A new HD video has been added to the Westport Country Playhouse 2021 season lineup.
“Of Mice and Men” will streaming on demand September 13 through 26. The classic drama was originally staged at the Playhouse in 2008.
“’Of Mice and Men’ includes all of the best elements of our work—a timeless story, memorable performances, theatrical designs—all skillfully brought together by our artistic leader, Mark Lamos,” said Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director. “In a season of transition and recovery, this gorgeous high definition film whets our collective appetite for a return to in-person performance, but above all reminds us that great theater transcends medium.”
Two town-owned buildings with important tenants are getting upgrades.
Tomorrow (Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m., livestream) the Public Site and Building Commission considers renovations to the Longshore restaurant, and Homes with Hope.
Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn at Longshore — will be making improvements to the restaurant, which is currently closed. The Inn remains open.
The town has received a $500,000 grant for work on the Gillespie Center. The shelter behind Barnes & Noble will undergo ADA improvements, and air quality systems will be upgraded.
The PS&BC meeting is available on Zoom (868 1556 4709; passcode: 266287).
There’s nothing funny about the Westport Country Playhouse’s productions being pushed back from this summer to next.
But there will plenty to laugh about onstage soon. From June 18-25, there’s live, stand-up comedy, on the fabled stage.
In partnership with Fairfield Comedy Club’s 3rd annual festival, comedians Mike Birbiglia, Boomer Funny Ladies, Harrison Greenbaum, Jessica Kirson, Dan Soder and others will bring smiles (and belly laughs) to real, live faces. (“Content is appropriate for age 18 and up,” the WCP says.)
Audience members must be fully vaccinated, or receive a negative COVID test with 72 hours of the performance. Concession stands are open. Click here for tickets, and more information.
Westport’s National Charity League chapter has donated $3,750 to 3 Bridgeport charities serving people hit hard by the pandemic. Grants include $1,250 each to Homes for the Brave, Mercy Learning Center and Caroline House.
While NCL normally only donates time and talent, they made an exception in these critical times.
And finally … in 1968, President Johnson declared this a national day of mourning. Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy died 3 days earlier, from an assassin’s bullet. Two months earlier, Martin Luther King was similarly slain.
Congratulations to the Staples High School boys and girls tennis teams! Both are state champions!
The boys of coach Kris Hrisovulos defeated Westhill 7-0 yesterday, clinching their 5th straight — yes, 5th (!) — state “LL” (extra large schools) championship. They finished the season 22-1, shutting out all 4 state tournament opponents. Their only loss was to Darien, in the FCIAC final.
Singles winners yesterday were Tighe Brunetti, Robbie Daus, Brandon Felcher and Lucas Haymes. Doubles victors were Bradley Sheppard/Luke Brodsky, Alex Miller/Jack Motyl, and Matthew Chiang/Josh Suggs.
The 2021 state champion boys tennis team.
The girls of coach Paco Fabian beat Amity 4-3, for their 3rd straight title. Jenna Kornbluth’s 6-4, 6-1 victory at #4 singles clinched the match, after everyone else had finished.
Other victors for Staples: Karenna Birns (singles) and Elle Tesoriero/Audrey Kercher, and Carine Geijerstam/Maya Farber (doubles).
The 2021 state champion girls tennis team (Photo courtesy of The Ruden Report)=======================================================
Work continued on Railroad Place this morning.
During repaving, all the restaurant structures were removed. That’s done, and now all 3 restaurants — Harvest, Tarantino’s and Romanacci will be open this weekend.
In related news, Romanacci has taken over the former Commuter Coffee location It’s now a full restaurant, with bar.
Outdoors or in, Railroad Place is the place to be. And with reduced train travel, there’s plenty of parking nearby!
Your kid may not be a career farmer. But Wakeman Town Farm’s 2-week summer service program for 6th through 9th graders is a great outdoor, hands-on opportunity to learn about the land. And become more self-reliant and independent in the process.
Participants plant, water and harvest vegetables to be donated to local food pantries. Representatives from those agencies visit WTF, and discuss food insecurity in the area.
Teens and chefs also cook a nutritious meal for the Gillespie Center, using the Farm’s organic produce. They also run their own farm stand.
Students get to know the rabbits, ducks, chicken, sheep, goats and alpacas. They learn about animal care, feeding and halter training.
The program also explores environmental topics like composting, pollinator gardens and the Zero Waste initiative.
Mark Mathias spotted this at Stop & Shop yesterday:
Actually, the photo shows something that is not there.
Look closely. The supermarket has removed all those one-way directional arrows, which no one has followed for at least the past 10 months (if they ever did).
Stop & Shop is not the only place getting back to the pre-pandemic normal. Trader Joe’s shoppers no longer have to queue up, and be directed to a cashier; we’re now free to find our own, just as we did before March 2020.
And the Westport Weston Family YMCA has removed the absurd red tape on the stairs, demarcating the up and down sides. The staircase is way too narrow to have any effect.
Tomorrow’s “Songs for a Summer Evening: Music that Made Movies Magical” YouTube video benefits the Norwalk Sister City Project, a non-profit doing incredible community development work in a poor Nicaragua barrio.
But there’s a heavy Westport presence n the video. Broadway icon Kelli O’Hara, Staples Players stars Jamie Mann and Bridget Looby, and Emily Rabon Hall and her dad Bill Hall all join together to share the magic of music from the movies. Tom Kretsch is president of NSCP, and has worked with Bill Hall to create the video.
Click here for the link to the 7:30 video (and to donate), or click the link below:
Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception on Friday, June 18 (146 Main Street, 4 to 7 p.m.).
New artists include Westport-based Jarvis Wilcox. The gallery says: “His lush still life paintings are poetic with much emotional connections stimulating the viewer. Wilcox brings delight and insight as he discovers seeing and then making his works of art.”
Also in the exhibit: watercolorists Derek Buckner Paul Pitsker, still life artist Julian Cardinal and ceramicist Alice Federico.
The owner of 3 very popular Westport restaurants — Don Memo, Kawa Ni and The Whelk — is opening a cafe in the new Norwalk Art Space (455 West Avenue). The breakfast and lunch menu includes flour water salt and Idylwild breads, Riverbank Farm kimchee, and barbecue smoked turkey.
Westport’s newest hot spot opened its doors yesterday.
And its porch.
From 6:30 a.m. till dark, The Porch at Christie’s was packed.
The Porch at Christie’s co-owner Bill Pecoriello, on the porch.
Neighbors, contractors, middle and high school kids, folks from across town — all headed to the Cross Highway bakery/café/ice cream stand.
They loved the breakfast specials, bowls, paninis, wraps and baked goods. They hung out on the porch (of course), and played cornhole on the grass.
But that’s only part of the story.
“We have 3 pillars: food, community and purpose,” says Bill Pecoriello, who with his wife Andrea own The Porch.
The food speaks for itself: high quality, affordable prices, everything from bagels and egg sandwiches to crumb cakes, cookies, freshly turkey and roast beef, flatbreads, farro and salmon teriyaki — plus “fun snacks” for kids, like hot pretzels with dipping sauce, pizza pops and Belgian-style waffles.
Not to mention great J. Foster ice cream.
The Porch ice cream stand.
The community part is important too. At a soft opening for nearby residents on Saturday, newcomers from New York met 50-year residents. When the Pecoriellos turned off the lights, people were still socializing on the (of course) porch.
“Commuters, teachers, students, landscapers — everyone is welcome. There’s something for everyone, 7 days a week,” Andrea says. “Hello Friend” signs and t-shirts are everywhere. Half the employees are Staples students.
But “purpose” may be the most important pillar.
The Porch is the Pecoriellos’ second venture into providing opportunities for those who often lack them. Inspired by their 3 children’s volunteer efforts while at Staples High School, they founded Sweet P Bakery. The Norwalk non-profit teaches baking skills to people with disabilities — then hires them.
The Porch purchases baked goods from Sweet P. (The muffins, cinnamon buns and more are made in Norwalk, but finished at the store. The aroma alone will sell dozens a day.)
The bakery features sweet items from Sweet P.
They have also hired a dozen people with physical and developmental disabilities. They work the counter, serve as greeters, and help in other capacities. They’re trained and supervised by an educator.
