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Filling the hunger since 1992
Guitarist Steve Howe talks about his and the band’s direction
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The intersection of art, entertainment, culture, opinion and mad genius
CLOSE TO THE EDGE WITH STEVE HOWE | 22
Edward Weston, “Nude,” 1936
ON THE COVER: Nicole Henry. Page 24.
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We fell down the Who’s Who rabbit hole at the Reading Terminal’s fifth annual Party for the Market fundraiser. Some sightings: Lynne Abraham, whose white hair recalled the bonnets of absent Amish and Mennonite vendors; the large, moon-shaped eyes of DA Seth Williams, staring fixedly into space and reminding us of Transcendental Meditation; and City Council-at-Large candidate Paul Stinke, who seemed to be surveying his old work site. The Market’s promise of unlimited food, drink and dancing held true even though we never did locate Molly Malloy’s Breakfast Buffet or the gypsy palm readers. Our cozy chat with Greta and Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger (while munching a Hershel’s Mini Reuben) preceded two other sightings: Judy Wicks’ comet of long white hair and a Seth Williams redux, his TM eyes still dilated. Crowds at the Philadelphia Flower Show this year were rock concert thick. Ice, snow and sleet didn’t deter the armies of mommies with strollers, serenading couples, or the leg-weary huddled masses camped out on carpeted corridors like stand-by passengers at Philadelphia International. The public’s violent obsession for a spring flower infusion seemed to parallel Tennessee Williams’ quip: “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” PFS has come a long way since its first show in 1829, the same year that Eastern State Penitentiary welcomed its first prisoners. At the PFS lgbt party we counted fewer drag queens and familiar faces than we did last year. The party’s guest of honor, Pam Grier, and host Josh Middleton’s on-site interview could hardly be heard because of a botched sound system. At the opening of UBahn at 1320 Chestnut Street, familiar faces dominated: A.D. Amorosi, Toni and Suzi Nash, Kory Aversa, Bobbi Booker, Nathan Lerner and I Am a Camera, HughE Dillon. The photo op extravaganza included lots of interlocked arms, group hugs, and bar-fueled smiley faces. Introverts had no place to hide in this U-Bahn, March 5, 2015. tight, German-style subway bunker space. Dillon must have taken a million shots, but only a few showed up on Philly.com, proving that even the best poses often wind up on the cutting room floor. The annual Red Ball held at Memorial Hall’s Please Touch Museum to benefit the Red Cross attracted over 1,400 guests, many of whom rode the carousel or “drove” a faux Septa bus. We met the newly crowned Miss Philadelphia, Julia Rae Schlucter, 22, currently enrolled at Fordham University, and a dead ringer for Grace Kelly. Julia will go on to compete in the Miss Pennsylvania contest in June. We chatted with Jane and Roger Willig of Norristown and Center City, and told Lenny Bazemore of Bazemore Galleries that the only wine on hand was Barefoot Wine, a step up from Manischewitz and definitely low rent. “Tell them to come to the Bazemore,” Lenny said, implying that his wine wears good shoes. The mostly dessert-heavy ball had us wondering about diabetes and extra pounds, but with the Red Cross nearby, most opted to indulge.
I was going to christen this column with a review of Neil Diamond’s first Lehigh Valley concert in I-don’t-know-when. And then I was blasted away by a scorching, touching Sellersville Theater show starring Dave and Phil Alvin, founders of the Blasters, whose hemipowered rockabilly basically saved the ’80s for me. The Alvins were very sporadic partners from 1985, when Dave left the Blasters, to 2012, when he helped Phil recover from an infection that stopped his heart twice. They reunited last year to record Common Ground, an album of tunes minted by Big Bill Broonzy, whose many brands of blues charmed the brothers as adolescents. They showcased the CD in Sellersville, putting a romping, stomping honky-tonk hurting on “How Do You Want It Done?” and “I Feel So Good.” After they transformed “Truckin’ Little Woman” into bucking-bronco boogie-woogie, I felt so good, well, I could have balled a dozen jacks. Dave delivered marvelously twangy, greasy, mule-skinning guitar solos, often with legs spread in a gun-slinger stance. While a frail Phil never flashed his trademark maniacal grin, his big, bold voice still could set off sirens, ring canyons and blast asteroids. Dave’s grizzled Merle Haggard baritone served him well in “Out of Control,” his sprawling, spooky saga, and “What’s Up with Your Brother?,” a wry, sly duet he wrote for himself and Phil. Dave’s “Dry River” featured a surging, searching, orgiastic solo from drummer Lisa Pankratz, a member of his crackerjack trio, the Guilty Ones. A long, satisfying ramble through the Blasters’ “Marie, Marie” featured Dave’s tasty licks from the Doors’ “Break on Through” and “L.A. Woman.” He was just as charismatic as an emcee. He joked about the tensions of brother acts and artistic pretensions (“We’re going to get heavier than Jethro Tull”). He saluted his souvenir salesman and his novel-writing road manager. He thanked the Spanish nurse who saved Phil’s life and he thanked Phil for “letting me put words into your mouth.” Neil Diamond’s concert at the PPL Center in Allentown had all the facets of a diamond, and not just because he entered and exited through a projection of a giant spinning gem. The 74-year-old singer-songwriter opened his world tour in a new building in his first Valley gig in a good five decades. Backed by a dozen musicians, he presented an often sparkling tour of his six decades as a prismatic troubadour. The set list was a laser-cut blend of Brill Building ballads (“Kentucky Woman”), Broadway belters (“America”), gospel barnburners (“Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”) and Technicolor Brooklyn Westerns (“Cracklin’ Rosie”). Bright choices blossomed into brilliant experiences. Slowing down “Brooklyn Roads” made it a lovelier childhood reverie. Slowing down the first third of “Holly Holy” made the last two-thirds a roof-raising reawakening. While there were no dull spots, there were flaws. Diamond dipped into Al Jolson’s bag of schmaltzy routines, kneeling during “Love on the Rocks” and pleading the words of “I Am…I Said.” For the most part, though, he sang strikingly and compellingly. His terrific band, which includes four horn players, gave “I’m a Believer” a kick-ass beat and “Beautiful Noise” a carousel breeze. Even “Forever in Blue Jeans,” one of my least favorite Diamond tunes, was improved by happily dancing women who screamed “Marry me!” The concert was a kind of diamond ring for fans to renew their vows to Diamond for helping them through ups, downs and all-arounds. I became a fan in the spring of 1972 when I heard “Play Me,” a perfect piece of crafty romance and a miniature pop “Bolero.” I became a bigger fan that fall after reading a Life magazine profile of Diamond during his remarkable run of 20 sold-out shows on Broadway. For me, his triumphant homecoming felt like home.
The Bach At Seven Cantata series (Choral Arts Philadelphia) is one of our favorite monthly events, transporting mini-concertgoers to the high gothic realms of the city’s most beautiful Episcopal churches. But how about switching Bach for Chopin At Seven; Baroque At Seven; Mozart At Seven; Stravinsky At Seven, or maybe even Wagner At Seven? Choral Arts could even pair up with Moore Brothers Wine Company, the event’s libations provider, to do an all-Moore composer program: composer Carman Moore At Seven; the 18th Century composer Thomas Moore at seven; Australian composer Kate Moore at seven, or the award-winning Dorothy Rudd Moore at Seven. This Moore on Moore action would surely make the snail’s pace after-concert wine line move a lot faster. ■
The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is hosting Past Present [see review on page 8 of this issue], a series of intriguing conversations between 11 conceptual artists and seven paintings from the museum’s core collection of European oils from the 14th to 18th centuries. Three installations are particularly adventurous. Sanford Wurmfeld’s gridded, gradually modulating acrylic gessos are abstractions of the geometric patterns and sunrise/sunset hues in Canaletto’s view of St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Creighton Michael riffs off Paulus Moreelse’s paintings of spouses in enormous ruffled collars, framing the couple with digitized portraits that seem loomed and coded with new artistic DNA. The golden background of Giovanni del Biondo’s “Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine” inspired Jonsara Ruth and Lorella Di Cintio to cover two wallboard walls in gold foil and add a punched silhouette of the painting’s kneeling donor. The work works equally well as mystic interior, architectural artifact and spiritual tanning booth. ■
Thom Nickels is the author of Philadelphia Architecture, Tropic of Libra, Out in History and Spore, and the recipient of the 2005 Philadelphia AIA Lewis Mumford Architecture Journalism Award.
Geoff Gehman is the author of the memoir The Kingdom of the Kid: Growing Up in the Long-Lost Hamptons (SUNY Press).
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Spring Blossoms III, Pastel 14" X 20"
Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Couple of an Age Morven Museum & Garden 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ (609) 924-8144 morven.org November 13, 2015 – October 23, 2016 Opening Reception: November 12 Opening on November 13, 2015 This will be the first large-scale exhibition to explore the vice and virtues of this prominent couple. A single feat by Charles Lindbergh changed his life and the world forever. Against all odds and with the support of a very few, he flew alone in a single-engine plane across the wide Atlantic Ocean by deadreckoning. The fame that followed was unmatched and Lindbergh became the first media celebrity of our modern world. He quickly surpassed the Prince of Wales as the most photographed man on earth. As Governor Charles Evan Hughes explained, “We measure heroes as we do ships, by their displacement. Charles Lindbergh has displaced everything.” Shortly after the flight, Lindbergh met Anne Morrow, daughter of Ambassador Dwight Morrow and Betty Morrow, of Englewood, New Jersey. Charles and Anne were married at the Morrow residence, and called Englewood home for many years during their tours, journeys and adventures. Englewood is also where they were invasively besieged by the press. During the Depression the Lindberghs, in pursuit of a quiet and private life, bought 425 acres in the Sourland Mountains near Hopewell for a house and aviation runway. It was from here, in 1932, that their firstborn son, 18 month-old Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was taken from his crib. The search, investigation and ransom exchange captured the nation’s attention and the ensuing “trial of the century” put Flemington, New Jersey on the map. From the new technology of wood-analysis to the daily meals of the local jurors — Americans devoured every detail of the kidnapping and trial. This ambitious undertaking represents the first exhibit to focus on the famous couple’s complicated personal lives as well as their celebrated accomplishments. Morven Museum & Garden is a museum and public garden located in Princeton, New Jersey. A National Historic Landmark, Morven was the home to Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the former Governor’s mansion of New Jersey. Hours: Wed.-Fri 11-3; Sat. & Sun. 12-4.
Spring Open House Ahlum Gallery 106 North 4th Street Easton, PA 610-923-7101 AhlumGallery.com April 22-25 & April 29-May 2 We are an award-winning fine art gallery and studio home owned and operated by Denise Sandy. Sandy offers original oils, pastels and watercolor paintings of ordinary occurrences and daily sightings that tell a story about color, form and line. A second series of farm scenes are on display depicting open fields, fresh air laundry, sunflowers and meandering streams cutting through open spaces. “The greatest source of inspiration for my artwork comes from the beauty of a sunset, a vista from a mountain top, the joy of an animal’s expression, and the marriage of color, line, and form created by chance in our everyday surroundings,” says Sandy. “I prefer to concentrate on pleasurable experiences and emotions, to combat the negativity in our society today.”
Stoudts Valley, Autumn, tempera on board, 12” x 40” (detail)
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Jeffrey Kleckner pottery.
50th Annual Bethlehem Fine Art and Craft Show Main St., Historic Bethlehem, PA BFAC-LV.org May 9, 10 – 5 May 10, 11 – 5 The sidewalk art show is a celebration of the finest local and regional artists. Over 90 juried artists and craft artisans participate each year. Visit the information booth to view the special piece of art selected for raffle and purchase your raffle tickets. The judge, Thomas Burke, will visit each booth on Saturday and select the Best of Show, Second Prize, Third Prize, and Best Display. Artist in Residence, Trisha Mae at work in Booth 27. Enjoy interactive art projects, make mom a handmade gift or card, and take part in the Art Activities sponsored each year by Crayola. Local musicians will perform along the Show routes. Bethlehem offers great restaurants, shops, hotels, and a rich history. No admission fee. The show is sponsored and organized by the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission. www.bfac-lv.org.
Joseph Grubb III painting. (detail)
A Thousand Words
A FELLOW WRITER’S RECENT recounting of how he lost a friend to AIDS brought back dark memories for me. I lost two friends to this monstrous disease as well. Both of them became unbalanced at the end. Jim sought rescue in a sudden zealous embrace of religion, making pilgrimages to holy sites trying to strike a bargain. Lester, having already seen first-hand what lie ahead, made two efforts to take his life so that he wouldn’t suffer—the second attempt being successful. Jim’s journey took him away from his circle of friends and we heard little until we found out that he had died. Lester stayed, and we watched it happen. Lester grew up on a farm in Bucks County. As an adult, he never was able to get the idea across to his parents that he was gay. It was in part hard for him to tell them, in part an inability and unwillingness in them to listen. The truth remained in shadow. That’s what the ‘80s were like. Lester’s boyfriend got sick and died early in the epidemic. It was long and horrible. My ex-wife was a hospice nurse and worked with AIDS patients and when Lester started noticing his own symptoms he began making visits to us. She was familiar with all the practical, psychological and social issues and the three of us had long, frank conversations. Our home was one of the few places where Robert Beck maintains a gallery in Lambertville, NJ. email@example.com.
STORY AND PAINTING BY ROBERT BECK
Lester could get an ear and a hug. He was brave and failing and scared. When he died, Lester left a piece of paper on the seat beside him in the running car in his garage. The note had my name and number and told his mother to call me. Thinking back on it again I feel that cold wave of sobriety and focus that poured over me when I answered the phone. It wasn’t just news that my friend had died. It was an old woman, in agony, telling me her son was dead and asking if it was true he was gay. My mind spun wildly in place—that wasn’t one of the questions that needed answering. I told her yes, he was, because it was the truth—that’s why he left the note. Whatever the answer meant to her it wouldn’t make the pain better or worse. Different, maybe, but not worse. I sat in a dark room on the end of a bed and told her that he had been a good friend and how sorry we all were, but I struggled to catch up with the moment. There were silences. My stomach clenched and I was grasping for words. I wanted to tell her that Lester’s being gay was incidental, that HIV was a disease that killed people, regardless, without prejudice. Lester was dead because he unknowingly and lovingly wandered into the line of fire, like what tragically happens to people in all walks of life. But I couldn’t put it together and none of that would have mattered to her anyway. It wasn’t the answer she was looking for.
