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Arts and Leisure

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Introducing New Playhouse Managing Director

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Michael Barker, recently appointed managing director of the Westport Country Playhouse (WCP) was introduced tonight to WCP patrons and board members at the “2016 Gala Benefactor Preview Party” at Steinway & Sons Gallery, 501 Post Road East. Tonight’s event presented a glimpse of plans for the Monday, Sept. 19 WCP gala, which celebrates composers Lerner & Loewe. Actor Richard Thomas will host “The Night They Invented Champagne” at which Broadway artists perform Lerner & Loewe music. The gala theme serves as a springboard for the Playhouse’s October production of Lerner & Lowe’s “Camelot,” directed by Mark Lamos. Playhouse artistic director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/08/16 10:44 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

DNR in WVEMS Benefit Friday at Levitt

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Just when you thought the Levitt Pavilion season was over, there will be a special performance Friday night by the (almost) all-physician local popular band DNR in a 9/11 salute to the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (WVEMS) and all first responders. The concert, sponsored by Westport’s Matsu Sushi restaurant, begins at 7:30 p.m. It will be the seventh successive year for the DNR benefit concert for WVEMS sponsored by Matsu Sushi. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/08/16 05:17 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Planned New Library Great Hall Look

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The Westport Library is moving ahead with its planned $19.5 million renovation after abandoning a much costlier version earlier this year (see WestportNow July 7, 2016). Bill Harmer, executive director, outlined some details of the new plan Wednesday night to the Board of Finance, which met in the library’s McManus Room. He said working within the existing footprint, and upgrading the library’s aging infrastructure, the major goal of the Transformation Project is to renovate the library from a static structure into a dynamic environment that will be more responsive to the ever-changing needs of Westport residents. Among the planned changes—flexible space for gathering, working and playing in the Great Hall (above), creating a 75 percent increase in open work and study areas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

09/08/16 10:44 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Library’s Planned New River Walk Area

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As part of the Westport Library’s planned $19.5 million renovation is an updated lower-level River Walk space (above), providing users a quiet environment with increased natural light and the best views of the Saugatuck River. The library is seeking a $5 million town appropriation for the project with the majority of the funding coming from private donations.  Construction is set to commence in August 2017 with completion of the project slated for fall 2019. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Granger at the Movies: ‘Sully,’ ‘Don’t Breathe,’ ‘The Light Between Oceans’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

What you think you know about how Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger skillfully glided his disabled U.S. Airways flight 1549 onto the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, is only the beginning of the story.

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Which is why director Clint Eastwood begins this harrowingly realistic, compelling re-creation with the “Miracle on the Hudson,” after which Sully was widely acclaimed as a national hero.

Though it was kept secret at the time, skeptical members of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) seriously questioned Sully’s judgment, accusing him of needlessly endangering his crew and passengers with a forced water landing.

Based on sensor readings of the Airbus 320’s left engine, computer simulations showed that the commuter jet could have safely returned to New York’s LaGuardia or made an emergency landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Fifth Annual ‘Slice’ Served Up Saturday

The fifth annual Slice of Saugatuck, a celebration of the section’s shops, restaurants and its integral place in the history of Westport, is scheduled for Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., with 47 local businesses and 26 restaurants participating.

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Saugtuck Slice visitors line up outside Tarry Lodge last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

The event goes from Railroad Place to the fork of Saugatuck and Riverside Avenues, featuring food samples from participating eateries for those who walk the Slice.

New this year will be two beer gardens, one on Bridge Square and the other on Railroad Place, according to Matthew Mandell, Slice creator and the executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.

In addition, Mandell said there will be eight bands playing in six locations throughout the afternoon, demonstrations by Makerfaire in Luciano Park, “climbing, walls, an obstacle course, a balloon vendor, Hula Hoop Lady and a boucy house.”

