Monday, August 08, 2011
The Gene Bertoncini Quartet performed at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight. Bertoncini, a native of the Bronx, said that his long career as a guitarist included touring with the Benny Goodman Quartet in the 1970s and a guitarist in Skitch Henderson’s band on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight ” show in the 1960s. The guitar-based soft jazz group entertained with a range of selections from jazz standards to classic Chopin and Bach as well American songbook numbers such as “Sweet and Lonely” and ” All the Things You Are.” Bertoncini said this is the first time his quartet has performed at the Levitt. Pictured (l-r) are Gene Bertoncini (guitar), Rick Petrone (bass) and Joe Corstello (drums). Ed Laub (guitar and vocals) was absent from this set. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, August 05, 2011
The Hector Del Curto Tango Quartet and Dancers, a group formed in 2003, entertained a large crowd at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight. Free dance lessons preceded the performance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wally Woods and wife Denise address a reception at the Westport Historical Society (WHS) tonight held to mark publication of “TV Neighbors,” a book about television personalities who have made Westport and Weston their home. The book, based on a WHS 2003 exhibit, was begun by his good friend Thomas A. DeLong. When DeLong died last July, the couple completed the research and finished the book for him. It is available at the WHS gift shop. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Mark Rothman, the head writer of “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Odd Couple” and “Happy Days” television comedy shows, addressed a Westport Public Library audience tonight and later signed copies of his book, “Mark Rothman’s Essays.” Rothman offered this advice for aspiring writers: “I would advise young people wanting to go into writing shows or plays to take up acting first to understand what the actors do with the written words.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
By James Lomuscio
UPDATE It’s not just trendy restaurants heading to Westport this summer. Get ready for some Hollywood filmmaking this month.
Groucho Marx appears in the 1930 film “Animal Crackers” in which he sings “Hello, I Must Be Going,” the name of a film which will shoot scenes in Westport. What, if any connection there is between the new film and the song is not known. File photo
Production personnel for a commercial feature film penned by actress and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff, a 1985 Staples High School graduate, applied to the Planning and Zoning Department today for a permit to begin shooting in Westport as early as Aug. 8.
Linda Peckel, location manager, and Susan Leber, production manager, made the application to the Administrative Review Committee (ARC) on behalf of co-producers Hans Ritter and Mary Jane Skalski and Hello I Must Be Going Productions.
They said they plan to begin shooting the film “Hello, I Must Be Going” at a private home in the Saugatuck Shores area overlooking the Saugatuck River. The home belongs to Sarah Koskoff’s parents.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
By James Lomuscio
They came in droves to the Mansion Clam House in Westport’s Saugatuck section today to remember and pay tribute to local restaurateur Donald “Jocko” Saltus III, 53, who died in Stonington last week after a brief illness.
Friends and family of Jocko Saltus gathered at the Mansion Clam House in Westport’s Saugatuck area to remember him. Saltus owned the restaurant from 1987 to 2005. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Soltus, who in 1987 had bought and put his signature on the Mansion, a Westport mainstay since the 1950s, was remembered as gregarious, friendly and someone with a great sense of humor by friends, family and other Westport restaurateurs.
He sold the Mansion in 2005 to open Tavern on Main, which he later sold before moving to Stonington.
“His biggest love was the Mansion,” said Matt Saltus, his brother.
