Tag Archives: Westport Astronomical Society

Roundup: Staples Rugby, Sky Show, Wave Show …

Congratulations to Staples High School’s newest state champions: the rugby team.

The Wreckers romped over perennial powerhouse Greenwich 35-7, in Thursday’s final. That avenged a 30-12 loss to the Cardinals in the national tourney (when Staples was saddled with injuries and illness).

During the regular season, Staples defeated Greenwich 28-16.

Well done, coach Neal Seideman and the gang!

The joyful Staples High School rugby team.

=======================================================

The Remarkable Bookcycle has a new home: Old Mill Grocery.

It’s a great spot for the popular free library. It will get even more use when the deli/market opens. As the sign promises, it should be soon.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

=======================================================

The Westport Astronomical Society’s astro-photographers are lighting it up again.

A new show — “How Beautiful, the Universe” — opens at the Stamford JCC’s Art Gallery this Tuesday (June 14, 7 p.m.). Photographs showing the beautiful objects found just by looking up in the night sky will be on display through August 31.

Among the WAS photographers showing works: Shannon Calvert, Steven Labkoff, Carl Lancaster, Michael Southam, Stuart Stakoff, Dana Weisbrot
and Kurt Zepetello

Proceeds from images on sale will support new observatory domes on the WAS campus (Bayberry Lane, behind the Westport Weston Health District).

Photos from the Westport Astronomical Society exhibit.

=======================================================

Speaking of art: Westport artist Dale Najarian is among 8 female painters featured in George Billis Gallery’s new show: “Ride the Wave.” Her works in this exhibit were influenced by Westport photographer Stacy Bass.

The summer group show runs June 19 through July 23, at Billis’ new 180 Post Road East space. An opening reception is set for July 7 (4 to 7 p.m.).

Other artists include Maureen Chatfield, Kristin Coates, Kerry Irvine, Lori Leckliter, Wendy Briggs Powell, Diana Tremaine and Margery Gosnell-Qua.

“Salt Pond” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

=======================================================

“06880” would not normally post a photo of a guy in a kayak.

But, as Jamie Walsh — who took the image — notes:

“This is my neighbor, dear friend and longtime fellow Westporter Ed Perrault. He recently built this amazing kayak at home. He commissioned it yesterday.”

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Congratulations, Ed!

PS: Thanks for making me feel like a slug.

======================================================

Former Westport Planning & Zoning Department planner Carolyn Warnow Makover died last month in Danbury. She was 83.

The Cornell University graduate worked in publishing, marketing and graphic design, while raising her family. She found her calling while attending the Conway School of Landscape Design, and received a Master of Arts in Landscape Design in 1986.

Besides the P&Z, she worked at Tate & Associates and Frederick P. Clark Associates as an Environmental Planner. She later served as webmaster for the town and several non-profit organizations, and remained active in local initiatives. Throughout her career and in her volunteer work, she focused on utilizing good design and communications to support people and communities. Carrie also cared deeply about keeping family and friends connected.

During the pandemic, she used her technical skills to ensure that her personal and professional groups could easily move to online gatherings. With her brother and sisters, she founded Reckless Night Music to help preserve the musical legacy of their father, composer Raymond Scott.

Carrie is survived by her daughter Kathryn, son Daniel, long-time partner Richard Stein, and many friends and family members.

A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Regional Hospice in Danbury.

Carolyn Makover

================================================

Patti Brill describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“This is the time of year that turtles lay their eggs. I caught this one today doing that at Covlee Beach. I took this quick shot without disturbing its task. They do not like to be interrupted while hiding the eggs in the sand. I didn’t want to get too close.”

(Photo/Patti Brill)

======================================================

And finally … in honor of the new George Billis Gallery show, “Ride the Wave” (story above) — well, this is close enough:

Roundup: Transit $$, Farmers’ Market, The Universe …

Last night, the Representative Town Meeting voted 30-1 to restore $133,000 the Board of Finance had cut, to Wheels2U Westport’s 2022-23 budget.

Wheels2U Westport, is the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride shuttle service. It takes riders from their door to the Saugatuck and Greens Farms train station platforms, and from the stations to their jobs and other places in Westport.

The restoration will keep Wheels2U operating through June 30, 2023.

Peter Gold, Westport Transit District director (and an RTM member), said he and his colleagues received over 200 letters from “all segments of Westport’s population” in support of restoring the funds.

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,

A Wheels2U bus.

=======================================================

If you’re starved for good news, listen up: The Westport Farmers’ Market returns to the Imperial Avenue parking lot on Thursday, May 12.

Favorite farmers return, including Fort Hill, Riverbank, Ox Hollow, Calf + Clover Creamery, Beaver Brook, Herbal Deva, Muddy Feet Flower Farm, Two Guys from Woodbridge, Bee Love Project, Horseshoe, Deeply Rooted, Popp’s, Rose’s Berry, Seacoast Mushroom, Lost Ruby and Woodland. There are a few surprises too, says director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

Prepared food vendors include fresh faces alongside those you have come to rely on for your weekly shopping and entertaining needs, including Boxcar Cantina, NitNoi Provisions, Farmers and Cooks, Simply Local, Herbaceous Catering, Badass Bagels and Parlor Pizza, among others.

