Tag Archives: Sorelle Gallery

Roundup: I-95, Bistro du Soleil, Grease …

Work has begun at Riverside Avenue, by I-95 Exit 17.

State crews are removing trees and flattening the cloverleafs inside the off-ramps. It’s preparation for building a temporary new bridge, for use during the reconstruction project, one side at a time. (Hat tip: Whit Cooper)

(Photos/Whit Cooper)

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Meanwhile around the corner in Saugatuck, Bistro du Soleil has closed.

The good news: The popular Mediterranean-with-French-flair restaurant on Riverside Avenue between Tutti’s and the train station, is moving to a larger space in Greenwich.

The website says: “We’ve enjoyed such lovely memories in Westport and are overwhelmed with all the love and continued support we’re receiving. We are so happy and cheerful for the opportunity to renovate another costume bistro, wine bar and gallery! We can’t wait to see you all in 2023!”

They’ll still offer gourmet catering from their commercial kitchen in Norwalk. Owners still offer pressed margaritas and tacos at their revered Rincón Taqueria in Norwalk. They still offer their “farmers market to go” portal, with pick-up and delivery. And they’re still at the New Canaan Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

Bon appétit!

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Encore!

The Remarkable Theater honors Olivia Newton-John — the singer/actress who died last month — with a return showing of “Grease.”

It’s tomorrow (Sunday, September 4). Doors open at 6:15 p.m.; the film starts at 7:15.

Coming off their most successful summer, and in honor of the Labor Day holiday, tickets are $30 per car. The usual price is $50. Click here for tickets.

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Sorelle Gallery’s next feature showcases the work of 10 artists and photographers who joined them this year. “The Class of 2022” features a wide range of styles, sizes and media.

The feature opens on next Saturday (September 10), and remain on view through September 25. Click here for more information.

A scene from Sorelle Gallery.

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Congratulations, Dr. Eileen Hunt!

She’s just been elected president of the American Guild of Organists. She’s only the 4th female head of the 15,000-member global association of organists and choral directors, in its 126-year history.

Westporters know Hunt from her 30 years as minister of music at Green’s Farms Congregational Church, along with her work as a piano and organ teacher.

She and her husband, Mark English, now live in Salem, Massachusetts. But they keep in contact with many Westport friends. Eileen and her husband, Mark English, currently reside in Salem, MA but keep many Westport contacts. Dr Hunt is the fourth female president in the 126 year history of AGO, a tremendous honor.

Dr. Eileen Hunt

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Today’s delicious “Westport … Naturally” comes from Tracy Porosoff:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Mable John died recently in Los Angeles. She was 91.

Among her accomplishments: She was one of the first women signed by Motown. She was also an early artist at Stax Records. And she was a longtime backup singer for Ray Charles. Click here for her full, fascinating obituary. (Hat tip: Michael Taylor)

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Roundup: Beach Ratings, STG Jellybeans, Downtown Art …

Save the Sound has just released grades for more than 200 Connecticut, Long Island and New York state beaches.

Local and regional health departments collect fecal indicator bacteria samples during the swimming months. High counts of fecal indicator bacteria and related pathogens can make people sick, and can be associated with untreated sewage or polluted storm water entering the waters at or near a beach.

Rain often brings polluted storm water to Long Island Sound beaches. Precipitation in the area from May to August 2021 — the period covered by the ratings — were the highest recorded since 2003, when the project began.

And the results:

  • Burying Hill Beach: A+
  • Sherwood Island State Park: A
  • Compo Beach: B+
  • Old Mill: “Not found.”

Click here for the full report.

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Next week, Staples Tuition Grants will hand out $400,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and current college students.

That’s a lot of money. It’s the result of a lot of donations and fundraising.

One of those efforts is this weekend, during the Westport Fine Arts Festival. STG has a booth on Main Street, by J. Crew. For $10, you can guess the number of blue and white (naturally) jellybeans in the jar.

The jar will then appear at the Memorial Day parade, and will be at Summer Shopping Day in front of Manna Toast on June 18.

Winners get part of the prize, and gift certificates to local restaurants. The bulk of the money helps fund STG grants. The contest ends June 22.

How many jellybeans? Start counting!

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As noted above, this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), downtown will hum with the 49th annual Westport Fine Arts Festival.

The weekend after that (Saturday, June 4, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.), the Sorelle Gallery on Church Lane hosts artists Julia Contacessi and Michele Poirier-Mozzone for their new “Light Affects” show, with an opening reception.

