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Parties & Openings

Nov. 18  - Pittsfield
Berkshire Museum Tree Fest

Nov. 17 - Lenox
Multicultural BRIDGE Awards

Nov. 15 - Torrington
NWCT Arts Council Awards

Festival of Trees 2016: Berkshire Museum Goes Full Glamour

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. If you roll out the red carpet, the stars will come. All the big names were out on South Street on Friday, Nov. 18 as Berkshire Museum opened its 2016 Festival of Trees with an annual preview party. Now Playing, this year’s movie-themed exhibit, attracted famous faces from the Berkshires and the literal beyond – Charlie Chaplin and Joan Rivers made special appearances. As always, guests were treated to a first look at the trees as they sipped and snacked. And, because a trip to the movie theater isn’t complete without candy and popcorn, both were offered in abundance. The trees are sponsored by businesses, schools and community groups, and proceeds from the exhibition and opening event go toward the Museum’s 20,000-plus education programs each year. Now Playing will be up until Dec. 31.

Berkshire Museum’s executive director Van Shields and wife, artist Peggy Rivers, pose with Charlie Chaplin; Cara Carroll and Laurie Tierney of Dory & Ginger.

Bill and Hinda Bodinger of Berkshire Baby Box pose next to their tree; Judy Fox, Uli Nagel, Anne Legêne and the museum’s development manager Lo Sottile.

The flashbulbs go off for A-listers Kimberly Donoughe, James Campagna, Cassandra Sohn and Alex Sohn as they pose on the step and repeat.

Jen Hines, board member Bill Hines and the Museum’s Nina Garlington; Marc Wrzesinski and Nicolette Cook.

Bernadette Webb, Nicole Lewis and Liz Goclowski; Joan Rivers (Elaine Chez) greeted guests upon their arrival.

Joanne Keefe and her mother, Rosie Keefe, try to never miss a Festival of Trees; Josie Buzzanco and Bob Pothier.

Michael Vincent Bushy and Aliyah Klepetar at her first Festival of Trees; Carly Gaherty, Porter Wincuinas and Jenn Gomez.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/28/16 at 09:47 AM • Permalink

Multicultural BRIDGE Honors Members Of The Community

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” reads the quote on the button that Berkshire County resident Tommie Hutto-Blake carries in her pocket. The sentiment, attributed to cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, serves as both a reassurance and a call to arms for grassroots organizations seeking change. One such group of citizens is Multicultural BRIDGE, a Lee, Mass. based organization that promotes mutual understanding and acceptance among diverse groups. BRIDGE held its annual awards ceremony at Kripalu on Friday evening, Nov. 17, where it debuted its Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award. McIntosh [pictured left with award recipient Alex Leonard], a feminist and anti-racism activist, gave the evening’s keynote address before her namesake award was given to Reverend Natalie Shiras, Eugenie Sills and Marcia Savage. Additionally, the Cultural Competence Award was given to Wuane Johnstone, Dr. Jennifer Michaels, Marlena Willis and Ty Allan Jackson; the MaryAnn and Bob Norris Community Stewardship Award was given to Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn and John Bissell; the Young Activist Award to Alex Leonard and Elizabeth Orenstein; and the Servant Leadership Award to Hutto-Blake and Nataly Garzon. Senator-elect Adams Hinds read proclamations honoring the recipients from both the Mass. State Senate and Board of Representatives, and the evening concluded with an intimate yet rousing performance from beloved singer Wanda Houston and her band. You can read more about each award recipient on the Multicultural BRIDGE facebook page.

BRIDGE co-founder and executive director Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant with Nataly Garzon; interim vice president Carmen Dockery Perkins, Rev. Natalie Shiras and Marcia Savage.

Wuane Johnstone and Marlena Willis, board president of the Samuel Harrison House; Tommie Hutto-Blake and Elizabeth Orenstein.

Bret Vaks with board members Samantha Herrick and Stephen Glick, and board chairperson Eden-Reneé Hayes.

Adams Hinds and Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant; CATA‘s Margaret Keller and artist Terry Wise.

Casey Jones and Jay Wise, dentists in Lee, Mass. who are BRIDGE sponsors; Alex Leonard with his mother, Luci Leonard, and father, Reginald Leonard, Sr.

