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Hudson Opera House

Berkshire Grown


Classical Tents

Robin Hood Radio

Parties & Openings

June 20 - Lenox
Gina Hyams' Book Launch

June 20 - Becket
Jacob's Pillow Opening Gala

June 13 - Kinderhook
First Columbians Gala

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First Columbians Honors Architects

First Columbians House of HistoryJamie Larson reports from Kinderhook. Our region’s notable architects and their work to protect, restore and add to our rich architectural history was honored Saturday, June 13 by the Columbia County Historical Society. The posh gala, called First Columbians, was held on the grounds of the Vanderpoel House of History, a great example of the heritage architects work so hard to restore while also designing the future. The event showcased the work of BarlisWedlick Architects, James Dixon Architect PC, Kate Johns and James Joseph of Hottenroth + Joseph. Set during a perfect, bright late spring afternoon, the First Columbians soiree seemed to celebrate the beauty of the season as much as that of the manmade structure on display.

Kinderhook Building Inspector Glen Smith, Bill Stratton and Sheila Cramer; Tom and Susan Nickerson, Gerry and Neal Smith and CCHS Treasurer Susan Sharp.

Columbia County Historical Society President Jim Guidera, former president Russell Pomeranz and Scott Franzel.

Nathan Kernan and Thomas Whitridge; Kailey Castellano, Kinderderhook Wine and Liquors owner Jill Castellano and German Delgado.

Jim Dixon with Lesley and Mathew Herzberg; CCHS Trustee Nicholas Haylett, Former CCHS President Susan Tripp and David Tripp.

Louise Kelly, CCHS Trustee Roderic Blackburn and Peter Kelly.

Robert Culver, Trustee Anne Schomaker and Andrew Goetz; guests catch some shade under the tent.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/22/15 at 11:20 AM • Permalink

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Jacob’s Pillow Gala Opening 2015

Amy Krzanik reports from Becket. The spirits of Pillow founder Ted Shawn and dancer Ruth St. Denis seem always to be present at Jacob’s Pillow’s season opening galas, as dancers from all over the world perform for a rapt crowd in the theater named after the festival’s creator. This year, on Saturday, June 20, gala guests were treated to cocktails in the newly renovated Blake’s Barn, where a debut photography exhibit was on display. A performance followed, featuring pupils from The School in a world premiere by BalletX founder Matthew Neenan, and performances by New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen, Martha Graham Dance Company and American Ballet Theatre’s Daniil Simkin, as well as the presentation of the 2015 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to choreographer Liz Gerring. After a meal by The Old Inn on The Green, dancers, board members, Pillow staff and guests “got down” on the dance floor thanks to music by DJ BFG. Pictured above: The Pillow’s director of preservation, Norton Owen, who was honored for his 40 years of service to the festival’s dance archives, with Michael Flamini.

Choreographer Liz Gerring with her daughter, Nicole Radke, and gala co-chair and Pillow board member, RI’s Mark Williams; Amber Ju, Taryn Leavitt, Charles Oliver and Renata Celichowska.

Don Quinn Kelley and Sandra Burton of the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, which runs through August 22 and includes events at the Pillow; Mark Haldeman and James Aguiar.

Dr. Roselle Chartock and Dr. Alan Chartock with Murray Ralph; soloist Russell Janzen and principal dancer Sarah Mearns of the New York City Ballet.

Cathy Deely, Amanda Sackey, Tom Patti, who is the creator of each year’s beautiful glass-blown Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, and Marilyn Patti.

Dr. Justin Wernick and Pillow board member Nancy Kalodner; Kathleen Chrisman and Laird White.

Adriana Robertson and Susan Bernhardt of Kripalu in Lenox; Norm Appel, Susie Friedman, Naomi Gordon and Roger Gordon.

Kirk Radke, Leslie Nelson and Michael Wainwright.

Cute couple Tricia and Brian Killeen; Ho’o Hee and Manuela Jimenez pose in front of Blake’s Barn.

Before the performance, guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres as tasty as they were creative; the purple-hued scene inside the tent where dinner was served.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/22/15 at 09:13 AM • Permalink

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‘The Tanglewood Picnic’ Launches As Tanglewood’s Season Starts

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. The night before, Tanglewood opened its gates so the first audiences of the season could take in the Sheryl Crow concert. But on Saturday, June 20, Gina Hyams debuted her self-published book, “The Tanglewood Picnic: Music and Outdoor Feasts in the Berkshires,” a pictorial love letter to the eight-decade tradition of picnicking on the lawn at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home. Friends and book contributors partied (with help from the Country Curtains Tanglewood Picnic Whiskey Sour punch, a recipe in the book, mixed up by Hyams’ husband Dave Barrett) at host MacKimmie Co. Many people bought the book in multiples — it makes a great gift — which the author, above, happily signed. Now that the book’s out, let the picnicking begin!

Sheffield residents George Reeves, who crafts leather goods, and Lisa Paris with Jasper, who’s visiting from NYC; Jonathan Swartz, Shakespeare & Company’s Ariel Bock and The Mahaiwe’s Karin Watkins.

Jeff Blaugrund, daughter Irit, whose picture is in the book, Sarah Aroeste Blaugrund and Gina Hyams.

Artist Joanie Ciolfi, whose work is currently on exhibit at the Berkshire Museum, and Lesley Ann Beck, the museum’s director of communications (and a copy editor of the book); MacKimmie Co.‘s owners Doris and Vytas Barsauskas with Dave Barrett, bartender for the day.

Fran Heller of Spencertown, who contributed the Summer Sweet Corn Pudding recipe, page 35, with her sister Marlene Eichholz of Great Barrington, and Michelle Clarkin, chief advancement office at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

David Schnarz and Vicki Bonnington bought 10 books with the approval of Miss Belle; Some lucky person won the gift basket filled with goodies from Lenox merchants.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/21/15 at 09:51 AM • Permalink

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Chamber Music Encounters Another Season

Patricia Boissevain reports from Great Barrington. Close Encounters With Music (CEWM), a Berkshires-born chamber music series now in its 23rd season, gave its annual gala concert on Saturday evening, June 13 at The Mahaiwe, Once again, internationally renowned cellist and Close Encounters Artistic Director and Founder Yehuda Hanani (at right, with CEWM Board President Marcie Setlow) presented an illuminating concert themed “Invitation to the Dance,” which married the magic of dance and music in a performance that included the David Parsons Dancers. Afterwards, Close Encounters’ many supporters celebrated another year of exceptional music making at the annual end-of-season gala reception, held for the first time at the Wyantenuck County Club in Great Barrington.

George Anne Rousseau, Jean Rosseau, Jeannine Schoeffer and Peter Schoeffer; John Cross and Penny Hudnut.

Susan Hillel, Pavel Hillel, Carrie Chen and Stanley Cohen; Neil Chrisman, Kathleen Chrisman and Parsons Dance Artisitic Director/Founder David Parsons.

Pianist David Aladashvili, David Parsons dancer Sarah Braverman, PS21 President/Founder (and CEWM board member)  Judith Grunberg, David Parsons and dancer Miguel Quinones.

Front row: Elayne Cohen, Kim Thomas and Beatrice Cohen; back row:  CEWM Director of Marketing and Public Relations Pamela Dreyfus Smith, Timothy Sergay, Jennifer Nixon and Bella Meyer; Adrienne Cavender and Lisa Miesner.

Laird and Reid White; Yehuda Hanani with Bella Hristova, violinist and recipient of the Young Concert Artists award.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/17/15 at 04:58 PM • Permalink

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Barrington Stage Celebrates Its Possible Dreams

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Last year, Barrington Stage Company celebrated its 20th season, and this year it marks ten years since its move from Sheffield to Pittsfield, turning what some may have deemed impossible into an astonishingly successful venture. With Don Quixote-like spirit, the company’s season opened with “Man of La Mancha,” which served as part one of the June 13th Fiesta Grande gala (preceded with a proclamation read by Pittsfield’s mayor Dan Bianchi deeming it Barrington Stage Day). Guests then followed the red footsteps painted on the sidewalk to the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield for a Spanish-themed reception, silent auction and dinner, catered by MAX Ultimate. Above: Artistic Director Julianne Boyd is flanked by Sydelle Blatt and Lee Blatt, patrons who made the purchase of the second stage possible.

“Man of La Mancha” cast members Lyonel Reneau and Chris Ramirez with Matthew Krob, a musical theatre apprentice; Tom Buckley of The Greylock Marketing Group, Joe Scoco, Michelle Denyes and Raya Buckley.

Mary Ann Quinson, Barrington Stage Company’s board chair, with Joshua Taylor, Madeline Hooper and Ian Hooper.

Arlene Schiff of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Gary Schiff of T.D. Wealth Management; Kathleen Jaffe and Al Jaffe, a former vice president of ESPN.

Brian Prather, set designer and an associate artist for Barrington Stage, Erin Keller and playwright Mark St. Germain; Philip Oppenheimer and Mary Oppenheimer.

State Senator Ben Downing and his wife, Micaelah Morrill, Fiesta Grande’s honorary chairs.

Herman Rotenberg and Gayle Rotenberg, owners of Unusual Wedding Rings and More; David Glodt and Marita Glodt, president of the board of directors.

Susie Hirschfield and Joan Toder; real estate agents Nancy Kalodner of Benchmark Real Estate and Kim Wilder of Barnbrook Realty.

Merry band of Pittsfield residents: Lauren Mangiardi, Michael Cummings, Lisa Cummings, Lucy Krzysztof, Mark Krzysztof, Victoria Cummings, Ray Parrott and Jennifer Parrott.

Gala Chair Debra Miersma and painter Michael Rousseau; novelist and translator Hester Velmans with Joel Millonzi and Kate Millonzi.

Artistic Director Julianne Boyd introduces the principal cast members: Jeff McCarthy (Cervantes/Don Quixote), Felicia Boswell (Aldonza/Dulcenea), Tom Alan Robbins (Sancho Panza) and Todd Horman (Padre); Flamenco artists set the scene at the reception.

Greeting the guests at the gala: a straw Don Quixote created by Michael Melle.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/15/15 at 10:52 AM • Permalink

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‘Van Gogh And Nature’ Opens At The Clark

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. On the main floor, the sublimity of the Clark Art Institute’s reflecting pools and, beyond them, the Berkshires’ rolling hills enticed guests onto the Fernández Terrace to sip cocktails, chat with friends and enjoy the views. Downstairs, scenes of Holland, Provence, Arles, Paris, Auvers and Saint-Rémy, as seen through the eyes of one of the most famous painters to have ever lived, took center stage as the Museum opened Van Gogh and Nature on June 13. The exhibit features nearly 50 paintings and drawings from 30 museums and private collections around the world. The New York Times calls the show a “low-key big deal,” and guests seemed smitten with the array of works chosen. The Clark’s own Café Seven catered, with French fare like croque-monsieur and frozen raspberry mille-feuille or Napoleons getting top billing and making clear why the Wall Street Journal namechecked the café in a recent restaurant roundup. Van Gogh and Nature will be on display at the Clark until September 13. Above, Eric and Stacy Cochran pose with the Clark’s director, Michael Conforti.

David Rynes and Adrienne Rynes with Victoria Elliot and Dr. Marvin McMillen; Jessica Ludwig and Min Jung Kim.

Bennington College professor Paul Voice and Heather Kennon; Lew and Margy Steinberg with Carol and Bob Braun.

Sara Deveaux, Christy Abel, Edward Faison and George Faison; two of the exhibit’s co-curators, Chris Stolwijk and Sjraar van Heugten, flank Met Museum curator Susan Alyson Stein.

Paul and Cindy Poulin with Barb McLucas, Jacqueline Galusha and Jim Galusha.

Julia Conforti, Brian Boucher and Jodi Joseph; Peter Cramer and Jack Waters of Le Petit Versailles.

Noel Gish, Kathy Curren and Susan Conklin; Stephanie Boshart, Amanda Powers and Anne Roecklein of the Clark, with Derek Parker of MASS MoCA.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/14/15 at 01:18 PM • Permalink

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Hillsdale Puts The Community In The Roe Jan Library

Rachel Louchen reports from Hillsdale. The Roeliff Jansen Community Library stands out on Route 22 for its contemporary architecture surrounded by a bucolic landscape. This gorgeous scenery was utilized for its sixth annual gala, Party in the Park on Saturday, June 13, which was held directly across the street in the Harvest Barn. Stacks of books were replaced by hay bales and barn beams, as over 100 guests enjoyed a huge spread of food donated by local restaurants and chefs as they perused the silent auction. Popular items from the diverse auction included lunch with actress Linda Lavin and tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The hotly anticipated gala is an important fundraiser the Library, raising funds for crucial materials and services for the community. It’s evident from looking at the condition of the library and the overwhelming turnout for the gala, that this is a beloved institution to the residents of Hillsdale and surrounding towns. One such dedicated resident, Sally Laing, was honored for her 20-plus years of hard work for the Roe-Jan, having served as everything from volunteer to president of the Board of Trustees. Selecting just one of the hundreds of community supporters for next year’s gala will surely be difficult. Above, chair of the gala committee Roger Mooney with Shirley Bresl.

Honoree Sally Laing, New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Board of Trustees President Pat Placona.

Laurie Shnayerson, Cathy Beneke and Marilyn Herrington, one of the sponsors; Barbara Smith, who helped with the auction. and Cathy Redlich.

Karlis Kirsis of Hillsdale and Mike Laing, son of Sally; Laurel Hoffman, painter Michael Duffy and Matthew McAteer.

