RAW “Taste” Series Not Over Yet

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raw1 (2)Dinner included “l’ombre et lumiere” and “gargouillou,” dishes made famous by food legend Michael Bras and recreated Monday by On20 executive chef Jeffrey Lizotte and staff at Real Art Ways.

While the sold-out dinner was scheduled to be the last in RAW’s food-as-art inspired “Taste” series featuring  the film collection “Inventing Cuisine” and tasting plates by the area’s most popular local chefs, it’s not.

raw2 (2)“We are going to keep it going,” said RAW executive director Will Wilkins who was part of the crowd that at what was to be the last of the three-event series. “There are still a few more documentaries in the collection and we have other chefs who would like to come in and it has been so popular that we plan to resume it after Labor Day.”

Lizotte had it all under control as he prepared food for 100 included the vegetable mosaic “gargouillou” and the monk fish and black olive oil “l’ombre et lumiere” (light and dark) dish.

“Food is art and this series is wonderful,” said Lizotte. “I don’t think there is anything like it around.”raw3 (2)

raw4 (2)Among those at the dinner, hosted by food writer Rand Richards Cooper, was popular former staffer LB Munoz.

“I don’t work here anymore but I still want to support the programs,” said Munoz, whose date for the night was dad, Roberto Munoz.

Perez Leaving Fox CT , Bernstein Arriving

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Jen Bernstein 03

Connecticut native Jennifer Bernstein will be returning as an anchor/reporter to Fox Ct on Aug. 4.


Bernstein will replace veteran anchor and show host Laurie Perez who leaves the stationlaurie_perez on July 25.

“My husband Jeff Collette accepted a position at the NFL network in California and he started a few weeks ago,” Perez said.

“I’ll be working at KCBS starting in August.”

The award-winning journalist said she is ready for the new adventure.

“I grew up, personally and professionally, here at Fox,” the South Windsor native said. As excited as I am for this new adventure, I’ll miss more people than I can possibly name,” she said. “My thanks to everyone for helping make the last decade plus a great ride.”

“Laurie has been an outstanding reporter and anchor,” said station news director Coleen Marren. “Her dedication and commitment will be missed by our viewers and the Fox Ct team.”

Bernstein will step into Perez’s jobs as anchor FOX CT News at 4, covering Connecticut politics and co-anchoring “The Real Story” with Al Terzi.

Bernstein was a reporter for FOX CT news from 2010-2012, where she worked as the station’s first  multimedia journalist. She most recently worked as a reporter at KYW, Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate. 


“We are thrilled Jenn is rejoining our team,”  said  Marren.
“As a Connecticut native, she knows the state well and I’m sure our viewers will be happy to know such a talented journalist and multimedia innovator is back in our newsroom,” 

‘Big E’ Means ‘Extra’ Hair for 2014

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Best known for the food that is served, the 2014 Big E is offering a little something extra this year, facial hair.

zzThis year The Big E six-state fair is hosting a contest to find the ‘Best Beard in New England.” The contest is being held in conjunction with a special performance during this year’s fair by legendary rock band, ZZ Top.  

The contest will ask guys with the best beards (length, style, or overall size) to submit a photo, with their contact information on the official application via The Big E’s Facebook page, facebook.com/TheBigE. Entrants must upload a photo of their beard by Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. Starting the following Monday, Aug. 18, Big E Facebook fans will cast votes for their favorites. The voting period will end Aug. 25 at 10 a.m.

The top five entrants that receive the most votes will advance to the final round of judging held at The Big E, Sunday, Sept. 21 at 2:45 p.m. on the Court of Honor Stage.  The finalists will receive a parking pass and two Big E admission tickets to attend the event with a friend. Finalists must appear in person with their beard intact in order to strut their stuff in the competition. A panel of local celebrity judges will name one lucky contestant’s facial hair the “Best Beard in New England.”

The winner will receive two complimentary tickets to the ZZ Top concert on Sept. 26  at the Xfinity arena at The Big E, and a Big E Prize pack.

Tickets are currently on sale for the ZZ Top concert, which include Big E admission when purchased prior to the show date.  Advance tickets to this year’s The Big E, Sept. 12 to 28, are also on sale.

