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Sunday, November 29, 2015
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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

Nov. 14 - Tivoli
Kaatsbaan's 25th Anniversary

Nov. 13 - Pittsfield
Westward Ho Ho Ho!

Nov. 12 - G. Barrington
The Triplex's 20th Anniversary

Berkshire Museum’s Tree Fest Goes West

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Cowboy hat and bandana? Check. Plaid shirt and jeans? Check. Faux leather and fringe? Check. All of the accoutrements necessary for a Wild West fest were present and accounted for on guests of Berkshire Museum’s 2015 Festival of Trees opening reception on Friday, Nov. 13. This year’s “Westward Ho Ho Ho!” themed display took inspiration from American West, the Museum’s dual exhibition made up of National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West and Go West, curated holdings of the Museum. A large crowd of supporters “grazed” on sliders and other chuck wagon favorites from Firefly as they took in the trees decorated by local business sponsors. Twinkling cacti, a tee-pee with a Christmas tree hidden inside, fake roaring campfires, historical ephemera and even a bison skeleton were sprinkled throughout the second-floor galleries. Andy Wrba and Friends supplied the lively ho-down music for what was a spirited community celebration the city looks forward to every year. Party proceeds benefit the Museum’s education programs. All three exhibits run through early January of 2016. Pictured above, Shela Hidalgo, Berkshire Museum trustee Ethan Klepetar, Jonathan Butler and Michelle Butler.

Ruth Blodgett and Pittsfield mayor-elect Linda Tyer; Chris and Aimee Knysh, Melodie Sinopoli and Hans and Kate Teutsch of Digital First Media.

Matthew Chester of major sponsor RBC Wealth Management, Kameron Spaulding and Anna Shippee; Tony Dunne and Julia Dixon.

Berkshire Museum’s executive director Van Shields with Ed Moran, Lisa Ostellino and Barb Patton who helped Pittsfield High School students decorate a tree and the lobby of the Museum.

Colleen Quinn and Ben Garver, photo editor of The Berkshire Eagle; Rob Dwyer and Whitney Smith.

Michael Vincent Bushy and Jen Gomez; Ellen Broderick, John Kelly and Julianne Maxwell of Hill Engineers, who is a major sponsor of the exhibit.

Shela Hidalgo, Jonah Sykes, Darcie Sosa, James Campagna, the Museum’s communications assistant Kimberley Donoughe, Colin Sykes and Carly Gaherty.

Kevin Blue and Pia Norton; Jan Werner, Bonnie Hoskeer Kirchner and Laurie Werner.

Pick your portrait: at the exhibit, guests can pose for a photo on a horse-drawn wagon or with Snoopy next to a roaring fire.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/15/15 at 08:28 PM • Permalink

Kaatsbaan Celebrates 25 Years As A Dancer’s Dream Retreat

Lisa Green reports from Tivoli. Twenty-five years ago, four dance professionals, including American Ballet Theatre stars Martine van Hamel and Kevin McKenzie, established Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, New York. Their mission was to provide affordable studio space and rehearsal time, and to create an environment for professional dancers and companies to develop and create new works. A quarter of a century later, Kaatsbaan has become the biggest presenter of dance outside of New York City, according to McKenzie, with outstanding facilities at the former Tivoli Farm. On Saturday, Nov. 14, Kaatsbaan celebrated its 25 years with a gala performance featuring stars from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and The Martha Graham Dance Company. Following the performance, guests moved into the dance studio, which was transformed into a candlelit dining room, with dinner prepared by Murray’s Tivoli. The “honored guest,” actor and Tivoli resident Mary Stuart Masterson, related what Kaatsbaan’s dance academy has done for her children and others who attend the school. As many guests headed to the lobby for dessert and a silent auction, others stayed in the studio/dining room to…what else? dance — to Motown tunes with vocals provided by Aurelia Williams. Above, Prudence Garcia-Renart, the program manager, called “the glue of Kaatsbaan” by Kevin McKenzie, standing beside her.

Chris Bailey, Wilhlemina Franfurt, a former ballerina with the New York City Ballet and Bob Whitcomb; poets and performers Patricia Martin and Victoria Sullivan.

Alison Crowther, a former director of Kaatsbaan’s board of trustees, founders Kevin McKenzie and Martine van Hamel, and Jefferson Crowther.

