BerkshireWeekend Cultural Preview, February 8-12, 2017

A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a jazz-funk band; an experimental multimedia concert; a soul-folk duo; new short plays; a tenor saxophone master; Japanese woodblock prints, and a whole lot more.

 

 

 

So Percussion: A Gun Show

So PERCUSSION BRINGS MULTIMEDIA CONCERT ABOUT GUNS to MASS MoCA

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — The innovative ensemble So Percussion explores America’s fraught relationship with guns in “A Gun Show,” a theatrically staged concert in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 11, at 8pm. “A Gun Show” gives the Second Amendment a soundtrack in this affecting foray into America’s gun culture. Taking mallets to disassembled sniper rifles and assorted drums, the musicians serve as Greek chorus, commenting instrumentally on sung and spoken texts drawn from the nightmares and nostalgia of armed experiences.

Three-time Obie Award-winning director Ain Gordon and choreographer and performer Emily Johnson give depth to this probing work in which anger meets inalienable rights, dark memories resurface, and a contested weapon sings a bittersweet song.

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Mark Turner Quartet (photo John Rogers)

MARK TURNER QUARTET BRINGS MODERN JAZZ to WILLIAMS

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The Mark Turner Quartet, led by the acclaimed tenor saxophonist, performs in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College on Monday, February 20, at 8pm. The concert is free and open to the public.

Mark Turner is one of the most admired saxophonists of his generation, renowned for his exploratory intellect and intimate expressiveness on the full range of the tenor horn. “Lathe of Heaven” is his sixth album as a leader, but the first under his own name since 2001. It’s also his debut as a leader for the record label ECM, following two fine albums in the cooperative trio Fly with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, plus appearances on recordings by Billy Hart and Enrico Rava.

Turner leads a quartet of kindred spirits, especially the voice of trumpeter Jason Palmer as they play long, introspective lines of hypnotic grace. The interplay locks in with the rhythm section of bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The subtle volatility of their sound is a mesmerizing musical experience.

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Dina Thomas

BARRINGTON STAGE HOSTS 10X10 NEW PLAY FESTIVAL

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The sixth annual 10X10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company takes place Thursday, February 16, through Sunday, March 5, at BSC’s newly renovated St. Germain Stage, located at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center. The event, part of the 2017 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival in Pittsfield, features ten new 10-imnute plays performed in repertory by a cast of a half-dozen professional actors, directed by BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd and Matthew Penn, co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington.

This year’s playwrights are Suzanne Bradbeer, Marilyn Millstone, Annette Storckman, Allie Costa, James McLindon, Gwendolyn Rice, Tom Coash, Scott Mullen, Susan Middaugh, and Ann Marie Shea.

The cast of the 10X10 New Play Festival features returnees Matt Neely, Dina Thomas, and Peggy Pharr Wilson, along with newcomers Jane Pfitsch (BSC’s “His Girl Friday”), Lucky Gretzinger, and Douglas Rees.

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Aaron Dean, Peter Primamore and Fran Tokarz of Gruppo Mondo

GRUPPO MONDO BRINGS JAZZ-FUNK to EGREMONT BARN

(SOUTH EGREMONT, Mass.) – Jazz-funk outfit Gruppo Mondo, featuring superstar drummer Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Indigo Girls, Orleans), brings its unique blend of improvised soul music to the Egremont Barn on Friday, February 10, at 8pm. Gruppo Mondo, based in Pittsfield, is led by bassist Fran Tokarz and includes Peter Primamore on piano and keyboards.

Other musicians who play with Gruppo Mondo include Aaron Dean, Tom Major, John Zarvis, Charlie Tokarz, and Darryl Kniffen.

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Birds of Chicago

BIRDS OF CHICAGO BRING SOUL-FOLK to HELSINKI HUDSON

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Folk-soul duo Birds of Chicago brings its unique blend of rock ‘n’ roll and “secular gospel” to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, February 12, at 8pm. Husband-wife duo JT Nero and Allison Russell anchor Birds of Chicago, a sprawling collective of soul-inflected, groove-based Americana from the Midwest. Birds of Chicago’s music seamlessly spans genres, drawing on the soulful balladry of the gospel tradition while simultaneously embracing deep grooves of country and soul. Singer-songwriter Levon Henry will warm up the crowd for Birds of Chicago.

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Noam Pikelny

NOAM PIKELNY BRINGS INVENTIVE BLUEGRASS to HELSINKI HUDSON

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Grammy Award-nominated musician Noam Pikelny, the preeminent banjoist of his generation, will play old favorites and preview new songs from his upcoming album, “Universal Favorite,” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, February 10, at 9pm. Pikelny is a founding member of Punch Brothers, a three-time Grammy Award nominee, and was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010.

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Hashimoto, Young Girl

JAPANESE WOODBLOCK PRINTS on VIEW at THE CLARK

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – More than a century of Japanese printing traditions, represented by seventy-three color woodblock prints, will be presented in the Clark Art Institute exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection.

The exhibition explores the complex and changing relationship among artists, woodblock cutters, and publishers from the ukiyo-e (scenes from the floating world) tradition of the mid-19th century, the shin-hanga (new print) movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and the sosaku-hanga (creative print) movement that began in the 1950s. Japanese Impressions is on view through April 2, 2017.

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NICK CAVE’S SITE-SPECIFIC ‘UNTIL’ TAKES OVER MASS MoCA

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Nick Cave, the artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits, turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in “Until,” a massive immersive installation. Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest and most overtly political installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects, a rich sensory tapestry. The sheer volume of material that has been gathered is astounding — 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys.

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NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM SALUTES SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON TEAM HANNA-BARBERA 

(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning” features the work of the creative team behind such memorable Saturday morning cartoons as “The Yogi Bear Show,” “The Flintstones,” and the “The Jetsons,” on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 29, 2017.

Before the rise of basic cable, Saturday mornings for many children in America were spent watching cartoons on one of three available television channels. From 1958 through the 1980s, a majority of those cartoons bore the imprint of Hanna-Barbera. Creating scores of popular series such as The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse and its bountiful creativity is beloved to this day.

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