Archive for the ‘Arts and Culture’ Category

Alert Middletown Officials Stamp Out Wigwam!

November 6, 2007

Who knows, if wigwam building had spread the homeless would be building these huts all over town. Thankfully, alert police, fire, and sanitation officials recognized the imminent danger and ordered the Harbor Park wigwam destroyed. “It’s a tinderbox” said Deputy Fire Marshal Allen Santostefano. But city Health Department officials were concerned that the structure would attract the homeless; Chief Sanitation Officer Sal Nesci said “It had the makings of an unsafe abode.”  Housing Inspector Dennis Murray said, “It was absolutely beautiful. It was a beautiful structure.”  “They flattened it,” said George Frick, the artist who built the structure.

Source: Middletown Press  (11/06/07)

Middletown Press (10/10/07)

Photos below taken several weeks ago show the offending wigwam and several dugout canoes also part of the interesting project which involved local youth in Native American crafts. Dugout canoes were used in a trip across L.I. Sound to Greenport and a more ambitious Middletown to Florida trip is planed for Spring ’08 . More article about these projects here, here and here.

Tags: george frick,dugout canoes,middletown ct,wigwams,long island sound dugout crossing,

Hartford Vets Day Parade Sunday Nov 4

October 31, 2007

Vets for Freedom (VFF) will be a new addition to this year’s parade. The details:

Parade 2007 – Hartford, CT’s 2007 Veterans Day Parade is orchestrated by the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Each year their work brings the response of attendees and participants from across Connecticut and throughout Massachusetts. An estimated 25,000 – 40, 000 viewers line the parade route and this year will be entertained and have their spirit of national pride lifted by some 40 Veterans groups, 25 marching bands, and 96 marching units made up of 3,5000 people from almost 50 Connecticut towns and cities.

The Veterans Day Parade this year will be held a full week ahead of the official National Veterans Day . The Veterans’ Day Parade in Hartford, CT, 2007 will beheld on Sunday, November 4 beginning at 1 p.m. in the downtown area. This year’s parade will feature government figures like Hartford Mayor Perez , small units from the CT. Sons of the American Revolution and more sizable marching bands from the University of Connecticut and University of New Haven Marching Band and Color Guard.

Drum and Fife and Pipe and Drum divisions will add variety to the musical offerings. Civic and business representatives will also provide some local interest and color .

Special Features. In addition to the large number of marching units and participants the Veterans’ Day Parade in Hartford, CT 2007 offers several special features . The crowd will have the opportunity to view parade participants who are also inductees into the CT Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Those attending will find the parade all the more memorable for as everyone comes to attention for a shared moment of silence, the tolling of the Center Church Bell, the singing of the national anthem and a climactic A-10 flyover.

The Veterans’ Day Parade in Hartford, CT in 2007 may well resemble other parades of other years, but this year there are a number of Connecticut units home from overseas duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. The opportunity to honor those newest veterans is likely to be sufficient to swell the customarily large crowds and to raise everyone’s consciousness of how much we truly owe to those who take up the uniform and the flag in the name of peace and democracy.

Pic: 2006 parade with Governor’s Horse Guards in the vanguard.

Lets say “THANKS” To Our Military Men and Women! Select a free card here.

Tags: ct governor’s horse guards,vets for freedom,hartford ct, veterans day parade,veterans

Our Changing Funeral and Burial Practices

October 29, 2007


"In a narrow grave, just six by three

We buried him there on the lone prairie"

American funeral practices are undergoing rapid changes with so called “natural” and “green” options becoming more common methods of dealing with the deceased. lists several increasingly popular practices including “Celebrations”, “Cremation”, “Going Green”, and “Do-it-Yourself Funerals”. The Portland Press-Herald (ME) reported yesterday about “green” cemeteries:



(an) alternative that is just emerging in Maine is natural burial in a green cemetery: wooded graveyards that ban chemicals and caskets that won’t easily decompose.

Two such cemeteries are now preparing to do natural burials in Maine, in Limington and in Orrington. There are only about six operating green cemeteries in the United States, but many more are planned, according to those tracking the trend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Some organizations and companies active in “natural burial” are Native Woodland, operating in the U.K., the Natural Burial Association (Canada), and Kinkaraco, a San Francisco (U.S.) dealer in “Green Burial Shrouds”(see photograph).
Green Burials (U.S.) (motto: “Return Naturally”} has much information regarding newer burial practices.


What is Green Burial?

Simple and natural. Green burial, or natural burial, ensure the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects. Interment of the bodies is done in a bio-degradable casket, shroud, or a favorite blanket. No embalming fluid, no concrete vaults.


The Natural Burial Company (U.S.A.) sells biodegradable caskets made of recycled paper, sea grass or bamboo. Their willow casket illustrated:
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On Caring for Your Own Dead web site we find much information about the old American tradition of home burial and the laws of various states regarding this practice today.


The laws in Connecticut are in conflict with each other, begging for a law suit. The laws specifically provide that the custody and contol of remains . . . shall belong to the surviving spouse . . . or . . . next of kin . . . [Sec. 45-253]. On the other hand, a funeral director’s signature is required on the death certificate, and only a funeral director or embalmer may “remove the body of a deceased person from one town to another” when a person dies in Connecticut, but towns and ecclesiastical societies may provide a hearse and pall for burial of the dead. Go figure. A licensed embalmer must be in charge when death is from a communicable disease. Because the laws are conflicting in this state, a family wishing to care for its own dead may wish to seek the help of legal counsel. The FCA office may be able to help by filing a friend of the court brief.


