The Westport Woman’s Club Art Show makes a triumphant return on Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23 (2 to 6 p.m., 44 Imperial Avenue).
The 6th annual open house features some of the area’s best known and most loved artists and photographers; Nina Bentley, Amy Bock, Trace Burroughs, Susan Fehlinger, Judith Orseck Katz, Tom Kretsch, Susan Leggitt, Kerry Long, Michael Lender, Carole McClintock, Bernard Perry, Jon Puzzuoli, Katherine Ross and Jo Titsworth.
There’s wine and snacks too — just like old times!
The Woman’s Club Art Show is not the only event scheduled for May 22. At 11 a.m., the Staples High School track will be officially named for Laddie Lawrence. The 1964 graduate has served as a Staples coach — and Westport’s unofficial but beloved running guru — for 50 over years. (Hat tip:Andrew Colabella)
Laddie Lawrence: forever young, and forever admired.
Jamie Mann is drawing praise — and viewers — for his role in “Country Comfort,” the Netflix series about a singing family and their nanny.
But he’s not the only Staples High School student in a TV show this spring.
In fact, he’s not the only one in the same family.
Jamie’s freshman brother Cameron’s show “Mare of Easttown” debuts tonight (Sunday, April 18, 10 p.m.) on HBO. It will stream on HBO Max.
The 7-episode series stars Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, a detective trying to keep her life from unraveling as she investigates a murder in her small Pennsylvania town.
Cameron plays Ryan Ross, the son of Mare’s best friend. More than a whodunit, the show digs into the complex relationships of a close-knit community, with themes of suffering and redemption.
USA Today says, “Its characters are deeply real and expertly drawn, its sense of place firmly established and specific, and its clues genuinely shocking. It’s intense and satisfying to watch, going to places your average murder mystery wouldn’t aspire.’
Cameron auditioned for the role in September 2019. After sending a tape, he earned a callback with the director and writer in Philadelphia. A final callback followed in New York.
Filming began outside Philadelphia in November 2019 — when Cameron was still at Bedford Middle School — but was shut down by COVID 4 months later. It picked up again in October, and was completed in December.
“Mare” was “cross-boarded” — shot out of order — which complicated things, as the children aged during the long pandemic pause.
One of Cameron’s big scenes in episode 1 — not shot before the shutdown — was cut, probably because it would be too hard to match to the preceding, already-filmed scene when he was a year younger.
His filming took 22 days. But they were spread out, allowing him to continue at both Bedford and Staples. On the days he did work, he was required to spend 3 hours with an on-set teacher.
Cameron Mann took time off from filming to check out the Liberty Bell,
Cameron says that working with Winslet was “amazing. She is very focused and thoughtful about her work. She took the time to meet me, and talk to me about being part of such an intense project. She is super-passionate about acting, and so good.”
This is not the young actor’s first TV show. Cameron has a recurring role on ABC’s “For Life.” He’s been a guest star on “Daredevil” (Netflix) and “New Amsterdam” (NBC), and played former Westporter Melissa Joan Hart’s son in the Lifetime movie “A Very Merry Toy Store.”
And with all that, he found time this winter to play on Staples’ freshman basketball team. Just call the “Mare of Easttown” actor “Cameron of Westport.”
(Meanwhile, Netflix is calculating views, to determine if there will be a 2nd season for Jamie Mann’s “Country Comfort.” All 10 episodes are available now.)
In Death, The Gift of Life — the powerful anthology of 10 Westporters who embraced death on their own terms — has won two 1st place awards in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual communications contest.
The honors were for editing (Dan Levinson and Alison McBain) and design (McBain and Miggs Burroughs). The book now moves on to national competition.
A community-wide book launch will be held at the Westport Library this fall.
Abilis is hiring. The non-profit, which serves more than 800 people with special needs and their families — holds a job fair on Saturday, May 1 (9 a.m. to 5 .m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich).
Full- and part-time positions include management and assistant management roles, day program and residential roles. Click here to see open positions. Prospective employees should bring resumes. For more information, call 203-531-1880.
May 1 is also the date of Abilis’ 70th anniversary gala (6:30 p.m., virtual). There’s family entertainment, with comedians, actors, musicians and dancers.
