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Parties & Openings


July 26 - Stockbridge
Fête des Fleurs

July 26 - Stockbridge
Naumkeag Garden Party

July 26 - Copake
FarmOn Hootenanny

July 26 - Lenox
Butterflies, Beavers & Bonfire Gala

Beavers, A Bonfire And Becky At Berkshire Sanctuaries

Mary Garnish Bauman reports from Lenox. Photos by Susan Geller. There were many alliterations at the silent auction table, as Berkshire Sanctuaries attempted to introduce its new director, Becky Cushing, to party attendees. Brava with Becky, Boating with Becky, and Beer with Becky were just a few of the 100 auction items offered at the Butterflies, Beavers & Bonfire Gala on July 26. This year marked the sixth fundraiser, and 85th anniversary, of Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Event founders Mary and Alan Bauman coined the phrase “bonfire chic attire,” hinting at the outdoorsy but elegant nature of the event. Food trucks circled the picnic area, and included Kathy and Gabe Lloyd of How We Roll (who coordinated the night’s catering), Lakota Bar-B-Q and Grampie’s Dog House. The Chocolate Springs truck provided a cold chocolate shot, as well as its signature treats. Live jazz courtesy of Jeff Link, Charlie Tokarz and their bandmates filled the air as guests lined up at the bar provided by Kelly’s Package Store of Dalton. Partygoers danced around a roaring bonfire and drummed with Jim Weber and his samba group, Berkshire Bateria, as the evening came to a close. Becky was introduced by Gail Yeo, the Central/West Regional director of Mass Audubon, who touched upon ways their education programs benefit area schools. Camp counselors and trail guides, Hannah Sherman and Betsy Baczek, presented a 16-year-old snapping turtle named Oliver that they use as a teaching aid with campers. The funds raised are used to support Pleasant Valley, Canoe Meadows, and Lime Kiln Farm sanctuaries. Pictured above: Gail Yeo with Amy Steele, advisory board president, and Becky Cushing, newly appointed Berkshire Sanctuaries director.


Heather Pelle Rose and Kevin Sprague of Studio Two; Tammy and Brian Arseneau, Michelle Arseneau and husband Justin Allen.


Artist Peggy Rivers is flanked by her son, Elliot Shields and her husband, Van Shields; Waiting to place an order at the How We Roll food truck are Janice Lee and Bill Talbot, owner of Asia Barong.


Danielle Mullen was the guest of Kim Winger, who won tickets for the gala at the Berkshire Museum auction on June 21; Photographer (and silent auction donor) Ogden Gigli is flanked by Catherine Brumley and Rosemary Larkin.


Ernie Jordan of Grampie’s Dog House hot dog food cart; Education program volunteers Jake Raser, RBC financial advisor Brooks Sherman (former volunteer), Nicole Lipiec (an Albany attorney), Hannah Sherman and Betsy Baczek.


Rene Laubach, newly retired after almost 30 years as Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries director, with long-time advisory board member Dennis Arseneau; Jim Weber (in blue cap) leads the Berkshire Bateria by the bonfire.


Betsy Baczek holds Oliver, a 16-year-old snapping turtle; Alan Bauman, co-founder of CompuWorks, with wife Mary Garnish Bauman of Garnish Design.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/28/14 at 05:25 PM • Permalink

An Evening In The Afternoon Garden At Naumkeag

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. There can never be too many garden parties – it’s the perfect opportunity to stockpile sights, smells and sunshine to help us make it through the long winter. Naumkeag’s garden party on July 26 definitely will be one to remember fondly while snowbound. The national historic landmark celebrated the restoration of landscape designer Fletcher Steele and former inhabitant Mabel Choate’s Afternoon Garden with bites from SoMa Catering that were as tasty as they were artful. Cocktails included a “Mabel’s Martini” by Berkshire Mountain Distillers, and the Allen Livermore Trio provided jazz as guests strolled the stunning gardens. A performance by Berkshire Pulse dancers, under the direction of Bettina Montano, helped dedicate the refurbished Afternoon Garden, one of Steele’s most famous designs. Shown above: Host committee member Elizabeth Hamilton with Lauren LeBlanc, board member Paul LeBlanc and Joanna Ballantine, regional director of the Trustees of Reservations.


