Multimedia and Arts 2013


Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images ~ March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4
Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images
Featuring Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy
Leibowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

Join photographer-writers Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy as they share their creative works in photographs and words inspired by places on opposite sides of the earth. Captivated by the underwater lifescape in Indonesia, Marie-Elizabeth wants to “capture” as much of it as she can before it disappears due to climate change and unsustainable fishing practices. She will share underwater photos, poems, and prose from her travels. While exploring the old Great Barrington Fairgrounds, Lynnette discovered through the lens of her camera a parallel between the site’s transformation and her own past, present, and future. She expresses her shift in perspective in words and images over a four-year span.

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Lynette Lucy Najimy

Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and coeditor, with Annie Finch, of the anthology Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012). She lives in Housatonic, MA, and New York.

Lynnette Lucy Najimy is a multimedia producer with an MA in philanthropy and media from Suffolk University. She is a Berkshire native and currently lives in Housatonic, MA.



Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres ~ March 5, 2013

Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres
Multimedia presentation and discussion hosted by Holly Brown
Liebowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

To browse through most contemporary anthologies of Latin American literature is to come away with the misconception that Latin American women have no voice in the Spanish-speaking literary or artistic world. In support of these underrepresented female artists, this workshop will showcase four examples of different creative genres by women from Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. The bilingual presentation will be led by Holly Brown, professor of Spanish language and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, with student presenters Olivia Dhaliwal, Paola Garcia, Melissa Sherman-Bennett, Abby Smith, and Mayu Suzuki. There will be a round-table discussion plus an opportunity for participants to engage in an unstructured creative writing activity at the close of the presentation.

Brief biographies of artists to be showcased:


Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral (b. 1889) was a Chilean educator, poet, and feminist. She was also the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1945.


self-portrait by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (b. 1907) was a Mexican painter well known for her distinctive self-portraits. She was an autodidact.

Short Story:

María Teresa Solari Ormachea (c. 1910) was a Bolivian born Professor, poet and political activist. She was also Director of Eco femenino magazine.


Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector (b. 1920) was a Ukranian born, Brazilian novelist and journalist.


Brief biographies of event participants:

Olivia Dhaliwal is a student in her first year of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She doesn’t know what her major will be yet, but she looks forward to seeing the world and helping people in her future with whatever career enables her to do so.

Paola Garcia

Paola Garcia is a student in her second year at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She majors in Digital Media and Cultural Studies and looks forward to doing a lot of different film related work documenting various cultures and countries.

Melissa Sherman-Bennett is a first year student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock hailing from Taos, New Mexico. She is planning on majoring in mathematics and physics, unless the world of literature lures her away from her beloved variables. Graduation is much too far away for her to imagine what she might be doing after college, but it will probably be exciting.

Abigail Smith is in her first year at Simon’s Rock and plan on majoring in Biology. After Simon’s Rock I’ll probably study pediatric medicine. Gracias.

Mayu Suzuki is a sophomore in Simon’s Rock. She majors in literature and creative writing, and upon completing her degree she plans on going to graduate school.

Holly Brown teaches Spanish language and literature this year at Simon’s Rock as a faculty fellow hailing from Bard High School Early College in Queens and is pursuing her PhD. in Medieval Spanish Literature.


Return to Little Women ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9
Return to Little Women
A multimedia lecture presented by Iris Bass
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 10 a.m.–noon

Sometimes we find great richness in exploring our own backyard. Such is the case with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Many have not gone back to this classic story since reading it as a child, not realizing the degree to which the character of Jo reflects feminist writer Alcott’s fervent belief that women of her day had the right to pursue careers. Written in Concord, MA, in 1868–69, the novel is both autobiographical and an idealization of the grounded family life and loving marriage that Alcott never had.

Published author Iris Bass, who for four years presented the “Words before Music” opera­literature series at Lee Library, will take readers on a literary journey back to this seminal work while also moving forward to American composer Mark Adamo’s 1998 opera based on Little Women, using excerpts from its audio recording.





The 12th Annual International Women’s Day Observance: “Sweet Dreams of Women’s Human Rights” ~ March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10
The Berkshire Human Rights Speaker Series presents:
The 12th Annual International Women’s Day Observance at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: “Sweet Dreams of Women’s Human Rights”
Film screening and discussion with Rob Fruchtman and Jennifer Dundas
McConnell Theater, Daniel Arts Center, 2–5 p.m.

