Category Archives: Entertainment

Roundup: Pushups, Steffi Friedman, Roses …

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There was a lot going on this beautiful weekend.

A beautiful sight was Staples High School’s Jinny Parker Field, where hundreds of Westporters of all ages banged out pushups for a great cause.

The 12th annual Push Against Cancer is a fundraiser for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — the wonderful respite for kids battling life-threatening diseases. It was developed by Westport’s beloved Paul Newman.

Participants solicited pledges, in return for pushups. The top 2 teams were Staples girls soccer ($24,178) and Staples boys soccer ($23.311).

It costs $2,500 to send one youngster to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for a week. Those 2 soccer programs alone will send 18 children there.

Add in the $140,000-plus raised by everyone else, and that’s nearly 80 boys and girls. Well done, Westport!

The Staples High School girls soccer team at the Push Against Cancer … (Photo/Charlotte Strandell)

… and the boys.

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On Saturday, friends and family of Steffi Friedman honored the Westport artist who died 2 years ago at 94, and dedicated a new work.

Her bronze “Pas de Deux” (2002) is now part of the Westport Public Art Collections. Installed for years on her Yankee Hill Road lawn, it now sits proudly in the Staples High School courtyard. The work was donated by her family, in gratitude of Westport’s cultural legacy, and Staples’ commitment to the arts.

The event was organized by Steffi’s daughter Margie — a 1972 Staples graduate — and town arts curator Kathie Bennewitz.

Performances include poetry from town poet laureate Diane Meyer Lowman, and dance by Staples alum Grace Bergonzi.

Friends and family admire Steffi Friedman’s sculpture. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

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The River of Roses is one of Westport’s best fundraisers.

It’s probably the most colorful too.

The Survive-OAR program provides mental, physical and emotional healing after traditional treatment ends. It’s an empowering, supportive community for women to heal.

During next Sunday’s celebration (October 10, 4 p.m.) — honoring the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s Survive-OARS crew, plus anyone who has battling breast cancer (or is now) — names are read aloud, as rose petals are scattered into the Saugatuck River at high tide. They’re then swept out to sea.

Survive-OAR’s Kimberly Wilson will sing. There’s live music by Fake ID, plus Copp’s Island Oysters, a raw bar from Pagano’s Seafood, drinks, Chef Jason’s clam chowder and lobster bisque, and Donut Crazy treats.

Click here for tickets, donations, positivity bracelets and more. Questions? Email president and head coach Diana Kuen: diana@survive-OARS.org.

PS: Throughout October, new members can buy a one-month membership to the Saugatuck Rowing Club. 100% of the dues goes toward Survive-OARS.

Strewing rose petals, in 2019.

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Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for Westport Pride’s Zoom presentation: “When did you know?” (As in: When did you know you were LGBT?).

It’s tomorrow (Tuesday, October 5, 7 p.m.). Panelists include

  • John Dodig, former Staples High School principal
  • Zac Mathias, Weston High School senior and media influencer
  • Samantha Webster, Staples High graduate and former Staples Player
  • Luke Foreman, Staples grad and varsity tennis captain
  • Jen DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, Westport parents
  • Kayla Iannetta, Staples teacher and founder of the Westport Public Schools’ Pride Coalition
  • Brian McGunagle, Westport parent and founder of Westport Pride.

Click here for the Zoom link.

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Westporter Lisa Seidenberg had a letter published in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review.

It was a response to a review by Simon Winchester that mentioned the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair, and how General Motors drove many Americans into debt with the purchase of automobiles. That was a huge expense, in the post-Depression years.

Seidenberg knows the subject well. Her 2010 documentary on the Fair — “I Have Seen the Future” — premiered in Westport, before screenings at film festivals nationwide. It included commentary by the late Westport futurist Watts Wacker.

General Motors’ Futurama, at the 1939 World’s Fair.

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MoCA Westport has announced its fall music series. It includes:

  • Marielle Kraft (pop): Friday, October 8
  • The Figgs (rock): Friday, October 15
  • Priscilla Navarro (classical): Saturday, November 20
  • The Mark O’Connor Duo (violin/fiddle/bluegrass): Thursday, December 9.