Interior designer Timi Bates, who donated her services for the silent auction, Sharon Coleman, who was in charge of raffle tickets, and Marian Henneman—all of whom, coincidentally, live on the same street in Hillsdale.

Supporters and frequent library visitors Anna Winand and Sharyn Landry; Copake residents Tom Goldsworthy and Steve Futrell.

Board of trustees member John Cady with Alanne Baerson, whose husband is also on the board; Sara Kahn-Gearity attended to support her wife who is the board treasurer, here with library supporters Jill and Bill Jellert.

Tim Stookesberry, trustee Cheryl Jones, Lex Lalli and Bill Sullivan.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/13/15 at 08:25 PM • Permalink

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Something Pleasant: NRM Welcomes Cartoonist Roz Chast

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Partygoers flocked to the sold-out spring gala at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, June 6, which also gave attendees a chance to preview the Museum’s newest exhibit, Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs. The charming illustrator was on hand to give a personal tour of the exhibit, along with its curator, Stephanie Plunkett. The four rooms of work by Chast include her cartoons and covers for The New Yorker (dating from 1978) and the entirety of her award-winning graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, which intimately and humorously details her parents’ last years. Also featured is original artwork from her children’s books, brightly colored handmade rugs depicting her drawings, and a video interview with the illustrator. Chast, who resides in Ridgefield, CT, discussed the ins and outs of working for a major magazine, taking care of her aging parents, and creating books starring her pet bird, Marco. After cocktails on the terrace, guests moved to the tent for dinner, music from The Sister City Jazz Ambassadors and a live auction with Sotheby’s Priyanka Mathew. Show above, Karen and Werner Gundersheimer with the artist, Roz Chast.

Susan Geller with Betsey and Mark Selkowitz; Thomas and Eileen Pulling. Mark Selkowitz and Thomas Pulling are longtime Museum trustees who were honored at the event.

Nancy Kalodner with NRM director and CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt; Anne Morgan, an NRM trustee who was honored at the event, with Catherine Deely and Pamela Deely, in front.

Danile Kelly and Jared Kelly; Margaret Boles Fitzgerald, board chair of the Henry Luce Foundation, a major NRM supporter, and Tom Fitzgerald.

Guests make their way toward the tent for dinner on the Museum’s grounds, whose trees were in full bloom.

Tom Potter, Cindy and Ollie Curme, and Dan Mathieu; Paul Raphael LeBlanc and Lauren LeBlanc.

Steven and Christine DeSimone; Al and Kathleen Jaffe with Barrington Stage Company board president Marita Glodt.

Aine Ungar of the Ungar Foundation with John and Mildred Smith and photographer Hildy Pincus Kronen; Sonya and Deryck Tonge.

NRM’s manager of media services, Jeremy Clowe, and wife Sarah Clowe; Robin Seeley, David Slick and Nancy Kalodner.

The Museum’s Ann Sterlin, Holly Coleman and Lisa Lewis; a hand-made storytelling rug from the exhibit.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/07/15 at 09:53 PM • Permalink

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The Beat Goes On At Berkshire Pulse 10th Anniversary Gala

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Berkshire Pulse’s tenth anniversary gala celebration on Saturday, June 6 was a triumph in so many ways. The energy, artistry and emotion that beat through the heart of Berkshire Pulse dancers and drummers on the stage at Bard College at Simon’s Rock were evidence that nothing — not a forced move or a flood in its new quarters — can stop this center for the creative arts. Needing no tutus or glittered tap shoes, students of all ages (youngest: 9, oldest: 89) showed the serious work that goes on in the modern, ballet and world dance classes at the company’s new 6,000-square-foot studio space in Housatonic, which officially opened last September. The performance was preceded by a cocktail reception and followed by a buffet, music and, of course, dancing. Above, Founder/Artistic Director Bettina Montano, Associate Director Ruby Aver and Ellen Gorman, a dancer, choreographer, faculty member and marketing staffer.

Ruslan Horblyuk, John Louw and Eric Bjorseth; Andy Reynolds, Pulse’s grant writer, and Amy Humes, a dance parent and member of the gala committee.

Mark Lefenfeld with Richard Malik and actress Tyler Malik, whose daughter studies at Pulse.

Jeff Diamond with Jennifer Connell and Stephan Green of Clark + Green, architects who worked on the new space pro bono; Michele DiSimone, whose children have been going to Pulse since it opened, and Rosalind Mae Reis.

Ellen Gorman, Tom Gorman, a faculty member, and Carrie Petrik-Huff, a student and class assistant; graphic designer and Pulse’s website administrator Dianne Steele and June Doyle, a dance mom.

Dianne Pearlman, president of Pulse’s board of directors, with major donors Weston and Ann Hicks.

Kristin Murphy and Susan Ingersoll of the administrative staff; Brittany Brouker of CATA and Sophia Romeu of the Berkshire International Film Festival.

The girls of Ballet III: Dorree Ndooki, Sonora Malik, Mae Denner-Kenny, Lily McDonald and Juniper Shalles.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/07/15 at 08:48 PM • Permalink

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From Page To Stage With Berkshire Playwright Lab’s Eighth Season

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The opening night gala for the eighth season of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab (BPL) on Friday, June 5th at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center was a night filled with uproarious live performances and short films by local playwrights featuring local actors. The 90-minute show began with the premiere of a hilarious short, Love, Dad starring Treat Williams as an oblivious father of the bride giving a deeply inappropriate and unwanted toast, which set the tone for the remainder of the night. After the Williams short, filmed on location at Windflower Inn with local extras, the rest of the entertainment for the evening were staged one-acts and equally comic. Highlights included Welcome, Parents with Great Barrington resident Lauren Ambrose as an overly enthusiastic teacher helming her first parent’s night, The Therapist and Happy Hour starring Jay Thomas as a unassuming coworker unwilling put in the middle of office “he said, she said.” Founded by artistic co-directors Jim FrangioneMatthew Penn, and Joe Cacaci (who directed the majority of the one-acts and Love, Dad), BPL is the region’s only theater dedicated to playwrights to develop new plays through productions, workshops and readings. Two staged readings from previous BPL seasons will be full productions this summer; Richard Dresser’s Closure, starring Wendie Malick and Gary Cole at New Jersey Repertory Company and Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid at Shakespeare & Company. Following the show, guests and performers gathered next door at Castle Street Cafe for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and jazz music. Audiences can get a peak a new productions to come when the staged reading series begins on June 24th and continues in August. Above, Michael Wolkowitz , co-artistic director Michael Penn, and his wife, Candace Penn.

Love, Dad producer John Whalan of Black Ice Entertainment with star Treat Williams as a perverse father of the bride and his son, Gill Williams who appeared in the short as the dumbfounded groom.

BPL board members Jonathan Hankin and Chris Blair; Darcy Fowler and Dylan Dawson performed as the tititlar characters in Adam and Eve, about the first man and woman discovering life and each other.

Mahaiwe board chair Maggie Buchwald with BPL board chair Stacey Gillis Weber; Robert Bruyr and actor Peter Bergman who had a hilariously memorable scene in Love, Dad as a guest unfairly ridiculed in the toast.

English Hideaway Bed & Breakfast owners Denise Forbes and Trevor Forbes flank co-artistic director Joe Cacaci.

Actress Jess Jacobs, who has performed with BPL in the past, here with Dane Hasse; longtime supporters and contributors Roberta Haas and Steven Haas.

Supporting gala cast members Tracy Foster and Andy Foster ; Berkshire Grown’s Barbara Zheutlin, filmmaker Erica Spizz and John Whalan.

Vince Nappoi and actress Kelley Curran, soon to be appearing in Shakespeare & Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/07/15 at 04:04 PM • Permalink

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High Fashion At The Factory: The BerkChique! Preview Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Dalton. In the immortal words of David Bowie, “Fashion! Turn to the left. Fashion! Turn to the right. Oooh, fashion!” To the left we had BerkChique! event chair Vicki Bonnington’s hand-curated couture in a wide range of styles, sizes and price points. To the right, was another roomful of reasonably priced men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, bags and belts to pour over. Those who attended the BerkChique! preview party on Friday, June 5 at The Stationery Factory got first dibs on all of the above, plus hors d’oeuvres courtesy of The Red Lion Inn (a founding sponsor), beer and wine from Kelly’s Package Store and goodie bags stuffed with freebies from Blue Q, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Mighty Brittle and Radiance Yoga. The Berkshires’ most popular used clothing sale continued through the weekend, with a portion of sales donated to Community Access to the Arts, IS183 Art School, Shakespeare & Company and WAM Theatre, and unsold items going to local non-profits, including Goodwill Industries and its Berkshire County Suit YourSelf program. Above, fashion guru Vicki Bonnington beautifully reigns over her fashion kingdom.

Veronica Martin and Emily Thomson; Event coordinator Rebecca Weiman with Stationery Factory owners Maria Cruz and Steve Sears.

Alexandra Groff and Ariana Brawley, both of Jacob’s Pillow Dance, with Berkshire Magazine’s Abby Wood; Andrea Stasiowski, Toni Massery and Annie Cole.

Darcie Sosa, Berkshire Creative’s Julia Dixon, one of the fabulous models, Vicki Bonnington, and Berkshire Creative intern Maxwell Dakin.

Carrie Wright of IS183 and Stephanie Gravalese-Wood; Shoes, shoes, shoes—handpicked by Ms. Bonnington, herself.

Just one small section of fabulous fashions at the former Crane stationery factory in Dalton.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/06/15 at 02:24 PM • Permalink

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Happy 200th: The Lenox Library Celebrates Its Building

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Around 250 people gathered together at the Lenox Library on Saturday, May 30 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building in which it’s housed. Built in 1815 as the second Berkshire County Courthouse, the building has been home to the Library since 1874. Townspeople have supported the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, through lengthy restorations and additions to reestablish its original beauty. Saturday’s well-attended celebration doubled as a fundraiser in which 25 local artists created and donated paintings, drawings and photographs of the Library for a silent auction. A commemorative book has collected all of the artists’ renderings, along with a history of the Library building and quotes from patrons, and is available for purchase as a keepsake. Above, Kim Bradway and Jennifer Knopf, the Library’s fundraising events coordinator.

Ken Grinspoon, Selena Morris and Ilse Browner, who runs the Library’s summer book sale which is celebrating its 20th year this August 21 - August 23; Lori Robbins, Anita Heller and Mary Spina, who donated flowers from her garden for the event.

Hillery Maxymillian, Library board member Lisa Nelson, Laura Kittross and Margaret Keller; Maggie Sadoway and Rick Gregg.

Sarah Dotchin, Peter Arment, Tyler Arment, David Dotchin (holding Henry) and Peter Arment, Sr.

Christa and Jeremiah Ames with Marybeth Mitts; Chris Ciolfi and artist Joan Palano Ciolfi, who donated a painting to the auction.

Liz Goodman and Susan Love; Mark and Molly Elliot with Jody and Steve Prunier and Lindsey Schmid of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.

Guests mingled and snacked from the buffet amid festive decorations.

Another view of the scene in the Library; Cakewalk Bakery and Cafe created a larger-than-life book cake for the event.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/31/15 at 08:33 PM • Permalink

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A Sneak Peek At The Leaf Peepers Concert Series

Lisa Green reports from Hillsdale. It wasn’t just standing room only at the Leaf Peepers fundraising concert on Saturday, May 30. It was a stair sitting, loft leaning and barstool perching audience that packed Richard Collens’ home in Hillsdale for a benefit concert to help fund one of Columbia County’s most beloved concert series (and the county’s oldest classical music organization). Pianist Christopher O’Riley, host of NPR’s “From The Top,” was as articulate and engaging as he is on his radio show, introducing the pieces and the musicians, who included Leaf Peepers Music Director and flutist Eugenia Zukerman, clarinetist Paul Green, cellist Edward Arron and violinist Tessa Lack (a three-time “From the Top” performer).  Above, Eugenia Zukerman, Carl Schuster, who is on WMHT’s board of trustees, and Jeff Daly.

Gabriel Kosakoff, who inspired thousands of students as the long-time music teacher at the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, Carol Kosakoff and Renee Rota, Tanglewood Business Partners marketing coordinator; Actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, regarded by many as the world authority on Indian food, and Deepak Crawford.

Conductor and violinist Joseph Silverstein, Tessa Lark and Richard Collens.

Pianist Christopher O’Riley and clarinetist Paul Green; Gary Delemeester, Matthew Bernstein and Elissa Bernstein.

Sam the dog was on his best behavior at the reception; Ron Tanner and Maureen Gara.

Bathed in brilliant sunlight, the artists capped off the concert with an encore piece by Astor Piazzolla.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/31/15 at 12:13 PM • Permalink

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It Was Almost Nonstop Partying At the 10th Annual BIFF

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. If it seemed like there were more parties than ever at this year’s Berkshire International Film Festival, it may be because there was a decade to celebrate, since the tiny festival that could, did make it to its tenth year. As always, the number of documentaries rivaled those of feature films; panel discussions, short films, filmmaker awards and movies made in or about our region kept attendees busy throughout the weekend. On Thursday, May 28, the first opening under the BIFF tent in Great Barrington began with cocktails and light hors d’eourves catered by Max Ultimate Food, followed by the film MERU and dinner and dancing back under the tent. Above, Mark Dove, Pine Cone Hill creator Annie Selke and BIFF founder Kelley Vickery get the party started.

