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Friday, November 21, 2014

Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Friday, November 21, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Whiplash,’ ‘Rosewater,’ ‘Dumb and Dumber To’

By Susan Granger

Writer/director Damiel Chazelle draws on memories of his music student days to create “Whiplash,” a compelling, coming-of-age drama about a prodigy who yearns to be a celebrated drummer.

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Enrolling at a prestigious Manhattan conservatory, Andrew (Miles Teller) impresses embittered Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an impatient, sadistic perfectionist who belittles his pupils and pits them against one another. Succumbing to Fletcher’s monstrous “practice” imperatives, Andrew relinquishes all semblance of a normal life.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Whiplash” is an abusive yet electrifying 8, defining the parameters of artistic sacrifice.

On a three-month hiatus from Comedy Central, Jon Stewart made “Rosewater,” adapted from Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari’s memoir, “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.”

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Posted 01:43 AM
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Historical Society to Celebrate Saugatuck’s Proud Past

Nineteenth century Saugatuck, bustling with manufacturing and river commerce, is the centerpiece of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) exhibit opening Sunday.

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Westport artist Robert L. Lambdin’s wall mural “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” will anchor the exhibition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The exhibition titled “Saugatuck @ Work—Haven of Community, Commerce and Innovation” is scheduled for an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m.

According to WHS officials, the late Westport artist Robert L. Lambdin’s meticulously researched wall mural “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” will anchor the exhibition.

Created for the Westport Bank & Trust Company’s Saugatuck branch when it opened in 1970, the painting measures 6 by 10 feet and depicts the various types of vessels that plied the river over the course of the century.

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Posted 07:28 PM
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Westport Arts Center Names Artistic Director

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The Westport Arts Center has announced the appointment of Helen Klisser During to the position of Artistic Director. “We are delighted to honor Helen with this appointment, for her artistic vision and dedication to the arts in Westport and especially to what she has achieved for the Westport Arts Center,” said Executive Director Peter Van Heerden. Klisser During, pictured during a recent visit to Coney Island doing research for an exhibit opening in January, has been Director of Visual Arts since January 2010. (She is also a WestportNow contributing photographer.) She will be honored at a reception marking the opening of the annual juried members exhibition “Perception, Illusion, Magic “ on Friday 6 to 8 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Posted 05:10 PM
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Installation Complete of ‘Perception, Illusion, Magic’

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Installation was completed today of the Westport Arts Center’s annual juried members exhibition “Perception, Illusion, Magic “ opening Friday with a reception at 6 p.m. Elizabeth Koehn (l) and Julia Mechtler (r) of New York’s David Zwirner Gallery served as jurors, working with Helen Klisser During (c), WAC artistic director. There were 198 applications for the exhibit, from which 27 artists were selected, including eight from Westport. The exhibition features 40 works including photographs, mixed media, paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and engravings. It runs until Jan. 10. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Duvian Montoya for WestportNow.com

Posted 07:04 PM
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Mezzo Soprano Takes ‘Flight’

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Mezzo Soprano Allison Waggener performs “Flight: Songs to Uplift,” a concert today at the Unitarian Church in Westport. Ed Thompson accompanied Waggener on piano The program featured an eclectic mix of 20th and 21st century American composers, including Stephen Sondheim, Craig Carnelia, Marisa Michelson, and Duke Ellington. The final set of songs featured selections from Duke Ellington’s “Second Sacred Concert,” with Ruth Ahlers on saxophone. Contributed photo

Posted 06:53 PM
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Cinema Initiative and Project Return Partner on Screening

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Westport Cinema Initiative and Project Return today presented a screening at Westport Town Hall of “A League of Their Own,” a 1992 film about a women’s baseball team as it tours the United States during World War II. The screening was sponsored by Lee Rawiszer (2nd r) of Paradigm Financial Partners of Westport and included a brief talk back that included Meghan Skelton (l) from the Weston Public Schools. With them is Krstin LaFleur, development associate, Project Return, a Westport nonprofit established in 1986 to meet the specialized needs of adolescent girls in crisis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 05:49 PM
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Back to the Big Band Era With Fairfield Counts

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Vocalist Michele Grace and Musical Director Gary Riggiero were back at the Westport Center for Senior Activities today with the popular Fairfield Counts Band. Recreating the Big Band sound of the 1940s, the band played a medley of songs that had some attendees dancing in the aisles. It was the first in the Sunday Indoor Music Series presented by the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, programmed by the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, and made possible by a grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 04:50 PM
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Full House

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There was a full house at the Westport Center for Senior Activities today for a performance by the Fairfield Counts Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 04:45 PM
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Playhouse Kicks Off Family Festivities Series

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The Westport Country Playhouse kicked off its 2014-15 Family Festivities Series today with “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” produced by Omaha Theater Company. Youngsters engaged in pre-performance activities (above). Family Festivities shows are presented on selected Sundays from November through March. Next up is “Frosty,” on Sunday, Dec. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 01:30 PM
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Fairfield Counts Band Back at Senior Center Today

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The Fairfield Counts Band returns to the Westport Center for Senior Activities today. The concert is the first in the Sunday Indoor Music Series presented by the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, programmed by the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, and made possible by a grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. The series runs monthly from November through March. Doors open at 1 p.m., complimentary refreshments will be served at 1:30, and show time is 2 p.m. Reservations are suggested for this free performance; call (203) 341-5099. Picture is of the band’s 2013 performance at the Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:20 AM
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gala Celebrates Play With Your Food

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Performers receive applause tonight at a Play With Your Food gala at Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Proceeds went to benefit programming of the lunch time play readings. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:57 PM
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Saturday Night Special


Scenes from tonight’s Play With Your Food gala in Westport. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:52 PM
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Westport Author to Talk About Nigeria

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Catherine Onyemelukwe: 24 years in Nigeria. Contributed photo

Westport author Catherine Onyemelukwe will be guest Wednesday at the Friends of The Weston Public Library Lunch and Learn program to talk about events in Nigeria and her recent book “Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad.”

She went to Nigeria as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1962 and stayed for 24 years. She married a Nigerian and went on to raise a family, teach, launch a business and ultimately, adopt the country as her own.

Onyemelukwe will address the current political situation in Nigeria as well as its history, legacy of colonialism and culture, an announcement said. Additionally, she will provide perspective on the tragic kidnapping of the Chibok school girls and their captors.

The Lunch and Learn progam from noon to 1:30 p.m. is free. Attendees can bring their own lunch; registration is not necessary. For additional information, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call the Weston Library at (203) 222-2665.

Posted 11:11 AM
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Staples Players’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Opens to Sell-Out Crowd

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Westport’s Staples Players opened its production of “Hello, Dolly!” tonight to a sell-out crowd and a standing ovation. The production, months in the making, dazzled the audience with singing, dancing, costumes and sets to rival any Broadway production. Staples Players parents hosted a pre-show gala fundraiser in the lobby. Performances are Nov. 15, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 and 22 at 3 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit www.staplesplayers.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 09:55 PM
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Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Birdman,’ ‘Force Majure,’ ‘Big Hero 6’

By Susan Granger

In an astonishing technical achievement, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu films “Birdman,” a satirical backstage comedic drama, in what looks like one long, continuous take, transcending time and space, soaring into hallucinatory flights of fancy, while remaining grounded in the present.

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Michael Keaton is Riggan Thomson, a fading, egocentric movie star, renown as the comic book hero Birdman. He’s determined to prove himself on Broadway in his own adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story - with the voice of Birdman firmly lodged in his brain

During previews, delusionary Riggan must cope with his just-out-of-rehab daughter (Emma Stone), embittered ex-wife (Amy Ryan), lawyer/manager (Zach Galifianakis), venomous theater critic (Lindsay Duncan), insecure leading lady (Naomi Watts), and her supercilious actor/boyfriend (Edward Norton).

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Birdman” is an intense, immersive 10, assuring an Oscar nomination for Michael Keaton.

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Posted 08:15 AM
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