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O’Connor uses violin in spirit of giving back By SARA POKORNY firstname.lastname@example.org
PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER
Young strings students from the Suzuki School for Strings in Plains Township and the Valenches Music Co. in Scranton have been practicing ‘Frosty the Snowman’ as well as an Appalachian folk tune.
MAGIC IN THE AIR
Strings students will get their chance to play with the pros
By MARY THERESE BIEBEL email@example.com
t wasn’t exactly “Jingle Bells” or “What Child is This?” But when 40 young strings students raised their bows to their violins and cellos and launched into “Boil ’em Cabbage Down” Sunday afternoon, they were rehearsing for a holiday concert, just the same. The traditional American folk tune speaks of cabbage boiling and hoe cakes on the hearth, simple ingredients for a mountain-cabin meal. 18, from the Suzuki School for Strings in Plains Township as well as Valenches Music Co. in Scranton. The Philharmonic concert also will include direction by apprentice conductor Michelle Merrill, “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” danced by students from the Ballet Theatre of Scranton, and plenty of Christmas classics, from “Silent Night” and “Winter Wonderland” to “Carol of the Bells” and “Sleigh Ride.” The cello and violin students will join the orchestra See MAGIC, Page 4
What: The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic joins Grammy Awardwinning composer and violinist Mark O’Connor for ‘Appalachian Christmas.’ When: 7 tonight at the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, and 7 p.m. Saturday at the F.M. Kirby Center, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre Tickets: $29 to $60. $15 for students More info: 570-270-4444 or nepaphil.org ••• What: Christmas Love Concert With: Wyoming Valley Harmony Chorus When: 4 p.m. Sunday Where: St. Nicholas Church, 226 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre Admission: $5 More info: 287-2476 ••• What: Christmas with a Twist When: 7 tonight Where: St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 134 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre Admission: Non-perishable food item More info: 899-2264
See O’CONNOR, Page 7
So, it’s fitting that the students are getting ready to play it with a Grammy Awardwinning fiddler during “Mark O’Connor’s Appalachian Christmas,” tonight in Scranton and Saturday in Wilkes-Barre with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. “The piece is fun. It’s very fast-paced,” said cellist Jonathan Jagozinski, 17, of Swoyersville. “When I was a little girl I always told people I wanted to play with the Philharmonic,” said April Bonoski, 15, of Larksville, who is getting her chance this weekend, along with other students, ages 3 to
IF YOU GO
hen violinist, fiddler, composer and teacher Mark O’Connor saw the response to his first Christmas album, “An Appalachian Christmas,” he couldn’t believe it. “It made several ‘Top 5’ and ‘Top 10’ lists nationally, and it charted on five different Billboard charts at the same time. I had never even been on an album that did that, let alone have it be my own album,” he said. It’s because of the compilation’s success that the Grammy-winning artist has embarked on a Christmas tour, which comes to the Scranton Cultural Center and F.M. Kirby Center on Friday and Sat-
Continued from page 3
in playing “Frosty the Snowman.” Audiences appreciate traditional songs this time of year, said Bill Zdancewicz from the Wyoming Valley Harmony Chorus, which will include tunes both sacred and secular, in a “Christmas Love Concert” on Sunday in Wilkes-Barre. Among the highlights of the concert, Zdancewicz said, he expects soloist Ralph Gillespie will sing “Silent Night” in German, Jim Morpeth will sing “O Holy Night” in French, and the audience will be invited to sing along during “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Also participating in the concert will be young men from GAR High School and from Dallas Middle School who have been learning the art of four-part harmony from
CHARLOTTE BARTIZEK FILE PHOTO/FOR THE TIMES LEADER
The Wyoming Valley Harmony Chorus will present a Christmas concert Sunday.
chorus members. “Like any parent watching young people take up a sport or learn a new skill, we feel good about passing it on,” Zdancewicz said. Glance through the concerts listings in today’s Guide and you’ll find about a dozen concerts celebrating the season this weekend. For the Northern Tier Symphony Brass, head to Dickson City, for blues and bluegrass, visit Jim Thorpe tonight, and for rock versions of traditional songs, visit Jim Thorpe on Saturday.
You’ll find “A Rita Coolidge Christmas” at Penn’s Peak, a Christmas cabaret in Carbondale, and an invitation from the Robert Dale Chorale to join them in singing Handel’s “Messiah” at St. Stephen’s Church in Wilkes-Barre. If you opt for “Christmas with a Twist” at St. Mary’s Church in Wilkes-Barre, remember to bring a non-perishable canned good for local food banks. “We’ve helped four organizations so far this year,” guitarist and director Steve Perillo said.
PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER
Three-year-old Cruz Valenches appeared to be the youngest child at last week’s rehearsal, where students were getting ready to play with the Philharmonic.
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T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, a holiday market with more than 125 national artisans, live holiday music, German and Austrian food favorites, ice carvers, breakfast with St. Nicholas and make-yourown-glass-ornament sessions. PNC Plaza, SteelStacks, 645 E. First St., Bethlehem. Through Dec. 23: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. $7. 610-332-3378. A Magical Fireside Christmas, the annual festivities at The Inn at Pocono Manor with holiday storytelling, live baby reindeer, Santa photos, cookie decorating, gingerbread-house display, horsedrawn sleigh rides, chestnuts and s’mores around an open fire, toy trains, holiday crafts, ornament making, face painting, music, hors d’oeuvres and more. Through Dec. 30: 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays; noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays. Also open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Dec. 23 to 30. $5. 800-233-8150. Holiday Lights Spectacular, a drive-through display with more than 100,000 lights creating various holiday scenes. Nay Aug Park, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton. Open nightly 5 to 9 through Jan. 7. 348-4186.
Trevor Harding films Matt Kasisky for part of the skateboarding film that will premiere Thursday in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
HOPE ON THE HORIZON
By SARA POKORNY firstname.lastname@example.org
I F YO U G O
“There were certain nights James and I would stay up talking, pounding our heads against the wall because one day we’re told it’ll be done in six months, the next it’s two years,” Cameron Cox, 23, of Nanticoke said of his talks with 34-year-
old James Gidosh of Wilkes-Barre. Both are members of the Northeast Skate Park Alliance, and while they might have been children two-plus decades ago, they are now carrying the torch for other members of their group who fought for their cause for much longer. A fresh spark has come along in the form of a skateboard movie première set for Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 on Thursday. The local skateboarding footage was put
See SKATE PARK, Page 17
Buddy Valastro: The Cake Boss, America’s favorite baker on his “Homemade for the Holidays Tour.” Included: holiday traditions and stories from his family at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, techniques for creating fabulous cakes and holiday recipes. F.M. Kirby Center, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. 8 tonight. $45, $25. Limited VIP passes ($85) with a post-show meet and greet and special holiday surprises. 8261100. Christmas Cookie Walk. Buy an $8 container and fill it from 15 different kinds of homemade holiday cookies. Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church Hall, 420 Main Road, Hanover Township. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. 825-5723. Model Railroad Open House at the 2,000-square-foot HO-scale layout of the Hudson Model See EVENTS, Page 6
What: The Northeast Skatepark Alliance and North East Skate Crew skateboard video premiere When: 7 p.m. Thursday Where: Wilkes-Barre Movies 14, 24 E. Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre. Admission: $5 suggested donation. All proceeds go to NEPA Skatepark Alliance to benefit the Lower Broadway Skatepark project.
or more than 20 years, members of the Northeast Skate Park Alliance and North East Skate Crew have tried to construct a skate park in the area. Now, finally, hope is on the horizon, for a designated spot in Nanticoke’s Lower Broadway Recreational Area.
together by Dallas residents Trevor Harding and Jonathan Borthwick. All proceeds from the event will go toward the park project. Though the construction has stalled on the Nanticoke park, that’s not due to a lack of support. Cameron and Gidosh said the city of Nanticoke has cooperated, as have many residents. Earth Conservancy recently offered 7,000 cubic yards of topsoil. The Lower Broadway Recreational Area is split into two projects, with the side reserved for the skate park and other facilities needing more money to move forward. “A skate park is still in the plans, but right now we are concentrating on the soccer fields and trails,” Nanticoke City Manager Pam Heard said. “If someone gave the city the money today, we would
Holiday Story Time for GrownUps, readings of a hilarious David Sedaris holiday story and an adult version of the children’s tale “Elf on the Shelf” along with candy-cane martinis, adult hot cocoa and desserts. Wear your most hideous holiday sweater. West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave. 7 tonight. $25. Reservations: 654-9847.
