It’s time to get your culture on, Hartford!

There are some times when I feel like we are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much Arts and Culture in The Beat and this is one of those times. I know, I know, there are always great things going on, but right now it’s a perfect convergence of awesomeness happening. Some of the best productions are up and running RIGHT NOW, so hightail it to a nice air conditioned venue.

Rite of Spring: Wednesday was the 100th anniversary of this legendary piece by Stravinsky that sparked controversy and near riots at its premiere. Carolyn Kuan and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra tackle this beauty with the help of dancers from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and it is nothing short of amazing. This is paired with a contemporary and very cool sheng concerto written by a young Chinese composer, and the ever-favorite Swan Lake with dancers from the Nutmeg Ballet. Student tickets are just $10 and on Saturday night, $25 tickets are available for those under 40. May 30 – June 2. (Check out Colin McEnroe’s discussion about Rite of Spring!)

Twelfth Night We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of Darko Tresnjak’s production of this favorite Shakespearean comedy, and can’t wait to see it tonight. If you’re not familiar with the story, there’s a shipwreck, some cross-dressing and love and misunderstanding. General hilarity ensues. Crappy movies like Amanda Bynes’ She’s the Man have stolen from it. May 18 – June 16. (UPDATE/Mini-review: It was FANTASTIC. The set was so impressive and creatively used, the actors embraced their characters and made them shine (especially Maria, Malvolio, Toby and Sir Andrew) and it was wholly entertaining production. I adore Shakespeare and The Pilot isn’t as nerded out about it and we both loved it. Go, go, go!)

Dracula: Dance, dracula, and darkness? CONNetic Dance brings a new interpretation set in the art deco jazz age, Bram Stoker’s chilling tail is re-imagined at The Wadsworth Atheneum’s Aetna theatre. There’s only one chance to check out this off-the-beaten-path performance, so be sure to get your tickets! June 8.

Connecticut Open House Day: Here’s one for those of you not necessarily in the Hartford area. Once a year (June 8 this year), residents of CT are given the opportunity to take advantage of free admissions, special exhibits and activities, giveaways and more. The CTVisit site is pretty rough (and totally un-alphabetized) but check out the Mark Twain House & Museum’s Tom Sawyer Day, Wesleyan Potters and their special demonstrations or the Beardsley Zoo offering free admission to the first 100 visitors.

Why are you still reading this? Go get your culture on!