The Millionaires’ Unit Documentary Film Screening

On January 29, the Greenwich Historical Society is hosting the screening of The Millionaires’ Unit Documentary from 3 pm to 5 pm. at the Vanderbilt Education Center on the grounds of the Society. The tickets are Members: $10; nonmembers: $15 and can be purchased at http://greenwichhistory.org or by calling 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.

Millionaires-Unit

The Millionaires’ Unit is the story of an elite group of college students from Yale who formed a private air militia in preparation for America’s entry into World War One. Known as the First Yale Unit and dubbed “the millionaires’ unit” by the New York press, they became the founding squadron of the U.S. Naval Air Reserve and were among the first to fight for the United States in the Great War. Using the squadron members’ letters and diaries, the documentary chronicles the coming of age of these young pioneers against the backdrop of an event that signaled America’s emergence as a world power.

The film focuses on their service and sacrifice and chronicles a great, untold story of early aviation in America. The documentary was inspired by the book The Millionaires’ Unit by Marc Wortman. After seven years in development and production by co-producers Ron King and Darroch Greer, the film is being presented to the public to commemorate the centennial of World War I.

LEGOS AND LIGHTHOUSES BRIGHTEN THE SEASON IN CONNECTICUT

There’s no merrier place to be this season than Fairfield County in Western Connecticut where two of the most original exhibits in New England brighten the season at local museums.

A lavish moving landscape made of a billion LEGO® bricks delights visitors to the Stamford Museum and Nature Center while the 13th annual Festival of Lighthouses contest at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk shows off dozens of fabulous new miniature creations.

WIDE WORLD OF LEGOS®

Trains and planes. Cars, tractors and trucks. Ships, shuttles and monorails. Helicopters and spaceships

Just about anything that moves on land, sea, air and space will be seen as colorful LEGO® sculptures, moving through a three-dimensional imaginary landscape at the Billion Bricks 2 exhibit at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Everything in the amazing exhibit is made of LEGO blocks.
Master builder Bill Probert & I LUG (LEGO® Users Group) NY return to the Museum Galleries for a sixth season of their popular displays, promising a LEGO world that is even bigger and better this year. The exhibit runs from November 22 to January 25.

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Starting in January, families are invited to make their own LEGO® creations in weekend workshops. Participants on Saturday, January 3 will build and race a LEGO® car while the group on Sunday January 4 will build and fly a Lego helicopter or space ship.

Lights! Camera! Action! Animation Workshops on Saturday and Sunday January 17 and 18 for ages 10 and up will be led by Alex Kobbs, of KooberzStudios. Kobbs will teach techniques for film stop action animation using LEGO® creations and mini figures.

Workshops are limited in size and advance reservations are required. Phone 203-977-6521 to register and see www.stamfordmuseum.org for more information.

LIGHTHOUSES LIGHT UP THE SEASON

Some are funny. Some are clever. Some are beautiful.

For the 13th year, artists and would-be-artists will compete for the most original entry in the Festival of Lighthouses at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk from November 22 through January. 19.

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The rules are simple. Entries must be three to six feet tall and have a working light. They may not include animal remains such as shells. Beyond that, it’s up to the creators’ imaginations and the results are guaranteed to amaze. Past entries have been made of stained glass, stone, yarn, clay, candy and tiny coffee cups. One entry was made of holiday greeting cards, another included computer animation. One memorable entry featured all the makings of the 12 days of Christmas.

This year’s exhibit will showcase 24 lighthouses and there is no telling what the creative results will be. Aquarium visitors will follow these one-of-a-kind beacons through the galleries and then cast a vote for their favorite. The winner takes home the $1,500 first prize. Runner-ups divide the rest of the $3300 in prize money. To learn more, see www.maritimeaquarium.org.

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For more information about holiday events and a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Fairfield County as well as in the Litchfield Hills, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com.

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The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield

The Fairfield Museum and History Center presents a new exhibition, The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield, 1637-1639, on view through January 18, 2015, concluding a full year of exhibits, programs and events that celebrated Fairfield’s 375th anniversary.

