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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

Dec. 1 – Stockbridge
BBG's Center House Debut

Nov. 29 – North Adams
BFMC Meetup

Nov. 18 – Pittsfield
Festival of Trees

BBG’s Newly Renovated Center House Makes Its Debut

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. In advance of its 27th annual Holiday Marketplace and Gallery of Wreaths, the Berkshire Botanical Garden welcomed donors to a very special reception on Friday, Dec. 1. The event, in addition to being a chance to preview this year’s handmade wreaths and swags, doubled as a first look at the completed Center House renovation. The restoration and expansion of the late 18th century building (one of the oldest in Stockbridge) was a year-long process which made room for three art galleries, a teaching kitchen, a botanical library, and classroom and office space. The historic elements of the building were preserved, while state-of-the-art features like a living plant wall and technological upgrades were added. The extra space and functionality will allow the Garden to have more of a year-round presence in the Berkshires.

Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds with BBG Chairman of the Board and Center House designer Matt Larkin in front of the living wall; Diane Saunders with Lauretta Harris, president of the BBG’s volunteer association, and Louis Cohen.

Trustee Ian Hooper and board vice president Madeline Hooper flank Lainie Grant; the project’s builder Greg Schnopp and its Architect of Record Mark Smith.

Trustee Jeannene Booher and volunteer Sally Soluri; BBG’s education coordinator Bridgette Stone with trustee Kip Towl and Margot Towl.

Two examples of handmade wreaths available at this year’s auction.

Liz Murray, Michael Pulitzer and trustees Ramelle Pulitzer and Mary Copeland; William and Mari Binne.

Dorthe Hviid, BBG’s director of horticulture, with John Zutter; donors Marcia Feuer, Matt Larkin and Kate Morris.

Trustee Mark Walker, Tania Walker and the Garden’s director, Michael Beck; Jock and Jytte Brooks with trustee KK Zutter.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/03/17 at 08:27 PM • Permalink

Berkshire Film And Media Collaborative Encourages Shop Talk

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. It almost felt like a behind-the-scenes Hollywood on the Housatonic at the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative networking event on Wednesday, Nov. 29. There are a large number of film and media professionals in our part of the world, and a substantial group of them showed up at Bright Ideas Brewing in North Adams, Mass. to engage in trade talk and, of course, craft beer. Many of them were first-time attendees at a BFMC event, validating the collaborative’s assertion that there’s a new momentum building in a growing local industry. “We want to keep more people in western Mass,” said executive director Diane Pearlman, and to that end, the organization creates educational, workforce and production opportunities for those in the film industry who want to live and work in the region. [Above, Board of Advisor members Joe Finnegan and John Whalan flank Diane Pearlman, executive director of the BFMC.]

Emily Jawadekar, who has recently moved to Amherst, and Jesse Freidin, who specializes in photographing the human-animal bond; Freelance writer/editor Robin Catalano, Nannina Gilder and costume designer Sarah Goethe-Jones.

Paige Carter, who works in set dressing and decoration, and Laura Gratz, the BFMC’s administrative director.

Film industry professionals Ramona Fabregas, Poppy Wanamaker and Jeremiah Murray.

Joe Aidonidis, a documentary filmmaker, and Doug Jones, executive director of Images Cinema; Networking group in an E.F. Hutton huddle.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/03/17 at 12:38 PM • Permalink

An Evening Of Whimsy: Berkshire Museum’s 2017 Festival Of Trees

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Whether you’re 5 years old or 85 years young, Berkshire Museum’s annual Festival of Trees exhibition elicits true holiday joy in all who experience it. This year’s show, entitled Whimsical, Wonderful Festival of Trees, opened with its signature reception on Friday, Nov. 17. Guests enjoyed oodles of noodles and other snacks from Chef Laura Shack of Firefly in Lenox, surreal live music from Hudson, New York’s C. Ryder Cooley, signature cocktails, colorful masks and balloon creations from Bowey the Clown. Tree sponsors were asked to conceal an item in their creations so guests can search them out in a game inspired by the I-SPY books. Criterion hid an orange eyeball, Canyon Ranch hid dragon eggs, Cross Insurance hid sleepy dust, and exhibit sponsor Hill Engineers hid Tinkerbell. This year’s Festival of Trees will be up until Jan. 7, 2018.

