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Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy

Artwork by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Call it what you want — sharing, gifting, being neighborly — increasingly Hartford residents are showing interest in no-strings-attached giving, the kind you might not be able to write off on your taxes.

There are at least seven Little Free Libraries throughout the city that facilitate the giving and taking of books without time limits, late fees, or proof of identification. On Laurel Street (a few houses north of the intersection with Hawthorne Street) there’s a food pantry that operates similarly; anyone can donate food items and anyone can pick up, day or night, without any kind of hassle. It’s becoming less rare to find knit scarves and mittens tied to trees and fences downtown with messages encouraging people to go ahead and take them. Keep Hartford Warm collects and distributes winter clothing items to those in need.

Now, residents of some Hartford neighborhoods have another way to give and receive. The Buy Nothing Project, with its new group currently open to those living in Downtown, Frog Hollow, South Green, and the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods, provides the opportunity for people to ask with no obligation to give. Jane Macy-Painter, the admin of this hyper-local group, says she learned about the Buy Nothing Project’s larger network “and realized there wasn’t one local to the city.”

On the surface it may seem like the group has a million rules, but what it comes down to is be local, be an adult, and give without expectation of anything in return — whether that means money or barter. Continue reading “Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy”

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Access to the Arts Increases in 2018

One more cultural institution, in a partnership with the Hartford Public Library, is removing the barrier that keeps some city residents from enjoying live performances. Beginning January 8, you will be able to get free tickets to four shows at Hartford Stage this season.

You can view online which branches have available passes, but will need to go in person to check out the pass, which covers two tickets. Then, you have to call Hartford Stage to confirm seats.

Feeding the Dragon begins its run on January 11.

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January 2018 Events in Hartford

January 1

  • Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm. You could start the new year off at the gym, but why? This is free, outdoors, and not surrounded by screens.
  • Tonight is the last chance this season to see Holiday Light Fantasia in Goodwin Park. 5-9 pm. $15 per car.

January 2

  • Go twirl on them haters at the rink downtown. Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.

January 3

  • Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Get HYPEd: the monthly casual networking event for young professionals will be at Hooker Brewery (140 Huyshope Ave.), 5:30-8:30 pm. Where is that? Look for the Colt Dome (see pic above). Bring your business cards. Free.
  • Mindfulness Meditation After Work: Free meditation class at Hartford Mindfulness Center (645 Farmington Avenue, ground floor), 6:15-7:45 pm. They say this “class is open to people who are at all levels of meditation practice, whether you’ve never meditated or have years of experience. Join us for this fun and uplifting class Wednesday evening. Meet others who are looking for more clarity and peace through mindfulness. Experience the myriad benefits of mindfulness meditation, including lower stress and anxiety, a clear, more focused mind and better sleep. Beginners are more than welcome and will enjoy this supportive environment.
  • MakeHartford Open House: check out the space, meet other makers, ask questions, and learn about upcoming classes & events. Free at MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street, #B7), 6:30-8:30 pm.
  • X-Files season 11 is scheduled to air tonight at 8 on FOX. Find a bar that’ll give you a channel change.

Continue reading “January 2018 Events in Hartford”

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Meet Your City: History 101

Hey nerds! Growing up in Connecticut does not guarantee that you ever learned Hartford history. How do you start to patch those knowledge holes if you’re beyond formal schooling?

Indoors

  • Hartford History Center: Use books, maps, city records, photographs, and more to learn about anything from who was living on your street before it was officially a street, to who signed petitions to get bridges replaced — bridges that predated the burial of the Park River. There is a fee for scanning or making photocopies, but otherwise, this is a free service. They offer free online research tools.

