Join us Monday, December 5, at 6 pm for our annual Verso Studios Holiday Party and Open House.

The holiday party is open to everyone who participates in Verso Studios activities, Verso Studios volunteers, and anyone interested in Verso Studios services, activities, training, and more. That includes those who want to be part of Community Crew for live productions and/or those just want to know more about Verso Studios.

Registration is REQUIRED. Register HERE for your complimentary ticket to the holiday party!

The Westport Museum for History & Culture is teaming up with Verso Studios at The Westport Library for a new community partnership podcast, Buried in Our Past, focusing on the histories all around us that have been lost to time.

Surprising, exciting, and sometimes peculiar, the series shares research unearthed by Westport Museum that offers a new way of looking at the past and rethinking the present.

The podcast is recorded at The Westport Library’s Verso Studios, with new episodes coming out monthly and available on the Library’s YouTube channel and podcast platforms Apple and Spotify.

“We are always looking for new ways to get people excited about history,” said Ramin Ganeshram, executive director of Westport Museum. “Working with the Library's spectacular Verso Studios to produce Buried in Our Past allows Westport Museum to reach audiences in a new way, which we hope will whet the appetite for more.”

The debut episode, available now, features the true story of the first Thanksgiving with guest Greg Porretta, a Julliard-trained actor and Westport Museum board member.

“We’re very excited to welcome Westport Museum as a vital community organization working with our Verso Studios to engage listeners on fascinating historical topics,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “Buried in Our Past is an excellent and natural concept met with our technical expertise and creative guidance. It’s continually thrilling to see Verso Studios’ mission to serve an inclusive, future-forward cultural and learning center come to fruition.”

For more about Verso Studios community partnership podcasts, visit our webpage and check out our playlist on YouTube. Click here to learn more about Westport Museum.

Famed keyboardist and noted producer and radio host Mark Naftalin is bringing his talents to The Westport Library as part of a new series of blues concerts to be held monthly, starting in September.

Mark Naftalin's Blue Sunday kicks off on Sunday, September 18, from 3 to 5 pm, presented by The Westport Library and Verso Studios. It will be hosted by Naftalin, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who rose to fame as the keyboardist with the influential Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

The Blue Sunday kickoff will feature singing guitarists Chance Browne (The Twinkies, Hi and Lois artist), Chris “Otis” Cross (Otis and the Hurricanes) and Paul Gabriel (Blue In The Face, Paul Gabriel Blues Band, Connecticut Blues Society Lifetime Achievement Award); singing harmonicists Manny Foglio (Manny and the Mojomatics) and Mark Zaretsky (Cobalt Rhythm Kings); bassist David Anastasia (Mojomatics, Walter Lewis Blues Trio, The Zero Boys); percussionists Matt Moadel (Mystic Bowie, Fuzz On It, The David Morgan Trio, Portal) and Barry Urich (Blue In The Face, Jose Feliciano); accordionist-pianist-vocalist Smokin’ Joe Najmy (Otis and the Hurricanes, Mill River Band); sax master Crispin Cioe (Albert Collins, James Cotton, Uptown Horns, Cracked Ice); washboard wizard Washboard Slim (Washboard Slim & The Blue Lights); and Naftalin on piano.  

Pathbreakers in the 1960s blues boom, the inter-racial Butterfield Band opened doors for blues masters like B.B. King and Muddy Waters, and Naftalin went on to record and/or perform with a host of blues stars, including Michael Bloomfield, James Cotton, Lowell Fulson, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Percy Mayfield, Carla Thomas, Irma Thomas, Otis Rush, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner, and many others. In 2015 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. 

Living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area, Naftalin produced more than 1,300 blues radio broadcasts on three FM stations, in addition and more than 30 blues festivals. His Blue Sunday at The Westport Library is a nod to his Blue Monday Party, a weekly blues show and dance in the Bay Area (1979-83) that featured more than 60 blues artists and groups and was the scene of 86 live radio broadcasts and three TV specials. 

In 2002, Mark and his wife, Ellen, moved to Westport, which is Ellen's hometown. His monthly broadcast, The Mark Naftalin Show, is now in its seventh year on Bridgeport's WPKN (89.5 FM, streaming world-wide at wpkn.org). 

Mark says he is “pleased as punch” to be collaborating with The Westport Library and Verso Studios on a blues series.

Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer said, “Blue Sunday capitalizes on the success of Verso Studios music and media festival VersoFest and the adventurous Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians series. The Westport Library is honored to be working with yet another storied Westport creative resident as we build upon our mutual legacies.”

