Event Calendar

Hear the Stories We Hear: An Evening with the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women @ The Mount
Mar 26 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

The Berkshire County representatives to the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) advocate, organize, and work to cultivate and promote access to education, health, wellness, economic independence, and safety from violence for all Berkshire County women and girls. Come meet the commissioners and hear them share the women’s stories that have informed their reports. Those stories led to their collective belief that providing children and youth with lessons on self-esteem, happiness, consent, values, engagement, civics, cultural literacy, and resilience will be the foundation needed to create sustainability, equity, and freedom for healthy women leading to healthy communities. A reception will follow the discussion.  Presented by The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

Janis Broderick (Policy in Action Task Force) is the executive director of Elizabeth Freeman Center. Prior, she worked at Western Massachusetts Legal Services, ten years as manager of the Berkshire County office, specializing in public benefits, family, and employment law. She served on the boards of Women’s Services Center—one of the predecessors of Elizabeth Freeman Center—and then the board of Elizabeth Freeman Center for fifteen years. She was a member of Women Against Violence, which organized Take Back the Night marches for ten years. She is an appointed member of the MCSW as well as the local boards of Department of Transitional Assistance and Head Start.

Roberta McCulloch-Dews (Education Task Force) works as assistant to the president at MCLA. Prior to working in higher education, Roberta worked as a newspaper journalist for more than a decade throughout the northeast, and has also worked in marketing communications at a global Fortune 500 company in upstate New York. Since moving to the Berkshires four years ago, Roberta has sought to participate in organizations that net a positive change in the community. In addition to the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, Roberta is a member of the Women of Color Giving Circle of the Berkshires, the Lift E’vry Voice Advisory Committee, and is a mentor through the Rights of Passage Program. Additionally, Roberta is a 2013 graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI), offered through the Women’s Fund of Massachusetts. Roberta received her BA in print journalism from New York University. She lives in Hinsdale with her husband, Warren, and three children, Warren III, West, and Kennedy.

Susan Olshuff (Historian) is a new member of the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women. She has lived in Lenox for over twelve years, and has worked as a fundraiser for a number of county nonprofit organizations. She currently works with the Berkshire Theatre Group. She has also served on the Town of Lenox’s Environmental Committee, organizing a number of community events to educate the public about climate change issues. She is passionate about women’s development, interested in looking at the structures of our culture that keep women from realizing their potential, as well as looking at the inner structures of our conditioning that keep us from daring to be ourselves fully.

Donna Todd Rivers (Vice Chair & Policy in Action Task Force) is the current Vice Chair of the BCCSW and is serving in her third year. Donna’s business endeavors are as vast as is her work in the community. A local attorney, Donna has served as associate city solicitor and director of personnel for the City of Pittsfield, and most recently, concluded a ten-year run as a successful entrepreneur and small business owner. She promotes community dialogue as a radio talk show host on Berkshire Viewpoint, a show she started in 2010. An eager participant in community activities, she is currently on the board of PCTV.

Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, chair

Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, chair

Gwendolyn VanSant is the cofounding director of Multicultural BRIDGE and serves as chair on the BCCSW. She is a cultural competence trainer and consultant throughout New England. At BRIDGE she has designed evidence-based cultural competence programming in several sectors. VanSant is certified as a medical and mental health interpreter and diversity leader with an applied systemic analysis working toward equity within gender, class, and race in all of her work.

Gilded Prostitution: Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers and the American Siege of London @ The Drawing Room at The Mount
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Wharton’s posthumously published novel, The Buccaneers, captures the early years of the transatlantic marriage phenomenon when Americanimage002 women took London society by storm. They dazzled British aristocrats with their wit, charm, and irreverence for formality, and constituted a beachhead for greater numbers of marital liaisons between American women and British peers and their younger sons. Set in the same era as The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers deals with two metropolises on either side of the Atlantic experiencing volatile social change and uses marriage as a lens through which to explore points of friction in gender and class relationships as well as in social and political values. Its comedic moments scarcely hide Wharton’s sharp criticism of elite marriages as “gilded prostitution”.

Maureen Montgomery.