Gail and Gilbert Ahye; Brian Renaud, Daniel Dempsey and Somchai Piraban.


Naomi and Ernest von Simson with Jane Ryan; Leah Letourneau and Michael Gove of Northampton, MA grab seats to take in the view.


Bob Barker, host committee member Marilyn Dee, Pat and Philip Kennedy-Grant and Madelyn English on the top lawn.


Raymond and Kelly Casella of Casella Design; Joe Lewis, Donna Hassler, director at Chesterwood, and Mark Wilson, the statewide curator & cultural resources manager for the Trustees.


Host committee member Margaret Pontasse with Gigi Wilmers and Jane Hart; Dennis Palmer and Sasha Piatczyc.


Mary Boone Wellington, Carolina Schulze (seated) and Elizabeth Goldfeder.


Sarah and Bronly Boyd; Engagement Manager Dyan Wiley with Stacey Carver and Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management.


Margot Towl, host committee member, with Tony and Suzanne Balestro; Carrie Wilkens and Will Regan.


Berkshire Pulse dancers helped dedicate the garden with their performance.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/27/14 at 07:31 PM • Permalink

A Summer Wind Breezes Through Fête des Fleurs

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. As if on cue, the breezes blew gently at the Berkshire Botanical Garden‘s Fete des Fleurs on Saturday, July 26, where kites on mobiles (some provided by students at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires) twirled beneath the tent. This year’s theme, Summer Wind, complemented the Garden’s current exhibit, “Windswept: The garden that celebrates the beauty of the wind.” The cocktail party was the perfect opportunity for Matt Larkin, chairman of the board, to introduce the new executive director, Michael Beck, and to thank honored guests Herb and Jeannene Coyne, who are among the longest supporters of the Garden. One item was auctioned: dinner for eight prepared by Chef Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green, which was awarded to the highest bidder at $2,700. Hats off to the organization, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary year. Above, Michael Beck and Matt Larkin.


Gloria McMahon and Ed McMahon, who is retired from the board; Wendy Linscott, a current board member, with Jean Rousseau, the winning bidder of the evening’s auction.


Props for their props: Pauline Archer Willis and Anthony Archer Willis came accessorized for the windswept occasion.


Brian Monteleone of Albany and Lorayne Seibert; Herbert Coyne, the honored guest, with Michael Conforti, director of The Clark Art Institute.


Lee Abraham and Katherine Abraham, art and antiques dealers Joy Flint and Charles Flint, and board member Jo Dare Mitchell; Lori Rose of Stone House Properties, newlyweds Jim Hatch and Kathi Hatch, and Connie Eagan.


The BBG’s Marketing and Communications Manager Brian Cruey, who is also RI’s garden contributor, with Matt King, Lainie Grant and Beau Buffier.


KK Zutter, the newest member of the BBG board, shows off the garden hat she created; Best friends Malinka Jackson and Nancy Kalodner, owner of Benchmark Real Estate.


John Spellman, Bob Mitchell and Genya Hopkins; Leo Nesbit and artist Cookie Coyne, with Danielle Pablo, a motion designer and animator, and Bill Mayott, a currency dealer, both from New York.


Mike Dolan and Maura Bergen of New York, with Daniel Vincent and Stephen Borboroglu of Sheffield.


