Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Third Thursdays + WordXWord Festival = Minds Blown

Pittsfield’s 3rd.Thursdays street festival joins forces with the third annual WordXWord Festival this Thursday night, August 18, presenting over three dozen musicians, artists and performers throughout downtown.  The streets and sidewalks of downtown Pittsfield will fill with live music, street performers, great shopping, outdoor dining, new art, and thousands of people  from 5pm to 8pm and beyond. A half mile of North Street will be closed to traffic from Park Square to Maplewood Avenue between 4:30pm to 8:30pm.



The evening’s most celebrated performer is Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who will be reading and telling stories from his recent memoir, A Reason to Believe: Stories from an Improbable Life, at the Colonial Theatre. The reading is free but advance tickets are strongly recommended. Call the Colonial Theatre box office to reserve: 413-997-4444.  The event will begin at 7pm and will be followed by a booksigning with the governor. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Colonial Theatre lobby.

Live music and spoken word performances can be found indoors and outdoors throughout downtown. The City Stage will be at the base of North Street and features alt-folk singer-songwriters Jeff Byrd, Susan Cattaneo and John Colvert. Palace Park host the Berkshire Rocks youth stage with local youth musicians performing; and the out-of-the-box Encyclopedia Show featuring Megan Thoma will be performing on the lawn at St. Joseph’s Church, followed by 3rd.Thursday’s first ever outdoor open mic, from 6:30pm to 8pm. 

Shawn’s Barbershop hosts the WordXWord slam poetry preliminaries at 6pm followed by slam poet champion Omar Holmon at 7:30pm, free to all. Across the street at Ferrin Gallery artist and writer Douglass Truth will be signing copies of his new illustrated book, Everything I Know *Subject to Verification from 5pm to 7pm. (His Iphone photographs are on display at the Lantern Bar and Grill down the block.) And the Town Players will present a staged reading of Karel Fisher's "Stepping on My Head in Dr Scholl's Sandals," at 5:30pm and again at 7pm at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

The Town Players will present staged reading of Karel Fisher's "Stepping on My Head in Dr Scholl's Sandals," beginning at 5:30pm, preceded at 5pm by guitar music. After the show audience members will have the chance to talk with the performers about the reading and ask any questions they have.

Baba Louie’s is hosting two pizza eating contests at 3rd.Thursays. The first is open to the public. Registration begins at 5:45pm and is limited to twelve people, with a $5 registration fee. The second contest, at 6:30pm, will pit the Pittsfield Police Department against the Pittsfield Fire Department. All proceeds from the contests will go to Berkshire Community Action Council’s Community Garden Project.  There will also be a live remote from the Live 95.9 FM crew.

In addition, the Brazilian rhythms of the Berkshire Bateria will be rocking the street in front of Spice Dragon from 6pm to 8pm, and Phil Grover’s Doo Wah Revue will be performing in front of the Intermodal Center, courtesy of Berkshire Community College. Meanwhile, The Marketplace Café hosts the Easy Ridin’ Papas.  Otha Day will be leading an interactive drum circle on Park Square along with hula hooping with Stefanie Weber.

An artist’s reception for Colleen Surprise Jones’s latest exhibit “Inter Alia: Abstractions," will be held at the Berkshire Community College’s Intermodal Gallery.  "Inter Alia: Abstractions" ("inter alia" is Latin for "among other things") is an exhibit of abstract paintings and sculpture. Gallery hours are from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

New works by Marguerite Bride will be on display at Gallery 25 from August 18 through September 11, 2011. The exhibit will kick off with an artist reception on from 5:30–8PM.  Bride has gained regional recognition for her scenes of the Berkshires in a series called “Local Color”. She has expanded her repertoire in this exhibit to include paintings of eastern Massachusetts, especially Cape Cod and the Islands, and has entitled this show “East Meets West”.  Painter, art critic, blogger and former slam poet Carol Diehl will show a small selection of work from her "Journal Paintings" series in conjunction with a reading at 7pm at the Berkshire Museum.

Stop by the Berkshire Museum for free and fun WordXWord activities - Tell-a-Story Step-by-Step - chalking your stories on the sidewalk.  Hopscotch Poetry, kids can hop through a traditional hopscotch diagram with words written in each square, creating a poem as they go. Wally Rap will be a spoken-word open mic right next to Wally, the Museum’s stegosaurus, where kids can create original rap lyrics. Stories on the Wind will have participants writing narratives on long streamers of paper, which will be pinned up to wave in the breeze.  Then come play fun games and win prizes at the free kid's zone booth located at 78 North St, sponsored by South Congregational Church.  Come get Smurfed at the Beacon Cinema, get your face painted Smurfy-blue and the first ones there will get a free mini-movie poster of The Smurfs.  To celebrate 5 years of 3rd Thursdays the Beacon Cinema presents $5.00 admission all day on 3rd Thursday all movies ($6.50 for 3D).

Photo by Eric Korenman

Berkshire Bank has teamed up with Store Front Artist Project.  Stop by the Berkshire Bank at 99 North Street to meet famous cartoonists Joe Staton (Scooby-Doo, Batman, Green Lantern, etc.), Mark Martin (SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Garry Black.   Enjoy art making for kids at Bisque, Beads and Beyond and pick up something for yourself with 25% off everything.

The Berkshire Running Center, located on 42 Summer Street is a run specialty store and training center located out of Berkshire Nautilus.  Owners Kent Lemme and Shiobbean Archey will be hosting a grand opening celebration this 3rd Thursday from 6-8pm.  Come join them for fun runs downtown, every 15 minutes!  There will be great giveaways and raffle prizes.  Their intention is to become the Grand Central Station for running and racing in Berkshire County. 

A special Library of Congress traveling exhibition—mounted in a customized 18-wheel truck will be open at Park Square during 3rd. Thursdays.  The “Gateway to Knowledge” exhibition will bring high-quality facsimiles of many of the Library’s top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library’s unparalleled collections to small towns and rural communities across America.  Ultimately, the “Gateway to Knowledge” is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South over the next year.

North Street’s unique locally-owned businesses will be open late for your browsing pleasure, including Treehouse, a newly opened children's boutique and family clubhouse, hosting a quiet space for nursing and new moms during 3rd.Thursdays.  Pateez Boutique, a store for women of all ages offering 20% - 50% off great styles from clothing to handbags to shoes and sandals; the Newberry Place with their one-of-a-kind gifts; and Mad Macs Inc., Berkshire County's Only Apple Authorized Service Center.  Also on North Street you’ll find a number of great deals and specials if you shop during 3rd .Thursdays, RJ Stohr’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, which will be offering 50% off almost everything in the store for one day only; and Pittsfield Bra and Girl features a 50-75% summer clearance tent sale offering select sleepwear, loungewear, bras and accessories.

Participating downtown restaurants that will be open late for your dining pleasure include Ad Lib, Hot Harry’s, the Highland Restaurant, Baba Louie’s, Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Bagels Too, Spice Dragon, Mary’s Carrot Cake Café, Flavours, Shiro, Mission Bar and Tapas, The Marketplace Café, Doc’s Deli, The Crowne Plaza, Mad Jacks, and the Lantern Bar and Grill. In addition, there are a wide range of street vendors will be selling a variety of food to enjoy as you walk around the streets and enjoy all that 3rd.Thursdays has to offer.

Downtown Pittsfield will continue to be alive with entertainment and fun throughout the evening. The Celtic folk band Rakish Paddy continues its tradition of playing every 3rd.Thursdays at Patrick’s Pub on Park Square, as does the jam band Billy Keane and the Misdemeanor Outlaws at Mission Bar and Tapas. Both are no cover, but get there earlier to ensure your seat.  Also enjoy Melissa Brinton’s solo acoustic guitar performance at Flavours Restaurant also no cover.  If you want to enjoy some theatre be sure to check out Barrington Stage Company’s The Game tickets range from $15-$60.  Later in the evening stay downtown for Misty Blues in the Lounge at Spice Dragon at with no cover or head over to dance with DJ Bruno’s club and dance music at the Underground Pub $3 cover at the door.  Both events begin at 9pm.

For more information about 3rd.Thursdays, please call 413.499.9348 or visit 3rd.Thursdays is a monthly free community street arts festival held rain or shine in downtown Pittsfield on the 3rd Thursday from May through October. Plenty of free parking is available.

Click here to download the flyer and map for August's 2011 3rd. Thursday.

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