October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Among the lives we’ve lost: Westporter Lisa Laudico, in August.
Her friend Anne Craig says, “It was her dying wish, to help create awareness about metastatic breast cancer, nd continue her work supporting other women with the disease through research, grants, funding and love.”
A nonprofit — started in 2019 by a Madison woman, Roberta Lombardi — helps single mothers with MBC from underserved populations pay rent, and get gas , groceries and clothes for their children. Monthly grants of $1,000 change lives.
Audiences are very impressed with “From the Mississippi Delta.” The Westport Country Playhouse’s final production of 2022 ended previews yesterday. The official opening is tonight at 8.
The Pulitzer Prize-nominated play traces the story of one woman’s triumphant journey out of a difficult childhood in Mississippi, through the civil rights movement and beyond. It’s a gripping tale of resilience, and the human spirit.
The show runs through October 30. For more information and tickets, click here.
The cast of “Mississippi Delta” acknowledges applause last night. From left: Tameishia Peterson, Claudia Logan, Erin Margaret Pettigrew. (Photo and hat tip: Dave Matlow)
Lock your cars doors! Even — especially — in your driveway!
That’s the advice (it should be a command) from the Westport Police Department.
Four vehicles have been stolen here since Saturday. All 4 times, the doors were unlocked — and the keys were left in the cars.
Police have also responded to 15 vehicle break-ins in the past 6 days. Items were stolen from all cars — and again, the doors were unlocked.
The department reminds residents to lock all cars, and bring keys inside. Take valuables out of your car for the night too — cash, purses, wallets and electronics. It’s a good idea too to keep outside lights on, and motion lights activated.
Since going public about her battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has been interviewed by every major American media outlet.
Tonight (Thursday, May 6) she talks to a different audience: her neighbors.
Former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor Dave Briggs — also a Westporter — interviews the Melissa & Doug toy company co-founder today, on Instagram Live.
Melissa will talk about her life, and LifeLines: the project she and her husband Doug have created, to educate and empower people. The conversation is particularly apt now; May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
It’s available tonight at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live (@Westport Magazine). You can ask questions during the segment, or send them now: DM @DaveBriggsTV.
Far from a “welcome wagon” — longtime residents are as welcome as recent arrivals — it’s a fun, active group. Members enjoy clam bakes, coffees, holiday parties, kayaking, barbecues, happy hours, wine tastings and TGIF get-togethers.
They play canasta. They go hiking and to movies. There is a book club, culinary group and luncheon club. There are trips to museums, baby and toddler play groups, and girls’ nights out.
Well, they did all that before COVID. The pandemic forced every activity onto Zoom, or hiatus.
But as Westport opens up, the group is returning to in-person events. “With the energy of spring in the air, we are trying our best to serve our community,” they say. “We will of course continue to follow town guidelines in all activities.”
The first monthly event is tomorrow (Friday, May 7, noon): lunch outdoors at Arezzo.
In the works: Book Club (May 27, 7 p.m.), kayaking, and free Pure Barre classes for members.
Click here to learn more. Click here for the Facebook page; For membership information, email email@example.com. For other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westport Public Art Collections seeks submissions from K-12 students for the 2021-22 school calendar. That’s the one that hangs in every kitchen. It lists all school events — and is decorated handsomely with student art.
Drawings, paintings, photos and computer-generated graphics will be considered (landscape orientation, please).
Artwork scanned at high res (600 dpi — JPG or PDF format file) or a good photo can be mailed to WestportSchoolCalendar@gmail.com. Include the student’s name, email, school and grade. Keep the original art, in case a re-scan is needed.
The deadline is May 28. Click here for more details, and to preorder a calendar.
The cover of the 2020-21 Westport Public Schools calendar was drawn by Sophia Sheng, Coleytown Elementary School 5th grader.
Bedford Middle School 8th grader Ryan Tzou learned yesterday he was a winner in the Women’s History Month essay contest.
