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News from The Porches Inn June 2009

The Porches Inn on a Sunny Spring Day

in this issue
:: Flexible, Affordable Packages
:: MASS MoCA Opens Three New Exhibits
:: Broadway in the Berkshires
:: Catch the New Work of Artist James Fissel
PORCHES LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE!Paint-by-Numbers at The Porches Inn

We're pleased to announce that Porches has a new home in cyberspace! The name's the same (porches.com) but boy-oh-boy is it a different site. The design, by OAT Creative from Somerville, MA, is fresh and colorful (just like Porches!) and full of photos showing off our property... the site "wallpaper" is derived from the design elements at Porches - like our fun paint-by-numbers. We've also loaded up the site with information to help you explore the Berkshires and included handy "bells and whistles" like weather and directions for easy trip planning. 
We selected OAT Creative not just because they make great websites - they, like us, believe in nurturing the arts and their community. Lumen Eclipse, a public art project dedicated to exhibiting and promoting motion artists, is the brainchild of OAT Creative - LE exhibits in Harvard Square, so the next time your in Cambridge, make sure you include a jaunt around the Square!
Check out the newly launched Porches.com!
MAKE IT YOUR OWNBiking in the Berkshires

Each season, we offer 7 or 8 packages that we hope will help you get to know the Berkshires a little bit better. Our newest package, Architecture Lecture, helps you get to know Porches even better... It features an audio tour of architect Ann McCallum and hotelier Nancy Fitzpatrick discussing their favorite design elements and inspiration of the Porches property. Architecture Lecture also includes a copy of the beautiful book about Porches (Art and Renewal on River Street), overnight accommodations and-as always-our healthful continental breakfast.

We also made our package plans more flexible this season. All but one package are one-night getaways... so if you'd like to extend your stay, we will do it for just $109 per night (midweek) plus taxes - a nicely discounted rate. In addition, while the packages were crafted for midweek stays, we will do our best to accommodate you on a weekend - please contact our Reservations staff for more information. We would also be glad to help coordinate a weekend visit that includes a variety of activities (rather than a specific package) - theater tickets, MASS MoCA admission and dinner for two, perhaps? In any case, we encourage you to put your own spin on your trip to the Berkshires and we'll be glad to help you figure it out
Check out all our fun packages...
Catamount Adventure Park
Temps have been in the seventies here, with cool mornings and evenings - perfect for roasting marshmallows by our bonfire pit. There are incredible opportunities for exploring the great outdoors, whether it's you and a pal on a challenging hike up Mount Greylock, a stroll on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute or a rousing time at an adventure park with the whole family!  Or, just take advantage of our Geocaching Package and go on an outdoor scavenger hunt that has you looking for caches left by other geocaching enthusiasts - click here for more info on this package...

If you prefer to just drive right up to the highest point in Massachusetts, you can now do that too since the road to the Greylock summit has opened again! 
For the last couple of years, the road to the top of Mt. Greylock was closed for repair and rebuilding. Come and enjoy Mt. Greylock again! Please see below for more on outdoor fun in the Porches neighborhood...
Don't forget to burn of some energy before the long ride home at Catamount Adventure Park! Their ropes course and zip-lines have different difficulty levels so everyone can benefit from it. A fun-filled time for all ages and abilities...
Hancock Shaker Village is a great educational experience for the family!  View the restored land and buildings while learning about their herb and vegetable gardens.  Pet and feed the livestock - pigs, sheep and cattle dot the beautiful landscape of this incredible Shaker site!
For professional guidence meet our friends at Berkshire Outfitters and Zoar Outdoor!  Zoar Outdoor can fill your calender with white water rafting trips, kayaking clinics, canoeing instructions, rock climbing classes and fly fishing clinics to name a few.  Its a great way to get outdoors with the family, or even by yourself! 
George Cochrane: Long Time GoneGuy Ben-Nor at Mass MoCA
Brooklyn-based painter George Cochrane will present the original drawings of the first two chapters of Long Time Gone, a 24 chapter graphic novel he is creating with his six-year-old daughter, Fiamma. The core narrative of this autobiographical work is one 24 hour period, with each 24 page chapter depicting one hour in the day. Working in a collaborative fashion, Cochrane incorporates Fiamma's ideas, drawings, and writing in the graphic novel, which is in itself a document about the creative process. His exhibition articulates the power of the graphic novel as both a work of art and a document of material culture, while investigating new modes of storytelling in print in the midst of the electronic age.
Guy Ben-Ner: Thursday the 12th

