<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:12:43 -0400 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:12:43 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Connecticut Students Sing With Josh Groban]]> Sat, 03 Oct 2015 13:21:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/josh+groban+with+eastern+chamber+singers+1200.jpg

Singer/songwriter Josh Groban wasn't walking alone when he took to the stage at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford last week. He had a choir of Connecticut college students performing a couple songs from his new album with him.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" and "Anthem" from Groban's new "Stages" album now have special meaning to Eastern Connecticut State University's Eastern Chamber Singers.

The chorus accompanied Groban with back-up vocals for both the songs live at the concert on Sept. 26.

“It feels absolutely unreal to have been part of this experience,” said Tiara Lussier, an English major at Eastern in the class of 2019. “It's amazing coming in as a new student at Eastern, becoming part of such a welcoming group, and only a few weeks into the semester, getting an email saying ‘change of plans, we’re singing with Josh Groban!’ It was a very enlightening experience; it made me realize that music really is what I want to do in life.”

They were recruited to perform because they were the "top recommended ensemble in the area," according to a news release from the university.

“I am elated that Eastern Chamber Singers' reputation in the music community has reached such heights that we were sought out for this concert,” said David Belles, conductor of the Eastern Chamber Singers. “It is a reminder that hard work, focus and dedication to excellence pays off in the most unexpected ways.”

Photo Credit: Eastern Connecticut State University ]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Busts Some Moves in Epic Dance Battle]]> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:31:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dancing+cop+1200.jpg

The police officer who challenged a New Britain, Connecticut, man to a dance battle Saturday says he's out to change lives.

New Britain Police Officer Matt Sulek was on duty at the Car Show downtown when Tyler Robert Johnson's dance moves inspired him to ask to join in.

"He came over and he's like wanna have a dance battle and I was, yeah no problem," said Johnson. "You know he was really nonchalant about it. Very chill guy."

Sulek stunned Johnson with what he could do.

"Was he stunned?" asked Sulek. "I was stunned too by his moves. What he did was phenomenal too. I had to show him some type of move to show him what I was capable of."

Sulek wants to show young people that it's OK not to be afraid of police officers.

"By doing stuff like this this is how you can change a life," he said. "This is how you can get into their lives and maybe make them better, show them what they're capable of."

Johnson teaches dance when he's not on duty with the National Guard. He thinks the dancing cop shows how policing should be done, "getting more in touch with the community like how he did with me," he said.

This dance battle does have a winner, police community relations in New Britain, and the mayor of New Britain knows it.

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with having a little fun," New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said, "and cops are people too and I think this is a real great way to show that to the community."

Johnson says he has another video that's drawn 300,000 views on the Internet. Thousands of people are bound to see this video, and Sulek hopes they do.

Photo Credit: Tyler Robert Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Bushnell Park Carousel Reopens]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:37:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP694834966533.jpg

Hartford's Bushnell Park Carousel is up and running again after a yearlong closure, according to the New England Carousel Museum.

The carousel opened at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25 and will be open every Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was closed for a year while construction was underway on a new wing of the Carousel pavilion, which will open up to the public within the next month.

The carousel, located in downtown Hartford, is one of fewer than 200 antique wooden carousels in the U.S. It turns 101 years old in 2015.

"We want to encourage people to come enjoy this treasure and learn about its unique history and art. If people begin caring and supporting Hartford’s carousel today, then it can be still be around for their great-grandchildren to enjoy in the future," Louise DeMars, executive director of the New England Carousel Museum of Bristol, said in a statement Friday.

The carousel features 36 jumper horses that move up and down, 12 stationary horses, two chariots, and a Wurlitzer 153 band organ.

Carousel fans can become part of the Friends of the Bushnell Park Carousel, the New England Carousel Museum, or both, which provides unlimited access to both facilities. More information is available online or by calling 860-585-5411.

You can book the carousel for personal gatherings before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fireball Run Comes to Hartford]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 16:22:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Road-Generic-Resized.jpg

The Fireball Run, a traveling 2,000-mile life-size trivia game, is coming to Hartford and police are warning that this will lead to road closures in the capital city.

Four astronauts from all over the world, four celebrities, and 40 rally teams will compete in the eight-day Fireball Run, solving clues that lead to the next adventure.

The live event raises awareness for missing children and the driving teams are assigned a missing child from their area and are asked to distribute 1,000 missing child flyers. To date, the campaign has helped find 44 missing children, according to the web site for Fireball Run.

The four astronauts competing include the USA’s own Capt. Jon McBride, Brazil’s Col. Marcos Pontes, India’s CDR. Rakesh Sharma, and France’s Gen. Jean-Loup Chretien. There is also a Team Hartford. Learn about the members here.

The event begins in Hartford, then moves to Queen Anne’s County, Maryland; Williamsburg, Virginia; Topsail Island, North Carolina; Florence, South Carolina; Liberty County, Georgia; and finally finishes in Cocoa Beach, Florida on Oct. 3.

Some roads in Hartford will be closed for the two days the race is here.

On Saturday, vehicles will be on display on Trinity Street and Elm Street will be closed from Pulaski Circle/West Street to Trinity Street, and Trinity Street will be closed from Capitol Avenue to the Arch from 9 a.m. to 6p.m.

