Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returnd October 18th-21. A must attend event of indie films, documentaries, panel discussions, parties and more!

riff_logo_bauhaus-with_type_blackWe are so fortunate to have a very special cinema event right here in our back yard.  Coming October 18-21st 2017, the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returns!  The festival , that celebrates independent films from around the world that enlighten, entertain and inspire moviegoers through compelling visual storytelling.   We are so excited to be covering this fantastic event.

RIFF has  announced  its Special Event Screenings Line-up. Keynote events featuring films followed by filmmaker Q&As taking place at various Ridgefield, CT locations throughout the festival’s run include: SAY HER NAME: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, follows an investigation into what happened to activist Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a routine traffic stop, directed by Oscar nominated,Connecticut based directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner;

DANSEUR explores the world of bullying and prejudice towards male ballet dancers directed by Scott Gormley;

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THIS IS HOME: A Refugee Story about four Syrian families struggling to find their way to America directed by Peabody Award-winner Alexandra Shiva

 

VERMONT FANCY about an aging rural farmer who’s struggling with the consequences of his choice to live a life alone directed by Kathleen Dougherty Huxley.

The Closing Night film PURPLE DREAMS, directed by Joanne Hock and produced by Robin Grey, documents the transformation of at-risk, inner city youth attending a magnet charter school in Charlotte, NC that provides arts education. The teenage subjects have the potential to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness and gangrelated violence, when they are given an opportunity to stage the musical The Color Purple. After thescreening, Tony Award-winner and activist James Naughton hosts a talk with Robin Grey.

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Scene from the documentary “Vermont Fancy”

 Tickets to the festival are on sale now at http://www.riffct.org. The 2018 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival runs  October 18-21, 2018.

In addition to all these films there will be special parties to help celebrate the festival.  Check the website for more details of parties hosted at Gallo’s, Aldrich Museum, The Ridgefield Playhouse and more.  Please stay tuned for more details about this exciting film festival bringing  social awareness and fine independent film you will not see anywhere else.   We will be rolling out more information about the festival as the date draws near.

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival

for more information and full film list please visit : https://www.riffct.org

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Phantom: the magic and music haunt the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Every once in awhile a musical comes along that is brilliant for both the drama of its story and the quality of its musical score.  Phantom now at the Westchester Broadway Theater is such a show.  This amazing musical which first ran at WBT in 1992 was a smash hit with over 120,000 theater goers experiencing the magic of this performance.  This revival is just as good as that original production.  This show has been called the greatest Broadway musical  never that was never on Broadway.  I agree.

Phantom written by Tony Award winners,  Arthur Kopit and music/lyrics by Maury Yeston  is based on the 1911 book “Phantom of the Opera”  by Gaston LeRoux.   This musical which was first developed in the 1980s is not to be confused with  Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘s Phantom of the Opera.  This production is written in the classic Broadway musical style (words and songs) as opposed to Webber’s which has no speaking parts. The story is similar and draws inspiration from the novel, but they are not the same.  This production of Phantom has been applauded for being more a true Broadway musical and for the quality of the music and the way the characters have been more developed.

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The story opens with a young woman , Christine selling her songs on the street of 19th century Paris.  Her charm and voice capture the attention of Count Phillippe De Chandon  who is a patron of the Paris Opera House.  He sends her there to learn voice lessons in the hope she will join the company.  Her dreams are derailed as new ownership of the opera house instead hires her to work in the costumes department.  The Opera House has long been rumored to be the location of a ghost, The Phantom of the Opera.  Though the new owners scoff at the idea, they are soon convinced when one of their staff is murdered.

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Hearing Christine  sing, the Phantom finally reveals himself to her   (with his famous mask on) and offers to give her voice lessons.   She accepts and as her vocal talents grow, so does a relationship between Christine and the Phantom (Erik) deep under the Opera House.  But as Christine’s star rises in the Opera House so does jealousy and the owner Carlotta plots to ruin her budding career.  It will be the Phantom who comes to her side to save her, though we learn that this relationship is not to be.

The story has great characters, and is filled with both light moments and heavy drama.  Casting for the show is brilliant with Kayleen Seidl taking on the role of Christine (a role originated by Glory Crampton). She charms the audience as she moves effortlessly across the stage. When she sings, her amazing vocal performance soars through the theater capturing and lifting the audience.  On opening night we witnessed a future Broadway star on the Westchester stage.

Matthew Billman wonderfully plays the dramatic and tragic role of the Phantom and though we never see his face under the mask, we feel his anguish and pain.  His vocals too were impressive and commanding.  A  fantastic cast with Broadway, off Broadway and regional  credits include James Van Threuren (Gerard Carriere)  who gives a warm and touching performance, Sandy Rosenberg as Carlotta who brings not only her vocal talent but some lightness to this drama.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, but the evening belongs to Kayleen Seidl and Matthew Billman with their touching performances and their soulful renditions of this amazing musical score.

