Earth Day brings cleanups and muddy hands


Norman Rockwell Museum

Imagine a world where a man eats so much he eventually consumes the world itself -- or a scene that zooms out and becomes a piece of another scene and so on to infinity. These images are part of the creative vision of Hungarian-born illustrator Istvan Banyai, whose artwork for publications such as the New Yorker, New York Times and Rolling Stone and animations for Nickelodeon and MTV fills the galleries of the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge in "Istvan Banyai: Stranger in a Strange Land," on display through May 5.

Banyai is the subject of "Zoom!" -- a family day at the museum from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Through the afternoon, puppeteer Meredyth Babcock of Marmalade Productions will perform and lead hands-on workshops on making shadow puppets to tell stories.

At 1 p.m., curator Martin Mahoney will lead a family tour of the exhibit revealing insights into Banyai's quirky, imaginative world.

Banyai will share stories of his life and work at 1:30 p.m. and demonstrate some of his drawing techniques.

At 2:30 p.m., singer, songwriter and recording artist JoAnne Spies will show how songs can reflect the point of view of the singer. All activities are included in museum admission of $16 adults, $5 for ages 6 to 18 and free for children aged 5 and under. Information:, (413) 298-4100.

Berkshire Museum

Celebrate Earth Day at the Berkshire Museum with a pair of programs designed to connect with the planet and its green inhabitants. On Friday at 11 a.m., learn how the Lorax takes care of trees at a reading of Dr. Seuss's classic tale, then plant a "truffula tree" and color a Lorax mustache.

On Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., themonthly program "Kitchen Ka-Boom" will offer earth-friendly projects to draw attention to the planet's limited resources.

Turn an empty soda bottle into a homemade terrarium while learning about the water cycle and plant growth, make a biodegradable plant pot out of newspaper to plant. Find out how much human energy it takes to power our lives by taking a stationary ride on the Pedal-A-Watt bike generator. These drop-in programs are included in museum admission of $13 adults, $6 children, free for ages 3 and under. Information:, (413) 443-7171.

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

When the groundbreaking film "The Artist" won best picture Academy Award for 2011, critics and audiences hailed it for taking the risk of reintroducing black and white silent film to a cinematic world entrenched in talking pictures. Charlie Chaplin took the same risk at an earlier era in the history of "talkies" when he created his 1931 silent film masterpiece, "City Lights," which the Mahaiwe will screen at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Using music and sound effects to augment the visual action, "City Lights" relates a poor man's attempts to pay for a sight-restoring operation for a blind flower girl. Chaplin's iconic and beloved alter-ego "The Tramp"-- once considered the most recognizable character in the world -- adopts personae from boxer and street sweeper to pretend millionaire in this poignant and hilarious paean to silent films.

"The Artist" was set during the silent-to-sound crossover time period in which "City Lights" was made -- and modern audiences of all ages can still appreciate its slapstick, antics and warmth. Tickets are $7. Information: (413) 528-0100.


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