On Sunday, Main Street will be closed from Pearl Street to Capitol Avenue from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. The HPD Traffic Division will assist Fireball Teams travel from the rally area to I- 84 West.

<![CDATA[Celebrate Connecticut Day at the Big E]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:03:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Big+E+Connecticut+Building.jpg

Today is “Connecticut Day” at the Big E, which celebrates all things New England, including our local foods and Connecticut-made products.

The Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, now in its 99th year, is one of the largest fairs in the United States.

Prize-winning livestock and produce are showcased at the fair, along with a variety of entertainment, carnival rides and tasty treats.

Each of New England’s six states are represented at the fair in the form of replicas of their original respective statehouses.

Inside of Connecticut’s building, you’ll find booths showcasing a variety of businesses from all over the Nutmeg State, including “Lego,” “Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza,” “Pez” and “J. Foster’s Ice Cream”

The Big E will run until Oct. 4.

For more information, see the Big E’s Web site.

If you go, send your photos to us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

<![CDATA[Escape to the Bushnell to See The Illusionists ]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 17:12:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/The+Escapologist+Andrew+Basso+1200.jpg

As a little boy living in northern Italy, Andrew Basso always had the dream of escaping "the ordinary life." And now as one of The Illusionists, escaping is quite literally what he's doing.

Opening Tuesday night at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Basso will perform with a group of seven illusionists as the escape artist.

The varying skills of the illusionists bring an array of entertainment elements to the show. Basso goes by The Escapologist. Think Harry Houdini trapped in a water tank, hanging upside down. Basso does a similar "full view water torture cell," but he said he adds a few elements that make it more difficult and "more actual for the audience." There's no curtain, so the audience sees all. 

"I don't put any covers, so I'm not hiding any trickery or illusion. I need to escape if I want to save my life," Basso said.

Just last week an escape artist who is friends with magician Criss Angel nearly drowned during a water tank stunt in New Jersey. When asked if he has the fear of that happening to him during his stunt, Basso said, "Yes, every time. Because every time can be the last one."

"I try to avoid all the dangers through my skills," he said. "It's for professionals only."

Other acts include The Anti-Conjuror, The Manipulator, The Inventor, The Trickster, The Weapon Master and The Dare Devil.

"Each one is a world champion in his own specific field," Basso said. "They are different figures that will fit the tastes of the whole family, the whole audience. The little kid, the grandparents. It's quite difficult. If you go to a concert of Justin Bieber, it's quite difficult to have a common topic. So I think it's quite unique as an experience for them."

The show was created three and a half years ago at the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia about three years ago. It came to the U.S. in November, making its debut in the country on Broadway and now touring the country.

"It has a very high rock concert energy, so I really think younger people will love it," Basso said. "You don't have the musician with the classical music coming out or the tuxedo. There is a taste for everybody. There are very high, intense dramatic moments. There are very funny moments. There is audience involved. So, it's a very interactive show. We have giant screens on stage so even the smallest trick that is done on stage can be appreciated in the last row of the theater."

They're called the illusionists, so what distinguishes them from magicians in the trade?

"We wish we magicians. Illusionist, it's like a more generic word to bring all the abilities we all differently have. Also the stuff we do is real. The skills are real," Basso said. "Maybe we create the illusion of something, but we spend our life too to develop the real skill."

The show opens Tuesday night and runs in Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell from Sept. 22 to 27. More information about the tour is available on The Illusionists website, www.theillusionistslive.com. Ticket information is also available on The Bushnell website, www.bushnell.org.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA['Ghostbusters,' 'Even Stevens' Stars Appearing at Hartford Comic Con]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2015 17:46:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Christy+Carlson+Romano.jpg

Costumed crowds will converge on the capital city yet again as Hartford Comic Con returns to the XL Center for its second year. 

Along with the cosplay, it has drawn some stars, including actor Ernie Hudson, most recognized for his role as Winston Zeddemore in the "Ghostbusters" series, actress and singer Christy Carlson Romano, who played Ren on Disney Channel's "Even Stevens" and voiced Kim Possible, and Samantha Newark, who did the voices of Jem and Jerrica on cartoon "Jem and the Holograms."

See the full list of the celebrity guests on hartfordcomicon.com and find more information about the convention and its events on the Hartford Comic Con Facebook page.

Hartford Comic Con started Saturday and runs through Sunday, Sept. 20.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for NYLON Magazine]]>
<![CDATA[N.Y. Fashion Week: Spring/Summer 2016]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 21:21:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-487625078.jpg The twice-annual fashion affair known as New York Fashion Week ended Thursday after a week's worth of runway shows previewing style trends for spring and summer 2016. Click through to see some of the best trends you'll be wearing next year.]]> <![CDATA['Orange is the New Black' Star to Visit Mohegan Sun]]> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 11:54:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-480455254.jpg

Pennsatucky may be an inmate in Litchfield Prison, but luckily it won't take going into lockup to see the woman behind the religious zealot from "Orange is the New Black."

You can meet actress Taryn Manning, who plays the character on the popular Emmy-nominated Netflix series, right here in Connecticut at Mohegan Sun on Halloween. 

