Bethlehem Press

Friday, December 15, 2017

Allentown Public Library request for annual funding increase refused

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners is refusing to pay a funding increase request from the Allentown Public Library.

Commissioners agreed the township would continue to provide its annual funding of $81,559 to the library. Payment allows township residents to use library services. The library has been including township parks in its summer outreach program.

House sales in Lehigh Valley decrease 2.4 percent in June

Friday, July 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

During what is traditionally considered to be the peak house sales season, the summer months, sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley moved back to negative territory.

Closed sales decreased 2.4 percent in June to 893 houses sold, compared to 915 in June 2016, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

At midyear 2017, closed sales are up 4 percent to 3,878 from 3,728 year-to-date in 2016.

‘Despicable Me 3’

Friday, July 21, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Despicable Me 3” isn’t so much despicable as bland.

This time, Steven Carell gets to voice two characters of the film’s title, the original “Despicable Me,” Gru, and now his twin brother, Dru.

The saving grace in the third of the “Despicable” series (“DM2,” 2012, and the original “Despicable Me,” 2010) are, of course, the Minions, those one and two goggle-eyed, blue denim bib overall-wearing, yellow vitamin capsule looking, nonsense-spouting characters.

Theater Review: ‘All for one’ in ‘The Three Musketeers’ at PSF

Thursday, July 20, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“The Three Musketeers” mantra of “All for one, and one for all” sums up the sword-wielding comedy-drama at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), through Aug. 6, Main Stage, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.

The show’s full title, “Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers Adapted From The Novel by Alexandre Dumas,” underscores the “one for all” approach to the material, staging, acting and direction. The July 12 opening night performance of “The Three Musketeers” was seen for this review.

Review: ‘Beguiled’

Friday, July 14, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s midway through the 2017 movie year and, though it’s early in the Oscar race, “The Beguiled” is a contender.

Look for multiple Oscar nominations, including for Nicole Kidman, actress, as Miss Martha, headstrong headmistress at a young women’s academy circa 1864 Virginia during the Civil War. A wounded Union solder, Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell, likely supporting actor nominee), is given refuge at the school.

Movie Review: Baby, you can drive ‘Transformers’

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Or is it?

“Transformers Universe: Bumblebee” is set for a June 2018 release. A sixth “Transformers” is set for a June 2019 release.

In this, the fifth movie, the Transformers don’t do all that much transforming. When they do transform, from cars and vehicles to Autobots, they mostly do so lurking behind a building support column or accompanied by flare effects.

The fascination with “Transformers” is to see them transform. Isn’t that what made the Hasbro toy so much fun to begin with?

2017-18 season: Miller Symphony Hall leader sees renewed opportunity in Allentown renaissance

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Season schedule: Page B2

Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, home to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, had a “great season” for 2016-17, and Allentown Symphony Association Executive Director Sheila K. Evans has an even better season in store for 2017-18.

“It was a great season. We had an amazing season last year,” Evans says.

Maestra Diane Wittry is in her 22nd season as Allentown Symphony Orchestra Music Director-Conductor, bringing world-class artists to Miller Symphony Hall, enhancing the cultural community in the Lehigh Valley.

Theater Review

Friday, July 7, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Inspector ‘Hound’

The howls you hear during “The Hound of the Baskervilles” stage play at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival aren’t those of the titular hound, although there is that.

No, the howls are nearly nonstop from the audience at “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a regular laugh-riot through July 16, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. The opening night June 23 performance was seen for this review.