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Collinsville Film Festival Offers Thought-Provoking Titles, Fun Features and Personal Interaction

K00A0464By John Fitts 

For Collinsville Film Festival founder Jonathan Napolitano, the village is the perfect place to showcase a series of thought-provoking flicks that are filled with heartfelt emotion, a few sobering thoughts, plenty of fun, a bit of elation — and a few characters.

“What better town than Collinsville?” said Napolitano, the event’s founder and executive director. “There’s an energy in this town and the festival feeds off that. It’s a very artsy and character-based town. It’s great because there’s a little something of everything and that’s what we try to offer with the film festival.”

Set to take place in the Canton Town Hall Auditorium (4 Market St., Collinsville) from Friday April 1 to Sunday, April 3, 2016, the third Collinsville Film Festival features 14 independent features and shorts with subjects that include the mental health crisis facing young veterans, a 90-year-old who writes and directs socially impactful community theater productions, a professor who rescues an animal and is compelled to champion legislative change, and the devastating effects a wrongful accusation can have in the age of social media.

And just for good measure, films deal with topics such as autism, the various facets of love, identity and culture.

“We try to offer a vast majority of perspectives,” Napolitano said. “I think everyone will find something they love in each and every film.” … Continue Reading

Portraits of Canton: Shelby York Barnhart – Blacksmith, Welder, Business Owner

By John Fitts 

Shelby York Barnhart is a fine artist but don’t expect a priceless piece to hang on the wall.

But if you need a fireplace screen, handrail, boot butter or a badass way to hold and display your wine vessels, she can deliver.

“I’ve always been more into functional art,” said Barnhart, who runs Arc and Hammer and Fat Maverick from her Canton home. “I just loved that you can make something pretty that didn’t just have to be something you stare at – that actually had a purpose.”

… Continue Reading

Collinsville String Band to Play Back-to-Back Shows This Weekend

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE — The Collinsville String Band does play outside of the village but band members have no problem with the fact that many of their shows, including two this coming weekend, take place right here.

“If you’re going to build up a fan base, Collinsville is a great place to do it,” said Steve English, a guitarist and vocalist in the band.

On Friday night, the band returns to the Crown and Hammer. The following night comes its debut at Bridge Street Live, for which the group will share the stage with Switch Factory, a string band from Litchfield County.

“We look forward to playing a venue that has a good sound system and the crowd listens and watches,” said English, a Canton resident. “We hope to make an impression on them that allows us back to open for national acts in the Bluegrass/country/roots music genre.”

In addition to English, Collinsville String Band members include John Turner on bass and vocals, Seth Hagymasi on vocals, guitar and mandolin and Aaron Shaw, on vocals, mandolin and guitar.

The band has also announced that banjo player Dave Connelly, a long-time collaborator with Shaw, will play this weekend’s shows.

… Continue Reading

Canton Resident Wins 5 Arts Connecticut Youth Logo Design Contest

Edgar and Cie Peterson from 5 Arts Connecticut.

Edgar and Cie Peterson from 5 Arts Connecticut.

Submitted Release 

Edgar Schafer, a freshman at CREC’s Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and a Canton resident, recently won the 5 Arts Connecticut Youth Logo Design Contest. His winning design will become the 5 Arts Connecticut official logo and will be prominently featured in promotional materials.

Images of Canton: Bridge Street Live Kicks off 2016 Season

Bridge Street Live kicked off its seventh season last Saturday night with a special St. Patrick’s themed edition of its New York vs. Boston comedy series, a show headlined by Tom Briscoe and Sean Lynch. Comedians Mark Riccadonna and Dr. Jay Sutay, the stand up Pediatrician, also entertained.

The Tipperary Knights, a popular Irish band, opened the evening.

This week, the venue kicks off its Homegrown Thursday series with Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans. On Saturday, it’s a night of string band music with Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band. Tickets for both shows start at just $10.

The venue is located at 41 Bridge Street in Collinsville. See more details and a full schedule at http://www.41bridgestreet.com/calendar/index.php?id=573

The Sebastians Come to Collinsville on April 10

The Sebastians Contributed Photo

The Sebastians
Contributed Photo

Submitted Release

COLLINSVILLE, Conn. — The Sebastians, a dynamic ensemble specializing in Baroque and classical music, will perform “Over the Alps” on Sunday, April 10, at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Collinsville. The concert is part of the Shepherd Music Series sponsored by the Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Arts Fund.

The Baroque style of art, music and architecture flourished in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, due to the formidable barrier of the Alps that separated Italy from the Austro-German regions to the north, communications, travel and cultural exchanges between the countries on either side were limited.

