Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category
As Published in the Record Journal, Sunday December 18, 2011
By Tiffany Diorio
WALLINGFORD — When they formed in the fall of 2001, members of the Wallingford band Cafe B never thought they’d still be together this long.
But that’s what happened. In November, musicians in the ’80s cover band celebrated their 10th anniversary.
Named after the “cool cafeteria,” Cafeteria B, in Sheehan High School, the fivemember band has gone through transformation after losing two members, vocalist Rachel Nalbandian and bassist Steve Vedder.
“We went from six members to four. We couldn’t imagine the band without them,” said keyboardist Mark Hastings. “After being together for nine years, how do you incorporate someone new into that mix?”
But after meeting Pat Russo, their new bassist, at Vedder’s wedding, integrating a new member came easy. Russo, who originally played guitar, learned how to play bass guitar and played his first show with Cafe B this past February.
“He’s like another family member,” said vocalist Renee Morehouse. “He fits right in.” Morehouse, Hastings and his brother, Scott, who plays drums, have had an interest in music since they were around 5 years old. Morehouse sang in a choir and the Hasting brothers played instruments that their parents gave them — Mark on keyboard and Scott on drums.
“My brother and I, we both picked it up instantly,” Mark Hastings said. “No one in our family was really musically inclined.”
Morehouse sang with other bands while she was growing up, but out of all the bands she’s sung with, Cafe B has been her favorite to perform with.
“This is definitely where I fit in and where I feel comfortable,” she said. Covering classics from Pat Benatar, Journey and Foreigner over the years, the band has expanded its song list to include current artists like the Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry.
But even though their song list has grown to nearly 80 songs, there’s still one song that has remained Mark Hastings’ favorite to play—Van Halen’s “Jump.”
“That song has a lot of keyboard and it shows off my talent,” Hastings said. “As far as getting people dancing I like playing ‘I Have a Feeling’ and ‘Firework.’ I just love the fact that people are enjoying it and dancing around.”
Cafe B loves playing to a full house, but it was never the members’ intention to get famous when they got together 10 years ago. Playing music was just an outlet for the cover band to have fun.
“We knew right from the beginning that we’re a cover band and it’s just for fun,” Morehouse said. “I don’t think I could even handle being famous. I hate having my picture taken and I hate Facebook, could you imagine?”
Despite not wanting to be in the spotlight, Morehouse does have one goal for the band — to feel famous. With Cafe B typically playing shows at smaller venues, Morehouse wants to have the chance to play to a larger crowd. After filling in as a vocalist for the band The Happening this past summer, Morehouse had the opportunity to play a show at the Wolf ’s Den at Mohegan Sun in Montville.
“When I filled in for that band I kept thinking I have to get Cafe B here,” she said. “It’s just a great feeling and it’s fun.”
As originally published in the Record Journal, Sunday July 24, 2011
WALLINGFORD — Masonicare’s free summer concert series will take place from 6:30PM to 8:15PM Thursdays on the grounds of the health care center, 22 Masonic Ave .
People are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. In addition to free parking, the grounds will be available for picnics from 5 to 6:30 p.m. In the event of rain, or if it appears rain is imminent, concerts may be canceled. In those instances, those planning to attend may call (203) 679-5900 after 3 p.m.
The remainder of the concert schedule will be as follows:
Aug. 11, Airborne Jazz, sounds of jazz
Aug. 18, Broadway tunes
Aug. 25, season finale, The Troubadours, sounds of Sinatra.
New Haven, CT – The City of New Haven’s Livable Cities Initiative
(LCI) and Department of Cultural Affairs are pleased to jointly announce the return of “Friday Flicks” on the historic downtown Green. Friday Flicks is a series of free movies presented outdoors for the entire family to enjoy. All are invited to bring blankets and chairs for evening entertainment under the stars. The series will start on Friday, July 15 and run five successive Fridays through August 12, 2011. Movies will begin after sunset between 8:30-9pm.
Mayor DeStefano explained, “The New Haven Green is a landmark asset to our community. Friday Flicks are a great way for the whole family to gather and enjoy the summer.”
“Friday Flicks was one of the City’s most favorite family summer events and we received so many requests to bring it back that we’re excited that we are able to again make this available to the public,” said Barbara Lamb, the City’s Director of Cultural Affairs.
We’re especially happy to be partnering with LCI which works so hard to make New Haven the livable city that it is.” Erik Johnson, LCI’s Director stated “We’ve selected some great family and classic films that everyone will enjoy and I urge everyone to come out with friends and family for a fun night on the New Haven Green.”
The summer line up includes:
July 15: Men in Black
Two men who keep an eye on aliens in New York City must try to save the world after the aliens threaten to blow it up.
July 22: Back to the Future
In 1985, Doc Brown invents time travel; in 1955, Marty McFly accidentally prevents his parents from meeting, putting his own existence at stake.
July 29: The Blues Brothers
Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.
August 5: Finding Nemo
A father-son underwater adventure featuring Nemo, a boy clownfish, stolen from his coral reef home. His timid father must then travel to Sydney and search Sydney Harbour to find Nemo.
August 12: Last Days of the Coliseum
This documentary, recently completed by Rich Hanley, Associate Professor of Journalism at Quinnipiac University, tells the complete story of the New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, including much of the city’s history of indoor sports and family entertainment. The film explores the Coliseum’s 30-year run as the temple of rock music, hockey, wrestling and pop culture for baby boomers, until its demise and eventual implosion in 2007.
