Category Archives: Arts

Roundup: Masks, Music, Arts …

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Many “06880” readers have asked about funeral arrangements for Paul Lane. The famed Staples High School football coach died this week, at 93.

A private service will be held in Bethel, where many family members are buried. There will be no public service.

Paul Lane

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With more and more people wearing fewer and fewer masks, it may seem like that’s one part of the pandemic now in the rear view mirror.

But unvaccinated children still need them. And youngsters in Bridgeport summer camp programs don’t always have access to nice masks.

Since March 2020, Virginia Jaffe and her crew of volunteers has sewn over 8,500 masks. They gave them all away — and they’re still doing it.

Last month, they donated 200 masks to New Beginnings in Bridgeport. A thank-you note cited the “wonderful craftsmanship,” adding, “Their beauty will bring joy to our students. This donation has provided some of the most vulnerable children in the state with the resources they need to thrive.”

Virginia wants those youngsters to feel that brand new, unused masks show they feel cared for, and just a little bit safer.

To help in any way, email westportmaskgiving@icloud.com.

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Two of Westport’s most creative institutions are the Library and Artists Collective.

This summer, they’re collaborating on a very creative project.

“Piece by Piece” is a grid of 60 12-inch squares. Each of those 60 artists contributes one square. When assembled together, they form one image.

The work represents the artists’ response to the isolation they felt during the pandemic. E

Each square is available for sale. For $100, you can select one or more of the squares from a grid. Proceeds will be divided between the Library and the artist. The name of the artists, and the iconic masterpiece on which Piece by Piece is based, will be revealed on July 10th.

It, and more works by the Artists Collective, will be on display at the Library from July 10 through September 28.

For more details — including how to own a piece of “Piece” — click here.

Own a piece of “Piece by Piece.”

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Speaking of the Artists Collective: Their great live (!) exhibit ends this Saturday, with artist talks.

Works hang in the barn gallery at Westport Country Playhouse. Among the participants: Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack and Ellen Schiffman.

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When PJ Pacifico plays the Levitt Pavilion June 25 (7 p.m.), the Westporter won’t have far to go. He lives right around the corner.

The singer/songwriter’s new single, “Every Little Heartbreak,” speaks to a world eager to embrace a fresh new day after a time of intense challenges. Sound familiar?

PJ’s perspective on the ups and downs of being an indie artist and songwriter are influenced by his experiences as a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Beating cancer after undergoing months of chemo and radiation, and losing his spleen and part of his liver, made him feel like he had a second chance.

But he suffered with survivor’s guilt and “impostor syndrome.” He;s battled through all that — and is ready to rock the Levitt.

Just down the hill from his home.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register.

PJ Pacifico

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Monday — the first full day of summer — is the longest day of the year.

Recognizing that for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, every day is “the longest” — but also, that art has the power to inspire and excite — RaRa (“Real Art. Real Artists.”) is partnering with the Residence at Westport to produce an art exhibit.

The show (June 21, 3 to 5 p.m., The Residence, 1141 Post Road East), is open to the public. There’s wine and cheese, plus  live entertainment. A portion of art sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Can’t get out (even on the longest day)? Click here for information on the virtual version of the exhibit.

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In this hybrid summer, the Westport Library offers 2 learning clubs. Both are “blended” — meaning in-person classes at the Library, and a remote option for distance education.

The program for grades 1 to 5 includes week-lonf literacy, math and STEAM sessions. Grades 6 to 8 enjoy  STEAM, book clubs, and other programs that encourage academic independence. They beginning June 29, and end August 19.

For more information and to register, click here.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo includes a Fresh Mark osprey update.

Carolyn Doan reports: “We checked on the nest Monday and Tuesday. The parents were doing such a great job at shielding the chicks from the rain that they were impossible to see. The next day was a different story. Making lots of noise and waiting for an incoming fish, these two were front and center — literally.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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And finally … on this day in 1972, 5 men were arrested for burling Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex. The crime drew little attention at the time. Of course …

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Roundup: Library Cafe, Granny Rocks, Arts …

=======================================================The Westport Library Café is open again.

Well, sort of. Hours are limited (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). There’s beverage service only — none of the great Mystic Market treats that were so popular before COVID.

But it’s a start. The gorgeous space by the river no longer seems so empty.

Meanwhile, the library store — filled with gifts, cards, and whatnot — has re-emerged from its hiatus in one of the reading rooms. It’s back on the main floor.

