BITS & BYTES: Dinitia Smith, Ruth Reichl in conversation; Spring Hopping from the Berkshire Botanical Garden; Shakespeare & Co. Friday Talks, Wednesday Walks; BAA scholarship show; Help funded Helpers

Spencertown Academy features Dinitia Smith in conversation with Ruth Reichl

SPENCERTOWN, NY – Spencertown Academy Arts Center, in conjunction with The Chatham Bookstore, features Dinitia Smith at an event celebrating her new book, “The Prince: a Novel” (Arcade Publishing, 2022) on Saturday April 30 at 2 p.m. She will be joined in the conversation by author Ruth Reichl. Advance reservations are required. Tickets ($10) are available online.

“Money. Power. Sex. Family. Dinitia Smith’s retelling of Henry James’ ‘The Golden Bowl’ is a modern classic with twists even James couldn’t imagine,” said Jill Kalotay, member of the Academy Board of Trustees “And we’re thrilled to have our esteemed neighbor from Spencertown, Ruth Reichl, participating in what is sure to be a fascinating conversation.”

Smith uses the modern equivalent of the glittering setting of Golden Age high society to tell the story of a father and daughter and the prince who separates them. Partly set on Woodford Island, based on Gardiners Island off East Hampton, New York, “The Prince” reconstructs the claustrophobic tension of the original while exploring the four central relationships with a fresh, contemporary look.

Smith is the author of four previous novels and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines. For 11 years she was a reporter for the New York Times, where she wrote about literary topics and intellectual trends. She has won awards for her writing, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She is also an Emmy award-winning filmmaker. His film, “Passing Quietly Through”, was selected for the New York Film Festival and presented at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

Reichl served as food critic and food editor for the Los Angeles Times, food critic for the New York Times, and last editor of Gourmet Magazine. She has written a novel, two cookbooks and five memoirs. Her most recent book, “Save Me the Plums,” is about her time at Gourmet. She was a judge on Top Chef Masters and host of “Adventures with Ruth” on PBS. She is the recipient of six James Beard Awards. At the moment, she is working on another novel and a documentary on American cuisine.

Both authors’ books will be on sale and the authors will be available for signing after the conversation. Ticket holders will receive 10% off books purchased at the event.

—AK

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The Berkshire Botanical Garden will host its first spring break on April 16

STOCKBRIDGE – The Berkshire Botanical Garden will begin its 88th season with its inaugural Spring Hopping on Saturday April 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A highlight of the Hoppening will be the Egg Hunt which will take place at Procter Garden and Lucy’s Garden. With the help of the Garden’s herbalists and other volunteers, more than 2,000 “eggs” will be made and distributed to the gardens, each containing seeds native to the region ready to be sown in the spring.

Spring Hopping will also include craft activities for kids, handy chicks, a photo booth, horse-drawn mini-cart rides, and photo opportunities with a rather large and friendly bunny. The Garden Gift Shop will be open with plants and garden items for sale. Drinks, including a mimosa bar and snacks, will be available.

At 11 a.m. the first of two egg hunts begins for children up to 4 years old, followed at 11:30 a.m. by an egg hunt for children 5 to 12 years old. At noon, Wenonah Webster will lead an early spring tree identification tour as leaves begin to sprout throughout the 24-acre property. Admission is $8 per person; free for children under 4 years old. The event will take place rain or shine.

—AK

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Shakespeare & Company launches Free Friday Talks; Return from Wednesday walks

Free Shakespeare & Company Friday Lectures
Ann Berman, free host of Friday Talks. Photo courtesy of Shakespeare & Company

LENOX – Shakespeare & Company has announced a new series of free lectures to be launched on Friday, April 22. Hosted by educator and Shakespeare & Volunteer Company member Ann Berman, Free Friday Talks will examine various themes surrounding many of the company’s events in 2022. season works and will feature various directors, cast members, crew members design or otherwise with each presentation.

The talks begin Friday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m., in the Tina Packer Playhouse tent, with a discussion on “The Approach” by guest speakers Mark Farrell and Tina Packer, co-directors. The series will continue one Friday per month until August 26.

This lecture series is free, but tickets are required. Donations will be accepted at the end of each event. In the event of inclement weather, an indoor location will be chosen and ticket holders will be notified by email.

Free Additional Friday Talks

  • May 20 – An Iliad: Ann Berman welcomes director Jeffrey Mousseau
  • June 17 – Much Ado About Nothing: Ann Berman welcomes director Kelly Galvin; assistant director Sarah Shin; Patrick Brennan and Kiki Smith, members of the design team
  • July 22 – Measure for Measure: Ann Berman welcomes director Alice Reagan and other guests
  • August 26 – Golden Leaf Rag Time Blues: discussion to be determined, with the director and other guests

Free Friday Talks join Wednesday Walks – returning after a pandemic hiatus – as another weekday activity option at Shakespeare & Company. From July 6 through August 31 at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday walks offer a behind-the-scenes look at everything the company does.

General Manager Steve Ball and his hidden dog Willie lead a two-hour walk through the company’s stages; rehearsal studios; areas for building and storing costumes, props and sets; and its arsenal of weapons. Participants will meet some of the artisans during the tour of the facilities. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, including a $2 setup fee. The Wednesday Marches will take place on July 6, 13, 20, 27 and August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, at 10:30 a.m.

—AK

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BAA Announces Scholarship Show and Winners

Hannah Stillman, “Embrace”, linocut. Image courtesy of Berkshire Art Association

PITTSFIELD – The 2022 Berkshire Art Association (BAA) Fellowship Show is on at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield through April 30. Berkshire County college art students, as well as Berkshire County art majors across the country, have been invited to participate in this quiz. This year, out of 24 students, 14 were chosen by a jury of three jurors.

Fellowship Show 2022 artists:

  • Sylvia Broom, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • *Sergio Demo, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • *Dara Etienne, Williams College
  • *Tiffany Ferreira, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • *Calen Geiser-Cseh, Williams College
  • Falcon Laina, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
  • Nhi Lam, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • **Owen McCarter, Rhode Island School of Design
  • William McCormick, Williams College
  • *Joseph Messer, Williams College
  • *Vina Nweke, Williams College
  • *Philip Pyle, Williams College
  • *Javier Robelo, Williams College
  • *Hannah Stillman, Williams College

*Scholarship award winner
**Winner of the Norman and Rose Avnet Fellowship Award for residents of Berkshire County

—AK

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COVID-19 Fund partners award $11,500 to Help the Helpers

A Becket Athenaeum staff member reads to the children. The Athenaeum was one of 23 organizations to receive funding. Photo courtesy Becket Athenaeum

BERKSHIRE COUNTY – The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Berkshire County’s community, especially its nonprofit professionals, who provide direct services to the most vulnerable.

In appreciation and recognition of service provided during difficult times in early learning classrooms, after-school programs, community health care facilities and other locations, Berkshire United Way (BUW), Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation , Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW), and Williamstown Community Chest have agreed to help Helpers with grants from the Berkshire County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Find out how grants are used.

Local nonprofits were invited to apply for 16 grants of $500 each to be used for staff wellness activities. After seeing 23 applications come in, partners rallied to fund the gap and award grants for the 23 proposals, ranging from projects focused on team building and staff recognition to wellness and more. activities.

“These Help the Helpers grants will ensure that more than 380 frontline professionals in Berkshire County nonprofits will be seen, appreciated and celebrated,” said BUW President and CEO Tom Bernard.

Earlier this year, BUW and NBUW awarded eight child care programs $500 each to show appreciation for their staff, with funding from United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley through the Childcare Relief Fund. Learn more about this additional funding.

—AK