Just because the leaves have started to change and the kids have gone back to school, does not mean the fun must stop! Nestled in the heart of the Berkshires, Downtown Pittsfield offers theatre, music, dance, visual arts, recreation, eclectic dining and shopping year-round! So you have no excuse not to spend a day or weekend with us, we have complied a comprehensive list of Fall activities in Downtown Pittsfield in 2017!
Hotel on North, 297 North St., offers an array of activities open to the public through the fall season and beyond. LIVE ON NORTH is Hotel on North’s Friday night music series. A local band or solo artist will take over Eat on North from 8 pm to 11 pm every Friday evening. September 8th: Randy Cormier, September 15th: Tom Savoy Trio, September 22nd: Mary Ann Palermo & First Take, October 6th: Dan Gingras, October 13th: Lady Di & The Dukes. For more information, visit their website or follow Hotel on North on Facebook.
Hotel on North also hosts free GATHER ON NORTH events in their Lounge such as “The North Remembers: A Game of Thrones Meet Up Group” on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm. Every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, “Craft on North” gives you the opportunity to meet up with other crafters and enjoy an evening of cocktails, crafts and laughs! Bring your own project or learn a new one with the group. Hotel on North also hosts a monthly book club in partnership with the Berkshire Athenaeum: “Libations with Librarians!”. The next club meeting will be on Monday, September 18th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. September’s book is “Blood, Bones & Butter, the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” by Gabrielle Hamilton. The Berkshire Athenaeum has copies available for anyone who wishes to participate.
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge, 444 North St., also hosts a robust music schedule. Dottie’s will host a Domingo Brunch every Sunday through October featuring delicious brunch specials and live music! On Sunday, September 10th, Dottie’s will host bassist Jeff Link and his soulful mix of jazz and R&B, with Dave Bartley on piano and Aaron Dean on saxophone. On Sunday, September 17th, Dottie’s welcomes folk artist Emily Frembgen. Follow Dottie’s on Facebook for exact times.
Autumn brings another strong performance season to the Downtown, from outstanding theatre to hilarious comedians. Barrington Stage Company (BSC) has extended its run of Company staring Aaron Tveit (Broadway’s Catch Me If You Can, Next to Normal) through September 10th. The Albany Times Union raves, “Aaron Tveit brings a riveting magnetism to the leading role of Bobby in Company, the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical that is receiving a masterful revival at Barrington Stage Company.”
On its St. Germain Stage, BSC is bringing back Kunstler staring BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy from September 13th though the 24th. The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler was performed earlier this season and is being brought back this fall by popular demand. Jeff McCarthy is “the self-described ‘radical lawyer’ and civil rights activist William Kunstler. The colorful, perpetually rumpled defense lawyer whose best-known clients include the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots and members of the American Indian Movement, makes a case for his often unconventional style in this wise and revealing play.” Berkshire On Stage writes, “A showman’s portrayal of a showman… Kunstler affords us the opportunity to witness the meeting of a master actor and a master litigator.”
October 4th through the 22nd, Gaslight (Angel Street) will be presented on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. “Gaslight, made into the classic movie starring Ingrid Bergman, tells the story of a suavely handsome man who is slowly driving his wife to the brink of insanity by sowing seeds of doubt, memory loss and misperceptions. The playwright has built and sustained some of the most brilliant, suspenseful sequences in modern theatre. A surprisingly timely play for 2017.” The New York Times calls the play “One of the greatest psychological thrillers of all time.” There will be a Panel Discussion on Gaslighting/Psychological Bullying on Sunday, October 15th at 1 pm at BSC’s Wolfson Center.
The Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., will host a variety of performances this fall. On Saturday, September 9th at 7 pm, the Colonial Theatre will host the premiere of the anticipated play Shoeless Joe, as a polished stage reading. Shoeless Joe is based on the life of baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. Preceding the reading at 6 pm will be a gold medal ceremony to honor Berkshire County Baseball Greats who are being inducted into the newly formed New England Baseball Hall of Fame.
