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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 Preview May 12-16


The Conundrum of Restoration and Interpretation, a talk by world renowned art conservator David Bull (pictured), on Sunday, May 15, at 3 at The Clark in Williamstown, Mass., will demonstrate how art conservators and performers share a responsibility as re-creators. Part of the Close Encounters With Music “Conversations With…” series, Bull will explore how conservators and performers, as interpretative custodians, responsibly implement the artist’s intentions when handed a neglected or “aging” painting or score as they grapple with the effect of time on art and music.

David Bull, who oversaw the Sistine Chapel conservation and is sought after for his expertise by institutions in the United States and Europe, has also been instrumental in building significant private collections, including the paintings recently shown at The Clark in the exhibition Eye to Eye: European Portraits 1450-1850.

This series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas is an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable speakers as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; pianist and author Walter Ponce; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s-book author R.O. Blechman; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar/performer/multimedia artist Robert Winter; and former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton.


John Pizzarelli

The John Pizzarelli Quartet performs at the Colonial Theatre in downtown Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday, May 14 at 8, in a concert to benefit the Berkshire Music School .

Pizzarelli has had a multi-faceted career as a jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader. Internationally known for classic standards, late-night ballads, and the cool jazz flavor he brings to his performances and recordings, he has recently established himself as the consummate entertainer and radio program host with the popular "Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli" a nationally syndicated radio program co-hosted with his wife, Broadway star Jessica Molaskey.

The John Pizzarelli concert held at the Colonial Theatre in June 2008 raised nearly $10,000 for the Berkshire Music School. Four hundred people enjoyed a mix of music, banter and jokes for more than 2½ hours.

The mission of the Berkshire Music School is to provide quality education in music and musical opportunities to people in the greater Berkshire community regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, disability, age, or ability to pay. BMS is an independent, nonprofit organization. Full tuition covers only 55 percent of actual expenses. The rest comes from the community: local corporations and small businesses, board members, alumni, parents of students, and our students themselves, who raise scholarship money for others in the annual Marathon.

Reserved tickets are $35, with student admission at $15. Tickets are available from the Colonial Theatre box office: 413-997-4444.


Shemekia Copeland

A four-night stretch of shows at Club Helsinki in Hudson, N.Y., includes jazz-jam superstars John Medeski and Billy Martin in separate projects, R&B/blues scion Shemekia Copeland, a man called the John Coltrane of the electric guitar, and the relaunch of the band formerly known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

More specifically, Billy Martin’s new band, Wicked Knee, an avant-jazz supergroup featuring trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and tubist Marcus Rojas, performs on Thursday, May 12 at 8. Hard-rocking, throat-belting Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland takes the stage on Friday, May 13, at 9. The newly renamed Grand Slambovians perform on Saturday, May 14, at 9, and the Tisziji Muñoz Quartet, featuring keyboardist John Medeski, closes out the weekend on Sunday, May 15, at 8.

The members of Wicked Knee, which plays what they call “RagTimeFunk with inappropriate avant-garde interludes to keep everything out of focus,” have played together in many settings over the decades: John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, Sex Mob, Medeski Martin & Wood, Spanish Fly, The Jazz Passengers, Get Shorty (feature film) and other gigs. As the avant-party Wicked Knee, they are about to release their first album.

For more than a decade, Shemekia Copeland has been paving a road that will inevitably lead to her reign as Queen of the Blues. By some standards - numerous blues awards in the U.S. and elsewhere, a Grammy nomination, a resume that includes work with musical titans like Dr. John and Steve Cropper and film giants like Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders - she may already be there.

Here latest album, Never Going Back, her debut on Telarc, captures Copeland at a crossroads on that artistic path - a place where numerous new avenues are open to her. For this effort, Copeland – the daughter of Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland - teamed with producer Oliver Wood, a member of the acoustic and highly organic collective known as the Wood Brothers - a combo whose ranks also include bassist Chris Wood, cofounder and ongoing member of Medeski, Martin & Wood. In addition to handling production duties, Oliver Wood also lays down guitar on every one of the album's dozen tracks and even contributes backing vocals in a couple places. The sizable crew of guest musicians also includes Chris Wood, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist Marc Ribot.

Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams are shedding their skin and coming out boldly as The Grand Slambovians, touring world-wide in support of their latest creative new namesake and CD.

