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Will Call Episode #57: Western Centuries

(from supplied release)

HANCOCK, Mass.—Blend a country band with early R&B, throw in a hefty amount of vocal harmonies and witty one-liners, and rock out like The Band. That’s what you’ll get Thursday, July 13, when roots music maverick Western Centuries takes the 1910 hayloft stage at Hancock Shaker Village. With upbeat, bar room dance numbers, lilting, soulful tunes of heartbreak, and everything in between, the band is as tight they come.

Western Centuries; photo by Brooke Warren.
Western Centuries; photo by Brooke Warren.

 

 

Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-the-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries is clearly a diverse bunch. The band is collaborative in nature, but they are – albeit subtly – helmed by Morrison. After years of performing in prominent roots duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West (whose music made fans of Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Dirk Powell, and BBC Radio’s Bob Harris along the way), Morrison formed and led the band Country Hammer, made up of members who have mostly crossed over into Western Centuries.

“If you enjoy country, honky-tonk music with hard floor dancing with scuffed boots on a Friday night, corn liquor, hand-rolled cigars with barbeque pork and beans on tin plates – take a deep breath – Western Centuries is salvation,” says No Depression.

Hancock Shaker Village is committed to highlighting national acts and local talent.  Opening the evening is Pittsfield, MA, native and regional favorite Wes Buckley, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose seven releases speak of love, quests, and sometimes even the economy. His grandfather snuck on stage to perform tenor sax with Stan Kenton and his father was momentarily a guitarist in Jefferson Starship – talk about shoes to fill.

The concert is in a barn…literally.  Until June, it stored hay.  At last weekend’s performance, guests lolling around the fence waiting for Woodie Guthrie’s granddaughter to take the stage were startled to see a fox sneak into the barnyard nearby where chickens were ignoring the warm-up band and apparently the fox.  The fox won.

Everyone knows the Round Stone Barn, built in 1826 with stones quarried from the site and now an icon on the National Historic Register, but few know the 1910 barn tucked behind.  On a knoll overlooking the hills of Richmond, the post-and-beam structure was the site of a cow barn that burned in 1879.  The Shakers rebuilt immediately – the barn where the music takes place was built in 1880 with a commodious root cellar and an expansive loft.  On August 2, 1910 the barn was struck by lightning, and burned down.  It was full of hay and wagons, and the loss was estimated at $6,000.  Fortunately (and amazing for 1910) the building was insured, and the Shakers built a new barn immediately – the 1910 Barn, which still uses the stone foundations laid in 1880.  Its architecture has close ties to a church, with the points of visual affinity being the lofty peak, which happens to provide ideal acoustics.  Come hear for yourself.

Shaker Barn Music series, which runs through September (when we need the barn to store hay again), features American roots music that incorporates elements of various styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it draws.  The series is curated by Karl Mullen who has run legendary music venues for 30+ years including World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and Club Cafe, Rosebud, and Metropol in Pittsburgh.

All performances in the Shaker Barn Music series take place in the hayloft of the 1910 Barn. The July 13 concert begins at 7pm. Doors and the Barn Bar open at 6pm. Seeds Market Cafe at Hancock Shaker Village serves dinner before every show. The cafe’s fresh-picked menu items celebrate Shaker-inspired, neighborhood-sourced food, prepared by regional farm-to-table chef Brian Alberg. His menu highlights produce from the museum’s gardens just steps away, which have been continuously cultivated using practices of the original Shakers, including an all-natural approach to fertilizing and pestcontrol. Enjoy your supper in Seeds or grab a picnic and dine on the ample lawn space of Hancock Shaker Village.

Tickets are $15 ($20 day of).  For tickets or information call 413.443.0188 x115 orhttps://shop.hancockshakervillage.org/product-category/experiences/concerts/

Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.
Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.

The worn floor of an old honky­tonk is not usually a place you’d think of as welcoming to bold new experimentation. If you’ve got something new to say, you’d better say it in the form of a brisk two­step that keeps the dancers moving. So it’s doubly impressive that Seattle country band Western Centuries is able to meld wildly disparate influences into an original honky­tonk sound that won’t make dancers miss a step. Formed originally under the name Country Hammer by Americana songwriter Cahalen Morrison, known for his innovative work as an acoustic duo with Eli WestWestern Centuries revolves around three principal songwriters–MorrisonEthan Lawton, and Jim Miller–each with a totally different perspective. Here, Cahalen Morrison channels his New Mexico roots–he grew up exploring lost arroyos and playing drums in a conjunto band–into a kind of blood­red Western drawl. His songs are as influenced by cowboy poetry or his great­grandfather’s Scottish Gaelic poetry as much as his love of George JonesEthan Lawton came out of the rough, working­class streets of Seattle’s South end, working in hip­hop and punk before losing his heart to bluegrass. His bone­dry vocals meld intensely with the rocksteady back­beat of his country songs, born from his love of old Jamaican 45s mixed with early bluegrass. Jim Miller comes from the jamband circuit, where he ruled for decades as a founding member of the much­loved band Donna The Buffalo. Throughout, the dancefloor was his temple, and he cribbed ideas from Louisiana Zydeco all the way to the The BandWestern Centuries’ debut album, Weight of the World, released by Free Dirt Records on June 3, 2016, introduces a band of roots music mavericks bringing refreshingly new ideas to their country roots.

