Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SOPHIE!

:     Female

Color:Brown Tabby

Age: 2 years old

I have such pretty markings! It is thought that I am part Abyssinian. I am a very sweet girl who needs a quiet home with someone who gives me time to adjust. I once had a home but got very nervous when we moved. I am wondering why I am at a shelter and would love to be back cuddling with owners on your bed or couch. I am getting pretty depressed at the shelter and would love to get adopted ASAP. I miss all of the love and one-on-one attention at a home. I do need someone who is confident they will not move because I am not great with change. I am very loving, affectionate and like to be pet. I do like to be held when I'm in the mood. I am independent but will seek you out often for love and attention. Please adopt me!

No CatsNo DogsNo Children

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Buttonwood Tree Weekend Highlights and August Calendar

                     This weekend's highlights:

Norm Zamcheck, better known as the pianist, “Real Stormin’ Norman,” is a songwriter with a New Orleans flair to his work, although Norm has been writing music long before that. In fact, his life has been music since he was old enough to write lyric ideas on napkins in restaurants!

Boston-born and raised, Norm’s music has touched every corner of the American coasts more times than most people do in their lives! Having released an upwards of ten albums, both on his own, and as part of “Stormin Norman & Suzy”, another duo, his music has been lauded by big-name magazines like The Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

Mat Kastner is a down-to-Earth blues aficionado who plays slide, bluegrass and other roots-guitar styles, as well as electric guitar. He plucks regularly with the Washboard Slim and the Bluelights jug band, as well as the Will, Mat and Dan acoustic trio, and likes to sit in with bluegrass groups like Sweetcake Mountain. Mat has a lot of experience on his resume! Doesn’t he? The sheer number of venues he has performed at speaks of it.  In his early days, Matt played with groups that’d sprung from the New Haven area, such as The Morning, Randy Burns and the Skydog Band, Karen and the Pistons, The Homesick John O’Leary Band, and the Phabulous Pheromones.

Norm and Mat met at college, headed to Georgia with a psychedelic rock band called “Milkweed.” They have been collaborating together ever since, with Mat participating in the last four of Norm’s recording projects.

The pair recently made their Nashville debut, and are coming to Buttonwood to show us why Norman is nicknamed “Stormin’.”  Performing Friday with a bass player
Check out Norman’s site: realstorminnorman.com
Find out more about Kastner from the Bluelights: http://www.washboardslim.com/

July 28th @ 8 - 10pm
Admission: $15

Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. But when her fiancĂ© unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her the Billboard nod. “I wrote my grief into music and sang my way out of the abyss. I keep making music to help others connect with their own stories and find joy in their lives.”

Cary’s raw honesty and ability to connect with her audience through high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and deeply personal lyrics has made her one of the industry’s most sought after female singer-songwriters. Her message of unity and the power of raising our voices together infuses every show, and Cary’s “Sing Louder” has become an anthem for the music-loving community. And now, she's coming to Buttonwood to spread her musical message! 

July 30th @ 7 - 10pm 
Admission: $5

From accomplished artists to local talent, there's a place for everyone when we say "Anything goes!" Signups begin at 6:30pm. 

Moments of Gratitude is a short segment of time in which we invite you to share that which you are grateful for. Sharing out loud our gratitude causes it to grow and inspires and enriches all those in the room.

July 28th @ 10:30am - 12pm 

$10 suggested donation (Pay what you can)

This Week's Topic:  Healing Through The Music Of Your Soul
Music is the language of the Universe. Use it to connect, to guide, to heal. Come connect with our healing circle. 

In today’s environment it is sometimes difficult to see the Light.  The purpose of this workshop is to empower you to see yours. Annaita Gandhy, a spiritual & holistic guide from India, helps you do this!  Sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, Annaita aims to help you rise above life’s challenges to live a healthy, fulfilled & abundant life.

Annaita is also available for personal counseling or Life Coaching. Contact TBT.

