Sunday, June 23, 2024

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Bits & Bytes: ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Colonial; ‘G Is for Gun’ at Mason Library; culinary arts dinner; Dalton exercise park dedication; holiday greenery workshops

'G Is For Gun' explores the highly controversial trend of arming faculty and staff in K-12 schools.

Albany Berkshire Ballet to present ‘The Nutcracker’

Pittsfield — Albany Berkshire Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Choreographed by artistic director Madeline Culpo, and set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, the story of “The Nutcracker” follows the adventures of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they conquer the Mouse King and embark on a magical journey to the Land of Sweets. Sets and scenery were created by theater and movie set designer Carl Sprague, and costumes were designed by Rita Watson and Victile Donahue. ABB’s 2018 annual production of “The Nutcracker” will visit four cities throughout the Northeast. The 2018 tour includes a record-breaking 770 student dancers, 17 of whom will have the opportunity to portray the role of Clara, dancing alongside the company’s 15 professional dancers.

Tickets are $20–$44.50. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Colonial ticket office at (413) 997-4444.


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Mason Library to screen two documentaries

Image courtesy Pilgrim Films

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will screen the documentary films “G Is for Gun: The Arming of Teachers in America” and “Tashi and the Monk” Saturday, Dec. 1, at at 7:30 p.m. at Mason Library.

“G Is For Gun” explores the highly controversial trend of arming faculty and staff in K-12 schools. Only five years ago this practice was practically unheard of but, since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, it has spread to as many as a dozen states. Made in 2018, the film runs approximately 30 minutes. “Tashi and the Monk,” a 2016 Emmy Award-winning short documentary, follows Buddhist monk Lobsang, who left behind a life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to create a community in the foothills of the Himalayas that rescues orphaned and neglected children.

The event is part of the Friends’ First Saturday Free Film Series and will begin with a wine and cheese social at 7 p.m. More socializing and community discussion will follow the films until 10 p.m. The films do not reflect endorsement or advocacy for any particular point of view by the library or the town of Great Barrington. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.


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Railroad Street Youth Project to hold annual culinary arts dinner

Kya Austin. Photo courtesy Railroad Street Youth Project

Great Barrington — Railroad Street Youth Project will hold its annual culinary arts celebration dinner Monday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. at Crissey Farm. The event will also honor local student Kya Austin as the second recipient of RSYP’s RYSE scholarship.

The dinner is the culminating event for RSYP’s culinary arts apprenticeship program, which offers apprenticeships for young people under the guidance of local professional chefs in work environments including the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont. Launched in 2006, the program was created by community members Steve Picheny and Steve Root to match the interests of youth with hands-on vocational training. Youth who have completed the program have gone on to attend prestigious culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America and have launched successful careers in the food industry. Chefs participating in this year’s program include Main Street Hospitality Group’s Brian Alberg, the Red Lion Inn’s Marcos Gomes and John Andrews’ Dan Smith.

Tickets are $125 per person and all proceeds will support RSYP’s youth development programs and activities. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact RSYP (413) 528-2475 or


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A double leg press and a chest press with lateral pull at the Dalton Community Exercise Park. Photo: Kelly Pizzi

Exercise park to host ribbon-cutting, dedication

Dalton — The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the Dalton Community Exercise Park Friday Nov. 30, at 10 a.m. at the Dalton Senior Center. A brief reception with refreshments will follow the ceremony.

The exercise park was the brainchild of Dalton Council on Aging director Kelly Pizzi, in order to encourage older adults to stay active and increase their fitness levels. The park’s outdoor equipment includes a double leg press, chest press/lateral pull, pommel horse, ski walker, stationary bike and a rowing machine. All items were selected for older adults who are looking for a moderate workout. Dalton CRA fitness director James McMahon will demonstrate the equipment at the event and answer questions about its proper use.

The exercise park was made possible by a mini-challenge grant from AARP Massachusetts to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on behalf of the town of Dalton. The park improvements signal Dalton’s commitment to creating an age friendly community, as identified in its Age Friendly Berkshires Community Resolution signed this past fall. BRPC provided staff time, design and technical assistance to the town for the park project.


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Beckets Arts Center to hold holiday decoration workshops

Becket — The Becket Arts Center is gearing up for a weekend of workshops on how to make holiday greenery. Wreath-making sessions will be held Saturday, Dec. 1, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1:30 p.m. A kissing ball-making workshop will take place Sunday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. The workshops will be held at the Becket Town Hall, 557 Main St.

“We started the workshop two years ago,” said Becket Arts Center board member Sue Gerstle.”The workshop teacher, Edie King, has proven to be a great favorite. All you have to bring to the class is a clipper and your favorite decorations. Edie brings everything else, all the greens and the forms as well as a lifetime of experience teaching floral design. Her hands-on, one-on-one approach makes everybody feel comfortable.”

The fee for each workshop is $25. Registration is required. Participants are urged to arrive 15 minutes early to sign in. For more information or to register, contact the Becket Arts Center at (413) 623-6635 or



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