Maury Yeston’s music and lyrics are memorable.   Songs such as “Melodies de Paris” are light, flowing and are so catchy that they will stay with you for many years. That is very effective song crafting.   Christine and Phantom’s duet of “ Home” is the one of my favorites or the evening, and is exquisite in its delivery.  The  most dramatic numbers of the evening belong to “You are My Own“, and finally “You are Music” delivered by Ms. Seidl at the conclusion of the show which ranks as one of the most moving musical numbers and performances I  have heard in recent memory.   It truly is a brilliant score.

Phantom is a fantastic show with a talented cast.  Costume design was elaborate and perfectly captured 19th Century Paris.  The amazing set design is a large part of the spectacle on stage.  Complete with balconies, suspended cat walks, a chandelier that crashes to the stage, and of course the elevated stage that appears and disappears and serves as the underworld lair of the Phantom.  Throw in dramatic lighting, fog machines, an underground lagoon and a boat that moves across stage.  The audience was amazed.

The production of this special show runs through November 25th.  Then it will pause and resume December 27th to January 27th.  A three course dinner is included in your ticket price and you dine prior to the show.

See Yeston and Kopit’s Phantom now!

for tickets and information:

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

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Go Grape Stomping at Robibero Family Vinyards September 22-23rd

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Looking for a really fun and unique event?  Then go grape stomping at Robibero Family Vineyards at their annual Grape Stomping Festival.  This years festival will take place on Saturday September 22nd and Sunday September 23rd 2018 .  The winery is open from 11 am to 6 pm.

At the event you will be able to take off your shoes and climb into a barrel filled with grapes and stomp away.  It is a great photo opportunity and something you will always remember.  No worries as there will be a station to wash off your feet after your stomping.

Your ticket price in addition to the stomping, a wine tasting of their fabulous wines in the tasting room or you may choose instead of the tasting to have a glass of wine and take home one logo glass.

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Robibero produces premium artisan wines that are handcrafted in small batches.  Some of the wines available are Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some delightful hybrid blends.  All the wine is made on site.  Bottles or cases are available for sale at the tasting room.

There will be live music from 2pm to 5 pm both days.   Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the winery, but space is limited.  Kids under 13  can stomp for free!  Non Drinkers can purchase a stomp only ticket for just $10.

There is also live music both days from 1 to 5 pm, food truck, and a bon fire.

Enjoy a beautiful day in the heart of the Hudson Valley and after the winery check out the shops and great restaurants in nearby downtown New Paltz.

See you there!

Robibero Family Winery

714 Albany Post Road  New Paltz New York           tel:  845-255-9463

http://www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com/Home_Page.html

tickets >>>>   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grape-stomping-festival-at-robibero-winery-tickets-42648945143

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Grand Opening of the Bedford Playhouse with films,cocktails, live music, meet legends Paul Shaffer,Clive Davis and more!

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Looking for something to do this weekend?  Then look no further than the newly renovated Bedford Playhouse in Bedford Village.

The Playhouse is thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of its eagerly anticipated film, arts and cultural center, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and a vibrant and welcoming café.

Three days of celebration and exciting programming will kick off a new chapter for the beloved landmark after a $6m+ renovation and community effort to save the Playhouse that began back in 2015.  You must see the amazing transformation of the Playhouse into a theater and arts attraction for the region.

Opening weekend events will include parties, family films, “community choice” flicks, wine tastings, live entertainment and some very special guests. In recognition of the first historic Bedford Playhouse Grand Opening in 1947, entry-level tickets to a majority of the community festivities will be priced at $19.47 and include food, drinks and entertainment.

Friday, September 28th – Opening Night + Red Carpet Fun! The debut of two new theaters, The Clive and The Worby, beer & wine tastings, delicious food, film trivia events and a “community choice” screening of Dirty Dancing (…Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner!)

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Saturday, September 29th – Hors D’oeuvres, Cocktails, Live Music, Dancing & Conversation with Paul Shaffer & Clive Davis

Sunday, September 30th – Family Day! Mimosas, muffins and lots of fun: Screenings of Despicable Me, a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long, Storytelling, Sleight-of-Hand, some not-so-ordinary Puppets, Live Music, Special Guests … and Surprises!   See you there !

