Culture to Do: May 10, 2023
An Evening with David Sedaris
Academy of Music, Northampton
Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m.
Exclusive NEPM Presale through May 18 with code NEPMLOVE
David Sedaris, author of the previous bestsellers Calypso, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and regular NPR contributor will be live on stage for one night only, following the release of his newest book Happy Go Lucky. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. Sedaris will be offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and book signing.
Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13
I know that we Culture to Do-ers love our local festivals. This one celebrates diasporic musical creativity with Afrobeat, rumba, merengue, joropo and more. The two-day, building-wide event runs the full length of Bombyx with Neftali Duran’s Oaxacan cooking, hyperlocal beers and ciders crafted by Florence-based brewers, Spin That! Records’ record fair on Saturday, and lots of workshops. This is going to be a totally immersive experience. My recommendation: go all in with the festival pass!
MillWorks Makers & Art Market
The Mill at Shelburne Falls
Friday, May 12 from 5 –8 p.m.
Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Set atop a bank overlooking the Deerfield River and the historic potholes, the Millworks complex is a series of interconnected buildings with gardens and grassy lawns, serving the local community with studio, workshop, and rental spaces. Friday night’s indoor event at the Grinding and Polishing Building features open studios for Mill resident makers, artists and some special guest artisans. On Saturday, there’ll be a big outdoor market. A free shuttle will circle through the village from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with stops at the Mill and other downtown Shelburne Falls locations. I’ll bet that the Bridge of Flowers is off to a good start!
Easthampton Film Festival
Friday, May 12 – Sunday, May 26
The Easthampton Film Festival showcases the work of independent filmmakers from around the world, with a particular focus on fostering local talent. This year’s schedule is full of gems that will be presented all over Easthampton — at Abandoned Building Brewery, E∙Media in Eastworks, Marigold Theater, New City Brewery, and Luthier’s Co-op.
Pioneer Valley Symphony & Chorus
Mozart's Mass in C Minor
Greenfield High School Auditorium
Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m.
The final concert in the Pioneer Valley Symphony’s 84th season opens with the overture to Coleridge-Taylor’s Song of Hiawatha, a work that was immensely popular at the turn of the 20th century but has been rarely performed for nearly 100 years. Then, Mozart’s exquisite Mass in C Minor, in the 240th anniversary year of its premiere, featuring complex harmonies sung by the PVS Chorus and a quartet of world-class vocal soloists. Arrive early for the pre-concert talk at 6 p.m. with musicologist David Schneider.
The Drake, Amherst
Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m.
In an age when the shelf life of an artist seems to depend on posturing and trends, Lee Fields has proven to be an unassailable force of nature. His prolific, decade-spanning career continues to reign supreme on the modern soul scene. In addition to twenty albums and over forty singles, he has taken the stage at almost every major festival and relevant venue on the planet, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, Carnegie Hall, the Olympia in Paris, and the Paradiso in Amsterdam. So glad that he’s coming here.
World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast
Saturday, May 13 from 8 – 11 a.m.
I used to wonder: is this the world’s largest pancake, or the world’s largest pancake breakfast? With an insanely long string of tables going down the middle of Main Street from Tower Square to Court Square, it’s the latter. In addition to pancakes, bacon, juice and coffee there’s lots of live entertainment, exhibits, and activities. You don’t want to miss the Sci-Tech band!
Annual Poetry Walk 2023
Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst
Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
In honor of the 137th anniversary of the poet’s death, join the Emily Dickinson Museum for an engaging poetry walk through Amherst, the town she called “paradise.” Each stop represents a meaningful place for Dickinson including her garden at the Homestead, The Evergreens the town common, and more. Walk at your own pace then head to Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery at noon to share final poems and a light-hearted toast which includes a live performance by the Amherst College Glee Club of “I Sing to Use the Waiting”– a Dickinson choral setting by composer Paul Salerni. Registration for this program is free or by donation, but it is required in advance.
Berkshire Bach Society
James Bagwell Conducts Bach and Vivaldi
The First Congregational Church, Great Barrington
Saturday, May 13 at 4 p.m.
Head to Great Barrington for a performance of beloved Baroque choral masterpieces conducted by James Bagwell — Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Bach’s Cantata No. 4, Christ lag in Todesbanden and Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater.
Performance Project: Mother Tongue
United Congregational Church of Holyoke
Saturday, May 13 at 6 p.m.
Developed by members of First Generation, the amazing intergenerational arts and youth leadership organization based in Springfield, “Mother Tongue” is inspired by family stories and events from Congo/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, South Sudan, Holyoke, and Springfield. The performance incorporates movement, music, dance, and weaves together stories in Arabic, Swahili, Nepali, and English to personally address issues of culture, identity, diaspora, masculinity, xenophobia, racism and revolution, among others.
New England Repertory Orchestra: Banishing Grief
Saturday, May 13 at 6 p.m.
Shea Theater, Turners Falls
The New England Repertory Orchestra (NERO) was founded during the global upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the mission to champion the voices of diverse composers and performers. This concert presents the world premiere of Felix Jarrar’s Symphony No. 1, “Banishing Grief” with soloists soprano Maria Brea and tenor Gabriel Enrique Hernandez, followed Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. With these two pieces, NERO celebrates the victory of the human spirit against oppression.
Springfield Symphony Orchestra: Beauty Amid Chaos
Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Theodore Kuchar conducts the final concert of the SSO season. Since shortly after the demise of the former Soviet Union to the present day, he has served as the Principal Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra. The program includes Antonín Dvořák’s Carnival Overture, Thomas de Hartmann’s Cello Concerto with soloist Matt Haimovitz, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.
60 Years of Collecting
The University Museum of Contemporary Art, UMass
Exhibit closes Sunday, May 14
We have a few more days to see the remarkable 60th anniversary exhibit of the UMCA’s permanent art collection. See the work of 115 artists whose works are drawn from more than 3,600 prints, drawings, photographs, and multiples — from masters of mid- and late 20th-century art to work by the leading artists of our time, including Butterfly Girl by Imo Nse Imeh, pictured above. Also be sure to see “Masculine Identities: Filling in the Blanks,” which also closes on May 14. This museum is an important local arts resource and a hidden gem.
The Wild Honey Collective
Marigold Theater, Easthampton
Wednesday, May 17 at 8 p.m.
The Wild Honey Collective formed in the summer of 2020 to perform original songs and traditional American folk music. Singers and songwriters Tommy McCord, Danielle Gyger, Timmy Rodriguez, and Dan O’Brien, joined shortly thereafter by pedal steel guitarist Adam Aymor, launched the project in rural Michigan as a back porch acoustic gathering purely for the love of music in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.