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Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller

Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever

FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21

Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm

Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF

Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend

Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....

Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak

twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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How I will die

I don't know when I'm going to die, but I do know how.

Nearly every day of the week, I take my life into my hands twice a day crossing the main street in my little town of 7,000 people on my way to and from work.

I cross at a crosswalk on Main Street in Great Barrington, Mass. -- specifically, the one just to the north of Church Street, that runs from Rubiner's Cheesemongers and Grocers on the west side to the former Cheesecake Charlie's location on the east side.

You'd think I was crossing a major highway -- the MASS PIKE perhaps? -- to see how some drivers come speeding down this crowded, downtown drag, either blind to or just simply unwilling to brake for a pedestrian crossing in a well-marked crosswalk.

What is the rush? Why are these drivers in such a hurry? And more important, where do drivers get this obscene sense of ENTITLEMENT, that they are somehow ENTITLED to own the road, that it is a drag strip for their use, and not a market-town byway shared with pedestrians, deliverymen, animals, and cars turning and parking?

Why do people, once they get behind the wheel of their large automobiles, turn into such thoughtless, selfish, enraged monsters?

While nearly every day I stand ready to cross, clearly in sight of oncoming drivers who just whiz by me as if they have the right of way, I can't tell you how many times I've already made it nearly halfway across the road only to look and see a car come barreling toward me clearly with no intention of stopping.

Sometimes I brave it and step out in front of cars that are far enough away to brake if they see me, forcing them to brake even though they would not have had I not been standing right in their path.

At least once a week, one of these drivers is visibly or audibly enraged by my exercise of the right of way: they sit there and honk their horn at me; they yell obscenities at me; they make a rude gesture at me; or as soon as they can get by, they hit the gas and brush by me in order to menace or intimidate me.

I have, on occasion, been known to stand right in front of one of these drivers and refuse to move, to return a rude gesture, or, when I'm really ticked off when someone sails right through the lane in front of me even as I'm halfway to the center in the crosswalk, to kick the rear fender of a car or smack it with an umbrella if I'm carrying it.

At no time in the last two years that this has been happening have I ever once seen a policeman or traffic control officer witness any of these incidents, which often are followed by the driver gunning northward on the road, even passing cars on the right now that the driver feels that he or she has to make up for "lost time." (It is well known that Great Barrington police avoid the downtown area like the plague, except occasionally to sit in their vehicles by the Pittsfield Co-op Bank and try to catch speeders after dark. Of course one NEVER sees an officer, other than the meter maid who tickets overtime parkers, on foot in the three blocks that make up our cute downtown.)

I realize that, with several recent fatal traffic incidents right here in town, with people run over in crosswalks (see "Woman Struck, Killed By Car, Victim was in crosswalk", that I am tempting fate, and that statistically or anecdotally, it is only a matter of time before I am struck in a crosswalk, and probably killed.

This is why I have decided to put the town on notice -- in a sense, to give them advance warning of a crime, vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide, that is going to happen to me. This way once it happens, I can haunt the town officials responsible for the lack of traffic enforcement in our downtown, coming back from the grave and standing up at a town meeting and saying "I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO."

I will also leave explicit instructions with my family and my attorney to sue the town for damages after my life is taken due to the town's negligence in this matter, even in the face of having been forewarned.

Where are the blinking digital signs on either end of town warning drivers to SLOW DOWN and observe the crosswalk rights-of-way? Where are the proactive pull-overs of drivers careening like maniacs or dragsters through our main street? It is the lack of these and other efforts that constitute negligence, and will wind up costing the town the equivalent of one year's annual budget after my predicted death by negligence.

While the timing of my crossing Main Street varies, I typically make the trek from the east side to the west between 8 to 8:30 a.m., and the opposite crossing mostly occurs between 5:30 and 7 p.m.

To my friends and family, I love you all very much and I will miss you terribly when I'm gone.

To those responsible for neglecting to enforce the traffic rules in our town, my death -- my blood -- is on your hands. My it haunt you until the day you die, and beyond....

--Seth Rogovoy, May 28, 2006

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