For Tickets Visit :  https://bedfordplayhouse.org

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Greenwich Wine and Food Festival returns to Greenwich September 21-22nd

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The fantastic Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by PepsiCo returns to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park on the harbor in Greenwich Ct., September 21-22, 2018.  The festival is amazing with food, wine, beer, and spirits tastings, celebrity chefs and demonstrations, a casino gaming tent, and capped off by a fantastic outdoor concert.  All this is the beautiful setting of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

Friday night will feature a  special dinner with The Opening Night Master Chef Wine Dinner, held at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park on Friday, September 21, will honor Alex Guarnaschelli for her innovation and substantial contributions to the culinary world.

Saturday September 22nd is a fun filled day starting at 12:30 pm with the Grand Tasting Tent with 150 different food and beverage vendors!  It is quite the treat.  It is a great way to sample wine, spirits, beverages and check out the culinary delights from great local restaurants.

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Celebrity chefs abound at the festival with The Celebrity Green Room, presented by Ethan Allen, will host celebrities and culinary experts in a luxury lounge while being interviewed by Serendipity contributing editors Chef Matt Storch and Chef Robin Selden.

12:30-12:50pm – Adam Richman  1:00-1:20pm – Scott Conant 1:30-1:50pm – Alex Guarnaschelli  2:00-2:20pm – Samantha Benjamin (The Dessertist), Kevin Des Chenes (restauranteur and author) and Lindsay Perkins (Lindsay Culinary, LLC)    2:30-2:50pm – Christian Petroni (Fortina, Winner of Next Food Network Star), Bill Taibe (Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, The Whelk) and Serena Wolf (author and Domesticate-Me.com)  and more!

From 1pm to 6pm there will be two kitchen demonstration stages with celebrity chefs presenting great cooking demos.

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From 4:30 pm to 8:30pm there will be more great activities leading up to concert time!  There will be “The South of The Border” presented by Don Julio featuring the flavors of Mexico.   Bud and Burgers will have burger samples from competing restaurants as well as plenty of Budweiser on tap.   There is also a great “Tailgate Party” during this time with great samples from   featuring samples from Blue Point Brewing Company, Cafe’ Bon, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Filippo Berio, Half Full Brewery, Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Izzi B’s Bakery, Jameson, Kettle One, KOW Steaks, Mike’s Organic Delivery, Pepsi Zero, The Blind Rhino, The Dough Girls, True Color Sparkling Wine, Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors, Walter’s Hot Dogs and Woodford Reserve.  There is something for everyone!

The festival will end with an outdoor concert.  At 6:30 pm vocalist and multi instrumentalist Caroline Jones will kick off the concert. She has released her first album this year “Bare Feet” and has spent much of 2018 touring with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.  I have seen her in concert and she is not to be missed!

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At 8:30 pm Tim McGraw will be the main act on stage.  McGraw’s career spans over 20 years and  is considered a top  country music artist. He has numerous Grammy, CMA and AMA awards to his credit.  His crossover into a blend of country and pop music has made him a fan favorite all over the country.

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This event is not to be missed and comes along once a year !  For more information click the link below.

https://serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food

Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by PepsiCo

 

Ridgefield Theater Barn opens its 53rd season with the musical comedy, Urinetown

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The Ridgefield Theater Barn has opened is 53rd season with Urinetown, The Musical.   Urinetown is a satirical musical comedy .  It satirizes the legal system, capitalism social irresponsibility, populism,  bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics  The show also parodies past musicals, and the Broadway musical itself as an art form.

The play opened on Broadway in 2001 and ran for over 900 performances.  It was  the winner of the 2002 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score.   The music and lyrics were written  by Mark Hollmann,  and the book and lyrics  were penned by Greg Kotis.

This very funny musical now comes to the Ridgefield Theater Barn Stage with performances through September 28th 2018.    This production is directed by Deb Failla with Musical Direction by Lisa Riggs Hobbs. The show features Michael Valinoti, Elyse Jasensky, Chris Balestriere, Monica Harrington, James Hobayan, Bill Warncke, Joe Caputo,  Meaghan Elliot, Shawn Tyler Allen, Rachel Lotstein, Samantha Holomakoff, Rachel Lewis, Duane Lamham, Lesli Allen, Stephen Emerick, and Harry Brendan Garnett.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a wonderful intimate venue to enjoy live theater.  Seating is cabaret style at tables and theater goers are encouraged to bring their own food and wine to enjoy prior to the performance.

Don’t miss this hysterical show  before it sells out!  For tickets and more information:

http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

Tickets are $38 and Seniors (62)/Students/Veterans $30

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane  •  Ridgefield, CT

 

 

Sunset Wine Party comes to Ridgefield, September 23rd

ridgefield wineOn September 23rd from from 6 pm to 10 pm, get ready to experience a fabulous evening of wine and food in Ridgefield Ct.  at the iconic Lounsbury House.  Attendees to this event will:

Taste over 80 wines presented by Ancona’s Wines & Liquors

Sample decadent food pairings expertly crafted by Executive Chef Giuseppe Castellano from Gallo Ristorante

Experience special wines at the Townvibe Exclusive Tasting Lounge

Listen to great DJ sessions

Learn wine tips from our wine pros during the 20 min Wine Talks

Watch your favorite wines make it to the top ten live ranking with our web app

Step into  the  interactive GIF booths and watch it all blow up on social media!

