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Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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RI Archives: Parties

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Berkshire Grown

Parties & Openings

July 19 - North Adams
Ferrin Contemporary's Dish + Dine

July 18 - Lenox
Pleasant Valley Barn Dance

July 18 - Pittsfield
Hancock Shaker Village Benefit

July 16 - Lenox
Slideluck At Stonover Farm

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What A Marvelous Night For A Barn Dance At Pleasant Valley

Mary Garnish Bauman reports from Lenox. A barn dance in the Berkshires — that’s what Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary decided to do for its 7th annual fundraiser on July 18, welcoming 100 guests to celebrate “An Evening in the Woods.” The center of the action this year was Pleasant Valley’s historic barn, where the band Spare Parts, featuring noted fiddler George Wilson, inspired dancers to take to the floor. Caller Paul Rosenberg instructed in contra-dancing and other barn-appropriate styles. Before all the high-stepping and whirling about, guests enjoyed delicious tacos and flautas from local eatery Baja Charlie’s, libations from Kelly’s Package Store and ice cream from SoCo Creamery while bidding on silent auction items. Giant butterfly kites, colorful flags and wooden sculptures from Asia Barong adorned the tents. Robert Harrison, event sponsor and former board member, welcomed guests, and Berkshire Sanctuaries director Becky Cushing (above right, with Candice Ferrell) expressed gratitude for the generosity of the community in supporting Mass Audubon’s regional education programs for people of all ages. Gary Clayton, acting president for Mass Audubon statewide, elucidated the importance of the Berkshire Sanctuaries in a statewide context – and then kicked off the celebration. Photos by Susan Geller.

Butch Ptak and Janice Cullen, formerly of Mass Audubon; Guests take a seat at the picnic tables.

Jesse and Patty Spector; Jim and Kathi Hatch with intern Jessie Griffin.

Pleasant Valley Advisory Committee member Michael Kaplan, David Lotto and Kevin Ploss; Victoria Nast, Bill Talbot and architect Robert Harrison, one of the event sponsors.

Alyce, Emma and Luke Caplan; Robert Harrison and his wife, Sharon Harrison, lead the dance pack.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/20/15 at 04:06 PM • Permalink

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Dish + Dine Brings Ceramics Experts To Ferrin Contemporary

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow, you may have recognized a couple of familiar faces at Independent Art Projects (IAP) on Sunday, July 19. Specialists, collectors and Roadshow appraisers Suzanne Perrault and David Rago were joined by the show’s consulting producer, Daniel Farrell, for the panel discussion “Clay Is Hot! Good Better Best.” The trio answered questions regarding collecting ceramics, pottery and porcelain from 1900 to the present, including the importance of provenance, connoisseurship and values. The event was part of gallerist Leslie Ferrin’s programming for Ferrin Contemporary’s current IAP ceramics exhibit, Glazed & Diffused. Kelly’s Package Store supplied seven different rosés for guests to sample and compare post-lecture. The dinner that followed, catered by Gramercy Bistro, stayed on-theme by featuring chicken, vegetables and sticky rice brushed with a variety of glazes. Dessert, inspired by Jae Yong Kim’s Donut Madness, consisted of ricotta fritters with an aperol diffusion. Glazed & Diffused will be on view at IAP, located on the MASS MoCA campus, until August 16.

Leslie Ferrin with Alex Gilbert and Patrick Parrish; Ceramic artist Alexandra Jelleberg with Meg Wendy and Guy Geslin.

Elenor Wilson, editor of The Studio Potter, with Donald Clark of The Marks Project, ceramic artist and teacher Michael Boroniec and photographer John Polak; Panelists Suzanne Perrault and David Rago.

Guy McLain, director of the Wood Museum of Springfield History, Ruth Kjaer, an artist from Easthampton, Mass., and panelist Dan Farrell; Collectors Melinda Sanders and Mark Shifman flank Glazed & Diffused artist Linda Sormin.

