A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a film festival; gallery shows featuring regional artists; two authors in search of Edith Wharton; shows opening at the region’s summer theaters; and a Southern soul singer.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Dern, Karen Allen, Douglas Trumbull, Noah Baumbach, Gregory Crewdson, Jake Paltrow and Kent Jones will be on hand for the 11th annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), taking place at venues including the Triplex Cinema and the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington and the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, Mass., from Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5.
The BIFF will showcase 70 of the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films from some 26 countries. The festival brings films, filmmakers, industry professionals, and film fans together for a four-day celebration of independent film featuring 26 documentaries, 26 narrative features and 17 short films. The international span of the festival includes films from Germany, Afghanistan, Brazil, Australia, Iran, England, India, France, China, Italy, Israel, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Argentina, Iceland, and others.
(LENOX, Mass.) — Authors Sophie McManus and Stephanie Clifford will discuss the influence of Edith Wharton on their debut novels on the Terrace at The Mount, Wharton’s home, on Sunday, June 5, at 4pm. McManus’s “The Unfortunates” and Clifford’s “Everybody Rise” are both informed and inspired by Wharton’s 1905 novel, “The House of Mirth.”
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Game On/Game Over, a nine-minute looping video described as “a playful but thought-provoking mashup of animation and live action,” will be the centerpiece of a solo exhibition of works by award-winning filmmaker and artist Daniel Brody in the BerkshireNow gallery space at Berkshire Museum, opening with a reception on Friday, June 3, from 5 to 8pm, in conjunction with Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk, when admission to the museum’s BerkshireNow gallery is free. The exhibit, also featuring a collection of recent abstract drawings and paintings by Brody, remains on view through Sunday, August 21.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Nashville-based singer Ruby Amanfu brings her unique blend of country-tinged soul and pop to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, June 5, at 8pm. On her recent album, “Standing Still,” Amanfu’s songs range from the noirish jazz of “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is,” with a hint of Patsy Cline by way of Norah Jones, to a funky, steamy version of “Where You Going” by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, given a “Wrecking Ball”-era Emmylou Harris treatment. Amanfu has also been named one of “Nashville’s 25 Most Beautiful People” by Nashville Lifestyles and one of the “50 Best-Dressed Southerners” by Southern Living.
(OLD CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Works by Marguerite Bride and Karen S. Jacobs are featured in “Berkshire Visions: Two Artists, Two Mediums,” at the Old Chatham Country Store & Café from Friday, June 3, to Wednesday, July 27. An opening reception takes place on Sunday, June 5, from 3 to 5pm. The exhibition features representational watercolors by Bride and abstract oil paintings by Jacobs.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – “Presto Change-O,” with book and lyrics by Eric Price and music by Joel Waggoner, receives its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company (BSC) now through Saturday, June 11. This exciting new musical, a production of BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab, tells the story of three generations of magicians who find themselves under one roof for the first time in years. When the grandfather causes real magic to happen, they must confront their past mistakes and re-examine what it means to be a family.
“Presto Change-O” stars Tony Award-winner Michael Rupert (Broadway’s Falsettos, On The Town) as “Lance,” Tony Award-nominee Jarrod Spector (Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) as “Michael,” Tony Award-nominee Barbara Walsh (Broadway’s “Company”) as “Mary,” Jenni Barber (Broadway’s “Wicked”) as “Tina,” Bob Walton (Broadway’s “42nd Street”) as “Arthur,” and Lenny Wolpe (Broadway’s “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Wicked”) as “Sheldon.”
“Presto Change-O” features book and lyrics by Eric Price, music by Joel Waggoner, choreography by Chris Bailey, and direction by Marc Bruni of Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Vadim Feichtner is music director.
(LENOX, Mass.) – “The Taming,” a politically charged comedy written by award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson, is having its regional premiere at Shakespeare & Company now through July 30, 2016. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the 90-minute play, inspired by Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” exposes America’s overheated political rhetoric through the passions of three slightly insane women who just might be revolutionary geniuses. Inside the heightened, cheerfully absurd world of the red-state vs. blue-state comedy
“The Taming,” playwright Gunderson spanks America’s sound-bite politics, wrestles with a Shakespeare-inspired, playful and problematic battle of the sexes, and proves the point that true debate is hot.