Besties Cynthia LaPiere and Barbra Gradus; Greg Rhen of HBO Documentary Fillms, Alexandria Bombach, a producer of the documentary “Frame by Frame,” a juried competition film, and Reinaldo Marcus Green, writer and director of the short film “Stop.”

Holly Steinberg, Gun Stanley, Larry Steinberg and Richard Stanley, owner of The Triplex and Beacon cinemas and BIFF board member.

Actor Kale Browne and Triplex/Beacon General Manager John Valente, who is retiring at the end of the month (and who was executive producer of “Another World” when Kale Browne was on the show); Weston Hicks, Ann Hicks and Hunter Runnette.

Marion Gilliam, Roberto Flores of Good Dog Farm, Pat Fili-Krushel, a board member, and Ken Krushel.

David Howard and Patricia Howard; Body & Soul Day Spa proprietor Doone Marshall and Susan Copich, a photographer.

Purely Patricia Fox, an assemblage stylist, Maureen Masters of Magnolia Pictures, builder Howard Chezar and Sarah Adina Smith, writer and director of “The Midnight Swim,” a juried competition film.

and from Pittsfield. Party number two, on Friday, May 29, began with a reception at The Beacon Cinema, followed by Berkshire Bank’s presentation of the 6th annual “Next Great Filmmaker Award,” given to Chris King (for his short film, “Birthday”), and a screening of “The End of the Tour.” But the main feature came after, as attendees twirled through the revolving doors into the first-ever event at the brand new Hotel on North. Guests admired the transformation of the former department store-turned-boutique hotel and restaurant while enjoying the sumptuous spread and drinks by Eat on North and Drink on North. BIFF still had two more days of back-to-back films and activities. Closing night featured the film “LIVE FROM NEW YORK!,” which explores the cultural and historical impact of 40 years of “Saturday Night Live” on American culture, followed by the now-traditional party at Castle Street Café. Above, some of the movers and shakers of BIFF and the hotel: Diane Pearlman, executive director of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Barbara Newman,  Brian Butterworth, VP of sales for the Main Street Hospitality Group, David Tierney, owner of Hotel on North, and Nancy Fitzpatrick, Red Lion Inn. 

Alfonso Soares with Sonya Heimann and Ashley Paradise from Seven Salon Spa in Stockbridge; Lisa Newmann, creator of Cookiehead Cookies and Will Schillinger, recording engineer and owner of Pilot Recording Studios in Housatonic.

NYC creative director Andy Clayman and Casey Mott, who came in from Los Angeles to attend BIFF; Susan Burns of Lee and Alyssa Nelson of Pittsfield.

Laurie Tierney and David Tierney, masterminds and owners of Hotel on North, pose in the building’s infamous elevator cage.

Shakespeare and Company’s Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Hope Sullivan, executive director of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires; Chef Brian Alberg, whose culinary responsibilities now include the hotel’s Eat & Drink restaurant along with the Red Lion Inn’s.

Publicist Ellen Lahr and real estate agent Scott Wheeler, a BIFF volunteer; Mike Aronson, new to the Berkshires and experiencing his first BIFF, with his sister, Lisa Newmann.

Lauren Ferin, BIFF’s executive assistant, and Nathan Hanford, an artist who works for Soldier On.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/29/15 at 02:57 PM • Permalink

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CLC Country Barbecue Brings Together Food, People And Land

Lisa Green reports from Schodack Landing, NY. “One farmer feeds you and 154 of your friends each day,” proclaimed a sign at the Columbia Land Conservancy’s 25th annual Country Barbecue. Reason enough to celebrate the CLC’s extensive and innovative work in support of agriculture in Columbia County and surrounding areas. On Sunday, May 24, on the expansive grounds of Dutch Hollow Farm, the event fulfilled part of the organization’s mission to strengthen the connections between people and the land. There were local farms exhibiting (and sampling) their products; sheep-shearing demonstrations, cattle mooing in the barn, and farm tours of the third-generation, 3,000-acre dairy farm on conserved land. And there was food, of course: pulled pork sandwiches, local hot dogs and beef burgers and sides, ingredients courtesy of area farms. Being a fundraising event, there had to be raffle items, but here they included a John Deere pedal tractor and a farm stay glamping weekend at Letterbox Farm. The Columbia Land Conservancy strives to be dynamic force in sustaining a strong and vibrant rural community where agriculture plays a central role in the economy, and judging by the enthusiastic mien of those at the event, the CLC is doing a very good job, indeed. Above, Barbara Reisman, trustee, and Mark Levy, chair of the CLC’s board of trustees.

Peter Paden, executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, and Lowell Johnston; Austerlitz residents Sarah Allen and Analisa Allen.

The sunglasses squad: Copywriter Michele Karas, Jennifer Baum, Ber Murphy, a photographer, and Charles Baum.

Carson Glover and Dale Saylor of North Chatham and owners of Hollymount Ltd.; Rick McCarthy, Betsy Jacks, executive director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Jean Hamilton of Flower Blossom Farm in Ghent.

Graphic designer Ellen Lynch with Michele Steckler of Fly Loft Group; Host Committee members Keith Kanaga, Aryn Kanaga and Katherine Kanaga.

Jill Castellano, who owns Kinderhook Wine & Spirits in Valatie and Michael Castellano, principal broker at Gilcrest Properties.

Melissa Skoda and her son Alexander Skoda from Triple Creek Dairy Farms, representing Hudson Valley Fresh, a dairy farmer cooperative; Susan Cathers and David Cathers of Old Chatham.

Dairy princess ambassador and her sidekick; Ralph Hartzell assures the crowd that the yoke is not too heavy for his two-ton oxen.

Alex Volkheimer and Brett Sykes, who is an intern at the Columbia Land Conservancy

Amy Barr, Julie Fenster and Jami Rubin; sheep peeking out of the pen before their turn at the sheep-shearing demonstration.

Host committee members Colton Brown and Natasha Brown; the man of the hour: host Paul Chittenden, owner of Dutch Hollow Farm (and a herd of 1,400 cattle), who was chopping alfalfa until just before the event started.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/25/15 at 11:33 AM • Permalink

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Chesterwood’s Season Opening Celebration

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Chesterwood held its season opening party and fundraiser on May 23, giving guests the chance to tour sculptor Daniel Chester French’s former studio as well as this year’s Boston Sculptors Gallery site-specific exhibit installed throughout the grounds. Before enjoying dinner catered by Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green, supporters were treated to a performance by Berkshire Pulse dancers who, under the tutelage of Tom Masters, performed in the guises of former Chesterwood guests Isadora Duncan, Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis. While last year’s gala celebrated the reopening of French’s diligently rehabbed studio, this year’s festivities will contribute to repairs crucial to the preservation of the main residence. Above, Chesterwood’s director, Donna Hassler, with Tony Knerr and Carole Hyatt.

Susan and Michael Michaud with Suzanne Crerar and David Haust; sculptor-in-residence Roberley Bell with Kimberly Rawson.

Marco Greenberg and Stacey Nelkin; artist Helga S. Orthofer, Nancy Fitzpatrick and Patty Ellis.

Jim Culliton of Allegrone, a gala sponsor, and singer Mary Verdi with Diana and Sorin Fiscu.

Morgan Russell, Margot Stamas and Jeremy Siegel; Dave Cornellier and Katie Soules Cornellier of gala sponsor Stone House Properties.

Berkshire Pulse dancers Katelyn Shannon, Jake Smerechniak and Celeste Harshbarger; Dinner was served in the tent behind the main residence on Chesterwood’s lush grounds.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/25/15 at 09:36 AM • Permalink

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The School Celebrates Its First Anniversary With An El Anatsui Retrospective

Amy Krzanik reports from Kinderhook. Local food trucks, cotton candy, curated cocktails, music, art world scholars and celebs, a photobooth — it sounds like a summertime music festival, and it practically was. As Jack Shainman Gallery: The School marked its first anniversary, guests from near and far flocked to Kinderhook to help the gallerist celebrate and to view the space’s newest exhibition, El Anatsui: Five Decades. A retrospective of the Ghanaian artist’s oeuvre — from small wooden sculptures to large-scale wall and floor pieces comprised of bottle caps, fabric, metal and wood — the exhibit spanned all three floors of the 30,000-square-foot gallery and the individual pieces served as the perfect backdrops for the creative crowd’s group photos and selfies. Outside, large tents provided shade for revelers as they enjoyed cool drinks and snacks from The Flammerie, Cue BBQ, How We Roll, Lekker and others. Happy anniversary, Mr. Shainman, and here’s to many more. Above, Jack Shainman with Jane and Peter Jacobs.

Shainman Gallery intern Amina Smith with Jordan Martin; Julia Elsas and Ellen Elsas.

Art scholar Susan Vogel, who has published a book and directed a film about El Anatsui, and Ken Prewitt; Farmer Mike Kokas, jeweler Gabriella Kiss, designer Peter Superti and Mary Vaughn Williams.

Jia Jia Fei, Antwaun Sargent and Diya Vij; Emma Ramos and Craig Newman.

Chad Farmer, Kayla Wilson (holding Hunter), Kelli Farmer and Jody Samascott pose in front of Adinkra Sasa.

Visitors take in Peak Project, created from tin and copper wire; the sunny scene outside included local food trucks.

Tiled Flower Garden (floor front) was exhibited in the main gallery space, along with Stressed World (wall left) and Blema (wall, right).

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/18/15 at 02:39 PM • Permalink

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Ready, Willing And Able: CATA Parties And Performs

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Community Access to the Arts (CATA), much like the world in general, doesn’t need you to be perfect, it just needs you to participate. Newcomers learn quickly that audiences who attend CATA’s annual performances aren’t shy about their participation, either. The crowd of supporters at Saturday evening’s gala at Shakespeare & Company openly shared the joy beaming off of the performers, and they were more than ready to clap along to the music, cheer for the “contestants” and shout out answers when asked to finish quotes from Shakespeare. Ready, Willing & Able, this year’s performance theme, was exhibited through song, dance, juggling, drama and stand-up comedy. An after-party included cocktails from Berkshire Mountain Distillers, dinner by Firefly, dancing to music from JTD Productions and tent projections by Joe Wheaton. Above, CATA executive director Margaret Keller is flanked by Howard and Shirley Shapiro.

Billy Himmelrich, CATA board president John Whalan, and gala co-chair Dave Hosokawa; Roger Manring, gala committee member Elaine Silberstein and artist Sue Connell.

Jeff Diamond, Diane Pearlman and filmmaker Ben Hillman; Trisha Killeen, gala committee member Robin Ban and board member Maria Cleary.

Gala committee member Reggie Cooper, Madeline Phelps and David Phelps; Gwendolyn VanSant with MA State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.

Pittsfield Community Connection’s Adam Hinds and Jessika Trancik; gala committee member Mitch Nash with Vicki Bonnington and David Schecker.

Steffen Hyder, Marie-Louise McHugh, board member Ron Gallagher and Katharine Millonzi.

Gala committee member Janet Elsbach with Howard Lieberman and Carolyn Lieberman; CATA board member Liz Williams with Michael Wainwright and gala co-chair Bev Hosokawa.

CATA volunteers Sandy Van and Linda Russell flank CATA studio manager Anamyn Turowski; board member Ben Silberstein, Jonathan Swartz and board member Matt Mandel.

Kate Whalan, board president John Whalan, Johnathan McFarland and Joe Cacaci; Josie Lane, Linda Febles and Jerry Burke.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/18/15 at 12:58 PM • Permalink

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The Horticultural Event Of The Season Celebrates Its 15th Year

Rachel Louchen reports from Sharon. From the moment you pull onto Hosier Road in Sharon and join the hundreds of cars packing the field across from Lion Rock Farm, you know you’re in the right place at the right time. The reason for this large gathering? Trade Secrets. Now in its 15th year, the famous rare plants and antique show brings interior and exterior decorators, landscape designers, gardeners and those with a “good eye” from all over the east coast. Nearly 50 vendors spread out at generous host Elaine LaRoche’s farm for the two-day garden event that raises money for  Women’s Support Services (WSS) of the Northwest Corner of Connecticut, which provide free aid to women who have been on the receiving end of violence from someone they know. It’s a can’t miss weekend for many of the attendees, most notable of whom was the affable Martha Stewart. Many have been attending since the very first Trade Secrets in 2000. Above, Anne Fredericks and Patty Fili-Krushel.

Lee Buttala, Lindsey Taylor and gardener Tony Bielaczyc.

The one and only Martha Stewart; Molly and Christopher DeOrsay of Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Pergola Home’s Sarah Handelman, owner David Whitman, and Cliff Kye.

Volunteers Annika Elwell of Cornwall and Sophia Marcus from Amenia helped guests transfer their very large plant purchases; Mary Ann Tucker and Dana Gould from Greenwich.

Robyn Bartomioli, Jackie Osnato and Noreen Driscoll of Sweethaven Farm in Salisbury.

Hammertown proprietor Joan Osofsky stands in front of her tent wth Carol Kalikow; Passports’ Jennifer McCarthy and Chris Baetz.

Anne Milliken and Seth Milliken of Salisbury always attend Trade Secrets, with Eliza Milliken and Zack Sadow.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/16/15 at 08:55 PM • Permalink

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Construct’s MayFest Honors Ernest Schnesel

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. Guests spilled out of the packed Wyantenuck Country Club and onto the front veranda on Monday, May 11 as Construct’s annual MayFest fundraising gala honored the memory of longtime supporter Ernest Schnesel. The evening’s theme, “The House That Ernie Built,” represents Construct’s strategy for housing all members of the community. Ernest and his wife, Anne, were the lead underwriters for “Warm Up the Winter,” a benefit concert to help community members with winter heating costs, as well as many other of the non-profit’s initiatives over the 32 years the couple has lived in the area. The balmy evening’s gala attendees had their choice of food, drink and dessert from 25 area purveyors, including Prairie Whale, Castle Street Café, Aroma, Catherine’s Chocolates, Glass Bottom Brewery and many others. Funds from the gala go to support Construct’s work in the community. Above, Gala co-chair Nick Arienti with Fran Arienti.

