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.

Jul

July


BOOK/MARK - "The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House" with author Kate Andersen Brower

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

A remarkable history with elements of both In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.

America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

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

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

July 6, 2015 marks the 71st anniversary of the Hartford Circus Fire. Continuing The Mark Twain House & Museum's tradition of remembering 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.

Freelance Writing Group with Theresa Sullivan Barger

Wednesday, July 8, Second Wednesdays of the Month: Jul. 8th, Aug. 12th, Sept. 9th, Oct. 14th, 7 pm – 8pm $120

With the belief that more heads are better than one, freelance writer Theresa Sullivan Barger will lead monthly gatherings of writers to share the latest tips on freelancing, have all attendees share their progress on writing goals, discuss challenges and suggestions for how to approach a story or where to pitch a particular idea. The goal is for everyone to benefit from the wisdom of others.  The group will be open to freelance nonfiction writers interested in moving forward professionally from wherever they are. The hope is that we will be accountable to each other and report back on how we’ve done with our goals. The goal of the group is to serve as each other’s sounding boards, cheerleaders, coaches and mentors.

Call 860-280-3130 or click here to register.$120

BOOK/MARK - “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper” with author Tony Ortega

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

In 1971 Paulette Cooper wrote a scathing book about the Church of Scientology. Desperate to shut the book down, Scientology unleashed on her one of the most sinister personal campaigns the free world has ever known. The onslaught, which lasted years, ruined her life, and drove her to the brink of suicide. The story of Paulette’s terrifying ordeal is told in full for the first time in The Unbreakable Miss Lovely. It reveals the shocking details of the darkest chapter in Scientology’s checkered history, which ended with senior members in prison, and the organization’s reputation permanently damaged.

‘A brilliant exposition of how a child who escaped the Nazis grew up to be hunted by the Church of Scientology' - John Sweeney

'A page-turner packed with barely believable facts. The details are worthy of John le Carre' - Jon Atack 

This program will be moderated by Dan Perkins (a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow whose weekly comic strip This Modern World, which comments on current events, appears regularly in over 90 newspapers across the U.S. and Canada.)

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees

Followed by a book sale and signing. This is a free event, but reservations are recommended. Please call (860)280-3130 or click here.

Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Thursday, July 16, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 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.

Sea Tea Improv presents POWER POINTLESS TWAIN TALKS

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

The creative minds of Sea Tea Improv get professional in this night of improvised comedy. Without knowing any information in advance, these comedians will deliver Powerpoint Presentations, TED Talks, and other staples of business communication. The improv team will take both suggestions from the audience and from Twain axioms to piece together a night of comedy. Just don’t take their business advice too seriously—or Twain’s.

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 or click here.

Writing Workshop: Omit Needless Words

Saturday, July 18, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Saturday, July 18th, 1 pm – 4 pm, $40

"Omit Needless Words": Reacquaint yourself with Strunk & White’s classic guide to clear writing, The Elements of Style. We’ll dig deep into the deceptively spare text, reminding ourselves of the fundamentals of clear, strong writing. We’ll work on paring our own writing samples, learning to kill our darlings and discovering the joy of the simple, declarative sentence. Please avail yourself of a copy and review it before class so we can launch right in. 

Jennifer LaRue Huget is a long-time freelance writer, editor, and publicist living in East Granby. She has written for the health, travel, and KidsPost sections of The Washington Post for 15 years and is the editor of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history. She has published four children’s picture books with Random House. Jennifer has a B.A. and M.A. in English, both from the University of Maryland, College Park, and was the first director of public information for The Mark Twain House & Museum. She hopes each of the preceding sentences would pass muster with Mr. Strunk and Mr. White.

$40. Call 860-280-3130 or click here.

Herstory Theatre presents a reading of PIERCE, a play by Jacques Lamarre

Sunday, July 19, 2:00 p.m.

A reading of the new historical drama Pierceby Jacques Lamarre, featuring Rebecca Meakin, Virginia Wolf, Jomarie Pipolo, Ed Bernstein and Marisa Clement

Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, is one of the least studied chief executives in American history. His wife, First Lady Jane Pierce, is one of the most tragic figures to ever take up residence in the White House. After unspeakable misfortunes shower down on frail Jane Pierce of Amherst, New Hampshire, she is thrust on the public stage in front of a nation about to be torn into Civil War. Can she overcome her grief to assume her duties as First Lady?

