Friday, July 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: What it takes to write a novel talk; Postactivism economics talk; Williamstown repair cafe; Berkshire Flyer passenger train begins route May 26; authors in conversation; “Champion” showing

Got a broken lamp? A sock with a hole? A ripped out seam? A dull knife? Come to Repair Café on Saturday, April 29 in Williamstown.

Aimee Molloy and Jillian Medoff discuss writing fiction at the Lenox Library

Lenox— The Lenox Library will conclude the 2022-2023 season of its Distinguished Lecture Series on Sunday, April 30 at 4 p.m. with bestselling novelists Aimee Molloy and Jillian Medoff.

What does it take to write a novel? What is the process of publishing really like? Join novelists Aimee Molloy and Jillian Medoff in a conversation about fiction, writing, and living a creative life. They’ll share how they published their first novels, how they get ideas, and how they know when something is finished.

Aimee Molloy is the New York Times best-selling author of two novels, Goodnight Beautiful and The Perfect Mother, which was translated into more than twenty-five languages and has been optioned by HBOMax. She is also the author of several books of non-fiction, including However Long the Night and Rosewater, which was made into a movie written and directed by Jon Stewart. She lives in the Berkshires with her family.

Jillian Medoff is the acclaimed author of When We Were Bright and Beautiful, a fast-paced, thrilling, deeply emotional novel about power, privilege, and consent set on NYC’s Upper East Side. She also has written four other novels: This Could Hurt, I Couldn’t Love You More (national bestseller), Good Girls Gone Bad, and Hunger Point. Hunger Point was made into an original cable movie starring Christina Hendricks and Barbara Hershey and directed by Joan Micklin Silver (Lifetime TV, 2003). A former fellow at MacDowell, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Medoff has an MFA from New York University.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in the main reading room of the Library, located at 18 Main Street, Lenox.

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Bayo Akomolafe. Image courtesy of the Schumacher Center for New Economics.

Bayo Akomolafe to discuss “Why We Need Postactivism Today”

Great BarringtonOn Saturday, April 29th, at 2:30 p.m., the Schumacher Center for a New Economics hosts Bayo Akomolafe for “Why We Need Postactivism Today,” an in-person lecture on racial justice, freedom, the future, and an altogether different kind of politics.

The talk will take place in the Sanctuary at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, to be followed by a Q&A. Tickets are $5.

Bayo Akomolafe is a philosopher, writer, activist, professor of psychology, and executive director of The Emergence Network. An international speaker, teacher, and essayist, Dr. Akomolafe is the author of two books, These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home and We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak.

As founder and elder of The Emergence Network, as well as chief host of the online-offline course and festival series We Will Dance with Mountains, Bayo curates an earth-wide project for re-calibrating our ability to respond to civilizational crisis. This is a project framed within a material feminist/ posthumanist/ postactivist ethos and inspired by Yoruba indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art – exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with posthumanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival of radical silence on a street in London.

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Trevor Babb and Jim Bauer doing leather and electrical repair at Repair Cafe. Image by Robin Sears.

Volunteer experts offer their skills for free to repair everyday items

Williamstown— Got a broken lamp? A sock with a hole? A ripped out seam? A necklace with leaking rhinestones? A knife that has ceased to be the sharpest blade in the drawer?

Come to Repair Café, co-sponsored by the South Williamstown Community Association and Williamstown Rural Lands at Sheep Hill, 671 Cold Spring Road (Route 7) on Saturday, April 29, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The volunteer “fixers” include people who can do small electrical repairs (vacuum cleaners, immersion blenders, lamps), wooden furniture repair (chairs, benches, frames), blade sharpening (knives, scissors, small tools), costume jewelry repairs (rhinestone replacement, new clasps), leather repairs, as well as darners, knitters, and sewers.

