Feb 13, 201509:24 AMCulture
Fun and Culture in the Mid-State
Mechanicsburg First Friday
Cold weather did not stop the monthly gathering of art enthusiasts to Main St. in Mechanicsburg. Three hot spots for February’s First Friday were Record Smith, Metropolis Collective and Sunbury Press.
Record Smith, 15 N. Market St., is a small shop with racks of CDs, shelves of vinyl and walls covered in Beatles novelties and funky records. With a mix of mid-20th century music pumping from the speakers, it is a music lovers paradise.
Though there was no musical act, owner, Paul Smith was present with refreshments for all who popped by. He finds that being involved in First Friday is an important part of being a small business in Mechanicsburg.
“There’s a big utilization of people’s realization of what’s going on downtown,” he says. “People just drive through town but never know what’s around.”
First Friday helps draw in people who have not seen the local shops that line the streets. Whether they are looking for something new to spin on their Crosley or see a unique art exhibit at Metropolis Collective, 17 W. Main St.
A curator at the gallery, Hannah Dobek explains that an essential part of the collective is to expose people to different types of art that are not as common in the area.
“I feel like a lot of this type of art isn’t seen in central PA,” she says. “We’re trying to bring it to the mainstream of Mechanicsburg.”
One of the exhibits featured is a traveling show called Enough Violence which Dobek explains consists of little trinkets made by children who were affected by violence.
“[They were taught] how to use art as healing and use it as a way to protect you from those dark feelings,” she says.
Other works that are hanging up in the gallery are by Joseph Arthur and Jason Herr.
Besides just displaying art, they double as a music venue. On First Friday they had two punk bands called What’s Wrong with Adam? and Ido Me perform.
“We try to have live bands for First Friday always,” she says. “We’re doing open mic night every other Sunday, there are a lot of talented artists around hereThis is to encourage more people to see the local talent that is present.
In the realm of literature, two thriller novelists had a joint book signing and reading at Sunbury Press, 50 W. Main St. Catherine Jordan was presenting The Bookseller’s Secret and J. M. West’s crime novel, Counting Doubt and Darkness.
Jordan’s book takes place in South Africa and focuses on the concepts of witchcraft, demonology and the Anti-Christ. The story is about an American reporter who travels to unmask a woman who he believes is taking advantage of people in her country through the use of witchcraft.
“There is the struggle between good and evil,” she explains. “The God that they believe in and the devil that they’ve fallen into.”
In West’s novel it is set in the town of Carlisle, follows two homicide detectives on a case to track down a possible serial or spree killer. Her book looks into themes of crime and how far people will step over the line of common law.
“It primarily focuses on the two sides of crime. The anger and rage of the criminal, the depths and darkness of human nature, what a person is willing to do in the name of jealousy and greed. Then also the police who try to keep us safe, they are courting darkness and facing danger everyday. It’s a tribute to those who keep us safe,” she says.
Both novels are available for purchase at Sunbury Press.