film

Project Longevity: Targeting Gun Violence in Hartford

Gun violence conversations have increasingly focused on mental health issues, shifting the dialogue away from the realities facing our urban youth who are at risk of being exposed to gang culture and its repercussions. To bring the conversation back to these points, Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV) and Project Longevity hosted a screening of Shell Shocked in an effort to raise awareness and build support for Project Longevity, a new, targeted initiative focused on eliminating group-related violence in urban neighborhoods.

Shell Shocked examines the environment that contributes to gun violence and then explores solutions that helps break the cycle of poverty and violence among urban youth. Realizing the need for a dialogue that bridged the gap between the many people and institutions impacted by violent crime, Director John Richie sought to expose the realities of living in New Orleans, where every African-American child he was working with had been touched by gun violence.

Following the screening, Richie led a panel discussion among Tiana Hercules, Project Manager of Project Longevity, Hartford; Ron Pinciaro, Executive Director of CT Against Gun Violence; Reverend Henry Brown; and Sergeant Steven Austin of the Hartford Police Department.

The panel focused largely on the role of Project Longevity in addressing violent crime in an era marked by widespread access to firearms and strong opposition to gun control efforts from pro-gun lobbyists. Longevity, the Obama Administration’s community-policing approach to prevent gun violence, sends new federal grant dollars to urban neighborhoods, targets repeat criminals who are most at-risk of being a victim or perpetrator of gun violence, and offers an ultimatum: accept a comprehensive package of social services meant to help those who wish to break the cycle of violence and gang activity – or “receive the full attention of the law” the next time any violence occurs, even if those targeted were not directly involved in the crime. (more…)

Lactose Tolerance: Dairy Farms in Connecticut

Without enough grain growing locally, Markham Starr said, the remaining family-owned dairy farms in North Stonington have it trucked in from outside of Albany. Is that sustainable?

Markham Starr, photographer and author of Down on the Farm: The Last Dairy Farmers of North Stonington, spoke at the Dairy Farms in Connecticut: Change and Continuity gallery opening last week. Knowing only this obstacle in feeding many head of cattle may bring into question the future of farming in Connecticut, but in fact, it is hard to leave the exhibit feeling pessimistic.

This is the first exhibit of occupation-based art hosted by the Institute for Community Research. Most of the walls are covered by Starr’s stunning photographs taken over the span of one year in his hometown. During this time he also interviewed the farmers. Their words serve as the labels below each photograph, adding more dimension to their lives and work. Here are two of the many:

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May 2014 Events

May 1

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with Hartford Public Library and the Hartford SCORE chapter, is hosting a 5 week small business workshops series taught by SBA employees and business professionals. Most of the classes deal with money and taxes, with the final one devoted to marketing. The classes are two hours apiece, beginning at 5:30pm. This is free, but space is limited to thirty people, so register soon: 860.695.6334
  • Celebrate East Indian culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum’s First Thursday event. There will be Bollywood dance lessons, henna, Indian-inspired food, tours, and more. 5-8pm. $5.  Lagaan will be screened at 7:30 pm.
  • The Trinity Chapel Singers will be performing in the main chapel on the Trinity College campus, starting at 7:30pm.

May 2

BECK & CALL: The Servants Tour at Mark Twain’s house, 5/2

  • Listen as the City Council meets to discuss the financial overview of the budget. This meeting will include discussion related to the Management & Budget Office, Finance Department, Capital Improvement Plan, Office of the City Treasurer, and Human Resources Department. This begins at 5:30 pm in Council Chambers.
  • Steven Raider-Ginsburg of HartBeat Ensemble is directing BECK & CALL: The Servants Tour at the Mark Twain House. There has already been some reaction to the event’s poster, but those familiar with HartBeat Ensemble should expect something subversive and daring. The Mark Twain House & Museum describes the event: “Help! The servants at Mark Twain’s House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of “Upstairs/Downtairs” and “Downton Abbey” will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.” Tours begin at 7pm. Reservations are required and tickets can be purchased online.

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Castles, Cacti, and a Cinema Conversion

Brooklyn-based artist Joell Baxter stands in the middle of her work to speak about it. Coverer, an installation woven from hand-screen-printed, cut paper, wants to be everywhere in the room, not limited to the walls.

Right now, Baxter is one of several artists whose vibrant work is at Real Art Ways. Michael Madore’s Nervatura is described as “travel-induced graphomania.” Expect castles, layers of earth, flora and fauna, and wonder.

Shane Morrissey‘s sculptures recreate objects from childhood memories: cacti made from cast paper, bolts, and walnut, a swarm of bees made out of zip ties, wire and wood. All of the sculptures seem sharp and hard, yet make you want to get as close as you can without touching.

Everything seems to be waking up after winter down in Parkville, between the energetic performances by Joey Batts and Them and Political Animals at Thursday’s Creative Cocktail Hour, and the announcement that Real Art Ways has raised the $60,000 to allow for a Digital Cinema Conversion. The mixed media — including claymation — documentary about Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, The Missing Picture, opens tonight. Okay, so it’s not all happy times, but if you are looking for something thought-provoking in your life, Real Art Ways has got it going on these days. (more…)

April 2014 Events

This is a kinda a big deal

April 1

  • The Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Hartford offers free classes and workshops. Today’s is “Small Business T.I.P.S. Series: Low Cost High Impact Marketing.” From 9:30 until noon, learn about marketing in Butterworth Hall, 1265 Asylum Avenue. They request that you register.
  • Real Art Ways hosts a monthly Real Board (Games) and that happens to be tonight. Stop in between 6-10pm and play. Free. 

