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It’s time for our favorite film festival of the year: Film Columbia held at the single-screen Crandell Theater in Chatham, NY.  I wrote about our 2009 visit here.

This year, we’ve snagged tickets for:

A Dangerous Method, starring my new obsession Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, Fish Tank).  A psycho-sexual thriller about the woman who comes between Jung and Freud starring Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Kira Knightly?  Front row, please.

Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene, about a young woman who joins a cult, then leaves the cult and attempts to re-acclimate to ‘normal life’ at the home of her sister.  Stars the Olsen twins’ little sister Elizabeth (“Lizzie”), who gave the breakout performance of this year’s Sundance.  Hugh Dancy (husband to Clare Danes) and Sarah Paulson (tell me you didn’t love
(Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) also star.

And The Kid with a Bike, the Grand Prix winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival about an abandoned boy who sets out to find both his father and his bike.  A hairdresser he meets along the way helps him find, if not actually recover, both.

Other highlights include Corioloanus (Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut), Melancholia (Lars Von Trier’s best work yet?), The Artist (homage to silent film era’s Chaplin, Keaton, Griffith, et al), Anonymous (local screenwriter John Orloff raises the Shakespeare authorship question in this cloak-and-dagger story) and We Need to Talk About Kevin (Tilda Swinton = can do no wrong).

We didn’t get tickets to the “Saturday Night Sneak” in time; it’s now sold out.  Last year’s “Sneak” was Black Swan.  I have a suspicion it’s going to be The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I’ve been dying to see, but having watched the original Swedish version over the weekend, am not entirely confident even the great David Fincher can improve upon it.  See it, but be warned: it’s extremely violent.

Tickets to Film Columbia 2011 here.


Two weekends ago, I popped into a new store in Lenox called Local.  Local is filled with beautiful items handmade by local artisans including jewelry, pottery, knitwear, art, kitchen linens and more.  The displays are tasteful and the store is well curated.  Each artist gets a little card noting where they live/work, a short bio, and their contact information.  You really get the feeling owner Michele O’Hana cares as much about showcasing the artist as she does the art.

Here’s a few pics I found on their website – I’ve got my eye on some Lauren Mundy pottery and a pair of Naomi Blumenthal hosta earrings.

Antler candlesticks, Michele O’Hana, Lenox, MA

Porcelin tableware, Michele O’Hana, Lenox, MA

Letter press cards, Beech Tree Studio, Old Chatham, NY

Glass tumblers, Tom Stoenner (Rhinebeck, NY)

Jewelry, Naomi Blumenthal

The store is not in downtown Lenox, it’s on Route 7 in the shopping center where Pine Cone Hill used to be.  I hope they get the foot traffic they deserve.  It’s a great spot for holiday gift shopping.

More Local here.

Solid Sound Festival, 2010

  • Solid Sound is this weekend!  Get out there and enjoy Wilco, The Levon Helm Band and more.  Single day tickets still available.
  • Jenny Gersten, new Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival interviewed in the Boston Globe and the New York Times.  Last year I mentioned she was an influence.
  • Susan Orlean bemoans the mega-homes of Hilton Head in The New Yorker.

Jenny Gersten

Have a great weekend.  We’re off to Massachusetts to celebrate my friend Jim‘s release.

Photos: Greylock Arts; Stewart Cairns for the New York Times

The opera Nixon in China recently had its Met premiere here in New York.  I’ve been catching a bit of publicity on NPR and the Slate Culture Gabfest.  The show is about Nixon’s 1972 visit to China and meeting with Mao that resulted in the opening of China. 

This production has been praised by critics and combines elements I cannot conceive of sharing a stage: Nixon, Chairman Mao and their wives as protagonists, a Philip Glass-influenced score, outsize set pieces (including Air Force One), and a Communist ballet choreographed by Mark Morris.

Which brings me to Jacob’s Pillow.  The Mark Morris Dance Group will be celebrating their 30th anniversary with a weekend long program of pieces at the Ted Shawn Theatre in August.  I suspect tickets will go fast.

But let’s go back to the opera for just a moment, and the Nixons as protagonists.  Can you imagine Pat singing (gloriously, no doubt) about her poor childhood, cocktail in hand?  I’m not kidding around here, this show is not a satire.  In fact, it’s nearly four hours long. 

Jacob’s Pillow ticket information here.

Metropolitan Opera ticket information here.

Etsy’s coming.

That’s right.  Etsy’s coming to Hudson, NY. 

Head on over to Sam Pratt’s blog for the deets, but the jist is, they’re opening an outpost in Hudson where they’ll employ upwards of 50 people.

Here’s the thing: I work next to Etsy.  Last year they moved their office next to mine in Brooklyn.  Let me amend that, it started as an office.  Now it’s turning into a headquarters.  Staff and office size has seemed to double.  Don’t be surprised if my little startup is packing it up in the next few months because Etsy has decided they want our corner spot (if I crane my neck I can see the onramp of the Brooklyn Bridge). 

In the meantime, I stand aside as the happy-kitschy-meta-retro-post-craftsters pile in and out of the elevator every day.  I drool as the organic feasts roll into their office on “eatsy” Wednesdays.  I attempt to pilfer their mid-century furniture left in the hall as they renovate their offices with reclaimed wood floors (the building is otherwise concrete and no, I didn’t get the orange couch).  Oh yeah, and I shop the hell out of their site.

Have you seen their offices?  I once stopped by a craft class just to scope them out. 



And now they’re coming to Hudson.  So tell me: is this destiny or is Etsy stalking me?


Merry Christmas.  I dropped off for a while.  Chances are I spent the holidays with the five people who read this blog, so no one’s too disappointed, right?  We’re buried under 20+ inches of snow here in Columbia County, and it couldn’t be more peaceful or idyllic.

We’re heading out of town today for a mini New Year’s vacay in Portland, Maine.  If we stayed in town, there’s no doubt we’d be at Club Helsinki for the Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class show tonight.

Our first visit to Helsinki Hudson was a benefit concert that Elvis Perkins and Tracy Bonham did for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary a few months ago.  It was our third Elvis show, but our first solo Elvis show.  He did not disappoint.  Neither did the venue.

The original Helsinki opened in Great Barrington in 1995.  It was the love child of the son of Borscht belt camp owners and the granddaughter of the gentleman who ran a certain Hotel Helsinki in Finland.  The venue was elegantly intimate and thus ideal for hearing legendary artists such as Levon Helm, Norah Jones, and Leo Kottke perform.

The Great Barrington venue closed last year, and reopened just a few months ago in this spectacular 1800’s industrial building in Hudson.  It’s a huge space, and features a full restaurant/bar and separate bar/lounge/performance area, but still has that intimate feeling, as though it’s been around forever.

Our second visit was just a few weeks ago for Hudson’s Winter Walk.  It was a freezing night, and our wait for a table at Swoon was over an hour, just enough time to settle into the bar at Helsinki for a martini (me) and whiskey (Anuj).  I think it was their first proper night serving dinner.  The waiters scurried around with panic-stricken faces, but the crowd (it was packed) was relaxed and forgiving, no doubt happy to have this new addition to the community.

An interview with owner Deborah McDowell and video tour of the space can be found here.

Images Club Helsinki.

What’s Doing in Columbia/Berkshire County

Find out what's going on in Columbia and Berkshire county:

Columbia county: CoCo To Do

Berkshire county: Rogovoy Report