Ceramic artist Michael McCarthy supplied all of the dinnerware for the event, from mugs and dishes to water pitchers and vases. The flowers are from the gardens surrounding Ferrin Contemporary’s Cummington location.

Guests discuss art in front of Robert Silverman’s Tirana (inspired by Rana); Ferrin Contemporary artist-in-residence Roberto Lugo with Ashley Lugo and Theodore. Lugo’s solo show, Ghetto Garniture: Wu Tang Worcester will be on view at IAP beginning August 22.

Saul Ingram, Laurie Norton Moffatt and Sonya Bekkerman; Glazed & Diffused artist Jae Yong Kim in front of his work, Donut Madness.

Photo and video artist Jen Morris, ceramic artist and teacher Michael McCarthy and B-HIP intern Danielle Eddy.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/20/15 at 10:21 AM • Permalink

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Slideluck Mixes Art And Community At Stonover Farm

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Suky Werman, co-owner of Stonover Farm Bed and Breakfast and a board member of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, curates an amazing benefit art show for the School in her Barn Gallery each summer. She boasts an impeccable eye for art, but isn’t one to rest on her laurels, and so kicked it up a notch for this year’s exhibit by adding a Slideluck event to the opening reception. Guests to the July 16th shindig enjoyed a community potluck upstairs in the barn, an art show downstairs and a slide show presentation viewed from blankets on the lawn once the sun set. Brooklyn Brewery and Souverain wine supplied the beverages. The exhibit, featuring the work of more than 20 artists, includes photography, paintings, ceramics and textiles. Read RI’s article about Slideluck and its creator, Casey Kelbaugh. Above, IS183 board chairman Andy Foster with former IS183 artist-in-residence Malik Sajad and executive director Hope Sullivan.

Stonover Farm’s Tom Werman is flanked by Renee and Steve Erenburg; exhibiting artist Rob MacInnis and the show’s curator, Stonover Farm’s Suky Werman.

Artist Terry Wise and herbalist Margot Wise; Photographer Bill Wright, IS183 marketing associate Carrie Wright and Nathan Hanford.

Attendees begin to gather on the lawn and set out picnic blankets before the slide show.

Exhibiting painter Kris Galli, IS183 associate program director Lucie Castaldo, photographer Edward Acker, Malik Sajad, Hope Sullivan and exhibiting painter Maggie Mailer.

Exhibiting ceramic artist Alexandra Jelleberg and Melissa Post of Ferrin Contemporary; Adam Hinds and Danielle Steinmann.

Slideluck creator Casey Kelbaugh with its global coordinator, Jen Plaskowitz; guests enjoy the generous potluck supper inside the barn.

Early view of the picnic area from inside the barn.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/19/15 at 02:45 PM • Permalink

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Hancock Shaker Village Goes Back To Its Roots

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Hancock Shaker Village celebrated its 55th anniversary with a gala themed “Back to Our Roots.” And, indeed, the theme was carried out through the dinner, which was prepared over open fire by Fire Roasted Catering of Great Barrington, with nearly all of the food coming directly from Hancock Shaker Village’s own farm. The hors d’oeuvres and cocktail hour gave guests a chance to bid on silent auction items and then dinner began with a Shaker grace sung by Cindy Dickinson, director of education, and Lesley Herzberg, curator. But the real action happened during the live auction and the “cause within a cause,” which was to raise money for much-needed improvements to the educational Discovery Barn. Although the auction activity was lighthearted, it was serious business that paid off: Darin Johnson, a trustee, announced after a quick tally that the evening’s goal of $50,000 was surpassed by $3,000. Above: Darin Johnson, Dan Cain, chairman of the Trustees, and Linda Steigleder, president and CEO.

John Fawcett with Marilyn Walters and Ron Walters, Board of Trustees vice chair; Robin Lazarow and Jeanne Kangas, who have a house in West Stockbridge.

Board of Trustees member Dan Feld and Ann Feld; Michael Christopher and Elaine Christopher, who is a volunteer with the quilting friends at HSV.