The name might lead you to expect some sort of medieval minstrelsy, tricked up in jerkins and ankle bells, but the traditions drawn upon by The Grand Slambovian's will be a little more recognizable to the listener of classic rock. The band is comfortable acknowledging their debt to the likes of Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Pink Floyd - they even went so far as to cheekily title their debut album A Good Thief Tips His Hat - but this is not to suggest that Murphy and company are mere bar-band copycats: Songwriter Joziah Longo has drawn props from the Band's Garth Hudson for his "awesome" compositional skills, and legions of devoted fans up and down the Hudson Valley and beyond - from Brooklyn to Brattleboro - testify to the Slambovian appeal.

Electric guitarist Tisziji Muñoz is considered by many to be among the greatest and least-known living musicians. His music evokes the cosmic free jazz of John Coltrane's later work and like a saxophonist, Muñoz plays only one note at a time, yet he can play with such velocity that the notes blur, akin to Coltrane's sheets of sound. No musician - particularly an underappreciated one - enjoys too many comparisons with other masters of his instrument. For his new double CD set, Spirit World, Muñoz is joined by longtime Sharrock cohort, tenor god-head Pharoah Sanders, who gives his most focused performance since rocking the Casbah about a half-decade ago. The result is a worthy follow-up to the transcendental Sanders/Sharrock recording. As on that unexpected masterpiece, Muñoz snags drummer/Coltrane alum Rashied Ali for the drum-chair.

John Medeski (pictured with Munoz) joins the band on keyboards. Medeski may be best known as one-third of Medeski Martin & Wood and the 1990's avant-garde NY jazz scene, but his full body of work goes far beyond that groundbreaking MM&W trio. A familiar face in New York's 'downtown' scene, John has performed alongside New York-based musicians such as John Zorn, Marc Ribot, John Lurie, and slide trombonist Steve Bernstein, John Scofield, David Fiuczynski and Trey Anastasio.

The Tisziji Munoz quartet features Tisziji on guitar, John Medeski/keyboard, Bob Ra-Kalam Moses/drums, Don Pate/bass.

Club Helsinki 405 Columbia Street Hudson, N.Y. 518.828.4800


Richard Wagner’s awe-inspiring opera Die Walküre plays at The Clark in Williamstown, the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, and the Beacon in Pittsfield, on Saturday, May 14 at noon, live from the Metropolitan Opera as part of the Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning series The Met: Live in HD. The Met has assembled a stellar cast headed by the charismatic bass-baritone Bryn Terfel as Wotan, lord of the Gods, and the celebrated soprano Deborah Voigt (pictured here as Brünnhilde, photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera; Voigt is also performing live at the annual Mahaiwe gala, next Saturday, May 21) as his daughter, Brünnhilde for the second installment of Robert Lepage’s new production of the Ring cycle. Wagner’s Die Walkure is of course best known for providing the motivational music for helicopter attacks in Vietnam by Robert Duvall’s Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, and as the soundtrack to the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd classic episode, “Kill the Wabbit.”


In homage to the influences of both Degas and dance on his career, Andrew DeVries is revisiting his formative influences in presenting DeVries, Dance, Degas at his Lenox, Mass. gallery beginning May 13. The exhibition of original bronze sculptures and drawings will feature depictions of contemporary dance and movement, accompanied by photographs and commentary on works ranging from ancient Greece to the days of Degas to today.

DeVries began his career as an artist sketching dancers at a ballet studio in Denver, Colo., during studio rehearsals and classes. Soon, though, he discovered a love for sculpture and a way to translate his drawings into three dimensional works of art. Envisioning a work in his mind’s eye, DeVries sketches ideas and creates an original sculpture from either clay or wax, which in turn serves to fashion rubber molds. Wax castings are then created, coated with heat-resistant ceramic shell, and heated to release the wax from the mold. Ingots of solid bronze are melted, and the molten metal poured into the ceramic molds to set.

DeVries says his process allows him to share his passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for dance and the arts, and this passion is particularly notable in the upcoming exhibit.

The exhibition will include several new bronzes depicting both balletic and modern styles of dance including a commission recently completed titled Faerie Dance (pictured). There will also be pastels sketched by DeVries at a variety of dance studios and venues, including the Hamburg Ballet, The Juilliard School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Academy de Dance Princess Grace in Monte Carlo, and the Berkshire’s own Jacob’s Pillow.

