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RI Archives: Parties

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Hudson Opera House

Berkshire Grown

Columbia Land Conservancy

Trade Secrets


Classical Tents

Robin Hood Radio

Parties & Openings

May 17 - Kinderhook
The School's First Anniversary

May 16 - Lenox
CATA Gala And Performance

May 16 - Sharon
Trade Secrets Fundraiser

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The School Celebrates Its First Anniversary With An El Anatsui Retrospective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ready, Willing And Able: CATA Parties And Performs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Horticultural Event Of The Season Celebrates Its 15th Year

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

Lee Buttala, Lindsey Taylor and gardener Tony Bielaczyc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Construct’s MayFest Honors Ernest Schnesel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sandisfield Gala Celebrates ‘An Extraordinary Community’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Night Of 1,000 Tulips And Guests for GBRSS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wilderstein Fundraiser Spotlights Roosevelt PBS Documentary

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

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

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

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Both Sides Now: ‘River Crossings’ Spans The Hudson

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

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

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

Hudson enjoyed bright sunshine and blue skies on opening day.

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

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

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

Olana’s breathtaking view.

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

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

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

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

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

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Literary Death Match Returns To The Mount

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtney Maum and Arda Collins read from their work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Animalia Attracts At Hillman-Jackson Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Waste Not, Want Not With Project Native

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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In Wine We Trust At Morrison Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 1: Hudson Children’s Book Festival Fundraiser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gutsy Gals Make Films And Walk The Red Carpet

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

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

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

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

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The Farmers Have Many Friends At Carhartts + Cocktails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Three Cheers For The Winners Of 2015’s Berkshire Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Travels With Missie’ Lives On In Artists’ Interpretations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pops Peterson Reinvents Rockwell At Sohn Fine Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Evening With FarmOn Foundation

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

Vincenzo Buscema, Gregory Triana and Cassandra DelViscio at bluecashew.

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

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

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

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

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And The Oscar Goes To…BIFF!

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

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

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

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

Interior Designer Karen Beckwith and photographer Scott Barrow.

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

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

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

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

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10x10 Real Art Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shire City Sanctuary Throws A Fantastic February Frolic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salisbury Skis, Jumps And Has A Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The NE Community Center Holds Its First CSA Fair And Potluck

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

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

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

Pod containing dried beans which will be planted next season.

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

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Spencertown Academy Arts Center Celebrates Its 27th Revels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CCCA Brings Out The Artists And Art Lovers In Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Above And Below Opens At No. Six Depot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Memorable Parties of 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Dazzling Evening For Berkshire United Way

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy Tisdale, David Tisdale and Larry Hazzard.

Susanne King and Michelle Gillett; Mary Berkshire and Rod Berkshire of Specialty Minerals.

Doug Munson and Dottie Munson of Chicago Albumen Works and Joan Andrews; Carlo Zaffanella and Joan DiMartino of General Dynamics.

Kim Mathews, Chris Mathews, owner of Onyx Specialty Papers, Inc., and Lori Gazzillo of Berkshire Bank; Brooke Bencivenga and Sergio Bencivenga of Blue Q.

Fred Drake, Mary Ann Drake, Andy Mick and Laurie Mick.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/07/14 at 08:48 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Creative’s Guests Sparkle At Ventfort Hall

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. If pressed to use only one phrase to describe Berkshire Creative’s Sparkle! holiday party on December 4th, I would employ “dressed to the nines.” It’s a description that could be used to compliment both the guests at the event and the festively decked-out Ventfort Hall mansion which served as venue. Some of the region’s most talented residents got gussied up to enjoy hors d’oeuvres from nAtURAlly Catering and The Red Lion Inn, as well as mustachioed mini cupcakes and a glittering gold layer cake from Madeleine’s Patisserie. The crowd sipped Gilded Gimlets, a vintage cocktail made with Fire Cider and Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Greylock Gin, as they perused silent auction items that included handmade jewelry, pottery and art, as well as private museum tours, a bookbinding workshop and a portrait sitting. The Lucky Five Jazz Band, an incredibly tight yet soulfully swinging Berkshires-based group, inspired more than a few fancy moves on the dance floor. Proceeds from the evening support Berkshire Creative’s mission to advance creativity in order to strengthen economic success and quality of life in the Berkshires. Pictured above: Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum and Berkshire Creative board president, with Berkshire Creative managing director Julia Dixon.

