Tag Archives: Amistad Center

Amistad Tempts With ‘A Taste of History’

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , , , Date:

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.

Martha Reeves Makes Me Forget My Feet!

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , Date:

reeves11 When it came to the award for “Best Celebrity Mojo” at an event, hands down it should go to the Amistad Center for Art & Culture where Motown icon Martha Reeves was the guest at its annual gala, called of course, “Dancing in the Streets.”

And Ms. Reeves, best known as the front woman for the ‘60s and ‘70s group “Martha and the Vandellas” was a pleasure to behold. On an elevator ride up she emphasized that Motown and its founder Berry Gordy Jr. made sure its star stable had talent and commitment.

And there were her memories.

“In 1964 we were playing in Montgomery, Alabama with fellow Motown star, Smokey Robinson. The audience section was segregated into a white section and a black section,” she recalled about the volatile racial tension in the South as Martha & The Vandellas, and Robinson performed. “By the time our performance was done, both sides of the audience had crossed those barriers and they were dancing together.”

For more gala pictures go here.

(Okay, I was so excited to meet her that I forgot how much my feet were now killing me. But as I prepare for gala number four, all I can think about is the end of the night and getting these darn shoes off and my Ugg slippers on !)

A Hartford Weekend of Galas Galore and Halloween Hijinks

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Date:

calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Java doesn’t know what to say except grab a nap when you can because the “going out” possibilities are almost too numerous to mention this pre-Halloween weekend. But here we go!

Yep, those Boston Red Sox are in the World Series so how lucky is the Greater Hartford YMCA! Former Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield comes to Hartford town Thursday for the “YMCA Celebrates Champions ” program at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Theredsox baseball legend, community leader and philanthropist will be featured at the event that benefits the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and Read to Succeed program.

Information: ghymca.org or call 860-522-9622.

The Norma Terris Theatre continues the Goodspeed’s 50th anniversary party with the opening of “Snapshots, A Musical Scrapbook” on Thursday.  Curtain up at 8 p.m. Information: goodspeed.org.

On Cowboy-cartoon[1]Friday, there are not only a few pre-Halloween parties around town but also a couple of events benefitting really good causes. Open Hearth will hold its annual Open Hearth Round-Up  at 7 p.m. at the home of Kelly and Jon Jarvis in Hartford. Proceeds from the western-wear fundraiser benefit the non-profit that provides services and shelter to Greater Hartford’s homeless men.

On Saturday, there’s a party in nearly every part of Hartford. 

It all starts at the Connecticut Convention Center where  the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective  will host its annual “One Big Event,” a black tie affair benefitting the organization’s programs. Music by Shaded Soul band, dancing, silent and live auctions, food, and the who’s who of New England LGBTQ life are highlights of the night.

Cross the boulevard to Hartford’s Front Street complex where the nearly completed Infinity Hall bigmo2 will be the venue Saturday for the annual “Big Mo.” Big Mo’ (the “Mo’” stands for “mo’mentum”) has been Riverfront’s major fundraising event since 2000, celebrating positive changes in Hartford and East Hartford, with a focus on locations close to the River.Information: riverfront.org

 Still have some energy? Walk up the block to the Wadsworth and don’t be surprised if you see revelers there ‘dancing in the street.’ That’s because the Amistad Center for Art & Culture  will be welcoming  girl group icon Martha Reeves of Martha & The Vandellas at its annual Fall Gala, called, of course “Dancing in the Streets.”

 PDAIEDA5[1]roceeds from  the dinner/dance benefit the center which owns a collection of 7000 items including art, artifacts and popular culture objects that document the experience, expressions and history of people of African-American heritage. .

