Events & Programs

2014: A Rich Selection of Activities for Young and Old and In Between

Mark Twain loved a good circus, and so do we. So we are proud to present a rich array of events that range from the "Trouble Begins at 5:30" lecture series, to the "Tapping into Twain" Oktoberfest, to the many family activities such as Tom Sawyer Day and the Ice Cream Social, to our spooky Graveyard Shift ghost tours, to our Mark My Words event and other appearances by major authors – and much, much more. So have a look through the year ahead by clicking on the tabs below.

Oct

October


Nook Farm Book Talk: "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire

Wednesday, October 1, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Twain Museum Center

To tie in with our "Mark My Words 2014: A Wicked Cool Evening" event, we're presenting "Wicked" as the Nook Farm Book Talk for October.

And this is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn't nearly as Wicked as we imagined.

The is a free event, but registration is recommended. Please call 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Writing Fiction: A Course with Susan Schoenberger

Wednesday, October 1, through November 12, 2014, Wednesdays from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm,

Writing fiction is like constructing a house, and if you don't know your torque wrench from your circular saw, it's likely to fall down. This hands-on six-week class will examine the tools necessary to build a great short story, novella or novel, from point of view to character development to story arc. We'll also have time to share works in progress for constructive feedback and to talk about the wide variety of publishing options available today.

Susan Schoenberger is a writer and editor who lives in West Hartford with her husband and three (almost-grown) children. A Watershed Year, which won the gold medal in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, is her first novel. Her second novel, The Virtues of Oxygen, is due from Lake Union Publishing in July. Her short stories have appeared in Inkwell, Village Rambler, and Bartlebysnopes.com, among others. A longtime journalist, Susan has worked for the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and many other newspapers and online publications. She is now the director of communications at Hartford Seminary.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Writing Political Poetry: A Course with Edwina Trentham

Wednesday, October 1, through November 12, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

What can we, as poets, do to respond to a world of suffering and inequality? As Polish poet Adam Zagajewski says, in his poem published in The New Yorker shortly after 9/11, we must "Try to Praise the Mutilated World."¯ In this intensive workshop we will explore the ways in which we can write poetry that offers what Terrence Des Pres called "praises and dispraises,"¯ both glorying in what is right with the world and drawing attention to what must be changed. We will examine two questions"”"what is political poetry?" and "what makes a good political poem""”exploring the challenge of writing poetry that tries to convey a belief, without sliding into preaching. We will read the work of selected modern and contemporary poets, and we will write and revise at least twelve poems"”including out of class assignments and in-class exercises. We will also give a public reading of our work at the end of the course.

Edwina Trentham is Professor Emerita of English at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, where she was the founder and editor of the poetry journal, Freshwater. She was also a Visiting Instructor in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Wesleyan University from 1988 through 2005. She has been a fellow at Yaddo and her work is included in a number of magazines and anthologies. She has given readings and workshops throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Her first book, Stumbling into the Light, was published by Antrim House in 2004, and she was a featured reader at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in June 2005. She won a 2010 Solo Writers Fellowship awarded by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and her chapbook, Still On This Earth, written with the Solo Fellowship's support, won honorable mention in the 2011 Comstock Review Chapbook Contest. For additional information go to www.antrimhousebooks.com/trentham.html or edwinatrentham.com.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Freelance Writing: A Course with Theresa Sullivan Barger

Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, 6 consecutive Wednesdays

This six-week course is about the business and craft of freelance writing, starting with finding ideas, selecting the right outlet and crafting pitches that sell. We’ll cover query letters, how to become your editors’ go-to writer and how to advance your writing career. We’ll address:  making a living; avoiding slave wages; finding writing work; dealing with rejection – a fact of life for writers; essential tools of the trade; social media for writers; maximizing tax deductions and time-management. We’ll look at the pros and cons of being a specialist vs. a generalist and choosing the path that’s best for you. No matter where you are in your writing career, this class will help you move forward.

Theresa Sullivan Barger, a former staff writer and editor for The Hartford Courant, is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Yankee, The Huffington Post, AARP, The Saturday Evening Post, Center for Public Integrity, Yale Public Health, The Conference Board, CFO, CT Health Investigative Team, AAA Horizons, Hartford Business Journal, Seasons and many others.  A communication consultant, she also writes and edits mission statements, strategic plans, grants, white papers, blogs and website copy. She led a freelance writing workshop in 2013 for The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Sunday Afternoon Writers’ Workshop series.

$265. To register for this course, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Travel Writing: A Course with Mary Sharnick

Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, six consecutive Wednesdays.

Writers in this course will shape travel experiences into discrete, coherent posts, each passage evoking a sense of place.  Focusing on specific and apt details, responding to particular sites and events, and reflecting on the emotive and transformative elements of travel, participants will develop a portfolio of texts suitable for sharing in a variety of virtual  and paper venues.  

Mary Donnarumma Sharnick is the author of THIRST (Fireship Press, 2012) and PLAGUED (Fireship Press, 2014), the first novel in The Michael of Rhodes Series.  A recipient of a Solo Writer's Fellowship from The Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation, Mary has had the opportunity to conduct on-site research in Venice, Italy.  With her husband she leads her writing students on "slow travel" excursions to Italy, the country she considers her second home.  Mary's non-fiction writing has appeared in America, Italian Americana, American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, Southern Humanities Review, among other journals. www.marydonnarummasharnick.com

$265. To register email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Book/Mark: "American Crucifixion" by Alex Beam at Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street

Thursday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.

On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.

At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own “Golden Bible”—the Book of Mormon—he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.

In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.

Mormonism is America’s largest and most enduring native religion, and the “martyrdom” of Joseph Smith is one of its transformational events. Smith’s brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the American West and claim their place in the mainstream of American history. American Crucifixion is a gripping story of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our national identity.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Nonfiction: A Course with Susan Campbell

Thursday, October 2, through November 12, 2014, Thursdays 6 - 8 pm

Our grandmas all told us to tell the truth -- but they didn't say we had to be boring about it. You CAN write non-fiction in an entertaining and enlightening way.

Susan Campbell is an award-winning author of "Dating Jesus," and the biography, "Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker."

She was born in Kentucky and raised in southwest Missouri. She’s worked at newspapers in Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, and Connecticut. For more than a quarter-century, she was a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association.

