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TLC #62 — Remembering the Women’s March: Voices from the Road

Hey Greylock Nation—

Today is Tuesday, January 16, 2018, and you’re listening to episode 62 of the Top Left Corner. I’m your host, Jay Velazquez, and, as always, I thank you for tuning in.

All photos by Jason Velázquez.
All photos by Jason Velázquez.

We’re coming up this week on the first anniversary of the Women’s March, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, with half a million attendees showing up for the flagship event in Washington D.C., approximately 4 million participating in events around the country, and well over 5 million demonstrators world-wide.

Although I haven’t talked much about it, I was fortunate, more than fortunate actually, to attend the Women’s March on Washington. At the last minute Meghan Whilden, Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, contacted me to let me know about an empty seat on one of several busses heading to the Capitol from Western Massachusetts. She wanted to send me down as one of the Berkshires’ own journalists on location at one of the most profound and powerful experiences on American soil of the 21st Century. My bus left from Northampton, Mass about 1:30 a.m. packed primarily with women from the Pioneer Valley, but also a good share of Berkshire residents. The buses leaving out of Pittsfield had all left earlier the evening before.

Our bus arrived and parked in the lot of a stadium outside of the Capitol, and, keeping close to my Berkshires contingent, I made my way toward the National Mall, interviewing people along the way. Long before I saw the columns of the Supreme Court or any of the monuments, I knew that I’d been captured by history and marked in a way that would be almost painful for its permanence.

I reported via Facebook LIVE video and through live audio broadcasts using the Mixlr Internet radio service. I posted photos and text updates until first the cellular service in D.C. got completely clogged, or intentionally disabled—we never found out— and then eventually my phone’s battery ran dry, and I had no way to charge it without finding my way through a rolling pink sea of determination.

On the trip back to Western Mass, I tried to piece together some way to tell a story that was weightier and more expansive than I’d ever been tasked to convey. Harder still was knowing what to do with the strange distance I felt between myself as a man and a reporter at the scene and the women who were returning as victorious participants. There were so many women who’d attended not just the March on Washington, but also the sister events in the Berkshires and beyond, who had their stories and experiences to share as women with other women. Who was I to show up at their campfire and ask to be passed the talking stick? And with such really excellent coverage by so many distinguished national journalists, I couldn’t see what contribution I might make.

I spent a good amount of time on both the way down and the way back talking with Emily Cutts, staff writer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. I meant to ask her what it felt like to be a female journalist covering the story, and whether she felt she needed to try to keep a level of professional detachment from the events. I don’t know how any reporter, man or woman, could have kept their heart behind a fence, to be honest.

But I never got to ask her. The bus stopped moving about 40 minutes south of Northampton and wouldn’t budge again. In a flurry of calls to family and frenzied tapping on Uber, the women and men who shared such powerful solidarity for the last 24 hours made their separate ways out into the pre-dawn darkness and frost. My lot, and that of my traveling companion, was looking more and more dire as Uber drivers started running out, and I couldn’t get my phone to install the damn app anyway. In an act of selflessness and generosity, charity really at that hour of the morning, my newly met colleague gave up her seat so that we could make it back to Northampton. She ended up waiting over an hour in the cold until a friend was able to get there and shuttle her back to Paradise City. Thank you. Thank you again, Emily Cutts. Your strength, exhibited through kindness and self-sacrifice was so…feminine.

It didn’t take me long, sitting starting at the empty white screen of my computer, to realize that what Megan Whilden had done, intended or not, was not to dispatch me to the nation’s capitol to go get that story, but to send me there so that the devastating 24-hour transformation I underwent would inform my decisions on what topics I would cover and how I would cover them from that point on. If it seemed to you that the reporting coming out of the Greylock Glass was steeped in estrogen in 2017, well now you know why.

I looked for stories not just about women in the Berkshires, but about how those women, through their own work and lives, reflected the growing realization that America was about to reckon with a women’s movement that was gaining in power, momentum, and political sophistication. The country would begin to come to terms with gender inequities and injustice not because it was convenient at the moment, but because women had decided they were done with gradualism.

The Greylock Glass reported on many, many women achieving amazing things in education, literature, music, politics, and other areas. When searching for a source to talk to about a subject that wasn’t inherently masculine or feminine, I challenged myself to be sure to contact a woman with equal expertise or credentials if no reason existed not to feature a feminine voice. Finally, just as important to me as including women’s voices in our reporting was committing to give time to stories about issues that may have a veneer of gender neutrality, but which, in fact, affect women disproportionately, and often with strikingly unjust consequences.

What did I learn pursuing this slight editorial tweaking in 2017 was that including women more often in news coverage, as vital actors on the many diverse stages of human experience, as agents of their own fortunes and as agents of change in their communities? I learned that it’s really no professional challenge. It’s just a personal habit. Plenty of men made appearances in our podcasts and in our pages last year, too—when it made sense, in the interest of the informing the audience, to talk with them. But never as the default gender. And while I haven’t analyzed stories and podcasts from 2015 or 2016 to see if last year rectified a gender disparity of which I wasn’t aware, I don’t think I have to at this point. And I don’t think I’m going to have to make any special effort in 2018 to ensure journalistic gender equity. If, as I hope, I’m in a position to hire a reporter this year, I’ll be looking forward to nurturing the habits of awareness in her or in him that took root for me, and for the world, during the first Women’s March on January 21, 2017.

Although I never did come up with a satisfactory way to chronicle my trip to Washington, I did return home with a couple hours-worth of audio interviews. I’ve sifted through those conversations and pulled out a small collection of my favorite quotes. Except for the voice of Kamala Harris at the end, the speakers are going to remain nameless, though some of you will, doubtless, recognize one or two of the women I spoke with. So now, I’d like to share with you, as a small way the Greylock Glass can commemorate that historic demonstration, Ten Minutes of Voices on the Road to the Women’s March on Washington.


WDIJW? “Alma”

One of the most macabre, yet most lovely shorts we’ve come across. And just right for a cold and snowy weekend at the end of the year!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.


Will Call #66: Bach At New Year’s and Travis Daly on “A Christmas Carol”

Longtime Berkshire Bach Ensemble member Eugene Drucker takes on directorship of “Bach At New Year’s”

Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory "Bach at New Year’s"; submitted image.
Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”; submitted image.

Today is Wednesday December 20, 2017 and you’re listening to Episode #66 of Will Call, our final episode of the show for the year. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you not only for tuning in today, but for being such a fine, fine audience throughout 2017. It has been my treat to share with you news and interviews from the performing arts universe here in the Berkshires. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out where 2018 will lead us.

I am so pleased to announce that this episode is sponsored by one of the newest supporters of the Greylock Glass, The Spirit Shop of Williamstown, located at 280 Cole Avenue, purveyors of fine wines, a masterfully curated selection of domestic and imported beers, local hard ciders, and a full range of liquors—if you check your cabinet and find your holiday entertaining supplies lacking, a trip to the Spirit Shop, might just be the solution you’re looking for.


Advertisement for The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts


At the top of the show, we heard a clip from Rondeau, one of six contradanses by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, at their 2015 extravaganza, “Bach at New Year’s — A Blast of Brass,” under the direction of Kenneth Cooper. This season inaugurates a season of change for the Berkshire Bach Society. Emerson String Quartet founder and internationally renowned soloist, Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”, as well as performing as featured soloist with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble.

We’re joined this episode by Paula Hatch, Executive Director of the Berkshire Bach Society, to talk about this year’s Bach at New Year’s event and to look forward to 2018.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol, at the Berkshire Theatre GroupFirst though, we had a brief conversation with Travis Daly of Berkshire Theatre Group who directs their beloved community production of A Christmas Carol again this year. And again, tickets are still available for this beloved staging of A Christmas Carol at

That was a portion of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, played by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble during their 2016 Bach at New Year’s. All six Brandenburg Concerto’s were performed for last year’s holiday spectacular, the final such with Kennth Cooper as director before his retirement. With me now is Berkshire Bach Society executive director Paula Hatch to describe this 2017 event and to fill us in about what’s known of the 2018 season.

Head on over to for tickets and more information. Well, that’s our show for this week. I’ve been your host, Jason Velazquez, and again, I do thank you for listening today, and throughout 2017. I hope you’ll join me next year for another great season covering the performing arts in the Greylock corridor. Take care!


Bach at New Year’s Program 2017-2018

Mozart: Divertimento in D Major, K. 136

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Purcell: Chacony and Fantasias; Cebell and Fanfare; The Faerie Queen Prelude and Celebration

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Mozart: Violin Concerto in A Major — K. 219 (the Turkish – Drucker soloist)

Bartok: Duos for Two Violins, Sz. 98: New Year’s Greetings

Telemann: Concerto in D Major for Four Violins — TWV 40:202

J.S. Bach: Contrapunctus #9 from The Art of the Fugue.

Mozart-Bach: Five fugues for String Quartet from The Well-Tempered Clavier

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major — BWV 1066


The Cornbread Cafe #6: INTERVIEW with Janie Barnett, too many new tracks to list!

Janie Barnett discusses her gracefully drifting release, You See this River.

Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.


Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #6—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your waiter today. 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 hope to become your new new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.


Click the play button on this audio player to hear the complete interview with Janie Barnett.


This is episode six of the Cornbread Cafe, and do I have a special treat treat for you this time around. Actually I have a whole hour of special treats, as always, but one of them is especially rare and wonderful. We have with us Janie Barnett, who if she were the last Americana musician to be minted in this world, would be give us a perfect last lingering chord in the genre.

Artists Featured in this Episode:

Janie Barnett, “You See This River,” You See this River
Janie Barnett, “Better Times Are Coming,” You See this River
Molly Pinto Madigan, “Seven Tears,” The Cup Overflows
Bees Deluxe, “Industrial (espionage),single
Gus McKay, “Married a Snake,Salt Flat Mojo Blues
Heather Maloney, “Let Me Stay,” by Just Enough Sun
Almond & Olive, “We Will,” Standing at the Precipice
Birds of Chicago, “American Flowers,” American Flowers
Janie Barnett, “Sweet Thursday,”  You See this River

Note: Artist links provide access directly to artists’ websites or social media homepages. All album links provide access to song or album purchase options, often through our affiliate programs with Apple Music or


On her just released album, You See This River, Janie crafts stories dug out your family’s cedar trunks up in the attic, memories traced in carbon copy from old letters in the shoebox in the back of the closet. Her ballads are painted in emotions as fresh as eternally wet paint. Her creations are woven from Words that seem like she could have teased them out of my own brain if I were an immeasurably more talented poet.

Some are Songs of stubbornly optimistic, inevitable love filtered through a self-knowledge even the most enlightened gurus would envy.

Some Songs echo the lives people who are really living their lives on the back stoops, in the kitchens, in bedrooms together in vulnerable companionship or the complex internal lives we’re living alone in our hearts and minds as we travel through our labors or little luxuries.

Penetrating and heartbreaking. Wise and reckless. True. Imagined. True anyway.

Janie Barnett thanks for being on the show!

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Upcoming Event

Janie Barnett, opening for Paula Cole
Saturday December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
The Center for Arts in Natick
info & tickets

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.

I think it’s about time that we all get a taste of the work that I know Janie can do, does do, and has done with Blue Room on this recent release “You See This River.” Before we do, though, I need to pause and explain that I had no idea just how engaging our conversation was going to be. I will confess right here and now that I was prepared to record for 20 minutes, keep the best 10, and share them with you. When I looked up at the clock and saw that a full 30 minutes had gone by, and realized that she had so many more stories and nuggets of wisdom to share, I made the decision to keep rolling tape and figure it out later.

And I think I’ve got it figured out, now. I’ve edited the entire conversation, keeping almost every syllable, and have made the entire talk available as bonus audio here in the show notes. Just look for the audio player below the first paragraph. You’ll want to hear everything Janie has to say. And to create the most powerful, most tempting incentive, I’m going to sprinkle jewels from our talk throughout the rest of the show. That way, you still get almost as much music as usual, AND you get an exclusive interview with one of Americana’s leading ladies.

Bees Deluxe Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch
Bees Deluxe
Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr
Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band
photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch

So let’s have two right now from Janie—One, a searching, buoyant rendition of Steven Foster’s “Better Times Are Coming” from 1862, but first the title track off this tuneful treasure trove, You See This River.

And THAT last number was “Seven Tears” off our old friend Molly Pinto Madigan’s very recent release The Cup Overflows. Before that, we heard Better Times Are Coming and the title track from You See This River, from the very phenomenal Janie Barnett and Blue Room. You can find purchase options for their most recent as well as prior releases in the “Artists Featured in this Episode” section, above.

After hearing Janie Barnett, you’re likely to ask yourself, “This is great, but how and where can I experience the magic live?” You’re in luck, because she has a couple shows coming up in the next couple of months, including a one-of-a-kind performance December 16 opening up for Paula Cole at the Center for Arts in Natick, Mass. If you’re anywhere in the Boston Metro neighborhood, you won’t want to miss what is sure to be a powerful evening of tunes.

Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay
Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay

Next course coming out of the kitchen is a sub-genre we have not explored much yet on the Cornbread Cafe—and that’s Acid Blues. Oh it’s true blue, but just a little bit gacked out. We’ll have a double shot that starts with a band I’ve been following since my days at the helm of the Mongrel’s Howl podcast, back in 2005. In fact, that’s why I was so grateful and honored that they responded to my note asking if they wanted to be part of this new show. Ever-gracious, they obliged, and YOU dear listener, reap the benefits of my association, I promise you that.

Also in this block, we’ll hear a deeper cut “Married a Snake,” off Gus McKay’s recent release, Salt Flat Mojo Blues. I don’t know if Gus would categorize his music as acid blues, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether it belongs in the same drawer as Bees Deluxe’s newest single, “Industrial (espionage)” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Heather Maloney; photo courtesy
Heather Maloney; photo courtesy

That’s Janie Barnett talking about the need to wrangle, and ultimately reconcile time and creativity as responsibilities of family and paying gigs eat away at the leisurely time once spent waiting for the muse to show up with inspiration. In our extended conversation, Janie shares some deeply personal perspectives on subjects like family. I really encourage you to to listen to what was, for me, one of my most absorbing interviews ever. In fact, let’s have a listen to one of my favorite gems from our talk before we hear brandy new just released tracks from Heather Maloney, Almond & Olive, and Birds of Chicago.

We just heard the title track from the just released EP American Flowers, by Birds of Chicago, available through Signature Sounds. On a different podcast, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of sharing a long conversation with JT Nero who, along with Allison Russell, makes up the principle force of the group that’s been described as “secular gospel.” That identifier certainly seems to fit, doesn’t it? The affect some of their songs have on me definitely goes beyond simply my heart and mind.

Almond & Olive; submitted photo.
Almond & Olive; submitted photo.

Before that, we heard “We Will” off the new release from Almond & Olive. This duo, sometimes known simply as A&O, is comprised of singer-songwriters Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson. The also call Chicago home, so if you think detect some shared musical DNA, you’re probably not wrong. The track comes from “Standing at the Precipice,” an album that came about less than two years after the two met in 2015.

And we started the set with another artist on the Signature Sounds label, Heather Maloney, who brought us “Let Me Stay,” from her latest effort, Just Enough Sun, which also features the instrumentation of Ryan Hommel.

