Monday, December 29, 2008

Barrington Stage Company makes The List!

Congratulations to Barrington Stage Company for standing out in the Northeast theatre scene!
The Boston Globe wrote an end of the year piece on on the top theatre companies. Here is the article:

Small companies with big ambitions
By Louise Kennedy
Globe Staff / December 28, 2008
Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's just me, but as I look back at the year in theater, it's hard to find a lot of truly bright spots. Yes, there was some very good work on local stages, and there were some promising new arrivals on the scene - Peter DuBois at the Huntington Theatre Company, Diane Paulus in the wings at the American Repertory Theatre, a new home for the Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater in Central Square - but moments of theatrical transcendence seemed few and far between. At best, solid admiration, not transporting thrill, is the prevailing mood.

What's striking is that a lot of the year's best work was done by smaller companies. Perhaps because they're driven more by artistic interests than by the need to appeal to a broad audience, or perhaps because they're more tightly focused and more passionate, or perhaps just by chance, the city's smaller troupes this year, by and large, outshone their larger siblings. From the sweeping two-part presentation of "Angels in America" by Boston Theatre Works last season to this fall's hauntingly spare "In the Continuum" by Up You Mighty Race and Company One's incisive "Voyeurs de Venus," big ambitions paid off for small companies.
Except that, of course, they didn't quite - the saddest news of the year, perhaps, being that Boston Theatre Works went on hiatus shortly after "Angels," having consumed all its resources with that grand effort. And with the departure of artistic director Jason Southerland for Chicago, BTW's "hiatus" is now most likely a permanent slumber. That's too bad, not just because the company did some fine work but because its failure to build a sustainable program does harm to the actors, designers, and audience members who had come to rely on its presence.

What's also unfortunate is the dearth of productions from the big resident companies on my Top 10 list. Yes, Nicholas Martin's completely charming revival of "She Loves Me" made the cut - but that's the only Huntington show that did, and I'm sorry to say that nothing from the American Repertory Theatre is here, either. Both companies offered a few solid but unspectacular productions, and both also served up a couple of my least favorite evenings of the year. How I wish they'd also hit one or two out of the park - especially when it comes to new work.

The good news, though, is that there were a few terrific new plays at other venues, both in town and in the Berkshires over the summer. Locally, Boston Playwrights' Theatre delivered two genuine pleasures, and Melinda Lopez had a hand in both of them: She wrote "Gary," a rocking coming-of-age story, and she starred in "The Oil Thief," Joyce Van Dyke's sharp and moving story of love on the (literal) rocks.

Out west, the Williamstown Theatre Festival had a fine clutch of new plays in Martin's first season as artistic director (and it also, of course, had its own run of his "She Loves Me"). Theresa Rebeck crafted a wickedly funny backstage piece, "The Understudy," and Ellen Melaver's "Not Waving" received a particularly well crafted staging. But it's "Broke-ology," a story of a beleaguered and loving family by the astonishingly talented Nathan Louis Jackson, that lingers most powerfully in the mind.

New work is also percolating nicely in Pittsfield, at Barrington Stage Company's Musical Theatre Lab. Both "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick," a haunting little tale adapted from a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg, and "See Rock City," a collage of musical postcards, felt fresh and promising, if musically still a bit unfinished. But that's the virtue of the Musical Theatre Lab: You know, going in, that you're seeing a work in progress, and having audiences involved from the beginning provides a vital source of feedback to the shows' creators.

Closer to home, Tony Estrella's adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's "Don Carlos," at the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket, wins the dubious distinction of Play I Most Regret Not Seeing. As painful as it can be to sit through a bad play, it always feels much worse to fail to sit through a good one.
And, of course, you really never do know until you're in the theater which kind of night you're going to have. That's a lesson I had to relearn this year, because not once but three times I set out in low spirits to see a musical that I truly felt I never had to see again, and not once but three times I was surprised to be delighted. It's a good kind of surprise to have, and I'm grateful to "My Fair Lady," "A Chorus Line," and "Chicago" for letting me have it - and, of course, to their presenter, Broadway Across America-Boston, which must be at least as disappointed as I am that one of its big hopes for this past season, "Brigadoon," fell through, along with Harry Connick Jr.'s Gershwin project, "Nice Work If You Can Get It."
I'm also grateful to Scott Edmiston and SpeakEasy Stage for mounting a production of "The Light in the Piazza" that put a musical I had previously despised in the best possible light. Edmiston and SpeakEasy get another helping of gratitude for "The History Boys," which in their hands was a smart and touching piece of work.

So too was "Eurydice" as staged by Rick Lombardo at Watertown's New Repertory Theatre. His sensitive, musically rich handling of Sarah Ruhl's play only underscored the sense of loss at the news that he'll be shortly heading west to take the helm at San Jose Repertory Theatre.
Oh, but let's not end on a sad note. Instead, and because Top 10 lists tend to skew toward the Serious and Significant, here's a joyous whoop to some shows that gave me what we all may need most in a year like 2008: a good, solid laugh.

To wit, in no particular order: "The Little Dog Laughed" at SpeakEasy Stage; "Medea" and "Whizzin"' from the Gold Dust Orphans; "The Drowsy Chaperone" at the Opera House (Broadway Across America - Boston); "Pageant" at Stoneham Theatre and "Pageant Play" at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking" at the Huntington; and "Gutenberg! The Musical" at New Rep.
May we all have more laughs, and more joy, in the year to come.

Louise Kennedy can be reached at

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pittsfield wins Commonwealth Award

(Actress Elizabeth Banks, Pittsfield native)

Pittsfield has won the Creative Community Award, one the prestigious Commonwealth Awards, given out by the Massachusetts Cultural Council!

Here are two great articles about the award from the Boston Globe and the Berkshire Eagle:

Banks a lot
By Mark Shanahan and Paysha Rhone
Globe Staff / December 20, 2008

Actress Elizabeth Banks (above) will wing in next month to help present an award to her hometown at the State House. Pittsfield mayor James Ruberto will accept the Creative Community award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which yesterday announced the winners of its biennial Commonwealth Awards, the state's highest honors in arts and culture. Other winners include: the Worcester Cultural Coalition, Peabody Essex Museum, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, the Behrakis Foundation, Louis Casagrande, the Boston Children's Museum, and the Codman Academy Charter Public School. Banks will give the keynote speech at the Jan. 13 awards ceremony. She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for L'Oreal Paris. She joins the glamorous ranks of Beyonce Knowles, Diane Keaton, and Eva Longoria Parker.


