Adult Programs

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives presents various programs of interest throughout the year. Check the Calendar for specific topics and events. All are welcome!

Do you have a suggestion for a program that you’d like to see at the Library?  Please share your ideas with us by emailing them to email hidden; JavaScript is required.


Saturday, August 24 at 1:00 pm

Girl in the Chinese Porcelain Room Painting Presentation

Join us on Saturday, August 24 at 1:00 p.m. in the Bement Room for a talk about the painting Girl in the Chinese Porcelain Room by Matilda Auchincloss Brownell.   Our presenter, Mr. Arnold Jaffe, will be discussing the changing image of women in American painting as shown in the Girl in the Chinese Porcelain Room.

While our Nisbet painting is being restored, the space above the fireplace in the Bement Room will hold an oil on canvas, Girl in the Chinese Porcelain Room, by Matilda Auchincloss Brownell (1871-1966) which was created in 1910.  Matilda was a frequent exhibitor at the Stockbridge Casino annual exhibitions during the same time period as Nisbet.  One of her specialties, figure painting, was hailed as the highest level of artistic achievement.  She also pursued still life painting and portraiture.  The Library is very fortunate to have this painting on display while the Nisbet painting is being restored.

About the presenter:  Arnold Jaffe and Diane Thurston began dealing in and collecting American paintings in 1978.  Now retired, their personal interests continue to be American Impressionism and early Modernism.  Mr. Jaffe, who will be speaking about the painting and its historical context has a PhD. in American social history.


Thursday, September 5 at 12:00 pm

Cookbook Club

Do you like to cook?  Would you like a reason to learn to cook or try new recipes?  Do you just want something fun and different to do at lunchtime?  Then join our cookbook club!

On the first Thursday of the month, we invite you to gather together with fellow cooks and friends for lunch, while exploring different cuisines and cookbooks from the Library’s collection.

Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.  This month’s featured title will be Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting & Building Community One Dish at a Time by Janet Reich Elsbach.  We are very pleased that Ms. Elsbach will join us for this month’s meeting!

Here’s how it works:
1. Check the information in our enewsletter or on our website for the date of the next lunchtime meeting. You’ll also see which cookbook is going to be the source for our upcoming exploration. Typically, we’ll choose cookbooks that have interesting things to make but do not require elaborate preparations or impossible-to-find ingredients.
2. Stop in at the Library and ask for the month’s featured cookbook at the front desk. You won’t take it out; just browse at your leisure and have a look at the recipes.
3. From your browsing, choose a recipe that you’ll prepare and bring to the next Cookbook Club meeting. Copy the recipe and put a post-it on that recipe with your name (that way we won’t end up with duplicates).
Tip: choose something you’ll enjoy making—of course—but also keep in mind that the Library does not have a full kitchen, just a microwave and refrigerator. Things that can be served easily in small portions and that don’t require last minute prep will work best.
4. On the designated day, please bring your finished dish to the library with any needed serving utensils. If it is easier with your schedule, you’re welcome to drop your dish off in the meeting room, using the refrigerator if necessary.
5. If possible, also bring some plastic containers for those who may want to bring leftovers home (assuming we have leftovers!).
6. At each meeting, we’ll enjoy the shared food while also chatting about the featured cookbook and your experiences with the recipes. What would you recommend? What surprises, challenges, or need for creative adaptations did you encounter?
7. The Library will provide plates, utensils, etc. Clean-up assistance is always welcomed.
8. At the end of the meeting, we’ll survey the group for their future cookbook interests and any other suggestions.

Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.


Thursday, September 12 at 5:00 pm

Book Club

Join the book club on Thursday, September 12 , 2019  at 5:00 p.m. for a discussion of this month’s featured book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling.  Copies of regular print and CD audio books are available at the main desk.

The book club generally meets in the Bement Room from 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. Bring a friend!  New members always welcome – even if you haven’t read the book!


Saturday, September 14 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: James Lasdun, Author of Afternoon of a Faun

The Stockbridge Library is pleased to welcome James Lasdun, author Afternoon of a Faun, to its Speaker Series at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

Taut, stylish, and psychologically acute, Afternoon of a Faun dramatizes the search for truth as an accusation of sexual assault plunges a journalist into a series of deepening crises.

