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The Dorset Theatre Festival will host a staged reading of 'Panelists' by Sofia Alvarez and part of of its Pipeline Series of new plays Tuesday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy Dorset Theatre Festival

Bits & Bytes: ‘Pipeline’ new play series; ‘Networking Victorian-Style’ at Ventfort Hall; ‘Food for Thought’ dinner; Blackstone Valley String Quartet

By Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Dorset Theatre Festival to open Pipeline Series of new plays

Dorset, Vt. — The Dorset Theatre Festival will open its acclaimed Pipeline Series of new plays Tuesday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. with “Panelists” by Sofia Alvarez. Alvarez was the screenwriter for the Netflix film “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which received an MTV Movie and TV Award nomination for Best Movie.

“Panelists” follows Jillian, Alex, Howard, Mand, and Susannah, who received master’s degrees in playwriting from the same prestigious university. Now, each bearing a cross as varied as their writing careers, they reunite in the same hallowed halls for an alumni panel discussion. Drinks flow as heavily as truth bombs in this bright new comedy about friendships that don’t stand the test of time.

Director Jade King Carroll (Audible’s “Proof of Love”), known by Dorset audiences for her work on 2018’s “Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau, will be joined by a cast that includes Margaret Ivey, Brian Miskell, Ugo Chukwu, Meredith Holtzman and Teresa Lim.

Tickets are $30. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Dorset Theatre Festival at (802) 867-2223 or dtf@dorsettheatrefestival.org.


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Author Catherine J. Golden to discuss Victorian letter-writing

Catherine J. Golden. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Lenox — Author and Skidmore College professor Catherine J. Golden will put the stamp on “Posting It, or Networking Victorian-Style,” based on her book “Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing,” Tuesday, July 2, at 4 p.m. at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. The talk will be followed by a book signing and Victorian tea.

Through a PowerPoint presentation and material objects on display, Golden will show attendees the first adhesive postage stamp, called the Penny Black, which allowed letters up to half an ounce to travel anywhere in the UK for only a penny. Though the Penny Post facilitated family ties, promoted business and spread information to an ever-widening postal “network,” it also became a tool for blackmail, slander, unsolicited mass mailings and junk mail.

Golden is professor of English and the Tisch Chair in Arts and Letters at Skidmore College. She is also the author of “Serials to Graphic Novels: The Evolution of the Victorian Illustrated Book” and “Images of the Woman Reader in Victorian British and American Fiction.” She is editor or co-editor of five additional books on topics ranging from Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Victorian illustration, literature and culture and a regular contributor to he British arts journal Illustration Magazine. “Posting It” received the 2010 DeLong Book History Prize for the best book on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print awarded by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

Tickets are $28 for advance reservations and $32 the day of the event. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For reservations and more information, call Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206.


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‘Food for Thought’ dinner series to welcome author Mitch Horowitz

Mitch Horowitz. Photo courtesy Hancock Shaker Village

Pittsfield — Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of “Occult America,” will host the next installment of Hancock Shaker Village’s “Food for Thought” series Friday, June 28, at 6 p.m. Participants enjoy an elegant farm-to-table meal and conversation with the author.

From its earliest days, America served as an arena for the revolutions in alternative spirituality that eventually swept the globe. In “Occult America,” Horowitz opens a new window on the past, presenting a look at the genesis of mysticism and its profound impact on American culture, politics and religion. He takes a slightly off-center look at American history through the lens of those who believed, prayed, practiced and lived a little differently—including Mother Ann Lee and the Shakers.

Horowitz is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library, a lecturer-in-residence at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, and the PEN Award-winning author of books including “Occult America,” “One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life,” “Mind as Builder” and “The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality.” He has written on everything from the war on witches to the secret life of Ronald Reagan for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Salon, Time.com and Politico.

Tickets are $90 members and $100 for nonmembers and include dinner, wine and a copy of the book. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 443-0188.


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The Blackstone Valley String Quartet. Photo courtesy Sandisfield Arts Center

Sandisfield Arts Center to welcome Blackstone Valley String Quartet

Sandisfield — The Blackstone Valley String Quartet will perform a concert at the Sandisfield Arts Center Saturday, June 29, from 4 to 6 p.m.

BVQ includes owner/founder Sylvia DiCrescentis on viola, violin and piano; Luke Morrissey on cello; Laura Sousa-Wagner and Katherine Ezawa on violin; and others. Saturday’s program will include the Dvorak “American” Quartet and Smetana’s Quartet No. 1.

For 15 years, the members of BVQ have played together in various orchestras and small groups, honing their skills and developing unique bonds as professional performing musicians. In addition to performing at weddings, private parties and corporate events, the group provides free community concerts, performs for local community events, volunteers its time for community projects and provides event services.

Tickets are $15. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Sandisfield Arts Center at (413) 258-4100 or info@sandisfieldartscenter.org.


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