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January 2019

No excuse to stay home this weekend!

MCLA, Gallery 51, Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction, Kathline Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sarah Sutro, Image: Painting by Kathline Carr.
MCLA, Gallery 51, Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction, Kathline Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sarah Sutro, Image: Painting by Kathline Carr.

As you head into the weekend, do not be sequestered in your house. Northern Berkshires and the Bennington, VT area are inundated with free events that include family and child friendly events. Don’t forget Project Snowshoe at the Clark Art Institute. Borrow a pair of snowshoes and investigate 140+ acres of incredible landscape on easy hiking trails behind the Clark Art Institute.

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Family Ice Fishing Festival on for February

Ice fishing, circa 1910.
Ice fishing, circa 1910.

The question of how long humans have been ice fishing might be best answered by another question: How long have humans run out of food in the middle of winter? One can imagine an ancestor gazing hungrily out over a frozen expanse of lake or pond, a gnawing ache in the belly matched by a gnawing panic about the survival of self, family, tribe. A prehistoric thought likely occurred one desperate day that provided a glimmer of hope: “If I’m awake and hungry during this deadly, dormant season, maybe, just maybe, those tasty fishes are awake, too, under that barrier of ice.”

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Change of Heart: Offbeat Picks for Valentine’s Day Weekend

If love is a mysterious journey, why not celebrate with a little wanderlust together this Valentine's Day? Robin Catalano presents a collection of options that might expand the boundaries of romance just a touch; map courtesy OpenStreetMaps.
If love is a journey, why not celebrate with a little wanderlust together this Valentine's Day? Robin Catalano offers 17 options to expand the boundaries of romance just a touch; map courtesy OpenStreetMap.org.

As Snoopy sage Charles M. Schultz once pointed out, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” And if we had to venture a guess, we’d bet your plus-one would also appreciate a night (or day, or weekend) away for Valentine’s Day. Use this roundup of the most promising picks within driving distance of the Berkshires, and try something new, fun, provocative, or off the beaten path—and, we hope, more than just a little romantic. 

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Is America ready to embrace our grownup economic hybrid?

James Kennedy asks whether there's room for an economic hybrid in America: mashup of "Bald Eagle," photo by Saffron Blaze [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
James Kennedy asks whether there's room for an economic hybrid in America. Mashup: "Bald Eagle", by Saffron Blaze (CC BY-SA 3.0) and "Bison Framed by Downtown," National Fish and Wildlife Service.

In this upcoming election cycle we are already hearing a lot about Democratic Socialism. Now don’t get me wrong. I love capitalism, but the fact of the matter is that here in America we have reaped the benefits of socialism for generations.

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staring at the sun, Rafa Esparza

Detail: "Border Wash," by Rafa Esparza; a Mexican immigrant laborers sprayed with DDT at processing center in Hildago, Texas - After Leonard Nadel, 1956, 2019; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.
Detail: "Border Wash," by Rafa Esparza; a Mexican immigrant laborer is sprayed with DDT at a processing center in Hildago, Texas - After Leonard Nadel, 1956, 2019; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.

“My interest in browning the white cube — by building with adobe bricks, making brown bodies present — is a response to entering traditional art spaces and not seeing myself reflected. This has been the case not just physically, in terms of the whiteness of those spaces, but also in terms of the histories of art they uphold”

Rafa Esparza, ArtForum, November 21, 2017
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Bask in Arts and Outdoors this week in Northern Berkshires

Winter trails on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute are open for the exploring; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.
Winter trails at the Clark Art Institute are open for the exploring; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.

It is the end of January. The sky is an opaque slate grey. Temperatures are sinking into minus territory, not counting wind chill factor. What should you do to fight mid-winter inertia? Go out! There are lots of amazing activities to do in Northern Berkshires from snowshoeing at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown to free day at MASS MoCA in North Adams to exhibits that just opened this month. Check the notices below; you will begin to see the light.

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Welcome to Our World

Collage, "Paper Workers," by Sheila Velazquez.
Collage, "Paper Workers," by Sheila Velazquez.