Author Stefanie Samek, musician Richard Waldburger and author Gayle Moskowitz; April Burch, Buzzie McGraw and Dan Alden.

Steve Mack and freelance stylist Elaine Mack with Howard Chezar and Purely Patricia; Catherine Shearn Chester and Matthew Chester.

The Schnesel Family, with honorary chairperson Anne Schnesel in blue jacket third from right, gathered together for a family photo.

Doone Marshall, Lori Rose and Sheila Thunfors; Patricia Elsbach with Luiza Trabka and Ananda Timpane of the Railroad Street Youth Project.

Pleasant & Main served up crepes for the guests; Wyantenuck’s main building was packed with supporters.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/11/15 at 11:49 PM • Permalink

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Sandisfield Gala Celebrates ‘An Extraordinary Community’

Lisa Green reports from Sandisfield. The auction action at the second annual Sandisfield Arts Center spring dinner and benefit on Saturday, May 9 proved that, if nothing else, the Sandisfield community is a tight-knit and supportive one. When State Representative. Smitty Pignatelli was unable to make his auctioneering commitment, Mary Anne Grammer and Ben Luxon stepped up to do the honors. When they occasionally missed a guest’s bid during the raucous activity, others called it out so the arts center would gain as much financial support as possible. When a bidding war ensued over a service or sponsorship, the bidders agreed among themselves that they both would contribute and share the winnings.  “This is an extraordinary little community,” said the stentorian-voiced Luxon. In a twist on the old silent auction, the gala committee decided to offer a pop-up shop prior to the dinner (catered by Chef Adam Manacher) selling items such as books by local authors, ceramics and jewelry by local artists and even an apple cake, all proceeds going to benefit programs and events at this small-but mighty hidden community gem.  Above, Alice Boyd, past president now running for Sandisfield Board of Selectmen, and current president Marcella Smith.

Liana Toscanini manages the pop-up shop during the cocktail reception; June Wink, an internationally known potter, in front of her work for sale.

Susie Crofut, former co-president of the arts center, and Mary Anne Grammer, who coordinated the auction.

Patrick Barrett, a town selectman and Ellen Croibier; Paul Van Sickle and Jim Barrett.

Sandy Parisky with Sheila Liberman of Boston and Tolland; Chapin Fish of Wm. Brockman Real Estate and Kevin Fish, co-owners of Farm & Home in Great Barrington.

Jewelry designer Margo Morrison and caterer Patricia Hubbard, who made the flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

Mary Anne Grammer and famed baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon entreat the guests to bid in an entertaining auction; The circa 1892 Sandisfield Arts Center building tucked away in the woods.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/10/15 at 11:49 AM • Permalink

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Night Of 1,000 Tulips And Guests for GBRSS

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. After years of requests from parents to have a big fundraising event like many other schools in the region, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School held its first annual spring gala on Saturday, May 9. Dubbed Tulipalooza, those flowers (donated by Ariella Chezar) and more greeted guests as they walked to the hay barn at Stonover Farm, which was outfitted with chandeliers spotlighting an impressive spread catered by Marianna Morrison. Local band Quiet In The Head performed as guests arrived and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while they perused the auction goods which included a big hot ticket item — a week stay in Barcelona. Dancing closed the evening with music by DJ Tayo Kaufman. Support for the new event, which raised money to benefit school programs, was predominately parents, with faculty and some alumni, but they all added up to a sizable crowd, making a second spring gala a guarantee. Above, Tom Sternal, vice president of the school’s board and Jenna Lamond, development and event coordinator.

Nursery teacher Jo Valens and kindergarden teacher Laura Lin; First grade teacher Pamela Giles and music teacher Sigrid Mitchell.

Steiner parents Mike Bissaillon and Gary Casarsa; Great Barrington resident Amy Humes and Christina Casarsa.

Kari Harendorf, Kirstin Morgan, Jessica Oakley, Anne Novick and David Logan, all of whom have children at the Steiner School.

Shiva and Bob Lucido; therapist Seth Morrison and third-grade teacher Rebecca Morrison.

Iovan and Chrissy DeRis; Honey Sharp with her husband, David Lippman, whose mother, Betty Krainis, founded the school in 1971.

Austin Banach with first grade teacher Veronica Horowitz; Faculty administrator Michael Junkins and farm and garden teacher Hadley Milliken.

Fifth grade teacher Victoria Cartier, parent Hanna Bail and parent/alumni Christopher Lee.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/09/15 at 10:34 PM • Permalink

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Wilderstein Fundraiser Spotlights Roosevelt PBS Documentary

Rhinebeck, NY The Ken Burns documentaries on PBS are universally admired, and an event related to his recent production, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, drew a sold-out crowd at a fundraiser for Wilderstein Historic Site. On Saturday, May 2, Geoffrey C. Ward, bestselling author and writer of the Roosevelt documentary, discussed the film in Rhinebeck at a special screening event at Upstate Films. The screening highlighted clips from the seven-part, 14-hour documentary that features Wilderstein, the family home of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley. She was a sixth cousin, close friend and confidante of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a frequent guest at the White House. Her collection of letters exchanged between FDR and extensive diaries are one of the best surviving records for understanding the private side of Roosevelt’s life during this period. The Emmy Award-winning Ward is the author of three books about FDR – Before the Trumpet, Closest Companion, and A First-Class Temperament.  He is also the co-writer with Ken Burns of The War, The Civil War, Jazz, and Baseball. A luncheon at the Beekman Arms was a lovely finale to the event.  Above: Florentine Films Associate Producer and Editor Daniel White and Producer Pam Baucom, Wilderstein Executive Director Greg Sokaris and Geoffrey Ward (seated).

Valerie Dampeer, events committee member, Brian Lange, president of Wilderstein Historic Site, and Greg Sokaris, executive director; Donna Warner has her book signed by Ward.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/04/15 at 01:03 PM • Permalink

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Both Sides Now: ‘River Crossings’ Spans The Hudson

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson and Catskill. The weather gave its vote of support to the marriage of contemporary art and historic properties on Saturday, May 2 as Frederic Church’s Olana and Thomas Cole’s Cedar Grove opened their River Crossings exhibit at a special preview party for members of the two sites. The 28 artists featured in the exhibition, including Romare Bearden, Chuck Close, Gregory Crewdson, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith and others, run the gamut from painters and sculptors to photographers and multimedia installation artists. A short trip across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge from each other, these two homes of famous Hudson River School painters each have inspiring views, but are crowned by very different styles of home. Cole’s house, a Federal-style built in 1815, features warm, mostly pale yellow rooms that are the perfect foil to the exuberant art currently hung there. Church’s home mixes Victorian architecture and Middle-Eastern accents to create a dramatic backdrop for its art pieces. The show, River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home is up until November 1. Above, Olana board chair David Redden and exhibition co-curators Jason Rosenfeld and Stephen Hannock pose in front of Maya Lin’s work.

Jonathan Lerner, Peter Frank, NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and David Barrett; David Voorhees, director of the Jacob Leisler Papers Project and Timothy O’Connor, director of the Ashbery Resource Center at Bard College.

Kianga and Peter Daverington; Sculptor Don Gummer, who has work in the show, with Olana curators Evelyn Trebilcock and Mark Prezorski, and Donna Hassler.

Hudson enjoyed bright sunshine and blue skies on opening day.

Daniel Rothbart, Francine Hunter McGivern, artist Parker Shipp and John Rosenthal; Olana tour guide Chris Dillon with Ed Sanderson.

Serena Rattazzi with Clermont board member Patricia Falk; Gary Delemeester, Donna Hassler and Jeff Daly.

Olana board chair emeritus Rick Sharp with current board members Rick McCarthy and David DeWeese; Guests are welcomed into the main house at Olana.

Olana’s breathtaking view.

Artist Kara Hamilton, whose work is featured in the exhibit, with her dog, Hope, alongside Lindsey Taylor and her dog, Lucy; Michele Phillips, a paper conservator with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Laura Ten Eyck, an antiquarian map dealer, pose in front of work by Jerry Gretzinger.

Thomas Cole board chair Lisa Fox Martin and Betsy Jacks, the site’s executive director; Olana board member Stuart Breslow and Thomas Cole board member Anne Miller in front of a sculpture by Don Gummer.

Joseph Matta and Danny Schieffler; Visitors view Angie Keefer’s Area Variance, a photograph taken on Columbia Street in Hudson.

Spring has recently arrived at the Thomas Cole site, as the lawn’s trees begin to show delicate green leaves.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/03/15 at 10:06 PM • Permalink

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Literary Death Match Returns To The Mount

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Edith Wharton’s former stables became the scene of fierce competition on Friday, April 24, as Literary Death Match made its triumphant return to The Mount. The reading series/story slam, created and hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga, gives four authors a chance to read their work — short stories, essays and poetry, both silly and serious, are all featured — in front of a crowd and three discerning judges, who will then grade them on literary merit, performance and intangibles. Author Paul La Farge and comedians Sue Smith and Jenny Zigrino took their places at the judges’ table as the bout began. Round One pitted Arda Collins’ artful poetry against Jedediah Berry’s tale of alien probing (that would be them probing us), with Berry coming out the winner due to high marks in the presentation category. Round Two saw Ron Currie Jr.’s thoroughly-thought-out plan for a line of “hobo jeans” go up against Courtney Maum’s masterful essay about a trip to a Parisian podiatrist. Maum, the winner of that round, then battled Barry in an author spelling bee finale. As the names of the writers got more and more difficult to spell or even to pronounce, Maum called in Paul La Farge to help her tackle “Wisława Szymborska,” but for naught, as super-speller Jedediah Berry took home the coveted Literary Death Match medal. Jedediah Berry, above, read his story from a scroll, which helped him amass points for presentation.

Haley Jo Cutrone, who celebrated her birthday at LDM, and Courtney Maum; MCLA professor Dr. Chris Himes, Emily Pulfer-Terino and filmmaker Diego Ongaro.

Kelsey Mullen, the Mount’s director of public programs and education, with Christian Drake; Lisa Prosienski and Ron Currie Jr.

Jedediah Berry, Jenny Zigrino, Adrian Todd Zuniga and Arda Collins.

Paul La Farge helps Courtney Maum spell Wisława Szymborska; Paul LaFarge, Jenny Zigrino and Sue Smith judge contestants.

Emily Houk and Jedediah Berry; Courtney Maum and Paul La Farge.

Sean Hayes, Nicole Wheeler, Adam Hinds, Jenn Smith, author Snowden Wright, who will be reading at The Mount on May 9, and Adam Orazio.

Courtney Maum and Arda Collins read from their work.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/26/15 at 06:09 PM • Permalink

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A Woman Of Will — Tina Packer — Launches Her Book At S&Co.

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. Over many years, audiences have gravitated to performances by Shakespeare & Company Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, and they were just as attracted to the launch and celebration of her much-anticipated book, Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays. On Saturday, April 25, nearly 200 of her fans, S&Co staff members and actors past and present gathered at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, where Packer [photo, left] and Nigel Gore presented selections from the stage work of “Women of Will,” followed by a Q&A, reception and book signing. During the presentation, Packer explained why she was inspired to explore Shakespeare’s changing understanding of women and how his journey is reflected in his writing.  The powerful scenes enacted and Packer’s deep insights into Shakespeare’s development as a person and playwright only increased the audience’s admiration for her contributions to the company. “I feel like I was just witness to something transcendental,” said a woman as she left the event. Indeed.

S&Co Interim Co-Artistic Directors Jonathan Croy and Ariel Bock; Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Communications Director/Artistic Associate and Kevin Coleman, a company founder and the director of education.

Shakespeare & Company educators: Dara Silverman, Douglas Seldin, Maizy Broderick Scarpa and Josh Aaron McCabe.

Tina Packer and Nigel Gore in a scene from “Taming of the Shrew;” Sally Sugarman, theater blogger and host of a radio program devoted to theater on WBTN, and David Joseph, who will appear in this season’s production of “Henry V.”

Dennis Karusnick, another founder of the company and director of training; Janet Kalas, “dicoverer of sound” at S&Co., Lezlie Lee, a director in the education department, and Kevin Coleman.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/26/15 at 10:39 AM • Permalink

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Animalia Attracts At Hillman-Jackson Gallery

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. The Hillman-Jackson Gallery at Bard College at Simon’s Rock is a forward-thinking, eclectic gallery at an equally forward-thinking and eclectic school. The Gallery’s current exhibition, Animalia, featuring the most recent work by painter Michael Caines, opened with an artist’s talk and reception on Monday, April 20. Caines collaborated with designer Sean Naftel to hang the show, which features paintings of dogs, cats — including one with a mustache — and humans which “slyly reference 17th-century portraiture, historical landscapes and minimalist painting.” The “star” of the show is Georgeous – a portrait of a dog with George W. Bush’s eyes and mouth — positioned low to the ground and behind tiny velvet ropes as if it were the Mona Lisa. You can catch the exhibit, downstairs at the Daniel Arts Center, through Thursday, May 14. Above, Ariana Taylor, Michael Caines and Sean Naftel.

