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September 2017

Growl #3: Ajamu Baraka on war, militarized policing, and the new, New Left

Ajamu Baraka; submitted photo.
Ajamu Baraka; submitted photo.

 

This episode needs NO lengthy text support. Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein’s running mate in the 2016 Presidential Elections, has one of the most insightful, penetrating minds you should be glad you don’t have to square off against. His decades-long, unbroken track record of commitment to a truly progressive vision is a testament both to his principled activism and his personal investment in the ideals of human value.

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TLC #51: The Undead StandOut to Protect Obamacare, New Life at Louison House

Editor’s Note: Some of the text portion of the show notes for this episode were taken from officially released material from Louison House.

We speak today with Sherwood Guernsey about the standout planned for 5:00 p.m. in Park Square in Pittsfield to protest the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And we hear from Kathy Keeser, who explained how recent funding news means improvements and repairs that directly impact Louison House’s ability to serve homeless clients.

Fire displaced more than a dozen residents of the Louison House in 2016—funding announced by Director Kathy Keesler is expected to mitigate damage to the physical structure; submitted photo.
Fire displaced more than a dozen residents of the Louison House in 2016—funding announced by Director Kathy Keesler is expected to mitigate damage to the physical structure; submitted photo.

 

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Will Call #61: Antigone in Ferguson, Social Activism Panel Discussion

Amy Holzapfel Chair, Associate Professor of Theatre at Williams College, moderates a discussion about the politics of participatory performance, and the lessons and practices it can share with democratic assembly in public space. She is joined by panelists, Bryan Doerries, Director, Antigone in Ferguson; Taibi Magar, Director, Underground Railroad Game, Rebecca Schneider, Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Brown University.

 

 

The hook is to connect theatre with the contemporary wave of engaged social activism.

Joining In: Participatory Performance and Social Activism Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 28, 2017; 5:00 p.m.

Directing Studio, ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance

’62 Center for Theatre and Dance

The following information comes from released material provided to the Greylock Glass.

 

CenterSeries

presents

Theater of War Productions

Antigone in Ferguson

featuring Tracie Thoms, Zach Grenier

with  Duane Foster, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Willie Woodmore

 

Amy Holzapfel, Chair, Associate Professor of Theatre; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Amy Holzapfel, Chair, Associate Professor of Theatre; photo by Jason Velázquez.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.—The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance’s CenterSeries is excited to kick-off the 2017/2018 season with a timely production of Antigone in Ferguson, directed by Bryan Doerries and composed by Phil Woodmore. Both compelling theatre and searing social justice project, Antigone in Ferguson is a radical and unlikely staging of Sophocles’s classic tragedy, conceived in response to the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Antigone’s themes of integrity and human folly, set down in the fifth century BCE, resonate through the ages, illuminating the recent clash between public authorities and American citizens as they call for justice in police brutality cases. At the end of the performance there will be a community discussion. There will be one performance only, on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at 8:00 PM on the ’62 Center’s MainStage, located at 1000 Main Street, in Williamstown, MA. Tickets are $10/$3 students.

 

A play that speaks to Ferguson’s tragedy and lets the audience speak back. – PBS News Hour

 

Bryan Doerries, author of “The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today,” directs this timely adaptation. Performed by an all-star cast along with a gospel choir featuring police officers, educators, and community members from Ferguson, the play makes an appeal for the timelessness of Sophocles—and the urgency of grappling with his implications in our current political climate.

 

Theater of War Productions (ToW) presents community-specific, theater-based projects that address pressing public health and social issues. Through the presentation of dramatic readings of seminal plays followed by public conversations, the company’s programs confront topics such as combat-related psychological injury, end-of-life care, police and community relations, prison reform, gun violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse and addiction. Using theater to build a common vocabulary for openly discussing the impact of these issues, events are designed to generate compassion, empathy, and understanding between diverse audiences. All events are free to the public and feature leading film, theater, and television actors. Notable artists who have led readings include Blythe Danner, Adam Driver, Jesse Eisenberg, Giancarlo Esposito, Jake Gyllenhaal, Alfred Molina, Frances McDormand, Tamara Tunie, Jeffrey Wright and others.

 

Bryan Doerries is a Brooklyn-based writer, director and translator, who currently serves as Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions, which uses classic literature to help individuals and communities heal from trauma and loss. During his tenure at Theater of War Productions, the company has presented diverse projects across the country and internationally. Doerries’ book, The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September of 2015, along with a volume of his translations of ancient Greek tragedies, entitled All That You’ve Seen Here is God. His graphic novel, The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan, an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey as told by an infantry Marine to his squad, was published by Pantheon in April of 2016. Doerries lectures on his work at cultural venues throughout the world and, in recent years, has taught courses at Princeton University, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and the Bard Prison Initiative.

 

Doerries is a proud graduate of Kenyon College and serves as a board member of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and Friends of the Young Writers Workshop. Among his awards, Doerries has received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Kenyon College, and in March 2017, he was named Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) for the City of New York, a joint appointment with the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services and Department of Cultural Affairs. During this two-year residency, he will bring more than 60 Theater of War Productions projects to diverse communities across all five boroughs.