$265. Buy tickets here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

Writing from Found Texts (Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Writing Class)

Thursday, October 2, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, 4 consecutive Thursdays

From to-do lists to diary entries, from recipes to photographs, from PowerPoint presentations to maps, non-literary texts—or “found texts”—are often central in shaping fiction and creative nonfiction pieces. Found texts, any texts whose original purpose is in some way expanded, built upon, or transformed to take on the new purpose of creating a literary text, are ubiquitous in contemporary prose. In A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan writes a whole chapter as a PowerPoint presentation. Lorrie Moore in many of her pieces adopts the “how to” guide. Douglas Coupland inserts emails, advertising, labels, and other fragments of daily texts into his work. Laura Esquivel uses recipes to frame her novel Like Water for Chocolate. A whole anthology, Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, was published in 2012. In this workshop, we will read these and a number of other writers of fiction and nonfiction who make use of found texts in their work, and we will also explore the potential of using found texts in our own writing projects. We will engage in a series of short writing exercises working with a variety of texts, including advertisements, to-do lists, emails, recipe collections and menus, historical documents, social media texts, timelines, and diaries, examining how such texts can influence both the form and content of our work. At the culmination of the workshop writers will develop their own independent projects based on one or more found texts. 

Yelizaveta P. Renfro is the author of a collection of essays, Xylotheque, available from the University of New Mexico Press, and a collection of short stories, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Witness, Reader’s Digest, Blue Mesa Review, Parcel, Adanna, Fourth River, Bayou Magazine, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska.

To register for this class email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, October 3, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23. 24, 25, and 30 at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for spooky fall chills. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear about these investigations -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

$22 with discounts available for members and children. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

The Perfect Pitch: A Workshop in Publicity for Writers

Saturday, October 4, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Writing your book was the easy part. Now the REAL work begins.  Selling it!

Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a publisher paying the freight, there will be no one better than you to promote it. In today’s changing publishing landscape, the author goes from writer to salesperson just as soon as the books come back from the printer. It’s expected that you will do much of the heavy lifting (not the boxes, silly. The publicity.) It’s the new normal. And that’s a good thing, because no one wants your book to succeed more than you. With a little direction, you can do a better job than they ever could telling your story.

In the words of instructor Mike Morin:

I will get you up to speed on how to engage radio and TV broadcasters and get them excited about interviewing you and giving you free advertising that you could never afford to buy.

Not only am I an author but I have been a radio and TV host for over 40 years. I’m one of the few people who can work both sides of the process. I am approached to interview guests AND I have asked to be interviewed on my own behalf. I know the secrets of both parts of this equation. It’s not rocket science. But I can share some inside knowledge if you’re willing to be persistent. I am a career broadcaster who’s worked in New York City, Boston and New Hampshire. My book is Fifty Shades of Radio – True Stories of a Morning Radio Guy Being Wired, Tired and Fired. I’m also a humor columnist, magazine writer and have been published in the Boston Globe and Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

$40. To register, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Nook Farm Author Talks: Donald H. Williams Jr. on "Prudence Crandall's Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education"

Tuesday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Prudence Crandall was a schoolteacher who fought to integrate her school in Canterbury, Connecticut, and educate black women in the early nineteenth century. When Crandall accepted a black woman as a student, she unleashed a storm of controversy that catapulted her to national notoriety, and drew the attention of the most significant pro- and anti-slavery activists of the day. The Connecticut state legislature passed its infamous Black Law in an attempt to close down her school.

Arrested and jailed, Crandall's legal legacy had a lasting impact -- Crandall v. State was the first full-throated civil rights case in U.S. history. The arguments by attorneys in Crandall played a role in two of the most fateful Supreme Court decisions, Dred Scott v. Sandford, and the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education.
Donald Williams

In "Prudence Crandall's Legacy", author and lawyer Donald E. Williams Jr. marshals a wealth of detail concerning the life and work of Prudence Crandall, her unique role in the fight for civil rights, and her influence on legal arguments for equality in America.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call  860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Social Media for Writers

Tuesday, October 7, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, four consecutive Tuesdays

In this 4-day class, Caitlin will cover individual platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and more. You'll walk away with a better sense of how each social media platform works, and how they all connect to each other. You'll also walk away with the beginnings of a social media strategy, whether it be for your business or organization, or for your personal branding. The class will cover content calendars, and content creation and curation. Come with your questions, and your laptops!

Caitlin Thayer has been using social media since 2003. She has helped various non-profits and businesses in the Hartford community learn how to use social media effectively to build and support their community. Caitlin was recently named a Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, and has been featured in Hartford Magazine as "Hartford County's Young Achievers" and in an article about Young Entrepreneurs.

$199. To register, call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED! Book/Mark: FINDING OZ with Evan I. Schwartz

Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m.

"Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story" by Evan Schwartz is a groundbreaking new look at an American icon, THE WIZARD OF OZ.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Benjamin Griffin on "A Family Sketch"

Wednesday, October 8, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Griffin, an editor at The Mark Twain Project and Papers in Berkeley, California, will launch A Family Sketch and Other Private Writings, which includes an important first-hand account of life in the Hartford house by Samuel L. Clemens himself, published for the first time. The book also includes "Small Foolishness," Clemens' account of his children's sayings, and an authoritative edition of his daughter Susy’s biography of her father, written when she was a teenager.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is The Mark Twain House & Museum’s free, popular after-work monthly lecture series on Twainian subjects The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation intriguing Twainian lectures since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 

The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant and The Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program. 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

SEANCE 101

Thursday, October 9, 6:30 p.m.

Have you ever wondered if psychic photographs are real? What famous Spiritualist produced faces of spirit on film? How did the Victorian conduct their sƩances?

Author and medium, Elaine Kuzmeskus answers these questions as she explores the fascinating world of physical mediumship and Victorian Seances. Learn more about rare but real physical phenomena, as well as valuable information on: Seances around Victorian Hartford; Connecticut medium who levitated; How to contact spirit through table tipping; Spirit photographs; Electronic voice phenomena; Plus readings for selected members of the audience

Elaine Kuzmeskus, MS is a nationally recognized Spiritualist medium who is Director of the New England School of Metaphysics in Suffield, CT. She is also the author of three books on mediumship: Connecticut Ghosts, Seance 101, and The Making of a Medium. Her latest book, The Art of Mediumship (Schiffer 2012) is a "how to"¯ on developing mediumship. During her career, Elaine Kuzmeskus has conducted the many notable seances including the Official Houdini Seance and was recently featured on the PBS special" Things That Go Bump in the Night."

