Rogovoy Report for February 21, 2014

Feb 21, 2014

This weekend brings surrealist games, a downtown arts festival, a festival of new short plays, Americana performers and a whole lot more to the greater Berkshire region.

In smoke-filled rooms along rue Pierre Fontaine in the 1920s, Andre Breton and his co-conspirators developed a corpus of mind-bending games to supplement their new philosophy of surrealism. Musician/performer Roger Clark Miller (known for his work with Mission of Burma and Alloy Orchestra), has studied and learned many of these works, and he will revive that scene by teaching them to the audience in Club B-10 at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday night at 8pm.

The third annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival in downtown Pittsfield, featuring an array of art, theater, dance, film, music and more, runs today through Sunday in various venues around the city. Highlights of the festival include Barrington Stage's 10x10 New Play Festival; the 10x10 Real Art Party fundraiser organized by Berkshire Art Association at Berkshire Museum; and the TEN SPOT art show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. Barrington Stage Company's popular 10X10 New Play Festival, featuring ten, new 10-minute plays, returns with performances now through Sunday, March 2. This year’s festival includes plays written by Jodi Rothe, Gwendolyn Rice, David MacGregor, Megan Dieterle, and Suzanne Bradbeer.

Kickwheel Ensemble Theater will present a reimagined version of their original theater piece, DARK: An End of the World Play with Music and an Exercise Bike, at Mixed Company in Great Barrington tonight through Sunday, March 2. Set in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, DARK chronicles one family’s attempt to survive in a small cabin atop a lonely mountain. Stylized physical action, dark comedy and haunting songs unravel a story of desperation, resilience and hope.

A four-day stretch of Americana music at Club Helsinki Hudson kicked off last night with a stellar performance by blues-folk artist Taj Mahal. Tonight, singer-songwriter Holly Williams, a scion of one of America’s first families of Americana music, brings her unique blend of country, folk and rock to Helsinki Hudson at 9pm. The granddaughter of the legendary country singer-songwriter Hank Williams and daughter of country star Hank Williams Jr., the 32-year-old Holly Williams has established a reputation in her own right as a convincing singer and songwriter. On Saturday night, roots singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan holds forth onstage at Helsinki, and banjoist Noam Pikelny will lead an all-star bluegrass outfit there on Sunday at 8pm.

Gallery owner Carrie Haddad has wild, whimsical and eclectic taste in artworks, and this is always reflected in the shows she hangs at her eponymous Carrie Haddad Gallery. I love Carrie’s shows, because she mixes and matches artists of seemingly wildly different temperaments and approaches. The only thing that unifies them is that she likes them, and that’s just fine with me, because Carrie has distinctive, omnivorous taste, that often tends toward the uncanny and unusual. The current exhibition, Modern Artists, featuring contemporary painting and photography and running through March 2, is no exception.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at