2013 May

Day 2 of the TEDGlobal Conference

Wed. June 12, 2013 at GCC Theme: Think Again.

TED = Technology. Entertainment. Design
x = independently organized event
Live = livestream simulcast

SHELBURNE FALLS – Each year, the world's leading thinkers and doers gather in Edinburgh, Scotland for an event many describe as the highlight of their year. As with the flagship TED conference that happens on the West Coast of North America in late winter, TEDGlobal is a 4-day journey into the past, present and future.

Can’t manage to get tickets to the $6,000/seat soiree in Scotland? Heard about how innovative thinkers from Western Mass. had a blast networking and listening to each other speak on a variety of interesting and controversial topics at the premier TEDxShelburneFalls event on Nov. 3, 2012? Would you enjoy learning and talking with local thinkers and doers about how the ideas presented at TED2013 can be used to change our community? Come join like-minded individuals at the free TEDxShelburneFallsLive simulcast of Day 2 of the TEDGlobal conference: Think Again on Wednesday June 12th to be inspired, share ideas and make a difference.

This simulcast event, which is not a regular program of TEDxShelburneFalls, is offered this year because the main TED conference simulcast scheduled for February 27, 2013 was unfortunately cancelled at the last minute due to snow as GCC was closed for the day.

The free “TEDxLive” event will take place at Greenfield Community College, just 15 short minutes from Shelburne Falls and will feature an incredible line-up of 30 international speakers from various industries presenting in four 105-minute sessions throughout the day. Sessions will feature 7-8 live talks apiece between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. No local live speakers will talk, but members of the TEDxShelburneFalls community will be on hand to host. Come to one or all sessions. View speaker lineup and register free at

Stay tuned for the announcement of the date for TEDxShelburneFalls 2013 - the live, local speaker event happening later this year. Sign up for their mailing list at their website to be the first to know!

Shell Tile Panels To Decorate100 Rooms at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman Island

Stillwater's popular shell tile look has been chosen to adorn 100 Suites and Guestrooms of the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands.

Worked in 100% porcelain clay, the panels are sculpted from custom-made molds. Five consecutive 9" tiles will be framed and installed in decorative wall panels behind the headboards of Queen and King-sized beds.

The project has been challenging, with a request for baby sea turtle tracks, and indigenous shell images rising
out of the (thick) 3/8" thick tile panels. Creation of the molds (using actual shells) was a process that took several months. The production of the tile panels are time-consuming, with a 3-4 week drying time for each panel.
Realistic "sand dune" glaze is brushed onto the panel's "rippled sand" surface, and fired into the piece.

Stillwater's popular shell tiles are shipped all over the US, especially the East & West Coasts and Hawaii.

The textured color-compatible look is ideal for mural backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, shower walls, borders, etc.

View Stillwater's Line of Shell Tiles:

“One of the Top 20 Massachusetts Events”—Yankee Magazine

Saturday, June 8, 2013, the village of Shelburne Falls will host the 25th annual RiverFest, an entertaining, educational celebration of the Deerfield River and the surrounding countryside. A partnership between the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and the Deerfield River Watershed Association, RiverFest 2013 interweaves the talents of area artists and entertainers with the knowledge of local experts who present life along the river in intriguing ways.

Visitors to town will be beguiled by views of the beautiful river, Salmon Falls, the “Glacial Potholes” and the Bridge of Flowers—plus chances to ride a historic trolley, to try stand-up paddling and quiet-water rafting with Zoar Outdoor or fly-casting with Trout Unlimited, and to treat themselves in the village’s many shops, galleries and restaurants.
There will be live music all day long offering a wonderful backdrop to such fascinating displays as the “Watershed on Wheels” and the amazing “Bug Table,” as well as raptor rehabilitator Tom Riccardi’s introduction to his magnificent birds of prey.