Posing for a beautiful family portrait: Robin Fernsell, Jack Quattrochi, Joanne Quattrochi and their mother/grandmother, Kathryn Quattrochi.

Jay Galarneau from Fire Roasted Catering stirs the foraged mushroom and farro risotto in the 200-year-old caudron; Lee Blatt, Sydelle Blatt, Randy Nelson and Cynthia Nelson.

Greg Keffer, an architect with Rockwell Group, Meagan Ball, who is a summer intern at Old Sturbridge Village; Darin Johnson, Cheryl Zaccaro and Michael Zaccaro, a member of the board of trustees.

Richard Seltzer and Carol Seltzer, gala benefactors; Eric Prouty, a collector of Shaker goods, and Shawn Hartley Hancock, HSV director of marketing and communications.

Noah Hanft and Dora Hanft, gala benefactors; Elissa Haskins-Vaughan, director of development, and Dan Cain.

The most picturesque vista for roasting chickens you’ll ever see.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/19/15 at 09:46 AM • Permalink

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Mass Live Arts Kicks Off Its Third Season With A Bang And A BBQ

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. “I thought I was done being surprised by theater,” marveled an audience member after Friday, July 10th’s performance of Andrew Schneider’s YOUARENOWHERE at Mass Live Arts (MLA). Schneider, a 2015 OBIE winner, uses technology (some self-created), cleverly timed sounds and visuals, and audience participation to charm and disorient viewers. The result is rapt attention while his character attempts to understand how time works, and a vested interest in his struggle for intimacy against the lure of detachment. Now in its third year, MLA brings experimental theater like this to the Berkshires for one month, using Simon’s Rock’s Daniel Arts Center to stage intimate performances and provide practice space for local works in progress. An after-party/benefit/barbecue featured live music from Doll Parts, a Brooklyn-based Dolly Parton cover band, followed by late-night karaoke. Cast and crew chatted with supporters, enjoying wine and beer from Domaney’s and way-above-average burgers from The Meat Market, served sizzling from the grill by MLA’s executive director himself, Ilan Bachrach. MLA’s season continues until July 26. Above, Doll Parts plays the hits.

Hillel Bachrach with Marilyn Lebowitz and Nancy Seebert, who is visiting from Oregon to perform with Berkshire Choral; Sandy Cleary, director of the Daniel Arts Center, with Ilan Bachrach, MLA’s artistic director.

Great Barrington Selectman Ed Abrahams and Caroline Tufts; Margaret Cherin, curator of Simon’s Rock’s Hillman-Jackson Gallery, and photographer Gregory Cherin with Sarah Blexrud.

The cast of YOUARENOWHERE, Andrew Schneider and Peter Musante.

Ian Volner, Scout MacEachron and Henry Lyon; Martha Joseph and Virginia Wagner.

Jaime Cooper and architect Grigori Fateyev; Doll Parts plays as partygoers line up for grub.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/13/15 at 01:41 PM • Permalink

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BART Charter School Grows Bigger And Better

Amy Krzanik reports from Adams. With the students away for the summer, Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School (BART for short) finally had a chance to show off its newly built wing to the adults in the community on Friday, July 10. Teachers, administrators and trustees past and present joined parents, town officials and supporters from local colleges to toast to the school’s addition and those who helped make it possible. In particular, the wing’s namesake – Pam Johnson, a founding trustee – was honored for her dedication to BART and its students. The tuition-free, college prep school serves Berkshire County students in grades 6-12. Since its inception in 2004, the school has used an atrium on its lower level as gym, cafeteria and function space, a set-up which needed modifications each time it was used. The new addition makes room for a separate cafeteria, as well as a gymnasium with a stage for performances and graduation ceremonies. The evening’s event was catered by Mezze and guests enjoyed live music from the Limbshakers Jazz Band. Above, BJ and Pam Johnson pose in front of the new Pam Johnson wing.

Dan and Rebecca Riff pose with Brad Svrluga; Carol Stegeman with Jane Allen, who is the school’s former acting executive director, and Joan Hunter.

