Tag Archives: MoCA Westport

Roundup: Bear, Piglet, Poles …

====================================================

Westport’s most famous bear is dead.

Westport Local Press reports that “Bear 211” — the black bear tagged with that number by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and reported at various sites in northern Westport and environs over the past 2 months — was struck by a car and killed yesterday, on Route 136 in Easton. The driver left the scene.

Click here for the full story.

This was the scene off Weston Road recently. The bear has now been struck and killed. (Photo/Denny Galindo)

====================================================

The Westport Public Art Collections includes an astonishing array of 1,500 paintings, illustrations, photos and more. They hang in every public school, and buildings like Town Hall, the Parks & Recreation Department office, even fire headquarters.

But not everyone has access to schools. Town Hall is still pretty much closed. And when was the last time you were at the fire station?

This winter, there’s an exciting opportunity to see 40 or so outstanding works.

MoCA Westport and the Westport Arts Advisory Committee are collaborating on an exhibit, at MoCA’s expansive gallery space.

Two of the works are shown below. As for the few dozen others: well, you’ll have to see for yourself!

“Don’t Judge Me 2020” (Christa Forrest

From Larry Silver’s “Yangzhou, China 1997-2000” collection.

=====================================================

“06880”‘s favorite Piglet is actually a dog.

Piglet is the name of a deaf, blind pink dachshund/Chihuahua mix. He was rescued by Westport veterinarian Melissa Shapiro. (Click here for a 2017 story.)

She’s just written a book. “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family” will be published August 3. Simon & Schuster calls it “a charming, inspirational memoir about empathy, resilience, kindness, and an adorable deaf blind pink dog.”

Click here for details. And watch “Good Morning America” this Saturday (July 31), for an interview with Melissa. (Hat tip: WEndy Bouthillier)

======================================================

It’s a little bit of vandalism: a couple of benches overturned by Ned Dimes Marina, off Compo Beach Road.

But the benches are memorials to real, much-loved human beings. Richard Webb — who says this is the second time it’s happened this month — notes that the perpetrators “might as well be turning over headstones.”

(Photo/Richard Webb)

======================================================

Mark Mathias writes:

“As I’ve been walking my dog recently, I noticed wood shavings at the bottom of most of the telephone, power, cable and such poles around town.

“I also recently saw a truck with 2 guys drilling holes in a pole, and wondered if it’s related.

“Upon further investigation, it appears that at least 3 holes have been drilled and then plugged.

“I also noticed a metal tag nailed into each pole saying “Maverick Inspected 2021 Cobra Rod.”

Any idea what this is for?

Nope. But I’m sure at least one alert “06880” reader does. Click “Comments,” to let us all know.

Plugged hole (below) and metal tag (above). (Photo/Mark Mathias)

=======================================================

These sunflowers graced Peter Wormser‘s memorial service Sunday, at Cedar Point Yacht Club. The architect, cook, outdoorsman — and avid gardener — died earlier this month.

The service was moving and memorable. And Nanette Hausman thought this “Naturally … Westport” photo epitomized Peter’s love of beauty and life.

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of Melissa Shapiro’s new book (above):

 

Roundup: MoCA, Levitt Pavilion, Vaccine …

=======================================================

MoCA knows how to throw a party.

Mark your calendars for September 18. Its fall benefit — “The Art of Jazz” — features silent and live auctions, and live music by Grammy Award-winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. Guests will be entertained by DJ Mo.

The live auction is hosted by Westporter Dave Briggs, former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor.

Can’t be there? Bidding opens September 4 for the silent auction, with plenty of items from Westport businesses (and more).

Tickets go on sale to MoCA members July 28, and the general public August 4. Click here for details.

=======================================================

Speaking of parties: The Levitt Pavilion is hardly a secret. Westporters flock there all summer, for over 50 nights of all kinds of entertainment.

But the covered patio at the top of the amphitheater is one of the town’s hidden jewels. Many days, it’s a great place to congregate and picnic before the show (and away from whatever heat or rain might mar the evening).

Other times, it’s a perfect place for a party. Businesses use it to thank their customers and clients. Organizations use it to show off what they do. Individuals book it for celebrations.

Last night, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 90th birthday there. 

The next time you see a group underneath the Levitt roof happily eating, drinking and chatting, think ahead. Yours could be there too.

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell welcomes members and friends to the Levitt Pavilion party last night.

======================================================

Need another reason to be vaccinated against COVID, besides not dying?

Westport Public Schools announced that students and staff who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine — even if they have contact with someone who tests positive.

Fully vaccinated individuals can continue with school, sports and extracurricular activities, regardless of contact. Vaccines are available now to everyone age 12 and older.

Vaccinations started now will allow students to be considered fully vaccinated at the start of the school year.

=======================================================

How bad was traffic yesterday?

