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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Playhouse to Host Symposia on the Genius of Shakespeare

The Westport Playhouse has scheduled two free, Sunday symposia on the genius of William Shakespeare for Nov. 5 and 12 at 3 p.m., playhouse officials announced.

The symposia are being held in conjunction with the production of “Romeo and Juliet,” which runs from Oct. 31 through Nov. 19 — replete with a cast of 20 actors, period costuming, sword fights and scenic design.

Titled “As Boundless as the Sea: The Genius of William Shakespeare,” the two-part program represents the playhouse’s eighth annual educational and community engagement initiative, according to Patricia Blaufuss, playhouse spokeswoman.

The lectures are supported, in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

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10/18/17 04:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

Honoring Our Heritage: 12 Charcoal Hill Road Image
The owners of the house at 12 Charcoal Hill Road are the newest recipients of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) historical plaque. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented the plaque to owners Pat and Bill Blaufuss. According to Weingarten, the house was designed and built by the renown architect Frazier Forman Peters in 1929. Peters designed and built 41 houses in Westport of which 38 are still standing. Weingarten said, “Peters moved to Westport in 1919 as a farmer and became a self-educated architect and builder from 1925 to 1936.”  The Blaufusses have owned the house since 1984. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


10/18/17 10:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Looking Into the Future at Historical Society Image
David Waldman (l), Westport commercial real estate developer, and Frederick Hoag, principal of Westport-based FWH Architects, today present their proposed perspectives of the future look of downtown Westport. The event was the kickoff of a brown bag lunch series at the Westport Historical Society in coordination with its ongoing exhibit “06880 + 50.” Waldman said, “As the world changes, our model shows what can be done with a small community downtown.” Hoag added: “We asked ourselves how we can create for the future with the threat in mind that all of us can be under water in time.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


10/17/17 02:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 16, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Professor Marston & the Wonder Women,’ ‘Stronger,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” is the most kinky, provocative comic-book superhero ‘origin’ story — and it’s true. Image

It begins with a public burning of “Wonder Woman” comics and the stern interrogation of Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) by Josette Frank (Connie Britton) of the Child Study Association of America, who grills him about his subversive obsession with bondage, which Marston maintains symbolizes his motivational theory.

Flash back to when Marston and his even-more-erudite wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston (Rebecca Hall), were fascinated by human behavior, specifically the manipulative dynamics of his DISC theory (dominance-inducement-submission-compliance).

“Are you normal? What is normal?” Marston quizzes Radcliffe undergrads, noting, “Men’s minds are far too limited, That’s why we need women.”

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10/16/17 10:21 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Music on the Hill at Unitarian Church Image
The festival chorus of Wilton-based, nonprofit Music on the Hill entertained today at the Unitarian Church in Westport. David Connell, conductor, and Ellen Dickinson on piano supported the musicians. Connell is pictured playing an African bass guitar from Uganda, accompanying a piece by Ysaye Barnwell from Sweet Honey in the Rock, an all-woman, African-American a cappella ensemble. The strings are made from heavy fishing line. The instrument is made by hand with goatskin and bent nails. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Sherman for


10/15/17 05:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Funky Dawgz Brass Band Kicks Off Library Music Series Image
The Westport Library today launched its fall music series with a performance by Connecticut’s own Funky Dawgz Brass Band at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. The library is partnering with the church to host the series while under construction for its Transformation Project. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


10/15/17 04:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pierce Pettis Featured at Voices Café Image
Singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis was featured tonight at the Unitarian Church in Westport as part of the Voices Café program. All funds benefit the Westport Women’s Crisis Center Task Force. Funds will be used to help women who are trying to escape an abusive relationship by changing their hair style and color in order to hide from their partner. Many salons are participating, including Roots Salon in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Sherman for


10/14/17 09:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, October 13, 2017

Gallery: Westport Historical Society’s ‘Tomorrow’s History Gala’

Scenes from tonight’s Westport Historical Society “Tomorrow’s History Gala” at Design Within Reach, 154 Post Road East. Helen Klisser During and J. C. Martin for and photos


10/13/17 09:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Large Turnout for ‘Tomorrow’s History Gala’ Image
There was a large turnout tonight for the Westport Historical Society’s “Tomorrow’s History Gala” at Design Within Reach, 154 Post Road East.  The event coincides with the Society’s current exhibit, “06880+50,” a look at how some area architects see Westport 50 years from now. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