After 2 years, dining returns 🙂 . Music again fills the air , kids’ activities take center stage, and chef and other demonstrations are back as well

A 10 a.m. mindful opening will be led by Pause + Purpose. A toast follows at noon, with Cross Culture Kombucha.

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday, through November 10. For more information, including a full list of vendors and programs, click here.  find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, too!

=======================================================

What a sweet way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month!

1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker presented the town’s official proclamation on Sunday, before an excited group of Asian American and Pacific Islander Westport families — at Saugatuck Sweets.

2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein and RTM member Sal Liccione joined in.

To celebrate the month, Saugatuck Sweets is lighting their Westport and Fairfield stores yellow.

Happy AAPI Heritage Month at Saugatuck Sweets!

=======================================================

Staples High School’s AWARE Club is not only aware of the world.

They’re doing something to help.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women through Actions, Resources & Education. It’s affiliated with local and national AWARE organizations.

The teenagers are supporting refugees their age from Ukraine and Afghanistan, who will arrive in Connecticut this summer. They’re collecting new beach towels and water bottles, so their peers can have a bit of enjoyment.

The towels and bottles can be dropped off from now through May 11. There’s a bin by the front door at 14 High Point Road (off Long Lots).

Teens who would like to join Staples’ AWARE Club — or volunteer at the “Tapas & Twilight” May 14 AWARE fundraiser, to benefit the Women’s Mentoring Network — should email info@awarect.org.

 

======================================================

The Martin Luther King Day presentation by noted author Heather McGhee — postponed from January — has been rescheduled. It’s now set for May 18 (7 p.m., Westport Library).

Her book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Her 2020 TED talk “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

The MLK Day program also includes a recital by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Click here to register for the free program in the Library’s Trefz Forum, or via livestream, and to purchase a copy of “The Sum of Us.”

The event is sponsored by the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy.

Dr. Heather McGhee

=======================================================

Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns for its 13th running on July 9. The location is new: Jesup Green.

On Sunday, the Rotarians tried out their new design. The Westport Fire Department provided the water; AJ Penna donated the front loader, to dump the ducks. In case you missed it:

The test will help the event run smoothly. Meanwhile, tickets are already on sale from any Sunrise Rotarian or online. $10,000 in prizes will be awarded — and all proceeds go to charity.

=======================================================

The Housatonic Museum of Art is out of this world.

Actually, it’s just a few minutes away in Bridgeport. But they’re hosting :How Beautiful, The Universe …” — a free exhibition of 20 astrophotography prints — in association with the Westport Astronomical Society.

The Museum is on the 3rd floor of Beacon Hall. It’s open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on Thursday).

Next Monday (May 9, 7 p.m.) there’s a special viewing and talk on the art and science of astrophotography. Right after, there’s guided use of telescopes and moon viewing in the Housatonic Community College courtyard.

Families are welcome. To reserve a seat, click here.

=======================================================

Thursday is forecast to be beautiful. Which means it’s perfect for a drive-in movie.

The Remarkable Theater screens “The Hangover” with Bradley Cooper, at the Imperial Avenue lot. Tailgating begins a half-hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 p.m.; the film is at 8.

The next day (Friday, May 6) is Family Night: “Dumbo.” The length — 1 hour, 4 minutes — is perfect for young kids.

Saturday (May 7) is Mothers Day Eve. Celebrate with “Mermaids.” starring Cher and Winona Ryder — the cult mother-daughter classic.

Click here for tickets and more information.

=======================================================

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. June 3 is the day it will be celebrated in Westport schools.

Westport Pride — the townwide organization — is offering “Don’t Hide Your Pride” shirts for the month, and the day. The ones with the WPS logo are fundraisers for the  fundraise for the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition, which includes Staples High, and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools.

Click here to order. The deadline is May 10. Shirts can be picked up at Nice Threads in Westport on June 1.

=======================================================

Nashville trio South for Winter headlines the Unitarian Church’s Voices Café this Saturday (May 7, 8 p.m., in-person and livestream).

South for Winter blends acoustic duets with folk and bluesy ballads, combining cello, guitar, mandolin and harmonies in what’s been called “a genre-bending ‘impeccable sound.'”

Voices Café and South for Winter share a commitment to social justice. A portion of the concert proceeds benefit community organizations under the Unitarian Church in Westport’s social justice programs, including anti-racism, identity and equity, immigration and refugee efforts, and projects serving under-resourced communities.

Groups of 4 or more can reserve table space. General admission is $25 per person; livestream tickets are also available. For more information and tickets, click here.

South for Winter

===================================================

Nature can be brutal. This crab learned that the hard way the other day at Compo Beach. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” food-chain photo comes courtesy of Nancy Lally, who saw similar scenes all along the shore.

(Photo/Nancy Lally)

======================================================

And finally … Naomi Judd — with Wynonna, the older half of the famed mother-daughter country music duo the Judds — died Saturday hear Nashville. She was 76.

Naomi’s other daughter, actress Ashley Judd, said, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.”

The Judds had 14 Number 1 hits. They racked up 9 Country Music Association Awards. and 5 Grammys. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Distracted Driving, Breakfast Club, Shake Shack …

==================================================

If you drove on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway yesterday, you noticed electronic signs warning against distracted driving: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

They’re part of a state Department of Transportation campaign for April — it’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Westport Police have joined the effort too.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device any time, even a hands-free one.

