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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
A Quickie Closet Clean
By bernadette Ulsamer


In an ideal world we’d all have an abundant amount of time and patience for a strategic, thorough, and well organized approach to cleaning out our closets this spring. In reality you may just have part of an afternoon for a quick n’ dirty shakedown. Even without the benefit of time, enough hangers, handy dandy sorting bins, etc, you can still take a strategic approach to your closet clean out. Here’s a guideline to make the most out of a hurried wardrobe purge.
  This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people skip over sorting through their sock drawer. And, even though socks usually don’t take up a lot of space, you should still take a moment to toss any mismatched pairs, single socks, and socks with holes. Chances are you won’t find the missing partners to those mismatches and singlets, and if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to begin with, you probably aren’t going to have a chance to repair damaged socks. Give them the old heave ho!
  Speaking of feet, those fabulous 4-inch stilettoes that are gathering dust sitting on your closet floor? Yeah, it’s time to donate them, along with other pairs of pumps you can’t walk in. Not every heel is created equal, and even the best of us has maybe purchased a smaller size because the shoes of our dreams were on sale. Whatever the reason, shoes you can’t wear need to find a home elsewhere. So, drop them off at your nearest Goodwill and hopefully some lucky lady will be able to walk a mile in your old shoes.
  From shoes you can’t wear to jeans that don’t fit. Chances are you have a few pairs of jeans that are either a bit too tight, or too baggy. Denim often comes with an element of stretch, so over time many pairs will become shapeless, or at least no longer your shape. So, like your too-high heels above, donate those jeans. And, while ripped denim is somewhat on trend, jeans that are shredded, ripped at the seams, or have huge holes anywhere, should be thrown out.
  Next on the chopping block—dingy white tees. Even with the strongest of bleach, white T-shirts are never as gleaming as when you first buy them. If your white tee is starting to yellow with wear and tear, it’s time to toss it. Same goes for any tees and shirts with underarm stains. Hey, we all sweat, but our clothes don’t need to advertise that fact.
  In general, any item with visible stains should be gotten rid of. And since stains are pretty obvious, you can do a quick flip through your closet to find and toss those blemished garments. You may also want to consider removing anything you have not worn in the past year. Sure, there are going to be pieces that have sentimental value, or items that are occasion-specific, so you don’t need to donate, or toss them. Instead, store them along with your seasonal clothes. This way you’ll still have them, but they won’t be taking up precious space in your closet.
  Now for the fun part… replacing everything you’ve tossed and donated! Out with the old and in with the new! Be sure to take stock of what has left your closet so you know what to go shopping for. Replacing socks, shoes, tees, and jeans isn’t overly extravagant or ridiculous. In fact, these standard basics have the fundamental fashion right to be a part of everyone’s wardrobe. So happy shopping!

The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schilichenmeyer

“Ugly: A Memoir” by Robert Hoge
c.2016, Viking
$16.99 / higher in Canada
200 pages
You already have a name.
  Your parents gave it to you when you were born. It might’ve meant something special to them, it might’ve been a name they liked, or something that sounded beautiful. Whatever the situation was, you have a name that’s served you just fine but, as in the new book “Ugly” by Robert Hoge, your classmates often use a different one.
  Usually, when a baby enters the world, there is a great celebration of its birth but for Australian Robert Hoge, there was silence. He was born with a “massive bulge” from his forehead to the place where his nose should’ve been and his eyes were on either side of his head. His legs were both “mangled” and misshapen. His mother, expecting her fifth child, instead “got a little monster,” Hoge says.
  A week after his birth, when his mother went to see him for the first time, Hoge says she “did not care about her son.” His parents planned on giving him up but they first decided to discuss the matter with Hoge’s siblings, who insisted their parents fetch the baby – and so, just over a month after his birth, Hoge went home with his family.
  It didn’t take long for them to realize their love for him, nor did it take long for them to see Hoge’s fighting spirit. Despite his leg deformities, he was able to get around. Though he had a misshapen head, he was clearly very smart. They could appreciate who he was, but they understood that society might not – and so, at four years of age, Hoge underwent an hours-long surgery to correct some of his physical problems.
  The surgery was successful – or, at least as successful as it could be with a growing boy – and so Hoge went to school with his siblings. He made friends, got into mischief, found school subjects he loved, tried to find a sport he could play, and was bullied by name-calling. He went to camp, learned to swim, and as he grew, “doctors were… starting to notice me noticing how girls noticed how I looked.”
  And so, the year he turned 14, Hoge was offered more surgery to make him look “normal” – a surgery that came with risks…
  You’re having a bad hair day. You feel fat in those jeans. And you’ll never complain again, once you’ve read “Ugly.”
  What’s striking, the one thing you’ll notice immediately about this book, is that author Robert Hoge writes entirely without a pity-party invitation or an over-sugary attitude of gratitude. His life just is, and he doesn’t fancy that up much; in fact, there are times when his story is told surprisingly unimpassionedly. That near-monotone telling is saved by Hoge’s delightfully spry sense of humor, which shows up in unexpected places and makes this book less of a sad tale and more of one of triumph.
  “I’m the ugliest person you’ve never met,” Hoge says early in his book but readers will know better. They’ll know “Ugly” is the name of a beautiful book.

