Rogovoy Report 2/22/19

Feb 22, 2019

This week’s cultural highlights in our region include a multimedia guitar concert, a new play festival, chamber music, comedy, and a whole lot more.

If Kaki King just played guitar, it would suffice. She’s a guitar goddess who connects the dots between Michael Hedges, Richard Thompson, Bootsy Collins, and Ani DiFranco. She dazzles with her virtuosity at the same time that she wrings meaning and emotion from the six-string fretboard. But over the past few years, Kaki King hasn’t just settled for performing as a guitarist. In her ever-evolving attempt to define what her funky, gorgeous guitar sounds would look like as visuals, she has collaborated with a series of digital artists. Her latest project, Data Not Found, teams King with information designer Giorgia Lupi and videographer Max Bernstein. They’ve been cooking up an audiovisual feast in residence at MASS MoCA in North Adams the past couple of weeks, and they’ll offer a work-in-progress showing at MASS MoCA on Saturday night at 8.

Papa Haydn, also known as Franz Joseph Haydn, was more than just one of the greatest composers of the classical period. Sure, he invented the piano trio. Sure, they call him "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" for his pioneering work in those forms. Sure, he wrote such chart-topping hits as “Gypsy Rondo,” “The Farewell Symphony,” and “The Limping Devil.” But perhaps more than all that, Haydn was a laugh riot, a veritable jokester, prankster, and comedian – sort of the Peter Schickele of his day. He filled his compositions with ambiguous beginnings and fake-out endings; mismatched dialogues between instruments, misunderstandings, musical pratfalls, and pretend memory lapses and digressions. It’s why he is perhaps best-known today for works like his “Surprise” Symphony and his “Joke Quartet.” Well, we all need a good laugh now and then, even in the concert hall, which is why the Close Encounters with Music series is presenting a program called “Humor in the Works of Papa Haydn” at St James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday at 6 p.m.

As part of the internationally recognized VDAY Campaign for 2019 and the Upstreet 10x10 Festival in downtown Pittsfield, Mass., the Whitney Center for the Arts presents a reading of Eve Ensler's THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES tonight at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 3. Barrington Stage Company’s 10X10 New Play Festival continues its run in downtown Pittsfield with ten new ten-minute plays covering a variety of styles and subjects. And the great thing is, if you don't like one, just wait ten minutes and it's over!

Concerts in the Village in Kinderhook, NY, presents a program featuring Vocal and Orchestral Music from France 1840 to 1940 on Sunday at 3 p.m., featuring five remarkable singers from the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program and Concerts in the Village’s own Broad Street Orchestra. Works on tap include Berlioz’ Les nuits d'été (Summer nights), Duparc’s Lénore, Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Ravel’s Don Quixote to Dulcinea, and Milhaud’s Quatre Chansons de Ronsard (Four Songs of Ronsard).

Hudson’s own Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its wintertime tradition of hosting a monthly cabaret at Club Helsinki Hudson, featuring a variety of circus, theater, comedy and musical entertainers, taking place this month on Saturday at 9 p.m. This very for-adults-only show brings a panoply of entertainments including trapeze, contortion, acrobatic balance, sword swallowing, juggling, physical comedy, live music, and oddball novelty turns.  

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