Tag Archives: Aye Aye Thant

Roundup: Candlelight Concert, Mexicue, Poet Laureates …

Don’t say we didn’t tell you.

Staples High School Candlelight Concert tickets go “on sale” to the public — don’t worry, they’re still free! — on December 1.Performances are Friday, December 16 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 17 (3 and 8 p.m.).

The link is easy: www.StaplesMusic.org.

Spectacular holiday music will be provided by the symphonic orchestra, symphonic band and choral ensembles. The 82-year-old event blends plenty of time-honored traditions, with some 21st-century twists.

If you’ve been to Candlelight, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never gone — set that alarm for tickets. You don’t need kids in high school to appreciate what these teenagers (and their teachers) do.

One more tradition: the artwork for this year’s concert comes once again from Staples senior Hugh Kennedy. It’s the third year in a row he’s designed the graphics.

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Last February, “06880” announced the imminent arrival of Mexicue.

The restaurant — mixing “street food sensibility” with fine dining — was renovating 38 Main Street, the former site of Bobby Q’s and Onion Alley.

The target for opening was May.

Mexicue missed the mark by 6 months. Opening day is today, at 4 p.m.

From all indications, the wait will be worth it. Westporters who have dined at Mexicue in New York City (Chelsea, NoMad, Midtown), Stamford and Washington say “¡muy bueno!”

Click here for details.

Mexicue

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Westport resident Aye Aye Thant is one of the our town’s biggest boosters of the United Nations.

It’s no wonder. Her father, U Thant, was the third secretary general of the organization. The Burmese leader served from 1961 to 971.

Aye Aye – a longtime Westporter — addressed the Rotary Club yesterday, at Green;s Farms Congregational Church. She reflected on  her father’s legacy of diversity and peace, and the role education played in that vision.

U Thant, who died in 1974, was a strong proponent of decolonization and tolerance. His daughter believes he was ahead of his time.

“As a Buddhist, he believed Buddhism was a great religion but he also understood that hundreds of millions disagreed with him,” she said. That realization led her father to espouse a philosophy of peaceful coexistence.

Aye Aye Thant, speaking at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting. A photo of her father, U Thant, is on the screen behind her. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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Two poet laureates on one stage!

Sixteen years after headlining the Malloy Lecture in the Arts, former US poet laureate Billy Collins returns to the Westport Library.

He’ll chat with Connecticut poet laureate Antoinette Brim-Bell about his new volume, “Musical Tables.” Those short poems focus on nature, animals, mortality, absurdity and love.

The event is December 9 (7 p.m.). Tickets are $26 (same price for 1 or 2 attendees), and include a signed copy of “Musical Tables.” Click here to purchase and for more information.

Westport’s own poet laureate — Jessica Noyes McEntee — says: “If you know Billy Collins’ work, then I don’t have to encourage you to see him live. If you haven’t explored his oeuvre, this night promises to be delightful. His work has a magical and effortless quality that many of us in the poetry community emulate, and enjoy.”

“Billy Collins is perhaps the most revered poet writing in America today,” says Library executive director Bill Harmer. “Most communities would count themselves fortunate to see him once in a lifetime. To have him back in Westport for a second time is a thrill beyond measure. And to be joined by Antoinette is a true gift.”

Billy Collins

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The Staples High School boys soccer program has always given back to the community. This year’s initiative: collecting donations for the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport, and its after-school, vacation and summer camps for low income youth.

All donations will be delivered by players to the Center, in time for their annual holiday party on December 17.

Donations can be made Friday through Sunday, December 2-4, at 1 Baldwin Place (off Bayberry Lane). There will be bins by the garage.

Suggested items include:

  • Soccer balls, dodgeballs, basketballs
  • Plastic hockey sticks
  • Air Hockey Table and supplies
  • Ping Pong table and supplies
  • Complete board games with intact boxes and all pieces
  • Children or family DVDs
  • Unopened arts & crafts supplies
  • Unopened toys for holiday gifts
  • Dolls
  • Headphones
  • Gift cards
  • Hats, scarves and gloves
  • Swim goggles

Can’t find anything to give? Click here to guy new using the Center’s Amazon Wishlist, and have it delivered directly to the Laskin family, 1 Baldwin Place, Westport, CT 06880.

