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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Saturday, May 16, 2009

NY Post Cites Westport as Area’s No. 41 Top Destination

The New York Post today published its top 100 destinations within a six-hour drive or one-hour plane ride of New York City and listed Westport as No. 41.

“Why?,” the story said. “A lovely setting—nature preserves, rivers and beaches—a mix of cosmopolitan sophistication, coastal charm and proximity to New York. Big win.”

The Post noted that “there’s been a strong Hollywood connection to this affluent town for some time: It was the fictional residence of Ricky and Lucy Ricardo (‘I Love Lucy’) and Darrin and Samantha Stephens (‘Bewitched’), and the real home of many a celebrity, most famously, Martha Stewart and the late Paul Newman.”

It said “lots of money has translated into lots of culture” and urged readers to “grab a picnic basket and a blanket or lawn chair and head to the banks of the Saugatuck River for one of the 50 free summer concerts at the Levitt Pavilion.” It also touted the Westport Country Playhouse and the adjoining Dressing Room restaurant.

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Posted 01:06 AM
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Sculptor Says Missing Golda Meir Work Was Her Best Image
Westport Sculptor Steffi Friedman today wrapped up the last “Conversations with the Artists” series at the Westport Center for Senior Activities. Working in many mediums, including terracotta, glass, bronze, alabaster and marble, she has sculpted many pieces both very large and some small. Among those she cited was one of a former Israeli leader. “The sculpture I did of Golda Meir is the best sculpture I ever did,” she said. “It was 9 feet by 9 feet and weighed well over 100 pounds.” But she added, “It was stolen and never recovered.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 11:27 PM
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Children’s World at Playhouse Image
Today was the fifth and final matinee performance at the Westport Country Playhouse of “Around the World in 80 Days” especially for elementary school children. More than 2,500 children from area schools have seen the production with cost of the tickets for many partially offset by the Theatre Access Fund,which is supported by grants and foundations. Today’s audience was comprised of students from three schools—Holland Hill in Fairfield, Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton, and Westport’s Bedford Middle School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 08:42 PM
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Author: Social Media Highly Transformational

By Phyllis Groner

UPDATE AND CORRECT Publishing and technology industry analyst John Blossom told a Westport Public Library audience tonight that social media’s influence is far more transformational than many may Image
Westporter John Blossom addresses a Westport Public Library audience tonight on social media. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Blossom is a Westporter and author of “Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives, and Our Future.

“We are a nation of publishers…..we have the ability for anyone to influence others easily using highly sociable and accessible publishing tools…computers, cell phones, Web sites,” he said.

In fact, he said he estimated there are already 59 million people using social media publishing tools who are seriously trying to influence other people in the world – equivalent to a nation the size of South Korea. He added,“Publishing is the DNA of civilization.”

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Posted 03:21 AM
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Candidates Sought for Arts Awards Image
The Westport Arts Advisory Committee is seeking recommendations from the community to assist in selecting its 2009 Horizon Award recipients, to be presented on Oct. 25. Horizon Awards are given to up-and-coming artists who either were raised in Westport or currently reside here. Candidates will be selected from six artistic fields: visual arts, literary arts, film, theater, dance and music. All must be high school graduates, age 32 or under and have demonstrated excellence in any of the six categories. Candidates should send a resume and visual sample, if applicable, to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). All materials must be received by June 15. Pictured is Justin Paul, composer and musical director, who was awarded the 2007 Horizon Award. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:03 AM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Westport Arts Center Honors Sunrise Rotary Image
The Westport Arts Center tonight held a reception recognizing the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club for its funding of a collaborative initiative, “The Art of Filmmaking.” Guests included students from Bridgeport’s Bridge Academy charter school representing the 25 seniors who participated in a 10-week program that culminated in a film telling their stories which was screened last weekend at this year’s Westport Youth Film Festival. In addition to a screening of the film at the reception, awards were presented to three Rotary members for their work on the project—John Franklin, a former president of the Westport Arts Center, Cheryl Scott Daniels, and Dennis Wong. They received hand-blown glass stars created by Simon Pearce. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Lefkowitz for

Posted 02:05 AM
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Wrapping Up the Harlem Renaissance Series Image
Edward Pleasant, a classically trained baritone, was the featured performer tonight at the fifth and final event in the Westport Public Library’s Spoken Word: Harlem Renaissance series. He sang two moving songs by James Weldon Johnson—the patriotic Negro National Anthem and “Creation.” He went on to recite the poetry of Langston Hughes, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and short story writer who was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. “Poetry is like amber, it crystalizes a moment in time,” said Pleasant, who has performed in opera and musical theater as well as in concert, recital and recording. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

Posted 01:05 AM
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jack the Golden Retriever Stars in “Our Place Westport” Image
“Our Place Westport” will debut at Earthplace at 10 a.m. on Saturday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo Image
Jack romps through Westport history complete with a WestportNow dog bone on his collar. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
There’s a new canine personality in Westport—Jack the wise and witty Golden Retriever who stars in a new book, “Our Place Westport.”

Written by the husband and wife team of Chris Gorman and Michelle Morfitt, the book published by Hometown 520 LLC is part of a new richly illustrated series depicting the local history of Connecticut towns and communities written especially for children.

The Rowayton authors said they were inspired to write the Our Place books as a way to teach their own children about Connecticut local history and to convey to them an appreciation of the natural environment.  The story is told through the eyes of Jack the Golden Retriever who romps through Westport history and events past and present.

Illustrations range from depictions of native Indians, the Westport Country Playhouse, Mario’s, Oscar’s Deli, and the Black Duck restaurant, to a closeup of his collar that has the WestportNow logo on a dangling dog bone.

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Posted 11:31 AM
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art Class Image
An art class gathered today near Compo Mill Cove on Westport’s Hillspoint Road to record the picturesque scene on canvas. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 10:48 PM
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Dance Treat at the Library Image
Arthur Mitchell (inset), renowned dancer, director, choreographer, and co-founder of the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, addressed the Westport Public Library’s Spoken Word Harlem Renaissance Series tonight. He began the program by inviting Alexandra Jacob, a professional dancer from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, to perform fragments of dances. Mitchell, 75, talked about social dance and its relationship to the Harlem Renaissance – a way for people to celebrate, to escape and to express their identity. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 02:23 AM
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Readying for The Pink House Painters UCONN Stamford Show Image
Westport artists Karen Kent and Linda Francis, members of The Pink House Painters, a group of 38 Fairfield County artists, hang pictures today at the UCONN Stamford Art Gallery where 114 of their paintings will be on display Friday through June 30. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Saturday, 3-5 p.m. Westport painter Arlene Skutch is the driving force behind this close-knit group. Their name derives from the fact that Skutch’s studio in which they regularly gather is next to her bright pink Cape Cod-style house built in 1876. The painters are diverse in style and medium, but they come together to share experiences, critique, encourage and inspire one another. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jill Gordon for

Posted 08:28 PM
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Honoring Burt Chernow Image
As part of Museum Week activities, there was a gathering today at Green’s Farms Elementary School to celebrate the rededication of the Burt Chernow Art Gallery. In 1974, while teaching art at the school, the late Burt Chernow began accumulating the art works that today form the core of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection (WSPAC).  Selections from the collection now number more than 800 paintings and sculptures in addition to the works of well known cartoonists and photographers which are rotated through Westport’s eight schools, town buildings and offices. Pictured are (l-r, front row) Ann Chernow, artist and widow of the late Bert Chernow, and Molly Donovan, historian of Westport Historical Society; (back row) Ann Melhuish, PTA co-president; John Bayers, principal; Marguerite Rossi, PTA co-president; Victoria Sybelnik Hewkels, and Christie Suppan, both Green’s Farms School WSPAC representatives. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

Posted 04:48 PM
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Newman Family Hosts Hole in the Wall Camps Benefit

A star-studded evening to celebrate the Hole in the Wall Camps, founded by Westport’s late Paul Newman, will take place on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Image

Hosted by Joanne Woodward, the evening’s honorary chairs Robert Redford and Julia Roberts will be joined by Jerry Seinfeld, James Taylor, Harry Connick, Jr., Yo-Yo Ma, Art Garfunkel, Joshua Bell and more to perform alongside Hole in the Wall Campers in honor of Newman’s legacy. 

Newman founded the first Hole in the Wall Camp 20 years ago. It has since grown to the world’s largest family of camps serving children with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions. 

To date, Hole in the Wall Camps have served more than 164,000 children worldwide free of charge.

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Posted 08:42 PM
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Making the Art Scene Image
There was good food and drink in addition to the fine art at Saturday night’s opening reception of Friends of Hall-Brooke’s seventh annual Mother’s Day Weekend Art Show and Sale. The sale continues today from noon to 4 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julie O’Connor for

Posted 01:45 PM
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A Winner Image
The sixth annual Westport Youth Film Festival came to an end tonight with announcement of the winners at a Toquet Hall ceremony. Katie Hacala and Damian Wiseman (r), festival co-directors, announce the winners of the Music Video Award were two students from Westport’s Staples High School, Michael Holmes and Josh Rauh, for their film “Buck Em Down.” A clip of of the film was shown on the screen, one of 79 films seen at the day-long event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 12:51 AM
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