Roundup: Inauguration, Staples Sports, Restaurant News, More


Tuesday night’s COVID remembrance at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool will be remembered for its somber, stunning 400 lights. Each represents 1,000 Americans killed by the coronavirus.

Staples High School 2009 graduate Andrew Lott — a former Staples Players lighting director — played a major role in the event. He also helped light last night’s Biden/Harris inauguration show, featuring musical performances, fireworks, and tributes to Americans affected by the pandemic.

Lott — a University of Michigan alumnus — has worked with the Spoleto and Williamstown Theatre Festivals, Public Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park and Lincoln Center.

He spent 2 years as lighting director for “CNN Tonight.” He now works nationally on a wide variety of events.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their spouses admire 400 lights, at the Lincoln Center reflecting pool.


Meanwhile, there were no protests — in Washington, state capitals or Westport — yesterday, as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as America’s new leaders.

But Westporters Rex Fowler and Dodie Pettit — aka Aztec Two-Step — headed to the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge to celebrate.

A few people asked why Fowler was wearing a red hat.

“We are All Americans today,” Pettit explained. “We didn’t think about the color when we went out of the house. Maybe that’s the point!”

Rex Fowler, with flag. (Photo/Dodie Pettit)


Last Sunday, author Layla F. Saad honored Martin Luther King Day with a  compelling discussion based on her book, “Me and White Supremacy.”

Two days later a panel of local leaders explored how to undertake Saad’s self-guided 28-day process of self-reflection.

It was an important talk. If you missed it — or want to see it again — click below.


Winter sports practices have begun at Staples High School.

The usual date is around Thanksgiving. The pandemic delayed the start nearly 2 months; the first competition will now be in early February.

For the boys basketball team (shown below), along with girls basketball; boys and girls indoor track, ice hockey and skiing, and boys swimming and diving, it was one small step toward normalcy — though masks are required at all times, and spectators are not allowed.

Wrestling and competitive cheer are still prohibited.

(Photo/Dylan Goodman)


I got a nice surprise this week with my takeout (fantastic lamb dan dan) from Kawa Ni.

The Japanese/pan-Asian restaurant has partnered with 2 others also owned by Bill Taibe — Don Memo and The Whelk — in a game. Every time you order from one, you get a letter (mine was “E”). When you have enough to spell out the name of one of those restaurants, you can post it to social media (with a tag) and win prizes (a family meal for 4, takeout up to $75, or a cocktail to go).

There are instant prizes too: guac and chips, fried oyster deviled eggs and crab rangoon.

It’s great food fun. And a lot better than a toy with a Happy Meal.


Noted chef Matthew Redington died unexpectedly earlier this month in New York. He was 40 years old.

The Westport native learned his craft at Acqua restaurant on Main Street under Christian Bertrand, formerly of Lutèce. Matt graduated from New England Culinary Institute where at age 19 he was the youngest person offered a spot in the Advanced Placement Program.

Matt and went on to top chef positions at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market in New York, Clio in Boston and Tengda in Greenwich (a co-creation of his). At Paul Newman’s The Dressing Room next to the Westport Country Playhouse, he helped Michel Nischan create the groundbreaking farm-to-table menu.

Most recently Matt ran a consultancy, creating culinary themes, concepts and menus for new and re-launched restaurants in New York and Connecticut.

Matt also enjoyed yoga, snowboarding, and innovative art and graphics.

He is survived by his father Thomas of Colebrook; sister Jessica Redington-Jones of Taylors, South Carolina; 3 nieces, 7 aunts, 6 uncles and numerous cousins.

A memorial celebration of Matt’s life will be held at a later date. Donations may be made to the New England Culinary Institute Scholarship Fund, 7 School Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. To leave online condolences, click here.

Matthew Redington


And finally … Happy 71st birthday to Billy Ocean!


6 responses to “Roundup: Inauguration, Staples Sports, Restaurant News, More

  1. Marina Levin Berman

    As far as the restaurant game, yes, it’s true that KawaNi included letters and a paper bingo board inside the take out bag but none of the other participating restaurants followEd their suit. I didn’t bother to call to complain but now I wether I should have. Any advice?