Then the call was over. I felt clumsy and inadequate but knew there really was no chance, no explanation that would have been sufficient, no good to be had. People didn’t talk about homosexuality the same way then as now. Lester had a life outside of work (where we met) but any news of it was carefully edited to avoid suspicion, which of course it didn’t. It was a dangerous world even without AIDS. He didn’t want to reveal too much about himself and people didn’t want to ask questions that might be awkward. Everyone was guarded. Conversations required approaches and limitations. Even ours rarely happened outside my living room. How hard that must have been for him. One evening Lester had come to our house because he was distraught from having just put his cat down. You can’t have a litter box in the house with AIDS. Lester loved that cat. Why he chose euthanasia rather than finding another home for it I don’t know and didn’t ask. “Why” didn’t matter at that point. The loss of judgment was part of the disease, part of the end. Not long after that night I got the call from his mother. When things cease to be remembered, they cease to have existed. HIV/AIDS is still a pandemic and is actively spreading. There are 50,000 new infections in the U.S. every year. The histories and truths from the past inform the future, and not paying attention to them can be deadly. That’s why we have memories in the first place. ■
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WESTON’S WOMEN and DASSONVILLE’S CALIFORNIA
William Dassonville, “Point Lobos.”
WESTON’S WOMEN: EDWARD WESTON and Cycles of Influence dramatically demonstrates the impact many strong, talented, and intelligent women had on Weston’s life and photography throughout his 40-year career as one of most celebrated artists of his time. The exhibition is currently at the Allentown Art Museum and is due to run through May 5. It is complemented by a second show, California the Beautiful: William Dassonville Photographs slated to close on May 2. The Weston show includes many of his most famous images, nudes of many women and the landscapes at Point Lobos. Also included are a number of images made by the women in his life who generally came as assistants, students, models, and lovers, but who then became photographic artists in 8 ■ I C O N ■ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 ■ W W W . I C O N D V. C O M ■ W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V
their own right. These include Margrethe Mather, Tina Mondotti, Sonya Noskowiak, Imogen Cunningham, Charis Wilson, Dody Weston, and Anita Brenner. Not all of them took on all roles, but together their impact on Weston was profound. In this exhibition, the work of Tina Mondotti and Imogen Cunningham stands out for its high level of quality. The Dassonville show concentrates on the Californian’s work as a “Pictorialist,” one who thought the way for photography to show itself as the equal of paint and canvas was to produce a painterly effect with a soft focus in his works. He was born in Sacramento in 1879 and began making pictures when still a child. He was a friend of John Muir, the naturalist, and of Ansel Adams. As a photographer of landscapes and portraits he was widely exhibited, and later in life began to makes images of industrial plants. He developed his own brand of printing paper used extensively by Ansel Adams. The paper had a pebbled surface and gave added texture and romance to his prints. In the 1920s, as the Bay area was being industrialized, Dassonville turned his camera on the plants, factories and smokestacks of a more modern time. Weston, born in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1886 and moved to California when he was 21. His first camera was at age nine, a Kodak Bull’s Eye #2. He is, however, closely associated with California, and when he moved there he was making images in the “Pictorialist” style, also, that was popular at the time. Later in his career he moved to a more focused, sharper image, for which he became famous. He eventually opened his own studio and began making landscapes and portraits. In 1924 he met and was captivated by Tina Mondotti, an Italian actress, who acted as model, student, lover and inspiration. She was the first to pose in the nude for Weston. He began to be noticed and, after a lengthy trip to New York, got to know Alfred Stieglitz, the most influential photographer at the time. Not long after he moved to Mexico with Mondotti, who promoted his work and organized exhibitions which secured Weston’s reputation there. Upon his return to California, Weston continued his work and along the way mentored a number of women, many of whom became photographers. His first wife, Flora, pretty much raised their children on her own. His famous images of vegetables were begun in 1930, including one of his most famous, the green peppers. It was after the photo of the “naked pepper” that he began a series of female nudes that have become equally famous. His second wife, Charis, posed for the famous full length nude on the beach. Over the years he received more acclaim and exhibited widely throughout the United States. He was struck by Parkinson’s disease in 1945 and for much of the rest of his life he was devoted to organizing his life’s work. Allentown Art Museum has planned a number of special programs surrounding the exhibitions, including an April 12 lecture by Bruce Katsiff, a noted photographer and former head of the Michener Museum. There will be regular tours at 6:00pm on Thursdays, a panel discussion on April 26 at 1:00pm, and on May 6, a gallery walk and luncheon. ■
Allentown Art Museum, 31 No. 5th St, Allentown, PA (610) 432-4333 allentownartmuseum.org. Edward Higgins is a member of The Association Internationale Des Critiques d’Art.
“Nude,” 1936. Photograph by Edward Weston.©1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents
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Kate Breakey MANY OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS we encounter everyday, like a portrait study of a family member, are primarily intended to accurately represent the precise appearance of the subject. Clearly, such pictures fulfill a documentary purpose. By contrast, there are photographs that are not essentially descriptive. In their own unique way, they provide spectators with a range of subjective insights. Typically, they may be dreamlike, elusively mysterious or poetically expressive. In short, they are visions with a variety of possible intuitive associations and interpretations. Interestingly, the photographs of Kate Breakey, on display now in the Fred Beans Gallery of the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, seek simultaneously to be a synthesis of both directions. The show, titled Small Deaths, is circulated by the Wittliff Collections of the Texas State University at San Marcos. Visitors have until July 12, 2015 to see examples of her offbeat approach to birds, flowers and insects on which layers of graphite pencil and transparent oil paint have been applied to portions of the photographic emulsion surface of her camera-made images. She feels that this approach to making her work allows her to explore the complex world of nature with a combination of objective, intellectual precision and emotionally intense, aesthetically arrived at feeling. Thus, she shares the totality of her unusual creative findings with her audience in a grammar of visual design and a vocabulary composed of emotionally charged colors, shapes and textures. The most overpowering feature of Breakey’s oeuvre is the way her visions cast a hypnotic silence that stops you cold in your tracks as you look at them. They add up to a state of quiet reserve that leads your imagination to reflect on such contradictory conditions as moving and unmoving, warm and cold, large and small, light and dark and, of course, life and death. Strangely, they don’t get into issues of good and bad. Instead, they seem to be consumed more with questions of being and non-being. Ultimately, they direct you to dwell on what happens when life ends and an assortment of possible afterwards beckon.
Top: “African Daisy.” Bottom: “European Starling”.
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Dr. Wasserman is a professor emeritus of Art at Rowan U. and a serious artist of long standing.
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This potential for probing areas of existential awareness attaches a remarkable degree of philosophical speculation to the pictures. One might even attribute a heightened concern for what indeed is truly real and unreal, from comparing unchanging finality with degrees of transitory drift. When photography was first invented, in the first half of the 19th century, many people were disappointed by its inability to record true spectrum hues. This led to the practice of covering over the black and white images with various chromatic media. But, sad to report, this approach did not prove satisfactory, because more often than not, the painted picture seemed more artificial than true to life. By comparison, Breakey’s colored black and whites have a character of their own. In a peculiarly distinctive manner, they come across as unique transcriptions from nature. As artworks, they have what may be called a spirit of the style named magic realism. As such, they are reminiscent of the paintings of Peter Blumeand the fullcolor, glass-encapsulated floral sculptures of Paul Stankard. While they are highly representational artworks, they do not really pass for living nature. Instead, they give intense expression to their presence as invented artworks with an artistic life of their own. Clearly, they embodya reality of being that is intensely aesthetic rather than naturally organic. Breakey is a native of Australia. Eventually, she came to America. For a while, she was a professor of photography at the University of Texas in Austin. Today, she lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. Her pictures have been widely exhibited in many solo and group offerings and are included in a considerable number of museum holdings. Among them are the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts and the Houston Museum of Fine Art. Incidentally, the show in Doylestown is accompanied by a full-color exhibition catalog with selected reproductions of various items in the gallery installation. ■ James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, PA (215) 340-9800. michenermuseum.org
ICON is the only magazine of its kind in the Delaware Valley—a cultural magazine without pretension, focused on fine and performing arts, music, film, dining and exclusive interviews, and a place to find out who or what’s playing where all month long. There are lots of publications out there, but none like ours. We’ve been publishing since 1992, and have built a rock solid reputation for superior writing and design. It’s a publication you will be proud to represent. We’re expanding territories and are looking to fill part-time positions in print advertising sales. Requirements • Previous advertising sales experience at another publication or media buying experience • A warm, engaging problem solving and professional personality • Ability to form and maintain business relationships • Proven track record of closing new business and maintaining current accounts • Able to work from home with little supervision • Able to develop a new territory from scratch This is a part-time position ideal for a recent college grad, undergrad, or person wanting to get back to work and set their own hours. Please include a cover letter telling us why we absolutely must hire you, include your resume and enter ADVERTISING SALES in the subject line of your email. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org Top: “Rosa Grandiflora.” Bottom: “Galah”.
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EVEN BEFORE SEEING IT, the temptation to call Serena a bomb beckons. The Depression-era romance was originally filmed in 2012 before stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence cemented their fame in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. Now, after premiering on demand in February, Serena has limped to a limited theatrical release that includes Philadelphia. Lucky us. The good news, if you want to call it that, is that Serena isn’t a bomb. At least not in the Xanadu or Mommie Dearest sense where the talent involved spends years emerging from the rubble. Veteran director Susanne Bier’s effort is too resigned, too self-serious for that designation. Serena is massively boring. It’s the kind of movie where you look for any distraction—your phone, your keys, the tiny mole on your date’s left cheekbone—to keep your eyes from glazing over. Based on Ron Rash’s novel, Serena begins with a lingering look at North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, a harbinger of the movie’s lack of mobility. George Pemberton (Cooper) is a handsome, dashing entrepreneur building a railroad through those rolling hills, all the while exhibiting the kind of smug confidence that creates as many friends as enemies. What’s missing from this scotch ad of a life is a woman, but George solves that problem when he travels north for business. He visits the bank and then grabs a wife to stick in the train’s storage area. George spots Serena (Lawrence)
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at an equestrian competition. He’s immediately smitten, even if “she’s practically an Aborigine,” according to his sister. George takes Serena, a family-less beauty raised on a Colorado timber farm, with him to North Carolina. Serena, with her blonde flapper ’do, is gorgeous. She rides a horse like Willie Shoemaker. She can swing an ax. None of these attributes represent chemistry between George and Serena. Their courtship—featuring tastefully-shot humping—does not help. George spots Serena from a million miles away, trails her into a meadow (?), and declares, “I think we should be married.” Serena is defined by this joyless march of a pace— from George’s conflict with shifty right-hand man Buchanan (David Dancik) to Serena’s troubled pregnancy to George’s hunting guide’s (Rhys Ifans) creepy infatuation with an increasingly shaky Serena. Every transition is given the same amount of importance, so the action runs 30 minutes late. Bier directs with a shy politeness, as if the presence of any intrigue or the slightest moving of the camera will cause a disruption. She’s too busy being stately to make any statement, giving us dark bedrooms and distant stares and little else. There’s too much calm, not nearly enough storm. You would think George and Serena were not husband and wife, but disgruntled roommates who can’t get over one of them polishing off the other’s Chunky Monkey. When the emotional weight of these tortured characters is finally addressed, Lawrence and Cooper act is they’ve been embalmed. I’m assuming they’re following Bier’s direction. After all, the pair came alive in Silver Linings Playbook. Here, however, they’re trapped. Bier and screenwriter Christopher Kyle prefer to spend time on peripheral problems than have the romantically entangled protagonists face off. Then again, when a movie’s grandest statement is “women are crazy,” maybe restraint isn’t a bad idea. That rickety thinking extends elsewhere. Buchanan admits to George that he’s been dealing with the railroad-hating sheriff (Toby Jones). Instead of leaving immediately, Buchanan goes on a hunting trip with the boss he has just betrayed. (Take one guess how that ends.) Late in the movie, out of nowhere, another seemingly loyal employee turns on George. It’s all part of a frantic dash to make up for wasted time, one that only affirms Serena’s pretentious stodginess. Thankfully, that’s not enough to disrupt Lawrence and Cooper’s careers, but it’s plenty to ruin our evening. [R] ■
An ICON contributor since 2006, Pete Croatto has been writing about movies for 15 years. His work—which includes everything from personal essays to sports features to celebrity interviews—has appeared in The New York Times, Grantland, The Christian Science Monitor, Publishers Weekly, and Broadway.com. Follow him on Twitter, @PeteCroatto.