10/13/17 09:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Gala Smiles Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, a Republican seeking a second term in November, was all smiles tonight with his Democratic challenger, Melissa Kane, as they both volunteered as servers at the Westport Historical Society’s “Tomorrow’s History Gala” at Design Within Reach, 154 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


10/13/17 09:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Victoria & Abdul,’ ‘American Made,’ ‘Flatliners’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Undiscovered until 2010, the revelatory historical footnote known as “Victoria & Abdul” chronicles an improbable friendship that enhanced the elderly British monarch’s final years. Image

Bookended by a prologue and conclusion set in India, the period dramedy begins with a vivid depiction of how widowed, 81-year-old Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) was not only weary but also utterly bored by her perpetual royal duties.

Until one evening at a dinner, she spots Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a tall, turbaned Muslim servant recently dispatched to London from Agra, along with a companion, Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), to present her royal highness with a ceremonial coin for her 1887 golden jubilee.

Ignoring protocol, guileless Abdul makes not only makes eye contact with the queen but also kisses her shoe. The next day, she imperiously demands that he and Mohammed remain at court.

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10/10/17 12:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 09, 2017

Westport Arts Center Names Three New Directors Image
The Westport Arts Center today announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors -– (l-r) Sheri Lebowitz, Oliver Pursche, and Leonard Everett Fisher. Lebowitz is the owner of Bespoke Designs, a couture invitation, stationery and celebrations studio in downtown Westport. Pursche has more than 20 years of investment management, capital markets, and corporate leadership experience. Fisher is a renowned and beloved member of the Westport artist community. An announcement said in his new role, Fisher will be focused on helping to bring the Westport Artists Museum, a key component of the Arts Center’s proposed move to Baron’s South, to fruition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo (Pursche), Xenia Gross for (Lebowitz, Fisher)


10/09/17 06:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, October 05, 2017

NYT: Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Westporter Harvey Weinstein

A bombshell New York Times report on decades of sex harassment allegations against Westport movie executive Harvey Weinstein makes no reference to any of his alleged misdeeds occurring here. Image
Harvey Weinstein (l) at his Westport home in 2012 with Clea Newman, her mother, Joanne Woodward, and President Obama. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

An attorney for Weinstein, 65, threatened to sue the newspaper for its report. Separately, Weinstein issued his own statement apologizing for causing “pain” in the workplace and vowing to improve.

Weinstein has long maintained a home on Westport’s Beachside Avenue next to Burying Hill Beach. He hosted a fundraising event there for President Obama in 2012 and a star-studded wedding in 2007 to British fashion designer Georgiana Chapman.

The Times reported that most of Weinstein’s alleged improprieties occurred in hotels or offices in California, New York, London, and the south of France.

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10/05/17 04:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Battle of the Sexes,’ ‘Brad’s Status,’ ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Battle of the Sexes” serves up the story behind the 1973 exhibition tennis match between 29 year-old Billie Jean King and 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, who bragged he could beat any woman player in the world. Image

As reigning Wimbledon champion two years running, King (Emma Stone) was in her prime, while brash, gambling-addicted Riggs (Steve Carell) was Wimbledon’s champion back in 1939.

So with great fanfare on Sept. 30, King was carried, like Cleopatra on a chaise, into the Houston Astrodome by bare-chested guys, while Riggs, wearing a yellow Sugar Daddy jacket, arrived by rickshaw. At the net, King handed Riggs a squirming piglet, confirming his male chauvinist status.

Squaring off for the $100,000 prize, it was a milestone for the women’s liberation movement. At that time under the aegis of condescending Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), women on the tournament circuit earned far less than men. So King was determined to get respect and equal pay for female players.