Produced by Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses) and recorded in his Nashville studio, Weight of the World features powerful musicianship from all members, including special guests Rusty Blake (pedal steel), Rosie Newton (fiddle), and Dan Lowinger (bass). With songs that have been road-tested on actual dance floors throughout the Pacific Northwest, the bedrock of American honky-tonk on this album was hard­earned. The progressive, almost psychedelic nature of Weight of the World’s lyrics, however, infuses the 12­ track record with a distinctly modern sensibility. Sure, there’s plenty of country telecaster twang, but Western Centuries elevate these neo­traditional two­stepping tunes into transcendental, rootsy rock­‘n­roll­doused think­pieces. With each songwriter’s distinct approach, and the strict dictums of the dancefloor ruling the sound, Western Centuries deconstructs the world of country dance. But it’s also marked with a profound ingenuity – the type that feels instinctual rather than intentionally labored for, the kind that continues to flourish and snake into new realms as time wears on. This is just the beginning for Western Centuries, and it’s not likely their creative well is going to dry up any time soon.

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Will Call Episode #57.3: WordXWord / Lift Ev’ry Voice — until / UNTIL

until / UNTIL

WordXWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice collaborate in a poetic response to Nick Cave’s UNTIL

Nick Cave's "UNTIL" will be on display at MASS MoCA until September 4, 2017.
Nick Cave’s “UNTIL” will be on display at MASS MoCA until September 4, 2017.

 

Pittsfield, MA – WordXWord and the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival have collaborated to invite poets to participate in a performance response to artist Nick Cave’s massive installation – UNTIL – at MASS MoCA on July 14 at 7:30P. The performance is free (does not require Museum admission fee) and is open to all.

“When Nick Cave conceived UNTIL, he intended it to be more than an exhibition; his vision was a space that would serve as a platform for dialogue and expression.”

until / UNTIL is both a collective response and a dialogue featuring spoken word artists whose work spans a wide range of poetic styles. Participating poets include Curtis Asch, Alex Hicks, Ashley Wonder, Donna Motta, Stan Spencer, Epiphany Thomas, Tristan Alston, Seth Brown, Mariah Barber, Elizag, and Kori Alston.

“Cave’s UNTIL addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.”

Parents are cautioned that this program may contain material that raises more questions than it answers.

until / UNTIL
WordXWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice in poetic response to Nick Cave’s UNTIL
July 14, 7:30 p.m.
Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
Free

For more information about WordXWord, visit WordXWordFestival.com. For more information about Lift Ev’ry Voice, visit LiftEvryVoice.org

Signature Events / Lift Ev’ry Voice 2017

June 16, 8P

Carl Hancock Rux

Mass MoCa, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA

MASS MoCA presents Carl Hancock Rux spoken word and poetry created in response to Nick Cave’s expansive installation UNTIL. [Tickets: MassMoca.org]

June 17, 1P

Workshop with Carl Hancock Rux

Mass MoCa, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Mass MoCA present a poetry/spoken word workshop with Carl Hancock Rux. [Free. Pre registration required: LiftEvryVoice.org]

June 27 – 30

Camille A. Brown & Dancers Community Residency

Pittsfield, TBD

Jacob’s Pillow Dance presents a series of dance workshops and events for youth, teens, and adults with Camille A. Brown & Dancers. All experience levels welcome. [Free. JacobsPillow.org]

June 29, 3:30P

Camille A. Brown & Dancers Lecture Demonstration

Pittsfield, Location TBD

[Free. JacobsPillow.org]

July 14, 7:30P

until/UNTIL

Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA

Lift Ev’ry Voice in collaboration with the WordXWord Festival presents a multi-generational cast of poet/performers who will share work created in response to Nick Cave’s UNTIL. [Free. WordXWordFestival.com]

July 22,  10A – 6P

The Gather-In

Durant Park, Columbus Ave, Pittsfield, MA

Sponsored by the Berkshire Branch of the NAACP, In celebration of community, the Gather-In features activities for all ages, including games for children, musical performances, dance, food, a variety of vendors and informational booths, and a spirited a basketball tournament. [Free. NAACPBerkshires.org]

August 5, 5-8P

Struttin’ with Wanda Houston

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, 2 Plunkett St, Lenox, MA

The Mount plays host to Lift Ev’ry Voice in a celebration of community with the Wanda Houston Band. Enjoy delicious food from the Terrace Café and Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, available for purchase, or bring your own picnic. [Free. EdithWharton.org]

August 12, All Day
Lift Ev’ry Voice Day at Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Jacob’s Pillow Dance, 358 George Carter Rd, Becket, MA

Jacob’s Pillow Dance invites the Lift Ev’ry Voice community to spend a day and enjoy all that the Pillow has to offre. The day’s activities include free and ticketed performances, tour of the historic grounds, the opportunity to observe classes, picnic and more. [Free and TIcketed Events. JacobsPillow.org]

August 20, 3P

Walkin’ with LEV

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, 2 Plunkett St, Lenox, MA

Enjoy the SculprtureNow exhibition at the Mount as never before when Lift Ev’ry Voice takes you for medley of music, dance and poetic responses to the grounds and sculpture. [Free. EdithWharton.org]

August 25, 1-4P

Beaded Hope

Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, MA

In conjunction with Highland Free Day at Mass MoCA, Lift Ev’ry Voice presents a family-friendly beading making workshop with Marla Robertson. [Free.]

