PROM NIGHT: We All Got Lucky!

If you weren’t able to make it to the shining, sparkling Lehigh Valley with Love Prom – hosted of course by George Wacker of the locally-famous Lehigh Valley with Love blog and the glamorous-as-a-unicorn-horn Tina Hemmerle of WINK magazine, don’t feel too bad (maybe a little bad, it was truly awesome) – I have a recap!

Let’s all give a standing ovation to the fact that nearly two thousand dollars was raised to fight against Multiple Sclerosis. A second standing ovation for all of the folks that selflessly donated time and talents! (Among them Molly’s Bar and Grille, Eskandalo! Hair and Jordan White/Kinetic Blu for singing better than any of us.)

Wait to stand up and clap until you’re done scrolling through this post, obviously.

We all got extra lucky since the whole night was documented in a number of ways, from photos to a live web stream at the event to this video by Matt and Sarah of the “Yearbook Committee”. This video has quickly become my favorite thing on the earth.

If anyone asked what the people are like in the Valley, show them this.

Post Sputnik, you will always be our prom dates in spirit. Your amazingly wonderful (and super-fast… seriously, how do you do it?) editing lingers in our hearts long after our wrist corsages have wilted.

And don’t forget about the excellent photography by Chris Elston “Class Clown” (watch the video! watch it again!) – which reminds me, if you ATTENDED the prom and had your portraits taken, GO HERE to view/buy some. Now!  And if you weren’t there, go HERE so you can see how much fun we had and come next time (or spy on your ex, whatever). Oh, and if you can lend me a few hundred bucks so I can buy them all, that would be so kind of you!

Don’t miss the night’s candid shots by roaming photographer Matt of Lightly Salted Productions. Wow, see how much fun being neighbors and friends can be!?  Note that all the below shots are from this guy! He worked so we could drink beers and watch cute girls jump out of a silver cake. You took one for the team, Matt!

I keep thinking about the moment when I looked across the crowded space full of people happy to be alive and out and meeting each other, and George leaned in and said to me, “Can you believe this? It’s so great… and  Tina and I just kind of put this together. Can you imagine what we can do next time with all of our powers combined….?”

And he gave that plotting-evil grin he likes so much. Except “next time” won’t be evil at all. It will be like Captain Planet, and  when we put our hands together “for our powers combined”, the Steelmills will shoot fireworks.


Events like this paint a brightly colored picture of the (lehigh valley with) LOVE we all share for shaping this city into a place that is not only accessible, but welcoming to progressive new ideas.  Start thinking about which potential prom dates will have to fight over you next year!

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STEELSTACKS: I Have Seen the Future, and It Is Good

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting an exclusive tour of the new ArtsQuest SteelStacks building at it’s current phase of construction.

I knew it would be good, but quite simply, it’s mind-blowing. It looks like DWELL Magazine exploded all over the Southside in an ideal location with the best views.

Some really interesting things to note:

  • Everything is customizable. Very little in the way of furniture and stages are actually built-in, which means there is flexibility to make a stage bigger and a crowd smaller, vice versa, you can sit and watch a jazz show or pack a standing room for a rock concert.
  • The view of the Steelmills is incredible. You are right there. One ENITRE side of the bulding’s facade is made of glass windows facing the mills.
  • The window-wall on the ground floor is made of accordion windows, so they can be completely opened and essentially “removed” in warmer weather to make a seamless indoor/outdoor space for eating, drinking (an outdoor bar, too!) and watching performances.

I could keep going, but the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy.

About to enter the building. This will soon be a courtyard area.

The view upon walking in. Hits you pretty hard. It's awesome.

First floor will hold a cafe, bar, box office and media lounge.

Third floor. Industrial lighting over what will eventually be one of the bars.

Third floor. Biggest concert space.

Imagine seeing your favorite band here. Just IMAGINE IT.

Balcony seating area.

Stairs to dressing rooms and balcony.

Who wants to move in?

I want to play lazer tag.

Picture this. A glass of wine, live jazz, the sun setting.

Prettiest staircase I ever did see.

Second floor. Ahead is the Blast Furnace room, a small version of the upstairs perfect for comedy shows and more intimate events.

One of the two theaters to host independent cinema.

Thank you infinitely to Patrick for handing me a hard hat and giving the tour. It was impossible not to leave and be so excited about what our little town of Bethlehem has in store. This building is almost as beautiful as the spirit of the people here.

I’m proud to be home.

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THIRD THURSDAY FILM CLUB: “The Visioneers”

Take a break from netflix and allow your couch to lose the you-shaped indentation. Tonight, enjoy your movie in the company of community members who are likely just as cool as you if they are going, too.

The fine folks of the annual Southside Film Festival have a decidedly unpretentious, open-to-all film club. Every third thursday of the month at saliva-inducing *Victory Firehouse the film club chooses a movie that isn’t getting mainstream attention, and isn’t showing at local independent cinema. And check this out: It’s FREE.

Ahem. FREEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

As per the website, “Each third Thursday of the month, the SSFI presents a socially conscious film that merits viewing and discussion.  Our purpose is to give venue to pertinent and well-crafted documentary films that unfortunately do not have a market in mainstream cinema.”

TONIGHT’s film is The Visioneers directed by Jared Drake.

“First time feature filmmaker Jared Drake makes his directorial debut with this quirky black comedy set in the near future, and concerning a curious spike in cases of spontaneous human combustion. The Jeffers Corporation is the largest business in the history of mankind, and they got that way thanks to their strict philosophy of happiness through mindless productivity. But when people begin literally exploding due to unhappiness, Jeffers Corporation Level Three TUNT George Washington Winsterhammerman (Zach Galifianakis) begins to fear that his time will come sooner rather than later.

George lives a comfortable yet completely uneventful life, and when he starts having dreams in which he’s the first President of the United States, his doctor informs him that they could be signs of impending explosion. Later, as the dreams become more frequent and his co-workers continue to detonate, George is prompted to reevaluate his mundane existence. Judy Greer, Missi Pyle, and James LeGros co-star in an existential black comedy featuring music by Tim DeLaughter of the Polyphonic Spree.”

Did you see that? Zack Galifianakis AND the Polyphonic Spree in the same film. It’ll be like that crazy Fionna Apple video but dare I say, better and with more political commentary?

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.

INFORMATION:

  • FREE Admission
  • Victory Firehouse, 205 Webster Street (Behind the Hard Bean Cafe)
  • Doors at 6:45, Film Starts 7:15
  • Stay afterward for discussion! And meeting friends!
  • GO HERE for directions, general info and a schedule of upcoming films

*A note about the Victory Firehouse – When I first passed this place, I literally pulled to the side of the road and got out of the car to try and figure out what it was. A house? No. An actual functioning firehouse? I didn’t think. A bar? WHAT IS IT?

The use of corrugated steel an bold primary colors make this a modern architecture lover’s wet dream, right here in ol’ Bethlehem. I have formulated a plan to take it over and establish my residence there if whatever it is they do doesn’t work out. But hopefully it will so they can keep showing films.

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MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE? Two Creative Outlets Combines Forces for Good

If you like the SNL segment “Weekend Update”, you’ll love the Valley’s own online version of sarcastic commentary, it’s-funny-cause-it’s-true local news brought to you by George Wacker, writer and founder of Lehigh Valley With Love.

And if you like sexy cute pinup girls, D.I.Y. ethics, and so much sweet positivity it’ll make your teeth hurt, surely you know about WINK Magazine – a free monthly publication found at independent businesses all over the LV.

With their powers combined, they are holding the first ever LV w/ Love PROM at Molly’s Bar and Grille on Southside Bethlehem.

The theme is “Get Lucky”, though you won’t be the only one reaping the benefits of that innuendo. The prom is also a benefit for Multiple Sclerosis. See? Everyone wins!

There will be a prom King and Queen (picked at random, no highschool drama here folks, we’re all friends!), a live band and DJ, photos, silent auction and MORE!

Buy your tickets in advance, and you get them for $15. Buy them at the event, they’re $20. You can get advance tickets HERE. Remember all of the money is going to a good cause. Party on Wayne, party on Garth.

Go to the FACEBOOK PAGE for more information, and then be sure to support these most excellent creative outlets all year round. Now, put on your dancin’ shoes.

INFORMATION:

  • Saturday, January 15th
  • 8pm, Molly’s Irish Bar and Grille on Southside Bethlehem
  • Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at door
  • Benefit for Multiple Sclerosis
  • PROM ATTIRE! Whatever that means for you!

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MISSING YOU: The Best of Craigslist Missed Connections (New feature!)

Craigslist is a guilty pleasure. And perhaps even more than I love trolling around for vintage furniture (though I get enraged when people describe something wrong) I love the sometimes endearing, mostly skanky missed connections.

(*If you haven’t used the internet in the past 5-10 years, let me explain: Missed Connections is a section of craigslist where people who saw someone cute in a public place can go to make a plea for that person to remember them and contact them. Common scenario example: “I saw you pumping gas at the Wawa on Easton Ave. You drove a blue honda civic. We both ordered whatever the sandwich of the week was for Hoagie Fest. When you asked for extra peppers, I swear we made eye contact. I know you were there with 4 kids and your husband was in the car, but I think you’re hot. Contact me and tell me how many gallons of gas I got so I know it’s you.”

Except many more grammatical errors and perversion.)

And so! Let us help spread the love (and hopefully not STD’s) by highlighting some of the weeks best posts:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

hello guy with leather jacket on monday (m4m) lehigh valley – this go to the guy on greenbook store on monday, after 3pm u where wearing leather jacket and blue jean..”

