Howard Cruse to bring his timeless characters Wendel, Ollie, Sterno and others to Pittsfield Feb. 4

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Howard Cruse is a soft-spoken and popular member of the Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County. We are going to turn the spotlight on him at our next meeting because there’s a lot about him that you don’t know about, and should.

So, on February 4, 2017 at 2:00pm, he will share another side of himself – as a cartoonist – via a slideshow and commentary that will introduce you to his cartoon characters and the back story on how he created them. The meeting takes place at he conference room on the second floor of the Berkshire Athenaeuum in Pittsfield and will run from 2-4pm. (Plenty of free parking.)

Howie has been hailed as America’s foremost Gay cartoonist. But he is a whole lot more than that. He is in fact one of America’s foremost cartoon illustrators. Period.

A preachers son from Springville, Alabama, it goes without saying that Howard has a special insight and unique sense of humor when it comes to the LGBT experience. His many characters reflect the LGBT community’s many facets, but we are perhaps best represented by his Wendel strips. These were originally serialized in The Advocate Magazine, and later collected by Kitchen Sink Press into an oversized 8.5 x 11″ comic book. Here’s a typical strip:
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You don’t have to be gay to appreciate his cute boy next door Wendel or his many other works. In fact, Stuck Rubber Baby is a full-length novella in cartoon format that addresses a lot of issues still impacting our lives today. So Howard is not limiting himself to talking about just Wendel, and could also introduce us to Ollie, Sterno and any number of his other very human and compelling characters.

For more about Howard Cruse, visit his website: http://www.howardcruse.com

Rainbow Seniors to focus on new and interesting programs for our 2017 meetings

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Help Us Design the Year to Come

Some of the best programs we have had at our meetings came from suggestions provided by the members. (And it was clear right from our very first meeting in October 2015 that the members wanted an interesting program at all our meetings, with or without a potluck.)

So let’s do some brainstorming at our January 7 meeting and see what we come up with.

And while we’re at it, let’s celebrate the New Year over cookies — provided by Rainbow Seniors — and whatever other snacks you’d like to provide.

Berkshire Athenaeum
2nd floor conference room
Saturday, January 7
2 pm – 4 pm
For more information, contact Ed at 413-441-6006 or ed@rainbowseniors.org
(If you’re planning to attend the Four Freedoms rally beforehand, the rally will be held right at Park Square, a block and a half from where we meet. For info on the march and rally:  https://berkshireonstage.com/2017/01/01/berkshires-united-in-support-of-americas-four-freedoms/

A holiday gathering in Williamstown for Rainbow Seniors

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The rainbow is a perfect symbol for the month of December with its many holidays, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwaanza, Hanukkah or the birth of Apollo and Artemis, we are going to have a festive party on Tuesday, December 20 from Noon to 2pm at the First Congregational Church meeting room in Williamstown. It’s a potluck event, so cook up something special to bring and share at our family buffet.

If you haven’t joined us before, the First Congregational Church of Williamstown is the large white church on Route 2, with free parking in the rear. Use Chapin Hall Drive which runs alongside the church to access. Be sure to remember your parking permit for the dashboard, or if you need one, pick one up at the church office so you are not ticketed.

Ideas: past, present and future

We will also be looking for some ideas on things to do and speakers to invite to our meetings in 2017, so be sure to bring your ideas and suggestions as well. We need them to be sure our gatherings represent the diversity of our members.

In the past we have done things like a day in the deep woods, a June Pride Dance, trips to performances at Jacob’s Pillow, Barrington Stage Company and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, as well welcoming special guests from the worlds of politics, entertainment and the social services to speak at our meetings.

To keep up to date we have an e-mail list that keeps us in contact with each other. To have your name added, or for more information, send a note to ed@rainbowseniors.org. You can also call Ed at 413-441-6006.

Rachel Maddow talks about her partner, their two labs and herself

Rachel Maddow and her partner Susan Mikula at home.
Rachel Maddow and her partner Susan Mikula at home.

We came across an interview with Rachel Maddow in a recent WebMD magazine while at our doctor’s office. Here are a few highights of what she had to say, with a link to the complete article. Some day we hope to do a real in-depth interview with the truth-telling newshound, or even better have her speak at one of our Rainbow Seniors events. She has to be the best role model that the LGBT community has at the moment.

What makes you happy?

I have a really good personal relationship with my partner. It’s the spine on which the rest of my skeleton hangs. We’re together 17 years now.

You’ve had recurring depression since you were a teenager. What’s it like for you?

The way I experience depression is a real closing-off from the world. It can make you really shut down physically. It can be very lonely and isolating. It turns on and turns off.

What helps you manage it?

My partner. She can remind me that I’m having an episode and it is temporary. And not allowing it to stop my life. I have to stick to a routine and keep working. I have to exercise.

Have any puppy advice?

There is no such thing as too much puppy class. We had a dog who was a super handful. We just kept doing puppy class over and over. Now we’ve got two giant black Labs who are giant marshmallows.

Do you have any new projects you’re excited about?

I go fishing a lot and I’m terrible at it. I need to get serious. 2017 is going to be my year where I finally stop being a complete 6-year-old when it comes to fishing.

To read the full article, go to http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/rachel-maddow

An “out” doctor shares some “insider” information for the patient

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Do visits to the doctor make you tense? Adam Irick is one of our own and he tells us how to work with your doctor and other professionals to get the best results. Don’t miss Saturday’s gathering on Saturday December 3, 2016 from 2-4pm at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. It’s held in the conference room on the second floor. For more information, call Ed at 413-441-6006 or by email at ed@rainbowseniors.org. Check us out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/berkshirerainbowseniors.

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Rainbow Seniors meet twice a month in Pittsfield and North Adams

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If you enjoy getting together with other LGBTQ seniors, there are plenty of opportunities to do so here in Berkshire County. We meet twice a month as follows:

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Pittsfield: Me gather on the first Saturday of the month from 2-4pm at the Berkshire Athenaeum around the big table in the conference room on the second floor.

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Williamstown: It’s a potluck lunch that brings us together in one of the many meetings rooms at at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown on the Third Tuesday of each month. Come a bit early to help arrange the buffet, and to chat with members of this friendly group. And be sure to bring a dish to share.

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We also get together for walks, theatre trips, a bit of activism and other events throughout the year.

To keep up to date we have an e-mail list that keeps us in contact with each other. To have your name added, or for more information, send a note to ed@rainbowseniors.org. You can also call Ed at 413-441-6006.

We are always looking for interesting guest speakers for our gatherings, and welcome your ideas.

And of course we are on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/berkshirerainbowseniors.

Rainbow Seniors Thanksgiving lunch is Thursday, Nov. 17

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Turkey day comes early as the Berkshire Rainbow Seniors meet from 12-2pm on Thursday, November 17, 2016 for a potluck Thanksgiving lunch with the turkey and main course provided by Elder Services of Berkshire County. Regulars and newcomers alike are invited to add some appetizers and desserts of their own creation. To help cover costs, you can make a voluntary $2 contribution if you want.

Our adventurous leader, Ed Sedarbaum will have returned from his peregrinations in the wilds of Barcelona and surrounding areas of the Iberian peninsula, no doubt with tales of his contacts with the native peoples and cuisine.

As with all our Williamstown gatherings, it takes place at the First Congregational Church on Route 2, with free parking in the rear. Use Chapin Hall Drive which runs alongside the church to access. Be sure to remember your parking permit for the dashboard, or if you need one, pick one up at the church office so you are not ticketed.

For more information, call Ed at 413-441-6006 or by email at ed@rainbowseniors.org. Check us out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/berkshirerainbowseniors.