Booksink's HamletHub Wed, 06 Dec 2023 10:00:18 -0500 ACT of Connecticut’s 2022-2023 season reaches its pinnacle with an epic production of THE SECRET GARDEN

Directed by ACT’s Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine and Musical Director, Bryan Perri, ACT of Connecticut’s 2022-2023 season reaches its pinnacle with a mind-blowing performance. 

Theater-goers begin a magical journey into THE SECRET GARDEN before they even see the stage.  A terraced garden beckons you in where the sound of birds chirping heightens the senses preparing the audience for the experience that awaits. 

Have you ever felt a loved one’s presence after they have left the world? Levine’s clever use of color brings deceased loved ones into the world again. Pictures hanging on the wall transform before your eyes conveying the message that spirits can penetrate the afterlife to observe and influence those they have left behind. The use of an LED screen backdrop innovatively creates a stark contrast between life and the netherworld.

The casting is flawless; each character is seemingly made for the role they are passionately playing. The audience is captivated in the very first scene when the spirit of beautiful Lily played by ACT co-founder Katie Diamond sings a powerful rendition of Clusters of Crocus while appearing to float across the stage. 

Eleven-year-old orphan Mary Lennox (Charlotte Ewing) is the show-stopper. She leaves an indelible mark on the audience. We empathize and grieve with this child who has suddenly lost both parents to cholera. We watch in awe as her character brilliantly and profoundly transforms from a bitter uppity aristocrat into the salt of the Earth. 

She grieves her mother Rose, played by Juliet Lambert Pratt, and father Albert (Constantine Pappas) but by way of their spirits, it’s evident that love never dies.

From a life full of family and privilege, Mary suddenly finds herself in a place where deep sorrow stymies her only relatives left on Earth from living. After losing his wife Lily in childbirth, Mary’s uncle Archibald Craven (Brian Golub) whom she is sent to live, is bitter and broken. He prevents his crippled son Colin (Jasper Burger and George Aronow) from growing and healing, and prohibits anyone to enter and tend to Lily’s beloved garden. 

We watch as troubled orphan Mary’s heart begins to soften and she finds healing, hope and happiness through the bounty of nature, unlikely friendships, and the powerful spirits of those she’s loved and lost. 

It’s not royalty but those in humble positions who help Mary to find her purpose in life. Martha (Laura Woyask), the maid, her younger brother, Dickon (DJ Plunkett) and the gardener Ben (John Baker) show Mary a new and better world - one with jump ropes, melodious robins, and secret gardens.  

Mary unlocks the forbidden door and brings more than the secret garden back to life.

 “When a thing is a wick it has life about it… somewhere there’s a single streak of green inside it.”

THE SECRET GARDEN runs from May 18 through June 11. Purchase your tickets NOW for this enchanting production and grand finale of ACT of CT’s 5th season by clicking here or by calling the box office (475) 215-5497

Performance Times: 

Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm, Sundays at 2pm

Additional Performance:

Sunday, May 28 at 7PM

Sensory-Friendly Performance: 

Sunday, May 28 at 2pm - This matinee is reserved only for our patrons who require adjusted production elements in order to enjoy the performance (it is not open to the public). Please contact the box office for more information or visit our Sensory Friendly Performance page to read about the program.

** Additional “family night” performance on Sunday 5/28 at 7pm


]]> (KAD ) Readers Sat, 27 May 2023 04:44:37 -0400
Local Author Amy Oestreicher to Speak on Resilience Oct. 22

Amy Oestreicher is one Fairfield native who’s happy to be alive. At nearly 18, she was headed for her prom, college, then hopefully, Broadway, until a blood clot caused her stomach to explode, setting her off course. Amy slipped into a coma for months, only to emerge to be told she may never eat or drink again, while coming to terms with a long kept secret — that she was sexually abused by a trusted mentor. Oestreicher recounts her journey in her memoir, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful. The Fairfield University Bookstore will host “Creativity and Resilience: Mental Health Strategies for Detourists,” a Facebook Live Author Talk, with Oestreicher on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The author will be in conversation with Michele Turk, President of the Connecticut Press Club, followed by a reading, Q&A, and theater trivia for signed memoir prizes (Oestreicher is also a stage performer). Personalized copies of the book are available for purchase prior to or after the event through the Fairfield University Book Store

The community at large is invited to hear Oestreicher deliver inspiration, positive mental health strategies, and speak to the transformative power of creativity. To attend, go to the Book Store’s Facebook page on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.​

​Oestreicher is now 33 and has done much since that fateful hospital stay, which wouldn’t be her last. She has endured 28 surgeries and survived seven years without food or drink, while her digestive system was repaired and her inner self, healed from devastating trauma. The good news is,Oestreicher has made it to the spotlight and has beyond thrived: She’s not only a memoirist, but an Audie Award-nominated author, PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, award-winning actress, and playwright. Oestreicher is also a mental health advocate, workshop leader, clothing designer, and all-around dynamo, despite her continued challenges.

