Whirling and Twirling

Despite not being a fan of Sol Lewitt‘s works — Cleve Gray is more my speed — I can’t think of a more appropriate place within the walls of the Wadsworth Atheneum for the monthly First Thursday cocktail event to be held in view of. “Wall Drawing #1131, Whirls and Twirls” is a visual echo of the frenetic chattering that characterizes gatherings of artists and art aficionados. There will be an interactive art activity inspired by this mural; this will involve t-shirts and movement, and will be both filmed and photographed.

Other Art After Hours activities include music by The Bus Drivers and an outdoor screening of Running Fence, if the weather permits.

Art After Hours begins at 5pm on Thursday, September 3rd.

Staycation 2009

When my friend David told me he’d secured a reservation for a trip to the top of the Travelers’ Tower, I had no choice but to invite myself along. This would bring me downtown in the late morning, and since I had plans to be less than a block from there later in the afternoon, I figured I would just spend the time in between downtown.

At eleven we zoomed to the 21st floor. I did not think about the logistics of this. After having walked 2.5 miles to get downtown, the three flights of stairs did not seem so fun. The view was worth the panting. From the street, the tower does not look like it can hold more than two people. We had six people up there, and there was plenty of room for more. I had no luck locating my apartment.

East Hartford

Blogging and Tibet

This Thursday, for the great price of free, you can catch a documentary about Tibet, see photos from the Neighborhood Studio Summer Youth Program, hang out with other bloggers, and get a temporary henna tattoo.

The Wadsworth Atheneum event Blog This! is wedged inside of the regular First Thursday Art After Hours, a calmer, less pretentious version of a similar local cocktail hour. I received this message from them:

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art invites you to join us at our inaugural Blog This! event, on August 6, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.

Blog This! will provide a forum for social media writers from throughout the state to connect with each other, while connecting with great art! We also hope to gain insights into how we can better work together to position both Hartford, and Connecticut, as a premier cultural destination (and not just someplace between New York and Boston!)

The agenda includes an update from the Director, Susan Talbott, an overview of The Amistad Center for Art & Culture by Director, Olivia White and a Docent led highlights tour of the museum’s permanent collection.

Come for the formal part – but stay for the fun part – join us from 6:30 – 8 pm for our First Thursday festivities which will include temporary tattoos, the opening of Skin!, an exhibition of photographs created by teens in The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Neighborhood Studio summer youth program, and original hip-hop beats performed by Connectbeats. Food and cocktails will also be available.

• Date:          August 6, 2009
• Time:         4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
• Location:   Wadsworth Atheneum of Art
600 Main St., Hartford, CT

Just down the road, you can catch a free screening of Tibet’s Cry for Freedom at 7:30,  at La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House, 405 Capitol Avenue. The Director, Lara Damiani, will be in attendance to answer questions. Here is a trailer for the documentary:

The Black List

There will be a free screening of The Black List (volumes one and two) at the Wadsworth Atheneum on July 15th at 7pm.  The project is described as:

the brainchild of renowned portrait photographer/filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and acclaimed KCRW public radio host, journalist and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, with Greenfield-Sanders directing and Mitchell conducting the interviews. […] The actual title of the film itself, The Black List, was first conceived by Mitchell as an answer to the persistent taint that western culture has applied to the word “black.”

Greenfield-Sanders will be present for a post-film discussion. The Black List contains interviews with:

Slash, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist; Toni Morrison, author and Nobel laureate; Keenen Ivory Wayans, film writer/director, creator of TV’s In Living Color; Vernon Jordan, lawyer and former president of the National Urban League; Faye Wattleton, current President of the Center for the Advancement of Women and former President of Planned Parenthood; Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans and current National Urban League president; Serena Williams, eight-time Grand Slam tennis champion; Lou Gossett Jr., Oscar®-winning actor; Lorna Simpson, artist and photographer; Mahlon Duckett, former Negro League Baseball star; Zane, best-selling erotic author and publisher; Al Sharpton, pastor, activist and 2004 Presidential candidate; Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, Hall of Fame basketball great; Thelma Golden, art curator at the Whitney Museum and now the Studio Museum in Harlem; Sean Combs, mogul, actor and music producer; Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State and Barack Obama’s senior campaign advisor; Chris Rock, comedian, producer and director; Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; Richard Parsons, former Time Warner CEO; Dawn Staley, 3- time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA All-Star and current Temple University women’s basketball head coach; and Bill T. Jones, Tony Award-winning dancer and director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; [and] activist and artist Majora Carter; activist and academic Angela Davis; producer Suzanne de Passe; actor Laurence Fishburne; Anglican Bishop Barbara Harris; Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick; pastor T.D. Jakes; physician and academic Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D.; filmmaker Tyler Perry; singer Charley Pride; fashion designer Patrick Robinson; actress Maya Rudolph; musician RZA; filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; and artist Kara Walker.

The Black List Project is presented by the Amistad Center for Art & Culture and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Summer Fun is Brewin’

City Steam Brewery has been my safety net for where to take non-adventurous friends out when in town, since their American cuisine is consistent and reasonably priced. They’ve recently added free movie night (Mondays) to their menu; They are showing Stand By Me on 7/20 and Dirty Dancing on 7/27.

If that weren’t enough to get you to check out the restaurant, this Sunday (7/19) at 7pm, the Sea Tea Improv troupe will be giving a free performance. The troupe consists of:

“School’s Out 4” Summar Elguindy
“Stand-Up Joe” Leonardo
Greg “Pipes” Ludovici
Matt Neufeld AKA MC St. Louis
“Master Julia” Pistell
Dan “Bearded Fury” Russell
Kate “The Cleveland City Steamer” Sidley

The performance will be in the Richardson Room of City Steam Brewery, located at 942 Main Street in Hartford.

Classic Movies at City Steam

City Steam Brewery will now be showing “classic” movies on Monday nights in the Richardson Room, which is back behind where the pool tables are.

Here is the schedule for the next few weeks:
June 15: The Breakfast Club
June 22: Rear Window
June 29: ET
July 6: Jaws
July 13: National Lampoon’s Vacation
July 20: Stand By Me
July 27: Dirty Dancing

Doors open at 6:30 (though the restaurant is open before that) and films start at 7pm. Admisson is free

Art After Hours

This Thursday is the Wadsworth Atheneum’s First Thursday event. From 5-8pm there will be live music (which, in my experience, has never been at a volume that discourages conversation) by Samba Brasil, along with dance instruction. The museum’s director will be giving a gallery talk at 6pm. There is food provided by The Russell and rumor has it, there will be a cake. The galleries and gift shop will be open until 8pm.

At 8pm, there will be a screening of Slumdog Millionaire. The tickets for this are sold separately.

Allegedly this costs $5, but Phoenix employees and those affiliated with corporate donors (University of Hartford is on that list) get in for free. I find that most ticket prices can be negotiated, but you should probably pay if you can because, you know, the economy sucks.