Category Archives: Entertainment

Roundup: Compo Cleanup, Weston Fest, Horace Lewis …

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It was a sparkling day at Compo Beach yesterday. We’re hanging on to great weather as long as we can!

(Photo/Maggie Rahe)

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Meanwhile, elsewhere by the water, a Coastal Cleanup crew from Staples High School was hard at work.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Saturday’s International Market and Festival at Lachat Town Farm yesterday was a huge success.

Global cultures was celebrated through food trucks, world music, dance troupes, artisanal vendors, kids’ activities, and (of course) a German beer garden.

If you weren’t there, this photo will have to suffice.

(Photo courtesy of Dick Wingate)

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Westporters continue to help Horace Lewis, Staples High School’s head custodian who suffered a major stroke just 5 months after retiring last summer.

The latest update from his family:

“He is making small gains with his therapies. He can hear us, and makes sounds verbally in response. It takes a lot of energy for him to do. We continue to pray for God’s will to be done for Horace’s healing.

“We ask for your support to help with his long-term rehabilitation journey. To find a safe place of comprehensive rehabilitation for brain injury as close to home would be what he would have liked. His family, friends and all involved are so thankful for your help.”

Click here for Horace’s GoFundMe page.

Horace Lewis

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Two requests, from an organizer of a December holiday event: “Do you know someone who could be a Santa Claus? And anyone with a boat still in the water who could decorate it with holiday lights, to be admired by the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge?”

If you can help, email dwoog@optonline.net. Thanks!

Looking for a Santa — and a boat. Two separate items, despite this photo.

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With all eyes on the Staples High School boys soccer team, as it roars into the post-season with a 9-1-4 record, here’s a reminder of some players who grew up here before taking their talents elsewhere.

The Hopkins private school varsity team is captained by Max Gordon. They’re having a great season, having beaten longtime powerhouses Avon Old Farms and Kent.

Max is joined by fellow Westport Soccer Association graduates Liam Spellacy and Albert Yang. Good luck as they begin the Fairchester league playoffs next month — seeded first.

Max Gordon

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Rowene Weems describes the back story to today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken on the boardwalk by Bartaco:

“I did not use a zoom. The gull waited patiently while I got closer and closer, seemingly expecting a treat. He bolted, when he realized all I had was a camera.”

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

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And finally … happy 296th birthday to composer Johann Strauss!

 

 

Take care, Rowene

Roundup: Halloween, Holiday Trees, Movies …

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Once upon a time, trick-or-treaters (yes, there was a “trick” part besides the “treat”) soaped up windows.

Now they paint them.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s annual Halloween Window Painting Contest takes place this Saturday (October 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

A record number of kids (105) will paint 65 different windows, all around town. They’re vying to win in 3 categories (Scariest, Most Original, and Best Halloween Themed) in 3 divisions (Elementary, Middle and High School). Victors earn rewards, and $25 gift cards from Cold Fusion.

Windows of retailers, offices, the Library and Senior Center answered the call, ensuring that every child who signed up has a window to paint. They’ll work on their own or in teams.

Windows will remain painted through Halloween, so residents can enjoy the artistry. For more information,  click here.

Halloween painting, 2013.

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Also downtown: The Westport Downtown Association hopes Westporters can help them make this holiday season special. They’re installing a dozen colorful tees throughout the area. Each will be decorated by professional designers, and will be themed to a different local non-profit. The aim is to support their missions during the season of giving.

The WDA seeks donations to help cover the cost of the trees, lights and decorations. Click here for the GoFundMe page, to help reach the $10,000 goal.

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Usually, the only tents at Sherwood Island are on the sand.

Yesterday, visitors saw a ginormous tent, in the parking area. There were a couple dozen tractor-trailer dressing and production rooms too.

It was part of a movie being filmed there. Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell star in “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” an adaptation of a Stephen King short story.

Despite all the activity, no one spotted the main actors.

(Photo and hat tip: Werner Liepolt)

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Speaking of cinema: The Remarkable Theater ends its second remarkable drive-in season with films that celebrate Halloween and Election Day (plus one classic music movie).