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Gallery: Blues, Views, & BBQ Festival - Day 2


Scenes from today’s second and final day of the ninth annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.  J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com and WestportNow.com photos

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Closing Out the Blues, Views, & BBQ Festival

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The Revivalists, a seven-piece New Orleans roots-driven rock band, tonight closed out the ninth annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

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High Fives for the Crowd

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David Shaw, vocalist for The Revivalists, gives a high five tonight to a young fan as the New Orleans roots-driven rock band closed out the Blues, views, and BBQ Festival. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

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Teen Rocker

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Addie Teolis, 13, of the New Canaan School of Rock was among performers in the Westport Library parking lot today on the second and final day of the ninth annual Westport Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Little Charmer

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A youngster took up the beat today at the second and final day of the Westport Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Brass Sound

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The High and Mighty Brass Band was one of the afternoon performers today at the second and final day of the Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Crowd Pleaser

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Marc Broussard, a rock-soul artist whose “Bayou Soul” sound is a mix of funk, blues, R&B, rock, and pop, was a crowd pleaser today at the ninth annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival in Westport sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Grilling Oysters at BBQ Fest

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Executive Chef Mike Hazen of Pearl at Longshore restaurant today demonstrates cooking of grilled oysters at the CTbites.com booth at the Westport Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival. He is helped by Andrew Dominick while Ellen Bowen (r) does the play by play.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Kicking Off BBQ Blues Fest

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Blues/rock/soul singer Jay Stollman was among the early performers today at the ninth annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival in Westport. The two-day event is expected to attract thousands. CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Class Act at Blues Festival

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Blues singer Jay Stollman performs today with Beth Ivonelli at the Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival in Westport. British guitar virtuoso and Blues Hall-Of-Famer Matt Schofield (l) accompanied them. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Near Capacity Festival Crowd

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There was a near capacity crowd today at the ninth annual Blues Views, and BBQ Festival at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion. There was food and entertainment in the Westport Library parking lot and a BBQ competition in the Imperial Avenue parking lot. The event continues Sunday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Serving Up a Warm Pretzel

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Joe Farrell, co-owner of Westport’s Rothbard Ale + Larder, a rathskeller restaurant in the basement of the old Westport Town Hall, serves up a warm pretzel today to a customer at the Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival. A large variety of foods were available in the Westport Library parking lot, in addition to play activities and music. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Faces in the Crowd

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Bob LeRose, (l) a founder of the Westport Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival, was up front in the Levitt Pavilion audience for this year’s version with state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Friday, September 02, 2016

Installing Arts Center Exhibit on Bullying

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Installation was underway today for the “MORE Than Words” exhibition opening Friday, Sept. 9 at the Westport Arts Center (WAC) with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception. Curated by Gerry Snyder, dean of Pratt Institute School of Art, the exhibition by contemporary artists centers around the theme of courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying. The exhibition will be on view through Oct. 29. Pictured are WAC staff members Noah Steinman and Adriana Reis installing the work “Crazy Bitches” by Andrea Bowers. A Los Angeles-based artist, she works in a variety of media, including video, drawing, and installation, and centers her work on the convergence of art and activism. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

09/02/16 08:34 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Westporter Chronicles Rise and Fall of Post 154

The September issue of Connecticut magazine includes a nine-page feature on the history of Westport’s Post 154 restaurant, which opened to great fanfare in August 2013, then closed last January.

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The magazine tells the inside story of the restaurant’s much anticipated opening to its quiet sudden end. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Writer Michael Catarevas, a 20-year town resident, worked at the restaurant during its first five months, and tells the tale from his point of view and those of many others he interviewed.

“It was a fascinating place,” he said. “I was between full-time editorial positions at the time and took a waiter job for a few months.

“I saw how and why a multimillion-dollar investment, with a lot of very smart people involved, could still go downhill fast.”

08/31/16 10:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

9th Annual Blues, BBQ Festival This Weekend

Grill masters, blues artists and jammers will be smoking, bringing sultry sounds, scents and flavors to Westport as the ninth annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival fires up this Labor Day weekend at the Levitt Pavilion and in the Westport Library lot.

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Ronnie Baker Brooks greeted fans in the crowd after his performance last year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

The Saturday and Sunday event is being sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (DMA), which promises a “foot stomping, mouthwatering weekend on the beautiful banks of the Saugatuck River” and the Westport Library.

Saturday’s musical lineup on the Levitt stage from noon through 9:30 p.m. includes: Popa Chubby, Anders Osborne, Manny and the Mojomatics, Jay Stollman with Matt Schofield, Funky Meters and Mark Broussard.

But those won’t be the only smoky tunes filling the banks of the Saugatuck River on Saturday, event planners say.

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08/31/16 06:37 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Amis Trattoria to Bedford Square

Amis Trattoria, a Philadelphia-based restaurant group owned by Urban Outfitters, will open in 2017 at 59 Post Road East in the Bedford Building and Firehouse in the Bedford Square Development.

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Amis Trattoria is owned by Urban Outfitters, whose Anthropologie brand will occupy 40,000 square feet of the Bedford Square development.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Amis, created by Marc Vetri who owns three Amis restaurants in Philadelphia, is part of the Vetri family of restaurants that includes restaurants under the names of Osteria, Pizzeria Vetri, Alla Spina and Lospiedo.

Urban Outfitters, a $3.3 billion company, made its first move to casual dining with the December 2015 acquisition of Vetri.

Anthropologie, also owned by Urban Outfitters, will relocate from 1365 Post Road East to Bedford Square where it will occupy 40,000 square feet. 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Hug for the Geek Photographer

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Bill Harmer, executive director of the Westport Library, gives a hug tonight to Pam Einarsen, the photographer who took more than 600 photos as part of the library’s “What Do You Geek ?” campaign, at a “It’s a Wrap…Geek Party” tonight at the library The public awareness campaign, which began in April, aimed to connect people by highlighting their passions as well as communicate the vital role the library plays in the community. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

08/30/16 07:18 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

‘The Westport Library Geeks You!’

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As a thank you to Westport Library supporters of its “What Do You Geek?” campaign, library executive director Bill Harmer tonight presented a giant “The Westport Library Geeks You” from library staff at a reception marking the end of the almost five-month awareness campaign. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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In the Geek Spirit

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A bust of Westport Library benefactor Morris K. Jesup was decked out in his Geek t-shirt tonight as guests attended a “It’s a Wrap…Geek Party” marking the end of its Geek library awareness campaign that began in April.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Let Them Geek Cake

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Celebration cakes were at the ready tonight at the Westport Library’s “It’s a Wrap…Geek Party” as the library ended its What Do You Geek? library awareness campaign. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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A Geek Jigsaw Puzzle

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Youngsters and some adults worked a “What Do You Geek .jigsaw puzzle tonight at the Westport Library’s “It’s a Wrap…Geek Party” marking the end of its Geek library awareness campaign. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

08/30/16 06:58 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Artist Featured in Pequot Library Exhibit

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The Pequot Library in Southport on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. will host a reception to kick off an exhibit of the three People’s Choice art show winners from last year’s “Exploring the Landscape of Art, Exploring the Art of Landscape “exhibit. Westport artist Miggs Burrough’s lenticular images will share the exhibit space with painter Nancy Smith, and jeweler and ceramicist Deborah Kouzoukian. In honor of Kouzoukian’s ceramic pomegranates and Burroughs’s’ lenticular pomegranate, there will be zesty pomegranate cocktails served at the reception. The show runs until Sept. 20.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

08/30/16 04:40 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings,’ ‘Southside With You,’ ‘Equity’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Kubo and the Two Strings” begins with the ominous warning - “If you must blink, do it now” - because “if you look away, even for an instant, our hero will surely perish.”

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Set in ancient Japan, this animated fantasy-adventure revolves around an 11 year-old boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson), a story-telling musician whose skill at origami (the art of paper-folding) resonates with Hosato (George Takei), Akhiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro).

While taking care of his ailing mother, who warns him to be home before nightfall, the tranquility of Kubo’s life is suddenly shattered when he accidentally breaks a supernatural curse.

Accompanied by a snarky, sassy Monkey (Charlize Theron), Kubo flees, determined to acquire three specific pieces of armor that belonged to his late samurai-warrior father in order to fulfill his destiny.

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