Robert Tischler and Sylwia Kochran; dancer Kati Garcia-Renart, director of the Kaatsbaan Academy of Dance and Angela Menendez, a volunteer.

Just a couple of actors from Tivoli: Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson, who produce Storyhorse Documentary Theater.

The dance studio transformed for a gala dinner; signed ballet slippers offered at the silent auction.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/15/15 at 11:51 AM • Permalink

The Theater That Made Great Barrington Celebrates Two Decades

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The 20th anniversary celebration of the Triplex Cinema was as much a lesson in Great Barrington history as it was a party. On Thursday, Nov. 12, the town’s one and only movie theater celebrated two decades with food and a special screening tracing the history of how the cinema came to be. It’s hard to believe, but 20 years ago the Triplex and its surrounding area were not the bustling social hub we know today. Instead of restaurants and stores there were empty buildings and a lumber yard. But after a fire at the lumber yard, Triplex owner Richard Stanley wanted to make use of the desolate space and, after some consideration, decided to open a movie theater. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears for Stanley, and help from the community, many of whom spoke on Thursday night. Everyone involved, from the mortgage broker to members of the Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged what a special presence the Triplex is and how it revitalized the town by bringing in businesses and people, and becoming a destination for Great Barrington. Shown above, former president of the South Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Richard Brittain, president of Berkshire Housing Elton Ogden and Richard Stanley.

Great Barrington town manager Jennifer Tabakin with Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire executive director Tim Geller; Great Barrington selectman Bill Cooke and Annie Okerstrom-Lang

Gun Stanley, wife of Richard, and Gayle Raser; Berkshire Bank’s Louann Harvey and The Darrow School’s director of advancement for annual fund and alumni relations Alexandra Heddinger who worked at the Triplex when it first opened.

Berkshire Meadow director Lisa Kelly, architect Craig Okerstrom-Lang and his wife, Annie.

Thornwood Innproprietor Terry Thorne with Barb Mulholand; Great Barrington selectman Ed Abrahams and Bill Cooke.

Richard Stanley cutting into the “20 Years of Great Films” cake; the crowd of supporters, patrons and film lovers.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/13/15 at 12:45 PM • Permalink

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market Farm-To-Glass Throwdown

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. It was an evening of stiff drinks and even stiffer competition as the first-ever Farm-to-glass Throwdown on Sunday, Nov. 7 pitted some of the Berkshires’ best bartenders against each other to see who could craft the finest cocktail. The fundraiser for the new Downtown Pittsfield Winter Farmers Market was held upstairs at Hotel on North. Competitors included Johnny Burns from Methuselah Bar and Lounge; Ashley Junod from Brava Lenox; Meghan Merrigan from District Kitchen & Bar; Kristen Parker from Dream Away Lodge; Billy Paul from allium restaurant and bar; and Joseph Scully from Prairie Whale. Contestants picked their poisons from a list of ingredients found at the farmers market and liquors from co-sponsor Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Their concoctions were judged by Mitch and Seth Nash of Blue Q; Nathan Hanford, an artist with Soldier On; Caitlin Harrison from Mise Wines; Waterfall Perry of Jan Perry Realty; and Nancy Thomas, co-owner of Mezze Restaurant Group. Paul, Scully and Parker (whose drink, “The Dodo,” won the “people’s choice award”), continued on to round two, where they had mere minutes to create a drink using a surprise ingredient. The creative use of that ingredient, elderflower jam, made Scully a champion. The winter farmers market begins this Saturday and will run the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club. Above, market committee chair Regina Burgio and market manager Jess Conzo.

Competitor Kristen Parker with Dream Away Lodge owner Daniel Osman, Ashley Junod and industrial engineer DJ Junod; Throwdown winner Joe Scully with Berkshire Mountain DistillersChris Weld.

Tristan Vogel and Dawn Philip; Jaime Weyers, Quincey Sobczyk and Rachel Parzick.

Rachel Plaine, Leah Parker, Alex Groff and Andrew Groff; Sam Russo and Eamonn Barry.

George Whaling and Jennifer Galvagni; Erin Merrigan and North Adams City Councilor Kate Merrigan showed up to support their sister, Meghan.

Holly Viola and Daniel Putignano; Johnny Burns, bartender extraordinaire.

