Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Dennis Kucinich at MMRHS; CATA’s ‘Wallflowers;’ human genome talk; ‘Building BRIDGE’ workshop; Sally-Jane Heit at The Mount; Riggs-Yale Conference

Michael Specter, a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1998, focuses on science, technology, and public health.

Dennis Kucinich to speak at MMRHS

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich.

Great Barrington – Kushi Institute and Berkshire Co-op Market will present former Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich on Saturday, May 14, at 4 p.m. at Monument Mountain Regional High School (MMRHS). The event is free and open to the public.

Kucinich, a longtime leader of the peace caucus in Congress and prime mover of national legislation to label genetically modified organisms in food, will receive the annual Kushi Peace Prize. Named after Michio Kushi, the late macrobiotic educator and founder of Kushi Institute, the prize is awarded to an individual for outstanding contribution to health, peace, and sustainability.

Mr. Kucinich first became involved with macrobiotics about 20 years ago when he attended a program at the Institute. In years since, he has worked closely with Kushi, Institute managing directors Alex Jack and Edward Esko, and others on health and peace issues with emphases on providing healthier food to families and schools, and on GMO testing and labeling. Since leaving Congress Kucinich has been a popular speaker and national television commentator.


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CATA to present ‘Wallflowers,’ its annual performance showcase

CATA artists Kelly and Eric in “Wallflowers.”

Lenox — Community Access to the Arts (CATA) will present its annual performance and gala on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15, at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse. This year’s performance, “Wallflowers,” will feature CATA performing artists with disabilities showcasing their talents in theatre, dance, music, and more. Saturday’s Gala festivities will begin at 5 p.m. with a performance at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and dancing. The Sunday matinee will begin at 1 p.m.

CATA’s annual performance is the culmination of performing arts workshops provided by CATA to 600 people with disabilities across Berkshire County. CATA artists hone their talents throughout the year and share them with the community via a performance weekend. This year’s “Wallflowers” theme—developed by CATA Program and Artistic Director Dawn Lane—explores what it means to be a part of or apart from, to choose to be seen or not seen. “Wallflowers” will feature seven new pieces including “In The Dust,” choreographed by Dawn Lane; and the return of Scott Thomas, CATA’s own stand-up comedian. Local actors Diane Prusha and Barby Cardillo will direct CATA’s Shakespeare’s Players in a riff on the audition process, while troubadour JoAnne Spies will premiere a new song inspired by hundreds of encounters with elders from Berkshire Healthcare residences.

Tickets to the gala are $175; tickets for the performance only are $20 for adults and $5 for students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 528-5485.


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Mahaiwe to present human genome talk by Michael Specter

Michael Specter.

Great Barrington – The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present a talk by acclaimed science writer Michael Specter titled “The Possibilities and Perils of Editing the Human Genome” on Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m. The lecture is based on an article he published in the New Yorker last year.

Michael Specter, a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1998, focuses on science, technology, and public health. Since joining the magazine, he has written about agricultural biotechnology, the global AIDS epidemic, avian influenza, malaria, the world’s diminishing freshwater resources, synthetic biology, the debate over the meaning of our carbon footprint, the effort to produce genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever, and new ways to edit DNA. Specter served as the Moscow bureau chief for the New York Times from 1995 to 1998, and spent six years at the Washington Post. In 1996 Specter received the Overseas Press Club’s Citation for Excellence for his reporting of the war in Chechnya. He has twice received the Global Health Council’s annual Excellence in Media Award: for his 2001 article about AIDS, “India’s Plague;” and for his 2004 article “The Devastation,” about the ethics of testing H.I.V. vaccines in Africa. His 2009 book, “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” received the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking. Specter received the Newhouse School of Public Communications’ 2014 Mirror Prize for “The Operator,” his 2013 profile of Mehmet Oz. He also won the James Beard Award in 2014 for his New Yorker article “Against the Grain,” which explored the American obsession with gluten-free products. Since 2012, Specter has been a visiting professor in Bard College’s department of environmental and urban affairs.

Tickets at $10 for the general public, $5 for students, and free for Mahaiwe members. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Mahaiwe box Office at (413) 528-0100.


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Workshop: ‘Building BRIDGE: Vision of inclusive community’

Gwendolyn VanSant Natalie Shiras
Gwendolyn VanSant and Rev. Natalie Shiras.

Pittsfield — On Thursday, May 12, at 10:45 a.m., the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will present “Building BRIDGE: A Vision of an Inclusive Community,” a workshop introduction to Multicultural BRIDGE, a Pittsfield-based group that convenes training related to issues of diversity and cultural competence. The free program will be held at Congregation Knesset Israel.

The workshop will explore the organization’s founding in response to urgent needs in the Berkshires and its vision for an inclusive community, and will also offer a brief overview of its programs and explain its approach to fighting racism and promoting multicultural awareness and acceptance. Presenting the workshop will be Multicultural BRIDGE’s CEO and founding director Gwendolyn VanSant and Rev. Natalie Shiras, development coordinator for Multicultural BRIDGE and recently retired from Church on the Hill in Lenox.

For more information, please call the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10.


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Sally-Jane Heit to bring one-woman show to The Mount

Sally-Jane Heit. Photo: Annie Leibovitz
Sally-Jane Heit. Photo: Annie Leibovitz

Lenox — On Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m., The Mount will welcome back actress Sally-Jane Heit for a benefit performance of her one-woman show “Everything Old is New Again (Ask My Plastic Surgeon)!” The show will feature Heit portraying an entire cast of characters—single to married, from young to old—sharing their points of view on life. The performance, all proceeds from which will benefit the Mount, will feature piano accompaniment from Uel Wade. A dessert-and-wine reception will follow.

Tickets are $15 for Mount members and $18 for the general public. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Mount at (413) 551-5100.


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Annual Riggs-Yale psychiatric conference

Stockbridge — The Austen Riggs Center’s Erikson Institute, the Yale Child Study Center, and the Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry will jointly sponsor the fifth annual Riggs-Yale Conference on Developmental Psychopathology, Family Process, and Social Context for clinicians and researchers on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, at the Austen Riggs Center.

This year’s conference will examine psychosocial treatments delivered in complex systems of care and how such systems may both help and hinder containment and delivery of care to individuals and families. More than a dozen presentations over two days will include clinical, research and training perspectives on systems dynamics occurring across varied contexts and will be complemented by invited comments and group discussion.

The cost of the conference is $250 before Friday, May 13, $300 afterwards, and $150 for graduate students. Online registration for the conference is available. For more information or to register, call Samantha Blache at (413) 931-5230.



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