Friday, January 31, 2014

Youth Gamelan at Wesleyan begins Sat Feb 1

The Spring 2014 session of the Youth Gamelan at Wesleyan University begins Saturday, February 1.

The Javanese Gamelan orchestra accompanies puppet shows, dances, feasts and ceremonies in parts of Indonesia, and consists of gongs and xylophone-like instruments made of bronze.

The Youth Gamelan is a unique opportunity for children aged 7-14 to create this beautiful music, with its distinctive melodies and rhythms, and also to experience the cooperative listening process of playing ensemble music. Rehearsals are held on Saturday mornings from 10-11am in the World Music Hall, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, located on Wyllys Avenue (off of High Street). Parents are welcome to stay and watch rehearsals. We will conclude the session with a performance on Thursday, May 1 at 7pm, together with Wesleyan student ensembles. 

New members are welcome at this time, though space is limited and advance registration is recommended. There is a registration fee of $30, made payable to Wesleyan University. You may register at the first rehearsal, or with the University Box Office in Usdan Campus Center, tel. 860-685-3355, email: 

Founded in 2002 by Artist in Residence I.M. Harjito, the group is directed by Joseph Getter, who has helped to teach the ensemble since it began. The Youth Gamelan is sponsored by the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan, and is a past recipient of support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Wesleyan Contra Dance

From Sarah Hensiek.

The first Wes Contra dance of the year is this Friday!! Come hang out with all of your favorite friends and meet new friends while you’re at it!

The band and caller are local CT folks – awesome as always. Fulfill your New Year’s resolution to try something new! Come for as much or as little as you want – we’ll teach you everything you need to know.

Pay Pal - Bill Me Later: Payer Beware!

If you use PayPal, you may have noticed its new-ish feature: Bill Me Later. Proceed carefully. Check the default payment method.

Somehow I (and others) have unwittingly and unintentionally used Bill Me Later when making a payment through PayPal, maybe with Bill Me Later set as the default.

The sequence went all the way through the billing and payment process without alerting me that I was using Bill Me Later. Nor did I know I had set up a Bill Me Later account--it was done very smoothly, all the while looking as if I were still in PayPal.

Not only that, Bill Me Later somehow acquired all my personal information from PayPal! Luckily I was able to make the Bill Me Later payment without a further hitch and close out the account I never opened.

Save yourself some trouble and look carefully before you leave the initial PayPal page--make sure you're paying with PayPal.  It's not exactly a scam--it's a trompe l'oeil.

Greg Amy: Candidate For Westfield Fire Commission Member

Reader submitted. The Eye publishes letters to the editor without any implication of endorsement. We welcome all signed submissions.
On February 4, 2014 the Westfield Fire Commission is holding its Annual Meeting at 8:00 PM at the WFD fire house on 653 East Street. The purpose is to elect three Commissioners to a term of three years, and one Commissioner to the remaining term of two years to fill the vacated Commissioner seat, all beginning on February 5, 2014.
I am Greg Amy, a resident of Westfield on Miner Street. Last May, the Commission asked me to fill the vacated seat for a retiring member and I am running for election to this seat (two years remaining term). My wife and I have lived in Westfield since 1993; our backyard borders the west side of Westfield Fire Department property.

We came to the area because of its beauty and tranquility, and its proximity to our jobs. I have a BS in Engineering and a Master of Business Administration; my career is as an Information Technology Project Manager with a healthcare organization.

 Since being appointed to this seat, I have learned a lot about the Westfield Fire Department, enough so that I want to make a lasting contribution to the community, the organization, and to the district I have grown to respect. My reasons for requesting to continue my service as a board member are the same as would be for any resident in the district: to support the volunteers, EMS, first responders, and staff of the WFD while ensuring they have the resources needed to continue their service to the community, and doing so in a fiscally responsible way.

Toward that end, I am asking the voters to elect me to this seat.

 Most importantly, during my brief tenure with the current commission I found it to be a good group of leaders, of wide breadth of experience and skills, one that holds in mind the best interests of the volunteers, staff, and the entire Westfield community. It is a highly effective and dedicated body, addressing the needs of all stakeholders. Therefore, I ask the voters to consider retaining this organization as it exists today by re-appointing all Commission members that are up for vote.

Please see the attached for a list of Commission members that are up for re-election.


