Events & Programs

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.

Mar

March


Sunday, March 1 -- BOOK MARK Series Unrivaled: UConn, Tennessee, and the Twelve Years that Transcended Women's Basketball by Jeff Goldberg

Sunday, March 1, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The Mark Twain House & Museum is pleased to present the book launch Jeff Goldberg's new book Unrivaled: UConn, Tennessee, and the Twelve Years that Transcended Women's Basketball.

This free Book/Mark event takes place on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm at The Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House.

For twelve years the women's basketball rivalry between UConn and Tennessee was the most iconic matchup in women's sports. Even now, twenty years since the annual series started, the competition between these two storied programs still provokes heated argument and bitter resentment. 

Led by Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt, UConn and Tennessee combined for nine national championships, with the UConn Huskies winning five-including four against the Tennessee Lady Vols. In all, UConn won thirteen of twenty-two matchups during the rivalry, and along the way the two coaches-with distinctive and brash personalities and a shared determination to rule their sport-clashed privately and publicly, generating enough heat to make women's basketball relevant in the national sports landscape as never before. 

On the court, the two teams produced a series of memorable games, from overtime thrillers to timeless classics that defined the sport. Off the court, the coaches' encounters were often marked by their seemingly genuine dislike for each other, until the conflict reached a breaking point in 2007 and Summitt stunned the basketball world by canceling the series for reasons neither side has ever revealed. 

Now, eight years after the last game, Unrivaled uncovers the on-court and behind-the-scenes story of this intensely personal rivalry between coaches, players, and the two most passionate fan bases women's sports has ever known. 

Jeff Goldberg was the UConn women's basketball writer for the Hartford Courant from 2001 to 2006 and is the author of Bird at the Buzzer: UConn, Notre Dame, and a Women's Basketball Classic (Nebraska, 2011). Rebecca Lobo played for coach Auriemma at UConn and on three teams in the WNBA. She is now a television basketball analyst for ESPN.

This is a free BOOK/MARK event, and is followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are highly recommended.  Please call (860) 280-3130 or visitmarktwainhouse.org and click on Events.

Writing Historic Fiction with Hunter Liguore

Wednesday, March 4, Wednesday, March 4, Wednesdays 6-8 pm March 4th for 6 weeks

The course objective is to prepare writers, of all levels, with the skills necessary to complete a historical short story or novel chapter. We will explore a variety of topics geared to learning how to research your novel, and how to incorporate history into setting, characters, and plot. The class will consist of research and world building exercises, analysis of popular historical novels, and written fiction. Students will develop either a short story or a work-in-progress novel throughout the weeks. Students will leave with a thorough understanding of the historic novel, and feel confident to create a work of their own, hopefully building on the piece developed in workshop.

$265. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Nell Bernstein - "Burning Down The House"

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

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.

A colaboration 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.

Reformed Whores - Music & Comedy Duo

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 PM

MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY - They may be dressed in their Sunday best, but don't let their innocent smiles and southern charm fool you! If Tenacious D and Dolly Parton got drunk and had a baby it would be the musical comedy duo Reformed Whores! Southern bred, but NYC based, Marie Cecile Anderson andKaty Frame deliver hilariously dirty country tunes with a wink and a smile.

The Whores stay busy straddling both music venues and comedy clubs across the country and we are excited to welcome them to the Mark Twain House! To view these lovely sirens of sin in action, visit http://www.reformedwhores.com/#video

Tickets are $20/ $15 for Mark Twain House & Museum members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Twain, Travel and Prejudice

Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 p.m wine and hors d\\\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 talk

Continuing the prelude to our exhibit, “’Travel is Fatal to Prejudice’: Mark Twain’s Journeys Abroad,” opening March 19, former Mark Twain House Education Manager Craig Hotchkiss will speak on Mark Twain, Travel  and Prejudice.

The mature Mark Twain was the most recognized American in the world -- perhaps the best “good will ambassador” we have ever had.

Hotchkiss shows how, through travel, a boy with a parochial and bigoted upbringing was gradually transformed into a champion of human rights and equality across the globe. 

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks 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. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol 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.  

Suggested donation $5.00; Call 860-280-3130 to reserve or click here.

Memoir Writing Class with Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Wednesday, March 11, Wednesdays, March 11th - April 15th, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Our most popular class!

With pen or keys, we will revisit episodes in our lives that will not let us go, and we will think on those episodes wearing the analytical hat of the mathematician.  We will write and re-write those episodes until we find the key to unlock what we are trying to understand, to grasp, to make sense of.  We will not depend on the serenity of “once upon a time,” but instead learn to create the sense that what happened to us then is happening to us now, without the security of probable escape, no promise that everything will turn out just dandy.  We will learn what is required to put our memories into an irresistible, provocative and coherent story, for that is what a good memoir is (as opposed to an autobiography and we’ll see the difference).  Thankfully, we will be helped along by examining excellent memoirs already published.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith was born and raised in Hartford, and has lived in Connecticut all her life except for the two years she served as a Peace Corps volunteer on Mt. Cameroon, an active volcano rising 14,000 feet above the West African equatorial sea.  She has published eight novels, and collaborated on a ninth with her son, Jere Smith.  Her memoir, Girls of Tender Age, was selected as a community read by several cities and towns, and is an ongoing favorite of book discussion groups.  Her work has been reprinted in seven foreign languages, and in paperback, audio and ebook editions.  Her short stories and essays have been included in several collections.  She was awarded the Diana Bennet Writing Fellowship at the Black Mountain Institute, UNLV, where she worked on a Civil War novel just completed:  The Honoured Guest:  Anne Alger Craven, Witness to Sumter, in Her Words. 

 

Tickets are $265 for this 6-week class. You may register here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

Writing Children's Books with Pegi Deitz Shea

Thursday, March 12, Thursdays from 6-8 pm March 12th - April 16th

Want to write for children and teens? Do you have ideas but don’t know where to start and how to get published? Pegi Deitz Shea will show you the range of children’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry, help you write your book, and how to use constructive critique to improve your skills. Come away from the course with at least one manuscript ready to submit to an agent or editor.

Pegi Deitz Shea is a two-time winner of the Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Literature, and has been teaching creative writing for more than 20 years. She has published in every category from baby board books, picture books and novels to poetry. Her work has won awards from the International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council for the Social Studies, Junior Library Guild and other organizations. She lives in Rockville with her husband, two children and beagle, Sunny.

$265. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening of Celtic Magic with Daniel GreenWolf

Friday, March 13, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents An Evening of Celtic Magic with Daniel GreenWolf at 7:30 in The Mark Twain Museum Auditorium.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, we are delighted to have the comedic storytelling of Daniel GreenWolf back at the Mark Twain House, to perform for both young and old!

Daniel GreenWolf is an Award-Winning Magician, Writer, Creator,& Slightly Mad Irishman. Daniel has been voted as one of the Top Five Solo Variety Acts in the United States by the Renaissance Festival Podcast & Renaissance Magazine for five years in a row. 

Daniel has been featured in Two Independent Film Documentaries:

MAGIC CAMP and RENAISSANCE FAIRE: ONE YEAR OF BUILDING THE PAST The Magic of Daniel GreenWolf is a show that takes Highly Visual Magic, Theatrical Storytelling, Exhilarating Irish Music, Interactive Comedy, & Thrilling Danger and wraps it in a Celtic Theme that has been described as 
"A Witty, Modern-Day Celtic Viking. Like James Joyce with a Broad Sword."

To view a sample of this unique man of mystery, visit www.danielgreenwolf.com.

Tickets are $20/ $15 for Mark Twain House & Museum members. Please call 

(860) 280-3130 or click here.

Freelancing with Theresa Sullivan Barger: a 2-Part Writing Workshop

Saturday, March 14, March 14 - 21st, 9:00 Am - 12:00 pm

Freelance Writing success is not an oxymoron. This two-session 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 Family Circle, The New York Times, Yankee, AARP, The Saturday Evening Post, Center for Public Integrity, Yale Public Health, CFO, CT Health Investigative Team, AAA Horizons, and elsewhere. A communication consultant, she also writes and edits mission and positioning statements, strategic plans, 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.

$100. Buy tickets here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

TRANScribing: Gender Identity, Creativity, and Self Expression

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 p.m.

The program will feature three transgender authors:  Joy Ladin, a poet and the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution, Tobias Davis, a transgender activist, playwright, and young adult novelist, and Dr. Joe Wenke, a writer, social critic and LGBTQ rights activist.

The panel will discuss their varied journeys and how they create their writings.  Topics will include what audience the authors are writing for, does their transgender status make it hard to get visibility for their work, and how they use their writing as a form of self-expression.  The discussion will be moderated by Jacques Lamarre, Director of Communications and Programs at the Mark Twain House.

Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the author of seven books of poetry, including Impersonation, Forward Fives award winner Coming to Life, and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life:  A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in many periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Parnassus, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review, and has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship.

Tobias K. Davis currently works, lives, and writes in Massachusetts. He is a transgender activist, playwright, and young adult novelist. His works have been well received by both the transgender community and the theater community at large. He strives to create works which are entertaining, educational, and accessible. A graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, Davis has been featured in Newsweek magazine, on air at KFAI Radio, in the San Francisco Bay Times and several local papers in the Pioneer Valley and the Twin Cities.

