Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jane Hudson's sepia images. an appreciation

Unexpected flowers are always a joy to discover.

Jane and Jeff Hudson are a perfectly matched set, provided you like interesting pairings. They've literally made music together for many decades, and feed each others active minds with hundreds of morsels of interesting tidbits every day. That they chose North Adams in the Massachusetts Berkshires as their stage makes all of us who live here, their players.

I mention Jeff because without him, Jane would not be complete. And vice versa. But this is about Jane, a true Renaissance Woman if there ever was one, and the photographs she has on display at the gallery in her store, North Adams Anqiques, already a "must" destination at 49 Main Street, Open most days, but call 413-662-2221, they may travel a bit during the winter.

The image above is of a typical glorious but faded "Painted Lady" Victorian house. So many of them dot the landscape at unbelievably low prices. This one is home to the owner's of Racine's Farm, a local landmark for fresh produce in season, especially apples, corn and tomatoes. You can see additional images of the farm as taken by Charles Giuliano in Berkshire Fine Arts - which both Jane and I have written for on occassion. More farm images by Giuliano

This sensual image of Goddess Earth reminds me of Delphi in Greece, which was considered the naval of creation by worshipers of the Oracle. The sun-dappled rolling mountains of the Berkshires, roiled by floods and glaciers are a wonder to behold. Jane captured this image from a viewpoint I have not seen before, and in the sepia treatiment Jane has given her images, it is timeless. I think it is difficult to make scenic views interesting from an artistic viewpoint, but she has succeeded in this carpeted view of nature's cover.

Speaking of Oracles, many political leaders asked the oracle’s advice before taking a decision, which indicated the crucial role it played not only in everyday life but also in political affairs. Today the arts are, in part, an oracle of the future.

This silo image immediately brought to mind sensual thoughts, rough hewn phallic ones, and yet, the Trinitarian shape of the coal silo's topmost piece, um, points to other possibilities, including a finger pointing to Heaven. Jane tells me that the silo is still full of railroad coal, perhaps for the fires of Hell? Jane of course has critiqued thousands of images over the years both in her role as a teacher at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and as a respected arts commentator. As with all of her images, it is always delightful to ask her to tell us a little about each one, and I won't spoil the fun more than I already have.

This is, I believe, one wall of the Cascade Mill in Clarksburg, and the shadow of an elongated tree. It prompts the question of what is permanent, what is passing. The pattern cast by the tree serves as a sort of ever changing pattern, but this is the sort of magical en plein aire moment artists often try to seize with their brushes (Monet comes to mind). While a camera is ideally suited for this task, a good photographer still has to wait and watch for the perfect confluence of light and shadow to occur.

The trapezoid form is an accidental function of the railtoad bridge, partially because of the time of day and also due to the turn in the road which is a peculiarity of these old structures in North Adams.

There are many additional images on Jane Hudson's website, and on view at the Gallery itself. They are surprsingly affordable.

In a Boston Globe review, Cate McQuaid wrote of her work: "Hudson plumbs it with haunting eloquence, tying ancient and natural imagery with unnerving colors to create a visual pageantry of grief and hope."

Jane's images

North Adams Antiques, Jane's new home

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Barrington Stage goes year round

Fall Offerings: Kander and Ebb

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grille

Fully Committed

In a daring move Berkshire Stage Company has taken a deep breath and announced it is going to present shows on a year round basis. They underlined this committment to their Berkshire audiences by announcing new shows to be performed during the remainer of 2007.


Already on stage is the Fred Kander and John Ebb musical celebration The World Goes 'Round opening this week. For those of us who are lovers of showtunes, this as close to an orgy as we can get without taking our clothes off!

The World Goes 'Round - New York, New York
Coffee in a Cardboard Cup - 70, Girls, 70
Colored Lights - The Rink
Sara Lee - The Act
Arthur in the Afternoon - The Act
The World Goes 'Round (reprise)
My Coloring Book
I Don't Remember You - The Happy Time
Sometimes A Day Goes By - Woman of the Year
All That Jazz - Chicago
Mr. Cellophane - Chicago
There Goes the Ball Game - New York, New York
How Lucky Can You Get - Funny Lady
Marry Me - The Rink
A Quiet Thing - Flora, the Red Menace
Kiss of the Spider Woman - Kiss of the Spider Woman
The Grass is Always Greener - Woman of the Year
The World Goes 'Round (reprise)
We can Make It - The Rink
Maybe This Time - Cabaret (the movie)
Isn't This Better? - Funny Lady
Trio - The World Goes 'Round (reprise)
Money, Money - Cabaret (the movie)
Cabaret - Cabaret
Theme from New York, New York
The World Goes 'Round (reprise) - New York, New York

This revue is celebrates Kander-Ebb songs that have become standards like "Cabaret" with those written early in their career, or known personal favorites, those that are rarely heard and those they they wrote towards the end of their collaboration. I expect it will be a joyous roller coaster ride when I see it Saturday. It will run through October 21. The company describes it as a "razzmatazz celebration of Broadway at its best!"

