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Bits & Bytes: Roomful of Teeth at MASS MoCA; ‘Green Inspiration’ art talk; ‘A New Mexico?’; ‘discontent’ at the Whit; Jayne Benjulian writing workshops

Led by veteran gallerist Geoffrey Young and joined by other artists featured in the exhibition, 'It's not easy being Green!' will deal with subjects such as how the Berkshires’ environmental features impact the artists’ work

MASS MoCA to welcome Roomful of Teeth

North Adams — On ​Friday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m.​ at MASS MoCA, the ​American Composers Forum will partner with Grammy Award-winning vocal project ​Roomful of Teeth​ in world premieres by ​Mingjia Chen, Mary Kouyoumdjian ​and​ Peter S. Shin. ​

The program will include a retrospective of Roomful of Teeth’s first 10 years and the world premiere of longtime collaborator​ Eve Beglarian’​s ​“None More Than You”​ in a new version for live vocal octet. The three premieres commissioned through ACF are Chen’s “​a little bit, all the time​”; Kouyoumdjian’s ​“Mustard Sweatshirts Are Forever​”; and Shin’s ​“bits torn from words​.” The composers were selected through the ACF CONNECT program after an international call for applications, and the pieces were developed with and written specifically for Roomful of Teeth.

Chen’s​ “​a little bit, all the time”​ focuses on the unconventional beauty that lies in the messiness and awkwardness of love. Kouyoumdjian’s ​“Mustard Sweatshirts Are Forever​ “ features interviews with each of the members of Roomful of Teeth — part of Kouyoumdjian’s​ ​effort to get to know collaborators as human beings as well as musicians. Shin’s ​“bits torn from words​” centers around Shin’s daily practice of the Korean language. The program also features the world premiere of a new, fully live version of ​Eve.​ Commissioned by New York’s ​Dessoff Choirs​, Beglarian’s​ ​“None More Than You” has been developed with Roomful of Teeth over the course of the past year and incorporates a unique community choir that includes members of the Dessoff Choirs. Some of the ensemble’s first composers, including ​Merrill Garbus​ of tUnE-yArDs, will also be present for the event. Garbus will perform and Roomful of Teeth will share excerpts from a new work by ​Michael Gordon.

Tickets are $18–$44. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact MASS MoCA at (413) 662-2111 or info@massmoca.org.

–E.E.

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‘Lone Tree Hill’ by KK Kozik. Image courtesy Davis Gregory Art

Artists’ panel to discuss art and the environment

Great Barrington — In conjunction with the exhibition “Green Inspiration,” Davis Gregory Art will present the informal conversation “It’s not easy being Green!” Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mason Library. The conversation will include five area artists whose work is featured in the exhibition: Morgan Bulkeley, Phillip Knoll, KK Kozik, Linda Stillman and Geoffrey Young.

Led by veteran gallerist Young and joined by other artists featured in the exhibition, the conversation will deal with subjects such as how the Berkshires’ environmental features impact the artists’ work; where and how the artists find inspiration; how each artist interprets and reacts to the environment through personal expression; and how broader environmental themes influence the artists’ work. It is hoped that the larger art community will also attend and participate.

The event is free and open to the public. A lemonade reception will follow. For more information, contact Davis Gregory Art at (413) 528-4493 or DavisGregoryArt@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Williams College professor to discuss recent Mexican elections

James Mahon. Photo courtesy Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College’s Distinguished Speakers Series will present Williams College professor James Mahon Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 3 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum in a talk titled “A New Mexico?”.

According to Mahon, the landslide victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in July 2018 promised a new beginning, but the new president faces entrenched interests and difficult problems, including a few he has made for himself.

Mahon teaches courses at Williams College on political economy, comparative politics, Latin American politics, U.S.-Latin America foreign relations, and Cuba. He has authored various works on taxation and financial flows in Latin America, political economy and comparative social inquiry. His current research examines fiscal politics and the reform of the state in Latin America. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College; and a Master of Arts plus a doctorate in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tickets are $10 for OLLI and Berkshire Museum members, $15 for non-members, and free to BCC students and those 17 years old and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Osher Lifelong Learning institute at Berkshire Community College at (413) 236-2190.

–E.E.

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GhostLit Repertory Theatre to stage ‘discontent’

Caroline Fairweather. Photo courtesy GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company

Pittsfield — GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company will present “discontent” by Caroline Fairweather at the Whitney Center for the Arts Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m.

Written by Berkshire native Fairweather, “discontent” is a devised riff on William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” is a fast-paced tale of beauty and revenge that explores the relationship between women and bodies, children and legacy, and union and loneliness. The workshop performances feature Shea Kelly as Rue, David Bertoldi as Anthony, and Annarose Stewart as Edel. Directed by GhostLit co-founder and co-artistic director Caitlin Teeley, “discontent” marks the third installment in GhostLit Rep’s annual Berkshire New Works Lab.

Tickets are $25 general admission, and $17.50 for students and seniors. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Whitney Center for the Arts at (413) 443-0289 or info@thewhit.org.

–E.E.

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Jayne Benjulian to teach writing workshops

Jayne Benjulian. Photo: Marvin Kaplan

West Stockbridge — Poet and writer Jayne Benjulian will lead two writing workshops this fall at the Foundry.

The first workshop, “Writing & Performing the Monologue,” will take place on consecutive Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon beginning Sept. 6 and running through Oct. 4. Workshop participants will listen to and practice writing the kind of monologues they would like to speak in front of their ideal audiences; revise their monologues with guidance; rehearse; and perform the monologues at the Foundry. The second workshop, “Poetry,” will focus on writing and revising poetry, and will take place on consecutive Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon beginning Oct. 18 and running through Nov. 22. All poets who are willing to write and revise are welcome. Participants will perform their works in progress for an audience at the Foundry.

Benjulian is the author of “Five Sextillion Atoms.” She was director of new play development at Magic Theatre in San Francisco and chief speechwriter at Apple. She teaches the writing and performance of poetry and monologue, and coaches poets and prose writers.

The cost of each workshop is $450. Pre-registration is required and must be received by Thursday, Aug. 22, for the monologue workshop and Thursday, Aug. 30 for the poetry workshop. For more information or to register, contact jayne@jaynebenjulian.com.

–E.E.

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