The big art news this week was of course the announcement of next summer’s performance season at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Highlights of summer 2015 at Jacob’s Pillow include “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host,” a special dance and radio stage production starring public radio’s Ira Glass of This American Life fame, with Monica Bill Barnes; the return of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT2); Alonzo King LINES Ballet; Dorrance Dance, featuring Michelle Dorrance, one of the top contemporary tap dancers and choreographers, with live music by Toshi Reagon; and the launch of Martha Graham Dance Company’s 90th Anniversary season, including a world premiere by eminent choreographer Mats Ek.
Stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu brings his incisive, sociopolitical commentary to Club B-10 at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm. The son of Indian immigrants, Kondabolu grew up in Queens, N.Y., with a first-hand look at what it means to feel like an outsider in contemporary America, an experience that fuels his work and has made him a regular on late-night TV shows including Letterman, Conan, Kimmel, and Comedy Central, and at festivals from South by Southwest to Bumbershoot to Sasquatch.
This weekend’s cultural highlights include the opening of an exhibition by one of the region’s top outsider artists, a chamber music concert featuring Baroque holiday music; and a concert by the Diana Ross of the Hudson Valley.
Actress Lili Taylor, director Tony Gilroy and screenwriter Andrew Osborne will take part in the 16th annual Williamstown Film Festival, which began this past Wednesday and runs through Saturday, featuring 31 films, several parties, and events at Images Cinema and MASS MoCA. Director-screenwriter Tony Gilroy, best known for his Oscar-winning thriller “Michael Clayton” as well as the Bourne movies, will pull back the curtain on the art of cinematic suspense in a multimedia presentation in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA tonight at 8pm, as part of the Williamstown Film Festival’s proceedings. And on Saturday at noon at the Williams Inn, Lili Taylor and her husband, writer Nick Flynn, talk about the art of turning books into movies.
This weekend’s cultural highlights include a political drama, an unusual art installation, a music documentary, an orchestral concert, an African-American dance performance, and a spooky, Halloween-themed play.
Choreographer Kyle Abraham and his ensemble, Abraham.In.Motion, will unveil “The Watershed,” a new, evening-length work in Abraham's signature blend of classical form, postmodern invention, and urban influences in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday, at 3pm. The dance tackles subject matter from the Emancipation Proclamation to the end of Apartheid in South Africa, and is set to a score that incorporates contemporary cello, soul favorites by Otis Redding, and more.
Brooklyn-based world dance outfit People’s Champs will lay down global rhythms for a dance party at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm. Led by trombonist Alex Asher and fronted by vocalist Cole Williams, the People’s Champs blend electro-accordion riffs, neo-soul vocals, and gritty drum grooves into a new global fusion. The music is rooted in popular dance music from around the world, and the lush arrangements never lose track of the dance floor. The band mixes jazz, hip-hop, rock, and soul from the United States, Latin America, and Africa, and the result is a passionate new brand of soul music that is equal parts Gorillaz, Michael Jackson, Fela Kuti, and Ornette Coleman.
This week’s highlights include several chamber music concerts, a visit from a classic folk-rock group from the late 1980s, a star-studded literary event, some old-fashioned rockabilly, a few new art shows and a salute to an avant-garde film pioneer.