Thursday October 18, 2012

Mass MoCA

While Big Bird makes the national news, the music his fuzzy friends are famous for is the subject of a concert for the whole family when Loser’s Lounge presents "Muppet Music Extravaganza" at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Mass MoCA’s Hunter Center.

The Loser’s Lounge is known in New York City and beyond, from Philly to Nashville, as a quirky tribute band that pays homage to such diverse musical talents as Burt Bacharach, Queen, Abba and Elton John. For almost two decades the fluctuating group centered around the Kustard Kings backing band, and a slew of regular (and sometimes celebrity) guest artists has wowed audiences with its entertaining spin on the most recognizable names in mainstream, pop and rock music.

Muppets fans can enjoy classics such as "Bein’ Green," "Rainbow Connection" and the Muppet Show theme song made famous on television, movies and albums by Kermit, Miss Piggy and friends. Like the Loser’s Lounge, the Muppets covered versions of popular tunes, as often as they sang original music by songwriters including the legendary Joe Raposa and Paul Williams.

Tickets for "Muppet Music Extra vaganza" are $12 for adults and $8 for children. Box office and information: www.massmoca.org, (413) 662-2111.

FilmColumbia

In "Kahanikar," an Indian girl helps her aging grandfather remember their favorite story.

Love-struck hamster "Bob" spins his wheel on a whirlwind world tour in pursuit of his true love.


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These and more are the subjects of the eighth FilmColumbia Children’s International Short Program in Chat ham, N.Y., an annual treat that always delights film fans young and old. Each October, 30-year veteran producer and filmmaker Patti Greaney from New York’s Giraldi Media curates a memorable, varied program of award-winning live action and animated short films aimed at family audiences and drawn from film festivals worldwide.

In this year’s lineup of American and international titles from Ger many, France, the U.K. and Canada, the Oscar-winning animation "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" blows the title character to a mysterious library filled with fabulous books that come alive.

The animators from Aardman Animations Studio (of "Wallace & Gromit" renown) have created "Py thag asaurus," a math-loving dinosaur, in a stylish and witty short film that will appeal to grownups as much as kids.

Perhaps most inspiring is "Caine’s Arcade," the true story of a 9-year-old boy who builds an arcade from cardboard boxes in his father’s East L.A. auto parts store and waits for customers to come and enjoy his elaborate games.

The hour-long program begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, and admission is free. Information: www.filmcolumbia.org, (518) 392-3459.

Shakespeare & Company

Experience the culture and history of the Emerald Isle when the Moffatt School of Irish Dancing performs "An Emigrant’s Farewell" at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

These talented young dancers have brought their spirited, dramatic dance presentation all the way from their Hibernian homeland of County Mayo to the Berkshires, following the route that so many of their country folk have sailed and trod before them.

With a rich blend of Irish music, song and dance, an early 1900s family prepares to send four young daughters to America aboard the Titanic, in a centenary tribute to the ill-fated liner’s maiden -- and final -- voyage. Old-time costumes help evoke the traditional village "wake" or sendoff for emigrant travelers bound for a new life in the New World who were not expected to set foot again upon their native soil.

Incorporating traditional moves and dynamic Riverdance-style steps, the multiage dancers come from one of the largest dance schools in Western Ire land. They include World Champion Step Dancers, All Ireland Set and Brush Dancers, and River dance performers.

The local family band Blueberry Buckle will open -- violinist Cate Byrne and his sister, Savannah, on drums, and their father, Tom, playing guitar, bass and winds.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students.

The Red Lion Inn will host a free reception after the show in the lobby, with a cash bar. Box office and information: www.shakespeare.org, (413) 637-3353.