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Eighth Annual Samba Fest at Hartford Riverfront


HARTFORD – Brazilian and Connecticut artists join forces with Trinity College students at the eighth annual Samba Fest on May 3 at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.

The event, which will happen rain or shine at 300 Columbus Blvd. is free. 

“The Samba Fest brings together thousands of people from the Greater Hartford region to celebrate many different aspects of Brazilian music and dance,” says Trinity College professor Eric Galm, who conceived and produces Samba Fest. “We have a great mix of artists new to Samba Fest this year, and their music will serve as an introduction to the cultural events surrounding the 2014 World Cup, which will be held in Brazil in June.”

The family-friendly event begins with drum-making and face-painting for children and families. Those who make a drum on-site or bring one from home are invited to participate in the opening parade at noon

Performers include the Hartford Steel Symphony, co-directed by Curtis Greenidge and Kelvin Griffith, the Trinity Steel Band, led by Curtis Greenidge, and the Interdistrict Steel Pan Ensemble.

Samba Fest is free and open to the public. For directions and parking information, visit sambafest.com<http://www.sambafest.com>. For general information, call 860-297-2199.

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John Legend to Perform in Greater Hartford Area


TORRINGTON — Infinity Hall will present An Evening with John Legend on June 10 at the Warner Theatre in Torrington.

The nine-time Grammy Award winning artist will make his Warner Theatre debut with a brand-new live show. The All of Me Tour features Legend in an intimate, acoustic, and stripped-down setting, highlighted by guitar/vocal accompaniment and a string quartet. A singer-songwriter, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, John Legend has revealed many personas during his prolific career.

The All of Me Tour features Legend at his best—creating an immersive experience about romance, love, hope, commitment and optimism.

The Warner Theatre box office will handle all ticket sales. Tickets go on sale to the public on March 21st, and range in price from $46.50 – $96.50.

For An Evening with John Legend tickets go to www.WarnerTheatre.org or call 860-489-7180 Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

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Tessanne Chin to Perform for Tri-State Fans


NEW YORK, NY — Calling all Tessanne Chin fans in Connecticut.

Chin will be giving her first performance in the tri-state area on May 26 at the Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York.

Three months after winning the 5th installment of NBC’s “The Voice” competition, the Jamaican songbird  will get her first opportunity to perform for her many fans in the tri-state area when she headlines the first annual Oracabessa Festival – ‘A Celebration Of Caribbean Culture’ – at Roy Wilkins Park on Memorial Day, Monday. Other announced performers include Beenieman, Konshens and Assassin.

Tessanne’s anticipated performance in New York is expected to attract large support from her Caribbean fan base.

thHer last performance in the USA was on March 6 in Washington D.C., where she was a special guest of U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at the “White House: Women of Soul” concert where she delivered a scintillating performance of the Donna Summer classic “Last Dance.”

The program, which will be broadcast April 7 on PBS, included performances by Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe and Jill Scott.

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West Hartford Group Garners Distinction in Regional Competition


WEST HARTFORD —  A West Hartford musical group recently garnered the distinction of being the first saxophone quartet to receive honors in the 12-year history of the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition.

The group, Asylum Quartet, is a classical chamber ensemble made up of four saxophonists. And they won the Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the 2014 Chamber Music Competition. The distinction is more significant given this context: Saxophone quartets have been around for around 150 years, while string ensembles date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

asylum_hartford-ct-guardianThe group will receive a cash award of $2,000 and a featured performance on the 2014-2015 Chamber Music Foundation of New England Concert Series this spring.The group plans to use its cash prize to help produce its first album.

The Asylum Quartet consists of Joseph Abad (soprano saxophone), Tony Speranza (alto saxophone), Max Schwimmer (tenor saxophone), and Andrew Barnhart (baritone saxophone). The four musicians met as graduate students at The Hartt School in West Hartford, among other venues. 

 More information about the Asylum Quartet is available at www.asylumquartet.com. For more information on the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition and the Chamber Music Foundation of New England, which draws students and professional ensembles of all ages and nationalities, please visit www.cmfone.org.

Photos Courtesy of  Asylum Quartet.

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Hartford to Celebrate Poetry Month at HPL


HARTFORD –  In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Hartford Public Library will host a multicultural celebration throughout two weeks in April featuring performances and workshops by noted poets and the public.

From April 7 – April 16, special events will take place at the Library’s nine branches, culminating with a Community Celebration at the Downtown Library on Saturday, April 19.

