It's been a fantastic year of art and culture here in Bridgeport and as we gear up for 2016 we just want to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday season and new year!!!!                
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It's been a fantastic year of art and culture here in Bridgeport and as we gear up for 2016 we just want to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday season and new year!!!!

Bridgeport has plenty of great events to finish out your December calendar.

Need a unique last minute gift?

Visit City Lights Gallery for their 2015 ArtFul Gifts. And this year the gallery partners with Made in Bridgeport for an eclectic collaboration of handmade and vintage items!
Don't miss their Shop & Gnosh event on the Thursday, December 17th!
And Barnum Publick House hosts a pop-up brunch market: "Arts & Eats" Sunday, December 20th!

Bridgeport's theaters are merry & bright with The New England Ballet Company's 24th Annual Nutcracker at The Klein and a Holiday Spectacular at The Bijou Theatre!

Plus, New Year's Eve live music events at the Downtown Cabaret presenting "Bennie and the Jets NYE '15", music venue The Acoustic's Happy Funkin' New Year, and local restaurant Walrus + Carpenter's 80 Proof New Year's Eve Party.

Don't miss ongoing visual exhibits and visit The Bridgeport Art Trail website as a year-round resource for arts and culture!


 A diverse group of 400 weathered a rainy evening to attend the 2015 Art Trail Thursday Night Kick-Off party held downtown at the Read’s ArtSpace.

This year an estimated 3,000 attendees viewed art, bought art, socialized with creative community, toured Bridgeport, advertised via the Bridgeport Art Trail promotion materials, and brought visitors to Bridgeport. This is a true testament to the event’s success and the power of the creative community working together.

Check out pictures from the weekend's events.

Kick-Off/Artists' Party at Read's Artspace
Biking the Bpt Art Trail, cyclists depart from City Lights
Viewing a work in progress by Rick Shaefer at the NEST Arts Factory
Gallery Hallway at the NEST
CT Gambian Association hosts an evening of food and community at City Lights
Installation by Caroline Valites at the NEST
WPKN sells vintage vinyl, Two Roads Brewery offers a taste at American Fabrics

SPECIAL EVENT: ArtFul Gifts + Shop & Gnosh Event!
Shop & Gnosh – Thursday, December 17th
City Lights Gallery

City Lights
joins with Made In Bridgeport this Holiday Season to present "ArtFul Gifts", a quality 'local-shopping" experience from 12/9/15-1/20/15.

Don't miss out on this holiday gift-buying opportunity featuring artful gifts, jewelry and vintage apparel! Featuring a "Shop & Gnosh" as part of this eclectic handmade collaboration.

City Lights Gallery
37 Markle Court, Bridgeport CT 06604


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LIVE THEATRE: Fiddler on the Roof
December 4th - December 20th
Downtown Cabaret Theater
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories by special permission of Arnold Perl
Director: Joel Fenster
Musical Director: Clay Zambo
Choreographer: Lindsay Johnson
Event Description: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is a musical about Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions, as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love, as each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith. The musical was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity.

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SPECIAL EVENT: Unwrap Your Season with the Bijou Holiday Spectacular
The Bijou Theatre
Friday, December 18th at 8pm

Event Description: Featuring 20 talented local performers, this holiday concert features Christmas classics and contemporary favorites as well as brand new arrangements written just for this performance.  Directed by Juan Ayala, Musical Direction by Bill D’Andrea.
Performers include: Audra Logan, Cynthia Rivera, Donato Biceglia, Everton Ricketts, Garth West, Jennifer Groves, Jim Norton, Juan Ayala, Katherine Logan, Kathy Alexander, Kevin Pelkey, Lauren Lichac, Lauren Linn, Mackenzie Wenzel, Maggie Luddy, Marc Importa, Marisa Sullivan, Ryan Ramos, Sean Reynolds, Tamara Danilowicz and Tyler Campbell.

In the spirit of the season we will be collecting new, unwrapped stuffed animals at this one special event which will be donated to a local Bridgeport Neighborhood Charity.  Please help us bring joy to the less fortunate by contributing to our collection!!