It was “moving” at 16 mph on I-95. But for the many drivers who jumped on Westport’s back roads, it crawled along at 6 pm on Greens Farms Road and Bridge Street.

And that bad light there caused backups on South Compo nearly to Longshore.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

======================================================

Susan Garment captured one of our most colorful “Westport … Naturally” photos ever:

(Photo/Susan Garment)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of that screenshot of clogged roads above:

Roundup: Waste; Kendig & Colbert; Golf, Tennis & Basketball …

====================================================

Don’t just talk the environmental talk. Walk it.

And learn how this Monday (July 26, 7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). A panel discussion on “Attainable Sustainable: Simple Steps to Reducing Wasteful Everyday Habits” will give you the tools you need to create meaningful change.

The even is moderated by State Senator Will Haskell. Participants include Peter Boyd (Yale School of the Environment), Haley Schulman (Food Rescue US), Brad Kerner (“public health expert turned low-waster”), and Andrew Colabella (Westport RTM and Environment Committee member).

Click here for tickets.

=======================================================

Westpor’s Emmy-nominated list keeps growing.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer — and 2000 Staples High School graduate — Paige Kendig was part of the show’s nomination for “Outstanding Variety Talk Series,” while its live election special is up for an Emmy as “Outstanding Variety Special.”

Paige joins several other local nominees. Soon there will be a category for “American Town With Most Emmys.”

“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer Paige Kendig and the show’s star, as they interviewed President-Elect Joe Biden in December.

=======================================================

The Westport Police Department is good neighbors with their across-Jesup-Road friends, the Gillespie Center.

On July 31 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stop & Shop), the department will hold a food drive for the Center, and its umbrella organization Homes with Hope.

Items needed include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, pasta and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac & cheese, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise

=======================================================

Congratulations to Manna Toast.

The popular Church Lane restaurant — which opened last year in the middle of the pandemic — hosted an outdoor dinner the other day, to celebrate its 1st birthday.

One of the guests is a very loyal customer: 118 visits!

Manna Toast’s anniversary dinner.

=======================================================

Connecticut’s Summer at the Museum program is great. Anyone 18 and under, plus an accompanying adult, visit participating museums free of charge through September 6.

Among those museums: MoCA Westport.

The summer exhibition, Élan Vital, features 11 artists working in a range of mediums, including painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, ceramics and site-specific installation work There are 2 other exhibits too: “Unfit for Print” and “Love Wins,” plus high school works in the Congressional Art Competition. Click here for details.

=======================================================

Foursomes are still available for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fundraising golf tournament on August 2 (Aspetuck Valley Country Club, Weston).

There’s lunch at 11 a.m.; a shotgun start at noon, and a cocktail reception, dinner and awards at 4:30.

The event includes hole-in-one and putting contests, a $20 pro shop credit, gifts, prizes, and beverages.

Click here to register. Questions? Call 203-226-8981 ext. 104, or email bmarazzi@westporty.org.

=======================================================

Speaking of sports: Congratulations to Tighe Brunetti of Staples High School. The rising senior — a member of the state champion Wreckers’ team — has been named USA Today’s state Boys  Tennis Player of the Year.

Tighe Brunetti

=======================================================

Speaking still of sports: Yesterday’s “Roundup” gave a shoutout to Marc Lasry. The Westport hedge fund billionaire is co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, new National Basketball Association champions.

The team may play 1,000 from here. But — as Google’s aerial view shows — his Greens Farms property includes a full-size basketball court.

With the slogan all of Wisconsin (and now the NBA) knows well: “Fear the Deer”!

==================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo proves there is life in even the most unlikely places.

(Photo/Diane Yormark)

=======================================================

And finally … happy 48th birthday to Rufus Wainwright!

Roundup: Shopping, MoCA Bar, Chimneys …

=======================================================

The Westport Downtown Association hosts its second (of 3) Summer Outdoor Shopping Days tomorrow (Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This isn’t the traditional “sidewalk sale.” But word on the (Main) Street is that some stores will offer great deals anyway.

Main and Elm Streets will be closed. There will be a food truck, bar and live music all day long.

====================================================

Luisa Francoeur writes:

I am an avid supporter of Sustainable Westport and a participant in the Food Scrap Recycling Program. The organization needs our help today. Friday, July 16 is the last day to contribute to the Zero Food Waste Grant challenge.

The program’s goal is raising $7,500. Each dollar raised will be doubled. This will allow Sustainable Westport to do so much more for our community. Donors will be entered to win a giveaway from one of the sponsors.

Our Food Scrap Recycling is working to decrease residential food waste by at least 25%. Close to 1 out of 4 bags of groceries are eventually thrown away. Food waste is one of the heaviest, wettest and most expensive types of trash for the town to incinerate.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US.

Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm to transform Westport into a green community. The goal  is to become a Net Zero community by the year 2050, when the community has reduced its impacts across energy, water and waste so they are sustainably managed, using approaches that are economically viable, of social benefit, and environmentally responsible.”