Jacques Lamarre’s play I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, based on the memoir of the same name by Giulia Melucci, has been produced at TheaterWorks Hartford, George Street Playhouse, Asolo Repertory Theatre and, Seven Angels Theatre.  He is one of seven contributing playwrights on TheaterWorks hit production of Christmas on the Rocks.  His play Gray Matters was produced and toured by the Emerson Theatre Collaborative and was selected for the Midtown International Theatre Festival.  Readings and productions of other plays include Ned & Sunny – A Hartford Love Story (commissioned by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation), Honey LaBrea – The Lonely Thetan (Unitarian Society of Hartford Performing Arts Center),  Jacques Lamarre Has Gone Too Far (Hole in the Wall), Stool (New Works/New Britain, New York 15-Minute Play Festival Finalist), The Family Plan (Fusion Theatre semi-finalist, Hartford Opera Theatre), The Rub (Floating Theatre), Born Fat (HartBeat Ensemble, Little Theatre of Manchester), Pierce (Herstory Theatre), In the Garden of Sweden (Theatre4), Rapunzel and The Pied Piper of Hamelin (American Stage Festival).  He has co-written twelve shows for drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman, as well as the feature-length film Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads and two commercials for Fleet Enemas (It’s true.  Look them up on YouTube).  Jacques Lamarre, coincidentally, is the Director of Communications and Special Programs for The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Tickets are $10; $5 for members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: “The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio” with author Andrea Mays

Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 p.m.

Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession.

When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one—not even their author—believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published, and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language.

Seven years later, in 1623, Shakespeare’s business partners, companions, and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, gathered copies of the plays and manuscripts, edited and published thirty-six of them. This massive book, the First Folio, was intended as a memorial to their deceased friend. They could not have known that it would become one of the most important books ever published in the English language, nor that it would become a fetish object for collectors.

The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men—a brilliant author and his obsessive collector—separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities—Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds—of art and commerce—that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare “to the last syllable of recorded time.”

Andrea E. Mays has degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton and from UCLA, and teaches economics at California State University at Long Beach. Like Henry Folger, she is a native New Yorker and has had a lifelong Shakespeare obsession. She spent much of her Manhattan girlhood in the New York Public Library listening to vinyl LP recordings of performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Millionaire and the Bard is her first book.

This program will be moderated by Matthew Waterhouse. Matthew is a professional actor and writer. He has recently been awarded 'best actor' by the Big Finish Forum for his performance in the 13 part CD audio serial 'Dark Shadows: Bloodlust', based on the cult TV series. A #1 bestseller on US Amazon, ‘Bloodlust’ pushed Stephen King off the top spot. At the heart of Matthew's most recent novel, 'Precious Liars', is an eerie, mystical figure called The Shakespeare Lady, who apparently makes her living reciting Shakespeare outside West Village dives… Matthew can be found at MatthewWaterhouse.com

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

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.

Twain's Companions & Cohorts: A Walking Tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery with Steve Courtney

Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m. at the flagpole, Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Ave., Hartford

Our annual collaboration with the Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation explores Hartford's extraordinary Victorian burial ground, an outdoor museum of the Gilded Age. While Mark Twain is buried in Elmira, N.Y., many of his Hartford friends and associates found their final resting place in Cedar Hill's beautiful grounds.

On this hour-and-a-half walking tour, hear the extraordinary stories of some brilliant individuals, some feisty characters and a crank or two. Featured "residents" will include Reverend Joseph Hopkins Twichell, Charles Dudley Warner and Isabella Beecher Hooker.

Steve Courtney, biographer of Twain's Hartford friend Twichell and author of two books on the Mark Twain House, leads the tour.

"Your sponsored tour this past summer at the Cedar Hill Cemetery was one of the best tours we have taken," wrote a visitor. "We would love to return there. The historian who led the tour was fantastic!"

$5.00, payable at the site of the tour; no reservations, just show up!

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. Register here or by calling 860-280-3130.