Simon’s Rock painting and drawing professor Jacob Fossum with husband Jackson Liscombe, a computer science professor at Simon’s Rock; Hillman-Jackson Gallery curator Margaret Cherin and photographer Gregory Cherin.

Designer John Mahoney and gallerist Ronald Wells; Art students Zoe Hu and Rebecca Cosenza.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/21/15 at 10:29 AM • Permalink

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IS183’s Gala: Versace, Tchotchkes, Mariachi And A Hibachi

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. To say that IS183 Art School of the Berkshires throws a great gala would be an understatement, as anyone who’s ever been to one can attest. This year’s big blowout, on Saturday, April 11, was no exception, as volunteers turned the Crowne Plaza Hotel into the Versace Tchotchke Expo with Mariachi + Hibachi. Donatella Versaces (yes, more than one) catwalked their way through the ballroom, taking in the larger-than-life mariachi men and hovering lightning clouds, and posing for selfies with giant owls and Matrushkas. Human tchotchkes and hibachi chefs bid on auction items that included tickets to the sold-out July 4th James Taylor concert at Tanglewood, overnight stays at area luxury hotels, private massages, wine tastings, theater tickets and, of course, artwork including handmade jewelry, leather goods, portrait sittings, personalized photography and ceramics classes and other creative offerings you won’t find anywhere else. Funds raised benefit IS183’s Learning Through Arts (LTA) program, which serves more than 1,250 Berkshire County public school students of all ages in more than 15 area schools through after-school and summer art programs. In photo above, Hope Sullivan, IS183’s executive director, and Nancy Fitzpatrick.

Six Depot’s Flavio Lichtenthal and Lisa Landry with Emily Shaw; Peter and Leigh Boyd.

Tom Haskins-Vaughan and Elissa Haskins-Vaughan; David Slick, Robin Seeley, Arthur Cape and Pat Whitehead.

Tom Werman, Jenny Fenig and Steven Fenig; Vicki Bonnington, wearing the amazing tchotchke dress she made, poses with a mariachi man.

Reg Millington, Z Steinhauer, IS183 Associate Program Director Lucie Castaldo, Christina Barbieri and Chas Quimby.

IS183 Marketing Associate Carrie Wright and Bill Wright; Nancy Fitzpatrick, Joseph Wheaton and Seth Nash.

Artist Janine Strong, Josh Needleman of Chocolate Springs Café, Yuki Cohen of Methuselah Bar and Lounge and Adrienne Rynes; Ty Jackson and Brenda Petell.

The evening’s DJ, Dave Leonard, and Maisie Rugen manned the “hibachi.”; Ashley Junod, Rob Weisberger and Jenna Lanphear.

Jess Fitzgerald and Ben Evans, the ceramics studio manager at IS183; Mariachi men partied with the crowd.

Joseph Wheaton’s projections made a stunning backdrop to the dance party.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/12/15 at 12:58 PM • Permalink

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Waste Not, Want Not With Project Native

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The fifth annual Project Native Film Festival presented a full day of environmentally-themed cinema, and its opening night event both entertained and educated guests. On Saturday, April 11, attendees gathered on the stage of The Mahaiwe to enjoy a feast of culled food before a screening of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story. The documentary dives into the subject of food waste and the culling process, which sorts food and then classifies whether it is usable in supermarkets. Food is often disposed of due to blemishes or being too ripe, resulting in 40 percent of products raised or grown in the US not being eaten. Local farms donated culled food for the evening — food in which Chef Michael Ballon of Castle Street Cafe had been challenged with sorting through to craft the menu. Guests enjoyed recycled vegetable pizza, stuffed red cabbage, crostini of raclette and other items, which demonstrated just how delicious the so-called “undesirable food” can be. Above, Project Native Education and Outreach Coordinator (and sole organizer of the film festival) Karen Lyness LeBlanc and Dana Wagner, manager of Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Chairman of Project Native’s board Erik Bruun with board member (and one of the evening’s speakers) Barry Shapiro; Andrew Grimaldi and Laura Carboneau drove from Winchester, New Hampshire to attend the event.

Filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer; Laura Wolff and Karen Preuss of Hawthorne Valley Farm, which donated cheese, baguettes, vegetables and yogurt.

Co-owners of Native Habitat Restoration (and one of the evening’s sponsors) Jess Toro and Sari Hoy with Becky Ferguson

Richard Grausman, Susan Grausman, Marjorie Shapiro and Barry Shapiro; Martin Ping and Janene Ping from Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Christine Heaton and Danny O’Dell of Big Elm Brewery donated the beer; mother of the filmmaker Edie Restemeyer with Sally Harris and Fred Harris, owners of Saint James Place.

Lynne Kaplan of Great Barrington, volunteers Diane Saunders and Bob Rosen, and board member David Kaplan.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 04/11/15 at 10:52 PM • Permalink

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Jim Shaw’s ‘Entertaining Doubts’ Opens at MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. Wigs, a lamp in the shape of a nose, glowing sculpture under black lights, Dan Quayle (remember him?), Superman’s head on the body of a chicken — all of these items and more are featured in MASS MoCA’s newest exhibition, Jim Shaw: Entertaining Doubts. On Saturday, March 28, the Museum held an opening reception for the artist, who was celebrating his largest U.S. exhibition to date, one that includes a new work made especially for the show. The large-scale banner work, Not Since Superman Died, features the superhero as a mere mortal, possibly unable to escape calamity. The event doubled as a belated reception for Bibliothecaphilia, which opened at the Museum this past January. Shown above, the show’s curator, Denise Markonish, with the artist.

Larry Rosenthal with Lisa Rosenthal and Pamela Rosenthal; Henry and Solé, who is featured in Clayton Cubitt’s Hysterical Literature in the Museum’s Bibliothecaphilia exhibit.

Photographer Karl Mattson and artist Marisa LaGuardia; Artist Jena Priebe, whose The Secret Lives of Books is part of the Bibliothecaphilia exhibit, with Winston Rylee and Hannah Pivo, a visual arts intern at the Museum.

Beyang Shi, Brady Myers, artist Beth Beckman, writer Chris Robinson and Emily Fuhrman. all visiting from Brooklyn.

Ashley Lyon and Anne Currier; Manuela Mozo, Olaf Breuning and Makiko Aoki.

Sculptors Tim Walker and Samantha Pasapane and artist Matthew Wilson; Lauren Young, an art history graduate student at Williams College, and Allie Foradas, who curated Bibliothecaphilia.

Artist Jason Middlebrook, curator Denise Markonish, artist Mary Lum and the Museum’s director, Joseph Thompson.

The artist (far right), with his cousin, Craig Shaw Gardner and his wife Barbara Gardner; Four of the above-mentioned wigs.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/29/15 at 03:04 PM • Permalink

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In Wine We Trust At Morrison Gallery

Rachel Louchen reports from Kent. In just five years, the Annual Spring Wine Tasting for Kent Land Trust has turned into “a new Kent tradition,” mused Kent Wine and Spirits owner Ira Smith. Close to 400 guests attended the fundraiser — the largest wine tasting in Litchfield County — on Saturday, March 28. More than 70 wineries from 25 regions of the country took part in the event, with some vendors driving from as far as two states over to represent their brands. The event was held in the beautiful Morrison Gallery, renowned for its contemporary art and sculpture, and guests mingled comfortably thanks to the modern structure with its soaring ceiling. All proceeds from the event benefit the Land Trust’s mission to preserve conservation properties, which, as the turnout indicated, is important to the town of Kent, as well as the surrounding areas. Above, Kent Land Trust Executive Director Connie Manes, board member and event chair Steve Vaughn and board member Laurie Voss.

Kent Land Trust Office Manager Gwynne Seufert and Ken Seufert; Donna Campbell and Bob Campbell of Woodbury.

Kent residents Jonathan Edelman and Stacey Haefele; Stephanie Weaver of Warren with Dale Horn of Goshen.

Peter and Erin Donohoe of Cornwall Bridge with Kent Wine & Spirits owner Ira Smith; Lynda Weber and Aline Marie, visiting from Sandy Hook.

Casey Cogut and Ellen Cogut with Bill Arnold, President of the Kent Land Trust Board of Directors.

Alina Hernandez and Rose Anne Thorn; Artists Tracy Collamore and Jessica Bartlet with John Bartlet.

New Kent residents Tom Knotek and Paul Hilepo; Sue and Pete Beerman.

Sarah Weitz and Sam Wunderl were visiting Kent for the weekend from NYC; Burt Visotzky and Ken Cooper of South Kent.

South Kent native Mark Owens, Melissa Cherniske, board member Darrell Cherniske and Bruce Whipple.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/29/15 at 11:29 AM • Permalink

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Chapter 1: Hudson Children’s Book Festival Fundraiser

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. Authors, teachers and literacy lovers generated an enthusiastic buzz at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival fundraising cocktail party on Saturday, March 28 at Stair Galleries. With more than 70 percent of the students in the Hudson Community School District living below the poverty line, one of the goals of the Children’s Book Festival Scholarship Fund, founded by Chris Jones and Susan Simon, is to provide hundreds of Hudson students the money to buy a book at the Festival. The fund also awards several high school seniors scholarship money to buy books at college. Students passed hors d’oeuvres and read passages from a book whose National Book Award-winning author will be attending the festival. Torrey Maldonado, a “Top 10 Latino Author” and author of the acclaimed novel “Secret Saturdays,” described what sets the Hudson Children’s Book Festival (the largest children’s book festival in New York State) apart from others. “You see love there, ” he said. “Kids are allowed to express their love for books. Your donation is about voice and choice.” Above, Torrey Maldonado and Jennifer Clark, Festival co-director. This year’s Festival will be May 2.

Janet Schnitzer, past president of the Hudson Area Association Library and Vicki Kosovac, president of the Friends of the Hudson Area Library; Emily Gripple, visiting from Chicago and Paige Darrah, a freelance writer for Main Street Magazine.

Susan Simon, cookbook author and scholarship fund co-founder, Carolyn West and Lisa Dolan, Festival co-director.

Barbara Mojica and Victor Mojica, both children’s book authors from Craryville; Katrina Wilber, who teaches physical education for the Hype Park Central High School, and Andy Millar, a third grade teacher in the Hudson School District.

Atia Begh, Ramisa Tasnim and Brittany Varriale, students from Hudson High, read passages aloud from “Brown Girl Dreaming,” whose award-winning author, Jacqueline Woodson, will appear at the Festival.

Ian MacCormack, associate principal at Hudson’s intermediate school, Don MacCormack of the Bank of Greene County, and writer Jonathan Lerner; Ellen Huemmer, a teacher, and Diane Kreig, a retired reading teacher.

Owen Davidson, Chris Jones, scholarship fund co-founder, and Mark Prezorski, landscape curator at The Olana Partnership.

A trio of teachers: Jennifer Merwin-Domkoski, Tani Quinion and Amie Malin; Jennifer Clark, Mark Brenneman, Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School principal, Maria Suttmeier, superintendant of the Hudson City School District, Liz Novine, guidance counselor, and Ian MacCormack.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/29/15 at 10:05 AM • Permalink

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A Saturday Evening for J.C. Leyendecker at The NRM

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. The arrival of spring brings change and, at Norman Rockwell Museum, it means “fresh new work” said Director Laurie Norton Moffatt, as she addressed the crowd at the opening reception for J.C. Leyendecker and The Saturday Evening Post on Saturday, March 21. The exciting exhibit is a tribute to the innovative illustrator, who captivated the country with his magazine covers, an astounding 400 for numerous general interest publications and 322 for The Saturday Evening Post (beating Rockwell by just one). On display until June 14, the exhibition offers a rare glimpse of every one of his Post covers, generously donated by NRM trustee William Hargreaves (shown above with his wife, Sandy). Rockwell and Leyendecker were good friends during their years as neighbors in New Rochelle, New York, their work had common themes, and Leyendecker was a huge influence on Rockwell. Now, museum guests are invited to compare their work as it hangs side by side.

President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Robert Horvath, with Deputy Director and Chief Curator Stephanie Plunkett; Pip Deely and Leigh Moffat.

Judy Cutler and Laurence Cutler, art historians and founders of the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island, who gave an in-depth talk about Leyendecker’s career, shown here with Tim McCann at far left.

Stephanie Beling and Gloria Pixley of Lenox; Curatorial staffer Barbara Rundback with Jesse Kowalski, curator of exhibitions.

Just one of the covered walls displaying the complete set of Leyendecker’s 322 Post covers.

Made in the Berkshires co-founder Hilary Somers Deely with Michael Pulitzer, Jr., who sits on the NRM National Advisory committee; New NRM member Alison Ash from West Stockbridge with Margit Hotchkiss, deputy director for audience and business development.

David and Kristine Snyder with Alicia Antreasian and Clovis Madeiros of Boston.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/22/15 at 06:23 PM • Permalink

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Gutsy Gals Make Films And Walk The Red Carpet

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. A red carpet event in our region? It’s happening frequently these days, and on Saturday, March 21, the carpet and backdrop were staged for the first-ever Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Film Awards at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Presented in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, the award honors women writers and directors of films, with the grand prize going to “Muffin Top: A Love Story,” a romantic comedy written and directed by Cathryn Michon, who plays the lead role of a woman learning to “love the skin you’re in.” The Berkshires’ own Karen Allen, Gutsy Gals founder Deborah Hutchison and its COO Christina Holbrook announced the 11 winners of the films, several of whom were in attendance. Following the screening, Cathryn Michon answered questions from the audience. “I just want to be a voice of encouragement to women making films,” she said. Above, Michon and Hutchison.