Now all we need are dozens of people hanging out on the Forum steps, speakers on stage every night, and water running once again from the bubblers.

(Photo/Doris Ghitelman)

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The Netflix crew that’s spent several weeks filming “The Noel Diary” in Westport has inconvenienced some residents. They’ve also taken taken over the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot, for use as a staging area. Several large trucks are camped there. Closure of the lot has upset some dog-walking regulars, who prefer that spot to the North Compo lot.

But some were particularly upset yesterday, at the mess left in the northeast corner of the lot. A temporary tent used by the production crew was gone.

And this is what remained:

(Photo/Sara Robbin)

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Lisa Doran’s Greens Farms Elementary School distance learning 1st graders welcomed a very special visitor yesterday.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe took time out of his day to pop into her classroom — via Zoom — to chat.

The students were enthralled — and inquisitive. When one asked what Marpe likes best about his job, he got up from his desk, and grabbed the giant pair of scissors — a present from his wife after his first election. He uses them at ribbon cutting ceremonies, which he says is his favorite task.

Another student asked if he knows everyone in Westport. He said that he knows quite a lot of people — especially since COVID, when he met so many Westporters online.

The next student asked if he was like the president of Westport. That’s a great analogy. And Doran’s class thanked the “president” for spending some quality time with them.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe (lower right), Greens Farms Elementary School teacher Lisa Doran (top row, 2nd from left), and her students on Zoom.

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Speaking of Marpe: In not exactly stop-the-presses news, he has endorsed Jen Tooker and Andrea Lawrence Moore in November’s selectmen’s race..

The pair must still be officially nominated by the Republican Party, at their meeting next month.

Jen Tooker (right) and Andrea Moore.

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The Westport Museum of History & Culture’s walking tour of downtown — uncovering the hidden stories of Black life here, over the centuries — has sold out.

So they’ve added 2 more tours: Friday, June 18 (2 p.m.) and Saturday, June 19th (9:30 a.m.).

Tickets are $10. Reservations are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

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For 2 years, Rosemary Cass has enriched the lives of people 55 and older.

Her “Seeing it Clearly Now” blog inspires everyone — retired or not — to learn new things, find purpose, and explore the arts.

Rosemary has just added a 2nd blog. It’s aimed at a special niche: grandmothers.

She says that “This Granny Rocks” — clever name, no? — provides a place where “grannies can brag about their perfect grandchildren, without everyone rolling their eyes. No judgment here.”

Readers can submit stories, their grandkids’ photos and clever sayings, and warm, nostalgic stories about their own grandmothers. The site will also offer helpful granny information, and advice on the art of grandmothering.

It launched with stories from Joan Isaacson (Westport author of “The Red Velvet Diary”), and Sharon Citrin Goldstein of Fairfield. To learn more, click here.

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The arts are crucial to Westport. But — like anything beautiful — they must be nurtured.

To help, MoCA Westport is hosting an open meeting. Representatives from local arts organizations and 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker will talk — and listen — about the best ways to support our arts institutions and community. 

The event is next Monday (June 21, 5 to 6 p.m., outdoors at MoCA, 19 Newtown Turnpike. It’s free; no registration required. Questions? Email ruth@mocawestport.org, or call 203-222-7070.

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Speaking of art: When Harvest Commons renovated their community room, it looked great. But the walls were bare.

So the condominium complex on Post Road East put out a call: Any artistically inclined owners could contribute art.

The result exceeded their expectations. The walls are brimming with Harvest Commons-created works.

Among the donors: familiar names like Rhonda Bloom, Linda and Al Cassuto, Jo Ann Davidson, Judith Orseck Katz and Toby Michaels

“We are finding more talent by the day,” says organizer Peter Swift. “At the rate we’re going, wall space will be the problem.”

Gives new meaning to the term “resident artists,” right?

Some of the art in the Harvest Commons community room.

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Connecticut is one of the healthiest states in the country. Yet there are huge disparities between white people, and those of color.

Wesport’s Unitarian Church — long devoted to social justice — hosts a webinar about health inequities, and what can be done about them (including what audience members can do).

“Racial Health Inequities” is set for June 28 at 7 (p.m.). Guest speaker is Rev. Robyn Anderson, director of the Ministerial Health Fellowship. The event is free to all, but advance registration is required.

The webinar is the Unitarian Church’s second in their series “Revealing History: How We Got Here, Why it Matters.”