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

BOOK LAUNCH - "The Two State Delusion" with author Padraig O'Malley

Tuesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum and the World Affairs Council of Connecticut presents an evening about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. A leading reconciliation expert argues that a two-state solution is no longer a viable path to create lasting peace in Israel and Palestine.

Author Padraig O'Malley will be on hand to launch his new book The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine - A Tale of Two Narratives.

This program will be moderated by Norton Mezvinsky, Professor of History Emeritus from Central Connecticut State University.

Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. After examining each issue and speaking with Palestinians and Israelis as well as negotiators directly involved in past summits, O’Malley concludes that even if such an agreement could be reached, it would be nearly impossible to implement given the staggering costs, Palestine’s political disunity and the viability of its economy, rapidly changing demographics, Israel’s continuing political shift to the right, global warming’s effect on the water supply, and more.

In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.

Padraig O'Malley (born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1942) is a peacemaker, noted author and professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston who specializes in the problems of divided societies, such as South Africa and Northern Ireland. He has written extensively on these subjects and has been actively involved in promoting dialogue among representatives of differing factions. 

Norton Mezvinsky is a Distinguished Professor (emeritus), Central Connecticut State University. He is currently the president of the International Council for Middle East Studies in Washington, D.C Professor Mezvinsky is an historian who has written about and taught courses on the modern Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and various aspects of United States history. He is currently writing a book with Professor Fuad Shaban that analyzes historically and culturally American views of and attitudes  about Islam. He has written and spoken extensively about Christian Zionism. The book that he co-authored with Israel Shahak, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, has been translated and published in four languages.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

Our Ice Cream Social!

Thursday, July 30, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

I scream, you scream, did someone say FREE ice cream?  The Summer heat is on its way, but we’ve got you covered (in sprinkles,that is)! The Mark Twain House & Museum invites everyone in for its 7th annual free Ice Cream Social on the Nook Farm Nook patio. 

Come on down and enjoy delicious frozen treats, sundaes with your favorite toppings ,and maybe some old fashioned lemonade from ‘Huck’s Lem’nade Stand’ served up by The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum!  If that’s not enough, how about a triple scoop of entertainment? There will be music by local artists Horizon Blue, face painting, and a bubble making station too! Top it all off with arts and crafts and a story time for the little ones, and you’ve got a cool, fun filled recipe fit for the whole family!

Horizon Blue is an acoustic Americana (folk, country and blue grass) musical group. Their performances are conversational, and inviting. The original songs they perform have a storytelling aspect and are well received by audiences of all ages. They also include songs in their performance that are well known to everyone. The music for this event is generously supported by the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

In addition, there will be discounted tours of the first floor of the Mark Twain House ($5 for adults, seniors, and children; under age 6 free).

Come have a pleasant summer evening of free ice cream, music, and more on the grounds of the historic Mark Twain House!

This event is generously supported by the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

Stick around after, for a rousing game of real-life CLUE Tours hosted by Sea Tea Improv inside the Mark Twain House. Please see the calendar entry for that event for prices & more information.

 

 

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.

This event is supported by Webster Bank.

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 or click here.

Aug

August


Playwriting Monologues with Sarah Moon

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6 - 8 pm (4 consecutive nights)

This workshop is an opportunity for writers to focus in on one of the most challenging, but potentially powerful forms of writing within the dramatic genre, a form that can also be put to use in fiction and poetry. The monologue, whether the character intends it to or not, always reveals. The way those revelations are made is a matter of craft that we'll discuss in-depth and practice in this workshop. Participants will read and discuss a selection of the great dramatic and comedic monologues from the Classical (Euripides, Aristophanes) to the contemporary (Tony Kushner, Amy Herzog). From those we read, each writer will pick an inspiration-model for the creation of his or her own monologue, which can be a stand alone piece or written for characters from works-in-progress. The workshop will culminate in readings of the finished monologues by guest actors followed by a group discussion. 

$180. Call 860-280-3130 to register or click here.

Beginning Middle End with Melanie Faranello

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6-8 pm (4 consecutive nights)

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

BOOK/MARK: “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist” with author Stephen Kurkjian

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

This is the definitive story of the greatest art theft in history.

