Friday, October 31, 2014

Cat Tales ~ NEEDS HELP!! Feral Housing & Foster Volunteers

           CAT TALES ~ Needs your help!

Cat Tales is a Connecticut-based, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the quality of life and improving the well-being of abused, neglected and abandoned cats and kittens within our community. Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue is a 501(c)(3) organization since 1999.

Feral Housing Needed
Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue is in desperate need of feral housing for our managed feral colonies. Anyone willing to donate or construct feral housing, please contact Cat Tales. 

Seeking Homes for Feline Foster Care
Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue is seeking Foster Care Volunteers provide temporary housing cats and kittens. You'll prepare the animal for adoption and prevent overcrowding in our shelter. Cat Tales provides food, supplies, and medications, and pays for all vet care.  As a Foster, you should be comfortable with: 
• Daily feeding, play, and attention
• Administering medications
• Following special dietary plans
• Handling the cat into and out of a carrier
• Transporting cats to veterinary appointments
Email: subject line "Foster"

Thank you for your help and support!!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week! Medalla!

Cat Tales
Cat of the Week!


Gender:  Male
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Buff
Age:  3 years old
In spite of my difficult early experiences, I'm very trusting. I'll come to you to be petted. I'll sit with you on the couch and purr loudly. I'd be happiest as the only pet and will need some time to adjust, so please be patient with me. Come meet me and see what a sweet kitty I am! (No Cats/Dogs/Children)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Free Ritchie Parrish Ritchie Concert at MxCC November 14

The energetic and highly entertaining band, Ritchie Parrish Ritchie (RPR), comes to Chapman Hall at Middlesex Community College on Friday, November 14 at 7 p.m. for a free concert.  This is the only New England appearance for the Canadian band, and the event is open to the public, with free parking available on campus. MxCC will be collecting non-perishable food or monetary donations for the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown at the door.  Please register for this event at

RPR is made up of Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie, who were the former rhythm section of the Canadian “supergroup,” Tanglefoot, an iconic acoustic folk band that disbanded in 2009. RPR started to take form, building on the acoustic roots of Tanglefoot and adding electric bass, electric guitar and percussion (Beaker Granger).  In 2013, the band released its first CD, Trans Atlantic, and began touring throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  Audiences love their trademark harmonies, original compositions, and energetic renditions of songs by legends such as Robert Plant and Bob Dylan. 

In a March 2013 review, The Beat Magazine said of RPR: "They sing raucously and passionately with big stirring times with roaring vigour at others with sparse intensity, creating many moods...songs full of humour, pathos and love."

“We chose to invite RPR to MxCC because Tanglefoot was popular among our local folk music community,” explained Adrienne Maslin, MxCC dean of students. “We have such a diverse population at MxCC with students of all ages and varying tastes in music, and we truly want to reflect that in the cultural opportunities we offer at MxCC.  Additionally, we want to expose our students and the community to different styles and musical genres they may not have considered.  This is such a wonderful opportunity for music lovers of all ages who want to experience a high-energy, first-class concert in a great local venue.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fill-A-Bus Nov. 1 for Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project

Volunteers will collect nonperishable food donations
for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project
Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
Stop & Shop and Price Chopper in Middletown.
MIDDLETOWN – Nonperishable food donations for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project will be collected at two simultaneous Fill-A-Bus events Saturday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Stop & Shop and Price Chopper in Middletown.

The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project was established four years ago to ensure that all Middletown families who are struggling can still enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project will assemble more than 950 baskets of food this Thanksgiving.

A list of items needed will be available at the store during the collection times.

Monetary donations are being accepted to purchase necessary food and non-food items essential to this effort. If you wish to contribute, checks can be made out to “Rotary-MCTP” and sent to MCTP, c/o Fellowship Church, 1002 Saybrook Rd., Middletown, CT 06457. For more information about contributing a donation, please contact Lara SantaMaria at Fellowship Church at 860-346-1181 or

The planning committee for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project includes representatives from the City of Middletown, Cross Street AME Zion Church, Fellowship Church, Heritage Commons, Liberty Bank, Liberty Bank Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex Hospital, Middlesex United Way, Middletown Kiwanis Club, Middletown Police Department, Middletown Public Schools, Middletown Rotary Club, St. Luke’s Community Services, St. Vincent De Paul Middletown/Amazing Grace Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, Wadsworth Glen Health Care Center, and Wesleyan University.

Leigh Fondakowski discusses "SPILL" (Oct. 30)

Center for the Arts Director Pamela Tatge discusses the development of the work "SPILL" by Leigh Fondakowski in this entry from the CFA blog. Ms. Fondakowski will give a free talk about the future of "SPILL" on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7pm in CFA Hall.