The Buttonwood Tree August Calendar - View or print HERE

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center

605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457
More info: www.buttonwood.org / 
CONTACT: Anne-Marie McEwen - 860.347.4957

Thursday, July 26, 2018

30th Annual Children's Circus of Middletown August 3

The Children’s Circus of Middletown will be celebrating its 30th annual summer performance with The Children’s Circus Grows Up! on Friday, August 3 at 5 pm at Macdonough School in Middletown.
Thirty years old and finally ready to grow up, The Children's Circus Grows Up! will play with the theme of growth and growing up. Featuring some 150 youth performers ages 5-16, the expansive outdoor spectacle will offer acts ranging from unicycle traffic jams while en route to work to a full blown acrobatics mid-life crisis! See a hungry caterpillar eat through an overgrown jungle before its incredible metamorphosis into a butterfly! Witness an epic tale of a curious school of young fish exploring the depths of their ocean! Experience the young people of Middletown sharing their incredible circus skills, hoops of fire, giant puppets and the raucous music live circus band. The Children’s Circus of Middletown is a Connecticut tradition like no other!
The 30th annual Children's Circus of Middletown will also be a celebration of OUR growth over the past 30 years as one of Connecticut’s most exciting and unique summer learning experiences for kids, their families and the community. Started by Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater with 60 kids at Powder Ridge ski area in Middlefield in 1988, the Children’s Circus has been embraced by the City of Middletown and grown into a program which has become a national model as a partnership between a non-profit arts organization and a municipality. The Children’s Circus performance is the culmination of a five week day camp as part of the City of Middletown’s Kids Arts program. Over the five weeks the young people are trained in performance skills, acrobatics, juggling, unicycling, clowning, stilt dancing, balancing and other circus arts.
The Children’s Circus of Middletown and Oddfellows Playhouse were recognized this year by the National Summer Learning Association as winners of the 2018 New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award.
This year’s performance will begin with a short pre-show performance at 5 pm sharp by the “Teeny Tiny Troupe” of 5 – 7 year old performers, then Middletown Mayor Dan Drew will welcome the audience and introduce the main event. The performance annually draws over 1000 people, so audience members are encouraged to arrive early to get a good spot. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs, a picnic, and enjoy The Children’s Circus Grows Up!  In case of rain, the performance will be held on Saturday, August 4 at 5 pm.
Alumni of the Children’s Circus over the last 30 years are invited to join us for this summer’s performance. Please be in touch with the Playhouse to let us know that you are coming.
Tickets to the Children’s Circus of Middletown are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and can be purchased with cash at the door. Macdonough School is located at 66 Spring Street in Middletown. There is street parking available throughout the neighborhood; the school’s parking lot is reserved for elderly and handicapped only.
The Children’s Circus is part of the Kids Arts Program of the City of Middletown’s Office of the Arts and is directed and produced by Oddfellows Playhouse. Additional support is provided by the United Way of Middlesex County, the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.
For additional information, contact info@oddfellows.org, call (860) 347-6143 or go to www.oddfellows.org.

A few rehearsal shots by Lauren Sitz:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Music at The Mansion: Tonight's Show Cancelled!

As I write this, the sun is trying to part the clouds and there is a rain shower across the street.  This crazy weather does not bode well for an outdoor concert. Therefore, tonight's show with Mixed Signals (pictured left) at The Wadsworth Mansion has been cancelled and moved to Wednesday August 8.

Next Wednesday (8/01), the Mansion welcomes back Shaded Soul, a CT band that blends soul music, funk, r 'n' b, jazz, Pop, Reggae, and more. With six musicians and three featured vocalists, this group can get you on your feet dancing (and in a hurry).

The grounds open at 5:30 p.m. Bring a blanket, chairs, wine, food, and the desire to bask in the sounds. Music usually starts at 6:30 and the show ends before the evening gets too dark.

To find out more, go to www.wadsworthmansion.com.