They will have two computer experts, refreshments, and are partnering with the BagShare Project to make reusable shopping bags. They’ll have materials and grommet machines to make them. Come and learn how to make a bag. It’s a good activity for older children, and it keeps all kinds of animal feed and barley bags out of the landfill.

Repair Café is free, although donations are accepted. It’s all about helping neighbors and helping the planet.

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Train between New York City and Pittsfield begins service on May 26

Pittsfield— Amtrak, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), is announcing tickets are now on sale for the Berkshire Flyer, the seasonal passenger rail service that operates between New York City and Pittsfield. The service, which began as a successful pilot last summer, is scheduled to resume on Friday, May 26, and will operate on weekends through the summer and early fall until Columbus Day weekend.

The Berkshire Flyer is operated with a Friday afternoon departure from New York’s Penn Station to Pittsfield, via Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y. A return trip is provided on Sunday afternoons.  Each train makes stops at several stations. On Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the return trip will take place the holiday Monday.

The Berkshire Flyer departs from New York Penn Station at 3:16 p.m. on Fridays and arrives at Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center, 1 Columbus Avenue, Pittsfield at 7:12 p.m.  The train will make all the intermediate station stops as the typical Amtrak Empire Service train does on Fridays, which include Yonkers, N.Y., Croton-Harmon, N.Y., Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Rhinecliff, N.Y., Hudson, N.Y., and Albany-Rensselaer Station. The Sunday return trip, making all the same station stops, will depart Pittsfield at 3 p.m. and arrive in New York at 7:10 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale and are available for purchase on, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.

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Authors Sarah Maslin Nir, Courtney Maum, in conversation with Jim Brooke

StockbridgeOn Sunday, April 30 at 4 p.m. the Stockbridge Library is hosting a discussion with Sarah Maslin Nir, Courtney Maum, and Jim Brooke about horses, writing, and journalism.

Sarah Maslin Nir has been a staff reporter for The New York Times since August 2011. She currently covers breaking news for the paper’s Metro section. Before that, Ms. Nir was a beat reporter covering the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Ms. Nir was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for a yearlong investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry entitled “Unvarnished.” She documented the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face.

Courtney Maum is the author of five books, including “Before and After the Book Deal,” and the memoir, “The Year of the Horses.” Courtney is a writer and book coach hellbent on preserving the joy of art-making in a culture obsessed with turning artists into brands.

Jim Brooke worked as a reporter at The New York Times for 24 years, based in West Africa, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Denver, Colorado. He spent 8 years in Russia as the Bloomberg bureau chief, and as the Voice of America TV/Radio correspondent for the former Soviet Union. After six years in Kyiv, Ukraine, Brooke moved to Lenox and now contributes to the Berkshire Eagle.

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Ryan Speedo Green as Young Emile Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s “Champion.” Zenith Richards / Met Opera. Image via the Clark Art Institute.

Clark Art Institute airs The Met: Live in HD production of “Champion”

Williamstown— The Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast production of “Champion” airs at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, April 29 at 12:55 p.m. in the latest installment of the 2022–23 season of The Met: Live in HD. The award-winning series of live, high-definition cinema simulcasts features the full live performance along with backstage interviews and commentary. The Clark broadcasts the opera in its auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.

Six-time Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard brings his first opera to the Met after his “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” triumphantly premiered with the company to universal acclaim in 2021. Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green is the young boxer Emile Griffith, who rises from obscurity to become a world champion, and bass-baritone Eric Owens portrays Griffith’s older self, haunted by the ghosts of his past. Soprano Latonia Moore is Emelda Griffith, the boxer’s estranged mother, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is the bar owner Kathy Hagan. Yannick Nézet-Séguin takes the podium for Blanchard’s second Met premiere, also reuniting the director-and-choreographer team of James Robinson and Camille A. Brown.

Tickets are $25 ($22 for members, $18 for students with valid ID, and $7 for children 10 and under). To purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 413 458 0524. Advance reservations are strongly suggested.


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