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Jason Velazquez

Jason Velazquez has 55 articles published.

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades. E-mail: editor@greylockglass.com Phone: (413) 776-5125

TLC #74 — DJ Oli Real on Summerfest Talent Show

DJ Oli Real; photo courtesy Oli Real
DJ Oli Real; photo courtesy Oli Real

A Westside Legends Community Event

We spoke this week with DJ Oli Real about the first ever Summerfest Talent Show taking place at Pittsfield’s Durant Park on August 18 from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. This community event is family friendly and hope to amuse, entertain, and showcase some of the best sides of West Side.

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Bawdy and naughty, the Merry Wives of Windsor demo their wiles at Shakespeare & Company

MaConnia Chesser, Nigel Gore, and Jennie M. Jadow as Meg Page, Sir John Falstaff, and Alice Ford (respectively) in The Merry Wives of Windsor; photo by Nile Scott Studios.
MaConnia Chesser, Nigel Gore, and Jennie M. Jadow as Meg Page, Sir John Falstaff, and Alice Ford (respectively) in The Merry Wives of Windsor; photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Stirred up by just the right cast, the production is a winning recipe of conspiracy, chaos, and comedy.

No youth with a shred of decency or self-respect should seek to emulate Sir John Falstaff. On the other hand, if you happen already to be plump and middle-aged, yet randy as ever despite increasingly rusty charms, you could be forgiven for taking some winking inspiration from the dissolute knight’s bacchanalian habits. Cantankerous and crafty, Falstaff, dubbed “Shakespeare’s greatest creation” by Orson Welles, is the rotund and besotted hub of The Merry Wives of Windsor, on stage now through September 1 in the Roman Garden Theatre at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.

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Racism, slurs, and White liberal silence

Reflections on complicity

NOTE: This editorial was mainly written during the second week of July, 2019. I delayed publishing it, intending further revision. In light of recent local acts of harassment, reported to have been racially motivated, I have chosen to publish it in its present form. I include twenty links to outside information, which, if studied, would make this essay a master-class on casual on systemic racism. You comments are, of course, invited and welcome.

A riot at the Sojourner Truth homes, a U.S. federal housing project built in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan was caused by White neighbors’ attempts to prevent African American tenants from moving in. A sign with American flags and the words “We want White tenants in our White community,” was placed directly opposite the housing project; photo by Arthur S. Siegel, source: Library of Congress.

The days leading up to, and immediately following, Independence Day festivities always spin out a tangle of conflicting emotions. Thirty years ago, on my twenty-first birthday, I heaved an overweight pack onto my back to set off in search of America. I’d grown up in a Northwestern Connecticut town similar to Williamstown, Mass., with a far superior village green, but no bad-ass liberal arts college. I’d lived in isolation from reality and diversity throughout my youth and wanted to immerse myself in the different experiences the Land of the Free had to offer.

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Plenty #15: Eating the Landscape with Chef Brian Alberg

Photo of Hancock Shaker Mill vegetable gardens: The gardens at Hancock Shaker Village are a key educational component of the annual activities on site. Now, visitors can eat their education, both at Seeds cafe and through food awareness workshops; submitted photo.
The gardens at Hancock Shaker Village are a key educational component of the annual activities on site. Now, visitors can eat their education, both at Seeds cafe and through food awareness workshops; submitted photo.

Hey food enthusiasts! In this episode of Plenty, number 15 to be precise, we hear once again from Chef Brian Alberg, a nearly ubiquitous culinary presence in the Berkshires and beyond. Since it’s been quite a while since catching up with him last, we had a lot of ground to cover.

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Theatre Review:
The Children at Shakespeare & Company

Diane Prusha, as Hazel, in Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, on stage at Shakespeare & Company until August 18; photo by Nile Scott Studios.
Diane Prusha, as Hazel, in Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, on stage at Shakespeare & Company until August 18; photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Not much gives away what a slap across the psyche a drama is going to be, what a shish kebob skewer in the heart, what a sap in the kidney, like a funny first act. And the first act of The Children, an Obie Award nominee by Lucy Kirkwood, is really, really funny.

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INDIEcent Exposure #33: INTERVIEW —Kevin Connelly of Iron Age Mystics

PLUS: Six other artists you should be listening to.  * EXPLICIT *

Welcome, my INDIEcent legions of new music addicts, to episode number 33 of INDIEcent Exposure. I am you host the mongrel — every bit as INDIEcent on the inside as I am on the out. You may be wondering, ”What the hell have I signed up for with this episode? Is the mongrel going to push some history lesson on us? Nahhh…well, actually yes and no.

