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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Late Arrival

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A visitor to the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts makes her way inside tonight to hear the Wendy May Band. Next week is the last full week for the Levitt with the season winding up on Sunday, Aug. 28 with a performer to be announced. On Friday, Sept. 9 the popular DNR band will return with special tribute to first responders and Westport EMS. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Westporters to Host Isadora Duncan Legacy Benefit

The natural, free flowing, graceful movements of legendary dancer Isadora Duncan will come to Westport next month.

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Isaadora Duncan: often called the “Mother of Modern Dance.” File photo

Robert and Victoria “Vicky” Sloat are set to open their 4 Bluewater Hill South home near Compo Beach for a night of dance presentations and awards.

The event, set for Sunday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. will benefit the New York-based Isadora Duncan International Institute (IDII), which is entering its 40th season.

Vicky Sloat is a disciple of Duncan, an American dancer whose teaching and performances helped free ballet from its conservative restrictions and presaged the development of modern expressive dance. She died in 1927.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Distractions Entertain at Levitt

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The Distractions were the headline band at the Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts tonight. Members of the band have composed, recorded and performed for award-winning films, an Emmy-nominated TV show, and one of them founded the National Guitar Museum. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Friday Night at the Levitt

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A perfect, moon-lit summer night with temperatures in the low 70s helped bring out a sizable crowd tonight to hear The Distractions at the Levitt Pavilion. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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A Final Order at Westport’s Kibberia

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Today was the final day of business for Kibberia Restaurant and Café, 361 Post Road West, and Westport resident Wendy Levy showed up for a final order, served by employee Alia Metke, a 2015 Staples High School graduate.  Nick Iskandar. an owner of the eat-in and takeout restaurant specializing in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, said Thursday it was closing because its lease expired and “we cannot continue with the current costs of doing business in Westport.” Levy said she was one of its first customers three years ago and had frequented the Kibberia restaurant in Danbury. “When i read on WestportNow about the planned closing, I wanted to come here just one last time,” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bluegrass Meets Brazil at Levitt

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The Levitt Pavilion tonight hosted Matuto, a band whose sound has been described as the syncopations of Brazilian music and the folk traditions of the American South, sort of Bluegrass meets Brazil. Guests joined a conga line in front of the stage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Comings & Goings: Le Penguin Opens Monday

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Le Penguin French bistro will open at Sconset Square on Monday according to a staff member. He said a friends and family reeption was held this week. The space was previously occupied by Blue Lemon which closed in April after 13 years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/18/16 07:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Kibberia Closing

By Dave Matlow

Kibberia, an eat-in and takeout restaurant specializing in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at 361 Post Road West, will close at the end of the business day Friday, according to owner Nick Iskandar.

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Kibberia owner Nick Iskandar said: “Were very sorry to leave.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Iskandar, with brother Sam and sister-in-law Carole as chef, opened the restaurant in July 2013 in the space previously occupied by John’s Best Pizza.  They also own a restaurant by the same name in Danbury.

“Our lease expired and we cannot continue with the current costs of doing business in Westport,” Nick Iskander said.

“Our business volume is good.  if we were doing this amount of business in Danbury, for instance, we could continue because our costs are much lower there, but doing business in the Westport area is very expensive. We just cannot continue.” 

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2017 Playhouse Season — June to November

The Westport Country Playhouse today announced its 2017 season with some new twists –- a later starting and ending time and with two of the five plays in the fall instead of one as in past years.

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Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos will helm 87th season. Bruce Plotkin photo

Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos, 2017 will mark the Connecticut professional theater’s 87th season. 

Based on patron feedback, the 2017 season will run from May 30 through Nov. 19, an announcement said. In addition to a five-play season package, a “Pick 4” package will be introduced.

Patrons may select any four plays during the entire season, a change when previously, a four-play season ticket only provided a choice between the first four or last four productions.

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08/18/16 04:33 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Ben Hur,’ Pete’s Dragon,’ ‘Anthorpoid’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Why remake “Ben Hur” (1959), the epic sword-and-sandals adventure that set an Oscar record, sweeping 11 out of the 12 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler) and Best Actor (Charlton Heston)?