Artist Jarvis Rockwell and artist and art teacher Nova Rockwell with Christine Condaris Chair of the Fine & Performing Arts Department at MCLA; Megan Whilden, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. board member Valerie Whaling and John Toole, a 1Berkshire board member.

Jody Christopherson and Michael Niederman, both of the New York Theatre Review; Kara Thornton, Brian Butterworth of The Red Lion Inn, Norman Rockwell Museum director Laurie Norton Moffatt and daughter Leigh Moffatt.

Maria Mingalone of the Berkshire Museum, photographer Bill Wright, Carrie Wright and artist Peggy Rivers; Realtor Barney Stein and researcher Mindy Miraglia.

Berkshire Visitors Bureau president Lauri Klefos with Katherine Lockridge; Tonio Palmer, performer Heather Fisch and photographer Lisa Vollmer.

RI editor Lisa Green with Marsha Rose McDermott, a private event coordinator at Ventfort Hall, and Michael Vincent Bushy; Nial DeMena of Manna Molecular Science with Ariana Brawley, program coordinator at Jacob’s Pillow Dance.

The Lucky Five, left to right: Jonathan Talbott, Don Mikkelsen, Matt Downing and Kip Beacco.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/07/14 at 08:25 PM • Permalink

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A Winter Songfest At Bard Celebrates The Future Of Music

Lisa Green reports from Annandale-on-Hudson. Anyone in attendance at the Bard College Conservatory of Music’s “A Winter Songfest” on Sunday, December 7 will tell you that the future of vocal arts is secure. The graduate students, consummate professionals all, presented a program of festive songs and ensembles to benefit the Scholarship Fund of the Conservatory. Following the concert, guests who had made an additional contribution were invited to a post-concert reception on the stage in the Sosnoff Theater. There, they mingled with the performers, faculty members and Dawn Upshaw, the world-renowned soprano who is the artistic director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard (she has also recently been appointed as head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center, and received the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy award). Above, Dawn Upshaw with tenor Matthew Slipp and bass Andrew Munn.

John Winkler and Mary Jean Winkler of Millbrook flank Kathy De Las Heras of Salt Point; Soprano Adanya Dunn, who performed Joni Mitchell’s “A River,” with Lizabeth Malanga, mezzo soprano.

Gonzalo De Las Heras, chair of the advisory board of the Conservatory, Kelly Newberry, a mezzo soprano, and Robert Martin, director of the Conservatory.

Pianist Kayo Iwama, asssociate director of the Graduate Vocal Arts program, and Stephen Kaye, editor and publisher of The Millbrook Independent; Cellist Stanley Moore, Odile Chilton, professor of French, and Bruce Chilton of the school’s Institute of Advanced Theology.

The Thorne family came out for the kid-friendly concert, which included the chorus of the Mill Road Elementary School. Eliza Thorne and Felicitas Thorne with Matilda Thorne and Estella Thorne; Jill Wertheim and Patricia Stensrub, both of Clinton Corners, meet Raymond Sokolov, food journalist and former food editor of The New York Times.

Barbara Jean Weyant, a supporter of the Vocal Arts Program, and soprano Sarah Tuttle.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/07/14 at 08:24 PM • Permalink

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Pleasure Before Business At Tanglewood Business Partners Holiday Gathering

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. There are many benefits to becoming a Tanglewood Business Partner (TBP), not the least of them attending the holiday gathering on Monday, December 1 at Eastover Resort and Retreat. The muddy drive (leftover from the Thanksgiving snowfall) and chilly temps were a far cry from the usual Tanglewood conditions, but inside the recently transfigured Eastover, it was as warm as a picnic on the lawn. Tanglewood is the single most important catalyst to the region’s tourism industry, and the Tanglewood Business Partners support the music festival and its integral role in the life and economy of the Berkshires. Business owners mingled with representatives of the BSO and enjoyed drinks and appetizers courtesy of Eastover. Shown above: Yingxing Wang, Eastover co-owner and manager; Kim Noltemy, BSO chief marketing and communications manager; and Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner of the Red Lion Inn and co-chair of Tanglewood Business Partners.

Chin Lee and Sabrina Tan, owners of Flavours of Malaysia in Pittsfield; Vincent Razzano, manager of the Stop & Shop on Dan Fox Drive in Pittsfield, and Phil Halpern of Brook Farm Inn.