That’s not all. The Pecoriellos — whose Sweet P bakery has partnered with STAR on a baking class — hope to sell paintings and more, made by STAR clients. And they’ve talked with Westport Book Shop (which also employs people with disabilities) to paint unsold books as decorative items, sell them, and split the profits.
Speaking of paint: You won’t find a more pleasant place to work (or eat) (or hang). The interior of what was most recently Chef’s Table is bright and new. Staples grad Jess Spector painted a mural on the side of the building, where extra chairs invite even more sitting.
The fresh, new Porch interior. (Photos/Dan Woog)
It was hard to tell yesterday who smiled more: the customers, employees or owners.
The Pecoriellos have worked hard for nearly a year to make their vision come true. Andrea described it as the kind of place where, “if I was on vacation somewhere in New England and saw this, I’d say, ‘If this was in Westport, I’d support it every day.'”
They’ve created that vibe, for sure.
And they’ve done much more.
During the soft opening, a man with a special needs son stopped by. He’d moved to Westport for the school system’s opportunities.
Seeing people with special needs greeting customers, and serving them, he thanked the owners.
Then he said, “Today, I see a future for my son.”
PORCH SWINGS: The Porch at Christie’s is open weekdays 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ice cream stand (adjacent to the store) is open weekdays from 2 to 8 p.m., weekends noon to 8.
A weekend-only brunch menu features babka French toast, pancakes, scrambles and more.
Online ordering is coming soon, through the website (www.theporchatchristies.com). QR codes will be available outside for customers who are still uncomfortable indoors; orders will be brought out.
Westport filmmaker Doug Tirola made a documentary about Sweet P Bakery. It plays on a loop near the baked goods. Another film is in the works, about the long history of the store — founded in 1926 by Christie Masiello.
Andrea and Bill Pecoriello: the visionary Porch owners.
Speaking of books: The Westport Book Shop’s featured artist for May is Miggs Burroughs.
The native Westporter — and devoted book lover — exhibits his large lenticular installation “Sign Language” at the Drew Friedman Art Place. That’s at the rear of the popular used book store on Jesup Green.
“Sign Language” includes 25 small signs. Depending on the angle of the viewer, the words change in ironic or humorous ways.
Miggs has created art since he was 20. Six years later he was chosen to design a commemorative US postage stamp. He has also illustrated covers for Time magazine — and the Westport town flag. Miggs is a co-founder of the Artists Collective of Westport.
Miggs Burroughs with his lenticular art. When looked at from a different angle, the words change.
Dr. Parthena Penny Proskinitopoulos has big shoes to fill. But she’s ready to step right in.
The Fairfield educator is Staples’ newest assistant principal. She takes over from Meghan Ward on July 1.
She is a former technology integration specialist and social studies teacher. Most recently, she served as interim assistant principal at Roger Ludlowe Middle School.
Staples principal Stafford Thomas says, “Penny was the standout candidate out of a very large and talented administrator pool. She is thrilled to be joining our team at Staples, and I am excited that her arrival will coincide with our summer efforts to create an exciting and fulfilling 2021-22 school year.”
Dr. Proskinitopoulos earned a BA in psychology from St. John’s University, an MA in teaching and 6th year diploma from Sacred Heart University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Bridgeport.
During this graduation season, here’s a shout-out to Tom Tarrant. He recently graduated from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind school — along with his new guide dog, a black Lab named Velvet.
Tom is a longtime Westporter, but this is his first guide dog. An avid rower, Tom has participated in his local area’s rowing club on and off for over twenty years. He looks forward to running with Velvet.
He and his wife have 2 sons, ages 20 and 14, and a 9-year-old golden retriever. The newest member of the family fits right in.
Wendy Crowther found this morel mushroom the other day, in her backyard near Winslow Park. She says, “The morel has a reputation for being one of the greatest mushrooms in the world — edible when cooked and prized by gourmets. It was such a surprise to find one.”
The holiday has become commercialized here in the US — primarily by bars and restaurants — and it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico.