Jonathan Stone, Tom Flanigan and Bill Mulholland, who is vice chair of the school’s board of trustees; Brad Wells, former BART principal Ben Klompus, Janine Hetherington and Betsy Burris.

Board member Fred Puddester, Susan Puddester, board member Bill Polk and Adams town administrator Tony Mazzucco; Former board members Jodi Joseph of MASS MoCA and Chris O’Connor with BART development coordinator Leah Thompson.

Sue Lubell, the school’s director of special education, and assistant principal Miles Wheat welcomed party guests into the beautiful new wing.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/13/15 at 11:12 AM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Brunchers Talk Food With Ruth Reichl

Lisa Green reports from Sheffield. It’s not as if there’s ever a bad time to enjoy the bounty of the Rural Intelligence region, but the exquisite summer weather of the past weekend seemed particularly felicitous for Berkshire Grown to hold a fundraising brunch. On Sunday, July 12, supporters of the organization, which champions local agriculture, farmers and locally grown food, gathered in the shaded garden of Hester Velmans and Peter Cherneff, where tables were set with a banquet’s worth of food (catered by private chef Jamie Paxton), all sourced from area farms, as well as other items contributed by local restaurants. As the grazing part of the event wound down, guests moved to the barn for the second part of the fundraiser, a talk by guest of honor Ruth Reichl, award-winning food writer, former New York Times food critic and best-selling author. Cheesemonger Matt Rubiner served as moderator and the two food experts talked about food trends (past, present and future) and other delicious subjects. Above, Ruth Reichl and Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown.

Andrew Ruggles and Marymar Ruggles of NYC and Great Barrington, with Hester Velmans, who hosted the event; Host Peter Cherneff, husband of Hester Velmans, with Stephanie Rothschild.

Meghan Harrison, a massage therapist, and James Burden, co-owner of Red Apple Butchers.

Meeting, greeting and eating at the brunch; Tom Vris and Patty Vris with Jack Isler and Beth Isler from Salisbury, Ct.

One of the tables offering locally sourced items; a list of the farms and restaurants that contributed to the brunch.

Architecture and design writer Linda Saul-Sena, Mark Sena and landscape designer Honey Sharp; Austin Banach of the Berkshore Oyster Co. shucks a few for Robin Ban.

Colin Harrington, who is the events manager at The Bookstore in Lenox, with Deborah Balmuth, publisher at Storey Publishing.

Jewelry designer Dai Ban and Robin Ban, owner of Seeds in Great Barrington; Jan Johnson and Tom Curtin, both Berkshire Grown board members, and Bill Ryan, one of the event’s sponsors.

Sunday in the garden with Berkshire Grown supporters.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/13/15 at 09:37 AM • Permalink

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A Gilded Age Summer Soiree At Wilderstein

Rachel Louchen reports from Rhinebeck. Built in 1852, Wilderstein Historic Site is a Cape Anne-style mansion that, thanks to generous contributors and dedicated staff and volunteers, doesn’t look a day over 50. Those people and more gathered on the extensive lawns on Saturday, July 11th for the Summer Celebration benefit fundraiser. The former home of three generations of the Suckley family, most notably Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt who opened the house to the public and created the Wilderstein Preservation in 1984. Daisy would be happy to see the care her beloved home has received over the years, including various restorations that are funded by events like these. A jazz band played while guests enjoyed cocktails and food, perused the silent auction and tried to narrow down which pie to bid on in the dessert auction. There were croquet matches, outdoor sculpture, gardens, trail and outdoor games, but many guests chose to simply enjoy the sights. Parasols, picnic blankets and pillows were scattered about the lawn so attendees could lie back, relax and enjoy the spectacular Hudson River views on this perfect cloudless day, much like Daisy would have. Above, Stan Sagner and Executive Director Greg Sokaris.

Supporter Marlon Taylor-Miles with committee member Miles Dallas; Yvonne Paulin and Greg Durkin donated to the silent auction.

