Monday, November 14, 2022

Soccer Mommy at Harbor Park: A Review

Submitted by Kellin Atherton, a high school English teacher and millennial father of three from our city. 
----------------------

Over the last couple months, the city of Middletown has sponsored concerts down at Harbor Park with the excellent local music promoter known as Manic Presents.  

When I heard we were doing this I was skeptical about a number of things: is it worth our tax dollars? Can we get artists worth seeing? How's our setup? Why are we doing this and where is it all going? Much of that skepticism was cured by the late-September announcement that we had booked Soccer Mommy, and the rest of it was taken care of by the end of the November 10th show. 

Sophia Allison, better known as Soccer Mommy, is an Indie Rock performer from Nashville. While she hasn't achieved the same level of fame as comparable artists like Olivia Rodrigo, critics have recognized the lush guitars and brilliant song-writing, and this year Soccer Mommy was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys. Personally, I've been listening to them since 2018, and believe they are part of a new generation of female artists that are carrying rock and roll's present and future. 

I parked on Court street at around 6:45. I was later than I had planned and by myself. Childcare challenges struck again. The three-block walk down to the pedestrian tunnel was farther than I had hoped, but because it was off Main Street and after 6pm it was free to park. 

Let me run that back for those of you who haven’t been paying attention... *clears throat​...* THE SHOW AND PARKING WERE BOTH FREE!!!

As I waited among the crowd, I couldn't help but notice the flow of traffic on Rt. 9 North. It was kind of loud - would the setup be enough to drown out the noise? I took a lap around the stage and boardwalk. I knew that DPW had been doing work on the riverfront, and it looks like good improvements have been made with more on the way. The area was well lit, public restrooms were available with no lines, and there was even an area for Merch (someone please scoop one of the lavender hoodies in a medium for me, thanks)




The band came on and played two songs before introducing themselves. I was immediately struck by the fact that the highway was drowned out from the very first guitar strum, and that Soccer Mommy is a very good live band. "Circle the Drain" into "Shotgun" was a clear high point early in the show. After a stretch of lesser knowns and songs off the new record, the band stepped offstage while Sophia played "Still Clean," a song that talks about love in the language of consumption, predator and prey, a relationship where someone feels like they are chewed up and spit back out. By the end we discover that the predator isn't getting the kind of satisfaction out of consuming people that Soccer Mommy found herself victim to. 

Every moment drew me closer. I bustled, "excuse me, sorry," my way to the front of the crowd. The slope from the 9 North guardrail down towards the crowd and waterfront filled slowly over the course of the show. That felt like a magnetic choice as well. Folks wanting to do everything they could to get a better view. And there was something poetic about a trail of taillights zipping off into the distance mirroring songs about refusing to be controlled, damaged, or used by the cliches and norms of love.

She closed with “Your Dog.” This is my favorite song and so naturally I lost my shit. Aside from an excellent guitar hook, the song is my favorite because of the line “I want a love that lets me breathe,” which summarizes much of Soccer Mommy’s songwriting thesis, and a love that I am grateful to say I’ve found in my own life - the kind of love that frees me up to go to a concert by myself on a thursday night while she gets the kids pj’d. 

After this show I can say that Soccer Mommy is one of my favorite bands, and they put on a great show. It was a warm night with a beautiful moon heading into a three-day weekend. The contrast between the taillights and the stage lights, the still river and the wisping dry ice, all to the soundtrack of an artist that can sound like Kurt Cobain one minute and Sheryl Crow the next was breathtaking. It was one of my favorite moments in the nearly ten years I’ve lived in Middletown. 

Look folks, my biases should be clear by now. Whoever is responsible for this idea gets my eternal gratitude. As I walked through the pedestrian tunnel back to my car, everyone was talking about the show, where they were going to eat or drink, and who we would get next year. 

My lesson from Soccer Mommy at Harbor Park is, to pull one of her lines, that “I wanna be that cool.” I want us as a city to be so cool that we are able to test-drive the kind of culturally creative economic development strategies necessary to grow and develop our riverfront. I want us to have more opportunities to be energized, connect with each other, and see or hear something beautiful for a modest cost. This show and concert series felt like the beginning of something. It felt special. It felt uniquely Middletown, and I’m really excited to see what we do next. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

ZOOM Genealogy Club - Godfrey Memorial Library

November 19, 2022

1:30 PM

Researching Your French-Canadian Ancestors  

Jolene Mullen, author of Connecticut Town Meeting Records during the American Revolution, and a forthcoming similar project for Rhode Island, will be joining us.  She also has expertise in French Canadian ancestry research, which she will be sharing with us.

Godfrey Premium members can register for free at the following email: zoomregistration@godfrey.org

If you are not a Godfrey Premium member and want to attend the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) and send to Godfrey Memorial Library. Then register using the above email.

