Friday, January 20, 2017
Artist Tom Berntsen today installs large scale portraits as part of the “As We Are!” exhibition at the Westport Arts Center opening Friday, Jan. 27. On view through March 11, “As We Are!” features a full gallery installation by Pamela Hovland reflecting the local perspective on identity, stereotype, and the power of words. It includes portraits of students, community leaders, business professionals, artists, immigrants, religious figures, cultural influencers and elected officials who have contributed personal material to express their individual views and experiences with labels and the power of words. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 19, 2017
George Hodgman, author of the 2017 WestportREADS selection “Bettyville,” addressed a large audience tonight in the WestportREADS keynote talk at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. The 2015 book tackles questions about the author’s identity as a gay man, as a writer and as a son. Though there were serious moments in the book and in the events that made up the memoir, Hodgman was able to fill the hall with witty humor as he shared many of his life’s events and the words his mother spoke. The event was sponsored by the church and the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Author George Hodgman signs copies of his book “Bettyville” tonight following his WestportREADS keynote address at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
The Westport Arts Center tonight was transformed into a jazz lounge as Darren Litzie and the Saxtet played a tribute to jazz legends Benny Goodman and Stan Getz. They performed their own arrangements of songs such as “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “Flyin’ Home,” and “The Girl From Ipanema.” Guests enjoyed high top tables, appetizers and wine, and enjoyed a sneak peak of the exhibition “As We Are!,” opening Friday, Jan. 27. The next jazz performance at the Center will be the jazz jam, open to local musicians and students, on Sunday, Feb. 26. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Aubrey Grodin for WestportNow.com
Members of Staples Players tonight joined in the nationwide Ghostlight Project collective action by members of the theater community. “Staples Players has always strived to be an inclusive and supportive community,” said Brooke Wrubel, a senior who is Staples Players co-president. “Our participation in the Ghostlight Project reaffirmed these long-held values.” Participants made a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone – regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
About 100 persons tonight lit lights at the Westport Country Playhouse as part of the nationwide Ghostlight Project, a shared, ongoing commitment to social justice by the theatrical community. To simulate a collective ghostlight, a theatrical tradition, attendees were requested to bring a light source they lit in unison, When theaters go dark at the end of the night, a ghostlight is turned on, offering visibility and safety for all who might enter. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director, told a courtyard crowd tonight at the Playhouse’s Ghostlight Project event: “Tonight is not anti-anything. Tonight we celebrate the commitment by theaters nationwide to greater inclusion, participation, and compassion.” With him is Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thirty students from the Staples High School Music Department recently participated in the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) Western Regional Music Festival. The festival, hosted by Staples, involved 30 schools and close to 400 students from the western part of the state. Pictured are members of the the concert band. Staples students participating included: orchestra - James Gikas, Chloe Hankey, Angela Ji, Lauren Schmidt, Jack Whitten, Jessica Xu, Justin Berg, Michael Fording, Melanie Lust, Maya Namasivayam, Anella Lefebvre, Sophia Thomas, Seohyun Hong, and Samantha Atlas; chorus - Madison Malin; jazz band - Declan Harding, Joseph Williams, Nick Rossi, and Joshua Sigal; and concert band - James Mudholkar, Woongki Hong, Benjamin Schussheim, Preston Lust, Justin Lovro, Zachary Gurahian, Andrew Badeski, Jacob Kitchner, Michael Woods, Will O’Halloran and Sophia Han. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
A select group of Staples HIgh School string players today enjoyed a master class with Igor Pikayzen, concert violinist and 2005 Staples graduate. The one-hour master class included a short performance by the guest musician, followed by three student musicians playing and being critiqued by Pikayzen. Pictured are Staples violinists Jack Whitten (l) and James Gikas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The Westport Country Playhouse said today on Thursday it will join more than 500 theaters and organizations nationwide in the Ghostlight Project, a shared, ongoing commitment to social justice by the theatrical community across the country.
The 5:30 p.m. event will take place in the outside courtyard. The nonpartisan event is free and open to the public, an announcement said.
The ghostlight, a theatrical tradition, is the national organizers’ inspiration. When theaters go dark at the end of the night, a ghostlight is turned on, offering visibility and safety for all who might enter.
