Calling all progressive organizers! RootsCamp MA (April 6-7, 2013 at 1199 SEIU in Dorchester) shakes up the traditional conference model. No need to submit workshop proposals in advance. Instead attendees decide an agenda together each morning of the conference. This is cross-issue progressive movement building, where all attendees bring what they know and what they are curious about. This model builds on the success of 2012 RootsCamp National, 2010 RootsCamp MA and “unconferences” dating back to 2006.
The Free Software Foundation has just announced the line-up for its upcoming LibrePlanet 2013 conference, to be held in Cambridge, MA at the Harvard Science Center on March 23-24.
In the posh 19th century neighborhood of Nook Farm in what was then the most affluent town in eastern United States, Hartford, Connecticut, both Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain built their dream homes – literally next door to each other. The two houses have been restored and serve as magical museums of their literary times. Each house offers frequent tours, but on weekends it is possible to enjoy a 90-minute joint tour of the beautiful homes.
The lovely Berkshires town of Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum as well as his work studio, moved from Main Street after his death in compliance with a stipulation in his will. I checked out the studio first, where it had been planted on a hill with an amazing pastoral view.
Within an hour of my arrival to The Berkshires, I rush out to Jacob’s Pillow, the unique dance campus that has been declared a National Historic Landmark. To celebrate its 80th anniversary, it is mounting an enlightening photo display tracing decades of performances and featuring such luminaries as Mark Morris and Alvin Ailey when they were very young dancers. The dominant subjects of these photos, though, are Ted Shawn, the founder of Jacob’s Pillow, and his troupe called “Men Dancers,” usually shirtless and leaping with homoerotic abandon in the late 1930s.
Shakespeare and Company is a remarkable multi-theater complex in Lenox. Founded in 1978 by an Englishwoman Tina Packer, it was at first housed in Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount,. The company was able to purchase a permanent complex on a 30-acre estate where they moved in 2000. Throughout its 35 years, Shakespeare and Company has increased its reputation for theatre excellence and courage.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton came from a privileged background and made a bob or two from her writing – enough to build this wonderful home, The Mount; but despite being rich and successful, she was always bucking gender limitations, not the least the accepted blueprint for women of her class as wife and hostess.