The Studio

Jazz makes me uncomfortable.

At Shag Frenzy, a retro music dance night, I can shake it for hours. At a dingy hall featuring three live rock bands, I can jump right into a pit. If I go to the symphony, I sit very quietly and applaud when appropriate.

At jazz shows, I don’t know what to do with myself.
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Getting Around

I like to avoid talking about race, mostly because whenever it comes up, people get defensive, they shut down, and then nothing productive comes of it. So, I don’t really want to go there, but there is here.

I think it’s really hard to talk about transportation without pointing out the obvious– only a particular demographic is fuel addicted in America. When the idea of reducing private motorized transportation comes up in certain circles, it’s deemed radical (or too radical). It should not be. The reality is that many Americans do not own automobiles. If, however, a person lives in an area where the ethnic and racial groups with low rates of vehicle ownership do not tend to live, there can be a distorted idea of how life is for everyone everywhere.

In the city of Hartford, 36.1% of households do not have a vehicle. (more…)

Ghost Town

Every evening at precisely 5:01 I crawl into my coffin. This shields me from the spates of gunfire, and to be honest, I might as well. When the actuaries, bankers, lawyers, and IT professionals hit the on-ramps, the entire city loses its raison d’être. My coffin protects me from the tumbleweeds that blow through here.

Perez Resigns as Chairman

Today Mayor Perez announced that he would be stepping down (or not running for re-election or resigning or however you’d like to spin it) from chairing the Board of Education and the School Building Committee. This act has been the smartest political move he has made in awhile, as it eliminates some obvious conflicts of interest and helps residents to think about restoring their trust in him as a leader.

Perez cites Hartford’s budget mess as the reason for relinquishing these positions. I don’t doubt that’s part of the reason, but people never have a singular reason for doing anything. Still, making a fuss about precisely what his reasons were seems like a fruitless exercise in self-righteousness.

The Mayor’s move can allow the Charter Revision Commission to more fairly examine certain policies without their own feelings toward the mayor getting in the way. It frees the Board of Education and School Building Committee from possible ethical quandaries. And yes, it frees up the mayor to focus more on Hartford’s budget. As someone who pays obnoxiously high car tax already, my daily concerns have more to do with what I have to take out of my wallet, than what someone else pays (or doesn’t) for kitchen remodeling.

Can Rail Save Connecticut’s Cities?

This issue will be discussed on Friday at the UConn School of Law from noon until 2:15. Panelists include Professor Sara Bronin, Norman Garrick, and Albert Martin. The event is free, but requires registration as lunch is included. To register, call Linda Kirk at 860.570.5241 or email her at .

UConn describes the event:

The 16th Gallivan Conference will focus on the subject of rail travel in the State of Connecticut. After introductory remarks by the dean, a distinguished panel will discuss the legal framework within which rail is regulated, as well as relevant planning, policy, and economic issues. This conference should be of interest to attorneys, architects, engineers, developers, planners, government officials, and anyone interested in livable cities.

My question is whether or not Connecticut’s cities need saving.

Lincoln: Man, Myth, and Memory

To the untrained eye, it may appear that these racetrack flags are commemorating President Lincoln’s Coming Out Day, but in actuality, the Wadsworth Atheneum was just celebrating his life in the most kitschy way possible– with an impersonator, cake, and appearance by Governor Rell.

Lincolnmania! was The Amistad Center’s thing. The Amistad Center is within the Wadsworth, but is not the same as, but sort of. It’s confusing even for people who work there.

While the kids were getting cake, I went on the “five minute tour” of the Lincoln: Man, Myth, and Memory exhibit. The tour was probably more like fifteen minutes, but it felt rushed, even though the guide for it was doing a fabulous job. The exhibition is a mix of history and art. There’s a portrait of Lincoln made out of pennies. Another portrait of him is a statement of some kind using blackface. There are also images of Frederick Douglass in the show. This exhibit will be open through April 26th.

Silver Lining for Connecticut Opera Subscribers


It’s not the same as a refund or being able to use remaining tickets at another opera house, but it’s a nice gesture:

TheaterWorks at City Arts on Pearl

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Campo, Executive and Artistic Director
Phone: (860) 727-4027

Connecticut Opera Subscriptions to be Honored
by TheaterWorks in Downtown Hartford
Subscribers Will Have Choice of Any Two
of 11 Different Upcoming Productions Over Nearly 2 Years

TheaterWorks, the downtown Hartford professional theater company now in its 23rd year, will honor unfulfilled subscriptions to Connecticut Opera for select performances over the next 23 months.

The acclaimed professional theater company will offer Connecticut Opera subscribers their choice of any two of 11 upcoming productions over nearly a two-year period.

“I am strongly considering a revival of ‘Master Class’, by Terrence McNally for next season as a special gift to opera lovers.” said artistic director, Steve Campo. ‘Master Class’ is the award-winning tour-de-force about opera diva Maria Callas.

Details and any restrictions will be announced no later than March 15th however there will be no cost or strings attached to TheaterWorks’ offer. Full information will be posted on TheaterWorks’ website ( and will also be emailed to Connecticut Opera subscribers.

TheaterWorks, a non-profit professional theater company, was founded – and is led – by Hartford native, Steve Campo, longest serving artistic director of all professional performing arts organizations in the Metro Hartford region.

The company has produced over 120 major plays and presents nearly 250 performances each season.

For information on upcoming repertory visit:

If you have not been by TheaterWorks lately, you should check it out. They’ve redone some of the features on the outside of the building.