Saturday, September 29, 2007

Schakolad Means Chocolate

After the sausage and broccoli rabe pasta at Cappriccio, I was too full for my favorite dessert, the Torta della Nonna. On the way to the car, I spotted Schakolad, the chocolate store across the street, and veered toward it. I got a colorful conglomeration of chocolates, all made on site. Ounce for ounce, they probably had more calories than the Torta della Nonna, but they weren't filling, and the variety made for a fun taste-test. Consider Schakolad as a quick post-dinner treat or a place to fill your purse on the way to the Avon. It’s open until 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 7pm Monday-Thursday. Click here to read more.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Democrat's Delight at Bradford's

I don't have the attention span for politics, policies and primaries. However, the Iraq invasion certainly caught my eye. Did our leaders really use the words "Shock and Awe" in reference to dropping bombs on another country? Did we ignore recommendations by U.N. inspectors and invade a nation to look for WMD... and find nothing? I'm not political... I'm just wondering.
For those of you who understand primaries and what Congress does, and are Democrats, there's a fundraiser for Jim Himes this Saturday the 29th at Bradford's. For 25 bucks, you get an open bar from 7-8 pm and political pub trivia at 7:30. Proceeds go toward his run for Congress against Chris Shays. The event is hosted by several local blogs, so I don't think it will be the old fogey scene that the word "fundraiser" suggests. I assume the blograiser will be in the nice upstairs space, so you can still go to Bradford's and play darts even if you're not a Democrat. Click here to read more.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stamford: Looking Almost as Cool as Boston

I met someone last week who hadn’t been to Capriccio. I expressed pity and disbelief. Capriccio CafĂ© has the best outdoor seating in Stamford and an extensive menu of simple, delicious Italian food. Have a beer at lunch, coffee mid-afternoon, wine with dinner, or dessert and drinks late. When you drive by at 10 pm and all 30 outdoor tables are full, Stamford looks like a real city. The people-watching at Capriccio is worth the belching buses and roaring Harleys on Bedford.

Capriccio offers nightlife that’s not a bar; it’s open until 11pm all week, and 12pm on Friday and Saturday. You can have a drink with your friends without having to scream over a cover band. Sorry, Tiernan’s- your atmosphere stinks, and you should hire nicer bouncers/managers. Capriccio has more variety than a bar full of over-21s out to drink and hook up. (Although if that’s you, I do wish you luck.) It has families, groups of coworkers and friends, people on dates. The crowd ranges from young to old, lithe to lumpy, stylish to dorky. No worries at Capriccio. The owner is Italian, so maybe that’s why the place is so relaxed but intensely social.

Next door, Tigin maintains its presence, but its 6 or 7 outdoor tables only allow a small group to enjoy the night air. Until winter, Tigin will have to wait. Will the Capriccio crowd migrate to Tigin’s cozy, spacious interior? Will they go across the street to Chez Jean-Pierre? No, Tigin’s too heavy, Chez JP too expensive. Capriccio crew, where will you eat in the winter? I think I might go post that question on Chowhound right now. TIP: Try the amazing Lemon Cake (Torta della Nonna) which means grandma’s cake.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Weekly Events: Sept 24-30

Stamford, you're getting better and better. This week's events look great, but see the Ongoing Events post after you look at this entry so you can make a fully informed decision.
Monday: Anyone? Anything? There IS bingo; I'll get back to you.
Tuesday: Karaoke at Black Bear, 9:30. I've never been. I'd hit Trivia Night at Tigin, then go to Black Bear if you're interested.
---Audition to play zombies at Stamford Nature Center, 6pm. “Teen and adult frighteners are needed to play a swarm of monstrous characters.”
---Art Opening for exhibit honoring Hispanic Heritage Month. 6-8pm, Rosenthal Gallery at the Rich Forum. (Don’t get me started on the fact that you can’t find this event on the Stamford Center for the Arts website.)
---Wynton Marsalis at the Palace Theatre, 8pm.
---Homemade Italian Wine Contest at the Italian Center of Stamford, 7pm. Reserve a space at 847-0713
---Ongoing event I missed: Observatory, Stamford Nature Center.
---10am: Panel Discussion on "Rap Music As A Positive Influence In The Community," followed by a talent show by local youth. 10am.
---Display of different types of Ferraris, 3-8pm, right near Capriccio and Tigin, related to Italian Cultural Week. Click here to read more.

