Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Tourism Districts Do!

Tourism is a multi faceted industry. Our State is blessed with diversity making the role of the Tourism Districts critical in branding the Regions that compose Connecticut.

Each Tourism Region brings many assets to the table.  The Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau offers five important assets that have been developed, expanded and continually refined over the past 30 years that are integral to tourism marketing in the state.

1.  HISTORY – We are proud of our 25-year history of a public private partnership with nearly 500 businesses and attractions that contribute marketing dollars to the organization in order to leverage state funds.

2.  PUBLIC RELATIONS - We are proud that the Western Tourism  District has a proven national public relations program.  The advertising dollar amount of the Bureau’s national publicity is approximately 5 to 6 million dollars a year.  This type of third party endorsed publicity cannot be bought – it takes a network of contacts and professionals that know their region well and are able to give the media the right hook in order to get the story.

3. NETWORK- We are proud of the vast network of travel trade contacts from meeting planners to group tour operators that we have relationships with. Leads are amassed and distributed to properties and attractions in order to help them generate their meeting and group businesses. Business that is the life blood of CT’s hotels and attractions of all sizes.

4. RESEARCH. We are proud that Western Connecticut measures the economic impact of special events of all kinds from the Norwalk Oyster Festival, Civil War Reenactments to the Litchfield House Tour and Salisbury Ski Jumps, to assist event organizers expand events and solicit sponsors.  Research is a key element in planning for and expanding a regions tourism product.

5, WEBSITE: We are proud our Website and Social Media work has resulted in a vast treasure trove of intellectual property for the Western Tourism District. Western Connecticut’s website is rich in content with listings that go into the year 2012.  Driving, hiking, biking, and boating tours have been developed and can be downloaded on handheld devices. Hundreds of travel writers, the traveling public and in and out of state residents follow the Bureau’s three blogs, facebook page and twitter accounts that are maintained and refreshed on a daily basis.

Regional Tourism Districts  must be funded at appropriate levels.   The two tier system of state and regions works and is the cornerstone of all tourism programs in the United States.  Connecticut’s Tourism Regions have a thirty year proven track record…something that the State Legislature has supported and funded and should be proud of too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unique Valentine's Night Out !

Looking for a unique Valentine's Night Out?  Westport Playhouse is offering a reading of Neil Simon's "Chapter" Two a whimsical and touching romantic comedy sure to make this year's Valentine's Day Memorable.  The reading  is part of  Westport Country Playhouse's popular Script in Hand Series, and  will take place on Monday, February 14, 7 p.m.  The cast includes Reed Birney and Geneva Carr.  Best of all, tickets to the one-night-only event are $15.

Based on playwright Neil Simon's personal experience, "Chapter Two" mixes laughter with heartache.  A writer, whose wife has just died, returns to a lonely apartment.  His younger brother, a theatrical press agent and born matchmaker, tries to avert an emotional tailspin by arranging unwanted – and unsuccessful dates.  Then he comes up with a winner, a soap opera actress - but it's a rocky road ahead for the not-so-young lovers. The play was nominated for the 1978 Tony Award for Best Play.
The reading will be directed by Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor and the Script in Hand Series curator.  The Script in Hand Series is sponsored by Michele and Marc Flaster; with additional support from Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler. The Series is also funded in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation and Newman's Own Foundation.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, the Playhouse is offering a special Valentine's gift promotion – purchase a 2011 season subscription for five guaranteed dates with your spouse or significant other and receive a voucher for a glass of Prosecco with each subscription.  The special offer is available between February 1 and February 14.  Subscriptions may be purchased online at; by calling 203-227-4177, or by visiting the box office at 25 Powers Court, Westport.

About the Playhouse

Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a treasured home for the performing arts and is a cultural landmark for Connecticut. Under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos and management direction of Michael Ross, the Playhouse creates quality productions of new and classic plays that enlighten, enrich and engage a diverse community of theater lovers, artists and students. The Playhouse's rich history dates back to 1931, when New York theater producer Lawrence Langner created a Broadway-quality stage within an 1830s tannery. The Playhouse quickly became an established stop on the New England "straw hat circuit" of summer stock theaters. Now celebrating its 80th season, Westport Country Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway, most recently the world premiere of "Thurgood" and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with Paul Newman, and in earlier years "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth, "The Trip to Bountiful" with Lillian Gish, and "Butterflies Are Free" with Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner. For its artistic excellence, the Playhouse received a 2005 Governor's Arts Award and a 2000 "Connecticut Treasure" recognition. It was also designated as an Official Project of Save America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is entered on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, the Playhouse transformed into a year-round, state-of-the-art producing theater, which has preserved its original charm and character. In addition to a full season of theatrical productions, the Playhouse serves as a community resource, presenting educational programming and workshops; a children's theater series; symposiums; music; films; and readings.