The citywide Hartford Loves Poetryf estival is sponsored by the City of Hartford’s Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Department, and is curated by award-winning poet Bessy Reyna.

poetry-hartfordEach day of the festival, an esteemed Connecticut poet will read original works and present a workshop to inspire participants from each Hartford neighborhood to write their own poems and share them during an open microphone session. At the festival’s grand finale, guests from throughout Greater Hartford will gather at the Library’s Downtown location to share and enjoy works presented in the participants’ native languages with English descriptions. Attendees will enjoy poems read in more than 16 languages, including Tamil, Bosnian, Greek, Spanish, Polish, and Hebrew, celebrating the region’s rich diversity.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit hplct.org for more information.

 

Monday, April 7, 5:30-7:15pm; Park Branch, 744 Park Street

POET: Jose B. Gonzalez

Tuesday, April 8, 5:30-7:15pm; Goodwin Branch, 460 New Britain Avenue

POET: Marianela Medrano

 

Wednesday, April 9, 5:30-7:15pm; Dwight Branch, 7 New Park Avenue

POET: Leslie McGrath

 

Thursday, April 10, 5:30-7:15pm; Camp field Branch, 30 Campfield Avenue

POET: Pit Pinegar

 

Saturday, April 12, 3-5pm; Albany Branch, 1250 Albany Avenue

POET: John Stanizzi

 

Saturday, April 12, 3-5pm; Barbour Branch, 281 Barbour Street

POET: Ernie Blue

 

Monday, April 14, 5:30-7:15pm; Mark Twain Branch, 55 Forest Street

POET: Joyce Ashuntantang

 

Tuesday, April 15, 5:30-7:15pm; Blue Hills Branch, 649 Blue Hills Avenue

POET: Antoinette Brim

 

Wednesday, April 16, 5:30-7:15pm; Ropkins Branch, 1750 Main Street

POET: Kate Rushin

 

Saturday, April 19, 1-4pm; Downtown Branch, 500 Main Street

Hartford Loves Poetry Grand Finale:

A Community Celebration

 

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Tony Award Winning Actor and Dancer Ben Vereen to Visit Hartford


HARTFORD – Ben Vereen, a Tony and Emmy award-winning actor and dancer will visit the CREC Arts Academy on March 6 to teach master classes to the school’s performing arts, dance, and film students.

Vereen will visit the Theater of the Performing Arts at the Arts Academy to complete a workshop and filming session with students from the Academy between 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

VereenThis is a unique and extraordinary opportunity for students of Hartford’s premier art school to work with an accomplished and versatile performer and artist. Vereen’s work has been said to, “transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country’s artistic legacy.”

Vereen grew up in Brooklyn and attended New York’s High School of the Performing Arts. On Broadway, he found success in the musicals of Bob Fosse, including Sweet Charity and Pippin, for which Vereen won a Tony Award in 1972. Vereen also appeared in the epic 1977 TV miniseries, Roots. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

“The theater was my first training ground. It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime” Vereen has said in a previous interview. “The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things.”

The event is made possible by a generous sponsor who covered the cost of the event as a gift to the school and its students.

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Yale Film Festival: “Powered By Dreams”


NEW HAVEN – It’s a concept often overlooked and certainly underestimated, the difference between existing and actually living. And if you haven’t grasped it yet, you may not have experienced the power of your dreams.

On Feb. 15,  The Yale African American Affinity Group (YAAA) is debuting “Powered By Dreams” in their 2014 film festival. The journey of Dream Chaser no. 1 reflects the road every dream chaser endures when they are powered by dreams.

The hours for the 2014 Yale African American Film Festival screenings are from 6 p.m.  to 8 p.m. at the Whitney Humanities Center in New Haven, CT. Admission is free. It runs until Feb. 16.

 This showing is a part of a four-day event is dedicated to highlighting the contributions of African Americans in films through the Yale African American Film Festival.

This film documents the founder of the Dream Support Network (DSN), Abdul R-I. Muhammad’s steps to recovery after a near-death experience, which leads to self-discovery and the conscious decision to live life without fear or limitations. He uses his gift of life and to inspire others through the development of his foundation. His commitment to “12 for 12”, a challenge in which you accomplish twelve dreams in twelve months is shown in his travels around the world. From sky diving, to sumo wrestling and then purchasing an ice cream truck for the inception of a first of its kind campaign, he continues to make dreams come true. 

