Monday, June 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Kendra McKinley at Race Brook Lodge; D-Day anniversary at The Triplex; Alibaba Awrang at the Oliver Wolcott Library; Serena Granbury, Gary Schieneman, and Doane Perry at Art on Main; ‘Grief… A Comedy’ at Barrington Stage; ‘Big Bad Abortion Play’ at The Foundry; ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ at Ghent Playhouse; Improv classes at Becket Arts Center

Kendra McKinley makes music for smoking weed with your bra off.

Down County Social Club at Race Brook Lodge presents Kendra McKinley

Sheffield— On Thursday, June 6th from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Down County Social Club at Race Brook Lodge presents Kendra McKinley. 

Kendra McKinley. Photo Lucy Bohnsack.

Kendra McKinley makes music for smoking weed with your bra off. A conduit of connection with a voice that sounds like tuned honey. Her music braids sensuality, levity, and polish. Whether she’s casting spells with her looping pedal or fronting a dynamic backing band, her live show is an invitation to swerve and swoon to her yummy grooves — an incantation to bloom, on loop.

The Down County Social Club, beneath The Stagecoach Tavern at Race Brook Lodge at 864 South Undermountain Road in Sheffield, features a handpicked selection of extraordinary and rare entertainment presented in an intimate speakeasy-style environment.

The concert is on Thursday, June 6th from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Tickets and more information can be found online.

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80th anniversary of D-Day celebrated at The Triplex Cinema

Great Barrington— On Thursday, June 6th, The Triplex Cinema is proud to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

At 1 p.m., there will be a free screening of “The Best Years of Our Lives, which tells the story of three United States servicemen and their re-adjustment to societal changes and civilian life after coming home from World War II. It is one of the earliest films to address issues encountered by returning veterans in the post-World War II era and is widely considered to be a masterpiece.

At 4 p.m, immediately following the showing, there will be a talkback by Tom Beasley, the Director of Veteran Services for Southern Berkshire County. Beasley, a Veteran of the Gulf War, will be sharing information on resources and programs that will help improve access to the Veterans Administration and Massachusetts Veteran services. You do not need to attend the screening to attain date talkback.

At 6 p.m., there will be a free screening of “Saving Private Ryan.” Set in France, beginning with the D-Day invasion in 1944 and directed by Steven Spielberg, “Saving Private Ryan” follows a group of soldiers in World War II on their mission to locate Private James Ryan and bring him home safely after his three brothers are killed in action. 

Vietnam Veteran photographed by Bill Wright. Courtesy The Triplex.

Photographer Bill Wright’s large, celebrated portraits of Veterans will be on display in the Triplex Lobby from June 6th to June 13th from 1 p.m. to closing. Nicki Wilson, the President of the Board of Directors, says, “Even if you can’t get to the films or the talkback, be sure you come to the Triplex to see Bill’s brilliant work. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be able to have these photographs at our theater.”

The celebration is on Thursday, June 6th at The Triplex Cinema at 70 Railroad Street in Great Barrington. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Oliver Wolcott Library presents ‘Life is Beautiful!,’ contemporary calligraphy works by Alibaba Awrang

Litchfield, Conn.— From June 4th through July 18th, The Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield, Conn., presents “Life is Beautiful!,” contemporary calligraphy works by Alibaba Awrang in the Jamie Gagarin Gallery.

Contemporary calligraphy works by Alibaba Awrang.

The paintings of recently relocated artist Alibaba Awrang masterfully fuse Persian calligraphic depictions of poetry with brightly colored images, resulting in contemporary illuminated paintings.

His work is well known in the Eastern world, with exhibitions in Kabul, Tehran, Bahrain, Dubai, Istanbul, Islam Abad, Tajikistan and Melbourne, among others. His recent commission of a large triptych was installed in the fall of 2022 in the entry gallery of the I. M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. At the pinnacle of his career, Awrang evacuated from Afghanistan in 2021, and is relaunching his career from his new home in Litchfield County.

In his artist statement, Awrang said, “Calligraphic practice can be defined as the art of giving form to signs and sounds in an expressive, harmonious, and balanced manner. For centuries, Persian calligraphy served as a mirror for mystical and literary teachings. In my work, I present a new artistic reality – by crossing the border of the “long-standing tradition of calligraphy. Linking calligraphy with painting, I reconstruct the past and bring it into the present.”

The exhibit runs from June 4th through July 18th in the Oliver Wolcott Library’s Jamie Gagarin Gallery at 160 South Street in Litchfield, Conn. There is an opening reception on Thursday, June 6th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. More information can be found online. 

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Art on Main Gallery presents “Artistic Feast,” the works of Serena Granbury, Gary Schieneman, and Doane Perry

West Stockbridge— From June 6th through June 16th, Art on Main Gallery presents “Artistic Feast,” the works of Serena Granbury, Gary Schieneman, and Doane Perry. 