Tickets are $15. Please call (860)280-3130 or click here.

THE PRIVATE SEANCE - This event is sold out!

Thursday, October 9, 8:30 p.m.

Private Seance in the Mark Twain House: Limited to 12 participants

Have you ever wondered if spirit communication is real? Is physical phenomena is real? Can spirit actually speak through levitated trumpets or make their presence known though materialization ? .

Learn more about rare but real physical phenomena, as well as receive a private message from spirit.

Everyone participating will get a psychic messaging session PLUS the medium will attempt to make contact with former occupants of the Clemens household.

Elaine Kuzmeskus, MS is a nationally recognized Spiritualist medium who is Director of the New England School of Metaphysics in Suffield, CT. She is also the author of three books on mediumship: Connecticut Ghosts, Seance 101, and The Making of a Medium. Her latest book, The Art of Mediumship (Schiffer 2012) is a "how to"¯ on developing mediumship. During her career, Elaine Kuzmeskus has conducted the many notable seances including the Official Houdini Seance and was recently featured on the PBS special "Things That Go Bump in the Night."

Tickets are $75, and limited to 12 only. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

CASHETTA is “THE RARE MEDIUM - WELL DONE”

Friday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.

Spiritualism doesn’t have to be a drag, but it will be when drag superstar Cashetta unveils her side-splitting, magical and mysterious show featuring the tricks and trappings of mediums everywhere!  Will she conduct a silly séance?  Will she make spirits materialize and disappear (faster than the spirits in her cocktail glass)?   A thrilling evening of paranormal experiments!

Tickets are $25 / $20 for MTH&M Members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Exhibition Opening and Reception for 'SPIRITUALISM, SEANCES & SAM'

Friday, October 10, 5:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum will be opening a new exhibition, "Spiritualism, Seances & Sam." The exhibition will examine the Victorian era's fascination with spiritualism and, in particular, the relevant beliefs and experiences of Samuel Clemens ("Mark Twain").

A free opening reception will be held that evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

This is a free event.

Dialogue Workshop with Dan Pope

Saturday, October 11, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This workshop will discuss the uses and techniques of dialogue in fiction, including examinations of samples from published work and exerciss to be conducted in class.  It will include a long list of dos and don'ts, which should really make your dialogue sparkle. (Example:  how to avoid small talk!)  Although we will discuss dialogue in fiction, the principles can be equally helpful to writers of memoir and creative non-fiction.

Dan Pope is the author of the novels In the Cherry Tree (Picador, 2003) and Housebreaking (Simon & Schuster, 2015).  His short stories have been published in Crazyhorse, Iowa Review, McSweeney's, Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and many other magazines. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where he attended on a Truman Capote Fellowship and was awarded the Glenn Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

Writing an Op-Ed with Hugh Ryan

Saturday, October 11, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The oped section is often one of the easiest places for new writers to break into a publication, because it relies on personal experience and opinion. Newspapers, websites, and magazines often look for oped pieces from non-staffers that relate to the current events of the day, or evergreen pieces pinned to holidays, changing seasons, yearly events, etc.. In this workshop, we'll talk about what makes a good topic for an oped, how to write one, and how to sell one.


Hugh Ryan is a freelance writer and the Founding Director of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. His opeds have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, The Daily Beast, and many other venues. He is also a young adult writer represented by Meredith Kaffel at DeFiore & Co.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

BOOK/MARK: "Picture the Dead" with Lisa Brown

Tuesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m.

Join Lisa Brown who will discuss her book "Picture the Dead". This book is aimed at the young-adult audience, but adults will find much to like too.

Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiance falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past.

When Jennie forms an unlikely alliance with a spirit photographer, she begins to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved. With her sanity on edge and her life in the balance, can Jennie expose the chilling truth before someone-or something-stops her?

Against the brutal, vivid backdrop of the American Civil War, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted and death is not always the end.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BELLE Film Screening and Talk-Back at the Wadsworth Atheneum

Thursday, October 16, 6:30 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. introduction of film

Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of British Admiral John Lindsay and an enslaved woman. Sent to live with her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield, she is treated "almost" as one of the family, becoming good friends with her cousin Lady Elizabeth, and enduring the initial discontent of Lady Mansfield. Belle, together with an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.


Film to be followed by a moderated discussion.

2013. UK. 104 min. Rated PG
Directed by Amma Asante. Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson.

Presented in collaberation with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Amistad Foundation, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

 

Admission: $9; $8 for seniors and students with ID.; $7 for members. Purchase tickets online at TheWadsworth.org or call (860) 838-4100 Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

A Look at Modern Witchcraft with Miss Faith, Founder of Enchantments Center for the Magickal Arts and Witch Shoppe

Friday, October 17, 7:00 p.m.

We’ve all got a little magic in us! Join us as we welcome Miss Faith for a bewitching evening on the history of witchcraft and its current state in our world today.  You’ll also learn some of the tricks of the trade from a witch who runs her very own school!

$15. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: A Conversation with Colm Toibin about "Nora Webster"

Saturday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.

From one of contemporary literature’s bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, comes a magnificent new novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope.

Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Toibin’s superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven-herself.

Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, “beautiful and daring” (The New York Times Book Review) and able to “sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations” (USA TODAY). 

Colm Toibin is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet. Toibin is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester. He was hailed as a champion of minorities as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award. In 2011, he was named one of Britain's Top 300 Intellectuals by The Observer.  He is the author of numerous novels including The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, The Master, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Intro to Self-Publishing

Monday, October 20, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, four consecutive Mondays

Tired of waiting—waiting to hear from agents, editors, and publishers—as you jump through hoops hoping to get your work traditionally published?  An exciting new alternative is to dive in and publish yourself.  This course will take you through the steps for putting your writing out there NOW.  We’ll talk about editing, formatting, and choosing a cover, and conclude by actually pushing the button and publishing your story on Amazon. Ideally, participants will have a short story, novel, or other work ready to go.  If not, you can simply publish a “test book” to learn how.

Patrice Fitzgerald is a best-selling indie author, publisher, and attorney.  She began self-publishing on Independence Day in 2011.  Her ebooks and those of authors she publishes have reached the top 100 out of the millions of books sold by Amazon.

$199. To register, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Mark My Words 2014: A WICKED Cool Evening!

Tuesday, October 21, 8:00 p.m.

A WICKED Cool Evening!

With GREGORY MAGUIRE, author of Wicked – The Novel

And STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, composer and lyricist of Wicked – The Musical

Moderated by  The Hartford Courant’s by Frank Rizzo

The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford

With a story that has become as popular as the original, Wicked has been captivating readers and Broadway fans for almost two decades. Gregory Maguire’s revisionist look into L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, was adapted as a musical by Stephen Schwartz, and as they say, the rest is history. Join us at The Bushnell as we make history by bringing these two wizards of words and music to Connecticut! This is a special opportunity for all Wicked fans, whether you’re green, covered in blue tattoos, or spend your time in a lot of pink.

Sponsored by The Hartford, New Haven Register, Wish You Well Foundation, Hoffman Auto Group, Dattco, Foresite/Progress, Putnam Publishing Group, The Study Hotel, Hachette Book Group.

Additional Support by Nelson DeMille, Bauman Rare Books, Candlewick Press, and R.J. Julia Booksellers.

TICKETS & INFO:  TwainMarkMyWords.com or call (860) 987-5900

"The Logbooks: Connecticut's Slave Ships and Human Memory" with Anne Farrow

Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m.

Journalist and author Anne Farrow will present her just-published book The Logbooks: Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory (Wesleyan University Press) in a special free event co-sponsored by The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center on Wednesday, October 22, at 7:00 p.m. at the Stowe Center.

The Logbooks follows the forgotten, disturbing and fascinating tale of the state’s role in the slave trade by examining brittle, 19th-century logbooks that have long lain neglected in archives.  But Farrow has done more than provide this major historical investigation, which in itself would be an achievement. She links the fact that the story was forgotten to an exploration of human and collective memory in America. She also evokes a personal trial -- her and her family’s efforts to cope with her mother’s advancing dementia.

 Farrow’s graceful and incisive writing was a major feature of The Hartford Courant’s Northeast magazine for many years, and she served as a prime instigator and co-author of Complicity: How the North Promoted, , Prolonged and Profited from Slavery (2005). This bestselling work explored the little-known role of New England in supporting the institution of slavery, despite the record of nurturing the abolitionist cause that local historians prefer to emphasize.

In The Logbooks, Farrow recounts how the discovery of these documents led her on an odyssey that followed an affluent Connecticut slave trader and his son on a 1757 voyage from New London to Bence, a tiny island off the coast of Sierra Leone in Africa, and then on two subsequent voyages. Her research took her to Bence, where she found in her African hosts an entirely different view of their history. Her eye for detail gives the work a novelist’s flair. Her linking of history to personal narrative and meditation is seamless.

“Anne Farrow’s book is courageous, captivating, and necessary,” says Olivia S. White, Executive Director of The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. “Once again, Farrow has demonstrated that she is a masterful historian, educator, and storyteller, guiding readers through yesterday’s hard truths and making connections to today.”

Steve Courtney, a local historian and author who worked with Farrow in some of the early stages of her slavery projects, will moderate.

 

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at Info@StoweCenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Book/Mark: PENGUIN BOOK OF WITCHES with Katherine Howe

Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.

Katherine Howe will discuss her new brand book "The Penguin Book of Witches", which includes chilling real-life accounts of witches, from medieval Europe through colonial America.

From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, "The Penguin Book of Witches" is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends.

Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft, never failing to horrify, intrigue, and delight.

This is a free event, but reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Noam Chomsky

Friday, October 24, 7:00 p.m., Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street (directly across the street from the Twain House)

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll.

Tickets are $30/$25 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Tom Sawyer's Trick or Treat

Saturday, October 25, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Bring the family for an afternoon of Halloween fun as we host the inaugural Tom Sawyer’s Tricks & Treats. Be amazed by magic tricks! Have a laugh with author Artie Bennett, author of Belches & Burps & Farts, Oh My!, Poopendous and The Butt Book! Enjoy a spooky performance by the Mark Twain Players! Join us for this exciting family event.  Costumes encouraged for trick or treating at Mark Twain’s house, too!

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 16 and under. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Capital Classic’s performance of DRACULA

Tuesday, October 28, and Wednesday, October 29 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. each evening.

Get a little batty in the creepy basement of The Mark Twain House with this radio theatre performance of Bram Stoker’s blood-sucking Dracula!  Watch as the performers and a sound effect specialist put on a show made for radio right in front of your eyes (while covering your neck).

Note that the Wednesday, October 29th 7 p.m. performance of DRACULA will be ASL interpreted for the deaf community.

 

Tickets - $20 / $15 for MTH&M Members. 

Call (860) 280-3130 for tickets or click here.

Nov

November


POSTPONED! "Eugene O'Neill - A Life in 4 Acts" with author Robert Dowling

Tuesday, November 4, 7:00 p.m.

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Nook Farm Book Talk - 'The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial' with Susan Eaton

Wednesday, November 5, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

With our nation's urban schools growing more segregated every year, Susan Eaton set out to see whether separate can ever really be equal. An award-winning journalist, Eaton spent four years at Simpson-Waverly Elementary School, an all-minority school in Hartford, Connecticut. Located in the poorest city in the wealthiest state in the nation, it is a glaring example of the great racial and economic divide found in almost every major urban center across the country.

The Children in Room E4 is the compelling story of one student, one classroom, and one indomitable teacher, Ms. Luddy. In the midst of Band-Aid reforms and hotshot superintendents with empty promises, drug dealers and street gangs, Ms. Luddy's star student, Jeremy, and his fellow classmates face tremendous challenges both inside and outside of a school cut off from mainstream America.

Meanwhile, across town, a team of civil rights lawyers fight an intrepid battle to end the de facto segregation that beleaguers Jeremy's school and hundreds of others across America.

From inside the classroom and the courtroom, Eaton reveals the unsettling truths about an education system that leaves millions of children behind and gives voice to those who strive against overwhelming odds for a better future.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

An Evening with ANNE RICE & CHRISTOPHER RICE

Wednesday, November 5, 7:00 p.m. at the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford.

A hair-raising visit with gothic novelist Anne Rice and her son Christopher Rice, a New York Times-bestselling author in his own right. We celebrate Anne's return to the scene of her greatest success, Interview with a Vampire, with her new novel Prince Lestat. Christopher will also tell us about his new paranormal thriller, The Vines, set in the familiar gothic playground of their family's hometown, New Orleans. Of course, we hope to learn more than a little about their shared bond as writers and family.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

Series sponsored by The Hartford.

 

Tickets:  $35 / $30 for MTH&M Members and Hartford Stage subscribers. 
To order, call (860) 527-5151 or visit HartfordStage.org. A $1.50 facility fee and a $5.00 handling fee wil be added.

BOOK/MARK: Leading Twain Scholar Kent Rasmussen on new editions for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.

Never having been out of print, one would think that new editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would not be much of a reason to celebrate However, when R. Kent Rasmussen, Twain scholar extraordinaire, pens insightful new introductions to these two classics, we sit up and take notice!  Join for an evening exploring the best of American literature.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

 

FREE Book/Mark Event. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, November 7, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs"¯ and "Downton Abbey"¯ will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and care for the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum 2014 Gala!

Saturday, November 8, 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM

The Hartford Club, 46 Prospect St., Hartford

Step right up and join us for The Mark Twain House & Museum Gala 2014 "“ "The Greatest Gala on Earth"¦An Evening of Sideshows, Spirits, and Sam."¯

The evening will showcase one of the most sensational and extravagant forms of entertainment in the late 19th century: the Circus! Mark Twain often wrote of his intrigue with the Big Top and skepticism of the "greatest show on earth,"¯ especially the sideshows complete with mystics, palm readers, and soothsayers. The circus flourished during the age of Spiritualism, a movement that Sam found just as dubious.

Your admission to the three-ring extravaganza includes spirits and elixirs, a fabulous banquet, unique silent auction luxuries for sale, and spectacular entertainment with never-before-seen marvels in the center.

Sponsors as of 7/30:

BlumShapiro

Deloitte & Touche LLP

Dornenburg / Kallenbach Advertising

Fairview Capital Partners, Inc.

The Hartford

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company

MassMutual Financial Group

Purdue Pharma L.P.

Robinson & Cole LLP

Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Voya Financial™, inspired by ING

Tickets are $225 for purchases before October 17; $250 after that date.

For more information, please contact Sarah Hawkes at sarah.hawkes@marktwainhouse.org, 860.280.3112

Songwriting with Donna Martin: A Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop

Saturday, November 8, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Although there are many components to songwriting, the focus of this class will be on lyric writing. We will cover meter and form, rhyme schemes, strong starts and development techniques. Skills of clarity, the use of imagery and metaphor will also be included. It will be helpful if students come prepared with several ideas about what they'd like to write about. There will be time to create a lyric and then share it in a caring workshop setting to explore how the work can be further developed. Students will need to bring their own writing materials.

Donna Martin is a performing songwriter who has been touring the Northeast for over two decades and has recorded six cds of original music. She has appeared on stage with many luminaries including Bonnie Raitt, Sarah McLachlan and Charlie Daniels. She receives radio airplay from coast to coast and abroad and her work recently earned her a three month artist residency with the Helen Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She has also served on the faculty at the Greater Hartford Academy of The Arts for the last fourteen years where she taught songwriting.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! Book Launch - "Finding Dad: From "Love Child

Tuesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m., preceded by a 6:30 p.m. reception

Kara Hewes had never seen her father, Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun, until one transformational moment when she awoke in the middle of the night as a TV news anchor announced his candidacy. One look at his picture and she knew she needed to find him.

Her letters and phone calls went unanswered, so at seventeen, Kara hired a lawyer and announced her paternity suit before a packed press conference. In the middle of the media frenzy, Governor Sundlun did the unexpected and invited Kara to come live with him so he could get to know her better.

Kara knew that in order to move forward with her father, she had to make the choice to forgive the past. It was her unconditional love that broke down the barriers separating father and daughter.

Kara Sundlun is an Emmy Award–winning television journalist. She anchors the news for WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Connecticut, and hosts two shows—the popular daytime talk show Better Connecticut and Kara's Cures, a guide to health and spirituality. Kara is also a contributor for theHuffington Post. She was named "Best Reporter" by Hartford Magazine and "Top 40 under 40" fromHartford Business Journal and Connecticut Magazine. She and her husband, fellow news anchor Dennis House, live in Hartford, Connecticut, with their two children.

The event will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. reception.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are required. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: David E. E. Sloane, "Reflections on Mark Twain and Thomas Edison as American Cultural Icons"

Wednesday, November 12, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

David Edward Edison Sloane, professor of English at the University of New Haven, is a Connecticut treasure: an internationally recognized Mark Twain scholar who was recently named the first Legacy Scholar by The Mark Twain Journal. He is author of Mark Twain as Literary Comedian, Huckleberry Finn: American Comic Vision and other works -- and is the great-grandson of Thomas A. Edison. 

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is The Mark Twain House & Museum’s free, popular after-work monthly lecture series on Twainian subjects The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation intriguing Twainian lectures since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 

The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant and The Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program. 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Book/Mark: "Tinseltown" with William Mann

Thursday, November 13, 7:00 p.m.

William Mann is the author of "Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood ". He's previously written Hollywood biographies including Barbara Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn.

"The Day of the Locust" meets "The Devil in the White City" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry.

By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime, and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood's glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies"”including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him"”including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime"”a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate.

A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers"”and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, November 14, 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for spooky fall fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear about these investigations -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

$22 with discounts available for members and children. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

THE CONNECTICUT POETRY FESTIVAL sponsored by Riverwood Poetry Series

Saturday, November 15, Workshops from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. High Performance Poetry from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The Riverwood Poetry Series, Inc. is a non-profit arts organization committed to the promotion and appreciation of entertaining and thought-provoking poetry in Connecticut.   Our monthly spoken word series takes place at the historic Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford from September through May.    The Connecticut Poetry Festival is held biennially.