You can get her autograph at the Signings and Sightings event, starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, followed by a live question and answer session at 10 p.m. in The Shops concourse at Mohegan, where you can ask her everything you've been dying to know about playing Pennsatucky.

The break-out role might be how Manning is known, but she is also a dancer who is classically trained and a clothing designer with her own line, Born Unique.

She's also a recognized musician who has a solo artist and DJ career. She'll be doing a DJ set at the Vista Lounge at Mohegan Sun later in the evening, so you can hear her music for yourself.

Her song, "Send Me Your Love" previously topped the Billboards Dance charts, according to her website. Her remake of "Rip Her to Shreds" with her her brother Kellin Manning as a member of the electronic and pop duo Boomkat is heard in the opening of the movie, "Mean Girls," according to her website. Eminem licensed her single "Wastin' My Time" for "8 Mile" and her song, "The Wreckoning" was in the opening to "The Italian Job," according to her website. You can also hear her solo tracks on The CW's "Melrose Place" and "Hawaii 5-0," her website bio states.

The event is first-come, first-served, so get there early.

Due to the time constraints of the event, Manning won't be able to sign personalized messages or take photographs with fans' personal cameras. However, her headshots will be available.

Organizers will hand out bracelets at the venue starting at 8 p.m. and there will only be a limited number given out. You have to have a bracelet to get into the line for her autograph.

You can find out more information about Manning on her website, www.tarynmanning.com.

<![CDATA[Keurig Launches Campbell's Soup K-Cups]]> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 11:19:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Keurig+Campbell%27s+Soup+K-Cups.png

Microwavable Cup-a-soup and ramen noodles have long been a culinary staple for college students. But the food synonymous with cash-poor undergrads is getting a millennial makeover.

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., the purveyor of pod coffee machines, is finally bringing its K-Cups to the soup aisle, two years after announcing the partnership with Campbell’s Soup Co.

“We know more than 80 percent of people who buy Keurig pods also buy Campbell’s soup, so bringing together two products people love in one handy kit is a winning idea,” said Michael Goodman, marketing director at Campbell Soup, in a joint news release from the two companies.

The Fresh-Brewed Soup kit is available in Homestyle Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix and Southwest Style Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix.

The two-step process consists of a packet of noodles, which is emptied into a 12-oz cup, and a K-cup pod of broth. Brew. Stir. For consumers worried their soup would taste like coffee, or coffee would taste like soup, Goodman says Keurig suggests running a brew cycle before alternating between the two.

The companies say it's a 70-calorie treat with no artificial colors or flavors. The soup costs $11.99 for an 8-pack. 

Photo Credit: Keurig/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Twerking Stormtroopers in NYC]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:43:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/twerking+stormtrooper.jpg

Dancing stormtroopers, flashing lightsabers and life-sized LEGOs took over Times Square early Friday morning as die-hard Star Wars fans gathered for the kickoff to "Force Friday" in New York City.

The global event marks the first day of sales for the toys that will supplement the latest installment in the franchise, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The day started with an 18-hour "unboxing" live stream that showed toys from manufacturers like LEGO, Hasbro and Disney being revealed to audiences across 12 countries.

The Disney Store and Toys R Us in Times Square both opened at midnight, offering special giveaways and limited edition posters.

The celebration started Thursday morning at Toys R Us, with book signings, art classes, product demonstrations, and yes, twerking stormtroopers.

The latest installment in the "Star Wars" franchise will hit theaters in December.

Photo Credit: Hansel Asencio via Instagram
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<![CDATA[Pumpkin Spice Latte Lovers Get a Secret Head Start]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:42:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MCFN0qxF-7360-4397.jpg

Pumpkin Spice Latte lovers are in luck — you can get the seasonal treat early this year.

As the pumpkin-spice-everything season is rapidly approaching, Starbucks is allowing fans to procure the autumnal beverage before its official release date on Sept. 8.

“Why wait?” Starbucks’ website reads.

Customers can now obtain a PSL Fan Pass with the top secret password — you guessed it — "pumpkin."

After entering a cellphone number, the Pumpkin Spice Fairies will text the fan pass to purchase the popular beverage before its official roll-out.

The PSL is Starbucks' “most popular seasonal beverage,” according to the coffee chain's site.

This season, Starbucks is adding 2 percent real pumpkin to the latte. Its original ingredients were espresso, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

"After feedback from our customers and partners, this year Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is crafted with real pumpkin, and is free of caramel coloring but with the same taste that customers have known and loved for over a decade," Starbucks wrote in a statement.

Photo Credit: Starbucks
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<![CDATA[McDonald's to Serve Breakfast 24/7]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:08:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcdonald%27s+breakfast.jpg

McDonald's announced Tuesday its highly anticipated decision to serve breakfast all day at all U.S. locations starting this fall.

According to CNBC, McDonald's franchisees voted to approve all-day breakfast at the fast food chain's 14,300 U.S. restaurants on Tuesday. Starting Oct. 6, patrons can order Egg McMuffins and other breakfast items at any time of the day.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company tweeted about the decision Tuesday afternoon using the hashtag #AllDayBreakfast and responding to customers' queries about extending the chain's breakfast hours. McDonald's even responded to a tweet from 2007 that said, "Mcdonalds should serve breakfast 24/7."