=======================================================

MoCA Westport is more than an art museum and educational center.

It’s now a full-service bar.

The Newtown Turnpike institution now serves custom cocktails, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

But what’s a bar without Happy Hour? Starting July 22, they’ll throw one every Thursday (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s a new signature cocktail each week — plus free admission to the exhibition.

The bar at MoCA Westport.

=======================================================

Speaking of downtown and beverages … “cool beans” dates back to “Full House.”

But it’s both a great expression, and a great way of describing the offerings at one of Westport’s favorite coffee shops.

Plus, this is just a very cool shot.

=======================================================

Fred Cantor is one of “06880”‘s most alert readers.

And one of the most curious.

He sends this photo …

… and writes:

“This is not the first time I have seen a chimney left standing in a Westport teardown.

“There must be an important reason for taking down everything but the chimney. Perhaps some of your readers know the answer.

“Is it because chimneys are more difficult to build these days (since it involves brickwork that would not otherwise be used in the construction of a new house)?

“Or does it represent some kind of loophole in local regs with respect to teardowns that enables builders to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if the chimney had been torn down?”

Perhaps there’s another explanation. If you have insights, click “Comments” below.

=======================================================

As expected, I missed at least one Westport-connected Emmy nomination yesterday.

Staples High School 1974 graduate/former Player Sue Handman is up for her writing and narration on “Once Upon a City.” Good luck to all Westport nominees!

And while I noted that Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney-Silver is up for an award as Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for “Reno 911!”, she’s also nominated for an executive producer award for the same show. Kerri had 2 similar “Reno 911!” nominations in 2020.

Emmy Award

=======================================================

John Porio grew up in the 1970s and ’80s with classic rock. He was pleased when his own kids — like himself, Staples High School students — got involved with the School of Rock.

Then he did too. He met some fellow musicians there, and did a couple of adult shows.

Now they’ve formed their own band. They’re having fun — and raising funds for Homes for the Brave. Since 2002, the Bridgeport organization has provided housing, vocational education and life skills training to over 1,200 veterans.

John’s band — Gold Dust — performed on Memorial Day weekend. On July 24 (4-9 p.m.), they’ve got a bigger gig. The venue is a group member’s property at 399 Center Street in Easton. There’s a barn, patio and big lawn — perfect for any rock show.

Gold Dust includes Westporters Jeffery and Laurie Gross, and Leila Jones Shields. They’ll perform after the School of Rock band. The public is invited.

Gold Dust

======================================================

This week’s Westport Garden Club #FridayFlowers arrangement has a special place in “06880”‘s heart: It was made for last night’s “blog party,” at Compo Beach.

And — if I do say so myself — the flowers that graced a picnic table last night was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

=======================================================

A celebration of the life of David Tarqueno will be held this Saturday (July 17, 2 p.m., St. Luke Church). The Staples High School graduate — an avid fisherman and nature lover — died in December, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61.

David Tarqueno

=======================================================

Paul Delano writes: “The bee balm flowers in my garden bloomed recently. They’re now are attracting hummingbirds.”

Indeed they are. But what’s as remarkable as this “Westport … Naturally” show of nature is that Paul could capture it so well. Hummingbirds are tough to photograph — they sure can fly!

(Photo/Paul Delano)

=======================================================

And finally … the incomparable Darlene Love headlines tonight’s benefit show at the Levitt Pavilion. There’s a reason she’s on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Singers. And in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Roundup: MoCA, Minute Man, Duck! …

==================================================

MoCA Westport is participating in Connecticut’s Summer at the Museum program.

For state residents, children and one accompanying adult receive complimentary admission through September 6.

This is a great way to explore MoCA Westport, and other museums through the region. In addition to exhibitions, MoCA offers a new outdoor play space.

For more information on the free museum program, click here.

In other MoCA news: Thanks to a Connecticut Summer Enrichment Grant, they offer Camp MoCA to children beyond Westport. Campers enjoy visual arts projects, gardening and water play.

Funds also supplement MoCA’s team of counselors and counselors-in-training with additional staff from the College Corps Connecticut Program.

MoCA campers and staff members.

=======================================================

This week’s #FridayFlowers display is at — fittingly, for the 4th of July — the Minute Man monument.

The weekly project is organized by the Westport Garden Club.

#FridayFlowers, at the Minute Man monument.

======================================================

The Webb Road duck has gone through a few costume changes lately, including Fathers Day (left) and graduation (right). Now (center) he’s ready to celebrate the 4th of July.

This is one holiday that is all it’s quacked up to be.

(Photo/Sarin Cheung)

=======================================================

The Westport Book Shop’s Artist of the Month is Diane Pollack.

Works from her “Handmaidens” series is on view in the rear of the used book store on Jesup Green. Clay handmaidens are a source of meditation and prayer.

