Wednesday, July 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Seo Jungmin at PS21; The Trocks at Jacob’s Pillow; Carrie Mae Weems at Bard College; Opera Lafayette and Ariana Wehr at The Clark; Stephen Collins at Berkshire County Historical Society; Kids 4 Harmony at Tanglewood; Food conversation at PS21; Tea and talk at Ventfort Hall; DJ BFG at Race Brook Lodge; Jewish Women’s Foundation tag sale; Mass Audubon at The Mount

Seo Jungmin creates bridges between classical Korean forms, native shamanic singing, and a cosmopolitan palette drawn from contemporary Eastern and Western vocal and percussion practices.

PS21 Chatham presents Gayageum virtuoso Seo Jungmin

Chatham, N.Y.— On Wednesday, June 26th from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., PS21 Chatham presents Gayageum virtuoso Seo Jungmin. 

Seo Jungmin is a soloist, ensemble player, and composer whose repertoire straddles the borders between traditional Korean and contemporary music. The modern gayageum, a 25-string zither-like instrument descended from its sixth-century ancestor, is played by plucking, strumming, and pushing the strings with both hands. In her original compositions, Seo creates bridges between classical Korean forms, native shamanic singing, and a cosmopolitan palette drawn from contemporary Eastern and Western vocal and percussion practices.

Seo Jungmin. Courtesy PS21.

Her latest album, “One, My Utopia!,” is a mesmerizing blend of the gayageum’s soft, delicate, and subtle tone, shamanic vocals, and percussive sounds inspired by the shamanistic Gut ceremony of the Jeolla-do region. For her PS21 concert, Seo will be accompanied by the percussionist You Byungwook and Kim Yulhee, an award-winning Pansori Korean folk singer.

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Alexander Turnquist will open the evening. Turnquist is widely known for using his 12-string acoustic finger-style approach to create dramatic, emotionally engaging music and dreamlike harmonies out of everyday moments. 

The concert is on Wednesday, June 26th from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at PS21 Pavilion Theater at  2980 New York Route 66 in Chatham, N.Y. More information can be found online. 

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Jacob Pillow opens season with the comic ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Ted Shawn and Shawn L. Stevens and Friends on the Henry J. Leir Stage

Becket— From June 26th through June 30th, the Pillow presents the trailblazing comic ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (the “Trocks”), celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

Founded in the wake of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City as a gender-skewering company of professional male dancers, the Trocks perform a full range of ballet and modern dance repertoire. After fifty years of globe-spanning performances, the company now plays to a world that is, as they put it, “catching up with their once highly-subversive viewpoint.” In their long-awaited return to the Pillow, the Trocks will perform the second act of “Swan Lake,” plus their singular take on Paquita, among other favorites.

The Trocks. Photo by Sascha Vaughn. Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.

Performances are June 26th through June 30th at Jacob’s Pillow’s Ted Shawn Theatre at 358 George Carter Road in Becket. Tickets start at $65. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

Jacob’s Pillow is sited on the ancestral homelands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok or Mohican people, and on Wednesday, June 26th at 6 p.m., the Pillow presents Shawn L. Stevens (Red Eagle) and Friends on the outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage for a special festival opening performance. Stevens is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge Munsee band of Mohicans.

Shawn L. Stevens (Red Eagle.) Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.

A spiritualist, musician, dancer, storyteller, historian, and sharer of knowledge, Stevens has been fulfilling his path journey for the past few decades by doing a variety of sharing in his people’s ancestral lands as well as the Midwest. Shawn describes himself as a “helper” to not only his people but to all. He explains that his spiritual path is to share the many things given to him for spiritual direction and purpose.

The performance is on Wednesday, June 26th at 6 p.m. at Jacob’s Pillow’s outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage. There is a “Choose What You Pay” ticketing option, with a suggested ticket price of $25. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College’s Hessel Museum of Art exhibits the evolution of Carrie Mae Weems 

Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y.— From June 22nd through December 1st, The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College’s Hessel Museum of Art exhibits “Remember to Dream,” a revisiting of  the range and breadth of Carrie Mae Weems’ prolific career.

Moving beyond iconic projects, “Remember to Dream” contextualizes the present within a centuries-long struggle and seeks to rebalance understanding of Weems’ artistic development over the past 30 years while locating her work in the context of her own lived experiences and commitment to activism. Ranging from large-scale installations to serial bodies of photography, the works in the exhibition provide a through-line from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, tracing significant moments of racial reckoning through Weems’ own lens.

