A three-day lineup stocked with jazz legends and emerging talents blasts through more time signatures than a clock’s checkbook to usher in the 16th incarnation of the Litchfield Jazz Festival. The Springs Center stage kicks off Friday with genre luminaries The Clayton Brothers, whose silky sounds light a fire under the crowd that fellow Grammy nominees Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stoke with brassy flares. Saturday hosts a veritable who’s-who of mind-blowing musicians with NEA Jazz Master grant winner Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band blasting buttery sounds after a Ray Charles tribute featuring Davell Crawford belts harmonies more memorable than “Happy Birthday” sung in Klingon. A collection of performers worthy of a Gatsbyan soiree closes out the festival on Sunday, with a hip-swinging finale from Jimmy Heath.
The chuckle connoisseurs at Treehouse Comedy Productions have brought laugh-worthy comics to their stages for more than 25 years, giving an audience to future standup-comedy legends such as Rosie O'Donnell, John Stewart, and Jay Leno. Treehouse continues its commitment to busting guts with a calendar of upcoming shows that includes Comedy Central veteran Bill Santiago (April 6–7), who brings a neurotic edge while reflecting on growing up as a Puerto Rican in New York. Kevin Downey, Jr. (April 13–14), on the other hand, cracks macabre one-liners delivered with a distinctively belligerent yell that has been featured on HBO and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Mike P. Burton (April 27), erstwhile warm-up guy for Rachel Ray, uses a sensibility molded by a childhood in the South and an adulthood in New York to launch hilarious jeremiads about children, relationships, and society's foibles.
Jokers Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene as they hurl laugh-igniting jokes into the eager ears of audiences. Upcoming comics include Cal Verduchi (March 9–10), a Comedy Central veteran who specializes in uproariously raunchy impressions of celebrities ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Kermit the Frog. Known for his appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and MTV's 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour, Joel Lindley (March 16–17) wields and old-school deadpan demeanor to deliver self-deprecating stories and curmudgeonly one-liners. Richie Byrne (March 23–24) melds his experience on VH1 and The Rosie O'Donnell show with a successful acting career—including stints on Sex and the City and The Sopranos —to dominate the stage, drawing audiences into exquisitely detailed stories with engaging physicality and sonic mimicry.
Alisa Bowens can teach the newest of newbies how to salsa—just watch her episode of MTV’s Made for proof. On it, she taught teenage sisters with no dance experience how to salsa, and she does the same for students at her studio, Alisa’s House of Salsa. She teaches the spicy Latin dance to groups, as well as in private lessons, during which she is able to provide even more technique notes and feedback. She also hosts salsa nights at local restaurants and lounges so that her students can practice in a real-life environment.