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Forget Everything You Think About New York State Wine

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels
Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels

by Nancy Koziol

I was living in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001. I was three years into the dumpster fire of my twenties and in more danger than I’ve ever been in my life. It wasn’t the attacks—the carnage and violence erupting in my city—that put me at risk. I was safely across the river. No, it was me who was responsible for the aforementioned inferno, but 9/11 that helped me start to put out the blaze.

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Game of Thrones Has a Serious Girl Problem

Composite image of familiar "Game of Thrones" faces Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen; HBO.
Composite image of familiar "Game of Thrones" faces Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen; HBO.

Like most of the civilized world, I’ve zealously planted myself in front of the TV on Sunday nights for the past eight years to watch Game of Thrones unfold. I’ve largely enjoyed it, at least up until the rush-to-the-finish seasons 7 and 8, which have packed far too much character development and time hopping into a handful of episodes (how did Jaime Lannister and Arya Stark get to King’s Landing so quickly?), in an effort to tie up loose ends dangled but not yet resolved by author George R. R. Martin’s source material. As the series marches toward its final episode this weekend, I’ve come to realize that beyond poor pacing, there’s something more I deeply dislike about it: Game of Thrones has a girl problem.

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Spring tonic

Green River, Williamstown, Mass.; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Green River, Williamstown, Mass.; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

Within minutes of my house, the Green River meanders through a small park along the edge of a cemetery. In a twinkling I can be there, park by the rows of silent neighbors, and carefully make my way through wild edibles, ferns, and other flora wet with mist to sit on the bank and watch the foam rush by. Birds and insects are my only distraction. 

Here I feel my mood lift, pulse rate drop, and general overall feeling enhanced. I will not stay long. I don’t need to. More important is that I do this often. Breathe deeply, think deeply. 

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At the intersection of sound, space, and structure: ELEMENTAL

ELEMENTAL as viewed from the rear of the installation; photo by James Kennedy.
ELEMENTAL as viewed from the rear of the installation; photo courtesy Katya Popova.

Last Friday night I went to the 2019 opening of Installation Space in downtown North Adams to take in a new installation called ELEMENTAL.  The art exhibit is billed by Installation Space as “An immersive installation inspired by the basic structure of things. Its visual form explores the inner world of painting and cardboard, their visceral and abstract qualities—intersection, edge, line, negative space, texture, color, and movement. The installation is composed of sculptural visual elements, real time video re-projection, and sound.  The sound mirrors the visual net of  “the structures” by utilizing an algorithmic process of evolution of a complex modular texture.”  ELEMENTAL is the result of collaboration between two artists who both hold positions at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

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I Am Going to Leave Her Here

The lush, stone-walled Italian Garden at The Mount provides a respite from Northeastern summer heat and humidity; early morning photo by Kevin Sprague.
The lush, stone-walled Italian Garden at The Mount provides a respite from Northeastern summer heat and humidity;

early morning photo by Kevin Sprague.

by Robin Catalano

The homes of favorite authors are always must-stops on my travel itineraries. But perhaps owing to the old adage “Never meet your heroes,” the reality of where my favorite writers lived and worked has usually been less than remarkable, running the rather limited gamut from the spartan and unexceptional to the unkempt, if not derelict.

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A Wake-Up Call at MASS MoCA: Suffering from Realness

Cassils, Inextinguishable Fire, 2015, Single-Channel Video with Sound and Fourteen Encapsulated Breaths, 2017, Hand-Blown Glass, Each Unique; photo by Hideyo Okamura.
Cassils, Inextinguishable Fire, 2015, single-channel video with sound and Fourteen Encapsulated Breaths, 2017, Hand-Blown Glass, Each Unique; photo by Hideyo Okamura.

