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For the Fungi of It

Truffle impresario Ian Purkayastha recharges in the Berkshires



Jane Lowe and Ian Purkayastha took inspiration from Scandinavian farmhouse style for the design of their Cheshire home.

Photo by Megan Haley

Most every Friday evening, 24-year-olds Ian Purkayastha and Jane Lowe, along with their poodle, Charlie, drive from their Upper West Side Manhattan apartment to their farmhouse in Cheshire. The young couple, who have been together five years, bought the house a year and half ago.

“We go straight to the chicken coop when we get here and usually find roughly 20 eggs,” says Lowe. The five Easter Egger birds lay pastel blue-green eggs, the Salmon Faverolles lay small pink eggs, and the Ameraucana lays deep-blue ones. Lowe, who studied visual arts and anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College in New York’s Westchester County, enjoys photographing the eggs on the kitchen table. “I nerd out putting them in color order from lightest to darkest,” she says. 

Purkayastha is New York City’s leading truffle importer. His company, Regalis Foods, supplies truffles, caviar, Wagyu beef, wild mushrooms, and other foraged edibles such as elderflower blossoms, Iranian saffron, and sassafras root to Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, including Per Se and Momofuku Ko. Williams-Sonoma distributes his truffle-infused olive oil, butter, and honeycomb products worldwide. Regalis Foods is projected to gross $10 million in sales this year.

Originally from rural Arkansas, Purkayastha began his career as a food-obsessed teenager with a fascination for rare ingredients. He tasted his first truffle while on vacation at age 15 (a black truffle-stuffed ravioli in a foie gras sauce). “It was really this earthy, amazing experience,” he says.

That sparked his curiosity about the exotic-foods business, and he quickly pooled his savings to buy a kilo of summer black truffles from France. He figured that whatever he didn’t cook himself, he’d sell to local chefs. That was a fateful decision, as he proved to be a natural entrepreneur, selling nearly $300,000 in truffles during his senior year in high school. He deferred college and moved to New York City to focus on his burgeoning business.

Being a food-industry prodigy specializing in the world’s most expensive ingredients drew major media attention, which led to a book deal. His memoir, Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground, was released by Hachette Books on February 7. Co-authored with food and travel writer Kevin West, the rags-to-riches tale chronicles Purkayastha’s coming-of-age adventures sourcing rare edibles. He encounters a truffle kingpin in Serbia, meth-head foragers in Oregon, unscrupulous businessmen and maniacal chefs in Manhattan, gypsy truffle hunters in the forests of Hungary, and he goes on a quest for “Gucci” mushrooms in the Himalayan foothills.

“Plenty of people have a knack for how to make a buck, so that’s not what really sets Ian apart,” says West. “What impresses me even more about him is what I would call his business demeanor. He has this very effective—and also very likable—way of being both 100-percent persistent and 100-percent polite. How often do you see that, especially in the food world? More typically, you see people who are committed to quality but are total assholes. And you see charming, silver-tongued hucksters who sell you garbage while telling you it smells like roses. Ian isn’t any of that.”

It was during the writing of the book that Purkayastha and Lowe became smitten with the Berkshires. West had rented a house in Hudson, New York, and they visited him there one weekend. “We had always heard nice things about the Berkshires, so we detoured on our way back to Manhattan and wound up in Great Barrington. We loved it and started scoping out different properties,” says Purkayastha. “The Berkshires reminds me of my youth with family in the Ozarks.”

They found their dream property in Cheshire. The three-bedroom farmhouse was built in 1815 by Joshua and Amy Mason, who are buried in a nearby cemetery. “We went over to see their gravestones when we first moved in, and we said, ‘Please don’t haunt us, we’re nice,’ ” says Lowe. The nine-acre property also boasts a renovated barn they rent via Airbnb to cover the mortgage, pool, horse stable, two cabins, and swimmable brook. 

In the city, Purkayastha is always on the go, making deliveries and sales calls, constantly on his phone emailing and texting. He relishes his unplugged time in the Berkshires. “We often mushroom forage during the day and at night build bonfires in our fire pit,” he says. “Next summer, I plan on tilling the entire pasture to plant a fantastical garden. Let’s see what happens.”


Truffle Boy 
Released  February 7, this is a memoir of Ian Purkayastha, the son of an Indian immigrant father and a Texan mother who learned to forage for wild mushrooms from an uncle
in the Ozark hills.

