Category Archives: Entertainment

Westporters Should Know About The Knowlton’s Space

Sophia Livecchi is embarrassed to admit it. But growing up in Westport, the 2017 Staples High School graduate had a bit of fear of leaving this bubble.

“People are nervous to step outside of their comfort zone to try something new,” she notes.

Now — a year after graduating from Skidmore College — it’s her job to get people in places like Westport to take that step.

Sophia Livecchi

Sophia is the marketing manager for The Knowlton. That’s the waterfront event venue, artist studios and mural park in Bridgeport that most people here have never heard of.

And if they have — well, maybe they also have misperceptions about the big city, less than 10 miles from our border.

Sophia first heard of The Knowlton from James Brown, a Westporter who is one of the 27 artists with a studio there.

She was looking for a “creative community,” and found it strange she’d heard nothing about it. “It’s in our back yard,” she notes.

The Knowlton is located on Bridgeport’s East Side. It’s on the Peconic estuary, within walking distance of the train station.

Owner Shiran Nicholson — a native New Yorker and professional event planner — has created a vibrant, welcoming and eclectic space in his adopted city.

The Knowlton: a bird’s-eye view.

It includes a large boathouse with deck overlooking the water; 2 galleries; those 27 studios, and a plenty of space for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate events, outdoor dinners and more.

The main building dates to 1865. The first hybrid electric car was built there, Shiran says, and it survived a tornado in 2010.

The artists with studio space there have formed a true community, Sophia says. They get together often, for social events and creative collaboration.

Children play at The Knowlton’s mural park.

The Knowlton is just one of several spots that make up Bridgeport’s burgeoning arts and cultural scenes. The Bijou Theater is one example; they just welcomed alternative radio station WPKN-FM to new studios upstairs.

Steelpointe is planning luxury apartments. They may be linked to The Knowlton by a walkway, with floating gardens.

“People come here and say, ‘How come I didn’t know about this?'” Sophia says.

“I love the vibe here,” Shiran says. “I’m so glad I found this space.”

So is Sophia.

“If I lived my life being closed to new opportunities, I’d really regret it. This is a creative, comfortable space. I can be myself there. That’s not always the case in Westport.”

She is thrilled she stepped out of her comfort zone.

Now she wants many other Westporters to follow.

The Knowlton’s boathouse interior.

Roundup: COVID Testing, MLK Followup, Stars On Stage …

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Westport’s newest COVID test center is now open.

Progressive Diagnostics offers same-day PCR results at no cost at the Greens Farms train station. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Appointments are required. To register online, click here.

Progressive Diagnostics’ testing center is inside the Greens Farms train station.

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Martin Luther King Day was Monday. CNBC’s Shepard Smith celebrated with a fascinating story about Martin Luther King’s summers in Connecticut.

As a 15-year-old freshman at Morehouse College, he spent the summer of 1944 working as a farmhand at the Cullman Brothers shade tobacco farm in Simsbury. It was part of a program to raise funds for tuition. He returned in 1947.

The summers were eye-opening. Foro the first time, King saw a world beyond the segregated South. He and his fellow students dined in restaurants with white patrons, and tasted freedoms they’d never experienced.

Smith’s report details those years — and the efforts by Simsbury High School students to delve deeply into King’s summers in their town. They helped lead a successful drive to preserve those 280 acres as a historic site.

What makes that event — and the CNBC story — even more compelling is the Westport connection. Cullman Brothers was a holding company owned by the uncles of current Westport residents Bob Jacobs and Joel Treisman. It was started by Bob’s grandfather, and Joel’s great-grandfather.

Click below for Shepard Smith’s must-see report:

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The last of 3 “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” shows airs this Friday (January 21). It’s 9 p.m. on New York’s Channel 13; check local listings for other PBS stations. The New York Times put it on their “What to Watch This Week” list.

Dixon — whose credits include Harpo in “Color Me Purple,” Eubie Blake in “Shuffle Along,” Barry Gordon in “Motown: The Musical,” and of course Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” — taped 2 shows at the Playhouse in September, with a live audience.

The first 2 “Stars on Stage” shows — produced by Westporter Andrew Wilk — starred Gavin Creel and hoshana Bean

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There are few visitors to Burying Hill Beach this winter. Well, few human visitors, anyway. These guys are perfect for a mid-January “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)

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And finally … Edgar Allan Poe was born on this day in 1809. He died just 40 years later, under circumstances that remain mysterious. Many of his works endure more than 2 centuries later. Phil Ochs — who also died young — adapted this beautiful poem, and made it his own.

