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Saturday, April 21, 2018
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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

April 14 – Pittsfield
Susan Merrill Exhibit Opening

April 7 – Ghent
Ghent Playhouse Gala

March 31 – Hudson
Lil' Deb's Commitment Ceremony

Hancock Shaker Village Celebrates Susan Merrill’s Life And Art

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. For the past 12 years, spring at Hancock Shaker Village has signaled not only the Baby Animals on the Farm weeks, but also a new exhibit of farm animal paintings by the Berkshires’ beloved artist Susan Merrill. Although Merrill passed away last year, Hancock Shaker Village elected to keep the tradition by honoring the artist, and on Saturday, April 14, held a reception to open “Susan Merrill: A Celebration” in the Poultry House Gallery. Merrill’s legacy lives on in her extraordinary collection of barnyard scenes that help us see her subjects in new ways. “Susan captured familiar faces for us, so we could remember our connection to nature,” states the exhibition’s signage. “This year, we celebrate her art and remember her with love.” As do all of her many longtime admirers. [Above, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, HSV’s president and CEO, with Richard Seltzer, president of the board; both were thrilled with the record attendance on opening day prior to the reception.]

Susan Merrill’s family members in attendance included her niece Kristin Johnson, daughter Daisy Rockwell and sister Pepper Crofoot; Sarah Hatch and David Nolan.

Sculptor Tom Fahsbender and Jennifer Almquist, a photographer; Musician David Edwards and dancer Ruslan Sprague (Merrill’s son); the two collaborated on music for one of Sprague’s dances.

Olivia Cavanagh, Lara Ryan, Peter Cavanagh, Jane Ryan and Sarah Horne.

Robin Lamb and David Lamb; production designer Carl Sprague greets guests at his late wife’s exhibition.

After viewing Susan Merrill’s vibrant animal paintings and drawings, attendees got to take an after-hours peek at the live baby animals in the Round Stone Barn.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/15/18 at 03:01 PM • Permalink

Ghent Playhouse Toasts Annual Benefit With “The Gin Game”

Jamie Larson reports from Ghent. On Saturday, April 7, The Ghent Playhouse held its annual benefit to support and herald the theater’s impressive 43rd season. The event featured a staged reading of “The Gin Game” starring Monk and Cathy Schane-Lydon, who turned in riveting and nuanced performances even at this preproduction phase. The small playhouse gets a lot of support from its community but a surprising number of fundraiser attendees from farther afield were happy to support the local theater community that’s alive and well in the center of Ghent. [Above: The Playhouse’s longest involved member, Cathy Lee-Visscher, and its senior member, Bernie Handler.]

Cathy and Monk Schane-Lydon on stage in “The Gin Game” (photo by Cindy Smith); Father George Fleming, from St. James Church, in a handsome suit he purchased from Rewraps, which supports PS21, and PS21 Board President Judy Grunberg.

Playhouse board members and staffers Vivian Wachsberger, Artistic Director Cathy Lee-Visscher, Vice President Sam Reilly, Linda Murawski, Joe Sicotte, President Kelly Mackerer, Dylan Wijiono and Mark Wilson.

Former Olana chairman Rick Sharp and his fifth-grade sweetheart Joan Ershler, with Lucy and Bill Jackson, who’ve known each other since they were 11; Chase and Paula Pugliese from East Greenbush.

Loyal patrons and volunteers Tom and Kathy Rector from Ellenville (Kathy can often be found in the box office); Spencertown Academy board member Jill Kalotay, former theater director for the NYS Council on the Arts Robert Zukerman, artist Jen Moseman and Chatham Education Foundation president Judy Staber.

Playhouse photographer Cindy Smith and Joan Fuess; Albert and Diana Wellington from Lee, Mass. said they encourage anyone from the Berkshires to come to the Ghent Playhouse — it’s well worth the trip.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/08/18 at 11:32 PM • Permalink

Lil’ Deb’s Oasis Commits To The Future

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Raucous laughter, heartfelt embraces and happy tears were seen and heard throughout the Hudson Elks Lodge during Lil’ Deb’s Oasis Fundraising Gala on Saturday, March 31… and that was before the main event — the owners’ professional commitment ceremony — had even begun. Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, the owners of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis — a friendly, funky “tropical comfort food” restaurant on Hudson’s Columbia Street — threw the party to celebrate their creative partnership and to invest in its future. Top donors were treated to a cocktail hour with drinks by Arley Marks, and dinner by Lil’ Deb’s and New York City chefs Angela Dimayuga, Gerardo Gonzalez and DeVonn Francis. The ceremony, and a dance party with performances, followed. A silent auction featuring artwork, fashion, experiences and more included more than 70 contributors from near and far. The restaurant, launched two years ago, is sporting a redesigned website and has opened a private dining room adjacent to its main seating area. We can’t wait to see what else they’ve got planned for the future. [Above: Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black (with co-worker Wheeler, who gave the wedding sermon) address the crowd pre-ceremony. Both brides were brought to tears discussing how their chance meeting and partnership have changed their lives.]

