MASS MoCA Announces 2017 Concert Season

December 8th, 2016, 9:30 am by Greg

North Adams’ MASS MoCA – the largest arts complex in Greater Nippertown – has announced its winter/spring schedule of performance events, and once again the calendar is packed with adventurous music, dance, films, comedy and other events that can’t quite be categorized.

At the top of the list is the return of veteran gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples and a site-specific solo performance by acclaimed choreographer-dancer Bill T. Jones amidst Nick Cave’s sprawling installation “Until.”

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And it make it all even more enticing, from now through January 2, tickets for many of the performances are discounted 25%.

Here’s the round-up of newly announced MASS MoCA performances:

DANCE: RICHARD MOVE’S “XXYY”
Friday, January 20, 8pm
Hunter Center, $12 in advance; $18 at the door; $22 preferred; $8 students
The choreographer-dancer-director will be in residence to develop “XXYY,” a collaboration with theater artist Alba Clemente and visual artist Paolo Canevari that explores the chromosomal combinations that produce gender identity.

FILM/MUSIC: PARSONFIELD’S “NANOOK OF THE NORTH”
Saturday, January 28, 8pm
Hunter Center, $18 in advance; $24 at the door; $30 preferred; $12 students
The world premiere of the FreshGrass favorites performing their original indie-folk score live to accompany a screening of the iconic Richard Flaherty documentary film.

FILM: “A REVOLUTION IN 4 SEASONS”
Thursday, February 2, 7:30pm
Club B10, $9; $5 students
Two politically opposed young women fight to shape their lives along with the political future of Tunisia, the sole country to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings as a functional democracy.

MUSIC: STEVEN BERNSTEIN’S UNIVERSAL MELODY BRASS BAND
Saturday, February 4, 8pm
$16 in advance; $22 at the door; $10 students
Presiding over consciousness-expanding arrangements of Sly & the Family Stone, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Allen Toussaint, The Band, and more — with a wicked horn section — trumpeter and bandleader Steven Bernstein whips up a blowout concert that will alter your brain chemistry.

FILM: “OVARIAN PSYCOS”
Thursday, February 9, 7:30pm
Club B10, $9; $5 students
A new generation of women of color in East Los Angeles are redefining their identity and building community through a raucous, irreverently named bicycle crew that takes to the streets to reclaim their neighborhoods.

MUSIC: SO PERCUSSION’S “A GUN SHOW”
Saturday, February 11, 8pm
Hunter Center, $18 in advance; $24 at the door; $30 preferred, $12 students
The innovative ensemble explores America’s fraught relationship with guns in this theatrically staged concert. Taking mallets to disassembled sniper rifles and assorted drums, the musicians serve as Greek chorus, commenting instrumentally on sung and spoken texts drawn from the nightmares and nostalgia of armed experiences. Obie-winning director Ain Gordon and choreographer Emily Johnson give depth to this probing work.

FILM: “SEVEN SONGS FOR A LONG LIFE”
Thursday, February 16, 7:30pm
Club B10, $9; $5 students
In this unexpectedly uplifting film, six hospice patients unlock their pasts and illuminate their dreams through song, allowing us into tender, vulnerable and funny moments of their lives, and revealing an intimate story behind our changing relationship with death.

COMEDY: JO FIRESTONE
Saturday, February 18, 8pm
Club B10, $16 in advance: $22 at the door; $28 preferred; $10 students
The absurdist comedy dynamo, whose off-kilter talents are on display in the HBO series “High Maintenance” and in her writing for “The Chris Gethard Show,” is blazing a hilarious trail across the country, hosting over 40 different formats of live performances. Club B10 alum Joe Pera opens the show.

FILM: “EVERYBODY KNOWS… ELIZABETH MURRAY”
Thursday, February 23, 7:30pm
Club B10, $9; $5 students
A determined single mom with nothing but guts and talent, the visionary American artist Elizabeth Murray broke through notorious art world barriers to become one of the outstanding painters of our time.

