Jonathan Livingston, I Presume?

Sunday’s photo challenge showed the dilapidated brick wall at Compo, near the lockers and Joey’s.

The photo below is much more evocative of the beach every Westporter loves:

Seagull at Compo

The photographer requested this credit: “Patrick Goldschmidt and Jonathan Seagull.”

A Good Walk Spoiled

Betsy P. Kahn’s early morning Compo Beach stroll was marred by this sight:

Lifeguard chair - August 23, 2016 - Betsy P Kahn

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Every lifeguard chair up and down the shore was toppled, she says.

And this is not the first time.

No, the wind was not strong last night.

But the (we assume) teenagers out for some late-summer mischief were.

Stacy Bass Shoots 365 Flowers

Years ago, alert “06880” reader/nature-and-lifestyle photographer Stacy Bass had an idea: For the next year, she’d take and share an image of whatever she happened to be doing at noon that day.

It was, she admits, “crazy and stupid.” The project lasted exactly 2 days.

Now, Stacy’s back. Her new idea is much more workable — and beautiful.

She was inspired by Kerry Long. Stacy’s friend and fellow photographer worked on her own 365-day project, shooting images of her young daughter Lucy. Kerry’s photos were “outstanding, stunning and wonderfully composed,” Stacy says.

Lucy Roth (Photo/Kerry Long)

Lucy Roth (Photo/Kerry Long)

Her own children — much older than Lucy — “would not be nearly as cooperative,” Stacy notes. Nor are portraits her specialty.

Stacy wondered what subject matter would keep her interested and motivated every single day, for a year.

Suddenly she knew.

Flowers.

Though she photographs flowers regularly,  as part of garden shoots for magazines and private clients — check out her great Gardens at First Light book — Stacy knew she’d have to stay focused (ho ho) for a long time to find, take and share an image each day.

Stacy Bass. (Photo/Julie Bidwell for Wall Street Journal)

Stacy Bass. (Photo/Julie Bidwell for Wall Street Journal)

But she wanted to try.

Vacationing on Nantucket with her family last summer, she began.

Stacy Bass's 1st flower.

Stacy Bass’s 1st flower.

Nantucket bloomed with flowers of all kinds. When Stacy returned to Westport, she found many more.

The daily challenge proved invigorating. The positive reactions her photos drew on social media kept her going. Friends and strangers thanked her for providing a daily dose of “beauty and positivity.” (Hydrangeas are the crowd favorites.)

Some days were easier than others. About 2 months in, Stacy hit a figurative wall. She wondered if anyone would notice if she stopped.

But the feeling passed. Now that she’s finished, Stacy is proud of her consistency. She’s also thrilled to have tangible proof of 365 flowers, with a beginning, middle and end.

(Photo/Stacy Bass)

(Photo/Stacy Bass)

She’s not quite sure what to do with all those images, though. Fans have inquired about buying a print of their favorite “day,” or of a special date as a birthday or anniversary gift.

Perhaps figuring out how to do that is Stacy’s next project.

(For more information on Stacy’s flower photos, email swbass@optonline.net.)

A collage of Stacy Bass' flower photos.

A collage of Stacy Bass’ flower photos…

...and a collage of all 365 images.

…and a collage of all 365 images.

[UPDATE] Red-Tailed Hawk Rescue

Alert — and humane — “06880” reader Colleen Zapfel writes:

While driving on Sasco Creek Road today, we saw a man named Rob stopped next to an injured osprey. [NOTE: Readers — including Audubon experts — have identified this as a red-tailed hawk.]

It was sitting in the middle of the road, not moving, as cars drove by. We got out to help.

Osprey

We called animal control, went back and put him in a box for safety.

Gina from Westport animal control picked him up. She took him to Dr. Plunkett  in Fairfield.

So if the osprey red-tailed hawk you love to watch is gone for a few days from its normal nest — now you know why. 

Oscar’s En Francais

Westporters are still adjusting to the loss of Oscar’s.

But around the time the Main Street deli closed — and beloved owner Lee Papageorge died — longtime Westporter Susan Brody spotted this doppelganger in Marseille:

Oscar's in France

The French are known for fiercely protecting their language. Neither “bagels” nor “sandwiches” sound French to me.

As for “Oscar’s” — in any language, that means “love.”

(Hat tip: Eden Werring)

Let The Chaos Begin

Alert “06880” reader Susan Iseman snapped this photo moments ago, on the first day of the North Compo Road closure, from Cross Highway to Main Street:

(Photo/Susan Iseman)

(Photo/Susan Iseman)

The road will be shut for 30 days, due to culvert work.

Meanwhile, not far away, Jeff Gray reports that — contrary to previous indications — North Avenue is still closed, at the Merritt Parkway bridge.

Safe travels!

The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen

When you or I go on a scavenger hunt, we try to find random but normal items: a menu from a local restaurant perhaps, or the signature of someone semi-famous.

When Tia Pogue went scavenging this month, she created a human piano; showed an alien draining our civic infrastructure, and milked a dairy cow (while dressed in semi-formal attire — that’s her in the center below).

And when you and I go scavenger hunting, we play for a few bucks or a bottle of wine. Tia — who graduates next June from Staples High School — competed for a free trip to Iceland.

That’s the difference between your and my scavenger hunt, and the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.

The week-long event takes — as you have already figured — a hefty amount of energy, creativity and intelligence. Tia has tons of that.

