Book Signing Brings Out Connecticut Characters At Barnum Museum

Lennie book signing
Your host at book signing flanked from left candidate for City Council Gage Frank, Bridgeport Young Dems President Constance Vickers and school board candidate Jessica Martinez. They have good taste in books. All photos by Sue Katz.

What better place to host a book party for the title Connecticut Characters: Personalities Spicing Up The Nutmeg State than the magnificent Barnum Museum. Thank you to everyone who shared in my book event Thursday night. We had quite an eclectic crowd. Some scenes follow. Kudos to Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathy Maher and staff for making it all happen.

Keeley, Honis
Talk about two Connecticut Characters. Former State Rep. Bob Keeley, a candidate for City Council, left, chats with retired Deputy Police Chief Jimmy Honis in full Kid Rock regalia. This conversation required a translator.
Lopez book signing
Retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, fresh off a parking meter victory for the people, chats with state victim services advocate Pertrinea Cash.
Zenobia book signing
Crowd shot of event includes Paul Timpanelli, center, retired CEO of Bridgeport Regional Business Council.
Parziale, Grabarz
Lisa “Honey” Parziale, former City Council president, with former State Rep. Joe Grabarz, one of the Connecticut Characters chronicled in book.
Gonzalez, Lee
OIB loyalists Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez and citizen fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee.
Maher book signing
Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathy Maher greets the peeps.
Meyer book signing
City Attorney Chris Meyer was among several city employees who stopped in.


    1. Sure Steven, I hope you’re not waiting for the day you find the book for a dollar at a tag sale. If so, I understand–your love for cuisine of many types can be expensive. Hmmmm, we may be up to something! Imagine if Lennie writes his next book on edible paper and ink.

      1. Thank you Lisa Parziale. I had been looking forward to this event for some time. I ran into candidate for the 138th Gage Frank that morning at “South on Bostwick”, which BTW has the best soups and sandwiches, I told him I would not be attending that evening. I really should have been there in hind site but other responsibilities prevented that.

  1. This was the best event I’ve attended in years. The mix and blend of attendees worked perfectly. It was encouraging to see future political participants discussing and getting positive advice from veterans, we even had three judges present. I read Lennie’s book this morning, I couldn’t put it down because for most of it, I was present while the events occurred. I regret missing the first hour because I know I missed seeing some new and old friends. Thanks Len for a good read, and a wonderful time.

  2. Judge Lopez and Lisa look good!

    Someone called me last night right after they left and asked if I was coming. I said no and asked how the turnout was. The person responded it was a “whitefest”.

    The photos do support that description.

    Looks like it wss well attended.

    1. Maria,
      Perhaps you can fill me in on the meaning of “whitefest”? Did that comment provide any reason for you to be absent from the gathering? What word or words would be a suitable antonym for “whitefest” as used in the context of that comment to you? Had the opposite word been used, what would the reaction of your unnamed informer likely been?

      Isn’t the purpose of gatherings, in celebration, sympathy, outrage, or advocating to bring all or most of the community together in common unity? Isn’t that what Lennie and OIB promote for Bridgeport? What did your unnamed performer expect? What makes them less than comfortable?

      More specifically, in context am I catching any racial tones in your sharing?

      From another point of view, also: As an activist in this community you know from experience that meetings, especially at the end of the workday, are often in conflict. Mostly unknown, but still forcing choices to people who fail to be in two places at the same time.

      Last night as an example: OIB at the Barnum Museum at 5:30 PM…..”Next steps” gathering at Mt Aery Baptist Church at 5:30 PM following NAACP press conference at Morton Government Center. More conflicts last night??
      Time will tell.

      1. JML, I admit that I’m white according to my birth certificate. I did buy a white book authored by a white guy. It was a pleasure to meet Judge Dale Radcliffe whom I believe is Puerto Rican and his white wife Judge Carmen Lopez. Good thing Maria Pereira didn’t show up because a white woman named Anna Parisi did show up with a pit bull.

        1. Joel,
          When you finish listening to “Lean On Me” perhaps you will essay an attempt at answering the serious question I addressed to Maria?

          Happy to learn from you about the origins of some of Lennie’s guests. Most of us are interested in the story of our families and that is a richness in a community like Bridgeport.

          Yesterday afternoon I was present at another gathering where it was announced that Bridgeport ranks in third place in our world for size of the Puerto Rican population. Assuming the veracity of the statement, I will guess it is less known than other such demographic facts. Do you know of a source to share the breakout of Latin or Hispanic nationalities who reside in the city? Time will tell.

  3. It was a splendid event! Congratulations to Susan Katz and Joy Haines for helping Lennie and the Barnum Museum produce the event. (Joy made the evening extra special for me by reminiscing about both my late father and my very-much-alive mother. )

    Kathy Maher clearly relished introducing the Barnum Museum to visitors who were new or returning after absences of many years.

    As for Lennie — Author! Author!

  4. I could not attend. But I am sure that the Bridgeport Community is thankful and appreciative that Lennie Grimaldi has contributed to the chronicle of this City -ups and downs,good and bad- of what many of us call home;BRIDGEPORT,CT.

    1. Frank Gyure, come on man! I’m not buying this short book of yours–It’s fictional. The truth is you didn’t go for fear that the likes of Chief A.J. Perez and Charles Paris made an appearance and I took the time to introduce you to them.

  5. Got there late, but had about a half-hour of quality time with quality people at a positive event hosted by a writer destined to produce a NYT Best Seller… In the mean time, I really enjoyed going down Memory Lane and recalling lots of names in “Connecticut Characters,” as well as others associated with big stories and some of the characters in the book (such as the Curcios and Frank Piccolo)… I recall my late brother (who was a Corrections Officer in the North Avenue jail when Danny Bifield was there) commenting on the tension that his presence created in the facility… I also recall how there was much consternation and suspicion about Bifield’s escape…

    A lot of interesting times in a great city that keeps taking it on the chin but remains standing — albeit on wobbly legs…

    Next Grimaldi project; “Bridgeport,” the play?! I bet that Lennie could that off, big-time… (A musical?)

    A very interesting, smooth read, Lennie… (Had to listen to “Sympathy for Devil” when I read the Linda Blair chapter… Was going to heat up a cup of pea soup to enjoy with the read, but discovered I was all out…)


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