Speaking of videos: A capacity crowd welcomed Twiddle last weekend, for a 2-day Levitt Pavilion festival.
They were not disappointed. The Vermont-based jam band put on great shows.
And Twiddle was not disappointed with Westport.
Yesterday on Facebook they said: “Still thinking about how incredible last weekend was at Levitt Pavilion in Westport, CT. So much love for everyone who came out and joined us. See you tonight in Wisconsin for Phlowfest.”
They also uploaded a fantastic video of their shows to social media. Their videographer captured the music, the audience, and some killer drone footage too.
We’re not quite Woodstock or Newport. But it makes us look pretty damn close. Click here to see.
Screen shot from the Levitt Pavilion Twiddle Festival.
Speaking of the Levitt Pavilion: There are many things to worry about in Westport.
Having a concert stage named for a convicted sex offender and disgraced financier is not one of them.
At 9 p.m. last night, I got an email from a worried Westporter. She said: “This stage name for Levitt Pavilion is a disgrace for Westport. Can you investigate? Just trying to enjoy a nice night at Levitt Pavillon. My visitors are very concerned about my home. EPSTEIN?”
The handsome stage was named — and dedicated — in 2015. It honors Geri and David Epstein, in recognition of their $500,000 gift during the renovation of the outdoor entertainment center.
Relax. Chill. Enjoy the show!
Tens of thousands of people enjoy the Levitt Pavilion every year. I Before last night, I don’t think anyone thought the stage was named for Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo/JC Martin)
Westport Parks & Recreation Department seasonal employees do it all.
Lifeguards keep everyone safe at our beaches and pools, handle first aid and medical concerns, and answer countless questions (over and over again).
Guest Services staffers collect daily fees, organize parking, keep the beaches and lots clean, and answer countless questions (over and over again).
Tennis clerks greet customers, schedule reservations, collect fees, and maintain the courts and surroundings.
Dock attendants assist boaters n docking, sell gasoline and ice, and oversee the marinas at Compo and Longshore.
Those are thankless jobs. So of course, most of us never say “thanks.”
On August 8, Parks & Rec operations manager Carmen Roda and waterfront foreman Michael Giunta will.
They (and guest services supervisor Donny Christopher, and tennis supervisors Jamie Boone and Matthew Schwartz) are treating those employees — well, the ones who won’t be working, anyway — to a “thank you” picnic.
It’s a welcome gesture. These (mostly) young men and women help make our summers rock.
Meanwhile, the next time you see a lifeguard, beach or dock attendant, or tennis employee, say “thank you” too.
Westport Parks & Rec staff help the summer run smoothly.
Westport native and noted artist Miggs Burroughs created 16 LED-lit lightboxes. Each continued a lenticular image that combined one from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all are represented.
This spring, a new lightbox was added, on the station wall itself. You don’t have to descend into the tunnel to see another handsome lenticular, with scenes of the cannons and downtown. This one actually says “Welcome to Westport!”
Now there’s a new one, with a modern twist. It honors Olympic snowboarding silver medalist (and Westport native) Julia Marino.
It’s another great lenticular image by Miggs. Unveiled yesterday morning, it will be displayed for the next year.
One view of MIggs Burroughs’ lenticular image …
… and the other.
At the unveiling yesterday (from left): 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Julia Marino, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola, Julia’s father John (hidden), Miggs Burroughs.
Halloween is a lot closer than Christmas: only 97 days away.
So hurry on down to HomeGoods, which has already stocked all your costume needs.
That area of town is quickly cornering the Halloween market. Just moments after Sandy Rothenberg sent her (aaaaargh!) HomeGoods report, Jack Krayson noted that Spooky Town — across from Stop & Shop, by Bulkley Avenue North — is open for business too.
Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican parties have primaries on Tuesday, August 9.
Unaffiliated voters cannot vote in primary elections — unless they change their registration to either party. Unaffiliated voters have until noon on August 8 to change, and register with either party. Click here for the link, to make the change online.
In other August 9 primary news: The town needs poll workers.
Poll workers must be registered voters in Connecticut. They must take part in a training session, for which they are paid $25.
Pay for the August 9 election day: A full day is $200, with a $40 food allowance; a half=day shift is $100, with a $20 for food allowance.
Election Day work starts at 5:45 a.m. (polls open at 6 a.m. sharp) and concludes at 8:15 p.m. (polls close at 8 p.m. sharp).
For more information, email email@example.com.
Voting machines and poll workers, at the Westport Library.
The Sweet Remains are a highlight of every Levitt Pavilion season.
