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RI Archives: Parties

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Classical Tents

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Parties & Openings

January 15 - Lee
CATA Art On Tour Opening

January 9 - Chatham
Blue Plate Benefit

December 31 - North Adams
Greylock Works NYE

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Community Access To The Arts Kicks Off 2016

Amy Krzanik reports from Lee. Over the past two years, the Community Access to the Arts (CATA) “Art on Tour” program has made stops at The Clark, No. Six Depot and Berkshire Museum, among other county venues. To kick off 2016, its newest exhibit, Selected Works by CATA Artists 40 x 30 x 8, has made a temporary home for itself at College Internship Program’s Good Purpose Gallery. “40 x 30” refers to the size of the paintings and “8” refers to the number of artists in the show, many of whom were on hand at the opening reception on Friday, Jan. 15. All of the artwork in the show was created in Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) classes, offered as one of CATA’s many programs. A.R.T, an adaptive painting system developed by Tim Lefens, provides people with severe physical disabilities the opportunity to paint with the assistance of laser pointers and trained trackers acting as the hands of the artist. Fans of the CATA art program will be able to recognize the distinctive work of their favorite students in this show, which will up until February 16. All of the art is for sale, with proceeds going to the artists and CATA’s A.R.T. programs. Above, CATA founder Sandra Newman, with exhibit co-sponsors Rita Kasky and Bill Cohn.

CATA executive director Margaret Keller with her daughter and Stan and Jan Spencer; Terri and Steve Tosk pose with their son, Myles, in front of his artwork.

Artist David Gardner, CATA’s program and artistic director Dawn Lane and Cindy Keiderling; Rebecca Kelly, Molly Hudlin and Liz Bartini of Berkshire County Arc.

Artists Cathy Crofut and Brian Bernacki (seated) with Jean Bede and Jim Bernardo.

CIP’s creative arts coordinator Kara Demler, Stephen Tournas-Hardt and Good Purpose gallery manager Patricia Boissevain; artist Carol Neahaus and board member Debbie Caiola.

Liana Toscanini, CATA’s development and marketing director, and Dawn Lane; CATA volunteers Leslie Shatz and Elaine Radiss, who is also a board member.

The Blue Light Trio performs live in the gallery.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/17/16 at 12:09 PM • Permalink

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Blue Plate Party for Chatham Animal Haven

Jamie Larson reports from Chatham. Early every January for the past decade, the staff at The Blue Plate throws a great party that proves the area didn’t expend all its festive energy or charitable spirit over the holidays. On Saturday, Jan. 9, staffers threw another door-busting fundraiser for the development of the new Chatham Animal Haven. Created by Blue Plate employees Marsha Cary and Colleen Carpenter-Rice, the nonprofit’s mission is to “rescue and care for abused, neglected and surrendered farm animals…provide safe shelter and food, and arrange for any veterinary care (so) animals can live out their lives in our peaceful and loving environment.” Saturday’s fundraiser and silent auction not only supported the realization of CAH but also provided guests with good food, drink, live music and excellent company. Above, CAH vice president Marsha Cary and presiden Colleen Carpenter-Rice flank board member Sam Reilly.

Steve Reilly, Michelle Reilly and Ryan Jackson; Adam Fields, Barbara Henry, Mary Dooley and Katie Lavigne.

John Fishman, Jeanne Lunin and Blue Plate owner Judy Grunberg.

Gail Chamberlain, Mitchell and Elaine Khosrova with Mary Curran; Sue Tanner, Fran Heaney and Francine.

Carbonated rocks the downstairs bar; Beth Rinzler with Nancy Hulahan and Robert Houlihan.

Marilyn Cohen, Gail Chamberlain, Judith Warren and Bob Clark; The party and fundraiser upstairs at the Blue Plate.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 01/11/16 at 09:16 AM • Permalink

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Greylock Works’ Mill Renovation Makes An Entrance On NYE

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. For some of the 600 partiers at the Greylock Works UNLOCK New Year’s Eve Party, it was the chance to be among the first to see the inception of an ambitious revitalization of the former Cariddi Mill. For others, it was the lure of a communal table dinner presented by Mezze Catering + Events. And for the rest (a younger crowd, to be sure), the draw was the promise of a dance party featuring two DJs and a “massive and immersive environment of music and video projection” produced by Springboard Design. UNLOCK was the inaugural event of a space that is on track to become a nexus of thriving food-based entrepreneurs crafting regional and local products under one very, very long roof. With Berkshire Farm & Table working in tandem with Latent Productions, headed by architects and building owners Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry, the New Year’s Eve bash offered everything a partier could ask for besides the music and light show: cash bars with local spirits (Berkshire Mountain Distillers) and beers (Bright Ideas Brewing), a raw oyster bar (BerkShore Oyster Company) and high-level munchies (Cricket Creek Farm and Mezze Catering). If the project’s expansion rolls out like its debut effort, Greylock Works promises to be a most remarkable venture indeed. Above, Latent Productions’ Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein, and their daughter, Skye.

Kyle George and Andrew Trinchitella with David Dunn and Kelly Dunn of; Photographer Lincoln Russell, Main Street Hospitality Group owner Nancy Fitzpatrick, Joe Finnegan and Main Street Hospitality Group CEO Sarah Eustis.

Superstar bread baker Kamel Saci, who hopes to install a bakery at Greylock Mills, and his fiancee, Merrie Edelmann.

Massachusetts State Representative Gail Cariddi, whose father owned the mill prior to the recent purchase, and Marya LaRoche, whose company, Amenitek, did the electrical work on the building; general contractor Steve Burnham with Jim Hunter and Joan Hunter.

Wind-Up Film Fest’s managing director and manager of Destination Williamstown Sandra Thomas and Don Juedes; Filmmaker Holly Hardman and Irving Slavid, art restorer and conservator.

Suzy Konecky and Matthew Ball of Cricket Creek Farm offered grilled cheese sandwiches to hungry dancers.

Around 100 people came early to enjoy dinner presented by Mezze Catering + Events and prepared by Chef Daire Rooney; Six Depot’s Steven Amash and Theresa Speziale served up Chemex coffee for diners.

Hairstylist Karen Brown and Jennifer Trainer-Thompson, author and director of special events and membership at MASS MoCA; Steve Millard of Murray’s Cheese and Liz Stretch, food programming director for Latent Productions.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/02/16 at 12:07 PM • Permalink

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Food Chain Links Supporters Of The Hudson Area Library

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. “The end — which is the beginning, really — is actually in sight,” proclaimed Mark Orton, president of the Board of The Hudson Area Library, which (in case you haven’t taken your nose out of a book in while) is almost ready to move into its new home. As the final touches on the historic building — the former Hudson Armory — are being prepped for library patrons, the fundraising efforts continue apace, and on Sunday, Dec. 11, a group of supporters kicked off a new funding effort, the Hudson Area Library Food Chain. Bob and Marie Rasner, owners and innkeepers of The Inn at 240, along with Jack Simpson and David Murphy hosted the first dinner party in which the guests pay for the meal, with proceeds going to the Library fund. The Rasners cooked up an Indian feast at their bed and breakfast, but it could just as well have been burgers and fries or even a pancake breakfast. Hosts are encouraged to charge $20 to $100 per person and consider some library-related entertainment (book groups take note). Whether you’re a host or a guest, it’s a “novel” way to chase away the winter blahs and help put the finishing touches on the vastly new-and-improved library. Above, Ed Grossman and Mark Orton.

Joan Castle, First Ward alderman Rick Rector and Anna Rachminov, a library board member and owner of Stone Bridge Cider; Gallerist Tom Swope, Lucy Swope, Theresa Parson and Carolyn Lawrence, innkeeper of Hudson Bed and Breakfast.

Party hosts Jack Simpson, Marie Rasner, Bob Rasner and David Murphy.

The crowd gathers around the Indian buffet; David Voorhees, director of the Jacob Leisler Institute, and Gwen Gould, who until recently served as treasurer for the Library’s board.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/28/15 at 03:09 PM • Permalink

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The BCD Fundraiser Gets Help From A Famous Friend

Photo: Jake Borden

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. As Berkshire Country Day School approaches its 70th anniversary, the independent school for students in preschool through ninth grade celebrated its first formal capital campaign in almost two decades on Friday, Dec. 11. Guests—250 of them—crowded the Fitzpatrick Hall to snack on hors d’oeuvres and dessert by Mezze Catering and enjoy the musical chops of BCD faculty members. The event raised $2,838,548 towards a $3,000,000 goal for the capital campaign that is raising funds for new facilities and the School’s endowment (including professional development for teachers). One of the facilities is the Kim and James Taylor Music & Performance Room, a state-of-the-art instructional music classroom and performance space for students and community members to hold events. On hand to celebrate the success of the campaign were The Taylors (above), who have been BCD parents for 11 years and are the campaign’s honorary co-chairs. James spoke to the crowd of parents, faculty and alums, noting that both he and his wife are the product of independent school educations and BCD was the single most important factor in deciding to move to the Berkshires with his family.

Lucie is the Director of Admission, Joanne DelCarpine is the Development Office Coordinator.

Director of Admission Lucie Stites with Joanne DelCarpine BCD’s Development Office Coordinator and school nurse Emily Daigneault.

Committee member David Hosokawa and campaign committee co-chair Chris Ferrone; Jim Kenefick and Marianna Morrison.

Theresa Sonsini and BCD alum Joe Sonsini own and operate 528 Cafe and Main Street Cafe; Buzz McGraw, faculty member Gail Heady and Robin McGraw.

Andrea Maret, alum Mackenzie Hirt, Pamela Calvert-Hirt, Lynn Campana and Mary Hirt

BCD parents Sarah and Dan Bourla; Second Home proprietor and alum Suzannah Van Schaick , Colin Mathews and jewelry designer Stephanie Iverson.

Robert and Wendy Akroyd flank BCD teacher Ned Douglas; Event co-chairs Hilary Somers Deely and Nancy Kalodner.

Pittsfield Director of Cultural Development Jen Glockner with her husband, BCD alum Ted Glockner; BCD trustee Stephen Boyd and State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.

Jennifer Teich, Patricia Whitehead, David Slick and BCD parent Robin Seeley.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/14/15 at 01:53 PM • Permalink

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RSYP Dinner Gives Teenagers A Taste Of The Culinary Life

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Crissey Farm was decked out in full holiday decor at the 2015 Culinary Arts Celebration for the Railroad Street Youth Project on Monday, Dec. 8. The event celebrated the completion of a food-based work apprenticeship for the students at RSYP. While guests dined on four courses masterfully prepared by the enthusiastic students overseen by local chefs Brian Alberg, Dan Smith, Daire Rooney, Adam Brassard and Zee Vassos, Executive Director Ananda Timpane spoke to the crowd, addressing the importance of the project. Recent statistics show only one in three young people in America has a caring, involved adult in his or her life to act as a guide toward adulthood. This is where the culinary internship project — as well as other RSYP programs including counseling, advocacy, sexual health education, and jobs and career help — comes in. The young chefs were introduced after the meal and received roaring applause from more than 140 diners. A few spoke about what the culinary program meant to them, and touched upon how they enjoyed interning at The Red Lion Inn, not to mention mastering the proper chopping of an onion. One student has even applied to a culinary college for next year. Above, one of the chefs of the evening, Devon Vandeusen, with Ananda Timpane.

RSYP board member Erik Bruun, singer Georgia Karbelnikoff and her mother, Claudia Laslie, one of the event’s supporters.

Kim Obanheim, vice president of ambulatory services for Berkshire Health Systems, with her husband, Jim Obanheim; Sara Wybur and Shannon Miller of CIP Berkshire came out to support some of their students in the RSYP program.

Amillie Coster, who works on communications for RSYP, and Jonathan McFarland, a jobs and careers coordinator; Berkshire Health Systems’ Anne McDonald served on the event committee, here with Larry and Kris Hazzard.

Chris Masiero and Dawn Masiero of Guido’s donated gifts for the youth chefs.

Supporter, committee and board of directors member Barbara Schulman with new Great Barrington resident Laura Jordahl and Luiza Trabka, YOB and special projects coordinator for RSYP; Author Gina Hyams and her husband, RSYP board member David Barrett.

Bill Cohn, Rita Kasky and Robin McGraw; Sally and Fred Harris, owners of Saint James Place.

