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Parties & Openings

Oct. 15 - North Adams
Nick Cave at MASS MoCA

Oct. 15 - North Adams
Ferrin's Dish + Dine

Oct. 8 - Hudson
CLC "Over The Moon" Gala

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Ferrin Contemporary Dishes + Dines With The Presidents

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary obviously scheduled the “Know Justice” exhibit to coincide with the presidential election season, but who knew the collection of works by Justin and Brooke Rothshank would be imbued with such significance? On Saturday, Oct. 15, a small group of artists, art collectors and gallery supporters gathered at the gallery space located on the MASS MoCA campus to meet artist Justin Rothshank and “Dish + Dine” with each other. Justin Rothshank’s Presidential Table features decal-printed ceramics depicting the 44 US presidents, and Brooke Rothshank’s finely drawn and carved portraits of the nine justices are displayed on Justin’s hand thrown and decorated platters. Guests were encouraged to choose one of the presidential mugs to use when the coffee came out, and it’s not hard to guess which president(s) got snapped up most quickly. The exhibition runs through November 13, allowing time to complete the table with a setting of the winning candidate. [Above, standing in front of the Supreme Court Justices, gallerist Leslie Ferrin is flanked by Pittsfield native Mark Leach, an arts writer and curator, and Laura Park-Leach, who live in North Carolina.]

Artists Kadri Parnamets and Sergei Isupov with Roosi Isupov; Elenor Wilson, editor of The Studio Potter, moderates a discussion with the exhibiting artist, Justin Rothshank. (Photo courtesy Graeme Sloan.)

Chris Rifkin, a collector and artist from Boston with Sandy Mitchell,  a collector who lives in Washington, D.C.

Portions of the collection on the Presidential Table.

Former Berkshire Museum director Stuart Chase, now at the History Miami Museum, with collector Ted Rowland; Place settings in waiting.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/17/16 at 04:17 PM • Permalink

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Nick Cave’s Immersive Exhibition, “Until,” Opens At MASS MoCA

Amy Krzanik reports from North Adams. The word “wow” has likely been heard thousands of times inside MASS MoCA’s galleries during the museum’s 17-year lifespan. The football field-sized Building 5 exhibition space can take some of the credit for this, as its vast proportions have allowed for some truly immersive artistic experiences. The most recent of these, Until by the American artist Nick Cave, opened on Saturday, Oct. 15 to much fanfare. To be honest, the fanfare started months earlier, as Cave fans eagerly awaited what the artist, known mostly for his wearable Soundsuits sculptures, would create in the massive space. The answer is an impressive show that turns everyday objects like beads, afghan quilts, ceramic tchotchkes, holiday decorations and more into wonderlands for the senses. For the ears, the museum offered a special performance inside the exhibit with gospel singer Brenda Wimberly, who stunned the crowd with her powerful soprano. Until will be up for a year, and will incorporate appearances by dancers, singer-songwriters, poets and composers, along with panel discussions, community forums and other events during its tenure, so check the MASS MoCA website often for updates. [Shown left, the artist with the exhibit’s curator, Denise Markonish, and Bob Faust, Cave’s studio/special projects director.

Pamela Tatge, director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, with museum board member Jim Hunter, his daughter Sarah Hunter, Berkshire Museum executive director Van Shields, Cathy Deely and artist Peggy Rivers; Arjun Koshal and Melissa Jun.

Nate Longcope, who worked on the video component of Until, with Emily Longcope and little Beatrice; Sabrina Wirth with artist Frank Jackson and Guy Hedreen.

Guests are greeted with a sea of colorful hanging metallic ornaments upon entrance to the Building 5 exhibition space.

Elissa Larabee and photographer Kate Miller; IS183‘s Carrie Wright, artist Mike King and photographer Bill Wright.

Williams College German professor Chris Kone with Elliot Krasnopoler and Nina Pelaez, an assistant curator at the Williams College Museum of Art; Lisa Havilah of CarriageWorks in Sydney, Australia, where Until will next be exhibited, with gallerist Jack Shainman.

Christine Costello and Anna Farrington; Denise Markonish with Michael Kusek and Stacey Kors of Take Magazine.

Jacqueline Treloar and Clover Powell have a laugh; Lindsey Whittle, one of Nick Cave’s former grad students, with Clint Basinger.

Christina Stott, Sam Davies of Albany Barn and Kate Dorwaldt; Stephanie Chang and Allen Penniman of Providence, Rhode Island.

Phyllis Criddle and Darcie Sosa; a closeup of what viewers will see upon climbing the stairs.

Beware of crocodiles at the top of the ladder; blue and silver tinsel undulates in the breeze in the upstairs gallery.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/17/16 at 12:47 PM • Permalink

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The Columbia Land Conservancy Is Thrilled To Be Thirty

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. The Columbia Land Conservancy was “Over the Moon,” as supporters packed the barn at Churchtown Dairy, a working biodynamic raw milk farm, on Saturday, Oct. 8 to raise money and to help the nonprofit celebrate its 30th anniversary. The event drew a lively sold-out crowd who enjoyed a feast prepared by Simons Catering, with many of the ingredients coming straight from Columbia County farms with conservation easements. A highlight of the evening was the keynote address by bestselling author and New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell [pictured left with Michael Albin of Hudson Wine Merchants and board member Amy Barr], who himself owns a home near Ancram and has placed the majority of his property under CLC easement. To date, the CLC has conserved more than 30,000 acres of farmland, forests and wildlife habitats for agricultural production, scenic beauty and recreation.

Current and founding trustee Michael Polemis with wife Barbara Polemis, who were event co-chairs; musician Jim Wann, Patricia Miller Wann and Ed Strong.

Board member Will Yandik with Jerry Cosgrove and board vice chair Chris Cashen; Jessica Renda, engineer Travis Tucker and mindfulness meditator Anne Renda.

Gary Katz, Suzette Masters, board member Seth Masters and Leslie Katz.

Joan K. Davidson, one of the evening’s honorary co-chairs, with NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Josephine Lea Iselin of the host committee; Andrew Goetz, Paul Cassidy, who is the new board chair at Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, and Vernon Evenson.

Chris Sansbury and host committee member Dawn Fratangelo, both of Old Chatham; Alex Sierck, Elizabeth Adams and Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising.

Conrad and Claudia Vispo of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program with Renato Valente and trustee emeritus Tony Cashen; a view of the tables from above.

Mary Jo Gibson and U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson with Tom and Nancy Clark of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.

Hanging from the rafters, a moon balloon provided ambience. As far as we could tell, no cows were seen jumping over it.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/09/16 at 09:14 PM • Permalink

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Literacy Network of South Berkshire Turns The Page On 25 Years

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I would say it’s the same for immigrants,” said Dr. Sukhpaul Mann as he accepted the Literacy Network of South Berkshire’s “Founder of America” award on behalf of everyone who has helped him along the way. Mann, an immigrant from India, and his fellow MD at Berkshire Medical Center, Dr. Tony Makdisi [shown left with his family], a Syrian immigrant, received the awards at LitNet’s 2016 gala on Saturday, Oct. 1 in front of a roomful of family, friends, co-workers and LitNet supporters at Berkshire Country Day School. The non-profit, now celebrating its 25th year, began as a free tutoring service for rural English-speaking non-readers. Over time, changing demographics shifted the need to one of mainly ESOL students, including many of the immigrants LitNet has honored with past “Founder” awards for their “strength of character and commitment to service” that has improved the lives of their neighbors. Additionally, a short film screened at each year’s gala takes a look at some of the organization’s students, past and present, and what important skills they bring to us here in the Berkshires. These include businesspeople; educators; philanthropists; doctors and nurses; chefs; and award-winning writers, musicians and innkeepers.

LitNet tutor Joan Yuri with Kripalu chef Robert Undu and Sylvana Proanio, a former LitNet student who was featured in the evening’s short film; Rosy and Sukhpal Mann.

Matt Vrabel and LitNet’s executive director Jennifer Hermanski with Cihan Karayagiz and Esra Dogan, English majors from Turkey who spent the summer in Great Barrington; Carolyn King, board member and gala co-chair Marianne Ellrodt and Carol Diamond.

Honoree Tony Makdisi and his extended family pose for a photo before dinner, catered by Peter Platt of The Old Inn on the Green.

LitNet students Jorge Aguilar, Milagro Diaz, who was featured in the evening’s film, and Julia Antunez; Rick Carpenter, Jennifer Galvagni, Diane DeGiacomo and photographer Jack Poore.

Isabelle Currie, Kristen Currie and Michael McHugh; Hussam Makdisi, Ram Muthavarapu and Kalpana Chilukuri.

Board member and tutor Leslie Murray, Lenox Chamber of Commerce president Rob Murray, tutor Sharon Schafler and Eric Schafler; Dan Stanyon, Ty Allan Jackson and Nichole Calautti.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 10/04/16 at 12:26 PM • Permalink

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Garden Conservancy Open Day Digs Deeper In Dutchess County

Lisa Green reports from Millbrook. On Saturday, Sept. 24, cars were criss-crossing Dutchess County country roads en route to some magnificent private gardens, courtesy of The Garden Conservancy’s Dutchess County Open Day. After a full day of garden immersion, some of those cars headed to a special Digging Deeper event, “A House in the Country - The Garden of Katie Ridder & Peter Pennoyer.” He is a renowned architect and she a sought-after interior designer, and they hosted a brief reception where they talked about the conception, design, decoration and landscaping of their new country house in Millbrook, New York. The one-of-a-kind Greek Revival home with lush woodland, flower and cutting gardens has been chronicled in a new book, “A House in the Country,” which was for sale in the minimalist pergola, with the couple standing by to autograph copies. [Above, Katie Ridder and Peter Pennoyer answer questions about their house and garden.]

Millbrook’s David Sloan, whose garden has been on the Open Days tour in the past, with Laura Palmer, vice president of the Open Days program; Katie Kerin, director of recruitment for Open Days with jewelry artist Simone Soernsen and Ken Selody of Atlock Farm.

The lush flower garden, a celebration of large-scale flowers and saturated color, as described by Katie Ridder.

Alison Meyer, former owner of Merritt Bookstore, and Kira Wizner, the current owner, selling the book penned by the hosts; Joseph Singer, architect Jim Joseph and composer Scott Frankel.

Design and upholstery professionals Jennifer Morvan and David Henderson.

Three Tozers (William, Katie and Jim) with Lois Mander; Jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski and Katie Kerin.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/29/16 at 10:02 PM • Permalink

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Straight From The Heart: Fairview Hospital’s 2016 Gala

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. The theme of the Saturday, Sept. 24 Fairview Hospital Gala, “You Gotta Have Heart,” was a nod to the Great Barrington hospital’s top-notch cardiology unit as well as a tribute to its president – and the evening’s honorary chair – Eugene “Gene” Dellea. A short film by Ben Hillman detailed recent advancements made to the cardiac care wing and spotlighted two local patients who benefited from them. Because Dellea declined to be honored, friends and co-workers orchestrated a few surprise guests to appear unbeknownst to him: Massachusetts Congressmen Richard Neal and Joseph Kennedy, III and Mrs. Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. They took the Mahaiwe stage with Dellea and Massachusetts State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli to share stories of Dellea’s long friendships with Ted and Robert Kennedy, to attest to his tireless efforts to help those in need and to congratulate him on his role in making Fairview a “Top Rural Hospital” for the past four years and garnering it a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. A pre-show reception catered by Marketplace and a performance by comedian and sitcom star Paul Reiser rounded out the evening. Gene Dellea, Maggie Merelle of Rouge Restaurant & Bistro, and Diane Pearlman and Jeff Diamond of Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative.

Mark DeCelle, Sabrina Ruggiero and Tina Chase; Peter Dillon and Diane Dillon.

Gala and Ad Journal committee members Dee Harnish and Fran Pemerlani; Alex Glover, Peter Puciloski and Susan and Jeff Menkes.

Congressman Richard Neal, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III, Mrs. Vicki Kennedy and Gene Dellea.

Michelle Derr, acupuncturist Marion Bergan Irwin and physician Thomas Irwin; retired judge Rudy Sacco with cardiologist Teresa Menendez, who was featured in the evening’s short film.

David Lazan, Bob Rodowicz, Gene Dellea, Darlene Rodowicz and Laurie and Pete Lamarre; Cindy Duryea, Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs (CHP), and Jodi Rathbun-Briggs, board president of CHP.