The banking and real estate professionals network: Joe Lotano of NBT Bank, Barbara Osborne of Ashmere Realty, Lori Gazzillo of Berkshire Bank, and Tim Kiely of The Pittsfield Coop.

Watercolorist Marge Bride and PR man Ed Bride; Attorney Giovanna Fessenden, Real Estate Broker Mary Jane White, owner of Cohen & White Associates and co-chair of Tanglewood Business Partners, and Nadine Atalla of Cafe Lucia.

Katherine Lockridge, owner of Classical Tents & Party Goods and Shelly Williams, owner of Haven Cafe and Bakery; Attorney Catherine Chester and Matt Chester, financial advisor with The Sherman Investment Group.

Jim Lucia of Cafe Lucia, Alyson Bristol, the BSO’s director of corporate partnerships, Elise Abrams of Elise Abrams Antiques, and Nadine Atalla.

Gallerist Stephanie Hoadley with artist Kris Galli; Main Street Hospitality Group’s Sarah Eustis and designer Hilary Rush of Church Street Trading Company.

Louis Allegrone of the Allegrone Companies, Hillery Maxymillian of Maxymillian Technologies, Inc., and Giovanna Fessenden; Brenda Sanderson of Garden Blossoms Florist and Alan Gold, DDS.

Renee Rotta, longtime Tanglewood volunteer and now the Tanglewood Business Partners marketing coordinator, and TBP’s Allegra Murray.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/01/14 at 08:31 PM • Permalink

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Crowds Travel To Stair Galleries For Hermes Mallea’s ‘Escape’

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. It was a perfect antidote to the weekend after the Thanksgiving snowstorm: a booksigning for Hermes Mallea’s second outrageously beautiful book, Escape: The Heyday of Caribbean Glamour. On Saturday, November 29, the Stair Galleries enhanced its already magnificently adorned walls (filled with works from the December 6 Modern and Contemporary Fine and Decorative Arts auction) with Escape and its photos of the warm-weather destinations, lavish, tropical beach parties and costume balls at fairy-tale private estates. A line of well wishers (many of them artists) waited for the author’s inscription on their copy (provided by Hudson City Books) while others enjoyed nibbles and wine. At left, Marilyn Bethany, one of Rural Intelligence’s founding editors, shares a laugh with the author. Mallea is an architect and partner of M(Group), a design firm based in New York, and has a home in Columbia County.

Marianne Thorsen with John Danzer of Munder-Skiles, which designs and produes quality garden furniture; Philip Kesinger and Katrina Stair.

Muffie Cunningham, Stair Galleries’ director, and Carey Maloney, RI‘s The Wandering Eye blogger; the artist Frank Faulkner and Hermes Mallea.

Brendan Kelly and Conrad Hanson, both of Friends of Clermont; Glenda Law, John Sare and Benjamin Krevolin.

Writer and expert craftsman Graham Blackburn and Andrea Bindereif; President and Founder Colin Stair with RI‘s owner/publisher Mark Williams.

Rural Intelligence co-founders Dan Shaw and Marilyn Bethany; Stair Galleries’ Jessanna Britton and Erika Clark, who is the event coordinator.

Photographer Shannon Greer and artist Charlotta Janssen, owners of The Hudson Milliner Guesthouse and Inn.

Lisa Thomas, Stair’s fine art specialist and Sara Griffen, president of The Olana Partnership; Nicole Keegan of Pilates Hudson, and James Corbett.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/30/14 at 10:55 AM • Permalink

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The re:TREE Exhibit Pops Up In Kinderhook

Amy Krzanik reports from Kinderhook. As has plagued many downtown areas across the region, the loss of trees due to age, disease, salt and severe weather had become a problem in Kinderhook’s business district. Replacing them is costly, but has been no deterrent to the generous residents of this small village. As part of the fundraising for the venture, Renee Shur, Director of Economic Development for Kinderhook, has brought together 40 tree-themed works by 26 regional artists selected by Carrie Haddad of Hudson’s Carrie Haddad Gallery in an exhibition called re:TREE. The exhibit, located at 3 Broad Street on the village green, opened with a packed reception on Saturday evening, November 29. A portion of the sales will be donated by the participating artists to the Kinderhook Tree Fund. The exhibit will be up for the next two weekends from Noon-4 p.m., and from 5:30-8:30 p.m. during the town’s popular Candlelight Night on December 12 when the entire village will be lit up and special programs will be on throughout the business district. Above, participating photographer Daniel Region and Sue Chiafullo.