Can’t drop off during the December 2-4 dates? Email nicolelaskin@icloud.com for alternate arrangements.

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Longtime Westporter Ruby Allen died Friday in her sleep. The wife of Winston Allen. she was 87 years old.

Born in Pittsburgh, and one of 8 siblings, she lived here for 48 years.

She graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in finance, and from Baruch College with a master’s in public administration. She also attended Harvard University’ executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government..  

Ruby served as an assistant vice president of finance for the Health and Hospital Corporation of New York City for 30 years.

She loved traveling the world for pleasure, and as “first lady of the Westport Rotary Foundation,” attending 10 international conferences, She volunteered for humanitarian for months at a time with her husband, in Haiti and South Africa.

In addition to her husband, Ruby is survived by her stepchildren Vaughn and Julie Allen.

Viewing will be at St Paul’s on the Green (60 East Avenue, Norwalk) on Tuesday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. service and then a noon gravesite ceremony at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. Guests are then welcome at the Allen home (4 Burritts Landing North).

Ruby and Winston Allen (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Equinox — just over the border in Southport — is a hot spot for Westporters to work out.

It was even hotter yesterday. A car fire broke out in late morning, and threatened to engulf an adjacent vehicle.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Equinox fire. ({Photp and hat tip/Ian O’Malley)

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Staples High School’s November Students of the Month are seniors William Lacend Duprey, Marley Brown. Alexander Mussomeli and Jason Capozucca; junior Kimberly Cheng; sophomore Jane Cunningham, and freshmen Sophie Grijns and Gunnar Eklund.

Students of the Month “help make Staples a welcoming place for their peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the school community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep Staples  together, making it the special place that it is.”

November Students of the Month (from left): William Lacend Duprey ,Kimberly Cheng, Alexander Mussomeli, Gunnar Eklund, Jason Capozucca, Jane Cunningham, Missing: Marley Brown, Sophie Grijns.

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The next show at Amy Simon Fine Art is “Cali Girls.” Featured artists are Kristina Grace, Rene Romano and Maura Sega.

The show runs from November 19 through December 31. Click here for details.

“Quest” – wood panel, butterflies, bioresin, acrylics (Kristina Grace)

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Joe Carpenter offers today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo of his Annabelle hydrangea, and says: “This little girl finally decided she better bloom now before it is too late. Or is she 6 months ahead of everyone else?”

(Photo/Joe Carpenter)

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And finally … Dan McCafferty has died, at 76. He suffered from COPD.

You may not know his name. But you know his voice — from, for example, Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.” The New York Times explains:

His rendition — vocally scratchy but belted out behind reverberating guitar lines — became the definitive one. The world-weary lyrics emphasize hard lessons learned from heartbreak, but his passionate delivery made the song sound more like a statement of unvarnished desire.

The song came to seem characteristic of a post-hippie era, when male vitality was at the center of rock but the combativeness of heavy metal and punk had not yet become popular. In the movie “Dazed and Confused” (1993), “Love Hurts” plays at a 1970s junior high party in a neighborhood recreation center, where longhaired teens slow dance and furtively neck.

Click here for the full obituary.

(“06880” relies entirely on reader support. Please click here to contribute to your hyper-local blog.)

 

 

Roundup: UN, Paul Lane Field, Mushrooms …

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The UN is 76 years young.

To mark the occasion, Westport’s International Hospitality Committee and the UN Association of Southwestern Connecticut are hosting a ceremony on the Town Hall front steps. It’s set for next Monday (October 25, 3:30 p.m.).

UNASWCT president and International Hospitality Committee member Bill Hass will read a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Aye Aye Thant — a Westport resident, and daughter of former UN Secretary-General U Thant — is the guest speaker.

