Tag Archives: Shonda Rhimes

Roundup: Shonda Rhimes, Moving Up, Pollinator Pathway …

Shonda Rhimes — the producer/screenwriter/author/global media company CEO/Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee — entertained, inspired and wowed a sold-out crowd at last night’s Westport Library “Booked for the Evening” fundraiser. Actors Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley were there too.

The leader in both her industry and for women of color, Rhimes is known for telling great stories (check out Netflix!). On stage before an appreciative audience, in a conversation with Vanity Fair editor Rhadika Jones, she spent her evening in Westport doing exactly that.

Shonda Rhimes, at the Westport Library. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

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This is “Moving Up” week.

Ceremonies are held at Westport’s 2 middle and 5 elementary schools.

Dylan Chatterjee captured this scene yesterday, outside Bedford, where his sister Mia was celebrated. It seems symbolic: 8th graders moving toward the light of Staples High School, both literally and figuratively.

(Photo/Dylan Chatterjee)

Congratulations to all 5th and 8th graders — I mean, rising 6th graders and freshman — all over town!

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Happy Pollinator Week!

To celebrate, Pollinator Pathways organizers in Westport and surrounding towns are showcasing properties — both public and private — where habitat-friendly landscaping is done. They’ll also provide information on how homeowners can create Pollinator Pathway yards of their own.

It’s this Saturday (June 25) at 4 separate Westport sites, all 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Earthplace (3 gardens), Prospect Road (privately owned), Smith-Richardson Wildlife Preserve (2 meadows) and Wakeman Town Farm (a 100-foot pollinator border).

Weston’s Onion Farm tour is also Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guides and gardeners will be on hand, to answer questions.

Click here, then scroll down to plan your tour. You’ll also see Pollinator Pathway tours throughout Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester Counties.

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 The Westport Public Schools and Westport Weston Family YMCA have teamed up to coordinate child care — before and after school – for youngsters in grades K-5, during the coming school year.

The program includes arts and crafts, STEM activities, themed projects, outdoor and physical activities, homework help and snacks.

Transportation will be provided to and from the elementary schools, and YMCA.

The before-school program runs from 7 to 9 a.m. for Coleytown, Greens Farms, Kings Highway and Long Lots Schools, 7 to 8:30 a.m. for Saugatuck.

The after-school program runs from dismissal until 6 p.m. Students who sign up for any youth programs taking place during after-school care hours — karate, swim lessons, soccer shots, basketball, gymnastics, fencing or dance — will be accompanied to their program by a staff member. There is a separate fee for those programs.

3-, 4 and 5-day signups are available. Click here for more information, and to register.

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Sure, it was 2 days ago. But we can’t resist a good photo. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the Levitt Pavilion during Sunday’s Michael Franti & Spearhead show:

(Photo/JC Martin)

Encore: Here’s a video of Michael, complete with a shout-out to Westport:

Looking ahead, the Levitt celebrates the final days of Pride Months with 2 performances.

Isle of Klezbos is this Thursday (June 23, 7:30 p.m.). New York magazine says their repertoire ranges from “rambunctious to entrancing: Neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies, Yiddish swing & retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking song, re-grooved standards, and genre-defying originals.”

It’s about time Levitt had some Yiddish swing and late Soviet-era Jewish drinking songs! Click here for (free!) ticket information.

Next week, it’s “Queer + Quiet”: an evening with Treya Lam (Tuesday, June 28, 7 p.m.). They’ll “lift up the underrepresented, quiet, marginalized voices in the BIPOC trans, non-binary, queer community.” Click here for (also free!) ticket information.

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Speaking of Pride: Fairfield County Story Lab opens this Sunday’s Write-In to all LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly writers and creatives — for free.

At 2 p.m. June 26, there’s an hour of socializing. Work on projects follows from 3 to 4:30; then there’s a wrap-up chat.

The Story Lab is a shared workspace, on the 4th floor of Saugatuck’s 21 Charles Street office building. Click here to reserve a spot.

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The June 27 (7 p.m.) Westport Library showing of the award-winning documentary “Four Winters” is noteworthy.

The film tells the story of the 25,000 Jewish partisans who battled the Nazis and their collaborators from the forests of Eastern Europe. The men and women — many in their teens — blew up trains, burned electric stations and attacked enemy headquarters.

But there’s also an important local connection: “Four Winters”‘ writer/producer/director Julia Mintz is a Weston High School graduate.

For more information, click here.

NOTE: “Four Winters” supporters have designed a program for screenings and talkbacks at colleges that don’t have Jewish Studies departments, or funding for Holocaust programming. Click here to donate.

Weston native Julia Mintz, with an interviewee for “Four Winters.”

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Lou Weinberg is the passionate, creative and very hands-on director of the Westport Community Gardens. He knows flowers, trees, grasses and bushes — and birds, bees, rabbits and all other wildlife there.

