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Caitlin Teeley
From left: Eliza Keenan, Alec Bachman, Parker Bell-Devane, Cole Seitz, Hope Harrison and Fionna Shea rehearse for Monument Mountain Regional High School’s production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.’ Performances will take place in the school’s Kathleen E. McDermott Auditorium, 600 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, Thursday, March 28, Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 31, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. A special, free performance for senior citizens will take place Monday, March 25, at 6 p.m.

Bits & Bytes: W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award for Ochoa; Farm Film Fest; ‘Stranger in the Attic’ reading

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By Friday, Mar 22, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor to deliver W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture

Author and Princeton University professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Photo: Don Usner

Great Barrington — Bard College at Simon’s Rock will welcome author and Princeton University professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Ph.D., to give the annual W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the Daniel Arts Center. The talk has been rescheduled from its original February date.

Forty years ago, the Combahee River Collective created the concept of identity politics as a way to understand how African-Americans experience and resist oppression. In her lecture, Taylor will give historical context to the Combahee River Collective’s groundbreaking work and how it informs present-day social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Taylor is an assistant professor in the African-American studies department at Princeton University as well as the author of “How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective” and “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.” She has published articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Paris Review, the Guardian and the Nation. She was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book as well as the Lambda Literary Awardfor LGBTQ nonfiction. Her third book, “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s,” is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.

In 2017 Taylor co-authored a call to mobilize a women’s strike, which culminated in the Day Without a Woman actions on March 8, International Women’s Day. In 2016, she was named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans in the United States by the Root. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford FoundationNorthwestern University, Princeton University and the Lannan Foundation. She has been appointed as a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018–19, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018–21.

The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing. For more information, contact Bard College at Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.


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Ballet Hispanico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s ‘Linea Recta’ at the 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa receives Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award

Becket — Jacob’s Pillow has announced that Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is the recipient of the 2019 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. With a career that spans over 15 years, Lopez Ochoa has created over 90 works for more than 50 major dance companies around the world.

Lopez Ochoa’s choreographic career began in 2003, after 12 years of performing with several European dance companies. Her work can be found in the repertoire of some of dance companies including New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Washington Ballet and English National Ballet, as well as in theater, opera, musical theater and fashion. Other accolades include a South Bank Sky Arts Award and a National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography, in addition to frequent highlights in the “Best Dance” lists of the Guardian, Dance Magazine and Dance Europe magazine, among others.

Jacob’s Pillow director Pamela Tatge will present Lopez Ochoa with the award as part of the Pillow’s season opening gala Saturday, June 15. For the occasion, Oliver Greene-Cramer and Grace Morton of Ballet Austin will perform Lopez Ochoa’s “Symbiotic Twin,” a duet originally created for the Ashley Boulder Project and revived in 2019 for Ballet Austin.


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Crandell Theatre to host Farm Film Fest

Image courtesy Crandell Theatre

Chatham, N.Y. — The Crandell Theatre will host Farm Film Fest 11 Sunday, March 24, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The festival will screen films that educate and entertain about farms, farming, farmers and farming issues both local and national. The theme this year is “Food, Glorious Food.”

A one-minute film titled “Food, Glorious Food” by Richard Jung will launch the festival. Focusing on food locally will be two short films from WMHT’s “The Local Feed” series on the Chatham Berry Farm and Love Apple Farm. A third locally shot film involves fifth-grade Bronx students planting and harvesting squash at Schoharie Valley Farms. “A Farmer Discovers Her Roots, One Veggie at a Time” profiles a woman adopted from Korea as an infant and raised in the U.S. who practices “natural farming” techniques in California and provides produce to Bay Area restaurant Namu Gaji. In “Covering Your Ass: Meet Brazil’s Beekeeping Donkey,” a donkey helps Manuel Juraci Vieir transport the honey he collects from his beehives on his farm back to his home. “A Visit to Abe’s Acres” shows Gabriel Siciliano practicing sustainable agriculture on the farm established by his great-grandfather in 1933 in New Jersey.

“Bog Turtle” tells the story of how some dairy farmers are benefiting financially from stewarding their land for North America’s smallest turtle. “An Oasis in the Midst of a Food Desert” shows a town in North Carolina that is considered a food desert. “Hemp in New York: How Marijuana’s Controversial Cousin Could Benefit Farmers” shows how the stigma around the world’s “most useful plant” has started to change, and efforts to decriminalize industrial hemp growing are increasing. “Nut Milking Exposed” is a spoof on the idea of “milk” being a product of nuts, not cows. The festival’s feature film, “Food Evolution,” made by Scott Hamilton Kennedy and narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, examines the large issues of food security, sustainability and environmental well-being in light of the emotionally charged controversy over genetically modified foods.

A post-film discussion will be moderated by botanist Daniel Franck, Ph.D., science curriculum director at the Core Knowledge Foundation. Participants will include Eric Ooms from A. Ooms and Sons Dairy Farm, vice president of the New York Farm Bureau and founding member of the Chatham Agricultural Partnership; Columbia Land Conservancy executive director Peter Paden; and Will Yandik of Green Acres Farm, director of philanthropy for the National Young Farmers Coalition and vice president of the Columbia County Farm Bureau. The festival will be followed by a “Meet Your Maker” reception at the People’s Pub with complimentary snacks featuring local foods, as well as a cash bar.

Farm Film Fest is free and open to the public. Cash donations are welcome, as are donations of nonperishable food items for the Chatham Area Silent Food Pantry. For more information, contact the Crandell Theatre at (518) 392-3331 or mail@crandelltheatre.org.


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The Two of Us Productions to stage reading of ‘Stranger in the Attic’

Copake, N.Y. — The Two Of Us Productions will present a staged reading of “Stranger in the Attic” by John Kaasik Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Copake Grange.

“Stranger in the Attic” is set in the country home of freelance writer Brian Hollander and his wife, Dana, whose quiet life is unexpectedly upset by the arrival of a stranger named Kendrick, who is offering an exclusive story to Brian about a murder that has not yet happened yet. Brian pursues discussions of the story with Kendrick, and meets his neighbors, who tell a disturbing story about a stranger who may be stalking Brian and Dana. Detective Hal Nelson tries to unravel the interlocking stories and prevent a murder from happening.

Kaasik is a prolific and award-winning writer of mystery dramas, including “Assassin’s New Friend,” “Murder by Mistake” and “Piano Lessons for Dad,” which was awarded honorable mention by the New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest.

The reading is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Two of Us Productions at (518) 329-6293.


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