Tag Archives: Miggs Burroughs

Friday Flashback #249

It’s one of Westport’s lost, mostly forgotten mysteries: Pearl Bailey’s early-1950s recording of “I Caught Her in the Kitchen Playing Westport.”

It was even the subject of a previous Friday Flashback. But all I had were the lyrics. Even YouTube — where you can find anything — came up blank.

Today — thanks to the magic of Ellen and Mark Naftalin, and Miggs Burroughs — all of “06880” (and the world) can hear the sultry tune.

Ellen and Mark — longtime Westporters and musicians; she’s also a historian, he’s a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band — found the song.

In an album in their very own collection. It’s called — appropriately — “More Songs for Adults Only.”

Miggs turned the vinyl into an Mp3.

Click below to listen.

And if you want to sing along with Pearl, the lyrics are below.

There’s a little ranch house in the vale,
Pretty little ranch house up for sale;
All the shutters drawn,
Tenants all gone
And thereby hangs a long, unhappy tale.

‘Cause he caught her in the kitchen playing Westport,
A game indigenous to suburban life,
Where you take a wife of whom you’re not the husband,
While someone else’s husband takes your wife.

Some people may claim that the name of the game is Scarsdale,
Or Beverly Hills, or even Shaker Heights,
But commuters from Manhattan call it Westport.
And it’s the game that some of our local leading lights play
To while away those cold Connecticut nights.

Now in that little ranch house used to dwell
An advertising feller and his Nell.
Two kids and a pup, living it up,
And everything was sounder than a bell —
‘Til he caught her in the kitchen playing Westport
Between the washing machine and thermostat.

The husband thought it really was an outrage.
Said he, “You might at least remove your hat!”
Well, they may play it that way in Great Neck,
While in Levittown they’d never think it odd.
But there is not an architect in Westport
Who’ll ever forgive the cad that said, “My God! Sir.
I must have got the wrong cape cod!”

Since they are no longer groom and bride,
Quoting from the Sunday classified:
“Are there any takers
For three lovely acres
Of peaceful old New England countryside?”
‘Cause he caught her in the kitchen playing Westport
Which would ordinarily be a cause for gloom;
But though the sanctity of wedlock’s on the downgrade,
Currently housing is enjoying quite a boom!

And while they defame the name of the game in Boston,
Where naturally they think it’s a dirty shame,
In the green and fertile pastures of suburbia
The local dealers in real estate acclaim
It the best thing since the FHA, hey,

Westport is a grand old …
‘Midst pleasures and palaces …
Westport is a grand old game.

Tunnel Vision: Lighting Up Downtown

For 7 years, “Tunnel Vision” has been an intriguing — if overlooked and undervalued — part of Westport.

In 2014, artist/photographer/civic whirlwind Miggs Burroughs hung 16 lenticular images in the passageway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

Miggs Burroughs, in his “Tunnel Vision” creation.

Looked at one way, the photos — showing Westporters connecting with each other, each one changing depending on your viewing angle — turned what had been a damp, moldy Clockwork Orange-ish walkway into a tourist attraction.

Looked at another way, it reminded us that we are all connected.

Looked at a third way — today — it’s clear that the 16 hands, symbolizing love, friendship and community — need a bit of freshening up.

The lights have burned out the artworks’ colors. The photos need to be reprinted. The tunnel needs a new vision.

A restoration campaign is underway. Artist Mark Yurkiw says that Norwalk lighting designer Gary Novasel is helping procure the proper new lights. Duggal — an immigrant from India, who printed the original art — is ready to help again.

The cost is $12,000. Click here to donate, and for more information.

For special tour, click below:

BONUS MIGGS BURROUGHS NEWS:

The artist’s “Signs of Compassion” project from 5 years ago — another lenticular images project, this one combining Emily Dickson’s poem of that name with  Westporters using its words in American Sign Language — is headed to Montefiore Hospital.

The Bronx institution just acquired all 30 images. They embody the hospital’s mission of healing and compassion, and will be displayed permanently on site.

