Culture to Do: May 24, 2023
Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can)
Presented by MIFA Victory Theatre and NEPM
Pratt Hall, Mount Holyoke College
Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Get 20% off tickets with promo code NEPMLOVE
Following up on the groundbreaking “El Puerto Rico” project, which commissioned, performed and recorded new classical chamber music by Puerto Rican composers, Music Director Tianhui Ng and the MIFA Victory Players will explore Mexico during its 2023 residency. Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can) will feature premieres of compositions by composers J. Andrés Ballesteros, Cody Criswell-Badillo, Marina López, Felipe Pérez Santiago, Jorge Sosa, and Leaha Maria Villarreal. Rehearsals start on May 29, in-school student workshops in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield Schools will follow, and the premiere concert will be held at Pratt on June 10. NEPM Culture to Do subscribers receive 20% off ticket purchases with promo code NEPMLOVE.
Check out the irresistible music lineup at the The NEPM Asparagus Festival
Hadley Town Common
Saturday, June 3
Poor Monroe, gets the afternoon going at 2:30 p.m. Drawing from distinct musical paths, this energetic group of seasoned players brings a unique approach to their performances, delivering unmistakably tight vocal harmonies and scorching tempos that form the benchmark of the bluegrass genre.
Then, at 4 p.m. it’s The Wolff Sisters. Raised on Bob Dylan, The Band, and Little Feat, the three sisters crafted their sound around a honky tonk piano in the living room of their childhood home. Their music is honest and genre defying, but still rooted in traditional rock and Americana storytelling.
The Soul Magnetstake the Rooted in the Valley Stage at 5:30 p.m. This horn-heavy 9-piece ensemble, plays a mix of old-school, funk and neo-soul originals, deep covers, and dancefloor favorites. NEPM Fabulous 413 co-host Kaliis Smith is the lead vocalist!
The School for Contemporary Dance & Thought
EXCHANGE the Teen Performance Festival
The Academy of Music, Northampton
Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Providing spaces for young artists to share their stories and develop and collaborative skills, the EXCHANGE will engage local teens over an 18-month project that will offer workshops on skill building around all aspects of performance art, foster diversity, and platform the teen creative voice. “Big Time,” the Thursday event, features Hatchery, SCDT’s pre-professional dance company. The Friday event will include presentations by PVPA, The Performance Project, The Williston Northampton School and others.
Katharine Beutner signing ‘Killingly: A Novel’
Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley
Friday, May 26, from 4 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 pm and from 2 – 4 p.m.
Massachusetts, 1897: Bertha Mellish, “the most peculiar, quiet, reserved girl” at Mount Holyoke College, is missing. Where did Bertha go? Who would want to hurt her? And could she still be alive? Edmund White Award–winning author Katharine Beutner takes a real-life unsolved mystery and crafts it into an unforgettable historical portrait of academia, family trauma, and the risks faced by women who dared to pursue unconventional paths at the end of the 19th century.
Food Truck Friday Kick-off
Abandoned Building Brewery, Easthampton
Friday, May 26 from 5 – 9 p.m.
It’s the opening of Food Truck Friday season. Sun Kim Bop, Holyoke Hummus, Local Burger, Thai Chili, and Vibesman Jerk Shack will be pulling up into the Abandoned Building parking lot. There will be live music from Lunar Carnival from 6 – 8:30 p.m. You can bike there; it’s right off the Manhan Rail Trail.
Ken Ludwig's Dear Jack, Dear Louise
Shakespeare & Company, Lenox
Friday, May 26 – July 30
Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig's Dear Jack, Dear Louise tells the story of two strangers introduced through letters, kept apart by war, and drawn together through shared stories of their lives, hopes, and fears. It’s comedic and touching look at life in 1942 complete with nods to music, theater, and literature. And it was inspired by the World War II courtship of Ludwig’s parents.
Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
The music of pianist Harold López-Nussa reflects the full range and richness of his Cuban heritage, with its combustible blend of Afro-Cuban, modern jazz, classical, folk, and pop, and a daring embrace of improvisation. His tight-knit quartet will captivate you with their confidence, talent, and enthusiasm for music that bridges generations and genres.
