Tag Archives: Remarkable Theater

Roundup: Remarkable Films, Stop The Bleed, Marine Police …

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Doug Tirola — one of the founders of the Remarkable Theater — is a native Westporter, and father of a Staples High School student. He know we’ve got some remarkable members of the senior class — and that they had a remarkable year.

Tomorrow Doug — whose day job is filmmaking — wants to hear about their experiences. He’s making a short feature starring Staples seniors. It will play before (naturally) the drive-in screening of “The Breakfast Club” later this month.

High school seniors are invited to a quick interview tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16, 3 p.m.) at Staples’ front entrance.

NOTE: Seniors who are not yet 18 should email kate@4throwfilms.com for a release form, to be signed by a parent prior to film.

“The Breakfast Club”: Quite possibly the best high school movie ever made.

 

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The vibe at Westport Paddle Club is chill.

But the young staff — overseeing kayaks, paddleboards and the increasingly crowded Saugatuck River — has major responsibilities.

Yesterday, owners Taryn and Robbie Guimond brought Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services staff onto the Riverside Avenue site. EMTs ran everyone through every imaginable safety scenario and protocol.

The entire Westport Paddle Club staff is now certified in CPR, first aid and “stop the blood.” They’re ready for anything — and for you.

Safety first at Westport Paddle Club.

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Speaking of safety … Sandra Lefkowitz writes:

“With so much negativity about police in our country, we feel lucky we have a Police Department that responds quickly and professionally  to our needs, on many levels.

“On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my husband Larry and I, 2 Westport friends and our puppy were stranded on our small boat in the Sound. It just stopped, and refused to start again no matter what we were tried.

“To our much appreciated rescue came 2 police officers: a man and a woman. With efficiency, respect and utmost professionalism, we were towed to our marina on Saugatuck shores.

“We are privileged to live in a town with such an incredible Police Department. Thank you!”

The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.

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For weeks, Pequot Trail neighbors have been upset about the clear-cutting done in preparation for a teardown and new home.

Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.

As noted in the report, owners can do whatever they want with their property. But, Tree Board chair Monica Buesser notes, trees play many roles beyond beauty — including noise abatement and reduced flood risk.

Click here for the News12 story.

Aerial view of clear cutting on Pequot Trail. (Screenshot courtesy of News 12

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Marketplace at Franny’s of Westport celebrates its first year as a local pop-up partner this Saturday (June 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

The Bedford Square shop will be filled with live music, free samples and giveaways. Tracey Medeiros will sign copies of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and Franny Tacy — founder of Franny’s Farmacy — will be on hand too, to say, um, “hi.”

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The world is opening up. But plenty of neighbors are still in dire straits.

To help fill Person 2 Person’s Norwalk food pantry, Westport Sunrise Rotary members will collect food donations in the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church (Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

They urge folks to include these items on upcoming shopping trips: hearty soups, snack and granola bars, pasta and sauce, 1-pound rice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dried and canned beans, pancake mix, cold cereal, oatmeal and shelf-stable milk.

Among the most needed household and personal items: laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dryer sheets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand and body soap, kitchen sponges, deodorant, liquid dish detergent, diapers and wipes (especially sizes 5 and 6), tissues and Kleenex.

From left: Greg Dobbs (Person2Person food pantry site manger) with Westport Sunrise Rotarians Rob Hauck and president George Masumian.

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What would “Westport … Naturally” be without a very cool deer photo?

Well, a lot leafier, for one thing …

(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Waylon Jennings. Born in 1937, he died in 2002. Along the way, he gave us classics like:

Roundup: Fireworks, Juneteenth, Gold’s …

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There are no 4th of July fireworks in Westport this year.

But there were pyrotechnics off Compo last night.

A private party — and anyone else down there around 10 — enjoyed a brief display. As in colonial (okay, pre-pandemic) days, they were launched from a barge offshore.

The event was legit. Police inspected the operation earlier in the evening.

But it sure surprised plenty of folks around town, who heard it.

And their dogs.

Fireworks off Compo Beach last night.

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The Westport Museum of History & Culture honors Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery in the US — with a special walking program on Westport’s African American history.

The June 19 event (2 to 3:30 p.m.). features guides, who will share stories of the area’s Black community from colonial times through today. It’s based on the museum’s exhibit “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport.”

Space is limited to 10 people per tour. Reservations ($10 each) are required, Click here to purchase.

Meanwhile, this Tuesday (June 15, 6 p.m.), the museum will showcase objects related to Black history. It’s part of their Tuesday Treasures program, showcasing objects from the collection not normally on public view.

