This week’s cultural highlights in our region include comedy, dance, folk, country, honkytonk, pop, jazz, and a whole lot more.
It’s gonna be a laugh riot at MASS MoCA in North Adams this weekend when the annual two-day High Mud Comedy Festival takes over the venue’s performing arts spaces, beginning tonight, when the proceedings are headlined by comedian Judah Friedlander, perhaps best known for his work in 30 Rock, Wet Hot American Summer, or his recent Netflix special America Is the Greatest Country in the United States — in which he took a sharp look at racism, sexism, imperialism, healthcare, immigration, gun control, the environment, and brunch. Saturday’s events include an improv workshop with Chicago’s famed improvisational comedy troupe, The Second City; comedian-led museum tours with James Adomian, Sarah Squirm, and
Cocoon Central Dance Team; and an all-star evening of standup headlined by Michelle Buteau from Late Night Whenever and her appearances as “The Crazy Girlfriend” on Key & Peele.
Bridgman|Packer Dance is a contemporary dance troupe acclaimed for their innovative integration of choreography and video technology. They bring their latest work, Video Playground, an interactive dance-video installation, to PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., on Saturday at 3 p.m. This engaging installation allows participants to create their own video magic by playing with time, scale, juxtaposition, and shadow. This event will also feature the screening of “Look Out,” a film by Bridgman|Packer Dance in collaboration with cinematographer Gavin Preuss, filmed entirely with a drone camera.
Speaking of dance, dancer, choreographer, and poet Ian Spencer Bell explores what The New York Times calls “autobiography, written in bodies” in “Duet” tonight at 7 in the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington. Bell’s appearance, with two other dancers, is the dramatic second chapter to last year’s performance of “Marrow” at Simon’s Rock and Jacob’s Pillow.
Ana Egge has often been likened to Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams and Iris Dement, and for good reason. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Austin-based singer-songwriter writes rootsy, personal songs based in folk and country tradition but with an immediate, visceral contemporary outlook. Ana performs in Spencertown Academy’s Roots & Shoots Concerts Series on Saturday at 8 p.m. She’ll be accompanied by Alec Spiegelman on backing vocals, keyboards and bass clarinet. Lucinda Williams herself once said, “Listen to her lyrics. Ana is the folk Nina Simone.”
Seth's Sauerkraut Revue, a mini-festival of regional Americana and honky-tonk performers hosted by "Sauerkraut" Seth Travins, returns to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday at 8 p.m. Featured artists this time around include the Wild Weeds; Jim Krewson and Shakey Dave; Time on Fire; and Chops and Sauerkraut featuring Jim "Kroutons" Krewson.
International cabaret and concert performer Steve Ross brings his sophisticated touch, delicious sense of humor and heartfelt ballads to Hudson Hall on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a celebration of the so-called Great American Songbook. The evening opens with selections from Opera Ebony’s Gregory Sheppard and tenor John Philip, followed by acclaimed jazz vocalist Stevie Holland fresh from her one-woman off-Broadway show, Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter, accompanied by Ira Coleman on bass and David Sytkowski on piano.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com