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Bits & Bytes: French biography launch; ‘Leon: The Professional’ at Big Elm Brewing; medical cannabis talk; International Women’s Day celebration

For the first time since the program’s inception, a medical marijuana dispensary, Still River Wellness, will open in nearby Torrington, providing more access for residents interested in becoming patients.

Chesterwood to launch Daniel Chester French biography with lecture, book signing

Great Barrington — Chesterwood will present a lecture by author Harold Holzer to mark the official launch of his newly released biography “Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French” Tuesday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Bard College at Simon’s Rock Daniel Arts Center.

“Monument Man” explores the long life and dramatic artistic career of pre-eminent American sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose Lincoln Memorial sculpture is arguably the nation’s most iconic statue. Holzer is a Lincoln scholar and prizewinning author of numerous books on Civil War–era art and history, including “Lincoln and the Power of the Press,” “The Lincoln Image” and “Lincoln at Cooper Union.” He appears frequently on radio and television. Formerly senior vice president for public affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Foundation, he serves as director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York. Holzer was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2008.

Said Chesterwood executive director Donna Hassler: “Chesterwood invited Harold Holzer to write this definitive biography on Daniel Chester French in celebration of our 50th anniversary as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation not only because of the author’s excellent command of the written word and keen knowledge of the time period in which French lived and worked, but also to answer the question I’m asked on a regular basis: ‘How did he create the Lincoln Memorial?’”

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for Chesterwood members. Books will be available for sale at the event. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 298-2034.


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Boondocks Film Society to screen ‘Leon: The Professional’ at Big Elm Brewing

Image courtesy

Sheffield — Boondocks Film Society will screen “Leon: The Professional” Friday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at Big Elm Brewing.

The screening will be held in conjunction with the release of Big Elm’s new “Leon” milk stout, which was inspired by the drinking habits of the assassin in the 1994 Luc Besson film “Leon: The Professional”—specifically, his unquenchable thirst for milk. To play off of this, brewer Henry Tirrell and his team decided to brew their stout with lactose, which gives the beer some added sweetness and body. Those who aren’t familiar with the film can expect a fatalistic, stylish and controversial thriller about a young girl (played by a 12-year-old Natalie Portman) who becomes apprentice to a hitman (Jean Reno) so she can avenge a murder carried out by a corrupt DEA agent (an unhinged Gary Oldman).

Along with the new milk stout and a selection of Big Elm beer on tap, the evening will feature film-inspired Italian fare from 20 Railroad Public House in Great Barrington, as well as music to set the tone for the screening by Jonathan Talbott of the Lucky 5 and a free commemorative poster for attendees to take home with them. Admission is $12 in advance and $14 at the door. Food and drink will be sold separately. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Boondocks Film Society at


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Scoville Library to host presentations, panel discussion on medical cannabis

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. Photo courtesy Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Salisbury, Conn. — On Thursday March 7, at 6 p.m., the Scoville Memorial Library will host several presentations followed by a panel discussion about becoming a medical marijuana patient and the use of cannabis as treatment. Presenters will include Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, Tom Macre of Still River Wellness, and medical legalization proponent and patient Mark Braunstein.

Many states recognize the medical use of marijuana and have developed programs with specific protocols and qualifications for those seeking to become medical marijuana patients. In Connecticut, the DCP implements and oversees the program. Currently, there are thousands of registered patients in Connecticut using various cannabis preparations for the treatment of 30 recognized ailments. For the first time since the program’s inception, a dispensary, Still River Wellness, will open in nearby Torrington, providing more access for residents interested in becoming patients.

Seagull, Macre and Braunstein will discuss medical cannabis, the genesis of the program, its growth to over 30,00 patients since its inception, legal requirements and how the state system functions, who qualifies and how, ailments treated with cannabis, types of preparation, and other aspects.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or


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Elizabeth Freeman Center to hold International Women’s Day celebration

Pittsfield — On Thursday, March 7, at 6 p.m. at Flavours of Malaysia, 75 North St., Sabrina Tan and Chin Lee of Flavours of Malaysia and the Elizabeth Freeman Center will hold their ninth annual celebration of International Women’s Day with a buffet dinner of Malaysian Chinese cuisine and a variety of raffle prizes from Berkshire venues and businesses.

Said EFC board member Susan Birns: “Our theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is ‘Women of the 116th Congress: Rising Together, Leading Together.’ It is a celebration of the increased number and diversity of the women elected to Congress last fall and also the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s election as the first African-American congresswoman.”

The cost of dinner is $35 including tax and tip. The doors will open at 5 p.m. for a social hour and cash bar. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call Flavours of Malaysia at (413) 443-3188.



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