Sy Glaser, Bill Perlow and Steve Bernstein; Amy Butterworth of the Berkshire Botanical Garden, with Excelsior’s David Crane and Brian Butterworth of Main Street Hospitality Group.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/26/16 at 02:07 PM • Permalink

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Share The Wealth: BerkShares Celebrates A Decade

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Tin is traditionally associated with a 10-year anniversary, but for BerkShares, it was all about the paper. Berkshire County’s own local currency celebrated a decade of circulation and success at Prairie Whale on Friday, Sept. 23. In the fall of 2006, local banks began accepting federal currency and exchanging them for BerkShares, which can now be used at 400 participating businesses. The circulation encourages money to be spent in the region, boosting the economy and supporting local enterprises, while nurturing customers’ relationships with the business owners. Remarked Susan Witt, executive director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, in her toast, “BerkShares speaks to the independent spirit, creativity and character of the Berkshires.” [Above, board member Sierra Watson, with Rachel Moriarty, program assistant at Schumacher Center For New Economics, and BerkShares executive director Alice Maggio.]

Eliza Maggio, Ellen Maggio, arborist Ron Yaple and Will Ketchum; Sheffield residents Jane Nye and Chris Nye, who was an early supporter of BerkShares.

Former board member and current accountant for Berkshares Alan Glackman with Benes Glackman and Mark DeCelle; Anne MacDonald, director at the Schumacher Center, with the center’s librarian, Amelia Holmes.

Adam Hinds, the Democratic nominee for state senate from Western Mass., with BerkShares board member Catherine Chester and Alice Maggio.

Kathleen Larkin, who uses BerkShares, with board member Jon Green and photographer Cheryl Luft, who accepts BerkShares at her business; Chris and Stephanie Graham.

Dan Seitz, president of the Berkshire Co-Op board of directors, with Bill Nappo; ceramicist Dan Bellow is on the board of BerkShares, here with Jo Valens.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/23/16 at 10:27 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Grown Keeps The Farmers Farming

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. The Berkshires’ reputation for high-quality farms, food artisans and restaurants has truly been a group effort, though it’s safe to say Berkshire Grown has been a steadfast champion of the farm-to-table movement before that term even entered the lexicon. On Monday, Sept. 19, those farmers, restaurateurs, chefs and food producers, as well as dozens of hungry guests, turned out for the ever-popular Harvest Supper at Ski Butternut. The 18th year hosted 27 food vendors, mixed with some craft beer and spirits makers, to support the nonprofit that has been networking and advocating for farmers and promoting locally grown food for over 20 years. Always held right on the cusp of autumn, the event’s food offerings are inspired by the upcoming harvest, which gives new meaning to Share the Bounty. [Above, a party-goer fills his plate with housemade charcuterie from The Meat Market.]

Six Depot Roastery and Cafe owner’s Flavio Lichtenthal and Lisa Landry served their signature hand-roasted coffee; Mark Sena and architect Chris Blair flank excited first-time attendees Carl and Elise Hartman of Monterey.

Academy Award-winning producer Jerry Hellman, Berkshire Grown executive director Barbara Zheutlin and Elizabeth Hellman sit in front of board president Allison Rachele Bayles, Joan Mentzinger and Jim Mentzinger.

Indian Line Farm’s Elizabeth Keen, Hosta Hill owner Maddie Elling and Nicole Campanale; board member Hester Velmans and Ruth Dinerman.

Richard and Abby Tovell of T Square Design Studio flank Laura Gratz, administrative director at Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative; Steven Poots, sous chef, and cook Max Jodder from Allium Restaurant.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/19/16 at 09:04 PM • Permalink

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A Colorful Place: Blue Rider Stables At 25

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. There was plenty of laughter at Chesterwood on Saturday evening, Sept. 17, but also tears as those whose lives were changed for the better by Blue Rider Stables told their stories. Children and adults of all ages and abilities have been positively impacted by the non-profit organization, which is based in South Egremont, Mass. and strives to offer a therapeutic experience for both horses and riders. For its 25th anniversary, the Stables threw its first-ever gala, “A Horse of a Different Color,” to mark the occasion and to raise funds for its holistic horse care and for student scholarships. The Picky B’s performed for the crowd of supporters while they shopped the silent auction, enjoyed a buffet dinner, and were treated to dessert from Chocolate Springs. Read RI’s Fitness from the Field article about the bodywork class at Blue Rider. [Shown above: Blue Rider volunteer Ali Winston with co-founder and executive director Christine Sierau and Harry Conklin.

Charles Massimo and Peter Anastasian of gala underwriter CJM Wealth Managment flank Tracy Fernbacher; barn manager Anna Seagull, Blue Rider board chair Michael Fernbacher, board member Laurie Lindner and riding instructor Rachel Tarnauskas.

Kirstin Morgan and Lisa Reynolds, who is involved with the Stables and works at Chesterwood; Sara Jarvie, Cate Crowley, who spoke at the gala about attending veterinary school because of her experiences as a Blue Rider student and volunteer, and Molly Drennan.

Margaret Lundin, Deb Koffman and Jeanne Bassis.

Robert Hoechster, Marjori Bergman and Erica Mielke; Eliot Stier and Avia Stanton.

Blue Rider’s operations manager Stephanie Bergman with its outreach coordinator Robin Parow; Deirdre Ypma, Jon Caplan and Arwinder Bindra are the stable’s supporters as well as its neighbors.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/19/16 at 02:02 PM • Permalink

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1Berkshire Celebrates What Makes The County Special

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Many of Berkshire County’s most community-minded residents gathered at Tanglewood on Thursday, Sept. 15 as 1Berkshire honored the illustrious music venue and its summertime residents, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for “Putting the Berkshires on the Map.” As acknowledged by the evening’s speakers – 1Berkshire’s Jonathan Butler and Laurie Klefos, Mass. State Senator Ben Downing, and award presenter Laurie Tierney of Hotel on North – the 76-year-old Tanglewood had an enormously successful 2016 season, welcoming more than 353,000 visitors from around the world. Area leaders presented awards to the winners of the seven Trendsetter Awards, as well. In addition to the winners pictured below, the City of North Adams won for best “Comprehensive Marketing Campaign,” Unistress received the prize for “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy” and “Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year” went to Zogics founder Paul R. LeBlanc. [Shown above: Mark Volpe, managing director of the BSO and Tanglewood, with Kim Notelmy, Larry Oberwager and Jason Lyon, all of the BSO.]

Matt Burno and Barb Green of General Dynamics with 1Berkshire board member Brenda Burdick; Jesse Cook-Dubin, “Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year” finalist Christian Hanson, Mass. State Senator Ben Downing, Donna Hanson and Giovanna Fessenden Hennessey.

Shela Hidalgo, Ethan Klepetar, 1Berkshire president and CEO Jonathan Butler and Van Shields, executive director of Berkshire Museum; Johnny Burns happily accepted Methuselah’s “Newcomer of the Year” award for his boss, Yuki Cohen, here with Darcie Sosa.

Tyler Fairbank, Betsy Strickland, “Under 40 Change Maker” award winner Christina Barrett, Christine Hoyt and Michael Bullock.

1Berkshire board member Warren Dews, Jr. of The Berkshire Eagle which was a finalist for the “Comprehensive Marketing Campaign” award, with his mother Barbara Dews and Adam Hinds; Ken McInerney and Steve Nelson of WiredWest, a finalist for the “Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy” award.

Chris Lipa, Lenny Light, Sean Roberston and Earl Persip III of Berkshire Family YMCA, which won the “Nonprofit Impact” award; Seth Nash and Mitch Nash of Blue Q, the winner of the “Creative Economy Standout” award.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/19/16 at 11:23 AM • Permalink

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For Stakeholders, A Preview Of Building 6 At MASS MoCA

Lisa Green reports from North Adams. As if MASS MoCA wasn’t animated enough on Friday, Sept. 16, just a few hours before the FreshGrass music festival began, a group of North Adams city employees and tenants of the complex gathered for a special tour of Building 6. The museum’s director, Joe Thompson, lead the group through the next phase of the complex’s buildout, which is about two months away from completion of the shell. Plans are to open the finished building in May of 2017. The new wing will include works from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (his own and others’), a production and performance studio for artists Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer, and a music/rehearsal room, among other facilities. “We’re taking the building back to the late 19th century,” Thompson explained, pointing out that the renovation will preserve and highlight the original post-and-beam architecture. Thompson thanked the guests for their support; as tenants and city employees, they have a special interest in the $65 million undertaking. Not only did they get a sneak preview of the new wing, however; in making their way to the reception area prior to the tour, guests walked through the upcoming “Nick Cave: Until” installation and glimpsed the artist setting it up. That exhibit opens October 15. [Above, Suzy Helme, of the North Adams Office of Tourism, and Lynette Bond, a grant writer for MCLA.]

Lisa Hiluy, Ray Hiluy, Regina Veazquez and Jason Velazquez of The Greylock Glass (both the women are editors at Storey Publishing, which has its offices in the complex); Chris Jones and photographer Amanda Jones, who also has her studio on the MASS MoCA campus.

Director Joe Thompson shows off the westernmost portion of the building, which features dramatic light and a breathtaking view.

Robyn Moore and Sara Russell-Scholl with Matt Scholl of Christodora, a non-profit organization that has an education center in the Berkshires; Marie McCarron, a fourth-grade teacher at Brayton Elementary School in North Adams, and her student teacher Mary Evelyn Lueler, who attends MCLA.

The atrium is a work in progress.

Graphic designer Ash Austin with the owners of Oh Crêpe!, Emily Schiavoni and Ben Lamb; Steps away, FreshGrass is just getting started.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/17/16 at 10:18 PM • Permalink

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GB Land Conservancy Preserves, Conserves, And Has A Party

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. A hullabaloo can be defined as a frenzy or a ruckus. Both of those definitions work well for the Great Barrington Land Conservancy (GBLC), which has been passionately protecting, advocating and promoting Great Barrington’s natural resources for 24 years. On Sunday, Sept. 11, GBLC held a hullaballoo of its own as the music of the Easy Ridin Papas played and guests enjoy falafel and kebabs provided by Naji’s Mediterranean Cuisine. Proceeds from the event raised money to support future projects as well as notable current ones like the Lake Mansfield Alliance, Great Barrington Trails & Greenways and Pfeiffer Arboretum & Trail. On the lawn behind the Riverbend Cafe, guests enjoyed the view of the Housatonic River and the lush greenery beyond, land well worth preserving. [Above, new member Sandy Van and board president Carol Noble.]

Member Rik Kabel, Jan Kabel and 14-year board member Dale Abrams of Mass Audubon; New consevancy members David Stater and Trena Heinrich.

Board member Tim Geller who is the executive director of the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire and Greg Ward of Ward’s Nursery & Garden Center; Board member Rachel Fletcher, Michael Symons and Karen Skelton.

Hannah Fries, Mike Leavitt, trails and outreach coordinator at Berkshire Natural Resource Council, Hannah Chamberlain, who works for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Sari Hoy, co-owner of Native Habitat Restoration.

Adam Morris, forest and park regional coordinator with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Erin Morris; Judd Shoval, Susan Shovel, Rabbi Liz Hirsch and Rabbi Neil Hirsch.

Allison Abrams has been involved with GBLC for as many years as her husband, Dale Abrams has been on the board, and Ann Barrett, board member of Sheffield Land Trust; GBLC administrative assistant Kristin Sanzone with her husband, Rob Sanzone.

Yoga teacher Senta Reis donated her classes to the auction, Housatonic River Walk volunteer Peter Barrett and former board president Christine Ward, who now stewards the Lake Mansfield Alliance and GB Trails programs.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 09/11/16 at 07:27 PM • Permalink

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Roxbury Farm, First CSA To Deliver To NYC, Celebrates 25 Years

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. Many of us have grown attached to our individual CSAs. But when a CSA membership group in New York City charters a bus to drive them two-plus hours up to the farm itself, you know the connection is something special. On Saturday, Sept. 10, Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook welcomed 300 of its CSA members from New York, Westchester County, the Capital District and Columbia County to its 25th season celebration, potlucking encouraged. Roxbury Farm is exceptional in many ways: it was the first CSA to deliver to Manhattan, starting with 30 members in 1991. The 23-week membership has since grown to 1,100. Recognized not only as one of the earliest CSAs, Roxbury Farm has influenced thousands of farmers throughout the world with its biodynamic practices, which it has freely shared on its website. By putting its farming methods manuals online, Roxbury has served as an “open source farm” for farmers just starting out.

Founded by Jean-Paul Courtens in 1990 and now inhabiting land that was President Martin Van Buren’s farm, the 400-acre Roxbury Farm is still managed by the Courtens family. But clearly, the farm is held close to the hearts of the members who came to celebrate the CSA and express appreciation for the farmers. (Overhead: Discussions among members about their prep plans for the peppers, corn and other items in their CSA shares.) After a proper recounting of the farm’s history by Courtens and others, the guests were invited to take a self-guided farm tour, pick flowers, split garlic for fall planting, and experience a bit of ag activity in the fields. Of its success, Courtens said, “We didn’t do it alone. It’s because of all of you that we are here today.” [Above, the original family: Johannes Courtens, Nick Courtens, xx Courtens, Jean-Paul Courtens and his wife, Jody Bolluyt.]

Roxbury Farm is part of the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, on land the former president farmed.

