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First Friday

January 1, 2012
Staff reports , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Otto Book Store

Billtown Blue Lit and Peter Damian Bellis will be at Otto Book Store from 5 to 8 p.m. First Friday.

Billtown Blue Lit will announce its pilot event and will answer questions about the project, its goals and how to get involved.

Article Photos

Photography by Michael Blackwell will be on display at Julie’s Coffee, 33 W. Third St., through the end of February.

Bellis is a friend to Billtown Blue Lit, and author of "The Conjure Man," which will be available for sale at Otto's and also will be available free on digital disk.

Billtown Blue Lit is a new nonprofit focused on promoting literature and local and regional business. The group is presently fundraising to launch a monthly reading series to be hosted in Williamsport. Each event will feature one published author of literary fiction, a question and answer period, reception, and will be available for free to the public. Blue Lit also will intentionally market the events using print, radio and social media.

Financial contributions are being accepted now, but Blue Lit is also looking for volunteers, bloggers and community partnerships. The group may be reached by phone at 478-0189, or by visitng

Collegtown Gallery at Arts Center

The Collegetown Gallery of January's First Friday would like to present Lycoming College sophomore, Stevie Spishock, as its exhibiting artist. She describes herself as a photographer who tries to convey feelings though images. "Just because a sunset is photographed, it doesn't necessarily project a feeling of calmness and resolution," she said.

Spishock's exhibit may be seen from 6 to 9 p.m. in the front lobby of the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., and will remain on the second floor lobby for the rest of the month.

Julie's Coffee

Julie's Coffee, 33 W. Third St., will host photographer Michael Blackwell as its guest artist for January's First Friday. His exhibition, titled "A Black and White Perspective," will open with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

The show will run through the end of February.

Blackwell, a Williamsport native, grew up in Loyalsock and graduated from Williamsport High School.

He was a performer in the Concert Choir, the Vocal Jazz Band, and attended summer stock theatre in Cape May, New Jersey. More recently, he has performed with the Community Theatre League.

For the past 18 years, Blackwell has worked for Sabre Communications, which is now Backyard Broadcasting. He also is a radio personality known as Jake Michaels on Oldiez 93 WBZD.

"For me, photography has become a new creative outlet, a different way to express myself and what I see in life," he said. "I was always the casual shutterbug, but over the past four years, I have been seriously involved. After stepping up from the simpler point-and- shoot type cameras to a more advanced DSLR camera, it has been practically attached to my hip. Rarely, do I travel anywhere without my camera.

"I can find inspiration for a photo in just about anything I see. From the simple flower sprouting for the first time in spring to the various iconic structures that surround us. If you stop and look around you for a moment, it's all there to see. Pictures spark a memory, take you back in time and can reveal emotion. This is what continues to feed my desire to photograph the world around me and the fact that no two pictures are the same."

Blackwell has studied the basics of photography, but is mostly a self-taught artist. This is his first show in all black-and-white photography and he has found it more of a challenge than his color work. "When shooting in color, you can use that color to lead the eye into or around the photograph," he said. "In black and white, you must use shapes, tones, and textures in your frame as points of interest."

he said.



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