Yesterday’s weather drove all but the hardiest yard workers indoors.
In anticipation of today’s sunshine — and, more importantly, to get ready for the 7th annual Dog Festival (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), a crew of SLOBs (Staples Service League of Boys) headed to Winslow Park to help.
“This was Westport at its best,” praises Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Dog Fest sponsor, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.
“This was the most challenging prep for the event ever.”
Winslow Park will look great today, as thousands of dogs and their owners enjoy everything from obstacles courses and competitions to a K-9 demonstration and vendors.
And they’ll have a bunch of SLOBs to thank.
SLOBs set up for the Dog Festival. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)
Also working outside yesterday: a hardy bunch of Westport Sunrise Rotary volunteers.
As they had promised Westport’s Department of Human Services, they showed up — dressed for the occasion and with their usual boundless energy — to help clean up a local resident’s home. The event was part of the international organization’s annual Day of Service.
They removed high grass, tree limbs, weeds and more from the property of a resident who was unable to do so, or afford to pay for it.
A brief pause from hard work. (Photo courtesy of Rob Hauck and Bruce Fritz)
Also indoors last night: Actress/singer/songwriter (and 2013 Staples High School graduate) Michelle Pauker returned to MoCA Westport. Her Joni Mitchell tribute was part of the “Music at MoCA” series.
Last summer, Michelle performed “Broadway Through The Ages” for a sold-out crowd in the Museum’s gallery.
Her composer/director, Jake Landau, was a Staples classmate. The Juilliard and Oxford graduate is a quickly rising composer and conductor.
Next in the Music at MoCA series: Vanisha Gould, a Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist (June 10, 7 p.m.). She and her quartet will perform originals and selections from the Great American Songbook. Click here for tickets and more information.
From left: Michelle Pauker, Rachel Hoy and Ravi Campbell, last night at MoCA Westport. (Photo/Lily Hultgren)
Drew Angus has spent the last 3 months in Nashville. He’s writing songs, and playing with very talent musicians.
On June 8, the 2007 Staples High School graduate takes the stage at Fairfield Theatre Company, to share stories and songs from his time there.
Drew will be joined by Westonite Jeremy Goldsmith on guitar, Wilton’s Spencer Inch on drums, Nick Trautmann (Darien) on Bass, and non-Nutmegger Adam Bonomo (keyboard). A few special guests may join them.
This Sunday, Westport’s dog park really goes to the dogs.
The 7th annual Dog Festival takes over Winslow Park on May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event — produced by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS — celebrates all things canine.
The day includes guide dog and training demonstrations, a police K-9 presentation, an obstacle course (the winner gets a year’s supply of dog food), adoptables, kids activities, food trucks, information on non-profits, and more.
Prizes will be given for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds and dog that most looks like its owner. Dog owners can register for the competitions at the festival, or online.
Surrounding the main activities are over 60 pet-related vendors, picture taking, caricatures, face painting, balloon bending and giveaways.
Proceeds from the entrance fee of $10 per person, and $30 for a family of 4 will benefit nonprofit organizations. So far, over $36,000 has been donated by the Chamber to local groups.
Parking is available at business lots along Post Road East. Click here for more Dog Festival information.
For months, the Board of Education has discussed an “Equity Study Action Plan.” The goal is to help all students feel a sense of belonging.
The debate continued Monday night, for 3 hours. But one of the most compelling comments came not from a board member, but from a teenager.
One who cannot even speak.
Wynston Browne — an autistic Staples High School sophomore — has made remarkable progress over the past 2 years, using a spelling device. His parents and teachers realize now that a very keen and incisive mind had been locked away for over a decade. Wynston’s goal is to be a neuroscientist.
On Monday, Wynston typed. His words appeared on screen: “I want to do things that all kids my age do. I want to eat lunch with friends in the Staples cafeteria, and laugh instead of being laughed at. I want to attend classes that are challenging.”
And, he concluded: “Everyone got it wrong, for so long. It’s time to make it right, starting now.”
Click here to see Wynston’s compelling 6-minute speech. He did not speak out loud — but his words said it all.