Memorial Day Photo Gallery: Part 2

Thanks to all who submitted photos of today’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony. I received hundreds, and can’t run them all.

Today meant a lot to Westporters. It touched our hearts. It made us think about who we are, and what we want to be. And it made us deeply proud of our neighbors, our community, and all who have sacrificed to make this day possible.

World War II veterans like Joe Schachter had a special place of honor … (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

… and there were several cars with them. (Photo/Molly Alger)

Navy veteran Rick Benson (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Leonard Everett Fisher (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Bill Vornkahl — a Korean War veteran — has organized over 65 Westport Memorial Day parades. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Boy Scouts honor the flag. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

The Fire Department held its annual ceremony, honoring its members who have served. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

1st Selectman Jim Marpe leads the political contingent … (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

… and the Blue Jays follow. (Photo/Whitney D’Angelo)

The Westport Paddle Club’s float echoed this year’s parade theme: Honoring Women in the Military. The WPC won “Most Creative Float” honors. (Photo/Robbie Guimond)

A Revolutionary War soldier (with sunglasses), aka Miggs Burroughs. One youngster — who really needs to learn history — asked, “Is he a pirate?” (Photo/Dan Woog)

Proud veterans, proud Westporters. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Besides publishing (and taking photos for) Westport Local Press and working as an educator Jaime Bairaktaris volunteers as an EMT. He marched proudly with them today — and wore out his shoes. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Remarkable Theater founder Doug Tirola (left) and Marine Corps veteran Michael Calise share a taste in shirt themes. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Roundup: Art Show, Beechwood, Private Benjamin …

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Here’s news to put a spring in your step:

Staples High School’s Jazz Combo earned 1st place at the 2021 National Jazz Festival this weekend. They competed in Small Ensemble Division 1 Live Performance.

Leading the quintet were seniors Lucas Lieberman (piano) and Abe Rubin (bass). The other members are sophomores: Noah Jahnel (tenor saxophone), Delaney McGee (trumpet), and Witt Lindau (drums).

Lucas was named the Superior Musician for the division, while Delaney and Witt were selected as 2 of the 3 Outstanding Musicians.

The Staples High School Jazz Ensemble participated in the Large Ensemble Division 1 Live Performance competition. Though they did not place, the adjudicators called the ensemble a “swingin’ band” and “one of the better bands that we’ve heard, in a tough division.” Congratulations to director Phil Giampietro, and all the musicians!

Click here to hear the Jazz Combo. Click here for the Jazz Ensemble.

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Westport’s back-to-normal journey continued yesterday, with a pair of just-like-old-times events.

The Westport Woman’s Club held its annual-except-for-last-year art show. Paintings, photos, ceramics — all by local artists — were admired (and bought) by a large, joyful bunch of happy-to-be-back art lovers.

Miggs Burroughs and Nina Bentley were among the artists exhibiting at yesterday’s Westport Woman’s Club show.

And  Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito opened Beechwood — their Weston Road home, where they host regular arts salons (and more) — to the public, for the first time in a year.

The grounds were spectacular. Especially the centerpiece: an ancient copper beech tree, which gives the property and the arts series its name.

The Beechwood copper birch tree. (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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COVID stopped many things this year — but not the National Charity League.

Yesterday, Staples High School’s chapter of the mother/daughter community service organization honored 5 pairs — each of whom did more than 30 hours annually — with a “car caravan.”

It ended with a ceremonial “tea” at Ned Dimes Marina, for all 16 seniors.

National Charity League seniors, at Ned Dimes Marina. Back row (from left): Lauren Spheeris, Milei Wyatt, Grace Maloney, Tatiana Bicalho, Daphne Baker, Hannah Murphy, Kaytlyn Carnahan, Callie Rourke, Kyla Race. Front row: Maya Sampath, Abby Ragland, Isabelle Gerard, Hayley Buckman, Elana Lundbye, Sarah Corneck, Chloe Chaple..

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Just added to the Remarkable Theater’s schedule: “Private Benjamin.” It’s this Thursday (May 27, 8 p.m.). The parking lot opens at 7 p.m., for tailgating.

