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Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Parties & Openings

April 12 - Lenox
IS183's Vermilion Cotillion

April 11 - Red Hook
WordWorks Opening At RHCAN

April 10 - Williamstown
CATA At The Clark

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A Ver-million Turnout For IS183’s Annual Gala

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. Many parties request that guests dress to impress, but for the attendees who come out every year for the annual IS183 costume gala, impressionable and outrageous are often one and the same. It’s the only party where you can find a Teletubby dancing with someone wearing a giant papier mâché head. A sizable portion of the county turned out to support the Berkshires’ nonprofit community art school on Saturday, April 12. This year’s theme, The Vermilion Cotillion, bade attendees to dress in red, so guests showed up at the Eastover Resort wearing crimson suits, big ball gowns and elaborate masks and wigs. Festivities actually began at dinners hosted at private homes, farms or businesses. Then all headed to the party portion of the evening, where they entered a room filled with goods for the silent auction before heading onto the dance floor—an art installation in itself, with projections of funky images that put guests in the mood to groove (not that they needed much coaxing). Drinks were poured, sweets from Chocolate Springs beckoned and attendees took pictures posing on the throne, a fitting perch for so many in regal attire. This was not an early night, as most guests danced far into the evening, many of them already excited for next year’s celebration. Above, IS183 club member John Zutter, Brigitte Hughes and club member K.K. Zutter are studies in vermilion. 

Studio Manager Ben Evans and Board of Directors Vice Chair Robin Seeley.

Committee member Laura Mitchell and Janet Crawford were two of the many guests in crimson ball gowns; Chris Demos and Kate Baisley of Shear Design with Tyler Simmons.

Kristen van Ginhoven and Executive Director Hope Sullivan; Shakespeare and Company’s Heather Collis and Alexandra Lincoln.

Crispina ffrench and Megan Whilden were comfortable on the throne; Realtor Lisa Bouchard and Ed Ho of The Kinderhook Group.

The Olga Dunn Dance Company performed an original dance.

Realtor Marc Bachman and his wife, Carrie Bachman; Deb Ryan and Bill Ryan of Black Thumb Farms.

Supporter Jan O’Bryant and Maggie Mitchell, who participates in the art classes provided by IS183; A rare break from the dance floor for Tim Butterworth and Six Depot’s Sascha Woolfe.

RI’s Jake Levin and Silka Glanzman, a.k.a. The Butcher and The Baker, flank Susan Engel; Volunteer bartenders John Wendling and artist Maggie Mailer called the shots.

Everyone hit the dance floor as the DJ spinned well into the night.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 04/13/14 at 10:38 PM • Permalink

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CATA At The Clark Draws A Crowd

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. The Clark Art Institute’s Stone Hill Center hosted a large and happy crowd of supporters on Thursday night, April 10 as Community Access to the Arts (CATA) opened an exhibit of work by its A.R.T. students. The A.R.T., or Artistic Realization Technologies, program is a painting workshop for area adults with profound physical disabilities. Many of the students and their teachers were on hand to introduce the work and revel in its vibrant beauty. A bevy of unique gifts such as necklaces, magnets and other items emblazoned with the students’ work were for sale to help raise funds for the A.R.T. program. An after-party at Hops and Vines featured food from Deborah Gallagher Catering and guest bartenders, with all tips going to benefit CATA and its students.(Shown above: Executive Director Margaret Keller and Founding Director Sandy Newman.)

Becky Gold, Sarah Holland, Chrissy Wooliver and Sadie; Artist Carol Neuhaus with Bonny Estabrooks.

Board member Steve Shatz with Board President John Whalan; Cliff Love and artist Cathy Crofut.

Leah Couture poses in front of her art; Board member Ben Silberstein, Elaine Silberstein, Brendan Mathews and Margaret Keller.

Maureen Strype, Carrie Waara and author Same Crane; Faculty artist Pat Hogan and board member Elaine Radiss.

Ben and Elaine Silberstein, Liz Williams, John Whalan and Dawn Lane, CATA’s program and artistic director.

Artist Katrina Couture, Diane Firtell and faculty artist Stefanie Weber; Pat and Dennis Hogan with artist Myles Tosk in front of his work.

Margaret Keller and Ron Gallagher; Lisa Loomis and Sharon Boyd show off their CATA totes.

Sherry Monte, Debbie Gallagher, Sue Hamblin and Sally Chin; Marcela Peacock, Janet Holland and Marie Thurston admiring the art.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/13/14 at 04:25 PM • Permalink

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WordWorks Kicks Off Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival

rhcan1Jamie Larson reports from Red Hook. The third annual Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival took over the normally sleepy Dutchess County village last weekend with readings, activities and music for all ages. The festivities kicked off Friday evening, April 12 with the WordWorks exhibition at the Red Hook Community Arts Network (RHCAN) Gallery in the heart of the village. In honor of the festival, local artists produced pieces inspired by the written word. Artists’ works played with the lines between words and art, using fonts, themes and even integrated performance to lovingly bridge the gap. The event also gave the public the opportunity to wander further back into the studios of the RHCAN to see what the collective is up to and why the organization’s mission is so worthy of community support. The Red Hook Literary Festival continued on Saturday with discussions about this year’s Read Local book (Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson), writing seminars, book sales, readings and signings (including an appearance by author and filmmaker John Sayles) and other events. (Pictured above: Artist and RHCAN sculpture curator Rita Gentile, RHCAN member artist Daniel Baxter and Literary Festival Director Juliet Harrison.)

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Reception host Linda Legendre and RHCAN Chair Kari Feuer; work by Feuer on display at the RHCAN Gallery.

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The RHCAN Gallery at 7516 North Broadway on opening night of WordWorks; Contributing artist Yvonne Laube with Cliff Laube.

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RHCAN organizing member Maria Isabel Pujol and photographer Ricardo Fernandez; a work by John Breiner.

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Rita Gentile reads from the dictionary as part of a performance mixed-media piece for the opening; Artist Rosalie Rossi and poet Roberta Gould.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/12/14 at 04:21 PM • Permalink

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The Montessori School Brings Caribbean Cool To Havana Nights

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. “This Cuban cigar isn’t real; it’s chocolate.” “Well, in that case, get two!” Chocolate cigars weren’t the only themed treat at “Havana Nights,” The Montessori School of the Berkshires’ fundraiser on Saturday, April 5 at Shakespeare and Company. The benefit auction and dance party’s theme was inspired by the Montessori students’ Model U.N. study of Cuba and Nigeria, and featured cool Caribbean music perfect for a salsa, rumba or mambo, and Cuban-inspired food from Firefly Restaurant in Lenox. Guests were treated to classic Cuban dishes such as black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded beef), and black bean and mango salsa with taro chips. The silent auction featured a plethora of items from local and statewide museums and fun parks, one-of-a-kind crafts, and fine dining and massage certificates. The live auction, led by emcee Alison Larkin, included Beck concert tickets, a family portrait session, landscaping services and much more. And that’s not all! An after-dinner “dessert dash” and a “bejeweled lottery” gave guests first dibs on a dessert for their table and a chance to win a pair of earrings by sculptor and jeweler Daniel Porter Stevens. Proceeds from the night benefit the school’s financial aid fund. Pictured: Board President Church Davis, Marya LaRoche, who is the Director of School Advancement, and Tammy Valicenti.

Board member Bamby Neale and Dennis Pollock, who donated landscaping services to the live auction; Alison Larkin, the night’s emcee and auctioneer, with Shakespeare & Company actor Dana Harrison and screenwriter Marc Maurino.

Joey Chernila and RI’s recipe contributor Alana Chernila; Todd Covert, Head of School, and David Valicenti, trout fisherman.

Jennifer Carr and Becky Cachat, both parents of Montessori students; Gary and Linda Roth of East Chatham.

Bob and Tess Fedell with Lisa and Jason Baumgart; Emma Weiskopf and Sara Mugridge.

Jen and Pete Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm; Debbie Greene and David Goldfarb.

Meagan Ledendecker, director of education and co-founder of the school, with board member Dana Bixby; Marjorie Dix and board member Wayne Dix.

Check out the beautiful (and delicious) spread from Firefly in Lenox.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/05/14 at 10:43 PM • Permalink

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R.O. Blechman’s Quivering Lines Bring Out The Crowds

oh8Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. R.O. Blechman’s iconic illustrations and cartoons have graced the covers and pages of the New Yorker and countless other publications for decades. Now, through May 11, those pages grace the walls of the Hudson Opera House. Blechman, an Ancram resident, has a body of work recognizable to anyone. With its understated quivering lines and combination of expressiveness and reserve, each piece seems to hang in the mind like a beloved doodle in the mangers of a great collective American consciousness. The exhibition, representing years of Blechman’s work but not being called a retrospective, opened on Saturday with a reception packed to the gills with admirers and friends who seemed greet each piece like a fond memory, whether it was the hundredth viewing or the first. (Pictured at left, children’s author and illustrator Donald Crews and R.O. Blechman.)

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Abby Adams Westlake, co-author of Love Where You Live, Steven Sorman, Bruce Birdsall and Karen Caldic; Glass artists Dean and Eliska Smiley with proprietor of Gilmor Glass Elizabeth Gilmore, and fellow glassmaker Regina Wickham.

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Hudson Opera House Co-director Tamera Dillon and Gwen Gould; Jennifer Rusch of Narofsky Architecture, Maya Narofsky and Trudy Roth

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Clarke Olsen and President of PS21 Judy Grunberg; Photographer David Franck and artist Gretchen Kelly.

Maria Manhattan, Hudson Opera House Executive Director Gary Shiro and Mary DePhillips.

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Elizabeth and Paul Miller; One of the many Blechmans on display at the Hudson Opera House through May 11.

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Mary Bush and Melissa Sorman; Composer David Behrman, Terri Hanlon, Maria Manhattan and Mary DePhillips.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/30/14 at 02:04 PM • Permalink

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A Mother Lode Of Guests At WAM’s ‘Motherhood Out Loud’

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. The final sold-out performance of Motherhood Out Loud at the Unicorn Theatre on Saturday, March 29, started off with a hitch that seemed to delight everybody. Technical difficulties had the production’s director, Jayne Atkinson, filling time by talking about her role on House of Cards. Finally, sound was restored, and the production, a benefit for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and WAM Theatre, delivered an evening of monologues exploring the experience of motherhood in all its phases. Premiered in New York by award-winning producer Susan Rose, Motherhood Out Loud has had successful productions all over the country. The Berkshires cast featured some familiar names from stage and screen including Jane Kaczmarek and Michel Gill, but there were just as many talented writers, actors and activists in the audience to match the wattage on stage. At the end of the show, champagne appeared, and like a quick scene change, the stage was transformed into a party space with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and a lot of high energy. Above, the Festival’s director, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, and Kristin van Ginhoven, director of WAM.

Writer Sonia Pilcer and Barbara Newman, a creative strategist and writer who was the “matchmaker” between the production and WAM; Cast member Tammy Denease and Paul Solovay, a photographer.

Playwright Marsha Norman with Susan Rose and Alan Lafer.

Kari Harendorf, Rachel Siegel, a cast member, and Elisa Kammeyer; Samantha Lafer and Michael Irwin.

Jane Kaczmarek and Kristin van Ginhoven.

Cast member Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely, who are co-curators of Made in the Berkshires; Jim Sexton, Jim Finnerty and Donna Hassler, executive director at Chesterwood.

Jeanie Hackett, an actor, author, director and teacher, with Susan Rose.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and Lisa Rafel, a sound and healing educator; Amber Chand, a cast member, with Anni Crofut, a playwright and jewelry designer, who performed a piece of her own at the Saturday matinee.

Jayne Atkinson serves champagne; the stage is set for a celebration.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/30/14 at 12:22 PM • Permalink

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Local Foods And Funds Flow At March Maple Dinner

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. If there was any doubt that the Berkshires are a culinary force to be reckoned with, the five-course March Maple Dinner on Monday, March 24 served as an excellent reinforcement of the talent of our local chefs, restaurants and farms. The annual dinner served as a fundraiser for the agricultural non-profit Berkshire Grown and its Share the Bounty program. Held this year at The Cranwell Resort, the dinner was able to accommodate a huge group of food enthusiasts. The night started out with hors d’oeuvres accompanied by a tasting of local beverages, before moving on to the grand showcase dinner featuring the culinary talents of Wheatleigh’s Jeffrey Thompson, Gala Steakhouse & Bistro’s Chris Bonnivier, Mezze’s Marianne Comella, Route 7 Grill’s Christophe Jalbert, Ron Reda of Table Six at the Kemble Inn and Daire Rooney of Allium. Five dishes later, guests were able to bid on auction goodies while very, very full. Above, Wolfe Spring Farm’s June Wolfe and Berkshire Grown Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin.

Deborah Morris with cousin Teresa Yurchis, who came from Portland, Oregon for the dinner; Phil and Jen Leahey of Leahey Farm in Lee.

Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Jon Height and Michael Sherry poured some of their popular spirits; Joe Grochmal, his son Joseph, daughter Olivia and wife Ann were excited for the impending five-course feast.

Allium’s head chef Daire Rooney works on plate presentation multiplied by 100.

Board member Sarah Gardner and Program Associate Suzie Fowle; Melissa Leab and Rob Leab of Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock gave out samples of delicious treats like maple cream and butter.

Elaine Radiss with husband Rich Petrino and Bruce Friger; Nancy Kalodner and her son, Joel Kalodner, came out to support Berkshire Grown.

June Wolfe and husband Jim Wolfe, Peter Cherneff of Share The Bounty, Barbara Zheutlin and Route 7 Grill proprietor Lester Blumenthal.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/24/14 at 09:30 PM • Permalink

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And The Berkshire Award Goes To: Three Deserving Honorees

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. There may have been a standing-room-only crowd on Saturday, March 22 for the 2014 Berkshire Awards Ceremony at the Berkshire Museum because the weather, for once, cooperated. But more likely, it was because the community truly wanted to honor and celebrate the contributions of the recipients, who were being recognized as leaders who create, keep and promote the artistic, historic and natural heritage of the Berkshires. At the awards presentation, video bios told the stories of Frances Jones-Sneed, a historian and professor at MCLA, who has been instrumental in discovering and documenting the rich heritage of the Black community in Western Massachusetts; the Nash family, longtime active supporters of arts and culture in the area; and George S. Wislocki, founder of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. During the presentation, the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields recognized the late Jane Fitzpatrick for her many contributions to the community, and wine glasses were raised in her memory. Then guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeurvres in the galleries. Much was made of the fact that Seth Nash (above, with Mary Nash) wore a tie for the event, now captured for posterity, and something the Blue Q co-owner is not likely to be seen in ever again.

Jeff Noble, a member of Berkshire Museum’s board of trustees, with Executive Director Van Shields; Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner and president of The Red Lion Inn, and Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount.

Hope Sullivan, executive director of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and Nancy Kalodner, owner of Benchmark Real Estate; Alice Wislocki congratulates Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed on her award.

Van Shields; Lydia Rosner, a trustee and the chair of the Berkshire Award Committee; Seth Nash; Suzanne Nash; Leo Nash; Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed; Mitch Nash; Bill Hines, president of the Board of Trustees; and George S. Wislocki.

Both Melissa Joyce and Deanna McKhan are regional vice-presidents at Berkshire Bank, an event sponsor; Kate Whalen of West Stockbridge and Chantal Rhind, a math professor at Berkshire Community College.

  Susan Lyman, a public defender for juveniles in Western Massachusetts and Larry Lane, who owns the Arcadian Shop in Lenox; Sally Mawhinney and Audrey Thier, both of whom formerly worked with honoree George S. Wislocki at the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, flank Sally Cornwell, who is currently on staff there.

Stephanie Gravalese-Wood, marketing and communications manager at The Red Lion Inn, confers with the Inn’s Chef Brian Alberg, who catered the event.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/23/14 at 11:32 AM • Permalink

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Free Legal Clinic Of South Berkshire County Dances For Justice

Rachel Louchen reports from Sheffield. The Berkshires has no shortage of charitable organizations; some target education, others provide food and, since 2006, the Free Legal Clinic of South Berkshire County has provided legal counsel to area residents. Twenty-four attorneys, two accountants and two mediators volunteer pro bono, as well as offer reduced-fee professional services and, as the demand for their service grows monthly, the support of the community is as important as ever. On Saturday, March 8, FLC hosted the Dance For Justice fundraiser at Dewey Hall and served up dinner, live music from the Wanda Houston Band and a silent auction to a packed room of supporters. All of the attendees praised the tireless work of Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz and the FLC for its valuable role in the community. In addition to legal services, the FLC also addresses social issues, helping their clients with community services that prevent hunger and homelessness while their legal troubles are being addressed. Justice for all, indeed. Above, board members Phyllis Weiss and Cecile Snow.

Terrance Cooney is a retired attorney who volunteers with the FLC, here with his wife, Joanne; One of the night’s speakers, Marilyn Kalish and her husband, Alan Kalish.

Stephanie Copeland and Carol McGlinchey, who donated to the silent auction; Stephen Dietemann and Lois Lenehan.

Board member Cecile Snow, Founder and Executive Director Eve Schatz, Susan Solovay who does the Clinic’s marketing, Board members Dr. Marcia Savage, Phyllis Weiss and Diana Felber (in front).

Board member Karen Andrews, Alianne Schatz, daughter of the Clinic’s founder, and her friend Emma Grants; Volunteer Amelia Sydlosky and patron Jeanine Coleman.

Supporters Mark Cohen, Adrienne Cohen and Steve Glick; Gregory Cherin and his wife Margaret Cherin came out to support their friend Eve Schatz’s organization.

Gail Shaw, volunteer Robin Zeamer and Joanne Cooney.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 03/08/14 at 10:45 PM • Permalink

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Speed Sisters Race To Lime Rock Park And The Falls Village Inn

Lisa Green reports from Falls Village. It would seem that women who drive race cars need no excuse to show up at a track, but on Monday, March 3, there was a very good reason, indeed, to gather at Lime Rock Park. Marah Zahalka, the “fastest woman in Palestine,” was at the motor sports facility with Canadian filmmaker Amber Fares, who was filming the 22-year-old Zahalka (driving for the first time in snow) for some extended footage of a feature-length documentary. The film, Speed Sisters, features the first all-women motor racing team in Palestine and documents the five women competing against men and one another in monthly autocross races in the West Bank city of Jericho. The event was spearheaded by Stephanie Economu, (shown, left, with Amber Fares), founder of Gearhead Girls Racing. The spectators later made their way to the Falls Village Inn, which hosted a reception for the crowd, many of whom were members of Lime Rock Park’s Drivers Club. Fares, who recently gave a presentation about the documentary at TedX in Barcelona, said Speed Sisters received a development grant from Sundance. She is hopeful the film will be presented at the Sundance Festival next year.

Jill Raney, whose company, Brim Light Caps, made the headwear for the occasion, Susan Sweetapple, The Falls Village Inn’s co-owner/innkeeper, and Walter Irvine, who handles sales and business development at Lime Rock Park. Driving enthusiasts included Jeanette Veitenheimer, executive administrator for The Drivers Club, Carole Halvorsen, who received the most improved driver award after just a year on the course, and Lindsay Carroll.

Walter Hergt, a freelance photographer, and Colin Chambers, the inn’s co-owner.

Stephanie Economu auctions off the caps, which have LED lights concealed under the brim (helpful for seeing up close); Mike Briskie of Paddockscene, a motor racing website which helped publicize this event, and Clara Lubansky.

Marah Zahalka gives a thumbs up at the tee shirt given to her by event organizers. Zahalka was a featured presenter at TedX Teen in New York just days before.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/03/14 at 09:53 PM • Permalink

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The Community Noshes For Berkshire South

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The community came out to support a great cause on Thursday, February 27, at the fourth annual Taste of Community hosted by Berkshire South. The event raised funds for the Community Supper Program, which serves a free weekly meal to members of the community, providing a helpful service to low-income families, senior citizens unable to cook for themselves and others. Guests at the event had their choice of treats from some of the best food purveyors in the Berkshires, including Haven Cafe and Bakery, Castle Street Cafe and Big Elm Brewery. The program (established in 2009), as well as the evening’s event, are successful due in no small part to the tireless efforts of board members, volunteers and local restaurants, who donate food and their time. The free Community Dinner is held on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. At left, Berkshire South Executive Director Jenise Lucey with member and ambassador Aimee Raifstanger.

Luke and Anna Masiero were celebrating Guido’s 35th anniversary; Prairie Whale’s Pastry Chef Megan McDiarmid with owner Mark Firth.

Alta’s Executive Chef Ben Daire with Co-owner and General Manager Aurelien Telle; Jaime and Jason Higgins came out to support Berkshire South.

Lisa Marchi, Director of Development and Communications at Berkshire South, and Barbara Manring with husband Roger Manring.

Stephanie Higgins with her mother, board Co-Vice Chairman Melissa Higgins; Mary Maguire and Kyleigh Lengen made the trip from Craryville to represent The Greens at Copake Country Club.

Pat Konecky and Bob Putz of Egremont; Great Barrington residents Troy Murtagh, Jess Tomich, Dylan Blackwell and Lauren Scanlon came out to eat.

Chairman of the Board Ethel Patterson,  Co-Vice Chairman. Robert Harrison and volunteer Hannah Moriarty who personally was responsible for selling a large portion of tickets.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/28/14 at 01:45 PM • Permalink

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Jacob’s Pillow Community And Business Partners Mix And Mingle

Rachel Louchen reports from Stockbridge. It was as if every business in the Berkshires (and beyond) was represented on Tuesday, February 25 for Jacob’s Pillow’s Community and Business Partner Event, hosted by the Red Lion Inn. Business owners, local area real estate professionals and Jacob’s Pillow Board of Directors members filled the room, proving once again what an important and venerable organization Jacob’s Pillow truly is. Addressing the crowd, General Manager Connie Chin spoke of how the festival helped local businesses such as lodging and restaurants bring in more than 90,000 attendees for last year’s festival, with the upcoming season on track to break the previous years’ records. Last night’s packed party is an indication of the community support for the Pillow and offered assurance that the festival will long dance on. Above, Berkshire Money Management President Allen Harris with Connie Chin.

President and Manager at Patisserie Lenox Yulia Bougouin and Jacob’s Pillow Senior Manager of Individual Gifts Alison Hart; Creator and chocolatier of Chocolate Springs Café Joshua Needleman, The Pillow’s Development Manager Arwen Lowbridge and Lisa Landry of No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe.

Community Access to the Arts was fully represented that evening with Development and Marketing Director Liana Toscanini, Founder Sandy Newman and new Executive Director Maragret Keller; Jacob’s Pillow Business Assistant/Store Manager Ariana Brawley with photographer Christopher Duggan.

Director of Marketing and Communications Mariclare Hulbert and Board member Hunter Runnette, with Sandy Newman.

Senior Grant Writer for Jacob’s Pillow Estelle Woodward, Advertising and Publicity Coordinator at Ward’s Nursery & Garden Center Jodi Cahillane and Pillow Ticket Service Assistant Gina Gioiello; Kimberly Ciola and WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven.

Kris and Josh Kanter of JK Custom Furniture & Design; Arwen Lowbridge, Designer Erica Fay and Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen.

The Dream Away Lodge’s owner Daniel Osman, Benchmark Real Estate’s Nancy Kaloder and Berkshire Botanical Garden and RI’s guru of all things garden, Brian Cruey.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 02/26/14 at 08:51 AM • Permalink

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Millay’s Steepletop Comes to Hudson

millay 1Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop offered a rare and welcomed opportunity to see the famed poet’s intimate belongings, art and some never-before-seen photographs at the McDaris Fine Art gallery on Saturday, February 22. Many Millay admirers came out for the opening of the exhibit, entitled Beyond the Poetry, which doubled as a silent auction fundraiser for Steepletop. The pieces, which have been brought down from Millay’s estate in Austerlitz, will only be on display in Hudson through March 2, but Millay Society Director of Development Allison Marchese hopes the intimate glimpse into the writer’s life will entice visitors to come see the continuing legacy of Millay on display at Steepletop. (Pictured at left; Allison Marchese, Millay Society Literary Executor Holly Peppe and Board of Trustees Vice President Mark O’Berski.)

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Tierney Risley, Michael Minchak, Jeff Risley owner of Park Row Art Gallery, and Wendy McDaris owner of McDaris Fine Art; Composer Sheila Silver and photographer Lindsay Brice

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Smarty Pants Graphic Design owners and designers Billy Kimmel and Doug Trapp; The scene Saturday during the elegant reception.

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Scott Evans, Millay Society Trustee Megan Morgans Ainsworth, David Ainsworth and Michael Minchak.

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Painting of Millay, artist unknown; Attorney Charles Ferris and Allison Marchese.

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John Schiff, Steepletop’s office administrator Joanne Schiff, Todd Hall, the site’s caretaker, and Tanya Hall; Linda and David Peppe.

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Millay’s typewriter.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 02/24/14 at 10:50 AM • Permalink

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New Food and Fresh Art at the Ten Spot Opening

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The third annual TEN SPOT invitational art show, now up at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, features ten of Berkshire County’s best contemporary artists. The rescheduled artist’s reception on February 18 helped the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival kick off its celebration of theater, art, film, music, comedy, dance and more. Artists exhibiting in the show, but not pictured below, include Karl Mullen, Jeanet Ingalls and Laurie McLeod. Sponsors of the show, Mission Bar + Tapas, used the occasion to debut their new spring menu, to the delight of guests. The exhibition will be on view through February 28 and the Festival continues through February 23, with plays at the Barrington Stage Company running through March 2. (Shown above: Chris Farrell from lead sponsor of the 10 x 10 Festival, Berkshire Gas, Shiobbean Lemme and Michael Boroniec.

Ten Spot artists Peter Gordon and Michael Rousseau in front of Rousseau’s work; Crispina ffrench and Violet Swindlehurst pose with ffrench’s art.

Painter Scott Taylor in front of his work; Mia Cimini and Halley Cimini.

Kate Gordon and Tiffany Belanger; the lovely Peggy Rivers poses in front of her paintings.

Memoli Ward, Joanie Ciolfi, and Julie Hammill pose near Ciolfi’s work. A larger group of her paintings is on display at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown, MA until March 27.

