Berkshire Weekend Cultural Preview, July 4-9, 2012

JACOB’S PILLOW SHOWCASES CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI DANCE

A scene from LeeSaar the Company's 'FAME'

(BECKET, Mass.) – It’s Israeli dance week at Jacob’s Pillow this week, as Israeli contemporary troupe Vertigo Dance Company presents the East Coast premiere of Noa Wertheim’s Mana in the Ted Shawn Theatre and LeeSaar the Company – from Tel Aviv by way of New York City – presents Fame, a fierce series of linked dance pieces, all loosely wrapped around the concept of notoriety and our intrinsic desire to be near it, in the Doris Duke Theatre. Both shows begin Wednesday, July 4, 2012, and run through Sunday, July 8. With inventive set design and an original score by composer Ran Bagno, Vertigo’s Mana explores themes of light and shadow through a movement vocabulary full of fluid athleticism, leaps, and turns, juxtaposing intimate duets with large-scale ensemble sequences.

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BARD SUMMERSCAPE 2012 FESTIVAL CELEBRATES LIFE and TIMES of CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS

Peter Dinklage will perform in Moliere’s 'Imaginary Invalid'

(ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.)  – The life and times of Belle Époque French composer Camille Saint-Saëns will be examined, scrutinized, celebrated and revived in the ninth annual Bard SummerScape festival, a seven week arts festival on the campus of Bard College, which once again features a sumptuous tapestry of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret, and which will include a performance by film and TV star Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, The Station Agent) in a staging of Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid.

Keyed to the theme of the 23rd annual Bard Music Festival, “Saint-Saëns and His World,” and presented in the striking Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other venues on Bard College’s bucolic Hudson River campus, the seven-week festival opens on Friday, July 6, 2012, with the first of three performances by France’s Compagnie Fêtes Galantes, and closes on August 19, 2012, with a party in Bard’s beloved Spiegeltent, which returns for the full seven weeks.

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YIDDISH FOLKLORE and MUSIC at BARRINGTON STAGE

Golem

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – In conjunction with the critically acclaimed run of Fiddler on the Roof, Barrington Stage Company presents a mini festival of Yiddish Folklore and Music on July 8-9, 2012, featuring Yiddish Book Center founder Aaron Lansky exploring the deeper meaning behind Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye stories that form the foundation of the musical, and a concert by Yiddish-klezmer band Golem with an introductory talk by music critic and klezmer author Seth Rogovoy.

On Sunday, July 8, at 3pm, Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., offers New Riffs on Everyone’s Favorite Yiddish Story at Barrington Stage. Lansky explains, “Fiddler on the Roof is warm, familiar and fun – but it’s a far cry from the stories by Sholom Aleichem on which it’s based.” In this lively presentation, Lansky will explore the deeper meaning of those rollicking and often profoundly unsettling tales. Free (reservations recommended).

On Monday, July 9 at 7p.m., Fiddler Off The Roof features New York City Yiddish/klezmer band Golem and host Seth Rogovoy on the Mainstage at Barrington Stage.  Golem entertains with its brash, unique style of old-time klezmer, Yiddish theater music and Eastern European folk juiced with rock ‘n’ roll energy and a 21st century sensibility. Preceding the concert, host Seth Rogovoy puts the music of Fiddler on the Roof and Golem into context of hundreds of years of klezmer history in a multimedia program. This event is presented in coordination with the Yiddish Book Center’s YIDSTOCK: Festival of New Yiddish Music. Tickets: $30 and $25.

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INDIE ROCKERS WYE OAK BRING HAUNTING ROCK to HELSINKI

Wye Oak

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Indie-rock duo Wye Oak brings its uniquely haunting sound to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, July 8, 2012, at 8 pm. As heard on last year’s album, Civilian, named one of NPR Music’s top albums of the year, the Baltimore natives Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack play a compelling blend of music wherein Sonic Youth meets Neil Young and hangs out with David Bowie.

