolding in the Ukraine, with remarkable parallels to 1989 Romania. It’s not every day that you see world leaders toppled in a matter of weeks.”

British playwright Caryl Churchill has been writing since 1958. She has received Obie Awards for her plays “Top Girls,” “Cloud Nine” and “Serious Money,” as well as the Obie Sustained Achievement Award. Churchill is known for artfully commenting on such controversial themes as gender roles, power struggles, and political conflicts throughout the world.

“Churchill’s writing is fascinating because it is blunt and direct,” Schachter says. “She is able to capture how these characters struggle to find their voices after a shift in power through the revolution.”

“Mad Forest” also features a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate, who teaches acting at Muhlenberg. She plays a variety of roles in the show, including an angel, a grandmother, a dog, and a translator, among others. This will be Cate’s sixth mainstage performance at the college in the past seven years.

“I love working on shows here because it is so much fun to play alongside students that I have had in class,” Cate says. “I have always wanted to work on a Churchill play, so this is a great learning opportunity for me as well as for the students involved in the production.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Performances of “Mad Forest” are April 24-26: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty, and staff and for patrons 17 and under. The performance is intended for mature audiences.

Performances are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 orwww.muhlenberg.edu/theatre

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‘Dance Emerge’ Dance Concert Showcases Eclectic Work By Emerging Student Choreographers In A Nationally Acclaimed Program

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PAMuhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, April 10-13 in the College’s Dance Studio Theatre. Corrie Franz Cowart is the artistic director for the concert.

“Choreographers in this year’s ‘Dance Emerge’ are mining emotional and physical landscapes that celebrate the thrills of life and mourn our human foibles,” Franz Cowart says. “Humor and real-life circumstances are blended with physical skill and choreographic imagination, transforming observations of our world into kinetic and visual journeys for the audience.”

“Dance Emerge” will showcase 12 choreographers and 60 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features costume and lighting designs by the department’s acclaimed professional staff.

The 12 original dances include contemporary jazz, hip-hop, tap, dance theater, and modern works that investigate such topics as the sensation of getting lost in a book, women’s struggles with power, circus lights, and ritualized behavior. Choreographers drew inspiration from such diverse sources as dance history, travel, personal relationships, and college experiences.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the county, according to the Princeton Review rankings.  Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. It has been named annually among The Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States, and the American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance.

“Dance Emerge” runs April 10-13 in the Dance Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Performances are April 10-13: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 12, at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 13, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under, and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.  For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/dance.

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Muhlenberg College Dancers To Perform At National Festival

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA — “Key,” a dance work performed by Muhlenberg College dance students and choreographed by longtime Muhlenberg guest choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, has been selected for inclusion at the National College Dance Festival, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.

The work was selected by the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), which presents the National Festival. The five-member cast will perform in the festival June 5-7.

“Key” is one of just 31 dance works to be selected for the festival, from among 506 submissions nationwide. It was one of only three selected from the 45 works performed at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, March 17-20.

ACDFA holds 12 annual regional conferences around the country, and holds the National College Dance Festival every other year. Muhlenberg’s dance program has been included in five of the seven national festivals in the past 14 years.

“The conference gives us national exposure, and enhances the reputation of the program,” says Karen Dearborn, professor and chair of the dance program for Muhlenberg’s Theatre and Dance Department. “Especially because we’re a small liberal arts school, people tend to be absolutely shocked at how accomplished our dancers are. We’re competing against BFA and master’s degree programs and conservatories.”

A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Boye-Christensen is best known as the former artistic director of the renowned Ryrie-Woodbury Dance Company, a position she held from 2008 until April 2013, when she stepped away from the role in order to form NOW-ID, an interdisciplinary contemporary dance company. Boye-Christensen has been commissioned to create new dance works by prestigious dance companies around the world.

“‘Key’ was inspired by the life and music of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, an artist who epitomizes strength, originality and vulnerability,” Boye-Christensen says. “To strive for such excellence and profound artistry in one’s work, as he did, is deeply inspiring.”

“Key” features dancers  Allison Berger ’14, Katharine Dougherty ’14, Gwynne Jones ’15, Krysta Parker ’16 and Annabel Williams ’14. It was initially performed as part of Muhlenberg’s “Master Choreographers” concert in February 2014.

“It was an absolute joy for me to re-create ‘Key’ on the dancers at Muhlenberg,” Boye-Christensen says. “They came to the work with a tremendous amount of physicality, attention to detail and, perhaps most importantly, musicality. Congratulations to them, Karen and the rest of the dance faculty.”

The five dancers in the piece hail from five different states: Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. All five are dance majors, and three are double-majors, in biology, anthropology, and English.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of about 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. Princeton ranks Muhlenberg’s theater program first in the nation, and the 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.

