Friday, September 12, would have been Benjamin Wheeler’s eighth birthday. Friends are joining members of the Wheeler family to remember Ben and the other children and educators lost at Sandy Hook School with light. Ben loved lighthouses. To share the light of Ben’s spirit, all are invited to place a candle safely in a window, doorway, or porch on Friday evening.
Weaving, painting, coloring, and hugging therapy dogs were all part of the Second Annual Children’s Art Party held September 7 at NYA Sports & Fitness. The event was an early Newtown Arts Festival event, just one part of the “ridiculous abundance of enriching throughout September all around town” that been promised by festival organizers. The outdoor event on September 7 offered three hours of creative fun and performances for families and children. Young residents mingled, enjoyed arts and crafts, and could not keep their small and curious hands away from the therapy dogs.
Murder and mayhem prevail, in a hilarious family kind of way, with The Town Players current production of Charles Ludlam’s "The Artificial Jungle," an outrageously campy romp through a quirky pet shop nestled in downtown Manhattan. Complete with an overbearing mom, neighborhood cop and conniving wife, this family makes good on the old adage of “the ties that bind, and strangle.” Under the direction of Gene Golaszewski, a cast of remarkably quick studies has turned out an evening of pure farce which is delightfully entertaining.
The Sandy Hook-based Leaps of Faith (LOF) Adaptive Skiers hosted “Tournament of Champions,” a first of its kind grassroots water ski tournament for individuals with spinal cord injuries, on August 23 on Lake Lillinonah in Southbury. With 16 skiers from all across the Northeast participating, the tournament was a great success, according to a recent release. “We were very inspired by this amazing group of skiers,” said LOF Executive Director Joel Zeisler. “Almost all of the skiers were wheelchair bound, yet to see them ski on the water you would never know you were watching someone with a spinal cord injury or who is quadriplegic or paraplegic.
Walking past a twisting vine carved into smoked glass on the front door, Diane Thompson enters her bright, naturally lit Victorian home that has been a fixture on Newtown’s Main Street since 1899. After launching major renovations several months ago, her eventual goal is to sell the house.
Growing up around horses and receiving riding and jumping training from a teacher who couldn’t possibly care any more about her success than any other (the instructor happens to be her mom), Newtown’s Ellie Ferrigno has quickly become an advanced rider for her age. Now 12, Ferrigno is competing against horse lovers who are two, three, four, five — sometimes as many as six — years older than her. And she’s still winning.
At age 21, up-and-coming sax man Bill Evans got the opportunity to stand and play in the shadow of arguably one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, Miles Davis. Davis so appreciated Evans’ talents that he featured the young musician on four of his albums recoded in the early to mid-1980s. These days, at 56, Evans can look back on a rich and diverse musical career bouncing around with many other artists, consuming and contributing to every musical genre that would welcome him on stage or into the studio. Over the course of those 35 years since first sitting in with Miles, Evans has made his mark with artists from Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Michael Franks, and Willie Nelson, to Mick Jagger, Les McCann, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Randy Brecker, The Allman Brothers, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Warren Haynes and Umphrey’s McGee. Evans will be up close and personal when his band Soulgrass hits the intimate StageOne in Fairfield on September 12. He describes the Soulgrass concept as a melting pot of quintessential American music, combining elements of funk, rock, rhythm, and groove into a tasty, jam-infused mash-up that Evans says leaves fans from jazz purists to Deadheads to urban music fans satisfied.