To watch live and ask questions, visit their Facebook page or YouTube channel.

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For over 60 years, Gold’s Delicatessen has been Westport’s go-to place for pastrami, bagels and lox and more.

And though it did a healthy takeout business over the past 15 months, there’s no surer sign that Westport is back from COVID than this: Gold’s indoor tables are once again open.

So go. Have breakfast or lunch. Sit and schmooze. Just like in 2019.

Or 1959.

Gold’s is back! (Photo/Toby Burns)

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It’s one thing to have a national champion rowing team.

It’s astonishing to have two — and both in the same age group.

That’s what Saugatuck Rowing Club did yesterday. Both girls U-17 teams — 4+ and 8+ won the US Rowing Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.

Congratulations to 8+ rowers Mia Kirkorsky (coxswain), and rowers Claudia Chadwick, Elisabeth Chadwick, Hannah Clemens, Maia Freeman, Isabella Furman, Jane Leahy, Janna Moore and Lauren Schramm. All except Isabell and Lauren are from Westport.

In the 4+ boat: Westporters Victoria Bazarko and Rosie Lundberg, plus Ella Casano, Kelly Kennedy and Alexandra Cowan.

Coaches are Gordon Getsinger, Anna Yamamoto and Mike O’’Hara.

Look for them all back soon, on the river. You’ll know who they are by the gold glinting off the sun.

Saugatuck Rowing Club’s U17 8+ boat: national champs!

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What’s better than a dinner of Pizza Pete’s homemade pies at Wakeman Town Farm with the family?

The same event — but without the kids. (C’mon — admit it!)

An adults-only event — yes, there’s wine — is set for Thursday, June 24 (7 p.m.). The outdoor event includes individual pizzas from Skinny Pines’ Jeff Borofsky, a bottle from The Grapevine, and live music. Click here for details, and tickets.

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Comedy returns to the Remarkable Theater screen this Tuesday (June 15, 8:30 p.m.). “Bridesmaids” tops the bill. Click here for tickets and more information.

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Jocelyn & Chris — their siblings, so I guess they don’t need last names — entertained an appreciative MoCA Westport crowd Friday night.

The outdoor concert was part of their summer-long concert series. Next: a classical piano concert by Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung (Friday, June 25). They’re married, BTW. Click here for tickets and more information.

Jocelyn & Chris entertain at MoCA Westport. (Photo/Maddy Martin)

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“Westport … Naturally” gets lots of gorgeous shots. This is not one of them.

Sherwood Island (Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … missing sit-down meals at Gold’s is not anything like what Charles Dickens’ orphans went through. Still, it’s not celebrate the return of the popular deli’s glorious food.

Roundup: Eclipse, Chocolates, Groceries …

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Did you miss this morning’s partial eclipse of the sun?

Franco Fellah didn’t. Here’s what the amateur astronomer saw:

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

A wider view, courtesy of Jay Walshon:

(Photo/Jay Walshon)

Meanwhile, WCBS-TV’s lead weather anchor — and Westporter — Lonnie Quinn set up for his remote shot at Compo Beach. He had a short commute to work today.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Last year — as students graduated, sad and largely uncelebrated during the pandemic — Aarti Khosla decided to help.

The owner of Le Rouge Handmade Chocolates decided to give a chocolate heart to every graduate in the Bridgeport school system.

Thanks to her customers, she did.

This year, graduations are a bit more normal. But — now a new “tradition” — the gifts continue.

There are 1,081 graduates in the Bridgeport district. So far, 275 have been “sponsored” by Le Rouge clients. Over 800 are still needed — by Tuesday.

It’s easy. For just $8 — “the cost of a coffee and croisssant,” Aarti says — anyone can sponsor a chocolate heart. Click here to help.

Speaking of $8 — last year, Aarti notes, “the smiles on graduates’ faces were priceless.”

“Give a Little Love” with chocolate hearts.

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Congratulations to Westport’s newest Emmy winner!

Michael Carey — part of NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football team — was part of the crew awarded the prestigious prize for “Outstanding Live Sports Series.”

Carey — a segment producer — is a 2001 Staples High School graduate. He captained the ’00 boys soccer team.

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Amazon may or may not be taking over the world.

But the shopping behemoth is taking over Avi Kaner’s parking spots.

Every morning at 8:30, the former Westport 2nd selectman/Board of Finance chair — and, more importantly for this story, an owner of the 16-store Morton Williams grocery store chain in New York — sees trucks part in front of 2 of his Upper East Side markets.

Workers appear. For the next 5 hours, Crains’ New York Business reports, they use hand trucks to deliver groceries to residents who ordered from Amazon online.