Flags of UN countries will fly on the Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Memorial Bridge.

For more information, call Bill Hass (203-454-7685).

Happy UN Day! (Photo/Jeff Simon)

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Paul Lane Field — the new name for Staples High School’s football stadium — will be dedicated officially on Friday, November 12.

A host of former players will be on hand, including Matt MacVane, Bill During, John Bolger, Buzz Leavitt and Lance Lonergan, as well as relatives of the longtime Wrecker coach. Festivities include a tailgate in the north parking lot before the 7 p.m. kickoff against Ridgefield High, and a halftime ceremony.

The original date for the dedication was this Friday (October 22). Instead, that’s Homecoming.

There’s plenty of action in what’s known — now and forever — as Paul Lane Field.

Paul Lane (center) flanked by his sons Peter (left) and Skip. Both played for him.

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It was a tough call. But MoCA Westport canceled this fall’s in-person fundraiser due to COVID concerns.

Of course, like any museum they still need support. They’ve pivoted to an online auction., to help with exhibitions and music, community events and outreach to the underserved.

The auction features over 50 items, including original artwork (like art by Devon Troy Strother and a Joel Sternfeld photo from the 1980s), one-of-a kind experiences (an NBA VIP draft experience), and curated products from local businesses (Stephen Kempson London, Stacy Bass Photography, JL Rocks, Pure Barre and Imperial Dental Associates, among others).

The auction begins November 1, and ends November 15. To pre-register, click here. For more information, click here.

MoCA Westport’s Newtown Avenue building is unique. Its online auction is special too.

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Speaking of artistry: The Flower Basket is more than just fantastic floral arrangements.

This Sunday (October 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 995 Post Road East), the wonderful shop near Stiles Market hosts an exhibit of abstract and contemporary art by Romeo. Flower and art lovers are invited.

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TAP is dedicated toward fitness and preventive care in all forms.

Including mushrooms.

On Tuesday (October 26, 7 p.m., 180 Post Road East) they host author Adam Piore. He’s the author of a recent Newsweek cover story on clinical trials using psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” to treat depression. He’ll talk about neuroscience, research and stories shared by patients.

To register and for more information, email Nancy@tapstrength.com.

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Wasps — or at least, a paper wasp nest — makes an initial appearance in our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Patricia Carey spotted it. She writes: “I think it’s really pretty (especially since there was no wasp activity!).”

(Photo/Patricia Carey)

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And finally … in honor of TAP Strength Lab’s upcoming event (see above):

 

 

Aye Aye Thant: Meet, Greet, Celebrate World Peace Day

Aye Aye Thant is a longtime Westport resident — and the daughter of former UN Secretary General U Thant. She writes:

This Thursday (September 23, 6 p.m.), the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut celebrates the International Day of Peace at a “Meet, Greet, and Celebrate” event. at the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach.

The event — also known as World Peace Day — was established in 1981 by a unanimous UN resolution. It is observed around the world each year tomorrow (September 21).

Today, in the aftermath of COVID-19, there is another pandemic: hunger. The World Bank has estimated that COVID has pushed as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 a day).

We need extraordinary efforts and global cooperation to tackle and deal with today’s challenges. With that goal, the United Nations has dedicated this year’s Peace Day to the theme “recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable world.”

The UN “invites all nations to celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic and as we recover.”

Each year as Peace Day approaches, I reflect on my father’s vision for peace. He said: “Peace is dependent, to a large extent on the achievement of social progress and a higher standard of living. To have lasting peace, there has to be economic and social advancement for all people, and a recognition of the need to bring down the number of human beings living in conditions of poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy.”

I moved to Westport 20 years ago. I liked to tell Ruth Steinkraus Cohen, the founder of our UNA –USA Southwestern Connecticut Chapter. that I came here because I learned about the activities of the chapter and the International Hospitality Committee of Fairfield County. She loved that.

I was a regular at Wednesday weekly meetings at her home, and was active in all activities of the organization. Ruth was an inspirational figure to many of us, and touched so many lives as a mentor and a friend.

Several years ago Aye Aye Thant spoke at Town Hall, for Westport’s United Nations Day ceremony. 

She wrote, “Westport s a port where one meets the world.” She founded jUNe Day. Westport hosted 500 United Nations staff for a day of fun and sun with the mission of fostering friendship between the people of the UN, the international community, and the American people as hosts.

She believed that it would help to build a bridge between cultures and, in turn, develop an understanding and respect of our differences while taking pride in our own cultures. In recognition of her vision, the bridge crossing the Saugatuck River on Post Road is named in her honor.

After Ruth passed away in May 2002, I was honored to serve as president of the chapter. As Ruth wrote, “As we become better informed about the UN and develop a better understanding of the practical problems involved in building a world community of nations, we will become more UN-minded in our political activity and in the long run will help strengthen public opinion and political support for the United Nations, which after all, is a key element of US foreign policy.”

By understanding the work of the UN, especially in the economic and social sectors, we recognize the interdependence of our existence and how strong multilateral cooperation is needed to achieve peace.

I hope you will join us on September 23, and become members of the UNA-USA to learn more about the role of the UN in advancing peace in the world.

Through a small measure, we shall contribute toward a larger goal: peace for all!

 

The Burma Road Leads To Westport

The “06880” tagline reads “Where Westport Meets the World.”

And — though Myanmar lies half a world a way from Westport — our connections are so close, it might as well be next door.

The new ambassador to Myanmar — the 1st in 22 years — is Derek Mitchell. His brother Jeff moved here in 1993. Derek comes often to watch his nephew Zach play Staples football and run indoor track (he captained the team to a state championship). The ambassador will be here next month too, for Zach’s graduation. (As Derek often does, he’ll walk his red poodle in Winslow Park.)

The swearing-in ceremony for Special Representative Derek Mitchell, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ambassador’s oath will be administered soon by President Obama. From left: Min Lee (Derek’s wife), Derek Mitchell, Secretary Clinton, and Eli, Zach and Jeff Mitchell of Westport.

In February Burton Levin — the most recent ambassador to Burma (1987-90) — spoke at the Westport Public Library. Jeff Mitchell was there, and helped the 2 ambassadors connect.

Perhaps the most famous Burmese person in the world is U Thant, the 3rd secretary-general of the United Nations (1961-71). His daughter Daw Aye Aye Thant is a longtime resident of Westport. She speaks frequently here, and is the founder and president of the U Thant Institute.

According to Asia Times, her Westport home is filled with beautiful indigenous tapestries and exquisite sculptured Buddhas, and photos of her father with presidents Kennedy and Johnson, plus many other world leaders.

Last fall her son, Thant Myint-U, spoke at Green’s Farms Congregational Church on key issues facing Myanmar and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Jeff Mitchell hopes to arrange for his brother, Aye Aye Thant and former Ambassador Levin to speak together here. It would be a historic event, Jeff says, and would mean that Westport “pretty much has a monopoly on the top Burma scholars in the world, outside of that country.”

Though just “wishful thinking” today, Jeff would love for Aung San Suu Kyi — the Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition politician who recently helped Myanmar transition from military rule to democracy — to come together for the event.

Meanwhile, Jeff Mitchell has started a charity organization, Partner with Myanmar. The goal is to further the development of community-based programs and projects. The focus is on arts, culture and conservation.

Its 1st project brought international attention to the Me N Ma Girls, 5 college-educated women who wrote their own songs, battled censors both on song content and how they dressed, and came from different ethnic regions. They’re on the verge of becoming the 1st Burmese band — male or female — with an international recording contract.

Up next for Mitchell: creating the 1st film from Myanmar to be release globally. With Westport’s many industry connections, that goal may not be far-fetched.

06880 meets the world in many places, and many ways. The new democracy in Myanmar is one of the most intriguing, and impressive.