Joe Wenke is a writer, social critic and LGBTQ rights activist. He is the founder and publisher of TransÜber, a publishing company with a focus on promoting LGBTQ rights, free thought and equality for all people. He is the author of several works of nonfiction as well as the recently published novel The Talk Show and Fresh Air, a book of poems. Releases in 2015 are Looking for Potholes: Poems and The Human Agenda: Conversations About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Wenke received a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut.

 

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

Exhibit Opening Reception: 'Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice

Thursday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Mark Twain’s first major work was a travel book, The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrims’ Progress, published in 1869.  In it, he writes: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

We celebrate three great journeys he took during his lifetime, each of which led to a significant travel book full of humor , wisdom and lyrical description. It is our major exhibition for 2015, and invite the public to a reception to welcome it.

The exhibition will include such extraordinary items as Ottoman Turkish garb purchased on the first of these journeys, jewelry and other exotic items purchased on the second, and a rare jade Maori pendant purchased on the third -- along with books, manuscripts and revealing letters. Visitors will enter setpiece scenes from the books that will put them in the traveling spirit -- and provide a spot for a selfie.

See the exhibit description here.

This exhibit is sponsored by:

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company

United Technologies Corporation

Department of Economic and Community Development

Greater Hartford Arts Council

 

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

Writing Political Poetry with Edwina Trentham

Wednesday, March 25, Wednesdays from 6-8 pm March 25th - April 29th

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. Please all (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: "Fed, White and Blue" with author and Food Network star Simon Majumdar

Wednesday, March 25, 8:00 p.m. (Note: not 7:00 p.m. as originally announced)

Simon Majumdar will be in conversation with local restauranteur Jamie McDonald, owner and chef at Bears Smokehouse BBQ in Hartford and Windsor. Jamie is featured in the first chapter of Simon's book.

Simon Majumdar is probably not your typical idea of an immigrant. As he says, “I’m well rested, not particularly poor, and the only time I ever encounter ‘huddled masses’ is in line at Costco.” But immigrate he did, and thanks to a Homeland Security agent who asked if he planned to make it official, the journey chronicled in Fed, White, and Blue was born. In it, Simon sets off on a trek across the United States to find out what it really means to become an American, using what he knows best: food.

Simon stops in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to learn about what the pilgrims ate (and that playing Wampanoag football with large men is to be avoided); a Shabbat dinner in Kansas; Wisconsin to make cheese (and get sprayed with hot whey); and LA to cook at a Filipino restaurant in the hope of making his in-laws proud. Simon attacks with gusto the food cultures that make up America—brewing beer, farming, working at a food bank, and even finding himself at a tailgate. Full of heart, humor, history, and of course, food, Fed, White, and Blue is a warm, funny, and inspiring portrait of becoming American.

About Simon Majumdar

I just a few years, Simon has become a mainstay on the The Food Network, appearing in numerous episodes of Iron Chef American, Beat Bobby Flay, Best Thing I Ever Ate, Extreme Chef, and as a recurring judge on Cutthroat Kitchen.

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

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some winter 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 all these creepy tales -- 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 860-280-3130 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

BRIAN DYKSTRA: SELLING OUT Directed by Margarett Perry

Friday, March 27, 7:30 PM

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents Brian Dykstra: Selling Out Directed by Margarett Perry. This event takes place on Friday, March 27 at 7:30 PM in the Lincoln Financial Auditorium at the Mark Twain House & Museum.

You will not want to miss the award-winning antics of actor and playwright Brian Dykstra in his latest exploration of the American condition. Audiences can expect an uncensored, highly charged one-man tour-de-force that is a hilarious and impassioned examination of the corrupting influence of money and the pursuit of happiness. This show is anything but safe and will make you think as hard as you laugh. Dykstra's Selling Out combines stand-up, storytelling and slam poetry.

Tickets are $20/$15 for Mark Twain House & Museum Members. For tickets please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT -- Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher; Directed by Ian Belknap; Performed by The Acting Company

Saturday, March 28, 8:00 p.m. at The Hoffman Auditorium, University of Saint. Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford

Legendary actor-director John Houseman founded The Acting Company in 1972 and its alumni have gone on to become a “who’s who” of great American Theatre. 

Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin and Mark Twain himself (as Hank) come tumbling your way in this satirical tale. Wander with Twain as he time travels from the 19th Century to 6th Century England’s medieval times through the eyes of Hank Morgan of Hartford, Connecticut who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself transported back to the time of legendary King Arthur.  Hank astonishes the Middle Age with heroic fireworks, modern medicine and electricity. These tricks from the future initially advance and improve King Arthur’s Court but society ultimately struggles to evolve 1300 years into the future. Mark Twain’s satirical romp exposes the foibles and fortes of both ages leading audiences to question and laugh at themselves and the principles of the 21st Century.

“The Acting Company endures as the major touring classical theater in the United States.” - The New York Times

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Tickets are $30 / $25 for MTH&M Members / $20 for children and University of Saint. Joseph Students. Please call 860.231.5555 or visit www.usj.edu/arts.

Getting Started: The First Steps to Writing a Story with Jo Anne Burgh

Saturday, March 28, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a story, but you didn’t know where to start . . .

If you’ve wanted to take a writing course or workshop, but you’ve felt intimidated by the idea of being the only novice in a room full of experienced writers . . .

If you remember the sheer fun of making up stories when you were younger, and you want to regain that joy . . .

If you used to write a long time ago, but then you stopped, and you can’t quite figure out how to start again . . .

. . . this workshop is for you.

In a safe, supportive environment, we’ll talk about some of the obstacles that stop people from writing and how you can surmount them. We’ll also discuss some exercises and techniques you can use as you begin to explore the art of writing a story. Bring writing utensils and a notebook, because you’re going to be writing!

**********************

P. Jo Anne Burgh has taught creative writing at the high school level and in adult education. Her short fiction has appeared or is scheduled to appear in both online and print journals, including On the Premises, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. She is currently at work on her first novel.

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

Apr

April


CLUE Tours! - April Fools Edition!

Wednesday, April 1, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? 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.

BOOK/MARK: “A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power” with author Paul Fischer

Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 p.m.

Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)--South Korea's most famous actress--and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country's most famous filmmaker.

Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader's dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader's film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il's trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety.

A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea's history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

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

BOOK/MARK -- "Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away" with author Rebecca Goldstein

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

Is philosophy obsolete? Are the ancient questions still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, not to mention crowd-sourcing and cable news? The acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science.
 
At the origin of Western philosophy stands Plato, who got about as much wrong as one would expect from a thinker who lived 2,400 years ago. But Plato’s role in shaping philosophy was pivotal. On her way to considering the place of philosophy in our ongoing intellectual life, Goldstein tells a new story of its origin, re-envisioning the extraordinary culture that produced the man who produced philosophy.
 
But it is primarily the fate of philosophy that concerns her. Is the discipline no more than a way of biding our time until the scientists arrive on the scene? Have they already arrived? Does philosophy itself ever make progress? And if it does, why is so ancient a figure as Plato of any continuing relevance? Plato at the Googleplex is Goldstein’s startling investigation of these conundra. She interweaves her narrative with Plato’s own choice for bringing ideas to life—the dialogue.
 
Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multicity speaking tour. How would he handle the host of a cable news program who denies there can be morality without religion?  How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a tiger mom on how to raise the perfect child? How would he answer a neuroscientist who, about to scan Plato’s brain, argues that science has definitively answered the questions of free will and moral agency? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowd-sourced rather than reasoned out by experts? With a philosopher’s depth and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world.

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

"A Year Without God" with Ryan Bell

Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 p.m. Co-sponsored with Yale Humanist group

Note the date is April 7, not April 6 as had been communicated previously.

Ryan Bell is a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor who chose to spend 2014 living as an atheist.  He chronicled those 12 months on his blog Year Without God, and at the end of the year, announced in an interview with NPR that he no longer believes in God.

He will discuss with Jacques Lamarre, Director of Communications and Programs at the Mark Twain House, this year of change in a program sure to be both challenging and fascinating.

Ryan Bell was a pastor for 19 years, most recently the senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church. In March 2013 he resigned his position due to theological and practical differences. As an adjunct professor he has taught subjects ranging from intercultural communication to bioethics. Currently he is a researcher, writer and speaker on the topic of religion and irreligion in America. In January 2014, Ryan began a yearlong journey exploring the limits of theism and the atheist landscape in the United States and blogs about that experience here at Year Without God. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

 

Suggested donation: $10. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: A New Mark Twain Sweetheart

Wednesday, April 8, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Kevin Mac Donnell, the renowned independent scholar and collector of Mark Twain, who tends to produce a Twain blockbuster about once a year, unveils 2015’s – a new girlfriend for Mark Twain. Mac Donnell has uncovered documentation that makes it clear that he once had an infatuation – well after the girl he later turned into “Becky Thatcher” and well before his beloved wife Livy – that can be shown to have had a tremendous impact on his life and creativity.

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks 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. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol 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.  

$5.00 suggested donation. Reservations are recommended. Please call 860-280-3130 or click here.

The MOuTH: “Thrown for a Loop" –Stories with Twists and Turns

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

This month's theme is inspired by the Wadsworth Atheneum's current exhibition on Coney Island. Come hear and tell stories on the theme Thrown For A Loop: Stories With Twists and Turns at The Mark Twain House & Museum's wildly popular storytelling series, The MOuTH, with WNPR radio personality Chion Wolf.  

Special guest will be artist Lynn H. Butler, who will reveal the stories behind her captivating Coney Island photographs on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

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 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 or here. (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.)

Volunteer Recruitment Open House

Monday, April 13, 10:00 a.m.

Pitch In!

Join our sterling group of volunteers! The Mark Twain house is currently looking for volunteers to help in various capacities within the museum. If you are looking for a challenging and engaging volunteer opportunity, The Mark Twain House & Museum might be the perfect match for you.

We are always looking for volunteers and interns with the following skills:

• Graphic design
• Videography and editing
• Record-keeping/filing
• Customer service
• Organizational skills

We're having an open house for potential volunteers on April 13 at 10:00 a.m. Stop by and learn more.

Save the date! More details to follow.

Documentary Film Screening - "88 Days in the Motherlode: Mark Twain Finds His Voice"

Thursday, April 16, 7:00 p.m.

TCHS and This and That films proudly announce the release of the exciting new documentary: 88 Days in The Mother Lode: Mark Twain Finds His Voice. This film focuses on a previously under studied and publicized aspect of the Twain Story; that the nearly three months spent in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties in the winter of 1864-1865 were crucial for his transformation from Sam Clemens to Mark Twain.

Well known Twain experts are interviewed in the documentary and reenactments were filmed on location in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, with local actors. This beautiful and compelling film makes a valuable contribution to the Twain story. Those with a casual interest in local history as well as serious students will find value in this production.

The film makers will be present at this screening.

$5.00 suggested donation. Please make reservations by calling (860) 280-3130 or click here.

4th Annual Writers' Weekend!

Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 19

dThe 4th Annual Writers' Weekend at The Mark Twain House & Museum will run from April 17 to 19. The weekend costs $170, and will include lectures, workshops, panels, readings, receptions, and book signings featuring exemplary writers from all over the United States.  (Single day tickets are also available.)

The 2015 Keynote Speaker is Dani Shapiro, author of the bestselling memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, as well as five novels, and the recent Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life,  a look at the exhilarating and challenging process of writing. The event will also include a conversation featuring the very popular podcast Books on the Nightstand.  Plus there will be a Playwriting Panel featuring noted film director, screenwriter and playwright Neil LaBute.

Events will begin with the Books on the Nightstand podcast conversation at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, and programs will continue on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m with the Dani Shapiro keynote address that evening, and on Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Participants may register for the entire weekend, single days, or single keynote events (Dani Shapiro, Books on the Nightstand, and Playwriting Panel). Prices range from $25 for the panel to $170 for the weekend. 

The Playwriting Panel takes place on Saturday at 4pm.

Dani Shapiro's most recent books include Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, the novels Black & White and Family History and the bestselling memoir Slow Motion. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Elle, Vogue, Ploughshares, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She lives with her husband and son in Litchfield County, Connecticut. 

Books on the Nightstand strives to bring listeners great book recommendations, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the world of books, bookstores and publishing. They do this through their weekly podcast and frequent blog posts. Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman are friends and colleagues who work in the publishing industry. That means that they talk about books all day long to other people who love to talk about books. But sometimes, those conversations have to end before they're ready to stop talking. Thus, the podcast and blog.  

Combining intriguing moral and ethical metaphors with dark portraits of the underside of American life, playwright, screenwriter and director Neil LaBute became one of the most controversial new filmmakers to emerge in the 1990s, offering a perspective that was intelligent and possessing a brutally clear focus. In 2013, he won a literary honor from the Academy of Arts & Letters. His films include In The Company Of Men, and Your Friends and Neighbors. Some of his many plays are reasons to be pretty, Fat Pig, The Shape of Things, and his latest reasons to be happy.

Workshops throughout the weekend will focus on both the craft and publishing aspects of writing, with many and varied instructors. There will be workshops on various aspects ofPoetry with Antoinette Brim, John Stanizzi, Vivian Shipley, Edwina Trentham, Christine Beck, and Leslie McGrath.  Also various aspects ofFiction with Mary Sharnick, David Handler, Leslie Johnson, Mark Ferguson, Lucy Ferriss, and various aspects of Non-Fiction with Susan Campbell, Christine Palm, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, and Yeliza Renfro.

Additional workshops cover Proofreading with Stacey DeKeyser, Social Media Writing with Caitlin Thayer and Wayne English, Self Publishing with Patrice Fitzgerald, Memoir Writing with Judy Mandel, and Dialogue with Dan Pope.

And there's still more workshops: Pitching Writing with Mike Morin, The Birth of a Book with Matthew Dicks, Mystery Writing with Susannah Hardy, Finding An Agent with Susan Schoenberger, and Oral History with Hunter Liguore. Of particular interest may be the Playwriting panel with acclaimed playwrites Neil LaBute, Christopher Shinn, and Mark St. Germain.  Plus, Je Benach will interview Terence Hawkins about his book American Neolithic.

For all questions, please contact Julia Pistell, Director of Writing Programs, at Julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

All tickets can be purchased through www.marktwainhouse.org or by calling (860) 280-3130.

The complete schedule, which will be updated with more details as they are available and is subject to change, can be found here. See below for the link for reservations.

 

For reservations, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: "Redeployment" with author Phil Klay

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00

POSTPONED FROM AN EARLIER DATE

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree

New York Times Bestseller

Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In “Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.

Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.

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

The Adventures of Mark Twain: The Author as Social Critic - Panel Discussion Presented in Collaboration with the University of Connecticut

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

The Mark Twain House & Museum, in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, presents The Adventures of Mark Twain: The Author as Social Critic.

What did Mark Twain think of the Philippine-American war? How can his novel, The Gilded Age, help us understand modern political economy? And how did his 20-cigar-a-day habit help him to satirize moralists? 

Join UConn President Susan Herbst and a panel of distinguished UConn scholars of literature and history as they discuss Twain's legacy, placing his novels and penchant for satire into perspective with today's most pressing issues. 

The panel will discuss Twain's anti-imperialist ideas and how they can help us understand U.S. foreign policy; the evolution of the Washington, D.C. genre of American fiction; images of children and slavery in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; and how Twain used his own shortcomings to satirize himself and others.

Panelists include UConn professors of English Anna Mae Duane and Christopher Vials, professor of history Micki McElya, and professor of history and Connecticut state historian Walter Woodward.

The event will take place on April 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Bank Museum Center at The Mark Twain House & Museum. It will be followed by a dessert and coffee reception. 

This is a free event.  Reservations are recommended.  Please call (860) 280-3130, or visit MarkTwainHouse.org and click on Events.

Micki McElya is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. She specializes in the histories of women, gender, and racial formation in the United States from the Civil War to the present, with an emphasis on political culture and memory. She is author of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America(2007), winner of an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. Her work has also appeared in American Quarterly, Radical History Review, and the Journal of American Studies. She is currently completing two book projects, Grave Affairs: Arlington National Cemetery and the Politics of Bodies and Honor and Liberating Beauty: Feminism, the Civil Rights Movement, and Miss America. McElya received her BA in History from Bryn Mawr College and her MA and PhD in History from New York University.

Anna Mae Duane is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches classes in African American literature, Disability Studies, Childhood Studies, and early American literature. She has authored or edited several books, including Suffering Childhood in Early America: Violence, Race and the Making of the Child Victim (UGA Press 2010), The Children's Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities (UGA Press, 2013) and Strange Place Blues: An Argument for a Child--Centered Slavery Studies (forthcoming, Cambridge UP). Her essays have appeared in American Literature, the Cambridge History of the American Novel, Studies in American Fiction, and the Norton critical edition of Charlotte Temple. Her work has been supported by two National Endowment for the Humanities awards and a Fulbright Award. She currently co-edits with Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward Common-place, the Interactive Journal of Early American Life, the American Antiquarian Society's online journal. She received her BA, MA, and PhD in English from Fordham University.

Christopher Vials is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, where he will soon be serving as the Director of American Studies.  He is the author of the books Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, the Left, and the Fight against Fascism in the United States (2014) and Realism for the Masses: Aesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and U.S. Culture, 1935-1947 (2009).  His articles have appeared in Science and Society,Philip Roth Studies, and Americana:

the Journal of American Popular Culture, and several other books and journals. He is currently at work on a collection with Cambridge University Press on American literature and culture in the 1940s, and is also beginning a project on the disavowal of U.S. military and economic projects abroad in American culture.  He received his BA in English and History from the University of Texas-Austin, his MA in English from Ohio State University, and his PhD in English and American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Walter Woodward is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut (Greater Hartford campus) and Connecticut State Historian.   He is the author of Prospero's America:  John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676, which received the Homer D. Babbidge Jr. Award from the Association for the Study of Connecticut History.  He is the co-author of Teaching History with Museums: Strategies for K-12 Social Studies. With renowned photographer Carol Highsmith, he is author of the forthcoming publication Connecticut, a key installment in the Library of Congress's effort to create a photographic record of early twenty-first-century America, and is currently working on a study of the influence of rumor and distorted communication in early America.His articles and essays have appeared in such journals as the New England Quarterly, the William and Mary Quarterly, and the Organization of American Historians Magazine of History. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Historical Society.  He co-edits Common-place with Anna Mae Duane and is a columnist for Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut History.  He received his BA in English from the University of Florida, his MA in History from Cleveland State University, and his PhD in History from the University of Connecticut.  Prior to becoming a historian, Woodward was a songwriter and advertising executive, in which capacity he composed two hit country music songs, won eight advertising Clio awards, and two Emmy awards for documentary music.

