Friday, September 28, 2018

Eco-boardgame Night

October 26, 6:00 - 10:00 pm

There are lots of great eco-themed boardgames out there. On Friday October 26th, we’ll take over the two meeting rooms at the deKoven House and turn them over to gaming! Drinks and snacks will be served. Try to save the world, green your power supply, grow some trees, or just make some risque green jokes. Drinks and snacks will be served!

Meet Your Greens with Judy Preston

October 18 @ 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Judy Preston, the Long Island Sound Outreach Coordinator at Connecticut Sea Grant will be discussing the health and well-being of the Sound at Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook. A carpool will be leaving at 5pm from deKoven House Community Center, 27 Washington St., Middletown, to drive down. Email for carpool. Or, meet us at Penny Lane Pub on the second floor.  Further info at

For those of you not familiar with Meet Your Greens: Middletown Green Drinks, this monthly event provides networking opportunities for anyone who is interested in making connections and exchanging news about emerging environmental issues to help keep Lower Connecticut River Valley communities green and growing. An official location of Green Drinks International, this informal monthly gathering of people drawn from the community, nonprofit groups and the business world offers time to brainstorm ideas and plant seeds for collaboration. All are welcome and there is no admission fee, unless otherwise noted.

Hike Mattabesett and Reservoir Loop Trails

November 3rd

with The Rockfall Foundation

November 3, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. join The Rockfall Foundation for a 2.6 mile hike on the Mattabesett and Reservoir Loop Trails in Middletown, CT. Traverse around a beautiful reservoir plus a spur to several rocky overlooks. Moderate terrain at a fast pace, with a few steep rock scrambles.  Must be comfortable with rocky ledges and hand-assisted scrambling.

Free. Non-members welcome.  Experienced hikers only.  No dogs, please.  Bring sturdy hiking boots/shoes, snacks and water. Steady rain cancels.

Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the dirt lot at the intersection of routes 9, Randolph Rd. (route 155), and Coe Ave. (GPS: 41.534419, -72.617770). We will then carpool to the trailhead a mile away.

From the North: Take Route 9 South to exit 11. Turn right onto CT-155E/Randolph Rd. The dirt carpool lot is 450 feet on your right.

From the South: Take Route 9 North to exit 11. The dirt carpool lot is immediately on your left at the end of the ramp.

RSVP encouraged but not required to hike leader Amanda Kenyon

All participants on Rockfall Foundation hike outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the Liability Waiver before you choose to participate on an outing, please contact the hike leader.

Facebook Event:

About The Rockfall Foundation:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Middletown Artist Paints "The Middletown Series"

The Buttonwood Tree is proud to present the artwork of Janine Janaki in their art gallery.
The show, The Middletown Series, is on display for the month of September. Catch images of the Arrigoni Bridge, O'Rourke's Diner, Wadsworth Falls, Bob Vince "Meditation Man" and much more. Prints are available in various sizes and can be seen at TBT during open hours. See for more.

Janine Janaki ...

I have never not painted. As early as I can recall, I’ve
spilled colors and patterns onto paper... sometimes mere
scraps, with whatever implement I could find.
As does the sun that rises... as do the birds that sing...
I paint because I must. I disappear into the realm of the
unseen and return with a translation of a soul-felt reality.
Is there a plan? Somewhat – a rudimentary outline of a
subject at hand. Then I depart... my hands move. Compelled,
I work in minute detail, an inch at a time, pushing colors
inexplicably upon the pastel board. When I step back, I am
always surprised to see the world, larger than life.

Middletown is a special place... the only place I’ve ever
truly felt at home. It has a certain vitality... a certain edge
that cannot be contained by the status quo. The North
End is alive. Wesleyan breathes dreams. The CT River is a
steady friend. From the colorful exchanges outside the soup
kitchen, to the quiet beauty of Wadsworth Park, to the happy
Saturday morning queue outside O’Rourke’s, to the world
music at The Buttonwood Tree, to the Mug Club at Eli’s, to
the multinational restaurant scene... Middletown speaks of
originality and authenticity. I simply had to paint it!!