Board member Jeannene Booher and Genya Hopkins; Musicians Joe Rose and Paul Green.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/27/14 at 09:42 AM • Permalink

The FarmOn! Foundation Celebrates Its Fourth Amongst Friends

Rachel Louchen reports from Copake. The annual Friends of the Farmer Hootenanny! Fundraiser Dinner returned for the fourth year bigger and better than ever on Saturday, July 26. At the Copake Country Club (with views of Copake Lake below), the dinner was nirvana for a locavore, featuring a menu filled with fare from farms throughout Columbia County prepared by host Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of abc kitchen. The event benefited the non-profit FarmOn! Foundation, which answers the important question, “who makes the food I eat?” by raising awareness of food sources and providing agricultural education to young people. After the dinner of roast pig and chicken, the lively auction had guests John Varvatos and Dr. Oz onstage engaging and encouraging the crowd to bid on some exciting items. And as if the multiple-course dinner, plus a cheese tasting course and cocktails weren’t enough, the evening concluded with a sundae bar, for which nearly everyone managed to save some room. Above, Chase Thomas and FarmOn! board member Stephen Mack.


Karp, Ackerman, Skabowski & Hogan coworkers Jodi Cole, Debbie Bryant, Carla Altomer and Alejandra Garcia; Suzanne and Michael Graves.


Shirley Ball and Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets (and farmer) Richard Ball; Alex Taylor and Kipp Edick.


Amazing Real Live Food Company’s Rory Chase and Patrick Porter provided the cheese, which Hillrock Estate Distillery’s Tim Welly perfectly complemented with bourbon; Berkshire Property Agent’s Tim Lovett with Monterey General Store proprietor Scott Edward Cole.


Nanci Weaver, Friends of the Farmer founder Tessa Edick and Ryan Armstrong of abc Kitchen.


Courtney Dearnley, Dairy Princess of Columbia County, with Dairy Ambassador Emily Oms; Scott Morris with event sponsors Elyse Harney Morris, Brigitte Harney and Mike Harney.


Rebecca Ross, Jessica Knez and Jason Ross came from NYC to support the cause; Realtor Jen Harvey of Berkshire Property Agents with Ethan Culleton.


Linola Dempah, Paulette Daniel, Julie Leblanc and Naomi Mulgrage enjoyed the food and the views.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/27/14 at 12:50 AM • Permalink

Alchemy Initiative Leaves No Stein Empty At Arrowhead

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Alchemy Initiative sure knows how to pick a party spot, as evidenced by the choice of venues for its annual Empty Stein fundraiser. Last year, the Inn at Richmond hosted, and this year Herman Melville’s Arrowhead had the honors on Monday, July 21. Alchemy board members greeted guests and led them to tables laden with colorful steins, each with a beer ticket inside. The difficult part wasn’t drinking libations provided by Big Elm, Wandering Star and three homebrewers, or eating a fine spread of appetizers and On A Roll eggrolls, but in having to decide on only one mug out of the 100 on display. Local potters Daniel Bellow, Stephanie Boyd, Ray Bub, Lorimer Burns, Ben C. Evans and Michael McCarthy, as well as the artists mentioned below, created unique steins to commemorate the occasion. The evening also included a performance by Satellite Shine (with Wes Buckley on guitar and Jason Schultheis on drums). Proceeds from the fundraiser support Alchemy’s year-round workshops, Handmade Holiday Festival and management of the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market. Pictured above, standing: Stacy Strain and Patricia Boissevain; seated: Jennet Cook and her mother Janet Cook.


Sara Katzoff and Peter Wise, co-founders of The Berkshire Fringe; Rachel Parzick, Eamonn Barry and Chris Vecchia.


Stan and Jan Spencer with Jenny Benson and George Whaling; Megan Whilden and Berkshire Museum’s Lesley Beck.


Alchemy Initiative board members: North Adams city planner Mackenzie Greer, director Jess Conzo, potter Sandra Thomas and Alison Basdekis.


Musician Wes Buckley with Jim Toner; Nina Garlington, Alison Turk, Jennifer Starr and Peter Garlington, Design Director at Interprint.


Danielle Hammell and Jeff Mason with Lyn Mason and Ron Mason; Aurora Cooper and Jen Jaehnig of Big Elm Brewing.