Douglas Paisley in front of one of his Ten Spot pieces; Celeste Cano, Andy Rock, and Peter Gordon pose near Gordon’s work.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/18/14 at 08:35 PM • Permalink

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The 13th Annual “Not Your Average Dog Show” Packs BCC’s Paterson Field House

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The 13th Annual Not Your Average Dog Show filled Berkshire Community College’s Paterson Field House with canine competitors and their companions on Sunday afternoon, February 9. Some pooches came to compete for ribbons in events like Fastest Tail Wagger, Most Beautiful Eyes, or Best Kisser, while others stopped by to play with their pals, including many therapy dogs in training working on their social skills. Vendors were on hand to offer homemade treats for humans and dogs, groomers offered nail clipping (sorry, dogs only), and volunteers from BCC’s Nursing School took free blood pressure readings (which I’m sure were excellent, as pets have been known to lower the blood pressure of their owners). Proceeds from the event benefit the BCC Foundation, which provides scholarships and hands-on learning experiences, and runs BCC’s South County Center in Great Barrington. (Pictured above: Master of Ceremonies MA State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, Ring Master Gene Dellea, and Best Hair judges Barbara Alibozek and Gael Hurley.)

Tootsie, who won Best Dressed, and her agent, Rita Rochelo of Lenox; Sarah Mack, Luke Delorme and handsome Yogi.

Jill and Chuck Gianatasio and adorable, 4-month-old Finn.

Mary Ellen Morris of the Danny Boy Adoption Fund, WMDART DirectorCorinne McKeown and Honor Blume man the Western Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Teams booth; Marie and James Mathews, and a smiling Cholo.

Jesse Lynch, Sara Scoco and Juicy; Francesca Gigliotti, Whole Life Pet Products founder John Gigliotti and Production Manager Dave Williams.

Jill and her dog Madigan, who competed in the Best Hair category.

Wendy DeSanty of Daily Drool Bakery and Christa Abel of Bark N Cat; Lisa Parise of Pittsfield holds onto Lennie, who looks like he’s got other plans.

Maryanne snuggles the lovely Tessa; Sherman the sheepdog, last year’s winner of the Best Hair competition and this year’s Best Eyes winner.

Edie Rodegerdts hangs onto therapy dog Michael, while Jeanine Rizzi is in charge of Dante, who’s a therapy dog in training; Joan Tierney and princess Sadie.

Leroy Chessic, Gail Garland and Zuri, who’s a rescue from Tennessee; Beth Barbarotta with boxer Chance at her side, and Chiquita and Munchkin snuggled in her shirt.

Emily Chasse of the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter attempts to get Riley to pose; Amy Mack, Lisa Corbett and Emily Silver of the Berkshire Humane Society’s Family Dog School.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/10/14 at 03:42 PM • Permalink

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Scenic Hudson at Tremaine Gallery

Amy Krzanik reports from Lakeville. The traveling photography exhibit, On Time and Place: Celebrating Scenic Hudson’s First 50 Years, is currently at its final stop at the Hotchkiss School’s Tremaine Gallery, after visiting six public spaces in the Hudson Valley last year, including Grand Central Terminal. The installation, which runs through March 6, celebrates Scenic Hudson, the movement credited with saving Storm King Mountain and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. The 34 works by 12 photographers pay tribute to the Hudson Valley area, its scars and its beauty. From birds in flight and panoramic views of the land, to dramatic, color-drenched close-ups of rotting vegetation and abandoned factories, the work is at once varied and cohesive. (Shown above: Roberto Luna with Tremaine Gallery co-directors Terri Moore and Greg Lock.)

Richard T. Scott and Deborah Feldman; Susan Wides, Curator of the exhibition Kate Menconeri and Tanya Marcuse.

Ann Villano and photographer Anne Day; Barbara and Newt Schoenly.

Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Kate Menconeri, Chad Kleitsch and son, Tanya Marcuse and Susan Wides.

Mattatuck Museum Director Bob Burns and Hudson Opera House Executive Director Gary Schiro; Walter Dufresne and Karen Balogh.

Corey Shaff and Dr. Stefanie Lindahl; Jerry Freedner and Camille Freedner.

Photographer Chad Kleitsch and son with Valerie Shaff;  Hotchkiss Arts Administrator Sarah Lock, Heide Hendricks and Greg Lock.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/09/14 at 07:29 PM • Permalink

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Moments House Makes Time For Wine

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. If there seems to be an inordinate number of people hoisting wine glasses in these photos, it’s because that’s what they were at the Moments House fundraiser to do. On Saturday, Feb. 6, Pittsfield’s own winery, Balderdash Cellars, hosted the Winter Warmer Wine Tasting event, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Moments House, a homelike daytime facility for all Berkshire County residences living with a cancer diagnosis and well as their families. A resource for information and support, the programs and services are offered free of charge so, as the organization says, no one faces cancer alone. The mother-daughter team, Alice and Danielle Trumball, above, founded the organization, which is staffed by volunteers. 

Kathy and Joe Arabia of North Adams, who created The AYJ Fund, dedicated to their daughter who passed away from cancer last year; Ann Rudd, Karen Barker and Priscilla Morine.

Christian and Donna Hanson, owners and winemakers at Balderdash Cellars, which hosted the event.

Leah Thompson, development coordinator at BART Charter School, and Lauren Whitney, both of Adams; Lori Moore of Cheshire and Teresa Bills of Pittsfield.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/08/14 at 08:26 PM • Permalink

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Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation Winter Blast

cmh1Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. The Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation held its Winter Blast Saturday night at Helsinki Hudson. The diverse group of Foundation supporters packed the spacious club and both floors of the restaurant. While the party was indeed a blast, rocking well into the night with the help of Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, the event also raised more than $120,000 for the Foundation, which benefits the hospital and Kaaterskill Care. Donors were extremely generous and took the chance to bid on incredible items in a silent auction that included a beautiful and sizable print by Lynn Davis and a week’s vacation in Montreal. Pictured at left are Mary Gail Biebel, Foundation Board Chair Patti Matheney and Foundation Executive Director Betsy Gramkow.

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Tom Griffen, Olana Partnership President Sara Griffen and Ed Parran; Lydia Law, Catherine Balli and Jim Monahan.

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Ginsberg’s Foods Warehouse Operations Manager Erik Larsen, Mallissa Larsen, Ginsberg’s Transportation Manager Larry Bigando, Louise Bigando, Ginsberg’s Vice President of Operations John Brusie and Anne Brusie; Bank of Greene County Board President Peter and Diane Hagan with Patrice Jenkins and Bank of Green County Board Member David Jenkins.

Photographer Buzz Hartshorn, Stair Gallery owner Colin Stair, Katrina Stair and Erika Clark.

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Basilica Hudson Event Coordinator and Representative for Lynn Davis Rebeccah Johnson, Relish owner Dana Wegener, Elder Living Services director Amanda Henry and Dr. Anna Maria Assevero; Retired CMH VP of Human Resources Ray Jones and former Hudson Mayor’s Aide and Alderman Carmine Pierro.

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Marshall and Sterling Insurance partners Kirk Kneller and Ken Grey, Sherry Grey, Susan Keneller and Karen Mort; Vel Riberto and Foundation Director of Operations & Special Events Gina Orlando.

Wingo, Inc. Principal Doug Wingo, landscape curator for the Olana Partnership Mark Perorski, and Wingo, Inc. designer Tim Legg.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 02/03/14 at 12:13 PM • Permalink

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Art For A Good Purpose

Rachel Louchen reports from Lee. The Good Purpose Gallery certainly is appropriately named. Since its inception two years ago, the mission of the gallery has been to give young adults on the Autism Spectrum the opportunity to share their passions by participating in exhibits, workshops and lectures through the Community Internship Program. On Friday, January 24, the gallery hosted the work of 24-year-old Justin Canha, an artist on the Spectrum from Montclair, New Jersey whose diverse catalog of work such as colorful animal pastels and carnivorous plants will be on view until February 5. The highlight of the exhibit was the large-scale scan of his beloved composition book (which he always carries with him) displaying his stencils of almost every cartoon character imaginable from Wile E. Coyote to Homer Simpson, allowing guests an inside look into the mind of an artist. Canha is the subject of an upcoming documentary, Don’t Foil My Plans (which was being filmed that night) that will highlight his journey as he pursues his goals of moving into his own apartment and becoming a well-known illustrator and animator. If his enthusiasm, high spirits and sense of humor are any indication of the future, Justin has a long career ahead of him. Above, Justin Canha with his cousin Afton Pavletic looking over his beloved composition book.

Gallery coordinator Dianne Steel with Community Internship Program founder Dr. Michael McManmon; Eileen Mahoney and CIP Director of Marketing Dan McManmon.

The artist with his friend and business manager Melissa Wish.

Donna Jacobs of Great Barrington, Laura Jacobs and Dianne Steele; Justin’s Aunt Cindy Canha with his mother, Maria Teresa Canha.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 01/26/14 at 07:15 PM • Permalink

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Collectors Convene At The Berkshire Museum

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. How often do museums display the collections of people you know? That, in part, is what makes the Berkshire Museum’s Berkshire Collects exhibit so noteworthy, and why the energy was so high at the opening on Saturday, January 25. The third and final exhibition in celebration of the Museum’s 110th year, it was designed to involve the community, and involve it it does, with more than 40 Berkshires residents sharing their collections of popular culture (Pez dispensers, Star Wars toys), unfamiliar items (brass shell casings from World War I, water lily specimens), and the quirky (meat grinders, paper bag bottoms and condom tins). Many of the collectors seemed thrilled at being able to share their treasures and tell stories about how and why they began collecting. Above left, Van Shields, the Museum’s executive director, talks with Lawrence Klein, director of leadership development and general counsel at Darrow School (and founder of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City). The community-sourced exhibition runs through May 11.

John Bissell , executive vice president of Greylock Federal Credit Union, sponsor of the exhibit, and Melissa Bissell; Bill Hines, president of Berkshire Museum’s Board of Trustees, stands in front of the guitar collection.

Gerry Barnett and Ann Spadafora, a real estate agent, admire an astonishingly beautiful collection of vintage oil cans; June Wink, a potter and creative movement leader from Sandisfield, and Stephan Bierce.

Deborah Balmuth, publisher at Storey Publishing, is flanked by Shaun and Claude Harrington.

Rob Conzett of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, with his husband, Bill Blaauw, events coordinator at the museum; Kimberly Donoughe of Studio 2, and Jim Campagna.

Janet Kaplan of New Marlborough proudly shows off her handbag collection.

Averie Prenguber, of the museum’s guest services department, with her parents, David and Heather Prenguber; Abraham Castillo, collector of Dunnys and Munnys, with Lisa Curley.

Momo Chang, who hails from Taiwan, with Rebecca Amuso of Dalton.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/26/14 at 07:10 PM • Permalink

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Behind Izhar Patkin’s “Wandering Veil” at MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams.
MASS MoCA’s largest gallery is now home to Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil (on view through September 1), an overview of the Israeli-born, New York-based artist’s 30-year career. On Saturday, January 18, guests packed the gallery for a talk by Patkin and an opening reception for the exhibition, whose centerpiece is a collection of mural-size paintings on tulle entitled “Veiled Threats,” which was inspired by the poems of the late Agha Shahid Ali, and which is making its U.S. debut here at MASS MoCA. The show also includes collage, paintings in a variety of styles, and an eclectic array of sculpture created from aluminum, wax, porcelain and blown-glass. Shown above: Izhar Patkin and Artis founder Rivka Saker.

Curator Francoise Guichon, artist Kim MacConnel and journalist Grazia D’annunzio; Persis Singh, Tali Cherizli, and Yael Reinharz from Artis, which helped fund the exhibit.

John Broussard, Gregory Khalil, Carmel Mulvany, and Jonathan McVey; Katherine Partington and Daniel Kornguth of Generative Arts Vermont.

MASS MoCA’s Jodi Joseph, Izhar Patkin, MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson, Artis founder Rivka Saker, and Francoise Guichon; Agha Iqbal Ali, brother of poet Agha Shahid Ali, and MASS MoCA’s Director of Education Laura Thompson.

Dr. Chris Himes and Emily Pulfer-Terino; Derek Parker, Debora Coombs, and Mason Hurley.

Lance Thompson, Lawrence Deurloo, and Spiros Halaris; David Deming and Brandon Graving.

Annalisa Milella and Madeleine Morel; Kim Seward, Jake Laughner, Michael Bedford, and Sarah Sutro.

Guests marvel over Patkin’s Gardens for the Global City; MASS MoCA Trustee-Emeritus Carmela Haklisch and Director of Development Bill Belcher.

Jeremy D. Goodwin and Jodi Jospeh; Betsy Selkowitz, Jan Werner, and Laurie Werner.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/19/14 at 02:37 PM • Permalink

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The “Nude” Attitude Bares A Look At Sohn Fine Art

Mark Williams reports from Stockbridge. Rain was pouring, but the diminutive Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Stockbridge was crowded with people who love photography on Saturday, January 11. The current exhibition, Nude, features photography and mixed media by John Atchley, Peggy Braun, John Clarke, Greg Gorman, Eric Korenman, Hildy Kronen, Jack Krove, Mona Mark, Matuschka, Irmari Nacht, Cassandra Sohn, Savannah Spirit and Lincoln Russell, who was on hand at the opening (seen at left with Gallery owner Cassandra Sohn).  Russell spoke about his work and signed copies of his books, which included limited collector editions of Artist Seeking Models, Adventures in Burgundy, and An Intimate Portrait of Seiji Ozawa, Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He explained how his nude photography was created using highly complicated and sophisticated techniques which often allow the models and Lincoln himself to move around in the photograph while it’s being taken, leading to almost dreamlike scenes. The exhibition continues through March.

Andrea DuBrow and Hildy Kronen; Lincoln Russell and Wayne Nato.

Martin Greene, Peggy Braun, Hildy Kronen and Jenna Gazaille.

The exterior view of Sohn Fine Art from Elm Street; Lincoln Russell and Nancy Fitzpatrick.


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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 01/14/14 at 06:28 PM • Permalink

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Blue Plate Bash for Columbia-Greene Humane Society

bp5 Jamie Larson reports from Chatham. It’s amazing to think that Saturday marked the 11th annual Columbia-Greene Humane Society Benefit hosted by the Blue Plate restaurant. Equally as amazing as the event, which raises thousands for the Humane Society each year through donations and a silent auction, was the gargantuan turnout. The event has become a can’t-miss philanthropic to-do for the area, packing the Blue Plate from wall to wall and down into the bar/lounge with everyone from our region who appreciates the work the organization has done saving an untold number of animals great and small. Pictured at left are performer and baker Trixie Starr, Humane Society Board Chair Charline Marchand and Chatham Village Mayor Tom Curran.

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Lilian Gilbert, Hillary Donahue and Joe Gilbert, owner of The Berry Farm; MMX Curators Rebecca and Jonathan Loyche.

Blue Plate Manager Marcia Curran, Mary Gibson and Congressman Chris Gibson, Marchand, Blue Plate Manager Colleen Carpenter-Rice and Humane Society CEO Ron Perez.

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The Blue Plate was packed with Humane Society supporters Saturday; Kristine Lindahl and massage therapist Brin Quell.

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Blue Plate staff Gunnar Wordon, Sam Reilly, Amy Reilly and Jesse, Marcia and Lidia Curran; Duncan Calhoun and Russell Gibson, owners of the Barlow Hotel in Hudson.

The cold, wet weather in Chatham on Saturday only emphasized the warmth of spirit inside the Blue Plate.

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Geoff Leibovitz, Jeffry Perry and Hudson Pride Executive Director Rob Bujan. Rob Light and Amy Safhay of Hopper Cabinets.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 01/13/14 at 05:34 PM • Permalink

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A Tango Diary At Six Depot

Rachel Louchen reports from West Stockbridge. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe presented a rare opportunity for guests on Friday, January 10 to enjoy a local artist’s photographs of tango dancers followed by actually learning how to tango. The line was literally out the door for the opening night of photographer Sabine Vollmer von Falken’s new exhibit, “A Tango Diary” (on display at the Six Depot Gallery until February 16). It seemed nearly the entire town showed up to nosh on hummus, sip wine and enjoy the large black-and-white photos of dancers in various moods and positions. The gallery reception segued into a live tango demonstration and class provided by Tango Pulse. It remains to be seen whether the novice dancers provided some inspiration for a future photo series for Sabine. Above, the photographer with Six Depot Owner Lisa Landry.

Friends of the artist Fran Weinberg and husband Larry Strauss; Elfi Six and the artist’s daughter (and photographer as well) Lisa Vollmer.

West Stockbridge resident’s Jaime Burnet and Michael Burnet;  Fellow Inn proprietors Kolleen Weinrich of Federal House Inn and Mary Thibeault of Shaker Mill Inn.

Hildy Kronen, artist Bart Arnold and Ute Arnold.

Kate Skinner with West Stockbridge furniture maker Peter Thorne; Rena Zurofsky with dancer Gabrielle Senza.

Feeling inspired by the photos, guests attempted the Tango (Photo credit Sabine Vollmer von Falken).

Richmond resident Nora Randolph and Option Institute teacher Kate Wilde; Robin Greeson of Equator Antiques and Donald McGrory, both of whom have shops on Main Street in West Stockbridge.

The photographer talks to the large crowd that showed up to view her photos and learn to tango. (Photo credit Sabine Vollmer von Falken).

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 01/12/14 at 02:33 PM • Permalink

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Memorable Parties of 2013

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 nosh on delicious food and drink produced right here in our area. That’s why picking only a handful of parties for our year-end wrap-up was as difficult as trying to choose a new American Idol, or deciding who will receive a rose on The Bachelor. As the judges (or bachelors) always say in those situations, “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make; I loved things about each one of them; I’m here to find love, I’m not here to make friends.” Okay, that last one doesn’t apply here… but you get the idea. Below is a sampling of the galas, gallery openings, fetes, and festivals that make our jobs so fun. (Click here to relive all of 2013’s parties.)

Goin’ to Town: Townscape Valentine’s Party at Gilmor Glass
A glass factory became the site of a colorful and cool soiree for Millerton’s lovers.

Hitting Home: Benefit Rock Concert for Columbia County Habitat for Humanity
Helsinki Hudson hosted a night of local rock gods and goddesses performing for a great cause.

IS183’s Annual Gala: Ground Control to Major Fun
Big Bang at the Energy Vortex turned Berkshire residents into one-night-only art installations, sparkly and ready to party.

Trade Secrets: Shopping and Socializing for a Worthy Cause
Over one thousand shoppers (including Martha Stewart) descended on Lion Rock Farm to benefit Women’s Support Services.

Curtains Up on Summer at the TriArts Sharon Playhouse
Theater stars and drama supporters packed the house for a preview of summer shows.

Columbia Land Conservancy’s Country Barbecue: Come Rain or Come Shine
Local folks enjoyed a true farm experience, including snuggling baby farm animals, negotiating hay mazes, and enjoying down-home music and food.

Like the Temperature Outside: Ellsworth Kelly Hits Ninety
A living legend and patron of the arts was feted on his birthday at Thompson Giroux Gallery.

Fast Cars Under the Stars: Annual Gala for Community Mental Health Affiliates
Classic cars and classy duds made for a beautiful sight at Lakeville’s Lime Rock Park.

Fade Out On the Berkshire International Film Festival
Another successful BIFF drew to a close with the screening of a highly praised film and an after-party full of stars.

The Wright Stuff: Berkshire Playwrights Lab Gala Celebration Of New Works
Treat Williams and Tony Shalhoub helped BPL kick off its sixth year of new works.

Jacob’s Pillow Season Opening Gala Inspires
A summertime preview and celebration of dance deep in the woods brought a crowd to Becket.

OMI Party in Ghent
Global creativity met rural charm at OMI’s annual to-do for its supporters, fans and artists in residence from all over the globe.

How Time Flies: Fisher Center for the Performing Arts’ Tenth Anniversary Gala
Architect Frank Gehry, designer of the 10-year-old Center, helped Bard celebrate its past and raise funds for its future.

A Touch of Lewis Carroll At Berkshire Botanical’s Fete des Fleurs
The BBG’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” themed fete inspired guests to don their fanciest fedoras and most beautiful bonnets.

Bidwell House Museum Throws a Party That’s The Cat’s Pajamas
Fiddletop Estate’s majestic acres helped make this “Roaring Twenties” party the bee’s knees.

Litchfield Jazz Opening Night Gala
A swinging soiree and performances by talented, energy-filled Jazz Camp students kicked off a successful 16th year for the Festival.

Potential Fields Artist Reception
Clermont Historic Site’s first-ever contemporary art exhibit on its grounds was a smashing success.

Word Above the Street: WordxWord Rooftop Party
The spoken word Festival’s sold-out opening party saw a super-hip crowd climb way up to get down.

MOMIX and Susan B. Anthony Project’s Golden Hour
A good cause invited supporters to a private, sunset performance in a gorgeous Connecticut garden.

Mod and Cool on a Hot Day: AIDS Council Garden Party
The Columbia County Garden Party brought a fun and fancy crowd to a cool home on a hot day.

Good Neighbors: The Hammertown Barn Party and Auction
Two community funds joined forces to raise money with an amazing auction under the Hammertown tent.

Healthy Competition: Literary Death Match
A raucous, and occasionally ribald, laugh-out-loud story slam invaded Edith Wharton’s former stables.

HOH Gala Veinte! is Hot Hot Hot
A night of hot Latin Jazz marked the Hudson Opera House’s 20th annual fete.

The Museum partied in the big city in order to bring the best and boldest music to the Berkshires.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/30/13 at 09:14 AM • Permalink

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Voices of Hope Gala Springs Eternal

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Pittsfield’s Berkshire Immigrant Center held its annual fundraiser this past Saturday, December 7, 2013. The “Voices of Hope” holiday gala, at the warm and welcoming Seven Hills Inn, was a sold-out event. The night began with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a special seasonal meal prepared by Castle Street Cafe chef Michael Ballon, who donated his services for the occasion. In between courses, guests were treated to songs sung by Robin Gerson Wong and Deborah Grausman, with help from the night’s pianist, Gerson Wong’s brother Roy Gerson. BIC’s Executive Director, Hilary Greene, spoke of the ways in which the Center helps local immigrants and immigrant Isla Chevalier offered a moving firsthand account of how she left Africa in her 20s due to harsh laws against unwed mothers and later was able to bring her daughter to the United States with help from the Center and its lawyers. A live auction helped raise even more funds, as the Inn’s proprietors, Denis Wong and Robin Gerson Wong (pictured), graciously doubled every winning bid of the evening. Proceeds from the evening go to fund BIC’s comprehensive services for individuals from more than 80 countries to promote civic engagement, facilitate cultural integration, and assist in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system.

Ethan Klepetar, Lenox Chamber of Commerce Director Ralph Petillo, and Jayme Kurland; Director of the Berkshire Immigration Center, Hilary Greene, with sister Heather Greene.

Mary Spina and MA State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier; Janet Pumphrey, Albert Harper, Ethan Berg, and Jamie Berg.

Mary Jane Piazza, Isla Chevalier, Judy Culver, and John Culver.

Nancy Kalodner, Gene Dellea, and Barbara Alibozek; Alfred Enchill, Luc Chevalier, and Jean Bede.

Becca Hoodwin and Mary Carol Rudin; Van Shields and Peggy Rivers.

Attorney Scott Clark, restaurateur Jared Decoteau, attorney Joseph Best, and national civil surgeon Raeph Laughingwell.

Heather Greene and Cynthia Murphy; Robin Gerson Wong, Mark Johnson, Liz Thompson, and Maurice Peterson.

Robin Kravitz with Barbara and Fred Nuffer; Anthropologists and authors Pamela and Alan Sandstrom.

Ralph Petillo and Dalija Merritt; Sibyl Jacobsen, Frank Rosiny, and Margo and Bill Bowden.

Al Blake, Frank Farkas, Tommie Blake, Sheila Murray, and Louise Farkas.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/08/13 at 05:47 PM • Permalink

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The Berkshire Creative Community Sparkles On

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. It’s well known that our region has a plethora of creative locals and they all seemed to be at Bousquet Mountain on Thursday evening for Berkshire Creative’s annual SPARKLE! Guests packed the room in their formal wear to enjoy the ski resort transformed by silver and gold into a winter wonderland. They sipped on cocktails, while dancing to live music and bidding on the silent auction, which offered goodies from cool local business like Blue Q and Berkshire Fringe. The popular event served as a fundraiser for Berkshire Creative’s programs and services, which are primarily free, as well as to support the unity of those “creatively minded” in the Berkshires. (Another common thread: they can all really cut a rug). Above, Berkshire Creative volunteers Kathy Quinn and Barbara Arpante.

President of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau Lauri Klefos, Director of Admissions at Darrow School Betsy Strickland, and Lindsey Schmid, head of marketing at Berkshire Visitors Bureau.

Bonita Wilson and husband Mark Wilson; Sara Paul and Deborah Sims, both of Mighty Acorn Designs.

Writer Robin Catalano with Amy Wolfe; marketing and communications director at Berkshire United Way Jonah Sykes with husband Colin Sykes .

Director of Communications at Berkshire Museum Lesley Beck and Anna Lisa Rose; Peter Stasiowski and Excelsior Printing Chairman David Crane.

Nina Garlington, Executive Assistant at Berkshire International Film Festival Lauren Ferin, Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum Van Shields, and Kate Preissler, digital media coordinator at Berkshire Museum.

Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires CEO Frank Engles and Suzanne Engles; Thunderbolt Business Service’s founder Steven Melito with wife, Stephane Melito of Excelsior Printing.

Artist Deirdre Flynn Sullivan with Sherry Goff; Pam Downing and Kate Hill Tapia of Pine Cone Hill.