Spring Cleaning Go Away and Don't Come Back Another Day
By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz

Springtime's here and with it comes warmer weather, sunny skies and spring cleaning.
  Yes time to throw open the windows, scrub the floors, clean the closest and dust away the last remaining traces of winter.
  For some this ritual of spring is a busy task, for others it simply means cramming the empty Cheetos bags under the sofa.
  For those individuals allergic to vacuums, brooms and cleaning supplies, fear not dirty homeowner.
  Here are several leaning tips for slackers that give the impression of cleaning without the work.
Cruddy Floors
  Dirty floors and your vacuum is broke, missing or in the witness protection program?
  The remedy, fleece.
  When it comes to cleaning dust or that nasty goulash spill from last week, don a pair of fleece socks and drag your feet across the dirty floors.
  Fleece acts like magnet to dust, and goat hair. Within seconds the mess will be gone.
  In dire situations, such as a caked in clam chowder spill, forget socks and opt for a fleece track suit and roll around on the floor pretending your a giant lint roller.
Cleaning by Height
  Never clean anything taller than your tallest friend. Example, the tallest person you know is 5' 9" so there's no need to clean anything above 5'9" because they won't look down upon on a dusty shelf or top of a bookcase.
  Here's an extra tip, avoid making friends with all people.
Fake It
  Use or borrow cleaning supplies as props. Window wash, brooms, vacuum (this item is used to clean floors,) garbage cans and Hazmat suits.
  This trick won't make your house clean, however, it gives the impression that you're going to just don't know when.
  An important thing to remember, every few months blow the dust off these items so it looks like they are used often.
Twilight Time
  Dim lighting, lamps with heavy shades and candles aid in hiding any mess.
  Invest in a dimmer switch to create the right amount of darkness.
  Or, simply turn off the lights and say you forgot to buy light bulbs this morning.
  For pointers on creating a low glow, check out "A Streetcar Named Desire" and see how the aged Blanche DuBois manipulates light indoors to hide her real age, even though she quite fetching..
The Blame Game
  Take the blame away from yourself and divert the blame of a messy house from yourself and direct to others. You can always blame a dirty house on your spouse, dog, 11 children or that German soccer team that crashed at your place for a few weeks.
Really Odds and Ends
  *When buying towels, linen, yoga mats, throw pillows and carpeting, buy black since the dark color helps hide stains.
  * Keep in mind you're not Martha Stewart and your house isn't one of her grand estates.
  * Try and making cleaning a fun time. Having some beers or strong booze while shoveling out the bath room makes time go faster and it helps make things appear less messy.
  * Tell visitors the house was clean yesterday. When doing this try and not laugh.
  * If you have kids say the mess is an ongoing school project.
  * Be blunt and tell visitors it might not be pretty but it’s all mine!