In a secret meeting in 1981, a low-level Boston thief gave career gangster Ralph Rossetti the tip of a lifetime: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a big score waiting to happen. Though its collections included priceless artworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and others, its security was cheap, mismanaged, and out of date. And now, it seemed, the whole Boston criminal underworld knew it.

Nearly a decade passed before the Museum was finally hit. But when it finally happened, the theft quickly became one of the most infamous art heists in history: thirteen works of art valued at up to $500 million, by some of the most famous artists in the world, were taken. The Boston FBI took control of the investigation, but twenty-five years later the case is still unsolved and the artwork is still missing.

Stephen Kurkjian, one of the top investigative reporters in the country, has been working this case for over nearly twenty years. In Master Thieves, he sheds new light on some of the Gardner's most abiding mysteries. Why would someone steal these paintings, only to leave them hidden for twenty-five years? And why, if one of the top crime bosses in the city knew about this score in 1981, did the theft happen in 1990? What happened in those intervening years? And what might all this have to do with Boston's notorious gang wars of the 1980s?

Kurkjian's reporting is already responsible for some of the biggest breaks in this story, including a meticulous reconstruction of what happened at the Museum that fateful night. Now Master Thieves will reveal the identities of those he believes plotted the heist, the motive for the crime, and the details that the FBI has refused to discuss. Taking you on a journey deep into the gangs of Boston, Kurkjian emerges with the most complete and compelling version of this story ever told.

This story also leads to central Connecticut--federal agents have searched the Manchester home and yard of reputed Hartford mobster Robert Gentile, who is believed to have participated in the art heist.  During an April 2015 court hearing, the prosecutor said that the FBI has a recording of Gentile offering to sell some of the stolen art to an undercover agent. Learn more about all of this at this exciting event

This program will be moderated by Hartford Courant reporter Edmund Mahoney, who has written extensively about this story for the Courant.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

BOOK/MARK: "Diary of a Puerto Rican Demigod" with author Edwin Sanchez

Wednesday, August 12, 7:00 p.m.

 

After twenty years of unwedded bliss to billionaire Jason Wilcox, former chorus boy Javier Rivera (Javi), has his world turned upside down when he is traded in for Javi 2.0. turning him from a trophy boy to a trophy geezer. 

Banished from the Mount Olympus he shared with Jason and refusing to take any money from the man he still loves, Javi finds himself in the basement apartment of his parents' building. After a brief pity party for one, and with no marketable or discernible skills to fall back on, Javi sets out to rebuild his life.

"This beautiful story unfolds with equal parts humor and heart. Sánchez writes with brassy Latino flair and sharp Noel Coward wit, and by the end you will be clutching this book and its characters close to your heart." - Charles Rice-González, author of Chulito

Moderated by Bessy Reyna, award-winning Connecticut poet and writer.

Edwin Sanchez is well-know playwright and has strong ties to Connecticut.  He is graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and was once the Playwrite in Residence at Hartford Stage. Several of his plays have previewed at Hartford Stage, includingClean and Diosa. He also contributed a segment to the acclaimed play Christmas on the Rocks at Theaterworks. He is the recipient of a 1995 Berrilla Kerr Foundation Award, the 1994 Princess Grace Playwriting Award, the 1994 ASCAP Cole Porter Award, the 1993 Barrie Stavis Playwriting Fellowship, the 1993 Eugene O'Neill Scholarship, the 1992 George Pierce Baker Scholarship, the 1991 William Morris Agency Fellowship and a 1989 Artists Fellowship in Playwriting presented by the New York State Arts Council. He participated in the 1995 Sundance Screenwriting Lab and is a 1994 graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Mr Sánchez is a member of the Dramatists Guild and New Dramatists.

 

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

National Theatre of the Deaf performs "The Experience of the McWilliamses"

Sunday, August 16, 6:00 p.m.

The National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) will perform an adaptation of Mark Twain’s humorous short story, titled “The Experience of the McWilliamses.” Join Mortimer and Caroline while they deal with the household upheaval of having a sick child as only Mark Twain could spin this tale.

 As a special addition to the performance, the National Theatre of the Deaf will perform with the actors from the Theatre Immersion Program, in the original show “The W-5 Stories Behind Who, What, Where, When, & Why.” 

