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Arts & Entertainment

The Arts & Entertainment world is a many-splendoured thing in Western Mass, Southern VT, and North Eastern NY. What are you're interested in? Send an e-mail to arts@greylockglass.com.

This Land Is Our Land

Photo of indigenous American dancer in traditional ceremonial attire: The Land On Which We Dance Inside/Out Performance; photo byGrace Kathryn Landefeld.
The Land On Which We Dance Inside/Out Performance; photo byGrace Kathryn Landefeld.

Jacob’s Pillow shifts the conversation on indigenous dance through its landmark celebration The Land on Which We Dance.

Editor’s Note: This independent, original article generously sponsored by Jacob’s Pillow.

An Arapaho proverb says, “All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us, and if we listen, we can hear them.” It’s an elegantly simple explanation of the interconnectedness of life on and with earth—a central belief in most, if not all, indigenous traditions.

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Weekend Pick: Basquiat x Warhol at The School

Outdoor photo of the front of The Shainman Gallery, formerly the Martin Van Buren Elementary School in Kinderhook, New York, hosts Basquiat x Warhol through September 7; photo by Robin Catalano.
The Shainman Gallery, in Kinderhook, New York, hosts Basquiat x Warhol through September 7; photo by Robin Catalano.

The pretty and petite Village of Kinderhook in Columbia County, New York, is a place where you’d expect to find historic buildings, vintage-inspired restaurants, and well-groomed, flower-lined streets. And it does have all of those things—plus an unexpected, worth-the-detour extra: The School, Jack Shainman Gallery, which hosts the world-class Basquiat x Warhol exhibit through September 7.

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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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Dance Review: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

Photo of a group of eight dancers, in a cluster formation, all in the same pose, leaning backward: A.I.M in "Drive"; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.
A.I.M in "Drive"; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.

Kyle Abraham is looking for something. The multi-award-winning choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, whose company, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, makes its mainstage debut at Jacob’s Pillow this week, brings his signature search for identity and struggle with personal and societal emotional trauma to a packed, five-dance program.

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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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Dance Review: Umanoove and The Happiness Project

Photo of dancer dancing in large clear plastic bag:The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.
The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.

By Robin Catalano

Happiness is tricky. It’s something we all want, but it often feels just out of reach—that if we do this, buy that, go there, we’ll find it, wrapped and waiting like a birthday gift. The fleeting, often elusive quality of happiness lies at the center of The Happiness Project, a 2016 work by Dutch-born choreographer Didy Veldman, whose company, Umanoove, makes its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow this week.

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5 Wits before Wits’ End

My son is a slug. If he were left to forge his own life choices, I think many of those choices would involve reclining—specifically, reclining in front of a video game. Like a lot of kids, he rejects every alternative I throw at him: How about practicing karate in the living room? Taking the dog for a walk? Playing basketball in the schoolyard? Going for a bike ride? No, nope, no thanks, nuh-uh. Occasionally I can talk him into a stroll if I slap five dollars into his palm and tell him to treat himself to ice cream along the way, but my parental conscience tells me that negates the point of walking.

On the other hand, when I drag him away from the screen and insist that he do something that causes him to use a few voluntary muscles, he becomes a ball of kinetic energy. Everything is a party. It’s not unusual for him to have a fantastic and memorable time at the grocery store. The grocery store. He’s like a party waiting to happen.

But the reclining.

Recently on a quest to find a new and unusual activity that he would get excited about, I did a search on escape rooms, thinking that he might enjoy the challenge of using his noggin. I came across 5 Wits in Albany and read that it’s less of an escape room and more of an immersive experience. It seemed like the best of all worlds: high-tech video game appeal combined with the kid getting off his keister. His birthday was the perfect excuse for giving it a try.

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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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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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