    “Party Dog”, on display in the “That’s Weird” exhibit at Connecticut Historical Society
  • Connecticut Historical Society: There are a few different things happening in this space. The museum has Connecticut-specific exhibits. “That’s Weird” is the current exhibit through April 2018. Secrets of the Veeder House tours are offered sporadically. Free admission to the museum is offered on the first Saturday of each month. The Waterman Research Center is housed at CHS and requires a fee, so if you’re going to go, it’s with a mission and not just because you’re killing time (unless you’re made of money, in which case, How you doin’?). There are online research tools available at no charge.
  • Connecticut State Library: It’s a library, so basic services are free for Connecticut residents. Online research tools are available. The Museum of Connecticut History is housed here; entry is free.
  • Connecticut State Capitol: Self-guided and free guided tours are available. Gum chewing is not permitted during tours.
  • Wadsworth Atheneum: One of the weirdest juxtapositions I’ve experienced has been looking at the Colt gun collection while listening to Christmas music permeating the museum during The Festival of Trees and Traditions. It’s a little like falling inside of a Tarantino movie. So, there are the guns and the many things (allegedly) made out of The Charter Oak. Then, there is the series of paintings depicting Hartford in four directions. Free admission for Hartford residents.
  • Connecticut Old State House: Most of my visits here are simply to visit the Oddities, but the HIstory is All Around Us exhibit on the bottom level is an interactive way to see how suburban sprawl negatively impacted Hartford during the later part of the 20th century. You can tour the actual old State House rooms, if that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat. Adult admission is $6.
  • Butler-McCook House & Garden: This is the yellow house at Capitol Avenue and Main Street. There are tours available for a fee.
  • Mark Twain House & Museum: It’s $6 to visit the museum; $20 for the museum and a tour of the Twain house.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe Center: This includes the Stowe House and Katharine Seymour Day House, along with a research center focused mostly on Stowe, but extending to others who lived in the vicinity (“Nook Farm neighborhood”). Free admission for Hartford residents.

Continue reading “Meet Your City: History 101”

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December 2017 Events

December 1

  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Frenchie Friday: from 5-7 pm at Naturally Dogs & Cats (10 Trumbull Street). They say: “Ho ho ho! Santa Paws is coming to town on December 1st and he’ll be hanging out at Naturally Dogs and Cats LLC! Since we know there are no such things as naughty Frenchies, I’m sure he’ll have some special treats for all the nice pups that come to visit. All dogs are welcome, and we’ll be taking donations for the French Bulldog Rescue Network, so come hang out!
  • St. Lucia Festival: Emanuel Lutheran Church (311 Capitol Avenue) will be hosting its 104th St. Lucia Festival. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 children, available at the door. 5 and 8 pm.
  • Winged Eyes, Thick Thighs: Free workshop for women at Tainted, Inc. (56 Arbor Street, Suite 310A), 6-7 pm. They say: “It’s time to feel empowered and sexy in your body. Self-expression is a way to create your own identity. On the path to self-love, one of the first steps is to walk in your power and feel comfortable in every move that you make. You don’t need to be a dancer to gain the benefits of movement. This body-positive dance class will help you feel powerful in every inch of your skin. Let us help you connect to your body and create art by using movement.”
  • Full Moon Meditation: Free mediation at Hartford Mindfulness Center (645 Farmington Avenue), 6:30-7:30 pm.
  • World AIDS Day: Commemorate World AIDS Day with a concert by the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus at Wadsworth Atheneum. Reception at 6:30 pm; performance at 7:30 pm. Free.
  • David Stoltz & Friends give a free jazz performance at The Flying Monkey (20 Lindbergh Drive), 7-10 pm.
  • Fall Dance, Embodied Voices: Honoring Judy Dworin — a free and public dance production at Trinity College beginning at 7:30 pm. This will be in the Austin Arts Center. They say: “This fall dance performance honors Trinity College Professor of Theater and Dance Emerita Judy Dworin, a 1970 alumna of Trinity. Dworin established the Dance Program, co-founded the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Semester in New York City, and chaired the Department of Theater and Dance at Trinity for many years. The Trinity student dancers in this performance are Katie Haynes ’21, Rachel Fox ’21, Claire Quigley ’18, and Samantha McAward ’21. Admission to the performance is free, though tickets are required. For tickets and more information, please call the Austin Arts Center Box Office at (860) 297-2199.”
  • Hip Hop for the Homeless: show starts at Chango Rosa (Union Place), 8 pm. Bring clothing and canned food to donate.

