Happy December, dear readers!
As the holiday season nears its peak and the end of the year plays out, there are plenty of happenings around the Berkshires that you can check out with friends to create your final memories of 2015. Here's a taste of what's happening over the weekend and into next week:
The Gypsy Joynt in Great Barrington features live music every weekend. This weekend's performers include The Interlopers on Friday and the Rev Tor Band on Saturday, both starting at 8 p.m.
The dynamic duo known as Marc and Jim will host the inaugural trivia night at The Tavern at The A in Pittsfield, starting at 6:30 p.m. The games last until about 8:30 p.m., then the Arthur Holmes Blues Band takes the stage, and all are welcome on the dance floor. Trivia Night will continue every Thursday, same time frame.
• As part of the "MCLA Presents!" series, new American-style folk singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell of Vermont takes the Church Street Center stage at 7:30 p.m. on the campus of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. She'll be joined by Ben Davis and Bridget Kearney from Brooklyn, N.Y., with their guitar-driven sounds and latest works inspired by a visit to Accra, Ghana. Tickets may be purchased online at mcla.ticketleap.edu. Admission to MCLA Presents! performances range from $2 for MCLA students to $12 for general public admission. Info: 413-662-5320, or go to mcla.edu/presents.
• The Berkshire Fringe continues its free concert series at Shire City Sanctuary, 40 Melville St., in Pittsfield. Starting at 7 p.m., musical co-conspirators Meaghan Burke (cello, voice) and Carlos Cordeiro (clarinets) present a wide swath of new music in this program, which runs the gamut from free improvisation to stochastics to song.
• The December First Fridays Artswalk takes place from 5 to 8 p.m., this Friday, featuring not only gallery openings of works by more than two dozen artists, but also special holiday-themed events and an after-party. Admission is free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.
A free guided walking tour starts at 5 at the Intermodal Center at BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave.
A Holiday Wreath Auction to benefit the food pantries of Pittsfield starts with a preview party at 5, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, catered by Misson Bar + Tapas, Balderdash Cellars and Big Elm Brewing. Bidding begins at 6:30. There's a $10 admission for this event.
Also starting at 5 is the third annual "Whimsy" showcase at the Whitney Center for the Arts; the Winter-Holiday Opening at NUarts, and the Holiday Open House at Tricia Farley-Bouvier's office to support the BCAC Holiday Elf Warm Clothing Program, all of which are free events. Capping off the night, from 8 to 10, will be a special musical performance at the Whitney, with Ryder Cooley and the Dust Bowl Faeries. Also no cover. Full details at firstfridaysartswalk.com.
• Acoustic duo, Duffy and Erin, play from 8 to 11 p.m., in the front bar of J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille in Pittsfield.
• The Lenox Santa Bar Crawl kicks off at 8:30 p.m., wassailing to six festive venues. Tickets are $12 and proceeds benefit the restoration of the game room at the Lenox Community Center. Get tickets at lenoxsantabarcrawl.eventbrite.com. Learn more at facebook.com/lenoxholidaystroll.
• The Dalton All-Stars, featuring the Mullins Brothers, Dan Teichert, Jeff Dudziak and friends will be rocking the Tavern at The A in Pittsfield to kick off the holidays, starting at 9 p.m.
• The Berkshires' own 8 Foot River will play at 8:30 p.m. at The Brick House Pub in Housatonic.
• As part of its "Group Hug" community retreat weekend, Race Brook Lodge and the Down County Social Club in Sheffield will host a dance party starting at 9 p.m., with two deejays from New York City. There's a $15 requested donation.
• The sixth annual holiday reception for the "Helping Hands in the Berkshires Toy Drive" will start at 7 p.m., at The Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield. Bring an unwrapped or unused toy and be entered into a raffle to win an iPad Air. The $5 ticket includes, appetizers, music and raffles. Who doesn't love a party with a purpose?
• The Downtown Pub at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield presents an album release party by Heart of Gold, from local label, Sounds and Tones Records. The lineup also includes new works by Joe Mansman and The Midnight Revival Band, Izzy Heltai, Be The Seen, Flannel Dan & the Pan Handle Band. Doors open at 8 p.m., and there's a $5 cover.
The Gypsy Jazz Ambassadors will play their first Sunday Jazz gig, from 6 to 9 p.m., at The Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. The troupe of Berkshire talent will perform all your holiday favorites, no cover, with goodwill to all.