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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Large Turnout for MLK Day Celebration

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There was a large turnout today at the Westport Country Playhouse for the 11th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

01/15/17 05:46 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

A Welcome from TEAM Westport Chair

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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

01/15/17 05:41 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Martin Luther King Day Celebration


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

 

01/15/17 05:36 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Homecoming Explored in WestportREADS Talk

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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

01/14/17 05:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

‘Story Explorers’ Launches at Library

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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

01/14/17 04:30 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

PoP Up Art Show Draws Crowd

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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

01/12/17 08:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Patriots Day,’ ‘Lion,’ ‘Jackie’

By Susan Granger

Special 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.

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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.

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01/11/17 12:21 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RTM Approves $5 Million for Library Redo

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.

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An architect’s rendering of how the proposed Westport Library’s Great Hall will look in a forum set up. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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.

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01/10/17 10:06 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting Ready for Thursday Pop Up Show

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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

01/10/17 03:23 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Play With Your Food Debuts 15th Season

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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

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Comings & Goings: Neat Closes

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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

01/09/17 02:03 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Naughton Reflects on Career at Y’s Women

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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

01/09/17 01:40 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Hadassah ‘Fun-Raiser’ Features Harvard Singing Group

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.

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The Harvard Din & Tonics is the university’s signature all-male jazz a cappella singing group. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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.

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01/09/17 12:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Westport’s Justin Paul Wins Golden Globe Award

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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

01/08/17 09:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Passengers,’ ‘Why Him?’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Searching through history often reveals untold stories that are gems: “Hidden Figures” is one of them.

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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.

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01/03/17 10:56 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, January 02, 2017

Academic Honors for Staples Soccer

For the 14th time in 16 years — and the eighth season in a row — the Staples boys soccer program has been honored with a national award for academic excellence.

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The 2015 Staples High School boys varsity soccer team -– Academic All-Americans. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Armelle Daniels photo

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America gave the Wreckers a Team Academic Award — the only boys public high school soccer teams in Connecticut to be so named. The Staples girls team also earned Academic All-America honors.

To qualify, a squad must have a 3.25 grade point average of all varsity players. The award is given for the previous academic year. In 2015, Staples’ varsity players had an average GPA of 3.40 — tying the 2014 team, and just .03 points behind the record, set in 2013.

“I’ve always said that our players are some of the smartest and most creative people at Staples,” said head coach Dan Woog. “We want our guys to be as strong in the classroom as they are on the field. What’s especially gratifying about this award is that it’s won as a team. I’m proud that the NSCAA recognizes our team as one that strives for academic excellence.”

Woog said that indications are good that the 2016 side should also qualify for the Academic All-American honor.

01/02/17 02:17 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kicking Off First Night

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The Westport Center for Senior Activities today for the first time hosted the opening event of the 23rd annual edition of First Night Westport Weston. The Survivors band played the big band sounds to an enthusiastic audience. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/31/16 03:44 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Granger at the Movies: Top 10 List for 2016

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Susan Granger’s Top 10 List for 2016:

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MOVIES: (in alphabetical order):

“Arrival”
“Deadpool”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Hell Or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Manchester By The Sea”
“Moonlight”
“Sully”
“Zootopia”

ACTOR:

Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Hugh Grant in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Michael Fassbender for “The Light Between Oceans”
Jake Gyllenhaal for “Nocturnal Animals”
Tom Hanks in “Sully”
Michael Keaton in “The Founder”
Viggo Mortensen for “Captain Fantastic”
Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”

ACTRESS:

Amy Adams in “Arrival” & ”Nocturnal Animals”
Annette Bening in “20th Century Women”
Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures”
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land”
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Tilda Swinton in “A Bigger Splash”
Alicia Vikander in “A Light Between Oceans”
Rachel Weitz in “Denial”

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Monday, December 26, 2016

‘Bettyville’ is 2017 WestportREADS Selection

WestportREADS, organized annually by the Westport Library since 2001, has chosen “Bettyville” by George Hodgman as its 2017 selection.

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“Bettyville” by Geroge Hodgman: “witty, tender memoir.” Contributed photo

The 2015 book tackles questions about the author’s identity as a gay man, as a writer and as a son. Described as a “a funny and heartbreaking memoir, it chronicles a complicated mother-son journey.” the library said.

Its publisher describes it as a “witty, tender memoir of a son’s journey home to care for his irascible mother—a tale of secrets, silences, and enduring love.”

A keynote talk with Hodgman​ is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. in the McManus Room.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Swing Band to Kick Off First Night

By James Lomuscio

There’s something new at Westport’s 23rd annual First Night this year – the Westport Center for Senior Activities debuts as a venue with its hosting of the Survivors Swing Band.

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First Night buttons are on sale for $15. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The performance on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. will kick off the alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event, which itself is a survivor. It and Hartford’s are the only remaining First Nights in Connecticut.

“We’re actually putting performers in there that we have used in the library in the past,” said Barbara Pearson-Rac, president of First Night Westport Weston.

Adding the new location gives the town’s seniors, who comprise more than 20 percent of Westport’s population, an opportunity to have the center open and active that night, she said.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Granger at the Movies: ‘La La Land,’ ‘Nocturnal Animals,’ ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Opening with a fabulous fantasy sequence of morning commuters caught in congested traffic on Los Angeles’ freeways, “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s dazzling contemporary musical chronicles longing, love and lingering wistfulness.

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Aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) works as a barista at a café on the Warner Brothers’ studio lot, while brooding jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is tired of playing background music at bars and restaurants.  They “meet cute” several times before they actually connect.

Encouraging one another to follow their dreams, their careers move forward. She writes a one-woman show attracting the interest of an influential agent, while he joins a touring rock band, fronted by his old friend Keith (John Legend).

Not surprisingly, long separations take a toll on their romantic relationship as the seasons change.

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12/21/16 11:39 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rock and Roll Honor for Nile Rodgers is ‘Bittersweet’

Westporter Nile Rodgers and his Chic band have been on the annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ballot 11 of the past 15 years. Today that run likely came to an end—but not in a way that pleased him.

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Nile Rodgers greets fans at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts last August.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

The funk band is not one of the inductees for the Class of 2017, announced today. But Rodgers, one of its founding members, is.

The Cleveland-based Rock Hall announced that Rodgers will receive the Award for Musical Excellence (not selected by voters) during a ceremony scheduled for April 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y

Rodgers joins Pearl Jam, Yes, Tupac Shakur, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Journey (all voted in) as honorees.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor: the Westport Connection

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Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor (l), who died today at 99, was a familiar figure in Westport in the 1950s and ‘60s. Her mother, Jolie (c), had a home at 5 Clifford Lane in Westport’s Old Hill area and Zsa Zsa and her sisters were frequent visitors. With them in this 1966 photo is Zsa Zsa’s sister, Eva, who married third husband plastic surgeon John Williams in her mother’s Westport home. (They were divorced 11 months later. Eva eventually married five times, Zsa Zsa at least eight times.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) File photo

12/18/16 06:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Making Bird Masks

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Families constructed bird masks at a pre-show activity in the Westport Country Playhouse’s Sheffer Room today prior to the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. shows of “A Very Electric Christmas,” part of the Playhouse Family Festivities series. The show is about a young bird lost at the North Pole. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gallery: Staples 76th Annual Candlelight Concert


Scenes from tonight’s final performance of the 76th annual Staples High School Candlelight Concert. WestportNow.com photos

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Post Performance Thanks

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Adele Cutrali-Valovic, orchestra director at Staples High School, turns to thank Luke Rosenberg, choral director, at the conclusion tonight of the final performance of the 76th annual Staples High School Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/17/16 10:23 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Continuing a Tradition

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By tradition, Staples music alumni tonight join in singing of “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “The Messiah” as the closing number of the last performance of the 76th annual Staples High School Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/17/16 10:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Staples 76th Annual Candlelight Concert

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Tonight’s performance of the Staples High School Candlelight Concert closed out the 76th year of the popular event. It began with a candlelight procession. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

12/17/16 10:18 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Christmas Concert at Saugatuck Congregational

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“A Chris Coogan Christmas Concert” tonight at the Saugatuck Congregational Church featured jazz pianist and vocalist Chris Coogan with the Chris Coogan Quintet as well as a solo performance by special guest, vocalist Michele Grace.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

12/17/16 10:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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