Robert Rae

About The Mercurial (web) magazine & gallery

Under new ownership as of March 1, 2018.   Was a wonderful, worldly (web) ‘zine rooted in Greater Danbury, Connecticut and a storefront gallery devoted to adventurous, accessible art, 2009 – 2013.

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At Mohawk, the Snow is Good!

by Mike Valletta AS OF LATE, I’ve been staying at the local resorts. The past week or so has been pretty dry for the ski resorts in the north country, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to spend my hard… Read more »

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The Mercurial Gallery to Present “Selva Fantasma: Images from the Undeforestation Project”

by Amanda Bloom DANBURY, CONNECTICUT’S Mercurial Gallery will be exhibiting “Selva Fantasma: Images from the Undeforestation Project”, a photographic installation by Summer Moore and Marissa Macias, from December 31 to March 2, 2012. Selva Fantasma (Jungle Ghost) is a selection of photographs from Moore and… Read more »

Posted by & filed under Arts & Music, Local.

Local Businesses Unite Towns with Holiday Spirit

by Amanda BloomBrought to you by Cassio Pet Resort & Training Center, Union Savings Bank, and Wingcat Web Design THE STONY HILL FOUR CORNERS ASSOCIATION (SH4C) is preparing for another cheerful and charitable holiday season with two tree lightings that will feature live music, singing,… Read more »

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A Night at the Museum

by Amanda Bloom AFTER HOURS on Friday, October 7, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut stuffed itself with a live band and 200+ people and threw a party rife with food, drink, funk and art.  It was one of The Aldrich’s “First Fridays”,… Read more »

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Remembering the Great Danbury Fair

by Amanda Bloom It wasn’t so long ago that October meant more than apple picking and Halloween to New Englanders; October was deemed the month of “Danbury” for well over a century. The Danbury Fair, located where the Danbury Fair Mall now stands, would come… Read more »

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A Backyard Music Festival

by Amanda Bloom With Bonnaroo, the Vibes and the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals behind us, it’s safe to say that we have reached the summer music festival season summit. But the greatness of a music festival isn’t necessarily measured by how many people come… Read more »

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Lemon Balm and Mint Iced Tea

by Amanda Bloom For those times when water can’t quench you, here’s an easy recipe for a lemon balm and mint iced tea.  This herb infusion will cool and calm you from the inside out: lemon balm is known for its calming properties, and mint… Read more »

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Singing and Dining at Acoustic Wednesdays

by Leah Glazer Danbury, Connecticut’s Two Steps Downtown Grille provides a wide variety of meals, refreshing drinks and a great atmosphere, but owner Tom Devine wanted to bring a more memorable form of entertainment to the bustling restaurant.  On April 19, Two Steps held their… Read more »

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Kick-start Summer with Downtown Rocks!

by Leah Glazer Danbury, Connecticut’s own Palace Theatre will host the kick-off event for the CityCenter Danbury Summer Series concerts with the first-ever Downtown Rocks! on June 24. This live music event is presented by CityCenter Danbury and will benefit all the organization’s hard work… Read more »

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Danbury Gets Another Art Gallery

by Mike Ripollone Upon looking through the glass window of Art and Frame of Danbury, one realizes it is much more than a simple framing shop.  Rustically styled art shows the influence of nature in the shop’s upcoming gallery grand opening, scheduled for Saturday, June… Read more »

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American Humor and Danbury Faces

by Lysbeth Guillorn and Amanda Bloom The Gallery at Still River Editions, located at 128 East Liberty Street in Danbury, Connecticut, will be re-opening as part of the 7th annual Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Open House Day on Saturday, June 11. The inaugural re-opening exhibition… Read more »

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The Porthole, April 2011

A window into Greater Danbury and beyond – April 2011.         A window into Greater Danbury and beyond. Submit your photos to The Porthole: your name, town of residence and where you took the photo.         Amanda Bloom… Read more »

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The Mercurial Collective’s Grand Opening