Family Pictures and Stories: Welcome Home, 1978-1984 © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Barbara Gladstone, New York

Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953, Portland, Oregon) is an American artist whose work gives voice to people whose stories have been silenced or ignored. Investigating history, identity, and power, Weems finds connections between personal experience and the larger structures and institutions that shape our lives. Over the course of 40 years, she has built an acclaimed body of work using photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, performance, and video.

Weems’ work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Tate Modern, London, among others. Recent exhibitions include “Reflections for Now” at Barbican Art Gallery in London, and “The Evidence of Things Not Seen,” organized by Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart and on view at Kunstmuseum Basel through July 4th. Weems has received countless awards, grants, and fellowships, including a Hasselblad Award, a Bernd and Hilla Becher Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, the U.S. State Department’s Medal of Arts, the Joseph Hazen Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, NEA grants, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. 

The exhibit runs from June 22nd through December 1st, The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College’s Hessel Museum of Art at 33 Garden Road in Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y. More information can be found online. 

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The Clark Art Institute presents Opera Lafayette and soprano Ariana Wehr

Williamstown— On Wednesday, June 26th at 6 p.m., the Clark Art Institute presents a free classical concert on the career and repertoire of the famous eighteenth-century soprano Minette by musicians of Opera Lafayette and soprano Ariana Wehr.

Soprano Ariana Wehr. Photo by Arielle Doneson.

One of the great stars of theatrical life in colonial Saint-Domingue in the 1780s, the soprano Minette, was unlike almost all the actors and actresses of that time in that she was a woman of African descent. Brazilian-American soprano Ariana Wehr joins musicians of Opera Lafayette to present music from the operas which Minette performed in the years leading up to the Haitian Revolution, as well as music from the Chevalier de Saint-George.

The free performance is on Wednesday, June 26th at 6 p.m. on The Clark’s reflecting pool lawn. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and their own seating. Rain will move the concert indoors. More information can be found online. 

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The Berkshire County Historical Society presents ‘Sailing Towards My Father,’ a one-man play about Herman Melville

Pittsfield— On Wednesday, June 26th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., The Berkshire County Historical Society presents ‘Sailing Towards My Father,’ a one-man play about Herman Melville.

Performed by Stephen Collins and written and directed by Carl A. Rossi, the play chronicles Melville’s life from youth to old age, concentrating on his evolution as a writer and his complex relationship with God, his parents, his siblings, his wife, his children, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Stephen Collins at Herman Melville. Photo by Mackenzie Arts and Design. Courtesy Berkshire County Historical Society.

Stephen Collins teaches seminars on Walk Whitman, Thomas Hardy, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, and Contemporary Poetry. He also performs in one-man plays by Carl A. Rossi. In addition to “Sailing Towards my Father,” he performs as James Abbott McNeill Whistler in “Butterfly.” Collins also works as a professionally licensed tour guide narrating historical tours of Boston. His Walt Whitman performances have taken him all over the country. He now has eight one-man shows and seven courses where his teaching style has been described as a hybrid between lecture and performance.

The performance is on Wednesday, June 26th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Herman Melville’s historic home Arrowhead at 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield. Tickets are $15 to $20. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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Kids 4 Harmony returns to Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall 

Lenox— On Tuesday, June 25th at 5:30 p.m., 18 Degrees will host their Kids 4 Harmony Summer Gala Concert at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall.

Kids 4 Harmony is a local after-school program inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, an ensemble-based musical approach with a social justice mission which has produced classical music giants like Gustavo Dudamel. Through Kids 4 Harmony, students have access to intensive music instruction, performance opportunities, and family support at absolutely no cost.

Kids 4 Harmony 2023 gala. Courtesy Kids 4 Harmony.

The evening will begin with a reception followed by performances starting at 7 p.m. The evening will be filled with exceptional performances by more than 50 Kids 4 Harmony students, including a special piece featuring Boston Symphony Orchestra Cellist Owen Young, who is a strong advocate for breaking down socio-economic barriers to music.

Drs. Carolyn and Eli Newberger will be honored for their unwavering dedication to the program, in addition to the exceptional commitment they have made to child welfare and the power of music. 

