Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Oldtone Roots Music Festival; emergency skills training; ‘Our World Remade: World War I”; ‘The Field is the World’ at WCMA; ‘Mar-a-Lago: From Cereal Heiress to Winter White House’

In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, Fairview Hospital will host a series of classes during September to improve the community’s emergency response skills.

Oldtone Roots Music Festival to return for fourth year

Hillsdale, N.Y. — The Oldtone Roots Music Festival will return to Cool Whisper Farm for its fourth year Thursday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 9. The goal of the festival is to preserve American roots music and dance with opportunities to engage with mainstage artists in workshop settings.

The three-stage festival features traditional music performances, dances, workshops, contests and children’s activities. Jamming in the campground late into the night is encouraged. In the evenings, attendees and artists can dance under a tent perched over the rolling upstate New York farm valley.  The festival also features local food, craft and vintage vendors. Oldtone selects festival artists who are devoted to making the most traditional elements in old-time music fresh, relevant and exciting while maintaining the traditional sound, feel, style and storytelling elements of Cajun, bluegrass, string band, jug band, ragtime, swing jazz, New Orleans jazz and other styles.

Appalachian duo Anna & Elizabeth will bring their harmonies and their art to this year’s festival. Also new this year are old-time blues artist Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Creole artist and former Pine Leaf Boys member the Cedric Watson, upright bass player Mike Bub, bluegrass band Five Mile Mountain Road, Cajun fiddlers Joel Savoy and Kelli Jones, roots trio Pete’s Posse, and the Balkan Romani duo Eva Salina and Peter Stan. The Oldtone host band will be the Foghorn String Band from Portland, Oregon. Oldtone’s favorite Cajun band, Jesse Lege and Bayou Brew, will be returning to the main and dance stages, as will old-time darlings Bill and the Belles. The Down Hill Strugglers, Nora Brown, Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, the Feinberg Brothers, and many other regional and national acts will also participate.

Tickets are $20–$165. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Oldtone Roots Music Festival at (646) 269-9216 or


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Fairview Hospital to offer emergency skills training classes

Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Berkshire Health Systems

Great Barrington — In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, Fairview Hospital will host a series of classes during September to improve the community’s emergency response skills.

“You Are the Help Until Help Arrives,” a program developed in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and its Medical Reserve Corps, will cover topics such as calling 911, keeping yourself safe, how to stop bleeding and how to provide comfort. It will be offered twice: Tuesday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon; and Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The class will be taught by staff from Fairview’s emergency and security departments. “Stop the Bleed,” a class teaching techniques to stop bleeding until help arrives, will be offered three times: Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 29, from 9 to 11 a.m. All classes will be held in the hospital’s ground floor conference room.

The classes are free and open to the public. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Heather Barbieri, Fairview’s director of emergency management, at (413) 854-9656.


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Roe Jan Library to host ‘Our World Remade: World War I’

A poster from World War I. Image courtesy Roeliff Jansen Community Library

Hillsdale, N.Y. — The Roeliff Jansen Community Library will host the reading and discussion program “Our World Remade: World War I,” led by New York State Museum curator Aaron Noble, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the Thursday evenings of Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 11 and 25, and Nov. 8 and 29. A short introductory meeting will take place Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. to meet the facilitator and pick up books to borrow.

As the centennial of World War I comes to an end, the library invites participants to delve into the history, literature and poetry of “the war to end all wars.” Texts will include historical accounts, novels, poetry, government documents, news accounts, journals and letters from soldiers, nurses, politicians, pacifist, and other eyewitnesses to the tragic and transformative events of the Great War. Noble is the senior historian and curator at the New York State Museum, and is responsible for its political, military and governmental history collections.

Advance sign-up is required by Wednesday, Sept. 5. Participants should try to attend all six sessions as there will be an ongoing discussion. For more information, contact the Roe Jan Library at (518) 325-4101.


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WCMA to present ‘The Field is the World: Williams, Hawaiʻi, and Material Histories in the Making’

Kupeʻe niho ilio. Dog-tooth ankle adornment found in the Lyceum box. RC.22.44. Photo courtesy Pivot Media

Williamstown — This fall, Williams College is delving into a perhaps unexpected issue: its complicated, centuries-long relationship with the people of Hawaiʻi, including the role of Williams alumni in converting native Hawaiians to Christianity; in developing a written Hawaiian language; founding the Hawaiian plantation economy; and later overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy, which was replaced by a republic first led by Williams alumnus Sanford B. Dole.

The Williams College Museum of Art’s new exhibition “The Field is the World: Williams, Hawaiʻi, and Material Histories in the Making” on view Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, through Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, brings to light this history through archival materials and objects once belonging to the Lyceum of Natural History, a student-run museum on Williams’ campus from 1835–1908. The Lyceum built its collection through international expeditions, gifts from missionaries and correspondence with institutions such as the Smithsonian, yet it is important to remember that its ambitions were inextricably tied to European and American constructions of natural history that dismissed both the complexity and sovereignty of indigenous peoples around the world.

Among the archival objects on view in the WCMA exhibition is a Hawaiian kupeʻe niho ilio, an ankle adornment made of dog teeth. The object serves as a starting point in a conversation that leads visitors from the story of the Lyceum to a case study investigating the impact of the generations of Williams missionaries and their descendants who went to and came from Hawaiʻi in the 19th century.

Said exhibition co-curator and assistant professor of art Kailani Polzak: “Our aim for this exhibition is to present these materials as a means of taking stock, not only of objects, but also of histories and of ourselves. In bringing together multiple voices and local collections, we hope to draw attention to a past that is unfamiliar to many at Williams and to encourage further conversations about our histories.”


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Mar-a-Lago. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

‘Mar-a-Lago: From Cereal Heiress to Winter White House’ at Ventfort Hall

Lenox — Palm Beach, Florida, historian Richard René Silvin will present the historical talk “Mar-a-Lago: From Cereal Heiress to Winter White House” Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. The talk will be followed by a Victorian tea.

The Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to Lake Worth on the west. It was designed and built between 1924 and 1927 by New York architect and stage set designer Joseph Urban for Marjorie Post, who desired a one-of-a-kind architecturally complex and theatrical fantasy, which has only recently taken on its own fame.

Marjorie Post was the only child of C. W. Post, the founder of the Postum Cereals company. Upon her father’s death, Marjorie Post became the owner and, with advice from her husband, financier E. F. Hutton, she turned the company into the General Foods empire, thus creating one of America’s greatest fortunes. The Huttons only daughter was actress Dina Merrill, who remembered her life at Mar-a-Lago, where she lived in “Deenie’s House,” an integral part of the estate compound that designed with a bed, murals and carpet with themes from “Sleeping Beauty.” Using numerous classic photographs and videos, Silvin will bring to life the extravagant life style Marjorie Post enjoyed at her favorite home for 45 years until her death in 1973. In the hope of turning the estate into the Winter White House for future presidents and foreign dignitaries, Marjorie Post bequeathed the house to the United States government. Her dream came to pass in 2016, when Donald Trump became the 45th president.

Silvin maintains an active interest in historic preservation as vice chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. He is the author of “Noblesse Oblige: The Duchess of Windsor as I Knew Her,” “I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools: An Arc to Triumph,” “Villa Mizner: The House That Changed Palm Beach” and “Normandie: The Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner.”

Tickets are $26 in advance and $32 on the day of the event. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or



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