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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Parties & Openings

April 5 - Lenox
Havana Nights

March 29 - Stockbridge
Motherhood Out Loud

March 29 - Hudson
R.O. Blechman Opening

The Montessori School Brings Caribbean Cool To Havana Nights

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. “This Cuban cigar isn’t real; it’s chocolate.” “Well, in that case, get two!” Chocolate cigars weren’t the only themed treat at “Havana Nights,” The Montessori School of the Berkshires’ fundraiser on Saturday, April 5 at Shakespeare and Company. The benefit auction and dance party’s theme was inspired by the Montessori students’ Model U.N. study of Cuba and Nigeria, and featured cool Caribbean music perfect for a salsa, rumba or mambo, and Cuban-inspired food from Firefly Restaurant in Lenox. Guests were treated to classic Cuban dishes such as black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded beef), and black bean and mango salsa with taro chips. The silent auction featured a plethora of items from local and statewide museums and fun parks, one-of-a-kind crafts, and fine dining and massage certificates. The live auction, led by emcee Alison Larkin, included Beck concert tickets, a family portrait session, landscaping services and much more. And that’s not all! An after-dinner “dessert dash” and a “bejeweled lottery” gave guests first dibs on a dessert for their table and a chance to win a pair of earrings by sculptor and jeweler Daniel Porter Stevens. Proceeds from the night benefit the school’s financial aid fund. Pictured: Board President Church Davis, Marya LaRoche, who is the Director of School Advancement, and Tammy Valicenti.

Board member Bamby Neale and Dennis Pollock, who donated landscaping services to the live auction; Alison Larkin, the night’s emcee and auctioneer, with Shakespeare & Company actor Dana Harrison and screenwriter Marc Maurino.

Joey Chernila and RI’s recipe contributor Alana Chernila; Todd Covert, Head of School, and David Valicenti, trout fisherman.

Jennifer Carr and Becky Cachat, both parents of Montessori students; Gary and Linda Roth of East Chatham.

Bob and Tess Fedell with Lisa and Jason Baumgart; Emma Weiskopf and Sara Mugridge.

Jen and Pete Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm; Debbie Greene and David Goldfarb.

Meagan Ledendecker, director of education and co-founder of the school, with board member Dana Bixby; Marjorie Dix and board member Wayne Dix.

Check out the beautiful (and delicious) spread from Firefly in Lenox.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/05/14 at 10:43 PM • Permalink

R.O. Blechman’s Quivering Lines Bring Out The Crowds

oh8Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. R.O. Blechman’s iconic illustrations and cartoons have graced the covers and pages of the New Yorker and countless other publications for decades. Now, through May 11, those pages grace the walls of the Hudson Opera House. Blechman, an Ancram resident, has a body of work recognizable to anyone. With its understated quivering lines and combination of expressiveness and reserve, each piece seems to hang in the mind like a beloved doodle in the mangers of a great collective American consciousness. The exhibition, representing years of Blechman’s work but not being called a retrospective, opened on Saturday with a reception packed to the gills with admirers and friends who seemed greet each piece like a fond memory, whether it was the hundredth viewing or the first. (Pictured at left, children’s author and illustrator Donald Crews and R.O. Blechman.)

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Abby Adams Westlake, co-author of Love Where You Live, Steven Sorman, Bruce Birdsall and Karen Caldic; Glass artists Dean and Eliska Smiley with proprietor of Gilmor Glass Elizabeth Gilmore, and fellow glassmaker Regina Wickham.

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Hudson Opera House Co-director Tamera Dillon and Gwen Gould; Jennifer Rusch of Narofsky Architecture, Maya Narofsky and Trudy Roth

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Clarke Olsen and President of PS21 Judy Grunberg; Photographer David Franck and artist Gretchen Kelly.

Maria Manhattan, Hudson Opera House Executive Director Gary Shiro and Mary DePhillips.

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Elizabeth and Paul Miller; One of the many Blechmans on display at the Hudson Opera House through May 11.

