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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Special 75th Candlelight Pre-concert Gala Set

Next month’s 75th anniversary of the Staples High School Candlelight Concert will include a special pre-concert event to celebrate the milestone. Image
Adele Cutrali-Valovich, director of orchestral music at Staples, congratulates a student at last year’s Candlelight Concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for

The three free performances are Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. with the alumni performance at 8 p.m. There is free admission but tickets must be obtained in advance on the music department website at

An anniversary gala reception will be held at the Westport Inn on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. before the 8 p.m. alumni performance, organizers announced.

The cost is $75 per person and includes a reserved seat at the alumni concert, food, drinks, and music. On sale at the gala will be 75th anniversary logo wear and a four-CD musical retrospective of the concert’s 75 years.

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Posted 09:51 PM
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Magazine Honors Ann Chernow

Westport artist Ann Chernow has been recognized as a Distinguished Professional in her field through Women of Distinction Magazine. Image
Ann Chernow: Distinguished Professional. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

She will be featured in the forthoming edition of the magazine, an announcement said.

With more than 50 years of practical experience as an artist, Chernow began her career at the age of 22.  Founding her art business as a way to promote and sell her artwork, Chernow’s website includes more than 300 print images of her work.

They are all based on specific impressions related to movies from the 1930s and ‘40s and refer to actual films, studio publicity material, fan magazines, and other memorabilia.

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Posted 06:38 PM
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Susan Granger at the Movies: ‘Creed,’ ‘Room,’ ‘Love the Coopers’

By Susan Granger

With “Creed,” writer/director Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) has not only revived “Rocky” nostalgia but also introduced an entirely new character: Adonis (“Donnie”) Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son of legendary boxing champion Apollo Creed. Image

Born out of wedlock to a mother who died, then shuffled through foster care and juvenile detention, adolescent Adonis is adopted by Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad), who knows he’s her late husband’s illegitimate son.

Raised and educated in L.A.’s posh Baldwin Hills, Donnie lands a cushy corporate job but spends weekends prize-fighting in Tijuana - until he goes to Philadelphia to track down his father’s fabled nemesis/friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).

Still tending Adrian’s restaurant (named after his late wife), Rocky is reluctant at first but soon relents, patiently teaching and training Donnie. Problem is: Donnie’s determined to use his own name, which turns off ambitious promoters.

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Posted 08:49 AM
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Westporter Honored for Crime Fiction Image
Liana Sonenclar: honored at mystery writers conference. Contributed photo

Liana Sonenclar of Westport has received honorable mention in the 2015 Al Blanchard Award contest for short crime fiction by a New England author or featuring a New England setting.

Sonenclar, daughter of Sheryl and Ken Sonenclar, was honored for “Alibi,” about a lawyer’s struggle to defend a boy who wants to be convicted for a crime she thinks he didn’t commit. It is her first short story.

Sonenclar, a 2014 Staples High School graduate where she was photo editor of Inklings, has completed her freshman year at the University of Chicago. She is taking this year off to study drama and dramatic writing at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.

The award was announced at the 14th annual New England Crime Bake conference for mystery writers and readers in Dedham, Mass.

Posted 09:24 PM
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Heida Hermanns Piano Competition Winners Image
The finals round of the 2015 Heida Hermanns International Music Competition, this year featuring piano, was held today at First Church Fairfield in Fairfield. Winner of the $5,000 first prize was Wenjie Lu (r), a native of China who began playing piano at age 5. He is a student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. The two-day competition was presented by the Connecticut Alliance for Music (CAM) with the support of the Westport Arts Center. Others pictured: (l-r) .Barry Persky, president of CAM; Soyoung Kim, Ye-Eun Kwag, Hsin-Chao Liao, all honorable mention; Gvantas Zangaladze, third place, and Vladimir Rumyanivtsev, second place. The competition is named after Heida Hermanns, a world-class concert pianist and child prodigy who fled Nazi Germany and eventually settled with her husband in Westport. She died in 1995 at age 89. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 06:17 PM
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Talking Al Hirschfeld at the Library Image
David Leopold, creative director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, was at the Westport Library today talking about the legendary artist and a Hirschfeld memoir he edited, “The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age.” He said Hirschfeld was working for The New York Times doing caricatures when his daughter Nina was born. To celebrate, he drew a baby with the name incorporated in his drawing. From then on, Leopold said, Hirschfeld incorporated her name into his sketches and people began to expect it. Hirschfeld died in 2003, five months shy of his 100th birthday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 04:50 PM
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Family Art Day at Arts Center Image
It was Family Art Day today at the Westport Arts Center. The gallery was transformed into a workshop space, featuring stations designed to enable interaction with different materials and to foster a lifelong love for the arts. Youngsters worked alongside their parents and siblings as they drew on inspiration from the “DREAMscapes” exhibition featuring 42 member artists. The Westport Arts Center will be holding a December Drop & Shop event for ages 5 to10 on Saturdays Dec. 12 and 19 from noon to 4 p.m.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for