Former Pittsfield Mayor Jim Ruberto with Director of Cultural Development at City of Pittsfield Megan Whilden.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/06/13 at 03:39 PM • Permalink

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Paintings and Jewelry: Double Art Opening at Neumann Fine Art

neumangriffinJamie Larson reports from Hillsdale. Paintings so realistic they play tricks on the eye and jewelry that is intricate yet inspired by nature and movement were highlighted at a double reception Saturday, November 30 at Neumann Fine Art in Hillsdale. The inconspicuous gallery was packed with locals and guests from across the Rural Intelligence region. The paintings, depicting scenes of Tivoli, New York, were the work of Joel Griffith, who has been called “a high priest in the cult of The Real” for his hyper-realistic renderings. The jewelry collection, notable for its clean lines and intricate metal work, was the creation of Anni Maliki. The show, which will run through January, is an exhibition in the two very different artists’ mastery of fine detail. Pictured at left are artist Joel Griffith and Gallery owner Jeffrey Neumann.

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Doug Stone and Aoife Wasser; Kaylo and Mel Maliki.


Anni Maliki and Allison Neumann, marketing manager at Herrington’s.

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Jeannette Frantz and Yetta Teo; an example of the many elegant pieces available at

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Kate Young and Artist Ken Young; Hillsdale Town Court Justice Russ Immarigeon, Erik Kiviat and Elaine Colandrea.

Montgomery St. Trailor,” painting by Joel Griffith.

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Downtown,” by Joel Griffith. Hypnocoach Susan Spiegel Solovay and Global Entrepreneur/Business Coach/Inspirational Speaker Amber Chand.

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Sheryl Griffith and Mike Prudhomme; a peek inside Neumann Fine Art during the reception.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 12/02/13 at 04:33 PM • Permalink

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A Colonial Celebration At The Bidwell House

Rachel Louchen reports from Monterey. Every year, for one special night after closing for the season, the Bidwell House Museum opens for Our Colonial Holiday Thanksgiving Fundraising Party. This year’s event, on Saturday, November 30, was Bidwell’s seventh annual. The heritage landmark in Monterey, built in 1747, was the former home of Reverend Adonjah and presently serves as a museum; it also hosts educational programs aiming to shed light on early America in Western Massachusetts. Held just two days after Thanksgiving, the Bidwell was all dressed up for the occasion, making it easy to imagine holidays of Colonial past, even if the music, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction were 21st-century conceits. Donations to the auction will aid with events and programs in the upcoming season. At left, Manager Eileen Mahoney, Board Vice President Kathryn Roberts, and Judith Runette.

Volunteer Beth Timlege with trustee Christa Lindsey; Mary Knysh and David Reed provided music for the evening.

Volunteer Michael Keith and trustee Nancy Jones; trustee Christine Goldfinger and Elizabeth Silk.

Board President Rob Hoogs, Executive Director Barbara Palmer, Cindy Hoogs, and trustee Richard Greene.

Sydney Brandwein and husband Charles have been garden volunteers for many years; Monterey residents Aliza Sena and Gabriella Sena.

James Edelman with his wife, former volunteer of education Carol Edelman; longtime supporters Ellen Fletcher and Chris Fletcher.

Student interns Emily Halford and William Palmer with Ronald Skrepich, a Bidwell supporter for the past 20 years.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 12/01/13 at 09:09 PM • Permalink

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The Beauty of Hudson Valley Home Design in Three Parts

operabook1 Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. The Hudson Opera House hosted an elegantly synergistic and stylish book event on Saturday, November 23. The talk and signing featured the authors of three books that showcase the beauty of design in Hudson Valley gardens, architecture, and interior design. The historic Opera House’s side hall was standing room only for the presentations by Jane Garmey, author of Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley, architects Alan Barlis and Dennis Wedlick, authors of Classic and Modern: Signature Styles and Joan Osofsky and Abby Adams, authors of Love Where You Live. (Pictured at left are Osofsky, Hudson Opera House Executive Director Gary Schiro, Adams, Baris, Wedlick and Garmey.) 

2309 2340 Playwright/composer Mary Murfitt who edited Classic and Modern, Wedlick and Bonnie Hundt of the Hylton Hundt Salon in Millerton; Illustrator R.O. Blechman and author Jennifer Berne.

2327 2334 Principal Urban Designer for NYC Parks Charles McKinney, writer and photographer Benjamin Swett, Katherine Swett, and Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space Susan Chin; Olana Landscape Coordinator Mark Prezorski, Owen Davidson, and architect Jim Joseph.

The assembled Panel couldn’t help but recognize the harmony their three stylish books create when presented together. (Alan BarlisDennis Wedlick, Abby Adams, Joan Osofsky and Jane Garmey.)

2336 2337 The Opera House was packed Saturday; Brendan Kelly, Taylor Schultz, and Executive Director of the Friends of Claremont Conrad Hanson.

2331 2312 Baris and Wedlick; Melissa Sorman and Camilla Gray, manager of Hammertown Great Barrington.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/25/13 at 07:53 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Museum’s Festival of Trees Opening Night

trees1 Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Approximately 400 people attended this year’s Berkshire Museum Festival of Trees opening night on Friday, November 22 in order to get a first glimpse of the more than 100 business-sponsored, community-decorated trees. Variations on the theme of “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” filled the upper-level exhibition rooms, including the Ellen Crane Memorial Room, where guests mingled over appetizers and cocktails. The theme was chosen to celebrate the Museum’s 110th anniversary. The proceeds from the opening night and festival benefit Museum programs that provide more than 17,000 educational experiences each year. (Pictured: Berkshire Museum Board President Bill Hines and wife Jen Hines.)

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Berkshire Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields, artist Peggy Rivers, and Berkshire Museum’s Director of Interpretation Maria Mingalone; Cassandra Lyon, Tonia Scalise, and Jayne Bellora.

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Brittany Menard and Jillian Heaton with Sherwood Guernsey’s Red Sox themed tree; Bonnie Hoskeer-Kirchner, Scott Kirchner, Pam Corbett, and Daryl Corbett in front of the Mad Macs tree.

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Roberta Lafayette, Peter Lafayette, Mark Pedrotti, and Jennibeth Gomez; Jayme Kurland, Ethan Klepetar, and Nahara.

Louise and Frank Farkas with friends Ruth, Jim and Stan.

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Maureen White and Tom Campoli; Mark Kim, Julia Dixon, and Becky and Mark Daley.

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Sarah Dewey with Anne and Joe Apkin in front of the Pine Cobble School’s tree; Matt Farkas and Alison Farkas.

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Alicia and Greg Britton; Maris Nichols, Dorothy Demick, and Art Nichols.

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Sue Solari with Jeff and Tammy Peltier; Marshall Raser, Sheila McKenna, Gail Molari, and Marian Raser.

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Liz Bissell, Jennifer Supranowicz, Victoria May, and Sharon MacEachern; Conductor of the Polar Express.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/23/13 at 02:49 PM • Permalink

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Star Studded: Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Gala in NYC

wtf1 Amy Krzanik reports from New York City. The Edison Ballroom played host to a packed crowd of performers and supporters, as Williamstown Theatre Festival held its 2013 benefit on Monday, November 18, this year honoring award-winning director and nine-time WTF collaborator Scott Ellis. Most recently the director of this past summer’s WTF production of The Elephant Man starring Patricia Clarkson and Bradley Cooper, Ellis has been part of the Festival for the past 15 years. Cocktails upstairs led to dinner in the ballroom below, followed by a live auction led by Willie Reale and featuring backstage visits to the sets of television shows Blue Bloods and Modern Family, Broadway productions of Rocky, The Bridges of Madison County, and Matilda, and a trip to Atlantic City to see WTF favorite Lewis Black perform live. A cabaret performance entitled “WTF Loves Scott Ellis,” hosted by Julie White and featuring Jayne Atkinson, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman and others, capped off the evening. Proceeds from the night go to support WTF’s workshops, educational programs, free performances, and training programs for theatre artists and administrators.  (Pictured above left: the night’s honoree, Scott Ellis, and WTF Artistic Director Jenny Gersten.)

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Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola; WTF Board Chairman Matthew Harris and WTF Artistic Director Jenny Gersten.

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Actress, dancer, and singer Chita Rivera; actor David Hyde Pierce.

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Tara Fitzpatrick,WTF Board Vice Chair Joe Finnegan, and Lucy Pavalock; actress Rebecca Naomi Jones and actor Adam Chanler-Berat.

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Actress Heather Lind; director, choreographer, and performer Susan Stroman.

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Dylan Baker and Becky Ann Baker; actress Jayne Atkinson and husband, actor Michel Gill.

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WTF Producer Stephen Kaus and WTF Artistic Director Jenny Gersten; the evening’s host, actress Julie White.

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Actor Joey Slotnick; The Edison Ballroom from above.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/19/13 at 11:27 AM • Permalink

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The ‘Lopud Series’ Opening at HuMP

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. hump1 The Hudson Museum of Photography (HuMP) at 552 Warren Street is the city’s newest gallery and had no trouble attracting a large crowd for Sunday’s opening. The night was the first American exhibition of paintings by interior designer Lucien Rees Roberts, featuring his series depicting visions of the Dalmatian Coast. The paintings are both exotic and controlled and highlight the artist’s control expressive subtle tones. Hung in the gallery which radiates Hudson’s classic charm, Rees-Roberts’ “Lopud Series”  and the space are well partnered. The collection will be on display through December 29. (Pictured at left: HuMP owners Brian Swardstrom and Peter Spears on the left and right of the artist.)


Director of the Mattatauck Museum, Bob Burns, Executive Director of The Hudson Opera House Gary Schiro and Hudson realtor Peggy Polenberg; David Epstein, Fred Nelson, Rick Mordesovich.

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Lucia Massey, Gillie Holme and Camille Massey; Hudson clothing store owner Paul de Marchin and photographer/deejay Giovanni Di Mola.


The crowd gathers at HuMP Saturday.

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Jonathan Parks, Filip Enocson and producer John N. Hart Jr.; Carol Sancarlos and Hudson Supervisor and realtor Sarah Sterling.

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Interior designer and Gris Antiques owner Todd Gribben, designer and architect Josef Asteinza, and arts administrator Randall Bourscheidt; Stair Gallery‘s Colin Stair, Erika Clark and Maggie Marinaccio of Naga Antiques.

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Designer James Corbett and Edwin Geissler; Hudson City School District Literacy Coach Lisa Dolan and educator Edgar Acevado, the director of The Columbia County Youth Theater.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 11/18/13 at 05:57 PM • Permalink

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Wining and Dining at The Warner Theatre

Rachel Louchen reports from Torrington. Over 600 people attended the 12th Annual Holiday Wine and Food Tasting at The Warner Theatre on Friday, Novembers 15. Originally opened as a movie theater in 1931, The Warner is now a cultural touchstone of the community, a mixed-use performing arts center that mounts dozens of live performances a year and provides art-in-education programs for thousands of young people across the region. With more than 80,000 patrons visiting each year, the theater still relies heavily on donations and support from the community, and with the turnout for the annual event exceeding last year’s by more than 100, its good work will no doubt continue on. Guests enjoyed multiple rooms of food and wine provided by local vendors and longtime supporters, and enjoyed the opportunity to take a peak at the oft described “most beautiful theater in Connecticut.” Above, Head of Sales and Marketing, Lesley Budny, with Bar and Concession Manager Sharon Chase, and volunteer Joe Bonetti.

Jane Hinkle with husband, former board member and current member of the property committee Paul Hinkle; David Coons with President of Red Barn Consulting, Cindy Donaldson.

Volunteer Carol Quartiero with husband, Albert; Warner supporters Marlene Newman and Majorie Alexander.

Harwinton Lion’s Club President Harry Schuh and his wife, Lion’s Club Membership Chairman Carol Kearns with Jackie Kulhowvick with husband, Joe Kulhowvick.

Burns, Brooks & McNeil President Stephen Todd and Sabrina Beck, VP & Secretary and Owner of Alteck Electronics Inc; Photographer Kristy Stearns with Brittany Alfano.

Warner General Manager Lynn Gelormino with House Manager, Kim McLaughlin; Jason Bushey with Marketing Intern, Ashley Ernst.

Tim Torpey with wife, Heather Torpey, Manager of School Programming at The Discovery Center.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/18/13 at 10:57 AM • Permalink

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Sinterklaas Fundraiser Promises Another Unique Rhinebeck Winter Fest

sinter9 Jamie Larson reports from Rhinebeck. The unique traditional Dutch holiday-time celebration of Sinterklaas is, understandably, foreign to most, but not to those in Rhinebeck. The festival and parade, which takes place on December 7, transforms the town into a dreamscape wonderland. The extravaganza started over 20 years ago but restarted in earnest six years ago. The annual community celebration honors the region’s Dutch heritage but also does so much more, over the years becoming an all-inclusive nondenominational celebration that includes all sorts of whimsical mythology. In preparation of the Sinterklaas season, a “Star Party” was held at the Beekman Arms ballroom on Saturday, November 9 to raise funds for the festival and give party-goers a taste of the unique story being woven around the occasion. Pictured above: Head organizer and professional “celebration artist” Jeanne Fleming holding symbolically magical fox figures, and, to her left, Beekman Arms owners George and Phebe Banta, robed to symbolize their new titles as “keepers of the flame” and honored with the privilege of lighting the season’s first star.

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State Senator Terry Gipson, wife Michelle Donner, and Jeanne Fleming; Kingston Sinterklaas organizer Susan Linn, Cheryl Norton, and Sue Hartshorn.

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Rachel Hyman of HH Hill Realty and storyteller Jonathan Kruk; Snow King Sean Nutly, owner of bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy, and Snow Child Sadie Bloch.

