Best of connecticut 2014

Welcome to the 17th edition of Best of Connecticut, our annual compilation of all of what we think makes our state such a special place. This year we’ve narrowed our focus over years past, trying to concentrate more on categories that merit a debate while expanding our coverage over the entire state.

As always, we invite you to share your thoughts and tell us about places we may have missed. Best of Connecticut is a project we research and  work on year-round. Send suggestions for next year's winners, and even new categories, to Content Manager Ray Bendici or Verticals Editor Doug Clement.

Like you, we're interested in exploring where we live and finding the best it has to offer. Enjoy!

Food & Drink: From beer and burgers to cake and cannolis, and everything in between.

Fun & Leisure: Nightlife, casinos, family activites, overnights and more.

Shopping: Home decor, fashion, jewelry, books, music and more.

 

Connecticut Today

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New proposed reforms in Washington, D.C., may be easing the standards for recognition of Native American tribes, opening the possibility for more casinos in Connecticut. But is that a good thing?

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Community Plates Fights Food Insecurity with Generosity and Technology

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Community Plates, a technology-fueled, direct-transfer food rescue organization based in Fairfield County, is working to fight food insecurity in Connecticut and around the country.

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The Connecticut Table

An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
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Mario Lopez of Stamford’s Gastro Bar Not From ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Mario Lopez of Stamford’s Gastro Bar Not From ‘Dancing With the Stars’

This Stamford restaurant and wine bar is so sleek and fun a visit will make you forget all about that other Mario Lopez.

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Connecticut Politics

by Jennifer Swift
Gov. Malloy, Tom Foley Debate Jobs, Taxes in Connecticut Governor's Race Forum

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The big discrepancy in the amount of federal income taxes paid by the gubernatorial candidates left one of them wide open Tuesday when the moderator at their second debate asked if any taxes were too low.

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Democrats Claim Tom Foley's Use of Think Tank's Work Violates Election Laws

Democrats Claim Tom Foley's Use of Think Tank's Work Violates Election Laws

Democrats are claiming Tom Foley’s use of material researched by the Connecticut Policy Institute, which the candidate founded as a business entity, is a violation of state election laws.

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Arts & Entertainment

5 Best Things to Do in Connecticut This Weekend: Food Trucks, Haunted Happenings

5 Best Things to Do in Connecticut This Weekend: Food Trucks, Haunted Happenings

Round up of five great events in Connecticut this weekend; Oct. 3-5.

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Connecticut Halloween 2014: Haunted Attractions & Cemetery Tours

Connecticut Halloween 2014: Haunted Attractions & Cemetery Tours

Tis the season for screams, chills and frights. Some of the best that October has to offer:

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Style & Shopping

Vintage and Funky Style at New Rising Sun Boutique in Litchfield

Vintage and Funky Style at New Rising Sun Boutique in Litchfield

Walking into Rising Sun Boutique is like cracking open a treasure chest.

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Katie Couric, Vogue Paris Like Connecticut Jewelry From Évocateur

Katie Couric, Vogue Paris Like Connecticut Jewelry From Évocateur

"Each piece conjures a story that’s yours to tell … tales of ancient times and memories of favorite places … the magic of new love … the glimmer of dreams just begun.”

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Health & Wellness

Guilford Art Center Creates Clay Hearts for Terminally Ill Patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital

Guilford Art Center Creates Clay Hearts for Terminally Ill Patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital

Now, the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital has partnered with the Guilford Art Center to create small clay hearts that are put in the memory boxes, given to all families of terminally ill patients.

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Connecticut's Rate of Breast Cancer is Among the Highest in the Nation

Connecticut's Rate of Breast Cancer is Among the Highest in the Nation

Connecticut is one of the nation’s leaders in per capita rate of breast cancer—why?

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History

Castle Craig Offers Towering Views of Fall Foliage

Castle Craig Offers Towering Views of Fall Foliage

The latest feature in our ongoing series on Connecticut castles is a state landmark and perfect fall destination.

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Go Inside, Even Fly In, World War II Bombers at Bradley Airport Event

Go Inside, Even Fly In, World War II Bombers at Bradley Airport Event

The amazing history and punishing force of American air power during World War II will come to life in hands-on fashion in Connecticut once again Sept. 22 to 24 at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

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Education

Daughter of Bridgewater Chocolate Founder a Crimson Tide Golf Phenom

Daughter of Bridgewater Chocolate Founder a Crimson Tide Golf Phenom

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Yale's Tax Exempt New Haven Property Assessed at $2.5 Billion

Yale's Tax Exempt New Haven Property Assessed at $2.5 Billion

Yale University, a premier, world-renowned research institution, takes up large portions of downtown, and doesn’t pay taxes on its dorms, classrooms, libraries, research labs or the grassy oases inside the residential quads.

