Popup Bagels — the Westport-based company that has taken the tri-state area by storm (including several out-of-the-suburbs-and-into-the-city awards at Brooklyn BagelFest) — has some eye-popping news.
They just closed on a second round of (poppy) seed funding. Founder and CEO Adam Goldberg calls it “a few million dollars — more than a couple.” That’s on top of about $250,000 last year.
The most recent funding was led by film producer John Davis. Other investors include actors Patrick Schwarzenegger and Paul Rudd; swimmer Michael Phelps, and NFL players JJ and TJ Watt, and Michael Strahan.
The company will now hire a team to examine expansion ideas, including more locations in the New York area (and possibly adding Los Angeles). They’ll also add production capability.
Click here for the full story, from Restaurant Business.
“Spirited” — the Christmas-themed musical comedy retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” — has opened to great reviews. It’s in theaters, and streaming on Apple TV.
The music-writing team includes 2003 Staples High School graduate Justin Paul, and his songwriting partner Benj Pasek (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”).
Justin — also credited as an executive producer — said he had “a blast” working on the score during the pandemic, on Zoom.
In this quick, intriguing interview below, he provides a bit of the back story:
(Hat tip: Julie Whamond)
Speaking of cinema: “Small Town Movie” is making its way to distribution.
And that “small town” is Westport.
Jarret Liotta — a Staples High School graduate, now a journalist and writer — filmed the dark satire that tries to make sense (“or non-sense”) of racism, gun violence and modern cancel culture in an “average, upper middle class, affluent Connecticut town.”
The timely script will make audiences laugh. “Or furious, depending on their mood that day,” Jarret says.
His goal is to “poke fun at everyone equally, regardless of their social or political views. Hopefully it provides a minor epiphany for everyone — about themselves and the comical world in which we live.
“If Westporters enjoyed my smarmy columns and editorial writing in the past, they’ll probably adore this flick,” Jarret — former editor of Westport Journal — adds.
“If they hated them, this will help them hate me even more.”
The film includes original music by Staples grads Tom Shaner and Margot Liotta.
Jarret plans a screening in Westport after the holidays. Then, he hopes, it will start getting attention from film festivals.
For more information, click here.
The Staples football team’s quest for a state tournament semifinal berth fell a few agonizing inches short last night.
The Wreckers — seeded 4th in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — dropped a 23-22 heartbreaker to #5 Fairfield Prep, at Paul Lane Field.
The game came down to the final seconds. With no timeouts left, Staples junior quarterback Caleb Smith brought his team 77 yards in the final 2:22. A pass into the end zone was broken up with 3 seconds to go. A final 29-yard field goal attempt was just wide.
Congratulations to coach Adam Behrends and his squad for an excellent 9-2 season. This was the Wreckers’ first playoff game in 7 years.
WestportMoms’ Holiday Shopping Event always draws a huge crowd to the Westport Country Playhouse. Vendors offer nearly everything shoppers need to complete their gift list.
This year, it’s moving inside, to the Playhouse barn. (Some tables will be outside too). It’s set for this Friday (December 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Warm drinks will be provided. Those WestportMoms think of everything.
Westporters raveled to Guatemala this month to help expand a local English academy, and also create healthy cooking stoves for local families.
Led by Howard Greene, chair of the non-profit Friends of BEA, the group spent a week building 2 middle school classrooms, painting the exterior, erecting a fence, and working in homes to build energy-efficient and properly ventilated cooking stoves. They also met students, and observed classes.
Among the volunteers: Howard and Joyce Greene, Jeff and Nancy Plotkin, Dan and Ivy Guetta, Robert and Heidi Flicker, Tony and Amy Riggio, Steve and julie Lewine, and Mark Mathias.
Balanya English Academy provides high quality, English-based education, and supportive services to students, their families and the local community. The goal is to prepare graduates to work in an increasingly globalized world.
Longtime Westport resident Dr. Paul Schulman died peacefully in his sleep last month, doing what he and his late wife Susan loved: traveling overseas. He was 89 years old.
He was the highly respected chief of hematology and oncology at Norwalk Hospital. He also served at both Yale New Haven Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.
Paul was born in New York, graduated from Columbia College and SUNY Medical School, and served in the US Air Force.
After he and Susan married in 1965 they moved to Westport, and purchased a home on Twin Oaks Lane in 1968 in anticipation of a family. They raised Heidi and Bruce, both of whom graduated from Staples High School.
Paul coached Little League baseball and softball. He played tennis with friends, enjoyed Westport Pizzeria, and dropped in at Harvey’s Liquor Locker and Klein’s (to purchase action thrillers). Paul and Susan spent many weekend nights dining at Mario’s.
He and Susan shared a passion for art and antiques, especially clocks, which he collected and wound every Sunday. Their collections were fueled by their intrepid travel. Paul and Susan were among early visitors to Antarctica, Burma (now Myanmar), China, and New Guinea, among many other destinations.
After spending nearly 40 years in Westport, Paul and Susan retired to South Carolina and Marbella, Spain. After Susan died in 2016 Paul moved into Fox Hill Residences in Bethesda, Maryland, near where his son lives with his family.
Paul was an active member of the Fox Hill community, participating in the quarterly “radio show,” passing evenings at his end stool at the bar, and watching his grandsons in sports and school activities. He became dear friends with the late Rhoda Herman. Together they enjoyed weekends at her country home in Leesburg, Virginia.
Paul is survived by his children Bruce (Frazier) and Heidi Greenwald (Brad), and 5 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a memorial page at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
A service to celebrate his life will be held in Bethesda in January. Email Bruce (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.
Whether you’re a buck — or you’re paying big bucks for a sticker — it can be tough finding a spot at the Greens Farms train station.
David Hyman spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene yesterday afternoon.
And finally … Louise Tobin died Saturday in Texas. She was 104.
In 1939, the vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra was ready for national fame. But her husband — bandleader/trumpeter Harry James — had her put her career on hold, to further his own career.
They divorced 4 years later. She raised 2 sons, and was forgotten. But her career was jump started years later in New Orleans, when Al Hirt recognized her and invited her on stage.
Click here for her full, fascinating obituary.
(Louise Tobin may have been forgotten. Please don’t forget “06880.” Just click here, to help support your hyper-local blog.)