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W. E. B. Du Bois in 1918. The W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Festival will hold a celebration of the 151st anniversary of Du Bois' birth Saturday, Feb. 23, at the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington.

Bits & Bytes: W. E. B. Du Bois tribute; ‘The Vagina Monologues’ at the Whit; ‘Elegant Entertaining in the Gilded Age’

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By Wednesday, Feb 20, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Du Bois legacy celebration to offer music, tributes, special award and remembrances

Great Barrington — In celebration of the 151st anniversary of the birth of W. E. B. Du Bois, the town will host a celebration of tributes and music Saturday, Feb. 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St. The event is part of the town’s second annual W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Festival, which runs through Friday, March 1. This is the first program produced by the town’s newly formed W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Committee, which preserves and promotes Du Bois’ legacy as a scholar and activist for civil rights, progressive education, economic justice and equality.

Wanda Houston

Performers will include seventh-grader Jaeden Alston performing a spoken word piece by his older brother, Kori Alston; the Hoping Machine performing civil rights songs; and drumming teacher and performer Otha Day, who will lead the audience in a group drumming experience. More music will be presented by singer/songwriter, pianist and gospel choir director Michael Whitney Brown; professor, Du Bois scholar and a cappella singer of traditional spirituals and music MaryNell Morgan-Brown; and actor, vocal stylist and coach Wanda Houston.

David Levering Lewis. Photo courtesy UMass Amherst

The program will also honor Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis, who will receive the town’s first W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Award honoring recipients for “embodying and preserving W. E. B. Du Bois’ legacy as a scholar and activist for freedom.”

Frances Jones-Sneed, Ph.D. Photo courtesy Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Speakers will include legacy committee chair and Du Bois Center at Great Barrington founder Randy Weinstein; Great Barrington Selectboard Vice-Chair Ed Abrahams; Jeffrey Peck, great-grandson of Du Bois, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts professor Frances Jones-Sneed; legacy committee vice-chair and Multicultural BRIDGE founder Gwendolyn VanSant; and legacy committee member Barbara Dean.

The event is free and open to the public, but a suggested donation of $10 is appreciated.

–E.E.

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The cast and crew of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. Front row: Lia Russell-Self, Natalie EmBee. Middle row: Sharae Gadson, Laura Grant, Diedre Bollinger, Rachel I. Branch, Kas Maroney, Molly Pomerance, Jess Lillie. Back Row: Alex Martinex, Donna Morelli, Colleen Jordan, Stefanie Weber, Brittany Nicholson, Kristin Grippo, Amy Hausknecht, Monica Bliss. Photo: Kyron Hanson

Whitney Center for the Arts to stage reading of ‘The Vagina Monologues’

Pittsfield — As part of the internationally recognized V-Day campaign for 2019 and the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the Whitney Center for the Arts will present a reading of Eve Ensler‘s “The Vagina Monologues” Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m.

The reading will feature some of the actresses from the Whit’s fully staged production of the show this past September. Directed by Monica Bliss and assisted by Natalie EmBee and Sharae Gadson, the cast features Lia Russell-Self, Laura Grant, Diedre Bollinger, Rachel I. Branch, Kas Maroney, Molly Pomerance, Jess Lillie, Alex Martinex, Donna Morelli, Colleen Jordan, Stefanie Weber, Brittany Nicholson, Kristin Grippo and Amy Hausknecht. Three members of the community have been invited to write and perform their own spotlight monologues called “Why My Vagina is Rising,” which will be presented immediately following the Saturday matinee.

Tickets are $10. All proceeds will benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center and the 2019 V-Day Spotlight Fund for Women in Prison, Detention Centers, and Formerly Incarcerated Women. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 443-0279.

–E.E.

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Food historian Francine Segan to discuss ‘Elegant Entertaining in the Gilded Age’

Francine Segan

Salisbury, Conn. — The Salisbury Association will present food historian Francine Segan Saturday, Feb. 23, at 4 p.m. at the Scoville Memorial Library for a talk titled “Era of Elegance: Elegant Entertaining in the Gilded Age.”

Spanning from the 1860s through World War I, the Gilded Age was a time of calling cards, horse-drawn coaches, afternoon tea, cotillions, lawn parties and formal dinners. Even picnics were served on fine china. In her presentation, Segan will discuss proper etiquette and customs for social gatherings, such as the meanings behind giving a lady a tulip instead of a rose, the most popular toasts, and when it was proper to remove your gloves or tip your hat. Ladies’ magazines of the 19th century advised bringing a bundle of sticks to a party and Segan will discuss why. The audience will also learn the calling-card equivalent of “unfriending” someone and why the nutmeg grater was the must-have accessory of the 1890s. Segan will bring with her a number of now-obsolete objects and demonstrate garnish-making techniques.

Segan is a James Beard Award-nominated author of six cookbooks and an expert on Italian cuisine, among her other culinary interests. Her most recent books, “Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy” and “Dolci: Italy’s Sweets,” focus on Italian cuisine. Segan has also written for Saveur and Epicurious magazines and appears regularly on television on the Food Network, PBS, Discovery and History.

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or scovlibn@biblio.org.

–E.E.


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