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Weekend Outlook: First Friday, Live Music, and More

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Berkshire County is hosting a variety of events this weekend including First Friday festivities, comedy, live music, and more.
Editor's Pick 
First Friday 
Downtown North Adams
Time: 5 to 9 p.m. 
Downtown businesses will extend their hours and host art receptions, and other special events, focused on the theme "I love North Adams." Events include live music and mocktails, an opening for the "Glow Show," a First Friday After Party, and more. 
Lineup here
Dark and Light Installation Opening Reception
Hotel on North, Pittsfield
Time: 5 to 8 p.m. 
Meet Clock Tower Artist Mark Mellinger during an opening reception. Mellinger has an eclectic background that informs his work, including woodworking, biology research, electron microscopy and psychology. 
He is drawn to the physicality of the materials such as the "lusciousness of paint, the earthiness of rust, [and] the delicacy of tissue paper."
Mellinger also encourages visits at his studio in the Eagle Building.
More information here
Glow Show
Future Lab(s) Gallery, North Adams 
The gallery is opening its doors and waking up winter with this inaugural event. The idea started out as an "idea to make a glow in the dark art temple in the dead of winter. " 
During the free event, look at art by work that makes the gallery glow. It features work by local gay artists Eric Wallen and Ricky Darell Barton, and tunes by DJ Dub TC.
More information here
First Friday Dance Party
Bright Ideas Brewery, North Adams 
Time: 8 to 11 p.m. 
The brewery will be having a party as part of the city's First Friday Festivities. During this free event for all ages there will be tune by DJ's Dub TC, Elixer, and DJ iamsam 
More information here.  
Ray Gifford Band Performance 
VFW Post 996 North Adams
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. 
The country and rock band will be performing. Information here
Q-MoB: Broadway Cabaret Goes to the Movies 
Dewey Hall, Sheffield
Time: 7 p.m. 
A group of Broadway performers who move to the area during the pandemic banded together to create the "Broadway Cabaret." They are celebrating their third year together with a show featuring selections from "Anything Goes," "Amelie," "An American In Paris," "West Side Story," "The Wizard of Oz," "A Chorus Line," and more. 
Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased at Christ Trinity Church. Register with Q-MoB and purchase your tickets here
Comedy on Tap
Bright Ideas Brewery, North Adams 
Time: 7:30 p.m. 
Laugh over a drink at Bright Ideas located on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts campus. 
Headlining the event will be Sammy Anzer, known from Kevin Hart's LOL Network, Skankfest, and tours across the country. The night will also feature performances by New York City comedian Robyn Jaffe. 
Tickets are $15. More information here
Winter Botany Workshop
Sheep Hill, 671 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown
Time: 9 to 11 a.m.
Join Robin Sears to explore and identify some of these vestiges of spring and summer wildflowers. Come with curiosity and outdoor clothes, but an excellent resource is the book "Weeds in Winter" by Lauren Brown. Hosted by the Rural Lands Foundation. 
Cost is $15; $10 for foundation members. Register here; more information here
Tame the Rooster Performance 
The Proprietor’s Lodge, Pittsfield 
Time: 8 to 11 p.m. 
New York's capital region seven-piece modern country band, Tame the Rooster will be performing. Tickets cost $10. More information here
Public Ice Skating 
Boys and Girls Club, Pittsfield 
Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m. 
The first 100 people through the door during the public skate at the Boys & Girls Club will receive free admission for skating as well as free skate rentals. More information here
Family Friendly Winter Walk 
Mount Greylock Visitor Center, Lanesborough
Time: 1 to 3 p.m. 
Take a mindful walk led by guide Sandy Wilson and experience the nature of the mountain. The free experience incorporates elements of forest bathing, mindful breathing, nature connection, and more. 
More information here
Rev Tor's 11th Annual Dead of Winter Jam
Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Berkshire Theatre Group is hosting a mid-winter celebration to honor 59 years of Grateful Dead music. 
The event will be hosted by Rev Tor's Dead Man's Waltz and features performances by Mark Mercier (Max Creek), Michael Butler (Bearly Dead), Force (The Alchemystics), Wanda Houston (The Rejuvenators) and Mike Wood (Rebel Alliance).
Tickets for the jam are $25. More information here.
First Sunday Free Clark 
The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
Time: 1 to 4 p.m. 
The Clark Art is offering free admission to the galleries, special exhibitions, and activities. 
Visitors will also be able to decorate their own teacup and create a delicious tea blend in a tea bag to take home. The event also includes tea tastings offered by local tea shop Hearts Pace and a 2 p.m. tour of the tea sets, spoons, and pots in the Clark's collection of decorative arts.
This event is free with museum admission. More information here
Mist Blue Trio Performance 
PortaVia, Dalton
Time: 1 to 4 p.m. 
Berkshire based blues band Misty Blues Trio will be performing. More information on the band here. Performance information here
Multiple Days
For the LOVE OF ART Exhibit
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Pittsfield
Feb 2. to Feb 9 
The center will be opening its newest exhibit this Friday at 5 p.m. The exhibit features midway senior portfolios, drawings & paintings, photography, and ceramics works by high school artists. More information here

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How can women bridge the retirement gap?

Submitted by Edward Jones

March 8 is International Women's Day, a day for celebrating all the accomplishments of women around the globe. But many women still need to make up ground in one key area: retirement security.

Women's challenges in achieving a secure retirement are due to several factors, including these:

  • Pay gap – It's smaller than it once was, but a wage gap still exists between men and women. In fact, women earn, on average, about 82 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to the Census Bureau. And even though this gap narrows considerably at higher educational levels, it's still a source of concern. Women who earn less than men will likely contribute less to 401(k) plans and will ultimately see smaller Social Security checks.
  • Longer lives – At age 65, women live, on average, about 20 more years, compared to almost 17 for men, according to the Social Security Administration. Those extra years mean extra expenses. 
  • Caregiving responsibilities – Traditionally, women have done much of the caregiving for young children and older parents. And while this caregiving is done with love, it also comes with financial sacrifice. Consider this: The average employment-related costs for mothers providing unpaid care is nearly $300,000 over a lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Labor — which translates to a reduction of 15 percent of lifetime earnings. Furthermore, time away from the workforce results in fewer contributions to 401(k) and other employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Ultimately, these issues can leave women with a retirement security deficit. Here are some moves that can help close this gap:

  • Contribute as much as possible to retirement plans. Try to contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. Your earnings can grow tax deferred and your contributions can lower your taxable income. (With a Roth 401(k), contributions aren't deductible, but earnings and withdrawals are tax free, provided you meet certain conditions.) At a minimum, contribute enough to earn your employer's matching contribution, if one is offered, and try to boost your contributions whenever your salary goes up. If you don't have access to a 401(k), but you have earned income, you can contribute to an IRA. Even if you don't have earned income, but you have a spouse who does, you might be eligible to contribute to a spousal IRA.
  • Maximize Social Security benefits. You can start taking Social Security at 62, but your monthly checks will be much bigger if you can afford to wait until your full retirement age, which will be around 66½. If you are married, you may want to coordinate your benefits with those of your spouse — in some cases, it makes sense for the spouse with the lower benefits to claim first, based on their earnings record, and apply for spousal benefits later, when the spouse with higher benefits begins to collect.
  • Build an emergency fund. Try to build an emergency fund containing up to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. Having this fund available will help protect you from having to dip into your retirement accounts for large, unexpected costs, such as a major home or car repair.

It's unfortunate, but women still must travel a more difficult road than men to reach retirement security. But making the right moves can help ease the journey.


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