Schedule updates and additional events, including events presented by friends of the festival can be found on line at LiftEvryVoice.org.

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The history of the African-American community in the Berkshires stretches from the War of Independence, which dozens of blacks from this region fought in, to the present day’s diverse community, including the second African-American female astronaut, Stephanie Wilson. Famous Berkshire natives include such historic figures as the legendary writer and activist W.E.B DuBois; Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, the first American slave to successfully sue for her freedom; and the Reverend Samuel Harrison, who served as the chaplain to the legendary African-American 54th Regiment of western Massachusetts in the Civil War and successfully fought for and won equal pay for black soldiers. Lift Ev’ry Voice celebrates this rich tradition of the African-American community, arts and culture, history and heritage, while acknowledging the larger global context in which this community exists.

Will Call Episode #56: Amy Holzapfel on Gender, Transgender, and Breaking the Glass Grid

left to right: Alexis Soloski, Natalie Robin, Mandy Greenfield, Amy Holzapfel, Kristen Van Ginhoven, Helga Davis, and Basil Kreimendahl; graphic composed of submitted images, see individual entries for more information.
left to right: Alexis Soloski, Natalie Robin, Mandy Greenfield, Amy Holzapfel, Kristen Van Ginhoven, Helga Davis, and Basil Kreimendahl; graphic composed of submitted images, see individual entries for more information.

Breaking the Glass Grid: Gender and Transgender  Bias Across the Performing Arts Industry

left to right: Alexis Soloski, Natalie Robin, Mandy Greenfield, Amy Holzapfel, Kristen Van Ginhoven, Helga Davis, and Basil Kreimendahl; graphic composed of submitted images, see individual entries for more information.
left to right: Alexis Soloski, Natalie Robin, Mandy Greenfield, Amy Holzapfel, Kristen Van Ginhoven, Helga Davis, and Basil Kreimendahl; graphic composed of submitted images, see individual entries for more information.

This is Episode #56 of Will Call, here at the Greylock Glass, released Tuesday, February 28, 2017.  I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I hope you’ve been enjoying our opening music, “Dark Sky Day,” by pianist and composer Lisa Hilton. We’ll play more from Ms. Hilton later in the show. Well, we had a grand time covering the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival, with our unauthorized submission of 10 Micro-casts over the course of the event, didn’t we? Now, though, it’s time to focus our attention on North County, as we speak with Amy Holzapfel about a panel discussion being held on the Campus of Williams College as part of its “CenterSeries” on Thursday of this week:

Breaking the Glass Grid: Gender and Transgender Bias Across the Performing Arts Industry

Ms. Holzapfel will moderate this conversation among some of the most respected personalities of American theatre today. The evening is CERTAIN to unflinchingly dissect some of the most troubling aspects of gender disparity plaguing the arts. The glacial pace of withdrawal of white male dominance on both sides of the curtain, as well as in the board rooms and administrative offices, has given rise to increasingly frequent and vocal dialogue in recent years.

Hosted by the Williams Theatre Department, the event occurs March 2nd  at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance’s Adams Memorial Theatre, located at 1000 Main Street, in Williamstown, Mass. The event is free and open to the public, but due to the immense interest, the audience is advised to arrive early to secure a seat.

And now, let’s welcome to the show Amy Holzapfel, who manages to make contemplation of this weighty topic as refreshing as it is thought provoking.

Amy Holzapfel

Amy Holzapfel, Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre at Williams College; photo by Roman Iwasiwka.
Amy Holzapfel, Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre at Williams College; photo by Roman Iwasiwka.

Amy Holzapfel is Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre at Williams College, where she teaches courses in theatre history and literature, performance studies, and dramaturgy. She also serves as dramaturge on Theatre Department productions and on the advisory committees of the Departments of Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. Her principal research interests include: nineteenth-century theatre, theatre and visual art, dance-theatre, and contemporary performance. Her monograph, Art, Vision & Nineteenth-Century Realist Drama: Acts of Seeing (Routledge, 2014) explores how modern theories of vision in art and science impacted the rise of the realist movement in theatre. She has published articles in Contemporary Theatre Review, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, The Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism, Modern Drama, and Theater, as well as chapters in the anthologies Spatial Turns: Space, Place and Mobility in German Literary and Visual Culture (Rodopi 2010), The Oxford Handbook on Dance & Theatre (Oxford 2015), The Routledge Companion to Scenography (Routledge 2017), and August Strindberg & Visual Culture (Bloomsbury 2018). She is currently at work on two research projects: the first exploring the lost chorus in modern performance and the second theorizing a post-Recession genre of “subprime critique and performance.” She received her M.F.A. (2001) and D.F.A. (2006) in Dramaturgy & Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Award, a Hellman Fellowship, a Lehman Fellowship at the Oakley Center for the Humanities & Social Sciences, and a Research Fellowship from the American Society of Theatre Research, as well as two Honorable Mentions for her published essays.