Maureen Montgomery.

Maureen Montgomery will examine Wharton’s final novel in light of her own socio-historical analysis of titled marriages in the period 1870-1914 and the controversies they stirred.

Maureen Montgomery is the inaugural holder of the McGinty Distinguished Chair in History at Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island. She has taught History and American Studies at universities in England, New Zealand, and the United States and is a member of the Edith Wharton Society. She has published several essays on Edith Wharton and is the author of Displaying Women: Spectacles of Leisure in Edith Wharton’s New York (Routledge, 1998) and “Gilded Prostitution”: Status, Money, and Transatlantic Marriages, 1870-1914 (Routledge, 1989), reissued in paperback in April 2014.

Save the date! Literary Death Match @ The Mount
Apr 24 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Literary Death March returns to The Mount for The Berkshires, Ep. 3! Rural Intelligence named LDM’s first appearance at The Mount one of the most memorable parties of 2013 – don’t miss the literary fun this time around!

Participating writers, raconteurs, and rapscallions to be announced in Spring 2015.

About Literary Death March

Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features a thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors who perform their most electric writing in seven minutes or less before an audience and a panel of three all-star judges. After each pair of readings, the judges — focused on literary merit, performance and intangibles — take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary about each story, then select their favorite to advance to the finals.

The two finalists then compete in the Literary Death Match finale, which trades in the show’s literary sensibility for a comical climax to determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown.

It may sound like a circus — and that’s half the point. Literary Death Match is passionate about inspecting new and innovative ways to present text off the page, and the most fascinating part about the LDM is how seriously attentive the audience is during each reading. We’ve called this the great literary ruse: an audacious and inviting title, a harebrained finale, but in-between the judging creates a relationship with the viewer as a judge themselves.

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Photo by Eric Korenman.

Photo by Eric Korenman.

Edith Wharton Writing Competition Awards Ceremony @ The Drawing Room at The Mount
Apr 26 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Participants at the 2014 Edith Wharton Writing Competition Awards Ceremony.

Join us from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on Sunday, April 26 as we honor the local students who participated in The Mount’s Edith Wharton Writing Competition.

This event is free and open to the public, all writing competition participants and winners, and their family and friends.  A reception will follow.

Formal invitations will be sent to all writing competition entrants. At the Awards Ceremony, formal awards will be presented and winning entrants will read their work aloud. Following the readings, guests are invited to linger on the Terrace and enjoy light refreshments, or explore the house and grounds.


Conversations With…Unsilent Composer Phil Kline @ The Stable at The Mount
May 3 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm


Close Encounters with Music presents Conversations With… intimate and stimulating
conversations about music and ideas!  On May 3, American composer and writer Phil Kline will present a composer’s field guide to the most defining works of the 20th and 21st centuries— what endures and what’s changing in classical music.

Phil_Kline_cwPhil Kline founded The Del-Byzanteens in the 1980s with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and painter/filmmaker James Nares, and collaborated with photographer Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to her Ballad of Sexual Dependency.  Many of his works are moving sound sculptures that include multiple boomboxes, the most famous of which is Unsilent Night. Following a debut performance in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1992, annual December performances have spread to cities across the U.S,Canada and Australia.

Kline’s compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, BAM, and London’s Barbican Centre and he hosts a radio show on WQXR/Q2 in New York. His CD Zippo Songs, a song cycle based on poems that American GIs inscribed on their cigarette lighters in Vietnam, was named “Best of the Year” by The New York Times, Newsday, Time Out, and Gramophone.

Teacher Open House @ The Mount
May 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Pet Cemetery

Have you lived in the Berkshires your whole life and never visited The Mount? Or are you a new teacher in the area and looking to explore the region? We invite all educators to get to know us on May 21! Learn about field trip opportunities, lesson tie-ins, youth programs, and other educational resources The Mount has to offer.

We want to hear from you, too! How can The Mount best meet your needs and support the wonderful work you’re already doing?

Formal and informal K-16 educators of all stripes are welcome. The Main House and formal gardens will be open for exploration, and Mount educators will be on hand for casual conversation. Refreshments will be provided.

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