The “Frog & Flower Parade” led by performance artist Maya Apfelbaum is always a highlight of the day—a chance for youngsters, and the young at heart, to get creative making river-themed masks at the pre-parade workshop or having their faces painted, and then to march along. After the parade, the acclaimed Piti Theatre Company will present “A River to the Sea” live on stage in the Memorial Hall Theatre, a delightful original play that celebrates the Deerfield and RiverFest.

There will be an interactive community art project…music by the Hilltown Harmony Chorus, local drummers, Morris Dancers and wandering troubadors…children’s games…storytelling…and lots of vendors’ booths to browse at leisure. Those who want to really experience some of western Massachusetts’ most breathtaking scenery may sign up at RiverFest HQ on Saturday for a guided watershed hike on Sunday, June 9.

And at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Pothole Pictures will honor RiverFest with KOYAANISQATSI, “a travelogue like no other” shown on the big screen at Memorial Hall, with live musical performances starting at 7 p.m. both nights.
Easily accessible by car from upstate New York and all over New England, RiverFest in Shelburne Falls is an unforgettable event that offers visitors and residents of all ages a weekend of fun amid small-town charm and natural beauty.

Meet Phil Billitz 

How happy are YOU with your on-line presence and performance?

How do you grow your business using the internet? It’s a really simple formula when you get down to it: “more visitors => more leads => more sales => more money”. Really, that’s it. And that is what Phil does for clients who are in the publishing, construction, professional services, and on-line retail lines of business. 

For the last 6 years Phil has been learning different ways of getting Qualified Traffic to websites, blogs, pages and e-stores. Equally important, he has been learning the Visitor Conversion techniques you have to have to turn that visitor traffic into $ in your pocket. Perhaps what is the most important, he has the experience and judgment to show you the most cost effective way to make it happen. 

Phil is working on the GSFABA Marketing Committee and will be handling the GSFABA Pinterest boards. Stay tuned for more on this!

“You may see Phil crusing around in his ’67 Mercury Cougar – be sure to wave….”

May 17-18

Film Maker Rawn Fulton and a Panel of Local Farmers to lead a community conversation on Saturday evening about farming past and present

(Shelburne Falls, Mass.) Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17 & 18 at 7:30 pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in the historic 400-seat Memorial Hall Theater, located at 51 Bridge Street in downtown Shelburne Falls. The film is co-sponsored by Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), the Franklin Land Trust and the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association.

On Saturday, May 18, the film’s director, Rawn Fulton will present the recently re-mastered digital version of the original 56-minute film made in 1974, and will lead a community conversation about farming then and now together with a panel of local farmers. They include farmers and local families whose experience stretches back for generations and who are connected to many of the farmers featured in “Root Hog or Die” – Jim Wholey and the Dole family of Shelburne, and Al Pieropan of Ashfield. Contemporary farmers with long family roots in Franklin County also include Faith and Peter Williams representing the Our Family Farms dairy cooperative and John and Carolyn Wheeler of Wheelview Farm. Newer arrivals to Franklin County farming include Paul Lacinski and Amy Klippenstein of Side Hill Farm in Hawley and David Fisher and Anna Maclay of New Roots CSA in Conway. New Roots brings the horse-powered farming tradition back to Franklin County in a new form – community supported agriculture. Recent Mohawk High School graduate will represent the new generation of young farmers revitalizing agriculture in Franklin County.

“Root Hog or Die” captures the lives and stories of the old time horse farmers in Franklin County in their own voices, faces, ingenious technology and well-tended land. According to Pothole Pictures coordinator, Fred DeVecca, “Rawn Fulton’s film provides a vibrant and down-to-earth historical context for the resurgence of local agriculture, CSAs and micro-farming in Franklin County today. It’s a piece of film art about our neighbors as elegantly simple as Shaker furniture.” The film had its first national broadcast in 1978 on PBS. Rawn Fulton has lived in Bernardston for four decades since making “Root Hog or Die” at age 26 and makes a wide range of movies with his own company, Searchlight Films. The late folklorist, Alan Lomax, described Fulton’s film as “a significant contribution to American oral history.”

Each film showing is preceded by a half hour of “music at the movies” donated by local musicians. On Friday, May 17 at 7:00 pm, Paul Crook and Carol DeLorenzo play Celtic tunes and funny songs. On Saturday, May 18 at 7:00 pm, Whistlestop presents fiddle and banjo music.

“’Root Hog or Die’ is a movie that will help you sink your own roots deeper into Franklin County and Western Massachusetts,” said Fred DeVecca. “It connects us to our neighbors, our history, the land and the farms we depend on and gives us all an opportunity to show our support for local agriculture.”

Pothole Pictures is a volunteer-run community movie theater that has been showing classic, independent and locally made films on the big screen in a historic theater since 1995. A popular feature of its film series are “meet the director” presentations which engage the audience with people involved in the making of the movies it shows. Movie tickets can be purchased in advance (Five tickets for $20) or at the door ($6 adults, $4 children). For more information, contact Fred DeVecca at (413) 625-2896 or visit the web site at

-- Open Call - Saturday May 18th at Buckland Town Hall--

Boston Casting, the region’s largest casting company, is holding an open casting call for Shelburne Falls area residents for an upcoming Warner Bros. film. The audition is open to all Shelburne Falls area residents 18 years and older. Boston Casting is looking for all types of people! Please, no kids for this audition! Everyone MUST BRING a current photo to the audition.

We are also seeking vehicles to be used in the film. Specifically vehicles from 1980 through 2000, also stock looking pickup trucks are needed! BRING A CLEAR PHOTO OF YOUR VEHICLE!

Open Call Information:
Date: Saturday, May 18th 2013
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Location: Buckland Townhall
17 State Street
Buckland, MA

Additional Info:
Established in 1991, Boston Casting has since become the premiere casting company in New England,
having worked with directors such as Errol Morris, The Farrelly Brothers, David Mamet and Rob Reiner.
With over 3,000 square feet of office and studio space, Boston Casting is the largest casting house in the
greater Boston area. Boston Casting specializes in casting feature films, commercials and reality
television shows, for principal roles as well as extras. With over 30,000 actors on file, including children,
special ability actors and those seeking reality television fame, Boston Casting proves to be a versatile and
resourceful company that continues to excel at arranging the perfect ensembles.

Life with dementia can be an adventure.
So says Tinky Weisblat, author of The Pudding Hollow Cookbook. Her new book, Pulling Taffy: A Year with Dementia and Other Adventures, uses journal entries, stories, and recipes to describe Tinky’s final months with her mother Jan, a.k.a. Taffy. Taffy had Alzheimer’s disease.
As Pulling Taffy opens the 92-year-old Taffy is waking up frequently in the middle of the night and asking to go to her childhood home. And Tinky is feeling frazzled—although she seldom loses her sense of humor.
As Taffy and Tinky’s story continues, however, both mother and daughter learn to find joy where they can. Taffy’s brain may weaken, but her heart seems to grow stronger. The pair bond through music, poetry, nature, cooking, and their pets—and by reaching out to the wider community around them.
At the end of the year, Tinky writes, “I began writing about what I was losing. Somewhere along the line I began writing about what I was finding. In short, a burden was transformed into a privilege.”
Pulling Taffy doesn’t minimize the difficulties of dementia for either the caregiver or the patient. It does encourage people in stressful situations to laugh as much as they can ... and to celebrate each of life’s little victories.
The book has a DOUBLE connection to the Business Association. Tinky is a member. So was her mother, who ran the Merry Lion antique shop in Shelburne Falls for 25 years.
Pulling Taffy will be available in late June at local bookstores, at, and at its website, Tinky is organizing a caregiver forum on Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at the Charlemont Federated Church to celebrate the book’s debut. For details, call her at 413-339-4747.

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