Floating Theater Company presents “In Your Face: Untamed and Unapologetic”
Thursday, July 15, 2010 7pm
Floating Theater Company returns to Green Street Arts Center of Wesleyan University for their annual staged reading of new plays by Connecticut writers. This year’s theme is IN YOUR FACE, works based on social and political topics. Please Note: Mature subject matter and language may not be suitable for children.
In these nine new short works, playwrights take on a variety of contemporary themes from corporate greed to gun control. The adult situations and language used in the works expand upon themes including the circus-like politics surrounding a women’s right to choose, labor and safety issues for American factory workers, and sexual identity and self-expression.
The Floating Theater Company, with co-directors Jean Wertz and Jenny Lecce, provides support to playwrights and actively seeks to partner with existing theater companies and Connecticut actors in the development of new works.
Tickets are $8; Member Price $5. For tickets call (860) 685-7871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
For those who love art and gathering with new friends, Green Street hosts A Trio of Solos, a community event featuring three local artists with amazing talents. You can enjoy live music from Ceol Go Maidin (formerly The O’Rourke’s Irish Session Band), fabulous food, and art on display and for purchase.
Meredith Arcari, Susan Aranoff, and Jennifer Theokary will fill three of Green Street’s spaces with their paintings, printings, and jewelry. We invite you to fill the rest of the space with other community members as we kick off our summer session in style.
These three dynamic artists are all friends of Green Street and the Middletown community. Meredith’s stunning paintings are based on photographs that she has taken during her travels around the world. In an expressionist style, she uses exaggerated colors and gravitates toward small, special moments such as the orchestra playing at 2am in her father’s town of Sepino, Italy.
Susan is a proud resident of Middletown’s North End. Much of her work features a linoleum block entitled “Sitting.” This block reflects the constancy of self and the reality of change and impermanence. Susan explained this saying “I can sit the same way, in the same place, everyday for a hundred years and the ‘I’ who is sitting is constantly changing and is never the same for very long. I have printed “Sitting” over 100 times and no two will ever be the same.”
Jennifer is a designer and Computer Aided Design artist who creates unique wearable objects (see picture above). Her recent work is inspired from her experience living and working in the Muslim country of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Jennifer’s work shows how cultural differences, religion, and Islamic architecture become inspiration for decoration and creation of wearable sculpture seen through a westerner’s eyes. All of her works will be available for sale at this event.
This combination of fascinating artists, great entertainment, and delicious food is sure to make A Trio of Solos an unforgettable event.
We hope to see you there!
A Trio of Solos
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Regular Price $8; Member Price $5
For tickets call (860) 685-7871 or email email@example.com.
Submitted by Rachel Roccoberton Griffin, Administrative Assistant
As Green Street’s Managing Director, I spend most of my days, and even some nights, working behind the scenes. I’m usually writing grants, soliciting support for programming, balancing budgets, managing operations and staff, and spreading the word about all of our offerings. I love what I do, and am even more passionate about this incredible organization for which I work, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t sometimes stressful. One of the best parts about working at this extraordinarily special arts center is that I can relieve my stress without ever leaving the premises.
About two years ago, instead of just working to market Green Street’s course catalog, I finally found the time to take advantage of some of the incredible classes that were listed in it. The first class I decided to try was Gia Khalsa’s Gentle Yoga. I had never taken a yoga class before, my knowledge limited by brief images seen on TV or other advertisements. The description of Gia’s class really grabbed my attention. “Gia’s gentle yoga” seemed immediately inviting, instead of intimidating. Her description went on to say, “perfect for those who want to get in shape or gain a little experience.” I wanted to get in shape, get familiar with yoga, and find a new way to unwind.
As soon as I laid down my yoga mat at the first class, I was hooked. Gia’s presence is warm, inviting, and motivating. She mixes traditional yoga postures with light stretches and relaxation throughout the class hour, focusing on all areas of the body, including breathing and stress relief. In one hour, Gia’s routine energizes, relaxes, reinvigorates, and motivates. Gia is encouraging and caters to all of her students’ needs, making everyone in the class- no matter their ability- feel welcome, engaged, and inspired. Yoga has not only helped me relieve stress, but has also played a large role in my quest for a healthier lifestyle. In addition, yoga at Green Street has been a bonding experience for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to take the class with my colleagues and enjoy meeting new friends. More recently, I am loving the quality time I get from taking yoga with my mom.