Please register by 4:00 PM Friday, November 18.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Journey to the West at Oddfellows November 10 - 19

 


Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents Mary Zimmerman’s “Journey to the

West” at 7 pm on November 10 -12 and 18 - 19. All performances will be held at Oddfellows

Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown.


“Journey to the West” is a contemporary adaptation of the classic 16th century Chinese novel

of the same name. This epic journey combines comedy, adventure and satire in a moving

allegory of human perseverance. Little known in the United States, “Journey to the West” is

one of the greatest and most popular stories in Asian literature.


The play, which features a cast of 13 performers ages 14 - 20,  is directed by Missy Burmeister.

Costume Design by Christian Milik, Scenic Design by Tate Burmeister, Sound and Music by

Joseph Getter, Lighting Design by Joaquina Guevara, and Properties Design by Caleb Warner.


Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for kids and students. “Big Heart” tickets are available for

$25 for anyone who really loves and values theater and its impact on the lives of young people.

Tickets are half price for members of the Chinese or Chinese-American community. 


Thursday, November 10 is a “Pay-What-You-Can” Preview, and the November 11 performance

will be followed by a Talkback with the cast and director moderated by Wesleyan University

Visiting Professor of East Asian Studies Dr. Allison Bernard. Dr. Bernard will also be delivering

a  public talk on “Journey to the West” at Russell Library  on Wednesday, November 16 at 6 pm,

supported by CT Humanities. The talk is free and open to the public.


For tickets, or more information, call (860) 347-6143, email info@oddfellows.org, or go to www.oddfellows.org.


Journey to the West is made possible thanks to support from the Connecticut Office of the

Arts/DECD; The Fund for Greater Hartford; American Savings Foundation; State of

Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau;

City of Middletown; CT Humanities; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Middlesex

United Way; Middletown Commission on the Arts; Thomas J. Atkins Foundation; CHEFA

Cultural Relief Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts/New England Arts Resilience

Fund; George & Grace Long Foundation; Liberty Bank Foundation; many generous individual

donors; and you, supporting youth arts in Connecticut by purchasing a ticket for this

performance.


Photo by Bill De Kine of the May, 2022 Oddfellows Teen Repertory Company production of

"The Greeks".


First Church Annual Candlelight Christmas Concert Sunday, December 11th, 4 p.m.

 All Are Welcome


First Church in Middletown 
UCC, Congregational
190 Court Street
Middletown, CT
___________________
Phone: 860.346.6657
Free street-side parking
in the neighborhood.




Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Something to Consider: Ageism? or Common Sense.

An article from today's online CT Mirror Opinion addresses an issue to consider:  The longer people serve, the more entrenched, the more complacent they become. And so do we. 

Let's think about all of these issues:
Age limits?
Term limits?
Campaign funding?

Blame medicine for so many old politicians

Blame medicine for so many old politicians



Thursday, October 27, 2022

Fall Session 2 Classes start at Oddfellows next week!




The second six week session of Fall Classes at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown start the week of October 31, and there are lots of opportunities for kids ages 6 - 14 to learn acting, theater, dance and visual arts. Most classes meet one afternoon per week for six weeks. The Fall season culminates in a Share Day on December 10. Registration is now live, and space is limited in most classes.


Bus transportation directly from school to Oddfellows is available for any young people attending Middletown Public Schools. 


Kids ages 9 - 14 have the opportunity to be in a mini-production of Roald Dahl’s classic “James and the Giant Peach”. Participants must commit to two rehearsals per week and two performances. Rehearsals will be on Mondays and Thursdays - students ages 12 - 14 will rehearse from 4:15 - 6 pm; those ages 9 - 11 will rehearse 4:45 - 6 pm. Performances will be at 6 pm on December 9 and noon on December 10. Space is limited!


Kids ages 6 - 8 have something special to try every day Monday through Thursday. Kids can sign up for one day per week, or as many as all four. Mondays is “Fairy Tale Theater”; Tuesdays is “Intro to Circus (Circus I)”; Wednesdays is “Hip Hop Dance”; and Thursdays is “Complete Actor I” , an introduction to the world of the actor. All classes meet 4:45 - 5:45 pm.


Kids ages 9 - 11, in addition to the chance to join “James and the Giant Peach”, also have a daily selection of classes. Mondays offer “Into The Story”, an exploration of storytelling and creativity. Tuesdays is “Afro-Caribbean Dance”. Wednesdays offer “Circus II” or “Watercolor Painting “, and Thursdays feature “Theater Improvisation”. All classes meet 4:45 - 5:45 pm.


For young people ages 12 - 14, in addition to the “James and the Giant Peach” Mini-production, there are two exciting classes on a more advanced level. Both classes meet 4:30 - 6 pm. For the serious young actor, Tuesdays is “Advanced Acting: Michael Chekhov Technique”. Wednesdays is “Musical Theater”.