 

Related links:

PBS Newshour

“A Play that Speaks to Ferguson’s Tragedy and lets the audience speak back”

by Jeffrey Brown

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/play-speaks-fergusons-tragedy-lets-audience-speak-back/

WYPR

“Antigone in Ferguson Comes to Baltimore”

by Sheilah Kast & Andrea Appleton

http://wypr.org/post/antigone-ferguson-comes-baltimore

City Paper

“What About Justice? Paul Giamatti and Sonja Sohn star in ‘Antigone in Ferguson’ at Coppin“

by Maura Callahan

http://www.citypaper.com/arts/stage/bcp-012517-stage-antigone-20170125-story.html

Continuing its mission to contextualize arts within scholarly inquiry, the Center presents an impressive body of work that sets student work side-by-side with that of professional artists.  We strive to challenge traditional forms, engage with a larger political dialogue and allow our audiences to explore diverse modes of expression.  Not content merely to present popular work, the Center’s professional performances, workshops and student productions are designed to invite the entire community to engage, debate, and celebrate the experience of both witnessing and creating live art.

 

For tickets, visit the Williams ’62 Center Box Office Tues-Sat, 1-5 pm or call (413) 597-2425. For more information, please visit http://62center.williams.edu

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TLC #50: Voices for Recovery with NBCC, but first, the news…

Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities
Rally, walk and vigil to raise awareness of opioid addiction and recovery

Voices for Recovery
Voices for Recovery

NORTH ADAMS, MA – On Saturday, September 23, the North Berkshire Community will gather to remember those lost, learn about resources, and celebrate recovery from addiction. The Rx Heroin Work group of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition along with the City of North Adams are holding the Voices for Recovery Rally, Walk and Vigil from 1-3:30PM. The rally and vigil will be centered at Colegrove Park, with a Recovery Walk through downtown North Adams.

The event will include informational tables representing the recovery services community such as Spectrum Health, the Brien Center, Tapestry, Clean Slate, Narcotics Anonymous, the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative, Al Anon, and Josh Bressette Commit to Save a Life. Children’s activities will be on hand from The Family Place and the north Berkshire Systems of Care Committee, along with live music provided by Common Folk Artists Collective. Common Folk will also have a display of art inspired by the topic of addiction and recovery, from the exhibit “To Bless the Space Between Us”.

The theme of the event, “Strengthen Families and Communities” acknowledges that families and the North Berkshire community play a major role in recovery. The impact of addiction on families will be evident at the vigil, in remarks by Pastor Dave Anderson from the North Adams First Baptist Church, and Dawn Windover who will speak about the loss of her son Derek.

The walk, led by Mayor Alcombright, will take place at 2PM through downtown North Adams. The route of the walk will be lined with signs posting information about substance use disorder, recovery services, and celebrating recovery. Walkers will pause for a standout at the intersection of Main Street and Route 8 by City Hall. T-shirts will be available for purchase.

Following the walk, participants will hear from speakers including Collin Woods, former North Adams resident now in recovery and working as a Recovery Coach at Berkshire Transition Network. Dave Risch, North Adams resident and active member of Al Anon as well as the Rx Heroin work group will speak about the role of families in recovery. Mayor Alcombright will conclude the event with words about recovery, and building a recovery community.

A highlight of the event will be the Wall of Remembrance and Recovery created by the volunteer recovery organization, Josh Bressette Commit to Save a Life. The wall will include pictures, images, poems and other statements to remember those lost to addiction. Waterman says she hopes the Wall “creates a compassion for those suffering with loss and for those struggling to recover within the community. Heroin/opioid addiction is not a moral failing, these people featured on the wall had full lives ahead of them, they were loved, cherished and needed.” The wall will also include images to celebrate people in the community in recovery from substance use disorders.

For more information, including how to order a t-shirt for the event, visit www.nbccoalition.org.

Kimball Farms Life Care hosts talk on identity theft, computer fraud on Thursday, Sept. 28

LENOX, MASS. (Sept. 20, 2017) –Kimball Farms Life Care in Lenox will host a presentation on identity theft, the Equifax security breach, computer fraud, and other scams on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Presenters will include Ann Lynch from the office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Kate Alexander from Berkshire Consumer Services. Refreshments will be served. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Kimball Farms at 413-637-7000.

Hinds lauds MASSDOT for convening kick-off” meeting of the NYC/Berkshire Rail Working Group

PITTSFIELD – State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield) announces that MassDOT will convene an organizational, “kick-off” meeting of the NYC/Berkshire Passenger Rail Working Group tomorrow, Thursday, September 21st at 1:00pm at the MassDOT Region 1 Headquarters in Lenox.

The NYC/Berkshire Passenger Rail Working Group, established by Outside Section 137 of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget (Chapter 137 of the Acts of 2017), is an initiative sponsored by Hinds during the Senate budget debate. The proposal was unanimously passed by the Senate, endorsed by the budget conference committee and was signed into law by the Governor.

NORTH ADAMS—Representatives of North Adams Ambulance and Village Ambulance announce agreement for Village Ambulance to merge with North Adams Ambulance pending due diligence.