“They use it like a warehouse,” Kaner says. “The city is allowing these places to block our business.”

An Amazon spokeswoman described the scene as an “exchange point.”

Kaner notes that Morton Williams’ sales in residential areas are down only 5-15% from pre-COVID levels, but that stores in business districts are still doing just half of their previous numbers. (Click here for the full Crains’ story.)

Avi Kaner in a Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)

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Next up at the Remarkable Theater: “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The superhero film shows tomorrow (Friday, June 11, 8:30 p.m.; gates open for tailgating at 7:30). Click here for tickets and more information.

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The Westport PAL car show set for June 20 has been postponed to July 17. It’s still 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; still at the railroad station parking lot near Railroad Place and Franklin Street); it still features cool cars, food and raffle prizes.

Tickets are still $15 each. But kids — that is, anyone under 12 — are still free.

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Naturally, “Westport … Naturally” shows a deer or two, every once a while. This pair was too cool for school.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … today, people across the Northern Hemisphere can watch an annular (partial eclipse) of the sun. Because no one has recorded a song by that name, this will have to do.

Roundup: VFW, Nemo, LCDS …

 

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 is one of Westport’s underappreciated, often-overlooked gems.

In addition to providing a home and community for veterans, the building at the Saugatuck Avenue/Riverside Avenue merge offers a restaurant and bar — and a state Veteran’s Service Office, assisting with disability support.

Thanks to 4th Row Films — Westporter Doug Tirola’s great documentary film company — you can learn all about the 100-year-od Westport VFW post, from members themselves. Click the link below; the password is “4throw” (without the quotation marks).

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Weather postponed 2 Remarkable Theater showings last week. So get ready this week for …

“Finding Nemo” (tonight, Monday, June 7) and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Saturday, June 12). Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; the “curtain” goes up at 8:30.

Click here for tickets and more information. Enjoy the show!

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A reader writes:

“We are a family of 4, with 3 dogs. When one was hit by a car, we wanted to find another. We ended up at Puppies of Westport (although we said we wouldn’t ever go to a ‘puppy mill’). Lauren Meren, the owner, was very kind. We had health issues with our dog, and she immediately reimbursed us for the hospital stay.

“y vet told me that Lauren recently died. Her children are trying to find homes for all of the dogs in the store. Please highlight this story, so the dogs end up in a loving home instead of a fate much different.”

There has been no answer to phone calls. If “06880” readers have any idea of the fate of the dogs — or how to help — click “Comments” below.

Puppies of Westport –

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For years, an unattractive concrete tower marred the playground and baseball field behind the Learning Community Day School (formerly Hillspoint Elementary).

Before …

Now — thanks to art teacher Lauren Beusse, her colleagues and (especially) the talented kids, it’s been  transformed beautifully.

Lauren was inspired by Tyree Guyton, a Detroit artist who creates large installations out of dilapidated properties and recycled materials.

Children worked on 6 individual panels, exploring colors and adding their own touches. LCDS says: “the flowers reaching for the sun, and birds and insects flying above, will always remind us of the way young children grow, bloom and take flight during their time here.”

… and after.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo from Lou Weinberg. In addition to overseeing our fantastic Community Garden next to Long Lots Elementary School, he’s a brilliant nature photographer.

Lou says: “The cedar waxwings are tossing them back at the old serviceberry tree. Robins are getting their fill as well. Serviceberry trees are native, and have very high wildlife value.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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Voices Café — the Unitarian Church’s music series — premieres its livestream season on June 19 (8 p.m.). Featured performers are Goodnight Moonshine with Molly Venter (of Red Molly), and Eben Pariser, who also performs with Roosevelt Dime.

For nearly a decade, Voices Café has supported social justice programs. Recognizing the historical significance of this year’s concert date — Juneteenth — proceeds from the performance will benefit the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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And finally … in the hopes of finding homes for all the Puppies of Westport (see story above) …

 

“Annie Jr.” And “Charlie Brown”: Elementary School Actors Shine

The pandemic was tough. At times, it was hard to believe the sun would come up tomorrow.

But it did. We persevered. And now we’re reaping the rewards.

Among them: a production of “Annie Jr.” by Greens Farms Elementary School 5th graders.

The show — on June 4-6, outdoors near Bedford Square — is a collaboration with TheaterCamp4KidsBroadwayAcademy.com. But it would not have been possible without help from throughout the community.

Many were available only because of COVID.

“We have the most wonderful young actors, parents, and theater and dance professionals,” says Laura Curley Pendergast, TheaterCamp owner and artistic director.