The events are free, but registration is required via this link.

L to R: Frank Critelli, The Sawtelles

The Westport Farmers’ Market and Verso Studios are teaming up to bring some of the best original Connecticut talent to the 10 am to 2 pm music performance slot. 

With Verso Studios curating, Local Bands Show host and singer/songwriter/troubadour Frank Critelli (New Haven) and Friends will be playing Thursday, September 1. The Sawtelles follow October 13 with their sparse and intricately arranged pop.

“It is super exciting to host our neighbors from The Westport Library’s Verso Studios at the market,” Westport Farmers’ Market Director Lori Cochran-Dougall said. “We are mutually such big fans of one another that this seems like a natural fit.”

“Going to the he Westport Farmers’ Market is such a quintessential part of the Westport experience,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “That the Library and Verso Studios can be part of that is really cool for us, and we hope fun for everyone who visits.”

Thomas Henske stands at the Verso Studios mixing board with Westport Library Sound Studios Manager Travis Bell. (Photo credit: Jerri Graham)
Tom Henske (right) in Verso Studios with Westport Library Sound Studios Manager Travis Bell. (Photo credit: Jerri Graham)

A financial advisor for 27 years and Westport resident for 20 years, Tom Henske knows his way around his field and his town. It was thinking about the two in tandem that brought him to a realization that has set him on a new path — and launched his latest endeavor.

“Westport is an affluent community,” said Henske, “and my concern was that the shoemakers’ kids were not going to have the right shoes! I needed to teach my kids about money, or at least get them thinking about it. I went looking for material to teach my son and there was nothing out there. It only took me years and years later, but finally, with the help of The Westport Library, we were able to create this amazing project together.”

That project is Total Cents, a 12-part Verso Studios Community Partnership Podcast that delivers advice and discussion points on financial literacy for teens. Each episode tackles key concepts in digestible 6- to 12-minute segments. Season One topics include insurance, money safety, legal documents, investing, saving, spending, the value of a dollar, and charitable giving.

[Related: Total Cents Podcast, Season One]

“It’s really a health and wellness podcast when you think about it,” Henske said. “One of the most important things for your kids to learn before they go to college is learning the basic jargon around money terms. If they don’t, they will be forever behind. They’ll start their first job out of college and won’t enroll in a retirement plan or get the right type of health insurance. All these are habits that need to be learned and practiced.

“The people who are financially successful have good habits, just like anything in life — it could be good eating habits, good exercising habits — it’s just having good money habits.”

Each podcast is reinforced by funny and topical TikTok videos appealing to teens, conversation guides for parents, and anecdotes from Henske’s forthcoming book (It Makes Total Cents: 12 Conversations to Change Your Child’s Future).

Henske acknowledges that the series has some stealth teaching components that may end up helping parents realize their own financial futures while they educate the next generation. He hopes grown-up conversations around money can help galvanize and advance other generational discussion on other potentially difficult topics.

As for Henske’s experience at Verso Studios, the longtime financial advisor and first-time podcaster said that “it was daunting for me at first to walk into the recording studio, which looks like NASA mission control. But the beauty of working with The Westport Library on this project is that Verso Studios made it really easy for me. They coached me along the way. What makes this project so special is that it’s not just one person; it’s collaborative. The experience could not have been better.”

***

For more information on the Verso Studios Community Partnership Podcast initiative, contact [email protected].

Join Verso Studios Producer David Bibbey and Audio Studios Manager Travis Bell to experience the sights and sounds of what's happening at Verso Studios and to find out how you can get involved.

Meet and chat with our growing production crew that is trained, ready, and welcoming of others who wish to learn TV and audio production at The Westport Library.

Get to know each other, get to know us, get to know what we have and what we can do with it!

FREE, FUN EVENT! Register HERE.

Who:  

  • Past trainees
  • Those interested in future training programs
  • Those interested in joining our production crew
  • Those interested in networking with other active digital media, video, podcasting, recording music folk
  • Those interested in our facilities and equipment

What:

  • Meet the Verso Studios team - video, live streaming, audio recording, and podcasting experts
  • See the new facilities and equipment we've added/updated in the last year as we evolved to accommodate live streaming and hybrid programming
  • Hear about our training programs and other upcoming learning opportunities
  • Share with us what training and facilities interest you
  • Introduce yourself to us and to each other and share what you are up to
  • Get your hands on our Library of Things media equipment
  • Hear about our CREW CALL program - where we are training volunteers to be part of our live event video production team

Where: 

  • Trefz Forum, the Westport Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
203.291.4800

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