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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Comings & Goings: Harvest Restaurant Opens

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The Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place, has opened. For now, it is dinner only beginning at 5 p.m., according to a person answering the phone at the restaurant with plans to open for lunch in several weeks. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Mario’s closed in April 2015. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Comings & Goings: Post 154 Closes

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Post 154, the restaurant in Westport’s former main post office at 154 Post Road East, has closed abruptly after almost two and a half years. A source said the staff was notified of the closing on Monday and that Alex Rosado, executive chef, left several months ago and is now at Poloma, Stamford. An investment group with ties to Westport paid $2.35 million for the property in May 2011. (See WestportNow May 23, 2011) The restaurant opened in August 2013. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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‘We Are Saddened to Inform You…’

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A sign on the front door of Post 154 Restaurant, 154 Post Road East, notifies all of its closing. There was no immediate word from the owners on plans for the property, purchased in 2011 for $2.35 million from the U.S. Postal Service. The closing follows closely on the heels of the recent closing by Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant and the announced March 31 closing of Bobby Q’s, both longtime Westport dining spots, and last year, by The Red Barn and Mario’s Place (which changed hands). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Installing Enid Munroe Exhibit

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Westport Arts Center Visual Arts Manager Jill Sarver (l) and Victoria Munroe today install Westport artist Enid Munroe’s “bling boxes,” visually rich collections of found objects placed into typography boxes, in advance of Friday’s opening reception for “Enid Munroe: Artist & Alchemist” at the center. The exhibition, showcasing Munroe’s works beyond her traditional domain of painting, many of which have never before been framed or seen by the public, runs through Feb. 27. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Monday, January 18, 2016

WHS Honors MLK Jr.

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The Westport Historical Society (WHS) today honored Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a program for children aged 6 to 11 entitled “Peace, Love and Understanding.”  Elizabeth De Voll, WHS education director, assists children in creation of MLK Jr. remembrance crafts, including peace wreaths and protest posters. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/18/16 01:19 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, January 15, 2016

Toquet Hall Hosts firekid

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Atlantic Records recording artist Dillon Hodges, aka firekid, tonight headlined the show at Westport’s Toquet Hall teen center, which also featured performances by Staples High School’s own Pizza Dust and local Connecticut students, The Foresters. A large crowd of students came out and danced to a mix of rock, indie, electronic, and bluegrass music.  firekid’s current single “Magic Mountain” is in regular rotation on Sirius XM Alt Nation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Faces of Pediatric Cancer

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The Westport Arts Center Wednesday night hosted a one night only provocative and alternative view of childhood cancer photo exhibit by Circle of Care, a local nonprofit which gives emotional and financial support to families with children with cancer, in partnership with New Canaan photographer Jeanna Shepard. The photos featured faces and stories behind pediatric cancer from communities across Connecticut. Catherine Alter (l) and mother Barbara posed before a photo taken when Catherine was undergoing chemotherapy two years ago. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Honoring Our Heritage: 19 Washington Ave.

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The newest recipients of an historic plaque from the Westport Historical Society (WHS) are the owners of the circa 1918-built house, now known as the Della Reichert house, at 19 Washington Ave.  Bob Weingarten, WHS House historian and plaque coordinator,  presented Sheila Gallo and son Nick with a plaque.  In 2011, Sheila was looking for a house in Westport and after entering this house she saw sunlight from various windows and said she realized that someone was telling her to purchase this house. Her son believes that the yellow door to the house identifies the house as “the house of the inviting door.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

01/13/16 08:57 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The Hateful Eight,’ ‘Concussion,’ Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Known for his penchant for approaching racism in America with profanity-laced, gratuitous hyper-violence, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” is a “molasses-like” saga about a bounty hunter trying to transport a killer to justice.

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Set several years after the U.S. Civil War, it begins with a stagecoach hurtling through wintry Wyoming - until it’s stopped by Maj. Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a former Union officer-turned-bounty hunter who’s hauling three dead bodies to Red Rock to collect the reward.

Inside the stagecoach is bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) with a feisty, feral fugitive (Jennifer Jason Leigh), also headed for Red Rock. Joining them later is Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a former Confederate renegade who introduces himself as Red Rock’s new Sheriff.

As a ferocious blizzard approaches, the passengers seek shelter in a log cabin called Minnie’s Haberdashery, joining the Mexican (Damian Bichir) who’s temporarily minding Minnie’s stopover, a British hangman (Tim Roth), a Confederate General (Bruce Dern), and cowboy (Michael Madsen).

