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Participants enjoy the paddling portion of a recent Josh Billings RunAground. This year's event will take place Sunday, Sept. 16, beginning in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Josh Billings RunAground

Bits & Bytes: Josh Billings RunAground; Berkshire BioBlitz; ‘Escaped Alone’ at WAM Theatre; ‘The Vagina Monologues’ at the Whit; ‘Historic New England’ at Chesterwood

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By Monday, Sep 10, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Josh Billings RunAground to celebrate 42 years

Great Barrington — The 42nd annual Josh Billings RunAground triathlon will take place Sunday, Sept. 16. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Price Chopper plaza, 320 Stockbridge Road, and end at Tanglewood in Lenox. Race events include a 27-mile bike ride; a 5-mile canoe, kayak or paddleboard sprint; and a 6-mile run.

Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw, who was born April 12, 1818, in Lanesborough. Billings’ saying “To finish is to win” is the motto of the RunAground and one of the reasons the event was named after him. One of the oldest and largest bike-canoe-run triathlons in the country, the Josh is an event for all ages and abilities, and organizers appreciate the help of volunteers to support the event. In addition, teams and singles of all capabilities are encouraged to participate.

The Josh Kids Race, which is open to all children aged 5–12 regardless of whether their parents/guardians are participating in the Josh, will return again this year.  Kids race participants are asked to register ahead of time from noon to 3 p.m. at the Arcadian Shop in Lenox Saturday, Sept. 15, or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on race day at the Berkshire United Way tent at Tanglewood.

Entry fees are $45–$240. Proceeds will benefit Berkshire United Way. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact patty@joshbillings.com.


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Attendees of the 2017 Berkshire BioBlitz catalog local species at Thomas and Palmer Brook in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Berkshire BioBlitz

Berkshire BioBlitz to survey local species

Williamstown — In celebration of local biodiversity, the ninth annual Berkshire BioBlitz will bring community members of all ages together with biologists, naturalists, environmentalists and teachers to explore nature and identify as many plants, animals, fungi and other organisms as possible during the 24-hour period of non Saturday, Sept. 16, through noon Sunday, Sept. 16, at Williams College’s Hopkins Memorial Forest.

In addition to surveying local species, this year’s program will include family events such as bird banding, microscope and specimen set-ups, and a hands-on water filtration activity, as well as interactive walks and conversations that will run throughout the day. There will also be an invasive species identification exhibit to exemplify the impact of holding a survey. More than 30 specialists will be on site to share their scientific knowledge, including “American Forests Champion Trees Measuring Guidelines Handbook” co-author Bob Leverett; Berkshire Wildlife Tracker and Berkshire Environmental Action Team stewardship manager Elia Del Molino, who will lead a mammal-tracking workshop; and Williams biology professors Ronald Bassar and Joan Edwards, who will lead a fish survey and a pollinator walk. Also joining the scientific effort will be John Wheeler of the Berkshire Mycological Society; “Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates” co-author Charley Eiseman; and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts professor Eric Doucette, whose research focuses on regional conservation, speciation and systematics of vascular plants.

Additional programs will take place after dark, including an Owl Prowl led by Rene Wendell of the Nature Conservancy, and a Moth Light demonstration by Mark Mello of the Lloyd Center for the Environment and local amateur entomologist Jason Crockwell.

The event is free and open to the public. Participants may take part in the BioBlitz any time during the 24-hour period. For more information and a schedule of events, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact berkshirebioblitz@gmail.com.


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WAM Theatre to present ‘Escaped Alone’ by Caryl Churchill

Caryl Churchill. Photo: Marc Brenner

West Stockbridge — WAM Theatre will conclude its 2018 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series season Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m. at the West Stockbridge Historical Society’s 1854 Town Hall, 9 Main St., with “Escaped Alone” by Caryl Churchill.

In “Escaped Alone,” three old friends and a neighbor spend a series of summer afternoons in the backyard chatting while visions of apocalyptic horror play out inside their minds, drinking tea while contemplating world catastrophe. Churchill, who has written over 40 plays, including “Top Girls” and “Cloud 9,” is known for her theatrically poetic meditations on grand political themes in which form is dictated by the content. Directed by WAM Theatre artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven, the production features actors Joan Coombs, Eileen Schuyler, Nancy Rothman and Denise Walker.

Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact WAM Theatre at (413) 274-8122 or info@wamtheatre.com.


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Whitney Center for the Arts to stage ‘The Vagina Monologues’

Eve Ensler. Photo courtesy Eve Ensler

Pittsfield — The Whitney Center for the Arts will present “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler Thursday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Sept. 16.

For over 20 years, “The Vagina Monologues” has given voice to a deeper consciousness in the conversation around ending violence against women. Based on V-Day founder and playwright Ensler’s interviews with more than 200 women, the play has helped countless women throughout the world take control of their bodies and their lives. Directed by Monica Bliss, the cast features Nancy Vale, Brittany Nicholson, Alex Martinez, Colleen Jordan and Jess Lillie.

Tickets are $18. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Elizabeth Freeman Center. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 443-0289.


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Authors Harris, Lyon to discuss book on historic landmarks

David Harris and Patricia Lyon. Photo courtesy Chesterwood

Stockbridge — Chesterwood and the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program will present a lecture, discussion and book signing Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Chesterwood. The lecture and visual presentation, “Genius loci: How New England Shaped its Artists and Writers,” will feature guest speakers Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of the recently released book “Historic New England: A Tour of the Region’s Top 100 National Landmarks.”

For their publication, Harris and Lyon focused on tours of the 100 sites offering the most intriguing and rewarding history. In addition to historic houses and tall ships, “Historic New England” examines such spots as the country’s oldest weather stations, carousels and sandy beaches. During their presentation, Harris and Lyon will read excerpts from their guidebook and use sites included in the book to discuss how the romanticism of New England’s natural landscape pervades American art and letters. The presentation will place the sites within the context of the other National Historic Landmarks throughout New England.

Harris and Lyon are authors of more than 30 books on travel, food and art including the “Art of the State” volumes on New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut for Harry N. Abrams. Harris previously directed funding programs in several disciplines for the Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities, the predecessor to the Mass Cultural Council. Lyon was one of the founders of Lynx House Press. They live in Cambridge, not far from the Longfellow House.

The event is free and open to the public. Due to limited seating, preregistration is recommended. Books will be available for purchase at the event and light refreshments will be served. For more information or to register, contact Valerie Balint at (413) 298-3579 x2033 or vbalint@savingplaces.org.


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