“The truth might be hard to bring to light, but that didn’t mean it didn’t exist, because it did exist: fixed in its moment, unalterable, and certainly not a matter of ‘belief.’ “

When an old flame accuses him of sexual assault in her memoir, expat English journalist Marco Rosedale is brought rapidly and inexorably to the brink of ruin. His reputation and livelihood at stake, Marco confides in a close friend, who finds himself caught between the obligations of friendship and an increasingly urgent desire to uncover the truth. This unnamed friend is drawn, magnetized, into the orbit of the woman at the center of the accusation—and finds his position as the safely detached narrator turning into something more dangerous. Soon, the question of his own complicity becomes impossible to avoid.

Set during the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election, with detours into the 1970s, this propulsive novel investigates the very meaning of truth at a time when it feels increasingly malleable. An atmospheric and unsettling drama from a novelist acclaimed as “the literary descendent of Dostoevsky and Patricia Highsmith” (Boston Globe), Afternoon of a Faun combines a sharply observed study of our shifting social mores with a meditation on what makes us believe, or disbelieve, the stories people tell about themselves.

Photo by Pia Davis

About the author: James Lasdun has written books of fiction, memoir, and poetry, as well as two screenplays, including Sunday, which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance.  Other awards include the UK National Short Story Prize, the TLS Poetry Prize, and nominations for the LA Times Book Award and the TS Eliot Poetry Prize.  His first novel The Horned Man was a New York Times Notable Book.  His second, Seven Lies, was long-listed for the Booker Man Prize.  The Fall Guy, published in 2017, was a Book of the Month Club Selection and a Guardian Best Book of 2017.  His short story ‘The Siege’ was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film ‘Besieged’, and his last collection of stories, It’s Beginning to Hurt, was listed as a Book of the Year by the Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times.  He has written for the New Yorker and the London Review of Books, and is a regular reviewer for The GuardianAfternoon of a Faun is his fourth novel.  In a starred pre-publication review, Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Of the novels to come out of the #MeToo moment to date, none is more riveting, insightful, and unsettling.”


Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 pm

Speaker Series: Sion Dayson, Author of As a River

Join us as we welcome Sion Dayson, former Stone Court Writer-in Residence, on Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m.  As a River, her debut novel, explores family secrets and the fault lines of southern history.

It’s 1977.  Bannen, Georgia, a small town nestled amid pine forests, is rife with contrasts: natural beauty and racial tension, small-town charm and long-term poverty.  An unsettling place for a Black man who fled it years ago and has since traveled the world.  But Greer Michaels has to come home, to care for his dying mother.  And that means confronting the ghosts of his past.  Written in spare and lyrical prose, As a River moves back and forth across decades, evoking the mysterious play of memory as it touches upon shame and redemption, despair and connection. At its heart it’s a novel about our struggles to understand each other, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

About the author: Sion Dayson grew up in North Carolina and earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She has won grants and residencies from the Kerouac House, the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and spent the spring semester in Stockbridge as the Stone Court Writer-in-Residence in 2016.  Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Utne Reader, and many other venues, and her writings often focus on travel, living abroad, and her literary hero, James Baldwin. Her popular blog paris (im)perfect explored the City of Light’s less glamorous side. After a decade in Paris, she now resides in Valencia, Spain.


Friday, September 27 at 6:00 pm

Berkshire Chamber Players Concert

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives is pleased to announce that the first Berkshire Chamber Players Concert of the 2019-2020 season will take place on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.   This concert will include violin, cello, and guitar, and feature music of Paganini, Guiliani, and Piazzolla.

Tickets will be available at the Library on a first-come, first-served basis; space is limited and advance ticket purchases are encouraged.  Tickets are $20 each.  Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.  Any unclaimed seats will be made available to those on the wait-list ten minutes before the performance.

