Monday, April 19, 2010

STOMPing into Saturday in Greensburg

I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining, and the streets of downtown Greensburg were bustling. I couldn’t wait to see STOMP at the Palace Theatre.

Several months ago around Christmas, I noticed an advertisement in my school’s—Saint Vincent College—newspaper for the Palace Theatre. Listed with several other upcoming events, was STOMP, performing at the Palace Theatre on April 2nd at 8 p.m. and April 3 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Occasionally I have heard about STOMP and have seen STOMP-inspired dance groups, but upon finding this advertisement I couldn’t resist buying tickets to the show. With my boyfriend’s birthday, which happens to be April 3rd already on the calendar and the usual “what-special-plans-am-I-going-to-make-for-you-this-year” thoughts already surfacing in mind, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to surprise him and to experience something new together. Being the impulsive person that I am, I (briefly) thought it over and immediately jumped online to order tickets. Luckily, there were still many seats available. I debated between balcony seats and the lower level orchestra seats; I ended up selecting Seats 9 and 10, in the center, Row F, about 9 rows away from the stage. Not too bad. Seeing that this group is all about producing unique percussion sounds and rhythms, being seated closest to the stage would be the best place to truly absorb the atmosphere. I was very satisfied with the Palace Theatre’s user-friendly website to order the tickets and with the promptness after purchasing them; about a week later I received the tickets in my school mailbox.

Now with the tickets in my possession, I just had to wait until April. I was keeping this as a birthday surprise for Jim. Me? Keeping a secret? Ha…Oddly enough, I made it all the way to about 3 hours before the 2 p.m. showing on Saturday, April 3. I gave him one of his birthday cards (my indecisive nature won’t let me choose just one) which held both of our tickets. His initial reaction was just a timid “aww...thanks, but uhh what exactly is STOMP?” I however was far from bummed out with his reaction because I knew a lot about the group and was eager to explain them to him before the show. Jim is a drummer (and never lets me forget it with his constant rapping on tables and tapping of feet) so I figured this should be interesting for him.

That afternoon, we parked at City Hall and walked up North Pennsylvania Ave. and passed several different unique shoppes and restaurants. We arrived at the Palace Theatre on West Otterman Street and only had to wait about fifteen minutes for the doors to open. Shortly after the wait attendants began seating people and the show started several minutes later. The group made their way onto the stage and immediately zoned in the audience with a brief performance involving brooms. Because STOMP creates art, music and rhythms by using the body as well as out of ordinary objects, it wasn’t surprising when they pulled out objects like matchboxes, paint cans, garbage cans (and lids), and, are you ready for this? Everything and the kitchen sink (literally). They formed a drum line, with straight-from-your-kitchen sinks hooked around their upper bodies from a metal chain. The performers kept the audience awed, thrilled and engaged through several creative scenes with even more bizarre objects for about an hour and 45 minutes. But even after the show ended, the audience was excitedly eager for more. It was a brilliant performance and an interesting experience; and looking over at Jim’s intrigued expressions every so often made it even more rewarding. I knew he appreciated the technical drumming-aspects involved in the show.

After the show, the audience was ostensibly pleased with the performance; the energy coming out of the show was almost the same as going in. After navigating our way through a mass exodus out of the Theatre, Jim and I tried to reenact some of the scenes we saw during our walk to The Headkeeper, a local tapas bar located on South Main Street; this was another excellent find and the perfect place to celebrate Jim’s 21st birthday. Since the show ended around 3:45 p.m., the restaurant’s patio seating was available as the evening rush hadn’t quite begun. A week beforehand, my supervisor at work had introduced me to the restaurant as a former biker bar, and with the seemingly mile-long rows of beer in the wall-side coolers, I couldn’t help but agree. The service was friendly and the food was excellent; Jim chose the calamari dish, and sticking to my typical creature of habit routine at restaurants, I chose the marinated chicken breast with basil pesto and goat cheese.

The City of Greensburg has so much to offer and all it takes is a little web-surfing, talking to friends, scouting out local events in newspapers, or checking out events listed online, to find something unique and entertaining to do on the weekends. I do not regret picking up that copy of the newspaper because Jim and I had a wonderful time together that day at the Palace Theatre, and our evening at The Headkeeper. I definitely would recommend checking out the many other events the Palace Theatre provides to the community as well as unique restaurants downtown. Stay informed with what’s going on in Greensburg, PA with ThinkGreensburg’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.


~A Saint Vincent College Sophomore

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