This Weekend: Big book fair, music & art, comic drama, birdwatching, blues & BBQ and more
WCSU coffeehouse reopens
Before the Labor Day holiday weekend starts, Western Connecticut State University’s Midtown Coffeehouse reopens for a new season on Thursday, Aug, 31, at 8 p.m. with an open mic hour and then at 9, a featured act, singer Ian Murray, who is the midtown student center’s operations manager and a 2016 WCSU graduate from Oxford, and Megan Lyon, an orientation leader from Brewster, N.Y. The activities take place in the Colonial Corner on the midtown campus, 181 White Street, Danbury. Admission is free, with donations accepted. The weekly events continue on Sept. 7. For more details, call 203-837-9700 or go to wcsu.edu/stuaffairs/Coffeehouse.asp.
Mark Twain Library Book Fair starts Friday
More than 65,000 books in 75 categories are expected at the 57th annual Mark Twain Library Book Fair, Sept. 1-4, at the Redding Community Center at 37 Lonetown Road, Redding. On Friday, the fair runs 9 to 6; Saturday, 10 to 4; Sunday, 10 to 4 (half-price day) and Monday, 9 to 4, ($10 for each box of books or half-price for individual book). Admission is free except the $20 early buying charge on Friday, 9 to 10 a.m. Details: marktwainlibrary.org or 203-938-2545.
A shopper from Brooklyn, N.Y., is shown with a huge stack of purchases while browsing for more at a past fair. — Bryan Haeffele photo
Music, art & more at the Aldrich Friday night
First Fridays: A Contemporary Cocktail Party will take place Friday, Sept. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 258 Main Street, Ridgefield. The Switch Factory string quartet from Litchfield County will play blues, folk, rock and jam band tunes. There’s a spirits tasting by Berkshire Mountain Distillers. And a tour of Beth Campbell, Suzanne McClelland, William Powhida and Kay Rosen exhibits, which are closing after Labor Day. Admission is $25 for non-members, $20 for members, free for $250+ members. Tickets will be available at the door. There’s a members-only pre-party, 6 to 7; for membership details, contact Kathryn Tufano, 203-438-4519, x148, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comic drama on family secrets in Westport
Appropriate, an Obie Award-winning comic drama about family secrets, ends its run at the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport at 8 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, plus there’s a 3 p.m. show on Saturday. Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a 2016 MacArthur Fellows Program “Genius Grant” recipient, it’s directed by David Kennedy, the playhouse’s associate artistic director. “Jacobs-Jenkins has written a truly great American family play that, like the verb form of the title suggests, borrows liberally, intelligently and playfully from the American theatrical canon,” said Kennedy. “Like all such plays in the genre, ‘Appropriate’ uses family as a metaphor for the nation, going right to the heart of important questions about who we are and where we come from. It’s a bit of theatrical bravura — funny, profound, shocking, moving. I think audiences will love it.” Tickets are $30 for singles. More details on special features and nights, (Playhouse Happy Hour and Thursday TalkBack are scheduled Aug. 31; post-show conversations follow most performances in the Smilow Lounge on the mezzanine level) are available at westportplayhouse.org, 203-227-4177 or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.
Birdwatching walk at Grace Farms in New Canaan
Bird Watching: Fall Migration is on the bill at at Grace Farms, 365 Lukes Wood Road, New Canaan, on Saturdays., Sept. 2 and 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. During a free guided walk of trails. Renee Hewitt and Daniel Samperi, founders of @IntoBirds, will teach visitors of all ages about specific bird species at the 80-acre Grace Farms preserve. Guests are invited to bring cameras and share #GraceFarms bird photos with others at @GraceFarmsCT. Details at gracefarms.org.
Animals, people in new exhibit in Fairfield
Art/Place Gallery members Alice Katz and Art Gerstein have opened a new exhibit, their third show together, called Art’s Animals and Alice’s People at the gallery at 70 Sanford Street in Fairfield. Gerstein, a digital photographer and a Reiki practitioner from Norwalk, was production still photographer for Stanley Kubrick’s special effects director for Universal Studios in 1990. By 1997, he started moving away from film in favor of the then new digital camera technology. His latest work combines aspects of impressionism and animal portraits taken at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, the Sanibel Island Preserve in Florida, the Galapagos Islands and his own pets. “The current look and feel of my art now resembles painting, even though I start with digital photographs,” he said.
Katz, of Fairfield, spent many years teaching art to children and to adults before becoming a psychotherapist in private counseling. Her art her uses fabric, paper, paint, and found objects to create papier mache sculptures, wall hangings, paintings, collages, and photomontages. “I aim to create a pleasing and interesting composition with color, shapes, and texture. Good design is more important to me than the subject matter,” she said. The artists will take about their work at a reception on Sept. 10, 2 to 5 p.m. and again on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. Gallery hours are Thursdays-Saturdays noon to 4 and Sundays, 2 to 5. For more details, visit artplacegallery.org or call 203-259-8026. The gallery is also open during both Fairfield Theatre Company's normal business hours and all scheduled FTC performances.
