A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a striking juxtaposition of illustrator and choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow; Shakespeare outdoors; opera; swing, and a whole lot more.
(BECKET, Mass.) – “The Principles of Uncertainty,” a unique collaboration between choreographer John Heginbotham and acclaimed illustrator and author Maira Kalman, runs in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow from Wednesday, August 23, through Sunday, August 27. The evening-length dance-theatre work, inspired by Kalman’s written and visual art, is set to a score composed, arranged, and curated by Brooklyn Rider and Silk Road Ensemble’s Colin Jacobsen. Members of the Knights, Jacobsen’s innovative chamber orchestra, will perform live, and Maira Kalman herself is also featured in the performance.
(LENOX, Mass.) – William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will be staged in-the-round in the new, outdoor Roman Garden Theatre at Shakespeare & Company from Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, September 3. Directed by newly appointed company artistic director Allyn Burrows, the play features longtime Shakespeare & Company actors Nigel Gore and Jason Asprey alongside Thomas Brazzle, Deaon Griffin-Presley, Tamara Hickey, Ella Loudon, Josh Aaron McCabe, Bella Merlin, and Mark Zeisler. The creative team includes Jim Youngerman (set designer), Govane Lohbauer (costume designer), and Arshan Gailus (sound designer).
Showtimes are at dusk: 5:30pm through August 20; 5pm August 21-September 3.
Likely the final piece that Shakespeare penned alone, “The Tempest” tells the story of Prospero, a betrayed duke and magician bent on justice and revenge until he sees, through his daughter, the power of love and forgiveness. The events of the story unfold amidst the elements of the island, a perfect fit for a Berkshire evening in the open air of the Roman Garden Theatre.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Ephrat Asherie Dance brings its blend of street and social dance to PS21 on Friday and Saturday, August 25 and 26, at 8pm, as part the Chatham Dance Festival. The company’s work straddles the genres of dance and theater, and is inspired by the New York City club scene of the late-1990s and early oughts. The performances will take place under the Tent at PS21, 2980 Route 66, in the town of Chatham.
B-girl, house dancer, choreographer Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie grew up in the 1990s making mix tapes and watching music videos. “While I was training extensively in ballet and modern dance, I was dancing socially with my friends,” she said. In college, Asherie saw Rennie Harris’s hip-hop version of “Romeo and Juliet” and thought, “This is incredible. I have to figure out how to do this.” She continued, “Before Rome and Jewels I had never really seen hip-hop in a theatrical setting, on the concert dance stage. It was something I related to immediately.”
(LENOX, Mass.) – The Music Inn will be remembered at “The Life and Times of Music Inn,” a multimedia celebration at The Mount on Friday, August 25, at 3pm, as part of the year-long Lenox 250th Celebration. The event will feature stories, video, audio tracks, memorabilia, and other Music Inn memories.
From 1950 to 1979, the Music Inn, situated just east of Tanglewood in Lenox in the former barns and outbuildings of Wheatleigh, was home to a dynamic music scene. It existed in several iterations, including the original Lenox School of Jazz, the Music Barn, the Lenox Arts Center, and as a performance venue hosting such icons of jazz, rock, blues, and American music as Louis Armstrong, Pete Seeger, David Brubeck, Muddy Waters, the Band, Arlo Guthrie, the Kinks, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, and many others.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Berkshire Opera Festival stages a new production of Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, August 26; Tuesday, August 29; and Friday, September 1 at 7:30pm.
What happens when high art and lowbrow comedy collide? This hilarious “behind-the-scenes” opera answers the question when a wealthy patron who has commissioned two very different forms of entertainment for the evening finds that time is too short for both, leaving the artistic forces to combine their efforts. The result is a comedic masterpiece set to the exquisitely lush music of Richard Strauss.
American soprano Marcy Stonikas sings the title role. Tenor Kevin Ray will tackle the role of Bacchus, while Nicole Haslett has the coloratura role Zerbinetta. As the young Composer, mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala adds another Strauss role to her wide-ranging repertoire. Filling out the roles of Zerbinetta’s burlesque troupe and Ariadne’s nymphs is a supporting cast of up-and-coming young stars. All performances feature the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Neo-swing revivalists Squirrel Nut Zippers headline the Hot Summer Swing Bash at Ski Butternut on Saturday, August 26. The daylong event features performances by the Lucky 5, Blue Light Trio, and others, running from 3 to 8pm.
Squirrel Nut Zippers play a high-energy fusion of Delta blues, Gypsy jazz, 1930s-era swing, klezmer, and other styles. The group found commercial success during the 1990s neo-swing revival, of which they were a leading force. The band’s influences include Cab Calloway, Johnny Ace, Raymond Scott, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, and Tom Waits.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – San Francisco-based Royal Jelly Jive brings its soulful, brassy party music to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, August 25, at 9pm. Fronted by the streetwise, soulful vocals of Lauren Bjelde, Royal Jelly Jive plays a fusion of the jumpin’ jive of the 1940s, brass band music of the 1950s and ‘60s, and today’s Gypsy punk as popularized by groups like Beirut, Gogol Bordello, and Slavic Soul Party. Horns, bass, drums, and keyboards surround Bjelde’s vocals that combine the elegance of Nina Simone and the rough grit of Tom Waits.
Robb is best known for his lenticular photographic work focusing on the female nude and abstract forms in space, which he makes in series. Robb is regularly testing possibilities with the lenticular medium and creating new immersive experiences using three-dimensional imaging and cutting-edge technology within this and additional mediums.
(HANCOCK, Mass.) – Works by an all-star team of contemporary artists, including Gregory Crewdson, Don Gummer, Stephen Hannock, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin, and David Teeple, is on view at Hancock Shaker Village, in Making: Then and Now, a landmark exhibition of contemporary art that explores the connection between artists today and an historic utopian movement in the Berkshires, a place both have called home.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – No Rules: Helen Frankenthaler Woodcuts, an exhibit exploring the artist’s inventive and groundbreaking approach to the woodcut, and As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, which focuses on nature as a long-standing inspiration for the artist, are on view at the Clark Art Institute.
The No Rules exhibition, on view through Sunday, September 24, includes 17 large-scale prints, on loan primarily from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and the Williams College Museum of Art, presenting the full range of Frankenthaler’s experimentation with the medium from the 1970s through 2000s. No Rules celebrates the pioneering spirit that expanded the possibilities of the woodcut and established Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011) as one of the medium’s great innovators.
The exhibition explores the artist’s collaborations with printers, publishers, woodcarvers, and papermakers that pushed the medium in new directions. In 1994, during an interview with printer/publisher Ken Tyler, Frankenthaler stated, “There are no rules, that is one thing I say about every medium, every picture . . . that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.”
As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, which focuses on nature as a long-standing inspiration for the artist, is on view in the Lunder Center at Stone Hill from Saturday, July 1, through Monday, October 9.
The As in Nature exhibition comprises a selection of large paintings by Frankenthaler from the 1950s through the 1990s, focusing on nature as a longstanding inspiration. Like many abstract artists, Frankenthaler continually tested the constraints of the genre, at times inserting into her compositions elements of recognizable subject matter that throw the abstract elements into relief. The paintings in this exhibition represent the full range of styles and techniques that she explored over five decades of work; while all are primarily abstract, they also contain allusions to landscape, demonstrating how Frankenthaler’s delicate balance between abstraction and a nuanced responsiveness to nature and place developed and shifted over time. As Frankenthaler once commented, “Anything that has beauty and provides order (rather than chaos or shock alone), anything resolved in a picture (as in nature) gives pleasure—a sense of rightness, as in being one with nature.”
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World, a fully immersive exhibition exploring all aspects of one of the most enduring musical icons of the last 200 years, is at the Berkshire Museum, on view through Monday, September 4.
(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.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — MASS MoCA has unveiled its newly renovated campus with the opening of Building 6, the third phase of campus development that encompasses 130,000 square feet of interior renovations to the museum’s 19th-century mill buildings. The new galleries include works by Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, and Gunnar Schonbeck (Bang on a Can), among others.
LAST CALL: PICASSO WORKS on VIEW at THE CLARK
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Works by Pablo Picasso are on view at the Clark Art Institute, along with an exhibition devoted to painter-designer Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Picasso: Encounters includes paintings and prints by the 20th century visionary and is on view through Sunday, August 27.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) — On the surface they might seem like an odd couple from two different universes, but for the first time Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol come face to face in “Inventing America: Rockwell and Warhol,” at the Norman Rockwell Museum. With 100 works of art, a selection of archival materials, and objects relating to their work and lives, the exhibition will show how both of these internationally celebrated image-makers — among America’s most important visual communicators — created enduring icons and opened new ways of seeing.
(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.