Category Archives: 20 Under 20

Local Specials for Valentine’s Day

by Lisa Massicotte

If you college students continue to procrastinate and don’t make reservations for Valentine’s Day, you’ll be out of luck.  But if you give yourself a little time to plan, this Valentine’s Day could be the best yet.

The National Retail Federation concluded the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day spent nearly $142 in 2015.  So if you get through the 14th and end up spending around $100, you did pretty well.

According to Hallmark Cards, “Approximately 131 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged industry-wide.” My personal favorite gift has always been receiving a handwritten letter filled with memories and jokes only my partner and I will appreciate.  Making a thoughtful, homemade card will warm the heart of the receiver and save you some extra cash to go out and have some more Valentine’s Day excitement.

The New Britain Museum of American Art is hosting “Sweet ‘H‘Art Valentine’s Day at the Museum” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 14th.  It includes a private champagne reception where you and your date can share love-themed confections followed by a private romance-inspired tour, and then enjoy a variety of love songs performed by Monika Krazewski and Natasha Ulyanovsky. Non-member tickets are $30 while member tickets are $25.

The Bushnell Theatre in Hartford is putting on the play “Love Letters” from Feb. 9th to the 14th.  A story about “first loves and second chances” dives into the lives of two people who are kept apart by fate, but live and love each other as they pour out the secrets of their hearts through letters for 50 years. The play stars Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, who were paired in the hit movie “Love Story,” based off the best-selling novel by Erich Segal. Tickets range from $24 to $70.

“Romantic Willimantic” will be hosting its 12th Annual Chocolate Festival on Saturday, February 13th.  Local businesses on Main Street will be giving out a variety of chocolate samples and will be offering special deals to customers. If you love baking, register for the cake baking contest by Feb. 7th and drop off your cake at the Kerri Gallery.  The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

If you’re feeling anti-Valentine’s Day this year bring a picture of your ex to Hooters, which is located on the Berlin Turnpike, and they will shred it before your eyes. Then you will get ten free wings once you buy your first ten.

Who needs love when you have drag queens? On Valentine’s Day Tisane in Hartford will have a special menu for two. The day after, Tisane will be hosting its annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Drag Show.  The show will start at 10 p.m. and there is a $10 cover charge.

Now you have a bit of information on the Valentine’s Day events happening around Connecticut. So if you do wait last minute to plan out a date, at least you have some ideas now! As the day gets closer, many businesses will be updating special offers so keep an eye out for some great deals.

Five Prestigious, Nearby Theaters

by Christopher Marinelli

As a theater enthusiast and actor, I can empathize with the avid theater-goer about straying from the mainstream venues and finding the best places to see a great show.

Theater is a great change of pace from a trip to the movies, and Connecticut has its fair share of hole-in-the-wall theaters that are worth checking out for a night of drama and laughs. These are just a few of the many theaters and playhouses that have made their way onto my list of places to see a show.

1.) I first visited the Connecticut Repertory to see a showing of “Young Frankenstein,” and was completely blown away. The Connecticut Repertory Theater casually resides in a typical neighborhood located just a few minutes from downtown New Britain at 23 Norden St. The location itself is as infatuating as the performances. Before the theater company acquired it, the theater was known as the Norden Lodge.

At first the theater appears as just a house, and I can say I was truly blown away once inside. The Connecticut Repertory is a spacious world of its own big enough to fulfill the needs of an immense audience without compromising any seats to be considered less than desirable.

The casts of each show are entirely volunteer, which is not meant to play down the absolute talent and professionalism they held themselves to throughout the performance. This has become one of my favorite spots to go to for performances, especially considering the volunteer actors’ exceptional performances.

2.) While this wouldn’t be an unknown location to the avid theater meanderer, the Long Wharf Theater remains to be slightly under the radar despite their exceptional plays. The Long Wharf can also pride itself in having an unconventional location, as it’s found in a former food terminal right in the middle of the New Haven Harbor at 222 Sargent Drive.

The grunge-like location only adds to the theater as it pulls you out of the contemporary world and into a new experimental environment. The inside of the theater stacks the audience up, giving you an almost bird’s-eye view of the stage.

I also credit the Long Wharf for putting on plays that pose difficult questions on controversial subjects – a nice break from seeing retold stories and instead experiencing something new. Theater is a place to have a discussion, a place to leave you feeling changed, and the Long Wharf accomplishes this time and time again.

3.) Do not underestimate the professionalism that can be found at a community college’s theater program, especially at the Tunxis Stage. Tunxis Community College at 271 Scott Swamp Road in Farmington hosts an intimate black box theater-styled stage that makes every seat a front row view.