Cindy Perrea, of exhibit sponsor Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, with Sandi Sakowski; Stockbridge Library director Katherine O’Neil and her son Leo.

Eric Mabee, Jen Hines of exhibit sponsor Berkshire Magazine, board president Buzz McGraw and Rachel Melendez Mabee; Eric and Tess Barriere.

Graphic designer Sara Paul, Mike Dowling, Joe McCauley, Jesse Tobin McCauley, Noel Henebury and Mika Saarela.

Cassey Santos-China and Sharon Smith of Kimball Farms make the opening party an annual event; Berkshire County Arc staff pose in front of their tree: Jose Taveras, Morgan Jasewicz, Crossroads Center director Donna Williams and her husband Michael Williams.

Leah Thompson, Jayme Kurland and Aliyah; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.

Stephanie Merwin, Jen Kerwood, Olivia Kinne, Pat Davis and Kim Kinne.

Ryan Keegan and Rebecca Wehry; Maris Nichols [center] with her aunt, Dorothy Demick, and her father, Art Nichols.

Josh Pisano, Aimee Lescarbeau-Knysh, Harry Potter and Chris Knysh; Bowey the Clown twists up a good time.

Penelope Mitchell, Sarah Mitchell, Bridjet Cebula, Michela Juras and Mila Juras, all with NBT Bank.

Laurie Tierney checks on Dory & Ginger‘s tree; Guests search for clues hidden among the trees.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/17 at 10:23 AM • Permalink

With Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Rural Intelligence focuses on a four-county region, but the philanthropic nature of our residents often brings other parts of the world into our own universe. Case in point: Susie Weekes-Roeder, a dynamo who runs a Berkshire-based staging business and serves as a Construct board member, decided to start a Montessori-based school adjacent to an orphanage in South Africa…and did it. Now a 501 (c) 3 organization, the Indwe Learning Center (named for the national bird) in Illovo, South Africa sits on the border of the Mother of Peace orphanage, which cares for children who have been impacted by the AIDS crisis. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marketplace in Great Barrington, Mass., Weekes-Roeder introduced the school’s head, Iris Canham, who was in town for a week to help raise funds for the Center. Both women spoke about the Center’s mission: a commitment to educate, empower and engage the children, many of whom come from “child-headed households.” It was hard to hold back tears upon learning about the children, and invitations to visit the Center in South Africa suddenly seemed tempting. “Once you meet these kids, there’s no turning back,” said one board member who has spent time at Indwe. [Above, Iris Canham, head of the school, with actor local resident and Indwe supporter Jayne Atkinson.]

Sue Schwarz, an Indwe supporter, and Hope Fitzgerald, who serves on Indwe’s board of governors; Heather Flemming, a website consultant, and Chris Ryan, treasurer of Indwe’s board of governors.

Lisa Frankel, Jayne Atkinson, realtor Deborah Levinson, Elaine Silberstein and photographer Larry Frankel, all fervent supporters of Indwe’s mission.

Susie Weekes-Roeder with Shirley Blanchard and Steve Blanchard; Indwe Learning Center’s brochure illustrates its work, “From Tragedy to Triumph.”

Writer Monica Bossinger and Charlie Weekes, son of Susie Weekes; Diane Gentry from New Jersey and Elizabeth Olenbush from Mill River.

Don Roeder, retired professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at Bard Colleges and member of Indwe’s board, with Kerry Millikin and Suzi Peel, vice chair, who spearheaded the first World AIDS Conference.

The slide show opened a window into the life and children at Indwe Learning Center in South Africa; Susie Weekes-Roeder delivers a passionate and moving plea for support.