RSYP board president Barbara Manring with board member Caren Mercer, artist Kerry Millikin and Barbara Schulman.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/08/15 at 10:56 AM • Permalink

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Memorable Parties of 2015

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 at home. 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 this 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 2015’s parties.)

The School Celebrates Its First Anniversary With An El Anatsui Retrospective
Food trucks, cotton candy, curated cocktails, music, a photobooth, and art world scholars and celebs — it sounds like a summertime music festival, and it practically was when Jack Shainman Gallery’s The School marked its first anniversary.

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market Farm-To-Glass Throwdown
It was an evening of stiff drinks and even stiffer competition at the first-ever Farm-to-Glass Throwdown, held to support the new Downtown Pittsfield Winter Farmers Market.

“Freakshow” Scares Up Funds For Berkshire Theatre Group
A dressed-up Bella’s Bartok and a dressed-down Gypsy Layne entertained strongmen, bearded ladies, sword swallowers, ghosts and other ghouls at the “Freakshow” Halloween event.

From Dusk To Dark: OMI Lights Up The Night
OMI’s “Light Into Night” gala offered a full evening’s entertainment in the form of live performances, a signature autumn cocktail, a sit-down dinner and dance party, customized on-the-spot poetry, and dessert that doubled as architecture.

Twilight In The Garden At Hollister House
An annual cocktail party revealed one of Washington, Connecticut’s hidden gems — a multi-tiered take on Sissinghurst, complete with intimate “rooms,” a reflecting pool, beautiful borders and frog friends.

Slideluck Mixes Art And Community At Stonover Farm
The first-ever Berkshire County Slideluck event, held at Stonover Farm in Lenox, brought friends and food together with art, both live and on film.

Struttin’ With Some Barbecue at The Mount
A large crowd gathered on the terrace and lawns of The Mount as the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival’s “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” event kicked off the mansion’s summertime “Music After Hours” series.

IS183’s Gala: Versace, Tchotchkes, Mariachi And A Hibachi
Anyone who’s been to one of IS183’s big blowouts won’t find it surprising that its annual fundraiser made our “most memorable” list. Just like last year. And the year before that.

“Think Like A Farmer, Taste Like A Chef” At Katchkie Farm
On a glorious summer evening, guests roamed the fragrant fields of Katchkie Farm, took photos of the llamas, chickens, sunflowers and sunset and, of course, enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a farm-fresh dinner.

Chapter 1: Hudson Children’s Book Festival Fundraiser
The largest children’s book festival in New York State held a pre-festival cocktail party to ensure every child got to take home a book at this year’s annual event.

Barrington Stage Celebrates Its Possible Dreams
A performance of Man of La Mancha was followed by a celebratory dinner and reception as Barrington Stage Company threw a Fiesta Grande.

A Tea Party For Two Hundred Plus
“Tea for Two-Hundred” turned into tea for 350, and we’re not surprised, with guests of honor like Larry Kramer and Candace Bushnell, and a performance by “The Beehive Queen.”

A Gilded Age Summer Soiree At Wilderstein
Guests enjoyed live jazz, lawn games, outdoor sculpture, gardens and a spectacular Hudson River view as they relaxed with parasols, picnic blankets and pillows on the mansion’s lawn.

Berkshire Grown Brunchers Talk Food With Ruth Reichl
Supporters of Berkshire Grown gathered in a shaded garden in Sheffield to hear the award-winning food writer talk shop with Great Barrington cheesemonger Matt Rubiner.

Half Moon at CIA: A Gala Spiced With Songs By Sutton Foster
The very best in food and featured performers marked Half Moon Theatre’s benefit on its campus at the Culinary Institute of America.

Kaatsbaan Celebrates 25 Years As A Dancer’s Dream Retreat
The international performing arts center at the former Tivoli Farm celebrated its anniversary with performances by stars from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and The Martha Graham Dance Company

The Horticultural Event Of The Season Celebrates Its 15th Year
From famous garden gurus to everyday green thumbs, those who know make sure to get to Sharon, Connecticut each year for the Trade Secrets two-day fundraiser.

Berkshire South Shines From The Top Of The Bryant Building
Makeup demos and hot shaves were provided for guests at Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetic’s new Great Barrington headquarters during Berkshire South’s “Makeup, Martinis & Moustaches” benefit.

White Out On Main Street
Great Barrington’s “Dig and Dine” was so nice, they held it twice, and we were there as white-clad attendees enjoyed a feast on the town’s main thoroughfare.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/06/15 at 02:38 PM • Permalink

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No Filter Needed: Lena Dunham Talks And Signs In Cornwall

Jacque Schiller reports from Cornwall. On Sunday, Nov. 27, an all-ages crowd gathered at the Cornwall UCC for a sold-out Cornwall Library benefit reading of Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, followed by an unscripted Q&A between the writer and her mother, artist Laurie Simmons. The dynamic between mother and daughter was interesting to hear and watch. After sharing how “horrific” she found reading negative comments, Ms. Simmons asked how her offspring felt becoming an overnight “posterchild for anti-Hollywood and fashion?” Lena assured us that she “even ate some food that day, guys” then self confidently expanded on the issue of body image. “It’s not exactly the job I thought I was setting out to do, but if you’re given that mantle and think can you can be helpful, you must take it and run with it. I’m lucky that I’m no longer alone in that. I’m good friends with Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer — there’s a whole army of us who are coming in and saying this is also what a female body looks like. Admittedly, they’ve not been as naked as I have on television.” This refreshing, inspiring banter continued all the way until the last question of the night, from an audience member. “How do you like Cornwall?” Ms. Simmons answered for Lena, “You love Cornwall,” to which her daughter playfully agreed. “Did you not think I was going to say that? Cornwall is beautiful and has history and haunted things and not haunted things and the Moose and post office. I come here to think and relax and recover emotionally. I wrote some of the book here.” For two hours after the reading, the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series Girls, and co-founder of e-newsletter, Lenny, graciously signed copies of her book, occasionally standing up to hug an appreciative reader.

Andrea Geisser, who is the board of The Cornwall Association and artist Jane Bevens; Tom Levine, who runs Longmeadow Farm, with Elizabeth Bruehl and Martha Bruehl.

Leslie Elias, artistic director of the Grumbling Gryphons, buys multiple copies of Dunham’s book; Willa Neubauer is happy with just one.

Jamie, son of Tom Levine, serves as the author’s helper at the book signing; Bianca Griggs, who owns The Wish House, stocks books for the crowd.

Lena Dunham fans Fawn Galli and Bente Dahl-Busby, a physical therapist in Sharon.

Guy Story, board member of the New York International Children’s Film Festival; Artist Laurie Simmons keeps her eye on the featured guest, who happens to be her daughter.


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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/01/15 at 11:17 AM • Permalink

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Berkshire Museum’s Tree Fest Goes West

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Cowboy hat and bandana? Check. Plaid shirt and jeans? Check. Faux leather and fringe? Check. All of the accoutrements necessary for a Wild West fest were present and accounted for on guests of Berkshire Museum’s 2015 Festival of Trees opening reception on Friday, Nov. 13. This year’s “Westward Ho Ho Ho!” themed display took inspiration from American West, the Museum’s dual exhibition made up of National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West and Go West, curated holdings of the Museum. A large crowd of supporters “grazed” on sliders and other chuck wagon favorites from Firefly as they took in the trees decorated by local business sponsors. Twinkling cacti, a tee-pee with a Christmas tree hidden inside, fake roaring campfires, historical ephemera and even a bison skeleton were sprinkled throughout the second-floor galleries. Andy Wrba and Friends supplied the lively ho-down music for what was a spirited community celebration the city looks forward to every year. Party proceeds benefit the Museum’s education programs. All three exhibits run through early January of 2016. Pictured above, Shela Hidalgo, Berkshire Museum trustee Ethan Klepetar, Jonathan Butler and Michelle Butler.

Ruth Blodgett and Pittsfield mayor-elect Linda Tyer; Chris and Aimee Knysh, Melodie Sinopoli and Hans and Kate Teutsch of Digital First Media.

Matthew Chester of major sponsor RBC Wealth Management, Kameron Spaulding and Anna Shippee; Tony Dunne and Julia Dixon.

Berkshire Museum’s executive director Van Shields with Ed Moran, Lisa Ostellino and Barb Patton who helped Pittsfield High School students decorate a tree and the lobby of the Museum.

Colleen Quinn and Ben Garver, photo editor of The Berkshire Eagle; Rob Dwyer and Whitney Smith.

Michael Vincent Bushy and Jen Gomez; Ellen Broderick, John Kelly and Julianne Maxwell of Hill Engineers, who is a major sponsor of the exhibit.

Shela Hidalgo, Jonah Sykes, Darcie Sosa, James Campagna, the Museum’s communications assistant Kimberley Donoughe, Colin Sykes and Carly Gaherty.

Kevin Blue and Pia Norton; Jan Werner, Bonnie Hoskeer Kirchner and Laurie Werner.

Pick your portrait: at the exhibit, guests can pose for a photo on a horse-drawn wagon or with Snoopy next to a roaring fire.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/15/15 at 08:28 PM • Permalink

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Kaatsbaan Celebrates 25 Years As A Dancer’s Dream Retreat

Lisa Green reports from Tivoli. Twenty-five years ago, four dance professionals, including American Ballet Theatre stars Martine van Hamel and Kevin McKenzie, established Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, New York. Their mission was to provide affordable studio space and rehearsal time, and to create an environment for professional dancers and companies to develop and create new works. A quarter of a century later, Kaatsbaan has become the biggest presenter of dance outside of New York City, according to McKenzie, with outstanding facilities at the former Tivoli Farm. On Saturday, Nov. 14, Kaatsbaan celebrated its 25 years with a gala performance featuring stars from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and The Martha Graham Dance Company. Following the performance, guests moved into the dance studio, which was transformed into a candlelit dining room, with dinner prepared by Murray’s Tivoli. The “honored guest,” actor and Tivoli resident Mary Stuart Masterson, related what Kaatsbaan’s dance academy has done for her children and others who attend the school. As many guests headed to the lobby for dessert and a silent auction, others stayed in the studio/dining room to…what else? dance — to Motown tunes with vocals provided by Aurelia Williams. Above, Prudence Garcia-Renart, the program manager, called “the glue of Kaatsbaan” by Kevin McKenzie, standing beside her.

Chris Bailey, Wilhlemina Franfurt, a former ballerina with the New York City Ballet and Bob Whitcomb; poets and performers Patricia Martin and Victoria Sullivan.

Alison Crowther, a former director of Kaatsbaan’s board of trustees, founders Kevin McKenzie and Martine van Hamel, and Jefferson Crowther.

Robert Tischler and Sylwia Kochran; dancer Kati Garcia-Renart, director of the Kaatsbaan Academy of Dance and Angela Menendez, a volunteer.

Just a couple of actors from Tivoli: Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson, who produce Storyhorse Documentary Theater.

The dance studio transformed for a gala dinner; signed ballet slippers offered at the silent auction.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/15/15 at 11:51 AM • Permalink

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The Theater That Made Great Barrington Celebrates Two Decades

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The 20th anniversary celebration of the Triplex Cinema was as much a lesson in Great Barrington history as it was a party. On Thursday, Nov. 12, the town’s one and only movie theater celebrated two decades with food and a special screening tracing the history of how the cinema came to be. It’s hard to believe, but 20 years ago the Triplex and its surrounding area were not the bustling social hub we know today. Instead of restaurants and stores there were empty buildings and a lumber yard. But after a fire at the lumber yard, Triplex owner Richard Stanley wanted to make use of the desolate space and, after some consideration, decided to open a movie theater. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears for Stanley, and help from the community, many of whom spoke on Thursday night. Everyone involved, from the mortgage broker to members of the Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged what a special presence the Triplex is and how it revitalized the town by bringing in businesses and people, and becoming a destination for Great Barrington. Shown above, former president of the South Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Richard Brittain, president of Berkshire Housing Elton Ogden and Richard Stanley.

Great Barrington town manager Jennifer Tabakin with Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire executive director Tim Geller; Great Barrington selectman Bill Cooke and Annie Okerstrom-Lang

Gun Stanley, wife of Richard, and Gayle Raser; Berkshire Bank’s Louann Harvey and The Darrow School’s director of advancement for annual fund and alumni relations Alexandra Heddinger who worked at the Triplex when it first opened.

Berkshire Meadow director Lisa Kelly, architect Craig Okerstrom-Lang and his wife, Annie.