 The Theatre Immersion Program is a new initiative from the National Theatre of the Deaf to provide equivalent theater training to deaf and hearing high school students. For an entire week, the students have been immersed in workshops and rehearsals in preparation for tonight’s performance. The students will also get a taste of touring when they join NTD actors performing in various venues in Connecticut.

 The donations received from this performance will be used to support ongoing programming for both The Mark Twain House and the National Theatre of the Deaf.

Tickets for this performance are $10. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, August 28, and Saturday, August 29, 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for 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.

Writing Nature Poetry Workshop

Saturday, August 29, 10 am - 2 pm (pack a lunch!)

Nature Poetry Workshop

August 29th, 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. $40

Join poet and essayist David K. Leff for a nature poetry writing workshop.  There will be lively readings, discussion, a walk outdoors with acute observing, and a writing assignment with feedback.  Participants can expect an emphasis on sharpening all the senses to better perceive the world around them and more readily translate that experience into words.  Come dressed to go outdoors for a period of time regardless of the weather, and bring lunch to munch on while you write. Beginners and well published authors are equally welcome for a supportive learning experience.

David is the author of eight books, four of poetry.  He is a former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and has long been involved in natural resources conservation causes.  He has taught nature poetry at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk, and elsewhere.  His work is available at www.davidkleff.com  

Register by calling 860-280-3130 or clicking 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.

CAPITAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE HYBRID LITERATURE COURSE AT THE MARK TWAIN HOUSE AND HARRIET BEECHER STOWE CENTER

Wednesday, September 2, is the starting date; at 2:00 p.m.

Capital Community College (CCC) is partnering with The Mark Twain House & Museum andHarriet Beecher Stowe Center this fall to offer English 220 Studies in American Literature: Twain and Stowe. The three-credit hybrid course, a combination of in-person and online classes, will meet every other Wednesday from 2:00-4:42 p.m, alternating weekly between classrooms at the Stowe and Twain houses, and online. 

The first class will be held on September 2 at the Stowe Center.

Students will read and discuss works by two of American literature's most influential authors, and will have access to materials unique to these neighboring National Historic Landmarks. Capital's Humanities Chair, Dr. Jeffrey Partridge, will teach the class, and students will also learn from staff experts at the Stowe and Twain museums, who will provide them with a behind-the-scenes look at the houses, archives and exhibits.

Partridge, who also directs the Hartford Heritage Project, a National Endowment for the Humanities supported initiative to infuse CCC course curricula with local resources, calls this "an extraordinary opportunity" to teach Stowe and Twain on site at these museums, and being able to utilize the resources of these great institutions.

For example, students will get a walking tour of Nook Farm, specialized lecture-tours of the houses, interactive discussions on exhibits and archive material, and the opportunity to explore the collections for research projects.

This is the first time either of the institutions have held a course with an area college.

"We're delighted to join with Capital and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to offer this innovative new course," said Dr. James Golden, The Mark Twain House and Museum's Director of Education. "This partnership is an example not only of the robust cultural resources in Hartford, but how the history of one of America's oldest cities continues to inspire new learning."

"We are pleased to partner with Capital Community College and Mark Twain House & Museum to share the stories of literary legends and next door neighbors Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain, revolutionaries who changed literature and who continue to shape the nation's view of itself," said Katherine Kane, Stowe Center Executive Director.

Partridge doesn't intend to take up precious time with long lectures. "My role is to orchestrate student interaction with the resources and staff experts on site and to facilitate Socratic discussion. The online portion of the course will allow us to go deep in the literature through discussion forums and blogs," he said.

Asked about the significance of the course, Partridge states, "We always say the Hartford Heritage Project makes Hartford an extension of the CCC campus. This course takes that concept to the extreme. Hartford is our campus, literally."

 

To register, or to get more information, please visit www.capitalcc.edu.

A CONVERSATION WITH AUTHOR R.A. SALVATORE

Wednesday, September 9, 7:30 p.m.

As one of the fantasy genre's most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following.

His books regularly appear on best-seller lists and have sold more than 10,000,000 copies. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French.

He is the author of more than forty novels and more than a dozen New York Times best sellers, including The Two Swords.