He’s also a gifted photographer.

Here’s his description of today’s stunning “Westport … Naturally” photo: “This gray catbird is eating a berry from a serviceberry tree. This native tree produces flowers and an abundance of fruit for a multitude of birds this time of year. If you like birds, plant serviceberry trees!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … because this is the first day of summer:

(Do you like our daily “Roundup”? Help keep it coming. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to “06880” — and thank you.)

Roundup: Hiawatha Lane, Staples Key, Twiddle …

The long legal battle to stop construction of 157 apartments on Hiawatha Lane may be over.

Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger issued a summary judgment ruling on Tuesday, in favor of developer Summit Saugatuck. The ruling may effectively end efforts by the plaintiffs — residents of the neighborhood off Saugatuck Avenue, near I-95 Exit 17 — to halt the project.

At issue were deed restrictions, limiting some properties in the area to single-family development.

At issue were deed restrictions of some properties in the area, limiting each lot to single-family development. At least 2 of those parcels are included in the Summit plans.

Owners of the other properties included in the deed restriction filed suit against Summit for breaching the restriction. They asked the court to prevent Summit from proceeding with the development, after its approved by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

Berger ruled that the easement did not reach the necessary legal requirements for it to be enforceable against the Summit properties. (Hat tip: Gloria Gouveia)

Artist’s rendering of one of the buildings at Summit Saugatuck’s Hiawatha Lane development.

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Congratulations to Sasha Maskoff. The talented senior — a pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall (and last December’s spectacular Candlelight Concert), and tutors young students — is the 2022 Staples Key winner.

The award — donated by Westport’s Kiwanis Club — is considered the most prestigious at the high school. The other finalists were Jasper Cahn and William Heisler.

The honor was announced by principal Stafford Thomas, at last night’s annual awards ceremony. Arts, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Language and other awards were presented too.

Thomas also presented 15 Principal’s Awards, for outstanding service and contributions, to Slade Anastasia, Nick Augeri, Caroline Coffey, Catherine Cunningham, Amy Ginzburg, Emorej Hunter, Matthew Jordan, Elle Laub, Madeline Michalowski, ishan Prasad, Noah Robison, Ally Schwartz, Max Udell and Ella Williams.

Two members of each class received Staples Awards for Character: seniors Chloe Nevas and Nick Prior, juniors Jacob Baker and Miriam Hurley, sophomores Gianna Amatuzzi and Caroline Hechter, and freshmen Dylan Phillips and Mieszko Solowinski.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, at last night’s awards ceremony. (Photo/David Pogue)

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Stop twiddling your thumbs. Get tickets for Twiddle!

The Vermont-based band — which enjoys a strong Fairfield County following — will perform at the Levitt Pavilion on July 29-30).

Doors open at 3 p.m. for the Friday event. Twiddle will do 2 sets; they’ll be joined by Mihali and The Nth Power.

Saturday begins with a special 1 p.m. VIP acoustic set. Doors open to the public at 3 p.m. Twiddle will do 2 more sets. Dwight & Nicole and Eggy are on the bill too.

Member tickets are available now. Public tickets – with early-bird pricing — begins at noon today. Click here for details.

A few tickets are still available for Tower of Power’s “Stars on Tour” Levitt appearance this Saturday (June 4, 7:30 p.m.).

Click here for more information, including purchases for all ticketed shows.

Twiddle(Photo/©Jay Blakesberg)

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Monday, June 20 (8 p.m.) is the new date for the Westport Library’s “Booked for the Evening” with Shonda Rhimes. It was postponed from earlier this week.

All seats have been sold for the in-person event. However, tickets are available to watch via Zoom. Click here for details.

Shonda Rhimes

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Jackie Ferrentino spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” star the other day, in a Long Lots tree:

(Photo/Jackie Ferrentino)

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And finally … Depeche Mode synthesizer player Andy Fletcher died last week in Britain. He was 60.

He co-founded the band, and helped develop its electronics-heavy sound. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Buffalo, EMS, Flower Moon …

First Selectman Jen Tooker says:

“The scene in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying, and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected.

“Along with help from TEAM Westport, our law enforcement colleagues, our houses of worship and our extensive non-profit organizations, we continue to strive to ensure that this community is a place where residents, business owners and visitors feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging.

“This important work is ongoing, and there is still progress to be made. As first selectwoman, I want to personally re-state my commitment to these efforts in Westport. Thank you for your support on this journey.”

Nine of the 10 victims of the mass execution in Buffalo.

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This is Emergency Medical Services Week.

It’s long overdue.

Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog knows this has been an exceptionally tough couple of years.

“The EMTs and paramedics of Westport EMS continue to rise to the challenge every day, and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our community.” he says.