Three members of the Gallardo Family: Julian, Carla’s mother Ines, and Juan; Grace Caiazza and Tomm Roeschlein.

Danielle Levitine and Ted Levitine of event sponsor Critical Mass Selections; Peter Frank, Mona Talbott and Adam Weinert.

Davon Rainey, one of the evening’s performers, with R.B. Schlather, Jesse Hart and Tom Taylor.

Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson of Home/Made Hudson; journalist Zane Anthony, conceptual artist Zia Anger, designer Elise McMahon and filmmaker Theo Anthony.

Todd Pavlisko, Layla Kalin of Kasuri and Shana of Little Bee Apiary; Yiyi and Adam from event sponsor Yesfolk Tonics.

Frances Sultan and John McCulloch of Half Moon Hudson; Ezra Glenn, Dalia Fakhouri and Pedro Ventura.

Dan Kirk, an artist who donated a piece to the silent auction, with Tami Loeffler; Ashley and Andrew Carter with Phoebe Tran and Adam Demartino.

Creating the “‘Til Deb’s Do Us Part,” a martini with Yola Mezcal, Amaro Angeleno and floating flowers.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/02/18 at 04:59 PM • Permalink

The HCBF Literacy Fund Toasts To Ten Years

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. This year, the Hudson Children’s Book Festival (HCBF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and the Fest’s Literacy Fund is marking its sixth year helping the city’s kids attend and purchase a book of their choice at the event. The group’s annual cocktail party fundraiser again was held at Stair Galleries this past Saturday, March 24. To show how the Fund has grown, its co-founder Susan Simon related to the crowd how the first year’s party raised enough to give away around 300-400 book vouchers, while last year The Fund gave away vouchers for 1,850 books. The HCBF Literacy Fund also works to help Hudson’s school libraries stock their shelves, an ongoing project that was able to donate 700 books just this past year alone. This year’s big Festival will occur on Saturday, May 5, with featured author Kwame Alexander. [Above: Festival co-founder Susan Simon, Colin Stair and Literacy Fund co-founder Chris Jones.]

Maria Suttmeier, Hudson City School District superintendent and HCBF co-founder, with Hudson gallerist Carrie Haddad; Bridget Smith, a Literacy Fund board member, with the Fest’s co-founder and co-director Lisa Dolan and art dealer Tom Swope.

Tony Jones, Pooky Amsterdam, board member Martha McMaster, Mark Prezorski, senior vice president at The Olana Partnership, Chris Jones and Agi Clark.

Hudson Area Library director Emily Chameides with Danette Gorman; Karen Davis and Mark Orton of the Davis Orton Gallery flank artist Margaret Saliske, whose work will be on exhibit there this year.

Lisa Dolan, Tessy Keller, Gene Stone, Chris Hays and Jay Neuschatz.

Cynthia Lathrop with designer Marlene Marshall; Edgar Acevedo, Mary Daly and Sarah Berney.

Susan Simon, Hudson mayor Rick Rector, Chris Jones and Carole Osterink; teachers and Literacy Fund board members Deirdre McCarthy and Melissa Brown.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/25/18 at 12:55 PM • Permalink

The Heartbeats For Autism Raises Funds And Awareness

Amy Krzanik reports from Pittsfield. Before the Berkshire Autism Initiative and its partners “light it up blue” for Autism Awareness Month in April, they lit it up green for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner-dance at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Friday, March 16. “Heartbeats for Autism” featured a buffet dinner, a silent auction and the evening’s entertainment, The Heartbeats, an 11-piece dance band from Philadelphia who donated their time for the cause. Proceeds from the event benefit Autism Connections’ programs and support for people with autism and their families in Berkshire County. As autism rates rise — from approximately 1 in 150 children in 2000 to 1 in 68 children in 2012 — Autism Connections helps families, schools, professionals and organizations understand autism and fosters inclusion in the community. [Above, Chris Tracy with Berkshire Autism Initiative chairperson Robin MacPherson.]

From Autism Connections: Katie Drumm, director Karen Serra, Liz Flaherty and Joanne Lucey; from Hillcrest Educational Centers: Roxanne Malloy, Tom Leonardo, Yvette Stoddard and Jon Kellogg.

Margo and Tom Mazzeo, Jen Astore, Glenn Sime, and Kellie and Glenn Houle.

Robyn and Brian Staubach; Elizabeth Deegan, Carol Kondel and Sarah and Taylor Williams.

Tony Cutillo, Sarah Voisin, Erin Mucci and Mike Mucci.

Volunteers from the Berkshire Autism Initiative: Pam Sandler, Megan Sherman, chairperson Robin MacPherson, Sharon Chapman and Nancy Salvatore.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 03/18/18 at 08:56 PM • Permalink

Pittsfield Education Foundation Gives Lessons In Wine Tasting

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Rarely do we cover an occasion where guests arrive…and keep streaming in right through the event. On Friday, March 9, the number of supporters at a wine tasting benefitting the Pittsfield Education Foundation at the Berkshire Hills County Club exceeded the organizers’ expectations. But it validated the community’s support of the new organization’s mission: to improve the achievement and success of the children and teachers in the Pittsfield Public Schools. Local educators, their families and friends, as well as several city officials, roamed the room, wine glasses in hand, where representatives from George’s Liquor Store offered tastings of wines and craft beers. Silent auction tables provided further evidence of support from Pittsfield businesses. “We want to ignite the passion for teaching and learning,” Kimberlee Chappell one of the founding members, remarked to the guests. [Above, Chappell, flanked by fellow founders Julie Pellerin and Elizabeth Trapani.]