Helga Davis

Helga Davis is not only a performer, but also a podcaster with 105.9 WXQR, New York Public Radio, where she hosts her own show, <em>Helga</em>; photo by Michal Hančovský.
Helga Davis is not only a performer, but also a podcaster at 105.9 WXQR, New York Public Radio, where she hosts her own show, Helga; photo by Michal Hančovský.

Helga Davis served as a principle actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Her appearance in You Us We All by Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) and Andrew Ondrejcak marked her fifth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Among the many works written for her are Faust’s Box, written and directed by acclaimed Italian contemporary music composer Andrea Liberovici; Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini, with libretto by Donna DiNovelli and video by Ali Houssani; Elsewhere by Missy Mazzoplli and Maya Beiser; and The Blue Planet, a multi-media theater piece written by Peter Greenaway and directed by Saskia Boddeke. She was also the co-star of The Temptation of St. Anthony directed by Robert Wilson, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Recently, Davis performed Yet Unheard by Courtney Bryan at Cooper Union, a work based on the poem by Sharan Strange and performed on the first anniversary of Bland’s death. Her work First Responder was conceived and performed at MassMoCA this fall after an invitation to respond to Nick Cave’s Until.

Mandy Greenfield

Mandy Greenfield, artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival; photo courtesy of Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Mandy Greenfield, artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival; photo courtesy of Williamstown Theatre Festival.

 

 

 

Mandy Greenfield is the Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival, one of the most influential American theater institutions for over six decades. In 2015, she expanded the New Play Development initiatives of WTF with the establishment of a New Play Commissioning Program and the creation of a Playwright-in-Residence position at the Festival.  Prior to joining WTF, Mandy served as Artistic Producer of Manhattan Theatre Club where she produced more than seventy-five world and American premiere plays and musicals both on and off Broadway. The plays she has commissioned, developed, selected and produced have garnered every major theatrical honor including the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, Lucile Lortel Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Obie Awards, and the Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre.  Mandy is a member of the Broadway League, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Drama League and The Relentless Award. She has been a judge and director of The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a graduate of Yale University.

Kristen Van Ginhoven, Founding Director WAM Theatre; photo courtesy WAM Theatre.
Kristen Van Ginhoven, Founding Director WAM Theatre; photo courtesy WAM Theatre.

Kristen Van Ginhoven

Kristen Van Ginhoven’s WAM Theatre credits include directing the New England Premiere of  “In Darfur” by Winter Miller (beneficiary: 13 Housemothers at the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Illovo, South Africa); Northeast Regional Premiere of “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight’ by Lauren Gunderson (beneficiary: The Rites of Passage and Empowerment for Girls Program); World Premiere of “The Old Mezzo’ by Susan Dworkin (beneficiary: Shout Out Loud Productions); ‘The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls’ by Martha Ross, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jennifer Brewin, Alisa Palmer and Leah Cherniak (beneficiary: Berkshire United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative);  ‘Melancholy Play’ by Sarah Ruhl (beneficiary: Women’s Fund of Western MA) and ‘The Last Standing Protestor’ by Lydia Styk for ‘A WAM Welcome’ (beneficiary: Women for Women International). She is a participant of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival of Canada, where she will assistant direct the 2015 production of “The Physicists”. Additional directing credits include “The Whale” (Adirondack Theatre Festival), “10×10 Festival” (Barrington Stage Company, 2013/2014), “The Cabbage Patch” (Majestic Theatre), “Petticoats of Steel”(Capital Repertory Theatre). Kristen has also directed at Sienna College, Emerson College and Cohoes Music Hall. Selected assistant directing: 42nd Street (Stratford Festival of Canada) Two Men of Florence (Huntington Theatre) Sleuth, Absurd Person Singular (Barrington Stage Company,). She is an associate member of the Society of Stage Director’s and Choreographers, a member of the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association (CAEA) and was a member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. As a theatre educator, Kristen has worked as an artist in residence and adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities, including Emerson College and Queen’s University. She is a freelance artist and consultant for ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association), an association devoted to international youth theatre education who hold events and festivals worldwide where young people, teachers and artists come together to explore theatre through intense collaboration. Kristen has a Masters in Theatre Education from Emerson College, where she received the Presidential Fellowship, a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. www.kristenvanginhoven.com

Alexis Soloski, theater critic; submitted photo.
Alexis Soloski, theater critic; submitted photo.

Alexis Soloski

Alexis Soloski is a theater critic for the New York Times and the Guardian and a contributor to the New Yorker. She formerly worked as the lead theater critic at the Village Voice and has served on the Obie Committee, the Drama Critics Circle, and the Pulitzer Prize Drama Jury. She is a lecturer in Literature Humanities at Columbia University, where she earned her doctorate in English and Comparative Literature, and has also taught at Barnard College. Her academic writing has appeared in Theater, Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, and Literature and Medicine, among others, and she has contributed a chapter to Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance from Routledge.

