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Non-fiction novel?

Doug Brode’s new book depicts Lee Harvey Oswald as a “Patsy!”

Can you see Lee Harvey Oswald as a Frank Sinatra fan? If so, you’d probably enjoy Doug Brode’s new novel, “Patsy! The Life and Times of Lee Harvey Oswald.”

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Miss America returns home

Nina Davuluri may have been home for the first time since being crowned Miss America in September, but that didn’t mean she was taking the weekend off. Davuluri was out and about for three days as a part of her “Hometown Celebration Tour,” which began on Nov. 16 with a visit to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and concluded on the morning of Nov. 18 with a breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, sponsored by Syracuse Woman Magazine.

A mighty ‘Wind’

Impressive acting, taut direction carry CNY Playhouse’s ‘Inherit the Wind’

Playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee insisted that “Inherit the Wind” stands not as a piece of journalism but as a piece of theater.

COLUMN: Oh, horrors part two: a look at some of the local haunted attractions

Last week, we took a look at five local haunted attractions that were well worth checking out. Here are six more that you can sink your teeth into. Or perhaps it would be better to say that the ghouls here can sink their teeth into you.

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Preposterous probe

 Up-and-coming actress Kitty Doupe shines as a bewitching West Indian maid

Anything can happen in “Any Number Can Die.” Owls hoot, thunder howls, lights flicker and lives are lost due to gunshots, poison, hanging and stabbing. But don’t let that constant violence spoil your evening at the theater. It’s all in good fun, as the stage play soundly satirizes every murder mystery you’ve ever read or seen. The campy comedy by Vermont’s prolific and playful playwright, Fred Carmichael, is being staged through Oct. 13 by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.

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Zoo to welcome original ‘Wild Kingdom’ host Jim Fowler Oct. 3

On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will host, “Twilight at the Zoo Special Edition: A Life in the Wild with Jim Fowler.” The evening lecture begins at 6:30 p.m., and is sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.

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‘Finding Matilda’

Actress Mimi Kennedy to perform play about women’s rights visionary Matilda Joslyn Gage

Mimi Kennedy hasn’t always been passionate about history. In fact, until the mid-1990s, she even disliked it. The actress, author and activist was doing research for a fictional story when she called Sally Roesch Wagner, the executive director at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, with a question. When Wagner told Kennedy about who Gage was and her role as an American suffragist and abolitionist, Kennedy said that a lightbulb turned on inside of her head.

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Dancin’ to the top

Ray Middle School administrator wins first place in world competition

Sharon Gridley-Pelkie is an artist; music and dance are in her blood. This past July, the Ray Middle School sixth grade assistant principal traveled to Puerto Rico to compete in the 2013 Fred Astaire Dance Studios World Championship. Out of the 54 studios from around the globe that brought contestants to compete in this annual event, Baldwinsville’s own brought home the gold, winning first place overall for Smooth Multi Dance Championship. She also won second place at the World Competition in the Multi Dance Latin Championship.

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Syracuse Legends radio show catches on

While countless radio programs provide chatter on the latest Syracuse University sports news, there is only one place where listeners might hear James Southerland talking candidly about why he chose to wear number 43: the NAPA Syracuse Legends Show with Mike Bristol.

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‘Spamalot’splendid

CNY Playhouse looks on the bright side of life with wacky musical

During a climactic scene on opening night, “Spamalot” leading man Bob Brown misfired. Twice. Portraying King Arthur, Brown was trying to toss a grenade over a short scenic flat to blow up a killer bunny.

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Manlius man takes third prize at the Fair for painting of rescue dog

Ken Burke has been painting for more than 50 years and has never won an award for an easel painting – until now. This year, he decided to enter a picture he painted of Buster, a dog who belongs to his friend Corinne Cerminaro, of Liverpool. Burke saw a picture of the dog on Facebook and immediately asked Cerminaro for permission to paint Buster.

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Fayetteville author publishes cook book with a twist

Sharon Bailhe’ spent much of her young adult life traveling the world and eating in the finest restaurants. She credits her acute taste in food to both her travel history and her experience eating in some of New York City’s best restaurants as a child growing up in Wilton, Connecticut. When she and her husband finally settled in Fayetteville about thirty years ago, she said she wasn’t in love with Central New York restaurants.

Eastern suburbs summer concert guide

Some great news for music lovers: there will be free live music most weeknights during the month of July in the Eastern suburbs. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and get ready for a full month of great bands!

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New DeWitt summer camp allows children to experience cultures through performing arts

For more than five years, Luba Lesser has been searching for a concrete location to make her dream of a community center for visual and performing arts a reality. She’d been giving piano and voice lessons out of her home in DeWitt for years and realized she was running out of space. So she turned to her church, St. David’s Episcopal Church, for accommodation. And when she met Sondra Bromka, who also attends St. David’s, it was a match made in heaven. “I had been thinking about doing a summer camp for a while,” said Lesser. “I wanted to write a program to teach the arts so the kids could make art and be involved in music and make instruments and dance. I just didn’t know how to put a program like that together. And then I found Sondra and came to her with the idea. What I didn’t know was that she’d been doing a similar – but better - program to what I’d envisioned for the last 30 years.” Sondra Bromka and her husband John have been traveling from their home in Marcellus to schools across the world to teach children about history and culture through performing arts for more than 30 years through the “Bells and Motley” program. They’ve performed at the Renaissance Festival since it began, done programs at national historic sites and held workshops everywhere from libraries to museums to historical societies. During the fall, winter and spring, the Bromkas’ schedule is packed with school visits. Usually, they’ll be booked to visit a classroom for a week, coming in each day to teach about the music, art, dance, literature, pageantry of a curriculum-based theme. These include the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Early America and world cultures such as China. And during the summer months, they would choose a destination, usually in Europe, to teach for a month. But Bromka said that in this point in her life, she’s ready to let traveling fall to the wayside and focus on the Central New York community. “Though one can be smitten by the love of travel, it feels like our responsibility is to bring it home and do everything we can for the local community,” she said. “That’s the goal – I really want to spend the next phase of my life enriching the Central New York arts community.” And she’s starting with Enlighten-CNY. The camp is divided into four weeks and two different topics – Chinese folklore and Medieval pageants and festivals. The first two weeks, will be dedicated to one topic and the next two weeks will focus on the other. Bromka said the main reason Enlighten arts camp is different than your average summer camp has to do with the flexibility of the curriculum and activities. “It’s not that I am adverse to guidelines, but here we’ve got a formula that will flex to create the ideal,” Bromka said. “It means that we can pour our hearts into the needs of the children and shape our program around them.” “You build a little community, get to know each other and learn to work with each other,” Lesser added. “We don’t know who is going to show up, what skills they’ll have and what special needs they may have.” Both Bromka and Lesser stressed that even though this is a camp for the arts, all children are welcome, no matter how much experience they have when it comes to music, art and dance. “I want parents not to be afraid if their children have done this before,” Bromka said. “Some kids don’t get a chance to be exposed to different art fields. Some kids may have been channeled into one art field and have not experienced another. The most important thing is that you don’t have to have done it to come here – it’s a good place to start.” Bromka’s program is designed to make history come alive through a combination of hands-on activities related to the arts. For example, since the topic during the first two weeks will be on “Bawshou and the Dragon,” an old Chinese tale, children will be learning all about dragons. Activities for the weeks include creating dragon masks, making Chinese lanterns, learning Chinese calligraphy, choreographing dances for the final performance and playing traditional Medeival instruments – some of which aren’t made anymore. Bromka and her husband create instruments that they know existed, but are not produced anymore. She said they got inspiration to create many of their instruments from looking at paintings on the ceilings of churches while in Europe. “It’s different from a traditional theater camp because usually you’re not told at all about the culture behind what you’re performing,” Lesser said. “You’re told the story, what to say and what to do. Here, you’re making the story your own with the group.” The summer camp will serve as the official beginning of the Enlighten-CNY Center for the Arts. This fall, Lesser and the rest of the staff will begin teaching music and art lessons at the center for anyone interested in learning. The Bromkas are excited to continue teaching at the center as well. “For me, this kind of education is very important because it’s the kind of education I got,” Lesser said. “I think history, culture and everything connected within the arts makes a lot more sense when taught together. I started the Center for the Arts and we’re a group of musicians that want to teach and who have the same ideas of what to teach children.” “I love the range in each individual child and the unique art that can come out because every student is different,” added Bromka. “40 years and you haven’t seen it all!” The Enlighten-CNY summer camp will run for four weeks in July. For more information, visit enlightencny.com.

CNY Playhouse revives classic high-school film on stage at Shoppingtown

“The Breakfast Club” is considered one of the best American films of the 1980s. It was certainly one of Dan Rowlands’ favorites. By adapting and directing a stage version now presented by CNY Playhouse at Shoppingtown Mall, Rowlands pays tender tribute to the quintessential high-school movie written and directed in 1985 by the late John Hughes.