Guests sprinkled the fields with Biodynamic Preparation 500, then sowed a cover crop mixture of oats and pea seeds.

Roxbury Farm owners Jody Bolluyt and Jean-Paul Courtens lead the way in the application of the Biodynamic Preparation 500, a mix of water with cow manure that’s been placed in a cow’s horn and buried in the earth for the winter; it is used to treat the soil prior to planting.

Members peel and split garlic bulbs for planting in October; It takes a CSA village to raise a child.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/11/16 at 03:29 PM • Permalink

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The 2016 Columbia-Greene Garden Party

Amy Krzanik reports from Germantown. When a well-respected architect/interior decorator couple invite you to their home on the Hudson River, you don’t say “no.” And when the invite doubles as the annual fundraising garden party for Alliance for Positive Health (formerly the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York), you RSVP ASAP, as did around 300 people this past Sunday, Sept. 4. The 2016 Columbia~Greene Garden Party took place at the home of Hermes Mallea and RI’s Wandering Eye columnist Carey Maloney. Fairview Wines & Spirits provided the sipping and Simons Catering covered the snacking as guests basked in the sunlit views of the Hudson River and enjoyed music by longtime Garden Party supporters Kelly Mittleman & Friends. Guests toured the rooms and grounds of the mid-century home, and put their bids in on an expertly curated silent auction, which included a five-night Safari package in South Africa, theater tickets, art, jewelry, furniture, clothing and other items. [Above: Michele McClave, former executive director of the Alliance for Positive Health and current acting commissioner of the Albany County Department of Social Services, who was honored at this year’s event, with board president Mary Jane Bendon Couch and board member Peter Bevacqua.

Former board member William Allen with the garden party fundraiser’s founder, Frances Ingraham Heins, Steven Girvin and Jeffrey Kaufman; Les Rosenzweig, new board member Thomas Walling and host Hermes Mallea.

James M. Gaughan, the mayor of Altamont, N.Y., with Donna Vancavage, the Alliance’s director of development and marketing, and Keith Lee; Albany attorney Barbara Brenner with board member Carolyn Anderson and the Hon. Margaret Walsh.

Kurt Parde and Claire Parde, who is the executive director of the Healthcare Consortium, with Richard Byrne, Brad Lohrenz and Jane Duffstein of Bard College.

Honey Wilde with Anita Nasuto; Doug Weeden and Brett Carlson.

Board members Kelley Winslow, Victor Mendolia and Jeffrey Kaufman flank NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett [third from left]; Andy Goldsborough and Alex Contreras of The Gilded Owl in Hudson.

Yosuke Chikamoto, Joe Naylor, John Garofalo, Peter O’Hara and Joseph Sniado.

Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, and Mark Prezorski of the Olana State Historic Site; host Carey Maloney with Nancy Ursprung, Charles Rosen and Duke Dang.

George Jordan, Mark Strieter and Agustin Rodriguez; event committee member Patrick Terenchin and Mike Clifford of AFPH.

Rebecca Reiss and Ellen Walker behind the bar.

The cutest thing on four legs, Frankie, at home; hot heels signed by Whoopi Goldberg were up for grabs at the silent auction.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/06/16 at 03:03 PM • Permalink

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Making Hay At The BIFF Haute Hoedown

Lisa Green reports from Canaan. The only person missing from Berkshire International Film Festival’s Haute Hoedown on Saturday, Sept. 3 may have been Agnes DeMille. But other than the famous Rodeo choreographer, pretty much everyone you might expect and all the essential ingredients were accounted for at the film fest’s first-ever house party at the magnificent spread belonging to Dan Mathieu and Tom Potter. Hayrides, check. Mechanical bull ride, check. A country-western influenced band, farm-to-table dinner (catered by Max Ultimate Food), live auction and even a spinning wheel with fine prizes from many of the sponsors — check, check and do it again. Even better, guests were outfitted as cowboys and cowgirls with plenty of denim and diamonds to contemporize the theme. Proceeds from the event will help BIFF continue its mission to bring the best of independent film to the Berkshires as it goes into its twelfth year. [Above: Mark Johnson, Liz Williams, Pops Peterson, Kate Morris and Kelly Vickery, BIFF’s executive director.]

BIFF Board of Advisors member Lisa Newmann of Cookiehead Cookies and Sandy Sanderson; the hoedown begins with cocktails on the lawn.

Host Dan Mathieu, owner of Max Ultimate Food, with Mary Mott, interior designer Karen Beckwith, photographer Scott Barrow and Gordon Simmering of Stockbridge and Idaho, sporting his Idahoan “formal wear.”

Liz Krupp and Nancy Belsky, both of Lenox and Boston; Ann Herbst of Tyringham, with Marica Feuer, a member of the BIFF Board of Advisors, and Wendy Gordon, both of Richmond.

What’s a hoedown without a hayride, haute or not?

Jonathan Coffino, Carla Singer, actor and director Karen Allen, a BIFF board trustee, and film director/producer Kristi Zea; Tracy Foster and Andy Foster, who are board members of IS183.

Donna Hall, Dan LaBonte, Denise D’Amboise and Vince Ambrosini, who picked up these plaid shirts just for the occasion; Lisa Frankel, who recently made Great Barrington her full-time home, bravely rides the mechanical bull.

George Habard and Cynthia Valles hang with the ranch hand, aka host Tom Potter.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/04/16 at 10:54 AM • Permalink

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Take A Bow: Jacob’s Pillow Closes Out Festival 2016

Amy Krzanik reports from Becket. You never know what moves you’ll see on the dance floor at a Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival after-party. There might be a few couples waltzing around the perimeter or salsa-ing in the center of a crowd of onlookers, there very well could be break-dancing, and there will definitely be a conga line. The 2016 Festival Finale, on Saturday, Aug. 27, was no exception. Following a performance by either Pacific Northwest Ballet in the Ted Shawn Theatre or Souleymane Badolo in the Doris Duke, guests were treated to complimentary gourmet desserts, Six Depot coffee, Wandering Star beer and wine in the Bakalar Studio and outside in the Tea Garden. The Pillow’s favorite music maestro, DJ BFG, again turned the Haven tent into the hottest pop-up nightclub in town, as the scent of s’mores wafted over from the firepits on the Great Lawn. We can’t wait to do it all again next year. [Above, Sara Connonlly with Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal, Melissa Elstein and Hussein Kassim.]

Weston Hicks and Pillow board member Ann L. Hicks; the scene in the dance tent post performance.

Liza Gennari, Claire Gennari, and Pillow alums Anna Rogovoy and Ashley David; Roger Chabot and Michael Parisi.

Chocolatier extraordinaire Joshua Needleman who provided treats for the guests, with Patti Feinberg, Maurice Peterson, Pillow alum Angessa Lynn and hair stylist extraordinaire Mark Johnson.

Sculptors Babette Bloch and Marc Mellon with Pillow board president Chris Jones; Peg and Pete Biasucci, whose daughter Leta was a soloist in the show, with Dave and Sue Fenton.

Kerry Colnan and Austin McKissock; Pamela Tatge, director of Jacob’s Pillow, with board member and RI publisher Mark Williams.

After dessert, a crowd began to trickle into the disco-balled dance tent; DJ BFG knows what the crowd wants to hear.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/30/16 at 12:40 PM • Permalink

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The Thrill of the Grill: Eating And Competing At Grillsdale

Lisa Green reports from Hillsdale. Like moths to a flame, a parade of cars veered off Route 22 to the Roeliff-Jansen Park in Hillsdale, NY on Saturday, Aug. 27. Why? Because there were flames a-plenty at the first-ever Grillsdale produced by Shire 935 Productions and sponsored by many local and regional businesses. The tasting event, which was actually sold out before the first match was lit, featured renowned area chefs and restaurants manning separate booths and different types of grills offering bite-sized grilled items using meat and produce from the Roe-Jan region’s farms. Guests were given scorecards to rate each dish, and guest judges also weighed in on the competition. A portion of the proceeds from the raffle of a brand new road bicycle will support of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. The judges awarded Jack Peele of JACüTERIE the best overall for his bite-size Bánh mì, while most original went to the Hillsdale Fire Company for its “beef sundae.”  “There were winners all around and we were so grateful to all the chefs who participated,” said Joanna Virello of Shire 935 Productions [above, with Meghan McCann; the third partner, Barbara Olsen Pascale, is not shown]. “We’re already planning for Grillsdale 2017.”

Bob McDonald and Robert Scott (chef at The Outlaw BBQ), representing The Mt. Washington House in Hillsdale team up to grill apple and peach-stuffed pork tenderloin, served with a peach chutney.

Waiting for the music to start, , Michelle Gardina, Bruce Haight, Ralph Platt and Donna Platt relax on the settee provided by C. Herrington Home + Design.

Jerry Peele of Herondale Farm and Roberto Luna; Susan Bauer, who works at Castle Street Cafe, pours wine in front of the neon sign.

Dick Hermans, owner of Oblong Books, and Rory Chase, cheesemaker from Chaseholm Farm.

Three bands performed on the truck bed, provided by Herrington’s; Marlene Graella of Copake Falls is flanked by her friends from the city, Jackie Gomes and Maureen Lehman.

The capacity crowd ate, strolled, and ate some more.

Fabric designer Patrick McBride and the very popular Bodi; Weekenders Nadia Boulejiouch and Curtis Rhine.

Carrie Herrington and Wendy Hare.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/28/16 at 01:13 PM • Permalink

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Shaker-Style Summer Soiree

Rachel Louchen reports from New Lebanon. Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon’s Great Stone Barn was the focal point of the annual benefit dinner, Visualizing the Museum’s Future, on Saturday, August 27.  This year’s benefit honored museum supporters Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry, creators of the off-Broadway hit, Angel Reapers, inspired by the life of Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement. The evening also included a performance of Shaker songs, remarks from executive director Lacy Schutz (at left with trustee Paul Cassidy), a live auction and of course, a multi-course farm-to-table feast. But whatever was occurring during the evening, from drinks out front, hors d’oeuvre inside and dinner taking place just below, the Great Stone Barn was always in sight, providing a Shaker backdrop on a perfect late-summer night.

Albany residents Jo and George Burdeau; Steven McCarthy and Gary Delemeester, whose spouses are involved with the museum.

Trustee John Dax and Amy Butler; George Eager does woodwork for the museum, specficially restoring the windows in the barn, here with his wife, librarian Donna Eager.

The great stone barn in all its glory; Ian Bickford, husband of executive director Lacey Schutz, with Rebecca Barth.

Stephen Mcnabb and Toby Bilanow attend the gala yearly; Marita Glodt, president of the board of directors at Barrington Stage, with her husband, David Glodt.

John Lillis, whose spouse is a trustee with his niece, Taber Bailey; Craftsman Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Tappen Chairs donated a circa-1820 chair for the auction, and Anna Thompson, curator of collections and exhibitions at Columbia County Historical Society.

Vernon Evenson and The Darrow School’s Craig Wescott; Sharon Koomler, Nina Weber-Worth, Don Worth and Jerry Grant, museum director of collections and research.

Jim Panichella, Natalie Faubert, Donald Blair and Jeff Daly, chairman of the museum’s board of directors.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/28/16 at 12:06 PM • Permalink

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Bowling For Berkshire Baby Box In Great Barrington

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Back in the day, there was a TV show called Bowling For Dollars, but on Monday, August 22, a group of people gathered at the Cove Bowling Alley to bowl for Berkshire Baby Box. A new nonprofit engineered by South Egremont resident Hinda Bodinger, the organization provides expectant moms in the Berkshires with a baby shower in a box and a safe sleeping space for their newborns. Berkshire Baby Box is also partnering with local agencies to distribute the filled boxes during monthly parenting workshops in Berkshire County. At the event, teams of bowlers took time out between their turns to place their raffle tickets into a plethora of donated items, services and silent auction offerings. “I love this project and am moved beyond words by the community support and how many services there are out there for those in need,” said Bodinger, president of Berkshire Baby Box. [Above, Bodinger with State Representative Smitty Pignatelli.]

Bruce Moore and Michael Alper, co-founders of Red House Design and Architecture;
the tiniest bowler, Isabella, with her mom Danielle Melino, a teacher at Mount Everett High School.

Sue Weintraub, a board member of the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, and Jay Weintraub of Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires.

Team spirit: Katrina Curtiss, Tina Chase, Rich Chase and Todd DiMario, a personal trainer at Soules Sports & Fitness and Berkshire South; Trena Heinrich, David State, Sandy Van and Carol Noble.

