Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sizzling Summer Reads? Ct Authors Have Them

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It’s that steamy time of year again, when there’s lots of hot reading going on in lawn chairs and at the beaches. Of course, this summer’s adult buzz is fueled by E. L. James erotic trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and local authors see it as a gateway book to greater popularity for erotica and romance novels.

It’s a short hop from “Fifty Shades” to “Who’s Your Daddy,” which is billed as a mesmerizing collection of sexy and fun short stories, or even “Not For Sale” the tantalizing story of a powerful passion between high-profile businessman Lucas Vieira and his hired linguist, Caroline Hamilton. Like period pieces? Try “Dinah of Seneca,” the salacious tale of a former slave and a Viking chief set in the 10th century Roman Empire.

These red hot reads are courtesy of a group of Connecticut authors who belong to the state chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Want to know what to pack in your  bag this summer when it comes to smoldering  beach reading?

Awards, Races, Sunken Garden Poetry Season Arrives

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Before everyone’s thoughts turn to summer, the REAL summer season, there are a host of final awards ceremonies and year-end parties,  as well as road race celebrations, and events intended to make one sit back and enjoy warm weather and extra hours of sunshine.

 So here we go:

On Thursday, the Salvation Army will host its annual “Soup, Soap & Hope” Greater Hartford Fundraiser at the Bond Ballroom.

The luncheon will honor WDRC personality Brad Davis, who will receive its “The  Others Award” for community service. Salvation Army advisory board member, Tom Desmond will receive its special recognition award.

Emcee is WFSB anchor Denise D’Ascenzo. Keynote speaker is former governor John Rowland.  

Lunch is served at noon.  Go to for information.  

Some other  deserving people will be honored later in the day (and you won’t have to drive far)  when Manuel Pastor, a professor at University of Southern California is awarded the Mildred and Richard Loving Civil Rights Award at the CT Fair Housing Award Dinner, also at the Bond Ballroom. Pastor, who teaches  American studies and ethnicity, wrote the recent book “Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future.”

On a more local level, House Speaker Christopher Donovan will receive the center’s Edward M. Kennedy Legislative Advocacy Award while local law firms, Bingham McCutchen, Bracewell & Giuliani and Shipman & Goodwin will share the George J. and Patricia K. Ritter Pro Bono Award.

John Motley will emcee. For more information call 860-247-4400.

And then if it is dancing and fine art you have a yen for on a summer-like evening, head over to the West Hartford Art League  on Buena Vista Drive for its “Starry Night Fundraiser”  The party, held under a tent,  includes food, music, an auction and art  exhibits. Cost is $75 a person. Call 860-231-8019 for information.

On Friday, it’s a special celebration at the Hill-stead Museum. The celebrated  Sunken Garden Poetry Festival is 20 years old and will mark the occasion with a three-day  event.  Among the featured guests are Richard Wilbur, Minton Sparks and Toi Derricotte.

The series then continues on Wednesdays.

Admission for opening weekend is $10 per person per day or $25 per person for the weekend.

On Wednesdays, admission is $5 per person . Parking is free. Those planning to attend can bring a lawn chair or blanket for the reading and food  is allowed. Bring a picnic or purchase food and beverages at the site.

 For further information and the season schedule call 860-677-4787 or go to .

 On Saturday, the Susan G.Komen Race for the Cure CT  will be held at Bushnell Park in Hartford. The event features 5K run, 4K walks, a Kids’ Short run, Kids K and survivor recognition events. Proceeds benefit the foundation and its breast cancer support, education and medical programs. for more information and a schedule of events go to   

And on Sunday, don’t forget Hartford’s Puerto Rican Festival  that includes a parade at noon  and the Festival del Coqui at Bushnell Park at 2 p.m.


New Weather Gal At WTNH Weekends

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Erika Martin  has joined WTNH Storm Team 8 and Jeff Valin on  Good Morning Connecticut Weekend .

According to the announcement Wednesday:

“Martin, a Greater Hartford native, is happy to be back home, as the newest member of Storm Team 8. She grew up watching WTNH and remembers sitting in her grandmother’s living room, with her family, hanging on every single Hurricane Gloria update…until the power went out! She’s happy that her family can now tune in to her weekend morning forecasts, for weather updates, and watch her doing what she loves.”

Martin has previously forecasted the weather for the Sierra Nevada region (including Northern Nevada and Northern California), San Francisco’s Bay Area, and Western Massachusetts. 

Meet Erika:


Former Gibson Greenwich Estate Back On the Market

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 Seen recently in the curbed celebrity  “House of the Day”  ads!

Location: Greenwich,Conn.
Price: $33,000,000
The Skinny: A-lister and recent controversy magnet Mel Gibson sold this 75-acre Greenwich estate back in April 2010 for a little less than $24M. That was a discount of over $5M off the final asking price, which had been chopped down from jaw-unhinging $39.5M. Now that very same property, dubbed Old Mill Farm, has returned to market for $33M. According to the brokerbabble, the 15,800-square-foot main house has just undergone a “new restoration/renovation,” but there’s little evidence of it, what with the aging furniture and worn carpets. If the interiors are a bit underwhelming, the grounds are utterly amazing, with formal gardens, a giant chess set, a swimming pool, tennis court with picturesque stone hut, and even a hedge maze. For those not afraid to spend upwards of $30M on a fixer-upper, this is just the ticket, one of Greenwich’s last remaining grand estates.

