The Ralphola Taylor Center is a Bridgeport community organization serving low- income children.
They earn points for good behavior during after-school activities, and doing their homework. At the Holiday Store each year, the youngsters redeem their points to buy holidays presents for their families.
It’s a fantastic motivator for good behavior. The children feel proud and empowered to provide joy to their loved ones — which in turn reinforces their good behavior.
There are 2 Westport stores where shoppers can buy items that Ralphola Taylor Center children then “purchase” for their families: Savvy + Grace (146 Main Street) and Awesome Toys (Compo Shopping Center).
You can also order from the stores online. Click here for Savvy + Grace; click here for Awesome Toys.
Savvy + Grace — and Awesome Toys — both help kids and families. Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Speaking of giving: Barbara Tirola was among the many Westporters who dropped off toys this weekend, at the Westport Police Department and Police Athletic League drive for underprivileged children in Fairfield County.
Barbara Tirola and friends.
It’s on next weekend too. Officers will accept new, unopened and unwrapped toys — plus cash donations — in the ASF Sports & Outdoors parking lot (1560 Post Road East) Saturday and Sunday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Toy collection boxes are also available all week at:
“Jay Myself” (Saturday, December 10) is an intimate, behind-the-scenes documentary on the fascinating life of photographer and artist Jay Maisel, directed by noted Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes.
The film documents the sale of Maisel’s 35,000-square foot, 100-year-old landmark building in Manhattan (“The Bank”), showing a man grappling with time, life, change and the end of a New York era. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Wilkes.
“The Art of Making It” (Sunday, December 11) examines the lives of 17 compelling young artists navigating emerging careers in the contemporary art world. Who gets seen? Who gets left behind? The screening will be followed by a conversation with the producer, director and featured film artist.
Each event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets include cocktails and light bites. Click here to purchase, and for more information.
World-renowned (and Westport) photographer Stephen Wilkes is featured in a new Westport Library exhibit.
Encompassing all 3 galleries, the show will explore how his visualization of the concept of time has evolved from the earlier days of his career, on through his latest series “Day to Night” and “Tapestries.”
The exhibition opens September 8.
The program will be preceded by a reception with the photographer at 6:15, followed by a Q&A in the Forum, with Stacy Bass.
Longtime Weston resident Bill Rother — a well-known musician and travel company executive — died August 1, at his beloved Kettle Creek Camp in the Pennsylvania mountains, surrounded by family. He was 89.
A strong athlete, Bill was captain of his high school swimming and crew teams. He continued to swim throughout his life, winning dozens of medals in the senior Olympics. Bill swam his age in laps on his birthday – hitting 89 this year.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in forestry in 1955, and remained a lifelong Nittany Lion supporter. Although he never worked in the field, Bill loved to quiz his grandkids on the Latin names of trees in the woods.
He served as an Army second lieutenant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Penn State, then first lieutenant and platoon leader with the combat engineers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division.
He was a musician from his earliest days, working his way through college playing banjo with a Dixieland band, The Sadistic Six. This led to work as a professional musician with Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians. He traveled the world with the group, performing on live television with stars like Perry Como, Jackie Gleason and Garry Moore, and appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” right before the Beatles.
Highlights for Bill were playing at the White House and meeting a President (Eisenhower), a Queen (Elizabeth), and a King (Elvis).
Bill’s next foray into Hollywood was an attempt to produce his own TV show in London about a race car driver called “Knights of the Road.” Despite a year of work, even hiring a down and out actor who went on to future success (Peter O’Toole), they ran out of money and Bill returned to Los Angeles penniless.
He saw an ad in the L.A. Times: “Tour Director to lead deluxe groups to Hawaii.” He was quickly hired by the company, Ask Mr. Foster. Within days they bought Bill a tuxedo and sent him to work on the SS Lurline cruise ship, chatting with the likes of Lloyd Bridges on his way to run tours in Hawaii.
After several years in the travel industry Bill connected with his close friend, Arthur Tauck, who hired him as a tour director with his premier tour company, Tauck Tours. It was a career he enjoyed for over 30 years.
His most proud accomplishment was setting up Tauck’s first itinerary in Hawaii, fulfilling a lifelong dream of living in the islands. Bill couldn’t believe he got paid to travel the world, and live at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Bill married the love of his life, Bonnie Marie Orton, in 1969 on Kauai. Their honeymoon included adventures in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Bora Bora. Bill and Bonnie raised one daughter, Samantha Carrie Maile Lou Li’i Li’i Rother Nagy, who Bill called “the light of my life.”
In Weston, Bill became friendly with José Feliciano. He became the singer’s tour manager, and performed with him locally.
Bill was preceded in death by his brother Bobby. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughter Samantha, son-in-law Christopher, and grandsons William James and Luke Robert Nagy.
A celebration of life service will be held in September at the Unitarian Church in Westport, at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, his fmaily says: :be kind, laugh, play music, love big, drink the good beer, and live a great life.”
Wakeman Town Farm’s lecture garden series continues August 29 (6:30 p.m.). Master gardener Alice Ely talks on Milkwood Growing and Monarch Raising.”
Monarchs have suffered tremendous habitat loss recently. Alice will describe ways to attract egg-laying monarchs to gardens, raising eggs into hungry caterpillars, and tips on growing a variety of milkweed species to help them thrive.
Season 2 of “Kids are Talking” has been a great success.
Producer Michael Bud of Weston brought in new moderators for each episode. Among them: State Senator Will Haskell, who inspired teenager to get involved in politics; a “conspiracy rhetoric” professor who talked about the JFK assassination and lizard people; a Yale professor who discussed sleep habits and moods; an expert on boundaries, and last night, teen leaders of a suicide prevention organization.
Click here for past episodes, and more information.
And finally … Judith Durham, whose beautiful voice helped make The Seekers the first Australian pop group a success during the British Invasion — died today in Melbourne. She was 79, and suffered from a lifelong lung disease.
“Georgy Girl” was the Seekers’ biggest hit. I didn’t care for that one, but I loved many of their other songs — those well known, and others less famous. Australians considered them a treasure, and they were right. Click here for a full obituary.
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Stephen Wilkes is a wonderful (and world-renowned) Westport photographer.
From works documenting climate change and Hurricane Katrina to National Geographic shots of Westport’s blood moon and Compo clouds, he’s got an eye for intriguing details and stories.
“Day to Night” is Wilkes’ most defining project. Begun in 2009, the series of cityscapes and landscapes captures fleeting moments of humanity, as light passes over the course of full day. Blending so many images into a single photograph takes months to complete.
Wilkes’ subjects include Paris, and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 2015 (Photo/copyright Stephen Wilkes)
“Day to Night” has been featured on “CBS Sunday Morning,” and as part of America’s National Parks’ centennial celebration.
Now local audiences can see our neighbor’s work.
And the subject is very familiar.
Last summer, Wilkes spent 24 hours on scaffolding at Fairfield’s Jennings Beach. He photographed swimmers, walkers, picnickers and other visitors, under the changing sky.
Wilkes’ newest “Day to Night” image will become part of the Fairfield Museum & History Center’s permanent collection.
A preview fundraising party is set for Saturday, April 28 (7 p.m., 370 Beach Road, Fairfield). Wilkes’ other “Day to Night” works will be shown too.
Staples High School graduate Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match restaurant) provides hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Chris Coogan will play.
Stephen Wilkes spent 24 hours last summer taking his photos. And many, many days afterwards composing his Jennings Beach “Day to Night.”
The party lasts only 3 hours. But the exhibit runs April 29 to June 3.
(For more information on the “Day to Night” preview party, and tickets, click here.)
And National Geographic has a thing for Stephen Wilkes.
In June, the magazine’s very popular Instagram feed featured the talented Westport photographer’s shot of some amazing clouds — framed by a lifeguard stand — after a storm.
In a matter of hours, it gained hundreds of thousands of likes — and admiring comments in dozens of languages.
Yesterday, the Natgeo Instagram feed included Wilkes’ lovely shot of Sunday night’s fantastic eclipse.
A view we won’t have again until 2033. In many parts of the US, clouds obstructed this incredible phenomenon. In my case, I drove a few miles from my home to a local beach and was very excited to find a clear sky, allowing me to take an unobstructed photo of the #bloodmooneclipse.
Once again, “06880” is where Westport meets the world — as well as the moon, the sky and the stars.
Posted onAugust 23, 2015|Comments Off on Stephen Wilkes And MLB’s Cuban Connection
The thawing of relations with Cuba has led to many new opportunities, in that country and here.
Among them: a chance for a new generation of baseball players to make it to the Major Leagues.
Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes — who recently received a grant from the National Geographic Society to document national parks — decided to focus on the current crop of players. They defied tremendous odds to reach the big leagues.
Wilkes’ photo essay appears in today’s edition of the New York Times Magazine. Click here to read the story — and see the pros, through our neighbor’s eyes.
(Hat tip: Russell Smith)
Comments Off on Stephen Wilkes And MLB’s Cuban Connection
Tuesday’s post-storm clouds sent a lot of Westporters scurrying for their cameras.
Most photos ended up on Facebook or Twitter.
Stephen Wilkes’ found its way to National Geographic — and then to the magazine’s very popular Instagram feed.
Alert “06880” reader Danielle Dobin spotted it, and sent it to “06880.”
“Natgeo” included Wilkes’ comment: “I was fortunate to see this remarkable sunset from Compo beach, after days of summer storms.” It included the hashtags iPhoneonly, CompoBeach, Connecticut, surreal, clouds, color — and skyporn.
In just 2 hours it’s garnered 167,000 likes, and over 1,150 comments. Most are along the lines of “awesome.” One person called it “weird.” Another said, “where we got married!!”
A woman wrote, “I want to go there.”
The comments came from around the globe. One person said “Lijkt beetje op jouw lucht,” which Google Translate changed from Dutch to “Seems little air on you.”
That’s not as weird as this comment — 刚刚在他家买了一只沛纳海 很牛逼 大家要买表找他，最靠谱的卖家 朋友圈都有标价 — which Google Translate believes says “He just bought a house very fast hardware you buy a Panerai watch to find him, the most likely price the seller has a circle of friends.”
On the other hand, “06880” readers don’t need a translator to look at Stephen Wilkes’ image and say, “that’s our Compo!”
A national audience heard Wilkes describe “Coney Island.” The right side of the photo — the beach — was crowded during the day. The left side — the amusement park rides — were equally packed at night. The dividing line, though, was nowhere to be seen. Day morphed subtly into night, just as it does at the real Coney Island.
Coney Island. (Photo by Stephen Wilkes)
CBS showed other Wilkes works. There was the Flatiron Building — taken on September 11, 2010 — with “ghost lights” from the Twin Towers. Central Park, in an ice storm. Washington Square Park, where brides kept appearing at different times during the day.
Though New York offers a seemingly endless array of “Day Into Night” possibilities, Wilkes may soon turn his 15-hour lens on Shanghai. Or Jerusalem.
Months later, the world will see his spectacular images.
All of which he works on — day and night — right here in Westport.
Flatiron Building (Photo by Stephen Wilkes)
(Click here to view the CBS-TV “Sunday Morning” video clip.)
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