Category Archives: Entertainment

Brian Rutter Is “Today’s” Featured Dad

Brian Rutter is a Westport marketing executive. As a side gig, he blogs about all things suburban-dad-related on The Burbman. Topics range from divorce and deer collisions to bat mitzvahs and parents’ gossip on the sports sidelines.

As a side gig to that, in March he wrote a poignant story for the Washington Post. His daughter Samantha — a 2012 Staples alum — had just 107 days until she’d graduate from Muhlenberg College.

The number 107 was significant. That’s the number of days that — as an infant — she spent in the neonatal intensive care unit. His piece relived those harrowing days and nights in the hospital.

The Rutter family today.

The Rutter family today.

Today — joyfully — Rutter concluded:

In 107 days, she will graduate from college, and we will watch our 21-year old daughter walk across the stage, clutching her diploma and beginning the next stage of this remarkable life. Over 9 million seconds and 154,000 minutes from now. With no limitations, only the expectations she has for herself.

Four years of liberal arts learning about the world and herself will have led to the first of many milestone moments. The strength incubated in those 107 days in that NICU isolette has prepared her for new chapters, new worlds.

But this time, as we watch those 107 days fade into the past, and we prepare for that final ride from campus to home, she will be in the driver’s seat. The open road within her sight and the infinite expanse of the universe awaiting the next 107 days, months and hopefully years of her life.

The camera crew, inside the Rutters' house.

The camera crew, inside the Rutters’ house.

That story caught the eye of a “Today Show” producer.

So this Friday (June 17), Rutter will be one of 3 “featured dads” for their Father’s Day segment.

The other day, a camera crew descended on Rutter’s home. He and Samantha were interviewed; so was his wife Jane, and Staples freshman daughter Kate.

On the show, he’ll talk about what defines him as a dad — his happiest and funniest moments, that sort of thing. He calls himself “the representative of middle-aged dads with teenagers and older children.”

The segment is still being edited. As with all things TV-related, Rutter has no idea how it will turn out.

But whatever happens, he’ll have a story to tell on the sidelines of his daughter’s next game.

Brian Rutter, on camera.

Brian Rutter, on camera.

Westport Goes To The Dogs

Hundreds of bitches took over Winslow Park today.

Dog Festival - 6

They — and many other male dogs, along with their owners, masters, mistresses and assorted kids — romped across Westport’s 32-acre dog park. The draw was the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored, 1st-ever Dog Festival.

Over 50 vendors hawked non-electric dog fences, gourmet pet food and holistic veterinary care. The Animal Control folks offered tips on hot weather.

Dog Festival - 3

Selectmen Jim Marpe, Avi Kaner and Helen Garten, plus state legislators Jonathan Steinberg and Gail Lavielle, judged tail-wagging, best trick and dog-and-owner-lookalike contests.

The very competitive tag-wagging contest.

The very competitive tail-wagging contest.

The sun shined. Animals and their owners made new friends.

It was a great day to be a dog in Westport.

Dog Festival - 8

Dog Festival - 4

Dog Festival - 9

Dog Festival - 5

Dog Festival - 7

Dog Festival - 10

Dog Festival - 1

Even The Birds Loved Tonight’s Pops Concert

Check out this great view of the 1st-ever Staples High School Pops Concert at Levitt Pavilion, courtesy of Brandon Malin’s drone. (Click on or hover over to enlarge — you’ll love it!)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Brandon Malin)

(Photo/Brandon Malin)

Pops Goes The Concert

It took just 3 hours for the public to snap up all 1,600 tickets for tonight’s 1st-ever Staples High School Pops Concert.

And the crowd — old, young, Levitt Pavilion regulars and those who’ve never been to Westport’s riverside amphitheater — were not disappointed.

The orchestra, jazz band and choral groups — hundreds of very talented musicians — made this a (windy) night to remember.

Next year, the tickets will be snagged in a lot less than 3 hours.

Every inch of the lawn was filled, as the Staples orchestra welcomed Westporters to the 1st-ever Pops Concert.

Every inch of the Levitt Pavilion lawn was filled, as the Staples orchestra welcomed Westporters to the 1st-ever Pops Concert.

Dueling violinists.

Dueling violins.

Emcee -- and Tony Award winner -- Jim Naughton took a turn on the triangle.

Emcee — and 2-time Tony Award winner — Jim Naughton took a turn on the triangle.

The sun glints off the Levitt Pavilion pavilion, as the jazz band plays.

The sun glints off the Levitt Pavilion pavilion, as the jazz band plays.

Three Orphenians hang out, before they're called.

Three Orphenians hang out, before they’re called.

First Selectman Jim Marpe (far left) was part of the enormous crowd at tonight's Staples High Pops Concert.

First Selectman Jim Marpe (far left) was part of the enormous crowd at tonight’s Staples High School Pops Concert.

Orchestra leader Adele Valovich and choral director Luke Rosenberg address the audience.