Drivers who are ticketed pay $200 for the first offense, $375 for the next, and $625 for the third and subsequent offenses.

=======================================================

If you never saw “The Breakfast Club”: You missed a classic.

If you missed Triple Threat Academy’s staged workshop production of it at Toquet Hall: You missed another classic.

But you’re in luck! Excerpts have just been posted on YouTube.

The performance grew out of TripleThreat’s Zoom production, directed by founder and “Fame” star Cynthia Gibb during the pandemic.

The cast brought such energy and power to their Zoom sessions that Gibb vowed to bring it to the stage as soon as it was safe.

Despite only 10 hours of rehearsal, the show earned a standing ovation. Triple Threat plans more productions like it. Their spring session begins April 12, with acting and improv classes for youth, teens and adults at Toquet Hall.

Click here for details. As for video below: Hey, it’s “The Breakfast Club.” Beware of f-bombs.

=======================================================

Could Shake Shack be leaving?

It looked that way, from from the commercial real estate listing:

Turns out it’s the small rooms that are being rented by Pinnacle Fitness — perhaps to a physical therapist, chiropractor or similar tenant. Yuri’s Gym has closed.

Sounds like a great opportunity. Especially for a health professional who likes hamburgers. (Hat tip: Steven Goldstein)

=======================================================

Aspetuck Land Trust’s popular “Lunch & Learn” series returns this Friday (April 8, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom).

“Invasives to Natives: A Backyard Restoration” features super-gardener Pam Roman. She’ll talk about her COVID-time project that transformed her garden — and also healed her heart and soul. Click here to register.

Pam Roman, in her garden.

=======================================================

Fortunately, NASA has a deflection plan. Just as fortuitously, the Westport Astronomical Society’s next online lecture is with Dr. Nancy Chabot. She’s the planetary chief scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory. She’ll talk about DART — the “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” defense mission.Here’s one more: an asteroid smashing into earth.

The event is April 19 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link. Click here for  the YouTube livestream.

It should be fascinating. If nothing has happened to the world in the meantime.

======================================================

Former Westporter Barbara Webster died in February at her Oklahoma City home, from complications of dementia. She was  85.

She retired in 2016 after a storied career as a teacher, counselor, professional dancer, choreographer and arts administrator. Her last appointments were as a career counselor at Bunnell High School in Stratford, and executive director of the Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield.

Webster taught dance and fitness for decades through the Westport adult education and summer school programs, and in studios across Fairfield County (including with former Broadway star Bambi Lynn).

She helped choreograph productions and enhanced costumes for Staples Players and at Coleytown Junior High School in the 1970s and ’80s, including shows like “Oklahoma!”, “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel” and “Dromio, Dromio!.” She served as a substitute teacher and guidance counselor too.

She performed with the Dancers of Faith and with Heritage Productions throughout the tri-state region, and presented her original work at the Unitarian Church in Westport. She held additional arts administration roles at the Levitt Pavilion, executive director of the Stamford Community Arts Council, and director of ARTSPACE in New Haven.

An accomplished seamstress and costume designer, Webster was one of 12 needlewomen working on Westport’s Bicentennial Quilt. She also created an original ornament for the Westport Heritage Christmas Tree.

In 1977 Webster co-founded Giftbags, Ltd. She helped develop a customized line of reusable felt bags and puppets for gifts, wine and treats that were featured at the Metropolitan Opera, and local boutiques. Later, she co-created puppets for sale at Blue Man Group performances.A native of New Jersey, Webster graduated first in her class from Barringer High School (Newark) in 1953 and received her BA degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1957. She earned a Master of Education degree from Rutgers in 1965.

Webster was predeceased by her husband Russell and brother, Dr. Edward C. Sheppard. Survivors include her children Russell Todd Webster of Anchorage, and Catherine Sheppard Webster of Oklahoma City, and grandchildren Haven Barnett, Teddy Webster, and Meredith and Thayer Dycus.

A memorial service will be held August 7 (2 p.m., Unitarian Church in Westport).

The family has requested that contributions in her memory be sent to a scholarship established in her name at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Barbara Webster

=================================================

Many “06880” readers sent photos of yesterday’s gorgeous rainbow over Compo Beach. Jeanine Esposito’s made the cut as today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

=======================================================

And finally … gamed jazz guitarist Larry Coryell was born today in 1943. He died in 2017.

Roundup: Dolphins, Play With Your Food …

======================================================

Saugatuck Shores residents got a treat yesterday.

Three dolphins swam into Bermuda Lagoon. They played. They stayed. As of this morning, they were still there.

In tough times, they brought smiles to many faces. (Hat tip: Sara Kempner)

(Photos/Gina Beranek)

=======================================================

Remarkable STEAM — the Maker Faire people — has branched out to support Ukraine.

Thanks to them, you can too.

They’ve created 2 pins — a big one,($10) and a smaller one ($7). All proceeds support charitable causes, including the Red Cross’ Ukraine projects.

Each pin is hand made, so large orders may take a couple of days. Click here for more information, and to order.

=======================================================

Play With Your Food — the popular lunchtime play-reading series — returns to the stage  this month, after 2 years of virtual and outdoor performances.

The date is March 16, at MoCA Westport. The Newtown Turnpike museum has spacious seating for theater and lunching.