  • “Pink Floyd: The Wall” (Saturday, October 23, 6:30 p.m.)
  • “Hotel Transylvania” (Sunday, October 24, 6 p.m.)
  • “Corpse Bride” (Monday, October 25, 6:30 p.m.)
  • “The Candidate” (Tuesday, October 26, 6:30 p.m.)
  • “Beetlejuice” (Friday, October 29, 6:30 p.m.)
  • “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Saturday, October 30, 8:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Speaking still of movies: After a great opening night, the Westport Library’s Short Cuts Film Festival continues Thursday, November 4 (7 p.m.), with 5 short films curated from the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. The lineup includes narrative and animated films.

Six Nights follows a restaurant dishwasher facing a dilemma; in The Angler, things are not always what they seem; a baby owl struggles in the animated Try to Fly; challenges face a Syrian immigrant in No Longer Suitable for Use; and 3 young children seek a boyfriend for their bus driver in Cupids.

Cupid director and humanitarian aid worker Zoey Martinson will be an in-person guest in the Forum for a discussion after the screenings. At-home viewers can access the talkback via Zoom, and ask questions as well.

An all-documentary program follows on November 18.

All films will be screened on the Forum’s large, hi-def screen.

To buy tickets for November 4, click here. For November 18, click here.

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Coming soon at Wakeman Town Farm:

“Bicycling with Butterflies” (November 1, 6:30 p.m., Zoom). On behalf of Westport’s Pollinator Pathway, and in honor of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos — the day the monarchs traditionally return to their winter sanctuary in Michoacán — Sara Dykman talks about her solo experience biking the 10,000-mile Monarch Butterfly Migration  . Click here for more information.

“Don’t Blow It! A Panel Discussion About Leaf Blowers” (November 8, 7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Clear the air about the impact of gas leaf blowers on our bodies and the environment – including the gas leaf blower ordinance being presented to the RTM Click here for more information.

“Holiday Wreath Making” (November 15, 6:30 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). Chyrse Terill and Ellen Goldman will show how to create wonderful Thanksgiving wreaths, with materials collected from WTF. At the end of the class, take home your work. Click here for more information.

Monarch butterfly in Westport. (Photo/Tammy Barry)

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Compo Cove was frothy yesterday.

“Wash day?” wonders Les Dinkin.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo combines a special local custom (dogs at the beach) with an iconic site (Compo cannons). The result:

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)

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And finally … on this date in 1934, FBI agents in East Liverpool, Ohio shot and killed Pretty Boy Floyd.

Woody Guthrie noted the generous side of the notorious Depression-era bank robber:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

Father-Son “Falsettoland”

In 1994, Staples Players staged an entirely student-run production of “Falsettos.”

Directed by senior Ari Edelson, the Tony Award-winning musical — dealing with hot-button issues like AIDS, homosexuality and religion — was a smash. Audience members were in tears; cast members called it “life-changing.”

But the show was not produced at the high school. Administrators — unnerved by the themes — forced the show off campus. The Westport Country Playhouse welcomed it to their historic stage.

Shirah Lipson Sklar remembers it well. She was a Staples student then; her friends acted in the show, and played in the pit. The 4 sold-out performances were momentous events.

Now the senior rabbi at Temple Shalom in Norwalk, she’ll revisit it again next month. “Falsettoland” — the 2nd act of “Falsettos” — runs weekends at the Music Theatre of Connecticut.

It will be especially poignant for Shirah. Her son Ari plays Jason, who is preparing for his bar mitzvah.

Dan Sklar — Shirah’s husband, and Ari’s father — is in the cast too. He’s Marvin, Jason’s father. In the show he suffers from a mysterious, undefined illness. The audience knows it is AIDS.

Ari Sklar

Acting and singing come naturally to Ari, a Coleytown Middle School 7th grader. Shirah sang beautifully as a Staples Orphenian under director Alice Lipson — her own mother. Dan was an actor more than 20 years ago, but stopped performing when he entered rabbinic school.