Financial aid is available for all programs. Additionally, Middletown kids can enroll in the Oddbridge Extended Day program, which provides bus transport directly from your school to Oddfellows, a healthy snack, and supervised creative activities before classes start.


To register, and for more information, contact info@oddfellows.org, call (860) 347-6143, or scroll to www.oddfellows.org.


Monday, October 24, 2022

OXFAM petition for CLIMATE Justice: It’s time for major polluters to take responsibility.


Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan Climate Activist.
Photo credit: Armstrong Too/Oxfam
     In her letter to global leaders at this year's UN Climate Conference, Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti (left) calls for leaders of Earth's major pollution-emitting countries to step up & help to reduce substances that undercut and disturb climate processes. By reducing these emissions, polluters can help people in less developed countries which are most affected by extreme weather.

The OXFAM Effort
Oxfam* is a global organization with a history that goes back to the 1940s and efforts to alleviate famine during World War II. Oxfam today is an international organization with a record of global credibility and influence. OXFAM campaigns for equality among peoples and to end poverty and injustice. Join Oxfam America today and help to build a more just & equal futuretogether.
_____________________________

Click to sign Elizabeth's letter, the 

When LOCAL is GLOBAL
     Climate processes are globally contiguous and overlapping. That means that local conditions make the rounds of the Earth & affect all of us, every day, every night, every minute. None of us is beyond the web of the Earth's climate (except rocket-riders in space)

   Climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti's letter calls for leaders of Earth's major carbon-emitting countries to step up & adopt policies that help to reduce substances disturb climate processes & lead to extreme weather. By helping in this way, polluters can reduce harmful climate affects on people in less developed countries, which are most impacted by the climate crisis.
  

  Flag of EGYPT  
Boost Oxfam's campaign: Add your voice. Empower many voices.

     
Call for climate justice by adding your name to Elizabeth Wathuti’s letter at the link below. Oxfam will send this message to world leaders at the 2022 UN Climate Conference in Egypt in November
     Please sign the petition and make your voice count. Send a powerful message of support for climate justice. Call for Climate Justice now. 


*The name “Oxfam” comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942. The group campaigned for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in occupied Greece during the Second World War.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

   


Dust Devil Heart
Friday
October 21
8:00 - 10pm
   

Dust Devil Heart is an indie folk singer-songwriter duo based in Branford, CT, consisting of two women (Holley Anderson and Elise Morrison) who sing close vocal harmonies and play acoustic guitar and electric bass. They are often joined by a pedal steel player Spencer Luckey and other collaborators on strings and percussion. They have just released their first album of original songs called 'Dwell Time,' produced by Steve Rodgers in Hamden.
It is available on Spotify and all the streaming platforms

Visit their website at Dust Devil Heart
And see Buttonwood Calendar for more information. 


The Buttonwood Tree will be participating in the
Middletown Park & Rec's HALLOWE'EN giveaway
on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11am-2pm. 


Saturday morning 
October 22

Align with Source
A Personal Development Workshop

Saturdays on Zoom, 10:30-12:15 
with Annaita Gandhy
This week's topic: 
 A World in Need of Your Wide-Open Heart

To sign up, email thebuttonwoodtree@gmail.com Spiritual Guide Annaita Gandhy conducts meditations, workshops & classes for healing & empowerment. She guides us to a deeper understanding of self & the cycle of universal processes of spiritual & cultural change in a journey of Spiritual growth. 

     N
ow, as our world reaches new dimensions of transition, all of us must open our hearts to change. The change upon us now is the biggest change of all -- for we are coming together as One in Love, Forgiveness & Friendship. Humanity's time in the murky waters of ego, greed, fear, doubt, dis-empowerment, & separation is coming to a close. We must now engage the power within us.
     Can we put aside our own needs to serve others? Can we forgive others for their offenses? The transition to inner power is essential for reconnecting with your most awesome Self. This is the time that will test who we choose to be.

The first session is complimentary, $10/week for continuing sessions. 


Saturday Night

Sissy Castrogiovanni        

Saturday

October 22
8:00 - 10pm


“The audience was thrilled by […] smoothly rendered workouts of Mediterranean-inspired sounds led by bluesy vocalist Sissy Castrogiovanni..”
– DOWNBEAT Magazine
 

Sicilian jazz award-winning singer, composer, producer and Berklee College of Music professor, Sissy Castrogiovanni is a most unique creative artist on the contemporary jazz scene. Rooted in the pleasurable intricacy of her Sicilian & Mediterranean influences, earthy African rhythms and post-bop Jazz harmonies, Sissy’s music finds a comfortable niche in the vast sea of jazz and world music. 

For more info, tour dates, discography, and upcoming releases, visit www.sissycastrogiovanni.com

Also connect with Sissy on 

Facebook     Youtube     Instagram     Spotify     Apple     

Reserve Seat ($25)


 
 
 

The _________________________________________
Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71
Middletown, CT 06457
www.buttonwood.org / 860.347.4957.