Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Monday, January 22, 2018
Search Archives:
Newsletters Signup
Close it
Get The New App!

Newsletters Signup
Close it

RI Archives: Parties

View all past Party articles.

RI on Facebook    RI on Instagram       




Parties & Openings

Jan. 13 – Egremont
Ghostlit Theatre Company

Dec. 6 – Torrington
Five Points Martini Tasting

Dec. 1 – Stockbridge
BBG's Center House Debut

Into The Woods With The Ghostlit Repertory Theatre Company

Rachel Louchen reports from Egremont. The GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company is new in name but not experience, returning to the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn for its second production after a roaring success last summer. On Saturday, Jan. 13, the theater company hosted a winter gala with drinks followed by a production of the Sondheim favorite “Into the Woods.” It was produced by [above left] Caitlin Teeley, Harrison Lang (both of whom directed) and Gigi Teeley, who also starred as Jack’s Mother, Cinderella’s Mother and Granny. This was the original team behind last summer’s production of “Spring Awakening,” the company’s first. “Spring Awakening” sold out nine times, as did “Into the Woods.” A production of “Cabaret” is being planned for this spring, also at the Egremont Village Inn.

Kelsea Beck stars as the Baker’s Wife, Mary Ellen Devanny and Mandy Harrington; Leslie Shatz, Steve Shatz and Rich Petrino.

Elizabeth Cadorette and Samantha Burdick; Jordan Cahill, Rachel Cahill and Zoe Cahill.

House manager Matthieu Boudreau, lighting designer Izzy Philkins and Jackson Teeley, who has three parts in the production including Cinderella’s Prince; house manager Elinor Cherin, Brianna Nicola as Little Red Riding Hood and Julia Murphy.

John Monteverde and Krysten St. John are both drama teachers with students in the production; Julia Ray and Maya Falconi.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Rachel Louchen on 01/14/18 at 02:43 PM • Permalink

Martini Tasting Party Boosts Torrington FISH And Five Points Gallery

CB Wismar reports from Torrington. Billed as “festive and very merry,” the Dec. 6 “Deck The Halls” Martini Tasting Party hosted by Five Points Gallery certainly lived up to its promotion. Revelers bought tickets for the opportunity to sample, mix and mingle with fellow partygoers amid the stunning artwork at the gallery. Five Points’ mission, beyond being an active gallery presenting professional artists, is to nurture artists and empower a diverse community. FISH NWCT (Friends in Service to Humanity of Northwestern Connecticut, Inc.), the other gala beneficiary, provides the most basic human needs — food, shelter and hope — by supplying a safe and secure haven for families, individuals and veterans. A silent auction table enticed guests to add to the evening’s festivities, and an exhaustive display of cocktail shakers collected by Tim Bouthillier inspired many nostalgic and appreciative comments. The big draw, however, was the amply stocked martini bar where guests could sample from a wide range of styles and flavors, all the while benefiting the local community. [Above: Judith McElhone, founding executive director of Five Points Gallery; Deirdre Houlihan DiCara, executive director of FISH NWCT, and Cara Houlihan Blazier, a volunteer with FISH.]

Rit O’Donald, owner of the Ritz Crystal Room in Torrington, Carol O’Donald and George Craig; Sharyn Nickelson, Aaron Kovalchik, Tim Bouthillier, cocktail shaker collector, and Mike Kovalchik.

“Let’s Talk Torrington” editor Ed Cannata, Pennie Steinberg and Stacey Caren.

Kathy Corsetti, Anne Marchand, Jeff Geddes and Sheila L’Vain; Guests enjoy a well-stocked martini bar.

Just part of the collection from Tim Bouthillier’s “The Art of the Cocktail” display of martini shakers.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 01/01/18 at 10:58 AM • Permalink

The Most Memorable Parties of 2017

There’s nothing we at RI love more than covering the region’s galas; it’s the perfect opportunity to visit with wonderful old friends, meet interesting new ones, and taste the delicious food and drink produced right here at home. That’s why picking only a handful of parties for our year-end wrap-up is always so difficult. We’d like to thank the residents of this region for being so generous with their time, talent and funding of organizations that improve the quality of life in our area and make residing here a joy. Below is a sampling of the galas, gallery openings, fetes and festivals that make our jobs so fun. (Click here to relive all of 2017’s parties.)