It is well known that Village Ambulance Service, like many small EMS providers, has been facing increasing financial challenges. In light of this, a working group consisting of representatives of Williams College, the Town of Williamstown, the Williamstown Fire Department and Village Ambulance was formed to evaluate and recommend the best solution that would ensure continued, sustainable emergency medical services to the communities Village serves.

Sameer Gupta comes to MASS MoCA

NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS – Sameer Gupta is a “kinetic, bass-heavy, and tender” percussionist (The Jazz Observer), with roots in the Indian Classical tradition. He’s at MASS MoCA on Saturday, September 30, at 8pm, with a propulsive band featuring Marc Cary (keyboards), Jay Gandhi (bansuri), and Rashaan Carter (bass), for a magical evening of tracks from his new album, A Circle Has No Beginning. Bang on a Can favorite and North Adams resident Todd Reynolds opens the show.

Known as one of the few percussionists simultaneously representing the traditions of American jazz on drum-set and Indian classical music on tabla, musician and composer Gupta did not begin mastering the tabla until well into his jazz career in the early ‘00s. First studying under the guidance of Ustad Zakir Hussain, over the last two decades Gupta has become an accomplished, innovative tabla player and a dedicated disciple of the great tabla maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.

Children’s book author to visit Clark Art Institute

Williamstown, Massachusetts—Join author Maria-Christina Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottebohm (also known as “Puppa”) at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, October 7 at 11 am as she explores ways to engage children with art. Nottebohm talks about the fun, magical world of exploring Old Master pictures and the methods she discovered in researching her book Old Masters Rock: How to Look at Art with Children. The free talk, held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion, includes a question-and-answer session followed by a book signing.

Empowering children with the skills to look at art enables them to stimulate their imagination and interpret the pictures in their own ways, often seeing things adults don’t notice. According to Nottebohm, enjoying art is all about responding to what the viewer is seeing. Old Masters Rock stimulates children in a playful way so that, together with an adult, they can decode fifty masterpieces of Western art from the last 700 years. The book demonstrates that art is accessible to all—adults and children alike.

600 bicyclists ride through Berkshires at Farm to Fork Fondo

What: Farm to Fork Fondo – Berkshires bicycle event.
600 riders from more than 25 states riding from farm to farm in Berkshire County, MA sampling chef-prepared bites at each farm
When: September 23-24, 2017 weekend

Where: Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 W Housatonic Rd, Pittsfield, MA

Photo/video/media opportunities at Hancock Shaker Village*:
9/23, 5pm: Bicycle Skills Clinic for riders of all abilities on the Brick Dwelling green, taught by the Colavita – Bianchi Professional Women’s Cycling Team
9/23, 7pm: Meet the Farmers Dinner in the historic Shaker dining hall in the Brick Dwelling
9/24, 9am: Farm to Fork Fondo Mass Start – 600 cyclists departing en masse from Hancock Shaker Village at the Brick Dwelling green
9/24, 1 pm: Live Music from Whiskey Treaty Road Show
9/24, 5pm: Volunteer Competition winners announced – More than $5,000 donated to local non-profit organizations

WAM Theatre announces attendees for October’s Berkshire Leadership Summit

LEE, MA – Organizers of the pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit, an event for women aspiring to, or already in, leadership positions in the non-profit theatre, and hosted by WAM Theatre, are excited to announce that the attendees of this event have been selected.

Of the 163 women theatre professionals who applied to participate in the Berkshire Leadership Summit, 75 have been accepted, hailing from 22 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. This cohort reflects an emphasis the Steering Committee members placed on diversity, accessibility, and intentionality early in the process. Towards this goal, the steering committee members, comprised of Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre (Steering Committee Chair); Akiba Abaka, Audience Development Manager at ArtsEmerson; Rachel Fink, Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area; and Shafer Mazow, who currently works at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, went through a rigorous selection process that focused on creating a cohort that balanced career (early/late/mid-career), background (race, sexual identity, geography), and level of leadership experience. The process resulted in an intentional balance of these criteria in an effort to provide the greatest opportunity for personal growth and community-building for each attendee at the summit.

MCLA Gallery 51 to exhibit “Yellow Bowl Project”

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 announces “Freedom from Fear/Yellow Bowl Project,” a solo exhibition by Setsuko Winchester, will open on Thursday, Sept. 28. This exhibition at MCLA Gallery 51 marks the first show of the entire series of photographs created for the project, which documents site-based installations of 120 yellow tea bowls made by Winchester to represent the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese-Americans to 10 internment camps in the American West during World War II.

The public is invited to attend a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. in the 51 Main St. gallery on Thursday, Sept. 28, to celebrate the opening of the “Yellow Bowl Project,” which also was designed to bring attention to a history of Asian and Asian-American racism in the United States.

MCLA offers free global film series this Fall

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces the campus will present a Global Film Series this fall, which will feature three documentary films. The first film will be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 26, with a second film to screen in October. The third and final film of the series will be offered in November.

All of the screenings will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Murdock Hall room 218, on the MCLA campus. Each event is free and open to the public.

