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Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: 'Catch the Spirits' art show focuses on ghosts of Easton past

The ghosts of Easton past – reaching as far back as the early 1800s -- have been captured in a series of watercolors, "Catch the Spirits!" by noted local artist Preston Keith Hindmarch. The collection debuts Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., at Easton's new Two Rivers Brewing Company at 6th and Northampton streets (former Mount Vernon Ale House).

Hindmarch, a native of Palmer Twp., Northampton Co., has long been intrigued by Easton's history with a passion to preserve it as best he can. Known for his watercolor renderings of the city's historical structures, the graphic designer breathes life into the spirits behind the stories that local folk still like to reminisce about. 

Among his subjects is the infamous Charles Getter, hanged in 1833 on an island (today known as "Getter's Island") in the Delaware River for the murder of his wife. Then there's the ill-fated steamboat, "Alfred Thomas," when 10 lives were lost when it exploded on the Delaware in 1860. The explosion occurred next to Getter's Island. Also, Easton's very own Joseph Force Crater, better known as Judge Crater, who mysteriously disappeared in 1930, after leaving a New York eatery.

With the Lehigh Valley currently experiencing "Freddy Fever," it's fitting that Hindmarch includes one of Easton's most famous ghosts, J. "Fred" Osterstock, for whom the State Theatre's Freddy Awards are named. Osterstock, who managed the theater from 1936-1957, actually lived on site when a flood destroyed his home. Local lore still has him sighted there. Back in 2004, his presence was said to be "in the house" when Freddy artistic director Charles Kalan accidentally stepped off the stage during a rehearsal of an opening production number with high school students and suffered broken ribs. Those who were in attendance said they actually witnessed the hands of the stage clock frantically circling backwards when the accident occurred.

"I always like to spotlight Easton," Hindmarch said. "I would like those who come to Monday's art show to walk away with some knowledge of the city's rich past. I'll even have printouts available on the history behind some of our spirits. It's not all ghoulish."

In addition to his original work, Hindmarch said he'll be offering prints of his collection at a one-day-only special discount.

Hindmarch, owner of Aardvark Graphics in Easton, also is an illustrator who teamed with another local history buff, Jeff Finegan Sr., for last year's book project, "Colonel Washington and Me." The book tells of the relationship between Washington and one of his slaves, William Lee.

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Sesame Street Live "Elmo's Super Heroes" comes to Stabler Arena in Bethlehem beginning Friday through Sunday. When Super Grover loses his superness, Sesame Street needs a hero. That's when Elmo and his team of super heroes come into the picture. Lessons on healthy habits are told through song and dance led by Sesame Street's Elmo, Abby Cadabby and a host of other friends who'll explore exercise, nutrition, sleep/energy and hygiene, all in a quest to put the "super" back in Super Grover. Elmo's Super Heroes come to the rescue.

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Dancers and musicians of DanceBrazil return to the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in Easton on Wednesday at 8 p.m., with Jelon Vieira's newest work, "Batuke" ("drumming"). The work involves rhythms created by human body movements, by smooth samba steps, Capoeira kicks, and the stick dance Maculele; and "Memorias," which honors the roots of African culture that define the Afro-Brazilian soul of music and dance.

Capoeira is described as the traditional dance/martial arts form that originated in Africa and evolved in colonial Brazil as a means of fighting enslavement.

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Spring is definitely the season for creative dance on college campuses across the Lehigh Valley. The Moravian College Dance Company in Bethlehem, under the direction of Mary Anne Gillen Hoffman, will present its 38th annual concert featuring the choreography of both student and guest artists on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Foy Concert Hall on the South campus.

The company, founded by Dawn Ketterman-Benner in 1975, received the Arts Organization Award from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission last October, for its substantial contribution to local arts.

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Cedar Crest College Dance Company in Allentown will present "Spring Dances," original works created by faculty choreographers, with artistic direction by Robin Gerchman, April 18-20 at 8 p.m., at Samuels Theatre in the Tompkins College Center on campus. The performance on April 20 will feature a post-show talk back with choreographers.

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A showcase of young choreographers and genres of music from classical to hip-hop will comprise "Dance Emerge," April 18-21, at the Empie Theatre at the Baker Center for the Arts at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

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