Eric Lee & A New Sun
The Drake, Amherst
Friday, May 26 at 8 p.m.
Eric Lee is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose stand-alone melodies are set to rich musical backdrops. His songs range from tales of honkey-tonk heartache to anthems of social consciousness, and are told with a language of raw honesty. A New Sun is made up of the exceptional musical talents of Sean Davis (guitar), Tim Bowles (pedal steel), Josh Ballard (bass), and Chris Boucher (banjo).
Molly of Denali: An Alaskan Adventure
Opens Saturday, May 27
Explore Alaska by way of this interactive exhibit that brings the acclaimed PBS KIDS series Molly of Denali to life! The exhibit showcases Alaska and Molly’s life in both the summer and winter seasons. Visitors can pretend to fly a replica bush plane, drive a snowmobile, and navigate a snow maze in snowshoes. The center of the exhibit features the Trading Post and the Tribal Hall from the series where guests will have the opportunity to explore the great outdoors of Alaska and Alaska Native life including camping, ice fishing, discovering replica ice sculptures, and caring for sled dogs.
Paradise City Arts Festival
Three County Fairgrounds, Northampton
Saturday, May 27 – Monday, May 29
For 28 years, the Paradise City Arts Festival has been New England’s cultural, culinary and shopping destination on Memorial Day Weekend. 220 selectively curated artists and makers are coming to Northampton for three days of astounding visual arts. Explore the three exhibition buildings connected by covered walkways to each other and to the Festival Dining Tent where you’ll find a microcosm of Northampton’s vibrant restaurant scene. Enjoy original music, jazz, Motown and swing by three of the region’s favorite bands — The Green Street Trio on Saturday, The Green Street Trio on Sunday, and the O-Tones on Monday.
Locals at the Lunder: Samara Lubelski and Marcia Bassett
The Clark’s Lunder Center, Williamstown
Saturday, May 27 at 5 p.m.
Samara Lubelski and Marcia Bassett have collaborated together over the years, exploring drones and wavering frequencies with violin, guitar, and electronics. Their music is meditative yet playful, inviting and encircling, and lush like the verdant surroundings they will perform in. The concert is free. Bring a picnic and your own seating.
Preview Celebration and Phony Ppl
MASS MoCA, North Adams
Saturday, May 27 at 6 p.m.
My husband and had a fabulous weekend in North Adams two weekends ago. We spent hours at MASS MoCA and had a marvelous meal at Public (recommended by The Fabulous 413 Director Tony Dunne). Looks like this weekend will be even better. You can attend a preview of Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and other works, 1996–2023) and a celebration of the recently opened exhibitions Daniel Giordano: Love from Vicki Island, Carrie Schneider: Sphinx, and to see oneself at a distance” Then the Brooklyn-based 5-piece Phony Ppl welcomes the summer season with a free-flowing, genre-bending party of sound.
vanessa german—The Rarest Black Woman on the Planet Earth
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Closes Sunday, May 28
vanessa german is an artist, activist, performer, and poet. “The Rarest Black Woman on the Planet Earth” is german’s response to the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, an early 20th-century collection of curiosities at Mount Holyoke College. For the exhibition, german began with a question: "How do we decolonize a thing, a museum, a collection?" Her answer turned into an emancipatory endeavor: to touch every object in the Skinner collection.
Summer on Strong, Northampton
Music starts Wednesday, May 31
Outdoor dining. It exploded out of necessity during COVID and now it’s here to stay. Head to Northampton where, all summer long, from Main Street to the East Side Grill, Strong Avenue is transformed into an irresistible pedestrian-only party space. Restaurants spill onto the streets and there’s live music Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Berkshire International Film Festival Opening Night
‘Food and Country’ plus Q&A with Ruth Reichl
Thursday, June 1 at 6 p.m.
If you are a foodie, you probably have read some of Ruth Reichl’s books. Here’s a chance to see her film and meet her at a Q&A. In the film, Reichl worries about the fate of small farmers, ranchers, and chefs as they wrestle with both immediate and systemic challenges. As the pandemic takes hold, she reaches across political and social divides to discover innovators who are risking it all to survive on the front lines. Through her eyes, we learn to understand the humanity and struggle behind the food we eat.