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Rogovoy Report for September 19, 2014

There’s no question about it – the big cultural event of the weekend in our region in Freshgrass, a three-day festival of roots and bluegrass music at MASS MoCA in North Adams. The lineup is stunning, really a who’s who of traditional and progressive bluegrass as well as country and roots music. At the top of the list is the unparalleled Emmylou Harris, who was born to sing bluegrass and country music, given her voice’s innate high lonesome sound. Also on the bill are the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, David Grisman Sextet, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Valerie June, Rodney Crowell, Aoife O’Donovan, Sam Amidon, and the Infamous Stringdusters. Other performers include Sam Bush, the Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Valerie June, Michael Cleveland, Claire Lynch, Darol Anger, and Martha Redbone Roots Project. All told, the event promises to be a kind of all-star festival of American country and roots music. That’s Freshgrass at MASS MoCA – today through Sunday.

Drama Desk Award-winner Jim Brochu brings his new show, “Character Man” -- a salute to the memorable character actors of Broadway – to Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield tonight through Sunday, September 28. A musical valentine celebrating the golden age of the American musical, “Character Man” is filled with hilarious theatre stories and touching personal recollections. Sprinkled with juicy backstage lore, the show spotlights the careers of Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Jackie Gleason, George S. Irving, and Barney Martin.

A rare performance of John Cage’s “The Ten Thousand Things” and a performance of Cage’s “We Are All Going in Different Directions” by new-music ensemble So Percussion, will be featured as part of a weekend-long celebration of the avant-garde composer’s legacy at the Fisher Center at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson on Saturday and Sunday. “The Ten Thousand Things” will be performed in the Fisher Center’s Theater Two, on Saturday at 8pm, with a preconcert talk at 7pm by musicologist and Cage expert James Pritchett. On Sunday, So Percussion will debut Branches, a new, multimedia program at Bard, with a performance of “We Are All Going in Different Directions,” in the Sosnoff Theater at 3 pm.

Cult movie director Alex Cox will be present for BasilicaScope, a weekend-long film festival dedicated to the British director’s works, including cult classics “Repo Man,” “Straight to Hell Returns,” and “Walker,” at Basilica Hudson tonight and tomorrow. In the 1980s, visionary filmmaker Cox masterfully used pinpoint satire and a rambunctious stable of actors to illuminate the sleazy politics of the era. There will be plenty of opportunities to hear Cox talk and participate in q  & a sessions.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online atrogovoyreport.com.