Posts Tagged ‘MASS Moca’

Is Stephin Merritt the Cole Porter of His Generation? [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Stephin Merritt

Stephin Merritt

Peculiar. And very entertaining in a subtle, understated way. It’s the only way to describe Stephin Merritt, whose life might be described as a study in brown, his signature couture color. The man who taught us to feel with 69 Love Songs serenades his fans at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams with a rare, stripped-down concert accompanied solely by Magnetic Fields bandmate and cellist Sam Davol at 8pm on Saturday (November 21).

Magnetic Fields frontman and lyrical mastermind Stephin Merritt exclusively wears brown clothing; published an ode to two-letter Scrabble words; and plans his set lists according to the alphabet. He doesn’t play by anybody’s rules — and he doesn’t need to. Few musicians can boast an oeuvre as vast and acclaimed as Merritt’s, a fanbase as devoted or a songwriting talent as limitless.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


New Work-in-Progress Musicals on Tap at MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, November 9th, 2015
Working on a new musical at Mass MoCA: Adam Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame, and son of writer/composer Mary Rodgers.

Working on a new musical at MASS MoCA: Adam Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame and son of writer/composer Mary Rodgers

Sundance Institute continues to develop new theater pieces with its two-week residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams. The Sundance Theatre Lab for 2015 has a sharp focus on musical theater.

The Sundance Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA supports three musical theater and ensemble-generated projects. Obie Award-winning writer Kirsten Childs’ Buffalo Bella is a musical tall tale exploring the African-American experience in the Old West. Cory Hinkle, Victoria Stewart, Jeremy Wilhelm and David Wilhelm’s Clandestino investigates immigration reform, small-town politics and religious fundamentalism within the context of the 2008 ICE raid of Agriprocessors, Inc., a Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. And Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Adam Guettel and Obie Award-winning playwright Craig Lucas are working on as-yet-untitled work that tells the story of a love affair between two average Americans, torpedoed by alcoholism. These projects are cast individually and rehearse daily – with the creative support of Sundance dramaturgs.

Artistic Director Philip Himberg said, “The Theatre Lab at Mass MoCA provides unique opportunities for artists to develop their projects, uninhibited, in inspiring environments. The Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA gives musical and ensemble theater-makers the first opportunity to see their work brought to life on its feet.”

The residencies will culminate in a public performance of selections from these work-in-progress musical theater projects with these exceptional artists in MASS MoCA’s Club B10 on Saturday (November 14) at 8pm. Tickets are $10 in advance; $5 for students and members; $15 day of; and $22 preferred.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Katie Workum & Kimberly Bartosik Bring “Black Lakes” to MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
Katie Workum brings her new piece Black Lakes to Mass MoCA.

Katie Workum brings her new piece “Black Lakes” to MASS MoCA.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA join together again to present the New York-based contemporary dance artists Katie Workum and Kimberly Bartosik in a one-night-only performance at 8pm on October 24 at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams.

Workum brings her new work Black Lakes to the stage, a piece that is full of improvisation, risk and humor. The second half of the program spotlights “Bessie” Award winner Kimberly Bartosik’s Ecsteriority4 (Part 2), which constructs a landscape of power and desire as it explores violence in American culture today.

Workum’s Black Lakes (2014) is both adventurously intimate and whimsically human. The hour-long work utilizes a set structure of solos, duets and trios with improvised movement performed by Workum’s collaborators, “Bessie” Award-winning artist Weena Pauly and “Bessie” Award nominee Eleanor Smith. Derived from an improvisational practice called Authentic Movement, the choreography is rooted in kinesthetic awareness and the natural, instinctive responses of bodies in space. Black Lakes is set to a minimalist score comprised of ambient sound, subtle excerpts of indecipherable conversation and musical bells by James Lo.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Progressive Love on the Dance Floor: JD Samson @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
Singer and producer JD Samson is at Mass MoCA on September 5, 2015.

Singer and producer JD Samson is at MASS MoCA on Saturday (September 5).

A member of the legendary electro-feminist-punk project Le Tigre, the singer and producer JD Samson is an articulate champion of social causes and a party waiting to erupt. She’s here with a live band set and a DJ set for a summer-ending night of progressive love on the dance floor. Samson takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Courtyard C on Saturday (September 5) at 8pm.

