This Weekend

Mark Twain House & Museum, The Hartford To Host Year-Long Celebration In 2010

The Mark Twain House & Museum and The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., will recognize Twain’s role as one of our nation’s foremost literary icons, his incredible legacy as a witty and insightful social commentator, and his ongoing influence on American culture with a 2010 Centennial Celebration of unique events throughout the year.

Celebrations Recognize Centennial of Twain’s Death, 125th Anniversary of Huck Finn, and Twain’s 175th Birthday

Hartford, CT – “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835,” Mark Twain wrote in 1909. “It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’”

And with this uncanny prediction, Samuel L. Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, indeed died in the year of that rare occurrence on April 21, 1910. One hundred years later, The Mark Twain House & Museum and The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., will recognize Twain’s role as one of our nation’s foremost literary icons, his incredible legacy as a witty and insightful social commentator, and his ongoing influence on American culture with a 2010 Centennial Celebration of unique events throughout the year. Twain wrote such American classics as Adventures of Huck Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, among others, while living in Hartford, Connecticut.

The events kicked off January 23 with Mark Twain Tonight! starring celebrated actor Hal Holbrook. In collaboration with Hartford Stage, the Oscar-nominated, Emmy- and Tony-award winning actor brought his one-man Twain show, which he has performed more than 2,000 times in more than 40 years, to Hartford. The Hartford was the Presenting Sponsor, and the production was also sponsored by Connecticut Light & Power Company.

The nearly thirty other events include an Adventures of Huckleberry Finn anniversary musical celebration (Feb. 18); the world premiere of a a new adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at Hartford Stage (April 1); participation in The Big Read, a collaboration with the Hartford Public Library (April though June); a Clemens Lecture by author Wally Lamb (April 7), a Victorian séance with a special cake created by Charm City Bakery (as seen on Food Networks’s Ace of Cakes) (April 21); a Tom Sawyer Day at the museum (June 12) and much more. For a full list of these events, click here.

“The rumors of our centennial celebrations have not been exaggerated!” said Jeffrey L. Nichols, Executive Director of The Mark Twain House & Museum. “In 2010, Twain fans of every age should come to Hartford to recognize the life of Samuel Clemens and his work at the beautiful home where Huck, Jim and Tom were born. Through the generous support of The Hartford, we plan to celebrate this important year in the legacy of Mark Twain with unique events and exhibits that explore his books, his humor, his adventures and his times.”

The Hartford marks a significant milestone of its own in 2010, celebrating the bicentennial of its incorporation and two centuries of service to the communities in which its employees live and work.

In honor of the centennial of Mark Twain’s death, the 175th anniversary of his birth, and the 125th anniversary of the publication of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States, The Hartford has made a historic commitment to The Mark Twain House & Museum’s 2010 events. The company will be providing year-long financial support for celebrations across Hartford, Connecticut—the site of its corporate headquarters and Twain’s home for more than 15 years—including its role as presenting sponsor for Hartford Stage’s upcoming world premiere theatrical adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its Twain-related programs and education initiatives.

“We are excited to enter our third century, joining in the celebration of the great works of Mark Twain,” says Connie Weaver, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Hartford. “The full slate of events organized by The Mark Twain House & Museum will present the community with an amazing opportunity to experience Twain firsthand, while embracing the rich history of our region.”

Click the link below for a list of the year’s events. Visit the Mark Twain House & Museum website, www.marktwainhouse.org, for updates. Unless otherwise specified, call 860-280-3130 for tickets.

FEBRUARY

The House That Mark Built: The Architecture of The Mark Twain House
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Through March 22

Learn more about the Gothic home where Twain wrote some of his most famous works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The exhibition offers a look at Mark Twain’s home’s bricks, mortars and gadgetry – and even provides a place for kids to try their hand at some building of their own. Visitors will get a chance to see some of the original building materials used by the builders, including the elaborate exterior wood carvings, slate from the roof, and samples of the brick. The exhibition is sponsored by United Technologies Corp. The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation is the sponsor of the museum’s 2010 exhibitions. The Hartford is the Museum’s Centennial Sponsor.

Open during regular museum hours. Exhibit included with admission.

Saturday, February 13
Exhibition Opening at The Mark Twain House & Museum Legacy
February through January 2011

Legacy will examine the enduring and evolving legacy of Mark Twain and his work. It will explore how Twain’s persona, and the public’s perception of him and his works, has both changed and remained constant over the years. Visitors will be encouraged to record their own thoughts about Mark Twain and his current relevance in guest books that will become part of the museum’s archives. Sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation and the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America and Mr. Alan Parker, Co-Trustees.

Open during regular museum hours. Exhibit included with admission

Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Long Distance Romance: The Love Letters of Sam & Olivia Clemens

Twain and his bride, Livy, had a lifelong love affair, raised several children, and even worked together editing his famous novels. Hear their passionate story through their love letters as interpreted by longtime Mark Twain portrayer John Pogson and actress Lisa Steier. The event will include a champagne and chocolate reception.

Tickets are $35 ($30 for members) and can be purchased by phone at 860-280-3130.

