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Alt Cabs: Where Are They Now?

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? 

Living Colour’s Corey Glover played a Valentine’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 O’Brien TBS show with Galactic and Soul Rebels Brass Band.

Glover as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar

Glover with Living Colour

New York City-based Antony and the Johnsons brought orchestral pop to MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 8, 2003, in conjunction with the opening of MASS MoCA’s Fantastic exhibit, which explored fantastic and outlandish utopian ideals. Antony’s captivating alto voice, along with a velvety combination of strings, bass, piano, and drums took the audience’s breath away. The band’s melodies seemed other-worldly in themselves, making it the perfect partner for Fantastic. 

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, 2009’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 2009 Manchester International Festival. Antony and the Johnson’s 2010 album Swanlights received high praise – Stereogum ranked the album eighth in its Top 50 Albums of the Year. The band has performed on Later with Jools Holland and The Late Show with David Letterman. Click here to watch their performance.

Antony performing at the Manchester Opera House

Canadian-American singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright brought her unique style of folk-rock to MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 21, 2004. Wainwright’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 You’re Married But I’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 Who’s Pete Townshed, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, and The Band’s Garth Hudson. Wainwright’s performance at Leonard Cohen’s tribute concert was featured in the film and album, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (click here to watch her live). 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.

Wainwright in concert

Wainwright and her brother Rufus

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 recognized Mirman as the Best New York City Comedian, and Paste Magazine ranked him as one of the top ten best comedians in the last ten years. Eugene has released three comedy albums, and published a book titled The Will To Whateva. Every Sunday night, Mirman, along with Julie Smith and Caroline Creaghead, performs a comedy show called Pretty Good 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 hypnotized 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 and four albums. Indie folk enthusiasts are calling them the next Bon Iver.

Since their enchanting performance at MASS MoCA, The Low Anthem has partnered with British folk rock band Mumford and Sons, toured with folk rock singer-songwriter Iron and Wine, and hosted the Newport Folk Backstage Benefit (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.  Their 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 2012’s The Hunger Games, a film based on the eponymous novel by Suzanne Collins. The Low Anthem recorded a self-produced soundtrack for Arcadia, an indie film by Olivia Silver, which won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The Low Anthem also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman (click here to watch) and opened for Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band at SXSW in March.

Newport Folk Festival (2010)

The Low Anthem

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 York’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 Cook’s debut album, It’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 Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which appeared on jazz percussionist Steve Kroon’s album, Without A Doubt (2011). She formed The Carla Cook Quintet, and digitally recorded her voice for Sony PlayStation games.

Carla Cook in concert

Written by Hannah Schiff

Posted June 1, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, Artist Spotlight, BLOG, North Adams, The Low Anthem, Uncategorized
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Best of Winter 2011

The sun is shining, the birds are flying, and just when we thought winter would never end – summer is here and Bureau for Open Culture is kicking it off at MASS MoCA with Beer Garden!

Beer Garden? That sounds pretty great!…Well it is. And it’s happening THURSDAY MAY 27 and FRIDAY MAY 28 alongside the Hoosic River at MASS MoCA.  It is a platform for conversation, community, and beer.  Join us for discussions and local brews.

Don’t worry.  We’re not going to forget the amazing season we had this Winter/Spring.  Let’s review the Best Of’s for the 2011 Winter/Spring Season!

Best Way to Work Up a Sweat in January: Free Day and Bhangra Funk Dance Party

Best Icicle: The One on Geometric Death Frquency: 141

Best Use of the Audience: Rory Scovel

Best Opportunity to Watch Someone Sleep: Habit

Best Picture of Our Crew: This One. (by Danelle Cheney)

Best Double-Take Performance: The Low Anthem

(Club B10. March 5)

(Hunter Center. April 16)

Best Use of Leather: Tragedy

Best Before and After: Nari Ward Sub Mirgae Lignum

Best Sold Out Performance: Iron & Wine

So get out those tank tops. Slip into those flip-flops. And let’s get this party started THIS WEEKEND with Beer Garden, The Workers Opening Reception, and Rosanne Cash!

The best is yet to come…

Posted May 25, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Bureau for Open Culture: I Am Searching for Field Character, Free Day, Iron & Wine, Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum, Openings, Rory Scovel, The Low Anthem, Tragedy: The All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees
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MASS MoCA would like to thank…

It was a pretty exciting weekend here at MASS MoCA. As most of you know, Iron & Wine rocked down the house in a SOLD OUT performance in the Hunter Center.

If you missed The Low Anthem’s SOLD OUT performance in March, hopefully you were able to see them open the show. (The Low Anthem is currently on tour with Iron & Wine.)

