Literature and Love & Forgiveness

history1The Hartford Public Library is hosting a reading series– “Let’s Talk about It: Love & Forgiveness.” The discussions are being led by one of my favorite professors, Dr. Gilmore of Central Connecticut State University. The first book–Sense and Sensibility–was already discussed in March. Each month’s chat can be registered for individually, so there is no obligation to attend all of them.

The next book is The History of Love, to be discussed on April 26th.

Free Tai Chi: Coming to a Library in 2009

Tai Chi? In the library? A friend has taught yoga there previously, and yoga and Tai Chi are not that far apart. In college, every time I tried to sign up for the Tai Chi class (in hopes of fulfilling that pesky phys. ed requirement) it was full. After taking the mandated number of phys. ed classes, I was finally able to get into the Tai Chi class during my final semester. It was fun, relaxing, and I loved the instructor. She was my height, possibly shorter, but when she gave a demo of the movements sped up, the guys in the class backed away. I remember that she did this kick in the air, and that from the back of the studio, I could hear the sound of her foot cutting the air.

Free Tai Chi classes will be held at the main branch of the library from January 8th through February 5th from 5:30-6:45pm. Participants should wear clothing conducive to movement. Tai Chi involves slow, gentle movements; essentially, it’s a moving meditation.

You can register online at the library website.

Holiday Arts & Crafts at the Hartford Public Library

kitty.jpgIf I had kids, I would drop them off at the library for the month of December. True, they’d have to find a food source, but they would be plenty occupied. Here’s a listing of activities that are wholesome and won’t involve you winding up with hot glue all over your dining room table. All events are at the downtown library unless noted otherwise.

December 3rd, 4th, and 5th: Children ages eight and up are invited to make cards to send to American troops serving overseas, as well as to those who are currently being cared for in military hospitals. This goes from 3:30-5pm. (more…)

Trash Talk

swag.jpgClarence W. Corbin, the Director of Hartford Public Works, and Marilynn Cruz-Aponte, Assistant to the Director of Public Works, spoke to residents as part of the Understanding City Services workshop series tonight at the Hartford Public Library. Corbin mainly covered the single-stream recycling pilot program, while Cruz-Aponte dealt with the proposed Hartford Bulky Waste & Recycling Center.

Corbin’s presentation included background on the single-stream program which was introduced to selective areas in Hartford last May. Much of what he talked about has previously been reported on at Urban Compass, as a press release was sent by the Mayor’s office a few days back. Some of the key facts that he shared:

* It costs about $70/ton to dump garbage, whether it contains recyclable materials or not

* Hartford dumps about 45,000 tons of municipal solid waste (per year, I’m assuming, though he didn’t give a time frame)

* The “Go Green – Use Blue” program collects from 1000 households in the city each day

* 86% of the households in the program are compliant

* $4160 in rebates have been awarded to residents so far

* The single-stream program will only be available to those in 1-6 family residences.

singe.jpgThe Department of Public Works is working to figure out how to expand the program, and they expressed hope that all 1-6 family residences in Hartford will be able to participate.

What struck me as annoying from a treehugging hippie point-of-view is that so much of their presentation focused on economics rather than on health or environmental benefits. Are we really only concerned with taxes and revenue?

Cruz-Aponte announced plans for the new Hartford Bulky Waste & Recycling Center, which she described as both a “transfer station” and a “convenience center.” Because the landfill will be closing on December 31, 2008, we need to find another way to dispose of our trash. She explained that residents will still place trash in city-issued bins and pick-up will continue in the same way, so that part of the process will not be changing. After the trash leaves the premises, it will be brought to the transfer station, where it will be—wait for it—transferred. The Hartford Bulky Waste & Recycling Center will also permit residents to drop off recyclables, electronics, and bulky waste like tires; however, they will not be collecting hazardous waste. There is a possibility that this center will also have a “swap center” where residents can leave items that are in good condition, and others can pick them up. Right now we have a swap center– it’s called the curb. (more…)

For Your Social Calendar


Drop by the Hartford Public Library (5:30 for refreshments, 6 for the talk) for a program on the Department of Public Works. “Learn about the new Transfer Center and Single-Stream Recycling. Bring your questions about leaf collection, street repair, snow removal, garbage collection…” I know you can’t contain your excitement over this, but let’s be real– these routines keep the city going. Almost rear-ended a leaf-collection machine because of lack of traffic police? Show up and ask questions about the unsafe work conditions! Experienced flooding because they waited until last week to start with leaf collection? Livid because jerks keep dumping their leaves in the bike lanes? Know that snow removal is plain pathetic? Come by and let your voice be heard.