Meghan Merrigan entertained the crowd while mixing; The Nash brothers judge away.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/09/15 at 03:30 PM • Permalink

‘Freakshow’ Scares Up Funds For Berkshire Theatre Group

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Great minds thought alike last year when Berkshire Theatre Group and party planners Berkshire Shenanigans threw dual Halloween-night masquerade balls at the Colonial Theatre and The Mount, respectively. This year they teamed up on Saturday, Oct. 31 to put on a massive 1920s carnival “Freakshow” blowout at the Colonial that some are calling the “party of the year.” The sold-out evening began with an intimate dinner at Shire City Sanctuary hosted by Casey Meade and featuring menu items created by Chef Thomas Lee of The Stagecoach Tavern at Race Brook Lodge. Guests were seated at a long and eclectically spooky table decorated by Jess Garb Vintage and enjoyed a meal of chicken liver pate, black truffle risotto, leg of lamb and more. A personalized reading from the in-house psychic was included in the price, as well as entry into the main event down the street, which featured live sets from a dressed-up Bella’s Bartok and a dressed-down Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Co. DJ BFG kept the crowd dancing on the Colonial’s stage, where intermittent gymnasts and aerial performers entertained the revelers. Belly dancers, drummers, fire eaters, bearded and tattooed ladies, sword swallowers and other “freaks” kept guests on their toes all night long. Proceeds from the evening benefit BTG’s educational programs. Above, ringmasters Eliza Ryan and Michael Vincent Bushy kept the crowd in line.

Identical twins Matt Murray and Ryan Murray flank dinner host Casey Meade; Nathan Hanford, Scott Edward Cole, Catherine Delphia and Rebecca Weinman.

No animals were hurt in the taking of this photo featuring Amy Huebner, Dana St. Pierre and Ashley Summers; Denise Litano and Darlene Williams.

Alex Reczkowski, Alison Sinopoli, Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante.

Caitlin Infantino and George Manley; Joe Durwin, Noel Henebury and Michael Rousseau.

Kelsey Matherne, Casey Meade, Nial DeMena and Julia Germaine; Ashley Warren and Rachel Myers.

Josh Pena and Hogan McLaughlin; Berkshire Shenanigans is Renee DeRagon, Paul Dodds, and Michele and Trevor Hotchkin.

Justin Torrico, Casey Meade, Nicholas Frêche and Jessica Garb.

Pete White and Mike Ward; Lucie Castaldo and Dina Noto.

Creative costumes were everywhere you looked at Freakshow, including bullet-ridden bankrobbers Bonnie and Clyde and Wednesday Addams.

Behind the red curtain: the dinner table at Shire City Sanctuary.

Closeup of the table set by Jess Garb Vintage; the stage of the Colonial was decorated with colorful and creepy projections.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/01/15 at 08:07 PM • Permalink

Berkshire Immigrant Center Honors One Of Its Own

Amy Krzanik reports from Sheffield. Thanks to gracious hosts Catherine and James Miller, the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) was able to introduce South County residents to the important work it does on Sunday, Oct. 25. The get-together also was a chance to honor Martha Escobar, an immigrant herself, for her work on the behalf of the immigrant community in the area, which includes hosting a Spanish-language show on local radio station WBCR-lp where she plays Latin music and provides community news for Spanish speakers. Special guests included Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Naji Nejaime, owner of Great Barrington restaurant Naji’s Mediterranean Cuisine, who testified to the ways in which the Center helped his aging parents become U.S. citizens. Food was provided by Chez Nous, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Domaney’s Liquors and others. The Center assists those new to this country in attaining citizenship; finding work, healthcare and childcare; and learning English, among many other low-cost services it provides. Since its inception in 1997, the BIC has served over 9,800 clients from 86 different countries with help from generous donors such as the ones pictured below. Shown above, Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli formally congratulates Martha Escobar.

Host James Miller, with Linda Mitchell and BIC director Hilary Greene; Mary Spina of the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, with Barbara Mahony.

Smitty Pignatelli with Ilana Steinhauer, Ellen Rowntree, and Julie and Jeff Blake, all from Volunteers In Medicine.

BIC board members Giora Witkowski and Marge Cohan with Ethan Klepetar, chair of the BIC advisory board; board member Michael Bullock with LitNet volunteer Marcia Powdermaker and Steve Cohen.

Martha Escobar celebrated the event with family.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/26/15 at 01:04 PM • Permalink

A Night In New York for MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA hosted its annual New York City Benefit on Monday, Oct. 19, at 583 Park Avenue. Supporters gathered to celebrate the contemporary art museum’s 16th year with a gala dinner, cocktail reception, live art auction, and performance by Bhangra-funk band Red Baraat. Benefit co-chairs Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer were in attendance and had donated artwork to the auction, conducted by Eric Widing of Christie’s, which also featured work by Robert Rauschenberg, James Turrell, Jim Shaw, Shirin Neshat and Francesco Clemente. The proceeds from the record-setting auction support MASS MoCA’s exhibitions, performances, and educational and internship programs. At the close of the night, attendees leapt to their feet during a high-energy set by the brass-driven Red Baraat. Above, 2017 exhibiting artist Sarah Oppenheimer (far left) with guests.

Andrea Yost and her husband, artist Francesco Simeti, who made the centerpieces for the night’s event, flank Lisa Panzera, Director of Fergus McCaffrey Gallery.

2017 exhibiting artist Jenny Holzer (right) with guests; MASS MoCA Curator Denise Markonish.

The night’s auctioneer, Eric Widing, MASS MoCA’s Director of Special Events Jennifer Trainer Thompson,’s Nancy Maier, gallerist Jane Eckert, and artist Eric Forstmann.

Exhibiting artist and Williams College professor, Barbara Takenaga, with IS183 Board Chair Andy Foster; 2017 exhibiting artist Laurie Anderson.

Red Baraat brings the crowd to its feet.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 10/25/15 at 09:17 PM • Permalink

We Give Three Cheers To Five Years Of ‘Made In The Berkshires’

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Five years ago, two creative minds, Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely, hatched the Made in the Berkshires festival as a way to showcase the outstanding talent our region has to offer in the fields of dance, music, theater, filmmaking, visual art, and the written and spoken word. The three-day extravaganza has a home at the Colonial Theatre, where this year’s opening event was held on Friday, Oct. 23. DRAWN, the 2015 visual art exhibit, was co-curated by Carrie Wright and Rebecca Weinman and featured a small sample of the world-class work being created in the county, including Lucie Castaldo, Nathan Hanford and Catherine Delphia. Highlights of the evening’s stage performances included a rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” by Andy Wrba, Nico Wohl and seven Darrow School students; “The Rockwell Suites,” two pieces based on Norman Rockwell paintings and performed expertly by the Albany Berkshire Ballet; and the finale – an energetic breakdance routine by area children of all ages led by The Funk Box Dance Studio creator Andres Ramirez, who seemed as if he were floating on air during the performance. As has become customary, some of the best Berkshire County food and beverages are offered to guests as they leave the theater and head into the Garage for an after-party with the artists. Snacks included offerings from Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Layers of Cakes, SoMa Catering, Chocolate Springs, Wandering Star and others. Cheers to five years! Above, Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims post performance.

Members of the Berkshire Art Association came out to show their support, including Michael Vincent Bushy, a printmaker and bookbinder featured in the art exhibit, new BAA president Danielle Steinmann, Mark Tomasi and art show co-curator Carrie Wright; Ben Evans, a ceramicist featured in the art show, and Jess Fitzgerald Evans.

Eliza Ryan, art show co-curator Rebecca Weinman and Sharae Gadson; Stephan Lanphear, a tattoo artist whose work is featured in the art exhibit, with Jenna Lanphear and their children.

Maria and Philip Kampe, seated, pose with friend Keith Emerling; Jes Cote and leatherwork artist Michael King.

Amrita Lash and Karl Mullen perform as Long Journey.

The Funk Box Dance Studio dancer Joshua McHugh and creator Andres Ramirez; Trustees of Reservations members at the event included Lauren LeBlanc, Danielle Steinmann, Michael Rodriguez and RI’s garden columnist Brian Cruey.

Berkshire County newcomers Leigh Rosenfeld and Peter Long pose with Wendy Rabinowitz in front of her work; Tracey Garlington and musician Andy Wrba.

Brendan Leadbeater and David Ennis of EPoc Design + Architecture; Regina Burgio, Mark Tomasi and Julianne Maxwell.

Ivan Trabka dedicated his solo cello performance to the memory of Steve Meyerowitz; Rural Intelligence co-founder Marilyn Bethany and husband Edward Tivnan looked sharp at the event.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/25/15 at 02:22 PM • Permalink