Strings Strings Strings!! At The Buttonwood Tree This Weekend

The Buttonwood Tree is excited to host two amazing string groups this weekend. High quality musicians, friendly atmosphere, two rooms and fun times make TBT a perfect "Date Night". Treat yourself and your special friends to dinner on Main Street and come to any weekend show from now through November - show your dinner receipt and you'll get one free beverage. All drinks are included with this special offer.

Listen in on WPKN as Bruce Swan interviews Ms. Deni Bonet prior to her show this Friday. They will chat at 2 pm on air, for her 8-10pm show. Reservations are recommended.

Deni Bonet

September 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

 Seats $15. Reserve Here.

It’s no secret that Deni Bonet can rock a violin like nobody’s business. Or that she writes memorable songs that make you want to listen again and again and again. For years, Deni has been honing her craft as a violinist, singer, songwriter and performer. She is, simply, a musical total package. Her style ranges from pop to roots-rock to new folk.  See more on her website.

Anyone who’s heard her last few albums, especially the fiery, funny and fabulous Last Girl On Earth, and 2013’s It’s All Good, knows that Ms. Bonet brings something extra special to the table. With her latest album, Bright Shiny Objects, it extends to sheer, ultra-high voltage, genre-defying brilliance, with pure classical training and precision playing.

She has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals, performing arts centers, summer concert series, colleges, clubs and house concerts throughout the US and around the world, including a recent sold-out concert at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City, concerts on the Great Wall of China, at the United Nations and at the White House for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the First Lady.  Yet is still happy to play a stripped-down show in a coffeehouse.

Deni Bonet at Carnegie Hall

Bonet has hosted her own cable TV show, Duets With Deni, a combination of music and chat featuring a series of all-star guests, which was the subject of a rave Billboard feature. She has performed highly-regarded showcases at CMJ and SXSW, and took her act on the road with Lilith Fair. And she’s remained one of the most in-demand session players and sidewomen around, adding her violin to albums by an impressive variety of artists — from the introspective Sarah McLachlan to techno-metal band Gravity Kills — and making TV appearances on The Today Show, SNL and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

With a singular sound The Wall Street Journal calls “Sheryl Crow meets The B-52s,”  it’s clear why Bonet traded her black recital duds for a pair of go-go boots and an electric blue violin. Rather than ply her trade in an orchestra, she’s found a way to fit her string skills into ultra-hummable alternative pop, which the Journal noted is “catchy as any Top 40 radio song, but with occasional hints of adult depth.”

As she established herself as a solo act, Bonet impressed artists like Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Gin Blossoms, Cracker, Midnight Oil, The Saw Doctors, Fairport Convention, Marshall Crenshaw and Kansas, all of whom have invited her to open their shows. She spent several years touring the globe as the violinist in Cyndi Lauper’s band – now, how much cooler can it get than that?
But as all good artists should do – and Deni Bonet is no exception – the idea is to grow and show a scope, broader and more expansive than the listener should expect.  So it should be no surprise to anyone that Deni has taken her talent as a musician and composer to an even higher plane.   One listen to Deni’s newest album, Bright Shiny Objects, and you’ll know this particular record takes on a completely different life and direction.

Deni’s Site:

The Buttonwood Tree is located at 605 Main Street, with ample free parking behind It's Only Natural market after 6 pm and on weekends. Refreshments are available. Reserve seats/more info HERE. 

The Mattabesset String Collective

September 29 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Seats $15. Reserve here.

Mattabesset String Collective is a 5-piece acoustic ensemble playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, blues, folk, mountain, country and rock, all in a string band style. The band has played in various configurations around central Connecticut for over ten years. Its present lineup includes Barry Chernoff (guitar), Marc Eisner (mandolin), Rebecca McCallum (fiddle), Gil Skillman (banjo, cuatro, and dobro) and Kevin Wiliarty (bass).
They return once again to Buttonwood Saturday, September 29, bringing with them a voiceless passion through their playing, good vibes, and a whole lot of strings.
Reserve your ticket while you still can!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Middletown Teen Talent Search October 6 -- big prizes!

                                         Connecticut State Troubadour Nekita Waller will be 
                                         hosting the Middletown Teen Talent Search at 
                                         Oddfellows Playhouse on October 6.