Leigh Fondakowski

As the third Outside the Box Theater Series event of the year, playwright Leigh Fondakowski will give a talk on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7pm in CFA Hall.

In 2011, Leigh Fondakowski co-taught The Deepwater Horizon Tragedy: A Scientific and Artistic Inquiry with Barry Chernoff in the College of the Environment. The goal of the course was to teach students the science of the Gulf Coast region and the ecological impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as artistic tools and methods that enabled them to understand the science at a deeper level.

As part of the course, Ms. Fondakowski and Mr. Chernoff accompanied the students on a ten-day trip to the Gulf Coast region visiting laboratories and research institutions, touring wetlands, and meeting the people who live in the affected communities. Upon their return, the students created performances that combined science and art to tell the story of the effects of the spill.

This course inspired Ms. Fondakowski to write a new theatrical piece, commissioned by the Center for the Arts and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Wesleyan’s Creative Campus Initiative, which she entitled SPILL.

Ms. Fondakowski went back to Louisiana and collected over 200 hours of stories in the following months from people who lived in the parishes hardest hit by the disaster. In collaboration with visual artist Reeva Wortel (American Portrait Project),  Ms. Fondakowski created SPILL, which had its first staged reading at Wesleyan in February 2012.

Ms. Fondakowski returned to Wesleyan in the spring of 2013 to teach playwriting in the Theater Department.

Since then, Ms. Fondakowski has continued to work on the piece, including a presentation at the Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival in New York in July 2013, followed by the premiere in March 2014  at the Reilly Theatre at Louisiana State University, performed by Baton Rouge’s Swine Palace.

In her talk this Thursday, Ms. Fondakowski will share the journey that her play has taken since she first showed it at Wesleyan, and will discuss its path for the future.

We hope you can join us.

Talk by Leigh Fondakowski on her work SPILL
Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7pm
CFA Hall

An Outside the Box Theater Series event presented by the Theater Department and the Center for the Arts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sharifa Lookman '17 talks to Leila Buck '99 about "Hkeelee (Talk to Me)" [Oct. 29]

Center for the Arts Engagment Intern Sharifa Lookman '17 talks to Leila Buck '99 about "Hkeelee (Talk to Me)," a solo performance which will have its Wesleyan debut on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7pm in CFA Hall as part of "Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan," in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.
Leila Buck '99 performs "Hkeelee (Talk to Me)" on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7pm in CFA Hall.
Written and performed by Lebanese American writer, performer, and teaching artist Leila Buck ’99, Hkeelee (Talk to Me) is a dynamic one-woman show that seeks to reconcile the personal and political contentions related to her heritage, familial memories, and the meaning of being American through an explorative and interactive performance.

In the performance, Ms. Buck attempts to move her Lebanese grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease into assisted living. The performance’s narrative is rather straightforward: Ms. Buck unpacks a suitcase of belongings. This action proves dualistic—in addition to setting up a simple narrative, it sets the foundation for a performance dialogue of stories related to Ms. Buck’s heritage, exploring both the beauties and the trials.

“It's very rooted in the oral storytelling tradition—so actually, very simple—me, a few objects, a music stand, a chair, and a microphone mainly for recording purposes,” Ms. Buck said in an interview when describing the piece. “I may use a bit of music here and there, played from my own iPod on stage. But other than that it's a back to basics piece about a woman trying to figure out how to hold on to the stories of her family, which to pass on and which to let go. So it's very raw in places as I piece together fragments of stories/memories/objects, asking the audience to participate and along the way attempting to put together the fragments of a life formed in, and by, transition.”

This performance addresses issues that are specific to Ms. Buck’s personal journey, but that are also universal. “We all feel unsure of ourselves, confused, and lost sometimes,” Ms. Buck said.

Ms. Buck hopes that “those who come will leave with a more personal lens into Lebanon, dementia, and what it means to be(come) American; that they will recognize their own families, struggles, and stories in mine; that they will engage with people and places they may never otherwise have encountered, and in doing so, realize the connections between them.”

Ms. Buck has also been commissioned to create a new theatrical work as part of Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan. This new piece will have two work-in-progress showings on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8pm in World Music Hall. Ms. Buck invites members of the Wesleyan and Connecticut community to share in her workshops that seek to challenge our understanding of stories in their power, interactivity, and universality.

Hkeelee (Talk to Me)
Written and performed by Leila Buck ‘99
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7pm
CFA Hall

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Contradance of Semester at Wesleyan Thursday

First Contra Dance of the semester at Wesleyan this Thursday!

