What defines a puppet? It can be worn on your hand like a glove, or it can be a dummy with strings, as seen in a popular 'N Sync video. Now, that's art imitating life. The fact is that a puppet can, with a little imagination, be almost anything (except for maybe John Malkovich).
Award-winning author Julie Shelton shows an audience that all it takes is some paper plates and garden gloves to create an interactive story. "My stage is in a box on my lap," she says. Using props, a felt board, and puppets of many shapes and sizes, her storytelling has entertained audiences since 1973. "I don't think I ever got tired of playing with dolls," Shelton laughs.
See performances by Julie Shelton at the Puppetry Arts Center of the Palm Beaches (1200 S. Congress Ave., #36, West Palm Beach). You can even learn how to puppeteer and create your own puppets. The Puppetry Arts Center, a not-for-profit corporation, opened ten years ago and offers more than 200 shows per year in puppetry arts. The center is open on Saturday for Shelton's show at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. She performs "How Sandy Got His Supper" and "The Big Orange Splot" along with other stories. Admission is $4. Call 561-967-3231. -- Beth Kirkpatrick
Where to go after classroom hell
Despite the prayers of millions of children, the new school year is right around the corner. Perhaps the fervent prayers of stressed-out parents counterbalanced those of the kiddies. And if you want even more peace and quiet in your house, you may want to consider shipping the kiddies off to an after-school program such as the one offered by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department at Westgate Community Center (3691 Oswego Ave., West Palm Beach). After all, you've got to have somebody watch the young'uns while you bring home the pork bellies. From August 18 through December 19, kids at the center enjoy sports, arts, and crafts from 2 to 6 p.m. Total cost is $50 per child, and preregistration is required. Call 561-233-1415. -- Dan Sweeney