Thursday, February 18, 7:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
125th Anniversary Celebration of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Featuring The Ebony Hillbillies

Millions of children have read it for the adventures, millions of adults have read it for the laugh-out-loud humor and critical social commentary about an important time in race relations. Celebrate the 125th anniversary of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with an evening of music featuring The Ebony Hillbillies, one of America’s premier all-black string bands. The HartBeat Ensemble, a local theater troupe, will perform passages from the book.

Tickets are $32 ($27 for members) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Saturday, February 20, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Free Hartford Day

In honor of the author’s deep affection for Hartford, and as part of The Mark Twain House & Museum’s 2010 Centennial Celebration, residents of the city have a rare chance on Saturday, February 20, to visit at no charge the house where the great author lived. Free Hartford Day is made possible through the generosity of the museum’s Centennial Sponsor, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. The Hartford, which is celebrating is Bicentennial this year, is making the gesture as a gift to the people of Hartford.

MARCH

Tuesday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
The Death of My News May Be Greatly Exaggerated: Film Screening and Panel

Twain certainly had a lot to say about journalism, “Now that is the way to write—peppery and to the point. Mush-and-milk journalism gives me the fan-tods.” Join The Mark Twain House & Museum for a screening of a critical new documentary on the future of newspapers, followed by a panel discussion by some of those involved in this changing trade. Presented through a collaboration with Connecticut Public Broadcasting.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for members) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Wednesday, March 3
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Writing at the Mark Twain House Seminar

Become the next great American author! An eight-week memoir-writing course with acclaimed writers and editors Lary Bloom and Suzanne Levine begins and continues through April 28. [Program is full as of Feb. 1, but there is a waiting list]. Information and registration: 860-247-0998, Ext. 243.

Saturday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
A Pen Warmed Up in Hell Lecture with Matt Taibbi and Charles P. Pierce

“A pen warmed up in hell” is the phrase Twain used to describe his more acerbic writing on social and political matters. The Mark Twain House & Museum welcomes two of the most topical and critical writers working today – Rolling Stone’s acerbic political columnist Matt Taibbi and author Charles P. Pierce (Idiot America). Both have been guests on some of today’s hottest current events programs, including Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Rachel Maddow and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Certain to be a scorching, hilarious, and unforgettable evening!

Tickets are $25 ($20 for members) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Wednesday, March 31
Exhibit Opening at The Mark Twain House & Museum
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
March through July 2010

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will feature popular culture artifacts related to Tom Sawyer, and include fun, family-friendly activities. Participants can dress up as characters in the book, “paint” a fence like Tom, and enjoy puzzles and games. A reading area will allow both children and adults to read some of the many editions of Tom Sawyer, from the original to foreign language editions to comic book adaptations. Sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation and by The Saunders Foundation.

Open during regular museum hours. Exhibit included with admission.

APRIL

April 2010
Mark Twain Centennial Celebration on CPTV

Tune in for a month of Mark Twain programming on Connecticut Public Broadcasting to mark the centennial of Samuel Clemens’ death. This will include Ken Burns’ two-part documentary biography, a filmed performance of Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight! and CPTV’s own documentary, Nook Farm.

Thursday, April 1
Kickoff of the National Endowment for the Arts’ The Big Read

Join the city of Hartford in picking up The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as part of the NEA’s annual The Big Read campaign to get the nation to pick up a good book (hey, we know a few of those!). A collaboration with the Hartford Public Library and twenty other community libraries, The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.

Thursday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. (through May 9)
Hartford Stage
World-premiere adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

This new play by Laura Eason is directed by Jeremy B. Cohen. One of the best loved books of all time adapted for the stage, Tom Sawyer chronicles the adventures of Twain’s mischievous young hero in a small town on the Mississippi River. Sponsored by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

Tickets be purchased online at www.hartfordstage.org or by phone at the Hartford Stage Box Office, 860-527-5151. For more information about Mark Twain-related programs, play readings and educational initiatives at Hartford Stage, visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Wednesday, April 7, 7:00 p.m.
The Wallace Stevens Theater at The Hartford
A Clemens Lecture with Wally Lamb

International best-selling author Wally Lamb speaks on the uses of the Mark Twain House in literature—most notably his own recent novel, The Hour I First Believed, which includes both past and present-day scenes in the home. In a novel that addresses the Columbine massacre, the bitter history of women’s prisons, and a couple’s tragedies, Lamb finds room for a brilliantly reconstructed dinner featuring Mark Twain, the Yale football great Walter Camp, and scientist Nikola Tesla.

Tickets are $25 ($20 for members) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 18, 2:00 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Tom Sawyer: A Chamber Opera

In 2009, Hartford Opera Theatre sponsored a competition for composers to create an opera based on Twain’s classic story of Tom-foolery. Connecticut resident Phillip Martin composed the winning hour-long opera, which will receive its world premiere at The Mark Twain Museum Center. Performed by Hartford Opera Theatre’s cast of professional singers and musicians.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling (860) 280-3130.