Apparently the man in question was clothed in only one pant leg.

I am 85% sure this is the truck she's talking about.

Stunning blue eyez (w4m) Allentown area – My stunning blue eyed big man… The green door was amazing, when I am with  you time stops. You always know when and where to find me… I have resorted to trying to contact you on here being how I have no other means. Please find me! I miss your purple truck as well, come rescue me in your big purple truck!

It’s funnier if you replace the word “truck” with “dinosaur”.

Doing Laundry in Bechtlesville (m4w) Route 100 – It started out quiet…you were at one corner of the laundry mat…I on the other. We started laundry bascially at the same time…I figured I would have a chance to strike up conversation while we folded~ But then you had a visitor join you. While I could be wrong…he did not appear to be a boyfriend…

I could be worng but I got the impression yo would have liked to have had the chance to talk…if so and you check to see if I wrote something here for you…well…send me a note so we cn chat soon!

– The first order of business is where the heck is Bechtlesville!? Is this a real place? And does it really have magical “laundry mats” where people swoon while separating colors and whites? ROAD TRIP.


Lowes in Bethlehem (m4w) Bethlehem – I was at the lowes in bethlehem on saturday. You greeted me when I walked in. I was wearing a brown lehigh sweater.my brother called you over because we needed some help.i didn’t know which carpet cleaner to get.Any way I really wanted to stop and talk to you but when I was walking out I got a little flustered and all i could do was say thanks for helping me.You were young ,around your early twenties. Very pretty(that’s why I was flustered). but just so I know its you which carpet cleaner did you recommend?

– I’m going to avoid making “carpet” jokes. Don’t go there, Jaime. He did use the term “flustered” after all, which gains 10 points for being adorable.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE LEHIGH VALLEY LOVE (MISSED) CONNECTIONS!

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RENAISSANCE FAIR: What is the City But It’s People?

I started this blog several months ago as a testament to the beautiful people and inspiring businesses, artists, and projects that make their home in the Lehigh Valley. On a selfish note, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people that do all they can to always improve this area in some capacity. But it’s not about me – it’s about the drive I have for helping to expose the hard work and deep passions that radiates from local residents.

A few years ago, there seemed to be this attitude that it was “cool” to hate the Valley. I found it was more common to hear someone complain about the area than to be excited about it. (I admit, even with all my optimism, I eventually became one of those people.)

Photo by local photographer Marty Desilets


But over the past year, there has been an always increasing unconscious uprising of positivity and motivation to turn the Valley into someplace we could all be proud of. Not only is it rare to hear a negative comment, I am constantly listening to people say how much they love it here – yes, the L word.

Upon talking to friends recently, all heavily involved in the various arts communities, one of them used the word “renaissance” to describe the shift.

re·nais·sance:  noun, often attributive

\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s, -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs, ˈre-nə-ˌ, chiefly British ri-ˈnā-sən(t)s\

a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity

I love that perfect explanation of this new mental attitude, just as much as I love the Valley. When I think about the purpose of this blog, beyond just filling a creative and community-based need for me personally, I want to continue to document the great things happening here. I would hope someone who never came here would read this and know how much is going on, and be excited to visit. I hope people who once lived here and moved away because they felt it didn’t live up to what other cities could offer, would reconsider that perception and feel proud of all we’re doing.

As I’ve been planning the return of of this blog (I suppose it never left, but only updating  once every 4 months negates the point, yes?), something serendipitous, albeit small, happened that pushed me into more excitement. Let me share:

I was browsing Etsy (popular handmade craft site) looking for a new “it goes with everything” necklace. I wanted something metal with a vintage element. I forget the exact combination of words I typed in, but as I sifted through the pages, I found this one that caught my eye. I wanted it.

Horatio necklace by WishByFelicity, via Etsy

To my delightful surprise, it wasn’t until reading the fine print of the listing that I realized one of the vintage tags in the necklace is from Bethlehem Steel. There is no mention of that in the title, and the creator isn’t even from Pennsylvania. Just a weird twist of fate that in a sea of 20,000 necklaces (Jules Verne would be proud!), I found one that hit so close to home.

Small, but meaningful (to me). My current residence in the Lehigh Valley is deliberate. After considering a move, I was so by inspired the welcoming community of pioneers that I have since been able to call my friends, I knew that living here meant I could be a part of something great.

I hope I can continue to document it in a way that makes you as excited and inspired as it makes me.

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Filed under Artist, Business, Lehigh Valley everywhere, North Bethlehem, South Side Bethlehem, Visual Art

The Good and The Bad.

The Good – This project is about to take an exciting new turn.  September will be the unveiling of something great. I’m smiling so big my face hurts.

The bad- broken computer.

Hopefully I’ll be seeing you sooner than later.

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