Click here to learn more.

Julia Contacessi and Michele Poirier-Mozzone. 

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Irises are in season. And this beauty in a roadside Owenoke garden is perfect for a “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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Despite the heaviest summer rain since Save the Sound started its beach rating system, Westport’s waters got pretty good grades (see story above).

Whew!

Roundup: Staples #1, Tyler Hicks, Young Authors, MoCA Show …

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“06880” does not post most “ranking” stories (Best Beach Towns in America, etc.). The criteria are random, the headlines are often clickbait, and — particularly with education — if, say, our school district is #1 one year and #2 the next, Westporters demand to know “What happened?!”

So this story is not about Niche’s ranking of Staples as the #1 school in Connecticut — for the 3rd year in a row.

Instead, it’s about the Channel 8 news report about that honor. Click here to learn more, from (very proud) principal Stafford Thomas.

Screenshot of Staples principal Stafford Thomas, on Channel 8’s “What’s Right With our Schools” feature.

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As the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the New York Times looks back on Tyler Hicks’ 2 decades of chronicling life and death in that faraway land.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer arrived there soon after the October 7, 2001 invasion — 20 years ago today. One of the first sights he saw was the execution of a Taliban fighter.

His most recent assignment, in July, was near Bagram Air Base — the same spot he saw that harrowing first scene.

Click here for today’s Times retrospective of Hicks’ haunting photos. (Hat tip: Gil Ghitelman)

In 2001, Northern Alliance fighters dragged a wounded Taliban fighter out of a ditch. They shot him dead. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

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When COVID put the kibosh on after-school activities, Jordan Razza created her own.

She arranged classes for her daughters Daisy and Ainsley, and 2 other Westport youngsters, with children’s book author Jacky LaMenzo.

She lives in Massachusetts, but no matter. This was COVID; classes were held via Zoom, on Tuesday evenings.

This was more than just “how-to.” LaMenzo emphasized “do it!”

Brainstorming ideas was key. Daisy — now a 7th grader at Coleytown Middle School — wanted to write about LGBTQ people.

Ainsley — a Coleytown Elementary 5th grader — loves alligators, crocodiles and frogs. She focused on an alligator who makes friends.

Both girls honed in on the theme of acceptance. Now, both are now published authors.

Daisy’s book is “My Colors.” It’s illustrated with her own digital art.

Ainsley wrote “Outcast.” Her drawings are freehand.

The books are available on Amazon. Part of the proceeds go to a literary charity.

The girls are interested in many things. Daisy does gymnastics, the school play and swimming. She’s also in CMS’ Pride Club. Ainsley enjoys synchronized swimming and art. Both continue to write.

The Razzas may not be Westport’s newest authors. But they definitely are our youngest!

(Click here for more information on Daisy’s book. Click here for Ainsley’s.)

The Razza sisters’ books.

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“When Caged Birds Sing” — a teaching exhibition created by Westport artist Ann Weiner — opens to the public on October 29. An opening reception is October 28 (6 to 8 p.m.).

The exhibit features 8 life-size sculptures representing women’s rights activists who suffered and survived abuse because of their gender, yet continue to advocate for the rights of others at risk.

Weiner’s work shines a spotlight on sex trafficking, kidnapping, transphobia, female genital mutilation, honor killings, domestic abuse, the conversion of kidnapped girls into sex slaves and killers by rebel armies, merciless Taliban law and transphobia.

Visitors are invited to write stories, experiences or feelings on pieces of paper that will then be folded into the origami shape of a bird and placed in a bird cage, for release later. A 45-minute documentary about the women featured in the exhibition will also be shown.

For more information, click here.

Part of MoCA’s “Caged Bird” exhibition.

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The Tailored Home is known for its custom furniture, window treatments, accessories, reupholstery, refinishing and design services. It’s a great place, and it knows its Fairfield County clientele.

But last night the Sconset Square store sponsored a funk band. It was something different, for sure.

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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For 10 years, Voices Cafe at the Westport Unitarian Church has featured great folk music. Peter Yarrow, Paul Winter and Suzanne Sheridan have performed there; Brother Sun chose it their final concert. Many events support social justice causes.

Voices Cafe begins its 2nd decade on Sunday, October 24 (7:30 p.m.). with double bill: Newtown-born Sawyer Fredericks (winner of The Voice’s season 8) and The Accidentals, a powerful female-led indie rock and punk folk band.