Diane is noted for her printmaking, collage, ink markers and hand and machine stitching, which focus on matriarchal history. Frequent themes include dance, rituals and women’s work.

Diane Pollack, at the Drew Friedman Art Place in the Westport Book Shop.

======================================================

Mark Mathias was glad he saw this precarious site in the Compo Shopping Center — not on the road.

“What could possibly go wrong?” he asks.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

=======================================================

A new HD video has been added to the Westport Country Playhouse 2021 season lineup.

“Of Mice and Men” will streaming on demand September 13 through 26. The classic drama was originally staged at the Playhouse in 2008.

“’Of Mice and Men’ includes all of the best elements of our work—a timeless story, memorable performances, theatrical designs—all skillfully brought together by our artistic leader, Mark Lamos,” said Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director. “In a season of transition and recovery, this gorgeous high definition film whets our collective appetite for a return to in-person performance, but above all reminds us that great theater transcends medium.”

Click here for tickets, call (203) 227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

“Of Mice and Men,” from the Westport Country Playhouse archives.

=======================================================

And finally … George M. Cohan was born today — not “on the 4th of July” — in 1878. He died 64 years later, of cancer. Among the most popular of his 300-plus songs:

Roundup: Sunday Beach Service, Henry Wynne, Cannons …

=======================================================

Summer Sunday beach services return tomorrow (June 27).

All season long, parishioners and clergy from 4 Congregational churches (Saugatuck, Greens Farms Congregational, Norfield and Wilton), plus United Methodist Church, gather on Sundays at 8:30 a.m., at Compo Beach near the cannons.

It’s BYOC (bring your own chair). You don’t need a beach sticker — just tell the gate attendant you’re attending the service. Dress code is casual; flip-flops and nice shorts are fine. (Hat tip: Karen Como)

Sunday morning service at Compo Beach. (Photo courtesy of Saugatuck Congregational Church)

=======================================================

Henry Wynne stumbled in the Olympic Trials 1500 meter race. But the 2013 Staples High School and 2017 University of Virginia graduate — now sponsored by Brooks Running — qualified for the finals nonetheless.

The big race is tomorrow (Sunday, June 27, 7:40 p.m. EDT). NBC Sports airs it live. Westporters will be tuning it, to watch Henry reach his Tokyo dreams.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Will Hoffman for Runner’s World)

======================================================

Every 2 years, Art Committee members conduct a town- and school-wide inventory of every object in the Westport Public Art Collections.

This year is the most comprehensive yet. They’re not only updating locations, but also measuring every object in the database and cared for by the town.

Including the Compo Beach cannons!

(From left) Eve Potts and her sister Marion Morra take the measure of the Compo cannons. (Photo/Kathie Motes Bennewitz)

Can guess the width, length and depth of the entire monument? Click “Comments: below.

=======================================================

Aspetuck Land Trust is about to get more land.

On July 1, the non-profit organization — currently focused on Westport, Weston, Easton and Fairfield — merges with the Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy.

That adds another 20 acres to ALT. They will own or manage more than 2,000 acres of conserved land, with a total membership of over 1,700 people.

Land trusts preserve land through purchase, conservation easements or donations of property. Preserved properties are important habitats for plants and wildlife. They protect water quality, agricultural land, and scenic and historic places. For more information, click here.

Aspetuck River, at the Newman-Poses Preserve (Photo/Seth Schachter)

=======================================================

The Planning & Zoning Commission has some interesting proposals to consider.

On Wednesday (June 30, 12 noon), the Regulation Review Subcommittee will discuss possible changes related to improved recreational opportunities and amenities, to complement the Senior Center.

They’ll also talk about expanded outdoor dining regulation impacts, in consideration of creating more permanent rules. Click here for more information.

On July 8 (6 p.m.), they’ll review a text amendment and application to redevelop 1460 Post Road East — the current site of Julian’s Pizza, BevMax and more — to accommodate a new medical office tenant. The existing medical marijuana dispensary would remain. Click here for more information.

1460 Post Road East. Rio Bravo restaurant closed last summer.

======================================================

Tomorrow (Sunday, June 27) is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day. To raise awareness, Westport’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 is supporting a 10-mile march.

It begins at 8:30 a.m. at Darien VFW Post 6933, and ends at the Westport VFW Post on Riverside Avenue. Click here to donate.

VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

======================================================

This week’s #FridayFlowers project has special resonance for the Westport Garden Club.

Their latest work, at the Nevada Hitchcock Park on the corner of Cross Highway and Weston Road, includes perennials from members’ gardens. The flowers promote pollination — and the park commemorates Nevada Hitchcock, a founding member of the club.

#FridayFlowers at Nevada Hitchcock Park.

=======================================================

“The Breakfast Club” is the quintessential high school film. More than 35 years after its release, it still nails the experience.