McDonald's began testing all-day breakfast in March in the San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

"Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald's customers," the company told NBC Chicago in a statement in July.

McDonald's breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

The chain has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But McDonald's has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CT Fair Schedule]]> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:28:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Durham+Fair+Leslie+Korzon+2.jpg.jpg

Fall has just begun and there is a lot of family fun to look forward to with autumn fairs and festivals.

Here are some fairs to put on your calendar this fall:

Sept. 24-27

  • Durham Fair (Sept. 24-27), featuring free Martina McBride concert on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., free Craig Morgan concert on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Confederate Railroad on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Brett Eldredge concert on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m., free KANSAS concert on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Ace Frehley, original lead guitarist of Kiss, on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2-4

  • Berlin Fair (Oct. 2-4)
  • Harwinton Fair (Oct. 3-4)
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Jana Kramer concert on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Bridgit Medler, pop singer/songwriter and actress in NBC's "Undateable," DJ Paris Hilton on The Court of Honor Stage on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.
  • Southington Apple Harvest Festival (Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 9-11) The fairs runs for two weekends and offers live music, food, a parade, arts and crafts shows, carnival rides, fireworks and more. 

Oct. 9-11

 Previous fairs:

Sept. 4-7

Sept. 10-13

Sept. 17-20

Sept. 24-27

Comment below if you have information on a fall fair or festival you don't see listed. Send your fair photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: Leslie Korzon]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Air Balloons Fill Plainville Sky at Festival]]> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 18:41:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Plainville+hot+air+balloons+1200.jpg

Robert Metz, of Avon, has been coming to the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival for 17 years.

“I started about 35 years ago. I took one ride and I was hooked,” he said.

Sunday, he pulled into the Plainville park before the sun was up, rolling out the rigging to his hot air balloon.

Spectators who arrived early caught a glimpse of the crews setting up.

“I just want to see how it all goes together,” Brenda Belanger, of Newington, said.

Though she’s never been up in one, Belanger inked her love of hot air balloons on her leg.

“It’s my dream to go on one,” she explained.

As balloons began to take shape over their baskets, spectators stared at the spectacular sight surrounding them. Balloons rose up from the ground, ready for the weekend's final flight.

“I like to see all the different balloons that are around. It’s just really cool,” said Sarah Ford of Plainville.

Thanks to the good weather they’ve made all four launches this weekend, and seen a record crowd. More than 25,000 people on the first night alone, according to the festival’s sponsor.

“It does keep getting bigger. I think it’s becoming more popular,” said First Lt. Kurt Plourde, a leader on the Plainville volunteer fire department.

While the public could watch the balloons launch for free, sales of food and craft space raised money for the fire department’s scholarship fund. They said it’s their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“This is a perfect weekend. You don’t always get a weekend where you get all the flights in, so this is a great weekend for us,” said Metz.

As the bright balloons colored the Connecticut sky, people looked up in amazement.

“I think it’s a lot of fun to see the little kids, it’s great to see their reaction,” Ford pointed out.

“They were all up in the sky and we even saw them blow up,” five-year-old Reese Naughton of Southington said.”

The little girl seemed mesmerized by the balloons, and she wasn’t the only one. The festival attracted plenty of families.

“We’ve done it at least four or five years in a row. We bring our children out and it’s a great time,” said Reese’s father, Pat.

Soaring high, those flying through the air said the feeling is unmatched.

“You’re up there. You’re free from just about everything. You just float around. You get a totally different perspective on what the world looks like.”

They stayed up for about an hour, and landed where the wind took them. One owner was able to steer his balloon toward the Rock Cats stadium before the team’s final home game in New Britain.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Rock Cats Win Last Home Game in New Britain]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 05:08:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rocky+the+rock+cat+1200.jpg

These Cats rock! The Rock Cats won their last home game in New Britain Stadium Sunday as its fans and the city of New Britain says goodbye to the team that has long called the stadium home.

After 15 innings, about four hours or so of play, the Rock Cats secured a 7-5 victory for their last career home game in New Britain.

The team had an MLB All-Star playing with them in the game against the Portland Seadogs. Justin Morneau, a former American League MVP, has been on a rehab assignment, playing in New Britain all weekend. He's on loan from the Rock Cats affiliate Major League team, the Colorado Rockies

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart was at the last game at New Britain Stadium. The Double-A minor league team is moving to Hartford next season, which was initially a point of contention in New Britain when the news first broke.

"So long, Rocky," Stewart said in a tweet, including a photo of the Double-A minor league team's beloved mascot, Rocky the Rock Cat waving.

"On behalf of the City of New Britain - THANK YOU TO OUR FANS! YOU ARE #1!" Stewart tweeted.

There's been mixed emotions about the team's move, which also includes a name change to the Hartford Yard Goats.

The team’s general manager, Tim Restall, likened it to reading a book, closing one chapter and beginning another.

The first fans arrived at the stadium at 8 a.m. Sunday morning from Boston.

Joe Secheyco said he's been to minor league games up and down New England.

"I've been to almost every minor league park in New England when it opened and if they close I go there to watch them also,” Secheyco said.