 

Roundup: Missing Woman, Signs Of Compassion, Floodplain Management …

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An extensive search river and land search was conducted yesterday by the Westport Department and Fire Dive team, after a 22-year-old woman disappeared from a canoe near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

After 5 hours, the woman was seen on a surveillance tape at a local business. The search was suspended.

Early this morning she was located in Norwalk, and reunited with her family. Chief Foti Koskinas thanked all who aided in the search.

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In 2017, Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion” project inspired visitors to the Westport Library.

Based on Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name — and spurred partly by the darkening political climate — the noted Westport artist asked 30 Westporters to participate.

Old and young; Black, white and Asian — all learned one word or phrase in American Sign Language. Through Miggs’ unique lenticular photography, each sign shows the beauty of that form of communication. It’s also a “visual chorus of our community, expressing the need for compassion in the world.”

Nearly 5 years later — thanks to the generosity of Westporter Melissa Ceriale — the 30 portraits have been permanently acquired by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains. They were installed on Wednesday.

COVID has delayed a formal unveiling. But the hospital has a robust social media presence, and they’re showing off their new acquisition to the world.

As Miggs notes, his piece lives on, “in a place dedicated to compassion and healing.”

Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion,” at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. And yes, that’s me in the top row, 2nd from left.

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Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at “06880”?

I don’t give tours (because there’s nothing to see). But you can watch my talk to the Y’s Women.

I spoke on Monday, via Zoom. I talked about how the blog began, how it grew, why I got rid of anonymous comment, and much more.

They women asked very wise (ho ho) questions.

Click here to see. Then click on some of the other, equally (or more!) fascinating speakers the Y’s Women have hosted over the past couple of years.

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Looking for some great reading this holiday weekend?

Click here for the “Westport Progress Report on Floodplain Management.”

As you probably know, the report is prepared annually to enable residents to receive a 10% reduction in flood insurance. That insurance is offered by FEMA, to communities participating in the Community Rating System.

Municipalities are ranked from 1 to 10. A ranking of 1 offers the highest reduction in flood insurance rates. Actions taken by the Planning & Zoning Commission over the years have brought Westport’s ranking from 10 to 8. More efforts are planned.

Insurance is important to homeowners in flood-prone areas like Compo Cove.

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Speaking of water: Yesterday was moving day at Joey’s by the Shore.

Equipment was moved out of the longtime deli/market, now closed for several months.

The property has been on the market. No deals have been finalized, and there is no word on what is next for the historic property across from Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Nicholas Marsan has been promoted to deputy chief of the Westport Fire Department, while Theodore Crawford has risen to lieutenant. They — and new Fire Chief Michael Kronick — were sworn in yesterday at Town Hall.

The promotions fill vacancies created by the retirement of Chief Robert Yost on January 1.

Marsan became a Westport firefighter in 2007. He then served as fire inspector and lieutenant.

He is a veteran of the US Army and the CT Army National Guard. In 2010 he was deployed overseas. He received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor during operations in Afghanistan, and is a 2-time recipient of Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Awards, and 2 unit citations.

Marsan was also president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 1081. He earned a master’s degree in history from Western Connecticut State University. He is now completing a master’s in public administration and emergency management at Sacred Heart University.

Crawford joined the department in 2011. He is an EMT, and president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

He is also a rescue diver on the Westport Police/Fire dive team, and a hazardous materials technician on the Fairfield County Hazmat Team. He received a Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Award, the Firefighter Dominic Zeoli Award, and 2 Unit Citations.

Crawford is a graduate of Clarkson University, majoring in civil engineering.

From left: Theodore Crawford, Nicholas Marsan, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Fire Chief Michael Kronick.

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Audiences across the country look forward to tonight’s “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” (Friday, January 14, 9 p.m. Channel 13; check listings for other PBS stations).

Shoshana Bean is the star of this episode. It was taped in September, before 2 local audiences.

But that’s not the only Shoshana news this week. The “Wicked” and “Witness” actress has just been signed to the cast of the new musical comedy “Mr. Saturday Night,” with Billy Crystal. The shows opens at the Nederlander Theatre on April 27.

Click below for a teaser of tonight’s broadcast.

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For some reason, Westporters are captivated by turkey vultures. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Morningside Drive North.