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Keresman on Film
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
“GETT” IS HEBREW FOR a divorce decree. It’s not easy to get a divorce in Israel, where Viviane Amsalem lives. In Israel, divorce is not a civil matter—only a rabbi or a rabbinical tribunal can “preside” on the dissolution of a couple and this can be done only with the husband’s consent. Inspired by the tribulations of her mother, Gett is the story of one such attempt to divorce. Israeli Ronit Elkabetz wrote, directed, and stars as Viviane, a secular woman, a hairdresser, who seeks a divorce from her religious husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian, Zero Dark Thirty and the Daniel Craig-as-Bond Casino Royale). Virtually the entire movie takes place in a small courtroom— there’s a trio of rabbis, the principals, their advocates/lawyers, and a small parade of witnesses. Married too young, Viviane finds herself stifled in an unhappy marriage—Elisha refuses to agree to the divorce. The trial drags on for five years until…can’t reveal, it wouldn’t be fair. Gett is at once compelling and frustrating, involving and static. We’re not given many personal specifics—we learn what little we know about the characters and the culture of the country as the movie goes along. One witness says bluntly to the tribunal (I paraphrase but it’s very close), “Life for a divorced woman in Israel is shit.” There are also some notions that one would find in American
movies from the 1940s and ‘50s—one being, Viviane is seen in a café with a man who’s [gasp!] not her husband. That fact is used against her. At one point, Viviane takes down her hair and plays with it nervously in the courtroom—one of the rabbis indignantly demands, “What are you doing?” Further, the tribunal has limited legal powers (or that is what’s implied)—the husband repeatedly skips courtroom appearances and only after many such absences do the rabbis give him a bit of jail time. (What we Law & Order fans refer to as “contempt of court.”) While Israel is indeed a democracy, there are aspects in which it’s shown to be a patriarchal state. At one point, an exasperated Viviane says to the rabbis, “You don’t see me!” Repeatedly, the trio tribunal keeps insisting to her (in a slightly condescending manner) that she return to her husband and give the marriage another chance. The rabbis are biased in favor of the husband. What makes this film such a challenge to watch is its claustrophobic quality—it takes place is a mostly white room with nothing in it but a few tables and chairs. This is a movie that some folks would deem “talky”—it’s almost a play, which is all well and good, but filming a play does not always make for an enjoyable cinematic experience. On the other hand, there are few of the razzle-dazzle moments seen in many courtroom dramas. These are just plain folks, mostly—there are not any witty, clever, sil-
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ver-tongued lawyers or dramatic last-minute strategies. Besides, “legalities” in the USA sense do not apply here. The rabbis are staid, very-proper types except for a few moments when one or two of them get exasperated. The situation is not black-and-white—the husband is not portrayed as a physically abusive monster, but as a somewhat passive-aggressive type with unclear motivations. Elkabetz is excellent as a woman struggling to maintain her dignity in a situation where the cards are clearly stacked against her. The game is rigged and she knows it—the rabbis can say what they will, but ultimately it’s the husband’s decision, period. Akbarian is fine as well—he conveys his own sense of frustration palpably but he underplays the darker sides of his character. The downside is the pacing—this is an almost twohour movie but at times feels a lot longer. It is repetitive—they all go to court, go through the motions...and it happens all over again. And again. Although Gett is a compelling film with excellent active, whether or not one will enjoy it depends in large part on one’s patience. ■
Mark Keresman also writes for SF Weekly, East Bay Express, Pittsburgh City Paper, Paste, Jazz Review, downBeat, and the Manhattan Resident.
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Ed Harris and Liam Neeson.
IS LIAM NEESON THE new Nic Cage? Does Neeson even read the scripts before he takes a role? Lately, he’s starred in action films in which he’s either a weary/retired/burnt-out cop/spy/hitman, someone with a dark past, a crummy father, and/or an alcoholic, and in Run, he’s four of the above. While Run All Night is watchable—just barely—it certainly isn’t a movie to recommend to anyone over 24. The plot, such as it is: Neeson is Jimmy Conlon, a hitman for the Irish mob who’s grown a portion of a conscience and is haunted by his violent past. (Gee, never saw that in a movie before.) His best, perhaps only friend, is mob boss Sean McGuire (Ed Harris, who basically played the same role in the far superior State of Grace). Each has a son—Jimmy’s son Michael, a failed boxer, works as a limo driver; Sean’s snotty son Danny wants to go into the family business. Was Jimmy an absentee father to Michael (because he naturally didn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps)? You’ve three guesses. By dumb luck or plot contrivance, Michael is witness to murders committed by
Run All Night Danny and Danny figures Michael has got to go for the dirt nap as well. Jimmy prevents Danny from killing Michael by killing Danny. Danny’s father naturally takes umbrage at this turn of events. So the whole movie is Jimmy and Michael on the run from the Irish mob, and corrupt cops on their payroll. If you think Neeson’s Jimmy, despite no longer being youthful (past 50), being out of practice, and an alky, is invincible, you’d be correct. In fact, he out-fights guys decades younger than he and almost always hits that at which he shoots. He’s Super-Neeson! In the midst of lots of violence and killings, do Jimmy and Michael get to do some belated father/son bonding? If you guessed “Yes,” you must be a mentalist, or see lots of movies. Is Sean a wise yet brutal mob boss? You’ve two guesses. Does Sean toss a wild card into the deal, in this case an assassin named Price (Common), a pro killer that has none of Jimmy’s “warmth”? Duuh. Lots of people shoot lots of bullets—a whole lot. Jimmy grimaces much and expresses regrets about his ca-
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reer as a professional killer for Sean. Yet another cliché: The killer-with-a-conscience. Since he’s that darn sensitive, one wonders why he became an assassin in the first place. Michael expresses anger and disappointment to his father. Sean and Jimmy have a meeting at a supposedly neutral public place in which they walk down memory lane. Run All Night is almost completely by the numbers. Predictability alone doesn’t sink Run All Night. Many movies are “predictable” but can be enjoyable nonetheless—if there are aspects that are memorable to accompany the predictability. There’s no memorable dialogue, nothing special about the direction (except for pointless and overused camera zooming that evokes Google Maps), no female characters to speak of (the lovely Genesis Rodriquez is wasted as Michael’s Concerned, Loyal Wife), and nothing notable about the acting. There is a rather good car chase scene, but that’s about it. Maybe Neeson will team up with Cage and they’ll be the Martin & Lewis of bullet-driven mayhem. ■
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GEORGE OXFORD MILLER / REVIEWS OF RECENTLY RELEASED DVDS
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Wild (2014) ★★★★ Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern Genre: Drama Rated R Awards: Oscar and Golden Globes nominations for Best Actress. True story #1: Ever spent 24 hours without hearing any human-generated noises? Or 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness like the prophets of old? As recorded in the Old Testament, and the latest Reese Witherspoon movie, the greatest test isn’t bears or blisters, it’s the unremitting onslaught of internal demons. Adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, the movie chronicles her quest to find peace within by hiking the 1,100mile Pacific Crest Trail. The saga follows a well-established formula, though not Hollywood’s. Sages have long admonished that nature can heal a broken spirit. With soul-searching flashbacks and mind-expanding scenery, the story traces Strayed’s twin internal-external odyssey toward self-awareness and self-acceptance. Witherspoon so effectively captures the spirit of the journey that we tighten up our own laces and join her for a mile,
or a thousand, in Strayed’s boots. It’s a beautiful, challenging journey. The Imitation Game (2014) ★★★★★ Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Charles Dance Genre: Drama Rated PG-13 for sex, adult themes. Awards: Oscar and Golden Globes nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor. True story #2: In WW II, the Germans had a secret—and so did Alan Turing. No human cipher could break the German “Enigma” code used to transmit all their wartime intelligence. Turing (Cumberbatch), a socially inept mathematical genius, realized that if human minds were insufficient, he would have to build a machine to master the tens of thousands of calculations necessary. He failed and failed again, was scorned and denigrated, but never lost faith in his machine or himself. Ironically, it took a socially inept misfit to invent the computer, hack the German code, save millions of lives, and eventually win the most horrific war in human history, as well as changing the future of the world. At war’s end, was Turing given a
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hero’s recognition? When his own enigmatic secret was outted, he was arrested, convicted of homosexuality, and chemically castrated. It’s one hell of a story. Big Eyes (2014) ★★★★ Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz Genre: Comedy-drama Directed by Tim Burton. Running time 105 minutes. Rated PC-13 for profanity, adult themes. True story #3: What do you get when you combine a pop artist and a con artist? At the height of the cultural revolution in the 1960s and in San Francisco, the bohemian heart of the Beat Generation, you get Big Eyes. Margaret Keane (Adams), a talented painter, had an eye for eye-catching techniques and zeroed in on golf-ballsized orbs for her subjects, often waifish children and forlorn pets. Her husband Walter (Waltz) peddled the paintings around town claiming he was the artist. When the paintings hit big time, he sequestered Margaret in her studio to paint, paint, paint… until she refused. Waltz’s antics as an oppressive shyster and Adams as a creative soul striving for expression,
and eventually rebellion and liberation from the male-dominated art world, keep the story rollicking along. It’s a blast from the bizarre past as kitschy as the cultural era it celebrates. The Immigrant (2014) ★★★ Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner Genre: Drama Rated R for violence, greed, nudity. Running time 120 minutes. Tawdry tale: When Ewa (Cotillard), a Polish immigrant, arrives at Ellis Island in 1921, she’s not exactly an innocent babe in distress. She survived the brutalities of the Nazi masters of war, but can she survive the onslaught of hungry predators in the land of promised opportunity? When she runs into trouble just off the boat, Bruno (Phoenix), a dandy gentleman, rescues her, then sets her up in his burlesque club and parcels her out to affluent clients. When another vaudeville performer, Orlando the Magician (Renner), vies for Ewa’s affection, the emotional conflict peels back the layers of moral comprise necessary for survival. ■
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Anton Yelchin, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich in Cymbeline.
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Clouds of Sils Maria (Dir. Olivier Assayas). Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz. It’s quite the pairing: Acclaimed French actress Juliette Binoche matched with Twilight superstar Kristen Stewart, and writer-director Olivier Assayas gives these two very different, but very talented ladies ample room to ply their craft. Binoche is an aging performer about to star in a revival of the play that launched her career two decades earlier. Stewart is the devoted personal assistant who attends to the older woman’s every need. The bulk of the film takes place at a remote Swiss cottage where the duo rehearse scenes from the play, and the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur. Ingmar Bergman did this kind of psychological, theater-world melodrama better in his great Persona (1968), though both actresses give their all, and Chloë Grace Moretz is terrific in a supporting role as a Hollywood starlet tired of headlining tentpole blockbusters. [R] ★★★ Cymbeline (Dir: Michael Almereyda). Starring: Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Penn Badgley. Remember the time Ethan Hawke spoke William Shakespeare’s iconic “To be or not to be…” speech in the aisles of a Blockbuster Video? (If not, dear reader, get thee to a nunnery! Or a streaming video site.) That was just one of the many inventive scenes from writer-director Michael Almereyda’s superb year 2000 update of the Bard’s epochal Hamlet. Now the filmmaker returns with an
equally brainy and engaging take on one of Bill S.’s lesserknown works. Cymbeline is the convoluted tale of the titular king (Ed Harris), reconceived as the leader of a present-day motorcycle club, whose daughter (Dakota Johnson) is in love with a peasant (Penn Badgley)—though the intrigue also includes a treacherous queen, a mockpoisoning, cross-dressing, and many other narrative contortions. The plot’s not really the thing, though. It’s Almereyda and his cast’s fully committed embrace of all the absurdity (and the profundity that results) that distinguishes this modern-dress, iPhone-laden retelling. [R] ★★★★
Lost River (Dir. Ryan Gosling). Starring: Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith, Iain De Caestecker. Hey, girl. I can write and direct, too! That much-memed specimen of manhood Ryan Gosling steps behind the camera for this hysterical fever dream of a movie, clearly inspired by his work with Nicolas Winding Refn on Drive and Only God Forgives. Sad to say, whatever talent was evident in those two collaborations has barely translated to this tale of an economically and emotionally depressed single mother (Christina Hendricks) and her teenage son (Iain De Caestecker) who both get caught up in some sinister magical-realist doings. There’s a town that’s been submerged underwater, a girl named Rat (Saoirse Ronan) because she has a pet rat, and a performance by former Doctor Who Matt Smith—playing a lip-sev-
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ering psychotic—that is astounding in its scenery-chewing awfulness. Gosling seemingly intends this as a transmission from the id. But let’s just say his movie puts the ‘id’ in ‘idiotic.’ [R] ★1/2 While We’re Young (Dir: Noah Baumbach). Starring: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin. A good portion of writer-director Noah Baumbach’s latest is comedy-of-mortification par excellence. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star as a middle-aged married couple (a documentary filmmaker and producer, respectively) in crisis. Their personal and professional travails come to a head after they meet two twenty-something hipsters (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) whose youthful exuberance, as well as their upward career trajectory, is as inspiring as it is threatening. Baumbach never met an acidic jest he didn’t exploit, and there are some brilliantly funny, penetrating moments, like Watts kicking it in a hip-hop dance class or the extended sequence set in a literally vomit-inducing spiritual retreat. Eventually, though, Baumbach tries to tie all the comic shenanigans together into a larger statement, as Stiller’s character confronts his lost youth (and Driver’s “Lost Youth”) in ways that feel entirely false. [R] ★★★ ■
Keith Uhlich is a critic and writer based in New York. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle.
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Jazzing Up Allentown A newly hip city gets a new, hip music festival BRYAN TUK IS A lawyer, which means he knows how to seal a deal. He is the drummer in a jazz quartet, which means he knows how to follow the flow. Both jobs have prepared him well for his new job as executive director/CEO of the Allentown JazzFest, a cool soundtrack for a newly cool city. Tuk and his partners, including a saxophone-playing minister, have booked a dynamic lineup for the festival, which debuts from April 28 to May 3 at a half-dozen venues. Miller Symphony Hall is the May 1 site of a concert by trumpeter Al Chez’s big band, which funks up Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and Golden Earring’s “Radar Love.” Two days later the former vaudeville house will present guitarist Oz Noy, whose inter-galactic improvisations earned him a 2013 award as Guitar Player’s top “outthere” instrumentalist. Noy will be joined by bassist Will Lee and drummer Anton Fig, Chez’s comrades in David Letterman’s late-night orchestra. Singer Nicole Henry has developed a large following in America and Japan for subtly soulful renditions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Bob Marley’s “Wait in Vain.” She’ll perform April 29 at the four-month-old Renaissance hotel, which is attached to the eight-month-old PPL Center, the hockey-and-concert arena anchoring Center City’s dramatic transition from dead end to destination. JazzFest is another around-the-dial adventure for Tuk, who grew up in Warrington, Bucks County, as the child of a lawyer and a legal secretary. He was nine when he received his first major musical rush: Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” a progressive-rock suite. A budding drummer at the time, he was bowled over by Neil Peart’s orchestral, cosmic percussion. Six years later he had his senses rattled during a show starring drummer Buddy Rich, who was fabled for his locomotive speed and tsunami surges. Marching in drum corps, Tuk learned all about the hard work of teamwork, an important lesson for a future attorney. He considered becoming a school band director until his third year of college, when he switched his major from music to business management. The degree helped him as a partner in a law firm, where he specialized in corporate business and banking. Today, he has his own firm that represents owners of small businesses. His clients range from doctors to actors, social-media managers to musicians. Tuk was in his mid-30s, with a busy practice and two busy children, when he decided to ramp up his drumming. He devoted more time to practicing, playing open mics, networking. He’s been especially active during his
Geoff Gehman spent 25 years covering downtown Allentown as an arts writer for The Morning Call. email@example.com.
three years in a quartet led by Frank DiBussolo, a veteran guitarist, arranger and producer. During this period the Frank DiBussolo Group has recorded a CD of standards, played a Birdland showcase for Broadway musical performers, and gigged with Bucky Pizzarelli, the renowned guitarist and frequent DiBussolo partner.
