Tag Archives: Connecticut Magazine

Roundup: FCIACs, Doubt, Land …

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Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for the Staples High School girls soccer team’s FCIAC championship match.

The correct date is tomorrow — Thursday, November 4 (7 p.m., Fairfield Warde High School). The #4 Wreckers face #6 Wilton. Both teams advanced on Monday, via penalty kick semifinal wins.

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“Doubt: A Parable” is a compelling, though-provoking play. (I saw it on Broadway, and was mesmerized.) It opened at the Westport Country Playhouse  last night, marking a return to in-person performances at the historic theater.

The Playhouse has planned 4 post-show discussions. They’ll feature community guests who deal closely with issues addressed in the play: a drama about a nun’s’ suspicion of a priest’s behavior.

They’ll include Beth McCabe, co-leader for Connecticut chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), on Thursday, November 11; SNAP member Mark Fuller on Friday, November 12; Lucy Gellman, editor of The Arts Paper on Tuesday, November 16, and Thomas Burke, associate minister of children, youth and families at Norfield Congregational Church, on Friday, November 19.

The discussions are free, and open to the public; tickets to “Doubt” are not required.

For more information on the discussions, click here. For tickets, click here.

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Leonor Dao Turut takes center stage as guest art exhibitor for November, at the Westport Book Shop.

The Westporter shows 6 works, all started in the early days of the pandemic when she wanted to capture her emotions and moods.

A painter, sculptor and illustrator, Turut draws inspiration from her native Venezuela. Her pieces are filled with strong colors, imaginative motifs, symbolism and deep details.

The exhibit is on view during business hours at the used book shop on Jesup Green.

Leonor Turut with her work, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Aspetuck Land Trust just got bigger.

On Monday, the open space conservation non-profit closed on Weston’s 85-acre Fromson Strassler property. The deal took 5 years to complete.

It helps ALT assemble and protect a large forest block on the Weston/Wilton border. The property will be open to the public, for passive recreation.

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The November/December issue of Westport Magazine is out now.

The holidays take center stage. Mar Jennings’ front door — always well decorated — is on the cover. Inside, he shares home décor tips.

The issue also includes decorating ideas from Sam Allen, a gift guide and the Light a Fire feature celebrating local volunteers and philanthropists.

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Lifelong Westporter Thomas Hindle died peacefully on Sunday, with his family at his side. He was 77 years old, and had battled Parkinson’s for several years.

Tom and his younger sister Barbara enjoyed a gentle, magical time growing up here. Summers were spent at Compo Beach, swimming and exploring for starfish. Winters meant swimming at the YMCA, and skating and hot cocoa parties at the Patterson Club.

At Staples High School Tom was a charter member and president of the Orphenians, the select choral group.

He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a business degree. His work at the college radio station fed his passion for music, editing and broadcasting.

Tom’s long, successful career in video broadcasting technology began at CBS Labs, where the process of overlaying text in broadcasting, Vidifont, was being developed. As a product manager he contributed to evolving technologies; one led to the recognition of a Technical Emmy Award.

Later, as a senior account manager, Tom owned large accounts such as NBC. They used his company’s equipment to bring the Olympics around the world.

Water, boating and swimming were Tom’s passions. A longtime member of the Westport Y masters’ swim team, he swam regularly and made many friends with whom he traveled the country to compete.

Tom’s passion for music never waned. He appreciated live performances including the Handel and Haydn Society. He also enjoyed home improvement projects, and transformed his house over the years.

He shared his home with friends, especially entertaining for the Super Bowl. Tom’s travels took him around the world, visiting family, sightseeing, and for business.

Survivors include his sister Barbara; nephews Matthew Cohen and Darrel Kolb, and niece Star Kolb.

A funeral service will be held tomorrow (Thursday, November 4, 10 a.m., followed by a reception at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Interment will be in Nichols Farm Burial Ground in Trumbull.

