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© 2017 by Megan Smith-Harris. All rights reserved.

MEGAblog

Stuff I Like that You Will Too—Really

         

(Select blog posts previously published on Hearst CT Media) 

Your 15 minutes of Warhol

Maybe you’ve watched one too many reruns of “Real Housewives” and are feeling, well, a little bit sullied. Or perhaps you need to impress your out-of-town friends who are sooo not easily impressed. Well now you can nourish your soul and impress your high falutin’ friends without shlepping to the city in these oh-so sticky dog days of summer.

A stunning exhibit of Andy Warhol’s artwork can be seen right in your own back yard. (Or rather, in the backyard you wish you had…) Greenwich resident Peter Brant has amassed one of the largest and most comprehensive private collections of Warhol in the world and is very kindly sharing it with the public. This thoughtful and well-curated exhibition is currently on display at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center until the end of September.

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low cost / High Society

The “sport of kings” is not just for royals and the über affluent. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about polo is that it’s an elite sport far beyond their reach. True, most of us can’t afford to play polo but believe it or not, an afternoon watching a match is an affordable and unique outing with friends or family.  Pack a stylish picnic and wear some stylish clothes and then head  to Conyers Farm in Greenwich, CT where tailgating is not only permitted, but whole-heartedly encouraged. And the only cost involved is $40 per car no matter how many passengers in it.

 

“But,” you say with trepidation, “I know nothing about polo – it’s intimidating. Won’t I look like an idiot?"

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Indulge Your Design Fantasies

There are not many things I’m truly greedy about, but it seems like the very clever organizers of Rooms With A View – a visually stunning event for a good cause – know just how to tempt me. Stylish interior design plus fashion, shopping, and food? I’m so there.

 

When I learned the Honorary Chair was the none other than designer Thom Filicia, dubbed one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 Designers, an International Taste Maker by House & Garden, and an A-List Designer by Elle Décor, I was  even more intrigued. Many of you will remember Filicia from his star turn in Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, but since then he has gone on to become one of the country’s most in-demand designers. So I immediately hopped into my car and braved I-95 during rush hour and a heavy downpour to get to the historic Southport Congregational Church to see what Rooms With A View had to offer.

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A Personal Chef Pour Moi?

I am not rich, I do not have a trust fund and I’m actually a very good cook, so why on earth would I want to use a personal chef?  Well, if the opportunity presented itself, who wouldn’t? Let’s face it, I can also wash my own car, do my own pedicures and knit my own sweaters, but that doesn’t mean I want to.  For me, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to cram in all the things I want to do (read stack of books on bedside table, go to Italy, have own talk show), should do (clean out garage, give away clothes that don’t fit, floss daily), and must do (exercise, send thank-you notes, empty kitty litter). In my world the days of languidly planning, shopping for and creating a delicious candlelit repast are long, long gone.

Or are they? What if, when I was really pressed for time and feeling generally overwhelmed by Life, someone else could plan, shop and cook for me? What if all I had to do was set the table and light the candles?

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Brazen, brutal & Unsolved

Private school fees getting you down? Got your eye on a Bugatti Beyron that you just have to have?  Well, I’m here to tell you about the guaranteed way to make five million dollars so you can indulge in whatever materialistic fantasy you’re currently entertaining. Just arrange for the return of the thirteen priceless art pieces stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the FBI will cut you a check for a cool five mill.

 

You may recall the sensational story: on March 18, 1990 two men posing as police officers entered the Gardner Museum and brazenly cut several masterpieces from their frames, grabbed a couple of objets d’arts and departed 81 minutes later with works by Manet, Degas, Vermeer and Rembrandt.

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JAZZ UP YOUR LIFE

Pssst… ever heard of Jazz in the Garden?  This much-loved annual event is one of Fairfield County’s best-kept secrets. Why should you go? Let me count the ways:

 

1.    GRACE KELLY No…not that one. This Grace Kelly is a former musical child prodigy who has grown up to be an extraordinary 21 year-old wunderkind – she’s a saxophonist, composer, lyricist, arranger, educator, and singer with 8 albums to her credit. And if you come to Jazz in the Garden, you will hear her and the Grace Kelly Quintet. How good is she?

 

One afternoon Harry Connick Jr. heard Kelly play in a master class and brought her on stage that very night to sit in with him and his band. Wynton Marsalis invited her to DC as a musician for President Obama’s Inauguration and says of her talents, “Grace Kelly plays with intelligence, wit and feeling. She has a great amount of natural ability and the ability to adapt that is the hallmark of a first-class jazz musician.” Jazz musician, Chris Brubeck of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet says simply, “Don’t miss her!"