Doors open – 7:00pm; Show starts – 8:00pm
Student Seats – $8; Theatre seats – $15; Cabaret Seats – $20


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DANCE: New England Ballet Company Present’s the 24th Annual Nutcracker
At The Klein
Saturday, December 19th, 1pm & 7pm
Sunday, December 20th, 1pm
Event Description: New England Ballet Company presents Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, the Nutcracker. The composer, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, premiered his work 124 years ago during the holiday season, beginning a family tradition that has continued through the generations. The ballet tells the story of a Christmas party, the gift of a nutcracker doll to Clara from her toymaker godfather Herr Drosselmeyer and the young Clara’s dreams, all set to the beautiful melodies of the now famous score. The moment the lights dim, the audience is transported to a magic place filled with adorable children, marching toy soldiers, a villainous Rat King and mischievous mice. Enter the Land of the Sweets through a dreamy on-stage snowstorm led by the elegant Snow Queen and Prince, with little angels to light the way. Choreographer and Artistic Director Victor Trevino creates a Nutcracker for New England Ballet Company that is a magical holiday gift that is perfect for all ages!

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SPECIAL EVENT: Arts & Eats: A Brunch Holiday Handmade Market
Sunday, December 20th, 11-2pm
Barnum Publick House Special Events Space

Event Description:
It's a busy time of year, so combine your socializing and shopping this Sunday!

Brunch and browse original artwork and handmade gifts at the “Arts & Eats” event at Barnum Publick House, Located at 1020 Broad Street, Bridgeport CT,  Sunday, December 20th, 11-2pm.

Canvas and photo prints, crochet hats/scarves/tea cozies, jewelry, ornaments/seasonal gifts, and additional assorted items will be available for purchase

Plus, LIVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC by Henry Jones!

Grab your friends and a mimosa and pop-in for this creative pop-up sale!

For the Barnum Publick House Brunch Menu (Including Bottomless Cocktails) visit:
*Reservations Recommended


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NEW YEARS EVE LIVE MUSIC: Bennie and the Jets NYE ’15
Thursday, December 31st
Downtown Cabaret Theatre
Event Description: Bennie and the Jets is the world’s premiere Elton John Tribute Band. Bennie and the Jets is led by Greg Ransom whose vocals, on stage mannerisms, and piano playing are exactly like those of Elton John. Backed up by an incredible band of musicians, Greg has the ability to make you believe that you’re at an Elton John concert. If you were to attend an Elton John concert today, you would miss seeing the plumage and costumes of yesteryear. With Bennie and the Jets, you get both.
Dance Party After the Show ON STAGE!
FREE Parking, FREE Party Favors, FREE Coffee and Danish, A Balloon Drop and More!

Following the concert-DJ Kevin from Celebration Entertainment Disc Jockey’s will keep the fun going by spinning all the hits spanning the decades. DJ Kevin will draw from his 20+ years experience to make you move your feet and dance your way into 2016!
Everyone has fun when they book the DJ with Celebration Entertainment!
HOLDAY INN PARTNERHSIP: We have partnered with the Holiday Inn of Bridgeport (walking distance from the Cabaret) to provide our patrons with a safe place to go after a night of excitement!
When you purchase your tickets you will be sent an email to the link for the $99 rate

DINNER SPECIAL: We have also partnered with Trattoria ‘A Vucchella. Visit the restaurant with your ticket NYE and you will receive a 15% discount.

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NEW YEARS EVE LIVE MUSIC: Happy Funkin' New Year w/ Nardy Boy & Sons of F.U.N.K., Johnny Durkin & Co. featuring Ed Mann, Danny Mayer, Kris Yunker and Mary Corso
The Acoustic
Thursday, Dec 31, 2015 8:00pm - Friday, Jan 1, 2016 2:30am

Event Description: Seriously the best party in town on the funnest night of the year. And we're going to go deep and late with this one. Stay tuned for additional musical surprises!

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NEW YEARS EVE LIVE MUSIC: 80s Proof New Year’s Eve Party
Walrus and Carpenter
Thursday, December 31st

Event Description:  80 Proof New Year’s Party immediately following the four-course prix fixe dinner. The Party will feature John Torres, Scott Evan and some other local favorites playing ’80s music live as the clock counts down to 2015. The dinner includes appetizer choices of pork belly or shrimp, with the second course offering lamb Chops, oysters Rockefeller or kale salad. These will be followed by smoked rib eye, lobster + scallops, or bacon wrapped squab; and finished with dessert that includes chocolate peanut butter mousse cake, lemon curd tart, or a cookie plate.

The evening is priced at $65 (plus tax and gratuity) and includes a complimentary midnight Champagne.

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VISUAL ART: Larry Silver: Then and Now
Housatonic Museum of Art
October 22 through December 17, 2015

An exhibition of documentary and abstract photographs by the artist including:
• ST. MARY’S by the SEA, Bridgeport 2014-2015;
VISUAL ART: Read's Ground Floor Gallery
Artist Choose Artists and Bridgeport Art Trail Sampler

View two exhibits, the annual Artists Choose Artists, produced by the Read’s artists community and the Bridgeport Art Trail Sampler, featuring a varied representation of what one may see when discovering Bridgeport art city-wide.

