Here is a sampling of the topics to be addressed at the Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference:
Jan. 7: "Shakespeare's Geography of Thought," Lisa Wolpe, Globe International Theatre Fellow, Actor, Director, Playwright
Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company
Jan. 8: "New World Shakespeare," Terry OBrien, Founding Artistic Director, Hudson Valley Shakespeare
Jan. 9: "Original Practices and the Actor-Audience Connection," Laura Cole, Director of Education and Training, Atlanta Shakespeare Co.
The Thomas Fun Room is open through Jan. 13, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut St., Allentown.
The 3,000-square-foot exhibit re-creates the era when railroads were king.
The display includes 50 enlarged images of Lehigh Valley Railroad steam locomotives.
Information: lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org, 610-435-1074
Despite its title, there's not too much that's unexpected in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."
There are goblins, wizards, trolls, rock monsters and, of course, dwarfs.
This should please fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973) novels, on which "The Hobbit" is based, as it did my son, Elias, who accompanied me to a 3D screening of "Unexpected Journey."
It was the second time Elias saw "The Hobbit" movie. The first time he saw it was in the regular format. Elias said the 3D version enhanced some scenes, but it's not necessary to see "The Hobbit" in 3D.
The annual Holiday Train Exhibit continues through Dec. 30, America On Wheels (AOW) Museum, 5 N. Front St., Allentown.
AOW holds its New Year's Eve Day-Time Party noon - 3 p.m..Dec. 29.
The holiday exhibit of pedal cars continues through Dec. 31. Children may get behind the wheel at "Pedal Place."
Information: americaonwheels.org, 610-432-4200, x16
Six Lehigh Valley-based filmmakers were honored with awards for their work during the second-annual Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Festival (GLVFF), which took place Nov. 2 - 4 at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at SteelStacks. The awards were presented Nov. 4 at the conclusion of the festival, which featured more than 25 different shorts and feature films produced by filmmakers from throughout the region.
The 2012 GLVFF award winners are:
Best Feature: "Wallowitch & Ross: This Moment," Richard Morris, Bethlehem
The Hold Steady expects to give its fans what they want familiar tunes from each of its five albums in its area debut, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28, Musikfest Café, ArtsQuest Center, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.
Craig Finn, lead singer of the group, recently completed a solo tour backing his album, "Clear Heart Full Eyes," but has been back on tour with the band since October.
"Everyone was really positive about it," says the lead singer about going solo during the band's hiatus.
Gather your peeps, as in family and friends, for PeepsFest, returning for its fourth year Dec. 30 and 31, ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.
The event, for which most activities are free, features two days of live music, arts and Peeps-related programming, culminating at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 31 with the dropping of a 4.5 - foot tall, 85 - pound, lit Peeps Chick and fireworks to welcome in the New Year.
A recent newspaper article stated that 2012 gasoline prices will almost certainly set the record for the highest average price for a single year. Other news reports predicted a record-setting year.
I'm, however, convinced that 2012 will set the record as the fastest-passing year on record.
Each year appears to go by faster than the previous one and before I know it I find myself browsing through my yearly journal and skimming my columns to summarize what has transpired during the year.
'S "Wonderful": Bucks County Playhouse, which reopened this past summer following a multi-million dollar renovation, concludes its 2012 season with "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," through Dec, 30 at the legendary 70 S. Main St., New Hope, theater. Justin Guarini, above, center, plays George Bailey, the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart in director Frank Capra's 1946 movie classic. Guarini, a Central Bucks East High School graduate, was first runner-up in the "American Idol" 2002 debut season.
For Straight No Chaser member Walter Chase, singing at Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, is almost like bringing his career full circle.
The a cappella group's 35-show "SNC Live" fall tour began in October in Burlington, Vt. and concludes with two shows, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23, in Allentown, with stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlantic City, and Westbury, N.Y.