Stamford Gov't Center: 888-Excellence

This is a shout out to 888 Washington Boulevard. Don’t get the wrong impression of this exciting and useful building just because a stabbing victim staggered in there two weeks ago.
888 Wash, also known as the the Stamford Government Center, first came to my attention on a Friday afternoon. I was frantic to renew my expired license before driving to Boston, but I couldn't handle the idea of the traumatic Norwalk DMV. A friend tipped me off to a satellite DMV at 888 Wash. Satellite! The Stamford DMV is shabby but gets the job done. Although the main clerk may not be cheery, the woman who takes your picture can be charmed if you act like a neurotic freak who needs a perfect photo. When you ask, "Does it look good? Like, really good?" she'll say, "Nah, let's do it again." You're going to look hot, or at least attractive, for the next five years.
888 Wash doesn't stop there. Voter registration is right beside the DMV; sign up and stroll out. On the first floor, you can get your marriage license and buy a pass to Cove Island Beach. You can also pick up your recycling bins; the guy is kidding when he says each bin costs 20 bucks. The best part? 888’s convenient, free parking garage makes these errands quick and easy.
Excitement factor? You have to sign in and show ID before taking the elevators upstairs. It feels top secret, and it’s reassuring to know we’re being watched. TIP: The DMV only takes cash or check, but there’s an ATM in the credit union down the hall. TIP 2: Check the satellite DMV's website before you go. It specifies what you can and can't do at the satellite office. To my own personal horror, you can't renew an expired registration.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Salute, Amici! Italian Cultural Week

The Ferguson, in conjunction with the Italian Center of Stamford, is sponsoring Italian Cultural Week- check out the flier- wow! I'm irate that I'm out of town for this event, which includes a few of my faves: food, wine, and ogling nice cars. Highlights that I’m missing are:

--Friday, September 28: Homemade Italian Wine Contest at the Italian Center of Stamford, 7pm. Reserve a space at 847-0713.
-- Saturday, September 29: Display of different types of Ferraris on Bedford St., right near Capriccio and Tigin. 3-8pm.
--Wednesday, October 3: Pastry sampling and film ”Italians in America.” 6:30pm, Italian Center. Reserve space: 322-6941.
-- Tuesday, October 2: Italian Antipasto Table with wine tasting. 6:30 pm at the Harry Bennett Branch of the library (on Vine Rd. off High Ridge). 351-8237 for more info.
Thank you to Lanamaniac for the Vespa photo. Click here to read more.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Trash Can Update: Controversy! Mayhem!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh dear. Some Stamford residents are pissed.
Thank god it's about something interesting: trash cans.

I am loving the Advocate's Letters to the Editor section. You really should bookmark it on your browser. One man is furious that the new bin, mandated and delivered by the city of Stamford, is too big to fit in his garage with his car, and he just bought a nice new bin that he won't be able to use. I'd be pissed too. Nice trash cans with wheels are expensive.

Another resident is angry because the bins get heavy when they're full; someone who's not in good physical health will have a hard time pulling it. And, what's worse, a heavy trash can is hell on a rock driveway. When I lived in Norwalk, I had to drag my wheeled trash can through 100 feet of rock. The wheels were actually a hindrance; a smooth-bottomed trash can would have moved better. Now I live in luxury with a paved driveway, but I haven't forgotten those dark days in Norwalk. Click here to read more.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ongoing Events, As Far As I Know

You go Stamford, having something for us to do on most nights!
Mon: --nothing as far as I can tell.
--Spinning Plates at Dragonfly (photo courtesy of Spinning Plates)
--Stamford Chorale (249-9072)
--Trivia Night at Tigin
--Greater Stamford Toastmasters
--Open Jam Jimmy's Seaside
--Karaoke at Bobby V's
Thurs: -- Karaoke at SBC- I hear good things.
Friday: --Dragonfly Fridays- Dance party at Dragonfly Lounge. The food got a great review last year and their myspace page has more info and reviews.
--Stamford Art Association on Franklin St. The townhouse gallery is open for free on Thursdays and Fridays from 11am to 3pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 3pm.
--Farmers Market on Bedford, through November- I don't think it's that great, but maybe some of you disagree.
Sunday: --Current Events Discussion at Chez Jean-Pierre, 5-7pm.

