Sunday, January 10, 2016
Westporter Mark Naftalin (r), a 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, takes a bow today with drummer Barry Urich at the Westport Library’s McManus Room after a performance before an overflow crowd. Naftalin, 71, a blues keyboardist, recording artist, composer, and record producer, was inducted into the Hall after appearing on the historic first four albums by Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the mid 1960s as a band member. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Scenes from today’s Westport Library performance by blues great and Westporter Mark Naftalin accompanied by drummer Barry Urich. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Saturday, January 09, 2016
The Westport Cinema Initiative (WCI) with partner the Westport Library today presented a Westport Town Hall screening of “Miracle at St Anna,” a 2008 Spike Lee movie as part of the townwide WestportREADS celebration of the 2002 novel of the same name by author and musician James McBride. Posing for a photo were Trey Ellis, Westport novelist, screenwriter, professor, playwright, and essayist, whose film, “The Tuskegee Airmen” was the subject of a post–screening discussion; state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, WCI preident; Sandra Lefkowitz, WCI executive director; Bill Harmer, executive director of the Westport Library; Kelle Ruden, Westport Library, and First Selectman James Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Friday, January 08, 2016
Bobby Q’s, a Westport Main Street ribs favorite since 2004, is closing March 31, owner Bob LeRose (above) announced today. The building at 36-42 Main St. was sold for $9.2 million in November 2014 by longtime owner Drew Friedman, who originally opened Onion Alley in the Bobby Q space. “While I’m sad that this chapter of my restaurant career is coming to an end, I’ll have some exciting news coming soon on my next chapter,” LeRose said. Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, said he hears Bobby Q’s will move to West Avenue in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Parker Mansion, described as an “American casual” restaurant and bar, will open this month at 541 Riverside Ave. in space previously occupied by the Mansion Clam House, according to owner Patrick Fahy (above). The space, which has undergone a major makeover inside and out, now includes seating on the second floor indoor and deck and will offer patio seating in warmer temperatures. “Our menu has a wide range, serving everything from hamburger to filet mignon,” Fahy said. He added that the restaurant owns nine boat slips along the Saugatuck River so sailors can pull right up to the property. He owns two other restaurants, Parker Steaks & Scotch in Trumbull, and Parker Eatery & Bar. Mansion Clam House closed in October 2014 (see WestportNow Oct. 12, 2014) after being there since 1958, according to its website. The property, which includes the adjoining Julian’s Brick Oven Pizza, changed hands in April 2014 for $2.1 million. The listing said the building was built in 1900. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 07, 2016
The 10th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration presented by Interfaith Council of Westport and Weston, TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) Westport and the Westport Country Playhouse is set for Sunday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Playhouse, officials announced.
The free event will feature keynote speaker Marilyn Ward Ford, the Neil Cogan Public Service Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University. Following the program, a reception will take place in the Playhouse lobby.
“In light of recent race-related incidents on city streets and college campuses, this year’s program will lift up not only the legacy of Dr. King but also help us envision ways we might move forward to fulfill his dream of a more just and inclusive society.” said the Rev. Ed Horne, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston and chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
The program will include excerpts from King’s works being read by students from Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, and choral music will be sung by the Staples High School Orphenians and the Serendipity Chorale.
Work is progressing toward the opening later this month of the Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place, in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Mario’s closed in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
About 30 persons today attended a showing at the Westport Library’s McManus Room of the 1995 film, “Tuskeegee Airmen” a semi-fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African-American Air Force squadron during World War II. The film centers on an ambitious young pilot, Hannibal Lee, portrayed by Laurence Fishburne. The 106-minute film was shown in conjunction with the WestportREADS book selection, James McBride’s “Miracle at St. Anna,” a tale of courage and redemption inspired by a little-known historic event toward the end of World War II. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Westport’s Library’s annual WestportREADS program is underway with this year’s selection the 2002 novel “Miracle at St. Anna” by author and musician James McBride.
It is a powerful and heartfelt book of an orphaned Italian boy befriended by a black American soldier in Italy during World War II.
The book choreographs the sacrifices of the four members of the all-black 92nd Infantry Buffalo Division as they and the boy are trapped in the Italian village of St. Anna di Stazzema as the German army closes in
According to Library officials, WestportREADS aims to strengthen the community via shared experience of a book and its author.
Monday, January 04, 2016
By Susan GrangerSpecial to WestportNow
In “The Danish Girl,” Eddie Redmayne follows up his Oscar-winning performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” with an amazing transformation, becoming Lili Elbe, the first transgender woman.
While 2015 marked Caitlyn Jenner’s transition and Amazon’s TV’s “Transparent,” along with the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, back in 1926 in Denmark, the transgender concept frustrated and bewildered psychiatrists who considered it a perversion.