Painter Susan Colgan, photographer Ken Tannenbaum and Renee Shur; Gallery director Linden Scheff and gallerist Carrie Haddad of the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson.

Artist Jack Millard displays one of his beautiful paintings; Josef Asteinza, Kiki Spensieri, Scott Kilgour and Randy Bourscheidt.

Photographer Karen Halverson, actor Stephen Lang, Tina Lang and Cathy Boyd.

Artists Fern Apfel and Andrew Pellettieri; Cecelia Sinclair, photographer Patrick Harbron and Frances Heaney, who is the new president of the Columbia County Council on the Arts.

Guenter Bochem, Eva Bochem-Shur and Mike Tully; Photographer Denise B. Chandler and encaustic artist Maria Kolodziej-Zincio.

Nicholas Haylett, David and Anna Martin, and Vesna Grossjohann.

Kinderhook residents Loyita Woods and Robert S. Woods; Cynthia Mulvaney, CCCA executive director, with artist Tim Ebneth and his husband, Nick Calderazzo.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/29/14 at 11:16 PM • Permalink

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Monet | Kelly Opens At The Clark

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. A large crowd packed the atrium and gallery of the recently redesigned Clark Art Institute on Saturday night, November 22 for the unveiling of the new exhibit Monet | Kelly. The exhibition focuses on the role Claude Monet’s motifs and the sites that inspired his paintings (most notably Belle-Île and Giverny) have played in the work of artist Ellsworth Kelly. Kelly, who helped choose the pieces featured in the exhibit and still creates out of his studio over the border in Spencertown, NY, was on hand to chat with well-wishers. The exhibit runs through February 15, 2015. Above: The artist himself, Ellsworth Kelly, and yours truly.

Ryan Fitzgerald, the Clark’s David Breslin, Warren Seubel and Emily Blanchard; The Clark’s Mattie Kelley and preparator Tim Johnson.

Tara Fracalossi and Thomas Lail; Joan and Chris Jones with Sara Loughman, exhibitions manager at the Williams College Museum of Art.

Joel Wolk with Ron and Iris Maitland; Architect Dean Maltz and Carol Gregg, owner of Red Egg Furniture.

Gintare Everett, Sarah Lees, who helped curate the exhibit and is now at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art, Licia Conforti, Clark Art Director Michael Conforti and Laure Lowry.

KK Zutter with Jeannene Booher; Michael and Marty Keating flank the artist.

Bill Bowden, “Jid” Sprague and Frank Oakley; Peter Hansen and Petra Krauledat.

Mark Zotto and Michael Wolfman; Ivan Rosa, a professor of architecture at City College of New York, and Pam Jacobs.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/23/14 at 05:20 PM • Permalink

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Oenophiles Flock To Support The Warner Theatre

Rachel Louchen reports from Torrington. The Warner Theatre’s Annual Wine Tasting kicked off the holiday season on Friday, November 21. A critical fundraiser for the Warner, proceeds raised go not only towards programming theater, music and dance performances, but for arts education as well. The signature event usually sees a large turnout, but this year surpassed any of the previous years’ attendance, with the community coming out to in droves to support the touchstone theater. As vendors poured foreign and domestic wine, delicious food and beverages were provided by local area businesses throughout three large rooms, with the special VIP section offering more drink choices and live jazz. At left, Lesley Budny and Event Coordinator Carol Quartiero.

Jerry Carbone and Torrington’s Mayor, Elinor Carbone; Torrington residents Debbie Sugerak and Mike Johnson.

Megan Hurlburt, Associate Director of Entertainment at Infinity Music Hall and Tyler Hurlburt; Joe Riccio and Laura Riccio.

Warner Theatre’s Development Manager Donna Marconi with Executive Director Lynn Gelormino and Alma Nunnley.

Joe Connolly and Bridget McCue; Sandy Nichol, Jim Nichol, Janet Culver and Stephen Todd, one of the event’s sponsors.

Nicole Milo-Cook and Jeff Milo-Cook; Longtime season ticket holders and volunteers Jean Cardello and Illene Cardello.