To simulate a collective ghostlight at the event, attendees are requested to bring a light source that is in the “off” position upon arrival, organizers said. At a specific point, all lights will be turned on to create one giant blaze. Flashlights, lanterns, and cell phone lights are suggested.
By Susan GrangerSpecial to WestportNow
In “The Founder,” Michael Keaton (“Spotlight,” “Birdman”) plays ruthless Ray Kroc in this backstory of the ubiquitous McDonald’s franchise, an innovative, assembly-line idea that revolutionized the fast food industry.
In 1952, when traveling salesman Kroc is peddling milkshake machines to drive-ins in the Midwest, he gets a huge order from a roadside restaurant in San Bernardino, California, run by brothers Maurice “Mack” (John Carroll Lynch) and Richard “Dick” (Nick Offerman) McDonald.
Intrigued, Kroc marvels at their mechanized fast-food operation, learning how they transformed their kitchen into a speedy “symphony of efficiency” and persuading them to allow him to franchise their carefully managed concept.
As Kroc’s enterprise grows, he becomes increasingly alienated from his long-suffering wife (Laura Dern) and develops a relationship with the wife (Linda Cardellini) of one of his business associates (Patrick Wilson).
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Students from the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull participated today in the 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Westport Country Playhouse. They performed a spoken-word piece,“A World That Listens,” written by the performers, based on King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and directed by Wilheimine Hartog and Katier Sparer. Performers included Jahmelia Jarrett, Kaitlyn Oliva, Christina Boyle and Sarah Williams. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tricia Rose, a Brown University professor, was keynote speaker today at the 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Westport Country Playhouse. She spoke on “What Would Martin Do in the Era of Post-Race Racism.” The event was organized by TEAM Westport (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism), the Playhouse, and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council. Rose is the Brown University Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies, associate dean of the faculty, and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westporter Harold Bailey, chair of TEAM Westport, welcomes guests today to the 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Westport Country Playhouse. A former IBM executive, Bailey is a trustee emeritus of Brown University, his alma mater, from which he also received an honorary Ph.D. He is also a board member of the Playhouse, and a founding member of the Stamford chapter of 100 Black Men. Bailey received the Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Community Leadership award in 2005. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Scenes from today’s 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Westport Country Playhouse. Dave Matlow and J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com
Saturday, January 14, 2017
It was a full house at the Westport Library today as Mark Schenker, dean of academic affairs in Yale College, addressed the theme of homecoming in “Bettyville,” the 2017 WestportREADS selection by George Hodgman. The book tackles questions about the author’s identity as a gay man, as a writer and as a son as he travels home to care for his irascible mother. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Hope Ventricelli of the Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL) today read a book in the popular “Biscuit” series to children at the Westport Library. It was the launch of a page-to-stage initiative by the Westport Country Playhouse, the library, and WYWL of a new, free-of-charge program, “Story Explorers,” which is intended to promote childhood literacy while also enhancing children’s experiences of attending the Playhouse’s Family Festivities shows. A musical production of “Biscuit” will be staged at the Playhouse on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 1 and 4 p.m., which is recommended for ages 4 to 8. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 12, 2017
A large crowd tonight attended a Pop Up art show at the Westport Arts Center featuring works by members of the Westport Artists Collective. Some of the artists will appear Friday at a 10 a.m. talk at the Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
By Susan GrangerSpecial to WestportNow
Chronicling the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its intense aftermath, “Patriots Day” is a heavy-handed, by-the-numbers action-thriller about a community responding to an act of terror.
Assigned to duty on the finish line, feisty Police Sgt. Jimmy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) has a sore knee so he phones his wife (Michelle Monaghan) to bring him his knee brace.
Meanwhile, two Muslim rebels, Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) Tsarnaev, are calmly making nail-filled bombs and loading them into their backpacks.
When the explosions occur, there’s graphic carnage and predictable pandemonium, as first responders rush to help, inadvertently separating families by dispatching victims to different hospitals.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
By James Lomuscio
The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved a $5 million request from the Westport Library to help transform it into a state-of-the art information and community center.