 

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May 2018

Annual Contemporary Art Show April 20 – May 24, 2018 Juried by Hilary Lewis, creative director and chief curator of the Glass House  “What’s Now / What’s...

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View map »


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The Washington Art Association & Gallery is pleased to present State of Abstraction, an exhibition of contemporary abstract art by Connecticut artists from May 5 - June 16, 2018. Co-Curated...

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View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
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Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
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Cost: $18

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More information

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Cost: $25

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View map »


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The Washington Art Association & Gallery is pleased to present State of Abstraction, an exhibition of contemporary abstract art by Connecticut artists from May 5 - June 16, 2018. Co-Curated...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
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P.O. Box 173
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View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

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Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: free

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View map »


Sponsor: George Champion Modern Shop
Telephone: 203-263-8442
Contact Name: George Champion
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

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Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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5 Hammertown Rd.
Sandisfield, MA  01255
View map »


Sponsor: Sandisfield Arts Center
Telephone: 413-258-4100
Contact Name: Marcella Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $22

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More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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More information

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Sponsor: The Barn
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Cost: 0

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Cost: Free and open to the public

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P.O. Box 173
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Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
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Cost: $18

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View map »


Website »

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Cost: $25

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Website »

More information

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View map »


Website »

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Cost: free

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View map »


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Contact Name: George Champion
Website »

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Cost: FREE

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Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Website »

More information

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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
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Website »

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Show Less...

The Washington Art Association & Gallery is pleased to present State of Abstraction, an exhibition of contemporary abstract art by Connecticut artists from May 5 - June 16, 2018. Co-Curated...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
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4 Bryan Hall Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
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Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
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Architect and designer, Osvaldo Borsani (1911-1985), was a giant of Italian modern design and co-founder of Tecno. George Champion Modern Shop will celebrate...

Cost: free

Where:
George Champion Modern Shop
442 Main St. South
Woodbury, CT  06798
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Sponsor: George Champion Modern Shop
Telephone: 203-263-8442
Contact Name: George Champion
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SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
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Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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Opening Reception: Apr 28 at 2:00 PM Date of Show : Apr 28 - May 27  See the artists website at www.erikacrofut.com Each month the Sandisfield Arts Center proudly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sandisfield Arts Center
5 Hammertown Rd.
Sandisfield, MA  01255
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Sponsor: Sandisfield Arts Center
Telephone: 413-258-4100
Contact Name: Marcella Smith
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West Stockbridge Chamber Players’ Spring Benefit Concert   On Friday, May 25th at 6 p.m., Boston Symphony Orchestra members Sheila Fiekowsky, violin, Daniel Getz, viola, Oliver...

Cost: 35.00 per ticket

Where:
Old Town Hall
9 Main Street
West Stockbridge, MA  01266
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Sponsor: West Stockbridge Historical Society
Telephone: 413-232-5055
Contact Name: Carol Kuller
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Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with family fun under the stars with a FREE showing of the animated movie “Ferdinand” (rated PG) on Friday, May 25th at Jesse Lee Memorial United...

Cost: Free movie, food is for purchase

Where:
Jesse Lee Church
207 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 120-343-85992
Contact Name: Jen Mulhern
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The event, L.O.L. Love of Languages, will be a celebration of world languages and culture, and will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Foran High School cafeteria and courtyard. Teachers Pam...

Cost: Free

Where:
Foran High School
80 Foran Rd
Milford, CT  06460
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Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play provides a backstory for the...

Cost: $20 admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for kids

Where:
Western CT State University
Visual Performing Arts Center
Danbury, CT  06811
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With his unique blend of Blues and Americana, Keb Mo has garnered four Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues and Best Country/Acoustic Blues Albums plus five more nominations for Blues,...

Cost: $48-$88

Where:
Tarrytown Music Hall
13 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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A community-based, family-oriented event with dance performances, professional dance instruction, bands, DJs, and social dancing for youths and adults.​ We are thrilled to continue our...

Where:
Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT
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Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pirelli World Challenge series serves up races from all 7 car classes from the Big Dogs (Cadillacs, Bentley’s, Lomborghinis & Porches) to the TC class of Mustangs and BMW 228is, and...

