Culture To Do


For many of us, live performances are among the things we have missed the most during the past year, and we've been waiting for the day when our local artists could return to the stage. It's therefore great news to see some venues now offering limited public events. We'll continue to provide information about programming, events and concerts that will bring you inspiration and diversion — either from your couch OR out and about.

Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center
Saturday October 1–Thursday, October 16

Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep is a definitive spoof of Gothic melodramas and vintage horror movies. It’s a madcap quick-change marathon in which two actors play all the roles: the lord and lady of the manor, the starchy maid, the groundskeeper-cum-werewolf, plus an ancient mummy and a lingering ghost.

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Trinity United Methodist Church, Springfield
Tuesday, October 5 at 10:15 a.m.

Established in 1902, the Tuesday Morning Music Club maintains a long tradition of interaction between the professional instrumental and vocal musicians of the Pioneer Valley and the many music lovers of the region. For those who are free on Tuesday mornings, this may be best-kept classical music secret in the region.  A $40 membership offers you tickets to twelve programs! The opening concert features pianist Tamila Azadaliyeva and the Wistaria String Quartet.

Saturday, October 2 at 8 p.m.

Dorrance Dance is an award-winning tap dance company based in New York City. Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director and 2015 MacArthur Fellow Michelle Dorrance, the company shares the incredibly dynamic range that tap dance has to offer through performance & education. Its goal is to engage with audiences on a musical and emotional level, and to share the complex history and powerful legacy of this American art form throughout the country and the world.

Free Jazz Strut: Friday, October 1 from 5:30-10:30 p.m.
Free Jazz Fest: Saturday October 2 from 10:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

On Friday it’s the “Jazz Strut.” Stroll, sip and dine your way through downtown Northampton to the sounds of different jazz ensembles at various establishments across town. Saturday’s “Jazz Fest” includes free concerts — some outdoors at Pulaski Park, others indoors at various venues.

Friday, September 24–Sunday, September 26

Music starts early in the museum courtyards, moves to MASS MoCA’s spacious urban concert meadow, and then continues with wild and woolly late-night barn dances in the Hunter Center on Friday and Saturday nights. The lineup is jam-packed with guitar gods and banjo gurus, traditionalists, and trailblazers — Bluegrass artists you already know and love interspersed with FreshGrass discoveries. Taken together, it’s an expansive group of performers who both draw on the past and look to the future.

1794 Meeting House, New Salem, MA
Sunday, September 26 at 4 p.m.

Guitarist, composer, arranger and conductor Peter Blanchette is known around the world as the inventor of the 11-string archguitar. His extraordinary repertoire of internationally acclaimed arrangements and compositions spans from the medieval, renaissance and baroque music to World Music, New Music, and his own original pieces.

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The Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, September 18 at 8 p.m.

As far as anyone knows, Al Franken is the only U.S. Senator who was also one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live. During his fifteen seasons with SNL, Franken won five Emmy’s for writing and producing. He’s also the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers. Franken served Minnesota in the Senate from 2009-2018, clobbering his first opponent, incumbent Senator Norm Coleman, by 312 votes.

Outdoors at The Clark, Williamstown, MA
Wednesday, September 22 at 6 p.m.

Rock and soul singer Bette Smith and her band perform in a free concert near the Clark’s Reflecting Pool. With her life-affirming new album The Good, The Bad & The Bette, Smith creates a sound that musically connects to both the gospel music she heard in church and the soul music she heard on the street corners of Brooklyn.

Academy of Music, Northampton
Friday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Darlingside returns to Northampton to celebrate the birthday of 2015's Birds Say, performing the record in its entirety. The album's producer, Dan Cardinal, will run sound and the album's chef, Auyon Mukharji, might even discuss some of his in-studio gourmet microwave cooking experiences. Some of these songs have literally never been played live before, so join the band as they embark upon the harrowing task of playing 'Do You Ever Live?' and hear some stories about how the album was made.

Sunday, September 19 at 11 a.m.

City Park Plaza, 515 Dwight St, Holyoke
Thursday, September 16 from 4–6 p.m.

National Hispanic Heritage Month in Holyoke presents their annual kickoff event. Bring comfortable chairs a cooler, and get ready to dance a little to the igniting rhythms of Jesus Pagán and his Conjunto Barrio. They will take you on a tour blending the sounds of Charanga, Guajira, Son, Mambo, Descargas, Plena, Bomba, Bolero, Merengue, Jazz, Cha Cha and Salsa.

Gateway City Arts, Holyoke
Tuesday, September 14 at 8 p.m.
NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Tank and the Bangas are one of the most thrilling, unpredictable and sonically diverse bands on the planet — a unit where jazz meets hip-hop, soul meets rock, and funk is the beating heart of everything they do. Their new album Green Balloon is on the horizon, and it’s their first release now they’re signed to major label Verve Forecast — a deal that came after they won NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2017.

The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
Friday, September 10 at 7 p.m.

One night only! Enjoy a modern take on the old-time traveling tent shows of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Master of Ceremonies, Professor J.P. Prescott III, has traveled the globe in search of just the right ingredients to fuse with his patented, pure graded, 100% American rattlesnake oil. Along the way, he has encountered some of the most amazing performers the world has ever known and has assembled them all in one show, for just one night, under one big tent.

