The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include modern dance, New Wave punk, folk music, comedy, writers who rock, and a whole lot more.
In the late-1970s and early-1980s, indie-rock group Blondie brought its unique blend of New York City underground rock, punk, and New Wave to the masses via hit singles including “Heart of Glass,” “Call Me,” and “The Tide Is High.” Blondie and its sort-of eponymous leader, Debbie Harry, brings its eclectic mix of musical styles to MASS MoCA in North Adams tonight at 7.
Parsons Dance kicks off the annual Chatham Dance Festival held at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., with performances tonight and Saturday night at 8. Parsons Dance is known for its energized, athletic ensemble work.
The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival takes this place in Hillsdale, N.Y., this weekend, featuring the likes of Tom Paxton, Dar Williams, Vance Gilbert, the Nields, John Gorka, Laura Love, and the Kennedys, among dozens of others.
The annual Berkshire Comedy Festival returns to the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday night at 8, featuring a lineup of performers including Paul Anthony, Christine O’Leary, Vinnie Mark, and Dave Cooperman, a native of the WAMC listening area who hails originally from North Pownal, Vermont.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner of “Angels in America” fame wrote a one-act play – really a monologue – called “Homebody” in 1998. Kushner later expanded the monologue into a full-length play, retitled HOMEBODY/KABUL, which opened in December 2001, just weeks after 9/11. Given that play’s four-hour running time, it is rarely produced. Now, the Ancram Opera House, in Ancram, N.Y., near Hillsdale, has received permission from Kushner to mount the first act of the play, the HOMEBODY monologue, in a stand-alone production, which opens tonight and runs through this weekend and next. Of special local interest, the play stars Danielle Skraastad, who grew up across the Hudson River in Cairo, N.Y. Skraastad is a veteran of performing Kushner’s work, having appeared in THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL’S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES at the Public Theater in downtown Manhattan in 2009. She was also seen in the recent Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS.
And finally, it is my sincere honor and pleasure to be included among the panelists featured in WRITERS WHO ROCK, a conversation amongst my fellow Hudson Valley rock critics and authors, including Tony Fletcher, Holly George-Warren, and Robert Burke Warren, moderated by the very rocking writer Peter Aaron, tonight at the Tivoli Free Library in Tivoli, N.Y., at 6 p.m. A Q&A session will follow the talk. The combined experience of those on the panel is ridiculous, and includes Grammy Award nominees, veterans of Rolling Stone, the New York Times, SPIN magazine and the Wall Street Journal; biographers of Bob Dylan, Alex Chilton, Gene Autry, Janis Joplin, and more. The other thing tying together all the panelists is that in addition to writing about rock, they all have played in rock bands over the years, making for quite a unique group of writer-performers. I hope to see you many of you there. That’s tonight at the Tivoli Free Library at 6.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com.