28th Annual “Billtown Blues Challenge”
Festival Audition Concert

It is that time of year again for local and regional blues musicians to go head to head, competing for spots on the Main and Acoustic Stages of the Billtown Blues Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2017. The “Billtown Blues Challenge” Festival Audition Concert will be held at the Genetti Hotel Ballroom, 200 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The Solo/Duo competition begins at 4:00 pm, the Band competition begins at 6:00 p.m. Doors open at 3 pm. Admission is $15 for the general public and $10 for Billtown Blues Association members. $20 early-bird discount Blues Festival tickets will also be on sale. Credit cards will be accepted.
  NEW FOR THIS YEAR there will be an opening act for each part of the competition. Gage Avery will open for the Solo/Duo portion of the concert and Miz Ida and the All-Nightas will open for the Band portion, to bring non-stop entertainment to the audience through the entire evening. Competing in the Solo/Duo category will be The Twin Sinners and J-Bone & Miz Ida. In the band competition will be Mum's the Word, Jeff Fetterman Band and The Dirty Mojo Blues Band. This is, in essence, a mini Blues Festival, with some of the region's top bands performing. There is not a weak spot in the entire line up and a show you don’t want to miss. Bring your dancing shoes and your friends for a great night of blues.
  BBA members eligible to vote can pick up their ballots at the entrance to the ballroom before each competition begins. In fairness to all participating musicians, no ballots will be given to anyone after the first act has started performing for each part of the competition. To be eligible to vote, your BBA membership had to be current as of January 1, 2017, please bring your membership card if you can to save time for us to look it up. Ballots need to be turned in for each act immediately after their performance. We tally votes as we go to shorten the wait at the end of the concert to announce the winners.
  Acts will be judged in the following categories: Blues Content, Talent, Vocals, Originality and Stage Presence. For more information about the International Blues Challenge, visit the Blues Foundation website
About the Performers
  The Twin Sinners Allan Combs II and Stacia Abernatha are working musicians in Central Pennsylvania. Some of their common musical influences include The Beatles, Susan Tedeschi, and Robert Johnson.
  Allan is a singer songwriter from Bloomsburg, PA. He has been a full-time musician for over a year, playing over one hundred gigs in the last year! His first solo album, I Get My Kicks For Free, was released this summer, and he’s currently recording his sophomore album. Stacia hails from Billtown herself, and has been performing as a singer, dancer and multi-instrumentalist since early childhood. She is currently involved in multiple local recording and live performance projects. Stacia performed this summer at the Silkroad’s 2016 Global Musician Workshop.
  J-Bone & Miz Ida There has been a musical presence in the Billtown area for as long as there have been people here. Somewhere between when God was young and man crawled out of the primordial soup a thriving Blues scene developed. One of those small groups who gathered to jam developed around Jay Short (aka Bone) and friends who had a deep love for music with Blues at its core. That small group eventually relocated to the home of Susan and Terry Bacchieri, at a place called The Juke, which was essentially modeled after Juke Joints, or Roadhouses of old, where people would gather at week's end to cut loose, relax and let go of the pressures of the week just past. Somewhere in the early 1990s that group was joined by Cheryl Miller (aka Miz Ida,) who previously had not sung in public. Encouraged by friends, who saw tremendous potential, Blues Incorporated was formed. The unit consisted of Cheryl Miller on vocals, Jay Short on guitar and vocals, Stu Rennick on bass, Terry Bacchieri on drums and Steve Reed, later to be dubbed "Blue Willie" on harmonica and comic relief. That unit opened for Rod Piazza at Ski Sawmill on July 24, 1994. As time passed, the band would restructure the Phoenix, rising from the ashes of the previous band, each rendition carrying the best elements of those past as they made their way to bigger and better things. After countless renditions, including King Biscuit, King Bee, Blues Incorporated, Mo' Blues, Blues & Gasoline, Blue Willie & the Billtown Jukes, Dirty Bird, Crooked Letter, Miz Ida & the All Nightas and more, we come to the present.
  Jay Short, an accomplished guitarist with roots that stretched back to Mississippi, and Cheryl Miller with both a love and knowledge of women's roles in Blues History and an incredible stage presence have reunited to form a solo/duo act. Their knowledge of the music and its history combined with their many years of working together ensure a delightful experience for all within earshot. Though they may be a duo, they bring with them all the experience of their many years working with countless blues combos. The result is sure to be enlightening and entertaining.
