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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Greeting Guests

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Comedian Colin Quinn appeared in a sold out performance of “Stand Up for Homes with Hope” at the Westport Country Playhouse tonight. Before the show, he met with guests including Lisa Marriott a show organizer and Homes with Hope Board Member Chan Wheeler. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Standing Ovation for ‘The Music Man’ Opening Night

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Staples Players Jacob Leaf as Harold Hill, and Zoe Mezoff as Marian the Librarian acknowledge a thunderous standing ovation tonight from the opening night audience of “The Music Man.” The show, which debuted on Broadway in 1957, was co-directed by David Roth and Kerry Long. Tickets are available at http://www.staplesplayers.com for performances this weekend and next.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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‘The Music Man’ Debuts at Staples

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Tonight’s opening night audience for the Staples Players production of “The Music Man” gave the performance a standing ovation. Sixty-four Staples students are taking part in the production along with eight more from elementary and middle school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Being Nice

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More than 300 guests tonight celebrated the opening of Westport Arts Center’s “MORE Than Words/#iammore” exhibition featuring juried works by the community on the theme of courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying.  Among the works on display was “Be Nice,” a lenticular image by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs (r) of model Lucy Zuckerman (l) using American sign language to communicate “Be Nice.” CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

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Artists’ Collective Featured in New Arts Center Exhibit

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Members of the Westport Artists’ Collective are pictured tonight at the opening reception for the Westport Arts Center’s latest exhibit, “MORE Than Words/#iammore.” Many of the artists are represented in the show, which features juried works by the community on the theme of courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying. Of special note is the new junior category, featuring art from students ages 10-17. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

11/11/16 08:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Artists’ Estate Sale Draws Crowds

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Today’s start of a three-day estate sale at the Morningside Drive South home of the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel drew dozens of buyers and browsers. Many of the items were produced by the artists while many were among their eclectic collection dating to the 19th century. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gallery: Einsel Estate Sale


A preview of the estate sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the home of the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel on Morningside Drive South. Click here for details. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Video: Preview of Walter and Naiad Einsel Estate Sale


An estate sale of a variety of unique items by the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at their home on Morningside Drive South. Click here for details. Naiad Einsel died on April 3 at age 88. (See WestportNow April 6, 2016) Walter Einsel died in 1998 at age 72. (See other videos here, here, and here.) WestportNow.com videos by Helen Klisser During

11/10/16 10:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

New Home for Dohanos Band Picture

There is a new home for an iconic painting of Staples High School band members by Westport artist Stevan Dohanos—Staples High School.

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At unveiling (l-r) Caroline Elizondo, Michele Mechanic, Jim Marpe, James D’Amico, Kathie Bennewitz, Christie Stanger, and David Roth. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Kerry Long

“The Band Played On (The Big Game),” drawn for an Oct. 19, 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover, depicts five members of the 1946 Staples High School band. In recent years, it has been in the first selectman’s office at Westport Town Hall.

The painting will hang in the Staples auditorium lobby throughout Staples Players’ run of “The Music Man” on Friday and Saturday, and on Nov. 13, 18 and 19, alongside the promotional posters for the 2001 and 2016 Staples Players’ productions of “The Music Man” that were inspired by the painting. 

Taking part in an unveiling of the painting in its new home were members of the Friends of Westport Public Arts Collections Committee (WestPAC), which conserved the work, along with First Selectman Jim Marpe, Staples High School Principal James D’Amico, Town Curator Kathie Bennewitz, and Staples Players Director David Roth.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Granger at the Movies: ‘Arrival,’ ‘Dr. Strange,’ ‘American Pastoral’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Denis Villenueve’s “Arrival” is an exciting, provocative, intellectually stimulating sci-fi thriller.

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Combining the wonderment of Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” while jettisoning the perception of linear time, it’s about Earth’s first contact with an alien civilization.

