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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Music Scholarship Winner

Nicole Mathias, a senior at Staples High School, was awarded the first Joyce and Bernie Zimmerman Foundation Music Scholarship at this week’s Staples Choral Concert.

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Nicole Mathias: 2016 class awardee. Contributed photo

The scholarship is a special gift from the Zimmerman Foundation that is awarded to one male member and/or one female member of the Staples graduating classes of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 who plan to major in music.

Applications were subjected to a rigorous review process that included the evaluation of GPA in music classes; participation in various musical and civic experiences, and completion of an essay, an announcement said.

Nicole, who will attend Penn State majoring in music education, is the daughter of Kim and Mark Mathias. He is a Board of Education member.

05/21/16 09:08 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, May 20, 2016

WCT Sets ‘Godspell’ as June Production

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The Westport Community Theatre presents “Godspell” from June 3 through June 26, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, with Thursday performances on June 9 and June 16 at 8 p.m. A musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak, “Godspell” opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, including a 2011 revival which played on Broadway from Oct. 13, 2011, to June 24, 2012. Tickets are $28, $26 for seniors and students, and can be purchased at westportcommunitytheatre.com or by calling (203) 226-1983. The Westport Community Theatre is located at the Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave. Pictured (front row l-r): Betzabeth Castro, Caitlin Brown, Jessica Braun, Norris Wakefield (Jesus), Rosalind Cormier, Tyler Campbell, Katherine Logan (back row): Dena Lagonigro, Bill Warncke (Judas), Rob Pawlikowski, and Emily Beers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

05/20/16 04:23 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Historic Piano Debuts at Local Jazz Club

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An historic 1937 Steinway that was the house piano at the Village Gate in New York City for many years Thursday inaugurated the second year of live jazz at Restaurant 323, 323 Main St., produced by Richard Epstein and Ina Chadwick. Rabbi Greg Wall of Westport, artistic director and sax player, teamed up with Chris Coogan to play two sets of hot music to a full house. Pianists Frederic Chiu, Joe Utterback, and Marco Scott also had chances to try out the instrument. The piano was crowd-funded and fundraising is still underway with the intent of forming a nonprofit devoted to live jazz performance and education in Fairfield County. 323 Jazz Club is ongoing from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. every Thursday night, and an upcoming program will also feature singer Melissa Newman of Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gallery: Art About Town


Scenes from tonight’s Art About Town opening night street party sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.. J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com and WestportNow photos

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Opening Night Street Party Launches Art About Town

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The Westport Downtown Merchants Association today launched its month-long Art About Town with an opening night street party on Main Street. During the event, local art will be on display in local stores for purchase. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

05/19/16 08:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Forbidden Cuba Through a Photographer’s Lens

Scenes and stories of Cuba, off limits to Americans for decades, are set to come to life as photojournalist Cynthia Carris Alonso reads from her book, “Passage to Cuba: An Up-Close Look at the World’s Most Colorful Culture” on Saturday, June 4, at 3 p.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room.

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With access few other have had, Alonso spent 20 years in Cuba, choreographing the starkly different worlds on the island nation, the luxurious realm where foreigners flock, and the unseen corners where ordinary citizens make due.

As an American journalist and member of a Cuban family by marriage, Alonso has enjoyed rare access to the country, event planners said. She has photographed for Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Business Week and Time.com and has exhibited her photographs in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Library officials said books will be available for purchase and signing at the program, which is free and open to the public.

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‘Sinatra of Sportswriting’ Frank Deford at Library June 8

Legendary sportswriter Frank Deford—a former, longtime Westporter, the author of 19 books, an NPR “Morning Edition” commentator and the man the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed “the Sinatra of sportswriting” —is set to read from his latest work at the Westport Library on Wesdnesday, June 8, at 7 p.m.

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Frank Deford: former Westporter. Bruce Plotkin photo

Publicists say his newest book “I’d Know That Voice Anywhere” collects the best of his writing, creating a wide-ranging look at athletes and the world of sports.

As a journalist, Deford has won the National Magazine Award for profiles, has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters and has been voted by his peers as U.S. Sportswriter of the Year six times.

For his radio and TV work, Deford has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award.

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05/19/16 01:21 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Arthur Levitt: How to Best Value Creative Art?

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Arthur Levitt:  “Most wealth created by art is never touched by artists.” Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Editor’s note: Westporter Arthur Levitt, best known for his work in finance and markets, today told a gathering of Fairfield County artists that the arts economy faces a problem of “socialized gain and privatized pain,” which he called a “market failure.” Here are edited excerpts from his keynote remarks to the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) breakfast at the Shore and Country Club in Norwalk at which it presented its inaugural 2016 ACE (Arts & Culture Empowerment) awards.

I was so honored to be asked to join you, and to help honor the award winners. Each of you is being recognized for outstanding creative work, and for talents that we all envy.  I wish I could express myself creatively as well as you can.

That’s how some people are drawn to the arts. They can see or hear or sense that there are some people in our society who are gifted in a way that they can scarcely imagine.

It’s no different than watching Steph Curry hit a 40-foot jump shot. Athletes have the same capacity to marvel us.

But while we admire athletes for their gifts – both in fame and in fortune—artists enjoy appreciation in every way but in fame or fortune.

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05/19/16 10:44 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Founders of Westport Artists’ Collective Honored

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The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) today presented the founders of the Westport Artists’ Collective with its inaugural 2016 ACE (Arts & Culture Empowerment) Artist Award in a breakfast ceremony at the Shore and Country Club in Norwalk. Joining in the presentation was Cindy Vaccaro (l), president of the board of CAFC. She is pictured with bathrobe-attired artists (they said the hour was a bit early for them) (l-r) Nina Bentley, Duvian Montoya, Helen Klisser During, Jahmane West,Tammy Winser, and Miggs Burroughs. Keynote speaker was Westporter Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emma Montoya for WestportNow.com

05/19/16 10:38 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County Awards Ceremony


Scenes from today’s breakfast by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) at which it presented its inaugural 2016 ACE (Arts & Culture Empowerment) awards at the Shore and Country Club in Norwalk. Among the recipients were the founders of the Westport Artists’ Collective at the Westport Arts Center. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com and contributed photos

05/19/16 10:33 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The Nice Guys,’ ‘Money Monster,’ ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Opening on Friday, “The Nice Guys” is the deranged, depraved, dead-on tale of a bumbling private investigator and a gonzo enforcer making mayhem in Los Angeles in 1978.

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There’s a horrific car crash in which porn star Misty Mountains is killed. Or is she? Her distraught aunt doubts it - and she wants answers. Plus, there’s this mysterious missing girl named Amelia. Is there any connection between them?

That’s the question plaguing private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and hard-boiled tough-guy Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). Their unconventional investigation leads them to a splashy Tinseltown pool party, replete with mermaids and dance music by Earth, Wind & Fire.

That’s where they not only find Amelia (Margaret Qualley), an ardent environmentalist, but also discover a high-level corporate conspiracy.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Westport-Set Comedy Now ‘American Housewife’

ABC announced its fall lineup today including the new title of its Westport-set comedy series – “American Housewife”—formerly called “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.”

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“American Housewife,” set in Westport, was formerly titled “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.” Courtesy ABC Television

The show starring Katy Mixon, a lead in the “Mike and Molly” series on CBS since 2010, will air Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m., the network said.

The network released a trailer for the show (click here), which includes a sign saying “Welcome to Westport – Established in 1732.” The real Westport, Conn. was founded in 1835.

The premise of the show is Katie Otto (Katy Mixon) “a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with ‘perfect’ mommies and their ‘perfect’ offspring.”

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05/17/16 05:20 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Celebration of Life Gathering for Naiad Einsel

The family of Naiad Einsel announced that there will be a celebration of life gathering for the late Westport artist on Sunday, June 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place.

EInsel died April 3 at age 88. See obituary here.

05/17/16 02:15 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thinking ‘Outside the Bubble’ on Race

By James Lomuscio

For years, Westport students have thought of themselves living a privileged life “in a bubble,” a life not reflective of the real world.

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TEAM Chair Harold Bailey and First Selectman Jim Marpe flank essay winners (l-r) Elllie Shapiro, second place; Ali Tritschler, third place, and Jacob Klegar, first place. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Tonight, at a Westport Library event, the town celebrated three Westport high school essayists who best showed they could think outside that bubble in terms of race relations.

“It’s about getting kids raised inside the bubble to think about the world outside once they matriculate to college and outside life,” said Harold Bailey, chairman of Westport’s TEAM committee (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism).

The students won a TEAM essay contest that challenged them to put into 1,000 words or less how they, personally, would make sense of the racially charged events of the last year.

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05/16/16 10:02 PM Comments (2) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Music & Art Together at BMS

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Westport’s Bedford Middle chool tonight hosted Art Museum 2016, celebrating a year of creativity. Several hundred youngsters and adults came out to see art created by students and hear music performed by the BMS orchestra, jazz, wind, percussion ensembles, and Camerata. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dayle Brownstein for WestportNow.com

05/16/16 09:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Celebrating a Year of Creativity

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Some of the art on display tonight at Bedford Middle School’s Art Museum 2016, celebrating a year of creativity. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dale Najarian for WestportNow.com

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Gallery: BMS Art Museum 2016


Scenes from tonight’s Westport Bedford Middle School annual Art Museum. Dayle Brownstein and Dale Najarian for WestportNow.com

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Master Guitarist at Arts Center

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Master guitarist Eliot Fisk, a charismatic performer known for his adventurous and virtuosic repertoire, entertained at the Westport arts Center today. He has received critical acclaim in recital, as a soloist with major orchestras and in a wide variety of chamber music combinations. Brought back by popular demand, Fisk last played at the Center in 2013. There was a full house of enthusiastic concertgoers of all ages who were delighted with several encores. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/15/16 08:12 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Back Home

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UPDATE There was a reunion/homecoming tonight at Westport’s Toquet Hall teen center. Justin Honigstein (l), who goes by the stage name of Honeystone, a 2010 Staples High School, appeared on stage with fellow Staples grads Alan Southworth and Jonathan Foster. Honigstein moved to Chicago to pursue a career in music and came home this weekend for a show in New York City at The Bitter End. In addition to that concert, he set up this event at Toquet Hall and invited the two two other Staples grads to join him. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Paying Tribute to Howard Munce

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Mary Brewster, daughter of the late Westport artist Howard Munce, greets Westport artist Neil Hardy today at the Westport Arts Center at a tribute to her father. A Westport resident since 1935 and a spry, ubiquitous presence in town arts circles, Munce died at his Westport home on March 5 at 100.  (See WestportNow March 8, 2016) He was revered as a painter, illustrator, sculptor and writer, as well as a living link to the town’s time-honored arts history. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

05/14/16 07:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Arts Center Tribute to Howard Munce


Scenes from today’s Westport Arts Center tribute to the late Howard Munce, dean of Westport artists. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Friday, May 13, 2016

BOOKED for the Evening Sold Out

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Ron Chernow: to be honored May 26.  Contributed photo

The Westport Library said today that its BOOKED for the Evening Thursday, May 26 event honoring Ron Chernow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of “Alexander Hamilton,” the inspiration for the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” is sold out.

The sell-out is a first in the 18-year history of the event, said Marcia Logan, the library’s spokesperson.

She said while no more tickets are available for the 7 p.m. event, “we are still accepting donations—all proceeds benefit Library programs.”

Chernow won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for biography and the 2011 American History Book Prize for his book, “Washington: A Life.” He published “Alexander Hamilton” in 2004.

05/13/16 01:56 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tickets on Sale for Staples Players Production

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The Staples Players production of “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later” runs Thursday, May 19 through Sunday, May 22. It is about the lasting effects of the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, who was tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming and left to die. Staples Players last spring produced the original play, “The Laramie Project.” Tickets to the play, coo-directed by David Roth and Kerry Long, are available at http://www.staplesplayers.com. Pictured (l-r) are juniors James O’Brien, Jacob Leaf, and Nick Roehm. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Long photo

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

ABC Drops ‘Second Fattest Housewife in Westport’ Title

ABC has approved a new comedy series about a plump housewife in Westport raising her “flawed” family but has dropped the working title “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport,” the network announced today.

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Katy Mixon: stars as plump Westport housewife. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The series, now known temporarily as “Untitled,” stars Katy Mixon, a lead in the “Mike and Molly” series on CBS since 2010, which was canceled in January.

The network said she stars as Katie Otto, a “confident, unapologetic, plump wife and mother of three, [who] raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Conn., filled with ‘perfect’ mommies and their ‘perfect’ offspring.”

It adds: “She lets us in on her deepest, most unfiltered thoughts through voiceover as the she lives her life as the second fattest housewife in Westport.”

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ and ‘Papa: Hemingway in Cuba’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

POW! Crammed with action, “Captain America: Civil War” should really be dubbed “Avengers 2.5,” since it features a plethora of superheroes in conflict with one another.

Responding to public protests after an alarming amount of casualties…a.k.a. collateral damage…caused by their derring-do, Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) proposes the Sokovia Accords, which would limit the vigilantes’ autonomy under international law.

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Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) opposes this threat to their independence, joined by his buddy Falcon (Anthony Mackie), plus Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

Somewhat surprisingly, Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) accedes to Ross’ proposal, along with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany) and a newcomer, African Prince T’Challa (Chadwich Boseman)…a.k.a. Black Panther, who will get his own feature film.

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Playhouse Gets $25,000 Federal Grant

UPDATE Connecticut’s congressional delegation today applauded $1,053,800 in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support several projects in the state, including one in Westport.

In a joint statement, the lawmakers said: “The arts play a vital, valuable role in our communities—enriching our neighborhoods and attracting visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage and modern artistic scene that Connecticut has to offer. These awards are a wise investment, and will encourage many across the state to learn, create, and engage.”

A $25,000 grant went to the Westport Country Playhouse to support a production of Ayad Akhtar’s “The Invisible Hand” with a community engagement initiative.

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is an independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chagall’s Granddaughter and Her Love of Flowers

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Bella Meyer, a granddaughter of Marc Chagall, the Russian-French-Jewish modernist painter, addressed a Westport Woman’s Club audience today and spoke of her love for flowers, a theme often found in her grandfather’s works. Meyer runs a floral design business on Manhattan’s East 11th Street called Fleursbella that creates beautiful, dramatic arrangements for places like the Metropolitan Opera and other openings and celebrations. She said she creates arrangements much in the way an artist paints, just as she had watched her grandfather paint bouquets. She showed the audience a picture of herself with Chagall. She was 30 when he died in 1985 at the age of 97. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com and contributed photo

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Sunday, May 08, 2016

‘Art’ Opens at Playhouse

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The cast of “Art” takes a bow today at its opening performance at the Westport Country Playhouse.  The play, which centers on the controversy between three longtime friends on the artistic merit of a blank white canvas, earned a Tony Award for Best Play in 1998. It is being performed on even-numbered dates, alternating with the play “Red.” Pictured (l-r) are Benton Greene, John Skelley, and Sean Dugan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, May 07, 2016

‘Red’ Opens at Playhouse

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Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos (c) tonight celebrates the opening of “Red” with cast members Patrick Andrews (l) and Stephen Rowe at a post-performance reception. The drama about the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko and his young assistant is being performed on odd-numbered dates, alternating with the play “Art,” which opens Sunday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

05/07/16 11:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Arts Center Gala


Scenes from tonight’s Westport’s Arts Center gala with a “Club Havana” theme.The event celebrated the unique and diverse culture of Cuba, immersing guests in the island nation’s rich and expressive arts heritage, its food and drinks, and its music. Helen Klisser During and J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

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