Brett Larmon and Wandering Star owner Chris Post; Chris and farm manager Kristen Laney with daughter Nora in front of the new chicken coop at Arrowhead’s CSA farm.


Just a few of the steins guests were able to choose from. Pictured are steins by Amrita Lash (far left), Jackie Sedlock, Michael Boroniec, whose work will be on display at Lauren Clark Fine Art starting July 26, and Sandra Thomas.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/22/14 at 09:31 AM • Permalink

Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative Holds A Posh Picnic

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. It is a truth universally acknowledged; Berkshire residents love brunch and Tanglewood, and Sunday the Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative (BFMC) combined both, to raise money for its educational initiatives. The BFMC recognizes the abundance of creative residents living in our region and creates work, education and production opportunities in the film industry, in the hopes that a younger generation will establish long-term roots in Western Massachusetts. The brunch was hosted by actors and Great Barrington residents Jayne Atkinson and Michael Gill. Guests enjoyed their meals as the Lawn at Tanglewood became flooded with attendees for that afternoon’s performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra featuring Joshua Bell. And as if a delicious meal at a beautiful location wasn’t enough, brunch attendees got Shed seating for the BSO performance —  a most perfect dessert. Above, Advisory Board member and Williamstown Theatre Festival Trustee Joe Finnegan, Executive Director Diane Pearlman and Advisory Board member and Images Cinema Executive Director Sandra Thomas.


Board member Karen Zink with her husband, Rich Zink and daughter, Lauren Zink, and BIFF board advisor Barbara Newman.


Val Whalening and John Toole; Graphic designers Curtis Bohner and Kari Giordano.


BFMC supporters Lani and Tom Tyrell; Kate Baldwin provided the picnic-perfect spread, with help from sister Amy Butterworth.


Brunch hosts Michael Gill and Jayne Atkinson pose on the picturesque Tanglewood lawn.


CATA Program and Artistic Director Dawn Lane with Nancy Kalodner, realtor extraordinaire; Peggy Daniel and Dr. Matt Mandel, co-medical director for VIM Berkshires.


Volunteer Nanci McConnell and chair of event committee Holly Hunter; Volunteers Nicole Cote and Benjamin Hunter made brunch staples like Bloody Marys and mimosas.


BMFC board president William Beautyman with film buffs Jack and Lorraine Rubin.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/21/14 at 09:43 AM • Permalink

A Farm-To-Table Dinner Seeds The Sylvia Center

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. It’s pure brilliance for The Sylvia Center to hold its annual farm-to-table benefit dinner right at Katchkie Farm. On Saturday, July 19, approximately 330 supporters got a taste of the center’s mission: to inspire children to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm. The party was hosted by Liz Neumark’s Great Performances catering company, which owns Katchkie Farm and The Sylvia Center. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared at the Tartinery Station and strolled about the fields planted with fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. At long tables under a tent, they feasted on items made from Hudson Valley products. A live auction offered jam and pickle sessions for six with master chefs, and the silent auction featured Dutch-inspired wheelbarrow benches, each festooned with its own decorative details. Funds will help bring students to Katchkie Farm to participate in The Sylvia Center’s programs both in Columbia County and New York City. Many of the kids have never seen food growing, and at their day at the farm, they can hold a chicken, take a tasting tour, harvest produce and work with the chefs — activities many of the adults at the tables agreed they’d love to do, too. Shown above, Anna Hammond, executive director of The Sylvia Center, Actor Bill Irwin, Linda Abbey of Great Performances, and Bob Mihalik and Les Newman of Botanica Floral and Event Design.


Tanu Kumar, Lindsay Clinton, Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner, Jacob Israelow, founder of Dirt Capital Partners, and Michael Glynn, a real estate developer from Brooklyn; Nell Wachsberger and Mike Coleman.


