A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including indie-rock; theater; dance; cartoon art; new classical; old Miles Davis jazz; 17th century Dutch painting; and a whole lot more.
REUNITED MIRACLE LEGION and LOU BARLOW at MASS MoCA
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Newly reunited Miracle Legion and Lou Barlow, of Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, and the Folk Implosion fame, revive the sounds of late-20th century indie-rock to Club B10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, April 8, at 8pm. Miracle Legion’s sublime jangly guitar-rock made them college radio stalwarts from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The band, led by Mark Mulcahy, is often mentioned alongside R.E.M. for helping to define the sound of college rock in those decades, and was dubbed “the band Thom Yorke [of Radiohead] loved” by the Guardian.
Kim Stauffer in ‘Emilie,’ 2013 (photo Enrico Spada)
WAM THEATRE REMOUNTS DRAMA about VOLTAIRE’S MISTRESS
(LENOX, Mass.) – WAM Theatre stages a limited-run remount of the company’s very successful 2013 production of Lauren Gunderson’s “Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight,” directed by WAM artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven and featuring the entire original cast, at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.
OKWUI OKPOKWASILI PREMIERES NEW WORK RESPONDING to NICK CAVE’S ‘UNTIL’ at MASS MoCA
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dancer-choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili will premiere her new work, “Until… move,” a response to Nick Cave’s monumental exhibition, “Until,” taking place within Cave’s exhibition in Building 5 at MASS MoCA on Friday, April 7, at 8pm. Okpokwasili, also an actor and writer, is praised for her kinesthetically powerful and “ruthlessly clean and clever” work (Helen Shaw, TimeOut New York).
Rob Fisch’s Intentional Jazz Ensemble
ROB FISCH’S INTENTIONAL JAZZ ENSEMBLE CELEBRATES MILES DAVIS’ ‘KIND OF BLUE’
(SPENCERTOWN, N.Y.) – When it comes to jazz, all I need to hear are two words – “Charlie Tokarz” – and I’m there. Rob Fisch’s Intentional Jazz Ensemble will return to Spencertown Academy Arts Center with a celebration of music from Miles Davis’s classic “Kind of Blue” on Saturday April 8 at 7:30pm. The group constitutes an all-star team of regional jazz talent, including leader-trumpeter Rob Fisch, pianist John Esposito, bassist Rich Syracuse, drummer Jeff McRae, and saxophone wizard and multi-instrumental visionary Charlie Tokarz.
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
ICE BRINGS NEW MUSIC to WILLIAMS COLLEGE
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 23, 2017 – The innovative International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) perform works by five living composers in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College on Friday, April 7 at 8pm. The program offers a platform for exploring instrumental identities and asks a question: can a composer discover sounds that truly divorce the sound’s source from its customary associations? These concert is free and open to the public.
Five musicians from the artist collective ICE will perform works of Laszlo Dubraovay (b. 1943), Erin Gee (b. 1974), Georg Aperghis (b. 1945), Ileana Perez Velazquez (b. 1964), and Ann Cleare (b. 1983.)
JAMES McMURTRY to BRING INCISIVE FOLK-ROCK to CLUB HELSINKI HUDSON
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Award-winning Texas singer-songwriter James McMurtry returns to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, April 8, at 9pm. McMurtry writes literate, politically charged songs with country, folk, Americana, and Texas influences. Veteran Pioneer Valley pop-rock singer-songwriter Ray Mason warms up the crowd for McMurtry.
Son of famed novelist Larry McMurtry, James has a strong cult following, devoted to his smart lyrics, laconic vocals, and deft guitar playing. Last year McMurtry released “Complicated Game,” his first album in six years, which Texas Music Magazine called “a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.”
Varla Jean Merman (photo Rex Bonomelli)
VARLA JEAN MERMAN to BRING GAY CABARET to CLUB HELSINKI HUDSON
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Famed drag queen Varla Jean Merman brings his cabaret act to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, April 9, at 7pm. Varla Jean Merman is a character originated and portrayed by Jeffery Roberson, an American actor, singer, and drag performer. Varla’s fictitious pedigree boasts that Ernest Borgnine is her father and Ethel Merman is her mother. This event is sponsored by GayHudson.com. Merman has been a star of stage, screen, TV, cabaret, and concert halls. Merman’s cabaret shows are a staple of summer entertainment in Provincetown, Mass.
by Mika Mintz
30under30 EXHIBIT at NO. SIX DEPOT GALLERY SHOWCASES HOMEGROWN TALENT
(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “30under30,” a multimedia exhibition featuring works by 30 young artists hailing from or currently living in or around the Berkshires, is on view at No. Six Depot Gallery through Sunday, April 30. The exhibition is curated by Mika Mintz.
Daniel Bellow, Rocket series, ceramics (photo Olivia Wade)
HAND-THROWN PORCELAIN by DANIEL BELLOW at BERKSHIRE MUSEUM
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – An exhibition of hand-thrown porcelain by Berkshire-based artisan Daniel Bellow is on view in the BerkshireNow gallery space at the Berkshire Museum now through Monday, May 22. The work by the accomplished potter, remarkable for its exquisite glazes and intriguing textured surfaces.
For this solo exhibition, Bellow has created sculptural forms in porcelain and imagined a detailed scenario about their origin. According to Bellow’s backstory, scale models of rocket ships, supposedly created during the Song Dynasty in China at the command of Emperor Gaozong, have recently been discovered by archaeologists.
The unique sculptural “rocket ships” in the exhibition echo the work of the Song dynasty potters, whose smooth, dense porcelain ware was praised for its simplicity of shape and understated decoration.
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.
Gabriel Metsu (Dutch, 1629–1667), Public Notary, c. 1653. Oil on panel, 16.14 x 12.8 in (41 x 32.5 cm). The Leiden Collection, N.Y.
17TH-CENTURY DUTCH PAINTINGS at THE CLARK
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – An Inner World: 17th-Century Dutch Genre Painting is on view at the Clark Art Institute now through Sunday, September 17. The exhibit brings together paintings from the Clark and The Leiden Collection, among the largest and most important private collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings in the world. The exhibition features seven exceptional genre paintings by Dutch artists working in or near the city of Leiden in the 17th century.
An Inner World explores the work of Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 1613–1675) and his contemporaries by considering tradition and innovation in the representation of figures in interior spaces, individuals in moments of contemplation or quiet exchange, and the enduring taste among collectors for works created by fijnschilders, or fine painters.
Nick Cave, ‘Until’ (detail) (photo Doug Mason)
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.