Volunteers include a Rockette, a former choreographer for “Disney on Ice,” professional actors and set designers, and others.

In true the-show-must-go-on style, TheaterCamp faced — and overcame — many challenges. Among them: Though they earned nearly $10,000 in ticket sales after the March 2020 production of “Beauty and the Beast” at GFS, the ticket company never paid them.

“After many attempts we finally gave up. The cost of an attorney was just too expensive,” Pendergast says.

“We thought we could not do a play this year for our very talented 5th graders, who had been waiting in the ensemble for 2 years for their turn to star.”

Rehearsing “Annie Jr.” at Bedford Square.

But many Westporters stepped up. Among them: David Waldman, who provided space to rehearse and perform at Bedford Square.

Tecknow’s Phil Levieff lent musical equipment for rehearsals — along with technical know-how.

Professional film and stage actor Emily Hooper serves as musical director. David Hoffman, a Dartmouth student and accomplished actor, is assistant director and stage manager. Staples High and middle school students are interning with the show.

Professional actor Jim Lauten — also a talented painter and builder — donated all of the rolling sets.

Costumes were provided by designer Pam Beaudoin, who lives at Bedford Square.

Parents Jenny Perlman and Laurie Ginsberg handle ticket sales — not an outside company. (Pendergast learned her lesson.)

She is grateful for the help of other locals with impressive resumes. Kristine Nielsen (a GFS parent) is a professional dancer who choreographed “Disney on Ice” for years.

Former Rockette and Knicks dancer Kelly Potter McHale is another “Annie Jr.” choreographers. So is Kim Porio.

Costumes have been handled by a hard-working trio: Marisa Zer, Taran Gulliksen and Shobana Mani-Lorenzato.

Volunteers help the young actors make magic.

One of the first rehearsals was at the GFS basketball court in cold and rain. After seeking shelter on the school’s front porch, the young actors found a way to make it a fun day. It remains a favorite memory. 

The sun eventually came out. And so — next week — will the young actors and dancers in “Annie Jr.”

(“Annie Jr. is performed Friday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 5 at 2 and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 6 at 2 p.m., outdoors near Bedford Square. Tickets are $18 each. They can be purchased by Venmo (@laura-pendergast-2), PayPal (curleylaura@hotmail.com) or check (payable to “TheaterCamp4Kids,” c/o Laurie Ginsberg, 209 Greens Farms Road, Westport, CT 06880). Questions? Email anniejr2021westport@gmail.com. To help via GoFundMe, click here.)

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Meanwhile, the fledgling Saugatuck Elementary Theater Club also struggled with how to continue this year.

They too decided the show must go on. They chose “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, with a twist. They’d record parts individually, and create a movie in lieu of a live show.

With a small cast and cartoon quality, it lent itself to green screens and graphics, rather than props and elaborate costumes. That was a great fit for the pandemic.

Luckily, local Broadway star Jaden Waldman — who just happens to be a Saugatuck 5th grade — had some COVID-induced time on his hands. He’s a perfect Charlie Brown.

Jaden Waldman as Charlie Brown, Phoebe Nunziato as Lucy.

Other roles were double cast, to provide more opportunities for the young actors. The 2 casts were called “Saugie” and “Tuck.”

Rehearsals were held on Zoom. Leads recorded practice songs each week, then uploaded them to receive feedback.

Blocking was recorded by director Katie Bloom, and shared via instructional videos.

Each child sang alone. Vocal tracks were then layered together. Zoom recordings were deconstructed and reconstructed. Microphones and green screens were juggled between cast members’ houses. When possible, they came together for a socially distanced scene or two.

The “Tuck” cast rehearses via Zoom.

The project required dedication and responsibility seldom demanded of 10- year-olds.

It all culminates Wednesday (June 2) in a big way: the big screen at the Remarkable Theatre. Congratulations to all the good men — and women, and children — who helped make “Charlie Brown” a reality.

(The Remarkable Theater opens at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at sunset, and costs $40 per car. A pizza truck will be on the premises. For tickets — or to stream the show on June 4, 7 p.m. —click here.)

(Hat tips: Jenny Perlman Robinson and Pamela Long)

Roundup: Joey’s By The Shore, Private Ryan, Grateful Dead …

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Joey’s by the Shore opened its new location — the former Elvira’s, across from Old Mill Beach, last spring.

The pandemic was in full swing. So for the past year, customers ordered through the app only. They waited outside for orders.

In one more sign that COVID is easing, Joey’s’ doors are now open. Neighbor Don Bergmann (below) was thrilled to finally go inside.

