New-Haven-based Sarah Golley Sparks Online Music Event — The Quarantined Series

Every gig got cancelled. Then, a short pause. Then, online live shows began bubbling up and over the lid of the internet. Now a veritable phenomenon, examples of coordinated and impromptu performance are everywhere on social media: story book hours, dance-a-days, video projects of apartment-bound academics on sabbatical in Spain. Musicians are finding new ways to jam, to create, and to perform. NPR is curating a list of live music shows for artists around the country. Here in Connecticut, songwriter and New-Haven based performer Sarah B. Golley organized an ongoing local event,  “The Quarantined Series: A Series of Online Shows

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Fear, Stigma, Blame — UConn Prof Considers the Novel Virus

There are human tendencies in times of a epidemic that drive people to fear, bogus medical advice, and casting blame on society’s most vulnerable, said University of Connecticut Professor of English Thomas Long, who studies social reactions to epidemics in culture and literature. “Epidemics have often, not always, but often been described as having a kind of dramatic arc with an initial first act moving into rising complication, catastrophe, and climax and then a denouement at the end. There’s a sort of dramatic arc to epidemics and hopefully we will see that soon — that it will pass quickly.” As

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Connecticut Fly Fishing on “The Dirty”

Mina and I stepped into a prime bit of trout-holding water, offering catch and release fishing all winter, on a small stream we call “The Dirty.” Running through an industrial town in the Naugatuck Valley, filled with abandoned factories, its banks dotted with homeless encampments, the river is for many the most unlikely place to fly fish. On her second cast Mina has hooked her first fish of the day. Moments later I have a fish on. This is predominantly a Rainbow trout fishery and we both release the chunky and surprisingly feisty fish. Usually trout are sluggish when the

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Poignant Show by Singer-Songwriter Aiofe O’Donovan at Old Saybrook’s Kate

Irish-American singer-songwriter Aiofe O’Donovan summons all the whirring, humming, soaring, straining sounds of the cosmos in her latest solo project, Bull Frogs Croon (And Other Songs). The swoop and plumb of the strings, the poetry in the lyrics, left palpable vibrations in the air in her live performance at The Kate in Old Saybrook on a mid-March Wednesday night, in a set that drew from European classical repertoire, through bluegrass, through O’Donovan’s own compositions. It was a poignant show. The first event of O’Donovan’s U.S. and world tour, the audience responded enthusiastically to a generous set of songs. It could

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A Better Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day

About a dozen days ago I stood across the counter from owner Paul Kozey at Walt’s Food Market in Old Saybrook and asked for a whole flat-cut brisket — the relatively lean portion with the familiar boxy shape separated from the odd-shaped point. Walt’s is a mid-century throwback, a familiar sort of small grocery on the Main Street with the meat counter in the back and groceries up front. A steady traffic of locals buys sandwiches, maybe the best in the area, roasts and prepared food. Kozey stepped into the back and brought out a few choices — none of

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James Merrill House Poet Keith Wilson Shares a Poem — to Read on March 28 in Stonington

Keith S. Wilson’s recently released book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, is a kind of “catalog” of his questions about science and love.   “It’s sort of a metaphor for a kind of obsession with wonder that I have,” Wilson said. “In many ways, that’s what drives science — wondering what’s the universe made out of… how does energy work… all these different really huge questions. And I think the humanities have the same kinds of questions about people and emotions and truth.”  Wilson is a poet, editor and game designer. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts

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Local Farms Are Planning Crops, Signing up CSA Shareholders for Summer Season

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The New England landscape may appear cold and desolate, but small farmers across the region are growing seedlings in hoop houses and planning summer harvests.  As a means of obtaining “seed” money, many of these farms set up CSA –Community Supported Agriculture — programs that allow customers to invest in a share of the business in advance of the growing season. Farmers then use the invested money in the winter and early spring months to buy seeds, supplies and equipment. In exchange for sharing the upfront costs, shareholders later receive produce during the summer and fall months.  Now is the

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Irish Soda Bread… the Quickest of Quick Breads (and One of the Best)

