When June Rose Whittaker sent a Photo Challenge submission — a colorful shot of letters spelling “Westport,” in a style reminiscent of all those “Greetings From …” postcards — I thought I’d seen it in the alley between Main Street and Bedford Square. (Click here for the image.)
So did the first couple of readers to respond.
But they — and I — were wrong. It hangs (as nearly a dozen folks knew) on the Trader Joe’s wall, just beyond the checkout registers.
Congratulations to Dave Dellinger, Seth Schachter, Deb Alderson, Katie Carmody, Bob Weingarten, Robert W. Mitchell, Cheryl McKenna, Bruce Salvo and Elizabeth Auber.
Yet the Trader Joe’s “postcard” looks very much like the murals downtown. Could they be by the same artist?
If anyone knows who created one (or all) of these uniquely “Westport” works, click “Comments” below.
Which you should also do if you know where in Westport you’d find this week’s Photo Challenge:
Yesterday’s “Shorefest on a Roll” — Friends of Sherwood Island’s reimagined, socially distanced annual fundraiser — was different than the usual lobsterfest.
It was also wonderful, fun, and made even better by spectacular weather.
Board members Cece Saunders and Steve Axthelm produced the clever, all-ages event. Riding in cars through the 232-acre state park, families listened to a podcast while enjoying kites, disc golf, music, and getting a purple martin education.
At the last stop, they picked up lobster roll dinners, courtesy of Westfair Fish & Chips.
This Saturday, you can show off your new look. The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is sponsoring a Fall Fashion & Beauty Day.
Merchandise will be displayed on sidewalks — meaning there’s plenty of room to walk around in stores too. And despite the name, all downtown merchants — not just fashion and beauty retailers — are invited to participate.
All of Main Street, Elm Street and Church Lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local merchants not on those streets are being offered spots, so there’s plenty to see and do. Of course, masks and social distancing rules apply!
World peace comes to Westport.
That’s the name of the next MoCA Westport exhibit. It opens October 8.
Works in the show reflect “the culture of identity, and the divided and fractured political climate of America’s past and present.” The multi-media exhibit includes photography, sculpture, video, site-specific installations, works on paper, and protest art.
The group show features local and world-renowned artists, highlighting contemporary media culture, the criminal justice system, and the relationship between science and religion.
Westporters include illustrators Tracy Sugarman and Naiad Einsel, and photographers Spencer Platt and Richard Frank
Local politicians, and experts on climate change and the media, will be featured in panels throughout the exhibition. It runs through January 17.
Olivia Macior graduated from Staples High School last June. For weeks, she waited for things to get back to normal. Now — in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — she wants something different: a “new normal.”
It’s “a normal where people of color don’t have to fear the very people who should be protecting them; where education is equitable; where the criminal justice system is fair and lawful, and racial injustice does not plague every aspect of our lives.”
Inspired by the words of Angela Davis — “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — she is using her considerable art talents to help.
Her powerful work is up for auction on Facebook, through June 21. 100% of the winning bid will go to Black Lives Matter. Click here; then message her with your bid, via Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Westport. This graffiti was seen this morning at the boarded-up Tiffany store:
Westporters in the know know: No one beats the Y’s Men for hosting insightful, thought-provoking speakers. Thursday’s — their first via Zoom — was typical: informative, wide-ranging, both global and local.
Andrew Wilk — executive producer and director of “Live From Lincoln Center” — moderated a discussion on the future of the Westport Country Playhouse, and arts in general, in the wake of COVID-19.
Panelists included Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, general manager Michael Barker and actor Jake Robards.
The 30-minute chat ranged from the many issues impacting the Playhouse reopening — like safety, audience response and finances — to the importance of live performances. Click below to view:
As restaurants around Westport reopen, at least one will not.
An online auction is underway for many items at Tavern on Main: food service equipment, outdoor patio sets, decor and smallware.
It’s the end of the last sit-down, full-service restaurant on the main part of Main Street. It had a long run — and so did its predecessor, Chez Pierre.
No word yet on what — if anything — will replace it.