The new documentary film Sweet Dreams, by Rob Fruchtman and Lisa Fruchtman, takes us to Rwanda, where, a decade after the 1994 genocide, women’s arts organizer Kiki Katese formed the first female drumming group in Rwanda. In the troupe, Tutsi and Hutu widows and orphans—wives and children of both perpetrators and victims—found reconciliation and safety through creating new traditions of hope and renewal. When Kiki later met Jennifer Dundas, one of the owners of Blue Marble Ice Cream in Brooklyn, she asked whether Jennifer would come to Rwanda to help the drummers open the first ice-cream shop in Rwanda. Sweet Dreams follows the women of the drumming group as they work with the American women to develop unique paths toward peace and possibility. A larger cooperative unfolds as the joyful film weaves the audience into the moving and inspiring beat of the drummers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Rob Fruchtman is an award-winning director, producer, and editor of documentaries and television programs in the arts, history, world cultures, and social justice issues. He was recipient of the Documentary Directors’ award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival for his feature film Sister Helen, which aired on HBO, and he has won three Emmys for his work on PBS. In 2007 he produced the film Seeing Proof, commissioned by the George Soros Open Society Institute, a documentary exploring the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and its lingering effects on Cambodia’s society.

Jennifer Dundas has had a long and distinguished career as a film and theater actress. She starred in the Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia opposite Billy Crudup, and created the role of Edie in the world premiere of Jules Feiffer’s Grown Ups on Broadway. She now receives rave reviews for her Blue Marble Ice Cream products as well as her entrepreneurial partnerships with women in Rwanda.

Sweet Dreams :: Trailer from Liro Films on Vimeo.


Stories from the Inside Out ~ March 12, 2013

Tuesday, March 12
Stories from the Inside Out
Workshop led by Annabelle F. Coote
Dance Studio, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7 p.m.

All women have stories. Every day is full of them. The mundane, the exciting, the quietly surprising, the kind that storm in and take over. Our stories live inside of us, in our bodies. In this interactive workshop, we will use movement and other creative arts to connect with our bodies’ wisdom and explore our stories, giving them depth and richness. We will move between writing and other expressive modalities with the goal of creating a piece of poetry or prose. Our time together will culminate in a reading for those who wish to share. No prior writing, arts, or movement experience necessary.

Annabelle F. Coote is an experienced psychotherapist, specializing in creative approaches and the mind/body connection. She draws on her background in dance, incorporating a wide range of expressive modalities into her work, including dance/movement, expressive arts, and writing. She is a licensed mental health counselor, a board-certified dance/movement therapist and a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor. Annabelle is an experienced workshop leader, presenter, and dance/movement instructor. She offers psychotherapy and movement coaching in her private practice, Movement Matters, and works as a senior staff therapist in the counseling service at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.


WAM Theatre and Sisters for Peace present: Screening: Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide ~ March 15, 2013

Friday, March 15
WAM Theatre and Sisters for Peace present:
Screening: Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Community discussion to follow with Kristen van Ginhoven and Caroline Wheeler
The Panel will include Janis Broderick, Maia Conty, Shirley Edgarton, Jeanet Ingalls, Bryan Nurnberger, and Ananda Timpany. Special music performance by Lizzie West.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 7–9:30 p.m.
Sponsored by McTeigue & McClellend and Sisters for Peace

This powerful documentary, inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book, introduces women and girls from all over the world who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable . . . and fighting bravely to change them. The film reflects viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offers a blueprint for transformation. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Change is possible, and we can be part of the solution.

The film will be followed by a community discussion exploring effective actions and agents of change for women and girls in our own community and beyond.  The panel will be moderated by Kristen van Ginhoven of WAM Theatre and will include Janis Broderick of Elizabeth Freeman Center and The Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, Maia Conty from AIER’s Women’s Financial Empowerment Series, Shirley Edgarton from Rite of Passage for Girls program and the Women of Color Giving Circle, Jeanet Ingalls from Shout Out Loud Productions, Bryan Nurnberger from Simply Smiles and Ananda Timpany from Railroad Street Youth Project.

