A selective, curatorial view of the cultural highlights of the upcoming weekend in the greater Berkshire region.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – What do you get when your cross Wilco with NASA? You get Quindar, the multimedia duo featuring Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen and his collaborator, art historian and curator James Merle Thomas, returning to MASS MoCA on Sat, Jan 20, at 8pm.The duo syncs electronic music with historical recordings and film sourced mainly from NASA’s earliest manned missions. “Quindar tones” — the ubiquitous beeps heard during NASA’s early manned spaceflight missions — let astronauts and mission control know they were still in contact with each other. “Generated by a very simple, rudimentary synthesizer,” explain Jorgensen and Thomas, “Quindar tones’ function is to say, ‘Are you there?’ ‘Yes, we’re still here. Are you still there?’” (Kind of like “Roger Wilco.”) The duo will be joined by Jeremy Roth, Quindar’s lighting designer and video artist.
(SOUTH EGREMONT, Mass.) – Nashville singer-songwriter Nora Jane Struthers will bring her critically acclaimed country-style sounds to the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn on Thurs, Jan 18, at 8pm. NPR calls Struthers “quietly brilliant.” Her most recent album, last year’s “Champion,” was named a best album of the year by No Depression’s staff picks, and included in Rolling Stone’s list of the “12 Great Country, Americana Albums You Probably Didn’t Hear in 2017.”
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The Williams Opera Workshop (WOW), co-directed by soprano Erin Nafziger and bass-baritone Keith Kibler, performs highlights from the operatic repertoire in Chapin Hall at Williams College on Tues, Jan 23, at 7pm. Works in the free concert will include excerpts from “The Magic Flute” and “Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart; the death scene from “Boris Godunov” by Modest Mussorgsky; Lensky’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”; scenes from Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera”; selections from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance”; and the barcarolle from “Les Contes d’Hoffman” by Jacques Offenbach.
(SHEFFIELD, Mass.) – Swedish quintet Jaerv brings its fusion of folk, jazz, and pop to Dewey Hall on Fri, Jan 19, at 7:30pm. The award-winning Swedish outfit creates a vivid sound rooted in several different musical traditions, where five-voiced tunes blend with energetic dances and free improvisations.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Joyelle Nicole brings her singular brand of stand-up comedy that focuses on her own life experiences (citing comics like George Carlin and Chris Rock as her influences) to the Comedy Garage Series at the Colonial on Thurs, Jan 18, at 7:30pm. Warming up the crowd for Johnson will be Jenny Zigrino, who made her late-night debut on Conan O’Brien and was a recent guest on the hit shows @Midnight, MTV’s Girl Code, and Adam Ruins Everything. Comedy Garage is hosted by Madelyn Gardner.
(MONTEREY, Mass.) – “Intersections,” an exhibition featuring the work of Berkshire artist Leslee Carsewell, goes on view at Knox Gallery/Monterey Library on Fri, Jan 19. Carsewell began making collaged compositions from her drawings, which evolved into direct paintings. She describes her work as “an outgrowth of design problem-solving using grids.” Opening reception is Sat, Jan 20, 6-7:30pm. The work will be on view through Sat, March 3.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Hudson’s own Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its wintertime tradition of hosting a monthly cabaret, featuring a variety of circus, theater, comedy and musical entertainers, at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, Jan 20, at 9pm. Each month this winter, Bindlestiff Cirkus will bring a new lineup, with acts including trapeze, contortion, acrobatic balance, sword swallowing, juggling, physical comedy, and oddball novelty turns. Bindlestiff’s Winter Cabaret can get pretty hot and steamy – even a little bit raunchy – and is for open-minded grown-ups only.