Featuring:

Natalie Kress, Robyn Quinnett, violins
Charlotte Malin, viola
Ronald Feldman, cello

Program:

Haydn
String Quartet in E Flat, Op. 33, No. 2 (“The Joke”) (1781)
Allegro moderato
Scherzo: Allegro di molto
Andante
Finale: Presto

Kevin Puts
Credo (2007)

The violin guru of Katonah-Adagio; affettuoso, poco più mosso
Infrastructure-allegro energico
Intermezzo-Learning to Dance-tempo guisto; tranquilo; pochiss. meno mosso; teneramente allegro energico
Credo -Mesto; deliberato

INTERMISSION

Bach
Air from Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068 (1739)

Beethoven
String Quartet No. 16 in F, Op. 135 (1826)
Allegretto
Vivace
Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
Der Schwer gefasste Entschluss-Grave, ma non troppo tratto – (Muss es sein?) – Allegro (Es muss sein!)
Grave, ma non troppo tratto-Allegro

 

The Stockbridge Library’s Berkshire Chamber Players concert series is generously sponsored by Robert L. Perkel, MD with additional support from Patricia Edwina Flinn.

 

The other concerts will take place as follows:
Friday, November 22, 2019, 6:00 p.m.
Friday, January 31, 2020, 6:00 p.m. (Snow date: Saturday, February 1, 2020, 6:00 p.m.)
Friday, March 27, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

 

 


Sunday, October 6 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Steve Luxenberg, Author of Separate

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives is pleased to welcome Steve Luxenberg, author of Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation to its Speaker Series at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896.  Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first.

Separate spans a striking range of characters and landscapes, bound together by the defining issue of their time and ours—race and equality.  Wending its way through a half-century of American history, the narrative begins at the dawn of the railroad age, in the North, home to the nation’s first separate railroad car, then moves briskly through slavery and the Civil War to Reconstruction and its aftermath, as separation took root in nearly every aspect of American life.

Award-winning author Steve Luxenberg draws from letters, diaries, and archival collections to tell the story of Plessy v. Ferguson through the eyes of the people caught up in the case.  Separate depicts indelible figures such as the resisters from the mixed-race community of French New Orleans, led by Louis Martinet, a lawyer and crusading newspaper editor; Homer Plessy’s lawyer, Albion Tourgée, a best-selling author and the country’s best-known white advocate for civil rights; Justice Henry Billings Brown, from antislavery New England, whose majority ruling endorsed separation; and Justice John Harlan, the Southerner from a slaveholding family whose singular dissent cemented his reputation as a steadfast voice for justice.

Two of the principal figures in the Plessy case — the lead lawyer and the justice who wrote the decision now regarded among the worst in Supreme Court history — had strong family ties to Lee and Stockbridge.  Luxenberg’s talk also will explore Massachusetts’s important role in racial separation on public transportation, long before the Civil War.

Sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed, Separate provides a fresh and urgently-needed exploration of our nation’s most devastating divide.

Photo by Josh Luxenberg

About the author: Steve Luxenberg is an associate editor at The Washington Post and an award-winning author.  During his 40 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, Steve has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes.

His new nonfiction book, Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, as well as a Best Book of the Month by Amazon and Goodreads. It has been featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Economist.  His first book was the critically-acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, honored as a Michigan Notable Book and selected as the 2013-2014 Great Michigan Read.

Steve’s journalistic career began at The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for 11 years.  He joined The Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward.  In 1991, Steve succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff. From 1996 to 2006, Steve was the editor of The Post’s Sunday Outlook section, which publishes original reporting and provocative commentary on a broad spectrum of political, historical and cultural issues.

Steve is a graduate of Harvard College.  He grew up in Detroit, where Annie’s Ghosts primarily takes place.  He and his wife, Mary Jo Kirschman, a former school librarian, live in Baltimore.  They have two grown children, Josh and Jill.


Sunday, November 10 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: James B. Conroy, Author of Jefferson’s White House

Join us as we welcome James B. Conroy, author of Jefferson’s White House: Monticello on the Potomac on Saturday, November 10 at 4:00 p.m.

In the aftermath of the American Revolution, the republic’s formative years were a time of deep division as powerful, privileged men in the Federalist Party attacked democracy itself and promoted an American plutocracy protected by law, a crackdown on immigration, strict limits on the right to vote, the suppression of vigorous dissent, and an army prepared to subdue it.  Jefferson’s White House: Monticello on the Potomac, focuses on the mansion in Jefferson’s time and the people who passed through it, male and female, white, black, and red; the political strains and culture wars that were pulling the country apart; and Jefferson’s use of the house to pull it back together, reverse a trend toward oligarchy, and restore a sense of civility and common purpose to the American body politic.

