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Arts & Culture

Rogovoy Report For 8/5/16

The weekend’s cultural highlights in the region include an all-female mariachi band; a French ensemble performing Algerian street dance; a sympathetic Shylock; Puccini; sacred steel, and a whole lot more.

MariachiFlor de Toloache, New York City’s first all-female mariachi band, performs in the Dré Pavilion at MASS MoCA on Saturday at 8pm. The Latin Grammy Award-nominated band infuses a classic ranchero sound with bursts of hip-hop, soul, jazz, and salsa. They have great costumes, too.

French dance group CompagnieHervéKOUBI makes its Jacob’s Pillow debut in the highly physical evening-length work “What the Day Owes to the Night (Ceque le jour doità la nuit)” tonight through Sunday, in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Guided by the artistic vision of French-Algerian choreographer HervéKoubi, the performance finds inspiration in street dance from Algeria and Burkina Faso, set to an eclectic score ranging from Bach to traditional Sufi music.

This summer’s production of “The Merchant of Venice,” directed by Tina Packer and starring Jonathan Epstein as Shylock, is Shakespeare & Company at its best, combining a skillful presentation of the text with an improvisatory spirit that is true to the history of Shakespearean theater, while signaling the timeless and contemporary nature of the work. It’s also darn funny and entertaining, and it runs through August 21. This is the best thing I’ve see all summer.

Artist Maurice “Pops” Peterson will explore the relationship between art and the civil rights movement in “Van Der Zee to Rockwell and Beyond: Art and Civil Rights,” at Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, on Saturday, at 5pm. Peterson was recently honored for his series that re-imagined the art of Norman Rockwell to reflect the realities of 21st century life.

The 27th annual Bard Music Festival – an exploration of “Puccini and His World” – opens tonight with the first of the weekend’s five themed concerts. “Opera, Politics, and the Italian,” examines the ways Italians perceived their newly unified homeland in the comparatively peaceful half-century between the Risorgimento and the First World War, through operatic and other excerpts by Puccini and his contemporaries. There are talks, lectures, panel discussions and other concerts throughout the weekend.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band bring their unique blend of gospel-influenced soul-rock and sacred steel music to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9pm. Randolph's unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio.

And on Sunday night, Anders Osborne Band brings its unique blend of original, Southern-influenced roots-rock to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday at 8pm. Indie-grunge artist Oliver John-Rodgers will warm up the crowd for Osborne.

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

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.