MUSIC: SAM COHEN
Saturday, February 25, 8pm
Club B10, $16 in advance; $22 at the door; $28 preferred; $10 students
The former Apollo Sunshine and Yellowbirds frontman is a dazzling guitarist (he’s lent his talents to the likes of Bob Weir and Cee-Lo), but also a songwriter of disarming skill. Count on him and his band to bring some lazy summer afternoon vibes to a cold winter’s night.

DANCE: BILL T. JONES
Saturday, March 4, 8pm
Galleries, $60 in advance, $75 at the door, $45 students
Performing in Nick Cave’s expansive installation “Until,” the iconic choreographer will present a site-specific solo work created in response to the exhibition.

MUSIC: JANKA NABAY & THE BUBU GANG
Saturday, March 11, 8pm
Club B10, $16 in advance; $22 at the door; $28 preferred; $10 students
Claiming the holy trinity of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and God as his primary inspirations, the Sierra Leonean singer has almost single-handedly revived the ancient tradition of Bubu, updating a form with 500-year-old roots in magic-infused folk ceremony into frenetic, hypnotic dance music with flourishes of electronica.

MUSIC: THE WHISKEY TREATY ROADSHOW
Friday, March 17, 8pm
Hunter Center, $16 in advance; $22 at the door; $28 preferred; $10 students
The ensemble of five Massachusetts singer-songwriters — Greg Smith, David Tanklefsky, Billy Keane, Chris Merenda and Tory Hanna — ring in St. Patrick’s Day with a celebration of brotherhood, spirits and foot-stomping folk-rock.

MUSIC: MAVIS STAPLES
Saturday, March 25, 8pm
Hunter Center, $35 in advance; $45 at the door; $55 preferred; $35 students
One of the great alchemists of American music, she’s crossed genre lines like no musician since perhaps Ray Charles, and weaving her voice into the very fabric of gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, rock and hip-hop. From her time in the legendary Staple Singers, to her Grammy-winning collaboration with Jeff Tweedy, You’re Not Alone, she is a classic artist who is as vital today as at any point in her legendary career.

COMEDY: HIGH MUD COMEDY FESTIVAL WITH PHOEBE ROBINSON
Friday & Saturday, March 31 & April 1
$42 2-day advance; $55 at the door; $75 preferred; $32 students
It’s the second annual two-day laugh-fest featuring a pile of performers thick with national comedic treasures and local stand-up heroes. Unapologetically goofy comedian Phoebe Robinson of cult-inspiring podcast “2 Dope Queens” headlines the festival, hosted by the charmingly deadpan comic/writer/actor/guitar hero/man-about-town Dave Hill.

DANCE: OKWUI OKPOKWASILI
Friday, April 7, 8pm
Galleries; $30 in advance; $40 at the door; $20 syudents
The choreographer, writer and actress brings her kinesthetically powerful movement style to a site-specific dance that responds to Nick Cave’s major Building 5 exhibition “Until.”

MUSIC: MIRACLE LEGION
Saturday, April 8, 8pm
Club B10; $18 in advance; $24 at the door; $30 preferred; $12 students
Before local favorite Mark Mulcahy rose to kids’ television fame with Polaris and “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” he fronted Miracle Legion, a band whose sublime jangly guitar rock made them college radio stalwarts from the mid-’80s to the late ’90s. They got back in the saddle for a tour last summer and will be in fine form for this special homecoming show.

DANCE: LAVA’S “A GODDESSEY”
Saturday, April 15, 3pm
Club B10, $10 in advance; $12 at the door: $5 kids ages 6-16; FREE kids age 5 & under
LAVA’s unique language of feminist dance includes towering human pyramids, acrobatic wrestling, and subtle physicality. The company’s new piece, developed at MASS MoCA, is a survival story that vaults the audience from a patriarchal present into a rainbow-colored feminist future.

MUSIC: MY BUBBA
Saturday, May 6, 8pm
Club B10; $16 in advance; $22 at the door; $28 preferred; $10 students
No Depression proclaims that the captivating nordic duo “sound like their generation’s Simon and Garfunkel. With just a guitar and vocals, they are mesmerizing in their softer than soft, lilting songs.”