In a message to NBC Connecticut, Stewart said, "it's a bittersweet day." She thanked "all of the loyal New Britain fans who made this stadium what it has become!"

"We hope you'll come back," she said.

Will another team be moving into New Britain's stadium? That remains to be seen.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings (sic) end...#NB #staytuned," Stewart tweeted before the game, along with a selfie with Rocky.

Did you go to the last Rock Cats home game? Tweet us your photos and videos or send them to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart]]>
<![CDATA[New CT Professional Soccer Team Holds Open Tryouts]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:32:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Soccer+Header+Generic+Soccer.jpg

A new year-round professional soccer team coming to Hartford is held open tryouts in Farmington on Saturday until noon.

In June, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters learned that Professional Sports Management Group will be bringing professional soccer to the state and team, Hartford City F.C., will play both indoors and outdoors.

"We know there will be some quality players, and hopefully we'll find some promising surprises among the rest of the pool," head coach Paul Wright, who scouted a lot of the players trying out, said before the tryout. "The open tryout is only one phase in creating our team. The goal is to find a solid group of players to invite back to training with us in September where they'll compete for roster spots alongside our other prospects."

More than 50 athletes pre-registered to tryout and the team expected walk-ons to come the day of, according to a press release from the team. The tryouts began at 10 a.m. at the Farmington Sports Arena and players got there at 9 a.m. to register. Players from Connecticut and Massachusetts colleges and club teams and Major Arena Soccer League and pro league professional players are being considered for the new Hartford team.

Hartford City F.C. has already signed one player, Tom Williams, who is a veteran player in the English league and "is expected to play a leadership role within the club and will take part in the tryout process this weekend," according to a news release from the club. The team announced that on Aug. 12.

The team has signed a deal to play in the Major Arena Soccer League, which will play indoors at the XL Center, starting in November.

The soccer club plans on releasing its schedule in the coming weeks. The XL Center will be the venue for the team's ten home games between Nov. 1, 2015 and Feb. 28, 2016. Hartford City F.C. is already taking season ticket deposits online. You can visit the team's website, http://www.hartfordcityfc.com, for more information.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bathtub Girl Meets Luke Bryan: 'I Love Him']]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:42:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Ava_Finley_Luke_Bryan.png

A little girl struggles to say who she loves and her dad couldn't make out the words. 

The two-year-old professed her love to country singer Luke Bryan during bath time. The video of the father-daughter episode went viral, followed by an in person meeting with the superstar. 

As Ava Finley took a bath last year, the toddler began babbling with her dad Jonathan Finley and he started shooting video of her chatter. At first, he didn't know exactly what she was talking about. 

"A little bunny? You look funny?" he asked. 

What the little girl from Calera, Ala. was trying to tell her father was — Luke Bryan! Her pronunciation was a little tough to make out.

"I love him!" she exclaimed.

Ava became a Bryan fan after listening to his music with her aunts. "Play It Again" is her favorite song. 

Ava's mom first shared the video on her personal Facebook page last year. After being nudged by friends, she posted it to Twitter in April of this year and tagged Bryan, who eventually saw the video and retweeted it. His record label got in contact with the Finleys and invited them to a concert and meet-and-greet this year.

"She is really shy around people she doesn’t know. I was kind of afraid she would chicken out," said Ava's mom Adrian Finley. 

Dressed up in her cowboy boots and a white bow, Ava finally met Bryan before his concert in Atlanta on Aug. 23. Upon seeing her, Bryan scooped up Ava and gave her a big hug. He shared the moment on his Facebook page. 

"She was even cuter in person," Bryan wrote.

Photo Credit: Adrian Finley
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<![CDATA[Meat Truck Delivers Big Flavor]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:57:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meat+Truck.JPG The Meat Truck delivers fantastic food in Connecticut.]]> <![CDATA[New Haven Campaigns to End Hunger]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:22:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/grocery-store-cart.jpg

Three nonprofit organizations are working together to "STOP Hunger" as part of Hunger Action Month, which kicks off in September.

Residents can donate $25 to receive discount cards from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pitkin Plaza at 157 Orange Street.

The cards can then be used to toward discounted purchases at the following locations throughout the month of September:

  • Elm City Market is offering 5 percent off
  • Idiom is offering 20 percent off a handbag
  • G. Café Bakery is offering 15 percent off a purchase
  • Jake’s Wayback Burgers in Orange is offering 15 percent off
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant is offering 10 percent off

Customers are also encouraged to donate as part of the Pin-Up Campaign, in which the donor's name and amount are written down and posted on the wall of one of the following businesses:

  • Christy’s Irish Pub in New Haven
  • Duffy’s Tavern in Orange
  • Modern Apizza in New Haven
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant in New Haven
  • Woodbridge Gathering in Woodbridge

Community Soup Kitchen, FISH of Greater New Haven and Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry are behind the initiative. Together, the three organizations feed more than 100,000 people annually.

More information is available online at www.stophungerinnewhaven.org.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nardelli’s Coming to Wallingford, East Hartford]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:49:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nardellis.jpg

Add two more places to your list of favorite lunch spots. Nardelli’s is opening grinder shops in East Hartford and Wallingford this fall.

