Tag Archives: Greg Naughton

Roundup: Mars Robot, COVID Testing, Citibank, More

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The tagline says “06880: Where Westport meets the world.”

Today, it’s “where Westport meets the solar system.”

When Perseverance — NASA’s $2.7 billion robotic explorer — landed successfully on Mars yesterday, it got a boost from a 2012 Staples High School graduate.

Alexandria Rosa spent more than 2 years helping source one of the spacecraft’s arms. She’s a mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

Nice to know there’s now a little bit of Westport on the red planet!

Alexandria Rosa

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The St. Vincent’s/Hartford Healthcare testing on Long Lots Road — a very popular location for several months — now operates only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (8 a.m. to noon).

On March 1, it will close permanently as a testing site.

The scene at St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Long Lots Road, a few days before Christmas. (Photo/Randy Ford)

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Another closure: Citibank’s Post Road East branch — the one by Walgreens — will officially close on April 30. It has been shut for a while, during COVID.

An email to customers says “we assure you that you will receive the same great service, now at a new location.”

The email does not explain where that “new location” is. It does, however, say that “it may be convenient” to use the 399 Post Road West branch.

Many banks have closed branches during COVID. For example, none of Bank of America’s 3 Westport locations are open.

The Citibank branch, in the Walgreens plaza.

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Greg Naughton’s new film, “The Independents,” will be released virtually to art house cinemas on February 26. The wider on-demand release comes March 9.

But there’s a special screening — with Q-and-A afterward — at Fairfield’s FTC on Saturday, February 27.

That’s close to here. But the film has an even closer connection: Some of it was shot in Westport.

“The Independents” is a comedy/drama about 3 solo artists who collide at the same crossroads and discover harmony. They share a rollercoaster ride across America for a shot at musical glory.

The film stars (and was inspired by) the real-life folk-rock Sweet Remains. The Hollywood Reporter called it “an extremely engaging film (that) subverts all the clichés of the star-is-born story and proves there are plenty of offbeat ways to satisfy audiences without hewing to formula.”

Naughton — a longtime Westport resident — had quite a bit to do with “The Independents.” In addition to writing, directing and producing, he stars in it.

Click here for tickets and more information. Click below for the trailer.

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Today’s New York Times carries an obituary of Bruce Blackburn. The graphic designer — famous for creating both the NASA “worm” logo and the American bicentennial star — died in Colorado, at 82.

He also designed the logo for the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Weston, of which he was a longtime congregant, the Times says.

However, the logo appears only once on the church’s website: on the home page.

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And finally … happy 58th birthday to Seal!

Plastic Fantastic Concert

From a young age, Andrew Colabella hated plastic straws. He couldn’t understand how something that was used for just a few seconds could be so quickly tossed aside, then lie around on land or in our oceans for centuries.

He never used a straw. As much as possible, he tried to avoid all forms of plastic. He used metal forks and ate off porcelain plates. But we live in a plastic, throwaway society. The number of plastic cups used and discarded at bars floored him. He thought he was the only one who noticed.

Colabella is now an RTM member. At last he can do something about plastic that goes beyond changing his own habits.

The District 4 representative has already convinced 38 local restaurants and franchises to find biodegradable alternatives to single-uise products.

Now he’s introduced an ordinance to ban plastic straws in Westport. (There are exemptions for disabled people, who need them because other alternatives are not strong enough.) The proposal is making its way through the RTM Environment Committee.

But this is not some quixotic quest. Colabella has partnered with 4 other longtime Westporters, in what they call the Plastic Pollution Project.

Wendy Goldwyn Batteau was inspired by her first boss — the editor of Silent Spring — to co-found Sierra Club Books. She’s worked for decades as an award-winning editor/executive at major publishers, collaborating with Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, Audubon and the Ocean Alliance.

Liz Milwe — in “real life,” a choreographer and dance filmmaker — has a long history of environmental activism. Ten years ago as an RTM member, she helped Westport become the first town east of the Mississippi to ban plastic bags. She’s won awards from the US Environmental Agency and Westport’s Green Task Force.

Ashley Moran is a Saugatuck Elementary School teacher. A founding member of Nurturing Minds in Africa — a non-profit helping educate poor and at-risk girls in Tanzania — she believe that education leads to meaningful change.

Greg Naughton — a filmmaker and producer — grew up in Westport and Weston, in a family of performers. His 9-year-old son is in Moran’s class. Excited by what he learned about plastic straws, composting and the environment, the boy got his dad involved in the cause.

Naughton is also a founding member of the Sweet Remains. The indie folk-rock band has over 35 million Spotify streams.

Which is why and how the Sweet Remains are playing a benefit concert, to raise funds for the Plastic Pollution Project.

The event is Friday, January 4 (Fairfield Theatre Company, 7 p.m.). It starts with a reception in the lobby/art gallery, featuring presentations about plastic problems from P3 members, Westport students and others. The Sweet Remains and P3 founders will be on hand to chat.

It should be a “sweet” concert. And one that helps ensure — in a small but meaningful way — that plastic no longer “remains” on our land and in our seas, centuries after all the rest of us are gone.

(For tickets and more information on the concert, click here.) 

“A Tribute To Pamela”: Local Benefit Show With Wide Impact

Jim Naughton is a pro.

Whether winning Tonys on Broadway, raves for roles in films like “The Paper Chase” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” or plaudits for directing plays like “Our Town,” the longtime Weston resident does things the right way.

Pam Naughton

After his wife Pamela died in 2013 of pancreatic cancer, he dedicated himself to raising funds to fight the disease. He has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars for a very important clinical trial — and on Sunday, May 7 he’s set to raise more.

He’s doing it with a very professional — and extremely entertaining — benefit show.

“A Tribute to Pamela” brings his family together on the Westport Country Playhouse stage. Naughton will be joined by his son Greg, a producer, actor, singer/songwriter and founding member of the Sweet Remains; his daughter Keira Naughton Forgash, a Broadway and TV actress, and Greg’s wife Kelli O’Hara Naughton, Tony-winning actress and Broadway star in “The King and I,” “South Pacific” and “Light in the Piazza.”

The songs and celebration will support research aimed at early detection of pancreatic cancer. It’s led by Westporter Dr. Richard Frank, of the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital.

Newman’s Own Foundation is a lead sponsor of the May 7 event.

So it’s a very local, one-night show. But its impact could be global — and everlasting.

(Click here for tickets. For more information, call 203-739-7354.)