UConn Parade, UConn Gala And More This Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]uconngala2Yes,  we have two national championship teams here in Connecticut so it just follows that it is all about UConn this weekend. And so it should be!

But besides the Championship Parade on Sunday in Hartford, the UConn Foundation  will be doing some celebrating of its own on Saturday night at its Fifth Annual “White Coat Gala.”  The event will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor recipients  this year are Richard and Jane Lublin and UConn Auxiliary president Irene Engel . Also being honored with the corporate philanthropist award at the ball is Cigna.

For more information go here.

But let’s back it up a bit. On Thursday, the Ct Historical Society will host an opening  reception for its new display honoring acting icon, Katharine Hepburn.

Titled “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen,” the exhibit features over 40 costumes the Oscar-winning,  Connecticut resident wore in 21 films and six stage productions, including “Adam’s Rib,”  ”The Philadelphia Story”  and “Coco.” The display also includes vintage posters, playbills and photos and, of course, an ensemble of her signature tailored beige trohepburn-sponsorship-page-header[1]users and linen jackets.

The exhibit was organized by the Kent State University Museum and will be on display in Hartford through Sept. 13.

For more information go here.

Also on Thursday, the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford will host its annual “Opening The Door openingCelebration” at the Connecticut Convention Center. The event features the induction of the 2014  Hall of Fame inductees, Kevin Henry, Joseph Horvath, Darryl Thames and
Clarence (Sonny) Thomas.

The evening includes dinner, a reception, auctions and some surprises. For more information go here.

Also on Thursday at The Pond House Cafe in Elizabeth Park, the Interfaith Education Task Force will hold its 7th annual “Soaring for Success” fundraising party.

Profits from the party support a collaboration between Noah Webster and Rawson Schools and  the task force that provides volunteer tutors for students in need.

Tickets are $35  and available at the door.

Spgoodspeedyankeesring is absolutely here for two reasons. Baseball season has begun and the Goodspeed in East Haddam opens Friday for the season.

And its opening production is the best of two worlds for a baseball-conflicted Connecticut. It’s “Damn Yankees” with a Red Sox twist.

Opening night of “Damn Yankees, The Musical (The Red Sox Version)  includes some Sox treasures including its World Series trophy which will be on display for ticket holders before the show begins. There will also be some other Red Sox surprises including Wally the Mascot and Sox ”ball girls”  at the opening night event .

For more information go here.

And speaking of theater, “Somewhere” opens Friday night at Hartford Stage. For ticket wetstasteinformation go here.

On Saturday, you can also enjoy a dine around by attending the Wethersfield Historical Society’s Taste of Wethersfield from 7 to 9 :30 p.m. The dine-around will be held at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center at 200 Main St. Cost is $50 per person for early admission at 6 p.m. and $35 per person for admission at 7 p.m. A host of area restaurants will be serving featured foods. There will also be live entertainment and auctions. For information go here.

On Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., at The Studio at Billings Forge in Hartford, GLAD will honor John and Becky Glezegladn for their efforts on behalf  the LGBT community.

The couple have not only financially supported organizations like True Colors,   but have also served as activists for gender equality in the state. For more information go here.


Costner At ESPN Today

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ESPN photo





ESPN had a special visitor today, actor Kevin Costner.

Seems the award-winning actor/director/musician stopped by to promote “Draft Day,” his new movie about fictional Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr.

Costner, who plays Weaver, stars with Jennifer Garner, and while in Bristol made the rounds appearing on a few chosen ESPN shows.

The movie is scheduled for release on April 11.


Parade Day For UConn Teams Is Sunday!

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uconncAnxious to keep that feel good feeling going, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced the parade for the UConn championship-winning men’s and women’s basketball teams  will be on Sunday at 4 p.m. Hartford! Here is the official word!