To learn more, register for the show link, see “Giving Garden” needs, check out the online auction or by art by Abilis clients, click here.
An “06880” reader sits for a 4-hour infusion once a month at Norwalk Hospital. It is often cool in the room, so patients are given a hospital blanket.
The other day, she received a real blanket, made by a group at Staples High school called Lovee’s Charity. They’re usually given to pediatric patients, but sometimes they’re handed out in the infusion room.
“It was so nice, soft and comforting,” the reader says. She emailed faculty advisor Natalie Odierna, letting her know how much joy the blanket brought.
Now thousands of other “06880” readers know about the joy Lovee’s Charity brings too.
A Lovee’s Charity blanket.
Major League Soccer has kicked off its 26th season. And for the 5th straight year, Elliot Gerard was commissioned to create the opening day graphic.
The Westport resident Gerard is a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group, a social strategy and creative content agency.
This year’s concept is “Where’s Waldo?” Gerard worked with eMLS to hide Easter eggs in the artwork (below). The campaign is interactive, giving fans the chance to make their own versions on Instagram stories. A customizable background is available. Click for Twitter and Instagram links.
Once again, our “06880” art gallery welcomes a new young artist.
12-year-old Luke Bernier created a unique character on his Wacom pen tablet. He joins nearly a dozen other contributors, whose works range from watercolor and Japanese ink to photography (both still and in motion).
That’s the whole idea of “0*6*Art*Art*0.” Each week, we feature whatever form suits your mood. Some of you are professionals; most are amateurs. Experience does not matter. We want it all!
Student submissions are especially welcome. So are artists who have not submitted previously.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, to share your work with the world.
“Blowing in the Wind” (GIF by Karen Weingarten)
“King McHucklechucks” (Luke Bernier, 6th grade)
“A Rose is a Rose …” (Lucy Johnson)
“Daydreaming #1” (Martin Howard)
“Touches of Spring on a Misty Morning (Southport)” (Tom Kretsch)
“Beach Horse” (Pam Kesselman)
“Panda and Child” Sumi-e wok: painting on Japanese handmade paper, with ground Japanese ink (Costanza Baiocco)
“Are We There Yet?” (Ellin Spadone)
“Public Personas” — on view at Westport River Gallery (Brian Whelan)
“New England Coast” (Lawrence Weisman)
“Daffodils in Our Backyard” collage (Amy Schneider)
Amy Oestreicher — a multi-talented artist, performer and writer, who battled unfathomable medical issues with courage, grace resilience and humor — died last week. Her second book, “Creativity and Gratitude” was published a few days earlier. She was just a few days shy of her 34th birthday.
Amy almost died 16 years ago, when she was 18. Her life since then was remarkable — and remarkably inspiring. Here is a story I wrote in 2013.
After years of acting and singing locally, and auditioning in New York, she had just been accepted into the very prestigious University of Michigan musical theater program.
Suddenly, Amy suffered a major blood clot. Her stomach exploded. She lapsed into a coma.
During the 1st week of that nightmare, she had 10 surgeries. Doctors removed her entire stomach. Her coma continued for months.
Through her long siege in ICU, “my father saved my life,” Amy says. (He’s Westport dermatologist Dr. Mark Oestreicher.) Her 3 brothers were constantly by her side. (The experience helped one decide to be a doctor. Jeff is now in his 1st year of residency — as a pediatric gastroenterologist.)
For nearly 3 years, she could not eat or drink. Not one morsel of food, or a drop of water.
The Oestreichers moved to a smaller house near Compo Beach, where they could better help Amy.
She was hungry and thirsty. But as soon as she realized what lay ahead, Amy vowed not to be a permanent patient. “I wanted to live life,” she says.
Curtain Call in Stamford had a casting call for “Oliver!” “I couldn’t eat or drink, and I was as skinny as a pole,” Amy recalls. “I had tubes and bags all over. I could hardly walk.”
But she got the female lead — Nancy — and managed to do the show. By the end of the run, she was drinking 2 ounces of water a day.
The next summer, she landed a role in Staples Players‘ production of “Cats.”
