Berkshire Cultural Highlights, November 30, 2011- December 4, 2011

FIDDLER NATALIE MACMASTER PRESENTS CHRISTMAS IN CAPE BRETON AT THE COLONIAL

Natalie MacMaster

(PITTSFIELD, Mass,) – Renowned fiddler and Celtic musician Natalie MacMaster performs Christmas in Cape Breton at the Colonial Theatre on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, at 7:30 pm. MacMaster’s Cape Breton-style fiddling has resonated with world audiences through 10 albums, multiple gold sales figures and a 27 year career. Her impressive musical lineage includes her uncle, fiddle prodigy Buddy MacMaster (with whom Natalie recorded the 2005 gem Traditional Music From Cape Breton Island); her cousins Ashley MacIsaac and Andrea Beaton, and the late, great Canadian folk icon John Allan Cameron.

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CELTIC HOLIDAY CONCERT AT THE CLARK WITH BARRA MACNEILS

The Barra MacNeils

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The Barra MacNeils kick off the annual Williamstown Holiday Walk Weekend with a concert at The Clark on Friday, December 2, 2011, at 8 pm. The Cape Breton-based family group will be performing original songs as well as vocal and instrumental standards. Hailing from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the award-winning family group is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture, dance, language, and history. They bring to the stage multiple lead vocalists and beautiful harmonies on a variety of acoustic, stringed, percussion, and wind instruments, combined with dancing and storytelling.

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FRANZ LISZT’S 200TH ANNIVERSARY TO BE CELEBRATED IN CONCERT

Franz Liszt (by Pierre Petit)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Close Encounters With Music celebrates the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birth with Lisztomania! at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Sunday, December 4, 2011, at 2 p.m. The performance showcases Liszt’s compositional style as well as works by his friends (Saint Saëns) and polar opposites (Mendelssohn).

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MODERN AMERICAN MASTERS ON EXHIBIT IN WILLIAMSTOWN THROUGH END OF YEAR

Vase by Brother Thomas Bezanson

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The Harrison Gallery will present a show of fine art by three modern American Masters – Hale Johnson, John Traynor and Brother Thomas Bezanson – from December 3, 2011, through December 31. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Saturday, December 3 from 5 to 7 pm.

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NEW ENGLISH PLAY BY ‘TRAINSPOTTING’ SCREENWRITER TO BE SHOWN AT THE CLARK, MAHAIWE

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – John Hodge’s new play, Collaborators, will be shown Live in HD from London’s National Theatre at The Clark and the Mahaiwe on Thursday, December 1, 2011, at 2 pm (and in an encore screening at The Clark again on Friday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m.) The drama centers on an imaginary encounter between Joseph Stalin and the playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (best known for his novel The Master and Margarita).

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MEDESKI, MARTIN, BERNSTEIN AND AVANT-FUNK ALLSTARS AT HELSINKI

Wicked Knee

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – On Friday night, December 2, 2011, at 9 p.m., Club Helsinki Hudson plays host to two veritable new alt-funk-jazz supergroups: Wicked Knee, featuring Billy Martin, Steven Bernstein, Marcus Rojas, and Curtis Fowlkes, and Mago, a duo project of John Medeski and Billy Martin of superstar jam-funk group Medeski, Martin and Wood.

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MASS MOCA PERFORMANCE TO BLEND REAL AND VIRTUAL LIFE

Stephanie Rothenberg

(North Adams, Mass.) – Performed in front of both a real and a virtual audience, Stephanie Rothenberg’s mixed reality talk show, Best Practices in Banana Time, will be presented on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 8 pm n MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 as part of the ongoing Alt Cabaret series. Rothenberg’s theater piece questions life online and considers what it means to live between the real and the virtual world, while also looking at how labor issues encountered in real life manifest themselves in Second Life, an online virtual reality world/community. MASS MoCA’s current exhibition The Workers includes Rothenberg’s Portraits: Second Life Workers, which depict a range of avatars and the jobs they have found or created on Second Life.

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DAVID SEDARIS’S SANTALAND DIARIES GETS NEW PRODUCTION AT SHAKESPEARE & CO.

Ryan Winkles is Crumpet the Elf in 'Santaland Diaries' at Shakespeare & Co. (photo by Kevin Sprague)

(LENOX, Mass.) – Shakespeare & Company presents a new and re-imagined production of David Sedaris’s The SantaLand Diaries, running Friday, December 2, 2011 through December 30, in the Elayne Bernstein Theatre. Company actor Ryan Winkles (The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Mystery of Irma Vep) stars as Crumpet the Elf in the one-man show, which has become an annual tradition at Shakespeare & Company that rotates out the lead actor each year.

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BARD CONSERVATORY ORCHESTRA TO PERFORM BEETHOVEN, MAHLER, AND IVES AT SIMON’S ROCK

Leon Botstein conducting the Bard Conservatory Orchestra (photo by Karl Rabe)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The Bard College Conservatory of Music will present the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, under the baton of Leon Botstein, music director, in a concert of works by Beethoven, Mahler, and Ives at Simon’s Rock College in McConnell Theater, Daniel Arts Center, on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. The orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5., and Ives’s “Decoration Day” and “Fourth of July” from A Symphony: New England Holidays. Frances Lee will be the pianist.

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