The town appropriation puts the Library three-quarters of the way toward its planned $19.5 million project scheduled to begin Aug.1.
Russel Baris, who serves on the library’s board of trustees, said fundraising efforts have already netted a $1 million state grant and more than $9 million in private contributions, with $4.3 million still to be raised.
Baris stressed that the town’s contribution boosts final fundraising efforts.
Members of the Westport Artists Collective today installed works of 15 artists who will be showcased in a Pop Up show at the Westport Arts Center on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., which is free and open to the public. An artist talk will be held Friday at 10 a.m. featuring several of the artists. Pictured (l-r) are Collective members Tammy Winser, Susan Fehlinger, Nina Bentley, and Ira Ginsburg installing Ginsburg’s work. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com
Artistic Director Carol Schweid (l) introduces actors in today’s 15th season debut of the Play With Your Food noontime play reading series at Westport’s Toquet Hall. The Westport productions continue Wednesday and Thursday with productions in Fairfield on Jan. 17 and Greenwich on Jan. 25. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Monday, January 09, 2017
UPDATE Neat Coffee and Craft Cocktails in the one-time Vigilante firehouse at 6 Wilton Road has closed after little more than two years, according to a sign (inset) today on the entrance door. Owner Rachel Haughey said in an email: “We had wonderful regulars and are grateful to have served them (along with many others!) for the past two years. We’re sorry that we are no longer there for them and that it happened so suddenly, but the numbers just weren’t there. It was a labor of love, and we will miss all of the faces, smiles, conversations, and friendships that came from it. We look forward to continuing those relationships at our founding location in Darien.” Neat opened in Westport in September 2014 and closed for a week last July for renovations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Actor James Naughton of Weston today entertained an enthusiastic group of Y’s Women at Temple Israel with stories of his career, beginning with his decision as an undergraduate at Brown University to give up soccer and baseball to pursue acting. Naughton, 71, a two-time Tony Award winner, spoke about the current activities of his extended family, all in show business, including daughter-in-law, Kelli O’Hara, also a Tony Award winner. Naughton, who lost his wife, Pamela, almost four years ago to pancreatic cancer, said he would be hosting a fundraiser in May at the Westport Country Playhouse to benefit pancreatic cancer research. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Sue Kane for WestportNow.com
The Westport chapter of Hadassah will host a “fun-raiser” on Thursday, Jan. 19 at Temple Israel featuring the Harvard Din & Tonics, Harvard’s signature all-male jazz a cappella singing group.
Doors open at 7 p.m. with the group, composed entirely of Harvard undergraduates, performing at 7:45 p.m.
The event benefits the pediatric ward of Hadassah Medical Organization, which has been and continues to be a leader in medical research and saving lives, an announcement said. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization.
Tickets are $54 per person or $90 per person for reserved seating. Payment can be made by credit card at http://www.hadassah.org/events/2017dintonic or send a check payable to Westport Chapter of Hadassah to Amanda Parker at 8 Partrick Lane, Westport, CT 06880.
Sunday, January 08, 2017
Justin Paul (c), a 2003 Staples High School graduate, was among winners tonight of the Golden Globes best original song award for “City of Stars” in the film “La La Land.” He accepted the award with composer Justin Hurwitz (l) and fellow lyricist Benj Pasek. “City of Stars” is the Ryan Gosling — Emma Stone duet that anchors the film’s emotional narrative, “La La Land” also won the Globe for Best Original Score as well as five other awards, including best-actor awards for Gosling and Stone and best musical or comedy. Its total of seven awards was a record breaker for the event. No film has won more than four Globes since 1979, when the crime drama “Midnight Express” received six. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from NBC-TV
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
By Susan GrangerSpecial to WestportNow
Searching through history often reveals untold stories that are gems: “Hidden Figures” is one of them.
During the early 1960s, several African-American women worked for NASA, providing the mathematical data needed to launch America’s first successful space mission.
But, every day - in a myriad of ways - their integrity and perseverance were challenged by the hostile racism and inherent sexism of that period.
Graduating from college summa cum laude at the age of 18, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) was, perhaps, the most brilliant mathematician of her time.