 Greg Amy

 Please note that this information and the attached flyer represent my opinion only and are not official positions of, or statements from, the Westfield Fire Commission. If you would like more information about the annual meeting or the election, please contact Fire District Administrator Linda DeManche at, or 860-632-0534.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Middletown Patch is History

The Middletown Patch is gone as of Friday.

Across the country, hundreds of writers and editors were fired in a conference call.  Cassandra Day, editor of the Middletown Patch was among several Connecticut editors let go by the organization after the sale of Patch by AOL to Hale Global.

Day, who ran a profitable, and well-read, frequently-visited version of AOL's "hyper-local" news site said she was reeling from the news.

Additional Circophony Performances due to Popular Demand!

Back by Popular Demand we are adding two ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES of CIRCOPHONY'S Circus in Wonderland!!

Alice in Wonderland goes to the Circus in this fast-paced, all ages 45 minute show presented by the talented teen performers of Circophony."Circus in Wonderland" will be performed

Friday Feb 21, 2014 at 7:00pm
Saturday Feb 22, 2014 at 2:00pm

at Oddfellows Playhouse
128 Washington Street
Middletown, CT 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children.

Circophony is a collaboration between Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and ARTFARM. The company, directed by ARTFARM co-founder Dic Wheeler (also the creator and long-time director of the Children's Circus of Middletown), is made up of eight circus performers between the ages of 12 and 17.

"Circus in Wonderland" explores the magical world of Alice in Wonderland through the joy and spectacle of circus. Alice is plunged into a world in which the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit and other iconic characters juggle, stilt, unicycle, clown and perform stunning feats of acrobatics.
It's Alice in Wonderland like you've never seen it before! Bring your kids! Bring your parents! This show has something for everyone.For more information about the show, which is available for touring through May, 2014, contact ARTFARM at

Buy your tickets HERE

Free Tax Help Available for Households Earning $50,000 or Less

MIDDLETOWN—Free tax preparation sites are open now through April 9, 2014 in Middletown for families with a household income of $50,000 or less.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is an official IRS program, and all tax preparers are trained and certified to ensure that low- to moderate-income families receive the refunds and credits that they have earned, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
In 2013, the two VITA sites in Middletown helped nearly 450 Middlesex County residents file their taxes for free and returned $578,000 back to taxpayers. Those who filed with Middletown VITA sites had an average Adjusted Gross Income of $20,053 and received an average refund of almost $1,620, money they have earned. This impacts not only those who filed their taxes, but also their families and the local economy.
Appointments are required and are being offered during the evenings and on Saturdays at the Middlesex United Way office and at the North End Action Team. To make an appointment, dial 2-1-1 on your phone.
Individuals should bring a checkbook or voided check for direct deposit of their refund. Direct deposit is the quickest way to receive the refund, usually within one to two weeks.
When attending their pre-scheduled appointment, individuals should bring: valid photo ID; social security cards or ITIN; documentation for all income; documentation for deductible education expenses and student loan payments; birth dates for everyone in the family; interest and dividend statements; total amount paid for child care as well as day care provider’s tax identification number and address; a copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns, if available; and the current year’s tax package if you received one.
Middletown VITA sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team (NEAT). The Middlesex VITA Coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services (CAHS).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This week at the Buttonwood...

Tuesday, January 28 - TODAY!

S.W.E.E.T. Potato Society Meeting
6 pm, free

S.W.E.E.T. Potato Society, Inc is a 501(c) 3 women’s organization working and striving to help our community of women to succeed in all areas of life.

Friday, January 31

Gail Wade & Donna Martin
8 pm, $10 in advance/$12 at door

During the past twenty-plus years of performing, Gail Wade is has gained the respect of audiences throughout the USA, Ireland and several European countries. A strong guitarist and clawhammer banjo player with a rich and soulful voice, Gail brings forth fresh renditions of folk, blues, old-time, bluegrass and swing favorites.

Although “acoustic/folk” best categorizes Donna Martin's music, she pulls inspiration from a broad musical palette. Her childhood was richly laced with Canadian roots music that took center stage at family gatherings but the start of her professional career began with her work in a variety of rhythm and blues bands.

Reserve your seat!

Saturday, February 1

Laszlo Gardony Jazz Trio
8 pm, $10

Laszlo Gardony is a critically acclaimed artist who has brought his soulful improvisations and compositions to audiences in 24 countries. Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called “a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers” by and “a great pianist” by Dave Brubeck.