Of course, some things have changed since 1985. You can learn how on Monday. The classic movie is Monday’s (June 28, 8:45 p.m.) Remarkable Theater feature. It will be preceded by a short video starring 12 graduates from Staples High School’s Class of 2021. Click here for tickets, and more information.

=======================================================

On Thursday, MoCA Westport hosted a reception for its summer exhibitions: “Love Wins” (a mural created in conjunction with Westport Pride), “Unfit for Print” (including Staples High School graduate Noah Fox), and “Élan Vital” (with the works of 11 artists selected by Staples alum Max Teicher and Emily White). Works of the Congressional Art Competition are also on view.

The exhibitions run through August 21. Click here for details.

Noah Fox, with his work. (Photo/Maddy Martin)

=======================================================

There are 3 days left in Pride Month. And 3 days left to buy Pride products, like hoodies and coffee cups, from Finding Westport.

10% of all proceeds are donated to Westport Pride. Click here to see what’s available, and order.

===================================================

Happy 1st anniversary to Don Memo!

Owner Bill Taibe took a risk — opening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic — but it’s paid off. His fun, creative take on Mexican fare packs in crowds every night next to Barnes & Noble. (Or, as much older Westporters remember it, in “the old Town Hall”).

There’s plenty of room for outdoor dining. Plenty of music. And plenty of great food!

==================================================

Lauri Weiser calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo “Lurking in the Grasses.” How much wildlife can you spot?

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

======================================================

And finally … happy 78th birthday to the great British jazz/rock/R&B musician Georgie Fame. He’s still performing, with the likes of Van Morrison, Bill Wyman and Alan Price.

He’s probably best known for his “Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.” But my favorite is this 1964 classic, “Yeh Yeh”:

PS: Yeh, yeh, it’s hard to hear the lyrics. Here you go:

Every evening, when all my day’s work is through
I call my baby, and ask her what shall we do
I mention movies, but she don’t seem to dig that
And then she asks me, why don’t I come to her flat
And have some supper and let the evening pass by
By playing records besides a groovy hi-fi
I say yeh yeh, and that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

My baby loves me, she gets a feeling so fine
And when she love me, she makes me know that she’s mine
And when she kisses, I feel the fire get hot
She never misses, she gives it all that she’s got
And when she asks me if everything is okay
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

We’ll play a melody and
Turn the lights down low so that none can see
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
And there’ll be no one else alive
In all the world ‘cept you and me
Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh
Yeh yeh, yeh yeh

Pretty baby, I never knew such a thrill
Just thought I’d tell you, because I’m trembling still
But pretty baby, I want you all for my own
I think I’m ready to leave those others alone
Don’t need to ask me if everything is OK
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

We’ll play a melody and
Turn the lights down low so that none can see
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
And there’ll be no one else alive
In all the world ‘cept you and me
Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh yeh, yeh yeh

Oh pretty baby, I never knew such a thrill
Just thought I’d tell you, because I’m trembling still
But pretty baby, I want you all for my own
I think I’m ready to leave those others alone
Don’t need to ask me if everything is okay
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, yeah

Roundup: Library Cafe, Granny Rocks, Arts …

=======================================================The Westport Library Café is open again.

Well, sort of. Hours are limited (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). There’s beverage service only — none of the great Mystic Market treats that were so popular before COVID.

But it’s a start. The gorgeous space by the river no longer seems so empty.

Meanwhile, the library store — filled with gifts, cards, and whatnot — has re-emerged from its hiatus in one of the reading rooms. It’s back on the main floor.

Now all we need are dozens of people hanging out on the Forum steps, speakers on stage every night, and water running once again from the bubblers.

(Photo/Doris Ghitelman)

=======================================================

The Netflix crew that’s spent several weeks filming “The Noel Diary” in Westport has inconvenienced some residents. They’ve also taken taken over the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot, for use as a staging area. Several large trucks are camped there. Closure of the lot has upset some dog-walking regulars, who prefer that spot to the North Compo lot.

But some were particularly upset yesterday, at the mess left in the northeast corner of the lot. A temporary tent used by the production crew was gone.

And this is what remained:

(Photo/Sara Robbin)

=======================================================

Lisa Doran’s Greens Farms Elementary School distance learning 1st graders welcomed a very special visitor yesterday.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe took time out of his day to pop into her classroom — via Zoom — to chat.

The students were enthralled — and inquisitive. When one asked what Marpe likes best about his job, he got up from his desk, and grabbed the giant pair of scissors — a present from his wife after his first election. He uses them at ribbon cutting ceremonies, which he says is his favorite task.

Another student asked if he knows everyone in Westport. He said that he knows quite a lot of people — especially since COVID, when he met so many Westporters online.

The next student asked if he was like the president of Westport. That’s a great analogy. And Doran’s class thanked the “president” for spending some quality time with them.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe (lower right), Greens Farms Elementary School teacher Lisa Doran (top row, 2nd from left), and her students on Zoom.