PWYF also returns to Fairfield Theater Company (March 15) and Greenwich Arts Council (March 17).

The first program is a tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Broadway veteran (and Westport-based) actress Stacie Morgain Lewis performs with Brian J. Carter the poignant one-act play “Move on or Sondheim at Studio 54. Also on tap: “The Donor” and “Big Date.”

Following the plays and talkbacks, there are boxed lunches catered by Gruel Britannia (Westport & Fairfield) and Meli Melo (Greenwich).

Tickets $60 each, $224 for a 4-month subscription. For more information click here, or call 203-293-8729.  

The Play With Your Food March cast.

=================================================

Pippa Bell Ader is one of Westport’s go-to environmental experts.

You can be too. On April 5 (11 a.m., Pequot Library, Southport), the Greens Farms Garden Club hosts her presentation of “Sustainable Westport and Its Initiatives.”

Learn how to reduce waste, help the environment, and make a difference. The public is invited. RSVP: greensfarmsgc@gmail.com.

=======================================================

There is no — and I mean no — Westport/entertainment connection that gets by Fred Cantor. He spotted a New York Times obituary of Alan Ladd Jr., and connected the dots:

“Perhaps his biggest claim to fame was acquiring the rights to ‘Star Wars’ when it was just a concept.

“What I did not know until reading this was that Jeff Berg, who spent the first part of his childhood here, was the very young agent in 1973 who represented George Lucas, and who brought it to Alan Ladd Jr.’s attention.

“Berg went on to become chairman of ICM — and ‘Star Wars’ went on to be one of the biggest franchises in movie history.

“Berg’s love of movies most likely began right here at the Fine Arts Theater. But could he ever have imagined as a kid that one day a movie concept he was trying to promote would wind up on the marquee of the Fine Arts — and that it would change the way Hollywood approached movie-making?”

For good measure, Fred sends a photo he took in 1977, of the Fine Arts Theater. Playing at Fine Arts I that day was — of course — “Star Wars.”

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

=====================================================

Congratulations to the Coleytown Middle School Math Club. They finished first in the unofficial statewide Mathcounts competition, by a wide margin. Congrats to Bedford’s team too, which came in 3rd.

MoCA Westport is looking for counselors (ages 16 and up) and counselors in training (14 to 16) at Camp MoCA Westport this summer.

The camp runs June 10 through August 26, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. A minimum 4-week commitment (preferably consecutive) is required. And yes, it’s a paying gig.

To apply, click here.

MoCA campers and staff members.

 

=======================================================

Next “up” in the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online lecture series: “Swinging Around the Sun with the Parker Solar Probe.”

NASA project scientist Dr. Nour E. Raouafi is the virtual guest on March 15 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube livestream.

======================================================

Peter Cook, of Westport and Boothbay Harbor, Maine, died suddenly at his home in Maine  on Wednesday. He was 65.

A star athlete in high school, he played football at the University of Maine. After graduation he had an accomplished career as a group insurance executive with Unum, The Hartford, Aetna and Guardian Life.

A Westport resident since 1993, Peter loved the town and community, especially Compo Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina, Staples High School sports, and JoyRide Cycling.

After retiring, he fulfilled lifelong dreams by pursuing positions within the Boothbay community. He worked at Hodgdon Yacht Services, combining his love for the water, boats, his community and its people. His friends called him an “aquatic transportation engineer.”

He also served on the board of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, overseeing their capital campaign for a new addition. An avid reader, he instilled that love in his children.

Peter loved nothing better than spending time with his family at their compound on Appalachee Pond. Among his greatest joys were golfing, watching his children’s athletic accomplishments, spending time on the water on his boat Heavenly Days, and playing with his grandchildren and grandnieces. He savored and boasted about his wife’s gourmet meals and decadent desserts.

Peter also enjoyed spinning, yoga, and smoking an occasional Winston Churchill cigar.

His family says: “Peter had a very determined outlook. Some might say he was competitive, but it proved to be one of his best character traits as he doggedly overcame obstacles and constructed a very fulfilling life. He daydreamed about how he would spend his latter years with his family, what projects and house renovations he would undertake, and where he would travel with his wife, children, and their children.

Peter is survived by his wife Jacqueline; daughter Julie Hoadley (Ryan), and sons Matthew (Carlie) and Jason (Kayla); grandsons Quinn and Forrest, and siblings Cathlene Parkhurst, Michael Cook, Mary Jane Tracy and their families.

A memorial service will be held this Wednesday (March 9, 2 p.m., Greens Farms Congregational Church).
Donations in Peter’s name can be made to Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.
To extend online condolences, light a candle for Peter or share a story or picture, click here.

Peter Cook

======================================================

Human beings stay warm by huddling together. So did these guys at Compo Beach, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

=======================================================

And finally … Bob Wills was born today, in 1905. He’s one of the founders of Western swing, and his Texas Playboys remain among the best of the genre. Wills died in 1975.

Roundup: Senior Center, EMS, Astrophotographers …

=======================================================

The Senior Center is once again open for programs. After a COVID-induced shutdown in late December, the doors were unlocked today.

Masks are required of everyone.

Pre-registration is required for all programs, including lunch. Click here for details, or call 203-341-5099.

Back in action soon — hopefully.

=======================================================

Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services always needs help. Here’s your chance.

EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) classes begin March 16. They run through June 30.

