Lost and Found Circus Exhibit at Bridgeport’s PT Barnum Museum

The Barnum Museum is featuring an amazingly original display, Lost and Found Circus: A Creative Balancing Act by Bridgeport artist Susan Tabachnick through August 30.


The exhibition features a circus-themed presentation of small sculptures created with found objects, many of them incorporating old industrial parts and small tools. The components are not altered in any way, but are assembled into whimsical sculptures suggestive of the lively energy and humor that characterizes the circus. The assemblages give “new life” to items originally made for other purposes. Tabachnick never forces the unions and she doesn’t weld or glue the pieces together; they must fit or balance.

Each of Tabachnick’s creations in this exhibition begins with a particular piece of salvaged material to which she is attracted. The sculptures often evolve as a balancing act, as Tabachnick experiments with finding just the right parts, using her own fluid and flexible approach to making art. All of the work in the show is assembled this way; none of the components are permanently affixed. Like a real circus, the components can readily be disassembled and transported to a new venue, and if the artist chooses, the found objects can come together in new ways.

“The Lost and Found Circus is always a work in progress,” explained Tabachnick, “an infinitely creative and organic assemblage of salvaged pieces that invites people to see new possibilities. What is most enjoyable to me are the reactions to my work, and the different references and perceptions that viewers bring to it. I never intended to make a circus. The pieces came together serendipitously, each with its own eccentric personality, not dissimilar to that of traditional circus characters. Over the years, the theme kept percolating to the point where there is now a troupe.”

The Barnum Museum is located on 820 Main Street, Bridgeport in the People’s United Bank Gallery. The entrance to the museum is located at the back of the historic building and the hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on the PT Barnum Museum, call 203-331-1104 ext.100, M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.barnummuseumexhibitions.org.

Transcending Continents: A Black History Month Celebration

The Housatonic Museum of Art in collaboration with Shanna Melton of Poetic Soul Arts presents Transcending Continents: A Black History Month Celebration in the Performing Arts Center of Housatonic Community College at 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT on Thursday, Febuary 27, 2014 from 6 – 9 pm, free and open to the public. Call 203-572-4937 or visit www.HousatonicMuseum.org for more information.

This event includes artists from Senegal, Antigua and America who will explore how music, poetry and storytelling create a spiritual communication that transcends continents to create a psychic connection. Stories of love and ancestry that are universal are conveyed through the gift of art. Featured performers Bideew Bou Bess accompanied by Tony Vacca, along with Gina LeVon Simpson, Tenisi Davis and Iyaba Ibo Mandigo use words and sounds to share their experience.

Poet, painter, writer, actor and playwright, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the US in 1980 as a young boy. Mandingo appears regularly as an international performance poet. US venues include Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café. He was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. He was recently seen at 59E59 in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain (Laura Barnett, director.) Mandingo is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile, and his latest, 40 days & 40 nites of write. His new novel, Sins of My Fathers, was released in 2013. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Summer, 2011 Artist in Residence. Mandingo was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum. His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual international shows.

Gina LeVon Simpson, another performer that is a producer at Sound View Community Media, where she received two awards. Simpson has performed one woman shows, skits, poetry, drumming and presented workshops at many functions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Ghana, West Africa, and in local community centers, libraries and churches. She was the Playwright and Creative Director of “The MAAFA Influence – Evoking the Pain of the Past…Building a Strong and Powerful Future” from 2004 through 2010. This original production showcased in Connecticut, Brooklyn, NY, and Aiken, South Carolina. Simpson is a minister, consultant, poet, storyteller, illustrator, producer, writer and director who passionately seeks to inspire, encourage, and teach through the many gifts she has embraced since childhood.

Tony Vacca’s Senegal-America Project combines the spectacle and spectacular performance of internationally renowned percussionist Tony Vacca and the West African hip-hop group Bideew Bou Bess. Vacca brings his American perspective to the African Balaphone, gongs and assorted other percussion instruments. Bideew Bou Bess, one of Senegal’s most popular and innovative bands is comprised of three brothers: Beydi, Moctar and Ibrahima Sall. They combine ancient griot traditions with global-minded contemporary Hip-Hop sounds. Together the four musicians create a very high energy, interactive cross cultural extravaganza.

Start the New Year at Bridgeport’s Downtown Cabaret Theatre!