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Play With Your Food Debuts 14th Season

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The 14th season of the Play With Your Food noontime play reading series at Westport’s Toquet Hall debuted today with four one-act plays. They included actors (l-r) James Feuer, Jeremy Funke, Katie Spare and Kim Squires. The Westport productions continue Wednesday and Thursday with productions in Fairfield on Jan. 19 and Greenwich on Jan. 20.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Food Before the Play

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Guests at today’s season debut of the noontime Play With Your Food play reading series line up for food before the performance at Westport;s Toquet Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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American Boychoir Set for Jan. 30 Concert

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The American Boychoir will perform Saturday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. in a special concert at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. The world renowned vocal ensemble of the Princeton, N.J.-based American Boychoir School has been heralded as one of the nation’s premiere musical ensembles. Tickets ($45 preferred seating; $35 general adult; $15 general child under 18) may be purchased online at http://www.chtwestport.org/tickets or at the door if seats are still available. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Applause for Blues Keyboardist Mark Naftalin

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Westporter Mark Naftalin (r), a 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, takes a bow today with drummer Barry Urich at the Westport Library’s McManus Room after a performance before an overflow crowd. Naftalin, 71, a blues keyboardist, recording artist, composer, and record producer, was inducted into the Hall after appearing on the historic first four albums by Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the mid 1960s as a band member. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

01/10/16 04:39 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Mark Naftalin Performs


Scenes from today’s Westport Library performance by blues great and Westporter Mark Naftalin accompanied by drummer Barry Urich. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, January 09, 2016

WestportREADS Film Screening

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The Westport Cinema Initiative (WCI) with partner the Westport Library today presented a Westport Town Hall screening of “Miracle at St Anna,” a 2008 Spike Lee movie as part of the townwide WestportREADS celebration of the 2002 novel of the same name by author and musician James McBride. Posing for a photo were Trey Ellis, Westport novelist, screenwriter, professor, playwright, and essayist, whose film, “The Tuskegee Airmen” was the subject of a post–screening discussion; state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, WCI preident; Sandra Lefkowitz, WCI executive director; Bill Harmer, executive director of the Westport Library; Kelle Ruden, Westport Library, and First Selectman James Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

01/09/16 06:24 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, January 08, 2016

Comings & Goings: Bobby Q’s Closing

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Bobby Q’s, a Westport Main Street ribs favorite since 2004, is closing March 31, owner Bob LeRose (above) announced today. The building at 36-42 Main St. was sold for $9.2 million in November 2014 by longtime owner Drew Friedman, who originally opened Onion Alley in the Bobby Q space. “While I’m sad that this chapter of my restaurant career is coming to an end, I’ll have some exciting news coming soon on my next chapter,” LeRose said. Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, said he hears Bobby Q’s will move to West Avenue in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/08/16 05:05 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Parker Mansion Opening Soon

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Parker Mansion, described as an “American casual” restaurant and bar, will open this month at 541 Riverside Ave. in space previously occupied by the Mansion Clam House, according to owner Patrick Fahy (above). The space, which has undergone a major makeover inside and out, now includes seating on the second floor indoor and deck and will offer patio seating in warmer temperatures. “Our menu has a wide range, serving everything from hamburger to filet mignon,” Fahy said. He added that the restaurant owns nine boat slips along the Saugatuck River so sailors can pull right up to the property. He owns two other restaurants, Parker Steaks & Scotch in Trumbull, and Parker Eatery & Bar. Mansion Clam House closed in October 2014 (see WestportNow Oct. 12, 2014) after being there since 1958, according to its website. The property, which includes the adjoining Julian’s Brick Oven Pizza, changed hands in April 2014 for $2.1 million. The listing said the building was built in 1900. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/08/16 04:28 PM Comments (1) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Playhouse to Host Free King Celebration

The 10th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration presented by Interfaith Council of Westport and Weston, TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) Westport and the Westport Country Playhouse is set for Sunday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Playhouse, officials announced.

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Marilyn Ward: keynote speaker. Contributed photo

The free event will feature keynote speaker Marilyn Ward Ford, the Neil Cogan Public Service Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University. Following the program, a reception will take place in the Playhouse lobby.

“In light of recent race-related incidents on city streets and college campuses, this year’s program will lift up not only the legacy of Dr. King but also help us envision ways we might move forward to fulfill his dream of a more just and inclusive society.”  said the Rev. Ed Horne, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston and chairman of the event’s organizing committee.