They’re thorough. They’re intense. They’re also very important.

Click here for details. And thanks to all who enroll.

=======================================================

Most Westport Astronomical Society events take place (duh) in the dark.

But this one starts when it’s light.

WAS’ “astrophotographers” host a gallery opening next Saturday (February 5, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), at the GR Art Gallery (1086 Long Ridge Road, Stamford). It runs through March 26.

Prints are on sale. A portion of proceeds benefits the Astronomical Society.

Up next: “Dark Skies: The Silent Threat of Light Pollution.” The January 31 (7 p.m.) event, with presenters from Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, Connecticut Audubon and United Illuminating, is virtual. Click here for the link.

=====================================================

“Westport … Naturally” ventures today to Weston. Betsy Pollak shares her shot of her bird feeder, getting good use in this weekend’s storm.

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

=======================================================

And finally … Franz Schubert was born today, in 1797. The Austrian composer wrote more than 600 vocal works, 7 symphonies, along with sacred music, operas, and piano and chamber music.

He did it all before dying at just 31, from either typhoid fever or syphilis.

Roundup: Tom Brady, Don Memo, Magellanic Clouds …

=======================================================

Eagle-eyed viewers may have recognized a Westport connection during a segment on yesterday’s ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown sow. The fictitious exhibition — “Tim Brady vs. The New York Jets,showcasing the quarterback’s Tom record — was filmed at MoCA Westport.

ESPN rented the space last week. They wanted a realistic museum setting for their tribute to Brady.

The “exhibition” features masterpieces like The Hit (2001), Brady The Starter (2001), The Monday Massacre (2010), Backing  Up The Talk (2011), and a “poetic piece” entitled The Departure (2020).

Click below to see. MoCA begins 40 seconds in.

=======================================================

COVID has taken some steam out of Steam.

The popular newish coffee-and-more place at the head of Railroad Place says that “due to current conditions,” their evening café will be closed until further notice.

However, it’s available for afternoon and evening rentals, events and meet-ups.

Steam will still be open weekdays (6 a.m. to noon), and weekends (8 a.m. to noon).

Here’s a bit of sweet news: They’ve added Ferrara Bakery cannolis to their usual menu of bagels, donuts, breakfast sandwiches, and Balthazar Bakery croissants and pastries.

======================================================

Don Memo customers, staff — and many strangers — are pulling together for Kelli Pulkkinen.

The popular manager and server at the downtown restaurant has been diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia. She is just 31 years old.

Don Memo owner Bill Taibe quickly added a new cocktail. The “Universal Donor” helps raise money for Kelli. It costs $14, and includes Casco Viejo tequila, aperol, sparkling rosé, lemon and rose syrup. Rosé and tequila are 2 of her favorite drinks.

Taibe told the Westport News she is “a rock star” and “a fireball”: vibrant, funny and full of energy.

“She’s just a fireball,” he said. “Kali is the kind of person that just gives it her all.”

He added, “It’s hard enough battling cancer. If we can make sure that she doesn’t have to worry about her paychecks and bills and stuff for the time being that’s one less thing, and she can focus her energy.”

Click here for the full Westport News story. (Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

The Don Memo drink

=====================================================

There was no rain yesterday morning.

But a full moon and high tide were enough to flood Compo Beach Road.

Compo Beach Road, at Quentin Road. (Photo/Tammy Barry)

Let’s hope this was the worst weather event of 2022.

Hey … a guy can dream.

====================================================

You never know what you’ll find at Baron’s South.

The other day, Wendy Crowther was walking off the path, in the woods near the Imperial Avenue entrance. She saw this messy scene:

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

At first she thought it was a homeless encampment. As she got closer though, she realized the cans were rusty — but unopened.

She now thinks that months — or years — ago, someone stored supplies deep in an existing hole in the tree trunk. As time passed, more of it decayed.

Eventually the cavity collapsed, spilling the cache onto the ground. But who squirreled them away — and why — remains a mystery.

=======================================================

If you’ve always wanted to know about the “Physical Properties and History of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds”: Here’s your chance!

Clare Burhenne — a Westport Astronomical Society member, and Ph.D. student at Rutgers University — will lecture on that very topic. The free event is set for January 18; click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube livestream.


======================================================

Our daily Roundup “Westport … Naturally” feature has run a few photos of vultures recently.

Janine Scotti recently moved the Saugatuck River to a condo near the back of Compo Shopping Center. She was amused to see gulls circling the dumpster, a ways from the water.

This week though, they were bumped by a new flock of birds. Yep: vultures.

(Photo/Janine Scotti)

=======================================================

And finally … well, you knew this was coming, right?

Roundup: Vaccine Info, Christmas Carols, Stars On Stage …

=====================================================

Connecticut has introduced its version of a “digital vaccine passport.” Residents who click on their COVID-19 vaccination records through the state immunization database, CT WiZ (click here), can then get a “SMART Health Card” to save on their smartphone photo roll, or in an app like the iPhone Wallet.

The “card” includes a QR code that uses the same standard as New York, California and Canada.

The “vaccine passport” is optional and voluntary, officials note. Click here for a full Westport News story.

======================================================

This is the busiest time of year for Staples’ Orphenians.

The elite high school a cappella group has spent weeks singing holiday music. They visit civic clubs, elderly residents and Christmas tree lightings. Earlier this month, they entertained a large crowd at the “06880” Stroll.