Current show at Stamford Museum & Nature Center: The Motorcycle Italian Style: Riding the Curves with MV Agusta. It's a vintage motorcycle show on display until January. There's also a family campout next Saturday. Click here to read more.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month at the Ferguson

The Ferguson has a decent website that book and culture lovers should check regularly. Not only are there book clubs and film screenings, there are events such as Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) and Italian Culture (end of this month). Highlights of the Hispanic Heritage celebration include a showing of Pan's Labyrinth Thursday the 27th at 6:30 p.m, and a family-oriented program Saturday the 29th at noon at the South End Branch- music, arts, crafts, and a panel discusssion. Oddly, food wasn't mentioned... most cultural events have fun food. Speaking of food, more on that Italian event very soon. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real Gossip: Travolta Sightings in Stamford

Some of you may know that John Travolta is in town filming a movie for Disney called "Old Dogs." He's living in Greenwich, but he was seen working out at LA Fitness in Stamford, right near the Super Stop and Shop on Bedford. A reader informed Stamford Talk that he has been seen working out in the evenings around 8:30.
I have three comments about that:
1. Why LA Fitness? Is it super nice?
2. Maybe he's not living in Greenwich- why would he come up here to work out? My reader suggested he might be living at a hotel nearby.
3. If you see him, PLAY IT COOL. We don't want to make Stamford look desperate. You can smile and say hi, but keep moving. Do not stop. Do not try to have a conversation, and above all, do not ask for an autograph.
Most sightings reported in various local papers are mostly in Greenwich: at Terra on the Ave. (Robin Williams is also in the film and has been seen there), at a wine store near Asiana Cafe on Rt.1, and possibly the Greenwich Y. I bet the Greenwich people at the Y bothered him, and he sought more laid-back pastures in Stamford.
Travolta photo courtesy of Ack Ook. Click here to read more.

Monday, September 17, 2007

We(a)kly Events September 17-22

This must be a slow week for Stamford, or I'm out of the loop.
Tonight (Tuesday)- Monthly Jazz and Poetry Open Mike at Bradford's- 6:30 pm. It's hosted by spoken word artist Arturo "Professor" Pfister from New Orleans. The You Tube video of him looks cool, but I cannot picture how it's going to work with people eating dinner and playing darts. Call 203-961-999 for info.
Sunday the 23rd- movie at the Ferguson- 1:30-4:00 pm. A Peck on the Cheek was filmed in 2002 and won several Indian Oscars. It's over two hours long. It's in the Ferguson's third floor auditorium. The IMDB states, "The movie is inspired by a Time magazine article about an American couple who took their daughter to Philippines to meet her biological mother."

Heads up: Wynton Marsalis at the Palace Theatre Friday the 28th: I'd get tickets ASAP- 50-60$. Click here to read more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wrong Side of the Metro North Tracks? Bank Gossip

SCOOP: The Stamford Police caught the guy who robbed my People's Bank last Monday. Guess where he stopped by earlier that day? My credit union, the one that was robbed two years ago. The staff there is obviously on their toes, so when a man walked in last week with his hood low, they asked him to remove it (YOU GO GIRLS), and he left-- to go rob my People's. Read more at the Advocate online.
MY TAKE: When I'm at eating the Gioia salad at Capriccio, wandering Borders, or eating a 4 dollar bag of M&Ms at the movies, it's easy to forget that not everyone in Stamford has such a high standard of living. I could say that my banks are near the "bad" parts of town, but that implies only criminals and sketchy people live there. I don't think it's that simple.
VERDICT on this situation? It confuses me that while the Stamford Symphony Orchestra has a large audience of subcribers, and while Stamford is the highest-rent area in the country (it beats San Fran), there is low-income housing all over Stamford, and as far as I can tell, no interaction between these different types of people. There is very little middle ground in this city. Click here to read more.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bored by Sushi? Try Duo.

SCOOP: Duo, the new Euro-Japanese restaurant by the owners of Plateau, has great food at reasonable prices.
MY TAKE: Duo is beside Plateau on Bank Street. If you are a fan of Plateau's tasty yet affordable Vietnamese/Thai food, you may have noticed some renovation. Duo's theme: each dish done in two ways. The menu offers regular sushi, special rolls that actually taste special, and entrees that are- European? I got the Buddha roll- very big, 10 or 12 pieces, for around 15 $. The entire roll had mushrooms, but half had them raw with other veggies, and the other half had them sauteed with portobello tempura on top. The appetizers are also done two ways. We had the seaweed salad; half was spicy, half sweetish.
VERDICT: This place would be great for a date; the food is fun to talk about, and many entrees are under 30 $. So, make that a fancy date. Click here to read more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weekly Events Sept. 12-16: Puppets!

Through September 28: Puppets on display at UConn Stamford. I pictured tiny puppets, which would have been great, but the puppets are actually huge and beautiful, from UConn's Drama Dept. Their Puppetry program (I'm not joking) offers a BFA or MFA; check out the puppets on the webpage. This puppet is non-UConn, but from an excellent flickr set.
Saturday: Downtown Stamford- Arts, Crafts and Blues, on Bedford, Walk at Cove Beach to raise money for Laurel House, 11:30 am Peace Vigil in front of the Ferguson library.
Sunday: More Arts and Blues on Bedford- I wonder how they'll handle alcohol. Will they hand out bracelets like at Alive at Five to show you can drink, or will people wander the streets with unsanctioned liquor? Knowing Stamford, the cops will be on it. A little annoying, but it keeps the peace. Click here to read more.