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ORDER ROOM SERVICE

Many plays tackle political, religious, or social issues and effectively knock us out of our collective comfort zones. By throwing cultural norms under a microscope, theater  can challenge all of  us to more closely scrutinize ourselves, and the society we live in. And then, there are plays like Room Service, that gleefully have no agenda other than straightforward, in-your-face entertainment.

 

So if you’re in the mood for a fast-paced farce with uniformly energetic performances served up with hefty doses of nostalgia and campy-fun, then you are definitely the right customer for Room Service, the 1937 comedy by Allen Boretz and John Murray, currently playing at the Westport Country Playhouse.

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MEET THE CHILD of GIAnts

Not “giants” as in two mythical beings of superhuman size, but as in the offspring of two parents who stood out as Giants in the crowded landscape of 20th century American art, namely iconic photographer, Dorothea Lange and Southwestern painter, Maynard Dixon.

 

If you’re pondering intriguing options for your Saturday evening, look no further. Come see Child of Giants, a fascinating documentary being presented as part of the popular New Perspectives Documentary Series, now in its fifth year at the Wilton Library Brubeck Room. I had the pleasure of seeing this memorable documentary last spring at the Sedona International Film Festival and immediately invited filmmaker Tom Ropelewski to bring his visually stunning film to Connecticut. Thankfully, he agreed.

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TAKING THE STAND

I love good food. And some bad food too (never met a strip of bacon, bowl of mac ‘n cheese or a hot buttery croissant that I said no to…) I also routinely indulge my passion for wine and all the salty/cheesy/savory snacks that accompany it so well. And you know what?  It shows. It’s not that I didn’t notice my increased girth over the past several years – I did, and it didn’t make me very happy. But clearly I didn’t care enough to do anything meaningful to improve the situation. Recently however, I realized It Was Time.  I was feeling blah and not even enjoying what I was eating and drinking. I took stock and realized that I’d developed a lot of routines that were sabotaging my health – a habitual latte every morning and Diet Coke every afternoon, daily grazing between meals, a preponderance of red meat, and portions that were, frankly, too damn big.

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SAIL AWAY

Tired of your ho hum summer activities? Want to get off the scorching beach and on to the water in your very own sailboat so you can wave to the hoi polloi like the Queen of England? Well that was me last week, and I had the satisfaction of making it all a reality in less than an hour. POOF!  Now how often does that happen in life? Almost never. So how on earth did I manage to do it?

 

Simple. On a whim, I picked up the phone and made a reservation for a sailboat at the Longshore Sailing School in Westport. And guess what? YOU CAN TOO.

 

Here’s the best part: it’s way more affordable than you might imagine. And really, dear blog-friend, why go through the hassle and expense of buying a sailboat when you can just rent one by the hour?

 

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ENJOYING OBLIVION

CAPSULE REVIEW: A Superlative Play. Solid Performances. At Westport Country Playhouse. See it.

 

A FEW MORE THOUGHTS: There’s something special happening at the Westport Country Playhouse and I want everyone in Fairfield County to know about it. Oblivion, a complex and captivating new play by Carly Mensch premiered this past Saturday and it’s a winner. It’s always exciting to witness the rise of a shining talent, and Mensch, who has already conquered the world of television with multiple scripts for Weeds, definitely qualifies. Her writing brings to mind that of  Pulitzer prize-winning playwrights, Tracy Letts (August Osage County) and John Patrick Shanley (Doubt).

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SCUBA DIVING IN

LONG ISLAND SOUND?

I don’t know about you, but I love to scuba dive. I love everything about it – wearing the oxygen tank and flippers, doing that crazy diver backflip into the ocean, silently gliding underwater and observing fanciful sea creatures, and most of all, not talking. That’s right, NOT talking. I’m a bit of a chatterbox, so my friends are understandably shocked to learn that I love the more meditative aspects of the undersea world and they’re amazed to learn that I am a certified scuba diver.

 

But recently, I realized with shock and regret, that while the Mommy Years have given me much to be grateful for, they have officially ROBBED me of everything I ever learned about scuba diving. Like, everything. The last time I donned a regulator, wet suit and fins was 15 years ago on my honeymoon in the Caribbean when I still happily wore a bathing suit in public.

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