11/15/2014, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. “Write Away,” an afternoon of four 50 minute poetry-writing workshops led by Yvon Cormier, Donna Marie Merritt, Lisa C. Taylor, and Elizabeth Thomas.

11/15/2014, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. “High-Performance Poetry,” featuring the electrifying Patricia Smith and Connecticut’s own Elizabeth Thomas.  Suggested donation $10.

For more information go to http://riverwoodpoetry.org/ct-poetry-festival/

Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Sunday, November 16, 8:30 am to 11:00 am

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." "“ Mark Twain

Sometimes, what we need to write our great novel, or even just a good page, is just a little peace and quiet. Throw in some inspiration from Hartford's favorite author and we'd call that a successful morning. That's why we're introducing a new series called "Writing in Mark Twain's Library."¯ Sign up for a Sunday morning writing session in the Clemens family home: you and a maximum of fifteen other people will have the house to yourselves. Feel inspired by the beautiful sounds of the fountain in the family conservatory; rest your eyes upon Twain's bookshelves as you ponder your next word. You'll spend three hours of quiet in the historic library of our very own Sam Clemens. No doubt you'll begin your own masterpiece.

$50 for two and a half quiet hours in Twain's library. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. (860) 280-3130.

Nook Farm Author Talk: "Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights" by Katha Pollitt

Wednesday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Musuem and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center present authors on works that may be considered controversial, in the spirit of fostering open and civil dialogue.

Katha Pollitt is a longtime columnist for The Nation.

Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, “abortion” is still a word that is said with outright hostility by many, despite the fact that one in three American women will have terminated at least one pregnancy by menopause. Even those who support a woman’s right to an abortion often qualify their support by saying abortion is a “bad thing,” an “agonizing decision,” making the medical procedure so remote and radioactive that it takes it out of the world of the everyday, turning an act that is normal and necessary into something shameful and secretive. Meanwhile, with each passing day, the rights upheld by the Supreme Court are being systematically eroded by state laws designed to end abortion outright.

In this urgent, controversial book, Katha Pollitt reframes abortion as a common part of a woman’s reproductive life, one that should be accepted as a moral right with positive social implications. In Pro, Pollitt takes on the personhood argument, andreaffirms the priority of a woman’s life and health. It is time, Pollitt argues, that we reclaim the lives and the rights of women and mothers.

Nook Farm Author Talks are presented in partnership with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED! "An Evening with Nell Bernstein - Burning Down The House"

Thursday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.; light supper reception at 5:30 p.m.

THIS EVENT WILL BE RESCHEDULED TO A FUTURE DATE! One in three American school children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three. Many of these youth will spend time in detention centers that do not incorporate everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a candid examination of the American juvenile justice system, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child.  Join Bernstein and WNPR’s John Dankosky for a conversation that explores this controversial issue and discusses alternative community programs that support the child and their family.

Sponsored with Community Partners in Action, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance & the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

 

Tickets are $20 which includes a light supper reception from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf: "I Quit!"

Friday, November 21, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about quitting---your job, a relationship, smoking, and more.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Special guest will be Joey DeFrancesco, a Providence, RI hotel worker fed up with poor working conditions who quit his job on video with the help of his brass band, the What Cheer? Brigade.  Less than a week later, the video had over 1 million hits on YouTube and had been watched all over the world. In the United States, it was featured on popular news sites like the Huffington Post, AOL.com, and Yahoo.com, and on major news networks including ABC, NBC, FoxNews, and CNN.


Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Julia Pistell and Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS CAROL - The Holiday Ghost Tour of The Mark Twain House; Celebrating Hartford Stage’s "A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas"

Friday, November 21, and Saturday, November 22; tours from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Hartford’s most popular ghost tour joins with the city’s #1 holiday spectacular for a very special and spooky experience!  Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is, at heart, a ghost story.  Michael Wilson’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol features a dizzying array of the undead that will augment The Mark Twain House’s Graveyard Shift Ghost Tour with a sinister holiday twist.  Dickens, Twain and Christmas – the perfect combination for some surprising winter chills!

Tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions, Greater Hartford Arts Council, and Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism.

 

$22; $17 for MTH&M members and Hartford Stage Subscribers.

Reservations required:  Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum Offers Free Admission to Hartford Residents, Courtesy of The Hartford

Saturday, November 22, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Thanks to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., we are offering free tours to our valued neighbors -- the residents of the city of Hartford -- on two days: Saturday, November 22 (the house will be decorated for the holidays), and Monday, January 19 (the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday).

Bring along proof of residency, and take that long-planned tour of Mark Twain's House! The House and museum are open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; the last tour is at 4:30 p.m..

Free for Hartford residents!

New England Premier Screening of "Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey"

Sunday, November 30, 2:00 p.m. at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street, Hartford

On Mark Twain's birthday, come out to Real Art Ways for the New England Premier of the new documentary "Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey."

**POST-FILM DISCUSSION**
Director Scott Teems will join us after the film, in conversation with Dr. Cindy Lovell, Executive Director of The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Celebrated actor Hal Holbrook has carved out a prolific career in film, television and theater, but one role, which he has played since 1954, has become indelibly associated with him: Mark Twain.

For 60 years, Holbrook has been touring with his award-winning one-man show, "Mark Twain Tonight!," in which he portrays the renowned American writer and satirist before sold-out crowds. Doling out Twain's priceless and still relevant morsels of wit and wisdom, Holbrook has performed the show in all 50 states, internationally, on television, Broadway and behind the Iron Curtain.

Filmmaker Scott Teems takes us behind the scenes with Holbrook for an intimate peek at Twain's continuing influence on our culture and the dedicated actor who brings him to life.

Directed by Scott Teems

(In English, 95 minutes)

Presented in partnership with Real Art Ways.

Sponsored by The Saunders Foundation.

 

Admission is $11/$8 for members. For tickets, please visit Real Art Way's website here.

Dec

December


Herstory Theater & The Mark Twain House & Museum present IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A Live Radio Play

Saturday, December 6, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

This event will take place at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT.

