Local Color

Nathan Breininger

Nathan Breininger

By Ann Wlazelek The pieces of Nathan Breininger’s career as a mosaic tile artist fell into place in a basement in Catasauqua. That’s where the then 19-year-old was laid up with a herniated disk from the back-breaking, knee-crunching labor of laying conventional tile in people’s bathrooms. “I had been saving all this beautiful glass from other jobs, laying on my side in the... »

Amanda Danziger: Independent Filmmaker

Amanda Danziger: Independent Filmmaker

By Ann Wlazelek Amanda Danziger was on a mission in Rwanda when her future as a filmmaker came into focus. A student at Drexel University at the time, the Allentown native decided she’d rather work at an orphanage in the East African country than do an internship in digital media. She bought a $300 video camera to chronicle the experience for the people who financed her tr... »

Joseph Keppel: The Magic Man

Joseph Keppel: The Magic Man

By Ann Wlazelek As an expert at card magic, Joseph Keppel hates to ask people to “pick a card.” So many magicians do that, he reasons, that the audience believes they know what is going to happen next. Instead, Keppel opens a new deck of cards, takes out four aces and turns them into kings in front of people’s noses. The trick might take a lot longer to learn, he said, but... »

Stephanie Smith: Visionary Artist in Progress

Stephanie Smith: Visionary Artist in Progress

By Ann Wlazelek Stephanie Smith saw an image on the Internet and was instantly intrigued. It was a mandala, or circular art form created in one siting while meditating. She took out her notebook, started drawing and could not stop. “I liked the repetition,” she said of the circular designs that calm her creative clamor. That was almost seven years ago. Today, the 44-year-o... »

Turn Up, Tune In: West Park Entertains New Music

Turn Up, Tune In: West Park Entertains New Music

By Ann Wlazelek Photo By Frank Mitman When New York’s Four O’Clock Flowers and The Down Hill Strugglers took the stage at Allentown’s West Park band shell during Art-in-the-Park in June, most of the people listening and clapping had no clue they were part of an experiment. Event organizers wanted to see if musicians other than the park’s popular yet traditional municipal a... »

Drumming is Hard to Beat

Drumming is Hard to Beat

By Ann Wlazelek It starts with a beat, as simple as rum-pum-pum-pum.  It escalates as dozens of drummers, seated in a circle, pick up the rhythm and beat it over and over again. The sound builds. The rhythm resonates.  Before they know it, participants move to the music, mesmerized, transcended. “There’s a space in time where everybody gets together,” coordinator Moe Jeran... »

Allentown Freak Out Dance Festival

By Frederick Jerant “HUR-ry, HUR-ry, HUR-ry, ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages! Step right this way and see the most a-STOUND-ing collection of exotic performers between Aquashicola and Kalamazoo! See belly-dancers…fire-eaters…sword-swallowers…and more! Much, MUCH more, ladies and gentlemen…” Sounds like an old-time barker for a circus sideshow, doesn’t it?  W... »

The Burning Hearts Fire and Light Theater

By Frederick Jerant Humorist Jean Shepherd (whose writings formed the basis of “A Christmas Story”) once mused that women apparently attend a special school before becoming mothers, where they’re all taught to say the same things. Stuff like: “Sit up straight.” “Eat your vegetables.” “One day your face will freeze like that.” “Don’t play with fire!” That’s (mostly) good ad... »

Easter Egg Artistry

By Mary Beth Schwartz Sixty thousand years ago, artists engraved hatched patterns on eggshells in South Africa. Decorated eggs have been discovered dating to Iron Age II. The House of Fabergé created thousands of elaborate precious metal and gemstone varieties for the Russian Court from 1885 to 1917. And forty years ago, a group of local women with a year-long passion for ... »

Tales of the Towpath

By J.F. Pirro Coming up with ways to spark interest and infuse fun in teaching history to fourth graders isn’t always easy. But, when it comes to one particular subject, Nikki Giannaras, a fourth grade teacher at Hanover Elementary School, Bethlehem. knows just where to turn for help. Through a curriculum offered free-of-charge by the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage ... »

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