Tag Archives: Ed Capasse

Roundup: Crosswalks, Branches, Lanternflies …

Connecticut’s Department of Transportation begins work next year on several local crosswalks — including the notorious “worst intersection in the state” (Routes 1 and 33, aka Post Road West, Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road).

The DOT will also work on:

  • Route 33 (Wilton Road) at Merritt Parkway Connector and Spring Hill Road
  • Route 57 (Weston Road) at Broad Street and Good Hill Road (Weston)
  • Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) at I-95 southbound ramps
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Playhouse Square Shopping Center
  • Route 1 (Post Road West) at Sylvan Road
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Turkey Hill Roads North and South
  • Sherwood Island Connector at Greens Farms Road and Post Road East.

The good news: Upgrades include countdown pedestrian indicators, accessible pedestrian push buttons, and “concurrent pedestrian phasing.”

The bad news: There are no actual traffic, sightline or other improvements.

The timetable: Design plans are expected to be completed in February, with advertising for construction in April.

So don’t expect to cross at the green quite yet.

Upgrades (of a sort) are coming here (“soon”).

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Speaking of the Post Road: Pam Kesselman sends along this photo of dead branches towering over Compo Road South, near the Route 1 intersection:

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She worries that they could fall on a driver or pedestrian, and hopes the town takes notice.

Tree maintenance there is (I believe) the responsibility of the state (state roads) or the owner of Compo Acres Shopping Center.

At any rate, Pam is not the first “06880” reader to have noticed these dead branches recently.

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Last week, when Y’s Men acting gardening chair Chuck Greenlee learned that a spotted lanternfly was spotted at the Westport Community Gardens, he did 2 things.

He sent a photo to “06880”:

Spotted lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

And he reported it to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station (reportSLF@ct.gov).

They quickly replied: “Thank you for your inquiry concerning spotted lanternfly. The insect you have photographed is indeed a SLF. Your town is already known to be infested. For tips on dealing with SLF, please click here. Should you find any more insects, please kill them immediately with any means at your disposal. Thank you again for your interest.”

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Speaking of the environment: Tickets are on sale now for Earthplace’s famed Woodside Bash fundraiser. It’s October 1 (7 p.m.), under the stars and beside a firepit.

Though it’s adults-only, kids are welcome the following day (October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for the also-annual Fall Festival. Earthplace buzzes with a corn pool, obstacle course, climbing wall, food trucks and more. Click here for tickets.

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Last week’s story on Ed Capasse’s star turn as a Staples High School marching band member/Saturday Evening Post cover model cast a new light on Stevan Dohanos’ famous 1946 painting.

Ed Capasse is in the upper left.

It used to be sold at the Westport Historical Society. Now it’s available only online.

But — as former Westporter/longtime Oregonian/avid “06880” reader Robert Gerrity discovered — there are plenty of places to purchase it. Among them:

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Speaking of posters: Yesterday’s music memories from Woodstock — the “lotta freaks!” festival that ended 53 years ago (!) today — brought an email from longtime Westporter Matt Murray.

Plus this photo:

Matt explains:

“This is an original. I worked for the guys who started and funded the concert (Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts). They were partners in the NYC recording studio, Mediasound.

“I was an assistant engineer and gopher (go for this, go for that). Another guy and I saw a stack of these in their office. We asked if we could have a few. Sure!

“Still have ’em, 47 years later.”

Matt adds: “For the studio’s Christmas party, leftover Woodstock tickets were used as bar chits. Being youthful, I used mine for drinks. The bartender tore them in half. A fellow worker thought better of that idea, and hung on to his tickets. Smart person.”

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Today’s Entitled Parking post comes from already-narrow Railroad Place:

(Photo/Karen Kramer)

No, that’s not a parking space. And it never was, even back in the day when that very cool Camaro rolled off the line.

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August is usually a very green month in Westport (though the summer-long lack of rain makes it a bit browner than usual).

Soon, we’ll be awash in a gorgeous palette of leaf-changing colors.

Meanwhile, there’s this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” display, spotted by Fred Cantor on Hillspoint Road:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … August 17, 1969 marked the final day of Woodstock. Among the performers then:

Crosby Stills Nash & Young played that day too. This song later became an anthem for the event:

Roundup: Pivot Ministries, Ed Capasse’s Clarinet, Paul Newman’s Cars …

Today dawned gloriously.

And the weekly Sunday morning Compo Beach service — sponsored by several local churches — welcomed back the Pivot Ministries.

Their special brand of song and testimony got the day off to a glorious start, for a large group of worshipers. Today’s service was hosted by the United Methodist Church. (Hat tip: Gloria Smithson)

Pivot Ministries, at Compo Beach this morning. (Photo/Karen Como)

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Yesterday’s story about Ed Capasse, and his appearance as a Staples High School marching band trumpeter on a 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover drawn by Stevan Dohanos, drew several great comments.