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

Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Monday, April 27, 6:00 p.m.

"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 writing session in the Clemens family home: participants 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.

This is NOT a writing course-- by popular demand, this program is uninterrupted writing time in the Twain House. A mini-residency of sorts.

ALL FUNDS FROM THIS PROGRAM go towards preserving and restoring the house.

Tickets for three quiet hours in Mark Twain's Library are $50. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Role of Museums in Promoting Civil Engagement--A Conversation With Tatiana Kursina,Gulag Museum at Perm-36

Tuesday, April 28, 500 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

How do museums inspire civic engagement?

What happens when a museum is located in a contentious political environment?   Come to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center on April 28 at 5 PM to meet Tatiana Kursina, co-founding director of the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 in Russia, to hear the challenges faced in operating a museum focused on the history of political repression in Russia.  

The event is co-presented with the Mark Twain House & Museum. The Stowe Center is a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of historic sites, museums, and memory initiatives connecting past struggles to today's movements for human rights and social justice. 

About the Gulag Museum at Perm-36

The only Russian museum for the history of political repression, the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 consists of extant and reconstructed buildings of the labor camp for political prisoners, who worked, suffered and died there. Its mission is to promote democratic values and civic consciousness in contemporary Russia through preservation of the last Soviet political camp as a living reminder of repression and as an important historical and cultural monument.

Kursina and her husband Victor Schmyrov, in partnership with the Moscow-based pro-democracy NGO Memorial, created the museum in 1995 at the site of a Stalinist Gulag camp near the village of Kuchino in the Ural Mountains in Russia. 

Operational from 1946 to 1987, it is the only Gulag to have been preserved and is unique in its ability to bear testimony to the extent of political repression in the Soviet Union. The Soviets established Perm-36 as a logging camp in the forested region of the Ural Mountains near the Siberian border. Here, prisoners cut down trees throughout the year and sent lumber down river during the spring thaw to help rebuild Soviet cities damaged in World War II. The camp was typical of thousands throughout the country. Throughout its history some 18 million passed through the prisons and camps of the Gulag system.

About Kursina and her Visit to the Unites States

Kursina is visiting the United States to raise awareness of the Russian government's forceful and sustained crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights organizations, recently extended to include The Gulag Museum. Due to the changing political situation in Russia and the Perm region, the memorial complex and museum have been reclaimed by local authorities essentially voiding the museum's leadership. 

Admission is free thanks to Stowe Center members and donors. Reservations: Info@StoweCenter.orgor 860.522.9258, x317.

Humor Writing with Hank Herman

Wednesday, April 29, Wednesdays from 6-8 pm April 29th - June 10 (Skipping May 13th)

A sage once said, “There’s a difference between humor writing and writing humorously.” Oh, wait — that was me. The point is, humor writing — think Woody Allen, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, where every sentence is intended to be a laugh riot — yes, that’s hard. And probably can’t be taught. But writing humorously — self-deprecating admissions about your own foibles; poking good-natured fun at irresistible targets in pop culture; exaggerating outrageously; confiding hair-raising tales of the blind date gone bad; zeroing in on off-beat behavior that nobody talks about but, it turns out, everybody does — these are all within every writer’s reach. In this course students will take their best shot at funny-side up writing in essays, columns, blogs, memoir . . . or whatever genre tickles their fancy.

Hank Herman’s acclaimed memoir, Accept My Kid, Please! A Dad’s Descent Into College Application Hell, has led to speaking engagements throughout the Northeast. His award-winning humor column, “The Home Team,” has been running for over 20 years, and is still going strong.  Hank also co-writes the Hearst Newspapers blog “Beagle Man,” alternating posts with his dog, Ricky the Beagle.  The blog doubles as as a hilarious travelogue when Hank and Ricky hit the road every September for their great adventure: a one-month-long cross-country road trip!  With no offense intended to his own three sons, Hank considers Ricky his fourth.  Hank also leads writing workshops at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and at Trinity College and Norwalk Community College.

$265. Please call (86) 280-3130 or click here.

May

May


Self-Publishing with Patrice Fitzgerald

Wednesday, May 6, Wednesdays from 6 - 8 pm, May 6 - May 27

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.

$200.

Writing From Found Texts with Yelizaveta P. Renfro

Wednesday, May 6, Wednesdays 6-8 pm, May 6 - May 27

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.

$200.

Fiction Writing with Susan Schoenberger

Wednesday, May 6, May 6 - June 10, 6 pm - 8 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.

Writing Memoir with Judy Mandel

Wednesday, May 6, 4-week writing course on Wednesday evenings, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, May 6th - May 27th.

Creating the World of Your Memoir with Judy Mandel

You have a story to tell. A unique journey that can illuminate a path for others. But how to tell it? What structure will help you tell your story in a way that will resonate with readers?

In this workshop session we will discuss, and write about, these important issues for memoir writers as well as:

➢ How to determine your perspective, where the “I” is writing from in your story
➢ How to choose your events/scenes to include in your story that reflect your theme
➢ When to tell and when to show, and what is the difference
➢ How to find your theme
➢ What details will make your story resonate with your reader
➢ Use of narrative, reflection, commentary in your work
➢ Issues of privacy for those mentioned in your book
➢ What will your family say? Should you care?

Judy L. Mandel is the author of the award-winning memoir Replacement Child (Seal Press, 2013). Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in Connecticut LIFE, ASJA Monthly, Complete Wellbeing Magazine, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Newsletter, and The Southampton Review.

$200 for 4 weeks. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking here.

VARLA JEAN MERMAN IS “A LOUISIANA SKANKEE IN CONNECTICUT COURT”

Friday, May 8, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is pleased to announce the return of drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman in a new show especially created for the Museum—A Louisiana Skankee in Connecticut Court.

"Merman combines the physical presence of a buxom Russ Myer starlet with a hint of perky Doris Day and the brassiness of her spiritual mother, Ethel Merman." --Variety

Varla appeared at The Museum several years ago in the hilarious sold-out show “The Lady Behind The Mustache.”  Now the love child of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman returns with this new show to delight and tickle of the fancies of (mature) audiences.

To get a hint of the hilarity in store, check out Varla’s YouTube Channel.  Just search online for “Varla YouTube”.

Varla is portrayed by actor Jeffrey Roberson.  As Varla Jean, Jeffery has filled cabarets and concert halls across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Theater, London’s Soho Theatre and LA’s Renberg Theatre. Jeffery wrote and starred in the short Improve Your History with Varla Jean: Stonewall, for the launch of the MTV’s television network Logo and was also seen in their One Night Standup: Dragtastic special. In addition, Jeffery starred in the musical Lucky Guy opposite Leslie Jordan in New York at the Little Schubert in spring 2011 prompting The New York Times to rave, “If Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman had stood in front of the right pair of funhouse mirrors, they might have resembled Ms. Merman and Mr. Jordan in stature as well as comedic talent”.

Adults only! Tickets are $30/$25 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130 for tickets or more information, or click here.

Finding Your Voice in Memoir: A Writing Workshop with Judy Mandel

Saturday, May 9, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Finding Your Voice in Memoir

Often when we start writing our memoir, we struggle to find our own unique way of telling the story—our voice. It can be as illusive as a shadow, as hard to capture as a dream. Once we find our voice, the way our writing sounds most like our inner self, our story is much easier to shape. Finding the right voice for your memoir is very much like falling in love; hard to describe but powerful.

What you will learn:
• How word choice, cadence, and sentence structure contribute to creating the mood in the world of your memoir
• Not to be afraid to experiment with different ways of writing
• How free-writing can free your inner voice
• How to think about your life in terms of meaningful scenes or vignettes
• How to examine different memoirs in terms of voice, and how to apply that to your own writing

Judy L. Mandel is a workshop leader, writing coach and editor. She is the author of REPLACEMENT CHILD – A MEMOIR (Seal Press, 2013). Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in Connecticut LIFE, ASJA Monthly, Complete Wellbeing Magazine, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Newsletter, and The Southampton Review.

$40. Register by calling 860-280-3130 or by clicking here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain's' Surrogate Wife'

Wednesday, May 13, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d\\\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Continuing in our "Trouble Begins" series in the vein of Clemens’ relationships with women, we explore a highly controversial one.

Scholar Marie Lavendier  will speak on Isabel Lyon, Clemens’ secretary in his final years, after the death of Livy.  Lyon at one time held power of attorney for Twain and has been referred to as Mark Twain's surrogate wife – but their relationship ended in a bitter split a year before the author’s death.