English professor Dr. George Sebastian-Coleman brings his exceptional background of theater and acting to his directing style.

The cast is typically comprised of students and the occasional professor, each being held to the highest of expectations by their director. The plays are put on once per semester, and almost always sell out within a few days from being put on sale.

4.) Having acted there as well as returning to view the spring play as a graduate with more theater critiquing experience, I can attest to the exceptional talent in the plays at Plainville High School Spring Theater. I acted in a performance of Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphosis,” to which we took out the first 10 rows of the auditorium and replaced them with a swimming pool. The seating was arranged so the audience was on either side, as well as on the stage to look down on the play that took place in the water, the surrounding decking of the pool, and on risers or “God Platforms” behind a great black curtain.

Director Jeff Blanchette has a taste for going above and beyond the expectations of a high school play, and has become known for these spectacular performances of unconventional theater. Despite the status of a high school, each spring Plainville can boast sold out shows and raving reviews from experienced theatergoers who are blown away by these small-town performances.

5.) This past summer at the University of Saint Joseph, the Capital Classics Theatre put on an outdoor showing of “Romeo and Juliet” that completely blew me away. An adaptation of the play in a “Shakespeare in the Park” style completely changed my outlook on the great Shakespearian tragedy. “Romeo and Juliet” is one of those shows that can be retold time and time again, making it immortal in the theater lover’s eyes. This company upheld the tradition and made it a spectacle worth seeing, and I cannot wait to see what show is performed in the upcoming summer of 2016.

Restaurant Review: Wing it On!

by Dan Schwager

Students looking for a place to eat near campus with fantastic food, service and convenient hours should check out Wing it On!

Wing it On! is located in the old Tony’s Central Pizza location, right under Dunkin’ Donuts — next to Central Connecticut’s Campus.

The original Wing it On! store opened in August of 2011 in Waterbury. The owner and founder of that store is Matt Enseo. The chain has since expanded to multiple store-fronts in Connecticut.

​Wing it On has awesome selection of both regular and boneless wings. Some of the more popular wing selection since they have opened have been the hickory barbecue and “Red, White ‘n Blue Devils”.

One of my personal favorites is jerky, a Caribbean barbecue with classic sauce. They taste simply amazing; the BBQ sauce on them will transport you to BBQ heaven.

​If you feel daring, try the hottest wings on the menu: Wings of Prey. If you love hot and spicy food, these wings are the wings for you. But beware, these wings are both amazingly hot and painfully delicious.

The prices for regular wings are reasonable, starting at six for $5.99, 12 for $10.49, 24 for $19.99, 50 for $38.49 and finally 100 wings for $73.99.

The menu features a wide array of side dishes to go along with the wings. One of the best sides on the menu has to be the garlic Parmesan Fries. These fries are incredible, with a creamy cheesy texture and flavor as well as a hint of garlic.

They also have onion rings, which are thin and taste great. Another tasty side order are the Cajun Curly Fries, which are also delicious. I also recommend trying the fried jalapenos if you like it hot.

Wing it On also has a large selection of delicious burgers, starting at $6.79 for a regular. The menu also has choices of salads and wraps to go along with an already great selection.

Led by owners Daniel and Tiffany DaSilva, the customer service at Wing it On! is high quality.

The restaurant is painted with the chain’s signature colors: orange and black. There are large flat screen televisions scattered around the restaurant making a football fan at home.

Wing it On! becomes most popular at night because the restaurant has great hours. It opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 1 a.m on Mondays through Wednesdays. On Thursdays through Saturdays, the store is open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. On Sunday, the store is open from noon to 1 a.m.

While delivery can be slow depending on the day and location on campus, overall service is fairly quick. Wing It On! also doesn’t have a delivery charge for any location under three miles from the restaurant, unlike its competition Wings Over Newington. The store delivers until 1 a.m. on Monday through Saturday and up until 8:30 p.m. on Sundays.

In October, at the end of the month, Wing It On! will begin its eating contest. This is a crazy competition in which participants have eight minutes to eat as many wings as possible. The participant is not allowed to have blue cheese, ranch or anything to drink while participating. There is a catch to this: competition wings are three times hotter than “Wings of Prey”. The record all-time competition was set in Waterbury store at 30 wings.

Overall, Wing it On! caters to students looking for great food at great prices. CCSU, I’ve got three words for you: Wing it On!