THE GUIDE Luzerne County Community College, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke. Through Dec. 21: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 740-0732.
Continued from page 5
Railroad Club, Polish American Building, 97 Martin St., Hudson section of Plains Township. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 5. Also open Sundays on Dec. 30 and Jan. 6. 985-8340. Model Railroad Open House, with a custom-built layout depicting Lehigh Valleyâ€™s Hazleton Branch passing through the towns of Weatherly, Cross Creek, Ashmore, Jeddo, Drifton and Eckley along with a model of Hazleton in the 1940s and â€™50s. Anthracite Model Railroad Club, 1057 Hanover Court, Hazle Township. Through Jan. 6: noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays; 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Free but donations accepted. See amrclub.org. WWE Supershow, with WWE favorites including Randy Orton, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, the Divas and more. Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., WilkesBarre Township. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $95, $50, $35, $25, $15.
Grey Towers Holiday Tours, guided tours of all three floors of the decorated mansion in Milford. Through Dec. 22 at 1 and 3 p.m. 296-9630.
Americaâ€™s favorite baker, Buddy â€˜The Cake Bossâ€™ Valastro, will visit the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre tonight to share 100 of his best recipes and decorating secrets. 800-745-3000 or 970-7600. Christmas in Kingston, with childrenâ€™s crafts, games, art exhibit, hot chocolate and pastries, caroling, storytime and Santaâ€™s arrival for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Hoyt Library Grounds and 14 businesses on Wyoming Avenue between Hoyt and Market streets in Kingston. 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. 287-5544. Festival of Trees, holiday trees decorated by area organizations. Educational Conference Center,
FUTURE Celebrating the Start of a New Era, a party the day after the predicted Mayan calendar end of the world. With meditation, a catered dinner, music, footage of celebrations happening around the world and a drumming session. Unity of Northeastern Pennsylvania: A Spiritual Center, 140 S. Grant St., Wilkes-Barre. 4 p.m. Dec. 22. $12. Reservations: 824-7722. See EVENTS, Page 27
The Back Mountain Harvest Assembly in Trucksville once again will be alight with its annual holiday spectacular The Gift, a Christmas present to area residents. The free outdoor musical covers the events that happened in Bethlehem long ago with more than 100 performers, original songs, new choreography and a menagerie of animals including camels, horses, sheep and goats. Head to the Carverton Road church grounds, where bleachers and straw-bale seating are provided. Donâ€™t forget to dress warmly and pack a blanket. Performances are at 6 and 8 tonight and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday. Call 696-1128 for details.
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T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Wartz and All, a reading by Jeannine M. Luby of her children’s book about the adventures of a little frog. Geared for ages 4 to 8. Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Township. 6:30 tonight. 829-4210. Fun on the Farm, with old-time games, crafts, music, scavenger hunts, hikes and more for ages 3 to 10. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, 1000 Turkey Hill Road, Stroudsburg. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. $10, $5 children. Reservations: 992-6161. Make a Treat for the Birds. String peanuts and decorate pine cones and bagels with peanut butter and bird seed to take home and hang for the birds. Wild Birds Unlimited, Dallas Shopping Center, Memorial Highway. 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Free. 675-9900. Skippyjon Jones, a children’s stage show by Theatreworks USA about a Siamese cat who pretends to be anything but what he is from a llama to a whale to a bird. Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave. 11 a.m. Saturday. $8. Preceded by a Wiggles & Giggles craft workshop at 10 a.m. $4. 344-1111. ’Tis the Season for Giving, with stories, ideas for homemade gifts and craft-making. Osterhout Free Library, 71 S. Franklin St., WilkesBarre. 1 p.m. Saturday for age 5 and older; 11 a.m. Thursday for ages 3 to 5. 823-0156. Santa in the Park, with cookies and hot chocolate, hats and gloves giveaways. Firwood Park,
Carey Avenue and Old River Road, Wilkes-Barre. 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Sponsored by the District A Fund. Breakfast with Santa, with free photo ops. Irem Clubhouse, 64 Ridgway Drive, Dallas. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. $11.95, $6.95 children. Reservations: 675-1134, ext. 102. Holiday Crafts. Stop by the Hoyt Library, 284 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, to make a craft. Any time between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Monday. Up to age 18. 287-2013. An Evening on the Polar Express. Dress in your pajamas for this storytime session with crafts, cocoa and cookies. West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave. 6:30 p.m. Monday. Free. Registration: 654-9847. The Muppet Christmas Carol, a free showing of the holiday movie with the Muppets reliving the Charles Dickens classic. Shopland Hall, Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave. 6 p.m. Thursday. Tickets available at the box office. 344-1111.
FUTURE Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Wyoming Masonic Lodge #468 at Applebee’s, 253 WilkesBarre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township. 8 to 10 a.m. Dec. 22. $7, $4.50 children. 406-6911. Museum Adventure Week, a three-day art series for kids and teens including “Treasure Box” on Dec. 26; “Out of the Box Quilts” on Dec. 27; and “Animals of the Unknown” on Dec. 28. Everhart Museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton. 9 a.m. to noon for ages 5 to 11; 1 to 4 p.m. for ages 12 to 16. $30. Registration: 346-7186.
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O’CONNOR Continued from page 3
urday, respectively. O’Connor’s album, which includes collaborations with Renee Fleming, Alison Krauss, Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor and more, will be the focus of the concert. He’ll perform with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, local violin students and his own band of two musicians, female singers Carrie Rodriguez and Cia Cherryholmes, and his 24-yearold son Forrest, who will sing and play the mandola. ••• TIMES LEADER: This album was not just a one- or two-year process … MARK O’CONNOR: It took practically my entire career to put this together. They’re different Christmas cuts from different eras of my music-making with different guests along the way, and it ended up as my one and only Christmas album. TL: How did you choose who would perform on each song? MO: It sort of happened song by song along the way, with the very earliest recording being 25 years old. I came into contact with separate guests over the years, and the way my career worked with the record labels I was with … is that they would often have the artist perform, record or arrange a Christmas song. Well, 25 years later I finally have enough to make an album. It
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was sort of like a neat career retrospective through Christmas songs. TL: You’re well-known for your way of playing and teaching, the O’Connor Method. What is that exactly? MO: It’s a series of books that teach young people, or beginners of every age, how to play the violin using American music, culture and history that’s never taken place before in the history of violin. TL: How did you figure out that was a successful method? MO: I was very immersed in fiddle music, jazz, writing, arranging, improvising, all the things people associate with me. The big game-changer was 20
years ago when I established my own string camps in the summer. Over those years I’ve had 5,000 unique enrollments, so I’ve seen firsthand what’s working, what’s not, what could be better and what’s completely missing. TL: Is it true you had a full studio of students when you were 12? MO: I did. I was already very accomplished when I was younger; I had won a national fiddle championship, and people began to request that I teach them. TL: Do you come from a musical family? MO: I come from a family of dancers, so it was an artistic bunch; they really appreciated music. My problem was that we were just absolutely dirt poor so the opportunities I had I really had to create. We lucked out and didn’t even pay for most of my lessons. The only access we had, ultimately, was through my talent. People would hear me and want to help. I realized how powerful music was, that I could play and somebody could change their mind about me or accept me in a different way. I had students so young because my mother would say “You’ve received so much in your life with your music, and you should give back,” so I was giving back at age 12. It’s that spirit that really informs most everything I’ve done.
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‘Holiday Story Time for Grown-Ups’ puts twist on martinis and more
AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
Maria Jiunta Heck, Summer Belles, Rebecca Tomlinson and Anne Bramblett Barr sport their holiday ‘finest’ as they discuss preparations for tonight’s Adult Storytime in West Pittston.
DELICATE EARS BEWARE
By SARA POKORNY email@example.com
hristmas can easily conjure warm, fuzzy thoughts of heartwarming stories told by the fire to eager youngsters with eyes all aglow. But what of an assembly of grown men and women, eyes possibly a bit glazed by nothing more than the martini in hand, gathered to hear a newspaperman tell the tale of “Dinah, the Christmas Whore?”
