County Fare | Couple's NYC kiss makes cut for SNL opening credits

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Pittsfield native Marc Mandel has immortalized his romantic relationship with Keren Lerner on "Saturday Night Live."

The New York City couple appears — for about one-third of a second — in SNL's opening credits for the NBC show's 44th season.

"Right after the introduction of Chris Redd, you spot a handsome fair-headed guy passionately kissing a woman with a mane of dark curly hair," Lerner, a web developer for New York Magazine, recently wrote online.

Television's smooch of the year came about in early September when, Lerner says, she and her New York City attorney boyfriend were strolling down Broadway after eating dinner when the mood struck them to kiss without any inhibition. Suddenly, a woman with a clipboard hopped out of an unmarked white van and identified herself as an "SNL" production assistant, Lerner said. She told the couple, who had been dating for a few months, her crew was shooting background video for the show's new opening credits.

"We thought it was pretty cute, so we zoomed and got some good footage of it," the woman told Lerner. "You'll probably end up on the cutting-room floor, but there's a chance we'd use it."

Lerner and Mandel signed the necessary release forms giving "SNL" permission to use the video, but it wasn't until the show's season opener Sept. 29 did they realize, seated at a bar, that they had made the final cut.

"We watched what felt like an eternity of credits and disappointment had already set in when, suddenly, THERE WE WERE," Lerner wrote in her web post. "I like to think the palpable chemistry of our kiss made the cutting-room floor an impossibility, but maybe they were just hard up for filler."

The couple's split second of fame garnered social media reaction, from "get a room," to Lerner's parents looking forward to their daughter heating up the Big Apple on the small screen.

Lerner and Mandel even ended up on NBC's "The Today Show" to explain their sudden celebrity status.

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As for Marc and Keren ... "Several months later, we're still steaming up street corners all over NYC," Lerner said.

Service above self

Six local students were recently recognized for their volunteer efforts and their selfless contributions to the service of others.

John Perreault, president of the Rotary Club of Pittsfield, and Joan DiMartino presented these students with the club's "Service Above Self" awards.

DiMartino, chairwoman of the Service Above Self Awards committee, and committee members Jay and Kelly Marion had the privilege of reviewing a number of outstanding nominations for students this year and selected the six honorees for their service above and beyond in their community.

"It certainly was not an easy task," DiMartino said, "but it was truly heartwarming to see that more of our students are out in our community volunteering both their time and talents."

This year's awardees, all seniors at their respective schools, are Carolyn Guachione, Jonathon Campbell and Shakia Green from Taconic High School, along with McKenzie Benoit, Katelyn Zwingelstein and Kailey Sultaire from Pittsfield High School.

Representatives from Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School presented each of the honorees during at a luncheon last month at the Berkshire Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield. Also in attendance to recognize the student achievements were Jason McCandless, superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools; Sarah Maddelena and Katie Place from Taconic High School guidance, and Janice Barry and Amy Higgins of Pittsfield High School guidance.

Rotary made $100 donations in honor of the students to the charity of their choice, which included the Girls Inc. Eureka! Program, the Jimmy Fund, Be Like Brit Foundation for Haiti, Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Solider On and the Berkshire Humane Society.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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