By now, I’m sure a lot of people who read this blog know that the Vintage Theater in downtown Scranton is closing, at least temporarily. The owners are trying to find a new location to continue providing the variety of music, art, and literary events that the venue offered. Tonight will mark the final event at the Vintage Theater’s Penn Avenue location, an art show featuring portraits of local writers, artists, and musicians. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is part of Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk. If you are out and about, I encourage you to stop at the Vintage Theater and say goodbye to its current location.
For me, the Vintage was special because its owners allowed me to host various poetry workshops and readings. I even had the book release party for Front Man there in the fall of 2010, and I’m grateful to have celebrated that accomplishment with family and friends in that venue. Vintage also had a writing group that met every Saturday, and some of its key participants hosted a poetry open mic night the third Thursday of every month. I attended it a few times and was the featured reader a few months ago. That open mic provided writers of varying levels the chance to hone their skills and share their work in public, which is especially useful for beginning writers.
Last night, I read at the KGB Bar in the Lower East Side of New York City. It was my second time reading there, and at both readings, the bar was packed with an attentive audience. After I finished the reading, I thought about how lucky artists and writers in the city are to have spaces like the KGB Bar, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Cornelius Street Cafe, venues that always have a packed house and events going on every day of the week. These venues thrive because they have people willing to support them. When the Vintage re-opens and perhaps reshapes its mission, I hope even more people come to events to support it and keep its doors open.
For now, I’m sure that the folks who frequented Vintage will find other places to go. I have heard that the writing group that met there every Saturday will now meet at Northern Lights Cafe in downtown Scranton every Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, people can also check out New Visions Studio and Gallery on Vine Street, which also offers a lot of concerts and some literary events, including the Writers Showcase. There is also the Library Express in the Steamtown Mall, which has an open mic poetry night the last Thursday of every month at 6:30, as well as various workshops and author events. In an ideal world, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre would have a variety of venues with a slew of events.
Here’s an old picture of me reading at the Vintage during the release party for Front Man.