Tag Archives: VersoFest 2023

Roundup: Amy Scarella, Staples Books Complaint, Historic District …

Amy Scarella is a 1994 Staples High School graduate. Many Westporters know her as the passionate power behind Little Black Dog Rescue.

She was the woman driving around town with an SUV full of howling canines. She fundraised tirelessly to rescue dogs from kill shelters (usually down South), transport them to Connecticut, and address each dog’s many health problems. Then she matched each dog to a loving family. It’s estimated she and her team have saved over 1,000 animals.

A former teacher in the Bronx, Amy also tutored kids.

Her longtime friend Meghan Bell calls her “the friend who showed up at my house to watch my newborn twins so I could take a shower and a nap. And the friend who drove in a snowstorm to Westchester County Medical Center to pick me up when my father had a stroke and I couldn’t put a sentence together, let alone navigate I-95 in the snow.”

Amy moved to Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago to be closer to her family. Recently, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Due to its size and location, there was no more room to grow. She needed immediate surgery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by her friends, to help with medical and rehabilitation expenses. Anyone who knows Amy’s Little Black Dog Rescue work — and those who don’t, but wishes they did — is invited to contribute.

Amy Scarella


The next step in the handling of a resident’s complaint about material displayed in the Staples High School library is a special meeting on Monday, April 3 (3:30 p.m., Staples library).

An ad hoc committee, appointed by Superintendent of School Thomas Scarice, will follow up on last week’s session. Westport resident Tara McLaughlin seeks the removal of 3 books — sought the removal of “Gender Queer,” “This Book is Gay” and “Flamer” — from the collection.

Monday’s meeting is the next, in a 9-step process. The committee will discuss previous hearings, and “develop an evaluative judgment and recommendation for consideration by the Superintendent of Schools.”

Public comment will not be allowed. It may be permitted at a later meeting.

The 3 books challenged by parent Tara McLaughlin.


Want input into Westport’s Historic Preservation Plan?

The Historic District Commission is conducting a survey, to guide them as they adopt one. The goal is to “establish a long-term vision for historic preservation in the community, and create a set of achievable goals and strategies for strengthening the town’s historic preservation program.”

Click here for the survey. To learn more about the Historic District Commission, click here.

This sign on Jesup Road is looking a bit historic.(Photo/Morley Boyd)


Speaking of the Historic District Commission:

The agenda for their April 11 Zoom meeting includes 6 homes “to take such action as the meeting may determine to oppose the issuance of the demolition permit … and require the full 180-day delay.”

Among those on the chopping block: 45 Compo Beach Road.

Located across from Ned Dimes Marina, on the way to the beach entrance and just north of Roosevelt Road, it’s one of the most recognizable houses in town:

The yellow house at 45 Compo Beach Road.


Eleven Westport organizations have received arts grants. They come from 3 state sources: General Operation Support, the Connecticut Arts Endowment, and Supporting Arts.

Westport’s total of $183,647 is distributed this way:

American Chamber Orchestra – $5,764
Beechwood Arts, Inc. – $10,000
Fairfield County Chorale  – $12,987
JIB Productions (Play With Your Food) –  $2,371
Levitt Pavilion, Friends of Westport – $54,909
MoCA Westport, Inc. – $60,782
Music for Youth Westport – $5,954
Suzuki Music School of Westport & Orange – $3,128
Westport Community Theatre – $9,417
Westport Country Playhouse –  $12,959
Westport School of Music –  $5,376.

MoCA Westport is one of 11 local organizations to receive state arts grants.


Check out this photo:

(Photo/Dan Woog)

What is it?

You’ll find it in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum, now through Sunday. It’s part of Verso Fest — the 2nd annual music-and-media festival.

It’s a 1:4 scale model of the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound. It was created by former Westonite Anthony Coscia.

The “wall” is on display, and will crank tunes (intermittently) throughout VersoFest. There’s even a class about it (and PA systems): tomorrow (Saturday, April 1, 11 a.m.), open to all.

The aim of Coscia’s project is to preserve The Wall’s place in history, and allow people to hear, see, and feel what few were able to experience.

The model features over 500 functioning speakers divided into 8 channels, producing 100 decibels with little to no distortion.

VersoFest kicked off last night, with a concert by Sunflower Bean. A crowd of over 200 people enjoyed the show.

Sunflower Bean, last night at the Westport Library’s VersoFest. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Tonight it’s the (sold-out) Smithereens. Saturday includes panels with Steve Lillywhite and Richard Butler. Among Sunday’s highlights: a vinyl swap, and the documentary “Live from the Astroturf.”

For a schedule and full details of concerts, workshops and more, click here. All concerts are co-produced by the Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Sunflower Bean backstage at VersoFest, flanked byTalking Head and Tom Tom Club’s Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Matthew Balga — the Whelk chef killed by a car earlier this month, while walking across Riverside Avenue after work — will be remembered on Sunday.

CT Urbanists — a safe streets advocacy group — will place a pair of “ghost shoes” at the site where he was struck.

A group will walk from the Westport train station at 11:30 a.m. to the site. All are welcome.

Similar ceremonies will honor 3 other pedestrians killed this month, in Greenwich, New Haven and Cheshire.

For more information, email jcproctor@gmail.com.

Chef Matthew Balga


Aspetuck’s next “Lunch and Learn” webinar is all about nighttime.

“Working the Night Shift: Pollination Happens after Dark Too!” (Wednesday, April 5, noon to 1 p.m.) explores how moths, flies, beetles and other dusk and after-dark pollinators play important roles pollinating wild and managed plants, along with the ecology, diversity and importance of these hidden pollinators, and how to support them.

The presenter is Emily May (pollinator conservation specialist, and agricultural lead with the Xerces Society’s Pesticide Program). Click here for more information, and to register.


This intriguing photo was recently found in an old barn — used for storage by many families — on Bayberry Lane.

Lloyd and Stacy Stableford think the girl (now woman) in the photo might like to have it back. If you know who she is, email sstableford@gmail.com

President Carter, with an unidentified girl.

Also found: something (possibly valuable), with a dedication. The recipient was “Gramp” referred to as “Tia’s 3rd husband”), who had been an attorney and judge in the early and mid 20th century. It hung in his law office and courtroom until he retired in 1961.

The item was embroidered in Japan in 1914 or 1915, and presented around 1920 by a Lt. Cmdr. R.S. Skelton, whose name appears in the 1883 Congressional Record.

The Stablefords’ research did not yield much. If you know anything more about “Gramp,” email sstableford@gmail.com.


Seen on social media:

“I am absolutely heartbroken over the loss of an Orvis Recon Fly & Reel. It was my personal favorite and a gift from my wife.

It was accidently left on the right-side parking shoulder nearest the water of Ford Road in Westport Wednesday, between 2 and 6 p.m. Reward given to the kind soul who locates and returns it. Please call Mark at 475-731-7400.”

Let’s hope Mark gets his fly and reel back.

And that his wife doesn’t see this. (Hat tip: Mary Beth Murray)

Orvis Recon


It’s not Westport, but close enough:

With 136 new apartments planned for the Route 1 border in Norwalk — including Renzulli Road becoming a cul-de-sac, and the demolition of 7 houses, plus several businesses — decades-old Sanitary Cleaners is closing next month.

The final day to accept clothing is tomorrow. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Sanitary Cleaners


George Billis Gallery recently moved from Westport to Fairfield.

Their original New York location — 527 West 23rd Street — is still open.

That’s where Westport artist Sherri Wolfgang has her next exhibit.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 8 (4 to 7 p.m.). The show runs from April 4-29 (Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.). For more information, call 917-273-8621.

Art by Sherri Wolfgang


Beginning tomorrow, dogs will begin their 6-month ban from Compo Beach.

That includes Lola — who lives on Soundview Drive, just yards from the shore.

She prepared for her new life by watching workers smooth the sand.

And by posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … if you want to weigh in on the Historic District Commission’s Preservation Plan (story above), do not listen to the first lines of this song (or watch the images):

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Songwriting, Screenwriting Workshops Featured At VersoFest

Starting Thursday, VersoFest will draw music and arts lovers from around the region.

But some featured presenters will come from much further.

Longtime collaborators Amilia K Spicer and Edward Romero are flying in from California.

Amilia — a singer-songwriter — opens for the Smithereens on Friday (March 31, 7 p.m.), the second day of the 4-day music, media and more Westport Library event.

On Saturday (April 1, 3 p.m.) she leads a master class in songwriting.

Amilia K Spicer

Veteran screenwriter Romero offers a master class in that subject on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m.

Romero has known Library executive director Bill Harmer since high school, and then at Eastern Michigan University. Over the years they’ve shared music videos and news.

When Harmer asked Romero if he’d be interested in VersoFest, the writer suggested Spicer too. He’s been a fan of her Americana/blues/country music ever since hearing her play in an L.A. bar.

Edward Romero

Spicer’s songwriting workshop will focus on “empowering people to find their own voice,” she says. She found hers by “thinking cinematically, in images.”

Romero’s approach is more “nuts and bolts,” he says. He will show members of his workshop how to approach a script with a set of practical tools. He welcomes anyone who “wants to write, is struggling with what they’ve written, or haven’t yet cracked the (industry) code.”

Both look forward to VersoFest.

“I love events that feel grassroots,” Spicer says, “and towns that support the arts.”

“I know how proud Bill is of his library facility,” Romero adds. “It’s so cool what goes on there.”

A lot more will go on starting Thursday, of course. Click here for the full VersoFest schedule of concerts, workshops, panels, a vinyl fair and more.

(From Verso Fest and the Levitt Pavilion to Westport musicians and school concerts, “06880” keeps you up on local entertainment news. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Linxweiler Trees, Races & Champions, Ukrainian Eggs …

The Post Road East improvement project has begun.

The first step — long before installing turn lanes, crosswalks, shoulders and sidewalks on the stretch between Volvo of Westport and New Country Toyota — was the removal of a dozen or so trees.

They stood for decades in front of Linxweiler House — the former blacksmith shop between Fresh Market and McDonald’s, now owned and operate by Homes with Hope.

That property looks a lot different today, than it did last weekend:

Linxweiler House, as seen from Crescent Road …

… and looking east, from near Fresh Market. (Photos/Molly Alger)

The good news: The 2 cherry blossom trees in front of Sakura still stand.


On your mark … get set … and get ready for the 44th annual Minute Man Races

The popular Westport Young Woman’s League — set for Sunday, April 30 at Compo Beach — includes a 10K run, 5K run/walk, and kids’ fun runs (from 50 yards to 1 mile).

For professionals, it’s a USA Track and Field-certified event. For kids, family-friendly activities will take place during and after the races.

As always, there will be music, food trucks and more.

Student and first responder discounts are offered for the adult races. Contact minuteman@wywl.com for a discount code. Click here to register, and for more information. Proceeds benefit local non-profits.


Registration is open for the 5th annual Day of Champions.

The event — family-friendly fun (and fierce competition) that raises funds for Experience Camps, the Westport-based network of activities for children who have lost parents or siblings — is May 21 (8:30 to 11:30 a.m., PJ Romano Field).

To create or join a team — or donate — click here.

To get psyched for the event, click the video below.


Ukrainian Easter Sunday is not until April 16.

But Westport artist Mark Yurkiw — who has Ukrainian heritage, and is a member of the group that raised $252,000 for our sister city, Lyman — is celebrating early.

Throughout his career, he’s been decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs. He sent “06880” a sample of his work:

The red egg in front celebrates the birth of Mark Yurkiw’s son Cooper, in 1994.

In 2001, he created this 5-foot “egg” for the White House.

It was signed by 256 members of Congress.

Slava Ukraini!


More progress on the house at 233 Hillspoint Road. Town officials halted construction there in 2019, after finding violations of the building permit.

Workers yesterday removed several feet from the top of the chimney. It had been built higher than its legal height.

Workers removing the top of the chimney at 233 Hillspoint. Road. (Photo/Matt Murray)


In 2020, COVID forced Saugatuck Elementary School to cancel “The Little Mermaid” at the final dress rehearsal —  before the opening curtain.

She’s back!

A new cast of 125 students in grades 3-5 act, sing and dance — and run the lights and sound, help construct and decorate sets and props, and operate special effects.

Saugatuck alums from 2020 (and even some of their parents) have helped with the show! Set designer Julie Colotti, costume designer Miriam Young, and prop managers Alexandra Dodwell and Amy Kopisz incorporated many original pieces, along with new additions.

After his daughter Phoebe returned as a student acting coach, John Nunziato jumped in as artistic designer and special effects consultant.

Shows are Friday, March 31 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, April 1 (1 and 6:30 p.m.). Click here for tickets, and more information.

“The Little Mermaid,” at Saugatuck Elementary School. (Photo/Kerry Long)


You can’t autograph an Mp3 download.

But you sure can sign a vinyl album.

VersoFest’s headliners and guests, including producer Steve Lillywhite, Psychedelic Furs front man Richard Butler, and Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth, will autograph copies of their records, for giveaways and auction items during next weekend’s VersoFest.

Festivalgoers can submit their entries for the giveaway starting with the March 30 kickoff concert featuring rising American rock band Sunflower Bean.

Submissions are open through Sunday, April 2. That final day features a record fair (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and a vinyl record panel brunch with WPKN DJ Alec Cumming, producer Dooley-O, Kraftjerkz Records’ Kid Ginseng, WFUV DJ and House of Wax host Eric Holland, New Haven Independent arts reporter Karen Ponzio, and moderated by the Zambonis’ Dave Schneider.

The silent auction (April 1-2) offers a chance to bid on a variety of signed albums associated with the festival’s speakers and guests. All proceeds support future VersoFests.

For more information, including concert tickets and workshops registration, click here.

VersoFest vinyl.


Speaking of music: The Grammy for Best Children’s Album went to Kaitlin McGaw, and her group Alphabet Rockers. (Sure, it was in February. But I just found out. It’s still worth sharing!)

And it’s “06880”-worthy because she’s the granddaughter of longtime Westporters Ed and Kay See.

Ed — an attorney — was longtime town counsel. He played a key role in Westport’s purchase of Longshore, in 1959.

Kay supported many local causes. She was on the Westport Library board, when the new building was built.

The See family’s stained glass window hangs over the altar of Assumption Church, near the Josê Feliciano window.

Eloise See — Ed and Kay’s daughter — is Kaitlin’s proud mother. Sandy is her equally proud uncle.

The award was even more special, because the presenter was presidential inaugural poet — and Kaitlin’s fellow Harvard graduate — Amanda Gorman.

Alphabet Rockers produces and performs music and dance that promotes racial and gender awareness.


The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport is a beautiful building.

On April 1 (8 p.m.), its the site too of Damn Tall Buildings.

That’s the hot bluegrass/indie/roots/old-time/vintage swing/Americana band from Brooklyn. The trio will headline the UU’s Voices Café.

There’s table or individual seating. Bring your own beverages and snacks, or buy at the sweet treats table. General admission: $25 per person. A portion of the proceeds support the congregation’s Social Justice Council. Click here for tickets (live and livestream), and more information.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo proves: There’s nothing like a nice early spring day to put the top down, and enjoy the sun.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … on this date in 1721, – Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated 6 concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Today we know them as the Brandenburg Concertos.

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Roundup: Lynda Bluestein, Jewish Composers, Church Organ …

Lynda Bluestein is a longtime and very active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport.

She has terminal fallopian tube cancer. At 75 years old, time is short. But on Tuesday she received peace-of-mind news.

She reached a settlement with the state of Vermont. She will be the first non-resident to take advantage of a law that allows people with terminal illnesses to end their own lives.

Ten states allow medically assisted suicide. Until now though, only Oregon permitted non-residents to do it. Click here to read about Lynda’s successful legal battle, and what it means for her and others.

Lynda Bluestein and her husband Paul. (Photo courtesy of NBC Connecticut)


The Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand series of play readings is enormously popular.

A new spinoff — the “Mic in Hand” music series — should be too.

The first event is Ari Axelrod’s “A Place for Us: A Celebration of Jewish Broadway.”

The award-winning show honors the songs and stories of Jewish composers, and their contributions to the American musical.

The Playhouse says: “Beloved melodies and lyrics by the likes of Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Schwartz and Carole King will transport you to the streets of the theater district, your bubbie’s Shabbos table, or your corner of the sky.”

The kickoff is May 15 (7 p.m.). All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Irving Berlin: One of Broadway’s greatest Jewish composer.


Rick Tripodi was the beloved music director and organist at Green’s Farms Congregational Church.

That organ was close to Rick’s heart. As a teenager in 1965, he attended its  dedication.

Classically trained, with a master’s degree in organ performance from Juilliard, Rick designed the refurbishment of the Peragallo/Walker organ during the church’s recent renovation project.

Sadly, he died just 2 days before the instrument was reinstalled.

A memorial concert on Sunday, March 26 (4 p.m.) features David Enlow on the organ, and a 16-voice professional choir. They’ll perform Duruflé’s Requiem — a piece Rick requested a few days before he died.

The concert will be livestreamed, then uploaded to the church’s YouTube channel.

Click below to see the organ’s dedication. The video begins at the 9:00 mark.


Leave the car at home
Leave the driving all to us
Door to door service

How’s that for a haiku? (It’s by Diane Lowman, Westport’s first poet laureate.)

Wheels2U Westport — the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride, door to train platform shuttle service — is launching its 2nd annual poetry contest. The goal is to promote its Wheels2U commuter shuttle.

This year’s contest features haiku (last year’s was limericks).

The form originated in Japan. They’re unrhymed poems consisting of 17 syllables, in 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.

Gift certificates to Westport restaurants of their choice will be given to the top 7 entries. First prize is $100 gift certificate; 2 second prizes winners are $50 each; 4 third prize winners receive $25 gift certificates.

Wheels2U for you
We ferry you to the train
Worries left behind
(Diane Lowman)

Westport residents and commuters to here can use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup between 5:45 and 10 a.m., and 4 and 9:30 p.m. They’ll be taken to or from the Saugatuck or Greens Farms train platform and their front door, anywhere in Westport.

Pickups should be requested 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station. The fare is $2 when paid with the Wheels2U app.

The bus to the train
Take Wheels2U for the ride
Easy, no hassle.

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

The haiku contest deadline is March 27. Entries (as many as you like) should be sent to pgold@westportct.gov, and must include your name and address. Click here for the official rules.



Staples High School’s March Students of the Month are seniors Matthew Saw and Shanti Wimmer, juniors Juan Nieves and Isabella Rivel, sophomores Lily Hultgren and Aidan Zer, and freshmen Peter Cordts and Charlie Curran.

The program recognizes “students who help make Staples a welcoming place for peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together.” Nominations come from teachers.

March Students of the Month (from left): Lily Hultgren, Isabella Rivel, Matthew Saw, Charlie Curran, Peter Cordts. Missing: Shanti Wimmer and Aiden Zer


Last weekend, the Westport Weston Family YMCA 4th grade boys travel finished 2nd in the 15th annual Connecticut Hoopfest tournament (Platinum Division) in Milford. Congrats to the young stars!

Westport Weston Family YMCA 4th grade travel basketball team.


VersoFest 2023 is a music festival — and much more.

All day long on the weekend of April 1-2, experts and educators will offer 1-hour-workshops for creative and curious attendees.

They include:

TeachRock, Wall of Sound class (April 1, 11 a.m.): The Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound was the first large-scale line array used in modern sound reinforcement systems. TeachRock’s Bill Carbone and Gina Machado explore: What is a PA system? How does it work? And why should we thank the tinkering scientists of the Dead entourage for much of how we experience live music today?

The workshop will use Anthony Coscia’s scale model replica of the “Wall of Sound” that will be on display (and cranking tunes) throughout VersoFest.

Master class workshop & Rock Photography panel (April 1, 11:30 a.m.): Katie Settel is known for her evocative performance images as the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater’s photographer. Settel takes workshop participants through her journey, influences, and techniques.

Screenwriting master class (April 1, 2 p.m.): An overview of screenplay structure, focusing on the 90-page feature film script.
Songwriting Master Class

Songwriting master class (April 1, 3 p.m.): Whether you are a performing songwriter or just want to learn how to start a song, you can find your voice and turn your story into a musical moment. TV/Media Production Master Class

TV/Media Production master class (April 2, 11 a.m.): Producer/director Annette Jolles teach this master class, with Verso Studios crew call members. She has earned 17 Emmy Awards, and was the first female director for “Live from Lincoln Center.”

Click here, then scroll down for full details, including more events and registration information.

Anthony Coscis with his Wall of Sound.


Upcoming at Earthplace:

“A Toast to the Trees” (Arbor Day weekend: April 29). Both beer tasting and kids’ activities! “Tasting on the Trails” offers staggered entry (no snarky joke, sorry) between 4 and 5:30 p.m; the beer garden and food trucks are available from 4 to 7 p.m. Also included: lawn games, a campfire and s’mores. Tickets are $35 for adults, $15 for those under 21. Click here to purchase.

A “Cocktails & Clams” sunset evening on the Sound fundraiser for Harbor Watch — an Earthplace program — is set for Saturday, June 10 (5 to 7 p.m.). It’s dockside at Copps Island Oyster on Norwalk Harbor, with an unlimited raw bar, hors d’oeuvres, open bar, live band and silent auction. Tickets will be available next month.


Westport Police made 3 custodial arrests between March 8 and 15.

One was for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failure to drive in the proper lane, following an investigation into an accident on December 18 on Riverside Avenue.

A second was for larceny of food and gift cards, by an employee of Fresh Market.

The third was for failure to respond to an infraction (issued in Derby), following a motor vehicle stop.

The department did not release details of any citations issued.

The store pressed charges following an employee theft.


Just steps from downtown’s stores, traffic and parking lots, there’s a Saugatuck River scene worthy of the wilds.

Rachel Konstantin took today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, near the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

(Photo/Rachel Konstantin)


And finally … as noted in the story above, Irving Berlin is one of America’s most famous Jewish composers. He’s known and loved for songs like this:

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“School’s Out” — And The Library Is All In

“School’s Out” was released in 1972. More than 50 years later, Alice Cooper’s signature song is as fresh as ever. Every spring, for generations of students — and teachers, and parents — the hard rock anthem signals the start of summer.

Dennis Dunaway played bass guitar with the band. He co-wrote “School’s Out” (and other classics like “I’m 18”).

Decades later, the royalty checks keep coming.

And Dunaway keeps playing.

Alice Cooper — the group Dunaway co-founded in 1964 — stopped touring and recording in 1975. He went on to form Billion Dollar Babies (with several other Alice Cooper musicians).

His current band, Blue Coupe, includes Joe and Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult fame.

Tonight (Friday, March 10, 7 p.m.), they’ll rock the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum. It’s a preview of VersoFest, the Library’s March 30-April 2 music and media festival. Dunaway will be there then too, displaying Alice Cooper memorabilia and signing copies of his memoir “Smoke! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!”

Dunaway now lives in Stamford. “Not too many fans come to my door auditioning — the way we did with Frank Zappa,” he says, referring to a legendary Laurel Canyon ’60s morning. (“Let me have my coffee first,” the musician growled.)

Alice Cooper grew out of Dunaway’s friendship with Vince Furnier, and 2 other cross country teammates at Phoenix’s Cortez High School. They performed as “The Earwigs” (from “Cesspool”) at the Letterman Club’s talent show, mocking the suddenly popular Beatles. (They changed the lyrics of “Please Please Me,” for example, to “Last night I ran 4 laps for my coach.”)

They won the talent show. But neither Dunaway or Furnier could play an instrument.

They learned. The rest is musical history.

Alice Cooper

Their elaborate, theatrical shows and costumes paved the way for glam rock. (Dunaway’s wife Cindy, who designed many of those outfits, is the sister of Alice Cooper’s original drummer, Neal Smith.)

In 2011, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The music industry has changed greatly since Alice Cooper exploded (almost literally) on stage. “I can go in my back yard now, and play a studio-quality bass part,” Dunaway says. “I don’t need a recording studio to do it. And there are a bazillion bands out there playing.”

But Dunaway’s music stands the test of time. Tonight, and in 3 weeks at VersoFest, it will blast at a most unlikely venue: a library.

Dunaway loves that juxtaposition.

Dennis Dunaway’s Frog Bass.

“When you say ‘library,’ you get a certain image in mind,” he says. “But Westport has an amazing stage. and a big screen with incredible resolution and a great rock ‘n’ roll sound system. It will sound like an original Alice Cooper tour.”

At VersoFest, it will look like one too. Dunaway has amassed an enormous collection of memorabilia, including original Cortez High letter sweaters, their first Earwigs tambourine, a letter from Furnier suggesting which Beatles songs to learn, Dunaway’s own “Frog Bass” he played on “School’s Out” (on loan earlier to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame).

Dunaway — who is also in the Grammy Hall of Fame, for co-writing “School’s Out” — said that writing his memoir took “longer than Alice Cooper was together as a group.” (He and Furnier — who changed his name legally to “Alice Cooper” — shared a journalism class in high school.)

He looks forward to displaying the book — along with his memorabilia collection — at VersoFest.

First though is tonight’s concert.

Blue Coupe will be joined by sisters Tish and Snooky Bellomo of Manic Panic. “They bring harmony and eye candy,” Dunaway notes.

DJ B The T Sr. will start the night spinning formative rock, R&B and blue vinyl that influenced bands like Alice Cooper and Blue Öyster Cult.

Blue Coupe: Dennis Dunaway (center) with Joe and Albert Bouchard.

Dennis Dunaway is a lot closer to 80 years old now than he is to 18.

But you won’t know it when he takes the stage tonight. School’s out — and the library’s in.

(Click here for more information on tonight’s Blue Coupe concert. Click here for tickets. For more information on VersoFest 2023, click here.)

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Roundup: BMS, Budget Process, BOF …

Matthew Balga — the 54-year-old Norwalk resident killed in a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident Saturday night on Riverside Avenue — worked at The Whelk, not far from where he was struck.

A small memorial honored his life yesterday, near the scene of his death.

(Photo/Jennifer Johnson)


This morning’s “06880” lead story described Bedford Middle School’s 7th grade project: sending letters and artwork to their counterparts in Westport’s sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

But that’s not the only way BMS engages with the world outside Westport.

Yesterday, 6th graders capped off a 2-month “Walk for Water” fundraiser. It coincided with their social studies Africa unit, featuring the book “A Long Walk to Water” to Linda Sue Park.

Students learned that many people around the globe lack reliable access to clean, fresh water. They walk an average of 3.7 miles — sometimes several times a day — to access potable water.

Over the course of 2 months, each BMS 6th grader and member completed a 3.7- mile walk, to understand the struggles that come with fresh water insecurity, and raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Bedford’s 6th grade students and associated community raised over $10,000 to support the “Iron Giraffe Challenge 2023.” The non-profit organization provides safe, fresh water and hygiene to villages in South Sudan.

The cost to build a new well is $15,000. As thanks, a plaque will be placed next to a new well in the village when it is built.

Yesterday, BMS 6th graders participated in a virtual meeting with Elissa Rowley from the Water for South Sudan organization. She described their work, and answered questions.

Then the 6th graders, teachers and staff walked to the Staples High School track, to recreate their Walk for Water.

Contributions are still being accepted. To give, and learn more, click here.

6th graders meet with Elissa Rowley yesterday.


It’s budget season. Buckle up!

Whether you’re an old-timer or newcomer; whether you know Westport’s budget process, or don’t have a clue, this week’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast is for you.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker explains the budget season, step by step. She also introduces the proposed 2023-24 budget, explaining how it was developed and where the money goes. (Or hopes to go.)

Click below, for this very informative Y’s Men of Westport and Weston feature:


Speaking of the budget (spoiler alert): The Board of Finance plays a crucial role.

Who are they? How do they operate?

The League of Women Voters pull back the curtain on March 15 (7 p.m., Westport Library). Chair Lee Caney and others will explain everything you need to know, at this free event.


“Free Renty” is a documentary about Tamara Lanier, an African American woman now living in Norwich, Connecticut, who was determined to force Harvard University to cede possession of daguerreotypes of her great-great-great grandfather, Renty Taylor — an enslaved man — and his daughter Delia.

The images were commissioned in 1850 by a Harvard professor to prove the superiority of the white race. The film tracks Lanier’s lawsuit against Harvard, and features attorney Benjamin Crump and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The documentary will be screen on March 18 (6 p.m.), at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport — followed by a discussion led by Lanier herself.

Admission is free. A potluck dinner is served before the viewing, at 5. For more information, email events@uuwestport.org.

Tamara Lanier


VersoFest 2023’s concert pass is now on sale. It includes 3 shows at the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum:

  • Friday, March 10 fundraiser with supergroup Blue Coupe (members of Alice Cooper and Blue Öyster Cult)
  • Thursday, March 30: Sunflower Bean and DJ Hysterica
  • Friday, March 31: The Smithereens, Amilia K. Spicer, DJ Miriam Linna.

The $90 pass is a 22% discount from the $115 face value. Only 150 are available; click here to purchase. For more information on VersoFest, click here.


Speaking of entertainment:

Brian Marsella headlines this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, March 9, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. shows; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).

Called “a psychedelic Art Tatum,” Marsella recently finished a world tour. He’s joined by bassist Reid Taylor and drummer Brian Floody — returning after a fall appearance at The Post — and series curator/saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Brian Marsella


New to Westport: Vanessa Lewis’ latest iteration of her Penfield Collective retail concept, in Sconset Square. She brings the physical store from Fairfield, and a customer base from far and wide.

Penfield Collective is a “highly edited collection of must-have apparel and accessories.” That fits in well, with many of its design and lifestyle neighbors in the recently renovated shopping center on Myrtle Avenue.

Click here to learn more.

Vanessa Lewis


Large houses now line the banks of Sherwood Mill Pond. But there is still room for nature, as shown in this “Westport … Naturally” photo by Rick Benson:

(Photo/Rick Benson)


And finally … Gary Rossington, a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd — and their last surviving original member — died Sunday at 71.

The guitarist survived both a bad car accident in 1976 (which inspired the song “That Smell”), and the 1977 plane crash that killed 3 band members. Rossington suffered 2 broken arms, a broken leg, and a punctured stomach and liver.

He had quintuple bypass surgery in 2003, suffered a heart attack in 2015, and underwent several heart surgeries later. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

(From Westport’s budget process to VersoFest — and on to Lynyrd Skynrd — the “06880” daily Roundup is your place for news and information. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Seed Exchange, Oscar Winners, Ted Lasso …

This has been the Westport Farmers’ Market best season to date.

Next Thursday (March 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center), they’ll celebrate with their annual seed exchange.

“Collecting, sharing and growing seeds saved by our very own shoppers, farmers and vendors – especially heirloom varieties – involves the community personally in promoting local food and flora,” says executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

“This year more than ever, we want to seed it with love and health.”

Dina Brewster of farmer-led seed collective Eco59 will discuss seed saving.

People can bring seeds they have saved from their own gardens, or take home a few saved by others. WFM farmers will donate seeds from their favorite crops, to try at home.

All seeds except those of invasive species* are welcome. However, the Market requests people bring and take home heirloom or organic varieties.

“Heirloom seeds are critical to reclaiming our food system,” Cochran-Dougall notes.

“These open-pollinated plants have been passed down from generation to generation without human intervention or manipulation. They taste better, are more nutritious, and help protect plant diversity.”

*For a list of plants considered invasive in Connecticut, click here,


It’s almost Oscars time.

And the winner for Best “Guess the Winners” Contest is … the Westport Book Shop and the Remarkable Theater.

For the second year in a row, they’re co-starring in the local event.

Just fill out a ballot for who you think will win the Academy Award in each of 9 categories this year (plus a tie-breaker).

The 3 people with the most correct guesses will each receive a ticket for any showing at the Remarkable Theater’s 2023 season (a $50 value) — plus a $25 Westport Book Shop gift card, and Remarkable Theater and Westport Book Shop swag.

Ballots are available at the Westport Book Shop (23 Jesup Road, across Jesup Green from the Westport Library). You can also download them from the Book Shop website. or Remarkable Theater website. All ballots must be returned to the Westport Book Shop by 5 p.m. March 12. (The Oscars are that night.)

One entry per person. Click here for complete rules. Questions? Call 203-349-5141, or email bookshop@westportbooksaleventures.org.


Staples High School Class of 1972 graduate Kirk Combe has an intriguing new blog.

“Rant Against the Regime” examines culture (movies, politics, current events, literature, media, social issues … you name it) — while at the same time exploring how we take a look at culture.

Combe is professor emeritus of English and cultural studies at Denison University, where he won an award for excellence in teaching.

He earned a doctor of philosophy in literature at Oxford University. At Davidson College he played varsity basketball. As a senior, he captained the Staples team.

Fittingly, his first piece is about … Ted Lasso.

Click here for Combe’s blog. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Professor Kirk Combe

VersoFest is the Westport Library’s annual celebration of music, media — and creativity. This year, it adds an arts component.

The Artists Collective of Westport celebrates “music through visual arts” with a 2-part exhibition, in all 3 Library galleries.

The exhibits run March 4 through May 9. A “reveal” of “Piece by Piece” kicks things off at a March 8 reception (6 p.m.)

“Piece by Piece” is a 6-foot by 10-foot installation comprising the work of 60 Artists Collective members. Each artist received a 12-inch by 12-inch blank panel, and a 6-inch square section randomly selected from a single iconic music-themed painting.

The artists created individual pieces, replicating a part of the larger painting in their own style. They will not know what the final painting will look like until it is revealed at the opening reception.

Contributors include Miggs Burroughs, Katherine Ross, Michael Brennecke, Nina Bentley, Susan Fehlinger, Eric Chiang and Elizabeth DeVoll.

For “Music to Our Eyes,” each Collective member was invited to display a work in the medium of their choice — interpreting music through painting, drawing, photography, and collage.

Over 50 local artists will exhibit their musically themed paintings in the Library’s Sheffer Gallery. Some works were inspired by a style of music; some were inspired by a specific piece. But all are related to the artists’ musical experience.

Each 12-inch by 12-inch “piece” of Piece by Piece is available for purchase, starting at the reception. Each square is $100. 50% of the proceeds support the Library’s art programs; 50% goes to the artist

Additional art on display in the Sheffer and Jesup Galleries will also be available for purchase, with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the Library.

Last year’s “Piece by Piece” impressed the Westport Library crowd. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)


The Connecticut Appalachian Mountain Club heads to another continent soon.

On March 14 (6:15 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church), Ida Lowe headlines a dinner presentation on “Exploring the Colombian Amazon: The Painted Forest.”

The hiker/world traveler/Colombia native/Westport resident will share her experiences and photographs of trekking through Guaviare, including the recent discovery of 12,600-year old drawings in the middle of the jungle. Her trek included colorful rivers, steep climbs and amazing rock formations, through dense jungle.

Appetizers, wine, soft drinks, pasta dinner, salads and desserts will be served.  The cost for members is $10; for non-members, $15. For more information, email easasso7@icloud.com.

Colombian jungle.


Venturing even further afield:

The Westport Astronomical Society’s next free online lecture is titled “Solar Orbiter: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Sun.”

Dr. Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla — NASA project scientist for the Solar Orbiter Collaboration — will be livestreamed on March 21 (8 p.m.).

The Solar Orbiter is “the most complex scientific laboratory ever sent to the Sun. By combining observations from its 6 remote-sensing instruments and 4 suites of in situ instruments, the scientific community will explore how the Sun creates and controls the heliosphere?’

Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube stream.

Dr. Teresa Nieves-Chinchilla


In the first round of the state tournament n Wednesday, the 12th-ranked Stamford/Westhill/Staples co-op girls ice hockey team upset #5 Simsbury 5-2. Staples junior Maya Sherman had 2 goals, while freshman goalie Clara Peroni of Staples notched 16 saves.

Yesterday in the quarterfinals, they fell to #4 seed East Catholic, 4-1.

Earlier, the girls reached the FCIAC semifinal. That game ended in a heartbreaking, triple overtime loss to New Canaan.

Congratulations to all the girls, and to John Fay — the team’s coach, and captain of the Staples boys hockey team in 1980-81.

Action from yesterday’s girls ice hockey state quarterfinal.


There were no custodial arrests by the Westport Police Department during the last week.

The WPD’s new reporting system still does not permit access to citation information.

There were no custodial arrests here, during the past week. Note: This is NOT the Westport Police Department lock-up.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo promises a hint — just a little one — of spring.

Mark Yurkiw spotted this blooming pond on Sturges Highway:

(Photo/Mark Yurkiw)


And finally … in honor of the Westport Farmers’ Market seed exchange (story above):

(Here’s another great exchange: support for “06880” enables us to keep bringing you the daily Roundup (and everything else). Please click here. Thank you!)


Roundup: Lyman Apartments, Milwaukee Bucks, Coffee & Food …

Supplies have been delivered. Now construction has begun on apartment buildings in Lyman, Ukraine. Work on 2 is already completed.

Lyman apartments.

Funds for building materials to shore up the structures — nearly demolished during 5 months of Russian occupation — came from $252,000 donated by Westporters to our sister city.

Work is being done by local contractors, hired by Ukraine Aid International. The non-profit was founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer.

At work in Lyman.


The Milwaukee Bucks may not seem, at first glance, to be the 3rd most valued US sports franchise.

But if the reported 25% sale of the NBA team by co-owner — and Westporter — Marc Lasry goes through, at a valuation of $3.5 billion, it would be the 2nd-highest for an NBA team (behind the Phoenix Suns’ recent $4 billion), and 3rd overall (the Denver Broncos went for $4.65 billion in June).

Marc Lasry (right), after the Bucks won the NBA championship. (Screen shot photo/Fred Cantor)

Lasry and fellow hedge fund titan Wes Eden bought the Bucks for $550 million in 2014, from former US Senator Herb Kohl. They won the NBA championship in 2021. (Click here for the full story: Hat tips: Michael Catarevas, Chris Grimm and Fred Cantor)

Marc Lasry’s Beachside Avenue estate includes this full-size basketball court — including the Milwaukee Bucks’ slogan, “Fear the deer.”


The Granola Bar has joined Nobu Restaurants.

Well, in a coffee partnership, anyway. Parent company TGB Hospital Group has partnered exclusively with Coffee of Grace, a Black woman-owned brand. It will be served — and sold by the bag — at The Granola Bar’s 5 locations, plus Old Mill Grocery & Deli.

Nobu is the only other group to offer a Coffee of Grace custom blend.

Coffee of Grace emphasizes environmental stewardship, and supports farmers (particularly female coffee growers) by sourcing directly from co-ops in Rwanda, Peru, Guatemala and Brazil.

All coffees are 100% arabica, specialty grade, organically grown, and ethically sourced from small lot coffee farmers through 100% Direct Trade business.


Speaking of food:

Months after a “Coming Soon…” sign appeared at 793 Post Road East — the new retail/residential complex at the foot of Long Lots Road, behind Shearwater Coffee and Pizza Lyfe — Gallo Express is finally open.

The takeout and delivery-only store offers salads, pasta, pizze, panini, and plenty of full meals. Click here for a menu, and more details.

Screenshot from the Gallo Express website.


Aspiring interns can apply now apply for the 2023 Joanne Woodward Internship Program at the Westport Country Playhouse. Interns work directly with senior staff in the areas of development, education, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Interns also attend weekly seminars with guest speakers including Playhouse staff, visiting designers and artists, commercial producers and more.

Due to the Playhouse’s shortened season, production internships are not available this year.

The program runs from May 27 through August 12. The stipend is $600 a week. The application deadline is March 17. For more information, click here

Stephen Sondheim (crouching, top of photo), during his 1950 apprenticeship at the Westport Country Playhouse. Also in the photo: future film director Frank Perry (front row, left) and Richard Rodgers’ daughter Mary (2nd row, 4th from left).


Tonight’s Malloy Lecture in the Arts has been postponed, due to weather.

Artist/musician Richard Butler will now appear on Saturday, April 1 (7 p.m.), in conversation with Chris Frantz.

That’s the 3rd day of the 2nd annual VersoFest. The April 1 lineup for the music and media event now features Butler, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer (and Fairfield resident) Frantz, and legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, reuniting 3 rock icons who rose to international prominence in the late 1970s and 80s.

Butler was part of the Psychedelic Furs, one of London’s leading post-punk bands.

Lillywhite delivers his festival keynote — also a conversation with Frantz — on Saturday, April 1 at 1 pm.

The Spring 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts with Butler replaces the previously scheduled laser light show at VersoFest. It will be rescheduled.

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is a gift from Westport artist Susan Malloy. The Westport Library created the lecture series in 2002 as a free, public discussion by an individual who has had a significant cultural influence. and whose work has enhanced understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Richard Butler


Speaking of the Westport Library: it opens at noon today.


Also postponed: tonight’s FCIAC boys basketball semifinal. #4 Staples High School now takes on #1 Ridgefield tomorrow (Wednesday, March 1, Wilton High School). Tipoff is 7:15 p.m.


The latest “What’s Next in Weston” podcast features part 2 of 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor’s interview with Public Safety communications director Larry Roberts.

They discuss the cost and coverage of the statewide emergency communications system, and how it will benefit town residents.

The podcast is produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.


Guitar master Bob DeVos kicks off March  in Westport with a blend of originals and masterpieces, at this Thursday’s Jazz at the Post (March 2, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).

He’ll be joined by Organ Trio bandmates Dan Kostelnik and Steve Johns, plus Greg “Jazz Rabbi” Wall  on saxophone.

Recommendations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


Naturally, today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature features snow.

The first of 2023 made this intriguing mark on Nancy Axthelm’s back yard:

(Photo/Nancy Axthelm)


And finally … It was the perfect snowfall, in fact.

Just enough to be pretty. Not enough to be onerous. No wind, drifts or bone-chilling temperatures.

So although the weather outside is far from frightful, it’s about time to let this song rip:

 (Take a break from shoveling. Sit by the fire. Have some hot chocolate. And please, consider a donation to “06880.” Click here — thank you!)


Roundup: VersoFest, Staples Basketball, MoCA Open Mic …

VersoFest keeps upping its game.

The 4-day music, media and more festival at the Westport Library has just added a musical oral history with drummer/writer/music historian/label owner/publisher/collector/archivist Miriam Linna.

The founding member of the Cramps, Flamin’ Groovies Fan Club leader, co-founder of Norton Records and Kicks Books, and mastermind of Kicksville Radio, will be interviewed by Queen Bee Christine Ohlman.

Miriam will also DJ the Smithereens concert Friday evening (March 31), and host a Norton Records/Kick Books table at the VersoFest Record Fair. She’ll have the familiar R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, primitive grease on hand, as well as memorabilia from the Norton/Kicks archives never seen anywhere before.

The record fair (Sunday, April 2, 11 a.m.) includes a discussion panel. On hand for the “breakfast nosh”: Kid Ginseng (Kraftjerkz Records), Karen Ponzio (New Haven Independent Arts Writer), Alec Cumming (“Snap Crackle POP!” on WPKN), Dooley-O (hip-hop legend), and Eric Holland (WFUV). The moderator is Dave Schneider of the Zambonis.

The music oral history and record fair are free. For the full VersoFest schedule, ticket information and more, click here.


The date of the next Westport volunteer trash pick-up — on Elaine Road (Compo Road South, between I-95 and the train tracks — has been changed. The new day and time is Saturday, March 4, 11 a.m. — not Sunday.

Elaine Road serves as the entrance to the water sewage treatment plant, and public access for boat and kayak launches, along with Animal Control. It attracts plenty of I-95 trash too, from vehicles and their irresponsible drivers and passengers.

All volunteers are welcome. Bring garbage bags, and dress appropriately.

Questions? Email acolabellartm4@gmail.com.

Elaine Road.


The Staples High School boys basketball team is enjoying one of its most successful seasons ever.

Today (Saturday, February 25, 5 p.m., Fairfield Warde High School), the Wreckers begin their quest for the FCIAC championship with a quarterfinal match. Ranked #4, they face #5 Wilton. Last month, the Warriors won 69-68, in a thrilling overtime game.

Click here for tickets. Can’t make it to Warde? Click here for the livestream.

Staples High School 2023 boys basketball team.


MoCA’s first open mic night in October was a great success.

An encore performance — called “MoCA Some Noise” — is set for April 6 (5 to 7 p.m.). Local (aspiring) performers are invited to share their acoustic music with the community. Cocktails and drinks will be available for purchase.

The cost is $5 to perform, $10 to attend. Both fees are waived for MoCA members. 

Click here for information, tickets and an application form.


The (relatively) new pier at Burying Hill Beach is man-made. But the gulls enjoying it are the centerpiece of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Leigh Gage)


And finally … writer Anthony Burgess was born on this date, in 1917. He is best known for “A Clockwork Orange.” And the movie version by Stanley Kubrick is best known for …

VersoFest Schedule: Get Ready To Rock (And Rap) (And Dance)

When organizers brought everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker to Joan Baez, Ravi Shankar and Sha Na Na to Woodstock, the world thought that was very cool.

The Westport Library’s 2nd annual VersoFest won’t feature skinny dipping, bad acid and mud.

But the 4-day event promises a lineup at least as broad as Woodstock’s, plus panels, workshops and other events about an across a wide array of media and platforms. It’s our town’s special festival — 2023-style.

Running from March 30 through April 2, VersoFest ncludes Sunflower Bean and the Smithereens; androgynous rock fashion, and hip hop’s 50th anniversary, and something for both Deadheads and gearheads.

Last year’s inaugural event drew thousands to the Library’s Trefz Forum, and meeting rooms throughout the building. This year’s VersoFest — named for Verso Studios, the state-of-the-art media facility — builds on that creative start.

Sunflower Bean kicks it all off on Thursday, March 30. Hot off headlining at South by Southwest, they’ll follow Americana opening act Amilia K Spicer, and vinyl DJ Miriam Linna.

On Friday, the Smithereens — featuring Marshall Crenshaw — keep VersoFest’s energy sky-high.

Saturday and Sunday are jammed with panel and workshop programming. Highlights a keynote conversation. Steve Lillywhite — whose producing credits include the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, U2, the Dave Matthews Band and Phish — will chat with Chris Frantz, co-founder of both Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club.

Earlier in the day, Steven Van Zandt’s educational foundation, TeachRock, offers a presentation on the Dead’s 3-story, 28,800-watt hot-rodded PA system. (Anthony Coscia’s scale model recreation will also play music throughout VersoFest.)

Anthony Coscis with his Wall of Sound.

New York Times trend reporter Rachel Felder will host a panel on “Evolving Rock Fashion: From Marianne Faithfull to Debbie Harry to Lizzo.

Artist Dylan Hundley moderates a photography panel that includes Westport native Michael Friedman, whose “lost negatives” from the 1960s form the basis of a stunning upcoming book.

Saturday night showcases “Laser Stranger Things” and “Laser Floyd” shows. Both feature music of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” series, and the music of Pink Floyd.

Alice Cooper fans get a two-er: an exhibition of costumes, props, instruments, unpublished photos and more on Saturday and Sunday, plus a screening of the documentary “Live from the Astroturf” (and a Q-and-A and book signing with bassist Dennis Dunaway, on Sunday. (His Blue Coupe group, with Joe and Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult, play a pre-VersoFest fundraiser March 10.)

Norton Records co-founder Miriam Linna — whose roots in rock, garage, punk and R&B run deep — is the subject of a Music Oral History with Beehive Queen and “Saturday Night Live” singer Christine Ohlman (returning after her memorable 2022 VersoFest appearance).

Christine Ohlman

Early Sunday evening half a century of hip hop is celebrated with a Legends Beats and Grooves block (scratch DJ demonstrations and discussions).

All day Sunday, vinyl dealers will sell and trade their records. All weekend long, workshops cover topics like “Writing for Independent Film,” “TV/Media Production,” “Podcast, Streaming and Radio,” and “The Business of Music.”

Concerts and workshops are ticketed events; panels and keynotes are free.

A cash bar will be available all 4 nights of the festival. Food trucks in the parking lot will augment the Library Café. VersoFest concerts are co-produced with the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

And remember that memorable scene in “Woodstock,” with the guy who was cleaning Port-a-Sans?

All Westport Library bathrooms will be open — and cleaned regularly — during VersoFest.

(Click here (and see below) for the full schedule, and ticket information.)

(“06880” rocks Westport. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)