Boat ride to Oyster Farm tour on island
A tour of Hummock Island Oyster Farm tour is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 2, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Organized by the Westport Historical Society, the day includes a boat tour to visit the island, site of an historic oyster house that sits in middle of Sherwood Mill Pond. Guide John Northrup’s family built this house in 1747 and he will share stories about their oyster family business. There will be an oyster tasting and a shucking lesson, along with wine and other light bites. Participants are asked to arrived at 5:15 at Elvira’s Market, 222 Hillspoint Road; the boat to island departs at 5:30. For those without Westport beach sticker, arrangements will be made to shuttle you from Hillspoint Elementary School parking lot to the pond. Reservations are required; tour is limited to first 30 people. Tickets, $110, and more information are available at westporthistory.org or 203-222-1424.
Blues, Views & BBQ Festival Saturday and Sunday
The 10th annual Blues, Views & BBQ Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, 40 Jesup Road, Westport, rain or shine. There will be barbecue competitions for amateurs and pros. International and national musicians will perform on the main stage and Connecticut musicians on a second stage. Music is expected to range from soul, funk and R&B to rock and, of course, the blues. The Jesup Jam, 11-8:30 each day, features a lineup on Saturday that includes Baby Dynamite, Slam Alan, New Orleans Suspects, Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett from Little Feat, Bonerama and Galactic. Sunday’s lineup: School of Rock, Sisterhood Blues Project, Selwyn Birchwood, Taz and Friends, Elise Testone, James Casey, Jackson Kincheloe, Natalie Cressman, Anders Osborne and Deep Banana Blackout. Proceeds to be donated to Westport Woman’s Club food closet for families in need. Tickets, $5-$90, and more details are available at eventbrite.com. More information can also be found at the festival’s Facebook page.
The Great Baseball Trivia Quiz for adults and kids will take place Saturday from 11 to noon at the Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, Wilton. The event, expected to be fast, fun and fact-filled, will be called by Nick Foster, curator of current Farm Team: 40 Years of Wilton Baseball exhibition and past Division I athlete himself. There will be questions for all ages, including those geared to kids under 10, with a grand prize of Bluefish tickets. Old-fashioned lemonade, popcorn and Cracker Jacks will be on the snack menu. The fees range from $10 to $15, with a maximum of $25-$35 per family. To register, email email@example.com or call 203-762-7257. Details: wiltonhistorical.org.
Romeo & Juliet ending run in Edgerton Park
The Elm Shakespeare Company, in its 22nd season of free Shakespeare in the Park performances, ends the run of its summer production of The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet, tonight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. in Edgerton Park, 75 Cliff Street, New Haven. Directed by Raphael Massie, Steven Johnson and Courtney Jamison are featured in the lead roles. Guests are invited to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to set up on the grass. Blanket only seating is the section closest to the stage. Picnicking begins at 6:30. For more information, visit elmshakespeare.org or call 203-392-8882.
Danbury Brass Band in outdoor concert
The Danbury Brass Band’s outdoor concert will take place Sunday at 3 p.m. on the Richter House grounds, 100 Aunt Hack Road, Danbury. Under direction of Alan Raph, the band has been part of Labor Day celebration for many years. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic fare. It’s free will donation accepted. If rain, the concert inside Richter House. Details: 203-798-6319.
Photography & Sculpture exhibit in Norwalk
A new exhibit called Photography & Sculpture opens Sunday at the Rowayton Arts Center, 145 Rowayton Avenue, Norwalk. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 4. Award winning photographer, and Berkeley, MIT grad, Gennadiy Goldenshteyn of Manchester, CT, has his solo show in the Portside Gallery. His work features images from around the world. In the main gallery, RAC members exhibit their photography and sculpture in black and white and living color. Exhibit chairs are Barbara Murphy and Amaz Behjari. The judge is Connecticut artist, photographer, world traveler and designer David Pressler. The opening reception is Sunday, Sept., 10, 4 to 6 p.m., delayed due to the Labor Day holiday; it is free and open to the public. The exhibits run through Sept. 24. For more information, visit rowaytonarts.org.
Major museum shows: last call
The Labor Day holiday weekend brings to a close major exhibits at some area museums. The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield (203-438-4519, aldrichart.org) has three exhibits ending: Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past; Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right; Kay Rosen: H Is for House; William Powhida: After the Contemporary, run through Sept. 4. Spring into Summer with Andy Warhol and Friends, runs through Sept. 3 at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich (brucemuseum.org or 203-869-0376). The museum’s Seaside Center, open 11-5, has its last day for the summer on Sept. 4. This is the final weekend of the Meet the Dragons and the Chilean flamingos exhibits at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk (203-852-0700, maritimeaquarium.org).
And coming up…
The Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield’s Master Naturalist Training Program begins Tuesday, Sept. 5, 10-2 p.m. Details: ctaudubon.org/center-at-fairfield or 203-259-6305 x109.
The Quick Center for the Arts’ Open Minds Institute offers the Four Great Masters/Four Great Centuries class, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 5, 10-11:45 a.m. Details: fairfield.edu/openminds or 203-254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-369.
The Nonfictioneers will discuss Jane Austen’s England: Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods by Leslie and Roy Adkins, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street. It’s a prelude to the All About Jane: Celebrating 200 Years of Jane Austen series of lectures, book discussions, film screenings, field trips, performances and more coming this fall. Details: ridgefieldlibrary.org.
The Barons, an oldies-but-goodies group, will perform in the finale of the Trumbull Town Hall Gazebo summer concert series, Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. If rain, the concert will be held Thursday.