Thornwood Innproprietor Terry Thorne with Barb Mulholand; Great Barrington selectman Ed Abrahams and Bill Cooke.

Richard Stanley cutting into the “20 Years of Great Films” cake; the crowd of supporters, patrons and film lovers.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/13/15 at 12:45 PM • Permalink

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Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market Farm-To-Glass Throwdown

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. It was an evening of stiff drinks and even stiffer competition as the first-ever Farm-to-glass Throwdown on Sunday, Nov. 7 pitted some of the Berkshires’ best bartenders against each other to see who could craft the finest cocktail. The fundraiser for the new Downtown Pittsfield Winter Farmers Market was held upstairs at Hotel on North. Competitors included Johnny Burns from Methuselah Bar and Lounge; Ashley Junod from Brava Lenox; Meghan Merrigan from District Kitchen & Bar; Kristen Parker from Dream Away Lodge; Billy Paul from allium restaurant and bar; and Joseph Scully from Prairie Whale. Contestants picked their poisons from a list of ingredients found at the farmers market and liquors from co-sponsor Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Their concoctions were judged by Mitch and Seth Nash of Blue Q; Nathan Hanford, an artist with Soldier On; Caitlin Harrison from Mise Wines; Waterfall Perry of Jan Perry Realty; and Nancy Thomas, co-owner of Mezze Restaurant Group. Paul, Scully and Parker (whose drink, “The Dodo,” won the “people’s choice award”), continued on to round two, where they had mere minutes to create a drink using a surprise ingredient. The creative use of that ingredient, elderflower jam, made Scully a champion. The winter farmers market begins this Saturday and will run the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club. Above, market committee chair Regina Burgio and market manager Jess Conzo.

Competitor Kristen Parker with Dream Away Lodge owner Daniel Osman, Ashley Junod and industrial engineer DJ Junod; Throwdown winner Joe Scully with Berkshire Mountain DistillersChris Weld.

Tristan Vogel and Dawn Philip; Jaime Weyers, Quincey Sobczyk and Rachel Parzick.

Rachel Plaine, Leah Parker, Alex Groff and Andrew Groff; Sam Russo and Eamonn Barry.

George Whaling and Jennifer Galvagni; Erin Merrigan and North Adams City Councilor Kate Merrigan showed up to support their sister, Meghan.

Holly Viola and Daniel Putignano; Johnny Burns, bartender extraordinaire.

Meghan Merrigan entertained the crowd while mixing; The Nash brothers judge away.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/09/15 at 03:30 PM • Permalink

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‘Freakshow’ Scares Up Funds For Berkshire Theatre Group

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Great minds thought alike last year when Berkshire Theatre Group and party planners Berkshire Shenanigans threw dual Halloween-night masquerade balls at the Colonial Theatre and The Mount, respectively. This year they teamed up on Saturday, Oct. 31 to put on a massive 1920s carnival “Freakshow” blowout at the Colonial that some are calling the “party of the year.” The sold-out evening began with an intimate dinner at Shire City Sanctuary hosted by Casey Meade and featuring menu items created by Chef Thomas Lee of The Stagecoach Tavern at Race Brook Lodge. Guests were seated at a long and eclectically spooky table decorated by Jess Garb Vintage and enjoyed a meal of chicken liver pate, black truffle risotto, leg of lamb and more. A personalized reading from the in-house psychic was included in the price, as well as entry into the main event down the street, which featured live sets from a dressed-up Bella’s Bartok and a dressed-down Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Co. DJ BFG kept the crowd dancing on the Colonial’s stage, where intermittent gymnasts and aerial performers entertained the revelers. Belly dancers, drummers, fire eaters, bearded and tattooed ladies, sword swallowers and other “freaks” kept guests on their toes all night long. Proceeds from the evening benefit BTG’s educational programs. Above, ringmasters Eliza Ryan and Michael Vincent Bushy kept the crowd in line.

Identical twins Matt Murray and Ryan Murray flank dinner host Casey Meade; Nathan Hanford, Scott Edward Cole, Catherine Delphia and Rebecca Weinman.

No animals were hurt in the taking of this photo featuring Amy Huebner, Dana St. Pierre and Ashley Summers; Denise Litano and Darlene Williams.

Alex Reczkowski, Alison Sinopoli, Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante.

Caitlin Infantino and George Manley; Joe Durwin, Noel Henebury and Michael Rousseau.

Kelsey Matherne, Casey Meade, Nial DeMena and Julia Germaine; Ashley Warren and Rachel Myers.

Josh Pena and Hogan McLaughlin; Berkshire Shenanigans is Renee DeRagon, Paul Dodds, and Michele and Trevor Hotchkin.

Justin Torrico, Casey Meade, Nicholas Frêche and Jessica Garb.

Pete White and Mike Ward; Lucie Castaldo and Dina Noto.

Creative costumes were everywhere you looked at Freakshow, including bullet-ridden bankrobbers Bonnie and Clyde and Wednesday Addams.

Behind the red curtain: the dinner table at Shire City Sanctuary.

Closeup of the table set by Jess Garb Vintage; the stage of the Colonial was decorated with colorful and creepy projections.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/01/15 at 08:07 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Immigrant Center Honors One Of Its Own

Amy Krzanik reports from Sheffield. Thanks to gracious hosts Catherine and James Miller, the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) was able to introduce South County residents to the important work it does on Sunday, Oct. 25. The get-together also was a chance to honor Martha Escobar, an immigrant herself, for her work on the behalf of the immigrant community in the area, which includes hosting a Spanish-language show on local radio station WBCR-lp where she plays Latin music and provides community news for Spanish speakers. Special guests included Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Naji Nejaime, owner of Great Barrington restaurant Naji’s Mediterranean Cuisine, who testified to the ways in which the Center helped his aging parents become U.S. citizens. Food was provided by Chez Nous, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Domaney’s Liquors and others. The Center assists those new to this country in attaining citizenship; finding work, healthcare and childcare; and learning English, among many other low-cost services it provides. Since its inception in 1997, the BIC has served over 9,800 clients from 86 different countries with help from generous donors such as the ones pictured below. Shown above, Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli formally congratulates Martha Escobar.

Host James Miller, with Linda Mitchell and BIC director Hilary Greene; Mary Spina of the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, with Barbara Mahony.

Smitty Pignatelli with Ilana Steinhauer, Ellen Rowntree, and Julie and Jeff Blake, all from Volunteers In Medicine.

BIC board members Giora Witkowski and Marge Cohan with Ethan Klepetar, chair of the BIC advisory board; board member Michael Bullock with LitNet volunteer Marcia Powdermaker and Steve Cohen.

Martha Escobar celebrated the event with family.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/26/15 at 01:04 PM • Permalink

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A Night In New York for MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA hosted its annual New York City Benefit on Monday, Oct. 19, at 583 Park Avenue. Supporters gathered to celebrate the contemporary art museum’s 16th year with a gala dinner, cocktail reception, live art auction, and performance by Bhangra-funk band Red Baraat. Benefit co-chairs Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer were in attendance and had donated artwork to the auction, conducted by Eric Widing of Christie’s, which also featured work by Robert Rauschenberg, James Turrell, Jim Shaw, Shirin Neshat and Francesco Clemente. The proceeds from the record-setting auction support MASS MoCA’s exhibitions, performances, and educational and internship programs. At the close of the night, attendees leapt to their feet during a high-energy set by the brass-driven Red Baraat. Above, 2017 exhibiting artist Sarah Oppenheimer (far left) with guests.

Andrea Yost and her husband, artist Francesco Simeti, who made the centerpieces for the night’s event, flank Lisa Panzera, Director of Fergus McCaffrey Gallery.

2017 exhibiting artist Jenny Holzer (right) with guests; MASS MoCA Curator Denise Markonish.

The night’s auctioneer, Eric Widing, MASS MoCA’s Director of Special Events Jennifer Trainer Thompson,’s Nancy Maier, gallerist Jane Eckert, and artist Eric Forstmann.

Exhibiting artist and Williams College professor, Barbara Takenaga, with IS183 Board Chair Andy Foster; 2017 exhibiting artist Laurie Anderson.

Red Baraat brings the crowd to its feet.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 10/25/15 at 09:17 PM • Permalink

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We Give Three Cheers To Five Years Of ‘Made In The Berkshires’

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Five years ago, two creative minds, Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely, hatched the Made in the Berkshires festival as a way to showcase the outstanding talent our region has to offer in the fields of dance, music, theater, filmmaking, visual art, and the written and spoken word. The three-day extravaganza has a home at the Colonial Theatre, where this year’s opening event was held on Friday, Oct. 23. DRAWN, the 2015 visual art exhibit, was co-curated by Carrie Wright and Rebecca Weinman and featured a small sample of the world-class work being created in the county, including Lucie Castaldo, Nathan Hanford and Catherine Delphia. Highlights of the evening’s stage performances included a rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” by Andy Wrba, Nico Wohl and seven Darrow School students; “The Rockwell Suites,” two pieces based on Norman Rockwell paintings and performed expertly by the Albany Berkshire Ballet; and the finale – an energetic breakdance routine by area children of all ages led by The Funk Box Dance Studio creator Andres Ramirez, who seemed as if he were floating on air during the performance. As has become customary, some of the best Berkshire County food and beverages are offered to guests as they leave the theater and head into the Garage for an after-party with the artists. Snacks included offerings from Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Layers of Cakes, SoMa Catering, Chocolate Springs, Wandering Star and others. Cheers to five years! Above, Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims post performance.

Members of the Berkshire Art Association came out to show their support, including Michael Vincent Bushy, a printmaker and bookbinder featured in the art exhibit, new BAA president Danielle Steinmann, Mark Tomasi and art show co-curator Carrie Wright; Ben Evans, a ceramicist featured in the art show, and Jess Fitzgerald Evans.

Eliza Ryan, art show co-curator Rebecca Weinman and Sharae Gadson; Stephan Lanphear, a tattoo artist whose work is featured in the art exhibit, with Jenna Lanphear and their children.

Maria and Philip Kampe, seated, pose with friend Keith Emerling; Jes Cote and leatherwork artist Michael King.

Amrita Lash and Karl Mullen perform as Long Journey.

The Funk Box Dance Studio dancer Joshua McHugh and creator Andres Ramirez; Trustees of Reservations members at the event included Lauren LeBlanc, Danielle Steinmann, Michael Rodriguez and RI’s garden columnist Brian Cruey.

Berkshire County newcomers Leigh Rosenfeld and Peter Long pose with Wendy Rabinowitz in front of her work; Tracey Garlington and musician Andy Wrba.

Brendan Leadbeater and David Ennis of EPoc Design + Architecture; Regina Burgio, Mark Tomasi and Julianne Maxwell.

Ivan Trabka dedicated his solo cello performance to the memory of Steve Meyerowitz; Rural Intelligence co-founder Marilyn Bethany and husband Edward Tivnan looked sharp at the event.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/25/15 at 02:22 PM • Permalink

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Wind-up Fest #1 Attracts An Array Of Artists To Its Cocktail Gala

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. Wind-Up Fest (or Williamstown Film Festival 2.0) had big shoes to fill in a short amount of time this year when, in its 17th year, the fest’s founding artistic director Steve Lawson decided to retire. He handed the reins over to managing director Sandra Thomas and she in turn tapped Paul Sturtz to be its new creative director. All three of these film lovers were on hand Friday, Oct. 16 at Gramercy Bistro to celebrate the festival’s new name and its goal of celebrating all forms of non-fiction. Participants in this year’s festival mingled with Wind-Up board members and fans over cocktails and appetizers. The party moved next door to MASS MoCA for a screening of Very Semi-serious, a look at how New Yorker editor Robert Mankoff chooses which cartoons make it into the magazine each week. A “show and tell” with long-time published cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan and newcomer Liana Finck finished up the evening. Above, producer Robbie Saenz de Viteri with performers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass.

Wind-Up’s managing director Sandra Thomas with Maureen Baran of Adams Community Bank, the film fest’s major sponsor, and Lucy Pavalock; Brendan Baker chats with Penny Lane.

Derek and Kate designed Wind-Up Fest’s new website.; Williamstown town manager Jason Hoch, Wind-Up’s Emily Watts who is the executive director of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, and Jonathan Swartz.

Rich Remsberg, musician Bill Nace and filmmaker Pia Borg; Paul Sturtz, Wind-Up’s creative director, with David Rothenberg and Bruce Eric Kaplan.