Nearly a dozen retailers are helping Home with Hope collect liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaners, soap, paper towels, sponges and sanitizing wipes. All donations go to families living in the organization’s supportive housing.
Hours are 10 a.m. 2 p.m. for all collections. There’s a box outside Restore Hyper Wellness (877 Post Road East) every day.
Other stores, with collection days:
Thursdays: ASF Sporting Goods (1560 Post Road East); UPS (606 Post Road East)
Fridays: West (117 Post Road East); Blow Dry (76 Church Lane)
Mondays: Greenwich Medical Spa (645 Post Road East.)
Tuesdays: New England Hemp Farm (136 Main Street)
Wednesdays: Green + Tonic (17 Jesup Road)
Questions? Email email@example.com
How’s this for a way to treat the frontline workers we have been hailing as heroes?
Trader Joe’s had a picnic table at the back of their parking lot. It was a nice place for employees — sorry, “crew members” — to eat, or take a break.
The other night, it was stolen. (Hat tip: David Meth)
Eighth graders missed their “moving up” ceremony this year. But — thanks to the Bedford and Coleytown Middle School PTAs — the 400-plus graduates are having their day in the sun.
Now, as you see these signs throughout Westport, you know who to thank.
Speaking of graduates, Margo Amgott writes:
“We’ve seen all the great signs celebrating Staples seniors. But there are others who are sheltering in Westport. We’ve long been weekenders, and after COVID now here we are!
“Could we do a shout-out to those transplanted seniors? The lovely people at Baker Graphics helped me make these for our daughter.” (The other sign — not shown — congratulates Molly for her acceptance at Trinity College.)
Great idea, Margo! Here’s too all Class of 202 grads! Wherever you went — and wherever you’re going — out town salutes you.
And speaking yet again of graduates …
St. Paul Christian School celebrated the end of the year with a drive-through closing celebration. Children received a diploma, yearbook and blessing from their teachers.
Tomorrow (Sunday, July 7, 5 p.m., Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport), a number of Westport congregations are participating in an “Interfaith Prayer for Racial Justice & Healing.” Masks are mandatory, and social distancing is enforced.
And finally … it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted this yet. I guess I was waiting for the exact right time.
The Westport Library is closed (though it’s online presence is more active than ever). But its MakerSpace is wide open — and doing its part to make and supply PPE to medical personnel across Connecticut.
Westport has partnered with other spaces in the region — Fairfield County Makers Guild in Norwalk; Make Haven in New Haven; Danbury Hacker Space — to assemble face shields. Ours is the only maker space affiliated with a library.
Led by Mike Altis, the MakerSpace has already 3D-printed more than 200 pieces of PPE, such as plastic headbands. After printing, parts are dropped off for final assembly at partnering maker spaces.
Mike prints a headband every 4 hours on the library’s two best 3D printers.
Due to a shortage and slow shipping of supplies, and the need for strict distancing guidelines (only one person in the space at a time), the Westport Library has not produced completed face masks itself.
Fortunately, Mike just received materials. Soon, he and his helpers will assemble completed face shields in their own space.
MakerSpace masks at the library.
Rothbard Ale + Larder posted on Facebook yesterday: “Rothbard will be closing permanently, but we hope this is not goodbye.
“Walrus Alley will be taking its place, with American southern-inspired flavors and dishes you are sure to enjoy. Stay tuned for the occasional Rothbard pop-up, especially in October.
“We hope to see you again.”
Trader Joe’s is closed again today. It is believed another employee contracted the coronavirus.
Like many musicians, 2007 Staples High School grad Drew Angus has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
All gigs through the end of May were canceled. So too have many through August. As a “non-traditional” worker, he’s had a tough time accessing federal and state unemployment benefits.
How’s he coping?
Creatively. After a successful Zoom happy hour for friends last week, he launched “Zoom Pop-Ins.” You can book Drew for a song (or a few) for online birthday parties, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, business meetings, happy hours, whatever. They work especially well as surprises. Click here for more info
Drew also offers drive-by concerts for anyone stuck at home in a 15-mile radius of Westport. He pulls into your driveway, stays safely away, opens his mobile sound system, and plays.
And he teaches virtual guitar and voice lessons. (“Pick up a new quarantine skill!” he suggests.) Email DrewAngusMusic@gmail.com for concerts and lessons; click here for his website.
Finally, click here for his new single, Mr. Gemini — an introspective rock tune about understanding yourself. (If you buy it on Bandcamp, 85% goes directly to Drew.)
Here’s the stop-motion video. He made it with his marketing manager, Weston High graduate Shari Goldenberg. While strictly socially distancing, of course!
Robert Jacobs has found a new way to self-isolate: soaring solo in a sailplane.
Alone in the sky 8,000 feet above the earth — with no other aircraft around — he feels safe and joyful. The other day, he shot this video:
A reader writes: “My wife and I are looking more closely at our 2020 charitable giving. This is a year for priorities. We want to give where it will have the most immediate and needed benefit, starting with our general community and moving outwards from there.
“For us, food, health, and shelter will come first. Most everything else is on hold. That includes many other very worthy areas.”
How about it, readers. What are your priorities, and why? There are no wrong answers, just opinions. Click “Comments” below.
Spotco — Tommy Greenwald’s marketing, advertising and branding agency — is renowned for its work with Broadway shows.
But with the Great White Way dark, what can they do? Well, how about an uplifting, inspiring video starring Lin-Manuel Miranda?
In just 60 seconds, he manages to let everyone know that after this “intermission,” Broadway will be back with a great 2nd act; offer a way to help people in need, and also provide info on options to assist those in the industry. Take a peek:
Seen on the internet, and worth repeating: “You know all those small businesses you always ask to help out for your silent auction, program book or other fundraiser? Well, it’s time to repay the favor.”
And finally … thanks, Kelly Clarkson, for your words of wisdom!
1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava confirm that the Longshore golf course fairways, rough and cart paths are open to walkers. The greens are not open, and of course the course is closed to play.
Oh, yeah: It’s closed to dogs too.
Can’t get to the Westport Country Playhouse? Missing Paul Newman?
In 2002, our town’s hero appeared on stage — as the stage manager — in Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.”
It was one of the most memorable performances on that venerable stage. And now you can watch it all, through the magic of YouTube. Click below — and thank your lucky “stars.”
Speaking of stars, Jon Gailmor shined brightly — and sang beautifully — even before graduating from Staples High School in 1966.
Decades later, “Peaceable Kingdom” — his Polydor album with classmate Rob Carlson — remains one of my favorites ever. (You’ve got time on your hands. Click here and here for 2 of the greatest tracks.)
Gailmor then moved to Vermont. He runs music-writing workshops in schools, writes and performs all over, and has been named an official “state treasure.”
Ever the social commentator, he’s taken his guitar and pen to the coronavirus. “What We Have Found” (“This is 2020 from a distance”) is all too true, and very poignant.
There’s not a lot to enjoy about COVID-19. This, though, is one of them:
They’re located just a few yards over the border, in Southport. So Garelick & Herbs did not make the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s great list of markets open for takeout and delivery.
However, their many local customers will be glad to know that G&H offers curbside pick up and home delivery, via phone (203-254-3727) or online (click here).
Trader Joe’s is limiting the number of customers in the store at a time. Mornings are the most crowded, but the line moves quickly. This was the scene this morning, as shoppers lined up (properly socially distanced) beyond Jersey Mike’s.
At 12:30 there was no line. When I left 15 minutes later, 2 people waited outside.
Reader Adam Murphy writes about this generous act: “When the owner of The Simple Greek in Norwalk (its really close to Westport!) found out that a recent catering order was for the Gillespie Center, he voluntarily doubled the amount of food. ‘I want to make sure everyone has enough,’ he said. In times that must have him worrying about his business surviving, he still has generosity for others. Great food and great people!”
Westporter Steve Parton reminds readers that — with galleries closed, and self-isolating the new normal — our neighbors who make their living from art and art lessons are having a tough time.
“We would all like to make a sale if possible,” he says. “Everything must go! No reasonable offer refused!”
Check out his website — and those of any other local artists you like. As you look at your walls (what else is there to look at?!), now is the perfect time to buy new works!
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Or Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)