Lyon was written out of his official biography.

Marie Lavendier is a lecturer at Tunxis Community College and lives in Lyon's former home in Farmington. 

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks 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. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol 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.  

$5.00; reserve at 860-280-3130 or click here.

Celeste Bedford Walker’s Theatrical Production BLACK WALL STREET

Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m. each evening at the Artists Collective, 1200 Albany Avenue in Hartford.

Presented by the Artists Collective and The Mark Twain House & Museum, for the 8th Annual Jackie McLean Memorial Celebration

 The Artists Collective’s eighth annual Jackie McLean Memorial Celebration, to be held May 15 - 16, 2015, will feature the historical theater production of Celeste Bedford Walker’s BLACK WALL STREET, directed by Michael Green, in collaboration with The Mark Twain House & Museum.

 BLACK WALL STREET brings to life a little-known portion of American history during the early 1900s-1920s. In the heartland of America, there was a Black community paradise. In the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, African Americans, Native Americans, and people of Jewish descent developed a networking relationship surpassed by none in modern day history, creating more than 600 businesses. There were 41 grocery stores, 30 restaurants, 6 privately-owned airplanes, 5 hotels, 3 schools, 1 hospital with 15 physicians/surgeons, a bank, a bus system, and 2 movie theaters.

It’s June 1, 1921- with an alleged incident involving a white female elevator operator and a Negro “shoe shine boy” which ignited the simmering resentment and jealousies of neighboring white communities. In the aftermath of the worst race riot in US history, the once thriving business district of Greenwood lay, smoldering and totally destroyed. 

Black Wall Street is produced by an award-winning creative team featuring Playwright Celeste Bedford Walker, Producer, Director Michael Green, and Executive Producer Voza Rivers. The production comes to life with a cast of award-winning actors and creative team. BLACK WALL STREET has received critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike for its successful run in New York.

Artists Collective Founding Executive Director Dollie McLean states, “Shades of Truth Theater with Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theater Group are two of America’s important vehicles for African American theater arts and artists.  We have been colleagues for many, many years through its Founder, the late Rodger Furman. They continue to produce thought-provoking, cutting-edge productions, featuring the nation’s emerging artists and themes. The little-known history of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma aka BLACK WALL STREET still resonates today nearly one hundred years later.” 

“The Artists Collective is extremely excited about collaborating with The Mark Twain House & Museum on this project. This project would not have been possible without the generous support of the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation. We deeply appreciate the support for this production. 

The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Cindy Lovell states, “Artists Collective is an ideal partner for presenting a seldom-heard, but terribly important, chapter in our shared history.  This is our first major collaboration with the Artists Collective, Dollie McLean and her committed team. We can’t wait to bring this gripping production to Hartford.”

The performances will be held Friday, May 15 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 pm at the Artists Collective, located at 1200 Albany Avenue (corner of Woodland Street/Jackie McLean Way) in Hartford.  Ample free secure parking is available on-site.

The annual Jackie McLean Memorial Celebration reflects Artists Collective Founder and jazz legend Jackie McLean’s broad interest in music, art, dance, theater, literature, world history, socio-political issues and the human condition.

The Jackie McLean Memorial Celebration production of BLACK WALL STREET, in collaboration with Mark Twain House Museum, is made possible with the generous support of: The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation with additional program support from: The State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Bank of America, the City of Hartford, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor, and our media partners, Northend Agent’s Newspaper, and CT NOW.

About Jackie McLean

The celebrated world-renowned alto saxophonist, composer, educator, and community activist, Jackie McLean, has been an enduring force in jazz since the early 1950s and a distinguished educator since the 1960s. His legacy continues today.  

During his lifetime, Jackie McLeangarnered numerous national and international awards including: Paris France Minister of Culture, Jack Lang Medal Officer de L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Letters, Trinity College Honorary Doctorate, an American Jazz Master Honor from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hartford (posthumous).

The African American Music Department at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, was founded by Jackie McLean in 1968 and was renamed the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz in 2000. Jackie McLean initiated the founding of the Artists Collective, Inc. in 1970. Both institutions hold an exclusive place in the world for being founded by a living jazz musician and existing for over four decades. He was actively involved with both institutions until March 2006. Mr. McLean was born May 17, 1931.

Tickets for Black Wall Street are: $25 for advanced purchase general admission; $20 advance purchase for Artists Collective and Mark Twain House & Museum members, students, seniors and GHAC Lets Go Members; and $30 at the door for all.

Tickets are available via The Mark Twain House & Museum by calling (860) 280-3130 or by clicking here or by calling the Artists Collective at (860) 527-3205. Special Group rate tickets available. Call the Artists Collective for information. 

Memoir Writing Workshop with Bessy Reyna

Saturday, May 16, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Tell Me A Secret ― Writing the Memoir

Each of us has a wonderful story to tell, yet for most these stories remain untold. In this workshop we will explore our own stories and begin writing pieces focused on specific moments that are significant to us. We will look at examples from other writers and discuss how memoir can be integrated into projects of different genres, including poetry and fiction. We will learn new techniques for mining our memories and develop a new appreciation for the richness of our own lives. Previous participants have started books about their families to pass on to their children and grandchildren; others have gone on to apply workshop exercises to new writing projects.

Born in Cuba and raised in Panama, Bessy is a graduate of Mt Holyoke College and earned her Masters and Law degrees from the University of Connecticut. For nine years she was a monthly opinion columnist for The Hartford Courant and was a frequent contributor to Northeast, the Sunday magazine of the Hartford Courant. For several years, she conducted radio interviews with poets appearing at Hill-Stead Museum’s renowned Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, CT. Currently, she writes an arts-and-culture page for the Hispanic newspaper Identidad Latina and an opinion columnist for www.CTLatinoNews.com. A former Master Teaching Artist for the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, she is a frequent lecturer and guest artist at colleges, libraries and museums. She has performed her poetry internationally; taught writing workshops in many venues; and served as a judge for poetry competitions, including the Connecticut Book Award for Poetry.

$40. Register by calling 860-280-3130 or clicking here.

"The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" with author Issa Rae

Sunday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

This event is a part of an installment of the B-Side series, a series of seasonal Q & A style Lectures/Events.  The first project will feature Author/Producer Issa Rae. There will be a live, unscripted panel discussion with Issa Rae and UConn Professor William Jelani Cobb. 

Issa Rae is a writer, producer and actress. She is the creator of the YouTube workplace-comedy series Awkward Black Girl as well as the New York Times Best Seller’s book named after the same title. She has been featured on such shows as The Nightly Show. She is also the writer of numerous online series and an upcoming HBO series. Her book--in the bestselling tradition of Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?--is a collection of humorous essays on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits, and black as cool.

Moderator William Cobbs’ is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. He is the author of numberous books including The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic, which in 2007 was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing of the Arts Club of Washington.

This is a free event and is followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are highly recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK - "Party Like a President" with author Brian Abrams

Wednesday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.

To further celebrate with this event, there will be liquor and spirit tastings.  Also there will be a rousing game of Presidential Trivia, and Real or Fake Laws! Plus, a few subject specific episodes ofDrunk History will be shown!

About the book:

There’s the office: President of the United States. And then there’s the man in the office—prone to temptation and looking to unwind after a long day running the country. Celebrating the decidedly less distinguished side of the nation’s leaders, humor writer Brian Abrams offers a compelling, hilarious, and true American history on the rocks—a Washington-to-Obama, vice-by-vice chronicle of how the presidents like to party.

From explicit love letters to slurred speeches to nude swims at Bing Crosby’s house, reputations are ruined and secrets bared. George Washington brokered the end of the American Revolution over glasses of Madeira. Ulysses S. Grant rarely drew a sober breath when he was leading the North to victory. And it wasn’t all liquor. Some presidents preferred their drugs—Nixon was a pill-popper. And others chased women instead—both the professorial Woodrow Wilson (who signed his love letters “Tiger”) and the good ol’ boy Bill Clinton, though neither could hold a candle to Kennedy, who also received the infamous Dr. Feelgood’s “vitamin” injections of pure amphetamine.

This book has the smart, funny feel of Madmagazine meets The Colbert Report. Plus, it includes recipes for 44 cocktails inspired by each chapter’s partier-in-chief.

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

BOOK/MARK: "The SOUND OF MUSIC Story" with author Thomas Santopietro

Thursday, May 21, 7:00 p.m.

On March 2, 1965, "The Sound of Music" was released in the United States and the love affair between moviegoers and the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was on. Rarely has a film captured the love and imagination of the moviegoing public in the way that "The Sound of Music" did as it blended history, music, Austrian location filming, heartfelt emotion and the yodeling of Julie Andrews into a monster hit.

Now, Tom Santopietro has written the ultimate "Sound of Music" fan book with all the inside dope from behind the scenes stories of the filming in Austria and Hollywood to new interviews with Johannes von Trapp and others. Santopietro looks back at the real life story of Maria von Trapp, goes on to chronicle the sensational success of the Broadway musical, and recounts the story of the near cancellation of the film when the "Cleopatra" bankrupted 20th Century Fox. We all know that Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer played Maria and Captain Von Trapp, but who else had been considered?