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This new “Ben Hur,” produced by Mark Burnett (TV’s “Survivor,” “The Voice”) and Roma Downey (TV’s “Touched By an Angel”), the husband-and-wife team behind the 10-hour TV miniseries “The Bible,” returns Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ” to its devoutly religious roots.

Set in Jerusalem, it’s the story of two brothers:  a wealthy Jewish nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur (John Huston), and his adoptive Roman sibling, Messala Severus (Toby Kebbell). When ambitious Messala betrays their family, Judah vows revenge and, through his encounters with Jesus of Nazareth (Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro), witnessing the Crucifixion, learns compassion and forgiveness.

Working from a script by Keith R. Clarke and John Ridley, Russian-Kazajh director Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) achieves period authenticity, depicting communal life and the graphic brutality of Judah’s five years as a galley slave, battling Greeks on the Ionian Sea.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Treehouse Comedy Club Back at Levitt

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Vinnie Mark of thr Treehouse Comedy Club performed at the Levitt Pavilion tonight. It was the Comedy Club’s third appearance at the Levitt this season. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Storm Clouds Over Levitt

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There were storm clouds and intermittent rain tonight at the Westport Levitt Paviion for the Performing Arts as Westporter Rondi Charleston performed With Family and Friends. It was the second consecutive night of rain at the Levitt with Saturday’s performance cut short by a severe thunderstorm. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Westporter Rondi Charleston Performs at Levitt

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Westporter Rondi Charleston, an award-winning jazz singer/lyricist/composer whose work has appeared in film, TV and on stage throughout the United States and Europe, performed at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts tonight. She said she was delighted to be appearing in her hometown before friends and neighbors. The show went on despite occasional rain showers, prompting Charleston to tell the audience, “Come on, folks. It’s like Gene Kelly and ‘Singing in the Rain.’” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

08/14/16 08:38 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Gimme Shelter

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Levitt Pavilion concertgoers take shelter under the pavilion portico tonight after a severe thunder and lighting storm cut short a performance by the Doug Wahlberg Band. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Miggs Burroughs for WestportNow.com

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Storm Stopped the Music

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The Doug Whalberg Band got in about 45 minutes of music tonight before the concert was cut short by a severe thunder and lightning storm that moved thorugh the area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gallery: CHIC Featuring Nile Rodgers at Levitt


Scenes from tonight’s Levitt Pavilion gala performance by CHIC featuring Westporter Nile Rodgers. WestportNow.com photos and J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

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Video: In Sync With CHIC and Nile Rodgers


Audience members join CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers on stage during tonight’s Westport Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts gala performance. WestportNow.com video

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Acknowledging Applause of Fellow Westporters

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Westporter Nile Rodgers acknowledges applause of fans tonight at a rain-delayed gala concert at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. Lightning and rain held up the performance for an hour and 15 minutes before CHIC featuring NIle Rodgers took to the stage. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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On Stage Dancing

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A select group of audience members was invited on to the Levitt Pavilion stage tonight to dance to CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

08/11/16 10:57 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Gallery: Pre-Gala Cocktail Party


Scenes from the pre-gala cocktail party tonight before the Levitt Pavilion performance by CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers. The show was delayed one hour and 15 minutes by lightnig and rain. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com and contributed photos

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Getting Ready for CHIC Featuring Nile Rodgers

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Chairs were in place and ready for tonight’s Levitt Pavilion gala performance by CHIC featuring Westporter Nile Rodgers. The ticketed event is a fundraiser to provide more than 50 nights of free entertainment. A few tickets remain at http://www.levittpavilion.com.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action on Church Lane

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Brothers Carson and Connor Einarsen, both Staples High School graduates who studied filmmaking in college, took their location shooting tonight to Church Lane outside of Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Their “no-budget” feature film being made in collaboration with the Westport Library is titled “An Inconsistent Story in Stealing.” It is described as a neo-noir movie about a former thief who is sucked back into the town she despises, to hunt down something she stole long ago. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

08/10/16 10:18 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Father and Son Make Music

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Westport resident and veteranarian Irwin Lebish on the keyboard and his son Scott on the guitar entertained an audience of over 50 people tonight at the Westport Library’s McManus Room. The father-son duo, who played selections ranging from the bossanova to the Great American Songbook, were sponsored by Westporter Lee Greenberg as part of her longtime free entertainment program offered to the public. Irwin said he is influenced by Jazz greats John and Gay Mehegan of the 1970s, and he continues to pursue their art. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Rain Threat Does Not Deter Children’s Series Crowd

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The threat of rain did not deter a sizable turnout for tonight’s performance of Secret Agent 23 Skiddo, in the weekly Melissa & Doug children’s series at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Secret Agent 23 Skidoo Kid-Hop

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Youngsters dance to Secret Agent 23 Skiddo tonight in the weekly Melissa & Doug children’s series at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Comings & Goings: Vine Wine Room Opens

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Vine Wine Room has opened at 190 Main St. in sspace formerly occupied by Luxe Wine Bar, which closed in April. Owner Sammy Alanz and partner Heather Buchheit-Ferrari. Trumbull residents, said this is a soft opening and a grand opening is planned for mid-September. According to Buchheit-Ferrari, the restaurant, which seats 30 inside and 16 on the patio, offers a full bar, appetizers, small plates and plans to add a raw bar. Alanz said menu offerings will expand. Hours are Monday to Thursday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/09/16 05:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Granger at the Movies: ‘Florence Foster Jenkins,’ ‘Jason Bourne,’ ‘Nerve’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is set in the 1940s, a kinder, gentler era when a good-hearted, generous, if delusional diva packed Manhattan’s famed Carnegie Hall, and people cheered as she enthusiastically sang off-key.

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Socialite heiress Florence Foster Jenkins believed she was a gifted opera singer. The coloratura soprano she heard in her head was magnificent; that her voice quavered never deterred her in the slightest.

Employing Metropolitan Opera conductor Carlo Edwards (David Haig) as her vocal coach, she endowed New York’s Verdi Club, where adoring audiences encouraged her screeching.

If she could not achieve acclaim, she could buy it - with the help of her dedicated husband/manager St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) and loyal, long-suffering accompanist Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg).

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Playhouse Names New Managing Director

The Westport Country Playhouse today announced it has hired Michael Barker, a California theater professional with roots at Yale University, as its new managing director.

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Michael Barker: Yale alumnus. Contributed photo

Barker, 36, comes to Westport from Mill Valley, Calif., where he was the managing director of Marin Theatre Company.  He will assume the Playhouse post in early September, an announcement from the board of trustees said.

He succeeds Michael Ross who left in June after seven years to return to Baltimore and Center Stage, the State Theater of Maryland. The six-month search reviewed more than a dozen candidates, the Playhouse said.

Barker will partner with Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, to lead the not-for-profit, professional theater, currently in its 86th season. 

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Monday, August 08, 2016

Joshua Bell & Frederic Chiu in Aug. 25 Beechwood Arts Fundraiser

There will be a Westport reunion on Thursday, Aug. 25 with internationally acclaimed Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and renowned Westport pianist Frederic Chiu.

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Joshua Bell (l) and longtime friend, Frederic Chiu of Westport, rehearse together. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The occasion is a fundraiser marking the fifth anniversary of Chiu’s Beechwood Arts & Innovation, a Westport-based nonprofit that fosters innovation and collaboration across all of the arts and across generations.

The two, who are longtime friends, will perform in an 8 p.m. concert at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Click here for information.

Bell helped kick off Beechwood’s first year and is returning to give a “high 5” for Beechwood’s fifth year, according to an announcement.

08/08/16 10:34 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Sponsors Needed to Complete RR Tunnel Project

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The art project honoring Westport’s past and present in the railroad tunnel at the Metro-North Westport station is seeking sponsors to complete the initiative. The project features lightbox lenticular views combining past and present images of Westport landmarks by Westport artist Miggs Burrough (r). He viewed one of the images today with Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Deputy Chief Sam Arciola. Anyone interested should contact any of the three. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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