Parade Kicks-Off at 4PM, Followed by Rally at the State Capitol




(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the Hartford Business Improvement District will host a victory parade and rally in Hartford on Sunday, April 13 to congratulate the UConn Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams for winning their 2014 NCAA  Basketball National Championships.


The parade, which will begin and end at the State Capitol, starts at 4:00 p.m. and will be immediately followed by a victory rally on the north steps of the State Capitol building. Parade and rally organizers are relying on private donations to finance both events.


“A decade after claiming both titles, UConn Women and Men have once again focused the spotlight of college basketball on Connecticut by bringing home another dual national championship and proving to the nation why the road to the Final Four always runs through Connecticut,” Governor Malloy said. “I’m looking forward to joining thousands of Husky fans in Hartford on Sunday to let the both teams and Coaches Auriemma and Ollie know how proud we are of their success this season.”


Governor Malloy added, “I want to thank the Hartford Business Improvement District for again hosting this event, organizing its sponsors, and allowing Connecticut residents to celebrate another dual national championship from our state.”


Organizers continue to rely on private funds to support the parade and the rally. This celebratory event is produced by the Hartford Business Improvement District, in collaboration with the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut, and a number of civic and business organizations. Companies may choose from several sponsorship levels ranging from $10,000 to $2,500 or less. To discuss parade sponsorship opportunities, quickly contact Michael Zaleski at the Hartford Business Improvement District (HBID) at 860-728-2274 or email: mzaleski@hartfordbid.com.


The parade will begin at the State Capitol, travel north on Trinity Street, take a right on Jewell Street, bear left at Gold Street, turn right onto Main Street and then make a right onto Capitol Avenue before returning to the State Capitol where the rally will be held.


Manheim Catches UConn Fever At Annual YWCA Luncheon

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camryn1That UConn “bleed blue” fever seemed to have hit everyone at the Connecticut Convention Center Tuesday in the wake of Monday’s UConn Men’s Basketball Team NCAA championship win.

Even a well-known actress seemed to have caught the ‘Husky Hot!’

“I had planned to go to bed when I got to Hartford but I had to stay up and watch the game,” said actress Camryn Manheim, who was in town to speak at the Hartford Region YWCA’s annual “In the Company of Women” luncheon. “I got in Monday night and put on tv and watched with bated breath,” she said, referring to the late night game and UConn’s win over Kentucky. “I’m a full blown UConn fan now and told everyone they have to text me tonight on how the women do,” she said referring to Tuesday’s championship game between the UConn Women’s Basketball team and Notre Dame.”I can’t watch it, I’ll be on a plane headed back to California, but I want to know who wins.”

Manheim had more to talk about then just sports. Best known for her role as the strong-willed camryn2and plus-sized Ellenor Frutt in the former award-winning tv show “The Practice,” Manheim said she wished she had a strong female role model when she was growing up.

“I want to make sure I now put out a productive message,” said Manheim, credited with being an outspoken activist and an actress who broke the body size stereotype during her successful career.

“I think we have to impress on young women and young men, that what your body looks like is not what is important,” she said, as she signed issues of Hartford Magazine that included an interview with the 53-year-old. “It’s about do you do good service, are you a good person, do you contricamryn4bute to community.”

About 1,400 people attended the fundraiser that also included some pop-up shopping and the lunch featuring Manheim and chaired by Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson and Julie Trowbridge-Dillman.

And yes, there were lots of bleary –eyed people who agreed a late Monday night watching UConn win was more than worth it the loss of a few zzzs.

“With all the bad things that Connecticut seems to be known for lately, the UConn men and women’s teams have put Connecticut in a positive light and we needed it,” said Shannon McCay, a Bloomfield resident who was attending the luncheon for the first time. “We figure we can catch up on my sleep later in the week,” she said smiling. “Monday night and Tuesday night are all about basketball at my house. We want to make sure Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma and their teams know they are very worth staying up late for.”



