not Hartford

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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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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October 2016 Events

October 1

Night Fall: this year, October 8th.

  • Clean Up: volunteer to clean up Columbus Park (between Franklin Avenue, Wethersfield Avenue, Bolton Street, and Victoria Road) for a couple hours starting at 10 a.m. Bring your own cleaning supplies (gloves, bags, etc.) if possible.    The Place 2 Be will provide breakfast for volunteers at 9, but meet at the restaurant (615 Franklin Ave) for that.
  • Civil War POW Walk: Meet at Cedar Hill Cemetery for a tour beginning at 10 a.m. They say: “Evelyn Bollert will lead visitors on a tour of the final resting places of prisoners of the Civil War and tell their stories of bravery, resilience and heartbreak.” General admission is $5. Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation and Let’s Go Arts members get in free.
  • Tree Tour: learn about trees in Elizabeth Park. This free tour begins at 10 a.m. Meet at the Cottage.
  • Tainted Inc Cleanout Sale: clothes, birdcages, trunks, and more for sale at 56 Arbor Street. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Community Health & Wellness Fair: free health screenings, along with information about financial planning, homeownership, and injury prevention. This is from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Simpson-Waverly School (55 Waverly Street).
  • Hartford Preservation Alliance Kitchen Tour: view the kitchens of five historic homes in the West End. $25. This is a self-guided tour from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m.
  • hARTsem DAYS: Today is the second in a two-day celebration of arts and spirituality at the Hartford Seminary. The day begins at 10 a.m. and lineup of events includes spoken word, violin performance workshops and lectures, food trucks, labyrinth tours, art displays, and more. Most of this is free, but the Hassan El Jai performance has a fee. Events occur in various locations in the Sherman and Lorraine Street area.
  • Yoga in the Park: Yoga taught in English and Spanish in Pope Park near the pond, 11 a.m. Bring your own mat/towel. Free.
  • Active Hope: a workshop at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) from 12-5 p.m. They say: “Do you feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world? Are you troubled by the presidential race, the climate crisis, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic, discrimination against people who are in recovery, and other problems we are facing today? Do you feel sad, angry, afraid, and even hopeless at times? Instead of giving up or numbing out, you have another choice: Active Hope. Active Hope is a practice that supports us as active participants in the healing of our world. It does not require optimism, so we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless.” Space is limited, so reserve your spot by contacting Laura: lle@advocacyunlimited.org or calling her at (860) 296-2338 ext. 104. Suggested donation: $5.
  • Family Yoga Workshop: This free family yoga and meditation class can help you learn how to de-stress and get healthy as a family. The workshop begins at 2 pm in the Youth Program Room on the third floor of the Hartford Public Library. Please call 860-695-6330 to register.

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Suggestion Box: Ask More of the Chain Stores

There are six CVS stores in Hartford. Only one is in a building with any architectural flair, and that downtown location is set to move into another space in the near future. (The one on Washington Street built in place of an historical building that was torn down instead of reused does not count as having character.) Otherwise, the ubiquitous pharmacy with a penchant for dull, box construction — with an easy-to-reverse-your-car-through façade —  presents opportunity for visual improvement. This is equally true of other chain stores found in Hartford, from gas stations to doughnut shops.

A CVS on the corner of Thayer and Cushing Street in Providence shows that another reality is possible. CVS paid RISD students to create the mural. It has not been without some controversy, partly because everything just has to be controversial these days, but regardless: Artists were paid. (more…)

July 2016 Events in Hartford

July 1

  • An event? You tell me. There will be a DUI Enforcement Checkpoint in the vicinity of 90 Brainard Road starting at 5 p.m. today. It is funded through a grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation DUI Enforcement Program, so don’t waste your time blaming Obama or Bronin. Also, if you lived here, you could just walk home and never need to concern yourself with DUIs.
  • Albanian Festival: dance, music, and food at the Albanian Community Center, 161 Franklin Avenue. 6-11 p.m.

Boom Box Parade, Willimantic

July 2

  • Free Yoga in Pope Park at 11 a.m. Bring your own mat and water; dress for exercise. Instruction will be in Spanish and English. Meet by the pond.
  • Albanian Festival: dance, music, and food at the Albanian Community Center, 161 Franklin Avenue. 4-11 p.m.
  • There will be a dual video release party for Tang Sauce and Zulynette Morales at the Studio at Billings Forge (539 Broad Street), 5-9 p.m. The evening will also include live music, poetry, and visual art. $10 at the door.

July 3

  • Free yoga in Colt Park at 11 a.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn near the Wethersfield Avenue entrance.
  • There will be free walking tours of Coltsville National Historical Park at 2 p.m. Meet by the Colt monument near the Wethersfield Avenue entrance to Colt Park.

July 4

  • If you’d like to celebrate Independence Day in a true community fashion, where the entertainment showcases local creativity, leave Hartford for the day and go to Willimantic’s W.I.L.I. Boom Box Parade. Bring your own boom box and lawn chairs. Parade starts at Jillson Square at 11 a.m. and heads down Main Street. It’s free, wacky, spirited, and not being paid for by Hartford residents’ tax dollars.

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May 2016 Hartford Events

This monthly event listing includes arts and entertainment, civic engagement, academic, cultural, wellness, and other types of activities happening in Hartford during April. 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.

This information is accurate as of publication to the best of our knowledge. Keep in mind that events are sometimes cancelled or postponed, and that incorrect details are at times given to us. Verify with the venue if you are concerned about last minute surprises.

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

May 20 is National Bike to Work Day

May 1

  • Secret Garden Tea Party: Tainted Inc. (56 Arbor St., Suite 310A) is holding a “sip & shop tea party” at its studio from 4-6 p.m. Field to Face Organic Beauty and Age into Beauty will have pop-up shops at the location. $10.
  • Open Mic Night at Infinity Bistro (32 Front St.). Performers sign up at 7 p.m.; music at 7:30. Free.

May 2

  • Stop by the Toivo Center (399 Franklin Ave.) for a half hour of free meditation starting at 9 a.m. ($5 suggested donation)
  • Venom Vintage (365 Capitol Ave.) is hosting Tea Through Time, a free evening of art and tea. Lavender Molly is the featured artist for the month. Kristyn Leamon will provide violin music. Visitors are encouraged to wear their “finest threads through time, be it Renaissance, Victorian, 20’s Flapper or 70’s Hippie.” This begins at 7 p.m.
  • Arch Street Tavern hosts the Hartford Jazz Orchestra every Monday. The free show starts at 8 p.m.

May 3

  • Morning Bike Ride: Meet at the corner of Boulevard and Prospect (parking lot) at 6 a.m. and head out for a ride to Keney Park, Cigna, West Hartford Reservoir, or Wood Pond. The ride takes about one hour. Helmets are required. Bad weather cancels. Contact jgale@lawlordsofhartford.com or 860-232-9019 for more info.
  • Free Zumba at Toivo Center (399 Franklin Ave.), 6 p.m. ($5 suggested donation)
  • Try an all levels aerial yoga class at The LivingWell Centre at The 224 EcoSpace (224 Farmington Ave.). The hour-long class begins at 6:15 p.m. This is $24. Register online.

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