Hike to it: Cedar Mountain

by Sheridan Cyr

​Upon embarking for a quick hike up Cedar Mountain, you would never guess that it’s home of one of the best views in Newington. The hike itself only takes about ten to fifteen minutes, which makes it a great way to squeeze in some time outdoors between all of your classes, work and studying.

The hike to the peak begins immediately with the steepest part, so be sure to bring some sturdy sneakers. Then, it curves to the right and gives the hiker a moment to regroup before a second steep hill. After that, it is much more relaxing. You will be taken through beautiful foliage and intertwining trees — a gentle breeze and surprisingly few bugs this time of year.

Before long, you will find a tree right in the middle of the path with an enormous growth on it — you’re almost at the peak! Soon the trees open up to a breathtaking view of Newington, New Britain, Berlin and further. In the fall, the leaves look incredible: red, orange, yellow, as far as the eye can see. Right below the mountain, you can see the houses of Deepwood Drive and Dalewood Road close enough to still be able to see people going about their lives.

From the peak, there are a few paths that continue to different bases of the mountain. Each are all different experiences. One is a bit narrow with a faster decline, while the other is wider and a bit more dim. On the wider path, you can see that people have built bonfires here and there at different points of time. This path eventually splits in two; both lead to the bottom eventually.

If you can find just an hour of time in your hectic schedule, take a trip to Cedar Mountain with some friends. The scenery is unbeatable, and it is only about a ten-minute drive from Central. Maybe you could even spot the university from the peak of the mountain!

Review: Dave and Buster’s

by Matt Knox

Dave And Buster’s, where food, drinks and games come together, has finally arrived in Connecticut, setting up shop in Manchester.

When first arriving, most people will notice how big the building is. There is a large parking lot circling the building. It fills quickly on busy nights, but there are plenty of parking spots directly across from the building in the lot for Dick’s sporting goods and a few other businesses.

​Walking through the door, you’re immediately faced with a few options. To the right is the counter for buying game credits. On your first visit you will be given a Dave and Buster’s Power Card. This card is where both your game credit and tickets will be loaded. It is swiped at each game, which deducts the credits and tells the remaining balance. When purchasing credits, buying in bulk saves money. There are multiple deals available, with prices ranging from $23 for 125 credits, to packages worth hundreds of dollars.

​If you want to eat first, the hostess is to your left. The dining area is adjacent to the bar, which sits in the middle of the building. On the Friday night that I went, the dining area and bar were very crowded. It was loud and, in general, not conducive to conversation. The atmosphere can become overwhelming at times. After grabbing a drink, you’re allowed to carry it around with you wherever you want, just try not to spill while you’re jamming on Guitar Hero.

​The gaming area makes up a large portion of the building. Games are placed along the walls and in rows in the middle of the room, leaving room to walk between them even on busy nights. Basketball, skee-ball, wheel of fortune, deal or no deal were some of the options. Not every game gives tickets, as some are just for fun. A majority of the games were priced around six credits, with some being more, or less. If that seems overpriced to you, go on a Wednesday when games are half-price all day. Another option would be to play during a Power Hour, which means that everyone plays games for an hour for $10.

​After winning mountains of tickets, walk over to the counter in front of the reward store. They’ll weigh the tickets in a bucket, and then load the amount on your card. Overall, many of the reward options require a large amount of tickets. Most items were at least 1000 tickets, besides candy, of which there was a small selection.

​Dave and Buster’s is a fun way to spend a night with friends, but the costs add up quickly. It’s possible to enjoy yourself here for under $20, but most people will be inclined to spend more.

20 Under 20: Blackledge Falls

By Matthew Knox

Nestled in the hills of Glastonbury, Blackledge Falls, and the 80 acres of forest that contain them, are an excellent place to hike and enjoy nature during any season. At times of heavy rain and high groundwater, as many as three separate falls run off the 26 foot tall cliffs. The falls derive their name from the color of the rocks when wet. The water returns to river form after the falls to run through the forest where you may cross over it several times by bridges. Right by the falls, a log sits on the ground in a perfect spot to rest. Bring a picnic or a snack and take a break. Whether there are hundreds of gallons pouring over the cliffs a minute, or only trickling after a dry summer, the spot is beautiful.

There are three different trails that make up the Blackledge Falls preserve. The “purple” trail leads to the waterfall. In reality, it is just a line of white paint over a blue one. The trail is not difficult. There are hills and a gradual incline for periods of time, but no hiking experience is needed. The walk takes about 15 minutes at an average pace. Watch out for roots and rocks on the path in some areas.

