culture

Jacque Metheny - Tree with Spheres; SculptureNow at The Mount
Sarah LaDuke

This summer SculptureNow and The Mount are proud to present NEXUS a new, juried exhibition featuring 30 large-scale, outdoor sculptures placed throughout the grounds of The Mount.

The exhibition is on display now through Halloween.

The show includes regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists. To tell us more we welcome Ann Jon, Executive Director of SculptureNow and for all things at Edith Wharton, we welcome Susan Wissler, Executive Director at Edith Wharton’s The Mount. 

In ancient, pre-literate cultures across the globe, tribal elders had encyclopedic memories. They could name all the animals and plants across a landscape, identify the stars in the sky, and recite the history of their people. Yet today, most of us struggle to memorize more than a short poem.

Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Dr. Lynne Kelly has identified the powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. In turn, she has then discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long.

Her book is The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments.

The Woodstock Film Festival’s 5th annual Spirit of Woodstock celebrates the roots of the Hudson Valley — its natural beauty, iconoclasts, art, culture, innovation, and the river that flows through and connects it.

This year they honor two local luminaries who have embodied those qualities — John Hall and Alf Evers. The event takes place on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in Woodstock from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Joining us this morning, we welcome the festival’s Meira Blaustein to tell us more.

The production of culture was once the domain of artists, but beginning in the early 1900s, the emerging fields of public relations, advertising and marketing transformed the way the powerful communicate with the rest of us. A century later, the tools are more sophisticated than ever, the onslaught more relentless. 

In Culture as Weapon, acclaimed curator and critic Nato Thompson reveals how institutions use art and culture to ensure profits and constrain dissent--and shows us that there are alternatives.

Our Falling Into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

Today we learn about the Children at the Well storytelling program – which helps young people tap into the richness of stories from their traditions to strengthen their development of voice.

Children at the Well is a program of WithOurVoice, Inc., which also oversees the Interfaith Story Circle of the Tri-City Area, begun by Gert Johnson in 1993.

We are joined by Paula B. Weiss, co-founder and Director; and Khalafalla Osman – a former participant now applying to law school.

Easthampton City Arts will be presenting a program - Grist for the Mill - featuring Michael Musto of the Village Voice & Mickey Boardman, Editorial Director of PAPER Magazine at the Boylston Room in Easthampton on Thursday, April 6th at 8PM.

Kicking off the 3rd annual Easthampton Book Fest, the pair will explore a range of topics including the role of the artist and writer in times of political and cultural shift. Michael Musto joins us this morning to give us a preview.

Musto is a correspondent for the Village Voice, where he wrote the entertainment and nightlife column "La Dolce Musto" for 29 years. He also writes weekly e-columns for Out.com and PAPER Magazine, as well as articles for The New York Times "Styles" section. 

Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from its establishment in 1930 until his retirement in 1962, Harry Anslinger is the United States’ little known first drug czar. Anslinger was a profligate propagandist with a flair for demonizing racial and immigrant groups and perhaps best known for his zealous pursuit of harsh drug penalties and his particular animus for marijuana users.

But what made Anslinger who he was, and what cultural trends did he amplify and institutionalize? In her book, Assassin of Youth, Alexandra Chasin looks to answer those questions and explore Anslinger’s social, cultural, and political legacy.

Alexandra Chasin is associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College, the New School. 

  Jonathan Starr, once a cutthroat hedge fund manager, is not your traditional do-gooder, and in 2009, when he decided to found Abaarso, a secondary school in Somaliland, the choice seemed crazy to even his closest friends. “Why,” they wondered, “would he turn down a life of relative luxury to relocate to an armed compound in a breakaway region of the world’s #1 failed state?” To achieve his mission, Starr would have to overcome profound cultural differences, broken promises, and threats to his safety and that of his staff.

It Takes a School is the story of how an abstract vision became a transformative reality, as Starr set out to build a school in a place forgotten by the world. It is the story of a skeptical and clan-based society learning to give way to trust. And it’s the story of the students themselves, including a boy from a family of nomads who took off on his own in search of an education and a girl who waged a hunger strike in order to convince her strict parents to send her to Abaarso.

