Out and About

Out and About: Film festival in Bethlehem

You may not need to go to Cannes or Telluride to see some truly creative films. More than 70 films from all over the world are in Bethlehem. Enjoy international films, animated shorts, documentaries, comedies and other works by innovative artists at the 16th annual South Side Film Festival June 12-15, a five-day event featuring films, guest filmmakers, juried selections, locally produced films, seminars, and networking opportunities for filmmakers and fans of independent film.

The festival in south Bethlehem is a program of The South Side Film Institute, a not-for-profit volunteer-run organization promoting the art of the independent filmmaker.

The festival kicks off Tuesday with an opening night party at 6:30 p.m. The evening continues with the opening night feature film "The Weight of Water screening at the Charter Arts High School at 8 p.m. The film tells the story of a blind man balancing his fear of drowning with his fear of remaining paralyzed in a prison of darkness. He kayaks the Grand Canyon with a cast of characters who each has a different take on how to approach the challenge of Lava Falls, the granddaddy rapid of them all.

Admission to the party and screening is $10.

Other films include "Turned to The Sun," a short about a janitor who is running away from his past as a soldier; "One Small Step," an animated short about a young girl who endeavors to realize her aspiration of becoming an astronaut with the support of her humble father, and "Top Row," a documentary about the Freshman Mens' Choir at Napa High School in California.

More films, times and venues are listed at the South Side Film Festival website at www.ssff.org and on the Facebook page.

Berks festival fun

Boyertown is the place to be for the Philadelphia Ave Street Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Hosted by the Berks-Mont Business Association, the event on East Philadelphia Avenue in downtown Boyertown will include a full lineup of entertainment, including Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit, country singer Kendal Conrad and pop rock performer Michael Kropp.

There are plenty of fun activities including the zipline, rock wall, extreme trampoline bounce, petting zoo, exotic animal show, magician, street performers, food vendors, beverages, food trucks, crafters and pop-up entertainment for the whole family.

Businesses of all sizes, a variety of nonprofit organizations, groups and clubs will be on hand to provide information and activities, and there will be a beer garden featuring local breweries.

Studio B Fine Art Gallery, 39A East Philadelphia Avenue, will hold openings for "FACES of Boyertown," by photographer Linda Bell and "Experiments, Wanderings and Inquiries: Works on Paper" by art critic Ron Schira.

The "FACES" exhibit features photographic portraits taken by Bell of people who live, work, or visit the Boyertown community. Bell will be taking photographs during the fair at Rita's Water Ice, corner of Franklin Street and East Philadelphia Avenue from 11 to 2 p.m.

Schira's body of work displays three decades of drawing, watercolor and mixed media pieces on paper. Many of the works have never been exhibited; and, seen like an artistic journal, they explore the artist's thinking process and his interest in abstraction and spontaneity. Schira has exhibited in more than 30 solo displays in Berks and Lehigh counties since the mid-70s and writes poetry and short stories on art and other cultural topics. The exhibitions run through August 23.

For information, call 610-400-3206 or go to www.studiobbb.org.

Tacos of all shapes and sizes are just one of the treats at Spring Fiesta: Berks' Best Tacos from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Jim Dietrich Park in Muhlenberg Township.

The free music and food festival features more than 15 different food vendors with a Latino flair, offering a variety of traditional and unconventional taco recipes. Celebrate Latino culture with live music played throughout the day. There will be dancing, crafters, and an adult beverage area. For some additional entertainment, there will be piñatas, face-painting and even mechanical bull riding for those who are adventurous. The festivities will be capped off with a fireworks show.

Jim Dietrich Park is at 4900 Stoudts Ferry Bridge Road, Muhlenberg Township.

For information, contact Muhlenberg Township Parks & Recreation at 610-929-4727 or www.co.berks.pa.us.

PSF's 'Crazy For You' features Broadway actors

Broadway actors Danny Gardner and Hayley Podschun will star as love interests Bobby Child and Polly Baker when Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival opens "Crazy for You" June 12 as the first Main Stage production of the summer season.

The Tony Award-winning best musical, with music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig will kick off the festival at DeSales University in Center Valley.

Gardner has performed on Broadway in "Dames at Sea" and in the national tours of "White Christmas" and "42nd Street."

Podschun's Broadway credits include "Hairspray," "Chaplin," "Sunday in the Park with George," and "Anything Goes." She played the leading role of Glinda in the national tour of "Wicked."

Joining them in the cast as Bela Zangler is Vishal Vaidya; Kate Loprest as Irene Roth; Christopher Coucill as Everett Baker and Matthew Patrick Quinn as Lank Hawkins.

The production is helmed by Broadway actress and director Gina Lamparella, who directed PSF's "King Richard II" last season.

Treasured Gershwin songs meet sparkling, sensational dances in "Crazy for You," the ultimate feel-good musical comedy from acclaimed "Lend Me a Tenor" and "The Three Musketeers" funnyman playwright Ken Ludwig. "Crazy for You" features some of the most well-known standards of the American songbook including, "I've Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and "Nice Work if You Can Get It."

The creative team features scenic design by Steve TenEyck, costume design by Sam Fleming, lighting design by Eric T. Haugen, and sound design by Matthew Given. The musical will be under the music direction of, and conducted by, Ryan Touhey with choreography by Stephen Casey.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. June 12-15, 20-21 and 27-28; 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 16; 7 p.m. June 18 and 25; 2 and 8 p.m. June 19, 22, 26 and 29; 2 p.m. June 23 and 30.

