As spring approaches I suddenly find myself inundated with invitations to concerts, readings, and exhibits. It appears that our winter hibernation is finally coming to an end.

Here is a small sampling of some of the events I’m planning to attend, along with a few I’m very, very sorry to miss…

"Computer Lab" by Olive Ayhens is on view at Lori Bookstein Fine Art through March 24th (Photo courtesy Olive Ayhens)

Olive Ayhens at Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York City

I never tire of looking at the intricate, unruly paintings of Olive Ayhens. Her new show, Electronic Labyrinth at Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York, finds Ayhens exploring a new artistic direction–extreme interiors. These striking paintings of genome and computer labs are like nothing the artist has done before, and yet they share all of the distinctive characteristics of Ayhens’ unique style.

The detail of Ayhens’ work is best appreciated in person. You can stop by Lori Bookstein Fine Art through through March 24, 2012.



Missy Mazzoli's "Song from the Uproar—The Lives & Deaths Of Isabelle Eberhardt" opens tonight at The Kitchen.

Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar at The Kitchen in New York City

The New York Times called Missy Mazzoli “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York.” Time Out New York has dubbed her “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart.”

While her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, the American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, New York City’s NOW Ensemble, and many others, Mazzoli has found that one of the best ways to see your work performed is to form your own musical ensemble, much like composer Steve Reich did. Mazzoli’s all-female quintet Victoire has been receiving rave reviews. Victoire’s album Cathedral City was named one of the top classical albums of 2010. And New Yorker music critic Alex Ross declared it “one of 2010′s most memorable albums.”

This weekend, you’ll have a chance to see the premiere of Mazzoli’s new multimedia opera Song from the Uproar–the Lives & Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt at The Kitchen. The work, which is Mazzoli’s most ambitious piece to date, is a unique combination of live musical performance and original films, inspired by the life and writings of early-20th-century explorer Isabelle Eberhardt.

The audience will witness key moments in Eberhardt’s life, from the death of her family, through her journeys in the North African desert, to her tragic drowning in a flash flood at the age of 27.

Song from the Uproar—The Lives & Deaths Of Isabelle Eberhardt from Beth Morrison Projects on Vimeo.

Song from the Uproar is presented in collaboration with filmmaker Stephen Taylor, librettist Royce Vavrek, stage director Gia Forakis, and conductor Steven Osgood, featuring NOW Ensemble with mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer and a vocal ensemble of some of New York City’s finest singers. The show is produced by Beth Morrison Projects. 

Tickets are only $15. Song from the Uproar can be seen at 8 p.m. on Friday–Saturday, February 24–25, and Thursday–Saturday, March 1–3. More information is available here.



"Overlander" is a site-specific installation by artist Elizabeth Duffy that uses drawing, embroidery, objects, textiles, wallpaper and upholstered furniture, in an inventive way to explore the role of pattern in both data security and interior decoration. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Duffy)



(Photo courtesy Elizabeth Duffy)

Elizabeth Duffy at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery in Newport, Rhode Island

As the days grow warmer, it’s a great time to take a day trip to the shore for a little ocean air and art.

Rhode Island artist Elizabeth Duffy has a special exhibit at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island through March 14th. Overlander is a site-specific installation that uses drawing, embroidery, objects, textiles, wallpaper and upholstered furniture, in an inventive way to explore the role of pattern in both data security and interior decoration. This show’s centerpiece, a custom restored horse-drawn carriage, points to the Antone Academic Center’s origins as a carriage house.

This exhibit is open to the public through March 14. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Click here for directions and hours.



Poets Ted Powers, Wendy Xu, and Mark Leidner at the Good Neighbor Series in Peterborough, New Hampshire

On Saturday, February 25th, the Good Neighbor Series continues at the Sharon Arts Center with featured poets Ted Powers, Wendy Xu, and Mark Leidner. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. There will be wine, cheese, and other treats. The suggested donation is $6, but don’t let money keep you away. The reading is conveniently located next door to the local pub.



The Low Anthem performs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday (Photo courtesy The Low Anthem)

The Low Anthem and Redwing Blackbird at South Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Also on Saturday, February 25th, the popular Providence, Rhode Island band and Nonesuch recording artists The Low Anthem will be playing at the beautiful South Church in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Opening the show will be the Monadnock region’s own Redwing Blackbird.

The Low Anthem promises the concert will be a one-of-a-kind performance. Over the course of three full-length albums, the band has not only grown in numbers, they have also added new influences and instruments. The band collects and repairs antique pump organs, oversized drum kits, hammered dulcimers, autoharps, singing bowls, banjos, steel drums, crotales, horns of all shapes, and a 600 pound pipe organ—they are obsessive scavengers, reverent of oddity and fanatical in the search for sound. The eclectic array of instruments used on their most recent release, Smart Flesh, includes jaw harp, musical saw, stylophone, antique organs, and an elaborate scheme to re-amp noise through various chambers of a factory. The resulting sound is an album as interesting as it is beautiful, that can really only be fully understood in a live setting.

Tickets are on sale now at all Bull Moose locations and online at Brown Paper Tickets.

This event is appropriate for all ages.  Doors open at 7 p..m. Redwing Blackbird plays at 7:30, followed by The Low Anthem at 8:30.



Soprano Ilana Davidson will perform in New Hampshire on Monday, February 27th (Photo courtesy Ilana Davidson)

Music for the Mountain’s Inaugural Concert at the First Church in Jaffrey, New Hampshire

Artistic directors and musicians Jonathan Bagg and Laura Gilbert have been bringing classical and new music to Southern New Hampshire for years now. Bagg and Gilbert will officially launch their new year-round music series on Monday, February 27th with a mid-winter soiree at the First Church in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Greek guitarist Antigoni Goni

This kick-off concert for Music for the Mountain will feature Greek guitarist Antigoni Goni, soprano Ilana Davidson, Jesse Mills, Reiko Aizawa, plus Bagg and Gilbert. The program will feature Billa-Lobos’s haunting Bachianas Brasilieras for guitar and voice, fados and canciones by Brazilian composer Jose Merlin, tangos by Piazzola, and more.

The concert is at 6:00 p.m. at the First Church in Jaffrey on Monday, February 27th. Tickets are $20. For reservations call 603-784-5265. Tickets may also be purchased at the door. Click here for more information.




A Philadelphia native, Jamaaladeen Tacuma broke onto the national music scene in the 70s as a member of Ornette Coleman’s electric band. (Photo courtesy The MacDowell Colony)

Jamaaladeen Tacuma at MacDowell Downtown in Peterborough, New Hampshire

Friday, March 2nd is First Friday in Peterborough, New Hampshire, which means stores will be open late and a number of special events will be happening in town. The MacDowell Colony will kick off its free series, MacDowell Downtown, with a special live performance by bassist, bandleader, producer, and composer Jamaaladeen Tacuma. A Philadelphia native, Tacuma broke onto the national music scene in the 70s as a member of Ornette Coleman’s electric band.

Releasing his debut album, Showstopper, in 1983, Tacuma has since recorded extensively on his own and collaborated with a wide spectrum of superlative musicians, including Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Carlos Santana, Anthony Davis, and former Bauhaus front man, Peter Murphy. For his Peterborough audience, Tacuma will perform selections from his current work-in-progress, 2 Groove Electric.

This free event takes place at the Peterborough Historical Society on Grove Street at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and free refreshments will be served. For more information, visit The MacDowell Colony website.



Opening Reception for Coming of Age at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire

Also on Friday, March 2nd, the new show Coming of Age will open at the Sharon Arts Center gallery. The show will feature work by New England Artists Under 30. Sponsored by the New Hampshire Institute of Art, this exhibition presents emerging artists in a variety of media. Curated by Kate Lenahan (NHIA Class of 2008) and juried by Cathy Sununu, Tim Donovan, and Craig Stockwell, Coming of Age presents some of the regions most inspiring talent in the visual arts. The show will offer a wide variety of mediums utilizing both traditional and innovative methods and techniques. The exhibited mediums will include video installations, performance art, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, mixed media, drawings and sculpture.

Artists included in the show include Rachelle Beaudoin, Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne, Nome Graham, and more.

The free opening reception will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, March 2nd at the Sharon Arts Center on Grove Street. Click here for more information.




Deliah's bar in Chicago is just one of the venues bracing for an onslaught of writers at the upcoming AWP conference

Kevin Moffett, Jamie Quatro, Eugene Cross, Laura van den Berg, Traci Brimhall, Eduardo C. Corral, and Tomas Q. Morin at Chicago’s Best Whiskey Bar

Jamie Quatro

Writers will be descending on Chicago soon for AWP (the Association of Writers & Writing Programs). There will be plenty of great events happening during the sold-out conference.

At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2nd, American Short Fiction and New England Review join forces to create a supersized, rollicking happy hour reading at the best whiskey bar in all of Chicago.

ASF will supply the fiction writers, including Kevin Moffett, Jamie Quatro, Eugene Cross, and Laura van den Berg. NER will bring along poets Traci Brimhall, Eduardo C. Corral, and Tomas Q. Morin.

The reading will take place on Friday, March 2nd from 5-6:30 p.m. at Delilah’s located at 2771 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647.

Dear, dear. 40 different kinds of whiskey and all of those writers in one bar. Things could get interesting. Click here for more info.




Catherine Chung Reads from Her New Novel Forgotten Country in Chicago

Also on Friday, March 2nd from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Catherine Chung will be celebrating the publication of her new novel Forgotten Country at the Barnes & Noble–DePaul University College Bookstore in Chicago. The event is being hosted by Guernica. Chung’s book has been receiving good buzz in literary circles. The book received a starred review from Kirkus and was recommended in this month’s issue of O Magazine. The reading is just a few blocks away from the hotel and AWP. Click here for more information.

Writer Catherine Chung

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