History comes alive in Litchfield Connecticut this August!

The Litchfield Historical Society located on the corner of the village green and Rte. 63 south has planned a trio of events for lovers of this historic town. On August 20 for example, the Leather Iron Book Club meets at the society from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. and will discuss this month’s book, Remembrance written by Theresa Breslin. This activity is perfect for kids 9 years or older. Remembrance is set in 1915 Scotland, and chronicles the experiences of young Red Cross nurses as they struggle with changes brought on by the Great War. Following the discussion of the book, games and crafts relating to the story will be offered. Register by August 9th to receive a copy of the book.

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An event not to be missed on August 23 at 10 a.m. is the walking tour of West Street, a centerpiece of Litchfield History. The walk begins at 10 a.m. at the Historical Society and is $10 for non-members. Participants will find out about the playhouse that was once on Litchfield’s West Street and learn about this bustling business center and the surrounding area. A tour guide will discuss the street’s residents, summer destinations, stores, and how the area has changed over time.

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On August 29 at 6 p.m. the Historical Society is offering a lecture and guided tasting of the Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England. The lecture will take place on the lawn of the Tapping Reeve House and Law School located on 83 South Street (Rte. 63 south) and is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Corin Hirsch, award-winning food and drink writer, will be discussing about her new book “Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England.” Tippling was a common activity in colonial New England, and Hirsch has resurrected some of these delicious libations in her new publication. She will mix up drinks like flip and grog for participants to sample.

The Litchfield History Museum’s exhibit, The Lure of the Litchfield Hills through November29, 2015 explores the Colonial Revival Movement in Litchfield. This exhibit explores what was behind the Colonial Revival Movement, how the residents of Litchfield embraced their ancestral past and how the community came to look the way it does today. Visitors are invited to join in exploring his social movement that touched all aspects of American life from architecture and landscaping, to fashion, home decoration and beyond.

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For more information about the Litchfield Historical Society visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org. For information about Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

19th Annual Litchfield Jazz Festival

The Litchfield Jazz Festival continues a time honored tradition of showcasing jazz legends and fostering up-and-coming talent that has been in place since our first festival in 1996. The Litchfield Jazz Festival is taking place once again this year on Friday August 8 – Sunday August 10 at the Goshen Fair Grounds, Rte. 63 Goshen Connecticut.

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Celebrate the kick off of the 19th Anniversary of the Litchfield Jazz Festival at the Goshen Fairgrounds on Friday, August 8th. The party is the event of the season where you’ll enjoy fine foods, private reserve French wines courtesy of Vandoren Vineyards, microbrews by the Olde Burnside Brewing Company and music all night long.

The Gala begins at 5:45 p.m. and the music starts at 7:45 p.m. with Cécile McLorin Salvant who was the youngest finalist ever in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010. At 9:15 p.m. the virtuosic and playful, pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s hard swinging, soulful sounds have become a staple in the jazz community. Blending contemporary and traditional jazz with gospel and occasional seasonings of Latin and samba, Chestnut gives himself plenty of freedom to explore different emotions, while keeping his music in recognizable form.

On Saturday, August 9 the day begins at 12 noon with Carmen Staaf the winner of the 2009 Mary Lou Williams, t Women in Jazz Pianist Competition. Most recently she was chosen as the pianist in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music for the fall of 2014. She was featured on NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, with clips of her Kennedy Center performance at the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival and She was the guest soloist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on a Jazz for Young People program about Duke Ellington.

At 1:45 Grammy-nominee Claudio Roditi takes the stage and plays both the trumpet and the flugelhorn with power and lyricism. Rodti integrates post-bop elements and Brazilian rhythmic concepts into his palette with ease.

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At 3:30 Curtis Fuller performs. Fuller has close to 100 recordings on major labels with Kenny Dorham, Gil Evans, Jimmy Heath, Clifford Jordan, Quincy Jones, Art Blakey (he appears on the iconic Ugetsu), Lee Morgan and others too numerous to list. Fuller will be accompanies by Drummer Joe Farnsworth, Kris Jensen on sax and Rick Germanson on piano.

Anthony Strong performs at 6 p.m. and makes his US debt at the festival. He is a product of London’s renowned Guildhall School of Music where he paid his way with gigs and sessions with artists like Michael Bolton, Marti Pellow and Beverley Knight. He also spent nine months in the West End as Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet, performing to thousands of theatre-goers, one of them Rod Stewart, who came back the following day and called Strong’s performance “(expletive) Amazing!!” BB King called it, “Real great music.”

Saturday ends with a performance at 7:45 p.m. with Kirk Whalum, well known for his smooth jazz saxophone. With a career that spans decades, he is an 11-time Grammy nominee and the winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song (Its What I Do, featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside his lifelong friend songwriter, Jerry Peters.

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photo: antonio monteiro

On Sunday, August 10 at 12 noon Doug Munro takes to the stage. The LJO features-a who’s who of the biggest names in the music industry including: Trumpets -Dave Ballou, Russ Johnson and Nick Roseboro; Trombones – Peter McEachern, Nicole Connelly, Daniel Simms; Saxes – (alto) Kris Allen, (alto) Caroline Davis, (tenor) Don Braden, (tenor) Tom Finn, (bari) Andrew Hadro; Bass – Avery Sharpe; Drums – Robin Baytas; Guitars – Doug Munro, Ken Ross; Violin – Andrei Matorin.