Wednesday, April 21, 7:30-10:00 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Centennial Event – The Mark Twain Séance

Join the Mark Twain House & Museum for a Victorian séance recreated by illusionist Todd Robbins that educates visitors about the spiritualism popular in late 19th- century America. Ghost investigator Lorraine Warren will lead a special Mark Twain House tour and a celebratory cake will be presented by Charm City Bakery of Food Network’s popular program, Ace of Cakes. The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., is Presenting Sponsor of this event.

Tickets range from $60 to $150 and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

MAY

Monday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
The Big Read Keynote Address with Jerome Loving, Laura Skandera-Trombley and Michael Shelde.

The focus is on biography as we present a pair of keynoters for the NEA Big Read program. Jerome Loving is author of a new biography, Mark Twain: The Adventures of Samuel L. Clemens (University of California Press). Laura Skandera-Trombley is the author of the new Mark Twain’s Other Woman: The Hidden History of His Final Years (Random House). Michael Shelden is the author of Mark Twain, Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years.

Wednesday, May 19, 5:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Lecture Series: The Trouble Begins at 5:30 with Dr. Kerry Driscoll

Join nationally-renowned scholar, Dr. Kerry Driscoll, for Mark Twain’s Music Box– a discussion of the mechanical device Twain bought in Switzerland in 1878 that sent him into agonies over his choice for the playlist. She will also explore the Clemenses’ shopping habits and attitudes towards possessions while they lived in Hartford. Sponsored by Mac Donnell Rare Books of Austin, Texas.

Admission is free.

Friday, May 21, 6:00 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Second Annual Wine Tasting Festival

A group of distinguished local vintners offer a tasting of their distinctive wines in The House’s second annual benefit event.

Tickets are $35 ($30 in advance) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Wednesday, May 26, 5:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Lecture series: The Trouble Begins at 5:30 with Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell, popular Hartford newspaper columnist, lectures on God, Missouri, Fundamentalism and Mark Twain. Campbell is a writer of rare wit and insight, who grew up in Missouri and knows the tough soil from which fellow-native Clemens was born. She is the author of the acclaimed memoir Dating Jesus. Sponsored by Mac Donnell Rare Books of Austin, Texas.

Admission is free.

JUNE

Wednesday, June 2, 5:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Lecture series: The Trouble Begins at 5:30 with Patti Philippon

Patti Philippon, The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Beatrice Fox Auerbach Chief Curator, lectures on Mark Twain’s Women—the witty, powerful, and sometimes disapproving wife, Livy; his daughters, the amazingly creative Susy, Clara, who kept an iron grip on his legacy for decades, and Jean, the sheltered one, who came into her own in her last years. Sponsored by Mac Donnell Rare Books of Austin, Texas.

Admission is free.

Saturday, June 12
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Tom Sawyer Day

In the spirit of Tom’s footloose and fancy-free boyhood adventures, join us for a splendid summer day of events just for kids and families on our beautiful grounds.

Events throughout the day. Celebration included with admission. The event is sponsored by The Hartford.

JULY

Saturday, July 24, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford
Twain’s Companions and Cohorts Tour

A tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery, a landmark example of Gilded Age funerary splendor, tells the tales of Samuel Clemens’ contemporaries, friends and foes, many of whom are interred there. Led by Steve Courtney of the Mark Twain House & Museum, biographer of Clemens’ close friend, the Rev. Joseph Twichell. Presented in association with the Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation.

Tickets are $5.00. Further information is available at Cedar Hill Cemetery & Foundation, 860-956-3311

AUGUST


Monday, Aug. 9
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Exhibit Opening: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
August 2010 through January 2011

Commonly recognized as one of the greatest American novels, this epic journey of Huck and his friend Jim along the Mississippi River is one of the most enduring images of escape. Explore this often controversial work and its impact on our culture through rare artifacts and children’s programming. Sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

Open during regular museum hours. Exhibit included with admission.

OCTOBER


Friday, October 1, 5:30 p.m.
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Third Annual Tapping Into Twain Oktoberfest

Our annual presentation of the local and regional brewers’ best. An ever-popular event in our Museum Center, featuring libations, food and music.

Tickets are $45 ($35 in advance) and can be purchased by calling 860-280-3130.

Saturday, October 16
Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford
Mark Twain concert featuring VOCE

Fall into the melodic sounds of VOCE, a singing group that combines excellence in music with service to the community. The concert will feature a Mark Twain theme.

Details to be announced.

NOVEMBER

Saturday, November 6
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Annual Fall Gala

Just in time for his 175th birthday, join us for an evening inspired by Twain’s 70th birthday dinner at the famous Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City. Your attendance will help ensure that his Hartford home and the educational programs presented by the Museum, continue for years to come. The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. is Presenting Sponsor of the event.

Tickets will go on sale in August 2010..

Tuesday, November 30
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Mark Twain 175th Birthday Celebration: A Night on the Mississippi

Spend a night rockin’ and rollin’ on the river for Mark Twain’s birthday party.

Details to be announced.

DECEMBER

Sunday, December 5
The Mark Twain House & Museum
30th Annual Friends of The Mark Twain House Holiday House Tour

Our yearly event opens several elegant homes to public view, along with the chance to see The Mark Twain House decked out for the holidays!

Details to be announced.

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The Connecticut Weekender Staff

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