Orchestra leader Adele Valovich and choral director Luke Rosenberg greet the audience.

The 1st-ever Staples Pops Concert was fun for all ages. (All photos/Dan Woog -- click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.)

The 1st-ever Staples Pops Concert was fun for all ages. (All photos/Dan Woog — click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.)

See “Blade Runner” On Sunday — Then Talk With A Star

Sean Young has had a long acting career.

Film buffs have seen her in “Jane Austen in Manhattan,” “Stripes,” “Dune,” “Wall Street” and “Batman.”

But she’s best known for her role in “Blade Runner.” Today — 34 years after the Ridley Scott movie was released — she’s still recognized regularly on the streets of Astoria, where she lives.

The Westport Cinema Initiative has chosen “Blade Runner” — a cult classic thanks to its cutting-edge design, futuristic theme and dark, despairing vision of Los Angeles in the year 2019 (!) — for its next offering.

The showing takes place this Sunday, June 12 (5 p.m., Town Hall). It’s followed by a talkback featuring the movie’s own Sean Young, and film critic Susan Granger.

Sean Young in "Blade Runner."

Sean Young in “Blade Runner.”

Young calls “Blade Runner” a seminal moment in her career. “Actors can go their whole lives without an experience like that,” she says. “The sets, locations, what everyone wore — it was a tremendously rich production.”

Nearly 4 decades later — and just 3 years before the film was set — Young says that “Blade  Runner” has stood the test of time. “It still looks great. The dialogue was excellent. The music was beautiful. And we still don’t know what happens afterward. People really respond to it.”

Blade RunnerYoung knows that in 2016, many film buffs watch “Blade Runner” — and everything else — on TVs and mobile devices.

But, she says, there remains value in a large audience watching in an auditorium.

“There’s a much different feeling when a film is projected on a screen,” she explains. “It looks different than on a plasma TV or iPad. And just coming together as a community is important.”

Sean Young will be part of that audience on Sunday. Then she’ll add her own insights, in the talkback.

That’s one experience Netflix — the future of film that “Blade Runner” never foresaw – can’t duplicate.

(Tickets are available at the door, or by clicking here.)

Doggone It! Festival Postponed

Predictions of weather not fit for man or beast have pushed Westport’s 1st-ever Dog Festival back a week.

The new date is Sunday, June 12. Same time and place: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Winslow Park.


Dog festival promo

Cohl Katz: Celebrity Stylist Brings Talents To Town

What do Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barbara Bush, Bob Dylan, Cal Ripken, Cindy Crawford, Ellen DeGeneres, Hillary Clinton, Hilary Swank, Jerry Seinfeld, John McEnroe, Johnny Depp, Katie Couric, Keith Richards, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martha Stewart, Mary Tyler Moore, Mel Gibson, Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Nicole Kidman, Phil Donohue, Ray Charles, Robert Redford, Robin Williams, Rod Stewart, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting and Tom Cruise have in common?

Cohl Katz.

She’s the celebrity hair stylist and makeup artist who has worked wonders on all those actors, singers, politicians and heavyweight champions (in and out of the boxing ring).

Last year, Cohl gave up her high-powered New York life (and salon) for quieter, more laid-back — but no less glamorous — Westport.

Cohl Katz, in her new Vincent Palumbo Salon digs.

Cohl Katz, in her new Vincent Palumbo Salon digs.

She joined Vincent Palumbo Salon. There — near Party Harty, Dunkin’ Donuts and Westport Hardware — she’s become one of our town’s favorite stylists.

Our names may not be (all) boldface. But Cohl is delighted.

Though she grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, she was always drawn to New York. Woody Allen movies pulled her in.

After training at Vidal Sassoon in San Francisco, she moved to his academy in London. There she met some of the world’s top fashion photographers — and honed her creative, calm, communicative approach.

One of Cohl Katz's clients...

One of Cohl Katz’s clients…

In 1983 she made her long-awaited move to “New York. Her painter/ sculptor brother lived in the East Village. Through him — and his parties — Cohl befriendedvery interesting people. One of her first hair-cutting clients was Robert Mapplethorpe.

At a bar she met Maripol. The stylist had just created Madonna’s look. Maripol’s friend had a salon on Madison Avenue. Cohl started work there the next day.

She opened one of New York’s first boutique salons in 1991, in the then-stylistic wilderness of the Flatiron district. She also freelanced, doing hair and makeup for celebrities before photo shoots.

Her clientele expanded beyond entertainers. She worked with 3 first ladies — Barbara and Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton — at the White House, and the Waldorf Astoria.

“They’re just people like us, doing a job they love,” she says of her many famous clients. When she meets them at their apartment or home, they open the door in bathrobes or towels.



“I like people,” Cohl says. “Every day is different. My job is to be supportive and comforting, so they look and feel great.”

At her salons too, she enjoys giving someone a change that can lift their spirit.