For more information or for tickets, visit www.TheBigE.com.

HBJ Announces 2014 ’40 Under 40′ List

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fortyuWho are some of the area’s most effective young movers and shakers?

The Hartford Business Journal released its “40 under 40″ list Monday with a twist. There are 42 people on the list this year.

Judges ended up adding a couple of extra to the list of people who have accomplished much in the early stages of their careers and are considered to have the potential to go on to do even greater things. And that’s a good thing.

Those chosen this year represent an eclectic mix of careers ranging from entrepreneurs and executives to community leaders and politicians.

Among those on this year’s list are Martin Gugliotti, artistic director at Gugliotti Salon and Spa and dean of students at International Institute of Cosmetology, Greater Hartford Arts Council ” go to” guy Tim Yergeau, Hartford attorney and state representative Matt Ritter, owner/principal of Golden Egg Concepts Lindsay Mathieu, Camp Courant’s McKinley Albert, Ryan Marketing’s Lindsay Ryan Jensen, Hartford’s  marketing, events and cultural affairs director Kristina Newman- Scott, Fox Ct anchor Alison Morris, co-founder and CEO of ManyMentors Keshia Ashe and  University of St. Joseph assistant professor of biology Christopher Zito.

For a complete list of winners go here.

Honorees will be celebrated at a party on Sept. 22 at the CT Convention Center from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $85 each. for more information go here.

Congrats to all!


Lionel Richie ‘Truly’ Coming To Mohegan

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He had us dancing on the ceiling and all night long and now he is coming to Connecticut.

Singer. songwriter, producer and the guy who helps us fall in and out of love will be at Mohegan Sun Saturday with his “All the Hits All Night Long” tour, also featuring CeeLo Green.

The 65-year-old was “truly” funny and sweet and serious as he Spilled the Beans with Java here.


James Garner Dies

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He was one of my favorites since I was a kid who watched Maverick. The Notebook sealed the deal .

Miss his kind of acting and more. He set a high bar in many ways. http://m.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/james-garner-dead-86-report-article-1.1873583

CT Moms Score With Jake Owen At Mohegan

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It’s a story that just goes to show you never know who is eavesdropping on conversations between gal pals.

Three Connecticut moms who were kicking back at Mohegan Sun not only ended up with quality time with country music artist Jake Owen, but along the way, may have also become country music fans, according to People magazine.

Read the story here.

New Show, New Book, New Changes At CT TV/Radio

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There’s yet another political show in town as yet another local television network jumps into theGeorge+Colli+2014[1] Sunday morning bipartisan lineup.

Gerry+Brooks+2014[1]NBC CT has launched its new political program, “Decision 2014” tapping Gerry Brooks, Todd Piro and George Colli to lead the 30-minute show.

“We are off to a good start,” said network vice president of news Matt Piacente about the newrogram that premiered on July 13. “It’s a good lead in to “Meet the Press” and we are looking to build it up and hopefully sustain the show beyond Election Day.”

Todd PiroThe very well-known Brooks said his approach to the show is to give viewers the chance to learn more about people who are running for office and the issues of an election year.

“I’m no political reporter but I am plugged in,” said Brooks about his familiarity with the political scene in Connecticut. “I’m just as interested in who the candidates are and what their opinions are as anyone else would be. I think we use a different line of questioning when we do the interviews. We see the show as a public service.”

The program airs at 10 a.m. This week’s guests are Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley and NBC’s David Gregory.

In other NBC CT news, the station has said adieu to former traffic reporter Kayla James.

“Her contract was over and we had a parting of the ways,” said Piacente who expects to have some new hire announcements soon.

Switching channels, those who remember Hallie Jackson from WFSB, will be happy to know she has continued her upward bound career path, recently named correspondent for NBC News. Jackson left WFSB two years ago to work for Hearst Television in Washington D.C.

karaAlso, the proofs are out on WFSB anchor and Better Ct show co-host Kara Sundlun’s book ”Finding Dad.”

