Bits & Bites: Shaker Village, Ventfort Hall dinners set this week

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT DINNER

Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of "Occult America," will host Hancock Shaker Village's next installment of its "Food for Thought" series at 6 p.m. Friday. Participants will enjoy a farm-to-table meal and conversation with the author.

From its earliest days, America served as an arena for the revolutions in alternative spirituality that eventually swept the globe. In "Occult America," Horowitz opens a new window on the past, presenting a dramatic, pioneering look at the genesis of mysticism and its profound impact on American culture, politics, and religion. He takes a slightly off-center look at American history through the lens of those who believed, prayed, practiced and lived a little differently — including Mother Ann Lee and the Shakers.

Tickets are $100 ($90 members) and include dinner, wine and a copy of the book. Advance registration is required. To reserve, visit hancockshakervillage.org or call 413-443-0188.

MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER

The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble will present a new program, "Murder Maiden China," on Saturday. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the program starts and the first course is served at 5:30 p.m.

Ingrid Josephine Mattel, a.k.a. GI Jo, is running the Maiden China toy company since her father's passing. He was well-loved, but she is more of a dictator and has made some enemies. She doesn't have many, if any friends, including her hen-pecked husband, Lou Zerr. Her assistant, C. Alice Knightly, is more like a slave. Goldie Digger, Lou's "secretary," has no good feelings toward her. She calls Charlie Brown III, the delivery guy for This Side UP package service, names every time he makes a delivery. Someone gets sick of it and GI Jo ends up in permanent retirement. Come along for the ride and help figure who offed Jo.

The cost to attend is $40 per person and includes a full-course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by today. Seating is limited. For reservations, call 413-637-3206.

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