Tag Archives: “The Twilight Zone

Roundup: Tyler Hicks’ Lyman, Connecticut Mag’s 40 Under 40, Farmers’ Market’s Lectures …

As the year ends, Westporters look back on a tough one. COVID is still hanging around. The stock market plummeted. Our nation is politically divided.

Compared to Ukraine though, we live on Easy Street.

Our new sister city of Lyman is entering its 10th month of hell. The Russians are gone after 5 months of occupation. But they left devastation behind.

Buildings lack roofs and walls. There is virtually no electricity or heat. Fire trucks and police cars were demolished. Debris is everywhere.

You can click here to read the latest devastating news, from yesterday’s New York Times. (This news just in: Earlier today, a Russian missile hit the police station. Only 2 patrol cars are left in the town.)

You can see some brutal images too — taken, coincidentally, by Westport native/Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Tyler Hicks.

A Lyman firefighter battles a blaze with just a trickle of water, in bitter cold. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

On this final day of 2022, please help Westport’s drive to help Lyman.

Our goal is $250,000. As of yesterday — less than 2 weeks after we began — we’ve raised $219,200. Wouldn’t it be great to reach our target today?

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit co-founded by Westporter Brian Mayer. Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

(Hat tips: Elisabeth Keane and Sharon Fiarman)

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After Italian and Chinese food, what’s next?

Peruvian.

When blandly named but popular Westport Chinese Takeout closed in October, it left a void in Saugatuck.

That’s where — decades earlier — the original Arrow Restaurant began. (The name comes from the angle of the road, where Franklin Street meets Saugatuck Avenue.) When it outgrow that location, the Arrow moved around the corner to Charles Street.

Work has begun on Lomito. The windows are still papered over. But there are new steps, and a spiffy logo. Two signs promise: “Opening soon.”

(Photo/JD Dworkow)=======================================================

Connecticut Magazine is out with their annual “40 Under 40” list.

Among the 40 people under 40 years old who are “changing the game in Connecticut and beyond”: Westporters Drew Angus and Julia Marino.

The writeup on Angus — a 2007 Staples High School graduate — says:

Finding success as a musician is not easy, explains this Bridgeport-based and Westport-raised singer-songwriter. “In this business, behind all the accomplishments and successes are many more unsuccessful projects and ideas that just never quite worked out,” Angus says. “It takes a certain kind of drive and a sick love for things not working out to be successful in creative ventures like music.”

Fortunately for him and fans of music everywhere, Angus has that drive, as his easy-to-listen-to, melodic New Americana music propelled him to be a finalist on American Idol in 2016. He’s also shared the stage with Harry Styles and Nile Rogers on Saturday Night Live, as well as Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson of Heart, and Andrea Bocelli. He has also toured with Marc Broussard and last summer impressed his hometown music fans with a set at Sound on Sound festival in Bridgeport.

When asked what advice he has for aspiring songwriters, he urges artists to not over-revise their work. “Finish those songs and put them out,” he says. “There’s a point of diminishing returns when changing lyric, melody or mix on a song no longer makes it better but just different or actually worse. Sometimes version one is actually the magic take.”

Drew Angus

For Olympic silver medalist Marino, it reads:

Lots of notable folks can boast about throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for a Red Sox game at fabled Fenway Park, including slopestyle and Big Air snowboarder and Westport native Marino. But she also has bragging rights none of those others can touch. In 2016, Marino, then an 18-year-old World Cup newcomer, replaced an injured teammate to compete in the Polartec Big Air event held at Fenway Park … and won.

A hit at Fenway, she returned to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in 2017, and again for a Red Sox-Yankees game in August 2022. Eighteen was a good age for Marino, who that year also became the first woman to land a double in slopestyle competition, according to her U.S. Ski & Snowboard team bio, landing two in the same run, a cab double underflip and a double backflip. Marino is most famous, of course, for winning a silver medal in women’s slopestyle at the 2022 Beijing Olympics (slopestyle is snowboarding down a course filled with terrain-park features and obstacles like rails and jumps.)

Also a 2018 Olympian and a seven-time X Games medalist, Marino loves photography, making videos, and spending time outdoors with her family and dog.

Julia Marino, on the Olympic podium.

Click here for the full Connecticut Magazine “40 Under 40.”

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The Westport Farmers’ Market: It’s not just for fresh produce anymore.

Well, everyone knows that. But here’s more proof, if anyone needs it:

Through January, the Market will host a 4-part lecture series, Thursdays at 1 p.m. at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center on Sylvan Lane.

Each presentation is 20 minutes, followed by a Q-and-A.