Irish soda bread, like most recipes attributed by Americans to Ireland, has lean bones — in this case just flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. It’s a quick bread of the sort that became popular in the mid-19th century in America with the commercial availability baking soda and when half of all immigrants to the United States came from Ireland, many fleeing the potato famines that cost the lives of perhaps a million people. And like most things American, this austerity is supplemented with modest luxury, here dried fruit and caraway. The dough comes together in a less than 10

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Old Saybrook High School Drama Club Stages “Thoroughly Modern Millie” Opening March 12

OLD SAYBROOK — Old Saybrook Senior High School students have been practicing their tap dancing and hair bobs for a production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a musical set in the Jazz Age, opening March 12. “The story itself is pretty traditional musical theater… naive young girl comes to New York hoping to find a man and her goal is to marry the boss,” said director Lenore Grunko, an adjunct theater lecturer at Eastern Connecticut State University. “And then there’s a subplot that gets very convoluted where she’s staying in a hotel with a hotel owner who’s running a white slavery ring

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HannaH’s Field Warms up Essex with Rasta Folk Performance at Earth & Fire

ESSEX — On the eve of a February leap year, with the barest sliver of a moon hanging in the chill night sky, HannaH’s Field from Farmington gave an intimate studio performance at The Earth & Fire Art Studio & Gallery in Essex, CT. The space is located right on Main Street in Essex and serves as a community gathering place for art and artists of all kinds. Visual art, photography, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry are all displayed. Julie Tigner Bonilla, artist and owner, said this is exactly why she created the studio. “I wanted a place for people to be

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New London Artist Kat Murphy Lights Up Downtown

NEW LONDON — Thursday was too windy for artist Kat Murphy to place her “pop-up shop” sandwich board out on the sidewalk, but for the last month that’s what she’s done when she’s in her studio. “Just having the sign out, I’ve had people say they say they see it and they drove over,” said Murphy, of opening her combination gallery and workspace at 94 Golden Street in New London to the public.  With its tall windows, Murphy’s studio is a presence on the street and in the neighborhood — and people are noticing.  “I have a timer on the

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With Stores Opening in Darien and South Windsor, Pasta Vita Feeds Families, Fosters Community

OLD SAYBROOK — In 1992, Rich Cersosimo, a new IBM retiree, and Lou Castanho , a chef just four years out of culinary school decided to work together to make and sell wholesale ravioli. They named their venture Pasta Vita. Four years later, they began catering to the retail market and Cersosimo and Castanho haven’t looked back. “We were producing all this pasta in Old Saybrook and yet loading it on trucks, shipping it away and we couldn’t feed any of the people here,” Castanho said. “We had people coming to the back door and asking for dishes to take

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Jane Eyre, Williamson’s “Best Piece of Theater” at Hartford Stage

Creating a stage adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” has been a passion project for Hartford Stage’s Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson and with a final product now on stage, adapted and directed by her, it is evident that her efforts and dedication to it has paid off. This is the best piece of theater that Williamson has directed at Hartford Stage.  Her work as an adaptor of the novel is great. The language is adapted with care, the key characters are properly developed, and it isn’t overly long for an adaptation of a book that is almost 600 pages.

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Benny Benack Plays for Love at the Side Door

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OLD LYME — Benny Benack III sang all the sweetheart songs you could wish for on a Valentine’s Day engagement at the Side Door in Old Lyme. He announced, “We’ll fit in as much Great American Songbook as we can here tonight!” With Sinatra-inspired vocals and a great band of friends and contemporaries, he delivered standards like “My Funny Valentine,” “Unforgettable” and “Home is Where the Heart Is” to an audience of Valentine’s couples. Several of his own song compositions followed this swinging nostalgic mode – “Irrepressible,” as well as the up-tempo “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” the title

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Yale’s Paul Berry Continues Popular Lecture Series on Basic Building Blocks of Beethoven

OLD LYME — “If you asked people to name one composer representative of the summit of western notated tradition, many would choose Beethoven,” according to Yale School of Music Professor Paul Berry. More the reason to take apart the idea of Beethoven as the towering genius — a notion that can overshadow the listener experience of the music, explained Berry about his upcoming lecture, the second in a three-lecture series, examining musical phrases in Beethoven’s work as well as the relationship between his biography and music.   Berry’s lectures complement the 29th season of Musical Masterworks, which will include all of

