Tag Archives: ” “Stepford Wives”

You Can Be A Star. Well, Your House Can, Anyway.

Sure, jobs are fleeing Connecticut like fans at a Bengals game. It seems the only work left here is in a hedge fund, consulting or (who knows?) perhaps Nordstrom, when the new Norwalk mall opens (whenever).

But there is one growth industry in the Land of Steady Habits: TV and movies.

Specifically, renting out your house (or organization) for a television or film shoot.

The state Office of Film, TV & Digital Media — part of the Department of Economic and Community Activity — acts as a liaison between production companies, towns, local crews and vendors.

Part of its function is to help find appropriate locations for TV networks, movie studios and commercial producers. In other words: If you need a nice suburban home, bustling city, beach, farm, railroad station or other scene for your show, film or ad, they’ll find it for you.

Scene from a movie recently filmed in Connecticut. No, there was never a “New York and New Orleans” railroad.

Presumably, they can also find a crumbling highway, dilapidated apartment or abandoned corporate headquarters too.

Locally, a variety of sites have told the office they’re eager to be used. Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Saugatuck senior housing complex, Westport Museum for History & Culture (nee Westport Historical Society), Westport Little League and Sherwood Island State Park have all chimed in.

So has Main Street (probably the Downtown Merchants Association) and the Saugatuck River (no clue).

A number of homeowners also offered their houses for filming. Styles range from Colonial and contemporary to shingle cottage and (somewhat immodestly, but hey, it’s the movies) “Perfect New England Home.”

The self-described “Perfect New England home.”

According to a recent New York Times story, compensation ranges from $1,500 to $50,000 for use of a home. At least, those are city prices.

Westport is no stranger to filming. “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” “The Swimmer,” “The Stepford Wives” — all were shot, in part, right here.

So was “Manny’s Orphans” — Sean Cunningham’s unforgettable film about a hapless soccer team.

Hey, it was unforgettable to me. I was in it.

I have no idea how much Greens Farms Academy was paid for the use of their facilities.

But whatever Sean paid, it was worth it. We had a food fight of epic proportions right there in their beautiful, staid library.

And if that story doesn’t want to make you offer your home or business to the movies, nothing will.

(Click here for a direct link to the state of Connecticut’s “Locations” page. Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Westport: The Unvarnished View

Bev Breault calls herself “a proud Westporter.” She hasn’t lived here for a long time — but she still loves her hometown. (And keeps up with it via “06880.”)

The other day, she was here for her 60th Staples reunion. The classes of 1951 and ’52 got together for what Bev says were “4 days of partying.” Harry Truman may have been president when they graduated, but they know how to rock the house.

Bev sent along some thoughts. They’re not about the reunion — no one really cares about those stories, unless you were the one reuning. Instead, they’re about her beloved Westport.

The Staples High School that the classes of 1951 and ’52 remember.

“I drove all around, and found the town gorgeous,” she says. “Plantings and flowers all over (donated, I assume, by various nurseries.)

“There’s new facing on downtown stores. I found the salespeople absolutely gracious.”

Bev also says the women “looked like Stepford Wives. Tennies, racquets, long straight hair pulled back in a pony tail.”

But wait! Don’t hit the “Comment” button quite yet.

“Don’t I wish I could run around like that!” Bev says. “I’m not criticizing. I love my Westport!”

Bev Breault (far right) enjoys the beach — and all of Westport — along with (from left) Judy Morlen Mott, Jessie Thompson Huberty and Dale Brock Wortley.

Many of her 60 fellow reunion-goers shared her good feelings. (They also wished the Westport Inn would cut them a break on price.)

In fact — I know I said wouldn’t report on the event, but these almost-80-somethings deserve some props — though they’d planned on this as their final reunion, everyone said “no way.” They’re already planning the next one.

“Are we still alive?” Bev asks.

“You bet!”

And — with the bravado of every class ever to graduate from Staples (or anywhere) — Bev says, “Our combined ‘5 and ’52 classes are a legend in our own time. I can’t think of any older class that has followed through like us. Here we go again planning for more!”

Tennis, anyone?

Now Showing…

So Westport is one step closer to a movie theater.

(In the current parking lot behind Tavern on Main, if you missed the news.)

It will probably take a year or two (or three or four) before the first popcorn is popped, but it’s not too early to think about opening night.

Of course, the initial film should be something with a Westport connection.

“Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” — filmed a few yards away, on that side of Main Street?

“The Swimmer” — filmed in swimming pools throughout Westport?

“The Stepford Wives” — filmed here also, inspired by some of our own Westporters?

There must be dozens of other candidates. Click “Comments” to nominate your own.

“Connecticut: Still Revolutionary”

“Connecticut: Still Revolutionary” is our state’s new brand.

Doesn’t that just roll off your tongue?

Remember “I ♥ New York”? It’s only 4 syllables. Ours is 11!

And you thought Connecticut was a puny little state.

The good news: We only spent $500,000 on the logo and “other creative materials.”

Governor Malloy’s new tourism push — a $27 million, 2-year campaign involving TV, radio, billboards and social media (plus a website, ctvisit.com) — highlights Connecticut’s many attractions. They are, in case you forgot, our shoreline, hills, Mystic Aquarium, Essex Steam Train, Goodspeed Opera House, and — is this a great state our what? — 2 tribal casinos.

And you thought there was nothing to do in Connecticut!

In announcing the campaign yesterday, Governor Malloy also referenced a different type of revolution: the sexual one.

Not a big fan of the sexual revolution.

Yes! In Griswold v. Connecticut — a groundbreaking 1965 case — the Supreme Court struck down a law prohibiting the use of contraception. That paved the way, 8 years later, for Roe v. Wade. Which led, basically, to Rick Santorum being considered (well, by some people) a legit candidate for president of the United States.

You go, Land of Steady Habits!

As a loyal Westporter, I’m pissed the governor did not mention 2 local revolutions as he launched the campaign.

The Westport Country Playhouse revolutionized summer theater — and Broadway — when it opened in 1931.

And The Stepford Wives — set right here in Westport — revolutionized an entire generation of women when the book and movie came out in the 1970s.

For a few years — ever since the sexual revolution, actually — women had been asserting themselves in the workplace, at the voting booth, and in the bedroom.

Suddenly, though, Stepford Wives realized the importance of being submissive, docile housewives.

It’s taken a while, but now women are back on top. Thank you, 50 Shades of Grey.

You say you want a revolution…

“You’ve Got Hate Mail”

In the 1970s, when “The Stepford Wives” skewered banal suburban life, many people realized that “Stepford” was a not-so-subtle stand-in for Westport.

Heck, much of the movie was filmed here.

Westport life is now the subject of an Off-Broadway play — and there’s no alias.  “You’ve Got Hate Mail” is running on Fridays at the Triad on the Upper West Side.

And we’re a hit.  The comedy — about a Westport couple whose marriage unravels, thanks to the Internet and cell phones — has been extended through the summer.

The show is an updated version of “Love Letters,” A.R. Gurney’s evocative look — through thoughtful, lovely writing — of a 50-year love affair.

The modern world movesmuchmorequickly.  We dash off emails without thinking (or punctuating).  We hit “send” without double-checking the “to” line.

And we read them just as distractedly.

Though co-writer Jane Milmore — who also plays the lead role of “hapless Westport wife Stephanie” — lives in New Jersey, she told the Connecticut Post that she “knows Fairfield County women with husbands who spend the day working in Manhattan.”

Milmore said that many of the characters — and emails — in the play are drawn from real life.

Uh oh.

The Postadds:

Milmore is fascinated by the way many users of the Internet drift into relationships they wouldn’t start up in the “real world” and how they never seem to pause to think through what they are doing online.

Hook-ups can happen in the city faster than ever on office computers or PDAs and yet a tech-savvy wife can investigate what hubby is up to in ways that were denied to commuter wives 20 or 30 years ago.

Twenty or 30 years ago, Westport was defined by “Stepford Wives.”  Before that, it was “The Swimmer”; earlier still, “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.”

I would say something clever in response, but I’m late for a key party.