Gary Schieneman works in pastels and oils, finding inspiration in Berkshire landscapes and barns, but has evolved into playing with color and watercolor which is the most difficult (unforgiving), but travels well.

Doane Perry started making photographs as a cultural anthropologist in the southern Peloponnesus Mani region of Greece in the 1970’s. He continues to make photographs of the Berkshires.

Ecology is the main theme of Serena Granbery’s work.  She works in many different media and finds inspiration in forms found in nature. 

Sculpture by Serena Granbery. Courtesy Art on Main.

The exhibit runs from June 6th through June 16th at Art on Main Gallery at 38 Main Street in West Stockbridge. There is an opening reception on Thursday, June 8th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Doane Perry will give an artists talk. More information can be found online. 

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Barrington Stage Company presents Alison Larkin’s ‘Grief… A Comedy’

Pittsfield— From June 6th through June 9th, Barrington Stage Company (BSC) presents Alison Larkin’s “Grief… A Comedy.”

Alison Larkin found true love for the first time in her 50s with an Indian climate scientist who had also immigrated to the US. Then, he died. Then something wildly unexpected happened. Instead of wanting to hide under the bed and never come out, Alison found herself wanting to live and love more fully than ever before. When Archbishop Desmond Tutu found out about it, he insisted she tell this story as widely as possible “because it will bring hope.”

Alison Larkin’s ‘Grief… A Comedy.’

Written and performed by Berkshire resident, writer, and comedian Alison Larkin, with music by Gary Schreiner, BSC is presenting five preview performances of “Grief… A Comedy” before it embarks on a World Tour, kicking off at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The show runs from June 6th through June 9th at Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage on Linden Street in Pittsfield. Tickets are $49. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Foundry presents ‘Ann and Me: Or The Big Bad Abortion Play’

West Stockbridge— On June 6th and 7th at 7:30 p.m., The Foundry presents ‘Ann and Me: Or The Big Bad Abortion Play’.

Winner of the 2023 United Solo Festival “Best Storyteller”, “Ann and Me: Or The Big Bad Abortion Play” is a harrowing and hilarious interactive experience written and performed by Jessica Bashline and directed by Margaret M. Ledford.

Jessica Bashline’s own abortions led her to study the history of abortion in the United States resulting in writing a play about Ann Lohman, an Abortionist in the 1800’s and all around badass. Almost menopausal, she thought that the abortion chapter of her life was closed. But, then came Dobbs, and she realized that having written a play about the history of legal abortion in the United States made her an expert in a niche part of legal history that was all of a sudden very important.

Jessica Bashline. Courtesy The Foundry.

The performances are on June 6th and 7th at 7:30 p.m. at The Foundry on Harris Street in West Stockbridge. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25; a portion of the proceeds will go to Tapestry Health. Tickets and more information can be found online. For parking information, visit The Foundry online.

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Ghent Playhouse presents ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’

Ghent, N.Y.— From June 7th through June 16th, Ghent Playhouse presents Annie Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation.”

‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ at Ghent Playhouse.

Winner of the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play, “Circle Mirror Transformation” is a touching dramedy about a group of adults who, trying to find meaning in their lives, enroll in their community center’s drama workshop. Through a series of poignant and often comic exercises, they reveal their true selves.

Directed by Brian Wagner, the cast includes Chris Luongo, Ariana Smart Truman, Matthew Burnett, Taylor Slonaker, and Lara Denmark. 

Ghent Playhouse Artistic Director Cathy Lee-Visscher said, “‘Circle Mirror Transformation’  is a lovely evening of touching theatre. It is fun and funny, smart and meaningful.”

The show runs from June 7th through June 16th at The Ghent Playhouse at 6 Town Hall Place in Ghent, N.Y. $12 to $23. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Improv classes with Ken Cheeseman and Paula Langton at the Becket Arts Center

Becket— For six Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., beginning on June 5th, the Becket Arts Center is hosting a series of six improv classes with Ken Cheeseman and Paula Langton.

Ken Cheeseman, an actor who is currently a guest lecturer at Columbia University, and Paula Langton, an actor and Professor Emeritus at Boston University, will show how to build a narrative through improvisational games, exercises, scene-setting and story-telling.

Both Cheeseman and Langton studied with and were mentored by Keith Johnstone, author of “Impro and Improv for Storytellers.”

Ken Cheeseman and Paula Langton. Courtesy Becket Arts Center.

The classes run for six Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., beginning on June 5th at the Becket Arts Center on Brooker Hill Road in Becket. No prior training is necessary, and loose comfortable clothing is recommended. Participants can register for all six classes or just drop-in to any of the classes. The cost per session is $15 and $10 for members. Registration and more information can be found online.

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