NORTH ADAMS -- Innovative performing and visual arts mark a Mass MoCA winter/spring season highlighted by an already nearly sold-out concert by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum on Feb. 16, and the energetic, internationally renowned Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal on March 2 and 3.
Those who haven't scored tickets to the Mangum concert can satisfy their desire for live music with many other acts, both in the Hunter Center and in Club B-10, including the high-energy Balkan Beat Box on March 16, and local favorite, Darlingside, on April 13.
Mass MoCA's Thursday night Cinema Lounge five-film series is titled "Compete!" And the galleries will feature three new exhibitions beginning in late March with a splashy opening celebration April 6.
The first big event of the season is FREE Day on Feb. 9, a full day of art-making, tours, contests, demonstrations, performances, and more. The galleries will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A Psychedelic Latin Pop Dance Party with the band Chicha Libre caps off the day at 8 p.m.
After the Mangum concert on Feb. 16, Mass MoCA's Hunter Center hosts Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal in a co-presentation with Jacob's Pillow on March 2 and 3. This renowned troupe offers a fusion of dance styles from ballet to street dance, and will perform pieces by Wen Wei Wang, Cayetano Soto, and Barak Marshall.
The high-energy band Balkan Beat Box takes the stage on March 16 at 8 p.m. The group is known for its Mediterranean-inflected, globalized electronic, explosive live shows. Plus, electronic composer and indie icon Dan Deacon gets the audience dancing in the Hunter Center on April 20, at 8 p.m. Deacon offers up his new iPhone/Androoid app, which concertgoers can download for free before the show. The app turns a cell phone into a source of synchronized light and sound that changes depending on the cell phone's location within the venue.
In the galleries
Beginning on March 23, the galleries will see three new exhibitions, all curated by Denise Markonish, on view
"Life's Work: Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera" originates with the idea of a project that an artist continually goes back to, which simultaneously becomes a trace of that work and a career. Both projects in the exhibition span decades and generations, and also function as re-inventions of existing texts.
In "Mark Dion: The Octagon Room," the artist investigates the blurred boundaries between art, society, and history, as well as the homogenized methods of their presentation and consumption.
"One Minute Film Festival: 10 Years" celebrates an event that took place annually in a barn in upstate New York from 2003 to 2012. At the festival, one-minute films were screened -- many without credits -- after a potluck supper and before dancing; the festival stressed relaxed social interaction rather than the competitive nature of many other film festivals.
The 3-2-1! Celebration on April 6 will mark the opening of these three exhibitions as well as the closing of "Oh, Canada."
The 3-2-1! Celebration begins with a cocktail reception in the galleries, which will be followed by a benefit dinner and silent auction in MASS MoCA's massive Building 5 gallery.
The 3-2-1! Celebration culminates with a rollicking dance party in the Hunter Center with special guest DJ King Khan, spinning a mash-up of vintage soul, classic R&B, and wicked funk.
Tickets are available for the entire evening or for each event separately.
Those who venture up to Mass MoCA's Club B-10 on Feb. 2 will find the funky electronic sounds of the band Superhuman Happiness; followed on Feb. 23 with the catchy beat-driven music (and elaborate illuminated antics) of the band My Robot Friend; March 9 with the blues of FreshGrass 2012 favorite Mamie Minch; April 13 with regional superstar band Darlingside; and April 27 with "Futurity," a rock opera performed by The Lisps.
Mass MoCA's artist residencies program continues this season with a residency and work-in-progress dance showing by LeeSaar The Company. On Feb. 8, the group will present "grass and jackals," a new work about the extreme conditions of military life.
For families, there will be a kids show with Mamie Minch on March 9 at 11:30 a.m.; February Vacation Art Camp in Kidspace; and a series of morning workshops in Kidspace during the week of April school vacation. Space is limited for these events; reservations are strongly recommended in advance.
The Thursday night Cinema Lounge series titled "Compete!" will feature five documentary films about winning, losing, and, most importantly, playing the game. Screened in Club B-10, drinks and snacks will be available before and during the films. Most of the films will be followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmaker. The series consists of:
"The Other Dream Team," Jan. 24;
"Brooklyn Castle," Feb. 21;
"Kings of Pastry," March 7;
"Buzkashi!" April 4;
"The Human Tower," April 25.
Tickets are available through the Mass MoCA box office, open 11a.m. until 5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays.
Tickets also can be purchased by phone at (413) 662.2111 during box office hours or online at www.massmoca.org.
Performance schedule at a glance Hunter Center
Feb. 8 -- LeeSaar The Company (dance; work-in-development). 8 p.m.
Feb. 9 -- Psychedelic Latin with Chucha Libre (dance party). 8 p.m.
Feb. 16 -- Jeff Mangum (concert). 8 p.m.
March 2, 3 -- Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal (dance). 8 p.m./3 p.m.
March 16 -- Balkan Beat Box (concert). 8 p.m.
April 6 -- 3-2-1! (dance party/benefit). 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 -- "The Other Dream Team" (Cinema Lounge). 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 -- Superhuman Happiness (concert). 8 p.m.
Feb. 21 -- "Brooklyn Castle" (Cinema Lounge). 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 23 -- My Robot Friend (music). 8 p.m.
March 7 -- "Kings of Pastry" (Cinema Lounge). 8 p.m.
March 9 -- Mamie Minch for Kids (music). 11:30 a.m.
March 9 -- Mamie Minch (music). 8 p.m.
April 4 -- "Buzkashi!" (Cinema Lounge). 7:30 p.m.
April 13 -- Darlingside (music). 8 p.m.
April 25 -- "The Human Tower" (Cinema Lounge). 7:30 p.m.