The Westport Arts Center hosted “WACky Family Day Goes Green” today. As usual, it offered opportunities for children and families to make art in a creative community environment. WAC partnered with Green Village Initiative GVI AND Melissa & Doug to offer environmentally aware projects. WAC was filled laughing happy families together creating fun creations. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
A large crowd converged on Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight to hear the Gas House Gorillas, a New York City-based rhythm and blues band, led by vocalist Rick Fink who is also the songwriter. Fink describes the band’s music as “specializing in jump blues in the style of Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris, with a dash of rockabilly.” He said he gets upset when the band’s music is referred to as a “swing band.” Pictured (l-r) are: Dean Shot (guitar), Rick Fink (vocals), Noel Sagerman (drums), Jerry Scaringe (bass) and Jim Davis (sax). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Staples Players Summer Theatre performers in “Jesus Christ Superstar” presented Save the Children with a check for $3,000 to go toward tornado relief. The money was raised during Staples Players’ spring production of an original musical revue, “Ages & Stages.” “Jesus Christ Superstar” runs at Staples today at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.staplesplayers.com or at the door. Pictured are incoming senior Gregg Bonti and outgoing senior Max Samuels presenting the check to representatives of Save the Children. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Long for WestportNow.com
The Nu-Utopians, formed last September by band members Rex Fowler and Tom Dean, celebrated the 70th birthday (Oct. 9, 2010) of the late John Lennon Friday night at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion. They played their interpretations of his famed works including “Across the Universe,” “Dear Prudence,” “Revolution,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Come Together,” and others. The eight-member band includes the father-daughter duo of Robby and Maggie, 15, Coffin. The performance was moved indoors to the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium because of the wet weather. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, July 29, 2011
An enthusiastic audience greeted the Doobie Brothers tonight at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion annual summer gala. Hundreds turned out for the benefit which enables the Levitt to offer 50 free nights of summer entertainment annually. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Mimi Levitt (l) and Butzi Moffitt enjoy the Jesup Green party before tonight’s Doobie Brothers performance at the Levitt Pavilion. Levitt’s late husband Mortimer was a millionaire businessman/patron of the arts and benefactor of the Levitt Pavilion. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Kids Night at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight featured Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem who performed a show that included country blues, vintage swing, modern songwriter fare, and Appalachian fiddle tunes and songs. The evening was sponsored by Melissa and Doug educational toys owned by Westporters Melissa and Doug Bernstein. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
UPDATE There was a scramble to get Westport’s Levitt Pavilion stage ready after a late afternoon thunderstorm drenched the area. Although tonight’s performance by the Connecticut Ballet got under way after another rain shower, it was abruptly ended after about a half hour when word came that another thunderstorm was approaching. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The nonprofit Westport Cinema Initiative (WCI), whose goal is to bring a move theater back to Westport, held a screening of “Sing-A-Long With Grease” tonight at the Saugatuck Elementary School. The film was supposed to be shown outdoors at the Levitt Pavilion but last week’s performance as well as today’s rain date fell victim to the weather. Tonight’s showing included cutout figures from the film, surrounded by WCI members (l-r) Sandy Lefkowitz, Doug Tirola, Jonathan Steinberg, and Larry Perlstein. In the cutouts are Elle Faiga, 6, Rena Patten, 7, both of Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Some audience members danced in the aisles at tonight’s showing of “Sing-A-Long With Grease” sponsored by the Westport Cinema Initiative at Saugatuck Elementary School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Sunday, July 24, 2011
By Ina Chadwick
New York City today was holding a lottery for same-sex couples who want to get married on the first day the newly passed law regarding same sex unions goes into effect.
And at the Westport Country Playhouse there is another performance of “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” where the ‘80s and ‘90s terror of AIDs, along with the family losses of loved ones who were “different,” is center stage.
Today’s climate no doubt is different, more accepting, and even if you don’t feel that way about gays and lesbians, you dare not admit it in our sophisticated circles.
That is why the high wire stretching between two mountains that every playwright must walk when they write relevant “of the moment” plays is loose on one side of the mountain. It’s a shaky carabiner.