The man behind it all, Bryan Tuk. Photo: Zach Hartzell.
Pizzarelli stars in one of Tuk’s favorite stories. It was 2013, and the DiBussolo band was backing Pizzarelli at Godfrey Daniels, the Bethlehem listening room. Pizzarelli announced a surprise duet with Tuk on “Swing, Swing, Swing,” a touchstone for big bands. Tuk’s only cue was “Are you ready?” His only clues were Pizzarelli’s gestures, or “tells.” The Godfrey’s performance is “pretty much a blur,” says Tuk, an affable fellow with a shaved head and an under-lip tuft of hair. “All I know is that we started and ended in the same place. So I guess it was a success.” Tuk was rehearsing with DiBussolo’s group when he dreamed up a jazz festival with a pair of veteran visionaries. DiBussolo has played with stars (Frank Sinatra), soloed with stars (Dizzy Gillespie), directed jazz record divisions and headed school music programs. The Rev. Gregory Edwards has evolved from a saxophonist who toured with Ray Charles to the senior pastor/CEO of a progressive Allentown community church and development corporation. Resurrected Life runs worship services that feature jazz and dance, after-school arts lessons for elementary schoolers and an awards program for “urban angels.”
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The three musicians considered Allentown a logical choice for JazzFest. A new music festival, they believed, could thrive in a newly thriving city an easy ride from New York and Philadelphia, both meccas for jazz fans and jazz players. JazzFest acts came from all over the radar. Saxophonist Christian Winther was booked after he responded to an open call for performers on the festival’s Facebook page. The Danish-born musician is based in New Orleans, where he’s a regular at Preservation Hall and the Jazz & Heritage Festival. A cold call led to the hiring of Swiss-born drummer JoJo Mayer, who mixes acoustic sounds with electronic beats and jazz charts with jungle improvisations. One of Modern Drummer’s top 50 percussionists of all time, he’ll appear twice on May 2 at Miller Hall, leading a clinic and a concert with his trio NERVE. Nicole Henry was recommended by JazzFest resident artist Ann Elizabeth Schlegel, who solicited one of her favorite singers during a gig at the Blue Note in Manhattan. A native of Bucks County’s Bedminster Township, Henry won the 2013 Soul Train award for traditional jazz performance, beating George Benson and Tony Bennett. JazzFest was originally scheduled for three days at Miller Hall. It doubled in size after managers of Allentown’s newest hot spots asked to join the party. That’s why Henry will play the Renaissance ballroom and Winther will play the hotel’s Dime restaurant, both of which have impressive views of Center Square. Other shows will be held at the Allentown Art Museum and Roar Social House, a new Prohibition-style saloon. Tuk seems remarkably calm for someone who has spent five months negotiating contracts, schedules, sponsorships and promotions. He credits his calmness to exceptional teammates like Justin Vigile, director of social media and a drummer in a heavy-metal band. Vigile has kept cyberspace buzzing with videos of JazzFest musicians, cell-phone messages from musicians and plugs for such local attractions as the Lehigh Valley Ale Trail. In fact, Tuk regards his JazzFest work as hardly work at all. As a lawyer, he’s used to sealing deals with diverse clients. As a drummer, he’s used to following the flow, whether it’s a stream or a tidal wave. His musical mantra is “leave space and stay out of the way.” Tuk is looking forward to playing with Henry in a big band of area musicians recruited and conducted by DiBussolo. He’s looking forward to organizing JazzFest 2016, which he predicts will have more clinics and outdoor performances. No wonder he no longer thinks it’s “weird” to be a lawyer who drums. ■ Allentown JazzFest information: 610-432-6715, www.allentownjazzfest.org.
Top: Dirk Quinn, NERVE (Jojo Mayer, John Davis and Jacob Bergson), Trina Coleman. Middle: Al Chez, Nicole Henry, Oz Noy. Bottom: Hector Rosado, Christian Winther, Eric Mintel Quartet.
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Close to the Edge with Steve Howe Guitarist Steve Howe on the past, present and future of YES and how it has evolved since its beginning PHILADELPHIA HAS HAD A nearly unnatural love for Yes since their arrival in America in the early 1970s—their dizzying high voices, their theatrical ease of complex chord structures and shifting time signatures, their richly grandiose arrangements, finicky dense rhythms, and fantastical lyrics. Then again, this city took to Genesis, Supertramp
You’ve been at it, guitar playing that is, for a while with your own devastatingly original sound. How much of the influence of your past comes through do you think? I really do just play what comes out of me. I play and practice a considerable amount of the time. I write. I can’t put everything down to influence at this point, though I daresay that it’s all—those influences—very much a part of me and my style. I can’t quite understand how it all happens though. When I play, it all just comes through, organically and passionately. It’s quite personal, and I never want to corrupt that. There’s always this dexterous elegance to what you do. It’s not as if your work missed the groove of rock ‘n’ roll, the raw energy of big rock or the spunk of punk: How conscious are you of an edge? I think I am. I don’t think what I do would ever be considered rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a career. You brighten, you continue progressing and re-energizing. It’s like, oh shit, I have to keep learning. I don’t want to get stale or copy, not even myself. On Anthology, to represent your earliest self, you don’t use songs from Tomorrow, The Syndicats or the In Crowd—your more famous bands—you use your own “So Bad” to represent that initial ‘60s period of playing. Why? Did you feel like a fish out of water considering the mod pop and blue beat R&B of the era? What’s funny is that everybody was in a group back then—I certainly was—yet here it is, this solo track—I honestly thought that made the tune stand out. It truly demonstrates how and what I was playing. There’s a bluesy jazzy rock thing there. I like compression, but this is more open, more as I am when I work alone, I think, as an expressionist. I’m very happy when I’m alone. I think I’m better now than before.
The 2014 edition of Yes with Steve Howe (with glasses) in the center.
and Rush like fanboy-ish ducks to water around the same time. Currently, Yes fans—local and beyond—have ample opportunity to celebrate the toast of British progressive rock. First, there’s the colorful two-CD Anthology from guitarist Steve Howe—including 33 tracks handpicked by Howe from studio albums recorded between 1975 and 2011—as well as his main band’s favorites. Then there is Yes: Live from Seventy-Two, a sprawling 14-disc package of the band’s 1972 world tour, sandwiched between the epic (and massively selling) Close to the Edge and the equallylarge (for the time) live project, Yessongs. Famously inspired by Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, American bluegrass pickers and Carlos Montoya (the latter particularly on Anthology’s flamenco-flavored “Mood for a Day,” a song from his Yes catalog), Howe is a studied player and a serious subject who still managed to laugh quite a bit during our interview from London. One thing I regret: not asking him about the reasons for not including his other bands in the Anthology (GTR, Asia, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe) or his session playing for the likes of Queen, Lou Reed and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
If A.D. Amorosi can’t be found writing features for ICON, the Philadelphia Inquirer or doing Icepacks, Icecubes and other stories for Philadelphia’s City Paper, he’s probably hitting restaurants like Stephen Starr’s or running his greyhound.
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Tomorrow and Bodast aside, how and why did you gravitate toward London’s progressive rock circles of the late ‘60s? I know that you auditioned for The Nice and Jethro Tull before you got to Yes. I played with The Nice for a minute. Keith Emerson and I were huge fans of Vivaldi. Tull? That never quite worked out. The progressive scene all started radically after psychedelia came into effect. Suddenly there was a whole new thing among players, a whole new repertoire to consider. From there the technology opened—it took a couple of years though. You include bits from Lost Symphony from 1975’s Beginnings and a nice handful of songs from The Steve Howe Album and The Grand Scheme of Things. It sounds as if your solo songs breathe and act in opposition to what Yes was doing at the same time. That’s right. I didn’t fancy making solo albums at first unless I could stay clear of what I was doing with Yes. After several albums, I had to consider how to make my own records with different colors. I enjoy that very much, the consideration process. I like my albums, I like their continuity and I like the different colors that I give them—the country and western flourishes, the flamenco, the classical. They weren’t about Yes. My songs weren’t going to be confused with my band. I took all the chances I could to experiment, to play outside of their form. It’s nice hearing that you included songs from Turbulence, with both the old line— Bill Bruford, jazzier than a lot of drummers that passed through Yes—and new school
A. D. AMOROSI
synthesizer guys like Billie Currie of Ultravox. How do you think that album changed your game? Yes, you’re onto something there. That album in particular had a big sound, but was still raw. The demos, A.D., they just struck me as primal, yet still… . Certainly you sing on your Bob Dylan cover album [Portraits of Bob Dylan] but It also seems as if you’re taking the poetry of his words and the intention of his lyrics— even his phrasing– into your playing rather than your singing. I don’t know really. It’s an interesting point. It was funny trying to think what songs of his to sing. As a vocalist, I’m lacking the great and immense talents of a John Wetton or a Jon Anderson—those other guys are just more capable. I wish I could sing better, but I think I do a decent job. I have limits, but I work those limits well. I plumb the depths, explore the emotions. Moving into Yes, how did you come to choose “Mood for a Day,” one of your signature songs with the band to include on the solo anthology—there are hundreds of songs you could have chosen. I think it represented the era, and had its own flavor, a South American approach to the arrangement. To tell you the truth, I was just looking for somewhere to put that idea and it landed on that Symphonic Music of Yes album. Regarding Yes, and not colored by the aging process, how has your playing changed through them, with them? I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed you go at it on automatic pilot. A big question there is what do I want to change, what is the desire, what are the opportunities? How much consideration do you give the recordings? And there’s natural stuff—the world, the people within and around it. Having gotten together with them again since 1995, I’ve tried to make it as adventurous as I can. There are changes in the tempos and the way we work together now. Funny that in 1972 we weren’t as meticulous or as introspective. Now, we’ve had lifetimes with these songs, with finding expression in the song. Let’s talk the 1972 box set of live performances. Were you personally or professionally for these shows, especially considering that Alan White then had only three days to rehearse before joining the tour? When someone isn’t there anymore—as drummer Bill Bruford suddenly wasn’t—at that point, everything is new. At that point, we were playing as much to suit him as he was to us. Alan got it, remarkably and rapidly. It could have been a much different story had he not or if he had just played the songs in rote fashion. After all, the only way that he could play was inventively. The whole thing with Jon Anderson wanting to continue his singing tenure with Yes. Chris Squire has stated how comfortable he is with a new singer. There’s great debate among fans. How does it feel to listen to Anderson’s best moments on this box knowing he’s not there to share them? It’s a no go really, only because there’s not much to say. There’s quite a bit more to it than just singing or not singing. Not as if the studio recordings don’t exist or that other live shows from the past haven’t been pressed, but it’s just great hearing Anderson at full flower. Yeah. Who in the band is most concerned with the archival process, and who knew where these particular bodies were buried? I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but that would be me. I hold the majority of the past material and I’m quite an archivist, not just of music, but of all our ephemera. When we recorded Yessongs, we recorded quite a batch of songs and shows. They were never lost. It was just a matter of who owned what. It was just a matter of fine tuning. Lastly, as I’m a Philadelphian, I’m curious about your take on our level of support? It can’t have been lost on you. It’s always been something of a joy, a miracle really. Thanks for that. ■ W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 ■ I C O N ■ 25
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Matchmaking at the Drake Hotel Can five of Philadelphia's most innovative, socially aware theater companies find happiness together? WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED during March’s first week that Azuka Theatre and Inis Nua Theatre—both part of the Off-Broad Street Consortium and its eponymous theatrical space in the sub-basement of the First Baptist Church at 16th & Sansom—would lose their home on April 30, things didn’t really seem so bad. Not just because Azuka would move its next production to South Philly’s Theatre Exile space and Inis Nua to the Prince for the end of each of their 2014-2015 seasons. Rather that, like Simpatico Theatre, PlayPenn and its mother ship, Seth Rozin’s InterAct Theatre Company, all five would move to Philadelphia’s most glorious new stage space in one of its most treas-
Seth Rozin, artistic director of InterAct Theatre, at the Drake Hotel.