What better way to begin the New Year than with the wildly popular comedy, Defending the Caveman written by Rob Becker? The place to be in the New Year is Bridgeport’s Downtown Cabaret Theatre where audiences will have every reason to laugh at themselves about all the different ways men and women fight, laugh and love. Couples throughout America and around the world are enamored of Caveman, described as an hilariously insightful play about the ways men and women relate and always has both sexes roaring with laughter and recognition as well as serving as a peacemaker in the ongoing misunderstandings between men and women.

Defending the Caveman is scheduled: Friday, January 13 at 7:30pm; Saturday, January 14 at 5pm and 8pm; Sunday, January 15 at 5pm.; Friday, January 20 at 7:30pm; Saturday, January 21 at 5pm and 8pmand Sunday, January 22 at 5pm at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre located at 263 Golden Hill Street in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Defending the Caveman” has been performed in 45 countries and translated into 18 languages making it popular with audiences around the globe! It has won the hearts of millions and has become a peacemaker in the ongoing misunderstandings between men and women. It originally opened in San Francisco and soon moved across the country as an unqualified hit. Caveman entered the record books as the longest running solo play in Broadway history.

The Downtown Cabaret Theatre is located at 263 Golden Hill Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Reserved tickets for performances: $19 – $39 Tickets can be reserved: By Phone: Box Office: 203.576.1636 In Person: at box office located 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut Online at downtowncabaret.org (24/7) By US Mail: Defending the Caveman, c/o Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport, Ct. 06604. Box Office Hours: 11am to 5pm – Tuesdays thru Fridays. Box Office open 90 minutes prior to performance times. Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays, closed.
The Downtown Cabaret has a busy winter season planned. Future performances planned include: The Amazing Kreskinon Feb. 18-19; SCARAB – A Tribute to Journey on Feb. 25; Face to Face – A Tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John on March 3 and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap on March 31.

For more information and up-to-date news about the Cabaret, the performances, the actors, seating chart, parking and reserving tickets visit http://www.downtowncabaret.org

Weekend at the Zoo!

I decided to take my niece Ella to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport this past Saturday – and we had a wonderful time! One of the best things about the Beardsley Zoo is how child friendly it is. The zoo has loads of interactive activities for young and old alike. Best of all, the Beardsley Zoo is just big enough without being overwhelming.Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo exhibits hundreds of animals, primarily from North and South America. Many of the animals are endangered or threatened species, which means there aren’t many of them left in the world.

A big hit with Ella, was the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas. We also enjoyed a stroll through the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters. Next, we took a walk along the hoofstock trail that featured bison, pronghorn, and deer.

High on our list too see was the Bald Eagle exhibit. A Zoo volunteer was on hand to tell us about two of the eagles, Temp and Kada that came to the Zoo from the Alaska Raptor Center. We learned that Bald Eagles use their talons to catch fish, and therefore tend to live near water sources such as lakes and rivers. We learned that they will scavenge carrion, steal other animals’ kills and catch small mammals. Bald Eagles, who have an average life span of 28 years, are believed to mate for life and build enormous nests for the pair of eggs they will lay each year.

Next we peeked in at the Brazilian ocelot kitten born January 22 and her mother, Kuma. Both cats were napping in a beautiful rainforest environment. We enjoyed looking through the foliage for a glimpse of the two rare ocelot kittens, Red & Maned. Next we were enchanted by the antics of the Golden Lion Tamarins…whose energy seemed boundless…just like Ella’s!

Our last stop was a walk through the “Alligator Alley” exhibit, home to five new alligators. The new deck gave us a terrific view of these reptiles as they went about their daily activities and feedings.

We learned from a volunteer on site that Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s alligators are between the ages of four and five and are still small, the largest weighing approximately 55 lbs, while the smallest averages 30 lbs. They range from four to five feet long. Known to grow continuously throughout their lives, these creatures are known to reach lengths of thirteen to twenty feet and weights from 400 to 2,000 pounds! They can bite down with 2,000 pounds of pressure with a mouth that contains 65 teeth. Formerly an endangered species, more than one million adult alligators live in the wild today, representing a conservation success story!

On our way to the Carrousel for a spin we stopped to admire two beautiful Amur (Siberian) tigers and the Andean (spectacled) bears.

About Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $12.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members are also admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge. For information, call: (203) 394-6565. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut. For more information, visit http://www.BeardsleyZoo.org

Snowy Owls Now On Exhibit At Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Harry Potter fans are in for a treat this spring at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo! The Zoo is pleased to welcome four Snowy Owls, two males and two females that were born last July at the Hannover Zoo in Germany. The four birds are brothers and sisters. One pair is currently on exhibit in the former Lynx exhibit, between the Amur tigers and Andean bears. A date for the other pair to make their public debut has not yet been determined.

