A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including the grand opening of a new arts park; a solo show by a jam-band legend; Portuguese jazz; Bob Dylan; 17th century Dutch painting; and a whole lot more.
(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – The Turn Park Art Space, a new 16-acre cultural and recreational park, celebrates its grand opening on Sunday, May 14, with a five-hour “Happening” – an immersive music and theater production — from 11am to 4pm. Participants include Floating Tower and an international cast of performers including the German-Romanian singing sensation Sanda Weigl; mezzo-soprano Sophie Delphis; trumpeter Joe Moffett; composer/performer Casey Keenan; and others.
The formal grand opening of the park — designed by Alexander Konstantinov and Grigori Fateyev and featuring a natural park, outdoor sculpture collection, gallery, outdoor amphitheater and a gift shop — will take place at 11am, and the happening itself, in which visitors will travel the park through different routes, encountering musicians, clowns, troubadours, and other performers, runs from noon to 4pm. The Happening features music by Mátti Kovler and costumes by revolutionary director and stage designer Doug Fitch (New York Philharmonic’s Le Grande Macabre) and Tommy Nguyen.
Long before he was that goofy guy in the hat on MTV, Chris Barron was an even goofier kid with an acoustic guitar. Barron plays nifty chords on an old Gibson to masterfully crafted songs that are poignant yet wistful and funny, all the while singing in a manner that’s sweet and somewhat different from what you would expect if you only knew him from Spin Doctors’ hits such as “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes.”
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Americana singer-songwriter Shannon McNally brings her rootsy songs and soulful vocals to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, May 13, at 9pm. Born in New York but simultaneously roughed up and refined by New Orleans and Mississippi, Shannon McNally has cut a singular path through the musical landscape – one that includes a Grammy nomination and a place on the stage with a who’s who of rock, country, and soul: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill, Levon Helm, Charlie Sexton, Dr. John, Bobby Rush, Luther and Cody Dickinson, and Derek Trucks, among others.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The Mary Ann McSweeney Quartet, led by the renowned jazz bassist and bandleader, brings its “Urban Fado” program of jazz interpretations of Portuguese music themes to the Whitney Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 13, at 8pm, presented by Berkshires Jazz, Inc. McSweeney’s ensemble includes Jason Ennis on guitar, Todd Reynolds on violin, and Conor Meehan on drums, and will be augmented by special guests, including vocalist Natalia Bernal.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Lawyer, best-selling author, and cultural historian Linda Hirshman will speak on “The Feminine Mystique” at The Mount on Sunday, May 13, at 3pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music “Conversations With…” series. Hirshman will analyze the 14th and 19th amendments to the U.S. Constitution in tandem as two paths to equality in the suffrage effort and as they affected private and public lives of women.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Seth Rogovoy, termed “American Jewry’s greatest Dylan scholar” by Religious News Service, will present “The Kabbalah of Bob Dylan,” a multimedia program exploring the Jewish influences in the life and work of the recent Nobel Prize-winner, at Congregation Knesset Israel (16 Colt Rd.) on Monday, May 22, at 7pm.
With the aid of audio clips, video, still images, and textual comparisons, Seth Rogovoy, author of “Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet” (Scribner 2009), will illustrate how Bob Dylan’s songwriting has always been profoundly rooted in Jewish writings, including the Torah, the Prophets, the Talmud, and mysticism, fusing these inspirations into a genre of “rock ’n’ roll midrash.”
Along the way, the program will examine the Minnesota-born folksinger’s deeply religious and cultural upbringing, his commitment to Jewish practice and causes, and his decades-long connection to the Jewish outreach organization Chabad.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Award-winning photographer Scott Barrow presents “Mystical Myanmar,” a new exhibition of photographs taken on his first visit to Southeast Asia this past winter, at the Scott Barrow Photography Gallery from Saturday, April 15, through Thursday, June 15.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.