Tag Archives: Mark Twain House & Museum

Is It The Weekend Yet? YES!

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Can you believe it? July is almost  gone and August is soon to arrive.calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]

As we head into the best part of summer, make some time to savor every moment, especially on the weekends.

And this one includes  ice cream, carousel rides, and sweet music and theater under the stars.

marktwainOn Thursday, July 24, it’s free ice cream and more at one of Hartford’s most famous landmarks, the Mark Twain House & Museum. Its 6th annual Ice Cream Social  will be held at the patio with Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum doing the scooping at this free event.

Performing will be Horizon Blue, an acoustic Americana musical group.

Also featured is Jessica Lawson, the author of the new young adult book “The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.”

There will also be a Becky Thatcher-themed scavenger hunt, lawn games, and discounted tours of the first floor of the Mark Twain House ($5 for adults, seniors, and children; under age 6 free).

icream7Following the social, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Mark Twain House & Museum will host its “Get A Clue” tour. Play its live-action version of the classic game CLUE in the Mark Twain House. Was it Becky Thatcher with the revolver in the Conservatory? The Prince (or was it the Pauper?) with the knife in the library? This hour long tour features SEA TEA IMPROV .

And if that ‘s not enough, head back on Friday and Saturday evenings for the popular “Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours” for some summer fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story.

For more information on all the weekend events go here.

On Friday, July 25, pack a picnic, grab the lawn chairs and head over to Simsbury Meadowshso-logo1[1]  where the Talcott Mountain Music Festival will pay tribute to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Singer Marva Hicks and  trumpeter Byron Stripling will featured with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information go here.



Celebrate another landmark in Hartford Saturday, July 26,  when Bushnell Park’s Carousel kicks off its 100th birthday celebration . The party includes free rides face paining, balloon twisting, cake and mini-train rides around the park.

The party goes from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information go here.


Treat yourself and take advantage of the summer version of the “Taste of Hartford” that continues salute next week.

Dozens of Hartford restaurants are offering specially priced lunch and dinner fixed-price menus, giving diners the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant or visit a favorite one “just because.”

For more information go here.

Speaking of food, don’t forget the Connecticut Wine Festival at The Goshen Fairgrounds  on July 26 and 27. Wine tastings, food, crafts, wine seminars, live music and entertainment will be featured.

Tickets are $30, which includes wine and specialty food samplings, a souvenir wine glass and tote bag. A ticket for designated drivers is $10.

For more information go here.



Capital Classics Theatre Company enters its 24th anniversary season this weekend  with the staging of “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

This is central Connecticut’s longest-running Shakespeare festival, running for  three weekends: July 24 through August 10, 2014. Held at University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. The festival will also feature pre-show entertainment on Thursday , ice cream on Friday, and lectures by local professors on Sunday.

Performances are held on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. For more information go here.

And finally, get a dose of good Irish music, food and fun at the 31st Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival  June 25, 26 and 27.  the festival is held at the Irish American Home Society , 132 Commerce St., Glastonbury. For more information go here.



Let The Irish Celebration and Weekend Begin!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]In case you haven’t glanced at your calendar lately, St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us and whether  you are Irish or not, the big green doings this weekend are the Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Haven on Sunday.

But there’s more to do than getting you Irish on this weekend, and more colors than green in theginab offing.

On Thursday, plan to see lots of red at the Hartford Marriott Downtown where the annual “Go Red For Women” program is going on. Sponsored by the American Heart Assn., the day includes workshops, health screenings, silent auctions, lunch  and keynote speakers including professor, author and humorist, Gina Barreca.

Information: heart.org

Looking for tips on hosting a dinner party, setting a table, making a proper bed, serving high teaCharles MacPherson with that silver set? Mark Twain House and Museum has the answers for you Thursday at it  program “At Your Service.” The free program features Charles MacPherson, founder of the only licensed butler academy in North America. Prompted in part by the award-winning movie “The Butler,” the program is being held in conjunction with the new “At Your Service” exhibit opening at the museum. MacPherson will be signing copies of his book, “The Butler Speaks.”  The event begins at 7 p.m. and reservations are suggested.

Information: 860- 280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org. 