Click here for tickets, and more shows.

“Private Benjamin”

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Boston College’s “Spoon River Revival” has won the Outstanding Creative Ensemble Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Four cast members — including Staples High School Class of 2020 graduate Nick Rossi — were chosen to participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition. The award provides recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers for the further pursuit of education. Click here for the full story.

Emily (Sophie Rossman) and George (Nick Rossi) at the soda shop, in Staples Players’ production of “Our Town.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from downtown, via Frank Rosen:

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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And finally … on this day in 1624, Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for the Dutch, from the Lenape Native Americans.

It is commonly believed the price was $24 worth of trinkets. It was actually “60 guilders worth of trade” — approximately $1,143 in 2020 dollars.

So today’s featured artist and song are no-brainers:

 

 

 

Collective’s Virtual (And Very Cool) Art Gallery Opens

When the pandemic struck, Westport’s many artists kept creating. Stuck in their studios, they produced some astonishing work.

The downside: Stuck in their studios, they had little opportunity to showcase it. Galleries shut down. Auctions ended. Art shows stopped.

Sure, they could post images on their websites. But art is 3-dimensional. Technology is only 2.

Fortunately, our artists think in many dimensions. Longtime Westporter and Staples High School graduate Trace Burroughs developed an interactive 3D gallery space, to show his work. It won an innovation award from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

Since the Artists’ Collective of Westport — a lively, hard-working and fun group of 150+ — could not have live exhibits, Trace’s brother Miggs Burroughs suggested they hire him to create their own 3D gallery.

Working — virtually, of course — with a programmer in the Netherlands, they made it happen.

The Burroughses and Susan Fehlinger created a members’ Call for Entries. Nearly 90 responded.

Of course, digital files are not canvases or prints. There were new details to work out — font and image sizes, gallery lighting and shadows, decor and more, and to simplify things all images are square — but Collective members figured it all out.

Enter the 3D gallery …

The artists are thrilled. And the public — anyone, anywhere, around the world — who wants to appreciate (and buy!) Westporters’ art can now do so, 24/7/365.

No masks or social distancing required!

Click here to enter. For the best immersive experience, use a desktop computer. 3D graphics are robust, so it may take a few seconds to load.

… and then click to view individual works. This is by Jay Petrow.

 

Roundup: Cribari Bridge, Burroughs Brothers, Chocolate Bombs, More


The Cribari Bridge Christmas lights never get old.

In fact, “06880” readers always provide fresh perspectives.

Here’s January Stuart’s:

(Photo/January Stewart)


The Winter Farmers’ Market: It’s not just for Thursdays anymore.

Next Tuesday (December 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane) features a special holiday Artist Market.

It’s a way to support local artisans, who have been battered professionally by COVID-19. The Farmers’ Market is a safe outdoor space where they can sell their crafts.

The Artist Market takes place in 3 open-air greenhouses. Food trucks will grab-and-go meals, and hot and cold drinks.


2020 has been a wretched year. It can’t end soon enough.

But on its way out the door, the Westport Library will give it a special push.

On Monday, December 21 (7 p.m.), Miggs and Trace Burroughs’ offer winter solstice entertainment.

“Oh Brother, Not Another Holiday Special” — streamed from the Westport Library’s Forum — features several cool guests.

Martha Stewart returns to town, giving Miggs some holiday tips. Psychic “Miss Liz” will answer questions and make predictions for 2021. (Uh oh.)

Miggs’ bagel-making, Moog-playing son Brayden and Trace’s conceptual artist Pavia will appear.

Scraping the very bottom of the barrel, Miggs has asked me to be on the show too. I’ll try to find the 10 most uplifting stories of 2020. (It’s not easy.)

Miggs and Trace promise to make short work of the longest night of the year. Click here to register.

 

For years, Aarti Khosla — Westport’s favorite chocolatier — has been “Giving a Little Love.” Her promotions have supported healthcare workers, police officers, Bridgeport high school graduates, and teachers right here in Westport.

Now — as winter looms — Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti embarks on a new campaign: “Give a Little Warmth.”