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to reiterate that acts of discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in our community. Over the past year, as a country, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd, terrifying attacks against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and countless other acts of hatred and discrimination. And in recent days, we have seen acts of anti-Semitism strikingly close to us in New York City.

Let there be no doubt, anti-Semitism has no place in our community. We respect our Jewish neighbors and visitors. Westport is an inclusive community that embraces diversity and has always celebrated all cultures and religious beliefs. We must continue to respect everyone regardless of their race, creed or ethnic origin. I encourage all in the community to reaffirm these values during this challenging period.

I stand with our friends and neighbors who feel threatened by these terrible activities. Make no mistake, Westport is focused on protecting all residents and visitors. We have stepped up security in and around our synagogues and temples and will do everything necessary to keep our community safe and free from discrimination and hate.

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Just in time for Memorial Day, the Remarkable Theater has added a very appropriate new movie to its schedule.

“Saving Private Ryan” screens on Sunday (May 30, 8 p.m.). There’s a special holiday price of $25 per car. But of course the classic World War II film is priceless.

Click here for tickets, and the rest of this week’s slate.

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Congratulations to the Staples High School girls track team. They won the FCIAC championship yesterday.

Individual winners for coach Jesse McCray’s team include Ava Harvey (long jump, 16′ 9.5″; triple jump, 34′ 3/4″) and Tatum Havemann (800 meters, 2:17.56, personal record), and Isabelle Blend (pole vault, 8′).

The 4×400 meter relay team of Francine Stevens, Olivia Bollo, Hannah Murphy and Samantha Dewitt blazed to a school record 4:01.52, winning gold.

The 4×100 meter relay squad (Molly Liles, Bollo, Murphy, Laura Spheeris) also set a school record, placing 2nd in 50.13.

The 4×800 meter team (Leigh Foran, Josie Dolan, Nicole Holmes, Lyah Muktavaram) took silver in 9:48.98. Also second: Francine Stevens (100, 12.41; 200, 25.05) and Dewitt (400, 59.68, personal record).

Francine Stevens won her 100 meter heat. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

FCIAC champions! (Photo/Cari Moore)

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Beechwood Arts’ 2nd of 3 “Classical Smackdown Concerts is set for Thursday (May 27, 7 p.m.). Pianist Frederic Chiu will perform Bach vs. Glass — and an international audience will vote for their favorite.

Frederic’s first of 3 Classical Smackdown Concerts “Heart & Soul” was very exciting with interesting results from the first ever Global Smackdown Vote! The audience was truly global with people from Australia, China, Europe and all over the US!

Click here for details, and tickets.

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Westport Business Networking International (BNI) will sponsor a “Discover Your Well Being Expo” on June 16 (6 to 9 p.m., Salon Paul Michael, Westport).

The free event includes informational booths from a chiropractor, personal trainer, functional medicine specialist, organizer, clean crafted wine distributor, counseling service, plus beverages, hors d’oeuvres and interactive demonstrations.

BNI is a networking group of business professionals. They seek one new members in each of these categories: interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, chef, and attorneys who practice estate and elder law.

Email salonpaulmichael@gmail.com to register. Walk-ins are welcome too. For more information on BNI, click here.

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Terrapin is an aptly named Grateful Dead cover band. They’ve built a devoted area following.

And next month they’ll play a special, private, 100-person outdoor show, at Wakeman Town Farm. Fine food and themed beverages by Marcia Selden Catering are available for pre-purchase.

The June 26 event is a benefit for CLASP Homes, the great non-profit that helps people with disabilities. Click here for tickets.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Grayson Braun. She writes:

“This little guy has been hanging around our yard — probably because we are one of the few houses in our immediate area without a dog. He has enjoyed our grass, and the occasional hosta leaf.”

(Photo/Grayson Braun)

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And finally … I can’t believe I missed Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday yesterday. (I also can’t believe he is 80.)

I could link to dozens of his songs that have impacted my life. I could make an entire list of those with I’m-still-discovering-more-there lyrics (“Memphis Blues Again,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Desolation Row”), those with political power (“The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Hurricane”), and those whose studio musicians are vastly underrated (“Like a Rolling Stone,” “Jokerman,” “Changing of the Guards”).

But I’ll narrow today’s selection down to 4 that, to me, define Bob Dylan. What are yours?

 

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:

 

 

 

Roundup: RTM’s Petition, Martin Crouse’s Bench, UConn’s President …

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Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton has certified a petition requesting that the Representative Town Meeting review the Planning & Zoning Commission’s settlement of a lawsuit, permitting Summit Saugatuck to build 157 units of housing on Hiawatha Lane.

