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Robin Catalano

Robin Catalano has 10 articles published.

Robin Catalano believes in the power of storytelling to connect communities and cultures. She’s applied her creative approach to writing for magazines, books, blogs, websites, and a wide variety of marketing projects, and has published more than 75 articles and 1,000+ blog posts. As an editor, she has worked on more than 350 books for publishers including Penguin Random House, Workman, and Simon & Schuster. She has also served as a book coach for independent authors, helping them take their ideas from concept to print. An avid traveler and travel writer, Robin lives, reads, and writes voraciously in upstate NY.

Game of Thrones Has a Serious Girl Problem

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

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

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I Am Going to Leave Her Here

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

early morning photo by Kevin Sprague.

by Robin Catalano

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

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The Pillar Profiles:
Lindsey Schmid

Editors Note: What does it mean when we say that someone is a “pillar of the community?” How you answer depends a lot on your experiences and intersections with the people who, in your mind, help support and strengthen the areas of local life that are most important to us. In this new series, we’ll surely tread some well worn paths in search of those personalities. We’ll blaze new trails looking for emerging leaders, as well as expand our vision of where to look for these pillars of our community. Know someone you think fills the bill? E-mail us.

When most of us Berkshires dwellers encourage friends to visit, we usually highlight the traveler’s trifecta of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation. But for Lindsey Schmid, tourism in the Berkshires is a lot more specific and varied. It’s about mindfulness and wellness. It’s about glamping and hotspots for watching wildlife. It’s the craft beverage trend, farm-to-table foods, and cannabis tours. And it’s about interactive experiences and behind-the-scenes tours of well-known venues—all the better to attract thrill seekers jonesing to be the first person to post on Instagram and say, “I did this!”

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A View from the Tracks: Day Tripping in Chatham & Ghent, New York

A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County New York.
A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County, New York.

The morning sun reflects off the remnants of a hard crust of snow with a luminous quality that makes the towns of Ghent and Chatham, New York, appear suffused by stage lights. It’s been a long winter—about six months’ worth, by most people’s accounts, though they use much more colorful language; like the Inuit and their multiple words for snow, residents of upstate New York have a remarkable array of vivid, sometimes profane, epithets for the season. On this 50-degree day in March, the first hint that winter is finally releasing its skeletal grip on the region, people are emerging from their woodstove-warmed saltboxes and Cape Cods, primed and ready to enjoy the landscape and a sun no longer obscured by clouds heavy with the promise of more white stuff.

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May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Albany & Troy

Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade, which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.
Albany pulls out all the stops in their St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the parade,
which starts at 2:00 p.m.; photo courtesy Discover Albany.

On a swell of immigration that began in the 1640s and continued all the way through (and beyond) the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century, Irish immigrants made a place for themselves in large Eastern United States port cities like New York and Boston. But as jobs became less plentiful, many branched out, heading up the Hudson River from New York City and landing in the newly prosperous manufacturing centers in Troy and Albany. According to Discover Albany, thanks to this influx, the city currently boasts the fourth-largest Irish population in the country.

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He Said, He Said: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at MASS MoCA

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.

The dance world has been slow to let go of certain stereotypes. Chief among them might just be that men shouldn’t dance en pointe, and that romantic love is best expressed by men and women dancing together.

Which is one of the reasons that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the 45-year-old, New York City–based company of men in tights (and really, really large pointe shoes) has always been such a blast of fresh air. Not only are they game to get tarted up to play, often hilariously, all the women’s roles in classic ballets, but they also demonstrate serious dance chops that rouse the audience to standing ovation.

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Stranger in a Strange Land: Akram Khan and XENOS

Akram Khan in Xenos, photo by Jean Louis Fernandez, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.
Akram Khan, in XENOS, photo by Jean Louis Fernandez, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.

Akram Khan doesn’t just perform his dances; he lives them. In XENOS, which played to a packed audience on February 21 at the Williams College ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, he isn’t just a formidable dancer, but also a skilled actor adept at storytelling through explosive movement, small gestures, and poignant moments of stillness.

Whose war?
Whose fire?
Whose hand is this?

from Xenos, written by Jordan Tannahill
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Best of Hudson Shopping:
17 unique furniture stores, offering gently used bargains to handcrafted treasures

Much of the great shopping in Hudson, New York can be found on Warren Street; photo by Dan Region.
Much of the great shopping in Hudson, New York can be found on Warren Street; photo by Dan Region.

Shopping is one of those activities that roughly half the population loves, and does partly for the sheer fun of browsing or bargain hunting. The other half won’t step foot in a store until they’re down to the last smear of peanut butter in the jar or are desperate for socks that don’t have built-in ventilation. Whether you love it, hate it, or have an it’s-complicated relationship with shopping, here’s some great news: Hudson, New York, just an hour from Pittsfield, is fast becoming a shopper’s paradise, where you can pick up just about everything you need in a single day.

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The (Very) Bearable Lightness of Being Over the Hill

Dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.
Theoretical dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.

In early January, French author and filmmaker Yann Moix took a bath into a cauldron of hot water by declaring in an interview with the French edition of Marie Claire that women over age 50 are “too, too old” to love, and thus are “invisible” to him. He based his argument on the highly scientific theory that a 25-year-old woman’s body is “extraordinary,” whereas a 50-year-old woman’s body is “not extraordinary at all.”

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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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