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Arts and Leisure

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The BFG,’ ‘The Free State of Jones,’ ‘The Conjuring 2’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Blending live action and computer animation, Steven Spielberg has adapted Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale “The BFG” with Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) as the titular character, The Big Friendly Giant.

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Scripted by the late Melissa Matheson (“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial”) and directed by Spielberg, it’s set in London in the early 1980s and revolves around 10 year-old orphan, Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a lonely insomniac who - at 3 a.m. - spies a 24-ft.-tall giant lurking about the cobblestone streets, collecting and dispensing phosphorescent dreams to unsuspecting sleepers.

She sees him and he sees her. Reaching his hand through an open window, the grandfatherly-looking BFG gently plucks Sophie out of bed because - if word got out that giants roamed the city - that would end their nocturnal visits.

So the BFG whisks terrified Sophie off to Giant Country, where sinister Fleshlumpeater (voiced by Jermaine Clement) and Bloodbottler (voiced by Bill Hader), constantly bully him.

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06/30/16 12:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Celebrities Shine on Playhouse’s 85th Anniversary

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Among those seeing tonight’s performance of Michael Urie in “Buyer & Cellar” at the Westport Country Playhouse were (l-r) Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist; actors Chris Sarandon and Joanna Gleason; “Buyer & Cellar” playwright Jonathan Tolins; and 2016 Tony Award winners Stephen Karam (“The Humans” playwright) and Thomas Kail (“Hamilton” director). Gleason was in a New York production of Karam’s play “Sons of the Prophet.” Today marks the Playhouse’s 85th anniversary.  Co-founders Lawrence Langner and wife Armina Marshall opened the first show at the Playhouse on June 29, 1931. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Don Rebar for WestportNow.com

06/29/16 09:01 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Large Turnout for Levitt Children’s Series Opener

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There was a large turnout tonight at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts for the season opener of the Melissa and Doug Children’s Series featuring the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Sign of Approval

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This youngster gives a four-finger approval to tonight’s Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts season opener of the Melissa and Doug Children’s Series featuring the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/29/16 08:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

One More Gift

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A giclee of Westport artist Hardie Gramatky’s watercolor of Compo Beach from Westport’s art collection was presented to retiring Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon in his last week on the job after 17 years. Making the presentation were members of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection (WSPAC) Committee (l-r) co chairs Maija Krasts and Kathie Bennewitz, and Michele Mechanic. “He has always been a strong supporter of WSPAC,” said Bennewitz, adding as a last act, Landon supported the Board of Education and Westport Arts Advisory Committee in making the former PTA committee evolve into a new entity, the Westport Public Art Collections (WESTpac), which will operate as the caretaker of the WSPAC and town art collections beginning Friday, July 1. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

06/29/16 04:04 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

At 95, Ed Vebell Still Drawing on History

By James Lomuscio

The setting seemed cinematic, fictitious even—a worldly, wizened 95-year-old keeping two 18-year olds rapt and continually amazed, so much so that they would keep coming back to hear more.

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Ed Vebell: at 24, he drew Nazis at Nuremberg while thinking of his Paris girlfriend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

But that was the scene last week at the Compo Beach area home of legendary illustrator-photographer Ed Vebell as he hosted the teens—Wellington Baumann, a 2016 Staples High School graduate, and Aren Heitmann, a recent Fairfield Ludlowe High School graduate.

Baumann and Heitmann, history buffs who will attend Gettysburg College in the fall, are interning with Vebell for the summer in his loft studio. They seemed a good fit.

After all, Vebell, a World War II Army sergeant, was the key artist in Europe and North Africa for Stars & Stripes, the American newspaper reporting on matters affecting the U.S. Armed Forces. He was also the only artist allowed to cover the 1945, post-war Nuremberg, Germany war trials, which prosecuted members of the Nazi leadership.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Comedy at Saugatuck

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Tina Giorgi of Long Island, a former school teacher, was one of three Treehouse Comedy Club standup comedians who entertained tonight at the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium, an alternate venue when the Levitt Pavilion schedule is threatened by forecasts of inclement weather. The other two stand-up acts were Joseph Anthony and Paul Bond whose performance featured guitar musical parodies. According to Brad Axelrod, founder of Treehouse Comedy Club, Bond will headline an evening’s entertainment in August at the Westport Inn. The Comedy Club, which traces its origins to 1983 in Westport, is Connecticut‘s original and first full-time comedy showcase. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/28/16 09:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Laugh Time

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It was laugh time tonight for the audience at Westport’s Saugatuck Elementary School watching the Treehouse Comedy Club performers. The show was moved from the Levitt Pavilion due to the threat of rain. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/28/16 09:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, June 27, 2016