“There must be 3 dozen, in the trees and on the ground,” says Jilda Manikas.

(Photo/Jilda Manikas)

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And finally … in honor of the “Westport Progress Report on Floodplain Management” (see above):

Ryder Chasin Bought An Unplanned, Legally Banned, Off-Brand Rapid Test. And Won $1,000.

When Jimmy Fallon’s team picks 2 “Tonight Show” audience members to write a song in less than an hour, the result is usually impressive.

Last night, it was Ryder Chasin turn. The result was brilliant.

The 2014 Staples High School graduate — sporting a Staples baseball cap, no less — was given his title: “I Bought an Off-Brand Rapid Test.”

You or I might be intimidated. Ryder was confident.

For one thing, he’s a writer at Sesame Workshop. For another, he majored in journalism, and minored in film, media studies and creative non-fiction at Northwestern University.

For a third, he’s used to performing (as a member of the Players drama troupe) and pressure (as a baseball player). He’s also multi-talented: In high school he worked on radio and TV production, and was a Top Hat tutor and National Honor Society student.

Oh, yeah: He’s done improv, too.

Ryder looked completely confident as he joked with Fallon. He sauntered over to the electric organ — not a piano, as he corrected the host — smiled, and belted out a very clever tune.

His hour’s work earned him $1,000. Plus a “Tonight Show” notebook to write more songs in.

And the applause of a grateful audience, which has had far too little to laugh about where COVID is concerned.

Click below for the entire clip:

(Hat tips: Dan Donovan, John McCarthy and Beth Cody)

Roundup: Arts $$$, Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, IRS Help …

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CT Humanities has awarded grants to non-profit museums, cultural organizations, humanities organizations and arts organizations. The funds will help them recover from the pandemic, connect K-12 teachers and students to strong humanities and arts content, and improve information technology and digital infrastructure.

CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants are part of $30 million allocated over the next 2 years by the state General Assembly.

Local recipients include:

  • Artists Collective of Westport – $5,600
  • Beechwood Arts & Innovation – $8,800
  • Earthplace – $168,700
  • Friends of Westport Public Art Collections – $5,900
  • Levitt Pavilion – $38,500
  • MoCA Westport – $65,600
  • Play With Your Food – $13,000
  • Remarkable Theater – $12,500
  • Weston Historical Society – $10,200
  • Westport Community Theatre – $7,700
  • Westport Country Playhouse – $80,900
  • Westport Museum for History & Culture – $26,900
  • Westport School of Music – $21,800

One of many organizations earning a grant.

(Hat tip: State Senator Will Haskell)

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Too many Americans today know Paul Newman only as the popcorn guy. And not enough know his wife, Joanne Woodward.

Yet, as Variety notes: “They were a Hollywood power couple who chose to live and raise their family in Connecticut, far removed from the center of moviemaking. They were box office draws who remained true to their art, using their celebrity to finance smaller dramas and passion projects. They epitomized glamour and romance for legions of fans, but remained more devoted to social justice and philanthropy than red carpet premieres.”

A new 6-part documentary will bring their lives and legacies to light.

“The Last Movie Stars” is directed by Ethan Hawke and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. The series debuts on CNN+ later this year, and will be available on HBO Max.

No word on its content, but there’s sure to be plenty about Westport — an integral part of their lives — in at least some of the 6 parts. (Hat tips: David Roth and Kerry Long)

Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman and friend.

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted the lawsuit filed by Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett against The Atlantic magazine.

It’s a national story. The New York Times has covered the lawsuit. Click here to read.

And Barrett has created a website with the full complaint. Click here to see.

Ruth Shalit Barrett (Photo/Robertson Barrett, courtesy of Washington Post)

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Westporters — especially seniors and those with low to moderate incomes — can once again take advantage of the town’s no-cost full-service AARP/VITA/IRS Volunteer Tax Assistance Program.

On-site personal counseling is available by appointment at Town Hall (Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m.) and the Senior Center (Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.), starting January 24. Call 860-590-8910 for an appointment.

The service is also available through a secure internet site. Click here for an appointment.

The program is administered by Westport’s Department of Human Services.

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The 2nd of PBS’s 3 special concerts — “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” airs this Friday night (9 p.m. ET on Channel 13; check other local listings). The series is also available on PBS.org and the PBS Video app.

Shoshana Bean is this week’s guest. The Broadway (“Wicked,” “Waitress”) and recording star taped 2 shows at the Playhouse in September.