The Snow King, Snow Child, Keepers of the Flame George and Phebe Banta, and Snow Queen Emily Houpt.

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Musician Renee Snyder owner of Snyder Music and CR Guitars with Caitlin Millard, proprietor of Zephyr; Sinterklaas supporters Karen Burke and Sam Elsamman.

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Abby Saxon and Clara Sauer of the Wild Women Dance Troupe with artist Gisa Botbol; the first star of the Sinterklaas season. 

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Gale Wolfe of Medical Aesthetics HV, Johanna Bard of Your Hudson Valley Organizer and Hemingway Lane Bed and Breakfast and artist Grace Gunning; Lila Pague representing and owner of Winter Sun and Summer Moon, with volunteers Jill Lunquist and Elena Erber.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 11/11/13 at 05:55 PM • Permalink

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Let’s Dance: Berkshire Theatre Group Honors Ralph Petillo

dance Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. A warm and inspiring tribute was paid to actor and mentor Ralph Petillo on Saturday, November 9 as the Berkshire Theatre Group held its Let’s Dance! Gala in his honor at the Colonial Theatre. In the lobby and Garage, guests mingled and dined on delicious pasta, appetizers, and a literal smorgasbord of cheeses, fruits and meats from Mazzeo’s Ristorante, and purchased vinyl records to enter into the night’s auction. Prizes included exclusive packages to Cranwell, Canyon Ranch, and Blantyre. As folks made their way into the theatre, Springfield’s nine-piece funk Jus Us Band band invited the crowd to “get down” with them on the stage and they obliged. A loving tribute filmed by some of Petillo’s young co-stars followed, and brought tears to the eyes of the crowd, including Petillo himself as he accepted thanks and accolades from BTG’s board, staff, and young actors. Chocolate Springs capped off the evening with its amazing signature fine chocolates and mousses. Proceeds from the gala go to fund educational programs for area youth. (Shown above: An imposter Ralph Petillo a.k.a. Chris Vecchia, the real Ralph Petillo, and the real Nancy Nirenberg.)

dance2 dance3 Gala Committee Member Linda Cooper with Nikki and Greg Knight; Matt and Katie Petillo with Ralph and Sophie Petillo.

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Mike Goonan and Justine Goonan, with Becky Collins and Douglas Collins; BTG Board President Emeritus Gary Scarafoni with BTG Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire.

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BTG Marketing and PR Associate Christina Riley, Assistant to the Artistic Director & CEO Kait Stinchcomb, and Maddie Calandrillo; Sue Mooney, Lois George, and Kevin Mooney.

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Stephanie Merwin, Kim Kinne, Rhiannon Hagen, and Pat Davis; Robin Gerson Wong and Denis Wong.

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Michelle and Perri Petricca; Victoria Flower, Isabel Costa, Bonnie Flower, Becky Crane, and Doug Crane.

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Front of House Manager Brian Plouffe, Kathy Jo Grover and David Grover; George and Anne Valli.

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Angela and Steve Bader; Alicia Ginsberg, Chris Vecchia, and Gina Foley.

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Judy Fairweather, Adam Kerzner, and Susan Hawkins; the crowd gets down on the Colonial stage.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/10/13 at 06:18 PM • Permalink

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Breaking Down the “Rules” at the Williamstown Film Festival’s Opening Night

wiff1 Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. The worlds of fiction and film came together at Williams College’s ‘62 Center on Wednesday, October 30, as the Williamstown Film Festival opened its 15th year with a special appearance by best-selling author John Irving. Irving and Williams professor and WFF board member Jim Shepard discussed the highs and lows of seeing one of your books made into a movie, most notably The Cider House Rules, for which Irving won an Academy Award for the adaptation of his novel. Four other Irving novels, either partial or whole, were made into films, but The Cider House Rules was the only one for which Irving was wholly involved, and the one of which he is most proud. Snippets from the film were shown and Irving discussed many aspects of the film, including the setup of specific shots, casting decisions, the heavy subject matter of the film (abortion), and the camaraderie he felt with director Lasse Hallström. After a short Q&A with the audience, the night’s activities continued with a party at Hops and Vines on Water Street, where attendees got the chance to eat, drink, and chat with Irving one on one. (Pictured above: John Irving, Jim Shepard, Steve Lawson, and Joe Finnegan.)

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WAMC’s Sarah LaDuke, WFF’s Steve Lawson, and WAMC’s Joe Donahue and Ian Pickus; Author John Irving and Jonathan Swartz.

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Joe Finnegan, author Karen Shepard, and Roger Clark; Filmmaker Luke Matheny, Greg Howard, and Anna Moriarty Lev.

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Janet Irving and Lynne Schwitz; Connie Sheehy, Cornelia Alden, and Krystal Williams.

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Anna Moriarty Lev, Willa Simon, and Janet Curran; Pat Sullivan and Sara Bonthuis.

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WFF Board Member Jane Patton with Sheila Stone; Tracy Finnegan and Nina Cochran.

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Alison Tinsdale, Nina Cochran, Sarah Dewey, and Tim Carroll; Lucy Pavalock and Janine Hetherington.

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Pamela and Arthur Turton; Willa Simon and Ralph Hammann.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/02/13 at 03:27 PM • Permalink

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nyc1 Amy Krzanik reports from New York City. This year’s MASS MoCA fall benefit, held in the breathtaking 583 Park Avenue on October 23, focused on raising funds for the museum’s music and performing arts programs. (Not only is MASS MoCA an important venue for the visual arts, but it was also the site of three music festivals this past year: the Solid Sound Music Festival in June, Bang on a Can Music Festival in July, and the FreshGrass bluegrass festival in September.) Hotshots from the worlds of art, music, film, business, and philanthropy gathered for cocktails and dinner, followed by a live auction conducted by Eric Widing, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas. Generous guests raised their paddles to bid on items including a limited edition Talking Heads LP designed by Robert Rauschenberg and signed by David Byrne, a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, an original Sol LeWitt, a Jenny Holzer print, and a sailing trip with Wilco’s John Stirratt. Bang on a Can All-Stars capped off the night by performing an excerpt from Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated Appalachian folk-ballad Steel Hammer. Proceeds from the evening go toward funding residencies, workshops, and performances for and by musicians and the community.  (Shown: MASS MoCA Curator Susan Cross, artist Katharina Grosse, and MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson).

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Board Members Jim Hunter and Joan Hunter with Christopher Jones; Deputy Director Larry Smallwood, gallerist Tyler Rollins, and creative consultant Karen Slade.

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MASS MoCA’s Director of Communications Jodi Joseph and artist Izhar Patkin; Board Member Alan Beller, John and Astrid Baumgardner, and Leslie Beller.

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Bang on a Can All-Stars: David Cossin, Vicky Chow, Ken Thomson, and Ashley Bathgate; Emma Hall and Mark Quilhot.

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Producer John Hart, Constantine Baecher, and David Forer; Shinil Paulose, Loan Lam, and David Baldie.

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Glenn Morrow, Elizabeth Van Itallie, and Jeff and Mary Lou Shafer; MASS MoCA’s Curator of Performing Arts Rachel Chanoff and Ann Harakawa.

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Musician Nels Cline and wife, musician Yuka Honda, (center) try out the instrument centerpieces.

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Producer Ann Edelberg and Otoja Abit; Bridget Moore, the evening’s auctioneer Eric Widing, and artist Darren Waterston.

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Christine Olsen, Board Member Joyce Bernstein, and Larry Rosenthal; Lindsay Maas and Jason Maas.

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Louis Rose, owner of 583 Park Avenue, and Helen Little; MASS MoCA Senior Graphic Designer Liz Plahn with MASS MoCA interns Thomas Huston and Joshua Gutierrez.

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Lisa Rosenthal and Dr. Pamela Rosenthal; Anthony Weintraub, Sarah Eustis, and Donald Fawcett.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/27/13 at 08:22 PM • Permalink

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Construct WALK

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. On Sunday, October 20th, hundreds participated in the 25th WALK for Construct Inc., the annual fundraiser for the community project that provides food, shelter, adult education, and counseling to homeless individuals in Southern Berkshire County. This year, the 3.5-mile walk started at Ski Butternut and, for the first time, ended at The Great Barrington Fairgrounds, which offered live music and a tent full of donated food served by volunteers. The fairgrounds provided lots of space, which was fitting since this year saw an increase in participants. In honor of the 25th anniversary, Executive Director Cara Davis was awarded a plaque in honor of all her contributions to the organization, given to her by the walk’s Grand Marshall (and Board President) Barbara Manring, whom Davis called “an extremely community-minded person.” Judging by the packed fairgrounds post-walk, the community is on everyone’s mind. Shown above: Volunteers Anita Schilling and Laurie Freedman.

Superintendent of Berkshire Hills Regional School District Peter Dillon, Construct Executive Director Cara Davis, and the event’s Grand Marshall Barbara Manring.

Arlene Tolopko with board member Bob Feuer; Haley Sumner and artist Kerry Millikin.

Stockbridge residents Stephanie Adler, David Adler, and Rachel Alter; Board member Tom Burkel and Paul Moritz.

Volunteers Charlie Weeks and Donald Roeder; Walkers Ron Banks, Georgette Banks, Kate Banks, and photographer Lee Rogers.

Peter Dillon and board member Mark Rosengren; For the second year in a row, Jordan Scherling finished the walk first, this time with his brother, Grant Scherling.

Walk organizer Susie Weekes with board member Suzanne Crerar; Barbara Manring and supporter Rita Kasky.

The sweet sounds of Wanda Houston and her band greeted the walkers as they finished their trek at The Great Barrington Fairgrounds.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 10/21/13 at 10:40 AM • Permalink

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Berkshire South Celebrates The Chambers

bsouth1 Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. A large crowd of local businesspeople and community advocates gathered at Berkshire South Regional Community Center on Saturday, October 19 to celebrate the 10th Annual Community Gala, this year honoring the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce (SBCC), along with the Stockbridge, Lenox and Lee Chambers. An array of silent auction items were fanned out on tables in the Jaffe Auditorium and everything from Canyon Ranch spa sessions and stays at the Devonfield Inn, to Blue Q goodies and dinners at local restaurants like Alta were up for grabs. As guests snacked on creatively good appetizers from SoMa Catering, music was provided by Berkshire South’s own Berkshire Sings! and Berkshire Ukulele Band. Dinner was served buffet-style in the Beinecke Gymnasium, which also was set up for the evening’s live auction and entertainment by the band Petrichor and DJ Jesse Stewart from Millennium Music. (Pictured: Current Berkshire South Board Chairman Adam Hersch with incoming Board Chairwoman Ethel Patterson.)

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SBCC Vice President Richard Aldrich, SBCC Executive Director Betsy Andrus, and SBCC President Pat Seward; Malinka Jackson, Bob Climo and SBCC Board Member Karen Climo.

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Aimee Raifstanger, Cheryl Raifstanger, Barbara Manring, Berkshire South Executive Director Jenise Lucey, Bill Cohn, and Roger Manring; Kathy and Paul Bernal.

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Claire Naylor-Pollart, Mary Carol Rudin, and Vickie Shufton; SBCC Secretary Scott Rote, Alice Reilly, and Kelly Fahey.

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Bobbie Jo Segalla, Aidan Gilligan, and Doug and Sara Goudey of Wheeler & Taylor; Photographer Richard Migot and SBCC Board Member Liana Toscanini.

Berkshire South’s Berkshire Ukulele Band, led by Rob Sanzone (right) and featuring Lauren Ambrose (left).

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Berkshire South Board Member Rita Kasky, Terry Webb, and Paul Kopperl; Mary Hart and John Hart.

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Hallie Leblanc and sister, Berkshire South Executive Director Jenise Lucey; Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Zanetti, Bill Kotek, Jim Hallock, and Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce President Michele Kotek.

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Sherri Gorelick and Rob Navarino, with actor and Lenox Chamber of Commerce Director Ralph Petillo; Karin Watkins and Karen Climo

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Berkshire South Board Member Steve Meyerowitz, former Board President Eliza Crescentini, Diane Chase, and Marco Crescentini; Brad Burrall, Barbara Case, and Mame Wells.

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Mary and Chuck Hamilton with Kathy and Tom Roy; Berkshire South’s own Berkshire Sings!, led by Robert Kelly, performs for the crowd.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/20/13 at 11:12 PM • Permalink

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Made in the Berkshires Opening Night

Made1 Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The third-annual Made in the Berkshires Festival kicked off its creativity-packed weekend of events with an opening night party at The Colonial Theatre on Friday, October 11. The evening began with an art show in the lobby and found guests mingling and sipping on drinks that included Red Lion Inn’s cider cocktail, concocted especially for this year’s festival. The night’s performances included three short films, music including two songs by the talented Heather Fisch, a short story by Kevin O’Hara, dance pieces, and more. Afterward, the crowd was treated to delicious snacks from the Berkshire’s own Fire Roasted Catering, Tortured Orchard, Cookiehead Snacks, For the Love of Pie, and Heather’s Natural Beverages, just to name a handful. What a wonderful way to celebrate the talent and craftsmanship that makes living in the Berkshires so special. Check out RI’s article on this year’s Made in the Berkshires. (Pictured: Hilary Somers Deely between son Pip Deely and husband Phil Deely.)