Painter and board member Stephen Hannock, Tara Fitzpatrick, Mo Strype and the Fest’s board president Joe Finnegan.

Cozette, William Force and Bonnie Bibas; Donna K. and David Rees.

Jennifer Zoltanski, Shawn Rosenheim and artist Lisa Nilsson; Orion Howard and Molly Kerns.

Jon Courtney, the Fest’s technical director Greg Babush, Nick van der Kolk and Steve Witzig; board member Joan Hunter with Chip and Michelle Chandler.

Journalist Eric Hynes and film director Edward Lawrenson; Pastor Mark Longhurst, John Strachan, board chair of Images Cinema, Wind-Up board member Kristen Johanson and Janie Strachan.

Bruce Eric Kaplan and Liana Finck talk comics and film; Polina Malikin and Elise Pepple have a semi-serious discussion.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/19/15 at 11:30 AM • Permalink

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It Was SRO For Alana Chernila’s ‘The Homemade Kitchen’

Rachel Louchen reports from West Stockbridge. Due to her Saturday appearances at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market, cheesemaking classes and walks around town with her children, Alana Chernila is a familiar presence in the Berkshires. Which accounts for the large turnout on Oct. 18 for the launch party of her second book, The Homemade Kitchen at Six Depot Roastery & Cafe. The cafe’s large back gallery could hardly hold the turnout (despite the unseasonable snow flurries, guests were waiting outside for their book), which included toddlers, longtime friends and many fans, some of whom drove a very long way to meet the woman who helped them learn to love cooking. The event was much like Alana herself—very Berkshires minded—featuring a spread prepared with local produce. Each book purchased came with a tote bag hand-lettered by artist Sascha Woolfe with one of the book’s mantras: “Do Your Best And Then Let It Go.” This helpful advice, along with Alana’s new book, will no doubt inspire a lot more people to love their kitchen.

Barbara Greenburg, a friend of Alana’s, with Enid Moore and their copies of the book; Sandisfield residents Anna Konopatskaya and Aaron Dennis.

Great Barrington Selectman Ed Abrahams and Caroline Tufts; Vittoria Buerschaper, here with Will Fuqua, became a fan of Alana’s first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, when she was living in Seattle. Now the Grafton, Mass. resident took the opportunity of living in the same state as Alana to get her book signed in person.

Carrie Bachman, who worked on publicity for the book, with Six Depot proprietor Lisa Landry; Lynn Davis with her daughter, Christina Davis, founder of From Scratch Club, a food blog based out of the Capitol Region.

The line was out the door to purchase The Homemade Kitchen and to have it signed by the author.

Woven Roots Farm owner Jen Salinetti, who supplied vegetables for the party, here with Alana’s husband, Joey Chernila; Great Barrington’s Emily Kasten, a college friend of Alana’s, and Stephanie Bradford of Stockbridge in line for their books.

Ashley Rice and Marilyn Rice of Williamstown; Mary Reilly, publisher/editor of Edible Pioneery Valley, and Jeffrey Blaugrund.

Sascha Wolfe and Alana’s sister, Maia Vlcek, manned the “Use Your Scraps” table, inspired by a chapter in the book which utilizes otherwise useless leftover food; Alana meeting and greeting one of her many guests.

Joanne Bell, Douglas McTavish and Liz Goodman, Pastor of the Monterey Church.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 10/18/15 at 06:44 PM • Permalink

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The Nutrition Center Launches Berkshire Food Web

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Many of us in the Rural Intelligence region have quick access to whatever we want relating to food. But for those who don’t, The Nutrition Center, based in Great Barrington, created the Berkshire Food Web (BFW). On Wednesday, Oct. 14, supporters of The Nutrition Center — many of them nutrition and health professionals — gathered at Hotel on North for Berkshire Food Web’s launch party. The BFW functions as a food access directory with an interactive map and listings for Berkshire County, making it easier for social service workers and county residents in need to find nearby services such as pantries, community meal sites, farmers’ markets, community gardens and more. Shown above, the special guest of the evening Leanne Brown, author of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, with Peter Stanton, director of The Nutrition Center.

Maura Benton of The Nutrition Center, and Caitlyn Parry, who is an intern there; Josh Levin, president of Lymphedivas, Andreas Schmid and Lindsay Schmid, The Nutrition Center’s board chair and director of marketing for the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.

Margaret Keller, executive director of Community Access to the Arts, and Tonya DeFriest.

Katie Mead, a health educator at Berkshire Health Systems, with Lisa Fischer and Maggie Ward, both of The UltraWellness Center; Jeff Benton and Derek Smallwood.

Berkshire Grown staffers came out in full force: Barbara Zheutlin, the executive director, Kate Bailey, program coordinator, Lee Venolia, board member, her husband Jay Thoman, a chemistry professor at Williams College, and Jamie Paxton, outreach coordinator; Hillery Maxymillian and Tammy Valicenti.

Maria Nation and Roberto Flores of Good Dogs Farm, Lindsey Schmid and Morgan Hartman, owner of Black Queen Angus Farm.

Some of the services offered by The Nutrition Center; Tonya DeFreist, Jeff Konowitch and Cindy Geyer, medical director at Canyon Ranch.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/17/15 at 09:43 PM • Permalink

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Gunn Historical Museum Fundraiser Kicks Off Antiques Show

Jacque Lynn Schiller reports from Washington Depot. A low, rolling fog created a dramatic walk up to the entrance of The Washington Connecticut Antiques & Design Show preview party held on the evening of Oct. 9. Inside, the Washington Primary School gym was transformed into an art lover’s dream, with almost 20 dealers creating warm and inviting “rooms” showcasing an exceptional array of antiques, jewelry and collectibles. The annual weekend-long event is one of the most important fundraisers of the year for the Gunn Memorial Library & Museum, and its supporters were reciprocally acknowledged with treats to the eyes and ears. As delectable cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were passed, The David Poirier Quartet provided a jazzy soundtrack for perusing, whether for purchase or inspiration. According to committee member Wilson Henley, a Gunn Memorial trustee and antiques dealer, “We want to loosen up the idea of ‘antiques show’ and make it less intimidating for buyers who may be on the lookout for items that are stylish yet practical.” Mission accomplished. Above, a few of the women of Washington: Susan Markert, Jillian Kauff and Betty Daniels.

Kathryn McCarver Root of KMR Arts and architect Scott Weaver; Lester Edelman and Margaret Edelman.

Jeff Coploff, Chuck Holton and Krista Adams take a break from shopping.

Joseph Stannard of Joseph Stannard Design; Julie Bailey looks at an Eric Sloane painting in Roberto Freitas Antiques & Decorative Arts booth.

Akin Kolawole of Embellish Antiques, which specializes in antique lighting; Alex Craft of RT Facts in Kent.

View of the booth set up by Cottage+Camp.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/13/15 at 05:07 PM • Permalink

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Hudson Home On The Move

Marilyn Bethany reports from Hudson. To celebrate the completion of larger, even more glamorous quarters, Richard Bodin and Gregory Feller, the owners of Hudson Home, invited friends, customers and design clients to take a peek and raise a glass on Sunday evening, Oct. 11, at their new showroom at 366 Warren Street, on the northwest corner of 4th. “When we first saw this space, it was a poorly lit, unheated, concrete shell,” recalls Bodin of the former printing plant. Now the ground floor is a light-filled retail showroom with a soaring 24-foot ceiling that features the team’s savvy selection of furniture, lighting, accessories and art. Up a flight of stairs on the mezzanine, there’s an extensive to-the-trade design library, as well as spaces for interior designers to work. “As designers ourselves, we have great empathy for the challenges professionals face,” says Feller. “We’re here to make their lives easier, too.” Above, co-owner Gregory Feller with the new location’s premier featured artist Liam Dean.

​Roy Ardizzone, owner of the new b&b Hudson Merchant House with his next-door neighbor on Hudson’s historic Front Street, Kristan Keck of Wm. Farmer and Sons, a boarding house, coffee shop, bar and restaurant; Leslie Anders with Sylvia Kaminsky of Sylvia Kaminsky Interiors.

Hudson Home co-owner Richard Bodin with Halldora Ingthors; Decorative artist Eric Filban with designers Shephen Shadley and Richard Gillette.

Iyla Shornstein, Jethro Nisson and Emily Johnston; Connor Cabrera with his mother Halldora Ingthors and sister Lilla Cabrera.

Landscape designer Jeffrey Perry with Tessy Keller, owner of TK Home & Garden; Win Jackson and Paul Trantanella.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/12/15 at 09:04 PM • Permalink

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Hamish Linklater Returns To Shakespeare & Company As Richard III

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. RI residents are no strangers to having “big name” neighbors and visitors in their midst, and big name actor Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine; The Crazy Ones), is no stranger to the RI region. His mother, Kristin Linklater, is a founding member of Shakespeare & Company and Hamish made his theatrical debut on stage with the Company. On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10, the accomplished stage and screen actor returned to perform as Richard III in a benefit reading at the Tina Packer Playhouse. Hamish wowed the audience with an arresting performance in the title role, along with real-life partner and Tony nominee Lily Rabe (American Horror Story; The Merchant of Venice) as Queen Elizabeth. Tina Packer, Annette Miller and other special guests rounded out the cast, all directed by Jonathan Croy. Proceeds from the event, which included a post-show champagne toast and a VIP reception with the cast, will provide support for Shakespeare & Company’s performance, training and education programs.

Trustee Carole Hyatt with founding artistic director Tina Packer, Robert Schechter and Silvia Schechter; Lily Rabe, trustee Claudia Perles and Hamish Linklater.

Actress Diane Prusha, costume director Govane Lohbauer, assistant director of education Jenna Ware and actor Wolf Coleman; Lauren Lasorda and actor Dylan Wittrock.

S&Co. actors Josh McCabe, Miles Harrison, Peter Anderson, Rory Hammond, Caroline Calkins and David Joseph.

Molly Clancy, S&Co.‘s publicity and playbill director, with actor Enrico Spada; Jeff and Roberta Friedman with Kevin G. Coleman, the Company’s director of education.

Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe with co-artistic directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy.

Nicole Haagensen, Jenna O’Connell and Jessica Murphy; Dennis Krausnick, director of training, with actor Brian Morey and his mother, Marilyn Morey.

Actors Jennie Jadow and Dylan Wittrock; Claudia Perles and Van Shields.

Hamish addresses the reception crowd, sharing memories of his childhood at Shakespeare & Company.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/12/15 at 11:25 AM • Permalink

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The Mahaiwe Celebrates A Double-Digit Anniversary

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. After a three-year restoration, The Mahaiwe Theater’s second act began in 2005 when it reopened as The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, marking a decade of successful arts programming and outreach to the community. On Sunday, Oct. 11, supporters of the meticulously renovated theater celebrated its 10th season with a gala dinner in the Mahaiwe tent catered by Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough, Mass. The honorees of this landmark year were Felda and Dena Hardymon, who have been staunch supporters of The Mahaiwe since the early years of its renaissance. Following the dinner, guests left the tent and entered the theater for a concert by the stellar Tony, Academy and Grammy-award winning Audra McDonald, followed by an exclusive meet-the-artist reception. Above, Maggie Buchwald, chair of the board of directors; Lola Jaffe, founding visionary of the new theater; Don Buchwald, Dena Hardymon and Felda Hardymon.

Gary Odle, Jean Rodden, Colleen Simpson and Marilyn Hayward; Sandy Newman, founder of Community Access to the Arts (CATA) and Beryl Jolly, The Mahaiwe’s executive director.

Beryl Jolly with the evening’s special guest star, Audra McDonald.

Pantry Road blogger Maryanne Muller, a former chef who runs a cookbook salon from her home in Boston, and Michael Krugman; Wedding gown designer Michelle Roth and Peter Roth.

Barry Shapiro, president of the Sohn Foundation,Marjorie Shapiro, Cindy Atkins and Carl Atkins.

Stanley Berger, Allison Wintner, Jeff Wintner and Lorraine Berger; Gerry Alpert, Rob Pollock, A.T. Nguyen, Ronnie Cohen, Larry Cohen and Hank Alpert.

