Roundup: Board of Ed, Calico, Chris Frantz, More

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Highlights from last night’s Board of Education meeting:

  • The 2021-22 budget of $126,942,298 passed. Among other cuts, Staples High School will lose 2 teachers and 2 paraprofessionals. Not cut, however, are 4 Staples grade level assistants and 4 elementary school world language teachers. Also defeated: a proposal to implement “pay to play” for Staples sports. Next step for the budget: the Board of Finance.
  • Staples is planning for 75% of students to return to full-time learning in March. Details will be announced soon.
  • Dr. Mary Lou DiBella has resigned as principal of Kings Highway Elementary School, effective at the end of the school year.

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For years, Calico’s Post Road store near Stop & Shop has been a favorite destination for fabrics, window treatments, shades, wallpaper, furniture, bedding, pillows and cushions.

It’s still a great spot. But now it’s closer to downtown. The new Calico is in the old State Cleaners space, at the Post Road/Imperial Avenue corner.

There’s plenty of room, now that all the dry cleaning racks are gone.

The new store is a way for Calico — part of a 70-store national chain — to show off its decorating chops.

COVID has been tough on many businesses. But with families spending more time indoors, interior design stores have been busier than ever.

Click here to learn more about Calico.

Calico’s new digs, at 224 Post Road East. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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This is a big year for Chris Frantz.

The almost-Westport resident (other side of Sturges Highway) — and drummer for Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club — will be honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. (He’s already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.)

Plus, he’ll curate a virtual concert at the Westport Library.

That may sound pretty local, compared to the Grammys. But the March 13 event (7 p.m.) is virtual, meaning anyone anywhere in the world can watch.

It will be quite a show. Frantz has assembled an all-star lineup:

  • Deep Banana Blackout, the soul/funk band with full horn section
  • Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads, who mix roots reggae, ska and lover’s rock
  • Plastic Ivy aka Lira Marie Landes, Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist
  • Xeno & Oaklander, an electronic group
  • The Zambonis, an indie-rock band that writes songs exclusive about ice hockey (!)
  • Sadie Dupuis, poet
  • Du-Rites/Lulu Lewis, New York City husband-and-wife rock band.

The concert — which benefits Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County, the art, music, theater and dance non-profit for underserved  Bridgeport students — will be livestreamed form the Library’s state-of-the-art Verso Studios. It’s co-sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

The March 13 date is significant. That’s almost one year to the day that Westport went into a sudden COVID lockdown (hence the name: “Lockdown Music Festival”).

The goal of the concert is to celebrate “optimism, resilience and the power of music.” Tickets are $25. Click here to register.

Yesterday: Chris Frantz and his wife, Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth …

… and today.

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On Saturday, Sean Gallagher completed a solo marathon around Central Park’s outer loop — over 4 full laps.

His time was 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Not real good for a former soccer and track star, Annapolis grad and Marine infantry officer.

Except … the 2011 Staples High School alum did it while carrying a 35-pound Marine Corps “ruck” (backpack).

“Rucks teach Marines how to handle adversity with grit and determination — the same qualities necessary for small businesses to survive,” Gallagher says.

Gallagher mentions small businesses for a reason. The purpose of his marathon run was to raise money for small businesses impacted by COVID.

When Sean Gallagher sets a goal, he accomplishes it. He said he was going to run 26.2 miles wearing a 35-pound ruck, and he did.

Ane he said he would raise $20,000. Yesterday’s total: $20,712.

Sean Gallagher, mid-marathon.

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There’s a Westport connection to everything.

Including — or “especially”? — the Puppy Bowl.

As you probably heard, Sunday’s 17th annual event ended in dramatic fashion. Trailing by 3 points with less than a minute left, Team Ruff rallied to defeat Team Fluff, 73-69.

The local poop?

(Former) resident Martha Stewart was host.

More excitingly, former Staples Players lighting designer Jeffrey Small served as production manager. He fills that role for many live events now, nationally.

Arf!

Jeffrey Small and friend, at Puppy Bowl XVII.

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There was another “bowl” on Sunday. Perhaps you heard of it: Super Bowl LV.

Staples High School class of 1986 grad Ted Marcus — now an Emmy-winning New York-based sound designer and audio engineer — created the sound design and audio for 2 pre-game promos.

“Polishing the Trophies and Plaques,” with the song “I Love Somebody” in the background, aired at 5 p.m.

The second was shown just before kickoff. It was narrated by Brad Pitt.

Ted Marcus

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And finally … the story about Chris Frantz (above) brought back memories of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 songs that shaped rock.

6 responses to “Roundup: Board of Ed, Calico, Chris Frantz, More

  1. Time to cut the four grade level advisors. They’re beyond unnecessary and serve no purpose to the improvement of a students education. We have assistant principals. Let’s get real here, as our student population decreases, and classroom sizes shrink, so should our employee population.

  2. Linda Montecalvo

    I just love how many Worlds Dan brings to this blog. The Puppy Bow, the music connection (always thrills me) and he includes in most every post. Honoring those who we have lost, reminding us that Westport has a lineage that is deeply connected to the arts & literature ++ in so many ways. Keeping us informed of what’s opening & closing in town. Who’s doing what and reminding us that connection builds community. We are so blessed, so fortunate to have someone who connects this community and follows our towns people all over the World & integrates all genres. Deep bow & thanks Dan!

  3. Barbara Wanamaker

    Does anyone else remember First National being at what is now 224 Post Road East?

  4. Barbara Wanamaker

    Before it was at Compo Shopping Center.

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