The book, published by Behler Publications, traceskara (2) Sundlun’s estrangement and subsequent reconciliation with her biological father and former Rhode Island governor, the late Bruce Sundlun. It is scheduled to be released in November.

Advanced copies can be ordered here.

On the radio side, veteran radio guy John Seville won’t be playing those country tunes on WWYZ 92.5 FM as often as usual.

Seville announced via Facebook that his afternoon show will be no more.

“I’ll still be on the station weekends from 10a.m. to 3 p.m. and “filling in” when needed,” Seville wrote. “Quite honestly-I’m excited about this change- since it will allow me to focus on my other businesses during the week-yet still be on the radio part time.”

Infinity Music Hall Opens In August With Toad the Wet Sprocket

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infinityhWhen the curtain goes up next month at the anxiously anticipated opening of Hartford’s Infinity Hall & Bistro, it will be the  ’80s/’90s alternative group Toad the Wet Sprocket taking center stage.

Infinity Hall founder/owner Dan Hincks announced Thursday that ribbon-cutting will be held on Aug. 21 with the well-known reunited band christening the stage with its performance on Aug. 28.

“It is absolutely a tremendous feeling to see it happening,” said Hincks. ” I have gotten so much support from everybody in the Hartford community.  It’s a big project and a real joy to see it come to fruition.”

Celebrating the “new beat” that comes with the announced music hall opening was Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.

“It’s a good beat for the city,” said Segarra about the music hall opening. “There is a lot of positive energy in Hartford and this is one of those exciting additions.”

Considered a key component to downtown’s Front Street entertainment district development, the $6 million concert hall and bistro project has been one of the main topics of discussion around the city since first proposed as the main jewel in the riverfront development project in 2012. City leaders and business owners have attentively watched as construction on the performance venue progressed over the past year, a project they are banking on as a critical boost the city needs as part of its revitalization efforts.

“I am really excited to see the house lights come on,” said Michael W. Freimuth, executive director of the Capital Region Development Authority. “The music hall is going to generate more foot traffic for the restaurants that have opened, complements the theater and offers another amenity to the overall convention center area.”

Among the artists already booked for the Hartford venue, Hincks said, are John Mayall, Paula Poundstone, Chick Corea and the Vigil, 10,000 Maniacs, Black 47 and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

The music hall seats about 500 people. The venue, funded in part with $1.3 million in state bonding money, includes a 9,800 square feet main level which includes box office, bistro and music hall and a 7,000 square-foot mezzanine with more seating, VIP dining space, kitchen,  green room for artists, and a private dining room that is available for rent .

The Hartford location is the second location for Infinity Hall. The original venue, which opened in 2008,  is located in a 19th century restored opera house in rural Norfolk. It has become a popular concert site featuring an eclectic mix of live acts ranging from Wilson Phillips, Kevin Bacon and the Bacon Band to Keb Mo, the late Dave Brubeck,  Kevin Costner and his band  and Tory Amos.

“Without Norfolk, we wouldn’t be in Hartford,” Hincks said Thursday. “The patrons truly appreciate the high quality entertainment Infinity provides,” he said. “It makes senses to expand into Hartford. We’re so excited to join this increasingly vibrant market and thrilled to bring Connecticut and Massachusetts even more music and dining options.”

Toad the Wet Sprocket is best known for its 90s hits including “All I Want” and “Walk on The Ocean.”  The band split in the late 90s, reunited years later and now doing concert tours together. In 2013 the group, that includes Glen Phillips, Todd Nichols, Dean Dinning, and Randy Guss, released an album ” New Constellation.”

Asked if he knew anything about the group whose music was also featured in movies including “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”  in 1992 and Mike Myers “So I Married An Axe Murder” in 1993, Segarra said his memory of the band was “refreshed” upon learning the official news about the opening performance.

“I absolutely will be at that concert,” he said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other dignitaries are expected at the Aug. 21 ribbon-cutting. The bistro will open Aug. 22, Hincks said.

“We will be offering diners a tour of the building and the music hall when they come in,” he said.