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TLC #49: The fight for $15 minimum wage and paid family leave, plus the risks of making art

Hey Greylock Nation! Today is Wednesday, September 20th 2017, and you’re listening to episode number 48 of the Top Left Corner. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I thank you for tuning in. Today, we speak with Eric Bauer of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice about the push to place two ballot questions in front of the voters this November—a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. We also heard from Debi Pendell about the upcoming exhibition, “Out on a Limb,” that explores the risk-taking inherent in making art, coming to the Eclipse Mill Gallery September. I found both conversations are truly fascinating, so I hope you enjoy the listen. Keep Reading

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TLC #48: BMC Nurses host safe patient care town hall to answer questions

Management at Berkshire Health Systems says the latest offer represents their “best and final,” but BMC Nurses are standing their ground over issues of staffing levels, wages, and benefits/

BMC Nurses stand out at Park Square in Pittsfield, May 6, 2017 to communicate concerns over staffing levels; submitted photo.
BMC Nurses stand out at Park Square in Pittsfield, May 6, 2017 to communicate concerns over staffing levels; submitted photo.

The following information is from a release by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Berkshire Health Systems declined to be interviewed for this story.

Four community groups are sponsoring a public forum for BMC nurses and residents to discuss safe patient care 

PITTSFIELD, Mass.—A Community Town Hall on Tuesday night will feature registered nurses from Berkshire Medical Center sharing their concerns about patient safety at the hospital and community members discussing their experiences at BMC.

BMC Safe Patient Care Town Hall
sponsored by the Berkshire Brigades, Berkshire Central Labor Council, Indivisible Pittsfield and Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.
Where: First Methodist Church, 55 Fenn Street. in Pittsfield.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

“Community members have a right to hear directly from nurses about what is happening inside their hospital,” said RN Alex Neary, Co-Chair of the BMC MNA Bargaining Committee. “This event will give everyone in our community a chance to share their own experience and discuss how we can improve the quality of patient care at BMC.”

“We believe an open and honest public discussion about patient safety at BMC is necessary to move forward in a positive way,” said Brian P. Morrison, President of the Berkshire Central Labor Council. “Berkshire Medical Center was built and paid for by the community and with our tax dollars. The public supports BMC nurses and we urge the hospital to listen to their concerns.”

Nurses have brought their patient safety concerns forward to hospital management in various ways for years, including directly to supervisors, at labor-management meetings and during ongoing negotiations.

BMC RNs have also been documenting this problem using unsafe staffing forms. Between October 1, 2015 and August 21, 2017, nurses completed more than 430 unsafe staffing reports. The reports tell the story time and again: Hospital units short multiple nurses and/or other staff members, patients waiting for hours in the emergency department, patient falls, and critically ill infants with too few nurses to care for them. Hundreds of other incidents have gone undocumented as nurses are typically too busy caring for too many patients to write a report.

Background on Bargaining

BMC nurses are seeking a fair contract that first and foremost protects the quality of patient care. Another key issue is quality and affordable health insurance. BMC has proposed raising by 100 percent how much nurses contribute to individual health insurance premiums. Nurses in BMC’s family health insurance plans already pay 40 to 70 percent more than managers.

Negotiations began in September 2016 and include a federal mediator. More than 25 bargaining sessions have been held. On May 31, nurses rejected the hospital’s “best and final” contract offer by 82 percent. In July, nurses voted 83 percent to authorize a potential one-day strike. The 16-member RN Bargaining Committee has the authority to call for a one-day strike and issue the 10-day strike notice required under federal law.

BMC nurses have also filed three unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Berkshire Health, including  threatening to retaliate against nurses if they engage in protected activity and refusing to provide health insurance data necessary for bargaining.

The next negotiation date has been scheduled for September 27.

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The Cornbread Cafe #5: Western Centuries, Dom Flemons, Oh Susanna, & MORE

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #5—of the Cornbread Cafe.

The Honey Whiskey Trio released Rye Woman in 2017; submitted photo.
The Honey Whiskey Trio released Rye Woman in 2017; submitted photo.

Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. We want to be your new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.

In this Episode:

1.  “Double or Nothing,” Western Centuries, Weight of the World
2.  “Brick Wall,” Maggie Baugh, Catch Me
3.  “Balaclava,” Eliza Edens, Lowlight
4. “Voice from on High,” Anna & Elizabeth, Anna & Elizabeth
5.  “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” Honey Whiskey Trio, Stories of Love, Death and Spirits
6.  “Jackie,” The Suitcase Junket, Pile Driver
7.  “Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer),” Bumper Jacksons, I’ve Never Met a Stranger
8.  “Hot Chicken,” Dom Flemons, Prospect Hill
9.  “The Real Me,” Christian Coleman and The Blue Zen Band, The Singles
10. “Wolfsbane Wine,” Molly Pinto Madigan, The Cup Overflows
11. “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” Tony Trischka Territory, Great Big World
12. “Lucky” Comanchero, Thrown
13. “Dying Light,” Oh Susanna, Namedropper

Musician bio info frequently comes from the artists, their websites, or their publicists. Click on names below to visit their websites where you can get the full story, photos, and very often video.

Western Centuries

“Double or Nothing” Weight of the World

Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.
Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.