Jean Clarke-Mitchell, clinical director at the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP; JV Hampton-VanSant, BRIDGE’s youth coordinator, with the organization’s Safara Fisher.

Wanda Houston and her band provided the post-ceremony tunes.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/20/16 at 07:51 PM • Permalink

NWCT Celebrates Excellence In The Arts

Rachel Louchen reports from Torrington. Torrington’s illustrious Warner Theatre welcomed artists, writers, photographers, non-profits, philanthropists and devoted cultural volunteers, all of whom make the Connecticut art scene so rich and vibrant. On Tuesday, Nov. 15 the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council honored members of their community (as well as businesses organizations) that have made huge strides in raising awareness about the arts and culture in the region. The third annual event (there was no regional recognition for those involved in the cultural community in northwest Connecticut prior to 2014) awarded artist Danielle Mailer, historian Ed Kirby, accomplished volunteer Diane Dubreuil, the arts-education organization ASAP, and Litchfield Distillery/Crystal Rock Water, a business that supports numerous cultural organizations. New this year was the surprise lifetime achievement award, which went to Connecticut state representative Roberta Willis [here with NWCT Arts Council executive director Amy Wynn] who also served as the master of ceremonies.

Council board member Jennifer Terzian and Litchfield Jazz Fest executive/artistic director Vita Muir; Connecticut Community Foundation’s John Long and Martha Bernstein with Eileen Marriott, museum director of Kid’s Play.

Maureen Dore and Ali Psomas of After School Arts Program (ASAP) which was one of the night’s honorees; chairman of The Institute For American Indian Studies Edward White, Torrington Historical Society executive director Mark McEachern and curator Gail Kruppa.

Ann Merriam Feinberg, Mattatuck Museum director Robert Burns and Five Points Gallery executive director Judith McElhone, who was honored by the council last year.

SingOut! CT artistic director Alecia Evans and Miles Finch Innovation founder and CEO Anthony Vengrove; Brandon Brownlee and artist Krista Narciso.

Karen Olsen, Barbara Russ and Pam Vogel, assistant superintendent for Region One Schools; artist Michael Quadland, longtime Arts Council board member Pam Baker and Nancy Newton.

Steffen Coleman, director of culture for the state of Connecticut Kristina Newman-Scott and Lynn Gelormino, executive director of the Warner Theatre.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/18/16 at 09:27 AM • Permalink

PS21 Gala Celebrates New Building, Year-Round Programming

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. It’s an exciting off season for PS21 in Chatham, New York. After 11 summers of performances under a tent, PS21 will offer year-round programing in its brand new theater. The indoor-outdoor structure designed by architect Evan Stoller was a big milestone to celebrate at PS21’s gala on Saturday, Nov. 12. The event was held at Time and Space Limited in Hudson and featured a performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company. There was something special about having PS21’s President Judy Grunberg and TSL’s Linda Mussmann and Claudia Bruce together. Their influence on, and patronage of, the performing arts in Columbia County is hard to overstate. Now we can’t wait for the opening gala for the new building itself. [Above, Mussmann, Grunberg and Bruce.]

Architect of PS21’s new theater Evan Stoller and Phyllis Stoller. (Stoller has created a building that works as an indoor-outdoor large theater in warm weather and converts into an intimate black box in colder months.) Robert Kettenmann, Marilyn Wiles-Kettenmann and Jim Kelly.

The evening’s performers, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, with Monica Bill Barnes & Company’s creative producing directer Robert De Viteri and Jenney Shamash.

Real estate agents Susan B. Anthony and Sarah Sterling, also a Hudson city supervisor; Laura Miller, director of Perfect Ten After School, with Sam Chapin, Gwen Gould and New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett.

PS21 board member Marcia Fardella, artist Pops Peterson and Jess Fardella.

Meg Cashen and Joanne Del Rossi; PS21 membership and box office manager and education coordinator Melony Spock, John Porritt and Mia Porritt.

Joan Bloomburg and executive directer of the Chatham Film Club Annie Brody; president of The Ghent Playhouse Kelly Mackerer and PS21 operations manager and social media director Sam Reilly.

