Tag Archives: wtic

‘Art 4 Aids’ Attracts A Crowd for Fried Fund And ACT

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artaids1“4” some it was a father/daughter night out while “4” others a night to pick up a special piece of art. And “4” others, it was the chance to support AIDS CT at its annual “Art 4 Aids” fundraiser at ArtSpace in Hartford Saturday.

“I don’t believe in the afterlife but it feels good to do something in memory of my brother,” said the visiting former well-known Hartford guy Joel Fried. Fried, who attended with his daughter, Nicole Archambault, were among the first to arrive at the art grab and party which in part, raises funds for the Richard B. Fried/ACT Fund, named in memory of Joel Fried’s late brother.

Also on hand was WTIC 96.5 FM radio personality Gary Craig with daughter Rachel. Craig, also an actor and painter, was one of dozens of artists who donated 12” by 12” canvases that were “grabbed” by ticket holders as part of the fundraising event.

artaids2The sold-out party provided a get-out for some who are new to the Hartford area and they approved.artaids3

“I have an apartment with nothing on the walls,” said Jannie Cillo, who just relocated to Hartford from New York as part of a job move. “Friends brought me here tonight and I love the cause,” she said eyeing the original pieces that included the traditional to the 3-D mixed media pieces including Amy LaBossiere’s contribution called Earthing.” “All I can focus on is what painting I want to grab so I can to start making my place look like a home.”

And in the “we can’t tell you yet” buzz in the room, watch Lifetime’s new docuseries, “Little Women: LA.” Word is there are talks of expanding the reality show eastward and who knows, you may see some CT talent on the spinoff.

For more[party pictures go here.

Food/Wine And The Grapevine At Mohegan Sun WineFest

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winefest5Oh yes, there was fine food ranging from cilantro Gremolata skirt steak and smoked lamb belly bacon  to fried chicken and lamb bourguignon,  and fine wines from Francis Coppola, J Lohr, Moet and Signorello at the 11th annual Mohegan Sun WineFest .

And there were celebrity chefs who were more like celebrity couples this year, with the well-known cooking personalities showing off their significant others at the three-day food and winefest1wine extravaganza.

Among the well-known peeps to see at Saturday’s sold-out Celebrity Chef Dine Around were Food Network’s Robert Irvine and wife Gail Kim (aka wrestler and fitness model La Felina), pastry chef and Sandra Bullock sis Gisine Bullock-Prado and husband, Ray Prado, and Terrance Brennan and girlfriend, Judy Lipton.

“This is a great event,” said Irvine. “It is one of my favorites and the people at Mohegan make it so easy for us,” said the “Restaurant: Impossible” host who was serving up Hudson Valley duck with preserved confit and py lentils.

Thewinefest2 (2) casino was more than hopping as crowds headed to ballroom and VIP areas for bourbon tastings, grand tastings, the dine around  and elite cru tastings, all providing the chance to break the dreaded winter cabin fever and get out of the frigid cold.

“It certainly is nicer in here,” said celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia, one of the event veterans who not only provided a cooking demonstration but also served up her signature meatballs at the dine around later in the day. “I think I have been part of this for eight or nine years and it’s one of the better ones I do participate in,” said Arpaia, one of several of the celebrity chefs who are veterans of the annual food and dining extravaganza.

Among the many celebrity chefs at the event were Kim Canteenwalla, who had a secret to share, He is planning a restaurant in West Hartford.

“We are still working on it but I have always wanted a place there,” said Cateenwalla, well-winefest3 (2)known for developing food and beverage venues at five-star resorts and co-founder of Blau & Associates.  His wife, Elizabeth Blau, hails from West Hartford, but that was all Cateenwalla wanted to share.

“It will be an American cuisine-themed restaurant but I can’t say anything else yet,” he grinned as he went back to preparing his charred octopus with roasted fingerling potatoes.

A not-so-secret secret making the grapevine was that very outgoing WFSB personality Scot Haney is turning 50 soon and is planning a very public celebration.

Haney is holding a birthday party on March 1 at Glastonbury Hills Country Club where he will turn twinefest12he landmark birthday into a fundraiser for the Chanel 3 kids Camp.

Among the special guests at the event will be WDRC radio personality Brad Davis who coincidentally, is also celebrating a landmark birthday around the same time. Davis will be in Florida celebrating his 80th birthday but plans to fly back for an overnighter to help Haney raise money for the good cause.

