166 Arts Organizations, Including 5 From Ridgefield, Receive $786K In Grants From Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund
HARTFORD, CT — The Connecticut Office of the Arts recently announced the 166 Connecticut Arts Endowment grants that were awarded to local nonprofits totaling $786,107.
- Brookfield Craft Center, Inc. – $6,488
- Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut – $1,620
- Danbury Music Centre, Inc. – $1,313
- Friends of the Ives, Inc. – $500
- Kent Singers – $500
- TheatreWorks New Milford, Inc. – $500
- Village Center for the Arts – $969
- Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum – $3,927
- Ridgefield Chorale – $615
- Ridgefield Playhouse for Movies and the Performing Arts – $6,021
- Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra – $1,684
- Ridgefield Workshop for the Performing Arts/Ridgefield Theater Barn – $500
- Arts Escape, Inc. – $875
To see the full list of grant recipients, visit the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s website.
Local Comics Headline at Ridgefield Playhouse
By Aline WeillerRIDGEFIELD, CT — Christine O’Leary has always been funny. But, it wasn’t until she won a stand-up contest in Maine that she quit her day job to pursue a career in comedy. O’Leary is now an award-winning stand-up comedian, professional host and coach for budding comics enrolled in her workshop at The Ridgefield Playhouse. Her spring semester students will take center stage at “Christine O’Leary’s Comedy Graduation Showcase” on Monday, April 30 at 7:30 (doors open at 6:30) at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield. General Admission tickets are on sale now ($20 each); orders can be placed online (Comedy Graduation Showcase | The Ridgefield Playhouse), called into the Ridgefield Playhouse box office at (203) 438-5795, or purchased in person the night of the show, space permitting.
O’Leary has taught nearly 30 sold-out comedy classes at her post at the Playhouse, with many repeat students, who take an 8-week program to develop a tight, economized, 5-minute set — the first increment of time given to new stand-ups at comedy clubs. The students bring weekly material to “Rip and Read” in class to determine winning content, then video conference one-on-one with O’Leary to finalize their material and hone their set. After two months, they’re ready for an audience.
“Comedy is a way to tell the truth, solve a problem and sell the material with a feeling. I love and live to share with people the greatest ‘high’ and joy I know — standing up and getting paid in laughs! Anyone can do this; there’s enough for everyone. For me, stand up is liberation and freedom. You can ‘up your game’ in life whether your a parent or a podiatrist,” said O’Leary, Founder, Team Green Light Comedy.O’Leary’s stand up class has been a staple at The Ridgefield Playhouse since 2013. Her Assistant is fellow comic, Sue Ellen Landwehr, who has also performed locally. The April 30th lineup includes amateur comedians: Angel Fredricks, Will Bergen, Judy Eckert, Frank Fuhrman, Stephanie Griffin, Jerry Kuyper, Matthew MacGregor, Michael Mast, Micky Pasquerella, George Reynolds, Ben Robertson, Marcela Rodrigues, Eric Schwartz, Michael Zeitz, and Aline Weiller. They include doulas and designers, wealth managers and writers, students and salespeople, electrical engineers and bankers, teachers and beyond.
“You’ll never see anything like it…they’ll be born as comics before your eyes,” O’Leary added.Christine O’Leary has worked with headlining comedians to include Gilbert Gottfried, Joy Behar, Chevy Chase, Sinbad, Tracey Morgan, Robert Klein, Margaret Cho, and Janeane Garofalo. She takes her Team Green Light Comedy comrades to area shows and also hosts and performs at companies, colleges, and charitable, club and pride events nearby and nationally. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org and on all social media platforms.The Ridgefield Playhouse is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to present a variety of performing arts to the community and the surrounding area that they can enjoy and experience at a varied price point. The Playhouse presents national and local acts and is the cultural hub for the town of Ridgefield. For details regarding “Christine O’Leary’s Comedy Graduation Showcase” tickets and classes, visitwww.ridgefieldplayhouse.org.###
PHOTO: Comedian Christine O’Leary and her students gear up for their “Comedy Graduation Showcase” at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield on Monday, April 30th at 7:30. General Admission tickets $20) are on sale now, are available via www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org, but calling (203) 438-5795, or can be purchased in person on the night of the show, space permitting.PHOTO CREDIT: Sue Ellen Landwehr
Ridgefield DIY Pizza-Making Company Brings Families Together for Make-Your-Own Dinner
RIDGEFIELD, CT — After making and tasting thousands of different types and styles of pizza, a husband and wife duo launched their Ridgefield-based DIY pizza-making company called PIY, Pizza It Yourself, to the delight of families across Fairfield County. Ed Winstanley, from Westchester County, and his wife Grace Winstanley, from the Victoria, British Columbia, originally met at IBM and started a staffing business based in New York City 10 years ago.
“We ate copious amounts pizza while living in NYC before moving to Ridgefield,” Grace said. “We’re obsessed with pizza but with a big family and staffing business, we knew it wasn’t realistic to open a restaurant. Hello Fresh and Blue Apron appeared on the scene but we didn’t see anyone addressing our favorite meal so we started packing up dough, cheeses, and sauce for our neighbors to try out. We loved that the credit was given to the chef at home— neighborhood kids saying that their Mom’s pizza is ‘the best.” Families were enjoying the experience together and wanting more pizza!”