Furloughed federal workers who are finding life tough because of the partial government shutdown are sacrificing and taking extreme measures to make ends meet and pay their bills. They are visiting pawn shops, asking for loan extensions, applying for SNAP (food stamps), using food pantries and visiting soup kitchens. They are taking any part-time temporary work they can find at whatever pay rate. They go to bed each night wondering how they will get through the next day, week, month. Sort of like a huge chunk of U.S. workers.

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Possible Selves:
Queer Foto Vernaculars

Possible Selves: Queer Foto Vernaculars, on view at the Williams College Museum of Art now through April 14; photo of installation by Brad Wakoff.
Possible Selves: Queer Foto Vernaculars, on view at the Williams College Museum of Art now through April 14; photo of installation by Brad Wakoff.

Possible Selves is one of the most critical contemporary exhibitions documenting the global impact of queer identities through portrait photography over a 60-year period.

This exhibition is the brainchild of gifted assistant curator at Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), Dr. Horace Ballard. The exhibition consists of selections from WCMA’s collection of legendary queer artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethrope, Andres Serrano, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Nan Goldin to name a few, plus over 200 images selected from Instagram.

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Smoked Porter
Harvest Brewing

No one would look at you twice if you snuggled up with Harvest Brewing's Smoked Porter (left); photo by The Brewsicologist
No one would look at you twice if you snuggled up with Harvest Brewing's Smoked Porter (left); photo by The Brewsicologist

The Winter Brew Review is an occasionally published series that seeks to uncover the regional frothy beverages that are exactly what you’re in the mood for when the mercury dips below tee-shirt-and-a-flannel, and anyone trying to push a Pilsner on you is askin’ to get bipped on the forehead.

Some brews that make the cut are passable substitutes for 10W-40 in a pinch. Others would buy you forgiveness if a dinner party host says, “bring something for dessert.” All of them, due to their profound satisfyingness can produce papers proving their diplomatic, carbohydratic, calorofantastic immunity. I mean, why would they put holes east of the buckle if they didn’t expect you to use ’em, right?

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Which Minorities Should YOU Be Persecuting In 2019?

Don't feel you have to limit your targets of discrimination just to the minorities listed — get creative! Depending on your location, many other outgroups may be available to harass or persecute!
Don't feel you have to limit your targets of discrimination just to the minorities listed — get creative! Depending on your location, many other outgroups may be available to harass or persecute!

Read Our Handy Guide To Find Out!

Satire by Corporate Christ, GUEST COLUMNIST

Are Lesbians moving into your community? Does the thought of Chinese children playing with your children frighten you? There are so many people to hate nowadays it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Read our handy article to make your own decision and you too can begin to make sense of your petty prejudices.

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For want of a nail…
Opportunity in America’s infrastructure

Massachusetts ranked 8th in a recent survey of the worst infrastructure in the U.S. by 247 Wall Street; photo, Interstate 495 over Merrimack River, Haverhill, courtesy Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Massachusetts ranked 8th in a recent survey of the worst infrastructure in the U.S. by 24/7 Wall Street; photo, Interstate 495 over Merrimack River; courtesy Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

How solid is a home that is sitting on a crumbling foundation? What other parts of this home are being stressed by having a weak infrastructure? Well, America IS our home and when we think about creating American jobs, we are literally standing on the solution. Keep Reading

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Environmentally radical views of Turner & Constable

“Rockets And Blue Lights (Close At Hand) To Warn Steamboats Of Shoal Water,” Joseph Mallord William Turner, English, 1775–1851; 1840, Oil on canvas; Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1932
“Rockets And Blue Lights (Close At Hand) To Warn Steamboats Of Shoal Water,” Joseph Mallord William Turner, English, 1775–1851; 1840, Oil on canvas; Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1932

“The sun is God”

— (attributed to) J.M.W. Turner 

Yes! Turner & Constable, 19th century artists, present two environmentally progressive perspectives of the natural world on view at the Clark Art Institute. The exhibit, Turner & Constable: The Inhabited Landscape, compares and contrasts two entirely different styles of painting that both elevated the genre of landscape painting beyond historical and mythological works while recognizing the invincibility of nature and our intrinsic human dependency upon it. Keep Reading

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