Coffee Rhetoric: Hartford
Showing posts with label Hartford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hartford. Show all posts

September 22, 2013

Nature's Classroom: Reenacting Slavery as a Learning Tool?

Exploring How One Massachusetts Program Misses the Mark


Picture being a parent, signing off on a permission slip enabling your child access to what you think will be an once-in-a-lifetime educational experience that’ll enhance what they're already learning at school. Now imagine, later, discovering that the ‘experience’ you permitted your son or daughter to participate in included them being chased at night, through the woods, while being assailed with racial epithets and insults during a slavery reenactment. Definitely not the type of educational team building any parent would knowingly sign off on without some trepidation, I'm sure.

Apparently, one Hartford school decided to treat its middle-school students to a history lesson many of them wouldn't forget. Last fall seventh graders from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy attended a 4-day outing at an environmental education facility called Nature’s Classroom; which boasts thirteen sites in New York and New England and promises that students will come away from their experience having developed a “sense of community, confidence in themselves, and an appreciation for others that will carry over to the school community.” However, that’s not the warm feeling some left the program with after participating in an Underground Railroad slavery vignette which allegedly included: pretending to be up for sale at a slave auction, pretending to be on a slave ship, cotton picking, and the like.  

And since James and Sandra Baker (of Farmington, CT) seem like the type of parents who would never knowingly agree to have their child subjected to that kind of mental mind fuck exercise, they removed her from the school and filed a human rights complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and with the Department of Education (on behalf of their daughter) against the Hartford school system, after learning the details of the trip. 

April 23, 2013

HartBeat Ensemble Raises Awareness with New Stage-play: “Riding the Turnpike”


Hartford-based professional theater company HartBeat Ensemble, is back with another compelling main-stage play called Riding the Turnpike. It follows the successful run of their original production Flipside, performed at downtown Hartford’s Hollander Building and at the 2012 New York Fringe Festival.

After the devastating and untimely loss of beloved co-Artistic Director/co-founder and Hartford arts community favorite, Gregory “Tate” Tate to lung cancer last year, the team honors his legacy by doing what they do best… which is to create original,  accessible, investigative and socially aware Hartford theater. This time, HartBeat Ensemble is kicking off the next phase of their creative journey, having signed a multi-year agreement in a new home at the Carriage House Theater in Hartford, a 76-seat venue that formerly housed the Hartford Children’s Theater.

April 23, 2012

Building Blocks

Last night's Tastemakers Soul Hartford was an awesome and productive fete. I met some great people, gleaned and exchanged some insightful ideas.

I'm admittedly averse to "networking" in the most commonly known sense of the word and act and many such ‘schmoozy’ events. In fact I'm anti-networking. To quote noted New York City party planner and social media maven, Bevy Smith ...
 "A word about NETWORKING, a word I detest, an idea I abhor! Folks in a room targeting who they should be talking to based on position ... YUCK!"


And Bevy Smith, who highly endorses building genuine business relationships organically, should know. Her intimate "Dinner with Bevy" gatherings boast an extraordinary list of marketing types/PR types paired with celebrity notables, who'd probably never consider socializing with one another over dinner, under any other circumstances if not brought together at an intimate venue, over a delectable spread, by Bevy. And on that note, having finally attended a Tastemakers Soul- Hartford event, I'd say it was definitely about genuine building than networking, as I've come to know and detest it. People in attendance were looking to connect and possibly cultivate some collaborative projects with one another. There was nary an ego or discriminating conversationalist in sight. And that's definitely something I endorse.

There was a Soul Purpose representative onsite, with delectable products on-hand; as well as writers, singers, editors, PR types, and poets. I shared the first panel discussion with some outstanding and talented folk and we all offered up food for thought on; starting and sustaining useful connections, protecting your personal brand and the importance of business nuance and awareness. I mostly spoke about utilizing social media productively as a writer, to increase awareness and build reputation.

There was second panel called DJ 101, which was a continuation to a previous Tastemaker DJ panel. Subsequent performances included those by spoken word performance poet, Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler and singer/songwriter/producer Howa.rd (who I’ll be interviewing for a Coffee Buzz feature in the coming days).

I definitely look forward to participating and/or attending future Tastemaker Soul Hartford or (similar other) events. Tastemakers Soul Hartford take place every month at Vibz Uptown. It's definitely a welcome and much needed affair, in the HartBeat.

April 10, 2012

Tastemaking in The HartBeat...

Oh yes… time for another ubiquitous plug for this month's Tastemaker's Soul Hartford event, at Vibz Uptown. I will be a part of the panel discussion portion of the affair along with a lineup of other Connecticut notables, discussing "The Written Word". Read the the official word below... 

April is Jazz and Poetry Appreciation month and Tastemakers Soul Hartford will be hosting an event celebrating both on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 6pm. This event will be held at Vibz Uptown at 3155 Main Street, Hartford, CT. It will feature a night of panel discussions and live entertainment. The evening begins with artist Jeff Bradshaw's (Hidden Beach Records) "Bone Appetit", a new CD that will be released on April 24th. The first two panels will be a discussion featuring poets and written word artists and they include:

Kevin Harewood- Industry Executive, Edectic Ent/Yeagency, Latoya Bosworth- Founder of K.Y.D.S., & Brenda's Child, Tiff Jones- Freelance writer, Blogger and creator of  Coffee Rhetoric, Lenise "NuNuu" Smith- Publisher of S.L.A.M.M. Magazine, Bradford Howard Jr.- AllBusiness Consulting LLC, Carla Jervey- WQTQ FM, Aja Wilson- Jazz/Soul Singer, Smooth Jazz Artist-  Funkee BoyEsnavi- Soul Singer, and Hartford, CT Singer/Songwriter Janae Smith.

The third panel is a continuation of the DJ Business 101 series. Confirmed panelists are: Herman Ham- King of Clubz, Kingsley Osei- Owner of Catchin Wreck Marketing & Founder/Executive Director of Connecticut Against Violence, DJ Showtime- KISS 95.7 FM, Lamonte Hayes- BWP Marketing, Stephen Richardson- CT Music Pool, and DJ Terrible T.

Following the discussions, R&B singer Rashaan Langley; a native of New Haven and also the host of Tastemakers Soul Hartford, will perform with his band. The event will be recorded by Brian Sams of Headbanger Video, LLC and Tony Bass of City Beat MultiMedia Group.

Additional performers slated to appear are R&B Singer and Musician Heshima from Springfield, MA/NY, Dallas-based Neo-Soul Artist Nuwamba, spoken-word poet, Tarishi "Midnight" Shuler from New Haven, Singer and Hartford’s own Janae Smith, and Frank "Mr. Wonderful" Brady of New Haven.

Vendors will be on-site at the Tastemakers Soul Hartford Marketplace and food will be available for purchase by Rajun Cajun. Admission is $8 or 2/$10. Doors open at 6pm.

Tastemakers Soul Hartford has been New England's longest running networking event. Originally an exclusive function, it is now a monthly affair where independent artists are highlighted and local "tastemakers" network and support one another.

For media inquiries, contact Desiree Primus at 413-221-9857.

Related post(s): Coffee Buzz- Tastemakers Soul Hartford



March 30, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Tastemakers Soul Hartford, The Written Word


Every month, promoter and DJ of the radio show "Reflections", broadcast on 90.7 WTCC in Springfield, Massachusetts, hosts a networking event and industry showcase called Tastemakers Soul Hartford at Vibz Uptown, here in Connecticut. 
A panel of local movers and shakers convene for a panel discussion on the myriad of interesting topics and the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, hear great live music by independent and/or up-and-coming artists, and to browse a wonderful collection of handmade wares set up by jewelry makers and other artisans. 

It just so happens that yours truly—(Who? Yes, me! ) – will be featured on an upcoming panel in the company of other talented poets, editors, industry insiders, and writers including Spoken word artist and Publisher of S.L.A.M.M. Magazine Lenise “Nu Nuu” Smith, Carla Jervey of WQTQ FM in Hartford, and Kevin Harewood—Author of "Make Your Move-A Guide to Releasing Your Music Independently" and Industry Executive for boutique agency, Yeagency, discussing “The Written Word”. 

The event happens Sunday, April 22nd, 6pm – 10:30pm at Vibz Uptown at 3155 Main Street, in Hartford. For more information, visit the Tastemakers Soul Events Page on Facebook.  Hope to see you there!

February 16, 2012

HartBeat Ensemble's New Play Institute Presents, Project: Turnpike

Still somewhat fresh off the success and much lauded spring/winter run of their original main-stage play, Flipside-- (a play I had the pleasure of blogging about from behind the scenes)-- which will begin touring around New England in March, Hartford based professional theater group, HartBeat Ensemble is already hard at work on a new stage production  currently in development called Project: Turnpike.

The work is based on the 2007 federal trial of the United States vs. Dennis Paris; a case that unfolded right here in Hartford.  

Project: Turnpike charts 72 hours in the lives of four exploited sex workers in a motel room on the Berlin Turnpike; a busy 4-lane Connecticut highway.
In order to bring this landmark case to the stage, true-to-their art-form, HartBeat Ensemble members interviewed and collected the personal stories of people affected by human trafficking and worked with human rights advocate Raymond Bechard, who wrote the book The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America. Raymond Bechard explains;
"With a long and sordid history, The Berlin Turnpike serves as a metaphor for the landscape in which human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and all forms of prostitution have existed in the U.S. for centuries, while continuing to flourish today." 
HartBeat Ensemble will workshop and debut a staged production of Project: Turnpike Friday, April 20th at 7:30pm (at a TBD facility), in the first of three planned staged readings as part of HBE's New Play Institute. The two-year project will commence in collaboration with an area college or university, also TBD, where HBE will work in-residence while teaching a master class on "The Creation of Original Work".

The New Play Institute serves to foster an environment of experimentation and creativity for HartBeat Ensemble and college students. It also offers audience members a chance to experience new theatrical work in its early stages.

General admission will be $5 and free for students with proper identification.

HartBeat Ensemble continues to create original professional theater based on stories from the community via main-stage plays, open-air performances, and educational out-reach programs. HartBeat Ensemble makes theatrical arts accessible beyond the barriers of class, race, and gender.

