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Participants enjoy the paddling portion of a recent Josh Billings RunAground. This year's event will take place Sunday, Sept. 15, beginning in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Josh Billings RunAground

Bits & Bytes: Josh Billings RunAground; Jen Durkin at the Garage; James Lasdun at Stockbridge Library; family clothing pop-up

By Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Josh Billings RunAground to celebrate 43 years

Great Barrington — The 43rd annual Josh Billings RunAground riathlon will take place Sunday, Sept. 15, and will is return to its usual course, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Price Chopper plaza in Great Barrington and ending at Tanglewood in Lenox, with a 27-mile bike ride; a 5-mile canoe, kayak or paddleboard sprint; and a 6-mile run. Last year’s Josh used an alternative route, switching the race from Stockbridge Bowl to Richmond Pond at the last minute.

The Josh Kids Race, which is open to all children aged 5–12 regardless of whether their parents/guardians are participating in the Josh, will return this year. Kids race participants are asked to register ahead of time from noon to 3 p.m. at the Arcadian Shop in Lenox Saturday, Sept. 14, or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on race day at the Berkshire United Way tent at Tanglewood.

Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw, who was born April 12, 1818, in Lanesborough. Billings’ saying “To finish is to win” is the motto of the RunAground and one of the reasons the event was named after him. One of the oldest and largest bike-canoe-run triathlons in the country, the Josh is an event for all ages and abilities, and organizers appreciate the help of volunteers to support the event. In addition, teams and singles of all capabilities are encouraged to participate.

Entry fees are $45–$240. Proceeds will benefit Berkshire United Way. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact patty@joshbillings.com.


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Berkshire Theatre Group to welcome Jen Durkin and the Business

Jen Durkin and the Business at an August performance in Fairfield, Conn. Photo courtesy Jen Durkin and the Business

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will welcome Jen Durkin and the Business to the Garage, 111 South St., Friday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m.

Durkin is best known for fronting funk band Deep Banana Blackout. After selling out clubs like Irving Plaza and Wetlands in New York City and the Gothic Theatre in Colorado, DBB became a festival favorite and propelled Durkin onstage with the likes of Gregg Allman and Metallica. Durkin has also toured with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bernie Worrell, Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, George Porter Jr., and others.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Berkshire Theatre Group at (413) 997-4444.


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Author James Lasdun to discuss new book

James Lasdun. Photo: Pia Davis

Stockbridge — The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives’ Speaker Series will host author James Lasdun Saturday, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. Lasdun will discuss his new book, “Afternoon of a Faun,” which dramatizes the search for truth as an accusation of sexual assault plunges a journalist into a series of deepening crises.

Lasdun has written books of fiction, memoir and poetry as well as two screenplays, including “Sunday,” which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance Film Festival. His first novel, “The Horned Man,” was a New York Times Notable Book. His second novel, “Seven Lies,” was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. “The Fall Guy,” published in 2017, was a Book of the Month Club selection and a Guardian Best Book of 2017. His short story “The Siege” was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film “Besieged”; and Lasdun’s last collection of stories, “It’s Beginning to Hurt,” was listed as a Book of the Year by the Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He has written for the New Yorker and the London Review of Books, and is a regular reviewer for the Guardian.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Stockbridge Library at (413) 298-5501 or info@stockbridgelibrary.org.


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It Takes a Village to hold family resource pop-up

North Adams — Cummington-based nonprofit It Takes a Village will take its inventory of free maternity, infant and children’s clothing and gear to the main entrance lobby of Berkshire Health North Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Several other organizations will also be in attendance to share resources with families, including 18 Degrees, Berkshire Nursing Families, Berkshire County Head Start, Child Care of the Berkshires, the North Adams Public Library and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.

Until recently, the Village Closet donation and distribution center, managed by It Takes a Village, operated out of the former Berkshire Trail Elementary School building in Cummington. About 1,500 families visited the donation center each year, and in 2018, the center distributed over $100,000 in new and gently used baby clothing, gear and diapers. This summer, however, the town of Cummington alerted all tenants of the building that they would need to vacate to make room for municipal offices. While searching for a new home for the Village Closet, the staff will take their inventory straight to families.

The Sept. 17 event is the first in a series of Village Closet pop-ups, bringing as much inventory as possible to community centers and partner organizations across western Massachusetts. Families will be able to “shop” for free baby and children’s clothing, outerwear, shoes and diapers, and staff will be on-hand to collect donations of clean children’s clothing and disposable and cloth diapers. There are no income or residency requirements to attend the events or to take home items. For more information, call (413) 650-3640.


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