My People's Bank Got Robbed!!!

SCOOP: As if it didn’t want to let Monday’s stabbing at 888 Wash get all the attention, the People’s Bank in Shippan got robbed on Tuesday. No one was hurt, but I feel terrible because the staff is really nice.
MY TAKE: I went to this bank last week and left thinking, My god, the people at that bank were awesome! I considered writing about it at Stamford Talk, but then thought, Who would care that I found a cool bank in a slightly sketchy area of town? Well, the man that robbed them cared.
GOSSIP/VERDICT: My credit union got robbed a couple of years ago, and no one was hurt there either. Evidently the bank robbers of Stamford are a gentle bunch, as you can see from Eloketh's photo. Still, you may want to consider the drive-through. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Smashed Up Pink Car Still There

Once again, I headed south on High Ridge under the Merritt, and once again, the pink car took my breath away. Last Saturday I paid ten dollars to support breast cancer, and I got to smash the car with a sledgehammer. I wondered all week what the car ended up looking like by 5pm, and I kept meaning to call raveis to find out. Well, the pink car explained itself. Click here to read more.

Stamford Chorale: My Brush with Fame

Uh.... my picture is in the Stamford Advocate today!!!!!! It's unrelated to Stamford Talk- I'm not that famous yet. Actually, it is related to Stamford Talk. Because of my raging desire to know everything about Stamford, I subscribed to the Stamford Advocate, which notified me of the Stamford Chorale, so I went, and a (cute) photographer from the Advocate showed up.
I almost didn't go to SC; I was exhausted. Screw it, I thought, remembering my commitment to Stamford Talk. I'm going. I threw on some clothes, ripped a comb through my hair, looked in the mirror and thought, Wow, you look bad, and rushed out the door. The picture is so embarrassing. I'm wincing like the music is really hard. It's not hard, so you should join if you have any ability to a) sight-read or b) copy the person next to you, which is how I learned to sing in college. SC needs more men. Guys, good opp for meeting women if you can hold a tune. Ladies, let's get some more young people in the group. Thanks to Zupao for the photo, taken in Dublin. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gov't Center: Not as Boring as You'd Think

SCOOP: The Stamford Times reports that a stabbing occurred Monday afternoon near the Stamford Government Building- or, 888 Wash, as I like to call it. It's predicted the man will be OK.
MY TAKE: Stabbing victim staggers into 888 Washington Blvd? What, 888, you couldn't wait until next week, when I planned to write about you? See, you're sassier than I thought. Not to be a Downer Debbie, but this event shows that Stamford is not simply the sleek and gleaming city it aspires to be. There is still crime (check out the paper's police blotter- more on that in a later entry), and not everyone is making a gazillion dollars, so don't prance glibly around Stamford as if it's Greenwich.
VERDICT: I think this is my first bit of gossip for the blog. Open for gossip: crime in Stamford and 888 Wash Blvd. Click here to read more.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ukrainian Festival 2007: Best of Stamford

SCOOP: I went to the 40th annual Ukrainian Festival on Sept. 9, 2007. It’s good for families, singles, and music-lovers, and it’s certainly worth ten bucks (five in advance).
MY TAKE: Ukraine Fest is a must. For families, lively traditional dancing and music. For singles, beer and attractive, sharp-featured men and women. For everyone, it’s a great day to sit outdoors, eat, drink, and relax on the beautiful grounds of St. Basil’s College in Glenbrook.
I got there as a few hundred people were gathering in front of the outdoor amphitheatre. I have no idea where they got their folding chairs, but I sat on my
blanket waiting for the traditional dancers. First, a man led us in “God Bless America.” I wasn’t surprised many people were unsure of the words, but I was surprised that I was the most clueless. I sang, “to the ocean- white with snoooooooow.” ??? Foam, dum-dum!
But once he started us on the Ukrainian national anthem, the crowd’s voices grew surer. I stood and listened. It took a while and no one seemed in a hurry. It was a bit eerie sounding, maybe because it was slow and a cappella, or maybe because the strongest voices were older. The younger voices didn’t know all the words, just like I didn’t know "God Bless America," but the older folk followed through to the end. It was impressive to see people singing a song that clearly says, I grew up somewhere else. I hope they like Stamford.

