(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – To assemble the exhibition Oh, Canada, opening to the public on Sunday, May 27, 2012, at MASS MoCA, curator Denise Markonish visited nearly every province and territory in Canada. In her travels, comprising over 400 studio visits, Markonish discovered a fascinating world of art, rich in craftsmanship with a deep interest in landscape and identity. The resulting exhibition, Oh, Canada — featuring more than 100 works by 62 artists, including more than a dozen major new commissions — showcases the vast expanse of art made in the country, spanning all media and crossing generations and geography. Acknowledging that this is one curator’s view and by no means a comprehensive picture of Canadian art today, Oh, Canada focuses mostly on artists less recognized outside of Canada, providing a fresh glimpse of a vibrant art scene that is little known in the United States. A members’ reception for the opening of Oh, Canada will be held on Saturday, May 26, 2012, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., Brandon Canning, co-founder of Broken Social Scene, will DJ a dance party interspersed with musical interludes by Oh, Canada artist/musicians to celebrate the opening. Other Canadian performing artists will grace MASS MoCA’s stages and courtyards throughout the summer and fall.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Cassandra Speaks by Norman Plotkin, a one-woman show starring Tod Randolph about Dorothy Thompson, the “First Lady of American Journalism,” will receive its world premiere at Shakespeare & Company beginning on Friday, May 25, 2012. The play runs through September 2 in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre.
Dorothy Thompson was heralded by many as the “First Lady of American Journalism.” Time magazine once called her the most influential woman in America next to Eleanor Roosevelt. She was Michael Kanin’s inspiration for Katherine Hepburn’s character in the 1942 comedy Woman of the Year. The first American correspondent to be expelled from Nazi Germany on the personal order of Adolf Hitler, Dorothy Thompson was a journalistic icon; provocative and complex as she was brilliant and courageous.
Cassandra Speaks takes place on a hot June day in 1943. Before she walks down the aisle for a third time, the audience witnesses Dorothy Thompson reflect on her past failures and triumphs as she struggles to create her own, personal revolution. Through her struggles, we begin to see the woman detach from the myth, and a universal story begins to emerge. In this funny, passionate tell-all tale, and amidst the chaos of last-minute wedding day preparations, the charismatic Thompson continues to captivate and surprise her audience.
(NEW LEBANON, N.Y.) – On Sunday, May 27, 2012, at 3pm, the Martinez-Urioste-Brey Trio will launch the 22nd season of Tannery Pond Concerts with a concert featuring music by Beethoven (Piano Trio in D major, Opus 70, No. 1; also known as the ‘Ghost’), Paul Schoenfield (Cafe Music) and Ravel (Trio in A minor). Formed in the summer of 2011, the Martinez-Urioste-Brey Trio are three highly skilled chamber musicians who also enjoy successful careers on the orchestral stage and maintain a commitment to education. The concert takes place in the 1834 Shaker Tannery, a plain barn-like structure of warmly resonant wood unusually favorable to the sounds of chamber music, on the grounds of the Darrow School.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – What is the future for romantic comedy in a dystopian era? What happens to a young couple embarking on their future, planning a family, when the very existence of the planet they live on is in jeopardy? And how can you entertain and provoke an audience by staging a drama about these issues? Such will be the challenge when Barrington Stage Company kicks off its 2012 season with the New England premiere of British playwright Duncan Macmillan’s acclaimed new two-character drama, Lungs, inaugurating the newly named St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) from May 23 through June 10.
Directed by Aaron Posner (BSC’s My Name Is Asher Lev), Lungs stars Brooke Bloom and Ryan King in their Barrington Stage debuts.
Lungs tells the story of a young couple contemplating having a child in a world of global anxiety and political unrest. If they overthink it, they’ll never do it. But if they rush, it could be a disaster. What will be the first to destruct – the planet or the relationship?
