After submitting 1,500 petitions and garnering community support online, Trumbull High School students have lost their campaign to convince freshman Principal Marc Guarino to rescind last week’s decision to cancel their production of the musical RENT: School Edition.
They announced the decision in a post on the group’s Trumbull for Rent Facebook page. Here is the Post:
“I would like to start this post by first thanking each and every one of you who has liked this page, written to the administration and voiced their opinion on the cancelation of RENT: School Edition at Trumbull High School. Unfortunately, last night at a Board of Education meeting in Trumbull, a letter was read from Mr. Guarino stating that RENT: School Edition will not be performed this year at …Trumbull High School.
I along with two other students met with Mr. Guarino today where he confirmed this is his final decision on the matter. While Many students and members in our community are disappointed in this decision, I did state that we would follow the administration’s decision on the matter. While this story develops I will try to keep this page updated with the most recent information. I thank you all for your support, and hope that a production of RENT: School Edition will happen at Trumbull High School, if not this year, soon.”
The message is signed off by Larissa Mark, the 17-year-old president of the THS Thespian Society. No word yet on why Guarino thought a school edition of a production performed across the country was inappropriate for the suburban high school.
For Floyd Kellog and Becky Kessler, going into the studio to record their debut album was like taking shelter from a raging storm.
At the time, a few of Kessler’s close friends passed away, as had Kellog’s father. Then there was the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“We kept getting hit with these big life situations,” said Kellog, who grew up in Newtown.
His son, Van, was also born during this period.
The studio was where it all sunk in. As such, Kellog and Kessler’s self-titled debut album as Violent Mae is a swirl of turbulent emotions, a record that rises and falls in intensity like the life cycle of an autumn downpour.
For Kellog, whose previous musical output includes the muscular funk of Adios Pantalones and the driving indie rock of You Scream I Scream, Violent Mae marks a dramatic change of pace.
“The bands I’ve been in in the past have been really fun,” Kellog said during an interview from Kessler’s home in Roxbury, where the band was rehearsing. “But on this album, I wasn’t in that mindset at all. When stuff like that happens in your life, you turn around and say, ‘I have to go back and do what I have to do.’ You don’t have the chance to settle down.”
Recorded at Casa de Warrenton Studio in Hartford last year, “Violent Mae” is a misty, low-key dream pop record marked by Kessler’s rich, penetrating vocals and Kellog’s spare yet textured instrumentals, which weave together atmospheric guitar melodies, bass and drums with traces of piano, banjo and vibraphone.
The project was born last year when Kessler asked Kellog to record and produce her debut solo album. But after they hit the studio, they discovered a creativity synergy that warranted a more collaborative effort.
“We were also dealing with a lot of the similar life events,” Kellog said.
As for the name of the band, it is a marriage of Kellog family lore and Kellog and Kessler’s personal experiences. Kellog, his son, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncle and cousin all share May birthdays, while Mae is the name of one of the musician’s distant relatives. As for the “violent” half, Kellog felt it was “a great word to describe the year we were having.”
Yet, from those turbulent times emerged a piece of music that is beautiful, and at times, strangely comforting, like being in an old New England barn, slightly shivering, in the midst of a raging downpour.
“My dad passed away a year ago in October,” said Kellog, who dedicated the record to his father. “Losing a parent is about as bad as it gets. But I found a great deal of comfort in working on this record.”
Violent Mae will perform a CD release show with Modern Merchant and Elison Jackson at Hartford’s Arch Street Tavern, 85 Arch St., on Friday, Dec. 6. They will appear on “Where We Live” on WNPR that same day at 9 a.m.
The school is teaming up with the American Red Cross to host The Philippine Spirit, a group dance event, on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2-3 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10.
“We see so much devastation, but the Philippines has the spirit of a dandelion — you can squash it, but you can’t kill it,” Lucita Padrones, a student at the Ballet School of Stamford and event coordinator, said.
“We want to honor that spirit.”
Nancy Schwartz of Performance Dance will lead the easy-to-learn choreographed dance, which was inspired by Philippine artist Freddie Aguilar’s song “Bayan Ko.”
All are welcome to attend, regardless of experience or ability.
The event takes place at the Ballet School of Stamford, 175 Atlantic St. For more information, call 203-358-8853.
Help light up your neighborhood this weekend as part of Family Centers’ annual Hope Lights Lives luminary project, a fundraiser for the center’s bereavement and critical illness programs.
Luminary kids are for sale in towns across Fairfield County, to support the initiatives of the Center for Hope and the Den for Grieving Kids. On Sunday, beginning at 5 p.m., the luminary bags will be lit throughout neighborhoods in Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Rowayton, Southport, Stamford, Weston and Wilton.
Wu Tang Clan’s Cappadonna and Connecticut skateboard company Outbreak unveiled their new deck and clothing line at a party at Bridgeport’s Rampage Skate Shop last month.
The event, which also marked Outbreak’s fifth anniversary, featured performances from hip hop artists Apathy, Wu Tang affiliate Judah Priest and Bridgeport-based hip hop stable the Full Blast Movement.
Dubbed “Winter Warz,” the deck and clothing line is the second collaboration between Cappadonna and Outbreak.