Pittsfield culture wins prestige
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Thursday, December 18

PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield has joined the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Shakespeare & Company and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival as a cultural force in Berkshire County.

The city is receiving one of the six Commonwealth Awards being handed out for 2009 by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Pittsfield will be honored with the other winners during a ceremony at the Statehouse on Jan. 13.

Actress and Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks will speak at the event.

"This is really important recognition, showing we are a creative community," said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield's cultural development director. "We've been working in Pittsfield the past five years to promote and grow a cultural community."

That's evident by the revitalization of the Colonial Theatre, the addition of Barrington Stage Company, and the continuing growth of the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village, according to Council Executive Director Anita Walker.

"Pittsfield is investing in its natural cultural resources," Walker said. "You can't recreate these things."

Walker said Pittsfield was an unanimous choice out of the 69 nominations in the creative community category. The other categories are creative economy catalyst, leadership, individual achievement creative learning and cultural philanthropy.

Walker said the awards, given every two years, was paired down from 10 categories in order to broaden the nomination process.

Pittsfield joins previous Berkshire winners Yo-Yo Ma, Shakespeare & Co., its founder Tina Packer, Jacob's Pillow, choreographer Marge Champion, Mass MoCA Executive Director Joseph Thompson, and arts patron Jane Fitzpatrick.

While Williamstown to the north and Lenox and Stockbridge to the south have been the mainstays of the Berkshire's cultural community, Whilden said Pittsfield is ready to lead the way.

"By Pittsfield stepping forward, it benefits the rest of the county," Whilden said.
Walker praised both Whilden and Mayor James M. Ruberto for making cultural tourism part of the city's economic development.

"You have a leader who really gets it," said Walker of Ruberto. "Megan's work is exemplar and how it should be done."

Whilden said she's finding more and more people discovering Pittsfield's cultural side, thanks in part to the Third Thursday events. The block party-style events are held each month from May through October.

"People used to skip Pittsfield," Whilden said. "The perception of the city and reality have changed."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cultural Pittsfield This Week newsletter is up and out!

Check out our last minute shopping tips, holiday concerts galore at the Colonial & elsewhere, and great live music at Zeitgeist, Mission Bar & Tapas, Pittsfield Brew Works, and the Brazilian Restaurant this weekend. Click here to read it, or here to sign up for your own FREE subscription to Cultural Pittsfield This Week!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Small Gems at the Ferrin Gallery

The Ferrin Gallery's new show $mall Works: Art + Object has gotten a great review in the Berkshire Eagle by Keith Shaw! In this show, thirty artists present one to three affordable artworks that sell for no more than $500. The show includes painting, prints, sculpture that small in scale or made specifically for the show. In addition to the $mall Works group show, on view at the gallery there is always a good selection of affordable, functional studio pottery from area artists. It is definitely worth checking out (and soon, as the art is selling fast!)

The review by the Berkshire Eagle's art critic:

Small gems
By Keith V. Shaw, Special to the Eagle

Monday, December 15

PITTSFIELD — The Ferrin Gallery always generates excitement, but its annual, year-end show of small artwork has become an anticipated event — and it is well worth the wait.
Last year's exhibits asked the age-old question "Does size matter?" This year, "Small Works: Art + Object" asks "Does price matter?" Well, if you have to ask, I guess it does.
"Small Works" includes nearly 30 artists, and everything is priced to sell: $500 or less. Yes, some are early in their careers, and a few are not genuine gallery artists. But many of the participants sell larger pieces for thousands of dollars, and this is an enticing opportunity to buy a name. Not in the market for art? It is still fun to window shop.

The show is handsomely installed and captivatingly eclectic. Pieces run the gamut: paintings, assemblages, ceramics, and more. Like price, quality matters too, and it quickly rises to the top.
The muses are fickle, and some paintings just turn out better than others. With "The Crow," Michael Rousseau was right on the money, and his work was the first to fly the coop. The piece is all about facture and the creative process, morphing from sketchy ground to protruding, 3-D figure. Assisted by the simplicity and quirkiness of its subject, the painting will forever have power.

Michael Zelehoski will develop into a stellar gallery artist, and most of his pieces sold the first day. He effortlessly asserts his originality both in representational and abstract art. This time he offers a number of wooden assemblages. Through intellect and craft, Zelehoski rearranges his organic colors, materials, and textures into geometric abstractions. This human imprint on nature produces serenely beautiful wall objects. I look forward to his summer show at the Ferrin.

The Renaissance saw art as the offspring of Craft and Concept; Duchamp's readymades precipitated a divorce, and modernism awarded custody to Concept. Warner Friedman shows how postmodernism is contesting that decision. Friedman's trompe l'oeil paintings of pine boards masquerade as minimalist found objects — the kind of art the public has been conditioned to accept. Our human response to seeing a board representing art versus art representing a board is vastly different. Friedman's illusionistic painting engages the viewer in that art critical debate. He is a postmodern master.

Joe Wheaton's metal wall assemblages "Kabuki" choreograph the dynamism of movement on stage. Restless black forms strut and stretch across red rectangular panels, perfecting quick, precise turns. Abraded areas imply the pendular transition between absence and occupancy. Wheaton is highly collectable, and if one likes an Asian accent to their décor, these pieces are bargains.

Joe Goodwin is another consummate nonrepresentational artist, and his monotype collage and diminutive painting merit notice. In each work, a dominant gesture — a life pulse — animates an otherwise dormant environment. Activity emerges out of passivity, and resistance questions acceptance.

Other pieces vie for attention. Gene Flores' metal "Postcards" of abstracted landscapes intrigue; his gouged, cut, and polished surfaces suggest records of geological time. Paul Graubard's "Muslim Women" is one of his most successful pieces. The lace veils add just the right touch of visual interest. With hook and eye latches, Elizabeth Stone playfully links three block-like canvases of Brio trains; how perfect. And the list goes on.

Whether you are an art speculator or just a spectator, stopping in the Ferrin Gallery to see "Small Works" will enrich your day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Avery Ensemble Concert

Saturday at the Lichtenstein!

Last June, the renowned Avery Ensemble came to Pittsfield for the first time and performed for a packed house at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. The audience was thrilled with both the programming as well as the group’s superb performances. The members of the Avery Ensemble were equally inspired by the acoustics and intimacy of the Lichtenstein and with the warm and enthusiastic welcome of the Pittsfield audience.

Please join us in welcoming back the ensemble, for a night of beautiful music surrounded by visual art.

The concert starts at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20, and may be purchased at the door.

Friday: Opening at the Lichtenstein

A Creative Conversation
Fern Leslie & Anne Pasko
Two Artists*One Year* And A Challenge

This two-woman exhibit is the culmination of a year long project that streched Mixed-Media Artist Anne Pasko and Fiber Artist Fern Leslie into new artistic territory."A Creative Conversation" is more than an art show. It is a peek into the world of two artists and friends who gave themselves the freedom and flexibility to travel artistically and together beyond their normal boundaries.

FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The opening is Friday, November 7th from 5:00-7:00pm.

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Year of Artscape in Pittsfield

Artscape is a public outdoor art exhibition that spans the entire downtown Pittsfield area. The exhibition has been ongoing for a number of years, with exciting new additions in each new year. Artscape includes sculptures, banners, and street signs that energize and add whimsy and beauty to our city.

Many of the art pieces are up in Pittsfield already, although there are few last installations scheduled for next week. While walking downtown, visitors and the community are bound to notice the new art popping up on our streets. On the Common, a very unique piece by local artist Peter Barrett has been installed, titled Homenaje a Carlos Zook. It is designed to be wheelchair-accessible, and there is an area of the sculpture for people of all capabilities to actually move through the piece and experience art in a new way. Peter Barrett is a local artist from Great Barrington whose work has recently been at Chesterwood. On North Street, another very interesting piece has been installed titled A Story of Solitude (pictured below, right) by Massachusetts native Lydia Musco. It is located between St. Joseph’s Church and Dottie’s Coffee Lounge and is sure to be the conversation piece of the neighborhood. Another sculpture that won’t be missed is Inflatable Solid (pictured below, left)by Mike Hansel. It is located in Park Square, right in the middle of the rotary, and is sure to delight motorists and pedestrians alike as they move through the traffic. For traffic heading down West Street from the rotary, everyone will be excited to see Valentine Two (pictured above) by returning Artscape artist Carole Eisner. It is located on West Street at the KB Toys Headquarters. Visitors to the Berkshire Museum will see local artist Binney Meigs’ sculpture, titled Crouching Hermes. Binney Meigs is an accomplished sculptor from Sheffield, MA.

Next week, six more artists will install their work in Pittsfield. Local artist, John Elling, will be installing a solar-powered tree sculpture titled Garden Temple at the Athenaeum. This sculpture will emit dots of light at night, generated from solar energy. Judith Peck’s sculpture Reclining Woman Black will be installed on the roof of the Ad-Lib building. Returning artist Anthony Krauss, whose pyramid-inspired work has been seen in Artscape for many years, will install a new piece titled Reflections. Cecilia Lueza will install a gorgeous, vibrant banner titled Migration (pictured below)on North Street. Drew Goerlitz will install a sculpture, titled Macresco, in Persip Park, which is sure to be welcoming to visitors arriving at the Intermodal Center. Local artist, Ven Voisey, from North Adams, will be installing Caged Songbirds made up of birdcages that emit birdsong in Morse code on North Street. Ven Voisey also has work in the current show at the Ferrin Gallery, and his work has been seen all over the Berkshires over the past summer as a part of the Down Street Art project in North Adams.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Oct 31-Nov 6, 2008

This week in Pittsfield you'll find dancing Dracula and his blushing brides at the Colonial Theatre, rowdy female comedians in a benefit for the Berskhire Carousel Project, Halloween parties, a Day of the Dead Altar making workshop, and much here for the full lineup!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two new creative spaces downtown: ZEITGEIST

Click here to read about Zeitgeist Pittsfield, the wild west partner to Zeitgeist, the legendar new art and performance space in Cambridge. Opened last week at 648 North Street with art by local artists and Dee Dee Ramone...

Two new creative spaces downtown: COPPERWORKS

Check out their website, and their weekly outdoor movie nights on Mondays on North Pearl Street, when the sun goes down...

Where do ideas come from?

Boston Globe writes a GREAT review of Barington Stage Company's world premiere of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Click here to read the whole review. A quote from it:

"So where do ideas come from? It's a mystery. That's not only the explanation but the premise of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a short, smart, sweet new musical that is, in fact, based on a nearly wordless black-and-white picture book by children's author Chris Van Allsburg. Like the book, the musical is not a strictly-for-kids entertainment, but rather a haunting meditation on, and invitation to participate in, the creative process."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spelling Bee's Triumphant Return to the Berkshires!

The Tony Award-winnng 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, one of the best musicals I've ever seen, was born in a workshop at Barrington Stage Company, and grew up to be a fabulous Broadway musical! Now it's back at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, opening this weekend, and getting great press all over, including this great interview with the lyricist, Bill Finn, at, the Boston Globe, and more. Click here for ticket info!

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 3rd.Thursdays in Downtown Pittsfield Celebrates All Things Green!


Hula hoops, Morris Men, the Berkshire Bateria, locally grown foods and much much more!

All things green and healthy will be celebrated at the June 3rd.Thursdays downtown celebration in Pittsfield on Thursdays, June 19, with live music, outdoor dining, family activities, after hours shopping and much more. Berkshire County’s own Morris Men will be doing traditional English folkdance throughout downtown to welcome the summer solstice, while a free kundalini yoga class will be offered in Park Square from 5:30pm to 7pm. Meet the owners of Chapters Bookstore, opening July at North Street, browse a great selection of eco-friendly books, and enter to win a free gift card!