When 12 mysterious spacecraft touch down around the globe, renowned linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summoned by Col. Weber (Forest Whitaker) to try to decipher their intergalactic intentions.

Still mourning the death of her young daughter, Louise realizes that this is a mind-bending adventure. En route to the nearest landing site in Montana, she’s joined by theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), an expert in binary code.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

‘Bully For You’

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Installation was underway today for “MORE Than Words/#iammore,” the Westport Arts Center juried show featuring selected works by the community, which opens Friday with a 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. reception. The works were created in support of the theme of the Arts Center’s previous exhibition “MORE Than Words” about bullying. Pictured are WAC staff member Noah Steinman and Tom Berntsen installing Westport artist Tammy Winser’s “Trump: Bully For You,” an acrylic painting on board. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com

11/08/16 05:45 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Filmmaker in National Election Day Documentary

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Westport filmmaker Doug Tirola (c) chats with Stephen Carpentieri, an owner of Westport’s Dunville’s, outside Coleytown Middle School as Tirola followed Carpentieri today as part of a national Election Day documentary. The film is by Jeff Deutchman who produced a similar documentary, “11/4/08,” that had footage from around the world on the day Barack Obama was elected president. Tirola, who featured Carpentieri in his 2013 award-winning documentary “Hey, Bartender,”  is among 20 filmmakers selected to participate in the film, “11/8/16,” scheduled for release early next year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Galvanized Jazz Band at Senior Center

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The Connecticut-based Galvanized Jazz Band, first established in 1971, entertained a large crowd today at the Westport Center for Senior Activities. The band performed New Orleans Jazz, Dixieland, blues, ragtime, swing, spirituals and more. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/06/16 05:27 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Just a Taste, Gus

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Xian Gao of Brooklyn, N.Y. offers her French bulldog, Gus, 11 months, a taste of mac n’ cheese today at The Great Mac n’ Cheese & Chili Challenge at Sherwood Island State Park. Hundreds of mac and chili lovers attended what was described as the sister event to last month’s Chowdafest at the park. There were 20 entants competing in three categories—Classic Beef Chili, Creative Chili and Mac n’ Cheese. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Celebrating Diwali

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Westport’s Indian community tonight celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. The event drew about 170 persons and included cultural performances by local children’s groups, live music with a DJ, dancing, and dinner. Diwali is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year and gets its name from the row of clay lamps that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Emcees for the cultural events were Staples High School students Vrinda Kareddy, a junior, and Eshita Kumar, sophomore. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

11/05/16 10:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: CraftWestport Opens


Scenes from today’s opening day of the 41st annual CraftWestport show at Staples High School sponsored by the Young Woman’s League of Westport. The event features more than 175 fine contemporary artists and craftspeople from the region and across the country in what has become Connecticut’s largest indoor fine crafts festival. It continues Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. WestportNow.com photos

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Friday, November 04, 2016

ABC Orders More Episodes of ‘American Housewife’

ABC has ordered additional episodes of “American Housewife,” the Tuesday night sitcom set in Westport, Variety reported tonight.

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“American Housewife” star Katy Mixon and Kenny Schwartz, an executive producer of the show and a 1985 Staples High School graduate. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kelsey McNeal/ABC photo

ABC Studios and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment received an order for an additional nine episodes, bringing its season to a full 22, the show business publication said.

The half-hour comedy staring Katy Mixon, originally called “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport,” debuted Oct. 4.

Kenny Schwartz, a 1985 Staples High School graduate, is an executive producer. Mixon’s co-star, Diedrich Bader, who plays her husband, is married to actress Dulcy Rogers, a 1982 Staples High School graduate.

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Performing at Arts Center Jazz Lounge

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The Westport Arts Center (WAC) tonight was transformed into a one-night-only Jazz Lounge with a performance by Atla & Matt DeChamplain. The former high school sweethearts performed songs of the Great American songbook including works by Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, George and Ira Gershwin, and Jules Styne. Pictured are Atla DeChamplain, vocals, Ben Billelo, drums, Brian Torff,  bass, and Matt DeChamplain on keyboard. The next WAC Jazz concert will feature The Saxtet Under the Direction of Darren Litzie, performing a tribute to Benny Goodman and Stan Getz on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Aubrey Grodin for WestportNow.com

11/03/16 08:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

CraftWestport Will Feature More Than 175 Artists

Staples High School this weekend hosts the 41st annual Westport Young Woman’s League’s (WYWL) CraftWestport show.

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Some items on display at an earlier CraftWestport show. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The event features more than 175 fine contemporary artists and craftspeople from the region and across the country in what has become Connecticut’s largest indoor fine crafts festival.

Visitors will be able to meet visionary artists and purchase their latest work as well as help to raise money for local charities, an announcement said.

The show includes one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry, fashion and accessories, furniture, and home décor pieces as well as functional and sculptural work in ceramics, glass, metal, painting, photography, wood and mixed media, organizers said.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Staples Players Present ‘The Music Man’

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Staples Players marches into its 57th season beginning next weekend with Meredith Wilson’s, “The Music Man.” The production features a cast of 73 actors, including eight local elementary and middle school students. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, Saturday, Nov. 12, Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19. Matinee performances are at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov.19.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.StaplesPlayers.com. Pictured are Charlie Zuckerman, a junior, and Jacob Leaf, a senior. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Kerry Long

11/02/16 09:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Handmaiden,’ ‘Inferno,’ ‘Certain Women’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Set in 1930s Korea, during the Japanese occupation, auteur Park Chan-wook’s romantic melodrama “The Handmaiden” revolves around larcenous Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), an ambitious pickpocket recruited to help a con man, known as Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), who is planning to seduce lovely, lonely Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) to obtain her large inheritance.

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This aristocratic Japanese heiress lives in a magnificent manor house, deep in the woods, with her tyrannical uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong), an avid collector of rare exotic books whose tongue has turned black from licking his ink brushes.

Groomed since childhood to marry avaricious Kouzuki, devious Hideko tells Sookee that, when she was little, her deranged aunt (Moon- So-ri) hanged herself from a cherry tree and has become a ghost.

When Sookee has slyly established her servant status in the sumptuous household, fraudulent Count arrives, explaining he’s a painter from an impoverished noble family. Perverse Kouzuki hires him to forge illustrations for new books that can then be sold as originals.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Finance Board OKs $5 Million for Library Redo

By James Lomuscio

The Westport Library’s long sought redo transforming it into a state-of-the art information and community center got a major boost tonight as the Board of Finance unanimously approved $5 million for renovations.

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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 approval came with the contingency that the Library board raise the remaining $4.8 million for the project totaling $19.5 million before construction begins.

A target date for construction is Aug. 1, with a 17-month expected completion, according to Tom Walsh of AP Construction. He also said the work would be orchestrated in phases to keep the library open during construction.

Library Director Bill Harmer made the tonight’s request, noting that the town’s commitment, which has been part of its long-term capital forecast, represent about 20 percent of the total $19.5 million tab. The rest is being raised by the Library supporters via private donations and grants.

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Welcoming Playhouse Managing Director

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The Westport Country Playhouse tonight hosted a reception to allow patrons and friends to meet the new Playhouse managing director, Michael Barker (r). Artistic Director Mark Lamos (l) introduced Barker, who succeeded Michael Ross, who left in June after seven years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Arts Honor for Westporter

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There was special recognition tonight for Westporter Ann Sheffer (who could not be present) at the 2016 Governor’s Patron of the Arts Awards ceremony at the governor’s residence in Hartford. Sheffer was honored for her “long standing commitment to fostering and improving the arts in Connecticut and beyond.” Accepting the award for Sheffer was Helen Klisser During (2nd r) , artistic director emeritus of the Westport Arts Center (and contributing WestportNow photographer) who took Sheffer’s place on the Connecticut Arts Council and the Connecticut Arts Council Foundation. Pictued (l-r) are Fritz Jellinghaus, chair, Connecticut Arts Council & Connecticut Arts Council Foundation; Catherine Smith, commissioner, Deparment of Economic & Community Development, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Local Take on ‘The Candidate’

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Following the Westport Cinema Initiative’s (WCI) screening of “The Candidate” tonight at Westport Town Hall, there was a panel discussion with First Selectman Jim Marpe, Democratic Town Committee Chair Melissa Kane, and Douglas TIrola, filmmaker and WCI board vice president. Participants pointed to the local politicians’ ability to work with each other for the good of the town. “The Candidate,” a 1972 satirical comedy-drama film starring Robert Redford examines the various facets and machinations involved in political campaigns. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Pianist Jenny Lin Performs

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Pianist Jenny Lin played a “Sketches of Spain” program today at the Saugatuck Congregational Church in the second concert of the Westport Arts Center’s 2016-17 Chamber Music series. Her concert featured the music of Igor Stravinsky, Antonio Soler and Enrique Granados. Born in Taiwan, and raised in Austria and the United States, she began her piano studies at the age of 4. Upcoming WAC concerts include a special jazz lounge event featuring Atla and Matt DeChamplain on Thursday, Nov. 3 and pianist Pedja Muzijevic on Sunday, Dec. 4. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Aubrey Grodin for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

In Conversation

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Westport photographer Richard Frank (r) tonight discussed his work with Westport Library Artist-in-Residence and illustrator/photographer Miggs Burroughs. They talked about Franks’s 40-year career and the path that led him into photography, including taking the seminal photo of Muhammad Ali, which helped validate his decision to pursue photography as a career.  Frank’s works are featured in the Great Hall exhibit “Always Looking,” which runs through Jan. 4. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. for WestportNow.com

10/26/16 09:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies:‘Ouija: Origin of Evil,’ ‘Boo! A Madea Halloween,’ ‘Keeping Up w/ the Joneses’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

I’ve always been fascinated by the Ouija Board. For the past century, this creepy board game, manufactured by Hasbro, has intrigued players around the world.

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Its popularity rose sharply after America’s Civil War, since families lost so many loved ones in battle, many of whom remained unidentified. Using the Ouija Board, grieving relatives often gathered in the parlor to consult the ‘spirits’ for reassurance.

But there’s also been a fear that using the device could lead to demonic possession, which led to admonitions for users, like never play alone, never play in a graveyard or where a terrible death has occurred, and never bid ‘goodbye’ to the entity with whom you are in contact.

So it’s altogether appropriate that “Ouija: Origin of Evil” revolves around this supernatural concept. Set as a prequel to “Ouija” (2014), it begins with the Zander family back in 1967 in California.

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10/26/16 09:37 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Bridgeport Students Visit WAC Exhibit

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Students from New Beginnings Family Academy, a tuition-free public charter school in Bridgeport, today visited the Westport Arts Center (WAC) and viewed its current exhibit, “MORE Than Words,” which focuses on bullying. They are involved in the Connections program for students in Bridgeport and Norwalk inspired by the art and themes of the exhibition. WAC Education Manager Noah Steinman led the tour and provided background for the visitors. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com

10/26/16 03:13 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport: ‘Homey & Historical’

Get ready for a tourist wave to Westport, thanks to “American Housewife” and a popular women’s website.

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The popular women’s website Bustle takes a look at the real hometown of “American Housewife.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from Bustle.com

The website, Bustle, which reportedly attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, Tuesday published an article on the Westport-based ABC TV sitcom headlined: “Is Westport a Real Town? This ‘American Housewife’ Setting Is Homey & Historical.”

The article outlines Westport history, quoting the town website, and its attractions, quoting TripAdvisor, including the Westport Country Playhouse and Compo Beach.

Bustle sums up: “It’s definitely more than yoga legging-clad moms and Range Rovers, so go give it a visit and discover more for yourself.”

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