Morningside Community School’s Kim Pemble and Crosby’s Dayle Bowler; Katherine Yon, chair of the Pittsfield School Committee, and John Pariseau.

PEF supporters Laura Farkas, Noel Henebury from Hotel on North, and Jesse Tobin McCauley, graphic designer for Main Street Hospitality.

Heidi Riello and Tony Riello, who works at Herberg Middle School; Mauricio Herrera and Christine Pellerin.

Teachers Erin Bassi from Capeless Elementary School and Karen Pearce from Conte Community School.

Michelle Curletti, who is a manager at the Department of Children & Families, with Michael DiCicco, who works at General Dynamics; Flying Cloud Institute’s Ruth Dinerman and Maria Rundle.

Mayra Hayes and Paula Furlano; Lauren Clark and Karen O’Neill, both of Capeless Elementary.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/13/18 at 10:21 AM • Permalink

New Lebanon’s Bicentennial Kicks Off With A Cookbook

Lisa Green reports from New Lebanon. A few years ago, we offered 10 Things To Love About New Lebanon, New York, and this year, all those things will be included in the “greatest hits” during the town’s bicentennial celebration. The celebratory events launched on Saturday, March 3 with a reception at the Town Hall, followed by a “tea” at the New Lebanon library to introduce the town’s official cookbook, “Culinary Crossroads.” The book contains vintage photographs from Steve Hawkins, a local photographer who worked for The Berkshire Eagle for many years, as well as stories and recipes from the diverse population of New Lebanon. It was as if the cookbook came to life at the tea, with its contributors bringing in some of the featured recipes. Cakes, cookies and other foods were displayed beside Hawkins’ (and others’) photos reflecting what life was like in New Lebanon’s past. The town’s anniversary celebration, known as NL200, will span eight months. [Above: Helen Burton, a library board member, with Gregg Carroll, who worked on the book’s graphics, and Sharon Koomler, a recipe contributor.]

“Culinary Crossroads” is based not only on recipes from New Lebanon residents but on their neighborly conversations and activities; Joanne Amlaw and Hugh Black.

Shawna Fitzsimmons, operations manager at Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon, with Rae Gilson, a board member of the Shaker organization.

Pat Macias, who was on the cookbook committee, stands ready to sell cookbooks; A cake, whose recipe is included in the book, sits in front of an historical photo of Tilden Pharmaceuticals employees.

Linda Hursa, owner of Angel’s Trumpet Flowers & Gifts, with Deb Gordon and Mike Hursa; Ted Salem, who writes press releases for the New Lebanon library, Paul Rix and Gary Millett.

The “Culinary Crossroads” committee.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/05/18 at 09:50 AM • Permalink

The Junior Leagues Gives Us A Taste Of The Berkshires

Amy Krzanik reports from Dalton. A fine crowd turned out to The Stationery Factory on Thursday, Feb. 22 to help the Junior League of Berkshire County (JLBC) celebrate its 10th Annual Taste of the Berkshires and its 85th anniversary. Guests enjoyed everything from soups, stews and salads to eggplant parmigiana, with plenty of dessert items to round out the meal. Local restaurateurs and catering companies included Gala Steakhouse, KJ Nosh Catering, Mazzeo’s Ristorante, Patrick’s Pub, Flavours of Malaysia, Ye Olde Forge, Cafe Namaste, Simply Sweet, Starbucks, Sarah’s Cheesecakes, Big Elm Brewing, Ayelada, and two businesses making their Taste debut: The Pita Bite and Tyler and Pine. All proceeds from the event benefit the Junior League’s community programs. Past projects have focused on literacy, women and children’s safety, substance abuse issues, mentoring, ending sex-trafficking and more. The next JLBC event is a screening of Half the Sky at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Monday, March 5. 

The Junior League’s fundraising chair, Shela Hidalgo, with its president, Mia Albano, and vice president, Rebecca Beron; Junior League sustaining members Susan Frisch Lehrer and Abbie von Schlegell flank member Leah Reed.

Hugh Koh, Sabrina Tan and Lee Tan from Flavours of Malaysia; Mark Ouillette and Gwen Davis.

Melissa and Brian Rathbun with Bryan and Megan Patton

Phil Kampe and Maria Kampe; Amie Birch, Barbara Larocque and Tracey Green.

Dan Shandor and Jes Shandor, a Junior League member and past president, with Candace Wall and Michael Wall; Andrea Hartcorn and Stef Quetti represented Tyler and Pine, a bakery opening soon in Pittsfield.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 02/25/18 at 11:15 AM • Permalink