Hinda Bodinger beside a Berkshire Baby Box filled with what new mothers will find inside: a waterproof mattress, fitted sheets, books, bath toys and more.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/22/16 at 09:07 PM • Permalink

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A Bevy Of Exquisite Boxes Appears At McTeigue & McClelland

Amy Krzanik reports from Great Barrington. The Saturday, Aug. 20 opening reception for Modern Treasure Chests, an exhibition of jewelry boxes by master artisans that is now on view at McTeigue & McClelland, also served as a reunion for the artists. All of the featured makers are friends of the jewelry atelier’s co-owner Tim McClelland, having been students along with him, or former faculty, at Boston University’s Program in Artisanry (PIA) or Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). McClelland was eager to see what his cohort was fashioning these days, and so sent out a request for handcrafted jewelry boxes. The responses are uniquely varied, intricately fashioned works of art that do double duty as vessels for fine jewels like the ones found in the shop. The treasure chests will be in place during normal business hours until Saturday, Sept. 24. [Above, the inside of artist Tom Loeser’s sculptural jewelry boxes.]

The shop’s co-owner, Tim McClelland, and exhibiting artist Rosanne Somerson, president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD); Walter McTeigue, the jewelry atelier’s co-owner, with Bruce Beeken and Mark Del Guidice, whose work is featured in the show.

Artists with work in the show include Michael Hurwitz, James Schriber, Timothy Philbrick, Mitch Ryerson and John Everdell.

Beck Oakley, Trix Oakley and Susan Everdell; Blake Ferrara and Talia King.

Inside Jay Stanger’s furniture-sized jewelry box is even more eye-popping color.

Artist Tommy Simpson with Michael Anderson, Jane Vern and Karen LaFleur; Mark Del Guidice, his jewelry box, and McTeigue & McClelland general manager John Reynolds.

Outside, Tom Loeser’s jewelry boxes appear as sculpture, but double as storage.

Entries by Tommy Simpson and Jay Stanger.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/21/16 at 08:24 PM • Permalink

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A Local Hero Is Unmasked At Berkshire South’s Annual Gala

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. Robin McGraw is a familiar face in the Rural Intelligence Parties section because he sits on the boards of Volunteers in Medicine, Berkshire Health Systems and Hospice Care in the Berkshires, and is a longtime supporter of Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Berkshire Museum. On Thursday, Aug. 18, Berkshire South rewarded him with a party of his own, honoring his dedicated work to Berkshire charities and organizations over the years. The annual gala, titled “Celebrating A Hero,” selects a member of the community whose work and dedication inspire all to help make the Berkshires a better place to live — something McGraw has been doing practically since he arrived in the Berkshires by way of attending Berkshire School as a child. The lobby of Berkshire South was filled to the max with friends, fellow board members and residents of the community who’ve witnessed first-hand all the charitable contributions that Robin, as well as his wife, equally notable philanthropist Buzz McGraw have given to their community. [Above, Robin McGraw flanked by his daughter, Annie and a previous recipient of Berkshire South’s gala, Barbara Manring.]

Kathy Kelly and Bert Gamberdella; Bobbie Glass and Lisa Marchi, director of development and communications at Berkshire South.

McGraw family members Rob and Andrea Hayes; Perry Weber, Maggie Buchwald and Stacey Gillis Weber.

Robin’s daughters, Maddie and Annie and his wife, Buzz McGraw, really get a kick out of his cardboard cutout in the lobby.

Berkshire South executive director Jenise Lucey and Ethel Patterson, board chair; Volunteers in Medicine board members Nancy Mills and Alice Lustig came to support Robin for all the work he has done for their organization.

Colin Smith, Lucia Mulder, Head of Berkshire School Pieter Mulder and Jennifer Gaenzle Smith; Gene Dellea and Cheryl Raifstanger.

Claudia Perles and Christine Flasher; Mark Rosengren and Caren Mercer.

Dr. Adrian Elliot, Crispin Tresp, Mary Tresp and Kay Cuthbertson.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/19/16 at 10:58 AM • Permalink

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Hancock Shaker Village Undergoes A Revival

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. It was a hoedown scheduled on what turned out to be one of the steamiest (and later, summer-stormiest) of the year, but that didn’t stop supporters from flocking to Hancock Shaker Village’s Summer Revival on Saturday, Aug. 20. Much of the credit for the fantastic turnout goes to this year’s gala co-chairs, Darin Johnson and Greg Keffer, who more than doubled 2015’s attendance. Guests nibbled on artisanal cheeses and charcuterie in the Shaker Gardens, and feasted on a farm-to-table meal prepared on site by Fire Roasted Catering. Dessert — adorably decorated mini cupcakes and delicious banana pudding — was provided by NYC’s Magnolia Bakery. A silent auction featuring trips, dining experiences and Shaker collectibles led into a live auction which offered private dinners prepared by popular local chefs David Wurth and Brian Alberg. Money raised will go to support the Village’s daily operations and educational programming, while the “cause-within-a-cause” part of the live auction will fund the restoration of the Shaker Brick Dwelling, considered an architectural icon, and other historic buildings. A special musical performance by The Lonely Heartstring Band out of Boston, Mass. capped off the successful evening event. [Above, HSV trustee and gala co-chair Darin Johnson, Kathy Cain, HSV president and CEO Linda Steigleder and gala co-chair Greg Keffer.]

Richard Chandler, Ken Schwartz and Marc Hacker; Danielle Cohen and Matt Cohen.

HSV board member Tracy Goodnow with friends Ginny Anderson and Jeff Belmont; Ben Boyd, Kevin Blanchette, Carlos Saavedra, Justin Leibolt and Vincent Metallo.

Matt Eastwood, Adrian Pollack, Stephen Viksjo, David Roady, Daniel Strassburger and Gabriel Beaton.

Keith Scott with Tessa Edick of FarmOn! Foundation; a group of guests pose with a friendly calf from the farm.

Overseer Elaine Christopher, board vice-chair Mary Rentz, Krista Mangiardi, the Village’s program registrar and gifts officer, and Kelly and Dave Milligan of Balance Rock Investment Group, who are underwriting this summer’s exhibit, Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite.

The Lonely Heartstring Band, from Boston, Mass., entertains the crowd under the tent.

The 1826 Round Stone Barn glows in the blue twilight of the evening.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/15/16 at 09:15 AM • Permalink

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Tea For Two Hundred In 100 Degrees

Rachel Louchen reports from Washington. You could hardly find a better venue for a garden party than charming Washington with its renovated farmhouses and rolling pastures — the entire town oozes New England charm, even as the heat index hit 108 degrees. On Saturday, August 13, the 19th annual Tea For Two Hundred party, to benefit the Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury and Gunn Historical Museum, was held, as always, at the of home Gary Goodwin and Gael Hammer (above left with his daughter, Evie). While years past have brought out hundreds of guests, the soaring temperature kept the attendance lower but no less spirited, as people were still decked out in the customary all-white ensembles and oversized hats, aided this year by matching paper fans. The beautiful grounds had enough room to hold several tents for a silent auction, live music by “The Beehive Queen” Christine Ohlman and many stations to refill the mandatory glass of iced tea.

Gunn Museum director Louise Van Tartwijk and former board president Barbara Kohn.

Laura Daly, who very appropiately judged the hat contest with Carolyn Setlow and Zemma White; Robert Fisher, museum council member Nick Solley, Suzie Haines and Aubrey Haines.

Major hat contest contenders Jeannette Mahoney, Jackie Mahoney and Linda Leidel .

Melody Levey, happily attending her third Two For Two Hundred event with Shelley Lowell, a first-timer; Lucy Clementi, executive director of Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury and Claudio Lameira.

Claire Fisher and Adam Falis; Vladimir Kaplan, Carola Cherief and Dan Neumann.

Douglas Garfinkel, Dominic DiMattia, Danilo Silvia and John Ripley, a 15-year attendee.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/14/16 at 07:42 PM • Permalink

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The Hudson Library Holds A Swingin’ Sock Hop

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Things were really cookin’ at the Raise The Roof Sock Hop, a benefit for the new Hudson Area Library, on Saturday evening, August 6. Around 150 supporters “made the scene” in their best ‘50s duds at the home of artists Ken Kraus and Anna d’Onofrio. The second-annual gala saw DJ T-Bone spinning platters for the crowd as they sipped cocktails from Fairview Wines & Spirits and Chatham Brewing, enjoyed tastings from Berkshire Mountain Distillers, and sampled cheeses, olives and other snacks from a decadent spread courtesy of Olde Hudson. During dinner — catered by Memorable Cuisine and featuring delectable desserts by Café Le Perche — the evening’s volunteer auctioneer, Bob Rasner, employed appropriate literary quotes and a personal story of a childhood crush on his town’s children’s room librarian, to encourage guests to raise their paddles. The “Call for the Cause” live auction collected funds not to raise to the roof — that milestone was recently and happily achieved — but to furnish the new venue, which has never been more popular, with a self-checkout scanner ($5,000), an HD projector ($6,000) and screen ($1,000), and 45 more chairs for patrons. [Pictured above, Ken Kraus, Susan Fingar, Mark Fingar, Anna D’Onofrio and Carsten Otto.]

Lynda Ackerman and the Library’s new program director, Brenda Shufelt; Bob Rasner with son-in-law Mike Clulow and daughter Amy Rasner Clulow.

Elizabeth Wirick, gala co-chair Christine Boeke, Caroline Jenks and Greg Urra; board member Gwen Gould and Library board president David Murphy.

Major donors Alan and Ellen Goldner coordinated their outfits with their grandsons, Itai and Asaf, who were visiting from Israel.

Olde Hudson’s Dena Moran with Sue Makkoo and Rainer Facklam; Alex Contreras and Andy Goldsborough.

NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and district director Erica Kane; author Hudson Talbott, board member Miranda Barry, Paula Forman, founder of Perfect Ten After School and Nora Peck.

Sam Chapin and Laura Miller, director of Perfect Ten After School, strike a pose.

Linda Gui and Clare Zierhut, AnimalKind board members, with Gene Parseghian; Michael Colberg and Elizabth Moore.

Views from inside the tent and inside the barn.

Whose shoes? Can you guess which duo above sported these fantastic kicks?; Delicious fresh fruit tarts from Hudson’s Cafe Le Perche.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/08/16 at 10:17 AM • Permalink

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“SoHo Sins” At The School Explores An Illicit NY Art Scene

Jamie Larson reports from Kinderhook. Crime and culture, art and mayhem describe the focus and backdrop of the posh gathering Saturday, Aug. 6 at Jack Shainman Gallery: The School. The event, celebrating the release of SoHo Sins, the first novel by Richard Vine, managing editor of Art in America,  included, along with a lecture and signing, a lovely reception among The School’s exhibits in the front hall. The novel explores the dark and illicit underbelly of the New York art scene. Of course, we assume Manhattan’s best known dealers, curators, collectors and artist, some of whom were in attendance Saturday, don’t take part in such unseemly affairs — in the city or in the Rural Intelligence region. The evening was brought together by local unconventional arts publicist Katharine T. Carter and Jack Shainman, above.

Managing Editor of Art in America and author of SoHo Sins, Richard Vine poses with his freshman novel; Richard Roth, jeweler Jan Michaels and Hudson Gallery owner Carrie Haddad.

New York City gallery owner Elga Wimmer and Claire Feldman; Columbia County Historical Society Executive Director Lori Yarotsky, Randall Schmit and Maret Halinen.

Alice Axfeld-Storm, Siena College professor of creative arts Dr. Mahmood Karimi Hakak and the worldly J. Thalia Cunningham, a doctor and author (among other things).

Artist Katarina Spitzer, Denola Perreten and Eddie Spitzer.

The packed house inside The School’s front hall gallery; Cathy Farrell and Rick Cunningham in rapt conversation.

Marinka Gerkman and Ginny Westervelt; Shainman’s The School which was, not so long ago, an elementary school.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 08/07/16 at 11:08 PM • Permalink

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Farm-To-Table With Purpose in Roxbury

Rachel Louchen reports from Roxbury. Farm-to-table dinners are fairly regular occurrences in our region, but Litchfield County’s Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC) annual Farmer’s Table dinner served an important cause: the farmer. On Saturday, August 6, Toplands Farm was host to the annual dinner, which benefits the farmers directly, explained committee member Cynthia Oneglia [at left with fellow committee member Eileen Liwin].“The dinner benefits the farmer by supporting programming over the winter and helps the initiative throughout the year.” Said initiative of SHC is to promote sustainable agriculture, local food, and active healthy lifestyles in the communities of Northwest Connecticut. Other SHC programs include the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market, implementing student-maintained gardens at local schools and the current development of the food hub. The annual dinner has taken place at other farms throughout the county previously and this year’s location, a 650-acre farm that produces meat and eggs, is also notable for its huge collection of antique tractors, some over 100 years old.

Steven Lander and writer Constance Leisure; Kimbra Lien, Ed Dina and Nikki Hine, who works at Toplands Farm.

Bill and Lesley King, farmers/owners of Back 40 Farm in Washington, with Julie Bailey of the event committee.

Joan Burgess and Anna Gill; Tim Armbruster, who helps restore the collection of antique tractors, and his wife, Kelly Armbruster, who grew up on the farm, where her father, Ken Murphy, is the farm manager.