Clearly, this is not your average story time. TonighttheWestPittstonLibrarywill have its first “Holiday Story Time for Grown-Ups,” an event that will include cocktails, potentially heinous Christmas sweaters and readings, such as the provocatively titled one above, from David Sedaris’ story collection “Holidays on Ice.” An adult version of “Elf on the Shelf” is the gravy. “EveryyearIpulloutmycopyof‘Holidays on Ice’ to read,” library director Anne Bramblett Barr said. “Last year I fi-
nally thought, ‘How funny would it be to get someone to read one of these?’ because they are just laugh-out-loud, cry funny.Whydokidsalwaysgettohaveall the fun listening to stories?” As Barr bounced the idea off co-workers and friends, she noticed adult eyes actually were aglow at the prospect, so she decided to put her plan into action. Ed Ackerman, of the Sunday Dispatch, will do the “Dinah” reading. “I’ve been to a lot of events where he’s See STORY TIME, Page 10
IF YOU GO
What: Holiday Story Time for Grown-Ups When: 7 tonight Where: West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave. Cost: $25 in advance or $300 at the door. (No typo, the library’s website says; buy tickets early!) Reservations: 654-9847
STORY TIME Continued from page 9
been the emcee, and I think he’s one of the most phenomenal speakers I’ve ever seen,” Barr said. “He’s just off-the-cuff funny. He’s also told us he has some interesting twists planned, though he won’t let us know what they are.” “Elf on the Shelf” is a children’s tale of a little red-clothed Santa’s helper who keeps an eye on wee ones, changing his position in the home from day to day. While the typical elf can be caught in the act of silly crimes, such as playing with mommy’s make-up or hanging out by justwashed dishes in the sink, the adult version is far different. “This one gets into a lot of trouble,” Barr said. “He gets into the liquor cabinet, and I think he even kind of falls asleep behind the toilet.” Candy Cane martinis and “adult hot cocoa” are on the menu along with other refreshments, and all will be enjoyed while attendees don their ugliest Christmas sweaters. Are the ladies of the library prepared as far as dress is concerned? “Some of us are,” Barr said with a laugh. “Some of us have not been brave enough to venture out to find ours. I do have a pretty sweet sweater of my dad’s thatheboughtinGermanyinthe early ’80s, so I think I might rock that.”
Cabaret for hometown crowd By SARA POKORNY firstname.lastname@example.org
ohn Baldino and Erin Canedy have performed in venues from New York to Florida, in shows such as “Fiddler on the Roof ” and the local church’s Sunday choir. But for all they have done and all they have seen over the years, they’re ecstatic for their upcoming “Our Christmas Cabaret.” “We are so excited to be back on stage in our hometown,” Baldino said. “Erin and I got our start here and grew up here. It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas with our friends, family and neighbors.” Canedy and Baldino make up John & Erin Cabaret Productions, a theatrical production company that provides cabaretstyle shows for various functions. “Our Christmas Cabaret,” set for tomorrow night at Trinity Church in Carbondale, will showcase traditional and nontraditional Christmas tunes. Local professionals Jonathan Alunni and Jenna Simonetti as well as the Ballroom ONE dancers will perform, and Linda Houck will direct the music. ••• The holiday spirit will roll right along at the Mauch Chunk Opera House this weekend, first with a performance from local favorites Cabinet and Mike Mizwinski. The musicians are no strangers
Concerts T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Christmas with a Twist, a concert of Christian holiday music. St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 134 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre. 7 tonight. Admission: a non-perishable food item for local food banks. 899-2264. Twelve Twenty Four, the sixth annual concert by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute band with a string section, rock musicians, five lead vocalists and an angel storyteller. Tunkhannock Area High School, 120 W. Tioga St. 7 tonight. $20. 205-5751. New Visions Acoustic Concert, with Rob Cole, Danny Jackowitz, Shop Local, Jane Demijohn, the Faceless Shadows and Eloquin. New Visions Studio & Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton. Saturday with doors at 7 p.m. and music at 7:30 p.m. $8. 878-3970. A Rita Coolidge Christmas, the award-
John Baldino and Erin Canedy will return to their hometown of Carbondale to perform cabaret this weekend.
to one another, having performed together over the years, and this time they’re bringing a holiday show. Tomorrow night, the Craig Thatcher Band Rockin’ Christmas show will take the stage. The show is a release event for the band’s latest album, “Passion, Spirit & Strings.” The group puts a rock twist on Christmas traditionals.
winning songstress celebrates the holidays at Penn’s Peak, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe. 8 p.m. Saturday. $24, $19. 866-6057325. Holiday Concert, with The Two of Us and the Good Spirits Club performing Christmas and pop songs. Hazleton Art League, 225 E. Broad St. 1 p.m. Sunday. $10. 454-0092. Messiah Sing-Along, the 29th annual holiday tradition with the Robert Dale Chorale performing Handel’s choral masterpiece with audience participation. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre. 3 p.m. Sunday. $15, $12 seniors, $7 students. 871-0350. Northern Tier Symphony Brass, a celebration of the holidays with Christmas carols and music for brass instruments. Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 619 Dundaff St., Dickson City. 3 p.m. Sunday. $5. 289-1090. Christmas Concert of Eastern European, Ukrainian and Russian carols and liturgical pieces by the Wyoming Valley Orthodox
IF YOU GO What: Our Christmas Cabaret When: 7 p.m. tomorrow Where: Theater at Trinity Church, 58 River St., Carbondale. Tickets: $10. ••• What: Cabinet and Miz Season Celebration
Choir. Holy Resurrection Cathedral, 591 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. 3 p.m. Sunday. 8227725. Christmas Love, a holiday concert by the Wilkes-Barre Chapter Barbershop Harmony Society with the Wyoming Valley Harmony Chorus, Sounds Abound Quartet, GAR Young Men in Harmony and the Dallas Middle School Barbershop Ensemble. St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, 226 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre. 4 p.m. Sunday. $5. 2872476. A Merry Christmas, a cantata for Christmas presented by the choir of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, 317 Luzerne Ave., West Pittston. 7 p.m. Sunday. Free. 6542500.
FUTURE CONCERTS Hollywood Nights, the Bob Seger tribute band along with Human Wheels, paying homage to the music of John Cougar Mellencamp. Penn’s Peak, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe. 8 p.m. Dec. 28. 866-605-7325.
When: 8:30 tonight Where: Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe Tickets: $20 ••• What: Craig Thatcher Band Rockin’ Christmas When: 8 p.m. tomorrow Where: Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe Tickets: $23
The Tartan Terrors, a kilted octet performing Celtic music, comedy and dance. Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe. 8 p.m. Dec. 30. $28. 325-0249. Philharmonic Chamber Music Series, with Baroque Music by the Poulenc Trio. Shopland Hall, Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10. $29. 270-4444. Green Day, the punk-pop band with singerguitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool. Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10. $49.50, $26. 970-7600 or ticketmaster.com. Dickey Betts, the influential guitarist from the Allman Brothers Band with openers the blues-infused Scott Weis Band. Penn’s Peak, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12. 866-605-7325. Dancin’ Machine, a tribute group performing disco hits from the 1970s. Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe. 8 p.m. Jan. 12. $20. 325-0249.