Basil Kreimendahl

Basil Kreimendahl’s play Sidewinders won the Rella Lossy Playwright’s Award and had its world premiere at The Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco. Orange Julius was developed at the 2012 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was included in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA new work series. Basil was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville for Remix 38 at the 2014 Humana Festival of New Plays. Basil’s plays have also been developed by New York Theatre Workshop, About Face Theatre, Inkwell, Rattlestick, WordBRIDGE, The LARK, and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Basil has been a Jerome Fellow and is a current McKnight fellow.

 

Basil Kreimendahl; submitted photo.
Basil Kreimendahl; submitted photo.

A recipient of an Arts Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for theatre work with the trans community in Louisville, Basil has taught playwriting to elementary, high school, and college students, founded and ran a playwrights group for queer youth in Louisville called Out On The Edge, and was the Provost’s Visiting Writer at the University of Iowa 2013/2014. Basil’s work has been published by Dramatic Publishing and was included in Xlibria’s Becoming: Young Ideas on Gender and Identity. The Cost of a Goat won a National Science Award at KCACTF in 2012. MFA University of Iowa, 2013.

Natalie Robin

Natalie Robin is a NY-based lighting designer whose design work focuses on new American plays, contemporary dance and site-specific work. Natalie has taught at New York University, Williams College, Brooklyn College, and the University of New Haven.  She has also been a guest designer and student mentor at several universities.

Natalie Robin; submitted photo.
Natalie Robin; submitted photo.

Currently, she is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Performance Design and Technology at Alfred University. Natalie is the Associate Producer of Polybe + Seats and an Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater. Natalie is a contributing writer for both Live Design and Stage Directions. BA: Columbia. MFA: NYU/Tisch. Member USA 829.

Lisa Hilton

Nineteen albums in, after working with the top-drawer jazz masters, like Antonio Sanchez, Christian McBride, Nasheet Waits, Sean Jones, and many others, Lisa Hilton strips her music down to the essentials and returns to the solo format with DAY & NIGHT, released just last month on the Ruby Slippers Productions label. Hilton was last heard in this setting with her acclaimed 2010 release, NUANCE, which All About Jazz said was “a recording that focuses and captures the exquisite subtleties of life”.

 

Lisa Hilton's 2017 "Day & Night" is a return to a solo landscape.
Lisa Hilton’s 2017 “Day & Night” is a return to a solo landscape.

Hilton is considered one of the most distinctive composers and pianists in jazz today, her compositions drawing on classical traditions, twentieth century modernists, and the avant-garde as much as they look back to icons of American jazz and blues. Hilton’s blues inflected trans-genre or poly-genre style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Horace Silver and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, minimalists like Steve Reich, current rockers Black Keys or modernists Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok.  Originally from a small town on California’s central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso.

In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the program, she became a music school drop out, switching majors and receiving a degree in art instead.  Ever since becoming a professional musician, this background in the fine arts has well informed Hilton’s composition process. “While Louis Armstrong was performing, Monet was painting water lilies and French composers like Debussy were using harmonic ‘impressionism’.  As a composer today, I explore music as art, building the composition with musical elements then ‘painting’ texture and color through various jazz approaches,” Hilton explains. “I might apply Seurat’s pointillism ideas to improvisation, creating new ways of expressing our life today.”

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Will Call Episode #55.10, BONUS: Feel the final beats of 10X10 at Dance 10

This episode is number 55.10, which means that it concludes our special coverage of the 10 X 10 Upstreet Arts Festival going on in Pittsfield lo these many days. We have had such a wonderful time, talking with great artists of all stripes. From Kate Abbott’s insightful and at times emotion-filled conversations to images we’ve been able to share to music contributed by performers in the festival, our scandalous and highly unauthorized entry into the event has been one of our finest projects here at the Greylock Glass. Thank you so much for tuning in.

dysFUNKcrew
dysFUNKcrew

We focus in this episode on Dance 10—an increasingly popular spectacle that wows audiences with the work of 10 dance companies on one stage. The event takes place Sunday, February 26, at 3:00 p.m. at Barrington Stage Company at 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, Mass.

We could only squeeze representatives from two of the troops into the episode, but I think you’ll enjoy the conversations immensely. First, we speak with Jamal Ahamad of dysFUNKcrew, a company originally comprised of a group of friends from MCLA who couldn’t escape the gravitational pull of the bonds they’d formed dancing together as undergrads.

Cantarella School of Dance
Cantarella School of Dance

 

Then, Deirdre Swindlehurst explains what’s in store from the Cantarella School of Dance, the official training institution to the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Both the school and Ballet have been artistic landmarks for decades, and have been first home to generations of young dancers, as well as beloved home to return to as instructors.

