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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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A Fascist By Any Other Name is Still a Shithole

On December 30th, I received a press release that gave me chills.

The sender declined to use his full name, and I responded that I have a policy of not running any material from people with white hoods covering their faces anonymous sources. There were no photographs attached, no evidence that anything actually happened. Without that, I wondered if what they stated was true or if a gutless troll was trying to get a rise out of me. Since the individual did not respond to my request that he validate his identity, I went on with my life. Until now.

Video has emerged:

By seeing that video, I have learned that the color of the hoods has changed, but the sentiment remains, embedded in dog-whistles. In this case, the fascists “European American men” grasped at any flimsy excuse to rally, and here, they contorted ongoing juvenile scribbles to suit their cause.

So, let’s look at their press release: Continue reading “A Fascist By Any Other Name is Still a Shithole”

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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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Meet Your City: Create, Stand, Laugh (Jan 2018)

CREATE
MakeHartford, a makerspace at 30 Arbor Street, is offering an Intro to Screenprinting class. Learn the basics of setting up the screen, creating a design on it, and then painting that design on patches, t-shirts, and cards. If you’ve never done this, it’s fun and kind of messy — dress for the occasion. There is a $20 fee, which if you know anything about prices for workshops/classes, is on the low side. Bring something (a t-shirt) to print on. Register online to take this class on January 22. If snow/ice happens, the class may be rescheduled for February 5, 2018.

STAND
In 2018 renew your commitment to social justice by showing up to Bushnell Park and the Connecticut State Capitol grounds on January 20, 2018 for the second annual Women’s March. Event organizers say: “We march to support each other and remind ourselves that we are not alone. We march to send a clear message that the Trump administration has no mandate. We march to organize and pledge to continue to work for a better future. It will also be part of a national voter registration and mobilization tour targeting swing states to register new voters, engage impacted communities, harness our collective energy to advocate for policies and candidates that reflect our values and collaborate with our partners to elect more women and progressives candidates to office.” Start brainstorming ideas for your DIY signs (or capes), or dig out the poster board from last year. Gather at Corning Fountain at 12:30 pm if you feel like marching, or go right to the Capitol at 1 pm. In the market for a pussy hat? Check out the discussion section of the event page on Facebook.

LAUGH
Kate Huffman
will be coming to Sea Tea Comedy Theater on January 4-6, 2018 to perform her solo show I’m Too Fat for This Show, providing an “opportunity for all people with obsessions, neuroticism, or negative self-talk to laugh at themselves.” Julia Pistell, the Managing Director of Sea Tea Comedy Theater, calls this “an award-winning, absolutely excellent one-woman comedy show about mental health, body image, eating disorders, and feminism.”  Tickets are $20.

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Hartford Should Have It: Wishes for 2018

Cats-In-Residence at Real Art Ways

It’s been a few minutes since a Suggestion Box item was published here, so you get three for one.

  • Rage Rooms: By now everyone has heard of escape rooms. If you enjoy solving puzzles and don’t have massive anxiety about being stuck in a place you can’t get out of, then I suppose that could be a nice way to spend a Friday night with friends.

Rage rooms are undeniably better. Continue reading “Hartford Should Have It: Wishes for 2018”

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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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Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017

It’s a new era. This calls for new categories and a new format.

Here it is: 2017, judged.

Killing It

 

The Resistance: When life hands you a shitshow, make lemonade?

On a national and local level, we have witnessed people affirming humanity in a time when behaving badly is rewarded. There have been numerous rallies and marches calling for inclusivity and speaking against fascism. Hartford stood by immigrants in our community. People even gathered in airports to support immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. The Connecticut State Capitol lawn overflowed with an estimated 10,000 activists supporting women’s rights. A smaller contingent marched and rallied for reproductive rights on a much colder day. The community called out the Trump administration’s backlash against science by gathering in the rain, holding signs that read “Science. Because you can’t just make shit up!” In April, when people might have preferred to mark the tax deadline by hitting the bar, folks showed up to demand Trump release his tax returns.

In all of this, we have seen displays of creativityresilience, and hope. Continue reading “Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017”

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Five More Urban Walks

Riverside Park

December began with a suggestion for Five Urban Walks one could take if bored, seeking more experiential learning opportunities, or wanting something like exercise. Here are another five suggested routes, with more to come in the future.

Riverside Park
Keney Park

Keney Park North: At nearly 700 acres, Keney Park is ginormous. If you have not been before, it can be easy to get lost, particularly if you don’t have a strong sense of direction or the ability to pay attention long enough to remember which entrance you used. The best option for beginners prone to getting lost might be taking the Windsor Avenue entrance and then following the park road until you see a sign for the Leadership Trail on the left. It’s a not terribly long wooded path that empties into a part of the park that looks abandoned. It seems to connect with the Beech Grove Trail. I don’t recall seeing much labeled, but the path was clear enough to follow, as in, you know that you are on a path and not simply making your own trail through the woods. From there, look to pick up a path and head toward Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School. (If you miss this, you’ll just end up a bit down on Tower Avenue) You can take Rosemont Street, then any of the north-south side streets to get to Tower Avenue, and follow that east. This means going through a residential neighborhood. As long as you’re not snooping around, there’s nothing wrong with that. In this neighborhood, the norm is for residents to maintain their homes and yards. At Main Street, go north until you return to Keney Park, walking along the park road. Be sure to shake your fist at the highway structure that cuts through the park. This loop is an estimated 2.5 miles and not super adventurous except for the part that requires hopping across Meadow Brook. If you want more fun and to extend the walk, go to the northwestern side of the golf course and from there walk west, then south through the woods. Some of this is Windsor, technically, but there are no “Welcome to Windsor” signs in the woods so we’ll ignore that detail for a moment. There are also no clear paths and lots of rusty things out here. Make sure you are current with your tetanus shots and don’t blame me if you get very lost. Look for dunes. Continue reading “Five More Urban Walks”

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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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