With dozens of color slides, Conroy’s presentation recreates the White House in Jefferson’s day, the village in which it stood, and the imperfectly brilliant man who used it to heal his country and save democracy when the republic was new and at risk.  The focus is on Jefferson, the house he transformed from a barren shell to a magnificent salon in a wide spot in the wilderness, and the men, women and children, slave and free, who came to know him there. What they saw and heard from Thomas Jefferson as a friend, an enemy, a leader, a host, an architect, a father, a grandfather, an employer, and an owner of human beings as he fought for his country’s soul sheds light on him and them. 

Jim Conroy is a co-founder of Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP, one of Boston’s leading litigation law firms.  In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society in recognition of his first book, Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865, about Lincoln’s peace talks with Confederate leaders on a riverboat in Virginia near the end of the Civil War.  Our One Common Country was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, awarded to the author of the best book of the year on Lincoln or the Civil War era.  Conroy’s second book, Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime, won the Lincoln Prize and the Abraham Lincoln Institute’s annual book award.  Peter Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia, has called Conroy’s newly released third book, Jefferson’s White House: Monticello on the Potomac, an “invaluable contribution” to our understanding of Thomas Jefferson, an “ambitious, enlightening, and brilliantly realized project.”

Conroy is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and served for six years as a photographer and journalist in anti-submarine aviation units in the United States Navy Reserve.  While working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a speechwriter, press secretary, and chief of staff, he earned a master’s degree in international relations at George Washington University and a law degree, magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Conroy has lived in Hingham, Massachusetts with his wife, Lynn since 1982.  Their daughter, Erin, is a lawyer at the Food and Drug Administration in Washington.  Their son, Scott, is a political journalist-turned-script-writer who lives with his wife, the NBC News reporter Jo Ling Kent, in Los Angeles. Conroy is a member of Hingham’s Historical Commission and its Community Preservation Committee and has chaired its Government Study Committee, its Task Force on Affordability, and its Advisory Committee, which counsels the Hingham Town Meeting, an exercise in direct democracy through which the town has governed itself since 1635, well before Conroy’s time.


Friday, November 22 at 6:00 pm

Berkshire Chamber Players Concert

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives is pleased to announce that a Berkshire Chamber Players Concert will take place on Friday, November 22, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the Library on a first-come, first-served basis; space is limited and advance ticket purchases are encouraged.  Tickets are $20 each.  Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.  Any unclaimed seats will be made available to those on the wait-list ten minutes before the performance.

The Stockbridge Library’s Berkshire Chamber Players concert series is generously sponsored by Robert L. Perkel, MD with additional support from Patricia Edwina Flinn.


Sunday, January 12 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Kids and Concussions: What Parents Need to Know

Please join us on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. for an important presentation by Dr. Alan Kulberg entitled Kids and Concussions: What Parents Need to Know.  Dr. Kulberg is the Medical Director of Berkshire Medical Center’s (BMC) Concussion Evaluation and Rehabilitation Clinic in Pittsfield.

At the BMC Concussion Evaluation and Rehabilitation Clinic, patients are managed and counseled so that their symptoms can be minimized, and their recovery and return to school, play, and work can take place as comfortably and safely as possible.  The Clinic is available for children, adolescents and young adults into their early 20’s from Berkshire County and the surrounding area.

Dr. Kulberg was previously a pediatrician in private practice with Berkshire Pediatric Associates, P.C. from 1987 to 2017.  He is also the former Director of Pediatric Emergency Service at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City.


Saturday, January 25 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Clifford Thompson, Author of What is It: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues

Join us as we welcome Cliff Thompson, author of What is It: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues on Saturday, January 25 at 4:00 p.m.

Thompson was raised to believe in treating every person of every color as an individual, and he decided as a young man that America, despite its history of racial oppression, was his home as much as anyone else’s.  As a middle-aged, happily married father of biracial children, Thompson finds himself questioning his most deeply held convictions when the race-baiting Donald Trump ascends to the presidency–elected by whites, whom Thompson had refused to judge as a group, and who make up the majority in this country Thompson had called his own.

