Category Archives: Media

House Hunters Hit Westport

If it seems that every new home buyer in Westport comes from Brooklyn: Watch “House Hunters.”

The popular HGTV show’s promo for tonight’s 10 p.m. episode says:

Buyers in Brooklyn, NY, look for a home with more space in nearby Westport, CT. One wants a modern place that’s move-in ready, has an open floor plan and a Japanese bathtub. The other is hoping for a Cape Cod or Colonial with vintage charm. Can they meet in the middle and find the spacious home of their dreams?

Of course they can! This is reality TV — and there are plenty of homes on the market.

There’s still one unanswered question, though: Will they move next door to the 2nd Fattest Housewife in Westport?

(Hat tip: Charlie Haberstroh)

 

Skip Lane: From Scab To ESPN Star

Two games into the 1987 NFL season, the Players Association struck. The issue was free agency.

To break the union, team owners hired replacements. For 3 weeks, they played.

One of those substitute athletes — derisively called “scabs” — was Skip Lane.

He was well known in Westport. Lane was a 1979 graduate of Staples High School — where he starred at quarterback for his father, legendary coach Paul Lane — and then at the University of Mississippi.

Yet with only 5 Canadian Football League games behind him – and brief stints with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, after college — he was unknown to much of the football-loving American public.

In 1987 Lane was out of the game, working in commercial real estate in Fairfield County — a job he still holds.

But he excelled as a safety with the replacement Washington Redskins. They went 3-0 during the strike, culminating with a Monday Night Football win over a Dallas Cowboys team filled with veterans who had crossed the picket line.

Some fans wanted familiar players back.

When the 3-game strike was over, the Redskins released Lane. They went on to win the Super Bowl — but neither Lane nor his fellow replacements received a championship ring.

That story is part of an ESPN “30 For 30” documentary that aired Tuesday night. “Year of the Scab” explores the lives of the 1500 replacement players. They were “caught in the crosshairs of media fueled controversy between owners, players and fans alike,” the network says.

Lane is featured frequently in the video. He mentions his “buddies from Westport” who attended the game against the Giants. There were only 9,000 fans that day.

When the documentary premiered at a DC film festival in June, the Washington Post revisited that strange, controversial season.

Skip Lane today.

“I Always Hated Being Called a Scab” got its headline from a quote by Lane.

“I was just trying to get one more year, show people what I could do and even join the union,” he told the paper.

“Over the years, I’ve had no contact with the Redskins. Absolutely nothing.”

But, he says in the film, he has no regrets about playing.

Being a scab was “the easiest decision of my life.”

(Hat tips: Carl Swanson and Fred Cantor. Click here for the full Washington Post story. Click below for the full video.)

The Girl Bands Of Westport

I’m not sure how I missed this story. Maybe I was listening to music, instead of reading.

But last week the New York Times featured 25 female bands “making some of the most acclaimed, urgent, politically relevant music around.”

Three of them — fully 12% — include Staples High School grads.

Charly Bliss is an all-Staples group. Three are guys — Sam Hendricks, Spencer Fox and Dan Shure — but the Times singles out lead singer Eva Hendricks.

Her “gooey croon tops ’90s-style power-pop songs that slide from major to minor, sweet to sour,” the paper says. Click here to listen.

Palehound features Ellen Kemper. The singer-songwriter “builds songs out of everyday details, with music that can whisper or roar,” writes the Times. Click here to listen.

The quartet Mannequin Pussy, meanwhile — with Marisa Dabice — “captures all flavors of emotional torment in short bursts that range from ferociously thrashy to delicately melodic.” Click here to listen.

(Photos/New York Times)

And you thought the fact that the Doors, Cream and Sly & the Family Stone played at Staples was cool!

(Hat tip: Katherine Ross)

Jacob Meisel, Hurricane Irma And Bloomberg News

When Bloomberg wants accurate information they go to the best.

For the latest info on Hurricane Irma, that means Jacob Meisel.

The 2013 Staples High School grad — now chief meteorologist at Bespoke Investment Group — combined technical talk with layman’s terms, for this morning’s national audience.

He says Irma has “the perfect conditions to maintain incredible intensity.”

For the full video, click here.

(Hat tip: Jim Goodrich)

Avi Kaner Does Bloomberg

Westport knows Avi Kaner as our 2nd selectman.

Yesterday, the rest of America knew him as a grocery store expert.

Kaner was interviewed by Bloomberg TV. The subject was Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, and how rival businesses can compete on price.

The owner of Morton Williams — a 15-store New York supermarket chain — could not see the graphics being shown. If he’d been able to, Kaner says, he would have responded specifically to them.

Avi Kaner on TV.

Nonetheless, he did a great job answering questions like how responsive suppliers will be to Kaner compared to Jeff Bezos, and how to avoid a price war when Amazon/Whole Foods doesn’t mind one.

For Kaner’s deep dive into all things avocado, guacamole and banana, click here.

Wait Until 8th?

I don’t have an 8th grader. I don’t have any grader, in fact.

I’m not a Westport mom. I’m not any mom.

But I do love WestportMoms.com. And the other day the moms — Megan and Melissa — posted an interesting story.

Whether you’ve got an 8th grader, a 3rd grader or no grader at all, if you’ve lived or spent any time at all in Westport, you’ve noticed cellphone creep. More and more, younger and younger kids carry phones.

Which means they’re texting, swiping, and in every other way glued to their devices.

All the time.

OMG!

The WestportMoms story was headlined: “The ‘Wait Until 8th’ Pledge — Let Kids be Kids a Little Longer.”

The idea is for parents to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. “By banding together, this will decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents alike,” they wrote.

The story offered several reasons to wait — and noted that “top Silicon Valley executives” agree.

Smartphones:

  • Are addictive
  • Are an academic distraction
  • Impair sleep
  • Interfere with relationships
  • Increase the risk for anxiety and depresson
  • Put children at risk for cyber-bullying
  • Expose children to sexual content.

(They are of course also fun, empowering, and facilitate communication between kids, friends and parents. That was not in the story, but I felt compelled to toss it in.)

What do you think? As the school year races toward us, is the “Wait until 8th” pledge important? Necessary? Unnecessary? Futile?

Click “comments” below.

And kids, if you want to text me — wait, no..

Matt Storch’s Burgers And Lobster Come To Saugatuck

Matt Storch — the 1995 Staples High School grad who has made a name for himself with restaurants like Match — is coming home.

He’s opening Match Burger Lobster, next to Fleishers Craft Butchery on Riverside Avenue.

Matt Storch, and his new logo. (Collage courtesy of CTBites.com)

According to CT Bites, the new restaurant features fresh seafood from Norm Bloom and Son, and “Northeast pasture-raised and humanely-handled beef, ground daily at Fleishers.”

The menu includes lobster rolls, whole lobsters, a variety of burgers, local Copps Island oysters, Fleishers hot dogs, onion rings, donut milk shakes, wine and beer.

Storch’s “Match Burger” is be available in regular and mini versions — plus one that’s butter-dipped.

Fans of the butcher shop and restaurant can walk easily back and forth. Match Burger and Lobster will offer both table service and takeout.

“High School That Rocked” Plans An Encore

It’s always fun to discover a “sleeper” film hit.

But it’s never fun to get turned away.

The Westport Cinema Initiative and Westport Historical Society were stunned last month, when the Town Hall auditorium proved too small for the throngs that wanted to see “The High School That Rocked!”

That’s the documentary chronicling the amazing period in the 1960s when bands like the Doors, Cream, Yardbirds and Rascals played at Staples High School.

Ginger Baker, Cream’s drummer, at Staples. (Photo copyright Jeremy Ross)

So the WCI and WHS are doing what any good promoters should: They’ve added another showing.

The film will be screened again on Saturday, August 26 (5 p.m., Westport Historical Society). A talkback follows, with the movie’s producer Fred Cantor, and filmmaker Doug Tirola. Both are Westport residents.

There’s limited space, so tickets must be ordered in advance (click here for the direct link). The cost is $10 — and includes free popcorn.

That’s a great bargain — even if it is $7.50 more than it cost to see those great concerts, back when Staples High School really rocked.

Aaaargh! I Moved To The Wrong ‘Burb!

Tomorrow’s New York Times real estate section has a long article, with a provocative title: “What To Do When You’ve Picked the Wrong Suburb.”

“Just like someone living on the Upper East Side won’t fit into Williamsburg, someone who likes Maplewood may not fit into Short Hills,” the story says.

You may expect block parties, when all you get are nannies playing indoors with their charges. You may come for the outdoors, but discover deer ticks.

“Are you looking for a Whole Foods and a farmers’ market?” the Times asks. “Do you want to see pickup trucks or Volvo S.U.V.s? A spinning studio or a Planet Fitness? Trump bumper stickers or ‘Resist’ signs?”

Westport has a Whole Foods — AND a Farmers’ Market. Farmers’ Market.

The piece is Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey-centric.

But at the end, it pivots to Westport.

Ali Bernstein, the owner of Suburban Jungle Realty, a real estate strategy firm that helps families transition from city to suburb, said it’s best to know the good — and the bad — before moving. She said her clients hear about aspects of a place that real estate agents may gloss over. “We’ll tell you, ‘It may seem like a 28-minute train ride, but there’s no parking at the station and you’ll drive around to find a spot,’” she said. “You’re going to move there knowing as much as possible.”

Ms. Bernstein founded her company, in part, because she struggled with finding the right suburb herself. She and her husband left the city for Westport, Conn., which they loved for its beautiful architecture, beaches and vibrant cultural scene. But after they moved in, the town seemed sprawling and they longed for a small town with mom-and-pop shops. Ultimately, after a fresh search, they bought a home in Westchester in Armonk, where they know shopkeepers in town.

Has she found her people? She thinks so. “It’s life-changing when you live in a town where you’re raising kids with people you want to be raising kids with,” she said.

What do you think? Did you pick the right — or wrong — suburb? If so, how? Click “Comments” to share your story.

(To read the full New York Times story, click here.)

Bad News: Yellow Pages Will Be Tossed In Your Driveway Soon. Good News: You Can Opt Out!

The new edition of the Yellow Pages will be distributed hurled intrusively onto your driveway soon. The project — which wastes enormous amounts of fuel as drivers deliver a product that wastes enormous numbers of trees, and which no one uses these days anyway — begins around September 22.

If you’re one of the 100% of Westporters who believe the Yellow Pages — and if not them, their current distribution system — should go the way of the Flivver and the fax, you’re in luck.

According to the 1st selectman’s office, you can opt out of “future phone book deliveries” by visiting www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. If you opt out 60 days in advance of the delivery, you will not receive the current publication. (Today is July 27. I know, I know…)

Westport’s official town nuisance.

Supposedly, data submitted will never be used for marketing purposes, and will not be given to third parties.

You can also use those links to request directories.  As if.

If you have “concerns” about the Yellow Pages, email sbconcerns@teampdc.com. Provide your name, address, contact information and specific details about why you’re concerned.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got any strategies for stopping the even more intrusive — as in, every week — Minuteman, click “Comments” to share.