This Weekend: Word X Word, A Hoedown And Dragon Boat Races!

Word x Word Festival headliners have their verbal armories at the ready. This year’s line-up includes Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Langhorne Slim, Mike &...

This Weekend: Word X Word, A Hoedown And Dragon Boat Races!


Word x Word Festival headliners have their verbal armories at the ready. This year’s line-up includes Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Langhorne Slim, Mike & Ruthy, New England Americana Festival performers, and spoken word artists Derrick Brown and Rives. They all are among the 60 plus performers who will be in downtown Pittsfield Aug. 21- 29 for the second annual festival, a celebration of words written, spoken, and sung. "There are only a handful of urban festivals in the country and most are staged in large cities," said festival founder and director Jim Benson. "The thing about Word x Word is it’s new, edgy, and fun as hell but rooted in the Berkshires." Word x Word gathers emerging singer-songwriters, spoken word poets, and actors on the cutting edge of their craft. Media have recognized the gathering of singer-songwriters, poets, and playwrights as a "lyrical feast," the "Berkshires’ hottest summer party," and "literate-but-edgy." "As someone who makes his living with words, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for there to be a festival entirely devoted to it: The Word," said Taylor Mali, 2009 festival headliner. "I would travel across the country to witness this festival, but I don’t have to because it’s here!" This year, the festival gets started with a gala roof top party, Aug. 21 at 6 P.M., featuring Christine Ohlman, known as the "The Beehive Queen" and vocalist of the Saturday Night Live Band. DJ Ryan Brown, a Pittsfield native turned Bostonian, will spin dance beats before and after her set atop the Greystone Building. The festival will be bookended by performances at the Colonial Theatre featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists. Still, the festival remains committed to showcasing and nurturing local performers. For the second year, Mission Bar + Tapas will host an evening of music devoted entirely to local talent, both emerging and established in the industry. Tuesday, August 24 will be "local night" across the board with not only local music but spoken word and theater performed by talent hailing from Berkshire County as well. August 22nd’s opening concert at the Colonial features headliners Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, spoken word artist Derrick Brown and Mike & Ruthy. Langhorne Slim, New England Americana Festival performers, and poet Rives will help bring the festival to a close at the Colonial on August 28. Regarding the opening night performers, The Sixers are an exceptional live act, given to high-energy showmanship. They were recently recognized by the New York Times as one of the few performances that stood out at a the Simon and Garfunkel tribute concert in NYC and named one of the "Top Five Dream Drinking Companions" by USA Today. Derrick Brown’s spoken word artistry has been likened to "a Christmas present you can’t wait to open up, and when you do, there’s blood," by fellow tour mate and actress Amber Tamblyn. The music of Mike & Ruthy, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal, embraces "acoustic instruments, songs with stories, songs with meaning, not just techno-blabber aimed at an instant-gratification society that shuns depth." The festival has seven venues - the Colonial Theater, The New Stage, Micro Theater, Shawn’s Barber Shop, The Lantern, 305 North, and its host venue Mission Bar and Tapas. "Pittsfield is thrilled to host this creative explosion of words written, spoken & sung," said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield’s Director of Cultural Development. "The Word x Word Festival not only entertains, enlightens and inspires, it brings more visitors and performers into town and helps get the word out that Pittsfield is a creative city welcoming innovative artists, writers, musicians & more!"

Word x Word is sponsored in part by Berkshire Living Magazine, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, Narragansett Beer, Cultural Pittsfield, Mission Bar + Tapas, The Market, Garnish Design, Harrison Design Associates, and CompuWorks. All passes and tickets can be purchased in-person at Mission Bar + Tapas, 438 North Street, Pittsfield, and The Market, 391 North Street, Pittsfield. For more information about the festival check out the web site -


On Sunday, August 29th, 2010 from 1:00PM - 5:00PM these worlds will blend (or collide depending on how much beer and wine will flow via sponsors such as Narragansett Beer and the Wine Connextion) as how2heroes and Smolak Farms present Hoedown 2010! With over a 1,000 attendees slated to appear, guests can look forward to everything from BBQ stations, chef demos, a pig roast, live bluegrass music, a 3-legged race, hayrides, a dunk tank, an old fashioned store, line dancing lessons, "The Hoedown Throwdown Baking Contest" (an amateur baking contest presented by King Arthur Flour and how2heroes using farm fresh fruits & vegetables as the main ingredient and King Arthur Flour) and classes and workshops offered onsite all afternoon. Restaurants/Chefs slated to demo and have food stations include: Chef Jason Bond of the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro, Chef Chris Parsons from Parson’s Table, Chef Antonio Bettencourt of Sixty2 on Wharf Restaurant, Chef Brian Poe of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, Chef Ben Hasty of Brasserie JO, Eunice Feller of Bread & Chocolate, Michael Reppucci from Orzo Trattorio and Alina Eisenhauer of Sweet to name just a few! For only $25.00 with a percentage of proceeds to benefit the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, hoedown goers can look forward to all the entertainment, fun and food and drink samples they can handle as well as free parking. Guests will be issued a hoedown badge that will allow them into all activities, chefs’ tent and full access to the food stations. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit:


This year's Dragon Boat Race in Pawtucket will take place on Saturday, August 28, 2010. The rain date will be August 29, 2010. The races will take place at the Festival Pier, aka School Street Pier, on the Pawtucket River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The length of the course is 1000 feet long and three lanes wide. Due to the weight of the Taiwan boats and the event's focus on fun, the course is shorter than those found at USDBF events. The shorter course also enhances the experience of the thousands of spectators along the shore.Flag catching remains part of the races so balance and agility count. Each team is required to have one person designated as the flag catcher and is identified as the person closest to the bow of the boat.

A dragon boat (also dragonboat) is a human-powered boat (Paddled Water Craft) traditionally made of teak wood to various designs and sizes. It is one of a family of Traditional Long Boats found throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands. It is now used in the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing which originated in China over 2000 years ago. While competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of folk ritual, it emerged in modern times as an international "sport" in Hong Kong in 1976. For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails.

The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council began its dragon boat races in 2000 when the Council used wooden dragon boats shipped from Hong Kong and gifted by local businessman Louis Yip. In 2003, the Council received the gift of six fiberglass dragon boats from the government of the Republic of Taiwan that are now being used in the RI Dragon Boat and Taiwan Day Festival.

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