Even after working at Green Street for nearly four years, it is still evident that walking through the front door has the power to transform. I see it in my professional self each day, in our After School students’ eyes, and in the inspirational and passionate stories I hear from the families and adult students who make up the true fabric of the organization. Now, as a student myself, I have been transformed in a whole new way, and I encourage you to join me.
Gia is offering a Summer Yoga class beginning in July. To learn more about it and all of Green Street’s other summer offerings, visit us online at www.greenstreetartscenter.org. There are so many fantastic opportunities awaiting you…I hope to see you in Yoga, or Hip-Hop too! It’s another fabulous class that I’ve been involved in and it’ll be back this summer as well. Can’t decide what to take? Give us a call at (860) 685-7871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to assist you. Make sure to sign up for one of our great summer classes. I look forward to seeing you then.
Submitted by Jessica Carso, Managing Director and Green Street Student
On Saturday, June 12th, the Green Street Arts Center was filled with excitement. The 6th Annual Arts Festival took place and, despite the rain, was a great success. With performances like “Pickles” from the Songwriting class and the debut of “Middletown: Our Town”, an animated video created by the Digital Animation class, the entertainment was energetic, captivating, and certainly inspiring.
Even before entering the building, the festival’s energy was already evident. Teaching artist Anna had a line of eager kids waiting to get their faces painted, the neighborhood ice cream truck was popular as ever, and Frank was busily handing out free popcorn. Upon entering Green Street, you could already smell delicious food provided by our partners at Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar, Iguanas Ranas Taqueria, and Firehouse Steakhouse. Jerry’s Pizza had a table with free pizza that was always surrounded by hungry Arts Fest attendees. Broad Street Books brought a great assortment of arts supplies and books, and DeFabrica Therapeutic Massage was very popular, constantly providing people with refreshing massages.
After satisfying their hunger, guests could choose from a variety of amusements. The African Drumming classes were set up in the Multipurpose Room, providing hours of rhythmic entertainment. Adults and kids alike were invited to do arts and crafts in both the Wet and Dry Arts Rooms. Meanwhile, across the hall in the Performance Studio there was constant action, with breakdancing, musical performances, salsa dancing, animated videos, hip-hop, and more, continuously provided enjoyment for an exuberant audience.
Students in the Breakdancing class staged a breakdance battle to showcase their unbelievable moves. Young musicians displayed their talents in solo performances, as well as collectively in the Songwriting class’s amusing song “Pickles”. The salsa class inspired the audience to move and grove to Latin beats, and the Digital Animation class highlighted their skills with a video called “Middletown: Our Town”. ThoroEnergy also wowed the audience with a dramatic and engaging hip-hop performance.
When Arts Fest ended, attendees left with smiles on their faces, students left with a sense of pride in their accomplishments, and the staff were pleased with the success of the event and happy to have made new friends.
If you are interested in learning more about how your child can get involved in one of these (or other) great classes, call us at (860) 685-7871 or email email@example.com. For more information on upcoming events and classes, visit our website at www.greenstreetartscenter.org.
Green Street’s Annual Arts Festival is something I, and all of Green Street’s friends, look forward to each year. This year’s Arts Fest will take place on Saturday, June 12 and is sure to be an afternoon filled with creativity, excitement, food, and fun. ArtsFest is a great way for our students to showcase their hard work and successes throughout the year, and for the community to join us and participate in the fun as well.
This year features performances from Fresh Obsessed
breakdancing crew, ThoroEnergy hip hop crew, salsa students, and music classes. I am especially excited for the West African Djembe Orchestra- a diverse group of people ages 7 to 57 from the After School program, adult class, and Cromwell Children’s Home residency program who will be performing together. With the strong lead of teachers Jocelyn and Aaron, the group will rock out the beats of Lamban, Makru, and Yankadi.
For the first time, our outside attractions will include delicious food from partners in our membership program. We are pleased to welcome Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar, Iguanas Ranas Taqueria, Jerry’s Pizza, Broad Street Books, and DeFabrica Therapeutic Massage to the festivities.