Hartford Symphony Celebrates 70 With Platinum Gala

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Four hundred guests gathered at the downtown Marriott in Hartford to celebrate the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s platinum gala, “A Celebration of 70 Seasons,” Saturday night. April 2014 198

“The things that Carolyn [Kuan] and the musicians have done over the last few months have been really perfect for a celebration of this magnitude,” said Jim Remis, HSO board chairman, who attended the event with wife Nancy Remis. “Seventy years in this town with great music. And 70 more coming.”

April 2014 187In true Hartford Symphony fashion guests were treated to music by several students (current and past winners of the HSO’s Young Artists Competition) during the cocktail hour, and then a special performance by the orchestra later in the evening in the grand ballroom, conducted by music director Carolyn Kuan.

Among the 400 in attendance were Jeff Brown, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts board member and wife Virginia; Susan O’Brien, HSO’s assistant director of individual giving; Dr. Gary Rhule, who is currently working on his second novel; and Esther Pryor, HSO board member and mom Claire Pryor of West Hartford (Claire and her late husband were involved with the symphony since the 70s).

TV and radio personality Jim Masters was the evening’s emcee.April 2014 195

And proving that the symphony is truly for all ages, board member Mark Hayes tells Java that he’s been taking his daughter Raegan, 7, to the symphony since she was 2 years old.

“My father took me to the symphony,” said Hayes. “The most special thing about the symphony, for me, is being able to share that moment with my daughter.”April 2014 202

More photos from the event here



Wicks Heading South (Sometimes!)

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They are one of Hartford’s most creative and giving power couples.

But author/photographer Walter Wick (‘Can you See What I See’ series) and his wife artist/stylist Linda Cheverton Wick are dialing things back a bit to spend time at a new home in Florida.

To read more go to http://cour.at/1jGrdll

Finally April And A Hartford Weekend To Behold!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Sun, some milder weather and a new month mean lots of possibilities this weekend in and around Hartford.

Thursday and Friday are parties with a kick.

At the Wadsworth Atheneum it’s “Tango!” at its First Thursday After Hours event from 5 to dancing8 p.m. There will be tango lessons at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. by the Hartford Argentine Tango Society with music by Sofia Tosello and Tangolando. Get creative by making paper flowers, take advantage of the ’3 in 30′ tour at 6 p.m., feast on Argentine-inspired food and see the film ‘Elsa and Fred’ at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 for non-members, free for members. Information: thewadsworth.org

You can also get an early start on the weekend by heading over to theegypt Connecticut Science  Center and its ‘Liquid Lounge: Party by the Pyramids’ from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday.

Coined as Hartford’s ‘hottest’ 21+ party, the evening will include live music, dancing, gourmet food carts, hands-on exhibits and some special treats including a ride on a ‘tiger’ with Safari Bob, African animals, belly dancing classes, Egyptian crafts and more as the museum highlights its ‘Lost Egypt’ exhibit. Dress like an Egyptian for chance to win a prize.  Tickets are $18 at the door. Space is limited. Information:  ctsciencecenter.org

Tbledsoehis weekend it is all about UConn basketball in Connecticut but if you want to see a former football star, head down to the new Maximum Beverage on Route 10 in Farmington where former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe will be pitching his Doubleback wine.

Bledsoe is the special guest at the new store co-owned by ESPN personality Colin Cowherd.  Bledsoe will be at the store from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Saturday is also SWAN Day in Wolcott, Support Women Artists Now Day.swan

More than 25 female artists will be featured with their art including painting, dance and music.

Among the performers are them Damn Hamiltons, Vivienna Laflamme, Post Modern Panic and Angie of 1974.

The festival takes place at illusions Night Club, 1639 Wolcott Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 70th anniversary  at its ‘Platinum Gala: A Celebration of 70 Seasons’ at the Hartford Marriott Downtown on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. The black tie party includes a cocktail reception, dinner, open bar, live auction and a special performance by HSO musicians led by Maestra Carolyn Kuan.   Information: 860-246-8742 excamrynt. 326 or hartfordsymphony.org

And looking ahead, the Hartford Region YWCA will host its annual ’In the Company of Women’ luncheon April 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Special guest will be actress Camryn Manheim, best known for her Emmy and Golden Globe award winning acting on the hit tv show ‘The Practice.’