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Author Kevin O’Hara and wife Belita O’Hara; Performer Heather Fisch is flanked by her parents, Robert Fisch and Lori Fisch.

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Wendy Rabinowitz, Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, and photographer Susan Geller; Hunter Runnette and Kelley Vickery.

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Sarah Eustis and Hans Morris; Nicholas Mongiardo, Andrea Drenkelfort, and Tim Lovett.

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Lynn Melchiori with daughter, Berkshire Dance Theatre’s Executive Director Michelle Francesconi, and granddaughter Mia; Cousins Kinney Frelinghuysen and Elizabeth Seherr-Thoss.

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Catherine Delphia and Waterfall Perry; Pip Deely, Hilary Somers Deely, and Bob Bartle.

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Colonial Theatre Soundman Darren O’Brien and musician Billy Keane; Berkshire Theatre Group’s Board President Ruth Blodgett and Susan Kelly.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/16/13 at 08:51 PM • Permalink

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The Mahaiwe Chuckles It Up

Mahaiwe Louis J. Allegrone Dale Stewart reports from Great Barrington. On Sunday, October 13, guests spread out through downtown Great Barrington from Fiori to Castle Street Café for a champagne reception and pre-show dinner to honor Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center champion Louis J. Allegrone, pictured center left with his daughter Stacy and John Hoyt Stookey, who led his firm, the Allegrone Companies, in completing the decade-long historic restoration of the Mahaiwe Theater. Later, comedic legend Bill Cosby performed in the packed theater. Proceeds benefit the Mahaiwe’s world-class, year-round programming initiatives.

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Cosmetics maven Jane Iredale, with baseball great Jim Bouton, board chair Maggie Buchwald; Bobbie Hallig with Betsy Spears.

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Board members Mandy and Ray Pieczarka;  board member Vicki Wiener and Karen Riley.

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Ian Rasch and Jade-Snow Carroll; Michael and Denise Richmond.

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Andre Sillen, Monica Graaff, Lybess Sweezy, and Ken Miller.

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Don Cornuet, Leigh Davis, and Steve Weiner; Peggy Matthew and Cynthia Caminiti.

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Mahaiwe founder Lola Jaffe, Mary Grant, Jim Canavan, and Barbara Tarmy.

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Posted by Dale Stewart on 10/15/13 at 07:46 PM • Permalink

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Bridges To Somewhere: A Celebrity Decorator’s Book Signing at FINCH

finch sheila bridges Dale Stewart reports from Hudson.
On Saturday, October 12, Hudson, NY’s cup runneth over with art openings, musical performances, and book signings. The standout was the standing-room-only crowd packed into the well-styled corners of FINCH to listen to world-renowned designer Sheila Bridges (pictured left with Penelope Queen) discuss her memoir, The Bald Mermaid, which was published in 2013 and chronicles her childhood, thriving career, and diagnosis of alopecia. Bridges’ name constantly graces shelter mags’ top-designers lists, and her high-end client roster reads more like a wish list, with clients like former President Bill Clinton. She also sells her own Harlem Toile line of fabric, plates, and bedding. Bridges has been much praised by The New York Times, has a fan in Oprah, and was named “America’s Best Interior Designer” by CNN and Time Magazine.

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Author designer Sheila Bridges is flanked by Finch’s Andrew Arrick and Michael Hofemann.

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Farrier Aryn Kanaga with her father Keith Kanaga; actor Paul Ricciardi and architect James Joseph.

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Strauss Bourque-LaFrance and Alex P. White; Katherine Kanaga and artisan Jules Anderson.

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Wolfgang Brandl and Ted Saad; Shannon Krieger and Brian Hannon.

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Kevin White and Raul Barreneche; Judy Bernstein and Steve Thompson.

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Edward Guski, Edris Nicholls, and Ted Saad.

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Posted by Dale Stewart on 10/15/13 at 03:30 PM • Permalink

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Eat, Drink and Be Literary: Gala Fundraiser For The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon

Rachel Louchen reports from Sharon. The sixth annual “Eat, Drink and Be Literary” gala fundraiser and auction was held Saturday night at the handsome Lion Rock Farm (home to Trade Secrets), and attracted dozens of longtime library supporters, all of whom noted the important work the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon does for the community. The crowd gathered to support the library (which is open to the public but mostly privately funded), as well as for the chance to bid on some one-of-a-kind items such as a first edition copy of J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, or a stay in a charming country cottage in West Cork, Ireland. At left, committee member Tom Trowbridge with event co-chair, Barclay Collins.

Chris Robinson and Kathy Robinson; Assistant Director and Emily Bartram with Annie Trowbridge.

Board member Sue Norris and Lyn Mattoon; Darius Grant and Kathryn Gracey.

Former Senator and author, James Buckley with library bookkeeper Nancy Davis, and Library director Louise Manteuffel.

Sharon residents Wes Sparks and Dennis Margulies; library members Daniel and Lorna Edmundson.

Honorary chair Dorothy Felske started the first library auction six years ago, with Susan Bartsch; Nancy Trowbridge with donors Robert Quinlan and Encarnita Quinlan.

Dick Hayes with board member and ABC News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent, Brian Ross.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 10/14/13 at 02:56 PM • Permalink

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Happy Reading: LitNet Gala

litnet1 Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. A sold out crowd packed Berkshire Country Day School’s impressively transformed Fitzpatrick Hall on Saturday, October 5 as The Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet) held its annual fundraising gala. Before the sit-down dinner, guests mingled over drinks and appetizers, and perused a fantastic selection of silent auction items that included everything from gift certificates for local shops to far-off vacation getaways. This year’s honoree, Aso O. Tavitian, an Armenian-American philanthropist and inspirational advocate for education, accepted LitNet’s Fifth Annual Founders of America Award. Proceeds from the night go toward funding LitNet’s free adult one-on-one tutoring in English, math, reading, and GED studies. (Shown L to R: Marilyn Nejaime, Aso O. Tavitian, and the very first Founders of America Award winner, Nabih Nejaime.)

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LitNet Board Member and Auction Chair Sue Weintraub, Board Secretary Adrienne Cosel, and Board Co-president Lois Lenett; Executive Director Laura Qualliotine, Executive Assistant Shelley Wojtkowski, and Tutor Coordinator Mary Spina.

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Board Member Cris Raymond, Massachusetts State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Art Sherman, and Board Member Sarah Boyd; Katti Paquette and Lee Library Director Dan Paquette.

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Joe Nejaime, former American Ambassador to Canada Judy Ney, and Terry Webb; Marty Gottron, Stewart Edelstein, and Lynn Edelstein.

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David and Indre Boaretto-Sarti; Kim and Virgil Van Gerven with Matt Chester and Catherine Chester.

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Peter Herbst, Tim Eustis, Sarah Eustis, and Ann Herbst; Nancy Kalodner and Annie Rye.

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Former LitNet student Sylvana Proanio, Robert Unda, and MA State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier; George T. Smith and Board Treasurer Bill Dunlaevy.

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Harvey Tessler and Marsha Tessler; Ingrid Taylor, Mary Harrison, and Mary Jane Turner.

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Jeannie Reilly-Ortega, Sue Dunlaevy, and Jackie McNinch; Michael Conforti, Isabella Meisinger, Laurie Norton Moffatt, and RI Publisher Mark Williams.

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Neil Chrisman, Ginger Schwartz, Kathy Chrisman; Michael P. Hale and Georgia Massucco.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/06/13 at 12:06 PM • Permalink

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HOH Gala Veinte! is Hot Hot Hot

HOH GalaDavid Franck reports from Hudson. A night of hot Latin Jazz marked the Hudson Opera House’s 20th annual fete, Gala Veinte!, on Saturday, September 28 at Basilica Hudson. Patrons filled the reclaimed 19th century converted factory and crowded the dance floor to move to the caliente sounds of Paul Carlon and Grupo Los Santos. They grabbed up offerings from the silent auction, including art from Richard Artschwager and a weeklong stay in Bordeaux. HOH Executive Director, Gary Schiro, pictured middle left with New York State Assemblywoman Didi Barrett and her attorney husband, David spoke about the latest Opera House happenings. “We’re embarking on an exciting new era, with construction beginning and programs expanding, and the steadfast support of our friends at the gala makes it all possible.” This is HOH’s primary fundraiser of the year and one of the major sources of support for its cultural programming and ongoing building restoration. Last year’s proceeds helped make possible more than 800 HOH programs and events, such as the ever-popular annual Winter Walk on Warren Street. 

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HOH’s Teen Theatre Director, Carol Rusoff, with Miss Universe Director Annette Cammer; Gala co-chairs Laura and Steve Corsun.

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Writers Dave King and Jonathan Lerner with Merry DePhillips, designer Peter Frank, and Maria Manhattan.

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Gary Schiro with Erin and Doug Gilbert: Tricia and Foster Reed with HOH’s new Co-Director Tambra Dillon.

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Mattatuck Museum’s Robert Burns, Olana’s Valerie Balint, and Brock Ganeles.

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Victor Mendolia and Ellen Thurston; Ina Saltz and Steven Beispel.

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Maureen and Stephen Hanse with Deidre and Jonathan Meier.

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Modern Farmer‘s Ann Marie Gardner, Susan Hendrickson, and Tricia Reed; Basilica’s Rebeccah Johnson and Relish Hudson’s Dana Wegener.

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Party guests on the dance floor.

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Posted by Dale Stewart on 10/01/13 at 02:18 PM • Permalink

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Bound For Glory: Fairview Hospital Celebrates 100 Years

fairview1 Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. Fairview Hospital celebrated 100 years of caring in the community on Saturday, September 28, with its Here Come The Kid(s) Gala featuring Arlo Guthrie, and this year honoring Ernest and Anne Schnesel. Supporters mingled under the tent on the Town Hall Green, feasting on a seriously scrumptious smorgasbord from The Marketplace. Guests then filed into the Mahaiwe to watch a short film about the history of Fairview, how it has changed over the years, and what this fundraiser will make possible in the future. Then Arlo Guthrie took the stage, along with his son Abe Guthrie on keyboard, guitarist Bobby Sweet, and drummer Terry A La Berry. Guthrie told stories and played songs he’d written, along with tunes by his father Woody Guthrie and other songwriters he admires. Two standing ovations and one encore later, concertgoers joined the rest of the town back on the Green for celebratory fireworks, in a spectacular ending to a great night. (Pictured: Fairview President Gene Dellea and MA State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.)

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Gala Committee Member Ruth McCormick, Ray Murray, and Gala Committee Member Janet Dohoney; Gala Co-chairs Elaine Mack and Cheryl Raifstanger.

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Richard and Pamela Clarke; Crispin Tresp, Mary Hannigan, Fairview’s Director of ER Adrian Elliot, and Dr. Ailsa Colbert.

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Gala Committee Member Lisa Cohen, Jane Salamon, and Louise Galpern; Ken Keats, Dr. Bill Perlow, and Howard Klein.

Jed Fink, John and Trinity Raifstanger, Brian and Monica Zanin, Gala Co-chair Carrie Herrington, and Alicia O’Rourke.

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Charlie and Peggy Rockwell; Barbara Schulman, Lily Michaels, and Freddy Friedman.

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Cindy Welch, Gussie Greer, and Cari Lang; Sue and Jim Coxon.

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Barbara Alibozek and Rudy Sacco; Jean-Francois Bizalion, Michael Lipson, Michael Citrin, and Todd Mack.

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Julie Michaels and Ben Hillman; Nancy Kalodner and Gene Dellea.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/29/13 at 10:05 AM • Permalink

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Beds, Boats, and Broken Vessels: Anselm Kiefer Exhibit Opens at MASS MoCA

kiefer1 Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. Artists, art lovers, and art historians gathered on Thursday, September 26, as MASS MoCA held an opening reception for its new Anselm Kiefer exhibit in its refurbished Building 15. The new/old building contains three separate Kiefer works: Étroits sont les Vaisseaux (Narrow are the Vessels), an undulating concrete sculpture inspired by the Saint-John Perse poem of the same name; Velimir Chlebnikov, a series of 30 nautical-themed paintings named for the Russian Futurist poet and housed in its own metal pavilion inside Building 15; and Les Femmes de la Revolution (The Women of the Revolution), a room of lead beds with hollowed-out centers containing water and/or assorted solids, and honoring woman heroines of the French Revolution. The entire exhibit is on a 15-year loan from the Hall Art Foundation, and everything from the reclamation of the building to the maintenance and security costs is being covered by the Foundation. (Pictured: Hall Art Foundation’s Maryse Brand and Director of MASS MoCA Joseph C. Thompson.) See related RI article by Nichole Dupont: A Palace of Memory: Anselm Kiefer Invades MASS MoCA.

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Mark Hall with Dathel and Tommy Coleman; Julie and David Tobey with Emma Hall.

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Sir Norman Rosenthal with art historians Margaret Koster Koerner and Joseph Koerner; North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and MASS MoCA’s Director of Performing Arts Sue Killam.

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Ted Fondulas and Lou Manzone; MASS MoCA Trustee Susan Gold, Darby English, and Lisa Dorin.

Partial view of Kiefer’s Velimir Chlebnikov, on long-term loan to MASS MoCA from the Hall Art Foundation.

