Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Not To Hear: Halestorm (Again!)

Friday, Jan. 1: Halestorm @ The Wolf Den, Mohegan Sun Casino

Oh, look, I already had a fit about this awful outfit, back in October when they played Hartford. It's all still true (and funny).

Have a miserable new year with Lars von Trier

Jan. 1-3, 9: Antichrist @ Real Art Ways, Hartford

Lars von Trier's Antichrist has actually been out for months and months in other countries and cities, riling up critics and viewers with its alleged (and probable) misogyny and gratuitous misery. My favorite ladyblog deemed it unwatchable, but of course the generally penis biased AV Club pretty much loved it. Antichrist has also been available to most cable viewers for months on demand, so I'm sure I'm not spoiling anything by saying that this is a preposterous movie about improbable, privileged people: a couple mourn the death of their son; paternalistic douchebag hubby Willem Defoe prescribes a course of intense talk therapy at a secluded cabin for his unstable wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg; sex, violence and crazy ensue, with absurd, pretentious directorial flourishes. Sounds awful. But features actors I enjoy and a controversy magnet director. So obviously this is the latest in a line of feel-bad movies that I must see.

Future Failing Business: Backstage Pizza

Hey, didn't that cute little building behind all the other shops in West Hartford Center used to be a coffee shop? And a juice bar? And another coffee shop? And an Indian restaurant? It seems like an ideal location - right near a bustling parking lot, with a courtyard that's been used for outdoor dining and even live music in the past. But every business that has opened here over the years has flopped in cut time. So good luck Backstage Pizza, trying to overcome that curse and having to compete with Harry's and Luna's (which actually suck but are inexplicably popular...).

Scenic Coffee in Avon

I've driven past The Coffee Trade in Avon about a zillion times, and though the concept of coffee and antiques in one adorable little shop is intriguing, it also sounds a little icky. Is the coffee antique? No, no it isn't. A rather large bird told me to check it out - that they roast their own beans right in the shop and the interior is impeccable. I arrived just on time to get an action shot of the beans spewing out of the roaster, which is pretty impressive looking and smelling. Doesn't it look kind of like a choo-choo? Adorable hand drawn signs at the coffee counter describe a variety of enticing, fluffy flavored espresso drinks, but I opted for a simple coffee so I could try the house roast, a light roast. Although I was completely charmed by the locale, the friendly staff and the coffee bean cascade, the drink itself was just ok. It certainly doesn't compete with that cute new shop at West Hartford Center. The Coffee Trade also has a few rooms full of antiques, sparkly trinkets, novelties, and gourmet teas, cookies and candies, but they're pretty pricey. As much as I would enjoy a set of Oriental rug coasters, I'm not paying $20 for them. Look, I could have them for like $13. I'll wait til they turn up at the Lot.

A Deal at Whole Foods: $2.50 salad

The truth is that Whole Foods, or "Whole Paycheck" as the funny people like to call it, is too damn expensive, and most of their prepared food just isn't that good anyway and we've got a Trader Joe's, so no big loss... But this $2.50 goat cheese salad is just fantastic. Made with sweet pecans, dried cranberries, and 2 chunks of crumbly goat cheese, you probably couldn't get a better price buying those ingredients on your own, and then you'd have to be in the mood for like ten salads, and this health kick is probably only going to last another day or two. Look for this and other moderately good deals in the "2 for $5" boxes. The salads look little in the box, but perk up to a respectable meal size in your bowl.

Tip: Little boxes of salad are a great place to hide your birth control!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Correction! re: Joe Lieberman, vaginaface

In an earlier post, we referred to CT Senator Joe Lieberman as a "gross vaginaface." We regret any confusion this characterization may have caused. "Vagina" refers to internal genitalia. A more anatomically correct word choice would have been "vulva-face" or "labiaface."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Great Gifts: Limbless Kitties!

If you thought that Munchkin cats were a great idea or that Bonzai Kittens were real, then you'll just flip for Limbless Kitties! These little immobile sweethearts are perfect - they'll sit for endless hours of petting for the affection starved spinster, they never scratch, and can't run away from your careless, loud, sticky children. Limbless kitties start their lives off like any other kittens, but after six months, they shed their claws, become incredibly lazy, and eventually the limbs atrophy and recede into the torso. Place your order today. $500 deposits payable, as always, to CT Scenic.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's Hot at the Lot: Pajamas!

I'm so happy I bought this pair of Hanes tagless organic 100% cotton sleep pants for $4 at The Lot. They are everything one could hope for in a pair of pajama pants: comfortable! And that's about all there is to say about that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I can't believe I watched the whole thing!

Check out this hour or so long Youtube hate missive to George Lucas regarding his totally awful Star Wars prequels. Some of you may think an hour of exposition on the subject is over the top, but I too feel very strongly about the awfulness of the prequels, and maintain the brilliance of Star Wars: A New Hope. And since we're all staying in because it's supposed to blizzard out any second, do you really have anything better to do?

Watch it here.

While we're at it, doesn't Avatar look terrible? Here is an interesting little discussion about why.

We're just not that into snow

Saturday, Dec. 19: Shag Frenzy @ The Shadow Room, Middletown

We're not likely to risk a weather related accident by going out (besides, we've blown our meager party budgets on Hookers and pizza already this weekend), but if we were solvent, and it weren't going to be snowing snowing, we would consider attending Shag Frenzy tonight. We haven't been to the 3rd Saturdays alt/80s party since it's latest change of venue, but we're sure it's just as full of hipsters as we remember it from Sweet Jane's (RIP) and the Webster (ugh).

(Photo stolen from Shag Frenzy & Lowbrow, but he's our friend, hopefully he won't report us)

Friday, December 18, 2009

In Other Gay News...

Here is a very scenic episode of Pee-Wee's Playhouse for your holiday enjoyment:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CT: Call for progress on gay movies

We haven't been to the movies in ages because there's been nothing to see. Now we're excited to check out The Road, but we are even more interested in seeing A Single Man, designer Tom Ford's directorial debut, which stars adorable Colin Firth as a sad (i.e. grieving) gay man, along with lovely Julianne Moore in a 1960s setting. This film promises epic style, obvs, but has already earned rave reviews for its emotionally affecting substance. Total package, anyone?

Regrettably, the movie has apparently suffered some "de-gaying" in its promotion (note the implied hetero movie poster), which Firth discussed in a recent interview with The (gay) Advocate. And unfortunately, it's only opened in NYC and LA so far, which is ridiculous, because here in CT you can have opposite marriage, and you can't in Cali, so we really deserve this movie now. No sign of it thus far on the RAW schedule. Anyone know anything we don't? On the "bright side," this may give us time to read the book first.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

At Last: The Road comes to Hartford

Cormac MacCarthy's The Road is one of the best books I've ever read, and millions of other readers and the Pulitzer people agree. I've waited with a mix of impatience and skepticism for the moviefication to materialize on screen, and after loads of buzz, delays, a tonally inappropriate trailer and more delays, the movie was finally released a few weeks ago. But not in Hartford, or anywhere near Central CT.

Well, finally this weekend The Road opens at Cinema City in Hartford (and probably other locations...).


As I understand it, there is no baby roasting in the film. Boo on you, director John Hillcoat.

This Week: Our Favorite Parties (Again)

Thursday: Creative Cocktail Hour @ Real Art Ways, Hartford

This month's third Thursday event will feature a reading by Oprah-approved Connecticut author/famous person Wally Lamb, who has a new book, Wishin' and Hopin'. We aren't entirely comfortable with the Palin-esque grammar of that title, but we read and enjoyed his debut novel, She's Come Undone, back in Modern American Lit class, which was quite racy for public school! We would be there anyway for the drinking, socializing and excuse to wear our fashion-y things, but Wally Lamb is pretty cool, and hi-pro for Hartford. Come early if you hope to find parking.