On March 14, My Sisters’ Place, a Hartford non-profit providing assistance to women in need, will hold its annual gala at the Hartford Marriott Downtown beginning at 6 p.m.  Bank of America president Kevin Cunningham is event chair.

Informatgolfball-spinning[1]_option: sistersplacect.org

It’s just a week or so till spring officially arrives and what better way to get in the mood than to head over to the Connecticut Convention Center for the Connecticut Golf Show opening March 14 and continues to March 16. The show features golf retailers and exhibitors, an indoor driving range, free golf classes and a 19th hole lounge.

Information: ctgolfshow.com

On Monday, St. Patrick’s Day, new Archbishop Leonard P. Blair and the Foundation for the parade_optAdvancement of Catholic Schools will host the annual Archbishop’s Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Connecticut Convention Center. The fundraiser, benefiting Catholic schools in Connecticut, will feature Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans as guest speaker.

Information: FACSHartford.org








MTH Lovell Heads to Bermuda to Talk Twain

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lovell (2)Hmmmm, coincidence or is the new executive director of the Mark Twain House & Museum just tired of this New England cold?

Nah, she had her January trip to Bermuda planned a while ago and she is not going there for pleasure but rather as an expert, a Mark Twain expert.

Cindy Lovell, considered an encyclopedia when it comes to all things Twain,  leaves next week for a visit to that beautiful island, which , by the way, was one of Twain’s favorite places to unwind.

According to the islands “The Royal Gazette,” newspaper, Lovell will be the guest of Bermuda’s prestigious Masterworks Museum, where she will talk about the iconic author, whose real name is Sam Clemens.

“Bermuda was a very special place for him, and as someone who loves Samuel Clemens, as I do, I feel grateful to the Island where the people were so friendly and welcoming to him that he fell in love with it,” she told reporters there. “If we were to describe it in today’s terms, Bermuda was the place where he could turn off his cell phone.”

For the rest of the article go here.



Get Your Christmas (And More) On This Weekend

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It’s time to get that holiday season really rolling and this weekend in the Hartford area, you cannot avoid it. Some of the area’s biggest holiday events are going on, with some extra thrown in for good measure.

Things kick off Thursday with the opening of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Tradition. Begun in 1974, the annual event transform the landmark museum into a holiday wonderland with trees, wreaths and table decorations, all  enhanced with daily family programming and more. More than 11,000 visitors are expected at  the festival with proceeds benefiting museum programs.

treefest16A preview party will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.  On Friday  “The Night of Illumination”  festivities will be held  featuring refreshments, performances and a light display. Information: 860-838-4100 or  thewadsworth.org   

Also on Thursday, Foxwoods Resort Casino will kick off the holiday season with the opening of its Winter Skating Rink & Patio. Former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan will christen the rink with a special performance and then join Boston hockey legend Terry O’Reilly for a meet and greet autograph session. 

The opening festivities will also include VIP reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, a ribbon cutting and official tree and rink lighting. Members of the local Mystic Ballet Company will perform and award-wining ice sculptor Gregory Shimoda from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will carve a winter masterpiece to fit the winter wonderland.  Information:foxwoods.com

If ymashouseou are looking for an eyeful of decorations visit  Governor and Mrs. Dannel Malloy’sgovres Prospect Avenue governor’s residence Friday through Sunday for their annual Holiday Open House. The residence has been decorated with four trees and over-the-top trimmings and gingerbread houses (like the one above from Max Downtown pastry chef Warren Hardman)  on mantels and tabletops, all for public viewing Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to the Toys For Tots holiday gift-giving program. Information: 860-524-7355 or ct.gov

Friday begins with a Girl Scout breakfast at The Hartford Club. “The Breakfast Badge” awards program will honor Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and past girl scout board president. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Information: 860-522-0163 or gsofct.org

Alsonusser on Friday, you can head over to the Connecticut Convention Center for the Greater Hartford Women Against MS Luncheon. Guest speaker at the event that includes shopping, a luncheon will be motivational speaker Larissa Nusser. Information: 860.913.2550 or nationalmssociety.org 

The Children’s Law Center of Connecticut will hold its “Imagine…Growing Our Garden” fundraiser at The Hartford Golf Club Friday. The 20th anniversary gala celebrations includes cocktails, dinner and auctions. Information:ctcct.org or 860-232-9993

