Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

Steve Earle, the Father of Alt-Country Sets His GPS for MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
Steve Earle

Steve Earle

By Larry Murray

The original trailblazer of alt-country, a protest singer of fiery commitment, a songwriter of towering ability – Steve Earle is an artist of expansive talents. He’s on his way to MASS MoCA, a sack full of Grammy Awards and his gravelly, impassioned voice in tow, for a solo show just before the release of Terraplane, his new album of swampy, southern-stomp blues. Steve Earle plays MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams on Saturday, February 7, at 8pm.

The now-legendary Earle has always done what he wanted: he taught himself guitar at the age of 11, and at age 14 attempted to run away from home to follow his musical idol, Townes Van Zandt. Two years later, he dropped out of high school and moved to Houston with his 19-year old uncle, where he finally met Van Zandt, eventually becoming his protégé.

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Is All About Harmony, Returning to the Mahaiwe Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Mahaiwe welcomes Ladysmith Black Mambazo back to the Berkshires.

The Mahaiwe welcomes Ladysmith Black Mambazo back to the Berkshires.

Excitement and anticipation is high as the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington welcomes back Ladysmith Black Mambazo at 8pm on Friday (February 6).

In conjunction with the performance, the Mahaiwe will also host a pre-show 7pm panel discussion at the theater with members of the Berkshire community from Africa, including Pauline Dongala and Eileen & Roy Tau. The speakers will talk about some distinctive aspects of South African culture and the impact of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on their countries. Admission to the panel is free to concert ticketholders. In addition, Castle Street Café Chef Michael Ballon will honor Ladysmith Black Mambazo by creating a South African cuisine menu option that evening.

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Fugue States, Feral Horses and the Choreography of Flesh @ EMPAC on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Ward of the Feral Horses, by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

“Ward of the Feral Horses,” by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

Over at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, New York we look forward to “media-dance” pioneer and Merce Cunningham collaborator Charles Atlas, who will be in residence this spring to develop a new piece of choreography tailored for the screen.

The multimedia dance form he helped popularize has been a programming priority at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (110 8th St., Troy) ever since its opening.

With generous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, the DANCE MOViES commission will present this year’s selected works on Saturday (January 31) at 7pm. Admission is free.

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ADDITIONAL UPCOMING REAL GOOD FOR FREE EVENTS FOR 2015:

New Music & Cultural Symposium @ UAlbany Performing Arts Center, Albany, 1/29-31/15
Free Day @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 1/31/15
New York State Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series @ UAlbany, Albany, various days
Music at Noon @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, select Thursdays
Beat the Snow Winter Concert Series @ Schenectady Public Library, Schenectady, Sundays

On Saturday, MASS MoCA Offers a Free Day of Wonderment for All [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

bosmassmocafree

On a day when their galleries teem with visitors and activities, you can take a peek behind the scenes in every aspect of the North Adams museum. MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson elaborates on the history of our campus. Art fabricators break down the process of taking a project from concept to completion, and you can watch their tech crew build a concert light show. Enjoy elevator music (played live), art-making, dance performances, story time, treasure hunts, and all the usual Free Day fun. MASS MoCA’s Free Day goes down on Saturday (January 31) from 11 am to 7 pm. A dance party follows later on with Nomandic Massive, a ticketed (not free) event.

Ever wonder how a 12-ton phoenix got into the museum or what it takes to put on a dance performance? Free Day visitors are encouraged to engage with museum staff who lead specialized talks and tours to answer all your MASS MoCA questions. Hear Richard Criddle, Director of Fabrication and Art Installation; Sue Killam, Managing Director of Performing Arts; and Joseph Thompson, Director, talk about: The History of MASS MoCA; The Technology Behind Dying of the Light: Film as Medium and Metaphor; How It’s Made: an inside look at the exhibition installation process; The Show Must Go On: a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the performing arts at MASS MoCA; and a detailed overview of the long-term Sol LeWitt Retrospective. Additionally, gallery tours that discuss museum history and art run every half hour from 11:30am to 6pm. Family-focused tours are available at 12pm and 2pm, and family activities are ongoing throughout the day.

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Eight Musicals – Including “Rent,” “Hairspray,” “The Producers,” “Xanadu” – Primed for Mac-Haydn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
The Mac is where you find big musicals in an intimate space.

The Mac is where you find big musicals in an intimate space.

Music, action, excitement and fun are all part of the freshly announced Mac-Haydn Theatre 2015 season. It’s a summer that includes eight musicals. Five of them – yes, FIVE – are brand new to MHT shows! The most requested show from several past seasons and two other favorites are also in the schedule, which includes six Tony Award winning musicals.