​“I’m excited to share my story: how I navigated a seemingly impossible situation to find the real gifts that anyone can discover from facing obstacles of their own. I wrote My Beautiful Detour to convey my unwavering love of life and to set a template for those who follow. I’m grateful for all who have played unmatched roles along my journey and am proud to celebrate virtually at Fairfield University Book Store, located in my hometown which holds cherished memories,” said Oestreicher.

​Oestreicher grew up on Sky Top Terrace, spent time at Fairfield’s Discovery Museum, the Jewish Community Center, and in the Fairfield County Children’s Choir. She attended North Stratfield School in Fairfield, Fairfield Woods Middle School, and Fairfield Warde High School. Unable to receive her diploma in the scheduled ceremony, she was given a surprise graduation ceremony in Columbia Presbyterian’s ICU — to include her degree, cap and gown, and local friends. Now an ASSERT Project Coordinator for The Hub: Behavioral Health Action Organization for Southwestern, CT, Amy returns to Fairfield, virtually, via Facebook Live to give back in the form of inspiration, encouraging others to successfully navigate their own detours with her winning strategies. 

My Beautiful Detour is gripping, unique, and the subject of her one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful, which she’s performed in 200+ venues nationwide and also, the reimagined version of her tale in her show, Passageways, which premiered in 2019 at the New York’s HERE Theater. Oestreicher’s story starts senior year in high school, chronicles her betrayal from a longtime teacher that corresponded with her medical emergency, and takes the reader to present-day. The memoir illustrates how Oestreicher used creativity to help transform adversity into personal growth and invites others to do the same. Her miraculous comeback stems from more than a decade of intense resilience-building. And she knows what she writes: Oestreicher has survived organ failure and powered through the PTSD that comes from both emotional and physical trauma. In addition to her moving memoir, Oestreicher is a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 online and print publications. In addition, her story has been featured on NBC’s Today, CBS,Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, and MSNBC, among others. 

​Oestreicher will be interviewed by Michele Turk, Founder of A Bloc of Writers, the Greenwich-based college admissions tutorial firm and author of Blood, Sweat and Tears: An Oral History of the American Red Cross

​“My Beautiful Detour is a page-turner as Amy’s story both encourages and inspires. I’m thrilled to be part of her ‘Creativity and Resilience’ event, as it’s an evening to support local talent and salute Fairfield,” said Michele Turk.

Photo credit: Joseph Gray



]]> (Aline Weiller) Authors Tue, 13 Oct 2020 06:37:48 -0400
My Life on the Post Road: Puzzling

“I am sitting here drinking coffee and doing a crossword and life is good. The crossword is such a special thing. You should write an essay about it.” Thus started my Sunday morning: with a happy missive from my oldest son. His simple message set of a flood of gleeful chemicals in my brain. Life, indeed, is good, and the simple pleasure of having a kitchen in which to sit and drink coffee, and the luxury of health and time in which to do the puzzle is enough. And the puzzle is, indeed, as special thing. And, so here I am, writing about it.

I spend several minutes each day (more toward the end of the week) puzzled by the New York Times crossword puzzle, as I have roughly since I graduated from college. He is, relative to that, a neophyte, although he has not only matched but surpassed my speed on many days. I bathed in that thrill of victory and agony of defeat when your child overtakes you at a skill you helped to cultivate in them.

He certainly got me thinking. What exactly is it about the puzzle (and I’ve tried others, but nothing compares to the NYT, in my humble opinion) that makes me do it as religiously as I brush my teeth or write my daily haiku? Frankly, I am uncertain that I can fully capture the answer in words – ironic, since that is the essence of the puzzle – but there are subconscious emotions involved that defy definition. He tried valiantly as we walked the shore together at Compo one day... “words are like a virus; the puzzle is the antidote.” I am paraphrasing and doing it badly. I hope he writes his own essay about it one day and told him so. Here is my best effort at explaining the olio of ingredients that makes this daily practice so essential and satisfying:

Order – right now especially, life can feel chaotic, uncertain, or out of my control. The 15x15 square black and white grid (and now most recently the smaller, 5x5, mini) appear solid, structured, and reliably every day. The ritual of filling in those white squares brings a soothing structure and predictability, even if it’s only for five minutes or so on Monday and 30 on Saturday (the puzzles grow more difficult as the week goes on. Monday is easy. Saturday is hard. Sunday is a Thursday-level puzzle). They are a consistent, constant anchor in a very uncertain world.

Promise – those same squares arrive blank every day. They hold promise. The puzzle itself is as uncertain as some days feel when I first look at it. But I know even before I begin that those blank spaces will be filled in with something that makes sense in the end.

