Wednesday, July 17, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Berkshire Busk! returns; BIFF Ukraine fundraiser; Carrie Chen Gallery exhibit; Berkshire Music School events; BTG Broadway Concert Series

Great Barrington Public Theater’s Broadway Play online auction is open for bids until May 27. This is your chance to win pairs of Producer’s House seats at four of the best shows currently running on Broadway.

Berkshire Busk! to return this summer with expanded programming

GREAT BARRINGTON — After a successful inaugural season, Berkshire Busk! returns this year with more free events, a longer season and a deeper pool of support to bring music, dance and joy to downtown Great Barrington. New features this year will include daytime Saturday performances starting at the weekly Farmers Market, a full array of events on Railroad Street (which will be closed to traffic entirely) on Friday and Saturday nights, and an extended season that will begin Memorial Day weekend. The immersive arts experience will place approximately 100 buskers (performers who play outside on the street for tips) at locations throughout the downtown area on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Katherine Winston performs at the Great Barrington Farmer’s Market in August 2021. Photo courtesy Berkshire Busk!

    Saturday Morning & Afternoon Busking: Berkshire Busk! has partnered with the Great Barrington Farmers Market and has programmed musicians to play from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. From 2:30–4:30 p.m., busker groups will perform outside at six locations.

  • Railroad Street “Saturday Nights”: On nine successive Saturday nights, from July 9–September 3, Railroad Street will be transformed into a walking zone “town square.” The Town’s outdoor dining program will be enhanced by two “main stage” locations for performances at the top and bottom of Railroad Street. A Night Market will consist of an array of vendor booths selling locally made goods. All local stores and independent vendors are now being invited to participate.
  • WSBS Partnership: On July 23 and August 20, WSBS will bring its mobile broadcast station to Railroad Street to broadcast live performances and interview buskers
  • Berkshire Busk! Roadside: Musicians will perform on Saturday afternoons from 2:30–4:30 p.m. at Berkshire Mountain Distillers (located a 10-minute drive from downtown). There will be free complimentary tasting flights and an outdoor bar featuring cocktails for purchase.
  • Family Day: On July 30, Berkshire Busk! will host its 2nd annual Family Day at the gazebo in downtown Great Barrington from 1:30–4:30 p.m. Giggle Park will live up to its name as kids of all ages can watch two different magicians and participate in a drum circle. The afternoon will end with a performance by Roger the Jester.

The festival has been supported by an increased number of local business owners, individual donors, Mass Cultural Council, and the Town of Great Barrington. This summer a total of 42 business sponsors are supporting the festival, and James Taylor donated a signed guitar which was auctioned by CharityBuzz to support the project.

The festival schedule — along with performer names, dates, and locations — can be found online. Though the programming has largely been set, last minute applications are still open for performers to participate. Selected performers will be provided a stipend for their participation. Solicitation for tips is also allowed and encouraged. Online applications are now available online.

—A.K.

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BIFF to host Ukraine fundraising screening of “Julia Blue”

GREAT BARRINGTONBerkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) is partnering with the Triplex Cinema to present a special “Stand with Ukraine” fundraising screening of Roxy Toporowych’s 2018 award-winning Ukrainian film “Julia Blue,” on Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m.

Toporowych will be in attendance for a Q&A session and will discuss how the cast, and her family and friends, are defending themselves back home. The filmmaker, BIFF and the Triplex have forgone all costs to bring this to the community and 100% of all the proceeds from the event will go to Ukraine relief organizations.

Film synopsis: Julia Blue was inspired to study photography by the protest scenes she witnessed in Kyiv during the 2014 revolution, and has now set her sights on a future outside her beloved Ukraine. A year after the revolution began, she awaits news from a prestigious photography school in Germany. She volunteers at the military hospital for injured soldiers coming directly from the front. She brings a carefree happiness to their ward, until the day she meets English, who has arrived with easily mended surface wounds and deeply set emotional scarring. A gentle relationship emerges that draws the two of them closer together, but each has withheld something vital from the other. When Julia decides to bring English home for a family wedding, the cost of their secrets threatens more than their relationship.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

—A.K.

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Carrie Chen Gallery opens new exhibit this Saturday

Image courtesy Carrie Chen Gallery

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Carrie Chen Gallery will present the exhibition “FORM, LIGHT, COLOR” from May 21–June 26. This three-person exhibition presents recent works by artists Dai Ban, Liane Nouri, and Susan Lisbin. The show explores the intimacy and connection created and expressed through the abstract and minimal paintings and sculpture on view. A public reception will be held Saturday, May 21, from 3–5 p.m.

