Coordinated Cultural Events Planned for Late September

Promising of a good time, it is hard to figure out what will make the EnvisionFest planned for late September a “unique experience,” as Eric Daniels, Governor Malloy’s appointee to the iQuilt Partnership Board, called it. Currently, the event seems like a warm(er)-weather version of Hartford’s First Night, where many arts and cultural venues open their doors to showcase what the city has to offer.

On Thursday afternoon, wedged between music by Ed Fast & Conga Bop, Mayor Segarra, Ed Daniels, and Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of MECA, spoke to what EnvisionFest would include. Though the announcements said that all events will be free, this is not entirely true. Bike Walk Connecticut’s Discover Hartford Bicycling and Walking Tour, an annual event, will kick off the EnvisionFest on September 29, but there is a registration fee for participants. And while we know Mayor Segarra must work out, it sounds like he remains noncommittal about getting back on a bike, joking that he would stand in front of his house and hand out water to cyclists, despite saying that he likes to “be an active participant.”

Included in the day’s planned events is another opportunity as wasted as a mayor refusing to rock the spandex: an all day dance party using corporate radio (Clear Channel). Hartford has several independent radio stations, including WRTC and WWUH, which are invested in the community in ways that commercial radio never will or can be.

With that said, locations and performances remain subject to change, something event planners might think about if this event is truly designed to showcase what Hartford has to offer. (more…)

July Events

There’s more to July than fireworks and barbecues.

All Month

  • July is International Zine Month. Abandon Twitter, Facebook, and tumblr for awhile and go make something that matters.

Monday Evenings

July is jazz month in Hartford. If there is no official designation as such, there should be. In Bushnell Park, starting at 6pm, there will be shows on the following dates:

  • July 9: Emery Smith Trio and Winard Harper Sextet
  • July 16: Lummie Spann Quintet and Katie Bull Quintet
  • July 23: Dave Palla Quintet and Onaje Allan Gumbs Quintet
  • July 30: Bob Paskowitz and Latin Quarter; and Ed Fast and Conga Bop
  • August 6: Jen Allen Quintet and Dona Carter Quintet
  • August 13: Mike Casey Quintet; and Earl MacDonald and the HJS New Directions Jazz Ensemble

In the event of rain, the free concerts will be moved to Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Avenue.

Wednesday Evenings

There are three outdoor music series at two venues on Wednesdays:

1) The chapel at Trinity College will be hosting the chamber music series this summer. These will run from 6-7pm.

  • July 4: Paul Bisaccia, piano
  • July 11: Trium, soprano trio
  • July 18: Scandia Duo, violin and organ
  • July 25: Arpello Duo, cello and harp

Each of these will be followed by the carillon music series, also at Trinity, from 7-8 pm

  • July 4: Trevor Workman
  • July 11: Ellen Dickinson
  • July 18: Adolph Rots and Auke deBoer
  • July 25: Joey Brink

2) Another option for Wednesday night music is over at Elizabeth Park. Also free, these concerts are held on the lawn of the rose garden from 6:30-8pm.

  • July 4: First Company Governor’s Footguard
  • July 11: River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs
  • July 18: Fiesta del Norte
  • July 25: Latanya Farrell (more…)

Dissecting Turnaround

On the heels of a press release about why the news media must not conflate CREC schools with Hartford Public Schools, the latter sent communication about how the State, with its Commissioner’s Network, may help to confuse the public even more on the question of who is running the show. Here it is, dissected:

Former Hartford Mayor Thirman L. Milner today urged the State Department of Education to include the Hartford public school that bears his name on the list of schools that will be on the $7.5 million Commissioner’s Network for the coming school year.

This is not the first time Mr. Milner has issued the complaint that the school with his name was “embarrassing” to him. No ink has been spilled over how students feel when they hear their school creates an embarrassment.

The network was created at part of the education reform legislation passed by the state legislature earlier this year to turn around schools, such as the Milner Core Knowledge Academy at 104 Vine Street, considered one of the 25 lowest-performing schools in Connecticut. An announcement on the first group of network schools is expected shortly.

This will not be Milner’s first experience as a turnaround school. In 2008, it was reopened as a Core Knowledge Academy, with Dr. Kishimoto — the assistant superintendent at the time — saying, “Our first and foremost goal is to get a significant increase in student achievement.” (more…)

Don’t Be Hot and Bothered

The City of Hartford has announced that “cooling stations” will be open from noon until 8 p.m. during the heat wave:

  • North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry Street
  • South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Avenue
  • Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Avenue
  • Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main Street

Another option is the Hartford Public Library:

  • Main Street: Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00AM to 8:00PM
  • All Branches (except Dwight): Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30PM to 5:30PM
  • Barbour and Ropkins Branches: Open until 7:30PM on Wednesday
  • Albany and Camp Field Branches: Open until 7:30PM on Thursday

They say that the Hartford Fire Department will be bringing water to those waiting at bus stops while it’s hot.

UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the City of Hartford has opened pools and announced that some hydrants will be opened as sprinklers:

The following pools are open from 9:00AM until 8:00PM (open swim is scheduled from 1PM-4PM):

  • Colt Park Pool
  • Goodwin Park Pool
  • Keney Park Pool
  • Pope Park Pool

The following streets have been selected for hydrant sprinklers, which will be operational from 12:00 Noon until 6:00PM:

  • Lisbon Street between Wyllys and Stonington Streets
  • Rowe Ave between Capitol Ave and Park Street
  • Nelson Street between Barbour and Clark Streets
  • Liberty Street between Garden and Brook Streets
  • Bethel Street between Mahl Ave and Mather Street
  • Lincoln Street between Washington and Broad Streets
  • Hughes Street between Hillside Ave and Zion Street
  • Wilson Street between Brookfield Street and Hillside Ave


still from James Nares STREET

still from James Nares' STREET

Pigeons are beautiful…

…when captured in flight, in slow motion.

With STREET, James Nares stretched three minutes of footage of the streets of New York City to fill over an hour. In that time, the viewer travels through Times Square, Battery Park, and Upper Broadway. (more…)

Four More Big Summer Nights

The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival is celebrating its twentieth season of words among the roses. This weekly summer event is held in a bucolic section of Farmington, where sheep might add to the ambiance by bleating during a poetry reading.

Hartford residents can take a free shuttle bus from the Downtown library (Arch Street) and Albany branch (Albany Avenue) to the Hill-Stead Museum. Admission is also free for Hartford residents. (more…)