Photographs by Lenny Hankins The Mercurial Collective’s grand opening was a great success.  A towering THANK YOU to everyone who attended and helped out! Gallery hours are 10am to 12pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday and by appointment: contact Amanda Bloom at The Mercurial Collective11… Read more »

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Chapman Does Dylan

by Al Robinson from the HatCityBLOG From the famous Open Mic Night at 1Bar, here’s local talent Jonathan Chapman singing Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”. by Al Robinson from the HatCityBLOG       From the famous Monday night Open Mic… Read more »

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Conversing: The Pieces

Lisa Marie Ackerly and Derek Piotr A clearer space leaves her: bisque colossus, collapsed limbless (in all but dying leaves), sighs—— Lisa Marie Ackerly and Derek Piotr     A clearer space leaves her: bisque colossus, collapsedlimbless (in all but dyingleaves), sighs——deprived of the luxuryof… Read more »

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You Thought I Was Real

by Mother Brother The first in a series of four EPs from the one-of-a-kind Bridgeport noise rock band. Enjoy. by Mother BrotherAdditional words and photos of “The B” by Amanda Bloom     {vsig}youthoughtiwasreal{/vsig} PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME DESCRIBING MOTHER BROTHER.   “I can’t… Read more »

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A Family Pharmacy

by Lisa Ackerly At 8:30 in the morning, former New Yorker Jack Yeung, immunizing pharmacist and manager and owner of Main Street Pharmacy in downtown Danbury, puts on his white pharmacy coat after his hour and a half commute from Trumbull, Connecticut and greets every… Read more »

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Breaking the Language Barrier

by Amanda Bloom Since May of last year, the Danbury Public Schools Family Literacy Center (FLC) has been working with local families to support reading and other academic skills with various programs, all of which are free of charge. FLC programs offer guidance, play and… Read more »

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My First Vibe

by Amanda Bloom As a music festival virgin, I was not sure what to expect as I headed to The Gathering of the Vibes last weekend. I had heard stories of drugs, deaths, boobs and gargantuan parties, but for me, The Vibes were about friends,… Read more »

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Tuning Up: Putting Music in Your Life

by Allan Richter
Originally published in Energy Times

Amanda Bloom

Remember when that insensitive band teacher told you you’re not musical?

Forget it—we are all wired for music.

If you can get beyond those self-doubts and readjust some preconceived notions about how to play and listen to music, you can touch a medium that can touch you back in powerfully moving ways.

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Brazil Defeats Chile, Streets of Danbury Erupt

by Amanda Bloom

The streets of Danbury, Connecticut erupted on Monday, June 28 after Brazil defeated Chile in Round 16 of the World Cup. The win will bring Brazil to the quarterfinals against the Netherlands on Friday, July 2.

The honking, cheering and music on Danbury’s Main Street lasted for well over an hour.

Every year, the World Cup and ensuing street celebrations bring to light the tenuous relations between Danbury’s immigrant population and city officials. In 2007, the city passed a parade ordinance requiring any “demonstration, procession or motorcade” of more than 25 people to acquire a permit before parading. There has been a general sentiment that the ordinance is targeted specifically towards the World Cup celebrations and subsequently the immigrant population.

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Facebook: An Alternate Reality

by Amanda Bloom

Image courtesy of

Is it normal to compose clever Facebook updates while grocery shopping? To think of edits to one’s profile while at work? I’m pretty sure that yes, it is.

I spend more time on Facebook than I would like to. I might even call myself addicted at certain times. I hate Facebook and I love Facebook, but more than anything, I am intrigued by Facebook and how it is shaping our lives.

How authentic are our Facebook selves? And to what degree does Facebook connect, or disconnect, us?

I conducted a few interviews at the Danbury Fair Mall to find out.

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Metal, a Cross-Generational Genre

by Amanda Bloom

Bethel, COnnecticut's Sacred Oath.

