Weekend Cultural Highlights, March 19-21, 2010


Music fans have a tough decision to make between two great groups on Friday night in Southern Berkshire.
Over at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket, Mass., Girls in Trouble holds forth for the evening. The project is the brainchild of Alicia Jo Rabins, most familiar to Berkshire audiences as a founding member of folk supergroup The Mammals and for her essential role as violinist for the acclaimed klezmer-rock band, Golem.
Girls in Trouble finds Rabins out front as a singer-songwriter-guitarist, playing original indie-rock songs based on some of the darker Bible stories about women. Each song is from the perspective of a different character in a difficult situation: alone with the enemy general; stricken with leprosy; or on top of a mountain, about to be sacrificed by her father. Rabins is a compelling vocalist and frontwoman, sort of a cross between Liz Phair and Camille Paglia.
Other members of Girls in Trouble include organist Jascha Hoffman, drummer Tim Monagham (also of Golem) and upright bassist Aaron Hartman (of Old Time Relijun.)
Meanwhile, tonight at The Well in Great Barrington, Mass., Bella’s Bartok, a self-described acoustic Gypsy-punk circus band, performs. The group is full of Eastern European brass-band energy spunk, and is very entertaining.
The Well, Friday, 9:30
312 Main Street
Great Barrington, Mass.
Close Encounters With Music celebrates the romantic side of composer Johann Sebastian Bach in a concert at 6 on Saturday at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass., featuring violinist Cordelia Hagmann, pianist James Tocco, and cellist and CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani.
The trio will perform works by Bach that were reimagined by masters of the Romantic Era who wrestled with Bach’s revolutionary legacy. Brahms, Liszt, and Busoni, each paid homage to their artistic forebear through arrangements for the piano, the instrument of choice in their own time (during Bach’s time, of course, it was the harpsichord).
Busoni, the tireless transcriber of Bach’s works, is represented by two Organ-Chorale Preludes, Liszt by an organ Fantasy and Fugue, and Brahms by his brilliant arrangement of the violin Chaconne for left-hand piano. 
The program also includes Bach played straight in the Violin Sonata No. 3 and the third Suite for Solo Cello, and concludes with the premiere of a neo-Baroque chamber work composed by Jonathan Keren, commissioned by Close Encounters for this event.
Close Encounters continues its traditions of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts.
Tickets, $35 or $25 for adults and $10 for students, are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, , through Close Encounters With Music at or by emailing . Please visit our website at Close Encounters With Music.
On Sunday at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s celebrated Ailey II company performs at 3, in a program including include Echoes, Essence, Proximity, and Divining,by company artistic director Judith Jamison, a ritualized ballet set to a score that incorporates North African, Central African and Latin rhythms.. Essence is a female solo choreographed by Christopher Huggins to the John Cage composition, In a Landscape. Proximity is a contemporary ballet that blends Brazilian folkoric, ballet, and West African techniques.
The Ailey II company, an outgrowth of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, draws upon the best emerging dancers and choreographers in African-American dance.
The Aglet Theatre Company brings its production of Daisy in the Dreamtimeby Lynne Kaufman to Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Mass., on Saturday. The play is based on the true story of Daisy Bates, a transplanted Dubliner who in the 1920's committed herself to protecting the Australian aboriginal culture against the encroaching power of a strong-willed missionary, the railroad, and western civilization.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses continues its two-month run at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. The production of Christopher Hampton’s wickedly entertaining story of love, indulgence, betrayal and corruption, is carried on the estimable shoulders of Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Josh McCabe. As one has come to expect from Shakespeare & Company, the set by Carl Sprague and costumes by Govane Lohbauer receive almost equal billing to the work of the ensemble of actors.
Curtain times are 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays (plus 2pm matinees every Saturday) and 2pm on Sundays.
On Saturday night, two bands perform at Jiminy Peak's Christiansen's Tavern. Up first is T-Bone Daddy, featuring Tyler Fairbank on vocals and guitar, Paul Cowan on bass, and Lou Perrault on drums and vocals. T-Bone Daddy is followed by Poor Becket Rebels., featuring Luke Bates, Eric Esko, Dan Esko, and  Derrick Rodgers. There is no cover charge for the event.
On Sunday, March 21, at 4, award-winning music critic Seth Rogovoy will discuss his just-published book Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet as part of the Lenox Library's Distinguished Lecture Series. Rogovoy, editor-in-chief of Berkshire Living and BerkshireDaily, will present examples of Dylan songs in a fascinating new context. The event is free and includes live music and a booksigning.


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