Which is why when renowned landscape artist Einar Wegener (Redmayne) starts to wear makeup and clothing belonging to his ambitious-but-struggling portrait-painter wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), Copenhagen’s traditionally tolerant artistic community is stunned.
Married for six years, Einer enjoys a lusty conjugal life with Gerda - until, one day, she asks him to don stockings, tutu and satin slippers to fill in for a missing model. Sensing his delight posing in feminine finery, she suggests he attend a party, masquerading as a cousin named Lili.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
WestportNow film critic Susan Granger compiled her list of 10 BEST for 2015. They are listed alphabetically:
“Bridge of Spies” - Fact-based spy-swap story, set during the Cold War.
“Creed” - Re-birth of the “Rocky” legend for another generation.
“Ex Machina” - A scientist creates a remarkably life-like cyborg.
“Inside Out” - Pixar Animation delightfully details how our minds work.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” - Explosive, post-apocalyptic action epic.
“The Martian” - A rousing sci-fi adventure about an astronaut stranded on Mars.
“Son of Saul” - Holocaust drama set in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
“Spotlight” - Boston Globe reporters expose the Catholic Church’s pedophilia cover-up.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - Revival of the galactic, good vs. evil adventure.
“Trumbo” - Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo battles the Hollywood blacklist.
Holiday return items were piled on the counter at Westport’s Banana Republic, 44 Main St., late today. Seen in the background are the quirky characters painted on a mural by New Milford artist Edmund Ashe, Jr. in the 1930s to decorate the wall behind a bar called Triangle Tavern, later Townly’s Restaurant. It suffered damage due to a fire in the 1950s and subsequently was covered with dry wall when Klein’s, a Main Street presence since 1937, expanded into the spot. In 1999, Klein’s leased the ground floor to Banana Republic and moved upstairs, finally closing for good in 2004. The mural was rediscovered during the Banana Republic renovation and restored. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) and the Westport Library today announced its third annual high school essay contest on diversity.
The 1,000-word contest, open to all ninth through twelfth graders who reside in town, asks students to make sense out of the troubling, racially charged incidents from Charleston to Chicago over the past year.
Applications can be downloaded at http://www.teamwestport.org on Jan. 4, and completed essays are due Feb. 26.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Westport Library on April 4, officials say, and first prize is $1,000, second prize $750 and third prize, $500.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
By James Lomuscio
There are the partyers and there are those who eschew all the hoopla for a quiet evening as the ball drops. And there are those who will be in bed before midnight, preferring to see the start of the New Year as just another mark on the calendar.
A survey of Westport restaurants shows that local restaurateurs are catering to all of these customers this New Year’s Eve.
A few establishments are serving up evening meals and closing shop long before midnight, letting their customers revel in the midst of First Night of Westport and Weston celebrations. And a few others conversely are pulling out the stops.
Either way, choices abound, and regardless of one’s hoopla meter, and reservations are encouraged since it remains restaurants’ biggest night of the year.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The newest recipient of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) historical plaque are the owners of the house at 33 Old Hill Road, now known as the Abijah Hanford House, circa 1796. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented the plaque to Alison and Stephen Schwartz and their two daughters, Olivia (l), 7, a second grade student, and Caitlyn, 9, a fourth grade student, both, at Kings Highway Elementary School. The family relocated to Westport from New York where Alison and Stephen resided for 15 years. “I’ve always lived in antique houses,” said Alison. “I grew up in western Massachusetts in a 1700s-built house. No surprise that my mother helped us select this house.” Stephen, who works in New York in the financial services field, said, “Even our Upper West Side apartment was in a prewar building built in1926.” He said he and his wife chose Westport because “friends who live here told us how wonderful it is.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By Susan Granger
In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” writer/director J.J. Abrams has successfully revived George Lucas’s original sci-fi concept, a space Western that captivated global audiences some 30-plus years ago, bringing back Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels).
It opens with John Williams’ familiar musical fanfare, along with that rolling scroll, explaining that Luke Skywalker has disappeared and the evil First Order has taken power.
Enter Stormtroopers, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), whose black mask and cape make him look just like Darth Vader. They’re searching for a map that can lead them to where Luke is hiding; it is hidden within spherical droid BB-8 that belongs to hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
When conscience-stricken Stormtrooper FN-3182, nicknamed Finn (John Boyega), defects, he joins up with Poe and Rey (Daisy Ridley), the feisty Jakku desert ‘scavenger’ who is protecting BB-8, as they steal an aged freighter, the Millennium Falcon, belonging to legendary smuggler Han Solo.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning director, tonight told an audience attending the only Connecticut screening of his latest film before its wide release in February that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee.
“He (Trump) will be the Republican nominee, there is absolutely no doubt about that,” said Moore at a screening of his film “Where to Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. “And don’t, don’t, don’t think that he can’t win. It’s really important to pay attention to this and not just dismiss it any more.”
Moore added: “It was funny for a while. He did performance art. I was enjoying it. But I think now it’s time to pay some serious attention to it because he really knows what he is doing. And he’s really good at it. He’s really pushing a lot of the right buttons for the angry white guys that are out there.”
Moore said 81 percent of the people voting next year are either going to be women, people of color or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. And they could be the difference in the election.
Academy Award-wnning director Michael Moore talks with Westporters Kimberly and Mark Shapiro tonight at the Vespa restaurant in Westport following the screening of Moore’s film “Where to Invade Next.” Shapiro, chief content officer of the IMG unit of talent and event management specialist WME/IMG, said he was so impressed with Moore’s script that not only did his company back the project but he signed on as an executive producer. Shapiro, best known for his turn running programming at ESPN, joined the firm in September 2014 in the newly created role aimed at identifying new revenue opportunities across IMG’s businesses, which encompass sports, fashion, model representation and events. He was most recently CEO and an executive producer at Dick Clark Productions and prior to that was CEO at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Chris Greer
Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore and WME | IMG hosted a special screening tonight of Moore’s latest documentary “Where To Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. Westporter Mark Shapiro, an executive producer of the film, welcomed the audience of many fellow Westporters to the event. Afterward, Moore and Shapiro hosted the audience to drinks and food at Westport’s Vespa restaurant. The film opens in limited release Wednesday for a week to qualify for the Academy Awards and goes into wide release in February. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The Westport Library has announced it is offering a film festival during the school vacation days—Saturday, Dec. 26, to Thursday, Dec.31.
The films, free and open to the public, will be shown at 2 p.m. in either the Children’s Department or the McManus Room. Here is the schedule:
Saturday, Dec. 26: “Frozen Sing-a-Long.” To kick off the festival, join members of the Music Theater of Connecticut in the McManus Room and sing along to the songs of the Academy Award-winning Disney film “Frozen.”
A mountain climber and a young girl named Anna journey through snowy peaks and dangerous cliffs to find the legendary Snow Queen and end the perpetual winter prophecy that has fallen over their kingdom.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
The newest recipients of an historical plaque from the Westport Historical Society (WHS) are the owners of two homes on Maplewood Avenue. The Ackerman family, George, Emily and their daughter, Sophie, 1, owners of the house at 10 Maplewood Ave., now known as the Walsh House, built circa 1927, and Fiona Hodgson, owner of the house across the street at 11 Maplewood Ave., now known as the Mary Walsh House, built circa 1911. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented a plaque to owners. According to Weingarten’s historical research, the land on which the two houses were built was, prior to 1910, part of a 24-acre farmland owned by the Morehouse family. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Scenes from tonight’s final 75th anniversary Candlelight Concert at Staples High School. The evening began with a video produced by Staples ‘61 graduate John Brandt reviewing the history of the concerts. Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Prior to tonight’s final performance of the 75th anniversary Candlelight Concert at Staples High School, some Candlelight alumni and guests gathered at the Inn at Westport for a reception. Here are some scenes from the event. Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
The Fairfield County Carolers, a subset of the Fairfield Country Chorale, tonight sang for diners at the 10 Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce member restaurants in Saugatuck. They started at Tuttis and made their way around the neighborhood. They are pictured during their stop at Tarrantino’s. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Friday, December 18, 2015
Scenes from tonight’s opening night of the 75th Candlelight Concert at Westport’s Staples High School. In an unusual twist, the Symphonic Orchestra was conducted by David Ohanian, Staples Class of 1963 and the son of John Ohanian, director at Staples from 1940 to 1974 and the beloved founder of the Candlelight Concert. In honor of David Ohanian’s presence, Choral Director Luke Rosenberg invited alumni to join in singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from “The Messiah,” something usually reserved for Saturday night’s closing concert. Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Guest conductor tonight of the Staples High School Symphonic Orchestra at the opening night of the 75th Candlelight Concert was David Ohanian, Staples ‘63, son of John Ohanian, founder of Candlelight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
At tonight’s 75th presentation of the annual Candlelight Concert at Staples High School, students presented a program ending with a new production number, an entertaining updated “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” by Don Rickenback. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Westport art historian Fiona Garland discussed angels throughout art history at ArtCafé at the Westport Arts Center today “Angels play a crucial part in many stories depicted in art throughout the ages,” she said.“They act as go-betweens, as messengers, they move the story along—and because they are such beautiful creatures, artists love to render them and we love to look at them.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Marina White for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Workers today were busy getting The Pearl at Longshore ready for its February opening. The owners announced the opening date on Monday for the restaurant which takes over space occupied by the Splash Restaurant at the Inn at Longshore for 19 years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com