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Jazz pianist Joey Alexander will perform with his trio Sunday, May 6, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington (see item below).

Bits & Bytes: ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ standout; ‘Navigating Climate Change in Uncertain Times’; Joey Alexander Trio at the Mahaiwe; First Fridays Artswalk

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By Wednesday, May 2, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

NAACP to hold ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ standout

NAACP – Berkshire County Branch President Dennis Powell. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Pittsfield — The NAACP – Berkshire County Branch has organized a standout to protest police violence against people of color Saturday, May 5, from noon to 2 p.m. in Park Square. Titled “Speaking Truth to Power,” the event will include remarks by Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield; Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard; NAACP – Berkshire County Branch President Dennis Powell; local youth; and others.

The standout is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Democratic Brigades, First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, the Four Freedoms Coalition, Greylock Together, Indivisible Pittsfield, Multicultural BRIDGE – Not In Our County, the Pittsfield Human Rights Commission, Price Memorial AME Zion Church, Second Congregational Church of Pittsfield and the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire.

Powell noted: “This is not about all those in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their community. We have the utmost respect for all police officers who live by the oath they swore: ‘To Protect and to Serve’ ALL citizens.”

Powell continued: “This standout is about those officers who have implicit and explicit bias against people of color resulting in racist acts. Too many officers have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they have the skills to eliminate a threat without killing suspects…those suspects, however, are white! Officers have had white suspects point a weapon directly at them in broad daylight (the officer did not have to think it was a gun; he knew it was) and yet the suspects lived.”

“Young black men & women have been killed for having a cell phone, a shower head, or nothing at all. This is clearly racism, and it is time to speak the truth and call it out for what it is.”

For more information, contact naacpberkshirecounty@gmail.com.

–E.E.

*     *     *

OLLI to present ‘Navigating Climate Change in Uncertain Times’

Jennifer Browdy. Photo courtesy Osher Lifelong Learning Center at Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield — The Osher Lifelong Learning Center at Berkshire Community College will continue its 2018 Distinguished Speakers Series Saturday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum with an illustrated talk by author and Bard College at Simon’s Rock professor Jennifer Browdy.

In her talk “Navigating Climate Change in Uncertain Times: Cultivating Personal and Political Resilience for a Thriving Future,” Browdy will draw on literature, history, philosophy, environmental studies, politics and economics to situate climate change as an urgent personal and political call to action.

Browdy is an associate professor of comparative literature, gender studies and media studies at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Her new memoir, “What I Forgot …And Why I Remembered: A Journey to Environmental Awareness and Activism Through Purposeful Memoir,” is accompanied by her award-winning writer’s guide “The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir: A Writer’s Companion.” In addition to authoring many articles and book chapters, she is the editor of the anthologies “Women Writing Resistance in Latin America and the Caribbean,” “African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices” and “Writing Fire: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Words.” The founding director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers from 2011 to 2016, she frequently offers community writing workshops in purposeful memoir through her Green Fire Writers organization. She is the editor of the online magazine Fired Up! Creative Expression for Challenging Times and maintains the blogs Transition Times and Writing Life.

Tickets are $10 for OLLI and Berkshire Museum members; $15 for the general public, and free for youth ages 17 and under and Berkshire Community College students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact OLLI at (413) 236-2190 or olli@berkshirecc.edu.

–E.E.

*     *     *

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center to welcome Joey Alexander Trio

Great Barrington — The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present the Joey Alexander Trio Sunday, May 6, at 7 p.m. The trio features 15-year-old pianist Alexander with bassist Kris Funn and drummer Kendrick Scott.

The Joey Alexander Trio has performed at venues and festivals across the U.S. and around the globe, including tour dates in Tel Aviv, Marciac, Montréal, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bern, Prague, Vienna, Perugia and Indonesia. Born in 2003 in Bali, Alexander lived in Jakarta from ages 8 to 10 and then moved to New York City in 2014. Alexander’s newest album, “Eclipse,” was recorded over a three-day period beginning on the day of the solar eclipse of 2017 and features backing by bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland with guest appearances on three tracks by saxophonist Joshua Redman. The selections range from jazz classics penned by John Coltrane and Bill Evans to the Beatles’ hit “Blackbird” and a gospel re-imagining of the 1875 hymn “Draw Me Nearer.” “Eclipse” showcases Alexander’s progress as a composer with six original tunes.

Tickets are $29–$84. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.

–E.E.

*     *     *

First Fridays Artswalk to feature hands-on art-making, demonstrations

‘There Are No Accidents’ by Rick Casucci. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Pittsfield — The May 4 First Fridays Artswalk will celebrate the statewide ArtWeek festival with over a dozen art shows featuring more than two dozen student and professional artists in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will kick off with opening receptions and artists present throughout, plus a free guided walking tour lead by Artswalk co-founder Mary McGinnis beginning at 5 p.m. from the BRTA Intermodal Center.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host its annual Art in Our Schools exhibit, in which art from Pittsfield Public Schools students in grades six through 12 in will be on display throughout the month. Artists Sean McCusker, Rick Casucci, Stefanie Weber and other artists whose studios are housed within the Lichtenstein will have open studios during Artswalk.

NUarts Studios and Gallery will present “Creating Community,” in which a dozen artists will open their studios and offer interactive art-making and behind-the-scenes experiences with live music and refreshments.

‘Black Icelandic and Rooster’ by Jain Tarnower. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

The Whitney Center for the Arts will feature “The View from Behind the Bars: Therapeutic Art by Massachusetts Inmates,” including a gallery walkthrough and talk by curator and author Phyllis Kornfeld. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a free therapeutic art project guided by the Whit’s resident artist and curator Tammara Leminen as well as “Pluralities,” a look at Caleb Case, a student of art therapist and teaching artist Marney Schorr.

Burlesque life drawing will return to Dottie’s Coffee Lounge with Cosmic Candy serving as model. Participation is by donation and participants are asked to bring their own materials and art supplies. Any medium is welcome and light refreshments will be served.

New shows from local artists will also be displayed at Downtown Pittsfield Inc., the Marketplace Café, RJ Stohr Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Berkshire Paint and Sip, the Kinderhook Group Real Estate, Hotel on North, Berkshire Museum, the Funky Phoenix, the Berkshire Athenaeum and Berkshire Medical Center. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.

–E.E.


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