Once the choice of things to do for LGBTQ's were few and far between. But these days there's plenty on the calendar. Now the question is how to be in two places at once when you and I used to have no place to go at all! (Yeah, I was a fan of the Firesign Theatre.) That's the dilemma many of us face on the weekend of October 10-12 with the Equality March in DC and the Out in the Berkshires Celebration in Pittsfield.
Here's a look at the LGBTQ datebook for the coming month. It's going to be fun!
October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 - MEZZE
The first thing to note is the continuing Thursday nights at Mezze in Williamstown where GLBTQ folks gather beginning at 9:00 pm for drinks and conversation. Look for Justin Adkins, the fellow in the hat, and say hi. Of course, there may be more than one person and gender wearing hats, so take a chance!
October - All Month - HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
What's not to like about a hilarious spoof, especially when it comes replete with cross dressing, wigs, and Monty Phython type humor. That's what's in store for those who trek to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox for a twisted version of the Sherlock Holmes mystery . Three guys play all 16 characters, searching for the right costumes and hoping they don't malfunction. Read my revealing interview with them here in Berkshire Fine Arts. For tickets - and don't forget to ask for your Berkshire resident discount of 40% - go to Shakespeare and Company
October 3 - LIVE OUT LOUD
The New England Trans United Pride March and Rally takes place on October 3 in Northampton starting at 11:30 AM, assembling at Lampron Park. New England Trans United Come out and celebrate the strength, talent, intellect, and diversity of our community. March and rally to advance the civil rights of transgender people. Bring a friend, make new friends.
October 7 - BSCC POTLUCK
The monthly Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition gathering takes place October 7 at 7:00 PM at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 175 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA. Open to GLBTQI community and friends. Bring a main dish, salad, veggie or dessert to share. Beverages provided. Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition
October 10, 11 - NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH
The National Equality March on Washington is scheduled for this weekend as thousands of people from around the country gather in D.C. for activism, marches and grassroots activism. For information on the event visit National Equality March.
There are Massachusetts bus and hotel packages available from from Join the Impact. Buses leave Friday night and return Monday morning.
October 10-12 OUT IN THE BERKSHIRES
The City of Pittsfield celebrates being Out in the Berkshires with a series of events over the Columbus Day Weekend. Out in the Berkshires website
October 10 - THE BOSTON GAY MENS CHORUS AT 3:30
The Out in the Berkshires weekend kicks off on with a performance by the Boston Gay Men's Chorus at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield at 3:30pm.The BGMC is one of New England's largest and most successful community-based choruses.
This will be the first appearance in the Berkshires for BGMC. Their concerts in Boston regularly fill Symphony Hall with music lovers. The 175-voice ensemble is celebrated for its outstanding musicianship, creative programming, and groundbreaking community outreach.
Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will perform highlights from its hit show, Boys Just Wanna Have Fun: Totally 80s, a tribute to the music of the 80s including hits by Madonna, Boy George, Bon Jovi, Prince, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper and many more. This show was featured during the 2009 Boston Pride festivities and proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Gay/Straight Alliances at Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School. For more information on the chorus please visit www.bgmc.org
Best of all, you don't have to be gay to have a great time at their performances! Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, and $15 at the door. Tickets will be sold at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Taconic High School, Pittsfield High School, and St. Stephen's.
October 10 - QUITE QUEER DANCE PARTY and APPLE BOB
This looks to be one of the hottest parties of the year, Quite Queer at the Elks Lodge in Pittsfield kicks off at 6:00pm with live music by queer-oriented acts MKNG FRNDZ, Jen Urban & the Box, Max Steele and the Party Ice and The G-Spots with a dance party to follow. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. They are on sale at Dotties Coffee Lounge, The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and Rebel Sound Records.
October 11 - PILOBOLUS AT THE MAHAIWE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
There is only one dance troupe in the world that mixes together dance, theater, acrobatics, contortionism and illusion to create highly entertaining, unique works of moving art that have legions of fans around the world. Sometimes humorous, sometimes jaw dropping, but always artistically beautiful, the company will be including their famous piece for four men, Gnomen which is also a play on words. Curtain is at 7 PM, and there's no better place to see them than the wonderful Mahaiwe in Great Barrington. Great sight lines, excellent acoustics, nice people. Mahaiwe Performance Information
October 12 - THE LARAMIE PROJECT AT BARRINGTON STAGE
The Laramie Project was born out of the torture and death of Matthew Shepherd in Laramie, Wyoming a decade ago. As a theatrical event, it has been performed in high schools, colleges and communities thousands of times in the intervening years. Now, looking back, The Laramie Project, an Epilogue looks at what has been accomplished in the past ten years.
