BerkshireWeekend Cultural Preview, August 13-18, 2014

Jason IsbellCOUNTRY-FLAVORED SINGER-SONGWRITER JASON ISBELL BRINGS ARTISTRY to MASS MoCA

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, former member of Southern-rock sensations Drive-By Truckers, performs at MASS MoCA on Friday, August 15, at 8pm. Isbell is riding high on critical acclaim for last year’s solo album, “Southeastern,” which has been described as his “Blood on the Tracks” or “Tunnel of Love” in its searing intimacy and stripped-down intensity. The album garnered Isbell nominations for Best Song, Best Album, and Artist of the Year for 2014 from the Americana Music Association’s Honors & Awards; NPR rock critic Ken Tucker and American Songwriter magazine called it the best album of 2013.

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Scene from 'Na Pista' (photo Gregory Lorenzutti)

Scene from ‘Na Pista’ (photo Gregory Lorenzutti)

CONTEMPORARY BRAZILIAN TROUPE to UNVEIL WORLD PREMIERE at JACOB’S PILLOW

(BECKET, Mass.) – The eclectic, vibrant spirit of Rio will pervade Jacob’s Pillow this week when Companhia Urbana de Dança returns for a five-show engagement in the Ted Shawn Theatre from Wednesday, August 13, through Sunday, August 16. The troupe brings a program of contemporary hip-hop dances never before seen by Pillow audiences, including the thought-provoking, dramatic world premiere of “I. You. We… All black!” and the exuberant and lively “Na Pista.”

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Joanna Rakoff (photo David Ignaszewski)

Joanna Rakoff (photo David Ignaszewski)

JOANNA RAKOFF in NEW AUTHOR INTERVIEW SERIES at THE MOUNT

(LENOX, Mass.) —  Author Joanna Rakoff takes part in “Touchstones,” a new interview series at The Mount featuring celebrated journalist Kate Bolick in conversation with leading writers. The one-hour conversation will take place on Friday, August 15, at 6 pm.

The Rogovoy Report will be giving away a free pair of tickets to this event via the Facebook page. ‘Like’ the Rogovoy Report on Facebook for further details.

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Paul Appleby (photo Dario Acosta)

Paul Appleby (photo Dario Acosta)

BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL CELEBRATING ‘BEETHOVEN’S SUCCESSOR’ SCHUBERT CONCLUDES

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) — The second and final weekend of the Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its Silver Jubilee with an exploration of “Schubert and His World,” opens on Friday, August 15, featuring several programs including “Beethoven’s Successor?” – an historic recreation of the sole public program that Schubert devoted entirely to his own music, with the Horszowski Trio’s account of his profound Piano Trio in E-flat as its centerpiece. The concert, in the Fisher Center at 8pm, also features Paul Appleby, tenor; the Harlem Quartet; Sarah Shafer, soprano; Zohar Schondorf, horn; Andrew Schroeder, baritone; Brian Zeger, piano; and members of the Bard Festival Chorale, James Bagwell, choral director.

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Ellis Marsalis at nightFATHER AND SON MARSALIS PAY TRIBUTE to JAZZ’S BIRTHPLACE at TANGLEWOOD

(LENOX, Mass.) – Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr.— patriarch of the Marsalis musical dynasty — and one of his jazz royalty sons, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, along with their quartet, bring a program entitled “The Last Southern Gentlemen” to Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on Sunday, August 17, at 8 p.m. performing standards and original compositions from their album of the same name.

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Jamal JacksonJAMAL JACKSON DANCE COMPANY to PERFORM at PS21

(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – The Jamal Jackson Dance Company (JJDC) will perform its work Bask in the Shade in the tent at PS21 as part of the PS21 Chatham Dance Festival on Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, at 8pm. By combining traditional Malian dance with an evolved contemporary African technique, Jackson’s choreography illustrates the tug of war between traditional and modern values.

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Robert EllisSINGER-SONGWRITER ROBERT ELLIS BRINGS COUNTRY-FLAVORED FOLK-POP to HELSINKI HUDSON

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Nashville-based singer-songwriter Robert Ellis, a Texas native who counts Paul Simon and Randy Newman as creative influences alongside fellow Texans including Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, brings his original batch of country-flavored pop-rock songs to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, August 17, at 8pm.

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Allison McLemore

Allison McLemore

CTC SEASON CONCLUDES with ONE-WOMAN ‘AMISH PROJECT’

(CHESTER, Mass.) – The curtain comes down on the 25th anniversary season at Chester Theatre Company (CTC) with Jessica Dickey’s The Amish Project, running from Thursday, August 14, through Sunday, August 24, at the Chester Town Hall. CTC favorite Allison McLemore, star of last season’s smash hit production of Tryst, tackles all the roles in this one-woman play about an Amish community devastated by a terrible tragedy.

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Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles are Elysian Fields

Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles are Elysian Fields

ELYSIAN FIELDS to BRING HAUNTING NOIR-ROCK to MASS MoCA

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) –Composer/musicians Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow, who have been performing as the “noir-rock” duo Elysian Fields for nearly 20 years, bring their unique brand of jazz-inflected avant-roots music to MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 16, at 8pm.

