Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: ‘Music and Art of the Sistine Chapel’; ‘Talking With Teens’ workshop; ‘Should the U.S. be Privatizing War?’; ‘On the Fly’ story slam

The Talking With Teens event, videos and ongoing parent support group is part of a collaborative effort to support parents and caregivers who help teenagers navigate through adolescence.

Cantilena Chamber Choir to present ‘Music and Art of the Sistine Chapel’

Lenox — The Cantilena Chamber Choir will showcase of the music of Allegri, Palestrina, Josquin des Pres and more Sunday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in a program titled “Music and Art of the Sistine Chapel.” The program will be preceded at 2:30 p.m. by the lecture “The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo and More” by Williams College professor emeritus Eugene J. Johnson.

Eugene J. Johnson. Photo courtesy Williams College

The concert will highlight famous works by the aforementioned composers accompanied by a showing of important ceiling frescoes, tapestries and more. According to Johnson: “The building is the kick-off for the whole extraordinary complex of the renaissance and baroque Vatican. The 15th c. frescoes have works by Botticelli and Perugino. Then, after the ceiling, came the tapestries Raphael designed for the bottom of the walls and Michelangelo’s Last Judgment.”

Johnson is the Amos Lawrence Professor of Art, emeritus, at Williams College, where he taught for 52 years. His particular interests are the architecture of Italy in the Renaissance and of the United States in the 20th century. His latest book, “Inventing the Opera House: Theater Architecture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy,” was published this year by Cambridge University Press. His book “Williams College: An Architectural Tour,” written with Michael J. Lewis, will be released in December by Princeton Architectural Press.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 12 and under. All proceeds will benefit Trinity Church’s renovation project for disabled accessibility, organ restoration and more. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Cantilena Chamber Choir at (518) 791-0185 or


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‘Talking With Teens’ workshop to highlight discussing substance abuse

Great Barrington — South Berkshire Community Health Coalition will hold a “Talking With Teens” workshop for parents and caregivers Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Mason Library. The workshop aims to help parents and caregivers communicate with young people about substance use and other topics.

Said Joshua Briggs of Tyringham, who produced eight two-minute videos on Talking with Teens: “Young people at this age are wired to experiment and take risks. It’s all part of how their brains are developing. So it is particularly important for the adults in their lives to help them with difficult choices.”

Jeffrey Foote of the Center for Motivation and Change in New Marlborough

The Talking With Teens event, videos and ongoing parent support group is part of a collaborative effort to support parents and caregivers who help teenagers navigate through adolescence. The coalition identified education and support for parents as a priority to help reduce high rates of substance use among young people in South County. The event will also feature Jeffrey Foote, founding executive director of the Center for Motivation and Change in New Marlborough, who will discuss various strategies to improve communication between parents and children.

Briggs enlisted help from Foote, Dr. Jennifer Michaels of the Brien Center, Dr. Claudia Gold, Multicultural BRIDGE and other experts to write and produce the videos. The father of three children, Briggs has worked as a writer, producer, performer and arts educator in theater and film for 20 years. He produced many segments for Sesame Workshop‘s television series “The Electric Company” and for the online platform of “Sesame Street.” Briggs has worked as a national curriculum writer, and created community outreach materials for “Sesame Street” and its international partners in Ghana and Nigeria.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Railroad Street Youth Project at (413) 528-2475 or


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Allison Stanger. Photo courtesy Bennington College

Stanger to lecture on American global militarism

Bennington, Vt. — Bennington College’s Ruth D. Ewing Lecture Series will present international relations scholar Allison Stanger with the lecture “Should the U.S. be Privatizing War?” Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at the college’s CAPA Symposium.

In her lecture, Stanger will detail how contractors became an integral part of American foreign policy, often in scandalous ways. Stanger also maintains, however, that contractors aren’t the problem: The absence of good government is, and outsourcing done right is indispensable to America’s interests in the information age.

Stanger is the Russell Leng ’60 professor of international politics and economics and founding director of the Middlebury College Rohatyn Center for International Affairs. She is the author of “One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy” and the forthcoming “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Leaks: The Story of Whistleblowing in America.” Stanger has published opinion pieces in Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post; and has testified before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, the Senate Budget Committee, the Congressional Oversight Panel, the Senate HELP Committee, and the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and received her Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. She wrote March and April 2017 opinion pieces in the New York Times titled “Understanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion” and “Middlebury, My Divided Campus.” Stanger is currently a scholar in residence in the New America Cybersecurity Initiative, a senior fellow at the Bard College Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bennington College at (802) 442-5401.


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Club Helsinki’s ‘On the Fly’ story slam to celebrate first anniversary

Christina Thyssen

Hudson, N.Y. — Club Helsinki Hudson’s On the Fly monthly story slam will mark its first anniversary with a grand slam event Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. This special edition of On the Fly will feature a lineup of some of the standout storytellers from the past year plus a special guest panel of local judges, who will award the grand slam title to one of the evening’s participants. The evening will also feature musical entertainment.

Debra Gitterman

Produced by Christina Thyssen and Debra Gitterman, regular On the Fly story slams take place every third Tuesday of the month and welcome local storytellers and those who love stories to participate by telling a story, volunteering to judge or simply by enjoying the event. On the Fly stories are told, not read, and no notes are allowed onstage. Storytellers are selected at random from those who sign up on the night of the slam.

Thyssen is a teacher, writer, translator and story coach who lives in Athens, New York. She holds a doctorate in American literature, and teaches writing and literature at University at Albany and Siena College. Gitterman holds a master’s degree in poetry and a bachelor’s degree in ancient Greek. She works as a web developer and lives in Philmont.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Club Helsinki Hudson at (518) 828-4800 or



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