Shaded Soul Band from Powerstation Events on Vimeo.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ ARCHIE!!


Breed:Domestic Short Hair


Age:9 months old

I was found as a stray on the streets. I am such a sweet, laid back boy!! I love to be held and love affection! I am also very playful. I'd love to come home and cuddle with you. Please adopt me!
No Dogs 
Web:   http://www.CatTalesCT.org/cats/Archie-2
Phone:   860.344.9043
Watch our TV commercial:  https://youtu.be/Y1MECIS4mIc

Tuesday: Free Talk by Bob Englehart at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts

Bob Englehart
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 12:10pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall, 287 Washington Terrace, Middletown

Bob Englehart will share some of his work and talk about his career as a cartoonist. Visit the Center for the Arts website for more information.

A Night at the Ivoryton Playhouse

3rd Annual Night at the Ivoryton Playhouse to benefit the Rockfall Foundation's environmental grantmaking and programs!

Wednesday, August 15

6:00 pm – Reception | 7:30 pm – Performance

The Rockfall Foundation is hosting a Night at the Ivoryton Playhouse to help celebrate the arts and support environmental grantmaking and programs in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.

Before the show, we’ll hold a reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the covered patio of the Ivoryton Playhouse. Then we’ll watch A Chorus Line, an award-winning musical that explores a day in the life of 17 dancers in a Broadway musical. Don’t miss it!

Purchase tickets: Early birds: $45 for the reception and performance. After July 27th, tickets go up to $60 per person.


Sponsorship Opportunities that include marketing benefits are available. Click here for more details and a fillable sponsorship form.

Proceeds will support Rockfall’s environmental education programs and grants. Thanks to the generosity of those who attend our special events and contribute through Membership, we are able to provide critical dollars to continue the valuable work of our grantee partners. We are grateful for your support!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Reproductive Rights Advocacy Group Damns Suzio and Praises Lesser

Two of our city's elected officials were cited by NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut for their efforts with respect to the protection of a reproductive rights, but for opposite reasons.

State Representative Matt Lesser was hailed as one of Connecticut's Pro-Choice Legislative Champions, on the basis of his work to introduce and promote legislation intended to protect our reproductive healthcare and rights. Lesser is currently running in the August 14th Democratic primary for the State Senate seat being vacated by Paul Doyle.

State Senator Len Suzio, in contrast, was one of a six who were labeled Greatest Anti-Choice Threats, for his support for legislation that was anti-choice or would have restricted access to reproductive healthcare. Suzio is running for re-election to the 13th Senate District.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Commissioners Fear Crisis In Understaffed Planning Office

City commissioners with planning responsibilities have expressed deep concern about the lack of staffing in the city planning office.  While the mayor and the city planner share the concern, both dismiss the notion that a crisis exists.

At the end of July, Zoning Enforcement Officer Michelle Ford, will be leaving Middletown's office of Planning, Conservation and Development.  Her departure leaves the already understaffed office with one less qualified employee.  Ford, the former Environmental Specialist for the city, is leaving for a position at Eversource.

Ford indicated that she is taking the new job because it is more aligned with her career aspirations as an environmental specialist, and not because she's upset with the situation in the planning office, but she said that the vacancies in the office make it difficult to get the job done, and frustrating for the public.

"We used to be a six person office, and now it's just Tom and me," Ford said.  "The phones are ringing, people are stopping by to get a question answered, and there's no one available to do that."

The office at full staff, typically hosts a Director, Deputy Director, a Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO), an Environmental Specialist, an Economic Development specialist and two clerical staff, will be down to Director Joe Samolis, Economic Development specialist Thomas Marano and the clerical staff, Cynthia Jones and Susan Nesco.

The departures leave the office without certified planning staff to make planning and zoning enforcement decisions.

This lack of staff has caused serious concern for commissioners on boards and commissions associated with the planning office.