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater will be holding the First Annual Middletown Teen Talent Search on Saturday, October 6. This competition is open to Middletown young people ages 12 – 19, either solo acts or groups, and the winning act will receive $500.
The Talent Search Final Round will be hosted by Connecticut State Troubador and Middletown resident Nekita Waller. Teens wishing to perform at the Talent Search must complete a registration form, which can be picked up at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown, or by emailing Acts may be in any performing art form – dance, music, rap, acting, circus, comedy, magic -- but all performers must be between the ages of 12 and 19, and at least one member of each act must be a Middletown resident.
Qualifying rounds for the Talent Search will be held in the Theater at Oddfellows Playhouse between noon and 4 pm on Saturday, October 6.   Performers will be assigned a time once your registration form has been received. Twelve acts will be selected to perform in the final round at 7 pm. The overall winning performance will receive $500, the runner up will receive $250, and other prizes will be awarded as well. Tickets for the Final Round performance are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and students and can be obtained at Finalists will receive two free tickets for family or friends, and each contestant who does not make it to the finals will receive a free ticket to the event.
The Middletown Teen Talent Search is co-sponsored by the Community Health Center, and other local businesses have contributed prizes to the event. There is a registration fee of $5 per person to enter the competition. For more information, go to Registration forms must be received at the Playhouse by Wednesday, October 4 in order to perform in the Talent Search.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fifty + "Flexible and Fit" Yoga Class is Open to All

Wear loose clothing--sweatpants or shorts and top,
and please bring a yoga mat if you have one.
     "Flexible and Fit" Yoga Class
at Vinnie's on Main Street
    Tuesdays & Thursdays
          9-10 am    

Of all my yoga teachers of the past many years, Sybil stands out. She knows the human body. She knows the mechanics of movement and knows (by heart) various techniques of bodywork that will benefit your body and clear your mind. Sybil writes
      My approach is therapeutic in nature....  I seem to be specializing in people with injuries, recovering from surgery, and those with chronic pain [aches or stiffness] or otherwise need a specific [kind of attention]. I incorporate somatic work and some Feldenkrais movements into my classes.
...   I’ve been teaching since 2010, when I started a weekly chair yoga class at the Newport Senior Center.  Since then, I’ve led workshops, worked with private clients and taught a wide variety of classes in Oregon, and now in my home state of Connecticut.  You can look on my website at my bio too. 
     Sybil also currently teaches at certain correctional facilities around Connecticut.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Peace Day —
Friday, September 21, 2018

The International Day of Peace (Peace Day) is observed around the world each year on 21 September.  Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. 

2018 Peace Day Theme

 This year's #peaceday celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70." Learn more here:

  From education to the arts, social justice to sports, health to the environment, neighborhood issues to service for others, there are many ways to participate in Peace Day! We invite you to create a public or private activity related to peace, spread the word about Peace Day and/or attend an event in your community.

(Text above is from

Peace Day is a hope and a dream. Perhaps one day, a reality.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

All Aboard! A GOOD Breakfast to Support STEAM Train

There’s a new forum in town: a GOOD Breakfast, where neighbors gather together to connect, engage and learn about initiatives that make a difference to our community. The forum was conceived by Jen Alexander and Debra Hopkins, long-time Middletown residents and champions.

Last Thursday morning marked the inaugural GOOD Breakfast. Nearly 60 people convened on the rooftop gardens of the Community Health Center to learn more about STEAM Train--a non-profit aimed at connecting women and underserved communities to careers in the Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) fields.
Rani Arbo, Jen Curran and Barbara Hammonds (photo by Erin Dopfel)
Lorenzo Marshall and Mark Masselli (photo by Erin Dopfel)
Mike Rohde and Donna Hylton (photo by Erin Dopfel)

STEAM Train was founded in 2017 by Donna Hylton, a professor of computer technology at MxCC. Professor Hylton knows the disconnect between the skills needed by local employers and the qualifications of unemployed--and underemployed--people in Middletown. Over the past 15 months, the organization has begun to bridge this disconnect by offering programs for kids, teens and adults--all FREE of charge. As a result, STEAM Train is strengthening a pipeline for the STEM workforce while simultaneously empowering those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to reach these positions.
“I really feel that the STEAM Train has barely scratched the surface. There’s a lot of work to do, but we can’t do it alone. The underground railroad wasn’t successful alone. It was successful because people had a like mind. There were like-minded people who said ‘We’ll come behind you, we will help you to bring people out of their plight.’”