In the center foreground, the Drake Hotel.
ured architectural models, the Drake Hotel in September—in what was the worst kept secret in all of Philly theater history. InterAct and its artistic director, Rozin, got the ball rolling on the deal with the Drake. Currently in its 18th season at The Adrienne space at 20th & Sansom (“one year longer than the Wilma was here,” recalls Rozin of that other theater’s original home), he’s quick to credit much of InterAct’s success to their tenure at The Adrienne. “There, we grew from an enterprising upstart into an established professional theater, while building a wonderfully loyal audience.” A little less than two years ago, InterAct initiated a planning process aimed at strengthening their role at The Adrienne. “Midway through that planning process, it became clear that the building owner did not share our evolving vision for The Adrienne, and that our business model, which was predicated on a robust stream of subletting revenue from smaller theaters, was likely to be compromised going forward,” says Rozin. So, for the first time in nearly 20 years he began looking at possibilities for a new home, hit upon several fascinating possibilities in West Philly, until he heard that the University of the Arts was vacating The Drake and its several stages. “The ballroom part of the space, alone, is about 6,200 square feet, about three times the footprint of our main stage at The Adrienne.” Rozin and InterAct moved swiftly and ended up with a fif-
teen-year lease (and two five-year options), which they signed in February 2015. They engaged Metcalfe Architecture & Design to co-design Drake’s interior to include two theaters—a 128-seat main stage and a 75-80-seat, flexible second stage—each with its own lobby, as well as administrative offices for InterAct, and storage space in the basement. “Apart from its primary role as a performance venue with focus on new work, we envision The Drake as a social and artistic hub for Philly’s burgeoning ‘new play’ community; a place where playwrights and other theater makers come to read, write, discuss, devise, exchange, rehearse and attend new plays.” With PlayPenn having spent its entirety at The Adrienne and Simpatico Theatre Project being one of InterAct’s corenters (along with Mauckingbird Theatre, and 11th Hour Theatre Company), they became naturals for the move. With Azuka and Inis Nua in need of space, they too became part of Philly’s theatrical warehouse, based on three primary criteria: commitment to new work; artistic and institutional track records; and the number of performance weeks they would be able to commit to—all commencing this September with InterAct’s Grounded. “This is a new model for Philly: A two-theater venue that is home to multiple companies, as well as a regional center for new work.” ■
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About Life In Sickness and in Health A father-daughter talk
JAMES P. DELPINO, MSS,MLSP,LCSW,BCD
Deirdre: Those “rough edges” can take a long time to smooth out. If experiencing pain is isolating and frightening, so too must be watching someone go through a sickness that you can’t do anything about. One of the hardest things for my husband is his frustration about not being able to do or fix anything when I’m experiencing pain. This is hard for both of us. A lesson I’ve learned is that, at times like this, there is a kind of compromise that can help us both. When he asks if he can do anything—instead of saying, “No, there’s nothing you can do”—I ask for something little: like a snack, a cup of tea, a different pillow, for him to pick something else to watch on TV. Compromise, as with every relationship, is so crucial when dealing with a problem like pain or illness. Jim: We caretakers like to do things that can make a difference in the quality of life for our spouses. Even the little things you describe help us to feel we’re helping in constructive ways. Knowing in advance what helps can mean keeping that special tea in stock, or finding the best pillow for that someone special. Chronic illness and physical disability force a couple to lower certain expectations while offering the opportunity to learn how to appreciate the small and subtle things in life much more. I’ve become a much more patient person. Being optimistic creates a sense of enjoying each day as another chance to enjoy the person I’ve been married to for almost 33 years. I’ve found that love, if you allow it, over time becomes deeper and less conditional. Deirdre : Adjusting expectations is key. To try and maintain the same life we had before I was sick turned out to be impossible—and trust me, we tried. Both of us initially found ourselves stuck in what I call “should” thinking: I should be able to do this; I should be able to go here; I should be able to work this way; I should be the same as everyone else. This turned out to be highly toxic thinking. Being stuck in this thought pattern created a cycle of disappointment, depression, and pain. So we had to learn to adjust our expectations regarding what I could do and we had to learn to prioritize what I was, in fact, able to do. My husband and I worked together to understand my new restrictions, as well as the things that I was capable of doing. Luckily for me, this led to leaving a job I didn’t like and discovering that I was able to work as a freelance writer, which I thoroughly enjoy. Changing your expectations doesn’t have to lead to disappointment—it can be a tool to finding what works better for both of you.
Deirdre: When we marry, we promise to care for one another in sickness and in health. But what happens when sickness actually occurs? It can cause a huge strain between even the most dedicated couples. I know from personal experience, as I live with chronic pain on a daily basis. It massively affects my marriage, my friendships, and all of my interpersonal relationships. Pain and sickness are very isolating experiences and it can be difficult to communicate with others about exactly what you’re going through, making it even more isolating. Communication, in this kind of situation, becomes more important than ever before. Jim: As a spouse and caregiver to my wife, who is also chronically ill, I’d agree fully that communication becomes even more vital to the couple. One aspect of communication that bears mentioning is non-verbal communication. It’s said by some that non-verbal communication may comprise up to 85-90% of communication. Learning to be a better observer is a key step in improving the understanding that is the goal of good communication. Non-verbal communication includes things like facial expressions, hand gestures, body posture, body positioning, skin tone, tone of voice and mood. Knowing at a glance—and this requires patience and practice over time—that your partner is in this or that state of pain helps enormously. It can become a burden or it can become a challenge to become a better person and refine the rough edges in ourselves.
Jim Delpino is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 33 years. firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (215) 364-0139.
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Jim: Changing and adjusting expectations requires flexibility, cognitively as well as emotionally. Some degree of an adjustment reaction is normative for any couple in these kinds of circumstances. Supporting each other while these adjustments and reactions occur preserves the bond that exists between two partners. In fact, sailing through these turbulent waters can actually strengthen and deepen the bond. At some point, all couples must deal with these issues. With advancing age, capacities diminish and accommodations are necessary. When severe illness and injury occur at younger ages it forces the couple to deal with issues their peers don’t experience for years or even decades. Finding new ways to express ourselves and live as fully as we can calls upon us to dig down to become more resourceful and creative in how we accomplish living a good life. Deirdre: Part of this adjustment involves finding new and helpful ways to support one another through this difficult time. My husband is always willing to come with me to doctors’ appointments, run errands when I can’t, and has taken over more of the household chores that are hard on me, while I’ve had to learn patience and to express my gratitude more often. Gratefulness is important—it’s crucial to appreciate every good day you have together. I’ve learned to appreciate my husband, my work, and the good things in life perhaps more than if I had been healthy. I’ve learned to be more thankful. Jim: Starting each day with an “attitude of gratitude” is a very helpful way of dealing with life’s stresses and challenges. It’s especially important when things like illness, injury, and chronic pain are part of the daily challenges of life. ■
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The List : APRIL 3 JOE LOUIS WALKER Hornet’s Nest, Doylestown As backed by James Cotton's producer Tom Hambridge on drums and Reese Wynans on organ, guitarist Joe Louis Walker’s newest album Hornet's Nest is one of the most ferocious recordings to come to blues’ modern primitivism since the dawn of Stevie Ray Vaughn. The only thing more menacingly fired up than Walker's dirtball blues (touched by elements of folk and psychedelia) is his vocals. Damn, this is tasty. 5 CODY SIMPSON Word Café Live Though he's occasionally been lumped in with the Biebers and the One Directions of the world, Cody Simpson is thinking man's kids music with a singer-songwriters swagger to boot. 6 JOSE GONZALES Union Transfer Gonzales' new Vestiges & Claws, his first album in seven years, features his usual woolly art-world-folk skronk with a shockingly clear but smoky croon tethered onto each deliciously melodic song. 7 THE DECEMBERISTS Merriam Once the possessors of the finest sea shanty meets prog rock sound since, well, ever, The Decemberists find pop melody
awesome, and yet less mainstream than they were when they started. That should have made their newest album, Super Critical, super un-listenable, but doesn't. 10 SUFJAN STEVENS Academy of Music Folkie-turned-cheerleader art pop squeaky singer and songwriter returns to the scene of his first crimes on Carrie & Lowell. 10 MARK MARON Trocadero Comedy’s most incisive podcaster (or podcasting's most insightful comedian) holds court.
9 JAMAICAN SONS Underground Arts The sons and grandsons of some of reggae and dancehall's finest practitioners (Alton Ellis, Bob Marley) gather for a meeting in the land of the good, ganjalaced groove. 10 TING TINGS Union Transfer Electro pops’ swingingest duo gets more
A curated look at the month’s arts, entertainment, food and pop cultural events
17 MATT & KIM Trocadero They really are the cutest, most deadpan, electronic music couple. 17/18 VIJAY IYER Swarthmore College The classically leaning sound sculptor goes for shorter, bolder, songs this time. 18 A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT: The Acting Company Symphony Hall, Allentown Mark Twain’s lyrical and bitingly satirical novel gets the small stage treatment.
20 EARL SWEATSHIRT TLA Sweatshirt is sillier than a duck, but don't let that fool when it comes to his new album, I Don't Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. It's full of grief and gutsy lyrics. 21 JAMES MCMURTY World Café Live The actor/songwriting son of Larry McMurtry has forever been the soul of Amer-
icana. Find out why. 10 DIXYBLOODSICKIDS Bourbon & Branch Philadelphia's only zombie rockabilly meets Johnny Cash-like country ensemble brings both sides of its brain together for a double troubling hootenanny. 11 STEVE AOKI Fest Pier The scion of the Benihanna fortune is a true overlord of the EDM movement. 11 MARTIN & ELIZA CARTHY Crossroads The first family of English folk—he the guitarist/singer for Steeleye Span, she a fiddler/vocalist for the Waterdaughters— do the dad and daughter routine for Stateside fanatics.
and blunt arranging faculties on their brand new album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.
A. D. AMOROSI
16 URI CAINE World Café Live Philly-raised son of the piano avant garde is capable of mountainous noise and heavenly-heading melody. One rarely knows which Uri you’ll get until you show up. 16 – 28 DANCE EMERGE Muhlenberg.edu/dance Innovative works from the next generation of dance. 16 EILEEN IVERS: Beyond the Bog Road Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown Ivers does the Irish fiddle better than anyone at present and has chops with the London Symphony Orchestra, Patti Smith, Hall & Oates, Boston Pops, and beyond.
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18 JOAN ARMATRADING Scottish Rite Auditorium These are supposedly her final shows as she is retiring from the stage by 2015’s end. For anyone who hasn't embraced her unique swallow of a voice, her raging plucky guitar playing, her post Dylanish lyrics and her ever-shifting palate of song – this is a must. 18 BOB SAGET TLA As a television personality in the Eighties, I never caught his family oriented schtick. As a stand up comedian, he's as rude and lewd as all-get-out. 18 – 26 JOURNEY FROM THE EAST Touchstone Theatre Community-based collaboration with the Moravian College Theater Company finds an American president acting as a sheriff of an empty Western town with a Chinese diplomat in a holy dreamland. Intriguing. 19 MOMIX ALCHEMIA Zoellner Dazzling dancer-illusionists manipulate the four classic elements of earth, air, fire and water to produce a show full of acrobatic thrills and magical metamorphoses.
25 THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS TLA The Johns Linnell and Flansburgh celebrate the renewal of their Dial-A-Song daily phone-music service, their goofy new album Glean and the 25th anniversary of their classic album Flood. 25/26 - 50 YEARS OF THE AACM + ARS NOVA WORKSHOP SEI Innovation Studio The African American creative music organization was created to form a union of the most inventive free jazz players of its time. The list of players isn’t finalized at press time, but expect this gathering to be a whole lotta genius. 26 EXHEX Union Transfer Femme post-punk's most formidable talent, Mary Timony, unleashes her cook passions across a fun, series of blunt force melody and noise. 28 KINKY BOOTS Forrest Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper's toast to drag queens, shoe makers and their merry union. 30 BERNSTEIN'S MASS Academy of Music Back when the religious rock musical was young, Leonard Bernstein brought his holy rolling classicism to fuzzy guitars and cried Hallelujah.
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Singer / Songwriter
TOM WILK ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Tinsley Ellis ★★★ Tough Love Heartfixer Music Tinsley Ellis has made the blues the foundation of his music since his days as a teenage guitarist in the 1970s. At 57, Ellis continues to draw inspiration from the blues on Tough Love, his latest studio album. Ellis is a versatile musician; his guitar work recalls Eric Clapton on “Seven
Years,” Ellis’ take on the dangers of succumbing to the seven-year itch. On “Midnight Ride,” he opts for a rollicking, good-time feel, while engaging in free-spirited interplay with organist Kevin McKendree. He serves up a change of pace on with a Chuck Berrystyled groove on “Hard Work” that recalls his classic “Nadine.” On “All in the Name of Love,” Ellis incorporates a Stax-flavored horn section to a simmering, percolating blues. “Should I Have Lied” harnesses the emotional power of a slow blues in capturing a couple at the crossroads of a relationship. On Tough Love, Ellis and his band don’t shy away from diversifying their music. Ellis adds harmonica on “Everything,” while McKendree’s Mellotron adds an emotional component to “In from the Cold.” For blues fans, Tough Love will be easy to like. 10 songs, 46 minutes Steve Earle & The Dukes ★★★1/2 Terraplane New West Records On Guitar Town, his 1986 debut solo album, Steve Earle included a song called “My Old Friend the Blues.” Twenty-nine years later, Earle has made good on his promise to record a blues album with Terraplane, a title that is a nod to the 1930s automobile and blues legend Robert Johnson’s song “Terraplane Blues.” Earle shows
there life in the genre that serves as the foundation of American music. “Baby Baby Baby (Baby)” is a rootsy shuffle that evokes blues clichés but manages to overcome them, thanks to Earle’s performance. “Go Go Boots Are Back” recalls the Rolling Stones of the early 1970s with its steady backbeat and snarling guitar supplied by the Dukes. On “Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now,” Earle conjures up the spirit of Jimmie Rodgers and Lightnin’ Hopkins with a slice of country blues that’s enlivened by Eleanor Whitmore’s fiddle. Whitmore joins Earle for a spirited duet on “Baby’s Just as Mean as Me,” a song that chronicles a couple shortcomings and their resolve to stay together. With Earle going through a divorce from his sixth wife, singer Allison Moorer, “Better Off Alone” presents a forthright portrait of a man saying goodbye. “The Tennessee Kid” is Earle’s riveting, modern-day take on a showdown with the devil that is at the heart of many traditional blues songs. 11 songs 36 minutes Amy Speace ★★★★ That Kind of Girl Windbone Records “I don’t wanna waste another moment feeling like an afterthought/I don’t wanna be another woman grieving for the years she’s lost,” Amy Speace declares in “Better Than This,” one of the standout songs on That Kind of Girl. It’s a concept of albums of sorts for Speace, who wrote the album in the aftermath of a romantic breakup. That Kind of Girl can be heard as a distaff version of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Speace uses her music to unflinchingly chart her emotional psychological journey the upheaval of lost love. The country-flavored “Nothing Good Can Come from This” opens the album with a warning of what’s to follow. The jagged guitar playing at the start of “Three Days” is a reminder of the pain that lingers. One Man’s Love, co-writ-
ten with Beth Nielsen Chapman, is a song directed at the other woman. “Raincoat” succinctly captures Speace’s feelings for a departed lover: “You were my raincoat/Now you’re the rain.” Vocally, Speace recalls Dusty Springfield, particularly on the title track, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, on “Hymn for the Crossing,” a gospel-like song of optimism amid the
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darkness of the CD’s other material. Speace emerges bloodied but unbowed, as she looks to the future. 12 songs, 47 minutes. Mark Knopfler ★★★1/2 Tracker Verve Records Since the breakup of Dire Straits in the mid-1990s, Mark Knopfler has quietly built a career as a solo artist on his own terms, disdaining the arena rock that catapulted his group to fame. Tracker, his eighth solo album, continues in that vein with finely crafted, atmospheric songs built around the strong guitar work that has been his trademark. Knopfler has said that Tracker refers to “me tracking time, looking at people, places and things from my past” and the songs reflect that feeling. The album opens with “Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes,” a song of youthful memories and camaraderie that’s a catchy blend of jazz and Irish music and a sing-along chorus. On “Basil,” Knopfler recalls his days as a copy editor on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle and honors the memory of poet Basil Bunting, one of his co-workers on the paper. “Beryl,” written for the novelist Beryl Bainbridge, is an example of a younger master acknowledging an older one as Knopfler’s melodic guitar work recalls his Dire Straits heyday. Knopfler permits his songs to unfold at their own pace, allowing for space in the music; nine of the 11 songs are more than five minutes long and reflect his eclectic tastes. “Broken Bones” has a rhythm-and-blues feel, while “Lights of Taormina,” inspired by the coastal city of Sicily, has a tropical vibe. “Wherever I Go,” a duet with Jenny Lewis, mixes folk and jazz, featuring saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock. 11 songs, 60 minutes Glenn Allan Britain ★★★ Echoes of My Dreams Broken Echoes Music Glenn Allan Britain brings a feistiness to his music that makes for a lively combination of rock and country on Echoes of My Dreams. Working with producer and arranger Pete Anderson, longtime guitarist for Dwight Yoakam, Britain has found the right ally for his musical approach. The rhythmic exuberance of “Don’t Know Where I’m Sleepin’” opens the album with a jolt of energy that recalls the work of the Faces from the early ‘70s. “She Loves My Car” has echoes of the heartland rock of Bob Seger and John Mellencamp in Britain’s rough-edged vocals. With its vocal interplay, “Love Me One More Time” feels like a merger of the Sun Records sound and Delaney and Bonnie. Britain shows the ability to venture into other styles. The mid-tempo lope of “Rolling Toward Heaven” showcases Anderson’s bluesy guitar The ethereal title track evokes a wistful feeling, while “Closer to You” could serve as a hymn for a couple looking to reconnect. With fiddle, accordion and mariachi-style horns, “She Walks Like the Night” features Britain effortlessly handling a waltz. Echoes of My Dreams marks Britain as a promising newcomer in the Americana field. 10 songs, 35 minutes. ■
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Jerome Richardson, Phil Woods, Oliver Nelson at Birdhouse, January 1, 1961
MANY TALENTED SOULS IN various walks of life, have departed the planet well before their loved ones and others who appreciated them and greatly admired their work, thought they should have. The abbreviated stays of the gifted makes one ponder what other wonders they might have contributed had they lived. In jazz music, I always think of the contributions Clifford Brown made in such his short time: He died in his middle 20s, but not before becoming a near legend, and a well-established one, a few short years after his death. And there was Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, both of whom were jazz innovators and pioneers—Parker passing in his mid 30s, and Coltrane just a shade past 40. A less famous but much-respected jazz musician also comes to mind, and his name was Oliver Nelson. Nelson was not only a multi-instrumentalist, he was a top-flight arranger and composer, and did much to advance the careers of many performers—and not just those in the jazz idiom. I first heard of Nelson in the early 1960s via his composition “Stolen Moments,” which became a jazz classic. A few years later, I lucked out and broke into radio, and began hosting a jazz program. Oliver Nelson then became an even more familiar name to me, because I played his music on the air. His LP liner notes and other readings told me more about him. I learned he was born June 4, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri, that he hailed from a musical family, and that he started playing piano at age six, and several years later was drawn to the saxophone. After gigging in bands around his Saint Louis, he got his first major job with Louis Jordan while still in his teens. He played alto saxophone in the band and did some arranging. Military service called, and he joined a band in the Marine Corps. While traveling with the band in Tokyo, he heard the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, which he credited with whetting his appetite to become more advanced as an arranger. Following military service, Nelson attended Washington and Lincoln Universities, studying harmony and theory, while also mixing in study with private teachers. He moved to New York City, and made music with Erskine Hawkins, organist Wild Bill Davis and a host of other established musicians. He also landed a job as house arranger for the famed Apollo Theater. Prestige records signed Nelson to a contract, and he recorded six albums for the label. He later inked a contract with the Impulse label, and recorded the landmark Blues and the Abstract Truth, which included his composition, “Stolen Moments.” The piece is a work of art, and with the likes of pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer, Roy Haynes, Eric Dolphy doubling on also sax and flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Nelson on tenor sax—how could the cut not be the monster it was, and still is. Doors began to open for the young multi-talented Nelson. Not only was he producing and arranging for the likes of Nancy Wilson, James Brown, the Temptations, Diana Ross, organist Jimmy Smith, and other well-known artists, he was also composing music for TV shows, including Ironside, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Longstreet. He also arranged the music for the motion picture, Last Tango in Paris. Those close to him knew he was spreading his gargantuan talents too thin by racing from the East Coast to perform with his jazz group, then to the West Coast to write for artists he was complementing with his arrangements. Their concern for his well-being turned out not to be an abstract truth—Nelson suffered a massive heart attack in Los Angeles in 1975, and died at the age of 43. The word was that Nelson had literally worked himself to death. So, Oliver Nelson, like some of his still youthful jazz predecessors, left while still having much more to say. But he, like they, kicked up a lot of creative dust prior to departing. One of his best CDs (besides, Blues and the Abstract Truth) is one he shares with vibraphonist Lem Winchester, titled Nocturne. On the disc, his solos on “Azur’te,” and “Man with a Horn,” please the ear and massage the heart. ■ Bob Perkins is a writer and host of an all-jazz radio program that airs on WRTI-FM 90.1, MonThurs. 6 to 9pm & Sun., 9am–1pm.
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Nick’’s Picks José James ★★★★1/2 Yesterday I Had The Blues: The Music Of Billie Holiday Blue Note Singer/songwriter José James has a fluid baritone that smolders as much as it seduces. His original albums veer easily from jazz to soul and pop to grinding rock and rhythm and blues, which tells you he’s not especially hemmed in by la-
Photo by Janette Beckman
bels or genre. As a composer and narrator, he croons as a friend, brother, a confidant or a lover. On stage, he works a persona that’s vulnerable and often sensual, with an effortless charisma and natural charm. He’s relatable—which makes him an ideal interpreter of the songs of Billie Holiday. Yesterday I Had The Blues is a tourde-force record by a musician who reveals in the liner notes, “her music spoke to me on a much deeper level. Her work was mastery—of pain, of trauma, of faith in music and the power of transformation. I had found my teacher.” That absorption of joy, heartache and the otherwise indescribable quality that made Holiday a timeless performer gives James an edge that’s vacant on most tribute albums to the singer. Over nine tracks, mostly ballads, the Nick Bewsey has been writing about jazz for ICON since 2004 and is a member of The Jazz Journalists Assoc. He also paticipates in DownBeat’s Annual International Critics Poll.
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
album’s focus is on quality not quantity as James pares things down, relying on a close collaborative process with his pianist, Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci and drummer/percussionist Eric Harland—a team of like-minded musicians with astute improvisational skills. What makes his version of “Good Morning, Heartache” so effective is that James lets the song breathe and take shape as a love letter to one’s own soul. It’s sung delicately and beautifully performed, highlighted by Moran’s slow, shimmering solo. Equally fine, his “Fine And Mellow” is a deep blues tune, dressed with gospel-tinged piano and thick, insistent groove. The wily romp, “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” is the most up-tempo tune, and soulful gems “Lover Man” and “God Bless The Child” sport more modern contours. The record ends with the spiritual “Strange Fruit,” as haunting as ever, the timbre of James’ voice bereft and righteously full of judgment. (9 tracks; 47 minutes) Billie Holiday ★★★★★ The Centennial Collection Sony/Legacy Is Billie Holiday the ultimate jazz singer? You might think so listening to this commemorative anthology that draws from Lady Day’s early period, performing
tunes recorded between 1935 and 1945, either fronting pianist Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra or leading her own, on timeless, defining tracks that continue to feed into the myth, magic and tragedy that is Ms. Holiday. Released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Holiday’s birth (April 7, 1915), these essential tracks showcase the singer at her peak. As a cultural icon, she has no modern day equivalent (Amy Winehouse deserves her own story) and hearing Holiday sing these pop
tunes, jazz songs and jukebox tracks on this artfully prepared collection is both a gift to music fans of all stripes and a paean to a singer that ultimately transcends genres. (20 tracks; 60 minutes) Russell Malone ★★★★ Love Looks Good On You HighNote Strong melodies and tight rhythmic interplay distinguish the guitarist Russell Malone, and the memorable music on Love Looks Good On You, glows with a charismatic halo. He knows how to put a recording together and the playlist has an involving flow, starting with a robust original by Mulgrew Miller, the swinging “Soul Leo.” Malone reaches back to the ‘70s, arranging two unexpected movie themes he knew as a youngster, including an obscure music cue from Shaft called “Ellie’s Love Theme,” written by Isaac Hayes. It’s a very pretty tune played with unbridled sensitivity. As a ballad player, Malone takes his time by concentrating on single notes and melodic choruses; it gives the title track a dimension that’s simply gorgeous. Malone has an indispensible band on board. The savory sound of pianist Rick Germanson, the nimble plucks by bassist Gerald Cannon and tight beats from drummer Willie Jones III, give this group its pulse. The bounce on Thad Jones’ “The Elder” and the resonant groove on George Coleman’s jazz standard, “Amsterdam After Dark” lets the quartet shine and tasty solos abound. A master of styles, you’ll catch a Chuck Berry lick here and a Wes Montgomery run there, Malone is foremost an original and with Love Looks Good On You, he’s back in the spotlight. (9 tracks; 52 minutes) Duchess ★★★★ Duchess Anzic Records The notion that “everything old is new again” blossoms like spring on the charming self-titled debut record by the trio Duchess, and it’s altogether refreshing. With a sound inspired by songs sung by Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters, albeit with classy, updated arrangements to charts that date back to the 1930s and ‘40s, Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou, three strong jazz and pop vocalists with their own solid careers, serve up sophisticated humor (Cy Coleman’s “A Doodlin’ Song”) and café society swing (Peggy Lee’s “Love Being
Here With You”) with the cleverest wit. Up close and personal, I heard them during their March CD release gig at the Jazz Standard in NYC, where the sold-out crowd was seduced by ballads like “Que Sera, Sera” and Johnny Mercer’s “P.S. I Love You,” where their warm, earthy harmonies hit you like Cupid’s arrow. That original blend of sauce and swing deservedly make Duchess stand out. With a fine band in tow anchored by pianist
Michael Cabe, bassist Paul Sikvie and ace drummer Matt Wilson, this completely delightful trio hearkens back to the era when performers like Bobby Short sang songs and entertainment was the priority. Ben Wolfe ★★★★ The Whisperer Posi-tone Bassist Ben Wolfe keeps a low profile on The Whisperer and his subtle presence clues you in to the album’s title. It’s as if he’s inviting you to listen to how good his band sounds. A refined musician, Wolfe stealthily defers to the vibrant soprano and tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard to voice his compositions while rounding out his quartet with an essential Orrin Evans on piano and the surefire drummer Donald Edwards. The quartet shines as a unit, deftly navigating the changes on sharply edged tunes—the excellent “Heroist” has a surging groove and features an arresting solo by Evans. Among several strong ballads, the best is the graceful “Hat In Hand,” a deliberate and lovely number with a fulsome melody and warm late-night glow. This excellent album makes for a rewarding listen. Fine writing, superlative improvisation, experienced leadership and Wolfe’s steadfast bass gives The Whisperer its juice. (12 tracks; 60 minutes) ■
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Keresman on Disc Joe Pass ★★★★★ Intercontinental Jim Hall ★★★★ It’s Nice To Be With You MPS Joe Pass (1929-1994) and Jim Hall (1930-2013) were two of the greatest guitarists to draw breath on this planet. Hall influenced and played with Pat Metheny and saxophonists as different as Paul Desmond and Ornette Cole-
man. Aside from his career as a leader, Pass played behind some classic voices: Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan among others, and instrumentalists Oscar Peterson and Duke Ellington. While at first it might sound “conservative” to those raised on noisier fare, his style was unique—Pass phrased like a saxophonist and his notes splash like big fat raindrops on hot summer pavement. His two biggest influences were Django Reinhardt and Charlie Parker, and in musicianship he’s up there with them. Intercontinental is a long-unavailable trio session from 1970 with Brit drummer Kenny Clare and German Eberhard Weber (yes, the very same ECM artist) on acoustic bass. This lot’s sense of unrushed, classy swing
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
must be heard to be believed, and Pass’ technical wizardry is surpassed only by his amiable warmth. (Pass often played without a guitar pick to get a more personal sound.) If you, Dear Reader, enjoy such six-stringers as Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Kenny Burrell you MUST hear Joe Pass. (11 tracks, 46 min.) Hall is a bit demure compared to Pass but no less swell. Unlike Pass, Hall could mix it up with mainstreamers as well as avant-gardists. Nice is a session from 1969 with Jimmy Woode (bass) and Daniel Humair (drums) and lives up to its name. Hall might look like one of Bob Newhart’s patients but he plays both soft and strange, coming on all mellow before messing with your head with weird/unexpected notes. Give the high-volume, 179 notes-per-minute cats a rest and soak up some real oldschool hepcat culture. (8 tracks, 38 min.) mpsmusic.com Sir Richard Bishop ★★★1/2 The Tangier Sessions Drag City Sir Richard Bishop was one-third of the Sun City Girls, an Arizona avant-rock combo 1979-2007 that combined punk and experimental aesthetics with the thennew concept of world music. Solo, Bishop has primarily
alas, remains timeless) and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” (still relevant) and there are originals such as the honky tonk-flavored folk-rocker “Bar Room Crystal Ball” (with the lilting singing of Teresa Williams). Kaukonen isn’t the strongest singer in the world, but the somewhat muted, mostly enchanting guitar work and the back porch in summertime ambiance of this platter is hard to resist. (11 tracks, 47 min.) redhouserecords.com The Lilac Time ★★★★★ No Sad Songs Tapete Ron Sexsmith ★★★★1/2 Carousel One Compass The Lilac Time is the brainchild of Brit Stephen Duffy, who’s nutty enough to carve out a career with well-thought, distinctive, bittersweet songs that don’t have (or need) drum machines, auto-tune, or remixes. Duffy crafts songs in the manner of Lennon & MacBeatle,
The Lilac Time. Sir Richard Bishop. Photo: Uwe Faltermeier
concentrated on the acoustic guitar and exploring a personal vision of the commonalities in Middle Eastern, North African, and gypsy/Roma forms. In “Mirage” Bishop finds an overlap between strains of Saharan African and blues; “Safe House” reflects aspects of Spanish flamenco. The reflective Tangier Sessions will appeal to fans of artfully-played (i.e., Fahey, Kottke, Towner) acoustic guitar. (7 tracks, 40 min.) dragcity.com
Jorma Kaukonen ★★★ Ain’t In No Hurry Red House Those with an historical bent may recall Jorma Kaukonen as the guitarist for the seminal 1960s band Jefferson Airplane and its blues-rocking spin-off Hot Tuna. In recent years Kaukonen has returned to his acoustic roots in pre-electric blues, folk, country, etc. No Hurry features JK in a genial, chill-out mode covering oldies such as “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” (a song that,
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Squeeze, The Bee Gees (in their 1960s/pre-disco incarnation), and Lee Hazlewood (the man behind hits by Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra)—the songs have actual melodies (as opposed the jingle-like jive) and each has its own ambiance. “Babylon Revisited” has both a downMexico-way lilt and in-a-gondola-in-Venice bouzouki romanticism and “The Dream That Woke Me” has at least as much romantic angst as Bryan Ferry at his peak (Duffy has a similar though less urbane croon). Pedal steel guitar is employed but not in any sort of country manner, but as a budget-sized string section, and along with the harmonious co-ed harmonies (hints of Fleetwood Mac, post-1969 Beach Boys, even Crosby, Still & Nash) Duffy’s songs are plush and luxurious. No Sad Songs is as close to old-school pop perfection as it gets. (10 tracks, 40 min.) tapeterecords.com Speaking of classy pop, Canadian Ron Sexsmith has been slinging nifty platters since 1991 and can’t help keep up the fine work. With a winsome voice akin to The Kinks’ Ray Davies with a cold and a way with a winning
melody betraying lots of listens to the Kinks, late ‘60s Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, and Elvis Costello, Carousel One is an introspective folk/pop-rock delight. You got to admire a guy that come up with a chorus such as “How am I supposed to love you if I can’t get my act together?” set to a tune that sounds like Springsteen trying to write a Box Tops song, by gum! (14 songs, 50 min.) compassrecords.com
Asleep at the Wheel ★★★★★ Bob Wills is Still The King Bismeaux Bob Wills (1905-1975) was one of the USA’s earliest fusion pioneers—not the fusion of jazz, rock, funk, etc. but the fusion of country music, jazz, Tin Pan Alley songcraft, and blues, a style known as Western swing. After the early 1950s Western swing’s popularity declined but you just can’t keep good sound(s) down—in the 1970s (and since) bands like Asleep at the Wheel and singers Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson gave it some renewed visibility. At it since approximately 1970, the Wheel has kept the flame of Wills’ music in particular and Western swing in general burning brightly. Does the world need another “tribute” to any-body? Most emphatically YES—
Asleep at the Wheel with Willie Nelson.