Dai Ban, Susan Lisbin and Liane Nouri each use abstraction and the formal elements of their work to create and express internal relationships, interpersonal connection, and connections between people and nature. Dai Ban expresses a deep intimacy with his own intuition and creative flow. Nouri seeks to draw the viewer in closer with her subtle color interactions. Lisbin draws her inspiration from human relationships, communication, and emotion. The relational aspects of each artists’ work are presented through a minimal approach, abstraction, bold forms, and the use, or absence, of color.

“While the three artists in this show are from very different backgrounds, they each evoke a deep sense of connection, connection within oneself, and with others,” said Chief Curator and Gallery Owner Carrie Chen. “Dai Ban’s strong form is balanced and elegant, powerful, yet not intimidating. Liane’s foundational use of serial cubes is elevated to a meditative line, reflecting the colors of the landscape, natural light, moody clouds, or internal emotions. Susan’s paintings and ceramics are decisive, playful, and full of confidence.”

—A.K.

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Berkshire Music School announces summer performance schedule

BMS berkshire music school logoPITTSFIELD —  The Berkshire Music School (BMS) announces its upcoming Music @ The Taft and Live on the Lawn performances, featuring Latin American jazz, Americana, and music for young audiences. Events will take place in the Taft Recital Hall and on the tented lawn of BMS’s campus located at 30 Wendell Ave. in Pittsfield. Tickets for the performances are on sale through the BMS website or by calling 413-442-1411.

BMS MUSIC @ THE TAFT PERFORMANCES

Mary Jo Maichack
Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m.
Live on the Lawn
Join lively singer-storyteller Mary Jo Maichack for a fun romp of tales, tunes and dance celebrating the joy of nature and spring. Featuring the Lake of the Croaking Frogs and more wondrous folktales from around the world, you’ll clap, laugh, sing, dance and have fun. Reserved seating: $5, free for current BMS students

Rees Shad & The Conversations
Friday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Live on the Lawn
An intimate evening with Rees & his bandmates playing original swinging Americana music with a blend of dark folk, spicy jazz, and roasted blues. Reserved tent seating (up to 4 people): $100, tent seating: $25, lawn tickets/bring-your-own-seating suggested donation: $5

Terry Ala Berry and Friends. Photo courtesy Berkshire Music School

Terry A La Berry and Friends
Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m.
Live on the Lawn
Given our stressful world we would like to suggest just a little extra kindness can go a long way to getting along with each other. Terry A La Berry and Friends, Erin and Tish, will provide an hour of interactive positive messages for children and their families through song and dance. Reserved seating: $5, lawn seating: free

Mary Jo Maichack
Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m.
Live on the Lawn
Enjoy The Alligator Stomp and more summery tales and tunes for June with singer-storyteller Mary Jo Maichack. This will be a fun romp of tales, tunes and dance celebrating summertime. Learn to tell a tale on your fingers, a funny family ghost story for your summer campfires, dance like alligators —in French, ooh la la! Reserved seating: $5, lawn seating: free

Susan Dillard and Dave Bartley with Dan Broad
Sunday, June 12 at 3 p.m.
Taft Recital Hall
Susan Dillard, David Bartley, and Dan Broad will perform a mix of jazz, folk rock, country, and blues music. Their performances feature original takes on some deep cuts, plus well-known favorites from Joni Michell, k.d. Lang, Carole King, Neil Young, Fats Waller, Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan, and many more. Reserved seating: $25

Mukana. Photo courtesy Berkshire Music School

Mukana
Friday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Live on the Lawn
Mukana is guitarist and music director Jason Ennis; singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tendai Muparutsa; singer-songwriter Natalia Bernal; singer Nadine Niles; saxophonist and arranger Michael Zsoldos; bassist Itaiguara Brandão; and drummer Conor Meehan. Mukana (meaning “opportunity” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe) is an eclectic gathering of world-class musicians hailing from Chile, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and the U.S. Fusing traditional songs and rhythms with jazz and sublime arrangements, Mukana creates music that compels you to your feet in a joyful celebration of our global community. Private reserved tent seating (up to 4 people): $100, tent seating: $25, lawn tickets/bring-your-own-seating suggested donation: $5

Aimee Van Dyne Band
Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m.
Live on the Lawn
Singer-songwriter Aimee Van Dyne hails from Brooklyn, but currently calls Berkshire County her home. In NYC, she performed at venues such as The Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall. Her songs, distinguished by catchy hooks and three-part harmonies, are characterized by introspective lyrics and heartfelt vocals. She will be performing a mix of classic Americana/folk tunes along with original songs from her recently released CD, “Broken Love Songs.” Private reserved tent seating (up to 4 people): $100, tent seating: $25, lawn tickets/bring-your-own-seating suggested donation: $5

The Sprague/Jaffe/Ennis Trio
Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m.
Live on the Lawn
The Sprague/Jaffe/Ennis Trio is a new ensemble featuring longtime collaborators Miro Sprague (piano), Marty Jaffe (bass), and Jason Ennis (guitar). Though they always include a few surprising interpretations of familiar tunes, the trio mainly performs original jazz compositions by each band member. Infused with influences from Brazil, classical chamber music, funk and more, the trio’s music features intricate group improvisation, inventive arrangements, and a deep sense of beauty and groove. Private reserved tent seating (up to 4 people): $100, tent seating: $25, lawn tickets/bring-your-own-seating suggested donation: $5

—A.K.

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Great Barrington Public Theater fundraiser auction on through May 27

GREAT BARRINGTON Great Barrington Public Theater’s Broadway Play online auction is now open for bids. From now until May 27, theater lovers can support the company’s upcoming season by bidding on pairs of Producer’s House seats at four of the best shows currently running on Broadway, three of which come with a special gift bag from the production teams.

Broadway Play tickets with gift bags include the world premiere production of “Macbeth,” starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, in her Broadway debut, directed by Tony Award-winner Sam Gold. Bids can also be made to see two-time Tony Award-winner Matthew Broderick and two-time Emmy award winner Sarah Jessica Parker in Neil Simon’s all-time comedy favorite, “Plaza Suite.” It’s the first time Broderick and Parker have performed together on Broadway in more than 20 years; or bids can be made on two Producer’s House seats and accompanying swag bag for the international sensation “Dear Evan Hansen,” winner of the Grammy, the Olivier, and six Tony awards including Best Musical. The Broadway Play auction also includes a pair of tickets to the Tony-nominated, NY Times critic’s pick run of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss, directed by Neil Pepe (gift bag is not included for this item).

To make the playdate even more memorable, the Broadway Play auction offers a one-night stay at the Peninsula Hotel. Ideally located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, The Peninsula is in the heart of the city’s most prestigious shopping, entertainment and cultural district, within walking distance of Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the best restaurants, museums and all Broadway theaters.

Bids can be placed on any of the play tickets, which can be used at the convenience and schedule of the winners. The Peninsula stay is best scheduled for June or July. Online bids are made by simply registering on the Bidding Owl site.

Participants in the GBPT Broadway Play online auction can look forward to a special experience on Broadway while supporting the new works, new voices and artists that Great Barrington Public Theater brings to stage at affordable ticket prices for all.

—A.K.

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Berkshire Theatre Group presents Chita Rivera, Tony Yazbeck

Tony Yazbek. Photo courtesy BTG

PITTSFIELDBerkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Concert Series returns Memorial Day Weekend with the Tony Award nominated song-and-dance man Tony Yazbeck. The legendary Tony Award winner Chita Rivera will take the stage Sunday, July 31 (rescheduled from May 29).

Tickets for BTG’s Colonial Concert Series: Featuring Broadway Luminaries are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or contact the Colonial ticket office at 413-997-4444. The ticket office is open Tuesdays–Sundays from 1–5 p.m. or on any performance day from 12 p.m. until curtain.

Colonial Concert Series: Featuring Broadway Luminaries

Tony Yazbeck at The Colonial Theatre
Saturday, May 28 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $50
Since his Broadway debut as a newsboy in the 1989 revival of “Gypsy,” song-and-dance man Tony Yazbeck has continued to land coveted roles and garner critical acclaim, including a Tony Award nomination for the leading role in “On the Town” (2014). He recently debuted his solo show with Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, inviting audiences to join him on a journey along life’s ups and downs as told through the lyrics of classic show tunes, new standards, and tap dancing.

Chita: The Rhythm of My Life at The Colonial Theatre
Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $75; Premium Seats $125
Celebrate the one-and-only Chita Rivera in a unique concert event. The incomparable two-time Tony Award winner will recreate signature moments from her legendary career — from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity” and “Bye Bye Birdie” to “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” and more. Her special guest for the evening will be George Dvorsky. In addition to a tribute to her friends John Kander and Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured, accompanied by her longtime trio.

—A.K.

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