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter is one of only a handful of physicians in the United States double board certified to practice both pulmonary/critical care medicine AND palliative care medicine. In other words, she’s the doctor who will save you when you are admitted to the ICU with a gunshot wound, but she is also the doctor who can help you navigate a peaceful and easy way to the end when the end really arrives.

In her new book - Extreme Measures – we learn about a framework for a better way to exit life that will change our medical culture at the deepest level, and will perhaps leave you pondering, when ‘the end is near’, in our zeal to save life, are we often just worsening death?

Lisa Dickey traveled across the whole of Russia three times - in 1995, 2005 and 2015 - making friends in eleven different cities, then coming back again and again to see how their lives had changed. Like the acclaimed British documentary series Seven Up!, she traces the ups and downs of ordinary people’s lives, in the process painting a deeply nuanced portrait of modern Russia.

Her book is Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys across a Changing Russia.

The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc., (AACCCR) is proud to present, for the third year in a row, The African American History Month Celebration at the Palace Theatre on Friday, February 24th at 7:00pm.

The annual celebration features the best and brightest talent in the region. This year’s theme is “Where Do We Go From Here?” focusing on participating in grass roots activism for social change. Bervin Harris, co-founder and CEO of the Renaissance Youth Group, will be the keynote speaker.

To give us a preview, we welcome Angela O’Neal – Executive Director of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region and Holly Brown – Executive Director of the Palace Theatre. 

John Simpson is the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, where he helped take the dictionary online.

His new book, The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary, is an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being (and sometimes disappear), how culture shapes the language we use, and how technology has transformed not only the way we speak and write but also how words are made.

The art of hula is thriving in cities all over the country and the world, but it is not always understood.

In The Natives Are Restless, journalist Constance Hale presents the largely untold story of the dance tradition, using the twin keyholes of Kumu Patrick Makuakane (a Hawai‘i-born, San Francisco–based hula master), and his 350-person arts organization (Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu).

In the background, she weaves the poignant story of an ancient people and the resilience of their culture. In the foreground, she tells the story of an electrifying new form of hula that has emerged from a restless generation of artists like Makuakane.

With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined. 

 City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder is peopled with memorable characters both beloved and unfamiliar, whose lives unfold in rich detail.

In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity.

Rose works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build green affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation's leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to the urban issues facing us today.

Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system. Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. Fair trade ensures fair wages, care for the environment and respect for cultural identity. 

Mayan Hands in Albany and Mango Tree Imports in Saratoga Springs are teaming up with local places of worship over this holiday season to present Fair Trade options for gift buying. Here to tell us more are Kim Andersen from Mango Tree Imports, Brenda Rosenbaum from Mayan Hands, and Carol Smith from B'nai Shalom, the venue for our first marketplace on Sunday Nov 13. 

Dates and locations for the Holiday Season Fair Trade Markets available here

Victuals is an exploration of the foodways, people, and places of Appalachia. Written by Ronni Lundy, regarded as the most engaging authority on the region, the book guides us through the surprisingly diverse history--and vibrant present--of food in the Mountain South.

Victuals explores the diverse and complex food scene of the Mountain South through recipes, stories, traditions, and innovations.

Kenneth Woodward edited Newsweek's Religion section from 1964 until his retirement in 2002. He remained a writer-at-large at Newsweek until 2009.

His new book is Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama.

Beginning with a bold reassessment of the Fifties, Woodward’s narrative weaves through Civil Rights era and the movements that followed in its wake: the anti-Vietnam movement; Liberation theology in Latin America; the rise of Evangelicalism and decline of mainline Protestantism; women’s liberation and Bible; the turn to Asian spirituality; the transformation of the family and emergence of religious cults; and the embrace of righteous politics by both the Republican and Democratic Parties. 

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will talk about some of the issues that shape misperceptions of Muslims in the United States, and about the “Dialogues Across Divides” series about these issues taking place this fall throughout Western Massachusetts and supported by Mass Humanities.

We are joined today by Mehlaqa Samdani, executive director of Critical Connections, the nonprofit organizing the dialogues in partnership with the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. The first event will take place on September 15th in Longmeadow, MA, and will address different kinds and causes of violent extremism in the United States; the second event is on September 28th in Amherst, MA, and will tackle Islam and homosexuality.