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Mary Bush and Melissa Sorman; Composer David Behrman, Terri Hanlon, Maria Manhattan and Mary DePhillips.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/30/14 at 02:04 PM • Permalink

A Mother Lode Of Guests At WAM’s ‘Motherhood Out Loud’

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. The final sold-out performance of Motherhood Out Loud at the Unicorn Theatre on Saturday, March 29, started off with a hitch that seemed to delight everybody. Technical difficulties had the production’s director, Jayne Atkinson, filling time by talking about her role on House of Cards. Finally, sound was restored, and the production, a benefit for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and WAM Theatre, delivered an evening of monologues exploring the experience of motherhood in all its phases. Premiered in New York by award-winning producer Susan Rose, Motherhood Out Loud has had successful productions all over the country. The Berkshires cast featured some familiar names from stage and screen including Jane Kaczmarek and Michel Gill, but there were just as many talented writers, actors and activists in the audience to match the wattage on stage. At the end of the show, champagne appeared, and like a quick scene change, the stage was transformed into a party space with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and a lot of high energy. Above, the Festival’s director, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, and Kristin van Ginhoven, director of WAM.

Writer Sonia Pilcer and Barbara Newman, a creative strategist and writer who was the “matchmaker” between the production and WAM; Cast member Tammy Denease and Paul Solovay, a photographer.

Playwright Marsha Norman with Susan Rose and Alan Lafer.

Kari Harendorf, Rachel Siegel, a cast member, and Elisa Kammeyer; Samantha Lafer and Michael Irwin.

Jane Kaczmarek and Kristin van Ginhoven.

Cast member Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely, who are co-curators of Made in the Berkshires; Jim Sexton, Jim Finnerty and Donna Hassler, executive director at Chesterwood.

Jeanie Hackett, an actor, author, director and teacher, with Susan Rose.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and Lisa Rafel, a sound and healing educator; Amber Chand, a cast member, with Anni Crofut, a playwright and jewelry designer, who performed a piece of her own at the Saturday matinee.

Jayne Atkinson serves champagne; the stage is set for a celebration.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/30/14 at 12:22 PM • Permalink

Local Foods And Funds Flow At March Maple Dinner

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. If there was any doubt that the Berkshires are a culinary force to be reckoned with, the five-course March Maple Dinner on Monday, March 24 served as an excellent reinforcement of the talent of our local chefs, restaurants and farms. The annual dinner served as a fundraiser for the agricultural non-profit Berkshire Grown and its Share the Bounty program. Held this year at The Cranwell Resort, the dinner was able to accommodate a huge group of food enthusiasts. The night started out with hors d’oeuvres accompanied by a tasting of local beverages, before moving on to the grand showcase dinner featuring the culinary talents of Wheatleigh’s Jeffrey Thompson, Gala Steakhouse & Bistro’s Chris Bonnivier, Mezze’s Marianne Comella, Route 7 Grill’s Christophe Jalbert, Ron Reda of Table Six at the Kemble Inn and Daire Rooney of Allium. Five dishes later, guests were able to bid on auction goodies while very, very full. Above, Wolfe Spring Farm’s June Wolfe and Berkshire Grown Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin.

Deborah Morris with cousin Teresa Yurchis, who came from Portland, Oregon for the dinner; Phil and Jen Leahey of Leahey Farm in Lee.

Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Jon Height and Michael Sherry poured some of their popular spirits; Joe Grochmal, his son Joseph, daughter Olivia and wife Ann were excited for the impending five-course feast.

Allium’s head chef Daire Rooney works on plate presentation multiplied by 100.

Board member Sarah Gardner and Program Associate Suzie Fowle; Melissa Leab and Rob Leab of Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock gave out samples of delicious treats like maple cream and butter.

Elaine Radiss with husband Rich Petrino and Bruce Friger; Nancy Kalodner and her son, Joel Kalodner, came out to support Berkshire Grown.