Executive director of the Francis Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice Cheryl Roberts, with Mussmann and Bruce; Sheldon Evans, John Stein and Margaret Davidson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 11/14/16 at 12:38 PM • Permalink

Now Playing: Images Cinema Turns 100 Years Old

Amy Krzanik reports from Williamstown. On November 30, 1916, Walden Theatre on Spring Street in Williamstown screened its very first film, a William S. Hart western called The Patriot. One hundred years later, the oldest movie theater in New England, now known as Images Cinema, is still going strong. To mark this momentous anniversary, guests gathered just a couple of blocks down the street, at The Log, on Friday, Nov. 11 to celebrate with past and present Images board members and staff, film fans and other supporters from the Northern Berkshire community. Attendees were encouraged to dress as their favorite movie characters, pose in the photo booth, and dance to the sounds of DJ Hush. Executive director Doug Jones and board president Sam Crane spoke of highlights from the theater’s distant past (popcorn wasn’t served in the early days of screenings, as that would have been too loud, distracting and seen as “beneath” the theater-going experience), its recent past (in 1989, a group that included actor Christopher Reeve raised funds to save the theater) and its future (Images, now a nonprofit, hopes to raise $100,000 during its 100th birthday year.) [Above: popcorn girl Charlotte Sanford.]

Images former director Daniel Wallace, Erica Schmitz and “Disgust” – characters from the film Inside Out; the cinema’s current executive director, Doug Jones, with former director Sandra Thomas (and her popcorn shawl), and board president Sam Crane.

Monica Mackey, Paul Poulin, Cindy Poulin and Gintare Everett; Anna Moriarty-Lev and Greg Howard as Bonnie and Clyde.

Lucy Rollins with Images staff member Emily Edwards and board vice chair Brent Heeringa; Daniel Beck, former board member Emily Banner and Stellan a.k.a. Harry Potter.

David and Karen Bond pay homage to Fight Club; as do their friends Suzy Helme and Brian Miksic, here with Shawn Rosenheim, a former board member, and Jennifer Z.

Matt Neely and Margo Neely, Amanda Bayliss, Jennifer Bayliss and Janie Strachan; Thelma and Louise, as played by Tiffany Kuzia and Jennifer Lemieux.

Eric Kerns and Molly Kerns; former board chair John Strachan makes a great Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything.

Before becoming a nonprofit, Images was run by longtime owners Donna and Don Fisher, here with David Blair, who has worked at the cinema since 1985; Leslie Paisley, Beth Carlisle and Robin Brickman.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/14/16 at 10:44 AM • Permalink

Food And Drink Were Flowing At Guido’s Housewarming

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. If ever there was a day to make a Guido’s Fresh Marketplace run, it was Saturday, Nov. 12, when everyone’s favorite marketplace held a housewarming party to celebrate its newly expanded store. But it was almost impossible not to stay awhile, explore the store’s new, more spacious layout and enjoy nibbles from Guido’s kitchen as well as local vendors whose products are sold in store. Companies offering samples included Six Depot Roastery, Tierra Farm, Four Fat Fowl and Chocolate Springs. There were wine and cheese tastings in La Grotta, Guido’s new cheese department, smoothie samplings out of Guido’s Café and consultations with a Jane Iredale makeup artist. So many of us rely on Guido’s to supply us with provisions for our own entertaining, and the store’s owners and employees showed that they are perhaps the best party givers of all. [Above: Three generations of the Masiero family, owners of Guidos, include Chris, Dawn, Anna and Matt, with proud Renie in front, wearing an apron sporting a photo of her late husband, the store’s namesake.]

Kate Burke, cheesemonger at La Grotta, a cheese shop showpiece, with Chris Masiero; Lena Leonardsson, tea section manager and demonstrator at the Great Barrington store, sets out samples of products from Italy.

Lisa Zeleny, the store’s wellness buyer, with Rachel Alves, Guido’s dietician.

Elisa Mason came from New Lebanon to check out the new store, with Sunah Park, a lawyer; Mary Beth Holmes, Sarah Capalbo and Cassidy Lewis are thrilled with the new space in the Bella Flora section of the store.

Clea Fowler, manager of the Chef Shop in Great Barrington, chats with Renie Masiero.

Kim Ostellino, aka Berkshiregirl, with her daughter, Ella Ostellino; Kathryn Benner and Libby Moritz of Sheffield.

Mary DeMaranviolle and Steve O’Malley enjoy the mulled apple cider.

Andrew Bartlett of Tierra Farm can’t get the samples out fast enough; Alicia Aldan, Guido’s human resources manager, serves hot cider and panettone.