There will also be a special performance during the evening, featuring Lizzie West, local singer songwriter. Lizzie has toured at length and has had her music in films, TV, and on the radio. Entertainment Weekly called her a “visionary troubadour.” She performs with her husband Baba Buffalo, a seasoned player of a most magical music sound.

Inspired by the book Half the Sky, WAM Theatre was founded in 2009 by Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck. WAM’s philanthropic mission is twofold: first, producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theater artists and/or stories of women and girls; second, to donate a portion of the proceeds from those events to organizations that benefit women and girls. WAM has donated over $7,000 to its beneficiaries.


Like many who have read Half the Sky, Sisters for Peace founder Caroline Wheeler was compelled to engage others to get involved and to work together to help empower women and girls around the world. In just over a year, Sisters for Peace has rallied to do volunteer work and has given over $8,000 to local and global organizations. Sisters for Peace is an entirely volunteer organization, and every dollar donated goes directly to the NGOs that work to empower women and girls. It doesn’t take an extensive network of partners and investors to start making a difference.


The Berkshire International Film Festival presents: Water Children: A film by Aliona van der Horst ~ March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 17
The Berkshire International Film Festival presents:
Water Children: A film by Aliona van der Horst
Netherlands, 2011, 75 minutes, Japanese/English with English subtitles
The Triplex, Great Barrington, 11 a.m.

In this acclaimed, hauntingly beautiful film, director Aliona van der Horst follows the unconventional Japanese-Dutch pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama as she explores the miracle of fertility and the cycle of life—sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic. When Mukaiyama recognized that her childbearing years were ending, she created a multimedia art project on the subject in a village in Japan, constructing what she calls a cathedral out of twelve thousand white silk dresses. While Mukaiyama’s own mesmerizing music provides a haunting backdrop to the film, her installation elicits confessions from its normally reticent Japanese visitors, many of whom have never seen art before. In moving scenes, they open up about previously taboo subjects. Mukaiyama’s courageous approach to a subject that remains unspoken in many cultures is explored with an elegance and sophistication that deepens our understanding of the relationship between body and mind.        Tomoko Mukaiyama website

Dutch director Aliona van der Horst has directed four international award-winning documentaries. She was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1970 and studied Russian literature at the University of Amsterdam and film at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. She began her career in 1997 with the much-acclaimed The Lady with the White Hat and since then has received multiple awards for most of her films, among them the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca film festival for Voices of Bam (2006), and the Grand Prix of the FIFA Montreal for The Hermitage Dwellers (2004). Recently she received the Jan Kassies Award for outstanding achievement from the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund. For her documentary Boris Ryzhy, she received the Silver Wolf Award at the IDFA, 2008; Best Documentary Award at Edinburgh Filmfestival, 2009; the Award of the Dutch Filmjournalists; and the Special Jury Prize at the FIFA, Montréal.     Women Make Movies: Water Children

The Berkshire International Film Festival, a world-class festival and an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires, celebrates its 8th season May 30–June 3, 2013. BIFF showcases not only the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films, but also lively panel discussions and special events, focusing on filmmakers and talented artists from both sides of the camera.


IWOW-WOW (In Words out of Words in Women’s Own Words) ~ March 19, 2013

Tuesday, March 19
The Deb Koffman Gallery presents:
IWOW-WOW (In Words out of Words in Women’s Own Words)
An open mic event for storytellers, poets, musicians, and performers
Deb Koffman Gallery, 137 Front Street, Housatonic, 7–9 p.m.
Suggested donation: $1-$6 for performers and audience

Women writers, poets, storytellers, songwriters, and performers share their art with one another and a supportive audience. Men are also welcome to read/perform women’s writings. Each participant is allotted three minutes (600 or fewer words). Performers can sign up by emailing Deb Koffman at; audience reservations are suggested, as space is limited. Snacks to share are welcome.


Trust: A performance by JoAnne Spies ~ March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22
Trust: A performance by JoAnne Spies and friends
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, 2:30 p.m.   Free with museum admission. See for admission fees.

JoAnne Spies with guitar. Photo by Julie McCarthy

Trust is a collaborative and interactive performance created by JoAnne Spies, with songs and poems on the theme of trust, in a guided tour of the Rockwell Museum.

