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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Friday, December 12, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Wild,’ ‘Top Five’

By Susan Granger

In “Wild,” Reese Witherspoon delivers her most fearless performance since “Walk the Line.”

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This adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir follows the author’s grueling 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Desert near the Mexican border to the mountains of Oregon and Washington.

Determined to leave behind the drug abuse and sex addiction that torpedoed her marriage, Cheryl (Witherspoon) trudges into the wilderness. Frequent, non-linear flashbacks fuel her determination, particularly memories of her spunky mother (Laura Dern), who died of lung cancer at age 45.

Adapting Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail,” author/screenwriter Nick Hornsby (“About a Boy”) and director Jean-Marc Valee (“Dallas Buyers Club”) deliver an emotionally volatile character study - with colorful supporting characters, evocative imagery and magnificent vistas.

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Posted 10:56 AM
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Learning Computer Coding at the Library

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Jack Grannan from the French firm Aldebaran, which manufactured the Westport Library’’s two robots, tonight conducted an Hour of Code workshop on programming for a full room. Hour of Code is a global grassroots campaign dedicated to expanding participation in computer science. The program was streamed live and attended by more than 80 persons from children to adults. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:29 PM
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Westport Filmmakers’ Documentary Selected for Sundance

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Doug Tirola and Susan Bedusa: headed to Sundance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

A new film by Westport filmmakers Douglas Tirola, director, and Susan Bedusa, producer, has been selected for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Premiere section, organizers announced today. 

“Drunk Stoned Brillian Dead—The Story of the National Lampoon” is the story of three Harvard graduates as they start the first national humor magazine for adults, launching the careers of some of Hollywood’s most legendary talent.

The film’s description adds: “But success and excess among its brilliant and subversive contributors begins to challenge its existence.”

Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth noted that selection differences this year were particularly difficult with regard to documentaries, 13 of which will screen in Documentary Premieres.

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Posted 08:17 PM
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‘A Christmas Memory’ Comes to Woman’s Club Thursday

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The Westport Woman’s Club on Thursday will be the next and last stop for the Fairfield County tour of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” presented by JIB Productions, producer of Play With Your Food. The poignant holiday favorite based on Capote’s childhood with his elderly cousin in the rural south, will be performed at 7:30 p.m., followed by eggnog and dessert with the cast. The show is directed by Mark Graham and features (l-r) Katie Sparer (young Truman) and Betty Jinnette (Sook). A pre-theater prix fixe dinner is available at Da Pietro. For more information and tickets, click here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 10:54 AM
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Sunday, December 07, 2014

BMSers Visit Performing Classmate at Lincoln Center

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Bedford Middle School’s sixth grader Jamie Mann (3rd r.) is performing with the New York City Ballet in the 60th anniversary of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” at the Lincoln Center this holiday season. Enjoying his performance Saturday were classmates and friends (l-r) Jaime Hebel, Maddy Edwards, Rachel Suggs, Josh Suggs, Jamie Mann, Maggie Moore and Ava Lacoseglio. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:13 AM
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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Houses on WHS Holiday Tour Sunday

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The Westport Historical Society’s annual Holiday House Tour will be held Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Twilight Soiree from 5 to 8 pm. Five festively decorated private homes, several owned by well known designers, will be a showcase of architecture, art, antiques and design. The Soireee will be held at the Lillian August flagship store, 32 Knight St., Norwalk. Tickets for WHS members are $45, non-members $55, and on the day of the tour, $60. Tickets including a map may be picked up at the WHS, 25 Avery Place, or reserved by calling (203)222-1424 or at www.westporthistory.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

Posted 04:01 PM
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‘Anything Goes’ at Bedford Middle School

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The Bedford Acting Group at Westport’s Bedford Middle School this weekend is presenting “Anything Goes,” the classic musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The show opened Friday night and continues today with performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door ($10 for students/$12 for adults, cash or check only). Chip Stephens for WestportNow.com

Posted 12:35 PM
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Holiday Shopping at Great Hall

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The Westport Library’s Great Hall was crowded with visitors today for the library’s holiday book sale.  Coordinator Mimi Greenlee said all 3,000 books and more than 1,000 CDs and DVDs are in “pristine gift-worthy condition.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 11:41 AM
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Friday, December 05, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Penguins of Madagascar,’ ‘Horrible Bosses 2’

By Susan Granger

You don’t need to have seen the first three animated “Madagascar” movies to appreciate the spinoff “Penguins of Madagascar” because it works entirely on its own.

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The origin story shows how the early antics of Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knight) were recorded in Antarctica by a documentarian (Werner Herzog) who wanted to observe the flightless birds in their natural habitat.

The villain is Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), an octopus who jealous of the attention the cute penguins get at zoos and aquariums and marine parks. He plans to kidnap the waddling penguins and turn them into dreadful mutants.

Aid comes from Agent Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch) from an undercover task force called North Wind. His team consists of an explosive-expert seal (Ken Jeong), a brainy owl (Annet Mehendru) and a brawny polar bear (Peter Stormare).

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Posted 02:46 PM
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Getting Ready for Holiday Book Sale

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The Westport Library’s Great Hall was a beehive of activity today as more than 50 volunteers prepared for the weekend holiday book and gift sale. Coordinator Mimi Greenlee said all 3,000 books and about 500 CDs and DVDs are in ‘pristine gift worthy’ condition.” She said this is the second year having the sale in the Great Hall.  Previously it was held in the McManus Room. “The Great Hall gives visitors a chance to see everything else that’s going on in the library,” she said.”They get to sense the buzz here.” The sale runs Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 01:32 PM
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CT Photogs Have Fun

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Some of Connecticut’s best known female photojournalists have fun Thursday night at the opening reception for the “Connecticut Women Photojournalists Group Show” at McLevy Hall, 202 State St., Bridgeport. Curated by photojournalist Douglas Healey (r) of Westport, the exhibit includes 80 photos. Among those represented are (l-r) Cloe Poisson (Hartford Courant), Jessica Hill (Journal Inquirer, The Associated Press), Helen Klisser During (WestportNow, freelance)  Sherry Peters (formerly Hartford Courant, freelance) and Michelle McLaughlin (Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, freelance). Also among photos on display are those by Westport’s award-winning photographer Lynsey Addario. The exhibit runs until Jan. 30. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Posted 09:32 AM
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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Honors for Playhouse’s Anne Keefe

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Anne Keefe (2nd l), curator of the popular script in hand reading plays at the Westport Country Playhouse, was honored tonight by board members and friends at a party held at Mitchells, 670 Post Road East. She is pictured with (l-r) Darlene Krenz, Mary Ellen Marpe, and Ann Sheffer. Playhouse staff member Bruce Miller presented Keefe with a framed composite of the covers of all 37 script in hand plays she has presented at the Playhouse.”There were 37 script in hand readings, 231 actors and 15,315 butts in seats,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 10:05 PM
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘The Theory of Everything,’ ‘The Homesman,’ “The Hunger Games’

By Susan Granger

Eddie Redmayne deserves an Oscar nomination for his eloquent portrayal of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” Redmayne accomplishes a challenging physical, mental and emotional transformation, comparable to Daniel Day-Lewis’ in “My Left Foot.”

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Hawking’s story begins in 1963 at Cambridge University, where he wooed and wed Jean Wilde (Felicity Jones). When he was diagnosed with ALS – a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease – he was given two years to live. Yet he continued his cosmology studies, earning his doctorate and writing “A Brief History of Time.”

What’s astonishing is how Eddie Redmayne is able to communicate Hawking’s emotions by mirroring the expressive, often mischievous movements of his eyes and eyebrows.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Theory of Everything” is an extraordinary, inspirational 10. “There should be no boundary to human endeavor,” Hawking concludes. “However bad life may seem, where there is life, there is hope.”

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Posted 04:00 AM
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Monday, November 24, 2014

New Saugatuck Attraction

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Nigel Holmes and Erin McKenna of Westport tonight view a prototype of light-boxes showing old and new Westport which went up earlier today on the outside of the westbound stationhouse at the Westport Metro-North station on Railroad Place. Plans call for installation of 32 of the panels showing Westport scenes in the two tunnels at the station. The project is a joint effort of Westport artist Miggs Burroughs, the Westport Arts Center, and the Westport Police Department Railway Parking Division. (See WestportNow Nov. 24, 2014) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Posted 07:43 PM
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Old and New Westport on Display at Train Station

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A prototype of light-boxes showing old and new Westport went up today on the outside of the westbound stationhouse at the Metro-North station on Railroad Place. A total of 32 of the panels will line the station underground tunnels. They are being produced in cooperation with Helen Klisser During, artistic director of the Westport Arts Center, the Westport Police Department Railway Parking Division, and Westport artist Miggs Burroughs, using his signature lenticular images. Each panel will combine an image from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport with a current photo of the same location, which will change from one to the other as viewers walk by Erecting the prototype today were (l-r) Police Chief Dale Call, Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Helen Klisser During, and Miggs Burroughs. Sponsorships of individual boxes at $3,000 each are being solicited from Westport individuals, families, and businesses. Those interested should contact Marni Katz at the Westport Arts Center at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (203) 226-1806. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Posted 02:58 PM
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