… Continue Reading

The Underground Gallery to Host First 2016 ‘Meet the Artist’ Reception on Friday Night

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. Photo by John Fitts

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. 
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE – For the owners of The Underground Gallery, featuring Connecticut-based artists is a way to showcase local talent, bring in visitors and foster artistic ventures.

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 18, the gallery hosts the first of its 2016 “Meet the Artist” receptions with Jessica Fallis, a Southington painter who loves to “explore nuances of water and reflections, along with the fragmentations and abstractions that occur in the natural world.”

The gallery, which opened in July of 2014, has stayed true to its original mission.

“We want this to be an opportunity for Connecticut artists to showcase their work,” said gallery manager Lisa Sharp.

The Underground Gallery features three distinct exhibit areas. Artists will display for three weeks on a rotating basis, with an opening each Friday night.

… Continue Reading

Bridge Street Live Looks to Strengthen Community Ties, Broaden its Audience

Royal Southern Brotherhood plays at Bridge Street Live in March of 2015. Photo by John Fitts

Royal Southern Brotherhood played Bridge Street Live in March of 2015.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — While Bridge Street Live will continue to showcase national acts during its seventh season, the venue is also looking to strengthen community ties, broaden its audience and add some new features for 2016.

One of those aspects will be Homegrown Thursdays, select evenings that will showcase regional and local musicians. While the venue has featured some local acts in the past, Bridge Street really wants to develop deeper community connections and showcase talent in its back yard, said Rebecca Castellani, director of marketing and public relations for the venue.

“We have such talent in the area,” she said. “There’s no reason we can’t integrate that more into Bridge Street.”

Shows in that series include a March 24 date with Hartford area musician Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans.

While it’s not a Thursday, the general theme continues on March 26 with two area string bands – Litchfield County based Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band, a locally based band with members from several area towns, including Canton, Avon, and Torrington.

On Thursday April 7, Collinsville singer-songwriter Krista Johnson will open for French-American singer Francesca Blanchard.

Another great thing about the homegrown series is the ticket prices, which generally run $10 and $15, Castellani said. She hopes that is more accessible to those who can’t afford a higher ticket price.

“We’re trying to encourage a wider demographic to attend and listen to music,” Castellani said. … Continue Reading

Canton High School to Present ‘Damn Yankees’ this Weekend

While teaching at Canton High School, Terri Schulman choreographed a production of “Damn Yankees.”

That was circa 1999 and now she is once again involved in a production of the musical comedy, which takes place at Canton High School this weekend.

“It’s kind of neat to be back and directing it,” Schulman said. “I’m really excited about that.”

Approximately 60 students are involved in the production, which has been in the works since December.

The musical comedy, set in the 1950s, is about a Washington Senators baseball fan, Joe Boyd, who would do nearly anything – even sell his soul – if the team could just beat those “Damn Yankees.” He gets that chance but finds out that talent, fame and fortune might not be worth the price of leaving his life behind.

“It’s just an upbeat, fun, kind of show to do,” said Schulman, who added that the production is truly a team effort.

Performances take place at 7 p.m. on Friday March 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. Advance tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $12 for adults via http://cantondamnyankees.bpt.me. Door prices are $10 and $14. The show takes place at Canton High School, 76 Simonds Ave., Canton, CT.

See full-screen photos or order prints or downloads at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/Damn-Yankees-at-CHS/

Portraits of Canton: André Balazs

These days, André Balazs’ musical excursions are generally solo. On Saturday night, however, the New Hampshire resident brings the Bipolar Jukebox experience to the band’s old stomping grounds — the Crown and Hammer Pub in Collinsville.

“I love playing with the guys. They’re really exceptional – Dennis Fancher on guitar and Charlie Dye on drums – just really, really, really killer musicians,” he said. “Almost all the other gigs I do are solo, so it’s kind of a blast to play with the band . . .  It just raises your game as a player.”

Saturday is a homecoming of sorts for the Farmington native, who also lived in Collinsville for several years.

“I haven’t been floored by the quality of players that I’ve met up in New Hampshire yet,” he said. “Definitely you appreciate how lucky we are in Connecticut. I took for granted just having monsters around. I didn’t have to travel very far to get humbled or to learn a few moves.”

“It’s also a home crowd,” Balazs added. “The requests are for originals, which is kind of a neat thing. You take that for granted when you go to a new place like New Hampshire. Slowly it’s happening, but it takes time.”

Balazs also plays at La Trattoria in Canton every Thursday night from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The gig at ‘The Crown,” 3 Depot St., Collinsville, starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016.



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