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A collaboration with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, this exhibit presents the story of the Pequot War in 1637, which led to Fairfield becoming established as an English settlement 375 years ago. Roger Ludlow, then a member of the Windsor Settlement, came south to join the fight. He was so taken with the area and its beauty, he returned in 1639 and founded the town of Fairfield.

An Algonquian-speaking people, the Pequot had been living in southeastern Connecticut for thousands of years prior to European contact. Before the arrival of the Europeans, roughly 13,000 Pequot lived in villages along Long Island Sound and the estuaries of the Thames, Mystic, and Pawcatuck Rivers, raising food through farming, hunting, and gathering

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The Pequot War (1637-38) was the first serious conflict in New England between European colonizers and the indigenous population. Historians have referred to the war as a seminal event in early American history, as it paved the way for English control of southern New England and the subjugation of the region’s Native people.
Among the many objects displayed in the exhibit is the sword of Captain John Mason, on loan from the Stonington Historical Society. Mason was the leader of the Connecticut troops during the Pequot War, and he most probably used this sword to fight the Pequot.

The exhibit also includes an original copy of John Underhill’s Newes from America (1638), on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society, rarely on public display. Captain John Underhill led the Mass Bay troops during the war and later published this account of the events. It is not only one of the most important primary sources of the war, but the publication also includes a remarkable woodcut of the attack on Mistick Fort that has become an iconic image. Also on view are other early 17th century examples of English arms and armor, including a helmet and matchlock gun, as well as a period bale seal and religious book, all on loan from the Plimoth Plantation.

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Also featured is a photograph of George Avison’s artwork, commissioned during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration to paint a series of five murals depicting Fairfield’s history, including one of the Swamp Fight. When he completed them in 1937, they were hung in the Roger Ludlowe High School building, now known as Tomlinson Middle School, where they remain today.

About the Fairfield Museum and History Center
The Fairfield Museum and History Center is a nonprofit, community cultural arts and education center established in 2007 by the 103-year old Fairfield Historical Society. The 13,000 square-foot museum includes modern galleries, a research library, a museum shop and community spaces overlooking Fairfield’s historic Town Green. The Fairfield Museum and History Center believes in the power of history to inspire the imagination, stimulate thought and transform society. Located at 370 Beach Road in Fairfield, CT, the Museum is open seven days a week, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Members of the Museum and children are free. For more information www.fairfieldhistory.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

‘Let’s Play Shakespeare’ free in Rowayton Dec. 12

Shakespeare on the Sound reaches down through the centuries to introduce the enduring and timeless themes of The Bard in premiering the 2015 version of “Let’s Play Shakespeare” Dec. 12 (Friday) at 3:30 p.m. in the Moose Room of the Rowayton Community Center on 33 Highland Avenue.

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The 50-minute production—to be followed by a question-and-answer opportunity—is an original and interactive theatrical work designed to give children from kindergarten to grade five an insight into Shakespeare– but appealing to all ages. Admission is free, donations optional.
The sweep of Shakespeare’s lyrical scythe from comedy to tragedy unfolds onstage as the actors argue over which passages they should perform—and who gets the biggest part– from a palate that shuffles iconic scenes from “Macbeth,” “Henry V,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “As You Like It” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The performers work with props extracted from a trunk they bring onstage with them. All three are New York-based professionals who have all appeared in previous outdoor productions of Shakespeare on the Sound in Rowayton’s Pinkney Park. They are Katie Wieland, Matthew Lynch and Daniel Levitt.

The playwrights, Kelly and Bryan, created an innovative format where youngsters from the audience are invited on-stage to warm up with the actors and to act in the performance, becoming, for example, part of Henry V’s army. The play with its interactive dimension is also portable and available for presentation in schools and libraries.

For more information visit http://www.shakespareonthesound.org For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Holiday House Tours in Connecticut

It happens only once a year. For the first two weeks in December, some of the finest private homes in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills will invite visitors in for one-day only during house tours to benefit local organizations. Tours in the towns of Woodbury, Westport and Greenwich will offer a rare chance to see exceptional residences dressed in their holiday best.