Looking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28 (while over at Theaterworks, catch the off-beat “Christmas on the Rocks”  (theaterworkshartford.org) through Dec. 22.  And at the Bushnell Saturday, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra along with The Hartford Chorale and special guest soloists will perform “Handel’s Messiah.” Information: hartfordsymphony.org

bearAlso on Saturday , grab the kids and head over to Max Downtown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its annual “Teddy Bear Tea.” The event includes light treats, a signature Max bear, a photo and some family fun. Guests 13 and under are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Information: 860-522-2530 or maxrestaurantgroup.com

Wait, there is still more!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit several distinctive Hartfordtwainxmas and West Hartford homes all decked out for the holidays as part of the Mark Twain House & Museum’s 33rd Annual Holiday House Tour on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the six homes that are featured on the tour are the former Katharine Hepburn residence in West Hartford, The Isham-Terry house in Hartford and of course, The Mark Twain House in Hartford.

As an added bonus, author Carlo Devito, who wrote a new book called “A Mark Twain Christmas” will be at the MTH to autograph copies. Information: 860-280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org.

lego_optAnd finally, don’t forget it is Lego KidsFest weekend over at the Connecticut Convention Center.

If you or your kids are fans of those little plastic blocks, plan to be happily overwhelmed with master builder creations and more. There is limited ticket availability for the show that runs Friday through Sunday. Information: legokidsfest.com 




Laugh At Politics? Mark Russell Delivers It At Mark Twain House

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Mark RussellIf you are fan of political satire and humorists like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, you might want to head over to the Mark Twain House & Museum Thursday. Singer/comic/ oftentimes political basher Mark Russell will be featured at a program “Mark Russell: The Laughter of Politics.” Russell, who began his career at a piano bar on Washington’s Capitol Hill, admits he knew little about politics at the time but knew he could find humor in anything. The stand-up comic admits it’s like shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to jokes about the state of the nation’s government these days, as he took time to Spill the Beans with Java. 

Q: I don’t even know where to start this interview. You have got to feel like a kid in a candy shop these days when it comes to finding material for your routine. Has it ever been better than this?

A: It’s pretty good!  I am in Washington D. C. and hopefully help is on the way. What I do is a sick profession I thrive in but it is more polite than kicking a paraplegic. This is bad although Obama’s approval rating of 42 percent isn’t as bad as Truman who was in the 20 percentile when he fired Gen. MacArthur and Nixon’s, well his dropped down to the 20’s, too. It just never ends. There have been government shut downs before and all this reminiscing about how well Reagan and O’Neill got along, well I don’t remember them getting along all that well. They didn’t have a beer together every night. They would have one together once a year on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Q: You make fun of issues and political persuasions and people and events, but what do you seriously feel about the state of America today?

A: It’s not on life support yet, just maybe on heavier medication. I don’t worry. We survive in spite of ourselves.  One headline you will never see is “Iranian Red Cross Rushes To Help Philippines.” As a country we are always there even if Obama’s approval rating is way down.

Q: You watch and listen and then you take potshots at government and politics. So that begs the question, would you ever put yourself out there as an elected official?

A: I am basically a coward. I couldn’t take one day of the vitriol heaped upon these guys on an hourly basis. You look at elected officials and what they face. I was reading The Post today, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. How many homeless are there? We have hundreds of thousands applying for disability every day. If I were an elected official who had to face that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. We have no idea what goes on in the middle of the night when our officials are dealing with these issues.  

Q: Is your humor designed to discredit people or bring issues to light?

A: The politicians have usually already embarrassed themselves before they come to my attention. If you are part of a late night monologue, you are done.  I just pick up on that. I’m just another perception, another way of looking at it while finding humor in this stuff. Once the guy is indicted and convicted and he writes a book on prison reform, I know my job is done.

Q: Who would your dream politicians be, living or dead, when it comes to funny material?

A: Teddy Roosevelt. In fact Mark Twain actually said Teddy was certifiably insane. The whole Gilded Age would have been great. There were a series of mediocre one-term presidents. There was Harding and The Teapot Dome, the original Watergate. I love reading old editorial cartoons from the 19th century. There would be a whole comedy sketch in one picture.