The dancers were awesome. Groups from different towns performed, ages 6 to 13-ish. They leapt and twirled, and the boys did Russian-style crouch and kick moves. It wasn’t a “they’re bad but cute” dance recital. Those kids were little but they kicked ass. They did a complicated circle-up-and-link-arms-to-lift-up-the-girls move, and some up-and-back, in-a-line moves. One boy did one-handed cartwheels in a circle.
Next, a band of four adults played music with traditional instruments: violin, insane wooden flute, bass, and accordion. The speakers and sound production were clear, so the music sounded great. I got a funny photo of a little dog standing by the switchboard.
The entire program was in Ukrainian. That might scare some people, but I love it. Not understanding the language around you frees you of all responsibility. I meandered around looking at the craft tables- the painted eggs would make good gifts- and Ukraine-language books and CDs. I wasn’t crazy about the food.
VERDICT: I hope this event is better-publicized next year. The local papers helpfully mentioned it THE DAY BEFORE. Does anyone a) read the paper b) spur-of-the-moment decide to hit the local fair? Just remember: next year, early September, St. Basil’s College on Glenbrook Road. I’ll be there, and I’ll bring my folding chair.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Late Bird Missed Block Party

SCOOP: Jimmy's Seaside's block party looked fun but I missed it. I'm bitter.
MY TAKE: I had friends to see, but I did a drive-by of Jimmy's 3:30. There was a band setting up in the small lot beside J's and a few guys milling about with beers. I thought about stopping to take some photos and ask some questions, but I was wearing a low-cut top and would have felt conspicuous among the guys in jeans and black t-shirts. After circling the block to get one more look, I decided to check back in a couple hours.
I drove by at 5:45 and the place was jamming. Loud rock music, people joyfully playing beer pong with red cups... just what I'd imagined. Don't ask me why I didn't stop. The light was beautiful and I would have gotten some freaking great photos. Knowing what I know now, I hate myself.
I sped home to get the husband for dinner, and I took few minutes to read the papers I'd missed when I was in Maine. That half-hour was a fatal delay. We ate at Post Corner Pizza in Darien since it's kinda close to J's and I wanted chicken souvlaki. We took a stroll at Cove Beach at dusk (so lovely, but another fatal error), assuming the block party would be rolling even harder at night when the crowds arrived.
We drove up to Jimmy's at 8... to a silent, almost empty lot. The band was packing up and the beer pongers were pretty drunk. We walked in, thinking maybe there was a crowd indoors, and we’d have a drink and play a little pool. "Five dollar cover," said a very pleasant man.
Me: "What! I thought the Block Party was free!" I pointed to the notorious flyer on the wall.
"It is, but there's a cover for the band."
"Who's the band?" A name I'd never heard of. "I thought the block party was until two am."
"It is, but we're sort of moving it indoors." I told him I'd call the friend we were meeting and get back to him.
"Five dollar cover?" I said as we walked out.
"Yeah, and ten for guys," my husband added.
"Didn't you see the sign?" No, I didn’t. Our friend suggested Tigin so we met her out there and had a good evening.
Looking back, I should have asked to talk to the manager. Maybe he or she would have let me in for free when I explained the situation and maybe cried a little. I'm disappointed, because it was my fault I missed the party. I should have stopped the second time when there was beautiful light. I just have to forget this, move on, and take it as a lesson learned: DON'T WAIT TO DO YOUR STAMFORD TALK JOB. DINNER CAN WAIT. KEEP YOUR MIND IN THE GAME. DON’T LET YOUR LOW-CUT SHIRT STOP YOU. And, 8 pm is probably the wrong time to arrive at any bar.
VERDICT: Carpe freakin'diem. Click here to read more.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I Smashed the Pink Car!

SCOOP: Right now it's 12:15 on Saturday. You have about five hours to go smash that car for breast cancer. It's worth it.
MY TAKE: I got off the High Ridge exit on the way home from Maine and gasped. The pink car. I'd forgotten. I veered over into the left lane and turned into the A and P parking lot. Shoppers wandered over to take a look as a kid banged the car with a sledge hammer. There wasn't chrome flying everywhere. Oh well.
I tucked ten bucks in my pocket, grabbed my camera, and hopped out. A volunteer didn't have to talk me into anything, especially after she told me I got as many hits as I wanted. I got my raffle ticket, for cool prizes like jewelry and trips. The volunteer's assistants/family were eager for me to take a slam, but I said, "I'm a little afraid I'll hurt myself with that sledge hammer." Someone offered me a mallet, and I said, OK. I took a couple slams. It felt pretty good but that car was not as easily smashable as you'd think. I think it was a Toyota Tercel. The scary glass parts had already been removed for safety.
The people that were running it were awesome. Raveis sounded so boring to me; I pictured people in button downs only giving you one hit at the car. No sir. After I had a few hits with the mallet, a nice man brought over the sledge hammer and encouraged me to really do some damage. That thing was HEAVY, but it did make bigger dents.
VERDICT: GO! QUICK! That car needs a lot of people to smash it so it gets more broken up !!! It barely looked smashed at noon! We must destroy that car! Click here to read more.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Block Party: Another Case Cracked