The extreme heat did not deter a throng of music fans from converging on the Levitt Pavilion Saturday night to mellow out to the music of Buskin & Batteau. The versatile team of David Buskin (l) and Robin Batteau (center) —both singers, songwriters, soloists—combined talent, humor and showmanship to entertain the large audience with a versatile range of musical instruments. Buskin plays guitar and keyboard while Robin Batteau plays guitar, violin and mandolin, along with a percussionist. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Artist Christo returned to Westport tonight for a sold out lecture at the Westport Arts Center which is hosting an exhibit of collages and drawings of his two works in progress. They are “Over the River,” involving laying fabric panels along 42.4 miles of the Arkansas River in southern Colorado, and “Mastaba,” involving building a giant pyramid of oil barrels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. He was also here for the June 30 exhibit opening. With him is Helen Klisser During, the Center’s director of visual arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Artist Christo addressed a Westport Arts Center audience tonight, explaining in detail some of his outsize environmental constructions that have made him an internationally known figure in the art world. Asked by an audience member to name his favorite work, he demurred, saying it was like asking a parent to name a favorite child. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The popular almost all physician band DNR performed tonight in 80-degree weather at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion. Despite the heat, loyal followers showed up, many of them dancing to the beat. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
The popular DNR group performs at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight. WestportNow.com video by Helen Klisser During
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
It was not just the customers who were excited as Westport’s Shake Shack opened for business today. So were the employees—the restaurant has 70 on its staff. “They trained hard for a week for opening day,” said Katie Tomechko, a manager. “They made a very positive impact on the community today.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
By James Lomuscio
Shake Shack, the New York-born cult modern day “roadside” burger stand, attracted a standing room only crowd tonight to its VIP “housewarming party” on Westport’s Post Road East on the eve of the public debut of the popular chain’s first actual drive-in eatery and first suburban location.
Danny Meyer (l), founder of New York’s Union Square Hospitality Group which owns Shake Shack, chats with David Yearwood, Westport’s Shake Shack’s general manager, at tonight’s “housewarming.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
The party at 1849 Post Road East brought together about 350 people—50 more than on the invite list—including local officials, business leaders, residents, as well as out-of-towners.
They were hosted by renown restauranteur Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group that in 2004 opened the first Shake Shack in New York City’s Madison Square Park.
With standing room only inside and on the outside decks, it was an evening of mingling and socializing underscored by free hamburgers, hot dogs, shakes, fries, beer, wine and music performed by The Crooners, a New York-based acoustic rock group.
The Golden Angels Jazz Band, eight guys and a female vocalist, delivered toe tapping and danceable favorites mixed with traditional dixieland at the Levitt Pavilion tonight on another hot, muggy night. The members of the band are seniors, with the exception of their female vocalist, and are all seasoned professionals. The band: Bob Bull (leader and drums), Don Gels (trumpet and cornet), Frank DeVito (clarinet, saxophone), Barbara Carberry (vocalist), Gene Clayton (trumpet & cornet), Dennis Hyde (bass), Bob Carlson (trombone), Jim O’Connor (keyboard) and Kim Papa (banjo and guitar). Bull who formed the band in 1999 said this is the fifth or sixth time the band has played the Levitt but the first time since 2007. The repertoire included music by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael and others. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Westport Country Playhouse will honor actress Bernadette Peters at its 80th birthday gala, “Playing Our Songs: Celebrating 80 Years of Musical Theater,” on Monday, Sept. 19.
Bernadette Peters: honored at Sept. 19 event. Contributed photo
The production will be a retrospective of the musicals that have graced the Playhouse stage since its founding in 1931. Peters, will be the recipient of the Distinguished Dedication and Service to the American Musical Theater Award.
“Bernadette Peters is not only a force of nature and a Broadway musical star of legendary significance, she is also a true artist: boldly exploratory, constantly refining her enormous talent, always challenging herself, never sitting on her laurels,” said Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director.
“Whatever she does, watching her is akin to watching the great classical musicians who constantly stretch themselves and excite audiences not only with sheer charisma—which she has in spades, to be sure—but with a sense of refinement and that is unparalleled in American musical theater.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Artist Ann Mallory of Woodbury, Conn., making her third appearance at the Westport Fine Arts Festival, today won the Best in Show Award for this weekend’s 38th edition of the event. “It came as a surprise because you don’t know what to expect coming here,” she said. Her website describes her work this way: “Ann Mallory’s ceramic and bronze Contemplation Vessels express three dimensionally a focus on the quiet, spiritual essence of containment… All of her work celebrates the ceremonial, contemplative, reverential needs of humans to have objects that elevate the rituals of living, focus the powers of meditation, and add the strength of beauty to their souls.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com