Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sicilian Jazz and Folk this Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

 North End Arts Rising, Inc. is proud to present
                                                   Sissy Castrogiovanni
This Friday evening, Sept 30th, at 8 pm. Sissy will bring her international, highly talented band to perform for our fortunate community. Hailing from Sicily, Sissy speaks English fluently and describes many of her songs and chats with the audience in such a warm way that everyone has a fantastic time, even if you don't understand the Sicilian dialect. Reservations are suggested for the intimate venue of The Buttonwood Tree. Seats are $15 for this show. Refreshments are available including wine and beer.

“Sissy is the voice and the image of Sicily, her songs are starting a new era for Sicilian popular music. Thanks to her, we can discover a new universe within traditional Sicilian music, extremely rich and powerful melodies and soundscapes, that transport us immediately to this island’s streets and fields full of life and art, something very different, worthy of the utmost attention.”
7 times Grammy Award winning Javier Limon, El Pais (Spain)

Sissy, an international beauty full of charm and dynamic personality, will perform a lively show, not to be missed! Save your seat here

"Sissy is definitely one of those people that when you hear her voice you feel like there are angels around you, singing to you. She is one of those angels."    Grammy and Latin Grammy Award multi nomenee Gabo Lugo

Review (Jazz Fusion): “Africannu” Sissy Castrogiovanni

What I love about Sicilian jazz singer Sissy Castrogiovanni’s music is that it brings together different cultures seamlessly and with care.  You can hear their distinct qualities yet they fit well together similar to a well-made tapestry or tasty fusion cuisine.
Having studied jazz improvisation, vocal technique and percussion in Italy and then gaining her degree in Jazz Composition at Berklee, not to mention having worked with Jack DeJohnette, Bobby McFerrin and Patrice Rushen, Ms. Castrogiovanni has acquired formidable skills which are evident in her compositions.  Read more here:

Saturday at The Buttonwood Tree:

Aligned with Source: An Interactive Workshop & Meditation October 1 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

A Spiritual & Holistic Healer from India, Annaita is experienced in applying varied healing modalities to a wide range of situations. In these inter-active workshops, Annaita seeks to empower, sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, enabling you to rise above life’s challenges, live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life.

Explore simple concepts of living in awareness that: open you up to the wonders of life; discover who you are; let go of fear and all that keeps you stuck. You create your reality and as co-creator of this world, find out how you can bring to it and you, peace, harmony, health and abundance.
 Each session ends in a powerful guided meditation.
THIS WEEK”S TOPIC: Channeling Higher Frequencies 

International Beat Poetry Festival Presents                                                

“Celebrating The Beats: Their Words, Their Legacy, Their Music”

October 1 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Readings from selected Beat Poets,  music of the Beat era performed by
the Sergio-Mayo Jazz Duo with New York-based vocalist Janice
McCune, and original poetry performed by The Meeting House Poets:
Richard Daigle, Jim Govoni, Clare Mazur, Esther McCune, Alexandrina
Sergio, Martin Robbins-Pianka, Isabelle Bruder Smith, Elizabeth
Thomas and Andy Weatherwax.

This is one of a series of global events comprising The International Beat Poetry Festival. 

More information

Cathy Kreger and Caroline Doctorow
October 1 @ 8:00 pm
- 10:00 pm
   $12    Reservations and more info here

Concert featuring two well known Long Island based singer- songwriters, Cathy Kreger and Caroline Doctorow. Ms. Doctorow recently performed at the Russell Library. Read below for details on that concert.

Ms. Kreger, who grew up in Middletown, has an irresistible voice that has earned her a place on stage beside world-class acts, including Bonnie Raitt, David Bromberg, The Band, Patty Larkin, Maria Muldaur, Taj Mahal and Aztec Two-Step.



The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457
www, / 860.347.4957 

The Buttonwood Tree ... Rooted in the Arts
... Counting our Blessings!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ MOXIE!!

Cat of the Week...


BreedDomestic Short Hair
ColorBlack & White
Age2 years old

I'm such a pretty girl. I was found outside with my kittens.  They all found loving homes, so I hope I can find one too.  I am very sweet and love to be pet. I need a home with a patient person, who has a quiet home. I do need my space so you need to be able to listen to me when I tell you I've had enough attention. I need to be the only pet in the house. I'd love to curl up on the couch with you and keep you company. I know I'd make a great companion and would love a warm bed to sleep on. Please adopt me!

No Cats / No Dogs / No Children

Phone (860) 344-9043

See our commercial!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Beth Townsend, the Public Relations Director at WESU radio station, remarked that:
 "the WESU fall record fair is a treasured and incredibly fun event that gets everyone in the community and east coast involved in sharing and appreciating music. WESU truly values [our] listenership and loyalty to the station."

WESU’s Fall Community Record Fair returns to Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall on Sunday October 9th from 11am to 4pm.  This fun filled annual event features dozens of vendors from across the northeast selling new and used records and music in all formats. It’s also a great place to find concert T-shirts and music memorabilia. Plus, you can pick up some WESU discounted swag!  WESU DJs will be spinning vinyl all day and the WESU booth will be selling thousands of albums and CDs for $1 each!!!
The event is free and open to the public. New this year, early bird record crate digger $5 admission for 10am before the event is open to the public.
WESU is always accepting record donations to sell or add to our extensive record library at the station.
Vendor space is sold out. For more info contact WESU Ben Michael, WESU General Manager.


Established in 1939 as a community service of Wesleyan University, WESU is one of the oldest
Noncommercial radio stations in the United States. WESU currently broadcasts at the
frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000watts from a terrestrial transmitter located atop the Wesleyan University Science tower in Middletown, CT with a potential to reach over one million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio, online through their website  Listeners can also listen to any program broadcast on WESU for up to two weeks after its initial broadcast, via the statation’s website.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What Cannot Go On Will Stop -- The Colonel Carries On #50

By Friedrich Boilermacher, who didn’t live into the age of photography. We have only this sketch by a drinking buddy, which may depict the great philosopher:

Epigraph: “"Your message was so poorly written that I didn't understand it and I didn't dare to start a dialogue." --Dilbert

In the late 1800s, dangerous "high wheelers" were replaced by "safety bicycles," with each wheel the same size as the other, or nearly so.

That change made bicycles a craze, a rage, and a sensation, despite their moral hazard.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Great Folk Song Revival at Russell Library

The Caroline Doctorow Duo performs Saturday September 24 at Russell Library
On Saturday, September 24 at 1:30pm, the Caroline Doctorow Duo will perform The Great Folk Song Revival in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library. The concert is the first of the Fall Concert Series.

Daughter of renowned author E.L. Doctorow, Caroline Doctorow's original folk songs and her very personal tribute to songwriters of the '60s IS folk music at its finest. She will be concentrating on the work of performers such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, among others. This promises to offer the listener a unique perspective of this significant period in our country's musical history.

Caroline Doctorow is a chart-topping folksinger and songwriter, with a stirring voice that recalls Judy Collins and Sandy Denny. In addition to eleven solo albums, she released the first retrospective of the work of folk icons Richard and Mimi Fariña called AnotheCountry which received critical acclaim. She has just concluded a sold-out tour of venues in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas.

All programs at the library are free. The next concert in the series is presented by the classical FaReLa Duo on November 5. On December 8, Emil Altschuler and Thomas Pandolfi will present a night of Gershwin compositions.

This concert has been funded by The Friends' of Russell Library.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Basic PowerPoint to be Taught at Russell Library

Wednesday September 21 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Russell Library will offer Basic PowerPoint for Office 2013 in Meeting Room 3.

Learn to create a simple PowerPoint presentation that contains symbols, pictures, text, and more. Before taking this class, you should have a good understanding of Microsoft Windows or have taken Introduction to Computers and Word Basics.
Drop-in, no registration.

Cat Tales ~ Cats of the Week ~ DAVEY JONES & JACK SPARROW!!

Gender:  Both Males
Breed:  DMH (Davey) & DSH (Jack)
Color:  Both Orange
Age:  Both 2 years old

Hello!  Our names are Davey Jones and Jack Sparrow, my best friend & brother!   We are a bonded pair so we need to be adopted together.  We were found eating out of a garbage can and Davey had an injured eye.  We are both healthy now and ready for our forever home.  We are both very laid back, friendly and affectionate boys.  We love to be pet, held, and cuddled.  We'd love to curl up on the couch or in bed with you, just to share our love!  We would be great in a home with other cats, kids, and/or cat friendly dogs.  Please adopt us today!

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
See our commercial!