The RTM has 30 days to render a decision.

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The saga of Martin Crouse’s memorial bench — first gone from Compo Beach, then located by Westport Police — is over. And the ending could not be better.

Martin’s wife Laurie reports that bench is back at its cherished spot near Ned Dimes Marina, after repair work by the Parks & Recreation Department.

It was delivered there yesterday. A new anchoring system will keep it there.

Laurie asked “06880” to thank Debbie Detmer and Ed Frawley at Parks & Rec, Westport police, and the many Westporters who offered support.

Westport Parks & Recreation staff secure Martin Crouse’s memorial bench.

Laurie Crouse, back at her favorite spot.

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The Remarkable Theater announces its schedule for Memorial Day week:

Thursday, May 27 (8 p.m.): “Private Benjamin” (“I wanna wear my sandals. And I wanna go out to lunch. I wanna be normal again.”)

Friday, May 28 (8 p.m.): “Finding Nemo” (In association with Sped*Net Wilton)

Saturday, May 29 (8:30 p.m.): “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Special Best Costume contest)

Sunday, May 30 (8 p.m.): “Saving Private Ryan” (Special $25 Memorial Day price)

And don’t forget: “Happy Gilmore” tomorrow (Saturday, May 22, 8:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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There’s a new interim president at the University of Connecticut.

And he’s a Westport resident.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and his wife Elizabeth (also a physician) moved here 2 years. He has served as CEO of UConn Health — a position he will continue in. He is the first person of color to be named president in the university’s history.

Click here for the full story.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi

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Westport firefighters joined their brothers and sisters from across the state yesterday. Over 130 Connecticut fire departments, many first responder agencies, and fire departments from as far as Detroit gathered to pay respects to Firefighter Ricardo “Rico” Torres. He died last week battling a blaze in New Haven.

He leaves behind his wife Erica Martinez, and sons, due to be born in August. Click here for a fundraiser to support his family and unborn sons.

Firefighters at the funeral for Ricardo Torres. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is not just a couple of horseshoe crabs.

They’re a pair that was rescued by MaryLou Roels, after being stranded by low tide. They look as good as ever.

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … on this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris. It was the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Special Westport connection: Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow lived for several years on Long Lots Road, near the Fairfield border.

 

Roundup: Farmers’ Market Totes, Library Videos, Live Music …

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Westport Farmers’ Market shoppers are environmentally conscious. Most bring their own bags.

But why tote a ratty old Stop & Shop bag when you can carry your produce, honey, dog treats and more in style?

The Market just unveiled their 2021 Friend of the Market bag. It costs $40. But many vendors offer discounts to shoppers who show the current season’s bag.

Proceeds support community programs run by WFM, including:

We Care: support for marketgoers who are battling illnesses.

Farmer To School To Community: a partnership between Staples High School, the Gillespie Center and local farmers. Students learn about local ingredients, while helping neighbors in need.

Farmer To Kids To Community teaches Bridgeport elementary school students how to use local and seasonal ingredients in delicious, healthy meals.

Get Growing: weekly events and contests designed for younger visitors.

Young Shoots: in collaboration with the Artists Collective, a youth photography contest.

Recipe Program: helps customers create easy, healthy, delicious meals using fresh local products.

Bridgeport Rescue Mission: a weekly partnership rewards residents in BRM’s rehabilitation program for good behavior with an outing to WFM, where they collect food from farmers and vendors.

Farmer-In-Need: a fund to help vendors who fall on hard times.

Chef At The Market showcases top chefs who support local farms.

Farms To Veterans To Community helps veterans affiliated learn to prepare farm-fresh food, thanks to WFM’s vast chef network.

Click here for more information on FOM bags, and WFM programming. The market runs every Thursday at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Westport Farmers’ Market 2021 bag.

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Speaking of sustainability: Over 500 families are participating in Westport’s food scrap recycling program. Almost 10 tons are being diverted from the incinerator each month.

But Sustainable Westport hopes to do more — much more. Their goal is to double our town’s food scrap recycling participation in the next 6 months.

They’re spurred by a matching grant of $7,500 from Sustainable CT. Funds raised will educate and inspire residents about the project. Click here to donate.

The Paparo family was the first to use the transfer station drop-off food scrap recycling site, when it opened in July.

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The Westport Library’s website is filled with interesting and entertaining videos and podcasts.

Finding them, however, was not always easy.

The page — formerly the Library’s YouTube channel — has been redesigned. Searching is much more user-friendly and intuitive.

Click here now, for hundreds of programs, music recordings and podcasts.