Still, Ari was surprised when he learned that his stage father would be his real father. Dan is proud that Ari has long been an advocate for social justice. And he realized that as Ari prepares for his own, actual bar mitzvah, sharing the stage in a show like this was too good to pass up.

Ari did not know that Dan auditioned with director Kevin Connors. A 12-year-old boy may not be thrilled about being in a musical with his father, Dan admits. But now that they’re rehearsing — sharing the process of putting together a very important play — Ari is enjoying their new on- and off-stage roles.

Dan calls the show “an old friend.” He knew “Falsettos” well in his performing days. Many actor friends were gay; he helped raise money through work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Dan Sklar

“There are so many layers to this play,” he notes. “As we go through dark, tough times, with another disease, it’s important to have ‘up’ moments like these.”

As rehearsals continue, Dan sees his son through new eyes. “He’s an amazing kid — well, not really a kid anymore,” he says. “We’re proud he’s growing up in a town that celebrates people for who they are. Every day he teaches us about acceptance, affirmation, and the changing world.

“I might be completely overwhelmed at the end, at the bar mitzvah scene. I just hope I can say my lines to him.”

After this, the proud father says, Ari’s real bar mitzvah in June will be a breeze.

(“Falsettoland” will be performed November 5-21: Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., at Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Avenue, Norwalk. Click here for tickets and more information.) 

Kelli O’Hara’s Next Star Turn: Library’s Malloy Lecture

The Westport Library’s Malloy Lecture in the Arts has drawn some impressive names here: Philippe de Montebello, Arthur Miller, Christo, Joshua Bell, Joyce Carol Oates, John Lithgow, Clive Davis and Salman Rushdie, to name just a few.

This year’s guest is equally luminous. But she’s a lot more familiar locally.

Kelli O’Hara “comes to town” November 11 (7 p.m.).

Our neighbor just happens to be one of Broadway’s great leading ladies. She earned a Tony Award in 2015 for her portrayal of Anna in “The King and I,” along with Drama League and Outer Circle nominations.

The Oklahoma native made her Broadway debut in “Jekyll & Hyde.” She followed with shows like “The Light in the Piazza,” which garnered her first award nominations. She got more for “The Pajama Game,” “South Pacific,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Kiss Me Kate” and others.

Kelli O’Hara

O’Hara also starred in NBC’s live telecast of “Peter Pan.” She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in “The Merry Widow,” with Renee Fleming. She is a frequent guest on PBS’ Memorial Day and July 4th celebrations, and has performed i Kennedy Center tributes for Jerry Herman and Barbra Streisand.

She and her husband, musician/filmmaker Greg Naughton, have 2 children. O’Hara is passionate about furthering the arts in education. She serves on the boards of New York City Center and the New York Pops.

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is the legacy of the late Susan Malloy. It was created in 2002 as a free, public annual discussion by an individual with significant cultural influence, whose work has enhanced an understanding and appreciation of the arts.

A limited number of in-person tickets are available, beginning at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday, October 12). Click here to register. The event will also be livestreamed and recorded.

Roundup: Supply Chain, Air-Cooled Autos, Entitled Cars …

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David Pogue’s “CBS Sunday Morning” reports are always entertaining — and informative. If you’re not a regular viewer — you should be.

Yesterday’s was particularly educational. It was also quite local.

Our Westport neighbor explained the supply chain crisis — why so many goods are not on shelves, despite gluts — with an opening and closing at the Southport Diner.

Owner Tony Pertesis explains — in clear, direct diner-speak exactly why his customers can’t always count on things as basic as Gatorade and whipped butter. Pogue adds the rest.

Bottom line: Toilet paper hoarding is back. Just in time for the holidays. Click below to see:

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Air-cooled cars stopped traffic along Myrtle Avenue yesterday. They vehicles were parked — and exhibited — on Veterans Green. Sponsored by the Small Car Company, the show raised money for Person-to-Person in Norwalk.