Dukale's Dream to be Screened Monday, September 26 as part of The Elements Environmental Film Series

Please join us for a free screening of Dukale's Dream, the next film in The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series, about the beneficial impacts of fair trade coffee on the environment and the lives of the growers. The film will be shown on Monday, September 26 at 7:00PM at the Powell Family Cinema in Wesleyan University's Center for Film Studies, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT (directions and parking information).

As described on the film's website, Dukale is a coffee farmer in Ethiopia's Yirgacheffe region, working to lift his family out of poverty.  By utilizing shade grown farming practices and limiting reliance on fossil fuels, Dukale was able to create a bio-farm with a zero carbon footprint and resounding health implications for his family. Hugh Jackman meets Dukale while on a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia, and through their relationship he comes to understand that something as simple as a cup of coffee had the potential to reduce global poverty through the choices consumers made in the United States.

As always, the film is open to the public and free of charge. There will be time for informal discussion after the film. If you have questions, please contact our office, 860-346-3282. We hope you can join us!

The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series was begun in 2015 by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program, The Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and College of the Environment. Dukale's Dream is the seventh film in the series. Previous films include: Elemental, Watershed, Dirt! The Movie, Chasing Ice, The End of the Line, and The True Cost.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Long Lane Multi-Use Trail Preliminary Design Hearing

On Thursday, September 29, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Police Department, 222 Main Street, residents will have an opportunity to view the preliminary design of the multi-use that will start at the Long Hill Road Soccer Fields and end at the intersection of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street.  (Note: The long range plan for the trail is to continue along the north side of Wadsworth Street to Pine, and then to follow Pine to a point near Wesleyan University, and then to cut through the woods to Ravine Park on High Street.) The section under consideration in the hearing cited below was reduced in length due to higher than expected survey costs due to route changes.  Residents who live on or near Long Lane, those who travel regularly by car along Long Lane, and those who anticipate using the trail are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing.  The exact location of the trail and the issue of tree removals will be a subject of discussion.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"You Are Not Connected to the Internet -- Would You Like to Disconnect?" Just Shoot Me Now -- The Colonel Carries On #49

by John "Racehorse" Stubal

Epigraph: "She never drank water, she always drank wine."

On vacation without bandwidth, one can barely post, let alone mine the Internet for material. Thrown back on one's own resources, one soldiers on.

The rental cottage is idyllic. Wonderful cross-ventilation. Very tastefully decorated. The outdoor shower has a wooden enclosure so one can de-sand and de-salt in privacy. The hot water (a) exists, and (b) has reliable anti-scald properties.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree! (Sept. 16 & 17)

Plywood Cowboy

Friday, September 16 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm  ($10. Door fee)

Bottle fed on roots music, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Steve Dedman and his band, Plywood Cowboy strike deep at the soul of American music with songs about hound dogs, heart strings, and the vice of the bottle.

A Connecticut native, Steve Dedman is reaching new audiences through his expanding live performance schedule, and is currently writing and recording new material that is on track for a debut album release in 2016.

Steve Dedman – Piano, Guitar, Vocals
Jason Apostoleris – Drums
Austin Gray – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Ed Iarusso – Pedal Steel Guitar
Emily Marcello – Violin
Shane Tanner – Bass Guitar

Aligned with Source Interactive Workshop & Meditation

Hosted by Annaita Gandhy   Saturday, Sept. 16   10:30am - noon  
Energy exchange: donations (minimum suggested $5.)
A Spiritual & Holistic Healer from India, Annaita is experienced in applying varied healing modalities to a wide range of situations. In these inter-active workshops, Annaita seeks to empower, sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, enabling you to rise above life’s challenges, live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life.
Life is not always easy and change must come from within. In today’s environment of hardship, ill-health, corruption and inequality it is often difficult to see the Light. The purpose of this workshop is to empower you to see yours.
Be the change you wish to see. All you need is Willingness.
Explore simple concepts of living in awareness that: open you up to the wonders of life; discover who you are; let go of fear and all that keeps you stuck. You create your reality and as co-creator of this world, find out how you can bring to it and you, peace, harmony, health and abundance. Each session ends in a powerful guided meditation.

Karen Frisk Jazz Group ft. Donn Trenner

Saturday, September 17 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

 $12 Tickets in advance
Day of Show ticket price: $15

Karen Frisk, vocals, is uniting with wonderful jazz musicians (Donn Trenner, Mike Monaghan, Ben Bilello, David Zinno) to perform at The Buttonwood Tree for a unique evening of exemplary jazz music.

Donn Trenner is an Emmy-nominated musical director, conductor, and arranger that came up in the ranks of early bebop pianists. As an accompanist, he has worked with such artists as Lena Horne, Anita O’Day, Vicki Carr, Dick Haymes, Jose Feliciano, Jack Jones, Frances Faye, Nelson Riddle, Paul Broadnax, Rita Moreno, Nancy Wilson, Ann-Margret, and Shirley MacLaine.

Learn more about Donn on his website
Also featuring:
Mike Monaghan
Ben Bilello
David Zinno

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street, Middletown CT

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ LARRY! And 2 Notices!

Meet our Cat of the Week!


Gender: Male
Breed: DSH
Color: Black & White
Age: 6 years old

I'm a very sweet boy who loves attention. I'll gently paw you to keep petting me if you stop and I'm very snuggly! I need a quiet home with a patient, cat experienced person who will give me time to adjust. I'm FIV+ but people can't catch this and it's difficult for other cats to catch. I have lots of love to give, so come meet me and see for yourself!
No DogsNo ChildrenFIV

For more about FIV, please visit:

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
See our commercial!



Fall Fill-A-Truck Challenge

WHAT:  Cat Tales Summer Fill-A-Truck Challenge! Cat Tales is asking for donations of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, bleach, Friskies (pate) canned food and Cat Chow Complete to help feed homeless cats & kittens in our community

WHEN:  Saturday, September 17, 2016 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Walmart of Cromwell, 161 Berlin Road, Cromwell, CT


The Fast & The Furriest - 3rd Annual Car, Truck & Bike Show!  Join Cat Tales on Sunday, September 18th from 10am to 3pm at Middletown High School, 200 LaRosa Rd, Middletown.  (Rain Date 9/25) The day is filled with a collection of cars, trucks and bikes from various years, manufacturers and styles.  There will be informational and product vendors, raffle prizes, delicious food and trophies – a great event for the entire family!  Donations of canned Friskies Pate or Purina ProPlan will earn you raffle tickets to win prizes!  All proceeds benefit the abused, homeless and abandoned cats and kittens within our community.  Much more info on our website:

Working Families Party Endorses Bartolomeo and Lesser

Danté Bartolomeo is running
for State Senate 
The Working Families Party has endorsed two of the four Democrats running to represent our city in Hartford.

For the State Senate, Danté Bartolomeo, representing the western portions of Middletown, received an endorsement, but Paul Doyle, representing the easter portion of Middletown, did not receive the Working Families Party endorsement.

Matt Lesser, representing the eastern part of our city in the state legislature received an endorsement, but Joe Serra, representing the western part, did not.

According to The CT Mirror, "The Working Families Party is a labor-funded organization founded primarily to keep pressure on Democrats to back an agenda that includes a progressive tax structure, paid sick days, paid family medical leave, retirement security legislation and a $15 minimum wage."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fiddles, Feet & Folk Make for FUN at The Buttonwood Tree This Weekend

The Kennedys

September 10 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Pete and Maura Kennedy, both East Coast natives, met in Austin, Texas, joined forces with Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra for a couple of years, and set out on a road that, for two decades, has led them not only west but all over the US and the UK many times. This year, they celebrate their twentieth anniversary both as a band and a married couple. Rather than indulge in a nostalgic look backward, they’ve taken Dylan’s dictum “don’t look…
Find out more / reserve your seats here

April Verch

Sunday, September 11 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
$25  Reservations suggested   Includes Reception

Bow. Feet. Vox. A trifecta of talent, keeping tradition feisty.   While April Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world-class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. April Verch steps, sings, and fiddles with…
See more / Reserve seats here

JOHN BASINGER – Paradise Lost

September 11 @ 7:00 pm
John will be presenting Book 5 of John Milton's Paradise Lost This is a live "reading". Books to follow along will be available.
Donations are welcome 

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street, Middletown CT

Do You Long for Another, Better Earth? -- The Colonel Carries On #48

By Emily Zola and Emil Nightrate

Epigraph: “We are digitally remastered Pokemon from the future who have come back to warn you. That is all.”

The last episode drew a comment that the commenter clicked under the misapprehension that the story was an expression of sympathy for the eminent local journalist and photographer Cassandra Day.