It is not “Mexican Independence Day.” Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day in 1862 when the Mexican army defeated France at the Battle of Puebla. It was part of the Franco-Mexican War — a conflict I had never heard of until a few seconds ago.
Saugatuck Church’s 1st-ever Easter drive-in worship service was — well, if not a miracle, then still pretty cool.
The back parking lot was filled with 45 cars (that’s around 13o people). The FM radio broadcast worked flawlessly, thanks to Mark Mathias. The service was punctuated with plenty of cheerful horn honks.
Dozens more watched the livestream on Facebook and YouTube. But that photo isn’t as interesting as the one below:
Westport Book Shop Artist of the Month is Katherine Ross. Her watercolors will be on display throughout April at the Drew Friedman Art Place, in Westport’s popular used book store on Jesup Road.
Ross is a well-known artist and art teacher. She conceived the children’s mosaic wall at the Longshore pool, with work from over 1,000 middle schoolers. She has served on the Arts Advisory Committee and Westport Cultural Arts Committee, and co-chaired the Westport public schools’ Art Smarts program.
The exhibit is open during the Book Shop’s business hours: Tuesdays through Fridays (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Saturdays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sundays (noon to 5 p.m.
Tonight (Monday, April 5, 7:30 p.m., Zoom), the Democratic Women of Westport and Staples Young Democrats host a virtual session called “The Anti-Racist Policy Agenda: Connecticut Voter Protection.”
State Representative Stephanie Thomas — who represents part of Westport, and serves as vice chair of the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee — will discuss the 2020 election in the state, possible expansion of access for voting, and building support for voter protection laws.
To get the link for the talk, or more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Easter is Sunday. Which means there are only a few days left to get your Easter basket.
Savvy + Grace has great ones. You can head to the popular Main Street store and pick what you want.
Or email email@example.com. Include your name, phone number, and the age, likes and interests of the recipient. Annette Norton and her staff will put baskets together, and call for your review.
Not sure? Check out some pre-made baskets online (click here).
Yesterday’s vaccine clinic in the Staples High School fieldhouse was a rousing success.
Over 500 educators from Westport, Weston and the Easton/Redding district received doses. The health professionals were on top of their game; our Community Emergence Response Team kept things running smoothly. Next Wednesday’s clinic should cover the first dose for the rest of the school staff who want it.
Within weeks, Westport Book Shop has established itself as the go-to place for the best in pre-owned novels, biographies, etc., etc., plus CDs and vinyl.
This month, Norm Siegel is featured at the Drew Friedman Art Place in the back of the Jesup Road spot.
Norm specializes in trompe l’oeil and photorealistic paintings. His paintings of famous and rare book editions are so realistic, you may try to turn the painted pages. Click here for a great interview with him.
Westport Book Shop — and the gallery — are open during new expanded hours: Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5.
Today’s New York Times obituary of Joe Duffy notes that “his antiwar campaign for the United States Senate from Connecticut in 1970 galvanized a generation of campus liberals…. (He) later served as a cultural arbiter in the Carter and Clinton administrations and presided over two major universities.” He was 88.
It mentions one of his key supporters in his political campaigns — Westporter Paul Newman — and (though it does not note that she lived here too), his 1974 marriage to Anne Wexler. She ran his 1970 campaign, became an aide to President Carter, and then a prominent Washington political operative and lobbyist.
Click here for a look at Duffey’s fascinating life.
Joe Duffey and Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo courtesy of New York Times)
Positive Directions — Westport’s prevention and counseling center — is looking for a new executive director.
During COVID, the 49-year-old organization provided important mental health support to hundreds of residents. The prevention staff collaborated with town governments and other local partners, to help adolescents and families make healthy choices and decisions.
The search committee is looking for a leader with significant management experience and deep experience in the mental health. Resumes and cover letters are due by March 31 to: PositiveDirectionsEDSearch@gmail.com.
Dave Briggs’ fascinating InstagramLive discussions continue this afternoon (Thursday, March 4, 5:15).
His guest is Westport’s own Lindsay Czarniak. As “NFL on Fox sideline reporter Host of “The Athlete & The Artist,” she’s interviewed everyone from Brad Paisley and Danica Patrick to Alanis Morissette and (this week) Eddie Vedder. She’s also the wife of NBC’s Craig Melvin.