Nardelli’s has been filling Connecticut bellies since 1922, when the first shop opened in Waterbury. Since then, nine more locations opened.

The two new restaurants will be opening in the fall -- at 970 North Colony Road in Wallingford, and at 1 Main Street in East Hartford, according to Nardelli’s Web site.

Other Nardelli’s locations:

  • 540 Plank Road (I-84), Waterbury
  • 515 Watertown Avenue, Waterbury
  • 87 Maple Street, Naugatuck
  • Union Square Plaza, 385 Main Street South, Southbury
  • 100 Newtown Road, Danbury
  • 396 Washington Street, Middletown
  • 84 Oxford Road, Oxford
  • 136 Berlin Road (Route 372) Cromwell
  • 405 Queen Street, Southington
  • 896 E Main Street, Meriden

<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:28:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open through Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Dances to Cheer Up Sick Child ]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:47:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/173*120/breakdance.PNG

Officer Joe Marte knows how to put a smile on your face.

The San Francisco Police Department officer busted some serious moves to cheer up Colren Guerra, a cancer patient at UC Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco.

Marte's uniform didn't stop him from taking on the break dance challenge, right after Guerra showed off his skills. He came in on his day off to entertain Colten, who's a huge Incredible Hulk fan.

The 5-year-old from Brentwood has a 2.75 inch tumor in his kidney and doctors at UCSF diagnosed him with Stage 4 Neurblastoma Cancer that has spread to his hips, one leg, spine, kidney, some ribs, and shoulders.

Doctors started agressive chemotherapy on Feb. 14 and are hopeful of beating the cancer.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Colten "Hulk" Guerra and his family with "medical expenses, daily expenses, and just love."

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<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:22:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open from Friday, Aug. 21 to Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rude Restaurant Server on Video]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:17:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/11137110_10152876011048299_1762192408383809822_n.jpg

Most Chicagoans know that when you go to the restaurant Ed Debevic’s you shouldn’t expect the nicest servers. In fact, you should prepare for incredibly rude ones.

But it appears that one exceptionally rude server at the restaurant has reached Internet stardom in a viral video posted to social media last week.

According to the video’s caption, a group of people in town for the Younique Convention decided to dine at the “interesting” restaurant, which they knew was known for its rudeness.

In the video, posted on Aug. 10 by LaNetta Limb Maxfield, a server is heard telling the group that she’d likely get fired if she was nice to them and called the patrons cheap.

“You know what grandpa, if I was nice to you, I’d get canned,” she said. “If you want good service, you go somewhere else. I know Hooters is probably more your speed, but you came here on purpose.”

The server is also heard telling a woman who ordered a Diet Coke, “I’d love to get you one, if it’ll shut you up.”

While the scene is a common one at the Chicago staple, the video has since been shared more than 82,600 times and received more than 4.4 million views.

Photo Credit: Ed Debevic's
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<![CDATA[New Haven Restaurant Makes "Time" Best Burger List ]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:51:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/175*120/louis+lunch+burger.jpg

There are many, many places to get a good burger in Connecticut, but one local establishment is standing out on a national scale this week.

Time Magazine ranked the 10 best burgers in America and Louis’ Lunch made the list. The New Haven restaurant’s signature burger comes in seventh.

The “Time” article points out something you already know if you live here in Connecticut – that New Haven is the birthplace of the American hamburger.

“Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven since 1900, is a leading contender,” the article says.

Louis’ Lunch was actually established in 1895, but history was made in 1900 when a man in a hurry rushed into the restaurant and said he wanted something he could eat on the run, according to the Louis’ Lunch web site. So, Louis Lassen gave him ground steak trimmings between two slices of toast, creating the hamburger.

If you go, don’t ask for ketchup. The only acceptable additions to the legendary burger are cheese, tomato and onion.   

Of course, there are many good burger places in the state and these are some of NBC Connecticut viewer's favorites.

Harry's Place at 104 Broadway in Colchester has been featured in Roadfood for its incredibly juicy burgers. They also called Harry’s cheeseburger “fast food perfection.”

Harry’s holds the distinct honor of being on the National Register of Historic places.  

Max Burger in West Hartford serves up everything from a classic burger, to a gourmet chicken burger or a veggie burger. Trust us, your taste buds will be very, very happy  here. The Inside Out Burger is delicious, but check out the full menu, including the specials. 

Max Burger has two locations:

  • 124 LaSalle Road, West Hartford, 860-232-3300
  • 684 Bliss Road, Longmeadow, Massachusetts, 413-798-0101

Plan B Burger Bar is one of those places that you’ll keep going back to, time and time again. They pride themselves on the fresh beef burgers, but you can get just about any kind of burger imaginable. The New Englander is made with lobster, smoked gouda, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato and corn spread.

There are several locations in the state:

  • 120 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury, 860-430-9737
  • 1638 Boston Post Road, Milford, 203-713-8700
  • 4 Railroad Street, Simsbury, 860-658-4474
  • 230 Tresser Boulevard, Stamford, 203-964-8353
  • 138 Park Road, West Hartford, 860-231-1199

In the past, viewers have lauded the burgers at Prime 16 in New Haven and Orange. Build your own or pick one of the specialties. You won't find a honey truffle burger on too many menus.