Wilderstein supporters Lara Gillet and Michele Tugade; David and Linda Souers of Rhinebeck.

Debra and Arthur Eisenberg are neighbors in Rhinebeck; the perfect example of a Queen Anne-style country house.

Board member Tess Casey was instrumental in organizing the event, here with board president Brian Lang and Robin Waxenberg, who helped promote the fundraiser.

Classic car for a classic home; Rhinebeck residents Amy and Rachael Scorca.

Members Dorothy and Terrance Mahon of Rhinebeck; Erica Obey and George Baird came from Woodstock to support the Wilderstein.

Jewelry designer Lisa Salzer and Marjorie Wolfson from New York City; one-of-a-kind Hudson River views.

Patricia Heller, proprietor of a Mountain View Retreat in Germantown, board member Christine Foreace and Barbara Markell take advantage of the parasols.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/11/15 at 09:43 PM • Permalink

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Grand Indeed: Dory & Ginger Opens Its Doors On North Street

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. There was no Dory or Ginger per se to greet guests at the grand opening of the Dory & Ginger boutique, but owners Laurie Tierney (“Dory”) and Cara Carroll (“Ginger”) were delighted with the turnout on Friday, July 3. The store, with the motto Live and Give on North, offers home décor and gifts, some of which are from local businesses and some not, but all items you probably haven’t seen anywhere else. Refreshments included a soda made with shrub syrup from The Hudson Standard and Chef Brian Alberg’s special deviled eggs from Eat on North. The store, adjacent to Hotel on North, makes a welcome addition to the ongoing evolution of North Street. Above, owners Laurie Tierney and Cara Carroll.

Christine Martin, a real estate agent at The Kinderhook Group and Kathleen Keeler from Spencertown; Rob Weisberger, the sales manager at Hotel on North and Darcie Sosa, marketing manager for Berkshire South.

Sue Cannold, visiting from New Jersey, models the merchandise.

Dudley Kinnas and Pat Kinnas of Pittsfield; Dory & Ginger staffers Pam Downing and Claudia Martin.

Nick Martinelli and Sarah Martinelli, newcomers to the Berkshires, now Richmond residents; Cookbooks, goats milk salted caramels, candles and kitchenware on display.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/04/15 at 04:54 PM • Permalink

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Struttin’ With Some Barbecue at The Mount

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. It was the first day without rain in what felt like weeks, and people wasted no time breaking out the lawn chairs and picnic blankets for an evening of live music at The Mount. The Mansion’s first Music After Hours event of the summer drew a huge crowd to its terrace and expansive lawns on Friday, July 3 thanks to the dual occasion of the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival’s (LEV) “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” biennial event. Happy visitors enjoyed the inimitable pipes of Wanda Houston and her talented band, munched on kebabs, fried rice, plantains and empanadas from Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, and took the opportunity to tour the site’s 2015 SculptureNow exhibit. Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Senator Ben Downing were on hand to present musician and educator Craig S. Harris with citations for his work with the community, and LEV co-chair Don Quinn Kelley bestowed on him the group’s Golden Trombone Award. After Hours events will be held Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer from 5-8 p.m. Lift Ev’ry Voice (LEV)— a celebration of African-American culture and heritage in the Berkshires—has a full roster of events for the entire family through the end of August. Pictured above, LEV co-chair Don Quinn Kelley and MA State Senator Ben Downing.

Artist Robert Henriquez and Lisa Avery with executive director of The Mount, Susan Wissler; LEV committee members, professor Sandra Burton and Project eLEVate manager Marla Robertson.

Alison Whyte and Jason Barcus enjoy some barbecue; Vytas and Doris Barsauskas, of MacKimmie Co. in Lenox, with Carter Wentworth and David Charlton.

Proud members of The Mount, Tim and Niti Martin, revel in the lovely weather; Walter and Kelly Davis pose in front of the fountain.

Dejona Mallory, Kiana Morales, Tangie Mendez and Sara Peck from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).

