Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Bits & Bytes: W. E. B. Du Bois guided walking tours; “The Unexpected Man” in Lenox; Double Value Program at the Pittsfield Farmers’ Market

The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market has the potential to serve more low-income residents than any other market in the Berkshires because of its location in Pittsfield.

Guided walking tours at the W. E. B. Du Bois National Historic Site

Great Barrington — The W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site is offering free guided walking tours on Saturdays and Sundays through October 4.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite, two miles from downtown Great Barrington, was Du Bois’s family land for over 150 year. In recognition of Du Bois and his fondness for his family home, Du Bois’s friends at the NAACP purchased the property and gave it to Du Bois for his 60th birthday. While Du Bois worked with a local architect to fix up the house and make a weekend home, his plans were never realized.

The guided tours highlight Du Bois’s extraordinary journey from Great Barrington to the world stage. Graduating from Fisk University and then Harvard University as the first African American to receive a Ph.D., Du Bois became a central figure in 20th century movements for racial equality, self-determination for people of African descent, and world peace.

The hour-long, half-mile “Du Bois in Great Barrington” walking tours begin at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Tours of the Du Bois Homesite start on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Group tours can be scheduled on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer. For more information email Felicai Jamison at


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Shakespeare & Company presents ‘The Unexpected Man’

Lenox — Shakespeare & Company welcomes “The Unexpected Man” into its repertory. The comedy, written by Tony Award-winning French playwright Yasmina Reza (“God of Carnage”), is translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Seth Gordon, and runs in the Tina Packer Playhouse through September 6.

The story follows a middle-aged man and woman who sit opposite each other in the detached intimacy of a train compartment on a journey from Paris to Frankfurt. He is a world famous author; she, one of his biggest fans, carries his latest novel in her handbag and ponders the dilemma of reading it in front of him. Through a series of beguiling internal monologues, this poignant comedy mines the depths of their imaginations where memories, hopes, dreams and fears are revealed—leaving the audience with an unexpected ending.

The Unexpected Man has been performed on Broadway and around the world since its premiere in London in 1995. More information and tickets are available from the Berkshire Edge calendar and from Shakespeare & Company’s website and box office at (413) 637-3353.


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Double Value Program at Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market

Pittsfield —  The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market launched its Double Value Program this month. The program doubles the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at the market. While other markets are doubling SNAP (formerly termed food stamps) benefits, the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market is also doubling WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits. In the last two weeks, the market has given out nearly $1,000 in matching funds for SNAP and WIC.

The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market has the potential to serve more low-income residents than any other market in the Berkshires because of its location in Pittsfield, the largest Berkshire community. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2011 Low/Mod Income Summary Data, 52.4 percent of Pittsfield’s entire population is considered to be low-income. In addition the Morningside neighborhood, which borders the market, has an even higher rate of low-income households and is also one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.

Almost one-third of the households in downtown Pittsfield neighborhoods earn less than $15,000 per year. The closest grocery store, Big Y, is 12 minutes by foot and the Price Rite is 48 minutes by foot. The farmers market, located in the First Street Common every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., is an accessible and affordable option.

The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market is a program of Alchemy Initiative, in partnership with the City of Pittsfield.


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