Over the past decade Guy Ben-Ner has become known for a series of playful videos which often star the artist and his young children. The humorous, home-made films have an authentic, do-it-yourself appeal, though their deceptive simplicity quickly reveals sophisticated cinematic and literary influences - ranging from the physical comedy of Buster Keaton and the humanist films of François Truffaut to literary classics such as Herman Melville's Moby Dick and Daniel Dafoe's Robinson Crusoe. With humor and pathos Ben-Ner re-tells these iconic stories of the individual's search for meaning and identity in relation to the influence of society's mores and traditions. Through these timeless tales he sheds light on contemporary philosophical and political issues while avoiding a didactic approach.Often exhibited with the simple sets and props created for the videos, Ben-Ner's work de-mystifies the creative process, symbolically inviting the viewer to move beyond the space of reception into the realm of production.

This Is Killing Me
Drawing on the anxieties inherent in art-making, This is Killing Me brings together eight young artists who in their diverse practices make palpable a distinctive sense of unease about their identities as artists and the creation of their work. Although professional anxiety is common in all fields, artists often explore and harness these fears into central and driving themes. The artists in this exhibition point to a divide between the coolness and deft craftsmanship of their works and the apprehension and angst that went into their making. The amusing, often riotous quality of the pieces underscores this tension. The artists in This is Killing Me, Whitney Bedford, Karl Haendel, Andrew Kuo, Sean Landers, Kalup Linzy, Shana Lutker, Marco Rios, and Joe Zane, maintain practices grounded in self-reflection, portraying in their work the apprehensions and dilemmas of the their process. The works presented, far from becoming cathartic votives, are embodied monuments to the complexities of artistic practice.

For more information, please follow this link...

Porches was born out of preservation - recycled Victorian millworker houses transformed into our lovely hotel -  and is a proud member of Historic Hotels of America. Preservation is important to us because it helps keep alive the history of our region and the legacy of those who helped make it great. Spending a few bucks to visit a historic or natural site is a win-win way to contribute to the longevity of these organizations; plus, you get the benefit of enjoying it now and in the future!  In addition to our neighbors at MASS MoCA and the Clark Art Institute, the Berkshire region boasts a number of organizations dedicated to preservation - from Edith Wharton's summer home (the Mount) to Lincoln monument sculptor Daniel Chester French's home and studio (Chesterwood) to the many theaters and historical societies large and small.  We encourage you to visit cultural organizations, but consider our suggestions below for a couple of outdoor venues to support and enjoy...  
Hike on established trails on Berkshire Natural Resource Council properties!
Basin Pond -- On November 4th, 2006 BNRC opened its newest trail at Basin Pond in Lee, MA. Gentle grades through spectacular terrain make this an enjoyable hike to a historic impoundment.
Stevens Glen -- This pleasant loop and spur trail brings visitors to Stevens Glen, a hidden gem of the Berkshires.
Olivia's Overlook -- The Burbank Trail on Lenox Mountain and the Walsh and Charcoal Trail on West Stockbridge Mountain are BNRC's premier trails offering miles of hiking with excellent vistas to the east and west.
Bob's Way -- On September 4, 2004 BNRC opened its newest trail in Monterey, MA named Bob's Way after Bob Thieriot who generously donated this preserve.
Click here to go to the BNRC website...
Mount Greylock is another great hiking location!
Greylock, the tallest mountain in Massachusetts, has a history as rich as its ecology. Spectacular views, remote boggy areas, alpine and boreal forests, and more than twenty rare and endangered plants grace its rolling peaks and ridgelines. Its tower-topped summit is a landmark for miles around and a defining characteristic of the Berkshire landscape. To learn more about Greylock and its trail system, click here.
Williamstown Theatre FestivalFIRING UP THE FOOTLIGHTS...