Performances are in Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, | Center Valley. Tickets are $25-$68.

For information call 610-282-9455, or go to www.pashakespeare.org.

Comedy based on Greek farce in Bethlehem

"Topsy Turvy," a new comedic play by Crowded Kitchen Players' Ara Barlieb that is inspired by the bawdy anti-war comedy "Lysistrata," which dates back to ancient Greece, opens at Bethlehem's Ice House on Friday.

Set in early 1930s Hollywood, in which actress Louise Antoinette, who has grown tired of the vapid romantic comedies and historical dramas that made her a star, strikes a bargain with movie studio boss, Max Steinberg.

She wants to direct and play the lead in a motion picture intended to help liberate and empower women, and decides on a screen adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek anti-war comedy, "Lysistrata."

Aristophanes' low comedy classic "Lysistrata" deals with a pledge by the women of Athens and Sparta to boycott their husbands and lovers' beds until the men of Greece stop their ceaseless warfare and return home for good.

Lysistrata is the leader of this plan to withhold "wifely duties," and she believes this is the only way in which to save their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons from the inevitable wages of constant warfare.

Adding to the fun is a "cross-dressing, gender-bending" cast and crew.

Starring as Louise/Lysistrata is Trish Cipoletti and Max Steinberg is played by Thomas Harrison.

The rest of the cast feature Todd Carpien, Carla Hadley, Brian Wendt, Bruce Brown, Dan Ferry,

Florence Taylor, Julisa Trinidad, Tatiana Torres, Jerry Brucker, Nancy Welsh, Emily Kreiger, Michelle Star, Don Swan Jr. and Alexandra Racines.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. June 7-8, and 14-15; 2 p.m. June 9 and 16, at the Ice House, 56 River Street, Bethlehem. Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $10 for students.

For information, call 610-395-7176, or go to www.ckplayers.com.

'Fresh Voices' showcases original work in Bethlehem

"Fresh Voices," featuring work by Touchstone Theatre apprentices, returns to the Touchstone stage on June 7 and 8.

The annual event is a celebration of new theater, featuring original works-in-progress by Alyssa Lou Ann Allen, Touchstone Theatre's 2018-19 apprentice.

This year's "Fresh Voices" is "Seph and the Butterfly King," an audience participatory fairy tale. The show is a chapter from an original story that Allen has been brainstorming as a children's book for several years. The piece features puppets, quirky costumes, and colorful set pieces to show the journey of the titular Seph as she travels from her mundane hometown to a world of magic and wonder.

Allen is from Easton and was already a familiar face in the Lehigh Valley music scene before coming to Touchstone as an apprentice. For "Fresh Voices," she is joined on stage by Remy Kayal, who was a Touchstone apprentice in 2014-2015.

Over 20 years, Touchstone has graduated more than 70 artists from its program with a decade of "Fresh Voices" showcases. Past apprentices have gone on to start their own theater companies, continued their work as playwrights, designers, actors, teaching artists, and contributed to the field of original theater locally and abroad.

Performances are 8 p.m. June 7 and 8 at Touchstone Theatre, 321 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem.

Tickets are pay-what-you-will, with a $10 donation suggested.

For information, call 610-867-1689, or go to www.touchstone.org.

Classical music in Allentown

Valley Vivaldi, presented by Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, kicks off its summer series of chamber ensemble music concerts by Sinfonia principal instrumentalist with a concert Sunday at Christ Lutheran Church in Allentown.

The program includes Vivaldi's "Concerto for strings in c minor, RV 120;" Platti's "Oboe concerto in g minor," featuring Cheryl Bishkoff on oboe; Telemann's "Concerto for recorder and bassoon in F, TWV 52:F1," featuring Rainer Beckmann on recorder and Susan Shaw on bassoon; Boismortier's "Sonata in e minor," with Bishkoff on oboe and Shaw on bassoon; J. S. Bach's "Violin concerto in a minor, BWV 1041," with Inna Eyzerovich on violin.

Meet the musicians at a reception after the 7 p.m. concert.

Tickets are $25 to $35 for adults; $20 to $30 for seniors and free for students.

Christ Lutheran Church is at 1245 West Hamilton Street, Allentown.

For information, call 610 434-7811 or go to www.pasinfonia.org/valley-vivaldi.html

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem's "Bach at Noon" returns to Allentown for its fifth summer of free concerts of Bach's music.

The first of three concerts in the series begins Tuesday at St. John's Lutheran Church in downtown Allentown. In collaboration with the Arts at St. John's, Bach at Noon is presented on the second Tuesday of the month in June, July and August.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the concert begins at 12:10 p.m. Each performance will feature soloists, along with members of The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra, with a lively introduction to each piece from conductor and artistic director, Greg Funfgeld. A good will offering is taken.

The program includes Bach's "Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 543," featuring Funfgeld on the organ; Johannes Brahms' "Anthem - Create in me, O God, a pure heart, and grant a new, grant a right spirit within me;" Bach's "Cantata 111," featuring soprano Katherine Kaiser, mezzo-soprano Janna Critz, tenor Isaiah Bell and bass David Newman.

Also featured are Elizabeth Field and Rebecca Brown on violin; Akhmed Mamedov on viola; Loretta O'Sullivan on cello; Stephen Groat on string bass; Nobuo Kitagawa and Lynne Cohen on oboe; Charles Holdeman on bassoon and Thomas Goeman on organ.

St. John's Lutheran Church is at 37 South Fifth Street, Allentown.

For information, go to bach.org.

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