Friday, February 20, 2009

On the Town (Friday through Sunday)

From six-strings to life-size puppets to contemporary creative music, there's much to see and do in Middletown this weekend.

Today at 5 p.m., attend the opening of "Stan's Cafe: Of All the People in All the World, USA", the new performance art/installation at the Zilkha Gallery (there is also a part of the installation in the lobby of Olin Library, Church Street.) To read more about the event, click here for a previous EYE posting or go to

The appropriately-named Arlene WOW! returns to The Buttonwood Tree tonight at 7:30 p.m. The New Haven native is a singer-songwriter who slowly but steadily has been making inroads into the national music scene. Her songs speak of love won and lost, of the ups-and-downs of everyday life, and dreams of a better times. To get a taste of her music, go to

Besides the Greater Middletown Chorale Winter Choral Festival (read about it here), one can choose to go to The Buttonwood to hear the Collin Wade Quartet. The Colchester native, currently attending Western Connecticut State University (whose jazz studies program is the equal of many major schools), is a alto saxophonist with a "sweet"tone and an intelligent approach to creative music. Joining him will be Eric Laursen (guitar), Jake Habegger (drums) and Ian Tait (bass) - the rhythm section has worked together in the post-modern rock band The Files and Fires. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Click here to get a sample of Wade's fine saxophone work.

The picture at the top of the posting shows the Awaji Puppet Theater Company preparing for a performance. The Company, who practices the ancient from of Japanese puppet theater developed on the island of Awaji, is in the midst of a North American tour and will perform on Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. in the World Music Hall, Wyllys Avenue. With elaborate costumes and precise movements, the APTC tell stories that range from comedic to tragic, from love to sorrow. As you can see from the photo, it takes several people to manipulate the largeLink puppets. For ticket information, call 685-3355 or go online to Click here to see a video of the Company's tour.

On Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., The Russell House Music Series presents saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase in concert. A mainstay of the Boston creative music scene, Kohlhase is proficient on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and has worked with the Either/Orchestra, Wesleyan Professor Anthony Braxton's Genome Project and Wesleyan graduate Matt Steckler's Dead Cat Bounce. He also had led his own groups for the past 2 decades and has issued 7 CDs as a leader. Joining Kohlhase will be guitarist Eric Hofbauer, bassist Jef Charland and drummer Mike Connors. The Russell House is located at 350 High Street and, as always, the event is free and open to the public. To find out more about Charlie Kohlhase, go to

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