Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer (2009)

My kickin' colleague Michele L. just finished reading Sarah Strolmeyer's latest novel The Penny Pinchers Club and discovered a Scranton reference. She also told me that Strohmeyer is a very popular author on the "chick lit" circuit, most notably for her bestselling Bubbles series and the novel The Cinderella Pact. Strolmeyer is also a native of Bethlehem, PA.

Released at the beginning of July 2009, The Penny Pinchers Club (which is a very timely novel, given the current economic crisis) is a story told from the point-of-view of happily married wife, mother, and compulsive shopper Kat, who lives in New Jersey. When she discovers her husband has been hiding a secret bank account from her, Kat's mind prepares for divorce as she takes drastic and over-the-top measures to cut her savings. She soon meets like-minded penny pinchers when she joins a group of like-minded women (and men) who call themselves The Penny Pinchers Club.

The Scranton reference appears on page 192, as Kat and her friend ( and fellow Penny Pincher Club member) are driving around Wall Street and discussing his former career as a broker and his friend Eric, a former broker originally from Scranton who committed suicide:

"Stabbing an accusing finger at the Drummond building, he said angrily, 'But these are the jerks who made it so the fat cats at our brokerage could keep their second homes and pay for their kids to go to private school, not giving a damn if a stupid palooka from Scranton like Eric could or couldn't pay his mortgage. And now these guys are gonna pay, too.'"

The Penny Pinchers Club is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here. The Large Print edition is also available by clicking here.

Thanks again to my undeniably awesome and groovy colleague Michele L. for this reference.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Melona Hardin, AKA "Jan" From The Office, to Be in Scranton Saturday, July 25th for "Office Tour" and Screen Her Film "You"

Melora Hardin, who plays Jan on the NBC sitcom The Office (set, of course, in Scranton), will return to Scranton on Saturday, July 25th to appear at The Office Fan Tour. This will be her first visit to The Electric City since October 2007 when she attended The Office Convention.

To purchase tickets for the July 25th The Office Fan Tour, click here.

At 7 PM, Hardin will attend a screening of You, a film in which she stars, produces, and makes her directorial debut, at the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College.

For more information, click here.

P.S. Bobby Ray Schaffer (Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration) will be attending The Office Fan Tour on Saturday, August 1st. For tickets to the August 1st tour, click here.

P.P.S. The Office Fan Tour has added dates for the Fall of 2009: September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12. For more information on the Fall '09 tours, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scranton, Pennsylvanians, Begat! Finian's Rainbow Returning to Broadway This October

Scranton, Pennsylvanians, BEGAT!

After a 4-day limited run at City Center in New York this past March, the Tony-Award winning classic musical Finian's Rainbow is returning to Broadway this Fall for an open-ended run. The revival will celebrate its opening night on October 29th at the St. James Theatre in NYC, with previews beginning October 8th.

The revival's cast will include Christopher Fitzgerald (Wicked, Young Frankenstein), Kate Baldwin (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Chuck Cooper (Caroline or Change) and Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, written by Wilkes-Barre native Douglas Carter Beane).

he show originally opened on Broadway in 1947 and played for over 700 performances. It has also been revived in limited runs in 1955, 1960 and this past year as part of NY City Center's Encores! series. It was also adapted into film in 1968.

Towards the end of the show (and the film), Senator Billboard Rawkins and the Passion Pilgrim Gospellers break out into a song titled The Beget. Scranton is mentioned in the lyric section below:

The Lats and Lithuanians, begat.
Scranton Pennsylvanians, begat.
Strictly vegetarians, begat.
And honorary Aryans, begat.
Startin from Genesis, they begat.
Heroes and menaces, begat.
Fat filibusterers, begat.

To read the complete lyrics to The Beget, as well as the full score of Finian's Rainbow, click here. For the original blog entry for the film version of Finian's Rainbow, click here.

For tickets to the upcoming revival of Finian's Rainbow, visit Telecharge by clicking here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes by Tamar Myers (2000)

My stupendous colleague (and fellow reader and lover of mysteries) Judi Keller has discovered yet another Scranton reference (her third) in a mystery by popular novelist Tamar Myers.

Myers's previous reference to Scranton (in 1998's Between A Wok And A Hard Place and Eat, Drink, and Be Wary) were in context to a popular bit of gossip that Police Chief (and all-around buffoon) Melvin Stoltzfus once sent a gallon of ice cream via UPS to a relative in Scranton (some say his cousin, others say his aunt). However, the Scranton reference in this particular book, 2000's The Hand That Rocks The Ladle.

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle continues the adventures of Magdalena Yoder, owner of the popular PennDutch Inn in Amish Country. This time, Magdalena gets involved in a mystery involving a friend's pregnancy with triplets and the curiosity that the hospital claims that only 2 babies were actually born.

Page 41 details a visit Magdalena makes to a local hospital to ask some questions regarding a friend diagnosed with appendicitis:

"'That could work.' After all, as a privately employed person, my health benefits are not all that great. 'How much of a discount, and on what?'
'Well, I've been negotiating with a plastic surgeon in Scranton--'
'A plastic surgeon?'
'Well, I just assumed you wanted to do something about that nose.'"

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Much thanks again to the delicious and nutritious Judi Keller for this reference.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (2005)

My superlative colleague Evelyn Gibbons alerted me to a Scranton reference in Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt's 2005 memoir Teacher Man.

Teacher Man in the third in McCourt's trilogy that began with 1996's Angela's Ashes (which won the Pulitzer Prize) and continued with 1999's 'Tis.

Teacher Man follow McCourt's adventures in teaching public high school in New York City His unconventional teaching methods and imaginative assignments draws students to him in ways that change their lives.

Page 97 of the hardcover edition of Teacher Man features a story about Kevin, a student labeled as a troublemaker who no one teacher wants in their classes who, naturally, ends up in McCourt's classroom.

"His mother visits on Open School Day. She can do nothing with him, doesn't know what's wrong with him. His father ran off when Kevin was four, the bastard, and now lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with a woman who raises white mice for experiments."

Teacher Man is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System in a variety of formats: book, large print, and audio book (tape and CD). To place a hold, click on any of the previous corresponding item type links.

Much thanks again to the eagle-eyed and devistatingly gorgeous Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

UPDATE Monday, July 20, 2009: Sadly Mr. McCourt passed away yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.