Tom Santopietro knows and will tell all while providing a historian's critical analysis of the careers of director Robert Wise and screenwriter Ernest Lehman, a look at the critical controversy which greeted the movie, the film's relationship to the turbulent 1960s and the super stardom which engulfed Julie Andrews. Tom Santopietro's "The Story of 'The Sound of Music'" is book for everyone who cherishes this American classic.

This is a free BOOK/MARK event and will be followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are highly recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Opening Reception for Han Dynasty Stone Rubbing Exhibition

Thursday, May 21, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

In collaboration with Shandong Department of Culture and Shandong Museum in China, The Mark Twain House & Museum is bringing a unique and never-before-seen collection of Han Dynasty stone rubbings to Connecticut. The exhibition will be displayed at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford between May 21 and August 31, 2015.

An opening reception to celebrate this exciting exhibition will take place on Thursday, May 21 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Webster Bank Museum Center at The Mark Twain House & Museum.

The Han Dynasty (206 BC -­- 220 AD) was a formative period in the history of Chinese society and culture. Many of the institutions that continued to shape China all the way up to the early 20th century were established during this period. The stone rubbings are artistically crafted facsimiles of stone engravings found in tombs and on mountainsides in and around what is today Shandong province. They provide detailed and vivid descriptions of everyday, economic, religious, political and cultural life at the time.

The collection that will be presented has great historic, cultural and academic value. The complete exhibition consists of a large number of individual rubbings of various sizes, ranging from smaller pieces up to larger ones covering entire walls, all filled with vivid detail.

Mark Twain lived and worked on his books in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1871-­-1891. He and his wife, Livy, raised their family in the Hartford house, and he wrote many of his most famous works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, during the time he lived in the house. While many know Twain as a novelist and satirist, he was also an opinionated social and political commentator and active in many progressive causes. A prolific traveler, he was well informed of and outspoken regarding world issues.

Though he never traveled to China, Twain wrote about Chinese immigrants and their treatment in the United States, and was a vocal anti-imperialist. His friendship with American diplomat Anson Burlingame gave him particular insight, interest, and sympathy for the Chinese. Through one of his closest friends, the Reverend Joseph Twichell, Twain became involved in the Chinese Educational Mission, which brought more than 120 male students from China to study in the United States from 1872-­-1881.  The Mark Twain House & Museum is honored to have the opportunity to display this very special collection from Shandong.

Viewing of the exhibition is complementary with a tour of The Mark Twain House. Without a tour, this exhibition can be viewed along with the other exhibits in the museum center for a $6.00 charge.

The opening reception on May 21 is free and open to the public.  Reservations are recommended--please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum and Grymm Studios presents Springtime Steampunk Social: An afternoon of Tea, Steam, Songs and Sweets

Saturday, May 30, 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.  It's also whole lot of fun!  

This Steampunk Social features Nikki Woolfolk, Author & Chocolatier, the musical styling of Venus Lens Cap, tea and afternoon refreshments, plus a showing of the award winning short film 1873: the Insidious Intrigue by Chronophotograph Studios.

Tickets are $15/$10 MTH&M Members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jun

June


BOOK/MARK - "The Twain Shall Meet: The Mysterious Legacy of Samuel L. Clemens' Granddaughter, Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch" with author Susan Bailey

Wednesday, June 3, 7:00 pm; moderated by Jeff Mainville

Did famous author Mark Twain’s only surviving child, Clara, and her daughter, Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch, take a life-long secret to their graves? After extensive research, and using techniques from genetic genealogy, "The Twain Shall Meet" authors believe the answer is a resounding “yes.”

If you thought you knew everything about Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ family, this book will be a page-turning eye opener. This work of nonfiction takes the reader on a mesmerizing and heartwarming journey into the tangled universe of mother-daughter relationships as co-authors Susan Bailey and genealogist and historic researcher Deborah Gosselin seek to uncover the identity of Bailey’s mother—a quest that leads them straight into the heart of Clara’s and Nina’s world.

This is a free BOOK/MARK event and is followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are highly recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

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!

CitySingers of Hartford: "LEGENDS OF TWAIN--Quips, Quotes & River Songs!"

Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7 at 4:00 p.m. each day

In two performances at the Mark Twain House & Museum’s Lincoln Financial Auditorium, CitySingers of Hartford will present Legends of Twain: Quips, Quotes & River Songs! giving snapshots of Mark Twain’s life through a blend of music, narrative and drama. Twain’s writings that reflect his life and times in Hartford and beyond will be enriched by CitySingers’ performance of river songs and music that Twain heard and especially enjoyed. Also featured will be a the moving Civil War anthem “Maryland, My Maryland,” a reading from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and spirituals associated with the Underground Railroad, a cause“ close to home” for Twain and his neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe. …And to make the scenario complete, John Pogson, nationally known impersonator of Twain, will deliver a running commentary of famous quips and quotes from the literary legend himself!

Tickets are $10 / $7 for students and seniors. Free for members. Please call (860) 280-3130.

BOOK/MARK - "The Power of Conviction: My Wrongful Conviction 18 Years in Prison and the Freedom earned Through Forgiveness and Faith" with James Tillman and Jeffrey Kimball

Monday, June 8, 7:00 p.m. program moderated by John Motley, followed by an 8:30 p.m. dessert reception in Hal Holbrook Hall. Jointly hosted by Community Partners in Action and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

James Tillman was stretched out on his basement couch, relaxing after a long day of work at the car wash, the smell of sweet onions and simmering steak filling the air of his modest apartment in the projects of Hartford, Conn. His mother, a bible perched nearby, was softly singing a hymn when she was shaken by the thundering sound of pounding on the front door. It wasn’t a knock; it was an act of sheer force. In an instant, the police burst in, lifted James out of his home and shoved him into prison, arresting him for the brutal rape of a young corporate executive. For over 18 years, James professed his innocence, through the investigation, trial, appeals, and to anyone who would listen. Finally, after a series of extraordinary events, the Connecticut Innocence Project took up James’ case, eventually winning his freedom—the first person to be exonerated in the state through the use of DNA.

This is an inspirational story about the power of conviction: the wrongful conviction that sent James Tillman to prison for over 18 years, and the power of his own conviction that helped him persevere, offer a transformational forgiveness and earn a redemption that is so valued he remarkably calls his experience in prison, “a gift.”

"The Power of Conviction" is for people who are facing tough times. You will understand that you’re not alone, that things can be brutally bad and we can react poorly at times, but where there is love, there is always hope.

How did James Tillman endure 18 years of hell in prison? What specific lessons can you learn about the transformational power of forgiveness, love and conviction? When faced with your own challenges in life, what will you choose?

This is a free program and is followed by a reception and book sale/signing. Reservations are highly suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Book Launch Event - Mark Twain’s Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health & Happiness by Mark Dawidziak

Tuesday, June 9, 7:00 p.m.

Largely Literary Theater Company co-founders Mark Dawidziak and Sara Showman present a selection of material drawn from Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness. Collected and edited by veteran Twain enthusiast Mark Dawidziak, this new book collects the writer's often politically incorrect and always unapologetically honest advice on everything from drinking to swearing. Dawidziak plays Twain and Showman plays a variety of characters in this one-act presentation, which includes sections on "Curing a Cold" and politics. The husband-and-wife team regularly perform a two-act collection of Twain material called Twain By Two. The television critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dawidziak has been portraying Twain on stage for more than 35 years. His previous Twain-centric books include Mark My Words: Mark Twain on WritingHorton Foote's The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain and Mark Twain in Ohio. Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness is dedicated to his longtime friend, Hal Holbrook.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

 

Suggested donation $5.00. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain and the Jaffa Colony

Wednesday, June 10, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors doeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Henry Cohn, the Superior Court judge, legal historian and Twain aficionado from West Hartford, will speak on the Jaffa Colony, an extraordinary settlement of Protestant Christians set up in Twain’s era in what is now Israel.

Led by a controversial and charismatic preacher, they believed they could hasten the Second Coming of Christ by encouraging Jewish resettlement of Palestine.

But the venture failed, and in his travel book The Innocents Abroad, Twain described his encounter with 40 colonists who boarded his ship at Jaffa, in a bid to escape to Egypt. The colony, Twain wrote, was "a complete fiasco."

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks 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. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol 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.  

$5.00; reserve at 860-280-3130

Jacqueline Schwab Concert in the Mark Twain House Drawing Room

Thursday, June 11, 7:00 p.m.

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

Pianist Jacqueline Schwab, heard on Ken Burns' PBS documentary Mark Twain (and his Civil War, Baseball, National Parks, The War, and others) will share her reflective and lilting solo piano arrangements of vintage American music--tunes that might have been heard in Twain's parlor: Civil War and Stephen Foster parlor tunes, Victorian dance hall music, Scots and Irish airs and dance tunes brought over by settlers, and ragtime. Schwab has performed at the White House (for President Clinton), and, with Scottish singer Jean Redpath, on the Late Show with David Letterman and A Prairie Home Companion. Her signature arrangements of American "heart songs" and dance tunes reflect the community style of music making in Twain's Day but also draw on sounds of today's traditional music world. Come warm your hearts, tap your toes, and perhaps even join in singing!