Friday: Beer Tour & Tasting @ Hooker Brewery, Bloomfield

We liked the Hooker beer event so much earlier this month, that we just might go back for more. More Nor'easter that is. Last time we determined that the 4 oz. sample cup is actually the perfect beer amount, as it doesn't give you the time and volume to end up with that gross warm bottom-of-the-glass beer experience. Cheers to little baby beer samples! This event is lite on the touring and heavy on the tasting and hooker = prostitute jokes, every first and third Friday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry XXXmas

Tonight at The Bushnell, the CT Gay Men's Chorus presents a vegas-style holiday spectacle, Sin City Santas. This promises to lean toward the 'naughty' side, but what happens in Hartford, stays in Hartford. If you can't make it, here is the only video of them I could find:

And They Say Hartford Has No Nightlife...

This video was shot outside of Room 960 in Hartford after one of those "Kitty Kat" Parties (ie. dyke night). Do they still do those? Anyway, I know 4 minutes seems like an eternity, but it's worth it. And if you really have some time to kill, read the comments. Oh and... NSFW.

This treasure is courtesy of our friends at ZigZie Productions, straight outta' scenic Bristol.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shouldn't you have known better than to drink raw milk?

We're sorry that kids suffered, but really parents, what the hell were you thinking? According to the Hartford Courant, two West Hartford families are suing Whole Foods and Simsbury's since defunct Town Farm Dairy because their children became sick due to E. coli present in the raw milk they bought. Just to review, the reason we buy milk and pretty much everything we drink pasteurized, is because the process kills off most of the potentially harmful bacteria which are naturally present on and in cows and their milk, including E. coli. Basically, it gets the levels down, but of course there's all kinds of nasty shit leftover, and that's why milk spoils so quickly.

An attorney for the families claims the raw milk was not adequately labeled to warn buyers of possible risks associated with drinking bacterial cow punch. Well, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, we weren't there, but we wouldn't drink that shit, and hope these kids will go on to sue their parents at a later date. We'll stick to our soy juice, thanks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saturday Night Live: Punks & Pianos

Saturday, Dec. 12: Steven Deal @ ArtSpace, New Haven

Steven Deal pays power pop or pop punk, or something that starts with a "P" and engages a minimal number of chords per song. He played in some CT bands, Bleached Black and Chopper, that are a little before our time, but we'll take his word for their almost-famousness. He's back after a long hiatus from performing with a new solo record to promote. We're not convinced that "artists" are any more entitled to civilized affordable housing than other underemployed people, so the least you can do is take advantage of these ArtSpace gigs when they happen and go puke on their steps or something.

Saturday, Dec. 12: Matt Zeiner Band, Bipolar Jukebox @ Sully's Pub, Hartford

Or if, like us, you don't live near New Haven, head over to Sully's for a night of rock featuring handsome, talented, prematurely old sounding keyboard frontmen Matt Zeiner and Andre Balazszs. Matt Zeiner has rather famously performed and recorded with Dickey Betts. His solo gigs tend to be few and far between, which keeps it precious, so we're sure it will be a major scene.

La Petite Bourgie Coffee

Jackie Scenic and I have lately bemoaned the dearth of tasty coffee in these parts. We know of certain sit-down places and nice restaurants where you might obtain a coffee that doesn't taste like swill. But area coffee specialists, including the always-awful corporate options (Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts) as well as local indie fixtures like Tisane leave us wanting [something hot and caffeinated to drink that doesn't taste like warmed acid with dirt in it].

So I was pleased to discover that West Hartford Center has a new coffee shop and bakery that is actually worth going to, La Petite France. Apparently they boast an actual French person baker, which is fine. I bought a pastry called a pepite, which was kind of like an unrolled chocolate croissant. It was airy and buttery and delicious, but due to budgetary constraints, I won't be making $3+ treats a regular habit. I also had a free sample of one of the yule log cakes, which was awesome.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the coffee, and how I'm glad there's someplace to get a good cup to go. At La Petite France they make their coffee with a French press, which is really the way you should. None of that drip/filter crap. Barrier methods are fine for birth control, but not for coffee, thanks. I've been to Europe, ok, and I know that coffee is supposed to have a rich color and flavor on its own, unrelated to cream and sugar. The coffee was $1.50, which is totally reasonable. So, hurrah. I'll be back, if I can face the parking nightmare.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday Night Default: The Spigot

Cheap Drinking @ The Spigot, Hartford

This and every Friday we may just find ourselves drinking at the Spigot Cafe, a watering hole whose abundant charms include darts, the jukebox, no cover charge, and vintage sports paraphernalia all over. Oh, and a cooler with like a hundred different bottled drinks, including that He-Brew crap for the kosher fetishists, and for us, at least four different ciders(!), which are $2.50 apiece Friday nights. The crowd is usually pretty vanilla, but one time CT Scenic met a handsome (taken) intellectual punk there, and many (more than three) former Hartford Advocate employees have been spotted at the bar over the years. So, basically, it's where you're drinking if you're thinking. Or you can't afford anything else.

Scenic Trivia: How Well Do You Know Jodi?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bloomfield Royalty

Disney has come a long way since Song of the South. Their newest animated film, The Princess and the Frog, will star their first black princess, Tiana. More importantly, the princess will be voiced by Bloomfield native Anika Noni Rose! After graduating from Bloomfield High in 1990, Anika went on to study Drama and Theater and then began acting professionally. She won a Tony for best actress in 2004 for the Broadway hit Caroline, or Change and is probably best known for her role in Dreamgirls in 2006. Anika auditioned three times for the part of Tiana, finally beating out some of Hollywood's finest, such as Beyonce Knowles, Alicia Keyes and Tyra Banks. Being part of a Disney film has been a lifelong dream of hers:
I know when I saw "Fantasia" that I wanted to be one of those creatures, period. I was 2. It wasn't like I recognized voice at that time. I wasn't thinking, "I want to be a voice-over actor." I just knew I wanted to be in that, without having the desire to be an actor at all. With each movie, they got me, more and more and more. I always did voices when I was a kid. I was terrible. I'd imitate people all the time. My mother was like, OK, we'd be in the mall, and she'd say, "Anika, if that person turns around, there's nothing I can do for you." I was imitating their walk; I was imitating the way somebody chewed gum; I would do people's voices. I've always been attracted to voice and sound.
This is an important, albeit extremely past due, occasion in Disney history. We can only assume the film will be based on the same stereotypes and cliche plotlines they've been recycling since 1937, but we hope those messages of love and equality and whatnot will shine through.

The Princess and the Frog premieres this Friday, December 11th at a scenic theatre near you!

(If you have forgotten some of your favorite racist Disney moments, refresh your memory here.)

John Mertens: We Totally Know Him

Congratulations, John Mertens, on your Wonkette debut and your fine Lieberman satirizing spot. And congratulations Mr. Lieberman, on being a massive sellout with a gross vaginaface.

Phallic Artistry: Blue Back Update!

The West Hartford Art League is working hard to save Blue Back Square's public art horses. You remember - these horses? The ones that look like frollicking Cocks N' Ballses?

An article in the Hartford Courant shed some dim light on the situation. Apparently $20,000 in donations to the art league paid for the sculptures, created by Peter Busby, who is clearly a peenhound, but somehow they are now owned by another artist, Karen Peterson, who wants to keep all that horse/cock to herself now, or actually, wants to sell them for $42,000 apiece, which would bafflingly be tax deductible. It must be penis appreciation month! That's value.

Anyway, keeping hideous pubic (sic, haha) art is obviously a pretty big priority "in times like these," so good luck WHAL.