Over at the Bushnell Saturday, the Hartford Symphony will be continuing its 50th anniversary celebration with a performance of  Walt Disney’s groundbreaking marriage of symphonic music and animation, Fantasia. Information: bushnell.org

  We’re not done yet as far as Saturday goes. Get on overoddballblog1 to Arbor Street where Real Art Ways is holding its Odd Ball. Usually held in the spring, the costume ball was moved to Halloween weekend because well, what better time of year to dress up in a costume. Plan on tricked out galleries, eerie photo ops and outrageous tunes. Tickets are $65, and include treats by top local chefs, specialty potions, and a costume contest! A cash bar will also be available. If you just want to dress up and dance, there are  $25 “Just Dance” tickets available starting at 11 PM.  Information:realartways.org

Also, if you are in the mood for some football fix, head over to Hot Tomato’s at Union Station in Hartford on saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. where ESPN guy and former NFL standout Mike Ditka will be signing bottles of his wine! 

If you have some free time Satuday, you also might want to head over to the YWCA’s Money Conference for Women featuring broadcast journalist/author Stacey Tisdale.  The conference begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center. Admission is free.



Despite the Snow, Some Events Are Still A Go

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , , , , Date:

amistadAs the cancellations roll in and Connecticut braces for the anticipated blizzard, there are still events that are going on no matter what, according to updates sent to Java  today.

They includes the Amistad Center’s Authors@Amistad  series which tonight, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. features New York Times reporter and author Rachel Swains.

The center is located at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

heart_3[1]Also, the “Art for the Open Heart” fundraiser benefiting Hartford artist Tao LaBossiere, who will have heart surgery later this month, is also scheduled to go on as planned Saturday night at ArtSpace, 555 Asylum Avenue, Hartford,  beginning at 6 p.m.

So if you are one of those hearty souls that won’t let the snow stop you, just be careful out there.

Three-Day Weekend Hartford? Enjoy!

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , , , Date:

calendar_clip_art-1_optFor some, this weekend will be a decadent three days long because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday.

And that means some additional special events.

On Friday, the Connecticut Historical Society will open a new exhibit “Cooking By The Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart.”

ameliasThe exhibit, developed by students in the Public History Program at Central Connecticut State College,  traces the changes in cooking and its impact on society  and showcases one of only four surviving first editions of Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery. The book, America’s first cookbook , was published in Hartford in 1796. The featured cookbooks include “Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book” by Catharine Esther Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fannie Farmer’s “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book”  and  Martha Stewart’s “Entertaining.” The opening reception is from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Plans are to hold a “Community Potluck” in conjunction with the exhibit on April 5.


On Saturday,  The Bridge Family Center will hold its 14th annual “Children’s Charity Ball” at the Hartford Golf Club beginning at 6 p.m. Honorary chairs are Peter and Cynthia Gutermann and UTC Propulsion & Aerospace. Proceeds from the event, which includes live and silent auctions, benefit the center which provides services and support for young people and their families.

king4[1]The state will hold its  27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration Monday at  11 a.m. in the Hall of Flags in the Capitol Building. Three people will be honored: Rex Fowler, Hartford City Mission (Leadership Honoree); Diane Lucas, Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative (Community Honoree); and the Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Christian Community Action (Humanitarian Honoree). The Liberty Bell will be rung following the ceremony.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, is giving free tours talking about Stowe and the Emancipation Proclamation on Monday in honor of King. Tour guides will also discuss King’s march on Washington D.C. 50 years ago, where he gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. Stowe, who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” urged then-Pres. Abraham Lincoln to sign the proclamation. Tours run between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There are children’s tours, for ages 5 to 10, at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. They include a tour of the home with props, crafts and storytelling. Information: 860-522-9258 and www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.

The Mark Twain House is offering free tours to Hartford residents on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Residents should bring proof of residency. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; with the last tour is at 4:30.  Information: www.marktwainhouse.org.

amistadThe Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the Connecticut African-American Affairs Commission and the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission will also mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The event features poetry,  music, living history and historical readings from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum.


salute_opt[1]Monday is not only Martin Luther King Day. it also marks the start of the two-week long Taste of Hartford, a way to dine fine and inexpensively!

Dozens of Hartford restaurants are offering $20.13 dinners as part of the promotion. More information on participating restaurants and menus is available at tastehartford.com.