Shows begin at 7 p.m. Click here for details and tickets.

The Figgs

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Congratulations to the Longshore Ladies 9 Holers. Their annual charity golf event at Longshore raised an enormous amount of food donations for the Westport Woman’s Club food closet, plus $1,175 in cash.

Longshore ladies who golf — and raise money for good causes. From left: M.J. Fusaro, Eileen Hart, Mandy Germishuys, Julie Gray.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is sweet!

Here’s a honeybee enjoying a dahlia:

(Photo/Nancy Diamond)

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And finally … I had never heard of the Figgs — the band that’s headlining at MoCA Westport next week.

Then again, there are lots of bands I’ve never heard of.

Now here they are:

Dancing In The Dark

Forget Snapchat and TikTok. Go away, SAT tutors. No need to worry about COVID or climate change.

Last night, dozens of Staples High School students enjoyed a good old-fashioned dance-a-thon.

The dance-a-thon begins.

The back-to-the-’50s kids were Staples Players. From 8 p.m. till midnight, they filled the main courtyard for a fundraiser. Actors and tech crew solicited pledges, for each hour they danced.

And this was real dancing. No grinding allowed.

Highlights included the male ensemble performing “Greased Lightning” — twice. The DJ loved it so much, he wants tickets to the next show.

Which is, of course, “Grease.”

After 18 months away from a full mainstage production, Players enjoyed getting together to dance. They also hoped to raise $40,000, to cover the cost of sets, costumes and much more. With canceled shows — and limited audiences looming due to the Delta variant — the dance-a-thon was crucial. (Donations are still being accepted; click here.)

Show dates are November 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., and November 14 and 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets go on sale October 23 at www.StaplesPlayers.com. For more details, follow Players on Facebook and Instagram.

(All photos/Kerry Long)

 

Roundup: Saugatuck El, Sustainable Westport, Screenings …

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Over the past week, 15 COVID cases have been identified at Saugatuck Elementary School.

Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says, “Although there appears to be very limited transmission within the school as new cases span multiple grades and classrooms, by definition, a sudden rise in the number of cases at this rate constitutes an outbreak.”

Officials asked the state Department of Public Health to review the cases, and the school district’s mitigating measures. Scarice said, “This discussion affirmed that community transmission (i.e. after school activities, large community social events, etc.) has likely contributed to the recent rise in cases at SES. As a result, it appears that in-school mitigating measures have been effective. “

The DPH recommended a round of surveillance testing for all students and staff at SES. Testing is set for tomorrow (Friday, October 1). 

Saugatuck Elementary School

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Once again, the Westport Police Department will do its part to help.

The color of the town seal will change from black and gold to pink.

In addition, many officers will wear pink patches, and pink ribbon pins. It’s all part of a campaign to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

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Sustainable Westport has taken a giant step forward, with the appointment of 2 new co-directors.

Gately Ross has dedicated her career to the health and conservation of wild and domestic animals, and the health of the environment. She combines a deep understanding of ecology and human impact on populations and ecosystems with clinical practice, team leadership and training experience in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.  

She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the College of Charleston, a masters of science from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tufts University. A Westport resident since 2007, Gately lives in Greens Farms with her husband, 3 boys and rescue dog.

Johanna Martell has over 15 years experience as a legal and business advisor, with a focus on commercial real estate, corporate, tax and estate planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in political economy from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. A Westport resident since 2013, she also lives in Greens Farms with her husband and 3 sons.

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The Remarkable Theater continues its remarkable fall run. A few tickets remain for some intriguing upcoming screenings at the Imperial Avenue drive-in:

  • “Soul” (tonight, Thursday, September 30)
  • “Footloose” (tomorrow, Friday, October 1)
  • “Coco” (Saturday,  October 2)
  • “The Stepford Wives” (filmed partly in Westport! — Tuesday, October 5)
  • “Clueless” (Thursday, October 7)
  • “Togo” (Saturday, October 9).

Click here for tickets, show times and more information.

