Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That Championship Season to Be Revived on Broadway in 2011?

UPDATED 11/2/10

It is being reported
that That Championship Season, the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play by Scranton's own Jason Miller, is being revived on Broadway in 2011. Tony-nominated director George Mosher (2009 revival of A View From A Bridge) is reported to have signed on as director, and Tony winner Liev Schreiber is said to have been already cast.

This would be the first Broadway revival of Jason Miller's play, which originally ran for nearly 2 year and 700 performances from 1972-1974 on Broadway and is set in Scranton, PA.

UPDATED 11/2/10 It has been confirmed that That Championship Season will indeed be revived on Broadway in March 2011. According to the revival's official Twitter, the cast will include Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth, Jason Patric, & Kiefer Sutherland.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Lackwanna Twilight" from Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg (1963)

At the conclusion of his profile of his life in the Aug./Sept. 2010 issue of Irish America magazine, the late actor/playwright Jason Miller excitedly pulled a volume of poems off his shelf and reads aloud a poem to the interviewer, Robert Currin. The volume Mr. Miller selected was Honey and Salt by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sandburg, and the poem was titled Lackawanna Twilight.

The Scranton and Wilkes-Barre (misspelled in the poem) references occur in the second stanza of Lackawanna Twilight:

"Miner with dinner buckets and
headlamps, state constabulary on
horses, guns in holsters, Scranton,
Wilkesbarre, the Lackawanna Trail.

Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here. You can also read Lackawanna Twilight on page 4 of the online version of the Jason Miller profile from Irish America by clicking here.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin (2009)

My friend and colleague Michele L. is an ace at finding Scranton and Wilkes-Barre references in books because she has eagle eyes and reads everything. She recently told me about a number of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre references in the 2009 novel The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Havertown native Joyce Magnin.

Set in fictional Bright's Pond, PA, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow tells the story of a reclusive woman, Agnes Sparrow, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, setting the small town (and its residents) aflutter--then a new town sign is erected with Agnes's name (which makes Agnes aflutter--and angry).

The Scranton references occur on the following pages:

p. 9 "Milton and his wife, Darcy, were fresh from the big city, if you can call Scranton a big city."

p. 108
"'Good news, Agnes,' he said. 'Your sign is all finished and on its way to Scranton. Be here the day after tomorrow.'"

p. 109
"The sign arrived that Thursday on the back of a long flatbead truck with the name Scranton Sign Company in gold letters on the side of the cab."

p. 143
"'How did this come about?' I asked. 'The Pearly Gates only go to big towns like Scranton and Philadelphia.'"

p. 161 "'Stu was down in Scranton making certain they got the name right this time,' Boris said."

Wilkes-Barre is mentioned in the following two passages in the book:

p. 161 "'I have family in Wilkes-Barre so I spent some time there--got a sister and two nieces.'"

p. 227
"The funeral, one of the saddest I had ever attended, took place down in Wilkes-Barre two days after Easter Sunday."

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. Click here to place a hold; if you'd rather read the large print edition, click here.

Much thanks to mega-genius Michele L. for this reference.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blue Valentine Is Showing at the Philadelphia Film Festival This Friday and Saturday (October 15th and 16th) (And YES! SPL IS In The Final Cut)

I just got an email from Rich Drees, Editor and Publisher of FilmBuffOnline.com, who told me that Blue Valentine will be showing this weekend at the Philadelphia Film Festival. The two scheduled screenings are presumably of the original uncut version which is now being appealed to the MPAA for an R rating.

Blue Valentine will be shown on Friday, October 15th at 7:30 PM and Saturday, October 16th at 5 PM at the Prince Music Theater.

Mr. Drees also told me the festival will also be screening the short film Lebanon, PA.

If anyone happens to catch Blue Valentine this weekend at the Philadelphia Film Festival, please let me know if the scenes filmed in the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, PA are still in the final cut.

A hearty thanks to Rich Drees of FilmBuffOnline.com for this reference.


UPDATE: Good news. I just got a tweet from Dan Flosdorf, Sound Designer and Sound Editor of Blue Valentine, regarding if the scenes shot in the Reference Department made the final cut of the film. Two words (and I quote): "It is." Follow Dan on Twitter at twitter.com/danflosdorf

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Aloha Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini (2010)

My lovely colleague Judi Keller recently told me of a couple of Scranton references in The Aloha Quilt, the 15th book of the popular Elm Street Quilt novels by Jennifer Chiaverini.

The Scranton references occur on the following pages of the book:

p. 151 "Because of the time difference their celebrations would already be under way, so after calling her mother at her retirement community in Erie, Bonnie planned to call her mother-in-law in Scranton..."

p. 152 "Barry never have service in the Scranton area, and C.J. was so often harassed with after-hours calls from work that he refused to switch on his cell phone on holidays."

p. 154 "'Did something come up? Will they spend Christmas in Scranton instead?'"

The Aloha Quilt
is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System in various formats; click on the item type to place a hold on the book, the large print edition, the CD audio book, or the Playaway version.

Much thanks again to Judi Keller for this reference.

Jason Miller Profiled in Irish America (August/September 2010)

My colleague Evelyn Gibbons told me that Scranton's late Jason Miller was profiled in the August/September 2010 issue of Irish America (pages 78-80).