“Outbreak gave me the opportunity to build a bridge between the old and new, between hip-hop and boarding,” said Cappadonna, who met Outbreak co-founders Matt Aloma and Alex Purrier at an event at Rampage in February. “It’s a real good thing.”
His primary role in the company is to help with the overall branding, but he also provides input on the artwork that’s imprinted on all the clothes and skate decks.
“Colors mean a lot to me,” Cappadonna said. “I deal with the chakras everyday so, I know that green is love, blue is clarity and yellow is friendship. These are the colors that I try and incorporate into the boards.”
Aloma and Purrier appreciate Cappadonna’s help in building the label.
“We already had something good going on, but I think with Cappadonna, we gained legitimacy, and more people started seeing what we are doing and how creative we are,” Aloma said.
Outbreak is currently featured in several skate shops across Connecticut, and they count pro-skater Doug Brown among their team of skaters (check him out in the video, below.)
The co-founders have been skating for a long time. According to Aloma, “I’ve been skateboarding for 13 years now and I’ve been doing art my whole life. One day, I just decided to mix the two.”
Aloma and Purrier aren’t the only ones who skate. Cappadonna also has skate boarded, and you can see him doing a few tricks in the music video of his 2013 song, “Can’t Believe It’s Him” (check it out, below.)
“I’m no expert or anything, but I did a little tic-tac with it every now and then, bounced down a few steps, watched my brother break his arm,” Cappadonna said.
Rampage has hosted two of the three line release parties for Outbreak.
“Rampage is all about giving back to the community,” Aloma said. “That is also part of our goals so it is a good match. Also, being from Connecticut gives me a chip on my shoulder; it makes me feel like I have something to prove.”
“We have a lot of prominent supporters here in Connecticut,” Purrier added. “There are a lot of great musicians from Connecticut, such as Apathy, who is headlining tonight. There are a lot of great places to skate in Connecticut and there is a lot of great music and art that comes out of Connecticut. Though we aren’t stuck on this notion, it is definitely something we want to showcase in our work.”
When asked about the future of the company, Aloma said, “It’s hard to tell. People are starting to notice us more. The sky’s the limit.”
Added Purrier: “We just want to stay creative, keep doing what we’re doing. If people want to work with us and collaborate, we’re open to it but” we don’t want it to water down our brand.”
Country stars Rodney Atkins and his wife, Rose Falcon, showed off accessories by Jewels For Hope — the Stamford-based company owned by Sandy D’Andrea and her daughter, Stevie — at the Country Music Awards last month.
“This is a big thing for a mother/daughter company from Stamford,” Sandy D’Andrea said in an email.
Atkins and Falcon aren’t the first celebrities to wear Jewels For Hope swag — actors Jennifer Love Hewitt, Chris Tucker, Khandi Alexander and Sarah Rafferty have all worn the mother-daughter team’s hand-crafted bling.
Jewles for Hope donates portions of their profits to local nonprofit organizations, including The Foodbank of Lower Fairfield County, Save the Sound and the Alzheimer’s Association.
As part of the myriad activities planned for the holiday season, many communities throughout New Haven and Fairfield counties are hosting holiday strolls, complete with visits by Santa, opportunities to shop, performances by carolers, rides aboard horse-drawn carriages and other festive attractions. Here they are:
Wilton – The Wilton Holiday Stroll and visit with Santa, will be at the Wilton Center (Old Ridgefield Road) on Friday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Santa arrives early at the gazebo, kicking off a night of shopping and fun activities. Wilton High School band performs.
Seymour – There will be a night of holiday cheer in Seymour on Saturday, complete with carolers, shopping and a tree lighting at the corners of Bank and Wakeley. The American Legion band will perform some holiday classics, too. Santa arrives by train at 7 p.m.; the whole event runs 6 to 8 p.m.
New Canaan – This town’s Holiday Stroll is set for Friday and Saturday, featuring live entertainment, late store hours and a visit by Santa, in addition to a gingerbread house tour. You can see the full schedule of events here.
Milford – The 12th annual Lamplight Stroll will be celebrated on the Green on Friday night, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Look for horse-drawn carriages, carolers and a visit by Mrs. Santa. The shops also are open and customers can collect stamps on their passport.
Ridgefield – The Ridgefield Holiday Stroll will get under way along Main Street (316 Main St. to Prospect Street) on Friday and Saturday, as well. There will be horse and carriage rides, carolers and shopping opportunities. You can get all the details and hours here.
Darien - On Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m the Grove Street Plaza will be hopping with rides, visits from the Grinch, live music, readings and a visit by Santa. You can get all the information here.
Greenwich – This Holiday Stroll will take place on and around Greenwich Avenue in downtown Greenwich. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit with reindeer, take a ride in a carriage, listen to some holiday tunes and watch for ice sculpture demonstrations. Free parking on Saturday.
Fairfield – Fairfield’s first Holiday Shop and Stroll is set for Dec. 12 with plenty of shops participating, musical groups performing and specials abounding.
Westport – The Westport Downtown Merchants Association will offer horse and buggy rides throughout downtown Westport on Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. Strolling carolers, refreshments and multiple visits by Santa expected. Activities run mostly from 12 to 3 p.m. on Main Street, Westport.