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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


Ballet Maribor performs Radio and Juliet at Jacob's Pillow [photo by Karli Cadell]

By Seth Rogovoy

My number-one recommendation for the weekend: get thee to Jacob's Pillow, where an obscure, modern-ballet company from Slovenia presents what may well be the most mind-blowing, provocative, and entertaining performance of the entire summer.

The piece, danced by Ballet Maribor -- a company rarely seen in this country -- is called Radio and Juliet, and draws inspiration from Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, while building its choreography upon a solid foundation of the electro-rock sounds of the progressive English rock group, Radiohead.

Incorporating video and state-of-the-art lighting effects, including some utterly gorgeous silhouettes, the full-length piece is danced by six men and one woman, Tijuana Krizman, who plays the role of Juliet. Rather than a literally plotted version of Shakespeare's tale, the dance strings together vignettes that enact specific scenes from the play and more generalized scenes between men and women and men and men, all with the flavor of tragic, haunted love and loss.

The live action occasionally interacts with the video images; in fact, the piece begins with video and then a remarkable staging in which the characters seem to walk right out of the screen and onto the stage.

The choreography, by Edward Clug, is solidly based in classical ballet, but breaks from the form in its speed, separations, stillness, and fluidity. Tijuana Krizman is a revelation -- a remarkable physical specimen, perfectly carved and shaped to execute Klug's unique dance vocabulary -- and one cannot imagine this dance without her in the title role. There is more than a hint of aggression to some of the movement, as well as some moves borrowed from hip-hop. But the intensity is balanced by a strain of Chaplinesque humor, too.

Clug has an instinctive appreciation for the emotional peaks and valleys of the score by Radiohead, which like the ballet, builds a state-of-the-art mechanistic universe atop traditional rhythms and song forms. His abstractions are perfectly suited to the band's seemingly random, lyrical abstractions: "I'm not here, this isn't happening," "Ice age coming,"

The piece runs through Sunday in the Ted Shawn Theatre. What a way to kick off the season at Jacob's Pillow.

Jacob's Pillow

While there's been plenty of good music to hear at Tanglewood for the past week, including jaw-dropping performances by the Juilliard and Emerson quartets, and one of the best episodes of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion in memory -- in addition to scheduled guests Steve Martin and Martin Sheen, Arlo Guthrie dropped in to lend the proceedings an authentic Berkshire air -- the Boston Symphony Orchestra's official season begins on Friday night, when James Levine takes the podium to conduct the BSO in an all-Tchaikovsky program, including the piano concerto No. 1, played by soloist Yefim Bronfman.

That's just the beginning of a solid weekend of performances at Tanglewood, including Saturday's July Fourth celebration topped by jazz-pop singer/pianist Diana Krall.

The weather looks promising for a glorious day at Tanglewood, and a little bird told me that there's a good chance that Mr. Diana Krall, also known as Elvis Costello, may be making an unbilled appearance during her performance.

Then on Sunday afternoon, James Levine returns to the podium to conduct the BSO in Stravinsky's iconic dance piece, The Rite of Spring.

Also on the program is Brahms's violin concerto, which will be performed by soloist Christian Tetzlaff, who will return in the evening for the first of three programs featuring the complete Beethoven piano and violin sonatas.


In Great Barrington, a weekend of music at Club Helsinki kicks off on Friday with the glorious western swing of the Blue Ribbon Boys, featuring divine vocalist Julia Gottlieb. The Sugar Shack Burlesque returns to Helsinki for two shows on Saturday night.

And a weekend of divine vocalists winds up on Sunday night with the new Jewish sounds of Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste, bringing her special Cuban-Jewish project with percussionist Roberto Rodriguez to the nightclub, along with Chana Rothman, the Ani DiFranco of new Jewish folk.

Sarah Aroeste and Roberto Rodriguez in Cuba

Aroeste is in the forefront of the Ladino revival -- that's Spanish-Jewish or Sephardic to you -- and Rodriguez is in the forefront of finding common ground among Cuban and Jewish rhythms, as heard on several recordings of his own and others on John Zorn's Tzadik label and his Radical Jewish Culture series. Aroeste is a gifted vocalist and an alluring performer who should not be missed.

Club Helsinki

Is it OK to post here a correction to your article about Tanglewood in the June "Berkshire Living," viz. Mark Morris will direct -- but not conduct -- Stravinsky's "Renard" (which is technically not "an opera," but "a theatre piece with dancing") on July 28. The conductor is in fact Stefan Asbury.

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