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Graphic achievement: award-winning Flora.

Picture Book

The list of winners for this year’s American Graphic Design Awards includes Jennifer Wilkerson of Aurora Design in Niskayuna, and local photographer David Brickman. The two were awarded for excellence in communication and graphic design for their collaborative work on the book Flora, a 20-page collection of Brickman’s photographs.

Sponsored by Graphic Design: USA magazine, the 25-year-old award competition has emerged as one of the most prestigious in the nation. Flora was up against nearly 10,000 other entries in the competition, less than 10 percent of which were named winners by the distinguished panel of judges.

Wilkerson, who worked on layout and design elements of the book, claims that the beauty of Brickman’s photographs, and the high production value of the book, combined to make Flora a work worthy of recognition. “We really worked hard at capturing David’s images. It’s a real artist’s piece,” she says.

Brickman, who’s interested in exploring page-to-page sequencing and the poetic connection of images, says that a theme of growth unifies the images in Flora. The prize-winning publication features colorful photographs of landscapes and cityscapes from Europe to the streets of Albany.

While winning an American Graphic Design award doesn’t involve any prize money or anything more tangible than a paper certificate, both Brickman and Wilkerson are proud of their achievement. “It’s always a big deal to be recognized for your hard work,” says Wilkerson.

Flora, as well as Brickman’s first book, Neighborhood, which Wilkerson also had a hand in designing, are available at area bookstores.

—Paul Hamill

Come to the Cabaret

As part of a continuing mission to broaden its arts offerings, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in North Adams, Mass., will soon make it possible for a small, intimate audience to watch movies and drink beer. Or have dinner and enjoy a band. The former B-10 Theater is being reinvented as Club B-10, which will be home to both a new cabaret performance series and a regular film program.

The B-10 Theater, which hosted theater productions and musical performances in a traditional setting, is currently being completely remodeled into something considerably funkier.

“It’s a great two-story factory room with huge windows, which we decided to totally rip apart and start again,” explains Jonathan Secor, MASS MoCA’s director of performing arts. “We’re putting in an upper lounge with balcony seating,” he notes, adding that there will be a new, small stage with cabaret-style seating—tables and couches—as well as a full bar and full food menu. Secor says, “We want to create a fun atmosphere and present artists we are really excited about.”

The idea is to present acts not necessarily appropriate for the main stage. The new Club B-10 will seat 160 people. In this regard, Secor hopes that “we can have a little fun with programming.” Better-known acts—such as Suzanne Vega, who recently sold out the 800-seat main stage—will still be scheduled for the main stage, more formally known as the Hunter Center. The new space will complement this programming. Upcoming performers in the Alternative Cabaret series include Shannon McNally, Living Colour frontman Corey Glover, and alt-bluegrass outfit Luther Wright and the Wrongs.

Thursday evenings will be reserved for movies, as Club B-10 will be transformed into a “Cinema Lounge.” The first film series—a program of music documentaries—will begin Dec. 19 with D.A. Pennebaker’s seminal Bob Dylan documentary Don’t Look Back. Other films in the series include Strange Fruit, the story of the Billie Holiday classic; This Is Spinal Tap; and the gospel celebration Say Amen, Somebody.

It’s all part of MASS MoCA’s plan to be a year-round arts center serving what Secor calls “our own tri-state area,” meaning western Massachusetts, eastern New York and Vermont. He explains that with Club B-10, “we want to create a fun atmosphere.”

—Shawn Stone 

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