Dec. 12

Evening of Holiday Memories at Mark Skinner Library

MANCHESTER -- Attend a very special "Evening of Holiday Memories" at the Mark Skinner Library: Manchester’s Public Library on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. Enjoy tales of Hanukkah and Christmas featuring special guests Saragail Benjamin and the GMALL Drumming Workshop participants and The Dorset Players, live holiday music, mulled cider and wine, and sweet and savory delights. All are welcome. This lovely event is MSL’s gift to the community. For info, call the library at 802-362-2607 or email events@markskinnerlibrary.org. Hoosac School presents Boar’s Head and Yule Log Pageant

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Students have been busy rehearsing since late October for the 121st production of Hoosac School’s "Boar’s Head and Yule Log," a nationally recognized pageant. The annual production involves all of Hoosac’s boys and girls and faculty members.

Divided into two parts, the celebration begins with the Boar’s Head carol representing the gathering of Elizabethan gentry at the manor house to celebrate the birth of Christ. A solemn procession heralds the entrance of guests bearing food for the feast. In the place of honor is the boar’s head, decorated with flags representing the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century and symbolizing the conquest of good over evil. A flaming plum pudding also has a place of honor. Its richness and gaily colored fruit represent the gifts of the three kings. Shepherds enter in song seeking the newborn child. The carol between King Wenceslas and his page symbolizes the virtues of caring for the less fortunate. The three kings sing in solemn procession bearing their gifts.

A medieval banquet is served during intermission by Beefeaters in the school’s Memorial Dining Hall, a vaulted, cathedral-like structure with flags lining the rafters. The flags represent the home countries of students who have attended Hoosac during the past 120 years.

A shift in mood takes place in the second act when the revels begin, and the country folk join the gentry in song and games. The wassail bowl is carried in, and Father Christmas, accompanied by sprites usually played by faculty children, brings in the Yule Log which is lit with a torch made from last year’s embers. A hush falls over the audience as the house lights go out and the Jester enters declaringhimself the "Lord of Misrule." Following the Jester, sword dancers entertain with a ritualized duel. A mummers play, a medieval burlesque of St. George slaying the dragon, is performed.

The harmony sound of the entire costumed chorus combine to complete the illusion that onlookers have been transported into the realms and customs of other days. The evening closes with caroling.

The Boar’s Head & Yule Log performances are Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. for the community; Friday, Dec. 13. at 7:30 for alumni, and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. for parents. Reservations required, call (518) 686-7331.

Mt. Anthony Union High School Choirs announce Winter Concert

The MAUHS Choirs, directed by Lynn Sweet, will present a winter concert on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the MAU Auditorium.

The concert will feature the MAU Choir, Chamber Singers and Da Capos in a performance entitled "Hopes and Dreams". Admission is free. Donations of non-perishable food items will be collected at the door to help support our local food shelves.

Sundance Award-winning Documentary to be shown at Southern Vermont College

BENNINGTON -- Southern Vermont College will host a showing of the award-winning documentary film, "Inequality for All," in the school’s Everett Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m.

The screening is free and open to the public and will be followed by a faculty-moderated discussion. The documentary follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he speaks to audiences around the country about the widening economic gap between the rich and poor in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial collapse.

SVC is the first college showing this movie in Vermont and the surrounding region.

The film, which received a special jury award at the Sundance Film Festival, is being hailed as the "Inconvenient Truth" of the economy. Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects every American. Entertaining and enlightening, Reich gives a passionate argument on behalf of the declining middle class as he demonstrates how the widening income gap threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy.

Reich, the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, served in three Presidential administrations, one as former Secretary of Labor during President Clinton’s term. He has written several best-selling books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet" and his most recent book, "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future."

The 85-minute film was directed by Jacob Kornbluth and produced by Jen Chaiken/72 Production.

Please note that space is limited to 75 individuals. RSVP is preferred by contacting SVC Events Coordinator Robin Yearwood at 802-447-4678 or ryearwood@ svc.edu. To view future events at SVC, go to www.svc.edu.

The Clark presents "London National Theatre: The Habit of Art"

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. --National Theatre Live’s 2010 broadcast of Alan Bennett’s acclaimed play The Habit of Art, with Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings, and Frances de la Tour, returns to the Clark Art Institute as part of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W.H.Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first in twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, among others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.

Bennett’s play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion’s spent: ultimately, on the habit of art.

Tickets are $18 ($15 members, students).

Dec. 13

Mill City Productions presents "Fireside Yuletide"

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Mill City Productions is please to announce performance dates for "Fireside Yuletide," a dramatic reading of classic Christmas stories for the whole family read by Mill City actors. Performances will take place on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 & 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2:00 p.m. "Fireside Yuletide" include dramatic readings of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Featured actors include: Josh Baker, Marissa Carlson, Michelle Jensen, Tim Mangun, Annie Pecor, Lance Ruggiero, Courtney Shapiro, Sam Therrien, Liz Urban, Amy Van Dusen, Charlie Waltermire and Gabby Waltermire. The production also includes singing of classic holiday songs. Festive holiday refreshments will be served. Performances will take place at Mill City’s Theatre at Building 4N (next to the Visitor’s Center) in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children/students/seniors.

Tickets are available at the door.

Arielle and Joann Eckstut present "The Secret Language of Color"

MANCHESTER -- In this beautiful and thorough investigation, The Secret Language of Color celebrates and illuminates the countless ways in which color colors our world.