=======================================================

Speaking of Marpe: In not exactly stop-the-presses news, he has endorsed Jen Tooker and Andrea Lawrence Moore in November’s selectmen’s race..

The pair must still be officially nominated by the Republican Party, at their meeting next month.

Jen Tooker (right) and Andrea Moore.

=======================================================

The Westport Museum of History & Culture’s walking tour of downtown — uncovering the hidden stories of Black life here, over the centuries — has sold out.

So they’ve added 2 more tours: Friday, June 18 (2 p.m.) and Saturday, June 19th (9:30 a.m.).

Tickets are $10. Reservations are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

=======================================================

For 2 years, Rosemary Cass has enriched the lives of people 55 and older.

Her “Seeing it Clearly Now” blog inspires everyone — retired or not — to learn new things, find purpose, and explore the arts.

Rosemary has just added a 2nd blog. It’s aimed at a special niche: grandmothers.

She says that “This Granny Rocks” — clever name, no? — provides a place where “grannies can brag about their perfect grandchildren, without everyone rolling their eyes. No judgment here.”

Readers can submit stories, their grandkids’ photos and clever sayings, and warm, nostalgic stories about their own grandmothers. The site will also offer helpful granny information, and advice on the art of grandmothering.

It launched with stories from Joan Isaacson (Westport author of “The Red Velvet Diary”), and Sharon Citrin Goldstein of Fairfield. To learn more, click here.

=======================================================

The arts are crucial to Westport. But — like anything beautiful — they must be nurtured.

To help, MoCA Westport is hosting an open meeting. Representatives from local arts organizations and 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker will talk — and listen — about the best ways to support our arts institutions and community. 

The event is next Monday (June 21, 5 to 6 p.m., outdoors at MoCA, 19 Newtown Turnpike. It’s free; no registration required. Questions? Email ruth@mocawestport.org, or call 203-222-7070.

=======================================================

Speaking of art: When Harvest Commons renovated their community room, it looked great. But the walls were bare.

So the condominium complex on Post Road East put out a call: Any artistically inclined owners could contribute art.

The result exceeded their expectations. The walls are brimming with Harvest Commons-created works.

Among the donors: familiar names like Rhonda Bloom, Linda and Al Cassuto, Jo Ann Davidson, Judith Orseck Katz and Toby Michaels

“We are finding more talent by the day,” says organizer Peter Swift. “At the rate we’re going, wall space will be the problem.”

Gives new meaning to the term “resident artists,” right?

Some of the art in the Harvest Commons community room.

======================================================

Connecticut is one of the healthiest states in the country. Yet there are huge disparities between white people, and those of color.

Wesport’s Unitarian Church — long devoted to social justice — hosts a webinar about health inequities, and what can be done about them (including what audience members can do).

“Racial Health Inequities” is set for June 28 at 7 (p.m.). Guest speaker is Rev. Robyn Anderson, director of the Ministerial Health Fellowship. The event is free to all, but advance registration is required.

The webinar is the Unitarian Church’s second in their series “Revealing History: How We Got Here, Why it Matters.”

Rev. Robyn Anderson

=======================================================

“Westport … Naturally” turns today to Saugatuck Shores. This is just one of the  scenes Beth Berkowitz walks by — and loves — every day.

(Photo/Beth Berkowitz)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1967, the 3-day Monterey Pop Festival opened in California. Over 50,000 people were there for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Ravi Shankar; the first large-scale public performance by Janis Joplin and the introduction of Otis Redding to a mass American audience.

If you never watch another “06880” music video, you can’t miss Otis:

Roundup: Leonard Bernstein, Yappy Hour, Kids Talking …

=======================================================

The TriBeca Film Festival is back. This year, it’s very New York-centric.

Among the films: “Bernstein’s Wall.”

The Tribeca website describes the world premiere of the film directed by Westporter Douglas Tirola (4thRow Films; co-founder, Westport’s Remarkable Theater):

In this enlightening look at one of the greatest classical music figures of the 20th century, director Douglas Tirola mines a rich trove of interviews, television appearances, home movie footage, photos, letters to craft a comprehensive look at Leonard Bernstein, whose passion and drive took him well beyond the marvelous music he wrote and conducted.

Spanning the breadth of a life interwoven with key historic moments outside the concert hall, Bernstein’s Wall follows the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant who arrives in New York from his Boston hometown to eventually become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and becomes a household name thanks to his numerous TV appearances, educating the public on all things symphonic, West Side Story, being seen with celebrities and politicians, and his crossing-the-line activism, from protesting the Vietnam War to (controversially) supporting the Black Panthers.

Tirola incorporates Bernstein’s personal life — his fraught relationship with his father, his marriage, his family life, his struggles to be at peace with his sexuality — to paint a complex portrait of a complex, driven individual who produced some of the most memorable music of his time as a product of those times.

