Rainbow Seniors Newsletter, Jan. 24, 2016

January 24, 2016

Welcome to the latest newsletter from Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County.

Next Meetings:

Yes, that’s “meetings,” plural.

Starting in February, Rainbow Seniors will meet twice each month, once in Williamstown and once in Pittsfield. Our successful potluck lunches will continue on the third Tuesdayof each month from noon to 2ish at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, while our Pittsfield meetings will be held on the first Saturday of each month from 2 pm to 4ish in the Conference Room of the Berkshire Athenaeum. We’ve heard from so many LGBTQ seniors who are still working on weekdays but wish they could attend our meetings. Now, on a Saturday, they can. Check out one — or both — of our February meetings:

Saturday, February 6, 2-4pm, Berkshire Athenaeum: We will spend some time getting to know one another and munching on refreshments. Then we’ll hold a conversation about what folks would like our Saturday meetings to be about.

Tuesday, February 16, noon-2pm, First Congregational Church of Williamstown: Our highly successful potluck lunches continue, this month followed by a discussion of “Coming Out Late in Life” (which for some may also mean “Finding Love Late in Life”). Share a dish at the potluck, then share your thoughts and feelings in the conversation.

We Can’t Stop Growing:

Sometimes it feels as if Rainbow Seniors has taken the Berkshires by storm!
 Along with launching our new Pittsfield meetings, we’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to reach out to new members.

Adams-Cheshire-Savoy, Here We Come!
    Thanks to a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s William and Margery Barrett Fund, Rainbow Seniors is mounting an outreach effort directly to the LGBTQ seniors (and their friends) in Adams, Cheshire, and Savoy.

First up: on February 19, at 11:30 a.m., Rainbow Seniors  members Bim and Ed will present “Straight Answers to Gay Questions” at the Adams Council on Aging. In what we hope will be a freewheeling question-and-answer session, we will address questions like “Why do you need your own senior program?” “What’s the etiquette at a same-sex wedding?” or “My granddaughter came out to me: what do I need to know?” We are intentionally making this a session meant to attract allmembers of the Adams senior center. Our thinking is that by making sure the event is of interest to straight and LGBTQ seniors alike, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters living privately in Adams will feel less exposed by entering the room.  And to make the event even more special, Sweetwood Retirement Living Community — a big supporter of Rainbow Seniors — will be bringing in a delicious catered lunch for Adams COA members. Members of Rainbow Seniors are invited to attend. RSVP at 413-743-8333. (If this is your first event at the Adams COA, you will get a return phone call to register you — name, address, and so on.)

The director of the Cheshire Council on Aging tells us there are LGBTQ seniors in her community, and she is arranging for us to meet them in early February. Together we will plan how to reach even more LGBTQ seniors living in Cheshire.

Savoy? Really?
    Sure, why not? We LGBTQ people know one thing for sure: We are everywhere. But outreach there will have to wait until the Savoy COA meetings start up again in the spring. Figuring out how to make contact with our potential members in an area as rural as Savoy will be a fascinating challenge!

Get Your Discount Tickets Today!

    Join Rainbow Seniors and watch Taylor Mac set the Berkshires on its ear! Tickets are normally $10, but if you see the show with the Rainbow Seniors, you pay a mere $3.
In a gesture of solidarity, the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College has made it nearly irresistible for you to join us at an amazing performance that goes way way beyond a drag show. 

TimeOut called Taylor Mac “ragingly original and bracingly radical” and “the best cabaret performer in New York.” Mac is an Obie Award-winning playwright, actor, and singer-songwriter engaged in one of the most fascinating and ambitious performance projects in memory. His Decades Project is a series of 24 concerts exploring 24 decades of popular song in America. Mac, who has a sweet, powerful voice and the bantering chops of a veteran drag performer, transforms into a bedazzled creature in performance to lead audiences into a decidedly personal history of music, ideas, and ways of being. For this performance at Williams, Mac will focus on the 1770s, 1780s, and 1790s.

You can read an advance report  from San Francisco on Taylor Mac’s show by visiting our colorful website.

Get your tickets at our February 6 meeting in Pittsfield or make reservations by contacting Ed at 413-441-6006 or ed@rainbowseniors.org.

Mark Your Calendar for the Live Out Loud Community Conference:

The third annual Live Out Loud Community Conference will take place on Saturday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. What started as an effort to create an LGBTQ youth conference has grown over the years to cover topics across the full spectrum of age, including our elders. Last year we did two training sessions for social service personnel on working with LGBTQ elders, and we will be back again this year with more trainings, workshops, and group conversations. Wouldn’t it be great to see lots of Rainbow Seniors sharing perspectives with LGBTQ youths, with the county’s service providers, and with each other? Attendance is free and includes a terrific lunch!

A Matter of Balance:

Let’s be honest. The older we get, the more we worry about falling down. And the more we worry about it, the greater the risk of actually falling. Now there’s something you can do about it.

 Bret Beattie of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition visited our Williamstown meeting to tell us about the new Matter of Balance program. This award-winning series of eight 2-hour classes is designed to reduce the fear of falling and to increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls. Through lessons, discussions, and exercises, seniors learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, to set realistic goals for increasing activity, and to change their home environment to reduce the risk of falling.

You have three opportunities to sign up for A Matter of Balance

  1. Rainbow Seniors would like to join forces with the First Congregational Church to host the classes where we hold our meetings. We need a total of 8 people to form a class, and 4 of us have already expressed interest. To sign up or to find out more, contact Ed at 413-441-6006 or ed@rainbowseniors.org.
  2. One class is about to start at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Park Street in Williamstown. The class meets on February 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, and 29. To register for that class, call Bret at 413-664-5057.
  3. Another series will be held at the Mary Spitzer Center (the North Adams Council on Aging) on Ashland Street, North Adams, on March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12 and 19. To register, call Bret at 413-664-5057.

    Maybe we’ll see you in class!

Say, Kids, Why Don’t We Put on a Show?

And when we say “us” we mean a hundred of us.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival is planning an amazing Community Show this summer, created by and starring . . . YOU! As many as a hundred of you.

Over the winter and spring, WTF Associate Director Laura Savia, together with noted playwright Lucy Thurber, will conduct workshops on both writing and acting. Whatever emerges from the many workshops held throughout the area, Lucy will sew together into a huge community production this summer. Interested in writing, but not in acting? That’s fine. Bitten by the acting bug but don’t think you’re a writer? That’s good too. Not sure you’re an actor or a writer but love the smell of greasepaint? Attend the workshops and see what you discover about yourself.

If enough Rainbow Seniors sign up for the workshops, Laura and Lucy will present the workshops just for us. If not, you’re invited to join the workshops being held at the Harper Center, the senior center of the Williamstown Council on Aging! Interested? Just contact Ed at 413-441-606 or ed@rainbowseniors.org. And get ready for your grand entrance.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hit Every Community, Including Ours:

There’s help available, right here in Berkshire County.

The Elizabeth Freeman Center will soon be holding biweekly support groups for LGBQT folks affected by intimate partner violence or sexual assault. Meeting day and time will be based on participants’ schedules. Groups will be held in Pittsfield and North and South County and are open to LGBQT survivors, family, and friends. Participants will be interviewed individually before joining the group to ensure safety and confidentiality. To join or request more information, please contact Deniste a 413-499-2425 or deniseb@elizabethfreemancenter.org.

Other LGBQT-specific services are available at the Elizabeth Freeman Center including LGBQT counseling, safety planning, emergency shelter for people of all gender identities, and help with legal issues, discrimination, housing, medical care, and more. For a full list of services or if you are interested in volunteering, visit their website at www.elizabethfreemancenter.org/rainbow.

ThursGay Lunches at Williams College:

February’s ThursGay Lunch at Williams College will be held on Thursday, February 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The conversation will be uninhibited, and the lunch will befree! RSVP to Justin Adkins at jla1@williams.edu, and make sure to let him know if you want chicken or vegetarian lunch. The fun takes place on the Williams College campus in Hardy House, 20 Morley Drive, Williamstown.



For late-breaking news and details on LGBTQ happenings around the Berkshires, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BerkshireRainbowSeniors/. “Like” us and you’ll never miss a minute of our fun.