Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pittsfield Reads: Fahrenheit 451

It’s an action-packed April for Pittsfield Reads, as the City of Pittsfield comes together to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, who has worked as a civil servant burning books for ten years. When he meets Clarisse, a young woman with powerful, strange ideas, he becomes increasingly unsure about the nature of his work. What ensues is a dangerous and highly combustible situation in which Montag must choose between continuing his “nonexistent” existence and risking everything for the right to think.

Pittsfield citizens are invited to read the book, and then participate in a long list of events and performances scheduled throughout the month of April.

Berkshire Community College presents the exhibit Art of the Book: Visual Arts Class Projects at the Intermodal Gallery on the corner of North St. and Columbus Ave. in Pittsfield. The show features student work from classes taught by Professors Benigna Chilla and Lisa Griffith. Old books have been recycled and transformed into unique sculptures by spreading the volumes open, folding each page several times, and adding paint and other collage materials. The show  opens on Friday, April 1st and runs through Friday, April 29th.  The gallery is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

Thursday, April 7: Opening Reception | 4:30pm – 6:30pm | Berkshire Community College Intermodal Gallery | Corner of North St and Columbus Avenue | 236-2113 | Free

On Saturday, April 2, there will be a free book art workshop led by Karen Arp-Sandel at the Berkshire Athenaeum, from 1pm – 4pm. She will lead participants in visual storytelling through the making of simple book forms and Collage techniques for expressing a story or idea with images. Participants will learn to make an “Accordion Fold Book” and/or a simple small “Pamphlet Stitch” book (basic binding). On Saturday, April 9, Karen returns to the Athenaeum to show off the fascinating world of altered books. Both events are free and open to the public, ages 12 and up. Pre-registration is required, please call 499-9480 x202.

Saturday, April 2 | 1pm | Berkshire Athenaeum | 1 Wendell Avenue | 499-9480 | Free
Saturday, April 9 | 1pm | Berkshire Athenaeum | 1 Wendell Avenue | 499-9480 | Free

NEW Stage Performing Arts, located just above the Beacon Cinema, will be offering a multimedia dramatic production of Fahrenheit 451 on the first 3 weekends of April. Come out and watch the performance, written by Ray Bradbury himself!

Friday, April 1 – Sunday, April 17 | Fridays + Saturdays 7:30pm, Sundays 3pm | NEW Stage Performing Arts Center | 55 North Street | 418-0999 | $20, Students + Seniors $18

At the Beacon Cinema on Sunday, enjoy Francois Truffaut’s English-language debut, Fahrenheit 451. While some liberties are taken with the description of the world, the narrative remains the same, as fireman Montag (Oskar Werner) begins to question the morality of his vocation.

Sunday, April 3 | 12pm | Beacon Cinema | 57 North Street | 358-4780 | Free

On Tuesday, April 5, at 6 pm, at the Athenaeum, will be screening Moby Dick, starring Gregory Peck, with the screenplay written by Ray Bradbury. The film will be introduced by former SUNYA professor Arthur Collins, who will read excerpts from Green Shadows, White Whale, Bradbury’s account of his trip to Ireland where he wrote the movie script. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum and Berkshire Historical Society

Tuesday, April 5 | 6pm – 9pm | Berkshire Athenaeum | 1 Wendell Avenue | 499-9480 | Free

On Monday, April 4 and Thursday, April 7 at 1pm – a multi-part book discussion group has been planned at the Congregation Knesset Israel. At the April 7 meeting Rabbi Josh Breindel from Temple Anshe Amunim, a Bradbury aficionado, will speak about Fahrenheit 451, placing the book within its greater context of dystopian literature and reflecting on the connection between religion and preservation of text. The event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.

Monday, April 4 | 1pm | Congregation Knesset Israel | 16 Colt Road | 445-4872 | Free

There will also be several writing workshops being held at Chapters Book Store in conjunction with Pittsfield Reads:

On Saturday, April 16, Aaron M Beatty teaches a poetry writing workshop called Writing With Fire. The workshop will teach you to write about what truly matters to you in your life and find a way back to the passion that brought you to writing in the first place. We often do not spend enough time doing or saying what really matters to us. This workshop will help you to let go of distraction and focus your inner passions so that you can communicate them through poetry.

Saturday, April 16 | 1pm – 4pm | Chapters Book Store | 78 North Street | 443-2665 | Free

On Thursday, April 21, Vivial Dorsel leads a fiction-craft workshop that will examine the ways in which image patterns are created in fiction. Participants will study examples from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, and Douglas Glover’s Elle; then they will try their hand at building an image pattern of their own.

Thursday, April 21 | 6pm – 9pm | Chapters Book Store | 78 North Street | 443-2665 | Free

Educator and author Tim Callahan will lead two science fiction workshops on April 28 and on April 30. The first will explore the conventions of the genre, new and old. Participants will work on crafting original sci-fi concepts and writing short pieces in a variety of styles. The next will have participants looking at sci-fi visuals and concepts from classic short stories to influential films to contemporary comic books. Participants will develop their own sci-fi adventures in prose, screenplay format, or graphic narrative. Recommended for ages 13-18.

Thursday, April 28 | 6pm – 9pm | Chapters Book Store | 78 North Street | 443-2665 | Free
Saturday, April 30 | 12pm – 2pm | Chapters Book Store | 78 North Street | 443-2665 | Free

Last week - Cultural Pittsfield was invited to a poster reception as local celebrities received their Pittsfield Reads Posters. Check out this video as some Pittsfield locals shared their thoughts on their favorite books and the importance of reading.

There’s much more going on all month long in Pittsfield. Check out www.pittsfieldreads.org for more information!