Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: Inspirational Documentaries

19 hours ago

So many documentaries explore serious subjects. These docs are downbeat if not downright depressing and, given their subjects, they very well should be. But other documentaries focus on individuals whose life stories are inspirational. They are role models, genuine heroes and heroines, individuals who deserve endless praise. Three current documentaries chart the lives of three unique individuals. They are Fred Rogers, Pope Francis, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and their titles are respectively WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD, and RBG. Each is well-worth seeing. Each refreshingly offers an enlightening, full-bodied portrait of its subject, and how each came to be much more than a famous name. And the bottom line is: You do not have to be Catholic, or a youngster, or a woman, to savor POPE FRANCIS..., WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, and RBG.

The Dorset Theatre Festival opens its 41st Anniversary Season with Molly Smith Metzler’s "Cry It Out," directed by Marc Masterson, which will begin performances June 21st at the Dorset Playhouse and run through July 14th. The comedy looks at the dilemma of returning to work after childbirth and the ways in which class impacts parenthood and friendship.

The season will also include Dominique Morisseau's "Skeleton Crew" (July 19–August 4), Kate Hamill's "Pride and Prejudice," adapted from the novel by Jane Austen (August 9–25), Holland Taylor’s "Ann," starring Jayne Atkinson (August 29–September 1), and the Pipeline Series: Four New Works in Process - one each by Kate Cortesi, Melissa Ross, Frank Harts, and David Mamet.

Artistic Director Dina Janis joins us.

Jon Batiste
Sasha Isreal

On Sunday, June 24th Jon Batiste will perform with The Dap-Kings at the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC.

Batiste was born into a musical family in Louisiana, he studied at Julliard, attended the Skidmore Jazz Institute, his band, Stay Human, is the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert -- and he’s the Co-Artistic Director at-large for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

A horse
Jim Levulis / WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back in the saddle again.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Ancient Law

Jun 15, 2018

In the mid 1980s, an archivist at the Deutsche Kinemathek worked on the restoration of a 1923 silent film by the esteemed director E.A. Dupont.  The film is titled DAS ALTE GESETZ which is translated as THE ANCIENT LAW.  It tells the dramatic story of Baruch, a young shtetl Jew, the son of a Rabbi, who leaves his family and community, seeking a secular career as a stage actor. 

Rogovoy Report 6/15/18

Jun 15, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include psychedelic chamber pop, classic rock, theater, dance, and a whole lot more.

Like every great organization, there are board members who are the heart and soul of the operation at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Lee Perlman is BTG's Board Executive Vice President and Treasurer and President of the Greater New York Hospital Association and on the Board of Trustees/Advisory Committee for the American Theater Wing.

Scott Kirchner is a BTG Executive Board Member and owner of Mad Macs, Inc. We also welcome back our host, Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Emmy Award-winner Lee Kalcheim’s World Premiere, “Coming Back Like a Song!” on The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts June 28 through July 21.

In the play, It’s 1956, and three of America’s great songwriters, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen, are at a crossroads in their lives; rock ‘n roll is now king, and their careers could be over.

Directed by Tony Award-nominee Gregg Edelman, “Coming Back Like a Song!” features Tony Award-nominee David Garrison as Irving Berlin, Philip Hoffman as Harold Arlen and David Rasche [rah-shee] as Jimmy Van Heusen.

We are joined by playwright Lee Kalcheim, Director Gregg Edelman, and actor David Garrison.

Hailed as “crackling, resonant, humorous” by NPR and written by Emmy Award-nominated Jason Odell Williams, “Church & State” is a provocative, fast-paced and witty look at the life of a politician, whose belief system gets shaken to the core three days before his bid for re-election.

Directed by Charlotte Cohn founding producer of the New York Music Theatre Festival and Mainstreet Musicals, “Church & State” intends to have you talking and Tweeting long after the curtain closes – which is why all shows feature a talkback following the performance.

“Church & State” runs through June 30th at the Unicorn Theatre and features: Judy Jerome, Keira Naughton, Graham Rowat, and Andy Talen.

We welcome Graham Rowat, Director Charlotte Cohn and playwright Jason Odell Williams.

The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Education Department brings performing arts into the lives of 13,000 schoolchildren in The Berkshires through touring productions, residency programs, internships and assistantships, after-school programming, camps, children’s theatre productions, seasonal employment opportunities, and more.

Many of our schools lack the funds to provide students with arts education. Berkshire Theatre Group’s Education Department strives – all year long – to fill that gap. Their programs offer children the chance to perform, of course, but also to learn, to build confidence, and to collaborate.

We are joined by Travis Daly, BTG’s Artistic Associate of Education (and director of this summer’s production of "Tarzan"); Allison Rachele Bayles, BTG's Administrative Director of Education; and Hanna Koczela who has been involved with BTG Community Productions and Education Programs for the past 10 years and has just graduated from High School.

Part of what keeps a theater festival running for 90 years is the devotion of its contributing artists. It’s the dedication of returning actors, directors, designers -- and countless others -- that keeps an endeavor like The Berkshire Theatre Group on its feet.

