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Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller

Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever

FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21

Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm

Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF

Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend

Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....

Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak

twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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Weekend Cultural Highlights


Berkshire Playwrights Lab co-directors [photo by Diana Levine/Courtesy Berkshire Living]

Itís a busy weekend of cultural activity here in the Berkshires, starting Friday night, when the Berkshireís newest theater company, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, kicks off its summer season of staged readings with a big gala performance at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington.

Among the playwrights whose new works are being featured are Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet, Eric Bogosian of Talk Radio fame, the Berkshiresí own Joan Ackermann, and Larry Gelbart, best known for writing the musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and the TV series, M*A*S*H.

Actors reading the short plays include Karen Allen, Tony Award-winner Elizabeth Franz, Dan Lauria, David Rasche, and Peter Riegert. Show starts at 8.

Proceeds from the Gala Season Opening will benefit the Berkshire Playwrights Lab Free Staged Reading Series, which will take place on Wednesdays at 8 throughout the summer at the Mahaiwe.

The new company, dedicated to encouraging, developing, and presenting new plays, was founded in 2006 by theater professionals Joe Cacaci, Bob Jaffe, Jim Frangione, and Matthew Penn.

To purchase tickets call 413-528-0010, or purchase online www.mahaiwe.org. For more information about this new organization, see www.berkshireplaywrightslab.org.

Then on Saturday night at the Mahaiwe, the Close Encounters with Music series presents its second of two programs Celebrating MendelssohnÖand Discovering Eduard Franck, on the occasion of the formerís 200th anniversary.

This gala tribute to Mendelssohn's inner circle begins at 6 and features works by Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and the American premiere of Eduard Franckís String Sextet in E-flat major, Op. 41.

Joining artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani for this performance are violinist Yehonatan Berick; pianist James Tocco; and the Avalon String Quartet.

Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Avalon came to the fore after participating in Isaac Sternís Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1997, which led to invitations to perform at Carnegie Hallís Weill Recital Hall and Sternís Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem. They are in residence at Northern Illinois University, a position formerly occupied by the distinguished Vermeer Quartet, and perform annually in Chicago and DeKalb, as well as at Alice Tully, the 92nd St Y and Carnegie Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; at Caramoor, Mostly Mozart and Ravinia festivals; and at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society and the Isabella Gardner Museum.

For tickets and information, visit www.mahaiwe.org or www.cewm.org, or call the Mahaiwe box office at 413-528-0100.

The Avalon Quartet will perform at CEWM's Mendelssohn tribute at the Mahaiwe this Saturday evening. [photo courtesy CEWM]

At Shakespeare and Company, artistic director and company cofounder Tina Packer reprises one of her most beloved roles in the one woman show, Shirley Valentine, kicking off this summerís Diva Series at the Lenox theater company this weekend.

Packer performed Willy Russelís Shirley Valentine to critical acclaim in Boston several times in the late 1980ís, at Shakespeare & Company in 1991, and again in 1995.

Shirley Valentine follows the poignant and often hysterically funny story of a dowdy working class British housewife and her journey to self-discovery by way of the Greek islands. Romeo and Juliet also continues its run at Shakespeare this weekend. For more information, call 413-637-3353 or visit www.shakespeare.org.

Tina Packer as Shirley Valentine [photo by Sean McLaughlin/Courtesy Shakespeare & Company]

Barrington Stage Companyís favorite boy band, the Bacon Brothers, featuring actor Kevin Bacon and his composer brother, Michael, make their Pittsfield debut on Saturday night at 8.

The Bacon Brothers play mainstream American rock ní roll tinged with blues, country, pop, folk, and reggae. This show kicks off BSCís summer concert series, which also includes Amanda McBroom on July 2 and 3, and Shirley Jones on July 6.

For more info, visit www.barringtonstageco.org or call the BSC Box Office at (413) 236-8888.

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