Westport-based Small Car Company — a club for air-cool aficionados — is loosely connected to the car dealership of the same name. It was located on Post Road West, diagonally across from Kings Highway Elementary School. Today we know it as Carvana.

Seen at Veteran’s Green. (Photo/Sarathi Roy)

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Speaking of cars downtown: “06880’s” Entitled Parking feature has very high standards. We now only post photos of cars that take up 3 spaces (or more). Two spots is waaaaay too common.

But today is an exception. This is a true “2-fer”: a pair of cars, each hogging two parkin spaces in the Baldwin lot.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Not too bad, you say?

Look at it this way. If everyone parked like that, the lot would have exactly half the capacity it does now.

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It’s always important to give blood. Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., VFW, 465 Riverside Avenue) you can donate in honor of a Westporter.

The Charley with a Y Foundation is sponsoring the event. “Charley” was Marine LCPL Charles Rochlin. The 2003 Staples High School graduate spent 7 months in Iraq. He was on leave in Westport when he died in an automobile accident.

Click here for an appointment (use sponsor code VFWWestport), or call 1-800-733-2767.

LCPL Charley Rochlin

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Genevieve Bouchard — owner of Scout & Molly’s, the women’s clothing boutique in Playhouse Square — recently lost her mother, Chantal Haskew.

At her death, the frequent Westport visitor and talented artist was one of the longest living liver transplant patients in the US. She lived one-third of her life because in 1995 a stranger donated organs. Thanks to her liver, Chantal enjoyed the weddings of her 5 children, and the joys of her 8 grandchildren.

In honor of her mom — and all the organ donors out there — Scout & Molly’s is hosting a special shopping day. This Thursday (October 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a portion of all sales will be donated to Donate Life America.

Transplant recipients will be there, telling stories of their second chances at life.

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A few tickets remain for this Friday’s (October 15, Fairfield Theater Company) “Evening of Motown” benefit for CLASP Homes.

Band Central — “music with a purpose” — will perform America’s favorite hits. Proceeds support CLASP’s work. The Westport non-profit supports adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities, through group homes and enrichment programs.

$40 tickets include a pre-party with lite bites. Art by CLASP residents will be on display. Click here to purchase.

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Congratulations to the Westport Soccer Association’s U-11 blue team. They played 4 games in one day, and won the Bethel Columbus Day tournament.

Top row (left to right): head coach Bardhl Limani, James Tansley, Luke Shiel, John Walker, Peter Shakos, Lochlann Treanor, Nicolas Barreto, assistant coach Jeffery Holl, Bottom: Mason Holl, Atticus Lavergne, Andrew Floto, Matthew Alfaro, Zylan Wang.

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Nearly every holiday, “06880” runs a photo of Jolantha the Pig. For 20 years, the figure has sat — visibly and beloved — on Weston’s Kellogg Hill Road.

Of course, there’s a great back story. To learn more, click below:

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It’s juniper berry season. Peter Gold captured this shot on Old Road, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” series.

(Photo/Peter Gold)

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And finally … in honor of junipers:

 

Roundup: COVID, Sheryl Crow, Unsung Science …

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“The rise in case levels in Westport for the past 1 weeks placed the town into the ‘substantial transmission’ (‘red’) category this week. Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) Director of Health Mark Cooper stated, ‘High risk individuals should take extra precautions, particularly those who are unvaccinated, by avoiding large gatherings. Getting fully vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing continue to be strongly recommended for all.’

“The First Selectman’s Executive Orders #9 and #10 remain in effect. They require masks in indoor public places within Westport for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include retail establishments, restaurants, or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces, places of worship and government buildings. Businesses may still require proof of vaccination to enter, but a mask will also be required. Executive Order #10, which modifies Executive Order #9, refers specifically to gyms and workout studios, and provides certain exceptions to mask-wearing in those public places only.

“I am grateful that Westporters recognize the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It is for our physical and mental health and safety that we remain vigilant.

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If you know Dan Aron, you know how proud he is to be an Indiana University grad.