A great ArtFul Gift Idea: Support Gambian teen girls who earn high school tuition through photography. 
Learn more about this initiative in the below Connecticut Post article.


CT Post: “Bridgeport has more than wacky politics”  
by Mike Daley, Editor of Editorial page
Published 2:22 pm, Saturday, November 21, 2015

There’s nothing like a little art, some drumming and dancing and a sip of rich crimson hibiscus elixir, a Gambian specialty, to wash away the nasty aftertaste of a Bridgeport mayoral election. And when you can do it all in one night, well, now you’re talkin.’

There really is more to Bridgeport than bizarre politics, though if you’d arrived in town in January and stayed until Nov. 3, you might not believe that. But let’s put that cast of characters away for a while.
There has been a growing art scene in Bridgeport for the last 10 years and a critical component in that growth is the City Lights Gallery at 37 Markle Court in downtown. It’s the little gallery that could, taking a toehold 10 years ago — talk about ahead of the curve — under the bold, guiding hand of the charismatic Billie Jean Sullivan, who has since departed for other opportunity.

Depending on the kindness of strangers — and a number of farsighted and patient landlords — the gallery, today under the direction of Suzanne Kachmar and an able right-hand man, Steve Gerber, has contributed mightily to the downtown scene.
And City Lights was a driving force in what earlier this month was the Seventh Annual Bridgeport Arts Trail. At 35 locations around the city, studios were open and painting, photography, music, dance and so on were on display.

On display at City Lights was a show called “Picturing Family: Visions of West Africa.” They were photographs taken by teenage girls in Lamin Village in The Gambia, a serpent-shaped country of some 1.8 million people that follows the contours of the River Gambia.

That the photographs were on display is testament to the artistry and good heart of Shelley Cryan, a Bridgeport photographer who has invested considerable time, emotion and money in the futures of these young African girls.

Cryan, 53, some years ago visited West Africa through a trip offered by one of her sons’ school. Five years ago, she met a Gambian woman named Mam-Yassin Sarr, who was in the U.S. getting an education. They became friends. Yassin, after her return to The Gambia, with her husband started an organization called Starfish International with the stated mission of empowering Gambian girls through education.

In Gambia, though, education costs $100 for a year. That may not sound like much to most of us, but in a country where the average income is $1 a day, sending a child to school — especially a girl, who is expected to play a major role in helping around the household — is a considerable investment.
“I kind of got it,” Cryan said the other day, “doors closing because you’re a girl.”
So she decided she wanted to help. She raised money here in coordination with a local outfit called Humanity Now, and bought some point-and-shoot cameras, printers and ink and went to The Gambia to teach teen girls how to use a camera.
Cryan, who has an MBA from the Universithy of Chicago, was not content just to show them how to use a camera. She showed them how to start a business. She began with a group of 15 girls. They work cooperatively as event and portrait photographers.
The money, of course, is empowering and lends substance to dreams.
It has let those who choose to do so, to stay in school. One of the original girls has graduated high school and is now a student at the University of The Gambia in Sere Kunda, the country’s largest city.
So the other night, amidst the drumming and dancing, a vat of cold Hibis the Gambian delicacies on the buffet and the dazzling regalia of Gambian fabrics on the women, Cryan described her work with the girls. Their photos are on the walls of the gallery until Dec. 3. They are for sale, most for $65. That would pay for more than half a year of school.
Auntie Shelley, as she’s called in Lamin Village, has now mentored some 50 girls, changing their lives in ways that remain to be appreciated.
It’s Thanksgiving this week, of course, and we have considerable to be thankful for.
Earlier this month, Hearst Connecticut Media ran a gripping series, “A Connecticut Doctor in Africa,” produced by writer Mackenzie Rigg and photographer Tyler Sizemore, about the work of Dr. Sohi Ashraf, of Norwalk Hospital, in Uganda, a country where the annual median income is 1.3 million shillings, the preposterously grand equivalent of about $380. People die in Uganda because they cannot afford the $33 cost of a brain scan.
You could help a kid go to school by dropping in and buying a photo at City Lights, and you can check out the work of Doctor Sohi, as he’s called, at
Michael J. Daly is editor of the editorial page of the Connecticut Post. Email:
*All event descriptions and artist interviews are presented as provided.
Copyright © 2015 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.

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