Reserve your seat!

Do Not Feed This Troll -- Popcorn by The Colonel #81

Uncle Jack, our mother’s brother, used to visit our mom on Sundays and after lunch would often nod off sitting up in the living room easy chair he liked and sometimes talk in his sleep. Not speeches, just intriguing snippets. He must have been dreaming that he was telling stories. We would write the snippets down and when Uncle Jack woke up, we’d ask him what they meant. He never knew, or so he claimed.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Courant Article On Wetmore Mansion

Erik Hesselberg has published a nice profile of one of Middletown's oldest grand houses, the Wetmore Mansion, as in the Hartford Courant.

The mansion is just west of the Staples strip mall on Washington Street.

The article also profiles John Fletcher Bolles, who has painstakingly restored the mansion after purchasing it in 2007.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not to be missed - Cricket Tell the Weather and the Asylum Quartet - This weekend @ the Buttonwood Tree!

January 24
8 pm/$10

Cricket Tell The Weather

Based in the greater NYC area, Cricket Tell the Weather is a five-piece indie string band featuring bluegrass-inspired original music. Cricket is strongly influenced by American traditional music, and also includes rock, pop, and jazz elements, contributing to the growing genre of progressive bluegrass.

8 pm/$10

The Asylum Quartet

Lush harmonies of classical masterpieces, pulsing electronic sounds of minimalism, and euphoric klezmer at breakneck speeds – Asylum Quartet plays just great music. And they do it with four saxophones.

Wesleyan Institute For Life-Long Learning Courses Offered

Wesleyan's education program for all members of the community (The Wesleyan Institute For Life Long Learning) is offering multiple classes this semester.

One of them is a full-day on the Connecticut River. It will include ample commentary on the history and ecology of the river, aboard the Riverquest cruiser. The trip will include visits to Selden Island and Gillette Castle with a picnic lunch (provided) on the grounds of Gillette Castle. Saturday, May 17, 2014 (raindate Sunday, May 18th) from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Cost of this trip is $125 per person. Space is limited.

In addition to the full-day course, several short courses are also being offered. These courses meet on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown. Classes are scheduled in the afternoon and early evenings. Parking is available and classrooms are accessible.

  • Clarifying the Mysteries of the Self
  • Parsing Camille, the Heroine Harlot, from Life to Stage, Song and Film
  • Retirement as Reinvention
  • The Poetry of Memory: A Reading and Writing Workshop
  • The Nibelungenlied (Song of the Nibelungs) of Love and Death and Heroes
  • How to Get Into Print dn Get the Most Out of It: A Freelancer's Guide to Publishing
  • Return Journeys: Second-Generation Americans Explore "Home" and Identity
  • Exploring the Natural History of the Lower Connecticut River

  • The Institute was chartered by Wesleyan University in 2009 to provide educational opportunities to members of the community outside of formal degree-granting programs. For more information or to register for a class, please visit or call (860) 685-2273.

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    DeLauro, Drew, Lesser To Publicize Importance Of Education For Commerce: At Vinal Tomorrow

    From the office of Rosa DeLauro, who represents our city in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Tomorrow Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) will tour Vinal Technical High School and hold a roundtable on the need to train Connecticut’s workforce for the high skill, high paying jobs critical to Connecticut’s economy.

    Thursday, January 23, 11AM, Vinal Technical High School, 60 Daniels Street.

    Vinal Technical High School’s manufacturing and maintenance training program was developed in partnership with local manufacturers. Some of those manufacturers have hired Vinal graduates and will be in attendance tomorrow. This is part of a series of events focused on what Congress should do to increase Americans’—and Connecticut’s—pay. Greater investment in job training and vocational education are a key part to ensuring Americans can compete for skilled manufacturing jobs that pay a good wage.

    Also appearing will be Mayor Dan Drew, State Rep Matt Lesser, President of Pegasus Manufacturing Chris DePentima, and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Vinal Technical High School.

    TBT Emerging Female Artist Program

    The Buttonwood Tree launches an Emerging Female Artist Program sponsored by The Community Foundation of Middlesex County's Women and Girls Fund. Visual artists who have works in various state of completion, raw or unfinished, in need of refinement, framing or further guidance to achieve presentation format are eligible to apply. There is no cost to apply. If you wish to be more active with your art career, are in need of guidance regarding techniques, marketing and/or creating your portfolio, this is your opportunity!