Alan Temkin, Linda Temkin, owner of Le Beaux Vous Salon, and Bruce Temkin.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/23/14 at 11:32 AM • Permalink

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Northwest CT Arts Council Maxes Out Infinity Hall

Rachel Louchen reports from Norfolk. A concert venue that usually features the roaring sounds of rock legends and soulful crooners instead welcomed artists, writers, photographers, lawyers, bankers and others from varied careers. They were there to honor members of the community (as well as business and organizations) that have made huge strides in raising awareness about the arts and culture in Northwest Connecticut. The first-ever Northwest Connecticut Arts Council CultureMAX! Awards on Tuesday, November 18 was a huge success, with a turnout of more than 160 guests packing Infinity Music Hall & Bistro. The awardees were Sharon Dante, Founder of The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts; Catherine Fields, Executive Director of the Litchfield Historical Society; Five Points Gallery; The North End Store in Barkhamsted; and Janet Rathbun of Colebrook who all received a one-of-a-kind sculpture award designed by Torrington artist Dennis Bialeck. The great turnout proves promising for the inaugural event, but it also spoke volumes about the tight-knit community in Northwest Connecticut. “To see how many people showed up just goes to show how people are looking for something like this: they want to honor contributing members of the community,” said the council’s Manager of Membership and Outreach, Debbie Freund (above right, with Alyson Thompson).

Dennis Bialeck, Mary Bialeck, Amy Wynn, executive director of the council and honoree Judith McElhone.

Sue Anne Marolda and Larita Steffee; Arts Council board member Carie Hodel and Margaret Smith.

Ray Furse, Mary Ellen Furse and Jack Sheedy; Arts Council board members Vanessa Giannasi and Michael Quadland.

Arts Council board member Pamela Baker and Carolyn Ferrara; Judith Romaniello and Gail Kruppa.

Lisa Lopez, Dave Webber and Arts Council board member Kerry Noble.

Honoree Sharon Dante with The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts Artistic Director Victoria Mazzarelli; Gay Schempp and Jordan Hutton, gallery assistant at The White Gallery.

John Lavieri and Corky Lavieri flank one of the evening’s honorees, Brenda Pelletier; Gayle Moraski and Laura Lemieux.

Owner of Infinity Music Hall & Bistro and Arts Council board member Dan Hincks with realtor Juliet Moore; Fiona de Merell with Ed Cannata.

Jay Fields, honoree Catherine Fields and Rod Oneglia.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/18/14 at 08:34 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Museum Goes On Safari With 2014 Festival of Trees

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. This year’s Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum opened with, well, not a bang, exactly… more of an extremely loud kookaburra soliciting attention from the guests. That’s because this year’s preview party doubled as an opening reception for the Museum’s Lions & Tigers & Bears exhibit, and many live animals were on hand to help celebrate. The Creature Teachers from Littleton, Mass. brought some furry, scaly and feathered friends, including the attention-loving kookaburra, a banana-scarfing kinkajou, a preening umbrella cockatoo and other well-behaved beasts. Museum supporters wore their animal-print best to coincide with the “On Safari” theme of the 2014 Festival as they wandered through the twinkling upstairs galleries enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres. The Festival of Trees and Lions & Tigers & Bears: Through the Lens with National Geographic exhibits will be on display through January 4, 2015. Above, Pam Knisley, Berkshire Museum Curatorial Assistant Kendra Knisley and Kyle Wilson pose in front of a Kodiak bear.

Tim Kiely of The Pittsfield Co-op Bank and Vicky May of Greylock Federal Credit Union; Michele Hotchkin of Berkshire Shenanigans, with Melisa Krzysztof-Davis and Joe Pickett.

Daryl Corbett of Mad Macs with Joe and Anne Apkin; Berkshire United Way‘s Jonah Sykes and Colin Sykes who works for the City of Pittsfield.

Peter Garlington, John Krenicki, Berkshire Museum’s Board Vice President Donna Krenicki, the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields and Peggy Rivers.

Sally Evans, Mike Chefetz and Museum board member Nancy Edman Feldman; Gwen Davis and Mark Ouillette, who were enjoying their 18th Festival of Trees.

Michael Vincent Bushy and Berkshire Creative‘s Julia Dixon; Molari co-workers Bernadette Webb, Nicole Lewis, Raya Brower and Liz Goclowski pose in front of their tree.

Tim Burdick and Berkshire United Way Board Chair Brenda Burdick with Berkshire United Way President & CEO Kris Hazzard and Larry Hazzard.