Rev. Robyn Anderson

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“Westport … Naturally” turns today to Saugatuck Shores. This is just one of the  scenes Beth Berkowitz walks by — and loves — every day.

(Photo/Beth Berkowitz)

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And finally … on this day in 1967, the 3-day Monterey Pop Festival opened in California. Over 50,000 people were there for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Ravi Shankar; the first large-scale public performance by Janis Joplin and the introduction of Otis Redding to a mass American audience.

If you never watch another “06880” music video, you can’t miss Otis:

“06880” Podcast: Trey Ellis

Trey Ellis is one of the most interesting — and accomplished — people in Westport.

He is a leading chronicle of the Black experience. An award-winning novelist, Emmy and Peabody-honored filmmaker, playwright and professor of screenwriting in the Graduate School at Columbia University, he recently served as executive producer and interviewer for the HBO documentaries “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight For Equality,” and “King in the Wilderness.”

The other day, I spoke with Trey. We talked about writing, creativity, Black lives here and elsewhere, raising children in Westport, and much more.

It was a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation. Click here for the newest “06880: The Podcast” episode.

Screenshot from the Trey Ellis podcast.

Tunnel Vision: Lighting Up Downtown

For 7 years, “Tunnel Vision” has been an intriguing — if overlooked and undervalued — part of Westport.

In 2014, artist/photographer/civic whirlwind Miggs Burroughs hung 16 lenticular images in the passageway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

Miggs Burroughs, in his “Tunnel Vision” creation.

Looked at one way, the photos — showing Westporters connecting with each other, each one changing depending on your viewing angle — turned what had been a damp, moldy Clockwork Orange-ish walkway into a tourist attraction.

Looked at another way, it reminded us that we are all connected.

Looked at a third way — today — it’s clear that the 16 hands, symbolizing love, friendship and community — need a bit of freshening up.

The lights have burned out the artworks’ colors. The photos need to be reprinted. The tunnel needs a new vision.

A restoration campaign is underway. Artist Mark Yurkiw says that Norwalk lighting designer Gary Novasel is helping procure the proper new lights. Duggal — an immigrant from India, who printed the original art — is ready to help again.

The cost is $12,000. Click here to donate, and for more information.

For special tour, click below:

BONUS MIGGS BURROUGHS NEWS:

The artist’s “Signs of Compassion” project from 5 years ago — another lenticular images project, this one combining Emily Dickson’s poem of that name with  Westporters using its words in American Sign Language — is headed to Montefiore Hospital.

The Bronx institution just acquired all 30 images. They embody the hospital’s mission of healing and compassion, and will be displayed permanently on site.

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 64 Gallery

LGBTQ Pride. A rock band. James Joyce.

Those are 3 of the very intriguing — and colorful — themes in this week’s art gallery.

We’ve also got beautiful spring flowers. Lots of ’em!

A gentle reminder: We want all kinds of art. Watercolors, oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink, acrylics, macramé, jewelry, sculpture — send it in!

We are particularly interested in student submissions, and readers who have not submitted before.

Some of you are professional artists; most are amateurs. Experience does not matter! Email dwoog@optonline.net, to share your work with the world.

“Pride” (Amy Schneider)

“”Outside Angelina’s” (Ellen Wentworth)

Untitled. Artist Eric Bosch says: “Like all kids of the ’50s & ’60s, we always imagined ourselves in a band. One of our pals — Bill Harley — actually made this dream come true, We all just got together for our annual weekend golf reunion in Vermont. I painted this for the occasion, and gave each of them a framed print.”

“Spring Flowers” (Julianne Lowenthal)

“Nature’s Beauty” (Lauri Weiser)

“First Red Rose of Summer, River Lane” (Larry Untermeyer)

“Albino” (Karen Weingarten)

“Irises on Iris Lane” (Elena Nasereddin)

Artist Brian Whelan says: “Bloomsday is an international celebration of ‘Ulysses,’ written by James Joyce. The big thick book takes place in 1 day: 16th June. 1904 Dublin has celebrated it for many years. Now it has spread all over the world. There are readings, re-enactments, eating a kidney for breakfast, a brothel scene, etc. A few years ago I was approached by someone in Taiwan who was going to Dublin for the Bloomsday Festival. He wanted my image of Joyce to be reproduced on his group’s t-shirts. In their celebrations they came across a painting I did that hangs permanently in the library of the James Joyce Centre in Dublin.”

 

Meghan Ward’s Mural

It’s tough to keep a secret from a school administrator. They’re supposed to know everything.