But last night’s concert was extra special. The usual local pride — Sweet Remains leader Greg Naughton grew up in Weston, and lives in Westport — swelled when the trio was joined onstage by Greg’s wife, Broadway star Kelli O’Hara; his father James, the noted actor, and sister Keira.
Alert “06880” reader/longtime music fan/superb photographer Tom Kretsch reports: “It was a truly incredible evening, with a packed crowd enthralled by the group’s performance.”
The Sweet Remains, with James Naughton, Keira Naughton and Kelli O’Hara.
Recently, alert and hungry reader Patti Brill has noticed the “unkempt” appearance of the Charles Street restaurant. Yesterday, it looked like it was closed.
I checked the website. Nothing unusual; it was taking reservations and pickup orders.
I called. I was about to hang up when — on the 10th ring — a recording said, “We are pleased to announce our new hours.”
That’s usually a euphemism for “shorter hours.” I don’t know their previous schedule, but according to the chirpy voice, Tarry Lodge is open Wednesdays through Friday from 4 to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
Exactly 3 years ago — July 23, 2019 — the Levitt Pavilion made a bit of history.
Our Native Daughters — 4 gifted women who reclaim 1800s minstrel music, with power and pride — kicked off their summer tour here.
The next day, the group performed at The Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. Another tour stop was the Newport Folk Festival.
Spurred by a MacArthur “genius grant,” and with banjos, other instruments and willowy, jazzy and soulful phrasing, Our Native Daughters redefine roots music. Long the purview of whites wearing blackface, they seize it back, showing how storytelling and songs from Black women have been the bedrock of the African American family, from antebellum America to the present.
Our Native Daughters
A crew from the Smithsonian Channel was at the Levitt 3 years ago, to film this show.
The 2021 trailer features the pavilion right at the start:
The Smithsonian has now released the full documentary. It’s available on several platforms, including Paramount+ and Amazon.
But the Levitt is hardly living in the past.
Allison Russell — one of Our Native Daughters’ founding members — returns here on August 21. Her show is part of the “Stars on Tour” series.
On her Grammy-nominated debut solo album, “Outside Child,” Russell shared the story of her abusive childhood in a moving song-cycle of courage, empathy, hope and love.
She made history as the first Black artist to win a Juno for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. The New York Times named it the #2 Best Album of the Year, and the song “Nightflyer” made Barack Obama’s annual list of favorites.
Frank Mastrone returned to the Levitt Pavilion last night, for another standout evening of Broadway, Frank Sinatra (and Tom Jones, Adele and Michael Bublé) tunes.
Frank Mastrone and Westport’s own Terry Eldh. (Photo/Dan Woog)
But there was another star on stage too: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ baby grand piano.
It was there, white and beautiful and sounding great, courtesy of Yury Feygin Amadeus Piano, the Levitt’s piano partner.
Jackie Kennedy’s piano, before the audience arrives.
“All my pianos are special,” he says. “But this is my personal one. It has been with me since my dad bought it for my first piano lesson.”
The piano debuted Thursday, for the Pete Muller & the Kindred Souls show. Mastrone and his friends — including Westport’s own Terry Eldh — put it to great use last night, before an appreciative (and very full) audience.
Carol Longmuir Meier died peacefully on Tuesday, with her son Douglas and his wife Valerie by her side. The former Westport resident was 80 years old.
Growing up in Westport, she became active with Girl Scouts. That led her to the Mariner Scouts, where she developed a love for sailing.
Her family was also active with the United Methodist Church of Westport, where she attended youth group meetings. It was there that she met Frederick Meier Jr.
They were grade school sweethearts, and were married for 33 years. Fred died in 1994, age 52. Carol loved him until the day she died.
After graduating from Staples High School, Carol entered Yale’s Grace New Haven School of Nursing. Growing up she became active with the girl scouts that led her to the Mariner Scouts where she developed a deep love for sailing. Her family was also active with the United Methodist Church of Westport where she attended the Methodist Youth Group Meetings.
Fred’s career with the American Diabetes Association included several moves. Carol to hold nursing licenses in several states.
She started out in general nursing, which led to pediatrics. She became infectious disease coordinator for Holy Redeemer Hospital outside of Philadelphia.
She moved on to the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, as head nurse and then director of nursing. In Virginia she joined a visiting nursing service. Her final nursing shifts in New Jersey began with her as a visiting nurse. At the age of 60 she went back to school to earn a degree as a certified diabetic educator.
In New Jersey she was active with the Whitehouse United Methodist Church, participating in bible study and book club.
She enjoyed hiking, bird watching, reading and trips to Nana’s beach.
