Rogovoy Report for October 18, 2013

Oct 18, 2013

Seth Rogovoy highlights some art and cultural events coming up in the Berkshires this weekend.

Hip-hop, jazz, classical, klezmer, photography, and illustration, the Berkshires has it all and more this weekend. Here are just a few highlights:

Hip-hop star Talib Kweli brings his singular brand of socio-political rap to the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8 p.m. In 1998, Kweli blasted into the public consciousness as one half of rap duo Black Star. The deft, socially aware, and politically on-point lyrics laid down on that album catapulted Talib Kweli and his partner, Mos Def, to the forefront of the late 1990s renaissance of conscious, Afro-centric hip-hop.

The Strauss-Warschauer Duo, featuring world-renowned klezmer musicians Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer, will perform at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Sunday, at 2 p.m., as part of the center’s day-long Community Open House. The day’s events are free and open to the public, including the concert and guided tours of the center’s many exhibits.

Renowned art critic Deborah Solomon will be celebrated at a launch party for her new biography, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. A decade in the making, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell finds Solomon training her perceptive eye not only on Rockwell and his art but on the development of visual journalism as it evolved from illustration in the 1920s, to photography in the 1930s, to television in the 1950s.

There will be an opening reception for VETS: Portraits of Veterans of War, an exhibition of photographs by William Wright – himself a veteran of Desert Storm – at Spencertown Academy on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m., with catering by student chefs graduating from Culinary Command. Admission is free.

A tune from Viennese operetta that Beethoven employed in a piano trio will once again be heard in "Shaatnez", a newly penned piece by American composer Paul Schoenfield, having its world premiere on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, as part of the "Close Encounters With Music" chamber series. The program includes Beethoven’s "Trio in B-Flat Major" (nicknamed the "Gassenhauer Trio"), which spins out variations on a theme from Joseph Weigl’s popular 1797 song “L’amor Marinaro,” and sets the stage for the newly commissioned piece by Schoenfield, “Shaatnez,” which incorporates the same musical theme. Brahms Piano Quartet Opus 26 ends the program.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, featuring Chris and Dan Brubeck, will perform a tribute to their father, the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck, at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Saturday at 8 p.m., as part of the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival.

Fred Eaglesmith's Traveling Steam Show rolls back into Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday  at 9 p.m. A longtime favorite of Helsinki audiences, rootsy singer-songwriter Eaglesmith is a genuine iconoclast and true original who has doggedly gone his own way as an independent musical artist, while enjoying such high profile rewards as having his songs covered by country superstars Toby Keith, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert, among many other accomplishments.

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