Both on-street and garage parking is available nearby. Visitors are encouraged to dine in or take out a delicious meal from one of New Haven’s downtown restaurants prior to the film to enjoy on the New Haven Green. Refreshments such as popcorn, hot dogs and soft drinks may be available from local itinerant food vendors. Friday Flicks is sponsored by Continuum of Care, The Bennington Group, Trinity Financial, START Bank, Laz Parking, Northland Investment Corporation, Dunhill Capital, Pike International, and Yale University.
For more information contact Kim Futrell (203) 946-7172 or visit www.cityofnewhaven.com/culturalaffairs.
The City of New Haven’s Department of Cultural Affairs is dedicated to enhancing the City’s quality of life and supporting its economic development through the production of events, the commissioning of public art and assisting and promoting New Haven’s many artists and cultural organizations. www.cityofnewhaven.com/culturalaffairs.
Director of Communications
City of New Haven
Jesse “Jet” Paine’s flick, “Vampires Don’t Sparkle,” will start filming in about two weeks and feature six main speaking roles.
This is the first full-length movie directed by the North Haven High School grad after earning considerable buzz for some recent short films. “Elm City Wuxia,” a tribute to Hong Kong action movies, won best film, best director and other awards at the Reel New Haven Film Festival. “The Ward,” a full-throttle monster movie with werewolves, zombies and ghosts set in Brooklyn, is currently in post-production.
LEND A HAND: To contribute to the production of “Vampires Don’t Sparkle,” go to,
Thanks to a forward from Craig Fishbein, he let me know about a service that the Wallingford Public Library offers that I was totally unaware of.
Mind you, I’m not a big audio book person myself but I know plenty of people that are and I never would have thought to point them here.
So for Craig’s summary of the service you can check out his page with the details – Our WALLINGFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY offers
The Downloadable Audio books page from the Wallingford Public Library site offers the following details:
The Library is pleased to offer two sources for downloadable audio books. Both offer a wide range of titles, many of which may be transferred to iPods or other mp3 players or burned to CDs. All you need is your library card to access these audio books. Please contact the Information Desk if you have questions or comments about the service.
This is just an awesome service for those that enjoy this type of media.
Thanks again for the forward Craig.
By Joe Adinolfi
Special to the Record-Journal
WALLINGFORD — Jim Zandri, owner of the popular Zandri’s Stillwood Inn on South Colony Road in Wallingford, will host his 13th annual Party for a Cure on Sept. 6.
The annual event has raised more than $233,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1997.
Last year alone the rally pulled in $33,620 – the most ever raised through one event. Our goal every year is to raise a dollar more than the year before. If we do that this year, we’re going to hit the quarter million mark,” Zandri said.
“I think it’s a great event, because Jim gets everything donated, so all of your $45 goes to the MDA, which is great,” said Marissa Adinolfi of North Haven. Adinolfi was presented with the MDA’s Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award at last year’s event.
One hundred percent of all the proceeds are donated directly to the MDA. “My staff volunteers their time to put on the event,” Zandri said.
Zandri’s suppliers also donate food and beverages for the event.
“I’ve known him for years; we’ve run other events there,” said Neil Velleca, president of The Sons and Daughters of Italy lodge no. 2805.
The lodge has pledged to donate all the bingo money from the month of August to the MDA. “We make money to donate to charity — that’s the main purpose of our organization,” Velleca said.
Although the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon Party for a Cure is televised from Las Vegas, the proceeds from Party for a Cure remain in-state. The MDA has an office in Hamden that uses the money to help Connecticut residents suffering from any one of the 43 neuromuscular conditions.
Zandri became involved with the Jerry Lewis Telethon after the state’s former remote location dropped out. Soon after, the MDA came to Zandri’s office to solicit donations and told him that if he gave $1,500 to the telethon, he could present during Connecticut’s 15minute television spot.
“I said, well maybe instead of me donating the check, we can run an event here that night,” he said/ About 100 people attended Zandri’s first event.
“I worked with them and I put it together; we kind of went into it blind,” Zandri said. More than 300 were in attendance for last year’s party.
Zandri has been a major supporter of people suffering from MD in Connecticut for years, but when close family friend and former bartender Al Draghi died in late 2006 from Lou Gehrig’s disease, things became personal.
Zandri was inspired by Draghi’s bravery in the face of the disease. “He was part of a group that went out to eat every Thursday and he continued to do so until he died. We were still picking himup in the wheelchair and bringing him out,” Zandri said.
Draghi was a strong supporter of the Party for a Cure before his diagnosis. He encouraged other bartenders to follow his example and donate the tips they made working at the party.
Zandri believes very firmly in what he does, and he hopes others feel the same way.
“When I solicit this party, I’m not asking people for money that I take any part of. I don’t take anything out of this,” Zandri said. “I have this facility and I have the ability and every once in a while, you have to do something for humanitarian reasons”.
The party will be held at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn at 1074 South Colony Road, Wallingford. Tickets are $45 per person. To reserve a seat, call Zandri’s at (203) 269-6695.
WALLINGFORD— The annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day Telethon will take place from 5:30 p.m. to midnight Sept. 6 at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn, 1074 S. Colony Road.
The donation is $45 per person and will include a buffet dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with an open bar from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. The event will also feature dancing, entertainment and a silent auction.
Reservations are required.
For information or a reservation, call (203) 269-6695.