Bits & Bytes: ‘Lenox at 250 Years, Panel I;’ ceramics exhibit at Simon’s Rock; Ten Days of Play; Jo Firestone at MASS Moca; Hotchkiss to stage ‘Fools’

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By Wednesday, Feb 15 Arts & Entertainment
Students from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, rehearse 'Fools' by Neil Simon, which will be performed at the school this weekend. (see item below). Photo courtesy of the Hotchkiss Dramatic Association

‘Lenox at 250 Years: Panel I, 1767–1880’

Carole Owens.

Carole Owens.

Lenox — On Sunday, Feb. 19, at 4 p.m., the Lenox Library will present “Lenox at 250 Years: Panel I, 1787–1880,” a special panel discussion about the first half of Lenox’s history as the town commemorates its 250th anniversary. The panel will include Charles Flint and Lucy Kennedy, who will discuss the town’s early history; Dr. Carole Owens, who will focus on the years 1750–1800); and Bernard Drew, who will discuss Lenox in the mid-19th century). There will be a question-and-answer period in which audience members will be encouraged to contribute their own knowledge.

Flint has sat on the boards of many local historical organizations such as the Lenox Historical Society and the Berkshire Historical Society. He is also a lecturer, writer, and researcher of the arts and local history, as well as an appraiser, arbitrator and broker on the national scene.

A former resident of New York City where she was a marketing executive, Kennedy has resided in Lenox for 10 years and is the author of the ebook “Lenox at 250: An Updated History.” She is active in historic preservation in the Berkshires, working with Ventfort Hall, Arrowhead, the Lenox Historical Commission, the Lenox Historical Society and the Lenox Historic District Commission.

Bernard Drew.

Bernard Drew.

Author and historian Owens has written 10 books including “Berkshire Cottages: A Vanishing Era” and her newest, “Remarkable Women of New England: the War Years 1754 to 1787.” She is a columnist for the Berkshire Edge and the Berkshire Eagle and was recently honored for her work by Preservation Massachusetts.

Drew, of Great Barrington, is senior associate editor with the Lakeville Journal in Connecticut. He has written more than 50 books and his recent works include “18th and 19th Century Waterpowered Industry in the Upper Housatonic River Valley” (2014) and “Literary Luminaries of the Berkshires” (2015). He is a columnist for the Berkshire Edge has been an Our Berkshires columnist for the Berkshire Eagle for two decades.

For more information, call the library at (413) 637-2630.

–E.E.

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Ceramics artists exhibit, talk at Simon’s Rock

A ceramic basket by Bryan Hopkins.

A ceramic basket by Bryan Hopkins.

Great Barrington — Diverse styles from acclaimed ceramics artists from around the country are part of “Narrowing the Variables: Seven Approaches to the Vessel,” an exhibition on display at Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s Daniel Arts Center through Friday, March 10. A reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m., during which curator and faculty member Ben Krupka will deliver a gallery talk followed by a slide presentation by exhibition participant and ceramicist Sam Taylor.

Krupka, who has led the ceramics program at Simon’s Rock for over 10 years, chose artists working in a variety of styles from all over the country for “Narrowing the Variables,” including Sunshine Cobb of California, Mike Helke of Wisconsin, Bryan Hopkins of New York, Lindsay Oesterritter of Kentucky, Emily Schroeder Willis of Illinois, and Mark Shapiro and Taylor of Massachusetts.

The exhibit, talk and reception are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.

–E.E.

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Berkshire Museum to present Ten Days of Play

Pittsfield — Kids will play, create, improvise and learn when Ten Days of Play returns to the Berkshire Museum Friday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, Feb. 26, to coincide with most schools’ February vacation weeks. Celebrating the fifth year for this popular event, this innovative opportunity for child-directed play is included with regular Museum admission and is available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Ten Days of Play is part of Pittsfield’s 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

The kickoff celebration for Ten Days of Play will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. during Ten Days of Play’s Free Community Night when families are invited to explore this year’s expanded, engaging, child-directed activities free of charge. The Feb. 17 celebration also includes the opening of the Curiosity Incubator, an engaging, immersive exploration of what makes people human with exciting, all-new interactive experiences.

This year, Ten Days of Play is expanding throughout the museum. The Crane Room will be transformed by children’s imaginations, becoming the perfect place for kids to play, create, improvise and learn. An array of modular building toys will offer visitors the opportunity to flex their creative muscles. Kids will be able to enjoy a bountiful LEGO station, explore color and gravity at the Tegu magnetic block station, stack structures with Bilderhoos, and innovate with the big blue blocks of the Imagination Playground. Ten Days of Play also will feature new interactive activities for early learners in LAB 102 and dramatic forest play in the Berkshire Backyard gallery. The brand new Tinker Lab in the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation offers curious kids the opportunity to take apart familiar household objects to see what makes them work.

For more information, contact the museum at (413) 443-7171.

–E.E.

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MASS MoCA to host comedienne Jo Firestone

Jo Firestone. Photo: Mindy Tucker

Jo Firestone. Photo: Mindy Tucker

North Adams — Absurdist comedy dynamo Jo Firestone, whose off-kilter talents are on display in the HBO series “High Maintenance” and in her writing for “The Chris Gethard Show,” will perform at MASS MoCA on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. Joe Pera will open the show.

Named one of Brooklyn Magazine‘s 50 Funniest People and one of the Top Up and Coming Comedians on Splitsider, Firestone is the most recent writer hired on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Her live performance productions make her a mainstay on the New York City weirdo-comedy circuit. Along with Aparna Nancherla, she’s the current co-host and writer of the web series “Womanhood.” Firestone first dove into comedy while attending Wesleyan University, developing the Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite with writing and performance partner Dylan Marron that blossomed into a country-wide tour following their graduation. An eventual move to New York City led to improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade and Peoples Improv Theater. Before long Firestone was putting on her own alt-comedy shows across the city.

Tickets range from $10 to $28. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the MASS MoCA box office at (413) 662-2111.

–E.E.

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Hotchkiss School to stage Neil Simon’s ‘Fools’

Lakeville, Conn. — The Hotchkiss Dramatic Association will present “Fools” by Neil Simon on Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2:30 p.m. in the Hotchkiss School’s Walker Auditorium.

“Fools” is set in a tiny Ukrainian village in the 19th century. Teacher Leon Tolchinsky thinks he has landed his dream job but, upon arrival in the sleepy hamlet, he finds that the villagers have been cursed with chronic stupidity and it is up to him to break the curse. “Fools” was first produced on Broadway in 1981 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The production is directed by Hotchkiss theatre instructor Parker Reed.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors and non-Hotchkiss students. For tickets and more information, call (860) 435-3203.

–E.E.


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