Category Archives: Entertainment

Rock for Rights!

Rock for Rights! 2007

Rock out, get educated, and change the world!

“Rock for Rights!” is a new organization targeting high school students in the West Hartford community.  The event on December 15th will be a fair to get students educated about some of the issues that plague our global society, as well as how they can get involved and get active about what concerns them.  The “Rock” part refers to a concert that will be occurring at the same time and location as the fair.  High school bands from town, as well as larger, regional bands will be playing throughout the afternoon.  There will also be speakers and clips from movies to further educate kids.  Our motivation is the idea that high school students have incredible passion and potential for activism… they simply need to be educated about the issues and inspired to do something about it. 

Another layer of “R4R” is that the students are working very hard to pull the West Hartford community together.  Students from Hall, Conard, Kingswood-Oxford, Northwest Catholic and Watkinson are working together to speak to local businesses, activists, organizations, and politicians.  Most of the foci of the tables will be on human rights, peace, environmental issues and sustainability projects, amnesty (letter writing to incarcerated peoples around the world), soldiers’ rights, students’ rights, hunger (both home and abroad), and women’s health issues (again, home and abroad), as well as organizations that use various media to reach youth.

In addition to tables and bands, we are working to secure many donations for raffles from local businesses and restaurants in West Hartford Center, Blue Back Square, and Bishops Corner.  We will also be selling unique “Rock for Rights!  2007” t-shirts at the event.  The front will have our hand-heart-music note logo, and the back will publicly thank all of those businesses, organizations, and community members who have helped us make this event a reality, as well as names of all the bands who perform.  (Sweatshop free shirts, of course!)  Any money that is raised through tickets and t-shirts for this event will be used to put the show on (paying for bands, sound, shirts, etc.) and any profit that is made will be fed directly into the schools that helped produce it.  Each school has a human rights / global improvement club; they can do what they want with their portion of the proceeds.


When:  December 15, 2007   12pm-7pm

Where:  West Hartford Town Hall

Bands:  ZOX, Barefoot Truth, Among Criminals + local student bands

Tickets:  $20; includes “Rock for Rights! 2007” t-shirt (adult sizes)

T-shirts:  $10 on day of event

 For more information email or Facebook us at Rock West Hartford

If you are interested in giving donations or hosting a table, please email us!


Supervising Faculty:  Steph Sperber (Social Studies, Hall HS)



Filed under Entertainment, human rights, Music, rock, students

Celebrate! West Hartford this weekend

They’re getting set up for the hordes in the Center, with tents and rides ready to roll. It’s always a great time and this year will be no exception, though parking will be tighter. Plan on walking if you can. For all the information about the event, check out its website.


Filed under Celebrate! West Hartford, Entertainment, West Hartford, West Hartford Center

My other favorite show is “24”

If you think the answer to every national security crisis is to violate international law, torture people and kill without pity, then “24” is clearly your show. But what if, like me, you think patient diplomacy, adherence to civilized norms and non-violence resistance is the way to go?

Well, you can still like the show.

Jack Bauer, the main character, is a superhero masquerading as an agent for U.S. counter-terrorism, working out of the Los Angeles bureau, because it’s conveniently close to Hollywood, not because it makes sense in real life. One consequence is that when bad guys launch a nuclear-armed rocket from Iowa, it doesn’t incinerate Chicago. It flies instead all the way to L.A., which was a good thing, because the government just barely managed to shoot it down even then. And when other bad guys blow up a suitcase nuke, it doesn’t take out Reston or White Plains, it wipes out Valencia, a tragedy that nobody much minds, at least on the show.

It’s useful to think of the entire show as one of those old movie serials, where the most important thing was to keep the action flowing and to leave a cliffhanger each week so that everybody would want to come back the following Saturday to find out what happens next. In “24,” that’s the whole ballgame. Surprise twists are critical. Sensible plots are shoved aside. It’s amazing, really, that when CTU needs to tap a phone call, it pulls the words right off the satellite. But when an arch enemy whizzes off in a helicopter, nobody tracks it. That’s the sort of everyday idiocy that you have to ignore.