The couple moved to Ridgefield in 2013 after looking for a “family-friendly” town in Fairfield or Westchester County.
“When we first drove through Ridgefield and met some of the locals, it was instant, we fell in love and knew we’d found our new hometown,” Grace said.
Ed who used to work in IT and currently owns a staffing business has prior experience working at a pizzeria with his brother who had a pizzeria in Vermont. Eventually, the brothers moved closer to home and Will took over Il Sorriso in Irvington, New York. Ed experimented making pizza at home until he perfected the recipes and techniques.
“My brother and I talked about pizza recipes on a regular basis and when he came over for lunch one day, he was blown away that I had made a perfect pizza in a regular kitchen oven. It was that moment we knew pizza at home could be very special,” Ed shared.
The couple said what makes their pizza so special is not only the incredibly fresh, clean and delicious dough and ingredients but the experience of making artisanal pizza at home with family and friends.
“We love bringing people together over a delicious, easy to prepare a meal. Families are busy and we’re hoping to bring back a better version of Pizza Friday sans shopping or prep work. Recent studies show the benefit of families eating together, from improved relationships to lower symptoms of depression and drug use. We hope to make a difference by strengthening the family bond, the fabric of our society,” Grace stated.
In addition to bringing family and friends together for a delicious, healthy meal, PIY also does all they can to support the local community by doing fundraisers for organizations and nonprofits.
Grace Winstanley said that the couple loves hearing about their customers’ passion for pizza night. “We enjoy hearing about their new pizza traditions— how they look forward to pizza night and how dinner is prepared with and by their kids. We have 10-year-olds who love making pizza for the family and now the parents can ask, ‘What’s for dinner?'”
PIY currently delivers fresh ingredients to families in Ridgefield, Danbury, Bethel, and Redding. For more information visit www.pizzapiy.com.
Photo by Grace Winstanley
Best Brunch Spots in Ridgefield
RIDGEFIELD, CT — Blueberry Blintzes, Eggs Benedict, Spinach Frittatas, Country Farm Pancakes…. is your mouth watering yet? Looking for a great spot to take the family for Easter Brunch or Passover? Here are the top three spots in Ridgefield, as ranked by Trip Advisor and Yelp users.
Yelp’s Top 3 Ridgefield Brunch Spots
- Bailey’s Backyard, 23 Bailey Ave.
- SUCRÉ SALÉ, 109 Danbury Rd.
- The Hideaway Kitchen & Bar, 30 Grove St.
Trip Advisor’s Top 3 Ridgefield Brunch Spots
What do you think of their picks? Tell us in the comments.
We wish you a very Happy Passover season and a Happy Easter to you and yours!
Photo Credit: sushiesque via Flickr Creative Commons
BREAKING: Ridgefield Superintendent of Schools Placed on Administrative Leave
Sunday, March 11, 2018, 10:35 p.m.
RIDGEFIELD, CT — After a special Executive Session was called by the Ridgefield Board of Education last Friday, the Chairman of the Board announced Sunday, via email, that Ridgefield Superintendent of Schools Karen Baldwin has been placed on administrative leave. Te letter did not state whether or not Dr. Baldwin is on paid or unpaid leave.
The following letter was sent to parents Sunday evening:
“Dear Ridgefield Community,
After the Special Meeting that the Board of Education held on Friday evening, we want to reassure all members of our school community that the board will continue to work closely with the experienced team of leaders who work in our schools and in the District’s Central Office to ensure that work continues without interruption. Our administrators and teaching staff have a depth of knowledge and experience that will help to guide the District.
On Friday at a Special Meeting of the Ridgefield Board of Education, the board took the following actions. The Board of Education authorized board member Jonathan Steckler, to appoint an investigator to look into the alleged use of sources by the Superintendent. The investigation will be without prejudice. While the investigation is ongoing, the Superintendent has been placed on Administrative leave. An interim Superintendent will be appointed shortly. Our community is relying on the professional Ridgefield administrators, teachers, and staff to be focused on the job of teaching and learning. If anyone has any questions or comments that they feel are of immediate importance, please begin by contacting your building administrator.
Board of Education Chair”
The investigation stems from allegations made that Dr. Baldwin’s letter to parents following the Parkland, Florida high school shootings was plagiarized. After it took Dr. Baldwin a week to address the tragic shooting in which 17 high school students were murdered, parents and students were upset and voiced their concerns on various town Facebook pages. Paul Kim, a Ridgefield High School senior, attempted to address the plagiarism at a Board of Education meeting, but was not allowed to speak.
The following document was obtained by CT Buzz News that shows striking similarities between Dr. Baldwin’s communications and letters and speeches from others, including Brookfield’s Superintendent of Schools and President Barack Obama.
Click here to read the document.
How do you feel about the allegations? Tell us in the comments or send a Letter to the Editor to email@example.com.