Peggy Capozzi and Donald Capozzi with their cousin, Nonie Diebold, owner of Toplands Farm and host of the dinner with her husband, Dudley Diebold.

Restaurateur Philippe Bernard, owner of Saju Bistro, Osteria al Doge and Osteria Laguna, with Mike McGill and committee member Pucci McGill; committee member Tim Walch and Nick Sedelnik.

Sally Taylor and Michael Maddalena; Ed Cady, Jr., Julie Cady and farmer Rick Distel of Hedgelawn Farm in Washington.

Ben and Stephanie Paletsky of South Farms in Morris with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 08/07/16 at 04:58 PM • Permalink

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Challenge Accepted For North East Community Center

Rachel Louchen reports from Lakeville. North East Community Center’s (NECC) annual Chef & Farmer brunch is always a well-attended event and, this year, it sold out more quickly than ever. On Sunday, July 31, the Hotchkiss School’s bucolic Fairfield Farm (featuring jaw-dropping views of rolling fields, ponds and mountains) was the location for the fundraising event that had a lively spin this year — a food challenge. Ten local restaurants, farms and food vendors put out a breakfast spread, and a panel of local judges including Hammertown’s Joan Osofsky and Mike Harney of Harney & Sons had the enviable task of choosing the best brunch, while the 200 guests happily tasted it all. The fundraiser benefits a variety of programs at NECC, adds vegetables to its summer “Lunch Box” meal program, covers camp for local children, and buys milk and eggs for food pantry families. The brunch was so successful there weren’t even tickets available on standby, so advice for next year: buy your ticket early. [Event organizer Mimi Ramos Harney and NECC executive director Jenny Hansell.]

Mark Morgan and Jennifer Morgan came as guests of event sponsor Rob Cooper of Associated Lightning Rod Company.

NECC development assistant Amy Truax and Amy Jedlicka; Kendra LaCroix and Jessica Raymond, NECC client advocate.

Allie Kuhbach and her mother, NECC board chair Sherrell Andrews; John Tuke of Millerton, whose children have participated in many NECC programs over the years, with Jeff May and Mary O’Neill.

Ken Daniel, Domaine Guerrera and David Rosenberg.

Program director Betsey McCall with Erich McEnroe, who donated produce for the event, and Halina Hofmann; Paul Hands and writer Teri Agins.

Maggie Cheney of Rock Steady Farm & Flowers with advisory board member Dan Sternberg; Scott Morris, John Hahn, Elyse Harney Morris and Elyse Harney.

Jenny Hansell, Kristen Panzer, founder of NECC’s Spring For Sound music festival, and longtime supporter Anita Shapiro.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/31/16 at 04:41 PM • Permalink

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Texas Meets Cuba…at Clermont

Lisa Green reports from Germantown. When you need a theme, it helps to look at your honorees’ backgrounds for inspiration. Carey Maloney (RI’s The Wandering Eye) and his husband and co-honoree, Hermes Mallea, principals in the M (Group), provided both the genesis and the decorations for the Friends of Clermont Summer Gala on Saturday, July 30 held on the grounds of the historic mansion overlooking the Hudson River. This year’s gala paid tribute to Mallea’s Cuban heritage and Maloney’s Texas roots, offering mojitos and barbecue and encouraging guests to don cowboy hats or guayaberas. Alas, the accessory de rigueur turned out to be an umbrella, which helped save the turnout for the annual fundraiser. The honorees were lauded for their leadership and support (who do it with “style and kindness”) in their efforts to help preserve the mansion, gardens, meadow and woodlands.

Even on a drizzly day, the view from inside the Clermont mansion is compelling; Liz Pierce with honorary chair Joan Davidson and Edwina Sandys.

Friends of Clermont Executive Director Ted Saad with Penelope Queen, a brand development specialist from Catskill, NY.

Trustee Mary Ellen Ross and honorary chairs Eliot Hawkins and Paula Hawkins; Margaret Davidson and Meredith Kane, both of whom are board members of The Olana Partnership.

Seth Johnson and Marcus Teo, a creative director.

Roberta Murell, formerly the wedding coordinator at Clermont, Joe Murell, the site’s groundkeeper, and Ted Saad; Alison Spear, director of Arquitectonica Interiors, Alex Reese of Obercreek Farm and Owen Davidson of AO Production.

The party scene beside the Livingston estate.

Hudson gallerist Joe Caldwell and Marcy Caldwell, Clermont supporters; NY State Assemblymember Didi Barrett reads proclamations for Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea, the Hawkinses and Joan Davidson.

Penelope Queen, Wolfgang Brandl and Frank Rosa of Sutter Antiques; Barbara Bohl and writer Greg Cerio.

Manhattanite Louise Bozorth, Marianne Thorsen of Germantown, and Martha Holmes Currie, a trustee.

Dancers from the Dojo Dance Company mambo on the lawn between the raindrops; Christine Kulander and David Sprouls.

Ghent residents Fred Schroeder and Allison Whiting.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/31/16 at 01:09 PM • Permalink

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Summertime In Bloom For Fete Des Fleurs

Rachel Louchen reports from Lenox. Berkshire Botanical Garden’s 15 acres of flowers and gardens were replaced by croquet on the lawn of The Lenox Club for the annual Fete Des Fleurs, one of the most anticipated events for BBG (second only to October’s Harvest Festival). On Saturday, July 30, guests huddled under the large, wraparound porch for shelter from the impending rain, which created a foggy lawn and hazy summer mood. The gathering always draws longtime volunteers, donors and board members past and present, including this years’ honorees Jo Dare and Bob Mitchell. As always, there were cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, an auction and supper — but surprisingly, no giant garden hats this year. [Above, Executive director Michael Beck and his husband, Beau Buffier.]

Sara Garretson, Drew Clark, Candy Clark and Cathy Clark.

Richard Taylor, whose wife is “deeply involved” with the BBG, and trustee Rob Williams, who served as event co-chair; Mark Nelson, Peter Johnson, Dana Johnson and Kate Johnson visiting from Napa Valley, California.

Syd and Lee Blatt flank event honoree Jo Dare Mitchell; party sponsors Carol Williams and Rob Williams with Ginger Schwartz and Arthur Schwartz.

Former trustee Susan Dempsey, emeritus trustee Jean Rousseau and Joey Leggett.

Paul Hickey and Jim Garrettson; Ingrid Taylor helped with flowers for the event, with Lynn Villency, from Connecticut.

Tania Walker, trustee Ian Hooper and Mary Ann “Minkie” Quinson all sponsors of the party; Treasurer of the trustees Ellen Greendale and vice-chair Madeline Hooper.

Judie Owens, Katherine Abrahams, Glenna Bloom and Marty Bloom.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/30/16 at 08:30 PM • Permalink

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Naumkeag Cuts The Ribbon On Its Renovated Chinese Temple Garden

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Long considered to possess one of the most astounding views in the Berkshires — or, some would argue, in the world — Naumkeag has undergone a revitalization of its gardens and grounds during the last three years that supporters have been lucky enough to witness stage by stage. This summer’s afternoon garden party fundraiser, held on Saturday, July 23, featured honorary co-chairs Jill Hornor and Yo-Yo Ma, who cut the ribbon and welcomed guests into the newly renovated Chinese Temple Garden. Managed by the Trustees of Reservations, the Gilded Age cottage once owned by the Choate family features the most well known of the 700 gardens designed by landscape architect Fletcher Steele during his lifetime. To celebrate the Chinese Garden’s 60th birthday (and the Trustees’ 125th), more than 300 guests enjoyed Asian-inspired hors d’oeuvres served by Mezze Catering & Events, a Thai basil lemonade signature cocktail, live music by the Limbshakers Jazz Band, and traditional Chinese performances and calligraphy. Naumkeag is open for house and garden tours, workshops, yoga, live music and more through late fall, so you can experience the landscape transformations for yourself. [Above, guests exit the Chinese Temple Garden through the Moon Door.]

Gala co-chair Hilary Somers Deely with honorary co-chairs Yo-Yo Ma and Jill Hornor; Trustees stewardship manager Jake Chase and Rebecca Neher.

Severn Goodwin and Debbie Schehr; board member Nathan Hayward with Bonita Wilson and Mark Wilson of The Trustees.

The dragon winds its way from the main tent to the Evergreen Garden and into the Chinese Temple Garden.

Cindy Brockway of the Trustees with John Gibson and Andrea Selley of the National Trust; Matthew King and Deirdre Kelly.

Pat and Philip Kennedy-Grant of Kennedy-Grant Architecture; Guests enjoy the gardens prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Dr. Claudia Cooke, Christina Strong and Benjamin Strong; Lauren LeBlanc and board member Paul LeBlanc.

Trustees president and CEO Barbara Erickson and board chair David Croll hold the ribbon as Yo-Yo Ma does the honors.

Robert and Kathleen Shure of Skylight Studios, whose work can be seen throughout the Chinese Garden as well as in the reproduction pillars in the Afternoon Garden; Santhea Ogden with Celia Kittredge, gala co-chair and Choate family descendant.

Dana and Joe Robbat, board members of Friends of Modern Architecture in Lincoln, Mass.; Jonathan Stone and Tom Flanigan, who consider Naumkeag to be one of their favorite places in the world, see it as a good investment, and have been supporting it for 30 years.

Traditional Chinese dances were performed every half hour for the guests.

Two Asian-inspired dishes that were on the party menu.

Goldfish used as centerpieces.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/26/16 at 08:18 AM • Permalink

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Habitat For Humanity Of Northwest Connecticut Turns 25

Jamie Larson reports from Sharon. Atop the rolling hills of Sharon, Conn. on Saturday, July 23, LionRock Farm played host to a party for a great cause: Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut turned 25 years old. For a quarter century, the affiliate has been supporting the community by building 12 homes for families in need. The event was an elegant way to honor the organization’s history of good work and some special members who have gone above and beyond, and to raise more money for their ongoing $100,000 capital campaign. We know what a wonderful place to live our area is, and Habitat makes it possible for families to live here, in the homes they deserve. And, it must be said, this group throws a heck of a party. Above, the evening’s honorees. Affiliate founding member John Pogue received the Founder Recognition, Judi Moore  received the Volunteer Recognition for 25 years of hard work (back to the very first tag sale), and Chris Hewat accepted the Donor Recognition on behalf of Don and Diane Hewat, who have been exceedingly generous.

Lucinda Ross, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross, who provided the evening’s opening remarks, and Maureen Tesoro; Habitat of NW Connecticut President Tracy Atwood, board member Wilhelmina Eaken, Webb Eaken and Lincoln Center producer Kristy Geslain.

Heather Kahler and board member Michael Kahler welcomed party-goers at the door with infectious smiles; Joanne and Kenny Dahill, Shelley and John Fecteau.

Scott Whalen, Habitat Executive Director Dawn Whalen, Megan and Jeremy Sokolnicki, and Seth Mittag and India Mittag, the last four representing the Kent School. Ms. Mittag was the founding member of the Kent School’s Habitat chapter.

Volunteer Ceely Ackerman, Bert Schmitz, and Mary and Alex Taylor; Bill Fordyce, Terry Holm of Geer Senior Living and Chris Holm.

The host’s beautiful habitat; board member Michael Halloran, Mark Burke and Liane Burke, and Susan MacEachron.

Steve Graziano, board member Mike Shopp, Heather Shopp and Ben Shopp, Julia Graziano, Mike Shopp, Jr., Madeline Tomich and Colleen O’Reilly and Liam O’Reilly.

Board member Bill Conclan with board secretary Judy Becker; longtime volunteers Peggy Magyar, Sara Becker and Jane Pinckney.

Always supporters and often volunteers, Nancy Moskowitz and Lary Moskowitz, and True Anderson and Bob Anderson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 07/24/16 at 09:34 PM • Permalink

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At Katchkie Farm, All Eat Well To Support The Sylvia Center

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. The party in the fields of Katchkie Farm on Saturday, July 23 began with guests encountering The Sylvia Center’s mission of inspiring children to eat well. On the path down to the gardens, students from the Perfect 10 After School organization in Hudson — participants of the center’s programs — handed out pieces of lemon balm, encouraging guests to taste and smell the herb, just as they do when they’re learning at the farm. The ninth annual Farm-to-Table Dinner, which benefits The Sylvia Center, raises funds to help introduce thousands of young people to the farm as well as expand the Seed to Plate program, which brings healthy cooking courses to schools, youth groups and after-school programs throughout Columbia County. Cocktails in the Field House, passed hors d’oeuvres and tours of the Learning Garden kept guests happily occupied until the main event, dinner at long tables under the tent. All of the food was provided by Great Performances, whose owner, Liz Neumark, established Katchkie Farm (where much of the dinner’s ingredients came from) as well as The Sylvia Center. Volunteers from Great Performances and Sylvia Center students prepared and served the entire menu. [Above, Sam Wachsberger with his mom, the woman who started it all, Liz Neumark.]