What Not to Hear: Shakira feat. Lil Wayne

We think Shakira is a hot hot girl, and in the past we have been charmed by her adorable lyrics about small breasts and her frankness regarding sexuality in general, but this latest single, "Give it Up to Me," featuring Lil Wayne is just gross, thanks to Mr. Wayne's opening pillowtalk: "You can go up my crane girl, and I'ma go down that drain girl."

We are all for reciprocity in the sack and are trying very hard to appreciate that it's the sentiment that counts, however any partners referring to our girlybits in terms usually reserved for sewage: you just killed the mood fucking dead, you are the weakest link, goodbye, etc. We're pretty sure this wasn't the gag reflex you were aiming for.

Who Let Jodi Have the Scissors?

It seems like just yesterday Jodi was talkin' up the many wonders of a CT Staycation. I don't know where all that enthusiasm went, but with it went the entirety of the state's tourism budget. What was once a $4.3 million marketing fund is now a $1 placeholder. It is estimated that tourism brings in $14 billion to the state annually. The cut extends through 2011.

It looks like we here at CT Scenic really have our work cut out for us. Luring $14 billion worth of commerce into CT is no easy task. Once people realize they might meet us if they come here, the business should start pouring in. Jodi, we will be expecting a $1 check made out to "CT Scenic".

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Midweek Music: Blueswomen

Tuesday, Dec. 8: Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, Baby G @ Cafe Nine, New Haven

British singer Holly Golightly is probably the bigger deal on this bill, but we don't mind admitting that we hadn't heard of her (though now that we've done our homework, we'd like to hear more). We have heard of and heard live New Haven's Leila Crockett aka Baby G, who plays gloomy, sultry blues, both originals and traditionals, and just looks so fucking badass, all six feet plus tall and androgynous with that cool hollow body guitar... sigh...

Irish Times In New Britain

For a couple of pale, depressed antisocialites, we here at CT Scenic really put ourselves out there last night, beginning with the excellent party at the brewery and the discovery of our newest favorite beer, Hooker's seasonal Nor'easter, and continuing on with a journey to New Britain Ancient Society of Hibernians to see a friend play with an Irish band, Calley McGrane & the Exiles.
We're thinking we'd like to visit cultural clubs more often. The price was right (free), the crowd was friendly and enthusiastic, and the drinks were large and inexpensive. In addition to what we assume was Irish traditional music, the band flaunted their indie cred with covers of tunes by the Decemberists and the White Stripes, and it must be said that Calley is a quite a fox.
And we thought this sign in the bathroom was about the most charming thing in the world. What can we say? We respect practicality and realism.

Get down with some Hookers

The Hooker Brewery Open House turned out to be just as awesome as expected. For $10 you get a pint glass and all the Hookers you can handle. We tried the Irish red, the Pale Ale and our new favorite, the "Nor'easter" Seasonal Lager. If you wanted to take a Hooker home with you, there were growlers, which I think are about 64 oz., for $10. There was plenty of Hooker merch for sale. Naturally, most of it was branded with some form of hooker joke.

Sometimes we all need a Hooker. If you needed something more substantial to supplement your Hooker, there were slices of Harry's BC pizza for $2, or cheese samples provided by Cabot Vermont. (The chipotle and horseradish cheddars were quite good.) For legal reasons or whatever, the event had to include a "tour", so at one point one of the brewmasters got up on a table and pointed out the fermenting tanks. They didn't seem particularly interesting until some engineers we met attempted to figure out the physical properties involved.