Music and musicals are what Mac-Haydn is all about, and this year the sounds will range from 1920’s crooning to 1960’s musical theater hit songs to contemporary sounds. Action: from tempestuous romance to tipsy plot twists to gang rivalries to integration to roller skating – yes, we said roller skating right on Mac-Haydn’s theatre-in-the-round stage. Excitement: just in case roller skating isn’t exciting enough, there will be plenty of dynamic dancing and tap numbers, plus non-stop laughs and delightful romance. Fun: add all of that together on an oversized pizza-platter shaped stage and you get a summer full of fun – and hair-raising adventure, too – at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham.

The Baker’s Wife – The season begins with sweet music on May 21 with The Baker’s Wife, a story that serves up a tasty mix of life’s necessities: bread, love and life. A baker and his young, lovely wife come to a village that has been without bread. The villagers question the pairing – surely she is too young for him, and so it proves as the wife is wooed away. Tender love overcomes tempestuous romance in the end, life becomes different and new for all. “Meadowlark” and “Proud Lady” highlight the beautiful score. The Baker’s Wife will be performs through May 31.

The Drowsy Chaperone – A wistful man’s favorite musical recording comes to life in the ‘play within a play’ The Drowsy Chaperone, which won Tony’s for Best Score and Best Book. ‘Drowsy’ in this case means ‘tipsy,’ as the chaperone describes in “As We Stumble Along.” She’s in charge of keeping the bride and groom-to-be apart until the wedding, but instead falls under the spell of a gigolo sent to stop the nuptials who thinks he’s seducing the bride. Meanwhile, the happy couple share a kiss – but the blindfolded groom thinks he’s kissing someone else. Add in gangsters disguised as pastry chefs, a Follies producer who wants to keep the bride in his show, a ditzy hopeful star, an aviatrix to perform the wedding(s) – well, you get the idea, it’s nothing but fun from start to finish, with tap dancing, roller skating, non-stop laughter – and “Love Is Always Lovely in the End.” New this year, The Drowsy Chaperone plays June 4-14.

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Bi-lingual Latin Music at MASS MoCA: Helado Negro’s “Island Universe Story” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

bosheladonegro

Roberto Carlos Lange, aka Helado Negro, produces bi-lingual music that is “a sonic landscape that reflects 21st-century Latin America” (NPR). Fresh off a release on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label, Lange sets out on his new musical/visual project “Island Universe Story,” which will be developed at MASS MoCA in North Adams with a team of eight musicians including Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco and David Byrne percussionist Jason Trammell, as well as members of the William Onyeabor Atomic Bomb Band and Marc Ribot’s band. Helado Negro will perform a work-in-progress concert of his latest project, “Island Universe Story,” at MASS MoCA on Saturday (January 24) at 8pm.

Born into the vivid colors and pounding boom box beats of 1980s south Florida, experimental electronic producer and performer Lange incorporates the sensual tropical storms and irresistible Latin groove of his childhood into the eclectic, reflective sound of his most recent musical identity, Helado Negro. Spanish for “black ice cream,” Helado Negro’s style is at once primal and sophisticated, characterized by layers of ethereal Latin rhythms and contemporary beats that combine Lange’s rich, soulful voice and poetic lyrics in hypnotic soundscapes that have earned him the title of “experimental psych maestro” (Pitchfork). A multi-tasker on stage, Lange merges music and art in mesmerizing multi-media performances that often incorporate video, laser lights, fog and back-up dancers.

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Noche Flamenca Dances Full-Length “Antigona” @ Mahaiwe on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Friday at the Mahaiwe: Noche Flamenca’s Antigona (photo: Chris Bennion)

Friday at the Mahaiwe: Noche Flamenca’s Antigona (photo: Chris Bennion)

Noche Flamenca will present Antigona at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Friday (January 23) at 8pm. Praised by some critics for its transcendent and deeply emotional performances, Noche Flamenca is one of the most authentic flamenco companies in the world today, and Soledad Barrio is its star. This new evening-length work based on Sophocles’ ancient Greek heroine combines live music, song and dance, bringing the fiery, expressive nature of flamenco to one of the world’s great tragedies. There will be a post-show Q & A with the artists about flamenco and the production.

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“Empire” Tackles Homophobia and Grows Its Ratings, Is Renewed for Second Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Empire

“Empire” is a powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne.

Story by Larry Murray

Averaging a 5.3 rating in Nielsen’s Most Current measure, FOX-TV’s Empire has emerged as the No. 1 new series of the season. Following its second episode, it is the only new broadcast drama this season to grow from week one to week two.

Yesterday at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, the cast and producers of the new hit drama series Empire fielded questions from reporters about the popular new series and our colleague Jim Halterman had the chance to ask creator Lee Daniels and star Terrence Howard about the homophobia portrayed in Howard’s character.

“Homophobia is rampant in the African‑American community, and men are on the DL,” Howard said. “They don’t come out because the priest says, your pastor says, your mama says, your next‑door neighbor says, your homie says, your brother says, your boss says…and so I wanted to blow the lid off the door and on homophobia in my community.”

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