Tag Archives: Aztec Two-Step

COVID-19 Roundup: OneWestport/ASF Stuff; Aztec Two-Step; Tech Help; More


Just days after COVID-19 slammed into town, OneWestport provided residents with a one-stop spot to learn which restaurants, stores and services were open — and how to access their websites.

It still does. But now — just in time for Mother’s Day — OneWestport has added a new feature: an online store.

Partnering with ASF — the sports-and-more store that supports every local team and fundraiser that asks — they developed a design matching the style Staples High freshman James Dobin-Smith used to create the look of OneWestport.

They’re selling hoodies, t-shirts, tank tops and hats, in a variety of styles, for all ages. As with most ASF merchandise, you can add your name to the sleeves.

In keeping with the site’s we’re-all-in-this-together ethos, 100% of profits go to Homes With Hope, Westport’s supportive housing agency.

It’s a win-win-win: for the organization, the store and us. Click here to see what’s available, and place an order.


For nearly 50 years, Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman were Aztec Two-Step. After Neal’s wife died in 2017, Rex started working on a song about love and loss.

He lives in Westport, and his wife Dodie Pettit has replaced Neal in the duo. Like musicians everywhere, when the pandemic hit they had to cancel all upcoming concerts

Rex and Dodie spent a month reworking and recording the song — “Words (How Do You Tell Someone)” — in their home studio. Bandmates came over — one at a time, masked — to overdub their parts. Among them: Westport flutist Joe Meo.

“With all that’s going on, it feels relevant,” Rex says. “Give it a look and listen. If you think it will help a friend or loved one, please pass it on.”


Claire Lee is a junior at Staples High School. Starting as a freshman, she volunteered at the Westport Library, helping patrons with technology-related issues.

COVID-19 has forced her to stay home. However, she still wants to help the community. And — as many folks work from home without their usual tech report, and others grapple with new technology to try to keep in touch — the need is greater than ever.

But — thanks to technology — help is at hand. Claire created Tech Check, a free website through which she offers assistance for tech-related issues.

Just click here, scroll down, fill out the info, and look for a return email from “TechCheck06880@gmail.”

Claire is available by Zoom too. If you don’t know how to use it, that should be part of your first request!

Claire Lee


More Staples news: Yesterday, the “We the People” team celebrated their spectacular 5th place finish at the national competition the previous weekend.

It was held virtually, of course — via Zoom — so yesterday’s event was equally COVIDian.

The team met in the Trumbull Mall parking lot, not far from where Suzanne Kammerman, their social studies teacher and advisor, lives.

All were spaced 6 feet apart. They cheered Kammerman; the parents cheered their kids. It was not the same as hugging and high-fiving.

But it’s still a season, and finish, they’ll remember forever.


There’s a new thing on Instagram, called Yorkshire Silly Walks. It comes from Monty Python, and includes “The Ministry of Silly Walks.”

Yesterday, Robbie Guimond’s 3 daughters borrowed the idea — complete with a sign. So if you find yourself on Riverside Avenue, in the vicinity of his Bridgebrook Marina, be warned: You are commanded to walk silly.


And finally … as the greatest city in the world starts to emerge, slowly, from the worst of the pandemic, here’s its greatest tributes ever:

Aztec Two-Steps Into 323

Sometimes, the bands that play at 323 are pretty good. Occasionally they’re not. Usually though, they’re just nice background music to your dinner and drinks.

On Monday night, patrons at the Main Street restaurant had good reason to actually listen.

Aztec Two-Step — the folk-rock band that’s been a cult favorite since 1971 (!) — lugged their equipment, plugged in and played a full set.

Aztec Two-Step at 323. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

It wasn’t totally random. Westporter Dodi Pettit married Rex Fowler — the band’s co-founder — in August. (Nearly 40 years ago, she played guitar and sang on their 5th album.)

Still, it’s pretty cool to have such a legendary group performing in such a down-home venue.

You never know what a restaurant’s Special of the Day will be, do you?

Dodie Pettit’s Next Act

Kevin Gray — the  1976 Staples High School graduate who became the youngest actor to play the lead role in “Phantom of the Opera,” and acted in or directed more than 150 productions — died in 2013, of a heart attack. He was just 55.

Kevin met his wife, Dodie Pettit, in “Phantom.” Quite a performer herself, she starred in “Cats” on Broadway, was in 3 Tony-winning shows, and worked with Staples Players (where her husband learned his craft) in a summer production.

Since then, Dodie has kept Kevin’s memory alive. She produced a tribute CD, with over 170 Broadway singers. She also hosted and organized an evening of songs at the Levitt Pavilion, dedicated to her husband.

But life goes on. Now Dodie’s life has taken a wonderful turn.

In 1979 she met Rex Fowler. He was Aztec Two-Step’s singer/songwriter. She was hired to play guitar and sing on the folk rock band’s 5th album.

Nearly 40 years later they ran into each other again.

On August 4, they got married.

Husband and wife.

The ceremony — in Dodie’s Meeker Road back yard — included locals Terry Eldh, Raissa Katona Bennett and Frank Mastrone. All were in “Phantom,” and all sang at the ceremony.

Mary Jo Duffy was there; she sang too. Many musician friends of Rex’s performed, including his Aztec Two-Step partner of 47 years, Neal Shulman.

Of course, Dodie and Rex sang as well.

Rex has adopted Dodie into his band, on guitar, piano and vocals. They’ve toured often since the spring, when they announced their engagement.

They play Saturday, September 15 at the Mitchell Farm Fest in East Haddam, Connecticut. Jonathan Edwards is also on the bill.

A Westport date may be in the works.

Congratulations, Dodie and Rex!

Dodie Pettit and Rex Fowler perform together.