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Bits & Bytes: Project Native Film Festival; Robert Hass at Williams; ‘Baseball in the Berkshires;’ MiC documentary premiere; juried photo show; ThunderFest update

Pittsfield was the town in which baseball first received legal recognition when, in 1791, the town fathers signed an ordinance banning it from being played in the town square.

Sixth annual Project Native environmental film festival

Great Barrington — Project Native’s sixth annual environmental film festival will bring some of the best new environmental films to the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires on Saturday, March 5; Saturday, March 12; and Sunday, March 13. The curated collection of 25 feature and short films includes award-winners from North America’s biggest environmental and conservation film fests, and the Festival-goers will be able to see them for free thanks to support from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation and the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation.

The Festival will kick off Saturday, March 5, at the Tower Theaters in South Hadley at 10 a.m. In addition to the feature films “I Bought a Rainforest,” “The True Cost,” and “This Changes Everything,” there will be two blocks of short films, each block an opportunity to look at one topic from a variety of angles. The “Water, Water Everywhere, but…” block explores environmental issues related to water through the lens of a dam removal project, impacts of an oil spill on a native crab fisherman, fracking, corporate pollution, and personal responsibility.

The “Energy & Impact” block will explore the impact of oil and gas development on people and the land. “1000 Cuts,” a short film by “Chasing Ice” producer James Balog, juxtaposes the beauty of Canyonlands National Park and the scars industrial development is leaving on the landscape. “White Earth” is an Oscar-nominated film depicting the reality of life in the oil fields through the eyes of the three North Dakota children. The block will conclude with “Dryden: The Small Town That Changed the Fracking Game,” a hopeful film about the changes that can be made when a group of concerned citizens work together.

Joanna Macy
From “Joanna Macy and the Great Turning.”

“Embracing the Greatest Challenge of Our Time” will take place on Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The evening will include a screening of the short films “Joanna Macy and the Great Turning” and “The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community,” followed by a panel discussion with Berkshire Environmental Action Team co-founder Bruce Winn, life coach and social change agent Maia Conty, filmmaker Chris Landry, and writer and illustrator Quincy Saul.

The Festival will continue on Sunday, March 13, at the Triplex Cinema with 15 films running from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Over the course of the day, films will span the globe from a deer farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley (“Doeville”) to the killing fields of Kenya where rhino and elephant are being poached to near extinction (“Gambling on Extinction”). Interactions among the United States’ people and wildlife will be explored, from one man’s stewardship of bluebirds (“Bluebird Man”) to the trapping of predators by government agencies (“Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife”), the brave fight of one individual (“The Accidental Environmentalist”), the power of communities working together (“Return of the River”), and an adventure on horseback (“Unbranded.”)

For more information and a complete schedule, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call Project Native at (413) 274-3433.


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Poet Robert Hass to give reading at Williams College

robert-hass Margaretta Mitchell
Robert Hass. Photo: Margaretta Mitchell.

Williamstown — Poet Robert Hass will give a reading of his works at Williams College on Monday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in the ’62 Center’s Adams Memorial Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Hass is the author of six poetry collections, including the Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award-winning “Time and Materials.” Hass worked with Czeslaw Milosz to translate a dozen volumes of Milosz’s poetry. His translations of the Japanese haiku masters have been collected in “The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa.” His books of essays include “Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. As poet laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997, his commitment to environmental issues led him to found River of Words, an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. In 2014, he was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Hass is currently the Distinguished Professor in Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, Berkeley.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.


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‘Baseball in the Berkshires’ at Arrowhead

Twilight Diamond Richard Lasner
“Twilight Diamond” by Richard Lasner.

Pittsfield — The history of baseball in Berkshire County is recounted with more than 280 items from 90 private collections in an exhibit entitled “Baseball in the Berkshires: A County’s Common Bond,” on display at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. The exhibit is open to the public every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. through Monday, May 2.

Pittsfield was the town in which baseball first received legal recognition when, in 1791, the town fathers signed an ordinance banning it from being played in the town square. Pittsfield also houses Wahconah Park, built in 1919 on a site used for baseball since 1892. With items including scorecards from the 1800s through uniforms and signed baseballs, the collection is a comprehensive look at the summer sport through the working elements and souvenirs that fans cherish. Among the featured artifacts are pieces that belonged to or were used by Mark Belanger, Turk Wendell, John and Kevin Kinne, Tom McGrath, David Ortiz, Tom Mooney, Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, and Yogi Berra.

Admission to the exhibit is $12 for adults and $8 for children under 18. There will be no guided tours of the exhibit, but someone will be on hand each day to oversee the collection and explain the items. For more information call (413) 442-1793 x12.


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MiC to premiere documentary film

FMTM Image
Music in Common participants in Mitzpe Ramone, Israel, in 2014. Photo: Lynnette Najimy.

Great Barrington – “From Madness to Music,” Music in Common’s (MiC) newly completed short documentary will make its regional premiere in a free screening at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a community discussion with filmmaker Lynnette Najimy and MiC’s founder and director Todd Mack, facilitated by State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli and Anastasia Stanmeyer of Berkshire Magazine. A wine reception with hors d’oeuvres provided by Castle Street Cafe will follow.

The film is a poignant and timely response to the world’s imminent need for change and healing during heightened tensions among faiths and cultures across the globe. Culling from 10 years of video archives recorded by volunteers, students, and professionals, “From Madness to Music” illustrates MiC’s programs in action harnessing the power of music to bring people together on common ground, in particular young people and those living in conflict. Through the voices and experiences of participants, the film explores the challenges facing youth in communities in the U.S., Israel, and Palestine, and the shifts in attitudes and perceptions resulting from MiC programs.

Registration for the screening is requested. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.


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Sohn Fine Art accepting submissions for juried exhibition

Lenox — Sohn Fine Art Gallery is accepting submissions for its fifth annual juried photography exhibition. Any genre of photography and all photographic mediums are eligible for submission. The exhibition will be anonymously judged by the Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director of Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art John R. Stomberg, Center for Photography at Woodstock Program Associate Jan Nagle, and Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum Assistant Curator Hannah Blunt.

The submission deadline is Friday, March 11. The exhibition will be on view at Sohn Fine Art Gallery Sunday, April 24 – Monday, May 30, 2016, with a reception Saturday, May 7, from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., at which the winners will be announced.

The first place winner will be awarded a scholarship of $500 to use towards a Master Artist Series workshop(s) of their choice. The People’s Choice Award winner will receive one 17” x 25” archival pigment print of their own work, produced by Sohn Fine Art, on a substrate of their choice.

Submission guidelines are available online.


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ThunderFest update

Adams – Due to a lack of snow, the ThunderGlide and ThunderTrek races scheduled for Sunday, March 6, as part of ThunderFest have been cancelled. The Saturday, March 5, downtown celebration will take place as planned with more vendors, activities, and organizations participating in 2016 than in previous years.

See the ThunderFest Facebook page for the latest schedule additions.



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