George Bailey, Zuzu, Clarence the Angel, and grumpy old Mr. Potter are turning Hartford into Bedford Falls this year! Come relive the story of a man who gets to see what life would have been like if he had never been born. (And there's even a Twain connection--when Clarence is pulled out of the water, he dries off his copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer!)

When the film It's A Wonderful Life was released in 1946, it was not an immediate popular or financial success. However, it's reputation grew over the years, and a clerical error resulting in the loss of its copyright protection resulted in it being shown widely during the Christmas season every year. It has become a phenomenon, and many don't feel that their holiday season is complete without watching it.

Now, there's a very unique opportunity to revisit this wonderful story--in a fun, live radio-show performance, complete with a foley (sound effects) artist! If you liked our "Dracula" program last month, you'll love this!

The play is written by Joe Landry and is directed by Virginia Wolf.

The Connecticut cast and crew include: Bill Arnold of East Windsor, Steve O’Brien and Joe Sacala of Simsbury, Chris Berrien of East Granby, Kathryn Lewis (stage manager) of Wethersfield,  Jomarie Pipolo of West Hartford, Ian Galligan (foley artist) of Meriden, and Virginia Wolf of Farmington.

The performance is 90 minutes, and there is no intermission.

Saturday, December 6 - TWO SHOWS! 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

$10; For tickets: call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 34th Annual Holiday House Tour

Sunday, December 7, 11:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.

This is the famed-in-Connecticut weekend holiday tradition when people flock to the Mark Twain House, and to five distinctive area homes, for The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum Holiday House Tour.

The tour will feature Mark Twain's 19-room home and The Hartford Club, where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was a member

Several historic homes will be opened for viewing for the 34rd year of this event. Each will be decorated for the holidays and will feature live music and floral arrangements. The Twain mansion will be decorated for a 19th-century Christmas with the Samuel Clemens family.

The tour takes about three hours and requires some driving, but all the houses are not far from one another.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration, preservation, and education programs of The Mark Twain House & Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Please visit our dedicated Holiday House Tour website here for complete details about the afternoon.

Our sponsors include:

Viking Oil Company
Hooker & Holcombe, Inc.
Aaron & Sandra Gersten
Pamela Dowling & James Healey, Jr.
Sponsorship in memory of Brent Wells
Sponsorship in memory of Fran Gordon, First President of the Friends

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum is a volunteer organization that has supported the museum for more than 50 years. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration, preservation, and education programs of The Mark Twain House & Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Tickets: $30 in advance. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here. Tickets will be $35 each on the day of the tour, Sunday, December 7, and can be purchased at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Tickets purchased after 12/1 should be picked up at The Mark Twain Museum Center only.

Tickets can also be purchased at:

Bella Flora (Rocky Hill) (860) 563-6633
Crandall and Daughter (South Windsor) (860) 648-0014
Designed to Order (Manchester) (860) 432-9015
De Vars-Phillips Florist & Antiques (Hartford) (860) 523-1235
Emmy Lou's, Ltd. (Glastonbury) (860) 633-9565
Flower Box (Wethersfield) (860) 529-6843
Fringe Hair Works (West Hartford) (860) 236-3746
Gledhill Nursery (West Hartford) (860) 233-5692
Haworth Flower Shop & Greenhouses (Farmington) (860) 677-1684
Horan's Flower Shop (Simsbury) (860) 651-8554
Labrazel Home (West Hartford) (860) 232-6300
Le Petite France (West Hartford) (860) 231-9255
Moscarillo's Garden Shoppe (West Hartford) (860) 236-5487
Nelson Salon and Spa (West Hartford) (860) 570-1400
Riverside Nursery & Garden Center (Canton) (860) 693-2285 

MARK STEYN IN CONVERSATION WITH SCOTT SIMON

Monday, December 8, 7:00 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street, Hartford (just across the street from The Mark Twain House.)

What happens when NPR meets FOX?  Find out when a Canadian Christmas caroling-conservative answers the tough questions from a beloved Public Radio reporter.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human rights activist. That's to say, his most recent book, After America, was a Top Five bestseller in the United States and a Number One bestseller in Canada; and "A Marshmallow World", his Christmas single with Jessica Martin, reached Number Seven on Amazon's easy listening bestsellers, and Number 41 on their main pop chart. His human rights campaign to restore free speech to Canada led to the repeal by Parliament of the notorious "Section 13" law, a battle he recounts in his book Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight Of The West Mark is also a popular guest host of America's Number One radio show The Rush Limbaugh Program, and America's Number Two cable show Hannity. In addition, he appears each week on The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show. In Canada, he can be heard with Toronto's Number One morning man on The John Oakley Show, and seen on Sun News.  Over the years, Mark's writing on politics, arts and culture has been published in almost every major newspaper around the English-speaking world, including Britain's Daily Telegraph, Canada's National PostThe AustralianThe Irish TimesThe Jerusalem PostThe Wall Street Journal, and many more.   Mark's other books include America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller in the United States and a Number One bestseller in Canada; plus A Song For The SeasonMark Steyn's Passing ParadeMark Steyn From Head To Toe and The Face Of The Tiger. His personal view of musical theatre, Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, was published to critical acclaim in London, and to somewhat sniffier notices in New York.

Scott Simon is one of America’s most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.  His radio show, NPR’s "Weekend Edition with Scott Simon," has been called by the Washington Post, “the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial,” and by Brett Martin of Time-Out New York “the most eclectic, intelligent two hours of broadcasting on the airwaves.” Scott has won every major award in broadcasting, including the Peabody, the Emmy, the Columbia-DuPont, the Ohio State Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. He received the Presidential End Hunger Award for his coverage of the Ethiopian civil war and famine, and a special citation from the Peabody Awards for his weekly essays, which were cited as “consistently thoughtful, graceful, and challenging.” He has also received the Barry M. Goldwater Award from the Human Rights Fund. Recently, he was awarded the Studs Terkel Award.

The event will be followed by a book sale and signing.  A discounted price for books by both authors is available by clicking on the ticketing link below.

Parking Information
Immanuel Congregational Church directly faces the Mark Twain House, and it's just a short walk across Farmington Avenue from the Mark Twain House & Museum (there's a crosswalk and pedestrian signal at the intersection of Woodland Street and Farmington Avenue.)