If you are interested in learning more about STEAM Train, donating and/or providing apprenticeship opportunities for its students, visit

And keep an eye out for the next GOOD thing coming your way, soon. 

Jen Alexander, Donna Hylton and Debra Hopkins (photo by Erin Dopfel)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Friday: Raphael Xavier's "Point of Interest" at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts

Raphael Xavier: Point of Interest
Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater, 271 Washington Terrace, Middletown
$28 general public; $26 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students, youth under 18

Crackling with high-energy physicality, Raphael Xavier's Point of Interest features a series of solos, duets, and quintets set to his soundscape of beats, spoken word poetry, and musical rhythms. Visit the Center for the Arts website for more information.

Listen to an interview with Raphael Xavier by Associate Director for Programming and Performing Arts Fiona Coffey on the Center for the Arts Radio Hour:

Raphael Xavier: Point of Interest Excerpt from Pentacle Dance on Vimeo.

Free Masterclass with Raphael Xavier

Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 11am
Bessie Schönberg Dance Studio, 247 Pine Street, Middletown
Free masterclass with choreographer, hip hop dancer, and breaking artist Raphael Xavier. Open to all, no reservations required.

Organ Donation Informative Event at Russell Library September 20


On Thursday, September 20 at 6:00pm. in our Hubbard Room, we will be speaking about Organ Donation. 

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew donated a kidney to a stranger in 2016. Come hear about his experience and the experiences of other donors and recipients, and learn all about organ donation from those in-the-know. Representatives from BeTheMatch, Donate Life Connecticut, New England Donor Services, the transplant unit at Hartford Hospital, and others will speak at this event, with time for questions and answers as well.  Refreshments and a wealth of information on all aspects of organ donations will be available.  
Everyone is welcome; no registration.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Yoga with Sybil Starts September 18th at Vinnie's on Main

Wear loose clothing--sweatpants or shorts and top, and please bring a yoga mat if you have one.

  Sybil Leads
Flexible and Fit" Yoga Class
at Vinnie's on Main Street,
9-10 am, Starting Tuesday,
September 18th

Of all my yoga teachers of the past many years, Sybil stands out. She knows the human body. She knows the mechanics of movement and knows (by heart) various techniques. Sybil writes
      My approach is therapeutic in nature....  I seem to be specializing in people with injuries, recovering from surgery, and those with chronic pain [aches or stiffness] or otherwise need a specific [kind of attention]. I incorporate somatic work and some Feldenkrais movements into my classes.
...   I’ve been teaching since 2010, when I started a weekly chair yoga class at the Newport Senior Center.  Since then, I’ve led workshops, worked with private clients and taught a wide variety of classes in Oregon, and now in my home state of Connecticut.  You can look on my website at my bio too. 
     Sybil currently teaches at certain correctional facilities around Connecticut. 

Immigrant Artists at Russell Library Beginning September 22!

The Immigrant Artist Series begins September 22.

Russell Library, the public library of Middletown, Connecticut, will present an Immigrant Artist series this fall. The series features performing artists as well as an exhibit of visual art.
The word 'immigrant' is defined as “a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.”  Unfortunately, owing to recent news stories, this word now carries some negative connotations. 
This fall, thanks to a grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Russell Library will host a series of cultural programs highlighting the artistic contributions of several area immigrants. 
The series begins on September 22, at 1:30pm, when the Chinese dance troupe, Phoenix Performing Arts, performs a program celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Cake Day. A Moon Cake will be available for people to taste.
Several concerts are also planned. On September 27th, a six-piece mariachi band, Los Trouvadores de America, will give a concert of traditional Mexican music. The Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo performs October 21st; Classical Harmonica player Jiayi He performs with a string quartet on November 17th; solo pianist Alex Nakhimovsky is scheduled for December 9th.
Book discussions, workshops, and presentations are also part of the line-up of events.
An exhibit entitled, “New Land New Art”, will open November 2. Visual artists, who immigrated to this country either years ago or more recently, are invited to submit an application to show up to six pieces of their work here at the library in November and December of this year. The application is available on the library’s website at The deadline for applications has passed, but late applications are welcome up to and including September 24, 2018. 