In the future, just click “Resources” on the Library website menu bar.

Screenshot of the Westport Library’s video and podcast gallery page.

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“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is usually associated with Halloween.

But there’s never a bad time for it. So — just in time for Memorial Day weekend — the Remarkable Theater has scheduled a showing of the cult classic.

It’s Saturday, May 29. The gate opens at 7:30 p.m. The show begins at 8:30. Click here for tickets.

Let’s do the time warp again!

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Speaking of movies: Staples graduate Justin Paul will be in the limelight again on September 24.

That’s the release date for the movie version of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Tony-winning star Ben Platt leads the cast. The score — by Paul and his musical partner Benj Pasek — won a Tony too.

The Broadway version — suspended due to COVID — returns on December 11.

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WABC-TV Eyewitness News featured 2 locations in last night’s report on the restaurant industry, as the pandemic eases: the Upper West Side, and Westport.

Local interviewees included Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Manna Toast’s Jason Wiener, and diner Sharon Maddern. Click here for the segment.

Matthew Mandell is interviewed by WABC Eyewitness News on Church Lane.

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Tomorrow (Thursday, May 20) is Asian Gold Ribbon Day. Gold ribbons — symbolizing opposition to anti-Asian violence — will be available for pickup tomorrow at the Westport Farmers’ Market (Imperial Avenue parking lot), and today and tomorrow at Arogya (131 Post Road East).

 

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Live music continues for outdoor dining on Church Lane this Friday.

From 6 to 9 p.m., a band called Picnic on the 4th of July provides entertainment.

Members include Westporters Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss. The string band specializes in traditional American roots and bluegrass music, with plenty of rock, folk, jazz and blues tossed in.

Westporters may know them from the Westport Downtown Association’s Holiday Stroll. This event too is sponsored by the WDA.

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Speaking of entertainment: Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater — a free broadcast series — presents its first audio play, “The Return,” on Saturday, May 29, (noon; rebroadcast on Sunday, May 30, 4 p.m.). It’s on all WSHU stations, and www.wshu.org.

“The Return” is a haunting tale, based on a Thai folk legend. It takes place after World War II, when a young soldier returns to his village to reunite with his wife and new baby. He is finally home — yet he feels completely alone.

Run time is 35 minutes. A brief discussion with the director follows. Click here for more details.

After broadcast on WSHU, the show will be accessible on the Playhouse website from May 31 through June 20.

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A recent “06880” photo of the lake that forms on the Compo Beach entrance road every time it rains — or drizzles — drew plenty of comments. But the photo I ran to illustrate it was just meh.

JC Martin has a much better one. He shot it a couple of years ago. But it’s a great way to illustrate the story — and to welcome another summer of sopping-wet fun.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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These signs appear every so often in Parker Harding Plaza.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

A reader wants to know: What is “Open Parking”? It’s always been free. Does it mean “no time limits”? If so, why not say it?

Whatever the answer: Enjoy!

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Speaking of signs: This one on a fence near North Avenue is a little hard to figure out at first — it’s “Stop Noise Pollution / Ban Leaf Blowers” rather than “Stop Noise Pollution Ban” — but it reflects the sentiment of a segment of Westporters.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

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And finally … today is the birthday of 2 of the music world’s rockingest rockers.

Pete Townshend — the Who’s co-founder, guitarist and songwriter — turns 76. Joey Ramone was born 70 years ago; he died a month before his 50th birthday, of lymphoma.

These songs — among both bands’ many others — epitomized their eras.

And here they are … together.

Roundup: Staples Players, Waxx Vaxx, Stop Sign …

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Excitement is building in the Staples High School auditorium. The curtain rises this Thursday (and Friday, and twice on Saturday) for the first Staples Players live production in 14 months.

David Ives’ “Words Words Words … and Music” is a truly funny series of mini-plays (with 2 mini-musicals to boot). But even though each audience is limited to only 300 seats, tickets remain.

It it because the show is unfamiliar? Perhaps there’s residual pandemic fear (click here to see the precautions taken). Maybe audiences have forgotten just how professional-quality Players’ acting and music are.

Whatever the reason: The program needs community support. For 63 years, that support has sustained Players, and allowed it to thrive,

Westport cherishes the high school acting troupe. But Westporters may not realize how important it is for all 300 tickets to sell out for each show (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., and May 22 at 2 p.m.).

“Words Words Words … and Music” is laugh-out-loud funny — and very family-friendly. Young audiences, in fact, are the future of Players. They’ve missed a year of shows, so this is the perfect time to bring them back.

Click here for tickets and more information. See you at the show!

