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The Pittsfield Ethnic Fair, August 7th, 2011 Noon - 6 p.m
- The Importance of Being Ethnic...more->

Steve reviews "An Evening with Roger McGuinn" of the Byrds at the Clark.
When I was a teenager The Byrds had already come and gone but their Greatest Hits collection LP was still up front and center more->

Steve Interviews Mary Rentz, who co-chairs with Kit Dobelle,
about the opening celebration week-end for Pittsfield's 250th anniversary while sidewalk art is being posted...more->

Art and About in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts
Every year Anne and I look forward with great anticipation to...more->

Why Do We Come Back To The Berkshires?(April 2010)
I was a devilish little Red Eft catching kid...more->

Stellaaaa...! Barrington Stage/ A Streetcar Named Desire - If someone you love shows off in public how does that affect you? Or Who's Afraid of Steve Gabe?...more->

What’s brand new and over 500 million years old? Mt. Greylock that’s what! Recently we visited the newly re-opened drive to the peak and devoured the gorgeous panoramic views...more->

James Taylor Fest 09 - Glorious end to a nasty summer or JT and the 4 sisters. We bought lawn seats for Tanglewood months ago for the last day of Jamesfest ’09...more->

Stellaaaaaaa……

Barrington Stage Company / A Streetcar Named Desire

If someone you love shows off in public how does that affect you? Or Who's Afraid of Steve Gabe? Most people become anti-social (that’s what Uta Hagen says). Anne became justifiably critical because I just couldn’t calm down after my Stella shouting contest victory. I must remember to take my victories in stride as my defeats but this was huge. Here’s the story: Barrington Stage Company and Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays got together and created the golden opportunity of summer ’09. With the Stella(r) cast as judges many contestants tried their luck. There was the outlandish lady who got everyone laughing who was my well deserving co-winner and the fan favorite a mere toddler who quietly kept repeating Stella, Stella, Stella, Stella and each time the crowd erupted in applause. The longest? I can’t recall but I went the distance tank-T and loud booming voice I dropped to my knees and then flat on my face with 1 long Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa full stop face in the dirt. It was all in good fun actors should not be afraid to compete with amateurs as the true meaning of amateur is someone who does something just for the love of it. Thanks for that tidbit Uta!

What we won: 2 free tickets to the best Streetcar this side of Brando (Uta Hagen actually did a few weeks of performances with Marlon while Jessica Tandy took a well deserved vacation so mentioning her and her wisdom here is not just a coincidence). I saw the Alec Baldwin / Jessica Lange Broadway version in ’92 and this was far superior in tone and believability. Marin Mazzie was a Blanche tour de force you could feel the bubble bath blonde crumbling under the pressure of a life spent seeking the comfort of strangers only to get a good dose of reality shoved in her still beautiful but troubled soul. She made you cry for humanity. Christopher Innvar was a smelly mix of sexy sweat and swagger a possibly likable Stanley if he didn’t go ahead and do the deed that eventually pushed poor Blanche over the edge. You might say he was almost rational in his brutish behavior. He does have a lot to say and most of it makes common sense but he’s the bad guy and a good one at that. Kevin Carolan’s Mitch was so full of substance, charm and good sense that you wished he would have married Blanche anyway script be damned because for all her faults she was still pretty hot but Tennessee had other plans and that was not in the cards they were dealt. But what about the gal that this whole blog is about? Stella. Was she worth the shout that could launch a thousand ships? You betcha Kim Stauffer was so sure of herself and her man that she only saw the good in him and her love was deep and strong and we knew that she could forgive him of almost anything. Would she forgive him of this indiscretion? No one will ever know but while we were with her she was the real woman who loved love so much that she didn’t mind the squalor of her existence. I’d shout for that Stella any day. Stellaaaaaaaa!

The whole cast was so fantastic and so talented from singing and playing wonderful blues music live on stage to rumbling with virtuostic and reckless abandon. The beer and the whiskey you could smell it on their breaths. The French “Qwatah” fully recreated was present here in little old Pittsfield. Kudos to director Julianne Boyd for tackling this whopper of a play and doing it justice. Big time theater is here to stay in Pittsfield as long as Julianne is at the helm as artistic director.

That was Saturday night and I had calmed a bit from Thursday’s personal triumph where after my victory we went over to Art on No and I began to gloat to an artist friend’s wife going on and on about my miraculous win. Thankfully before I could go on too too long Anne came over and grabbed me and with our friend Kristin we tried to get into a few local restaurants. But 3rd Thursdays had spun it’s civic gold and we couldn’t get a seat anywhere. All the Pittsfield restaurants on or near North Street were packed to the gills. We decided that quiet Lenox would be an easier place for me to give it a rest as I was still bursting at the seams with pride. We tried to videotape but the first two restaurants we tried were a bust and I was still so full of myself it was painful. I won the Stella shouting contest I was saying to anyone in ear shot. Finally we gave up on filming and went to Café Zinc where the great chef from the sadly closed Barood’s is now holding court. I calmed down with a nice steak frites at the bar, Anne had a delicious salmon and Kristin had the unbeatable moules with white wine and butter sauce. Drinks were drank and peace was eventually restored.

