Tag Archives: Chris Robison

Roundup: Holiday Stroll, Kids’ Vaccine, Larry Aasen …

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New merchants are signing up every day for “06880”s first-ever Holiday Stroll.

It’s next Saturday (December 11), 4 to 7 p.m., downtown.

Staples’ elite Orphenians will sing. Don Memo will provide hot apple cider, on their patio. There’s face painting for kids, and an ugly sweater contest for everyone.

Santa will hang out by Savvy + Grace. He’ll pose for photos with kids, who can also drop off self-addressed letters to him. They’ll be mailed back, with a personal note.

Among the special shopping offerings:

  • 20% off at Allison Daniel Designs (Sconset Square) and WEST.
  • Free topaz or pyrite crystal at Age of Reason.
  • Something special from Franny’s Farmacy.
  • Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza.
  • Silk mask giveaway at Calico.
  • Spend $150-$250, get 10% off. Spend $250-$500, get 15% off. Spend $500 or more, get 20% off at Kerri Rosenthal.
  • Sorelle Gallery offers festive beverages to sip while browsing artwork, plus a giveaway. Sign up for their email list and select a free print, while supplies last.
  • A free gift to children who stop by The Toy Post between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday (they close at 6).
  • Buy one, get 1/2 off of Whip Salon brand products
  • 20% off all holiday items at Westport Book Shop.
  • Adult holiday beverages and 10% off a full-price purchase to anyone mentioning the “06880” blog at Nic + Zoe.
  • Hot chocolate at Le Rouge ChocolatesRye Ridge Deli and Winfield Street Coffee.
  • Hot chocolate and holiday treats at The Fred Shop.
  • 1 free health and wellness coaching session from Dark Horse Health and Wellness (Playhouse Square; stop by or call 203-349-5597).

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Meanwhile, earlier next Saturday — from 10:30 a.m. to noon — Westport Book Shop sponsors its own first-ever Winter Family Fest. It’s on Jesup Green, right across from our favorite used book store.

Kids will enjoy snowflake-themed crafts, games and story reading (indoors!). There’s hot chocolate and goodies for all too, courtesy of The Porch @ Christie’s.

The Family Fest takes place on Jesup Green, across from Westport Book Shop.

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Yesterday’s second COVID vaccine clinic for 5-to-11-year-olds was another hit.

Kids and their parents poured into the Staples High School fieldhouse, for their second dose. Westport Weston Health District, school district and Westport Community Emergency Response Team personnel handled the crowd efficiently. Youngsters were excited to receive another jab. (Their parents were too.)

One protester stood near the entrance. Whitney Krueger (photo below) held signs reflecting her belief that not enough information has been provided about the vaccine.

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Today is Larry Aasen’s 99th birthday.

He heads any list of great Westporters — and not just because his last name is first.

A World War II veteran and Westport resident since the 1950s, he’s had a long, distinguished career serving our town, in politics and many other ways. In 2018, Larry was the Memorial Day grand marshal.

He’s also the author of 4 books about his beloved home state, North Dakota.

Larry’s wife, his beloved Martha, died in October 2020. She was 90. They had been married for 66 years.

I know all of Westport joins me in wishing Larry Aasen a wonderful 99th birthday!

Larry Aasen, with his books. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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The inaugural Chris Frantz Emerging Artists concert — produced by the Westport Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — was a hit.

Last night, 200 music lovers enjoyed Lulu Lewis and The Problem with Kids. The next concert will be announced soon.

The Problem with Kids, at the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum last night.

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For 2 months, Netflix has been filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” all around the area. The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell.

The most recent site was Sherwood Island State Park, by the old stables. Intrigued beach-goers spotted tents, trailers and lights near the wood last week.

Preparing to shoot “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.”

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“Extraterrestrial Life: Are We the Sharpest Cookies in the Jar?”

That’s the provocative title of the Westport Astronomical Society’s next virtual lecture. Harvard professor Avi Loeb speaks via Zoom (click here) and YouTube (click here) on December 21 (8 p.m.).

PS: No one know the answer. But I do know this: If we were the smartest beings in the universe, we wouldn’t have to ask.

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Chris Robison — noted musician, teacher, gay rights activist and a longtime Westporter — died this week. He was 73.

Born Harold Alton Meyer in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Chris made his mark in the New York City rock ‘n’ roll scene of the 1970s as a member of the New York Dolls, Elephant’s Memory, Steam and Stumblebunny. He was also a music teacher here for over 30 years.

Chris recorded with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Papa John Phillips and Gene Simmons.

With Elephant’s Memory he toured with Aerosmith, Rare Earth and Billy Preston, and played a Circle Line tourist boat gig — hosted by the Hell’s Angels — with Bo Diddley and Jerry Garcia.

The New York Dolls toured Japan with Jeff Beck and Felix Pappalardi. A crowd of 55,000 jammed Tokyo Baseball Stadium to hear them play. Click here for a longer “06880” story on Chris’ musical exploits.

His family says, “His relentless passion for artistic expression and civil rights will be treasured for years to come.”