JoAnne Spies is a singer-songwriter whose recent works include Karaoke Confession at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Survivor Tree, sung at Ground Zero with Jane Goodall officiating. Spies heads the Art Cart program at CATA, co-creating songs with elders and people with Alzheimer’s. Her CDs include 2×3, Me & Melville, and North Avenue Honey. JoAnne “puts the purr in performance art.”—CD Nelson


JoAnne’s special guests will include:

Pooja Ru PremaMari AndrejcoBarbara and Graham DeanJan HutchinsonRodney MashiaEric ReinhardtNatalie Shiras, Nathan Smith and Teresa Thomasand maybe some surprise guests as well!

Read more about JoAnne’s first performance of “Trust” on her blog.


The Trojan Women ~ March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22
The Trojan Women
Adapted and Directed by Leigh Strimbeck, with students from Russell Sage College
Studio Theater, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7 p.m.

Performed by Russell Sage College students, produced by The Theatre Institute at Sage, this performance is a feminist retelling of Euripides’ great anti-war play.  The adaptation is set in the future in Troy, New York in the midst of an energy crisis, in a United States collapsed by 10 years of civil war.  The story takes place in a women’s refugee camp on the banks of the Hudson River.  This version dares to reinvent the response of the women to further enslavement.

Leigh Strimbeck 
 is an actor, director, writer and acting teacher. She holds a BFA in dance/drama from New York University and has been taught acting at the Actors and Directors Lab in New York City and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) in Bloomsburg, PA. There she acted in dozens of plays, served as ensemble director for three years, and traveled with BTE during a USIA tour of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. She is currently an assistant professor at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She is also the cofounder of WAM Theatre (Women’s Action Movement Theatre, with Kristen van Ginhoven, artistic director.



Talk to Her: Interviews with Women Musicians ~ March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23
Talk to Her: Interviews with Women Musicians
With LaShonda Katrice Barnett
The Bookstore, Lenox, 6–7:30 p.m.

Talk to Her is a reading and discussion of the interviewing process that resulted in the path-breaking books I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters on Their Craft and Off the Record: Conversations with African American and Brazilian Women Musicians. These volumes offer critical perspectives on the music‐making processes and careers of renowned twenty-first-century African American and Brazilian women artists, focusing on the musicians’ creative process, inspiration, and experiences within the music industry, as well as on the sound and significance of their musical expressions, including the historical and social contexts in which they were produced.

Photo by Vidura Barrios (

LaShonda Katrice Barnett has conducted interviews with over fifty renowned actresses and musicians. In addition to I Got Thunder and Off the Record, she is the author of the story collection Callaloo. A graduate of the University of Missouri, she received an MA in women’s history from Sarah Lawrence College and the PhD in American studies from the College of William and Mary. She has taught African American history and literature and women’s history and literature at the University of Richmond, Hampton University, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Hunter College. She divides her time between Manhattan and Providence, RI, where she is Visiting Scholar in Africana Studies at Brown University.


Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song ~ March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27
Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song
Rosemary Starace, JoAnne Spies, and the Elemental Orchestra
The Lichtenstein Center, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 7 p.m.
Suggested donation: $5

“Let me fly away with you, for my love is like the wind.” Enter an elemental landscape that celebrates love, wildness, and all that wind and rain conjure. Poet Rosemary Starace and singer-songwriter JoAnne Spies trade art forms and collaborate with each other and the elements in this interactive performance. Guitar, dulcimer, drums, melodicas, accordions, rattles, and chimes will accompany original and familiar pieces spoken, chanted, and sung.

JoAnne Spies with guitar. Photo by Julie McCarthy

JoAnne Spies’s recent works include Karaoke Confession at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Survivor Tree, sung at Ground Zero with Jane Goodall officiating. Spies heads the Art Cart program at CATA, cocreating songs with elders and people with Alzheimer’s. Her CDs include 2×3, Me & Melville, and North Avenue Honey. CD Nelson says, “She puts the purr in performance art.”

Rosemary Starace, photo by Kevin Hayes

Rosemary Starace, writer and visual artist, is author of the poetry collection Requitements and coeditor of Letters to the World, an international poetry anthology. “This is a poetry very much like the blues, full of lacrimae rerum. . . .Hearing it, I feel a weight lifting in my chest that I didn’t know was there.” —Dave Bonta, Via Negativa