It also drew a fascinating note from Dave Matlow.

The longtime Westport photographer says that once, in Capasse’s law office, they discussed a replica of the painting, which hung on the wall.

Capasse told Matlow that he did not actually play the trumpet. He was a clarinetist. But Dohanos thought a clarinet was too hard or time-consuming to draw — so Capasse ended up with the brass instrument.

Now, can anyone answer this question: How did Capasse play in the marching band and on the football team, simultaneously?

Ed Capasse, in the 1948 Staples High School yearbook.

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Speaking of music:

The 3-day Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition ended last night, with an awards ceremony at MoCA Westport.

And the winner of the $10,000 grand prize is …

… Russian-born Artem Kuznetsov.

The other 3 finalists — selected through a worldwide audition — earned $2,500 each.

Directed by noted Westport native Alexander Platt, the competition is in its 50th year. It includes master classes, lectures,  and performances. The jury chair was internationally famed — and Westport resident Frederic Chiu.

A celebration of the Heida, featuring alumni finalists, is set for November 19 at MoCA Westport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Alexander Platt (far left) with 2022 Heida Hermanns finalists (from left): Nathan Cheung, Katharine Bensen, Aaron Kurz and winner Artem Kuznetsov.

Meanwhile, when the competition was over, a young pianist — perhaps a future Heida Hermanns Competition winner — tried out MoCA’s magnificent Steinway.

(Photos/Leslie LaSala)

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The original home at 2 Owenoke Park dates back to 1910.

But this is hardly a beach shack. The 4,400-square foot 2-story colonial sprawls so widely, I could not fit it all into one camera shot.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

It’s a fine-looking home. But enjoy it while you can.

Because, yes, that’s a “Demolition” sign plastered on the first floor, in between some of the many windows.

The property sold for $3,112,500 in June. The new owners plan a new home, with a pool.

Here’s the FEMA-compliant look:

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Lisa Seidenberg writes:

“Friday’s knife attack on author Salmon Rushdie brought some thoughts to mind.

“One is that, while violence has become an unfortunate norm in our country, it  seems so incomprehensible and despicable that physical violence is inflicted on a writer. The ‘fatwa’ or death decree issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini was in 1989 — long before the perpetrator was born. That books and cartoons and art should inflame self-appointed religious zealots to violence is beyond disturbing.

“I  recall hearing Rushdie speak at Staples High School in 2015. It was memorable for the intense security surrounding the event. One passed through a checkpoint like at an airport. Purses were inspected. Backpacks were not allowed at all into the building, presumably to stop a makeshift bomb. Some parents objected, but in the end, it was great exercise in free speech and example to students.

“The Westport speech was riveting. Rushdie was well-spoken and erudite, and had a surprisingly sharp and witty sense of humor. He is a product of upper echelon British schools, and his language reflected that.

“In retrospect, I am thankful that so much security was in place in Westport. Sadly, protection must be provided, not only for politicians but for artists and writers who speak bravely.

For more on Rushdie’s Westport appearance, click here.

Salman Rushdie/© Beowulf Sheehan http://www.beowulfsheehan.com

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Bonus feature! Remarkable Theater has just added a special film.

“Minions” will be shown at the Imperial Avenue drive-in tomorrow (Monday, August 15, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 for tailgating).

“Girls Trip” follows on Wednesday (August 17; 8:15 start, 7:15 gate).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Magnus and Lavinia Larsson are Food Rescuers.

Yes, it’s capitalized. Food Rescue US is an app that actually makes you want to look at your phone.

The idea is spectacularly simple. Food services — grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, companies — register. When they have extra food — at the end of the day, after an event, whatever — they post it online.

Individuals register too. They check the app when it’s convenient. If they see someplace nearby, they agree to pick it up.

Then they deliver it to social service agencies — soup kitchens, shelters, veterans facilities, etc. — that have also registered with Food Rescue US.

Magnus reminds “06880” readers: “There are lots of people less fortunate, and also lots of food waste. Yesterday, Lavinia and I brought generous donations from Whole Foods (thanks, Siobhan!) to an agency in Bridgeport. They’ll distribute it in the community.”

To learn more, click here.

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Most of the Paul Newman news this year has been about “The Last Movie Stars”: the HBO 6-part series on the longtime Westport actor and his wife, Joanne Woodward.

This one is about his cars.

When he got into auto racing, Newman was as successful as with acting (and, later, philanthropy). He and Carl Haas formed a team with drivers like Mario and Michael Andretti. They racked up 108 Indycar wins,

In October, those cars — and other Newman/Haas items — will be auctioned off in 78 lots, by RM Sotheby’s. Click here for details.

During the 1960s and ’70s though — when hitchhiking around town was a thing — countless Westporters knew Paul Newman as the driver who would always pick them up.

His car back then was a Volvo or VW. “Hop in, son!” he’d say.

And off we went.

(Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

Pual Newman (left) with his friend, the late Westporter Michael Brockman.

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This is a laugh: Save the date (October 15).

Homes with Hope’s 15th annual Stand Up event — a comedy fundraiser for the multi-service housing and food provider — is set for Fairfield University’s Quick Center. It’s the first time live since COVID struck.

The headliner is Pat McGann. He’s a veteran of Madison Square Garden, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.

Ticket details will be available soon.

Pat McGann

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Longtime Westport dentist Dr. Victor Oliver died earlier this year. He was 83.

He graduated from Providence College, then studied dentistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served as a dentist in the Air Force in Albany, Georgia for two years.

Following his service, Victor and his wife Pauline settled in Westport. He opened a home dental office in 1968, and practiced there for 50 years.

Victor was an avid tennis player. He and Polly loved vacationing in Florida, and weekend trips to Nantucket. His family says, “He will be remembered for his gentle dental care and his dedication to his patients. He was a kind and generous man who always made time to help anyone in need. He was known for being a quiet reserved man — unless you were sitting in his dental chair, where he was the most talkative, trying to make you at ease.”

Victor is survived by his wife of 59 years Pauline; daughters Kimberly (Jim) Vallieres of West Hartford, and Robin (Sean) Ross of Holly Springs, North Carolina, and grandchildren Sean Heintz, Emma Heintz, Olivia Heintz and her fiancé Jonathan Davis, Audrey Ross and Jack Ross.

Donations in Victor’s name came be made to the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 370036, West Hartford, CT 06137, where for many years he enjoyed watching his daughter Kim play violin.

Dr. Victor Oliver

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Many “Westport … Naturally” photos show living things that fly, buzz, bite, crawl, bark, meow or do similar things.

Some show blooms and buds.

This one just sits there. It’s majestic — and often overlooked. But it’s an anchor of downtown, and as much a part of our natural world as any other creature or plant.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … Bill Pitman died earlier this week, in California. He was 102.

You don’t know his name. But you know his music.

For decades, he was a session musician. As part of the Wrecking Crew — a “loosely organized corps of peerless Los Angeles freelancers who were in constant demand by record producers to back up headline performers … (an ensemble that )turned routine recording sessions and live performances into extraordinary musical moments” — he backed up the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Monkees, Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, Ricky Nelson, Jan and Dean, Johnny Rivers, the Byrds, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, the Everly Brothers, Peggy Lee and “nearly every prominent performer of the era.”

Pitman’s work ranged from “Strangers in the Night” and “The Way We Were” to “Be My Baby,” “Good Vibrations” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”

He also worked on TV and film scores, cartoon soundtracks — you name it.

Click here for Bill Pitman’s very intriguing obituary.

Ed Capasse’s Band

News of Ed Capasse’s death this week brought tributes from many quarters.

In his 91 years, the lifelong Westporter touched many lives. He was a Board of Finance chair, an active volunteer with the Westport Weston Family Y and Assumption Church, and a scrupulously fair, generous attorney.

He made his mark locally, for sure. But for one week in 1946, Ed’s face was seen in nearly every American home.

A few weeks earlier, Westport artist Stevan Dohanos invited 5 students from the 40-member Staples High School band to model for a Saturday Evening Post cover. He wanted to show a marching band.

The 5 musicians posed individually in Dohanos’ home studio. Each one earned $30 — $400, in today’s money — to sit still for a half hour, while pretending to play brass instruments.

What made the cover special was that every band member looked not straight ahead, at the director, but off to the side — where the football game was taking place. That action was reflected in the tuba.

Ed Capasse was on the top left, playing his trumpet.

The Saturday Evening Post — for which Dohanos drew 125 covers — was one of the most popular magazines in America. That October 19, 1946 issue, smack in the middle of football season, ended up in millions of homes.

Years later, Donahos donated the oil painting to what is now the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collections. For decades, it hung in the Staples band room. Then it moved to the principal’s office.

Former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe — a big Stevan Dohanos fan — commandeered it for his office. Later, it hung elsewhere in Town Hall.

Today it awaits a new location.

The work — called “The Band Played On” — gained new attention in 2001, when Staples Players staged “Music Man.” The poster showed 5 current actors, mimicking the painting.

Staples Players’ 2001 poster …

Fifteen years later, Players reprised the musical. Directors David Roth and Kerry Long redid the poster too.

… and the 2016 version.

Two years earlier, WestPAC had raised funds to restore the painting to its full brilliance. It was displayed proudly in the Staples auditorium, throughout the play’s run.

In 2016, theater-goers admired Stevan Dohanos’ painting in the Staples High School lobby.

For over three-quarters of a century, Dohanos’ work has been a part of Westport history.

Trumpet player Ed Capasse is gone now. But his — and Dohanos’ — band plays on.

Ed Capasse, in the 1948 Staples High School yearbook.

(Hat tip: Kathleen Motes Bennewitz) 

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