Category Archives: Media

Roundup: Tyler Hicks, Amy Kaplan, Oaktober …

=======================================================

Today’s arresting New York Times Magazine cover photograph is by Pulitzer Prize winning (and 1988 Staples High School graduate Tyler Hicks.

The Contributors’ page explains that the photography for the story — on sharks and Cape Cod — was shot over the course of 3 months. Luckily, it says, both Hicks and the author “are men of the ocean and have plenty of boating experience. They were still at the mercy of nature, with the weather and an unpredictable predator to cover.  But they also had technology to deal with. Drone batteries run out very quickly.” (Hat tip: John Karrel)

=======================================================

Say goodbye to Amy Kaplan today 🙁

The noted artist is relocating to Florida, for her husband’s job. Her current Newtown Roux Gallery show, “Dreamweaves,” closes Tuesday.

Today, she hosts a reception there (14 Elm Street, 2nd floor, 3 to 5 p.m.). Share a glass of bubbly, and thank her for all she’s done for our artistic community.

One of the works in Amy Kaplan’s current show.

===================================================

Rowene Weems attended yesterday’s OAKtober/Halloween celebration on Jesup Green. She reports: “Lots of costumes, young and old. Earthplace brought a snake and a bat. There were 50 pumpkins to decorate. We got an oak tree too!”

The event was sponsored by Westport Book Shop, Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board.

Enjoying an OAKtober snake. (Photo/Rowene Weems)

======================================================

It’s bad enough when traffic for the Starbucks drive-thru backs up on the Post Road, coming from the west (downtown).

But yesterday, this very entitled driver coming from the other direction decided his (or her) Trenti iced coffee, 12 pumps [sugar-free] vanilla, 12 pumps [sugar-free] hazelnut, 12 pumps [sugar-free] caramel, 5 pumps skinny mocha, a splash of soy, coffee to the star on the siren’s head, ice, double-blended drink could not wait.

Hey … why park and go inside, when I can block one lane of traffic on Westport’s main thoroughfare, right? I’m thirsty!

(Dashcam photo/JM Weisz)

=======================================================

The Post is a new home design and gift shop, across from Stop & Shop.

They say, “Inspired by the confluence of worlds we inhabit, The Post offers a sophisticated take on city, country and coastal vibes.”

They host an open house November 4 through 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. All holiday items will be 20% off.

=======================================================

Spectacular “Westport … Naturally” scenes abound throughout Westport — even downtown. “06880” photographer JC Martin knows exactly where to look.

(Photo/JC Martin)

=======================================================

And finally … today in 1931, the George Washington Bridge officially opened. What better way to salute it than by a song by this group …

… and this singer:

 

“06880” Podcast: Thomas Scarice On Critical Race Theory

Last April, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice was the first guest on my “06880” podcast. He spoke eloquently about his background, the Westport school system, and education in general.

This week he visited the Westport Library again. This time, we chatted about one specific topic: Critical Race Theory.

CRT has generated a lot of controversy, nationally and locally. The town’s chief education official discusses where it came from, what it is, and how it impacts the Westport schools.

Click below to watch.

Roundup: WWPT, Afghan Refugees, Dog Festival …

======================================================

They might have to rename the John Drury Awards “The WWPT Awards.”

For the squintillionth year in a row, Staples’ FM radio station cleaned up in the annual high school broadcast competition.

The station — 90.3 on your dial! — won 4 categories earlier this month:

  • Best Radio Drama — Original or Adaptation (“The Wizard of Oz,” with Staples Players)
  • Best Sportscast (Zach Brody)
  • Best Sports Talk Program (“Bold Predictions,” with Rory Tarsy, Max Udell and Caleb Tobias)
  • Best Sports Play-by-Play (FCIAC lacrosse championship, Staples vs. Darien, with Cam Manna and Max Dorsey).

Radio is alive and well. Congratulations to all, and of course to instructor Geno Heiter.

=======================================================

Westporters have responded generous to a call to help Afghan refugees resettling in the area.

A final collection of needed items is set for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, 12 to 3 p.m.).

Men’s and women’s coats; teen and children warm clothes; boots, scarves, warm hats and umbrellas; backpacks filled with school supplies, and household toiletries, towels and cleaning supplies can all be dropped off at  Greens Farms Congregational Church.

Backpacks and school supplies are among the items needed for Afghan refugees.

 

======================================================

The weather looks great for tomorrow’s oft-postponed Dog Festival.

The event is set for Sunday (October 17, Winslow Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS, it features demonstrations, fun competitions, police K-9 presentations, kids’ activities, vendors, food trucks, a special appearance by Piglet (the blind and deaf chihuahua) and more.

Tickets are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4. Dogs go free. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival.

=======================================================

Interested in the kind of world today’s students will inherit? Do you have ideas how our schools can prepare them for it?

The Westport Public Schools invites all Westporters to an Education Summit next Wednesday (October 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium).

Futurist Michael Weiss offers a keynote address, then lead an interactive discussion. It’s part of superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice’s Strategic Plan, aimed at taking our district into the next decade and beyond.

======================================================

Three residents of the Gillespie Center are moving on to permanent supportive housing.

Homes with Hope is proud of the success of these formerly homeless men. And they’re asking Westporters to help them succeed.

They’ve created a Signup Genius for donations of bedding, household items, furniture and gift cards. Click here to help.

=======================================================

Fred Cantor is many things: an attorney, off-Broadway and documentary producer, longtime Westporter and avid “06880” reader.

he’s also the author of “Fred from Fresh Meadows,” a memoir of his many years as a New York Knicks fan.

Now the NBA team has repaid the honor.

A 15-second commercial spot featuring Fred, his brother’s older son and brother’s almost 3-year-old grandson premiered last night, during a Knicks preseason game.

It’s part of an MSG Network promotional campaign spotlighting diehard fans. Fred’s spot focuses on his book, and his 6 decades of fandom.

It was filmed earlier this month in the schoolyard behind his former elementary school in Queens.

Fred Cantor (right), being filmed with his nephew Sam and great-nephew Brody.

=======================================================

It’s been a while since we ran an osprey update. The other day, Franco Fellah spotted this young bird in the trees over the Saugatuck River, opposite his office on Riverside Avenue. Ospreys epitomize “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

=======================================================

And finally … on this date in 1875, Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

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

==================================================

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:

=======================================================

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)

=======================================================

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.

=======================================================

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

=======================================================

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.

=======================================================

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.

=======================================================

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.

======================================================

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:

=======================================================

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

(Photo/Peter Gold)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of junipers:

 

Roundup: Coming Out Day, Family Fun Day …

=======================================================

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.

If you’re LGBTQ (the “Q” stands for either queer or questioning) — or you know someone who is — you can celebrate by watching “When Did You Know?”

That was last week’s webinar, sponsored by Westport Pride. Panelists — including former Staples High School principal John Dodig, former Staples High School tennis captain Luke Foreman, Staples Players alum Samantha Webstier, Weston High media influencer Zac Mathias, Staples teacher Kayla Iannetta, Westport moms Julie DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, and Westport dad Brian McGunagle discuss their growing-up experiences, and life today.

It’s wide-ranging, informative and very, very human. Click here for the link. The passcode is “Westport06880!” (without the quotation marks).

=======================================================

You don’t have to be a Unitarian — or even religious — to enjoy next Saturday’s Fall Family Fun event. All (even singles) are welcome at (October 16, 2 to 5 p.m., Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road).

Entirely outdoors, it includes a “Best of the ’70s” singalong with the lead singer of DizzyFish, a musical mural, cake carousel, rock painting and bobbing for apples. For COVID safety, bring your own food.

The Westport Unitarian Church welcomes everyone.

=======================================================

Lifelong Westporter Samuel DeMeo has died. He was 94.

A US Army World War II veteran, he was a member of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and gardener, and loved spending time at Compo Beach in Westport. He also played the accordion in a band.

He is survived by daughters Suzy DeMeo, Karen Sternberg and Lynn Smith, 6 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. He was pre deceased by his sisters Ellen Barker, Lynn DeMeo and Palma DeMeo. Services were private.

Samuel DeMeo

======================================================

Claudia Sherwood Servidio has been a Westporter for only a few days. But she’s already contributed a striking “Pic of the Day.”

Now she’s nailed a “Westport … Naturally” feature too. Claudia has a wonderful newcomer’s eye for local beauty — and Saugatuck River scenes that never get old.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

=======================================================

And finally … today is the 104th anniversary of the birth of Thelonious Monk. The jazz pianist/composer died in 1982, age 64. But he lives on, in recordings like these.

Roundup: COVID, Sheryl Crow, Unsung Science …

=======================================================

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.

=======================================================

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

================================================

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)

======================================================

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.

======================================================

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)

=======================================================

“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.

=======================================================

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

===============================================

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)

=======================================================

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

 

 

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

====================================================

“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.

=======================================================

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)

=======================================================

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.

======================================================

“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.

=====================================================

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)

=====================================================

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

=====================================================

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)

======================================================

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.

=======================================================

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)

====================================================

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:

“06880” Podcast: Jimmy Izzo

Everyone in Westport knows Jimmy Izzo.

Former owner of Crossroads Ace Hardware, current RTM member, he’s got his finger on the pulse of every issue in town. He knows the ins and outs, pros and cons of life here today. He’s got plenty of opinions — but he delivers them with grace, warmth and optimism.

No one loves Westport more than Jimmy. And no one articulates that love better than he.

The other day, we sat  on the Westport Library Forum stage. Thanks to Verso Studios, our conversation is now part of the “06880: The Podcast” series. Click here to enjoy Jimmy Izzo’s memories, insights and ideas.

Jimmy Izzo

Roundup: Food, Clothing, Art

=======================================================

Fred Cantor just finished reading noted food writer (and former Westporter, and Weston High School graduate) Alexander Lobrano’s memoir, My Place at the Table.

It’s mainly about his experiences as a food critic in Paris.

But, Fred says, Lobrano does not neglect his childhood here.

The book opens with excerpts from a 2nd grade writing assignment (saved by his mother). His teacher, Miss Armitage, asked students to write about one of their “very favorite things.”

Lobrano’s essay was called “The Very Best Sandwich.” Miss Armitage gave him an A. She also rates “thanks” in the Acknowledgments.

Lobrano also writes about his elementary school cafeteria cooks: “…hardworking women…(who) cooked some off the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten—spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs, handmade pierogi filled with potato purée or cheese topped with crisp fired onions, and moussaka slathered with bechamel sauce.  They made everything from scratch…”

He also praises the fresh produce at Rippe’s and Wakeman’s farms.

High praise indeed, from someone who has eaten at the finest restaurants around the world.

=======================================================

It’s still September. But the Westport Woman’s Club is accepting donations for its November clothing tag sale.

Tax-deductible donations of new or gently worn women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, plus accessories like shoes, handbags, scarves, hats and jewelry, are welcome through October 27.

Items can be dropped off weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon, or 1 to 4 p.m., at the WWC (44 Imperial Avenue).

Funds raised from the clothing tag sale help support the town’s food closet, charities throughout Fairfield County, and need -based student scholarships. For more information, call 203-227-4240 or email wwc@westportwomansclub.org.

=======================================================

The opening for George Billis Gallery‘s current show was held during a hurricane.

So the artists will enjoy a (hopefully more serene) closing reception. It’s set for this Wednesday (September 29, 4 to 7 p.m.), at the 166 Main Street space.

George Billis Gallery

======================================================

Burying Hill Beach is seldom crowded. With summer gone, it’s even emptier. But those who love it — like Wendy Levy — are rewarded with “Westport … Naturally” scenes like this:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

=======================================================

And finally … happy 37th birthday, Avril Lavigne!

 

Friday Flashback #263

No bygone business has been mentioned more in “06880” than the Remarkable Book Shop.

The Main Street/Parker Harding corner store was a beloved, comfortable, meeting place. Whenever I need a reference point for a locally owned, customer-centric shop: Bingo!

But the Remarkable comes up in other ways too. There’s the Remarkable Bookcycle, a three-wheeled, mobile homage complete with the same pink color and logo.

There’s the Remarkable Theater, our downtown drive-in theater that takes its name directly — and fittingly — from that long-ago other entertainment option.

More recently, Cold Fusion Gelato — located opposite the former shop — hung the wooden “Remarkable Guy” inside, looking out on his old haunt.

And now Local to Market has opened on the book shop’s old site, offering food and crafts in a down-home way reminiscent of its predecessor.

But in all my references to the Remarkable Book Shop, I never knew that it was also part of a very popular children’s book.

The other day, alert “06880” reader Kerry Long spotted a Remarkable reference on Instagram. A user posted 2 images from Richard Scarry’s 1968 Random House classic, What Do People Do All Day?

There in the lower right corner — below drawings of a poet, artist and writer — was the Remarkable Book Shop.

A close-up shows that Scarry included the name of the proprietor: E. Kramer.

That would be Esther Kramer — the actual owner of the Westport store. (Regular “06880” readers know that the “Remarkable” name comes from “Kramer” spelled backward.)

So — decades later — the Remarkable Book Shop still lives. And not just on “06880,” but Instagram too.

Remarkable!