Hartford: The City That Actually Needs You

HuTDoG83-Flickr Creative Commons. There were lots of pretty Hartford pics to choose from.

HuTDoG83-Flickr Creative Commons. There were lots of pretty Hartford pics to choose from.

I’ve heard Colin McEnroe joke, on more than one occasion, that Hartford is “the city that actually needs you.” I believe he even suggested this as an alternative to the ridiculous “New England’s rising star” motto. He’s joking…but only sort of. I got to thinking about this after Jacques Lamarre–the guy who has helped fill the Mark Twain House and Museum with great activities such as The Mouth, and any number of interesting talks/shows/concerts–posted this Courant Op-Ed on Facebook with a hardy Amen! Jacques didn’t write the Op-Ed, Richard Sugarman did. He is the co-founder of The Connecticut Forum, another great organization in our midst.

I name all of these people because they are just a handful of the human beings that help make Hartford a better, more interesting place. These are people who recognize that by making your home here, pitching in to help, and bringing your own creative juices to the table, you can make a difference. If the Sugarmans had lived in New York City, do you think they would have/could have created something like the Connecticut Forum? No, they would have ended up a part of the noise instead of the signal.

I’ve personally seen President Bill Clinton, John Irving, Jonathan Franzen (booooo!), and Azar Nafisi thanks to the Forum. Every season I have to look through the line-up and decide which of the many interesting events the Forum has set up to go to. (In fact, tonight Cheryl Strayed of Wild fame, Diana Nyad, and Paul Nicklen will be here.) I can never afford to attend enough of them.  That’s where the Mark Twain House comes in. They have even more events than the Forum, and they’re a lot less expensive. The Mouth only costs $5 and I have laughed my ass off at every one I’ve attended. Other events cost more like $20, but that’s still pretty cheap. And if you have penchant for storytelling, Chion Wolf may just let you get up on stage at The Mouth and tell your story.

Here’s the thing: No matter where you live, it’s only what you make it. I lived in and around NYC for a couple of years, but everything was so expensive I couldn’t afford to take advantage of any of its many wonderful happenings. (Although, my company did have a deal with the Natural History Museum, so I got in there for free.) And let me tell you, no one noticed me except the occasional creep on the street. I was one of many wannabe writers competing for the same gigs. Back home in the Hartford area, I ended up on The Nose thanks to a silly blog post I wrote and now I am regularly being confused when someone I don’t know–or even sometimes people I do know–recognize me from the radio.

We started this blog many years ago to bring attention to all the wild, wacky, and wonderful things in Connecticut. Yes, we sometimes make fun of it, but more often than not we’re just trying to draw attention to the really great things that are going on in the community that not enough of you are showing up to.

Here are some other awesome things happening in your midst, that could really benefit from your participation and positivity:

These are just the things I could think of off the top of my head. There are so many more–not to mention all the things happening in Bridgeport, New Haven, Middletown, and beyond.

So, quityerbitchin, and put your money and your energy where your complaints are. Get out there, support all the amazing things we have going on–and maybe even create your own.