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***The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in RealD 3D, DBOX - PG13 - 180 min (12:00), (3:30), 7:00, 10:25 ***The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in RealD 3D - PG13 - 180 min (12:00), (1:00), (3:30), (4:30), 7:00, 8:00, 10:25 *The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey PG13 - 180 min (12:30), (1:30), (4:00), (5:00), 7:30, 8:30, 9:05 Playing for Keeps â€“ PG13 â€“ 105 min (1:40), (4:00), 7:30, 9:45 Killing Them Softly â€“ R â€“ 105 min 10:05 Red Dawn â€“ PG13 - 100 min (2:30), (4:55), 7:25, 9:45 Rise of the Guardians â€“ PG - 105 min (1:10), (3:25), (5:40), 7:50, 10:05 ***Rise of the Guardians in RealD 3D â€“ PG â€“ 105 min (12:40), (2:55), (7:00) Life of Pi â€“ PG â€“ 130 min (2:00), (4:40) [Will not be shown on Sat, 12/15] ***Life of Pi in RealD 3D â€“ PG â€“ 130 min 7:20, 10:00 [7:20 will not be shown on Sat, 12/15] Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 â€“ PG13 â€“ 130 min (1:30), (4:10), 7:00, 9:40 Lincoln â€“ PG13 â€“ 160 min (12:30), (1:30), (3:45), (4:40), 7:05, 8:00, 10:15 Skyfall â€“ PG13 â€“ 150 min (1:00), (4:00), 7:00, 10:00 Wreck it Ralph â€“ PG â€“ 115 min (1:45), (4:10), 7:40
December 15, 2012 - Aida 240 min - 12:55 PM January 5, 2013 - Les Troyens 345 min - 12:00 PM ADVANCE TICKETING
The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey 2D, 3D & 3D Dbox - PG13 - 180 min 11:59pm 12/13/12
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HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE (XD-3D) (PG-13) 11:00AM 3:00PM 7:00PM 10:45PM NEW MOVIE
ANNA KARENINA (DIGITAL) (R) 12:50PM 3:55PM 6:55PM 9:50PM ARGO (DIGITAL) (R) 12:40PM 4:10PM 7:10PM 10:25PM COLLECTION, THE (DIGITAL) (R) (1:05PM 3:20PM DOES NOT PLAY SAT 12/15) 5:30PM 7:40PM 9:55PM FLIGHT (DIGITAL) (R) 12:25PM 3:30PM 7:05PM 10:15PM HITCHCOCK (DIGITAL) (PG-13) NEW MOVIE 11:10AM 1:35PM 4:00PM 7:05PM 9:30PM HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE (3D) (PG-13) NEW MOVIE 12:20PM 1:40PM 2:20PM 4:20PM 5:40PM 6:20PM 8:20PM 9:40PM 10:20PM HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE (DIGITAL) (PG-13) NEW MOVIE 11:40AM 1:00PM 3:40PM 5:00PM 7:55PM 9:00PM KILLING THEM SOFTLY (DIGITAL) (R) 12:15PM 2:40PM 5:05PM 7:35PM 10:00PM LIFE OF PI (3D) (PG) 4:15PM 10:35PM LIFE OF PI (DIGITAL) (PG) 1:20PM 7:20PM LINCOLN (DIGITAL) (PG-13) 12:00PM 3:15PM 6:40PM 9:55PM PLAYING FOR KEEPS (DIGITAL) (PG-13) 11:25AM 2:05PM 4:40PM 7:45PM 10:30PM RED DAWN (DIGITAL) (PG-13) (12:30PM 2:50PM 5:10PM DOES NOT PLAY SATURDAY 12/15) 7:30PM 10:05PM RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (3D) (PG) 11:30AM 4:45PM 9:45PM RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DIGITAL) (PG) 2:15PM 7:15PM SKYFALL (DIGITAL) (PG-13) 11:50AM 3:10PM 6:25PM 9:35PM TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, PART 2 (DIGITAL) (PG-13) 11:15AM 1:55PM 4:35PM 7:25PM 10:10PM WRECK-IT-RALPH (3D) (PG) 1:10PM 6:30PM WRECK-IT-RALPH (DIGITAL) (PG) 3:45PM 9:15PM You must be 17 with ID or accompanied by a parent to attend R rated features. Children under 6 may not attend R rated features after 6pm
the Dietrich Theater Tioga St., Tunkhannock WEEK OF 12/14/12 - 12/20/12 MONSTERS, INC. 3D (G)
THE HOBBIT (PG-13) FRI. 6:45, 10:00 SAT. 11:30, 3:00, 6:45, 10:00 SUN. 11:30, 3:00, 6:45 MON., TUES., THURS. 6:45 WED. 12:00, 6:45 LINCOLN (PG-13) FRI. 7:00, 9:50 SAT. 12:00, 3:15, 7:00, 9:50 SUN. 12:00, 3:15, 7:00 MON., THURS. 7:00 WED. 12:05, 7:00 LIFE OF PI (PG) FRI. 7:10, 9:40 SAT. 12:15, 3:30, 7:10, 9:40 SUN. 12:15, 3:30, 7:10 MON. 7:10, WED., THURS. 5:30
WED. 12:30, 7:00 THURS. 7:00
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (PG) SAT. 12:45 SUN. 12:45
FLIGHT (R) FRI. 6:50, 9:45 SAT. 3:20, 6:50, 9:45 SUN. 3:20, 6:50 MON., TUES. 6:50 WED. 12:10, 7:45 THURS. 7:45
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By DAVID GERMAIN - AP Movie Writer
JudgingpartoneofPeterJackson’s“TheLordoftheRings”prelude “TheHobbit”isabitlikereviewingafilmafterseeingonlythefirstact. Yet here goes: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is stuffed with Hollywood’s latest technology — 3-D, high-speed projection and Dolby’s Atmos surround-sound system. The result is some eye candy that truly dazzles and some that utterly distracts, at least in its test-run of 48 frames a second, double the projection rate that has been standard since silent-film days. See THE HOBBIT, Page 26
IF YOU GO What: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” ★★ 1/2 Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Richard Armitage Directed by: Peter Jackson Running time: 169 minutes Rated: PG-13 for extended intense fantasy action violence and frightening images
Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, left, Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock, center, and Helen Mirren as Alma Reville in ‘Hitchcock.’
By DAVID GERMAIN AP Movie Writer
IF YOU GO
The man who made “Psycho” was no lightweight, though he kind of comes off that way in “Hitchcock.” Starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife and collaborator, Alma, “Hitchcock” puts a featherlight yet entertaining touch on the behind-the-scenes struggle to make the mother of all slasher films. Hitchcock’s very dark side gets superficial treatment as the film offers the cinematic equivalent of psychobabble to explore the director’s notorious gluttony,
What: “Hitchcock” ★★ 1/2 Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Danny Huston, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Michael Wincott, James D’Arcy, Toni Collette Directed by: Sacha Gervasi Running time: 98 minutes Rated: PG-13 for violent images, sexual content and thematic material.
