“Gatsby in Connecticut” is garnering plenty of attention. The New Yorker called the film about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Westport sojourn “one of the best of 2020.” Thanks to Amazon Prime, plenty of folks have seen — and enjoyed — it.
F. Scott and Zelda arrived here in the early days of Prohibition. From all indications, Westporters paid about as much attention to the booze ban as my generation did to weed laws.
Apparently, our town had a long history with drink. Seth Schachter found this postcard from 1912. Liquor was legal. But it looks like Westport went way beyond a drink or two.
And no, this is not just any “West Port.” The message on the other side is postmarked here.
COVID has caused many organizations to move meetings online.
You can’t do that with a hiking club, though. So the Y’s Men group has adapted. They meet in smaller numbers now. They maintain strict social distance — 8 feet, just to be sure. They wear masks when they assemble.
But they still get their exercise. And their miles.
Twice a week, Chris Lewis leads 10 to 15 hikers. He knows all the trails, throughout the county.
Wednesday hikes are 2 hours long. Friday’s are more strenuous, and can take up to 3. Only heavy rain or extremely slippery conditions stop the Y’s Men.
In addition, “walkers” meet nearly every day. They avoid difficult trail conditions.
This may not be the Y’s Men’s motto. But it should be: “COVID? Take a hike!”
(Hat tip: Michael Hehenberger)
A recent hike at Trout Brook Preserve, owned and managed by Aspetuck Land Trust. Tom Johnson (3rd from left) is a Y’s Men hiker and ALT member. (Photo/Sal Mollica)
Dave Briggs is one of the best interviewers around. He brings out the best in his subjects, in a relaxed, fun and insightful way. His Instagram Live chats are always intriguing.
And I’m not just saying that because I was a recent guest.
Today (Wednesday, January 6, 4 p.m.), he’ll chat with David Waldman. They’ll talk about the commercial realtor’s work developing Bedford Square and the west bank of the Saugatuck River, bringing Barnes & Noble downtown, and much more.
Head to @WestportMagazine on Instagram. You’ll be entertained — and learn a lot.
“Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story” is ready for prime time.
Or at least, Amazon Prime.
The 70-minute movie by Robert Steven Williams — starring Sam Waterston and Keir Dullea, covering F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s formative summer in Westport — is available on the streaming service.
The New Yorker called it one of the best films of 2020. Click here, and judge for yourself. (Hat tip: David Meth)
David Tarqueno died on December 24 at Norwalk Hospital, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61 years old.
His obituary says, “David left behind an incredible number of friends who loved him. His personality was like no other. His presence could light up a room. His smile, his laughter and his humor will remain with every heart he touched.
“David loved fishing — he was out there every fishing season opening day. Nature and animals were an important part of his life. He was devoted to his family and friends. That devotion was selfless, his trust boundless, and love endless.”
The Staples High School graduate is survived by his parents, Joseph and Marianne Tarqueno; sister Lisa Tarqueno-Crawford; brother Peter Tarqueno, and his beloved dog Harry.
And finally … today, the Electoral College meets. Will Vice President Pence do what Joe Biden did as vice president 4 years ago (and Al Gore, George H.W. Bush and many others before him), affirming the legitimate winner of the election 2 months earlier?
Or will American democracy be launched into a parallel universe, one in which lunacy rules and losers’ temper tantrums make us the laughingstock of the world?
The New Yorker has named its 36 best films of 2020.
Checking in at #30: “Gatsby in Connecticut.”
The magazine writes:
In this engaging rabbit-hole documentary, a nonprofessional filmmaker [Robert Steven Williams] pursues his obsession with “The Great Gatsby,” tracing key elements of Fitzgerald’s story to Westport, Connecticut—and connecting with a writer who published a related report in The New Yorker.
Appearing on any Top Films list a great accomplishment. But this is doubly impressive: It’s the New Yorker.
And it includes all releases this past year. Not just independent films. Not just documentaries. Every movie you could have streamed anywhere, or seen in a theater (for the 2 months in early 2020 when there were such things).
Congratulations, Robert! F. Scott, Zelda, Jay, Nick and Daisy would be proud.
(Click here for the full New Yorker story. Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)
“All Things Warm” is the name of Westport VFW Post 399’s winter drive. They’re collecting new and gently used warm clothing and blankets, for veterans their families.
Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, sweaters, thermals, winter socks, pajamas, boots — if it’s warm, they want it.
Drop-offs are accepted at the VFW Post (465 Riverside Avenue, at the Saugatuck Avenue split) through December 19.
VFW on Riverside Avenue
Emma Dantas — a Staples High School senior — is co-president of the Yale New Haven Hospital Junior Board. The institution is on the front lines fighting COVID. They need our help — and you can do it in a guilty-pleasure way.
Just buy lunch or dinner at Shake Shack in Westport, Darien or New Haven this Monday (December 7) between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Use the code “DONATION” at checkout — on the app, online or in person.
25% of the price of your order will go to Yale New Haven Hospital. It’s incredibly easy — and important. Tasty, too!
(Photo courtesy of Westport Patch)
And finally … on this date in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. It repealed the 18th Amendment — in other words, it ended Prohibition.
Plenty of songs lamented the decade-plus ban on alcohol. Among the most famous: Bessie Smith’s 1928 “Me and My Gin,” and Louis Armstrong’s 1929 “Knockin’ a Jug,” with Jack Teagarden. The latter is one of the first major recorded collaborations of black and white musicians — and its title comes from an empty gallon of whiskey Armstrong saw in the studio. It was full when the session started.
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