Q: Speaking of Twain, does he have some comic potential?

A: Mark Twain is George Washington and Will Rogers is Abraham Lincoln. And we have gone downhill since then.

Q: Any predictions for the 2016 presidential race?

A: Chris Christie will get the Republican nomination. If he doesn’t, the Republicans are crazier than I thought they were. There are ardent Hillary Clinton fans, including my wife and friends, who don’t want her to run because the baboons on talk radio are already throwing the salvos. I think it will probably be Joe Biden for the Democrats. Biden and Christie would be fun. The two of them are old school even though Christie is young. It would be like an old-fashioned election year, a real Donnybrook.

Tickets for “Mark Russell: the Laughter of Politics” are $40 for MTH&M members and $45 for the general public. Information: 860-280-3130; marktwainhouse.org.

A Gilded Night To Twain

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

It was a time when John D. Rockefeller founded his Standard Oil Company, Grover Cleveland was president, the Wright Brothers made the first successful air flight and James Naismith invented Basketball.

And it was a time when Hartford’s Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, with Charles Dudley Warner, published the book “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.”

The excitement, frivolity, and decadence of those 40+ years provided the backdrop for the annual Mark Twain House & Museum annual gala, this year titled “All That Glitters, An Evening in the Gilded Age,” a theme that promoted the bling to follow.

There were pearls and  rhinestone brooches  and hair fascinators, top hats and more as about 250 guests turned back the clock (hours before they really had to) and pretended to live in a time long gone.

“We are Cornelia and P. Allen Gotrocks,” insisted Lisa Miller and Greg Saum who channeled the twaingala1gilded age with costumes and accents that were worthy of any rich, indulged Gilded Age couple.

It was also turned into a family night out for Tim Bannon and his wife Lori Aronson. Bannon’s daughter Liz Bannon, along with friend, Hailey Rice, were also part of the fundraiser that included the period entertainment of the day, can can dancers and card sharks.

“Twain would have approved,” said board president Greg Boyko, who is finishing out his term and stepping down from the board shortly. “This was his place,” said Boyko about the club where Twain was once a member.

And even though the Halloween holiday had passed, for many of the costumed guests, it was another night of fantasy. Among them, Michael Talbot and Christine Fini.

“We went to the Costume Closet in Springfield and they had so many choices,” said Fini, dressed in a royal blue and black lace gown. “I love Halloween,” she said as she showed off her lace gloves and parasol. “Tonight I am not Christine anymore.”  




BOO!!! Get Ready For The Weekend Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]It’s Halloween my friends and the weekend is nearly here. So hand out your candy, shut off the front light and let’s get going.

Yes, it’s Halloween and that means manning the old homestead to make sure trick-or-treaters are properly rewarded. But if you can slip out for a while head over to the Mark Twain House & Museum for a grown-up party.

Ipumpllusionist and entertainer Penn Jillette will be featured at a program about a variety of topics including his book, “Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday.”  Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. Information:  860-280-3130

Gala season continues when on Friday, The Urban League of Greater Hartford hosts its 49th Annual Equal Opportunity Day Celebration. The  “A Night at Bellagio” themed party features U.S. Rep. John Larson as honorary chair. Honorees for the evening are  Bank of America, Goodwin College and Natasha Ruiz. The event also marks the start of the league’s 50th anniversary. Information: 860-527-0147 or ulgh.org.

Bmarktwainack to the Mark Twain House & Museum Saturday, well actually The Hartford Club. The Twain House and its friends and supporters get together for “An Evening in the Gilded Age.”  The  gala theme will reflect one of the most productive and dynamic periods in the nation’s history and the contrasts of the time as depicted in the novel co-authored by Twain, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.” Information: 860-883-9016 or marktwainhouse.org.

On Sunday you have a couple of choices, finding your inner Zombie or watching a parade, or both! 

Beginning at 10 a.m. the Hartford Marathon Foundation will host the “Zombie Xing,” a 5K race  benefiting the Ron Foley Foundation, a non-profit supporting pancreatic cancer research and  programming. You can be “made up ” as a zombie volunteer for the event at the West Hartford Reservoir or run as a human.  The choice is yours. The benefit is an especially worthwhile one because November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Make-up and registration begin at 7:30 a.m.