At 1:45 p.m. Bassist/composer Mario Pavone takes to the stage. He has 17 recordings as a leader/co-leader, including his acclaimed 2006 release, Deez to Blues, on Playscape Recordings. Among his awards are a NewWorks grant from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation and a Distinguished Artists Grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In addition to his ongoing activities as a bandleader, Pavone’s artwork and photography have graced the covers of dozens of recordings.

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The Jimmy Greene Quartet performs at 3:45 p.m. The Jimmy Greene Quartet performs regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide. Jimmy appears on over 70 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others. As a member of Harrell’s quintet, Greene was featured on CBS’s news magazine, 60 Minutes. As a member of Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, he is a featured soloist on two DVD releases, Harry for the Holidays, and Only You, and NBC He was holiday special and the Today Show.

At 5:30 p.m. Mike Stern band featuring Janek Gwizdala on bass, Bob Franceschini on sax, and Lionel Cordew on drums takes to the stage. Stern has been in the jazz business three decades and he has played with everybody anybody in jazz would have loved to have played with. He is a multi-Grammy nominated guitarist and was named one of the 75 best guitarists of all time by DownBeat Magazine in its 75th anniversary issue.

The festival ends with a performance by Jane Bunnett and Maqueque at 7:15 p.m. Soprano saxophonist/flutist/bandleader Jane Bunnett has built her career at the crossroads of Cuban music and jazz. A two-time Grammy nominee and multiple Juno Award winner, and recipient of an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University, Bunnett has turned her bands into showcases for the finest talent from Canada, the U.S., and, particularly, Cuba. She is responsible for introducing, over two decades, Cuban musicians who are now almost household words for American Jazz audiences– Dafnis Prieto, Pedrito Martínez, David Virelles, Hilario Duran, among others.

To reserve your tickets visit http://litchfieldjazzfest.com/festival. For area information on the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Photo: Steven Sussman

New Season for the Clay and Wattles Theatre in Bethlehem

The 2014 Season at The Gary-The Olivia Theater in Bethlehem (on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis) begins with two one-act plays written by American Playwright Horton Foote. “Blind Date” and “The Actor” will be performed on June 13, 14, 20, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 15 and 22 at 2:30 pm.

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These beautifully written comedies set in the fictional town of Harrison, Texas are guaranteed to delight audiences with their poetry, insight into human nature and comic touch.

A prolific writer and winner of many awards. Mr. Foote wrote over 60 plays, television dramas and screenplays spanning a sixty year career. Perhaps most widely know for his screenplays for the films To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and Tender Mercies (1983), winning the Oscar for both, Mr. Foote received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1995 for the play, The Young Man From Atlanta.

Both comedies deal with conflicts between the generations. In Blind Date, a former beauty pageant queen tries to persuade her recalcitrant and unwilling niece on the art of “How to attract a suitor,” and in The Actor, the well-intentioned parents try to dissuade their young son from pursuing a career in the theater.

Set in the fictional South Texas town of Harrison in the 1930’s, these plays bring out both the charm and pitfalls of small town USA in a humorous and engaging way.

On Friday, June 13, 2014, our opening night gala performance for Blind Date and The Actor will include complimentary wines from Walker Road Vineyards and local artisan made cheeses. Tickets are $25 per person for opening night and $20 per person for the run of the show. Season Subscription Package and Senior Discounts are available at: http://www.thegarytheolivia.com. 11 yrs and younger are admitted free.

Admission for opening night and details on our 2014 season is at: thegarytheolivia.com. More information:info@thegarytheolivia.com or 203-273-5669.

Arthur Carter at Washington’s Stairwell Gallery

The Stairwell Gallery at Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is honored to present an exhibition of sculptures, orthogonals and paintings by Arthur Carter. The exhibit will be on view through June 21.

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Mr. Carter’s early years might seem like another person’s full lifetime of events. He was trained as a classical pianist, majored in French literature at Brown University, served three years in the United States Coast Guard as a lieutenant commanding officer of an air search and rescue craft, then received his MBA in finance from Dartmouth, followed by a 25 year career as an investment banker.

In 1981, he started a new venture. Founding the Litchfield County Times and six years later the New York Observer, he began his career as a publisher. He was also the publisher of theNation and the East Hampton Star. And in 2008, the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute was founded at New York University where Mr. Carter is a trustee and chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Mr. Carter has also held adjunct professorships in philosophy and journalism at NYU.

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Now we come to the “art part” of Mr. Carter – the grid design and layout of the front page of his newspapers inspired him to reproduce that same theme but in a three dimensional format and using stainless steel. This was a material he had learned to master when he was in Officer Candidate School where he learned welding. Thus, sculpting “became the latest statement of his polymath proclivities.”

Artists naturally evolve and he was soon working with wood, clay and copper wire and then larger constructions in silicon bronze and stainless steel. Many of his larger pieces are on permanent public display in New York City. The fabrication process can take months to complete and involves all the complexities of a machine shop, but each piece begins with one common denominator, his sketch pad.