The series — spearheaded by executive producer Andrew Wilk of Westport — debuted last week with Gavin Creel. It concludes January 21, with Brandon Victor Dixon.

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Always wanted to write your memoir?

The Westport Library and WestportWRITES sponsors a pair of workshops, with best-selling author, personal essayist and memoir writer Mary-Lou Weisman. She’s taught her craft too, at The New School, New York University and Manhattanville College, and through Westport and Norwalk continuing education programs.

The Introductory Memoir Writing Workshop meets Tuesdays (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.) from February 15 through March 29. Click here for information.

The Advanced Memoir Writing Class meets Thursdays (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.) from February 17 through May 17. Click here for information.

Mary-Lou Weisman

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There’s a bit of a back story to today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

Robin Frank reported yesterday: “Our puppy cannot go in the backyard because this raccoon has been outside our kitchen window all day.”

(Photo/Robin Frank)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Slim Harpo. The spectacularly named blues singer-songwriter and musician was born in Louisiana in 1924. He died of a heart attack in 1970, at just 46.

 

Roundup: Tweed Airport, Dobie Gillis, Winslow Sledding …

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A reader writes:

An excellent alternative to New York airports is now Tweed, in New Haven.

If you want to get to Florida hassle-free, Avelo Airlines flies to 6 cities. Flights ae cheap, very nice, with good service. They fly older but totally fine 737s (minus USB ports and TVs, so download something to watch).

At Tweed you not only avoid New York, but it’s also easier to get ride shares. I missed a JetBlue flight because Uber showed up 45 minutes late (they took off while we were in the terminal), I had to find a better way.

Driving myself to La Guardia is a nightmare. I wouldn’t ask an enemy to drive me, let alone a friend or relative.

So it’s no frills — but these days, what airline isn’t?

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Dwayne Hickman — who played Dobie Gillis on that pioneering TV sitcom from 1959 to ’63 — died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 87.

The Westport connection? The show was created by Westport writer Max Shulman. He also wrote “Rally ’Round the Flag, Boys!,” a novel based loosely on the Nike site controversy then roiling Westport.

The year before “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” debuted, Shulman’s “Rally” book was made into a movie. Hickman had a role — though not as large as another actor, Paul Newman.

That film, of course, introduced Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, to Westport. They moved here soon after, and never left. (Hat tip: Peter Blau)

Dwayne Hickman (left) and Bob Denver, in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” in 1959. (Photo courtesy of the New York Times and CBS)

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Winslow Park is one of Westport’s favorite sledding spots. It got tons of action after Friday’s snowstorm.

But at least 2 kids lost their hats. If these look familiar, they’re sitting on the fence post next to the hill.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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The snow turned every corner of Westport — including the few living things at Sherwood Island State Park — into a winter wonderland. Today’s starkly beautiful “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Mary Sikorski.

(Photo/Mary Sikorski)

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And finally … Michael Lang — a co-creator of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair that defined a generation — died Saturday in New York, from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 77. Click here for a full obituary.

 

Roundup: The Tender Bar, Stop & Shop …

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“Tender Bar” is a new movie, which recently began streaming on Amazon Prime.

Directed by George Clooney, starring Ben Affleck, and based on the best-selling memoir by J.R. Moehringer, it includes a Westport scene. The Hollywood Reporter says:

“During a visit to Sydney’s home in the la-di-da suburbia of Westport, Connecticut, J.R.’s tense breakfast with her parents (Mark Boyett and Quincy Tyler Bernstine) tips into the absurd, recalling the memorably uncomfortable meet-the-parents meal in Goodbye, Columbus, and giving Clooney a chance to express his taste for edgier, satiric terrain.”

Fred Cantor — who sent along that tidbit — adds: “Even though the author’s sometime girlfriend at Yale was from Westport, the scenes at the train station and her home were filmed in a Boston suburb.”

One more local connection: The cast includes Christopher Lloyd. As a Staples High School student in 1958, he helped found what is now the nationally known Players drama troupe.

Click here for the full Hollywood Reporter review.

“The Tender Bar” (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

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Omicron may be rampant, but Stop & Shop has eliminated its special 6 a.m. opening time — instituted early in the pandemic, to give older shoppers special access to a supposedly emptier store. The new opening hour for everyone is 7 a.m. (Hat tip: John Karrel)

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Friday’s snowstorm has moved on. But scenes like these remain. This one was captured for “Westport … Naturally” by June Rose Whittaker.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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And finally … Happy 109th birthday, Mr. President!

