Rogovoy Report for APR 26, 2013

Apr 26, 2013

Futurity, an indie-rock song cycle about the Civil War, written and performed by the Brooklyn-based ensemble the Lisps, will be staged at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday night at 8pm. A theatrically staged song cycle, Futurity fuses found text, experimental music, and the group’s own brand of quirky pop to tell the story of young Julian Munro, who spends his days breaking up Confederate railroad tracks as a soldier in the Union army. Julian copes with the destruction around him by imagining a far-fetched science fiction future. Guided by his brilliant mentor, the famous metaphysicist Ada Lovelace, Julian weaves an epic fantasy that folds a utopian, high-tech future into the dark reality of war. Together, Julian and Ada attempt to devise an all-powerful steam-powered machine destined to end war and all of humanity's miseries.

Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi, a visually spectacular production that combines Chinese acrobatics with fast-paced action and contemporary staging, comes to the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington tonight at 7pm. Dating back to the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, Chinese acrobatic spectacles were first called "bai", meaning "100 amazing acts," in reference to the performers' seemingly limitless skills. These daring and beautiful feats were featured in command performances for China's emperors and have been passed down and enhanced through generations. Today, Cirque Shanghai brings this onstage spectacle to century audiences via aerial acrobatics, plate spinning, contortion, balancing acts, hoop diving, martial arts, graceful folkloric pageantry, and more.

Spencer Day, a singer-songwriter who occupies that amorphous niche somewhere in between pop and jazz, brings his original compositions and renditions of standards to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9pm. Day himself captures his range and stylistic fusion best when he cites Chet Baker and Paul Simon, Cole Porter and Joni Mitchell, George Gershwin and John Lennon as his major influences. Day is also an outspoken gay activist, who is a native of Utah raised as a Mormon, and works for progressive policies within the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

Renowned author and editor Victor S. Navasky will be interviewed by equally renowned author Peter Biskind at Spencertown Academy Arts Center on Saturday at 4pm, as part of the center’s Community Conversations series. Navasky, a longtime Hillsdale weekender, will discuss his career and his new book, The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power. A reception and book signing will follow the talk.

Topical singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman performs his one-man show, “Wake Up Call: Funny Songs About War, Ignorance & Greed,” at Dewey Memorial Hall in Sheffield tonight at 8pm. In the tradition of forebears like Tom Paxton and Tom Lehrer, Zimmeran’s show combines spoken-word comedy with songs of political satire, heartfelt emotion and novelty numbers.

Albert Bierstadt, the renowned 19th-century landscape painter of the American West, will be the subject of an exhibition of his lesser-known paintings of the Northeast and New England, at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, home and studio of the founder of the Hudson River School, in Catksill, opening Sunday with a reception from 2pm to 5pm. A lecture with the curator will be held at 2pm, to be followed by an open house from 3pm to 5pm. The exhibition will be on view through November 3.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkshire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, online at ROGOVOY REPORT DOT COM.