Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Construct Designer Showhouse; Clown Circus at The Foundry; Chesterwood’s outdoor sculpture show; Alysha Umphress at Barrington Stage; Housatonic River Clean-up

From great halls to hallways, these talented designers have completely transformed the Gilded Age estate into a wonderland of sophistication and inspiration with each curated space.

Final weekend for the Construct Designer Showhouse 

New Marlborough— Friday, June 28th through Sunday, June 30th is the final weekend of the must-see Construct Designer Showhouse. 

The Construct Designer Showhouse at Cassilis Farm in beautiful New Marlborough aims to raise support for Construct’s initiative to convert the Gilded Age estate into eleven affordable apartments for Berkshire families and workers. 

The Showhouse pays homage to the theme “Nature in the Berkshires,” and displays the transformative work of award-winning designers, whose areas of focus range from real estate staging and interiors to styling and iconic textile design. From great halls to hallways, these talented designers, whose areas of focus range from staging and interiors to styling and textile design, have completely transformed the Gilded Age estate into a wonderland of sophistication and inspiration with each curated space.

‘Wonder and Whimsy’ as designed by Staged Ryte. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

The Showhouse has drawn design influencers from multiple platforms including Carson Kressley (Queer Eye,) who stopped in for a tour.

The event is June 28th through Sunday, June 30th at Cassilis Farm in New Marlborough. Tickets are $40. Tickets and more information can be found online.

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‘PREPOSTEROUS!,’ a happenstance clown circus at The Foundry

West Stockbridge— On Saturday, June 29th at 3 p.m., The Foundry presents “PREPOSTEROUS!,” a clown circus by Happenstance Theater. 

PREPOSTEROUS! is a sophisticated, family-friendly, pocket-sized clown circus in which charming vintage clowns play circus animals, sing as a human calliope, do the classic circus mirror routine with a twist, invent a number of ridiculous “entrées,” perform live music, and execute a very satisfying slow motion number involving a pie.

‘PREPOSTEROUS!,’ a happenstance clown circus. Courtesy The Foundry.

The artists at Happenstance Theater harvest imagery from the past and re-contextualize it in performances that address the universal themes of mortality and the ephemeral. With the simplest means: humor, whimsy, music, silence, text, physical comedy, object manipulation, vulnerability, and generosity, they seek to elevate the moment when the performers and audience meet, to lift the encounter beyond the daily and pedestrian into the realms of dreams, poetry, and art. Meaning is often found… by happenstance.

‘PREPOSTEROUS!,’ a happenstance clown circus. Photo by Leslie Swan.

The performance is on Saturday, June 29th at 3 p.m. at The Foundry at 2 Harris Street in West Stockbridge. The doors open at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door for adults and $10 in advance and $15 at the door for children. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Chesterwood’s 46th annual contemporary outdoor sculpture show curated by Lauren Clark

Stockbridge— From June 29th through October 11th, Chesterwood presents its 46th annual contemporary outdoor sculpture show, “Birth of a Shadow,” by best curator Lauren Clark of Lauren Clark Fine Art and Childs + Clark Gallery.

Clark has chosen seven regional sculptors whose work serves as an evocative exploration of the intersection between light, space, and form, thoughtfully placed throughout Chesterwood’s woodland walks and grounds. The artists include Peter Barrett, Peter Dellert, DeWitt Godfrey, Wendy Klemperer, Michael Thomas, Natalie Tyler, and Joe Wheaton.

Wendy Klemperer, Chesterwood Catamount, 2024.

The show is on view from June 29th through October 11th at Chesterwood at 4 Williamsville Road in Stockbridge. There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, June 29th from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. There will be artist-led tours on selected Sundays at noon beginning on July 7th with DeWitt Godfrey. More information can be found online. 

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Barrington Stage presents ’15 Stories’ with Alysha Umphress

Pittsfield— On Sunday, June 30th and Monday, July 1st at 8 p.m., Barrington Stage presents ’15 Stories’ with Alysha Umphress.

Alysha Umphress. Courtesy Barrington Stage.

This brand-new show, which debuted at 54 Below in NYC this past March with a “back by popular demand encore” in May, will take the audience on 15 different rides, performing songs that tell a narrative story from beginning to end – theater songs, country songs, pop songs, gospel, and more. This special engagement is an opportunity to see Umphress take on 15 different personae in one evening, featuring one of the most glorious voices there is to be heard anywhere.

The performances are Sunday, June 30th and Monday, July 1st at 8 p.m. at Barrington Stage Company’s Mr. Finn’s Cabaret located in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center at 36 Linden Street in Pittsfield. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Housatonic River Clean-up with BEAT and HVA

Pittsfield— On Saturday, June 29th from 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers are needed to help clean up the west branch of the Housatonic River with Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and Housatonic Valley Association (HVA.)

Cleanups make a considerable difference in the health of the Housatonic River. Over the years, BEAT and HVA have collected a startling array of debris including mattresses, shopping carts, inflatable pools, bicycles, televisions, tires, construction materials, and metal barrels. Once, they even found an empty ATM. Since beginning annual cleanups, their efforts have made a noticeable difference, with the piles of trash getting smaller. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of their volunteers.

Housatonic River Clean-up with BEAT and HVA.

Participants are asked to meet at Wahconah Park at 105 Wahconah Street in Pittsfield at 9 a.m. Cleanup teams will disperse to nearby locations, gathering miscellaneous trash from the river banks and bottom. BEAT is also conducting a trash inventory of everything collected. They’re seeking volunteers who want to help without entering the river to assist in data collection.

Old clothes, a hat, sunscreen, old sneakers or waterproof boots/waders, a full water bottle, and sunglasses are recommended. After the cleanup, volunteers who RSVP in advance will be provided a free lunch from a local restaurant. Rain cancels. Registration and more information can be found online.

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