Berkshire International Film Festival opens doors — #berkshireweekend

It feels like we’re standing on the edge, taking a deep breath. The air is warm when the sun comes out, and outdoor events are stirring. Wing and a Prayer fired up their outdoor pizza oven last week, and folk musicians are tuning at Dream Away Lodge. Summer is coming.

Within a week or two, the theaters will be opening, and new art unfolding in many museums. Brooklyn artist Robin Frohardt has already brought the Plastic Bag Store to Mass MoCA — a provocative melding of theater and sculpture that holds, inside the laughter, real questions about what we want to preserve. (Keep an eye on the website — I’ll be writing about it soon.)

Her puppets travel in time, and they seem to walk between myth and daily life. Performance and art can hold experiences that way, shining light into intense moments, until they glow like paper lanterns in the pines in the dark.

The North Adams Farmers Market has moved to Main Street and added local makers.
Photo by Kate Abbott

The North Adams Farmers Market has moved to Main Street and added local makers.



A hawthorne tree blooms against the sky. And farm fresh eggs fry for breakfast sandwiches at the Great Barrington Farmers Market. Press photo courtesy of the market.

Kathia St. Hilaire told me, as we talked about her artwork and the stories of Haiti she is weaving this summer at the Clark Art Institute, “magic realism becomes a tool to talk about history and have your own imagination …” She gathers stories people have passed down through word of mouth and gives them life in her own paintings.

As I look at her images — a resistance leader riding bareback through palmetto, women risking their lives to work and care for their families, a divine being with the force of a hurricane — I think even in the hardest times, magic becomes a way to feel the strength of living.

Last weekend, as Mass MoCA celebrated 25 years, Helga Davis, the internationally acclaimed artist, vocalist and musician and curator and composer from Harlem, spoke with director Kristy Edmunds and founding director Joe Thompson. She opened with the story of a night at the Park Avenue Armory, when Edmunds took her hand and pulled her into a celebration. And they ran into the center in time to join the whole room in a glad shout. …

Richard Roundtree and June Squibb ride a scooter in Thelma, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Thelma / Magnolia Pictures

Richard Roundtree and June Squibb ride a scooter in Thelma, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.



Academy award-winning director Barbara Kopple will talk with Award-winning producer Sheila Nevins about the ABCs of Book Banning at the Berkshire International Film Festival. And four music students in Cuba find inspiration in the soul of jazz, despite challenges, in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s film, Musica! — because the embargo, Cuba doesn’t have sandpaper, much less repair supplies for intricate jazz instruments. Press photo courtesy of the Film Collaborative
In the chaos and destruction of the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, three artists defiantly find inspiration and beauty as they defend their culture and their country in Porcelain War. Press image courtesy of Slava Leontyev, Anya Stasenko, and Andrey Stefanov
Porcelain War film

In the chaos and destruction of the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, three artists defiantly find inspiration and beauty as they defend their culture and their country in Porcelain War. Press image courtesy of Slava Leontyev, Anya Stasenko, and Andrey Stefanov

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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