If you like traditional folk music and dance, this is the place to be!

Contra dancing is an energetic folk dance and a great way to meet new people. Beginners absolutely welcome. Live music. Snacks provided.  You don't need to bring a partner -- just show up, and people will ask you to join in.  All dances are taught, and the music is full of energy -- it gets you moving!

for more info, check out or email

Date: Thursday, October 30th
Time: 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Place: Beckham Hall, Fayerweather building, Wesleyan Campus (on Wyllys Ave)
Cost: free, (optional donation) 

Since it’s the night before Halloween, costumes are definitely allowed! (but not required…)

These dances encourage newcomers (for many of the students this is a first attempt at organized dancing), and the mix of all ages creates a wonderful feel of community in the room -- contra dance regulars, Wesleyan students, Middletown folk & local teenagers all sharing the space.

Music will be provided by the band Perpetual eMotion, from Maine, and calling will be provided by Dave Eisenstadter, a young up-and-coming dance caller from the Boston area. Both the dances and the music will be lively and fun!

Hope to see you there! 

Meet the Candidates Forum tonight at Third Congregational Church

The Westfield Residents Association invites you to this evening's Annual Meeting and Meet the Candidates Forum:

Where:   Fellowship Hall at the Third Congregational Church, 94 Miner Street, Middletown

When:    6:30pm - Annual Meeting and Guest Speakers from the Charter Revision Commission

               7:00pm - Meet the Candidates Forum
                       CT House District 33:  Rep. Joe Serra v. Linda Szynkowicz

             CT Senate District 9: Sen. Paul Doyle v. (Earle Roberts - appearance not confirmed)

             CT Senate District 13: Sen. Dante Bartolomeo v. Len Suzio

                       US House of Representatives: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro v. James Brown

This event is open to the general public. Questions can be directed to

Sunday, October 26, 2014

North End Arts Rising, Inc./The Buttonwood Tree honors John Basinger

Last evening, NEAR, Inc./The Buttonwood Tree held a benefit event (well, actually more like three events spread out within a one block perimeter in the North End) that featured a salute to long-time Board President John Basinger. There were tributes to him by many of his associates and friends over the years, in a ceremony held at the Community Health Center. What follows is tribute given to John from NEAR, Inc./The Buttonwood Tree founder Susan Allison. It is insightful both into the man and the organization he's served.

"I am a very lucky person to have been able to be friends with John Basinger the past 25 years

John Basinger. What a proposition. What a concept. An orange leap into the air. Silver laughter springing forth from God knows where. A joke, or, was that a joke? Or was that a confession, or was it a quote from Eugene O’Neill. A friend swears she heard him barking at a fancy restaurant.

I’ve often referred to John as one of the Local Heroes. I remember getting to know him when he visited Ibis Books with recitations, quips, stories told with professional flair, and by professional I mean as the maddest old man in the oldest part of the hills. I soon learned he lived here in the North End. I saw him speak up in town hall about issues in the North End. He was one of a cadre of elders who became regulars at The Buttonwood Tree; one of the good guys and great women who seemed to watch over us.

He’d often bring a dozen Portuguese rolls still warm, baked fresh by Santo Vinci from Mrs. Vinci’s. He patronized the local shops and brought food to starving artists, a very simple act with many ramifications.

John Basinger, brain to skull, to hair, to sky, to firmament, through synaptic sparks in the star trails of muses, through the songs of shooting dendrites, a moment’s pause, Aha! Why yes, that’s it! he’ll say, then just walk off or howl with laughter.

With the Voice of angel, a singer complete, the voice of ancient bear, the voice of  an expert who has been there before, fo do dio, fo do dio…, the voice of academic wit, the voice of an elder sometimes forgetting and then in an instant, voices, everything that has never been said.

Born in 1934

Iron John, Big John, Anglo John, Patriarchal patriot, Poet pioneer, with a complicated past.  “Go fetch the coal, boy!”  A hard life as a child in poor Chicago. Yet ever loved, forever loved red-haired, freckled boy full of promise and promiscuity. An athlete who played three sports in high school, awards, a scholar, awards, a scientist, a storyteller…

Go here young man, go there young man. He was pre-med once. Drafted and served in the Pentagon. Then, wanting to serve differently, he taught children in Kenya, in a one-room school for three years. Next Wesleyan. And a chance role that led him to understand himself as an actor. Self-knowledge. Then Jeanine… So smitten and fallen, and ever after the number one fan (and there are many) of the number one fan club of Jeanine. Then beautiful Savannah, a family. Then the National Theater of the Deaf, Then Mohegan Community College where he would eventually perform a marathon recitation from memory of Paradise Lost, in the Basinger Auditorium. While continuing to write, direct, perform on film and stage, poetry and plays including A Brave Revenge…And of course maintaining the number one Jeanine fan club, at which I have been voted luckiest member. John will tell the stories that led up to what Jeanine said. And it’s never just what Jeanine said, it has a story to it, the surrounding big picture, to highlight the significance, humor, perfection of what Jeanine said. In the club we marvel at each dazzling word of what Jeanine said.