Condolences may be left online here. Contributions in his memory may be made to The Handel and Haydn Society or the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Tom Hindle

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With leaves falling all around us, it’s hard to pick a special one out.

But Scott Smith found a few walnut leaves, like this one. He calls them “rare and striking.” We call it today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Scott Smith)

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And finally … congratulations to our new 1st selectwoman, Jennifer Tooker.

I went searching for a song with Jennifer in the title. “Jennifer Juniper,” “Jennifer Ever,” Jenny/867-5309,” … nothing seemed to fit.

On a whim, I typed “Tooker” into YouTube.

This video came up. It has nothing remotely to do with Westport, or our new chief executive.

But it sure is stunning, both musically and visually.

 

Roundup: COVID Vaccine, Beach Stickers, The Remains, Invasive Plants …

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In case you missed it: Connecticut has moved up the date for all eligible residents 16 and over to get COVID vaccines. It’s now April 1 — no fooling!

An increased supply of vaccines will enable 200,000 doses to be distributed next week. That includes the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

You can call 877-918-2224, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Click here to schedule online.

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Beach stickers will be available this Monday (March 29). Click on the Parks & Recreation Department website, then “Memberships.”

At least a couple of beachgoers were ready yesterday for summer to begin:

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Westport hits the jackpot with this month’s Connecticut Magazine.

Local writer Michael Catarevas contributed an in-depth, insightful, and very intriguing look back at the Remains.

They’re the band — fronted by 1963 Staples High School graduate Barry Tashian, with ’64 alum Bill Briggs on keyboard — that packed clubs around New England, played “Ed Sullivan” and “Hullabaloo,” had a major recording deal — and in 1966, toured with the Beatles.

They were all set to be rock’s next big thing — until they weren’t.

I’ve written often about the Remains. Jon Landau nailed it, back in the day: “They were how you tell a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll.” Now Catarevas’ story — which includes details about their still cult-like status and recent tours — puts it all together, for a statewide audience.

Bonus cuts: There are sidebars about Briggs’ tour with the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”),

Click here for the main story. Click here for one sidebar on ’71 Staples grad Fred Cantor’s off-Broadway play and film documentary on the Remains — and another on Prudence Farrow, the inspiration for the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.”

The Remains

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A reader writes:

“In light of the town support of our Asian community, I want to share what I saw in New Luxx Nail & Spa (near the old Calico) earlier this week.

“A gentleman in uniform came in. I’m not sure if he was a police officer or firefighter. I heard him speaking to the owner and workers, who are Asian.

“He warmly told them that we (I assuming he meant Westport law enforcement) are very proud of and value our Asian business community. He said ‘we are here to support you,’ &Sp and that anything they need, or any issues they might have, they should not hesitate to contact them.

“I am proud of our community and law enforcement, that they made this outreach to these wonderful people of whom I have grown very fond. It is these unseen acts that help make Westport the place that it is.”

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Invasive plants have invaded Westport. They crowd out natives and are harmful to our natural resources, disrupting biodiversity and ecological processes.

Earthplace has partnered with Sustainable Westport and the Town of Westport to host 2 events.

The first is an in-person walk this Sunday (March 28th, 1 to 2:30 p.m., $10). Click here to register.

The second event is a free webinar on Sunday, April 11 (1- to 1:45 p.m). Click here to register.

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The Assumption Church Youth Group holds a food drive this Sunday (Palm Sunday, March 28, 7:30 a.m. to noon). Non-perishables are needed. All donations go to their sister parish in need — St. Charles in Bridgeport — and to children in the care of Missionaries of Charity in Bridgeport.

Donors should pull into the back parking lot. Someone will unload your trunk.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Saturday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Weston’s St. Francis Church holds a drive-through food drive in their parking lot on 35 Norfield Road. As with Assumption, volunteers will unload non-perishables from your trunk. All donations will be delivered to the Weston Food Pantry, and Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter.

Assumption Church, from Imperial Avenue (Photo/Patrick Goldschmidt)

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And finally … ladies and gentlemen: The Remains!

 

Remembering Elise Maclay

Elise Maclay — a poet, writer, foodie, elegant dresser and accomplished traveler — died peacefully January 5, in her Westport home by Long Island Sound. She was 95.

She spent her final days looking over the water, surrounded by family and with a photo of her beloved husband David at her side.

Elise attended the College of William & Mary on a full scholarship. She majored in English, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and served as class poet until her death.

Elise had a successful early career in the heady Mad men days of advertising. She commuted to New York from Connecticut with 2 small children at home, gracefully navigating the mandatory 3-martini lunches in an otherwise male world.

She wrote copy for the prestigious BMW account — and once posed as the model for an ad she created, when the talent did not show up.

Elise Maclay

Elise’s poetry appeared in publications like Nature magazine. Her “Walk Softly” is often quoted by nature lovers.

She wrote 2 books of prose poems, and collaborated on 5 other books with artist Bev Doolittle.

Elise’s poetry, and interest in Native American, wildlife and nature themes, complements Doolittle’s “camouflage” art.

Elise sourced fine food locally, long before chefs used cilantro and kale. A carnivore, she enjoyed great food robustly. Her culinary taste and writing gifts led to another career. For over 25 years she was Connecticut Magazine’s food critic. She captured tastes, ambiance and the personalities and dreams of chefs.

The number of exquisite meals delivered to her home in recent months is a testament to the loyalty and gratitude of many chefs, young and old, whom she discovered and celebrated.

But her true passion was travel — preferably adventures to far and exotic locales — with her husband. She hiked Machu Picchu, explored the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kenya in a blizzard.

She, her niece LeeLee and dear friend Fi explored the Caribbean islands, Italy and Portugal as recently as last February.

Closer to home, she was a beloved presence at her family’s summer home on Cape Cod. She walked the beaches, swam, read by the fire, and regaled generations of family and friends with adventures and cherished memories.

Her spirit is carried on by her son Gary Gibbs, his wife Kaija and their 4 children; stepson Bill Maclay, his wife Alex, and their 2 sons; stepson David Maclay Jr., his wife Juliet and their 2 sons; cousn Joyce Haun, and an extended network of neighbors, chefs and friends from all walks of life.

She was predeceased by her husband David, son Brian Gibbs and stepdaughter Sherry Maclay.

Elise would want all to know David’s final words, quoting Tennessee Williams: “Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”

Memorials will be held post-COVID in Westport and Chatham, Massachusetts.

Donations in Elise’s name may be made to the CT Hospitality Employee Relief Fund or Save the Sound.

(Hat tip: Judith Hart)

Roundup: Twilight Zone, Top Restaurants, More


One of my favorite New Year’s traditions is the SyFy channel’s “Twilight Zone” marathon.

It airs December 31 and January 1 — one great, thought-provoking, stand-the-test-of-time episode after another.

Rod Serling began writing and introducing his stories while he lived in Westport — right down the street from my family, in fact, on High Point Road.

Some were influenced by this suburban, post-war town. And “A Stop at Willoughby” — with a train conductor calling out to a time traveler, “Next stop: Westport!” — is on tomorrow (Thursday, December 31) at 9:20 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.


Congratulations to The Cottage and Kawa Ni — and their owners, Brian Lewis and Bill Taibe respectively. Both are included in Connecticut Magazine’s list of the Top 15 restaurants in the state.

That means our town includes more than 13% of all the best restaurants!


Did you miss last night’s full Full Cold Moon?

Wendy Crowther sure didn’t.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)


And finally … influential bluegrass and new acoustic singer/guitarist Tony Rice died Saturday in North Carolina. He was 69.

 

2 For 40 Under 40

There are 169 towns and cities in Connecticut. But 2 Westporters — one current, one former — have made Connecticut Magazine’ s “40 Under 40” list. The feature celebrates 40 Nutmeggers doing interesting and/or important work, all before their 40th birthday.