You’ll be hearing plenty more cuts off each of these albums in the near future, probably just as soon as my heart recovers from the extreme emotional workout that triple of tunes put it through.

Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.
Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.

Before them, Janie Barnett gave us a deep look into the emotional dimensions of her own creative source material, and how motherhood instilled a sense of forgiveness in the artistic space she inhabits these days.

Let’s hear from Janie again as we work our way through dessert and coffee. She talks about the process of creating her new album, You See This River, one of the most consistent and structurally sound I’ve heard. She suggested we close out the show with a song she described as one of her more light-hearted compositions, “Sweet Thursday.” I think you’ll agree that it’s just the balm you need some days, these days.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)


Janie Barnett; photo courtesy
Janie Barnett; photo courtesy


Well, that’s our show for the week. I know you won’t want to miss next weeks episode of the Cornbread Cafe, so I’d encourage you to subscribe through iTunes or Google Play Music—you’ll find the subscribe buttons on just about any page of our site. And when you subscribe, I’d be grateful if you left us a review—it really helps people discover us.

I’ve been your host, Jay Vee, aka the mongrel, and I thank you for listening. We’ll tuck into more heaping helpings of American Roots music next week. Take care.


Will Call #65: The MCLA Allegrettos deep in a new season of harmony

Razor sharp a cappella and gospel group to give free performance

The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.
The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.


from publicity materials

Known for their powerhouse vocals, the MCLA Allegrettos are quickly becoming a name on the collegiate music scene. Focusing on complex vocals, rock solid technique, emotive nuances, and power; the Allegrettos deliver a sound that has no flats, avoids sharps, and only produces perfect harmony.

ADVERTISEMENT, The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Allegrettos A Cappella Performance

Saturday, December 09 at 7:00 p.m.
SereniTea Cafe and Bar
303 Ashland Street, North Adams, Mass.
Free! More info.

In three short years the Allegrettos grew from a 10 person Christmas caroling group, to a thirty member, award winning ensemble that has opened for the likes of Craig Harris, The Sweetback Sisters, Blitz the Ambassador, and Regina Carter.

The purpose of the MCLA Allegrettos is to challenge its members in all aspects of performance, from learning vocals to developing a visually stimulating and entertaining performance to a variety of audience members. It also enriches the community by performing varying genres of music which therefore provides a sense of other musical cultures.

The Allegrettos began in the winter of 2009 as the Hoosings. Freshman J. Cottle had always wanted to go caroling and for the first time, found himself in the position to do so. Together with 9 other freshmen (Jessica Jean-Charles, Kate Moore, Lizzy Mullen, Shavonne Brown, Chantel Baptista, Paul Miranda, Quincy Goodwin, Ryan Howard and Joel Siskin) the Hoosings caroled all around campus. Since then the group has tripled in size, and now focuses on Holiday, A Capella, and Gospel music, and has performed over 30 times across the state. In 2011 they were finalists in the first season of Together In Song, and won 2nd place in the first annual Lenox Caroling Festival.


Will Call #64: MCLA presents Tartuffe, Shakespeare & Co.’s 2018 line-up of Billy’s works

PLUS a sneak peek (well, more of a sneak listen) to our 1st place storyteller Jennifer Holey telling her tale about “Little Creatures” at the inaugural batch of the new Berkshire Yarn Mill’s live story event!

Sandy McKnight's Pop Clique provided welcome acoustic tunage for the first storytelling event of the new "Berkshire Yarn Mill," launched Wednesday night at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams.
Sandy McKnight’s Pop Clique provided welcome acoustic tunage for the first storytelling event of the new “Berkshire Yarn Mill,” launched Wednesday night at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams.


The Spirit Shop, 280 Cole Avenue, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The Spirit Shop, 280 Cole Avenue, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Today is Friday, December 1st, 2017, and you’re listening to Episode 64 of Will Call, here at the Greylock Glass. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I have to say welcome to all our listeners, and thanks for tuning in. I am so pleased to announce that this episode is sponsored by the newest supporter of the Greylock Glass, The Spirit Shop of Williamstown, located at 280 Cole Avenue, purveyors of fine wines, a masterfully curated selection of domestic and imported beers, local hard ciders, and a full range of liquors—if you check your cabinet and find your holiday entertaining supplies lacking, a trip to the Spirit Shop, might just be the solution you’re looking for.

“Canon and Variation,” by Twin Musicom, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

This episode features two great conversations about Berkshires theatre, both performances that are being staged right now as well as productions that are coming up in 2018. We speak first with Laura Standley, Associate Professor, Theatre – Acting and Directing at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts about the 2017 / 2018 Season entitled, “We the People.” We explore Molière’s “Tartuffe,” which enjoys a much-anticipated opening this weekend at the Venable Theatre on The MCLA campus. The link to tickets and more information is, of course, in the shownotes.

We’re also thrilled to finally have our long-awaited conversation with Shakespeare & Company’s artistic Director, Allyn Burrows, who is feeling pretty pleased with the outcome of the 2017 season, his first at the 40 year old Lenox institution. We talk about how the 2018 line-up of Shakespeare works came together, and how developments in staging locations have generated new enthusiasm for outdoor performance. No amount of prying would get him to reveal other titles from next year’s roster, but he assures us that we won’t have to wait too much longer.