He found out in a great way: State Representative Stephanie Thomas surprised him during social studies class.
“Ryan told the triumphant story of his grandmother, a Chinese immigrant who experienced countless obstacles in her life that she never let hinder her dreams and goals,” Thomas said. “Ryan’s love and admiration for his grandmother poured through the carefully constructed words in his essay, which made it both inspirational and heart-warming to read.”
Ryan Tzou with State Representative Stephanie Thomas (left) and Bedford Middle School social studies teacher Gabrielle Tripuzzi. He holds a citation for his essay.
The other day, “06880” reported on Staples High 9th grader Cameron Mann’s current gig: He’s part of HBO Max’s “Mare of Easttown” cast.
Three years ago he was part of a 2018 workshop: “The Secret Garden.” Presented for top Broadway professionals and theatre owners, it was directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, and starred notable actors.
The production is being streamed tonight (Thursday, May 6), and will be available on demand May 7-9. Proceeds go to the Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund. Click here for details.
In the latest installment of Westport’s ongoing, fun mystery, TV reporter Anne Craig reports on the unknown knitter’s latest creation.
But in addition to showcasing her work on Compo Beach Road — right by the marina — Anne also makes an offer.
The Yarn Bomber wants to help someone who needs a colorful, lively, humorous pick-me-up. That’s right: a “gift bomb.”
“It can be someone on the front lines, or someone who has suffered a loss,” Anne says. “Someone who has been through a lot, or has given a lot.
All that’s needed is a nomination. So watch Anne’s new video below — it’s another winner! — and if you know someone who could benefit from a yard bomb, put his or her name in the YouTube comments section.
“The High School That Rocked!” — Fred Cantor’s documentary about the amazing bands that played in Westport back in the (glory) days — is going national.
From June 26-28, it’s part of the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience’s online “Best of the Fest” programming.
In 2017, the film was chosen as Best Short Documentary 1st runner-up at the event.
“THSTR” is part of 6 music documentary shorts and videos. The cost to watch all is just $1. Proceeds are split 50/50 between the festival and filmmakers — but Cantor is turning his share back to the organizers.
To see this intriguing film — and 5 others — click here.
One consequence of COVID-19: closures and reductions in summer programs has left working families without affordable childcare options.
Westport’s Department of Human Services can help. They’ve created a Campership Fund, to help cover the cost of programs.
The average weekly cost of a day camp is $300. Donations of any size can help a child attend for a day, week or the entire summer. Contributions can be made online (click here), or by check (payable to Westport Human Services “DHS Campership Fund,” 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.
Summer camp is always fun. (Photos/Jaime Bairaktaris)
This year’s National History Day them was “Breaking Barriers.”
Long before the eyes of the nation focused on forgotten Black heroes, Staples High School sophomores Emma Nordberg and Lea Rivel chose Robert Smalls. A former enslaved man who stole a Confederate vessel and joined the Union, he convinced President Lincoln to allow African American men to join the army, was the first Black commander of an American warship, and became one of the first Black congressmen during Reconstruction.
The coronavirus forced this year’s History Day competition into cyberspace. But working together, Emma and Lea placed 4th nationally. It’s a great achievement for them, and their US History teacher Drew Coyne.
That’s not the first National History Day competition for Westport students — or even for a Nordberg. In 2016 Emma’s brother Konur and 4 Bedford Middle School classmates won 1st place at the state level, and went on to the national competition. They interviewed Claudette Colvin, the first Black woman who refused to give up her son, even before Rosa Parks’ famous act.
Congratulations, Emma and Lea!
And finally … let’s all keep thinking about (and being aware of) stereotypes.
The other day, I posted a story about Anne Craig and the “yarn bomber.”
Anne — a former Fox 5 New York reporter and Channel 8 New Haven news anchor — is familiar to Westporters. She’s now a Westport mom, no longer working full-time. But she loves reporting stories about our town.
