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.

As part of its current “Arts Across America” online performance series, the Kennedy Center presents “Revisiting The New Immigrant Experience” on Monday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.

The Western Railroad, which passes through the Berkshires of Massachusetts, radically changed the world when it opened in 1841. At 1,459 feet above sea level, it was the highest and longest railway ever built. The Western Railroad moved railroads from a novelty to the forefront of modern transportation.  And reminders of that industrial age can be found today, deep in the woods of the Hilltowns, along the Keystone Arch Bridge Trail.

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What happens to all that stuff on America’s favorite antiques show once the cameras leave town? DETOURS reveals the stories, secrets, and surprises of TV treasures which go beyond the screen. Join host Adam Monahan, a longtime producer with PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, on a journey of discovery from behind the scenes of the hit series. Each episode tells the deeper story of one object, amusing listeners along the way.

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Daily free streaming of encore presentations from the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series continue. Each performance is available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. the following day. Wagner week runs through Oct. 11 with Die Walküre, Götterdämmerung, Parsifal and more. Then, from from Oct. 12–18 it's Donizetti week with Lucia di Lammermoor, La Fille du Régiment, Don Pasquale and other favorites.

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The UMass Fine Arts Center celebrates American jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and artist Yusef Lateef. A multi-faceted online project honors the centenary of his birth with an exhibit of his visual art, a photo gallery, dramatic readings of his fiction, film excerpts, and more. The celebration kicks off Friday, Oct. 9, with a free live virtual concert.

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Most of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations are canceled because of the coronavirus. But you can still celebrate the song, food, culture, and diversity of western Massachusetts' Latino community in this Connecting Point look at events that took place last year in Holyoke, Amherst, and the Berkshires.

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See what happens when idle gossip escalates out of control and starts to affect people’s lives. Set in a picturesque fishing village, the series centers on Maggie Cole, the self-appointed oracle of this close-knit community. The Trouble with Maggie Cole premieres Sunday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. on NEPM TV.

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Each week, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra brings you a new performance in their weekly Homegrown series. You can hear music played by and conversations with Maestro Kevin Rhodes, SSO musicians, youth musicians and others. In a recent favorite, Kevin played “I'll Be Around” by Alec Wilder, first recorded by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra.

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Springfield Museums has reopened with careful safety protocols so you can make plans to see The Outwin: American Portraiture Today, which premiered at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in the fall of 2019. Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts. The works of nearly 50 finalists were selected from over 2,600 submissions.

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BTS played its first Tiny Desk Concert recently, and promptly broke the series’ record for most YouTube views on its first day — in about 25 minutes. The concert opened with "Dynamite" — the group's first single to hit No. 1 in the U.S., as well as its first song to be fully recorded in English. From there, the group dipped into its back catalog, seizing on the opportunity to showcase its quieter side while (mostly) staying uncharacteristically seated.

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Pati Jinich is a former policy analyst, focused on Latin American politics and history, turned chef, cookbook author, and TV host whose true passion lies in sharing the tastes of her childhood and culinary adventures in her native country. Season 9 of Pati’s Mexican Table explores one of Mexico’s largest states — Sonora. Watch Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on NEPM TV.

Normally, the middle of September brings the opening of the Big E, but not this year. Get your Big E fix and learn something about the history of the exposition by watching our 2016 documentary which celebrated the fair’s 100th anniversary. Bake yourself a potato and enjoy the Big E from your couch.

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Even without travel restrictions, most of us would not be traveling to these “Islands of Wonder.” Be an armchair explorer and travel to the islands of Madagascar, Borneo and Hawaii. Isolated from the rest of the world, they harbor remarkable wildlife and pioneering human communities found nowhere else on Earth. Watch Islands of Wonder Wednesdays, Sept. 16–30 at 8 p.m. on NEPM TV.

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Discover the life and career of Raul Julia, the charismatic, award-winning actor and humanitarian known for versatile roles on stage and screen, from Shakespearean plays to “The Addams Family.” Watch American Masters Raúl Juliá: The World's a Stage Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. on NEPM TV. It’s part of Hispanic Heritage Month programming from NEPM.

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Fiesta: Classical Music from Latin America, Spain and Portugal

Learn about lively, compelling, and rarely-heard treasures of Latino classical music from around the world. Acclaimed composer, musician and professor Elbio Barilari hosts interviews with composers, conductors, and musicians. Fiesta is a new addition to the NEPM 88.5 lineup. Listen Sundays at 10 p.m. starting Sept. 20.

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Poetry in America on NEPM TV

Experience the power of poetry Mondays through Thursdays at 7 p.m. on NEPM TV. Poetry in America explores unforgettable and beloved American poems with host Elisa New and distinguished guests — Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Clinton, Frank Gehry, Regina Spektor and others.