    Female artists looking for assistance in bringing their artwork to a sale-able and or show-able state or established artists willing to mentor emerging artists are eligible to apply. Contact Anne-Marie Cannata at The Buttonwood Tree. email:

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Snow: Parking Ban Begins at 6PM

    The City has declared a snow parking ban effective today Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 6:00pm.

    Unusual Arctic Weather Poised to Ruin Your Life and Afterlife -- Popcorn by The Colonel #80

    Epigraph: Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.” -Mary Karr (b. 1955), poet and memoirist

    What is with the metastasis of “so”? We were lunching with a friend and the friend asked the waitress whether there were any specials. She replied, “So, we have individual pizzas....” The inappropriate “so” is rampant, high and low. Now that we’ve called it to your attention, you’ll start noticing it, too, and it will slowly (or quickly) drive you mad. You’re welcome.

    Baby Boomers greatly fear dementia. Their spines chill whenever they forget where they parked the car or put the car keys. Fortunately, the bad economy distracts them with grisly visions of a poverty-stricken old age. The low-interest policy of the Fed robs them of the benefit of their saving. Let one fear temporarily relieve another.

    A commentator said a higher minimum wage won’t draw native-born Americans back into minimum-wage jobs because “the recruitment networks that used to connect [native-born] young people with entry-level jobs have been allowed to atrophy.” Interesting observation.

    Baby Boomers were born in 1946, 1964, and the years between. The terminal years are chiastic: “46-64” (a-b-b-a). How’s that for a high-class mnemonic device? The boundary dates for Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, Millennials, and Echo Boomers are not the subject of consensus. (Gen Z is not to be confused with General Zod.) Those born before 1946 are increasingly called “The Grayest Generation.”

    The ad on the screen was partly obscured. What was visible said:
    What could it have been but “The Great Buddy Holly”? We fell to thinking about the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient documents, and how scholars puzzle out what must have been in the holes, tears, smudges, burnt parts, and all manner of lacunae. The detective work is amazing. Just to be sure, we scrolled the ad into full visibility. It read, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

    The exciting possibilities for riverfront redevelopment in Middletown give birth to the following free-form meditation upon exciting possibilities for the adaptive redevelopment of another Middlesex County town, Chester. Chester was long known as "Dog Town," supposedly because of the abundance of free-roving dogs. The lovely nickname has been the subject of brutal suppression by persons ruthlessly fighting to enhance property values.

    How about doing a 180 and officially changing the name of Chester to its perennial nickname, “Dog Town,” the better to attract libertarians, anarchists, dogs, free soil Democrats, bohemians, dog eaters, dressage competitors, Romany, ACLU members, freedmen, nonconformists, beatniks, hippies, old salts, old tars, washed-up actors, gadflies, militia members,  foodies, survivalists, muster enthusiasts, battle reenactment aficionados (conservationists vs. preservationists?), ant farmers, low-tech start-ups, incubators, succubators, astrologers, vegetarians, people without driver’s licenses, weredogs, prophetesses, diet cranks, friends of dogs, communards, people who are Swiss since the war, louche entrepreneurs, instigators, improvisation artists, outside agitators, necromancers, ventriloquists, channelers, stand-up comedians, Scientologists and their Dianetics wingmen, fortune tellers, tarot readers, philosophers, aromatherapists, child philatelists, numismatists, numerologists, unregulated psychotherapists, thespians, Diggers, backroom dealmakers, open air cigar enthusiasts, middle-of-the-road nudists, zoning opponents, squatters, backdaters, Gandy dancers, Ponzi men, aged hepsters, medical meth drinkers, medical pot sellers, medical illusion dwellers, and medical people with wounds they have no intention to heal? The town will be like Hell, under the definition "Hell is where all the interesting people are."
    Business development people will be reassured that an influx of such people will necessarily draw in the businesses that cater to them: saloons, head shops, independent churches, temples, ashrams, dojos, coffee houses, souvenir, curio, and memorabilia shops (“My parents went to Dog Town and all they got me was this lousy T-shirt”), hobby shops, dog pounds, houses of good repute (not), Zen bakeries, SAT prep courses, vendors of vintage and modern weaponry and military accoutrements, marijuana pharmacies, permeable parking lots, drive-through liquor stores, futon dealers, Birkenstock outlets, chiropractors, granny glasses kiosks, off-off-off-off-off Broadway productions, tattoo parlors, taxidermy studios, craft stores (including making drinking glasses from wine bottles), folk music cafes, disco parlors, improv nooks, Pablo Fanque’s Fair, health food shoppes, avant-garde comportment schools, raw milk wholesalers, and more.