sexual repression and idolization of his leading ladies. Though shallow, “Hitchcock” has a playful quality that often makes it good fun, its whimsy a wink that the filmmakers know they’re riffing on Hitchcock’s merri-
Still Showing ANNA KARENINA — Leo Tolstoy’s literary behemoth about love, betrayal and death among the elite in imperial Russia is boldly set almost entirely within a decaying theater. R for some sexuality and violence. 130 mins. ★★ 1/2 ARGO — During the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, a CIA agent leads a daring mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats. R for language, violent imagery. 131 mins. ★★★★ THE COLLECTION – A few years ago audiences watched in horror as Arkin (Josh Stewart) endured all manner of torture in Marcus Dunstan’s “The Collector.” Now audiences get the chance to cheer/ squirm along as Arkin exacts revenge in Dunstan’s followup, “The Collection.” R for strong bloody
ly macabre persona and not examining the man with any great depth or insight. “Hitchcock” is a promising move into dramatic filmmaking for director Sacha Gervasi after his 2009 documentary “Anvil: The Story of Anvil,” a chronicle of heavy-metal wannabes. With screenwriter John J. McLaughlin adapting Stephen Rebello’s book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho,” Gervasi spins a nimble tale of a genteel yet volatile genius turning water into wine as Hitchcock transforms a tawdry story See HITCHCOCK, Page 25
violence, grisly images, language and brief nudity. 82 mins. ★ 1/2 FLIGHT — Denzel Washington is an airline pilot and serious alcoholic. Mechanical failure on a flight forces him to pull off a crash landing, and he’s rightly hailed as a hero, but the subsequent federal investigation also reveals his rampant substance abuse. R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and intense action. 135 mins. ★★★ KILLING THEM SOFTLY – An incredibly stylish genre exercise set in the world of mobsters, junkies and lowlifes, this is also trying incredibly hard to be About Something. R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language and some drug use. 97 mins. ★★ LIFE OF PI — Author Yann Martel’s tale of a shipwrecked youth cast adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger is one of those lyrical,
When Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s adaptation of the Broadway smash “Guys and Dolls” (1955, Warner, unrated, $35) hit movie screens back in1955, it wasn’t particularly well-received. But the musical, which is new to Blu-ray, is worth a second look. Marlon Brando, making his debut as a songand-dance man, is surprisingly effective as smooth gambler Sky Masterson, while Frank Sinatra brings plenty of pizzazz to the role of second banana Nathan Detroit, especially in his priceless scenes with Vivian Blaine as his long-suffering sweetie, Adelaide. The movie’s secret weapon might be Jean Simmons, who succeeds in turning the role of the underwritten Salvation Army sergeant Sarah Brown into a worthy
New on DVD
By RICK BENTLEY The Fresno Bee
A teddy bear, super spy and baby are fodder for this week’s new DVD releases. “TED,” GRADE A-MINUS: A grown man must deal with his cherished childhood toy. “Ted” works because Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and all of the non-Hasbro-created cast members treat the story seriously. Because they don’t question a world where a teddy bear can come to life, it’s easier for the audience to accept the concept and just laugh at the pull-no-punches humor. “THE BOURNE LEGACY” GRADE C: The series continues with a new hero (Jeremy Renner), whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For a film franchise that’s going through a rebirth, “Bourne Legacy” looks a lot closer
internalized novels that should have no business working on the screen. But the delicate narrative does work, thanks to Ang Lee’s adaptation. PG for emotional thematic content and scary action sequences. 126 mins. ★★★ 1/2 LINCOLN — For anyone who worried this might be a near-parody of a Steven Spielberg film, with its heartfelt proclamations, sentimental tones and inspiring John Williams score, fret not. The movie itself is actually a lot more reserved than that. PG-13 for intense war violence, carnage and brief strong language. 150 mins. ★★★ PLAYING FOR KEEPS – The presence of flat, hacky, unfunny dreck like this is a total mystery. Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman couldn’t possibly need work this badly. And yet here they are as soccer moms shamelessly throwing them-
foil for Brando. Their scenes together have plenty of snap, crackle and pop. And the music is out of this world. Nearly every single one of the tunes by Frank Loesser went on to become a standard, including the title number, “If I Were A Bell,” “Fugue For Tinhorns,” “Luck Be A Lady,” “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat,” “The Oldest Established” and “I’ve Never Been In Love Before.” “Guys and Dolls” isn’t considered among the top tier of movies overseen by Mankiewicz, a Wilkes-Barre native. Granted, “All About Eve” and “A Letter To Three Wives” are better films. But “Guys and Dolls” is Mankiewicz at his loosest and most fun. Check it out. Amy Longsdorf writes about DVD and Blu-Ray releases with local connections.
to retirement age. “GAYBY,” GRADE B-MINUS: Director Jonathan Lisecki had success on the film-festival circuit in 2010 with his 12-minute short “Gayby” (rhymes with baby). It’s the story of two singles who have been friends since college – Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas) – who as 30-somethings decide to have a baby. The twist is he’s gay, and she wants to conceive the child “the old-fashioned way.” Also new on DVD this week: “Backwards”: A rower who fails to make the Olympics takes a job coaching rowers at a high school. Sarah Megan Thomas stars. “Ice Age: Continental Drift”: The gang must use an iceberg as a ship when their continent begins to drift. “The Portrait of a Lady”: Nicole Kidman stars in the film based on the Henry James novel. “Kill ’Em All”: Assassins must fight their way out of a high-tech bunker.
selves at Gerard Butler and his tousled, manly mane. PG-13 for sexual situations, language and a brief intense image. 105 mins. ★ RED DAWN – After North Korean paratroopers invade his hometown in Washington state, high-school quarterback Matt (Josh Peck) says, “North Korea? That doesn’t make sense.” Neither does much else in this jerryrigged remake. PG for violence. 114 mins. ★ 1/2 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS – Based on “The Guardians of Childhood” books by William Joyce, this dark film reveals that North (Alec Baldwin), better known as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Sandman (no voice actor; he never speaks) have a bigger calling See SHOWING, Page 21
CELEBRITY Q&A BY R.D. HELDENFELS
BY MICHAEL ARGIRION & JEFF KNUREK
‘Sophisticated Gents’ not out in DVD form Q. The movie “Sophisticated Gents” is on VHS. Any chance it will be on DVD soon? And the movie “My Funny Valentine” with Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine: Is it on DVD yet? A. I do not know of an authorized DVD release of “Sophisticated Gents” or of the Woodard-Devine film “Funny Valentines.” Q. I have been watching “The Jeffersons” and “Amen” back to back in the mornings on cable and have noticed a lot of similarities between George Jefferson and Deacon Ernest Frye. Did the creators of “Amen” try to make the Deacon much like a George Jefferson kind of guy, knowing Sherman Hemsley was playing the part?
PREVIOUS DAY’S SOLUTION
A. There’s no question that “Amen” aimed to draw viewers who enjoyed Hemsley on “The Jeffersons,” and the book “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows” notes that Frye was “a similar character” to George Jefferson. “The Jeffersons,” after all, had run for 10 years, ending about a year before “Amen” premiered. And even before “Amen” arrived, NBC had taken inspiration from the older comedy, premiering “227,” with “The Jeffersons’” Marla Gibbs.
Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to me at email@example.com or by regular mail to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309.
HOROSCOPE BY HOLIDAY MATHIS ARIES (March 21-April 19). It will be chal-
lenging to strike the right balance between your personal and professional life unless you pick up the pace at work. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). In the morning, it will be difficult to recognize the excellent circumstances you’re in. But once you see where the real opportunities lie, you’ll feel spoiled for choice. GEMINI (May 21-June 21). There’s a difference between being very direct and being tactless. You’ll deliver a sharp message with a kind touch — a skill you’ll be
ON THE WEB For more Sudoku go to www.timesleader.com admired and possibly employed for.
CANCER (June 22-July 22). You’ll be suc-
cessful as you execute a negative imitation — in other words, you’ll do the exact opposite from what someone else does to terrific effect. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). Scientists widely accept the theory that the universe happened, though few have a theory as to why. If you can supply a “why” for the things you cause in your part of the universe, you’ll be ahead of the game. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). You’re generally even tempered, so when you do speak passionately, as you will today in an impressive outburst, people listen. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). If you could take another person’s pain and feel it instead,
you would. But even the greatest love doesn’t allow for this. However, you will be a help. SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). Choose your sacrifices carefully. Being at your healthy best is also what’s best for your people. Caring for yourself is an expression of gratitude to everyone around you. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). You’re in a generous mood, as usual. As your sign mate Sir Winston Churchill suggested, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). You have gumption. You’ve applied it, you know what it is and what it feels like to possess. Many do not know and haven’t experienced such a quality yet.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). The same
thin line that’s between love and hate runs between romance and annoyance. Give others the benefit of the doubt as you interpret gestures. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). Your loyalties are many, but hopefully not so many that you don’t have time left for yourself. Right now, it is crucial to spend a few hours alone, doing only what pleases you. TODAY’S BIRTHDAY (December 14). Your tastes become even more refined as you are exposed to quality experiences in the next 10 weeks. Intellectual pursuits and tests will be featured at the top of the year. Your lucky numbers are: 3, 21, 44, 39 and 25.
Wife is alarmed that man has quietly planned his funeral Dear Abby: My husband and I have been married for seven years. Since our wedding, he has had increasing health problems. He recently told me that he planned his funeral three months ago, without saying a word to me. I am very concerned that he seems more focused on death than on life. Am I wrong to be upset? He says I am. — Wife in Burlington, N.J.
DEAR ABBY ADVICE Dear Wife: I don’t blame you for being concerned because husbands and wives should be able to discuss important topics with each other, and this is one of them. When your husband has his next medical appointment, go with him so you can speak with his physician. It’s possible that because of his “increasing health problems” he has
become depressed, and if that’s the case, his doctor should be told. It is always helpful for spouses to accompany each other to their appointments in case the patient forgets to ask a question or tell the doctor something he or she needs to know. Dear Abby: May I tell you about my daughter? Every year at Christmas, I let our children pick one present for around $30 for themselves. They know that we don’t have a lot of money and that “Santa” brings only a
few presents. My daughter chose to give her “Christmas money” to a charity so that another family can be blessed. She’s only 9, and she understands there are families who are in more need than us. She truly is an angel for reminding me of that. I went to our local food pantry and told them what my daughter wanted to do for Christmas. The director wrote her a letter of thanks and explained how many families her $30 would be helping. I’m so proud of my girl. Sometimes it
takes a child to remind us how all of us should act. — Blessed in Illinois Dear Blessed: Yes, it’s true. But invariably it takes good parents to instill a spirit of generosity in their children. Some of the credit belongs to you. To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby’s “Keepers,” P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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SKATE PARK Continued from page 5
put a skate park there. It is something we are working on, but there are no plans to break ground or announce funding.” TheAllianceisworkingtowarda non-profit status so it can secure grants without relying on the city. The group has applied for Mericle funds from the juvenile-justice scandal and the Tony Hawk Skate Park Grant.
