Monday, June 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Pride Pageant at The Adams Theater; Berkshire International Film Festival 2024; Kerry Wallach at Yiddish Book Center; WAM Teen Ensemble performs; Angela Gaffney-Smith at Olana; Gedney Farm Pizza Party; Lexi Weege at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge; Adult build night at Bottomless Bricks; Dinosaur eggs at Springfield Museums; Nutshell Playhouse at Lenox Library and Bascom Lodge

A Pride pageant, a film festival, the lost work of Rahel Szalit, the WAM Teen Ensemble, a memory painting workshop, a celebrity chef pizza party, musical brunch, adult LEGO building, dinosaur eggs, and children’s shows.

Majesty of the Berkshires Pride Pageant at The Adams Theater

Adams— On Friday, May 31st at 7 p.m., The Adams Theater presents the return of the Majesty of the Berkshires Pride Pageant, a colorful celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community with a face-off to become the Berkshires’ reigning queen.

A talented lineup of kings, queens, and everyone in-between will take the stage to showcase drag artistry and self-expression in a fierce competition for the crown and a one-year stint as the leader of the Berkshire County LGBTQIA+ community.

Reigning Queen, Poppy DaBubbly. Courtesy of Casi Kristant.

Created and presented by Bella Santarella and hosted by Shawn Hollenbach, the night’s festivities will include surprise guest queens, musical and dance numbers, fierce lip syncing, and more. Reigning Queen Poppy DaBubbly, will be present to pass the scepter.

The pageant is on Friday, May 31st at 7 p.m. at The Adams Theater at 27 Park Street in Adams. Tickets are $15 to $40. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Berkshire International Film Festival 2024

Great Barrington/Lenox— The 18th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF,) one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” is happening May 30th through June 2nd in Great Barrington and Lenox.

With an ongoing commitment to presenting the best in independent film, the festival brings together films, filmmakers, industry professionals, and fans for a four-day celebration. The lineup features 24 documentaries, 26 narrative features, 18 short films, and a free animated shorts selection for kids. The festival brings stories from 22 countries including Germany, Argentina, India, Austria, Sweden, France, Eritrea, Israel, Hungary, Iceland, Canada, Palestine, UK, Spain, Ukraine, Ireland, Brazil, Norway, and South Africa.

Events include the Sundance hit “Thelma,” starring June Squibb; the SXSW hit documentary about prolific songwriter Diane Warren, “Diane Warren: Relentless”; “Tea Talks” featuring documentary doyennes Sheila Nevins and Barbara Kopple; a new film directed by and starring Billy Zane; plus 70 international and national narrative features and documentaries, and short films with dozens of filmmakers.

18th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival.

The 2024 festival honoree is Oscar Award-winning screenwriter and director James Ivory (“A Room With A View,” “Howard’s End.”) The 14th annual “Next Great Filmmaker Award,” sponsored by Berkshire Bank, will be presented, and BIFF will host the 14th annual Filmmaker Summit, a two-day talent academy for this year’s filmmakers.

The festival is May 30th through June 2nd in Great Barrington and Lenox. Tickets and more information, including a complete selection of films and events, can be found online.

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Yiddish Book Center presents ‘Traces of a Jewish Artist: The Lost Life and Work of Rahel Szalit,’ a virtual talk with Kerry Wallach

Amherst— On Thursday, May 30th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Yiddish Book Center presents ‘Traces of a Jewish Artist: The Lost Life and Work of Rahel Szalit,’ a virtual talk with Kerry Wallach.

Rahel Szalit-Marcus Self-Portrait, Menorah (1926.)

Graphic artist, illustrator, painter, and cartoonist Rahel Szalit (1888–1942) was among the best-known Jewish women artists in Weimar Berlin, but after she was murdered in the Holocaust, she was all but lost to history, and most of her paintings have been destroyed or gone missing. 