She loved spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. They include Kelly Arciola, her husband Sam III and their sons Sam IV and Dominic; Megan Meier and William Bodie, BBF and grand dog Yager; John Meier, his wife Lauren and their children Adrianna, Harper and Jack; Nana’s twins Lillian and Brieanna; Sean O’Shea, Robert O’Shea and his son Michael. Carol is also survived by her brother Robert Longmuir and his children. The family thanks Sandy Hack, who was Carol’s caregiver and dear friend.
he family will receive friends tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral is set for Wednesday (July 20, 11 a.m., United Methodist Church of Westport). Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery.
Memorial donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association. Click here to leave online condolences.
The proposal to upgrade the Westport Inn has been pulled from the next Planning & Zoning Commission agenda. A public hearing has been postponed to September 12.
The first plan included hotel rooms and housing units. Housing was eliminated from subsequent plans.
The current proposal would redevelop the existing 116-room hotel to 85 rooms. Site improvements include addition landscaping, a new 3-story addition, demolition of the front building, minor additions to the rear building, pool, rear dining terrace, and driveway and parking improvements.
All application materials can be viewed here (scroll down for 1595 Post Road East).
Jennifer Howe Rosen headed to the Black Duck the other day. With live music, she thought it would be packed.
It wasn’t. She writes:
“Pre-COVID the Duck was packed with families, salty dogs, townies, tourists, and post-train business people.
“The Duck built a new deck, and refreshed the place. They managed to stay open during the worst of the pandemic.
“They are our local watering hole and burger/seafood destination. They have live music, boat access, and their signature tilt toward the river. It’s time to get back to our loyal, salty roots and frequent the Duck!”
Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, James Naughton, Eva Le Gallienne, Jack Klugman, Imogene Coca and Sandy Dennis are just a few of the actors who lived in Westport or Weston, and made the short trip to star on the Westport Country Playhouse stage.
Clay Singer too.
The 2013 Staples High School graduate and former Players star has already performed at the historic theater, in “Romeo and Juliet” and “Man of La Mancha.” He returns in the next WCP show, “4000 Miles.”
There are many reasons to love the Playhouse. Seeing homegrown — and excellent — talent is an added bonus. Click here for tickets, and more information.
“Cheese Fries & Froot Loops” — the funny, poignant solo show written and performed by Weston’s Chris Fuller, about this lifelong dream to play on the PGA Tour while living with bipolar manic disorder — has added a pair of benefit performances.
The July 23 and 24 shows (8 p.m., Westport Woman’s Club), will raise funds for the Artists Collective of Westport’s project to provide art supplies and instruction to underserved children.
Reservations (suggested donation: $15) can be made by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (203-349-8786).
Unfortunately, that’s not the only Hook’d-related news today.
A reader writes: “A quick Google search of (concessionaire) Upsilon Ventures and (owner) Itai Shoffman uncovers all sorts of stuff, like unpaid taxes.”
Attached was a link to Southern District of New York District Court judgment in “United States of America v. Itai Shoffman.” He was held liable for $201,659.73 in unpaid federal income taxes for 2007 and ’08, plus interest.
The judgment was dated February 12, 2021 — nearly one year after he and Upsilon were awarded the concession contract for Compo Beach and Longshore.
Every day, there’s family fun at Wakeman Town Farm.
But this Saturday (July 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), it’s an official, capitalized Family Fun Day.
Kids of all ages can visit feed animals, plant sunflower seeds, and enjoy music from the School of Rock Fairfield. Food and drink for purchase includes ice cream, smoothies, iced coffee, lemonade and wood-fired pizza.
11 to 2:45: Animal visits; reading room
11 to 12:30: Buzzin’ Bees Craft
11:30 to 12:45: Seed planting
11:30 to 2:30: Pizza
12 to 2: Ice cream
12:30 to 2: Face painting
1 to 2:45: Flight of the Butterflies Craft
1 to 3: Music from the School of Rock House Band
1:15 to 2:45: Farm Olympics.
Click here for advance tickets. Walk-ins are welcome too.
Canoe paddles along the Saugatuck River — in search of egrets, osprey, ducks, shorebirds and much more — are set for this Saturday (July 9, 10 a.m. to noon); Friday, August 12; Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, October 16. Click here for reservations and more information.
Family campfires, with (of course) roasting marshmallows — plus meet an animal ambassador, and enjoy s’mores and a guided activity. There is a different theme for each campfire. Each family has their own picnic table. Dates are July 15, September 16, October 21, November 26 and December 21. Click here for details.
Meanwhile, admission to the Earthplace Museum is free through September 5, for Connecticut residents age 18 and under, and one adult caregiver. Support comes from Connecticut Humanities, the Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, and ARPA.
Round Pond is one of Westport’s most historic (and overlooked) sites.