Jesse Tague, a Berkshire Music School student, performed for the crowd; Berkshire Magazines Anastasia Stanmeyer and Peggy Rivers.

County Ambulance paramedic Robert van Bramer and Erin Roark; Tiffany Roberts and her daughter, Ariana, make a pretty picture.

Pittsfield High School‘s trees are going on safari and trying to blend in with the animals.

Andrew Boino of Dana Bixby Architects and Maureen White of Barnbrook Realty; Barbara and Tom Patton flank BCC professor Colleen Quinn.

Lisa Ostellino and daughters Kate and Julia, pose in the Guardian Life sponsored safari jeep; Gail Shaw and Jodi Briggs pose with a baby bear.

The Creature Teachers brought Walter the American alligator and a six-banded armadillo named Doug, among other critters, to meet the crowd.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/17/14 at 12:05 PM • Permalink

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Mort Künstler’s Adventurous Art Comes to Norman Rockwell Museum

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. Much like Norman Rockwell, Mort Künstler gained his fame as an artist who has painted America’s story. So the exhibition “Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure” couldn’t be more welcomed than at the Norman Rockwell Museum. An opening reception on Saturday, November 15 honored the artist, who is known for his highly researched historical paintings and extremely detailed images. Advertisements, book jackets and magazine covers, as well as paintings of figures from the Civil War, large-scale animals and posters from iconic movies such as The Poseidon Adventure highlighted just how versatile the artist’s 60-year career has been. The turnout included proud family members, friends and longtime fans who were thrilled to meet the gregarious artist. The exhibition, which includes more than 80-pieces of work, will be on exhibit until March 15, with an artist conversation to be held February 21. Above, Mort Künstler with deputy director/chief curator Stephanie Plunkett.

NRM’s Director Laurie Norton Moffatt; president of the museum’s board of trustees Robert Horvath and his wife, Lynne Horvath with webmaster and interactive media designer Dan Heck.

The honoree’s grandson Tom Künstler with his grandmother, Deborah Künstler; the museum’s external relations coordinator Lisa Lewis, with chief operating officer Jill Gellert and Bill Gellert.

Martin Mahoney, NRM’s director of collections and exhibitions and Jane Künstler , daughter of the artist.

Künstler’s niece Debra Malone came out to support her Uncle Mort, here with longtime friend, Stockbridge resident Gretchen Wehrle- Scott; Pittsfield residents Merrill Roberts and June Waldman with Mary Jo Engels of East Otis.

Zack Murdock and Barbara Murdock drove up from Long Island to attend the exhibit of their favorite artist; Aaron Stein and Kerry Morris.

Laurie Moffatt with her daughter, Leigh, stands in front of her favorite piece in the exhibition, a painting depicting George Washington crossing the Delaware River.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/16/14 at 06:30 PM • Permalink

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Williamstown Film Festival Talks Suspense With Director Tony Gilroy

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. As part of its creative 2014 programming, the Williamstown Film Festival held a benefit dinner on Friday, November 7 at Gramercy Bistro, followed by a discussion with writer/director Tony Gilroy on “The Art of Suspense.” The Festival’s Executive Director, Steve Lawson, and board member Stephen Hannock moderated the discussion, which was held in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Gilroy is most famous for writing the scripts of the Bourne movies starring Matt Damon, and received an Academy Award nomination for writing and directing Michael Clayton starring George Clooney—the film received seven nominations in all. Clips of Gilroy’s films, including the recently released Nightcrawler which he produced, and other thrillers were interspersed to give the audience examples of how filmmakers keep moviegoers on the edges of their seats. Lickety Split hosted an after-party in the lobby, and guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres and dessert, including pistol-shaped sugar cookies in a “blood-spattered” bowl. Above: Tony Gilroy and his wife, Susan Gilroy, flank Stephen Hannock.

WFF Consultant Sandra Thomas, WFF Board Vice President Roger Clark, projectionist Anna Moriarty Lev and Ned Thorne; WFF board member Diane Pearlman and WFF Board President Joe Finnegan.

Bonnie and John Raines, subjects of the documentary 1971, with Peter Thompson; WFF board member Sue Killam with Cody Ball and Peyton Young.

Linda Conway, Ellen Bernstein, Emily Eakin, WFF board member and Williamstown Selectman Jane Patton and Gintare Everett.