Michael Miller and actress Annette Miller.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/12/15 at 10:43 AM • Permalink

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People, Program And Place: Berkshire Country Day School Reception At The Mount

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Berkshire Country Day School in Lenox, Mass., which boasts an enrollment of 140 students in preschool through grade 9, honored its most generous supporters with a reception on Sunday, Oct. 4 at The Mount, where they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres by Kate Baldwin Food and tours of Edith Wharton’s former summer home. Over recent years, the sponsors, who include parents of current and former students as well as BCD alums, have helped the school implement new arts initiatives, balance its budget and replace its roof. Future gifts will go toward hiring and retaining teaching talent and building a new library and learning commons. Above, Paul Lindenmaier, Head of School, with Claire Naylor-Pollart, former board president.

Paige Smith Orloff, current BCD board president, with board member Stephen Boyd and realtor Nancy Kalodner; Board member and BCD alum Ted Glockner and Jen Glockner.

BCD parents Courtney Hunt and Joanne DelCarpine, who is the school’s development office coordinator; Jessica Provenz, the school’s development and campaign associate, with BCD parents Bridget and Dean Wotkiewich.

Writer Paige Smith Orloff with husband John Orloff and Paul Lindenmaier; BCD parents Natalie Johnsonius Neubert and David Neubert.

BCD parents Eric Korenman and Marianna Poutasse; board treasurer Christopher Ferrone with new board member and alum Scott Schiff and Stephen Boyd.

Pia Norton, the school’s director of admissions, with Arthur Cape; Paul Lindenmaier speaks to supporters about the school’s plans for the future.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/05/15 at 02:18 PM • Permalink

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LitNet Bridges The Learning Gap

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Perri Petricca is used to building bridges: figuratively in his community and at home, and literally at work where his company, Petricca Industries, is helping to build New York’s new Tappan Zee Bridge. The CEO has expanded the company his grandfather Basilio, an immigrant from Italy, began in 1936. Petricca Industries, located in Pittsfield, Mass., now employs over 500 local workers. At the Literacy Network of South Berkshires’ 2015 Gala on Saturday, Oct. 3, Petricca was honored with the organization’s “Founder of America Award.” The evening began on the grounds of the renovated Eastover Resort with cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres and a silent auction of local goods and services and exotic vacations. Guests moved indoors for a dinner catered by chef Peter Platt of New Marlborough’s Old Inn on the Green and the presentation of the award. A short film honoring Petricca and explaining the importance of the literacy and education tutoring done by LitNet volunteers featured some of the non-profit’s current students and left hardly a dry eye in the room. Basilio’s struggles and successes echoed the tales of current immigrants to the Berkshires and Petricca’s heartfelt words brought the organization’s mission full circle. The well-attended evening concluded with dessert, dancing and a roaring outdoor firepit. Above, Massachusetts State Senator Ben Downing with guests of honor Perri and Michelle Petricca.

John Bissell and Melissa Bissell with Ann Deely; LitNet’s tutor coordinator Mary Spina with board member Eric Federer and Wendy Federer of Lenox.

Kathy Szpak and LitNet’s executive director Laura Qualliotine; Author Ty Allan Jackson, LitNet board president Lucy Prashker and board member Bill Dunlaevy.

The evening’s short film was created by Leo Mahoney, editor Evan Estern of Undermountain Films, producer John Whalan, Kate Gleason and Undermountain FIlms director Dawn Hathaway.

Arianna Walden, Adam Petricca, Nick Vlahopoulos and Josh Burgos; Norman Rockwell Museum director Laurie Norton Moffatt and Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount.

Chefs Lydia Victorin and George Richardson, who is also a LitNet student; Steve Peters and Patricia Peters with Richard Taylor, a board member emeritus.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/05/15 at 11:26 AM • Permalink

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Half Moon at CIA: A Gala Spiced With Songs By Sutton Foster

Lisa Green reports from Hyde Park. The gala benefit for the Half Moon Theatre at The Culinary Institute of America radiated nothing but star quality on Saturday, Sept. 26. You had the Hudson Valley-based professional theater company supported by spirited businesses and individuals, the stellar spread of hors d’oeuvres prepared by CIA chefs, and of course the shining performance by the effervescent Sutton Foster, toast of Broadway and now TV. Before Foster came on stage, members of the theater company sang their thanks to primary sponsors in parody lyrics that were as clever — and performed as deftly — as anything you’d see on 42nd Street. After they and Foster wowed the crowd, guests retreated to the dining area of the Marriott Pavilion to dig into the dessert tables, meet the evening’s entertainers and find out who won the silent auction items, one of which was lunch for two with Sarah Jessica Parker (opening bid: $5,000). Above, board members Ann Gifford and Amy Olson, who is also a member of the company. Read RI’s related story on the Half Moon Theatre and CIA subscription series.

Dan Katz, whose wife is executive director of Half Moon Theatre, and Diane Schnoor, public relations assistant; Dad and daughter: Elton Renfroe with Executive Director Molly Renfroe Katz.

Heidi Desiena and Kristin Slifstein enjoy cocktails prior to the show.

Star bright: Sutton Foster at the post-concert reception; Lydia Higginson, deputy director of Dutchess County Tourism and Ron Hicks.

Architect Michael Sloan and Benjamin Krevolin of alumni affairs at Vassar, both of whom are Half Moon board members; Niki Quinn and Robert Levine.

Andrew Stein, Arpine Stein and Dr. Dan Katz.

The delegation from the Poughkeepsie Journal, a major sponsor: Michael Gallo Farrell, Barbara Gallo Farrell, Jeff Reis and Chrstine Hamill; Cyndie Alcius and Andrew Meade, who founded the Vassar Haiti Project.

Claudia DeCapua and Lee Dellamonica of LCS Companies; Ted Wolf, Carole Wolf, executive director of MSL Arts, and Nancy Belok, a board member.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/27/15 at 05:51 PM • Permalink

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Amongst ‘Friends’ And Neighbors: Spencertown Kitchen Tour Preview Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Spencertown. If you want something done, do it yourself. If you want something done right, have the Friends of Historic St. Peter’s Church do it. From the setting — the finely decorated home and serene back lawn belonging to Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear, to the hors d’oeuvres — a long table filled with delicious and creative offerings made by the Friends themselves, the kickoff party for the Spencertown Kitchen Tour on Friday, Sept. 25 went off without a hitch. The evening’s event, as well as the tour on the following day, benefit the non-sectarian, non-profit organization which uses the funds to rehabilitate and maintain the beloved downtown church. Originally constructed in 1771, the building is now listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Host Jack Shear, above left, was kind enough to lead guests on a tour of his home, where they marveled at art by Ellsworth and others and, naturally, marveled at the modern kitchen. 

Michael Rebic, Jane Magee and Paul Bernstein; Barbara Willner and Nansi Friedman.

Barbara Smith and Edward Wachsberger; kitchen tour committee member Mitzi Lobdell with Denise Dunne and Lynne O’Connell, whose homes were featured on the tour.

Artist Percy Fortini-Wright with Janet McKean and ceramicist Mary Anne Davis; Recent Columbia County transplants Kenny and Linda Kaplan.

Michele Steckler, Betsy Howard and Joanne Murphy; a small sample of the many creative appetizers supplied by the Friends.

The party tent viewed from the home’s back patio.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/26/15 at 03:41 PM • Permalink

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It’s The Cream Of The Crop For Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. If a farmer is supposed to go to bed early and rise with the sun, no one told the ones that came out in droves on Monday night, September 21 for the annual Berkshire Grown Harvest Supper at Ski Butternut. Of course, if they were to stay up for any event, it would be one by Berkshire Grown, which has supported the local food movement for nearly 20 years, making the organization synonymous with locavore in our region. In addition to networking and advocating for farmers and promoting locally grown food, Berkshire Grown is also famous for its annual Harvest Supper, which brought in 31 diverse food vendors for its 17th year. It was truly the who’s who of Berkshire County cuisine, featuring known and loved establishments like Allium and Martin’s Restaurant, daily standbys Guido’s and Berkshire Co-Op and new kid on the block Eat On North. Locally produced beverages were represented by Big Elm Brewery and Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Above, Berkshire Grown’s executive director Barbara Zheutlin, board president Allison Rachele Bayles, Barbara’s husband, realtor Jonathan Hankin and Hester Velmans, a board member.

Farmer Jan Johnson of Mill River Farm with enthusiastic tasters Wendy Linscott and Enid Michaelman.

Great Barrington residents Miles Weber and Mika Mintz; Six Depot Roastery and Cafe proprietors Flavio Lichtenthal and Lisa Landry kept the java coming.

Robin Ban, owner of Seeds in Great Barrington with Eva Bartschi, visiting from Switzerland; Glenn Geiger, who designed Berkshire Grown’s website, with his wife Nicole Geiger.

Farm Girl Farm(ers) Natanah Rothberg and Hannah Karcheski flank Equinox Farm’s Ted Dobson.

Cafe Adam’s Adam Zieminski (a Berkshire Grown board member) and Colleen Fernback got the jump on autumn by serving chocolate-dipped apples; Lucy and Brian Rollins of Peace Valley Farm in Williamstown.

Maddie Elling of Hosta Hill with Kelly Perkins, the daughter of a farmer; Malcolm and Martha Flick came out to support their neighbor, Barbara Zheutlin, here with violin maker Francis Morris.

Farmer Jessica Camp and Steph Moran of MX Morningstar Farm in Copake.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/21/15 at 08:22 PM • Permalink

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From Dusk To Dark: OMI Lights Up The Night

Amy Krzanik reports from Ghent. On Saturday evening, September 19, while it was still light out, partygoers milled about outside the barn at Omi International Arts Center, enjoying appetizers that included local cheeses, wood-fired pork belly and sweet and sour kraut. They sipped a fitting autumn cocktail made with Harvest Spirits’ Cornelius Applejack and The Hudson Standard’s shrubs and bitters, and posed with feather boas, plastic dinosaurs and inflatable ice cream cones as Chatham photographer Deirdre Malfatto snapped away. The tapping of fingers on old-fashioned typewriters filled the air as four Writers Omi alumni offered on-the-spot custom poetry to guests. As evening descended, the crowd moved inside to enjoy a locally sourced dinner from The Flammerie, punctuated by a live auction of exciting offerings such as one of William Wegman’s famous Weimaraner photographs, and trips to France and Montreal. Upstairs, dessert and art merged into one in Perilous Plain, where mini sweets hung from an on-site installation. This year’s Light Into Night fundraiser honored Frances Schools [in photo, at right, with Omi Director Ruth Adams] and the memory of her late husband, Henry Schools, for their role in starting the very first Art Omi residency.

Ceramicists Lauren Mundy, Mary Anne Davis and Sara Henry, who is currently an artist-in-residence at Darrow School in New Lebanon, NY; Omi trustee Matthew Doering and Craig Poplar.

Jen Geddes and Bill Geddes; Mark Schmidt, Rachel Oliver and Miriam Phalen.

Sarah Heming, Susan Michie, and Omi board members Isabelle Bosquet-Morra and Terri Gumula; Donald Jones and Emma Murphy.

Carte Blanche dancers with paper crowns (which light up for nighttime performances) meander through the crowd.

Kaya Weidman of Kite’s Nest with the evening’s auctioneer, Deb Baldwin; Writers Omi alum Chris Hosea creates custom poetry for a guest.

Music Omi alumni Helen Yee, Stephanie Griffin, James Brandon Lewis and Michael Evans perform in the silo; Host committee member Peter Coan, Amanda Carmody and Chris Carmody.

Peter Orrantia and Jeanne Hardy, longtime supporters whose children were participating in the Light Into Night kids’ party; Perilous Plain, an interactive dessert installation made by chef Turi Scalora and Art Omi artists residency director Claudia Cannizzaro.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/21/15 at 01:16 PM • Permalink

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Brotherly Love: The Stanton Home Pig Roast Returns

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. “The Brothers Are Back” announced advertising for the Stanton Brothers Pig Roast, held this past Sunday, September 13 at Stanton Home. The sold out fundraising dinner proved that the community was more than ready for their return, as guests flocked to the farm for grilled pork, chicken and vegetables, provided by Sean Stanton and North Plain Farm, and prepared on site by Jeremy Stanton and Fire Roasted Catering. The crowd enjoyed music by The Lucky 5, a consistent crowd pleaser, as they bid on silent auction items from local shops, restaurants and cultural attractions. Proceeds benefit the aforementioned Stanton Home, a working farm established in 1986 by Andrea and Nick Stanton [shown above], as a residential program for people with disabilities. Now run by their son, Peter, the site offers daily therapeutic and skill-building activities through participation in its weavery (where residents create scarves, baby bibs, blankets and other items) and its garden and greenhouse (where they grow flowers, vegetables and herbs for use and sale). Residents also participate in day programs at organizations throughout the Berkshires such as Blue Rider Stables, The Guthrie Center, Berkshire South Regional Community Center and The Kilpatrick Athletic Center at Simon’s Rock.