Andy Friedland now lives in New Haven, but he grew up here. Here’s the magazine’s shout-out to the 2008 Staples High School graduate:

With a sharp rise in hate crimes statewide nationally and internationally in the past 3 years, Friedland’s job as associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut office keeps him busy.

A former team leader with AmeriCorps, he is a primary responder to combat anti-Semitism, other bias incidents and all forms of bigotry. He works with schools, law enforcement and “whoever comes into the picture” to educate people about anti-Semitism and its local origins.

Friedland has led educational programs on topics such as the Holocaust and genocide and the separation of church and state. He has lobbied for and testified for the ADL’s initiative Backspace Hate for legislation to address online harassment, including cyberstalking.

Connecticut has good laws, Friedland says, but adds that it’s important to “keep laws up to date and take on the issues that are really important and dangerous.”

Andy Friedland (Photo by Harold Shapiro for Connecticut Magazine)

Dan Orlovsky grew up in Shelton, but lives here now. His writeup says:

Orlovsky has been famous in Connecticut since he was a teenager. In 2000, the senior quarterback led Shelton High School to an undefeated season and the Class LL state championship before being named state player of the year.

Despite receiving interest from traditional college football powerhouses, Orlovsky stayed in state and attended UConn. He rewrote the school’s record book — still holding every major passing mark in Huskies history to this day — and also led UConn to the program’s first bowl game, a 39-10 win over Toledo in the Motor City Bowl in 2004. Orlovsky was named MVP of the game.

The Detroit Lions selected Orlovsky in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Serving mostly as a backup QB in his 12 years in the league, Orlovsky was uniquely preparing himself for his second career as an ESPN football analyst.

Orlovsky was already considered a rising media star when he joined the network in 2018. Now he provides color commentary in the broadcast booth (he recently called the Camping World Bowl on TV and the Rose Bowl for radio) and intelligent and insightful analysis on studio shows including Get Up!, NFL Live and SportsCenter.

Dan Orlovsky (Photo by Melissa Rawlins/ESPN for Connecticut Magazine)

Congratulations, Andy and Dan. And to all you other Westporters under 40: Get to work!

(For the full “40 Under 40” story, click here. Hat tip: Amy Schafrann)

Shop Till You Drop

You know all that downtown-bashing that Westporters love?

We’re wrong.

According to the September issue of Connecticut Magazinein which the editors offer dozens of “Best of Connecticut” picks, in hopes of selling more ads providing interesting content — Westport is one of the state’s 3 “Destination Shopping” towns.

“When is a mall not a mall?” Connecticut asks. And then answers:

When it’s a lovely Main Street with parking along the great wide Saugatuck.

Not a mall at all.

Along with usual suspects like J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Williams Sonoma, Chico’s Gap and Coach (and lovable stalwarts Max’s Art Supply, Oscar’s Deli and Sally’s Place, there are plenty of new kids on the block — Benefit Cosmetics, Nike, Kate Spade, West Elm and Theory.

On surrounding streets there are BOC winners Dovecote, Soleil Toile and newbie Urban Outfitters.

Speaking of which, the latter’s mother company URBN obviously finds lots to like in Westport: Up the Post Road a piece you’ll find two of their other properties, Anthropologie and totally gorgeous new home-and-garden store (an inadequate description if we’ve ever seen one) Terrain.

“Totally goregous” Terrain.

The other 2 “Destination Shopping” towns — Guilford and West Hartford — get equally gushing reviews.

“Best of Connecticut” also gives category shout-outs to these Westport spots:

  • Bakery:  Sono Baking Company
  • Fish and chips:  Mansion Clam House (“Still the go-to place for local seafood lovers”)
  • Muffins: Aux Delices
  • Munchies:  Trader Joe’s
  • Mussels:  The Whelk  (“Delish — and pure bliss”)
  • Raising the bar:  Spotted Horse  (“We can’t help wondering: Where did these throngs of people hang out before?”)