While in Massachusetts:


In 1996, the Memorial Society here convinced the State Board of Health that Commonwealth laws permitted families to care for their own dead. It was left to the discretion of the individual boards of health whether or not to comply with the state’s opinion. Although many towns have agreed to do so, a court case will be pursued if difficulty arises. Personnel in the Department of Health have been very helpful with recalcitrant local officers.


In Michigan:


A 1995 court decision affirmed a family’s right to possess a body “for the purpose of preparation, mourning and burial.” This state also has one of the best home burial statutes. Families wishing to care for their own dead in this state may run into officials who are not aware of the court case.


Returning to the Portland Herald Press story:



Klara Tammany’s mother didn’t want a typical American funeral. No embalming, no metal casket, not even a funeral home.


When she died after a long illness a couple of years ago, family members and friends washed and dressed her body and put it in a homemade wooden casket, which was laid across two sawhorses in the dining room of her condo in Brunswick.


Then, for two days, friends and family visited, brought cut flowers, wrote messages on the casket’s lid and said goodbye.


“We had this wake, and it was wonderful,” Tammany said.


The home funeral is part of an emerging trend that some believe will change the way Americans deal with death. Send-offs like the one Tammany planned with her mother are called “green” funerals because they avoid preservative chemicals and steel and concrete tombs, all designed to keep a body from decomposing naturally.


After the wake, Tammany’s mother was cremated and her ashes buried near the family’s camp in Monmouth.

"It makes no difference, so I've been told

Where the body lies when life grows cold

But grant, I pray, one wish to me

O bury me not on the lone prairie"

I say, “Do bury me on the lone prairie, or better yet, in the warm green woods!
To hear a very folksy version of this traditional song click here
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Originally published on Habits Not Peculiar…. (10/29/07)

Tags: green funeral,green burial,simple burial

High Antiques on the Low Seas

October 10, 2007

Michael James of Silver Fund Antiques (U.K.) was one of 28 antique dealers aboard the motor yacht Grand Luxe, pictured above, which visited Greenwich last week. According to Greenwich Time newspaper:

James is one of 28 art and antiques dealers aboard the SeaFair Grand Luxe, a 228-foot floating art and antiques emporium docked in Greenwich Harbor this week. After visits to New York and Long Island, the ship will return to Connecticut Oct. 17 for a five-day stay in Norwalk Harbor.

Although as a book and antiques dealer myself I am in awe of the grandiosity of this project I am most amazed by the  vessel.  At 228 feet the SeaFair Grand Luxe draws only 6.5 feet and can navigate the entire U.S. East coast intra-coastal waterway. The SeaFair principal owners, David and Lee Ann Lester, describe their yacht:

The Grand Luxe, designed by the internationally-acclaimed designer Luis de Basto, is an entirely new type of shallow draft ship, specifically designed as a mobile exhibition venue. The 3,200 ton ship, with an air draft of 57 feet, requires a draft of only 6.5 feet, allowing navigation of the entire Intracoastal Waterway. In addition to 26 individual galleries, SeaFair also offers two gourmet restaurants, a champagne and caviar sky lounge, and an international coffee bar. On its 44-week tour, SeaFair will visit over 36 affluent coastal communities along the United State’s Eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine.

The photos below are from the company’s website showing the various galleries and accommodations aboard. the Grand Luxe.

greenwich ct,seafair,grand luxe,antiques,yachts,

Woody Guthrie Program: Global Woody 9/28

September 27, 2007

Wesleyan Ph.D candidate Jorge Arevalo Mateus is presenting a multi-media program entitled “Global Woody” at the Green Street Arts Center on Fri. Sept 28, 8PM. The Wesleyan Connection news site reports:

Global Woody will examine (Woody) Guthrie’s continuing influence through a multimedia presentation that contains music, film and rare archival material. Included in the presentation will be a live musical performance by Tao Rodriguez Seeger. Arévalo Mateus will also speak about the process of producing a historical recording of Woody Guthrie released Sept. 6.

Photo below is of Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Pete Seeger’s grandson. who will be performing at the event.

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More information about the recording at :

Tags: woody guthrie,tao rodriguez seeger,green street arts center,wesleyan university,folk music,middletown ct

Mr. Brown Comes to Town…..

September 20, 2007

The Ronald K. Brown/Evidence dance troupe will commence a new national tour with performances Fri (9/21) and Sat (9/22) at Wesleyan. Brown will present the world premiere of “One Shot”. Richard Kamins of the Courant reports:

Brown’s new dance piece based on the lifework of Pittsburgh-based photojournalist Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908-1998). With a score that features music from other Pittsburgh natives, such as Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal as well as Cuban “rap” group Anonimo Consejo, “One Shot” depicts the middle class life of the city’s African American citizens and how that community changed. The Ronald K. Brown/Evidence dance troupe begins its national tour with these two performances.

Further information available at 860-685-3355 or go to

Tags: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence   Dance   Wesleyan University