December 2

  • Through Their Eyes Conference: This workshop will include discussion of “conversion therapy” and equality for LGBTQIA+ people in places of worship. To be held at Center Church (60 Gold Street), 9 am – 12 pm. Free.
  • Get some trees and wreaths without leaving Hartford. Go see what the Chrysalis Center (255 Homestead Avenue) has in stock, 9 am – 2 pm.
  • Free admission to the Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street) museum galleries, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Free ice skating lessons, 10-11 am, at the rink in Bushnell Park.
  • Last chance to see “The Memories Between, Women of Nobility” at the ArtWalk Gallery inside of Hartford Public Library.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • State Visit to Hartford by Marcus and Amy Garvey: 12 pm at Trinity College Downtown Campus (10 Constitution Plaza — enter at State Street between Market Street and and Columbus Blvd.). They say: “The Marcus Garvey Popular Theatre Project is coming from the Caribbean to Hartford—home to one of the largest West Indian and Caribbean populations in the United States—to perform a State Visit to Hartford by Marcus and Amy Garvey. The theatrical and educational project is designed to help people explore and reflect on the history and legacy of Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey (1887–1940), who initiated a movement dedicated to black racial pride and economic self-sufficiency.” This is a free, public event that includes meal and discussion.
  • Civic Ambassadors Summit: Hartford Public Library is hosting this free event (lunch included), 12-4:30 pm. They say: “Get the tools you need to create positive change in your community! Become part of the movement that is engaging residents across the state. Every voice counts– we need yours! Civic action leads to real socioeconomic benefits– this summit can get you started, or help you be even more effective on the road to change.” Registration required.
  • Hartford Bluegrass Pickin’ Party: Come play, come listen. 3-5 pm at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street). Free admission. While you’re there, check out the tag sale.

December 3

  • The Chrysalis Center (255 Homestead Avenue) will be selling wreaths and trees, 9 am – 2 pm.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • BPM: a discussion with Shawn Lang follows the screening of BPM at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Streets), 1 pm. Admission: $11, with some discounts.
  • The Auburn Mode performs at Hog River Brewing Company (1429 Park Street), 4-7 pm. Free admission.
  • Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols: If you’ve never been inside the Trinity College Chapel, you owe it to yourself to check it out, regardless of religious belief or affiliation. They say: “The service includes music of the season offered by the Chapel Singers – the oldest continuing student group on campus – the Trinity College Gospel Choir, and the Trinity African Choir. The music this year is directed for the first time by Christopher Houlihan ’09, newly appointed College Organist and Director of Chapel Music. A brass quintet and timpani joins the choirs, and Vaughn Mauren ’07 accompanies on organ. Trinity College warmly invites the public to attend the free event. A freewill offering will be taken.” You have two chances to listen: 4 and 7 pm.
  • Sea Tea Improv’s Family Show: This is at 15 Asylum Street, 5 pm. They say: “Our improv comedy show is interactive, with chances for kids and adults alike to shout out suggestions and even opportunities to volunteer to play some improv games with us on stage! The comedy is all-ages — kids and adults will have a lot to laugh about.
    Kids age 12 and under are just $5!
    ” Adults: $10.
  • Syllable: The reading series continues at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue), 6:30-8:30 pm. Free admission.
  • Cinestudio (300 Summit Street) is screening 2001: A Space Odyssey, projected in 70mm film. They say: “Order your tickets early for a rare chance to see one of critics’ Top Ten films, that set the standard for any futuristic movie that followed. Only Kubrick had the audacity to begin and end his movie with 20 dialogue-free minutes – as hominids discover a mysterious monolith, and as the sole surviving astronaut on a mission to Jupiter (Keir Dullea) takes a journey to the infinite. The genius of 2001 is everywhere: its use of classical music, its amazing (non CGI) FX, its sentient computer operating system (HAL), and its ability to make space as absolutely terrifying as it is beautiful.” 7:30 pm. General admission: $10.