Posted 01:05 PM
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Staples Players Donate to Syrian Children’s Relief Fund Image
Staples Players, the Staples High School award-winning theater group, raised more than $5,800 for Save the Children’s Syrian Children’s Relief Fund during its two-week run of “Fiddler on the Roof.”  After Saturday night’s closing night curtain call, Staples Players Officers Nick Ribolla, Sam Galvao, Vignesh Namasivayam, Brooke Wrubel, and Keanan Pucci, along with director David Roth, presented a check to Marcy Begian, associate director of community engagement and fundraising for Save the Children. More than $1,000 in additional funds were contributed by the closing night audience. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kerry Foley for

Posted 09:51 AM
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Helen Klisser During Bids Farewell to Arts Center Image
Helen Klisser During, the Westport Arts Center artistic director who has announced her resignation effective Dec. 1, tonight thanks guests at the opening reception for the annual group members’ exhibition, “DREAMscapes.” It is the last exhibition for her after six years at Center. She said it has been an “incredible privilege” to work at the Center, choking up as she added, “it’s about the relationships and the people I’ve met here.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 09:06 PM
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‘A Loss for Not Only for the Arts Center but for the Town of Westport’ Image
Among tributes to Helen Klisser During, outgoing artistic director of the Westport Arts Center at the opening reception tonight for the annual members’ exhibition, was one by renowned photographer Larry Silver (r) of Westport, who said he was speaking for “the artists here.” “You have turned the Westport Arts Center into a very professional and respected institution,” he told her. “You did what a lot of other curators weren’t able to do. You were able to unite the Westport artists with international and national artists —and that’s been a problem.” He said her departure was not only a loss for the Center but for the Town of Westport. The Center announced it was honoring her by giving her the title “Artistic Director Emeritus.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for

Posted 09:01 PM
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‘DREAMscapes’ Members Show Opens at Arts Center Image
Two visitors to the Westport Arts Center opening reception tonight for “DREAMscapes,” the annual group members exhibition, look over Westport artist Jana Ireijo’s “Tatoo Your Name Across My Heart,” oil and glitter on wood. The exhibit runs until Jan. 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Leslie LaSala for

Posted 08:56 PM
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‘In His Closet’ Image
One of the selected works for the “DREAMscapes” members’ exhibition at the Westport Arts Center drawing much attention tonight was this one by Danbury artist Eric Camiel. Titled “In His Closet,” it is described as “mixed media plastic, wood, cloth, metal; Mara Horowitz, seamstress; Julie Jackson, paint and makeup.” It sells for $4,950. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 08:51 PM
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Gallery: Opening Reception for ‘DREAMscapes’

Scenes from tonight’s opening reception for the Westport Arts Center’s “DREAMscapes” annual members exhibition and post-party reception for Helen Klisser During, outgoing WAC artistic director. The exhibition, juried by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung senior curator of Asian art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, runs until Jan. 9. Helen Klisser During for and contributed photos

Posted 08:44 PM
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Westporters Greet Robards at New Play Image
Actor Jake Robards (2nd r) is greeted tonight by founding members of the Westport Country Playhouse’s New Works Circle (l-r) Westporters Anna Czekaj-Farber, Barbara Streicker, Scott and Judy Phares, and Westonite Howard J. Aibel. The meeting followed Robards’s performance in “Promising,” a new play by Michelle Elliot about a politician caught up in a scandal, which opened Wednesday at New York’s Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W 42nd St. Robards is a Playhouse trustee, as are Czekaj-Farber, Streicker, Judy Phares, and Aibel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Samantha Goober for

Posted 10:36 PM
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Erica Jong: ‘I No Longer Care About Pleasing Everyone’ Image
The McManus Room at the Westport Library was overflowing tonight for a talk by best selling author Erica Jong about her latest work, “Fear of Dying: A Novel,” the first by the Weston resident in 10 years. The book delivers a fresh perspective on love, desire and aging, similar to the way her classic, “Fear of Flying,” four decades ago challenged views of love, marriage, sex and what women really feel and desire. Said Jong, 73: “I can’t say I won’t write another book with ‘Fear’ in the title, but I will try not to.”  She added: “I feel empowered after menopause. I no longer care about pleasing everyone.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 10:27 PM
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