Why is the sky blue, the grass green, a rose red? Most of us have no idea how to answer these questions, nor are we aware that color pervades nearly all aspects of life, from the subatomic realm and the natural world to human culture and psychology.

Including hundreds of stunning photographs and dozens of informative, often entertaining graphics, every page is a breathtaking demonstration of color and its role in the world around us. Whether you see red, are a shrinking violet, or talk a blue streak, this is the perfect book for anyone interested in the history, science, culture, and beauty of color in the natural and man-made world.

The talk starts at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Northsire Bookstore in Manchester.

Dec. 14

Body/Head with Kim Gordon and Bill Nace coming to Mass MoCA

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Since cutting the first Sonic Youth demos three decades ago, Gordon has delivered a new boundary-breaking project every year, in every manner of art and music. She comes to MASS MoCA with her latest -- a Syd Barrett era -- Pink Floyd-inspired, deeply improvisational duo, Body/Head, that pairs her propelling guitar and vocals with free-noise guitarist Bill Nace.

The performance will be held in Mass MoCA’s Hunter Center on Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.

Movie Matinee at Bennington Free Library

BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Free Library is showing a recent mystery/action movie (Rated PG-13) on Saturday, Dec. 14. The movie will begin at 2 p.m. (two hours long) and will be shown in the Rotary Room of the Bennington Free Library, located at 101 Silver Street in Bennington. Refreshments will be available. Admission is free and open to the public. The library is wheelchair accessible. For specific movie information call the library at 802-442-9051.

James Whitfield Thomson presents "Lies You Wanted to Hear"

MANCHESTER -- The Northshire is proud to present the stunning debut novel of James Whitfield Thomson: With shattering turns, Lies You Wanted to Hear explores the way good people talk themselves into doing terrible, unthinkable things. What happens when we come to believe our own lies? And what price must we pay for our mistakes? A searing story that will leave you wondering what choices you would make.

"Hard to believe Thomson is a first time author, given the achievement of this novel. ... I’m still not entirely convinced that these characters are fictional; that’s how much they lived and breathed on the page." -- Jodi Picoult, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and The Storyteller

"No spouse or parent who picks up this book will be able to put it down. Nor will anyone else." -- Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of Townie and House of Sand and Fog

He has published stories in a number of literary magazines including Agni and The Ledge and has been a Massachusetts Council for the Arts grant recipient.

The talk starts at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the Northsire Bookstore in Manchester.

Dec. 15

Arlington, Vermont History and the Russell Collection

BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m., the Bennington Historical Society presents Bill Budde, curator of the Russell Vermontiana Collection in Arlington. The collection is used extensively for genealogy and local history research. It is broadly composed of original manuscripts from 1757, family and house histories, original ledgers and journals, maps, an extensive file collection, state and town histories from 1796, maps, and photographs. This program, held in the Ada Paresky Education Center located on the second floor of the Bennington Museum, is free and open to the public.

The Russell Vermontiana Collection honors Dr. George Russell, an avid history collector and local Arlington physician. The unique collection eventually outgrew the space in his home and, with the help of townspeople from Arlington, Sandgate, and Sunderland, was moved to the new wing of the Arlington Library.

Budde’s talk will include a brief biography of Dr. Russell’s career, and show some of the more interesting material from the collection.

It will also cover how to use the online library catalog to search for books and magazines in the collection, recent indexing progress, and current work to re-catalog the photograph collection so it is more user friendly.

Budde’s extensive experience in local and New England genealogy research has included work at the Bennington Museum as library assistant in the research library, and as archival assistant in the curatorial department.

lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Dec. 17

The History and Techniques of Printmaking: Lithographs

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a woodcut and a wood engraving, or between an engraving and an etching? And what exactly is a lithograph?

The history and techniques of printmaking have fascinated artists and collectors for centuries. The Clark’s collection of works on paper includes fine examples of all the above and many other kinds of printed images.

Join Michael Cassin, director of the Center for Education in the Visual Arts for a look at some of the Print Room’s printed treasures. This is the final part of a three-part series.

The lecture will be held at the Clark Art Institute on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

Dec. 19

Mt. Anthony Union High School Bands announce Winter Concert

The MAUHS Bands directed by Marjorie Rooen, will present a winter concert on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. in the MAU Auditorium.

The Concert will feature the MAU Marching Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band. Admission is Free. Donations of Non-Perishable Food items will be collected at the door to help support our local food shelves.

To have brief items included in the E-Week entertainment calendar please send them to jmcmanus @benningtonbanner.com.

Dec. 20

Deborah Solomon, "American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell"

MANCHESTER -- The Northshire Bookstore is proud welcome esteemed art critic and biographer Deborah Solomon presenting her her spirited and authoritative biography, "American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell." The talk will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester.

As the star illustrator of "The Saturday Evening Post" for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy.

Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school -- here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all.

Who was this man who served as our unofficial "artist in chief" and bolstered our country’s national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking facade lay a surprisingly complex figure -- a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital. "What’s interesting is how Rockwell’s personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. "His work mirrors his own temperament -- his sense of humor, his fear of depths -- and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from eighteenth-century portraits." Deborah Solomon is the author of two previous biographies of American artists: "Jackson Pollock: A Biography" and "Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell." She has written about art and culture for many publications, and her weekly interview column, "Questions For," appeared in The New York Times Magazine from 2003 to 2011. She lives in New York City with her family.