Enthusiastic Reception for Playhouse Play Reading

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There was an enthusiastic reception tonight for the cast at the Westport Country Playhouse following the script-in-hand reading of the family art caper comedy “The Late Christopher Bean” which is set in the 1932 era. Pictured (l-r)  Martha Stout, stage directions, David Staller, Ross Bickell, Jeff Biehl, John Skelley, Deirdre Madigan, Michael McCormick, Clea Alsip, Kristen Hahn and Mary Bacon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/27/16 10:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Farewell to Library’s Kelle Ruden

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Westport Library staff members and friends gathered tonight to bid farewell to Kelle Ruden (c), director, programs and book discussion leader since June 2013. Prior to joining the library, she was with Penguin Random House and Barnes & Noble.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

06/27/16 08:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: French Bistro to Sconset Square

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Le Penguin, a French bistro, will open in August at 15 Myrtle Ave. in Sconset Square in the space formerly occupied by Blue Lemon, which closed in April after 13 years (see WestportNow March 14, 2016.)  According to office manager Leslie Aguirre, the owners, veteran restaurateurs Antoine Blech and Anshu Vidyarthi, also own two other restaurants –- the highly acclaimed Le Penguin, 61 Lewis St., Greenwich, and Le Fat Poodle, 20 Arcadia Road, Old Greenwich. Blech’s career has taken him from Spago and L’Orangerie in Los Angeles, and Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia to Le Bilboquet, Le Comptoir, Le Colonial, and Orienta in New York. He also co-owned Opia in Manhattan. Vidyarthi has more than 20 years of restaurant and customer service knowledge, becoming well known to Fairfield County patrons as the director of operations of l’escale restaurant bar in Greenwich. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/27/16 04:41 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Ready for Tonight’s Playhouse Play Reading

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The cast of tonight’s Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand reading of Sidney Howard’s ”The Late Christopher Bean” takes a break during a rehearsal today. The play reading, directed by Anne Keefe, curator of the play reading series, is a comedy about paintings left to a family by a deceased artist suddenly skyrocketing in value. Pictured with Keefe (l) are (standing from 2nd l) David Staller, Ross Bickell, John Skelley, Michael McCormick, Jeff Biehl, Deirdre Madigan, Kristen Hahn, Clea Alsip and Martha Stout, stage directions. Seated: Mary Bacon. The reading begins at 7 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/27/16 03:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Making a Commercial at Sherwood Island

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It was a perfect beach day today to film a JBL waterproof sound system commercial at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The crew of about 60 included a water safety team to ensure the safety of cast and crew. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mary Ann West for WestportNow.com

06/27/16 02:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gallery: Opening Night of the Levitt Pavilion


Scenes from tonight’s opening of the 43rd summer season of the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts with Desert Highway – A Tribute to the Eagles. Dave Matlow and J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com and WestportNow.com photos

06/26/16 10:02 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Levitt Opens 43rd Summer Season

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It was a packed crowd tonight as the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts launched its 43rd summer season with Desert Highway – A Tribute to the Eagles. Freda Welsh, executive director, said although tickets were free, they quickly sold out as the band made its second appearance in two years at the venue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

06/26/16 09:31 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

In the Swing

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A couple dances to the sounds of Desert Highway – A Tribute to the Eagles tonight as the Westport Levition Pavilion for the Performing Arts opened its 43rd summer season. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/26/16 09:25 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Levitt at the Levitt

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Mimi Levitt waves as she was introduced tonight at the opening night of the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the performing Arts. The facility was named for her and her husband Mortimer. CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

06/26/16 09:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Audience Participation

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Many in the audience at tonight’s opening night of the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts felt the urge to dance to the music of Desert Highway – A Tribute to the Eagles. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

06/26/16 09:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westport Pianist Performs Beethoven

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Celebrated Westport pianist, Dalia Lazar acknowledges applause today at a concert at the Pequot Library in Southport. The Croatia-born musician performed three Beethoven sonatas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

06/26/16 06:14 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Westport Funeral Home is Movie Set

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Westport writer Jarret Liotta (l) today captures a scene at Westport’s Harding Funeral Home for his forthcoming feature-length film entitled “Home Movie.” According to Liotta, writer, director, and producer of the film, it was inspired by the artistic works of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. The dark comedy is scheduled for completion and release in 2017. Liotta is pictured with actors Risa Benson and Joe Fusco. Holding the boom is Roza Gavrilidis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/25/16 07:10 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, June 24, 2016

‘SOLOS 2016’ Opens at Arts Center

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The Westport Arts Center tonight held its opening reception for the “SOLOS 2016” exhibition featuring the work of eight artists selected by juror Douglas Hyland, former director of the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain. Among the artists was Allan Gorman, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-born realistic oil painter who brings his strengths as an internationally celebrated brand marketing consultant and graphic designer to his artworks that include the power of cities, machines, and the night. Gorman currently maintains a studio practice in Kearny, N.J., and resides in West Orange, N.J. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

06/24/16 08:34 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Making the Arts Scene

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Among guests at the opening reception tonight of “SOLOS 2016” at the Westport Arts Center (WAC) were (-r) Alice Hyland, “SOLOS 2016” juror Douglas Hyland, and WAC Acting Executive Director Amanda Innes. The exhibition will be on display through Aug. 20 and is free and open to the public. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