“I was still starving,” Amy says. “I just needed to be around people. Doing that show was great.”
During her long recovery, Amy Oestreicher also painted — in big, bold colors.
Surgeries continued. One took 19 hours, using 3 shifts of doctors and nurses. The outcome was not as good as expected.
Finally, though — 27 surgeries later — Amy can eat and drink.
She’s also — at 26 years old — just been accepted at Hampshire College.
Before she goes away to school, though, she’s working on another project. “Gutless & Grateful: A Musical Feast” is Amy’s 1-woman show.
First performed last October at the Triad in New York, it’s been called “a moving personal history told with grace and humor, and garnished with great songs sung from the heart.”
Amy Oestreicher onstage.
“Doing that show meant so much to me,” Amy says. “I had been so isolated. For 7 years I talked only to my parents and my doctors. Then to perform, and have people I don’t know hug me! It was so rewarding to share my story, and know it inspires people.”
Written by Amy and Jerold Goldstein — based on hundreds of pages of her journals — it returns to Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre June 1 and 2. On June 16 and 24, Amy takes her show back to the Triad, and on July 16 to Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
“I’ve always written and performed,” Amy says. “So many things have happened to me over the years. I just wanted to tell my story.”
You and I may not call the past 8 years of Amy’s life “funny.” The fact that she does — and sings and talks about it with such intimacy, gusto and pride — is reason enough to put “Gutless & Grateful” on your calendar now.
In the years since that 2013 story was posted, Amy offered mixed media “Show Me Your HeART” workshops (click here for that story), and wrote 2 books. Her first was “My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful.” Click here for those links.
This year’s New York Board of Rabbis’ Humanitarian Awards will honor first responders and essential workers.
Dr. Anthony Fauci will be feted. So will the Greater New York Hospital Association.
And … Westport’s own Avi Kaner.
The co-owner of Morton Williams Supermarkets (and former Board of Finance chair and 2nd selectman) will be cited for the work his family-owned business did during the pandemic.
Morton Williams stores never closed. Employees kept working; senior executives ensured that the supply chain continued.
The company became a lifeline to New York. They worked with the CDC to adjust trucking regulations so that truckers would be comfortable making deliveries. They were among the first in the nation to set aside special hours for seniors and immunocompromised customers; they lobbied aggressively for mask use, and ensured that supermarket workers were included in phase 1B of the state’s vaccinations.
There’s one more Westport connection to the May 10 event: Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue is president of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Avi Kaner in a Bronx Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)
Business Networking International does exactly what its name says.
But there’s a twist: Only one person per profession is allowed to join a chapter. For example, there is one CPA, one architect, one insurance agent.
BNI’s Westport chapter is strong and active. They’ve got 48 members. Last year, they conducted nearly $2 million in business.
There are openings now in a few categories: interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, fitness club or personal trainer, chef, and attorneys who practice estate and elder law.
Weekly BNI meetings are now held over Zoom. They’ll transition to a hybrid or in-person format this summer or fall. Click here for information, or email email@example.com.
Carolyn Doan reports that the Fresh Market ospreys had a busy week rebuilding and freshening up their nest.
Sometimes when they’re not at home, Carolyn and her son head over to Gray’s Creek. Those birds are usually eating. “The male’s chest is more white, while the female has tan markings,” she says. She took this photo of one finishing a fish.
Meanwhile, a group of Y’s Men strolled past this osprey at Longshore:
Five Wreckers are Staples High School’s Students of the Month.
Senior Henrik Hovstadius, junior Bruno Guiduli, sophomores Leo Fielding and Ari Lerner, and freshman Domenic Petrosinelli were nominated by their teachers.
Principal Stafford Thomas called the honorees “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place that is.
Staples High School students of the month (from left): Henrik Hovstadius, Domenic Petrosinelli and Ari Lerner. Missing: Bruno Guiduli and Leo Fielding.
The 2021 Music at MoCA Concert Series features a diverse range of jazz, pop and classical outdoor concerts, from April through October. Highlights include performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series.
Multi-instrumentalist and soulful pop artist Matt Nakoa opens the series on Friday, April 30 (7 p.m). Click here for the full schedule, and tickets.