And speaking of radio personalities,  WTIC 96.5 FM radio personality Gary Craig was doing a bit of glowing at the dine around and it had nothing to do with the hundreds of wines being served.

It was apparently because he made the “pool.”

See Craig, who seriously dabbles in art and acting when not on the air, appears in the blockbuster “American Hustle” with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

And while his spoken lines are on the editing room floor, his appearance as a mobster in a bar scene is intact and he found out he is eligible for residuals when the Oscar-nominated film goes DVD.

“Make sure you watch the bar scene when you see the movie,” he advised. “You can’t miss me.”



Time for Some Fa La La La La Spirit Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Less than two weeks and counting Christmas fans! And if you need a little fa la la la la lift, there’s a lot to choose from this weekend.

Thursday morning the Catholic Charities holds its 8th annual “Help and Hope Breakfast” at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco is the guest speaker at the event that benefitting families in need.  

On Friday, head over to the Glastonbury Hilton Homewood Suites where the Salvation Army and WTIC radio will hold the 24th annual Holiday Store “Pajama Party” beginning at 5:30 a.m. The event raises money and toys for gifts for those in need.  

Fridabeaty is “Liquid Lounge” night at the Connecticut Science Center. The party, beginning at 6 p.m. will include three floors of DJs, ice sculptors, gourmet food carts, games & crafts, specialty drinks and live burlesque from Hartford’s own Beat City Beauties. The entire event is Hollywood-themed and there will be prizes for guests who dress up like their favorite movie characters. Information: ctsciencecenter.org.

Hartford’s Nook Farm will provide a pleasant look back intime this weekend as it hosts its annual “Stowe & Twain’s Olde Fashioned Christmas.” Both the Stowe and Twain Houses will be decorated for the holidays Saturday from 10 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. twainhouse

The open house includes tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, entertainment and a visit from St. Nicholas. Information: harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.

Thinking about eating out? You might want to consider Hartford and enjoy a trolley ride.

Several restaurants are among the stops as part of this year’s holiday trolley that runs between trolleyKeeney Memorial Cultural Center in Olde Wethersfield and Bushnell Park in Hartford.

Trolleys provide the free, continuous back-and-forth rides on Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m. with stops at  Costa Del Sol, Carbone’s, Casa Mia and Andreas, Mozzicato’s and Francesco’s, J Restaurant/Bar and Bushnell Park where Winterfest is underway. On New Year’s Eve, transportation will be available from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The route takes about 30 minutes.

Lowadstree17oking 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 finally, the Wadsworth Atheneums’ 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions continues through Sunday. Information: 860-838-4100 or thewadsworth.org

WTIC Craig Back On the Big Screen Again

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craig (2)For those of you planning your end-of-the-year new movie schedule, you might want to take in the David O. Russell film,  “American Hustle.” You will see a familiar Hartford face.

WTIC 96.5 FM radio personality Gary Craig, who also has a bent for art and acting, is playing Jerry Catone, a mobster in the movie starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. Bale plays con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with his seductive British partner Sydney Prosser, played by Adams,  is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso played by Cooper.

Be sure to watch for the bar scene with a row of men in tuxedos. Craig is the one with the glasses, sitting next to Jack Huston, of “Boardwalk Empire” fame, who plays Peter Musane in the movie.

The movie opens Dec. 18.

Ron’s Run A Derby Success

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kentucky3If you happened to drive to Folly Farm in Simsbury Saturday for the annual “Ron’s Run for the Roses,” it was not your imagination — the tent was bigger.

Bigger because what started as a backyard picnic eight years ago, turned into a record-breaking crowd of more than 400 this year for an event that uses Kentucky Derby Day to raise money to fight pancreatic cancer.

 “We are thrilled,” said Barbara Foley, who, with friends began the annual event in her backyard shortly after her husband, the late Travelers exec Ron Foley, died from the disease in 2005. Proceeds from the event go to the Ron Foley Foundation and are used for research and financial assistance to help for victims and their families.

kentucky2Ron would say ‘you are embarrassing me’ if he saw all this,” said Foley, now remarried, as she looked around the crowded tent full of women in exotic Derby day hats and men in seersucker suits. “But he’d be glad it’s a party,” she said, “and all the good the proceeds will do.”

In between mint juleps and appetizers, guests were all about those hats. And once again, Dee Romejko showed the rest of the crowd what a winner looks like.  

“Made it myself,” she said about the lime green and turquoise flowered picture hat she wore. Romejko has won “best hat” awards year after year and this was no exception. Again she took home the “best hat” prize.