Located near the Longshore entrance road — and across the street from the house F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald rented in 1920 — it was where social reformer Lillian Wald lived for many years. Eleanor Roosevelt was a frequent guest.
These days, it’s better known as a winter skating spot.
A small sign now notes its name. It’s in keeping with the beauty of the place — and a great image for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.
On a day when she was mourning the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision — and the polarization it has unleased across the country — Lynn Untermeyer Miller found this little bit of hope, in the garden near the Gillespie Center.
“You never know where you’ll find a little kindness,” she says.
Shonda Rhimes — the producer/screenwriter/author/global media company CEO/Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee — entertained, inspired and wowed a sold-out crowd at last night’s Westport Library “Booked for the Evening” fundraiser. Actors Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley were there too.
The leader in both her industry and for women of color, Rhimes is known for telling great stories (check out Netflix!). On stage before an appreciative audience, in a conversation with Vanity Fair editor Rhadika Jones, she spent her evening in Westport doing exactly that.
Shonda Rhimes, at the Westport Library. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)
Ceremonies are held at Westport’s 2 middle and 5 elementary schools.
Dylan Chatterjee captured this scene yesterday, outside Bedford, where his sister Mia was celebrated. It seems symbolic: 8th graders moving toward the light of Staples High School, both literally and figuratively.
Congratulations to all 5th and 8th graders — I mean, rising 6th graders and freshman — all over town!
To celebrate, Pollinator Pathways organizers in Westport and surrounding towns are showcasing properties — both public and private — where habitat-friendly landscaping is done. They’ll also provide information on how homeowners can create Pollinator Pathway yards of their own.
It’s this Saturday (June 25) at 4 separate Westport sites, all 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Earthplace (3 gardens), Prospect Road (privately owned), Smith-Richardson Wildlife Preserve (2 meadows) and Wakeman Town Farm (a 100-foot pollinator border).
Weston’s Onion Farm tour is also Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Guides and gardeners will be on hand, to answer questions.
Click here, then scroll down to plan your tour. You’ll also see Pollinator Pathway tours throughout Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester Counties.
The Westport Public Schools and Westport Weston Family YMCA have teamed up to coordinate child care — before and after school – for youngsters in grades K-5, during the coming school year.
The program includes arts and crafts, STEM activities, themed projects, outdoor and physical activities, homework help and snacks.
Transportation will be provided to and from the elementary schools, and YMCA.
The before-school program runs from 7 to 9 a.m. for Coleytown, Greens Farms, Kings Highway and Long Lots Schools, 7 to 8:30 a.m. for Saugatuck.
The after-school program runs from dismissal until 6 p.m. Students who sign up for any youth programs taking place during after-school care hours — karate, swim lessons, soccer shots, basketball, gymnastics, fencing or dance — will be accompanied to their program by a staff member. There is a separate fee for those programs.
3-, 4 and 5-day signups are available. Click here for more information, and to register.
Sure, it was 2 days ago. But we can’t resist a good photo. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the Levitt Pavilion during Sunday’s Michael Franti & Spearhead show:
Encore: Here’s a video of Michael, complete with a shout-out to Westport:
Looking ahead, the Levitt celebrates the final days of Pride Months with 2 performances.
Isle of Klezbos is this Thursday (June 23, 7:30 p.m.). New York magazine says their repertoire ranges from “rambunctious to entrancing: Neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies, Yiddish swing & retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking song, re-grooved standards, and genre-defying originals.”
It’s about time Levitt had some Yiddish swing and late Soviet-era Jewish drinking songs! Click here for (free!) ticket information.
Next week, it’s “Queer + Quiet”: an evening with Treya Lam (Tuesday, June 28, 7 p.m.). They’ll “lift up the underrepresented, quiet, marginalized voices in the BIPOC trans, non-binary, queer community.” Click here for (also free!) ticket information.
The June 27 (7 p.m.) Westport Library showing of the award-winning documentary “Four Winters” is noteworthy.
The film tells the story of the 25,000 Jewish partisans who battled the Nazis and their collaborators from the forests of Eastern Europe. The men and women — many in their teens — blew up trains, burned electric stations and attacked enemy headquarters.
But there’s also an important local connection: “Four Winters”‘ writer/producer/director Julia Mintz is a Weston High School graduate.
Lou Weinberg is the passionate, creative and very hands-on director of the Westport Community Gardens. He knows flowers, trees, grasses and bushes — and birds, bees, rabbits and all other wildlife there.
He’s also a gifted photographer.
Here’s his description of today’s stunning “Westport … Naturally” photo: “This gray catbird is eating a berry from a serviceberry tree. This native tree produces flowers and an abundance of fruit for a multitude of birds this time of year. If you like birds, plant serviceberry trees!”
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