Danbury Connecticut”s Heirloom Arts Theatre was packed this past Friday, June 18 with fans of Sacred Oath, a recently reunited power metal band originating from Bethel, Connecticut. The 100-plus crowd consisted of metalheads young and old; a mom in an AC/DC shirt helped her eight-year-old son with his earplugs, high-schoolers clung to the stage in head-banging fervor, and a few of the Oath’s high school compatriots rocked out on the sidelines.

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I’m Not But I Should: Local Gas-Buyers and The BP Boycott

by Amanda Bloom

In the wake of the BP oil spill, now nearing the two-month mark with no clear end in sight, many consumers are choosing to boycott BP products. The Boycott BP Facebook page boasts more than 600,000 members, all of whom attest to a boycott of not only BP gas stations, but also BP subsidiaries Castrol, Arco, am/pm convenience stores, both Amoco and Safeway gas stations and Wild Bean Cafés.

But just how effective is a boycott of BP gas, and how educated are consumers’ decisions to do so?

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4th Annual MS Benefit Expands To Two Nights and Two Venues

by Kristin Weinkauf

From L to R: Daughter Meredith Loglisci, mother Gretchen Brinkerhoff and son Jeff Goresen at the 2009 MS Benefit.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Worldwide, confirmed cases reach upwards of 2.1 million, yet there is no cure, no one test, and no answers to how, where or why this debilitating disease begins.

So began Danbury’s M.S. Benefit concert, the 4th annual of which will take place this coming weekend of June 4. Two nights of music, food and celebration will take place at the Heirloom Arts Theatre and Cousin Larry’s in Danbury.

Jeff Goresen, host of Cousin Larry’s open mic night, started the M.S. Benefit in honor of his mother, Gretchen Brinkerhoff, who has had M.S. for 15 years.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Graffiti

by Amanda Bloom

Danbury's graffiti wall.

According to Police Officer Ken Utter, graffiti was once a huge problem in Danbury. Thanks to the Graffiti Task Force and collaboration between artists and the police, city officials have succeeded in keeping graffiti at a minimum. As Danbury’s facades clean up, artists and police have been working together in creating a legal wall to showcase graffiti art. The wall, only a stone’s throw from Danbury Police headquarters, should be nearing completion within the next week.

One of the wall’s showcased artists, who introduced himself only as Mark, is appreciative of the wall, but he feels that graffiti is more about vandalism than art.

“If there’s no illegal aspect to your work, you’re a muralist,” he said.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Firearms

by Amanda Bloom

The CPA learns to shoot.

Thanks to the Taser, not one Danbury Police Officer has had to shoot a gun in 15 years. Although the Taser has revolutionized police work in terms of safety and efficiency, officers do carry a pistol at all times and are required to train with their guns twice a year. According to Sergeant Mike Georgoulis, about half of Danbury’s department are gun hobbyists, while the other half are more than happy to comply with their minimum training every year and be done with it.

After firing three different guns in the 25-yard firing range at the DPD headquarters, I’m siding with the latter half.

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Union Savings Takes the Hit for CT Film Fest’s Censorship

by Amanda Bloom

It appears that both The Mercurial and Union Savings Bank were given false information in regards to a case of censorship within the Connecticut Film Festival.

In consequence, an article published on The Mercurial and in the Fairfield Weekly led readers to believe that Union Savings had asked a band to change their name for their scheduled performance on CTFF’s opening night, an event sponsored by Union Savings.

In fact, CTFF executive director Tom Carruthers had requested that the band change their name. It also appears that Carruthers essentially intercepted communications between The Mercurial and Union Savings, thereby preventing the bank from clarifying the misinformation.

Posted by & filed under Local.

Ain’t Too Proud to Play

by Amanda Bloom

The Proud Flesh.  From L to R: Alexander Burnet, Mike Skaggs, Chris Dickerson and Patrick Dalton.  Photo by Joe Yunckes, montage by Amanda Bloom.