The group says its main goal is to provide a place for those interested in alternative sports. “We have football fields; we have soccer fields; what about the kids that aren’t interested in those collegiate sports?” Cox asked. “How do we know we don’t have a couple professional skateboarders or BMXers out there and they just don’t have the resources to make themselves that good?” Members are looking to build a concrete park that will last longer than one with pre-fabricated pieces. “There’s no point in building it if
it’snotbuiltright,”Hardingsaid.“It should be built for skateboarders by skateboarders, involved in the process from start to end.” Thursday’s film will showcase just what it is these athletes do.
“You’ll see the best skateboarding from a handful of different generations, doing the best they possibly can,” Borthwick said. “In that mixyougetalotofdifferentpersonalities, even a lot of side footage
from the places we shot, like random people on the Square.” “It’s basically showcasing what this area has to offer. This video couldn’thavebeenmadeanywhere else.”
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Buys T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Vendors Market, a fundraiser to buy helmets for the Kingston Huskies Jr. Football Team. Dorranceton United Methodist Church, 540 Wyoming Ave., Kingston. Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Vendors welcome. 332-3691.
Reads T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Franklin Street Sleuths, the mystery book club discusses “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear. North Branch of the Osterhout Free Library, 28 Oliver St., Wilkes-Barre. 6:30 p.m. Thursday. 821-1959.
R E C E N T LY R E L E A S E D Peter the Blue Penguin, a children’s book emphasizing that there is nothing wrong with being different. Written by Wilkes-Barre resident Mary Louise Lukachko and available on publishamerica.com, amazon.com and other online booksellers. Doves and Thunder Gods, a historical romance set during the Vietnam war by Wyoming Valley native Patricia Hester. Available at amazon.com and other online booksellers.
Show ‘short but sweet’ IF YOU GO
By MARY THERESE BIEBEL firstname.lastname@example.org
What: ‘An Evening of One-Act Comedies’ Who: Scranton Public Theatre When: 8:15 tonight and Saturday Where: Olde Brick Theatre, 126 W. Market St., Scranton Tickets: $10 More info: 344-3656
No, those were the names of other wives, or girlfriends, other women with whom he might have visited Venice or attended someone’s funeral. The wife with whom he’s sharing his golden, but forgetful, years is Muriel. Don’t feel bad; she can’t remember his name either, calling him Bernie and Harry, anything but Herbert. “They’ve had multiple marriages, lots
tholic school. In the manner of a stern teacher, “she comes out and tells everybody to turn their cell phones off,” Shlesinger said. “If the audience works with her, it’s a lot of fun for 15 minutes.” The third one-act, Shlesinger said, is “our tribute to Jason Miller’s ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,’ ” which focuses on an older man and woman in a doctor’s office. “Essentially, the guy takes a fancy to the girl, and one thing leads to another,” said Shlesinger, who describes the evening as a “short-but-sweet” hour and 15 minutes. “It’s just a charming event.”
altimore oriole. Bobolink. Black-billed cuckoo. Herbert is watching birds from his rocking chair, and he really seems to have a knack for identifying them. Too bad he can’t do as well naming his wife, the little old lady who joined him on the porch. Is she Mary? Or Grace?
Agnes Cummings and Bob Shlesinger star in ‘An Evening of One-Act Comedies’ at the Olde Brick Theatre in Scranton through tomorrow.
of partners, and they can’t remember,” said Bob Shlesinger, who plays Herbert (Bernie? Harry?) to Agnes Cummings’ Muriel in “I’m Herbert,” one of three short plays that continue this weekend at the Olde Brick Theatre in Scranton. “An Evening of One-Act Comedies” also includes a sketch Cummings put together, based on a conglomeration of various nuns she knew during her years in Ca-
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Stage T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 3 Guys Write a Christmas Play, a free Christmas drama. Sweet Val-
ley Church of Christ, 5439 Main Road. 7 tonight and Saturday. 477-2320. Arsenic and Old Lace, a comedy about two elderly sisters known for their charitable works – but who seem to be poisoning elderly men
who come to their home looking for lodging. Performed by the Drama Club at MMI Preparatory School, 154 Centre St., Freeland. 7 tonight and Saturday. $5. 636-1108. A Christmas Carol, the holiday story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s jour-
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ney through his past, present and future. Performed by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble at the Alvina Krause Theater, 226 Center St., Bloomsburg. Through Dec. 28: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Special matinee 2 p.m. Dec. 29. 784-8181.
See STAGE, Page 20
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The wacky nuns are at it again! In Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical, you’ll find the sisters – and Father Virgil – in the basement of Mount Saint Helen’s Convent, filming a holiday program for cable television that, of course, goes awry with unexpected complications. It’s staged by the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts at the J.J. Ferrara Center, 212 W. Broad St. in Hazleton, at 7 tonight and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. An all-you-can-eat buffet is served 90 minutes before show time. Play tickets are $16, $14 seniors and $10 children; and $32, $28 seniors and $20 children with the buffet. Reservations: 454-5451.
Continued from page 19
Wilkes-Barre. 7:30 tonight; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 821-8525. It’s a Wonderful Life, a live radioplay version of the holiday classic. Music Box Dinner Playhouse, 196 Hughes St., Swoyersville. 8 tonight and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Dinner served 90 minutes before show time. 283-2195. The Santaland Diaries, humorist David Sedaris’ hilarious recounting of a holiday season spent working as an elf at Macy’s Department Store. Presented by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble at the Moose Exchange, 203 W. Main St., Bloomsburg. 8 tonight and Sunday; 8 and 10:15 p.m. Saturday. $15. For mature audiences. 784-8181. The Winter Wonderettes, a holiday musical comedy performed by Applause Theatre, 64 Church St., Pittston. 8 tonight and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $15. 430-1149. The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Dramatic Society’s Pro-
duction of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ a holiday production by Little Shiny Things about a ladies’ society putting on the Dickens classic Christmas tale. Phoenix Performing Arts Centre, 409-411 Main St., Duryea. 8 tonight and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $12. 457-3589.
Theatre. Olde Brick Theatre, 126 W. Market St., Scranton. 8:15 p.m. tonight and Saturday. $12, $10. 344-3656.
An Evening of One-Act Comedies, with Agnes Cummings and Bob Shlesinger of Scranton Public
Verdi’s Aida, the ancient Egyptian drama with Liudmyla Monastyrska as the enslaved Ethiopian princess caught in a love affair with the heroic Radames (Roberto Alagna). A live screening from the Metropolitan Opera. Movies 14, 24 E. North-
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lachia to tell a tale of redemption and hope. Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe. 1:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Dec. 22. $15, $10 seniors, $5 children. 3250249. Our Christmas Gift, holiday music and a one-act play “The Least of These” along with a live Nativity. Performed by the MPB Community Players at 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 100 N. Church St.; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Most Precious Blood Church, Fourth and Seybert streets, both in Hazleton. Free but donations accepted to benefit the churches. 454-0178.
Laurie McCants appears as The Storyteller in the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ through Dec. 29. ampton St., Wilkes-Barre and Cinemark 20, 40 Glenmaura National Blvd., Moosic. 12:55 p.m. Saturday. 825-4444 or 961-5943 or fathomevents.com. A Coal Country Christmas Carol, a classic, old-time radio show with performers summoning the spirits of 19th-century industrial Appa-
Christmas on the Air, the annual Christmas musical about a live radio broadcast from Bethlehem, Pa., that imparts a message of giving and receiving. Mountain Top Baptist Church, 865 Church Road. 6 p.m. Sunday. 868-6863.