 

The worn floor of an old honky­tonk is not usually a place you’d think of as welcoming to bold new experimentation. If you’ve got something new to say, you’d better say it in the form of a brisk two­step that keeps the dancers moving. So it’s doubly impressive that Seattle country band Western Centuries is able to meld wildly disparate influences into an original honky­tonk sound that won’t make dancers miss a step. Formed originally under the name Country Hammer by Americana songwriter Cahalen Morrison, known for his innovative work as an acoustic duo with Eli West, Western Centuries revolves around three principal songwriters–Morrison, Ethan Lawton, and Jim Miller–each with a totally different perspective. Here, Cahalen Morrison channels his New Mexico roots–he grew up exploring lost arroyos and playing drums in a conjunto band–into a kind of blood­red Western drawl. His songs are as influenced by cowboy poetry or his great­grandfather’s Scottish Gaelic poetry as much as his love of George Jones. Ethan Lawton came out of the rough, working­class streets of Seattle’s South end, working in hip­hop and punk before losing his heart to bluegrass. His bone­dry vocals meld intensely with the rocksteady back­beat of his country songs, born from his love of old Jamaican 45s mixed with early bluegrass. Jim Miller comes from the jamband circuit, where he ruled for decades as a founding member of the much­loved band Donna The Buffalo. Throughout, the dancefloor was his temple, and he cribbed ideas from Louisiana Zydeco all the way to the The Band. Western Centuries’ debut album, Weight of the World, released by Free Dirt Records on June 3, 2016, introduces a band of roots music mavericks bringing refreshingly new ideas to their country roots.

 

Maggie Baugh

“Brick Wall,” Catch Me

 

Multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter, Maggie Baugh is a young, South Florida based county music sensation! At 17 years old, she has a publishing deal, she is a Nashville Recording artist, singer/songwriter, guitar player and dynamic fiddle player. Maggie Baugh has played fiddle onstage with Neal McCoy and Charlie Daniels Band. (Yes, she is the one that played Devil Went Down to Georgia with Charlie Daniels – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylWjExfL5ew).

Playing guitar and singing, Maggie Baugh has opened in South Florida for Ashley Monroe (of Pistol Annie’s), Craig Morgan, Neal McCoy, Cole Swindell, Phil Vassar, Taylor Hicks, Chase Bryant, Drake White, Josh Dorr, Radio Romance, Drew Baldridge, Montgomery Gentry, John Anderson, Cowboy Troy and Old Southern Moonshine Revival.

 

Eliza Edens
“Balaclava” Low Light

Low Light, Eliza Edens' debut EP, dropped to critical acclaim in 2017.
Low Light, Eliza Edens’ debut EP, dropped to critical acclaim in 2017.

 

A native of Western Massachusetts, Eliza has been singing her whole life. Raised on the Beatles and inspired by older folkies Eva Cassidy and Karen Dalton, along with today’s alt-R&B acts Lianne La Havas and James Blake, Eliza ties together disparate influences into her vocal style. With sparse electric guitar textures, wistful melodies, and observational songwriting, her music both enlivens and partakes in the ennui of modern life, belonging somewhere between your tumbledown front porch stoop and a hazy bar in Brooklyn.

 

 

Anna & Elizabeth
“Voice from on High” Anna & Elizabeth

Anna & Elizabeth gathered and interpreted 16 traditional songs for their 2015 eponymous release.
Anna & Elizabeth gathered and interpreted 16 traditional songs for their 2015 eponymous release.

 

Anna & Elizabeth has appeared on stages across the world, including the Cambridge Folk Festival, Brighton Festival, Newport Folk Festival, National Sawdust, Atlanta Museum of Modern Art, Old Town School of Folk Music, Brooklyn Folk Fest; intimate theaters across the U.S., U.K. & Europe; and fellowships to develop their work at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Centrum. They have released two acclaimed full-length albums–Sun to Sun (2012) and Anna & Elizabeth (2015).

 

In winter 2018, Anna & Elizabeth will release their third full-length album; a continuing progression of their evolving sound. It is co-produced by Anna and Benjamin Lazar Davis (avant-pop outfit Cuddle Magic) and features Jim White of The Dirty Three on drums, and lauded experimental pedal steel player Susan Alcorn (Mary Halvorsen Octet).

 

Honey Whiskey Trio

“All I Have to Do Is Dream ,” Stories of Love, Death and Spirits

Stories of Love, Death and Spirits
Stories of Love, Death and Spirits

 

The Honey Whiskey Trio explores harmony in folk, bluegrass and any melody that catches the ear. Through their powerful, yet sweet harmonies, body percussion, haunting melodies and vitality on stage, Honey Whiskey Trio captivates and moves audiences. These storytellers in song found their roots in vocal jazz, all singing in Pacific Standard Time, CSU Long Beach’s award winning vocal jazz ensemble, though at different times. This foundation in jazz gives Honey Whiskey Trio an inherent flexibility to their sound, allowing them to change and adjust their tone to best fit the mood of each song.