the Wheel get with old friends (Nelson, Haggard, George Strait) and such simpatico types as The Old Crow Medicine Show, bluegrass legend Del McCoury, and Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon). This is the real thing, not Nash Vegas product but traditional country with a strong dose of Count Basie-flavored swing—and unlike some neoWestern swing, Bob Wills remembers to include the swing factor. Needless to say, there’s plenty of earthy, heartfelt vocalizing. The Wheel have many fine albums but this ranks as one of the best ever. (22 tracks,) bismeauxrecords.com ■ W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 ■ I C O N ■ 37
The Mansion NEW OWNERS AT NEW Hope’s The Mansion are trying to rebuff the image the Inn commanded for so long. More than a half-century (or arguably, a century) ago, New Hope became a jeweled destination for getaways,
dining, theater, and the arts. The town’s unique blend of class and funk, sophistication and grit attracts the cultured, the counter-cultured, and even the uncultured. The Mansion has been a New Hope icon. Stately and stylish, the 1865 Victorian edifice stands just beyond a New Orleans-style wrought iron grape cluster fence forged in 1867 in Philadelphia. But the house has had its ups and downs. It fell into disrepair after owner Dr. Leiby, a fabled town figure, sold the house. It was rehabbed in 1995, emerging as a B&B. In 2002, a restaurant was added. Subsequently, like most riparian towns in Bucks County, the River dealt it some blows. But it was a November 2010 kitchen fire that destroyed the kitchen and caused extensive smoke damage. It wasn’t until 2012 that The Mansion reopened under new ownership. Frankly, they’ve been tweaking and revisiting their dining format for a couple of years, determined to carve out a spot in the challenging New Hope-Lambertville dining scene. The restaurant has tinkered with various identities—from small-plate bar nosh to wine bar to upscale white-linen service.
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In recent visits, the menu has leaned toward finger foods, like Fish Tacos, which are busy, yet coherent. A trio of flour tacos wrap three petite filets of grilled mahi mahi poised atop a colorful bed of purple onions, shredded red cabbage, green cilantro, and scallion. Creamy mustard based Sriracha-Hollandaise sauce crisscrosses each taco. A battalion of Crispy Fire Shrimp on a bed of arugula loll in a large round bowl. The tails of the shrimp are removed (why don't more chefs do that? Although it’s extra work for the kitchen, it spares the customer a messy, annoying step). The shrimp is coated with a mild chile glaze. However, although the serving is more than generous, the shrimp are not crispy and have only mild fire. Appetizers dominated the menu on our last visit (that may change) with some copacetic entrées. Flat Iron Steak au Poivre was prepared precisely to order. That’s rare, my preference, and rare, as in “rare occurrence.” Too many American kitchens don’t acquiesce to that preparation; Rare comes out medium rare too often, although the mushrooming of the steak house genre is rectifying the problem. The smashed potatoes, arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette, garnished with portabello and cherry tomato halves were a savory supplement to the steak. A Mahi Mahi entrée is served over garlic risotto which could have used more garlicky pop. Nonetheless, the sweet chili, glazed orange citrus salsa that bathed the fish made for a tasty dish. Desserts are generally good with a few minor gigs. Extraordinarily silky, tasty Tiramisu was excellent by itself. The sprinkle of Nestle chocolate chips on the plate hurt the optics of the dessert without adding to the flavor. The Mansion has promise. The past horrendous winter has hurt all restaurants. The Mansion—in the throes of reinventing itself—was hurt disproportionally. There are a few expeditious measures The Mansion can take immediately. They don’t provide a menu. Sometimes it’s not even written on a blackboard. Nor is the menu online. Servers recite the menu. In addition, the large, beautiful dining room that guests see when entering the front door is not used. The space is airy and beautiful and should be put to use. I’m hoping The Mansion keeps making incremental gains and succeeds. The menu has promise. The edifice is historic, charming, and iconic. It adds gravitas and relevance to the legacy and living history of this gem of a town. A win for The Mansion is a win for all. ■ The Mansion, 9 So. Main St., New Hope. PA (215) 693-1800 http://themansioninnnewhope.com
S WA N
HOTEL Modern Cuisine h Classic Comfort Corner of Swan & Main Lambertville, NJ 609-397-3552
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NOMAD PIZZA IN 2013, TRAVEL AND LEISURE magazine ranked Philadelphia as the fourth best pizza city in the country bested only by our self-proclaimed first and second cities: NYC and Chicago. Inscrutably and inexplicably, Providence ranks third. Could it be the nearby Newport clientele has catalyzed a line of caviar toppings? As for #4 Philly, I suggest a primo Philly pizza spot for readers each year. For 2015, it’s Nomad Pizza in Queen Village. I’m not alone in the recommendation. Uwishunu.com lists both Nomad and the Nomad Pizza Mobile in its Philly Top 12. Nomad Pizza Mobile is Nomad’s vintage REO Speedwagon seen prominently at various Philly fests. In this same top dozen are my 2013 (In Riva) and 2014 (Revolution House) pizza recommendations. The airy crust, the incontrovertible essence of pizza, is the crux of Nomad’s secret. Sure the payload piled atop is important. But the pizza won’t be memorable without being served on a stand-up platform of tasty, stand-up dough. Nomad takes pains to make its crust rock. The dough sits fermenting for several days prior to cooking. The process insinuates measurably subtle sweetness into the bread, which emerges from Nomad’s oven crisped and charred—a luscious consistency to buttress the bevy of brightly flavored canopies atop. Toppings range from the classic simplicity of the Margherita to the savory audaciousness of Truffle Pecorino. Pizza purists in search of the perfect Margherita, will find a candidate here. Even the Margherita’s looks make the mouth water. The milky white imported mozzarella di bufala bubbling up in a wavy sea of red sauce is rimmed with crust that’s speckled with dark circular chars. My personal pizza cravings find nirvana in masterful combinations of ingredients that swirl with flavors and sensations. So my favorite is Truffle Pecorino. Toma cheese (an Italian cow’s milk cheese) melted along with shiitake mushrooms and boosted with garlic hoists a Double Brook Farm fresh egg that’s spiced with sea salt and black pepper and buttressed with truffle-infused Tartufo Bianchetto cheese. The combo has extraordinarily deep, delicious complexity. Nomad veers off the Pizza highway for some surprisingly tasty side dishes. I particularly like Roasted Root Salad— a composite of local, organic, wood-fired roasted beets and carrots atop a bed of garlic sautéed pea greens, topped with balsamic reduction and finished with garlic chive chèvre. Arancini, which are large fried spherical Sicilian rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, are stuffed with fresh basil and fresh Mozzarella. Served with rich marinara sauce and a side of arugula with lemon-thyme dressing, arancini is a fine complement to pizza. Don’t miss the Nutella Pizza for dessert. The crust is prepared and cooked before a huge basin of Nutella is spread across the dough and topped with slices of bananas. A generous sprinkle of hazelnuts and powdered sugar finishes off a sinfully tasty dessert. At meal's end, guests get a couple dark chocolate chips embossed with Nomad's truck logo. Nomad’s address is hallowed in culinary circles. The previous occupant was Horizons. It was in this building that Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby first beguiled city dwellers with their world-class vegan fare, although they had done so for a few years in Willow Grove (ICON readers knew about Horizons long before Horizons’ move to the city). Nomad has proved itself a worthy successor. Nomad’s cuisine is not the groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting magic of Horizons (now Vedge). But it’s not meant to be. Pizza cred comes from consistent execution. Nomad has proven itself a top player in that arena, which I’m sure even a top pizza town like Providence would concede. ■ Nomad Pizza, 611 So. 7th St., Philadelphia. (215) 238-0900 www.nomadpizzaco.com 40 ■ I C O N ■ A P R I L 2 0 1 5 ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V
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The Los Angeles Times SUNDAY CROSSWORD PUZZLE
SEEING STARS By Kurt Krauss Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Ranted (at) 7 Texter’s “Oh, I should also mention ... ” 10 Houston ballplayer, for short 14 Building blocks 19 Picador’s target 20 “Bingo!” 21 One might get caught off base 22 “Waterworld” orphan girl 23 Five-star auctioneer? 25 Five-star bridal accessory? 27 About to explode 28 Like NASA and FEMA 30 Clear up 31 __ death: repeat too often 32 Longest river in France 33 Sonata, e.g. 35 They’re hung by drivers 36 Five-star Ponzi scheme? 40 Explosive experiment 41 Thai appetizers 44 Author Follett 45 E.U. member 46 Five-star pageboy? 49 “Big four” record company 51 Leather ending 53 0.0000001 joules 56 1953 Pulitzer-winning dramatist 57 “SNL” alum alongside Hartman and Carvey 59 Thinks better of it 61 Once called 62 Go-to guy 64 Cigar size 65 Five-star secluded getaway? 69 CNN news anchor __ Paul 72 Baronial headpiece 73 Hardly around the corner 76 Put under 78 Knocks on 79 Purina product 80 Qing Dynasty general of culinary fame 81 Deutschland donkey 82 Slip-__: shoes 83 Five-star flugelhorns? 86 Backstabber 87 Acquisition transaction, briefly 89 Tuxedo accessory 90 Carried on 93 Five-star spiel? 99 Times to get ready
100 101 102 106 108 110 111 113 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122
Five-O booking agent Golden Magi origin Mythological hybrid Break for mom Trumpeter Louis Five-star competition? Five-star headgear? Dodger manager before Mattingly Bad end Like some phone nos. Designer McCartney Related maternally Massachusetts motto opener The Carolinas’ __ Dee River Strengths
DOWN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 24 26 29 34 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 45 47 48 49
Bridge action Last Olds made Where __ Pick 6, for one Language that gave us “galore” __-eyed Cast selection? Nickname for baseball’s Durocher Shout during a charge Native corn porridge Couple Hot __ 1993 A.L. batting champ John “Why don’t we!” Coming or going Deke victim Tapenade ingredients Least likely to blow Like a fantasy land? Beethoven’s “__ Adieux” sonata Bubbly beginning? Yearned Manhattan part Bailout key Like, with “to” Slightly Remedy from a doctor? “Alfred” composer Buster Brown’s dog Photographer’s accessory Fitting most people Home on the range Hebrew for “skyward”
50 52 53 54 55 58 60 62 63 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 73 74 75 77 78 79 84 85 86 88 90 91 92
Rainier, for one Port on Italy’s “heel” Some dashes “Balderdash!” Flip side of Ronny & the Daytonas’ “Hot Rod Baby” Station for film buffs Nearest star to Earth Not see properly Whistler, e.g. Old cry of disgust Illegal payments Mortarboard sporters: Abbr. A wall may need a second one This, in Toulouse Brooklyn __, N.Y. Density symbol, in physics Criticism Abbey nook Looking up Actress Barkin Rain protection Bow-and-arrow sets Wash. summer hrs. Lighter name Remedy for a freeze Back-to-back ’90s Super Bowl champs Reel off Fashion photographer Richard Family subdivisions
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93 Strut 94 “The Purloined Letter” monogram 95 Dices 96 Godhead, for one 97 Blemish 98 Java Freeze brand 100 Doo-wop syllable
103 104 105 107 109 110 112 114
United divider? Young salmon “__ Bulba”: Gogol novel On the safer side World-weary words Ryan and Benjamin: Abbr. Big load Golfer Ernie Els’ homeland
Answer to March’s puzzle, HIDE AND SEEK
Agenda ART EXHIBITS THRU 4/12 New Hope Arts hosts FACTORY 418 in a site-specific installation, Sumbioun. Opening recep. 3/14, 6-8 PM. Gallery Hours: Fri., Sat. & Sun., 12 - 5 pm. 2 Stockton Ave. New Hope, PA 215 862 9606. www.newhopearts.org THRU 4/18 We Place Our Ideas/Our Ideas Place Us. Artists whose work can be tied to place from a variety of points of view: Lucy Gans, Kelly Goff, Emilio Rojas, Scott Sherk, Stacy Lynn Waddell. Grossman Gallery, Lafayette College Art Galleries, 243 North Third St., Easton, PA. 610-330-5361. http://galleries.lafayette.edu, email@example.com THRU 4/19 Barbara Mayfield, “True Stories.” The Quiet Life Gallery, 17 So. Main St., Lambertville, NJ. 609397-0880. Quietlifegallery.com THRU 4/30 “Sundae Matinee” by Rosalie Kicks. Show includes whimsical fabric portraits, pillows, and plushies. Paperboat and Bird Art Shoppe, 21 Risler Street (Rte 29), Stockton, NJ. 609-397-2121. paperboatandbird.com 4/13-5/22 Audrey Flack presents, Heroines. A suite of powerful drawings and prints created in a technique that rivals the drawings of the old masters. Williams Center Gallery, 317 Hamilton St., Easton, PA. 610-330-5361. http://galleries.lafayette.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org 4/18-5/24 Sculpture 2015. New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Ave., New Hope, PA. 215-862-9606. Newhopearts.org 4/22-4/25 Spring Open House, Ahlum Gallery. Denise Ahlum-Sandy, Artist/Owner. 106 North 4th St., Easton, PA. Open by appointment. Ahlumgallery.com 4/26 Panel Discussion: “Considering Weston’s Women.” A critical discussion of photographer Edward Weston’s work and relationships centered around the special exhibition Weston’s Women: Edward Weston and Cycles of Influence. $5 Members, $15 Nonmembers.