The “yarn bomber” is familiar too — though not by name. Ever since the COVID crisis began, she’s decorated Westport with beautiful designs. Trees, utility poles, light stanchions — they’ve all been transformed in the dead of night, from something we never looked at to works of art. She brings inspiration, color and hope to us all.
One of the yarn bomber’s first works, at fire headquarters. (Photo/Molly Alger)
The “06880” story deepened Westport’s interest in the mysterious artist.
It also caught her attention.
Stealthily, anonymously, the knitter contacted Anne. She left a note at the reporter’s home, using kidnapper-style letters cut out of magazines.
The first note from the yarn bomber to Anne Craig.
They continued their super-secret conversations. Anne still did not know who the yarn bomber was. But — this time using a message in a (wine) bottle — she invited Anne to come along on her next mission.
Which is how she made her next video: a mini-documentary on the yarn bombing of Amis restaurant, in Bedford Square.
Working quickly late at night, in Bedford Square.
It was the knitter’s 25th project.
She’s still anonymous. But Anne’s film — complete with music, cut-away scenes and foreshadowing — is every bit as artistic and cool as the yarn bomber’s own gifts to Westport.
From the video: The yarn bomber at work.
Now you can see it. Just click below.
Then keep your eyes open, all over this beautiful, yarn-bombed town.
Anne Craig is familiar to Westporters. She spent 15 years on TV, as an entertainment and features reporter for Fox 5 in New York, and evening news anchor on New Haven’s Channel 8.
These days Anne is home in Westport with her husband and young kids. But she still loves telling stories — and tells them very, very well.
This one is about Westport’s mysterious “yarn bomber.” We’ve all seen her (or their) (or his?!) work. Now Anne tries to unravel the mystery.
Two weeks ago, Staples senior Lillie Bukzin learned that Oprah Winfrey was organizing a Facebook Live graduation event — and was looking for videos.
Lillie and her friends Sofie Abrams, Meher Bhullar, Reilly Caldwell, Kate Enquist and Cassie Lang went to work. They wrote a mini-script, and Lillie recorded them all saying “Hi! We are from the class of 2020 from Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut and this how we graduate.” They also threw their Staples baseball caps in the air.
On Thursday, they learned they’d be part of Oprah’s event — which aired yesterday. Click below to see their 15 seconds of fame! (Okay, it’s more like 1.5 seconds. But the video is very cool!
PS: In other Staples/national graduation/famous people news, tonight (8 p.m., multiple platforms) is when former president Barack Obama gives a speech to the Class of 2020. It’s the direct result of a social media campaign spearheaded by Lincoln Debenham, who grew up here and spent 2 years at Staples before his family moved to Los Angeles.
The Class of 2020 may graduate virtually, but together they rock!
The Westport Garden Club had to postpone their annual flower sale. But the 96-year-old organization is growing new roots, with their “Friday Flowers” project. All around town, they’re brightening our days. Here’s one example — at the gateway to our newly opened beach.
Here’s another interesting shot. David Squires calls this “our new (ab)normal.” Personally, he says, “I prefer the fuzzy dice.”
In month 3 of COVID, you’ve gone through nearly every Netflix, Showtime and Disney title available.
But you may have missed “Batsh*t Bride.” Filmed locally — including Christ & Holy Trinity church, Longshore and Pearl restaurant — the comedy stars Meghan Falcone as a bride who pranks her fiance by saying they should break up. Unfortunately, he feels the same way. Everything spirals out of control from there.
It’s available just about any way you can watch: Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox, FangangoNOW, Hoopla, Sony Playstation Video Application and console, AT&T, DirectTV, Dish, iN DEMAND (Comcast, Spectrum) and Vubiquity (Verison Fios). Enjoy the trailer below; then click here for the direct links.
There’s not a lot to laugh about these days. But people walking past Saugatuck Congregational Church have to smile when they see the signs below.
Too young to know the reference? Google John Cleese and Monty Python.
And finally … the beach parking lot reopening was timed perfectly with the arrival of actual spring weather. Well done, Westport!
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