Middleswarth Chips and Pierogies

My appologies for being that guy and posting a silly online video, but I hope after viewing the accuracy of this short film, you’ll let it slide. Just put your faith in me for a few little minutes. One point for every time you say “THATS SO TRUE” outloud.

(Thanks to my pal Sarah for sharing this!)

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EDITOR EXPOSED: Dustin Schoof, Editor of EXPOSED Weekly Paper Talk about Writing, Music and What Makes the Valley Great

“There is something going on every single day, it’s awesome. I honestly feel that the Valley is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and I’m very glad to be witnessing it first-hand.” – Dustin Schoof

I recently learned that some “local” weekly papers are not local at all – rather, they are mass produced across the country after being written in another state, then filled in with one or two local stories and maybe a cover promoting a local band or event.

You’ll be happy to know that EXPOSED Weekly Paper, part of the Easton Express Times, is 100% local content, composed every week by a team of passionate writers. Dustin Schoof leads the pack as editor, and enforces a commitment to quality content with a focus on local people and events. How refreshing!

Here, Dustin talks about what it’s like to have the insiders advantage of writing about arts, entertainment and culture that can be found in the Valley every night of the week (you hear that, naysayers? EVERY NIGHT!).

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Filed under Lehigh Valley everywhere, Music, Writer

Know your Place.

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.” – T S Eliot

(“Industrial Magic Kingdom” – photo by Marty Desilets, featured soon!)

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WE BUILT THIS CITY (And The New Nationally Recognized Skateplaza!)

You don’t even NEED me to tell you this.  The billboards are all over the valley. The internet is full of information. Everyone is talking about it. But in case you’d have the flu, not left your house, or avoided all human contact for the past few weeks…

THIS WEEKEND is the Grand Opening of the BETHLEHEM SKATEPLAZA!

The very same idea that was impressively in the Top 10 running for the National Pepsi Refresh $250,000 Grant Prize, is the very same project that is opening it’s hypothetical doors this weekend, to the 750ft long skatepark and thousands of visitors.

If you have ever made a vote on this project, attended meetings, shown up at the lot to let city officials see and meet the people that are in favor of it, told people about how great it would be, etc… Take a moment and feel proud. Go on. Because without YOU (literally, YOU and your voice and your votes) this project may have taken a lot longer to come to fruition.

I don’t doubt that this project would have eventually been built. The people at the forefront have taken an idea and worked, pushed, and followed through until it actually happened.

Andy Po, owner of Homebase Skateshop and Skateplaza pioneer, knows how to get things done.  In an interview with HEART OF STEELcity (I was so excited to have him be the first interview for this blog!), he states, “It took about 8+ years of talking and having the ‘Wouldn’t it be nice. . .’ conversation, but now that the cement is being poured on the skateplaza site it’s beginning to feel like ‘We can really make this happen’.

And make it happen you did.

Even if you’re not a skater, take notice when you drive past the new Skateplaza site – this wonderful monument to fun, pushing forward, and never giving up on your dreams or this Valley.

INFO FOR THE GRAND OPENING:

SEE EVENTS AND TIMES ON THIS FLIER:

The Lehigh Valley is full of wonderful, creative people and every day more and more projects are started up – get involved. Start something. YOU are what is going to continue to make this place a vibrant community.

Congratulations to Andy, all the skaters, supporters, and the Lehigh Valley!

(Read more and stay current at Homebase610.com)


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GASLAND: Third Thursday Film Screening, July 15th

The Southside Film Institute screens films every third Thursday of the month. Tomorrow, July 15th, they are screening Gasland by filmmaker Josh Fox.

A description for Gasland:

“The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe?

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

Josh Fox will be present after the screening for a Q & A session.

THE INFO:

  • Whitaker Lab Auditorium (Lehigh U Campus)
  • 5 E. Packer Avenue,  South Side Bethlehem
  • Doors at 7:00pm, Film begins at 7:30pm
  • Event will last until approx. 10pm
  • Admission: $10 per person
  • Thursday, July 15th

This event is sponsored by both The Southside Film Institute and Clean Water Action of the Lehigh Valley.

SEE MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT ON FACEBOOK.

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THE BOOKSTORE AT THE BEACH: A Visit to The Atlantic Jazz Yard, New Bar by the owners of The Bookstore and Tap and Table

Over the past year, there has been a lot of buzz about a completely unique and atmospheric bar on South Side Bethlehem. The Bookstore Speakeasy actually takes you out of the dim-lit side street it’s located on, does some crazy time-machine trick, and transports you back to the 1920’s.

While I hope to review The Bookstore in depth in the future, I was pleased to find out about another Bookstore-esque establishment that was set to open in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, mere weeks before my vacation there. Perfect timing.

The Atlantic Jazz Yard is a swanky addition to an arty beach town. Here’s a look at the place that made an out-of-towner feel at home.

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“Acting Lazy is Not Really Something We Do”, an essay by Lisa O’Brien of Underwired Vintage Boutique

This post comes from Lisa O’Brien, owner of Underwired Vintage on South Side Bethlehem. Lisa writes a hilarious and brilliant blog that chronicles her clothing and her shop, which you can read HERE. Recently she wrote this beautiful post that captures the soul of the ever-growing collection of small businesses in the Valley.

…Today’s post is about more than clothing. It is about the strength and importance of your local business owners. Sharing the store with other vintage sellers and artists for my last few events has been a real treat, and has given me the opportunity to learn more about other people’s lives, challenges, and successes. Several interesting conversations that I’ve had this week have inspired this post. Some of my own standard dumb jokes have also inspired this post.

I often like to joke and say that I’m lazy or pretend that on my days off I just spend hours rolling around in a sea of cats. While saying those things is silly and harmless, I was thinking last night that it is important to talk about the work and love that goes into owning and nurturing a business. Sometimes it’s important to be serious and tell the truth and not just make jokes about cake and kittens (although, if I couldn’t joke about food and critters I’d be a lot less happy).

A friend and I were discussing the difference in price between independent shops and big box stores. I was trying to explain the huge benefit you receive at a locally run business, even if you pay a little more, and I think I was finally able to focus my point:

Aside from personalized customer service and superior product quality, the real benefit you receive from your locally owned businesses is a great place to live. These little gems in your town make your town worth living in. They make your city an interesting and vibrant place to be. They make your home a place to be proud of, so you don’t have to say “yeah, my home is boring, so I have to go to [insert city here] for fun.”

No chain store on Earth can give your hometown a distinct, unique personality. It’s the small businesses, run by your neighbors, that ARE your city. That said, running these businesses, although rewarding and fun, is hard work. Every entrepreneur I know pours their heart and soul into every aspect of their job, and lives to make their shop/cafe/salon/restaurant/gallery a better place for people to shop, eat, learn, get gorgeous, meet people, and thrive. Our days on and off are spent figuring out new ways to enhance your experience with us, or plan fun events, or search out products we think you’ll love, or improve upon what we have.

We do this for ourselves, and for you, and for the community we share. If not for the businesses you know and love, there would be no real city to speak of. The fellow businesses owners I have had the pleasure to get to know over these past few years are fantastic and amaze me every day with their passion and hard work. So be sure to give your favorite business owners a visit and/or a hug. ‘Cause we love ya! Below is a list of links to some of my favorite places. Enjoy!

Lisa’s List of Favorite Small Businesses

De’ja Brew
Loose Threads
Home Base
Eskandalo
Ostara
Wired Cafe
Cosmic Cup
Blue Sky Cafe
The Moravian Book Shop
Caleigh’s Closet
Shuze
Lux: the Eco-Friendly Salon
Home & Planet

Lisa’s entire amazing outfit came from small businesses. Dress from Caleigh’s Closet. Earrings by Lalala accessories. Underwired Vintage is located on 337 Vine St, Bethlehem and you can LIKE it on Facebook as well as get updates about events and weekly craft nights.

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