Thursday April 26, 2012

I have already seen bonfires, barbecues, outdoor dining and restaurants with windows and doors open this spring as the sounds of live music meandered out into the night.

That said, there's a lot of new and exciting entertainment to be had locally in the month ahead

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Class of 2014 member Ben Mancino is part of the Performing Arts Management that's taking its annual PAM Show off campus and literally onto the streets of North Adams. "Rock the Block" debuts on May 6.

"We really wanted to extend ourselves into the community. There's not a whole lot that happens in the area, so we wanted to do something for everyone," he said.

Here's just a sample of some of the newer events happening this spring:

Tonight

This is the last Live Music Café of the season at IS183 Art School in Stockbridge at its Citizens' Hall Stage. Live music for all ages, 7 to 8:30 p.m., with John Clarke, Bruce Mandel, Chris Merenda, Tom Parker, John Prusinski and Rodney Mashia. There is a suggested donation of $10.

May 4

The inaugural "First Fridays Artswalk" will kickoff at 5 p.m. This collaboration between Massachusetts Cultural Council and downtown Pittsfield's newly minted Upstreet Cultural District, the monthly visual arts event of exhibits and related programming is hosted by more than 20 downtown venues, with a Berkshires Jazz event at Baba Louie's restaurant. Details at http://firstfridaysartswalk.com.

Billy Keane and the Misdemeanor Outlaws will release its first full album, "Going Home," with an all-ages CD release party, 9 p.m., at The Garage (The Colonial Theatre lobby) in Pittsfield. Tickets are $15, including admission and a free album download, or $25 for admission, a copy of the CD and a catered after-party at Y Bar. Advanced tickets: www.berkshiretheatregroup. org

May 4 - 6

The first ever Berkshire Anime & Manga Convention (BAMCON) debuts at the Berkshires Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield. There will be gaming, art galleries, costumes, dance parties, live music, comedy, Pittsfield's own Zombie Action Committee and much more. Details at www.bam-con.com.

May 5

There are "Cinco de Mayo" parties all over Berkshire County. You won't have to look far to find a fiesta.

May 5 - 15

Small jazz ensembles will perform at Williams College in May. All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. Vocalist Laura Pierce sings standards from the Great American Song Book, backed by pianist Andy Jaffe and bassist Kevin Lawkins, at 4 p.m. on May 5. Pianist Taylor Halperin leads a jazz septet on May 7 at 8 p.m. On May 9 at 7 p.m. the Small Jazz Ensembles, featuring students of Andy Jaffe, Avery Sharpe and John Wheeler. A final concert on May 15 at 7 p.m. will feature jazz guitarists from the studio of Robert Phelps. Details: http://music. williams.edu or call (413) 597-3146.

May 6

The Performing Arts Management (PAM) class at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts have curated, produced and will share the final MCLA Presents! performance of the season, "Rock the Block." The free block party on Main Street in North Adams, from 2 to 9 p.m. is open to all. Headlining 11-member Debo Band plays at 7 p.m. Other musical acts include: MCLA Jazz Band, Allegrettos, Drury Jazz Band, DJ Leila, and Spooky and the Nomads. Also performances by Yorick Shakespeare Club, Nexxus Step Team and Harlequin Musical Theatre Club. Details: http://rockintheblock.blogspot.com/

May 11

The ITAM Lodge in Pittsfield will host Charles Neville and the Misty Blues Band, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 to benefit Western Massachusetts Labor Action.

May 12

Tap dance troupe Rhythmic Circus arrives with a seven-piece band, vocalists, and a beat-boxer at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, 8 p.m. DJ BFG and Drew Suto hosts an after party. Tickets $15 to 35 for show and party; $3 cover for the after party only. Details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce is trying something new this year with MayFest, an all-day outdoor music festival, with all net proceeds to benefit North Adams Regional Hospital. Food and drinks available. Gates open at noon at Weston Field on Latham Street. Live music starts at 1 and gates close at 8 p.m. Bands include Jungle Work, The Rock Hounds, Rebel Alliance and CJ Field. Tickets are $15 general admission. Children 12 and under are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Buy tickets at the gate or in advance at http://williamstownmayfest .com.

May 14

Construct Inc. will host its annual MayFest, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington to benefit Construct's work to help the homeless. The event features food and wine-tasting from more than 20 local restaurants, plus a brief performance by Mixed Company. Tickets are $75 at www.constructinc.org.

May 23 to ongoing

DJ Jerrid Coty returns to present "Do it right, Wednesday night" at The Underground Pub in Pittsfield. He'll be spinning all sorts of dance music across genres, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. for this age 21 and up weekly event. Cover is $3 door and the first 30 people to ask, get a CD of the week.

May 25

The 2012 Troubadour concert series kicks off at The Guthrie Center at the old Trinity Church in Great Barrington with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion playing on May 25 at 8 p.m. This year's Guthrie Center programs also celebrate the centennial of the legendary Woody Guthrie. Details: (413) 528-1955 or guthriecenter.org.

June 9

NAMA Prom 2012 is to be held again at the Elks Lodge in North Adams. (Full disclosure: I'm on the prom committee.) The theme is "Sweet Dreams," a celestial swirl of sweet tunes and treats. It's a chance for the 21 and up crowd to get dressed up for a night out, 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5 cover. Details: Facebook or call (413) 652-2462.

June 10

Macedonia Baptist Church presents Berkshires Best Gospel Express, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, celebrating June as African American Music Appreciation Month. General admission is $7, free for youth ages 18 and under.

June 16

The 21st annual Pittsfield YMCA Wing Fling will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight at the newly renovated Paterson Field House at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield.

This age 21 and up event will include thousands of wings to taste and judge. Follow on Facebook.