Tag Archives: hartford

Infinity Music Hall & Bistro Cuts The Ribbon In Hartford

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infin1Not since, well, since who knows when,  has there been such an anticipated happening in Hartford as there was Thursday when the long awaited Infinity Music Hall & Bistro held it official ribbon cutting.
Considered the crown jewel of the Front Street development project, it was one happy crowd that turned lunchtime into a happy hour at the impressive theater and restaurant,  all anxious to get a sneak peek of the place  and celebrate the opening of what is expected to be one the city’s biggest draws.
“I’m thankful and excited and it’s another win for Hartford,” said a beaming Hartfordinfin3 Mayor Pedro Segarra as he worked a room full of business leaders, politicians including Gov. Dan Malloy and U.S. Congressman John Larson, theater officials including CEO and owner Dan Hincks and Front Street neighbors including Matt Fleury from the CT Science Center and Riverfront Recapture CEO/president Joe Marfuggi.
For Helen Nitkin, who with her late husband Brad and their Greenwich-based  HB Nitkin Group, launched the Front Street entertainment and restaurant district, Thursday’s ceremonies were bittersweet.
infini8“I just wish he were here to see this,” said Nitkin, sporting a special ring and watch, gifts her late husband gave her and piece she only wears when she comes to Front Street.  “He would be so happy to see how this all came together.”
If pride could be measured, Hincks would surely be the winner as he graciously gave guests a tour of the impressive 500-seat theater that 90-seat bistro, did television interviews and juggled hundreds of handshakes and congratulations from well-wishers .
“I have two daughters and this feels like my third,” grinned Hincks, who opened his first Infinity Hall in Norfolk several years ago.
Acknowledging that  many feel it will be up to the theater to attract the crowds to Front Street, Hincks said his plan is to simply do the best job her can. “We want to succeed and I think Hartford is ready for it,” Hincks said. “We’ll draw the people with good quality talent and performances and our neighbors will benefit.”
Featured entertainer at the ribbon cutting ceremonies was Jonathan Edwards, best known for his 1972 hit, “Sunshine.” A regular headliner at the Norfolk location, Edwards said he was thrilled to be at the Hartford party. “I’d cheat on Norfolk and perform here too,” he grinned. “It’s a beautiful theater.”

 

 

 

Nixs Hartford Throws A VIP Party

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nix2Talk about taking directions to heart! Nixs tag line, “Play Nice”  “Have Fun” was the mantra at its new restaurant on Front Street in Hartford Tuesday as the by-invitation-only crowd got its first look at city’s newest eatery in the emerging entertainment/dining district.

“This is so exciting,” said Riverfront Recapture CEO/president Joe Marfuggi, the guy who has helped nurse the Front Street vibe to reality over the years. “Now people can really see all this area is going to be.”

The district has bloomed in the past couple of years with the Spotlight Theatres, restaurants includingnix4 Capital Grille and Ted’s Montana Grill and the soon-to-open Infinity Music Hall & Bistro.

“Look at it, what’s not to be excited about,” said Hartford’s Dept. of Development Services, EDD director Wayne Benjamin as he surveyed the handsome place, best known for its seafood and its Boston roots. “This is great for Hartford.”

nix4Classic movies played on big screen televisions as guests arrived for red carpet photos, a tantalizing seafood display, and appetizer and cocktail samplings that showed off the best of the restaurant that officially opens Saturday, Aug. 16. Among those welcoming the crowd was Nixs managing partner Abner  Kurtin.

“We could not have been more welcome here in Hartford,” said Kurtin about choosing Hartford as one of its locations. Anxious to form a bond with the other new restaurants in the district, Kurtin and the other restaurateurs are already working on an October block party for the area, one aimed at cooperation rather than competition.

“We are all so  different and we can all succeed,” he said.nix1

A familiar face that was part of the welcoming committee was former Treva general manager Yaz Sheriff, who has taken over the same job at Nixs.

nix3“I wanted a change, it is an exciting concept and an exciting area of the city to be part of,” said Sheriff.

Marfuggi, with longtime honey Sherry Brown, didn’t miss a trick when it came to taking advantage of the happy crowd to further promote his dear riverfront and its benefit to the city.

“The Big’Mo is Sept. 13,” said Marfuggi, referring to the very popular annual party that celebrates the river and the development around it. “It’s at 777 Main Street this year and it will be a great party.”

It’s ‘Plan The Weekend Thursday’ Hartford

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A new month is set to arrive and summer is in full swing around these parts. But the arrival ofcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] August means we are on  the downhill side of “enjoy, relax, vacation” time.