Some of you probably heard about the launch of the new Berkshire Yarn Mill storytelling project this past Wednesday, November 29th. Actually, I know some of you heard about it, because some of you were there. The Greylock Glass began this initiative to help promote live storytelling in North County, and our first monthly batch of yarns, spun at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams, was a huge success. We’ll hear a sampling from the winning story later, but right now, let’s go to our conversation with Laura Standley of MCLA’s Fine and Performing Arts Department.


Affiliate Link.
Affiliate Link.

“Tartuffe,” by Molière
Presented by the MCLA Department of Fine and Performing Arts
December 1 –10

We speak about this complex work of satire with Laura Standley, Associate Professor, Theatre (Acting and Directing), who explained that this was a perfect choice for the 2017–2018 season, entitled, “We the People.”




Laura Standley, Associate Professor of Theatre—Acting and Directing; photo by Dennise Carranza.
Laura Standley,
Associate Professor of Theatre—Acting and Directing; photo by Dennise Carranza.


Laura Standley holds a BA in Theatre from University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA in Acting from University of California Irvine. She has studied under master teachers Robert Cohen, Dudley Knight, Annie Loui, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Ragnar Friedank, Joanna Merlin, Barney O’Hanlon, Lenard Petit, Ted Pugh, and Fern Sloan. Recent collaborations include Passage (work in progress) with Kickwheel Ensemble Theater, as well as Howard Barker’s Scenes From an Execution and David Ives’ The Liar with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. New York directing credits include Reckless Season (New Works Reading Series), Pump Boys and Dinettes, Lobby Hero, and Burn This, all with Ground Up Productions. Favorite academic directing credits include bobrauschenbergamerica,Romeo and Juliet, Mud and The Successful Life of 3 by Maria Irene Fornes, Angels in America,Hedda Gabler, and the punk rock version of Steven Berkoff’s Agamemnon.


Laura has taught at University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Stony Brook University, Chapman University, and University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Actors Equity, Voice and Speech Trainers Association, Association of Theatre Movement Educators, and the Michael Chekhov Organization. Laura is fascinated with the intersection of movement, action and the theatre experience. Her work incorporates classical theatre, body-based disciplines, and the use of dance choreography techniques in preparing performance. Laura continues to be inspired by this work in meaningful ways and is constantly looking for new forms of making theatre.

Thoughts on Shakespeare & Co.’s 40th season with Allyn Burrows…

…and a look forward to the 2018 line-up of Shakespeare works.


About Allyn Burrows

Allyn Burrows, Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company, photo by Olivia Winslow.
Allyn Burrows, Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company, photo by Olivia Winslow.

As Artistic Director of  Shakespeare & Company, The Tempest, God of Carnage, T.S. Eliot and his Love of Shakespeare, Or, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Pt 1, Measure for Measure, Betrayal, The House of Mirth, Love’s Labours Lost, Macbeth, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

As Artistic Director of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Allyn directed productions of Romeo & Juliet, Pericles, Jon Lipsky’s Living in Exile, Richard II, and The Tempest, and performances there included The Winter’s Tale, Henry VI Part 2, Henry VIII, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Richard III. 

He recently performed in Can You Forgive Her (Huntington Theatre), Breaking the Code (Underground Railway Theatre), Shipwrecked (The Lyric Stage), Oceanside, The Seafarer, Pursuit of Happiness, and The Homecoming (Merrimack Repertory Theater), and Five by Tenn (Speakeasy Stage). The 2006 Elliot Norton Award recipient for The Homecoming, King Lear, and Five by Tenn, Allyn also received the 2011 IRNE Award for Breaking the Code. Off-Broadway credits include Bug, Killer Joe, Louis Slotin Sonata, Closetland, and The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd.

He has worked regionally at The Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, The American Conservatory Theatre, The Long Wharf Theatre, The Denver Center, and The Walnut St. Theatre. Television credits include The Broad Squad, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Against the Law, and on film in The Company Men, Julie & Julia, and Manchester by the Sea.

Learn more about Rosalind and other women who populate Shakespeare’s works.

Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays, by Tina Packer. Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, by Tina Packer (affiliate link). “Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine,” by Angela Thirlwell (affiliate link).

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Melia Bensussen
July 3 to August 5
Tina Packer Playhouse

A gripping tale of blind ambition and nefarious plotting by two of Shakespeare’s most notorious anti-heroes of all time, Macbeth is a deliciously shadowy thrill ride. When yearning and imagination collide in the darkest recesses of a passionate mind, there may be blood. If victims fall in the consumption of power, the conscience can devour itself from within. Peace and sleep do not come without a reckoning. Such is the eternal and towering reminder of this stunning classic.

As You Like It at twilight
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows
July 10 – August 18
Roman Garden Theatre (Outdoors)

Like the Roaring Twenties for this country, the Forest of Arden represented a world of possibilities for young Rosalind. Our brilliant adventurer escapes a threatening world of suppression, even death, and her exile represents a dramatic break between past and future as she traverses the forest and the prospect of new horizons. Menace gives way to hope, re-invention, poetry, and love, cooked up with a big dose of hilarious comedy!

Love’s Labor’s Lost
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kelly Galvin
July 11 – August 20
The Dell at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home (Outdoors)






Will Call #63: Utter Whimsy and Dust Bowl Faeries, plus Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

5th Annual Whimsy at the Whitney Center for the Arts, with afterparty tunes provided by the Dust Bowl Faeries; AND a costumed, elaborately staged reading of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Shakespeare & Company.

Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, as Mary Bennet, in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; photo by Olivia Winslow.
Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, as Mary Bennet, in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; photo by Olivia Winslow.

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TLC #61 — Gettin’ FESTIVE at Greylock WORKS

Immerse yourself in beautiful and delicious handcrafted gifts at the 2017 FESTIVE! A new holiday market at Greylock WORKS celebrating the unique magic of the Northern Berkshires.

Set in an expansive, light-filled mill, the festival marketplace offers music performances, food crafters, local farmers, fermenters and distillers, and the region’s best artisans and textile curators.

Come to discover all your holiday gifts and wants, and stay for programs and workshops that invite visitors into the true stories of our artisans.


The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts










How to get there

Greylock WORKS is located at 508 State Road in North Adams, along Route 2.

Their newly renovated Weave Shed is located within a 240,000 sf textile mill currently undergoing an exciting restoration. They are a scenic 1 hour drive from the Albany and Hudson train stations, 30 mins North of Pittsfield in Massachusetts and 30 mins South of Bennington in Vermont.


Saturday November 18th, 2017

10:30 am to 5:30 pm

Advance tickets can be purchased in blocks of 4 Adults for $20 at THIS EVENTBRITE LINK. Children under 12, accompanied by an adult, may join FESTIVE for free.

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed unless they are service animals.


TLC #60: Berkshires first Transgender Day of Remembrance



from GLAAD:

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an international annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Additionally, during the week of November 13-20, individuals and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address the issues these communities face.

Observance at Park Square, Pittsfield

Thursday, November 16, 5:30 p.m.

Here in the Berkshires, MC and Featured Speaker Jahaira DeAlto, Reading of Transgender Day of Remembrance city proclamation by City Council President Peter Marchetti, Speech by Joseph Farnes of St. Stephen’s, Reading of US Names followed by Contemplative Silence, Speakers: Tegan Joy Cook, Ray Garnett, Kenneth Mercure, B Bradburd, Open Mic for Attendee Participation, Candlelit Procession (LED candles provided) to Park Square ending with Standing Vigil in Park Square with Reading of International Names followed by a return to the church with Reflection Time with Cookies and Beverages.

Jahaira DeAlto; submitted photo.
Jahaira DeAlto; submitted photo.

St. Stephen’s is handicap accessible, with the elevator available from the Allen Street Entrance. For those who are unable to attend we are making our best effort to livestream and/or record the event. We are also asking that our speakers try to provide written copies of their speeches, poems etc. so they may be shared online for those without access to transportation or who are unable to attend.

Jahaira DeAlto is an advocate and activist whose work began in 1997.

Notably, she has spoken at the Chanelle Pickett murder trial, the Ryan White Conference on HIV/AIDS, and Harvard University. Most recently, she was a guest-lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Affirming and uplifting Trans/Intersex People of Color is her passion. She is a college student in Pittsfield, MA, and she can also be found vlogging her heart out at


Will Call #62: The Wolves roam CenterStage in DeLappe’s 2017 masterpiece

The cast of the Williams Theatre Department production of "The Wolves," written by Sarah DeLappe, and directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury. The show runs November 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18; photo by Jason Velázquez.
The cast of the Williams Theatre Department production of “The Wolves,” written by Sarah DeLappe, and directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury. The show runs November 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18; photo by Jason Velázquez.

This is Will Call, #62—We travel this episode to somewhere in the Midwest to meet high school women’s soccer team The Wolves. Rather we’ll speak with Misha Chowdhury, who directs this Williams Theatre Department staging of Sarah DeLappe’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist play, The Wolves, which runs Nov 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 on the CenterStage. Keep Reading


TLC#59: Food for Thought: Dinner with Virginia Willis at Hancock Shaker Village

Shaker Meets Southern with Virginia Willis

Gardens with Round Stone Barn and Dairy Ell, Hancock Shaker Village; Photo by Bestbudbrian; [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Gardens with Round Stone Barn and Dairy Ell, Hancock Shaker Village; photo by Bestbudbrian; [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Top Left Tunes

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.This episode features “Hot Chicken,” off Dom Flemons‘ release, Prospect Hill. We interviewed this Grammy Award winning artist on a recent episode of the Cornbread Cafe, our American Roots music show. Check out the artist’s website, find out more about him, and maybe even pick up a CD or download while you’re there. Tell him Jay sent you.



Text from submitted release

HANCOCK, Mass.—The Chicago Tribune praised Georgia-born, French-trained, chef Virginia Willis as “one of the seven food writers you need to know,” and on Saturday, November 4, 2017, you’ll get the chance over dinner at Hancock Shaker Village when Shaker meets Southern. Willis, Editor-at-Large for Southern Living, is considered a leading authority on southern cuisine, its origins, and evolutionary future, and she’ll talk about Kentucky and Ohio Shaker foodways. There’s much more to southern cooking than we’ve been lead to believe, and she’ll show us the way. The perception may be BBQ and bacon, but in fact, thanks to a 12-month growing season, produce plays a large role in their regional foodways.