DeVries, Dance, and Degas will open May 13, with a Memorial Day reception to follow on May 28 from 1 to 4 in the DeVries Fine Art International gallery at 62 Church Street, Lenox. In addition, DeVries will unveil his latest sculpture, Apollo, at Ventfort Hall, The Museum of the Gilded Age in Lenox on June 5. The gallery is open in the spring on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 to 3:30. On June 27, the gallery will expand its hours to span six days a week, including weekend evenings. For more information, visit Andrew DeVries.


From Thursday, May 12 to Sunday, May 15, WAM Theatre presents O Solo Mama Mia, a festival of solo works written and performed by women to benefit the training of at least one community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland. The Festival takes place at the Storefront Artist Project (SAP) in Pittsfield, Mass.

SAP presents an accompanying exhibition of works in all media by eleven artists from the northeast. The works, from paintings and photography to video and installations, explore themes of motherhood, identity, history and female empowerment. (Pictured: Leigh Hendrix as motivational speaker Butchy McDyke in How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.)

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Storefront Artist Project and delighted to share the work of these talented solo women theater artists from our region and beyond. Their work covers such a range of topics: from group therapy, coming out, overcoming bullying and surviving Hurricane Katrina,” state Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck, co-Artistic Directors of WAM Theatre. “And, in keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, a portion of every single ticket sold will go to train a community midwife in Somaliland, a country with one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world.”

"We have a dream to train 1,000 community midwives", says Edna Adan Ismail, founder and director of Edna's Hospital, “Our Community Midwives training program saves the lives of women in villages. We are grateful that WAM Theatre has chosen Edna's Hospital and our program as their beneficiary for the O Solo Mama Mia Festival. Their help will get us one step closer to achieving our dream."

Thursday, May 12:
7:30pm My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey + How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less

Friday, May 13:
7:30pm Performing Therapy + Stories from Hell and High Water

Saturday, May 14:
2pm How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less + Performing Therapy

Saturday, May 14:
7:30pm Stories from Hell and High Water + My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey

Sunday, May 15:
2pm My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey + Performing Therapy

Featured in The O Solo Mama Mia Festival are the following theater pieces:

My Salvation has A First Name: A Wienermobile Journey

Based on the true story of an insecure goody-goody who overcomes years of bullying and finds redemption and her true voice behind the windshield of the Wienermobile. Using music, video and photo footage from her life on the hot dog highway, comedian Robin Gelfenbien tells the story of her transformation from underdog to “one of the most notorious Wienermobile drivers of all time.” (Time Out New York).

How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less (Regional Premiere)

Not a coming out story, but not not a coming out story, ‘How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less’ is framed as a dynamic workshop led by teacher and motivational speaker Butchy McDyke that will help you become the “best lesbian you can be!” Writer and performer Leigh Hendrix links unique characters, personal story, and a Reba McEntire song in a mostly funny and sometimes earnest exploration of how you can learn to confidently shout, “I’m a big ʻol dyke!”

Performing Therapy

This one-woman, group-therapy comedy about depression is a sideways safari through loss, displacement, dementia, depression and the surprise healing nature of upstate New York. A ‘depressively experienced’ actress turned therapist leads group therapy in an attempt to provide helpful advice and therapeutic modalities to other ‘stressfully afflicted’. Art Therapy with Balloon Animals, Affirmations on Post-it notes and Primal Humming are some of the hopeful remedies. Written by Camilla Schade and Kira Lallas, and performed by Camilla Schade.

Stories from Hell and High Water (Berkshire Premiere)

Hell and High Water or When the Sky Falls is a fantasia on the theme of security in America. It is a sharply satiric account of playwright Jamuna Yvette Sirker’s experience surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The play follows Teacher Alice, a Latina school teacher’s struggles through the abyss of an American apocalypse. Stories from Hell and High Water is a one-woman, solo version of Ms. Sirker’s full-length play. In it, actor Richarda Abrams embodies Teacher Alice along with six residents from her flooded New Orleans neighborhood: a nurse, a jazz singer, a photographer, an out of work actor and the spirit of a bag lady. This quirky and surprisingly funny work holds resonance for anyone who knows loss, tragedy, or the illusive nature of “security”.

For more information please go to WAM Theatre

Visit Storefront Artist Project for more information.

The Festival will take place at the Storefront Artist Project at 31 South Street in Pittsfield, Mass.

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