Plus live music and performances up and down the street, great dining in downtown Pittsfield’s forty restaurants with many locally grown specials, cooking demos and dinners, and after hours shopping including a jewelry trunk show at the Berkshire Museum shop, Paul Rich & Sons annual tent sale and a ‘yarn tasting’ at Twin Hearts Handworks. As always a free trolley is available to whisk you up and down North and South Streets so you don’t miss a thing!

Stefanie Weber will be offering free hula hoop lessons in front of St. Joseph’s Church, where performers from the Albany Berkshire Ballet and Pittsfield public schools will be performing. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers the opportunity to walk their labyrinth, while Kinderhook Realty at 137 North Street hosts a bike rally with Javier Dominguez, unicyclist extraordinaire. The Center for Ecological Technology will have a booth at Persip Park featuring cars from the junior Solar Sprint, a solar harvester that plays a boombox, and a lighting bar showing various types of energy-efficient lights. The Friends of the Hebert Arboretum will offer plants for sale, and the PeaceJam group from Pittsfield High School will be selling Fair Trade coffee as a fundraiser. More highlights are listed below:


Patrick’s Pub will feature green specials on their menu both inside and out. Brix Wine Bar & Bistro will also feature food and drink specials made from local ingredients, and the Crowne Plaza’s talented chef Lee Maston will be giving cooking demonstrations outdoors. Dottie’s Coffee Lounge will be featuring their brand new eco-friendly line (everything from cleaning products to disposable potato forks!) at Dottie's during 3rd Thursday. Beginning at 8pm they will host a special dinner featuring local grown foods by guest chef Matt Lamb. The menu includes a baby arugula salad with Monterey chevre, grilled chicken over pasta with fresh herbs, and a rhubarb and blueberry crumble with Berkshire vanilla bean ice cream. The dinner is $25 and is BYOB. Reservations are required: call 443-1792 to make yours.

The prize-winning culinary team from the Pittsfield Public Schools will be selling their winning dessert, chocolate flapjacks topped with fresh berries and chantilly cream, at Persip Park, and the Berkshire Community College culinary department will be providing free samples of their gastronomic artistry at the Intermodal Center around the corner on Columbus Avenue. The Smokin’ Caboose will be back at Sottile Park with pulled pork, smoked ribs and more. And Pittsfield Brew Works will also feature great specials using local ingredients, including a home grown flat bread with local baby spinach and Swiss chard, Rawson Brook goat cheese and Moon on the Pond Kielbasa and for dessert a crème brule featuring Highlawn Farm cream and Ioka Valley Farm maple syrup.


3rd.Thursdays favorite the Berkshire Bateria will be celebrating summer’s return on the City Artabout stage in front of the Berkshire Museum from 5pm to 8pm, where La Fogata Restaurant will be offering Colombian delicacies for your dining pleasure. The Museum will stay open late until 8pm and admission is free for all Berkshire County residents. The Berkshire Athenaum hosts oldtimey music duo Ron and Bill on banjo and trumpet from 5pm to 8pm.

Berkshire Community College presents a poetry reading at their new downtown home at the Intermodal Center at 5:15pm, followed by the groovy sounds of the Justin Allen group from 6:15pm on. Hot Harry’s Burritos hosts Bad Habit from 6pm to 9pm featuring covers from the 70's, 80's, 90's, and today, while the oldies group Memory Lane plays at Palace Park. Magician Johnny Mystic will mystify attendees at Sottile Park, and a host of youth performers will be featured on the lawn at St. Joseph’s Church. Bluegrass performers Chris and Woody will again be playing out front of the Senior Center from 5 pm to 7pm.


Art abounds at the June 19th 3rd.Thursdays. Be the first to preview Maggie Mailer’s solo show at the celebrated Ferrin Gallery, entitled The Volcano Sitters, featuring pastoral landscapes populated with dreamlike figures. Museum Facsimiles’ gallery space, now called the 429 Gallery, features an opening reception for the gorgeous paintings and drawings of Berkshire artist Jonathon Nix.

Ceramic artists Jim Horsford, who teaches ceramics at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and Nancy Magnussen, who teaches at IS183 Art School, will both be outside at Palace Park with their potter’s wheels giving ceramics demonstrations.

Both Paul Rich & Sons and the Colonial Theatre are showcasing a very special exhibition of authentic Tibetan thangka paintings. And the Storefront Artist Project Mainspace features a group show of representational work by female artists entitled Women on Display. The West Side Clock Shop features art photography by Sunny D’Amore, and the Berkshire Community College gallery in the Intermodal Center feature student work. The Storefront Artist Project Mainspace features a group show of female artists entitled Women on Display at 124 Fenn Street. All above galleries and shops are open late until 8pm.


Explore the Berkshire Museum’s natural science galleries and learn more about our region’s rich diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and flora of the Berkshires featured in the "Berkshire Backyard" gallery.

On the lawn in front of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Park Square, artists will display unique crafts and teens teach boys and girls to make bracelets and necklaces. For a change of pace, enjoy a meditative walk around 3rd floor labyrinth and enter the church to view art as light filters through Tiffany stained glass windows.


Paul Rich and Sons kicks off our annual tent sale on 3rd.Thursday from 4pm-8pm in store and under a huge tent in their back parking lot. Stop in to register to win a $2,500 shopping spree to celebrate their 25th year in business and check out their many eco-friendly lines furniture lines. Twin Hearts Handworks at 137 North Street is hosting a YARN tasting and is now carrying many lines of green yarn, including hemps, bamboos, organics, and natural wools! They will have samples on the needle of our many eco friendly yarns.

The Colonial Theatre at 111 South Street celebrates the release of the beautiful new book, The Colonial Theatre: A Pittsfield Resurrection, by photographer Nicholas Whitman, from 6pm to 8pm with a booksigning and reception, while the Berkshire Museum Shop hosts a trunk sale of one-of-a-kind natural stone, wood and bead jewelry by Jess Kielman and Gayle Andrew of Onota Arts at 31 South Street

Barefoot Books will be at Persip Park selling award-winning children's books, puppets, CDs & more, featuring Oprah's pick, Whole World, printed on forest-friendly paper, which includes a sing-along CD & green living tips. Sales benefit conservation organizations. And U.S. Bluesware at 141 North Street welcomes another new addition to downtown Pittsfield, Follwell’s Florist, featuring loads of flowers and plants for sale.


The excitement continues into the evening. Barrington Stage features two musical productions in downtown Pittsfield on June 19: the return of their Tony Award-winning 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at their Main Stage, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by the team that brought us the stellar Burnt Part Boys two years ago, will be at their new Stage 2. Tickets to the June 19 performance of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick are just $15 each.

The Berkshire Museum screens the hilarious French farce Priceless at the Little Cinema at 8pm, while the Lantern Bar & Grill hosts another cozy evening of live jazz with the Ben Kohn Trio featuring Lantern owner Mark Papas on percussion and Dave Christopolis on bass from 8pm to 11pm. Pittsfield Brew Works also features live jazz from 8pm onward with Fran Curley and company.

A flyer with a map, full schedule of events, and list of open shops, cultural hotspots, and restaurants will be available for free throughout downtown on 3rd.Thursdays and also as a downloadable PDF at To be sure to receive the latest 3rd.Thursdays updates and other cultural events information, sign up for the Cultural Pittsfield email list on the cultural website, or send an email to

Upcoming 3rd.Thursdays downtown celebrations will be held on July 17, August 21, September 18, and October 16, 2008 from 5pm to 8pm (and beyond) in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 3rd Thursdays is sponsored by Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Living Magazine, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the City of Pittsfield Tourism Commission and Office of Cultural Development, Downtown Inc., and over forty downtown businesses, cultural organizations, shops and restaurants. For more information, please visit or call 413-499-9348.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chamber concert Saturday evening @ the Lichtenstein & more!

@ the Lichtenstein: Saturday June 7 Chamber Music Concert

You are invited to the Berkshire County debut of the Avery Ensemble, a Connecticut-based chamber group whose playing has been praised by the Boston Globe as “supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful.”

The free (donations accepted) concert Saturday night features Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu’s astounding Piano Quartet, Maurice Ravel’s deliciously spicy Sonata for violin and cello, Aaron Copland’s entertaining and light-hearted Rodeo, Samuel Barber’s passionate, invigorating and melodic Sonata for Cello and Piano, and Paul Schoenfield’s Carolina Reveille for Piano Quartet.

The concert also marks the official announcement of their 2008-09 three concert series at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. Seating is limited, and reservations are suggested! Not to be missed!

Avery Ensemble chamber concert Saturday, June 7 7:30pm Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Ave Reservations: 499-9348 or FREE/donations accepted

Click here to find out more about the Avery Ensemble.

@ the Lichtenstein: Last week for Art in our Schools show

It's also the last week to enjoy over 200 works of art by middle and high school students in the annual Art in Our Schools exhibit at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. The gallery is free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5pm. Note that the Lichtenstein Center will be closed June 10 for maintenance work, reopening Wednesday, June 25 with the Pittsfield Contemporary: New Work by Artists Under 40 show!

Art in Our Schools Wednesday-Saturday, June 7 12 noon - 5pm Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Ave 499-9348 FREE

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fall River artists inspired by Pittsfield

Another New England city is looking to Pittsfield for ideas on how to jumpstart downtown. Fall River Massachusetts is kicking off a program similar to Pitsfield's groundbreaking Storefront Artist Project to breathe life into empty storefronts. Click here to read the Fall River article. Five years ago downtown Pittsfield had over two dozen empty storefronts. Today, the number is less than ten, and most are on their way to becoming restaurants, bookshops and more...

Friday, March 28, 2008

This week in Pittsfield: Brooklyn bands, Broadway songs, Bollywood dancing...

Rather than post the whole Cultural Pittsfield This Week email newsletter, you can click here to see what's happening this weekend and beyond: Dottie's Coffee Lounge hosts bands from Brooklyn Friday & Saturday night, House of India sponsors the first Bollywood Nights dance part, Storefront Artist Project features a panel discussion on contemporary photography, and masteer production designer Carl Sprague, who has worked with photographer Gregory Crewdson, a slew of theatre and other perfromnig arts companies, and on films such as the Royal Tenenbaums, tells all in an artist talk series at the Berkshire Museum. Click here to read more!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Save the date for the annual College Fellowship Art Show

Below: Baseball, silver print by Laura Specker

The Berkshire Art Association (BAA), a non-profit membership group dedicated to supporting the visual arts and artists in Berkshire County, is once again sponsoring an annual college art student fellowship show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in downtown Pittsfield.

Berkshire Art Association Fellowships have been awarded annually since the early 1970s to encourage young emerging artists in their choice of visual arts as a means of expression. Fellowships are open to any college student studying art who either grew up in Berkshire County or goes to college in Berkshire County.

This year the Association will award $5,000 in prizes to thirteen college art students at the opening reception of the juried BAA Fellowship Show. The reception is free and open to the public and will be held Friday, April 18th, from 5pm to 7pm at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, located at 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield.

The selected artists include students at Williams College, Berkshire Community College, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Artwork displayed in the annual show includes sculpture, monoprints, mixed media, oil and acrylic painting, drypoint etching, drawings, photography, silkscreen, collage and more.

Kate Casey, a senior printmaking major at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, will receive $1,500. She will exhibit five works that combine silkscreen and woodblock imaging with three-dimensional construction. Casey, a native of Great Barrington, has had her work chosen for two previous BAA shows.
Receiving $750 prizes are James Sweeney and Karina Godoy, both seniors at Williams College. A native of Greenfield, Sweeney uses photography of miniature constructions to create startling effects. Godoy explores a blank paper surface with pencil and ink, creating intricate, elegant line drawings that take on a life of their own. Godoy is from Tucson, Arizona.

Sydney Flint from Lenox will receive a $400 award. A sophomore printmaking major at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Sydney combines etching, drypoint and silkscreen with collage to make startling images that reflect her rural roots.
Four other students, all from Williams College, will receive also $400 prizes. Beverly Acha, a junior from Miami, Florida, creates vividly colored prints and mixed media impressions in various print forms. Eugene Korsunskiy, a senior from Brooklyn, New York, moves from concept to image in works that range from the Bible in three point type printed on a 16 foot paper to small drawings to sculpture. Silvia Julia Ortiz Mantilla, a junior from Edison, New Jersey, explores her own image in three, dreamlike solarized photographs. Emma Steinkraus, a sophomore, models strong images of women in two oil paintings and a drawing.

Honorable mentions will be given to five other students. Williamstown native Erin Gerrity, a junior at the Rhode Island School of Design, will show three paintings. Two Berkshire Community College sophomores were chosen. Briana Schnopp of Washington will exhibit two mixed media collages, and Cody Mitchell of Lee will show two landscape paintings. Williams College senior Laura Specker will exhibit two photographic prints, and Amanda Zaitchik, also a Williams College senior, will show two monoprints.

The BAA Fellowship Show will run from April 18 through May 17, 2008. The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts Gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, Noon – 5 pm.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Feb 29-March 5, 2008

Friday: Celebrate with Barrington Stage FREE

Last month Barrington Stage Company received the prestigious national Coming Up Taller Award from First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush for their teen Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP). Everyone’s invited to join in celebrating with State Senator Benjamin Downing, Judge Paul Perachi and Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker (pictured left) at Barrington Stage, where you’ll enjoy performance excerpts from the Playwright Mentoring Program, and a party in the lobby afterwards!

Friday, February 29 7pm Barrington Stage 30 Union Street 499-5446 x100 FREE

Click here to find out more about the President's Coming Up Taller awards

Saturday night: Rock the Opera dance party!

Diva Fever hits Pittsfield Saturday at IS183 Art School’s annual Masquerade Ball, Rock the Opera. This benefit dance party blends a rock’n’roll sensibility with operatic indulgence, and features over-the-top decorations, live music from Melodrome, a DJ spinning dance tracks, an open bar, chocolate delectables from Chocolate Springs Café, and much more. Find out why IS183 ’s dance parties are considered the best in the County. Suggested attire: operatic rock regalia. Air guitar optional! 21 and over.

Saturday, March 1 6pm: dinner, 8pm – onward: party Masonic Temple 116 South Street 298-5252 x100 Dinner & dance: $150; dance only: $50

What to wear? Look here for ideas....

Saturday: Free Air Force Big Band Concert

Join the United States Air Force Liberty Big Band for an unforgettable FREE evening of musical entertainment sponsored by the City of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. Expect an exciting program ranging from the traditions of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, to the contemporary jazz-pop sounds of today. No ticket required.

Saturday, March 1 7pm Reid Middle School 950 North St 499-9348 FREE

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Saturday: Johnny Irion & Sarah Lee Guthrie downtown

Folk music, bluegrass and a little bit of rock n’ roll, mixed with storytelling and humor are on tap at the Common Grounds Coffee House. Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, husband and wife duo, together produce a singularly rich harmony. Guthrie, granddaughter of American folksinger Woody Guthrie and her musician husband sell out concert halls with their unique onstage presence.

Saturday, March 1 7pm United Methodist Church 55 Fenn Street 499-0866 $15
Click here for all things Sarah Lee and Johnny....

Saturday: Berkshire Bateria at Spice

Saturday night warm up and kick up your heels to the Brazilian rhythms of the Berkshire Bateria at Spice Lounge. No cover and lots of fun! And for Cape Verdean reggae dance rhythms, Ras Moon and Monsoon are playing at La Cocina that evening as well!

Berkshire Bateria: Saturday, March 1 8:30pm Spice Lounge 297 North Street 443-1234 FREE
Ras Moon & Monsoon: Saturday, March 1 9pm La Cocina 140 Wahconah Street
499-6363 $5
Click here to see who else is coming to Spice...

Sunday & Monday: Free Film & Writing Workshops

Sunday, join Bob Gray for a free writing workshop: Under Your Nose: Writing the Personal Essay part I, part of the Pittsfield READS! Community Reading Project. Monday evening is the second of three FREE workshops on low budget independent filmmaking with local filmmaker Marc Maurino. This one focuses on nuts and bolts of film production -- running a shoot, recruiting actors and crew, and much more!

Writing workshop: Sunday, March 2 1pm-3:30pm Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Ave. 448-9632 FREE

Filmmaking workshop: Monday, March 3 7-10pm Lichtentein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Ave 499-9348 FREE
There's always more going on each week than we can fit in the newsletter. Check out our online calendar by clicking here.

Sunday: Natalie MacMaster fiddles at the Colonial

Cape Breton's incandescent fiddler tears up the stage with grand, joyful shows filled with everything from ferocious fiddling and high-powered step dancing to fast-paced Celtic raves and heartwarming ballads. Charismatic on stage and with a great sense of humor, MacMaster and her sizzling band captivate audiences with colorful reels and jigs, and dynamically fuse the traditional with bluegrass, world music and pop.

Sunday, March 2 4 pm The Colonial Theatre 111 South Street 997-4444 $22-$45

Click here to read the critics' lavish praise for Natalie's performances...

Sunday: Chocolate Film Feast!

This Sunday, enjoy the film, Like Water for Chocolate, an intoxicating story of love and some exotic cooking in a Mexican village. Joshua Needleman, proprietor of Chocolate Springs Café shares delectable chocolate secrets, then afterwards, dine at Pancho's Mexican Restaurant on a three-course meal, featuring a rich, chocolate mole poblano.

Sunday, March 2 3 pm film: Berkshire Community College Koussevitzky Hall 1350 West Street dinner: Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant 156 North St.
443-7171 $15 film & lecture $25 dinner

Monday: Dinner with Dave Fleming

David Fleming, Executive Director of the Colonial Theatre, discusses ways in which women often serve as the cultural caretakers (and purse-string holders) in the community at the monthly dinner meeting of Berkshire Business & Professional Women. Everyone’s invited! Reservations are required by Friday, February 29th.

Monday, March 3 Aster's Restaurant 1015 South St. 5:30-6pm networking, 6-7:30pm dinner/program 329-6125 $28 dinner & program

Tuesday & Thursday: Two films showing downtown!

The classic film Adam’s Rib, starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, screens Tuesday, introduced by attorney Patrick Gable, and co-sponsored by the Berkshire Law Library and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Thursday, it’s the new film, The Walker, starring Woody Harrelson, on the Colonial’s big new screen. He plays a well-heeled and popular socialite who serves as confidante, companion, and card partner to some of Washington DC's leading ladies, until things go very wrong. Rated R.

