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Author Jamaica Kincaid will speak at the 50th commencement ceremony at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington Saturday, May 18.

Bits & Bytes: Jamaica Kincaid at Simon’s Rock; land trust annual meeting; BerkChique!; Wild & Scenic Film Festival; ‘Writer’s Work-Out’

By Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Author Jamaica Kincaid to speak at Simon’s Rock commencement

Great Barrington — Jamaica Kincaid, author of a dozen seminal works of fiction and nonfiction as well a professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, will address graduates Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. at the 50th commencement ceremony at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Kincaid’s literary voice is deeply rooted in her experiences as a child in her native Antigua. Said Kincaid: “I never give up thinking about the way I came into the world, how my ancestors came from Africa to the West Indies as slaves. I just never forget it. It’s like a big wave that’s still pulsing.”

Kincaid’s work has been honored with numerous nominations and awards including the 2014 American Book Award. Her book “A Small Place,” a critical look at the legacies of colonialism in Antigua, inspired the 2001 documentary “Life and Debt” about the impact globalization can have on a developing country. Kincaid started her career as a staff writer and feature columnist for the New Yorker. She began her academic career in 1991 at Harvard, holding joint appointments in the English and African-American studies departments.

Also at the commencement ceremony, Simon’s Rock will award an honorary degree to independent financial investigator Edward “Ted” Siedle.

The public is welcome to attend the commencement ceremony. Attendees are asked to sit toward the back of the tent to allow priority seating for the graduates’ families. For more information, contact Bard College at Simon’s Rock at (413) 644-4400 or info@simons-rock.edu.


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Land trust annual meetings to spotlight ‘The Impact of Private Philanthropy on Local Economies’

Peter Buffett. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community Land Trust

Great Barrington — At their joint annual meeting Sunday, May 19, at 5 p.m. at Saint James Place, Berkshire Community Land Trust and the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires will present NoVo Foundation co-President Peter Buffett and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation President Peter Taylor, who will speak on “The Impact of Private Philanthropy on Local Economies.” Moderating the discussion will be David Bollier, the Reinventing the Commons program director at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.

Peter Taylor. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community Land Trust

Together with his team at the NoVo Foundation in Kingston, New York, Buffett has assembled a network of farmers, artists, makers, conservationists, government officials, business leaders, activists, health care practitioners, educators and fellow philanthropists to work towards creating a regenerative economy. As a musician and composer, Buffett often performs around the country to celebrate community engagement and bold, courageous philanthropy.

In addition to his work with BTCF, Taylor is also a fellow in the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies’ Local Economy Foundation Circle. This experience is helping Taylor, in collaboration with community partners and the foundation’s board and staff, identify new opportunities for philanthropy to support economic development. Prior to joining BTCF, Taylor led the development of a $4 million loan program at the Maine Community Foundation for the purpose of supporting town-center development as well as food- and agriculture-related projects.

Tickets are $10 or 10 BerkShares, and free for Berkshire Community Land Trust members. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact (413) 528-4472 or office@berkshirecommunitylandtrust.org.


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BerkChique! clothing sale to benefit local nonprofits

Shoes and other items await the BerkChique! benefit clothing sale. Photo courtesy BerkChique!

West Stockbridge — The BerkChique! pop-up clothing sale and fundraiser will return for its eighth consecutive year Friday, May 17, through Sunday, May 19, and will be held at the West Stockbridge Historical Society.

The event features new and gently used clothing and accessories in a variety of sizes, including casual and formal tops, dresses, sweaters, blazers, coats, slacks and jeans. Since its inception in 2012, BerkChique! has donated over $180,000 to support local nonprofits. This year the sale is being presented by and in support of WAM Theatre and its programs, with additional donations going to the Berkshire Humane Society, Community Access to the Arts and IS183 Art School of the Berkshires. Items unsold at the end of the sale will be donated to the BHS’ Catwalk Boutique, Shakespeare & Company, the Soldier On Women’s Program and Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires’ Suit YourSelf program.

Purchasers of $100 VIP tickets will enjoy early access to all clothing and accessories at a shopping party beginning Friday at 5:30 p.m. General admission tickets for Friday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. are $25 or two for $40. The sale will continue for free on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact info@berkchique.com.


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A still from the film ‘Too Precious to Mine.’ Image courtesy Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Wild & Scenic Film Festival to highlight environmental issues

Sheffield — In partnership with the Wild & Scenic Westfield River Committee and the Westfield River Watershed Association, the Berkshire Environmental Action Team will present the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at Mount Everett Regional School.

The event will include 12 short films and lively conversation about the environment. The films to be screened are “Too Precious to Mine,” “Flipping the Switch,” “Blue Carbon,” “Tracking Snow,” “Meet the Real Wolf,” “The Last Green Thread,” “Clay Bolt,” “Climbing Out of Disaster,” “Defending the Deep,” “Hear the Call: Salmon Nation” and “Think Like A Scientist: Renewal.” The Wild & Scenic Film Festival began in 2003 and is now the largest film festival of its kind in the United States. The event partners internationally to present “on tour” festivals by engaging hosts who jointly raise awareness of preservation issues in nature.

The event is free and open to the public with a $10 suggested donation. For more information, contact Elizabeth Orenstein at (413) 717-1255 or elizabeth@thebeatnews.org.


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Author Sonia Pilcer to hold ‘Writer’s Work-Out’

Sonia Pilcer. Photo: Denise Demong

Monterey — Novelist, author, screenwriter and Edge contributor Sonia Pilcer will present ‘Writer’s Work-Out’ Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Monterey Community Center. Tailored to writers who are blocked, out of practice, or unable to fisnish or begin, the workshop offers a regimen for both experienced and emerging writers. Pilcer will introduce an effective method of working that will include exercises designed to help writers get their works down on paper. The cost of the workshop is $25. For ore information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Monterey Community Center at (413) 528-3600.


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