Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: ‘Travels With a Masked Man;’ the Beatles, classical music talk; ‘The Oceans in a Changing Climate;’ spoken word poetry workshop; 130 years of Dewey Hall

Poets of all experience levels are welcome for an exploration of the Nick Cave installation “Until” at Mass MoCA, followed by a workshop with Carl Hancock Rux.

Berkshire Theatre Group to present ‘Travels With a Masked Man’

John Hadden
John Hadden

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will present “Travels with a Masked Man,” written and performed by John Hadden, on Sunday, June 18, at 2 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre. The 50-minute, two-character, solo performance is a play about deception, espionage and filial love and is based on Hadden’s book “Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA and Me.”

Haunted by unanswered questions about his childhood overseas, “Travels With a Masked Man” sees a man confront his father, an ex-CIA chief who ruminates darkly on the American empire, the human animal and himself. Their verbal contest covers Cold War material from Vietnam to the Middle East and the Bomb plus abstract art and James Bond films, but the real conversation is about what they mean to each other.

Hadden has worked as a theater maker in the Berkshires and abroad for 40 years. He was a founding member and associate artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox; artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Theater Company in Cambridge, New York; associate artist with We Players in San Francisco; and artistic director and co-founder of Counterpoint Theater in Boston. His own plays have won awards and have been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre, PS 122 and LaMaMa Esperimental Theatre Club in New York City; Firehouse 13 in Providence, Rhode Island; Northampton Center for the Arts; Hubbard Hall; We Players; the Theater Project in Brunswick, Maine; and Mixed Company in Great Barrington.

Tickets are $20. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Colonial ticket office at (413) 997-4444.

–E.E.

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Yudkin to speak on the Beatles and classical music

Jeremy Yudkin
Jeremy Yudkin

Pittsfield — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, in partnership with the Berkshire Museum, will present Boston University music professor Jeremy Yudkin in a talk about the Beatles and their engagement with classical music on Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum.

According to Yudkin: “The Beatles started out as a pop group — not a pop group like any other, to be sure — they were far too original for that — but a pop group nonetheless. However as they matured, their questing musicality took them in many different directions, including into the realm of classical music. Songs such as ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ ‘Penny Lane,’ and ‘A Day in the Life’ utilize not only the instruments but also the procedures of classical composition.”

Yudkin is a professor of music and co-director of the Center for Beethoven Research at Boston University. He has written books on medieval music and manuscripts, 16th-century music and jazz. His most recent publications include “The Lenox School of Jazz” and “Miles Smiles, Miles Davis, and the Invention of Post Bop.” He is also the author of the music-appreciation textbook “Understanding Music.”

Tickets are $10 for OLLI and Berkshire Museum members, $15 for the general public, and free for BCC students and youth age 17 and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact OLLI at (413) 236-2190 or olli@berkshirecc.edu.

–E.E.

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Climate change to be topic of annual lecture

Mea S. Cook. Photo: Hugh Powell
Mea S. Cook. Photo: Hugh Powell

Stockbridge — The Stockbridge Library, Museum and Archives will welcome Williams College associate professor of geosciences Mea S. Cook, who will deliver the third annual William Selke Memorial Lecture on Saturday, June 17, at 4 p.m. on the topic of “The Oceans in a Changing Climate.”

The oceans play a key role in Earth’s response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions: they have absorbed about one-third of carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel burning and deforestation, and most of the excess heat that is accumulating in the climate system from the anthropogenic greenhouse gases that remain in the atmosphere. In her lecture, Cook will show how she and other scientists use deep-sea sediment cores to reconstruct past climate and ocean changes from key time periods that are the closest natural analogs to modern and future climates.

Cook earned a B.A. in geosciences from Princeton University in New Jersey and a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joint program in oceanography. At Williams, she teaches courses on oceanography, climate change and environmental science and studies the ocean’s role in natural climate variability on timescales ranging from decades to hundreds of thousands of years. She earned a certificate in musical performance in violoncello and viola da gamba while at Princeton, and won an Emerson Music Fellowship at MIT. She is a member of the Berkshire Symphony.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Stockbridge Library at (413) 298-5501 or info@stockbridgelibrary.org.

–E.E.

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Lift Ev’ry Voice to offer spoken word poetry workshop with Carl Hancock Rux

Carl Hancock Rux. Photo: Scott Groller, courtesy CalArts photography
Carl Hancock Rux. Photo: Scott Groller, courtesy CalArts photography

North Adams — The Lift Ev’ry Voice festival, a celebration of African-American culture and heritage on the Berkshires, will kick off its summer celebration with a free poetry workshop with Carl Hancock Rux at MASS MoCA on Saturday, June 17, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Poets of all experience levels are welcome for an exploration of the Nick Cave installation “Until” followed by a workshop with Rux, which will accompany Rux’s performance on Friday, June 16, at 8 p.m. Rux is a poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, actor, director and singer-songwriter who has collaborated with Nona Hendryx, Toshi Reagon, Bill T. Jones, Nick Cave, Anne Bogart, Robert Wilson, Carrie Mae Weems and others.

The workshop is free and open to anyone age 13 and older; parents are advised that the content and discussions may touch on difficult issues. Pre-registration is required. For more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.

–E.E.

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Dewey Hall to celebrate 130th anniversary

Sheffield — Dewey Memorial Hall will host a series of benefit events Thursday, June 15, through Sunday, June 18, in commemoration of its 130th anniversary on the village green and its continuing role as a cultural center for the community.

The Joint Chiefs. Photo: Christopher Little
The Joint Chiefs. Photo: Christopher Little

In coordination with Dewey Hall’s board of directors, the Sheffield Historical Society will present a lecture at the hall about the Rev. Orville Dewey, in whose memory the hall was built, on Thursday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. Catherine Miller, a trustee and longtime member of the historical society, will talk about the life of the Unitarian minister, prolific author and cofounder of the Sheffield Friendly Union, which enriched the community’s social life.

The Joint Chiefs, who have been entertaining audiences in the Northeast since 1995, will perform a benefit concert at Dewey Hall on Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m. The band’s distinctive blend of original material and cover tunes showcases a wide range of musical styles, while tight vocal harmonies and a playful attitude characterize their acoustic sets.

Sheffield Historical Society administrator Jennifer Owens will lead the weekend’s second historical presentation on Saturday, June 17, at 3 p.m., at the original Dewey Family homestead at 254 S. Main St. The free event will begin in the adjoining barn where an exhibit of photos and other materials about the history of the house will be displayed. Following her opening remarks, Owens will conduct a tour of the home, which will be open for viewing until 5 p.m. Dewey Hall board member and violinist Erika Ludwig, Ann Elizabeth Barnes and other musicians will perform compositions by George Frederick Root, an ancestor of Barnes and a childhood friend of Orville Dewey.

The annual pancake breakfast, a Dewey Hall tradition for more than 20 years, will cap off the weekend on Sunday, June 18, from 8 to 11 a.m. when Dewey Hall’s chefs will offer plain and Sheffield-grown blueberry pancakes accompanied by sausages and real maple syrup.

Tickets for the Joint Chiefs concert are $20. Admission to the pancake breakfast is $7 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Funds raised by the concert and the breakfast will support the hall, renovations to it, and the organization’s mission to preserve the hall as a resource for the community.

–E.E.

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