ANNOUNCEMENTS Auditions for the Phoenix Kids’ production of the musical “Annie.” For ages 5 to 13. Phoenix Performing Arts Centre, 409-411 Main St., Duryea. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 10; 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 12. 457-3589.
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than just providing gifts, eggs, quarters and sweet dreams. PG for thematic elements and mildly scary action. 97 mins. ★★ 1/2 SKYFALL — This is easily one of the best entries ever in the 50year, 23-film series, led once again by an actor who’s the best Bond yet in Daniel Craig. And the film’s central threat of cyberterrorism couldn’t be more relevant. PG-13 for intense violent sequences, sexuality, language and smoking.
143 mins. ★★★★ THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN — PART 2 — Finally the “Twilight” franchise embraces its own innate absurdity with this gleefully over-the-top conclusion. But as it reaches its prolonged and wildly violent crescendo, it’s at least entertaining in a totally nutso way. PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sensuality and partial nudity. 115 mins. ★★★ WRECK-IT RALPH – Disney Animation takes a page out of Pixar’s well-worn playbook for this screwball farce that finds fun in the outside-the-arcade-game life of the characters trapped in those games. 98 mins. PG for rude humor and mild action/violence. ★★★ 1/2
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Outdoors T H I S W E E K : D EC . 14 TO 20, 2012 Christmas Bird Count, the 113th annual event. Participate by counting winter birds through Jan. 5. Call 675-9900 to sign up. Make a Treat for the Birds, string peanuts and make peanut-buttered pine cones for your backyard birds. Wild Birds Unlimited, Dallas Shopping Center, Dallas Memorial Highway. 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Free. 6759900. Pinchot Trail Hike, 6.5 moderate miles with the Susquehanna Trailers. Meet at the Park and Ride, Route 315, Dupont 11:45 a.m. Sunday. 6554979. Pocono Mountain Christmas Bird Count, the annual event with birders taking to the field to identify and count birds in designated areas. All skill levels welcome. Sunday. To participate, call 629-3061. Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a walk through the Florence Shelly Wetland Preserve to join in the 113th annual bird count. Meet at the parking lot, one mile north of Thompson on Route 171 opposite Stack Road. 2 p.m. Sunday. 756-2497.
FUTURE Birding in the Kirby Park Natural Area, with the Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society. Meet in the parking lot at Market Street and
Exhibits ONGOING EXHIBITS Advancing Tradition: Twenty Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press, prints made at the Austin, Texas, press by more than 40 artists ranging from small-scale minimalist abstractions to enormous figurative scenes. Through Sunday at the Sordoni Art Gallery, Stark Learning Center, 150 S. River St., Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre. Noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. 408-4325. Giving the Gift of Art, drawings, paintings, pottery, jewelry, ornaments, cards and more by regional artists, all affordably priced for gift giving. New Vision Studio & Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton. Through Dec. 24: noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and Christmas Eve. 878-3970. Winter Member Show. Artists for Art Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. Through Dec. 28: noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. 969-1040.
See EXHIBITS, Page 23
Dawes Avenue, Kingston. 8 a.m. Dec. 23. Free. 542-5948. Broad Mountain Lookout Hike, 11 moderate miles with the Susquehanna Trailers. Meet at the Park and
Ride, Route 309 near Blackman Street, Wilkes-Barre. 9:45 a.m. Dec. 23. 825-7200.
Trailers. Meet at the Park and Ride, Route 315 and Oak Street, Dupont. 9:45 a.m. Dec. 30. 825-7200.
Frank Gantz Trail Hike, 8.5 moderate miles with the Susquehanna
New Yearâ€™s Eve 5K Run and Walk. Ring in the new year by running
through the streets of Bloomsburg and along the river. Bloomsburg YMCA, 30 E. Seventh St. Dec. 31 with registration at 5 p.m. and race at 7 p.m. $20, $25 after Dec. 24. 7840188.
ings of dogs and other animals by Marge Rosa of Avoca and Laura Adams of Wilkes-Barre. Through December at Citizens Bank of Forty Fort. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to noon Sundays. 675-5094.
Continued from page 22
Cider Paintings of America, the 2012 international exhibit of miniature art. Vgogh Gallery, 281 Wyoming Ave., Kingston. Through Dec. 29: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 287-5544. Town and Country, large-scale paintings exploring the suburban landscape as well as new works in smaller sizes by Nina Davidowitz. Mainstreet Galleries, 370 Pierce St., Kingston. Through Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 287-5589. Sightlines, a contemporary artquilt installation by 14 artists covering a 10-foot space each using themes including consumerism, contemplation, emotion and tragedy. Also: “Stitching a Story,” narrative embroidery by local residents using the redwork technique. Through Dec. 31 at the Everhart Museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton. Noon to 4 p.m. Mondays,
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Suburban landscape paintings by Nina Davidowitz are on display at Mainstreet Galleries in Kingston through Dec. 31. Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 346-7186. Art Exhibit, drawings and paint-
Affordable Art Sale, works by members of the Hazleton Art League, 225 E. Broad St. Through Dec. 30: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. 817-1075. Ghost Trains of Scranton, photography by Kathryn Scott Adams. Through Dec. 31 at Steamtown National Historic Site, 300 Cliff St., Scranton. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 340-5200.
Learn about the local connection of successful Broadway producer Olga Treskoff of Glen Lyon to the 1946 novel “The Miracle of the Bells” at the latest exhibit of the Luzerne County Historical Society Museum. Olga’s life, cut short at a young age, was the basis for not only the novel but a subsequent 1948 movie starring Fred MacMurray and Frank Sinatra. The museum is at 49 S. Franklin St. in Wilkes-Barre behind the Osterhout Free Library. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call 823-6244.
See EXHIBITS, Page 24
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Michaelâ€™s Family Restaurant is a familiar spot in a familiar location, but its menu is ever-evolving.
WHY WE WENT: Been noticing a pretty full parking lot on weekends, despite the reduced hours and the fact the place is no longer open for traditional dinner. There is a dinner menu, but see below for hours. And note: only breakfast is served on weekends. STYLE OF FOOD: Breakfast, casual and homestyle. DRESS & DĂ‰COR: Casual & homey. The place has been given a fresh new look since it was open in the evenings, and the dĂŠcor is nothing if not pleasant. SERVICE: Quick. MUST-TRY DISHES: Snickers cakes are new on the morning menu. Like chocolate chip pancakes? Picture chopped Snickers pieces instead. Omelettes are more creative than usual. Think Hawaiian omelette and Denver omelette quesadilla, for example. (All omelettes are available folded up in a flavored wrap.) Our Italian omelette could have been a star, except mozzarella isnâ€™t the most flavorful choice in cheese, and the peppers, onions, mushrooms and sausage curiously didnâ€™t pick up a lot of the slack. In a nod to local heritage, pas-
ties are a Wednesday specialty and potato pancakes sizzle on Fridays. OTHER MENU HIGHLIGHTS: A $5.95 breakfast sampler contains two eggs, pancakes (huge!) or French toast, homefries, bacon or sausage, toast and coffee or juice, nicely covering all the bases. One of the fun things about coming to Michaelâ€™s, though, is seeing what heâ€™ll come up with next. (To wit, Snickers cakes.) If itâ€™s dinner/diner food, youâ€™re after donâ€™t be surprised by a creative, possibly crazy burger now and then (buffalo chicken AND beef piled high, say.) Barbecues, subs, salads, paninis, etc. also are plentiful. BEVERAGES? The usual HOURS: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday PRICES: Budget-friendly THE LOCATION: 235 South River St., Plains Township CONTACT: 570-270-6453 OVERALL IMPRESSION: Michael himself is still a quality caterer, but he has something good going here with his limited eat-in hours. Less supply creates demand.
Christmas Exhibit, with antique toys and dolls including a fully furnished doll house, illustrations from the book â€œB Is for Bethlehem,â€? Steve Colleyâ€™s art-glass constructions and oil paintings by Carol Angela Brownâ€™s Tea-Time Art Studio. Through Jan. 5 at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock. Open during movie screenings. 996-1500.
Continued from page 23
Faculty and Alumni Exhibit. Luzerne County Community Collegeâ€™s Schulman Gallery, Campus Center, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke. Through Jan. 3: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 740-0727. Two Artists from Lake Winola, paintings by Ali Woods Wilson and Benjamin Jackson. Through Jan. 4 at the Wyoming County Courthouse Gallery, 1 Courthouse Square, Tunkhannock. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 836-1504.