But a conspiracy of silence — involving colleagues, students and friends — worked this week. When Meghan Ward walked into the Pathways suite at Staples High School yesterday, she had no idea a mural would be unveiled in her honor.

Ward — an assistant principal — heads to a new job soon: principal of John Read Middle School in Redding. In her 5 years at Staples, she’s earned respect and admiration — and changed countless lives — as, among other things, Pathways supervisor.

That’s the “school within a school” offering alternative educational opportunities for students experiencing academic, behavioral and/or life challenges in the traditional setting.

The 4 Pathways teachers work closely with small groups of students. They wanted to honor the woman who helped create the program, then championed it in every setting.

They asked students what would be meaningful to them. Their idea: a bright, evocative mural.

Meghan Ward, in her Staples office. (Photo/Dan Woog)

“Meghan had a vision for how Pathways could run,” says English instructor Ann Neary.

“She imagined how students could engage in school, and what their possibilities could be. She supported teachers’ ideas, met with us weekly, sent us for trainings, and advocated for what we need to make this program work.”

Student Charlotte D’Anna sketched the design. Students voted for the concept. Principal Stafford Thomas okayed painting a classroom wall. Art instructor Tracy Wright helped Neary understand all about mural paints and brushes.

Then the students went to work. They loved what they were doing — and it showed.

Hard at work! Science teacher Tony Coccoli is at far left; English instructor Ann Neary is in the middle. Other teachers (not pictured) are Mike Forgette (math) and Dan Heaphy (social studies).

Alicia D’Anna — a Staples Players parent and professional set designer — organized and managed the process. Her eldest child Sami graduated from Pathways last year.

That alumni connection was evident yesterday when Ward walked in, was moved to tears by the mural — and saw nearly a dozen Pathways alum on hand too.

Meghan Ward, with her mural. (Photo/Maryann Garcia)

Meghan Ward created a pathway to success for a number of Staples students. Her work will be remembered for years — thanks to a mural that now graces a Pathways wall.

The finished mural. (Photo/Ann Neary)

Levitt Announces June Slate

When Staples principal Stafford Thomas took the Levitt Pavilion stage at Saturday’s annual Pops Concert, he announced: “We’re baaaack!

He meant that his high school’s singers, orchestras and bands were back performing live, outdoors.

Saturday night at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Dan Woog)

But it was a reopening of the famed summer entertainment center too. After sitting dark during the very dark pandemic year of 2020, the Levitt has announced its June calendar.

Get ready for:

Charles Turner & Uptown Swing (Sunday, June 20, 7 p.m.): Jazz vocals, vibrant swing, vrituosic bebop and vital blues.

Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday, June 22, 7 p.m.): Sit down in your lawn chair for great standup.

Aztec Two-Step 2.0: Rex Fowler, Dodie Pettit & Friends (Thursday, June 24 , 7:30 p.m.): The long-running, beloved band’s latest incarnation, based right here in Westport. 2- and 3-part harmonies, multi-instrumental arrangements and dazzling guitar work. Special guest: Chris Coogan on keyboards.

P.J. Facifico: Full Band Show (Friday, June 25, 7:30 p.m.): The band’s debut single, “Coming Up For Air,” premiered on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and shot to #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart.

Binky Griptite Orchestra (Sunday, June 27, 7 p.m.): Binky was a founding member of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. He’s played with Janet Jackson and Amy Winehouse, and hosts WFUV’s popular Saturday night Boogie Down dance party. Now Binky is heavy into 1940s rhythm ‘n’ blues.

Binky Griptite

The  Suzanne Sheridan Band (Tuesday, June 30, 7 p.m.): The singer-songwriter and guitarist channels Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Carly Simon, Gordon Lightfoot and more. She tours internationally, from her Westport base.

Joanie Leeds: Children’s Series Launch (Wednesday, June 30, 7 p.m.): The 2021 Grammy winner for Best Children’s Album returns with an all-new show. She’s inspired by Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Bade Ginsburg  and more.

All above shows are free. To reserve a ticket, click here; then click on the show you want to see, for a link to options for a 2-, 4- or 6-person pod.

Ticketed benefits include Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers (June 14, sold out), and The Lone Bellow (Friday, August 6; click here for details and tickets).

Click here for more information on the Levitt Pavilion’s June schedule. The July calendar will be announced soon.