Located next to the upscale Capital Grille and across from Ted Turner’s Ted’s Montana Grill, the music hall/bistro also shares the block with the Spotlight Theaters. The Front Street project is being developed by the HB Nitkin Group, with Nixs Hartford restaurant also scheduled to open soon.

Infinity tickets go on sale for some of the Hartford venue July 24. People can visit the website, InfinityHall.com, to purchase concert tickets and make dinner reservations, or call the box office at 866-666-6306.



Let The Weekend Begin Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]What makes you happiest during the summer?

What about a really, really  good tag sale, an outdoor outing by the water or a picnic and live music in the park, an all-day party capped with a fabulous gala or  two weeks worth of affordable dining.

Hartford has them all beginning this weekend.

It all starts Thursday with the popular  20th Annual Tabor House Giant Tag Sale at the Sisters of St. Joseph, 27 Park Road, West Hartford.

tabortag6In case you missed it in past years, this is the mother of all tag sales in these parts, featuring a mega-sized yard and huge assembly room full of  everything from toys and jewelry to furniture, holiday items, household items, and honestly, just about anything you can imagine, including the kitchen sink.

tabortag2_optAnd the proceeds all go to a good cause thanks to Loretta Dyson and her son, David Dyson,  who have tirelessly spearheaded the award-winning annual fundraiser benefiting programs, support services and housing for those with HIV/AIDS.

The mega-sale begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with an Opening Night Party. Admission is $10 per person and includes a sneak peek at the loot as well as wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and a teacup auction. The tag sale continues on Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $1 Friday and free on Saturday.

And one other thing, especially to those trying to get some order around the house, donations are still being accepted. Just use the Prospect Avenue entrance, which leads to this unloading zone to donate your treasures. And last but not least, volunteers are always welcome – same hours, same place.

For more information go here.

It’s also Creative Cocktail Hour time at Real Art Ways Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. This month’s theme is maker-fair fest with guests from Hartford Denim Co., Blaze & Bloom, Hartford Hoops and Sustainable Farm School. For more information go here.

jazzFriday marks opening night of the 23rd Annual Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz at Bushnell Park.

A host of performers will be featured including Manuel Valera and David Sanborn on Friday, the Jazz All- Stars on Saturday and Javon Jackson on Sunday.

There are food and libation vendors, arts and crafts and those planning to attend can bring blankets, small tables and chairs.

For a complete event schedule go here.

The weather forecast is a good one for Saturday so also head on over to Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza  where the Connecticut Ballet’s Summer Dance Caravan will entertain beginning at 7:30  p.m.

The program is titled “Danza! A Celebration of Latin Choreographers. ”  It will feature piecesballet (2) choreographed by Alberto Alonso from Cuba,  Rodney Rivera from Puerto Rico, Daniel Fetecua-Soto from Colombia and  Marcos Vedoveto from Brazil

Three of the works are world premieres and the Alonso work is a revival of a duet called ‘Carmen Suite’ which he created for the Bolshoi Ballet’s Maya Plisetskaya.

The company dancers are from Japan, Brazil, Cuba, Ukraine, Colombia, (Soviet) Georgia, New York, and Connecticut.

For more infromation go here.

It’s also birthday party time Saturday!samcolt

Legendary businessman, entrepreneur and community leader Sam Colt will be honored all day Saturday as Hartford celebrates the 200th anniversary of his birth.

A variety of family activities, historical exhibits and tours  will be featured at Colt Park all day. And at night, there will be the Colt Gala at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 155 Wyllys St., from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

The gala includes dancing, a big band, a silent auction, a cash bar and a buffet-style dinner. Tickets are $100. For more information go here.

And finally, what nicer summer gift to yourself than ditching the kitchen and eating out? Wish granted.

saluteIt’s “Taste of Hartford” summer version beginning July 21 and that means meal deals at more than 30 particiapting restaurants around Hartford. Fixed-price meal deals from $20.14 to $30 will be featured. Taste of Hartford continues through Aug. 3 and is presented by the Greater Hartford Arts Council in partnership with the Hartford Advocate.

And don’t forget the something new this year. There are also $17.64 lunch specials in honor of the Courant’s 250th anniversary celebration.

For more information and a look at the menus go here.