The Stairwell Gallery exhibit will include Mr. Carter’s Orthogonals. A catalog of his exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art from the Fall of 2011, describes the pieces as follows: “Arthur Carter’s bold new series, which he calls collectively the Orthogonals, offers a fine example of a mixed mode that channels the powers of painting and sculpture through the distinguished medium of the relief.” These pieces are complex in their simplicity. They are strong, mathematical and like his other work, they vary in finish and are affected by the changing light and reflection. Carter has said, “My work focuses on simplifying and eliminating the excessive. The question is how does purity of design lend itself to making a beautiful and elegant piece?”

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Arthur Carter maintains a production facility and design studio in Roxbury, CT. He has been a featured solo artist at many galleries, including the Tennessee State Museum, The Grey Art Gallery, 80WSE Galleries at New York University and the New Britain Museum of American Art. Mr. Carter is the author of two hardcover books, Arthur Carter: Sculptures, Paintings, Drawings (2009) and Arthur Carter: Studies for Construction (2012).

Gunn Memorial is most pleased to welcome this prolific artist who is still immersed in the world of manufacturing and finance around the world. Perhaps his philosophy can help unify this “polymath” for us. Mr. Carter has said, “The simpler the economics are, the better; if you don’t understand it, you don’t do it. Purity in both design and business function means never dilute, never diffuse, and never bloat.”
For further information please call (860) 868-7586 or email chartman@biblio.org . The Gunn Memorial Library is located at 5 Wykeham Road at the juncture of Route 47 opposite the Green in Washington, CT. For library hours and to learn more about our programs and events visit our website www.gunnlibrary.org .

For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

CONNfection- Connecticut Food and Wine Showcase

The Waterbury Neighborhood Council will host the second annual CONNfection event, a showcase featuring Connecticut made food and wine, on Thursday, March 27, from 6p.m. – 9p.m. at the Palace Theater in Waterbury. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at www.palacetheaterct.org, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury.

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CONNfection attendees will have the delight of sampling some of the best home grown and homemade products that Connecticut has to offer, including pasta, sausages, artisanal breads, gourmet olive oils, specialty condiments and relishes, biscotti, cookies, chocolates, cupcakes and more.

Guests will also have the opportunity to sample a variety of beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards, as well as Onyx Moonshine, the first legal moonshine to be brewed in New England. The list of vendors scheduled to appear include 1249 Restaurant, The Bites Company, Fascia’s Chocolate, The Grotto Restaurant & Mrs. G, recent “Cupcake Wars” winner Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes, La Molisana Sausage, The Olive Oil Factory, Pasta Gallery, The Provender of New Morning Market, Saha Sauces LLC, Sweet Confections by Regina LLC, Sweet Maria’s, and more to be announced.

CONNfection is sponsored in part by The Good Life Wine and Spirits, as well as the City of Waterbury’s Arts and Tourism Commission. Proceeds from the event will be used by the Waterbury Neighborhood Council for their work on behalf of all Waterbury neighborhoods, including downtown where the Palace Theater is prominently located.

For information on Litchfield Hills visit www.litchfieldhills.com

Journey to a Magical Cloud Forest- A Quiet Place at the Oliver Wolcott Library and White Flower Farm

The Oliver Wolcott Library on 160 South Street in Litchfield is hosting the photographs of Sue Kennedy through April 25 in the Gallery of this lovely library.

Twenty years ago Sue Kennedy was in Texas working on a Kinesiology and Adapted Physical Education PhD. If anyone had told her that photographing and raising orchids was what she would be doing today, she wouldn’t have believed them. She is here to share her journey, and hopes you will smile, find joy, and most of all, peace from these images of her quiet and powerful children of the Magical Cloud Forest.

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Sue’s father was a pediatrician in the Torrington/Litchfield area, but he always had a second great passion…orchids. Before medical school he earned a PhD in Botany from Cornell and dreamed of discovering and naming a new orchid. After retiring from medicine and armed with a U.S. Department of Agriculture permit, he and his wife took many collecting excursions including the Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Plants were brought home, potted or mounted, and treasured in his “quiet place,” the greenhouse he had built.

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When her father passed away and her mother became ill, Sue was forced with a dilemma – let the orchids die, sell them off or give it a go. She dove in and never looked back. With each blossom she began to see and photograph the unique character of each plant. She shared her images with friends and would see their eyes light up with a kind of childish wonder, peace and joy. Sue continues to capture how light is reflected and penetrates; how it enlightens; how each bloom is a fascination.

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After visiting the Library, stop by White Flower Farm to look at the fabulous selection of plants to be found there. White Flower Farm is located on Rte. 63, 167 Litchfield Rd. a few miles south of the center of Litchfield. Visitors to White Flower Farm will find a wide array of plants for sale. The shop at White Flower Farm opens in April. Visitors may also explore several beautiful display gardens that are adjacent to the shop. For more information about White Flower Farm visit www.whiteflowerfarm.com.

For more information on programs at the Oliver Wolcott Library call 860-567-8030 or www.owlibrary.org For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com