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Berkshires

Stop & Shop Workers Strike across New England

North Adams Stop & Shop workers assemble in the early hours of the UFCW strike against the supermarket chain on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Union steward Bill Laviolette (front, giving the thumbs up) coordinated the location actions; photo by Jason Velázquez.
North Adams Stop & Shop workers assemble in the early hours of the UFCW strike against the supermarket chain on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Union steward Bill Laviolette (front, giving the thumbs up) coordinated the location actions; photo by Jason Velázquez.

Talks set to continue as union and company measure each other’s resolve from across parking lots.

NORTH ADAMS — Today is Saturday, April 13, 2019, I am your host, Jason Velazquez, and I’d like to welcome you to Episode #69 of our flagship podcast, the Top Left Corner.

What you heard coming into this program was the scene outside the Stop & Shop in Chicopee, Mass., as workers from that and other stores represented by United Food and Commerical Workers Local 1459 rallied near the tail end of a string of negotiations that began in the Autumn of 2018. Stop & Shop workers throughout New England have been working without a contract since February. All those heated talks between the Union and Dutch international retailer Ahold Delhaize reached a stalemate Thursday, and at about 1:15 p.m. local time, The UFCW texted their workers en masse to let them know that it was time to strike.

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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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Unsung Eats: Berkshire Palate
Williamstown—Little Bun, Chicken & Waffle

Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.
Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats is all about finding great food for a great value all over North county, and today we find ourselves in picturesque Williamstown at a cool little eatery called Berkshire Palate. 

Berkshire Palate is located in the Colonial Plaza on Route 2 where there is plenty of parking.

Once inside, I sat down in the front window at the high counter and looked around. The place is cozy and clean with an upscale feel, and there were other diners there happily chatting away. A man named Paul came to greet me and take my drink order. We talked a bit and I discovered that Paul was part owner, going into business with his sons, opening Berkshire Palate less than a year ago.

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Unsung Eats: Hot Dog Ranch,
North Adams — Beef Stew

The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.
The Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams offers a home-style Beef stew that earns it's place on the Unsung Eats chart; photo by James Kennedy.

Only at the Greylock Glass can you find Unsung Eats; the column that takes the guesswork out of where to find great local grub for short money.

I’ve driven by the Hot Dog Ranch in North Adams before, and when I checked out their menu online I saw that their daily specials were actually very affordable home-cooked–style meals so I decided to take them for a spin.

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Unsung Eats: Lee’s Dynasty
Szechuan Chicken

Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.
Szechuan Chicken, with egg roll and a soft drink, available at Lee's Dynasty in Adams for under $10; photo by James Kennedy.

Maybe today you don’t feel like cooking. Maybe today you don’t have the time to stop at the grocery store and go home and drag out the pots and pans because your entire day has been mired in chaos.  The answer then is to go out to eat or order take out but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to break the bank and there are so many options to explore for great grub cheap in northern Berkshire County if you know all the hotspots.

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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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Jane Hudson, recent paintings: an artists’ artist in our midst

Enough Said, II,, Jane Hudson; acrylic on canvas, 24” × 30”, [source, the artist].
Enough Said, II,, Jane Hudson; acrylic on canvas, 24” × 30”, [source, the artist].

“Our hearing of colours is so precise … Colour is a means of exerting a direct influence upon the soul. Colour is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many strings. The artist is the hand that purposely sets the soul vibrating by means of this or that key. Thus it is clear that the harmony of colours can only be based upon the principle of purposefully touching the human soul.”

Wassily Kandinsky

Jane Hudson is a pioneer. Not just any pioneer, but one who, for over 40 years, has assumed the mantel of courageous trailblazer. Jumping into digital media, a male dominated field, when it was in its gestational state, she contributed to video and performance being recognized as an art on par with painting, drawing, and sculpture. Hudson’s accomplishments are well documented. Grants ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to the George Gund Foundation to the Mass Cultural Council all acknowledged her brilliance as a video and performance artist.

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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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Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction

Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas [source: Gallery 51]
Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on canvas [source: Gallery 51]

Overwhelmed by large museums? Would you like to take a moment to look at artwork, but you don’t want to pay admission or dedicate an entire afternoon? There is an answer. MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main Street, North Adams, Mass.  Now on view is Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction.

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MCLA to host next “Social Change Series” film

Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva star as two lovers attempting to navigate cultural taboos in the Kenyan film "Rafiki," screening at MCLA Tuesday, January 29; image courtesyBig World Cinema / Afrobubblegum.

Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva star as two lovers attempting to navigate cultural taboos in the Kenyan film “Rafiki,” screening at MCLA Tuesday, January 29; image courtesyBig World Cinema / Afrobubblegum.

NORTH ADAMS — As part of the ongoing Social Change Film Series and in collaboration with Williams College and Bennington College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will present a screening of “Rafiki,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Amsler Campus Center’s Sullivan Lounge.

The Social Change Film Series is free and open to the public. All films will begin at 7 p.m. and take place on Tuesdays at one of the three college campuses.

“Rafiki” (2018) is a Kenyan film directed by Wanuri Kahiu. It tells the story of the friendship and love that develops between two women, despite familial and social pressures. The film will be facilitated by Dr. Jenna Sciuto, assistant professor of English at MCLA, who will lead a talk back at its conclusion.

According to Michael Obasohan ’11, assistant director of diversity programs and the Multicultural Education Center at MCLA, the series aims to encourage the audience to think about social change and to heighten their awareness of the social issues that happen around them in their communities.

Professors from each campus select the films and lead the discussions that follow each screening. Members of the campus’s surrounding communities are invited to join this dialogue.

Subsequent screenings will include “Jewel’s Catch One” at Williams College on Feb. 19 in the Paresky Auditorium, with a talk back lead by Dr. Kai Green, assistant professor of  women’s, gender and sexuality studies; “Real Women Have Curves” at Bennington College on March 12 at the CAPA Symposium, with a talk back led by Dr. Natalie Scenters-Zapico, professor of literature; and “The Mask You Live In” at Williams College on April 16 in the Paresky Auditorium, with a talk back led by Kendra Werst, graduate program art history lecturer.

Free transportation will be provided. For Bennington, contact Anya at Apiotrowski@bennington.edu. For MCLA, contact Obasohan at M.Obasohan@mcla.edu, and for Williams, contact Shawna at sps3@williams.edu.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information, go to www.mcla.edu.

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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Parlor Café Presents “Geek Comedy Hour”

Parlor Café offers up the absurdist alt-comedy show, “The Geek Comedy Hour” on Thursday January 24, 2019 at 7 pm.

Comedian Ed Smyth weaves a geeky fabric of twisted topics, quirky routines, silly micro-sketches and warped historical moments, including Wally the Happy Talking Neutrino; Oog Son of Ahg, a Neanderthal with a primitive folk song/magic/juggling/and retro Tom Jones act; a fresh dairy products sea chanty; “Lenin Live In Vegas”; kazoo heavy metal songs; a Bronx gangster-movie version of Snow White; a funk-o-licious pickle jar song; World of Micro Fun; world’s fastest live reading of “Moby Dick”; and similar. It’s an act that’s both intelligence-friendly for adults and family-friendly for language. Audiences have described him as a sort of one-man vaudeville-like act for grown-ups with a silly streak. Ed performs his “Geek Comedy Hour” regularly in coffeehouses, performance spaces, and art venues throughout the northeast. Ed will be joined by North Adams comedian and Berkshire Eagle columnist Seth Brown, who brings a mix of off-beat stand-up, dramatic humor column readings, and possible poetry.

Door fee is simply purchase of one hot beverage per attendee. 14 and up recommended.

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