In a hidden room in an old brick building on Main Street are mounds of paper bags, boxes, shoulder bags filled with phone bills that were never opened but with poems written on them, broken pairs of eye-glasses, playbills, books, books, and books, and watch tower pamphlets, and cards, postcards, letters that say ‘thank you John…’ from hundreds of people, ‘John it was great to see you, John I had to write you, John I saw your performance’, and photographs, friends, colleagues, ‘thank you for…, we miss you and, where are you?’ There are cocktail napkins full of thoughts, receipts full of observations, manila envelopes covered with essays, responses, emotions, scenes, dialogues…notes and ideas, phone numbers, addresses, …church bulletins filled with poetry.

There he goes over the Arrigoni Bridge rapping his fingers against his chest in metered verse as he memorizes Milton walking over the river, looking like a crazy man.

“How does he do all he does?” a Director recently asked me, confounded, blurting “I assumed he’d been rehearsing but found out he just got back from Africa where he has been teaching sign language to deaf children!—Of course he has!”

John recently told me a story into which figured a situation in which he was to attend two board meetings at the same time. He would listen and weigh in at one and then go out in the hall and on the phone, listen and weigh in at the other. That was only incidental to the story, but that is John, the kind of thing he does. He takes things seriously; he does not brush things off. He might brush off worry, in a healthy way, but mostly he gives his time, he listens, he thinks! He reminded me about the time I first asked him to be on the board. He asked me why and I said, “Because you can think!” Something I believed we needed desperately at the time. It was a chaotic, passionate, an overwhelming onslaught of creative minds, Wesleyan kids, street people, creative types, neighbors; we were getting to know each other, getting to know the neighborhood, it was navigating our way through a barrage of self proclaimed advisors.  John not only joined the board but ended up shepherding The Buttonwood Tree through various waves and tides, directors, crisis’ and miracles.

North End Arts Rising, Inc./The Buttonwood Tree exists due to the contributions and talents of thousands of people, most recently to the untiring and beautifully positive work of Anne- Marie Cannatta. But I don’t think it would have lasted this long without the care and dedication of John Basinger, who took it upon himself to guide this little art center forward. To tend it, tend to it. Attend. I don’t know if I can impress upon people how frustrating such a task can be. It requires an ability to intervene in the drama of artists, keep an even keel with poets in the boat, and in rough political waters, balance needs and ideas with an almost inexistent budget, be realistic, be optimistic, be diligent, be open, give time, give heart, soul, brain, elbows, hands, and footwork.

There are people in this world who join boards and become board presidents because it looks good on their curriculum vitae.  I don’t think this is the case for many, if anyone, who has joined the Button Board. Certainly it was not the case for John. John believes in things and then gives what he can to help them grow or simply be.

From the beginning we, the entire Buttonwood Family which includes artists, musicians, board members, volunteers, patrons, neighbors, friends, businesses, everyone who has come though and those of us here tonight, we, have been and are fortunate, some would say blessed, others would say damned lucky, that people come forward and give what they have, what they know, what they can, to keep the doors open, to keep this place here. This place has been an important, safe, refuge for creativity for many people. It is a synergy that is hard to define, an experience that combines the arts with the more humble work of a kind of mom and pop shop on Main Street. I am personally grateful because I feel as though I had the easy job of just opening the door. It seems easy now because it was fun. But there was still much work, I was lucky because there were others who wanted the same thing, had wanted that same door open. John exemplifies, among all who have contributed, that willingness to help, he embodies the weight taken on like a humble duty. He does so in a kind of a self-less churchy way, but he also finds his rewards, because the entire world expands though such gestures, and as he is somehow privy as witness to such mysteries, it brings him great joy. Thank God, thank goodness, thank the muses, and the cherubim and the seraphim for John Basinger. Thank you John for doing, and pointing out, important things, often the small or the subtle, as well as the impossible.

John, the North End still rises and The Buttonwood Tree still thrives having been in your epic care."