Jana Laiz, author and writer-in-residence at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead and Karen Allen, actor, director and owner of Karen Allen Fiber Arts in Great Barrington.

Cathryn Michon chats with RI reporter Nichole Dupont, who wrote the Rural Intelligence story on the film awards event; Gutsy gals on the red carpet.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/22/15 at 11:00 AM • Permalink

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The Farmers Have Many Friends At Carhartts + Cocktails

Lisa Green reports from Williamstown. Just a day after National Agriculture Day, farmers and supporters met up on Thursday, March 19 at Mezze Bistro for Carhartts + Cocktails. Nancy Thomas, owner of Mezze (and Allium in Great Barrington), wanted to recognize the growth of several new CSAs and farms in northern Berkshire County and present the farmers with an opportunity to connect with the food-conscious community in the region. Guests enjoyed drinks from local beer and spirits makers, and hors d’oeuvres (prepared under the direction of Chef Nicholas Moulton) with products from area farms. Prompted by Nancy Thomas, the farmers introduced themselves to the crowd and spoke about their CSA offerings and some of the challenges involved in farming. “Sometimes it’s hard to hold your head high and be proud in such a hard environment,” one farmer said on the bone-chilling evening. But anyone who was there could assure all the farmers that their contributions are very much appreciated. Above, Angela Cardinali, founder of Berkshire Farm and Table, with Mezze’s Nancy Thomas.

Amy Jeschawitz, a member of the Williamstown Planning Board, Carolyn Jones of Custom Business Solutions and Sandra Thomas, interim executive director of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce; Chef Nicholas Moulton preparing chicken liver mousse with Lakeview Orchard preserved peaches and Mighty Food Farm onion confit.

Reginold Royston, a professor in the Africana Studies program at Williams College and Maxine Royston, a professor of education at MCLA; Eric Harrington and Madeleine Jayson.

Mary Jane Dunlop, a real estate broker, and Rebecca Cellana of Burnham Gold Real Estate.

Don Azsada of Caretaker Farm, Cameron Hastie of Trusted Roots Farm and Laura Meister of Farm Girl Farm; Dean Crawford and Leslie Reed-Evans, executive director of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation.

Emily Rosselli with Ashley Amsden of Square Roots Farm; Erin Scott, Dan Cellana, John Cellana and Aimee Cellana, “supporters of farmers.”

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/19/15 at 08:57 PM • Permalink

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Three Cheers For The Winners Of 2015’s Berkshire Awards

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The Berkshire Awards, started three years ago to honor those who have significantly advanced the arts, historic preservation and environmental conservation in the Berkshires, held its 2015 awards ceremony at the Berkshire Museum on Friday, March 13. This year’s three recipients were preservationist, conservationist and agricultural leader Lila Berle; community leader, Pittsfield City Councilor and president of the Samuel Harrison Society Churchill Cotton; and Mary Rentz, a community organizer, promoter of public arts and culture and president of the Berkshire Art Association. After a humorous and moving short film tribute to each of the award winners, directed by Richard Sands, the party moved upstairs to the Museum’s Crane Room. Chef Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn, along with Chef Dan Smith of John Andrews and Allium’s Daire Rooney, supplied hors d’oeuvres as the honorees were congratulated for their inspiring work by their families and a community of supporters. Shown left, honoree Lila Berle with Allium chef Daire Rooney.

Lenora Gallo and Tim Burns flank honoree Churchill Cotton; Joanne Quattrochi and honoree Mary Rentz.

Ethan Klepetar and Julia Dixon; Michelle Petricca, Michael McDonald, Nancy Fitzpatrick and Perri Petricca.

Berkshire Athenaeum Director Ron Latham, Kay Latham, reading coordinator at Pittsfield Public Schools, and Ellen Kelly, a teacher at Egremont Elementary; Samuel VanSant, Gwendolyn VanSant and Marietta Rapetti Cawse.

Lawrence Yerdon and Jody Nelson; John Moore with honoree Mary Rentz’s daughters Debbie Rentz-Moore and Sarah Rentz, and Andy Kelly.

Berkshire Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields, who was celebrating his birthday, with artist Peggy Rivers, Carolyn Butler and Richard Seltzer, president of the Stockbridge Bowl Association; A crane presides over the hors d’oeuvres in the Crane Room.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/15/15 at 10:04 PM • Permalink

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‘Travels With Missie’ Lives On In Artists’ Interpretations

Lisa Green reports from South Lee. Master storyteller Kevin O’Hara may have documented his 1979 trek through Ireland in Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, but it was hardly the last adventure he’s taken, as illustrated by four local artists who captured their recent tour of the Emerald Isle with Kevin. The exhibit, “Travels With Missie — The Artists’ View” opened on Saturday, March 14 at the St. Francis Gallery with a wall-to-wall crowd of friends and art lovers.  “You couldn’t handpick four artists and be more pleased than I am,” O’Hara said of the creative quartet who decided to put on a show of their Ireland impressions while they were abroad. Above, O’Hara stands next to Missie, the Berkshire Carousel Donkey as he regales the crowd with yet another hilarious account of his original Missie sojourn.

Jamie Lahey and Alicia Williams, northern Berkshires residents; Artist Linda Baker-Cimini and Mike Melle, who crafted a life-size straw version of Missie.

Brian Majewski and Sally Morse Majewski of The Clark with Belita O’Hara and Kevin O’Hara; Three of the exhibiting artists: David King, Susan Edwards and Scott Taylor (not shown: Marge Bride).

Artist Hildy Kronen and Aine Ungar; Sandy Moon with Donald Anderson and Maureen Anderson, owners of The Cruise Store, the travel agency that books O’Hara’s tours to Ireland, and Helen Stewart.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/15/15 at 11:22 AM • Permalink

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It’s A Dead Man’s Party for Gabriel Squailia’s Book Launch

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. Zombies descended upon Dottie’s Coffee Lounge on Saturday, March 7 to celebrate the release of Gabriel Squailia’s debut novel, Dead Boys, which tells the story of corpses and the underworld. Guests were painted and dressed in varying stages of decay as they enjoyed food, drinks and music from DJ Casey Meade. An animated staged reading was performed by the author and his friends, and signed copies of the book—hot off the presses—were available for purchase. Turnout for the event, thrown by Darling Event Design, was strong, as friends came out to support Pittsfield’s Squailia, also known as DJ BFG, a passionate supporter of arts and culture in the region. Above, the author with his wife, Najwa Squailia.

Jared Vello and Dottie’s owner Jessica Lamb with her daughter.

Sharae Gadson, teller at Greylock Federal Credit Union and Eliza Ryan; Colin Gold particpated in the staged reading, here with the author’s father, Richard Squailia.

Cynthia Mole and Marilyn Ryan of Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield; Raymond Jacoub and Monica Bliss of Town Players of Pittsfield.

Sara Katzoff of Berkshire Fringe, Sara Mugridge, Nichole Calero and Leah Parker.

Friends of the author: Candy Jeweski, Katerina Penna and Paul Dodds; Veronica Martin and Casablanca Lenox’s Tony Chojnowski.

Lanesborough residents Karen and Hank Gold came out to support Gabriel; Autumn Doyle bewitches Colleen Surprise Jones.

Theo Pulfer-terino, Rebecca Weinman and Dottie’s Sam Burnham, who painted guests into zombies.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/08/15 at 08:37 PM • Permalink

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Pops Peterson Reinvents Rockwell At Sohn Fine Art

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Friends and well-wishers crowded into Sohn Fine Art Gallery on Saturday, March 7 for an artist’s reception for Maurice “Pops” Peterson and his latest exhibit, Reinventing Rockwell. The exhibit features the photographer’s modern-day reinterpretations of some of Norman Rockwell’s most famous paintings. Freedom From Want is now Thanksgiving Gay Dinner, with Pops and husband Mark Johnson at the head of the table. The Problem We All Live With, Rockwell’s painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted to school during the 1960 racial desegregation of New Orleans, has become Peterson’s The Problem Persists, as the young schoolgirl is now walking to class alone in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the shooting of teenager Michael Brown. Other works feature landscape photographs done in the style of the late Stockbridge master. Visit Sohn Gallery by March 15 to see Reinventing Rockwell for yourself. At left, gallery owner Cassandra Sohn with the artist.

Warren Dews, Jr., Roberta McCulloch-Dews, a model for Peterson’s Freedom From What, and their children; Sohn Gallery artist Hildy Pincus Kronen and Dan Ladd in front of Kronen’s photographs.

Sohn Gallery’s assistant director Jenna Gazaille and artist Denise B. Chandler in front of one of her photographs; Barbara Newman, Liz Thompson and Kelly Vickery.

Al Harper, Janet Pumphrey, Raymond Jacoub and Veronica Martin; Cris Raymond with Officer Heidi Teutsch, who modeled for Peterson’s Stockbridge Fire Dept. to the Rescue.

Pamela and Richard Clarke with Norman Rockwell Museum director Laurie Norton Moffatt; Carl and Cindy Atkins.

Artist John Atchley and Cassandra Sohn in front of his work; Mark Johnson with Will Nappo and Bill Nappo of Grayhouse Partners Renovations in Housatonic.

Sandy Parisky of Sandisfield Arts Center, photographer Flora Parisky and Rita Kasky; A closeup of Thanksgiving Gay Dinner.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/08/15 at 04:06 PM • Permalink

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‘Warhol By The Book’ Celebrates The Artist’s Inner Bookworm

Lisa Green reports from Williamstown. There’s something to fascinate everyone among the more than 500 objects at “Warhol by the Book,” Williams College Museum of Art’s new exhibit that opened with a talk and reception on Friday, March 6. Showcasing Andy Warhol’s experimentation with the form and content of books from his student days in the 1940s to his death in 1987, the exhibit may be the largest ever presented at WCMA in sheer number of items, said Kathryn Price, curator of collections. The well-attended evening began with a discussion between Price and Matt Wrbican, chief archivist at The Andy Warhol Museum and curator of “Warhol by the Book,” about the artist’s lifelong obsession with books. It was the first in a series of conversations that will touch on various aspects of Warhol’s astoundingly diverse output. Above, Kathryn Price and Matt Wrbican celebrate the completion of months of effort in curating the show.

The Williams College Libraries were represented by Katie Mash and Christine Menard, who is head of research services and library outreach; Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian and founding editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, who will be participating in the next Warhol conversation, and Linda Conway of Williamstown.

Local visitors Martin Zalud, Ian Backman, Domingos Goncalves and Lydia Reyburn; Jay Reeg, a board member of The Andy Warhol Museum and Warhol collector whose items are in the current show, with Eugene Heath, professor of philosophy at SUNY New Paltz and Reva Wolf, professor of art history at SUNY New Paltz, Warhol scholar, and author of Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960s.

Sarah Tefft, a student at MCLA, Diane Hart, WCMA senior museum registrar for collections and exhibitions, and Sara Farrell Okamura, an artist.

Tom Stefanik, Marty Keating and Michael Keating; Megan Kosinki, curatorial assistant at The Clark Art Institute and Sara Harrrison of Williamstown.

Diana Brooks, Katherine Myers, the museum’s director of donor engagement, and Brian Walsh; Warhol’s private book collection was recreated as he had them, with the spines facing in.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/07/15 at 08:26 PM • Permalink

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An Evening With FarmOn Foundation

Rachel Louchen reports from Rhinebeck. The FarmOn Foundation hosted an evening that included a book signing, cocktail reception and fine dining experience provided by some of the most acclaimed chefs in the Hudson Valley. On Sunday, March 1, the events began with a book signing at bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy for Organic: Farmers and Chefs of the Hudson Valley by Francesco Mastalia which features stunning black and white photographs of over 100 local chefs including Sarah Lukasiewicz of The Red Devon and Fish & Game’s Jori Jayne Emde. A cocktail reception across the street at Terrapin Restaurant lead into the the farm-to-table dinner prepared by Terrapin chef Josh Kroner and Gianni Scappin of Market Street, among others. FarmOn Executive Director Tessa Edick happily noted that the event oversold, with 110 tickets being sold for the 100-seat dinner. All proceeds benefit the foundation’s work with youth, including nutrition education in conjunction with local farms and chefs and the support of local agriculture. Above, Francesco Mastalia and bluecashew owner Gregory Triana.

Vincenzo Buscema, Gregory Triana and Cassandra DelViscio at bluecashew.

Josh Kroner in his kitchen at Terrapin; Gianni Scappin cooking squash and kale risotto from local Hudson Valley Farms.

Tessa Edick addresses guests; Frank Culligan and Sam Ramic of Wine World Wide.

bluecashew owner Sean B. Nutley, Josh Kroner, chef Ric Orlando from New World Home Cooking in Saugerties, Tessa Edick and Agnes Devereaux from The Village Tea Room in New Paltz. Photos courtesy of Cayla Zahoran Photography.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/02/15 at 11:10 AM • Permalink

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And The Oscar Goes To…BIFF!

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. Berkshire residents were offered the red carpet treatment, not unlike the celebrities at the Dolby Theater, when the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) hosted an Academy Awards party at the Beacon Cinema on Sunday, February 22. Guests dressed to impress on the red carpet, stopped to pose for professional photos and then enjoyed the live telecast on the big screen from the theater’s very comfortable seats. They also had the opportunity to fill out ballots predicting the evening’s big winners for a chance at a gift basket (they were divided between Birdman and Boyhood for Best Picture). The party was the final event of Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, a 10-day event featuring a diverse mix of live performances, the visual arts, dance, theater, film, fashion and more. It also helped whet the appetite for film lovers until the BIFF festival returns for its 10th year this May. Above, BIFF Executive Assistant Lauren Ferin with Mark Tomasi, Creative Manager at Berkshire Bank and Kelley Vickery, Director of BIFF.