Barrington Stage has assembled a cast from Pittsfield and the Berkshires that will take part in a nationwide event that includes 120 theater companies from every state and 7 countries for a moving performance that brings this tragedy home to us all.
Read my feature story on this moving event in Berkshire Fine Arts. Wait until you see who's in the cast!
Tickets are $15 ($10 for students) and are available now through the Barrington Stage Company box office 413.236.8888 and online Barrington Stage Company
October 17 - DONALD STRACHEY BOOK SIGNING
Richard Stevenson, the pseudonym for Becket, MA author Richard Lipez, has written another book in his famous Donald Strachey detective series, The 38 Million Dollar Smile. He will appear at The Bookstore, 11 Housatonic Street in Lenox on October 17 from 2-4 pm to talk about and sign his new book. The Bookstore in Lenox.
Last year's Stachey novel, Death Vows, was set in the Berkshires, and one hopes that like several of his earlier books these tales will be made into movies with Chad Allen who has starred in the author's Ice Blues, Shock to the System and On the Other Hand, Death. I have interviewed, gossiped with and written about Chad and his films (and stage and television roles) many times on my other blog, Arts America.
October 23-24 - AMANDA MCBROOM RETURNS
One of the highlights of my summer, other than Bill Nelson's All Male Revue at Barrington Stage, was Amanda McBroom's SRO performance at Jae's Spice in July. Happily I will be going back to more, since she is returning to the Berkshires, this time to appear at BSC's Stage 2. Her latest CD features the music of Jacques Brel, and her concert included her unique take on his remarkable songs.
Amanda McBroom has been called "...the greatest cabaret performer of her generation, an urban poet who writes like an angel and has a voice to match." Composer of the power ballad "The Rose," which became a number one hit the world over, Amanda is a knock out performer and extraordinary songwriter. This is an artist who sings from her heart, the human heart, to your heart. Barrington Stage Company
October 24 - HIKE THE SPOOKY QUARRY
If you enjoy the outdoors, and a little mystery, here's a chance to hike the Quarry in Becket with other like-minded individuals. Meet at the Price Chopper in Lee at 1 PM and we'll car pool to the Quarry for a brisk Fall hike.
Tucked between Becket's forests and hills, the old granite quarry sits like a sunken vessel, a living museum with rusted artifacts left behind when the Hudson-Chester Granite Company suddenly folded. Some folks have reported paranormal activity there. Many lost their lives when it was in operation for more than a century from 1850 to 1960.
When it was abandoned it was as if the men just walked away for lunch and never came back, and that's what makes it a wonderful museum. There are trucks, drills, and derricks (booms to hoist granite) throughout the site.
October 31 - MAKING THE BOYS
Who doesn't love a good film, and the Williamstown Film Festival is offering several excellent films of special interest to the GLBTQ community. Making the Boys is one of them.
When it opened off-Broadway in 1968, Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band jolted audiences and revolutionized the stage's treatment of homosexuality. Months later, the Stonewall riots signaled a landmark sea change in gay attitudes toward repression. How much have things changed since? A fascinating study of art and morality in modern America. The film is a Work in Progress and is paired with the short, Love You More. Williamstown Film Festival
November 1 - HUMPDAY
Also at the Williamstown Film Festival, the male ego comes in for a shellacking in Lynn Shelton's bubbling Sundance award-winner. When best friends (and straight guys) Ben and Andrew reunite, they find themselves dared into entering an amateur porn contest. The plan: to create a "work of art"by having sex together. But will they go through with the scheme – and who's going to tell Ben's wife? A buddy movie gone hilariously haywire. Williamstown Film Festival.
Other recommended films - actually, they are all excellent choices! - are Dare which explores the sexual undercurrents (and, eventually, overcurrents) between three teenagers and is pretty sexy. Then there is the tale of Handsome Harry a Navy veteran whose reunion gradually sheds light on a long-ago affair that the lead character has kept suppressed for decades. You can read my preview of the full schedule in Berkshire Fine Arts.