Ann Listokin (the former Ann Raynolds) and husband Bob, of Winston-Salem, N.C., stopped into The Newtown Bee offices Thursday, July 25. With her, Ms Listokin had a clipping from The Newtown Bee that she has cherished for more than 70 years. The article includes a photo of Ms Listokin as a young girl, dressed in a grass Hawaiian skirt, with leis about her neck and flowers in her hair. She was dressed, explained Ms Listokin, for a costume party and picnic hosted by the C.H. Booth Library for the ten children who had taken part in the library’s first summer reading program. Known as “The World’s Fair Book Club,” the young Ms Raynolds outread her peers that summer of 1939, consuming 27 books during the summer months, “all fiction books about different countries and cultures,” recalled Ms Listokin, who also carried with her a special photograph book assembled by their daughter for her father’s birthday. Inside the book was the picture of the young Ann Raynolds in her Hawaiian garb.
Plain Jane’s Restaurant in Bethel will be anything but plain by the time Bethel artist Adele Moros finishes hanging the art work of six of the restaurant’s regular patrons on Saturday, August 3. Billed simply as “The Artists of Plain Jane’s Art Show,” more than 70 original cartoons, acrylics, oils, and watercolors by Orlando Busino, Frederick Carpenter, Joseph Farris, Dana Fradon, Jack Medoff, and John Smallwood-Garcia will be on exhibit to the public beginning Sunday, August 4, through the month of September. An opening reception will take place Sunday, August 18. The men are among a group of artists, authors, teachers, and scientists who have been meeting at Plain Jane’s for lunch and laughter every Wednesday for the past 15 years. They have all known each other for years, through career connections. If the artists’ names are not familiar, their distinctive works are. They have appeared in internationally known publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Playboy, Time, and The Saturday Evening Post for the past half century. They have worked for many of the same magazines; the lunch group developed out of their commonalities.
It was more than The Great Newtown Reunion on July 27 that drew former resident André Middlebrook back to the area. Born and raised in Newtown, Mr Middlebrook moved with his family to the San Jose, Calif., region in 1984, when he was just 16 years old. “I have wanted to move back here for the past five years,” said Mr Middlebrook, who works as a safety inspector/emergency responder for Pacific Scientific, an energetic materials provider. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that California seems more mundane, and one shopping center after another that are all the same,” he said.
Nearly 60 children participated in Camp Noah, July 15–19, which offered resiliency buildings skills hidden among the arts and crafts projects, story times, skits, and other light-hearted offerings. A group of 25 Penn State students; Pastor David Hershey, the chaplain for Penn State; and four LSSM staff members traveled to Newtown to present Camp Noah. The group arrived on Saturday, July 13, and met with local parents and others who briefed them on 12/14 and Newtown within 24 hours. The camp’s curriculum contains materials and activities for five days. Each day builds on the previous day, and gives each child the space and time necessary to tell their stories, building resiliency skills.
Like the students who quickly went from sight reading the song “Green Eggs and Ham” to singing it within a matter of minutes on Tuesday, July 30, Seussical: The Musical is coming together for performances on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, August 9-10, and the afternons of Saturday and Sunday, August 10-11, at Newtown Middle School. The show was chosen as the inaugural production of the 12.14 Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Newtown. The three main forces behind “From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook,” which took place in January in Waterbury -- Director Michael Unger, Musical Director Jeffrey Saver and Tony Award-winner Van Dean -- have reprised their roles for this production.
It may be the middle of summer, but one Newtown High School student is already thinking about pumpkins. Rising Newtown High School sophomore Mackenzie Page is planning to issue her yearly challenge to Newtown again this fall, in the hopes that the Great Pumpkin Challenge will enhance the tradition of celebrating Halloween on Main Street. This will mark the third year Mackenzie has challenged residents to carve a pumpkin, drop it off for display at her home on Main Street, and offer a donation. All donations received this year will be forwarded to Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.
In 1996, the Gathering of the Vibes was originally conceived as a one-off tribute concert to memorialize fallen Grateful Dead co-founder Jerry Garcia. But much like the members of that seminal American rock and roll outfit, the Vibes has continued, growing into a destination festival that for the past few years, has taken up residence in Bridgeport’s beautiful Seaside Park. And while the songs and spirit of the Dead were never far off the radar for the musicians, vendors and attendees, this year was also a big year for Mick Jagger, who turned 70 last weekend and was the subject of numerous musical tributes by the many bands that graced the festival’s three stages at any point during the July 25-28 presentation. Another influential rocker, J.J. Cale, was also on the minds of many musicians as news of his passing on July 26 spread throughout the vibes community.