Salvatore's first published novel, The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988, became the first volume of the acclaimed Icewind Dale Trilogy and introduced an enormously popular character, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Since that time, Salvatore has published numerous novels for each of his signature multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet.

His love affair with fantasy, and with literature in general, began during his sophomore year of college when he was given a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He promptly changed his major from computer science to journalism. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned for the degree he always cherished, the Bachelor of Arts in English. He began writing seriously in 1982, penning the manuscript that would become Echoes of the Fourth Magic. Salvatore held many jobs during those first years as a writer, finally settling in (much to our delight) to write full time in 1990.

The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the writer's letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers. He is in good company, as The Salvatore Collection is situated alongside The Robert Cormier Library, which celebrates the writing career of the co-alum and esteemed author of young adult books.

Salvatore is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts. He has participated in several American Library Association regional conferences, giving talks on themes including "Adventure fantasy" and "Why young adults read fantasy." Salvatore himself enjoys a broad range of literary writers including James Joyce, Mark Twain, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Sartre. He counts among his favorite genre literary influences Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Born in 1959, Salvatore is a native of Massachusetts and resides there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin. The family pets include three Japanese Chins, Oliver, Artemis and Ivan, and four cats including Guenhwyvar.

When he isn't writing, Salvatore chases after his three Japanese Chins, takes long walks, hits the gym, and coaches/plays on a fun-league softball team that includes most of his family. His gaming group still meets on Sundays to play.

This event is generously supported by The Hartford.

Tickets are $25, and $20 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum. There will be a VIP reception with the author at 6:00 p.m. for $65. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

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.

Henry Rollins in a Spoken Word Performance (2nd Date Added!)

Monday, September 14, and Tuesday, September 15, both nights at 7:30 p.m.

Henry Rollins is a multi-talented man--he’s a musician, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, television and radio host, spoken word artist, comedian, and activist. At The Mark Twain House & Museum, he’ll be performing a spoken word show.  It’s sure to be topical, funny, thoughtful, and unforgettable. Plus, it will be one of only a few shows that he is doing this year and the only one east of Chicago.

Rollins visited the house last year to film an episode of his educational television show 10 Things You Don’t Know.  The subject was Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.  Rollins was so taken by the house and the Twain history that he promised to return to do a show there.  The time has come.

Please note that this show is expected to sell out quickly, so please buy your tickets early.

About Henry Rollins

After performing for the short-lived Washington D.C.-based band State of Alert in 1980, Rollins fronted the California hardcore punk band Black Flag from August 1981 until mid-1986. Following the band's breakup, Rollins established the record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums, as well as forming the Rollins Band, which toured with a number of lineups from 1987 until 2003, and during 2006.

Since Black Flag disbanded, Rollins has hosted numerous radio and television shows. He had recurring dramatic roles in the second season of Sons of Anarchy, in the final seasons of the animated series The Legend of Korra as Zaheer, and has also had roles in several films. Rollins has also campaigned for various political causes in the United States, including promoting LGBT rights, World Hunger Relief, and an end to war in particular.

This event is generously supported by The Hartford.

Tickets are $45/$40 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click 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, technical producer, announcer, and photographer for WNPR, can be heard on the Colin McEnroe Show Monday through Friday at 1 and 8pm, and during breaks throughout the week!

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

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents TAPPING INTO TWAIN!

Friday, September 25, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

The party of the year featuring over twenty regional breweries, micro-breweries and home brewers plus over a dozen local restaurants and music.

Prices include all food, beverage and a collectible pint glass!

Supported in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Arts Campaign, with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Advance Price (prior to 12:30pm on Friday): $45, Door Price: $50, MTH&M Member Price: $40, Designated Driver: $20. Tickets: call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: "Providential" with author Colin Channer

Wednesday, September 30, 7:00 p.m.

Colin Channer's debut poetry collection achieves an intimate and lyric meditation on family, policing, loss, and violence, but the work is enlivened by humor, tenderness, and the rich possibilities that come from honest reflection. Combined with a capacity to offer physical landscapes with painterly sensitivity and care, a graceful mining of the nuances of Jamaican patwa and American English, and a judicious use of metaphor and similie, Providential is a work of "heartical" insight and vulnerability.