November 20

La Canción Puertorriqueña/The Puerto Rican Song: In Our Times-In Our Voice
Singer Songwriters José Saavedra & Walter Morciglio
These two cantautores will share their songs and the poetry in their first US East Coast Joint Tour. Be prepared for an evening that will blend poetry and songs that portray the reality of Latino and human struggle of our times. Two-time Latin Grammy Nominated Producer/Songwriter Morciglio presents material from his fourth album, El Album Gris. Morciglio’s productions credits include such artists as Roy Brown, Antonio Cabán Vale “El Topo”, Andy Montañez as well as José Saavedra. Saavedra who has been developing his musical career for the last fifteen years, most recently in Tucson, AZ will present a collection of songs from his three albums: Ver Cada Ver, Versos ReVersos, Veredas Verdes.

The show starts at 8pm at La Paloma Sabanera (405 Capitol Ave) and costs $10.

November 23

Queers Without Borders and the CT Transadvocacy Coalition will be showing Out Rage ‘69 a film from the KQED four part documentary “The Question of Equality.” This contains interviews and archival footage of Sylvia Rivera, the Gay Liberation Front, and more.

Doors open at 5pm, dinner follows at 5:30, and the film begins at 6:30. This is held at the Metropolitan Community Church, which is located in Colt Memorial Parish House of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church (155 Wyllys St.)

November 25

Tribute to “The King (Hector Lavoe) & Queen (Celia Cruz) of Salsa” on at The Bushnell at 8pm.

Some of you may know that salsa annoys me very quickly. When it blasts through my walls, it makes me rage. The one exception that I have found to this is Celia Cruz. I spent Christmas in Paterson a few years ago, and the local station played her music incessantly. This tribute sounds like a fun night, but a pricey one. VIP tickets go for $100, but the cheap tickets start at $25.

There will also be a Meet & Greet at Andrea’s Restaurante (371 Franklin) from 5:45-6:45. There will be a Spanish-style buffet, raffles, and giveaways. There will also be an afterparty at La Casona.

Wanna Blog?

The Hartford Public Library (downtown) is offering a free class to help people create blogs. They ask that patrons attend all three sessions, which run on August 13th, 20th, and 27th. It is an adult class and meets at 7:15pm. To register or get more information, go to their website.

Frankenstein’s Monster

CT Science CenterLately, all I’m hearing and reading about is how shitty the economy is right now. I’m not going to argue that.

But I have to disagree with the way we are looking at certain financial problems.

Just off the top of my head, I know that there are reports on how the Mark Twain House and Old State House have been struggling. Two branches of the Hartford Public Library have closed. A number of public school employees have been laid off. The state is having budgeting issues (which apparently means that some state employees get to currently work without having the security of signed contracts. Employees can get paid for what they have worked, but be told not to return for the rest of the term. source: personal experience). When hearing about each of these issues, the message I am receiving is that nothing can be done. Our hands are tied. The library does not want to take responsibility for their budgeting mishaps. Some politicians don’t seem to want to step up and do their jobs, which directly involve city budgeting issues. What’s more, the city has this image problem (exacerbated by the media on a nearly daily basis) which allows outsiders to justify letting everything here crumble.

Money problems are not the same as late stage cancer or earthquakes–there is, in fact, something to be done. Capitalism, the whole concept of money, and esoteric budgets involving huge sums are all manufactured, aka, they are all man-made things. This is America, and no matter how awful our economy is right now, we, as a country, are faring better than many places in the world. The American Dream myth of pulling oneself up by his bootstraps is flipped. If anyone has the ability to succeed in that way, it’s not the individual, but the larger entity–the organization or corporation. (more…)