  After completing her MFA program in non-fiction, Hannah Tennant-Moore set off on a two-month sojourn to Sri Lanka to examine her longtime interest in Buddhism before beginning the next chapter of her professional career.

Immersed in the culture of the country and surrounded by the fascinating people that she got to know, she began to connect the threads that would form her new novel, Wreck and Order.  The result is a novel of ideas that looks at spirituality, sex, life, friendship, and the eternal quest for fulfillment in life and love that drives us all. 

Yidstock 2016

Jul 12, 2016

Now in its 5th year, Yidstock celebrates the best of klezmer and new Yiddish music with a wide-ranging lineup of concerts that demonstrate the diversity and breadth of the genre, along with workshops, talks, and other programs.

Headlined by the legendary Klezmatics, this year’s lineup also includes the Klezmer Conservatory Band, the Eleanor Reissa Trio, the Yidstock All-stars, and Sklamberg & the Shepherds and many more.

Yidstock Artistic Director Seth Rogovoy, author of The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music is here to tell us more along with Lisa Newman - Director of Communications at the Yiddish Book Center. 

  From the director of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom; The Music of Strangers, tells the extraordinary story of the renowned international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The feature-length documentary follows The Silk Road Ensemble -- a group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers -- as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.

The Music of Strangers is the Berkshire International Film Festival's opening night film at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on June 2nd at 7 p.m. Yo-Yo Ma will participate in a Q&A following the film.

  The fourth annual Art and Soul reception will take place tomorrow at the Vassar College Alumnae House will feature beautiful, vibrant Haitian art, live entertainment from Vassar student musicians, and fabulous cuisine from Twisted Soul. The program runs from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, and is open to the public.

The Art and Soul reception funds the staffing, supply, and operation of a medical center in northwest Haiti that serves thousands of local residents. For many residents, this is the first accessible medical care in their lifetime.

The Vassar Haiti Project, founded in 2001, promotes Haitian art, fosters sustainable development in Haiti, and provides students and volunteers a life changing experiential education in global citizenship. VHP’s contributions are guided by five initiatives: education, medical access, reforestation, clean water access, and women’s health.

This morning we welcome the co-founders of the project: Andrew and Lila Meade, board member Caryn Halle, and Dr. Joassainvil Gueslin.

Andrew Solomon will be at Oblong Books on 5/14.   (This interview names the incorrect date for the event.)

  Far and Away collects Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual.

Chronicling his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change.

In New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever Matthias Hollwich has laid out his work on aging and architecture into a collection of short, digestible passages that will inspire us to think creatively and realistically about how we want to spend the rest of our lives.

His advice ranges from practical design tips for making our homes safer and more comfortable to thought-provoking insights on how we work, relax, travel, socialize, and even how we eat. Most importantly, Matthias wants us to make small, simple changes in our 40s, so we won’t be forced to make large ones in our 70s.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda - Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani begin a series of conversations asking the question: What is Jewish Music?

Yehuda’s Close Encounters with Music series in Great Barrington, MA will feature a program of Jewish Music entitled Fiddler OFF The Roof on April 17th at 3pm.

New York Times bestselling author Mark Bowden has had a prolific career as one of America’s leading journalists and nonfiction writers.

His new collection, The Three Battles of Wanat and Other True Stories, features the best of his long-form pieces on war, as well as notable profiles, sports reporting, and essays on culture.

We hear all the time about weight gain, weight loss, how Americans are the heaviest we have ever been, and myriad plans for remedying our egregious fatness. Yet, what if much of what we are told, and what we believe, simply is not true?

Writer Harriet Brown set out to explore our relentless obsession with weight and thinness in the new book Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight--and What We Can Do about It.

  In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States.

Award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us that Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.

'Trace' By Lauret Savoy

Dec 14, 2015

  While many geologists focus their inquiry on the Earth, probing contours of the land to reveal how past developments have come to shape the present, Lauret Savoy’s new book, Trace, takes a more personal journey.

Lauret Edith Savoy is a woman of mixed heritage, and a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College, where she explores the intertwinings of natural and cultural histories. She is a self-described “Earth historian” and in the new book traces her Native, African-, Euro-American ancestry across the United States in the hope of learning what her extended family experienced.

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