The preserve is a tribute to nature and has therefore been left in as natural of a state as possible. Tree branches have fallen on the path in a couple of spots and they were left. The other trails in the park head off in different directions that mostly all convene before to the parking area. Walk or run far enough and you will eventually reach a large swath of open land for power lines. Beyond that you will end up at Gay City State Park. For those of you who enjoy trail running, this area is certainly acceptable. The trails are relatively clean and free of overhanging branches that could hit you.

During the semester, things can get stressful. I encourage a visit to Blackledge Falls for a much needed break when the weather permits.

20 Under 20: GoldBurger

Kevin Jachimowicz

It’s not often you exit a burger place feeling like a different person, but GoldBurger, which is in the vicinity of CCSU, and can satisfy your hunger for around $10.  If you’ve never had eaten at GoldBurger in Newington before – not to be confused with GoldBerg’s in West Hartford – you have plans to mark down.

The first time you step inside GoldBurger, you are greeted with funky, colorful paintings on the walls (this includes plays on various famous paintings, of course their versions including burgers in place of other objects), along with multiple bulletin boards covered in drawings from the younger customers, recommendations for crazy new burger ideas, polaroid pictures of their competition winners posing, along with numerous testimonials to all their different types of incredible burgers’, loaded with pretty much any topping an American mind can come up with.

With that said, the staff is very friendly, environment is comfortable, and service is as professional as it needs to be for the type of establishment they’re in (think Moo-Ya style environment, yet fine-dining quality meat).  GoldBurger did initially take the BlueChip card as a form of payment, but did away with that ability about a year ago, which was irritating initially, but the quality of the food far trumps any little circumstances of that nature.

Something fun about the restaurant is that they often hold little competitions, as well as beer tasting nights, in which you can buy a ticket to reserve your spot, and they close the restaurant to the public for a private event.  They also have numerous challenges you customers can attempt to conquer.  For example, The Trinity Challenge was held in the October of 2010 at GoldBurger.  The requirements to complete the challenge successfully were to down a 3×4 in just 45 minutes flat (4 patties, 3 slices of cheese 4 bacon strips), a Schogger (a beef patty, chicken patty, hot dog and sausage all on a bun), 1.5 pounds of fries and a large drink…they aren’t always appealing, but still makes for a fun time, for those who are crazy enough to try it.

My go to meal at GoldBurger is the Rivals Rodeo Double Cheeseburger, which is somewhat of a spin-off on Burger King’s Rodeo Burger, if you ask me.  The Rivals Rodeo comes with two beef patties, spicy BBQ sauce, thick-cut onion rings (which I substitute with frizzled onion rings), american cheese, topped with bacon.  I also enjoy their occasional specials which are typically creative new burger choices, or something of the like.  For example, one special they had, which would replace my typical burger, if they would put it on the menu, came with blue cheese crumbles, béarnaise sauce, and a hint of spicy buffalo sauce.

GoldBurger is the place to stop on the way home from, or on the way to school for commuters, when you need a quick, guaranteed-to-be-great meal.

20 Under 20 – The Haunted Graveyard

By: Paige Brown

It’s October, and you know what that means: Halloween. With Halloween comes dark, ghostly and scary attractions for everyone to enjoy.

Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT, hosts “The Haunted Graveyard” every year throughout the month of October. The park is given a eerie atmosphere as people are spooked along their way through the houses, mazes and fields filled with monsters, ghosts and characters from classic horror movies.

The best part of “The Haunted Graveyard” is the unexpected shocks and scares. [Paige: can you rewrite this sentence into something like, “The combination of real and fake characters keep you guessing as to which wall will jump out at you” or something along those lines ] As you walk through, there are real people and fake characters all along the walls and in the nooks and crannies of the dark corners. It’s especially scary when you say out loud, “that’s fake,” and then they jump out and make you scream like a little girl.

Ghoulish sounds and fetid smells were added to create the teeth-rattling feeling that you were actually part of a scene in a scary movie. The smell of gas filled the air as you got chased by the crazy guy with the chainsaw and even the fake, skinned animals as you walked through the slaughter house has a smell that could make a grown man cringe.

As for sounds, not only does the creepy music, wind sounds or ghosts howls get to you, but the voices that the actors created for their characters made everyone’s hair stand up and jumpstart their escape.

Going to scary events like haunted hay rides, spooky corn mazes or even your local haunted house, “The Haunted Graveyard” is one that every Halloween enthusiast should take the time to enjoy. With a price tag of $23, it would be scary to NOT go.

So whether you easily get scared by the smallest spider or if you’re the friend who loves to watch your friends scream, “The Haunted Graveyard” is definitely a great Halloween scare-fest.

20 Under 20 – West Hartford Yoga

By Kiley Krzyzek

Got six bucks and an hour to kill? Take the quick 10 minute drive to West Hartford Yoga and try a relaxing session of Gentle Yoga. A comparable local studio charges $20 per drop-in session, so this is an awesome deal.

It’s BYOM (bring your own mat) or you can buy one there. Ladies, here’s a real excuse to wear yoga pants! Store your shoes and belongings in a cubby and pay at the counter. The receptionist will direct you to a big beautiful studio with relaxing music playing in the background. You can lay out your mat and borrow a block or blanket to help you with your poses.

The class consists of breathing exercises and a routine of classic poses like downward dog and child’s pose. You’ll appreciate that they don’t go into detail about the spiritual meaning of yoga or anything–you get enough lectures at school. It’s a fantastic class for beginners or anyone who wants to go at a slower pace. My guess is you’re going to yoga to de-stress, not to get more overwhelmed than you were in the first place.

If you’re a veteran at the exercise regimen, you can opt for WHY’s signature class “Power Yoga 1” which is only six dollars. It’s a more vigorous class and isn’t recommended for beginners. I must warn you though, instructors in the class may come around and physically adjust your poses, so if you’re uncomfortable with strangers casually touching you, stick to the gym.

Otherwise this yoga class is a way to free your mind from everything for a bit and you’ll finish feeling refreshed, as if you just awoke from a nap.  Check out for the class schedule.

New Britain Museum of American Art: A Free Experience for CCSU Students

By Acadia Otlowski

Photo: Acadia Otlowski


The infamous red solo cup has been put to a distinct new use in the New Britain Museum of American Art, where artist, Lisa Hoke, created a mural of colored plastic cups. The prominently placed display has become the centerpiece of the museum which has displays from artists across America.

The New Britain Museum of the Arts is only a short 10 to 15 minute drive from CCSU. In addition to being close in proximity, the museum has a partnership with CCSU, allowing students who show their student ID to enter the museum free of charge.

Walking into the museum, one is immediately drawn to how open the space is. Before one enters the actual exhibits, the visitor is greeted by a wax security guard who’s intimidating posture is quite lifelike and convincing.

Glass doors lead to the exhibits, which flow from a smaller room into a larger gallery, where many sculptures are placed in the center. This gallery splits off to many smaller rooms containing many works and leads to a set of stairs, where a stunning hanging piece made of blue glass and Hoke’s plastic cup mural are set above a landing.

Hoke’s piece is a temporary installation, named The Gravity of Color: New Britain, and will be replaced in two to five years by another artist, according to the museums website. From a distance, the cups don’t appear like plastic cups. They look more like a tile, creating a mosaic. It isn’t until one approaches the exhibit that it becomes apparent that the entire work is in fact plastic cups.

At the top of the stairs, more painting and sculptures are placed in a main room, which then diverges into several other rooms.

Another one of the featured exhibits of this time is Toulouse-Lautrec & His World. His works, separated distinctly from the museum by a curtained doorway, contain several rare pieces of his work, which are on loan from the Herakleidon Museum, in Athens, Greece. This piece is making its first tour in America; previously, it had never left Europe. The artist lived in a time in Paris called the Belle Époque (Beautiful Era).

The exhibit in the museum that I enjoyed the most by far was Tony de los Reyes’ collection of works, entitled Chasing Moby-Dick. I enjoyed how Reyes obviously put a great deal of effort into translating the written words of Moby Dick into a visual medium. The individual works were well executed, from the spear sculpture that stands in the center of the room, to the painting depicting an American flag superimposed over an ocean scene.

Although the New Britain Museum of American Art is not huge, it is more than possible to spend quite a few hours there viewing the art, and maybe learning a little something on the way. For CCSU students, this is a great way to spend any free time one may have. Not only is the museum close and convenient, but it features local artists and artists from all across the country, making it a perfect place to learn about local culture.

The Art Galleries at CCSU are now hosting an exhibit called Paintings from American Illustrators. This exhibit is on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art.

According to a flier, Mark Strathy from the art department said that the paintings in this exhibition were selected through their use of oil paint in a traditional way and showed classical training of the artists, thus blurring the line between fine art and illustration.

The paintings in the exhibit range from the early 20th century up until the 1970s . According to Strathy, one can follow the trends of illustrations throughout the time periods.

The gallery will be open between 1pm and 4 pm, Monday through Friday up until Feb. 21. The exhibit is located in the S.T. Chen Fine Arts Center in Maloney Hall on the second floor.