Sunflagday is a day to honor veterans at the  “Connecticut Veterans Parade Day” in Hartford. The parade steps off at 12:30 p.m. near the state capitol building.

The 2012 Gand Marshals are Retired Master Sergeant Frank Alvarado of East Haven, Major Linda Cunha of Newington, Retired Staff Sergeant Chandler J. Howard of Farmington, Retired Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis of Danbury and Retired Brigadier General Daniel J.McHale of Avon.

Also on Sunday the Hartford Stage continues its 50th anniversary celebration with a specialhs50 reception with all five of its past and present artistic directors, Jacques Cartier, Paul Weidner, Mark Lamos, Michael Wilson and Darko Tresnjak. the program begins at  2 p.m. at the University of Hartford’s Millard Auditorium. Admission is free. Information: 860-520-7241

And the Hartford Stage celebration continues on Monday when it hosts some of its most well-regarded actors over the years including Kate Forbes, Richard Thomas, Dana Ivey, Bill Raymond and David Patrick Kelly. The evening includes dinner and a show or show only. Information: 860-5207241.



South Windor’s Celeb Kantayya Comes Home To Twain

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twain Mellini KantayyaWhen she was a teenager in South Windsor, Mellini Kantayya says she was a shy introvert. Fast forward a couple of decades and now she is a well-known actress, storyteller and author who is coming home this week. Kantayya, who has appeared on ‘One Life To Live,’ ‘As the World Turns’ and ‘Nurse Jackie,’ will be the featured guest Friday at the Mark Twain House & Museum’s “The Mouth” program, a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf . Kantayya recently wrote ‘Actor. Writer. Whatever.’ essays on her ‘rise to the top of the bottom of the entertainment industry,’ and was more than happy to share her thoughts, her Connecticut memories and shamelessly plug Twain House House’s communications director, Jacques Lamarre, as she ‘Spilled the Beans’ with Java.

Q: Tell me about your life here in Connecticut. When did you graduate from South Windsor High School?

A: Let’s just say Duran Duran was on the charts when I was at South Windsor High.

Q: I know you are coming to Hartford to talk about your book, so tell me about your book!

A: The idea for the book came after I began looking at my life and that of peers and colleagues in the entertainment industry and I realized there was a huge disparity on how people outside the business perceived our lives. It’s a hard life we have chosen so I wanted to write something that had the dual purpose of providing curious outsiders an inside look at our life and at the same time provide some consolation to my fellow artists.   

Q: Why would people in your business need consoling?

A:  It’s hard for us to understand ourselves. It’s a hard business. You do the same thing over and over again and usually without a reward. It takes years to get that applause. The definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’ and that is what you do when you are an artist. People setting out to be stars are quickly weeded out. It’s a difficult job. But it’s like being a priest or a nun. You can’t quit it. It’s a calling.   

Q: What will you be entertaining the audience with at the Mark Twain House & Museum Friday?

A: My futile attempts to get lucky, luck and serendipity. I do consider myself successful. I do have two or three projects a year

Q: How does one make their luck?

A: I don’t think I made my own luck and still am waiting for that lucky day. People have tried to find their own luck, ‘the secret’ has replaced Scientology when it comes to magical thinking. It didn’t work out for me.

Q: What is the one mistake you wish you could take back?

A: there have been so many. I think the biggest mistake is thinking that my ‘lucky break’ would come. I held onto that for a long time and my biggest success in that was learning to relish today’s bread instead of fantasizing about tomorrow’s cake. I have a great life, a great kid, a wonderful husband and make my living as an artist most of the time. If someone had told me that when I was a kid growing up in South Windsor I would have told them they were crazy.

Q: What were you like in South Windsor, the class clown?

A: I thought I was very shy but people tell me otherwise. I played the xylophone and timpani in the school band. I remember many a field trip to the Mark Twain House and it’s really funny. I always thought the Twain house and the Stowe house didn’t live up to their legacies. Then Jacques got there and the place has blossomed into something exciting, a salon of sorts. I visit Connecticut often because my mom still lives there but this will be an exciting homecoming for me. I will not only share stories but try to give the audience a laugh or two. It’s exciting and fun to listen to strangers tell their stories. It will be exciting and fun.   

