Bits & Bytes: John McWhorter at Simon’s Rock; ‘Be River Smart;’ Lenox Peep Show; Monologue Night at Fuel; Arbor Day art contest

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By Wednesday, Mar 29 Life In the Berkshires
Linguist John McWhorter will speak at Bard College at Simon's Rick on Friday, March 31. Photo courtesy Bard College at Simon's Rock

Linguist John McWhorter to speak at Simon’s Rock

Great Barrington — Linguist and Bard College at Simon’s Rock alumnus John McWhorter will return to the campus on Friday, April 7, at 7 p.m. for a conversation in the Daniel Arts Center with professor Brendan Mathews about McWhorter’s life, career and longstanding association with Simon’s Rock.

McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, specializes in language change and language contact. He is the author of “The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language;” “The Word on the Street;” and “Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care.” His work appears in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Time, and the New Yorker, and he is has been a guest on “Dateline NBC,” “Talk of the Nation,” “Fresh Air” and other programs.

The conversation is free and open to the public, though reservations are requested. A light reception will follow. For reservations and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.

–E.E.

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‘Be River Smart’ at the Berkshire Athenaeum

Pittsfield — The Housatonic Valley Association has teamed up with the Berkshire Athenaeum to present “Be River Smart” during the month of April to celebrate and protect local waters.

Throughout the month, events, displays and information provided by HVA at the library will encourage visitors to become more “River Smart.” All presentations are free and will be held in the library’s auditorium. The kickoff event will take place on Saturday, April 1, from 2 to 3 p.m. and will include do-it-yourself composting bins, a “River Smart” pledge, and a presentation about local river quality. Other events include “Why Here? The Rise of Berkshire County’s Industrial Might” on Saturday, April 15, from 2 to 3 p.m., the Wild, Wet Water Festival on Friday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m., “Living with Wildlife: How to be Good Neighbors with Wildlife in the Berkshires” on Saturday April 22, from 3 to 4 p.m., and shadow puppetry workshops on Saturday, April 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m.

For more information or to register for events, contact HVA at (413) 298-7024 or mass@hvatoday.org.

–E.E.

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Ventfort Hall to host Lenox Peep Show and diorama contest

A diorama from a recent Lenox Peep Show depicts the sinking of the Titanic.

A diorama from a recent Lenox Peep Show depicts the sinking of the Titanic.

Lenox — Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum has announced its 2017 Lenox Peep Show. People of all ages are invited to make a diorama based on the theme of a favorite book or story created out of Peeps treats. Extra credit may be given to those who deftly use puns in the concept or title.

All entries must be delivered to Ventfort Hall before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate. Contest categories include children ages 12 and under, to be submitted with a parent or guardian; teens ages 13 to 18; and adults ages 19 and over. Group categories include families and business/organizations. First, second and third prize ribbons will be awarded in all categories. A public unveiling will be held Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ventfort Hall. The Peeple’s Choice Ribbon will be given to the best diorama overall as determined by a popular vote of those attending the unveiling. Dioramas will be displayed at various locations throughout Lenox from Monday, April 10, through Saturday, April 15.

Contest entry forms and rules are available at Ventfort Hall, select merchant locations in Lenox, the Lenox Chamber of Commerce office, and via linda@gildedage.org.

–E.E.

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Fuel to host Monologue Night

Jayne Benjulian.

Jayne Benjulian.

Great Barrington — On Saturday, April 1 at 8 p.m., Fuel Great Barrington will host Monologue Night, featuring participants from Jayne Benjulian’s recent “Writing and Performing the Monologue” workshop. The presentation will include readings from Kristin Grippo, Maria Sirois and Robin McLean as well as surprise guests from the theater community.

Benjulian was director of new play development at Magic Theatre in San Francisco and chief speechwriter at Apple. She is the author of the new poetry collection “Five Sextillion Atoms.”

–E.E.

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Arbor Day tree art contest

Great Barrington — In honor of Arbor Day on Friday, April 28, the Great Barrington Tree Committee and Ward’s Nursery have announced the Arbor Day tree art contest. The contest is open to all ages using all media including photography, paint, pencil, crayon and collage. All art must be able to be hung on a wall, depict a tree, and be no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.

Entrants may bring entries to Ward’s and include a 3-by-5 card with the entrant’s name, age and art medium, as well as the artwork’s title on one side with contact information including address, email and/or phone number on the other. If the artwork will need protection from humidity, the entrant must provide it.

First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded in age categories of 13 and under and 14 and older. First prize will be a larger tree with a retail value of $150, second prize will be a medium tree with a retail value of $100, and third prize will be a small tree or shrub with a retail value of $50.

The deadline for submission of all art is Saturday, April 15. Artwork will be displayed at Ward’s for two weeks beginning Saturday, April 15, until Sunday, April 30. Judging will be by a committee made up of three tree committee members and three Ward’s employees. All entries may be picked up between Monday, May 1, and Wednesday, May 3.

For more information, contact Jodi Cahillane at jodic@wardsnursery.com.

–E.E.


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