Being from New Jersey, this is a tough post for me to write, but I recognize many virtues in our mirror enemy to the north:
Composer: Charles Ives, most of all Central Park in the Dark and The Unanswered Question, plus some of the piano music. The Concord Sonata is wonderful to hear live, but he often loses his bearings in the longer pieces. Bernstein or Michael Tilson Thomas are the best conductors for his music.
Popular music: There is Moby (the early stuff), Liz Phair (more consistent than her reputation), and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth ("Daydream Nation" is amazing, but most of their CDs leave me cold), and that’s not counting the rich rock stars who have moved in, like Keith Richards or Diana Ross.
Poet: Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company in Hartford for many years, but the people in his office did not know he was a poet. "He was an imaginative claims man," later opined one colleague.
Artist: Chuck Close (here is the portrait of Philip Glass), honorary mention to Maya Lin.
Writer: I enjoyed Philip Roth when I read him, but it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Mark Twain lived in Hartford a while, but that answer doesn’t feel right. Harriet Beecher Stowe I could not finish.
Food: CT has the best pizza in the USA, most of all in New Haven but not only.
Movie, set in: I hated Mystic Pizza, nor can I imagine Christmas in Connecticut could have been any good. Help!
The bottom line: The state is close to having a Grand Slam.
While I am here, I hope to see the new Howard Hodgkin exhibit, there is an excellent slide show within the link.