 

In 2013, after singing together for only 5 months, Honey Whiskey Trio won the Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition, also winning Audience Favorite at both the Regional and National sweepstakes. They have gone on to headline the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, the Women’s A Cappella Association‘s SheSings Festival, the South Eastern Minnesota A Cappella Festival, and have been featured artists at the FAR-West Folk Festival, the Rogue Valley Roots Festival, the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival,and the Shedd Institute for the Arts. Called “One of the most talented vocal harmony groups performing today” by John Neal, Harmony Sweepstakes executive producer and ”One of the very best arrivals this year on my stage. Solid in every way and fully entertaining” by Bob Stane, of The Coffee Gallery Backstage, Honey Whiskey Trio is a group you don’t want to miss experiencing live.

 

The Suitcase Junket

“Jackie,” Pile Driver

Matt Lorenz sits alone on a suitcase in the center of a complex construction of upcycled cookpots, saw blades and broken chairs. Artist, tinkerer, tunesmith, swamp yankee. A one-man salvage specialist singing into the hollow of a Dumpster guitar, slipping a broken bottleneck onto the slide finger, railing on a box of twisted forks and bones, rocking till every sound is ragged at its edges, till the house is singing back. Then, unplugging all the amps and letting one mountain ballad soar over the raw strings on that guitar. Every night is a hard-driving, blues-grinding, throat-singing search-and-rescue junket. Sooner or later everything rusts, busts, and gets tossed into the junk heap: iron, bones, leather, hot rods, muskrats, the night, theheart. The goal is to recover it. To waste nothing. To create new ways from old. This is The Suitcase Junket.

Matt Lorenz was raised in Cavendish, Vermont, the son of teachers. He learned to sing by copying his sister Kate. (The siblings are two-thirds of the touring trio Rusty Belle.) Lorenz graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 2004, having taught himself to throat-sing thanks to a South Indian cooking class. On moving day, he pulled his guitar, filled with mold and worse for wear, from a dorm Dumpster. He fixed it up and started pulling songs out of it. That was the beginning.

 

 

Bumper Jacksons

“Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer)” I’ve Never Met a Stranger

The Bumper Jacksons; photos by Michael O. Snyder.
The Bumper Jacksons; photos by Michael O. Snyder.

 

The Bumper Jacksons are hot and sweet, painting America’s story from the streets of New Orleans to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrap together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style. Honored as the region’s 2015 “Artist of the Year” and “Best Folk Band” from 2013-2015 at the Washington Area Music Awards, the Bumper Jacksons are playfully creative with their originals and re-imagining roots music with both power and tenderness. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone’s invited and the dance floor never sleeps.

 

Dom Flemons

“Hot Chicken,” Dom Flemons, Prospect Hill

2014's Prospect Hill, Dom Flemons' first release after leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is an intense whirlwind of a tour through eclectic folk styles and textures.
2014’s Prospect Hill, Dom Flemons’ first release after leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is an intense whirlwind of a tour through eclectic folk styles and textures.

 

A Phoenix Native, Flemons’ involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica, he began to play coffee houses and became a regular on the Arizona folk music scene. During that period Flemons wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets, including six albums of his own. A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. His banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences.

 

 

Christian Coleman and The Blue Zen Band

“The Real Me,” The Singles

Mama Died and Left Me
Papa Died and Left Me
Raised by Wolves on The Mean Streets

Christian Coleman is a 25 year veteran of the Wasatch Front Music Scene. Described as “Bob Dylan meets Muddy Waters”, his solo repertoire consists of Decades of Original Material combined with Classic Blues material from the 1940’s to the present, and Americana Classics that define the Contemporary American Songbook. A One-Man juggling act of Vocals, Guitar, and Harmonica, Christian always brings a signature passion and trademark intensity to every performance!!!

 

Molly Pinto Madigan

“Wolfsbane Wine” The Cup Overflows

Molly Pinto Madigan's 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.
Molly Pinto Madigan’s 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.

 

Molly Pinto Madigan, the silver-throated leading lady of the erstwhile folk/roots combo, has released a new CD, “The Cup Overflows.” Molly invited me to share a track from this collection with you, and I had a tough time deciding between them all.

 (from her bio)

“Hailed for her angelic voice and haunting compositions, Molly Pinto Madigan won first place in WUMB’s Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and was named “Artist of the Year” at Salem State University, her alma mater. Since her debut as the lead singer for the teen bluegrass band Jaded Mandolin, Madigan has submerged herself in the dark, luscious world of ballads, drawn to their magic, and her original songs echo with the whisperings of the American and European traditional music.”

 

Tony Trischka Territory

“I Wonder Where You Are Tonight” Great Big World

Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from "Great Big World" and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.
Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from Great Big World and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.

 

Trischka, 2012 United States Artists Friends Fellow, is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument.

A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.

 

Comanchero

“Lucky,” Thrown

 

 

Since 2003, Comanchero has crafted an Americana sound that combines old traditions with new, Country with Rock, Bluegrass with Blues, Honky-Tonk with Funk, and Roots with Rockabilly. While unique in their own sound, there is something strikingly familiar in Comanchero’s songs that weave influences ranging from The Allman Brothers, The Band, Little Feat, & Led Zeppelin, to today’s contemporaries such as Wilco, The Drive -By Truckers, & Mumford & Sons.