Civilian is a kind of 21st-century folk music, imbued with dense shoe gaze guitars, nearly melodic rhythms, and impeccable splashes of electronic color. Without leaning on conventional structure, the songs beguile with fascinating chords and melodies, Wasner’s sultry voice, the bands riveting lyrics, mesmerizing rhythms, and an intoxicating aural landscape. Just as good writing has meaning between the lines, Civilian has meaning between the sounds: the combinations of harmonies, timbres, and words summon vivid and ineffable associations just beyond reach.

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EXHIBITION to SHOWCASE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN INDIAN ART at BERKSHIRE MUSEUM

Bently Spang, The Modern Warrior Series War Shirt 1, 1998 (collection of Sandra Spang)

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Berkshire Museum will present an innovative exhibition, Rethink! American Indian Art, featuring both striking contemporary art and important historic art objects, on view from July 7, 2012, to January 6, 2013. An opening reception will be held Thursday, July 12, 2012, from 5 to 7 p.m. and a Family Day of programs and activities will take place on Saturday, July 14.

The exhibition will feature contemporary works of art in a range of media and techniques, from video installations, contemporary basketry, and beadwork to ceramics, sculpture, and glass, by accomplished artists Marcus Amerman, Jeremy Frey, Teri Greeves, Diego Romero, Preston Singletary, and Bently Spang.

The exhibition also will include historic Native American art objects from Berkshire Museum’s permanent collections. Rethink! is co-curated by art historian Margaret Archuleta and Berkshire Museum’s director of interpretation Maria Mingalone and collections manager/registrar Leanne Hayden.

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SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK to PERFORM at MASS MOCA

Sweet Honey in the Rock

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Internationally renowned, Grammy Award-winning female a cappella sextet Sweet Honey In The Rock will perform in concert at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at 8 pm. The ensemble’s deep musical roots stretch into the sacred music of the Black church – spirituals, hymns, gospel – as well as into jazz and blues, reggae, rap, hip hop, ancient lullabies, and African chants. Sweet Honey’s collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms, evoking rich textures of African American legacy and traditions in transcendent vocal harmonies.

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DANCE COMPANY MOMIX CELEBRATES NATURE with BOTANICA at MAHAIWE

A scene from MOMIX Botanica

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Innovative dance ensemble MOMIX brings its evening-length Botanica program to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7, 2012, at 8pm. MOMIX director Moses Pendleton’s most recent work, Botanica is a multimedia journey through the seasons blending movement, circus, athleticism, and magical effects.

Botanica’s eclectic score ranges from birdsong to Vivaldi, revealing nature’s changing imagery. Creatures real and mythical materialize thanks to dazzling projections, strobes, wind machines, larger-than-life puppets designed by Michael Curry, the Tony Award-winning designer of The Lion King, and -most of all – the company’s impossibly nimble performers.

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MUSICAL POLITICAL SATIRE GROUP GEARS UP for ELECTION YEAR COMEDY at CRANWELL

Capitol Steps

(LENOX, Mass.) – With plenty of fodder to draw upon in this presidential election year, the award-winning musical satire group Capitol Steps returns to Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox for the sixth consecutive summer. Performing now through September 2, 2012, including a new Sunday matinee, the group will entertain audiences with numbers from their latest album, Take the Money and Run for President!

Since the group formed, the Capitol Steps have recorded 32 albums, including their special holiday release, Barackin’ Around the Christmas Tree. They’ve been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and can be heard four times a year on National Public Radio stations.

Capitol Steps’ 90-minute shows will be performed in Cranwell’s Olmsted Manor at 8pm, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, and new this year, on Sundays with a 3pm matinee. Cranwell offers convenient pre-show prix-fixe dining from 4.30 to 6:30 at its Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant in the Gilded Age Mansion or a casual a la carte menu at Sloane’s Tavern, where diners have the option of outdoor terrace seating with views of the golf course. In-theatre wine and beer is offered before the show.

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