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December 2016 Events

This monthly event listing includes arts and entertainment, civic engagement, academic, cultural, wellness, and other types of activities happening in Hartford during December. There is no intent to include all events — it’s curated, with preference given to what the widest range of Hartford residents can afford (free or low cost) and what sounds most interesting to us. If we think an event sounds convoluted, disorganized, or offensive, we are not going to list it. 

December 1

  • Without You: A World AIDS Day Public Art Action — The gallery space at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Ave.) will have blank panels on the floors and walls from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to stop by and make art. They say: “Commemorate the loss of a loved one to AIDS. Respond in art to the AIDS epidemic. Share the experience of living with AIDS. Each blank space becomes a monument to both the history of the disease and the future we look towards without it.” Free.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Opening reception for “Fellowship” at the Gallery at Constitution Plaza. The exhibit will feature art by Johannes DeYoung, Joe Fig, Kayla Gibbons, and Terrence Lavin. 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Nails and Wagging Tails: Does your dog act like you are going to literally amputate one of her feet every time you grab for the clippers? Throw some money at the problem and outsource that task. Nail clipping at Naturally Dogs and Cats (10 Trumbull St.) from 5-8 p.m. today. $5.
  • Night of Illumination: this is the opening night of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s (600 Main) 43rd Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions. Besides viewing the trees, wreaths, and other decor, there will be live music and a DJ to enjoy. This part of the evening is 5-8 p.m., with a free screening of Love, Actually at 8 p.m. General admission is $8. Admission is $3 for Hartford residents, members, college students with ID, and youth under 17.
  • Champagne and Chocolates: Shop the museum store at the Stowe Center (77 Forest St.), sample chocolates, sip champagne, and tour the Katharine Seymour Day House, 6-8 p.m. $20 suggested donation.
  • The Art of Mindfulness: The Antidote to Digital Stress: Dr. Brian Luke Seaward will be facilitating a presentation on reducing stress. They say: “In a world filled with perpetual bombardment of sensory stimulation and a dependency on screen technologies, the human mind has become locked in fight or flight, more commonly known as monkey-mind. If screen addiction is a toxin to the spirit, then mindfulness is the antidote.” This will take place at the Toivo Center (399 Franklin Avenue), 6:30-7:30 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation, with nobody turned away for lack of funds. 
  • Into the Night: The Enduring Legacy of Elie Wiesel — an evening of readings and performances at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Ave.) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Stop by Peppercorn’s Grill (357 Main) for live music by Professors of Sweet Sweet Music, 8-10 p.m. There is no cover.

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Pop-Up ID Project Helps New Englanders Adjust Legal Docs

Transgender residents of New England seeking to update their legal name and gender can receive free legal assistance through the Pop-Up Transgender ID Project.

GLAD — GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders — along with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition have arranged for lawyers from Ropes & Gray LLP to assist with completing legal name changes, followed by updating information on federal and state documents including social security cards, U.S. passports, driver’s licenses, state-issued identification cards, and birth certificates issued in New England. (more…)

Equality March Demands Bridges, Not Walls


We can “not allow the negative rhetoric of the Trump campaign to dictate how we live our lives,” Tiffany Walker told a few hundred people shivering outside of the Connecticut Old State House. Walker organized and led Sunday’s Equality March from the landmark to the Connecticut State Capitol, with activists chanting “bridges not walls” and “Black lives matter” along the way. (more…)

E.J. Dionne Receives Journalism Award, Talks Election at Trinity

“Bombast and bullying mistaken for strength,” is how Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne described the climate that enabled the recent presidential election.

Dionne delivered the talk “After 2016: Can a Divided Country Heal Itself?” last week at Trinity College while accepting the Moses Berkman Memorial Journalism Award.

In his talk the writer described what makes this election and this president-elect different from all others. Trump, Dionne said, is a “special case…a scary case.”

It is the way in which Trump has “pushed aside norms” regarding the transition to power, that is in part what worries Dionne. He pointed to how Trump is refusing to eliminate conflicts of interest as recent past presidents have by moving their assets into true blind trusts. (more…)

Get Active this Weekend

See on a classroom building on University of Hartford campus

Last week Hartford had a scream circle, various other healing events, and a monthly Showing Up for Racial Justice meeting that saw a surge in attendance.

More is yet to come.

A “Peaceful Pro-Love March” is planned for today, November 18, on the University of Hartford campus. Participants will be wearing black for the event that begins at 3 p.m. at Gengras Student Union. They say: “We want to convey a message that UHart stands up for inequalities across all spectrums. Whether it be concerning minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, women’s rights, Muslims, etc., we want to ensure that everybody at this school feels that they have the right to be loved and accepted.” Participants are asked to use only hand-held signs (no sticks) and to refrain from including profanity on the signs. (more…)

2016 Holiday Giving Guide

Photo from November 2014

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the then President, George W. Bush, urged Americans to go shopping. These things do not come without a price. The reckless, mindless spending empties wallets and creates a fine distraction for us. While we work harder to have more money to spend on more things, policies are enacted with little resistance.

Distraction and complacency go a long way toward complicity.

When we have covered local protests of any kind, regular folks — not simply those being directly challenged — typically critique those carrying signs or blocking traffic. The protestors are seen as making too much fuss, seen as an other for daring to speak up. It’s never quiet enough, respectful enough, pretty enough. There’s too much inconvenience created. The strategies are always questioned, not only when the tactics are questionable, such as when people from out-of-town join in a march through a poor neighborhood chanting “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!“. Basically, if the opposition takes the form of anything more wild than wearing a rose or a designated color on the same day, it’s looked down on. The people are told to sit down, shut up, smile nicely, and go with the flow.

We did not just wake up to President-Elect Trump, as if his rise to power occurred magically. (more…)

November 2016 Events

November 1

  • Clean Safe Water in Connecticut: Challenges and Realities in a Complex World –this free event at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth St.) from 12:30-2 p.m. They say: “Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy will share his insight into the challenges and opportunities Connecticut faces in maintaining access to clean, safe water for all of its citizens.” Reserve your seat: rsvp@chs.org or (860) 236-5621 x238.
  • This is one of those rare times that we include something from the suburbs, but it’s a good cause. The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence is forming a Men’s Advisory Council for a statewide sexual violence prevention campaign. They say: “Our goal is to continue to engage men as allies in our work to prevent sexual violence and to cultivate prevention leaders in our state.” This will be facilitated by Andrew Stewart. This meeting takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. at The Alliance (96 Pitkin Street, East Hartford). RSVP requested.
  • God, Faith, and Politics: Election Year Community Forums — the conversation begins at 7 p.m. at Wood-n-Tap (Capitol and Sisson Ave.)  but show up early to order dinner. Tonight’s conversation focuses on freedom of religion. They say: “Revs. Don Hamer from Trinity Episcopal Church, Rick Kremer of Grace Lutheran Church, Matt Laney of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Kari Nicewander of Immanuel Congregational Church, Imam Sami Aziz of the Bloomfield Islamic Center and Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel  will lead a discussion of religious issues as they have been raised in this year’s election.” Free to attend.

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