December 4

  • Free ice skating and skate rentals at the rink in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Asylum Hill Congregational Church (814 Asylum Avenue) will be offering a Service of Remembrance and Healing, 7-8 pm.
  • Cinestudio (300 Summit Street) is screening 2001: A Space Odyssey, projected in 70mm film. They say: “Order your tickets early for a rare chance to see one of critics’ Top Ten films, that set the standard for any futuristic movie that followed. Only Kubrick had the audacity to begin and end his movie with 20 dialogue-free minutes – as hominids discover a mysterious monolith, and as the sole surviving astronaut on a mission to Jupiter (Keir Dullea) takes a journey to the infinite. The genius of 2001 is everywhere: its use of classical music, its amazing (non CGI) FX, its sentient computer operating system (HAL), and its ability to make space as absolutely terrifying as it is beautiful.” 7:30 pm. General admission: $10.
  • Stand-Up Comedy Open Mic: There’s a $5 cover to watch or perform; performers get a drink ticket. Sign up at 7:30. Show begins at 8 pm.

Continue reading “December 2017 Events”

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November 2017 Events in Hartford, CT

November 1

  • Get HYPEd: Networking opportunity for young professionals at Spectra Wired Cafe (5 Constitution Plaza), 5:30-8:30 pm. Free to attend.
  • Stop by The Tavern at Keney Park on Wednesday nights for trivia, 6:30-9 pm. The restaurant is located next to the golf course inside the park.
  • Take a tour of MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street, North basement corridor), Hartford’s makerspace. 6:30-9 pm. Free.
  • Brooks Strause, Extravision, and Chad Browne-Springer give free performances at 11 Regent Street, 7-9 pm.
  • Last chance to see Kedi at Cinestudio, 7:30 pm. General admission: $10.

November 2

  • The Hartford Police Department (253 High Street) will be holding a public Comstat meeting at 5:30 pm. They say: “We feel strongly about sharing our information with our community. We are opening our doors for you to see what current crime trends our city is experiencing, along with our predictive and preventative efforts. Our Comstat program is a dynamic and informative presentation and discussion. Your ideas, questions and energy are welcomed. Community conversations are encouraged.”
  • Fall LGBTQ Evening Out: This is at The Flying Monkey Grill Bar (20 Lindbergh Drive), 6-9 pm.
  • Take the Hartford Bike Plan survey
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Training: Learn how to identify and reverse an overdose at the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition (1229 Albany Avenue, Lower Level); participants will receive a Naloxone kit. This is free, but registration is required.
  • Attend a concert to benefit those in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Orice Jenkins, Sarah Morin, Daniel Salazar, and Sea Tea Improv will be performing at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Avenue), 7-8:30 pm. Suggested donation: $15.
  • Twang Thursdays: Jeff Przech performs at Hog River Brewing, Co. (1429 Park Street), 7-9 pm. No cover.
  • The POSSM and friends perform at Peppercorn’s Grill (357 Main Street) for the first time since the fire. 8:30-11 pm. No cover.

November 3

  • Salsa Workshop: A beginner class begins at 3 pm; intermediate at 4. Classes are $10 each. This is at Hartford Ballroom (56 Arbor Street, 4th floor). Use code 2005* to get in. Call (860) 922-1550 if you have questions.
  • Hartford Jazz Society Fall Concert: The Eric Alexander Quartet will be headlining this show at the Polish National Home (60 Charter Oak Avenue), 7-10 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, with some discounts available.

November 4

  • Free admission to the Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street) galleries, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • National Read-a-Thon: A costumed “Samuel Clemens” will read The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine at this free, all ages event. This is at the Mark Twain House & Museum (351 Farmington Avenue), 11 am – 12 pm.
  • Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash: guest speaker, wine, hors d’oeuvres, book signing, cake, and champagne. Suggested donation of $10; nobody turned away for lack of funds. Hartford Public Library, 2-4 pm.
  • Community Drum & Dance Circle: All ages and abilities welcome. Bring your own percussion or use one provided. 6-8 pm at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue). $5 suggested donation.
  • Rearrange Me: At Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street), 7:30 pm. They say: “An evening of musical contrasts and creative surprises as eight Connecticut artists play songs by each other, rearranged in their own characteristic performance styles. Each of the eight Rearrange Me artists will be secretly assigned one of the other artists. They will then choose a song and perform it as though it was their own. This means that a folk artist, if assigned a hip-hop artist, will rearrange and perform a song by the hip-hop artist in folk style… and so forth. Each artist will only know their own Rearrange Me assignment, so the audience and the other performers will hear the pieces for the first time together.Tickets are $10.
  • Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos Party: Live Mexican music by Mariachi Mexico Antiguo, dancing, Mexican food, art opening, and cash bar. 8:30 pm – 12:30 am at The Dirt Salon (50 Bartholomew Avenue). Tickets: $15

Continue reading “November 2017 Events in Hartford, CT”

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October 2017 Events in Hartford

At a loss? Go take a walk. This is the best time of year for that kind of thing.