On Saturday, September 23rd at 8 pm, The Colonial Theatre will host “On The Stage Series: A Night with Pam Ellis, The Berkshire Medium”. Come with an open mind, as Pamela Ellis, Spirit Medium, will give messages from loved ones who have passed on.
On Saturday, September 30th at 8 pm, come to The Colonial to hear “Live from Laurel Canyon: Songs & Stories of American Folk Rock”. Take a “journey through a special time in American pop music, paying homage to the musical legacy of Laurel Canyon…. This concert will include music from The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Carole King, James Taylor, The Mamas & the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Brown, Jim Morrison, Neil Young and more!”
If comedy is your thing, Emmy Award-nominated Actress and SNL alum Janeane Garofalo will grace the Colonial stage on Saturday, October 21st at 8 pm. “A lightning rod for controversy, Janeane’s well informed opinions and unflinching honesty have inspired laughs, as well as striking a chord with the left, right and everyone in between.” Visit Berkshire Theatre Group’s website for ticket information.
The Colonial Theatre will also host a $5 Comedy Garage event in September and October. Jordan Carlos, stand-up comic and television personality, will perform at The Garage in the Colonial Theatre Lobby on Thursday, September 21st at 7:30 pm. On Thursday, October 19th at 7:30 pm, Morgan Miller, a New York based comedian who performs stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy, will take the stage. After the show, take your Comedy Garage ticket to Methuselah Bar & Lounge for a $5 beverage!
With the changing of the seasons also comes the annual Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival which will take place October 6th through October 15th.
As part of the Festival, Flavours of Malaysia, 75 North St., will host New Orleans mainstay Samirah Evans –with special guest Charles Neville– on Friday, October 13th. Flavours is offering special dinner pricing during this event.
The following evening, The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience will be at The Colonial Theatre (Saturday, October 14th at 7:30 pm). “The Afro Cuban Experience, led by Dizzy Gillespie’s long-term bassist, John Lee, showcases the unique rhythms and well-loved melodies (such as “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo”) of Gillespie’s library of Cu-Bop, which he developed with Chano Pozo in the ’40s and ’50s.”
The Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival will also include the annual “jazz crawl” on Columbus Day weekend. For more information and additional events visit their website.
If you want to sit back and relax, The Beacon Cinema, conveniently located at 57 North Street, has got you covered! On Super Tuesdays you can see select movies for only $6 all day, and most 3D movies for only $9! The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, 1 Wendell Ave., offers a comfy and exciting place for people of all ages to develop a love of reading. If you haven’t yet visited their refurbished space, “The Food Zone” or “FZ”, on the main floor, it is food and drink friendly and features new seating, tables, and additional electrical outlets. It is the perfect place to get work done or relax and take in a book or magazine!
If you are with the kids, The Berkshire Carousel, 50 Center St., provides year-round family entertainment with its hand-painted and hand-carved horses. Current/Fall hours of operation are Saturdays, 12 pm to 6 pm.
The Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., will open a new exhibit on Friday, September 29th, Morgan Bulkeley: Nature Culture Clash, a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Berkshire-based artist Morgan Bulkeley. “Humorous and ominous at the same time, Bulkeley’s vivid images offer compelling scenarios where humans are pitted against nature, with nature holding the advantage…. Morgan Bulkeley: Nature Culture Clash is a significant career retrospective covering five decades of work, from drawings and watercolors created in 1967 and 1968 to a recent series of 12” x 9” gouache on paper pieces depicting a vivid array of birds. The exhibition also encompasses carved and painted wood masks and panels, tiny wooden “whimseys,” large oil paintings, sculpture, and a site-specific installation.”
An opening reception for Morgan Bulkeley: Nature Culture Clash will be held Saturday, October 7th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The reception is free and open to the community. The exhibit will be on view through February 4th, 2018.
