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Arts & Culture

Rogovoy Report for May 15, 2015

The cultural highlights in the greater region this weekend include a scion of American roots music, a cultural memoirist, a folk-rock supergroup, a string quartet, an African sculptor, and a literary festival.

Rosanne Cash brings her “The River & the Thread” tour to the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Sunday at 7pm. Accompanied by longtime collaborator, producer, guitarist, and husband John Leventhal, and musical partner Zev Katz, Cash will take the audience on a journey through song to the people, places, and musical traditions of the American South that have fed her music and that of her parents, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Smithsonian Magazine feature writer and national music critic Geoffrey Himes will give an in-depth, pre-concert talk about Cash’s Grammy Award-winning album, “The River & the Thread,’ at 6pm.

Journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick will read from and sign copies of her brand-new memoir, “Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own,” at The Mount in Lenox, today at 5pm. In “Spinster,” Bolick uses her personal experiences as a starting point, taking readers through her intellectual and sexual coming of age to explore why she, and more than 100 million American women, remain unmarried. Bolick also introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century who led lives of shocking modernity, and whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama emboldened her to fashion a life on her own terms. Bolick calls these women her “Awakeners,” and they include, appropriately enough, novelist Edith Wharton, at whose house she will be reading.

Boston-based folk-rock collective Session Americana kicks off the 2015 Mr. Finn’s Cabaret season at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield on Sunday and Monday at 8pm. A kind of all-star supergroup of Boston-based roots-music talent, the core of the band includes singer-songwriter Ry Cavanaugh, drummer Billy Beard, multi-instrumentalist Dinty Child, and Jim Fitting. The group is known for its freewheeling shows that mostly feature songs by Boston’s rich and fertile coterie of contemporary singer-songwriters.

The Avalon String Quartet performs works by Schubert and Debussy at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, on Saturday at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music chamber series. After performing Debussy’s String Quartet, a seminal work of musical Impressionism, the quartet will be joined by Close Encounters artistic director YehudaHanani on cello to perform Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major.

Rhett Miller brings his rootsy, melodic brand of original rock to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9 pm, just days after the release of his brand new album, “The Traveler.” While perhaps best known as lead singer and songwriter of seminal alt-country band the Old 97’s, Rhett Miller has enjoyed an equally successful solo career, emphasizing his brilliance as a songwriting craftsman drawing on a wider, pop-rock palette, and delivering hooks around every corner.

Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui will be the subject of a comprehensive survey spanning the last fifty years of his celebrated career, at Jack Shainman Gallery: The School, in Kinderhook, opening on Sunday with a reception from 1 to 4pm. The exhibition, “Five Decades,” includes compositions in painting, wood, and clay, and metal works. The show, which marks the first anniversary of the opening of The School, comes on the heels of El Anatsui being awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.

A free reading and discussion devoted to the groundbreaking literary publishing house New Directions will take place at Time and Space Limited in Hudson on Sunday at 1pm. The event, “Literchoor Is My Beat: A New Directions Festival,” will feature a reading by Ian MacNiven, author of the biography “Literchoor Is My Beat: A Life of James Laughlin, Founder of New Directions,” plus a roundtable discussion with MacNiven, current New Directions president Barbara Epler, and former New Directions president Peggy Fox.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkshire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com