Tag Archives: hartford

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.

 

 

Grab Your Hat Hartford! It’s The Weekend!!

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The rain is scheduled to go away (oh please)  and that means time to partake of the weekend Hartford!  Andcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] the choices range from very, very pretty to very, very  hot!

It’s Kentucky Derby Day Saturday. Besides a host of restaurant and club specials, there is also Ron’s Run for the Roses, the annual fundraiser at Folly Farm in Simsbury, benefiting The Ron Foley Foundation and its fight against pancreatic cancer.

The fun, including fabulous hats and mint juleps,  begins at 2:30 p.m.  There are hat and outfit contests, auctions, equestrian displays, Kentucky Derby viewing and more at the event that has raised  over $500,000 for research and help to those patients and their families in need.

run12For more information go here.

Also on Saturday, the CT Forum will host another in its lecture series, this one titled “Nerd Fest.” It features panelists Adam Savage, co-host of “MythBusters,” actress Aisha Tyler and New York Times “ethicist” and author Chuck Klosterman.

The forum convenes at The Bushnell at 8 p.m. For more information go here.

nbm8Also on Saturday, the New Britain Museum of American Art will hold its annual “The Art pARTy of the Year” spring gala. About 500 people are expected at the fundraiser that includes a cocktail reception, dinner , dancing , auctions and more. For more information go here.

 

 

On Sunday, Matthew Phillips Salon on LaSalle Road in West Hartford will host its 14th annual “Cut-A-Thon” benefiting the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. Haircuts are being offered from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for a cost of $25. Walk-ins are welcome. Information: 860-523-5261.

tandooriBut let’s back up a bit. Start the weekend on May 1 at the Wadsworth’s “First Thursday After Hours” and its May theme,  “Indian Tandoori.” The popular, monthly  Happy Hour from 5 to 8 p.m. will include Bollywood dance lessons, Indian-inspired food, henna body art, dance demonstrations and more. For Information go here.

Need some peace and solace?

yoga-area-header[1]

Head over to Elizabeth Park on May 3 for the second annual “Re-Create Ct,” a holistic festival featuring yoga, Zumba classes, vendors, artisans, a fitness workshop. meditation and more to soothe mind and body. The event begins at 11 a.m. and continues to 5 p.m. For more information go here.

SAMBA-2014-poster-11-x-17[1]Want anything but peace and quiet?

Then dance over to Hartford’s eighth annual “Samba Fest” at Mortensen Riverfront  May 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Composer/guitarist Ivan Vilela will be featured along with Nation Beat and a host of other musical acts. For information go here.

Want a little more weekend? Monday is Cinco de Mayo and that means dozens of restaurant and party specials all over the state and on Tuesday Malta House will celebrate its “Wonder Women” at The Bushnell.

Also on Tuesday, “Beauty and the Beast”  opens at The Bushnell. For more information go here.

Best Taco In CT? Food Network Says “Si” To Hartford Agave

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agavetacoWhen it comes to tacos in Connecticut, Hartford’s Agave is the place you must go, according to the new issue of Food Network Magazine.

Titled “50 States, fifty Tacos,” the May feature  lists the best tacos in each state. Agave Grill is not only named “best” in Connecticut but a picture of its spicy BBQ pork tacos is the spotlighted art in the centerpiece story.

“We got a call in January that we had been chosen and it’s been surreal,” said Al Ferranti, one of the partners in the Hartford Restaurant Group that includes the popular Allyn Street Mexican restaurant. “We were so surprised but it has been awesome that a place in Connecticut is being highlighted for its tacos,” he said. “So many people think of New Mexico or Arizona or Southern California,” he said. “We just got an email from someone in New Mexico who saw the article and is asking for our recipe.”

The win was twice as sweet (or spicy) because Agave is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

“We’ll be doing some double celebrating,” said Ferranti, about future anniversary party plans.

The magazine, calling its 50 picks “worth the trip” notes fans claim the Agave pork taco is “as close to Mexican street food as you can find in Connecticut.”

“The tacos started as street food from our taco truck,” said Ferranti about its seasonal “to go” food cart. “People kept asking for them in the restaurant so we just added them to the menu.”

Ferranti said he is not surprised that the tacos, which can also be filled with vegetables, chicken or carne asada, are such a hit.

“We use really good ingredients he said, noting that Mexican chihuahua cheese, not American cheddar, is melted onto the tortilla before it is filled with high quality meats, a choice of sauces, pico de gallo, and marinated cabbage.

“Most restaurants use lettuce in their tacos but we like the cabbage because it has more crunch,” he said. “And we marinate the cabbage in a cilantro vinaigrette to take some of the bite out of it.”

To see the entire article go to foodnetwork.com/magazine

Hartford Is One Of The Happiest Cities In The USA, Honest!

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Hartford-Most-Productive-Cities[2]In case that ‘Husky High’ and all that is basketball-related  is starting to wear off Hartford, there is more good news!

An online site called “CreditDonkey” has posted a story claiming Hartford is one of the 10 ‘Happiest Cities’ in the United States.

Drawing conclusions from a mix of data including unemployment rate, average wages and a “frustration index,” the report claims Hartford comes in at a qualified  # 3 “largely because the salaries and benefits are so high there – if you can find a job.”

The story also gives Hartford big props for amenities including  a more manageable commute and low-frustration offices.

Coming in at #2  is Buffalo, New York and at #1 Rochester, New York.

For the complete story go here.

Boys & Girls Club Celebrate Fun And Honorees

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boys12boys13boys10If you were looking to find a way to unwind at the near-end of the work week Thursday, heading over to the Connecticut Convention Center was a good option. You could get some of that energy worked out by playing a lively game of “Hungry, Hungry Hippo” or “Trivial Pursuit.” Or perhaps “Connect Four” is your poison.

The point was it was all about fun as the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford held its annual “Opening The Door Celebration,” a fundraiser that included loads of games for guests and a dinner that honored its 2014 Hall of Fame inductees.

“I haven’t played ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippo’ since I was eight,” smiled Jon Wells, an insurance underwriter who came with friends. “I was really good at it too,” he said as he approached a group of pint-sized Boys & Girls club members who invited him to play.

“I loved the Boys & Girls Club when I was growing up,” said Webster Bank’s Jay Brennan who recalled his days of playing ball at the Forestville club.  “I’ll never forget those days.”

And the honorees for the night would not forget theirs, either.

“I grew up in the Bowles Park area of Hartford with my grandmother and mother,” said Atty. Kevin Henry, one of four inductees. “Sonny Thomas, he would pick me up and bring me to the Northwest Club or camp and Joe LaPenta, he was great,” said Henry, referring to the longtime club supporters. “I am so stoked about being chosen for the Hall of Fame,” said Henry who is a partner in the Hartford law firm, Kevin Joiner LLC.

Thomas was being honored posthumously as a Hall of Fame inductee along with Darryl Thames, now the chief operations officer for the Urban League of Greater Hartford and Joe Horvath, a teacher and social worker, who loved playing basketball and football at the Southwest Club in Hartford.

 

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