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Will Call #71: Jennifer Trainer on Museum Town

Aerial view of the MASS MoCA campus; still from Museum Town; image courtesy the filmmaker.

Museum Town tells the story of MASS MoCA, arguably the United States’ most expansive contemporary art space, but it does a lot more besides. This flick situates the museum within the various contexts of history, culture, and economic development.

Aerial view of the MASS MoCA campus; still from Museum Town; image courtesy the filmmaker.

The Brisket, Egg & Cheese is the best breakfast sandwich in town—also the stealthiest.

The unadvertised Brisket, Egg & cheese sandwich is legendary, and not just because it's a limited edition; photo by Jason Velázquez.

I bristle at breakfast sandwiches over $5, so I was initially skeptical about a sandwich that was JUST egg and cheese, with an invitation to add a slab of brisket or a sausage patty for another $2.

The unadvertised Brisket, Egg & cheese sandwich is legendary, and not just because it's a limited edition; photo by Jason Velázquez.

He Said, He Said: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at MASS MoCA

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been around for 45 years and performed in over 600 cities and towns, Kinda makes them a thing², right? image courtesy the company.

The dance world has been slow to let go of certain stereotypes. Chief among them might just be that men shouldn’t dance en pointe, and that romantic love is best expressed by men and women dancing together.

Which is one of the reasons that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the 45-year-old, New York City–based company of men in tights (and really, really large pointe shoes) has always been such a blast of fresh air. Not only are they game to get tarted up to play, often hilariously, all the women’s roles in classic ballets, but they also demonstrate serious dance chops that rouse the audience to standing ovation.…

No excuse to stay home this weekend!

MCLA, Gallery 51, Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction, Kathline Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sarah Sutro, Image: Painting by Kathline Carr.

As you head into the weekend, do not be sequestered in your house. Northern Berkshires and the Bennington, VT area are inundated with free events that include family and child friendly events. Don’t forget Project Snowshoe at the Clark Art Institute. Borrow a pair of snowshoes and investigate 140+ acres of incredible landscape on easy hiking trails behind the Clark Art Institute.

Sara Farrell OkamuraSara Farrell Okamura, a resident of North Adams, is an artist, arts educator, and writer.…

staring at the sun, Rafa Esparza

Detail: "Border Wash," by Rafa Esparza; a Mexican immigrant laborers sprayed with DDT at processing center in Hildago, Texas - After Leonard Nadel, 1956, 2019; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.

...the spray blasting towards the worker gives the sense of bleaching or obliterating his brown skin, much in the way museums and cultural institutions have, for centuries, erased race and gender identity from their walls.

Bask in Arts and Outdoors this week in Northern Berkshires

Winter trails on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute are open for the exploring; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.

It is the end of January. The sky is an opaque slate grey. Temperatures are sinking into minus territory, not counting wind chill factor. What should you do to fight mid-winter inertia? Go out! There are lots of amazing activities to do in Northern Berkshires from snowshoeing at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown to free day at MASS MoCA in North Adams to exhibits that just opened this month. Check the notices below; you will begin to see the light.…

Time is running out!
Don’t be left out in the cold!


Don’t Be Embarrassed! But…

Michael Himbeault [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

All good exhibits and productions have to end sometime. Maybe they’re going on tour to spread wonder and admiration across the country or the world (either objects of art or thespians). Maybe they’re being crated up and shipped back to from wherever they were on loan (More the art than the performers). Maybe they’re being returned to captivity in a private collection after enjoying a brief public outing (we really hope we’re talking about just the artwork, here…)

No matter the reason, when that show closing date starts drawing near, you’d best be making excuses for lots of other things in your life that you’re going to have to beg off.…

Vessels for Change

Amrita Lash imbues a newborn mug with character; image courtesty Stephanie Boyd.

52 Artists – 100 Mugs – 1 Cause
Area artists rally to support the Berkshire Immigrant Center
BERKSHIRES, Mass.—In October, more than 50 area artists are joining their creative forces to make 100 hand-painted ceramic mugs in support of the Berkshire Immigrant Center.  The project, Vessels for Change, will culminate in a celebration at Bright Ideas Brewing on the MASS MoCA campus in North Adams on Wednesday, November 15 from 7-9 pm.
For a $100 donation to the Berkshire Immigrant Center donors will receive a one-of-a-kind handmade mug, locally brewed beer, and a celebration.…

Gabriel Kahane: Book of Travelers

Gabriel Kahane; photo by Josh Goleman.

Freight Train, Freight Train
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Brooklyn composer Gabriel Kahane visited MASS MoCA in 2013, on the eve of his major label debut The Ambassador. Now he returns on Friday, October 20, at 8pm, to stage an intimate, work-in-progress song cycle, solo at the piano, based on his recent two-week Amtrak journey around the country.
Composer, musician, and vocalist Kahane has quietly become one of the leading voices in American music today. “A star of the new-music scene” (The Los Angeles Times), Kahane resists traditional definitions by composing from a seemingly endless reserve of strategies.…

Will Call Episode #58: Bang on a Can, Story Slam & DownStreet Art
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Spirit and Song tie both this episode and much of the creative community.
This is Will Call, #58—I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I thank you for tuning in. This episode is sponsored by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which presents the brand new musical, “A Legendary Romance,” August 3rd through the 20th on the Main Stage. Tickets available at…

Will Call Episode #57.3: WordXWord / Lift Ev’ry Voice — until / UNTIL
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until / UNTIL
WordXWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice collaborate in a poetic response to Nick Cave’s UNTIL
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.…

Will Call #54: Standing Together Against Othering in the Berkshires

"Kylie Jenner," by Merudjina Normil; submitted photo.

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In the wake of the November election, people across the country have seen fear and anger and exclusion become part of a national public conversation. Many people are sharing the experience of feeling that they do not belong in their familiar places. It’s called othering — making someone feel pushed to the edges, unwanted or different. It can happen in daily meetings and conversations, at work, at school, even at home.…

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