  • January 5: “Yoga is (Not) a 4-Letter Word: Demystifying the Practice” (Abbey Chase, owner, Abbey Chase Yoga)
  • January 12: “Muscle Activation, Neurological Inhibition, and Chronic Pain” (Dr. Andrew Crape)
  • January 19: “The Lymph” (Rev. Dr. Mark L. Heilshorn owner, Dharma Massage Therapy)
  • January 26: “Gut Healing and Anti-inflammatory Bonebroth Detox Soup” (Christine Beal Dunst, CEO and co-founder, Embody Wellness Company).

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This photo is a bit of a mystery.

Matt Murray noticed all these shoes lined up at Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

There was no one nearby. No one swimming.

Who owns them? Why are they there?

Maybe it’s part of SyFy’s annual “Twilight Zone” marathon. The annual event — an homage to the show and its creator, former Westporter Rod Serling — began at 5 a.m. today. It runs through 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

Click here for the full schedule.  (In case you’re wondering: “A Stop at Willoughby” — the classic Westport-themed episode — airs Monday, at 5 p.m.)

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Congratulations to Dr. Cindy Dunbar. The 1976 Staples High School graduate  was recently inducted into the National Academy of Medicine.

A Harvard graduate who specializes in hematology, she’s had an amazing career. Click here for an in-depth interview. (She begins with her youth in Westport — and her interest in music and theater. It continues to this day.)

Click here for a more scientifically oriented piece. (Hat tip: Ed Stalling)

Dr. Cindy Dunbar

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It wouldn’t be a holiday without a photo of Jolantha.

Weston’s favorite pig welcomes the new year in (as always) style:

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image combines a favorite subject (the beach) with a manmade-but-natural offering.

As the holidays wind down … enjoy!

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … who needs Guy Lombardo (or Dan Fogelberg), when we’ve got Mariah Carey?!

 (The year is not yet over! You’ve still got a few hours to support “06880” — and, because we’re a non-profit, take a tax write-off. Please click here. Thank you!)

 

Roundup: Twilight Zone, Parks & Rec Registration, Cell Tower …

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Submitted for your approval: “Westport in the Twilight Zone.”

Rod Serling used that “submitted” phrase only 3 times, as writer and host of one of television’s most acclaimed series ever. But it’s come to be associated with him.

Did you know that? And did you know that — beyond the famed ““Willoughby” episode, featuring a train ride to Saugatuck, Westport influenced other “Twilight Zone”s?

And why not? He lived here in the 1950s.

Find out more about Rod Serling and Westport tonight (Wednesday, March 2, 6 p.m., Zoom) at a free webinar: “Westport in the Twilight Zone.” The host and guide is Westport author/artist Arlen Schumer.

You can journey into that other world by clicking here. The meeting ID is: 884 7739 9778. The passcode is 653762. No advance sign-up is necessary.

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Registration for many Westport Parks & Recreation’s spring and summer programs began online at 9 a.m. this morning. Registration for Camp Compo, RECing and pickleball begins later: 9 a.m. on Monday, March 28.

Spots go quickly. Click here to see all the choices.

Problems? Email recreation@westportct.gov or call 203-341-5152.

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Kitt Shapiro hosted an overflow crowd last night at WEST, the great downtown women’s store she owns.

But the focus was not on shopping. She was there as an author. Her book “Eartha & Me: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black and White” — published in November — is already in its second printing.

It’s a memoir of growing up with her mother, Eartha Kitt. Nearly everyone there had already read it. They asked pointed, poignant and provocative questions. Kitt described her mother’s influence and legacy — on her, and on the world.

The event was sponsored by AWARE (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education), the non-profit that — like Eartha Kitt and Kitt Shapiro — empowers women every day.

Kitt Shapiro, and the WEST crowd. (Photo/John Videler Photography)

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A “balloon test” scheduled for Presidents Day — to show exactly how high a proposed 124-foot cell tower would rise, on private property at 92 Greens Farms Road — was canceled the night before. It was hastily rescheduled for 7 a.m. today.

Westporter Don Bergmann wrote several local officials, expressing anger at the late notice provided to the town and its residents.

At 8 a.m., Jaime Bairaktaris — publisher of Westport Local Press — drove by. He reports not seeing any balloon.

Neither did RTM member Andrew Colabella.

Westporter Steve Goldstein headed to the site an hour later, and saw nothing — except, that is, 2 police officers who had been there since 7.

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

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Jesse and Sefra Levin grew up in the comfort of Westport. Life here is almost always safe.

But for nearly 20 years, the Staples High School Class of 2003 twins have been on a mission: helping prepare people around the globe to survive any kind of disaster, natural or manmade. They’ve taught “readiness skills” to veterans, disaster response teams and entrepreneurs. The Levins call themselves “bespoke readiness outfitters.”

A couple of years ago, they had a pop-up shop in Bedford Square. They outfitted customers with gear, and offered advice and training, for every conceivable emergency.

Now they’re in Poland, at the Ukrainian border. In less than 2 days they gathered medical supplies, and made their first delivery.

Their goal is to ramp up a medical supply chain, and help coordinate between international military veteran first response efforts and in-country operational elements.

A growing network of Polish and Ukrainian contacts helps identify and relay real-time needs from conflict areas, and ensure effective distribution of supplies and equipment to where they are needed most.

(Hat tip: Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Jesse and Sefra Levin

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There’s less than a month to go before dogs are banned from Compo Beach. Which means we won’t be able to run “Westport … Naturally” photos like this, from April 1 through the end of September.

Tessie on the Compo jetty (Photo/Gwen Tutun)

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And finally … on this day in 1498, Vasco da Gama’s fleet visited the island of Mozambique.

Roundup: Senior Center, Toquet Hall, Twilight Zone …

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The latest casualties of COVID: the Senior Center and Toquet Hall.

Both places — gathering spots for older Westporters and teenagers, respectively — have suspended all indoor and in-person programming.

The town Department of Human Services says that some Senior Center classes and programs will be offered on Zoom.

The Senior Center lunch program will operate as a drive-thru at noon, Monays through Fridays. To participate, call 203-341-5099 at least 24 hours in advance.

Back in action soon — hopefully.

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Rod Serling moved from Westport to California in the late 1950s. He died — at just 50 years old — in 1975.

But the screenwriter extraordinaire still lives. Continuing a long tradition, the SyFy network airs a “Twilight Zone” New Year’s marathon. It starts at 2 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, December 31) and runs through 5 a.m. Sunday, January 2.

There’s a new episode every half hour or so. Click here for the schedule.

Looking for “A Stop at Willoughby” — the famous show in which the conductor of a train calls out “Next stop: Westport Saugatuck!” (and which Serling called his favorite of the entire first year)?

It’s 8:20 p.m. on Saturday — New Year’s Day.

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Local to Market — Main Street’s great new spot for food, crafts and much more — is hiring.

If you’re fond of fine local stuff, have a passion for small business, and are interested in joining a fun team for 10-20 hours a week, email jon@localtomarket.com.

Local to Market is hiring.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature focuses on natural features (naturally).

Sometimes though, the natural world needs a slight man-made touch. David Lowrie created this scene, using (naturally) all natural tree stumps, at his property off North Bulkley.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … today is the birthday of a ton of important musicians: Bo Diddley, Skeeter Davis, Del Shannon, John Hartford, Paul Stookey, Felix Pappalardi, two Monkees (Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones), Patti Smith and Jeff Lynne.

It’s hard to pick just one to showcase. But in the spirit of optimism — at the end of a tough year, and the dawn of a new one — I’ll go with this:

Image

Former Westporter Looks Back On 2016

rod-serling-and-donald-trump

Next Stop: Willoughby?

Metro-North riders were pleased to note that the rail line provided “good service” on March 9.

Metro-North -- good service

Unfortunately, yesterday — when this photo was taken — was August 16.

Rod Serling would be proud.

Anne Serling’s “Twilight Zone”

In the late 1950s, Rod Serling and his family lived on High Point Road. My family and I lived a few doors away. I’m not sure how many Playhouse 90 and Twilight Zone stories he wrote here — but he certainly used Westport as the inspiration for at least one of the latter episodes, “Last Stop: Willoughby.”

I recently reconnected with Anne Serling — Rod’s daughter, and my long-ago neighbor — on Facebook. Now she’s written a story for Salon, called “How I Found My Father in the ‘Twilight Zone.'”

Subtitled “I was devastated after my dad, Rod Serling, died. But then I found relief in another dimension,” it begins:

The last time I saw my father, he was lying in a hospital bed in a room with bright green and yellow walls, inappropriate colors intended to console the sick, the dying. As he slept, curled beneath a sheet, I watched him breathe, willing him to, his face still tan against that pillow so white.

And as I sat looking at him, I thought of how, when I was small, I would wake in my room beside my flowered wallpaper and listen for his footsteps down the hall, comfortable in their familiarity, secure in the insular world of my childhood, knowing without question or doubt that when I followed those sounds, I would always find him.

When he first got sick, I wiped his forehead dry until he became too ill and I could do nothing, and on the eighth floor of Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., my father died. He was just 50 years old, I barely 20.

Rod and Anne Serling, shortly before his death.

Anne goes on to describe the last night before her father’s open heart surgery — in 1975, it was a new procedure — and his death from a heart attack the next day.

“We are so sorry. He’s gone,” a doctor told Anne, her mother and sister.

Gone? Gone where?

That’s the thing about euphemisms. They never speak the truth. They leave all sorts of questions and dangling expectations. “Gone” would imply my father might return, or he’d just momentarily slipped away. Around the corner. Off to the nearest store. Gone might mean there would be footsteps to follow, tracks in the snow, a place to set at the table for later.

Gone would not necessarily mean “never coming back.”

Anne tries to cope with the death. Rod Serling was a famous public figure — but he was also her father.

Sitting at his desk, I listened to his Sinatra tapes, looking at notes, letters, photographs. I found cigarettes he’d hidden after he’d “quit.” An interview where he’d said, “All I want on my grave stone is, ‘He left friends.’”

I tried to watch a “Twilight Zone.” I listened to his opening narration, but it was terse and somber and his image in black-and-white was not the man I knew.

Grieving, Anne writes, “is not tidy, not organized or easy, but after it slams you, it has nowhere else to go. Understanding this can take years, can take its toll, can excise you off the planet, and it did for me.”

Finally a therapist told her that, to achieve closure, she needed to visit her father’s grave.

It took 2 years, but finally she went. For a while, she could not find it. Suddenly, there it was. Anne saw

his name, his birth date, the date of his death, WWII paratrooper; a small American flag.

In that instant came the finality and inconsolability I’d feared, but I stayed awhile, surrounded by silence, looking again at his name and the flag and then I saw it: a piece of masking tape attached to the stick of the flag and those three words from his interview: “He left friends.”

Though Rod Serling was Jewish, the family celebrated Christmas at the High Point Road home.

Later that summer, Anne began watching reruns of “The Twilight Zone” — more to see him than the actual show. One — “In Praise of Pip” — was filmed at an amusement park Rod often took his girls to.

When the show was over, she listened to the sounds of the Ithaca lake she and her father both loved. She was “still haunted by the void, by the reality of this empty space, and yet, those past 30 minutes spent watching his show brought a reconnection with him in a most unexpected way.”

In the episode’s closing narration, she had watched her father say,

The ties of flesh are deep and strong, the capacity to love is a vital, rich and all-consuming function of the human animal, and you can find nobility and sacrifice and love wherever you might seek it out — down the block, in the heart, or in “The Twilight Zone.”

Anne concludes: “I found it in a darkened room on a summer afternoon. Something invisible, inaudible and, until then, quite mistakenly presumed gone.”

Direct From The Twilight Zone

Rob Lenihan is a blogger.  Mostly, his Luna Park Gazette describes daily doings in his native Brooklyn — think “11224,” not “06880” — but recently he veered into the Twilight Zone.

Lenihan wrote about a pair of old “Twilight Zone” shows he’d seen.  One was about a man stranded in a deserted town.  He has no memory of who he is or how he got there.  It turns out he’s an astronaut training for a mission; the Air Force has found the only way it can to simulate complete isolation.

The 2nd show was about a harried advertising executive who returns to his hometown.  He goes back in time to meet the childhood version of himself — with typical you-can’t-go-home-again results.

Lenihan praises the shows’ creator/writer, Rod Serling, and their director, Robert Stevens (who later won an Emmy for his work with Alfred Hitchcock).

Most “Twilight Zone” fans zero in on Serling’s superb writing, but Lenihan focuses on Stevens’ “extraordinary use of confined spaces and angled shots.”

Intrigued, Lenihan researched Stevens.  He learned he directed “Playhouse 90” and “GE True Theater,” as well as “Change of Mind,” a 1969 movie about a white man whose brain is transplanted into a black man’s body.

Lenihan learned more about Stevens.  He wrote:

I was shocked to see that he died from cardiac arrest in 1989 after being robbed and beaten at a rented home in Westport, CT.  I couldn’t believe that such a talented man died in such a terrible, violent way.

I’ve been trying to find out more details about this incident, but I haven’t come up with much.  So I just want to pay my respects to a TV pioneer who helped navigate us through The Twilight Zone.

And now for the “Twilight Zone” twist:  Rod Serling wrote both of those episodes — while living in Westport.

DEE-DEE dee-dee DEE-DEE dee-dee…

Rod Serling Returns

The press release was as simple as Rod Serling’s manner:

This Wednesday (Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.), Douglas Brode visits the Westport Public Library to talk about his book Rod Serling and the Twilight Zone:  The Fiftieth Anniversary Salute. Included are photos; remembrances of Serling’s wife Carol; commentary on the series’ most memorable episodes, and analysis of why they were so impactful.

Brode will also screen the 1st-ever episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

Missing from that straightforward announcement was the most important item:  In the late 1950s Rod and Carol Serling, and their 2 daughters, lived in Westport.  In fact, he lived just a few doors down from the very young me, on High Point Road.

During television’s Golden Age — and Westport’s apex as a writer’s colony — one of the most important and influential TV writers ever was our neighbor.

Yet the library never mentions that fact.  Could Rod Serling’s Westport connection be lost in another dimension of sound, sight and mind — the twilight zone?