(“Bernstein’s Wall” is available for streaming from June 15-23. Click here for details. Hat tip: Kerry Long)

=======================================================

Yesterday’s Yappy Hour at MoCA Westport was paws-itively cool.

The arts center hosted plenty of dogs (and their owners) on its expansive Newtown Turnpike lawn. Food was collected for PAWS and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Missed yesterday? Doggone it! The next one is July 1.

Yappy Hour at MoCA Westport! The next one will be held on Thursday, July 1.

Yappy hour, yesterday at MoCA Westport.

=====================================================

Just in time for the end of the spring sports season: Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Soccer Association are collecting used soccer uniforms, clothing, shoes, shin guards, balls and other equipment.

They’ll ship it all to Nicaragua. Rotary already works there with NicaPhoteo, a non-profit that helps communities.

The soccer equipment is much needed. Soft backpack bags, old balls, socks, jerseys and shirts — it will all go to good use.

The drop-off location is 5 Sugar Maple Lane, Westport (off Whitney Street). There’s a box on the front porch. Please wash clothing items first!

Questions? Email registrar@westportsoccer.org.

=======================================================

More than 30 years ago, kids were talking.

Dr. Donald Cohen’s nationally televised show — in which, well, kids talked (about everything in their lives) is being relaunched. Fittingly for a new century, it’s a livestream, on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

The first episode of the relaunch is tonight (Thursday, June 10), at 7 p.m. The topic is body image and eating disorders. Teenage guests come from Westport — and around the country.

“Kids Are Talking” started in 1990 at Fairfield University. It became a national radio call-in show on WICC, simulcast on Cablevision. In the late ’90s it found a home on WWPT-FM, broadcast from Toquet Hall.

“Kids Are Talking” and its host, Cohen, have been featured on “The CBS Morning Show”  and ABC-TV, as well as in the New York Times.

For more information, click here.

A retro poster.

=======================================================

Traffic is up. Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the Westport Police Department was on the lookout for people not wearing seatbelts.

The campaign — part of the state Department of Transportation’s “Click it or Ticket” campaign — yielded only 6 tickets.

Police call Westport compliance rate “remarkably high.” But until it’s 100%, they’ll stick be looking for infractions.

And don’t forget: After clicking your seatbelt, don’t look at your phone!

=======================================================

TAP Strength Lab is the latest business to join the “Summer of Pride” promotion.

The downtown personalized fitness coaching, therapy, nutrition and preventative health center will donate 10% of the first month of membership (for new members who sign up now through August) to Westport Pride. Mention the code “Summer of Love.”

Oh, yeah: They’ve got a special Pride logo for this month too.

=======================================================

Questions, concerns or just thoughts about Norwalk Hospital?

The local institution hosts an online “Community Update” (June 29, 5:30 to 7 p.m.).

President Peter Cordeau will discuss the latest hospital developments. an independent monitor will report on its review of compliance.

A Q-and-A session follows the presentation. Submit questions in advance by emailing (norwalkhospital.communityrelations@nuvancehealth.org), or call 203-852-2250. Click here for instructions on joining the virtual meeting.

=======================================================

An osprey and a chick are today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” subjects.

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

=======================================================

Patricia Rogers Suda, died peacefully at home on May 24, surrounded by her loving family after a courageous fight against cancer. She was 69.

Born in New Haven, her family moved to Westport in 1959. She graduated in 1970 from Staples High, where she met and married the love of her life, Mark R. Suda.

Patti and Mark moved to Norwalk. They were married for nearly 50 years, before he passed in 2020.

Survivors include sons, Mark Suda Jr. (Michelle) and Joseph Suda (Amy); grandchildren Skyler, Madyson, Samantha and Joseph Jr.; brothers Bill, Paul and John Rogers; sister Janet Aitoro, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Patti loved watching her sons in their sports. From Cranbury League baseball and Pop Warner football, to high school baseball and football, she was there. She also enjoyed watching her grandkids in softball, baseball, gymnastics, soccer and hockey.

Patti retired in December 2017 as a bookkeeper after 32 years, to spend time with her family.

Her words to all family and friends are, “Live life to the fullest, with love and respect to others, because you never know what tomorrow brings.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center,  in memory of Patti.

Patti Suda

=======================================================

And finally … Happy Kamehameha Day! The state holiday (one state only!) honors the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawai’i.

 

Roundup: Book Sale, Fine Arts Festival, Ben Casparius …

=====================================================

Has the dreary weather got you down?

Think back to a year ago this Memorial Day weekend. Life was a lot worse. So go out and enjoy Westport’s 2 big events. They’re great. Many people have worked hard to make them happen. And they’re important to the sponsors.

The 48th annual Fine Arts Festival runs from now through 5 p.m. Artists on displya includes painting, photography, sculpture, fiber, printmaking, mixed media, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, graphics and print making.

There’s music, food, and plenty of activities for children. Click here for more details.