“We invite the community to join us for an extraordinary musical experience where children in our communities find their new beginning through music,” says Stephanie Steed, President and CEO of 18 Degrees.

The event is on Tuesday, June 25th at 5:30 p.m. at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall at 297 West Street in Lenox. Gala tickets include a catered reception at the Tanglewood Tent Club. Concert only tickets are also available. Tickets and more information can be found online. 

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PS21, in partnership with Villa Albertine, presents ‘Food Cultures: a Conversation’

Chatham, N.Y.— On Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m., PS21, in partnership with Villa Albertine, presents ‘Food Cultures: a Conversation.’ What does the food we eat say about us and the world we live in, and what stories can we tell through food? How has the way we eat evolved, and what will our food future look like?

Join Villa Albertine and PS21 for an afternoon of conversations reflecting on some of the most urgent economic, social, and environmental issues of our time through the prism of food. The event will feature two panel discussions, one on the intersection of food and migration, and the other on the future of sustainable farming.

Savinien Caracostea. Courtesy PS21.

Following the discussions, there will be an interactive pastry workshop by Savinien Caracostea, which explores the multi-cultural urbanization of New York City through flavors, textures, and patterns. Participants will collaboratively create a large pastry map using various creams, toppings, and sauces to abstractly interpret the evolution of the city’s diverse cultures and neighborhoods. Building on the conversations of the day, the workshop will conclude with the consumption of the intricately composed pastry cityscape, followed by a dance party. 

The event is on Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at PS21 at 2980 NY Route 66 in Chatham, N.Y. Admission is a suggested donation of $15 which includes complimentary beverages and cheese. Youth are admitted for free. More information can be found online. 

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Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum presents a lecture on the roots of spiritualism in the gilded age follows by an afternoon tea

Lenox— On Tuesday, June 25th at 4 p.m., Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum presents “The Fox Sisters and Spiritualism in the Gilded Age,” a “Tea & Talk” featuring a lecture by historian Kathryn Sheehan on the roots of spiritualism in the gilded age followed by an English Afternoon Tea. 

‘The Fox Sisters and Spiritualism in the Gilded Age.’

Spiritualism was a religious movement postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. This belief was characterized by a pop culture fascination with mediums and séances, and it was patronized by a number of otherwise prominent individuals including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Kathryn Sheehan is Executive Director of the Hart Cluett Museum, formerly the Rensselaer County Historical Society. She is also the Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian. Kathryn has researched and lectured on a number of Rensselaer County history topics and has presented her work on local radio and television as well as the History Channel, C-Span, and Russian and Japanese Network television.

The event is on Tuesday, June 25th at 4 p.m. at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. Reservations and more information can be found online. 

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Race Brook Lodge presents DJ BFG aka Gabby Squailia 

Sheffield— On Wednesday, June 26th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Race Brook Lodge’s weekly family friendly Reggae Wednesday pool parties continue, this week with DJ BFG aka Gabby Squailia.

The pool at Race Brook Lodge. Courtesy Race Brook Lodge.

Race Brook Lodge is located at 864 South Undermountain Road in Sheffield. The pool is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. with music from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge. Casual food including tacos, cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages will be available. More information can be found online. 

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Jewish Women’s Foundation community tag sale

Egremont— On Sunday, June 23rd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Jewish Women’s Foundation (JWF) of the Berkshires is holding a community wide tag sale.

There will be excellent quality household goods, furniture, linens, toys, baby things, sporting goods, bikes, and skis — just to mention a few things. All proceeds of the event will be donated to the unmet needs of the Berkshire County community through JWF’s grant process.

Jewish Women’s Foundation community tag sale.

The event is on Sunday, June 23rd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 35 Baldwin Hill Road East in Egremont.

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Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley presents a lightning bug show at The Mount 

Lenox— On Wednesday, June 26th from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., join Mass Audubon Education Coordinator Nicaela Haig for a lightning bug show at The Mount. 

Experience a magical summer light show and learn how best to view, or gently catch and release, fireflies. After a short presentation, there will be an evening walk in the meadows for firefly viewing while keeping eyes open for the stars, planets, and twilight wildlife.

Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley’s lightning bug show at The Mount.

The event is on Wednesday, June 26th from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Mount at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox. Tickets are $5 to $15. Registration is required. Registration and more information can be found online. 

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.