A Certifiable Crisis

"It's a certifiable crisis not to have a Zoning Enforcement Officer," according to Planning and Zoning Commission chair Stephen Devoto (full disclosure: Devoto is also an author for the Middletown Eye).  "And we need the professional advice and guidance of a professional planner to protect the city from legal action as a result of rulings, and to encourage good development in the city."

"I was concerned last Spring, but now I'm past alarmed," said Liz Holder, chair of the Commission on Conservation and Agriculture.  "We’re very discouraged.  There are things that should be moving forward and they are not. We have grants for farmland preservation and open space that aren’t being applied for.  I’ve been told by the Planning Office that no grants are being applied for."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A/C Restored at The Buttonwood Tree and Event Schedule

In early June the former Arriwani Hotel on Main Street, where both the supportive housing at Liberty Commons and The Buttonwood Tree reside, lost its air conditioning. The one rooftop unit runs the entire building and finally it has been replaced and the job completed!! 

Initially two portable a/c units were rented and installed at TBT, but without any windows that open, full venting was unachievable and the plan aborted. Fans were bought and borrowed, but with the high heat that ensued, it was not possible to maintain a reasonable temperature and TBT was forced to close. While many programs were canceled or postponed until later, some events were relocated.
In difficult times, the love of community shines!
The Buttonwood Tree wishes to thank the following people and organizations for their kindness and generosity by providing a space or assistance so these events could be held. 

The CT RENTAL CENTER graciously reduced the rental bill by a substantial amount.
FIRST CHURCH, MIDDLETOWN on Court St hosted a Middlesex Music Academy student's recital. With support by RANI ARBO.
MAC 650 (The Middletown Artists Coop at 650 Main Street) hosted Story City Troupe.
CONGREGATION ADATH ISRAEL hosted a recital for a Middlesex Music Academy's teacher.
ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE hosted a concert with Jann Klose and Anna May.

Back to our regular schedule, here is a listing of upcoming events for this weekend. A full calendar of events can be found online HERE. Printed event calendars can be found in many locations around the state, at Wesleyan University, Russell Library, City Hall and along Main Street.

Events: July 17th - 24th 
(Click titles for more information on each event)

Friday, July 20th @ 8-10PM, $10 Admission

Tom Wrann and Tom Mooney, founding members of “Two Virgins” rock band (with the CD “Two Virgins” recorded and produced by Mike Arafeh at Coffeehouse Records, right here in Middletown CT), have shifted musical gears. They’re still writing and performing original compositions but are now embracing a more rustic sensibility.

Using acoustic guitars, a banjo stick, and congas, the lyrics still reflect the complexities, joys, and confusion of life in these modern times. With an ear toward The Incredible String Band, Steve Earle, Donovan and others, Wrann/ Mooney share a love of “Power Folk”. Long time friends of Middletown, they look forward to the upcoming show at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center.

It’s not rock and roll but they’re not ready for the rocking chair either.

Saturday, July 21st @ 10:30am - 12PM, $10 suggested donation (Pay what you can)

This week's topic: "Living Your Potential" Are you living yours? What keeps you back?

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. A Spiritual & Holistic Healer from India, Annaita Gandhy, wants to help you find it! Sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, Annaita aims to help you rise above life’s challenges and live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life.

Saturday, July 21st @ 3-5PM, $5 Admission
Free passes for students are available at Middlesex Music Academy
Be a part of Buttonwood’s first ever open mic specifically for teen performers ages 12-18. Perform any type of artwork: you can use our piano or bring a guitar, ukulele, or other instrument to play! Cover your favorite song or perform an original! Whether it is your first time performing or you are an experienced teen musician, poet, or artist, the Buttonwood Tree is a positive, supporting environment for teens to perform. Parents and friends are welcome to come support!