Sean Stanton of North Plain Farm and daughter Lola; Stanton Home’s executive director Peter Stanton and its director of development Molly Boxer.

Victoria Dinardo and Kelly Vickery model Dinardo’s hats, one of which was in the silent auction, with Anne Fredericks; Stanton Home board members Maggie Strohmier and Rob Hayden.

Jeremy Stanton, of Fire Roasted Catering, carves the pig.

Nancy and Rick Richardson with Eileen Rominger and Elizabeth Hamilton; Natalia Bystrianyk, Stanton Home’s office coordinator, with Pam Macy-Williamson, the site’s case manager.

The site’s interns and residents pose for a photo outside the tent.

Matt Ragan, Pip Deely and Marc Fasteau; board members Spring Burke and Maggie Strohmier with Molly Boxer.

Volunteers Chieko Maruyma and Lea Kaemper; guests mingle, dine and bid on silent auction items.

Not just a pig roast—chickens were also cooked with a roaring fire.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/14/15 at 01:28 PM • Permalink

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Aloha, Herman Melville

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. A little rain (okay, a lot) couldn’t keep a good luau down on Saturday, September 12 at the Berkshire Historical Society at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. A major fundraiser for Arrowhead, the party’s theme was inspired by Melville’s time in the South Pacific, and included a pig roast, live music and Hawaiian leis. As the rain came down, the activities were transferred indoors to the big barn behind the main house, and a close-knit group of longtime supporters, historians and even a Melville relative enjoyed a delicious authentic spread accompanied by the music from locals Chris and Woody. At left, event coordinator and director of communications and community relations Peter Bergman with Sudy Belle.

Louise Cianflone with her husband, Arrowhead board member Ralph Cianflone and their friends Dixie Passardi and Floyd Passardi.

Berkshire Historical Society board president Charles Flint, Arrowhead tour guide Richard Matturro and artist Mary Trevor Thomas; Arrowhead bookkeeper Diane Cote and farm manager Kristen Laney.

Arrowhead member Robert Bruyr with Marilyn Manning, who has been a volunteer for 30 years; Herman Melville’s great-great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth Doss visited from Austin with friend Bridget Mounton.

Arrowhead executive director Will Garrison, Tom Whalen and Cheryl Whalen, director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which organizes volunteers for Arrowhead.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/12/15 at 10:39 PM • Permalink

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Celebrate the Berkshires: A Testament To Innovation

Lisa Green reports from Dalton. Curious to explore the in-progress Stationery Factory and eager to be representative boosters for the Berkshires economy, more than 250 people gathered for the 5th annual Berkshire Trendsetter Awards Ceremony on Thursday, September 10. Presented by 1Berkshire, the event honored seven individuals and businesses with Berkshire Trendsetter Awards to showcase their achievements and ongoing commitment to strengthen the Berkshire economy. Prior to the presentation, guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided by Dalton purveyors. Closing out the evening, Hotel on North was honored with the Putting the Berkshires On the Map designation for the substantial contribution it is making to the overall image of the Berkshires. Above, hotel owners David and Laurie Tierney accept the award from Ruth Blodgett of Berkshire Health Systems — the 2014 honoree — and Don Dubendorf, 1Berkshire Chair. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

David Irwin of Adelson & Co. and Hilary Greene of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, a finalist for the Non-Profit Impact award; Diana McCarthy-Bercury from Eversource Energy and Kristina Turner from Side by Side Assistance.

From the Progressive Palette, a finalist for Newcomer of the Year, Sarah Holland, Kayley Giorgini and Kira Guidon.

This trio at one time worked together: Paul Gavrity from Berkshire County Arc, Rich Weisenflue from Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR), and Laura Baran from Berkshire County Kids Place; Mig Girard and Nathan Girard, a finalist for the Entrpreneur/Visionary of the Year for restoring a former church hall to create the Adams Ale House.

Anne Stout from Toole Insurance with 1Berkshire board members Linda Gaspardi-Febles from Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance and MountainOne’s Eva Sheridan; A force from BFAIR.

Ajayi Jackson, Ty Allan Jackson, a finalist for Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year for his literacy-promoting Big Head Books, with Alice Trumball and Danielle Trumball, finalists for the Non-Profit Impact award for Moments House.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/11/15 at 11:09 AM • Permalink

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The Businessman Wore A Bow Tie

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. The who’s who of Berkshire County business people came out in droves to support one of their own on Wednesday, September 9 at Chesterwood. George T. Smith, founder and partner of Smith, Watson & Company, was named 2015 Business Person of the Year by the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at its annual cocktail party and award ceremony. Besides founding the accounting and advisory firm in 1973, Smith is well known in the community for his support of numerous local non-profits and organizations such as The Literacy Network of South Berkshire, Fairview Hospital, the MCLA Foundation and the Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad. He is possibly even better known for his affinity for bow ties, which guests wore in his honor. Above, Chamber board president Scott Rote, Chamber board vice president Pat Seward and man of the hour, George T. Smith.

Southern Berkshire Chamber executive director Betsy Andrus with Sophia Romèu, the business development manager at Berkshire International Film Festival; Rosina Rand of Evergreen Philanthropy with George Smith’s daughter-in-law Jennifer Smith.

Pravin Mahida, who runs the Great Barrington Days Inn, with David Carpenter of Mahida Hospitality, LLC and Mike Stoddard, senior vice president and CFO of Greylock Federal Credit Union; Jiminy Peak’s Brian Fairbank, Christie Moran and CEO Tyler Fairbank.

Pat Seward, Chamber board member, with Community Access To The Arts development and marketing director Liana Toscanini and Jessie Schoonmaker, senior vice president of retail banking at Lee Bank.

Chamber board president Scott Rote of Wheeler & Taylor Insurance, his wife Angel Rote and Rick Cantele, president and CEO of Salisbury Bank and Trust Company; Barnbrook Realty owner Mary White and Fran Premerlani, mortgage origination officer at Pittsfield Cooperative Bank.

Smith, Watson & Company accountant Ariana Hyland, business development manager at United Personnel Meghann Crandall and Bethany R. Perry of Berkshire Bank; Fred Harder and Gary Peck, both representing Catamount Ski Area.

George Smith with his photogenic family, including children and grandchildren, in their bow ties.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/10/15 at 03:10 PM • Permalink

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At Spencertown Academy Festival, It’s All About The Books

Lisa Green reports from Spencertown. There were hors d’oeuvres and wine under the tent to commence the preview party for Spencertown Academy of Arts Center’s Festival of Books. But let’s be honest: everyone was there for first crack at the book sale. The Labor Day weekend festival is more than sale alone, however. The display of books just behind the wine bottles foretold of authors scheduled to speak in the following days, including Rural Intelligence familiars Simon Winchester and Ruth Reichl as well as historian and Williamstown resident Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies and Talia Carner, author of Hotel Moscow. Now completely volunteer driven, the Academy draws on the tireless efforts of volunteers to produce the festival, and proceeds from the event will go to fund the many art activities that the Academy hosts every year. [Above, Jill Kalotay and David Highfill, festival co-chairs, flank Nick Van Alstine, president of the board of directors.]

Polly Dufresne and Wayne Greene, who curate, manage and set up the specialty books room; Members Susan Grybas, Jane Hassler and Judith Choate, who is also a board member of the Spencertown Academy.

Chet Stark and Roberta Reynes of Spencertown; Handling cashier duties were Jo-Anne Billotti, treasurer of the Academy, Barbara Deisroth and Joy Weiner.

Gary Igleburger and Beverly Igleburger enjoy a glass of wine before the doors open for the book sale.

Film historian Peter Biskind, Tobby Cassuto and Elizabeth Hess; Lynda Cury and Jill Berman of Ghent.

Bostonians Alden Ward and Sergei Chirkov; What it’s all about.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/05/15 at 09:42 AM • Permalink

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Jacob’s Pillow Festival Finale Celebrates Ella

Amy Krzanik reports from Becket. Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival closed out its 83rd season on Saturday, August 29, but Ella Baff took her very final bow as the Festival’s executive and artistic director during the evening’s finale. After 17 incredibly successful and visionary years at the helm of the Pillow, Baff soon will be joining the Mellon Foundation in New York City. The evening began in the Ted Shawn Theatre with a performance by Martha Graham Dance Company, which is celebrating its 90th year, or the young company MADBOOTS DANCE in the Doris Duke Theatre. Prior to the performances, Baff was presented with a citation from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and her very own Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award – an honor she has bestowed upon choreographers at Pillow season openers throughout her tenure. Afterwards, The Pillow Café was again transformed into “The Chocolate & Coffee Barre,” with lush dessert spreads from Chocolate Springs, Becket Bakehouse, Haven and The Dream Away Lodge (okay, there were some vegetables there, too), along with a coffee selection from No. Six Depot. Down in the Bakalar Studio, DJ BFG took his place as the perennial mix master as dancers, both professional and amateur, took to the dance floor in honor of Ella.

Ira Lapidus, chairman of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and his wife, Fran Lapidus; Ilter Ibrahimof, Barbara Paley, RI’s Mark Williams, who is the Pillow’s board treasurer, and Liz Williams.

Terri Gutierrez and Edward Wright; Sue and Paul Epstein of New York City and Monterey, Mass.

Alex Reczkowski, Enrico Spada of Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, and Jeff Roudabush; Shela Hidalgo and Gary Levante.

Martha Graham dancers: Dani Stinger, Anne O’Donnell, Konstantina Xintara, Xin Ying and Leslie Williams.

Theresa Speziale and Steven Amash; Nel Shelby, a video producer at the Pillow, with Ellen Dennis, festival producer at the Onassis Foundation.

Tori Shea, Conor Jones, Cary Jones and James Griffiths; Photographer Ogden Gigli and Katherine DiPierro.

Sandra Burton and Jonathan Secor; Hilary Somers Deely and Phil Deely.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/31/15 at 03:51 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Medical Center’s Healing Gardens

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. There are many characteristics that make The Berkshire Medical Center’s Cancer Center at Hillcrest Campus stand out from other cancer care facilities, from its peaceful setting and private views of Lake Onota to its architecturally unique building to the high caliber of staff who provide care to their patients. On Saturday, August 29, the third annual Garden Party Beer and Wine Tasting was held on the huge lawn of the facility amongst extensive gardens, mountain views and walking trails which provide patients with a serene experience while they receive treatment. The event was a fundraiser for services such as yoga, Reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture and many more that have been shown to improve symptoms in cancer patients but are not covered by insurance. Money raised will also go towards lymphedema sleeves, wigs and cosmetology services. Featuring food from local restaurants, a huge selection of wine and craft beer, a silent auction and tours of the Cancer Center, the event also honored “Berkshire Heroes,” people who have made a positive impact on patients being treated for cancer, of which there were many in attendance. Above, Dr. Harvey Zimbler and Dave Phelps, President and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems.

Laurie Lamarre, vice president of the revenue cycle with Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly, event sponsor John Kelly and critical care nurse Mary Richardson.

Richmond residents Mary and Richard Proskin; Vickie Hott, Hillery Maxymillian and Neal Maxymillian.

Dr. Trevor Bayliss with his wife, Amanda Bayliss; BHS Director of Operations Aaron Crow and Administrative Director Susan Duncan.

Michael Wynn, Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at Berkshire Community College Christina Barrett and Arthur Milano, vice president of human resources at BHS.

Chief of the BMC Division of Radiation Oncology Dr. Wade Gebara with wife, Pilar Gebara; BMC Medical Assistant Katrina Croteau and Kailynn Lanphear.

Ann Marie DeStephanpo and Kevin St.Marie, both Hematology Oncology consultants at Celgene; Reiki healers Isabell Livingston and Shannon Iverson.

Cancer survivor Linda Roberto, Dr. Parvis Sadighi, Kay Sadighi and Medical Technician Cheryl Campoli.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/29/15 at 08:21 PM • Permalink

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Hats Off To The 25th Anniversary Of The Bidwell House

Barbara Palmer reports from Monterey. Spectacular hats were part of the fun at the celebration and fundraising party for the 1700s Bidwell House Museum in Monterey on Saturday, August 15. More than 250 guests enjoyed the beautiful view of the Southern Berkshires from the party tent in the “Stone House” field, listening to the Easy Ridin’ Papas and tasting the fabulous creations of chef Kate Baldwin. The party honored the legacy of Joyce and Lew Scheffey and raised nearly $40,000 for the museum’s operating funds. Actor and part-time Monterey resident Marshall Messer, above left with Playwright Marsha Norman and Designer Michael Keith, served as auctioneer.