April 2

  • This month’s Get HYPEd networking event will be held at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue. We like that HYPE picks a different venue each month, and we love that this is the venue tonight! Besides the standard drink-and-network stuff, they will be holding a community collection for the Hands On Hartford backpack program, which gives 285 Hartford students bags full of food to take home for the weekend so that they are fed when not in school. Items requested: individual cereal boxes and oatmeal packets, granola/cereal bars, macaroni and cheese, canned soup, juice boxes (100% juice), applesauce, canned veggies, canned beans, pasta sauce, pasta, peanut butter, and jelly. The food donations are optional. This event is free to attend and goes from 5:30-8:30pm.
  • Stop into the Firebox (539 Broad) to listen to the uptempo sounds of Ed Fast & Conga Bop. No cover charge. 8:30pm.

April 3

  • Get out from under that rock! Trinity College is going into its ninth year of hosting its international hip-hop festival, and if you don’t know, you’re not paying attention! It starts today with lectures on “Media Representations of Global Hip Hop,” “Hip Hop as a Social Movement,” and “Hip Hop Activism pre- and post-Apartheid,”  from 8am-4:30pm. At 4pm, there’s a screening of the film Say My Name: Women. Hip Hop. Life. The Producer’s Showcase starts in the Vernon Social Hall at 7pm. The Mill will be hosting a spoken word event, beginning at 8:30pm. These events are completely free and open to the general public. 
  • First Thursday After Hours at the Wadsworth: TANGO! Take dance lessons or just watch others. Make paper flowers. Wander the museum. Stick around for the film Elsa & Fred. The AAH event is 5-8pm, with the film at 8. $5 general admission, free for members. (more…)

Top Ten Non-Twain Things to Do in Hartford

Between lists written by those who can’t see beyond the major institutions and shoddily researched, outdated articles authored by someone who spent little time in Hartford and has since moved elsewhere, it seemed appropriate to revisit just a few of the things we have going on here. As we have said before, we have to ♥ Mark Twain because when you move into Hartford you take an oath swearing as much, but we know that Twain and his legacy are not the only game in town:

One bike decorated for the Real Ride

  1. The Real Ride: during times of year when snow is not on the ground, cyclists of varying ability decorate their bikes with lights, streamers, giant puppets, beads, and more, and take a ten-mile slow ride around the city, at night. The group — in the hundreds — leaves from the Real Art Ways parking lot, taking a different route each time. On one ride, a cyclist towed a trailer on which an entire drum kit was set up and played during the ride. Other rides have featured a shopping cart bike with a giant dragon head mounted on it. This is free and all ages, beginning around nightfall and ending several hours later, as the group makes stops to view fireworks, participate in a drumming circle, or watch improv. What makes this significant? The ride gets people on the streets of Hartford after dark, doing more than just running off to their cars. 
  2. Cedar Hill Cemetery: this is a place of peace and quiet, a place to see deer grazing around dusk, and a place to quietly recreate. That’s encouraged. They have hosted films, bird walks, and tours of the cemetery’s notable residents. Around Halloween, actors portray some of those residents in a lantern tour. Art, history, and nature collide here.
  3. One contestant in the Art Sled Derby, 2014

  4. Art Sled Derby: For two years in a row, people have gathered at the hill in Elizabeth Park with sleds, some simple, and some seeming to challenge the idea of “sled.” There are no waivers, no fees. And there shouldn’t be. This is one of the regular sledding hills…but there is not usually the possibility of winning a bizarre trophy made of doll parts or competing against someone riding a bed down the slope. Unlike art galleries where work is curated, all entries are viewable. Even the creations that fall apart within seconds earn cheers from onlookers.
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Allison Schulnik’s MATRIX 168

Still of a short video by Allison Schulnik

The way I experienced the latest MATRIX installation was to just show up, only having seen the banner. If you like the feel of putting together a puzzle, skip this article and just go see the exhibit.

For the rest of you, read on.

Here’s your homework: go watch Return to Oz  (yes, again) and pay special attention to Nome King’s “Ornaments Room.” This is one of the creepiest “family” movies ever. When done, go to the Wadsworth Atheneum and enter Allison Schulnik‘s MATRIX 168. (more…)

March 2014 Events

March 1

  • Free admission to the Connecticut Historical Society galleries today, 9am-5pm.
  • TNMOT-AZTRO: Projector Series II — from 7-8pm, watch a performance that blends dance, fashion, and visual media at The Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, 56 Arbor Street, Suite 411. $5 minimum donation.
  • Night of the Gypsies: The evening features live music by accordionist Markus and violinist Annalise, fortune telling by Madame Johnny Frechette Super Fine Artist, henna hand painting, and dancing to DJ Jon Eastman. There will be art and more for sale by Anne Cubberly, Alexia Lalande, Jen Bonee, Karen Weiser Kelly, and from Blaze and Bloom. This will be at the Dirt Salon, 50 Bartholomew Avenue, from 8pm-midnight. Tickets are $20 at door, $15 in advance. (more…)