Thursday January 3, 2013

Happy 2013, dear readers! Hope you all found ways to relax and/or celebrate the changing of the year.

As my co-columnist Andrew Flint mentioned last week, the Berkshires After Dark scene in 2012 had much to offer, whether you’re a longtime nightlife patron or a newcomer to the area or the scene.

One change you’ll notice is contributor Jeremy Goodwin is bowing out of the B.A.D. rotation to focus on what he does best for The Eagle -- in-depth features on the region’s music scene. Andrew and I certainly wish him all the best.

Now that I’m heading into my eighth year of writing this column, I raise my glass to you. Without you, the venue owners, the entertainers, the patrons and readers, this feature would not exist as it has.

That said, as we regroup and look ahead, I give you my personal picks of seven special things (in no particular order) to look forward to this year in the Berkshires, after dark:

n J. Allen’s Clubhouse Grille in Pittsfield. According to a Dec. 19, 2012, Facebook post, the liquor license transfer for the new arm of Patrick’s Pub has been approved by state officials. They’re hiring staff now, and renovations are well under way in the space formerly inhabited by Bobby Hudpucker’s and Brulees.

Opening night should be soon. This North Street location has been a notoriously tough spot to maintain business. Will Patrick’s be able to turn it into the same powerhouse its pub has become? Only patrons and time will tell.

n The Upstreet Cultural District established this past year in downtown Pittsfield is continuing to promote itself through the continuation of the First Fridays Artswalk, happening this Friday beginning at 5 p.m. Bundle up and check out a range of work, from iPhone photography to Hebrew calligraphy.

That night, the festivities continue with tandem music performances by The David Wax Museum at the Colonial Theatre and Sister City Jazz Ambassadors and Foot River playing Mission Bar & Tapas. All but the Colonial show are free.

Also in the Upstreet district, The 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival (formerly 10x10 on North) of new theater works, music and art returns for its sophomore year, spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the city of Pittsfield. This year’s event is Feb. 14 through 24. Visit
discoverpittsfield.com/10x10 or find "10x10 Upstreet" on Facebook.

n Speaking of beating the winter blues, the NAMA Committee in North Adams has got you covered. The makers of the summer’s NAMA Prom brings you the NAMA Snow Ball, a brand new dance party scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, also at the Elks Lodge. Dress up and dance with DJ Chris Bigelow of Cloud 9 Productions. There going all out with a range of fun themes, from ice sculpture to sno-cones. For details, find NAMA Prom on Facebook.

n Also up north, Mass MoCA doesn’t disappoint. They’ve already sold out their Feb. 16 Jeff Mangum show at the Hunter Center. Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival 2013 (June 21-23) tickets are already on sale and likely going fast based on previous years’ successes. In addition to gallery hours 10 live events are scheduled between now and March. Thank goodness.

n Dream Away Lodge in Becket had a great 2012 season, with an expanded Nouveau Revue festival and a serious spread in November’s "O," Oprah’s magazine. One can only wonder what this means for 2013. Will our secret hideaway in the Berkshire woods be overrun by tourists this summer, or will they get lost by trying to use their GPS to get there (which doesn’t work)? Stay tuned.

n Great Barrington. When I first started writing this column, this South County town was a weekend night destination for shows at Club Helsinki (since relocated to Hudson, N.Y.) and infamous dance parties at the now-defunct Union Bar & Grill.

A new wave has since rolled in and rekindled a mainstay of places for patrons to hang after 8 p.m. Fiori has made a successful foray into the live music scene. After bumping out Napa, Gypsy Joynt has become a downtown staple for good food and hot music, including an open mic every Wednesday. Allium’s hosted everything from deejays to bluegrass. Bogies and The Well still host parties and special events. Castle Street Café still hosts live jazz every Friday and Saturday. Lots more to come, I’m sure.

n The return of comedy. When I interviewed Pittsfield native comedian Jesse Adams back in December, he said there wasn’t really places to see live comedy in the Berkshires. The response from readers and event planners actually showed the opposite, proving there’s a huge fan base for laughter-seeking night owls.

Adams’ Punch Drunk Comedy and debut show at Café Reva in Pittsfield filled the house for two nights. A crowd of 35 people packed into Rumpy’s Tavern in Lenox last Sunday to check out its "Happy Fun Time Comedy Show," which takes place every Sunday night at 8 p.m., with free admission and free food. Coming up this Saturday at 7 p.m., The Well in Great Barrington will host funny guys Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central), Marty Caproni (Comix at Foxwoods), Tim McKeever (Hartford Funny Bone) and host Thomas Attila Lewis, who also hosts at Rumpy’s. Add veterans like RBIT and Zip Stohr into the mix, and it’s shaping up to be a very funny New Year.

To reach Jenn Smith:
jsmith@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink