Tag Archives: Wafu

Roundup: Rally Speaker, Cavalry Road Bridge, Wafu Brawl …

Tomorrow’s reproductive rights “Rally Against Regression” includes a high-profile speaker: Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz. The event begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

Last month — in anticipation of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling outlawing Roe v. Wade — Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill protecting medical providers, and patients seeking abortion care here who travel from states that outlaw it. The legislation — the first in the US — expands abortion access in the state, by expanding the practitioners eligible to perform certain types of care.

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Cavalry Road residents were up in arms recently. The long-running bridge replacement ended with a surprise: industrial-looking guardrails and a chain link fence suddenly appeared. Neighbors claimed they had not seen those in any previous plans. They appealed to officials in both Westport and Weston.

Late yesterday, Weston town administrator Jonathan Luiz said:

“The new bridge is open to traffic!

“We understand that Westport and Weston residents have concerns about the bridge. Staffs from both Weston and Westport have collated the concerns that were communicated to us in person, via email and by phone. The list was shared with the project engineer/designer who has already begun to examine each of the issues.

“At the advice of the Weston Police Chief and the Westport Police Chief, the Weston Public Works staff has performed stop sign related work near the bridge. Specifically, they have reset stop signs, repainted white stop bars on the ground, and cut back vegetation near a particular stop sign. A speed monitoring sign has also been placed near the bridge by Westport Police.

“Weston invites the public to attend a virtual meeting on Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. for the purpose of discussing the concerns that have been raised to date. The Weston First Selectwoman, Weston Town Administrator, Westport staff, and the project engineer/designer will be in attendance. The meeting will be held via Zoom. To join via internet, use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84296566039 To join via phone, dial: 646-558- 8656. The Webinar ID is 842 9656 6039.”

That’s a start, for sure. But I don’t see any reference to “guardrails” or a chain link fence anywhere in the Weston town administrator’s response.

Buckle up for that July 6 meeting.

Guardrail and fencing on the Cavalry Road bridge.

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As yesterday’s “06880” noted, Chris Bousquet’s “Gloria” — an ode to Alan Sterling’s oyster boat — is the theme song for a CPTV/PBS documentary about oystering in Connecticut.

The film airs just as the craft is in its final stages of disintegration. Gloria has floated — and broken apart — in Gray’s Creek, ever since owner Alan Sterling’s death nearly 8 years ago.

Bruce McFadden regularly paddles past. The other day, he snapped this sad — and perhaps final — shot:

(Photo/Bruce McFadden)

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Wafu is technically just over the town line, in Southport. But the Post Road restaurant has many Westport fans. They’re drawn by — as its website says – “the warmth of our hospitality and our pride in offering you an elegant combination of traditional Asian recipes and innovative sophisticated dishes.”

But it just got tougher to order a sake or Kirin with your meal.

Its liquor license has been suspended by the state Consumer Protection Commission. The action came after a “brawl” there last Sunday. At least 10 shots were fired, and one person was hit.

That was not an isolated instance. The day before, a patron was assaulted there. In March, 10 minors were served alcohol. A couple of weeks before that, the fire marshal closed Wafu, due to overcrowding. And in February a bouncer allegedly pepper-sprayed 6 guests.

WTF, Wafu? (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

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Alan Fiore — the on-fire 2021 Staples High School graduate studying at Berklee College of Music — has just released his newest song.

“Locked Up” is an indie pop/rock tune, inspired by artists like Sarah and the Sunday, COIN, Why Don’t We and Jeremy Zucker.

Click here for a “Locked Up” link. Click here for the musician/producer’s website.

Alan Fiore

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Up next at the Remarkable Theater: “Caddyshack.”

The 1980 classic — starring our much loved (seriously!) late neighbor Rodney Dangerfield — screens at 8:30 p.m. Monday (June 27); gates open for tailgating at 7:30. Click here for tickets.

Fore!

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This stunning Northern catalpa sits at the entrance to Marion Road, off the Post Road near Norwalk. It’s a great way to celebrate “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Mike Vitelli)

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And finally … in honor of Monday’s showing of “Caddyshack” at the Remarkable Theatre:

(Alright — just a reminder that “06880” relies completely on reader support. Please click here to donate.)

Frederic And Jeanine’s Old-Time, 21st-Century Salons

In 2002, Frederic Chiu returned to the US after 12 years in France. A Juilliard-trained concert pianist, he settled in Westport. He loved the town’s support of arts and culture; besides, his wife Jeanine Esposito lived here since 1991. She is both an innovation consultant to Fortune 500 firms and a visual artist.

The couple bought a small house in Green’s Farms. As their children grew, they searched for something larger. It took a while, but finally they found an 1806 house on Weston Road. They loved it, for its bones and because there was space to invite artists and musicians for “salons” — just like in old-time Paris.

Jeanine Esposito and Frederic Chiu, in their Weston Road home.

Jeanine Esposito and Frederic Chiu, in their Weston Road home.

Five minutes after seeing it, they “crazily” put in a bid. They added a letter, about their dream of sharing arts there with the community. Soon, the house — once owned by Morris Ketchum — was theirs.

They had not even furnished it, when Frederic invited a touring Argentinian pianist to perform at an “art immersion event.” Argentine friends helped prepare native food. Guests called it an “amazing” night.

Frederic and Jeanine staged a few similar events. Each celebrated art, music, film and food, for no more than 65 guests. No one is an expert in everything, so everyone is open to sharing their experiences.

But each one cost money. So last fall Frederic’s friend — internationally renowned violinist Joshua Bell — played a fundraiser there, in the warm, graceful Weston Road home the couple calls “Beechwood.”

Beechwood House is a perfect place for salons.

Beechwood House is a perfect place for salons.

A neighbor — a part-time Westport resident — who had come to every event took the invitations, and pages from the website, and reported Frederic and Jeanine to town officials. The couple spent their fundraising dollars on lawyers.

Planning & Zoning ruled that no permits are needed for private salons. “We’re certainly not running a business,” Frederic notes. But the time-consuming, frustrating and expensive process got them wondering: How could they take something people loved — something that opens up all the senses, includes a mix of young and established artists and performers, and gets people talking to each other, laughing, having a good time — and reach a broader audience?

A piano performance is just part of one salon.

A piano performance is just part of one salon.

Around the same time, Frederic played a concert with 100 other pianos — all over the world. It was streamed over the internet. An idea was born: add technology to old-style salons, in a worldwide web of shared intimacy.

Guests chat with others far away, at satellite salons. The iPads are placed on mannequins, for a more "personal" feel.

Guests chat with others far away, at satellite salons. The iPads are placed on mannequins, for a more “personal” feel.

A donor offered to provide equipment. The challenges were daunting, but on November 17 Frederic and Jeanine hosted an event in Westport. Linked “satellite salons” took place simultaneously in Boston, New Jersey, Virginia and Beijing. All were small gatherings, with Skyped music, artwork, poetry and a Chinese dancer, plus fresh, local food. (In Westport, attendees ate from Wafu, and drank teas from Arogya.)

Frederic and Jeanine have made Beechwood a site for more than their salons. He’s held intensive weekend workshops there, and the couple has collaborated with the Westport Historical Society and Westport Country Playhouse to host events. Last summer, a “Beechwood Open” brought together young and old for an open stage, open mic, open screen (for films), open walls (for art) and open table. Frederic and Jeanine envision Beechwood as “a meeting ground for all the arts in town.”

Up next: a springtime collaboration of artists, musicians, filmmakers and tech folks. They’ll start at Beechwood, then move out into the community to do more.

It’s all part of Frederic and Jeanine’s wish to make their town a “cultural salon hub.” And not just for Westport, but the world.

Sculpture -- indoors and outside -- is an important part of Beechwood salons.

Sculpture — indoors and outside — is an important part of Beechwood salons…

...and so too is great food and good conversation.

…and so too is great food and good conversation.

 

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