Information: ywcahartford.org

And don’t forget you get enjoy some fine dining down in New Haven as its ‘NewHaven Restaurant Week’ continues through Apil 11 with specially priced meals at dozens of restaurants there.

And last but not least, for couples planning their big day, the annual Bridal Expo will be happening at the XL Center, offering brides and grooms -to-be all they need to know when it comes to planning a wedding. Information: jenskproductions.com










Liver Foundation Serves “Flavors” With Flair And Celebrity Chefs

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liver10 (2)He was the kind of guy you couldn’t ignore as he stood in the doorway at the Aqua Turf, suave but not showy in his tux, and clearly happy to be at the American Liver Foundation CT Division’s annual “Flavors of Ct” fundraiser.
And it didn’t matter that he was only 11, because Christian Mercado,  who suffers from liver disease, knew how to work a room as the evening’s featured guest.
“I’ve worn tuxes before,” the North Haven youngster explained, easily handling yet anotherliver99 interview as hundreds of people arrived for the black-tie event featuring sophisticated sit-down wine-paired dinners prepared by a who’s who of celebrity chefs and served at lushly set tables worthy of any food/wine/home magazine cover. “I’m excited about tonight,” said the North Haven middle-school student. “I can’t wait to speak to the audience.”
“He wants to be an actor,” grinned his mother Nancy Rodriguez who explained her son has an immune system problem that results in his liver not working correctly. “As you can see, he’s such a ham.”

While the 11-year-old was the center of attention, the celebrity chefs who stepped up to cook and serve their gourmet dinners were the stars.
Among them, some of the Hartford area’s favorites including Carbone’s Vinnie Carbone, Besito’s Tim East, Cugino’s Mario Cirikovic, Peppercorn’s Dino Cialfi, Café Colt’s Harry Schwartz, Infinity’s Dan Fortin Hot Tomato’s Kevin Ruoff and The Willows Leo Bushey.
Bushey, once the chef at several area restaurants including Acqua Oyster Bar, The Simsbury Inn and The Hartford Club once again showed his cooking skills and then his table setting expertise as well, creating a decorative presentation that was all edible.

liver100 (2)
“You know how I am about farm-to-table and not wasting anything,” he grinned about the display at his Bristol restaurant’s table that won “Best Flora Table Design.” Besides an array of edible spring flowers including miniature daffodils and lavender piled in rustic containers, and crudités cleverly doing dual duty as part of the table’s decorative diorama, the ”dirt” that served as the table runner was actually edible savory and sweet chocolate cake crumbs.
Millwright’s, whose owner/executive chef Tyler Anderson also served as the evening’s Honorary Chef, won “Something Out of Nothing” award for his table. The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel, whose table was reflective a tony summer dinner under a pergola, won the “Best Guest Giveaway” award thanks to the canvas tote bags full of gifts on each guest’s chair.

Clear Channel’s Renee DiNino served as master of ceremonies.
“I like to come to this just because sitting in this room and seeing so many beautiful tables filledliver5 with so much good food makes me want to go home and try harder in my own dining room,” laughed Grace Watkins, a pharmaceutical representative who was part of the crowd. “I think this is one of the prettiest and tastiest fundraisers there are in the state” she said. “And it all benefits a very good cause.”
Other prize winners were: “Most Elegant Table Design,” Bin 100 in Milford and Mambo in New Haven;“Most Witty Table Design” La Tavola in Waterbury and “Best Overall Table Design,” Caseus, New Haven.
For more pictures go here.

QU Names New Journalism Chair, Leno To SCSU

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Convey, KevinA guy with hands-on news experience has a new job with the Department of Journalism at Quinnipiac University.