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Brendan Canning, the co-founder of Toronto-based indie rock band Broken Social Scene, kicks off the summer performing arts season at MASS MoCA on Saturday, May 26, 2012, when he will DJ an all-vinyl dance party starting at 9 p.m. In keeping with the museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Oh, Canada, a comprehensive survey of contemporary Canadian art featuring over 100 works by 62 artists, the summer’s live events at MASS MoCA will fature a vareity of Canadian musicans and perormers.
Formed in 1999, Broken Social Scene is known for its inventive range of sounds and its evolving roster of band members – as few as six and as many as nineteen. Broken Social Scene is credited with pioneering the genre of indie rock with its unique baroque pop. Aside from Broken Social Scene (which is currently on hiatus), multi-instrumentalist Canning has become a fixture on Toronto’s DJ circuit over the last decade. For the opening of Oh, Canada, Canning will DJ an all-vinyl dance party starting at 9 PM that is sure to go down as a highlight of the summer.
In conjunction with the DJ dance party, short sets from two other bands featuring artists who have work on display in the galleries will help represent the breadth of Canada. Pastoralia from Nova Scotia features Oh, Canada artist Mitch Wiebe on vocals, while artist Rita McKeough makes up half of the duo Sleepy Panther from Calgary, Alberta.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Bettye LaVette, a hard-working, distinctive R&B singer in the vein of Aretha Franklin and whose career stretches back to the early 1960s as a teen star, who then lost the spotlight for decades only to have it find her again in recent years, will perform at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, May 26, 2012, at 8pm.
LaVette’s career reached an early peak in 1965, with the song, “Let Me Down Easy.” A tour with James Brown followed, but LaVette would never again enjoy such success until she was nearly 60 years old, in the year 2005, when her album, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise – featuring renditions of contemporary songs by the likes of Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Sinead O’Connor, Lucinda Williams, and Dolly Parton – sparked a full-fledged late-career comeback.
LaVette went on to receive a 2011 Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Interpretations – The British Rock Songbook, which featured songs by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd among others.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Singer-songwriters Johnny Irion and Kate Taylor will inaugurate the 2012 Troubadour Series of folk music concerts at the Guthrie Center this weekend with performances on Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, 2012, respectively. Doors open both evenings at 6 p.m. and performances begin at 8 p.m.
Irion has played and collaborated with some of the best in his decades-long music career: first and foremost, with his wife, Sarah Lee Guthrie, with whom he typically performs as a duo partner. But for this weekend’s concert, Irion will be joined instead by include Aaron “Woody” Wood, Charlie Rose, and Otto Hauser.
Kate Taylor announced to her fans this month that she had written a special song for the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Woody Guthrie. Taylor has been pleasing fans and other musicians for decades with her distinctive bluesy folk approach to her own compositions, as well as establishing an impressive history of musical collaboration that includes tunes recorded with her brothers Alex, Hugh, Livingston, and James Taylor. Taylor’s July 2009 album of all original songs, Fair Time, has been well-received and confirms her status as one of America’s most talented songwriters. Taylor also re-released Sister Kate in 2010, and has maintained a solid and loyal fan base.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Call Me Melville, featuring Herman Meville-inspired paintings by Berkshire artists Paul Graubard and Rebecca Weinman, opens at Ferrin Gallery on Saturday, May 26, 2012, and runs through June 17, 2012. There will be an opening reception with the artists on Saturday, May 26, from 4 to 6 pm.
Call Me Melville coincides with the City of Pittsfield’s celebration by the same name, honoring Herman Melville, whose house he fondly referred to as Arrowhead still stands and operates as a museum today.
Graubard and Weinman, two contemporary artists who live and work in the Berkshires, not far from Melville’s Arrowhead, share connections to Melville and his epic literary work, Moby-Dick. Weinman, a descendant of Melville, will present a recent series of portraits as part of the upcoming exhibition Call Me Melville. Graubard, a self-taught artist, will exhibit a new series of paintings based on Melville’s book, Moby-Dick.