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Planning Underway For 25th Anniversary Celebration Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

Allentown, PA – The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community, announce their plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act through the lens of the arts. On July 26, 2015, a year-long celebration will commence with a series of varied arts events that highlight the accessibility and inclusiveness of the region’s cultural organizations. Members of the community are welcome to help plan for this significant undertaking.

The mission is “to engage all citizens of the Lehigh Valley, intentionally securing the participation of persons of all abilities, regardless of physical, sensory, or cognitive limitation, both as audience members and/or providers in the dance, theatrical, musical, visual, literary and media arts.

The first step is to conduct an audit of current accessibility practices in the region among two hundred cultural nonprofits and social service agencies.

The goals include the following:

  1. Strengthening accessibility at cultural nonprofits;
  2. Increasing arts audiences; and
  3. Making the Lehigh Valley more inclusive.

According to U.S. Census data estimates from 2012, the number of non-institutionalized people with disabilities living in the Lehigh Valley is 81,000, or 12.7%, which represents a significant number of potential new audiences for the cultural community.

In addition to surveying, the planning committee is arranging for several focus groups with persons with disabilities and their caregivers, and representatives from cultural organizations. The sessions will pinpoint the needs and interests of persons with disabilities as well as the specific challenges still to be implemented by cultural entities.

This is an exciting opportunity to work together and contribute to a future that includes all of us. If you are a caretaker or an artist or person with a disability who would like to participate in a focus group, please contact the Lehigh Valley Arts Council at (610) 437-5915 or rforte@lvartscouncil.org.

About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3, membership-supported organization that serves as a regional advocate and ambassador for the Lehigh Valley arts community. Its mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations and the community. Through collaborative partnerships, it continues to provide access to the local arts community through education, research, professional development seminars and cooperative marketing initiatives.

Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201

Allentown, PA 18101

610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org

http://www.LVArtsCouncil.org  / http://www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

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Allentown Planners Warm To Cottage Houses Proposed At Former Montex Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A developer proposing a community of cottage-style houses at the former Montex Textiles plant in Allentown hopes to start working on the homes by the summer.

The 52-home complex, first proposed last year, emphasizes shared community green spaces and pedestrian-friendly streets to encourage a “front-porch culture” among neighbors.

The Allentown Planning Commission reviewed the sketch plan for the Sixth and Cumberland streets project today, and although a final vote will be held in the future, the early feedback was generally favorable.

“I think it’s a refreshing approach,” commission Chairman Oldrich Foucek said of the project, which is called Trout Creek Cottages.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/03/allentown_planners_warm_to_cot.html

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New Visions Emerging Artists’ Festival At Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Emerging theatrical talents will be on display in Muhlenberg College‘s “New Visions” Emerging Artists’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the college’s Department of Theatre & Dance.

Presented by the college every other year, the “New Visions” festival features rarely produced, avant-garde works for theater, and offers a rare opportunity for audiences to see the work of the next generation of up-and-coming theater artists. This year’s festival includes three productions, performed in repertory. Benjamin Wald directs Tom Stoppard’s rarely produced “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.” Alex McKhann directs “Still Life with Iris,” Steven Dietz’s fantastical adventure for young audiences. Matt Dicken will perform the world premiere of his one-man play “butyou’reaman, or The Seven Men I Came Out to in India,” directed by Arthur Strimling.

The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday, March 19-23. “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “butyou’reaman” will be performed together for a single ticket price, March 19, 20 and 22 at 8 p.m. and March 23 at 2 p.m. “Still Life with Iris” will be performed March 21 at 8 p.m. and March 22 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” Soviet dissident Alexander Ivanov has been imprisoned in a mental hospital until he admits that the statements he has made against the government were caused by a mental disorder. He shares a cell with a schizophrenic triangle player who believes he is in command of a symphony orchestra. Stoppard’s politically charged black comedy serves as a powerful fable about truth and dissent and as an absurd fantasia, set to the music inside your head.

An out-since-age-13 American man, playwright and actor Matt Dicken navigates the cultural dangers of staging his recent travels in India as stories for an audience in the USA. Evoking intimate landscapes rich with political and sensual variety, Dicken asks what it means to find love in a yet-to-be-legalized body.

“Still Life with Iris” centers on a little girl’s search for the simplest of things: home. Iris lives with her mom in the land of Nocturno—a magical place in which the workers make, by night, all of the things we see in the world by day. In Nocturno, memories reside not in people’s minds but in their coats. In their desire to have the best of everything, the rulers of Nocturno take Iris away from her home to be their daughter. To ease the pain of this separation, they remove her memory coat, leaving her with no recollection of her home or family. All that remains of her past is a single button. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Tickets for either performance (“Still Life with Iris” or the combined “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and “butyou’reaman”) are $15 for adults and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff and for patrons 17 and under. Combination tickets, including both performances, are $20 for adults, $12 for students, faculty and staff, and can be used for any two performances.

Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre

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Allentown Mayor Announces Plans To Improve Poorest Neighborhoods

English: City of Allentown

English: City of Allentown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced an initiative today to make health and safety improvements in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

The city has committed $2.5 million for such Center City improvements and has asked the business community to match or exceed that amount in donations.

Working with the Allentown School District, the city plans to focus on blight remediation, housing redevelopment, home ownership and streetscaping projects.

“I believe Allentown will become a beacon of hope and an economic model for redevelopment (that) can be replicated across the state and across the country,” Pawlowski said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/03/allentown_mayor_announces_plan.html

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Allentown’s Americus Hotel Project Advances, But Concerns Remain

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The revitalization of Allentown‘s Americus Hotel took another step toward reality today, but development officials want further assurances the project will actually be completed.

“We don’t want to have a project that’s going to fail,” said Sy Traub, chairman of the authority that oversees development in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

“If we approve a project that goes belly up in the middle of it, and it’s a project in the middle of our city that’s going to sit vacant and stalled, then it’s going to be a real problem,” Traub said.

Developer Albert Abdouche appeared today before a Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority committee with his plans for a revamped 11-story hotel at 549 Hamilton St.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/02/allentowns_americus_hotel_proj.html#incart_river

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It’s Lehigh Valley Beer Week Y’all

Glass of beer MONGO

Glass of beer MONGO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you in need of something to take your mind off of snow, snow, snow and more snow?  Then maybe this will float your boat :)

Lehigh Valley Beer Week is a week long celebration of Craft Beer – highlighting local businesses as each one creates unique events to showcase their beer selection and their establishment as a whole. Featuring events such as beer dinners, beer tastings, brewery tours, meet the brewers, and everything else under the sun will be sure to keep everyone warm in the month of February!

To get all the details, visit their website: http://lehighvalleybeerweek.com/

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All-Female Cast Brings Feminist Sensibility To Molière’s Comedy ‘The Learned Ladies’

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA — In directing Molière’s “The Learned Ladies,” opening Feb. 20 at Muhlenberg College, James Peck had two choices.

He could either let Molière’s 17th century sensibilities take the reins, and produce a play about the absurdity of its female characters’ efforts to educate themselves. Or he could dig a bit deeper, and find the ways in which Molière’s comedy reveals a nobility and bravery in those efforts.

“I can see two versions of this play being produced,” Peck says. “It could certainly be done as a misogynist satire, and some directors really want to steer clear of the play because of that. But I think it more fundamentally — and the version we’re trying to do, certainly — is a play about the ridiculous lengths that men have sometimes gone to in order to keep women from educating themselves.”

In other words, it’s the sexism that’s absurd, rather than the ladies themselves — at least most of the time. In support of this perspective, Peck has cast women in all of the roles, male and female — including his faculty colleague Francine Roussel in the role of Belize.

“I think having an all-female company of women who are themselves ‘learned ladies’ underscores the point,” Peck says. “And to be fair to Molière, often his female characters are the savviest people on the stage. As soon as you start thinking that the women are ridiculous, they do or say something that’s really kind and beautiful and insightful.

“The play is also blindingly funny,” he says. “I mean, these intellectual ideas are important to me, but the humor is as well.”

“The Learned Ladies” runs Feb. 20-23 in the college’s Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre. Broadway lighting designer Rick Fisher, winner of the 2009 Tony Award for his work on “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” is designing the lights for the show as part of a semester-long residency.

For Peck, the project also represented an opportunity to work with Roussel, who returns to the Muhlenberg mainstage for the first time since “Cabaret” in 2005. A native of France, Roussel was among the founders of the Actors Studio in Paris. She has written and performed her own shows, and continues her acting career in France and America. Her numerous film and television credits include “Sex and the City,” “Saturday Night Live,” and Sydney Pollack’s feature film “The Interpreter.” Roussel directs frequently for the Muhlenberg mainstage and teaches acting at Muhlenberg.

“Working with Francine has been an incredible pleasure,” Peck says. “She’s a truly skilled actress. She has really penetrating insight into what’s happening in the scene, as well as tremendous comic timing.”

In his 1672 satire of culture pretentiousness, Molière asks whether a woman can be both a devoted wife and a devoted scholar. Henriette and Clitandre wish to marry. Henriette’s father and uncle are in favor of the match, but the women of her family are obsessed with the allure of salon culture, and wish for her to marry Trissotin, a pompous but mediocre poet. Henriette must decide whether she should live life as a highly educated but unhappy woman, or whether she can continue her education without sacrificing love.