Here is the line-up for the Immigrant Artist Series this fall: 

September 22 at 1:30pm: Phoenix Performing Arts (Dance)

September 27 at 7:00pm: Los Trouvadores de America (Concert)

October 2 at 6:00pm: Racial Justice Book Group (Lisa Ko book)

October 20 9am - 5pm: Theater workshop (with Toto Kisaku, at Oddfellows. Sign up online)

October 21 at 2:00pm: The Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo (Concert)

November 1 at 6:30pm: "Italycious" (with Enzo Boscarino)

November 2 at 6:00pm: "New Land, New Art" (Exhibit opening)

November 17 at 1:30pm: Jia Yi He and String Quartet (Concert)

November 26 at 6:00pm: The Immigrant Cookbook (Discussion and tasting)

December 9 at 2:00pm: Pianist Alex Nakhimovsky (Concert)

December 16 at 2:00pm: "Osaki-san, the valet of William Gillette" (Theater)

Community Partners in Action exhibit at Russell Library this month!

The 8th Annual Out of Prison, Making Art Exhibition, featuring Recent Artwork from Former Prisoners, runs from September 13 – October 20 on the 2nd floor galler of Russell Library. 
This painting by Nina Robinson is part of the CPA exhibit. 

Since 1875, Community Partners in Action has provided services that promote accountability, dignity and restoration for people affected by the criminal justice system. The Prison Arts Program works within the CT Department of Correction to provide opportunities for creative expression and positive experiences for inmates and the recently released. Exhibitions such as this one offer the public an opportunity to see examples of inmates’ remarkable creativity and their positively-directed energies.
This exhibition continues a collaboration between the Community Partners in Action Prison Arts Program and Russell Library.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bubblemania at Oddfellows Saturday at 2 pm!

This Saturday, September 15 at 2 pm Casey Carle will be bringing his amazing family show Bubblemania: Comedy with a Drip! to Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown. This guy is great, and tickets are selling fast. To secure your place, order tickets online at 

Recommended for anyone age 4 and up, including grownups! Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and $25 for a family. Casey is doing this show as a benefit for Oddfellows theater and circus programs for young people.  There may be tickets at the door, but we recommend reserving online. Oddfellows Playhouse is at 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

Classes for Teenagers (mainstage production of Antigone, Circophony Youth Circus) and younger kids begin next week. Are you signed up yet? There may still be room.

See you at the Playhouse. Call (860) 347-6143 or email for more info or to register.
ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge (above) will be offering a FREE WORKSHOP Monday, September 17, 6:30 - 8:30 pm for ages 14 - 20 in "Speak the Speech: Vocal Production for Actors". She will be directing Sophocles' Antigone at Oddfellows this fall. Auditions are September 20 (

Help Clean Up the Coginchaug River at Veterans Park for Source to Sea Effort!

Join the fun, be part of a "source-to-sea" effort, and help clean the river!  On September 29, 2018, from 9 am to noon, the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District and Middletown Commission on Conservation and Agriculture are leading a Coginchaug River cleanup at Veterans Park in Middletown. The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup.  In case of heavy rain or stormy weather, the cleanup will be postponed until Sunday, September 30, same time.

The City of Middletown Public Works Department has generously offered to provide cleanup supplies, and help by disposing of trash and recyclables.  Any additional donations from businesses to help with the cleanup, such as snacks for the volunteers, would also be appreciated!

Source to Sea Cleanup is an annual four-state community cleanup of the Connecticut River and tributaries coordinated by the Connecticut River Conservancy.  As a volunteer you will be one of thousands working watershed-wide on the same day to clean up our watershed. 

If you would like to participate as a volunteer, please go to the online sign-up page. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District at (860) 346-3282, or 
The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Middletown, CT, works to conserve the natural resources of towns in the lower Connecticut River watershed and coastal areas.  For more information about District technical and educational programs and services, visit our website at