An eloquent activist, feminist, writer and performer, Samson was raised in a Cleveland suburb by two artists. Coming out at the age of 15, Samson overcame hardships to become a strong activist for feminist and LGBT rights. She pursued her passion in film by attending Sarah Lawrence College, where she landed a job managing projections for the electronic, feminist group Le Tigre – an all-female band with roots in dance, punk and pop music. Shortly thereafter, in 2000, Samson became a contributing member of the band. As a part of Le Tigre, Samson channeled her personal life to produce electrifying, upbeat music with strong sociopolitical and LGBT ties. When the band took a break in 2006, Samson formed a new project, MEN, with Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Roomful of Teeth Return to MASS MoCA on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Exploring new vocal territory and sharing music from their new 2015 album Render, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth comes home to MASS MoCA in North Adams to celebrate the work of composer-in-residence Ted Hearne, harnessing all sorts of colors, gestures and timbres as the group explores all possibilities of the human voice. Roomful of Teeth’s annual two-week residency culminates in a concert at 8pm on Friday (August 28).

Both as an expansion and a tribute to the group’s self-titled predecessor (called “sensually stunning” by The New York Times), Render is the next leg of Roomful of Teeth’s journey to mine the expressive possibilities of the magnificent vocal palette offered by each of the ensemble’s eight powerful singers. Group alto and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw relates the title of the album to the “idea of seeing…distinct particles slowly come together [to] create an image” (NPR). The recording emerges as one likeness, but remains unforgettably composed by distinct and enormously talented contributors, including founder and artistic director Brad Wells, as well as William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Missy Mazzoli, Caleb Burhans and ensemble tenor Eric Dudley.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

MUSIC: PigPen Theatre Co. Arrives @ MASS MoCA on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Part innovative theatre company and part indie-folk band, PigPen Theatre Co. creates albums that turn into musicals performed as fully staged productions or straight-forward concerts. The band will be at MASS MoCA in North Adams for the latter, playing material from their new album, Whole Sun, which was released last month. Currently on a national tour, PigPen arrives on the MASS MoCA campus at 8pm on Saturday (August 15) for a sprawling, rollicking live show, outdoors on the Dré Pavilion.

PigPen Theatre Co.’s pursuits are anything but strictly theatrical, and the group has attracted a huge following on the merit of their music alone. PigPen’s debut album, Bremen, was named the #10 album of the year by The Huffington Post. The members of PigPen aren’t lying when they say they couldn’t have done it without their fans: the band’s freshly released sophomore LP, Whole Sun, successfully raised more than $50,000 via Kickstarter, exceeding its original goal in less than 48 hours.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: Solid Sound @ MASS MoCA, 6/26/15 (Day One)

Thursday, July 9th, 2015


Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

“I think this is about as perfect as it gets. This night and you guys,” said frontman Jeff Tweedy during Wilco’s headlining set on the opening night of Solid Sound, the three-day festival that he and his band curate every other summer at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams.

It was a perfect night. The Berkshire Mountains surrounding Joe’s Field, where the headlining acts played, looked lush and green. The reflective water tower on the field’s northern edge – now a familiar landmark for repeat Solid Sound attendees – shone like a beacon. And young kids were everywhere – making it seem like a place where the future of rock and roll could possibly be bright as well.

There was also a historical significance to the night. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court issued their long-awaited ruling on marriage equality, making same-sex marriage legal across all 50 states.

“I was thinking, it’s so much nicer singing this song now that everyone can get married,” Tweedy said to great cheers midway through “Hesitating Beauty,” an old-fashioned ode to love and marriage from Wilco’s “Mermaid Avenue” collaboration with Billy Bragg set to words by Woody Guthrie.


MASS MoCA’s Chalet Beer Garden Offers Music, Art & Intelligent Conversation [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Mass MoCA’s beer garden is a festive way to spend a summer’s eve.

MASS MoCA’s beer garden is a festive way to spend a summer’s eve.

It happens every Thursday and Friday at 5:30pm (and onward into the night). The Chalet, the summer beer garden at MASS MoCA in North Adams, is now open for business, and it’s a great place to spend a summer evening.

This year, they’ve added an all-star squad of appearances and performances: First is the critically acclaimed Soundsuit artist Nick Cave, followed by Sayler/Morris, the artist duo behind Eclipse (now on view). Clifford Ross stops by to talk about Harmonium Mountain, his phantasmagorical video-and-audio installation mounted on 12 massive outdoor screens in Courtyard D. Lastly, Dean Baldwin himself, sculptor, installation artist and the creator of The Chalet, makes an appearance to discuss his practice.

Today (Thursday, July 9) at 7pm, join in a conversation with Chicago-based artist Nick Cave. Part sculptor, part filmmaker, part dancer and part installation-sound-and-performance artist, Nick Cave is most notable for his Soundsuits, full-body outfits combining sculpture and costume crafted from objects found in antique shops and flea markets. Get an insider’s sneak preview at the Chalet about his upcoming MASS MoCA show, opening in 2016.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Caffe LenaHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaArtist Charles HaymesHudson SoundsAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageKeep Albany BoringLeave Regular Radio BehindAnimalKind