Despina Leandrou and Michael Laudati of Stockport and New York City; Era Hanspal from the Albany area and Erin Reese, from the city.

The pond beside the farm provides a peaceful respite from the crowd.

Carol Schneider and Don Schneider with their daughter, Suzannah Schneider, the sustainability connector at Great Performances; Nardyne Cattani and Richard Cattani with Anna Hammond, The Sylvia Center’s executive director.

Charles Biblowit, Myra Bilblowit, who is the president of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with their daughter Rachel Snyder, son-in-law Matt Snyder, and grandchildren Grace and William.

Julie Cerny, farm education director and garden manager, with Katherine Mok, marketing and public relations manager for Great Performances; The drink station set up and ready for customers.

Teresa Meza, Pamela Badila and Paula Forman, all from Perfect 10.

Julie Cerny explains how she introduces students to food on the farm that may be new to them.“Don’t yuck my yum” helps them to respect everyone’s unique tastebuds; Perfect 10 students perform a song they wrote about The Sylvia Center.

Food writer Anna Kovel and architect Greg Merryweather, new Kinderhook residents, with Debbie Gardner, a member of the board of directors.

Heather Kowalski and Curtis Gobrecht of Lover’s Leap Farm donated a whole heritage pig to the silent auction; After a few clouds and sprinkles, the sun returns to deliver a golden glow at dinnertime.

Mark Blumkin and Amy Blumkin of New Jersey and Great Barrington; Samara Antolini and Michael Antolini, visiting from NYC.

After dinner, guests make pledges to The Sylvia Center.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/24/16 at 11:43 AM • Permalink

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The 2016 SummerScape Gala: The Spirit Of Montgomery Place

Amy Krzanik reports from Red Hook. The evening of Saturday, July 16 was, by turns, exhilarating, hilarious, touching, peaceful and joyous. The 2016 SummerScape Gala, a benefit for Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, took advantage of the newest addition to the school’s campus, and held the event on the grounds of Montgomery Place. Amid breathtaking Hudson River views, notable names from the page, the stage, the screen, the canvas and the runway mingled over “Mott & Mulberry” and “Orchard Fix” cocktails created by New York City mixologist Leo Robitschek. Bard alum Blythe Danner and fellow actors Parker Posey, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond performed a whimsical skit to honor the past matriarchs of the mansion, its gardens and its orchards. A true highlight of the evening followed, as ballet star Sergei Polunin, making a rare stateside appearance, gave a world premiere live performance of his 2015 internet video hit. Directed by David La Chapelle and set to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” the video has been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube and is credited with renewing Polonin’s passion for dance. After giving a round of thunderous applause, guests made their way to a tent strung with lanterns, to enjoy dinner designed by chef Rocco DiSpirito, a James Beard Award winner and best-selling author. The gala is the Fisher Center’s largest annual fundraising event, and supports the College’s commitment to the performing arts, which it sees as a cultural and educational necessity. 

Bard College president Leon Botstein with Matthew Davidson, Joan K. Davidson and Amy Davidson; Fisher Center advisory board member Felicitas Thorne and chef Rocco DiSpirito.

Nathan Milikowsky, Rebecca Gold and writer/actress Joan Juliet Buck; Paulo and board member Denise Simon with Helena and Christopher Gibbs.

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra, Lopa Mohanty, artist Ramon Lascano, artist Bobby Beard, gala co-chair Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Benjamin Krevolin, Heather Croner and gala co-chair Greg Quinn.

Conductor/composer Johan de Meij and journalist Dyan Machan; playwright Moises Kaufman, actress/director Mary Stuart Masterson and writer/producer Jeffrey LaHoste.

Betsy Ely, Steve Dawson, Leonard Steinberg and Thom Coughlin; Catherine Michaelson with Bob and Joan Costa.

Sergei Polunin sits on stage at the beginning of his performance.

Gideon Lester, Jack Ferver and Alicia Davis; Ginny and Sandy Friedman.

Caroline Kronqvist, Foster Reed and Michele Platt; a string trio entertains the crowd during cocktail hour.

Parker Posey, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Blythe Danner perform a skit, with choreographer Jack Ferver looking on.

The breathtaking views from the back and front of the mansion.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/17/16 at 09:42 PM • Permalink

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Kids4Harmony Benefit Strikes A Chord For 400-Plus Supporters

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Kids 4 Harmony, the free after-school music program established by Berkshire Children and Families, has become one of the city’s most beloved causes to champion. In fact, so many supporters wanted to attend the benefit reception and concert on Monday, July 11 at the Country Club of Pittsfield, that organizers had to cut off reservations. Now in its fifth year, the Kids 4 Harmony program unites families and communities in a quest for musical excellence and social and economic success. It’s obviously working: from the beginning string players to the accomplished students who were the first to join the program, the young musicians exhibited poise, confidence and musicality. After they performed, renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joined them in a movement of a piano quintet, then Ax performed a solo piece as a finale. The “Concert 4 Harmony” was dedicated in memory of violinist/conductor Joseph Silverstein, who was a friend, mentor and supporter of the program. [Above, Artistic Director Alicia Stevenson poses with some of the “Kids.”]

Betsy Selkowitz, who is on the Kids 4 Harmony advisory committee, and Marilyn Kirby; Berkshire Children and Families President and CEO Carolyn Mower Burns and harpist Elizabeth Morse.

Lesley Oransky and Tracy Wilson, director of the Berkshire Music School and a member of the advisory committee.

Corrigan Wright and Brenda Hart, mother and grandmother of one of the musical Kids; Erik Holmgren and Rodrigo Guerrero, representing the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Advisory committee member Dottie Weber, Stephen Weber, Eli Newberger, co-chair of the advisory committee, and Carolyn Newberger, a member of the board of directors; Tatiana Cruz and Raul Castillo, “family members” who have children in Kids 4 Harmony.

Pianist Emanuel Ax with the Pittsfield Kids 4 Harmony group and teaching artists at rehearsal. Photo: Sean Eligers.

Conductor and cellist Ron Feldman with Adrienne Silverstein; clarinetist Paul Green, Hilary Respass, executive director of The Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and David Krauss, principal trumpet of the MET Orchestra.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/17/16 at 05:30 PM • Permalink

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The Stars Come Out For WAM Theatre

Rachel Louchen reports from Richmond. The forecast may have predicted severe thunderstorms but from the enthusiastic turnout, it was clear that WAM Theatre’s benefit cocktail party would have gotten a draw regardless of the weather. Under bright blue skies, Stars in the Orchard returned for a second year on Thursday, July 14, again at Hilltop Orchards. The event featured a raffle, silent auction, and live auction. A major fundraiser for the philanthropic theater company, it was also an opportunity for founder and artistic director Kristin van Ginhoven [left, with Hilltop Orchards owner John Vittori] to announce that Berkshire Immigrant Center and Suzi Banks Baum (for her Armenian female empowerment project) will be the 2016 beneficiaries of WAM’s production of “The Bakelite Masterpiece” in the fall. In true WAM fashion, the evening included performances by Girls Inc. and festive music provided by the Expandable Brass Band. And apple cider doughnuts, of course.

Alyssa Wright, a WAM development comittee member, with William Wright; Siena Gamberoni and Iris Courchaine performed with the Girls Inc. ensemble.

Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe and board member Vicky May with Greylock Federal Credit Union sponsors Jaime Moncecchi and Kent Hudson; WAM volunteers Shiffra Perlmutter and Karen Richards.

Peter Jeffrey and Carla Weiss; Richard and Abby Tovell of T Square Design Studio.

Jessica Provenz , who helped coordinate last year’s event, with strategic planning committee member Bruce Garlow and his brother, Tamarack Garlow.

Yuki Cohen and Lauren Ferin; Brooke Mead, Brian Harrison and Joni Thomas.

Longtime WAM supporter Susie Roeder and Hope Fitzgerald; Tereza Hubkova, Chris Buono and Alexandra Heddinger.

Lawyer Ethan Klepetar, Jayme Kurland, Julia Dixon and Todd Trebour; WAM’s artistic associate Molly Clancy and Rebecka McDougall, who volunteered at the event.

Bill and Sue Lyon with Freda Grim, associate producer.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/15/16 at 09:35 AM • Permalink

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The Spirit Of ‘66 Enchants Olana On Its 50th Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Cloudy skies and a little drizzle of a rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the 300 or so attendees of Olana State Historic Site’s 50th birthday gala on Saturday, July 9. When not under tents, guests popped umbrellas to protect their duds, many of them harkening back to the fashions of the year Olana was saved from destruction. Adorable 1960s-inspired nibbles from Gaskins, Panzer, Wm. Farmer & Sons, Café Le Perche, The Corner at Hotel Tivoli and other Hudson Valley eateries were a big hit, along with freshly shucked oysters from Other Brother Darryl’s and libations courtesy of Fairview Wine & Spirits. DJ Javier Peral hand-picked (literally, all music was “of the times” from LPs played on turntables) the best tunes from the decade to keep the crowd swinging. Proceeds from the summer soiree support the site and its wide-ranging, year-round programming for students, visitors, artists and scholars. [Above, Trixie Starr, Michael Susi, Olana president Sean Sawyer and trustee Janet Schnitzer.]

Trustee Kay Toll with David Diamond, trustee Karen Zukowski and Maynard Toll, a trustee of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Janett Pabon and Chef Devon Gilroy of The Corner at Hotel Tivoli.

Architect Thomas Krizmanic, David Melgar and Olana’s landscape curator Mark Prezorski; Rickey Shaum with Catherine Lark and Ricky Lark, who are related to Sally Church, the last family member to inhabit the estate at Olana.

Annie Digiovanna and Taylor Schultz; Jack Pickering, Joan K. Davidson, Elaine Koss and artist Gene Debartolo.

Soon-to-be newlyweds Keven Brunk and Jessyka Neitzel.

Board treasurer Rick McCarthy with Eileen and Jay Wallace, Jean Hamilton and Lisa Fox Martin, the board chair of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Matt McGhee and Ronald Kopnicki.

DeWayne Powell, Tim Legg and Doug Wingo; Rebecca Wagner, Steven Levine and Emily McLaughlin.

Olana’s interim director of collections and research, Valerie Balint, with its education coordinator Elizabeth Schanz and volunteer Barbara Stevens; DJ Javier Peral spins tunes (on real vinyl!) for the crowd.

Joseph Garry and Olana National Advisory Committee member Barry Harwood; Trixie Starr and Sean Sawyer strike a pose in front of the gorgeous vista.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/11/16 at 10:29 AM • Permalink

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Opening Night A Gala Event At Shakespeare & Company

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. “We don’t normally have a gala on opening night,” admitted Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s founding artistic director on Sunday, July 10.  But The Merchant of Venice, with its controversial mix of bigotry and humor, gave the gala attendees plenty to discuss at the cocktail hour, intermission and the dinner that followed. This is the company’s 39th performance season (and the Bard’s 400th anniversary), and The Merchant of Venice is the first production presented in-the-round at the Tina Packer Playhouse. (“Very Elizabethan,” said Packer, who directed it). Following the performance, guests raised their glasses — filled with Portia’s Potion, the drink of the night — and toasted to the cast and team. Proceeds raised from the evening help fund Shakespeare & Company’s internationally recognized Fall Festival program, in which high school students mount productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Above, artistic directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy look on as Tina Packer thanks the donors for their support. 

Bella Merlin, who plays Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, and Londoner Miles Anderson; Eda Sorokoff and Stephen Sorokoff of Broadway World.

Rhea Werner and Ken Werner, chair of the board of trustees; Kevin Coleman, S&Co.‘s director of education; Marjorie Shapiro and Barry Shapiro, vice chair of the board.

Govane Lohbauer, costume director; Mary Abbruzzese, Bob Lohbauer, weapons master; and Dan Abbruzzese; Kate Millonzi and Ariel Bock.

Katherine Barton, Hugo Malpeyre, a director in France; Elizabeth Aspenlieder, who served as associate director for this production; and Kris Stone, the set designer.

Fiber and mixed-media artist Wendy Rabinowitz and The Berkshire Eagle’s Jeffrey Borak, who was there to review the production; Kenneth Rainey, costume design assistant, with Noa Egozi, assistant director.

Betsy Lee Workman, who owns La Pace, now in Lenox; drama critic and playwright Terry Teachout and Hilary Teachout; and Arthur Oliver, who is a costume designer; New Yorkers Peter Smith and Gillian Smith.

Alice Anne Schwab, executive director of the Susquehanna Art Museum, Bob Garrett, Mim Warden, Asia Berger and Ted Berger.

