Memorial Day brings Solid Sound and fluid color

At night in a city with the lights out, a woman is looking at the stars. It’s 1942; Tokyo is at war, and Hisako Koyama is learning the night sky. Her husband is away in the fighting, and she is becoming an astronomer. For more than 40 years, she will draw sketches of the sun.

I only know her name because the Ancram Opera House is opening their summer with a new musical — Suncatcher weaves her story with the myth of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, one the highest deities in Japan, who stands against the violence of her brother. And now I want to know what they sing together. How does Hisako find strength in the sky, and how does Amaterasu see the world on a spring day at noon?

The world is warming up this week, in some ways. Summer seasons are opening at museums and theaters — the Solid Sound festival is coming to Mass MoCA — and stories are on tap again. I’m talking with a Nigerian dance company as they move from the contemporary streets of Lagos into the tropical night, and with Haitian artists who feel rhythms in the colors of their paints …

It’s good to feel the first lap of that creative rush again. It’s like the shifting of the tide, as the current shifts minutely in toward shore. We’ll have more coming soon now. We’ll have nights of music and live dance, and they’ll feel like those moments in a conversation when your attention holds, and you feel the person you’re talking to, clear in all their flair and magnetic pull. The sun’s coming. — By the Way Berkshires

In the photo at the top, Akiko Aizara performs as the sun goddess Amaterasu, and Natsuko Hirano performs as astronomer Hisako Koyama, in Sunwatcher, a Noh-inspired new play at Ancram Opera House. Press photo by Suzu Sakai

This weekend …

Solid Sound returns to Mass MoCA with three days of music and comedy — and music live up and down the hills. Jazz and Celtic folk come to the Foundry, Joshua Henry sings Broadway at Barrington Stage and Tony Yazbeck with Berkshire Theatre Group, folk artist Madeleine Peyroux comes from Paris to the Mahaiwe, and the new musical Sunwatcher opens the summer at the Ancrm Opera House …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

The Bear and Bee Bookshop brings science fiction and fantasy and more to North Adams.
Feb 8 2023 @ 8:00 am
The Bear and Bee bookshop invites LGBTQ+ folk an informal evening of conversation and quiet activities in a warm community place, every second Wednesday of the month.
Notchview in Windsor grooms miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Feb 8 2023 @ 8:30 am
Now that snow is falling, the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails are open at Notchview, up on the ridge in Windsor.
Filed pasta. Courtesy photo by Stu Spivak.
Feb 8 2023 @ 4:00 pm
BBG educator Rachel Durgin will lead a winter cooking class, where kids will learn to read recipes, gain skills and have fun in the kitchen.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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