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Lee Teenager Wins Congressional Art Competition
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Friday, May 12, 2017
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The self-portrait will hang in the Capitol in Washington D.C. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Fiora Caligiuri-Randall has a natural gift.   Only the second acrylic painting the 14-year-old has done will now hang in the halls of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Fiora's painting beat out 45 other high school artist's work throughout the First Massachusetts Congressional District in this year's Congressional Art Competition.   "I am a self-taught artist. I haven't taken any art classes. This year, I decided to take some art classes at Berkshire Community College. I took Drawing 1 last semester and I did this painting at fundamentals of painting this

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'A Quiet Passion': Rhyme and Reason
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:36PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
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Digging into my trove of words rarely used to describe most movies, but certainly apt in the case of director Terence Davies' biopic of the American poet Emily Dickinson, "A Quiet Passion," I have located and here employ the term, highbrowed. Truth be told, though I spent much of my formative years at institutions of higher learning where one can stave off the inevitability of work and earn a degree or two by paying the tuition and showing up for class somewhat regularly, I estimate that I just barely learned enough to appreciate this masterpiece.

Continuing in my hifalutin assay of expressions pertinent to this highly intelligent work, note that I've never really liked

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'The Circle': The Shape of Things to Come?
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
02:45PM / Friday, May 05, 2017
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Do you find yourself peering endlessly into your smartphone, hoping to make connections, seeking information, wiling away the time, looking for the secret of life and maybe even G-d? It has become your crystal ball and indeed, if we take the cue from director James Ponsoldt's "The Circle," it may show the way to a very creepy future. More important than it is good, this fictionalized audit of the mass voyeurism that has become a frightening offshoot of the information explosion demands the attention of people who still care to think for themselves.   The delve into this world by Mae Holland, a young woman previously in a dead-end customer service job who is recruited by a

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Red Lion Reopens Dining Room With $1M Renovated Kitchen
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:24AM / Saturday, April 29, 2017
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Red Lion Inn bakes more than 6,000 muffins and some 1,300 of its famous apple pies every year.

So when the bakeshop in the multiroom kitchen showed signs of structural distress, inn management decided if it was time to revamp this very important area, why not do the whole kitchen over?   After more than two months of construction, inn officials cut the ribbon on the newly renovated $1 million kitchen on Thursday afternoon, capping the latest update of the historic structure whose roots date back to the 1770s.   Owner Nancy Fitzpatrick joked it was the kind of project done only about every 75 years or so.    "So you're all

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'Born in China': Animal Magnetism
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:01PM / Friday, April 28, 2017
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One of the key joys of seeing "Born in China," a splendidly picturesque documentary about snow leopard Dawa and her two cubs; Tao Tao, a young snub-nosed monkey; and a giant panda

Ya Ya and her daughter, Mei Mei, was worth listening to the kids in the audience emoting. Normally, I would rail at the ragamuffins' commentary with an agitation worthy of the great W.C. Fields. But this was different. For many of the seemingly delighted and relatively polite tykes, this was their first movie experience. Respect must be paid.

Here was the nascence of what might become a lifelong love of that to which I have attributed everything from a zeal for adventure to the development of

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New Gallery Drawn by North Adams' Air of Contemporary Art
by John Seven, iBerkshires Contributor
05:58AM / Saturday, April 22, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A new art gallery in downtown North Adams is the result of the city's unique relationship with contemporary art as a lure to artists from other places.

Gravity Gallery co-owners Lynn Richardson and Paul McMullan first became acquainted with the city in 2012 when both artists displayed work in Downstreet Art.

  Richardson's installation, "Arctic Garden," addressed climate change in context of Richardson's hometown, Winnipeg. McMullen's work was also featured in a pop-up gallery from Gallery 107, ceramic work that functioned as the "guardians of the gallery."   Richardson and McMullan are art professors at

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'Gifted': The Long and Short of It
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
03:03PM / Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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"Saw 'Gifted.' Little girl genius. Enjoyed it. Intellectual and emotional ... homage to brainpower. Good acting. Won't play the hinterlands."   Thus read my text to Hesh, my longtime movie sidekick who, absent from my viewing of director Marc Webb's touching but predictable tale about the trials and tribulations of a 7-year-old math genius, asked what I had seen. Succinct if not eloquent, I suggest it illustrates I'm able to pen a discourse on films considerably short of my usual 835 words. It should also prove a boon to those enduring, charitable readers who, while wishing to be apprised of the film in question, would just as soon not slog through my

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'Going in Style': Bank Heist Steals Your Heart
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
11:59PM / Thursday, April 13, 2017
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  My first inclination when hearing that Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman would star in director Zach Braff's remake of 1979's "Going in Style," which featured George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, was to scream "Sacrilege!" But I was at a funeral and, fearing the outburst might be inappropriate, contained myself.    Later, my calmed head prevailing, I got philosophical about it. While the older set of oldsters was terrific in this seriocomic bank heist film, one good turn should deserve another, especially if it showcases such national treasures.   Besides, pity is, the economic situation that stirred the original gang to

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'Ghost in the Shell': Machine Politics
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
08:42PM / Friday, April 07, 2017
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Viewing director Rupert Sanders' highly imaginative "Ghost in the Shell," based on Shirow Masamune's Japanese comic series, it occurred to me: How do I know I'm not a cyborg, installed by some great Machiavellian organization to surreptitiously spread their deceptions through my film criticisms? It can't be .. I'm just a nice liberal guy, trying to make sure folks spend their movie money wisely. Or is that simply what I've been programmed to think?

Although still not sure, as sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick asked, if androids dream of electric sheep, I now must move on to wondering if Ancestry.Com might help a disillusioned cyborg learn his identity. All of

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Berkshire, Bennington Cultural Institutions Create 'Art Country'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:50PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Thompson's been talking for years about creating a destination in North County that will keep tourists longer than a day.

The director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is convinced that trading up day-trippers for overnights, weekends or longer will cause a seismic shift in not only the way Northern Berkshire is perceived but exponentially increase the cultural economic impact on the region.

On Wednesday morning, Thompson was joined by the directors of four other major cultural institutions in launching ArtCountry.org, a collaborative designed to go beyond a simple "cultural corridor" and to think regionally.

"Our goal

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