We left around 7p, only slightly more knowledgeable about the brewing process, and by that time the place was pretty packed. Although it was crowded, there were two different bar areas, so you never had to wait too long for a refill. The Open House is held on the first and third Friday of every month, from 5-8. It's definitely worth checking out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's Hot at the Lot: Peanut Butter & Cookies

Sometimes you go to the Lot and get some cookies and they're just ok, but it's all ok, because you didn't spend more than two dollars. Other times, like this time, you get some two dollar cookies that are awesome, and taste all dark chocolate almondy sophisticated and you feel like you really won. This was actually my second time buying these wonderful German cookies, and my I don't know how many-th time buying delicious Teddie peanut butter, whose only ingredients, appropriately enough, are roasted peanuts and salt. Teddie is great (at $2.50 a jar) and apparently not associated with any unappetizing peanut recall. And you can put it in a milkshake.

Here there be Vampyres

I was hiking today (when I should have been home-working) at scenic Penwood Park when I came upon this:

And, well, I've seen Buffy, and I know a stake when I see one. So obviously there are vampires.

Alert: Elite drinking night change-up!

Tuesday, Dec. 8: Liquid Lounge v1.2 @ CT Science Center

Your bourgeois Thursday plans have been cancelled. Circle Tuesday instead. I know, I know, you already have gay night at Tisane written in, but we all know that was in pencil, so just erase it. Who's fault is all of this plan-changery? Joe Biden, of course. He's coming to the still-kinda-new CT Science Center on Friday to see what all the fuss is about. (He's really coming to CT to support Chris Dodd, but we won't get into all of that nonsense.) Apparently Secret Service needs to "secure the building" 24-hours in advance, which explains the cancellation of the originally scheduled Liquid Lounge v1.2. The event will now be held Tuesday from 6-10, and contrary to our mediocre review of LL v1.0, it might actually be fun. CSC is promising go-go dancers and... well, we stopped reading after "go-go dancers". We also heard the drink prices went down. Consider us sold.

CT Scenic is now on Facebook!

We are hurtling into the 21st century with a Facebook page!

Please be our friend:

CT Scenic goes Facebook

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fine Art

Ghetto Vase
Plastic grocery bag and empty beer box

This piece was spotted in scenic Bristol. The artist was put in quite a pickle when her pet rabbit knocked over the original vessel, but she wouldn't let her plant go homeless.

Turn those winter blues pink

We admit that we have only experienced a handful of local tanning salons, but when we laid eyes on Tanlines it was love at first sight. The bright pink exterior is indicitive of the delights which await you inside. The staff is incredibly friendly, the waiting area is fully stocked with magazines and the pricing system is WAY superior to the competition (Hollywood Tans, we're looking at you). At Tanlines you pay by the minute, rather than by visit, which for our Seasonal Affective Disorder needs works out to be the much cheaper option. (It's probably cheaper for any tanning needs, really.) We're not looking for a sunburn, just a little Vitamin D. We enjoy the standup option as opposed to the bed, due to what was probably an urban legend about MRSA. You don't have to touch as many surfaces with as many body parts. The music is fine, it's 96.5 or 95.7 or something. Or maybe there's a "Tanning Salon" station on DMX Radio. They all seem to play the same crappy pop music. But who cares, in just minutes you'll be tan and happy!

So, if you're feeling down, or just way too white, check out Tanlines at 60 South Street in very scenic West Hartford. It's near West Hartford Yoga, if you want to kill two birds with one... trip to Elmwood.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Not to Hear: Matisyahu

Tuesday, Dec. 1 (srsly, wtf!?): Matisyahu @ The Webster, Hartford

I'm a little late throwing it up here, obvs, but speaking of throwing up, I'm sure glad I spent this evening watching the new 90210 and Melrose Place and not checking out Matisyahu's special blend of Hasidic Judaism, hip-hop and reggae. Because religious orthodoxy is fucking stupid.

Spend Friday with a couple of Hookers

No, we're not talking about us, though we might just be there. This Friday, and every first and third Friday, it's an open house and beer tasting at Bloomfield's Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. $10 keeps you drinking, and they send you home with a Hooker pint glass. Isn't that nice? Even nicer: admission helps support the Village for Families and Children, so you can feel extra good about drinking.