Roundup: Music Honors, Library Book Sale, Twiddle …

It’s getting to be routine. But it never gets old.

For the 11th year in a row, the Westport Public Schools have been named a “Best Community for Music Education,” by the NAMM Foundation.

The honor goes to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

The application process includes questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. The Music Department cites partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.


Westport music instructors take bows, at the Levitt Pavilion Pops Concert.


The Westport Library’s spring book sale starts today (Friday).

Thousands of gently used books for children and adults are available in over 50 categories, plus vintage children’s and antiquarian books, music CDs, and movie and television DVDs.

Of special interest: Books donated from the homes of former US cabinet member Joseph Califano; NBC Sports producer Ricky Diamond, and philanthropist and educator Elisabeth Luce Moore, sister of Henry Luce (Time-Life founder). Many of the books in the Califano collection have been signed political, journalist, literatary and entertainment figures.

Plus a collection of works by or about James Joyce, and an extensive collection of history books, especially US and world politics, and World War II.

The “Fiction for $1” room is back by popular demand, filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy and young adult fiction, plus paperbacks, just $1 each.

Vinyl records, graphic novels and manga will be available at the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green from the Library.

  • Friday, May 5: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 6: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; almost everything half-price.
  • Monday, May 8: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: fill a logo bags for $8 (or fill your own equivalent-sized bag for $5), or purchase individual items for half price.

Westport LIbrary Book Sale


Years ago, as a student at Providence College, Alison Reilly became interested in American Sign Language.

This year she began exploring how to add it to the Staples High School curriculum. She cites the benefits of learning any language, including improved memory, attention and problem-solving skills, and increased cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Studies have shown that learning ASL can have cognitive and academic benefits for students. Learning a second language has been shown to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, and ASL is no exception. In addition, learning ASL can help students become more culturally aware and sensitive, and demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Schools like Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, Penn and Yale all accept ASL as fulfilling students’ world language requirement for admission.

Fairfield, Wilton and Greenwich already include ASL in their course offerings, Reilly says.

Assistant superintendent of schools of teaching and learning Anthony Buono says, “We currently offer ASL online as an elective. We have had conversations about offering it as a World Language option, but nothing formal has transpired.

“One significant challenge is finding certified teachers. Darien is currently searching for a teacher and has been unable to find one.”

Reilly says she’ll keep “06880” posted on the progress of her initiative.

Artist/photographer Miggs Burroughs created “Signs of Compassion,” by asking 30 Westporters to sign a different word, in Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.


In his work with “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’ “Nova,” the Missing Manuals tech guides and more, David Pogue calls himself a “professional explainer.”

At Monday’s Y’s Women meeting (May 8, 11:15 a.m., Green’s Farms Church), he’ll explain something all of us have heard about, but few understand: artificial intelligence.

It’s useful — and terrifying. An app can write anything you ask it to: Letters, song lyrics, research papers, recipes, therapy sessions, poems, essays, software code.

Other apps create music, perfectly mimic anybody’s voice, and generate complete video scenes from typed descriptions.

His talk is so important, the Y’s Women are inviting everyone to come. So be “wise”: Go hear David Pogue.

And get even wiser.

David Pogue, professional explainer.


The Westport and Fairfield Senior Centers co-hosted a “Meet the Authors  yesterday, in Westport Nearly 2 dozen local authors chatted informally about their works (and sold copies).

Susan Garment buys an autographed copy of “I Pried Open Wall Street In 1962: Overcoming Barriers, Hurdles and Obstacles – A Memoir” from author Winston Allen. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Twiddle — the Vermont-based ensemble that played to sold-out Levitt Pavilion crowds last summer — returns for a 2-day, 4-set festival July 21-22. (Click here for a great video of that weekend.)

It’s extra special, because soon after, they’ll take an indefinite hiatus from touring.

The Twiddle Festival also includes Lespecial, Kung Fu, Oh He Dead, and one more band to be announced soon. Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Levitt Pavilion recently announced a new slate of free shows, too.

The Suffers — an 8-piece Gulf Coast Soul/rock/country/Latin/Southern hip hop/Stax and Muscle Shoals band from Houston — take the stage July 14.

Calexico’s “Feast of Wire 20th Anniversary Tour” is August 17.

Click here for free tickets, and more information.


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — heads to Longshore for their next event.

The picnic at Evan Harding Point includes card games, MoCA art, the Super Duper Weenie food truck, a giveaway, and a special surprise.

The date is May 25 (6 to 7:30 p.m.). Click here to RSVP, and for more information.


Do you have questions about aging, like who will protect your financial assets, how to navigate healthcare, and whether you can age in place?

The Residence at Westport hosts a panel on “Navigating Senior Care Options” (May 16, 2 p.m., 1141 Post Road East).

Representatives from Cohen & Wolf, Constellation Health Services, Growing Options, Hartford Healthcare Geriatric Medicine, Moneco Advisors, National Heath Care Associates, Privatus Care Solutions, Stardust Move Managers, The Carolton and William Raveis Real Estate will join The Residence experts.

RSVP:; 203-349-2002.

The Residence at Westport.


Westport artists Dale Najarian and Tomira Wilcox are featured in the “Shadows Revealed” exhibit at Sono1420 craft distillers in South Norwalk.

Proceeds from a portion of sales, and an artwork raffle at the opening reception May 11 (6 to 8 p.m.) benefit The Rowan Center sexual assault resource agency.

Artwork by Dale Najarian.


Laurel Canyon comes to Westport on May 13.

Voices Café’s next concert (8 p.m., the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport) features with The Bar Car Band. Their “Songs & Stories of Laurel Canyon” — with the music of Carole King, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and more — is a benefit for the Green Village Initiative.

The Bar Car Band includes Nina Hammerling on vocals, Russell Smith on guitar and vocals, plus Joe Izzo (drums), Scott Spray (bass), Tim DeHuff (guitar), Tim Stone (keyboards), David Allen Rivera (percussion), Amy Crenshaw (vocals) and narrator Hadley Boyd.

There’s café-style seating (at tables) or individual seating, plus room for dancing. Bring your own beverages and snacks; snacks are available for purchase too. Tickets are $25 each. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Bar Car Band


LaBeaute Artistry Brow & Nails has just opened, in the rear of the 234 Post Road East building that is anchored by Calico (just east of Imperial Avenue).

Owners Penny Yi and her sister, and their team, specialize in designs and nail extensions. They offer mani and pedi, microblading, brows lamination, tinting, waxing and other services.

Right now, there is 20% off for promgoers and new clients. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 203-349-5655.

Nails by LaBeaute.


The first rainbow of the year rose yesterday evening.

Mary Beth Stirling spotted it over Compo Beach. She notes that it’s just in time for today’s Full Flower Moon.

And Cinco de Mayo.

(Photo/Mary Beth Stirling)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is more proof — not that any is needed — that spring has arrived. Sunil Hirani captured this image on Riverside Avenue.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … in honor of Voices Café’s Laurel Canyon show (story above):

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