Seating for this very special event will be extremely limited.  

 

Tickets are $25 / $20 for Mark Twain House & Museum Members.  For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130.

A Conversation with Best-Selling Author James Patterson

Wednesday, June 17, 7:30 p.m.

Continuing The Mark Twain House & Museum's tradition of presenting the best-selling authors of all time (Stephen King in 2013 and Dan Brown in 2014), it's a pleasure to announce that James Patterson will appearing in Hartford as a benefit for the museum.

James Patterson is the world's best-selling author since 2001 and has over 300 million copies of his books in print.  In January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing," and Time magazine has called him as "The Man Who Can't Miss."

It's a rare on-stage appearance for Patterson, who will engage in conversation with WNPR's Ray Hardman, and it's a special opportunity for his many fans.This incredible event will take place right across the street from the Mark Twain House at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street, Hartford. Free parking is available in the parking lots at The Mark Twain House & Museum and in the church's Woodland Street lot.

Tickets will go on sale to the public at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 1 -- but Mark Twain House & Museum members can get a jump on the sales. Tickets for members go on sale on Wednesday, April 29, at 12:00 noon, when members will be issued a special code for these early purchases by e-mail. To become a member, individuals can join by going towww.marktwainhouse.org and clicking on "Memberships," or by calling (860) 280-3112

This rare public appearance is certain to sell out, so be sure to order early!

This event is generously supported by The Hartford.

Ticket prices are $60 / $50 for members of The Mark Twain House.  There will be a limited number of $175 VIP tickets available that include a pre-event reception at the Town and County Club (22 Woodland Street, Hartford--right next door to Immanuel Congregational Church) with an opportunity to meet and chat with James Patterson; premium VIP seating at the event; and a pre-signed copy of one of James Patterson's books.

To purchase tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 after 12:00 noon on Wednesday April 29 (for members) or after 10:00 a.m. (for the general public) on Friday May 1.

 

Nook Farm Author Talk - "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America" with author Jane Allen Petrick

Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Norman Rockwell's America was not all white. As early as 1936, Rockwell was portraying people of color with empathy and a dignity often denied them at the time. And he created these portraits from live models.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America unfolds, for the first time, the stories of the Asian, African, and Native Americans who modeled for Norman Rockwell. These people of color, though often hidden in plain sight, are present throughout Rockwell's more than 4000 illustrations. People like the John Lane family, Navajos poignantly depicted in the virtually unknown Norman Rockwell painting, "Glen Canyon Dam." People like Isaac Crawford, a ten year old African-American Boy Scout who helped Norman Rockwell finally integrate the Boy Scout calendar.

In this engrossing and often humorous narrative, Jane Allen Petrick explores what motivated Norman Rockwell to slip people of color "into the picture" in the first place. And in so doing, she persuasively documents the famous illustrator's deep commitment to and pointed portrayals of ethnic tolerance, portrayals that up to now have been, as Norman Rockwell biographer Laura Claridge so clearly put it, "bizarrely neglected".

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America is an eye opener for everyone who loves Norman Rockwell, everyone who hates Norman Rockwell, and for all those people who never thought much about Norman Rockwell because they believed Norman Rockwell never thought much about them. This book will expand the way you think about Norman Rockwell. And it will deepen the way you think about Norman Rockwell's America.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317. Free, secure parking is available at the Stowe Center (77 Forest St.) and The Mark Twain House & Museum (351 Farmington Avenue) parking lots.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf--“On Vacation - Stories about what went down when you put your feet up”

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 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.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some summer 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.

Tours are $22 for adults, $17 for members, and $15 for children. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Deven Green (aka Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian) is back with an opening act!

Saturday, June 27, 7:00 p.m.

Deven Green, the star of BETTY BOWERS: AMERICA'S BEST CHRISTIAN and the "Welcome to My..." Parody videos on YouTube, brings her electric ukulele lounge act to the Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House & Museum! Join us for one of the funniest, most subversive comediennes working today.

Opening for Deven is the Survivors Swing Band--the oldest member is 94! Plus they'll be joining Deven for a number or two.

About Deven Green

Deven started out as a professional figure skater whose triple-gold medal status is memorialized in her hometown located in the remote, boreal, tundra of Northern Canada. After landing in Toronto she perfected her comedic sensibilities and appeared in commercials, voice overs, TV and movie roles. This bon vivant then moved to Los Angeles where she currently resides and continues to create more comedy, music, and videos with her unmistakeable brand of inscrutable lexicon. Enjoying a plethora of awards, millions of views and a legion of fervent followers, Deven is now considered 'legendary.' She is indeed the nefarious creator/voice of the "Welcome To My Home" parodies, is the satirical "America's Best Christian - Betty Bowers," and, is the spokesmodel for OCCmakeup! You have seen her on RuPaul's Drag Race and performing her convivial eclectic music act across the country!

About the Survivors Swing Band

The Survivors Swing Band generates energy and excitement everywhere they perform.  They are a 7-piece professional jazz band, based in Connecticut, that plays the classic melodies from an era gone by--hot tunes and soothing ballads of the Swing Era-- plus many of the wonderful melodies from the two decades that followed.  The "Big Bands" played this music with a high degree of rigid orchestration.  The Survivors render it with a greater tilt towards improvisation, thus giving each pass at a tune somewhat of a new flavor while still keeping true to the original melodies.  Your memories of the "good old good ones" that they play will be readily revived!  With trumpet, saxes, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, let them entertain you!

 

$20 / $15 for MTH&M members. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jul

July


Our Annual Hartford Circus Fire Event: the new book "Big Top Burning" with author Laura A. Woollett

Monday, July 6, 7:00 p.m.

June 6, 2015 marks the 71st anniversary of the Hartford Circus Fire. Continuing The Mark Twain House & Museum's tradition of commerating this anniversary, this year the museum presents the new book Big Top Burning (by Laura A. Wollett) which investigates the 1944 Hartford circus fire and invites readers to take part in a critical evaluation of the evidence.
 
The fire broke out at 2:40 p.m. Thousands of men, women, and children were crowded under Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s big top watching the Flying Wallendas begin their death-defying high-wire act. Suddenly someone screamed “Fire!” and the panic began. By 2:50 the tent had burned to the ground. Not everyone had made it out alive.
 
With primary source documents and survivor interviews, Big Top Burningrecounts the true story of the 1944 Hartford circus fire—one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history. Its remarkable characters include Robert Segee, a 15-year-old circus roustabout and known pyromaniac, and the Cook children, Donald, Eleanor, and Edward, who were in the audience when the circus tent caught fire. Guiding readers through the investigations of the mysteries that make this moment in history so fascinating, this book asks: Was the unidentified body of a little girl nicknamed “Little Miss 1565” Eleanor Cook? Was the fire itself an act of arson—and did Robert Segee set it? Big Top Burning combines a gripping disaster story, an ongoing detective and forensics saga, and World War II–era American history, inviting middle-grades readers to take part in a critical evaluation of the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

 

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

Sea Tea Improv presents POWER POINTLESS TWAIN TALKS

Thursday, July 16, 7:30 p.m.

Improv Power Point presentations, Twisted TED Talks, and Specious Speeches – Sea Tea Improv takes business communications to task in this fast, funny event!

Sea Tea Improv (seateaimprov.com) is an improv comedy company professionally trained by Hartford Stage Company, ImprovBoston, and the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York that dazzles Hartford and beyond on a regular basis with their witty interpretations of audience suggestions.  They perform short improvised games and long improvised plays at public & private functions, teach classes to students of all ages, and train professionals in the art of communication. They've performed all over Connecticut, New England, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

 

Tickets are $15 / $10 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some summer 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.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $17 for members, and $15 for children. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jump Start Your Novel with Mary Sharnick

Monday, July 27, July 27 - 30, 6 - 8 pm

Workshop participants will initiate plot and character development simultaneously by crafting a first chapter for their proposed novels.
Referencing some effective opening chapters from already-published works, class members will identify the pivotal action and primary desire of each piece's protagonist. Doing so will afford useful illustrations for beginning their own works.

Winner of a Beatrice Fox Auerbach Solo Writer's Fellowship, a Wesleyan Writers' Conference Scholarship, and two Nigel Taplin Innovative Teaching Grants, Mary has had numerous opportunities to research in Venice, Italy, for two historical novels. The first, THIRST (Fireship Press, 2012), is presently being adapted for the operatic stage by composer Gerard Chiusano and librettists Mary Noonan-Chiusano and Robert Cutrofello. The second, PLAGUED (Fireship Press, 2014), is the first of The Michael of Rhodes Series. At present, Mary is drafting its sequel, FORTY DAYS. Mary has presented at Yale Writers' Conference, the Italian American Studies Association 48th annual conference in Toronto, Auburn (AL) Writers' Conference, UCONN's Osher Center for Lifetime Learning, and at numerous libraries and schools. Mary's shorter works have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, New York Journal of Books, America, Italian Americana, American Journal of Alzheimer's and Other Dementias, and Healing Ministry, among others. Mary teaches writing and chairs the English Department at Chase Collegiate School, Waterbury, CT. She leads her writing students on bi-annual trips to Italy, the country she considers her second home.