Highlights:
– Boston’s Americana Jam Band since 2003
– Four studio albums
– Songs licensed by PBS (Road Trip Nation) and ABC (20/20 with Diane Sawyer)
– Direct support for artists such as: ZZ Top, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Yardbirds, & Passion Pit
– Winner of Relix Magazine’s “Jam Off” competition & featured in magazine and monthly CD
– Nominated by Red Line Roots for Favorite Local Rock and Rollers
– Over 500 performances including international (Ireland, UK tour)

 

 

Oh Susanna

“Dying Light,” Name Dropper

"Name Dropper," by Oh Susanna; 2015
“Name Dropper,” by Oh Susanna; 2015

 

Suzie Ungerleider began performing as Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, crafting a persona that matched the timeless qualities of her music, sounds that drew from the deep well of early 20th Century folk, country and blues, yet rooted in her finely-honed storytelling skills. This Canadian songstress has a voice that can pierce a heart of stone. Her superbly crafted songs often tell stories of troubled souls who rebel against their circumstances to attain a quiet dignity. These are tales of longing and love, of small town joys and pains, of our simple feelings and strong passions. These are tales that look into our beautifully flawed human hearts.

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TLC #47: 1st Berkshire Primary Forum, Perpetual Foreigners, a Creative Consultation

We begin our show with Alexander Davis, who talks about the meetup with candidates for 1st Berkshires district state representative organized by Greylock Together. Julia Dixon discusses the state of the area’s creative economy and her new endeavor as a consultant who can help both artists and organizations with her experience and insights. We talked at length with Setsuko Winchester about the discussion, “Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners,” as well the Yellow Bowl Project—her photo/ceramic response to the forced incarceration of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during World War II.

Setsuko Winchester’s Yellow Bowl Project is a powerful exploration of the unjust, destructive, and pointless incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II; photo by Setsuko Winchester.

 

Greylock Together gives the public a chance to hear from the four Democratic candidates vying for the chance to face off against C

 

Meet Your 1st Berkshire Candidates
Sunday, September 10; 3:00–4:30 p.m.
Williamstown Youth Center
66 School Street, Williamstown, Mass.

 

Alexander Davis discusses the upcoming 1st District state representative candidate forum; submitted photo.
Alexander Davis discusses the upcoming 1st District state representative candidate forum; submitted photo.

Activist group Greylock Together has invited the candidates for the vacant 1st Berkshire seat in the Massachusetts House to come and speak about their candidacy. Everyone is invited to join us and hear each candidate make a brief pitch about how they would be the best to serve. As of right now, we will hear from all four of the declared candidates: John Barrett III, Lisa Blackmer, Stephanie Bosley, and Kevin Towle.

The event will be broadcast on Willinet. We will have three babysitters available if you need someone to watch your mini-activists, too!

Greylock Together has been helping citizens in the region become more actively engaged in politics at the local, state, and national level since November, 2016.
Greylock Together has been helping citizens in the region become more actively engaged in politics at the local, state, and national level since November, 2016.

You can come prepared! Over the course of the past couple of months, Greylock Together has assembled a list of goals we wish to achieve on the local, state, and national level. Each goal is supported by a supermajority of our members. While some are not immediately actionable for a state representative, we still think it’s important that our representative shares our goals and values. We have sent out a survey based on these goals to each candidate. Read their responses now.

 

Alexander Davis is an English teacher and a political activist with Greylock Together. While he’s been a political obsessive for many years, he only really got involved after attending the Women’s March on Washington. Since then, he’s been trying to do what he can. Alexander lives in Williamstown, MA with his wife and baby daughter.

 

Julia Dixon — Creative Economy Specialist

We were really excited to speak with Julia again, especially upon learning that, as a consultant, she’ll be filling a key need in the region. Now, individuals and organizations can tap into all that she has learned about the cultural landscape in a direct, highly personalized fashion. Visit her website to learn more.

Artist and activist Julia Dixon has helped shape the robust creative economy of the Berkshires for nearly a decade; submitted photo.
Artist and activist Julia Dixon has helped shape the robust creative economy of the Berkshires for nearly a decade; submitted photo.

Julia Dixon is an artist, writer, arts administrator, community convener, and creative economy consultant. She is working as a freelance project manager as well as an economic and business consultant based at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts in North Adams, Massachusetts, where she lives. Her previous full time positions include Managing Director of Berkshire Creative and Creative Economy Specialist at 1Berkshire. She is the founder and owner of BerkshireFlirt LLC, founder and host of “Creative City” on WMNB-LP 107.1FM, appointed co-founding member and chair of the North Adams Public Arts Commission, and volunteers as a student mentor. She received her BFA from Purchase College in 2005 and MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2014.

Julia sits on numerous community development and cultural committees. She is an appointed founding member and chair of the North Adams Public Arts Commission, member of the North Adams Exchange (NAX) steering group, member of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center advisory board, and was a founding board member of the Makers’ Mill in North Adams. In addition, she is passionate about mentoring high school and college students. She co-taught MCLA’s fall 2016 design thinking capstone class Community Engagement in the Arts with department chair Lisa Donovan, Ph.D., and mentored students participating in MCLA’s inaugural Entrepreneurship & Innovation Challenge in 2017.