Challenge – I always feel better when engaged in some activity that makes me push myself. I like graduate degrees. I got a black belt as a young mother of two boys. I feel my brain begin to atrophy in the absence of a thrown gauntlet. These puzzles may not require herculean effort, but they keep my brain on its toes. A very interesting phenomenon occurs with especially difficult puzzles. I walk away from them for a while, sometimes even overnight. When I return, I know the answers that stumped me immediately, without having consciously concentrated on them. My brain works behind the scenes to continue solving the puzzle without me.

History – I’ve watched the world change over the years through these puzzles. When I began doing them, Eugene T. Maleska edited them. His rules were, in some ways less flexible than Will Shortz’s, but in other ways made the puzzles easier. Maleska had many fewer current cultural and social references in his clues, but he also tipped his hand by telling us how many words the answer contained. Shortz keeps us guessing by keeping that to himself. Shortz’s editorial style makes the puzzles more accessible to a broader cohort – more inclusive, which is a wonderful thing. That doesn’t mean they’re easier, it just means a wider group of people gets to struggle each week. I used to pore over the puzzles on paper, pen in hand. The Sunday puzzle entertained me all weekend. Now, they appear online at 10 p.m. the night before the day they appear in print. I am poised, iPhone in hand, to begin at the stroke of 22:00, as it appears on my phone. The puzzles’ topics and style have reflected technological and cultural changes in our society over the decades.

Connection – I know that every day that I sit down with the puzzle, millions of people around the world are doing the same thing. That’s visibly more obvious when we gather in Westport every February for the annual crossword contest. Who knows whether we will be able to convene this year? It’s somehow comforting, especially now, to know that I share this obsession with so many. But of late, this has become intensely personal. Until about six months ago when he developed a relationship with a young woman who did puzzles, my oldest was only tangentially interested in the practice. This surprised me, because words form his world, and he works magic with them as few others I know do. But when she sparked his interest, she opened the barn door, and the stallion never looked back. Initially, he felt extreme frustration at his less than stellar performance. “I’ll never figured it out,” he lamented. I consoled and coached him. And to no one’s surprise, he’s now surpassed my time on both the mini and the maxi on most days. The beauty of the online version is that it records your time. I have this delicious link to my son now: we report our scores to each other daily. “27,” (seconds) I texted him last night after I finished the mini. “22,” he replied. Of course. He walloped me on the maxi. There are still days when most of the clues refer to days before he was born, and I have an edge. Sometimes I just get the theme more quickly. Sometimes I just remind him that I am simply smarter than he (although we both know that’s not true). But the joy that this bond brings far outweighs my dismay over his dominance.

Words – this is it, really, isn’t it? When that pesky Polonius asks Hamlet what he’s reading, the Danish prince replies, “Words, words, words.” (II.2.181) That’s all there is. That’s what it all boils down to. Language, and its many variations and the creative, gymnastic way in which we can weave or twist them to our will, as did Will. I humbly claim them as the tools of my craft and delight in the way the myriad puzzle creators and their wrangler, another WS (Will Shortz), arrange and rearrange them, play with them, and bring a different order to them every single day. Indeed, as my son said, these puzzles’ configurations are an antidote to the pain and chaos words can cause in the wrong hands.

I will do the puzzle for as long as I can. I will send my times to my son for as long as I can, hoping against hope that my brain can untangle the clues and direct my fingers more quickly than his on occasion. I will revel in the seeming endless themes and combinations that the creative team at the NYT comes up with to support our habit. Friends often say to me, “I can’t do the puzzles. They’re too hard.” Just like the yoga-curious tell me “I can’t do yoga; I’m not flexible.” I gently and encouragingly say, “nonsense.” Yes, you can. And I hope you will, and I hope they bring you the same joyful satisfaction they bring me.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 09 Oct 2020 10:31:30 -0400
CT Poetry Society Workshop Meets via Zoom on Oct. 16

Wilton Library will host the next CT Poetry Society workshop via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 16 from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.. All that's required is the willingness to share some poetry that you have written by reading it aloud to the group. Poets should email a copy of their poems to Ray Rauth at He will distribute the poems to the group shortly before the session. To facilitate discussion, space is strictly limited to just 15 attendees.
There is no charge, but online registration is required. The library will email you an invitation link shortly before the event. Click here to register.

]]> (Wilton Library) Local Writers Fri, 09 Oct 2020 10:21:30 -0400
Connecticut will support public libraries with $2.6M in Coronavirus Relief Funds

Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration will allocate $2.6 million of Connecticut’s Coronavirus Relief Funds to support the state’s public libraries as they continue to make health and safety improvements and offer more services to residents amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The governor said the funds will be distributed among 65 libraries across Connecticut based on their size and the number of residents they serve each year, which will allow much of the funding to particularly target those that serve low-income urban and rural communities. The funds are anticipated to be largely used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, signage, and furniture.

The funding announced today is in addition to the Lamont administration’s ongoing initiative to increase broadband infrastructure and create public Wi-Fi hotspots that offer free internet access, including at many libraries across the state.