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10/04/17 07:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 02, 2017

Honoring Our Heritage: 58 North Ave. Image
The owners of the house at 58 North Ave. are the newest recipients of a Westport Historical Society (WHS) historical plaque. Bob Weingarten, WHS plaque historian, presented the plaque to Jodi Hardin, co-owner with her husband Russell. According to Weingarten, the house known as the Alfred Mills House was built c. 1890. The Hardins purchased the property in 1988 after moving here from Evanston, Illinois. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


10/02/17 07:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Kicking Off Westport Restaurant Week Image
Among the 26 eateries participating in Westport’s annual Restaurant Week (actually two weeks) is The ‘Port, 2A Post Road West in the former National Hall building adjacent to the Saugatuck River. Dining there for lunch today were (l-r) State Sens. Tony Hwang and Toni Boucher, State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, and Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Matthew Mandell. They were welcomed by The ‘Port owner Sal Augeri (standing). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


10/02/17 01:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Author: ‘Sex With Strangers’ ‘Resonates in Today’s Moment’ Image
Laura Eason, playwright of the Westport Country Playhouse new production, “Sex With Strangers,” told David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, at a talkback after today’s matinee performance that “the play resonates in today’s moment.”  Eason, best known as a writer for TV’s iconic “House of Cards,” said the play “touches on the role of women, sexual harassment, and locker room talk.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


10/01/17 06:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

With ‘Perfect Chowder Weather,’ Chowdafest Draws Record Crowds

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE The creeping traffic to the entrance at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park today seemed to rival Whitestone Bridge toll booth jams on Thanksgiving. So too did the back up along I-95 to Exit 18. Image
Pike Place Chowder of Seattle, Washington was a popular stop today for Chowdafest guests at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park. It took first place in last year’s New England chowder category. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The 10th annual Chowdafest, the brainchild of pitchman Jim Keenan that began humbly at the Unitarian Church in 2007 proved a major regional draw.

In between serving up small cups of bacon flavored tofu chowder in the event’s vegetarian competition, Gus Christman III, chef at The Harvest at Railroad Place, could not believe the turnout.

“They said they sold 10,000 tickets, and they expected another 2,000 at the door,” Christman said, wondering if that estimate were conservative. “I hear 95 is backed up all the way to Norwalk.”

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10/01/17 04:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Celebrating ‘Sex With Strangers’ Image
The Westport Country Playhouse tonight opened its latest production, “Sex With Strangers,” about the ways modern relationships are influenced by the internet. Getting together afterward to celebrate were stars Chris Ghaffari (l) a Yale School of Drama graduate and former Greenwich resident who plays the role of Ethan, and Juilliard-trained Jessica Love (r), a Broadway and off-Broadway performer, who plays Olivia. With them is director Katherine M. Carter. Written by Laura Eason, best known for her writing for TV’s “House of Cards,” the play runs through Oct. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/30/17 10:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Comings & Goings: Match Burger Lobster Opens Image
Match Burger Lobster opened tonight at 580 Riverside Ave. It is the latest offering from Chef Matt Storch, a 1995 Staples High School graduate who also owns Match in Norwalk and Nom Eez in Bridgeport. Located in the space next to Fleishers Craft Butchery, it offers fresh seafood from Norm Bloom and Sons, and Northeast pasture-raised and humanely-handled beef, ground daily at Fleishers. In addition to whole lobsters and burgers, the menu is an eclectic one, even featuring Storch’s mother’s matzo ball soup, his grandmother’s thin onion rings, and a donut milk slushy. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for


09/27/17 09:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chowdafest Set for Sunday at Sherwood Island State Park

Chowdafest, a regional chowder and soup competition that has drawn participants from across the country, will hold its tenth annual festival Sunday at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Image
Some of the attendees at last year’s Chowdafest at Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“Each year we try to increase the level of competition as Chowdafest is a competition between the best,” said event director Jim Keenan, adding that he scours New England for the best chowder, soup and bisque, so he can find new competitors.

“When you win Chowdafest, you’ve earned it,” he added.

Chowdafest limits participation to 40 restaurants competing in one of five categories: New England clam chowder; traditional chowder; creative chowder; soup and bisque; and a vegetarian category, including such servings as corn chowder.

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09/26/17 08:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Granger at the Movies: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle,’ ‘Viceroy’s House,’ Rebel in the Rye’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Following his deliriously astonishing “Kingsman” (2015), Matthew Vaughn’s cynical, R-rated sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” continues the stylized spoof of James Bond spy stories. Image

With her retro-50s headquarters hidden deep in Cambodian rain forest ruins, the megalomaniacal villain is Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the world’s most successful — and demented — drug dealer, who manages to destroy most of the Kingsman knights along with their bespoke tailor shop on Savile Row.

That leaves only Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), the cheeky former London street kid-turned-superspy who is in love with Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom), daughter of Sweden’s King and Queen (Bjorn Granath, Lena Endre), whom he rescued in the first film’s climax.

Eggsy and gadget-wizard Merlin (Mark Strong) venture across the pond to Kentucky to find American spy allies at Statesman bourbon brewery, run by Champagne (Jeff Bridges), whose cowboy team includes Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and tech-whiz Ginger Ale (Halle Berry).

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09/26/17 07:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Comings & Goings: Pop-Up Photo Gallery to Bedford Square Image
The Friedman Gallery pop-up photographic art collection has opened on Church Lane in Bedford Square. According to Weston resident Michael Friedman, co-owner with his wife Donna Vita, the gallery features museum quality photographs of iconic rock ‘n roll musicians photographed by Friedman in the 1969-72 period when he was immersed in photography and the music business. He said he and his wife located previously undeveloped negatives in February and archived, printed and framed them in a limited edition. The collection, including photographs of Janice Joplin, The Band, Paul Butterfield, Kris Kristofferson, and many others, will be exhibited at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica for three months starting in April. The individual works are now available for purchase. Gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment at (203)209-6787. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/26/17 06:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Sex With Strangers’ Opens in Previews Tonight Image
“Sex With Strangers,” featuring Chris Ghaffari and Jessica Love, begins previews tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse. The play, directed by Catherine M. Carter, is a creation of playwright Laura Eason, who is best known as a writer/producer on the Netflix drama “House of Cards,” for four seasons. The play based on a relationship of Ethan, a blogger-turned best selling author, and Olivia, a struggling novelist, explores how today’s technology influences publicity, privacy, ambition, and fame. Opening night is Saturday,  and it runs through Oct. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/26/17 06:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Playhouse Announces 2018 Season

The Westport Country Playhouse today announced its 2018 season, featuring five productions that are “big for the soul,” according to Artistic Director Mark Lamos. Image
Mark Lamos: season “digs deep into the heart.” Photo by Bruce Plotkin

The lineup includes two comedies, one modern and one classic; a drama; a musical; and a world premiere, running from May 29 through Nov. 17, 2018. Season tickets are now on sale. 

“In this American moment of turmoil and mistrust, unsteadiness and accusation, comes a season of productions at our historic Playhouse that digs deep into the heart and gives the soul an uplift,” said Lamos. 

(The following descriptions of the plays were provided by the Playhouse.)

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09/26/17 04:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, September 25, 2017

Restaurant Week — Actually Two Weeks — Begins Sunday

Westport’s annual Restaurant Week — actually two weeks running from Sunday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 15 — will feature 26 eateries from Saugatuck to Southport, according to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC).

Each restaurant will offer prix fixe meals to accommodate myriad palates and pocketbooks, according to Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director.

Mandell said the event is part of a WWCC ‘Eat Local’ campaign to promote area restaurants, which began two weeks ago with the Slice of Saugatuck.

“Our restaurants have embraced this event whole heatedly making it very robust; people will need the two weeks,” Mandell said.

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09/25/17 07:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Look into the Future Image
A visitor tonight views one of the exhibits in the Westport Historical Society’s “06880+50,” a look at how some area architects see Westport 50 years from now.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


09/22/17 07:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Large Turnout for WHS Futuristic Exhibit Image
There was a large turnout tonight for a Westport Historical Society (WHS) reception marking the opening of “06880+50,” a futuristic exhibit based on area architects’ imaginings of the town 50 years from now. The exhibit runs through Dec. 31. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


09/22/17 06:58 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Oct. 1 Playhouse Symposium Features Playwright

Laura Eason, writer-producer on the Netflix drama “House of Cards,” will be guest speaker at the Westport Country Playhouse’s Sunday Symposium Oct. 1 following a 3 p.m. performance of her play “Sex with Strangers.” Image
Laura Eason: “House of Cards” writer-producer. Meredith Zinner photo

The program is free and open to the public.

According to theater officials, Eason will discuss her play with David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director.

“Sex with Strangers” explores the complicated new world in which every past relationship lives forever on the web, providing an entertaining, up-to-date take on love in the digital age,” says Patricia Blaufuss, Playhouse spokeswoman.

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09/21/17 07:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ray Dalios’s ‘Principles’ in Bookstores Image
The book “Principles: Life and Work,” authored by Ray Dalio, founder of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, was released today to bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, 1076 Post Road East. Dalio is one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs.  According to the book flyer, “the book shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


09/19/17 05:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

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