Virginia Willis; submitted photo.
Virginia Willis; submitted photo.

As a child, making biscuits – the same recipe she uses today – with her grandmother was the beginning of a culinary adventure which includes articles in national publications like Southern Living, Eating Well, and Fine Cooking, a food blog (named a favorite by Saveur), five books, and a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. Willis has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, Serious Eats, and Tasting Table and quoted in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She has worked behind the camera for Martha Stewart and in front of the camera with Bobby Flay.

Currently, Willis is developing with WGBH a series called Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South to air nationally on public television in 2018.

“Food is central to Hancock Shaker Village,” said president & CEO Jennifer Trainer Thompson. “We have 5 acres of heirloom gardens that we tend – just as the Shakers did two hundred years ago. When we say field-to-table, we’re talking maybe a hundred feet from the onion being pulled to the kitchen door. Virginia is an authority on Southern foods, and teaming up with Brian in the kitchen promises to be a culinary souffle. We can’t think of a better way to wrap up our series for the season than to return to our roots: nourishment.”

Willis, who champions social justice and sustainable sourcing, teams up with Hancock Shaker Village regional farm-to-table chef Brian Alberg to reimagine Southern cuisine on a New England farm and create a memorable neighborhood sourced meal highlighting heirloom produce from the Hancock Shaker Village gardens. The communal dinner will be served by candlelight in the beautiful historic 1830s Brick Dwelling dining room and includes wine and a copy of her latest cookbook, Lighten Up Y’all.


Food for Thought: Dinner with Virginia Willis
Saturday, November 4, 2017; 6:00 p.m.
Hancock Shaker Village
1843 W Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, Mass.
Tickets: $100—Available via Hancock Shaker Village website


The Menu

Butternut Squash Soup. Thyme Sautéed Apples. Country Ham.

Main Course
Herb Crusted Fresh Ham with Onion Gravy
Slow Roast Carrots and Parsnips with Dill
Stone Ground Herb Grits and Greens
Chive Biscuits
Pickles and Preserves

Chocolate Chess Pie. Black Walnut Brittle. Buttermilk Creme Fraiche.

Shaker Meets Southern

Food for Thought: Dinner with Virginia Willis is the final 2017 dinner in a series at Hancock Shaker Village of today’s most compelling authors talking about wide-ranging subjects of relevance today. Far ahead of their time, the Shakers addressed gender equality, sustainability, land renewal, racial equality, pacifism, and shared economies decades before fashionable, let alone there being a vocabulary to address such subjects. Hancock Shaker Village’s Food for Thought invites today’s best thinkers to address topics of importance to our community and world.

About Virginia Willis

Chef Virginia Willis is the author of Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, as well as Okra: A Savor the South Cookbook and Grits by Short Stack Editions. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health category and was a finalist for Best American cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is currently in development with WGBH for a series called Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South to air nationally on public television stations.

She is an Editor-at-Large for Southern Living writes a popular on seasonal ingredients called “Cooking with Virginia.” The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” A popular Southern chef, her legion of fans love her knack for giving classic French cooking a down-home feel and reimagining Southern recipes en Français. Her eponymous food blog, tagged as a favorite blog by Saveur magazine, receives rave reviews for her recipes and stories celebrating her Southern heritage and classic French training. Her articles have appeared nationally including Southern Living, Food52, CNN, All Recipes, Country Living, Eating Well, Family Fun, and Fine Cooking. As a nationally recognized Southern food and beverage authority she has been featured in the Washington Post and USA Today, Serious Eats, and Tasting Table and quoted in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Virginia is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree. She was the producer of Epicurious on the Discover Channel and Home Plate for Turner Studios. In front of the camera, Virginia has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen’s Best Dishes, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in recipe development, content creation, culinary editorial services, culinary video production, spokesperson representation, and media training.

She is a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Georgia Organics, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. She participates in Chef’s Move to Schools and is also part of the No Kid Hungry Blogger Program for Share our Strength. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force. As an Atlanta chef, she is proud to be on the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board as well as the Atlanta Community Farmer’s Market Advisory Board.

About Hancock Village

Home to the Shakers for more than 220 years, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy and making that story relevant and illuminating for today’s visitors. Situated on 750 acres of picturesque farm, field, and woodland in the bucolic Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Village consists of 20 historic buildings, a working farm and heirloom gardens, and a premier collection of 22,000 authentic Shaker artifacts.


Mentioned in the show:

Chef’s Collaborative

Calhoun’s Restaurant

New England Culinary Institute

The Guardian; Article: “Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown,” by George Monbiot


TLC #58: MCLA creates Chief Diversity Officer position; PROFILE—Print Shop Williamstown

Recent friction between students of color and MCLA administration not the main reason for creation of execution position of Chief Diversity Officer says college president

By Phil Roeder [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons and By Magicpiano (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons; Chief Diversity Officer
Graphic composed of photo of Murdock Hall, by Magicpiano; CC BY-SA 3.0 and Iowa City protests by By Phil Roeder; CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons



Hey Greylock Nation—

Today is Sunday, October 15, 2017, and you’re listening to episode 58 of the Top Left Corner. I’m your host, Jay Velazquez, and, as always, I thank you for tuning in.