Abstraction, charcoal and pastel artwork by Jeremy Petrachonis. The Fly on the Wall Art Gallery, Dragonfly CafĂŠ, 9 E. Broad St., Hazleton. Through Jan. 5: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. 454-1214.
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HITCHCOCK Continued from page 13
inspired by murderer Ed Gein into high art — and one of the scariest movies ever. Hopkins’ Hitchcock defies the expectations of Paramount executives and his own colleagues, Alma included, when he settles on Robert Bloch’s novel “Psycho,” the Gein-influenced story of Norman Bates, a soft-spoken mama’s boy whose creepy double life leads to multiple murders. Alma thinks it’s a cheap story beneath her husband. Hitchcock thinks the spare tale can leave fans screaming in their seats. “Hitchcock” strains to play up
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And while the filmmaker-atwork moments are similarly frivolous, it’s wicked fun watching Hopkins’ Hitchcock as cruel taskmaster, using whatever cattle prods he can find to trick or cajole what he wants out of his actors. Mirren has an easier task in inhabiting Alma, bringing fierce intelligence to Hitchcock’s wife without having to play someone whose voice and mannerisms the audience knows well. The supporting players are there just for the joy of it, though Johansson turns out to be surprisingly good as Leigh and James D’Arcy is an eerie dead ringer as jittery Anthony Perkins, who played the killer Norman.
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marital strife between the two as Alma feels tempted by a writing colleague (Danny Huston), while Alfred’s frustrated fancies continue over his long string of Hitchcock blondes — in this case, “Psycho” co-stars Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) — the latter standing with Grace Kelly among his greatest fixations. The film also strays into Freudian fantasies as the specter of Gein himself (Michael Wincott) pops up to help Hitchcock work through his issues. These moments are clunky devices that offer no understanding of Hitchcock and his demons; at best, they’re good for a chuckle.
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Continued from page 12
It’s also overstuffed with, well, stuff. Prologues and sidestepping backstory. Long, boring councils amongdwarves,wizardsandelves. A shallow blood feud extrapolated from sketchy appendices to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” to give the film a bad guy. “An Unexpected Journey” has bloat throughout its nearly three hours, in which Tolkien’s brisk story of intrepid little hobbit Bilbo Baggins is drawn out and diluted by dispensable trimmings better left for DVD extras. Two more parts are coming, so we won’t know how the whole story comes together until the finale arrives in summer 2014. Part one’s embellishments may pay off nicely, but right now, “An Unexpected Journey” looks like the start of an unnecessary trilogy better told in one film. Splitintothreebooks,“TheLord of the Rings” was a natural film trilogy, running nearly half a million words, five times as long as “The Hobbit.” Jackson and company have meticulously mined Tolkien referencestoeventsthatneverplayedoutin any of the books (stuff the filmmak-
Mortensen from the “Rings” trilogy. The filmmakers also pluck orc bruiser Azog out of Tolkien’s footnotes and make him Thorin’s swornenemy.Azog’sablandantagonist, adding little more than onedimensional bluster. While there are plenty of orc skeweringsandgoblinbeheadings,the action is lighter and more cartoonish than that of “The Lord of the Rings.” Still, much of it is silly fun. The potential sea-change with “The Hobbit” is Jackson’s 48-frame rate. Most theaters are not yet equipped for that speed, so the film largely will play at the standard 24 frames a second. Proponents, including James Cameron, say higher frame rates provide more lifelike images, sharpen 3-D effects and lessen or eliminate a flickering effect known as “strobing” that comes with camera motion. I saw the movie first at 24 frames a second and then at 48, and they’re absolutely right that higher speeds clarify the picture. But with great clarity comes greater vision. At 48 frames, the film is more true to life, sometimes feeling so intimate it’s like watching live theater. That close-up perspective also brings out the fakery of movies. Sets and props look like phony stage trappings at times, and the crystal pictures bleaching away the painterly
quality of traditional film. This may be cinema’s future, and the results undoubtedly will improve over time. It’ll be an adjustment for audiences, though, and
like the warmth of analog vinyl vs. the precision of digital music, the dreaminess of traditional film vs. the crispness of high-frame rates will be a matter of taste.
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erscallthe“in-betweenbits”).With that added material, they’re building a much bigger epic than Tolkien’s book, the unexpected journey of homebody Bilbo (Martin Freeman, with Ian Holm reprising his “Lord of the Rings” role as older Bilbo). Bilbohasnodesiretohittheroad after wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen, grandly reprising his own “Rings” role) and a company of dwarves turn up to enlist him on a quest to retake a dwarf mountain kingdomfromthedragonthatdecimated it. Yet off he goes, encountering trolls, goblins, savage orcs and a grisly guy named Gollum (Andy Serkis, re-creating the character thatpioneeredmotion-captureperformance in “The Lord of the Rings”). Improved by a decade of visual-effects advances, Gollum solidifies himself as one of the creepiest movie creatures ever. “An Unexpected Journey” resurrects other “Rings” favorites, some who didn’t appear in “The Hobbit” (Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadriel, Christopher Lee as wizard Saruman) and some who did (Hugo Weaving as elf lord Elrond). Richard Armitage debuts as dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield, ennobled from a fairly comical figure in Tolkien’s text to a brooding warrior king in the mold of Viggo
EVENTS Continued from page 6
Reality Check. Meet Lacey Schwimmer and Kyle Massey, contestants on â€œDancing with the Starsâ€? who perform and answer questions from fans, pose for photos and sign autographs. Breakers, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, 1280 Route 315, Plains Township. 2 p.m. Dec. 29. 888-946-4672. New Yearâ€™s Eve Party, with a dinner buffet, open bar, champagne toast and music by the Cameron Avenue Band and Kaelyn Marie. Dupont Hose Company, 308 Main St. Dec. 31 with doors at 7 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m. and dancing from 9 p.m. $40. Reservations: 457-7665. Malanka, the 9th annual Ukrainian New Yearâ€™s dinner dance with a Ukrainian and American buffet, cash bar, complimentary champagne toast and dancing to the Ukrainian orchestra Fata Morgana. St. Vladimir Parish Center, 428 N. Seventh Ave., Scranton. 6 p.m. Jan. 11. $40. 489-1256.
Northeastern Pennsylvania Home & Garden Show, the 12th annual show offering the latest in products and services for the home. With Brian Santos (â€œThe Wall Wizardâ€?) and Harry Rinker (â€œThe Collector Inspectorâ€?). Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township. 2 to 7 p.m. Jan. 25; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 26; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 27. $7.50, $5.50 seniors. 970-7600. iPad Class for Adults, basic and advanced functions. Bring your own iPad or borrow one from the library. West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Free. 654-9847. Valentine Workshop and Luncheon, creating Valentine cards and crafts using quilling, schrenschitte, woven wheat and embroidery. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, 347 Quiet Valley Road, Stroudsburg. Feb. 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with morning and afternoon sessions. $35 includes all materials. Reservations: 992-6161. Romancing the Cake, making a special strawberry mousse cake
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for your sweetheart. West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4. $20. Reservations: 654-9847. Arenacross, high-octane, on-track motorcycle competition. Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township. With pro racing 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 9 and amateur racing at noon on Feb. 10. Also: A Monster Energy Track Party 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9. $17.50, $10 children. 800-745-3000. Spanish Film Club Series, a screening of â€œFrom the Land to Your Tableâ€? (2009), a documentary about the conditions and
cultural diversity of produce markets throughout IberoAmerica. With English subtitles. Pearn Auditorium, Brennan Hall, 320 Madison Ave., University of Scranton. 7 p.m. Feb. 21. Free. 941-6160. Harlem Globetrotters, the basketball innovators on their â€œYou Write the Rulesâ€? World Tour in which fans decide the rules that could affect the outcome of the game. Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., WilkesBarre Township. 3 p.m. Feb. 24. 800-745-3000. War and Peace: Current Issues, with scholar Daniel Serwer of the Middle East Institute who
discusses the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Brennan Hall, 320 Madison Ave., University of Scranton. 5:30 p.m. March 5. Followed by a reception. 941-7816.
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