If you rather be hands on, Berkshire Paint and Sip, 305 North St., offers public painting lessons with all materials provided and no experience necessary! Paint, sip, and socialize! Berkshire Salsa, 137 North St., offers authentic Latin dance lessons as well as hip-hop and fitness classes. No time for lessons? Berkshire Salsa also hosts Latin parties with a live DJ! Visit their website for more information.
No need to stay indoors, there is still plenty of beautiful fall weather ahead of us! Here are some outdoor activities in the Downtown area:
The Common on First Street is a public park just a moment’s walk from North Street. Come on a Saturday through October 14th and enjoy the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market, 9 am to 1 pm. “The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market provides a venue for local farmers, food producers, and artisans to bring fresh, locally-grown and produced food and related products to all members of our community.” The season will culminate with the Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 14th, 2017. More details to be announced shortly.
Another great outdoor activity is Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays! The last 3rd Thursday of 2017 will be held on September 21st, 5 to 8 pm. The theme will be “Walk A Mile”. Come rain or come shine, the section of North Street from West Street to Linden Street will be closed to vehicular traffic, and the street will be filled with live music and performances, a variety of local food, vendors, and community activities. All 3rd Thursdays are smoke-free.
Our Downtown walking loop starts at the Colonial Theatre on South Street and continues North to Berkshire Medical Center where it reverses direction heading back to the Colonial. Look for Downtown Loop signage which will guide you throughout the 2-mile walk. “If you park and walk, you can take the time to discover aspects of the downtown that you otherwise might not have had the opportunity to visually experience.” – Former Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. Walk, speed walk, or run: get out and get moving! Explore Artscape’s two dozen outdoor sculptures and paintboxes created by accomplished artists along the way!
Also, along our Downtown Loop, you will find over a dozen Artswalk venues. Enjoy free art shows in galleries and businesses along North and South Street featuring work by accomplished regional artists. Meet the artists on a free Guided Walking Tour on the First Friday of every month beginning at 5 pm at the Intermodal Center at BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave. If you can’t make the tour, pick up an Artswalk map in local businesses along the Downtown Loop or view the map online. Most shows will remain up for the month following Artswalk.
As part of First Fridays Artswalk, The Hotel on North Gallery will feature “Earth Designs”, a Digital Photography show by Sally Eagle and Dan Mead, September 7th through November 7th. An opening reception for “Earth Designs” will be held during Artswalk on October 6th, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Dan Mead and Sally Eagle are international award-winning photographers whose passion is to offer their images to stimulate a greater appreciation of the beauty and wonder of the world we live in. In their exhibit, enjoy photography from every continent including wildlife, landscapes and remote cultures.
Also in October, Moments House and the Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave., are partnering for an art show entitled “Not Just Pink“. The show will open on Friday, October 6th, as part of First Fridays Artswalk. The show will focus on cancer awareness in general and has been curated by Leo Mazzeo. Artists showing their work include: Heather Austin, Angela Brett, Mario Caluori, Rick Casucci, Andrea Feldman, Virginia Goggins, Katherine Haig, Ghetta Hirsch, Grier Horner, Jennifer Huberdeau, Jane Hudson, Lisa Ketcham, Mark Mellinger, Lisa Merullo, Carol Moynihan, Ivor Parry, Anthony Ptak, David Ricci, Marney Schorr, Rosemary Starace, Sarah Sutro, Holly Whiting, and Terry Wise.
Anytime you are in Downtown Pittsfield, why not begin or end your outing with our eclectic dining, featuring tastes of many cultures around the world? The Downtown is also home to many shops where you can find unique gifts, clothing, shoes, jewelry, home furnishings, toys, groceries, and even electronics and appliances! After dark? Downtown Pittsfield also features a vibrant nightlife scene!
By contributor Kimberly Cortes-Gritman
Images left to right:
Jess Vecchia at Harvest Festival
Morgan Bulkeley, Beak Morphology, 2000, oil on canvas, 64” x 56”, collection of Berkshire Museum.