About Cantarella School of Dance

from the official website

The Cantarella School of Dance is known for its outstanding balanced dance curriculum. Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo founded the School of Dance in 1955 with the goal of providing personal attention and training for students and professional dancers. Graduates have gone on to dance with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow and the Pennsylvania, Ohio, Portland, and Washington Ballets. The School teaches the Cecchetti method of ballet developed by Enrico Cecchetti, world renowned teacher of the Ballet Russes and ballet master of Diaghilev Ballet Russes, who trained such dancers as Pavlova, Fokine, and Nijinsky. Among his proteges was English ballerina Margaret Craske who later taught at the Juilliard School and Jacob’s Pillow. From Miss Craske, Madeline Cantarella Culpo developed her technique.

At the Cantarella School, the welfare of our young dancers is paramount. The program provides inspiration and progressive physical development in a professional friendly atmosphere. Classes are offered at all levels and are held Monday through Saturday. Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Lyrical classes are offered to complement classical ballet training. Students at the Intermediate and Advanced levels are encouraged to take a minimum of two classes per week; discounted rates apply for those taking multiple classes.

It is the mission of our school to provide ballet training that is exact and disciplined, but with an atmosphere of accomplishment and fun. Ballet is the foundation of all forms of dance and will develop strength, poise, discipline and grace which enriches a students life. Whether you wish to attain professional perfection or you just want to keep moving and have fun, the Cantarella school of dance is the place to be. In addition to developing coordination, posture and strength, dancing develops self confidence.

Serious students are encouraged to audition for acceptance into the Academies of the School or the Junior Company of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. This comprehensive training program for advanced students is designed for those who want to commit more time to the art of dance. Classes accelerate talented students, exposing them to nationally known teachers in a preprofessional instructional setting. In addition, both the Academies and the Junior Company perform frequently throughout the Berkshires and in the Capital Region.

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Will Call Episode #55.9, BONUS: Laughter Is Art at the 10X10 Comedy Show!

The 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival returns to Dottie’s in 2017!

You’re listening to micro-episode 55.9, in which I have speak with very special guest Tom Attila Lewis about the 10X10 Comedy Show. Are you anxious to find out if I managed to keep this episode to ten minutes? Spoiler alert: I missed it by 200 percent. Oh well.

Tom was such an awesome guest with so many great insights on the event, comedy in the Berkshires, and the artform itself, that I had a feeling this would end up almost being a full-length show. So I won’t add any more to the overrun and instead I’ll launch us into our conversation with Tom Attila Lewis here on Will Call at the Greylock Glass.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
444 North Street, Pittsfield

Tickets for the show are $10 in advance at the Dottie’s service counter, wait until the day of the show and you will pay $15.

Dottie’s will again be offering amazing food and drinks, seating for a special dinner designed for the show begins at 7:00 p.m., but make sure you get there early so that you can reserve a good spot near the stage!

The headliner this year is Mike Lebovitz who has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” performed at the world-famous Just For Laughs Festival, and at festivals and venues across North America! Starting off our show with some musical entertainment during the dinner hour will be Ragliacci Rags. The show will also feature guest spots from Berkshire-based Alyssa Sequioa and Ryan Shea!

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Will Call Episode #55.8, BONUS: No FAKE Art Parties at 10X10! Just Real Ones.

"Country Road," by Robert Watroba; photo courtesy Berkshire Art Association
"Country Road," by Robert Watroba; photo courtesy Berkshire Art Association


We speak in this micro-cast with Danielle Steinmann, president of the Berkshire Art Association, and Sara Clement, a photographer who is one of the many artists who have contributed to this much anticipated tradition of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

"Stained Glass Windows," by Sara Clement; image courtesy Berkshire Art Association.
“Stained Glass Windows,” by Sara Clement; image courtesy Berkshire Art Association.

“Winter’s Wings,” by Julie Street; photo courtesy Berkshire Art Association.Berkshire Art Association is at it again! Artists from the Berkshires and beyond are contributing 10×10 inch original works of art to be given away for just $25 each during the 10×10 RAP (Real Art Party) at the Berkshire Museum on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

"Winter's Wings," by Julie Street; photo courtesy Berkshire Art Association.

A $25 ARTtix guarantees the buyer to a work of art to take home the night of the party. ARTtix may be purchased starting February 11th at the Berkshire Museum admissions desk through the night of the 10×10 RAP (or until tickets sell out).

The doors open at 6 pm and the drawing begins at 7pm sharp! Tickets will be chosen in a random order and the bearer will be able to choose any work of art that is still on the wall. Admission for the evening is free.

"Birdhouses," by Geoffrey Coelho; image courtesy Berkshire Art Association.
“Birdhouses,” by Geoffrey Coelho; image courtesy Berkshire Art Association.

The art show and party will benefit Berkshire County through BAA Fellowships for college art students, art field trip awards to Berkshire high school art departments, and free admission for art students to the Berkshire Museum.

The 10×10 RAP is a collaboration of the Berkshire Art Association, Storefront Artist Project and Berkshire Museum. The 10×10 RAP is being presented as part of the Pittsfield’s 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival coordinated by the City of Pittsfield’s Department of Cultural Development and sponsored by Berkshire Gas.