SCOOP: Jimmy's Block Party looks great- no admission fee, 2 $ Bud Light drafts, and beer pong, from noon to 2 am, this Saturday Sept. 8.
MY TAKE: I'm going to give you a synopsis of what it took for me to find this information. I don't mean to self-promote (actually, I do), but this is why Stamford Talk exists.
1) I looked at the Advocate online. I'm in Maine so the paper paper is most likely in my driveway, run over by my husband on the way to work. In the Jimmy's entry under Clubs, there's no mention of the Block Party. Did I imagine this event, like I thought I imagined the Ukraine Fest? No, this event I'm pretty confident about, since a human voice told me about it when I called Jimmy's on Monday to find out about Open Jam. Again, not to bash Stamford Talk over your head, but do you see what I mean about the haphazard nature of finding info in this town? I love surprises, but sometimes I just want to know what the hell is going on this weekend.
2) I googled "Jimmy's Seaside Stamford ct" and found their unbelievably hideous website. You should really take a look. Under the Calendar section, it says, "Block Party Noxzilla, RockStar." Are those bands? Or companies that sponsor the event? Let's click on the link below (for boneyardproduction's myspace page) and find out.
3) Oh! There's no information! It says, "Saturday Sept. 8... Rock Block and Beats Party at Jimmy's Seaside." I knew all that. OK, here are icons along a rope graphic. Let's click on "About Me"- an empty box. Maybe that's an error- let's click on the next icon- another empty box!
Are you surprised? Stamford Talk isn't. She's used to this.
4) I started writing this entry, but wanted to double check that the site was truly a dead end. Why would Jimmy's direct you to a useless website? Oh wait, if you scroll down, there is a flyer describing the event. Another poorly done website. It's a good thing I took a second look and looked "below the fold," as my techie husband says. The flyer is an image in the "Comments and Friends" section. That section title is visible above the fold, but the flyer isn't. Um, Boneyard? REDESIGN YOUR WEBSITE.
5) If you squint at the flyer, you can see that Noxzilla and Rockstar are bands. I guess Boneyard Productions is some sort of booking agency. No idea. The flyer does include the essential info, so thank you, Boneyard, for that. I'll put it on the blog.
6) I went back to the rope to check all the other tabs and clicked on the least obvious, fuzzy skull icon. "View Photos" pops up, and you're linked to myspace, but have to log in. Obviously, at this point, it's not worth it. I don't even know whose photos I'd be clicking on. Boneyard's? I still don't know who that is. A booking agency? Well, I hate them. Not to perseverate, but if you click on the "music" tab, there's a tiny picture of a skeleton with headphones on, and the words "" in the corner. Don't click on it. Nothing happens.
VERDICT: Access to information about Stamford's social scene is limited. It took 15 minutes to confirm an event that I only found out about by chance. You'll have to follow my steps to see the flyer, because this computer doesn't have Firefox and adding links in Safari takes forever.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Bins, New Era in Trash

SCOOP: The city of Stamford ended backyard pickup, so now we all get new garbage bins! With wheels!
MY TAKE: At 6 am in the winter, curled up in my bed, I was thankful to hear a commotion under my bedroom window. It was the magical sound of my garbage bins being pulled violently out to the curb when I had forgotten. I thought the garbagemen were just super nice- turns out, all of Stamford has backyard service. Since 80% of Stamford-ites already put their own trash out, the city decided to end backyard pickup. They're giving out new, uniform bins that can automatically be lifted into the truck. I’m picturing two beautiful clean bins, each with a sturdy hinged lid. I’ve been looking forward to this for over a week. The elderly or handicapped can apply for exemptions, and from what I read in the paper, the city has been quick to process those requests. If I didn’t read the local news, I wouldn't have known about this revolution in trash. You don’t read the local paper, and that's OK. I'm here for you.
VERDICT: I hope these bins live up to my expectations. I'm looking forward to writing our house number on the bin in permanent marker. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ukranian Fest is a Go!

SCOOP: There is a Ukraine Festival at St. Basil's College on Glenbrook Road. It’s the 40th annual Ukrainian Connecticut Day Festival. A really nice man called me back. The kitchen gets going around noon, dancers 2-ish, and then traditional music with 5 bands from all over the region. One of the groups from NYC has a "haunting Carpathian" sound. Arts and crafts, beer, Ukranian flea market (?), a raffle, and a Ukranian museum inside the college. Last year 2500 people attended.

