Tag Archives: Center for Family Justice

“Vagina Monologues” Comes To Town

It began as casual conversations with friends. Soon Eve Ensler began talking with women she did not know. Eventually she spoke with 200 of them.

Their discussions about sex and relationships often turned to the topic of violence against women. The project — which Ensler had envisioned as a celebration of vaginas and femininity — became a crusade to stop that violence.

Since its off-Broadway debut in 1996, “The Vagina Monologues” — which explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, sex work and other topics through the eyes of women of various ages, races and sexualities — has become one of the most impactful plays of our time.

It also sparked the V-Day Movement, a global non-profit aimed at ending violence against women and girls.

“The Vagina Monologues” forms the cornerstone of the movement. Benefit performances take place worldwide each year between February and April. All  must stick to an annual script that V-Day puts out.

Performances benefit rape crisis centers, shelters for women and similar resources. So far, they’ve raised over $120 million.

This year, Westport Library has been chosen to produce a V-Day event. Beneficiaries are the Center for Family Justice and the Rowan Center sexual assault agency. Many cast members are Westport residents.

Set for Friday, February 21, the event begins with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception. The performance will be followed by a conversation between the cast and audience, about themes and issues brought up in the play.

The suggested donation is $20. However, all donation levels are accepted (and appreciated). For tickets, click here.

Lisa Lampanelli’s Fat Girls

Lisa Lampanelli is one of America’s most popular (and edgily hilarious) comedians.

She’s a regular on Howard Stern, a staple on late-night TV, and a 2-time Grammy nominee for “Best Comedy Album.” She was a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice,” and participated in a roast of Donald Trump.

Later this month, though, she’ll do something a lot heavier.

Lampanelli has just written a legit play. It gets its 1st-ever public reading on Saturday, March 19 at the Westport Country Playhouse. The event is a benefit for Bridgeport’s Center for Family Justice.

Fat Girls InterruptedI’m not as funny as Lampanelli, but you gotta admit that my “a lot heavier” line is good. The play is “Fat Girls, Interrupted.” It focuses on weight, body image and food issues from the perspective of 4 women, with 4 different problems.

“The play will do for weight and food issues what ‘Vagina Monologues’ did for women’s nether regions,” Lampanelli says.

I’m not touching that with a 10-foot pole.

The venue is a coup for the Playhouse. How often does a theater offer a world-premiere reading?

Lisa Lampanelli

Lisa Lampanelli

But it’s also a coup for Lampanelli. A Trumbull native who now owns a Fairfield beach house, she calls the Playhouse “a bucket list thing for me. It’s always seemed so classic and iconic.”

The booking came about through her friendship with internationally acclaimed “chick-lit” writer Jane Green, a local resident. (“She’s all the good things about Westport, without the bad,” Lampanelli says.)

Green introduced the stand-up comic to Michael Ross, the theater’s managing director. He loved “Fat Girls.”

“How did I end up, at 54, in this very cool world?” Lampanelli asks.

In part, through a lot of hard work. She began creating a play 6 years ago with Alan Zweibel. He’s written for “Saturday Night Live,” Garry Shandling and Billy Crystal.

Most of “Fat Girls” took shape over the past 2 years, though. It’s insightful, important and poignant — and at times very, very funny.

Speaking of funny: What about that roast of Donald Trump? The narcissistic blowhard now bullying his way to the Republican nomination for president doesn’t seem to be the type of guy to laugh at himself.

Lisa Lampanelli, roasting Donald Trump.

Lisa Lampanelli, roasting Donald Trump.

“He was one of the best sports ever,” says Lampanelli. She should know: She’s also roasted Chevy Chase, Denis Leary, Pamela Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, Flavor Flav, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff and Larry the Cable Guy.

“I could say the most crazy, incendiary stuff. I attacked Trump for his hair, his taste in women, the dopey ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ which I was on — and more stuff I can’t say in print.”

That was at New York’s Friars Club. Lisa Lampanelli’s next act opens soon — right here in Westport.

(Tickets are $100 [with a post-reading “Meet the Cast” dessert reception], $50 and $25. To order or for more information, click here or call 203-227-4177.)

Fairfield Tragedy: A Follow-Up

From all indications, Tuesday’s horror in Fairfield was domestic violence.

Responding to a report of a “violent domestic assault,” police found Christopher Andrews’ wife stabbed in the head. His 12-year-old son had been nearly killed with a baseball bat. His other 2 children were also injured. When Andrews approached a Fairfield police officer with a knife — and ignored repeated requests to drop it — the policeman shot and killed him.

Fairfield town sealThe tragedy put a spotlight on domestic violence. Yesterday, “06880” offered resources for victims, via the Westport Police Department. The town of Fairfield and the the Center for Family Justice — an advocacy group — planned a vigil for tomorrow, on the Old Town Hall Green.

Now the event has been canceled. According to the Connecticut Post, the Andrews family does not want “domestic violence” to be associated with the event.

Three friends of the family told the paper that what happened Tuesday is completely out of character for Andrews, a New York lawyer.

A statement by a family representative said:

Kathleen and her family are shocked and devastated by this tragedy, and continue to ask for prayers as she and her family heal. They respectfully request that no one pass any judgment on any of their family including Christopher Andrews and they respectfully request that their privacy be honored during this very difficult time.

The vigil will not take place. First Selectman Michael Tetreau urged residents to support the Andrews “in any way the family deem appropriate.”