Saturday, July 21st @ 8-10PM

It is a sub-genre of rock, typically adopting a style unique to the artist. TRAG is one such ‘artist,’ a team of them, hailing from Fairfield county. Their style derives from the unique diversity of its members’ various backgrounds – called “progressive sound” in their own words. TRAG has earned themselves a reputation in various the clubs and theaters of the Tri-State area, and soon, they are making a stop in Middletown’s neighborhood to play at Buttonwood Tree!

The Ensemble: 

Mark Tragianese – As lead percussionist, as well as a singer and founder of TRAG, Mark has spent his days solidifying his reputation as a percussionist with local groups like Theravada, Ulterior Motive, and Kinetic Sect. His progressive songwriting and dynamic percussion style rounds out TRAG’s diverse background.

Nora Tragianese – The lead vocalist, as well as a percussionist and pianist, Nora’s Classical Vocal Training was influenced by greats such as Steve Perry, Pat Benatar, and Ann Wilson. 

Ron Garofolo – Lead guitarist and super-fan of blues-styled music, Ron has been honing his skill since the age of sixteen under influences like Pink Floyd and the Allman Brothers. 

Lou Vitali – From Tenor Sax to Electric Guitar and finally to Bass, Lou had undergone a metamorphosis of style over the course of his younger years! Influenced by greats such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Loud prides himself as the rhythm of TRAG.

Monday, July 23rd @ 7 - 10PM, $5 Admission

Got a talent you just have to share with the rest of the world? Then stop by to The Buttonwood Tree, where the mic is open to any and all who've got at least one creative bone within them. This time, our host is local dealer and framer of art, "Catman Bill" Katz!

Come on down, even just to watch! Performances are interspersed with 'Moments of Gratitude,' where we take time to remember the hidden good in life that shines through the apparent bad.

The Buttonwood Tree
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457
Contact us at 860.347.4975

Monday, July 16, 2018

Martha Redbone, Zulynette at Wesleyan's Center for the Arts This Week

Martha Redbone: Bone Hill—The Concert
Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$28 general public; $26 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni; $12 students, youth under 18

The contemporary musical theater work Bone Hill is inspired by four generations of Martha Redbone’s Kentucky family lineage. Visit the Center for the Arts website for more information.

And Hartford-based poet and author Zulynette will give a free talk about her work as a creative change agent that uses art as a tool to inspire others to heal and empower themselves on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 12:10pm in Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. Visit the Center for the Arts website for more information.

Middlesex Community College to Host Fun and Informative Open House on July 19


Interested prospective students, families, and community members are invited to explore classes, meet faculty, and experience Middlesex Community College at an OPEN HOUSE on Thursday, July 19, 2018. The open house will run from noon to 7:30 p.m. at the Middletown campus located at 100 Training Hill Road. This fun-filled event is designed for all prospective students, including high school students, adult learners, veterans, business partners, as well as those looking for a career boost or business training.

Middlesex campus doors will be open for an exciting day of activities, interactive exhibits, informative workshops, and hands-on displays — everything needed to discover MxCC’s affordable and outstanding academic programs and to apply for Fall 2018 admission on the spot. Then stay for a special appearance by Hot 93.7 DJ Stevey Newnez, starting at 3 p.m.

Tour the scenic MxCC campus (one of Middletown’s hidden gems), meet with faculty members from more than 65 associate degree and certificate programs, speak with financial aid counselors, and get advice from college success teams. Beginning at 12:30 p.m., and at every hour, visitors can attend workshops in financial aid, college success, and career preparation. Academic program coordinators will be available from 2 to 6 p.m.

Explore demonstrations and interactive displays from several of MxCC’s academic and training programs, including the Center for New Media, emergency medical technician (EMT), law enforcement/police vehicles and equipment, veterinary technology, student clubs, and much more. 

MxCC community business partners are also invited to be available to meet with prospective students or learn how an MxCC education enables students to obtain jobs in their industries.

The first 200 guests will receive giveaways. Everyone is invited to stay to enjoy refreshments and live entertainment.

For more information, please visit http://mxcc.edu/event/open-house-2018/.