010Also an award winner was Diane Abate, whose canary yellow cloche, made from a glossy yellow paper bag and purchased in Mystic, was deemed another crowd favorite.

Hartford Hospital president and CEO Jeffrey Flaks was honorary chair and sported his own hat for the event. Emcee duties were handled by Fox CT/WTIC meteorologist Joe Furey. 

For more pictures go here.


Bonefish, Copper Beech and WTIC’s Craig

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bone2Bloomin’ Brands Fleming’s, Carrabba’s and of course Outback restaurants are all staples when it comes to eating out in Connecticut.

But now the Tampa-based company has opened another of its subsidiaries, Bonefish, its first in Connecticut, at The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.

The casual dining seafood restaurant opened last week, and included a media night to let the world know exactly who and what they are.

One of the most excited at the opening night was partner Buzz Karnbach, who relocated to Connecticut from Florida.

“I worked for the company in Florida and my wife wanted to come back to Connecticut,” said Karnbach. “this opportunity came along so here we are.”

“This came along and my wife wanted to come back to Connecticut and so here we are.”

boneKarnbach’s partner in the venture is Michael Dearing.

The South Windsor restaurant is the first of several Bonefish Grill locations set to open in Connecticut this year. Watch for others in Newington on the Berlin Turnpike and Canton at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley soon, Karnbach said.

Speaking of restaurants, the landmark Copper Beech Inn is undergoing a post-foreclosure makeover.

The historic inn closed a few weeks ago after financial problems for its CBI Acquisitions prompted owner Ivoryton-Main LLC to foreclose.

A sign in front of the inn that included two restaurants, the fine dining Copper Beech inn and the more casual bistro, Pips Brasserie, claims it is under new ownership, will open in four weeks and lists Michael Fitzgerald as the permittee.

Most recently the place boasted famed chef Noel Jones as its executive chef, a relationship that was short lived. Jones left in January, shortly after the foreclosure action began.

And finally, WTIC radio personality and actor Gary Craig is literally preparing for yet another movie close up this week, this time in Boston where he will be shooting scenes for a new David O Russell film.

The film, also known as its working title, “American B——t,” and also referred to as “Abscam Project,” is about a financial con-man who was caught by an out-of-control federal agent along with his girlfriend in the 1970s. Starring in the movie is Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner.

Craig, who has had bit parts in several movies, will play a mobster in the film.

According to Craig, he improvised scenes for the audition and callback noting that Russell’s comment to him after his tryout at the callback was “Now there’s a gold star face,” whatever that means!


Hartford’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Day, Just One Big Party

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irish2 (2)While St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford may have been the main event on Saturday, there was lots of pre- and post- parade partying both inside and outside all over the city where, for one day, by the looks of the crowd anyway, everyone was Irish.

Beyond the restaurants that opened early to get the party started, there were dozens of private parties going on beginning with Congressman John Larson’s “ceilidh” over at The Society Room.

At the same time over at lobbyist/pr firm Sullivan & LeShane, top guys Pat Sullivan, in scally cap of course, and Gene Sheehan, in his signature baseball cap, welcomed an eclectic group of revelers ranging from NBC Connecticut’s Gerry Brooks and WTIC’s Ray Dunaway to legislators including Democrat Russ Morin from Wethersfield and former CT Republican party head Chris Healy with CPTV’s Jerry Franklin and Leadership Greater Hartford’s Ted Carroll thrown in for some extra fun. Wardrobe of the day, more Irish wool knit sweaters than you could count and the menu, corned beef Reubens, cod balls, Irish soda bread and for those who imbibed (and who wasn’t?) Smithwick, Guinness, and Bailey’s.

“We started the parade party 10 years ago,” said Sheehan, “and it’s become a tradition.”irsh3

A lot of other traditions were going on at the First Presbyterian Church on Capitol Avenue where the parking lot had become a Gaelic “tailgate” heaven starting at around 6 a.m.

There were O’Reilly’s and Murphy’s and Kelly’s all with tents and buffets fit for the best of the Irish  and Irish “wanna bes.” And in the midst of the pop-up party central was Mary Beth Syme, who was also celebrating, the parade, her heritage and the 10th anniversary of her family’s parade day get-together.

irish1 (2)“We started it as away to get the family and friends together on a holiday that is just upbeat and animated,” said the event planner who proudly boasts of being 3/4 Irish.  Each year Syme fires up the stove and the oven in her kitchen several days before parade day, preparing an assortment of dishes including colcannan (Irish mashed potatoes) and corned beef, and then transporting everything to the church parking lot by 6 a.m. on parade day to make sure she gets a good spot along the parade route.

