It was almost 70 degrees today. One of my neighbors has a morning glory in bloom over the front door. I saw it as I walked down the the river through my quiet neighborhood, taking in the jack-o-lanterns — real carved pumpkins with quizzical grins and swirling eyes and the shadows of black cats. The sun was sinking at 4 p.m., and the oak trees are turning bronze and yellow, and no matter what the weather says, fall is here.
It’s the season for hot drinks, mulling spices, sitting around a table with knitting and bright yarn, or board games, or pet theories. It’s the season for long conversations in the early evenings.
There is no joy like a good talk, when you never seem to run out of new ideas, when every challenge from another speaker wakes you up, when you find yourself laughing because you can hardly believe how natural it feels to talk with the one across the table or over the phone.
And across the next week in the Berkshires, we have a lot to listen to.
Performer/Choreographer: Jody Sperling Photograph by Gregory Cary Kaatsbaan International Arts Center June 2010
Mae Jemison, engineer, physician and NASA astronaut, will speak at Williams Collegethe Importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the MainStage, ’62 Center. A reception will follow. Jemison became the first woman of color in the world to go into space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She has served six years as a NASA astronaut and founded The Jemison Group to develop science and technology programs including a project to use satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and another to use solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries. She now leads The 100 Year Starship (100YSS), a revolutionary initiative to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star within the next century. 1000 Main St., Williamstown. williams.edu. Photo by Susan Geller
Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, master of Indian Classical Song, visiting artist and vocalist, will perform Nov. 6 at Williams College; he is known for his rich repertoire of rare ragas and compositions. Brooks Rogers Hall, off Route 2, Williamstown. music.williams.edu
On Nov. 4, Hancock Shaker Village will hold Food for Thought: Dinner with Southern Living Magazine chef and editor-at-large Virginia Willis, celebrity chef at last year’s Kentucky Derby and author of Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome, who incorporates foodways of the Kentucky Shakers as she reimagines Shaker cooking, taking advantage of Hancock’s garden produce, 6 to 9 p.m. 1843 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield. 413-443-0188, hancockshakervillage.org
Guitarist Joel Brown in will perform at the Sandisfield Arts Center on Nov. 4 — his career has led him to record with the London Symphony, to Carnegie Hall with soprano Dawn Upshaw, recital performances with Frederica von Stade, New York’s Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of The Lincoln Center, the Tanglewood Festival, the Chamber Music Festival at Saratoga, Music in the Mountains in British Columbia and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8 p.m. 5 Hammertown Road, Sandisfield. 413-258-4100, sandisfieldartscenter.org
On Nov. 8, Images Cinema will screen 13th, a 2016 documentary looking at the prison system, the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. 7 p.m. Presented with Williams College, free. 50 Spring St., Williamstown. imagescinema.org
Clark Art Institute will celebrate the opening of Impressionist Line: From Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec on Nov. 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. — an exhibit of prints and drawings from the 1860s to the 1890s inclucing drawings by Claude Monet, color woodcuts by Paul Gauguin, etchings by Édouard Manet, pastels by Edgar Degas, and color lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Laborers, performers, and racehorses in settings that vary from the French countryside and far-flung islands to Parisian cafés and dancehalls. Free admission to the galleries, activities; performance and talk @ 1 PM with New York dancer Jody Sperling, based on modern dance pioneer Loïe Fuller (1862-1928)’s work inspired by the Impressionists’ effort to capture light, color, and movement. Talk on the new exhibit at 3 p.m. 225 South St., Williamstown. 413-458-2303, clarkart.edu
Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi opens Nov. 11 at the Norman Rockwell Museum — a retrospective exhibit of DiTerlizzi’s fantasty, sci-fi, whimsical illustrations from his multi-million bestselling book series The Spiderwick Chronicles and images of fantasy creatures from fairies to trolls to goblins. On Nov. 11, a (ticketed) conversation with Tony DiTerlizzi begins the program at4:30 p.m.: The artist discuss his career and the power of the imagination with exhibition curator Jesse Kowalski. Opening reception and remarks follow, 6 to 8 p.m. Fantastical dress is encouraged (without antennae or masks). An artist tour will follow in Nov. 12.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock will host Novelist Colum McCann, who will speak and read from his work at 11 p.m., Nov. 9. McCann won the National Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Prize for Let The Great World Spin. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization Narrative 4. Blodgett House, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington. Photo by Susan Geller
Politics of Identity: Poetry of Inclusion and Exclusion, a program of work by poets spanning ages and styles, 3 p.m. Nov. 12. Who gets to belong? Who gets to decide? Poets answer this challenge from whatever direction they choose, and the program may contain explicit material. along with Setsuko Winchester’s Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project free at the MCLA’s Gallery 51, 51 Main St., North Adams. The poet Safia Elhillo, above, has performed in the annual WordxWord festival in Pittsfield. Photo by Bianca Rose Bono, courtesy of WordxWord.