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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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journal archive
Weekend cultural highlights


Actress Anne Undeland rides her playwright -- "Paris 1890: Unlaced" author Juliane Hiam -- hard like a pony [photo by Kevin Sprague/courtesy Ventfort Hall]

The summer theater season has featured several outstanding performances by female actresses in one-woman shows, including Tina Packer’s Shirley Valentine and Annette Miller’s Golda Meir, both at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. A new play, Paris 1890: Unlaced, is currently running at the Ventfort Hall Museum of the Gilded Age, also in Lenox.

Written by Juliane Hiam and co-produced by Shakespeare & Company, the play features a tour-de-force performance by Anne Undeland, who takes on half a dozen roles in a little over an hour and acquits herself brilliantly, playing everything from a contemporary museum director to a seamstress to a late-nineteenth century upscale prostitute, or courtesan, as they were known back then, and as her character insists on being called.

Hiam’s script is witty and smart and does a great job connecting the setting and experience of seeing the play at Ventfort Hall with the story of the risqué side of life during the Gilded Age in Paris in the 1890s.

But the lion’s share of credit devolves to Anne Undeland, who in just a little over an hour keeps the monologue on track, assuming roles from all walks of life in Parisian society, and providing an entertaining and provocative evening of original, alternative theater at Ventfort Hall.

The play runs through September 6.


Folksingers Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion have a busy performance schedule this weekend, with two shows scheduled at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Friday and Saturday at 8, plus an appearance at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, New York, on Friday at 5.

Speaking of Falcon Ridge, the annual four-day event, already up and running, features such top talent as Janis Ian, Kathy Mattea, Cliff Eberhardt, Nerissa and Katryna Nields, Susan Werner, Tracy Grammer, Kim and Reggie Harris, and Doc Scanlon, throughout the weekend.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
Friday, July 24 & Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Guthrie Center
4 Van Deusenville Road
Housatonic, MA
Ticket Info: 413-528-1955
Showtime: 8 pm

Friday, July 24 , 2009
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
44 County Road 7D
Hillsdale, NY (The Berkshires)
Ticket Info: http://www.falconridgefolk.com , 860-364-0366
Showtime: 5 pm (Main Stage)+ Sarah Lee and Johnny will also conduct workshops throughout the weekend.

At Tanglewood, it’s one of the biggest weekends of the summer, starting Friday night when James Levine leads the BSO in works by Berlioz and Mussorgsky.

Saturday night, Levine conducts the BSO and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Brahms’s German Requiem.

Then on Sunday, conductor David Robertson leads an all-American program featuring baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Orli Shaham in works by Virgil Thomson and Samuel Barber.

On Sunday and Monday, James Levine shifts over to the Tanglewood Theater, where he conducts the Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Fellows and Orchestra, in a fully staged production of Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni.

Tuesday night is the annual Tanglewood on Parade variety show, featuring a host of guest artists, the BSO, and the Boston Pops performing music including works by Aaron Copland, John Williams, and, of course, the traditional grand finale: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, featuring live cannon blasts and ending with a dazzling fireworks display.

www.tanglewood.org 888-266-1200.

The Walsh-Drucker-Cooper Trio is at Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (PS/21) on Saturday at 6, performing works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. Mendelssohn is included in celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The Trio has performed throughout the country and their performances have been broadcast regionally and nationally.

The Walsh-Drucker-Cooper Trio members, all of whom live in New York, are accomplished musicians, having achieved success individually before forming their group in 2001. Both Ms. Cooper and Mr. Drucker (who are wife and husband) have appeared previously at the Tent with The Berkshire Bach Ensemble.

Violinist Eugene Drucker is a founding member of the world renowned Emerson String Quartet and has been active as a solo artist. He has appeared with the orchestras of Montréal, Brussels, Antwerp, Liege, Austin, Hartford, Richmond, Toledo and the Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony.

Cellist Roberta Cooper was a winner of the Artists International Competition and she earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Juilliard School. Ms. Cooper was a founding member of the Wave Hill Trio and performed as part of the famed cello section of the Berlin Philharmonic. She has performed with the Sea Cliff Chamber Players, and has been a frequent guest artist with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society and the Emerson String Quartet.

Pianist Diane Walsh, whose many awards include prizes at the Munich International Piano Competition and the Salzburg International Mozart Competition, has appeared with the radio symphonies of Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Berlin, the American Symphony and the symphonies of San Francisco, Indianapolis, Austin, Delaware and Syracuse. This spring Walsh received rave reviews as pianist and musical director in Broadway’s “33 Variations.” The play, by Moises Kaufman, starred Jane Fonda as a musicologist researching Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, which Walsh performed throughout the play underneath the dialogue.

PS/21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century
Route 66, Chatham, N.Y.

Julianne Boyd, artistic director of Barrington Stage Company of Pittsfield, Mass., will discuss the theater company’s fifteen-year history and its exciting plans for the future in “Sweet Fifteen,” part of Berkshire Living’s award-winning Rest of the Story series of free public forums, on Sunday, July 26, at 11 a.m., at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington.

An outgrowth of the story “Home at Last” by Berkshire Living senior editor Lesley Ann Beck -- who will also participate in the event – in the July summer performing arts issue, the event, moderated by editor-in-chief Seth Rogovoy, will focus on the theater company’s rise from a small presenting company in southern Berkshire to national renown for producing the Tony Award-winning musical, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” to its establishment of a permanent home in Pittsfield, where it has become a vibrant community asset. The event will feature a question-and-answer session.

Each month, Berkshire Living, a regional lifestyle and culture magazine, and the Triplex join forces to present The Rest of the Story, free public forums based on an article running in the concurrent issue of the magazine. The series has won several awards Community Service by the National City and Regional Magazine Association.

For more information, call Berkshire Living at 413.443.8200.

One of my favorite annual summer events takes place this weekend: the annual Bang on a Can concert at MASS MoCA in North Adams, part of the month-long summer residency of the new music collective, informally referred to as Banglewood.

Each year, the concert is dedicated to a particular composer or theme, featuring a special guest artist, and it doesn’t get any better than this summer’s composer and artist, who are one and the same in the person of Pulitzer Prize-winning new-music pioneer Steve Reich.

Often touted as a founder of minimalism, Reich is actually a composer of great breadth, depth, meaning, and passion, as listeners will undoubtedly appreciate when Bang on a Can musicians perform his landmark composition, “Music for 18 Musicians,” at tomorrow night’s concert.

The eight o’clock concert on Saturday night will cap a full day of events tying Reich’s work to that other master of minimalism, artist Sol LeWitt, whose career is currently the subject of a major retrospective at MASS MoCA. Reich will discuss his artistic and personal ties to LeWitt at 3, and musicians from Bang on a Can’s summer institute will perform works by Reich in the LeWitt galleries, surrounded by LeWitt’s minimalist images, around 4:30.

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