Sophie Rossman, Benny Zack and Samanath Webster in “Words Words Words.” Fully vaccinated actors will perform in clear visors. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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The CDC’s head-turning elimination of mask-wearing for vaccinated people raises a good question: “How do I know if someone is vaccinated?”

Staples High School Class of 2009 graduate Mike Bowen has a way.

Bowen — aka Mike Waxx — owns Illroots brand. It branched out from music and videos to apparel and footwear. For a while, it’s offered a custom apparel “Shirt App” in the App Store.

Users can create their own t-shirt or hoodies. They choose the design (including pictures from their iPhone library), then add text and stickers.

So what’s the Waxx/vaxx connection? You can design a shirt like this:

Or — better yet — add a photo of yourself getting your shot.

Then wear it proudly the next time you stroll — mask-less — into Trader Joe’s.

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A 185-foot sailboat drew attention yesterday, as it anchored dramatically in Long Island Sound just beyond the Compo Beach cannons. Several “06880” readers sent photos of the luxurious craft.

Westporters are reminded of the yacht that anchored near there several years ago. Rumors — never confirmed — were that it belonged to Eric Clapton, and he was visiting Keith Richards in Weston.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Yesterday’s Roundup included a photo of a handmade poster hung beneath the stop sign on Clinton Road, at Fillow Street.

It said: “Stop! Kids live here!”

Here’s the back story, courtesy of Erika Brunwasser:

“Few stop, many ‘pause,’ and a bunch fly through without even pausing.

“I have 2 little girls, ages 2 and 5. It’s scary and unacceptable. I called the police several times and asked about a flashing light, a speed bump and a sign to monitor speed. I’ve been told none of these are possible.

“They promised me that someone would monitor the area. This happened less a handful of times. The other day I sat in my front yard screaming at people, and realized I needed a better plan.

“I brought in the help of my next-door neighbor, artist Lilie Fortino (who was raised in Westport) to make a sign. We put it up Saturday evening. It made an immediate difference. Everyone has stopped (if only to glance at the beautiful sign — that’s fine with me). It worked.”

It shouldn’t take a sign and a stop sign to get drivers to stop roaring through residential neighborhoods (or anywhere else).

But if that’s what it takes — we’ll take it.

Lilie Fortino and her 1-year-old. Erika Brunwasser and her children. SLOW DOWN!

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Speaking of yesterday’s Roundup: It also included mention that Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson would read The Sly Fox of the Mind — a children’s book by Westporters Brooke Olstein and Lee Scharfstein — on her YouTube channel, “Story Time with Fergie and Friends.”

Click below to watch. It’s a wonderful book — made even greater when read in the Queen’s English.

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Speaking of books: Financial journalist and author Michael Lewis will be interviewed by noted former New York Times writer Lisa Belkin.

Lewis’s newest book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story follows 3 main characters – a biochemist, public health worker and federal employee – as they confront COVID, and find that the response from the US government is woefully inadequate.

The event is June 15 (7 p.m.). Click here to register.

Michael Lewis

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Speaking of entertainment: This is a week of animated adventures and classic comedies at the Remarkable Theater.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in features:

  • “Zootopia” (Wednesday, May 19, 7:45 p.m.)
  • “Minions” (Friday, May 21, 8 p.m.)
  • “Happy Gilmore” (Saturday, May 22, 8:30 p.m.)

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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The Westport Woman’s Club’s 6th annual Art Show this Saturday and Sunday (May 22-23, 2 to 6 p.m.) features an all-star list of 14 area artists. They include Nina Bentley, Amy Bock, Trace Burroughs, Susan Fehlinger, Judith Orseck Katz, Tom Kretsch, Susan Leggitt, Kerry Long, Michael Ledner, Carole McClintock, Bernard Perry, Jon Puzzuoli, Katherine Ross and Jo Titsworth.

Plus light snacks and wine, of course. It would not be an art show without them.

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Everyone at Staples High School knows Laura Blair. She runs the copy machine room, and is a tireless fan of Wreckers sports teams.

She’s also one of STAR’s greatest fundraiser. For years she has participated in the non-profit’s annual Sherwood Island walk. Funds help serve hundreds of area people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This year’s STAR Walk is virtual. But Laura is working as hard as ever. So far her team has raised over $6,000 — more than half of her $12,000 goal.

“Stars” are just $1 each. Click here to help. To learn more about STAR Lighting the Way, click here.

Laura Blair is a fundraising STAR.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is from behind the pro shop, on the Longshore golf course:

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … was Eric Clapton really on that yacht off Compo years ago?