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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Sunday, January 04, 2015

SRO Crowd for ‘Dubliners’ Talk Image
There was a standing room only crowd today for a talk by retired Staples High School English teacher Gerry Kurgholian on James Joyce’s “Dubliners,” this year’s WestportREADS selection. He singled out “The Dead” as one of his favorite stories in the book. “If you only read one story, read ‘The Dead,’” he said, adding, “Be sure to see the movie on Jan. 17 at Christ and Holy Church at 4 p.m. I loved that movie.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 06:02 PM
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A Sunday James Joyce Primer

Scenes from today’s Westport Library talk by Gerry Kuroghlian on James Joyce’s “Dubliners.” It was the opening event of the month-long WestportREADS program. Phyllis Groner for

Posted 05:57 PM
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Saturday, January 03, 2015

‘Dubliners’ is WestportREADS 2015 Selection Image
The Westport Library has selected James Joyce’s “The Dubliners” as the WestportREADS Book for 2015. Many events, including speakers, films and discussions have been scheduled this month. Former and ever-popular Staples English teacher Dr. Gerry Kuroghlian will be at the library for WestportReads: Dubliners 101 Sunday at 3 p.m. The WestportReads kickoff event will feature author and broadcaster Frank Delaney discussing his best-selling novel “Ireland” on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 4 p.m.. For details and a complete list of events, visit the library website (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for

Posted 01:28 PM
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Friday, January 02, 2015

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Foxcatcher’

By Susan Granger

Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-seller, “Unbroken” follows the incredible life and endurance of Olympian and World War II hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell). Image

Impressive and immersive, it begins as Zamperini’s bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean. He and two other survivors endure 47 days adrift until they’re ‘rescued’ by the Japanese and sent to POW camps.

Cocky, grimly determined Zamperini was singled out for relentlessly brutal torture by a cruel, imperious camp commander (Miyavi), wielding a bamboo cane. Scattered throughout, there are flashbacks of Louie’s rebellious childhood as a high school, college and Olympic runner.

Joel and Ethan Coen (”No Country for Old Men”) dutifully adapted Hillenbrand’s book, working with director/producer Angelina Jolie (“In the Land of Blood and Honey”), who also enlisted the Coens’ cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and French composer Alexandre Desplat.

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Posted 08:32 AM
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Rocking at Toquet Hall Image
Westport’s Toquet Hall was packed with teens tonight as a series of bands played for the First Night audiences. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 08:20 PM
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Actor Edward Herrmann Dies at 71 Image
Emmy Award-winning actor Edward Herrmann, shown following his Nov. 10 script in hand performance at the Westport Country Playhouse, died Wednesday in New York of brain cancer. He was 71. In the Playhouse reading of the play “Trying,” Herrmann played the role of a dying Francis Biddle, U.S. attorney general under Franklin D. Roosevelt. He is pictured with (l-r) Anne Keefe, director of the script in hand series, his wife, Star, and fellow actor Helen Cespedes.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:37 PM
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘The Interview’

By Susan Granger

Despite cyber-warfare against Sony and terrorist threats from North Korea, the James Franco/Seth Rogen black comedy “The Interview” opened on Christmas Day in 331 independent theaters and earned more than $1 million. It was also available for rent or purchase on VOD. Image

That’s just the legal side. According to web calculations, it was pirated in digital format more than 200,000 times in the first 10 hours. After 20 hours, the illegal downloads topped 750,000—mainly overseas, since Sony did no worldwide release.

So what’s it all about? Sleazy TV interviewer Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his buddy, producer Aaron Rappaport (Seth Rogen), are tabloid journalists who specialize in celebrity interviews. 

When these mega-morons learn that North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un (Randall Park) is a fan of the show, they arrange an interview. “This will be as big as Frosty Nixon,” Dave enthuses.

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Posted 10:42 AM
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Two CT Theaters to Screen ‘The Interview’ Thursday

UPDATE Westporters keen to see the controversial film “The Interview” in a movie theater Thursday or New Year’s Day will have to travel to Waterbury or Hartford in state or Yonkers, N.Y. or New York City.

Sony’s list of participating theaters includes about 300 that will start showing it on Christmas and dozens of others that will start showing it on Jan. 1 or 2. Some of the Christmas Day screenings are already sold out.

In Connecticut, the controversial comedy surrounding the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is scheduled to be shown in Hartford at the Spotlight Theatres Front Street Stadium and in Waterbury at Apple Cinemas Waterbury 10, the studio said.

Westporters and others also will get a chance to see the movie at home. Sony made the film available beginning at 1 p.m. today on Google Play, YouTube Movies and Microsoft’s Xbox Video as well as on a website of its own.

Posted 11:35 AM
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Preserving Our Heritage: 7 Old Mill Road

By Dave Matlow

In another recognition of preserving Westport’s heritage, the Woodson family today received a Westport Historical Society (WHS) plaque from WHS historian Bob Weingarten (l), adding their 1909-built home at 7 Old Mill Road. to the WHS list of notable Westport homes. Image
Accepting the Westport Historical Society plaque today were (l-r) Elizabeth Woodson, 22, and her parents Jenifer and Hart Woodson. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Accepting the plaque were Elizabeth and her parents Jenifer and Hart Woodson. According to Jenifer Woodson, the plaque was a surprise Christmas gift to Elizabeth, a Stanford University senior who serves as president of the Stanford student body, class of 2015, and celebrates her 22nd birthday on Christmas Day. She is a graduate of Greens Farms Academy.

“Shortly after we moved into our Old Mill Road house in 1994, I’ll always remember little 2-year old Elizabeth saying, ‘I don’t ever want to move again,’” said Jenifer Woodson. 

Today, recollecting her love of the Woodsons’ 1909-built house Elizabeth said, “So much today is ephemeral, that’s why this old house is so important to my parents and me.”

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Posted 10:49 PM
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Susan Granger At the Movies: Christmas Week Releases

By Susan Granger

Family-friendly films abound this Christmas week -– but which to choose? Image

Based on the Brothers Grimm’s cautionary tales, “Into the Woods” is Rob Marshall’s adaptation of James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim’s insightful, slyly comedic Broadway musical. Dare I say it’s even better than the stage version?

Why? Since Sondheim’s intricate music and tongue-twisting lyrics are extraordinarily demanding, on-stage, some inevitably get garbled. Whereas, on-screen, everything is crystal-clear.

A humble baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) yearn for a child. Years ago, the witch (Meryl Streep) cursed his family; the only way it can be broken is to go into the forest on a quest to find items she requires, including Red Riding Hood’s cape and Jack and the Beanstalk’s Milky White cow.

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Posted 11:51 AM
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Staples Radio Broadcasts ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Image
Staples Players director David Roth introduces today’s WWPT Staples Wrecker radio live broadcast of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The production was based on the March 10,1947 original radio broadcast of the 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. (See complete broadcast here)  CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 01:31 PM
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,’ ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

By Susan Granger

Epics are a style of film-making with large scale, sweeping scope and spectacle. Its ambitious nature sets it apart from a historical period piece or action-adventure. This week, there are two epics. Image

Oscar-winning Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,” the conclusion of his cinematic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel.

You should see the previous installments since this fantasy picks up where the last one ended – as the fire-breathing dragon Smaug decimates Lake-town after the Dwarves of Erebor reclaim their gold.

Dark Lord Sauron returns, ordering Azog and legions of malevolent Orcs to attack. As the conflict escalates, the Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide to unite or be destroyed.

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Posted 01:55 AM
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Honoring our Heritage: 319 Post Road East Image
The newest recipient of an historical plaque from the Westport Historical Society (WHS) is Dr. David Santisi, a Wilton resident who owns the Winslow Park Veterinary Hospital at 319 Post Road East. The plaque was presented to him by Bob Weingarten, house historian of the WHS. The plaque signifies the house was constructed c.1835 and is known as the Haight-Kemper House with the descriptive name “Tannery Cottage.” According to Weingarten, the house, in addition to three neighboring houses at 305 and 311 Post Road East and 15 Powers Court, housed tannery workers of nearby Morocco Manufacturing Company and were commonly known as “Tannery Cottages.”  Each of the four properties is now occupied as professional offices. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:15 PM
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Westporter Voted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Westporter Mark Naftalin, keyboardist with the1960s blues favorites Paul Butterfield Blues Band, was among 2015 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced today. Image
Mark Naftalin plays at a Westport First Night event two years ago. He will return this year. photo

He and other band members will be inducted on April 18 when the induction ceremonies return to the Hall’s home of Cleveland.

Harmonica player Butterfield and guitarist Mike Bloomfield fronted the group, which, in addition to Naftalin, also included guitarist Elvin Bishop, drummer Sam Lay and bassist Jerome Arnold.

Others in the 30th class of inductees include Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Bill Withers.
In addition, The Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr will receive the Award for Musical Excellence and 1950s R&B vocal group the “5’’ Royales will be honored as an early influence.

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Posted 08:44 PM
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Celebrating ‘The Mousetrap’ Image
Some of the members of the cast of tonight’s Westport Country Playhouse script in hand play reading of the classic Agatha Christie play “The Mousetrap” get together with director Anne Keefe (2nd l) after the sold out show. They are (l-r) Robert Eli (Giles Ralston), Tom Beckett (Mr. Paravicini), Matthew Amendt (Detective Trotter) and Charles Socarides (Christopher Wren). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:10 PM
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