Star Wars: The Last Jedi at a Movie Palace

One of the most epic franchises of all time came to the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut with its latest film. The newest Star Wars film The Last Jedi came to the Garde bringing in many to the legendary cinema palace. Many parents brought their children, some of them wearing Star Wars logo T-shirts, to see the film in a one of a kind setting.

Before the doors opened there were many people setting up. Two new volunteers were popping the popcorn for the crowd before they came in. I got the chance to talk to them. “I’ve always been interested in theater and I came up here six months ago,” Alexis tells me as she fills up boxes of popcorn who hopes to volunteer backstage. After moving up here with her family from Georgia she was drawn to volunteer at the Garde. She told me about the friendly atmosphere and community she encountered when she first walked in. “I think it is really great that this is a non profit. When I came here for my interview I was amazed by the enormity of the building. When I first came here everyone was so friendly. I got to go back stage and see the dressing rooms. It’s a learning experience,” Alexis excitedly tells me.

Alongside her popping the popcorn is her younger sister Brandy. The film is her first time volunteering here and she already loves it. “I love volunteering here. It is so beautiful,” Brandy tells me commenting on the beauty of the Garde. The two sisters seem interested in volunteering in every aspect of the Garde. “Anything that I can do,” Alexis excited tells me of new found love for the Garde.

As I was talking to Alexis and Brandy many people were buying Star Wars wrapping paper and gift bags. For a contribution of five dollars to P.A.C.E (Partners Arts Community Education) the patrons could pick one. Showing their support for local organizations there were many who were buying the merchandise even after the show.

When the time came for Steve Sigel to take the stage he thanked the sponsors and benefactors before talking about the movie. Remarking on the film being shot in Croatia and Ireland he spoke about the film being Oscar nominated for John Williams score and the actor Anthony Daniels being the only Star Wars actor to appear in all eight films as droid C-3PO. In his final remarks he spoke about Carrie Fisher who portrays the legendary Princess Leia Organa. In her final film before her sudden death he mentioned the film was dedicated to her.

When the film began there were previews for upcoming films at the Garde Darkest Hour on March 1st and The Post on February 17th. When the movie began there was nothing stopping the audience from giving their undivided attention to the screen. There were laughs at times and sighs at other times. When the film ended the audience had burst into applause before leaving. As they made their way out they stopped by and admired posters for future shows like Tape Face on February 15th and The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd. There were many people walking out talking about the newest Star Wars film after seeing it in a movie palace. Only The Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut could provide.

Kadan Bart Rockett at The Garde

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I don’t think there will ever be another show like Kadan Bart Rockett. The kid illusionist came to the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut with his sister Brooklyn to put on a show like no other. Alongside upcoming singer Mari and his father, Bart, there was nothing short from stopping the fun once the doors opened bringing in families from all over.

Patrons were coming in flocking to the bar for food and drinks before the show, as well as, pick up souvenirs from the show. Being sold were T-shirts, the DVD Dark Skies featuring Kadan as an actor, posters to be signed after the show. Not only that but magic tricks that were being featured in the show like a rope trick and magic coloring books.

Image result for kadan bart rockett garde arts centerHowever, the table that brought the attention for most was the once set up for the New London Youth Affairs. Located in the heart of New London, the New London Youth Affairs aims to help local youth make better choices in life through offering programs for summer jobs and after school programs. I got a chance to talk with some of the employees who are part of this fabulous organization. “I work for NLYA. When I heard about the opportunity to come and tell people about what we do I was really excited,” Nicole enthusiastically tells me. Alongside her was director Ellen Kleckner, a coordinator for the program she told me about the programs they have for the local youth. “We have programs for children who are preschoolers all the way up until twenty-one. We have after school programs, summer jobs, juvenile review boards to help kids who make mistakes make better choices,” she tells me going in depth. Not only does the NLYA help out children, but they have programs for parents as well. “Parent leadership programs where we help parents learn how to advocate for their child,” she explains. “We have a substance abuse prevention program called SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions),” Ellen tells me wrapping up the programs they have for all in New London. There were teens who were attending the program who were part of their program called Teens in Action, many of them were excitedly waiting in the lobby interacting with the employees, whom I believe, have become role models for them.