06/24/16 08:29 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Getting Ready for WNET-TV Playhouse Taping

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Technicians from New York’s public television station WNET-TV 13 were at the Westport Country Playhouse today preparing to tape Saturday afternoon and evening performances of “Buyer & Cellar,” the one-man show starring Michael Urie for its “Theater Close-Up.” The series showcases Off-Broadway and regional not-for-profit, professional productions for Tri-State viewers. According to a WCP spokesperson, tickets for the play are still available for these performances at http://www.westportplayhouse.org. Pictured are Playhouse facilities manager Anne Kendall (l) and WNET-TV audio specialist Daryl Bornstein. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/24/16 05:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, June 23, 2016

NY Historical Society Features Westport Photographer Photos

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“Photographs by Larry Silver, 1949-1955,” black and white photographs by Westport photographer Larry Silver opens July 1 at the New York Historical Society. The exhibit showcases 45 photos of post-war New York City life, including this scene of two boys playing in the debris of a construction site with the new United Nations building towering in the background. Silver is a 43 -year resident of Westport and a recipient of the Westport Arts Achievement Award in the Visual Arts 2006. He has exhibited recently throughout Connecticut, including the Westport Arts Center, Westport Historical Society, Westport Library and The Housatonic Museum of Art.The works by the Bronx-born photographer will be on display until Dec. 4 at the Society, 170 Central Park West (77th Street). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Larry Silver

06/23/16 07:54 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Architects Tour Bedford Square

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Forty-seven members of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) today toured the Bedford Square Development project as part of the AIA Hard Hat Tour series, according to AIA member Peter Cornell. He is a staff member of Centerbrook Architects & Planners, project architects. The mixed-use project in the 1923-built former home of the Westport Weston Family YMCA, which will include retail, offices, and residential, is scheduled for completion in 2017. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/23/16 06:09 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Central Intelligence,’ ‘Now You See Me 2,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja…’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

If you’re really desperate for yet another odd-couple caper, consider “Central Intelligence,” a fast-paced froth that’s almost immediately forgettable.

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Mild-mannered Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is a disgruntled accountant who married his teenage sweetheart (Danielle Nicolet) yet yearns for the glory jock days when he was Senior Class President.

As his 20th high school anniversary looms, Calvin re-connects with Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne “The Rock”  Johnson), a shy, sensitive soul who remains grateful to Calvin for a singular act of kindness when he was the once-obese victim of cruel shower-room bullies – shown in flashback with inventive CGI.

When now-grown Calvin and Robbie - now known as Bob Stone - meet for a drink, they bond again. But then a CIA bigwig (Amy Ryan) shows up at Calvin’s house, informing him that Bob is actually a former undercover agent gone rogue after killing his partner.

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06/22/16 06:42 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Munce Sale: From Pen and Inks to Boxing Gloves

By James Lomuscio

Treasure hunters who happen upon the estate sale at Westport’s 5 Rockyfield Road this weekend can expect more than the usual high-end furnishings and assorted tchotchkes, but a unique window into Westport’s artistic past.

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Some of Howard Munce’s drawings up for sale on Saturday and Sunday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

For 61 years the house was home to Howard Munce, the Westport artist whose career as illustrator, art director, teacher, sculptor and author spanned generations earning him the sobriquet “dean of Westport artists.” Munce, 100, died here March 5, leaving behind a treasure trove of paintings, illustrations and other items detailing the life of the tall, thin, spry, seemingly ageless and energetic presence ubiquitous in town arts circles. (See WestportNow March 8, 2016)

Among the inventory are: a couple of Munce’s paintings; numerous pen and ink drawings of all sizes that appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers; wooden flat files; “and an incredible architectural table,” says Mary Brewster, Munce’s daughter who lives in Redding and is organizing the sale.

“I didn’t realize what this table was,” Brewster said. “It’s been in this house 61 years, and my father always had it covered with things. It’s a very large table, and you can tip the top; it’s made of solid wood.”

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06/22/16 01:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

A Chance to Own a Piece of a Westport Artistic Legend

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Items from legendary Westport artist Howard Munce’s home up for sale include those from his studio. The estate sale at 5 Rockyfield Road runs Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Munce died at age 100 in March. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/22/16 01:19 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Yankees Honor for Orphenians

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For the second consecutive year, the Staples High School Orphenians tonight sang the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium. The appearance followed a moment of silence for the Orlando massacre victims. See video here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Morgaine Pauker for WestportNow.com

06/21/16 07:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

On the Field

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Members of the Staples High School Orphenians take to the field tonight at Yankee Stadium to sing the National Anthem. Pictured (l-r) Colin McKecknie, Oliver Smith, Daniel Pauker, Keenan Pucci, and Wells Baumann. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Morgaine Pauker for WestportNow.com

06/21/16 07:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

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