Season passes are available for all 13 concerts, along with jazz, pop or classical packages and individual concert tickets. MoCA members receive discounts. Food and drinks are available at each event.
Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.
This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.
In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!
Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.
Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.
Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.
And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.
Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.
MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.
It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.
All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-222-7070.
Speaking of the environment: The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors “Clean Up Westport Day” on Saturday, April 24.
Over 50 local organizations and groups will help. Individuals and families can show up at the Parks Advisory Committee’s sites — Riverside and Grace Salmon Parks — or any street or public space.
Formal groups should call Parks & Rec (203-341-5091) before April 16, to let them know the time and location of their cleanup efforts. After the event, the town will collect bagged garbage and debris from each site.
Free trash bags are available outside the Parks & Rec office (opposite the Longshore golf course pro shop) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 b8:30am and 4:30pm. Bags are limited to 6 per organization, and must be requested by April 15.
“Westport’s Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders: The 19th Amendment Turns 100” was the Westport Library’s best exhibit that no one visited.
Well, hardly anyone. It opened last year just days before COVID shut the town down.
But the Connecticut League of History Organizations knows about it. And they’ve awarded the Library an Award of Merit for it.
The awards committee was impressed with “how the exhibit fit nicely into a larger series of public programs and showcased the lives of local women in their fight for suffrage.”
Fortunately, the exhibit is online (click here). It explores the careers and political triumphs of suffragists who made Westport home. It also honors over 50 Westport women — many forgotten — who left their parlors for the streets, to fight for voting rights.
The Remarkable Theater drive-in is back in action. Last year , the Imperial Avenue lot also served as the stage for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Supper & Soul Series. Next month, they return there.
Dark Desert Eagles — an Eagles tribute band — have been booked for Friday and Saturday nights, May 14 and 15. The Chamber urges attendees to get takeout from local restaurants and markets, and bring it to the concert.
Tickets for each show are $150 per car (5 person maximum). They go on sale this Monday, April 12 (10 a.m.). Click here to order.
Not everyone has a mattress to get rid of. But you should still head to Earthplace that day.
Particularly if you’d like free compost. Bring a bucket, and Sustainable Westport will fill it. It’s open to all Westport residents, as a thank-you for making the food scrap recycling program such a success.
Sustainable Westport is collecting nearly 10 tons of food scraps a month from the transfer station (a free service for residents), and from the 2 licensed food scrap haulers (a paid curbside service). Over 500 Westport families are composting in some form.
Intrigued, but don’t know how to begin? Volunteers will sell food scrap recycling starter kits (with a countertop pail, compostable gags and 6-gallon transportation container) during the May 8 Earthplace event. (They’re free for income-eligible folks).
If you’re not into mattress recycling or food scraps — come anyway. It’s a family-friendly outing, with guided trail tours and animal feeding.
PS: Bring natural corks, used magic markers, mascara wands and batteries for recycling.
For more information click here, or email email@example.com.
And finally … DMX — described by the New York Times as a “snarling yet soulful rapper … who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess,” died yesterday in White Plains. He was 50.
Evan Sealove — age 10 — moved to Westport with his family in August. During COVID, he discovered Bob Ross’ videos. Evan decided to try painting on his own. His mother Joselyn got supplies at Michaels. He got to work. The result is impressive.
We welcome Evan — and, as we do each week, we welcome whatever art form suits your mood. You don’t have to be a pro, or even experienced. Send it all!
Student submissions are especially welcome. So are artists who have not submitted previously. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, to share your work with the world.
“Happy Little Mountains” (Evan Sealove)
“Fairy Tale Plant” watercolor (Ellin Spadone)
“Nature’s Beauty” (Lauri Weiser)
“Spring is Here” oil pastels on sketch pad (Jennifer Skarupa)
Untitled (Karen Weingarten)
“Be the Sun!” (Pam Kesselman)
Untitled (Marybeth Woods)
“The Garden Door” (Lucy Johnson)
Feathers float down and stick on weathered jetty rocks. Pull before they curl. (Amy Schneider)
“Mykonos” (Lawrence Weisman)
“Acacia” rice paper with mineral watercolors (Costanza Baiocco)
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