They return downtown on Thursday, with a twist: alumni.

Former Orphenians are invited to join current members for an hour-long meander along Main Street and environs.

The group gathers shortly before 6:30 p.m. this Thursday (December 23), near the entrance to Starbucks in Parker Harding Plaza.

Groupies are welcome to tag along and listen, too.

The Orphenians entertained at this month’s Town Hall holiday tree lighting. (Photo/Dan Woog)

======================================================

Due to COVID concerns, tonight’s Westport Astronomical Society lecture by Harvard professor Avi Loeb, titled “Extraterrestrial Life: Are We the Sharpest Cookies in the Jar?” will be virtual only.

To access the 8 p.m. event by Zoom, click here. For the YouTube livestream, click here. For the WAS’ YouTube channel, click here.

=======================================================

It’s Christmas Day. You’ve opened the presents, put all the stuff that needs assembling together, and gone to CVS for batteries. You’ve had lunch, and an egg nog or two.

What’s left?

At 3:06 p.m. — that’s right, just after the news — tune in to WSHU-FM. Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater reprises last year’s clever audio play, “A Merry Little Christmas Carol.”

Missed it on Christmas? Tune in the next day — Sunday, December 26, also 3:06 p.m. — for a rebroadcast.

Pro tip: You don’t have to listen on radio. “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is  available now through January 2 at the Playhouse website — click here.

“A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is written and directed by Mark Shanahan, adapted from his play of the same name, and based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Shanahan is curator of Playhouse Radio Theater, and also curates the Playhouse Script in Hand playreading series.

“With the remarkable Paxton Whitehead as Scrooge, Dickens’ masterpiece charges us to recall that we are all responsible for the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters—an idea which rings true now more than ever,” Shanahan says.

“Our merry little audio play invites those who cannot be with us in person at the theater to close their eyes and imagine they are once again nestled into their cozy red seats at the Playhouse, experiencing a remarkable story filled with laughter, tears, and holiday cheer.”

Bah humbug!

=======================================================

Speaking of the Playhouse: A promo is out for next month’s PBS specials: “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse.”

The shows — set for 3 consecutive Fridays (January 7, 14 and 21, all at 9 p.m.), featuring Broadway stars Gavin Creel, Shoshana Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon — will put our historic theater squarely in the national spotlight.

They were filmed in September, before live audiences.

Here’s a screenshot from the promo

=======================================================

David Ader shot today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/David Ader)

He explains: “Turin has its shroud. On Woodside Avenue, we have the bird.

“These photos are of a haunting outline of a bird on a picture window, a good 20 feet off the ground. I noticed this and thought it was the lingering remains of something my kids had put up years before, but it wasn’t a sticker’s residual on the inside.

“I suspect this was from a bird that smashed into the window and left, somehow, this image. I ran outside to see if a dead or stunned bird lay below on the driveway, but there was nothing, not even a feather.

“I’d like to believe it’s a sign of something — perhaps an angel’s wings, or a symbol of peace?

“Or, worst case, that we’re all flying straight into a wall!”

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — the world’s first full-length animated feature film — premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre. in Los Angeles.

As the clip below shows, the film — and song — definitely stand the of time.

Roundup: Holiday Stroll, Kids’ Vaccine, Larry Aasen …

=======================================================

New merchants are signing up every day for “06880”s first-ever Holiday Stroll.

It’s next Saturday (December 11), 4 to 7 p.m., downtown.

Staples’ elite Orphenians will sing. Don Memo will provide hot apple cider, on their patio. There’s face painting for kids, and an ugly sweater contest for everyone.

Santa will hang out by Savvy + Grace. He’ll pose for photos with kids, who can also drop off self-addressed letters to him. They’ll be mailed back, with a personal note.

Among the special shopping offerings:

  • 20% off at Allison Daniel Designs (Sconset Square) and WEST.
  • Free topaz or pyrite crystal at Age of Reason.
  • Something special from Franny’s Farmacy.
  • Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza.
  • Silk mask giveaway at Calico.
  • Spend $150-$250, get 10% off. Spend $250-$500, get 15% off. Spend $500 or more, get 20% off at Kerri Rosenthal.
  • Sorelle Gallery offers festive beverages to sip while browsing artwork, plus a giveaway. Sign up for their email list and select a free print, while supplies last.
  • A free gift to children who stop by The Toy Post between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday (they close at 6).
  • Buy one, get 1/2 off of Whip Salon brand products
  • 20% off all holiday items at Westport Book Shop.
  • Adult holiday beverages and 10% off a full-price purchase to anyone mentioning the “06880” blog at Nic + Zoe.
  • Hot chocolate at Le Rouge ChocolatesRye Ridge Deli and Winfield Street Coffee.
  • Hot chocolate and holiday treats at The Fred Shop.
  • 1 free health and wellness coaching session from Dark Horse Health and Wellness (Playhouse Square; stop by or call 203-349-5597).

=====================================================

Meanwhile, earlier next Saturday — from 10:30 a.m. to noon — Westport Book Shop sponsors its own first-ever Winter Family Fest. It’s on Jesup Green, right across from our favorite used book store.

Kids will enjoy snowflake-themed crafts, games and story reading (indoors!). There’s hot chocolate and goodies for all too, courtesy of The Porch @ Christie’s.