Highly regarded by art historians and critics, she made a name for herself with soulful, sometimes humorous illustrations of Jewish and world literature by Sholem Aleichem, Mendele Moykher Sforim, Heinrich Heine, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, and others. She published her work in the mainstream German and Jewish press, and she ran in artists’ and queer circles in Weimar Berlin and in 1930s Paris.

Szalit’s fascinating life demonstrates how women artists gained access to Jewish and avant-garde movements by experimenting with different media and genres. This talk focuses on the process of rediscovering Szalit and offers a close look at her art.

The virtual talk is on Thursday, May 30th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The talk is free. Donations are accepted. More information can be found online. 

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WAM Theatre Teen Ensemble to perform original site-specific show at Lenox’s historic Church on the Hill Cemetery

Lenox— On Sunday, May 26th at 1 p.m., WAM Theatre Teen Ensemble to perform “WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT WE DON’T: Spilling the Tea on Life, Portals, and Possibilities,” an original site-specific show at Lenox’s historic Church on the Hill Cemetery. 

The poetry and movement infused performance uses the ritual of making tea, and the deep thoughts that often arise while drinking it, as a focal point through which to explore existential questions. “The piece offers a glimpse into the brilliant, fantastical, and curious minds of six young artists as they take stock of this unique moment in their lives and the world, and ponder what comes next,” explains Maizy Broderick Scarpa, WAM’s Director of Community Engagement who co-facilitates Teen Ensemble.

‘WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT WE DON’T: Spilling the Tea on Life, Portals, and Possibilities.’

The performance’s location in The Church on the Hill Cemetery is a scenic memento mori which allows for a unique, site-specific immersive experience for performers and audience alike. Scarpa hopes to introduce the historic site to those who otherwise would miss this “hidden gem.”

The free performance is on Sunday, May 26th at 1 p.m. at the Church on the Hill Cemetery on Main Street in Lenox. Reservations are encouraged. Tickets and more information can be found online. For questions or accessibility requests, call or text 413-300-1413 or email maizy@wamtheatre.com.

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Painting from memory with Angela Gaffney-Smith at Olana

Hudson, N.Y.— On Saturday, May 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., paint from memory with Angela Gaffney-Smith at Olana.

Memories of people and places can be sharp and edgy, filled with colorful crisp edges or dreamlike, floating soft and hazy in our minds. Explore this connection, just as Frederic Church did, by painting from memory.

Angela Gaffney Smith workshop. Courtesy Olana.

This three-hour workshop will include demonstration and discussion about sketching from a photo or your own recollections. This program is offered in collaboration with Woodstock School of Art in connection with Olana’s current exhibition “Afterglow: Frederic Church and the Landscape of Memory.” 

The workshop is on Saturday, May 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Wagon House Education Center at Olana State Historic Site at 5720 NY Route 9G in Hudson, N.Y. The cost is $74; materials are not included. This workshop is for those ages 16 and up; no experience is necessary. More information can be found online. Email education@olana.org with any questions. 

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Gedney Farm Pizza Party with Chef Michele

New Marlborough— On Saturday, May 25th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Chef Michele will unveil her New Haven Style pizza menu for the upcoming summer season.

Chef Michele. Courtesy Gedney Farm.

Gedney Farm Executive Chef Michele Ragussis has been widely recognized as one of the area’s top private chefs and a successful food television celebrity. Currently a repeat judge on “Beat Bobby Flay,” she has competed successfully in several major television chef competitions, most notably “Food Network Star” (season 8 runner-up), “Chopped,” “NBC Food Fighters,” “Guys Grocery Game” (winner), and “Bobby Flay Show” (winner).

The party is Saturday, May 25th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pizzas, salads, desserts, and fun natural wine pairings will be available. Reservations are recommended by calling 413-229-3131.

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Dottie’s Coffee Lounge presents ‘Domingo Brunch’ featuring Lexi Weege

Pittsfield— On Sunday May 26th from 10 a.m. to noon, Dottie’s Coffee Lounge presents ‘Domingo Brunch’ featuring Lexi Weege. 

Lexi Weege. Courtesy Dottie’s.

