Northwestern Press

Friday, November 22, 2019

Curtain Rises: Star of the Day notes fifth anniversary season

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Kirsten Almeida is founder of Star of the Day, a Lehigh Valley theater troupe noting its fifth anniversary season.

“I’ve been involved in theater since I was 14-years-old,” says Almeida, who lives with her husband in Lower Saucon Township.

Star of the Day opened its season at The Macungie Institute Performing Arts and Conference Center, Macungie, with the Lehigh Valley premiere of “Disenchanted! The Musical,” Sept. 19-28.

Movie Review: ‘Peanut Butter Falcon’ soars

Monday, September 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

‘The Peanut Butter Falcon” is, to quote Spanky in the “Our Gang (The Little Rascals)” comedy shorts (1932-1942), “bringmarkable.” It’s a film that defies categorization and stereotypes.

The narrative fiction film is one of the best of 2019 and deserves several Oscar nominations, especially for Zack Gottsagen, a person with Down Syndrone, who plays Zak, the character of the film’s title who has Down Syndrome.

The title, “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” refers to the name of the character that Zak (Zack Gottsagen) takes on for his hoped-for career as a professional wrestler.

LV house sales down two-straight months; drop 2.7 percent in August

Friday, September 20, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

House sales in the Lehigh Valley again declined, down in August, which is toward the close of the peak sales season.

July also saw a decline in house sales. And, in June, sales were flat, with no increase at all. Sales were up slightly in May.

September can be considered part of the peak house sales season as closings sometimes extend into the month.

The comparison of house sales is year to year. The actual number of houses sold stayed about the same from month to month during the 2019 summer sales season.

Movie Review: ‘It” takes two; too long

Friday, September 20, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It is a very long chapter.

At nearly three-hours-long, “It Chapter Two” makes the case for more than one sequel. This is one case where two sequels would have been better than one.

At least each sequel would have probably been shorter.

“It Chapter Two” returns us to the fictional Derry, Me., 27 years later. The impetus is a pact made by The Losers Club, when they were pre-teens, to return to Derry if Pennywise, the killer clown, ever returns to his malevolent ways.

He does.

And they do.

‘Hobbs & Shaw’

Saturday, September 14, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s an odd movie title: “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.”

How can a movie present two of its characters?

Perhaps the title was chosen so as to not confuse the movie with the “Calvin and Hobbes” daily newspaper comic strip (1985-1995) by United States cartoonist Bill Watterson.

Just kiddin.’

There’s no confusing the comic strip with “Hobbs & Shaw,” although the action movie’s plot line is paper-thin and the dialogue might as well be enclosed in cartoon word balloons.

Movie Review: Inspiring ‘Maiden’ voyage

Monday, September 2, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Mothers, take your daughters to see “Maiden.”

Fathers, take your daughters to see “Maiden.”

Mothers, take your sons to see “Maiden.”

Fathers, take your sons to see “Maiden.”

In fact, everyone should see “Maiden,” an inspirational documentary film about Tracy Edwards, who led the first all-female crew on the yacht, “Maiden,” to compete in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Round the World Race.

167th Allentown Fair: A world of rock stars, culinary events, exhibits and bringing the country farm life to the city

Saturday, August 31, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Great Allentown Fair, a Lehigh Valley classic for 167 years, welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience its big-name outdoor concerts, rides, games, novelty attractions, food and, most importantly, a showcase of products, livestock, photography, arts, crafts and collectibles from the region’s farms, gardens and homes.

The Allentown Fair, ranked as one of the Top 50 fairs in the United States, kicked off Aug. 27 with “Preview Night” and continues through Sept. 2, Labor Day, Allentown Fairgrounds, 17th, Liberty and Chew streets, Allentown.

‘Laughs at The Lyric’ series to debut in Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall

Saturday, August 31, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The Allentown Symphony Association and ArtsQuest have announced a partnership to present a new comedy series, “Laughs at The Lyric,” in The Lyric Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The series debuts at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 with a comedy show headlined by Roya Hamadani, Tyler Rothrock and Darryl Charles.

The series continues at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 and Nov. 20, with headliners to be announced.

“The Lyric Room at Miller Symphony Hall has been such a great addition to downtown Allentown,” said Allentown Symphony Association Executive Director Al Jacobsen in a press release.

Movie Review: ‘The Farewell’

Saturday, August 31, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Farewell” is a profound film on a number of levels.

It’s a search by a young woman for self-identity.

It’s a story about familial conflict, understanding and love.

And it’s a look at the ethics and morality of emotional truth-seekers.

Billi (Awkwafina) is a twentysomething Chinese woman living in New York City. She’s an aspiring writer. She’s dejected after receiving a rejection letter after applying for a Guggenheim Fellowship.

41st Wheels of Time set for Aug. 23-25, Macungie

Friday, August 23, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The 41st annual Wheels of Time “Rod & Custom Jamboree,” is Aug. 23, 24 and 25, Macungie Memorial Park, Main Street (Route 100), Macungie.

Appearing at the “Jamboree” is Michael “Horny Mike” Henry, an airbrush artist seen on “Counting Cars,” a reality TV show which began airing on 2012 on the History channel. Henry is nicknamed for placing three-dimensional horns on motorcycle helmets and vehicles.

Henry is expected to display his custom truck and trailer, robotic three-wheeler and motorized picnic table.