So back to the theater on Saturday night: It was also packed. Anne and I were so happy to be there and we were treated like royalty by the staff. We were sought out in our seats and told that after the show we would be taken backstage and have a picture taken with the cast. We dried our eyes and got a hold of our emotions after they carted Blanche off the stage and we wondered how could she meet with us? But there she was with everyone else in the green room and I love to be in green rooms, we joked, the pictures were taken I was in my element and the cast was with me. Stellaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! -- Back to top of page --comments


JamesTaylorFest09

Glorious end to a nasty summer or JT and the 4 sisters

We bought lawn seats for Tanglewood months ago for the last day of Jamesfest ’09. It was a Sunday afternoon show with John Williams conducting the Boston Pops. John Williams gave us all the favorites from Superman to Star Wars. James gave us his best end of summer set with his paired down band, the orchestra and the choir. It was nice out, sunny beyond belief. It had been a summer with so much wetness that this was nothing short of a weather miracle. So sunny in fact that our lawn neighbor gave us a large umbrella we put in our chair webbing for much needed shade.

Where's the car?
Our other neighbors were the cutest 4 sister reunion this side of Hooterville Junction. The lawn is like family and JT is like your cool uncle who sings songs that dive right into the center of your heart. His stories are full of reality from Fire and Rain about his being in the local Berkshire loony bin and tips on how to get out “take your meds and do what they tell you” to his writing “Carolina On My Mind” while stranded in Spain feeling homesick for his actual birthplace where he was raised. But the Berkshires is his adopted home and he’s our uncle – me and my uncle and Anne and the 4 sisters one big happy family...and to think it was only about $20 per ticket and we were almost going to skip it because I had an appointment in the city the next day for work and we would get an early start. Nah rock on sweet Uncle James I can hear him still “In My mind I’m going to Carolina....”

The Berkshires is that kind of place that when you’re away from it you do get homesick. Thanks James for reminding me what’s really important in life.-- Back to top of page--comments


What’s brand new and over 500 million years old? Mt. Greylock that’s what!

Recently we visited the newly re-opened drive to the peak and devoured the gorgeous panoramic views, captured much better in the accompanying pictures we took than I could ever describe in words. This is by far the single best bargain vacation attraction in the Berkshires. Our trip almost began the night before as we had read in the Eagle about the Wednesday night free nature and cultural talks at the newly renovated Bascom Lodge. We really wanted to go but we were thwarted by the wet foggy gloom that had become an all too regular unwelcome guest this past summer so we engaged in our favorite activity cozying up together at home. The very next morning when we awoke it was so beautiful out and so unseasonably dry with nothing but blue skies that we just knew where we had to go.

We drove on up to Lanesboro on Route 7, stopped and ate a wonderful back porch meal at the highly recommended Olde Forge, and fully satisfied, we began our journey up the long and winding road to the top. There are countless well-marked hiking trails and we kept having to stop for the many happy hikers (don’t forget to wave!). But don’t worry; the signs sporting the feel good graphic of hiker’s silhouettes walking across the road will give you plenty of warning. We were more in the mood to act like lazy tourists that just want to look out the window from the comfort of their car but both ways to enjoy this naturally created landmark are accepted. Hike or Drive, this is one great wonder of the Berkshires and all should enjoy. We stopped at many easy parking spots on the side of Rockwell Road where the views are nothing short of spectacular but nothing like the view at the peak which is super duper-spectacular. At the top is the “civilized yet rustic” lodge for overnight guests and meals (bascomlodge.net) open from late-May through mid/late-October and the Veterans War Memorial monument with it’s perpetually lit translucent globe at the top of the 100 foot tall artfully tapered granite shaft. Local legend has it that Thoreau, Melville, and Hawthorne are all said to had been partially driven to create by observing and hiking this inspirational wonder of nature. We all could use a little artistic and spritual inspiration these days and Mt. Greylock does not dissappoint in kick starting one's desire to create. We all step in the footsteps of giants when we climb up this hollowed ground for sure. So step up!

At the Bascom lodge, we actually saw a man working with grey dred locks and Anne and I had a good laugh as she proclaimed that we saw Greylocks at Greylock! We then purchased my favorite drink, Boylan Ginger Ale. They have other kinds of non-alcoholic beverages but you can bring your own beer and wine for dinner. The food being prepared looked good and homemade healthy. I saw a really nice side of natural-looking red cabbage slaw sitting next to a sizable sandwich just made by the smiling and courteous food counter person.

We chose to take the North Adams route down the mountain and ended up going to the Eclipse Mill to visit some local art galleries. Alas, they weren’t open. Luckily, the very nice building manager and local artist Larry (larryalice.com) who coincidentialy was one of the guys responsible for renovating the Bascom Lodge, opened up one of the closed galleries featuring an interesting exhibition on light sculptures. Then he took us into his loft studio and showed us his pop art self portraits mixed cleverly with repetitive fabric like patterns. His innovative computer animation art left a lasting impression as well.

This was just simply a great way to spend a finally beautiful day AND not spend any money. Back to top of page--comments