Our Alt Cabaret series presenting work by emerging performing artists has exposed Berkshire County to lots of unique talent over the years. Beyond bringing unconventional originality to MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 or Courtyard CafĂ©, these artists come away from their performances here with more fans and a clearer path toward greatness. (And so many of them have truly ascended to greatness!)
So the question is, where are these artists now?Â
Living Colourâ€™s Corey Glover played a Valentineâ€™s Day weekend show at MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 15, 2003, focusing on songs of love and yearning. His hard-rock edge combined with soulful vocals simultaneously soothed and energized the audience that filled Club B-10.
So where is Glover now? In 2006, he started co-headlining a national tour of Jesus Chris Superstar, a rock opera by Andrew Lloyed Webber, where he assumed the role of Judas with rock and roll drummer, singer, actor, composer, and record producer Ted Neeley. In 2008, he rejoined Living Colour; the band released their fifth album, The Chair in the Doorway, in 2009. A year later, Glover toured with Galactic, a funk and jazz jam band, and in 2011 he recorded his second solo. This year, Glover has been on tours and on the Conan Oâ€™Brien TBS show with Galactic and Soul Rebels Brass Band.
NewÂ York City-basedÂ Antony and the JohnsonsÂ broughtÂ orchestral popÂ to MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 8, 2003, in conjunction with the opening of MASS MoCAâ€™sÂ FantasticÂ exhibit, which explored fantastic and outlandish utopian ideals. Antony’s captivating alto voice, along with a velvety combination of strings, bass, piano, and drumsÂ took the audience’s breath away. The bandâ€™s melodies seemed other-worldly in themselves, making it the perfect partner forÂ Fantastic.Â
After their visit to MASS MoCA, Antony and the Johnsons produced several more albums. In 2005, their album I Am a Bird Now won the Mercury Prize for the best UK album. In 2006, they pitched TURNING, an autobiographical film about their journey as musicians. Their third album, 2009â€™s The Crying Light, ranked number one on the European Billboard charts. The band toured through North America and Europe, concluding the trip at the 2009Â Manchester International Festival. Antony and the Johnson’s 2010 album Swanlights received high praise â€“ Stereogum ranked the album eighth in its Top 50 Albums of the Year. The band has performed on Later with Jools Holland andÂ The Late Show with David Letterman. Click here to watch their performance.
Canadian-American singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright brought her unique style of folk-rock to MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 21, 2004. Wainwrightâ€™s success in the Berkshires foreshadowed her ultimate breakthrough as a performing artist.
In 2005, Wainwright released her self-titled debut album, and in 2008 she released her second album, I Know Youâ€™re Married But Iâ€™ve Got Feelings Too, both produced by Brad Albetta. Her brother Rufus Wainwright and her mother Kate McGarrigle, also a Canadian folk singer-songwriter, contributed to the album, along with The Whoâ€™s Pete Townshed, Steely Danâ€™s Donald Fagen, and The Bandâ€™s Garth Hudson. Wainwrightâ€™s performance at Leonard Cohenâ€™s tribute concert was featured in the film and album, Leonard Cohen: Iâ€™m Your Man (click here to watch her live).Â In 2007, she performed at Bonnaroo and Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, collaborated with her brother at the Hollywood Bowl, and partnered with over twenty female artists to create Sing, a single released on World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the transmission of HIV.
Brooklyn-based comedian Eugene Mirman brought his wit and silly humor to MASS MoCA on July 3, 2009, leaving his spectators with full-fledged smiles and aching bellies from laughing so hard.
He is known now for his roles on Flight of the Concords, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and much more. In 2009 the Village Voice recognizedÂ Mirman as the Best New York City Comedian, and Paste Magazine ranked him as one of the top ten best comedians in the lastÂ ten years. Eugene has released three comedy albums, and published a book titled The Will To Whateva.Â Every Sunday night, Mirman, along with Julie Smith and Caroline Creaghead, performs a comedy show calledÂ Pretty GoodÂ Friends. These three jokesters also created the annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, which both celebrates and mocks such events.
Providence, RI’s The Low Anthem came to MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 5, 2011 and hypnotizedÂ the public with their vintage instruments and warm melodies. Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowski formed the band in 2006, and now they have four singles andÂ four albums. Indie folk enthusiasts are calling them the next Bon Iver.
Since their enchanting performance at MASS MoCA, The Low Anthem hasÂ partneredÂ with British folk rock band Mumford and Sons, toured with folk rock singer-songwriter Iron and Wine, and hosted the Newport Folk Backstage BenefitÂ (July 30, 2011) with Deer Tick’s John McCauley to support the Newport Festivals Foundation. They also performed at Jazzfest in New Orleans and at the first Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire, UK in 2011. Â TheirÂ cover Stories of the Street was featured on the tribute CD The Songs of Leonard Cohen. The band also collaborated with T Bone Burnett on Lover is Childlike, for the soundtrack of 2012â€™sÂ The Hunger Games, a film based on the eponymous novel by Suzanne Collins. The Low Anthem recorded a self-produced soundtrackÂ for Arcadia,Â an indie film by Olivia Silver, which won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The Low AnthemÂ alsoÂ appeared on the Late Show with David LettermanÂ (click here to watch)Â and opened for Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band at SXSW in March.
Part concert, part performance piece, and part electrifying call to action, The Love Show appeared at MASS MoCA on Saturday, October 1, 2011. Featuring five of New Yorkâ€™s most powerful and soulful vocalists, including 1999 Grammy Award nominee Carla Cook and internationally acclaimed singer and WNYC/WQXR/Q2 radio host Helga Davis, The Love Show offered MASS MoCA a riveting and sublime celebration of the concept of love thy neighbor as thyself.
New York-based artist Helga Davis co-starred in The Temptation of St. Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson, from 2001-2006. Since 2007, starred in The Blue Planet, written by Peter Greenaway and directed by Saskia Boddeke, and appeared in VOX, the Contemporary American Opera Lab run by the City Opera of New York. She earned a leading role in the iconic Robert Wilson/Philip Glass production of Einstein on the Beach, and performed in Elsewhere with cellist Maya Beiser and Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini. Jazz singer/songwriter Carla Cookâ€™s debut album, Itâ€™s All About Love (1999), received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. In 2000 she won the AFIM Indie Award for Best Jazz Vocal, released two more albums, and recorded a rendition of Roberta Flackâ€™s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which appeared on jazz percussionist Steve Kroonâ€™s album, Without A Doubt (2011). She formed The Carla Cook Quintet, and digitally recorded her voice for Sony PlayStation games.
Written by Hannah Schiff