For each $10 “Hot Chocolate Bomb” pack customers buy, she’ll donate one to men and women who care for us: healthcare professionals, police and EMTs. They’re great stocking stuffers — and easy to ship.

Click here to order; be sure to write “Give a Little Warmth” in the note section.

Need another reason to shop at Le Rouge (190 Main Street, lower level)? Aarti will donate 5% of all December sales to local food banks.


And finally … today marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. He was 40 years old when Mark David Chapman shot him 4 times in the archway of his Manhattan apartment building.

In other words, John Lennon has been dead for as many years as he lived. Imagine.

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 35 Gallery

Thanksgiving is (almost) here. Submissions to our Saturday art gallery are starting to include some familiar holiday themes. Keep ’em coming!

Each week, we welcome submissions from all artists. You don’t have to be a pro, or even experienced. We want it all!

Works should be inspired by, relevant to, or somehow, in some way, connected to our current lives. Student art of all ages is especially welcome.

Email dwoog@optonline.net, to share your work with the world. Then enjoy your turkey!

“With Thanks for All Our Memories” (Ellin Spadone)

“Emaskulation” (Miggs Burroughs took all these photos during a 20-minute walk in Parker Harding Plaza)

Untitled (DIane Lowman)

“Welcome” (Lawrence Weisman)

“Morning Sky at Saugatuck Elementary School” (Olivia Whee, age 7)

“We Are Family” (Karen Weingarten)

“Happy Thanksgiving” (Amy Schneider)

“Falling Leaves” (Judith Koffsky — a giant Japanese red maple on Compo Road South)

 

Artists In Residences: Step Into My Studio …

Any ol’ place can have an artist in residence.

Leave it to the Westport Library to have “Artists in Residences.”

That’s the clever name for an equally clever project. COVID-19 has closed the library’s 3 rotating galleries — popular spaces that were booked nearly 2 years ahead.

So exhibit curator Carole Erger-Fass and artist/library supporter/creative guru Miggs Burroughs — whose “Artist to Artist” discussion series was also shelved — devised a new way to connect artists and art-loving patrons.

The Zoom series provides peeks into otherwise-hidden spaces: artists’ studios.

The first episode was with Nancy Moore. Her “Unconventional Women” exhibit was scheduled to be installed the day the library shut down in March.

Instead, Nancy invited a crew into her airy workplace. She shared her works in progress, showed off the tools of her trade and discussed the inspiration for her vibrantly patterned paintings that no one could now enjoy in person.

The series blossomed into a living document of the state of the arts — and artists — in Westport. Twenty-four episodes have already been recorded. More are in the works.

They feature sculptors, painters, photographers, and digital and collage artists. Some have experimented with new mediums. Others have had the luxury of time to delve deeper into their genres.

Some have been inspired anew by the pandemic. Others have been stymied.

All speak eloquently about their craft. Particularly moving are Westport legends like Ann Chernow, Leonard Everett Fisher, Roe Halper, Nina Bentley, Judith Katz and Niki Ketchman. Their age makes them vulnerable to the coronavirus — but they steam ahead creatively.

The most recent episode features Charles Joyner. His intricate, layered collages meld colors, patterns and symbols inspired by his growing up in rural North Carolina, and his extensive travels to Ghana.

So how is the longtime Carolinian a “Westport artist”?

In 1964, he came to Westport through an American Friends Service program that brought 35 Southern students to the North to promote integration. He lived with the Ader family.

After graduating from Staples High School he headed to Iowa State University on a football scholarship, transferred to North Carolina A&T, then earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Joyner spent many years as a tenured professor in the North Carolina State University College of Art and Design. He is also an outstanding jazz drummer.

His interview with the “Artists in Residences” program is fascinating. Click below to see. Then click here for all interviews.

(Carole Erger-Fass talks about “Artists in Residences” on WPKN-FM 89.5 “Open Book” show, at noon on November 30.)

Awards Highlight Westport Aces

The 2020 ACE Awards will have a distinctly Westport-Weston look.