Honoree Joyce Scheffey; Kathleen Grasz and Gail Natoli.

Host Mark Sena with Cathy Deely; Rob Hoogs, president of the Bidwell Board of Directors with Jill Cancellieri, director of philanthropic services at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Diane Austin, vice president of student affairs at Lasell College, sporting a fabulous hat; Jane and Martin Schwartz.

Susan Popper, Pastor Liz Goodman of the Monterey Church, Dr. Jesse Goodman, Marc Roberts and Malinka Jackson.

Lynda and Shannon Mulvey with Mary Paul Yates; Lisa Bell and Ellen Fletcher.

Benefit Committee Members Delight Dodyk, Maggie Barkin and Christine Goldfinger; Elise Abrams and Linda Saul-Sena.

Dr. Justin Wernick, Landscape Designer Karen Shreefter, Nancy Kalodner and Jennifer Hersch; Elise Hartman and Honey Sharp.

Kathryn Roberts, Susan Popper and Peter Murklett of New England Modern; Architect Chris Blair and Doug McTavish.

The hosts; Linda, Aliza, Gabrielle and Mark Sena.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/24/15 at 08:32 PM • Permalink

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‘Panorama’ Makes For A Real Scene At Six Depot

Amy Krzanik reports from West Stockbridge. Every event at No. Six Depot Café draws an enthusiastic crowd, and the opening reception for the art exhibit Panorama on Saturday, August 22 was no different. Guest curators Sue and Phil Knoll and many of the 20 artists featured in the show chatted with gallerists, art lovers and friends over wine and coffee in the café’s gallery space. The Knolls, themselves artists, hand-picked an impressive array of work that includes paintings, works on paper, fiber art and sculpture. The show will be up until October 1 and can be seen during business hours. In photo above, co-curators Sue and Phil Knoll with exhibiting artist Audrey Stone.

Musician Robby Baier, Cynthia Atwood, an artist featured in the show, and artist Carol Gingles; Exhibiting artists Matt Tiernan and Sean Greene.

Artists Danny Goodwin and Deborah Zlotsky; Sarah Horne, whose work can be seen on the wall above-right, Vicky Cooper and Vlada.

Mark Olshansky poses with his abstract needlepoint work; Filmmaker David Grubin and artist Joan Grubin, whose work can be seen currently in the exquisite exhibition at LABspace in Hillsdale, NY.

Artists Ashley Garrett and Brian Wood; Geoffrey Young and Mileta Roe pose in front of his work.

The opening reception drew a crowd. Even a dog stopped by to congratulate the artists.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/23/15 at 12:41 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire South Shines From The Top Of The Bryant Building

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. It’s rare to report from a building high above downtown Great Barrington, but the newly renovated Jane Iredale Headquarters makes it possible. On Friday, August 21, Jane Iredale hosted a fundraising party called Makeup, Martinis & Moustaches to a benefit Berkshire South Regional Community Center at her company’s new headquarters in the Bryant Building on Church Street. The cosmetics company moved into the former school in the spring, after a major renovation and modern revamp by Allegrone Construction. Guests enjoyed tours of the building, specialty cocktails, food from Mezze Catering and makeup demonstrations; male guests were treated to hot shaves by Sims Barber Shop. The first-time event was a departure for Berkshire South, which usually holds fundraisers on site at the Center, but the response for the change of location was positive, as close to 120 guests attended. Many of them were longtime loyal supporters of Berkshire South, some were fans of the makeup company and many others were excited at the opportunity to explore the new building and check out the balcony, which has a front-row seat to the Housatonic River and mountains beyond. Above, consultant Eddie Sporn, therapist Dee Dee Acquisto, Jane Iredale and Berkshire South executive director Jenise Lucey.

Board member Sharon Harrison, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics chief operating officer Bob Montgomery and Caren Mercer.

Ellen House, an executive assistant at Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, with Ann Miller, who is vice president of human resources and administration; As a former teacher and student, respectively, Ruth McCormick and Anne Andrews were excited to see the renovated school-turned-offices.

Berkshire South board member Rita Kasky, Bill Cohn and Paul and Linda Merschdorf, former Berkshire residents visiting from San Francisco; Jane Iredale product training coordinator Christine Savolis and Karen Sayers, community health worker at Berkshire South.

Architect Grigori Fateyev and Jim Culliton of Allegrone Construction worked on the Bryant Building, here with Jim’s wife, musician Mary Verdi.

Omnipresent philanthropist and board member Barbara Manring with husband Roger Manring and Jerry Soechting of the Berkshire Sings program at Berkshire South; financial advisor Matt Chester with Kassi Lai of Allegrone Construction.

Dr. Gordon Josephson and Rita Kasky admire the view from the balcony; Founding member of Berkshire South Joan Kopperl with Cris Raymond, a longtime supporter.

Lucy Prashker, Jennnifer Bianco, Audrey Basbas and Caren Mercer.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/21/15 at 10:21 PM • Permalink

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Hudson Library Supporters Raise Money To Raise The New Roof

Lisa Green reports from Hudson. “Who knew library people could have this much fun?” quipped Bob Rasner, surveying the guests kicking up their heels at a good old-fashioned barn dance. This was shortly after they had proved their commitment to the still-under-construction Hudson Area Library at the Raise the Roof celebration on Saturday, August 15. Eager to get to the food (catered by Cristobal Morales of Memorable Cuisine) and dancing, the guests quickly lifted their paddles at the live auction, raising more than $16,000, proceeds of which will go to computers, chairs and comfy pillow seating for the children’s area of the library. Silent auction items added to the coffer. Then, it was time to gather in the “dancing barn” at the home of Ken Kraus and Anna d’Onofrio for a quick refresher course on square dance basics, and do-si-do to a professional caller and the Kitchen Kaylie Band. [Above, Event co-chair Tessy Keller, who owns TK Home and Garden in Hudson, and Theresa Parsons, co-chair of the Campaign for the Hudson Area Library.]

Bob Rasner and Marie Rasner, owners of Elijah Slocum and The INN at 240 (and who worked on the event); Caroline Jenks, Christine Boeke, silent auction chair and owner of Westcott House B&B, with antiques dealer Tom Swope.

Lubbie Harper III from NYC and Steve Swanson, who lives in Stockport; Jack Callaghan and Lydia Smith.

Gwen Gould, Melanie Mintz and Norman Mintz, and Anna d’Onofrio, an artist.

The directors of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, Lisa Dolan and Jennifer Clark; James Chaplin, a senior at Hudson High School, represented the younger generation that uses the library, with PR pro Betsy Miller.

Grilling the veggies in plain view; Book conservator Jeff Rigby, Allan Chapin, owner of Cafe Le Perche, and Charles Simon.

Anna Rachminov of Stone Bridge Farm, which supplied the hard cider for the evening, Carol Peckham and Michael Grisham.

Whooping it up to the hollerin’ of the caller, Anne Banks.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/16/15 at 12:10 PM • Permalink

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Kent Presents: An Ideas Conference About ‘What Comes Next’

Lisa Green reports from Kent. Being present at a heady assemblage of the most high-powered laureates (Nobel and otherwise) in one setting over the course of one weekend is an extraordinary experience, and for that some 300 attendees had Ben and Donna Rosen to thank. Their vision, to create an ideas festival called Kent Presents, came to fruition August 13-15 on the grounds of Kent School. The nearly 40 sessions covered a spectrum of ideas — on national affairs, science, technology, the arts, health and medicine, humanities and other topics — and involved 72 speakers, panelists and moderators. Who was there? Among them, Henry Kissinger, Mia Farrow, Paul Krugman, Christopher Buckley, Richard Maltby and Soledad O’Brien. The conference kicked off with two plenary sessions, the first featuring former Ambassador William Burns, who was interviewed by David Sanger of The New York Times, followed by another session in which a dozen speakers offered teasers and invitations to their own sessions the next two days. Not only did Kent Presents offer a rare opportunity to explore ideas and meet with an unprecedented group of presenters, the charitable organization will support organizations that will assist low and moderate-income individuals and families in Kent and nearby communities. [Above, Donna Rosen, New Orleans gallerist and trustee of The Whitney Museum, welcomes the attendees, with Ben Rosen, venture capitalist and former chairman of Compaq Computer Corporation. Standing behind him is Frank Delaney, author and broadcaster, who, with great wit and flair, introduced the afternoon’s speakers.]

Painter Nicole Charbonnet from New Orleans, and Jean Vanderbilt; Harold Rosen from California, Deborah Castleman and Arthur Einstein, Jr. from Stuart, Fla.

Francis Naumann, a Marcel Duchamp scholar and art dealer, who was to present “Duchamp and Picasso: Two Men and A Bicyle” during the conference, with Amy Cappellazzo, founder and principal of Art Agency Partners and formerly of Christie’s, who was to participate in “Big Blur: Museums, Galleries, Auction Houses,” and Marie Keller; Ben Rosen and Robert Corman of Manhattan.

Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village, Jenny Williamson, Donna Rosen and Elizabeth Goodyear, all hailing from New Orleans.

Bernadette Murray and Brian Raskovic from Amenia, and MC Roberts and Eric Roberts, who live in Millerton; Jane Klein and Dick Schell, headmaster of Kent School.

From Western Connecticut State University, Jane Gates, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Rob Schlesinger, vice president for institutional advancement; Chuck Klein and Frank Delaney, a Kent resident.

Donald Miller and Muffy Miller from Palm Beach flank James Barron and Jeannette Barron of South Kent.

Litchfield resident Tim Walch, AnnDickinson, Ryan Phelan, Richard Purington and Stewart Brand, publisher of the original Whole Earth Catalog, who was to speak on “Demystifying Energy;” The post-plenary session reception with a view.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/14/15 at 05:02 PM • Permalink

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Volunteers In Medicine Does Bourbon Street

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Ski Butternut was transformed into a Mardi Gras party for more than 200 doctors, nurses, professional healthcare providers and supporters who attended the annual gala for Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires on Thursday, August 13. The ski lodge was outfitted a la the festivities of Bourbon Street for the gala, which is a critical fundraiser for the truly deserving organization that provides free medical, dental, mental health and optometry services. The party always brings out a crowd and grows yearly says gala committee member Jane Salamon (at left, with board trustee emeritus Steven Picheny). “This year is bursting at the seams — we sold 226 tickets compared to last year’s 182.” Pleased with the fundraising efforts, partiers celebrated with New Orleans-style live music, a sit-down dinner, dancing, masks and, of course, lots of beads.

Former board member Dr. Paul Smilow, board treasurer Jessie Schoonmaker and board chair Arthur Peisner.

Mental health volunteer Carolina Rosenstein and Linda Olson, who volunteers her time at the front desk; board member Marion Simon with friend, Claflin Hall.

Event volunteer Jane Bernstein and Meredith O’Connor; Dr. Ellen Rowntree is board vice president, here with event co-chair Nancy Bernstein.

Egremont residents Harvey Ganot and Bonita Ganot, who is a gala committee member; Franni Rothman volunteered her decorating skills to transform Butternut into a Mardi Gras party, here with Jane Salamon.

Catherine Sands with her husband, Jeff Bliss, who is the development director at VIM, and Darren O’Brien, who provided lighting and audio services for the event.

Board member Turbi Smilow, whose husband was a founding member of VIM, with Doug Miskin and Wendy Jenkins; Realtor Nancy Kalodner, supporter Betsey McKearnan and Norman Rockwell Museum Director and CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt.