Not since Claude McKay's Constab Ballads of 1912 has a writer attempted to tackle the unlikely literary figure of the Jamaican policeman. Now, over a century later, Channer draws on his own knowledge of Jamaican culture, on his complex relationship with his father (a Jamaican policeman), and frames these poems within the constantly humane principles of Rasta and reggae. The poems withinProvidential manage to turn the intricate relationships between a man and his father, a man and his mother, and man and his country, and a man and his children into something akin to grace.

This event is generously supported by the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee.

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.

Oct

October


Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, October 2, Saturday, Oct. 3. Also October 9, 10, 16, 17, 20, 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.

Very Special "Trouble Begins" Event - Book Launch of "Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3" with editor Ben Griffin

Wednesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m. (note that this is not at the usual Trouble Begins time of 5:30 p.m.). The event will be proceeded by a wine and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m.

For this extra-special edition of "The Trouble Begins", the third and final book in Mark Twain's Autobiography will be launched. Editor Ben Griffin will be in attendance to talk about the three-volume series and what it took to produce these books over a 5-year period--100 years after Mark Twain's death.

When the first volume of Mark Twain’s uncensored Autobiography was published in 2010, it was hailed as an essential addition to the shelf of his works and a crucial document for our understanding of the great humorist’s life and times. This third and final volume crowns and completes his life’s work. Like its companion volumes, it chronicles Twain's inner and outer life through a series of daily dictations that go wherever his fancy leads.

Created from March 1907 to December 1909, these dictations present Mark Twain at the end of his life: receiving an honorary degree from Oxford University; railing against Theodore Roosevelt; founding numerous clubs; incredulous at an exhibition of the Holy Grail; credulous about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays; relaxing in Bermuda; observing (and investing in) new technologies. The Autobiography’s “Closing Words” movingly commemorate his daughter Jean, who died on Christmas Eve 1909. Also included in this volume is the previously unpublished “Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript,” Mark Twain’s caustic indictment of his “putrescent pair” of secretaries and the havoc that erupted in his house during their residency.

Fitfully published in fragments at intervals throughout the twentieth century, Autobiography of Mark Twain has now been critically reconstructed and made available as it was intended to be read. Fully annotated by the editors of the Mark Twain Project, the complete Autobiography emerges as a landmark publication in American literature.

"The Trouble Begins" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular evening 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." 

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

BOOK/MARK—“The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood” with author Kathryn Aalto

Monday, October 19, 7:00 p.m.

Delve into the home of the world’s most beloved bear! Few people know that the Hundred Acre Wood—the setting for Winnie-the-Pooh’s adventures—was inspired by Ashdown Forest, a wildlife haven that spans more than 6,000 acres in southeast England. The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh explores the enchanting landscapes where Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends live and play.

Readers can visit the ancient black walnut tree on the edge of the forest that became Pooh’s house, go deep into the pine trees to find Poohsticks Bridge, and climb up to the top of the enchanted Galleons Lap, where Pooh says goodbye to Christopher Robin. Readers will discover how Milne's childhood connection with nature and his role as a father influenced his famous stories, and how his close collaboration with illustrator E. H. Shepard brought those stories to life.

This charming book also serves as a guide to the plants, animals, and places of the remarkable Ashdown Forest, whether one is visiting in person or from the comfort of their favorite armchair. In a delightful narrative, enriched with E. H. Shepard’s original illustrations, hundreds of color photographs, and Milne’s own words, readers will rediscover their favorite characters and the magical place they called home.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

Followed by a book sale and signing. This is a free event but reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

A Conversation with Stuart Woods

Tuesday, October 20, 7:00 p.m.

Stuart Woods is the author of forty-four novels, including the New York Times-bestselling Stone Barrington series and Holly Barker series. The last twenty-eight of them have been New York Times best-sellers. He is an avid private pilot, flying his own jet on two book tours a year. His latest novel is Santa Fe Edge,to be published on September 21st. Learn more about the author on his website, www.stuartwoods.com.

This event is generously supported by The Hartford.