But it’s all kind of thrilling. It’s fast-paced, vaguely realistic and fun despite all the gore and evil. Maybe it’s that we all secretly hope there are squads of Jack Bauers out there across the globe, protecting us. It’s too horrible to contemplate that our defense lies mostly with ourselves.

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Filed under 24, Entertainment, Jack Bauer, television

West Hartford in Top 100 for music education

It should be music to residents’ ears to learn that West Harford is one of a handful of Connecticut towns to make the American Music Conference’s list of Top 100 American Communities for Music Education this year.

Only a few other Connecticut towns made the cut – Bethel, Bristol, Cheshire, Greenwich, Mystic, South Windsor, Torrington and Wilton among them.

According to the AMC, “Thousands of teachers, school and district administrators, school board members and parents and community leaders, representing communities in all 50 states, participated in the Web-based survey. The 2007 roster includes school districts from 31 states that are committed to quality music education programs and providing access to music education. The districts were measured across a variety of program support, curricular and programmatic criteria. Because the criteria in the survey are measured proportionally, large communities and small ones are able to participate on an equal footing.”

“While music education has been linked to higher SAT scores, math grades and future success in life, the survey also found that many students hailing from a ‘Best 100’ community have continued their musical pursuits professionally as educators, or playing for renowned symphonies, opera houses, orchestras and on Broadway,” the survey sponsor reported.

Now, of course, we all know that West Hartford’s schools have great music programs. The Pops and Jazz concert at Hall, for example, is always phenomenal. The talent in this town is stunning, especially to a plunker like me who can’t even keep a beat.

Still, it’s a great thing to be recognized and I’m glad that the nation took notice of what is done here. Our teachers, students and taxpayers all have reason to be proud. 


Filed under Entertainment, Music, News, Schools

Build them a skatepark

Poking around on Facebook this morning, which is kind of fun, I stumbled across a group of West Hartford youngsters who have formed a group called “Build Us a Skatepark.”

They say that West Hartford “needs somewhere to skate locally without fear of police officers coming to ‘clean up the streets’ and where kids can skate “without fear of people assuming that we’re there to cause havoc.”

“Build Us a Skatepark is a grass roots organization for the development of a free, skater aproved, unsupervised skatepark in a central location through lawful lobbying,” its site on Facebook says.

To find out more, sign the petition the group has or to help with fundraising, contact its organizer at

If I got back on a skateboard, I’d be looking for a good orthopedic surgeon before long, but I am totally sympathetic to what these youngsters want. In fact, I’m trying to understand why we’re about to spend $300,000 on a mini-golf course when we don’t even have a skatepark in town. There’s something seriously messed up about that. And I would use the min-golf course, probably, so it’s in my selfish interest to favor Putt-Putt.

But skateboarders, trick bikers and the like deserve our help, not our scorn. This is a project that ought to be done quickly, not slowly. Let’s get it going and do right by these kids. 


Filed under Entertainment, News, Parks, Politics, Recreation, Skatepark, Town government

West Hartford lucky to have own symphony

Just a quick plug for the great West Hartford Symphony, which is a true asset to the town. Its next concert is Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m.

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Filed under Entertainment, Music, Recreation

Competing youth baseball leagues

It’s a curious thing to see two different baseball leagues – West Hartford Youth Baseball and West Hartford Little League – seeking players each spring who are the same ages. I assume this all began because of some kind of personality conflict, but can’t somebody hold a summit or something and get thse two groups on the same page? It sure appears to an outsider that having two baseball leagues in the same town with the same seasons for the same kids is STUPID.

Perhaps the town’s recreation department and the mayor could sit everybody involved down and work out a compromise?


Filed under Entertainment, Recreation, Schools, Town government