June Wolfe and husband Jim Wolfe, Peter Cherneff of Share The Bounty, Barbara Zheutlin and Route 7 Grill proprietor Lester Blumenthal.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/24/14 at 09:30 PM • Permalink

And The Berkshire Award Goes To: Three Deserving Honorees

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. There may have been a standing-room-only crowd on Saturday, March 22 for the 2014 Berkshire Awards Ceremony at the Berkshire Museum because the weather, for once, cooperated. But more likely, it was because the community truly wanted to honor and celebrate the contributions of the recipients, who were being recognized as leaders who create, keep and promote the artistic, historic and natural heritage of the Berkshires. At the awards presentation, video bios told the stories of Frances Jones-Sneed, a historian and professor at MCLA, who has been instrumental in discovering and documenting the rich heritage of the Black community in Western Massachusetts; the Nash family, longtime active supporters of arts and culture in the area; and George S. Wislocki, founder of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. During the presentation, the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields recognized the late Jane Fitzpatrick for her many contributions to the community, and wine glasses were raised in her memory. Then guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeurvres in the galleries. Much was made of the fact that Seth Nash (above, with Mary Nash) wore a tie for the event, now captured for posterity, and something the Blue Q co-owner is not likely to be seen in ever again.

Jeff Noble, a member of Berkshire Museum’s board of trustees, with Executive Director Van Shields; Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner and president of The Red Lion Inn, and Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount.

Hope Sullivan, executive director of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and Nancy Kalodner, owner of Benchmark Real Estate; Alice Wislocki congratulates Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed on her award.

Van Shields; Lydia Rosner, a trustee and the chair of the Berkshire Award Committee; Seth Nash; Suzanne Nash; Leo Nash; Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed; Mitch Nash; Bill Hines, president of the Board of Trustees; and George S. Wislocki.

Both Melissa Joyce and Deanna McKhan are regional vice-presidents at Berkshire Bank, an event sponsor; Kate Whalen of West Stockbridge and Chantal Rhind, a math professor at Berkshire Community College.

  Susan Lyman, a public defender for juveniles in Western Massachusetts and Larry Lane, who owns the Arcadian Shop in Lenox; Sally Mawhinney and Audrey Thier, both of whom formerly worked with honoree George S. Wislocki at the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, flank Sally Cornwell, who is currently on staff there.

Stephanie Gravalese-Wood, marketing and communications manager at The Red Lion Inn, confers with the Inn’s Chef Brian Alberg, who catered the event.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/23/14 at 11:32 AM • Permalink

Free Legal Clinic Of South Berkshire County Dances For Justice

Rachel Louchen reports from Sheffield. The Berkshires has no shortage of charitable organizations; some target education, others provide food and, since 2006, the Free Legal Clinic of South Berkshire County has provided legal counsel to area residents. Twenty-four attorneys, two accountants and two mediators volunteer pro bono, as well as offer reduced-fee professional services and, as the demand for their service grows monthly, the support of the community is as important as ever. On Saturday, March 8, FLC hosted the Dance For Justice fundraiser at Dewey Hall and served up dinner, live music from the Wanda Houston Band and a silent auction to a packed room of supporters. All of the attendees praised the tireless work of Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz and the FLC for its valuable role in the community. In addition to legal services, the FLC also addresses social issues, helping their clients with community services that prevent hunger and homelessness while their legal troubles are being addressed. Justice for all, indeed. Above, board members Phyllis Weiss and Cecile Snow.

Terrance Cooney is a retired attorney who volunteers with the FLC, here with his wife, Joanne; One of the night’s speakers, Marilyn Kalish and her husband, Alan Kalish.

Stephanie Copeland and Carol McGlinchey, who donated to the silent auction; Stephen Dietemann and Lois Lenehan.

Board member Cecile Snow, Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz, Susan Solovay who does the Clinic’s marketing, Board members Dr. Marcia Savage, Phyllis Weiss and Diana Felber (in front).

Board member Karen Andrews, Alianne Schatz, daughter of the Clinic’s founder, and her friend Emma Grants; Volunteer Amelia Sydlosky and patron Jeanine Coleman.

Supporters Mark Cohen, Adrienne Cohen and Steve Glick; Gregory Cherin and his wife Margaret Cherin came out to support their friend Eve Schatz’s organization.

Gail Shaw, volunteer Robin Zeamer and Joanne Cooney.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/08/14 at 10:45 PM • Permalink

Speed Sisters Race To Lime Rock Park And The Falls Village Inn

Lisa Green reports from Falls Village. It would seem that women who drive race cars need no excuse to show up at a track, but on Monday, March 3, there was a very good reason, indeed, to gather at Lime Rock Park. Marah Zahalka, the “fastest woman in Palestine,” was at the motor sports facility with Canadian filmmaker Amber Fares, who was filming the 22-year-old Zahalka (driving for the first time in snow) for some extended footage of a feature-length documentary. The film, Speed Sisters, features the first all-women motor racing team in Palestine and documents the five women competing against men and one another in monthly autocross races in the West Bank city of Jericho. The event was spearheaded by Stephanie Economu, (shown, left, with Amber Fares), founder of Gearhead Girls Racing. The spectators later made their way to the Falls Village Inn, which hosted a reception for the crowd, many of whom were members of Lime Rock Park’s Drivers Club. Fares, who recently gave a presentation about the documentary at TedX in Barcelona, said Speed Sisters received a development grant from Sundance. She is hopeful the film will be presented at the Sundance Festival next year.

Jill Raney, whose company, Brim Light Caps, made the headwear for the occasion, Susan Sweetapple, The Falls Village Inn’s co-owner/innkeeper, and Walter Irvine, who handles sales and business development at Lime Rock Park. Driving enthusiasts included Jeanette Veitenheimer, executive administrator for The Drivers Club, Carole Halvorsen, who received the most improved driver award after just a year on the course, and Lindsay Carroll.

Walter Hergt, a freelance photographer, and Colin Chambers, the inn’s co-owner.

Stephanie Economu auctions off the caps, which have LED lights concealed under the brim (helpful for seeing up close); Mike Briskie of Paddockscene, a motor racing website which helped publicize this event, and Clara Lubansky.

Marah Zahalka gives a thumbs up at the tee shirt given to her by event organizers. Zahalka was a featured presenter at TedX Teen in New York just days before.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/03/14 at 09:53 PM • Permalink

The Community Noshes For Berkshire South

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The community came out to support a great cause on Thursday, February 27, at the fourth annual Taste of Community hosted by Berkshire South. The event raised funds for the Community Supper Program, which serves a free weekly meal to members of the community, providing a helpful service to low-income families, senior citizens unable to cook for themselves and others. Guests at the event had their choice of treats from some of the best food purveyors in the Berkshires, including Haven Cafe and Bakery, Castle Street Cafe and Big Elm Brewery. The program (established in 2009), as well as the evening’s event, are successful due in no small part to the tireless efforts of board members, volunteers and local restaurants, who donate food and their time. The free Community Dinner is held on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. At left, Berkshire South Executive Director Jenise Lucey with member and ambassador Aimee Raifstanger.

Luke and Anna Masiero were celebrating Guido’s 35th anniversary; Prairie Whale’s Pastry Chef Megan McDiarmid with owner Mark Firth.

Alta’s Executive Chef Ben Daire with Co-owner and General Manager Aurelien Telle; Jaime and Jason Higgins came out to support Berkshire South.

Lisa Marchi, Director of Development and Communications at Berkshire South, and Barbara Manring with husband Roger Manring.

Stephanie Higgins with her mother, board Co-Vice Chairman Melissa Higgins; Mary Maguire and Kyleigh Lengen made the trip from Craryville to represent The Greens at Copake Country Club.

Pat Konecky and Bob Putz of Egremont; Great Barrington residents Troy Murtagh, Jess Tomich, Dylan Blackwell and Lauren Scanlon came out to eat.

Chairman of the Board Ethel Patterson,  Co-Vice Chairman. Robert Harrison and volunteer Hannah Moriarty who personally was responsible for selling a large portion of tickets.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/28/14 at 01:45 PM • Permalink