Monthly Archives: February 2012

East Hartford High School Student Altruism Honored

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FOXCT anchor Logan Byrnes was part of the East Hartford High School  ” Howard Johnson Give Happy Challenge”  with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The school was chosen   because of the goodwill efforts of the school’s students, including  canned food collections, community blood drives and other charitable activities. The school also received a $2,500 donation.


Monkees Davy Jones Dies

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I still remember being late for CYO every Monday  in 1967/68 so I could watch The Monkees and their tv show.  The music video and song were always on at the end of the weekly show and even if it meant dealing with a cranky nun or priest because I was always late for class, I didn’t care. Went to more than one of their concerts and interviewed three of them over the years. They were all kind , accommodating, and clearly loved their craft.  

Whenever I argue with someone, I always remember their song ” A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. ”

Sad to hear the news.

Al Terzi In Courant/FOXCT Town Today

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Hmmm. Barely gone WFSB anchor Al Terzi is being given the dime tour of the Courant/FOXCT building today. And it is the really good tour, the one with the swag bag give away!

Amistad Center Kicks Off 25th Anniversary With Taste of History

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Grits, fried chicken, jerk burgers, pork belly and pecan chocolate bread pudding. What a delicious way to celebrate a 25th anniversary.

That was the case at the Wadsworth Atheneum Monday as The Amistad Center celebrated its 25th anniversary with its “A Taste of History” food and wine extravaganza that included foods, wines and spirits from more than 20 restaurants and purveyors.

“Fabulous, absolutely fabulous,” said Mac Brown, a Bloomfield resident heading back for seconds of Billy Grant’s Southern fried chicken. “Good food, good cause, good people,” he grinned. “Doesn’t get any better than this.”

Amistad executive director Olivia White, who has headed the organization for the past 12 years, was beaming as she watched the museum space fill up with revelers who were also there for musical programs and the center’s anniversary art exhibition.

“We have come a long way but we have a long way to go,” said White. “We have big plans.”

 The center has been raising money for major improvements including renovating space in the Wadsworth for the center, additional education programs and establishing a sustaining fund for the center.

There was star power in the room, including artist Don Boudreaux (overseeing an interesting erotic/exotic fruit painting workshop that was part of the evening) and at the other end of the spectrum, former Boston Celtics great K.C. Jones.

And what is Naismith Hall of Famer, coach, accomplished amateur singer and commentator doing these days?

“Whatever my wife tells me to,” he quipped.

While participating restaurants were doing a slam bang business as guests queued up to sample the African American-inspired food, there was one line far longer than the others.

The line at Corey’s Catsup & Mustard was serving beef jerk burgers on Jamaican coco bread with sweet potato slaw and fried plantain fries.

“Yum, just look at that,” said Robin Stewart of Manchester as she patiently waited for her small plate. “There is nothing like coco bread and fried plantains,” she said. “More than worth waiting for.”

Arrest Mars CARC Party

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No one from CT AIDS Resource Coalition is saying if there might be more screening of sponsors in future years, but I hope so. I know non-profits struggle to get backers for the good work they do, but yikes on this one.

TicketNetwork  CEO Donald Vaccaro was arrested for racial insults and Breach of peacevand perhaps should have been clipped  for being an all-around jerk. TicketNetwork was, by the way,  one of the event sponsors. Apparently the divorced Vaccaro thought his altruism came with perks that extended beyond the VIP champagne reception and condom-filled swag bag, part of the party at Real Art Ways.

Call me crazy but I am still more than perplexed about how this guy got the state money he did (one of Gov. Malloy’s “First Five” companies) especially with his background that includes that annoying sexual harassment history.

Also interesting that p.r. heavyweight Duby McDowell’s company is handling his press.

The good thing was the confrontation was apparently handled quietly and tactfully by security officers and police.  Not even a tv station doing a middle-of-the-night live shot from the event knew what was going down.

Thankfully it was the end of the night and  the worthy event didn’t suffer when it came to the money that was raised.




CARC Holds An Oscar Bash

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And the CARC Oscar Night Hartford award for leading role in a party…drum roll please… Hartford man about town Peter Shapiro for all he has done for CARC and beyond.

That is the award that could have been presented at the annual CT AIDS Resource Coalition’s annual Oscar Night Hartford party at Real Art Ways Sunday, had there been local awards. Shapiro, who co-founded the event with NPR personality and Courant columnist Colin McEnroe back in the 1990s, formally announced his days in Connecticut are numbered. He is moving to Key West.

“The house is on the market and as soon as it sells, we go,” said Shaprio who attended the Oscar party with wife, Sally .  “This will be my last Oscar night in Hartford.”

Shapiro, who, by the way, was shocked to unexpectedly meet the other Mary Ellen Fillo (my sister-in-law) in the Keys a few weeks ago, was one of about 400 people who turned out for the Oscar night that benefits the AIDS coalition. And other than that nasty arrest incident at the end of the evening, those who attended it considered the evening “gold-worthy.”

Among those who had real reason to celebrate the evening was a team from ESPN. One of its college football analysts, Ed Cunningham, won the Oscar for the commentary “Undefeated” on Sunday night.

Sharing the sports-induced Oscar glow was ESPN vice president Mike Soltys.

Also in a glow but for a different reason was T.J. Clynch, a Hartford business owner who is also known as being WTNH personality Teresa LaBarbera’s main squeeze.

Clynch is on the cusp of a deal with CL&P.

His newest business, “Cycled Energy” on Pratt Street, involves spinning classes and stationary bicycle workouts that  could translate into pedaling power into grids.

“We haven’t finalized anything,” he grinned. “But we are working on it.”

Some other awards?

Most creative when it came to wearing a bargain?

CARC development officer Wendy Graveley who wore a $60 wedding gown she picked up in a consignment shop last minute when she realized she had nothing to wear!

Most dapper gentleman?

Imperial Court Emperor John Howard who looked likehe just stepped out of “The Artist.”

Most Committed To their Duties?

Red carpet co-hosts LaBarbera and Java who stood outside for two hours to make sure the red carpet was the place to see and be seen.


For more Oscar Night Hartford pix go to


TV Ready At Infinity With Wilson Phillips

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You couldn’t help but be on tv if you were at Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk Friday.

There were cameras taping all kinds of things everywhere. Wilson Phillips, the singing trio made up of Wendy and Carnie Wilson, daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, daughter of Mama’s and Papa’s duo John and Michelle Phillips, were the feature of another CTPV/ Infinity Hall Live taped performance that will be shown nationally in mid-June.

And if that was not enough tv attention, a sold-out crowd, that was more than enthusiastic about signing waivers, were also being filmed by a whole separate crew as part of the Wilson Phillips reality show “Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On.”

 And then there was more. At the end of the concert, audience members were invited to “hold on” and stay another hour while a music video was shot featuring the trio’s rendition of the Beach Boys hit, “Good Vibrations,” one of the tracks on the group‘s new album “Dedicated.”

“This is freakin’ unbelievable,” said Jasmine Murray, who couldn’t wait to be filmed. “I was 11 when Wilson Phillips had its first hit and remember standing on my bed and using my hairbrush as a microphone and singing along with them,” said the Torrington resident. “This is so exciting!”

Some say the measure of a good concert is how many people get up and dance. Based on the participation and excitement over the tv cameras, the concert was great. “We didn’t even know each other before this,” said dancing/singing gal pal foursome, Jamie Thomas of New Britain with her mother, Julie Silvestri of Avon, and Cynthia Russo of Portland and Melissa Pressmar of Loitchfield, who were at the bar following the show. “We met dancing in the aisle.” The night was extra special for Thomas who was celebrating her birthday. When Carnie Wilson was advised, she stopped the show to sing “Happy Birthday” to Thomas.

St. Pat’s Parade Leaders O’Connor, Sister Peggy Evans Honored

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It was a sea of green, tears, smiles and politicians at the Irish American Home Society  Sunday as the Central Connecticut Celtic Cultural Committee honored its Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade Person of The Year, WFSB personality Irene O’Connor and its Grand Marshal, Sister Peggy Evans.

Sporting special sashes, the two women, remembered their fathers who had instilled a pride in their roots, and celebrated their gender as leaders of this year’s parade on March 10.

“My father died exactly 30 years ago today,” explained a teary O’Connor who shared the story of her parents’ immigration to the United States. “There was a welcoming Irish community in Hartford,” she said remembering her father, John O’Connor.  “And I don’t think there has ever been a Hartford St. Patrick’s Day parade that our family did not either watch or march in. “

Sister Peggy Evans, a teacher and administrator at East Catholic High School, shared memories as well, recalling her father, Christopher Evans was also once a parade grand marshal.

“It is special to be the grand marshal in this year’s parade,” she said.

The two, only the second female duo to be named to the primo parade posts, are hinting they might be doing something a little extra when they hit the parade pavement.

“I just might do a little Irish step dancing when I start marching,” said Sister Peggy, an accomplished Irish step dancer. “If she does it, I’ll do it,” said O’Connor, also an accomplished dancer.

The two, given standing ovations at the sold-out event, received proclamations from a slew of politicians including U.S. Congressman John Larson, State Sen. Paul Doyle, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc.