One of my favorite New Year’s traditions is the SyFy channel’s “Twilight Zone” marathon.
It airs December 31 and January 1 — one great, thought-provoking, stand-the-test-of-time episode after another.
Rod Serling began writing and introducing his stories while he lived in Westport — right down the street from my family, in fact, on High Point Road.
Some were influenced by this suburban, post-war town. And “A Stop at Willoughby” — with a train conductor calling out to a time traveler, “Next stop: Westport!” — is on tomorrow (Thursday, December 31) at 9:20 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.
Congratulations to The Cottage and Kawa Ni — and their owners, Brian Lewis and Bill Taibe respectively. Both are included in Connecticut Magazine’s list of the Top 15 restaurants in the state.
That means our town includes more than 13% of all the best restaurants!
Did you miss last night’s full Full Cold Moon?
Wendy Crowther sure didn’t.
And finally … influential bluegrass and new acoustic singer/guitarist Tony Rice died Saturday in North Carolina. He was 69.
Only a few people can watch NFL games in person. You haven’t been to a concert in longer than it takes to conceive and deliver a baby.
But anyone could have gone around town, checked out holiday window decorations, and voted for their favorites.
In fact, many people did.
Yesterday, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the annual contest. This year for the first time, it encompassed the entire town.
And the winners are…:
Mom and Pop Shop:The Plumed Serpent Bridal
Plumed Serpent Bridal
National chain: Anthropologie
Non-retail:Artistex Salon & Spa
Artistex Spa & Salon
And the grand prize — for the window with the most total votes:The Plumed Serpent Bridal.
They win dinner for 4 at Don Memo.
Click here for a list of all participating venues. Voting in closed — but you can still enjoy them!
Head to the Savvy + Grace Christmas tree. Child nutrition program Filling in the Blanks will sell reflective metal tags, which can hold a personal message or name to hang onto to the tree! They’ll also collect 15-ounce soup cans.
Around the corner, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Quintet will play in the pick-up circle outside Bedford Square on Elm Street, then move to Brooks Corner (1 to 3 p.m.)
Don’t forget to look at (and vote for) store window displays. Over 40 stores are vying for titles, in several categories. Click here for more information.
The Savvy + Grace tree.
Speaking of downtown: Like many retailers, Fleet Feet has been impacted by the pandemic.
But during the holiday season, the Sconset Square running shoe store is thinking about its neighbors — Westport’s restaurants.
So any customer who buys a $100 Fleet Feet gift card in the store gets a $20 gift card to a local eatery.
They’re open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays 8 to 11 a.m. (appointment only), and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What a great idea. Run on down to get yours! (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)
As of yesterday, Westport had 839 cumulative cases of COVID-19 (772 confirmed, 67 suspected). That’s up 53 from the previous week — and the rate more than doubled from that previous week, when it was up by 25.
There were no coronavirus deaths in Westport over the past 7 days. Total deaths since the start of the pandemic are 25.
I know everyone is busy this weekend with tons of holiday open houses, carol sings and other festive gatherings. (In our dreams…)
But don’t forget tomorrow’s Staples High School Candlelight Concert (Saturday, December 19, 7:30 p.m.). The 80th annual gift to the town is fully virtual this year. It includes many wonderful choral, orchestra and band selections, as well as cool interviews with current and past music instructors, alumni — even legends George Weigle and John Hanulik’s kids.
Click here for the free link. Then sit back and enjoy a memorable show.
More Staples news: Louisa D’Amore has been recognized for outstanding achievement. She is one of 4 national recipients of the Italian Language Foundation’s Teacher Recognition Award.
And finally … to get you in the Candlelight Concert mood, here’s this gem from 2015:
There’s no “Sing We Noel” processional this weekend. Alumni won’t throng the risers for the “Hallelujah Chorus.” All the little things — the beautiful music, zippy production number, even the large wreath hanging as a backdrop — are missing from this year’s Candlelight Concert.
But parents, friends and alumni — even the singers and musicians themselves — will feel the familiar goosebumps this Saturday (December 19, 7:30 p.m.), when a special livestream brings Candlelight to homes around the globe.
And if your home is in Westport, why not do something to help the town?
(Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
The Staples High School music department — which for 80 yeas has offered this gift to the town — has a great idea to make this home-for-the-holiday event extra special.
They suggest that everyone in Westport enjoy a takeout dinner this Saturday. Pick a favorite spot. Order a favorite meal. Pick it up (or have it delivered). Then gather around the TV screen (or computer), and make a festive night of it.
The music department makes this super easy. They’ve linked to Our Town Crier’s Westport Marketplace restaurant page. Just click here. There are dozens of places to choose from, featuring every cuisine (and price point).
It’s no secret: Restaurants need our help.
It’s also no secret: The Candlelight Concert is all about sharing.
This Saturday, share a meal along with music. And help our restaurants end 2020 on a high “note.”
(Click here for free registration for Saturday’s Candlelight Concert.)
Last Sunday’s Photo Challenge showed the eagle on the front of Brandy Melville, on Main Street. Tons of readers responded with memories of what that building has been in years past — among others, a jewelry store, ice cream shop, crystal store, salon and travel agency. It was connected on the 2nd floor to Chez Pierre, a popular French restaurant next door.
But only Jill Turner Odice sent an illustration.
Judging from the car, it’s 1964. Judging from the view, it’s timeless.
The New Yorker has named its 36 best films of 2020.
Checking in at #30: “Gatsby in Connecticut.”
The magazine writes:
In this engaging rabbit-hole documentary, a nonprofessional filmmaker [Robert Steven Williams] pursues his obsession with “The Great Gatsby,” tracing key elements of Fitzgerald’s story to Westport, Connecticut—and connecting with a writer who published a related report in The New Yorker.
Appearing on any Top Films list a great accomplishment. But this is doubly impressive: It’s the New Yorker.
And it includes all releases this past year. Not just independent films. Not just documentaries. Every movie you could have streamed anywhere, or seen in a theater (for the 2 months in early 2020 when there were such things).
Congratulations, Robert! F. Scott, Zelda, Jay, Nick and Daisy would be proud.
(Click here for the full New Yorker story. Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)
“All Things Warm” is the name of Westport VFW Post 399’s winter drive. They’re collecting new and gently used warm clothing and blankets, for veterans their families.
Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, sweaters, thermals, winter socks, pajamas, boots — if it’s warm, they want it.
Drop-offs are accepted at the VFW Post (465 Riverside Avenue, at the Saugatuck Avenue split) through December 19.
VFW on Riverside Avenue
Emma Dantas — a Staples High School senior — is co-president of the Yale New Haven Hospital Junior Board. The institution is on the front lines fighting COVID. They need our help — and you can do it in a guilty-pleasure way.
Just buy lunch or dinner at Shake Shack in Westport, Darien or New Haven this Monday (December 7) between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Use the code “DONATION” at checkout — on the app, online or in person.
25% of the price of your order will go to Yale New Haven Hospital. It’s incredibly easy — and important. Tasty, too!
(Photo courtesy of Westport Patch)
And finally … on this date in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. It repealed the 18th Amendment — in other words, it ended Prohibition.
Plenty of songs lamented the decade-plus ban on alcohol. Among the most famous: Bessie Smith’s 1928 “Me and My Gin,” and Louis Armstrong’s 1929 “Knockin’ a Jug,” with Jack Teagarden. The latter is one of the first major recorded collaborations of black and white musicians — and its title comes from an empty gallon of whiskey Armstrong saw in the studio. It was full when the session started.
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