Hillside Complex in Boylston, MA
Friday, September 10 at 6 p.m.

Impassioned by their love for music, pianists Nick Luby and Susan Zhang converted a 16-foot box truck into a fully functioning mobile concert hall, complete with lights, sound system, and piano. Since then, The Concert Truck has presented concerts across the country in city streets, music and arts festivals, schools, neighborhoods, parks — anywhere you can park a truck.

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Friday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11 at 6 p.m.

The Shea Theater Turners Falls, MA
Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11

Join the Drag Sisters as they officially open up the Shea Theatre for performances again. Drag Sisters: The show features Joe Dulude, II as the ever fabulous Mr. Drag with Jane Williams of New Salem and Myka Plunkett from Northampton as his gloriously bungling yet dazzling sisters, all of whom are kept in check by an Alexa-like creature played by Linda Tardif of Turners Falls. Emily Pritchett of Amherst tries very hard to clean up after them all.

The Academy of Music Theatre, Northampton
Wednesday, September 8 at 7:30 pm

Friday, September 3–Monday, September 6

For many, the 3-County Fair is Labor Day weekend tradition. 2021 marks the fair’s 204th consecutive year. Enjoy rides, music, food, agricultural exhibits, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, tethered hot-air balloon rides, and the Fair’s signature favorite — the Wee Wee Wee Racing Pigs.

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The Clark, Williamstown, MA
Saturday, September 4, 4 p.m.

A joyous celebration of nature and Norway brings the return of the renowned Knights Orchestra to the Clark to celebrate The Clark’s Visions of Norway exhibition. This free outdoor concert features a new arrangement of traditional Norwegian folk music as well as Edvard Grieg's "Holberg Suite, Op. 4," Anna Clyne's "Within Her Arms," and Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Lark Ascending." Bring a blanket or your own chairs for seating.

Outdoors in Lenox, MA
Wednesday, September 1–Sunday, September 5

Measure for Measure tells the story of Angelo, a minister who is abruptly appointed to rule over a chaotic and debauched city and restores order with repressive laws and an iron fist over licentiousness. The object of his own twisted desire is a young nun, whom he puts in an unthinkable position. “To whom should I complain?” is all that young Isabella can utter when she finds herself the target of his abuse of power. Justice can never come soon enough.

Unicorn Theater, Stockbridge
Now through Sunday, September 5

At the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford
Through Sunday, August 29

Jane Avril was one of the great stars of Paris during the late nineteenth century, regularly performing in dance halls and cabarets in Montmartre. At the height of her career, she befriended Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who rendered her leaving the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret after one of her concerts. This exhibition celebrates both artists, their unique friendship, and the world in which they thrived.

Thursday, August 26–Sunday, August 29

The Cummington Fair was initiated in 1883 as the Hillside Agricultural Society with the mission for “the attainment and diffusion of scientific and practical knowledge in the cultivation of the soil and the raising of its various and useful production as comprehended in The Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Pomology . . .” Its charming setting and manageable size — with plenty of events, great food, and fun rides — make it a perfect choice for families. Bring a jacket for the first nip of chilly weather in the evenings!

Franklin County Fairgrounds
Limited Number of Passes Available for Sunday, August 29

Pines Theater at Look Park, Florence
Tuesday, August 24 at 7 pm.

The band's shows regularly include material from twelve of their thirteen studio albums, including many songs from their seminal 1969 album In the Court of the Crimson King, described by Pete Townshend as an “uncanny masterpiece.” The 7-piece line-up play many historic pieces, which Crimson has never previously played live, as well as new arrangements of Crimson classics.

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Sunday, August 22 at 8 p.m.

Formed in 1987 in Philadelphia, PA, The Roots have become one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business. Named one of the “50 Greatest Live Acts” by Rolling Stone, The Roots became the official house band on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” where they currently perform every Monday-Friday. Catch them under the stars at MASS MoCA.

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Pioneer Valley Symphony
Saturday, August 21 at 3 p.m.

Close the summer with a stroll through the beautiful fruit trees at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, exploring chamber music installations from members of the Pioneer Valley Symphony. The walking tour is approximately one hour.

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Saturday August 21, 3 p.m.–midnight

Barbès in the Woods is a summer music festival that pays homage to one of Brooklyn’s most iconic bars. Nestled in the hills of Western Massachusetts, this day-long festival features two-stages of music, local food, craft beverages, a bonfire, and a river to splash in. and more. It’s the quintessential end-of-summer backyard festival — the sort of thing you’ve always wanted as part of your summer — on a pristine tract of historic farmland in Montague.

Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Surrounded by nature, birds, water, distant mountains, and air that is clean and fresh, Arcadia's Art House serves visitors who wish to connect to the nature around them through art. Visitors and members of the Arcadia community can step inside the Art House to find readily available art supplies, giving them a place to respond to nature through art. You can also borrow a portable art pack to take along the trails with you!

Enchanted A History of Fantasy Illustration
Tyler Jacobson, Red Dragon, 2014, © Tyler Jacobson © Wizards of the Coast LLC

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA

Take a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum to explore fantasy archetypes from the Middle Ages to today. The exhibition presents the immutable concepts of mythology, fairy tales, fables, good versus evil, and heroes and villains through paintings, etchings, drawings, and digital art created by artists from long ago to illustrators working today.

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