With the recent announcement of its 2009 season, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has set the stage for an exciting line-up of performances this summer!  With works by A. R. Gurney, Sam Shepard, George Kelly and others spanning themes of squabbling brothers and family rivalry, amateur actors feverishly rehearsing a play (to great comic effect!), and the passion and romance bubbling beneath the surface of a group of eccentric teachers-it'll be a notable summer for the WTF. Take advantage of Porches' Williamstown Theatre package - click here for more information.
Main Stage July 1-12
by - A.R. Gurney
directed by - John Tillinger
Tony-nominee John Tillinger directs this timeless Gurney classic set in a large summer home on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. When an estranged brother's return and a mother's impending marriage recall painful memories of their father's death, seething arguments reignite one family's struggle with its tragic past and uncertain future.
Nikos Stage July 8-19
World-Premiere by - Jonathan Marc Sherman
directed by - Nicholas Martin
Are you ready? The question looms over Jerry as the months tick by and his unborn son grows from the size of a peach to the size of, well, a baby. As the birth date creeps ever nearer, will the advice, encouragement and warnings of friends and family make Jerry more or less ready? The awe and terror of becoming a new parent shines through Sherman's newest play as he examines whether one can ever truly be ready for parenthood. Nicholas Martin directs this world-premiere.

Go to the WTF website to learn more and buy tickets...
Circles of Influence opens June 7...

Circles of Influence at the Clark Art InstituteThe evocative paintings of flowers and southwestern landscapes by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) have long defined her role as a distinctly American icon and one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Yet a vital factor in her early development is frequently overlooked: from the outset of her career in the 1910s, O'Keeffe credited the work of Arthur Dove (1880-1946) as her primary introduction to modern art. Dove, acknowledged as America's first abstract painter, used colorful, dynamic forms to reflect his sensitive communion with the physical world, an approach that inspired the young O'Keeffe to experiment with abstraction. The two artists eventually met in 1918, introduced by the photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz (who would later become O'Keeffe's husband), and they maintained a lifelong respect for each other's work. Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence explores the visual and thematic interests shared by these two pioneers of twentieth-century painting, examining Dove's role in O'Keeffe's early practice and O'Keeffe's subsequent impact on Dove's work. Over the course of several decades, their artistic dialogue yielded a form of modernism grounded in direct, emotional responses to nature, and their profound aesthetic connection helped shape the course of art in America.

Tanglewood and the Clark are coming together this summer to offer a $45 ticket package for patrons making the 45-minute drive between the two institutions. The package includes two lawn tickets to Tanglewood classical concerts, typically priced at $20 each, and two tickets for admission to the Clark, usually $12.50 each. This summer's 45/45 ticket package is designed to make it easy and more affordable for visitors to take in a variety of Berkshire experiences.

Click here to visit the Clark's website...
New Exhibition Opens: The Paintings of James FisselJames Fissel at MCLA

James Fissel is a self-taught artist who moved to the Berkshires from Western Michigan.  Fourteen years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  Despite this, his painting practice became more prolific.  Over the past decade, Fissel has created a significant body of work centered around his lifelong fascination with the orb - a symbol he uses as an artistic tool to express his relationship with the creative spirit, the mystery of life and all the dimensions in the world that exist but cannot be seen.

MCLA: 375 Church Street, North Adams

Click here to visit the Gallery 51 webpage...

Mel Brooks' The Producers! at the historic Colonial Theatre!The Producers at the Colonial Theatre
Thurs 6/04/09 7:30pm · Fri 6/05 8pm · Sat 6/06 3pm & 8pm 
C-R Productions On Tour
$45, $25
Based on the classic 1968 movie, Mel Brooks' The Producers is an outrageous and hilarious musical comedy about two scheming Broadway theatrical producers. The winner of 12 Tony Awards, The Producers will have you holding your sides with laughter as Max Bialystock, Leo Bloom and a cast of outrageous characters sing and dance their way through the greatest showbiz scam ever devised!

Click here to visit the Colonial Theater's website...
In the Galleries
There are more and more galleries cropping up in the Berkshires... check out the links to the galleries in Porches' neighborhood to see what's on the minds of artists in our area...
The Harrison Gallery, 39 Spring St, Williamstown
On your way to Porches, stop at the Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield! 
Click here for a link to a Berkshire-wide gallery guide.