Speed Dating, Westport-Style

Speed dating is a big-city thing.  Singles (hopefully) spend a few minutes chatting with a random stranger.  A bell rings; then it’s off to the next table, and a few more after that.  If both parties like each other, organizers provide them with contact info.

But this is Westport.  Our “speed dating” event needs an intellectual — and environmental — bent.

Also, no hooking up allowed.

Expert Minds” is this Thursday’s (July 14, 7 p.m.) Westport Arts Center speed dating-inspired event.

Futurist Watts Wacker definitely looks like an expert.

Working with Green Village Initiative, the WAC has assembled 10, um, expert minds.  Each hosts a table with 4 seats.  For 15 minutes, everyone chats — presumably about the expert’s area of expertise.

Then it’s on to the next randomly selected table.

There’s a break after the 1st 2 sessions, for food and wine; then 2 more tables.

After the 4th table, everyone is invited to mingle (and, I guess, drink a bit more).

The experts include:

  • Michael Aitkenhead, Staples High School environmental teacher and Wakeman Town Farm steward
  • Julie Belaga, former state representative, gubernatorial candidate, and New England director of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Maxine Bleiweis, Westport Library director
  • David Brown, public health toxicologist
  • John Fifield, architect and innovator
  • Deepika Saksena, “zero waste manager” whose weekly household waste fills just one plastic newspaper sleeve
  • John Solder, member of the world champion Staples High School robotics team
  • Bill Taibe, chef/owner of Le Farm
  • Watts Wacker, futurist
  • Eden Werring, arts and education advocate

As the experts and their guests talk, they’ll be surrounded by Christo.  The environmental artist’s stunning works may inspire some of the discussions, says Deanne Foster, the WAC’s interim executive director.

“Art can take you to another place,” she says.  “There’s always lots of conversation here, as people look at the exhibitions on the walls.  This event is one more way to get people thinking, and engaged.”

“Expert Minds” — speed dating, arts-style — is something the 92nd Street Y might do, Foster says.

“But it’s here in Westport.  We’re lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.”

(Tickets for “Expert Minds” are $25.  They’re available by phone at 203-222-7070, and online by clicking here.)

3 responses to “Speed Dating, Westport-Style

  1. Estelle Margolis

    Wonderful idea! Great collection of people. The venue and time seems limited. Each one of the people listed would be worth talking to and listening to for an hour!

    Estelle T. Margolis

    • I think that’s the whole idea — give people a taste of something (potential date, interesting discussions), and have them leave wanting more.

  2. Sorry, sounds alittle hokey. The Kennedy dinners of the ’60’s. For 25 bucks, might as well buy a book and have a nice read.