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Soul Rebels (photo Rick Olivier)

Soul Rebels (photo Rick Olivier)

SOUL REBELS to BRING UPDATED NEW ORLEANS BRASS SOUNDS to HELSINKI HUDSON  

(HUDSON, N.Y.) –  The dynamic New Orleans brass ensemble Soul Rebels bring its patented mix of party music, second-line melodies and R&B to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, August 16, at 9pm. The eight-piece group mixes horns, vocals and percussion on original compositions and covers of the likes of Stevie Wonder (“Livin’ in the City”), Daft Punk (“Get Lucky”), and Eurythmics (“Sweet Dreams”), always laying down a dance groove.

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Beach Boys (photo David McClister)

BEACH BOYS BRING ENDLESS SUMMER TOUR to TANGLEWOOD

(LENOX, Mass.) – At first I wasn’t even going to mention that a group using the name “The Beach Boys” is performing at Tanglewood in the Shed on Monday, August 18, at 7 p.m. After all, two of the original founding Wilson brothers are deceased; Brian Wilson rarely if ever tours with the group; and it’s quite possible that the only original member of the band performing at Tanglewood will be singer Mike Love, who has been incessantly flogging the group’s legacy since forever. But for over 40 years, people have enjoyed the experience of going to hear “The Beach Boys” in concert playing the group’s catalog of greatest hits – heavy on their early surf-rock tunes (“Surfin’ USA,” “Surfer Girl” “Surfin’ Safari”), as well as favorites like “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” “Sloop John B,” and a few of the band’s more experimental tracks, including “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Good Vibrations” – regardless of whom they are actually listening to. God only knows, it doesn’t really matter.

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FPigPen Theatre Company 'The Old Man and the Old Moon'RINGE TROUPE BRINGS LOW-FI ‘PLAY WITH MUSIC’ to WTF

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The PigPen Theatre Company brings its critically acclaimed, low-fi, original music-theater production, “The Old Man and the Old Moon,” to the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival from Wednesday, August 6, through Sunday, August 17. The “play with music,” as the troupe of seven — all of whom met at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2008 — calls it, is a low-tech multimedia extravaganza, blending traditional storytelling – think myths and legends – with burlap sacks, shadow screens, puppetry, flashlights, and original live music recalling Mumford & Sons and central European cabaret played by the actors on real instruments and found sounds.

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Paige Davis  (photo Paul Gregory)

Paige Davis (photo Paul Gregory)

ROMANTIC COMEDY by MARK ST. GERMAIN GETS WORLD PREMIERE at BSC 

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – “Dancing Lessons,” the new romantic comedy by playwright and BSC associate artist Mark St. Germain, receives its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company (BSC) from Thursday, August 7,  through Sunday, August 24. Directed by Barrington Stage artistic director Julianne Boyd, “Dancing Lessons” stars John Cariani and Paige Davis. The play centers on a young man (Cariani) with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s syndrome), seeking the instruction of a Broadway dancer (Davis), now sidelined with injuries. As their relationship unfolds, they’re caught off-guard by the surprising discoveries – both hilarious and heartwarming – that they make about each other.

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Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956), Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950. Oil, enamel, and aluminum on canvas, 87 x 118 in. (221 x 299.7 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1976.37.1   © 2014 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956), Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950. Oil, enamel, and aluminum on canvas, 87 x 118 in. (221 x 299.7 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1976.37.1 © 2014 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

THE CLARK GETS ABSTRACT

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Roll over, Renoir, and give Monet the news – for the first time in its history, the Clark Art Institute will feature abstract paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Mark RothkoHelen Frankenthaler and Jasper Johns, in Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950–1975, running now through Monday, October 13, 2014.

The exhibition examines the different paths taken by abstract painters in the first quarter-century of the postwar period. Masterworks such as Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), Mark Rothko’s No. 1 (1961), and Lee Bontecou’s Untitled (1962) reveal how artists in America and Europe experimented with color, geometry, and material to expand the definition of painting.

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Ruta Reifen, 'All Is Dvash'

Ruta Reifen, ‘All Is Dvash’

ISRAELI ARTIST TRANSFORMS SIENNA GALLERY with SITE-SPECIFIC INSTALLATION

(LENOX, Mass.)  – All Is Dvash, an on-site installation featuring the latest work by Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based contemporary jewelry artist Ruta Reifen, is on view at Sienna Gallery through Sunday, August 17, 2014. All is Dvash is Reifen’s exploration of the floral form and the joy, beauty, and raw sensuality of the natural world. Dvash, Hebrew for honey, is nectar, the promise of future fruit, the hope and potential abundance contained within each flower. Reifen captures the shapes, colors, and undulating, flowing lines of her inspiration in individually hand-sculpted, electroformed pieces, an invitation to the viewer and eventual wearer to adorn themself in beauty and rich delight.

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