Liz Neumark, the founding force of the farm and center, which began with Great Performances, the evening’s catering company, and her husband, Chaim Wachsberger.


Alaina Sparks of Westchester County, who volunteers with Katchkie Farm, and Lisa Laudico and Anthony Laudico of Westport; WABC-TV News Reporter Dave Evans and Wade Laing.


Tom Whitridge of Ink, Inc., Timothy Van Dam, Tim Husband, Ron Wagner and Nathan Kernan.


“Farmer Bob” Walker, who has transformed the Katchkie land into a year-round organic farm, and Kristy King; Susan Ball and John Brigham.


Alan Fishman, chair of BAM‘s Board of Trustees, Gary Stefanick, a chiropractor, Rob Arango, director of client development at The Plaza, and Judith R. Fishman, who is on the board of the Mark Morris Dance Group.


Martha Roth, a midwife from Nyack, and her son, Santos Irwin; Perfect Ten students and Hudson residents Damaris Shakespeare, Markiah Gordon and Destiny Collins, with Laura Miller, director of The Perfect Ten After School, Inc.


Cookbook author and culinary educator Alexandra Leaf, who runs choclate tours in NYC, and Debbie Gardner, a board member of The Sylvia Center and dinner co-chair.


Claude Levy-Carrick watches his sister Hannah Levy-Carrick power up the blender by pedaling the bicycle as Nina Simmons, chef instructor at The Sylvia Center, encourages her to go for speed; Claude and Hannah enjoy the smoothie fruits of their labor.


Erminia Rivera and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York’s 7th Congressional District sit on one of the wheelbarrow benches up for auction; Ami, Howard and Lindsay Kaplan.


The sylvan setting under the tent.

Related story: Eat, Plant and Learn to Love Good Food at Katchie Farm

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/20/14 at 03:21 PM • Permalink

Northwest CT Arts Council Cultivates Art In The Garden

Rachel Louchen reports from Harwinton. The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council is a non-profit dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the 25-town region, so it was fitting that its annual party featured artists painting on site and numerous musical performances on grounds that are themselves a work of art. On Saturday, July 12, the Council hosted the third annual Garden Party at Victoria Elliot and Dr. Marvin McMillen’s home garden with its carefully cultivated flora and fauna as well as fountains, sculptures and intricate shrubbery. Surrounded by all this creative inspiration, local plein air painters used the beauty of the gardens to create their own interpretation of the environment, much to the enjoyment of guests watching the artists at work. There were also multiple musical performances located throughout the garden, hors d’oeuvres served and a tented area where guests were encouraged to purchase artwork. The popular event proved successful again this year, with the strong turnout of supporters and artistic members of the community proving how important the arts in our region are. Above, Executive Director Amy Wynn with Event Coordinator Jessica Morozowich.


The fountain was just one of the eye-catching displays on the lush property.


State Representative Roberta Willis and Bill Willis; Torrington High School art teacher Victor Leger interprets the scenery.


Renowned dulcimer player Thomasina Levy performed; Sabrina Beck and John Beck of Harwinton.


Nancy Winter, volunteer Rob Fuoco and Ann Mazeau were thrilled to support the Council; The Council’s Manager of Membership and Outreach, Debbie Freund, with volunteer Mary Ann Pangilinan.


Barbara Rodenback and hostess Victoria Elliot showed off their classic garden party style.


Torrington Savings Bank co-workers came out to support the cause: Wendy Healey, Vicki Mercier and Doreen Hoffman; Collette Hurst was the lone artist working with pastels while sketching the garden.


Gary Goodwin with realtor Gael Hammer of Klemm Real Estate; Litchfield Jazz Festival Founder/Executive Director Vita Muir and Joyful Noise member Anne Voglewede.


Artist Jim Laurino; Arts Council Board Chair Vanessa Giannasi and Tom Giannasi.


Guests were treated to an a capella performance by Joyful Noise choir.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/14/14 at 01:06 PM • Permalink