It’s genetic. Her dad, David Pogue, is the world-renowned newspaper/TV/book tech expert — as well as a Yale music major who spent 10 years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals.

In early April, Tia saw a Reddit post soliciting members for a GISHWHES team. The group — Team Raised from Perdition — had finished as a runner-up the year before. Members came from across the US, Canada and Brazil; their professions included sign language interpreter and opera singer. All shared a love for creativity, and making the world a better place.

In addition, the hunt combined art, randomness, philanthropy, challenges and fun — all things Tia loves. She eagerly applied.

She had 3 days to do 3 challenges from past hunts, and make an “About Me” video. She was selected from a pool that included many adults.

The GISHWHES event takes a week. Teams race to complete as many of nearly 200 challenges as they can. Participants submit pictures or videos of their work.

Tia Pogue's team proved that aliens are taking job opportunities away from American.

Tia Pogue’s team proved that aliens are taking jobs away from Americans.

Rules are quirky. For example, most videos must be exactly 14 seconds long. Kale was arbitrarily banned.

Tasks fall into 3 categories:

  • Wacky art projects (recreating photographs out of junk food)
  • Random acts of kindness (planting a community garden or donating blood — a large portion of registration fees go to charity)
  • Asking random people for help (requesting that an art museum temporarily replace a painting worth at least $100,000 with a forgery painted by an 8-year-old).

Tia and her team communicated daily, using an app called Slack. She found everyone warm, accepting, interesting. Teammates grew tighter — virtually — and hope eventually to meet in real life.

With the help of her family, Tia completed 23 items.

Several moments stand out. One was when — after many hours — she finished her junk food version of the famous National Geographic cover with an Afghan refugee:

Tia Pogue National Geographic photo

Other team members created a dress entirely out of corn husks, painted a portrait of a live model while scuba diving, recreated a landmark out of sticks and twigs, held a corporate meeting in a sandbox, and did a variety of charitable acts

Tia learned a few things in the process. One is that she’s happiest when she is creative. This school year, she plans to spend a little time each day doing something crafty.

She also learned that her age is not as big a barrier as it initially seemed. She calls her teammates “friends,” even if some are decades older.

Final results will be released in October. If Tia’s team wins, they’ll finally meet each other.

In Iceland.

Below: Tia Pogue plays a human piano:

(To see Tia’s complete team page, click here. For their spreadsheet, click here. For more information on the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, click here.)


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #86

Most commuters leave the train station parking lot as quickly as possible. They just want to get home.

But if you drive out of the eastbound parking lot, and get stuck in traffic turning onto Saugatuck Avenue, look to the left. Behind a brick wall at #11 West Ferry Lane, you’ll see an odd sight: an old British telephone booth, and a Beefeater Queen’s guard.

That was last week’s photo challenge. Congratulations to alert readers Susan Reilly, Cindy Zuckerbrod and Virginia Tienken, who knew where it was. (Click here to see the photo, and their comments.)

This week’s challenge also involves a brick wall. If you know where in Westport you’d see this dilapidated one, click “Comments” below.

Oh My 06880 - August 21, 2016

 

Stumping For Kindness

I often identify contributors to “06880” as “alert readers.”

One guy gets special notice.

The other day, hyper-alert “06880” reader Steve Lunt was walking his dog on the Riverwalk — the lovely path winding around the Levitt Pavilion. (If you’ve never been, you’re missing a true Westport jewel.)

Suddenly, a rotting tree stump caught Steve’s eye.

Levitt Riverwalk - Steve Lunt 2 (2)

 

 

Looking closely, he saw this:

Levitt Riverwalk - Steve Lunt 2

We may never know who put that message there — or when, or why.

Which makes this little story even better.

 

Westport Arts Center Offers A Bully Pulpit

Whether you’ve got a school-age kid or not, these days it’s tough to avoid hearing about bullying. Its causes, its effects, how to change it (or whether we’re overreacting) — bullying everywhere, from our schools and the media to the presidential campaign.

Soon, even the Westport Arts Center will tackle the topic.

WAC - More than WordsAn exhibition called “MORE Than Words” opens September 9. Utilizing artists, speakers, panels and films, it examines bullying within a broad cultural context. The exhibit focuses on courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying, and considers how imbalances of social, physical and political power can marginalize others.

The WAC show includes artistic expressions of gender, racial, religious, geopolitical and age inequality, and includes cyber-bullying. The goal is to inspire dialogue and change.

Recognizing that the best responses to bullying are community-wide, the WAC has enlisted the help of important local organizations. They include the Westport Country Playhouse, Westport Library, SKATE/K2BK, Neighborhood Studios of Bridgeport, Anti-Defamation League and Norwalk’s LGBT Triangle Community Center.

Also involved: Athlete Ally and the National Charity League.

WAC exhibition - Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer’s piece in the “MORE Than Words” exhibition.

The exhibit was conceived by board member — and father of 2 young girls — Derek Goodman.

“We’ve all dealt with bullies,” he says. “At the same time, a number of well-known, influential artists have used their work to address it. We hope we’ve put together a platform to open dialogue, so that people in Westport feel comfortable discussing it.”

As the WAC partners with a variety of local organizations, he says, the town has an opportunity to take a leadership role in the battle against bullying.

“We’re not the experts,” he notes of the Westport Arts Center. “But we’re honored to put together a show for experts to help lead the conversation.”

(An opening reception is set for September 9, from 6-8 p.m. The exhibit runs through October 29. For more information on “MORE Than Words,” click here.)