 

Party Time At Vivid-Tek!

Vivid-Tek is one of Westport’s best “wow!” ideas.

Mark Motyl — a longtime resident, and former bond trader-turned-home builder — has created a unique product.

He’s taken those huge in-home theater screens — which look so great when you’re watching them, and so intrusive when you’re not — and hidden them in plain sight.

The screen hides in a credenza or bench — which the buyer helps customize — and emerges with the press of a button only when needed.

The 4K picture is crisp and clear. Great sound comes from Dolby Atmos speakers.

Vivid-Tek’s screen and controls can also be hidden in a bench.

An Apple 4K TV controls the system. Anything on your phone (or other devices) can be projected onto the screen.

And it’s great not just for movies and sports events. Westporters have used the technology for Zoom conferences, calls with Grandma, even online piano lessons.

Game on at Vivid-Tek.

I’ve written about Vivid-Tek before. Now there’s another angle. And it comes just as cabin fever may be setting in.

Motyl is opening his 1252 Post Road East studio — located between Fortuna’s and the same-day COVID testing center — to families or small groups of up to 6 people, for private evenings of fun.

Just reserve a time on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday night. Select what you want to watch. Then enjoy a private movie, show or game in what would be the comfort of your own home, if you had a 110-inch screen that rose up whenever you wanted it to.

Click here, then click on “Visit Showroom” for a reservation. Then, if you’ve watched a particularly cool event, let “06880” know. We’ll post a photo!

A small group gathering at Vivid-Tek.

Roundup: Sidewalk Clearing, Ellen Naftalin, Carl Addison Swanson …

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Molly Alger writes:

“About 5 hours after the snow had stopped falling yesterday, it was very treacherous being a pedestrian on Post Road.

“I stopped in a couple of businesses and asked why their sidewalks had not been cleared. No excuses were forthcoming other than, ‘Someone is supposed to do it.’ This is extremely disappointing — not to mention hazardous.”

Molly sent along a series of photos of un-shoveled sidewalks. Here is one:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

A reminder: According to WestportCT.gov, “Per town ordinance, businesses are responsible for keeping all sidewalks along their property clear of snow and ice.”

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It’s been many months in the making. But Ellen Naftalin’s “Art of the Album” exhibit is open, at the Westport Library’s Jesup Gallery. Put a mask on, and go!

On display is album cover art from remarkable women artists from the 1920s through ’60s. From the Depression and World War II to the civil rights and women’s movements, they broke the glass ceiling and the color barrier.

Naftalin and her husband Mark — a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band — dug through their personal, vast collection of LPs. Now they share them with the rest of us.

Every album cover — plus and the sign with Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“The Godmother of Rock and Roll”) has a QR code. Visitors can admire the art — and listen to each artist.

Naftalin’s exhibit is the second in a series. Another is planned for spring.

Part of Ellen Naftalin’s “Art of the Album” exhibit.

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Speaking of the Library: “Cart-side service” is now available weekdays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturdays (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the Westport Library. Books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and children’s toys and kits are available for pickup.

Anyone with a Westport or CT Library card registered with the Westport Library can use the service. However, requests can take up to 4 days to be fulfilled

Click here or call 203-291-4807 to request items (up to 10 per library card). You will receive an email or phone call when the items are ready. Call the number above when you plan to come; items will be placed on the cart in the library (just inside the main upper entrance) for pickup.

This replaces the previous “curbside” service. Click here for more information.

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There’s never a dull moment with Carl Addison Swanson. The Staples High School graduate has written 51 (!) novels, including the highly acclaimed Hush McCormick series, Tug Christian thrillers, Scooter mysteries, Ian Fletcher legal series, Justin Carmichael nostalgic memoirs, and more. Five works have been optioned to the film industry.

Carl’s latest is “Never a Dull Moment: Spring of 1966.”

Amazon’s teaser says: “One’s last two 2 semesters of high school can be rough, but even worse when there is never a dull moment.”

Click here to order.

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Westport’s feathered creatures know how to fend for themselves in foul weather. Of course, a bit of help from humans never hurts. Wendy Crowther snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo right after yesterday’s snow.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … Inez Foxx’s “Mockingbird” is one of the album covers in Ellen Naftalin’s Westport Library exhibit (above). Here’s the song behind the artwork:

Roundup: Planning & Zoning, Local To Market, Margot Bruce ….