The event — the acronym is for Arts & Culture Empowerment, and it’s sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County — is set for October 22 (5:30 p.m., online). Registration is free.

Westporter Miggs Burroughs earns the Artist honors. Local residents Harold Bailey and Bernicestine McLeod receive the Citizen award.

Miggs Burroughs

Burroughs — a native Westporter and Staples High School graduate — has designed hundreds of logos, ads, brochures and websites for commercial and non-profit clients since 1972. His lenticular photos that explore change and transition are displayed at shows and galleries, and in tunnels like Parker Harding Plaza and the Wesetport train station.

A founding member of the Artists Collective of Westport and the first artist-in-residence at the Westport Library, Burroughs actually designed the actual ACE award — which was 3D-printed in the library’s MakerSpace.

Bailey and McLeod — both Brown University graduates and trustees — are committed to civic work and philanthropy. Bailey is a former IBM vice president, who chairs TEAM Westport — the town’s multicultural commission. McLeod — president of an IT consulting firm — serves as treasurer.

Harold Bailey and Bernicestine McLeod

Bailey is also a board member of the Westport Country Playhouse, and a founder of Stamford’s 100 Black Men organization.McLeod has served on many boards, including the Westport Library and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

Weston’s Jim Naughton hosts the event. Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason — who works often with Staples Players — will talk about the essential role of music and arts education.

Videos for the virtual event are produced by Westporter Doug Tirola, president of 4th Row Films, and the guiding light behind the Remarkable Theater.

To register for the free event, click here. For more information, including sponsorships, email david@culturalalliancefc.org.

Remarkable Bookcycle Pedals On

Growing up in Appalachian southeastern Ohio, Christie Stanger vividly remembers the Bookmobile.

Stepping into a rehabbed school bus, she could borrow any book on board. The arrival of the Bookmobile was as exciting as the ice cream truck (and that’s saying something).

The Remarkable Bookcycle is Westport’s version of the Bookmobile. The brainchild of international best-selling author Jane Green, it’s a mobile version of a free library.

Jane Green and the Remarkable Bookcycle, at Savvy + Grace downtown.

Jane (or her husband Ian Warburg) pedal it from their Owenoke home to Compo Beach, and other spots in town. Anyone is free to take a book — or leave one. It’s a brilliant idea, made even more “remarkable” by its homage to Westport’s favorite lost store, the Remarkable Book Shop.

(Click here for the Bookcycle’s amazing back story. It includes the factoid that Jane asked noted artist Miggs Burroughs to paint the book store’s “dancing man” logo on the Bookcycle — without knowing that Miggs’ mother Esta had worked at the store, from the day it opened to when it closed.)

Like Jane, Christie now lives in Westport. Also like Jane, her love of books has never wavered. So when Jane Green announced she was looking for a custodian for the Remarkable Bookcycle for the coming year, while Jane, Ian and their family is in England, Christie immediately typed “ME!!!”

Other Westporters offered to help, in other ways. Ryan Peterson — who as a recent Staples graduate 2 years ago transformed Jane’s cargo tricycle into the Bookcycle — gave it a touch-up. Ethan Olmstead fixed the emergency brake. And a small band of librarians will restock its shelves.

Remarkable Bookcycle librarians (from left): Kate Parente, Christie Stanger, Sue Goldman, Margo Amgott and Jennie Lupinacci. (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

As Westport rolls into autumn, the group is excited. They’ve got big plans, including creating a children’s Bookcycle from an old-fashioned tricycle owned by Christie’s mother-in-law.

Also ahead: a collaboration with the “People Politics Planet” downtown art show, set for early October.

You can follow the Bookcycle — including its stops around town — on Instagram (@remarkablebookcycle) and Facebook (@TheRemarkableBookcycle). For the next few weeks, it will be parked at Compo Beach.

Neither Christie nor Jane visited the Remarkable Book Shop. But — thanks to both women — Westport’s long love affair with books, in out-of-the-ordinary but way-cool settings — lives on.

Melody Stanger touches up The Remarkable Guy. (Photo/Christie Stanger)