Volunteer Jennet Cook, BIFF Business Development Manager Sophia Romèu, longtime volunteer Paul Gniadek and Vicky Smith.

Realtor Gladys Montgomery and painter Winnie Walsh; BIFF sponsor Annie Selke and Mark Dove.

Sponsors and innkeepers Tom Werman and Suky Werman of Stonover Farm in Lenox; Painter Joanie Ciolfi and Christopher Ciolfi.

Interior Designer Karen Beckwith and photographer Scott Barrow.

Howie Arkans, who teaches “Tuesday at the Movies” at OLLI, with wife Sue Arkans; Elaine Silberstein and Shirley Yohalem.

Lanesboro residents Jane Stevens and Lilia Roberts; Painter Colleen Surprise Jones and Mark Tomasi.

Chris Donovan, visiting from Providence, with Noel Henebury, Assistant to the Managing Director at Barrington Stage, and painter Michael Rousseau.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/23/15 at 09:10 AM • Permalink

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10x10 Real Art Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Making a list and checking it twice usually applies only to Santa Claus when he’s trying to find out who’s been naughty or nice. But on Thursday night, February 19, an entire roomful of people were doing this—taking pens to a list of 99 donated 10”x10” artworks on display in the Crane Room of the Berkshire Museum in order to choose their favorites. The Real Art Party (RAP), sponsored by the Museum, the Berkshire Art Association (BAA) and the Storefront Artist Project, is part of Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, and it allowed supporters to enter a raffle to win a piece of art for only $25. As numbers were called, winners raced around the room to snag their favorite painting, photograph or collage from the wall. Guests enjoyed local artisanal beers from Big Elm Brewery and wines from the city’s own Balderdash Cellars. No entrant went home empty handed, and all pieces were claimed by the end of the evening. The party proceeds benefit Berkshire art students through BAA field trip grants and fellowships. Shown left, Sean McLaughlin, contributing artist Melissa Matsuki Lillie and Danielle Steinmann, vice president of the Berkshire Art Association.

Berkshire Museum board member Ethan Klepetar, contributing artist Jayme Kurland and the Museum’s executive director, Van Shields; BAA board member Michael Vincent Bushy, writer Darcie Sosa and Matt Chester.

Contributing artist Diane Firtell, Stefanie Weber, Cecilia Hirsch and her daughter, Celina Savage; Lucie Castaldo, contributing artist and the associate program director at IS183, with Dina Noto, manager of Sienna Gallery in Lenox.

Jessica Cote and contributing artist Michael King; Kim Morris, Matt Albert and Shiobbean Lemme.

Berkshire Art Association vice president Danielle Steinmann with board members Jennibeth Gomez, photographer Susan Geller and painter Scott Taylor.

Nina Garlington, Berkshire Museum’s Director of Development with Kim Donoughe and James Campagna; Berkshire Museum board president Bill Hines and Berkshire Magazine’s Jen Hines.

Artists Jayme Kurland, Amber Doyle and Rebecca Weinman; Bonnie Hoskeer-Kirchner, Kelly Conant and Jerry Hughes.

Raffle winners pose in the Berkshire Museum’s Crane Room with their chosen works of art.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/22/15 at 01:36 PM • Permalink

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Shire City Sanctuary Throws A Fantastic February Frolic

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. As part of this year’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival, Shire City Sanctuary held a February Frolic event on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The Berkshire Historical Society’s “revealing” lingerie parade of 10 women in 10 outfits from 10 eras kicked off the evening’s festivities. The historical fashion show, designed by Joan Degusto and staged by BHS’s Director of Communications J. Peter Bergman, coincides with the Historical Society’s latest exhibit at Arrowhead – Close to the Skin: A Revealing Look at Lingerie – on display through May 3. The show was followed by dinner downstairs, and, later on, a dance party with DJ BFG. Above, model and Arrohead farm manager Kristen Laney, emcee Joan Degusto and model Fianna Toolan.

Fashion show escorts Frederick Dery and Rick Martel flank Lynn Casella; Models Margaret Poutasse, Nicole Lipiec and Lesley Ann Beck.

Bill and Rose Ann Sturgeon with Matthew and Kristen Behnke; Anna Claire Korenman, Marianna Poutasse and Jen Glockner.

Shire City Sanctuary owners Chris Swindlehurst and Crispina ffrench and their children with J. Peter Bergman and Cate Crowley.

Models Lesley Ann Beck, Jana Laiz, and MA State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier; Nancy Tunnicliffe shows off undergarments fashionable during the 1910s.

Heart-shaped cookies for the crowd; Dyann Arduini, escorted by J. Peter Bergman, models circa 1810 undergarments including pantalets, petticoat and corset.

Later on in the evening, Shire City Sanctuary was decked out for a dance party.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/16/15 at 12:06 PM • Permalink

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A Jazzed-Up Bach (And Sweets) Benefit Classics On Hudson

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. For jazz and Bach lovers, what could be sweeter on Valentine’s Day than pianist-composer Dan Tepfer’s Goldberg Variations/Variations? The work, which pairs his performance of Bach’s masterpiece with improvised variations of his own, was a special concert to benefit Classics on Hudson held the evening of Saturday, February 14 at the Hudson Opera House. Led by Co-Artistic Directors Helena Baillie and Gwen Gould, the inaugural 2014–2015 Classics on Hudson season is presented in association with the Opera House, and showcases celebrated artists performing music from treasured classics to the present day. A rapt audience seemed barely to breathe throughout Tepfer’s interpretation of each of the 30 Goldberg variations followed by his improvisations of each. After a standing ovation, he offered a Valentine’s Day “surprise: a gift of song delivered by Joanna Wallfisch, who is releasing a CD next month. At the reception, audience members chatted with the artists and raved about the extraordinary handmade marshmallow bars topped with a salted and spicy dark chocolate. Above, Dan Tepfer and Joanna Wallfisch.

Classics on Hudson Co-Artistic Director Gwenn Gould and The Reverand Eileen Weglarz of Christ Church Episcopal in Hudson; Christine Boeke, innkeeper of Westcott House B&B; Ginna Moore and Fayal Greene, a board member of the Hudson Opera House.

Suzanne Nance, an opera singer from Chicago, Carolyn Mix  and Darcie Doniger (far right) of 2 Note Botanical Perfumery, Matt Mervis and Robi Mervis of Great Barrington.

Coming from the east end of Long Island were Amanda Barney and Jillian Orr, who plays ukelele, clarinet and saxaphone; Virginia Martin and Richard Collens, both board members of Classics on Hudson.

DeWayne Powell of Halstead Property, TK Home & Garden’s owners Tessy Keller and Jay Neuschatz.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/15/15 at 09:58 AM • Permalink

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Literary Libations: Author Tim Federle Helps The Hudson Area Library Raise Funds

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Tim Federle, whose big debut came onstage at the 2000 Super Bowl where he performed as a backup dancer for Christina Aguilera, never imagined he would go on to become a celebrated author. But the Broadway star-turned-writer is now penning his third cocktail book for adults, as well as his third children’s book. He told tales on these topics and others for the crowd at Cafe Le Perche this past Thursday, February 5 at Literary Libations, a fundraiser for the Hudson Area Library. Supporters were able to sample cocktails such as “Eeny, Martini, Miny, Mo,” “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita?” and “Ring Around the Rosé” from Federle’s two mixology books—Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist and Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist. Spotty Dog owner Kelley Drahushuk was on hand to sell the two tomes, which Federle signed for guests. Twenty percent of the proceeds from book and drink sales went to support the Campaign for the new Hudson Area Library. Above, the author is flanked by friends Brian Hill and Neil Bartram.

Cafe Le Perche’s chef and general manager, Robert Pecorino, with Spotty Dog Books & Ale owner Kelley Drahushuk; Election Commissioner Virginia Martin with Tracy Huling, whose fantastic hat came from local shop Lili and Loo.

Joan Castle and Marlene Marshall; Carlo DeVito of the Hudson-Chatham Winery is flanked by Michael and Jill Castellano.

Lisa Dolan, Miranda Barry and Virginia Martin; Mark Orton with the Library’s Director, Emily Chameides.

Gayl DePriest and Caroline Cleinman; Two orders of “Ring Around the Rosé,” a cocktail from Hickory Daiquiri Dock made with wine, elderflower liqueur and Prosecco.

Library board president emeritus Janet Schnitzer, with Friends of the Library board vice president Toni Koweek, Richard Koweek, Martha Lane, Bob Lucke and Virginia Martin

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/08/15 at 10:32 PM • Permalink

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Salisbury Skis, Jumps And Has A Ball

Rachel Louchen reports from Lakeville. The annual Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s (SWSA) Jumpfest returned for its 89th year with an event-packed weekend that attracted huge crowds of spectators from far and near. They come to watch athletes who themselves make the hike to our region to lift off a high ramp and soar in the sky. On Saturday, February 7, the Lakeville Hose Co. Annex hosted the Jumpfest annual Snow Ball featuring the music of Blue Oyster Cult founding member Joe Bouchard (who appeared with his band Treetop), as well as local favorites The Nice Ones. The bands played rocking covers from Led Zeppelin and their own original tunes as guests danced, sipped on spirits and participated in the silent auction and raffle, all of which benefitted SWSA, a non-profit organization. The crowd was a mix of excited youngsters, parents and skiers relaxing post-jump; all were happy to enjoy a rare indoor event. At left, organizer and SWSA director John Sullivan with Treetop manager Bob Sparks.

Former jumper Mark Lavasseur came from Worcester to attend the day’s events, with Robin Fischer and Jeff Thirst, also a former ski jumper, of Whiting, Vermont; Camilo Torress and Carly Puzacke of Cedar Crest Farm in Pine Plains.

Berkshire School student Gabby Armstrong, from Lake Placid, hosted her hometown’s jump team which included Cat Quaintance; Sean VanDeusen with The Nice One’s drummer Tyler Beaujon.

The Nice Ones: Dillon Halas, Pat Surdam, Tyler Beaujon and Sam McGarrity.

Canaan residents Dave and Robin Beaujon; SWSA board members Lisa Sheble and Kathy Trahan with volunteer Doug Richardson.

Falls Village resident Clarissa Blouch with Joanna Rooney and Emma McGaritty; Susan Casassa and Treetop singer Joan Schroder.

Lindsay Knauer and jumper Chris Jones, who came from Burlington, Vermont for the fest, with Caitrin Rooney and her husband, Alex Harney.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/08/15 at 05:23 PM • Permalink

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On A Mild Night, Columbia Memorial Health Has A Winter Blast

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. It may have been the fifth such event, but on Saturday, February 7, supporters of the Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation seemed as delighted to be at this Winter Blast as they were for all the years prior. Held once again in the warm and welcoming Helsinki Hudson, the event celebrated and raised funds for the Foundation, which provides its communities with safe, high-quality, comprehensive health care. More than 200 supporters, whose ranks included board members, physicians and sponsors, enjoyed cocktails, dinner and entertainment provided by The Glen David Andrews Band. The event raised $108,000, thanks in part to the fabulous silent auction items that included a New Orleans food and jazz vacation for two, and a framed Bruce Springsteen record album autographed by the artist himself. Pictured at left: Patti Matheney, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors; board member Aven Kerr; Jay Cahalan, Columbia Memorial Health’s president and CEO; and Mary Gail Biebel, chair of the Board of Trustees.

Karen Winch and Sue Kneller; Don MacCormack of The Bank of Greene County, an event sponsor, with Lynn Dykeman, a teacher in the Hudson County School District.

Alan Lillyquist, William Pelgrin, a board member, and Barbara Johnson, the Foundation coordinator; Christine Altomar, Al Burgazoli of A-O-W Associates, a sponsor, and Mary Gerlach of First Niagara Bank.

Vincent Mackowski, Laura Schechter, an author who has a home in Chatham; Lexa Hillyer, also an author; and Charles Grantham.

Shirley Gresseau, M.D., Jabari Gamerel, Anna-Maria Assevero, M.D.; Caroline Eromo and Ersno Eromo, M.D., director of the Spine Institute, and Patrick Roberts of Optimus Architecture, who designed the Spine Institute building.

Nina Dolan, Jodi Hills, and Don Hills of Hudson Financial LLC, a sponsor; Attorney Javid Afzali of presenting sponsor Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, and Mara Afzali.

Betsy Jacks of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Betsy Scott and Purcell Palmer; Jenna Houston, a certified nurse midwife, Chief Medical Officer Lawrence Perl, M.D.; Brigid Fonda and Louis DiGiovanni, M.D.

