Image courtesy of The Olana Partnership.

BITS & BYTES: Bake Soul Cakes; Olana Winter Solstice celebration; Joseph Sicotte recital; BPAC holiday fundraiser; Lori Bradley art show; Avatar at Crandell Theatre

Attend a celebration of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, at the Olana State Historic Site on December 21 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Image courtesy of The Olana Partnership.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice at Olana State Historic Site

Hudson— Join The Olana Partnership for a free community event at Olana State Historic Site celebrating the Winter Solstice on Saturday, December 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. This event will feature a bonfire, music, folktales by firelight, free access to Olana’s Main House, photos with Hank the miniature donkey, and holiday shopping at the Olana Museum Store.

Discover the treasures of Olana’s Main House interior in your own time for free during this special community event. Enjoy free access to Olana’s historic interiors during this self-guided opportunity. House entry will be available on a first come first served basis beginning at 1:00pm. Last house entry will be at 3:15pm.

Gather round our bonfire to hear stories from far and wide at 3 p.m. Celebrate the spirit of the season and join storyteller Pamela Badila for this free outdoor storytelling program for all ages. During this program, participants will join our professional storyteller outdoors as she tells tales by firelight. This drop-in program is open and free for all.

Drop by to say hi and take a holiday photo with everyone’s favorite miniature donkey, Hank, from 1 to 4 p.m. Learn more about the Church family’s own donkeys, which were used to travel throughout the site on Olana’s historic carriage roads. This drop-in program is open and free for all. Please note, visitors with dogs will be asked to view Hank from outside a small perimeter for safety reasons.

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Image courtesy of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the Center for Food & Resilience and Baking with Brian.

Learn how to bake traditional Soul Cakes

Great Barrington— Bake Soul Cakes in the Blodgett Kitchen at Bard College at Simon’s Rock on Friday, December 16 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Soul cakes are a traditional English holiday bake. Never heard of them? Soul Cakes date from the Middle Ages, when saffron first came to England. They are an offering to deceased souls who are forced to roam the earth in animal form. Sting, the famous musician and frontman of The Police, has a rendition of a traditional English folk song dating from 1891.

Sponsored by the Center for Food & Resilience and Baking with Brian. Hosted by Mary Budzn, Brian Mikesell and Maryann Tebben. For more information visit:

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Image courtesy of the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Attend Joseph Sicotte’s voice recital

Great Barrington— Joseph Sicotte presents a voice recital on Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. in the McConnell Theater of the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Joe Sicotte, who works in the Campus Safety Department, is an accomplished tenor who is working toward his BA in the Arts as a theater/music concentrate.  He has been engaged in a tutorial with Larry Wallach to learn and perform the great song cycle “Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings” by the 20th century English composer Benjamin Britten.

For this performance, the horn part will be played by guest artist Christine Mortensen and the string parts will be rendered on the piano.  Britten’s six songs trace the course of the night from sun-down to nightmare and dreams, to a vigil over a corpse to a silvery moonrise, culminating in an “Ode to Sleep.”  Each song sets a great example of English poetry by authors including John Cotton, Lord Tennyson, William Blake, Ben Johnson, and John Keats.  The cycle is framed by a distant call of a natural horn, and the horn accompanies five out of the six songs along with the piano. In addition, Joe will offer a number of lighter songs from the music-theater realm.

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Image courtesy of Bennington Performing Arts Center.

Support Bennington Performing Arts Center at their Holiday Fundraiser

Bennington— Bennington Performing Arts Center is hosting a Holiday Fundraiser on Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m. There will be music, skits, comedy, singalongs, and much merriment.

Bennington Performing Arts Center is downtown Bennington’s community space for arts enrichment and celebration of diversity. It is home to two resident theater companies: Oldcastle Theatre Company, a professional regional theater company, and Bennington Community Theater, devoted to creating community through theater. In addition, they offer educational opportunities through classes and lecture series as well as a wide variety of performing arts programming.

Tickets are $17 and $10 for students available here:

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View “First Birds” art exhibition by Lori Bradley

West Stockbridge— The Guild of Berkshire Artists presents “First Birds – Symbols of resilience and change” showing works by Lori Bradley 1 to 4 p.m. December 17 through December 31. This show will take place at ART on MAIN Gallery, 38 Main Street, West Stockbridge.

“First Birds – Symbols of resilience and change” by Lori Bradley will focus on birds and nature in oil and acrylics.

Lori Bradley has been creating paintings, ceramics, and collages for over 30 years. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, a Master of Art Education degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Atlanta College of Art. She currently teaches painting and drawing at Bridgewater State University.

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Image courtesy of the Crandell Theatre.

See Avatar: The Way of Water at Crandell Theatre

Chatham— Crandell Theatre is having multiple showtimes for the new film, Avatar: The Way of Water, December 15 through December 21. 

Set more than a decade after the events of director James Cameron’s first Avatar film, Avatar: The Way of Water finds Jake Sully, Neytiri and their children living in Pandora doing everything they can to stay together. When the family must uproot and explore unknown oceanic regions of their planet, an ancient threat resurfaces, launching a difficult war. A technical and visual 3D CG marvel that was five years in the making, this sequel resonates with complex emotions and gripping, breathtaking action. It’s a stirring feast for the senses well worth the wait.

This film is rated PG-13 with a run time of 192 minutes. Tickets range from $9 to $13. For a full range of showtimes and dates visit: