A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including comedy; Rockwell-inspired music; theater; photography; cartoon art; 17th century Dutch painting; and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Comedian Phoebe Robinson, of cult-inspiring podcast 2 Dope Queens, headlines the High Mud Comedy Festival, hosted by comic Dave Hill, in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1. In addition to stand-up comedy, the festival includes comedy films; funny museum tours with performers; a joke cam; workshops; and a comedian-led beer-tasting and tour of Bright Ideas Brewery on the MASS MoCA campus. Post-mainstage, late-night gigs at local venues — including Desperados and the Freight Yard Pub — will feature local talent.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., and KENT, Conn.) – “Paintings in Song: Visions of Norman Rockwell,” a multimedia work with choruses, instrumentalists, and graphic animation by Berkshire-based composer John Myers, will have its world premiere as part of a “Norman Rockwell and Alice Parker: Visions of America in Art and Song “ program presented by Crescendo at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday, April 1, at 3 and 7pm.; and at Kent School’s Mattinson Auditorium in Kent, Conn., on Sunday, April 2, at 4pm.
Myers’ work celebrates Norman Rockwell’s timeless images in a musical setting and highlights the continued relevance of the cultural values represented in Rockwell’s paintings. Myers based his composition on the iconic “Four Freedoms” and five other paintings by Rockwell.
(LENOX, Mass.) – WAM Theatre stages a limited-run remount of the company’s very successful 2013 production of Lauren Gunderson’s “Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight,” directed by WAM artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven and featuring the entire original cast, at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) — Violist Stephanie Griffin and veteran new music pianist Cheryl Seltzer will play contemporary works by Wolpe, Mamlok, Babbitt, and a piece written especially for these performers by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra in the Kellogg Music Center at Simon’s Rock College on Sunday, April 2, at 3pm. The concert, a presentation of the South Berkshire Concert Series, will also include the “Arpeggione” Sonata by Franz Schubert and a piece by Stephanie Griffin herself.
(AMHERST, Mass.) – Photographer Marisa Scheinfeld will speak about her years-long project documenting the ruins of the once vital resorts in the Catskill Mountains and sign copies of her new book, “The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland” at the Yiddish Book Center on Sunday, April 2, at 2pm.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Chuck Prophet, one of contemporary rock’s greatest songwriters, brings his band the Mission Express to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, March 31, at 9pm. Famed alt-country group The Bottle Rockets will warm up the crowd for Prophet.
With the aid of the Mission Express, his band of heartbreakers, Chuck Prophet embraces a host of traditional and classic sounds, including country, soul, LA rock, indie-rock, folk-rock, and plain old rock ‘n’ roll. Prophet writes and sings wry, trenchant rock songs that connect the dots, musical and otherwise, between Tom Petty, R.E.M., Link Wray, and Warren Zevon.
(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “30under30,” a multimedia exhibition featuring works by 30 young artists hailing from or currently living in or around the Berkshires, is on view at No. Six Depot Gallery through Sunday, April 30. The exhibition is curated by Mika Mintz.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – An exhibition of hand-thrown porcelain by Berkshire-based artisan Daniel Bellow is on view in the BerkshireNow gallery space at the Berkshire Museum now through Monday, May 22. The work by the accomplished potter, remarkable for its exquisite glazes and intriguing textured surfaces.
For this solo exhibition, Bellow has created sculptural forms in porcelain and imagined a detailed scenario about their origin. According to Bellow’s backstory, scale models of rocket ships, supposedly created during the Song Dynasty in China at the command of Emperor Gaozong, have recently been discovered by archaeologists.
The unique sculptural “rocket ships” in the exhibition echo the work of the Song dynasty potters, whose smooth, dense porcelain ware was praised for its simplicity of shape and understated decoration.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – More than a century of Japanese printing traditions, represented by seventy-three color woodblock prints, will be presented in the Clark Art Institute exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection.
The exhibition explores the complex and changing relationship among artists, woodblock cutters, and publishers from the ukiyo-e (scenes from the floating world) tradition of the mid-19th century, the shin-hanga (new print) movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and the sosaku-hanga (creative print) movement that began in the 1950s. Japanese Impressions is on view through April 2, 2017.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning” features the work of the creative team behind such memorable Saturday morning cartoons as “The Yogi Bear Show,” “The Flintstones,” and the “The Jetsons,” on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 29, 2017.
Before the rise of basic cable, Saturday mornings for many children in America were spent watching cartoons on one of three available television channels. From 1958 through the 1980s, a majority of those cartoons bore the imprint of Hanna-Barbera. Creating scores of popular series such as The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse and its bountiful creativity is beloved to this day.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – An Inner World: 17th-Century Dutch Genre Painting is on view at the Clark Art Institute now through Sunday, September 17. The exhibit brings together paintings from the Clark and The Leiden Collection, among the largest and most important private collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings in the world. The exhibition features seven exceptional genre paintings by Dutch artists working in or near the city of Leiden in the 17th century.
An Inner World explores the work of Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 1613–1675) and his contemporaries by considering tradition and innovation in the representation of figures in interior spaces, individuals in moments of contemplation or quiet exchange, and the enduring taste among collectors for works created by fijnschilders, or fine painters.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Nick Cave, the artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits, turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in “Until,” a massive immersive installation. Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest and most overtly political installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects, a rich sensory tapestry. The sheer volume of material that has been gathered is astounding — 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys.