The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include chamber music, folk, cabaret, blues, plus a whole lot more.
On Sunday afternoon at 3pm, singer-songwriter and educational innovator Sally Taylor performs in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA. Sally’s exhibition “Come to Your Senses” is now on view in the gallery at Kidspace at MASS MoCA, and the concert is a benefit for MASS MoCA’s arts education program. Oh, and lest I forget, Sally – who is the daughter of Carly Simon – is bringing a musical friend along to help her out – some guy by the name of James, as in James Taylor, as in Sally’s dad. That’s Sunday at 3pm.
An all-star ensemble joins Close Encounters with Music artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani for “Marzipan and ‘The Trout,’” a holiday concert featuring works by Mozart and Schubert, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday at 6pm. Performers include pianist Max Levinson; violinist Itamar Zorman; and David Grossman on double bass.
Cabaret performer Lea DeLaria, perhaps best known as “Boo” on the hit TV prison dramedy “Orange Is the New Black,” performs an extra-sassy concert of holiday favorites with her all-female jazz ensemble in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Saturday at 7:30pm. An award-winning jazz singer, actor, writer, and stand-up comic, DeLaria will perform a selection of holiday favorites from her album “Be a Santa,” song such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “What Are You Doing This New Year’s Eve?” The evening features Helen Sung on piano; Endea Owens on bass; and Sylvia Cuenca on drums. The show is titled something like “Oh Bummer It’s Christmas,” except the word isn’t “bummer” and I can’t say it on the radio.
Dancer Wendy Whelan and cellist Maya Beiser join forces at the Lumberyard in Catskill, N.Y., with the seminal modern dance choreographer Lucinda Childs to create “THE DAY,” an evening-length work featuring evocative music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. With both women onstage for the duration of the performance, THE DAY explores universal themes not easily grappled with — memory, aging, death, the survival of the soul — through the shared language of music and dance. But if anyone can do it, these geniuses can. That’s Wendy Whelan, Maya Beiser, Lucinda Childs, and David Lang at the Lumberyard tonight at 8pm and Saturday at 7.
The free Volume Reading Series happens at Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson on the second Saturday of every month, which means this weekend. Saturday night brings the annual Home Team Event, a special night of emerging local talent, with Kate Leah Hewett, Anna Victoria, Dani French, Geneva Zane and Karen Crumley Keats, hosted by series cofounder Hallie Goodman.
Blues-folk singer-songwriter Chris Smither returns to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 8pm, to perform his impassioned blend of original and classic American roots music. A profound songwriter and virtuoso guitarist, Smither draws deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets, and philosophers. From his early days as the New Orleans transplant on the Boston folk scene, through his wilderness years, to his reemergence in the 1990s as one of America’s most distinctive acoustic performers, Smither continues to hone his distinctive sound. His voice, in particular, is the very embodiment of the folk-blues sound. That’s tonight at 8 at Club Helsinki Hudson. And if you go, you’ll see me there. Don’t forget to say hi.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com