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Calendar

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're•la•tion' Artist Talk

Event Date/Time

Apr 25, 2013
6:00 pm until 8:00 pm

Description

're•la•tion' Artist Talk

 

The Mercurial Gallery

11 Library Place
Danbury, CT 06811

2037449179

http://www.TheMercurialGallery.com

Gallery Exhibition: 're•la•tion'
Featuring paintings and mixed media works by Jana Ireijo and David Valyou
April 6, 2013 - May 17, 2013

Opening reception Saturday, April 6, 6-8pm

Artist talk Thursday, April 25, 6-8pm 

Regular gallery hours: Wed. & Fri. 11am-5pm, Sat. 1-5pm, Sun. 1-4pm

The Mercurial Gallery
11 Library Place
Danbury, Connecticut

themercurialgallery.com
info@themercurialgallery.com
(203)744-9179



Dog as Self, Teddy Bears as Dessert in The Mercurial Gallery's Spring Exhibition

Upon first glance, it may not be apparent how Jana Ireijo and David Valyou's work relates to one another – Valyou, who dwells in the woods of Connecticut nearby Lyme Rock race track, is an every-medium man, assembling fat slices of cake from teddy bear carcasses and constructing intricately layered works evocative of old, peeling wallpaper – and Ireijo, a Hawaii-born painter now living by Long Island Sound some 77 miles from that race track, bears a collection of bright, surreal pieces charactered by various breeds of dogs, posh women, and teeth. But this spring, within the confines of The Mercurial Gallery in downtown Danbury, visitors will notice that these artists' seemingly disparate bodies of work are neighbors, pulled from the same clime of reflection, dreams, and darkness. 

Both Ireijo and Valyou are construction-oriented artists. Ireijo may revisit a painting again and again before deciding it finished, and Valyou often creates drawings of installations and sculptures before approaching the three-dimensional project.

"I paint from photographs to reinforce the feeling of detachment," says Ireijo of her work. "Images are added and subtracted, reconsidered and painted back. Each new mark points the canvas in an entirely different direction. With it’s constant reworking, a painting can take years to complete. The result is dense and layered, with secrets and narratives that lurk beneath the outer façade."

In reference to his piece "Forever? Forever Ever……….," which depicts a man who finds his misplaced head under the bed in a jumble of letters and punctuations derived from the question "Forever?", Valyou explains how drawing and sketches function as a visual laboratory for future incarnations of a piece.

"This drawing is a study for a sculpture/installation piece called 'don’t go losing your head/a domestic scene,'" he says. "I approach the visual aspect of the piece as an arrangement, nothing less complicated than that," he says. "Because I work in such varied areas, it is often helpful to experiment with reductions of a concept than the whole of the subject. Here I chose to use less detail, relying on single forms to stack and orchestrate."

Valyou goes on to explain the implications of the piece, how "losing one's head" is a metaphor for "losing one's cool", and the letters and questions within the drawing represent the power, and fragility, of words.

"It is one moment where questions arise concerning our immortality, the question of infinity, our hopes, and dreams that seem to have no answer," he says. "But the answer is written on the wall. His own words scattered on the floor, as if they were a breakable object. The question? Smashed to bits. Implying again,words do have weight that is measurable." 

Valyou's breadth of skill and craft is apparent in his diverse repertoire: Other works include a heart-shaped bed of nails about the size of a text book – another preliminary model for a larger piece – arrangements of string and wood within muted mixed media paintings, an ornate pen and ink rendering of a dead scarecrow in a courtyard , and a tiny, white sculpture easily described by its name: "bones of a flower."

Ireijo's manifestations are also dichotomous, though often within one piece rather than across her body of work. Her paintings take the names of popular song titles, and in process, they echo the solitary hours Ireijo spent with sticker and scrapbook albums as a child. She says the animals who appear in her work are self-portraits that reveal obsessive ruminations on identity, memory, and desire.

"The creatures stare out from shallow fields on intense color. Fragmented images from magazines and comics both comfort and taunt them," says Ireijo. "When the disparate images have been reconciled, I have created a world that is simultaneously buoyant and brutal," says Ireijo. "The subjects, colors and textures combine to reveal an agitated, dreamlike state. The mystery has been deepened, yet it is the journey, as well as the conclusion, that has been embraced."

're•la•tion,' an exhibition of Valyou and Ireijo's work, opens at The Mercurial on Saturday, April 6, 2013, and an opening reception will be held that evening from 6 to 8pm. An artist talk will be held at the gallery on Thursday, April 25 from 6 to 8pm. 're•la•tion' will be on display through May 17.


The Mercurial Gallery is located at 11 Library Place in Danbury, Connecticut. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday and Friday from 11am-5pm, Saturday from 1-5pm, and Sunday from 1-4pm.

Parking is available directly across the street from the gallery in the Charles A. Bardo Parking Garage. Main Street parking is free on Sundays and after 5:30pm.

For more information, call The Mercurial at (203)744-9179, email info@themercurialgallery.com, or visit themercurialgallery.com.

Cost Free
Location

The Mercurial Gallery
11 Library Place
Danbury, CT
View map

Additional Information
Phone203-744-9179
Contact nameThe Mercurial Gallery
Contact emailinfo@themercurialgallery.com
Alternate Phone:: 2037449179

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

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