The concert will be both in-person at the church, and livestreamed. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Sawyer Fredericks

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Sorelle Gallery’s final exhibition of 2021 features abstract artist Ned Martin. Beginning Saturday (October 9). Light refreshments will be served in the Bedford Square spce.

Martin’s work includes birds, female portraiture, natural forest-scapes, and pure abstraction.

“Fragmented in Time” (Ned Martin)

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James Goodenough died peacefully at his Westport home on September 29, surrounded by Gloria, his wife of 73 years, and his 4 children. He was 95 years old.

He was born in New Haven to Dr. Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough, a professor at Yale University, and Helen Miriam Lewis. Jim  graduated from Yale University.

In 1954 Jim and Gloria moved to Westport. He worked at a specialized business magazine company, Cleworth Publishing, rising to publisher of several magazines, then vice president and treasurer.

Jim was a man of consummate integrity, wisdom and humbleness. He is survived by his wife Gloria; children Sandra, Janice, Andrew and Elizabeth; 6 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and his brother John B. Goodenough, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year for his work on the lithium ion battery.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 17 (2 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church). Memorial donations are suggested to Saugatuck Church or Westminster School in Simsbury.

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In our never-ending quest to feature every living thing possible, “Westport … Naturally” today turns to termites.

Susan Garment writes: “I came across this swarm of termites in a tree on my yard. I called several exterminators and sent them this picture. They  became extremely excited, because they had never seen anything like it. They wanted to send the picture to the Connecticut Department of Entomology.

“We removed the tree. Fortunately,  none of the termites migrated to my house.”

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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And finally … the next MoCA exhibition — “When Caged Birds Sing” (see above) — reminded me of this seriously underrated Beatles song. Sure, there’s no connection between the tune and the Maya Angelou-inspired museum title, other than the bird theme. But I love this track:

Roundup: Cell Tower, Masks, WTF, …

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The next town controversy may be “Tarpon.”

Tarpon Towers and Cingular Wireless (AT&T) have notified town officials that they’re moving ahead to install a cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road. The next step in their long process is filing an application with the Connecticut Siting Council.

Tarpon is new — but the location and plan is not. It dates back to 2014. There was plenty of local opposition, based on the proposed height and location at the “gateway” to the beach.

There was also support, based on poor cell coverage in the area.

The proposal faded away. Now it’s back.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe is not a fan. He says, “I am dismayed that this proposal for a cell tower installation at the same location that the Town reviewed seven years ago has returned. At that time, many raised numerous rational and thoughtful reasons why this location was inappropriate, and the proposal was dropped.

“With regard to this new proposal, under the rules of the CSC, I will conduct an initial meeting with Attorney (David) Ball to review the project. The town will also have an opportunity to propose alternative sites. There will also be opportunities for the Planning & Zoning and Conservation Commissions to review and comment on the proposal.

“After the initial meeting and within the statutory time period, a public informational meeting will be held to further discuss the application with the community. Please be assured that we intend to review this proposal carefully with staff and legal counsel, exploring all options and alternatives. I will keep the community informed throughout the process.”

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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Marpe also announced a tweak to Westport’s indoor mask policy. Masks are no longer mandatory in gyms, provided participants remain socially distant. The change does not apply to school gyms. patrons of gyms and athletes to remove their masks whenever they can remain socially distant. The amendment does not cover school settings.

Masks ae no longer required in commercial gyms in Westport — provided patrons are socially distanced.

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Registration begins Wednesday (September 8) for a full array of Wakeman Town Farm programs.

They range from Mommy + Me and preschool to after-school activities for tots and teens. Click here for details of the farm programs; click here for details for culinary programs. (NOTE: When you click “Register,” you’ll need to search on the Parks & Rec website.)

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MoCA Westport sponsors a fun Family Day next Saturday (September 11, noon to 4 p.m.).

Like the current “Between the Ground and the Sky” exhibit, this is a collaboration with the Westport Farmers’ Market. On tap: family-friendly nature-related art projects, including designing and stamping your own tote bag and planting your own herbs in the MoCA garden; live music by Henry Jones; food trucks, and entrance to the exhibit, featuring farms of the Who Grows Your Food program.

Click here for tickets.

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Sorelle Gallery’s retrospective show, featuring works by modern artist Stanley Bate, starts next Saturday (September 11). Click here for details.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is actually a question.

Dawn Henry spotted this creature yesterday at the Rolnick Observatory. She wonders: “What is it?”

Nature-lovers: Click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dawn Henry)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Google. It was founded on this date in 1998, by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.