Kevin Duda

The World Goes 'Round requires a lot from its performers, who will sing, dance and roller skate through a show that requires enormous energy and commitment to pull off.

(l to r) Angela Grovey, Kevin Duda, Bianca Marroquin, Kurt Robbins and Andrea Rivette in The World Goes 'Round.
photo by Kevin Sprague

Tickets and more information can be found here:

Barrington Stage Comapany

FULLY COMMITTED November 7-18 stars Vince Gatton

Last February, Barrington Stage offered a short run of Fuly Committed which was an uncommitted way of testing the year round waters. It worked. The show sold out and met the approval of local critics Gail Burns and Peter Bergman among others. You can visit their websites at:

Gail Burns, Gail Sez

Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

First off, what is not to love about Vince Gatton, an actor who won so many hearts in his early career.

In this production, he gets to keep his clothes on and let us see the full range and depth of his talent. This outrageous one-man comedy presents a single day in the life of Sam Peliczowski, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan’s hippest restaurant. With the phones ringing off the hook, Sam juggles a range of eccentrics -- from scheming socialites and name-dropping wannabes to fickle celebrities and egomaniacal bosses. The question of the hour, though, is whether in the midst of all this culinary-inspired chaos he can also manage to look out for himself.

Vince Gatton

As Michael Portantiere wrote in TheaterMania:

Vince Gatton is one of those actors who has not infrequently been greeted in public by theatergoers uttering the brilliantly witty line, "I almost didn't recognize you with your clothes on!" Gatton -- along with six other actors -- was nude for most of Party, the popular gay comedy that started off in Chicago and then had a healthy run Off-Broadway. He went starkers again in certain scenes of Flesh and Blood, a murder mystery at the Sanford Meisner theater. Most recently, he donned his birthday suit for the role of Adam -- as in "Adam and Steve" -- in a Gay Pride Month production of Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.

He recently played Warhol Superstar Candy Darling in David Johnston's Candy and Dorothy at Theater Three in New York (2006 Drama Desk nomination -- Outstanding Actor in a Play) and at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater in Cape Cod. He is a "Repeat Offender" with the Blue Coyote Theater Group, with whom he starred in Johnston's critically acclaimed Busted Jesus Comix and Matt Freeman's The Americans. More recently he appeared Off-Broadway in The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told; Baptizing Adam; Henry IV parts 1 & 2, among others.

Vince Gatton Feature


Gail Nelson returns to the Barrington Stage to reprise their popular 1995 and 2002 recreation of Billy Holiday. Funny, sweet, a little naughty, and ultimately heartbreaking, it also features Danny Holgate on piano and David Jackson playing bass.

Here's the setup: In the intimacy of a friend's bar in a run-down section of Philadelphia, legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday delivers one of her final performances. A skillful blend of biography and cabaret, this is a poignant glimpse of the real-life person behind an American icon. Features many classics, including "God Bless The Child," "When A Woman Loves A Man," and "Strange Fruit."

Now if we could get Julianne Boyd to discover Sharon McKnight, we might have another classic to visit with - the immortal Sophie Tucker. Her show has more humor than drama, and is a classic. See what I am talking about here:

Sharon as Sophie

Barrington has more plans for February, March and May

Barrington Stage is the first major company in the Berkshires to attempt a year-round presence in what is often thought of as a summer colony for New Yorkers and Bostonians. It is that to a large degree, but the Berkshires are a case of nature nurturing art. So it has developed into a year-round home for visual and performing artists and writers. They enjoy a laid back lifestyle and bucolic setting. It is more invigorating than an arts colony since the creative life is mixed in with farms, local businesses and a wide assortment of industries including health care, manufacturing, insurance and a curious smattering of high tech and internet enterprises. If you have not yet visited this westernmost part of Massachusetts, with mountains, lakes and a rich cultural life, please do!