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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Putting on Finishing Touches

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Putting finishing touches today on preparations for the Westport Library’s theee-day 12th annual Holiday Book and Gift Sale beginning Friday were (l-r) Heli Stagg; Mimi Greenlee, co-chair; Suzy Cooper, and Dick Lowenstein, co-chair. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Getting Ready for ‘Peter Pan’

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Bedford Middle School students today held a dress rehearsal for this weekend’s production of “Peter Pan.”  A cast of more than 70 seventh and eighth graders helps Peter and friends fly in the beloved classic. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m, and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.bedfordactinggroup.com or at the door—$15 for adults and $10 for students. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/30/16 11:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Dancing Captain Hook and More

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The Bedford Acting Group has a dancing Captain Hook and more in this weekend’s production of “Peter Pan.” Tiickets for the Bedford Middle School production are availabe at http://www.bedfordactinggroup.com or at the door—$15 for adults and $10 for students. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/30/16 11:15 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

WN on the Scene: Art Basel Miami 2016


Art Basel Miami, North America’s foremost international modern and contemporary art fair, takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center beginning Thursday and runs through Sunday. It is the sister fair to the original Art Basel, founded in Basel, Switzerland in 1970.  Helen Klisser During, artistic director emeritus of the Westport Arts Center and WestportNow contributing photographer, was among VIP guests today getting a preview. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

11/30/16 08:48 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Moonlight,’ ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

In “Moonlight,” writer/director Barry Jenkins has created an achingly affecting, incandescent coming-of-age story, covering 16 years—with three different actors playing the leading African-American character.

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Growing up in a decrepit, inner-city housing project in Miami, scrawny, fatherless 10-year-old Chiron (Alex Hibbert) has been dubbed “Little” by playmates, who suspect his tendency toward homosexuality long before he knows what the term “faggot” means.

Hiding from schoolyard tormentors, silent, wide-eyed Chiron is discovered by a kindly, Cuban-born crack dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali), who offers him a meal and a place to stay for the night at the apartment he shares with his girl-friend Teresa (singer Janelle Monae).

When Juan drives Chiron home the next morning, he realizes that his mother, Paula (Naomi Harris), is a drug addict. “My momma does drugs?” Chiron asks, trying to comprehend. “And you sell drugs?”

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11/30/16 01:07 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Library Holiday Book Sale This Weekend

The Westport Library’s 12th annual Holiday Book and Gift Sale will be held Friday through Sunday on the library’s main level.

For the first time, with the newly added Friday opening, the sale runs three days. All proceeds from the sale directly benefit the Library.

A large selection of gift-quality books at deep discounts will be available in many categories including art, current fiction, literature, classics, history, current events, gardening, crafts, cooking and biography.

Also for sale are many children’s books and holiday-themed materials, as well as DVDs and CDs in sealed original packaging, an announcement said.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

EMS Drama: Ben Frimmer Honored

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Westport Volunteer EMS Crew Chief Benjamin Frimmer tonight shows off his presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, signed by President Obama, presented to him during the service’s monthly meeting. Frimmer, who is also a dramatic arts teacher at Coleytown Middle School, has been with the service since 1985 and has “demonstrated his skills, abilities, and compassion on thousands of 911 medical emergency calls” according to WVEMS President Yves Cantin. The award is given to those who have served more than 4,000 volunteer service hours, although Frimmer has met that requirement many times over. “I have to say that volunteering, specifically with EMS, has been such a major part of my life, I can’t imagine it any other way,” Frimmer said in a Facebook post. “I couldn’t be more honored to have received this award signed by our outgoing President. I’m not usually one to be excited about certificates or awards, but this one seems quite special. To all my mentors I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me the value of giving.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com

11/29/16 09:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Al Brodax, ‘Yellow Submarine’ Producer, 90

Albert P. Brodax of Ridgefield, formerly of Westport and Weston, producer and co-writer of the iconic animated Beatles film, “Yellow Submarine,” died Nov. 24 in Danbury. He was 90.

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Al Brodax at a 2010 Westport Arts Center appearance where “Yellow Submarine” was screened. (CLlCK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

In 2010 and 2012, he appeared at the Westport Arts Center to discuss his Beatles film and the 2004 book he wrote about the experience, “Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles Yellow Submarine.”

Born in the Bronx on Feb. 14, 1926, he enlisted in the Army at age 17, was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and awarded the Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge. 

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1948 and began his career at the William Morris Agency as a program developer, working on “Your Show of Shows” and co-producing the Broadway play “Winesburg, Ohio.”

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11/27/16 10:44 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Miller Pope, Mad Man Illustrator, 87

Miller Pope, a Mad Man illustrator who lived the life of “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” while living in Westport in the 1950s and ‘60s, died Nov. 20 at his home in Shallotte Point, N.C. He was 87.

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Miller Pope: an original “Mad Man.”  Contributed photo

“We called it ‘The Uniform,’” said Pope of the commuter attire in a 2006 interview. “Oxford shirt, button-down collar, regimental tie.”

Pope said every workday, like Gregory Peck in the movie, he would don his full dress and take the train from Westport to Manhattan.

There, he made a living as one of New York’s top illustrators, creating covers and inside sketches for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Redbook, and Reader’s Digest.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Travel Veteran: ISIS and Climate Change Threaten Cultural Sites

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Westport travel industry veteran Robin Tauck told the Westport Rotary Club today that the biggest current threat to the world’s cultural sites are ISIS and climate change. She said Secretary of State John Kerry is working to help preserve the sites as part of internaitonal efforts led by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization. Tauck, a co-owner of Tauck Inc., a third generation travel company, is a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

11/22/16 02:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Moana,’ ‘The Edge of Seventeen,’ ‘Almost Christmas’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Gather the kids and let’s be thankful for “Moana” (pronounced Mo-ahna) - with songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”).

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On Motunui in Oceania, teenage Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) lived in an idyllic, self-sustaining Polynesian community. But, as daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison), she has been forbidden to travel beyond the barrier reef that surrounds their isolated island.

When she discovers her ancestors’ sea-faring past, her ailing Gramma Tala (Rachel House) explains that she has been chosen by the ocean to control its waves.

Plucky Moana calls on this watery power when her island’s resources deteriorate because the heart of Goddess Te Feti was stolen. Accompanied by Hei Hei (Alan Tudyk), a goofy, rainbow-colored chicken, she searches for the disgraced demigod Maui (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson).

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11/22/16 10:21 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Art of Kindness

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More than 30 families participated today in the Westport Arts Center’s “Family Art Day: Art of Kindness,” creating projects based on giving and kindness. Families also had the opportunity to bring gifts or make donations to Al’s Angels. The event was held in conjunction with the Center’s current exhibition, “MORE Than Words/#iammore,” a juried community show based on the themes of courage, empowerment and resilience in the face of bullying, on view through Jan. 7. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Xenia Gross for WestportNow.com

11/20/16 04:59 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, November 19, 2016

CNN Anchor to Address Y’s Women

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, a Westport resident, will be guest speaker at the meeting of the Y’s Women on Monday, Nov. 28 at Temple Israel, 14 Coleytown Road. 

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Alisyn Camerota: Westport mom. Contributed photo

She will share her experience in covering the 2016 election, an announcement said.  The meeting will begin at 10:45 a.m. with coffee and conversation, followed by the program at 11:30 a.m. 

As CNN anchor and co-host with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s morning show “New Day,” Camerota has covered breaking news stories, both internationally and domestically and interviewed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as many other politicians and personalities.

Before joining CNN in 2014, she was at Fox News Channel for 16 years. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., she lives in Westport with her husband, Tim, and their twin daughters and son.

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11/19/16 03:56 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gallery: WHS Holiday Market


Scenes today from the Westport Historical Society’s Holiday Market, which continues Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. WestportNow.com photos

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Film Screening Highlights Mental Illness in Children

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The Westport Woman’s Club tonight hosted a screening of “No Letting Go,” an award-winning feature film based on the real-life experiences of its co-writer/producer Randi Silverman (above), who has a child suffering from mental illness. After the showing she engaged in a question and answer session with audience members. Silverman hopes the film will call attention to the issue of mental health literacy, and particularly the presentation of mental illness in young children. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Granger at the Movies: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’  ‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ ‘Trolls’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

When Harry Potter studied at Hogwarts, one of his textbooks was “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). So Newt’s story is an imaginative prequel.

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Newt, a British Magizoologist, travels to New York City in 1926, arriving on Ellis Island with a bottomless satchel of supernatural creatures, several of which escape, thrusting nerdy Newt into the company of Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a gullible, good-natured No-Maj (American for Muggles).

They’re spotted by Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson), an astute ex-Auror who’s eager to regain her Investigator post. Members of the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA) are strictly segregated and secretive, hidden within a skyscraper (the Woolworth Bldg.).

Its immense Magical Exposure Threat Level Barometer is color-coded at Orange for “severe unexplained activity” because sinister, manipulative Dark Wizard Gellert Grindlewald is on the loose. Pressure is heightened by fanatical witch hunters, Second Salemers, led by bigoted Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). 

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Candelight Concert Tickets Available Online for First Time

For the first time, tickets will be available online beginning Thursday for the three performances next month of the 76th annual Candlelight Concert by the musicians of Staples High School.

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A scene from last year’s Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U.Miller for WestportNow.com

An announcement said free tickets, with a limit of eight per person, will be available online here.

A limited number of tickets can also be requested by mail until Dec. 9 at Candlelight Tickets, Staples High School, 70 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

The performances are Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Rehearsing for Tonight’s Playhouse Reading

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Actors paused today during a rehearsal for tonight’s Westport Country Playhouse Script In Hand reading of “Social Security” by Andrew Bergman, one of Hollywood’s top comedy screenwriters. There are still a few tickets available, according to the Playhouse. The reading will be directed by Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist and curator of the playreading series. Pictured: (seated on floor) Martha Stout; (seated in chairs) Deirdre Madigan, Lynn Cohen, Ronald Cohen and Lizbeth Mackay; (standing) Stephen Schnetzer, Annie Keefe, and David Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Gallery: Playhouse Kickoff Party for Family Festivities Series


Scenes from today’s Westport Country Playhouse kickoff party for its Family Festivities Series, which begins on Sunday, Nov. 20. The six-show series will feature musical productions based on classic and new children’s stories. The opening show will be “The Mixed-Up Fairy Tale,” a musical produced by TheatreWorks USA. The Playhouse’s community partners for the event, including the Westport Young Woman’s League, Westport Library, Read to Grow, and Barnes & Noble, hosted a variety of activities for kids such as story book readings and live music by the Suzuki School of Music. Food was available, including free samples from Qdoba and Shake Shack.Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

11/13/16 05:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

NY Times Spotlights Staples Grad Justin Paul

WestportNow.com ImageToday’s New York Times Arts & Leisure section front page features composer and 2003 Staples High School graduate Justin Paul (r) and his writing partner Benj Pasek as they prepare for the Broadway debut of their “Dear Evan Hansen” at the Music Box Theatre. The subhead on the article is “What It’s Like To Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend.” The Times describes the original production as a “daringly heart-wrenching show that explores the charged interplay between collective grief and social media after a misconstrued high school suicide.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Voices Café Presentation

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Voices Café at the Unitarian Church in Westport presented its monthly show tonight with Rob Carlson and Benefit Street. Beth Bradley on vocals and guitar, Sam Carlson on drums and Marshal Rosenberg on percussion rounded out the six musician group. Leader Rob Carlson held the crowd with his exceptional voice and rhythmic guitar playing interspersed with entertaining story songs. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Sherman for WestportNow.com

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Greeting Guests

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Comedian Colin Quinn appeared in a sold out performance of “Stand Up for Homes with Hope” at the Westport Country Playhouse tonight. Before the show, he met with guests including Lisa Marriott a show organizer and Homes with Hope Board Member Chan Wheeler. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Standing Ovation for ‘The Music Man’ Opening Night

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Staples Players Jacob Leaf as Harold Hill, and Zoe Mezoff as Marian the Librarian acknowledge a thunderous standing ovation tonight from the opening night audience of “The Music Man.” The show, which debuted on Broadway in 1957, was co-directed by David Roth and Kerry Long. Tickets are available at http://www.staplesplayers.com for performances this weekend and next.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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‘The Music Man’ Debuts at Staples

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Tonight’s opening night audience for the Staples Players production of “The Music Man” gave the performance a standing ovation. Sixty-four Staples students are taking part in the production along with eight more from elementary and middle school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Being Nice

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More than 300 guests tonight celebrated the opening of Westport Arts Center’s “MORE Than Words/#iammore” exhibition featuring juried works by the community on the theme of courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying.  Among the works on display was “Be Nice,” a lenticular image by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs (r) of model Lucy Zuckerman (l) using American sign language to communicate “Be Nice.” CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

11/11/16 08:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Artists’ Collective Featured in New Arts Center Exhibit

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Members of the Westport Artists’ Collective are pictured tonight at the opening reception for the Westport Arts Center’s latest exhibit, “MORE Than Words/#iammore.” Many of the artists are represented in the show, which features juried works by the community on the theme of courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying. Of special note is the new junior category, featuring art from students ages 10-17. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for WestportNow.com

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Artists’ Estate Sale Draws Crowds

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Today’s start of a three-day estate sale at the Morningside Drive South home of the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel drew dozens of buyers and browsers. Many of the items were produced by the artists while many were among their eclectic collection dating to the 19th century. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gallery: Einsel Estate Sale


A preview of the estate sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the home of the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel on Morningside Drive South. Click here for details. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Video: Preview of Walter and Naiad Einsel Estate Sale


An estate sale of a variety of unique items by the late Westport artists Walter and Naiad Einsel will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at their home on Morningside Drive South. Click here for details. Naiad Einsel died on April 3 at age 88. (See WestportNow April 6, 2016) Walter Einsel died in 1998 at age 72. (See other videos here, here, and here.) WestportNow.com videos by Helen Klisser During

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New Home for Dohanos Band Picture

There is a new home for an iconic painting of Staples High School band members by Westport artist Stevan Dohanos—Staples High School.

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At unveiling (l-r) Caroline Elizondo, Michele Mechanic, Jim Marpe, James D’Amico, Kathie Bennewitz, Christie Stanger, and David Roth. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Kerry Long

“The Band Played On (The Big Game),” drawn for an Oct. 19, 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover, depicts five members of the 1946 Staples High School band. In recent years, it has been in the first selectman’s office at Westport Town Hall.

The painting will hang in the Staples auditorium lobby throughout Staples Players’ run of “The Music Man” on Friday and Saturday, and on Nov. 13, 18 and 19, alongside the promotional posters for the 2001 and 2016 Staples Players’ productions of “The Music Man” that were inspired by the painting. 

Taking part in an unveiling of the painting in its new home were members of the Friends of Westport Public Arts Collections Committee (WestPAC), which conserved the work, along with First Selectman Jim Marpe, Staples High School Principal James D’Amico, Town Curator Kathie Bennewitz, and Staples Players Director David Roth.

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