Friday, July 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: BIFF 2016; Miss B. Haven at the Colonial; Family Fun Day & Health Fair; ‘Who Was Annie Haggerty?’; Artful Hike at Olana; Cafe Anshe

Roberta Hareld's talk at Ventfort Hall is presented in conjunction with an exhibit that portrays the lives of Civil War hero Col. Robert Gould Shaw and his bride, Annie Haggerty, whose family owned Ventfort, the home at which the two spent their brief honeymoon.

11th annual Berkshire International Film Festival

Great Barrington — The 11th annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) has announced its line-up of films, marked with stronger international programming this year as well as continuing its dedication to presenting the best in documentary film. BIFF will showcase 70 of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films from some 26 countries. The festival will take place from Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, in Great Barrington and Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 5 in Pittsfield, and will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals, and film fans together for a four-day celebration of independent film featuring 26 documentaries, 26 narrative features and 17 short films. The festival will also feature appearances from Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Dern, Karen Allen, Doug Trumbull, Noah Baumbach, Gregory Crewdson, Jake Paltrow, and Kent Jones.

Bruce Dern.

BIFF will begin on Thursday, June 2, with an opening night party for passholders beginning at 5 p.m., to be followed by the Massachusetts premiere screening of the documentary feature film “Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The feature-length documentary tells the story of the international musical collective created by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and follows the group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers as its explores the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution, and inspire hope. Ma will be in attendance and will hold a question-and-answer session immediately following the film. BIFF’s opening night film in Pittsfield will be “Life, Animated,” to be shown at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 3, at the Beacon Cinema. “Life, Animated” is the story of how a young boy named Owen found, in Disney animation, a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world.

This year, BIFF will pay tribute to Academy Award-winning actor Bruce Dern with the BIFF Achievement in Film Award. Throughout his career Dern has played both modern-day heroes and legendary villains and has been widely regarded as one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. Trained by Elia Kazan at the Actors Studio, Dern’s career has spanned more than 40 years and has involved him working with many of the most iconic directors, including Hitchcock, Pollack, Corman, Tarentino, and Payne. Dern will share his stories and his incredible career in conversation with Doug Trumbull.

For tickets, a complete schedule, and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 528-8030.


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Colonial Theatre to present Miss B. Haven

Miss B. Haven
Miss B. Haven.

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will welcome cabaret group Miss B. Haven as part of its On the Stage Series on Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre.

Based in the Berkshires, Miss B. Haven has been working together for over 20 years, singing tunes from the 1920s to the present. With three-part harmonies reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and the King Sisters, Miss B. Haven features Karen Auge, Wanda Libardi, and Michele Marano with John Sauer on piano.

Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Colonial ticket office (413) 997-4444.


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Family Fun Day and Health Fair

A family enjoying activities at a recent Family Fun Day.

Pittsfield — Berkshire Children and Families, in collaboration with Berkshire Health Systems and Volunteers in Medicine, will host a Family Fun Day and Health Fair on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The free and informative event will bring together more than 20 community health agencies to provide health screenings, activities, games, and refreshments. All are welcome and transportation assistance is available. For more information or to arrange for transportation, contact Reina at (413) 442-5333 x267 or


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‘Who Was Annie Haggerty?’

annie Haggerty loresESA_0069
Annie Haggerty.

Lenox — Author Roberta Hareld will present a talk entitled “Who Was Annie Haggerty?” at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday, May 21, at 3:30 p.m. Hareld’s presentation will be based on material she discovered about Haggerty who once lived at Ventfort, an 1850s Lenox estate that stood on the site of the present mansion. A Victorian tea will follow.

The talk is presented in conjunction with a new Ventfort Hall exhibit that portrays the lives of Civil War hero Col. Robert Gould Shaw and his bride, Annie Haggerty, whose family owned Ventfort, the home at which the two spent their brief honeymoon. Days later Shaw was called to battle as leader of the famed 54th Massachusetts regiment, never to return. But who was Annie? Hareld has been researching Haggerty’s life for a forthcoming novel.

Roberta Herald
Roberta Hareld.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, and a resident with her husband of Montpelier, Vt., and Brooklyn, N.Y., Hareld has written the historical mysteries “Heron Island” and “Mortal Knowledge.” She also had a career in community and economic development and has worked on several political campaigns. She is a graduate of Princeton University.

Tickets are $22 for advance reservations and $27 on the day of the event. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For more information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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Artful Hike at Olana

Artful Hike, Photo credit Amy Hufnagel
An Artful Hike at Olana. Photo: Amy Hufnagel.

Hudson, N.Y. — Educators at Olana State Historic Site will offer the program “Artful Hike: Photographic Hike and Rice Paper Prints” on Sunday, May 22, from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Participants will learn some basic tips and tricks of phone photography followed by a hike through Olana’s landscape.

After a few photographs have been taken, visitors will return to Olana’s Wagon House Education Center to review and edit their favorite photos. Each participant will be able to choose one image from the hike, which will be printed on rice paper and then pasted onto a bottle, candle, or stone.

The cost of the hike $20 for the general public and $15 for Olana members. For more information or to pre-register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call Olana’s Education Department at (518) 828-1872 x105. Walk-ins are welcome.


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Cafe Anshe at Temple Anshe Amunim

Erin and Mike at the MIC
Duffy and Erin.

Pittsfield — On Saturday, May 21 from 6:45 p.m. to 10 p.m., Temple Anshe Amunim will host the musical fundraiser Café Anshe featuring acoustic duo Duffy and Erin, made up of Temple members Michael and Erin Duffy. The event will begin with a Havdalah service and there will also be performances by Rabbi Josh Breindel, Mark Franklin, Alan Gold, and other musical friends and guests. A variety of specialty coffees, teas, and desserts will be served. Raffle tickets will be sold for a 50/50 raffle and Berkshire-themed baskets.

General admission tickets are $20 for adults at $10 for youth; tickets for Temple members are $15 for adults, and $7.50 for youth. Seating is limited. Advance tickets may be purchased at the temple office and at Wood Bros. Music. All proceeds will benefit the Temple’s music program. For more information, contact the Temple Anshe Amunim office at (413) 442-5910 or



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