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CONNECTING WITH CULTURE THIS FALL

Showcasing the New, Different and Daring in Connecticut

HARTFORD --- August 24, 2005 -- Always on the cutting edge, offering a constantly changing kaleidoscope of new, daring or different works in performing and visual arts, the cultural scene in Connecticut is always exciting. This fall, the line up of art, dance, film, music and theater is wonderfully eclectic, wild and entertaining. As readers will note in this sampling of the state's impressive cultural calendar for the coming months, even some antique shows have a certain quirkiness.

Antique Shows
Antiques in a Cow Pasture, in Salisbury on September 10, began more than 50 years ago as exactly that - a handful of antique dealers displaying their treasures in a farmer's pasture. One of the first outdoor shows in the country, today it is still in a pasture and features some 100 invited dealers and van-loads of country and formal furniture, folk art and garden antiques (845-876-0616). Some other notable antique shows this fall include:

  • Farmington Antiques Weekend, September 3-4, with over 600 dealers (317-598-0019)
  • The 33rd Annual Antiques Al Fresco, Darien, September 11, with 50 top-quality dealers (203-655-9233)
  • The Newtown Historical Society Fall Antique Show, September 25, coinciding with the celebration of Newtown's 300th birthday (203-426-5937)
  • The Washington Antiques Show, September 30-October 2, (860-868-7586), that has been called the "best little antique show in the country"
  • The Hartford Fall Antique Show, October 22-23, featuring one of the nation's most important displays of Early American furniture (207-767-3967)

Art
Other places have their cows and pigs, southeastern Connecticut likes whales. One of the state's largest art events this fall is the Whale Trail project - 45 painted sperm and beluga whales scattered from Old Lyme to Mystic to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. In November, they will be auctioned to benefit area charities. Another unique approach to art is the 3rd Annual Free for All in Torrington, September 17-25. Adding to the appeal of the event is the presence of the artists, who hang their own work during the opening reception (203-266-7596). Some art events with a distinctive edge include:

  • The 31st Annual Cider & Donuts Arts & Crafts Festival in Shelton, September 11, an outdoor juried art show with over 100 artists and craftsmen participating (203-926-8802)
  • The 5th Annual Boats, Books & Brushes with Taste in New London, September 16-18, the state's largest art, literary and food festival (888-766-BBBT)
  • Celebrating Connecticut Impressionism, October 8-9, a statewide tribute to the Connecticut artists who shaped American Impressionism at the turn of the 20th century, with exhibits and events at museums and historic sites along the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail (860-434-5542)
  • The 5th National Juried Craft Triennial art competition at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan, October 16-November 18, featuring high quality crafts in basketry, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, paper and wood (203-966-9700)
  • "Mythic Visions:" Yarn Paintings of a Huichol Shaman, at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, highlighted by 31 rare yarn paintings as well as maps, photography and a short film. The museum's Winter Moon Native Market, November 25-27, features hand-crafted Native American gifts (800-411-9671)
  • The 30th Annual Creative Arts Festival, Westport, November 19-20, presenting over 140 artists working in the area of folk art and American handcrafts (203-222-1388)

Dance
Connecticut's dance calendar this fall reads like a survey of the world's dance heritage, with some decidedly oddball accents. Among the highlights are Schemitzun 2005, the Feast of Corn and Dance, in North Stonington August 25-28, an intertribal pow wow of more than 500 tribes, with hundreds of dancers and drummers, arts and crafts and food (800-224-CORN), and the Navaratri Festival at Wesleyan University in Middletown, October 7-9, an annual festival of dance and music featuring India's top artists and performers as well as workshops and festivities related to the Hindu holiday of Navaratri (860-685-3355). Then there is Electric Haiku: Calm as Custard, also at Wesleyan on October 27. This performance combines live dance with video and light shows, text and sound, succeeding in leaping into new realms of expression. Some of the other dance events that promise to be memorable include:

  • The Martha Graham Dance Company, at the University of Connecticut at Storrs on October 27, marking the return of one of the world's most important modern dance companies after years of internal strife following the death of Graham herself a few years ago (860-486-4226)
  • Ballet Flamenco Jose Porcel at Fairfield University, November 12 (203-254-4010)
  • Mystic Ballet, presenting Peter Pan November 25-26 (860-536-3671)

Film
From the earliest beginnings of the moving picture to the latest independent productions, Connecticut's film scene is all-encompassing. Some highlights for this autumn:

  • Film Fest New Haven, September 21-25, celebrating its 10th anniversary with internationally renowned independent films and filmmakers (203-776-6789)
  • Bethel Film Festival, October 25-30, with features, shorts, world cinema, and workshops (203-790-4321)
  • The American Magic-Lantern Theater, recreating "the great grandfather of the cinema" with a Victorian combination of color pictures, hand-painted projections, hilarious comedy and boisterous audience participation. Magic-Lantern will bring its Halloween show to Ridgefield, October 29. (203-438-0748)
  • Silent Surrealism in New London, November 12, promises one of the most unusual film events of the year, an evening of Surrealist silent films accompanied by live gypsy music (860-439-2787)