October 1

  • Head of the Riverfront Regatta: It costs nothing to watch rowing at Riverside Park, 8:30 am – 5 pm.
  • CT Rally for Racial Justice: This meets in front of City Hall at 2 pm. Participants will march from there to Vernon and Broad Streets.
  • Syllable: Starting at 7 pm, listen to readings from Amity Gaige, Jamil Ragland, Julie Choffel, Kathy Czepiel, and Alycia Jenkins. This is at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue). No cover.

October 2

  • Industry Night returns to Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue), starting at 6 pm. All are welcome. There will be a DJ and all day happy hour.
  • The Hartford Jazz Orchestra performs at Arch Street Tavern, 8-9 pm. Free.

Continue reading “October 2017 Events in Hartford”

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Meet Your City: Books

Borrow

What’s the deal with these weird birdhouses?
Little Free Libraries allow anyone — no ID or face-to-face interaction required — to borrow books indefinitely. They are always open. You do not even need to sign out the book you take. When you return it, you can drop the book off at any of the little library locations. Book donations are welcome too. Continue reading “Meet Your City: Books”

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Meet Your City: (Almost) Free Love

A friend recently cited expense as a reason to refrain from dating; there are many legitimate reasons for this choice — unwillingness to compromise, lack of interest in other people, enjoying one’s own company — but money is not one of them. Not when with some creativity, people can go out without having to empty their wallets.

Free — Always or Sometimes Continue reading “Meet Your City: (Almost) Free Love”

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September 2017 Events in Hartford

Peace, Love & Music Together

DISCLAIMERS

This information is accurate as of publication to the best of my knowledge. Events are sometimes cancelled or postponed. Verify with the venue if you are concerned about last minute surprises or want to know what the plan is for inclement weather.

To get an event published for next month, send details to realhartford@gmail.com by September 25th. Nothing is added after the calendar is published.

This calendar is curated — it’s not a free-for-all. If an event is not in Hartford, kinda expensive, sketchy, or unclear, it’s not going on this calendar without major convincing that it belongs here.

September 1

  • Enjoy free live music on Pratt Street, 12-1:30 pm.
  • Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) offers Zumba classes on Fridays from 4-5 pm. This is free, but a $5 donation is welcome.
  • A one-hour Tai Chi class follows at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) at 5:30 pm. Suggested $5 donation.
  • The Beguiled screens at Cinestudio. They say: “Sofia Coppola’s new film brilliantly flips the 1971 film about an injured Union Army deserter (Clint Eastwood in the original) who hides out in a Southern girls school. Originally a tale of male titillation, it is turned to one exploring the ‘female gaze,’ still rare on the big screen. In non-film-school talk, this time it’s all about the female students (Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence), teachers (including Kirsten Dunst) and headmistress (a magnificent Nicole Kidman), and their barely concealed erotic fascination with the charmer in their midst.” This begins at 7:30 pm. General admission: $10. Some discounts available.
  • The Penniless Wild plays Arch Street Tavern at 10 pm. This show is 21+. $7 advance/$10 door.

September 2

  • Free First Saturday at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street), 9 am – 5 pm. Free admission to the museum galleries all day.
  • Coltsville Walking Tour: Free walking tours begins at 10 am and 2 pm by the Colt monument inside the Wethersfield Avenue entrance to Colt Park. No tours are given during bad weather.
  • Full Moon Meditation: The Hartford Mindfulness Center (645 Farmington Avenue, ground floor) is hosting this free event from 3-4 pm.
  • Tee Tee Soul performs at Night Owl Pub (130 Ann Street), 8-10 pm. Free.

Continue reading “September 2017 Events in Hartford”

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