Chris is survived by sons Dexter Scott of Brooklyn and Tiger Robison of Laramie, Wyoming; sisters Laurel Meyer of Wellesley, Wendy Woodfield and Marilee Meyer of Cambridge, Massachusetts; brother Bruce Meyer of Camden, Maine, and 3 grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for this Tuesday (December 7) at MoCA Westport, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chris Robison

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If every business was as well landscaped as Tiger Bowl — well, they’d all be featured on our “Westport … Naturally” page!

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

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And finally … Chris Robison led quite a life (see his obituary above). We honor him here with these videos.

He was not in “Steam” when they recorded their signature (and only) hit (in Bridgeport). The band did not even exist; “Steam” was just studio musicians.

But the label wanted a tour. Chris joined the group that played 28 states, in a  grueling 3-week tour of 1-night stands, TV shows and festivals. They shared the bill with Bob Seger and MC5, among others. “Steam” played all original material; the only obligation was to start and end each set with …

His next gig — with Elephant’s Memory — included this 1974 song:

Then it was on to the New York Dolls. They were a key influence on later punk, new wave and glam metal groups like the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.

Later Chris formed his own band, Stumblebunny, which toured the UK and Germany with the Hollies.

He recorded solo, too.

Thanks for the music and the memories, Chris!

Na Na Hey Hey — It’s Chris Robison!

Like many teenagers in 1964, Chris Robison watched the Beatles on “Ed Sullivan.” Like many too, he says that appearance transformed his life.

For most, that transformation meant listening to a new kind of music or growing hair. Some picked up guitars, and tried to strum.

Chris embarked on a lifetime of music.

Chris Robison, back in the day.

He hitchhiked to Burlington to see the Searchers and Zombies. (Rod Argent is still his hero.) In Boston he watched Van Morrison, Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood.

He started a band. In Provincetown they opened for the garage group The Barbarians — of “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” fame.

Eventually Chris recorded with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Papa John Phillips and Gene Simmons. (Not all at the same time, obviously.)

Steam -- at least, one version of it, with Chris Robison.

While living in the East Village, he got an offer to join Steam. There was no real band of that name — just a bunch of studio musicians who’d recorded a song called “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” When it rocketed to #1 in 1969, a group was formed to tour under that name. They burned themselves out, so Chris was asked to join Steam’s 2nd incarnation.

They played 28 states on grueling 3-week tours of 1-night stands, TV shows and festivals, sharing the bill with Bob Seger and MC5, among others. “Steam” played all original material; the only obligation was to start and end each set with “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye!” (“Now you see how the 1st lineup evaporated,” Chris says.)

Chris’ next gig was Elephant’s Memory, the politically active band best known for backing John Lennon and Yoko Ono. They opened for Aerosmith, Rare Earth and Billy Preston too, and once played a Circle Line tourist boat gig — hosted by the Hell’s Angels — with Bo Diddley and Jerry Garcia.

Then it was on to the New York Dolls — a key influence on later punk, new wave and glam metal groups like the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads — and a tour of Japan with Jeff Beck and Felix Pappalardi. A crowd of 55,000 jammed Tokyo Baseball Stadium to hear them play.

Later Chris formed his own band, Stumblebunny, which toured the UK and Germany with the Hollies.

But — even if they never stop playing music — rock stars eventually grow up, get married, have kids and move to the suburbs. (Hey there, Keith Richards!)

Chris Robison a few years ago, with his sons Dex and Tiger.

In 1990 Chris came to Westport, in large part for the schools. He added teaching — piano, keyboard, folk and electric and bass guitar, bass guitar, even songwriting — to his resume. (He’d studied composition, music theory and classical guitar at the New England Conservatory.) He’s the founder and director of Half Mile Studios, here in Westport.

“I’m a natural teacher,” he says. “When my kids had playdates, I’d show everyone the difference between black and white keys on the piano.

“It may sound corny, but I like making a difference in someone’s life.”

He’s seen plenty of bad teachers. Some are “too pedantic or strict.” Others are disengaged — “it’s like, ‘I’m just doing this while I’m not on tour.'” Chris truly loves to teach.

He’s been a role model to many. “Your free-spirited attitude, calming presence and thoughtful perspective on life has helped create a special connection,” is a typical comment on his website. “You have helped create a bit of who (our children) are and are becoming to be — just by being you.”

Chris Robison, from his "lost rocker" days.

But — just as Chris’ old stagemate Bob Seger sang — plenty of people “still like that old time rock and roll.”

Documentary filmmakers Paul Rachman and Steven Blush — makers of “American Hardcore” — are in post-production with “Lost Rockers.” It “peeks under the dusty rug of music history and tells the stories of great forgotten musicians.”

Of course, I wouldn’t mention “Lost Rockers” unless Chris is in it.

And he’s put his old band Stumblebunny back together.

“It’s all fun,” he says. “Playing, teaching, working with kids — I love it.”

Just take those old records off the shelf…

…and just don’t play Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.