Annie Kennedy of pop-up shop School For Style, with Wit McKay, and Molly Kerns of Tsubo Massage; Tony Gilroy and WFF Executive Director Steve Lawson.

Chris Finnegan and Kate Scully; Janet Stratton and Randy Stratton with Joe Finnegan.

Gilroy, Lawson and Hannock on stage.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/09/14 at 10:43 PM • Permalink

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The JLBC’s Signature Fundraiser Gathers A Crowd

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. Core values of The Junior League of Berkshire County (JLBC) are volunteerism, leadership, collaboration, diversity, mentoring and respect. On Thursday, November 6, the organization focused all those values on its annual fall fundraiser, the 7th annual Taste of the Berkshires. Held at Pittsfield’s Crowne Plaza hotel, over 25 restaurants from across Berkshire County attended and, much like the selection of restaurants in our region, the menu was diverse. There was Malaysian cuisine provided by Flavours Of Malaysia; sushi from 7 Grille, with some comfort food favorites mixed in like pasta from Mazzeo’s Ristorante and barbeque from MadJacks. Sweets were plentiful too: tables were piled high with cakes and pastries, and even Pittsfield (relative) newcomer Ayelada offered up its frozen yogurt. All proceeds from the event will go to community-based programs such as Curl Up With a Good Book, a literacy-focused evening, and Kids in the Kitchen, which helps prevent childhood obesity by teaching children about smart food choices. Above, President Jessica Shandor with fundraising chair Mia Albano.

State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, former JLBC member Amy Novisky and David Novisky.

Hinsdale residents Roberta Francis and Burton Francis; former JLBC member Mary Kay Farley and teacher Mary Beth Eldridge.

Madeleine’s Patisserie & Cafe proprietor Ashely Summers with staffer Nicole Wheeler; Kristine Warfield with her daughter, JLBC member Nora Tassone.

City of Pittsfield Director of Cultural Development (and member) Jen Glockner, Tim Kiely and Lori Gazzillo, director of Berkshire Bank Foundation.

Lisa LoBou and Todd Walton, husband of a JLBC member; Sarah Truden and James Truden.

Former president Karen Rogers with sustainer Heather McDermott; Williamstown’s Hops And Vines was represented by the husband and wife team of Megan Beuth and Robert Beuth.

Monterey residents Carol Edelman and James Edelman.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/06/14 at 07:32 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Theatre Group & The Mount Throw Masquerade Balls

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield and Lenox. November 1, the day after the spookiest day of the year, was still pretty frightening in the Berkshires, as both the Berkshire Theatre Group and The Mount held masquerade balls to celebrate the Halloween holiday. BTG’s annual fall fundraising gala was held on the stage of the Colonial Theatre and featured a drama-themed silent auction, a staged reading of The Raven by cast members of POE, and dancing. Masked guests enjoyed a generous buffet from Mazzeo’s Meat and Seafood, which featured delicious meats, cheeses, grilled vegetables, hot dishes and more. No ghoul or goblin went home hungry. Above, Tara K. Young, BTG’s Director of Special Events and Donor Relations, with Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire.

Pam Malumphy, Joan DiMartino, Lisa Tully and Melissa Mazzeo; Tony Gibson and John Culver of the Purple Plume in Lenox.

Lynne and Mike Mazzeo; The stars of BTG’s POE, Brian Plouffe, David Adkins and Corinna May, with BTG Board President Ruth Blodgett.

BTG board member Linda Cooper with Sue Mooney and Heather Wells Heim; Rhiannon Hagen, Jody Fairweather and Gina Foley.

Mike Fazio and Cori Salvini; Michael and Denise Richardello flank George Haddad.

Casey Meade, Johanna Wise, Katherine Davis and George Manley.

Later in the night, Edith Wharton’s former mansion served up a supernatural scene as the lights were turned low, no… lower… lower… that’s good, for a Victorian Boudoir party hosted by Berkshire Shenanigans. Nineteenth century lords and ladies mingled with superheroes, a come-to-life sculpture, two David Bowies, Waldo from the Where’s Waldo? books (we found him, er… her) and many other beastly and beautiful partygoers. DJ BFG spun tunes for the sold-out crowd inside and How We Roll served up hot eggrolls to hungry guests outside. In the running for party of the year? We think so.