Andreea Duta, a member of the Guido’s Kitchen staff and Dawn Masiero take their turn plating the Thanksgiving tasting menu.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/13/16 at 12:28 PM • Permalink

Made In The Berkshires Honors One Of Our Own

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. For the sixth year of the Made in the Berkshires festival – a three-day showcase of theater, music, dance, visual arts, filmmaking and the written word – the opening night was preceded by a gala honoring one of the Berkshires’ most notable talents and a fervent supporter of the arts, Karen Allen. At the Colonial Theatre on Friday, Nov. 11, guests arrived for a cocktail hour and a chance to peruse the visual art installation, CROP, before sitting down for a dinner catered by Kate Baldwin. Throughout the meal, select attendees stood to speak about Karen; friends, former costar James Naughton and even her ex-husband all mentioned her kindness, hard work and above all, total devotion and love for living in, and producing creative work in, the Berkshires. Post-dinner, Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims, co-creators of the festival, announced the night’s entertainment, a performance that highlighted the upcoming weekend’s activities. [Above, Karen Allen is flanked by longtime friend Tim Lovett and Barbara Schulman.]

Artist Michael King’s piece appears in the visual art portion of Made in the Berkshires; Rebecca Weinman and Carrie Wright curated the visual artwork for the second year; Jenna Lanpher’s husband’s work appears in the show.

Gretchen Court and Made in the Berkshires co-chair Mary Mott; The Colonial Theatre’s general manager Kait Stinchcomb and fellow staffer Ashlei Perkins.

Gwenn Evitts with Berkshire Theatre Group artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire, and Lydia Mongiardo; Berkshire Theatre Group’s Tara Kalish and event sponsors David and Wende Carver.

Tom Potter, Dan Mathieu, owner of Max Ultimate Food, Frits Abell and Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality Group.

The pre-performance dinner in the Colonial Theatre’s Garage; Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative executive director Diane Pearlman toasts to the honoree and speaks about their longtime friendship and work on the upcoming Berkshires-based short, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.

Berkshire Medical Center chief operating officer Diane Kelly and John Kelly; Lou Boxer, Molly Boxer and Dan Mathieu.

Barbara Sims and Hilary Somers Deely begin the show.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/11/16 at 10:08 PM • Permalink

The Housatonic Valley Association Toasts To Clean Water

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington. Protecting our environment and clean water sources has been an ongoing project for The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) for over 25 years. On Sunday, November 6, the organization’s annual auction fundraiser returned for the 26th year to benefit the Housatonic River and its watershed. Held at the Washington Primary School, the popular event frequently sells out, which may have a little something to do with the event chair, Christine Baranski (above, flanked by HVA executive director Lynn Werner and event organizer Mary Beth Lawlor) and a lot to do with the fervent support from Washington and the surrounding towns. HVA protects rivers and streams from the river’s source in Massachusetts to Long Island Sound by monitoring water quality and flow, preventing pollution, managing the shoreline and buffer planting. Funds were easily raised by the awe-inspiring auction items including tickets to Late Night with Seth Meyers and a meet-and-greet with honorary event co-chair Seth Meyers himself, private studio visit of another honorary co-chair, Diane von Furstenberg’s Manhattan headquarters and a five-night stay in Tuscany. To date, HVA is also responsible for saving 5,000 acres of wetlands, farmlands and forests in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Former land protection director Elaine Labella has been involved with HVA since 1994, and her wife, Ann Sherwood has also been volunteering for just as long, with development director Richard Sears.

Jenn Pote and Annie Musso of After School Arts Program (ASAP); Richard and Susan Forrest.

Auction volunteer Darilyn Woods, auctioneers Greg Strahm and Tim Luke and Dermot Woods; Andrew and Annelise Osborne, here with Sunday Fisher, attend the auction every year.

Ali Psomas and Stacey Dillard of After School Arts Program (ASAP) and Molly Peterson.

Auction volunteers Michele Battaglia and Paul Bonanno; Joan Laucius and Sharon Danosky.

Mary Beth Lawlor and honorary co-chair Judy Auchincloss, realtor at Klemm Real Estate; Peter Eckert and Peter Goldman.

John Michael Murphy and honorary co-chair, fashion designer Linda Allard.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/06/16 at 04:00 PM • Permalink