We spoke this week with Dr. James Birge, President of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. The posting of the newly created executive level position of Chief Diversity Officer caught our eye, so we thought finding out a little bit about what went into the decision to create the position would be illuminating.

We also caught up with Elinor Goodwin, owner of the Print Shop, Williamstown, who is now comfortably settled into her new digs on Spring Street. The Print Shop has long been the go-to source for all the printed items that this digital media startup, The Greylock Glass, needs on a regular basis. And there’s a reason for that, which we’ll hear about on this first edition of the resurrected segment, the Berkshire Business Files here on the Top Left Corner.

Elinor Goodwin; from
Elinor Goodwin; from web site of the Print Shop, Williamstown

Berkshire Business Files: The Print Shop

The Print Shop Williamstown, a full-service print shop and marketing agency, is located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We work with organizations of all sizes: service professionals, banks, schools, teams, administration, parents, booster organizations and coaches to provide attractive materials within what are often limited budgets. We enjoy working with our clients from developing marketing concepts, to design, through to the printed publication. We also assist organizations with advertising campaigns—soliciting, designing, and placement of advertising.


Chief Diversity Officer

Locations: North Adams, MA
Posted: Sep 27, ’17
Type: Full-time

About Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts:

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is a dynamic and vibrant four-year public college located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1894, MCLA is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college of the Massachusetts State University System. MCLA was named a Top Ten Public Liberal Arts College by U.S. News and World Report. MCLA is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), a national consortium positioned at the forefront of the conversation on the value of a liberal arts education. MCLA also earned a place on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. The ranking cites colleges that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost, and the College was again named to the President’s Honor Roll for Service by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Job Description:

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) invites applications for Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). We are the designated public, liberal arts college among the nine State Universities of Massachusetts and one of 29 Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) in the country. We seek to be an exemplar of diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating an environment where anyone can excel in their learning, teaching, and work.

The CDO will be a thought leader and action driver in extending and deepening our diverse and inclusive MCLA community. The CDO will work with academic, administrative, and student leadership to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued and reflected in all areas of the college, and will help build and maintain bridges to our community and region in regard to shared commitments to inclusion and equity for all. The CDO will be a member of the College’s Executive Staff and report directly to the President.

General Duties and Responsibilities:

Work with faculty, executive and administrative staff, and students to direct, implement, and oversee institutional planning on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that positively impact student and employee experiences at MCLA.

Translate and implement best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education at MCLA.

Work with President to develop departmental budget that enhances the size and function of the Chief Diversity Officer’s office and provides resources for programming, meetings, professional development, and travel.

Identify and help to ameliorate the conditions/policies/practices at all levels of institutional life that impede the development of an inclusive climate in order to achieve the college’s mission.

Work with academic and faculty leadership to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum and faculty teaching methods.

In collaboration with others, develop comprehensive diversity and inclusion training and education programs for faculty, staff, administration, and students that improve how we interact with one another, that value diversity and inclusion in decision-making, and that create a welcome environment for students and employees regardless of background.

Collaborate with Human Resources Office, faculty, staff, administration, and students to review, revise, and work toward the goals of the College’s Diversity Statement, including, but not limited to, hiring a diverse workforce that is reflective of the student population.

Support and contribute to the efforts of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to implement new and/or revised policies and programming that contribute to a healthy campus climate and to cultivate a broader institutional dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Work with existing staff and policies at the College to help respond to matters regarding incidents of bias and/or to establish a system that provides just approaches and remedies to bias at MCLA.

Effectively communicate with internal and external populations on matters regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and advise others on strategies to improve communications.
Represent MCLA at public meetings and serve on external Boards that enhance campus/community partnerships.
Work with other campus offices to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in their function (i.e. human resources, admissions, institutional advancement).
Collaborate with designated faculty members on diversity initiative matters.
Supervise student workers/interns and ad hoc project staff.


Earned doctorate or other terminal degree strongly preferred
Six to ten years of diversity and inclusion-related work in higher education
College teaching experience highly desired
Significant experience facilitating group dialogue in a higher education environment or other setting
Demonstrated experience with analyzing a complex environment for strategic intervention
Strong interpersonal skills to establish effective relationships with campus colleagues, students, diverse constituents, and local community members
Excellent writing, communications, and organizational skills
Demonstrated experience working with and training students and colleagues on matters related to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and other identities
Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality

Additionally, the MCLA community has identified the following desired characteristics in a Chief Diversity Officer: Someone who is action-oriented while rooted in theory and reflection; one who values collaboration and communication; one who respects diverse thoughts, solutions, and opinions; a thought leader capable of hearing others’ ideas and capable of sharing her/his/their own ideas and thoughts; a leader who values transparency; a leader committed to the ideals of social justice.

Additional Information:

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible, position.

The deadline for applications is October 16, 2017.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and affirmative action in its educational programs, activities and employment practices. The college complies with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations advancing equal employment. Applicants who will enrich the diversity of the campus community are strongly encouraged to apply. Visit

Application Instructions:

Interested candidates must apply electronically and should submit a letter of interest and resume by clicking the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the job description page found HERE (Submission period ends 10/16/17).




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