Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Big Top Goes Green

Concurrent with the 2010 Twain Centennial Celebration, The Mark Twain House & Museum has been helping to celebrate the bicentennial of another Connecticut icon this year – P.T. Barnum. The circus impresario and entrepreneurial legend was born in 1810 in Bethel, CT and we have been helping Bridgeport’s Barnum Museum with their year-long party by offering circus-inspired events in Hartford. This Saturday, November 13th at 11 a.m., we welcome ARTFARM, a Middletown, Connecticut based troupe that creates high quality theater with a commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice, and their high-flying Circus for a Fragile Planet. This program is the final of our 2010 "Saturdays with Sam" Family Matinees, so fill your clown car with the kiddies for this unique show!

Imagine a circus in which actors juggle bottled water, polar bears dance on melting ice floes, the props and set are recycled, and the core of clowns are called the Fossil Fools. That’s part of what you get in ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet, a brand new educational circus performance featuring juggling, clowning, physical comedy, acrobatics, unicycling, stilt dancing and other circus arts built around a strong environmental message.

The show is written, directed and features ARTFARM co-founder Dic Wheeler, who plays an offbeat Austrian scientist whose attempts at enlightening the audience about critical environmental issues are undermined by three fun loving clowns with an agenda of their own. Featuring a lively contemporary and classical musical score, Circus for a Fragile Planet is a side-splitting, mind-opening blend of circus and science.

The fast-paced, hour-long show has entertained and inspired audiences of all ages. The circus has performed with great success at universities, arts centers, festivals and nature centers. What every audience receives is a terrific small-scale circus which leaves them asking “what changes can I make in my lifestyle to become a more responsible world citizen?” The show addresses issues such as global warming, critical habitat, resource management, alternative energy sources, bottled water, recycling, species sustainability and individual responsibility in a way that is accessible and upbeat, accentuating the positive choices each individual or community can make to help build a better future for the planet. And the company shows up in a colorful bus powered by waste vegetable oil!

Check out ARTFARM in action here!

Tickets for Circus for a Fragile Planet are only $5 for children and $10 for adults. To reserve, call (860) 280-3130 or purchase tickets at the door. "Saturdays with Sam" is supported by Aetna, Hartford Steam Boiler and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This just might be your last reminder. No. I mean it this time.

By Susan Campbell

I'm teaching a course in creative non-fiction at Mark Twain House & Museum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Nov. 10 to Dec. 22.

We'll explore the likes of E.B. White (of course), Kay Redfield Jamison, Azar Nafisi, Mark Twain, himself (of course) and many others. Come read some fabulous writers, and work on your own fabulous writing, as well.

The cost is $500 for the six-week course (no class is scheduled for November 24). To register, call Steve Courtney at 860-247-0998, Ext. 243, or email

And yes, I'm pretty sure this is the last reminder because time is running out. That is all. Thank you.

Susan Campbell's Dating Jesus won the Connecticut Book Award for Biography/Memoir this year. She is an award-winning columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work has been 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, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary. She lives in Connecticut with her husband.