Hula hoops cast dizzying shadows across the Fairfield Hills lawn Sunday, September 14, where Tanner Chase of Velvet Orchid out of Bristol danced through her hoop routine. With the Newtown Arts Festival going on around her, others celebrated under a baby blue sky with ribbons, rainbow splashes of paint, arts, crafts, demonstrations, sculpture, poetry reading, and more. The two-day, outdoor festival was part of Newtown Cultural Arts Commission’s “ridiculous abundance of enriching activities throughout September all around town.” And while the signature event has completed, there are still a pair of Newtown Arts Festival events to look forward to this weekend.
A beer and wine tasting event in Trumbull next month will benefit Where Angels Play Foundation, the group responsible for 26 playgrounds that have been built during the past 16 months with a dual purpose. They have primarily been built in communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Each one has also honored the memory of a woman or child killed on 12/14. When the 26 Sandy Ground Project playgrounds are finished, the foundation will continue to build playgrounds in communities that have been visited by tragedy. It hopes to be in Boston by April, to build an playground for those who were killed or injured during last year's Boston Marathon bombings. Funds raised during the October 3 beer and wine tasting will help those efforts.
The year before the Sandy Hook tragedy propelled Newtown into the hearts and minds of people across the globe, resident and finance industry expert Hayden Bates set out to bring a broader range of world-class artists in to play in the intimate Edmond Town Hall Theater, in part to to raise funds to improve the classic Main Street venue. Eight shows into his self-promoted “Live at Edmond Town Hall” concert series, Bates’s efforts have come full circle as he prepares to welcome the eclectic singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek for a headline set Saturday, September 20. Among the songs the former Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman is expected to perform is a ballad he wrote, that was inspired by the events of 12/14.
The public is invited to celebrate under decorative lights with a glass of wine at the Smokey Topaz and Art in Residence (AIR) pop-up galleries on Friday, September 19. Enjoy food and music between 6 and 9 pm during the galleries’ opening reception at 104 Church Hill Road. The galleries are part of the inaugural Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) ArtWalk, an ongoing event that welcomes residents to view various artists and mediums on display throughout Sandy Hook Center. Join hosts Bob and Rosemary Rau of AIR Art Gallery and SHOP Marketing Coordinator Melissa Lopata for food samples compliments of Cover Two Sports Bar & Grill, and peruse paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, and more for sale. Temporary exhibitions at the adjacent gallery spaces opened on September 6, and each offers a collection of works by local and Connecticut artists.
The Band and its members — Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm — are often referred to as one of the most influential American acts coming out of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. But educator, musician and biographer Craig Harris will be the first one to remind folks that four of The Band’s five talented members hailed from Canada before they were enlisted to back folkie Bob Dylan as he made his historical transition from acoustic to electric in 1966. In a recent interview with The Newtown Bee — ahead of his September 24 Booth Library talk highlighting his new book, "The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music" — Mr Harris explained that if it wasn’t for Dylan making that unexpected and controversial stylistic shift, his pioneering quintet may have never made it into the history books and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Stray Kats Theatre Company and Third Eye Productions have joined forces to produce and perform John Patrick Shanley’s "Doubt" at Newtown Meeting House and quite simply: it is a stunner. The play, under the direction of Don Striano, in his debut effort, drives home a a message of unattainable certainty in an atmosphere of doubt and the pervasive damage that can cause. Performances of the limited run production, which is also a Newtown Arts Festival event, continue through September 20.
The idea that he might one day hike the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of just under 2,200 miles when traversed from Georgia to Maine, first entered Alex Neufeld’s head the summer after his freshman year at Newtown High School. On a high adventure trip with Venture Crew 70 to Maine, he encountered a hiker at the top of Mount Katahdin who was finishing up the Appalachian Trail. “I decided it was something I wanted to do,” said Alex, after visiting with that hiker. He grew up in a household that did a lot of family hikes and camping, and his experiences in Venture Crew gave him more experience with the outdoors.