Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Michael Pollan at Williams; ‘Suffragette’ to open FilmColumbia; Artful Hike at Olana; guided property walk in Sheffield; ‘Writers Read’ in Lee; Andrew Amelinckx at Arrowhead

From axe murders to botched robberies "Gilded Age Murder and Mayhem" has dredged up the forgotten underbelly of the Berkshires with unforgettable stories of greed, jealousy, and madness.

Author Michael Pollan to speak at Williams College

Michael Pollan Ken Light
Author Michael Pollan. Photo: Ken Light.

Williamstown — Williams College will host a conversation with bestselling author Michael Pollan on issues about the intersection of nature and culture. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 20, at 8 p.m. on the MainStage in the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance.

Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect, such as on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment, for the past 25 years. He is the author of “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013)” and of four New York Times bestsellers: “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010);” “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008);” “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006);” and “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001).” Pollan teaches at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and is the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.

Henry Art, Rosenburg Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology, will interview Michael Pollan on the MainStage. Audience questions and a book signing will follow.

The event is open to the public and tickets are free but required. They are available online and by calling the box office at (413) 597-2425.


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FilmColumbia announces ‘Suffragette’ as festival opener

Chatham, N.Y. — FilmColumbia has just announced that “Suffragette” will open the 2015 FilmColumbia festival at 5:30 p.m. Monday, October 19 at the Crandell Theatre. The film, which premiered October 7 at the opening night gala of the BFI London Film Festival, will be followed by Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre” at 8 p.m. for an unprecedented double feature the first night of the festival.

Directed by Sarah Gavron, “Suffragette” begins with rocks crashing through store windows and continues with horrific working conditions, police beatings and a sobbing child ripped from the arms of a mother, who has no rights.

“ ‘Suffragette’ is a history lesson, but it’s also a lot more,” commented Peter Biskind, the executive director of FilmColumbia. “It’s a powerful, gripping account of women’s struggle to get the vote in England, which has all the immediacy of a ripped-from-the-headlines documentary and the artistry of a finely wrought feature that leaves audiences in tears. ‘Suffragette’ provoked a firestorm from women’s rights activists who rushed the red carpet when it premiered in London, insisting that the struggle isn’t over. ‘Suffragette’ stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, and Anne-Marie Duff.’”


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Artful Hike: Zentangle in the Landscape

Hudson, N.Y. — The Olana Partnership is pleased to welcome certified Zentangle instructor Andrea Porrazzo-Nangle to lead visitors on a hike which will include doodling patterns, swirls, and fun. “Artful Hike: Zentangle in the Landscape” will take place on Saturday, October 17 (raindate: October 18) at 3 p.m.

Participants will learn different patterns from the Zentangle method and will be presented with a Zentangle kit. The program will start in the Wagon House Education Center for a brief presentation and then move to Olana’s carriage roads to draw direct inspiration from Olana’s landscape.

Andrea holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and Holistic Therapy from Antioch New England Graduate School. She teaches Zentangle classes at Columbia Greene Community College and the Catskill Community Center.

The program is limited to 20 people. Cost of the walk is $10 and it is open to ages 8 and up.  To reserve a space, call (518) 828-1872 x105.


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Guided property walk and memorial stone dedication

Sheffield — The Sheffield Land Trust will hold its annual Fall Property Walk on Sunday, October 18 at 1 p.m. Explore a beautiful wooded property on walks guided by naturalist Rene Wendell and forester Jim Kelly. Before the walk, enjoy seasonal refreshments and join John Hunting and members of the Hamilton family for the dedication of a memorial stone and plaque to A.E. “Tajar” and Eleanor “Ranger” Hamilton on the property donated to the Sheffield Land Trust last year by John Hunting.

The event is free, open to the public, and family-friendly. Wear good walking shoes. Seasonal refreshments will be provided. Meet on Bull Hill Road just past the junction of Silver Street and Bull Hill Road. For more information contact the Sheffield Land Trust at (413) 229-0234 or email


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Writers Read to host poets from Slate Roof Press

Poet Abbot Cutler.

Lee — On Tuesday, October 20 the Writers Read series at the Lee Library will host four poets from Slate Roof Press who will read form their works. The featured poets are Abbott Cutler, Dennis Pollock, Janet MacFadyen, and Cindy Snow.

The reading will begin at 5:30 p.m. Contact David Giannini fr more information at


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Andrew K. Amelinckx to read and speak at Arrowhead

Andrew Amelinckx Robert L Ragaini
Author Andrew K. Amelinckx. Photo: Robert L. Ragaini.

Pittsfield — On Tuesday, October 20, three days after Herman Melville’s Arrowhead closes for the season, the doors will reopen at 6 p.m. for a special season-ending event when Andrew K. Amelinckx will make an appearance to read and autograph his new book, “Gilded Age Murder & Mayhem in the Berkshires.”

Published by The History Press, this is the latest in its extensive “Murder and Mayhem” book series. From axe murders to botched robberies the author has dredged up the forgotten underbelly of the Berkshires with unforgettable stories of greed, jealousy, and madness from that time when the migration of the wealthy from New York and Chicago was recreating the region as a second-home residence and a relocation destination for both European immigrants and the cream of high society.

Copies of the book, which was officially released October 12, will be available for purchase. The event is free but donations will be requested. No reservations are necessary but seating is limited and attendees should plan to arrive early.



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