by Sara Farrell Okamura

It opened with a funeral procession. A mariachi band, the artist, Vincent Valdez playing trumpet, led a band of mourners channeling a New Orleans jazz–styled funeral march through the newest exhibit to open at MASS MoCA. Pallbearers hoisted Requiem, a black patina bronzed colossal carcass of an American Bald Eagle, to their shoulders, carrying him past the monumental charcoal drawings of Robert Longo, past Robert Taplin’s giant alabastrine clown, Punch (Punch & Judy puppets) silently preaching to an imaginary crowd, past the immense green squares of MPA’s examination of binaries, past Hayv Kahraman’s Three Celebrities, depicting an image of three women arguing over a pile of gold, a treasure secured by appropriating the suffering of refugees, past Christopher Mir’s paintings, symbolizing anxieties and hopes, past Titus Kaphar’s paintings and sculptures correcting history. The American eagle, created by Valdez and fellow artist Adriana Corral, was lowered to lie in repose in front of Corral’s white wall with 243 dates embedded into the museum’s drywall, submitted by 243 Americans (one for each year designating the age of the United States). Each of these dates symbolized a personal or historical event. Suffering from Realness was now on view to museum visitors.

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Plástica non grata

Photo by Nikki Dawson; via Pixabay
A distressingly familiar sight at beaches all over the world. Image by Nikki Dawson, via Pixabay

China doesn’t want our plastic crap anymore. What do we do with it now?

This week’s hot topic seems to be the banning of plastic waste. Google “petition, plastic,” I dare you. It’s as if the primary occupation of our progressive population is writing and circulating petitions. Moveon.org is a great place to start. They have a “petition” section where you can sign up to ban plastic bottles, straws, bags, and Styrofoam. I didn’t make it to the end of the list. Add that Trump is behind it, in favor of it, promoting it, etc. and people climb over each other to sign up. As though we haven’t been doing this for decades. China has absorbed nearly half of this waste since 1992. And now it has nowhere to go. But signing petitions isn’t going to solve the problem.

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Unsung Eats: The Corner Lunch, Adams — 40 years of home cooking to please the palate…and the wallet.

House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.
House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.

With Unsung Eats there is only one thing better than a great meal at a good value, and that is if it is served with a side dish of a good old fashioned success story.

Today Unsung Eats finds itself in the historic town of Adams at a very cool little place called the Corner Lunch. The Corner Lunch is located at 50 Summer Street at the intersection of Spring Street.

Once inside, I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The original menu board, the round floor mounted stools at the counter, the nicely dressed tables with a flower vase placed next to the napkin dispensers all spoke to me with their old school charm and flavor.

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Berkshire County legal system comes under the gaze of court watchers

Berkshire County Courthouse, photo by Alexius Horatius; [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons.
Berkshire County Courthouse, Pittsfield, Mass., photo by AlexiusHoratius; [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

by Jason Velázquez

The public has had a fascination with justice, or at least the meting out of punishment, since at least as early as the Middle Ages. Gathering some rotten produce and taking the kids down to the local stocks, gallows, or executioner’s block is a sure way to turn any Saturday morning into memorable family time.

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Unsung Eats: Desperados
North Adams — fresh Tex-Mex for the frugal

Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.

The rise in popularity of Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. is of no surprise when you consider the increasing cultural and culinary diversity of Americans and America itself.

When we consider what makes for a good comfort food, Americanized Mexican food (known as Tex-Mex) can hold its head high with its shredded meats and melted cheeses, the deep rich sauces, the contrasts of crunchy and creamy and spicy and cool.

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TLC #70 — The Berkshire Music Project Launches with Lady Moon & The Eclipse

Lady Moon & The Eclipse released their debut EP, "Believe" in 2018, and are currently producing their full length album "Journey to the Cosmic Soul," due out in 2019; photo by Jose Cotto.
Lady Moon & The Eclipse released their debut EP, "Believe" in 2018, and are currently producing their full length album "Journey to the Cosmic Soul," due out in 2019; photo by Jose Cotto.

by Jason Velázquez

In this episode, we speak with Josh Bennett, founder of the Berkshire Music Project, which seeks to grow the area’s live music scene. The very first show features Afrobeat and R&B-influenced Lady Moon & The Eclipse at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 26 at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield.

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Fast Fashion: The environmental threat hiding in your closet

Photo source, Pixabay.com.

When we think of pollution, we tend to think of single issues like air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and the bottom line, the climate change that is exacerbated by the production process. But the fashion industry encompasses all of these — the “Four Horsemen” if you will. And it destroys lives.

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