NORTH ADAMS -- MCLA Presents! will use a variety of artistic mediums, from adult puppetry to classical blues performances, to explore a plethora of current topics, ranging from hunger to civil rights issues, this season.
"We're holding what we're hoping will become the first annual MCLA Puppet Fest. We'll spend a whole year looking at issues through the art of adult puppetry," Berkshire Cultural Resource Center Director Jonathan Secor said in a recent interview. "David Lane will perform a five-part serial beginning on Oct. 24, called ‘The Chronicles of Rose.' It's split into 45-minute segments and explores the confiscation of Jewish art during the Nazi occupation of Paris."
Other puppet festival pieces include "Dorme," performed by Italian puppeteer Laura Barolomei, which will explore the darker side of sleep, and "Who's Hungry?" by puppeteers Dan Froot and Dan Hurlin, which uses a cast of actors, dancers and puppeteers to tell the tale of five hungry Californians.
"The piece ‘Who's Hungry?' looks at hunger and hunger insecurity," Secor said. "The piece comes from UCLA, where the group spent a couple years interviewing individuals about these issues."
The season kicks off on Saturday at 2 p.m., with a performance by New York City-based band Orquestra Salsa con Conciencia, "SCC," in the college's academic quad.
MCLA's "Creating Equality" series will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium in the MCLA Church Street Center at 7:30 p.m., with an evening of music and spoken word with author and musician James McBride, who will read excerpts from his latest book, "The Good Lord Bird."
On Saturday, Oct. 5, the series will present "Word Becomes Flesh," in conjunction with the Williams College Davis Center.
"This performance is a spoken word, hip-hop performance of letters written by young black men to their unborn sons. It's a very powerful performance, which looks at the good, the bad and the ugly," Secor said.
A highlight of the MCLA Presents! season will be "50 Years after the Fire," this year's Margaret A. Hart 35 Scholarship Concert, according to Secor.
Harlem-based composer/trombonist Craig Harris will unveil several musical compositions that he has been commissioned to create, which revolve around civil rights activities that happened 50 years ago.
For "50 Years after the Fire," the MCLA Allegrettos and other MCLA music students will join Harris' band, "Nation of Imagination," to perform these new compositions.
"From 1963 to 1973 there was a monumental event every year -- from the March on Washington to the Vietnam War protests and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and President John F. Kennedy -- that changed America," Secor said.
This event, co-presented with MCLA's Allegrettos, the MCLA Music Department and MCLA's ‘Creating Equality' series, will take place on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m., in the MCLA Church Street Center's Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.
Tickets to this event will be specially priced, with all proceeds going directly to benefit the Margaret A. Hart ‘35 Scholarship Fund.
The season will also include the MCLA annual Blues and Funk Fest, on Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.
Up-and-coming blues performer Jesse Dee of Boston, will perform updated soul music for contemporary audiences on the New Orleans music icon Walter ‘Wolfman' Washington will perform on Saturday, Feb. 8
For a full schedule of events and ticket prices, call 413-664-8718, or go to http://www.mcla.edu/presents Tickets for any of the shows may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at 413-662-5204.