Search for @WestportMagazine on Instagram. Send questions any time by DM to @DaveBriggsTV.
Valentine’s Day is over. But a “Share the Love” art is exhibit is on display for the next 2 weeks, at The Residence at Westport. The display highlights 18 professional and emerging local artists.
This Friday (February 19), The Residence hosts “Cocktails and Curating.” It’s an interactive, on-site reception where artists will share their stories, inspirations and highlights live, and to guests via Zoom. Senior Center members are particularly welcome.
The project was developed by Lisa Stretton, founder of RealArtRealArtists, an online directory through which users search for original art for sale by professional artists.
“Morning Walk,” displayed at The Residence at Westport. Artist Lisa Stretton was inspired by Compo Beach.
The Westport Book Shop wasted no time becoming part of the arts community.
The used book store on Jesup Green opened earlier this month. Already, their first art exhibit — in what they call the Drew Friedman Art Place — is on display. The show features photographic prints of artworks by renowned local assemblage artist Nina Bentley.
The exhibit is open during business hours: Thursdays and Fridays 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
Miggs Burroughs is curating the Westport Book Shop exhibits. They’ll change monthly.
Nina Bentley, with photos of her art at the Westport Book Shop.
Westport native Cathy Malkin moved back here in November, after 31 years in the Bay Area. Her sister Stefani Malkin Cohen now lives in New Rochelle.
Cathy is an animal communicator and animal Reiki practitioner. Stefani is a therapist, working with children and families.
Stefani developed a niche helping kids who are afraid of dogs (it works with adults too). That’s a real fear — and unlike spiders or snakes, it’s hard to avoid dogs.
“Overcoming Your Child’s Fear of Dogs” covers understanding dog behavior; how dogs communicate, and staying safe around dogs.
“We teach kids to look both ways before they cross the street, to not touch hot things and to stop, drop and roll in a fire,” Stefani says. “But parents rarely teach them how to interact safely and respectfully with dogs.”
Click here for more information, and to order Stefani’s book.
As Westport students prepare to return to full-time learning, “06880” reader Erin Loranger writes:
“While there are countless unsung heroes in our schools, I would love to recognize the custodial crews.
“I can’t imagine how hard they have worked with tasks such as reconfiguring classrooms and cafeterias, loading in new desks, and constructing Plexiglas barriers so that students and staff can have a safe environment.
“Without their commitment to excellence in taking care of our buildings and cleaning, our young learners would not have the opportunity to have been in school at all this year, let alone being in the position now to transition to full-time, in-person learning.”
Will Herrera — one of Westport’s many unsung, invaluable custodians and maintenance staff.
“I left Weston in 1967, and Peter’s Weston Market was there. If my memory is correct, I think that ‘Peter; was Peter Robinson. I went through Weston schools with his son Guy in my class.
“The photo below was taken at a political rally in 1956, when Adlai Stevenson ran against Eisenhower. My father was the first Democratic Town Committee chairman. He organized this rally in Weston, representing both Republicans and Democrats. My mother and a friend’s mother are the two women on the left side of the photo.”
The cars, the styles and the politicians have changed since 1956. But Peter’s Weston Market still looks much as it did, 65 years ago.
Honoring the year it begins, they’re rolling out a “2021 Welcome Program.” In keeping with COVID restrictions, guests are invited to browse for up to 20 minutes. To allow everyone to enjoy the store, they can purchase up to 21 items per visit.
See you there!
The new home of the Westport Book Shop, across from Jesup Green.
Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Super Bowl raffle is off to a great start. Not many tickets remain.
They’re $50 each. Numbers are randomly assigned. Winners will be determined by the scores at the end of each quarter. Winner of the final score snags a $1,000 Visa card. 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter winners each get a $500 card.
The raffle funds important charities like Mercy Learning Center literacy training, the Susan Fund for students with cancer, Earthplace and Elderhouse.
William “Liam” Bohonnon has received the Connecticut Bar Association’s Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award. The 2008 Staples High School graduate was honored for his pro bono work for the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.
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