What is it about Berkshire Theatre Group that inspires collaboration from world-class creators and interpreters season after season?

To answer that question, we are joined by actor Tara Franklin; actor and Director of BTG’s Acting Intern Program David Adkins; and Resident Composer/Sound Designer Scott Killian. 

Kate Maguire
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Berkshire Theatre Festival began producing world class theatre 90 years ago. Now, as The Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG), this season is celebrating and continuing that tradition.

BTG Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire and Director/Actor Eric Hill join us.

This morning we meet the forces behind the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy. At its heart, ACE is about strengthening the Capital Region’s creative economy to drive business development, increasing jobs, and driving tourism.

ACE, a collaborative, cross-sector group has come together to strengthen support for creative freelancers, creative organizations, and individuals involved in creative work.

The creative economy is defined as the enterprises and people involved in the origination, production, and distribution of goods and services in which artistic and cultural content gives the product or service value in the marketplace.

Maureen Sager is the Project Director at ACE and she joins us this morning along with Carmen Duncan is CEO, Chief Coach and Founder of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, an Albany-based not-for-profit organization that coaches, develops and supports millennials to become visionary professional and global leaders.

This summer the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present perennial favorites like The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, the New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Opera Saratoga; and new series like the Out of this World Festival, SPAC @ Caffè Lena, SPAC on Stage, and Freihofer’s Live at the Jazz Bar.

SPAC President Elizabeth Sobol is here to give us an overview of what the next few months have to offer.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2018 summer season gets underway later this month and will feature seven productions running from June 26 to August 19.

The season will kick off with the world premiere of “The Closet” by Douglas Carter Beane. It is a comedy is about a divorced man who is stuck in a dead-end job in Scranton, Pa., and finds solace in his optimistic female co-worker. Matthew Broderick, Jessica Hecht, and Brooks Ashmanskas will star on the Main Stage.

The season continues on the Nikos Stage with the world premiere of Adam Rapp’s “The Sound Inside” which is about an accomplished professor at an Ivy League university who allies herself with a student to tackle a challenge. Mary-Louise Parker will star and David Cromer will direct.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield joins us.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "First Reformed," "Hotel Artemis," and "Ocean's 8"

Upcoming:

  • Valerie June - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 6/14, 7 PM
  • Albert Lee & His Electric Band - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday 6/14, 7 PM
  • Young Dr. Jekyll: A New Musical - Proctors “The Addy,” Schenectady, Thursday 6/14 at 7 PM through Saturday 6/16
  • Kidz Bop Live! - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, Friday 6/15, 7 PM
  • Imani Winds (part of the Mostly Modern Festival) - Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, Friday 6/15, 7:30 PM
  • Night Riots - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Saturday 6/16, 8 PM
  • Janis Claxton Dance - Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Sunday 6/17, 2 PM (Free)
  • Ani DiFranco - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Sunday 6/17, 7 PM
  • Spotlight on Agnes Varda: Cleo from 5 to 7 - Images Cinema, Williamstown, Mass., Tuesday 6/19, 7 PM

New movies: "Incredibles 2," "The Gospel According to Andre," "The Seagull," "SuperFly," "TAG"

David Crosby
Anna Webber / davidcrosby.com

Folk rock pioneer and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee David Crosby will perform in the Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts with singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter and Americana duo Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen on Saturday, June 16 at 7 p.m.

Crosby joins us to discuss the show, the current state of the music industry, and his method for coping with upsetting news cycles.

The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society is a non-profit community chorus whose goal is to nourish our community with the transformative power of music. In their next concert, The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society and the Oratorio Orchestra offer three dramatic musical presentations that explore “The Gift of Life.”

The concert will take place on June 15 at Church of the Immaculate Conception in Glenville, New York and features works by John Rutter, Gustav Holst, and Benjamin Britten. We are joined by Burnt Hills Oratorio Society Artistic Director and Conductor William Jon Gray and President of the Board of Directors Dave Johnson.

The 38th annual Old Songs Folk Festival­ of Traditional Music and Dance will be held on June 22, 23 and 24 at the Altamont Fairgrounds in Altamont, New York. Old Songs celebrates folk, Celtic, and roots music; from Ireland, Quebec, the Caribbean, New England, and more.  Attendees can sing, dance, jam, and listen at this participatory event for the whole family. In addition to three concerts there are over 100 daytime workshops, dances or performances, a juried craft show, food and instrument vendors, and a children’s activity area.

We are joined by Old Songs programming committee members, Roger Mock and Debra Burger.