The article is an overview of Jason Miller's life and career. Of particular note is that Miller always considered Scranton home, even though he was born in New York. Miller is best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in the classic horror film The Exorcist and for his 1973 Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play That Championship Season, which was set in Scranton.

The complete article on Jason Miller is available to read online by clicking here. The issue is also available to borrow from Albright Memorial Library.

Much thanks to Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Gasland, Directed by Wayne County Native Josh Fox, To Be Released on DVD December 14, 2010

It has been announced that the documentary Gasland, written and directed by Wayne County native Josh Fox, will be released on DVD on December 14th, 2010 by New Video Group. It is available to pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

The Lackawanna County Library System plans to purchase copies of Gasland as well.

In Gasland, Josh Fox received an offer to drill for natural gas under his property in Pennsylvania; in response, he did what few landowners think to do--he conducted his own research into the drilling process. The film won the 2010 Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Uh Oh! "Blue Valentine," Filmed Partly In Scranton Public Library's Reference Department, Slapped With NC-17 Rating

It is being reported that Blue Valentine, the critically acclaimed film that was the toast of this year's Sundance Film Festival and an official selection for the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, has been given an NC-17 rating by The Motion Picture Association of America, reportedly for some strong sexual content.

What does this mean? Well, Blue Valentine will have to either be re-cut or appealed to the MPAA to lower the rating to an R; many large U.S. theater chains, such as Cinemark in Moosic, have stated they will not screen NC-17 rated films.

Blue Valentine, starring Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, tells the gripping story of a young couple who fall in and out of love over a span of several years.

The film has garnished HUGE raves at various film festivals around the world; ever since its premiere at Sundance, there has been Oscar buzz for both the film and the two lead performances, which are said to be truly magnificent.

Filming locations included both Honesdale, PA and Scranton, PA. Back on May 19, 2009, the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library was used as a filming location for several pivotal scenes.

As a matter of fact, on page 18 of the film's official press release, both Scranton Public Library and Jack Finnerty, Library Director of SPL, are given "Special Thanks" in the film's closing credits, which is VERY cool :)

For more information on Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating, click here. For a previous blog entry on the exciting day scenes were filmed in our Reference Department, click here.

Below is the just-released official theatrical trailer for Blue Valentine, which is still scheduled to open in limited release on December 31, 2010. Note that Albright Memorial Library DOES NOT appear in any scenes in the trailer.

UPDATE 10/14/10: The Weinstein Company, who acquired the distribution rights to Blue Valentine, have officially appealed the NC-17 rating and are hoping for an R rating without any cuts. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Obama Diaries by Laura Ingraham (2010)

The fact that Vice-President Joe Biden was born in Scranton has been included in a number of recent political books, written by both conservative and liberal authors.

Conservative author and radio host Laura Ingraham's latest book, The Obama Diaries, is a collection of entries from diaries "discovered" at the White House. It includes "diary entries" from Joe Biden as well.

The Scranton references occurs on page 337 from a "diary entry" of Biden dated April 14, 2010:

"But I know how to liven up these meetings. I told 'em a few of my funnier stories about life in Scranton--some of the real knee-slappers that get such a good response on the campaign trail."

"I think it went over very well. Although now that I think about it, the interpreter must have messed up the order of my talk somehow, because they were pretty solemn during the Scranton stuff..."

The Obama Diaries is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Percival's Planet by Michael Byers (2010)

My dear friend and colleague (and fellow avid reader), Michele L., just finished the novel Percival's Planet by Michael Byers and told me there were a few references to Scranton in the text.

Byer's second novel Percival's Planet, just published in August 2010, tells the story of the obsessive and ambitious the race to discover Pluto in 1930, pitting an untrained Kansas farm boy against the greatest minds of Harvard at the run-down Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

Michele L. discovered the following four reference to Scranton in Byer's novel, which is the hometown of Mary and Hollis Hempstead, brother and sister, and two of the book's protagonists:

p. 58 "Suddenly she was alone in the world except for her brother, Hollis, who traveled back to Scranton from Massachusetts to stand with her twice..."

p. 60 (referring to Mary's brother Hollis) "He was a boy from Scranton made good."

p. 68 (Hollis speaking to his sister Mary) "'Possibly you know our parents both died within a few weeks of each other, last year, in Scranton.'"

p. 151 (Hollis discussing his sister Mary with her doctor, Dr. Miller) "'Likely she was suffering in some fashion even before your parents died, before she left Scranton to live with you here.'"

Percival's Planet is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here.

A big thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Family Guy: Season 9, Episode 2: "Excellence In Broadcasting" (10/3/10)

A few minutes ago, my nephew DJ called me and told me there was just a reference to Scranton on the hit animated series Family Guy. On tonight's episode, "Excellence in Broadcasting," Stewie and Brian are sitting in front of the TV watching The Office when, all of a sudden, Brian turns the TV off. Stewie complains, "Aw, but there were going to be more hijinx in Scranton. (laughs) Scranton (laughs). Dunder Mifflin (laughs). Funny words are funny."

The full episode of "Excellence in Broadcasting" is free online until November 27th. To watch it, click here; the Scranton reference occurs at about 5:49.

Thanks, DJ!