Adam's Rib: Tuesday, March 4 6 pm Berkshire Athenaeum 1 Wendell Avenue FREE
The Walker: Thursday, March 6 6:30PM & 8:45PM The Colonial Theatre 111 South Street 448-8084
Click here to read a review of Paul Schrader's The Walker.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

South Carolina town looks to ours

Sez the headline:
Spartanburg hangs hopes on arts initiative
Planning group using model of Massachusetts town

That would be Pittsfield they are inspired by! To read the whole story, click here.

Pittsfield on the cover of Aperture magazine

Gregory Crewdson's resonant photos of downtown Pittsfield are featured on the cover and insides of the latest issue of Aperture magazine. Click here to read web-exclusive interviews with Gregory and many of his Berkshire cast and crew, including Juliane Hiam and Carl Sprague.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cultural Pittsfield This Week Feb 22-28, 2008

Friday-Saturday: BCC Players present Urinetown!

The BCC Players present the Berkshire County debut of the hit Broadway musical, Urinetown, by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis. Nominated for ten Tony Awards, and the winner of three, Urinetown combines greed, corruption, love, and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold into one of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years. Time magazine even called it, “better than The Producers!”

Friday & Saturday,
Feb. 22-23 7:30pm Robert Boland Theatre at Berkshire Community College 1350 West Street 499-0886 $10 general admission/$5 students & seniors
Click here to visit the website for Urinetown, complete with critic accolades!

Saturday: Winter carnival day!

The Pittsfield Winter Carnival Family Day is this Saturday at the Controy Pavilion at Burbank Park on beautiful Onota Lake. Meet the Winter Carnival Queen contestants, have your face painted, and enjoy snowshoe races, sled races, ice skating races, horseshoes, golf on ice, an ice fishing derby, snow sculptures, and hay wagon rides.

Saturday, February 23 11am-3pm Burbank Park 499-9370 FREE

Sunday: Free Writing Workshop

Join Vivian Dorsel, editor/publisher of the literary magazine upstreet, for the first of three free writing workshops, part of the Pittsfield READS! Community Reading Project. The first is entitled The Fictional Environment, and if you are a public school teacher and attend all three of the writing workshops at the Lichtenstein, you will receive a certificate for professional development!

Sunday, February 24 1:30pm-5pm Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Ave. 448-9632 Free

Beginning Monday: Clay Sculpture Class

Michel Paul Richard offers a clay sculpture class where students choose to sculpt a face in relief, a 3-dimensional head, a hand or another part of the anatomy. Students will learn about the qualities of working with a terracotta clay body as they learn sculpture techniques. The class is open to both beginning and intermediate students, and is a relaxed and an informative opportunity to learn about sculpture and working with clay.

Mondays, February 25, March 3, 10, 17 1 - 2:30PM Knesset Israel 16 Colt Road 413-442-4360 ex. 15 $25

Tuesday: Talks about art & immigration

Tuesday lunchtime enjoy one of two free talks. At Knesset Israel, Brooke Mead of the Berkshire Immigrant Center talks about the immigrants who are choosing to call Berkshire County their home and how they contribute to the local culture, to the business atmosphere and to the overall economy of Berkshire County. Meanwhile at BCC, Cultural Development Director Megan Whilden and author Phyllis Kerle will talk about the role of the arts in Pittsfield’s revitalization.

Berkshire Immigration: Tuesday, February 26 1pm Congregation Knesset Israel 16 Colt Road 442-4360 ex. 15 Free

Pittsfield Arts: Tuesday, February 26 12:15pm Berkshire Community College 1350 West Street FREE

Click here to visit the website of the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

Wednesday: Monterey Jazz Festival @ The Colonial

The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continually-running jazz festival in the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a national tour. Maintaining Monterey's tradition of bringing together veteran and younger artists, the show stars the incredible Grammy Award-winning Terence Blanchard (trumpet), jazz legend James Moody (saxophone), Benny Green (piano), Nnenna Freelon (special guest vocalist), Derrick Hodge (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums).

Wednesday, Feb 27th 8 pm The Colonial Theatre 111 South Street 997-4444 $24-$45

Click here to find out more about the star-studded 50th anniversary tour!

Next Friday: 5th Annual Berkshire Immigrants Day!

The fifth annual Berkshire Immigrants Day celebrates the cultural and social contributions of the immigrants while offering attendees the chance to learn more about immigration, taxation, banking and finances, job opportunities, and social services. The evening will include pro-bono consultations with an immigration attorney and tax specialist, a large variety of food from local ethnic restaurants, and an array of dancing and musical entertainment. The program will be presented in both English and Spanish.

Friday, February 29th 4-8 p.m. First Baptist Church 88 South Street 445-4881 FREE

Thursday-next Sat: Student Musical Variety Show

The Citizens Scholarship Foundation presents its annual multi-high school student musical variety show at Taconic High School to support scholarships provided to college-bound graduating seniors from Pittsfield High School, Taconic High School, and St. Joseph’s High School. This year’s program, entitled, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” written and directed by Beverly Krol, will feature performers from all four different high schools in Pittsfield!

Thursday, February 28th -Saturday, March 1st 7:30pm Taconic High School Auditorium 96 Valentine Rd. Advance tickets at Flynn’s Pharmacy, Wood Brothers, Taconic High School or at the door $10/adults and $8/students and seniors.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Open Call for Artwork for Forty Shades of Green Show (& more studios)

We want YOUR artwork celebrating Ireland's culture & land...

both traditional and out-of-the-box! Pittsfield's legendary biennial open call art show, Forty Shades of Green (named after the song Johnny Cash wrote about Ireland), promises to be as eclectic and inspiring as it was the first time two years ago! We say, it IS easy being green, and hope you'll think so too. Bring original work, ready to hang to the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts Sunday, March 9 between 12 noon to 3pm. And mark your calendars for the reception, featuring traditional live Irish music and dance, on Sunday, March 16, from 12 noon to 2pm!

(Pictured below for your inspiration: Collecting Meteorites at Knowth by Irish artist Sean Hillen)

Click here for more info on the call for artists for Forty Shades of Green

And below is A Soap Bubble, by McDermott & McGough, currently on display at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Click here to visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art for more inspiration!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Eco-friendly snowboard clothing designed in Pittsfield

They're young, they're happening, they just started a company, Miro, that makes organic and eco-friendly duds for skiiers and snowboarders here in Pittsfield. It's DIY creative economy style. More to come! Check out the Berkshire Eagle story on the company's kick-off by clicking here.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

In the Realm of Rumi at the Lichtenstein

Just came across a video on YouTube of a song from the beautiful performance by Euphony Groove at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in downtown Pittsfield. The band plays traditional and contemporary middle eastern music, and the concert was in conjunction with our recent show entitled In the Realm of Rumi, featuring seven contemporary American women artists inspired by Sufism.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cultural Pittsfield This Week: February 1-7, 2008

Friday night: Brooklyn returns to the Berkshires!

Brooklyn music returns to downtown Pittsfield Come this Friday with Scrambler Seequill, an electro pop rock band duo that layers sounds with intricate compositions. They will be performing an acoustic set that will strip the music down to its core of catchy melodies and heartfelt words. BYOB, $5 corkage fee.

Friday, February 1st 9pm Dottie's Coffee Lounge 444 North Street 443-1792 no cover

Check out Scrambler Seequill by clicking here.

Saturday night: Mark Erelli at Common Grounds

This Saturday the wonderful Common Grounds concert series at the First United Methodist Church features Mark Erelli. Says the Washington Post: “Erelli addresses tough issues with the grit of John Hiatt and the melancholy beauty of Ron Sexsmith." And the Boston Globe called his most recent album, “an intimate masterpiece, at once Erelli's prettiest, most personal, and most political recording.” The doors open at 7 p.m. for folks who want to enjoy friendly conversations and desserts. An array of gourmet coffees and teas are for sale as well.

Saturday, February 2 8pm First United Methodist Church 55 Fenn St. 499-0866 $15, with special rates for children

All Mark Erelli, all the time by clicking here.

Saturday night: Mardi Gras at the Colonial!

The Colonial brings you a Mardi Gras party you won't want to miss, featuring banjo virtuoso and New Orleans native Don Vappie leading the eight piece swinging Creole Jazz Serenaders! They’ll celebrate the true spirit of early jazz with music from Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and many others. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and others will be honored at the event for their volunteer work in New Orleans. And the Crowne Plaza will feature a special Mardi Gras style dinner beforehand!

Saturday, February 2nd 7pm The Colonial Theatre 11 South Street 997-4444 $24-$45

Saturday night: Groundhog Day Dance Party @ SPICE

After their fabulously successful New Year’s Eve dance party in their upstairs ballroom, Spice is bringing downtown another dance party with the inimitable O-TONES, playing hot swing, R&B, and Motown with nightclub seating and free nibbles included. Don’t miss the Groundhog’s Day decorations!

Saturday, February 2nd 8:30pm SPICE 297 North St. 413.443.1234

$15 cover – includes snacks from our Lounge Menu!

Click here to check out the O-Tones.

Sunday afternoon: Film Feasts features Big Night

The Berkshire Museum’s first “Film Feasts,” featuring a food-related film, discussion with food experts, and dinner at a Pittsfield restaurant, will be a screening of Big Night, with guest speaker Francine Segan, author of Movie Menus. Since the film takes place in an Italian restaurant, dinner will be at Trattoria Rustica in Pittsfield afterwards and is a la carte.

Sunday, February 3rd 3pm Berkshire Community College Koussevitzy Theatre 1350 West St. 443-7171, ext. 10 $15 ($10 members) for movie & speaker only

Mondays: Jazz Ensemble class begins

Learn the jazzy side of music from master player and clinician Bill Chapman. Each session includes theory, ear training, solo improve, and ensemble playing. Bill Chapman is a jazz drummer who has performed with The Empire Brass, The Bob Newhart Comedy Tour, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, The Las Vegas Rat Pack Impersonators, and the Hartford Jazz Festival. Jazz Ensemble starts Monday, February 4: beginning students from 4:00-5:00pm; middle to advanced students from 5:00-6:15pm.

Beginning Monday, February 4th 4 pm & 5pm Berkshire Music School 30 Wendell Avenue 442-1411 Tuition for beginners is $150; middle to advanced $200

Wednesdays: Toddler Art Classes

Every Wednesday this month Bisque, Beads & Beyond offers an art and storytelling hour for toddlers and caregivers. This Wednesday it’s The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting your child can put his or her handprint on a heart plate. Next Wednesday, read a story and then create a ceramic and mosaic valentine.

Wednesdays, Feb. 6th, 13th, 27th 1-2pm Bisque, Beads & Beyond 370 Pecks Road for costs, please call 442-9300

Thursday afternoon: Pittsfield READS presents The Natural World

Join Tom Tyning, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and author of the Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles, for an informative (and always entertaining) talk on the natural world of Berkshire County. The talk is part of the Pittfield READS community bookreading project that focuses on Bill Bryson’s hilarious A Walk in the Woods, which Robert Redford is planning to make into a movie soon!

Thursday, February 7 3:30 pm Berkshire Community College 1350 West St.

Meredith Cochran, 413-448-9632 FREE

Click here for more information on Pittsfield READS!

Thursday night: Edna St. Vincent Millay�s Love Poetry

Peter Bergman, Executive Director of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop gives a talk and reading of Millay's poetry, showcasing the wide variety of love poetry the Pulitzer Prize winner created during her lifetime. Some emotionally secure, some humorous, some frighteningly intense poems will be heard along with Millay's own voice reading her work.

Thursday, Feb.7 7p.m. Berkshire Athenaeum One Wendell Avenue 499-9480 FREE

Click here to check out the Cultural Pittsfield online calendar and see what other events are coming up!

Thursday night: Celebrate Pittsfield's Culture!

Each year the volunteers who make up the Pittsfield Cultural Council help distribute grassroots grants to art and cultural groups and artists in Pittsfield. Come meet all who received a 2008 Pittsfield Cultural Council Grant at a public reception at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts while enjoying light refreshments and merriment. The Pittsfield Cultural Council is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. RSVPs requested to

Thursday, Feb.7 5:30-7p.m. Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 28 Renne Avenue 499-9348 FREE

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