There are lots of Christmas songs I get sick of.
“Feliz Navidad” is not one of them.
José Feliciano’s buoyant, jangly tune is 51 years old. Now — just in time for Navidad — a documentary about the life and music of the longtime Weston resident will be screened just a couple of miles away.
The Norwalk Film Festival will screen “Behind This Guitar” on Saturday, December 18 (7:30 p.m.) at the Wall Street Theatre. The movie follows Feliciano’s journey from growing up blind in Puerto Rico, to his 9 Grammy Awards and international acclaim. Click here for details and ticket information.
Speaking of entertainment: Monday’s “06880” story about next month’s “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” PBS series noted a major gift from Roz and Bud Siegel.
But several other Westporters were big contributors too. Hats off to Judy and Scott Phares, Eunice and David Bigelow, Kate and Bob Devlin, Joyce Hergenhan, Anna Czekaj-Farber, Mary Ellen and Jim Marpe, Christian J. and Eva Trefz, and Stacy and Howard Bass.
The show will go on — thanks to some very generous neighbors!
Have you found “Finding Westport”?
That’s the online site for local-themed apparel and more.
Jillian Elder has just added a new Minute Man design. It’s available on tank tops, t-shirts, hoodies, tumblers, mugs and tote bags.
It’s a great way to show off your town pride (and a lot cheaper than that other Westport icon: a Range Rover). Click here for styles and orders.
Yesterday’s “06880” story on fences reminded June Rose Whittaker of this one:
It’s one of Westport’s most visible: Riverside Avenue, at Treadwell.
The intricate, whimsical fence — designed by Andrew Hamilton Reise — was the subject of an “06880” Photo Challenge in July.
As many readers knew, the owners are Pietro and Janine Scotti. He’s the owner/chef of the former and still beloved Da Pietro’s restaurant, just down Riverside (and across the street) closer to town.
A Conservation Department reminder:
If your property has or is adjacent to wetlands, a watercourse or a pond, all residents and contractors should “call before you dig.” If you’re unsure whether the property contains wetlands, call the Conservation Department: 203-341-1170.
The last year has seen an increase in violations. resulting in unpermitted building, cutting, clearing and filling of wetlands.
Violations cause owners having to cease work, appear at public meetings, pay fines and post bonds. Violations are also part of the public record.
Property owners and/or contractors should contact the Conservation Department before work starts, to determine what permits are required.
Looking for a gift for a sports fan?
It helps if he or she loves the New York Knicks. But a fan of any team — or any sport — can appreciate the passion of Fred Cantor. The 1971 Staples High School graduate and longtime “06880” contributor recently wrote Fred From Fresh Meadows.
It’s a loving account of the ups and downs of fandom, sure. There’s another reason to buy it though: All proceeds go to the John Starks Foundation. The Stamford-based nonprofit helps high school students afford college.
Click here for more information. Click here for last night’s News12 story on Cantor and the book.
Angelo “Cookup” Veno — a true son of Saugatuck — died earlier this month, after a long and happy life.
Born in Saugatuck in 1928 to Louis and Mary Veno, he went through the Westport public school system. After school each day, Angelo manually set pins at the bowling alley downtown.
He was a 3-sport athlete at Staples High School, starring in football, basketball and baseball. After graduating in 1946 he played semi-pro football with the Westport Advertisers, and basketball with the Saugatuck Veterans, Westport YMCA and Clam Box 5.
Angelo also took up boxing, and had a 12-2 record as a pro. In 1986 he earned a Sportsman of Westport award.
In 1951 Angelo joined the Navy. He served for 4 years on the USS Howard D. Crow as an engineer. He joined the fleet’s boxing team, and lost only one fight.
Following his service he came back to Westport and helped coach the Westport PAL football team. He and his first wife, Judith Lissberger, had 2 children, Timothy and Belinda. Both remember their trips to New York Giants’ exhibition games in Pittsburgh, then straight to the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy for dinner.
Angelo married Theresa Karutz in 1984, a former Miss Atlantic City winner. He enjoyed spending time with his stepsons Wallace and William Karutz.
Angelo had a long and successful career in the world of construction as president and CEO of his company, AJ Veno Construction. He started the business as a window replacement company, and grew it into a full-fledged construction company. He built corporate buildings and residential homes for many years.
Angelo made friends and made people everywhere, from the local pizza restaurant to nurses caring for him. He loved spending time at Compo Beach, with friends or alone feeding birds.
Angelo is survived by his brother Joe and sister Theresa (Richard Valentine). He was predeceased by his sister Ida Lockwood. He is also survived by his children, Timothy Veno (partner Gwen Purcell) and Belinda (Richard Benincasa); grandchildren Richard (Nora Benincasa), Ryan (Noelle Benincasa) and Morgan Benincasa; many cousins, nieces and nephews, and his recent great-grandchild, Ryan Casey Benincasa.
A funeral is set for Monday (December 13, 10 a.m., Assumption Church) for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment with full military honors will follow in Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Sunday (December 12, 2 to 6 p.m.) Click here to leave online condolences.
The family of Joel Hallas has announced 2 options for donations in his memory. Click here for the Connecticut Food Bank; click here for the American Radio Relay League, for ham radio operators.
It’s already gone. But yesterday morning’s snow provided the perfect subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, from Bob and Karen Weingarten’s lawn:
And finally … Emily Dickinson was born today, in 1830. She may be the only 19th-century poet immortalized in the words of a 20th-century singers.
Dan, your research is usually so solid that I am disappointed now! Dickinson the only 19th century poet with legs? Poe and Thoreau alone have inspired dozens of songs. Ok, most of them are not that great, but Queen (Nevermore), Alan Parsons Project (Raven), and Stevie Nicks (Annabel Lee) have Poe-themed songs
MY ORIGINAL COMMENT: You’re right! And Phil Ochs sang “The Highwayman” (Poe). But I said “immortalized” — meaning using their own names in a song — rather than “inspired”!
As Iain Bruce points out below, Phil Ochs’ ode to Poe was “The Bells.” He song “The Highwayman” too — but that poem was by Noyes.
“Tore Down a La Rimbaud” by Van Morrison would also fit here, I believe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oF3PMHq-Nk
I also grew up with Van Morrison and Phil Ochs. But because of my kids, I heard a lot of Taylor Swift’s “Fanfare.” One track – “The Lakes” – has lyrics drawn from 19th century poet William Wordsworth, without mentioning him by name.
The Poe that Phil Ochs set to music was “The Bells.” He did do a song based on “The Highwayman” but that poem was written by Alfred Noyes. (I only know this because “The Highwayman” was my second favourite poem when I was a kid.)
You are absolutely, 100% correct, Iain. My bad. Thanks for keeping me honest!
Ok. You can go free on a technicality. 🧐
Original, modern, unique, experimental; regardless of what anyone calls it, that fence on riverside avenue is now, and has been since day of construction, butt ugly.