A 20th ANNIVERSARY IN WOODBURY

One of the most popular tours will mark its 20th anniversary when the Woodbury Holiday House Tour takes place on December 13 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Litchfield Hills to benefit the Woman’s Club of Woodbury. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available for $30 starting at 9 a.m. at the Senior and Community Center, 265 Main Street South.

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Six special homes chosen for this landmark year range from a 14-year-old contemporary with a fabulous kitchen to an antique-filled 250 year-old home including an artist’s studio. A restored 200-year-old schoolhouse will be seen on the spacious grounds of an elegant Colonial reproduction home, and a handsome mid-20th century Colonial features the studio of its sculptor-owner. See a complete list and details at www.womansclubofwoodbury.org

“ROOMS WITH A VIEW” IN WESTPORT

Interior designers, artists and architects are the owners of this year’s five homes in the annual Westport House Tour on December 7 to benefit the Westport Historical Society They include a Nantucket-style cottage at Compo Beach with a roof-top deck overlooking the water, and a hilltop chateau with sweeping vistas. Three of the houses are owned by interior designers, providing the chance to see how professionals decorate for the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons. A pianist will play at one of the homes, and several will be serving hot cider, hot chocolate, and holiday sweets.

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Following the tour a Twilight Soiree hosted by the Lillian August Store in Norwalk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. will feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction for prizes such as an America’s Cup Cruise, getaways to a Cape Cod vacation home and a mountain ski house, and a painting by Weston artist Kerri Rosenthal, whose home and studio are part of the tour. For more information, see http://westporthistory.org.

SHOWPLACES OPEN DOORS IN GREENWICH

One tour that always attracts visitors is The Antiquarius House Tour in Greenwich, a Fairfield County town known for its lavish residences. This year’s tour on Wednesday, December 10 will showcase five spectacular homes ranging in location from the shores of Long Island Sound to estates in the wooded backcountry. What all have in common is their always-spectacular holiday finery.

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The tour is part of a weeklong Antiquarius event to benefit the Greenwich Historical Society that includes the annual Greenwich Winter Antiques Show on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7 at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center. For full schedules, see http://www.hstg.org/antiquarius.

For more information about house tours and a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in the Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com.

Clare Romano & John Ross: 70 Years of Printmaking at Center for Contemporary Printmaking

The fall exhibition, featuring a sampling from the extensive collection of original prints by Clare Romano and John Ross, at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP), 299 West Ave., in Mathews Park, Norwalk, runs through Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Gallery visitors have the opportunity to view original prints made by these preeminent printmaking artists, educators, and authors—husband and wife, each with their own acclaimed individual careers—who have made the fine art of printmaking, with a particular emphasis on the art of the collagraph, their life’s work.

John Ross, "Duomo"
John Ross, “Duomo”

Clare Romano and John Ross had a major influence on the art printmaking and printmaking students. For many, their text, “The Complete Printmaker”, represented the next wave in printmaking. The exhibition showcases landscapes and cityscapes, lithographs, etchings, silkscreens, woodcuts, letterpress and, of course, collagraphs. Visitors will discover novel and innovative images using silk aquatint, asymmetrically cut plates, and the combination of intaglio and relief on the same plate.

The Center has scheduled an Artists Talk and Book Signing with John and Tim Ross for December 10 from 7 to 8:30 pm. Clare Romano and John Ross wrote and illustrated a number of books together, the first entitled Manhattan Island (1957) and the most important publication, The Complete Printmaker, originally published in 1972 is now in its second edition with Artist/Printmaker and Educator Tim Ross joining his parents as co-author. The Complete Printmaker is still used as a printmaking text in college classrooms today.

Clare Romano, "Silver Canyon"
Clare Romano, “Silver Canyon”

Normal hours are Tuesday through Sunday 9 am to 5 pm. The gallery is closed on Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Admission is free, and the gallery is handicapped accessible. For more information visit http://www.contemprints.org.