Music
From symphony orchestras and chamber groups to the latest avant garde composition or pop sensation, visitors to Connecticut could easily find a music event every day of the year. This fall, some of the most interesting events are truly refreshing and often highly ambitious in their undertaking. Consider "The Devil and the Violin," a Live Music Project at Fairfield University on October 7 that explores the connection between the violin and depictions of the devil in music (203-254-4010). Or how about "Music in the Life of Frank Lloyd Wright" in West Hartford, October 29-30, delving into the music of the famous architect's era, with his own thoughts about music (860-224-7500). Or "The Complete Songs of Charles Ives" at Wesleyan University in Middletown, September 24, a very rare opportunity to hear the complete oeuvre of one of America's most important and influential composers (860-685-3355). Other highlights of the concert season include:

  • Guitar Under the Stars in Hartford, September 10, a Riverfront Plaza concert with several of New England's finest guitarists (860-713-3131)
  • The Turtle Island String Quartet & Ying Quartet at Connecticut College in New London on October 1, one of the hottest, trend setting classical music groups in the world (860-439-2787)
  • Ravi Shankar's Festival of India at the University of Connecticut at Storrs on October 5, in which India's living legend in classical culture will be joined by one of his daughters, Anoushka Shankar (860-486-4226)
  • Songs for a New World, Brookfield Theatre for the Arts, October 28-November 19, in which the audience is transported from the deck of a 1492 sailing ship to a building ledge 57 stories above the streets of New York (203-775-0023)
  • Tafelmusic: The Brandenburgs in New Canaan November 13, represents a new twist on the towering genius of classical music, J.S. Bach with a cabaret-style performance by the England Bach Chamber Orchestra (203-966-0002)

In a more traditional vein, Connecticut's symphony orchestras all mount ambitious fall seasons. Among them: the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (860-244-2999), the Greenwich Symphony (203-869-2664), the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (860-443-2878), the Greater Bridgeport Symphony (203-576-0263), and the Ridgefield Symphony (203-438-3889).

The Garde Arts Center in New London (860-443-7373) also presents Czech Opera Prague's Die Fledermaus November 1 as part of its Garde Opera Series, and two musicals this fall - Thoroughly Modern Millie, October 14-15, and Will Rogers Follies, November 18-19, as part of its Citizens Bank Broadway Series.

Theater
With some of the most distinguished, daring and inventive theater organizations in America - including Goodspeed Opera House, the Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory and Hartford Stage - the theater scene in Connecticut is never short of amazing. Attempting to do all of Shakespeare in one performance is just one example. A stage version of one of America's classic sentimental Christmas movies is another. Consider these highlights for the coming season:

  • The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue, by David Grimm, at Hartford Stage: Classical Moliere meets Cole Porter's Jazz Age in a sparkling, witty comedy (860-527-5151)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream, September 14-October 9, and the tribute to Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, by Lanie Robertson October 26-November 20, both at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven (203-787-4282)
  • Outside the Box Theatre Series, Middletown, September 16-17, presenting the Neo-Futurists' Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (860-685-3355)
  • The 10th Annual Extremely Off Broadway in Torrington, September 24: a rollicking and unique cabaret theater evening of entertainment (860-482-5122)
  • Abyssinia, at the Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, September 30-December 4: born during a terrifying tornado, a young girl's gift of song can heal the world in this musical (860-873-8668). Goodspeed has created many of America's best loved musicals, including Annie and Shenandoah
  • Jonah's Dream, by Tony Award-winner William Gibson, at UConn in Storrs, October 6-16: a wildly theatrical stage version of the story of Jonah and the famous whale (860-486-4226)
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Wallingford, October 15: an imaginative and often hilarious presentation of 37 plays and 154 sonnets in less than two hours (203-697-2398)
  • Van Gogh & Jo, Fairfield University, October 19: the story of the Dutch painter van Gogh, his brother and the woman who made the artist famous (203-254-4010)
  • Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky, at Hartford Stage, October 13-November 13: an aging down-and-outer and a young, hopeful dreamer set out on a new road together (860-527-5151)
  • Stop Kiss, at UConn at Storrs, October 27-November 6: a tragicomic look at how the moment of a first kiss can change lives forever (860-486-4226)
  • The Girl in the Frame, at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, November 3-27: a young couple's fantasies come to life and they have to make difficult choices. The result is comical as they discover true love in this fast paced musical (860-873-8668)
  • Wild Mushrooms, by Ann Pie, at Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury, November 10-December 4: laughs, twists and turns and colorful characters as a widower with a dream of opening a restaurant tries to marry off his daughters ( 203-757-4676)
  • Safe in Hell, by Amy Freed at Yale Repertory Theatre, November 11-December 3: an East Coast premiere about 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, witches, devils and all (203-432-1234)
  • It's a Wonderful Life, the stage version, at Stamford Center for the Arts, December 1 - 11 (800-233-3123)

For further information about Connecticut's cultural scene and the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants, resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay in Connecticut, please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at www.CTvisit.com. Connecticut offers visitors a multi-faceted wealth of attractions, historical, cultural and recreational activities, diverse and beautiful natural landscapes, parks, beaches and wilderness sure to fulfill any getaway need.

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