The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will play for the NFL Championship at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, February, 2, 2014. The week leading up to big game turns into a media circus and for the football fan the NFL has created the largest “Fan Festival” by blocking off over a dozen city blocks in Times Square with a variety of events. I will try give a glimpse of the things I encounter along the way with a series of Instagram photos.
Hope you enjoy…
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In 2004, former Courant photographer John Long produced a picture page on Gabrielle Collins, of West Hartford, who was a young dancer studying at the Ballet Theatre Company Academy. Collins, 8 1/2 at the time, was rehearsing for her role as a mouse in the Academy’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Long’s photos captured the young Collins’ natural stage presence and passion for her craft.
Now 17, and a senior at Conard High School with a 4.1 GPA, Collins is performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Hartt School Community Division‘s production of “The Nutcracker” this weekend at Millard Auditorium on the University of Hartford campus. Collins, who started dancing at age 6, is realizing her dream to dance the leading role in the Christmas classic.
“Being the Sugar Plum has always been my dream ever since I started dancing as a little girl,” said Collins. “When I was Clara in ‘The Nutcracker’ I would sit in the throne and watch the Sugar Plum dance from the side of the stage and I just always remember being like, I want to do that one day,” she said.
Now a trainee in the Community Division’s pre-professional program, Collins plans to become a professional ballet dancer. After graduating from Conard in the spring, Collins hopes to land a job with a ballet company, or plans to enroll in a dance program at a university.
The Hartt pre-professional program is rigorous and requires training six days a week. Collins has had additional training at summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theater and the Joffrey Ballet, both in New York City, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.
“She’s very hungry, very passionate about what she’s doing,” said Samantha Dunster, artistic director and chair of Hartt’s Community Division dance department. “Gabby has a very strong technique, but it’s not just the technique. It’s the passion, the artistry she has,” said Dunster.
Starting Monday, Collins will begin training for the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international student dance competition, to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, in February.
Now on the threshold of what promises to be a successful career, we revisit Collins as she realizes her dream.
Living in an increasingly divided, tumultuous and complicated world, the Thanksgiving holiday offers an opportunity to truly reflect on our personal blessings. For many, the value of these blessings is even more treasured as they reflect on times of struggle. To some, adversity came long ago. Others are in the midst of difficult challenges today. Yet finding genuine reasons to be thankful can help us to persevere. There is a time to focus on our troubles for it helps us to recognize them, confront them and, with luck, overcome them. But our nature also demands time for reflection, which helps us establish our priorities, realize how much we depend upon each other, and remain humble. Here we offer you the stories of a few individuals who have faced challenges in their lives, and their brief reflections on what makes them grateful.
I asked one question “What are you thankful for?”
Dan Crowley, Simsbury
On April 9, 1942, U.S. General Edward King surrendered to the Japanese army after a battle on the Philippine peninsula of Bataan. Dan Crowley and a group of other soldiers didn’t obey that order — they fought on. Swimming to the small island of Corregidor, in Manila Bay, Private Crowley somehow dodged the artillery for nearly a month before being forced to surrender. The horrific World War II event that followed is now known as the Bataan Death March. U.S. and Philippine soldiers suffered unspeakable atrocities, and later, Crowley was enslaved 2,000 feet underground in a copper mine until Japan finally surrendered in September of 1945. Through the years, Crowley shared those memories with a fellow P.O.W. and best friend, Harry Johnson, who also survived the experience after being lucky enough to be dug out of a pile of corpses when someone heard him moan. That friendship ended three years ago at the passing of that kindred soul. Over the last year or so, Crowley also lost his wife of sixty-six years to cancer, and has been pre-deceased by his sixty-two-year-old son.
Crowley answers my question about thankfulness and shares his stories with so much passion and perspective.
“I’m thankful to be alive. Thankful that I was somehow chosen to still be alive. All my friends, who I was with in the rotten Japanese slave labor camps are dead,” he says sitting in the drivers seat of his bright red 1997 Mustang Cobra sports car. “I savor life, the Simsbury resident says. “I was in bad shape for a while. No corporation would hire us, when we got home. I went out and sold on my own for straight commission.” Crowley is also grateful for his family, especially his father who he learned so much from, and his wife, who’s parting advice to him was to find a young woman and enjoy life. So what is he doing with the life he is lucky to keep living? “Eat, sleep and make love,” he punctuates with a hearty and sustained laughter.
At 2:00 p.m. on December 7, the state of Connecticut is dedicating a bridge in the Weatogue section of Simsbury the “Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge.” Crowley will be communication with the pilots to perfectly time the military fly-over.
“I’m thankful that finally recognition is being given to the memory of the men of Connecticut and throughout the United states,” he says. Crowley has led the effort for years, saying, “his is not about veterans, it’s about those who died in the battle and aftermath as prisoner slave laborers. They must not be forgotten.”
I-Park is an artist’s retreat nestled on 450 wooded acres in East Haddam where artists can go for four-week residencies to create in peaceful seclusion. Six artists are chosen by jury for each residency, including writers, visual artists, musicians, sculptors, architects and landscape designers. Artists live in the park’s main house and work in assigned studio spaces. A lovely path takes visitors around a large pond where they can see various ephemeral installations left behind by artists from I-Park’s Environmental Art Biennale, a three-week program that takes place every two years for artists to create site-specific pieces. I-Park, a non-profit foundation, will hold an open house on Sunday, November 24, where visitors can meet the current artists in residence and tour the idyllic grounds. To learn more about the artist’s enclave, read Susan Dunne’s story here.