$180.

Writing for the Real World with Christine Palm

Monday, July 27, July 27 - 30, 6 - 8 pm

Throughout our lives, we are called upon to write something for a certain public occasion. Most of us dread this duty, which we execute out of respect for the person asking us, rather than out of any real joy of writing. Perhaps we are driven to protest an event in the news, but don’t know how to begin. Often, it can be the sad occasion of a loved one’s death, when an obituary is needed. Such public expressions can be intimidating, and, in the case of a crisis, stressful. In Writing for the Real World, students will explore such writing challenges as obituary, eulogy, wedding or anniversary toast, protest manifesto, testimony for a public hearing, op-ed, letter-to-the-editor, and perhaps even a piece to place in a family “time capsule” for future generations. 

Christine Palm recently completed a teacher's guide and film series entitled "What the Dead Know: Bringing to Young Audiences the Poetry of Six Modernists Buried in New England." She has taught creative writing, poetry, grammar and film studies at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and taught in Kent School's summer workshop for young writers. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in essay writing, published a chapbook with Finishing Line Press entitled Preparing the Ground, and currently serves as communications director for the Connecticut General Assembly's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. 

$180.

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!

CLUE Tours of the Mark Twain House

Thursday, July 30, Tours step off every 15 minutes starting at 7:00 p.m.

CLUE Tours will be offered in a special, one-night-only edition at The Mark Twain House & Museum, using the various rooms (secret passageway, conservatory, billiards room, and more) of the Twain house -- and some of the author's favorite literary characters -- as part of the game. 

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn? Was it Tom Sawyer in the Library with the Wrench? Merlin in the Billiard Room with the Knife? The Pauper in the Kitchen with the Rope?

Play our live-action version of the classic board game CLUE in an hour-long tour featuring the famed comedy troupe SEA TEA IMPROV as Twain's beloved characters/suspects. CLUE Tours provide all the murder, mayhem and merriment you expect in a whodunit. Our Clue Tours were featured on an episode of the Travel Channel show Wackiest Tours!

Sea Tea Improv (seateaimprov.com) is an improv comedy company professionally trained by Hartford Stage Company, ImprovBoston, and the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York that dazzles Hartford and beyond on a regular basis with their witty interpretations of audience suggestions.  They perform short improvised games and long improvised plays at public & private functions, teach classes to students of all ages, and train professionals in the art of communication. They've performed all over Connecticut, New England, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Reservations are required, and tours sell out, so please book early. Tickets are $22;  museum members are $17; children 6 to 17 are $15.  To purchase tickets, please call (860) 280-3130.

Aug

August


Playwriting Monologues with Sarah Moon

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6 - 8 pm

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Beginning Middle End with Melanie Faranello

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6-8 pm

We will work together to write our own short stories from beginning to middle to end, while focusing on various elements of fiction including plot, structure, point of view, characterization, and dialogue. Each class will be a combination of in-class writing to produce material as well as presentation and discussion on various aspects of craft.

Melanie P Faranello received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received various mentions including winner of The New School Chapbook Award Series in Fiction and a top twenty-five winner in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest. Her novel manuscript was a top finalist in Sarabande Books’ Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a semi-finalist in The Dana Awards for The Novel and in Whidbey Emerging Writers’ Contest. Her work has been published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Requited Journal, Ampersand Review, Literary Mama, Emerge Literary Journal, among others. She was awarded an artist residency from The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and has taught creative writing, composition, English, and literature for over ten years in Chicago, New York, and Ecuador. Originally from Chicago, she currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

$180.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, August 28, and Saturday, August 29, 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for summer 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.

Sep

September


Writing the Land with Christine Palm

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

Students will write about place using multiple genres. This class will expose students to various genres: poetry, memoir, short fiction, creative non-fiction, narrative, humor and dramatic scene, to name a few possibilities. The idea is to give students a chance to “sample” several genres to see what form best suits their own voice, and best conveys their thoughts. Students will stretch their ability to see, to recall, to describe. (We can, perhaps, play with chronology, but students will focus on the same place in each piece they write.) In this way, the writers will see how form shapes their perception of the place, and informs how they say what they want to say. 

Christine Palm recently completed a teacher's guide and film series entitled "What the Dead Know: Bringing to Young Audiences the Poetry of Six Modernists Buried in New England." She has taught creative writing, poetry, grammar and film studies at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and taught in Kent School's summer workshop for young writers. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in essay writing, published a chapbook with Finishing Line Press entitled Preparing the Ground, and currently serves as communications director for the Connecticut General Assembly's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. 

$265.

Fiction with Melanie Faranello

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

This class will combine craft talks on various elements of fiction writing including plot, structure, point of view, characterization, and dialogue along with in-class writing exercises for the first part of each session. The second half of each session will be dedicated to discussing participants’ own short story drafts. Participants’ manuscripts will be distributed to the class for constructive critiques and discussions each week.  

Melanie P Faranello received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received various mentions including winner of The New School Chapbook Award Series in Fiction and a top twenty-five winner in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest. Her novel manuscript was a top finalist in Sarabande Books’ Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a semi-finalist in The Dana Awards for The Novel and in Whidbey Emerging Writers’ Contest. Her work has been published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Requited Journal, Ampersand Review, Literary Mama, Emerge Literary Journal, among others. She was awarded an artist residency from The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and has taught creative writing, composition, English, and literature for over ten years in Chicago, New York, and Ecuador. Originally from Chicago, she currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

$265.

Nonfiction with Susan Campbell

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 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. Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. The mother of two adult sons, and the grandmother of seven, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary, and she lives in Connecticut with her husband.

$265.

Storytelling with Matthew Dicks

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

Speak Up co-founder and 16-time Moth StorySLAM champion Matthew Dicks teaches an intensive, six week long workshop on the art of storytelling. This is a workshop designed for people with little or no previous storytelling experience and seeks to meet the goals of a wide range of participants. While many of our workshop graduates have gone on to tell stories on stage for Speak Up, The Moth, and other storytelling organizations, most students take this beginner-level workshop with no desire to ever take the stage. People want to learn about storytelling for personal and professional development, to meet new people, to improve communication skills, to develop their writing ability, to challenge themselves, to finally get the attention of grandchildren and colleagues, and to try something new.

Included in this workshop will be:

·         Methods for generating ideas for stories from your life experiences (you have more stories than you realize!)

·         Games designed to generate new story ideas, develop the ability to speak extemporaneously, and apply the skills taught in the class

·         Structuring an effective story

·         The force of gravity in a story

·         Development of humor

·         Development of suspense

·         Performance techniques

·         The 17 Most Important Rules of Storytelling

In addition to the modeling of stories, direct instruction, and interactive components, participants will be invited to (but not required to) develop a story of their own that will be presented to the class for critique.

Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo, and the upcoming The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide, and his most recent is an international bestseller. He is also the author of the rock opera The Clowns and the musical Caught in the Middle. He is a columnist for Seasons magazine and has published work in The Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach, and a Lord of Sealand. He is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 16-time Moth StorySLAM champion and GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for The American Life, TED, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, and others. He is the co-founder and producer of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.  

$265.

Nature Writing Workshop with Hunter Liguore

Saturday, September 12, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Exploring the Art of Nature Writing

According to Thomas J. Lyon in his book, This Incomparable Land, nature writing has three main divisions: natural history information, personal responses to nature, and philosophical interpretation of nature. In this course we will explore the three types of nature writing that Lyon suggests. Through writing exercises that take us in into the field, we’ll discover the different ways to write about nature, setting, and place. Through reading diverse authors in the field, we’ll uncover a variety of styles, and find our own place within the spectrum.

About the instructor: Hunter Liguore, a multi-Pushcart Prize nominee, holds degrees in history and writing. Her work has appeared internationally, in a variety of venues, including: Bellevue Literary Review, New Plains Review, The Irish Pages, Empirical Magazine, The Writer's Chronicle, DESCANT, The MacGuffin, Rio Grande Review, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Mason Road, Rattling Wall: PEN America, Strange Horizons, Amazing Stories, and many more. She is the editor-in-chief of American Athenaeum, a museum of words, dedicated to publishing the voices of the past to the present. She was the editor of the Mary Shelley tribute anthology, The Last Man Anthology, which features such luminaries as Ray Bradbury. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate writing in New England. Her novel, Next Breath, is represented by Regal Literary in New York.

$40. Register by calling 860-280-3130 or clicking here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf -- “Caught in the Act - Stories about not getting away with it”

Friday, September 18, 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 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 here.

Oct

October


Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, October 2, Saturday, Oct. 3. Also October 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 29 and 30. 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some winter 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 all these creepy tales -- 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 (860) 280-3130 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click herefor tickets.

Nov

November


Songwriting with Donna Martin

Saturday, November 7, 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. Register by calling 860-280-3130 or clicking here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf -- “You Animal! Stories about encounters with beasts, both foreign and domestic”

Friday, November 20, 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 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 here.

Dec

December


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

Saturday, December 5, 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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 performance is 90 minutes, and there is no intermission.

Saturday, December 6 - TWO SHOWS! 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

$10. For tickets: please call (860) 280-3130.

Jan

January


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Feb

February


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