That actually was the thought that give birth to the post as it ran. One thing leads to another, and that goes double, if ever so slowly, within the colonelic mind.

Which has re-decomposed, so this episode will have the coherence of a bowlful of ball bearings spilled onto the dance floor at Vinnie’s Jump & Jive.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Will Route 9 Traffic Signals Be Removed?

The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s plan to remove the traffic signals from Route 9 in Middletown seems likely to go forward in some fashion, based on the public meeting held on July 26, 2016 and the subsequent comment period.  There is broad, enthusiastic support for the main goal from many Middletown residents and elected officials, including Mayor Dan Drew. The pollution, accidents, wasted time, and constant irritation caused by the lights all add up to something now deemed intolerable, so the wheels of state government are starting to move. To view the project on-line, go to and click on the link “Rte 9 Middletown Projects” on the left side of the home page.

The specific proposal does, of course, raise concerns, as any project of this scale would.  The most often-expressed concern on July 26 was that increased traffic on Main Street north of Washington Street will make peak congestion even worse. The second most-voiced concern was that the elevated southbound highway near Washington Street will block views toward the river and aggravate the existing visual and psychological barrier between the downtown and the riverfront, the same barrier that we have been decrying and seeking ways to mitigate for the last several decades. 

Principal Engineer William Britnell explained that CT DOT has received many comments and suggestions that are still under review. In particular, his team is considering additional improvements to the area of Main Street., Grand Street, and Rapallo Avenue to further improve traffic flow, as well as how to avoid the highway elevation that will form a 23-foot wall facing deKoven Drive at Washington St. The fate of the proposed roundabout at Washington Street and deKoven Drive is still in question.  The department seems convinced it would move traffic more efficiently and be safer for bicycles and pedestrians, but DOT also sees this feature as somewhat incidental to the project as a whole. Mr. Britnell predicts that sometime this fall the department will be ready to share the results of their studies and deliberations – either in the form of a revised proposal or a confirmed commitment to something close to the original version.

Presuming that the concept remains substantially intact, the timeline for the project includes a series of steps to alleviate congestion on Main Street and on Route 9 even before the final major construction takes place.

During the 2017 construction season, the CT DOT will install the proposed crosswalk bump-outs that, it says, will significantly improve the function of downtown streets and intersections prior to the changes to Route 9 itself. Congestion will be alleviated, the theory goes, because the bump-outs will allow for decreased signal time for pedestrian crossings and lengthened intervals for the movement of vehicles.  With the bump-outs, pedestrians will be safer and feel safer because the sight lines at crossings will no longer be obstructed by parked cars.

In 2018, two Route 9 exit turns (northbound onto Hartford Avenue and southbound onto Washington Street) will be eliminated, providing some relief to Route 9 congestion and allowing the public to adapt to the exit changes that are included in the final plan. 

In 2019, a double lane northbound exit onto Washington Street will be built to further reduce congestion on Route 9 southbound until the underpasses are built. 

The elevated lanes on Route 9 southbound at Hartford Avenue and Washington Street and their associated underpasses are envisioned to be  constructed in 2020-21, allowing for the complete removal of the traffic signals. 

Widening the Route 17 northbound on-ramp, in order to eliminate the dangerous stop sign that causes so many collisions at that location, has now been postponed until 2022 because the Union Street bridge will be completely replaced. 

Those who have paid close attention to the issue of Route 9 traffic congestion and access in and out of Middletown are aware of many other visions and solutions for the highway and its problems. From what I can discern, those other proposals involving tunnels, lowered road surfaces, fly-overs, boulevards, and such have been declared too expensive and completely out of the question, at least for this period of our history.   

What we need to do now is to make this project the best it can be. Our communal vigilance includes making sure that the City of Middletown follows through on funding its part of the pedestrian walkway from Riverside Plaza to Route 9, from where it will be funded by the state to cross over the highway to Harbor Park.  This walkway is one way of mitigating or compensating for the obstruction of that 23-foot wall facing deKoven Drive, if that additional obstruction to our relationship to the river can’t be avoided.  

In short, the pressure of all those traffic jams has mounted to become a regional splitting headache.  Whether you like it or not, change is coming to Route 9, and we are beginning to see its outlines. 

John C. Hall is Executive Director of the Jonah Center for Earth and Art, a nonprofit organization based in Middletown that advocates for pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets.