Choose your portal into open spaces — #berkshireweekend

A date palm. A mango. A ventricle, the chamber of a heart. The shape swirls on silk and cotton, in shades of red and amber and deep-water green.

Shailja Patel tells me stories of the paisley pattern on saris and khanga, and people who make them, and wear them, and give them as gifts for family celebrations. Some of these threads I have touched in talking and reading, and in the quiet space she creates, they come home with a new clarity.

On Friday night, I’ll be coming to the opening of Migritude, the newest exhibit at MCLA’s Gallery 51. Shailja and co-curators Luiza Folegatti and Carolina Porras Monroy invited me in this week, to see the show take shape. We talked about what it can mean for someone to leave a home, and come to a new place, and make a new one.

Absorbing Hanna Sobolieva’s Ukranian tree of life, and new work by Marina Dominguez and Cima Khademi and Clemente Sajquiy, I think places like this feel vital today, places where people can talk together and imagine, hear and be heard. (Keep an eye out and I’ll be writing more about this one.)

Some of that energy is stirring around us with the first taste of summer. And where will I be this weekend? I may look for Lost Birds at Berkshire Botanical Garden and catch Mad Magazine speaking truth to power at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Berkshire Pride will bring a parade and festival to the Pittsfield Common, with music and dance and 150 makers and farmers and artisans. I hear they’ll have fresh flowers and homespun wool, live music and circus performers.

On Saturday afternoon I’ll be at a calling workshop with contra dance fiddler and caller Peter Stix. Imagine guiding a room full of dancers with your voice. Imagine the fiddlers who can do that while they play reels by ear.

And on Sunday I’ll play music at a Shavuot Concert with old friends … voices will mingle gently, prayers and love songs, and Ruth singing to the mother of the man she had loved and lost, where you go, I will go. As I play through the music, I remember, she also left home.

Water gleams below the tree in the view from Olivia's Overlook in Lenox.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Water gleams below the tree in the view from Olivia's Overlook in Lenox.

More events coming up …

You can find more in the BTW arts and events calendar

Mass MoCA catches sunlight on a summer day.
Jun 13 2024 @ 11:00 am
Mass MoCA and the Williamstown Theatre Festival present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt.
Plums gleam in purple and gold at a farmers market table.
Jun 13 2024 @ 3:00 pm
The West Stockbridge Farmers Market offers fresh produce — fruits and vegetables in season, eggs, meats and cheeses, breads and baked goods, fudge and jams and more.
Lynnette R. Freeman will appear as Jasp, Elizabeth Edwards, Aggie and Crimmin in Lincoln in Illinois with Berkshire Theatre Group. Press photo courtesy of BTG.
Jun 13 2024 @ 7:00 pm
Robert E. Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play will step into the life of one of America’s most iconic figures, charting his journey from Illinois to President of the United States.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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