  • Side dish (escarole):  Pane e Bene
  • Salad bar:  Whole Foods
  • Chop salad:  The Dressing Room
  • Hair salon:  Phillip Bruce
  • Jewelry (eclectic):  Dovecote
  • Lingerie:  Soleil Toile
  • Toy store: Age of Reason
  • Consignment shop (clothing):  DLC
  • Boutique (teens):  Urban Outfitters
  • Men’s clothing:  Mitchells (“A Westport icon since 1958”)
  • Men’s ties:  Vineyard Vines

Congratulations to every winner.

But if you’ve read all the way through, shame on you.

Why aren’t you out shopping — preferably downtown, on our “lovely Main Street with parking along the great wide Saugatuck”?

Watching Westport From Behind The Green Door

The September issue of Connecticut Magazine includes a long story on Marilyn Chambers.

Marilyn Chambers Most news coverage following her death in April has centered on her intriguing transition from Ivory Snow model to porn star.  Tom Connor’s piece focuses on her teenage years in Westport.

It’s always interesting to read someone else’s take on a story you know well.  I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on 1960s and ’70s Westport — like the young Marilyn Briggs, I grew up here then — so I was glad that Tom got most of the facts right.

What stopped me cold — and made me think — were the perspectives behind the facts.

According to Connecticut Magazine, the Westport of Marilyn’s and my youth was a “seductive mix of art and money, bohemianism and raw ambition.”

More than many places in the country, Tom wrote, Westport was “particularly tumultuous and libidinous….While towns such as Greenwich and New Canaan tilted toward conservative bankers, lawyers and financiers, Westport attracted those of a more liberal bent.”

Our artists’ colony cred was cemented in 1931, Connecticut Magazine said.  The Westport Country Playhouse opened then, “in effect posting a casting call to the entertainment crowd and furthering the town’s reputation for fabulous fun and fame.

Marilyn_Chambers “The ‘fast times’ mood still prevailed in the late 1960s,” the story continued, “when many Staples students were openly drinking — some were doing drugs in the bathrooms — and freely acting out their parts in the sexual revolution.”

And, according to Nile Rogers, a guitarist and music producer who grew up in Harlem and came to Westport in his late teens:  “I’d known what I thought were some pretty crazy girls in New York City.  But these were the wildest women I’d ever met.”

Whether Tom Connor’s portrayal of Westport is completely true, somewhat on target or completely off the mark is immaterial.  Perception is reality.  To thousands of readers across the state, Westport in the 1960s and ’70s is now forever fixed as a tumultuous, libidinous place filled with wild women, art, money, bohemianism and raw ambition.

Was it really that way?  Don’t ask me.  I was just a teenager. 

Besides, how could I remember?  It was the ’60s.

DNR

By day they perform biopsies and colonoscopies.  At night they rock the house.

Dr. Robert Altbaum

Dr. Robert Altbaum

They’re DNR, the area’s only physician-assisted classic rock band.  Four of the 8 members are doctors, and they’re as adept with an ax as they are with a knife.  In fact, Bob Altbaum — a Westport internist and the band’s keyboardist/vocalist — has just been named a “Top Doc” by Connecticut Magazine.

That’s no small honor.  The publication asked 2,000 doctors who they’d recommend to a loved one.  This is Altbaum’s 5th consecutive appearance on the list.

Two other DNR members — Norwalk’s Andrew Parker (ear, nose and throat specialist/lead singer) and Fairfield’s Richard Frank (cancer specialist/saxophonist) — were also named “Top Docs.”  

Also in the band:  Westport’s Fred Ury.  He’s a bass guitarist/lawyer.  Go figure.

DNR is a long-time Levitt Pavilion, charity affair and private party favorite. 

Their name — medicalese for “Do Not Resuscitate” — is an inside joke.  I hope.