“Relieving pain and suffering, caring for sick and injured patients, saving lives is just part of the experience of responding to the public’s calls for help. EMS providers, whether paid or volunteer, take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional; emergency manager; social worker; crisis counselor; consoler; caregiver.”.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker adds “EMS Week is a chance for our town to recognize the service and sacrifice exhibited by our EMS personnel over the past year, and to express our gratitude for all they continue to do, day in and day out, for our community.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with an EMS Week proclamation. (From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, EMS crew chiefs Larry Kleinman and Rick Baumblatt, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, EMS crew chief Eric Hebert, Deputy Police Chief/EMS director Sam Arciola.

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Sunday’s Super Flower Blood Moon/lunar eclipse was very cool.

It was also not easy to photograph.

Many Westporters tried. You sent your shots to “06880.” Thank you!

We did not have a Best Images contest. But if we did, the winner would be Nancy Lally.

Check them out below. You’ll be over the moon.

(Photos/Nancy Lally)

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Nearly everyone who owns a convertible loves to show it off.

Here’s your chance to impress the entire town.

Organizers of the Memorial Day parade need a few open-tops for the May 30 event. They’re used to transport dignitaries, like veterans (including the grand marshal).

If you’ve got a convertible to lend, contact Deborah Detmer at the Parks & Recreation office: 203-341-5091; ddetmer@westportct.gov.

It doesn’t get more classic than this. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

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After 2 online-only years, 2022’s “Booked for the Evening” with TV producer/ screenwriter/ author/CEO Shona Rhimes will be the most financially successful in the event’s 20 year history.

And anyone, anywhere can add to the fundraising.

Tickets for the virtual livestream (June 1, 8 p.m.). are still available. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Shonda Rhimes

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By day, it’s the Farmers’ Market. At night, it’s the Remarkable Theater.

On May 27, the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to both — hosts a special film showing.

“Biggest Little Farm” — the award-winning 2018 documentary about the 8-year quest of a couple to trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland (and a dream) — is set for May 27. Sustainable Westport co-sponsors the event.

Tickets to this family-friendly event are $25 per vehicle. Tailgating (with food from the Market the day before?) starts at 6 p.m. The screening is at 8. Bees Knees — a popular WFM vendor — will selling their signature frozen pops.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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The next Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show is May 26-29 (2 to 6 p.m. each day; the Westport Country Playhouse barn). There’s an opening reception May 25 (6 to 8 p.m.), and artists’ talks on Sunday, May 29 (4 p.m.).

Participating artists include some very familiar names: Peg Benison, Louise Cadoux, Jeanine Esposito, Jane Fleischner, Rebecca Fuchs, Holly Hawthorne, Katya Lebrija, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Steve Parton, Nancy Reinker, Debbie Smith, Cindy Wagner and Lee Walther.

To learn more about this great Collective, click below.

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The other day, Connecticut Public Radio aired an interesting story headlined “How Medical Aid in Dying May Change the Way We Live.”

one of the guests is Lynda Bluestein. A longtime member and former board chair of Westport’s Unitarian Church, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now she’s working hard to get “medical Aid in dying” legislation passed in the state.

Westport’s State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg were very public supporters of a recent bill attempting — for the 16th time — to get Connecticut legislation passed. Once again, the bill did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

Click here for more details, and to listen.

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)

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Saturday’s fundraiser for AWARE — the great, generous non-profit (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education) — was postponed a day by rain.

Attendees had a wonderful time. And if you’re not “aware” of how much they do for women and children in the area, click here.

Enjoying the AWARE event (from left): Erica Davis, Amy Saperstein, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Michele Glassman, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Mafe Cala, Stephanie Tobin.

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Andy Gundell has been nominated for a regional Emmy Award, in Original Composition and Arrangement. It is for music from a Black Lives Matter program that streamed online in February 2021 from the Unitarian Church in Westport. Gundell is a 13-time Emmy winner already.

The program — “Revealing History–How We Got Here, Why It Matters” — was produced by the church’s Women’s Group. It is a powerful multi-media tribute to the BLM movement, and the history of racial injustice in America. Click here for a link.

Andy Gundell

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows birds of a feather flocking together, at Compo Beach near the kayak launch.

It won’t be long before they’re joined — at least, not far from the rocks — by crowds of humans, flocking together too.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … if you’re on the fence about lending your convertible for the Memorial Day parade (see story above), this might inspire you:

 

 

 

Roundup: Street Sweeping, Trees Falling, Album Releasing …

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1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker has invited Westporters to meet — by RTM district — at Town Hall. She and other town officials listening to their concerns.

And responding.

Dave Lowrie writes:

“Many thanks to officials and the Westport Police Department for the ongoing traffic and safety meetings by district over the last few months. And thanks also to our District 7 neighbors who voiced their concerns in person and via email.