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June Millington at Mass MoCA

Rock ‘n’ roll godmother June Millington made history in the ’60s as the co-founder and guitarist of Fanny, one of the first all-women rock bands to be signed to a major label. Since knocking down the boys’ club door with her bandmates, Millington trailblazed as a producer, soloist, and co-founder of the Institute for the Musical Arts supporting women and girls in music. There will be two shows on Saturday, Sept. 19 in MASS MoCA’s outdoor Courtyard D, in accordance with Massachusetts Phase 3 guidance.

Keeping the Wheel Turning

For the last 13 years, nine local potters have opened their studios and kilns to the public for the popular “Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour & Sale.” This year, due to the pandemic, Hilltown 6 members and 20 guest artists will exhibit their wares virtually Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27. Plus, educational demonstrations will take place in video format throughout the weekend.

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New Episodes of the Word Matters Podcast

First up, on Sept. 2, it’s “‘Scofflaw’: An Invented Word, plus Where’d You Get That ‘Mustache’?” Most of the time, the word you invented won’t make it into the dictionary. Except, on occasion, when it does. Learn the story of one such rule breaker: ‘scofflaw.’ Then, discover all the various shapes and forms the word ‘mustache’ took before shaving itself down to its current spelling.

Word Matters Podcast

Word Matters, a new podcast produced by Springfield-based Merriam-Webster and NEPM, is a show for readers, writers and anyone who ever loved their English class. Join Merriam-Webster editors as they challenge supposed grammar rules, reveal the surprising origins behind words, tackle common questions, and generally geek out about the beautiful nightmare that is language.

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New Valley Voices Podcast Episode

In this episode of NEPM's Valley Voices podcast, we go to the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield for stories from the second slam of the season. Riffing off the episode theme “sweet and salty,” Christine Stevens tells tales on her middle school students. Then, Sera Rivers shares her thoughts about finding a guy who accepts her real self. Finally, David Bulley brings us more middle schoolers — and more misbehavior.

Millpond Live Festival Reimagined

In just a few years, the Millpond Live Festival has become a staple of our region’s summer music scene. This summer, with the arts world turned upside down, the festival has been reimagined as a series of residencies that make space for artists to collaborate, generate new work, and reconnect with audiences in creative ways.

NEPM Summer Fiction Series

Sure, some of your favorite summer pastimes are out of reach this summer, but there’s still the chance to relax with the simple pleasure of reading — with the help of New England Public Media’s annual local fiction series. Most Fridays on Morning Edition we feature an interview with an author from New England who has a new novel out for these lazy days in the sun. As the season progresses, you can hear each interview archived and add to your summer reading list.

Culture To Do From Your Couch Week 15 Edition

Jul 23, 2020

Remembering John Lewis

John Lewis — Get in the Way follows the courageous journey of the civil rights hero, congressional leader, and human rights champion whose unwavering fight for justice spanned more than 50 years. This 2017 documentary will open with a new introduction by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Watch Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m. on NEPM.


American Masters "Unladylike2020"

Enjoy digital short films from American Masters “Unladylike2020.” Each animated documentary tells the story of a trailblazing American woman who broke barriers in their male-dominated fields such as science, journalism, sports, and politics. A new film is posted every Wednesday, and there are many available for viewing now.

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Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Premiers Jorgensen Digital Stage with Midsummer Music

Jacob's Pillow 2020 Online Festival

The longest-running dance festival in the United States now comes directly to you with some of the most beloved performances from the past ten years, a curated series of “PillowTalks” with leaders in the field, an online version of the beloved intergenerational movement class Families Dance Together, and a new Master Class Series from The School at Jacob’s Pillow. The virtual festival will run from Wednesday, July 8 through Saturday, August 29.

Culture To Do From Your Couch Week 12 Edition

Jul 2, 2020

Madame Gandhi: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bring you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space. In this Tiny Desk, Madame Gandhi uses music to help elevate and celebrate female voices, from working with primarily queer women BIPOC on tour and video sets, to writing socially-conscious lyrics that challenge the white male-dominated music industry.

Culture To Do From Your Couch Week 11 Edition

Jun 24, 2020

Michela Marino Lerman And Russell Hall: Alone Together Duets

Culture To Do From Your Couch Week 10 Edition

Jun 17, 2020

Memorial Broadcast of Bach’s Mass in B minor

New England Public Radio Classical Music host John Nowacki presents Bach's Mass in B minor in its entirety as a way to commemorate the lives lost to COVID-19, and to offer solace to all who are living through these times together. Enjoy a performance by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Hans-Christoph Rademann. Tune in to NEPR on Friday, June 19 at 9:30 a.m. for the performance.

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Culture To Do From Your Couch Week 9 Edition

Jun 16, 2020

Jazz à la Mode: Jazz & Civil Rights

Tonight’s Jazz à la Mode will be devoted to Jazz & Civil Rights, with historic recordings by Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Billie Holiday, Archie Shepp, Nina Simone, and Charles Mingus, and contemporary works by Wynton Marsalis, Rene Marie, Christian McBride, Orrin Evans, Marcus Shelby, and others. Jazz à la Mode is hosted by Tom Reney. Catch this special programming on Tuesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. on NEPR.