The Importance of Having a Blog

You may have noticed that for the past several months (that’s right, not since January) there has not been a new blog posting for BCRC or any of our programs. It is true, that with all the various programs that we have going on in our small downtown North Adams office, we find that the time to update this blog slips away from us quite easily. But what we’ve found through one special event that happened this summer, blogs are important things to keep going.

We were lucky enough to have a great group of B-HIP (Berkshire Hills Internship Program) interns with us this summer, working at 12 different cultural institutions throughout Berkshire County. One intern in particular, Antoine Scalbert who came to us from Lyon, France, working primarily with Melanie Mowinski at PRESS Gallery this summer. One of Antoine’s duties at PRESS was to help with the marketing of PRESS. He created and maintained a blog for PRESS Gallery, that was not only a great marketing tool for PRESS, but also a great look inside of what it was like to be a B-HIP intern and what was gained out of this World-Class Arts Management program.

Blogs are seemingly easy things to do. It is a great vehicle to let people know what’s happening without being limited to a certain amount a characters or hashtags, a literary look into the programs and events that someone may be working on - small books that show us the inside. And that’s what this blog is all about. We want to show you what’s going on at BCRC not only through social media and photographs, but also through words and stories - ones that originate through us, but also ones that originate through our students, interns, professors, artists, and collaborators on what’s going on here.

So I invite you to start coming back to our blog. We’re here, stronger then ever, providing programming and programs that are for everyone and cover a variety of things. And with this blog you’ll be brought right into the heart of it.

Jen Crowell - Program Coordinator for BCRC

Posted by BCRC Admin on 09/16 at 10:45 AM

The Last Day

The last day of our stay at the APAP conference was, comparably, relatively laid back and calm. We were, first and foremost, able to sleep in, which was incredibly nice. After days of having to be up and ready by eight in the morning, it was lovely to not have to meet until quarter of ten in the morning, especially when it was not to go to any sessions, but was in order to go to the Here Performing Arts Center, which was my personal favorite venue for artistic work on our trip.

            Here Performing Arts Center is a unique place that hosts artists in residence, and they host an event called the Hybrid Brunch, where the artists in residence perform a showcase of their works either in three-minute pitches or in fifteen-minute excerpt. We saw six of the artists’ showcases and there were three that really stood out to me in particular. The first was a piece by these two artists, who happen to also be a same-sex married couple. They were creating a piece for each state, based on a same-sex couple from that particular state. There was a proposed performance aspect in their work, but the part that really hit me was the portrait work they had been doing. They would take a map of the state and then cut out a portrait of the couple, leaving the rivers and waterways intact, creating a vein-like look. For some reason, this piece had me on the verge of tears, and the maps themselves were beautiful as well. This piece was a part of a greater series of work that the artists had been cultivating at Here for the past few years. The next piece, and my personal favorite, was entitled “Science Fair”, a piece by mezzo-soprano Hei-Ting Chinn, who performed two excerpts of her work. Accompanied only by a pianist, she had slides of various mammals from the Americas projected on the screen, while she sang random facts about them. This humorous piece was followed by an equally entertaining piece in which she sang the ingredients of a Twinkie, again utilizing slides. The last piece, which was simply hilarious, was entitled The Pigeoning, which featured a two-part presentation. The first part was a comical “Safety in the Office” video, filmed to parody the awful 80’s workplace videos on office protocol. Following the video, two puppeteers manipulated the figure of a man sitting at a desk in said office. The piece was a comical look at Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and utilized really innovative puppetry. Following this section, the puppet moved to a bench, and began to interact with a pigeon puppet. I feel like I should mention that the pigeon was wearing a diving helmet, by the way. This piece was the crowd pleaser of the Hybrid Brunch showcases, and it really was a great experience.

            Following the Hybrid Brunch, we made our way to the Expo Hall for the last time. Immediately, Mary Marcil and I, in our true team style, made a very quick dash to our tables of interest, a large portion of which were the groups that had performed at GlobalFest the night before. Once we got pricing, we decided to split up. She had to gather footage of the Expo Hall for the trip, and I needed to plan out prospective seasons. I headed up to the fourth floor, which had showcase rooms and a very nice, secluded, lounge area. I spent the remainder of our time up here, as it was a nice place to think and hammer out different ideas for seasons, as that was our final project. While the last day was a shorter Expo Hall time for me, it was still a very productive one, and it also allowed me the opportunity to see the agents and representatives at their highest level of urgency, as it was the last day and they were all attempting to sell. This, in and of itself, was incredibly eye opening.

            After the Expo Hall, we cleaned up and went to the family style Italian restaurant Carmine’s, which I must say, was the largest amount of food I have ever seen. Not only was it amazing, but we were joined by two MCLA alum as well as two members of the Advancement Office. This made the entire dinner into a much more community based event. Following Carmine’s we headed over to Here again, to see a performance of Sumeida’s Song, an hour and a half long opera, written in English, performed as part of the Prototype festival. The set, pictured below, was amazing, and that, combined with the sheer power and spectacle of the material made quite the impact. A member of our group was reduced to tears by the beauty of the event. Following this, we all took a photo outside of Here and headed back to pack, get ready, and leave in the morning.