Combining the best of classic country, Motown, and soul, Weege’s original songs are full of spirit. Whether she’s crooning a heartbroken ballad or belting out the blues, her dexterous voice is at the heart of it all. Her acrobatic vocals soar high and plunge low, tugging at your heartstrings. Her nearly twenty years of experience is evident in the craft of her songwriting, and in the bold confidence she exudes onstage.

Brunch is at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge at 444 North Street in Pittsfield. The live music portion is from 10 a.m. to noon. More information can be found online. 

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Bottomless Bricks to host a LEGO build night for adults 

Pittsfield— On Thursday, May 30th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Bottomless Bricks is hosting a Lego build night for adults. 

Who says LEGO is just for kids? Adult Build Night, on the last Thursday of each month, is the perfect opportunity for adults to unleash their inner child. Enjoy a night of building, mingling, and reliving the nostalgia of LEGO. 

Bottomless Bricks adult lego build. Image courtesy of Unsplash/BobCoyne.

Bring your own set, free-build from our bulk tables, or sort… play your way! 

The free event is on Thursday, May 30th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bottomless Bricks at 163 South Street, Suite 4, in Pittsfield. The event is for those ages 21 and up, and it is BYOB. More information can be found online. 

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Springfield Museums present a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests, and embryos

Springfield— From May 31st through September 1st, the Springfield Museums present a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests, and embryos in “Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.”

This remarkable hands-on exhibition offers an astounding array of authentic dinosaur eggs and nests collected from all over the globe. The amazing collection of real fossils on view includes an authentic bowling ball-sized egg of a sauropod from Argentina, laid by a long-necked plant-eating titanosaur that lived 75 million years ago; a large cluster of eggs laid by a duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaur, and the longest dinosaur eggs ever discovered.

‘Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies.’ Courtesy Springfield Museums.

A captivating experience for all ages, “Tiny Titans” invites visitors to touch real dinosaur bones and reconstructed nests, dig for eggs, experience hands-on exploration stations, and view animated video presentations featuring well-known dinosaur experts. Each science-rich section is enhanced with exciting life-like models of embryos and hatchlings, colorful illustrations of dinosaur family life and stunning photographs of some of the world’s most renowned dinosaur hunters and their discoveries.

The exhibit runs May 31st through September 1st at the Springfield Museums on Edwards Street in Springfield. Advance tickets are strongly encouraged. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Nutshell Playhouse presents “Saving Jazzy” at the Lenox Library and “Spy Jinks” at Bascom Lodge

Lenox/Adams— Nutshell Playhouse presents “Saving Jazzy” at the Lenox Library on Saturday, May 25th at 10:30 a.m. and “SpyJinks” at the Bascom Lodge on Sunday, May 26th at 1 p.m.

In “Saving Jazzy,” Mambo and Nemonee have to save the beautiful but endangered Floratius Serendipitus. Follow them on their hilarious adventures around the globe as they look for the special ingredients that will do the trick. Featuring masks, movement, live music and puppetry, this original performance provides a wonderful chance to awaken young children to Earth’s mysteries and the delicate balance of nature.

In “SpyJinks” , three intrepid spies and a parrot named Taco are on their very first mission. They must rescue the beautiful Jolandalinda who has been kidnapped and hidden on the Island of Very Bad Luck. Follow their adventures as they sink up to their belly buttons in quicksand, get unexpected help from a local llama, defy gravity, and a lot more silliness. Will they succeed? There’s only one way to find out! Come to the show!

Don Jordan. Courtesy of Nutshell Playhouse.

“Saving Jazzy” and “SpyJinks” are appropriate for children and adults of all ages, although kids ages three though ten will particularly enjoy the show.

The interactive performances are on Saturday, May 25th at 10:30 a.m. at the Lenox Library on Main Street in Lenox and on Sunday, May 26th at 1 p.m. at the Bascom Lodge on North Adams Road in Adams.The show runs 55 minutes with no intermission. This is a free family event. For more information, visit Nutshell Playhouse online.

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