The Levitt Pavilion June season opens soon. (Drone photo/Dave Curtis, HDFA Photography.com)

[OPINION] Main Street Musings

Fred Cantor moved to Westport when he was 10. After Yale University and law school, he and his wife bought a 2nd home here. Then they moved permanently. They spent COVID in California, but are back now.

Fred is an astute observer of all things Westport. Today — looking backward and toward the future too — he trains his eye on downtown.

On Friday, the New York Times wrote about efforts in England to help keep alive and/or revitalize the nation’s “high streets” — the British equivalent of our Main Street — in towns around the country.

Among the ideas is the notion of short-term leases in certain instances — even just 3 months.

That got me thinking about one of the great mysteries of life (which perhaps “06880” readers who work in commercial real estate can answer): How come middle school students in Westport have no memory of any business operating out of the prime location where the Remarkable Book Shop was so successful for so many years?

How and why has that building remained vacant for so long?

The Remarkable Book Shop, back in the day. 

And is the concept of a short-term lease for perhaps a seasonal summer-related business, or another entity that would run from the beginning of October through Christmas feasible at that location? Or any retail site on Main Street?

On a related note: The Remarkable used to have display cases outside its store.  Even if the current owner of the building can’t find a suitable tenant for the space, is it worth it for the owner to consider renting to a business that wanted to operate a kiosk on its property? Are there other Main Street locations where a kiosk might make sense?

I have happily patronized the Strand Bookstore kiosk on 5th Avenue near Central Park South. Perhaps kiosks would add some street appeal to downtown.

Shopping at the Remarkable Book kiosks. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Turning from England and New York to California: When we stayed not far from Laguna Beach, we enjoyed seeing how the town closed off the bottom portion of its Main Street equivalent — Forest Avenue — and turned it into a pedestrian mall. “The Promenade on Forest” featured temporary retail and dining decks, along with art displays.

I love what has happened here with Church Lane. And I know that Main Street has been closed off for an entire weekend for the annual Arts Festival.

I hope to hear from store proprietors on the lower half of Main Street whether they think it might be worthwhile to experiment with closing that section, perhaps for an entire week, to see if it successfully attracts more business.

At the same time, I would love to hear from local officials and residents who live near downtown whether such an experiment might be worth pursuing to evaluate the impact on traffic congestion near downtown.

This was Main Street, during the 2014 Art About Town festival.

Speaking of Laguna Beach: The town permitted installation right by City Hall of a fabulous artwork that generated a lot of interest.

Could Westport do something similar with Veterans Green on a regular basis? By that I mean perhaps scheduling periodic events such as small acoustic concerts?  Would that type of “happening” help make Main Street more of a destination?

I don’t claim to have any definitive answers. But I would have no objection if Main Street became something close to Yogi Berra’s famous observation: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

Roundup: Pops, Pride, Paw Prints …

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In many ways, yesterday was the first “normal” day in nearly 15 months.

Hundreds of people gathered at Jesup Green for a joyful Pride celebration. hundreds more swarmed Compo Beach, or took boats out on the Sound. At night, the Levitt Pavilion opened its gates for the Westport Schools’ annual Pops Concert.

The previous night’s show was moved by weather to the Staples High auditorium. But last night was as close to old times as anyone could hope for.

The crowd was limited to smaller numbers than usual. But everything else was the same: spectacular music, of near-professional quality. An appreciative, picnic-toting audience.

And, yes, pride and joy, in celebrating our kids, and our town, together again.

Last night at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Candi Innaco conducts the band for the final time. She is retiring after 36 years as a music instructor. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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Speaking of Staples: On Friday, the school held its first-ever LGBTQ Art Show.

Two dozen works of all kind were displayed prominently in the main hallway.

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Tim Lukens was enjoying yesterday’s weather, listening to music and quietly weeding his flower garden, when he came “literally 6 inches — nose to nose” — with the black bear wandering through Westport’s woods. This encounter was near Wilton Road, just north of Merritt Parkway Exit 41.

Here’s the aftermath:

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Barnes & Noble’s Westport store is internationally famous.

Well, at least it got a shoutout in the Financial Times.

A long profile on James Daunt — the Briton who rescued the small Waterstones book store chain from Amazon, and is attempting to do the same now for B&N — mentioned our local shop.

Daunt used the pandemic to rearrange layouts. Stores — including the newly opened one downtown — look less like “libraries”; round tables make them more browser-friendly. Click here for the full story. (Hat tips: Henry Engler, Jon Fraade)

Barnes & Noble Westport: now browser-friendly.