Effective immediately, the Westport Fire Department has banned all outside burning until further notice. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the entire state, due to extremely dry conditions.
The ban includes all recreational campfires and fire pits. Brush fires spread rapidly, and can threaten homes and property.
Westport Rotary club’s weekly lunches are always illuminating.
For 39 local non-profits, yesterday’s was also lucrative.
In a ceremony at Green’s Farms Church, the civic group distributed grants to each one. Funds came from the more than $200,000 raised by ticket sales and from sponsors of September’s LobsterFest.
Giving Committee chair Peter Helt handed charitable checks to representatives of, among others (in alphabetical order): A Better Chance of Westport, Builders Beyond Borders, Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Mercy Learning Center, Norwalk Housing Foundation, Positive Directions, Remarkable Theater, Staples Tuition Grants, Westport Book Sales Ventures, Westport Country Playhouse, and Westport Volunteer EMS.
75 percent of LobsterFest proceeds go to local organizations; 25 percent to international organizations.
Rotarian Rick Benson described a few of those projects, including water sanitation efforts in Kenya and providing medical equipment to a hospital in Uganda.
Rotary Club members and grant recipients, at Green’s Farms Church.
The 1972 Staples High School graduate — now back in Westport, working in a Cross Highway studio a few steps from his house — has created everything from an HBO documentary about a Holocaust survivor, toholiday videosfor Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and a short film about summer and water.
Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect returns this summer. The service — funded by Connecticut’s Departments of Transportation, and Energy and Environmental Protection — provides free rides to and from anywhere in Westport and Sherwood Island State Park.
Similar free-ride programs are available at 6 other state parks.
Rides are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays, beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through Labor Day.
Rides are available through the Wheels2U app Westporters use to and from the train station.
For more information about Wheels2U and Park Connect, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.
Sherwood Island — Westport’s “other” beach — is Connecticut’s first state park.
The Westport Woman’s Club and Congregation for Humanistic Judaism team up for an important event this Sunday (May 21; light breakfast, 9:30 a.m.; program, 10 a.m., 44 Imperial Avenue; click here for the livestream link with passcode 581845).
Dr. Deborah Varat, professor of art history at Southern New Hampshire University, presents “Arthur Szyk’s ‘The New Order’: How the Cartoons of a Polish Jew Helped Prepare the US for War.”
The cartoonist’s work helped Americans visualize and personalize the Nazi evil, against which they ultimately had to fight. Today his illustrations and impact on moving American public opinion toward readiness for war are commemorated in museums around the world. For more information on Szyk, click here.
Arthur Szyk’s “Freedom From Fear.”
Lime Rock Park celebrates the 37th anniversary of Paul Newman’s Trans-Am win with an exhibit of his racing estate on May 27, during the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.
It includes helmets, racing suits and other memorabilia that former Westport resident Newman used during his storied career. Click here for tickets. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)
The multi-talented musician (guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica and many other instruments) has incorporated Caribbean, African, Indian, Hawaiian and South Pacific sounds into his blues/rock/gospel/funk repertoire.
He has played all over the world — including, in 1971 and ’73, at Staples High School. He returned in 1974, to the Westport Country Playhouse.
(It’s a dog’s world, as the first story above explains. Don’t be a bitch. Help support “06880.” Please click here. Thank you!)
Not long ago, Westport Police participated in the state’s distracted driving campaign. They nabbed dozens of drivers.
Now it’s time to buckle up.
They’re joining the state Department of Transportation “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Officers will be vigorously enforcing seat belt laws, for drivers and passengers.
Connecticut law requires that drivers and passengers in the front seat, regardless of the age, as well as all children under 16 anywhere in a vehicle, to wear seat belts. Fines start at $92 for the first offense. For more information, click here.
Posted onMay 10, 2022|Comments Off on Roundup: Best Music Community, Dog Fest, Cajal Academy …
How good a community for music is Westport?
One of the best.
That’s not “06880” talking. It’s the NAMM Foundation. They just named us one of their “Best Communities for Music Education.”
For the 10th year in a row.
Th honor comes for our public schools’ efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The application process included detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional time, facilities, music program support, and community programs.
Westport’s Music Department has benefited from partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.
Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert — involving hundreds of singers, and orchestra and band members — is one culmination of music programs at every school, and every level. (Photo/Danielle Dobin)
The Dog Festival returns to Winslow Park this Sunday (May 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for its 6th run.
The event includes fun competitions (best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, dog that most looks like its owner), demonstrations, Police K-9 presentations, an obstacle course, kids activities, information booths, food trucks and more.
Also on tap: over 60 pet-related vendors, caricaturists and giveaways.
Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and other nearby lots. The festival entrance fee is $10 per person, $30 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations.
Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival. To register for the competitions and for more information, click here.
The Dog Fest is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, in association with TAILS.
Yesterday’s “06880” lead story noted that Cajal Academy — a new school based on the latest neuroscientific research, for gifted students with special education needs — was going before the Planning & Zoning Commission last night.
In a unanimous vote, the board approved the application for 25 Sylvan Road South.
Stony Brook runs next to the 25 Sylvan Road South building.
Sunday’s pro-choice rally was sponsored by DefenDemocracy.
This Saturday (May 14, 11 am to 1 p.m.), Planned Parenthood plans an event. It too is set for the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen downtown bridge.
Among the winners of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s Daniel E. Offutt III Arts & Culture Empowerment Awards: William Felton, former chair of the Westport Arts Center who led a long effort to find, secure and improve its new home as MoCA Westport, on Newtown Turnpike.
Honored posthumously: Alexandra Korry. The Westporter was a trailblazing lawyer, educator and civil rights advocate, and the guiding spirit behind converting a 1935 Norwalk church into a space to enhance educational opportunities for underserved students, promote underrepresented local artists, and provide a welcoming space to enjoy art and music. The Norwalk Art Space opened last June, just a few months after she died.
An awards breakfast is set for the Shore & Country Club in Norwalk on June 15, (7:30 a.m.). Click here for tickets.
Sure! That’s the name of Earthplace and Harbor Watch’s fundraiser, set for Copps Island Oysters in Norwalk on June 11 (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s an unlimited raw bar, hors d’oeuvres from Harbor Harvest, and wine and beer from Black Bear — plus a silent auction, live music, and very cool views.
And finally … Spinal Tap was a fake band. But Ric Parnell was a real drummer.
He was perfect for the perfectly played satirical 1984 film, “This is Spinal Tap.” He had the looks, the chops, and he was in on the joke.
Including the fact that, somehow, Spinal Tap’s drummers kept dying in bizarre ways. He himself (as Mick Shrimpton) spontaneously combusted on stage. When the fake band went out on tour in the 1990s — life imitating art — Parnell was introduced as Mick’s twin brother Rick.
Ric Parnell died this month in Missouli, Montana, of organ failure. He was 70.
But Spinal Tap lives on. Play the video below loud — all the way to 11! (Click here for a full obituary.)
Comments Off on Roundup: Best Music Community, Dog Fest, Cajal Academy …
Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted Todd Suchotliff. A newcomer to town, he’ll be running during next Sunday’s New York Marathon — through Westport. It’s a fundraiser for his mother, who died of leukemia 9 years ago tomorrow.
He created a Google Sheet — with mile markers and approximate times — for people to sign up to run or cheer for each mile along the route. He will start at 9 a.m., and plans to run an 8:42 mile pace.
For more information, email email@example.com. To donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here.
And finally … happy 74th birthday to Laura Nyro. The singer/songwriter made many great recordings. But she’s best known for the many artists that had great success covering her tunes.
JC Martin adds: “Laura lived in Danbury for many years, and recorded some of her last material in a studio she built on her property. It was one of the first studios to have a separate floor for the drummer, detached from the rest of the band. For ‘Mother’s Spiritual’ she brought in Todd Rundgren to help produce some of those songs, along with her friend and Danbury neighbor Felix Cavaliere.
“She died of ovarian cancer in Danbury in 1997, at 49. Her ashes were scattered beneath a maple tree on the grounds of her house.”
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome, appreciated — and tax-deductible! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to “06880”: PO Box 744, Westport, CT 06881. Or use Venmo: @blog06880. Or Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)