Tickets are $30/$25 for Mark Twain House & Museum members. There is also a VIP ticket available for $75, which includes premium seating, and a meet and greet reception with food and beverages. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Tom Sawyer's Trick or Treat

Saturday, October 24, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Bring the family for an afternoon of Halloween fun as we host the inaugural Tom Sawyer’s Tricks & Treats. Be amazed by magic tricks! Enjoy music and meet authors!  Costumes encouraged for trick or treating at Mark Twain’s house, too!

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

Grymm’s 1880s meets 1980s Masquerade Ball

Saturday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.

Details to follow.

Details to follow.

Nov

November


MARK MY WORDS: THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE

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

The Mark Twain House & Museum goes into hyper drive with MARK MY WORDS V…IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY!  In anticipation of the release of STAR WARS VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS, we have assembled a lineup of authors that write in the Star Wars Expanded Universe: novels, comics, reference books, children’s books, and graphic novels. 

With over 100 Star Wars titles between them, JASON FRY, JOHN OSTRANDER, MARK STACKPOLE, RYDER WINDHAM and TIMOTHY ZAHN have staked out the farthest reaches of the Outer Rim with adventures and characters from the films and of their own.  Join us for the MARK MY WORDS author panel at and you can also “Jabba-size” your experience with our VIPDEATH STAR DISCO & DESSERTS AFTER-PARTY at The Mark Twain House’s Webster Museum Center.  It’s going to be more fun than an Ewok celebration!

With the Immanuel Congregational Church’s beautiful neo-renaissance architecture serving as the backdrop for this unforgettable night, audiences will laugh, learn, and be inspired by these five men that have helped shape the face one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time.

Advance ticketes are $35 through November 1st. On November 2nd and later, tickets will be $45. There will be a VIP ticket available that includes premium seating at the event, a poster signed by authors, and the DEATH STAR DISCO & DESSERTS after-party in the Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House & Museum. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

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.

BOOK/MARK – “Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise” by author Oscar Hijuelos

Tuesday, November 10, 7:00 p.m.

The magisterial final novel from Oscar Hijuelos, acclaimed author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.

Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise follows famed 19th century journalist-explorer Henry Stanley, his wife, the painter Dorothy Tennant, and Stanley's long friendship with Mark Twain, as they venture to Cuba in search of Stanley's father. Told through a fictitious manuscript and imagined correspondence between Stanley, Tennant, and Twain, Hijuelos captures not only the general style of educated 19th century, but manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of channeling Mark Twain himself.

The manuscript--in the works for decades--was found by Hijuelos's widow after his death.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

 

Followed by a book sale and signing. This is a free event but reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click 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, technical producer, announcer, and photographer for WNPR, can be heard on the Colin McEnroe Show Monday through Friday at 1 and 8pm, and during breaks throughout 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, its 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.

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 35th Annual Holiday House Tour

Sunday, December 6, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

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

The tour will feature Mark Twain's 19-room home and several historic homes will be opened for viewing for the 35th year of this event. Each will be decorated for the holidays and will feature live music and floral arrangements. The Twain mansion will be decorated for a 19th-century Christmas with the Samuel Clemens family.

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

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

More details to come!

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

Ticketing information to be announced.

Jan

January


BOOK/MARK: “War Reporter” with author Dan O'Brien

Thursday, January 14, 7:00 p.m.

War Reporter is a book of poems which are based on the extraordinary career and personal struggles of Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporter Paul Watson. War Reporter is Dan O’Brien’s debut collection of poems and received the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Foundation's Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.

Paul Watson is a Canadian photojournalist and author. His reporting and photography spans almost three decades and includes conflicts in more than a dozen countries.

Dan O’Brien is a playwright, poet, and librettist. His play, The Body of an American, will be performed at Hartford Stage in January 2016. The Body of an American is the winner of the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and was shortlisted for the Evening Standard's Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright.

The Book/Mark Series is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

 

Followed by a book sale and signing. This is a free event but reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

The First Annual GAME OF SCONES: Holiday Bake-Off

Saturday, January 16, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

-- Featuring 8 local bakeries batting for the title of “Best Scone Maker in CT”

-- A lecture and book signing

-- Music & Light refreshments (Tea, pastries, appetizers)

-- Mead/Spirit Tasting

-- Magician Daniel Greenwolf

-- Medieval and Game of Thrones costumes are encouraged.

Futher details to be announced.

Ticketing information to be announced.

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