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Earlier this week, “06880” noted the full agenda of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s Regulation Revision Subcommittee meeting.

Yesterday, the group discussed a proposed amendment to preserve mature trees on private property. It received both positive and negative feedback. The text amendment will be re-drafted, for further discussion at a future subcommittee meeting.

Proposals that would permit 2nd floor retail, as well as stores over 10,000 square feet, downtown will be considered at next Thursday’s work session, to be brought as a P&Z-sponsored text amendment at a future meeting.

A proposal to allow non-team activities — for instance, guided hikes, painting classes and yoga — at Baron’s South will also be considered at next Thursday’s work session, to be brought to a future public hearing as a P&Z-sponsored text amendment.

Discussions will continue on a Planning & Zoning Commission tree proposal.

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Local to Market — the food-and-more store featuring (duh) all local goods, at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza — has a constantly changing array of items.

But they’re always on the lookout for more.

Which is where we all come in.

Next Tuesday (January 11, 4 to 5 p.m.), they’re sponsoring a “think tank.” Everyone is invited to hear about procurement, ask questions, suggest ideas, and meet fellow food lovers.

Want two more reasons to go? There’s also a wine tasting from Stappa Vineyards. And you’ll get 15% off if you shop during the event.

What else would you like to see on the shelves?

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Westport, get ready for your star turn.

Tomorrow (Friday, January 7; 9 pm on New York’s Channel 13; check listings for other PBS stations) marks the first of 3 “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” specials.

Gavin Creel stars in the inaugural broadcast, taped during 2 shows in September, and produced by our own Andrew “Live from Lincoln Center” Wilk.

Pre-press has been excellent. The Los Angeles Times called it a “Pick of the Week,”

But see for yourself (below). Then mark your calendars for the next 2 Fridays: Shoshana Bean on the 14th, Brandon Victor Dixon the 21st.

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Want to see another world premiere?

2011 Staples High School graduate Margot Bruce’s short film, “Harbor,” debuts at the Westport Library next Wednesday (January 12, 7 p.m.). She’ll be there, and hosts a conversation afterward. Click here to register.

“Harbor” offers a modern twist on selkie stories from Celtic, Gaelic, and Norse folklore.

While at Staples, Margot swam and played water polo, and was a member of the band, orchestra and chorus. She discovered a passion for filmmaking at Fairfield University, and graduated from the College of Wooster with a BA in English. She recently completed an MFA in cinema at San Francisco State University.

Margot Bruce

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Suzanne Bauman — the pioneering female documentary filmmaker who lived near Old Mill Beach from 1976-1991 — died on January 2, from complications of cancer. She was 76 years old.

She and her husband Jim Burroughs gave noted 1971 Staples High School graduate Brian Keane his start in film scoring.

Suzanne was editor and co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated “Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey” (1981). She and Jim produced the film while living in Westport. It was the first one scored by then-27-year old Keane.

She produced, directed and wrote more than 80 films, both documentary and drama.

Suzanne took crews all over the world, and worked with — among others — John Kenneth Galbraith, Norman Mailer, the Sixth Earl of Carnarvon, Diana Vreeland, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Anna Wintour, Gianni Versace, Tina Brown,  Jane Alexander, David Rockefeller, Fidel Castro, Ted Kennedy, Annie Liebowitz, Gloria Steinem, Cybill Shepherd, Raul Julia, Stacy Keach, Martin Sheen and Sir Ian McKellen.

She was supervising producer/director of “The Writing Code,” a landmark series for PBS on the invention, history, art and craft of writing, from ancient times to the internet.

“Water Wars” won the award for best documentary feature at the 2014 Universe Multicultural Film Festival.  Her feature documentary “Shadow of Afghanistan” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. “Jackie Behind the Myth,” a two-hour documentary special on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was People Magazine’s Pick of the Week, premiered on PBS nationwide and aired in more than 30 countries.

Suzanne is survived son Ryan, and step-children Rain, Shannon, Shane and Doah Burroughs.

For more information on Suzanne’s life, click here and here.

Suzanne Bauman

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” Earthplace photo has been hanging around the “06880” files for a while. But a good mushroom never gets old.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally, as we mark the 1-year anniversary of the storming of the US Capitol, we continue to hear — from some quarters —