Newspaper veteran Kevin R. Convey, a former editor-in-chief at the New York Daily News, has been named department chair of the school in Hamden.

Convey, of Brockton, Mass. and New York City, was a journalist for three decades, working his way up from reporter to editor-in-chief at the Boston Herald and then serving as editor-in-chief of the Daily News in New York.

“Kevin has an outstanding record of achievement as a journalist,” said Lee Kamlet, dean of the School of Communications. “His deep experience has given him a very clear idea of where journalism and journalism education ought to be going.”

Convey will also be an assistant professor at the school.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Quinnipiac’s talented students, accomplished faculty and forward-thinking administration,” he said.

Convey earned a master’s degree in entrepreneurial journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York and is an adjunct professor at both New York University and The City College of New York.spyros

Speaking of people in the news and providing the news…

Brian Spyros is the new guys at WTNH News 8 in New Haven. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Spyros worked at WFSB and WBOC in Maryland.

At NBC Connecticut, it’s goodbye to Stephania Jimenez who has taken a new job as an anchor at KZTV in Corpus Christi, Texas.

And for those of you mourning the loss of Jay Leno from late night television, you can catch him at Southern Connecticut State University in May.

Leno, who was replaced by Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” earlier this year, will be the guest speaker at Southern Connecticut State University on May 9 at its annual Fusco Distinlenoguished Lecture Series.

Tickets begin at $30 for students and go to $150 for VIP seats that also include a post-reception meet –and-greet with Leno. For information go here.

And finally, you may remember Project Runway winner Mondo Guerra visit here last fall when he was the celebrity judge at AIDS CT first annual “We Can: An Evening with Mondo Guerra, ”  a Project Runway “ fashion fundraiser here.

It featured a slew of area designers including Jean Anne Boccaccio who won the competition that night.

The real reality show that airs on Lifetime Channel, is having amondo1 casting call for next season, inviting “hot fashion designers” who want to who their work on the runways of New York City’s Fashion Week to audition for the show.

So Hartford area fashion designers,  go here for a chance to be on the show.


Amistad Tempts With ‘A Taste of History’

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amistad99Braised short ribs with papaya salsa and plantains,  decadent made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese, sweet veal meatballs, spicy African peppers, hearty Brazilian calabaza and curry chowder.

Hungry yet?

Too bad because it’s too late. You had to be at the Wadsworth Atheneum Monday night if you wanted to enjoy the foods at the Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s biannual “Taste of History” party.

Honorary chair and the chef everyone knows, Billy Grant, rounded up a who’s who of fellow chefs who brought their best African/Caribbean/South American insprired dishes with them, serving up nearly 300 people who attended the festival that included live entertainment and an art bar in the downtown musuem.

“It’s our celebration,” said center executive Olivia White. “it is a celebration of our art, our historytaste31taste35 and our food.”

And while it was about art and entertainment, it was the small plates of food that had everyone talking.

“Some of it is almost as good as my mother would make,” said Carol McBride as she sampled choices from Russell Caters.

“This rice is good and I usually don’t like rice,” added McBride’s friend, Madeline Welborn, as she sampled one of dozens of dishes featured at the event.

“The food, well you have to admit it’s good,” said East Hartford resident Diane Stuart, who has attended the fundraiser several times since it started. “But it’s more than that,” she said. “It’s a beautiful setting with all this beautiful art, a nice way to end the day and a really good way to suptaste37port the Amistad Center and its commitment to our history and culture.

Participating restaurants included Dish Bar & Grill, Grants Restaurant & Bar, Healthy Source Catering, The Mill at 2T, Peppercorn’s Grill, Restaurant Bricco, Russell’s Creative Global Cuisine, Salute Restaurant, and Scott’s Jamaican Bakery, Trinity’s Carry Out and Wintonbury Hills Golf Course.