Cost: $60

Where:
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Rd
Lakeville , CT
View map »


Website »

More information

See the majestic beauty of the Hudson River on this 2-hour narrated river adventure from Newburgh to West Point taking in the sights of Washington’s Headquarters, World’s End, Mt....

Cost: $22

Where:
Blu Pointe Landing
100 Front Street
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

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Are you just dying to get some dirt under your fingernails this season? Come to Back 40 Farm for Friday Field Days and help us out with weeding, transplanting, hoeing, harvesting, and more! Who:...

Where:
Back 40 Farm
Washington Depot, CT


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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Join the Litchfield Historical Society for a Saturday walking tour on May 26 at 10 a.m. Explore some of the sites related to the famous Beecher family, residents of Litchfield from 1810 to 1826....

Cost: Free for members; $5 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
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Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
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The Washington Art Association & Gallery is pleased to present State of Abstraction, an exhibition of contemporary abstract art by Connecticut artists from May 5 - June 16, 2018. Co-Curated...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Hall Plaza
P.O. Box 173
Washington Depot, CT  06794
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Sponsor: Washington Art Association & Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Barbara von Schreiber
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The US any Blue Angels headline the Jones Beach 15th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Air Show. Plus The Royal Canadian Air Force Snow Birds, the F22 Raptor the Air Force’s newest fighter...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jones Beach
895 Bay Pkwy
Wantagh, NY  11793
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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The first Litchfield County Zine Fest (and the first zine fest in Connecticut) is coming to Kent, CT! The fest is a free, all-ages, public arts event where self-publishers of all stripes will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kent Community House
93 North Main Street
Kent, CT  06757
View map »


Website »

More information

Architect and designer, Osvaldo Borsani (1911-1985), was a giant of Italian modern design and co-founder of Tecno. George Champion Modern Shop will celebrate...

Cost: free

Where:
George Champion Modern Shop
442 Main St. South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: George Champion Modern Shop
Telephone: 203-263-8442
Contact Name: George Champion
Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Apr 28 at 2:00 PM Date of Show : Apr 28 - May 27  See the artists website at www.erikacrofut.com Each month the Sandisfield Arts Center proudly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sandisfield Arts Center
5 Hammertown Rd.
Sandisfield, MA  01255
View map »


Sponsor: Sandisfield Arts Center
Telephone: 413-258-4100
Contact Name: Marcella Smith
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ eighth annual Juried Member Show opens Saturday, May 26th, with a reception scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd from 4-6pm (due to the Memorial Day...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

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A Benefit For Veterans Featuring exclusive footage of edisun on tour with US Armed Forces. 2005-2018 6PM doors 7PM Film and Musical Performance

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 203-283-5290
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play provides a backstory for the...

Cost: $20 admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for kids

Where:
Western CT State University
Visual Performing Arts Center
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

Music: Boris Asafiev Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky, after Vasily Vainonen Cast The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps de Ballet In the era of the French Revolution, Jeanne and...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Website »

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An evening of ribald, one-man comedy with Wet Hot American Summer actor and stand-up sensation Michael Ian Black. Fans of sketch comedy might know Black’s work from such seminal television...

Cost: $29

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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“Country Music’s Newest Star”, Jessica Lynn who has been called “Shania’s Successor” is coming to ChappPac. A Lakeland HS and Pace University grad, she...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY  10514
View map »


Website »

More information

A community-based, family-oriented event with dance performances, professional dance instruction, bands, DJs, and social dancing for youths and adults.​ We are thrilled to continue our...

Where:
Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pirelli World Challenge series serves up races from all 7 car classes from the Big Dogs (Cadillacs, Bentley’s, Lomborghinis & Porches) to the TC class of Mustangs and BMW 228is, and...

Cost: $60

Where:
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Rd
Lakeville , CT
View map »


Website »

More information

See the majestic beauty of the Hudson River on this 2-hour narrated river adventure from Newburgh to West Point taking in the sights of Washington’s Headquarters, World’s End, Mt....

Cost: $22

Where:
Blu Pointe Landing
100 Front Street
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will open an exhibit of fine paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson. Ms. Johnson's show opens on Saturday, May 26 and run through Sunday, July 8, and will feature...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery at The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Do you wish you could read great literature but fear you just can't fit it in? Do you join book clubs only to find yourself not having enough time to read through the entire book? Do you love a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Danbury Library- Lower Level Meeting Room
170 Main St
Danbury, CT  06810
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