This story was further investigated after publication.  Please read the follow-up article, “Union Savings Takes the Hit for CT Film Fest’s Censorship.

The Mercurial was involved in a snowballing series of events over the past two weeks concerning the Connecticut Film Festival(CTFF), Union Savings Bank, sponsorship and censorship.

The Proud Flesh, a local folk band, was asked by CTFF officials to change their name for a scheduled performance on opening night of the festival in honor of the event’s sponsor, Union Savings Bank.

The Mercurial pursued the name change as a news piece, which, according to CTFF officials, prompted the bank to waver on their sponsorship. The Proud Flesh were ultimately booted from the opening night gig.


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MERCURY Madness On the Danbury Library Plaza

by Amanda Bloom

The cast of MERCURY. Photo courtesy of Superhero Clubhouse.

History will come alive on Friday, April 3o with an outdoor performance of MERCURY, an ecologically themed play based on Zandoc Benedict, the harbinger of Danbury’s hatting industry. Superhero Clubhouse, a collaborative and “green” theater company based in New York, will take us into Danbury’s past(and future) at 6pm in the Danbury Library Plaza. A box will be available for donations.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Domestic Violence and Youth Crime

by Amanda Bloom

Art by Keith Haring.

A different side of crime was examined at this week’s meeting of the Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy, crime that usually occurs between family, friends and acquaintances. Domestic violence and youth crime can take place over a long period of time, and the effects can last the victim’s lifetime.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Crime Scene

by Amanda Bloom

Image courtesy of The Crime Lab.

This week’s meeting of the Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy was the equivalent of watching a horror movie marathon, one of them taking place just one street from my apartment. Detective Roger Brooks and Police Officer Melissa Morrill presented a watered down version of the Police Academy’s seminar on crime scene investigation, but we still saw some grisly photos, including a shot of a man who had received the Lorena Bobbitt treatment.

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Danbury’s Independent Music Festival Needs a Life Preserver

by Amanda Bloom

Anthony Yacobellis performing with Sneakthief.  Photo by Pete Crotty.

In two years, Anthony Yacobellis’ Safe to Swim festival brought 77 bands to Danbury over the span of two weekends, most of them performing on the Danbury Green at no charge to the public. Though he saw only growth in crowds, sponsorship and vendors in the festival’s second year, Yacobellis has decided to forego a third STS on the Green. The reason? Over $4,000 in unexpected costs and and an overwhelming frustration with the city.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Use of Force and the Taser

by Amanda Bloom

The X26 Taser.  The Taser was named after a novel by Victor Appleton: Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.

This week’s meeting of the Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy covered a controversial tool: The Taser. Taser technology has been in development for over 30 years, starting with Apollo Project scientist Jack Cover.

The Danbury Police Department has been using Tasers ever since a successful hostage situation was diffused with the weapon in 2004. To date, the department has used Tasers a few hundred times.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Patrol Procedures

by Amanda Bloom

You are walking towards a stopped vehicle and you have no idea who is inside. They might be mad, nervous or both. They could be a criminal. They could be drunk. They could be planning to shoot you, or maybe bash you over the head with their rearview mirror.

These are only a few possibilities that police officers might encounter at a traffic stop. This week’s meeting of the Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy effectively placed students on the other side of the car door.

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Laws of Arrest and Constitutional Law

by Amanda Bloom

Danbury Detective Paul Corracio illuminates the legalities of law enforcement, busts a few myths and explains why you probably won’t get pulled over in Danbury.

Also inside: the number of unserved arrest warrants currenly held at the Danbury Police Department. Take a guess:

A. 740

B. 3,200

C. 6,000

D. 15,000

E. 27

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Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy: Virtual Classroom

by Amanda Bloom

Lt. Browne holding up a practice target.  The model for the target passed away this year.

The first class of the 19th Danbury Citizen’s Police Academy(CPA) commenced on Wednesday, March 24 with a full roster of 25 students. The student body ranged from laid-off flight attendants to city employees to retired teachers to aspiring officers; some were Danbury natives and others moved to the area from Brazil and Portugal. All expressed a love for the city and a desire to learn about their local police department.