To learn more about “Powered By Dreams” and The Dream Support Network, please visit www. TheDreamSupportNetwork.com.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Endless Love


It’s Endless Love redux. But this time the movie released in theaters Friday fails with cliched themes about love. The first one, starring Brook Shields, Tom Cruise and James Spader, affected many movie-goers in 1981 because of its attempt at the kind of eros found in Shakespeare, like Romeo and Juliet. This movie, not so much.

“Endless Love” is the story of David (Alex Pettyfer) and Jade (Gabriella Wilde), two teens who fall in love. But Jade’s dad wants to keep them apart.

But if you like to look at pretty people fall in love, this one’s for you. Directed by Shana Feste the film stars Alex Pettyfer as David Elliot and Gabriella Wilde as Jade Butterfield, the movie dishes up a smattering of cliched “tender moments” of when boy meets girl, falls in love, overcome obstacles in their way, and then live everily after.

The particulars of this movie is not exactly striking. But it does have a few comic relief scenes, played by  David’s friend played by Dayo Okeniyi,  that punctuate more than an hour of banality.

By Fran Wilson 


Endless Love

Opens on Friday.

Directed by Shana Feste; written by Ms. Feste and Joshua Safran, based on the book by Scott Spencer; director of photography, Andrew Dunn; edited by Maryann Brandon; music by Christophe Beck; production design by Clay Griffith; costumes by Stacey Battat; produced by Scott Stuber, Pamela Abdy, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage; released by Universal Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes.

Rate P.G.

 

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Back By Popular Demand at the Science Center: ‘Bodies Revealed’


HARTFORD — Before the children go back to school, it might be fun to check out the human body–in all its colorful and fascinating dimensions.

Back by popular demand Bodies Revealed is a fascinating, can’t miss exploration of what’s inside each of us. A carefully preserved collection of more than 200 bodies offers a unique view of muscles, organs, nerves and bones. It’s in its final week until Jan. 5, 2014 at the Connecticut Science Center.

One visit is never enough—you’ll want to return again and again to uncover the secrets of the human body

Bodies-Revealed-at-Hartford-CTBODIES REVEALED is included with Connecticut Science Center Membership or the purchase of General Admission. Presented by Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute with support from Media Sponsor The Hartford Courant in our Saint Francis Care Traveling Exhibit Gallery. For more information call (860) SCIENCE [724.3623] or visit www.CTScienceCenter.org.

 
Also, check out Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend on Jan. 18–Jan. 20, 2014. Start 2014 with hands-on FUN at the Connecticut Science Center. School may be out on Jan. 20, but the Science Center is  OPEN all weekend long with a special discount: everyone pays kids’ price for General Admission!

That means kids and adults can visit for $14 each between Saturday, Jan. 18 and Monday, Jan. 20. For more information call (860) SCIENCE [724.3623] or visitwww.CTScienceCenter.org. 

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Author Kristen Chen Comes to Hartford, Talks Soy Sauce


HARTFORD — Here’s your chance to learn the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment: soy sauce.

Yep. That dark sauce you spread across your chicken wings or chop suey from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

On Jan. 25, the Hartford Public Library will host an inspiring afternoon with author Kirstin Chen, who will discuss her new book Soy  Sauce for Beginners, a funny and heartfelt novel exploring the intersections of food, family, and culture.

The event is free and open to the public and will begin at 2:00 p.m. oat the Downtown Library’s Center for Contemporary Culture.

Chen was born and raised in Singapore. A former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. She currently lives in San Francisco.

Kirstin Chen

Kirstin Chen

But when an old American friend comes to town, the two of them are pulled into the controversy surrounding Gretchen’s cousin, the only male grandchild and the heir apparent to Lin’s Soy Sauce. In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore—and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite—Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family’s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.

Other authors had praise for Chen’s second foray into fiction writing.

Said author Kevin Kwan, “Kirstin Chen’s debut is a delicious page-turning treat. Chen captures the zeitgeist of Singapore’s new generation in an engrossing, intimately layered tale of love, family, and the discovery of one’s true calling. It will also turn every reader into an artisanal soy sauce aficionado willing to settle for nothing but the best.”

 

Copies of Soy Sauce for Beginners will be available for purchase, and a book signing with the author will follow. A portion of all sales will benefit Hartford Public Library. The even is sponsored by  by Sneha, Inc.

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