Tickets for “The Mouth” are $5.00.  The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Information: 860-280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org


King And Bieber Celeb Power Fills Hartford

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 king1Star power in Hartford? Oh yes. Because on Thursday evening, it celeb city at both ends of downtown.

Award-winning author Stephen King was the first main event, entertaining fans at a VIP reception at the Mark Twain House & Museum before moving on to the Bushnell for a sold-out crowd who couldn’t wait to hear the contemporary suspense and science fiction scribe talk at the Twain-sponsored program.

So what would his day in Hartford pan out to if it were one of his signature scary stories?

“There’s been nothing scary yet here,” said the 65-year-old as he prepared to greet the VIP’ers who were wined and dined as they met the author. “If anything I feel bad because all these people paid money to see me but I have nothing to give them.”

About 200 people attended the private reception including many who came from New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and beyond.

“We are supporters of the Mark Twain House and huge fans of Stephen King so we decided to come up to Connecticut for this,” explained Alan Lorden, who with his wife Renee, traveled from North Carolina for the program and reception.

King, a huge Mark Twain fan, stayed at the Marriott Downtown Thursday night, had a private tour of the Mark Twain House on Friday and then boarded his private jet for the trip to his home in Maine.

Asbieb King told tales at the Bushnell, pop star Justin Bieber had 13,000 people waiting for him to take the stage at this “Believe” tour. The 19-year-old made a less-than-best first impression on the 13,000 people in the XL Center when his scheduled 8:30 p.m. appearance didn’t materialize until 9:50 p.m. But for most of the crowd, it was worth the wait as the teen/tween heart-throb belted out hit after hit with staging that included pyrotechnics, a cherry picker sweep of the crowd and more winks and eye-battings than could be counted.

Perhaps the most envied people in town Thursday were the staff at downtown restaurant Salute.

Owner/partner Jimmy Cosgrove and his staff catered the King reception which means the heavy lifters over there, including owner/partner Andy Rizzo and catering manager Sean Jarvis got their own meet-and-greet with the author.

And “The Biebs?” Guess where he went for lunch?

Seems Dale “Daleo” Kirshnitz there took the reservation call for a private lunch for Bieber and his entourage and the restaurant sprung into action. A rear room was “privatized” by putting up a makeshift curtain made of tablecloths. Bieber was brought in through a rear door so as not to have to walk through the crowded main dining room and according to everyone; he was polite, gracious, kind and a good tipper.

“He had Bolognese and sparkling water” reported “Rose the Waitress” Sczuret who was assigned the Bieber table. “When Dale told me it was Justin Bieber coming for lunch I didn’t believe him,” she said. “But he was very nice,” she said about the pop star. “And he left a 20 percent tip.”

“Strongest Librarian” Stops By Hartford

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strong3Josh Hanagarne can lift a 400-pound stone onto his shoulder and rip a deck of cards into eights.

But that’s not why the six-foot, seven-inch tall is billed as “The World’s Strongest Librarian.”

It’s more about his inner strength.

The Salt Lake City librarian was in Hartford Wednesday to talk about the challenges he has faced with Tourette’s Syndrome and how his inner passion and his outward strength have helped him conquer his disability.

And how all that led to his writing his book, “The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength and the Power of Family.”

strong2 “I didn’t plan to write a book, it just happened,” said Hanagarne, who was very dapper in black and white spats and a dress suit despite the horrid Hartford heat. “It started as a blog and a few people told me I should make it into a book and here we are.”

Held at the Hartford Public Library in cooperation with the Mark Twain House & Museum, the heat helped attract a good crowd, including some people who hadn’t planned on attending.

“I wasn’t supposed to be here but it is hot out there,” said one Hartford library patron who didn’t want to be identified because she had decided to take advantage of the program in one of the air-conditioned library rooms rather than head back to a hot home. “I just came here to take out a couple of books, this looked interesting and it makes a whole lot more sense to stay here and enjoy than to go home and sweat.”