Goodbye, Vintage Theater

Unfortunately, another all-ages art venue in Scranton is closing its doors. The Vintage Theater will officially close at the end of this month. A goodbye bash will be held on August 30 at 6 p.m. As a board member, I can’t even begin to express my disappointment and sorrow to see yet another venue close in the community. I can’t even begin to describe the importance of venues like The Vintage to communities like Scranton. When I was in high school, I found solace at another all-ages venue, Cafe Del Soul, which closed its doors during my senior year. It was there that I discovered the punk rock community, activism, poetry, and the broader art community. I am sure that The Vintage provided that for a lot of people in the greater Scranton/Wilkes-Barre community, and I can only hope another venue will open soon.

As a writer, The Vintage has been incredibly important to me. I had the book launch for Front Man there in the fall of 2010 and more recently, I had the release party for All That Remains there last fall. Conor and Theresa, the venue owners, were always there for the art community, and when New Visions Studio and Gallery closed last year, they were gracious enough to allow Jason Lucarelli and I to move the Writers’ Showcase there. We had two readings there, one last March and one in July. Both were well-attended, and all of the writers, especially the ones that came from our of town, had positive things to say about the venue and the greater Scranton community. Furthermore, the venue hosted a local writing group there each Saturday and had a monthly open mic for writers. All of this comes on top of the countless art, music, and theater events the venue had over the years.

If you’re in the area, or even if you moved out of the area, come say goodbye to the venue on August 30 at 6 p.m. and thank Conor and Theresa in person for the positive impact they had on the community.

A Scranton Venue Needs Help

A few months ago, the Vintage Theater in downtown Scranton closed its doors on the Penn Avenue location, leaving the city with one less all-ages venue. When it happened, I thought, oh great, another loss of an arts venue in this area. I’ve always felt that all-ages venue are important to any community. When I was in high school, I wasn’t into sports, so I found solace in attending punk and indie shows at some other now-defunct venues- Cafe Del Soul, Homebase, and Cafe Metropolis. These places welcomed kids that were into music, art, or poetry. When I lived in the Philly area for 7 or 8 years, I also hung out at various arts venues and started doing a lot of poetry readings. Without those venues, maybe I never would have become a poet/writer. They provided a place for me to exercise my craft and share my work in writing groups and with a live audience at open mic nights, long before I went around the tri-state area doing featured readings.

Fortunately for the Scranton arts community, the Vintage Theater is trying to re-open to a new location in the downtown. A task force has been created, and I’m happy to say that my girlfriend Jenna and I are on it, along with a lot of other artists, musicians, and writers that care about places like this. To make the Vintage Theater succeed, there are a few fundraisers coming up. This Friday, there will be a fundraiser at the Houdini Museum, located at 1433 North Main Ave. The event starts at  7 p.m. and will feature music and comedy. Tickets are $15. Refreshments will be provided.

There will be another fundraiser on Thursday August 9 at Mert’s Bar, located on Penn Avenue in the downtown. Tickets are $20, and that will provide access to an open bar and food. There will also be a raffle for various gift baskets and prizes.

The venue is also raising money through an Indiegogo campaign, and the goal of that is to raise $3,500 in about three and a half weeks. You can make a small donation online by clicking here.

This area barely has any all-ages venues left, so let’s help the Vintage Theater re-open and stay open.