    Just imagine it! A People’s Republic of Dog Town, right in the bosom of Middlesex County! Are not states and municipalities supposed to be “laboratories of federalism”? And the above are just the intended consequences of the name change -- think if you can of all the serendipitous unintended consequences! The unknown unknowns! Tourist magnet idea: a large monument to the Unknown Unknowns, perhaps in the form of a statue of Donald Rumsfeld?

    New town motto: “Going to the Dogs Since 1836!” Talk it up!

    Economic redevelopment is fun. What’s next? The reinvention of Belltown with an Edgar Allen Poe theme? Any excuse will do to assure frequent use of the word “tintinnabulation.”

    A Dialogue

    She: Do you drink beer?

    He: Yes.

    She: How many beers a day?

    He: Usually about 3.

    She: How much do you pay per beer?

    He: $5.00, which includes a tip.

    She: And how long have you been drinking?

    He: About 20 years, I suppose.

    She: So a beer costs $5 and you have 3 beers a day which puts your spending each month at $450. In one year, it would be approximately $5400. Correct?

    He: Correct.

    She: If in 1 year you spend $5400, not accounting for inflation,
    the past 20 years puts your spending at $108,000, correct?

    He: Correct.

    She: Do you know that if you didn't drink so much beer, that money could have been put in a savings account and after accounting for compound interest for the past 20 years, by now you could have bought a Ferrari?

    He: Do you drink beer?

    She: No.

    He: Where's your Ferrari?

    Various Business Signs

    Sign at a gynecologist's office: “Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

    In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

    On a septic tank truck: “Yesterday's Meals on Wheels”

    At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

    On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

    On another plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."

    At a tire shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout."

    At a towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

    On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."

    In a non-smoking area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

    On a maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."

    At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet is to miss a car payment."

    Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

    In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"

    At the electric company (in Canada, hydro): "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."

    In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up."

    In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."

    At a propane filling station: "Thank heaven for little grills."

    At a Chicago radiator shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."

    On the back of septic tank truck: "Caution -- This Truck Full of Political Promises."

    Next issue: standards return!

    Monday, January 20, 2014

    Shakespeare Acting Class for Adults- so much fun!

                             Marcella Trowbridge & Brian Jennings, courtesy of Actor's Equity, Macbeth & the Lady
    Hi, friends.
    So, I am offering another Shakespeare workshop series for adults; the Shakespeare Acting Laboratory (SAL) 2014. I am excited to share what I am passionate about. What can be seemingly dry at first..or analytical for purely academic proposes- is what thrills me to the chase. The verse and metrical structure, the rhetorical devices and their unending clues…for the actor. Shakespeare’s work is wonderful to read, but I believe it is truly meant to be off the page and out of the mouth. In this class, we will do table work, we will move, we will play. We will explore nuance as we hone our understanding of circumstance and plot, develop character and push our limits towards emotional literacy, clarity, diction, eloquence, strength and vulnerability. Whether folks are professionals or community players, whether they have done theater or Shakespeare in their previous lives or are brand new to the stuff, this can be a transformative class. There are still a couple of spots left, and I am hoping to encourage those folks who have thought something like this might be fun- but feel a little uncertain or felt they couldn’t  justify the time – or money- to just take the leap. I feel so very blessed to do what I love. I hope to share my skills and fuel enthusiasm. Come on out.. or nudge that special someone to just DO IT! It’s going to be an awesome time.           SO- SHAKESPEARE ACTING LAB.      Starts THIS Wednesday, January 22, 7-9:30pm at Middlesex Community College, Chapman Hall. Runs 8 weeks. The cost is $250. Contact or call 860.346.4390 to register.
    There’s my pitch. I really hope you’ll come.  -Marcella
    Oh- and did I mention we will be doing scene study? Come on, doesn't this scene work photo look like we're having fun?!