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Culture to Do: Jan. 25, 2023

The 19th Annual Penguin Plunge will be held at Hampton Ponds State Park in Westfield on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Cross Country Skiing at Notchview in Windsor
With over 3,000 acres of scenic forest and open meadow, Notchview offers an idyllic escape for winter sport enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, 17 kilometers of trails are groomed and track-set for classical cross-country skiing and 10 kilometers are groomed for skate skiing. Young skiers can enjoy the sheltered Kinderloop, and there’s separate groomed trail system for skiing with dogs. You can also snowshoe on newly-dedicated trails or go off track and explore the backcountry on either skis or snowshoes. Notchview is a property of The Trustees of Reservations.

19th Annual Penguin Plunge
Hampton Ponds State Park, Westfield
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 12 p.m.
A benefit for the Amelia Park Children’s Museum, the Penguin Plunge is tons of fun even if (or perhaps particularly when) you are not going in the water. You can roast a marshmallow by the campfire, watch a live ice sculpting demonstration, enjoy warm beverages and hot chili, guess the water temperature, and win a prize, and, of course, cheer on the brave participants! Looks like the plunging starts at around 1 p.m.

Winter Snowshoe Walk
Bidwell House Museum, Monterey
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.
Join Rob Hoogs for an invigorating guided snowshoe walk on the Museum grounds. There are 6 miles of trails at the Museum, all of them accessible in the winter. With leaves off the trees and (hopefully) snow on the ground, you will see the trails in a whole new light and might see evidence of the animals who make their home in the Bidwell woods. If there is no snow on the ground, it will be a guided hike instead. Registration is required for this free event.

Dustbowl Revival
The Drake, Amherst
Thursday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.
Dustbowl Revival has always been about pushing the boundaries of what American roots music can be. After spending years on the road, selling out hometown shows at LA’s famed Troubadour, headlining festivals and wowing crowds from Denmark to China, Dustbowl Revival never stopped making their joyful, booty-shaking soul songs and cut-to-heart folk-rock ballads that lift up their transcendent live shows.

Social Fabric: A Community Rugmaking Project
Rug Auction and Closing Reception
Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, Florence
Friday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.
Throughout December, rug artisan Jo Hesse has been co-creating a large and extremely colorful felt rug with members of the community. The collaborative aspect is what Jo finds most exciting about her work, where creativity, physical activity, and resources are shared. Melissa Ferrick, who recently played a show at Bombyx and fell in love with the project, has volunteered to emcee the auction. All proceeds will be donated to The Food Bank of Western Mass.

Michael Nix: Album Release Concert with Chris Devine
Hawk’s & Reed, Greenfield
Friday, Jan 27 at 7:30 p.m.
I met Michael Nix many years ago at Artspace in Greenfield where he was teaching guitar and I was teaching voice. Later, he joined us at WGBY for a live memorial celebration broadcast in honor of Pete Seeger. He went on to design the Banjar — a modern seven nylon-string banjo combining elements of the five-string banjo and classical guitar, bringing the classic finger-style banjo of the late 1800s into the 21st century. Now he’s releasing his New Classic Banjo Project solo album of compositions and commissions for 7 string Banjar on PARMA Recordings Big Round Records distributed by NAXOS (a prestigious label for sure). Congrats, Michael!

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
The Academy of Music, Northampton
Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters have quietly become an American institution following three and a half decades of writing, recording, and touring. After countless sold out shows in amphitheaters, earning the endorsement of everyone from Robert Plant to The Denver Broncos, and tallying tens of millions of streams, Big Head Todd and The Monsters cite the friendships formed in the crowd among their proudest accomplishments. Sample their style.

MASS MoCA Free Day 2023
North Adams
Saturday, Jan. 28
Free for all who walk through their doors, MASS MoCA’s annual community celebration rocks the galleries with live music, pop-up performances, take-home art projects, and tons more.

Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival
The Brattleboro Music Center
Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29
The Brattleboro Music Center hosts the 16th annual Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29. Now a cornerstone of the traditional music calendar in New England, the festival offers a unique showcase of a variety of northern musical traditions including Irish, Scottish, English, French Canadian, Shetland, and Welsh. There are workshops in the afternoons and a concert on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.

New/Now: Contemporary Art Acquisitions
Springfield Museums
Opens Saturday, Jan. 28
Contemporary art is, simply put, the art of our time. New/Now highlights works created between 1996 and 2020 that have been added to the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts’ permanent collection in the last two years. The exceptional prints, paintings, and mixed media works speak to the varied experiences of their makers, reflect the current moment, and support the Museums’ goal of diversifying the collection.

The Clark: Concerts at Conforti
Saturday, Jan. 28
American Modern Opera Company—Away from Home at 3 p.m.
Sam Prekop and Greg Davis—An Evening of Electronic Music at 7 p.m.
The Clark presents Concerts at the Conforti, kicking off with two concerts on January 28 — an afternoon performance of new classical music followed by an evening show of electronic music. Both concerts overrun the boundaries of categorization and celebrate the act of listening. One ticket for both concerts!

Finding the Words: An Original Documentary Film
Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.
Finding the Words: the Story of Voices from Inside is about the creativity, joy, and resilience of women in western Massachusetts, who overcome adversity through writing. The film will bring you inside the Franklin County jail, into the homes of formerly incarcerated women, and into their local community centers and theaters so that you can hear their stories firsthand.

Espejos: Clean
Hartford Stage
Through Feb. 5
In this groundbreaking bilingual tour de force by Christine Quintana, two worlds collide one evening at a high-end resort in Mexico, igniting a series of misunderstandings, miscalculations, and internal reckonings. Told entirely in English and Spanish — with respective supertitles — Espejos: Clean offers an eye-opening story of unlikely and meaningful connection.

NPR Best Music of 2022
Here’s what the folks at NPR Music say about curating the music of 2022, “Being a music fan right now can feel like inhabiting a whole enormous, thriving, chaotic world that's embedded within a metaverse of other enormous, thriving, chaotic worlds you didn't even know existed. Even for the most industrious listeners, the amount of music released every day (EVERY. DAY.) is overwhelming, no less so when you attempt to look back over a whole calendar year. Who could keep up? But there's another way to consider the state of new music: Such abundance makes for a spectacular party.”