If you don’t know Dan Aron, you know his house. It’s the one on Soundview Drive with the huge IU flag.

On October 14 — during Homecoming — he’ll be one of 3 recipients of Indiana’s Distinguished Alumni Service award. It’s the highest honor the school gives to a graduate.

Dan earned a BS from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 1983. He was an equity sales trader, partner and head trader for 30 years with Salomon Brothers, John Levin & Co. and others. Along the way he mentored Kelley students, and served on many school advisory boards.

Dan and his wife Maureen raised daughters Alexa, Ashley and Anna in Westport. The couple underwrote the Investment Center in Hodge Hall, and the Kelley Diversity Merit Bicentennial Scholarship.

“I will never forget where I came from. I will always be a Hoosier,” Dan says. (Hat tip: JD Denny)

Dan Aron

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Speaking of Dan Aron: Among his philanthropic activities, he’s a big supporter of the Levitt Pavilion.

He was there there — near the stage — at last night’s great Sheryl Crow concert. Here’s his photo:

(Photo/Dan Aron)

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David Pogue has a new project.

Well, the Westport tech guru/media personality always does. But this is especially intriguing.

“Unsung Science” (@UnsungSci) debuts Friday. Each weekly episode offers the origin story of a cool science or tech achievement. They’re told by the characters themselves, from their first inspiration to the times they almost gave up.

Episodes include the NASA engineer whose team landed a delicate, unpiloted $3 billion rover on Mars without kicking up dust; the father of the cellphone; the committee that chooses which emoji to add to your phone each year; the computer scientist who blessed/cursed the world with CAPTCHA website login obstacles; the storm chaser who discovered that Tornado Alley is shifting east into more vulnerable states; the inventor of the Impossible Burger, and more.

Click here for more information.

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Stephen Gustafson loves dahlias. Others do too. He’s formed them into a close-knit Facebook group: the Westport Dahlia Society.

Now he — and anyone else who shares the dahlia passion — will meet at Wakeman Town Farm. The event is  October 18 (7 p.m.).

Gustafson will explain the overwintering process of tubers to save for next year. There’s a door prize of dahlia seeds.

Guests can bring their favorite flower cuttings. Novices looking to learn more about dahlias are welcome too. For more information, email westportdahliasociety@gmail.com.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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“06880” does not run wedding announcements.

But this photo — by frequent Pic of the Day contributor Lauri Weiser — was too good to pass up.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Her daughter, Sabrina Weiser-Min, married Matt Crorey last weekend at the Bryant Park Grill in New York City.

She has been friends with Micha Grand since Bedford Middle School. Micha and Matt were roommates in college. Then all 3 lived together in New York. He was the perfect choice to officiate.

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Frederick Louis Hyman, former president and CEO of The Cousteau Group and co-founder and president of The Cousteau Society, died October 7. He was 89.

After graduating from Staples High School in 1949, and then the University of Connecticut, he served as first lieutenant, combat command, in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

Hyman’s career started with Associated Artists Productions, a distributor to television of feature films and short subjects, best known for the Popeye, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. After acquisition by United Artists Associated, he became executive vice president. He then co-owned Scope Advertising, a New York agency.

He also founded Americom, a Westport manufacturer and marketer of unique custom phonograph records that combined print and sound for the publishing and education markets. He innovated a 4-inch flexible single record, the PocketDisc, with its own player.

His experience with educational television and publishing led Jacques-Yves Cousteau to him. Hyman joined Cousteau in 1971 as president and CEO of The Cousteau Group, the operator of all Cousteau related companies in the US and in France; television production; publications based on expeditions; the 20-volume Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau; research activities aboard Calypso, and the development of new technology.

A gift by Hyman and Cousteau was the basis for their 1973 creation of The Cousteau Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of marine life and the environment. Hyman served as president and later a board member. However, he later lost confidence in the management and no longer supported TCS.

Hyman was a founding member of the Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Weston. He played in 3 British Seniors golf championships, plus many tournaments in Bermuda.