Freelance journalist Ryan Leeds, Tina Packer and Pete Sanders; Guests enjoyed Portia’s Potion (named for the character in The Merchant of Venice), an elixir of Berkshire Mountain Distillers Premium Vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice, rimmed with golden sugar dust.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/11/16 at 10:11 AM • Permalink

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A Fandango For Nancy Fitzpatrick Courtesy Of IS183

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Red Lion Inn owner and Berkshire County philanthropist Nancy Fitzpatrick dispensed a bit of advice to the crowd gathered in her honor at Stonover Farm on Thursday evening, July 7. “You don’t have to do it all at once,” she said. “All you have to do is a little bit each year, and it adds up to a lot.” She was talking mainly about her involvement in starting IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, who threw the gala to honor her and to celebrate its 25th anniversary, but she just as likely could’ve been alluding to her goal of walking across the entire United States, or to life itself. IS18, a nonprofit community art school offering classes for children and adults, has been known to throw some of the most creative and visually lavish parties in the county—and this one didn’t disappoint—but Thursday’s “Fitzpatrick Fandango” was the first to acknowledge the work of one person. But Nancy isn’t just any person, as the packed house of friends, family and fellow board members attested. Guests gladly raised their paddles to bid in the live auction and to give dollar amounts so the school can continue to offer art-making classes to help improve the lives of over 1,000 local schoolchildren each year. In true Berkshire County farm-to-table style, a wonderful dinner of local meats, cheeses, vegetables and fruits was prepared on site by Chef Brian Alberg of Main Street Catering. Here’s three cheers – or, heck, 25 cheers – to Nancy. (Stay tuned for IS183’s big birthday bash in October.)

IS183 board chairman Andy Foster with the guest of honor, and the school’s executive director Hope Sullivan; the animated Yo-Yo Ma with Stonover Farm co-owner Tom Werman.

Former First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick with Kripalu trustees Marcia Feuer and Joan Kopperl; Melissa Bigarel, Jane Iredale and Judy Ney.

Bruno Quinson, Daniel Osman, Hope Sullivan and artist Peggy Rivers; Joyce Bernstein and Larry Rosenthal.

Nancy and her husband, photographer Lincoln Russell [seated], pose with family on the lawn before the festivities.

IS183’s Carrie Wright and her husband, photographer Bill Wright, who wore a safety vest in homage to the one Nancy wears when she “takes a hike”; the school’s ceramics studio manager, Jared Gelormino, with trustee Adrienne Miesmer.

Trustee Tracy Foster, Jonathan Swartz, Sarah Eustis, Anne-Juliette Maurice and Stonover co-owner Suky Werman; Marilyn Hayward, Oliver Curme and Kim Noltemy.

Yuna Asriyan and Deanna McGrath; Roshni Rama and John Snyder pose with the guest of honor.

William Caligari, board vice chair Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Hope Sullivan and Pascale Delfosse.

Carolina Palermo Schulze and Spencer Zahn; painter Stephen Hannock, Nancy and Joan Hunter.

Magician Adam Cardone entertains the crowd; as the sun went down, the cones began to glow inside the barn.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/10/16 at 10:35 PM • Permalink

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Wilderstein’s Community Spirit Soars On The Hudson

Rachel Louchen reports from Rhinebeck. A rare gray summer day still provided stellar views of the Hudson River from Wilderstein Historic Site. On Saturday, July 9, the former home of the Suckley family — famously Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt — held its annual Summer Celebration fundraiser for the 15th consecutive year. More impressive than the long-range views of the water is the historic home itself, built in 1852 and majorly renovated to an elaborate Queen Anne mansion in 1888. While the exterior is grand, the interior still evokes the comfortable feeling of a home (albeit a stately one), which no doubt is due to the constant care and genuine devotion it receives from the board and volunteers. “This isn’t federally funded. Or state. It’s all us, it’s the people,” explained Valerie Dampeer, a longtime supporter and wife of the current board president, summing up what is truly special about Rhinebeck’s beloved institution. The restoration project of the circa-1890 potting shed, to be completed at the end of this year, was dedicated to the memory of two of those special citizens, Martha and Frank Reardon, who were instrumental over the years—Martha served as docent, board member and landscape volunteer, and Frank as the chief volunteer groundsman. The main fundraiser of the year saw a large turnout complete with live music, croquet matches, house tours, a silent auction and lots of garden party hats. [Above, Alex Sherwin, grandson of Martha and Frank Reardon, and Michael Reardon, their son, flank Linda Watson, wife of Wilderstein’s head curator.]

Mark Fitzgerald, Valerie Dampeer and Geoff Dampeer; Karen Silverman and Nick Jones.

Jack Dean and Jim Calimano; Isobel Usawicz and Daniel Baxter.

Wilderstein’s curator Duane Watson, Mike Brewer, Marion Mathison and Sue Cornwall.

Martha Toomey and Renata Frommert, who serves as a docent at Wilderstein; string players Helena Baillie, Reina Murooka and Shai Lev.

Elizabeth and Matthew Bradford; current Wilderstein board president Lyell Dampeer with former board president Steven Connell.

Yvonne Paulin and realtor Arielle Curtin enjoy the river views from the best spot on the lawn.

Vicki Haak and Dede McKibbin; Lois Winston with Wilderstein docent Amy Scorca.

Melissa Macaluso, Julie Hardinger and Adam Hardinger pose in front of a classic Packard; Allison Sokarisand Michael Amsden.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/09/16 at 10:49 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Theatre Group Toasts To Billy’s 111th Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. If you were anywhere near Main Street in Stockbridge on Saturday evening, July 2, you may have heard the tooting of party horns and a chorus of voices singing “Happy Birthday.” The birthday boy was former Berkshire Theatre Group artistic director Billy Miles and it was his 111th, although he wasn’t there — under a tent outside of the Fitzpatrick Main Stage — to celebrate. But don’t worry, there were plenty of theatre fans there and his birthday cake did not go to waste. Before an evening performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, supporters gathered at a reception featuring a Southern-inspired menu that included cornbread topped with pulled pork and slaw, among other snacks created for the occasion by Chef Brian Alberg. The evening’s signature drink was the mint julep. Miles’ daughters, Mary Ann Miles and Elizabeth Miles Montgomery, were not only present at the event, but shared some fascinating background information about their father’s career and even blew out the candles on his birthday cake at the post-show festivities. Miles, who served as artistic director from 1935-1958, oversaw productions starring Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Gish, Thornton Wilder, Gloria Swanson, Buster Keaton and many other huge names. Proceeds will benefit Berkshire Theatre Group’s Festival Archives. [Above, one of the play’s stars, Rebecca Brooksher, with BTG’s artistic director and CEO, Kate Maguire.

Joseph Melillo, Ashlei Perkins, the assistant to the artistic director, and Kathy Jo Grover, the front of house manager; Hans Morris with Bridget Fawcett.

Event committee and board member Hilary Deely, Phil Deely, photojournalist Lionel Delevingne and Judith Wilkinson; Barbara Alibozek, Gene Dellea and BTG board president Ruth Blodgett.

RI publisher Mark Williams with Kate Morris; BTG staff offered champagne toasts to the crowd post show.

Carrie Wright, Hilary Deely and Rebecca Weinman; designer Carl Sprague, Elizabeth Miles Montgomery [seated], artist Anne Auberjonois, professor Sebastian Bonner and Robin Montgomery.

Billy’s 111th birthday cake; the scene inside the tent after the performance was festive, indeed.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/03/16 at 11:12 PM • Permalink

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The Nature of Glass: Chesterwood’s 2016 Gala And Exhibit

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. You couldn’t have wished for a more perfect summer day for an outdoor event than Friday, June 24, as Chesterwood’s 38th annual sculpture exhibition, The Nature of Glass, opened with a reception, followed by a fundraising dinner. Many of the 12 internationally recognized glass artists were on hand to discuss their work during a walking tour of the 24 pieces, led by the exhibition’s curator, Jim Schantz of Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge. Creations by locals such as gala co-chair Tom Patti join art by a handful of Seattle residents and even a sculptor from the Netherlands for this year’s exhibit, and some are the culmination of glassblowers creating outdoor pieces for the very first time. In addition to the artists listed above and shown below, The Nature of Glass includes pieces by Martin Blank, Daniel Clayman, Sidney Hutter, John Kiley, Kait Rhoads, Thomas Scoon and William Carlson, who was awarded this year’s Lillian Heller Curator’s Award. The 2016 sculpture show will be on view daily until Sept. 18. [Above, Elise Abrams, Alexander Sohn and Chesterwood’s executive director Donna Hassler.]

Sara Koffman and her daughter, Deb Koffman; Janet Hargus, exhibiting sculptor Peter Bremers and Chris Magee.

Ute Stebich, Bob Schenkel, gala co-chair Marilyn Patti and Suzanne Nash take in the views; Gallerist Leslie Ferrin and artist Marko Remec pose in front of Remec’s Remember What (Field Totem).

Margaret Moulton, Matthew King and Brian Cruey; Maureen Hickey, Ed.D., Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum, and Carole Hyatt.

Richard Squalia, Erika Sautman, exhibiting artist Nancy Callan, Steve Sautman and Donna Rainone.

Gallerist Natalie Tyler with exhibiting sculptor Richard Royal and Dena Lowenbach; musician Joe Rose and realtor Lori Rose.

KK Zutter and artist Terry Wise, whose work is currently on exhibit at Great Barrington’s Castle Street Cafe; printmaker Karl Dastoli, Susan Calkins, contractor Dennis Messana and Victoria Ross.

Exhibiting glass artist Richard Jolley and Julia Ricketts; hot air balloons seen through the frame of William Carlson’s Vitro Muralis.

Richard Royal’s Optic Lens.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/26/16 at 09:41 PM • Permalink

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One Night Only With Barrington Stage Company

Rachel Louchen reports from Pittsfield. For the 21st year, Barrington Stage Company celebrated its season-opening gala with a show, party, and excitement for the summer ahead. On Saturday, June 25, the evening started fittingly with BSC founder/artistic director Julianne Boyd and board chair Mary Ann Quinson addressing the crowd of “longtime, faithful supporters” from the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. They then introduced Tony Yazbeck, current star of Broadway’s Finding Neverland for a hour-long performance, The Floor Above Me, which traced his career, life and loves through song and tap dancing. Yazbeck, who starred in BSC’s 2012 production of On The Town, spoke of his time at the company, zeroing in the expert crew and strong community spirit. Post song and dance, guests crossed North Street en mass to the Boys & Girls Club of Berkshires for cocktails and a chance to bid on auction items before a sit-down dinner. [Above, associate artist Brian Prather and Erin Keller. ]

Gala committee member Cynthia Welch and Glenna Gerard; Jerry and Donna Weiss.

Veverly James and Andrew James; Al Jaffee and Kathleen Jaffee.

Theater student Amara Brady, Eva Blachere and JP Blachere; Charles Stuzin, sponsor of American Son, and George Whaling.

Managing director Tristan Wilson, his wife Peggy Pharr Wilson, Jeff Dreisbach and artistic assistant Pat McCorkle.

Don Morrison and Ann Morrison; Gala committee member Linda Febles and Mass. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

Nina Jung and Brad Aspel; Judith Jacobs and Rita Sperling.

Alex Skarmeas, Director of Education Tim Paré, Colin Nelson and Daniel Garrity.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/25/16 at 08:59 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire Playwrights Gala Enacts A Lively Scene

Jamie Larson reports from Great Barrington. For almost a decade now, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab has been both a sanctuary for artists and an intimate outlet for patrons to support exciting new stage works. At their gala last Friday at the picturesque Wyantenuck Country Club, party-goers were treated to a lively scene, a fabulous silent auction and the excellent company of writers, directors and actors associated with the Lab. The BPL has given writers invaluable resources and guidance to help make sure that the spark of inspiration turns into the next great theatrical work. Dozens of pieces have now come to life thanks to the Berkshire Playwrights Lab. [Pictured above, the three BPL co-artistic directors and the organization’s board chair: Matthew Penn, president Jim Frangione, VP Joe Cacaci and chair Stacey Gillis Weber.]

BPL treasurer and Saint James Place’s Fred Harris, Martha Fick and BPL Advisory Board member Malcolm Fick; Howard Arkans, Sue Arkans and Carol Kuller.

Stewert Lippe, Linda Saul-Sena, Mark Sena and Marja Tepper.

Louise Hillman, Eric Beauchesne and Alice Funke; Aurther Hillman, Jim Frangione, Anne O’Dwyer and Steve Moritz.

Ken Werner, Jennie Jadow and David Jadow; Guests mingle on the terrace.

Steven Froot, Heidi Heidispiegel, Mary Anne Doyle, Harris Weber and Harry Manin.

Hope Holiner, Ruth Carlin, Claudia Ryan, Anita Keal Wolkowitz and Morton Wolkowitz; Rich Solor, Jeff Weber and Stephanie Solor.