Please park in the Mark Twain House parking lot (400 Farmington Avenue is the GPS for the entrance), and walk along the path west of the Mark Twain House to Farmington Avenue. There will be additional parking on and across Woodland Street from the church. 

VIP Reception at The Mark Twain House Museum Center from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Program at 7:00 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church.

Tickets are  $75 for VIP, $30 general, and $25 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Please call (860) 280-3130.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Elisabeth Petry on "'Can Anything Beat White?' A Black Family's Letters."

Wednesday, December 10, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Author and journalist Elisabeth Petry discovered old letters and photos in a tin ice cream-cone box that recounted the lives of her African American family in Hartford and Old Saybrook from Twain's era until the early 20th century. Her great-great grandfather was coachman to a prominent Hartford businessman and politician, and her great-grandmother collected the Clemens family's autographs -- and remembered seeing Clemens and his butler George Griffin, a family friend, walking down a Hartford street all dressed in white. Petry's book -- Can Anything Beat White? -- recounts her discoveries and her family's saga. 

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is The Mark Twain House & Museum’s free, popular after-work monthly lecture series on Twainian subjects The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation intriguing Twainian lectures since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 

The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant and The Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program. 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Jacqueline Schwab Holiday Concert in the Mark Twain House Drawing Room

Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents Jacqueline Schwab, pianist on the Ken Burns "Mark Twain" documentary, performing an intimate holiday concert in drawing room of The Mark Twain House. 


Seating for this very special event will be extremely limited.  

Sponsored by Falcetti Music.

Tickets are $30 / $25 for Mark Twain House & Museum Members.  For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Marlon James discusses "A Brief History of Seven Killings"

Friday, December 12, 7:00 p.m.

This event is presented in conjunction with the City of Hartford and Real Art Ways.

Author Marlon James will discuss his new novel A Brief History of Seven Killings which has just been published to universal acclaim. 

The New York Times says:

"How to describe Marlon James’s monumental new novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings”?

It’s like a Tarantino remake of “The Harder They Come” but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja. It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.

 “Brief History” uses the story of the 1976 assassination attempt on Marley as a kind of trampoline, bouncing off that terrible event into a multilayered, choral inquiry into Jamaican politics and poverty, into race and class, and into the volatile relationship between the United States and the Caribbean. Spanning several decades, the novel attempts to trace connections between the gang wars in the Kingston ghettos, C.I.A. efforts to destabilize a left-wing Jamaican government in the 1970s and even the crack epidemic in America in the 1980s."

About Marlon James

Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist, who has been teaching English and creative writing at Macalester College since 2007. He is the author of The Book of Night Women (2010), a novel about a slave woman's revolt in a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century. This work won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. His earlier novel, John Crow’s Devil (2005), was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, has just been published. James is a graduate of the University of the West Indies where he earned a degree in Literature (1991). Subsequently, he did his Master's in Creative Writing from Wilkes University (2006).

Followed by a book sale & signing.

 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Christmas CLUE Tours!

Friday, December 12, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? Any why during the holidays??? Play our live-action version of the classic game CLUE in the Mark Twain House. Was it Becky Thatcher with the revolver in the Conservatory? The Prince (or was it the Pauper?) with the knife in the library? This hour long tour features SEA TEA IMPROV as Twain's beloved characters/suspects and all the murder, mayhem and merriment one would expect from Sam Clemens!

Featured on the Travel Channel show "Wackiest Tours!"¯

ONE NIGHT ONLY! Tours step off every 15 minutes. Reservations required.

$22 with discounts available for members and children. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

Editing Boot Camp with Steve Courtney: A Writing Workshop

Saturday, December 13, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The editor is the writers' silent partner, whose work is crucial to getting the message out. Steve Courtney, author and editor of both non-fiction books and magazine pieces, will pass along the basics of the several different kinds of editing that make a narrative clearer and sharper -- and then spruce up details of style to ensure a professional touch to a writer's work. The editor's task can be a delicate one, requiring a mixture of diplomacy and toughness. Toughness is required, above all, to convince writers to delete their own most-loved passages, to "murder your darlings" as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch advised in 1914.

 

Please contact Julia.Pistell@MarkTwainHouse.org.

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Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight": The 90th Birthday Performance

Tuesday, February 17, 7:30 p.m.

One American legend salutes another!  Having first donned Samuel Clemens' infamous white suit in 1954, Hal Holbrook's humorous and affecting portrayal of Mark Twain has charmed audiences for six decades.  The Tony and Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee returns to the city that Twain called home for twenty years to mark an unforgettable occasion -- Mr. Holbrook's 90th birthday! This special event benefits "the loveliest home that ever was," The Mark Twain House.

With the iconic Bushnell Mortensen Hall's striking art-deco interior serving as the backdrop for this unforgettable night, audiences will laugh, learn and be inspired by Hal Holbrook's classic Mark Twain performance.  This exciting event takes place on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Tickets

To make this benefit event as affordable as possible to all Hal Holbrook fans, there is an array of ticket price options. The VIP Package at $125 includes Premium Orchestra Seating, and a private dessert reception after the show with Hal Holbrook.  Orchestra & Box seats are $75, Mezzanine seats are $40-$55, and Balcony seats are $25-$40.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.Bushnell.org or by phone at (860) 987-5900 All proceeds go to the Mark Twain House & Museum and its mission to preserve the home and legacy of Mark Twain.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf

Friday, February 27, 7:30 p.m.

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Julia Pistell and Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice perfomer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00; to reserve, call 860-280-3130. (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.)

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The MOuTH with Chion Wolf

Friday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Julia Pistell and Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00; (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130.

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June


Tom Sawyer Day: Tom Sawyer Abroad

Saturday, June 6, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Our annual, family-friendly Tom Sawyer Day

The free event will include crafts and fun activities for the whole family!

Discount tours of the Mark Twain House will be available at $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children.

 

Free!

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf

Friday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Julia Pistell and Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130.

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July


Our Ice Cream Social!

Thursday, July 30, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

I scream, you scream, line up for ice cream, as The Mark Twain House & Museum invites the neighbors in for its 7th annual free Ice Cream Social on the patio.

Enjoy free dish ice cream and sundaes whipped up by The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum, plus music and more!

 

This is a free event!

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