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ArtWalk in West Hartford, Book Club at Hill-Stead and More

Enrich your life, September 15 – 21, 2011

Art League's Annual West Hartford ArtWalk

Kid's activities, a painting raffle, art and craft demonstrations, a silent auction, a community quilt, a Whet Your Palette food and wine-tasting event, and more. The 's annual ArtWalk has got it all. The September 17 event is open to all. Most activities are free, but a $10 raffle ticket buys you a chance to win a $2,500 painting by Frank Federico; $15 buys you admission to Whet Your Palette, which offers food and wine tastings. Purchase prices vary at the daylong Juried Clothesline Exhibit and Sale and the silent auction.

Activities run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Blue Back Square in West Hartford. Free parking is available in the West Hartford Town Hall parking lot. For more information, visit www.westhartfordart.org.

JCC Hosts Fall for the Arts Preview

Which autumn arts events shouldn't you miss? Decide for yourself when West Hartford's hosts Fall for the Arts. The September 21 event features previews of events scheduled as part of the JCC's Jewish Book Festival and its Gilman Theater presentations plus attractions at West Hartford's Playhouse on Park and the Hartt School, and the Hartford Children's Theater and the Greater Hartford Arts Council. A complimentary wine tasting and free giveaways are part of the fun.

The free event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Chase Family Gallery. It is open to all. Registration is requested. Phone Jill Ziplow at 860-231-6339 or email jziplow@mandelljcc.org. The Mandell Jewish Community Center is at 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. 

Introducing the Hill-Stead Book Club

Here's a novel idea. Farmington's Hill-Stead Museum introduces a new book club, a series of events designed to draw on the museum's literary heritage. The Pope and Riddle families who once called Hill-Stead home entertained some of the foremost writers of their day including Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Archibald MacLeish. Starting September 20, the museum begins its book series with fall sessions on Henry James. Held in the HIll-Stead's intimate library, the sessions will be led by Jamesian scholar Jim Kraft of Chatham, New York. Other upcoming  sessions begin October 4, November 1, and December 13. 

The sessions run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission costs $8 per session, or $28 for four sessions for the general public; and $5 per session, or $18 for four sessions for members. For more information, including a reading list, visit www.hillstead.org and download the book club PDF flyer. To register for sessions, call Marie Charest at 860-677-4787, ext. 142, or email her at charestm@hillstead.org. Attendance is limited. The Hill-Stead is at 35 Mountain Road, Farmington. 

Spiritual Tours at Hill-Stead

Theodate Pope Riddle, the woman who designed and lived in what is now Farmington's Hill-Stead Museum, had a great interest in spiritualism. During her lifetime, Riddle met and corresponded with important figures in the world of psychical research including Henry James' brother, William James, Sir Oliver Lodge and others. This autumn, the Hill-Stead revives its after-hours tours on topics  devoted to spiritualism. Participants will see Riddle's letters and other documents, hear about seances attended by Riddle, and meet costumed interpreters playing characters including the early 20th century medium Leonora Piper.

Tours begin September 16 and continue on selected days throughout the fall. They step off every half hour from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission costs $12; $6 members. The last tour at 6:30 p.m. includes a glass of champagne. Admission costs $16, and $10 members. Reservations are required. Contact Sharon Stotz at 860-677-4787 ext. 140, or email stotzs@hillstead.org. For more information, visit www.hillstead.org. The Hill-Stead is at 35 Mountain Road, Farmington.  

Stanley-Whitman Explores "Lost Period" of State History

Connecticut's 17th century past has been regarded as a "lost period" of history. On September 17, Farmington's Stanley-Whitman House invites participants to explore what is known about the era in a 17th Century Connecticut Symposium. 

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A $20 symposium fee includes morning beverages and lunch. For more information, email Stanley-Whitman director Lisa Johnson at lisa@stanleywhitman.org. The Stanley-Whitman House is at 37 High St., Farmington. For more information, visit www. stanleywhitman.org or call 860-677-9222.

High Seas Headliners Bring Comedy to Bridge Street

Two top cruise-ship comedians try their material on dry land when they perform a September 17 show at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville. Comedy and magic are all part of the act when the High Sea's Headliners Tom Briscoe and Bob Brizendine anchor for the evening. Briscoe is said to have discovered his talent for stand-up with the help of numerous ex-bosses and co-workers who encouraged him to see it as the only marketable skill he has. His one-man show is aptly titled, "So, I Got Fired From That Job." A cruise ship fixture from Tahiti to Tierra Del Fuego, Briscoe can be heard on XM Radio and seen on The Comedy Channel. He regularly performs in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Brizendine, aka the Magic Kat, combines comedy, magic and pure insanity to create a unique brand of entertainment.

Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 or $30. Bridge Street Live is at 41 Bridge St., Collinsville. For times and ticket prices, visit www.41bridgestreet.com or call 860-693-9762.

Afrikan Amerikan Jazz at Windsor Art Center

Owen McNally, longtime jazz critic for The Hartford Courant, describes Nicki Mathis as "the regal jazz diva . . . Hartford's avatar of soulful expression, a hometown version of Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln wrapped in one." On September 22, Mathis' Afrikan Amerikan Jazz performs with guitarist Norman Johnson at the Windsor Art Center in Windsor. The event is co-produced by the Hartford Jazz Society.

Concert time is 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. The Windsor Art Center is at the corner of Central and Mechanic streets in Windsor. For more information, visit www.windsorartcenter.org or call 860-688-2528.

Real Art Ways Presents World Premiere of Hunger

Sex. Greed. Chocolate. The Bated Breath Theatre Company explores human appetites in the new participatory performance piece Hunger. Written by Chantal Bilodeau and directed by Helene Kvale, Hunger is making its world premiere at Real Art Ways in Hartford. Each performance begins as the audience participates in a wine tasting and ends with a shared feast of cream and chocolate.

Hunger is for ages 18 and up. Performances run September 16 through October 2.  Tickets start at $28 for Real Art Ways members and $32 for the general public. Real Art Ways is at 56 Arbor St., Hartford. For more information, visit www.realartways.org or call 860-232-1006.

Idol's Elliott Yamin at Infinity Hall

American Idol fans, let's get to what's real. On September 17, Infinity Hall in West Norfolk presents the show's 2006 winner Elliott Yamin. The performer's self-titled first album, which included the platinum selling Wait for You, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts. Yamin's most recent effort is the new release Let's Get To What's Real.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Concert time is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25. For reservations or more information, visit www.infinityhall.com or call 866-666-6306. Infinity Hall is at 20 Greenwoods Road West, Norfolk.

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