Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Evening of Vietnamese Culture in Downtown Pittsfield

Hanoi Vegetable Vendor by Joseph Wheaton from Vietnam Contemporary.

As part of Pittsfield's monthlong Big Read initiative focussing on the Vietnam War, 35 years after the Fall of Saigon, Cultural Pittsfield and the Berkshire Museum present An Evening of Vietnamese Culture this Saturday, April 24, from 6pm to 8pm in the Museum's majestic Crane Room. The evening features a delicious dinner buffet of traditional southeast Asian food prepared by Flavours Restaurant, and Vietnamese lion dancers, musicians and storytellers, as well as afterhours access to the Museum galleries, including the acclaimed exhibition, Armed & Dangerous: The Art of the Armament, and Vietnam Contemporary, a show of photographs by Berkshire artist Joseph Wheaton in the Museum's BerkshireBASE gallery.

Space is limited and advance ticket purchase is recommended. To buy your tickets, call the Berkshire Museum at 413-443-7171 or visit them between 10am-5pm daily. Tickets to An Evening of Vietnamese Culture are $25/$20 Berkshire Museum members, and $15 for veterans, Berkshire Young Professionals members, and youth under 18 years old.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Big Read Documentary Screenings: The Vietnam War 35 Years Later

Pittsfield's April 2010 Big Read is a citywide bookreading project focusing on the acclaimed Vietnam War novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, a veteran of the war. The Big Read programming includes book discussions, four theatre productions, three art exhibits, and five free documentary screenings, reflecting the many reverberations the war produced at home and abroad.

Two documentaries screening in the next few days vividly tell the stories of Vietnamese who left with the Americans after the Fall of Saigon in April 1975, 35 years ago this month. On Saturday, April 10, at noon the Berkshire International Film Festival and Beacon Cinema are cosponsoring a screening of the award-winning feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which recounts the story of the emergency airlifting of over 2,000 Vietnamese and Amerasian orphans at the end of the war. The film was created by many of these now grown children, and raises questions still relevant in light of the recent controversy over Haitian 'rescues' and adoptions post-earthquake.

Tuesday, April 13, at 7pm, the Berkshire Athenaeum hosts a free screening of Oh Saigon, another award-winning feature about a Vietnamese family split apart at the end of the Vietnam War when some flee with the Americans, while other family members stayed in Vietnam, and the bitter legacy that was created.

Whether you're a documentary film lover, a history buff, or participating in The Big Read, these films shed light on the legacy of the Vietnam War 35 years later.