The program will include excerpts from King’s works being read by students from Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, and choral music will be sung by the Staples High School Orphenians and the Serendipity Chorale.

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01/07/16 06:16 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

First Look: Mario’s Transformed

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Work is progressing toward the opening later this month of the Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place, in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Mario’s closed in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/07/16 02:58 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

‘Tuskeegee Airmen’ Screened at Library

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About 30 persons today attended a showing at the Westport Library’s McManus Room of the 1995 film, “Tuskeegee Airmen” a semi-fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African-American Air Force squadron during World War II. The film centers on an ambitious young pilot, Hannibal Lee, portrayed by Laurence Fishburne. The 106-minute film was shown in conjunction with the WestportREADS book selection, James McBride’s “Miracle at St. Anna,” a tale of courage and redemption inspired by a little-known historic event toward the end of World War II. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

01/05/16 04:17 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

WestportREADS Focuses on ‘Miracle at St. Anna’

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The 2002 novel “Miracle at St. Anna” by James McBride was made into a 2008 movie directed by Spike Lee. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The Westport’s Library’s annual WestportREADS program is underway with this year’s selection the 2002 novel “Miracle at St. Anna” by author and musician James McBride.

It is a powerful and heartfelt book of an orphaned Italian boy befriended by a black American soldier in Italy during World War II.

The book choreographs the sacrifices of the four members of the all-black 92nd Infantry Buffalo Division as they and the boy are trapped in the Italian village of St. Anna di Stazzema as the German army closes in

According to Library officials, WestportREADS aims to strengthen the community via shared experience of a book and its author.

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘The Danish Girl,’ ‘Carol,’ ‘Point Break’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

In “The Danish Girl,” Eddie Redmayne follows up his Oscar-winning performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” with an amazing transformation, becoming Lili Elbe, the first transgender woman.

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While 2015 marked Caitlyn Jenner’s transition and Amazon’s TV’s “Transparent,” along with the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, back in 1926 in Denmark, the transgender concept frustrated and bewildered psychiatrists who considered it a perversion.

Which is why when renowned landscape artist Einar Wegener (Redmayne) starts to wear makeup and clothing belonging to his ambitious-but-struggling portrait-painter wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), Copenhagen’s traditionally tolerant artistic community is stunned.

Married for six years, Einer enjoys a lusty conjugal life with Gerda - until, one day, she asks him to don stockings, tutu and satin slippers to fill in for a missing model. Sensing his delight posing in feminine finery, she suggests he attend a party, masquerading as a cousin named Lili.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Susan Granger at the Movies: 10 BEST for 2015

WestportNow film critic Susan Granger compiled her list of 10 BEST for 2015. They are listed alphabetically:

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PICTURE:

“Bridge of Spies” - Fact-based spy-swap story, set during the Cold War.
“Creed” - Re-birth of the “Rocky” legend for another generation.
“Ex Machina” - A scientist creates a remarkably life-like cyborg.
“Inside Out” - Pixar Animation delightfully details how our minds work.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” - Explosive, post-apocalyptic action epic.
“The Martian” - A rousing sci-fi adventure about an astronaut stranded on Mars.
“Son of Saul” - Holocaust drama set in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
“Spotlight” - Boston Globe reporters expose the Catholic Church’s pedophilia cover-up.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - Revival of the galactic, good vs. evil adventure.
“Trumbo” - Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo battles the Hollywood blacklist.

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Returns and Westport History

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Holiday return items were piled on the counter at Westport’s Banana Republic, 44 Main St., late today. Seen in the background are the quirky characters painted on a mural by New Milford artist Edmund Ashe, Jr. in the 1930s to decorate the wall behind a bar called Triangle Tavern, later Townly’s Restaurant. It suffered damage due to a fire in the 1950s and subsequently was covered with dry wall when Klein’s, a Main Street presence since 1937, expanded into the spot. In 1999, Klein’s leased the ground floor to Banana Republic and moved upstairs, finally closing for good in 2004. The mural was rediscovered during the Banana Republic renovation and restored. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

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Teen Essay Contest Focuses on Racially Charged Incidents

TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) and the Westport Library today announced its third annual high school essay contest on diversity.

The 1,000-word contest, open to all ninth through twelfth graders who reside in town, asks students to make sense out of the troubling, racially charged incidents from Charleston to Chicago over the past year.

Applications can be downloaded at http://www.teamwestport.org on Jan. 4, and completed essays are due Feb. 26.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Westport Library on April 4, officials say, and first prize is $1,000, second prize $750 and third prize, $500.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Westport

By James Lomuscio

There are the partyers and there are those who eschew all the hoopla for a quiet evening as the ball drops. And there are those who will be in bed before midnight, preferring to see the start of the New Year as just another mark on the calendar.

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Angelo Capponi, co-owner of Pane e Bene Italian Restaurant, 1620 Post Road East, points to a special New Year’s appetizer, Cotechino e Lenticchie (Lentils and Cotechino Sausage) in which he says lentils represent money, and the sausage, prosperity. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

A survey of Westport restaurants shows that local restaurateurs are catering to all of these customers this New Year’s Eve.

A few establishments are serving up evening meals and closing shop long before midnight, letting their customers revel in the midst of First Night of Westport and Weston celebrations. And a few others conversely are pulling out the stops.

Either way, choices abound, and regardless of one’s hoopla meter, and reservations are encouraged since it remains restaurants’ biggest night of the year.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Honoring Our Heritage: 33 Old Hill Road

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The newest recipient of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) historical plaque are the owners of the house at 33 Old Hill Road, now known as the Abijah Hanford House, circa 1796. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented the plaque to Alison and Stephen Schwartz and their two daughters, Olivia (l), 7, a second grade student, and Caitlyn, 9, a fourth grade student, both, at Kings Highway Elementary School. The family relocated to Westport from New York where Alison and Stephen resided for 15 years. “I’ve always lived in antique houses,” said Alison. “I grew up in western Massachusetts in a 1700s-built house. No surprise that my mother helped us select this house.” Stephen, who works in New York in the financial services field, said, “Even our Upper West Side apartment was in a prewar building built in1926.” He said he and his wife chose Westport because “friends who live here told us how wonderful it is.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

12/23/15 07:41 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ ‘Youth,’ ‘Joy’

By Susan Granger

In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” writer/director J.J. Abrams has successfully revived George Lucas’s original sci-fi concept, a space Western that captivated global audiences some 30-plus years ago, bringing back Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels).

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It opens with John Williams’ familiar musical fanfare, along with that rolling scroll, explaining that Luke Skywalker has disappeared and the evil First Order has taken power.

Enter Stormtroopers, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), whose black mask and cape make him look just like Darth Vader. They’re searching for a map that can lead them to where Luke is hiding; it is hidden within spherical droid BB-8 that belongs to hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

When conscience-stricken Stormtrooper FN-3182, nicknamed Finn (John Boyega), defects, he joins up with Poe and Rey (Daisy Ridley), the feisty Jakku desert ‘scavenger’ who is protecting BB-8, as they steal an aged freighter, the Millennium Falcon, belonging to legendary smuggler Han Solo. 

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Michael Moore: Trump Will be Republican Nominee

Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning director, tonight told an audience attending the only Connecticut screening of his latest film before its wide release in February that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee.

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Michael Moore chats with guests tonight at Westport’s Vespa restaurant following the screening of his latest film, “Where to Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Chris Greer

“He (Trump) will be the Republican nominee, there is absolutely no doubt about that,” said Moore at a screening of his film “Where to Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. “And don’t, don’t, don’t think that he can’t win. It’s really important to pay attention to this and not just dismiss it any more.”

Moore added: “It was funny for a while. He did performance art. I was enjoying it. But I think now it’s time to pay some serious attention to it because he really knows what he is doing. And he’s really good at it. He’s really pushing a lot of the right buttons for the angry white guys that are out there.”

Moore said 81 percent of the people voting next year are either going to be women, people of color or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. And they could be the difference in the election.

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Westporter Helps Bring Moore Project to Screen

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Academy Award-wnning director Michael Moore talks with Westporters Kimberly and Mark Shapiro tonight at the Vespa restaurant in Westport following the screening of Moore’s film “Where to Invade Next.” Shapiro, chief content officer of the IMG unit of talent and event management specialist WME/IMG, said he was so impressed with Moore’s script that not only did his company back the project but he signed on as an executive producer. Shapiro, best known for his turn running programming at ESPN, joined the firm in September 2014 in the newly created role aimed at identifying new revenue opportunities across IMG’s businesses, which encompass sports, fashion, model representation and events. He was most recently CEO and an executive producer at Dick Clark Productions and prior to that was CEO at Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Chris Greer

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