For many year, Cohl owned a New York apartment and country home. She likes to kayak, bike and garden, but after years in the city she longed to see sky, trees and water every day. When her daughter graduated from high school, Cohl was ready to create a new life.

She knew Peter Coppola. He’d just teamed up with Vincent Palumbo. Soon, Cohl was on a train to Westport. She liked Vincent’s energy, and the smiles she saw on customers and stylists in his salon. He hired her immediately.

But Cohl needed time to make sure  the move felt right. She kept her apartment, and commuted to Westport from New York.

It did not take long for her to know her instincts were right. Through the salon, she learned that Westport is “down-to-earthy, friendly, smart and sophisticated.”

...and 2 more.

…and 2 more.

She looked at real estate. A Southport cottage seemed perfect. The owner — an 86-year-old woman — had been a model back in the day (and a 5-time cover girl for Vogue).

“It was a perfect fit,” Cohl says. “It was meant to be.”

There’s a horse next to her cottage. Every day before work, she feeds him carrots. “I feel like I’m in the country — not the suburbs,” Cohl notes.

She looks forward to a summer of kayaking and gardening. She still goes to Manhattan twice a month, and does celebrity work on request.

But, she says, “I’m enjoying a different part of my life. I love what I do, and I’ve always felt like I’ve never worked a day in my life. But this is really special.”

“Good Morning” Goodbye

Staples High School teachers Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito invented the school’s Media Lab.

From their funky studios near the cafeteria, the duo taught thousands of students — and oversaw WWPT-FM, the Staples Television Network, a recording studio and much more.

“Good Morning Staples” is one small part of what they’ve done. But since its first broadcast in 2001, the thrice-weekly TV show has had an outsized influence on the school.

Yesterday’s “Good Morning Staples” broadcast was the last of the school year — and their last ever. Both Honeycutt and Zito retire this month.

The 24-minute video offers just a tiny sampling of the work their kids did. It’s a tribute to Staples students’ spectacular energy, dedication, talent and energy.

Which, of course, was unlocked, nurtured and nourished by 2 very special teachers.

Connor And Carson Einarsen’s Inconsistent Story

Move over, “The Swimmer.” Step aside, “Stepford Wives.”

“An Inconsistent Story in Stealing” is coming to town.

No, it’s not a big-budget, full-length feature film. But the movie being shot in Westport later this summer has something those 2 projects — and nearly every other film made here — did not:

Connor and Carson Einarsen.

The talented Staples alums — Connor graduated last year from Carleton College, with a degree in cinema and media studies; Carson followed this year from Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in film and TV — are preparing their 2nd shoot.

Two years ago, the brothers made “Ryan Hood,” a 60-minute film for just $40. (They rented jackets for police officers).

Carson (left) and Connor (middle) Einarsen, directing "Ryan Hood."

Carson (left) and Connor (middle) Einarsen, directing “Ryan Hood.”

This one — “An Inconsistent Story in Stealing” — is more ambitious. Written by Carson, the neo-noir movie is about a former thief who is sucked back into the town she despises, to hunt down something she stole long ago.

There are 17 speaking parts, and 40 locations. One-third of the film will be shot at night, something most directors shy away from.

Pre-production takes place in June and July. Shooting is set for the 1st 3 weeks of August. In October “An Inconsistent Story” will be screened for the town. Then it’s off to film festivals around the world.

The Westport Library is helping, with a little bit of capital and a lot of resources. It’s one more way for the MakerSpace to expand its creative mission, Connor says.

In return, he and Carson will lead library classes for aspiring young filmmakers, and offer a film appreciation course.

The brothers are looking for actors and production assistants. If you’re interested, contact



Helping Peter Pastorelli

Peter Pastorelli is a longtime, well-known, much-loved Westport character.

He was a movie and TV location and production manager forever. His credits include “American Psycho,” “Fame,” “Midnight Run” and many more.

He’s got countless stories about actors, directors, musicians, and everyone else in Hollywood.

Plus, he hosted some of the most interesting and eclectic parties I’ve ever been to.

Over a year and a half ago, Peter was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. He’s undergone chemo and radiation, but the treatments are no longer effective.

Peter Pastorelli (3rd from left), and his family.

Peter Pastorelli (3rd from left), and his family.

Until a few months ago, he managed his own care. But extreme fatigue and weakness have caught up to him. He stayed at home as long as possible. Now he needs full-time care.

Peter has chosen the Regional Hospice & Home Care Center in Danbury, so he can be close to his family. But to be admitted within a week, he needs financial assistance.

Peter’s family set up a GoFundMe site to help raise money.

“Peter has been a tremendous friend to so many,” the page says. “His wit, humor and intelligence are defining characteristics of this incredibly generous man.

“We would greatly appreciate any donation that is given to assist Peter. With deep gratitude, we thank all those for their kindness and contributions.”

(Click here to contribute to Peter Pastorelli’s GoFundMe page.)