Julia is a 2017 honoree of Berkshire Community College’s 40 Under Forty awards, recipient of Americans for the Arts’ 2016 Annual Convention scholarship, and 2014 graduate of the Berkshire Leadership Program and former member of its steering committee.

 

 

Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners

The first humans in North American came from the Asian land-mass. Yet somehow Asian-Americans can still be perceived as ‘foreign’. How many years, how many generations must pass before immigrants become ‘American’? Is there a double-standard? Do immigrants from European countries become accepted – and acceptable – sooner than immigrants from other parts of the globe? More laws have been passed in the United States attempting to restrict immigration from Asian countries than from any other part of the world. Japanese-Americans were the only US citizens collectively interned during World War II. And yet Asian-Americans are also paradoxically stereotyped as being a ‘model minority’. What does all this mean?

Join Helen Haerhan Moon, Deepika Shukla, Setsuko Winchester, and K. Scott Wong as they discuss what it means to be Asian-American in the USA and here in the Berkshires.

 

Yellow Bowl Project
Yellow Bowl Project; photo by Setsuko Winchester.

 

During the Second World War, the US Government opened ten concentration camps to incarcerate 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who had been forcibly removed from the West Coast.

Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners
Presented by the City of Pittsfield’s Human Rights Commission
Sunday, September 10, 2017, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street, Pittsfield, Mass.
Free

 

Setsuko Winchester

(excerpted from submitted info and her project’s website.)

Setsuko Winchester will be part of the panel Asian Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners at the Berkshire Museum, Saturday, September 10; photo by Simon-Winchester.
Setsuko Winchester, Artist/Ceramist/Photographer, will be part of the panel “Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners” at the Berkshire Museum, Saturday, September 10; photo by Simon-Winchester.

 

Setsuko Sato Winchester is a former NPR journalist and ceramicist. Photographs of her Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project are currently on exhibit at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York, through December 31, 2017.

In 2015, I — an American-Japanese, former NPR journalist, ceramicist — began a journey to visit all the remains of these camps, most of them now desolate and lonely ruins. In my studio in Massachusetts I had hand-pinched and glazed 120 bright yellow tea bowls: yellow, to represent the “Yellow Peril,” as Asians were euphemistically referred to at the time, and tea bowls, to represent man’s humanity. My plan was to photograph arrangements of these bowls in each camp, to create a conceptual art project which I called the “Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project.” The intent of this project is to inform and educate. The hope is to diffuse fear, not spread it.

It was FDR who created the camps — the same FDR who had famously made the iconic Four Freedoms speech. My belief, after much research, is that “Japanese-Americans,” imprisoned in these ten camps wrongly and unjustly, were about as frightening as the tea bowls I planned to display. It is widely agreed today that there was absolutely nothing to fear from them. And it turns out — the irony at the center of my art project — that they had much to fear from the US Government. ​

Hence my project.

 

Helen Moon

Helen Moon is a critical care nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. While studying at UMass Boston, she worked and volunteered her time to community programing and advocacy groups affecting Black, Korean and Vietnamese Americans in the greater Boston region. Moon has lead summer camps for Somalian refugee children in Ethiopia, taught English to children in Mexico, served food to homeless veterans in Boston, and has had tea with Muslim women in Egypt. It is because of her love of people from all walks of life, and her continued pursuit of human rights, equal representation, and diversity that Moon is honored to engage in conversations that enrich our understanding of race relations here in Berkshire County.

Deepika Bains Shukla

Deepika Bains Shukla is an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts in Springfield. She prosecutes federal criminal cases involving fraud, public corruption, gun and drug crimes, terrorism, and civil rights crimes. Before coming to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Deepika was a Staff Attorney at the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, a litigator at a small civil rights firm, and an associate at a large law firm in New York.

Setsuko Winchester

Setsuko Winchester, born in New York City of Japanese immigrant parents, worked as a journalist, editor and producer at NPR’s Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation before moving to Western Massachusetts in 2006 to pursue a life-long interest in ceramics and the visual arts. In 2015 those interests of art and journalism converged in an online project called the Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project. Using her ceramics and photography, her work explores the concept of freedom and what it could mean to different groups at different times in American history through the lens of the mass incarceration of people of Japanese ethnicity in the United States during WWII. The actual tea bowls used in this project were selected by SculptureNow and are installed on the grounds of the Mount, the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, MA (from June 1- Oct.31, 2017). You can find her website at: http://www.yellowbowlproject.com

K. Scott Wong

K. Scott Wong is the Charles R. Keller Professor of History at Williams College where he teaches a variety of courses in Asian American history, comparative immigration history, history and memory, and the history of race and ethnicity in American culture. He has written numerous articles in journals and anthologies. His most recent monograph is “Americans First”: Chinese Americans and the Second World War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.) He is also a former series editor for the Asian American History and Culture series published by Temple University Press.

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Densho

Densho’s mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy, and promote equal justice for all.

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