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“Ambitious” Show of Pre-Raphaelite Rebellion opens at Yale Center for British Art

An ambitious exhibition, “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement,” opened Thursday at Yale Center for British Art. The show encompasses three generations of artists over the course of fifty years with drawings, paintings and objets d’art on loan from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. The presentation is elegant and is divided into four parts: The First Industrial Nation; The Pre-Raphaelite Avant-Garde; Secular Ministry; and Utopias for a New Century. In the mid-19th century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, kickstarted with philosophical support from eminent critic

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“Estuary,” a Quarterly Magazine about the Connecticut River, Goes to Print

The first issue of “Estuary: Life of the Connecticut River,” is at the printers and will be available this spring. “All 80 pages of it will be printed and mailed at the end of next week,” said Richard Shriver, the publisher of the new quarterly magazine when he stopped by the Connecticut Examiner offices on Tuesday. “The theme is science and conservation, but it touches on recreation, history and the challenges the river faces.” The first issue — which is available in print and digital form — contains 26 articles featuring wildlife photography and interviews with a wide variety of

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Lark and Thurber Headline Full House at Musical Masterworks Weekend Concerts

Musical Masterworks played to a full house in its February 9th concert at the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme last weekend. The beautiful meetinghouse, built in 1910, has incredible natural acoustics that make it a great spot for the chamber music presented by the 29-year old organization. Artistic Director Edward Arron presided over the event, in a pre-concert talk as well as introductions to each musical piece during the concert. Arron is an engaging and affable speaker and educator, and these qualities translate into his cello playing. His character on cello is that of a considerate, attentive conversationalist who

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Wang Mansheng Roots Art in Shanxi and the Hudson in Connecticut College Show

NEW LONDON — Water flows through Wang Mansheng’s traditional Chinese landscapes, and his contemporary depictions of the Hudson River Valley where he has lived for more than 20 years, linking two continents. “Me and my wife spent time just looking for waterfalls [in the Adirondacks], so I used simple Chinese ink on handmade paper, something where I feel the relationship between the rock and the water. They’re so different. The water is so smooth and flexible. The rock is so rough and strong. So I play with the texture and the light and when the rock is wet, you have

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Kovgan’s Cunningham Comes Full Circle to Connecticut College

Cunningham, a 2019 biopic by Alla Kovgan about choreographer Merce Cunningham, had a special screening on Saturday in Evans Hall at Connecticut College in New London. Kovgan, who has on hand to introduce the film along with Robert Richter, director of arts programming at Connecticut College, noted the full-circle nature of the screening — several Cunningham pieces included in the film were premiered in Palmer Auditorium at Connecticut College, site of the American Dance Festival from 1948-1977. An iconoclastic choreographer and revered figure in the field of contemporary dance, Cunningham is also something of a con artist, flatly denying he

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Surveying the Jazz Scene in Southeast Connecticut

I went to hear a good bit of jazz in the last month. All jazz. All different permutations. James Baldwin wrote that Jazz – all black American music – has at its origins a necessarily laconic expression, encoding what it was saying with circumspection. It needed to say things without being universally understood. It still does that, often with an extravagant filigree of virtuosity. It misdirects attention from the thing that is really being said, or the thing that is too painful to be said outright. “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” Emily Dickinson advised readers in a

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Old Lyme Poet Laureate Aims to Write Shoreline Chapter of Poetry Society

OLD LYME — Decades before he was appointed the town’s poet laureate last week, Roger Singer struggled in school with an undiagnosed case of dyslexia. Now as a teacher of local poetry workshops, Singer said he encourages other writers to take risks, be heartfelt, and to write every day. “I just want to encourage them to take a chance, stand out, and don’t be afraid of rejection. Even Babe Ruth struck out more than he got on base,” Singer said in a Tuesday phone interview. “Another thing is to encourage people to keep writing, even when the classes are over.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Senior Wins Best in Show at Scholastic Art Awards Competition

OLD LYME — Before she started drawing, she didn’t know how to express herself, said Sarah Conley, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School and the winner of a Gold Key and Best-in-Show award at Connecticut’s Scholastic Art Awards Competition this winter. “I have always had trouble articulating myself and it’s so much easier for me to express myself through my work. I’m able to make a much more profound statement than I ever could with my words,” said Conley. Prior to attending Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Conley said she never thought she could make art, though she loved it

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Clare Byrne Tonight at Nightingale’s Cafe

Guilford-based musician and songwriter Clare Byrne will be appearing this Friday at Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe in Old Lyme. Take a look at our interview with Byrne — now a regular arts columnist for CT Examiner — earlier this summer. Byrne will be appearing solo, with a guitar, a piano, and “lotsa songs, just some old, some new, some borrowed, many blue.” 7:30 – 9:30PMNightingale’s Acoustic Cafe68 Old Lyme StreetOld Lyme, CT

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Studies for Lost Mural Possess “Enormous Power and Beauty” at Yale Show

Reckoning with “The Incident”: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural at Yale University Art Gallery, is an exhibition without its subject centerpiece. In lieu of the painting, Yale presents an assemblage of preparatory works and related paintings and prints – studies possessing enormous power and beauty — around a black and white photographic re-creation of the mural. Some of the pieces are owned by Yale, and many are in the collection of the Grinnell College Museum of Art. The son of immigrants from British Guiana, John Woodrow Wilson was born in Massachusetts in 1922. Through his father’s subscription to

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Niantic’s Peter Carlson on Life and Lighting Design

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LYME — For years, interior designer Peter Carlson searched for unembellished lighting that would complement his clients’ spaces. “I was always looking for lights, especially very simple lighting, not an ‘event,’ just something simple that did the job and looked attractive,” he said. “I had a hard time finding anything so I thought if I’m having this problem, then other people must be having it as well.” One of his odd jobs was driving socialite and cabaret performer Edie Bouvier Beale from Newark to the Reno Sweeney in Greenwich Village. He also worked at Studio 54, a job he said

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Delfeayo Marsalis Tears into Old Lyme’s Side Door

Delfeayo Marsalis and his New Orleans-based Uptown Jazz Orchestra tore into the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme on Thursday January. The ten-man band wouldn’t wait even for Side Door owner Ken Kitchings to finish his introductions. The procession started in the hall, wove through the sold-out room and up onto the stage. Marsalis called out, “Hello Old Lyme! What I’d like to know is, where’s New Lyme?” Kitchings called back, “You’re making it!” Yes indeed. Marsalis and his brilliant Crescent City players helped nudge that idea just a little closer to reality in a show filled with the

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Conn College’s David Dorfman Premieres Dance With Universals

NEW LONDON —  Part of creating a dance piece for David Dorfman is finding a universal that will connect his company of dancers with an audience. For “A(Way) Out Of My Body,” which will have its world premiere at Connecticut College on February 7 and 8, Dorfman began with the idea of an out-of-body experience. “I think everyone has them — certain kinds of dreams — like the one where you can’t move, or some frightening dream where you’re flying,” Dorfman explained at his office in early December. “I remember being in a big field — I played baseball as

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Vince Ector’s South Philly Groove at the Side Door

Philadelphia, land of the Schuykill River, home of the “South Philly Groove” as defined by Vince Ector, a dynamic jazz percussionist and leader of Organatomy Trio +, a quartet that rolled into the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme on Friday night. Ector was incredibly relaxed, dressed in an impeccable pink button-down shirt, introducing a song late in the second set by Burt Bacharach. “See, people think that jazz musicians just like jazz. It’s not true! I love pop music. We stole this song. Did all sorts of things to it — we polluted it — and now, here

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Karaoke and “Superior” Fried Chicken at Rustic Cafe in East Lyme

EAST LYME — “Myth number one — you have to have the ability to sing,” explained Eric Foster of Old Lyme. “No, you have to make it appear you know how to sing.” The wood-paneled room of East Lyme’s roadside Rustic Cafe was loud with conversation — regulars at the bar, high-tops and cafe tables filled with people eating and drinking. Foster and four friends, joined by two CT Examiner staff, had arrived early for the karaoke, which on Friday begins sometime after 9 p.m. “The room needs to be loud and you need to be with friends, at least

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