Shady Glen in Manchester is another viewer favorite. It's not uncommon for people who've had a Shady Glen cheeseburger to say it's the best – ever. 

Ted’s Restaurant serves up the world-famous steamed cheeseburger. The main location is in Meriden, but there is another restaurant in Cromwell. It’s worth a trip just to see how they are made. Like cheese on your burger? You’ll never get more perfectly melted cheese than this.

Ted's operates the following locations:

  • 1046 Broad Street in Meriden
  • 43 Berlin Road, or Route 372, Cromwell
  • The Lockworks, 121 Towne Street in Stamford

At the Corner Pug in West Hartford, you can indulge on a blackened Cajun burger or knife and fork Irish nacho burger, but they also have salad, steak, mac and cheese, chicken and much more.

Harlan Social in Stamford is another viewer suggestion. The Harlan Burger sounds absolutely indulgent, served with cheddar ale sauce and bacon and onion jam.

Photo Credit: Louis Lunch]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks to Offer Wine, Macaroni and Cheese ]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 08:54:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/starbucks.jpg

Starbucks will now include an "evening menu" in addition to the breakfast and snack options that made it famous.

The menu will feature craft beer, wine, truffle macaroni and cheese and flatbread among other items.

Starbucks said its customers are twice as likely to prefer craft beer. Also, 70 percent of Starbucks customers drink wine as opposed to 30 percent of the general population, according to Mintel Insights for Wine, January 2014 and Mintel Insights for Craft Beer, June 2014.

Starbucks first launched the evening menu in a Seattle location five years ago, and will expand to 70 stores this week.

The menu varies region to region to reflect local tastes and traditions.

Click here to find out which stores will have the evening menu.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/National Geographic]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcycle Mania Revs Up Downtown Middletown]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 17:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Motorcycle+mania+1200.jpg

The motorcycles are out in Middletown tonight for Motorcycle Mania and thousands of people are expected downtown.

The annual family-friendly event started 10 years ago, with a display of 1,000 bikes. It has grown in the last decade and more than 7,000 bikes around out this year.

Vendors have also been eager to get involved. Seventy vendors wanted to take part this year, filling up each available spot.

There is a lot to do and see for the more than 17,000 people expected to attend. You can enjoy different foods and listen to live music in addition to enjoying the motorcycles.

One of the additions to the event this year is a children’s area.

Motorcycle Mania runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and it’s in memory of Dan Hunter, a founding sponsor of the event.

If you are planning on heading to Middletown, be prepared because Main Street is closed between Dingwall Drive and Court Street.

Today's event benefits Middletown youth programs.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA['Cake Boss' Bakery to Open at Mohegan Sun]]> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 23:26:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carlos+bake+shop.jpg

Sweet treats are coming to Mohegan Sun.

Carlo's Bakery, of TLC's hit series "Cake Boss," will open its doors at the casino in Uncasville on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Those in search of an Italian pastry or specialty cake will be able to visit the new venue from 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Carlo's Bakery at Mohegan Sun will be located in the Winter section of the Casino of the Earth, according to a news release from the casino. It will be the bakery's eleventh location and its first in New England.

"Mohegan Sun is such a cool, all-encompassing destination in Connecticut," Carlo's Bakery owner Buddy Valastro said in a statement Tuesday. "Opening a bakery there just seems like a perfect fit for us as we continue to grow our family business and join communities where our fans and their families can make a day out of their visit if they wanted to."

Customers can sample the same Italian confections offered at the original Hoboken shop and can also enjoy dessert-only dining from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. as part of the bakery's first-ever Sweet Room.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Meghan Trainor Cancels Tour, Mohegan Sun Date]]> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:51:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meghan+Trainor+Voice.JPG

Meghan Trainor has canceled the rest of her MTrain Tour because of re-aggravated damage to her vocal cord, and that includes the show that was scheduled for Mohegan Sun on Monday, Sept. 7.

“To My Fans – I was being careful and taking precautions, but I have hemorrhaged my vocal cord again. I got bronchitis & have been coughing a lot & that pushed it over the edge. Sadly, I will need to cancel the remainder of my tour and get surgery to finally fix this once and for all. I am devastated, scared and so sorry. I LOVE touring and seeing your beautiful faces every night. I am determined to do what it takes to get better and come back stronger than ever. I love you, and thank you for all of your understanding, love and support,” Trainor said in a statement.

Trainor who is well known for hit songs, including "All About the Bass," "Lips Are Movin'," and "Dear Future Husband," was supposed to perform a Fourth of July concert at Mohegan Sun, but postponed it until September because of the vocal cord hemorrhage.

She sang at the Mix 104.1 Beach House Concert bash in Cape Cod, Mass., Friday, but announced on Tuesday that she wou;d have to cancel the rest of the tour.

People with tickets to the Mohegan Sun show can get a refund through the group they bought them from, according to Mohegan Sun.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
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<![CDATA[Maria, from Sesame Street, Comes to Storrs for Puppetry Festival]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:18:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-703226_SesameStreet_sm.jpg

It will be all about puppets in Storrs next week for the National Puppetry Festival.