Studio 54 Disco Redux
The Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Legends” gala attracted one of the best-dressed crowds of the season. Dressed to the nines in ‘60s and ‘70s glam, attendees celebrated NRM’s summer exhibit, “Inventing America: Rockwell & Warhol” with family members of both artists and a Studio 54 dance party.

A Fete To Honor Farmers
Hopkins Vineyards in Warren hosted this year’s Farmer’s Table event, where the tables are turned and it’s the farmers who are the guests. Ingredients from many of the 200-plus farms in Litchfield County are used by local chefs who donate their time to prepare a dinner that allows residents and farmers to get to know one another. 

Horses Lend A Helping Hoof
This year, RI covered a handful of people and organizations who are using their love and knowledge of horses to help others. One of them was The Equus Effect, a Sharon, Conn. nonprofit that empowers veterans to rebuild healthy relationships through engagement with horses. The organization got help from actor, playwright and veteran Stephan Wolfert and his one-man tour de force “Cry Havoc” during its fundraiser at Lakeville’s Quarry Hill Farm. 

All That Glitters Is Glass
Did you know that work by some of the best glass artists in the world can be seen right here in Stockbridge at Schantz Galleries? An October opening reception with collectors and artists was followed by dinner at the Red Lion Inn, right around the corner from this top-tier gallery. 

Rooms With A View
The Alliance for Positive Health’s annual Columbia–Greene Garden Party is always well-attended and the cause is one that many hold close to their hearts. An added draw is the venue — each year, the fundraiser is held at a different magical private property. This summer, more than 400 guests were able to tour the historic Claverack home and grounds of famed film director James Ivory. 

Fancy Feasting
Who would turn down the opportunity to enjoy lunch (and a Bloody Mary bar) on the lawn at Tanglewood? Not the crowd who attended Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC)s 4th annual Posh Picnic. This year’s honoree was Carl Sprague, a local whose work can been seen in the films “Twelve Years a Slave,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and” La La Land.” The designer and art director is used to working behind the scenes, but was the center of attention at this year’s fundraiser. 

Haute On The Hudson
Twinkling lights, lush foliage, green lawns that seemingly go on forever, magical Hudson River views, a mansion in the background: it’s easy to see why Bard College held its SummerScape Gala on the fairy tale-esque grounds of Montgomery Place for the second year in a row. This year’s fundraiser for The Fisher Center featured a one-night-only set by Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter and an after-party at the Spiegeltent hosted by Susanne Bartsch. 

Here We Grow
Hancock Shaker Village’s 2017 gala, the most well-attended in the non-profit’s history, began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the gardens, followed by a three-course dinner in the 1910 Barn. An after-party transformed the Round Stone Barn and surrounding lawn into a tropical paradise, complete with tiki torches, colorful cocktails, and food from Lucia’s Latin Kitchen.

The Pillow Is The Place
A sold out crowed helped Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival celebrate its 85th season with choreographer Liz Lerman, Miami City Ballet, dancer Sara Mearns, Company Wang Ramirez, dinner, a dance party and more surprises.

Building 6 Is A Big Deal
You’ve read about it in the NY Times,  Boston Globe, WSJ and in RI. It’s Building 6 at MASS MoCA and we were there, among thousands of others, at its grand opening. Here’ a look at new exhibits by Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg and others, plus pop-up performances and a concert by the band CAKE.

The Sylvia Center Turns 10
You’ll recognize The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm as one of RI’s recipe contributors, so you won’t be surprised to find out that its annual farm-to-table dinner in Kinderhook featured wonderfully unique foods such as smoked trout zucchini cups, forest mushroom mousse cornets and fermented grape leaves with goat cheese.

A New Place To “Park” It
This May, Turn Park Art Space, West Stockbridge’s new contemporary sculpture park and community gathering spot, opened to a large and eager crowd who came to walk the paths, take in the sites (both natural and man-made) and enjoy stories, songs and skits from Brooklyn’s Floating Tower.

Top Hat And Tales
April 22nd’s Proprietors Ball at Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House ushered in a new era for the venue and the city. The party, which officially opened the fully restored and renovated hall at the center of the city’s cultural life, included a ribbon cutting, cocktails, and great food and entertainment sourced from Hudson’s diverse and talented arts community.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/10/17 at 06:50 PM • Permalink

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.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

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.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

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.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

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.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

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.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

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