When the time came Steve Sigel took the stage to welcome everyone to the show. After sending out birthday wishes to audience members he welcomed on stage Joyce Resnikoff from the Mistick Village. As a sponsor for the show, Joyce welcomed all and commended the parents and grandparents for giving the children the chance to enjoy live theater. Joyce then welcomes up a representative from Charter Oak Credit Union as a new sponsor to the Garde Arts Center. After giving a warm word of welcome and thank you to the audience, he handed the microphone back to Joyce who gave a personal welcome to the teens attending from the New London Youth Affairs. Asking them all to stand so they can be recognized for being a phenomenal group.

The lights dimmed leading Mari, who is co-hosting, to come onto the stage. Singing in both English and Spanish she stepped off the stage to interact with the audience by encouraging everyone to get up and dance. After a couple of songs and a quick selfie it was time for the main event. With introductions and clips from America’s Got Talent Kadan and Brooklyn Rockett made their way to the stage. Using many of their acts from the popular television show, like Kadan cutting Brooklyn in half and a missing twenty dollar bill showing up in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the fun didn’t stop. When their dad, Bart, came onto the stage he helped them answer questions and show some of his ventriloquism to the audience with a puppet named Willard.

Before everyone knew it intermission had come. At a table for a program called Child Fund, Mari was helping people sign up to sponsor a child and signing autographs. Right before intermission began Mari came on stage to share her personal story of being adopted to help her explain Child Fund. By explaining Child Fund helps children in need by providing them the supplies they need for an education, clean water, and clothes there were many patrons signing up. Not to mention, there were patrons who were buying her CD and T-shirts for Child Fund.

Other than signing up for Child Fund, there were patrons who were buying tickets for a backstage pass to meet Kadan and Brooklyn as well as learn a few magic tricks. Some patrons were asking questions about upcoming shows like The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd and Popovich Pet Theater on March 16th. Others were asking about music acts like Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin on March 3rd and Air Supply on March 10th. When the announcement came for everyone to return and take their seats there were patrons taking brochures with all of the upcoming events at the Garde.

When Kadan and Brooklyn took the stage the time flew by before he started welcoming local dancers out of a box on stage to end the show. Kadan and Brooklyn announced they would be out in the lobby to sign autographs alongside Bart and Mari. In the lobby the lines for posters to be signed and a photo to be taken seemed endless. When Kadan and Brooklyn to their seat in two directors chairs set up in a mini photo studio the fun didn’t stop. There were questions about a mysterious white powder being sold called “Rockett Gel” and posters being bought hurriedly by anxious patrons for an autograph.

In the end, it truly was a magical night at the Garde Arts Center brought on by Kadan Bart Rockett and his sister Brooklyn. This one of a kind brother and sister magic act is one that can’t be matched. With their father, Bart, using his phenomenal ventriloquist act and lovely singer Mari I don’t think there is anything stopping this show.

Dunkirk at the Garde

There are many movies showing at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut as part of their Winter Cinema series sponsored by Atlantic Broadband. Yet nothing is like the movie Dunkirk buy bringing in people from all over to see the World War II epic directed by Christopher Nolan.

Yet, there was much to be done before the movie began to prepare the theater for the patrons. In the lobby the bartenders were preparing their stations while the popcorn was being popped. When the doors opened the patrons were welcomed into a theater filled with water colored paintings around before making their way inside.

Some of them stopped by to admire future events at the Garde like family friendly performances of The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd and Kaden Bart Rockett on February 8th. While others looked at advertisements for humorist David Sedaris on April 14th and unique pet theater Popovich starring Gregory Popovich a Moscow Circus veteran with over thirty performing pets on March 16th. Popular musical acts with Lyle Lovett and Shawn Calvin on March 3rd and Air Supply on March 10th caught the eyes of many others.

However, one of the new things that caught the eyes of many patrons coming in is a new tea display. An array of teas by Harney and Sons, a tea based company in Connecticut, intrigued many. This new experiment intrigued many bought a cup of tea and received a free homemade cookie.

All of this lead up to the time for the movie to start. When the lights flickered the audience made their way inside before Steve Sigel took the stage. Welcoming the audience to the Garde Arts Center he thank the sponsors and benefactors. When the lights dimmed previews for upcoming films Darkest Hour on March 1st and The Post on February 17th to be shown at the Garde.

Once the movie started the audience was entranced by the action packed World War II film. Sounds of awe and shock filled the cinema as everyone was captivated. When the film came to an end the theater filled up with applause. Some people stayed behind to watch the credits as they were entranced by the film.

The movie Dunkirk based on a true story came alive at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut. The movie touched many as they were inspired by the story. No place like the Garde could bring many together to see a movie about a miracle.