In the grip of contradictory emotions, Thompson turns for guidance to the wisdom of writers he admires while knowing that the answers to his questions about America ultimately lie in America itself.  Through interviews with a small but varied group of Americans he hears sharply divergent opinions about what is happening in the country while trying to find his own answers–conclusions based not on conventional wisdom or on what he would like to believe, but on what he sees.

About the Author: Clifford Thompson received a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction in 2013 for Love for Sale and Other Essays, published by Autumn House Press, which has also published his memoir, Twin of Blackness (2015).  His personal essays and pieces on books, film, jazz, and American identity have found homes in publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, The Times Literary Supplement, The Threepenny Review, The Iowa Review, Commonweal, Film Quarterly, Cineaste, Oxford American, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Best American Essays 2018.  He is the author of a novel, Signifying Nothing.  For over a dozen years he served as the editor of Current Biography, and he has taught creative nonfiction writing at The Bennington Writing Seminars, Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, Queens College, and  New York University. He lives in Brooklyn.

Thompson is also a visual artist.  One of his paintings, Going North, appears in the public television documentary The Bungalows of Rockaway.

 


Friday, January 31 at 6:00 pm

Berkshire Chamber Players Concert

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives is pleased to announce that a Berkshire Chamber Players Concert will take place on Friday, January 31, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
(Snow date: Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.)

Tickets will be available at the Library on a first-come, first-served basis; space is limited and advance ticket purchases are encouraged.  Tickets are $20 each.  Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.  Any unclaimed seats will be made available to those on the wait-list ten minutes before the performance.

The Stockbridge Library’s Berkshire Chamber Players concert series is generously sponsored by Robert L. Perkel, MD with additional support from Patricia Edwina Flinn.


Friday, March 27 at 6:00 pm

Berkshire Chamber Players Concert

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives is pleased to announce that a Berkshire Chamber Players Concert will take place on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.  This will be the final concert of the season.

Tickets will be available at the Library on a first-come, first-served basis; space is limited and advance ticket purchases are encouraged.  Tickets are $20 each.  Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.  Any unclaimed seats will be made available to those on the wait-list ten minutes before the performance.

The Stockbridge Library’s Berkshire Chamber Players concert series is generously sponsored by Robert L. Perkel, MD with additional support from Patricia Edwina Flinn.


Saturday, May 16 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Amir Ahmadi Arian, Author of Then the Fish Swallowed Him

Join us as we welcome Amir Ahmadi Arian, author of The the Fish Swallowed Him on Saturday, May 14 at 4:00 p.m.

Yunus Turabi, a bus driver in Tehran, leads an unremarkable life. A solitary man since the unexpected deaths of his father and mother years ago, he is decidedly apolitical—even during the driver’s strike and its bloody end. But everyone has their breaking point, and Yunus has reached his.

Handcuffed and blindfolded, he is taken to the infamous Evin prison for political dissidents. Inside this stark, strangely ordered world, his fate becomes entwined with Hajj Saeed, his personal interrogator. The two develop a disturbing yet interdependent relationship, with each playing his assigned role in a high stakes psychological game of cat and mouse, where Yunus endures a mind-bending cycle of solitary confinement and interrogation. In their startlingly intimate exchanges, Yunus’s life begins to unfold—from his childhood memories growing up in a freer Iran to his heartbreaking betrayal of his only friend. As Yunus struggles to hold on to his sanity and evade Saeed’s increasingly undeniable accusations, he must eventually make an impossible choice: continue fighting or submit to the system of lies upholding Iran’s power.

About the Author: AMIR AHMADI ARIAN started his writing career as a journalist in Iran in 2000. He has published two novels, a collection of stories, and a book of nonfiction in Persian. He also translated from English to Persian novels by E.L Doctorow, Paul Auster, P.D. James, and Cormac McCarthy.

Since 2013 Amir has been writing and publishing exclusively in English. In recent years his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, LRB, Lithub, etc. He was the recipient of The Axinn Foundation/E.L. Doctorow Fellowship for 2016 – 2018 from NYU. His first novel in English, Then the Fish Swallowed Him, will be published by HarperCollins in 2020