Would You Like A Shave With That Scotch At Carbone’s?

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Once again  it’s scotch and cigar time in Hartford with a little something extra.

Carbone’s will be hosting its 9th annual Cigar & Scotch  Social under the stars June 14. And for the primarily male audience attending the outdoor fundraiser, there is a new addition… old-fashioned shaves, cuts and trims.

Rooster’s of Glastonbury, home of men’s grooming the way it used to be done,  will be offering the spiff-ups at the bash that benefits the
Petit Family Foundation. 

The event will be co-honorary chaired by Paul Pasqualoni, head UConn football coach, and Colin Cowherd of ESPN’s The Herd. Fine wines, boutique beers, aged single malt scotches, cigars, music and Carbone’s  award winning authentic old world cuisine will also be spotlighted.

Now if they added a few mega-sized tv screens tuned to ESPN, it would be heaven on earth for guys looking for perfection. And for the ladies, wonder if Rooster’s will do legs?

For ticket information go to

Essex Train Complex Becomes Basso Fashionista Central

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If you happen across any of the fall/winter ads for renowned fashion designer Dennis Basso, the backdrop they might look familiar.

Seems Basso was “thrilled” to secure the Essex Steam Train complex as the backdrop for his new campaign featuring Coco Rocha as the “face” for his fall/ winter line , according to reports.

For more:

Thanks Tom!

“Nunsense” DVD Release To Benefit CT Abbey

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Who says God doesn’t watch over his own?

“Nunsense” creater Dan Goggin and Kultur Film and Video have announced the DVD release “Nunset Boulevard: The Nunsense Hollywood Bowl Show,” with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, where former actress,  Mother Dolores Hart and the Benedictines reside. The well-known abbey is in the midst of a major building and renovation campaign.

Here’s the story:


Blo Coming To WeHa BBS

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Need to be “party ready” quickly and affordably?

Hair cadets, pay attention!  Blo Blow Dry Bar  is coming to West Hartford’s Blue Back Square! The new franchise  offers a quick wash and dry when life just demands a good hair day.

Popular in New York City and other metropolitan areas,  the blow dry bar offers only that service, no cuts, colors or other service  amenities.

Stylists  offer several choices from a menu of hairstyles like High Society, Red Carpet, Holly Would, or Sex, Hugs and Rock ‘n Roll.  the wash and blow dry service is advertised for $35, and appointments can be made online or by calling. Walk-ins are also welcome.

And be prepared for the “blo” culture!   Hair cadettes are clients, bloer is a session stylist, pink wig girl is the official pink-haired blo mascot and blo u(niversity) is where the bloers go to learn the trade. Blo bro? Guys who “dig dryers.”

The salon will open on June 2 at 71  Memorial Drive.  Java, perpetually in need of a good hair day, may have to give it a try.

Bushnell Fly Time With Tharp, Sinatra and Hanna & Co.

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Stephen Hanna is one of featured stars in the Bushnell production of “Come Fly Away,” opening Tuesday. The show, a dream combination of Twyla Tharp choreographed dance and Frank Sinatra tunes, tracks the emerging relationships of four couples at a nightclub one evening. A former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Hanna also starred in the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot.”  Now, as part of the touring production,” he took a break from the show to Spill the Beans with Java.

Q: What was the first Frank Sinatra song you ever heard?

A: It was in Cleveland, “Strangers In The Night” and I didn’t even know who he was. As kids we would make up funny lyrics to the song, but I don’t want to tell you what they were.

Q: Do you have a favorite Frank Sinatra song now?

A: “I Did It My Way”.

Q: How did you end up being a ballet dancer?

A: My father was a ballet dancer with the former National Ballet in Washington D.C. but his parents made him quit his senior year of high school and he went on to work for General Motors. I was drawn to dance when I was three or four. I liked how physical and challenging it was. At seven or eight I got a video of “The Nutcracker” and as soon as I saw that I knew what I wanted to do.

Q: It had to be tough being a teenager and pursuing ballet instead of football or some other sport?

A: I was extremely picked on as a kid. It was a hard time but my dad very supportive. Both of my parents are very supportive and I am very lucky for that.

Q: With reality shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing With The Stars” there is a lot of renewed mainstream interest in dancing. Do you think that helps ballet’s image? Makes it more culturally mainstream?

A: I think ballet has always been mainstream to people who live it and love it. To them it is popular. But I do think the dancing on the reality shows helps its popularity.

Q: How many hours a day do your practice?

A: It depends on the show. Today, I practiced a couple of hours for the show. I try to be a disciplined young man.

Q: I understand you have a Connecticut connection, that you got married here?

A: I did. I got married in Connecticut about a year ago to Bret Shuford. We got on a train in New York City and took it to Greenwich, the first stop. We got married at the town hall, outside there. Luckily the weather was good. We came to Connecticut because our marriage would be legal. After the ceremony we all got back on the train and went back to Manhattan for the reception.

Q: What can the audience expect to see at the show here at the Bushnell?

A: They will see unbelievable dancing from some of the greatest dancers out there now. The combination of the music and the dancing makes you feel like Frank Sinatra is there. Dance fans will get to know more about his music and music fans will get to know more about dancing.

Q: Something no one knows about you?

A: I am really into “Tiny Wings” on my iPhone. I am a master.

Tickets for “Come Fly Away’’, which runs through June 3 at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford,  range from $17 to $72. Go to for information.