The Westerly Sun

Greetings dear friends and readers and welcome back for our day after Super Bowl LII visit. By now, we’ll know who won the big game and we’ll be re-living each play and talking about Pink, all the crazy commercials, Justin Timberlake, Olivia Culpo and Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and (as always) Gisele, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. So now, we can get ready for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony (Friday on NBC) the Academy Awards, and, more importantly, we can start talking baseball. Today is the day for the annual equipment-truck departure from Fenway Park to Fort Myers, and Red Sox pitchers and catchers report on Valentine’s Day (or Ash Wednesday this year) Feb. 14. Their first full-squad workout is Feb. 19 and the first game in JetBlue Park is a doubleheader against Boston College and Northeastern. Spring is coming! Time to look for snow drops! Please let me know who sees the first one!

What a treat to hear from Westerly resident Lois Parise, who wrote to share news of her daughter, Vanessa, and “some wonderful new happenings in Vanessa’s career.” Vanessa not only directed an episode of the hit TV series, “Beyond,” which aired Thursday on Freeform TV, but she also directed a full-length film, “The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar,” which premiered on Lifetime Saturday night. Lois said the story is “heart-warming and inspirational,” features great gymnastics and will appeal to everyone in the family. As always, mom Lois expressed gratitide for Vanessa’s hometown support system and praise for her daughter who, she said, continues to make great strides in her career as director — both in film and on television. There are still so few female directors, Lois said, but Vanessa keeps fighting the good fight and keeps tying to help raise the glass ceiling. She is also the proud mother of a beautiful two-year-old boy named Zayden, said Lois who lives in LA during the winter months. Readers may remember Vanessa earned the People’s Choice award in the Rhode Island Film Festival back in 2002 for her Westerly-based film “Kiss The Bride,” which drew full houses in the Boston Film Festival and captured top honors in other film fests around the world. In 2008, her film, “Jack and Jill Versus the World,” which she co-wrote, produced and directed, had a score written by her younger brother Jeremy. Called a love story for cynics, the film starred Freddie Prinze Jr., Taryn Manning, Robert Forster and Kelly Rowen. In 2014, the magna cum laude Harvard grad who was the WHS class of 1988’s valedictorian, and was on the cheerleading squad during her high school days, released “#PopFan” —   a thriller and coming-of-age made-for-TV movie — on the Lifetime channel that was honored for being one of  “Ten Female Directors Breaking Stereotypes.”

Speaking of show biz, I heard from former Westerly resident Joy “Mama” Young last week who was thrilled to share the news that her daughter, Magen Ashley Young, an LA resident who has been acting all her life, and has been an extra in such popular shows as “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Wife” and “Mr. Robot,” just finished a gig as an assistant director on an an independent film, but was headed to meet with a talent scout last week, and according to mom, “getting back on stage or in front of the camera!”

Stay tuned and ciao bella!


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