Rachel Parzick as a happy little tree and Michael Boroniec as painter Bob Ross won the Couples Costume award; Antoinette Simms and Seth Levy.

Virgil Kerr, assistant winemaker at Balderdash Cellars, with Jen Frederick and Chris Mollomo; Nancy Fitzpatrick, Nathan Hanford and Rebecca Weinman.

Jon and Carrie Hornbeck; John Ryall and Lori Flynn.

Emily Moraes, Gillian Gorman and Karden Rabin of Radiance Yoga, with Amy Huebner.

Rob Levardi and Lisa Sears; Scott Cole of the Monterey General Store with artist Tom Taylor.

Jennifer Peloquin and Ryan Picard; Darryl Lipinski, Victoria Spelling and Josh Chittenden.

The spooky view of Edith Wharton’s mansion upon arrival.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/03/14 at 12:27 PM • Permalink

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WAM’s “Army” Supports Opening Night Of ‘In Darfur’

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. A packed crowd of cast members, crew and friends turned out to celebrate the opening night of WAM Theatre’s newest production, In Darfur, on Saturday, November 1 at Haven in Lenox. Founder, Artistic Director and play director Kristin van Ginhoven addressed the guests with a champagne toast and talked about the intense process of producing the play, which tells the story of three lives that intersect in a camp for internally displaced persons. Van Ginhoven acknowledged the “In Darfur Army” of individuals who have been invaluable along the way. A crucial member of the army has been the playwright, Winter Miller (left, with van Ginhovan far left), who has “been quick to respond to many late night emails and made herself always accessible,” which often necessitated trips to the Berkshires. The show, with two additional matinee performances added due to ticket demand, runs through November 16.

Hosts David Schecker and Vicki Bonnington (wearing a dress custom made from African textiles) with David Librizzi.

Cast members marcus d. harvey and Warren Jackson; Director of Communications at Shakespeare & Company Elizabeth Aspenlieder with Thomas W. Barrett.

Ben Merrihew with Assistant Director Molly Clancy; WAM supporters Kristin and James Hatt flank Nick Webb, husband of van Ginhoven and board secretary.

Cast member Christina Gordon, WAM Board President Ashley Berridge and her husband, Brad Berridge, who wears many hats for WAM: sound, projection design and composer.

Stage manager Laura Gomez with her husband, Joe Suerchek; Corky Miller, mother of the playwright with Jessica Provenz, coordinating producer.

Cast member Sipiwe Moyo with the costume designer Govane Lohbaur and Douglas Seldin, who directed the fight scene in the play; Assistant Stage Manager Melissa Rao and Cory Colasessano.

Susie Weekes, here with cast member Tricia Alexandro, serves as the connection to the Housemothers of Mother of Peace Orphanage in Illovo, South Africa, which will receive profits from In Darfur.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/02/14 at 07:21 PM • Permalink

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The Annual LitNet Gala Helps Support Literacy In The Community

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. The annual fundraising gala for The Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet) always brings out a big crowd, fantastic silent auction prizes and a worthy honoree whose contributions to education go hand-in-hand with the community-based organization. Held at Berkshire Country Day School on Saturday, October 25, this year’s event honored Eleanore Velez, admissions counselor and coordinator of the Multicultural Center at Berkshire Community College. Prior to the sit-down dinner, guests enjoyed the cocktail hour underneath a large white tent set on the lawn of the school and had a chance to bid on the aforementioned silent auction, which offers increasingly wonderful prizes each year. This year’s offerings included week-long getaways to Mexico and Colorado with Berkshire-centric gift certificate to local shops and restaurants. Proceeds from the event help provide funding to LitNet’s one-on-one tutoring program, which is available to any Southern Berkshire resident over the age of 16 not currently enrolled in school. Above, Tutor Coordinator Mary Spina and Executive Assistant Shelley Wojtkowski.

Melissa Bissell, John Bissell, executive vice president of Greylock Federal Credit Union, Betty Prashker and her daughter, LitNet Board President Lucy Prashker.

Carmen Dockery Perkins, associate head of school at Berkshire Country Day with Elise Abrams; Cori Salvini and Mike Fazio .

Project Lit team leader Allison Curtain with Jim Hoffman; Larry Hazzard and Dennis Pollack, who donated his home repair services to the auction.

Carol Diamond and Herb Diamond with LitNet board member Lois Lenett.