He is survived by Janett, his wife of 67 years; children Richard (Margaret), Mark, Dean and Jane, and grandchildren Emily, Brent, Sarah, Ben and Olivia.

Frederick Hyman

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June Rose Whittaker is aptly named. She sends along this “Westport … Naturally” submission from her home: “the last rose of summer.”

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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And finally … if you missed Sheryl Crow last night, this will make you happy:

 

 

Roundup: Real Estate, Brunch, Mental Health …

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Westport’s real estate market continues to sizzle.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, though the 189 homes that closed in Westport in the 3rd quarter of 2021 represented a 29% decrease from the same period last year, that’s still the 2nd highest number of closings for the quarter in 20 years.

The average house closing price rose 5o $1.86 million, a 9% year-over-year increase and the highest for any quarter in Westport in the past decade.

Homes on average sold for 101.4% of the list price — the 2nd straight quarter it’s been over 100%.

Closed houses in the 3rd quarter spent an average of 58 days on the market — a record low. (Hat tip: Roe Colletti)

This house at 5 Hedley Farms Road in the Greens Farms neighborhood is on the market at $12.6 million.

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There’s something new on the menu at La Plage: brunch.

The highly touted restaurant at the Inn at Longshore starts serving this Saturday and Sunday (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.).

There’s a raw bar and a la carte menu. The $25 prix fixe brunch includes a bloody mary or mimosa. The kiddy brunch menu is $15 — without, of course, the alcohol.

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Dogs and music are the themes of the Remarkable Theater’s next 2 movies.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in screens “Togo” tomorrow (Saturday, October 9, 6:45 p.m.). Appropriately, it’s the day before the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Dog Festival. Canines are welcome.

“The Last Waltz” — the great film about the great band — will be shown Tuesday (October 12, 6:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Westport’s 25th annual Mental Health Breakfast is set for October 26 (8 a.m., Westport Library). Residents can attend in person, and join virtually.

The event will address the intersection of youth mental health and substance abuse. Dr. Aaron Wiener will offer insights about youth drug trends and the potential impact of recent marijuana legalization, followed by audience questions and further opportunities for discussion and networking among providers.

Click here to register in person. Click here for the virtual program.

Dr. Aaron Weiner

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The town has just received a big gift. Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in New York donated 23 prints, created in the 1970s by noted artist Richard Hunt (b. 1936) to the Westport Public Art Collections.

The gift helps realize the Westport Arts Advisory Committeee’s initiative to “contemporize and diversify the public art collection,” says town arts curatoro Kathie Bennewitz.

The works will be featured in a 2022 exhibition at MoCA, showcasing WestPAC’s recent accessions and rich holdings.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and town arts curator Kathie Bennewitz flank Noah Dorsky,. They admire the Dorsky Gallery’s gift of 23 prints.

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There’s no end to the wonders of “Westport … Naturally.”

Yesterday it was termites. Today we feature a mushroom. Matt Murray spotted this beauty in the small park on Compo Beach Road by Gray’s Creek — not far from the graves of men who died at the Battle of Compo Hill.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … “The Last Waltz” — next Tuesday’s Remarkable Theater feature (see above) — includes some remarkable performances. None is as memorable as this closing number:

 

Roundup: Staples #1, Tyler Hicks, Young Authors, MoCA Show …

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“06880” does not post most “ranking” stories (Best Beach Towns in America, etc.). The criteria are random, the headlines are often clickbait, and — particularly with education — if, say, our school district is #1 one year and #2 the next, Westporters demand to know “What happened?!”

So this story is not about Niche’s ranking of Staples as the #1 school in Connecticut — for the 3rd year in a row.

Instead, it’s about the Channel 8 news report about that honor. Click here to learn more, from (very proud) principal Stafford Thomas.

Screenshot of Staples principal Stafford Thomas, on Channel 8’s “What’s Right With our Schools” feature.

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As the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the New York Times looks back on Tyler Hicks’ 2 decades of chronicling life and death in that faraway land.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer arrived there soon after the October 7, 2001 invasion — 20 years ago today. One of the first sights he saw was the execution of a Taliban fighter.