Westport Country Playhouse's 2011 season will include five productions:  "Beyond Therapy," a wicked, and wickedly funny, look at the days and nights of the young and single, written by comic master Christopher Durang and directed by Tony Award winner John Rando, April 26 – May 14; "The Circle," the scintillating comedy of manners, written by W. Somerset Maugham and directed by Nicholas Martin, June 7 – June 25; "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," a perceptive comedy about people struggling against their limitations, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, July 12 – July 30; "Suddenly Last Summer," the poetic, sensual and evocative drama, written by Tennessee Williams and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, August 23 – September 10; and "Twelfth Night, or What You Will," the beguiling comedy/romance, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Mark Lamos, October 11 – October 29.

For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport.  Tickets may be purchased online 24/7 at
Photo Credit: Robert Benson, 2005.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Exhibition at The Bruce Museum in Greenwich

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, has announced its major winter exhibition featuring the work of one of today's most influential artists, photographer Cindy Sherman that will be on view through April 23, 2011.  "Cindy Sherman:Works from Friends of the Bruce Museum" is comprised of approximately 30 works, including large-scale black-and-white and color photographs, drawn from ten local collections in Greenwich and the surrounding communities. The exhibition features the artist's favored themes and suggests something of the chameleon-like diversity of her art.

Although Sherman is the model for her photographs, she is essentially serving as the material for her work, as an actress in a scene.  She is adamant that the photographs are not self-portraits and that they do not represent her or herself role playing. Cindy Sherman serves as her own model, as well as photographer, stylist, make-up person, allowing her to work alone in her studio.  She employs herself to explore various personae and addresses topical issues of the contemporary world while examining the roles of women and the artist.

Throughout her long career, Sherman has continually appropriated and confronted numerous visual genres, including the film still, centerfold, historical portrait, and fashion photography.  Sherman's photographs imitate these representational tropes, using them to challenge images in popular culture and the mass media.

The show opens with a selection of photographs from Sherman's landmark series of Untitled Film Stills (1977-80). Perhaps the most well known and recognizable works of Sherman's career, these black-and-white photographs seem to depict stills for films that never existed. In each of these photographs, Sherman places herself in the role of various female character types from B-movies and film noir.  By turning the camera on herself, Sherman raises challenging and important questions about the role of women in society and the representation of cultural stereotypes.

The exhibition follows Sherman's subsequent career through several of her major series, including the Centerfolds, Disasters and Fairy Tales, the History Portraits, Clowns, the Women from California series, and her most recent works, the Rich Women series. In each of these series, the artist continues to manipulate and reprogram her appearance to adopt multiple roles. In 1981, Sherman simultaneously imitated and challenged men's magazine centerfolds in a series of photographs commissioned, but never used, by Artforum. These large-scale photographs adopt the saturated colors, close-cropping and overhead camera angles of the centerfold, while depicting the artist in various female roles, both familiar and unexpected.

Sherman's later series explore an ever-expanding assortment of archetypal roles and social types. The artist's Disasters and Fairy Tales (1985-1989) are more fantastical and grotesque than her earlier work. Sherman dons complex disguises and prostheses in these twisted fairy tales, intentionally taking on increasingly frightening and deformed personae. In the late 1980s, Sherman turned to Old Master paintings for inspiration.  These History Portraits (1988-1990) depict the artist dressed as figures from famous works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and others. The Rich Women series showcases Sherman's newest cast of characters who are immediately recognizable as belonging to the upper echelons of society. These photographs of aging speak to issues of class and presentation.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue with contributions by Mr. Silver and Bruce Museum Executive Director Peter Sutton, as well as an interview with Linda Nochlin, pioneering feminist art historian and Lila Acheson Wallace Professor at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, who discusses Sherman's fascinating oeuvre at length.

The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. General admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for children under five and Bruce Museum members. Free admission to all on Tuesdays. The Museum is located near Interstate-95, Exit 3, and a short walk from the Greenwich, CT, train station. Museum hours are: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Mondays and major holidays. Groups of eight or more require advance reservations. Museum exhibition tours are held Fridays at 12:30 p.m. Free, on-site parking is available. The Bruce Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376, or visit the Bruce Museum website at

Photo Credit:

Cindy Sherman

Untitled, 1981

Color photograph

24 x 48 inches

Edition of 10

Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures

Skis in the Salisbury Sky - L C T Monthly - The Litchfield County Times

Skis in the Salisbury Sky - L C T Monthly - The Litchfield County Times