Today is also the last day of the Westport Library Book Sale — which means all books, CDs and DVDs are half price.

Every customer gets a coupon for The Westport Book Shop (used book store on Jesup Green). The sale is open from noon to 5 p.m. And you’ll be dry: It’s all inside the library!

Westport LIbrary Book Sale

=======================================================

The University of Connecticut baseball team plays in this afternoons Big East finals (1 p.m.).

Yesterday, Ben Casparius got them there.

The 2017 Staples High School state championship team captain and Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year pitched 7 innings great innings against Creighton. The Huskies won 2-0 in the conference semifinal, played in Mason, Ohio.

Casparius struck out 13, while allowing just 3 hits. After the game he said, “it was an awesome experience, an awesome day for us, and we’re ready to go [Sunday]. We’re not even close to done yet.” (Hat tip: David Goldstein)

Ben Casparius, in a post-game interview yesterday.

======================================================

Speaking of Staples grads: Class of 2012 alum Ellen Kempner leads Palehound, an indie rock duo. She met Melinda (who records as Jay Som) on tour

They realized they’re compatible — “two breathy-voiced songwriters whose music can be fragile or bruising, offering both vulnerability and resolve,” the New York Times‘ Jon Pareles writes — and joined forces.

In January 2020 they rented an Airbnb house for two weeks, and recorded an album. They called themselves Bachelor.

It’s been released as “Doomin’ Sun.” Pareles says:

Kempner and Duterte brought out the best in each other. In the songs they wrote together, satisfaction often stays just out of reach. They look at desire, estrangement, insecurity, pop fandom, shoplifting and, in the album’s title song, climate change. And they sing like sisters who know each other’s secrets.

Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tip: John Karrel)

=======================================================

Up on Weston’s Kellogg Hill, Jolantha celebrates Memorial Day:

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

=======================================================

On Friday night, MoCA Westport welcomed the Alexa Tarantino Quartet. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist performed a great set — including the Connectcut premiere of their “Firefly” album. Attendees enjoyed a Firefly aperitif too.

Next up in the Music at MoCA Series: Jocelyn and Chris, a sibling rock duo seen recently on “The Today Show.” They perform outdoors on June 11 (7 p.m.). Click here for tickets.

Alexa Tarantino Quartet, at MoCA Westport.

=======================================================

Tina Green sent along today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, of a newly hatched peregrine falcon. She notes that the birds been nesting in the Saugatuck area for many years.

(Photo/Tina Green)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of Westport’s Fine Arts Festival:

 

Roundup: ALS, Wine Corks …

 

=======================================================

MoCA Westport is very punny. The art space on Newtown Turnpike says:

“Bark your calendar to join other canines and their companions to sniff and schmooze at MoCA Westport’s New Yappy Hour! Our new community event will take place on the 1st Thursday of every month, from June – September.

“Haute hounds can lap up libations, thanks to water in their favorite flavor – bacon, chicken, beef or vegan – while human guests relax with a glass of Mutt Lynch Unleashed Chardonnay, Merlot Over and Play Dead, Chateau d’Og Cabernet Sauvignon or a refreshing cocktail featuring tequila, vodka, or gin. Beer selections are also available for purchase.”

MoCA members (and dogs) receive their first drink free — and other benefits.

Admission is free and open to the public. No reservation required. For more information, click here.

=======================================================

Last September, “06880” reported on Jon Maddock’s battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

May is ALS Awareness Month. His sister Judy reports that nearly 3 years after his diagnosis, the 1973 Staples High School graduate is participating in a platform drug trial at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Jon remains positive, knowing eventually drugs will slow ALS down to manageable, and someday a cure,” Judy says. “He is trying to be around when that happens. He and his family expect to be a part of that future. He’s doing his part to help find a cure.”

You can help too. Just click here to donate.

Jon Maddock in 2019. September 2019. The armband covered a PICC line used for infusions.

=====================================================

Isabelle Breen writes:

“My friend Katie Augustyn told me pre-COVID that she collects corks to recycle in Stamford. I started to collect them to add my stash to hers, then thought nothing more about it.

“With all the wine consumption in Westport, there are surely lots of corks. I wonder how to put out the word that Westport would benefit from having its own collection partners. Maybe a liquor store wants to take this project on?

“There is a shipping cost to the partner, but perhaps they could collect a nominal fee ($1) with each bag dropped off to defray their cost.

“Westport’s composting program has taken off remarkably well. This could be  another successful step toward helping our environment.”

Any takers? If you’re interested in this idea, click “Comments” below.

======================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo #1 : an Earthplace duck….

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)

… and #2: 5-day-old robin fledglings:

(Photo/Betty Auber)

=====================================================

And finally … Mary Wells was born today in 1943. She died in 1992, at 49, of cancer. Her longtime friend and former collaborator, Smokey Robinson, delivered a eulogy.