His most recent assignment, in July, was near Bagram Air Base — the same spot he saw that harrowing first scene.

Click here for today’s Times retrospective of Hicks’ haunting photos. (Hat tip: Gil Ghitelman)

In 2001, Northern Alliance fighters dragged a wounded Taliban fighter out of a ditch. They shot him dead. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

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When COVID put the kibosh on after-school activities, Jordan Razza created her own.

She arranged classes for her daughters Daisy and Ainsley, and 2 other Westport youngsters, with children’s book author Jacky LaMenzo.

She lives in Massachusetts, but no matter. This was COVID; classes were held via Zoom, on Tuesday evenings.

This was more than just “how-to.” LaMenzo emphasized “do it!”

Brainstorming ideas was key. Daisy — now a 7th grader at Coleytown Middle School — wanted to write about LGBTQ people.

Ainsley — a Coleytown Elementary 5th grader — loves alligators, crocodiles and frogs. She focused on an alligator who makes friends.

Both girls honed in on the theme of acceptance. Now, both are now published authors.

Daisy’s book is “My Colors.” It’s illustrated with her own digital art.

Ainsley wrote “Outcast.” Her drawings are freehand.

The books are available on Amazon. Part of the proceeds go to a literary charity.

The girls are interested in many things. Daisy does gymnastics, the school play and swimming. She’s also in CMS’ Pride Club. Ainsley enjoys synchronized swimming and art. Both continue to write.

The Razzas may not be Westport’s newest authors. But they definitely are our youngest!

(Click here for more information on Daisy’s book. Click here for Ainsley’s.)

The Razza sisters’ books.

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“When Caged Birds Sing” — a teaching exhibition created by Westport artist Ann Weiner — opens to the public on October 29. An opening reception is October 28 (6 to 8 p.m.).

The exhibit features 8 life-size sculptures representing women’s rights activists who suffered and survived abuse because of their gender, yet continue to advocate for the rights of others at risk.

Weiner’s work shines a spotlight on sex trafficking, kidnapping, transphobia, female genital mutilation, honor killings, domestic abuse, the conversion of kidnapped girls into sex slaves and killers by rebel armies, merciless Taliban law and transphobia.

Visitors are invited to write stories, experiences or feelings on pieces of paper that will then be folded into the origami shape of a bird and placed in a bird cage, for release later. A 45-minute documentary about the women featured in the exhibition will also be shown.

For more information, click here.

Part of MoCA’s “Caged Bird” exhibition.

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The Tailored Home is known for its custom furniture, window treatments, accessories, reupholstery, refinishing and design services. It’s a great place, and it knows its Fairfield County clientele.

But last night the Sconset Square store sponsored a funk band. It was something different, for sure.

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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For 10 years, Voices Cafe at the Westport Unitarian Church has featured great folk music. Peter Yarrow, Paul Winter and Suzanne Sheridan have performed there; Brother Sun chose it their final concert. Many events support social justice causes.

Voices Cafe begins its 2nd decade on Sunday, October 24 (7:30 p.m.). with double bill: Newtown-born Sawyer Fredericks (winner of The Voice’s season 8) and The Accidentals, a powerful female-led indie rock and punk folk band.

The concert will be both in-person at the church, and livestreamed. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Sawyer Fredericks

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Sorelle Gallery’s final exhibition of 2021 features abstract artist Ned Martin. Beginning Saturday (October 9). Light refreshments will be served in the Bedford Square spce.

Martin’s work includes birds, female portraiture, natural forest-scapes, and pure abstraction.

“Fragmented in Time” (Ned Martin)

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James Goodenough died peacefully at his Westport home on September 29, surrounded by Gloria, his wife of 73 years, and his 4 children. He was 95 years old.

He was born in New Haven to Dr. Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough, a professor at Yale University, and Helen Miriam Lewis. Jim  graduated from Yale University.

