Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mark Twain House News

Party on the Mississippi to Celebrate Author's 175th Birthday
The Mark Twain House & Museum will celebrate America's funniest writer's 175th birthday in a style he would have loved, with a Party on the Mississippi Friday, Dec. 3.

The historic property's spacious Museum Center will be decked out in Southern style to throw a Mardi Gras-style party for Twain's 175th birthday. River City Slim & the Zydeco Hogs will fill the Museum Center with their musical gumbo, and Sea Tea Improv will transform audience suggestions into comic jambalaya. The party will be catered by Hartford favorite Rajun' Cajun.

Party on the Mississippi will begin at 7 pm. Tickets are $30 ($25 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum). There will also be a cash bar. For tickets or information, call 860-280-3130.

House Decorated for the Holidays
Starting tomorrow the Clemens mansion on Farmington Avenue takes on all the excitement of the holidays in an upper-middle-class Hartford mansion of the Gilded Age -- one that just happened to be the home of one of America's greatest and funniest writers and his extraordinary wife and daughters.

The excitement comes in part from the dazzling array of garlands, gifts, grand rooms and glittering table settings, but also from the stories that the Mark Twain House & Museum's seasoned and eloquent guide corps tell at this time of year. The drama and and pathos of American Victorian holiday ritual, and the intimate details of life in the Clemens family, provide a new perspective on the much-visited home where they lived for seventeen Christmases. And there's no extra charge for this cornucopia of delights, other than the standard house tour admission.

There are the children's muffs and coachman's cape spread out in the house's ornate entry hall, fresh from a sleigh ride through Hartford distributing gifts. There are the gifts under the tree in the drawing room: a gold comb, a silver jardiniere, a German children's book translated by Mark Twain himself, and a sack of hickory nuts sent by an Iowa uncle.

There's the schoolroom decorated with stockings, as Clara described. And finally, there's Twain's third-floor billiard room, where he wrote, and where a Santa jacket is mow strewn on the table. All these things have intriguing and compelling stories behind them.

The Mark Twain House is decorated for the holidays though early January. In the spirit of the season, the admission prices for this one-of-a-kind Gilded Age holiday experience remain the same as for the rest of the year: $15 for adults and $9 for children ($13 for seniors). A Servant's Wing Tour may be added for the complete experience at a nominal charge.

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave.. Hartford are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 am.-5:30 pm., and Sunday, noon to 5:30 pm. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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