  Mums the Word is one of central PA's best kept secrets and it's no secret they have been laying down some mean and nasty blues since their inception in November 2015. Based in Williamsport, PA, MtW is a hard rockin', in your face blues band. The band is a three piece power trio that can rock you till' you drop, soothe you with a soulful, gut wrenching slow blues, or get your toes tapping with an upbeat country-rock number The members of the band bring in over one hundred years of musical experience. They are heavily influenced not only by guitar driven bands like Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Leslie West, Gary Moore, etc. but a wide range of musical styles including jazz, funk, and country as evidenced by their eclectic, high energy shows. The band is currently booking shows in the central PA area and is rehearsing and writing material for their upcoming CD with a spring 2017 release date.
  Jeff Fetterman Band “When talking about hotbeds of blues, cities like Memphis, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis and even London and Toronto come out in the conversation. Bradford, Pennsylvania is rarely, if ever, mentioned; for now. A guitar slinger, singer and songwriter from that very city by the name of Jeff Fetterman has just released his third album, Bottle Full of Blues, and as Sam Cooke said, "A change is gonna come." (JD Nash, American Blues Scene Magazine, Missouri)
  Jeff Fetterman is a self-taught blues/rock guitarist influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimmy Page. Jeff’s aggressive style of playing is both passionate and heart-felt. He blends the genres of rock and roll, blues, Motown, and funk, molding them together to create his own driving sound on the guitar. His vocals are gritty and solid, giving his lyrics meaning beyond the paper. Bottle Full of Blues is receiving critical acclaim both in the US and the UK. “The album is an elegant exercise of songwriting skills and phenomenal music ability, not just by Fetterman himself but by the whole array of musicians… “Southbound” is a rock tune that would have made Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis ecstatic with joy…incredible guitar ability with some very powerful vocals…” (Gio Pilato, Blue Bird Review, United Kingdom)
  Jeff’s resume includes a world-wide endorsement with Zemaitis Guitars,; a three-song publishing deal with Transition Music in California, which put the songs in film and television: NBC’s The Passions, TNT’s The Closer and the Spanish film The Tough Guy and Ford auto commercials; winner of the studio awards program scholarship from ASCAP; and being named Best Up and Coming Blues/Rock Guitarist by Ohio radio station WREO in Ohio.
  As the backbeat and foundation of the Jeff Fetterman Band, John McGuire has dabbled in bluegrass, country, psychedelic, and contemporary rock. He has much experience as a studio musician recording with several bands that took him to Nashville.
Bassist Ralph Reitinger III has spent seventeen years playing across the US, Canada, and the UK, touring with Blind Pig Record’s blues artist Harper. He toured with Anthony Gomes and has opened for greats like Gary Moore, Van Morrison, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Buddy Guy. He was chosen as the Rock Erie Music Awards Best Bass Player in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
  “This is a band in the old-school sense, playing together to the point where they know instinctively where things are going even if not rehearsed.” (Bill Wilson, Billtown Blues Magazine, Williamsport, PA.)
  Jeff Fetterman Band has shared the stage with both Ana Popovic twice and Kenny Wayne Shepherd three times, Stephen Stills, Tony Coleman (the drummer for BB King, Aretha Franklin, and Buddy Guy), Mato Nangi & Indigenous twice, Chris Duarte, Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, and others.
  The Dirty Mojo Blues Band is a five-piece, guitar and harmonica driven band that blends blues and rock with a little bit of funk and soul, formed in 2009 by Shawn Strickland and his father, Gary Strickland. Initially performing as a four-piece band at local clubs, festivals, and fundraising events, it was not until 2013 that they finally felt that they found their true sound with the addition of Al Meck on second guitar, and the rhythm section of Mark Peterson on drums and Tim Reinhard on bass. The now five-piece combo who typically plays throughout central PA are hoping to extend their playing range into northeastern Ohio. Hot on the heels of their debut album release, Made Cents At The Time, they are on fire and ready to bring their music to the world. All of the band members have performed at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN. Shawn Strickland competed solo in the solo/duo category in 2012 representing the Billtown Blues Association (BBA) and in 2013 representing the Natchel Blues Network Virginia Beach, VA. Shawn and his father Gary Strickland competed as a duo in 2015 representing the Natchel Blues Network. All Meck competed in 2011 with Miz Ida and the All-Nightas representing the BBA. Tim Reinhard and Mark Peterson competed in 2013 with Roy G. Blues representing the BBA. They all hope to make it back to the IBC and experience that again.

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