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Daniel Chester French stands in his studio at Chesterwood in Stockbridge with the final plaster model of his sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. Chesterwood will host a staged reading of 'The Lincoln Family Album' by Harold Holzer Wednesday, Aug. 8. Photo courtesy Chesterwood

Bits & Bytes: ‘The Lincoln Family Album’ at Chesterwood; ‘hop tha A’ at the Mahaiwe; art, music collaboration conversation; Hudson Jazzworks concert; waste oil & paint collection

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By Tuesday, Aug 7, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Chesterwood to present staged reading of ‘The Lincoln Family Album’

Stockbridge — Chesterwood will host a staged reading of “The Lincoln Family Album,” written and moderated by Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, Wednesday, Aug​. ​8, at 5 p.m. The presentation is the third program Holzer has written and narrated for Chesterwood and follows last year’s sold-out performances of “Lincoln Speaks.”

“The Lincoln Family Album” offers a glimpse into the tumultuous private life of Sculptor Daniel Chester French’s most famous subject, Abraham Lincoln, and his wife, Mary, through their personal letters to each other. Actors Eric Hill and Barbara Sims will portray Lincoln and his wife in the one-hour program, which will be followed by a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m.

Harold Holzer. Photo: Don Pollard

“Using only their own authentic words, the script traces the embattled couple from their courtship in Illinois, to their life in Washington during Lincoln’s sole term in Congress, to their four painful yet triumphant years in the White House during the Civil War,” Holzer said. “Along the way the Lincolns have four sons but lose two, spend almost as much time apart as together, battle Mary’s growing emotional problems, and see their last chance at happiness shattered by Lincoln’s assassination. Among the little-known nuggets the show reveals is that Lincoln once nearly fought a duel in Mary’s defense, later banished her from pre-war Washington, and then obsessed about her ballooning weight.”

Holzer is the author of the forthcoming book, “Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French,” the first full-length illustrated biography of French. The author, co-author and editor of 52 other books, he served under President Bill Clinton as co-chair of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and has won the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and the National Humanities Medal.

Tickets are $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. Seating is limited. For tickets and more information, contact Margaret Cherin at (413) 298-2034 or mcherin@savingplaces.org.


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Berkshire Playwrights Lab to present ‘hop tha A’ by James Anthony Tyler

James Anthony Tyler. Photo courtesy Berkshire Playwrights Lab

Great Barrington — Berkshire Playwrights Lab will present a staged reading of ‘hop tha A’ by James Anthony Tyler Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

As days and train stops on the A pass by New York nightclub coworkers and near-strangers Tyrone and Niesha, they are pulled into each other’s lives far beyond the confines of their train car.

Tyler, the recipient of the third annual Horton Foote Playwriting Award, is currently one of the inaugural playwrights to receive a commission from Audible’s emerging playwrights fund, a Nashville Repertory Theatre Ingram New Works playwright, and a 2018–19 Amoralists ‘Wright Club playwright. His plays include “Dolphins and Sharks” at LAByrinth Theater Company and Finborough Theatre; “Around 2” at the Keen Teens Festival; and “Some Old Black Man,” produced by BPL in 2017.

Tickets are $15. For tickets and information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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Lauren Clark Fine Art to host conversation about art, music collaboration

Collaborative art by Jim Youngerman and David Keplinger. Image courtesy Lauren Clark Fine Art

Great Barrington — In conjunction with the “New Work: Strange and Alluring” exhibit of art by Jim Youngerman, Lauren Clark Fine Art will host a reading and conversation about collaboration featuring Youngerman, poet David Keplinger and musician Johnny Irion Saturday, Aug. 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. Moderated by Matt Tannebaum, owner of the Bookstore in Lenox, the three will answer questions and discuss why and how a fine artist, a poet and a musician came to collaborate together. Keplinger will also read selections from his latest book of poetry.

Youngerman has participated in over 60 art shows locally, nationally and internationally since the 1970s and is featured in many prominent collections. Also a stage and set designer, he has worked with Shakespeare & Company for 10 years and is designing the sets for is “As You Like It” in the Roman Garden Theatre. Included in the Lauren Clark Fine Art show are several collaborations, one of which is a series of prints developed by Youngerman and Keplinger and created via a year’s worth of exchanging art and words. Another collaboration features music written and recorded by Irion in response to Youngerman’s artwork.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lauren Clark Fine Art at (413) 528-0432 or lauren@laurenclarkfineart.com.


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Jean-Michel Pilc. Photo: Jim Rice

Hudson Hall to welcome Jean-Michel Pilc, Armen Donelian, Marc Mommaas

Hudson, N.Y. — On Sunday, Aug. 12, at 4 p.m., Hudson Jazzworks will present Jean-Michel Pilc, Armen Donelian and Marc Mommaas in concert at Hudson Hall at the Hudson Opera House with the participants of the 12th annual 2018 Hudson Jazz Workshop.

Armen Donelian. Photo: Stephen Donelian

A native of France, pianist Pilc is in high demand as a co-leader and sideman, participating in many projects around the world and recording over 10 albums. Pilc has also built an international reputation as a unique educator. Between 2006 and 2015, he was a member of the New York University Steinhardt faculty as an ensemble instructor, improvisation workshop leader and private lesson teacher. He was co-director of the 2010 NYU Summer Jazz Improv Workshop; has taught at the New School; and is currently an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Pianist Donelian has toured in 25 countries. His compositions exhibit classical, jazz and Middle Eastern influences and appear on 13 self-produced albums. A Fulbright senior scholar and National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Donelian has taught for three decades in the New School jazz program and written books on piano pedagogy and aural training. An international lecturer and performer, he is a graduate of Columbia University and the Westchester Conservatory of Music.

Marc Mommaas. Photo: Willy Schuyten

Saxophonist Mommaas is a cum laude graduate of Manhattan School of Music. A William Borden Award recipient, Mommaas is a frequent lecturer at MSM, NYU, William Paterson University, Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Denmark, and the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He co-directs the New York Jazz Workshop and Hudson Jazzworks, and is a faculty member of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for Hudson Hall members, and free for students ages 18 and under. The public is invited to a free artists’ reception following the concert at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Hudson Hall at (518) 822-1438.


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Waste oil and paint collection scheduled

Lenox — On Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the South Berkshire Household Hazardous Waste Collaborative will hold a paint and oil collection for the 15 participating towns of Alford, Becket, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlborough, Otis, Richmond, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham and West Stockbridge. The Center for EcoTechnology will coordinate the collections.

Acceptable materials are oil-based paint, oil-based stains, paint thinners, spray paint and turpentine as well as waste motor oil. No other type of oil or fuel will be accepted, nor will latex paint. Empty cans can be recycled with scrap metal. Dried-up cans of latex paint as well as empty cans of oil-based paints, stains and solvents can be disposed of with the regular trash.

Those wishing to participate in the collection must register online or contact Thomas Jakubasz at (800)-369-3333 x142 or Thomas.Jakubasz@cetonline.org by Tuesday, Aug. 14. Residents from communities that are not participating should call their city or town halls for information about hazardous household product collections.


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