The Family Fest takes place on Jesup Green, across from Westport Book Shop.

=======================================================

Yesterday’s second COVID vaccine clinic for 5-to-11-year-olds was another hit.

Kids and their parents poured into the Staples High School fieldhouse, for their second dose. Westport Weston Health District, school district and Westport Community Emergency Response Team personnel handled the crowd efficiently. Youngsters were excited to receive another jab. (Their parents were too.)

One protester stood near the entrance. Whitney Krueger (photo below) held signs reflecting her belief that not enough information has been provided about the vaccine.

=======================================================

Today is Larry Aasen’s 99th birthday.

He heads any list of great Westporters — and not just because his last name is first.

A World War II veteran and Westport resident since the 1950s, he’s had a long, distinguished career serving our town, in politics and many other ways. In 2018, Larry was the Memorial Day grand marshal.

He’s also the author of 4 books about his beloved home state, North Dakota.

Larry’s wife, his beloved Martha, died in October 2020. She was 90. They had been married for 66 years.

I know all of Westport joins me in wishing Larry Aasen a wonderful 99th birthday!

Larry Aasen, with his books. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

=======================================================

The inaugural Chris Frantz Emerging Artists concert — produced by the Westport Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — was a hit.

Last night, 200 music lovers enjoyed Lulu Lewis and The Problem with Kids. The next concert will be announced soon.

The Problem with Kids, at the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum last night.

=======================================================

For 2 months, Netflix has been filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” all around the area. The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell.

The most recent site was Sherwood Island State Park, by the old stables. Intrigued beach-goers spotted tents, trailers and lights near the wood last week.

Preparing to shoot “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.”

=====================================================

“Extraterrestrial Life: Are We the Sharpest Cookies in the Jar?”

That’s the provocative title of the Westport Astronomical Society’s next virtual lecture. Harvard professor Avi Loeb speaks via Zoom (click here) and YouTube (click here) on December 21 (8 p.m.).

PS: No one know the answer. But I do know this: If we were the smartest beings in the universe, we wouldn’t have to ask.

=====================================================

Chris Robison — noted musician, teacher, gay rights activist and a longtime Westporter — died this week. He was 73.

Born Harold Alton Meyer in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Chris made his mark in the New York City rock ‘n’ roll scene of the 1970s as a member of the New York Dolls, Elephant’s Memory, Steam and Stumblebunny. He was also a music teacher here for over 30 years.

Chris recorded with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Papa John Phillips and Gene Simmons.

With Elephant’s Memory he toured with Aerosmith, Rare Earth and Billy Preston, and played a Circle Line tourist boat gig — hosted by the Hell’s Angels — with Bo Diddley and Jerry Garcia.

The New York Dolls toured Japan with Jeff Beck and Felix Pappalardi. A crowd of 55,000 jammed Tokyo Baseball Stadium to hear them play. Click here for a longer “06880” story on Chris’ musical exploits.

His family says, “His relentless passion for artistic expression and civil rights will be treasured for years to come.”

Chris is survived by sons Dexter Scott of Brooklyn and Tiger Robison of Laramie, Wyoming; sisters Laurel Meyer of Wellesley, Wendy Woodfield and Marilee Meyer of Cambridge, Massachusetts; brother Bruce Meyer of Camden, Maine, and 3 grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for this Tuesday (December 7) at MoCA Westport, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chris Robison

======================================================

If every business was as well landscaped as Tiger Bowl — well, they’d all be featured on our “Westport … Naturally” page!

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

=======================================================

And finally … Chris Robison led quite a life (see his obituary above). We honor him here with these videos.

He was not in “Steam” when they recorded their signature (and only) hit (in Bridgeport). The band did not even exist; “Steam” was just studio musicians.

But the label wanted a tour. Chris joined the group that played 28 states, in a  grueling 3-week tour of 1-night stands, TV shows and festivals. They shared the bill with Bob Seger and MC5, among others. “Steam” played all original material; the only obligation was to start and end each set with …

His next gig — with Elephant’s Memory — included this 1974 song:

Then it was on to the New York Dolls. They were a key influence on later punk, new wave and glam metal groups like the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.

Later Chris formed his own band, Stumblebunny, which toured the UK and Germany with the Hollies.

He recorded solo, too.

Thanks for the music and the memories, Chris!

Roundup: Lunar Eclipse, Stamford Symphony,

======================================================

if the weather is clear tonight — well, early Friday morning, from 3 to 4:30 a.m. — a small crew of Westport Astronomical Society volunteers will have telescopes ready. The public can view one of the longest lunar eclipses in centuries, at the Bayberry Lane observatory.

Moon gazers will be treated to a “blood micro-moon” — the first of this length (3 hours, 28 minutes, 23 seconds) in 580 years. Nearly all of the moon’s surface will be covered in the Earth’s shadow.

The moon will be so close to opposite the sun that it will pass through the southern part of the shadow of the earth, making this a nearly total lunar eclipse.

WAS will open for the darkest portions of the eclipse (3 to 4:30 a.m.) — cloud cover permitting — as the moon enters and begins to exit earth’s umbra shadow.

Partial lunar eclipse from the Westport Observatory, September 2105, from the total lunar eclipse. (Photo courtesy of Westport Astronomical Society member Michael Southam)

=======================================================

Have you gotten wind of what’s at the Westport Library at 2 p.m. on Sunday?