“As a green pedestrian, my issue centered on walking and biking access along North Bulkley Avenue toward the Post Road. Two days after the meeting, through Monday, Public Works road chief Joe Izzo and his crew of 2 sweepers cleaned the shoulders along North Bulkley, and all side roads.

Kudos to 1st Selectwoman Tooker for moderating the Town Hall session, powerhouse RTM member Brandi Briggs and her counterparts for engaging constituents, town engineer Keith Wilberg and his staff. and concerned members of the Westport PD.”

North Bulkley Avenue, looking toward Old Road. (Photo/Dave Lowrie)

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Amy Ancel has been watching the osprey nest at Terrain. She writes:

“Sadly, it’s been empty for some time. The male returned in March. In early April I last saw him on the platform, loudly and plaintively calling his heart out to his mate. I don’t think she ever returned.

“It was heartbreaking to hear. I’m just a curious and casual observer, but I think we’ve lost our dear and favorite breeding couple for good. It’s so sad. Nature is brutal.”

Have any “06880” readers spotted the osprey recently? If so, click “Comments” below.

Ospreys, in early April. (Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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It was not exactly the Welcome Wagon.

Last week, a family moved in to a newly built Gorham Avenue home.

In Monday night’s rain and windstorm, a tree fell on their property.

There was a bit of damage to their porch, and lovely copper roof.

All we can tell them is: It’s not always like this!

Cleaning up on Gorham Avenue (Photo/Mark Mathias)

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Tickets to see multimedia superstar Shonda Rhimes in person at the Westport Library’s “Booked for the Evening” fundraiser have sold out.

But Westporters — and anyone else — can still join the June 1 (8 p.m.) celebration, via livestream. Tickets are $25; click here to purchase.

No recording will be made of the program.

Shonda Rhimes

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Gabriele’s has added lunch and brunch to its dinner menu.

The Italian steakhouse that replaced Positano next to the Westport Country Playhouse is now open Tuesday through Friday noon to 2:30 p.m., and weekends 11:30 am to 2:30 p.m.

Dig in!

Gabriele’s Steakhouse.

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Among other highlights, Westport Library’s VersoFest featured the debut of the first independent record label of any public library in the country.

There’s a limited pressing of the yellow vinyl and digital album, featuring some of the best emerging and eclectic talent in the tri-state region.

All preorders of “Verso Records: Volume 1” come with digital downloads of Daniprobably’s “Cowboy” (indie pop), Alexandra Burnet & the Stable Six’s “You’re Okay” (ethereal singer/songwriter); Ports of Spain’s “All You Can Carry” (indie rock), and The Zambonis’ “Gretzky Twist” (hockey rock).

Click here for details.

The album cover, designed by Tammy Winser.

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The pandemic pushed Staples High School’s Class Of 1970 50th reunion back 2 years. They’re on for this year, on August 26-28  — and they’re turning it into a joint celebration of their 70th birthdays.

The high point — as always for their class — is a Saturday Night dinner-dance at Norwalk Inn, with live music from the class band Smoke.

Reservations must be made online (click here). The deadline is July 20. For more information, call Mark Smollin: 626-584-3997.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature is big on nature — flowers, trees, animals. We seldom include human beings.

But Rowene Weems captured this intriguing photo Monday, near Winslow Park. Tree trimming is important work.

A few hours later, wind and rain caused power outages for over 1,100 Westporters.

Hopefully, none in this area.

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

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And finally … because today is 4/20:

Book It: Shonda Rhimes!

The only thing more interesting than the announcement of the Westport Library’s “Booked for the Evening” guest is the evening itself.

Itzhak Perlman, Patti Smith, Nile Rodgers, Justin Paul and Frederic Chiu brought music. Will Shortz brought crossword puzzles. Lynsey Addario brought photographs.

Tom Brokaw, E.L. Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Halberstam, Oscar Hijuelos, Adam Gopnik, Jon Meacham, Ron Chernow, Alan Alda and others brought profound insights into their work, and the world.

On June 1, Shonda Rhimes brings her reputation as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. That’s what Time magazine called her last year. And in 2007.

Shonda Rhimes

The television producer, screenwriter and author is CEO of the global media company Shondaland. They tell innovative stories through brand partnerships, merchandise and content for film, streaming, audio, digital and editorial.

Rhimes — an inductee into the Tlevision Academy Hall of Fame — has helped shift the entertainment industry’s business model, and changed the face of television.

“From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘Bridgerton’ to her latest television series ‘Inventing Anna,’ Shonda Rhimes is recognized as one of the most inspiring, creative forces in media today,” says Library executive director Bill Harmer.

“Ms. Rhimes epitomizes the intent behind the Booked honor: to recognize an individual whose work reflects the purpose of the Library, which is to nurture the love of learning and to enhance our understanding of the world.”

Information on tickets and sponsorships will be posted soon on the Library’s website.