“A lot of folks will recognize the Snowy Owl from its Hollywood debut in the “Harry Potter” series,” explained Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “Harry’s owl, Hedwig, served as a trusted ally to the young wizard. Our Snowy Owls won’t be delivering mail anytime soon, but we’re sure they will be a hit with the public.”

Like other northern species of raptors, these birds have proven to be very susceptible to West Nile Virus, resulting in their loss at a number of zoos and nature centers, as well as breeding facilities, over the last few years. Because conservation is a core part of the Zoo’s mission, efforts to locate an unrelated pair with which the birds may mate.

Weighing in around four to five pounds, the owls have an average wingspan of five and a half feet and stand about two feet tall. While the males are primarily white, the females have gray and black barring on their chests and wings making it easier to tell them apart. As the female birds get older, they will become whiter much like their brothers. The average lifespan of Snowy Owls in the wild is only about 10 years, but in captivity they can live for up to 25 or more years.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our new Bald Eagle exhibit, Andean condors, Amur (Siberian) tigers, ocelots, red & maned wolves, Andean (spectacled) bear, llamas, vampire bats, and golden lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep, and other barnyard critters, plus the hoofstock trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer, and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit http://www.beardsleyzoo.org


Connecticut’s Fairfield County is filled with autumn color and unexpected discoveries—if you know where to look.  New virtual tours on the region’s web site make sure that visitors know exactly where to go and how to find the best routes.  To make it even easier, three scenic routes with exact directions to each tour stop now can be e-mailed or down-loaded directly from the web site to computers or to an I-phone, I-pod or Blackberry, ready to take along on the road.

The recommended routes cover something for every interest–history, scenery, drives, and hikes, gardens and shopping. They can fill a full day or be divided into shorter segments. A sampling of the pleasures in store include:

Route One: Audubon, Architecture and Art

The towns and leafy residential back roads of Greenwich and Stamford are the destinations.  In Greenwich, stops vary from browsing the shops on Greenwich Avenue, known as Connecticut’s Rodeo Drive, to strolling the 285 wooded acres of the Audubon Greenwich.  The art and natural history exhibits at the Bruce Museum vie with the history of 17th century Putnam Cottage and the Bush Holley House, circa 1728.  Stamford offers the chance for cruises on Long Island Sound, prize antiquing, the modernistic architecture and stained glass of the famous “Fish Church,” the Stamford Museum and Nature Center with its picture-perfect Hecksher Farm and 80 acres of wooded nature trails, and the adjoining Bartlett Arboretum with another 91 acres to explore.  More scenery waits in a final back roads drive from Stamford to New Canaan and its nature center.

Route Two: Beaches, Birds And Beauty

Westport, Fairfield and Easton have many attractive stops.  Westport travels include a drive beside the Saugatuck River and stops at beaches on Long Island Sound, along with the Westport Arts Center, Historical Society and the formal and herb gardens at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens.  Among the sights in historic Fairfield are the town green and its beautiful Colonials, the town museum and history center, the 18th century Ogden House, Walsh Art Gallery at Fairfield University, and the Connecticut Audubon and Birdcraft Museum, with a six- acre bird sanctuary.  Rural Easton leads to more historic homes, a school dating back to 1795 and drives along Route 59, a designated scenic road passing the sparkling Aspetuck Reservoir.  A portion of the Aspetuck Trail in Easton is open for hiking.

Route Three: Lighthouses, Oysters And Landscapes

Nautical Norwalk and Rowayton and wooded Weston and Wilton make up this tour. Norwalk, once known for its oysters, has newer lures such as the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the Maritime Aquarium, cruises to Sheffield Island with its historic lighthouse for picnics and walks, the shops of SoNo (South Norwalk) and the buildings of the Mill Hill Historic District.  The riverside village of Rowayton with the look of a typical New England coastal town offers atmosphere, historic houses and an art center. Devil’s Den in Weston is Fairfield County’s largest nature preserve providing 21 miles of hiking trails through diverse habitats and the Great Ledge with spectacular views.  Weir Farm in Wilton, the summer home of the late impressionist painter J.Alden Weir is the only US National Park devoted to American painting, with a setting worthy of a painting.

For detailed routes and further information about the many attractions of Fairfield County, see www.visitwesternct.com.  For a free brochure contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506.