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Bits & Bytes: Fifth annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival; Chinese New Year celebration; Ramsdell Library Sundays; Williams diversity series; EP from Oakes and Smith

Week Five of winter Sunday afternoons at Ramsdell Public Library, the focus will be on the suffragette movement in the United States and Great Britain.

Fifth annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival

Pittsfield — The fifth annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival will feature a lively array of music, art, theatre, dance, comedy, film, play, a bonfire, fireworks and more from Thursday, February 11 – Sunday, February 21.

The Festival will kick off on Thursday, February 11 with IS183 Art School of the Berkshires‘ Learning Through the Arts showcase and the first preview night of Barrington Stage Company‘s 10×10 New Play Festival. Dottie’s Coffee Lounge will host an event almost every day of the Festival, including the collaborative work of the In Motion Pittsfield Literary Party featuring Kickwheel Ensemble Theatre/Berkshire Fringe, Berkshire Music School, Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, Town Players of Pittsfield, and WAM Theatre. Hotel on North will host iMotif, an iPhone photography exhibit curated by Sohn Fine Art Gallery. The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market will showcase 10 kid entrepreneurs selling handmade gifts.

The free community-wide Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza at First Street Common will take place Saturday, February 20, at 5:30 p.m. Other returning highlights of the festival include Dance Ten, a performance showcase of 10 community dance groups and schools from throughout the Berkshires; the 10×10 Real Art Party fundraiser, organized by Berkshire Art Association at the Berkshire Museum; Ten Days of Play at the Berkshire Museum; three family-friendly shows at the Colonial Theatre; a Berkshires Jazz performance; Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company; a Valentine’s Day Cabaret Show at the Whitney Center for the Arts; and Berkshire International Film Festival shorts at the Beacon Cinema.

Performances and events will take place every day of the festival. For more information call (413) 499-9348.

–E.E.

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Chinese New Year performance and dinner

Great Barrington — Chinese Community of the Berkshires invites the public to its fifth annual Chinese New Year Dinner and Lion Dance on Saturday, February 13, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.mm at Koii Restaurant, 300 State Rd. All ages are invited to celebrate the Year of the Monkey with a traditional family-style dinner, Lion Dance, and special dance performance by Lena Tan and East Culture Arts.

East Culture Arts (ECA) is a nonprofit organization founded by choreographer and songwriter Lena Tan and others in West Hartford, Conn., in 2002. The 10-member traditional dance company is sought after to perform at events such as the Connecticut Chinese New Year Gala, Hartford Riverfront Dragon Boat Race & Asian Festival, Manhattan’s Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, and different cultural events in Connecticut and other states. ECA has also performed in China at the Nanning International Folk Song Festival, Guangxi; Shanghai Citizen Festival, Shanghai; and Jiashan Show, Zhejiang.

Children at the Chinese New Year event will receive “hong bao,” or red lucky money envelopes, and will be able to participate in the Lion Dance. The event will also include pre-dinner activities with a Chinese focus for all ages and a raffle with Chinese-themed items. Guests are encouraged to attend in traditional Chinese dress.

Reservations for the event are required and must be made by Monday, February 8. Seating is limited. To RSVP e-mail keyes1545@aol.com or call (413) 528-5131.

–E.E.

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Winter Sunday afternoons at Ramsdell Public Library

Ramsdell Library
Ramsdell Public Library.

Housatonic – On Sunday, February 7, Week Five of winter Sunday afternoons at Ramsdell Public Library, the focus will be on the suffragette movement in the United States and Great Britain. The work of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Paul, and others will be explored via an ongoing book-and-film display. There will be a free screening of the 2015 feature film “Suffragette” from 2 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Housatonic artist Pat Frik will lead a hands-on workshop about creating art from paint chips from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and will demonstrate how to use the disposable medium of color sample chips to create unusual collages.

The library will be open for business with the Sunday papers, crossword puzzles, coffee and snacks, and craft projects for kids from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call the library at (413) 274-3738.

–E.E.

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Williams College series on diversity in education

Evelynn M Hammonds harvard
Evelynn M. Hammonds. Photo courtesy Harvard University.

Williamstown — Williams College has announced that its lecture series “Diversity-Equity-Social Justice: Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education” will debut on Monday, February 8, with a presentation by Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann-Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African-American studies at Harvard University. Hammonds will speak at 7 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3.

Hammonds’ lecture is entitled “Being Color Brave NOT Color Blind: Creating an Inclusive Academy in the 21st Century.”  Hammonds served as Dean of Harvard College from 2008-2013. Prior to her appointment as dean, she was Harvard University’s first Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity.  She joined the faculty at Harvard in 2002 after teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine. In February 2010, Hammonds was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She also sits on the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, a congressionally mandated oversight committee of the National Science Foundation.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.

–E.E.

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Oakes and Smith ‘Between the Earth and the Sky’

Oakes Smith album coverTyringham — Berkshire folk duo Oakes and Smith’s latest EP, “Between the Earth and the Sky,” was released on Tuesday, February 2.

Teaming up with co-producer, guitarist, and vocalist Jemal Wade Hines, the duo began work on “Between the Earth and the Sky” in 2012 at Ashintully Gardens. Over time, additional parts were added by vocalist Moksha Sommer, bassist Dan Walters, bamboo flutist George Tortorelli, drummer Chuck Mauk, and cellist Melissa Hyman, all of whom are members of or frequent contributors to the neo-folk/world rock ensemble HuDost. The EP also features a performance by vocalist Jon Anderson of the British progressive rock band Yes. The songs were mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Oz Fritz and mastered by Dale and Bernie Becker.

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Robert Oakes and singer/songwriter Katherine Oakes (née Smith) refer to their songs as ‘lyrical and inspirational meditations’ expressing themes of love, creativity, mystery and an appreciation of natural beauty. “Between the Earth and the Sky” is available as a digital download from iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. A hard copy is also be available at a number of local shops including Crystal Essence in Great Barrington and Wood Bros. Music in Pittsfield as well as at the group’s live performances.

–E.E.

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