Karen Mercer and Diane Dillon stand beside a display of beaded jewelry and other artwork created by the children at Indwe.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/18/17 at 01:20 PM • Permalink

PS21 Invites A Crowd To Help Celebrate Its New Home

Amy Krzanik reports from Chatham. At long last, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS21) was able to hold a fundraising gala inside its very own building. On Saturday, Nov. 11, supporters flocked to tour the brand-new black box theater and to help PS21 and its director Judy Grunberg celebrate its completion. Two years in the making, the theater stands near the site where a saddle-span tent welcomed visitors every summer for the past 12 years. Unlike the tent, which was erected and torn down each season, the theater offers both a permanent indoor and an outdoor performance space. A packed house was treated to Kind of Blue by members of PS21 favorite Parsons Dance that was tweaked especially for the occasion. Jeff Loshinsky Catering impressed with passed appetizers, a ramen noodle bar, a grilling station, a dessert bar and more. Lincoln Mayorga bookended the evening with piano improvisations, and singer-guitarist Rory Block performed as a surprise treat.

Jack Shear, Rebecca Josue and Fabrizio Caputo; Annie Brody, executive director the Chatham Film Club, with Tamarack Garlow, Gary Bernstein and Dale Bernstein.

Author Emily McCully, writer Elizabeth Hess, Peter Biskind of FilmColumbia and Evan Stoller, the architect behind PS21’s new theater; Shawn Lesniak, Zoey Anderson and Geena Pacareu of Parsons Dance.

Judy Grunberg [far right] poses with those responsible for bringing the new theater to life.

Linda Sugin, Anthony Calnek, Jess Fardella and gala co-chair Marcia Fardella; NY Assemblymember Didi Barrett is flanked by Derek Grout and Ashley Hartka of Harvest Spirits Distillery, who offered tastes to the crowd.

Abby Laufer, Ed Grossman and Gwen Gould were there to show their love for Judy Grunberg; Live music was performed by pianist Lincoln Mayorga, here with his son Juan Carlos.

Singer-guitarist Rory Block stopped for a surprise performance.

Larry Salzman, Bob Blechman and Trudi Roth; Judy Grunberg and David Parsons raise their glasses.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/13/17 at 06:17 PM • Permalink

Celebration, Renewed Commitment At Berkshires NAACP Dinner

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Some people would have you believe that we are living through the worst time in America’s history. The present, however, is best viewed through the lens of the past. Anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise discussed this topic and others during his keynote speech at the NAACP Berkshire County Branch’s annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Itam Lodge. The United States has always had a racism problem, and through worse times than these, people have banded together to fight against it. There’s no reason to stop now. To that end, the NAACP honored three local leaders who show us how that can be done. Wray Gunn, Sr. received the Paul Robeson Freedom Award for his lifetime commitment to the Berkshires and his work with the African-American Heritage Trail, Clinton Church Restoration, Friends of DuBois committee and the Sheffield Historical Society. Shirley Edgerton received the Mary McLeod Bethune Freedom Award for co-founding the Rites of Passage and Empowerment (R.O.P.E.) program for girls, being an active member of the local Women of Color Giving Circle and the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, and for her work as a cultural competency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools. The Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner Freedom Award was given to John Bissell, president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, to honor his work as a true community partner instrumental in making sure opportunities are available to all. Proceeds from the dinner benefit area students through college scholarships and an upcoming trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. [Shown left, Tim Wise and Berkshires NAACP president Dennis Powell.]

Wray Gunn with Carol Stroll and Lenny Kates; Shirley Edgerton and her daughter, Jernee Edgerton.

Erin Sullivan, Churchill Cotton and Pittsfield city councilor Melissa Mazzeo; John Bissell with his parents, Nancy and George Bissell.

AJ Enchill, a district aide for Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds, with Catherine Van Bramer, an executive assistant to Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, and city councilor Pete White; Brett Westbrook and Roberta McCullough-Dews.