For more information on HartBeat Ensemble and Project: Turnpike, visit the official HartBeat Ensemble website or call: 860.548.9144 ext 115

**Additional Reading--  





February 09, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Ice Cream Man


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! That is unless you're lactose intolerant...

One ice cream man however, is providing goods that are capable of being digested; Hartford's own Stephon "Humble" Long. Connecticut is a small state brimming with talent that spans the arts and entertainment spectrum. Stephon, a well-known rapper, has managed to carve out a niche for himself and build a loyal fan base in the process, especially with the release of his single and accompanying video (which uses Hartford-area neighborhood(s) as its backdrop) "Ice Cream Man."

Stephon, who goes by the nickname "Humble" (a moniker he received from a close friend and brother from another mother, Kiandre "Fatal" Gillespie) - first realized his talent for writing lyrics at the age of 13. With the help of friend, Delontay Gordon, he honed his craft and used what he learned to form a rap duo with Gillespie called, Black Aces. “Am I humble? At times! And at other times my arrogance may show face” Humble Lol's, in reference to his nickname. Considering he's been diligent with mastering his craft and paying his dues since the age of fifteen (working fervently for about 9 of those years), perhaps a little self-applied pat on the back on occasion, is permissible.

"I've built up my fan base by performing for open Mics and by being a part of Hartford's own Paperboyz [a collective of Hartford rappers and producers] in the early 2000's," Humble explains. And while Ice Cream Man isn't his first single and video, it does seem to be his most lauded at 29,000 YouTube views and counting.

The video, which was directed by Alonzo Beckett of NE Video Entertainment opens as a nod to Ice Cube's popular urban flick, Friday, before exploding into a thumping version of the ice cream truck song we've all familiarized ourselves with as children. The song, produced by Luis "ChaseBeats" Boria, explains the duality of Humble's role as the purveyor of tasty frozen treats for children and street treats of ... ahem... a different nature.
Humble’s talent is undeniable; "Right now I'm currently working with local producers; but every local producer I'm working with is very goal oriented!" 

When prodded about his dream-list of producers to build with if presented with the opportunity, Humble answers enthusiastically, "Ooh, that's a good question!! I would love the opportunity to work with... I'm gonna have to keep it in the family and say Corron Cole[a Connecticut born, L.A. based songwriter/producer made-good and behind the musical stylings of acts like Justin Bieber, Jesse McCartney, and Jordin Sparks]- I admire his commitment to the music industry; and as for artists I’d love to work with... I'm gonna have to say Eminem and Jay-Z!" 

Perhaps one of the most admirable aspects of Humble's burgeoning rap career, is the passion he seems to have for Hartford... a city that's at times, unfairly judged for being the underdog and is juxtaposed next to New York and Boston. The bias prompts the dearth of talent and the city's offerings go unnoticed... and so it takes naysayers by surprise. 

As he reflects on his music, Humble makes it clear that it will always dictate the mood he's in at the time. "I write from the heart!" He says, "I don't live a fairytale life... It's real. I do it for the people! I do it for my supporters… I hate to use the word fans!"

Stephon "Humble" Long will be performing live at Foxwoods Casino, March 2 at Comix Comedy Club . Ice Cream Man and other singles are available for download on iTunes.

For booking and more information, visit PB Dolla Entertainment and Humble's Facebook page.

December 02, 2011

Holiday Happenings In the HartBeat- (Say that three times)...


In a flash, the month of November has come and gone. Thanksgiving festivities and events are behind us here in the HartBeat and the Christmas is nigh. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the re-opening of The Bushnell Park skating rink. This year's Winterfest (presented by iQuilt) is now bigger and better, having kicked off this past November 25th. The rink (located on the east side of Bushnell Park by the Pump House) is free as are skate rentals, and is open 7-days a week, 11:00am - 9:00pm (except Christmas, when it closes at 5:00pm and New Year's Eve, when it closes at 1:00am). Winterfest runs through February 20, 2012. Visit here for more info on Winterfest events.

Also, December 8th Greater Hartford Arts Council Welcome Center will be hosting a Holiday Open House. The daylong holiday event will celebrate the Greater Hartford Welcome Center and the Let*s Go! Holiday promotion. Revelers who donate $50 to the United Arts Campaign will automatically be enrolled in the Let*s Go Arts! program, which will entitle them to 2-for-1 and discounted admission to plays, concerts, and museums with the added benefit of 10%-20% off local area restaurants, specialty classes, local services and other events. 
The holiday promotion will also enable current Let*s Go Arts! members to gift an additional membership for $25! Those who donate will also have the option of participating in a drawing for gift certificates to some of Hartford's most popular restaurants and tickets to see stage plays. 

The event takes place Thursday, December 8th, 10am-3pm; 4pm-7pm at the Greater Hartford Arts Council, 100 Pearl Street, First Floor, downtown Hartford. During the earlier part of the event, visitors can enjoy free hot cocoa, cookies, and other tasties. The evening hour’s offerings will include a reception, free light wine, and cheese. For more information, visit: www.LetsGoArts.org/HolidayLGA.