MY TAKE: Ukraine Day sounds just like Norwalk's Oyster Fest. Both have music and beer, but Ukraine Day has more than just oysters.

I couldn't get a clear answer on the end time. "Oh, 6 or so-- but the music lasts later."
Me: "Like, 9 or so?"
Him: "No, no, like 7-- until the food and beer run out."
This sounds like my kind of party. Mass chaos all day, home by 7 to relax and get ready for the work week.
Me: "What if it rains?"
Him: "It's only rained once in 40 years."
Me: "What did you do?"
Him (merrily): "Oh, it was a disaster!"

The forecast looks good: maybe a stray shower. I don't even care. I plan on buying my ticket in advance. It's 5$ (call 324-0242), or 10 $ at the door.

VERDICT: Good cultural opportunity. When I go to Cove Beach, I hear many different languages spoken. Polish, Russian, Ukranian? I know nothing about these cultures, and on Sunday, I get to learn about Ukraine. Click here to read more.

Sept. 4-9: Smash a Car and Dance!

Events this week, culled from local papers, that appeal to me.
Mellow original music- Bennigan’s 6:30. Anna Nyakana and her guitar.
Original music by the Spinning Plates- Dragonfly Lounge. Looks interesting. They play most Tuesdays, so I'll probably go next week.
Photography Exhibit- g/r/a/n/d, 7-9 pm. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and music- free! Sources suggest the free stuff is only for the first two hours.
Open Jam- Jimmy’s Seaside. Starts at 9, I’d go at 10.
Thursday and Friday:
I'm not sure yet. Many of you, I'm sure, will be heading to the Oyster Fest in Norwalk. Does Stamford have an equivalent to that?
Car-smashing for breast cancer- the A&P on High Ridge, 9 to 5. A 10 $ raffle ticket puts you in the Nov. 5 drawing for a car and a European vacation. BUT HERE’S THE THING I JUST CAN’T PICTURE: WHEN YOU BUY A TICKET, YOU GET TO SMASH A PINK CAR WITH A HAMMER. Can you imagine all that metal and chrome everywhere? It doesn’t sound safe, but I’m sure gonna go see it. Raveis hosts the fundraiser.
Block Party- Jimmy’s Seaside at noon. I’m not sure if there’s a cover, but if there is, it will be worth the free beer and music.
Discussion of Current Issues- Chez Jean-Pierre on Bedford St. from 5-7. I LOVE to discuss things with strangers. I’m not sure if you are expected to buy dinner; that would be awkward. 978-0467.
Wild Card: Possible Ukranian Church festival- no clue where. It sounds awesome. The traditional dancing is at 2:45 pm, but there’s food earlier. I read about it somewhere last week, and, proving once again why I am starting this blog, I can no longer find the info online or in any newspaper. Just like the cricket match: NOTHING. I called the phone # listed in the paper and left a message for the man on the answering machine who spoke both English and Ukraine. He hasn't called me back. It’s 5$ in advance (324-0242) and 10 $ at the door. We'll see. Click here to read more.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Cold Stamford: No Love for the Music?

SCOOP: It’s headline news that Stamford prefers cover bands to original music. While searching online for Jimmy’s Seaside’s Sept. 8 Block Party, I found a Stamford Times article by Amanda Pinto. She interviewed local musicians who- this is insane- can’t find places to play in Stamford. Most bars book cover bands, many use DJs instead of live bands, and the one notable venue, Jimmy’s, can’t accommodate all who want to play.
MY TAKE: Lack of live original music in a place is a bad, bad, sign. “Live original music” sounds folk-y, but it can be punk or funk or rock or metal. It just means the band plays their own material. Original music is creativity. It’s a different view, it’s a passionate view. It’s art. I’d hate to think that Stamford is made up of people who work and drink and don’t care about music.
VERDICT: Stamford-ites should be open to songs they haven’t already heard 300 times on the radio, their iPod, or a mixed tape in high school. Come to Jimmy’s Open Jam on Wed., and contact musicians you know to make sure they’re going. Add a comment here if you know bands that are playing in Stamford, OR Stamford bands that are playing elsewhere. Click here to read more.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hallelujah: Open Jam on Wednesday