Camp Eisner nurse Lisa Moldowsky came out to support her fellow nurses, here with Danny O’Dell (whose wife is a nurse); architect Martha Montgomery, who will be working on the expansion of VIM headquarters, David Haust, and Realtor Suzanne Crerar.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/14/15 at 02:23 PM • Permalink

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Olana: Icebergs in August

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. This year’s annual summer fundraising party for the Olana Historic Site, titled “Icebergs in August,” was yet another example of the uniquely modern style — yet historically reverent ethos — of programming crafted by the hardworking Olana Partnership and staff. To accompany the unequaled views from the home of Hudson River School painting master Frederic Church, the event, which featured a silent auction and huge iceberg ice sculpture, was themed after a single painting. “The Icebergs” by Church was painted after a trip by boat to Newfoundland, 52 years before the Titanic sunk in the same waters. The painting itself was lost in England for 116 years, only to reappear in 1979 when it was sold at Sotheby’s for $2.5 million, the largest amount every paid for a painting by an American artist at the time. The event, sponsored by a group of donors including presenting sponsor Stair Auctioneers and Appraisers, offered guests bites and beverages from several prominent chefs including Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn and the recently opened Eat on North; Dan Smith, chef and owner of John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant; Devon Gilroy, chef at The Corner at Hotel Tivoli and others. There were also, given the evening’s nautical theme, unlimited oysters from Other Brother Darryl’s. It was a beautiful evening held in support of one of our region’s most beautiful places, but it was the extra effort put into the details that set this party apart. (Pictured above: Joseph Caldwell III, former Olana Partnership president Sara Griffin, NYS Assemblymember Didi Barrett and J. Caldwell.)

Iceberg Stair and Jones
Daryl Lee, Chris Warnassch, Alex Wright, Erik Piecuch; presenting sponsor Colin Stair with Partnership trustee and event co-chair Chris Jones.

Kevin Chun, Church descendents Sandy and Sky Blackiston, Olana curator Evelyn Trebilcock and Church’s great-great-granddaughter, Isabel Livingston.

Olana Landscape Curator Mark Prezorski, Sheldon Evans, Martha McMasters and Owen Davidson; the talented craftspeople responsible for replicating some of Olana’s period-appropriate curtains: Mitchell Motsinger and Christin Ripley, and Lynn Davis Studio manager Rebecca Johnson.

Iceberg vip tent
Lloyd Marks, Michael Tavano, Carolyn Zweben and Paul Zweben; a view of the VIP tent from the main house.

Iceberg Iceberg Ice sculpture
Party guests couldn’t help but take many pictures of the iceberg created by Sean Taylor of Capitol City Carvers.

Self proclaimed “Olana fanatic” Dorothy Heyl with husband and independent candidate for Hudson Common Council President Tom DePietro; Anne Miller, Stuart Breslow, Rick Sharp, Mark Prezorski and event designer Albert Simmons IV.

Icberg party boom

Inside the tent, a massive shipwrecked mast, mimicking the one featured in Church’s iconic painting, hung above the guests; Hannah Lawrence and Seth Anderson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 08/10/15 at 08:35 AM • Permalink

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Two To Tanglewood: The Gala And Business Partners Night

Lisa Green reports from Lenox, Part I. Every Tanglewood gala is a special event, but this year’s fundraising fête on Saturday, August 8 bestowed honors to one of the music festival’s jewels, the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC), which this season celebrates its 75th year nurturing young musicians. Guests came from Boston and beyond for the many-splendored evening, which began with a cocktail reception, followed by a gala dinner catered by Boston Gourmet, a concert of enormous proportions (Mahler Symphony No. 8 with orchestra, soloists and three choruses) and a dessert reception for Gold and Silver Benefactors. TMC’s history seemed to come alive in the Hawthorne Tent; life-sized archival photos from its rich past encircled the guests and reminded them of the activities as well as the musicians and conductors — they themselves larger-than-life — who made the world-famous institute what it is today. [Above, former Governor Deval Patrick, Mary Jeka, gala committee members David Smith and Ranny Cooper, and Diane Patrick.]

From Otis and Concord, Dan Schrager and Ellen Gaies; Alice Stephens of Stockbridge and Manhattan with Adrian Applebaum of Saratoga Springs.

David Glodt and Marita Glodt, who is president of Barrington Stage Company’s board of directors, with Sydelle Blatt and Lee Blatt, the theater’s benefactors; Richard Dix and Greg Bulger, gala committee members, with Megan DiBattista and Matthew DiBattista, a former fellow of the TMC vocal program.

Dyan Goodwin and Dora Lewin, representing Bank of America.

Ana Julia Jatar of El Planeta, Boston’s Latino daily news, with Lilliana Bachrach, a gala committee member; David McSweeney, a new media consultant, and Betsy Burleigh.

Janet Eason, who recently joined Main Street Hospitality Group as its vice president of marketing, and Bob Eason; Bobbi Litt, Rick Litt and Martha Volpe.

The lovely ladies who greeted the guests: Emily Fritz-Endres, Kathleen Pendleton and Katie Cushing.

Leslie Antoniel of the BSO’s development office, with Jonathan Halpern and Ronnie Halpern; Carol Burack and Dan Burack, the former owners of Cranwell Resort and Spa, with Robert Baum and Elena Baum, gala committee members.

Lisbeth Tarlow, Carol Grossman and Stephen Kay; Brett Johnson flanked by C.C. Cave and Peter Rothstein, choristers performing in the evening’s Mahler Symphony No. 8.

Honoring Tanglewood Music Center’s 75th anniversary, the tent was lined with life-size reproductions of photos from TMC’s past.

Lisa Green reports from Lenox, Part 2. Seranak estate, the historic summer home of Tanglewood founder and legendary BSO Music Director Serge Koussevitzky, is now a supper club with privileges going to high-level donors. But on Monday, August 10, the property, sitting high atop a hill a quarter mile from Tanglewood, welcomed a special contingent for the Tanglewood Business Partners Night. These were deserving guests; Tanglewood business partners raised more than a half million dollars this year, 111 percent over their financial goal, due in part to the addition of many new businesses. After the cocktail reception, guests retreated to a tent where they became an audience to the New Fromm Players, an ensemble drawn from recent Tanglewood Music Center alumni, who played selections by von Weber and Mendelssohn, accompanied by the sounds of wind and thunder. The rain held out, though, so the hors d’oeuvres segment of the evening proceeded without interruption, and the view of the Stockbridge Bowl continued to enthrall even during dusk. [Above, Mary Jane White and Nancy Fitzpatrick, co-chairs of the Tanglewood Business Committee, with Kim Noltemy, the BSO’s chief marketing and communications officer.]

Emery Sheer of Sheer & Company and Jill Sheer, a violinist in Miami; Tom Hoadley and Stephanie Hoadley, owner of Hoadley Gallery in Lenox, with Fran Fowler of Shear Design.

Attorney Zick Rubin and Carol Rubin with Lynn Turiel and Bernie Turiel, a lawyer; Debbie Rockoff and Michele Gazit from The Gateways Inn.

Paul Lindenmaier and Margaret Lindenmaier from Berkshire Country Day School.

Phil McAvoy, representing Country Curtains and Laurence Oberwager, director of Tanglewood Business Partners; Ken Fowler, Margery Steinberg, a Tanglewood overseer, Marcia Mandel and Charles Mandel of Optical Care Associates.

Frieda Pilson and Neal Pilson of Pilson Communications; Attorney Jeff Cook from Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti and Cook with Mark Volpe, managing director of the BSO.

Chris Ciolfi of Evolution Towers & Site Services and Joanie Ciolfi, an artist, enhance the view.

The Purple Plume’s Judie Culver, June Roy Martin of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Osborne of Ashmere Realty, and Victoria Ross of Stone House Properties; Kathrynne Gogel, Ken Gogel of Gogel & Gogel, a law firm, and Mary Mullen.

Seranak’s terrace was open for cocktails al fresco with a stunning view over Stockbridge Bowl.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/09/15 at 10:25 AM • Permalink

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A Tea Party For Two Hundred Plus

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington, CT. The invitation said Two For Two Hundred, but from host Gael Hammer’s estimate, a more accurate title would be Tea For 350. On Saturday, August 8, the 18th annual Tea For Two Hundred, to benefit the Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury and New Milford Visiting Nurse Association, was held in the gardens of Gary Goodwin and Gael Hammer. The nonprofits offer critical support to the community — and the community came out to return the favor. The large grounds comfortably accommodated the 350 guests, all clad in white attire. The various entertainment areas featured live music from Christine Ohlman, a silent auction, dancing, sit-down dining and book signings from Honorary Chair Candace Bushnell and special guest Larry Kramer. In addition to the mandatory white garb, the hat contest was taken very seriously, with large and flamboyant headgear standing out in the sea of white. Above, host Gael Hammer, Claudia Kozma Kaplan, senior vice president at Christian Dior, host Gary Goodwin and Vladimir Kaplan.

Laura Daly was quite appropriately the judge of the hat contest, here with Julie Loughran, the director of development and communications at Connecticut Community Foundation, which was a sponsor, and Jim Daly.

Cindy Tyler and her daughter, Sara Tabasko; Jackie Bunker and Marcy Calovich, administrative assistant at Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse.

Meredith and Kevin Gibson, visiting from New Jersey; eating and drinking by the pool.

Author Lane Smith with his wife, Molly Leach, a book designer, and Gael Hammer.

Washington resident Louise van Tartwijk, who has supported this event for many years, with Raj Dhillon, who was visiting from London; Sarah Jenkins and Matthew Archer.

Author Candace Bushnell signed copies of her books and chatted with guests; Fabian Bryant, Janet Bryant and Niles Bryant.

Lucy Pierpont of Klemm Real Estate, Lisa Leonard, Curt Leonard and Realtor Sallie Smith; Washington residents Sara Osborne and Anne Martin.

Just a fraction of the 350 guests mingling on the lawn in Washington.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/08/15 at 10:12 PM • Permalink

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Sharon Summer Book Signing: 32 Ways To Meet An Author

Sarah Ellen Rindsberg reports from Sharon. The white tent adjacent to the Hotchkiss Library in Sharon, CT can only mean one thing: the Sharon Summer Book Signing, now in its 19th year. On Friday, July 31, more than 30 authors arrived from near and far, filling the tent with stories of the writer’s life. Jam Catering supplied the hors d’oeuvres, passed by eighth graders eager to help their library. Families arrived first, enjoying an unfettered hour with their favorite authors. For the younger set, it was a special opportunity to meet revered authors and discover new ones. For adults, the event provided the opportunity to meet writers including Food and Wine Editor Dana Cowin, author of Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen and Mary Norris, the grammarian behind Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. Many gathered at a corner table to meet and greet former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife, Nancy. Six dinners with authors were held at private homes later that evening. The traditional gently used book sale followed on Saturday and Sunday. Above, garden and design authors Tovah Martin and Bunny Williams.

Gretchen Hachmeister, a library trustee, and Barclay Collins, event chair and board president; former U.S. Senator and D.C. Circuit Judge James L. Buckley and Kate Gray with their books.

Mary Kirby and Ed Kirby, a trustee of the Sharon Historical Society; Mary Oppenheimer and Arete Warren, a library trustee.

Hail to the Comma Queen, The New Yorker’s Mary Norris.

Emily Bartram, head librarian and assistant director, and Robin Yuran, co-director; Henry Kissinger signs his latest tome, World Order.

Pamela Wilson and George Mason; Andrea Allan and David Allan and their son, Lucas Allan.

Cache of Katz, not necessarily related: Author and Cooperstown, NY Mayor Jeff Katz, his son Joey Katz, and Blood, Sweat and Tears guitarist (and now author) Steve Katz.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/03/15 at 08:14 AM • Permalink

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Clermont Honors Its Friend And Neighbor Joan K. Davidson

Amy Krzanik reports from Germantown. Clermont State Historic Site has a bevy of generous supporters and admirers (and with good reason), and this year they decided to honor one of their greatest champions. On August 1, the Friends of Clermont held their mid-summer benefit and cocktail party in honor of Germantown resident Joan K. Davidson, at left. The former commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and chair of the NYS Council of the Arts, is president emeritus of the J. M. Kaplan Fund and current president of its Furthermore program. A grants program started by Joan in 1995, Furthermore supports the publishing of non-fiction books and has provided funding to many book projects relating to the Hudson Valley, including three recent releases by the Friends of Clermont. Joan’s friends came from all over the region to honor her and her important work, and applaud enthusiastically as NYS Assemblymember Didi Barrett presented her with a large and lovely proclamation. Sometimes good work doesn’t go unrewarded. 

Mark Prezorski, The Olana Partnership’s landscape curator, with Olana trustees Phoebe Gubelmann and Rick Sharp; Martha Holmes Currie, Tambra Dillon, co-director of the Hudson Opera House, and Glenda Law, a member of the Clermont board.

Filmmakers Hart and Dana Perry; Tim McKelvey, Liz and Michael Pierce and Toby Usnik.