            The drive was successful! We arrived in North Adams in time for people to make their 11 AM classes. Here is where I sign off as blogger for the 2013 APAP trip. Thank you so much to Jonathan Secor, Lisa Donovan, and the entire group of students who went on the trip. This was a truly changing experience. Goodbye!

 

 

Posted by BCRC Admin on 01/16 at 11:43 AM

GLOBAL FEST!

GlobalFest was, for the majority of the group, the best part of the entire APAP trip. Essentially, this is a festival that featured twelve bands on three stages, each on a separate floor of Webster Hall.

            The three floors each had their own distinct feel, and the atmosphere really added a lot to the experience. The bottom floor, in the basement, was called The Studio. This was a tightly packed dance floor with a relatively small stage. At any given time, the audience members were no more than forty feet away from the stage, which was an incredibly intimate scenario. The Marlin Room, which was on the “second floor”, aka ground floor, was much more of a club setting, with a few tables, a bar, and a large space for standing room/dancing. Lastly, the grand ballroom was a massive empty space with a very large stage, encircling the entire top of the room was the unofficial “fourth floor”, which was the VIP section. As APAP members, we were allowed access to this level as well, which was a really great experience, as it allowed us to take breaks from the crowd to take a breather, so to speak. My personal favorite area was the studio, as I tend to like smaller venues, but all three were amazing, and added their own elements to the performances.

            Now, I did not see enough of every band to give a detailed description of each set, so I will just touch on the sets that I saw in their entirety, or almost entirety. The first performer that I saw was in The Studio. It was guitarist Stephane Wrembel, who is most well known for being a contributor to the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s films. Another guitarist, as well as a bassist and a drummer accompanied him. The speed, as well as the complicated nature of the music, made this an exciting opening act for those of us that were watching. The film buffs among us also greatly enjoyed hearing him play the main themes to movies such as Midnight in Paris and Vicky Christina Barcelona. Following him, we bounced around, visiting various acts. While many of the groups were good, another real standout was LoJo, a multi-ethnic group based in France. A larger ensemble, the most impressive members were the two female singers, who, I learned later, are sisters. They added percussion elements and sang in harmony, which was beautiful. The leader of the band, an older man who played the piano, among other instruments, was also quite impressive. All in all, the night was full of bands that truly impressed.

Now, however, is time for the paragraph devoted to the last two bands of the night. Like Timur and the Dime Museum from a few nights ago, both these bands were highlights of the trip for many artists. The first band is Mucca Pazza, a “punk rock marching band”. The second is A Tribe Called Red, which is a Native American electronic group who combine traditional pow wow music with the sounds of the electronic music scene. Mucca Pazza, who performed in the grand ballroom, entered in style, with a parade line through the audience. The split and ended up interacting a lot with the audience on this first song, which immediately made us like them even more. Accompanied by their punk rock cheerleaders, they took to the stage and provided one of the most amazing live shows I have seen. A completely instrumental group, they showed that you don’t need lyrics or vocalists to be a top-notch punk group. My favorite part of their performance was the dancing of the cheerleaders. Deliberately ridiculous, it added a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness in their work, which made them an immediate crowd pleaser. Another hilarious bit about the cheerleaders is that the pompoms were made of caution tape. The bandleader, who serves as the tuba player as well, was an incredibly charismatic leader who was able to make it seem like the group was being spontaneous. The main thing about Mucca Pazza, and probably why I like them so much, is that they seemed to be having fun themselves, which I feel is incredibly important. Tribe Called Red, performing in The Studio, was another highlight of my evening. I am not, usually, a fan of heavy electronic music, so I was greatly surprised to discover that I really loved this group. The incorporation of the Native American style of music, provided by sampling, as well as by two guest vocalists (both women), added to the feel of the music, which was a very new and innovative feel. The three DJs were top notch, and the entire crowd was jamming along with them before long. The coolest part of this show, though, was the fact that people of all ages were enjoying it. A highlight for me was witnessing a couple who were in their early to mid sixties dancing along like the rest of us, who are much closer to the “target age” for this kind of music. I honestly found that to be awesome, and incredibly unexpected, as most of the time, you are aware of who your audience is. That being said, I have learned that at least one person is reading this blog, which has me incredibly excited. As the first person I know to be reading this, a big shout out to Mrs. Cohen, mother of one of the students on this trip. Thank you for sticking with this!
            GlobalFest was an amazing evening, and a great segue into our last day of this trip to NYC. Stay tuned for the final installment and enjoy the pictures below! For more pictures, check out the flickr account. I may also post a purely picture entry after tomorrow’s report on the final day. 

 

 

Posted by BCRC Admin on 01/15 at 02:46 AM
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