Gisselle and Tariq Pinkston; Roberta Russell, Carolyn Oppenheim, Bonnie MacCracken and Mass. State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, Wayne Gunn and Amy Diamond; Bill Wright, Darcie Sosa and Kathie Penna.

Mass. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli with Allyce Najimy, and Pittsfield city councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Tony Simonelli; Luci Leonard, an advisor for Multicultural BRIDGE and attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/06/17 at 01:54 PM • Permalink

Costumes, Cocktails, Caviar…And Art…At L’Atelier Gallery

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. You can’t expect Halloween in the Berkshires to be anything less than artful, and that was fully expressed at L’Atelier Berkshires Art Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 29. Gallerist Natalie Tyler took advantage of the Halloween spirit by combining a come-as-you-please party with an art salon and made it work. Amidst hors d’oeuvres (including caviar and pâté “stations” arranged by Torrey Oates of Amuse Culinary Events) and cocktails, glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs spoke about their work, describing their inspiration and techniques, as did painter Michael Allen Lowe. Every couple of minutes, the door creaked open and, from the pouring rain outside, an alter ego of some sort or another stepped into the gallery to be admired by the guests. And if you don’t think it’s a little disconcerting having a conversation with a big toad head, you ought to try it some time. [Above, gallery owner Natalie Tyler and Adam Zamberletti, a.k.a. The Big Lebowski.]

Krysia Kurzyca, an artist and farmer who founded Medicine Buddha Gardens, and Alex Brink, a culinary artist; Misha Gomberg, who is on the staff of Turn Park, and Eric Smith of Eric’s Great Gardens.

The featured artists: glass artists Iva Kalikow and Debora Coombs, with painter Michael Allen Lowe.

Lenny Kalikow as Mr. Toad, in a head he had made 30 years ago (which he used to try to get on the David Letterman show); creepy eyeballs swimming in a blood-red punch.

Live Brazilian jazz provided by Vita Kay and Michael Junkins.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/30/17 at 02:39 PM • Permalink

Berkshire Humane Society’s 25th Birthday Bash

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. The biggest change the Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) has seen in its 25 years might be the huge decrease in its clientele. But that’s great news! The clients in this case are dogs, cats, birds, goats and other animals in need, and the work BHS has done since 1992 has more than halved the amount of homeless pets in our region. To celebrate this milestone and its 25th birthday, the organization threw a party on Sunday, October 22 at The Colonial Theatre. News10 meteorologist and Pet Connection host Steve Caporizzo helped BHS honor its veterinary partners and raise funds for its programming with a live segment of Pet Connection and an onstage auction. The money raised will support the BHS satellite shelter, Purradise, in Great Barrington; humane education for children and adults; the Ken Freeburg Fund, which pays for treatment for animals who enter the shelter with health problems; and the SafePet Program, which provides temporary care for the pets of people in crisis.

Mark Heyer and Mary Shogry-Heyer with Steve Caporizzo; Stacey Carver, director of Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S., with Allen Harris of major sponsor Berkshire Money Management and BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski.

BHS executive director John Perreault with board president Cindy Bartlett and Marsha Weiner, co-founder of Catwalk; volunteer Sandy Haywood poses with Dakota, a dog she fostered and then adopted.

Barry Clairmont, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, Allison Johnson Krol and Pittsfield city councilor John Krol.

Lisa Ressler, Camille Nugai and BHS board member Sheila Labarbera all represented major sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union; Cindy and Jeff Caminiti and Catwalk volunteer Melissa Bye take a moment to pet Gabby.

Julie Macdonald, Valerie Ross and Monique and James Blake of sponsor Allegrone; board member Tracy DiSilva with board vice president Fred Pomerantz.

Guests were treated to a live Pet Connection with BHS adoption counselor Lindsay Hermanski and host Steve Caporizzo.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/23/17 at 11:05 AM • Permalink