The Mercurial will be doing a 10-week “virtual classroom” of the Academy. Check back every Friday for a new article. Future classes will include Crime Scene, Shoot-Don’t-Shoot and Use of Force–we’ll even be accompanying an officer on patrol!

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Mocha Hosts the Coffee Party’s National Coffee Day

by Amanda Bloom

On Saturday, March 13, Sandy Hook’s Mocha Coffeehouse was host to one of about 350 gatherings of the new nation-wide grassroots movement known as the Coffee Party. The Coffee Party is a Facebook-born phenomenon which began with an anti-Tea Party rant on Marylander Annabel Park’s profile. Her words spawned a movement that now has almost 160,000 followers on Facebook.

When Newtown resident Ben Roberts heard about National Coffee Day, he kicked into high gear to organize Saturday’s event at Mocha. About 65 people showed up to hash idealism, realism and action.

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Local Salon Tease Put to the Test

by Amanda Bloom and James Dietter

The Mercurial takes a look at Tease, a new hair salon in Danbury. Owner Ami Nosenzo offers insight into how Tease came to be, and the stylists are put to the test to see if they have what it takes to fix Amanda’s very bad hair day.

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J.D. Salinger: A Loss of Character

by James Randall

Image by Amanda Bloom

Having recently returned from a long excursion in Borneo, I did not discover the news of J.D. Salinger’s death until, upon walking into the front corridor of my house, and taking off my big alpaca-fur coat and hat, and laying them on top of my large canvas pack, I saw a bit of mail waiting for me on the antique elm-wood table, French polished in thick patina, which I use for keys, loose buttons, etc…

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The Phantom Nativity Choir: Singing Holiday Cheer for Over Three Decades

by Amanda Bloom

Despite last weekend’s winter weather, the extended McCann family set out to carol at Fairfield’s Carolton Convalescent Hospital and to perform their 20th annual benefit concert at Christ Church in Easton. In fact, the weather has never deterred the group, known as The Phantom Nativity Choir, from making their musical rounds. 2009 is estimated to be their 33rd year of caroling.

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The Heavenly Bodies of Saint Bernadette

by John Torres

Meredith DiMenna Saunders of Saint Bernadette.

In the mid 1800s, Bernadette Soubirous saw visions of the Mother Mary and tilled French soil to unearth holy springs. At first she was suspected of insanity or drug use; then the Catholic Church made her a saint. Little did she know, many years later her name would be invoked by a rock band across the ocean. She probably wouldn’t be surprised–no one believed Keith Saunders and Meredith DiMenna Saunders when they saw a vision in the grey concrete and decrepit edifices of downtown Bridgeport.

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Meeker’s Hardware to Undergo a Unique Restoration

by Katie Kaimer

Photo courtesy of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society

After 126 years in business, Meeker’s Hardware is not only standing strong, it will be receiving what most businesses cannot afford in the current state of the economy–a makeover.

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ICE and Danbury Police Agreement Makes Connecticut History

by Amanda Bloom

The Danbury Police Department is awaiting a signature from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that will ratify agreement 287g, a program that trains local law enforcement to act as federal immigration officials.  Once the document is signed, the police department will send two detectives for training, thereby marking Danbury as the first Connecticut city to participate in the program.

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Introductory Ad Packages The Mercurial is a Greater Danbury-based web magazine focused on community, culture, the arts, environment and global issues. We currently average 1,500 hits a month and 3,700 individual page views, and the numbers climb every day. Our readership is most concentrated in… Read more »

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The Mercurial Staff

The Mercurial Staff       Amanda Bloom – Founder, Publisher, Editor Amanda caught the journalism bug when she began working for Danbury’s Hat City Entertainment in 2006.  When the economy tanked in the spring of 2009, the publication went out of business and Amanda… Read more »

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