There  a few things everyone should do this season like packing a picnic, enjoying an evening concert, stretching out on a blanket under the stars and watching a good movie, heading down to the Hartford Riverfront, savoring the summer harvest, going to a festival or treating yourself to dinner on-the-town.

How lucky are you?! You can do them all this weekend.

karate-kid-box-front-1[1]On Friday, Aug. 1,  it’s a “wax on wax off” kind of night over at Goodwin Park where it’s “Free Movies After Dark” night. Featured film is the 80s classic,  “Karate Kid.” The event is free of charge. For more information go here.

The Wadsworth will also have a movie night with dinner on Friday, Aug 1. This week’s classic feature is “Bombshell” with Jean Harlow.   Dinner and music begin at 5:30, the film is shown at 8 pm. Tickets are available on the museum’s website. for more information go here.

Also on Friday, it’s “First Friday” at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Goza Latin Jazz  will be setting the mood with lively songs and dance rhythms. For more information go here.

This year the Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival at Riverfront Plaza  promises a fun time withcarib music and food and everything Caribbean at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza Saturday. The event features authentic Caribbean cuisine, cool island beverages, spectacular costumes and dance, and island rhythms. For more information go here.

Take a ride down to North Branford and feast on the harvest of the season through Aug. 3. The city will be hosting its “Potato and Corn Festival,” also known as the “PoCo Fest,” at Augur Field, on Route 22. The festival  features rides, games, food, crafts, tractor pulls, performances and on Saturday, fireworks. For more information go here.

Also on Saturday, Deana Martin, daughter of the late, great Dean Martin, will once again be featured at the Mr. Carmel Society’s 89th annual “Enfield Italian Festival.” “Deana Martin: Live in Concert” will also feature Joe Piscopo and Mike Marino as part of the program that includes music and comedy. For more information go here.

The free Monday night jazz series continues at Bushnell Park on Aug. 4. Grab a blanket and enjoy a summer night and good music. For more information go here.

saluteAnd finally, the summer “Taste of Hartford”  continues through the weekend with dozens of Hartford restaurants offering fixed-price menus perfect for your taste buds and your pocketbook. For more information on participating restaurants and menus go here.

 

 

 

Japanalia PotLuck Closes the Door

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japanaYou couldn’t tell if it was a goodbye party or a fashion show at Hartford’s landmark Japanalia Eiko on Whitney Street in Hartford Sunday night.

The landmark store, known nationwide for its creative and upscale silk and beyond separates and dress wear, has officially closed but not before its founders and business partners, and former married couple Dan Blow and Eiko Sakai, threw a party for its family of clients.

“You have to know when it’s time to go,” said Blow, who with his partner Larry, will be moving to Eleuthera, Bahamas.  “My sewing machine has already been shipped there and I plan to do some sewing, just something simpler.”

The talented couple began together 40 years ago, Blow said. Sakai will continue with her own business in Glastonbury.

“We dressed a lot of great people,” said Blow whose designs could always easily be spotted in a crowded room. “Kathleen Turner, Peggy Lee, Kate Hepburn and Holland Taylor wore our clothes,” Blow said as he readied appetizers and wine for expected guests.

But if you missed the potluck soiree, there is another chance to say goodbye. Blow was also well-known for the jazz series he coordinated in Hartford and on September 13, there will be a goodbye program featuring good jazz and well-known performers, Blow said, to celebrate Japanalia’s years of providing music and theater to the area.

Hartford’s ‘Best Dresser’ Off To Newport

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tracyShe’s dressed the best around Hartford including restaurateurs Steve Abrams and Rich Rosenthal, community leader and city point man Oz Griebel, politician Larry Cafero, St. Francis CEO Chris Dadlez, Atty. General George Jepsen and a host of others who are GQ worthy.

But Tracy Murphy of Stackpole Moore Tryon Tuesdays is moving on.

The well-known men’s fashion veteran has taken a new job with Michael Hayes, a women’s, men’s and children’s store on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.

“It’s a good move for me,”  said the 52-year-old who has been with the downtown store for 22 years and is well-known for her love of all things seaside. “I just felt the time was right to make the move.”

 

 

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.

 

 

Amistad Center for Art & Culture Gala In Hartford

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The Amistad Center for Art & Culture celebrated in a big way Friday night with an elegant party at The Society Room of Hartford, honoring three well-known members of the community: vocal artist and producer Jolie Rocke Brown; entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker June Archer; and consultant and community leader John Motley.Juneteenth 2014 028

“First of all they have a phenomenal collection [at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford] that’s very diverse…..And they are doing a lot in the community, a lot with education,” said Rocke Brown of what she admires about the Amistad Center for Art & Culture.