The three Ts: Trish Rost, Tara Buffa, an ad executive at the Register-Star, and Tani Quinion.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/08/15 at 10:31 AM • Permalink

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The NE Community Center Holds Its First CSA Fair And Potluck

Sarah Ellen Rindsberg reports from Millerton. Heirloom tomatoes, garlic scapes and beets were just some of the mouth-watering foods brought to the table at the first ever CSA Fair and Potluck at the North East Community Center on January 28. The event was an opportunity for residents to meet local farmers, learn more about CSA (community supported agriculture) and find out what nearby farms are planting for the 2015 growing season. “Our intention was to discover what each farm’s CSA offers,” said Piper Broderick, who came with a friend to evaluate shares. Farmers relished the opportunity to discuss their wares with potential customers. Julie Kunz of Herondale Farm highlighted another benefit of the event, the chance to “see other farmers and share marketing tips.” Chaseholm, Hawk Dance, Herondale, Ten Barn, Olde Forge, Full Circus and MX Morningstar farms were all on hand to explain their offerings. Some offer a choice of greens, others, full and half shares of vegetables, meats, dairy items, fruits and other goods. Above, NECC Executive Director Jenny Hansell, Betsey McCall, Director of Farm and Food Programs/Jr. High Clubs at NECC, and Carol Sadlon, co-proprietor of The Moviehouse.

Christine Pizzuti and Kevin Ferry of Olde Forge Farms; Diane Creed of Hawk Dance Farm, with Kate Shanley and Piper Broderick.

Taryn Cocheo, Andrew, Ella, Charlotte and Samantha of No. 9 Restaurant & Inn; Jerry Peele and his daughter-in-law, Julie Kunz, of Herondale Farm with Sam Busselle.

Pod containing dried beans which will be planted next season.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/01/15 at 09:02 PM • Permalink

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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Celebrates Its 27th Revels

Amy Krzanik reports from Spencertown. The crowd cheered enthusiastically as Nick Van Alstine, the Spencertown Academy Society board president, took the stage to welcome guests to the 27th annual Spencertown Revels. He thanked the Revels committee, board members, dinner hosts and donors for the wonderful turnout. Indeed, the single-digit temperatures didn’t stop supporters from attending the popular annual event, which began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Academy Arts Center and were followed by intimate dinners at eight area homes. Proceeds go to fund a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including the popular Garden Market on the Green in the summertime and the Festival of Books each Labor Day weekend. Pictured above, Board President Nick Van Alstine and Board Treasurer Jo-Anne Bilotti.

Board member and dinner host David Highfill with Lauren and Don Wilkinson; Edouard Vaval, Eve Zatt and Carl Atkins, who co-hosted one of the evening’s dinners.

PS21’s Judy Grunberg with WAMC’s Alan Chartock; DeWayne Powell, Carsten Otto, James Christe and Lisa Otto.

Jo-Anne Bilotti, Michele Chase, Sandi Suk and Debra Collins; Jonna Semeiks and Barbara Mowder.

Karen Kaczmar, Harlan Root, Bonnie Podolsky and Cindy Puccio.

Christian Dewailly, Elizabeth Garger, Jill Castellano, who donated the evening’s wine from Kinderhook Wine and Spirits, and Michael Castellano; Bill Collins, Bill Suk and Tim Chase.

Dinner host Cris Morales, Wayne Greene, Jo-Anne Bilotti and Anita Fiorello, co-chair of the evening’s events; Even the piano did its part, literally setting the stage for some beautiful decorations.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/01/15 at 03:18 PM • Permalink

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Erik Hoffner’s ‘Heritage Homecoming’ Opens At Galerie Giroux

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. Heifer International told Erik Hoffner that he could go anywhere, travel to any of the locations where the U.S.-based nonprofit runs programs, to photograph a story for its World Ark magazine. The organization, which helps people all over the world achieve self-reliance through the gift of animals, seeds and skills training, has spearheaded programs everywhere from the U.S. to Nepal and numerous places in between. Hoffner chose a rural farming community in northeastern Poland and spent time getting to know the farmers and endangered heritage breed cows, chickens and geese Heifer International helped reintroduce to the area. Hoffner’s resulting collection of limited edition photographs, Heritage Homecoming, opened with an artist’s reception at Galerie Giroux at Griffin on Saturday, January 24. Griffin’s new, expanded space allows the shop to carry even more of the unique clothing and gifts it’s known for, along with the gallery space which will showcase Hoffner’s work until February 28. Stop by the space for a talk and slide show with Erik Hoffner on February 5 at 7 p.m. Above, the artist is flanked by Emily Kirshen and Donna Jacobs.

Susan Baker and photographer Francesco Mastalia; Griffin GB owner Connie Griffin with book publicist David Carriere and Julia Werman.

Hannah Fries, Jennifer Sahn and Sean Van Deusen; Tim Hickey and Chris Nye.

Molly and Aurelien de St Andre; Adam Brown with Kateri Kosek.

Scott Gast with Sam Willsea; Kristen Hewitt and landscaper Devan Arnold.

Erik Hoffner [far right] with his wife, Jenny Goodspeed, and the gallery’s owner Paul Giroux.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/25/15 at 04:18 PM • Permalink

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CCCA Brings Out The Artists And Art Lovers In Hudson

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. “You can really tell the arts are alive in Columbia County,” said Jack Shear, who served as the curator for the Columbia County Council on the Arts 18th Annual Juried Art Show. Out of 300 pieces of artwork submitted, he chose the 54 that were exhibited at the opening reception on Saturday, January 17. The long lobby and adjoining rooms in the Hudson Opera House that served as gallery space filled up quickly with many of the artists and art supporters. Prior to announcing the Best of Show winner and runners up, Cynthia Mulvaney, executive director of CCCA, praised not only the magnificent artwork but also Jack Shear’s contribution to the show (he is the director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and a photographer). “Jack’s vision of what he wanted the show to be is a masterpiece,” she said. The show runs through February 15. Shown, above: Cynthia Mulvaney and Keith Batten, an exhibiting artist.

Troy residents Chris Strom and Marilee Sousie, who had a work in the exhibit; Wearing a dramatic cape, artist Ana Maria Rollins was accompanied by Jenny Nesterovich and Nadia Kovaleva, the artist’s business director.

Stephen Gersztuff and Annie Gersztuff, both librarians in Albany, flank participating artist Brian Buono; Gail Giles, an artist, with Fran Heaney, who is president of the Council.

Robert Burns, director of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT; Tambra Dillon, co-director of the Hudson Opera House, Jack Shear, the show’s curator and juror, and Gary Schiro, executive director of the Hudson Opera House.

Art collector Lee Linderman, who purchased the painting behind him, and Patrick Brown, a filmmaker and artist; Myra Lobel, who was thrilled that her painting sold.

Exhibiting artists Peter Keitel and Arlene Boehm, with Bill Sinclair, a board member of the CCCA; Linda Horn’s plaster cast form merited the show’s third prize.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/18/15 at 12:43 PM • Permalink

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Above And Below Opens At No. Six Depot

Amy Krzanik reports from West Stockbridge. Neither cold temperatures, nor blustery winds, nor falling snow, sleet and hail kept well-wishers from attending the opening reception for Above and Below at No. Six Depot Café on Saturday, January 3. Friends new and old came out to congratulate photographers Dan Mead, Sally Eagle, and Marie-Elizabeth Mali on their new exhibit in the Café’s gallery space. Wildlife photos by Mead and Eagle hung above underwater shots by Mali, giving the exhibit its name. Award-winning photographers Mead and Eagle have traveled the world together for 40 years, and Above and Below showcases 13 amazing shots of cheetahs, gorillas, sea lions, bears and other wild animals they’ve encountered along the way. Mali began diving in 2000 and now seeks out whales, sharks, sea urchins and other ocean life in places like Indonesia, Costa Rica, the Galapagos and other destinations. Seventeen of her colorful “below” photographs are shown in this exhibit, which will be up until February 15. Above, the artists: Sally Eagle, Dan Mead and Marie-Elizabeth Mali.

Tracy and Andy Foster, who are both IS183 board members; Monica Celli-Demovellan, Tom O’Neil and Wendy O’Neil.

Bob Tibo, proprietor of the Shaker Mill Inn, No. Six Depot co-owner Lisa Landry and Berkshire Museum Executive Director Van Shields; Berkshire Museum trustee Donna Krenicki and Holly Freadman.

Photos by Sally Eagle and Dan Mead (above) and Marie-Elizabeth Mali (below); Mike and Lisa were wow-ed by the photography.

Lynn and Dick Curtis; A cold night outside, but a warm crowd inside.

Jesko Stahl, Sonia Premi with a young art lover, Marie-Elizabeth Mali and David Ashkenazy.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/05/15 at 01:06 PM • Permalink

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Memorable Parties of 2014

There’s nothing we at RI love more than covering the region’s galas; it’s the perfect opportunity to visit with wonderful old friends, meet interesting new ones, and taste the delicious food and drink produced right here in our region. That’s why picking only a handful of parties for our year-end wrap-up is always so difficult. We’d like to thank the residents of the RI region for being so generous with their time, talent and funding of organizations that improve the quality of life in our area and make residing here a joy. Below is a sampling of the galas, gallery openings, fetes and festivals that make our jobs so fun. (Click here to relive all of 2014’s parties.)

Clermont’s Evening in Agra
Saris, bindis and brightly colored tapestries transformed Clermont’s idyllic grounds into an Indian-inspired soiree.

Northwest CT Arts Council Cultivates Art In The Garden
Live music and on-site art making marked the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council’s third-annual garden party.

Berkshire International Film Festival’s 10th Season Takes Flight
It was haute couture in the hangar, as BIFF laid down the red carpet at the Great Barrington Airport to celebrate its 10th season.

Tanglewood Gala Celebrates Andris Nelsons’ Arrival
The Boston Symphony Orchestra welcomed new music director Andris Nelsons with fine food and fireworks.

A Ver-million Turnout For IS183’s Annual Gala
An IS183 bash is the only local party where you can find a Teletubby dancing with someone wearing a giant papier mâché head.

A Farm-To-Table Dinner Seeds The Sylvia Center
A summer day at Katchkie Farm raised funds that allows children to tour the farm, harvest their own food, and possibly even hold a live chicken.

Barrington Stage Company Celebrates 20 Remarkable Seasons
Proving you can go home again, actors, musical theater writers and others from BSC’s past returned to take part in the company’s retrospective and celebration.

A Tango Diary At Six Depot
Photographer Sabine Vollmer von Falken’s opening reception got guests dancing in the Depot.

Jacob’s Pillow Opening Night Delights
A sold-out crowd at the Pillow’s 2014 season opener were treated to memorable performances from Carmen de Lavallade, Trey McIntyre Project, The Hong Kong Ballet and others.

Party In The Hamlet For Wassaic Project
This year’s Seeing The Sky was a seven-story, one-of-a-kind art project set against Wassaic’s beautiful backdrop.

Barnraising Begins At A Brunch For The GB Fairgrounds
Respected names in the cuisine game showed their support for the Farigrounds’ big cowshed renovation.

The FarmOn! Foundation Celebrates Its Fourth Amongst Friends
The Friends of the Farmer Hootenanny!, complete with sundae bar, was a locavore’s dream come true.

The Clark Art Institute Gala: A Truly Grand Re-Opening
The wait was worth it, as The Clark reopened with an inspiring new look and 700 guests to help celebrate.

Cuisine And Camaraderie Mark A Successful Alzheimer’s Benefit
A guest list full of refined and respected palates, including Ruth Reichl, Paula Wolfert and Dana Cowin, dined in support Alzheimer’s research.

MASS MoCA’s NYC Supporters Help The Museum Celebrate 15 Years
Big-name artists, gallery owners and Museum supporters and friends from around the world helped raise funds for MoCA’s exhibitions, performances and educational programs.

An Evening In The Afternoon Garden At Naumkeag
After a painstaking restoration, Fletcher Steele’s famous “Afternoon Garden” was the perfect site for a garden party.

Berkshire Theatre Group & The Mount Throw Masquerade Balls
The night after Halloween saw plenty of ghouls and goblins (and Waldo) making the spooky scene in Pittsfield and Lenox.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/15/14 at 01:57 PM • Permalink

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A Dazzling Evening For Berkshire United Way

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. Blantyre, the prestigious Gilded Age mansion-turned-luxury-hotel resort is opulent year round, but during the holidays the property manages to surpass its own standards, decorated to the nines with lights and wreaths from nearly every mantel. It was an ideal location for Be Dazzled, a special fundraiser on Sunday, December 7 to celebrate the 90th year of Berkshire United Way (BUW), the nonprofit that supports programs for employment, education, and emergency preparation. It also honored laudable community members Dr. Elizabeth Neale, founder of School Leader’s Network; Dr. Mary K. Grant, president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Michael Tweed-Kent, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics, all of whom have helped BUW to create opportunities for students and employees. The event saw a large turnout; many of the guests were coworkers and friends happy to see the honorees recognized, and also excited to visit Blantyre. A huge highlight of the evening, which included live piano players, small plates by executive chef Arnaud Cotar and mystery boxes filled with prizes, was that the property was open, so guests were free to explore, wander upstairs, peek into the guest suites and marvel at each ornately decorated, one-of-a-kind room. Above, Jonah Sykes, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications at BUW and Colin Sykes.

Blantyre owner Ann Fitzpatrick Brown with her son, Alex Brown, Deanna McGrath and Tim Butterworth.

Tim Kiely and Steve Rogers of The Pittsfield Co-op with Meagan Rogers; Minerva Campbell and Minerva Wasserman.

Cindy Brown, Interim President at MCLA and Maura Delaney, Associate Professor of English at Berkshire Community College; Arlene Schiff, Gary Schiff and Jerry Burke, President of Hillcrest Educational Centers.

Monty Mitchell, Beth Mitchell of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and June Roy-Martin, who sits on the board of directors for Berkshire United Way; Devan Gardner of Greylock Federal Credit Union with Ursula Allen, technical manager at General Dynamics.

Kathy Tisdale, David Tisdale and Larry Hazzard.