The production features a 1978 translation by acclaimed poet Richard Wilbur, in which “words dance delectably,” according to The New York Times.

The set for the play, designed by Muhlenberg design professor Curtis Dretsch, is a giant armillary sphere — a model of celestial objects consisting of a series of concentric rings that spin around one another. The design concept reflects the characters’ desire literally to map the heavens, and more broadly, to come to a greater understanding of the universe around them.

“The sphere provides unusual playing spaces for the action of the show,” Peck says. “It also serves as the perfect image for the women’s learned enterprises.”

“The Learned Ladies” will be performed Feb. 20-23: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under. Performances are in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the country, according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenebrg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. It has been named annually among the Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States.

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Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Announces Open Audition Dates

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will hold open auditions for performers ages 16 and up on Feb. 23 and 24. Performers will be cast for the season’s mainstage productions: the classic Broadway musical “A Chorus Line,” performing June 11-29, and “Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot,’” performing July 9-27.

The following audition details can also be found online, at www.muhlenberg.edu/smt.

Vocal auditions will be held Sunday, Feb. 23, from 3 to 6:30 and 7:30 to 11 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday vocal auditions will be held in the Baker Center for the Arts Band Room. Monday vocal auditions will be held in the Baker Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance. Vocal audition appointments are three minutes.

Dance auditions will be held Sunday, Feb. 23, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m., in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts. Dance auditions will take about half an hour.

All auditioners must register in advance and schedule an audition. All auditioners must sign up for both vocal and dance auditions. Auditioners should send an email to SMTcompany@muhlenberg.edu before Friday, Feb. 21, indicating available dates and times within the scheduled audition, and providing a mobile phone number where the auditioner can be reached with questions.

Those without access to email should call the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance office at 484-664-3087, during regular office hours before Thursday, Feb. 20. Voice messages should contain all of the above information.

All auditioners will be assigned a time for both a dance audition and a vocal audition. Auditioners must both dance and sing, even if they concentrate in just one area. All performers in both shows will sing and dance.

Auditioners who live too far away from the Allentown area or who are unable to attend auditions may submit a preliminary DVD audition. The DVD should consist of a comedic monologue not more than two minutes in length, one song (see guidelines below), and a 90-second dance solo. DVDs must arrive before the audition date listed to be eligible for consideration.

Auditioners who receive a callback must attend in person to be considered for a role. Callbacks will be held March 9-11, and will include acting auditions, reading from the script.

Auditioners for both shows should prepare a memorized vocal selection of no more than 32 bars of a musical theater song written between 1950 and 1980.

An accompanist will be provided for the vocal audition. Auditioners must bring sheet music in the key in which they would like to sing, with the selection indicated and any cuts clearly noted. Please no accompaniment tapes or a cappella auditions.

For dance auditions, auditioners will be taught a short dance sequence, which they will then perform. No preparation is required. Auditioners who own tap shoes should bring them.

Auditioners should bring two copies of their resumes and headshots.

Non-performing opportunities are available for technicians and costumers. Carpenters, electricians, props technicians, light board and sound board operators, and stage crew are needed for productions. Costumers, first hand, stitchers, and wardrobe running crew are needed in the costume shop.

High school stage management internships are available for those who will be at least 16 years old by the time they begin working for MSMT. Interns work alongside college students and professionals from the College, and guest artists from New York, learning valuable skills that they can take back to their high school programs. Interns receive a $400 stipend for the summer.

The application deadline for technicians, costumers, and administrative personnel is March 1. Applications can be found online at muhlenberg.edu/smt. Completed applications can be sent to boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu.

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Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski To Withdraw From Pennsylvania Governor Race, Source Says

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski plans to drop out of the race for Pennsylvania governor, according to a source.

Pawlowski, a Democrat who had been seeking to challenge Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, will withdraw from the race Monday and endorse Treasurer Rob McCord, the source said.

Mike Fleck, Pawlowski’s campaign manager, declined to comment except to say Pawlowski would hold a news conference 11 a.m. Monday to discuss the governor’s race.

Pawlowski did not immediately respond to a phone call for comment tonight.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/elections/index.ssf/2014/01/allentown_mayor_ed_pawlowski_t.html

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National Penn Bank Says It Will Close Nine Branches, Cut Staff

After three years of stable operating expenses, and positive returns for investors in 2013, the owner of National Penn bank said this week it is cutting staff and consolidating nine branch locations.

“The consistency of our financial performance with such a strong return on assets is a tribute to the efforts of our entire team,” National Penn President and CEO Scott V. Fainor said in a statement.

National Penn Bancshares Inc.’s restructuring also includes previously announced plans to move its headquarters from Boyertown, Pa., to Center City Allentown.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/01/national_penn_says_it_will_clo.html

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