Enjoy the Wine Garden while you swirl and sip, watch the sunset and have a great time. Win a pair of tickets to this fun happening by contacting me through this website or the I on the Valley Facebook page and state why you wish to attend.

Come on out and celebrate the simple pleasures of life, in a night that will be anything but simple! Cheers!

Sunset Wine Party  presented by Ancona’s

web for info and tickets:  bit.ly/sunsetwineparty

LOUNSBURY HOUSE – RIDGEFIELD CT

316 Main St, Ridgefield, CT

 

Evarito’s: a modern take on authentic Mexican cuisine in SoNo

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SoNo (South Norwalk) is already home to a vibrant dining scene, and it has just been enhanced with the addition of Evarito’s.   The restaurant is the latest offering from the Skal Restaurant Group whose other popular restaurants include Cask Republic (SoNo, Stamford, New Haven) and the Ginger Man (Greenwich).   Having dined at the Cask Republic location in SoNo we were excited to experience this latest restaurant.

Evarito’s menu is Mexican but has been described as “Mexican mash up”.  It has been expertly crafted to blend authentic Mexican dishes with modern culinary trends.  Christian Burns, principal of the Skal Restaurant Group has culled dishes from his travels to Mexico and brought these items to Evarito’s which can be paired with a fine selection of craft cocktails.   We were quite surprised by the interior design of the restaurant.  Instead of the stripped down industrial look of many new Mexican eateries, Everito’s has taken a different path and developed an elegant  yet casual space to dine. It is both refined yet  inviting at the same time. High ceilings, beautiful lighting,  wood floors and tables and  banquettes covered in teal create a warm comfortable space.  The bar is long and impressive with Mexican tile accents.  The tile is repeated again in the large fireplace wall which dominates one side of the room.  Evarito’s is really several different spaces with the large dining room, bar area, open kitchen with raw bar and the spacious outdoor area  on the side of the restaurant.

Drinks are creative and numerous.  There are 7 different margaritas on the menu, several other house special cocktails,  18 varieties of beer (can or bottle) and 12 different wines available in glass or bottle.

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While the drinks are excellent, the main event is the fresh, authentic and uncluttered take on Mexican cuisine.  For starters we tried the Salsa Tour, a fun and unique way to dip your chips with selections such as salsa roja, salsa verde, mole negra,, avocado, and chile de arbol.  Each salsa has a different flavor, texture and heat and are great to share.    The Cactus Salad also made its way to our table and the this healthy mix of grilled cactus, tomato, cheese, fresh avocado and market greens was light and delish.  Nice dish for the veggie lover.

Main dishes are comprised of Tacos ($7-$9), Tostadas ($10-$12), Mexican Plates ($19-$25) and Fajitas al Carbon, prepared on a wood fired grill ($21-$23).    The tacos come two per order and are served on soft gluten free and non-gmo corn tortillas.   We tried the Fish Al Carbon, a delicious combo of grilled fish, pico de gallo, spicy mayo and cactus. This dish was so different then tacos we have had elsewhere and the emphasis on fresh ingredients and authentic recipes was evident in each bite.  Also enjoyed was the tasty Chicken Tacos and the Cauliflower Mole a unique blend of roasted cauliflower, mole, plantains and pickled onions.  This last dish is fantastic for the healthy eater or the vegetarian.

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There are four tostadas on the menu and we loved the Shrimp Tostada featuring fresh shrimp, chipotle and tomato cream, avocado and just enough onion to add some zip.  This fresh seafood dish made my mind wander to some Mexican seaside restaurant as I took each bite.

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Shrimp Tostada

Our final dish was the Shrimp Fajitas which was unlike any fajita I have ever seen or tasted.  The presentation was beautiful with the hand pressed tortillas served in a small ornate wooden box. The main dish was wood fired shrimp, grilled veggies (beets, root vegetables), cilantro cream and salsa roja.  I loved every bite and honestly this was the best fajita I have ever had.  It was that good.

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Shrimp Fajita with sauce on the side and tortillas served in a ornate wood box

Evarito’s is a unique Mexican eatery.  Its fine upscale interior design coupled with its carefully crafted menu that has elevated Mexican cuisine to a new level.  Upon leaving I instantly thought of the great healthy meal we enjoyed and what we will order on our next visit.

 

Evarito’s

14-16 North Main Street  South Norwalk Ct  (SoNo)

https://www.evaritos.com

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