Rob Edelman: Ivana Trump’s Movie

Jun 11, 2018

Literally thousands of older films waste away in the dustbins of history. They barely were noticed when they were new and, for good reason, they have not improved with age. But for reasons that are obvious, one such film is worth citing. It dates from 1996, and its complete title is IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE. Here is her brief biography, courtesy of the Internet Movie Database: “Ivana Trump was born on February 20, 1949 in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia as Ivana Marie Zelnícková. She is an actress, known for THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (released in 1996), IVANA YOUNG MAN (from 2006), and PAN TAU (from 1970). She was previously married to Rossano Rubicondi, Riccardo Mazzucchelli, Donald Trump, and Alfred Winklmayr.” Curiously, IVANA TRUMP’S FOR LOVE ALONE is not cited on this IMDB list, even though she makes a cameo appearance playing a character named “Ivana.” But the bottom line here is: How much does any of this really matter?

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel mark the end of the Fund Drive with a show about various misters.

Rogovoy Report 6/8/18

Jun 8, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include chamber music, art openings, literary readings, theater, and a whole lot more.

The Royal Family of Broadway” is a new musical with a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn - the award winning team behind “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Based on the original play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber and an original adaptation by Richard Greenberg, “The Royal Family of Broadway” is set in the 1920’s and centers around the Cavendish family - who are loosely based on the legendary acting dynasty - The Barrymores.

Barrington Stage Company’s Musical Theatre Lab presents “The Royal Family of Broadway” on BSC’s mainstage through July 7. The production is directed by John Rando and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.

Sarah LaDuke was joined at The Linda - WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio - by composer and lyricist William Finn, Musical Director Vadim Feichtner, and cast members Harriet Harris, Laura Michelle Kelly, Hayley Podschun, and AJ Shively.

Ink bottles - one part of Kazumi Tanaka's "INK: The Color of Manitoga"
www.visitmanitoga.org

Manitoga is the house, studio, and 75-acre woodland garden of American industrial designer Russel Wright. Its Artist Residency program began in 2014. This summer’s residency project is entitled “INK: The Color of Manitoga” by artist Kazumi Tanaka. Tanaka is creating natural inks from plant specimens she collects in Manitoga’s woodland garden. Her lab and art space is in the main house at Manitoga.

Tanaka was born in Osaka, Japan and graduated from Osaka University before relocating to New York. She lives and works in Beacon, NY and her art has been shown all around the world. Manitoga’s Executive Director Allison Cross and Kazumia Tanaka join us.

Manitoga’s Member Opening Celebration and the official Artist Residency launch will take place tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. Information about that event and ongoing hikes and tours and other special events is available here.

The Mostly Modern Festival (MMF) is a new summer music festival that flips the traditional programming model by devoting most of its attention to the music of our time which will present eight concerts featuring an illustrious array of guest artists and ensembles, an orchestra largely made up of Mostly Modern Festival Institute (MMFI) participants, music by esteemed resident composers, and more than 30 brand-new works in world premiere performances by more than 30 MMFI participating composers.

Founded by the husband and wife team of composer Robert Paterson and violinist Victoria Paterson, the inaugural festival’s concerts take place June 8-17th at the Arthur Zankel Music Center on the campus of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Robert Paterson joins us.

The Adirondack Theatre Festival is about to begin its 24th season – the fourth for Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz. He again brings an entire season of major new works to ATF with a team of top-level professional artists.

After a record-breaking season of sold-out performances last year, doubling attendance and subscribership in just the past three years, the 2018 season promises to be even larger. Performances will run June 14 – August 9 at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Downtown Glens Falls, NY.

The season begins June 14th with the musical, "Some Lovers," which follows the story of a couple caught between their present and their past. With an original story by Steven Sater ("Spring Awakening") and all new music from the legendary, Burt Bacharach.

ATF Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz joins us.

Daniel Stepner
Susan Wilson / susanwilsonphoto.com

As Aston Magna’s Artistic Director, Daniel Stepner has programmed and led vocal and instrumental music dating from 1589 through the 1850s, featuring period instruments and vocal styles. The Festival’s repertoire has ranged from music for solo violin to baroque and early classical opera.

Aston Magna begins its 46th Season of Music next Thursday, June 14th and runs Saturday, July 21 at venues throughout the region.

Daniel Stepner was a founding member of the Boston Museum Trio at the Museum of Fine Arts. He has held concertmasterships with the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra and Boston Baroque. For six years he was assistant concertmaster and frequent soloist of the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, based in Holland.

Chocolate espresso cake
The Galley Gourmet

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel celebrate a very special day.

Rogovoy Report 6/1/18

Jun 1, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include film, honkytonk, cabaret, jazz, dance, photography, theater, and a whole lot more.

The 13th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will showcase 80 of the latest independent feature, documentary, short and family films from 28 countries from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and from June 1 to 3 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The festival features screenings and various special events including three “Tea Talks”. One of this year’s Tea Talks features Berkshire based Academy Award winning filmmaker, Cynthia Wade, and a screening of her new documentary, “Grit.”

"Grit" is co-directed and co-produced by Wade and Sasha Friedlander and follows the lives of Indonesian citizens in East Jakarta displaced from their villages when an underground mudflow, struck by a natural gas drill, bubbles up and buries their homes and everything they own beneath 60 feet of mud.

Cynthia Wade joins us.

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