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Will Call Episode #55.7, BONUS: Danny Dollar, Millionaire Extraordinaire from Berkshire Theatre Group


This is a special bonus episode connected with our coverage of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival taking place in Pittsfield now through February 26. We’ll be airing 10 episodes running 10 minutes each throughout the duration of the Festival. To hear Kate Abbott’s overview of the events and interviews with a selection of this year’s participants, listen to Episode #55 of Will Call, which you can find right on our homepage at greylockglass.com

Danny Dollar, Millionaire Extraordinaire, will be playing throughout the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival at the Berkshire Museum; photo by Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware
Danny Dollar, Millionaire Extraordinaire, will be playing throughout the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival at the Berkshire Museum; photo by Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

Danny Dollar, Millionaire Extraordinaire, a presentation of the Berkshire Theatre Group Education Program, has been delighting audiences of all ages with its intensely original story, upbeat message, and uncompromising production values.

This offering within the 10X10 Festival is a double whammy of sorts, being based on the story by local author Ty Allan Jackson. Danny’s just an ordinary kid, who happens to have multiple odd jobs, visits the bank every week to deposit his earnings, and aspires to be a millionaire!

We speak with director Travis G. Daly about the story, the staging and about Berkshire Theatre Group’s education program and community theatre mission.

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Will Call Episode #55.6, BONUS: Berkshire Jazz Serves up 10 Flavours of Jazz at 10X10 Festival


This is a special bonus episode connected with our coverage of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival taking place in Pittsfield now through February 26. We’ll be airing 10 episodes running 10 minutes each throughout the duration of the Festival. To hear Kate Abbott’s overview of the events and interviews with a selection of this year’s participants, listen to Episode #55 of Will Call, which you can find right on our homepage at greylockglass.com

Atla and Matt DeChamplain will perform "10 Flavours of Jazz" February 25 at 8:00 p.m. at Flavors of Malaysia.
Atla and Matt DeChamplain will perform “10 Flavours of Jazz” February 25 at 8:00 p.m. at Flavors of Malaysia.

This micro-cast features Jazz duo Atla and Matt DeChamplain. Through a 10X10 presentation of Berkshire Jazz, the two will perform a collection of “10 Flavours of Jazz.” This melodic tour of “America’s music” takes place Saturday, February 25, at 8:00 p.m. at Flavours of Malaysia, 75 North Street, Pittsfield.

The story of their journey together, both musically and personally, is sweet to listen to, and, unsurprisingly, goes a long way toward explaining their remarkable ability to find sweet synthesis in song. Atla and Matt will be playing February 26

Be sure to check out the show notes at greylockglass.com for dazzling images and links to all the info we talked about in the show.

Limited seating, advance purchase strongly advised: $25 in advance ($30 at the door…if any still remain on the day of the event). Dinner available separately starting at 7:45pm, when the doors open for jazz.

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Will Call Episode #55.5, BONUS: Jacob’s Pillow Introduces Danza Orgánica to 10X10

Running In Stillness

Boston-based Danza Orgánica, a Boston-based Contemporary Dance Theater Company directed by choreographer Marsha Parrilla, will stage a free performance based on their project, “Running in Stillness,” on February 24 at the Boys and Girls Club; photo courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.
Boston-based Danza Orgánica, a Boston-based Contemporary Dance Theater Company directed by choreographer Marsha Parrilla, will stage a free performance based on their project, “Running in Stillness,” on February 24 at the Boys and Girls Club; photo courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.

On February 24, Danza Orgánica, a Boston-based Contemporary Dance Theater Company, will lead a free Dance for Social Justice Movement Workshop at the Boys and Girls Club and perform excerpts from their work, Running in Stillness.

To create this piece, director and choreographer Marsha Parrilla, who is a current Jacob’s Pillow Dance Creative Development Residency Artist, talked with women who have been incarcerated, or have had close family members incarcerated. We talked with her about creating the work.

The score to “Running in Stillness,” featured in this episode, was composed and performed by Shane Shanahan and Ricardo Gallo.

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Will Call Episode #55.4, BONUS: Tom Coash on “Raghead” at BSC for 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival

Veils Barrington Stage Company 2015 Photos by Kevin Sprague By Tom Coash Directed by Leah C. GardineCast:
Veils Barrington Stage Company 2015 Photos by Kevin Sprague By Tom Coash Directed by Leah C. GardineCast: Hend Ayoub – Samar Donnetta Lavinia Grays -Initsar Creative Team: Leah C. Gardiner – Director Becky Abramowitz – Directing Assistant Arnulfo Maldonado – Scenic/Costume Designer Michael Chybowski – Lighting Designer Matt Sherwin – Sound Designer/Original Music C. Andrew Bauer – Projection Designer Renee Lutz – Production Stage Manager Matthew Luppino – Assistant Stage Manager

Hend Ayoub and Donnetta Lavinia Grays in “Veils, written by Tom Coash and directed by Leah C. Gardiner,” at Barrington Stage Company, October 2015; photo by Kevin Sprague
Hend Ayoub and Donnetta Lavinia Grays in “Veils, written by Tom Coash and directed by Leah C. Gardiner,” at Barrington Stage Company, October 2015; photo by Kevin Sprague

Tom Coash’s full-length play, “Veils,” set in Cairo at the beginning of the Arab Spring, played at Barrington Stage in the fall of 2015. He says an experience from “Veils” inspired him to write the shorter work that appears in this year’s 10×10 Festival. He talked with us about both plays and what he has learned in writing them.