The 2015 National Puppetry Festival at UConn kicks off on Monday and goes all week long. About 8,000 people are expected.

One of the participants is someone you might have grown up watching.

Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on Sesame Street for 44 years, will be the co-host of “Late Night with Eugene O’Neill” at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. She recently announced that she is retiring from the show she has starred in for decades.

The show has adult content and is recommended for audiences 16 and older, according to a news release.

Caroll Spinney, best known for his role as Big Bird, will also be a special guest.

The festival itself includes several events that are open to the general public and attendees, as well as people who live and work in the area, should expect traffic delays.

Two construction projects in Mansfield and Storrs will cause early morning and early afternoon traffic delays during the weekday schedule of events. Work on Route 44 will slow eastbound traffic approaching the intersection of Route 44 and Route 195/Storrs Road.

Another construction project on 195/Storrs Road between Route 44 and Storrs Center also will reduce traffic to one lane in some areas for traffic heading south from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week.

Visitors to the 2015 National Puppetry Festival should plan extra time when traveling to events.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gathering of the Vibes Returns to Bridgeport]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HeatAtTheVibes073015.jpg

The Vibes are back in Bridgeport!

Tens of thousands people are descending on Seaside Park for the annual Gathering of the Vibes musical festival.

"It feels like a really fun place for everybody who is involved," said James Dieli, a vendor from Peace Love Taco of Boulder, Colorado.

"It’s super crazy, but it’s like the best experience because it’s a nonstop concert," said Morgan Rakow, another vendor from Rhinebeck, New York.

The four day outdoor festival draws music fans from across the country, ready to spend the next few days taking in in a wide variety of acts, crafts and food vendors. The big concert is now in its 20th year.

"What’s good about Gathering of the vibes is that community feeling," said Dieli.

Given how hot it can get at the festival, hydration of festivalgoers is always a big concern. Organizers have about 7,000 gallons of water or sale and 100,000 pounds of ice on hand.

"We have big huge tractor trailers filled with ice and water and we have distribution on golf carts," said Jennifer Jennings, the event’s hospitality director.

Organizers say if concertgoers can deal with the heat, the annual event is sure to be a hit for all who attend.

"It’s kind of a trip to come back here and see all these people having so much fun. It’s amazing. I love it," said Ryan Wood of Ansonia, a vendor from the Gouda Boys.

Gathering of the Vibes runs through Sunday.

<![CDATA[Brooklyn Pizzeria Is Named Best in America, TripAdvisor Says]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:11:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/juliana+pizzeria+handout.jpg

A Brooklyn pizzeria has been named the top joint for a slice in America, according to a TripAdvisor ranking based on the quality and quantity of reviews and opinions from millions of travelers.

Juliana's Pizza, on Old Fulton Street in DUMBO, won top honors from TripAdvisor. Opened in 2012 by legendary Brooklyn pizza maker Patsy Grimaldi, this eatery tantalizes taste buds with its thin crust pizza that is charred to perfection under a coal-fired hearth.

One TripAdvisor reviewer raved, "The main reason why Patsy Grimaldi is an institution is because he does make outstanding pizza! After all these years, the perfect crust, great tomatoes, delicious mozzarella and toppings galore; try them all, you can't go wrong."

Keste, on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, known for its authentic Neapolitan pizza, came in at No. 4 on the top 10 list. John's Pizzeria, also on Bleecker street, came in at No. 10.

Overall, New York City was named the second best city in the country for pizza, behind Chicago.

Here is a list of the top 10 pizza restaurants in country, according to TripAdvisor:

1. Juliana's Pizza -- Brooklyn, New York
2. Pizza Time of St. Augustine -- Saint Augustine, Florida
3. Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria -- Anchorage, Alaska
4. Keste -- New York, New York
5. Tony's Pizza Napoletana -- San Francisco, California
6. Pizzeria Regina -- Boston, Massachusetts
7. Antico Pizza Napoletana -- Atlanta, Georgia
8. Bill's Pizza -- Palm Springs, California
9. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana -- New Haven, Connecticut
10. John's Pizzeria – New York, New York

The TripAdvisor ranking of top U.S. pizza restaurants is based on the quantity and quality of reviews for pizza restaurants, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year. Pizza restaurants were identified as those having a majority of reviews mentioning pizza, a minimum of 500 reviews, and at least 10 percent of reviews mentioning "best pizza."

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Grumpy Dog Earl Challenges Grumpy Cat's Reign]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:23:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/My+Name+is+Earl.jpg

The world’s grouchiest feline has some new competition. Meet “Grumpy Dog.”

Earl, a second-generation puggle with a permanent scowl and sulky expression, is challenging Grumpy Cat’s reign over sour-faced pets of the Internet. 

The 5-month-old beagle-pug quickly rose to fame on Reddit, amassing millions of fans across multiple social media platforms and becoming the subject of some hilarious Internet memes.

Earl’s owner Derek Bloomfield tells Yahoo! News that despite the pooches peeved appearance, he is very friendly and the “most relaxed, content puppy.” 

“The vet said he’s as healthy as any other puppy,” Bloomfield said. “He just looks grumpy because of his underbite, wrinkles, and dark complexion.”

Photo Credit: Derek Bloomfield/Christie Bailey
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