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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Westport Publisher Wins Caldecott Medal Image
The 2011 Caldecott Medal, the nation’s most prestigious award for illustration of children’s picture books, has been awarded to Roaring Brook Press, whose founder and publisher is Westporter Simon Boughton (r) for its “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” (Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing) illustrated by Erin E. Stead (c) and edited by Neal Porter (l). The book, the first children’s book that the artist has illustrated, is the third Caldecott win for a book published by Roaring Brook Press in the past nine years. The award is announced annually at the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 03:16 AM
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Bank of America Aids Westport Arts Center Image
The Bank of America (BOA) Charitable Foundation today presented a $5,000 check to the Westport Arts Center (WAC) for its youth education and outreach program. It is the third award the Arts Center has received from BOA to help fund teaching and artists residencies in charter schools in Norwalk and Bridgeport. Pictured (l-r) are Rick Martin, BOA, Danielle Ogden, WAC director of education, Nancy Gault, first vice president WAC, and Dave Harmuth, BOA. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 11:45 PM
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Tracy Sugarman: ‘Martin Luther King Jr. Changed My Life’ Image
Westport author and illustrator Tracy Sugarman (pictured with wife Gloria), told the Westport Y’s Women today that Martin Luther King Jr. “changed my life” when he came to Westport in 1964 to speak at Temple Israel. Sugarman was among Westporters and other volunteers who later went to the South to support King and help blacks in their nonviolent fight for their rights. He talked about his experiences and his new novel, “Nobody Said Amen,” which takes place in the South during that same time period. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 08:47 PM
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Juniors Take a Bow Image
The cast of “Seussical the Musical - Junior Edition” - takes a bow following its opening night performance tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse. The final performance for the MTC School of Performing Arts production is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:58 AM
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Library’s George Wagner Honored on His Retirement Image
The Westport Public Library tonight honored George Wagner, assistant library director, on his retirement after 23 years. Newly elected state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg presented Wagner with a citation from the state’s General Assembly, telling him: “George, I know you are excited about this, but I am even more excited because this is the first legislative citation I have given.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 02:14 AM
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Missing George Image
Dozens of persons paid tribute to the Westport Public Library’s George Wagner tonight at a reception in the McManus Room upon his retirement after 23 years as assistant director. Volunteer Stephanie Bass expressed her thoughts in a sign.“It’s been an immense joy and pleasure to work in Westport,” Wagner told the crowd. The library presented him with a crystal book award similar to the one it awards honorees as its annual Booked for the Evening fund-raiser. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

Posted 02:10 AM
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Saying Goodbye

Scenes from tonight’s Westport Public Library reception honoring Assistant Director George Wagner on his retirement after 23 years.. Phyllis Groner for

Posted 02:08 AM
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vanity Fair: J.D. Salinger and the Westport Connection

Vanity Fair’s latest issue includes an excerpt from a new biography of J.D. Salinger and highlights his Westport Image
J.D. Salinger: Completed “The Catcher in the Rye” in Westport. File photo

“In the autumn of 1950, at his home in Westport, Connecticut, J. D. Salinger completed ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ The achievement was a catharsis. It was confession, purging, prayer, and enlightenment, in a voice so distinct that it would alter American culture,” begins the biography by Kenneth Slawenski, to be published this month by Random House, Inc.

“Holden Caulfield, and the pages that held him, had been the author’s constant companion for most of his adult life. Those pages, the first of them written in his mid-20s, just before he shipped off to Europe as an army sergeant, were so precious to Salinger that he carried them on his person throughout the Second World War.”

On Sunday, Feb. 13,  at 2 p.m., the Westport Public Library will present a program in the McManus Room with Slawenski in conversation with Westporter Sybil Steinberg, a former editor at Publisher’s Weekly.

Posted 11:30 AM
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Local Cinema Supporters Get Boost at National Conference

By James Lomuscio

Sandy Lefkowitz’s desire to bring back a movie theater to Westport has taken her to Midway, Utah this week for the Art House Convergence, a conference of more than 200 independent art cinema operators held in conjunction with this year’s Sundance Film Image
Sandy Lefkowitz (2nd l), director of the Westport Cinema Initiative, chats with other attendees at a Utah conference of independent art cinema operators. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

“This seemed like a very good place to test our own concept and to see what other cinemas are doing,” said Lefkowitz, director of the Westport Cinema Initiative (WCI), a more than 60-strong group that wants to bring back a movie theater to town.

Lefkowitz, former director of the Westport Youth Film festival, is attending the conference with Danielle Rosen, co-producer of 4th Row Films, and Douglas Tirola, WCI’s artistic director.

“This is just a much more expansive world that we ever thought,” she said about independent, art cinema operations and influence. “There is no avenue that’s not explored in this conference.”

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Posted 05:30 AM
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Monday, January 17, 2011

A ‘Spectacular’ Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

By James Lomuscio

The Rev. Ed Horne, pastor of Westport’s United Methodist Church, called today’s afternoon celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a “spectacular.” Image
Actress-singer Kimberly Wilson (with microphone) co-produced today’s event at the United Methodist Church in Westport with her sister, Peggy Jorgensen. With her are (l-r) Bill Mathis of Redding, the Rev. Howie Tobak of Saugatuck Congregational Church, and Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf of Temple Israel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for

It was hardly hyperbole. More than 200 persons attended the two-hour event that included musical performances with original scores, marches, dramatic presentations, poetry readings, and select King quotes. There were also larger-than-life, black and white slides choreographing the civil rights movement. 

“I think today was just spectacular in terms of the quality of the performances and the spirit here,” said Horne.

His church at 49 Weston Road was host for the Sixth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration & Observance sponsored by the Interfaith Council and Clergy of Westport-Weston.

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Posted 12:58 AM
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Youth Film Festival Seeks Entries for 2011 Fest

The Westport Youth Film Festival (WYFF) has announced a call for entries for high school filmmakers for its 2011 festival, to be held on Saturday, May 14 in Image

The festival seeks entries in the following categories: drama, comedy, animation, experimental, documentary, and music video.

In addition, all films produced in Connecticut automatically will be entered into a special Connecticut category. The film’s director(s) must be high school age or younger at the completion of filming, and international directors are welcome, an announcement said.
The early deadline for submissions is Feb. 20 with each entry submitted on and before this date having a $15 entry fee. The regular deadline for entry is March 1 with $20 entry fee. Later submissions made up to March 15 will cost $25 per entry.

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Posted 05:02 PM
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Friday, January 14, 2011

All That Jazz at Arts Center Image
The Westport Arts Center tonight was swinging to the sounds of jazz at it kicked off its “Jazz Thursdays” series,  Brian Torff (2nd r), artistic director for jazz (electrnic bass), led the jam session.  He was joined by (l-r) Steve Crouse (viola)  Frank Russo (trumpet), and Eric Pierce (saxophone). The series will be held once a month and Torff invited “accomplished musicians” to join in. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 03:53 AM
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Full House Image
There was a full house tonight at the Westport Arts Center for the debut of its “Jazz Thursday” series. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 03:50 AM
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Storm Postpones Wednesday ‘Play With Your Food’ Image
Due to the impending storm, “Play With Your Food’s” production scheduled for Wednesday at Toquet Hall in Westport has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Jan. 26. Ticket holders also have the option of attending a show on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Fairfield Theatre Company. For information or to change or ticket reservation, call (203) 293-8831 or visit  Pictured is PWYF Artistic Director Carole Schweid with cast members from a recent production.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:48 PM
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Chowdafest Contenders Get Ready to Ladle

By James Lomuscio

Pietro Scotti, owner of Westport’s Da Pietro’s Restaurant, would not disclose what kind of chowder he would be making. Image
Jim Keenan (r), chairman of Chowdafest, addresses today’s breakfast meeting of chefs and owners of the restaurants competing in the Feb. 5 competition at Westport’s Bedford Middle School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Neither would Alley Bernhard, owner of the Soup Alley restaurants in Norwalk and Wilton. “I don’t know just yet,” she said. “I have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

They were among 28 restaurateurs competing in next month’s third annual Chowdafest in Westport who gathered today for a pre-fest, breakfast meeting at Westport’s Unitarian Church.

David Rutigliano, chef-owner of the Southport Brewing Company, was a little more open about his plans.

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Posted 10:45 PM
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