The Abel family visits regularly from New York City; Madhavi and Thihan Padukkavidana, from Boston, enjoy the live music.

Rachel Eskin and Emily Wagner; Adam Schwartz and Eloise.

Janet and John Egelhofer; Norma Seigal and Elaine S. Gunn.

The crowd of picnickers spilled over from the terrace onto the grounds, where guests could enjoy the music and the sunshine at the same time.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/04/15 at 12:11 PM • Permalink

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‘Side By Side’ Opens At Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon

Amy Krzanik reports from New Lebanon. An intimate gathering of Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon trustees, supporters and staff members attended an exclusive reception as the site’s newest exhibition was unveiled in the Wash House ironing room. Side By Side: Shaker and Modern Design, curated by Jeff Daly, displays 19th-century Shaker furniture alongside modern equivalents to show how the simple and direct forms of Shaker craftsmanship has inspired modern makers, most notably furniture designers of the “Danish modern” era. Guests chatted inside the Wash House and gift shop and outside underneath a tent to keep out of the drizzle and snacked on savory appetizers from local gem, Blueberry Hill Market Café. Dinner in local homes followed the reception. Side By Side will be on display until October 12, and another new exhibit, The Small World of Shaker: Miniature Furniture, Books & Dolls is set to open on July 19. Shown above, photographer Michael Floman, Michael Carter, trustee Paul Cassidy and Museum President David Stocks.

Museum trustee Rae Gilson with Betsy Gitter, board president of the New Lebanon Library; Gregory Hickok, Barbara De Buono and David Farren.

Thea Bennett, David Pearce and John Broome; Ramon Lee, tour guide at the Museum and PhD student in Anthropology at SUNY Albany, with Museum Coordinator Wyatt Erchak.

Bruce Reid and Laura Williams Reid, granddaughter of the Museum’s founder, John S. Williams, Sr.; Harvey Susnick and Frank Sanchis of the World Monuments Fund.

Two chairs sit side by side, the one on the left a Shaker example and the one on the right a modern design taking inspiration from the former.

The Granary

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/29/15 at 10:10 AM • Permalink

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A Toast To Berkshire Museum’s Wine Gala

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. Everyone could feel like a sommelier at the Berkshire Museum’s biennial wine gala and auction on Saturday, June 27, with its huge selection of fine and vintage wines available for purchase via some vigorous bidding action (yes, there were paddles). The auction has turned into a popular event, bringing together wine collectors for a great cause; this year’s proceeds benefited the museum’s educational programs, which provide 16,000 experiences a year to students from nearly 60 schools. The festivities began on the previous Thursday with food and, of course, wine at Hotel on North and a dinner at Wheatleigh on Friday. Saturday night was the main event, with a special reception and silent auction prior to the live auction and celebratory wine dinner catered by Chef Peter Platt of Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough. If a glass of red wine a day really is heart healthy, after three evenings devoted to vino, guests and attendees are definitely in good shape. Above, gala committee members George Elvin and arborist Jim Koneazny of Peerless Tree Expert Co.

Wine & Spirits magazine editor and publisher Josh Greene with Jim Nejaime, one of the gala’s chairs.

Longtime museum supporter Reba Evenchik with Michael and Cheryl Zaccaro; gala committee member Renee Erenburg with her friend, Tricia Roger.

Southfield residents Colleen and Sharon Koneazny support the museum; gala committee members Jeffrey Weber and Carol Rabin.

Contributor Claudia Perles, Laura Perreault and John Perreault, Executive Director of Berkshire Humane Society.

Stockbridge residents and event sponsors Lynn and Ken Stark; committee members Sandy and Isanne Fisher.

Diane Eshleman of Stockbridge (and London) with Cindy McCollum, also from Stockbridge; Hill Engineer’s John Kelly, with his wife, Ellen Kelly.

Committee members Marianna Poutasse and Eric Korenman, who is also a trustee.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/27/15 at 09:54 PM • Permalink

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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.