Berlin struck first after Michael Lathrop scored with 11:25 remaining in the first period against Farmington at Middletown high School Monday evening during their CCC soccer semifinal. Colin Cheesman scored the tying goal with 4:20 left and then struck the winning goal for Farmington with 34 seconds remaining in the second period for a 3-2 victory and Farmington will play RHAM on Wednesday night at Middletown High School for the championship.
Harvest days are ending, winter is drawing near, yet in between is surely the most special time of year.
They call it Indian Summer, and it seems to fit the bill, for it’s as if the Lord took a feathered brush and painted all the hills.
I’m often asked this time of year what can I do to improve my foliage photos. I’m not really sure how to answer that since i do not take many “foliage” photos per se but what I try to do is incorporate them into my everyday photojournalism.
I also try to use the sun to my advantage and keep it at 90 degrees or more to my subject so that the color look more vibrant. Fortunately this time of year the sun never really gets high in the sky so almost anytime of day is good for photos. One of my favorite times to shoot foliage is after a light rain which seems to saturate the colors of the leaves and causes the shadow areas of the forest to go darker adding more contrast.
Two other useful tools that I would recommend are a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter. I do not own or use either one but if you want better landscape photos I would highly recommend looking into them. The polarizer will cut down on the glare that can be caused by the sun reflecting off the leaves and will also add a richness to your sky. The neutral density will allow you to balance the overexposure of the sky similar to what a polarizing filter would accomplish.
More than a month after Norwalk native Peter Willcox was arrested by Russian authorities on a piracy charge during a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic, his wife, Maggy Willcox, talked to him on Monday for the first time since the ordeal began.
“He sounded strong and positive,” she said of her husband, the 60-year-old captain of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which was towed to shore by the Russians. Dubbed the Arctic 30, 28 members of Greenpeace, plus a photographer and a videographer, have been in custody since two activists tried to hang a banner on an oil rig to protest drilling on Sept. 18. For the rest of Christine Dempsey’s story click here:
Ann R. McLaughlin started the “Yellow Ribbon” ceremony a few years back when her grandson left for a tour in the middle east and then eventually when he came home, and now she does it for all of the East Hampton kids that are serving in the military. They put yellow ribbons on a small tree on Main Street when they leave and then cut them off when they come home. On Sunday the town honored three veterans that recently returned from Afghanistan – U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Kelly, his brother U.S. Army Master Sgt. Paul Valvo and U. S. Army Staff Sgt. Alicia Valli.
Wickham Park in Manchester was the setting for the CCC Cross Country championships Wednesday afternoon. Hall’s Ari Klau helped the boy’s team to the title and Tolland took home the girls. ”We came here to have fun today and not worry too much about winning,” said Tolland coach Judi Lafontaine. “My girls are fighters and they don’t know how to do anything else but win right now.”
Slacklining is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Many people suggest slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is usually flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping one’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for tricks and stunts. Slacklining has quickly become popular due to its simplicity and versatility and its ability to be practiced in a variety of environments. Those who participate in slacklining are often called “slackers”. -Credit Wikipedia
Beardsley Park in Bridgeport was the site for the 2013 North American Sieger Show where more than 200 World Class German Shepherds from all over the U.S. and foreign countries competed in a European-Style Ring Show. The three day event was held rain or shine.
Connecticut craft breweries have been popping up all over the state, to the delight of local beer lovers. Beermakers are exhibiting their brews at facilities around the Nutmeg State, offering tastings and tours and filling growlers for eager drinkers, Two Roads Brewery in Stratford is just one of them.
The Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford has mounted an exhibit, “Beatrice Fox Auerbach: The Woman, Her World and Her Wardrobe.” The exhibit includes historical photographs of Fox Auerbach as well as several articles of clothing and accessories that she once owned. The exhibit will be on display until September 27.
The WNBA All-Star game was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena this past Saturday and on Friday the stars came out to practice and the public was invited to join in the festivities.
They have been the “Three to See.” Center Brittney Griner, forward Elena Delle Donne and guard Skylar Diggins, but that turned into the “Three Who Will Watch.”
Diggins, playing for the struggling Tulsa Shock, was not chosen for the All-Star team in the Western Conference.
Delle Donne, the former Delaware All-American and top vote-getter for the game, suffered a concussion playing in Wednesday’s game in Washington and was formally ruled out of the game Friday. In fact, Delle Donne will not even attend the game because of her medical condition.
And Griner, the 6-8 tower of terror from Baylor, the league’s top draft pick by Phoenix, was pulled from the game — and the Western Conference’s starting lineup — on Thursday because of a lingering knee injury.
Of the three, Griner was the only one in attendance, and when Dani Krapf, 12, of Lisbon got the attention of her favorite player from across the court, well, Krapf said it best ”It’s like a dream”.
Former teammates of Conard High School lacrosse player Lawrence R. Philippon, who went on to become a Marine and died in Iraq in 2005, are honoring his memory by playing for him every year since 2008 in the Glastonbury lacrosse tournament. Their team is named “G.O.A.T. Lcpl. Lawrence Philippon,” The GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time. The 28th Annual Glastonbury LaCrosse Tournament was held this weekend at Glastonbury High School. Click here to read the Courant’s Jesse LLeavenworth’s story back in 2005. And click here to read the Courant’s Terrell Allen’s story story on G.O.A.T. in the Glastonbury Lacrosse Tournament. And finally if you want to see additional photos from the event, click here.
Rainstorms, that are said to be the worst in decades, have devastated areas of southwest China. Floodwaters have wiped away villages, caused landslides, and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. There have been at least 50 deaths and many people are still missing.