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If you’re like many Westport families, you’ve got a few basketballs lying around the house (or garage).

Staples High School sophomore (and player) Zach Brody wants them. He’s organized a collection for Full Court Peace, a non-profit that brings hoops and equipment to communities that need them.

Basketballs will be collected this coming week (June 7 to 14), in a bin in Staples’ main hallway.

Can’t make it to the high school? Email zbrody52@gmail.com to arrange for pickup.

 

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Speaking of sports: The Staples High School sailing team completed another successful season. The varsity had a 5-0 sweep at the Silver cup, and tied Greenwich for 3rd at the state regatta.

The Wreckers compete against other Fairfield County high schools, both private and public. Cedar Point is the host club, and provides the boats.

The Staples High School sailing team.

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While a Netflix movie is being filmed in Westport, the Country Playhouse parking lot has been rented to the production crew. It serves as a staging area, through June 16.

Most Winslow Park dog lovers realize it’s a private lot, and heed the signs and staff. Some, though, ignore them, and park anyway.

WCP general manager Beth Huisking says, “We love Westport, and want to be a valued member of the community. To be reciprocated with disrespect from some community members is disheartening.

“When we close the lot it is because we need the space (the hour or so before a performance), or because something is going on that requires us to use all spaces.

“In the case of the production crew, with large trucks and vans pulling through the lot, we want to make sure everyone (people, animals, even cars) are safe. So please, until June 16, park at the Winslow lot on Compo Road North. Thank you.”

One of the many trucks in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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And finally … today is the 63rd anniversary of Prince’s birth. The singer-songwriter and producer died in 2016, at 57.

Pride And Joy In Westport

Over the years, Jesup Green has hosted anti-war and pro-war demonstrations. It’s seen rallies against nuclear arms, antisemitism and AAPI violence, and in support of Black Lives Matter.

Yesterday, Westport’s first LGBTQ Pride celebration took over the historic town lawn. For several years in the early 2000s, smaller events were held at the Unitarian Church.

This one drew 500 people. Spanning all ages, many faiths, and ranging from gay, lesbian, bi, trans and questioning to plenty of straight allies, they enjoyed the most beautiful day of the year so far. (Weather-wise, and in spirit.)

Kicking off a joyful day. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The crowd saw a rainbow flag fly over the green. They heard great music and inspiring speeches from out, proud teenagers. Politicians and clergy praised the progress made, and promised to keep working for social justice and civil rights. Kids had their faces painted.

Westport Pride organizer Brian McGunagle and his 2-year-old son Henry listen as 1st Selectman Jim Marpe — wearing a rainbow tie — reads a town proclamation. (Photo/Kerry Long)

It was a powerful, memorable community event. For some in the crowd, it could have been life-changing.

Another celebrant. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

It made all who were there immensely proud of their town. (Click here for the News12 report.)

Proud clergy (from left): Rev. Heather Sinclair, United Methodist; Rev. Alison Patton, Saugatuck Congregational; Rev. Dr. John Morehouse, Unitarian; Rev. John Betit, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal;  Rev. Marcella Gillis, Christ & Holy Trinity. Jewish clergy who were officiating at Saturday services sent their best wishes. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Showing the flag (Photo/Kerry Long)

State Senators Tony Hwang and Will Haskell. Haskell drew laughs when he said that his 3 gay brothers were disappointed the day he brought home a girl. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Staples Players were out in force — with their own prideful t-shirts. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Suzanne Sheridan helped organize Westport’s first Pride festival in 2002. She was part of the great entertainers, along with Stacie Lewis, Julie Loyd and many young singers. (Photo/Kerry Long)

(Photo/Kerry Long)

Former Staples High School principal John Dodig is flanked by his husband Rodger Leonard (left) and Staples Gay-Sexuality Alliance co-advisor Chris Fray. Kayla Iannetta, a biology teacher, is the other advisor, and helped organize the event. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Cornell University football player AJ Konstanty and his brother Colin, a Staples junior, posed, then performed “Your Song” on keyboards and vocals. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Marjorie Almansi, who helped organized the day, stands with her next-door neighbors. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Staples singers entertain the large crowd. (Photo/Kerry Long)

US Congressman Jim Himes discusses past struggles, current successes, and future goals. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Pride was a family event. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Weston High School junior Zac Mathias: fashion model — and role model. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Everyone — and everything — gets into the act. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Wave that flag! (Photo/Dan Woog)