The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include literary readings and discussions, a one-woman show, several jazz concerts, a tribute to Joni Mitchell, and a whole lot more.
Humorist Alison Larkin will premiere “Alison Larkin LIVE!”, her new one-woman show about an adopted Englishwoman who finds her birth parents in the U.S., - which just happens to be Alison Larkin’s own story - in WAM Theatre’s special spring event, taking place at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox tonight at 7:30, and on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s matinee performance will be followed by a panel discussion. Larkin’s performance will celebrate the audiobook release of Larkin’s bestselling novel, “The English American.”
The Joey Alexander Trio celebrates this weekend’s release of his brand-new album, “Eclipse,” which features saxophonist Joshua Redman, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass. on Sunday at 7 p.m. Born in Bali in 2003, the jazz pianist, now all of 15 years of age, taught himself Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” at the age of six. Since then, he has delighted audiences across the globe, as well as earning the praise of jazz greats from Herbie Hancock to Wynton Marsalis, and garnering two Grammy Award nominations. Not bad for a kid who has to be home in bed by 9 p.m.
And still more jazz. Rob Fisch’s Intentional Jazz Ensemble will return to Spencertown Academy Arts Center with “A Jazz Timeline,” a celebration of jazz history highlighting well-known selections and genres, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The group features Rob Fisch (trumpet), Peg Delaney (piano), Bill Delaney (upright bass), and Gene Garone (drums). The group will pay homage to the likes of Ray Henderson (“Bye Bye Blackbird”), Johnny Green (“Body and Soul”), Rogers and Hart, Gershwin, Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and more.
An all-star outfit of instrumental and vocal talent from the Hudson Valley and New York City will pay tribute to iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell in “Shadows and Light: The Music of Joni Mitchell,” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday at 9 p.m. Curated by bassist/producer Scott Petito, the concert features an unprecedented lineup of artists, including jazz vocalist Veronica Nunn, singer-songwriter Leslie Ritter (of Amy & Leslie fame), singer-songwriter Adrien Reju, reedman Jay Collins, multi-instrumentalist Danny Blume, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, jazz pianist Travis Shook, and famed jazz keyboardist Rachel Z, who as it turns out, early in her career played in a Joni Mitchell cover band.
Actress Roxanne Fay brings “My Unspeakable Confessions: Gala Dali Declines to Explain Herself,” a one-woman show by Heather L. Jones about the Russian-born wife and muse of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, to Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, N.Y., on Sunday at 2 p.m. As her husband became more of a public personality, Gala Dali receded further and further into the shadows, preferring to keep her mystery intact. The play attempts to pull the curtain back on some of that mystery.
Literary historian Jon Michael Varese reads from his debut novel, “The Spirit Photographer,” at the Chatham Bookstore in Chatham, N.Y., on Saturday at 5 p.m. Set in Boston and New Orleans after the Civil War, the novel combines the end of slavery with a Southern gothic ghost story. A conversation and book signing follow the free reading.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com