1 PM, Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. 5th St., Allentown, PA. 610432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 4/29-5/2 Spring Open House, Ahlum Gallery. Denise Ahlum-Sandy, Artist/Owner. 106 North 4th St., Easton, PA. Open by appointment. Ahlumgallery.com 5/3-6/14 The Art of the Miniature XXIII. Opening Reception, 5/3, 15PM.The Snow Goose Gallery, 470 Main St., Bethlehem, PA. 610-974-9099. Thesnowgoosegallery.com ART AUCTIONS ART FESTIVALS 5/2-5/3 Morven in May, Art Craft and Garden welcomes thirty-five fine craft artists from around the U.S. The juried show will feature jewelry, furniture, wearable and decorative textiles, ceramics, mixed media and more. Also enjoy the best heirloom plant sale in New Jersey. Free parking, $10 admission. Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton St., Princeton, NJ. 609-924-8144. Morven.org 5/9 - 5/10 Fine Art & Craft Show, 50 Years. 5/9, 10 AM-5 PM, 5/10, 11 AM-5 PM. Over eighty regional, national & local artists and art projects for kids. Fun for the entire family. Historic Main St., Bethlehem, PA. Bfac-lv.org 5/16 Quakertown Alive. Presents the 15th Annual Juried Arts & Crafts Event. 10 AM-4PM, Downtown Quakertown, PA. Rain date 5/17. 215-536-2273, Quakertownalive.com 5/16 Baum School Art Auction Thirtieth Anniversary. Silent auction begins at 5:30 PM, live auction begins at 8:00 PM. Both auctions are free to attend. Preview night, 5/14, 6-8 PM. The Baum School of Art, 510 Linden St., Allentown, PA. 610-433-0032. Baumschool.org CONCERTS 4/1-6/3 Cathedral Arts Presents Basic’lly Bach at the Cathedral. First Wednesdays at 12:10 P.M. Mostly Bach, Mostly Organ. Cathedral
Church of the Nativity, 321 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, PA. 610-865-0727, ext. 303. Nativitycathedral.org
4/18 Danny Aiello, With Joe Geary and The Guys. Special Guest: The Bronx Wanderers. 8 PM, $45/$40. State Theatre, Home of the Freddy Awards. 453 Northampton St., Easton, PA. 610-252-3132, 1-800-999STATE. Order online Statetheatre.org DANCE 4/16-4/18 2015 Dance Emerge. Innovative works from the next generation of dance. Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA. 484-664-3333. Muhlenberg.edu/dance 4/19 Momix Alchemia. “Momix draws its audiences into futuristic dreamscapes which are joyful and fun and filled with bemused delight.”-The Royal Gazette. 4 P.M., Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Free event parking attached to center. 610-758-2787. Zoellnerartscenter.org THEATER 4/18-4/26 Touchstone Theatre presents, Journey from the East, 3 PM. Touchstone Theatre, 321 East Fourth St., Bethlehem, PA. 610867-1689. Touchstone.org 4/22-4/26 Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, adapted & directed by Troy Dwyer. Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA. 484-664-3333. Muhlenberg.edu/dance 4/22-5/3 How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Act 1 Performing Arts, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. DeSales University, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, PA. 610-282-3192. Desales.edu/act1 5/1 Camelot. 8PM, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Free event parking attached to center. 610-758-2787. Zoellnerartscenter.org
5/5-5/10 In The Mood, a 1940’s musical revue. America’s Greatest Big Band Show. Bucks County Playhouse, 70 South Main St., New Hope, PA. 215-862-2121. For schedule visit, Bcptheater.org. Show info: Inthemoodlive.com DINNER & MUSIC Every Monday, Live guitar with Barry Peterson, 7-10. Karla’s, 5 W. Mechanic St., New Hope. 215-8622612. karlasnewhope.com Thursday & Friday nights: DeAnna’s Restaurant, 54 N. Franklin St., Lambertville, NJ. LIVE JAZZ. 609397-8957. deannasrestaurant.com. Thurs.-Sat., Dinner and a Show at SteelStacks, Bethlehem. 5-10. Table service, valet parking. artsquest.org
KESWICK THEATRE Keswick Theatre 291 Keswick Ave., Glenside keswicktheatre.com APRIL 8 David Sedaris 10 Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn + David Bromberg & Larry Campbell 11 Dweezil Zappa 12-15 Peking Acrobats 16 Mike Marino 19 Tower of Power & Average White Band 23 The Waterboys 25 2Cellos 30 Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton MAY 1 The Mavericks 8 Brian McKnight Trio 9 Gino Vanelli + Nnenna Freelon 15 Delbert McClinton 16 Manhattan Transfer + Take 6 26 Vince Gill & Lyle Lovett 28 Steven Wilson
MUSIKFEST CAFÉ 101 Founders Way Bethlehem, PA 610-332-1300. artsquest.org APRIL Who's Bad - A Tribute to 3 Michael Jackson 4 Rick Braun 9 Joan Osborne
George Winston Two Laugh Minimum: Carmen Lynch Listen to Your Mother Benefitting Turning Point of Lehigh Valley The StepCrew Tom Paxton
MAY 1 2 15
The Blues Brotherhood Glenn Miller Orchestra Dirty Dozen Brass Band
22 23 28 29
Spyro Gyra David Liebman Herman’s Hermits featuring Peter Noone Dr. John & the Nite Trippers EVENTS & FESTIVALS
4/18 Alex Sepkus Trunk Show, Heart of the Home. 28 S. Main St., New Hope, PA. 215-862-1880. Heartofthehome.com 4/24 Tinicum Art and Science, a unique high school rooted in mindfulness, will be hosting our 10th Annual Coffee House Fundraiser from 5pm to 8pm. Join us for an evening of student performances, artwork, silent auction and fabulous vegetarian food. Tickets $25 in advance. For more information please call Chrissy at 610-847-6980 or visit tinicumartandscience.org. 5/10-5/17 New Hope Celebrates, Pride Festival. Come OUT and “Be Yourself.” Dance Parties, Live Music, Comedy, Parade and Much More. New Hope, PA. For full schedule visit NewHopeCelebrates.com BOOK READINGS POETRY READINGS 5/9 Poet Yolanda Wisher. Philadelphia-based, Wisher's acclaimed first book of poetry is called Monk Eats an Afro. She regularly performs her poetry in collaboration with musicians, and is the founder/director of the Germantown Poetry Festival. Free. Panoply Books, 46 N. Union St, Lambertville, NJ. 609-397-1145. Panoplybooks.com
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Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc. Specialists in High-Value Property
Bucks County / Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania 610-346-8800 / www.doreyrealestate.com
A 2-story great room, with burled wood entertainment center and floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, opens to a back patio and a fabulous glass sunroom, leading to a magnificent pool - all on 2.3 acres. The gourmet kitchen accommodates the most experienced chef’s talents. A handsome, cherry library with fireplace leads to master suite. Space, grace and natural beauty are the hallmarks of this exceptional Saucon Valley property. This fine home has all the upgrades one would expect, with many custom appointments. Six bedrooms and a 3-car garage, just minutes from all of the Lehigh Valley’s premiere locations. $1,049,000
The convenient and tranquil location of this three-acre property affords quick access to commuter routes and nearby shopping and dining. Set on a lovely cul-de-sac, this classic colonial is framed by tall trees and an expansive lawn. Interior features include high ceilings, wood floors, two fireplaces and a gracious two-story entry. The master bedroom incorporates a private home office and the partially finished lower level has play space and plentiful storage. A gourmet kitchen and adjoining family room overlook the private and picturesque patio and pool areas. $599,000
This exceptional Saucon Valley home is the definition of quality, perfect for sophisticated entertaining and family living, and recently updated with an impeccable eye. Meticulous attention was given to architectural detail, custom woodworking and built-in cabinetry. The floor plan boasts cathedral, tray and coffered ceilings, dual staircases, 2 fireplaces and floors of marble and wood. Including the finished basement, there is over 7,500 square feet of living space. 4 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half baths, gourmet kitchen and a 1.8 acre cul-de-sac location. $995,000
Much care has been taken with the 2003 restoration of this beautiful, historic residence. The new blends seamlessly with period details and creates a modern functioning floor plan. Of special interest are the Moravian tile floor and the coordinating handmade tiles surrounding a fireplace. Outside there’s a lovely garden and patio with a 1930s water feature. This home is in the National Register of Historic Places and Benjamin Franklin stayed here for about a month in 1755. $699,900
A perfectly balanced life requires soothing views, comfortable rooms and a sense that all is well in the world. Monocacy Creek views, a rocking chair porch and the sense of peace that pervades Porch Views help create a home of infinite serenity. Polished hardwoods run throughout the main rooms, gleaming granite updates the kitchen. Built-in shelving and a brick fireplace add texture to a comfy family room that opens to a spectacular sunroom with 18 windows and skylights. A sunlit living room and cozy dining room welcome guests with grace and style. $449,000
The Manor is home to a group of distinct, custom built residences and offers easy access to I-78, the PA Turnpike and all of the Lehigh Valley. Distant mountains and nearby rolling hills are viewed from every stylish room in this airy and bright home with formal living and dining areas, bonus room above a 3-car garage, and four bedrooms, including a luxurious 1st floor owner’s suite. Outdoor amenities include a wonderfully private swimming pool and brick patio. Indoors, the lower level is unparalleled for entertaining with a multi-level home theatre, full bar and fireplace. $725,000
A distinguished neighborhood of custom built homes on mature lots is the setting for this well cared for residence. Plentiful windows, wood floors, solid wood doors, and period colors enhance the exceptional floor plan. The kitchen boasts a center prep island, glass front cherry cabinetry, and one of three wood burning fireplaces as its focal point. Parkland schools, great proximity to major traffic routes, and Lehigh Valley Hospital are an added bonus. $585,000
A coveted location minutes from Lehigh Valley Hospital and I-78 combines with the fine craftsmanship and significance of a 19th century home and stone bank barn on more than four acres. The Jacob Marck Homestead preserves original details evident in the wood-burning fireplaces, random width pine floors, deep silled windows, bull’s eye glass and Mercer tiles found in the main house. The Pennsylvania bank barn has ample storage vehicles and has heat, electric and water. A sparkling pool, pool house with changing areas, and a delightful guest cottage make entertaining a pleasure. $649,000
This 1930’s cedar shake home with slate roof has great curb appeal and an updated interior with wood floors, built-in bookshelves and cabinetry, and a wood-burning fireplace. Minutes from Historic Bethlehem, the home is set on a mature lot and offers a main level with formal dining room, renovated St. Charles kitchen, and sunroom with walls of windows. The second floor has four bedrooms, all with great storage and striking architectural angles, and two full baths. A finished LL with full bath brings even more space for a home office, gym and overnight guests. $330,000
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