Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: SATORI's 'Shadows of the Samurai' involves specialized art in translation

"What five-year-old doesn't love a giant centipede monster (handily defeated) or a brave samurai?" asked Nora Suggs, the artistic director of SATORI, as she described an upcoming performance suitable for the whole family. It's SATORI's acclaimed "Shadows of the Samurai – Supernatural Tales of Old Japan," a multidisciplinary music, art and theater performance on June 3 at 7:30 p.m., and June 4 at 2 p.m., at the Charles Brown IceHouse, 56 River Street, Bethlehem.

"The stories are supernatural, but fine for kids," Suggs said. "And even when there's a hint of real spookiness, it's balanced by the artwork and other effects."

From snow spirits and samurai heroes to dragon kings and dancing goblins, the shadows of the mysterious East come to life with five traditional Japanese ghost stories told through a blend of acting, storytelling, and mime. They're simultaneously illustrated on two screens and include a mix of shadow puppetry, drawing, and collage. Musical accompaniment is performed on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) by Suggs, and authentic Japanese percussion instruments, which provide sound track, special sound effects, and individual character themes.

Along with Suggs, the performance involves artists William and Peter Christine; actor, storyteller and mime Mark McKenna, and percussionist Larry Stockton.

"One of the best descriptions I've heard of our program is that in this age of computer-generated special effects, 'Shadows of the Samurai' is 'aggressively analog,'" Suggs said. "There's no attempt to hide the creativity of the five individuals involved in the performance – real people are creating this, and blending an ancient artistic tradition with modern sensibilities while doing so."

Tickets for the performances are available only at the door.

For further info: 610-435-6036


With the Memorial Day weekend comes a time to recognize those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom. Our region offers many outdoor ceremonies with hometown celebrations that honor our military with patriotic parades and concerts performed by hometown bands. In addition to checking with your community websites for planned activities in a specific area, here are some Sunday happenings around town:

  • The Allentown Band, 7 p.m., Springhouse Middle School, Springhouse Road, South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, sponsored by South Whitehall Township Recreation.
  • The Pioneer Band, 7:30 p.m., West Park, between West Linden and West Turner streets, North 15th and North West streets, Allentown, sponsored by West Park Civic Association.
  • The Ringgold Band, 6 p.m., Berks County Heritage Center, 1102 Red Bridge Road, Bern Township, sponsored by Berks County Parks and Recreation Department.


The Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley have partnered with the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley for two family-friendly ballets with live music. The event includes Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Schumann's "Carnaval" on June 2 at 7 p.m., at Baker Hall at the Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem. Music director and piano soloist is Eugene Albulescu.

According to the ballet's website, Artistic Director Karen Kroninger Knerr has adapted the choreography of Mikhail Fokine whose creation premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1910. The music consists of 22 short pieces representing characters and moods, which might be encountered at a grand party or masked ball.

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is a suite of 10 pieces, which portrayed Mussorgsky's tour through an exhibition of 400 paintings by his close friend, artist Viktor Hartmann, who died suddenly the previous year at the age of 39. Most of his paintings are said to have been lost to the world. With the help of the Allentown Art Museum, Knerr has choreographed dances to tell the story of, and to bring to life, each piece of art specially selected from the museum.

For further info:         


An exhibition of gold and silver key winning entries from the 2017 East Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art Awards are on view through June 11 at the Banko Gallery at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem.

An awards ceremony was held in April at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. The awards program, in conjunction with the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, is recognized as the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7-12.

Locally, awards were presented to students from Emmaus High School, Parkland High School, Orefield Middle School, Easton Area High School, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, and Southern Lehigh Middle School.

For further info:


May is Military Appreciation Month, and the State Theatre in Easton is celebrating with a limited amount of special discounted tickets for veterans and military personnel to see "Blue Collar" comedian Ron White on June 9. White has two performances, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The show is for mature audiences only.

A passionate supporter of the U.S. military for more than 20 years, White donates his time and resources. In 2008, he created an annual charity show, "Ron White's Comedy Salute to the Troops," with the profit from ticket/DVD sales donated to the Armed Forces Foundation to assist troops and their families.

Upcoming at the State: Multi-Grammy Award-winning band, Toto, performs in concert on June 16 at 8 p.m., in "An Evening with Toto." Featured will be a repertoire of their latest studio album, "XIV," plus classic hits, and both band and fan favorites. In 2015, Toto released their first new studio album in 10 years – "Toto XIV," and in 2016, a Blu-Ray/DVD, "Live at Montreux." The band will mark its 40th anniversary in 2018.

For further info:


Legendary artist Don Henley of the Eagles is bringing his 2017 tour to the Sands Bethlehem Events Center on June 10 at 7:30 p.m., with Americana band JD & The Straight Shot.

As solo artist and founding member, vocalist and songwriter of the Eagles, Henley has eight Grammy Awards, numerous gold and platinum records, and sold-out concert tours worldwide to his credit. His solo hits include "Heart of the Matter" and "All She Wants To Do Is Dance." The Eagles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and were recognized with Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.

JD & The Straight Shot has been touring nonstop in support of their 2016 all-acoustic album, "Ballyhoo!" In addition to playing with Henley, the group has performed alongside such artists as Joe Walsh, the Eagles, Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, Jewel, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Chicago. A forthcoming album is due this year.

For further info:


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