Torrington Stories

Arrival: Sept 2014

I’m calling it.

This weekend, Sept 12-14, is the weekend that officially made the phrase “There’s nothing to do here” no longer credible if it is uttered in reference to Torrington, Connecticut.

Quick back story: it was a long week; it probably was a long week for a lot of folks but I felt it more than usual Friday afternoon. I worked until 5pm with the last hour being the most challenging because the kids were off the bus, wired and ready for a weekend. After considering all the dinner options, there was no chance I was making spaghetti so we were out the door at 5:10pm.


During our walk we bumped into singer/songwriter Robert C Fullerton whose videos are involved in a nationwide online contest (here).  RCF was headed home before going out to Five Points for the artist opening reception before seeing the CATAPULT show at the Warner so it was possible we’d meet up later in the evening.

Anthony’s Restaurant was doing a brisk business but the kids and I were seated right away in a booth in the corner. Many years ago we sat in this same spot under a Joe Kopler sculptured painting of James Dean.  It’s been years since they’ve been displayed there but ever since I’ve always associated Joe Kopler’s artwork with the place! My daughter ordered strawberry lemonade to drink and my son and I had root beer. We selected a large “make your own pizza” combination of pineapple and meatball. The service was excellent, the pizza was perfect and there were no leftovers!

jacque williams

We stepped outside and walked south toward the excitement of the car show that awaited us. I asked my daughter if she wanted to take photos and handed her my phone. We stopped at EVERY car and she took 3 photos each, most of them were of the inside upholstery!  While she took a photo of a roadster I said hello to Demi Hoxie and Skip Hoxie, founder of T-Town Torrington Chatter facebook group.


My daughter was excited to be on a photo safari mission and there was nothing that could stop her…nothing that is except for free cotton candy provided by Northwest Hills Credit Union. I spotted Jacque Williams playing the tunes in front of city hall and we discussed the first Torrington folk festival that he’s producing.  “Coe Memorial Park Unplugged” will be held on 9/20/2014 starting at 1pm and it will be for the public. There will be some amazing musicians like Julia Autumn Ford and Lisa Martin so we’re definitely going.

The kids and I wandered further south, seeing the hubbub at Five Points and Performance Hub . At Performance Hub they were getting ready for the Eddie Seville concert. (**editors note: when my evening ended and I started typing this I saw on facebook that Ginger Balch of In Sheep’s Clothing had gone to the show and loved it so much she shared some of Eddie’s music. After listening to it, I found more on Spotify! fantastic) At five points there was an opening artist reception for the work of Charlotte Evans. I particularly liked the expansive canvas entitled “Reflections” that portrayed a small boat on the water seen from behind colorful shapes reminiscent of leaves in autumn.  That piece stood out and I was glad to see it. There was a powerful piece by Susan Finnegan entitled “Pine Tree Suite”. In the exhibit area at the corner of the Five Points, the work of Harriet Caldwell was on display and one work entitled Yin Yang caught my eye. My daughter loves the Yin Yang concept.


Torrington police were fantastic in blocking off the traffic and helping pedestrians cross Water Street. The marquee of the Warner Theatre always commands attention and the sign CATAPULT MAGIC SHADOWS was on display!  This is an important piece. Catapult came on the national stage after America’s Got Talent and they rehearse here in Torrington so this was a full length work in their own home town. My advice to anyone lucky enough to get tickets-save them. When the grand children ask  many years from now “You saw Catapult live?” “I saw the first Torrington show” you can reply and hold the ticket as proof! Warner already hosted the Red Hot Chili PIPERS on the main stage the night before and tomorrow, will host Romeo Et Juliette (a high definition MET Opera program) and in the evening, REEFER MADNESS, a wild musical in the Nancy Marine studio.   They just released the official production photos and they look incredible. Actors Cole Sutton and Lana Peck are in it and they’re exceptional talents and Keith Paul is directing. It’s a must see and I’ll be seeing it (sans kids-it’s adult themed!).


The kids wanted a “SECOND” cotton candy but one is enough. My wife was home by the time we got there so I headed back out to see the Five Points artwork up close. I hit downtown exactly at the right time. They were announcing the winner of the car show and BEST OF SHOW went to Bruce Czaplicki of Harwinton for his 1937 Chevy.  Rep. Michelle Cook was in the audience. Rob Stango of TorringtonInfo and many other Torrington sites, was one of the judges.



The lights of the Arts Desire illuminated their section of Main Street as their enormously popular Cocktails and Canvases was in full swing.  As I walked past I even noticed Platinum Hair Salon was taking care of a customer while across the street Backstage seemed to be having a great evening of food and merriment. I heard that artist Karen Rossi was holding a Martini tasting in her studio. I considered that in a few hours, Mission Zero would be playing at Snapper Magees and O Connors Pub, Sawyers and Bachis would be hopping.


The car show was free, Five Points was free, Mission Zero was $5, the Seville concert was $10, Catapult had varying ticket prices from $25-42 depending on seats. There was something for everyone to do at the budget of their choosing.  We breathed the cool air of opportunity and excitement as we walked past classic cars beneath the lights of the Warner Theatre marquee.

We wouldn’t have seen the Aurora Borealis in Torrington if it had shone over the Connecticut sky for the lights of excitement  in our city would have eclipsed it.


So we can put to rest the phrase “There’s nothing to do here” if it ever was true in this decade about Torrington. We are in a new period now as we shine our own artistic and cultural beacon into the night sky. It will not be long before the parking spaces at the library will be taken up by visitors from Litchfield, Bristol and Waterbury, when we see New York license plates regularly parked in the Yankee Pedlar lot.  We have arrived.  A time of arrival is a period  longer than just one day or a weekend,  but it is this day and this weekend that we recognize the ARRIVAL is here and continues this season.  So friends of Torrington, we no longer need to try to be part of a revival of our community. We can be part of this exciting, wondrous artistic/cultural ARRIVAL. And if you couldn’t be out last night, if the toils of the day took too much of a toll on the spirit, revive them tonight. be a part of the Torrington ARRIVAL, save your ticket stubs or your art and share your story!

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