SCOOP: Jimmy’s Seaside looks promising for original live music. There's an Open Jam on Wednesday night.
MY TAKE: One of the main goals of Stamford Talk is to find good original music. I did some research (I called Jimmy’s) and was happy to find out that Jason Jones and the Stateline Blues Band were hosting open jam. I heard Jason’s previous band, Electric Hill, at Green's, and they had a great funk and blues sound.
The good news: at Open Jam, you'll hear a wide variety of bands. This is the kind music I want- people listen to the music, right up close, and it’s not just a background for booze. The musicians write or improvise their own music, and you can say hi to the drummer between sessions. When the groove is right, usually later as things get a little fuzzy, musicians join up and jam with whoever is around. The bar is crowded in a good way. It’s fun to squeeze in for a beer and have a little harmless body contact with the person next to you.
The bad news: Jason hosted his last session this week, and I’m sorry to have missed his music. However, Open Jam is still happening with a new host. I'm going to check it out on the 12th, and I hope many of you will join me.
THANK YOU: To Shamik for his photo of Jimmy's. Check out Shamik's flickr set for a photograph of Jason playing guitar.
VERDICT: Try Jimmy’s Seaside on a Wednesday. Don’t go too early; I’d try 10ish. It's a work night, but you only live once. Click here to read more.

Sk8 Park Report

SCOOP: Scalzi Park has tennis courts, a baseball diamond and a skate park, which makes for good people watching.
MY TAKE: We checked out the skate park on Saturday. It was busy. There's a big bowl for advanced skaters (the video in my earlier sk8 park entry), a small bowl to practice in, and an area with a railing, steps, and raised surfaces where skaters perfect the threatening moves they do in front of public buildings. That's why the skate park is good: they can practice freely, and we're not mowed down. The kids were polite and cooperative, with minimal cursing. There was only one girl, and only one skater looked over 21. Observers sat on benches. It was a very relaxed atmosphere. I myself couldn't relax, because not all kids wear helmets. They skate along the edge of the big bowl to get to the other side of the park, and that big bowl is steep. I might not go back.
On the way out, I noticed a tiny kid standing with the big boys on the edge of the small bowl. He looked, max, 7 years old. I worried a heavier kid might smush him, but he stood confidently and watchfully beside boys twice his size, waiting his turn. What an eager little face. As we drove out of the park, I saw a bunch of 8 year olds running suicides. I think it was a football team. I liked that the team was a mix of black and white kids, and that one coach was white and one was black. I don't see many racially diverse groups in Stamford. If you do, tell me.
VERDICT: Get lunch and eat it outdoors at Scalzi. It's on Bridge street, near the Ridgeway Shopping Center. Click here to read more.

SUPER!!! Stop and Shop for iPods!

MY TAKE: Well. Wow. I had planned on praising SSS for its cheap flowers, but this breaking news takes precedence: RATHER THAN A CANDY/JUNK FOOD MACHINE WHEN YOU ENTER, THERE IS A MACHINE WITH ROWS OF IPODS AND BANG AND OLUFSSON EARPHONES. It's to the right, behind you, so I didn't even see it. My techie husband called me over. My eyes couldn't process all the shiny stuff in boxes. I was still trying to make sense of the mish-mosh when he dragged me to the cookie aisle.
I'm going to have to go back to:
a) see what exactly is in there
b) take a pic (this is by sabellachan- flickr)
c) see if prices are lower than the actual store and
d) ask whose idea that was.
Part of me thinks, who is gonna buy that? But another part of me thinks, those B and O are the same over-the-ear, life-changing, 160 $ headphones my husband loaned me. They were the only pair that didn't ruin my workout by sliding off when I did weights. We lost them in our move. Now there they are, at Stop and Shop.
VERDICT: Maybe SSS shoppers will buy expensive electronics with their groceries. Click here to read more.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Restaurant Week(s): Ya Missed It

SCOOP: Stamford's Restaurant Weeks happened, and I totally missed it.
MY TAKE: The Stamford Times gets delivered to me every Friday for free. You probably get it too but don't realize that it has good info on Stamford library events and concerts in the area (not concerts in Stamford of course, but in Norwalk and Westport). I love the Stamford Times, but in today's edition, an article titled "Stamford Summer Restaurant Weeks begins" (Weeks is not a typo) informed me that it starts Aug. 20 and ends Sept. 2. Well, that's tomorrow. I would have liked to know earlier that Telluride, Bennett's and other restaurants were offering prix fixe for 30.07$. That's a damn steal. Did anyone know about this? Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I've been reading the Advocate for five days straight, and I was downtown several times last week. I didn't see anything. Maybe the regulars at Columbus Park Trattoria (site of our lobster head fiasco) and g/r/a/n/d (whatever) knew about it, but isn't the point of Downtown's Restaurant Association to get more customers? My two cents: it needed more publicity.
VERDICT: Let's make a mental note to keep our eyes peeled next August. Click here to read more.