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Kate Morse, MASS MoCA’s Director of Development Bill Belcher, and MASS MoCA Trustee George Ahl; Carolyn Laib and Wolfgang Laib.

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Linda Cross and John Cross; Hall Art Foundation’s Terry Flatley, Hall Art Foundation Board Member Bonnie Clearwater, and Rhona Hoffman.

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Mark Taylor, Director of Hunan Provincial Museum Chen Jianming, and Klara Zhang; Anne Estelle and Linda Fondulas.

View of Kiefer’s Les Femmes de la Revolution (The Women of the Revolution), on long-term loan to MASS MoCA from the Hall Art Foundation.

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Charles and Georgette Mallory; Larry Rosenthal, MASS MoCA Trustee Joyce Bernstein, and MASS MoCA’s Deputy Director Larry Smallwood.

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Gregory Volk, Philipp Haverkampf, and MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish; Sarah Wollschlager and Andrew Bernero.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/27/13 at 10:21 PM • Permalink

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Healthy Competition: Literary Death Match

match1 Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Berkshire County’s literati packed Edith Wharton’s former stables at The Mount on Friday, September 20, as WordFest 2013 brought Literary Death Match to the region for the first time. The reading series/story slam is a high-octane, laugh-out-loud competition that gives readers seven minutes to woo three judges, who will then grade them on literary merit, performance, and intangibles. Round One pitted Steve Almond’s reading of his hate mail and responses against Brando Skyhorse’s story of his mother’s unique career choice, with Skyhorse coming out the winner. Round Two featured Rachel Shukert’s short story mash-up of the movie Three Men and a Baby with Toni Morrison’s Beloved (yes, really) followed by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s hilariously dramatic slam poems featuring our largest president and some drug-addicted NYC squirrels. Aptowicz, the winner of that round, then squared off against Skyhorse to see which of them (with the help of audience participants) could Pin the Edith on the Mount, a variation of the popular party game Pin the Tail on the Donkey. It was a close game, but Aptowicz came out the winner and received her well-deserved Death Match medal. (Pictured L to R: Death Match creator and host Adrian Todd Zuniga, Death Match judge Jim Shepard, and Death Match reader Steve Almond.)

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Death Match winner Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz with Karen Chase; Emily Goldsher-Diamond, with judges Ophira Eisenberg and Jason Diamond.

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RI founder and contributor Dan Shaw, Bob Morris, and Rachel Shukert; WordFest Director Christine Hensel Triantos and Brando Skyhorse.

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Laura Paige Kyber and Alex Tasak; Author Karen Shepard with Courtney Maum and Diego Ongaro.

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The Mount’s Communications Director Rebecka McDougall with Margaret Keller and Brendan Mathews; Heather Lane and Michael Astore.

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Christine Kalafus and Karen Chase; Poet Stan Spencer, Jan Spencer, and columnist Bruce Garlow.

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Walter and Mary Taylor with Eva Schuster; Jim Shepard and Lucy Ferriss.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/24/13 at 12:51 PM • Permalink

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Olanafest: In the Gloaming

OlanafestDale Stewart reports from Greenport, NY. The third annual Olanafest, a food-fantasma held on Saturday, September 21 at Frederick Church’s 250-acre artist-designed Olana, the Persian-style manor boasted ten of the Hudson Valley’s esteemed chefs like farm to table pioneer Zak Pelaccio of the recently opened Fish & Game and Ric Orlando of the award-winning New World Home Cooking Co. All of the tasty art-inspired tidbits were based on Church’s paintings like Le Perche’s petit Maine lobster based on Sunset, Bar Harbour, 1854. Some 300 plus guests sipped on offerings from Coppersea Distillery, Crossroads Brewing Company, Hudson-Chatham Winery and Shier Winery while bidding on silent auction items like art from DJ Spooky and an intimate NYC concert with Sting were up for grabs. When reflecting on the success of the event the Olana Partnership, president Sara Griffen, pictured left with realtor Mary Mullane to her right, praised this year’s event designer Brown Cranna of Studio Luxe when she said, “Every year we have designers volunteer their time, and I never know how they are going to outdo themselves, but this year they sure have raised the bar. For Olanafest, Olana colors were chosen but pared down to just a few, applying a modernist sensibility to the entire scheme. Brown and his team were a pleasure to work with throughout the process.”

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Coppersea’s Christopher and Alli Williams; Hudson Home’s Greg Feller and Richard Bodin.

Christine Boeke, Gina Aldisert, and Terry Laughlin.

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Nadine and Alain Chevreux; Olana’s Robin Key and Mark Prezorski.

PJ and Rita Birmingham of Mt. Merino Manor bookend Duncan Calhoun and Russ Gibson of The Barlow and Croff House.

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Jim Marinaccio, Nick Haddad, event sponsor Colin Stair; event designer Brown Cranna and Olana’s Paula Rickborn.

Sergio Hortega with designers Geoff Howell and Thomas Froese.

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Congressman Chris Gipson and his wife Mary Jo with PJ Birmingham; Red Barn chefs Bert Goldfinger and Christine Jones flank Olana’s Valerie Balint.

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Fish & Game’s Zak Pelaccio and Mary Mullane; Cafe Le Perche’s Chef Robert Pecorino and manager Jennifer Houle.
View of the Hudson River from atop the grounds of Olana.

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Posted by Dale Stewart on 09/23/13 at 09:54 PM • Permalink

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Good Neighbors: The Hammertown Barn Party and Auction

tent9top Jamie Larson reports from Pine Plains. The neighborly bond between Columbia and Dutchess Counties was on display and strengthened Saturday, September 21, at the eighth annual Hammertown Barn Party and Auction. Hosted by the ubiquitous home and design store, and sponsored by the Fund for Columbia County (FFCC), and The Northeast Dutchess Fund (NEDF), two successful philanthropies founded by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF), the busy benefit raised money for the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, which supports local individuals and families in financial difficulties to help stabilize their situations. Amazing items were auctioned off to support the cause, and a host of local individuals, representing these organizations of consummate generosity, had a hand in making the event a reality, including those pictured above: FFCC Alumni Board Member Sally Berg, BTCF Chair Chris Kennan and Gloria Callen, NEDF Committee Member and BTCF Board Member.

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Beth Ledy with George and Lori Decker; Loretta Kosnick, Volunteer Sara Kahn-Gearity, and Pat Felcher.

Camilla Gray, manager of Hammertown Great Barrington, Michele McCarthy, manager at Hammertown Barn in Pine Plains, and Joan Osofsky, Hammertown‘s owner and author of the new book Love Where You Live: at Home in the Country.

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FFCC Advisory Board Members Joyce Lapenn and Tinny Weintraub; Stephen Feld, Richard Orient, Peter Hollander and Bill Hibsher.

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Heidi Reineke-Kelsey, Jill Cancellieri and Lynn Reineke-Kelsey with BTCF; Jack Lindsey, Susan Hillel, and Bob Murphy.

David Barrett, Rosemary Lyons and Didi Barrett, New York State Assemblywoman for the 106th District.

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BTCF Program Director Maeve O’Dea and BTCF Marketing Director Kimberly Rock; the busy scene inside the tent.

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Sophie McConnell, Maeve O’Dea, Jan Birnbaum, and Karen Pagoda; Red Devon‘s Letty Andrade and Juan Lopez.

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From the Stissing House, Wendy Prause, Michel Jean, and Patricia Jean; Kelly Jefferson from The Greens at Copake Country Club.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 09/23/13 at 06:21 PM • Permalink

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Filled To The Brim: The 15th Annual Berkshire Grown Harvest Supper

bg1 Jamie Larson reports from Great Barrington. It’s no secret that Berkshire County’s plate runneth over with local farms, food artisans, and restaurants of the highest quality, but it can still take your breath away to see it all represented in one place. And that’s exactly what happened on Monday, September 16, when Berkshire Grown held its 15th Annual Harvest Supper at Ski Butternut. The resort’s Upper Lodge hosted hundreds of hungry local visitors, who came to be made full by dozens of proud proprietors from across the region. (Show left: Chef Sean Elliot and General Manager Matt Marby from the Stage Coach Tavern in Sheffield.

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John Sellew, Susan Bronson, and Dave and Adrian Dion; Chris Bonnivier and Bill Sheridan from the Gala Steakhouse and Bistro.

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Chef Jimmy Guiden and Molly O’Brien from Williams College; the view into the inviting Upper Lodge at Butternut.

Barbera Murphy, Beth Isler, Berkshire Grown board members Roberta Hass and Julie Michaels, Richard Cherneff and Berkshire Grown Executive Director Barbara Zheutlin.

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Crista and Martin Stosiek from Markristo Farms; the festive Lodge packed with hundreds of Berkshire Grown Supporters.

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Mary Pat Akers, Berkshire Grown Board Member Hester Velmans and Harvest Supper Event Planner Amy Rudnick; from the Red Lion Inn, Dining Room Manager Joanne Haggerty, Food and Beverage Director Brian Alberg and Restaurant Manager Ann Barry.

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Susan and Aurthur Peisner with Diana and Richard Richter; Ann Getsinger, Dr. Alan Chartock, President and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, and Roselle Chartock.

The Meat Market in Great Barrington’s owner Jeremy Stanton and manager Jim Gop.

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Gloria and Bob Gery and Phil Graham; Inn on the Green chef Peter Platt and pastry assistants Elise Landry and Siabhan Clark.

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Jeff Thompson and Nick LaDuke of Wheatleigh in Lenox; Ginsberg’s Food‘s Bob Raser and Joe Ordway flank Martin Lewis of Martin’s Restaurant.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 09/17/13 at 07:44 PM • Permalink

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Making It Work: Southern Berkshire’s Business Person of the Year

business1 Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. The night was sweltering but the mood was festive at the Norman Rockwell Museum, as The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce honored its 2013 Business Person of the Year, Eugene A. Dellea, on Wednesday, September 11. Mr. Dellea is the President of BMC’s Hillcrest Campus and Fairview Hospital, which is celebrating 100 years in the community this year, as well as the longest-serving Town Moderator in Massachusetts’ history (West Stockbridge, since 1965). A cocktail reception kicked off the night, with hors d’oeuvres from Castle Street Cafe and wine and beer from Domaney’s, Big Elm Brewing, and Cellarbration. A tribute followed, with speakers Chamber President Pat Seward, State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli, 2012 Business Person of the Year Ed McCormick, and Dan Johnson, representing U.S. Representative Richard Neal‘s office, offering congratulations to Dellea and extolling his virtues. While Mr. Dellea’s accomplishments are too numerous to list here, speakers offered up instances of his fine leadership and negotiation skills, his interest in education and mentoring, his care and compassion for patients and friends, and his tireless dedication to those in need. Indeed, Dellea truly does fit the Chamber’s list of qualities for Person of the Year. (Pictured above: Eugene Dellea and Barbara Alibozek).

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Kim Obanhein, Matt Emprimo, and Board Member Vijay Mahida; Ruth McCormick and last year’s Business Person of the Year, Ed McCormick.

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Penny Hudnut and Cheryl Raifstanger; David Bruce, David Phelps, and Reggie Cooper.

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Country Curtains CEO Bill Booth, Attorney Catherine Chester, and Board Member Melissa Lydon; Linda Febles and Gerard Burke.

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Gene Dellea and SBCC President Pat Seward; Trent Rivers, Kristina Vaselewski, and Dan Kinney.

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Meredith Tiedemann, Jody Law, and SBCC Vice President Richard Aldrich; Ellen Kennedy and Susan Lombard.

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Mark De Celle and Michaela Dohoney; Ray Murray, SBCC Secretary Scott Rote, and Ruth McCormick.

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Bonnie Masefield, Jane Curtin, and Pete Mirante; Mike Tucker and SBCC Executive Director Betsy Andrus.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/15/13 at 06:12 PM • Permalink

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75 Degrees In The Shade: A Brunch for the Aglet Theatre Company

AgletDale Stewart reports from Lakeville. On Sunday morning, September 8, a standing-room-only-crowd gathered to support “Going Backstage: Brunch with Tom Jones,” the Aglet Theatre Company’s annual benefit at the Town Grove. This Tom Jones isn’t the guy women throw their panties at but the much-loved librettist/lyricist known for The Fantasticks, I Do, I Do, and 110 in the Shade and a Cornwall resident. The Aglet offers the area five to six quality theatrical experiences a year, including, this fall, The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey, Don Juan Comes Back from the War by Odon von Horvath, and Other People’s Money by Jerry Sterner. As Associate Artistic Director, Gloria Miller (pictured here with Ruth Heuberger and Stacie Weiner to her left) says, “We are like the Greeks; we like to put on a show and go to the agora to discuss it all.”

Lou and Elaine Hecht with Aglet’s Dick Boyle.

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Tom Jones with Jonathan Tunick and Leigh Berry Tunick; Marcus and Christine Olsen.

Susan Match with Carey Fiertz and Ron Match with Kim Fiertz.

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Filmmaker Anne McPherson and Dev Chatillon; Lynne Bragonier with Emily Soell and Leon Graham.

Judith Sincelis, Elizabeth van Diepen, Lynne Bragonier, Susan Knight, and Marjorie Reed.

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Posted by Dale Stewart on 09/10/13 at 10:42 AM • Permalink