In partnership with Verso Studios, Stamford Symphony presents a Wind Quintet performance. It’s a follow-up to the Stamford Symphony Gala, streamed live from the Library last month.

Serving as the eastern hub for the Stamford Symphony, the Westport Library partnership strengthens its mission to serve many audiences in Fairfield County, and make music accessible for all-ages. Click here for tickets, and more information.

======================================================

The Trinity College field hockey teams plays in — and hosts — the NCAA Division III Final Four on Saturday. They face Johns Hopkins at 2 p.m.

The team features 3 former Staples stars: Christine Taylor, Elle Fair and Izzy Deveney. Go Bantams!  (Hat tip: Jesse Bauks)

Trinity College field hockey team.

=======================================================

Sure, we ran a couple of Longshore fall foliage shots recently, as Pics of the Day.

But the view never gets old. We have to cherish the week or two every year that it looks this stunning. So here — thanks to recent Westport arrival Mona Patel — is today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot:

(Photo/Mona Patel)

=======================================================

And finally … On this day in 1928, a mouse called Mickey debuted on film. “Steamboat Willie” — the first animation synchronized to music and sound — premiered in New York.

 

 

Roundup: Fleet Feet Food Drive, Paul Lane Field, Nail Cutting …

====================================================

Today’s the day for Fleet Feet’s food drive.

Now through 6 p.m., the Sconset Square store is collecting non-perishable food items for Connecticut Foodshare.

You can give cash or online too (click here). There’s a free gift from Brooks for donations over $100 — and you’re entered into a raffle to win a Brooks running shoe.

======================================================

There was a lot of action at the Staples stadium last night.

The football team honored its seniors. Then the Wreckers beat Ridgefield 26-10, keeping their postseason tournament hopes alive.

They also dedicated “Paul Lane Field.” The legendary coach died in June, at 93.

On hand were many former players, and family members. Among them: Skip Lane. The star — who was coached by his father — sported his Super Bowl ring, earned as a member of what was then called the Washington Redskins.

Skip Lane, with his Super Bowl ring. (Photo/Baxter Urist)

====================================================

IHOP closed in 2011. Three years later, it reopened — as a nail salon.

Now it too is gone.

Judging from Matt Murray’s photo, it needs a trim.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

======================================================

One more “Oaktober” event (slightly delayed from November).

On Thursday, the Westport Garden Club planted a swamp white oak at Grace Salmon Park. Club members will mulch and water it for the first 2 important years after transplant.

It’s a fitting spot. Grace Salmon was an early member of the club.

A hat tip to Frank Geiger of Greenscape Design in Fairfield. He provided the tree at a reasonable price. His staff then carefully planted it close to the water.

Planting the tree, at Grace Salmon Park

=====================================================

The Westport Astronomical Society’s 2022 calendar is available now.

Amateur astro-photographers — led by president Shannon Calvert — took the photos. There’s daily astronomical data too, courtesy of Phil Harrington.

The cost is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Shipping is $5 for 1 or 2 calendars, $10 for 3 to 5. It can also be picked up at WAS events, To order, email alex@was-ct.org,

Westport Astronomical Society calendar

=======================================================

Longtime Westporter and noted hair stylist Frank Migliarese died unexpectedly last week. He was 88 years old.

Following graduation from Staples High School, Frank served his nation in the Army.

Returning to his beloved Westport, he enrolled in the Sassoon Academy and began a career in cosmetology. With his haircutting skills and charming personality, he won the hearts of many.

He owned Salon Coiffeur in down Westport, where he made his mark in the world of beauty. He loved his customers, and worked well into his 80s.

When he was not at his salon, Frank enjoyed Compo Beach, a special place all his life.

Frank’s obituary calls him “family-oriented, warm, personable, well-dressed, understanding, with a great sense of humor.”

A funeral is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 17 at Assumption Church. Interment will be private. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. Click here to leave online condolences.

=======================================================

Many Westporters support Adam J. Lewis Academy, the innovative Bridgeport elementary school that for nearly a decade has changed many lives.

On November 18, they’ll unveil a “Hope Quilt.” Artist Lizzy Rockwell led a community production with over 200 volunteers. The quilt will hang proudly in the school.

For more information on Adam J. Lewis Academy, click here.

The Adam J. Lewis Academy quilt.

=======================================================

Congratulations to Staples’ November Students of the Month!

Alonzo Darby, Nina Driscoll, Max Levy, Christina Meehan, Maria-Despina Mutescu, Michael Porzio, Tyler Rockwell  and Chanel Wash “help make Staples a welcoming place for peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students that keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

Teachers nominate students who are friendly to staff and fellow students, and make positive contributions in class as well as the Staples community.

From left: Max Levy, Alonzo Darby, Nina Driscoll, Tyler Rockwell, Maria-Despina, Mutescu, Christina Meehan, Michael Porzio. Missing: Chanel Wash. 

=======================================================

Town Hall attracts all kinds of visitors.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows one recent arrival. My guess for the destination? The Conservation Department.

(Photo/Danielle Dobin)

=======================================================

How do you know that Thanksgiving is near?

Here are some turkey orders, at Stiles Market:

(Photo/Richard Jaffe)

======================================================

And finally ,,, today is World Kindness Day.

Who gives a f—?