  2. Susan Farley, West Village NYC

    wow, a few of us in West Village are now in shock about brilliant Matt Redington’s passing away, not least because we were just speaking about him 3 days ago without knowing this had happened. We were just wondering where’s Matt and what’s he going to do next; I wasn’t as close to him as a few younger neighbors, but we all valued Matt for his brilliance, creativity, and because he was unwaveringly very, very good to those he considered friends and confidantes.

    I knew Matt’s father when I lived in Westport, knew Matt when he was a little kid who’s interests were snow boarding and cooking … he was like maybe 10 years old and THAT focused & talented. Decades later When I met Matt Redington the adult chef next door in West Village I had no idea it was the same kid, it took me nearly a year to realize the 2 were the same person.

    Very sorry for his father who must be so enormously proud of Matt and now heart broken.

    (the link that his obituary offers doesn’t work so if his family is reading this they should know many people are thinking of Matt now).

  3. Elaine Marino

    With respect to Mr. Fowler standing on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge while holding an American flag, I am relieved to know that he was not admonished in any way. I am grateful that our community tolerates differing opinions and preferences. I say this because, in September, a group of anti-police brutality protestors walked through a North Portland, Oregon neighborhood at night and came upon a house that displayed an American flag. The crowd became vocal and called for the homeowners to come outside. I don’t believe the homeowners were present at the time, but a neighbor came out to speak to the crowd. (The neighbor is a well-known local volunteer and businessman, who also runs not-for-profit organizations to help the homeless and others in need in Portland.) The neighbor, Terrance Moses, said the following to the N.Y. Times:

    “It went from a peaceful march, calling out the names, to all of a sudden, bang, ‘How dare you fly the American flag?’” said Mr. Moses, who is Black and runs a nonprofit group in the Portland, Ore., area. “They said take it down. They wouldn’t leave. They said they’re going to come back and burn the house down.”

    Can you imagine a crowd coming to your home at night, demanding that you take down your American flag or they will come back and burn your house down? This happened in a lovely North Portland neighborhood that is not far from where my sister and brother-in-law, as well as my niece, her partner and their two young children, live. I fear for their safety as North Portland has been subjected to almost nightly demonstrations since May.

    The NY Times used an interesting set of words to describe the protestors’ actions:

    “Nearly four months after the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, some protesters against police brutality are taking a more confrontational — and personal — approach. The marches in Portland are increasingly moving to residential and largely white neighborhoods, where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support.”

    The N.Y. Times chose to describe the protest as “a more confrontational – and personal – approach” despite interviewing the neighbor, who said:

    “We don’t go around terrorizing folks to try and force them to do something they don’t want to do,” said Mr. Moses, whose nonprofit group provides support for local homeless people.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” I am grateful that, in Westport, a citizen can stand out in public holding an American flag and not be “terrorized” by fellow citizens who don’t share his views.

    • A lot of these situations have been found to be the work of agent provocateurs, the actual violence and property destruction that took place last spring has been found and reported to overwhelmingly be caused by people trying to discredit the legit protesters. This story sounds very much the same—an “angry mob over an American flag”—it doesn’t pass the smell test. Also it sounds like it was just verbal threats not actual violence. I’d be careful about making these claims without checking out that possibility first, and very thoroughly.

      • Elaine Marino

        The NY Times article does not state that the protestors committed violence; it only reflected what Mr. Moses (the neighbor) said (i.e., some of the protestors threatened to come back and burn the home if the American flag was not taken down). If you choose not to believe that this incident happened, that is your choice. I believe what I read in the NY Times and am horrified to know that something as benign (in my view) as displaying an American flag might draw a group of protestors to my loved ones’ doors.

  4. Elizabeth Thibault

    I did not know Matthew but he sounded like he was inspired and motivated, connecting with others through food.
    I did want to let Matthew’s family know that NECI is closing and may want to confirm the scholarship fund donations will be used per their intended directions.