Pittsfield is clearly the place to be on Columbus Day Weekend. the city is jumping with enormous activity. For the second year in a row there will be an "Out in the Berkshires" celebration which has been slated for October 8-10. This year includes several new events, some of which have only been finalized in the past day or two.
Says Megan Whilden, Cultural Pittsfield's director, "The terrific thing about Out in the Berkshires is that it is the same weekend as a number of other events in downtown Pittsfield, from the Storefront Artist Project-organized open studios, to a conversation with artist Maggie Mailer at Ferrin Gallery, to Barrington Stage’s production of The Crucible and their programming around the Red Scare era and blacklisted writers."
The full slate of weekend events are being held in concert with National Coming Out day on October 11, and are co-sponsored by the Rainbow Times, the City of Pittsfield and the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition. For visitors too, it is a rare chance to enjoy gorgeous fall foliage and gay-friendly arts and nightlife.
Out in the Berkshires kicks off Friday evening with the opening reception for the Out in the Berkshires group art show (see preview slideshow in our concurrent story at Berkshire on Stage. It takes place at the Lichtenstein Gallery, featuring regional artists from the LGBTQ community, including Kit Restivo whose photo appears at the top of this story.
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is the new home for the Live Out Loud Youth Project a social support and networking. youth-led, adult-facilitated group to support positive social relationships and meet the needs of LGBTQQA youth in the Berkshires. It's another important reason why the Out in the Berkshires project is to create a welcoming environment for our own LGBTQ youth to avoid tragedies like the recent suicide of Tyler Clementi. "And the LGBT art show was the Mayor's idea," notes Whilden.
Friday evening continues with the first of three nights of delicious comedic cabaret with Bill Nelson’s All Male Revue at the award-winning Barrington Stage Company, followed by late night Karao-Gay with karaoke champion Ken De Loreto as the ever-so-charming MC.
"As Pittsfield itself has undergone change in recent years, the most exciting and entertaining twist on its diversity has been the arrival of increasing numbers of LGBT residents. They have enriched the arts and cultural scene, of course, but they have also been filling needed spots in the health care, high tech and entrepreneurial communities. The "Out" weekend is one way to reach out to them in hopes that they may become more involved. Not only can they enjoy the beauty and ambience of the Berkshires, but in Pittsfield, we welcome their active participation in the growth of the city." - Megan Whilden
Saturday enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage in the Berkshires and don’t miss the Downtown Pittsfield Open Studios, an opportunity to peek into some of the 60+ artist studios and galleries in downtown Pittsfield. After the All Male Revue Saturday evening, you’re invited to cruise at Come Out and Dance party into the wee hours.
"We know a successful creative city needs to be a diverse, tolerant and exciting city, and one of the key ingredients, as identified by Richard Florida in his seminal book, The Rise of the Creative Class, is the LGBTQ community, along with artists and immigrants. Pittsfield has worked hard to be welcoming to artist and immigrants, and we want to make the LGBTQ community feel equally welcomed, supported and appreciated in Pittsfield." - Megan Whilden
Sunday brings a "family and friends" brunch at the scrumptious Jae’s Spice that’s also a benefit for Out in the Berkshires programming, followed by a late evening screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Keep up with everything LGBTQ-friendly in the Berkshires at www.outintheberkshires.com and look for online on Facebook and Twitter too!
Friday, October 8, 5-7pm Out in the Berkshires art show opening
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue Pittsfield, MA
FREE More info: 413.499.9348 firstname.lastname@example.org
A group show featuring regional artists from the LGBTQ community, including abstract painter Joe Goodwin, trans artists Autumn Doyle and Justin Adkins, mixed media artists Timothy Kushi and Donald Clark, photographers Susan Mikula, the late Vaal London-Kane and Kit Restivo, sculptor Joseph Wheaton currently in a two person show at the Berkshire Museum, painters Jaysin Eli and Michelle Bellici, and fiber artist Nathan Hanford.
Friday-Sunday, October 8-10 8pm Bill Nelson’s Musical Revue
$15 Barrington Stage Company, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA
More info & advance tickets: 413.236.8888 or www.barringtonstageco.org
If David Sedaris were musicalized, he’d sound like Bill Nelson! The lyrics are equal parts jaw-dropping, profound and daffy. Join Bill and the guys for a casual, fun evening of fresh, inventive theatre songs!
Friday, October 8 (doors open 9:30pm) 10pm-1am Karao-Gay karaoke night!
$5/$7 NEW STAGE 55 North Street, Pittsfield MA
Let your inner diva shine with Karaoke Master Ken Deloreto at the helm and KJ (Erica ) Spizz behind the turntable into the wee hours. Reportedly Spizz is thrilled to be making her Shire City debut at Karao-Gay. KJ has the equipment and a 25K+ song arsenal to satisfy both virgins and varsity players alike. She never lets her tone deafness or inability to carry a tune dampen the passion in her performances. Cash bar. Reservations 413.418.0999.
Saturday, October 9, 9pm -1am Come Out & Dance Party
$5 NEW STAGE 55 North Street, Pittsfield MA
Get out on the dance floor with the deliriously popular DJ BFG spinning tracks.
Sunday, October 10 11:30am Family & Friends Brunch
$20 Jae’s Spice 297 North Street 443-1234
Celebrate community and help support continued Out in the Berkshires programming at this delicious brunch at one of the Berkshires’ finest restaurants.
Sunday, October 10 , 10pm Rocky Horror Picture Show
$9 Beacon Cinema, 55 North Street, Pittsfield MA
Let’s do the Time Warp during this late night showing of this cult classic! Dress up encouraged, prize for best costume.