Come out and welcome in the new year at First Night on Dec. 31 with a good dose of laughter. Here We Are in Spain, an improv comedy group, promises interactive family fun.
The comedy troupe has been together for five years and has performed at many venues in the Scranton area, including The Office Convention, The Vintage Theater, and, starting in January, at the AFA Gallery (514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton) the second Saturday of every month. Here We Are In Spain has also presented shows at the Del Close Marathon in New York City.
Members Britain Perry-Giblin, Don McGlynn, Pat Holmes, Pat Martin, Rob Klubeck, and Baxter Pancake met while taking comedy classes at comedian Chris Barnes‚?? Comedy DoJo, held at the Scranton Cultural Center.
‚??Everything we do is impromptu,‚?Ě said Perry-Giblin of Clarks Summit. ‚??Laughter and New Year‚??s Eve go hand-in-hand, so the tie to First Night is easy.‚?Ě
The group has performed at First Night for the last few years, and according to Perry-Giblin, ‚??Every show is different, so there is no chance of a repeat performance, except for the laughter. We all love First Night‚?Ľ It is a great event that offers families the opportunity to celebrate New Year‚??s Eve together. We take our cues from interacting with the audience and using their suggestions to create the comedic situations we portray.‚?Ě
Here We Are In Spain is scheduled for three shows on First Night, with the first two to be performed in the lobby of the Federal Building (235 N. Washington Ave.) at 7:45 and 9:15 p.m. Their last show will be outside at the Showmobile at Courthouse Square (200 Block of N. Washington Ave.) at 11:30 p.m.
‚??This year our last show (of the night) will be on the main stage, so we will help to ring in the New Year at midnight,‚?Ě Perry-Giblin said. ‚??What could be more fun than that?‚?Ě
Damian the Magician has been thrilling audiences in Northeastern Pennsylvania and around the world for decades.
The magic performer and mentalist will bring his brand of illusions to First Night for the twelfth straight year.
‚??This year, I‚??m going be doing a sawing in half illusion, which I‚??ve never done for a First Night,‚?Ě Damian said.
Born in Scranton, the magic man still enjoys wowing audiences. He spoke about his favorite part of performing.
‚??I guess it would be two-fold: being able to make an audience react positively, to thrill them, and for me to be able to express myself artistically,‚?Ě he said.
Damian likes the concept of First Night. He said the atmosphere is charged with a ‚??kinetic energy that you can feel in the air.‚?Ě
‚??What I like about First Night is that it brings the community together for a very special concentrated evening of celebration of the arts and a new year,‚?Ě Damian said. ‚??Where else could you go for the money and see that?‚?Ě
Damian sees First Night as a way for the community to come together.
‚??We‚??re all from the community,‚?Ě he noted. ‚??And we‚??re doing it for the community, showing we care about the community.‚?Ě
The magician performs all over the country and said that he is the busiest magician to ever come out of the region.
‚??It‚??s very exciting,‚?Ě he said of his ongoing career.
You won‚??t want to miss a line of poetry by Lucia Dailey & Friends at the upcoming First Night as they perform original works. Scheduled to perform with Dailey are poet and musician Tom Allen and Weekender Editor Rich Howells at the AFA Gallery (514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton), at 7:45 to 8:15 p.m., 9:15 to 9:45 p.m., and 10:45 to 11:15 p.m. Dailey performed at First Night 2011 and said she is honored to be asked again.
Dailey described the poetry reading as ‚??international,‚?Ě keeping with First Night‚??s theme.
‚??In keeping with that theme, we‚??ll have a poem I wrote in French and another that quotes from the Lakota (Sioux), Iroquois, and Algonquin languages,‚?Ě said Dailey, whose love of words led her to major in the study of foreign languages. She has a BA in Modern Foreign Languages and an MA in English, and she comes from a family who loved and valued the arts and learning.
‚??My mother was a classical pianist; my father and his father were poets,‚?Ě she said. ‚??Growing up, I listened to long narrative poems recited from memory at family gatherings. But the roots of poetry are much deeper, and poets struggle to translate mythic imagination, overpowering experiences, deep suffering, and love into the language of their time.‚?Ě
Her poetic roots grew out of her childhood, and to date, she has written several volumes and has authored two historical novels, Mine Seed,‚?Ě and another about World War One.
‚??I sometimes write music for my poems and also enjoy reading with musical accompaniment from some of the gifted musicians in our area, like Tom Allen, who will be joining us at First Night.‚?Ě
Dailey has performed in ‚??very diverse venues,‚?Ě from the Dissident Folk Festival with Pete Seeger, to the governor‚??s mansion in Harrisburg, where she was asked ‚??to appear as guest poet to read at the statewide ‚??Poetry Out Loud‚?? competition.‚?Ě
‚??Poetry plays on themes that remain constant in human experience,‚?Ě she pointed out.
‚??The return of the sun on the winter solstice naturally leads to the contemplation of ends and beginnings, and people have always made rituals to honor, mark, or celebrate them. Many festivals of light, (re)birth, joy, and redemption occur at this time of year around the world ‚?? from Hanukkah to Christmas to Dewali to the Chinese New Year and our own New Year.‚?Ě
-Joan Mead-Matsui, Special to the Weekender
-Joan Mead-Matsui, Special to the Weekender -Gerard Nolan, Special to the Weekender