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There’s a new program on the youth basketball scene.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA is introducing a basketball program for grades K-4. The program will introduce fundamentals in a fun way. Light competition begins for the 3rd graders.

The program is run by Mike Evans. The Weston High School all-state selection played at Hamilton College, then in Belfast and as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard. He’s been a shooting instructor for NBA professionals too

High school students will help out.

Kindergartners through 2nd graders will have clinics on Saturdays, in November and December.

Third and fourth graders will have Saturday clinics, plus one weekday practice. They’ll play intrasquad games, and perhaps face an outside opponent too.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Lewis Grossman is a Staples High School graduate, and professor of law and history at American University. He specializes in food, drug and health law. His new book — Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in America — examines that topic from the Revolutionary War to the Trump presidency.

He’ll be at the Westport Library on October 12 (7 p.m.) to discuss his findings. The event is both in-person and livestreamed. To register for a seat or watch from home — and purchase a signed copy of the book — click here.

Lewis Grossman

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MaryLou Roels describes her photo — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — as “the little things in life.”

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … in honor of tomorrow’s film at the Remarkable Theater:

 

 

Roundup: ArtSmart, Woodside Bash, Short Cuts …

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ArtSmart — the joint program between the Westport PTA Council and Westport Library that brings arts education and creative arts programming into elementary schools — held a kickoff event yesterday at the Westport Library.

Attendees (who do not need art or teaching experience) learned how they can help. A workshop for new volunteers follows on October 13. For more information, email co-chair Danielle Dobin: danielle@apifeni.com.

The youngest attendee watches Danielle Dobin explain the ArtSmart program.

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A few tickets remain for Earthplace’s major fundraiser.

The “Woodside Bash” includes a harvest dinner under the stars, open bar, mechanical bull and music by the party band Pimpinella. It’s this Saturday (October 2, 7 to 10 p.m.). Click here for tickets. Proceeds help fund Earthplace’s many environmental education programs, their museum and trails and more.

The fun continues the next day (Sunday, October 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), with a Family Festival. Activities include a climbing wall, apple slingshot, donuts on a string, pumpkin bowling, hayride, corn pool, food trucks and more. $10 for adults; $5 for children. Kids under 2 go free!

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Sure, you can go to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

But you can cut your schlep considerably, with a trip to the Westport Library’s Short Cuts Film Festival.

The 11th annual event will be screened live on the spectacular HD screen in the Trefz Forum — and online too — on 3 Thursdays: October 14, November 4 and November 18.

Tribeca selects 90 short films, from over 3,000 submissions. The Short Cuts Festival chooses 15 of those — “the best of the best.”

This year’s lineup includes 2 narrative/animated programs, and a first-ever documentary evening. Talkbacks with directors are scheduled too. For complete information on all films, including tickets, click here.

“The Kicksled Choir” — a Norwegian film — won the Best Narrative prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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Quidley & Co. — the great art gallery nestled between National Hall and Bartaco — combines with The Cottage for an “Art + Table Autumn” event on October 21 (5 to 6 p.m.).

The “convivial evening of art, lifestyle and cuisine” includes a collection of works by international artists for home or office, and “savory autumn tastes” from the Brian Lewis’ famed restaurant.

Quidley and Company

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You may have seen Robin Wolfe Scheffler running around town.

The son-in-law of longtime Westporters Steven Parton and Melody James loves training, whenever he’s here. Sometimes he pauses in mid-run to take photos, like this dramatic shot of the Staples High School track:

(Photo/Robin Wolfe-Scheffler)

It will all pay off at the 125th Boston Marathon October 11. He’s using the fabled event a a fundraiser for the National Braille Press’ children’s literacy program.

“Reading with my young son has been one of the best parts of being a parent. But that same experience costs 3 times more for families with blind or visually-impaired members,” he says. Click here to support Robin.

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Westport Country Playhouse’s Script in Hand play reading is always popular.

The next one — of “Mrs. Mannerly,” a comedy about a young boy and his manners teacher — will reach a wider audience than usual. It will be filmed — with a live audience — on Monday, October 11 (7 p.m.). The performance will be available for on-demand streaming from October 13-17.

“Mrs. Mannerly” will feature Playhouse favorites Mark Shanahan and Anne Keefe in the roles of student and teacher.

In-person tickets are $20. Tickets for on-demand streaming are $20 per individual, $40 for 2, $80 household. Each purchase entitles the buyer to an individual link. Click here, To purchase tickets click here, call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org

Mark Shanahan and Anne Keefe.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes courtesy of Julie Blume. Her husband took this picture of a baby opossum Monday night. She reports that he — the animal, not her husband –“was in our backyard, hopefully eating lots of ticks.”

(Photo/Greg Guido)

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And finally … happy birthday to Jerry Lee Lewis. The wild rock and rockabilly pianist as survived several wild episodes — marriage to his 13-year-old cousin, an arrest at Graceland for allegedly attempting to shoot Elvis Presley, and IRS woes — and turns 86 today.

Staples Players Dance For Dollars

After 18 months of COVID, “Grease” is the perfect musical for Staples Players to stage.

And — after 18 months of COVID played havoc with their finances — a “Grease”-inspired dance-a-thon is the perfect way to raise funds.

When the pandemic knocked out the spring 2020 production of “Seussical” 24 hours before opening night — and then canceled 2 more fall and spring shows — the usually self-sufficient high school-but-really-much-more troupe was troubled.

Ticket sales from shows like “Mamma Mia!” and “West Side Story” traditionally fund expenses for all shows, all year. Costs include performance rights, costumes, sets, sound, lights, extra staff, and whatever else it takes to put on a play.

Shows like “Mamma Mia!” are spectacular. And expensive. (Photo/Kerry Long)

As COVID eased last spring, a production of “Words, Words, Words … And Music” gave Players a sense of normalcy. But with ticket sales limited to 1/3 of the house, it actually lost money.

This year, directors David Roth and Kerry Long went big. “Grease” is a great show, with broad appeal. Bu performance rights are expensive — and they’re based on a full house, even if ticket sales must be limited. (The number of seats will be determined closer to opening night.)

So the popular dance musical has spawned a dance-a-thon. This Friday, October 1 (8 p.m. to midnight), cast members and tech crew will dance in the Staples courtyard — 4 hours straight. Music will span many eras, from the ’50s on.

The public can pledge donations, by the hour or for the full night. Click here for details.

Roundup: Yankee Doodle Fair, Affordable Housing, Animal Blessings …

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The Yankee Doodle Fair is back!

After missing 2020 because of COVID, the annual Westport Woman’s Club carnival has shifted from its traditional June date to September.

What hasn’t changed are the site — the Imperial Avenue parking lot next and adjacent WWC — and the attractions: rides, games, raffles, food, sand art and more.

Or the cause: raising funds for philanthropy.

The Yankee Doodle Fair runs today (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.).

Click below for a special video, created last year by Doug Tirola’s 4th Row Films, highlighting the 2019 event.

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Affordable housing — what it means, where to put it, how it fits in to the suburban and statewide landscape — is a controversial topic.

Next Tuesday (September 28, 6:30 p.m., Zoom), State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Stephanie Thomas host a bipartisan panel: “Affordable Housing in Our Community.”

Panelists include Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, and her Wilton counterpart Rick Tomasetti. The moderator is Heather Borden Herve, editor of “Good Morning Wilton.” Click here to register.

Among Westport’s affordable housing options: Sasco Creek Village.

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Wednesday’s Roundup included details of the upcoming Blessing of the Animals, at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Looks like Westport’s animals will be twice blessed.

On the same date (Sunday, October 3, 9:30 a.m.), Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will offer its own courtyard Blessing of the Animals. It’s part of the annual Feast of St. Francis.

All animals — and humans — are welcome.

Blessing of the Animals, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

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It’s almost October. Almost time to say goodbye to your garden, for the year.

How do you do it? On October 18 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farms hosts “Putting Your Garden to Bed: The Pollinator Friendly Way.

Nathalie Fonteyne joins WTF master gardeners and coaches Alice Ely and Ryan Brunelle to share tips on what to cut down and what to leave, how to recycle and compost the last greens as the garden prepares for its long winter nap, and what vegetables you still have time to plant to ensure a healthy, beautiful garden next spring.

Click here to register.

Back to the garden.

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Fairfield County has a lively music scene.

But there’s no band livelier than Band Central. The “house band” for CLASP Homes — the Westport-based nonprofit serving adults with autism and other developmental disabilities — headlines the organization’s first in-person, indoor event in nearly 2 years.

On October 15 (6:30 p.m., Fairfield Theater Company), they’ll play songs from Motown, and soul greats like Aretha Franklin, the Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire and more. Special guests will join in.

$40 tickets to the benefit include a pre-party, and an art show with work by CLASP residents. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Two members of Band Central in action.

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Speaking of music: Scott Barr loves venues like FTC, the Levitt Pavilion and Capitol Theater, plus bars and other spaces to see local (and national) acts. He particularly enjoys seeing bands in small, intimate spaces, then watching as they achieve great success.

Every so often you stumble upon an entertainment event or a scene that must be witnessed and it usually happens where you least expect it.

He’s done it with the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Phish. More recent examples include The Record Company playing at Roton Middle School, and the Revivalists and Black Pumas playing at StageOne.

Now, Scott says, a music scene is happening in Westport “right under our noses.”

Every Tuesday night at 8, a band called Residual Groove (aka KRIS or JEDD ) plays at Dunville’s. This week, members of Goose played with them.

“They have special guests all the time, and their playlist is for all ages,” Scott reports. “If anyone is looking for a fresh new scene and great music, check it out.”

He gives a special shoutout to Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri, for making it all happen.

Residual Groove (with special guest Peter Anspach from Goose, center) at Dunville’s.

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Jayne Mauborgne was moved by yesterday’s Roundup story about the rescue of 11 turtle hatchlings. A wildlife conservationist came from Madison to help.

She wants readers to know about Wildlife in Crisis.

“We are lucky to have this wildlife rehabilitator right in Weston,” Jayne says. They are great, dedicated people. Over the years I have brought them birds, squirrels, opossum, and all manner of forest creatures.”

Call 203-544-9913 (ask for Darrah or Peter), or email wildlifeincrisis@snet.net.

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Lifelong Westporter John Stahursky died Tuesday at Fairfield County House in Stamford. He was 86 years old.

John graduated from Staples High School in 1953, and retired as a mechanic from Slez Garage in Westport. He loved gardening and farming, and volunteered for many years maintaining the lawns and flower gardens at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fairfield. John grew from seed, then donated, countless plants to the parish for sale at their annual picnic.

He was honored with the St. Augustine Medal, from the Diocese of Bridgeport.

John enjoyed restoring Model A Fords, which were driven in Westport’s Memorial Day parades.

His family remembers him as “a hard working man, always ready with a smile and happy to help others in need.”

Survivors include his siblings Bernard Stahursky of Westport, Wanda Ornousky of Norwalk and Bertha Matis of Westport, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

John was predeceased by sisters Jean Kral, Helen Rutski and Sophie E. Stahursky, and brothers, Joe, Frank and Steve Stahursky.

A funeral will be held Monday (September 27, 9:15 a.m. from the Dougiello Fairfield Funeral Home, and 10 a.m. in St. Anthony of Padua Church with a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Assumption Cemetery in Westport. Friends may call Sunday (noon to 3 p.m).

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s memory to St. Anthony Parish, 149 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 or Fairfield County House, 1 Den Road, Stamford, CT 06902.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene is familiar, yet fresh:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … singer Sarah Dash died Monday. She was 76.

According to the New York Times, she “brought her church-rooted soprano and high harmonies to Labelle, which began as a 1960s girl group before reinventing itself as a socially aware, Afro-futuristic rock and funk powerhouse, costumed in glittery sci-fi outfits and singing about revolution as well as earthy romance.”

Click here for her full obituary.

Morning Movies Make Their Mark

Certain businesses are meant for certain times of day.

There’s a reason — besides its name — that a nightclub doesn’t open at 10 a.m.

But that doesn’t mean a movie theater can’t.

The premise of the Morning Movie Club is simple: Plenty of people — particularly moms — can’t see films in the afternoon or evening. Plenty of theaters sit empty for large chunks of the day.

Kerry Anderson has a solution. People buy memberships ($110 for 8 months). She rents an entire theater. Once a month from October through May, promptly at 10 a.m., club members have their choice of any film being shown on that theater’s screens.

Michelle Howe and Kerry Anderson, co-founders of the Morning Movie Club.

Locally, the club uses the Bowtie in Norwalk — just over the border on Route 1.

It’s a great venue. There are 6 screens; seats are very comfortable, and there’s a full concession stand. (Also a bar — though bars, like nightclubs, are not really a 10 a.m. business.)

There are no previews; you’re in and out. As the credits roll you head back to carpooling, the office or your other daily responsibilities.

Two years ago, “06880” profiled the Morning Movie Club. Membership boomed. Each month, movie-goers gathered for a first-run film. Friendships formed. After the final credits, small groups sometimes headed off for a quick lunch.

Six months later — just after the March films — COVID struck. Schools, businesses — and movie theaters — closed.

Film studios held their releases, too. The Morning Movie Club hit the pause button.

Finally, theaters reopened. Anderson waited until recently, however, to solicit members for 2021-22. She wanted to be sure there were enough quality films to see.

There are. On Wednesday, the Morning Movie Club met for the first time since 2020. That date, and another on October 20, are makeups, for movies missed in spring 2020. The “regular” season starts October 6.

The first meeting in a year and a half felt like the premiere of a blockbuster. Energy was high. People were thrilled to see moviegoing friends — and be back, live, watching a big screen.

They chatted. They enjoyed 5 of the 6 movies. (“Paw Patrol,” unsurprisingly, had no takers.) They went out to lunch, then back to carpooling, the office or wherever.

For innovative ideas, execution and all-around entertainment value, the Morning Movie Club gets 5 stars.

(For more information on the Morning Movie Club, click here.)\

Back at the Bowtie!

Roundup: Animal Blessing, Footloose, Fall …

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The Saugatuck Congregational Church’s front lawn — broad, green and very “New England” — has hosted social justice gatherings, plant sales and a labyrinth.

On October 3 (noon to 1:30 p.m.), it’s the site of a Blessing of the Animals.

The event will be led by Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton. Pets should be leashed or safely contained.

“At this time of environmental upheaval, pesticide use and habitat destruction, there will be blessings bestowed upon the wildlife that share our planet, as they struggle to survive,” says co-sponsor Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Attendees will also consider how to be a blessing to other creatures.

Peter Reid, outreach coordinator at Wildlife in Crisis, will speak about protecting habitat for wildlife, and provide tips for the peaceful co-existence between wild animals and pets.

Earth Animal will provide treats for dogs and cats.  Light refreshments will be served for humans.

To learn more, call 203-557-0361 or email wasa1@optonline.net

Blessing of the Animals at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

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Fall is here. But the Remarkable Theater is not about to fold its tent — er, screen — and go away.

The dance classic “Footloose” highlights the upcoming schedule. The October 1 showing benefits the Westport Rotary Club. The admission price includes snacks.

Other films include “Soul” (September 30), “On the Waterfront” (October 5) and “Clueless” (October 7). Click here for show times and tickets.

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“Night at the Museum” was a 2006 comedy film.

This Saturday’s MoCA Westport event by the same name is no laughing matter. But it will be tons of fun.

Parents are invited to drop off their pre-K through 2nd grade youngsters this Saturday (September 25), from 6 to 9 p.m. Staff members will lead them in art activities, a dance party and games. Pizza is provided; pack a water bottle. (You can provide your own, nut-free food in a labeled bag.)

Click here for details and registration.

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Fall arrives today, at 3:21 p.m.

A Wilton Road family offered this “Here Lies Summer” RIP tableau.

Perhaps it’s also the first Halloween lawn decoration in town.

(Photo/Karen Kosinski)

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Meanwhile, Harvest Moon photos keep on coming. This well-composed one is courtesy of David Loffredo.

(Photo/David Loffredo)

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NextStep is a non-profit offering rehabilitation and fitness services to paralyzed people — is sponsoring a fundraising ride, from Boston to Washington.

Yesterday afternoon, the group stopped in Westport. They ate, drank water, enjoyed Main Street hospitality — then headed off again on their long, important journey.

A brief respite in Westport. (Photo/Jerri Graham)

 

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Ten years later, the killing of Osama bin Laden still resonates.

Next Tuesday (September 28, 7 p.m.) Mary DeRosa — deputy assistant and deputy counsel to President Obama, and National Security Council legal adviser in his administration — discusses her role during the planning and execution of the Navy Seal raid.

She’ll be interviewed by Westporter Steve Parrish. The event will be held live (click here for a seat) and via Zoom (click here to watch).

Mary DeRosa

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Many Westporters support Neighborhood Studios. The Bridgeport non-profit transforms lives, through high quality art, music, theater and dance instruction to underserved children.

The latest addition: Yvette Trujillo Rose. The longtime resident is the organization’s new development director. She’ll be reaching out to Westport businesses and residents to get involved in Neighborhood Studios’ many programs. Click here for more information.

Yvette Trujillo Rose

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Pippa Bell Ader and Diane Yormark were kayaking near Saugatuck Shores’ Bermuda Lagoon yesterday morning. They stopped long enough for Pippa to snap this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)

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And finally … as noted above, fall arrives this afternoon. John Coltrane says hello.

All’s Fair: Yankee Doodle Returns

Back in the day, the Westport Woman’s Club’s Yankee Doodle Fair raised money to build sidewalks on Main Street, install toilets at Compo Beach, and bring hot meals and health care to our schools.

That day was over 100 years ago.

Today we’ve got sidewalks (some in retro red brick). There are toilets at Compo (both permanent and portable, including some controversial new ones). And our schools serve plenty of hot meals (plus, at Staples, sushi).

But the Yankee Doodle Fair still raises money for local causes. Each year, the Woman’s Club donates over $200,000 to community groups.

That would pay for a lot of Port-a-Potties.

This week — for the first time in 15 months — the Yankee Doodle Fair returns.

The 2020 edition was a victim of COVID. The last thing the club that started out bringing nurses to schools wanted was to spread a virus to kids riding tilt-a-whirls, laughing in bounce houses and sharing cotton candy.

A decision had to be made far in advance of the June 2021 event too. At that point, the answer was “no.”

But now kids are back in school. We’re vigilant, but not paranoid.

The Yankee Doodle Fair returns this Thursday through Sunday (September 23-26). It’s 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Yankee Doodle Fair, 2019/ (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

There’ll be attractions like a Ferris wheel, kiddie cars, basketball toss, bumper cars, tower drop, giant slide and scrambler.

For the less adventurous, there’s face painting, sand art, and plant and bake sales. Sweetcake Mountain Band plays Thursday; the School of Rock rocks Sunday.

Amy takers? (Photo/Dan Woog)

The Westport Woman’s Club downplays their civic contributions.  Few Yankee Doodle Fair-goers — little kids enjoying the rides; middle schoolers primping and preening; adults reliving a relic of their youth — even realize they help the organizers support dozens of worthy charities.

That’s fine.  The last thing you want to think about — hanging upside down on the banks of the Saugatuck River, your change falling out of your pockets — is where your money is going.

Well, let me rephrase that…

Flying high at the Yankee Doodle Fair on one ride …

… and another. (Photo/Kristina Bory)

Pics Of The Day #1614

1,500 starved people packed Compo Beach yesterday for the Rotary Club’s annual Lobsterfest. They were hungry for lobsters, steaks — and the fantastic party atmosphere they’d missed when last September’s event was canceled (and, in many other ways, since the pandemic began. Great food, wonderful people, fantastic weather, an excellent cause — what’s not to like? (Photo/Dan Woog)

Earlier yesterday, Yogi Bear and friends enjoyed the Japanese Festival at Jesup Green. (Photo/Cathy Malkin)