Roundup: Weather, Sam Wilkes, RFK …


Yesterday’s “hurricane” was a dud. All that time spent hauling in patio furnitue, hauling boats out of the water, hauling ass around town for food, batteries and gas — what a waste!

Except it wasn’t.

Storms are capricious. We expected to be battered this time, but barely got a tap. Last summer, no one was worried about Isaias. It brought us to our knees.

It’s the same with winter weather. We’ve stripped Stop & Shop of all its eggs and milk, only to receive a few flakes. And we’ve been homebound for days after snow and ice we didn’t really expect.

So what’s the lesson? Should we ignore every warning, and just try to be prepared all the time?

No. The weatherpersons have gotten their forecasts right far more often than they’ve been wrong. Listen to the experts. It really is better to be safe than sorry.

Or put another way: It’s a lot better to be pleasantly surprised that Henri was a dud — in Westport, at least — than to broil in the dark, with no utility truck in sight for days, because of a storm we were not worried about.

Homes on Compo Cove — many boarded up, in anticipation of Hurricane Henri — yesterday. Instead of high winds and heavy rain, the day passed without incident. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)


After closing the town’s Emergency Operations Center yesterday afternoon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe said:

“I want to thank our residents and businesses for heeding the instructions to remain at home and prepare for what could’ve been a major situation. I hope that for many Westporters, today was a day well spent with family, or at least a chance to test and improve your emergency preparedness.

Thank you also to the Westport Fire, Police, Public Health, Parks & Recreation, Public Works and Human Services Departments for their efforts to monitor and prepare to respond to the needs of our community.”

Fire marshal Nate Gibbons provided updates on Henri yesterday, on WWPT-FM. He had little to report.


One last Henri photo.

In contrast to Saturday’s packed-all-day Merritt Parkway, yesterday was a breeze.

Merritt Parkway, from the North Avenue bridge. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Maybe we should have hurricane warnings more often?


At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”

After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.

He’s still playing — and living life on his own terms.

The August 23 issue of The New Yorker includes a piece about Sam and his musical partner, Sam Gendel. Kelefa Sanneh explores their 2018 jazz-and-more album “Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar,” one song of which was featured n the Netflix movie “Malcolm & Marie.””BOA” has been streamed nearly 2 million times on Spotify.

Wilkes is doing plenty of recording, including with Chaka Khan. Sanneh expresses surprise in The New Yorker that he and Gendels do not tour more, and describesthe quirky route to where the duo is today. He appreciates, though, their simplicity, ambience and texture.

Sanneh mentions a video Wilkes and Gendel filmed with the band KNOWER. They help the group “burn through a breakneck funk groove”; Wilkes, he says, “contributes a particularly tasty bass fill.”

it’s been viewed more than 5 million times. (Click here for the full story.)


Check out the new header (top photo) on “06880.” The great, wide shot of the Levitt Pavilion comes courtesy of Joel Treisman. Much appreciated!

Speaking of the Levitt: Here’s this week’s schedule.

  • Tuesday, August 24: The Fairfield Counts (19-member big band)
  • Wednesday, August 25:  Sonia de los Santos (Latin Grammy nominee)
  • Thursday, August 26: Nellie McKay (Great American Songbook)
  • Friday, August 27: Mihali (Singer/songwriter)
  • Saturday, August 28; Gunsmoke (country, Western swing, rockabilly)
  • Sunday, August 29: Dr. K’s Motown Revue

Click here for times, and (free!) ticket information.

Dr. K’s Motown Revue will have audiences dancing in the street — well, on the grass — next Sunday, at the Levitt Pavilion.


As summer workers head off to college, this retro Compo Beach Soundview parking lot sign may soon be hauled out of storage:

(Photo/Daniel Maya)


Robin Gusick ventured out to Fresh Market yesterday. She reports:

“The ice cream shelves were empty. But shoppers could start advance planning for Thanksgiving.

“They might even begin saving, to buy an $89.99 chocolate turkey.”

What?! Have we just skipped Halloween, and gone straight to “the holidays”?!

(Photo/Robin Gusick)


Spotted downtown: Support for a politician absolutely with no chance of winning.

(Photo/JC Martin)


These 2 Compo birds had no idea yesterday that a fierce hurricane was predicted. Or that it never arrived.

They didn’t even realize they were posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. They just did their Compo thing.

(Photo/Dr. Michelle Widmeier)


Don Everly — the older of the duo, whose “fusion of Appalachian harmonies and a tighter, cleaner version of big-beat rock ’n’ roll made them harbingers of both folk-rock and country-rock” (according to the New York Times), died Saturday at his Nashville home. He was 84.

Click here for the full obituary.


10 responses to “Roundup: Weather, Sam Wilkes, RFK …

  1. That is a spot-on perspective on storm preparedness Dan. Hope all of the complaining about the storm hype read it.

  2. Michael Isaacs

    Glad Henri veered away from Westport, of course, but how about the ‘update’ from Eversource before the storm? Saying that power could be lost from 8-21 days for residents? What the hell is that? I assume they think that if they restore power in 6 days they’ll look heroic. Gimme a break.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      Exactly this! For several storms now, Eversource has been ill prepared, in their misguided attempts to save cash. They don’t want to bring in trucks from other regions and incur cost on the possibility of them being needed, and then we sit in the dark for over a week, in the sweltering heat of August. With no way to clean out water logged basements and lower floors, belongings are ruined, mold grows, and the discomfort is ridiculous.

      What is also ridiculous is their narrow minded focus on denuding the area of trees, rather than taking a longer term approach of hardening the grid in our densely populated areas; solutions such as utilizing stronger materials and burying lines could go a long way in avoiding the common outage catastrophes we face.

      Instead of a forward vision of investing in the infrastructure, they are focused on paying their executives inflated salaries and bonuses for subpar delivery. Their top 5 executives earned over $40m in total compensation in 2020. The company’s performance does not warrant this extravagant outlay.

      Electrical deregulation has not brought any benefit to our area. We pay the highest electrical rates (generation and delivery,) in the country, and enjoy sub par service and maintenance. The regulators that we do have are toothless, and our legislature is more focused on issues at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, rather than the basics we all need to ensure even the most basic and safe existence here in CT.

      Please keep this in mind, in discussions with our elected officials this year, as we will continue to face these issues as long as we do nothing to change the situation.

  3. Frannie Southworth

    Very grateful for the milder storm! Sam Wilkes is not only a Staples grad and a fabulous bassist, musician, producer, but he is an amazing person. From the time he was younger and jamming in our basement with my husband Jeff and son James, to running into him very recently, we are always so happy to see Sam because he has such positive upbeat energy that makes him a joy to be around. He’s an extraordinary young man and a quality person! It’s obvious that he loves what he does each day so much and we know he will continue to be a main “go to” musician for all of the above reasons! Now I have to find the New Yorker article.

  4. John F. Suggs

    Well this is a kick! This is the second time my bumper stickers honoring RFK have graced 06880. The first time was back in the Spring of 2017 when our mutual friend, and your fellow Staples High Class of ‘71 graduate, Fred Cantor, spotted me driving around town. And now again today. (Different car but the same bumper stickers).

    Bobby would have made a great President. His tragic assassination is still deeply grieved. He is not forgotten.

    • mary schmerker

      I should have guessed that the car was yours. I remember both Kennedy Assisnations with sadness over the loss. RFK would have been a great president.

  5. hanne jeppesen

    I agree about Bobby Kennedy. When JFK was elected I was a teen ager in my native Denmark. My dad was a huge fan of JFK, and I was as well. However, Bobby Kennedy I think would have been an even better President. He had compassion for all and could read across the racial divide. I read several books about him, and at times listen to some of his speeches on UTUBE, there are no politician today that I can think of, who comes close to him.

    When he was assassinated I was an au pair in Westport. The day he died June 6, my girl friend and I had a double date. I had been dating someone for a few weeks {a Westport native) and he had arranged for a date for my girl friend, and we were going to a party. My date was working in New York, and we picked him up at the train station, when he got off the train, it was obvious he had had a few too many. We went to the party and had a good time.

    Years later I read the notes in my journal, I was surprised that we didn’t seem to discuss the death of Kennedy. We often talked politics, the Vietnam war was often discussed, as we all knew someone that had been there, or still was. Thinking back, I think the assassination of RFK, coming just a few month after the murder of Martin Luther King, was too much for us to take in, at the age we were (21-22) and so we pushed it aside. Of course I don’t recall everything that was said, and it is possible we talked about it, but we didn’t let it interfere with our plans. I do remember talking to my au pair family about the death of RFK.

    As Tom Hayden said we became a generation of “what might have been”.

  6. Another kick a** sam wilkes video here