Happy June, dear readers! The sun is shining and the Berkshire hills are bustling with action, from theater to live music, festivals and arts shows. Here's a sampling of what's on tap in the coming days:
• The Berkshire International Film Festival officially opens with parties tonight in downtown Great Barrington and Friday night in downtown Pittsfield. Check out www.biffma.org/festival-program for all the film times, venues and ticket prices.
• The Tavern at the A in Pittsfield will host tonight at 8, an open mic with Shepards Crossing. All types of performers, from musicians to magicians, are welcome.
Then at 9 p.m. on Saturday, the venue will host the "Dance for Dogs and Cats" to benefit the Berkshire Humane Society. Tickets are $10 general admission, which includes door prizes, raffles, and dancing to License to Groove, with several special guests.
• Berkshire Theatre Group and Only In My Dreams Events LLC present the first annual Berkshire Dance Party and Cabaret in celebration of GLBTQ Pride Month, starting at 8 p.m., at The Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., in Pittsfield. Walk the Pink Carpet, then break in your dancing shoes with the Berkshires' own DJ Elixer and DJ IAMSAM. Cabaret performances will include pianist Bob Shepherd, and personalities such as Boxxa Vine, Angel South, Avi Munster and Philly Pino. Tickets are $35 general admission or $75 all-inclusive VIP, and can be purchased at the theater, at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org or by calling 413-997-4444.
• At 7 p.m., Six Depot Roastery & Cafe in West Stockbridge will host a special film screening and talk featuring "The Refugees of Shangri-La" by Doria Bramante and Markus Wienfurter. After being torn from paradise and surviving 20 long years in refugee camps, the Kingdom of Bhutan's forgotten exiles abandon hopes of returning home and seek a future in a far off place called America.
• First Fridays Artswalk in downtown Pittsfield will host what organizers are calling its biggest Artswalk yet. Free and open to the public, it's an evening of 15 different art shows featuring work by more than two dozen accomplished regional artists, held from 5 to 8 p.m. A free guided walking tour begins at 5, at the Intermodal Center at BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave. The evening will culminate with an Afterwalk Party, featuring live music from 8 to 10 at the Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave. For a listing of all participating artists and locations, visit www.FirstFridaysArtswalk.com or call 413-443-6501.
• "Saturday Night Liv," with host Liv Cummins, returns at 7:30 p.m. to the Spectrum Playhouse, 20 Franklin St., in Lee. Enjoy sketch comedy, music and more by the Columbia Arts Team and special guests. Tickets are $15 general admission, and $8 for students and seniors. Info: www.spectrumplayhouse.org, or 413-394-5023.
• At 7 p.m., violinist Hannah Lynn Cohen, a 2015 Monument Mountain Regional High School grad, now a freshman pursuing a degree in violin performance under the tutelage of Peter Zazofsky at Boston University School of Music, returns to present an evening of music at the Southfield Church, 234 Norfolk Road, in the Southfield village of New Marlborough. The event is free and open to the public.
• The Parkside, at 220 West Housatonic St., in Pittsfield, will host a sing-a-long with musical duo Garson & Sullivan, featuring the hits of Billy Joel, The Eagles, The Beatles and more.
• Shepards Crossing returns to Casey's, 501 Dalton Ave., at 10 p.m. The $5 cover includes music and pool.
• Smelly Dog Productions presents Shire Mountain Ramble, from 9 p.m. to midnight, featuring the Rev Tor Band and Rebel Alliance, at Bousquet Ski Area, 101 Dan Fox Drive, in Pittsfield. Tickets are $12 at the door for this age 21 and up jam.
• Dottie's Coffee Lounge will host live music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring the acoustic music of Izzy Heltai and Heart of Gold (aka Devan Gardner). Free and open to the public, but be sure to tip the musicians and baristas.
• MountainOne and Zumba in the Berkshires presents the sixth annual Dancing in the Street to benefit Pop Cares, a Northern Berkshire nonprofit to support cancer patients. The event will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. in downtown North Adams, with a massive Zumba class at 2 p.m. The cost for the benefit class is $15 in advance or $20 on the day of, with all proceeds benefitting Pop Cares. There will also be food vendors, a beer tent, craft vendors, cornhole tournament, hot dog eating contest, and more dancing.
• Laugh Lounge presents at 8 p.m., nationally touring comedian Andy Sandford, with local comic Dylan Carlino, at The Garage at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of, at 413-997-4444 or www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. Sandford made his late night debut on "Conan" in 2015, and has played an animated version of himself on Adult Swim's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Brooklyn Magazine named him one of "Brooklyn's Funniest People," and the Village Voice called him "one of New York's comedic gems."