Saturday, June 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: BIFF presents ‘Common Ground’; Institute for American Indian Studies culture experience; Q-MoB housing solutions forum; WordXWord at Dottie’s; Joshua Jelly-Schapiro at the Crandell Theatre; Leslie Alfin and Karen Dolmanisth at The Foundations Gallery; Music in art at The Clark; Swiftie Saturdays at the Springfield Museums

By fusing journalistic exposé with deeply personal stories from those on the front lines of the sustainable food movement, “Common Ground” unveils a dark web of money, power, and politics behind our broken food system.

BIFF’s Environmental Film Focus Series presents the award-winning film ‘Common Ground’

Lenox— On Friday, March 22nd at 7 p.m., BIFF’s Environmental Film Focus Series presents the award-winning film “Common Ground.”

‘Common Ground’ movie poster.

‘Common Ground” is the highly anticipated sequel to the juggernaut success documentary “Kiss the Ground,” which touched over one billion people globally and inspired the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put $20 billion toward soil health.

By fusing journalistic exposé with deeply personal stories from those on the front lines of the sustainable food movement, “Common Ground” unveils a dark web of money, power, and politics behind our broken food system. The film reveals how racist practices forged our current farm system in which farmers of all colors are literally dying to feed us.

The film profiles a hopeful and uplifting movement of white, black, and indigenous farmers who are using alternative “regenerative” models of agriculture that could balance the climate, save our health, and stabilize America’s economy before it’s too late.

The screening is on Friday, March 22nd at 7 p.m. at Lenox Town Hall on Walker Street in Lenox. Tickets are $15 and free for students and teachers. After the screening, BIFF programmer Lillian Lennox will host a conversation with Lauren Piotrowski of Roots Rising and Sarah Monteior of Greenagers at April Hill Farm. More information can be found online. 

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Institute for American Indian Studies presents a Native American Culture Keeper experience

Washington, Conn.— On Saturday, March 23rd from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Institute for American Indian Studies presents a Native American culture keeper experience, a special virtual program that explores the life and legacy of Dr. Gladys Iola Tantaquidgeon (Mohegan) with her great-niece, Rachel Sayet (Mohegan.)

Tantaquidgeon, born in 1899 was a Mohegan Medicine Woman, whose family members began passing down herbal knowledge to her at a young age. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1919, she studied anthropology and focused on researching the use of herbal medicine among Native American communities living on the East Coast of the United States. For her work, she was awarded many honors and honorary degrees from prestigious universities and organizations including Yale, the University of Connecticut, and the National Organization for Women. She also was honored for her accomplishments by many Native American tribes.

Among her many contributions, socially, environmentally, and politically, was helping with the founding of the first Native American Museum in 1931. The Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum located in Uncasville, Conn. is the oldest Native American-owned and operated museum in the country. The mission of this museum is to acquaint visitors with Mohegan culture, traditions, and beliefs.

Rachel Sayet (Mohegan.) Image courtesy of Institute for American Indian Studies.

Dr. Gladys Iola Tantaquidgeon is widely considered to be an important Keeper of Native American Culture. This virtual presentation and discussion featuring Rachel Sayet, who has a master’s degree in anthropology and museum studies from Harvard University will focus on the life and legacy of her great aunt, Gladys Tantaquidgeon, who passed away at 106. The conversation will highlight her work as an anthropologist, ethnobotanist, and herbalist and will touch on how her knowledge influenced her family and the Native American community.

The presentation is on Saturday, March 23rd from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Zoom. The cost is $10 and free for museum members. Registration and more information can be found online. 

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Q-MoB hosts members of the LGBTQ+ community, Mayor Peter Marchetti, and Stockbridge Selectman Patrick White to discuss LGBTQ+ housing in a series of Berkshire Queer Creative Housing Solutions Forums

Pittsfield— On Sunday, March 24th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Q-MoB (Queer Men of the Berkshires) is offering a Creative Housing Solutions Forums for the Berkshire LGBTQ+ community. 

Pittsfield Mayor Peter Marchetti and Stockbridge Select Board member and State Representative candidate Patrick White will join senior planners from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and other long-time housing advocates and LGBTQ+ community members to foster dialogue, collaboration, and practical project development to meet the housing needs of LGBTQ+ community members.

Berkshire Queer Creative Housing Solutions Forums.

In the first Housing Forum on 2/25, a Senior Planner from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission gave us an overview of some startling statistics about the housing crisis in the Berkshires:

  1. Rents have been rising rapidly, especially during and after COVID,and are at historic highs in the Berkshires.
  2. Rental unit inventory has fallen dramatically since COVID and is at historic lows, meaning there is a lot of competition for very few rental units.
  3. Inventory for single family homes for sale has dropped dramatically since and beyond COVID and and prices have skyrocketed.
  4. Inventory for condos for sale has also dropped since COVID and remains at historic lows, and compared to other markets in Massachusetts the Berkshires have almost no condos to serve as starter homes or for seniors to move to when they can no longer afford to care for large houses. The prices of the few condos there are at historic highs.
  5. Since COVID the demographics of the Berkshires is changing rapidly, in that the population of people over 60 is growing fast, while the numbers of younger generations are dropping rapidly. 18-29 year olds are leaving, 30-39 year olds are leaving, 40-49 year olds are leaving.  Because of lack of high-paying jobs, skyrocketing housing prices, and lack of housing inventory, the younger generations of queer people are being forced to flee the region, as are seniors on fixed incomes.

The monthly forums serve as a platform for LGBTQ+ individuals to share their housing challenges, needs, and visions. At the forums, participants are invited to join a working group, which will collaborate between forums to develop practical projects aligned with their identified objectives, such as creating new housing resources, advocating for queer-friendly housing or policies, and planning and building queer-friendly housing options, or facilitating older queer people who need help staying in their homes to connect with younger queer people who need affordable housing in exchange for helping with cooking, cleaning, running errands, landscaping, etc.

The forum is on Sunday, March 24th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hot Plate Brewing Co. on School Street in Pittsfield. Registration and more information can be found online.

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Dottie’s Coffee Lounge presents WordXWord’s Stories: Root

Pittsfield— On Sunday, March 24th at 7 p.m., Dottie’s Coffee Lounge presents WordXWord’s Stories.

The theme is “root.” The stories are yours. Similar to a story slam in spirit, WordXWord’s Stories is a spirited sharing of true, first person stories told, not read, circling loosely around a theme.

WordXWord’s Stories: Root.

The event is on Sunday, March 24th at 7 p.m. at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge on North Street in Pittsfield. Doors open and food will be available for purchase starting at 6 p.m. Admission is free. More information can be found online. Interested in sharing a story? Register at wordxwordfestival.com to tell yours.

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Crandell LIVE! presents a benefit screening of ‘Bob Marley: One Love’ with local writer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Chatham, N.Y.— On Saturday, March 23rd at 7 p.m., Crandell LIVE! presents a benefit screening of “Bob Marley: One Love” with local writer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

‘Bob Marley: One Love.’

Join the Crandell Theatre to support its restoration and renovation while reveling in the music and story of reggae icon Bob Marley. Local writer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro will open the evening with intimate stories from his experience tracing Marley’s roots and legacies in Jamaica while writing his book “Island People: The Caribbean and The World.” He will also be signing books after the screening.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose other books include” Names of New York and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas” (with Rebecca Solnit). His work appears regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among many other publications. He is the Director of Publishing at Pioneer Works and teaches at NYU.

Local writer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

The benefit is on Saturday, March 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Crandell Theatre on Main Street in Chatham. Tickets are $15 or $25 including a signed copy of the book. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Foundations Gallery presents ‘META: Leslie Alfin and Karen Dolmanisth’

Hudson, N.Y.— From March 21st through April 14th, The Foundations Gallery presents “META: Leslie Alfin and Karen Dolmanisth.”

Socrates believed that if enough questions were asked, truth would be discovered. META is a collaboration by two artists who have made careers of truth seeking via seemingly incongruent method, process, and practice. 

‘META: Leslie Alfin and Karen Dolmanisth.’

Leslie Alfin explores the internet following data paths tracing the devolution of original contexts to the deepest meta-levels where meaning is obscured and truth becomes ambiguous. The data collected is ultimately re-materialized as metaphorically constructed environments that neither confirm nor deny the validity of her findings. 

Karen Dolmanisth explores meaning and truth through a metaphysical approach that, through the thoughtful curation of objects, placement, movement and relativity, weaves together abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, identity, time, and space. 

Together the artists have created an expansive installation that is paradoxically meta and non- meta creating shifting meaning and truth derived from the whole, the individual components, and their autonomous practices. 

The exhibit runs from March 21st through April 14th at the The Foundations Gallery in the Arts Center Building at SUNY Columbia-Greene Community College on Route 23 in Hudson, N.Y. There is an opening reception on Thursday March 21st from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Clark Art Institute presents free thematic tour on music in art

Williamstown— On Sunday, March 24th at 11:15 a.m., the Clark Art Institute presents a free :In Focus” tour exploring the connections between music, musicians, and art.

Designed by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Model D Pianoforte and Stools (detail), 1884–87, oak, cherry, ebony, boxwood, satinwood, cedar, holly, ivory, coral, mother-of-pearl, abalone, copper, brass, silver, parchment, and modern upholstery. The Clark, 1997.8.

A Clark educator leads a thematic tour of the permanent collection, examining portraits of famous composers, paintings of musicians, and a truly grand piano. Learn about the artists who created these works and how tThe Clark came to acquire them.

The free tour is on Sunday, March 24th at 11:15 a.m. at the Clark Art Institute on South Street in Williamstown. Visitors may pick up a ticket at the Clark Center Admissions desk, available on a first-come, first-served basis. More information can be found online. 

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Swiftie Saturdays at the Springfield Museums, a new planetarium show celebrating ‘1989 – Taylor’s Version’

Springfield— Calling all Swifties! Every Saturday afternoon from March 23rd through May 18th, the Springfield Museums will present “1989 Under the Stars,” a new light and music show in the Seymour Planetarium set to “1989 – Taylor’s Version,” the top-selling album from Taylor Swift.

‘1989 Under the Stars.’

Director of Science Jenny Powers said “I hope we will see new audiences to [the Seymour Planetarium] for the first time through Taylor’s music and the stunning visuals on our planetarium dome. Visitors can lean back in their chairs or stand up and dance as the Museums present highlights of Taylor Swift’s top-selling album.”

According to Powers, “the shows will be filled with moving, swirling, kaleidoscopic light and color, combined with sweet melodious sounds that enter through our outer ears, hit our eardrums, jiggle the tiniest bones in our inner ears, with the stereocilia sending transmissions up to our brains to remind us what year Taylor Swift was born: 1989!”

The show runs on Saturdays from March 23rd through May 18th at the Springfield Museums on Edwards Street in Springfield. Museum admission, which includes five museums, is $25 for adults, $16.50 for students and seniors, $13 for youth ages 3 to 17, and free for children under age 3. Planetarium shows are $5 for visitors ages 8+ and free for members. Parking is free. More information can be found online. 

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