“Libraries offer critical services for the public, including reliable Wi-Fi, access to computers and laptops, supportive learning materials and resources, and librarians who are trained in helping residents access key services,” said Governor Lamont. “Most importantly, libraries provide safe and quiet spaces for people to work and study, which is critical to many people who do not have the environment to do this at home. Especially during this difficult time, libraries and the work of so many generous librarians have played a critical role in supporting K-12 and post-secondary students with remote learning.”

“Our public libraries, the librarians, and the services they offer are tremendous assets to the residents of the state, especially for our K-12 students as schools reopen,” said Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw, who has been overseeing the distribution of the Coronavirus Relief Fund on behalf of the Lamont administration. “With these federal resources, we can help our local and community libraries with their health, safety, and technological needs so that our students can study, read, and write in a warm and safe place while alleviating some of the burden for our local governments. As the libraries expand their capacity, it is essential we assist where we can to ensure it is done safely and to enhance the odds of success for students under these unique circumstances.”

“This investment in our public libraries will enable their leaders and staff to extend and enhance the services and programs that are so valued and important to their constituents and communities,” said Interim State Librarian Maureen Sullivan. “Public libraries have always been places that support education and self-directed learning. They are now a critical community resource for virtual learning.”

“Libraries serve as important resource hubs outside of the classroom by providing students and their families with equitable access to engaging programs, supports and multimedia learning materials at no cost,” said Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. “As we make progress to close the digital divide and meet the remote learning needs of our students, we must do all everything we can to continue to support the crucial role our librarians and libraries play in this area by enhancing the overall educational experience for all learners in their communities.”

Libraries closed in March amid the initial outbreak of the pandemic, however they opened with 50 percent capacity when Phase 2 of Connecticut’s reopening efforts began in June. They will be permitted to increase the capacity to 75 percent when Phase 3 begins on October 8.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Clubs Fri, 09 Oct 2020 08:22:00 -0400
The Schoolhouse Theater presents a Live Streaming Concert

The Schoolhouse Theater presents a Live Stream Concert of the music of Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon. Peter Calo, Anne Carpenter and John Lissauer will perform live from Songbird Studios on Sunday, October 11 at 7:30 pm. The show will be mixed and directed by Jessica Klee in cooperation with River Spirit Music.
This is a ticketed event. Get your tickets by clicking on the link below or by visiting our website
]]> (Schoolhouse Theater) Beyond Books Fri, 09 Oct 2020 07:53:25 -0400
CT Art Trail Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Made In Connecticut Exhibit

The Connecticut Art Trail launches 25th anniversary year — celebrates with “Made in Connecticut,” a collaborative exhibition at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. 

One of the first tourism trails in the State  — The Connecticut Art Trail — is celebrating 25 years of guiding art aficionados across the state on a journey that includes 22 world-class museums and historic sites. Originally launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, encompassing 10 museums, today the Trail includes more than double that number, plus a growing range of affiliate members including galleries and art-based environments. 

“When the founding museums first gathered, over two decades ago, I’m not sure that anyone imagined that this trail would not only continue to thrive but grow in reach and reputation, across the country,” shares Carey Weber, volunteer President of the Connecticut Art Trail and Executive Director of the Fairfield University Art Museum. “When considering how to celebrate 25 years of collaboration, the answer was clear — curating and opening a collaborative exhibition comprised of works from all of our member museums, hosted by a member.” 

The resulting “Made in Connecticut” collaborative exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, October 15, 2020, and run through Sunday, February 7, 2021 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford. 

James Prosek, American artist, writer, naturalist, and current Artist-in-Residence at the Yale University Art Gallery will be the independent curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition is made possible thanks to the tremendous collaboration of the partner museums, and the generosity of our guest curator James Prosek. We are excited about building on this energy for our next 25 years,” continues Ms. Weber. “In addition to paintings, drawings, prints and other traditional works of art, this exhibition will feature a number of decorative and industrial art objects including a rubber desk, an early typewriter, a selection of historic buttons and much more.”

“The member museums and historic sites of the Connecticut Art Trail are spread statewide,” shared Mr. Prosek. “Their combined collections number over half a million objects and are filled with astonishing works. It is an honor to be working with the museums to showcase the diversity of objects that have impacted Connecticut’s rich cultural landscape over the centuries.”  In addition to works from the collections of the member museums, Prosek has included works by two contemporary artists and members of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, Bill Donehey and Kristin Emilyta. Together the artwork in the exhibition tells the story of Connecticut’s natural and industrial landscape. It showcases the state’s makers and builders, workers and thinkers, artists and innovators.

The “Made in Connecticut” exhibition is the highlight of this milestone year for the Trail, which will also include educational programming and unique anniversary exhibits among individual members. This will also be the final year that the popular Connecticut Art Trail passport, which provides no-cost admission to all 22 member sites,” will be available for its original, $25.

