Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mark Russell Slated for Laughter in Politics at Mark Twain House and More...

The Mark Twain House and Museum presents an evening with political humorist Mark Russell on the Laughter of Politics Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Long before Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, there was Mark Russell, daring to joke and sing of the often absurd political process. He started in a little piano bar on Capitol Hill - right across from the lawmakers themselves. He began knowing little about politics, but was an immediate hit because he could find humor in anything.

Russell continues to play off the day's headlines, performing stand-up comedy while accompanying himself on the piano. Reading three or four newspapers a day allows him to constantly update his material. The result is that no two shows are ever identical. "I thrive on newspapers." he frequently states. "And it looks like I'll be thriving longer than them."

A native of Buffalo, NY, Russell's first heroes were entertainers. Radio comedians like Fred Allen and Jack Benny had audiences screaming for satire. It seems that everyone was making fun of self-important people. Groucho Marx was Dr. Quackenbush. Bugs Bunny was Toscanini. Charlie Chaplin was Hitler.

Russell spent 30 years on public television as host of the "Mark Russell Comedy Specials," where it was consistently among the top-rated shows on that network.
Tickets are $45 ($40 for Mark Twain House & Museum Members). Please call (860) 280-3130 for reservations.

Also coming u at the Mark Twain House:

The Mark Twain House and Museum presents a new art exhibition Botanical Tyranny: Drawings By Jane Rainwater. The exhibition will run from Nov. 4 to Jan. 17 in the Mark Twain House Museum Center.

There will be an free opening reception for the exhibition on Sunday, Nov. 10 from 2 to 4 pm.

Botanical Tyranny features pen and ink drawings of beautiful flowers, birds, and insects that, when looked at closely, are made of weapons, bomb, swords, guns, etc. Jane Rainwater's work engages the viewer with its seemingly innocent decorative delight; yet upon closer examination the work challenges and questions our attraction by revealing darker truths. Her drawings explore the paradox of "horrible beauty," illuminating her concerns regarding wealth, greed, violence and cultural traditions.

Rainwater grew up in Westport and lives in Andover. She teaches art and design at several colleges and universities in Connecticut. She is also the owner of Rainwater Design. She holds a MFA from The Art Institute of Boston, and a BFA from The Hartford Art School. She received a Radius Emerging Artist Fellowship from The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield. Jane has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country.

Botanical Tryanny also ties in with the major fall exhibition at the Mark Twain House Museum Center: An Inglorious Peace or a Dishonorable War: Mark Twain's Views on Conflict which opened last month. Both exhibitions are open during regular museum hours for a special $5 museum-only admission -- or free with a ticket to tour the Mark Twain House.

This Thursday, Nov. 7
Dan Lauria in Conversation with Scot Haney
You loved him as the father on TV’s “The Wonder Years.” Now meet him in a new role: The Godfather.

Actor Dan Lauria, in conversation with Channel 3’s Scot Haney, will discuss his career and the collection of children’s stories he created for his godson, Julian, at a special event Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Mark Twain House and Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

The star of A Christmas Story, the musical, playing at The Bushnell Nov. 12-17, will sign copies of his book, “The Blue Hair Club and Other Stories,” the first in the Godfather Tales Series, following the program with Haney, which begins at 6 pm. Proceeds from the books’ sales benefit Evolution, a charity assisting single moms. Books (geared toward kids aged 5-10) may be pre-ordered at or 860-280-3136.

A Christmas Story’s famous “leg lamp” will be on hand, along with “Ralphie’s” pink bunny suit from the show for photo ops with the kids. Drawings will be held for tickets to the show at The Bushnell and for CDs of the musical’s soundtrack. Refreshments, including some “Oh, fudge!,” courtesy of the show, will be served and kids from the cast of A Christmas Story will be on hand to read excerpts from the book.

The event is being presented free of charge. Questions or more information:

Full disclosure: I am totally connected as the planner of this event -- but you should know about it! -- Lauren

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

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