Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So happy I was invited, give me a reason to get out of the city

I am pleased to report that western Massachusetts, as you probably know, is FULL OF ART. Over the course of our trip there, C.— and I hit up three concerts (including a seven-and-a-half-hour-long one—don't worry, we took a dinner break and an ice cream break), three museums (well, one was in New York), and a botanical garden full of strangely decorated chairs and dog sculptures. Though I had been up to the Berkshires before (college visits for me and my sister, a visit to a friend) I had never taken advantage of the cultural attractions there (other than acquiring a purple cow from Williams that one time).

So it was with satisfaction, and with gratitude at the cooler weather, and with a great deal of sunburn, that I set out, with C.—'s company and expertise, to partake in great traditions such as sitting on the lawn at Tanglewood with a wine and cheese picnic to the strains of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. And hiking the tiniest part of the Appalachian Trail at Mount Greylock. And hiding in trees at the Berkshire Botanical Garden. And, on another musical note (or, like, a million musical notes—or were they cows?), taking in Bang on a Can's marathon at Mass MoCA, full of great tunes such as "B&E (with aggravated assault)" whose composer described it as "just like the title says."

And of course there are Mass MoCA (in the coolest building you can imagine) and The Clark (which is very attached to its Definite Article) and DIA:Beacon ( full of the largest art I have ever seen), all of which are worthy of their own blog posts... Or maybe I should just tell you to check 'em out yourselves, at least DIA, which is totally right above a MetroNorth station. Both Mass MoCA and DIA had big Sol LeWitt installations, which were impressive and frequently laugh-out-loud entertaining. I don't think I look at lines, or colors, or walls, for that matter, in quite the same way anymore.

Another popular museum item these days seems to be white paintings, of which we have now seen a multitude, by several artists including LeWitt. This was appropriate because we were able to catch a production of Yasmina Reza's "Art" in Pittsfield our first night there. "Art", for those of you not familiar with it, is a black comedy about three friends whose relationship becomes increasingly strained after one of them proudly purchases an entirely white painting. I stage managed the show several years ago and it was great to see it again (and to see it without having to change the lighting or give actors lines).

I think I have probably sustained culture radiation as a result of all this artistic brilliance. And I have barely even mentioned the food, to say nothing of Pittsfield's scavenger-huntable street signs, or the book barn! If you would like to hear more, you know where to find me (not, alas, in the Berkshires).

PS: Extra-special thanks is due to C.— for handling all the driving (you know where I stand on such things). In semi-related news, it turns out I have not forgotten how to ride a bicycle after all, and gleefully took one for a spin around Governor's Island this past weekend.


  1. Well yes, if you were 'driving' you would still be here in Brooklyn, unless C. got out and pushed. =]
    I love western MA. I would so happily live there.
    PS: Loved the link to the punctuation fan letters...I suspect that my favorite punctuation is the dash--but didn't know how to tell it of my feelings--since I imagine it loves Emily Dickinson more than me anyways.

  2. One day I will learn to drive...maybe...

    I am a fan of dashes as well--but think you are right about Emily Dickinson.

  3. Sounds like a fun trip. I'm glad you got to see 'Art' from the audience this time.