Entrance to the Wadsworth and the “Made in Connecticut” exhibition are included with the purchase of the Passport which can be done online at or at any member location. “The proceeds of passports purchased directly at a member location results in a $25 donation directly to that museum,” concludes Ms. Weber. “Not everyone realizes that the Trail currently does not receive any state or federal funding and that we strictly operate from members dues and the sales of passports. Therefore the sales of the passports have a direct impact on the ability of the museums to promote their great work.” Docent-led tours of the Made in Connecticut exhibition will be on Sundays at 11 am from November 1, 2020 to February 7, 2020. Advanced registration is required via 

In addition to celebrating our 25th anniversary with the “Made In Connecticut” exhibition, the Wadsworth will be hosting several virtual related programs. For a current listing, check

Virtual Gallery Talk

James Prosek

Friday, October 16; 5pm

Artist James Prosek guides us through the landscape of the rich creative history of artists working in Connecticut on tour of the Connecticut Art Trail’s 25th anniversary exhibition, Made in Connecticut, which he curated. Free. Access link available via

Virtual Discussion

An Evening with Mark Dion

Wednesday, October 21; 6pm

Artist Mark Dion draws on the early modern tradition of assembling artifacts and objects into theatrical dioramas that make statements about contemporary collecting habits, our relationship to history, and the future of the environment. In a conversation with curator Patricia Hickson, Dion discusses his artistic practices and his local New England roots. In conjunction with the exhibition Made in Connecticut. Free. Co-sponsored with the Hartford Art School. Access link available via

Virtual Performance

An Evening with James Prosek

Friday, November 6; 5pm

James Prosek is not only a prolific artist, curator, author, and naturalist, but he also charts the landscape through music. A founding member of the group Troutband, Prosek will perform a concert from the Wadsworth that you can watch virtually from your own home. Free. Access link available via

Virtual Second Saturdays for Families

Connecticut Connections

Saturday, November 14

Explore the exhibition Made in Connecticut and get inspired by art objects collected from all over the state. Design an artwork that presents your unique view of The Constitution State. What artist, story, or town would you like to highlight? Free. 

Second Saturdays for Families digital activity packs include art-making demonstrations, visual scavenger hunts, close looking prompts, and story time in English and Spanish. Available on the second Saturday of the month and afterwards via

The Connecticut Art Trail Passport is officially sponsored by the Greenwich Hospitality Group – a luxury hotelier with properties that includes DELAMAR, The Goodwin, and Hotel Zero Degrees. For timely updates about the Trail visits or follow the Trail on social media. 

About the Connecticut Art Trail

  • 500,000 works of art within permanent collections.
  • 250 scenic miles. 
  • 22 museums. 
  • 1 passport.  

The Connecticut Art Trail is a nationally-recognized partnership between 22 world-class museums and historic sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets as part of a unique travel experience. The Trail was launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, celebrating Connecticut's ten museums and historic sites that highlighted American Impressionism. In 2005, the member museums voted to expand its membership beyond Impressionism to include even more quality museums and historic sites — doubling the initial members. This strategic initiative allowed the Trail to reach a broader audience and showcase the diversity of collections within the state. Today, the

 Connecticut Art Trail offers the Art Passport, granting visitors one-day access to each museum along the trail for a $25 fee. More information about the Art Trail can be found online at or at:  |  :  |

]]> (Barbara Paquin) Beyond Books Fri, 09 Oct 2020 05:06:30 -0400
My Life on the Post Road: Come Together, Right Now

“Late night HELP! Does anyone have box fans? HVAC emergency. Will pick up tonight.” The town crier wasn’t standing in the street soliciting assistance, but he may as well have been. The message came through on Facebook, on the Westport Front Porch page. I did, so I replied right away, “I have a large round fan (which someone on Westport Gift Economy gave me); you’re welcome to borrow. Can you come pick it up now?”

At 9:40 “J” pulled up in front of my place – I felt a bit odd standing outside in my comfy leggings and oversized T-shirt in the dark – and rolled his window down. “Thank you so much. The HVAC system failed, and when I went in it was 102 degrees.” He spoke of a nearby, well-loved, independently owned, charitably-minded ice cream and candy shop. “No worries at all,” I told him. "Keep it for as long as you like. Save the ice cream!” And off he rode to do just that.

Between the time I wandered outside to meet him and when I nestled myself back on the sofa, the post had blown up with offers of fans from all over town. He replied “Everyone – I believe we are all set! This group is amazing. Running around now to pick fans up from Diane and another Westport Front Porch member. Thank you all of you, seriously.”

I don’t know how late into the night they fought to prevent an epic meltdown, but I walked by the shop the next morning, and everything looked very peaceful. I’m hoping they managed to get the HVAC system repaired (damn these persistent humid summer temperatures!) and save the sweet inventory.

Many of the subsequent comments on his post echoed my own feelings of awe and gratitude that we live in a town and have technology that allows us to support each other – friends and strangers alike. Of late, this particular site has reflected the current times: scared, angry, controversial posts about Covid and politics abounded. The administrators reminded us that while these issues were valid, they were not the main focus of the page, which is intended to create and support community. Plenty of other pages focus on the merits of mask-wearing or one candidate vs. another. This page is the country store where we gather to cheer each other on, gather communal intelligence, and lend a hand when it’s needed. It takes a village, and this page and others like it around the world provide that virtually. And in this coronavirus-laden time, that has become even more important. I, for one, am a big fan.

PS: “J” returned the fan, along with a small white bag containing a very sweet thank you. The repairs saved the system...and the frozen goodies.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:33:07 -0400
Virtual Film Screening and Conversation: Purple

Ferguson Library will host a virtual film screening and conversation of Purple on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Purple tells the story of everyday Americans with opposing viewpoints addressing their differences head-on and discovering the concerns and humanity that lie behind each other’s positions. Designed to build greater empathy and recognition in the face of deepening U.S. divides, Purple models a rare conversation that uplifts and inspires even while getting at passionate political differences.
The film takes place in rural Wisconsin and Iowa, two swing states where “red” and “blue” still live in the same neighborhoods and where many people feel unrepresented by the two-party system.
Purple is produced by Resetting the Table (RTT) – a non-profit organization that strengthens democracy through building collaborative deliberation across political silos in America today – in partnership with Transient Pictures, an Emmy-award winning production firm. RTT equips community leaders with the tools and skills to open courageous and constructive dialogue on political fault-lines issues within and across their communities. 
Running time: 21 minutes. Conversation to follow.
Registration required. Register. Zoom details will be provided in the registration confirmation.
]]> (Ferguson Library) Beyond Books Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:23:50 -0400
Playhouse at the Drive-in: Westport Country Playhouse Benefit Event

Westport Country Playhouse will present “Playhouse at the Drive-in,” a one-night-only benefit event and screening of special filmed performances and a short-form documentary celebrating the theater’s 90-season history, on Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Remarkable Theater Drive-in, 47 Imperial Ave., Westport. The event is also available for online screening at home. Gates open at 5 p.m. for a cocktail hour and picnic dinner. The screening from attendees’ own cars and online begins at 6:30 p.m. Due to the pandemic, “Playhouse at the Drive-in” is in lieu of the theater’s annual Fall Gala fundraiser.

“In these extraordinary times, our usually extraordinary annual gala is going to be more extraordinary than ever!,” said Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. “In fact, it's turning into an extraordinary virtual (at least partially) and brand new kind of fundraising event that we think is going to be extraordinarily enjoyable.”

The benefit evening will be highlighted by a short-form documentary saluting the Playhouse, its history, and many of the artists who have lit up the stage. It is created exclusively for this event by Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos and filmmaker Douglas Tirola, who is also the director. Tirola was raised in Westport and is a current resident. One of his first jobs as a teenager was as a Westport Country Playhouse beautifier. Tirola’s films have premiered at festivals around the world including Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, and SXSW. His movies have also been released on HBO, Netflix, PBS, and Showtime. He is president of New York-based 4th Row Films.

The evening will include filmed performances by Playhouse alumni and friends Kate Baldwin; Britney Coleman; Tina Fabrique; The Naughton Family, featuring James Naughton, Greg Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, and Keira Naughton; Brenda Pressley; Amanda Robles; and a special performance by André De Shields.  Filmed appearances will be made by Jane Alexander, Lissy Newman, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Thomas, and many more who have been associated with the historic theater.  

Lamos noted, “Though you can't be in the Playhouse proper right now, you can relive favorite memories and hear behind-the-scenes tales from stars and stagehands, staff, donors, trustees, and longtime audience members - people who have made a difference to the life and the ongoing health of the Playhouse over its extraordinary history.

“Our survival now depends more than ever on your belief in the Playhouse and your generosity,” said Lamos. “Please join me (I won't be virtual, I'll be there) at the Remarkable Theater for a really fun evening. It's a completely unique event, and you won't want to miss it.”

On-site benefit tickets are limited, starting at $500 per car (maximum car occupancy five people). Online film screening from home is $25 for a non-shareable link. 

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to become a sponsor, please contact Gretchen Wright, Playhouse director of development, at (858) 945-0493 or

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Beyond Books Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:19:51 -0400
Stratford Library's Old West Series Continues on Zoom Through November

The Stratford Library continues its special four-part series about the American Old West of Sunday Afternoon Talks, its monthly series of informative and entertaining talks hosted by Charles Lautier and featuring prominent local guest speakers.The series, which began last month, is produced on the Zoom format and features guest speaker Hamish Lutris. The remaining schedule is as follows:

 Sunday, Oct. 18:

“The One Immediate Vital Need of the Entire Republic

The transcontinental railroad was considered the greatest engineering, financial feat in the world at the time of its completion. Yet thousands of bodies marked its route, hundreds went bankrupt on the railroads, and many decried their power and influence. This talk will discuss the history of the railroad, from its beginnings in the 1820s in the US to May 10, 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was finished. The talk will also explore the vast power and influence that railroads exerted over the United States, altering the country’s customs and making us a nation of travelers.

Sunday, Nov. 8:

Hell on Wheels: The Wild West

From the 1850s until the 1890s, the West was a dangerous place, one that took a high human toll before it was 'civilized' in the 1880s and 90s. This talk will focus on three aspects of that danger: cattle, which drew cowboys and big business out west; Indians, who contested that expansion doggedly; and the railroad, which served to draw the nation together and subjugate Native Americans. Each contributed to the reality and mythology of the West, and remain powerful images today.

Sunday, Nov. 22:

Sodbusters and Colleges: The Winning of the West

In 1860, most of the western plains were uninhabited by Americans; the 1890 census revealed that the frontier, where US law did not hold sway, had disappeared. Civilization had come to the entire West in only 40 years. How? This talk will focus on the immigration, technologies, and political actions that made possible the taming of the vast land that we call the West.

Guest speaker Hamish Lutris is an Associate Professor of History, Political Science, and Geography at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. He has worked in some of America’s premier natural and historical sites, leading hiking and historical programs. He has also lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Canada, presenting programs on wide-ranging historical topics, including Native American history, the Civil War, Scientific History, Social and Cultural History, World War I, World War II and the American West.

]]> (Thomas Holehan) Clubs Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:15:59 -0400
Wilton Reads 2020: Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wilton Library welcomes all community members to come together to read, discuss, and reflect upon Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald for our 14th Wilton Reads event. Wilton Reads has, for several years, given us an opportunity through fine literature to sharpen our view of ourselves and the world around us. This year's community-wide read will bring an exploration of jazz and its impact on culture through insightful programming and a collaboration with the Wilton Public Schools.

Sometimes things just come together in a certain way that make it easier for other things to fall in place. Such is the case with Wilton Library's selection of its Wilton Reads 2020 community-wide book this year. With the centennial celebration of the late jazz legend and Wiltonian Dave Brubeck, the announcement of the Brubeck Collection archives coming to Wilton Library, and the collaboration of Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society's "Jazzed Up - The History of Jazz" lecture series underway, it seems fitting that Wilton Reads 2020 focuses on American jazz - its contribution to music, to American culture, and to social issues and justice.

Tales of the Jazz Age, a compendium of short stories by the august author, delves into American social life and customs during the 20th century using the backdrop of jazz. The Jazz Age world that Fitzgerald so aptly evokes appears in his later masterpiece, The Great Gatsby.

Click here to view all Wilton Reads 2020 Events.

]]> (Wilton Library) Clubs Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:11:59 -0400
Fun Stuff at Home from Somers Library

Fun Stuff at Home from Somers Library, October Author Spotlight

Steven Kellogg

Steven Kellogg knew at an early age that he loved to tell stories and illustrate them. He is known for his delightful stories about his Great Dane, Pinkerton, and his cat, Rose.

Telling Stories on Paper

Steven Kellogg played a game as a child with is family, drawing pictures to the stories he invented.

Children of all ages can enjoy this game. All you need are pencils, paper and imagination. Each person gets sheets of paper and pen or crayons. Think of a subject such as a favorite pet or pastime. Everyone takes a turn adding to the story and drawing an illustration as they tell it.

For more information about this beloved author and illustrator, go to .

These books by Steven Kellogg are available now at the Somers Library.

Best Friends

Jack and the Beanstalk

Johnny Appleseed: a Tall Tale

Mike Fink : a Tall Tale

Pecos Bill: a Tall Tale

A Rose for Pinkerton

A Penguin Pup for Pinkerton

Pinkerton, Behave!

Prehistoric Pinkerton

Tallyho, Pinkerton

Ralph's Secret Weapon

The Three Little Pigs

Give us a call or visit our website to search the catalog for these books and more to place an order for curbside pick-up.

These books and more by Steven Kellogg can also be found on Overdrive and hoopla.

Chicken Little

The Island of the Skog

The Mysterious Tadpole

A Rose for Pinkerton

Snowflakes Fall

Look for more news on upcoming programs from the library on Monday!


]]> (Somers Library) Authors Fri, 02 Oct 2020 06:38:08 -0400
Virtual Book Club Author Appearance: Robert Kolker

Virtual Presentation: Somers Library Club Author Appearance: Robert Kolker
Friday, October 16, 2:30 - 4 p.m.
Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, will join the Zoom Book Group Meeting for the library's October meeting. This real life story describes the Galvin family, who's six of their 12 children were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and their lifelong effort to face the challenge and treatment of this disease. The book also explores how blood from the Galvin brothers - a rare case of multiple close family members with schizophrenia - has allowed researchers to study possible causes of the condition. Kolker interviewed members of the family and many involved in the research, diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Hearing him speak, one is struck with the tenderness, empathy and the depth of research one would expect from a talented journalist and researcher.
Please register on our online calendar here in order to have access to this meeting. You will receive an invitation prior to the start of the webinar.
Robert Kolker is the author of Hidden Valley Road, an Oprah's Book Club selection and an instant #1 New York Times nonfiction best-seller. His previous book, Lost Girls, was also a New York Times best-seller and one of the New York Times's 100 Notable Books of 2013. Kolker's journalism has appeared in New York magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, O magazine, and The Marshall Project. He is a National Magazine Award finalist and a recipient of the 2011 Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. In 2020, two works by Kolker were adapted into feature films: Netflix's "Lost Girls," adapted from Kolker's 2013 book, and HBO's "Bad Education," adapted from "The Bad Superintendent," Kolker's 2004 story in New York magazine about a public-school embezzlement scandal.

Our programs are funded by The Friends of the Library - thanks for your support!
The Somers Library ~ 914-232-5717 ~

]]> (Somers Library) Clubs Fri, 02 Oct 2020 06:18:00 -0400
My Life on the Post Road: They Say It’s My Birthday

So many things have changed under the black cloud of Covid. Certainly birthday (or any) celebrations have altered dramatically. I feel especially badly for those who celebrated in the darkest months of March and April, when most people hunkered inside alone or only with very close family members. I feted my oldest son, a late March baby, with Stan’s Donuts delivered to his apartment door, and even that made me a little nervous. What if the carrier were a carrier? He sent a video of himself opening the box – I could almost smell the donuts from Connecticut. I ate many a Stan’s Donuts when I carried him for nine months in Los Angeles, so whatever he has become has a lot to do with those doughy delicacies that we walked up to Westwood to procure every Sunday. So, while the delivery seemed apropos, the ensuing FaceTime greeting felt hollow and lonely. I have been away from both boys on their birthdays before, but in those days, they’d go out to celebrate with friends so I felt happy for them. Not so now. The only consolation was that everyone is in the same boat as we kept repeating. No one was having much birthday, or any kind, of fun. At least my youngest, also an late March baby, was home in the fold, and we could surround him with food, family, and presents in person; we could hug him.

Here we are six months later, and while we roam a little more freely, we still do so cautiously, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. I’m a Virgo, an autumn baby, a sapphire September child. The chill in the air thrills me and more often than not, fall actually begins on my birthday. That alone brings me joy. No more heat, humidity, or boob sweat. I can breathe again. My expectations for this year’s celebrations remained low for many reasons, the coronavirus constituting only one of them. Several close friends and family members are dealing with personal crises of their own, and so my birthday was hardly a priority. I managed my expectations and hoped mostly for a pretty day.

I got much more. Plans changed a few times to accommodate schedule fluctuations and unexpected obstacles, but the day dawned crystalline and pristine. I walked down to the gym (one of the obstacles being the resurfacing project that limited car use in our complex) and tread the mill for nearly an hour scrolling through the 200+ greetings I received from friends far and near, spanning decades and life phases. People may take issue with Facebook, but this wave of well-wishes soothed any loneliness I might have felt and reminded me just how very lucky I am to count so many wonderful people in so many countries as friends.

My boys picked me up and whisked me away to Overton’s on the water in Norwalk for an overstuffed, buttery lobster roll accompanied by very deeply fried onion rings (“good choice,” the cashier said when I ordered them). We sat at a red coated metal picnic table at the corner of an open deck overlooking the harbor. The sky could not have been any clearer, the temperature any more perfect, nor the company any more delicious. We sat and talked about James Joyce and Shakespeare, and art, and writing, and life while one particularly aggressive seagull perched on the nearby railing, railing at us to share our fare. A more chill egret surveyed the scene from a nearby piling, seemingly disinterested in our meal, and a downright indifferent cormorant sunned himself on a nearby dock. It was idyllic. They presented me with handmade gifts – a brown leather vintage YSL belt to display studded with small stones harvested from the Compo Beach shore that I stroll almost daily; the handwritten Claudius confession scene from Hamlet (one of my favorite). The thought put into these tokens filled me as full as the lobster roll, with fewer calories, less fat, and way more love.       

I spent another hour outside with my sister on the bank of the Saugatuck; how fortunate are we to have access to so much shoreline and am I to be able to walk to it. She is a good friend as well as a good sister, and the time alone to talk was as much of a gift as the essential oil diffuser she gave me to bring sweet scents to my home.

I walked back home again in the sunshine, feeling so warmed by it and the simple but deeply satisfying day. Covid be damned: I am a very, very lucky old girl.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:27:40 -0400