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New Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo, center, attends her first trustees meeting on Wednesday.

New North Adams Librarian Holds First Meeting

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library trustees welcomed new Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo last week.
 
Sanfilippo, the former director of the library at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, gave her first director's report Wednesday.
 
"I would like to officially welcome Sarah ... Sarah has started a week and a half ago and by all accounts, things are going swimmingly," Chairman Rich Remsberg said.
 
Sanfilippo was hired in April to replace retiring director Mindy Hackner. Sanfilippo started April 29 and Hackner agreed to stay on until the end of May to help with the transition. 
 
Sanfilippo said she has been busy getting to know the library.
 
"Since I have only been here a week and a half my report is rather short," she said. "We had a cleaning day on my second day and it was good for me because I got to see where all the parts of the collection were."
 
Sanfilippo said she did move her office back into the cafe, where the director's office was before. 
 
She said she is still getting to know the patrons.
 
"I have been seeing a lot of faces if not meeting people officially," she said.
 
Hackner said she has been working with Sanfilippo and has been impressed.
 
"I want to congratulate the board because I think you made a very wise decision," Hackner said. "She has hit the ground running and will do exactly what you need her to do."
 
Sanfilippo thanked Hackner.
 
"I know I have a lot to live up to,"  she said.

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'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around

By Michael S. GoldbergeriBerkshires Film Critic
If van Gogh were alive today and dabbling in film, I expect that he might create something as artistically maddening as Todd Phillips' "Joker." But we must tread carefully. The controversy is there for the taking. 
 
Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, who will ultimately evolve into his alter ego, the Joker, before the closing credits fall on this fantastically directed, acted and produced "Batman" offshoot, is off the hook in every definition of the term. Thus the question is begged: Is it OK to derive entertainment from the criminally insane?
 
Phillips, who co-wrote this magnum opus with Scott Silver, throws all decorum and caution to the wind as he lavishes broad, violently-infused brushstrokes across a canvas hellbent on saying whatever it takes to get across its explosive meditation on the shocking sources and depths of evil. As we follow Arthur's devolution from simply sad Momma's Boy working for a clown rental company to a full-fledged crazy man on the loose in Gotham City, only our variety of cringe changes ... a different one for each new and expanded atrocity.
 
But what we suspect disturbs us most is the horrible, enigmatic truth that swirls at the vortex of the tale. It's something about the human animal either deep in our DNA and attributable to a brutal, prehistoric past, or, much worse, an ignominious, bad person gene we'd like to believe doesn't exist. It's precisely the perversity that has us so freaked out about the current situation in Washington ... the total disconnect from, and abandonment of, propriety and the nobility of truth.
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