In 1954 Jim and Gloria moved to Westport. He worked at a specialized business magazine company, Cleworth Publishing, rising to publisher of several magazines, then vice president and treasurer.

Jim was a man of consummate integrity, wisdom and humbleness. He is survived by his wife Gloria; children Sandra, Janice, Andrew and Elizabeth; 6 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and his brother John B. Goodenough, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year for his work on the lithium ion battery.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 17 (2 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church). Memorial donations are suggested to Saugatuck Church or Westminster School in Simsbury.

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In our never-ending quest to feature every living thing possible, “Westport … Naturally” today turns to termites.

Susan Garment writes: “I came across this swarm of termites in a tree on my yard. I called several exterminators and sent them this picture. They  became extremely excited, because they had never seen anything like it. They wanted to send the picture to the Connecticut Department of Entomology.

“We removed the tree. Fortunately,  none of the termites migrated to my house.”

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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And finally … the next MoCA exhibition — “When Caged Birds Sing” (see above) — reminded me of this seriously underrated Beatles song. Sure, there’s no connection between the tune and the Maya Angelou-inspired museum title, other than the bird theme. But I love this track:

Colin Konstanty’s Senior Moment: “Trevor”

Like most Staples High School students, Colin Konstanty looked forward to senior year. Homecoming, Staples Players productions, the Candlelight Concert — all would be cap his Westport educational career.

Then “Trevor” came calling.

So instead of driving up North Avenue, Colin spends 6 days a week on Metro-North. He’s in the ensemble of the off-Broadway musical.

Though its not easy giving up so much of senior year, the talented actor is pursuing his passion.

And chasing his dream.

As a young child in England, Colin played sports. (His brother AJ is a tight end on the Cornell University football team.)

Colin Konstanty (right) and his brother AJ, last June.

He kept playing after moving to Westport. But in 2nd grade at Greens Farms Elementary School, Colin also started piano lessons and singing. He joined School of Rock in Fairfield, and got hooked on performing.

He had a small part in Bedford Middle School’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Yet sports were still a major focus.

The summer before 8th grade, Colin’s parents encouraged him to do Bedford’s summer musical. The decision changed his life.

He joined an 8th grade acting class. He’s been performing — and honing his craft — ever since.

Colin Konstanty rehearses his George Bailey role, in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show was one of Staples Players’ radio productions, during COVID last year.

Colin loves “the energizing feeling of being on stage, in front of an audience.” He also enjoys the process of “putting up a play or musical, working together as a team with the cast and crew.”

As an actor, he appreciates the process of “finding a character, and doing my research and work to be as truthful and specific as I can.

“I love being in the moment, leaving myself alone, feeling as though I’m open, and connecting with another actor, the material, or even the audience on a level I maybe hadn’t before.”

He tried for professional work. In March 2020, just before COVID shut down theaters, he auditioned for “Trevor: The Musical.”

Last month — as the industry took steps to reopen — the creative team asked Colin to go straight to callbacks. The next day, he learned he was cast.

Colin Konstanty

“Being a part of the reopening of theater in New York is pretty amazing,” he says. “But to be working on a show that covers such important issues faced by young teens — especially LGBTQ+ teenagers — makes it all the more special.”

Though Colin now attends Staples only on Mondays — he and fellow actors are tutored the rest of the days — his teachers and administrators have been very supportive. So are his friends.

“I’m doing what I love, professionally, with an amazing creative team,” Colin says. “And I’m working with a phenomenally talented cast that is mostly kids my age.”

Colin is learning what it takes to be part of a large-scale production — especially one that creates an “inclusive, encouraging, uplifting environment.” He’s also learned to be a team player, and flexible.

But an actor’s life is precarious. Colin hopes to continue in the industry — either onstage, or as a writer, director or producer.

Right now — like many Staples seniors — Colin is applying to college. He hopes to study acting, producing and the entertainment business there.

That’s all in the future, of course. Right now, Colin Konstanty is focused on one thing: making “Trevor” the best show possible.

Performances begin October 25, at Stage 42.

(Click here for tickets, and more information.)