While enjoying live performances and great food, you will also be able to meander through the building to view the artwork, stop by a classroom for a free mini-class in Salsa or visual arts. You can enter a raffle to win a free Green Street class or even plants from Starlight Gardens in Durham. Don’t miss out on a chance to sign up for Summer classes right on the spot.
In addition to this scintillating array of amusements, mural artist Marela Zacarias will begin painting the new mural, designed by Green Street students, across the street at St. Vincent dePaul’s Place. All community members are welcome and encouraged to help out.
By the way, have I mentioned that all of this is free? It is! I hope to see you there!
In 2005, Jean started volunteering at the after school program. At first thejob entailed helping with the snacks that are given to the children when they arrive, followed by assisting with the homework assignments. The hardest part was adjusting to the confusion, as 40-50 lively students hopped off the bus and were eager to begin another afternoon program at Green Street. Anything beyond fourth grade mathematics was a challenge as they don’t teach it the way the Shaws were taught. After the dust settled (thanks to Cookie’s handling of the initial chaos… a distinctive and ever-present voice) things went more smoothly. The most rewarding part of this venture was making new friends and watching as the students grew and began to work together. Just a “please” or “thank you” was a big reward.
It was in the fall of 2006 that Biff started to hang out with Jean … just to see what it was all about. Little did he expect that a casual drop-by would become a regular part of the weekly calendar. Helping with snack was easy and sometimes fun. Mentoring was hard and many times just plain boggling. Reading for comprehension was a challenge and adding and subtracting using one’s fingers or checkmarks on a page is a long way from rote learning done 70 years ago.
We persevered and the kids, while baffled by our inability to understand their way of learning, were really very patient with us – sometimes more patient than we were with them or with our own frustration.
It wasn’t until 2009, when a dedicated corps of Wesleyan students and others took charge of mentoring, did we hit our stride. Since then we have concentrated on food “service” and service it has become. Special orders are the call of the day. The old “some like it hot – some like it cold” has become our signature. We have learned who likes only peanut butter on peanut butter and jelly days, and who prefers a turkey and cheese without cheese. The students obviously appreciate it. They show it in many ways and if we have gained nothing more than their respect and a semblance of good manners … we feel we have achieved our goals.
As a result, it really didn’t end up so much a vocation, as a labor of love.
Submitted by Jean and Biff Shaw, After School Volunteers
Even as we begin to wrap up the After School year, Green Street still relies heavily on its volunteers! There are a number of After School and non-After School volunteering opportunities available. If you are interested in getting involved, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (860) 685-7871. We hope to hear from you soon!
Dancing is my life and it is something I really want to pursue as a career path. I started dancing as soon as I could walk. As far as I can remember I always loved watching music videos on TV and listening to music in general. I mainly taught myself how to dance; it must run in the family because my mom loved to dance in her younger days. I enjoyed dancing so much that I thought, “Why not get better by taking some classes?” This is where Green Street came in.
Being at the Green Street Arts Center has helped me with my goal of dancing in many ways. The classes and workshops that I took had hip-hop teachers that were older and more experienced in the “dance world”. I also met choreographers that gave me advice on how to enhance my dancing skills.
In 2007, I decided to start my own dance crew called ThoroEnergy. This
endeavor was a major one and actually helped me get my foot in the door. My crew consisted of about 10 people and is constantly growing and evolving. We’ve definitely come a long way. We have had the opportunity to perform in many places, including talent shows, festivals, parties, schools, and even appeared in a music video. After the great exposure that has come from these opportunities, ThoroEnergy is still standing, and definitely dancing.
In addition to inspiring me to start ThoroEnergy, Green Street has also provided me with a choreography and teaching job, which involves teaching hip-hop to After School students and whoever else is interested. This has been a help because I am getting a lot more publicity with my dancing, and meeting a lot more people who can help me on my way to reaching my goal. I now get called to different places, such as schools and festivals to teach. This has gotten me started on reaching my goal of dancing, but I’m definitely not finished yet. I plan to go to a college for dance, to advance myself and hopefully into the spotlight. I am trying everything it takes to get to where I want to be and I’m not planning on giving up.
The Youth Dance Invitational that I judged was a success. Kids from the North End came down to battle, trying to take a trophy home. I definitely had a good time watching the battles, and was surprised to see some really talented dancers. Hopefully Green Street will be able to host something else like that again.