“The parade is wonderful, it’s always wonderful,” said Syme, cooking up baked French toast, hot dogs and chili on the grill as the 80 guests arrived. Syme even arranges to have a porta-potty brought in for the convenience and comfort of guests.

New at her party this year were commemorative buttons honoring her late aunt, Sheila McKenna Harrison, who died in 2012 and whose contribution to the parade buffet was a special macaroni and cheese dish, prepared by other family members this year in her honor.

Admitting there have been years when the weather was less than desirable including horizontal rain, sleet and freezing cold temperatures, the Glastonbury resident  said she doesn’t see an end to the party, despite the planning and the work involved. “It’s a tradition we plan on keeping,” she said. “It’s wonderful  way for the family to get together.”






Wedding Bells For Damon Scott and Erin Richard

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Radio’s funny guy Damon Scott has a new title, “married man.”

damonScott, a radio personality at WTIC 96.5 FM, and his fiancée Erin Richard, apparently tied the knot Saturday.

A slew of wedding pictures were posted Monday evening and the man changed his status to “Married to Erin Richard.” One of the formal wedding pictures of the two simply includes the cutline, “Married Erin Richard, Feb. 4, 2013.”

The two got engaged at Mystic Seaport, where Richard is a publicist, about a year ago.

Java figures the newlyweds are on some kind of honeymoon tonight and thought best to leave the particulars to another day.

Congratulations to one very sweet couple!

(Brian Ambrose photo)

Bob Steele Street To Open Friday

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bsteele[1]_optCome Friday, there will be some new addresses in town,  celebrity style.

Downtown’s Grove Street will officially be renamed Bob Steele Street in memory of the  late, iconic WTIC radio personality, Bob Steele.

A committee that includes WVIT anchor Gerry Brooks, Steele’s son Phil, Chris Powell of the  Journal-Inquirer, WTNH political reporter Mark Davis and journalist and broadcaster  Chris Fortier had been working on the plans for more than a year with Mayor Pedro Segarra’s office.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., according to Fortier.

Grove Street was chosen because it once was the place where the WTIC station was located and where Steele broadcast his show.

“He was part of everyone’s household,” said Fortier about Steele, a master wordsmith, who for 60 years, both educated and entertained his listeners and delivered the coveted “no school today” weather announcements to generations of families.  Steele died in 2002.

Steele’s son, Phil, said family and friends are expected to attend Friday’s dedication. After the ceremony those who are interested are invited to the Front Street Bistro on Columbus Boulevard where New York architect Michael Keropian, who grew up listening to Steele, will unveil a proposed design for a historical marker for the street.

“It will be a great moment,” he said, reflecting on how his dad would feel about such an honor.  “He would say that we’re making too much fuss and would never let on how proud it would make him feel.


“We Are The Children” 28th Annual Party Tuesday

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An estimated 1,000 needy Hartford area children and 400 volunteers gather Tuesday, Christmas Day, for the 28th annual “We Are The Children” holiday gathering in Hartford this year.

It will include an over-sized white Christmas tree in memory of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, and increased security to assure the safety of the children at the downtown event.

“My first thought was to cancel it after such a horrific thing happened,” said Gary Craig about Friday’s shootings that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults. “But then I quickly thought it was more important than ever to hold it. Kids here are depending on it,” said Craig, the WTIC radio personality who founded the party in 1985 and continues to organize it each year. Craig said he has hired extra security for the party because of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and has stopped advertising where and when the party will be held. “I just don’t want to bring attention to it after Sandy Hook.”

The memorial tree is being decorated by volunteers who are making dozens of handcrafted ornaments with the victims’ names on them,” Craig said . “We wanted white so it would stand out from all the others,” said Craig about the 12-foot tree that will be part of the holiday diorama being set up for the event. “White is purity and somehow it just seemed right.”

Believed to be the largest Christmas Day  children’s gathering of its kind, the “We The Children” party is underwritten by dozens of corporations, businesses and supporters who donate money, food, decorations, toys and entertainment to the party. There is a final toy drive today, Thursday,  at The Toy Chest in West Hartford.

If necessary one last emergency toy drive over the weekend at a time and place to be announced.