What I really have in store for you is the long-awaited conversation with Kevin Connelly, lyricist and lead singer of the Iron Age Mystics — a band that perfectly personifies my own pissed-offedness with the system, except that they manage to channel my rage against the machina into coherent, harmonic anthems of resistance. Genuinely ass-kicking, politically aware Rock ’n’ Roll is so rare these days, you may feel subversive just humming the melodies once they get stuck in your head.

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Cornbread Cafe #14: The Mammals

The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.
The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.

⬇️ Podcast Player ⬇️

Welcome brothers and sisters to episode #14 of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your grill master at this barbecue bonanza we’re firing up for you today. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.

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TLC#73: 2019 Sundance Film Festival
Short Film Tour

A poignant multi-generational slice of life film, The MINORS, written and directed by Robert Machoian, demonstrates how an immensely intimate and spare film can be a perfect selection for inclusion in the festival alongside shorts with wider focus; image courtesy Sundance Institute.

Hey, Greylock Nation!

This is TLC, Number 73, here at the Greylock Glass. I’m your host Jason Velazquez, and I hope your Independence Day week is shaping up nicely. I am very pleased to say that this episode is sponsored by the Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music Series, presenting The Mammals Saturday, July 27.

Sometimes fantastic interviews just sort of drop in my lap. Fascinating people I’d LOVE to hear from that I know you’ll enjoy hearing from to. Such is the case with Michael Plante, Senior Programmer for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival. I had the good fortune of speaking with Doug Jones, Director of Images Cinema in Williamstown about the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour which lands at Images Cinema for one day only — July 4 at 2:30 p.m. Turns out, Doug and Mike are friends from way back. Then Boom! I’ve got one of the countries foremost experts on short films on the line a few days later.

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Fiction: Keypads, Prologue

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
― Philip K. Dick

Prologue


The promenade took on a subtle, but detectable, shift in mood as the spectrum of dusk oscillated on the glossy, sullen surface of the Housatonic Seaway. Most of the street vendors tended to pack it in an hour or so before dark owing to infrequent foot patrols following recent budget cutbacks. Quite a few of the first floor shops, cafes, and clubs would be open until midnight, though. The brick and mortar establishments tended to have their own muscle at the door, or at least fairly competent security bots. The more committed buskers remained, serenading tourists in love from pools of lamplight just flickering to life on the cobblestones. As the stars winked into existence, so too did sketchier characters whose various trades have been at home on waterfronts everywhere since the invention of the dock.

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Review: Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘The Waverly Gallery’ With Annette Miller

Photo from the play, The Waverly Gallery, (Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.
(Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.

We’ve had a running joke in our house about much how we enjoy a production that’s “ultimately life-affirming” after seeing one billed that way years ago. The show was superb, and I wanted to scrub the depressing, kinda icky residue out of my memory with a pumice stone and some strong lye soap for a few days afterwards. The life-affirming part, I think, was that none of the lives portrayed was my own. So I’m going to be cautious in describing The Waverly Gallery, on stage now at Shakespeare & Company.

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Film Review: The Biggest Little Farm

Emma, the pig, and Mr. Greasy, the rooster, are frequent scene-stealers in The Biggest Little Farm, showing just what's possible with a little inter-species understanding; NEON.
Emma, the pig, and Mr. Greasy, the rooster, are frequent scene-stealers in The Biggest Little Farm, showing just what's possible with a little inter-species understanding; NEON.

A folksy, daydream quality suffuses about half the frames of The Biggest Little Farm, out now from NEON, and showing in artsier cinemas and festivals around the country.

This cinematic pixie dust is the film’s greatest strength. It also risks placing the picture, written and directed by acclaimed wildlife photographer, John Chester, precariously at the edge of fictionalized memoir — not through untruth or exaggeration, but omission and artifice.

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Mighty Thunders and Borrowed Light open 2019 season at Hancock Shaker Village

Barbara Ernst Prey, School Room, 2019, watercolor on paper; [source Hancock Shaker Village].
Barbara Ernst Prey, School Room, 2019, watercolor on paper; [source Hancock Shaker Village].

by Jason Velázquez

This is the Top Left Corner. Today is Saturday, May 25, and you’re listening to episode #72. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and as always, thank you for tuning in. We have a huge show for you this week. We start off with a short hop over to Lenox where we check in with Shakespeare & Company, whose 2019 season kicks off with the Wavery Gallery. Then we spend the remainder of our show at Hancock Shaker Village, which begins its season with the opening of two major installations, Borrowed Light: Barbara Ernst Prey, and While Mighty Thunders Roll: Popular Artists Sing the Shakers, produced by Jeffrey Gaskill. We’ll finish up with some key segments of my conversation with Matt Lorenz known by his one-man band — The Suitcase Junket. Oh, and we’ve got some boss tracks from his new album to share with you, too.

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