BPL Secretary Chris Blair, Amy Rudnick and Ben Hillman; A beautiful evening for a gala.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/20/16 at 10:33 AM • Permalink

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Roe Jan Library Barnstorms For Books

Rachel Louchen reports from Hillsdale. Stacks of books were replaced by fields as far as the eye could see on Saturday, June 18 for the seventh annual Party in the Park for The Roeliff Jansen Community Library. Held in the Harvest Barn at Roe Jan Park directly across the street from the library, the annual event outsold all previous years. The decorating committee made good use of the barn’s exposed beams for stringing lights while hay bales held the large food spread donated by local restaurants. The silent auction included items such as lunch with former New York Times food writer and best-selling author Mark Bittman, house seats to Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, and a catered dinner with wine pairings. A regular theme of the gala is recognizing dedicated patrons for their service, and this year, longtime philanthropists Pat and Jack Shakshober were honored for their over 40 years of support for multiple local organizations, including the library. The event funds the library all year and the significant turnout is unsurprising; the attendees at the event are actively and passionately involved in the library through their donations, volunteer work or just visiting regularly to take out books. [Above, Pat Placona, president of the library’s board of trustees and event chair Chris Atkins.]

Library volunteers Adrienne Orbach, Regina Colangelo and Lauren Lettelier.

Hillsdale residents Beth Gordon and Elliot Sobel; Attorney Jeanne Mettler with Sara Kahn.

Dave Pells and library trustee Meg Wormly; Shelly Barnham, trustee Marilyn Goldman, who was a major volunteer for the event and Susan Krim

Elayne Dix, Debby Goldberg and her neice, Molly Goldberg.

Eve Schatz, Anita Podrid and Bill Podrid; Howard Blue, Maj Kalfus and Lonny Kalfus, head of the arts committee for the gala.

Ellen Winner, Cathy Redlich and David Lewis; New Hillsdale residents Steve and Kathy Bluestone.

Father-daughter volunteers Steven and Aelxandra Smith manned the cocktail station.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/20/16 at 10:15 AM • Permalink

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It Never Gets Old: Jacob’s Pillow Gala Welcomes Its New Director

Lisa Green reports from Becket. There is always a certain frisson at the Jacob’s Pillow Opening Gala, but this year, on Saturday, June 18, it was particularly heightened as the festival welcomed its new director, Pamela Tatge. Stepping up to the podium as self-possessed as if she’d been doing it for years, Tatge thanked the board of directors for the “opportunity of a lifetime” and told the more than 450 Pillow patrons that as much as she was thrilled to take on her new role, she was just as excited to be attending her first Jacob’s Pillow gala. The cocktail reception coincided with a preview of the exhibition “Lois Greenfield: Moving Still,” celebrating the recent work of the artist who has defined dance photography for decades. The gala performance featured a variety of artists and choreographers, and Tatge awarded the 10th anniversary Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award to Camille A. Brown, who performed an excerpt from her award-winning work, “Mr. TOL E. RAncE.” Dinner, silent and not-so-silent auctions and — what else? — dancing followed.  [Above, board member Stephen Weiner and Pamela Tatge.]

Jacob’s Pillow board member Claudia Perles, namesake of the future new dance studio, which will be built as part of next year’s 85th anniversary capital campaign, and Charles Adelman, a member of the Gala host committee; Monty Blanchard and Leslie Tcheyan, a jewelry designer.

Gala co-chairs Joan Hunter and Sienna Patti, whose studio is a venue for contemporary studio jewelry.

Family bonding at Jacob’s Pillow: Ann, Francesca and Joe Gallo of Tyringham; Attorney David Schecker with Vicki Bonnington, sporting a magnificent glass-and-nylon bird sculpture neck piece by Philadelphia artist Emily Cobb, with WAM Theatre’s artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven.

Realtor Gladys Montgomery and PR maven Susan Lewin; Jerry Zinser, husband of new artistic director Pam Tatge, with Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University and Kari Weil, Professor of Letters at Wesleyan, who has a house in Monterey.

Sara Pasternak, a psychologist, and Madeline Hooper, who is on the board of the Berkshire Botanical Gardens.

RI publisher Mark Williams with Anita Shapiro and Harvey Shapiro; Choreographer Michelle Dorrance, winner of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2013, tells the guests how vital the Pillow has been to the development of her company.

Internationally renowned glass artist Tom Patti, designer of the the actual Jacob’s Pillow Dance award, and Marilyn Patti; Leslie Norville, who produced A Ballerina’s Tale documentary and Oskar Landi, a photographer.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/19/16 at 08:49 PM • Permalink

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Close Encounters Shakes Things Up At Gala Concert

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Close Encounters With Music closed out its season with its annual gala concert on Saturday, June 11 at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. This year’s theme was “Music That Shook The World!” and its multi-media approach, complete with vintage film and narration, rather shook up the regular concert experience as well. Following the concert, patrons regathered at the rustic Wyantenuck Country Club to enjoy a food-filled reception. Close Encounters With Music is in its 24th year presenting thematic concerts of chamber music accompanied by the always-enlightening commentary of artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani. [Above, author/commedienne/audiobook narrator Alison Larkin, who at the concert read passages from the memoirs of George Anthiel, aka the early 20th-century’s “bad boy of music;” pianist Michael Chertock, Annette Miller, an actor who will play a featured role this year at Shakespeare & Co., and cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.]

Connie Culley and Richard Culley; Penny Pincus, Claudio Pincus and Rabbi Max Roth.

Carole Hyatt, author and founder and CEO of MISSION: GETTING TO NEXT, and Michael Miller, former trustee chairman and current member of Shakespeare & Company’s board; John Spain and Leslie Gold.

Pavel Hillel, Susan Hillel, ceramicist Paul Chaleff, Carrie Chen and Stanley Cohen.

Bobbie Paley, Marcie Setlow, president of CEWM’s board of directors, and Hannah Hanani; Gisa Botbol, Rene Schnetzler and Ruth Ketay.

CEWM board members Purcell Palmer and Michael Wise along with Susan Pettee enjoy the lovely evening from the terrace; Elaine Cohen, Zvi Cohen and Beatrice Cohen, owners of Our Daily Bread in Chatham, surround the inimitable Judy Grunberg.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/12/16 at 11:15 AM • Permalink

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First Columbians Celebrates 100 Years Of Preservation

Jamie Larson reports from Kinderhook. The Columbia County Historical Society’s yearly First Columbians gala is always a stylish and enjoyable happening, but this year took on special significance: it’s the organization’s centennial, and the historical society has in itself become historic. The storm clouds parted just in time for a lovely event held behind the James Vanderpoel House. The celebration was also timed to coincide with the completion of renovations and new exhibits in the building that is the flagship of the historical society’s properties. Earlier this year, we wrote about all the CCHS has in store for the centennial summer and First Columbians was a great way to get things rolling. [Above: CCHS Executive Director Lori Yarotsky and Trustee John Carroll.]

The House of History; Robert Bluman, Heath Jacobs, Ilona Weisman, Kevin Lee Jacobs and David Deutsch.

Jorge Munos, Jason Money of Barlis Wedlick Architects, Christine Berdahl and Katelyn Sinon.

Graham Farrel and Dr. Norman Posner; Kristian Rathbone and Andrea Leung.

Katie Desano, Joe Geller and Jon Varese; Bob Woods, Stephany Lally, Loyita Woods and Tina Lang.

Peter Kindler and Dotty Battle.

Barry Herbold, Saylor and Herminio Ramerez; inside the tent at First Columbians.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 06/11/16 at 11:37 PM • Permalink

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The Wassaic Project Welcomes You To The Jungle

Rachel Louchen reports from Wassaic. There’s a good reason The Wassaic Project needs an entire summer to display its main exhibition: because there’s so much to see, touch and experience. On Saturday, June 11, preview party guests got a glimpse of what’s in store for the Project’s 9th summer. Appetite for Destruction features the work of 56 artists, 45 of whom have lived and made art in the hamlet within the past 18 months. Named after a Robert Williams painting as well as a pretty famous rock-n-roll album, the exhibit is housed in an old grain elevator that’s been transformed into a tower of art, with all seven floors featuring works ranging from visual interpretations of the untamed natural world to man-made environments to virtual reality. While a seven-floor walkup seems daunting, there are so many sights and sounds to gawk at, that before you know it, you’re at the installation of Polarized Landscapes by artist David Grainger on the top level. The preview party also touched on the lineup for the Summer Festival in August, a three-day multidisciplinary celebration of art, music, film and dance featuring over 60 artists, 15 bands, film screenings and dance performances. It sounds like a cliche to say it, but The Wassaic Project gets better (and more fun) every year. [Above, Bowie Zunino and Jeff Barnett-Winsby, founders and co-executive directors of the Wassaic Project.]

Program directors Scott Anderson, Charmaine Warren, Tim Love Lee and Liliana Greenfield-Sanders.

Michael Masterson and financial advisor Matt Lynn; Carlene Avalone, a former intern returning to participate in this year’s festival, and Dani Silva, a first-year intern.

Lily Wong and exhibition intern Abby Cosinuke; landscape designer Ben Young and painter Brendan O’Connor

Brooke Rogers, writer Jillian Dunham, Mike Welt and Will Welt became part of #NiagaraFiles by artist Rebekah Flake.

Artist Daniel Carello, whose work is exhibited on the fifth floor, with educational intern Sonja John; former intern Alyson Carpenter with Toni Reid, visiting from NYC.

Kate and Dana Rapisard participated in the exhibition; designer John Truex of Shinola with Matt Jordan.

Party committee member Bridget Potter and writer Cami Delavigne.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 06/11/16 at 09:50 PM • Permalink

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Finding Raven: Berkshire Museum Parties With Leather And Feathers

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Once upon a midnight dreary, a Gothic vibe pervaded the normally vivid and cheery Berkshire Museum on Friday, June 10. (The weather was actually mild and it started at 5:30 p.m., not midnight, but I digress…) Guests embraced this year’s “Raven’s Ball” gala theme by donning ebony evening dresses, brocade vests, black leather pants, ascots ala Edgar Allan Poe and, of course, an abundance of dramatic feathers. Peacock plumage sticking out of hats and pockets, feather-fringed belts and shoes, black feather boas and even some, ahem, downy décolletage made appearances. The inspiration for this year’s affair came from the Museum’s current exhibit, Finding Raven: Art and Stories from the Northwest Coast, which gala-goers were able to explore throughout the night. Cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres in the Spark!Lab preceded a live auction led by gala co-chair Robin McGraw, which raised over $75,000 for the Museum and its programs. The reward for all that good will was a generous spread from Main Street Catering and Events, an open bar that included a signature Dark and Stormy cocktail, formal portrait sittings with photographer Bill Wright, a dance party with DJ BFG (a.k.a. Gabriel Squailia, who also read to and wrote poems for the crowd) and more. Will we soon see a bash like this one that just passed? “Doubtless,” say I, “Nevermore.” [Above: David Schecker, Rosemary Harnett, Vicki Bonnington and Larry Harnett.]

Maureen and Michael Hinkley pose with the Museum’s Executive Director Van Shields; Michelle and Perri Petricca with Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and former Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto.

Andi McGraw, Museum benefactor Claudia Perles and gala committee co-chair Buzz McGraw; Veronica Martin and James Moore.

Gala committee members Louis and Mary Ann Yarmosky; John Krol, Micaelah Morrill, Allison Krol and Mass. State Senator Ben Downing.

Lauren and Paul Raphael LeBlanc

Vicky May and Peter Alvarez; Ellen Kelly, Brenda Noble and Sharon Huban show off their henna tattoos.

Lynessa Moses, Chelsea Tyer and Denise Talabach; Darcie Sosa and gala committee member Caitlin Pemble.

Marcia Mitchell, poet Sarah Trudgeon and Tessa Kelly; photographer Ogden Gigli with Keith Emerling.

Kimberly Donoughe and Johanna Batman of the Berkshire Museum; Michael Vincent Bushy, artist Benigna Chilla and Kristen van Ginhoven.

Shela Hidalgo, Museum board member Ethan Klepetar and Mackenzie Greer; gala committee member Micaelah Morrill sits for a henna tattoo.

Your party isn’t complete until the dancing T-Rex shows up.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 06/11/16 at 09:03 PM • Permalink

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Berkshire International Film Festival Opens On The Silk Road

Rachel Louchen reports from Great Barrington. It’s impossible to miss The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) when it comes to Great Barrington — the entire town is buzzing. This year, it was even more visible because the annual white tent across the street from The Mahaiwe included a 20-foot pagoda. On Thursday, June 2, BIFF opened its 11th season with a very Instagram-worthy party inspired by the documentary, The Music of Strangers, which follows Berkshire County’s Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road ensemble, screened immediately after the bash. The hotly anticipated four-day festival showcases independent features, documentaries, full-length fare and shorts over multiple venues in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, with filmmakers and cast members participating in post-screening discussion panels. A highlight of the festival was the presence of veteran actor