Monday, June 17, 2024

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Arts and Leisure

Artist Christo Dies at 84

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Christo, known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects died today at his home in New York. He was 84. He visited Westport several times over the years, including lecturing and exhibiting at the Westport Arts Center in 2011 (above.) He is pictured with Helen Klisser During, former artistic director at the Center (and a WestportNow contributing photographer.) Among his well known projects was his 2005 installation of more than 7,500 saffron-colored vinyl gates in New York’s Central Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Westport Restaurants Approved for Outdoor Dining

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce says the following restaurants have been approved for limited outdoor dining with another 12 to 15 in the pipeline:

Arezzo Ristorante
5 Riverside Ave
203-557-9375

Bartaco
12 Wilton Rd
(203) 222-8226

The Boathouse Restaurant
521 Riverside Ave
203-227-3399

Calises Food Market
734 Post Road East
203-227-3257

Granger at the Movies: What Are You Watching?

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

During this pandemic as Hollywood films have their release dates postponed and local theaters slumber, TV has developed a stranglehold on entertainment primacy. This is what I’ve been binge-watching:

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Before he made the Oscar-winning “Parasite,” Korean director Bong Joon Ho devised the dystopian thriller “Snowpiercer” which recently debuted as a sci-fi action series on Sunday nights on TNT.

Like its 2014 predecessor (now on Netflix) and the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” that inspired it, this drama, which stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, is set in a futuristic wasteland where climate change has caused the entire Earth to freeze over.

The only survivors are aboard a 1001-car train, owned by Mr. Wilford, a mysterious billionaire. They’re segregated according to class: the privileged elite are living in luxury at the front of the train, while the poor, along with a starving band of terrorists, are crowded into the rear, or what’s called “the tail.”

Back in Business Via the New Normal

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE Mike Fedell, manager of The Little Barn at 1060 Post Road East, finally got the news he was waiting for today around 3:40 p.m.

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Outdoor diners at The Little Barn before the pandemic hit. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Staring at empty tables since mid-March due to the coronavirus, his restaurant received Planning and Zoning Department approval to reopen outdoors.

“It feels good,” Fedell said. “We’ve been open a week-and-a-half doing take out, but with this we’re excited.”

Across the state restaurants got a reprieve from Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order effective Wednesday, allowing outdoor dining.

Granger at the Movies: 10 Best Horse Racing Movies

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Horse racing offers exciting entertainment. The beauty and agility of racehorses is incomparable, and there’s a fascinating subculture associated with the sport. While Greeks raced horses in the first Olympiad, organized racing for prestigious prizes was not established until the early 17th century, when Britain’s King James I became the first known jockey.

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By the 18th century, horse racing was formalized and the steeplechase was invented. The Belmont Stakes was first run in 1867, the Preakness in 1873 and the first Kentucky Derby in 1875. With those three pivotal races either postponed or canceled this year — you can stream these spectacular horse racing films (listed in alphabetical order) on Apple TV, Prime Video, Netflix, Vudu and/or Fandango NOW.

“The Black Stallion” (1979), directed by Carroll Ballard, with Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Hoyt Axton & Kelly Reno. Based on Walter Farley’s children’s book, it follows a young boy’s adventures with his beloved Arabian stallion — from a harrowing shipwreck to a racing championship. Most of the filming took place on the island of Sardinia with Toronto used for the eastern seaboard scenes. Innovative sound editor Alan Splet won a special Oscar for attaching microphones to the horse’s belly during the racing scenes to catch his actual hoofbeats and breathing.

“Casey’s Shadow” (1978), directed by Martin Ritt, refers to a young boy, Casey Bourdelle (Michael Hershewe) and the colt that follows him around like a ‘shadow.’ His father (Walter Matthau) trains quarter-horses. As opposed to flat racing, a quarter-horse race is a quick dash over a quarter-mile course. It began in the early 1600s in Virginia’s Jamestown colony, where it was run along forest paths. Off-screen, Matthau was a big gambler who once estimated he’d lost more than a million dollars over the years betting on races.

Granger at the Movies: 10 Best Baseball Movies

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Missing the baseball season? During epidemics, war and national tragedy, baseball has always been a constant.  Spectator sports not only engage us but also distract us from our current emotional crisis.

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Director Ken Burns chronicled the sport of “Baseball” in his massive 1994 documentary, now streaming free on PBS, plus here are 10 highly entertaining baseball movies (in alphabetical order) that you can enjoy on streaming services like Apple TV, Prime Video, Netflix, Vudu, Fandango NOW.

“The Bad News Bears” (1976), directed By Michael Ritchie. It’s the original Little League satire - with Walter Matthau as the grouchy, beer-guzzling coach and kids Tatum O’Neal, Jackie Earle Haley and Matthau’s real-life son Charlie as a member of an opposing team.  Bill Lancaster’s screenplay was based growing up with his father, Burt Lancaster, who would later play an aged version of Archibald “Moonlight” Graham in “Field of Dreams.”

Bull Durham” (1988) by writer/director Ron Shelton, with Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner & Tim Robbins. It’s a smart, sassy romantic comedy about the Bulls, a minor league team in Durham, North Carolina, and its devoted groupie who brags, “There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career.” The Bulls billboard offering a “free steak” if it’s tagged by a home run was created for the film. Yet today, if a player hits the Bull on the fly with a home run, he wins a free steak from a local restaurant and, if the player hits the grass the Bull stands on, he wins a free salad.

Film Shot in Westport Released

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Almost three years ago, dozens of Westporters responded to an appeal to appear as extras in an independent comedy made by filmmaker Jonathan Smith. Now that film has been released. Called “Batsh*t Bride,” Smith describes the film this way: “On April Fools’ Day, just before her wedding, a bride pranks her fiancé by saying that she thinks
that they’ve lost that spark and that they should call off the wedding and break up, only to discover that he feels the exact same way.” Much of the film was made at the Inn at Longshore (above with actress Meghan Falcone). It is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Xbox, AT&T, DirecTV, Dish, and other platforms. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

‘Stay at Home & Soul’ Replaces ‘Supper & Soul’

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and the Westport Library announced today that their popular Supper & Soul downtown dinner and concert series will be reformatted and embrace social distancing on Friday, May 15.

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The Stay Home & Soul takeout dinner and concert evening will include curbside pickup dinners from Westport restaurants and an online live stream concert by the folk and roots rock band David Wax Museum.

“People are craving something to do, something different. This is fun, community oriented, yet still safe,” said Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce.

David Wax Museum, who headlined Supper & Soul a year ago, returns as the husband and wife duo who will play live via stream for a Westport-only audience. “The screen may be small, but the music is still big,” said Mandell.

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Bad Education,’ ‘Blow the Man Down,’ ‘The Man Who Killed …

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Last week, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to consider ‘streaming’ films for Oscar contention if they’d originally planned a theatrical release. That’s good news for Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney and Ray Romano, who deliver compelling performances in HBO Films’ engaging docudrama “Bad Education.”

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Based on a real embezzlement scheme that stunned suburban Roslyn, Long Island in 2004, it’s as timely as last year’s college admissions scandal.

School superintendent Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) is a devoted educator, a people-pleaser who is as adept at encouraging students as he is at defusing argumentative parents. His trusted assistant is Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney). They’re supported by school board president Bob Spicer (Ray Romano), a local Realtor who basks in Roslyn’s soaring property values.

Determined that Roslyn’s status rise above its competing towns of Syosset and Jerico, Frank initiates an expensive “sky-bridge” renovation, agreeing to an interview by Rachel Bhargava (Geraldine Viswanathan), a reporter on the school newspaper.

Westport Fine Arts Festival Postponed

The Westport Fine Arts Festival, a signature summer event in downtown Westport, has been postponed due to the new coronavirus, organizers said today.

Now in its 47th year, the festival had been announced to take place on May 30-31, moved from its traditional July dates because cooler weather was anticipated.

More than 170 diverse fine artists had been expected to participate.

There was also to be live music, food and drinks and creativity-focused family activities.