The gala, called “Jubilation,” was just one event during a weekend recognizing Juneteenth and African American achievement and history. Saturday featured the annual Juneteenth Family Day at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.

“It’s a community event…I think it’s the way that Hartford kicks off the summer,” said event co-chair Andrea Hawkins of the gala. “It’s a great party, it has great historical significance and it’s just a really good time.” Hawkins co-chaired the event with Tisa Rabun-Marshall.Juneteenth 2014 023

Among the 300 guests Friday were Olivia S. White, Amistad Center Executive Director; board member Joelle Murchison (Vice President, Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion) with mom Jeanne Murchison; Tiffany and Doug Glanville; and Sara and Luke Bronin. Mistress of Ceremonies was Audrey Washington, of NBC Connecticut, who attended the event with Josh Bruneau.Juneteenth 2014 034

“I’m working on doing a lot of education stories for New Haven public schools,” said Washington, who also anchors the Saturday morning show, NBC Connecticut Today. “I always love coming to events like this, especially the Juneteenth event. It draws a great crowd and it’s remembering something very important.”

Reichl Brings ‘Sizzle’ To Hartford Public Library

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“Gray rain. Hartford. Woke with sunny memories. Midnight ravioli: orange-tossed. Late supper atreichl4 Peppercorn Grill. Wonderful restaurant.”

reichl1 (2)That was famed author and foodie Ruth Reichl’s you-can-almost-taste-it tweet hours after she brought the sizzle to Hartford Public Library’s  “One Big Sizzling Summer Night” fundraiser Thursday.

Reichl, former editor-in-chief of the defunct Gourmet magazine, brought her food expertise, her philosophy on life  and her new book and first novel, “Delicious” to a crowd that was more than happy to celebrate almost-summer at a party that included games, food from a variety of Hartford’s best-known restaurants and a chance to meet the celebrity chef.

“Good food and good books are what you need to pay attention to in life,” said Reichl, who has nowreichl2 moved on to write yet another book. Admitting she was a little lost when she her job evaporated, Reichl said she bounced back with clever tweets that have made her a Twitter star and spending mega-time in the kitchen, with both turning into fodder for the yet-to-be-named new book.

“Cooking saved my life,” she said, explaining the new book will be a combination of how cooking every day after she lost her job helped her get through the transition. And her plan is to combine recipes, her tweets and her walk along a new path all into the new book.

reichl3 - CopyAmong those attending the fundraiser were Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and “I don’t cook” library board president Thea Montanez as library CEO Matt Poland acted as master of ceremonies for the dine-around which attracted a big crowd.

“Everything is great but I just like being able to pose with Ruth,” said Manchester resident Mindy Alvarez, a wanna-be professional chef who was thrilled when she was able to take a quick selfie with the famous author and chef.

“I love the way she makes food down to earth, nothing pretentious or part of a fad,” Alvarez said. “She cooks from her heart, and that’s the best way to do it.”

South Park Inn Celebrates 30 Years

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south1 (2)South Park Inn celebrated its 30th anniversary at The Society Room Thursday night.

Begun to provide emergency housing to the homeless, the facility and the program have grown to include transitional housing and additional services, according to John Ferrucci, the nonprofit’s first and only executive director.

“I was just out of college when I started here,” he said, reflecting on his tenure that has seen a shift in homelessness to include many service veterans. “Back then I never imagined being here for all these years.”

Pictured with Ferrucci, right, are board members Rose Fichera-Eagen and Stephen King.

Volunteers at South Park Inn who also served as the honorsouth2 (2) guard at the anniversary party were Angel Morales, left, Dores Nieves, Larry Kennedy, Miguel Torruella and Carmelo Figueroa. Special guests at the event were WDRC’s Brad Davis, WFSB’s Scot Haney and NBC Connecticut’s Kevin Nathan.

Bonus Time With Mika In Hartford

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As you might  know there’s a  very special women’s conference coming up in Hartford on May 16, “know your Value” featuring celebs Gayle King and Mika Brzezinski at the Hartford Marriott Downtown.

Besides speakers, seminars, networking, lunch and such, Brzezinski is sweetening the pot by offering $18,000 in bonuses, if you can convince her you deserve it.

Those planning to participate should submit a video explaining why they deserve a bonus, $10,000 for the winner and $2,000 for runners-up.

The deadline for submissions is May 7th so get going. For more information go here.