MASS MoCA would like to take this oppurnity to send another “Thank You” to our amazing volunteers. On Saturday, we held a ceremony with flowers, cookies, and lemonade to express our gratitude to our hard-working volunteers.

Our volunteers assist with every live event at MASS MoCA, help with giant mailing shipments, and always offer a friendly smile.

Don’t these cookies make you want to be a volunteer??

Let’s review.

Thank you to:

  • Iron & Wine
  • The Low Anthem
  • MASS MoCA volunteers
  • and Miss Danelle Cheney for the photos!

And don’t forget to visit our galleries to see Sub Mirage Lignum and Memery!

Posted April 19, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Iron & Wine, Music, Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum, The Low Anthem
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Highs and Lows at MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA had a fantastic weekend with the High School Art Show and a SOLD OUT performance of the Low Anthem with Daniel Lefkowitz!

The High School Art Show included photos, ceramics, drawings, paintings, and sculptures by talented high school artists from Buxton School, Drury High, Pine Cobble School, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, and Mount Greylock Regional School District. The young artists’ works were displayed in MASS MoCA’s galleries for one night. The event was attended by over 150 people.

Buxton School student, Zhong Wei’s series of photographs was the cause of much attention at the exhibit. The layering of pieces of paper to create one large image was an “accident” said Zhong. He said he intended to continue the exploration of this technique and incorporate it into his style. “This is good for a first one,” said Zhong. It was inspiring to talk to Zhong, he was happy with his work, but was determined to improve his technique; a sign of a very promising artist.

Baxter Koziol entered his painting, Pingmeidgey, into the exhibition. He called himself an “impulsive painter” and when asked if he paints often he responded, “Yeah. Every day for about five hours.”…Woah! Then we asked him which artists inspire him, Koziol responded, “My good friend, Papsouleye Fall, he’s right over there,” and pointed to a fellow classmate who was walking around the exhibition with headphones in his ears.

Fall and Koziol find encouragement from each other by discussing art and sometimes collaborating (both students are from Buxton School). Fall, another gifted artist included his painting The Boxer which showed obvious inspiration from Van Gogh. Fall said his paintings were usually violent and were used as outlet for aggression, instead of scrapping (he said he’s never been in a fight!)

Sarah “Two” Kelly from Mount Greylock entered a printmaking piece titled, Nietzche. She used newspaper, magazine clippings, and soft-cut linoleum to create her print. Two describes herself as “crafty” and says she’s always been “artsy”.

The ceremony was followed with delicious snacks from Lickety Split! Mmmmmm. Lickety Split provided us with pizza bites, cheese quesadillas and guacamole, pasta, brownies, coffee, lemonade, cider, and many more treats!

And just when you thought the night was over- Rebel Alliance- a local high school band – erupted with truly impressive tunes. The band had an indie, reggae, rock, soul vibe that was FAR beyond their years. Students, parents, (and myself) couldn’t help but dance to the perfect nightcap.

Cortney Tunis, MASS MoCA Educational Coordinator, was “thrilled” with the result of the show and said some of the pieces will be featured at the Eclipse Mill! Congratulations to EVERY student who participated and thanks for everyone’s support! You really exceeded all of our expectations at MASS MoCA!

Speaking of expectations being exceeded…How about the Low Anthem?!? As soon as we saw band member, Jocie Adams, walk on stage with a clarinet, we knew we were in for a great show. The four band members immediately gathered around a microphone with an acoustic guitar and bleed out a beautiful harmony. A completely sold out house watched and listened intently, not missing a beat.

The band opened with radiating slow tunes and eventually worked up to a surprisingly intense, almost “head-banging” sound which left the audience ROARING and HOLLERING! Basically, the Low Anthem sounds like music that blasts from your great-uncles pick-up truck that makes you think, “I wish they still made music like that.”

The best aspect of the Low Anthem is the honest quality of their performance. They are TRUE musicians. Every band member played at least four instruments throughout the course of the performance (which included obscure instruments such as musical saws, pump organs, and hammered dulcimers) and emitting complex harmonies that cannot be fabricated.

The band graced the audience with an encore after the audience exploded with a standing ovation. The Low Anthem closed with their popular song “Charlie Darwin”. After the show, audiences rushed to the Low Anthem’s merchandise to get items screen-printed right in MASS MoCA’s lobby!

The Low Anthem brought warmth and serenity to the cold evening.  Cracking jokes with the audience, inviting old friend/former band member/opener Daniel Lefkowitz to jam with them, and exchanging smiles with each other led to a truly intimate performance that will be difficult to forget.

This blog is longer than usual, but that is because we were so impressed and elated with the talent that passed through MASS MoCA last weekend. Thank you to everyone who made it possible (including Miss Danelle Cheney for the photos!)

Posted March 8, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, BLOG, High School Art Show, The Low Anthem
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