Rachel recently sat down with b-boy (breakdancer) and Green Street teaching artist Bryan Giles to talk about the upcoming screening of Middletown B-boys and the Youth Dance Invitational.
Q: What is your dancing history?
A: I have been b-boying, exclusively, for the last 15 years. I got into it when I snuck into a party at Wesleyan University when I was 15. I saw it for the first time and it was just something I knew I wanted to do. I had no foresight that it would take me to the places I have been.
The opportunities and honors that b-boying has given me are huge. When I lived in Thailand, I was asked to dance for the queen. I was unable to perform but to be the first American b-boy asked to perform for her was a big honor.
Q: Tell me about Of Shadow and Earth.
A: Of Shadow and Earth is a b-boy crew of 15 active members, and 30 additional members. It’s not only that though; we are a family. We all started together, trained together and sessioned together. It’s great to be a part of a collective mind of people who are willing and looking to support each other, not just in b-boying, but in life as well. The crew began in Middletown and has branched out to include members in other cities and states. Bryan battling a fellow b-boy.
Q: What’s Fresh Obsessed?
A: Fresh Obsessed is a youth b-boy crew of 12 members based out of Green Street Arts Center. It started a few years ago because I wanted my students to know the other side of b-boying; not just the “academic” side of it. I wanted them to experience what it means to be a b-boy and to work and train hard to go to battles. More importantly, I wanted them to learn what it means to be in a crew and how to support each other. For me, I view the team as a great leadership opportunity for the kids. They all have their different strengths, which come through in their training.
Q: What is it like to teach at Green Street Arts Center?
A: Wow. It is such an amazing experience to have. Working with these kids helps me strive to be a better person and to be a positive influence for them, especially when what generally gets shown in hip hop culture is negative and excessively decadent. What I show them is true hip-hop culture, where money and race don’t matter. What does matter is building your own identity within hip-hop.
Some of the members of Fresh Obsessed have displayed such skill that they have gained the attention of members from Of Shadow and Earth and have been asked to battle in to the ranks of the crew. It’s something that I am very proud of and I am happy to give the students this opportunity.
Q: Tell me about filming the documentary Middletown B-Boys.
A: It was started in 2004 and was a fun experience if not a little weird at times. I was not used to having cameras follow me and peer into the intimate moments during practices and at events. It was a good experience for us. We, as a crew, were happy that someone was taking an interest in us and in our culture and wanting to document the work and process that goes into the style. And I think that a lot of people only see the end product, what comes from the time we spend training, and they don’t see what it is we have to go through to get to that point or what sacrifices we have to make. I think the film shares some insight into this.
Q: What is the Youth Dance Invitational?
A: TheYouth Dance Invitational is a kids’ dance battle for ages 8-16. It is meant to encourage dancing and the use of dance as a creative outlet to stay out of trouble. First of all it, is a chance for kids to compete. A lot of kids that are into street dance are not aware that there is a bigger dance scene than what goes on in their neighborhoods or their school dances. Secondly, it is a chance for them to meet and compete against kids in their age groups. And hopefully inspire them to become better dancers. We chose Green Street to host the Invitational because Fresh Obsessed and ThoroEnergy, a local hip hop dance crew, are based here.
Q: Tell me about the day.
A: When the dancers arrive they will sign in and there will be a warm up dance session. Then the judges will showcase their skills before competition begins. There are two competitions, one-on-one b-boy/b-girl and hip hop freestyle dance. All ages will compete against one another. We have a prize package from Losst Unnown for the first and second place winners in each of the two categories and trophies for the first, second, and third prize. We will also have DJ N.E.B who will be on hand to DJ the event. He has over twenty years of experience playing music for these types of competitions.
Thank you to Bryan for sitting down and talking with us. To see him in action be sure to come to the Youth Dance Invitational and the Middletown B-Boys film screening. Here is more info on the two events happening this weekend:
On Friday, filmmaker Bridget Palardy, Wesleyan University Class of ’05, will present Middletown B-Boys, a documentary following two B-Boy crews currently operating in Middletown, Of Shadow and Earth and 4-ONE. According to Palardy, the film “is a portrait of the two crews as they negotiate religion, race, drug abuse, and life in a small city.” Middletown B-Boys recently won an award from the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was officially selected by the Chicago International Hip Hop Film Festival. Following Palardy’s presentation the screening, there will be a cypher, or breakdancing event, between local crews.
The following day will feature a competition between the best local youth dance groups, hosted by ThoroEnergy, Of Shadow and Earth, and Losst Unnown, in partnership with Green Street. ThoroEnergy is a newly formed hip-hop dance troupe featuring several Green Street students and founded by alumnus Eric Quiñones. Prizes will be awarded for the top dancers in a one-on-one b-boy/b-girl battle and hip hop freestyle categories.
Middletown B-Boys: Film Screening and Breakdancing Event
FRIDAY, May 21, 2010 | 7pm
$8 Non-Members; $5 members/students/seniors
Recently the Green Street staff went out to lunch to enjoy good food, good company, and beautiful weather. They decided to take advantage of the discounts they receive at local businesses with their Green Street membership card. At Tandoor Indian Restaurant, Jessica, Lisa, Sarah-Jane, Rachel, and Claudia enjoyed delicious food from the lunch buffet, which offered dishes such as pattar paneer, keema curry, chicken tikka masala, and freshly baked naan; there was certainly something for everyone.
Claudia had the shrimp korma and said, “It was such a nice change of pace in my work day to be able to experience the tantalizing flavors of the Indian cuisine at Tandoor”. For dessert they all went to Cold Stone Creamery where Rachel thoroughly enjoyed her OREO Overload. “There’s something about Cold Stone that I really like. They’re so friendly and it’s a very welcoming atmosphere,” she said.
Cold Stone was one of the original Green Street Membership partners. “It’s
amazing to see that, in just a few short months, we’ve expanded our Membership program to include over 52 partners,” marveled Jessica, “and it’s wonderful to continue to support one of our original partners as well.” In the same day, Jessica ran to It’s Only Natural Market, one of Green Street’s newest partners, and used her membership for a 10% discount. “In a matter of minutes, I used my Green Street membership card at three different places around Middletown, and there are so many other opportunities to do so. The Green Street Arts Center Membership Program is a great way for individuals to support local businesses, community partners, and Green Street while getting fantastic deals at the same time.”
Green Street’s membership program continues to evolve and expand. Our most recent partners are the Cardinals Nest and Tschudin Chocolates. Visit our membership website to see what great deals you can get at all of our partner businesses and regional organizations!
To become a member call (860) 685-7871 or email email@example.com and say “Yes! I want to become a member!”
What makes a community? It is not the buildings and roads of a place, but
the bonds between people, that create a community. This is apparent in Reaghan Tarbell’s film, To Brooklyn and Back: A Mohawk Journey. The film tells the story of the Mohawk people of Kahnawake, Quebec, who, for over 50 years, have occupied a 10 square block neighborhood in the North Gowanus section of Brooklyn called Little Caughnawaga.
A chance for employment is what led the skilled ironworkers of Kahnawake to Brooklyn, and their wives and children followed. The women, too, often sought work opportunities in the “golden” city of New York. The women were instrumental in keeping the community strong and Mohawk culture alive in the Brooklyn neighborhood. But the people of Little Caughnawaga never forgot where they came from, and often travelled the long journey between Brooklyn and Quebec to visit their extended families. The film also covers the tragic Quebec Bridge collapse of 1907, a catastrophe which killed 75 people, including 33 men from the Kahnawake community.
Reaghan now works in New York City and lives in Brooklyn, just a few blocks away from the Mohawk community that she heard stories about while growing up in Kahnawake. The women who built this community were her grandmothers, aunts and other relatives. Reaghan explains, “Never have I thought more about them than during my own time living in Brooklyn. Although many years have passed I had a feeling, based on my own experiences, that deep down not much has changed for Mohawk women. I wanted to learn about their experiences. I wanted to hear about the issues they faced and I wanted to hear it from the women in whose path I was now walking.”
To screen the film and learn more about Reaghan Tarbell, come to Green Street on Friday, May 14 at 7pm. Suggested donation is $5.
Submitted by Stephanie Elliott, Friend of Green Street and Publicist at Wesleyan University Press