• Eric Rudd Announces for North Adams Mayor

    Artist/ Developer Runs Against Incumbent Alcombright

    By: Eric Rudd - May 15th, 2015

    After establishing the former Contemporary Artists Center in the Beaver Mill the artist, Eric Rudd, developed the artists/ loft Eclipse Mill. He is now announcing his second campaign for mayor. The first some time ago was against John Barrett III and now he opposes Mayor Dick Alcombright. It is speculated that Barrett, who after being defeated sat on the city council, may join the race. The artists and potential voters who Rudd appeals to tipped the balance when Alcombright defeated Barrett. In fact he blamed them for running him out of a generation spanning dominance of North Adams politics. This could indeed be interesting.

  • Northern Berkshires Blockbuster Arts Summer

    From Warhol and Wilco to van Gogh and Inge

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 14th, 2015

    Now in his final weeks as director of the Clark Art Institute Michael Conforti hosted a media event promoting a blockbuster season for Northern Berkshire County. There were presentations by Joe Thompson for Mass MoCA, Tina Olsen for the Williams College Museum of Art, and Mandy Greenfield for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Notably absent from the media event were North Adams based arts presenters Downstreet, The Eclipse Mill Gallery, The Rudd Museum of Art and the fall annual Williamstown Film Festival.

  • John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden in Metabook™

    New Digital Book Publisher Puts a New Spin on a Modern Classic

    By: Susan Hall - Apr 03rd, 2015

    The publishing conundrum. How to attract readers tied to their mobile devices and induce them to read a book. Ken Siman and his partners Christian and Benjamin Alfonsi have produced a packed multimedia edition of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for iphones and ipads. Is this the answer to book reading in the 21st century?

  • Where Does Grand Opera Fit in the 21st Century

    Peter Gelb is Not Answering the Question

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 19th, 2015

    The New Yorker editor and Columbia's Bloomberg professor of business journalism, James Stewart, splendidly describes internal negotiations at the Met last summer as Peter Gelb, the general manager, tried to cut salaries and expenses by 16 % and the orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other smaller unions struggled for their lives. On the larger issue of the Met's survival at all, Stewart falls short.

  • A Tale of Two Halides

    Empty Calorie, Mineral Deficient, Low Fiber, Nutritionally \Non-dense Food

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Mar 03rd, 2015

    Among other insights our science correspondent reveals that "Forty and fifty years ago, Iodine, in the form of Sodium Iodate, was routinely added to American bakery products, both as a dough conditioner and a nutritional supplement. Then, of course because it was cheaper, Big Food started adding Bromates instead. These not only contain no Iodine, but are also capable of displacing it. Our FDA likes to say that all the Bromates (which are banned in the EU and UK) in dough will become the less-toxic Bromides in the processes of flour “ripening,” rising, and baking.'" It is likely that you didn't know that.

  • How We Live

    Thinking of Yeats

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Feb 18th, 2015

    Our friend the poet Stephen Rifkin often sends insightful and provocative e mails. It has been an ongoing and absorbing dialogue. I asked if he could expand a recent one into an op ed piece. Looking inward he was inspired by Yeats.

  • Euro English

    Toward Universal Language

    By: Euro - Feb 09th, 2015

    The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

  • Mariffa

    The Country That Embraces Knowledge.

    By: David Zaig - Feb 06th, 2015

    “The currently dominant worldview is in opposition to a gradually emerging new holistic worldview of interconnectedness and oneness.” Thomas Kuhn.

  • Super Bowl Inspired Fast Eddy

    Arts Critic Reveals Passion for Sports

    By: Edward Rubin - Jan 31st, 2015

    As a critic and journalist New York based Edward Rubin, known to friends and colleagues as Fast Eddy, has a finger in many pies. On the eve of the Super Bowl he reveals a deep and abiding love of sports. Much of this passion was inherited from his sporting father. Hey, who knew?

  • The Loop of Misconceptions

    Misconceptions Lead to False Assumptions

    By: David Zaig - Jan 12th, 2015

    I thought I owe you an explanation as to why I think knowledge, like breathing, is vital to life. As we all know knowledge brought us all the advancements in medicine technology, higher standard of living, and so forth. But the knowledge I am talking about is the personal knowledge we identify with daily. When we interact with others we don’t ask ourselves what we mean by saying “I know something,”

  • The Clark and Mass MoCA Stiff Locals

    Negligible Off Season Free Admissions

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 18th, 2014

    As of January One the Clark will no longer be free during the off season. It is offering token free days but adult admission is full freight at $20. Add another $10 to see special exhitions. Which is still more generous than Mass MoCA which has a single annual free day. It sends the wrong PR and marketing message to the local community. What price can you put on being a welcoming good neighbor?

  • Gorbachev Tear Down The Veil

    Seeking Knowledge or Understanding

    By: David Zaig - Dec 11th, 2014

    There is no easy short answer: the difference between knowledge and understanding is not so obvious at first, but if you think about it a little, you will find, for instance, that knowing about hieroglyphics does not mean we understand them.

  • Words Matter

    The Value of Education

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Nov 16th, 2014

    People who make money are successful. They are sometimes well educated, and sometimes not, but they are smart. They are smart enough to be successful in the way most of us value success.

  • The Limits of Our Education System

    Functioning in Flatland

    By: David Zaig - Nov 07th, 2014

    We had to teach ourselves and share what we have learned with the rest of the class. Apia, the beautiful brown girl I mentioned earlier, is back in town.

  • Can One Idiot Learn from Another

    What You Don't Know About Quantum Mechanics Does Help You

    By: David Zaig - Sep 21st, 2014

    Knowledge doesn’t limit us or take away the beauty and mystery of the world—it actually enhances our view of the world and should make us stronger and more tolerant.

  • Boston Mayah Walsh on the Arts

    Reply to Larry Stark

    By: Joyce Linehan - Sep 16th, 2014

    Veteran Boston theatre critic Larry Stark wrote an open letter to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. He stated his disappointment that campaign promises to the arts community were soon forgotten. We posted his original letter which is linked in this reply from the Mayor's spokesperson longtime arts advocate Joyce Linehan.

  • Are Humans Becoming Stupider

    IQ Scores Have Declined 14 Points Since the 19th Century

    By: David Zaig - Sep 09th, 2014

    The reason why humans are getting stupider is because we think we are immutable. In the grand scheme of things, we are as primitive as an amoeba trying to build a brain. Some think our brain has reached its peak. Evolution is either too slow or becoming ineffective. Now we are on our own.

  • Unexamined Life Isn't Worth Living

    But Not By IQ Tests

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Sep 09th, 2014

    Schools used to assign children to classes based on their IQ test scores. Then schools decided it was better for children to be in heterogeneous, or mixed IQ, classes. They would get a better feel for life because many people are not so fast. Now experts may be reconsidering. It is one of the truisms of fashion, and there are intellectual fashions, too, that they change. Here Rifkin again rebuts Zaig.

  • Outside The Machine

    Waxing Philosophical

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Sep 03rd, 2014

    There has been a lively response to the provocative series of think pieces by the Berkshire artist David Zaig. Here the Berkshire poet Stephen Rifkin debates Zaig's contentions. They often sit at the same table during weekly Monday night Chinese dinners in North Adams. Rifkin recently gave a poetry reading at the Rudd Art Museum where Zaig is currently exhibiting his work.

  • The Freud Machine

    Taking Responsibility for Opinions We Promulgate

    By: David Zaig - Sep 02nd, 2014

    As an artist, I learned to understand that in this world of ours we humans must take responsibility for the opinions we promulgate: that means, ideally, we ought to search for the data to support what we say. We take notions such as subjectivity, creativity, feelings, or likes and dislikes for granted. Let’s not forget that, first, these notions are words--words we inherited and use automatically, words that can be skewed when translated into action, and as such misrepresent and distort our perception of the world.

  • Vaccination Followup

    Poor Former Dr. Wakefield

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Aug 31st, 2014

    In this sidebar to the Vaccination Divide we discuss the contoversies surrounding the research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who uncovered links between autism and a particular type of gut inflammation. Eventually his findings were discredieted and his liscense to practice medicine was revoked. But he is correct that aluminum toxicity is capable of doing real damage.

  • Defining an Artist

    Honorific vs. Generic

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 30th, 2014

    Anyone who hangs a few pictures in a coffee shop is a self proclaimed artist or photographer. Is anyone who makes art an artist? Does posting comments to Facebook make one a critic? Does posting snap shots of your cat or kids qualify as art? Despite decades as a successful commercial and fine arts photographer the Berkshire based Benno Friedman, during an extensive interview, explains why he hestitates to call himself an artist.

  • Open Letter to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

    My Theatrical Response to Disaster in Ferguson

    By: Larry Stark - Aug 29th, 2014

    Back in the day Larry Stark was the theatre critic for Boston After Dark which elided as The Boston Phoenix. He has covered theatre for decades currently with his website Theatre Mirror. Following up on campaign promises Stark in an open letter has questions for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "To put it bluntly Mayor, I voted for you Only because I thought at the time that your commitment to The Arts was genuine."

  • Exhibit in Grant Park Addresses Ferguson

    Unspeakable Times Are Soothed by Chicago's Statues

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 25th, 2014

    The figures are iron and aluminum, but to me and many others they stood for black and white. People of all colors are walking and seated in the Georg Solti Park in Grant Park, Chicago. These sculptures invite quiet contemplation of the state of race relations in this country this August.

  • The Vaccination Divide

    Exploring the Pros and Cons

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Aug 25th, 2014

    Faith based and other concerned parents have opted not to vaccinate their children. This can result in outbreaks in formerly widely preventable diseases. There are concerns that vaccinations may in fact induce dangerous side effects inluding an inclination for autism. Our science correspondent, a firm advocate of vaccination, explores the issues and risk factors.

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