Tom Coash, author of “Veils” and “Rag Head”
Tom Coash, author of “Veils” and “Rag Head”

 

 

You should definitely also check out our conversation in Will Call, #18, with playwright Tom Coash and director by Leah C. Gardiner,” from the play’s 2015 run at Barrington Stage Company.

 

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Will Call Episode #55.3, BONUS: WordXWord Lends 10 New Voices to 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival

WordXWord presents "Ten New Voices," a curated evening of poetry, as their entry into the 10X10 Festival.
WordXWord presents “Ten New Voices,” a curated evening of poetry, as their entry into the 10X10 Festival.

This is a special bonus episode connected with our coverage of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival taking place in Pittsfield now through February 26. We’ll be airing 10 episodes running 10 minutes each throughout the duration of the Festival.

10 New Voices
February 20, at 7:00 p.m.
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street, Pittsfield, Mass.
Cost: FREE

To hear Kate Abbott’s overview of the events and interviews with a selection of this year’s participants, listen to Episode #55 of Will Call, which you can find right on our homepage.

On Monday, February 20, at 7:00 p.m., WordxWord will present 10 New Voices, a free program of poetry and spoken word guest-curated by poets Doni Smith, Jadesola James and Sage, at the Berkshire Museum. We talked with all three poets as they planned the event.

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Will Call Episode #55.2, BONUS: The BIFF Screens Ten Short Films Long on Artistry with Lauren Ferin

"Joe's Violin," directed by Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen, with music composed by Gary Meister, earned a 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject, will be screened by the Berkshire International Film Festival along with nine other shorts during the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival at the Beacon Cinema on February, 19th.
Joe’s Violin,” directed by Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen, with music composed by Gary Meister, earned a 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject, will be screened by the Berkshire International Film Festival along with nine other shorts during the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival at the Beacon Cinema on February, 19th.
"Tattoo You," a film about bullying written and produced by Lisa Kenner Grissom, and directed by S.R. Bindler.
Tattoo You,” a film about bullying written and produced by Lisa Kenner Grissom, and directed by S.R. Bindler.

Bacon & God’s Wrath – excerpt from sol friedman on Vimeo.

This is a special bonus episode connected with our coverage of the 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival taking place in Pittsfield now through February 26. We’ll be airing 10 episodes running 10 minutes each throughout the duration of the Festival. To hear Kate Abbott’s overview of the events and interviews with a selection of this year’s participants, listen to Episode #55 of Will Call, which you can find right on our homepage.

Best of Shorts at the 6th Annual 10×10
February 19, 2017; 2:30 p.m.–11:00 p.m.
Beacon Cinema, 57 North Steet, Pittsfield, Mass.
Cost: FREE

This micro-cast features Lauren Ferin, executive assistant at the Berkshire International Film Festival. Lauren describes a little bit of the BIFF philosophy on cinema and explains why the organization finds the community connection with film, and filmmakers so important. The BIFF will be screening ten short films on Sunday, February 19th at the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield. The event is free, so be sure to grab a seat early.

Be sure to check out the show notes at greylockglass.com for dazzling images and links to all the info we talked about in the show.

Bacon & God’s Wrath – excerpt from sol friedman on Vimeo.

From the BIFF’s site:

The Berkshire International Film Festival

“The BIFF” is a world-class festival that is an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires. BIFF showcases not only the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films but also lively panel discussions and special events focusing on filmmakers and talented artists from both sides of the camera.

Join the BIFF in celebrating the best in short films and passion for our community by attending the 6th Annual 10×10 UpStreet Winter Arts Festival February 16-26, 2017.

BIFF is collaborating with the Beacon Cinema and Cultural Pittsfield to present a fun and fantastic array of some of the best shorts from its 10th Anniversary Festival.

These screenings are FREE and open to the public.

In "Six Letter Word," written and directed by, Lisanne Sartor, an unlikely mother is forced to confront her young son’s autism after an unlikely encounter with one of her johns.
In “Six Letter Word,” written and directed by, Lisanne Sartor, an unlikely mother is forced to confront her young son’s autism after an unlikely encounter with one of her johns.

The wonderful shorts that will be featured:

JANUARY – Craip Pospisil, 9 min
SIX LETTER WORD – Lisanne Sartor, 16 min
EWE TOPIA – Ben Hillman
BACON & GOD’S WRATH – Sol Friedman
JOE’S VIOLIN – Kahane Cooperman
OASIS – Aidan Kahn
TATTOO YOU – Lisa Kenner Grissom
GOODBYE ALAN – John Whalan, Black Ice MASS Media

Running Time is approximately 96 minutes

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