Liz Phair, comedian John Early coming to Mass MoCA

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NORTH ADAMS — Liz Phair is back on tour and she'll be stopping by Mass MoCA this May.

"She was, continues to be, and is a massive influence over every singer/songwriter in the alternative genre that we hear," said Susan Killam, managing director of performing arts and film during Wednesday's Winter/Spring season.

The '90s indie rock goddess' stop at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art was just one highlight of the upcoming season, which includes comedian John Early headlining the two-day High Mud Comedy Festival in April; a live recording of the true crime podcast, "Criminal," with host Phoebe Judge; and new works from choreographer Bill T. Jones and from Car Seat Headrest, which returns to the museum campus for a week-long residency. The season will also see the debut of live music at Studio9 at Porches.

Admission to the museum will be free to all on Jan. 25, the museum's annual free community day.

"We look forward to thousands of people getting to North Adams that day," said Jodi Joseph, director of communications.

Berkshire County residents won't have to wait until the new year to tour the galleries for free. Free admission starts Friday and runs through Dec. 22.

Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang will launch a new virtual reality piece, "To The Moon," on Dec. 21.

"She's going intergalactic, at least she's going lunar orbital," Director Joseph C. Thompson said during the announcement of upcoming visual arts exhibits. "In this new piece, 'To The Moon,' we get launched, leave the Earth's orbit and enter the moon's [orbit]. We actually go down to the ground on the moon on the way. It's a rather trippy flight. You go past skeletons and DNA remnants and dinosaurs that slowly morph into old Cadillac cars. It's a cautionary tale about where we might be headed from a climate point of view on this road, but its also like a lot of Laurie's work, which is very beautiful."

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For those who have yet to see Annie Lennox's "Now I Let You Go ..." or the group show, "Suffering From Realness," (or want to see it again) now is the time to do so. Lennox's work will be on view through Feb. 2, while "Suffering from Realness" will depart in January. The closing shows will make work for new works.

Ad Minoliti's "Fantas as Modulares," opening on Jan. 25, will be the Argentinian artist's first solo museum show in the United States.

"Minoliti's vibrant work re-imagines familiar fairy tales, stories of our childhood, but with a fluid view of gender, identity, flora and fauna. The result is joyful, colorful, inclusive and full of queer possibility," Thompson said. The exhibit is a collaboration with The Clark Art Institute.

Gamaliel Rodriguez, who some may remember from his Assets for Artists residency at Mass MoCA, will create "La Travesia / Le Voyage," a 60-foot-long drawing made of ink and ballpoint pen that will be found in the Hunter Center foyer starting Jan. 18.

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"Kissing Through the Curtain," a group show exploring the topic of translation, opens in Building 4's second and third-floor galleries on March 27.

The museum will participate in International Slow Art Day, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 4 and host its 10th annual Teen Invitational Art Show on April 11 and 12.

The Winter/Spring season continues to be a busy time for the performing arts department, where numerous residencies will be underway.

"Deep Blue Sea," a co-presentation with Jacob's Pillow, will bring Jones back to Mass MoCA for two weeks in March. The legendary choreographer, who began the newly commissioned work as a response to Nick Cave's "Until," will use 89 community members in the "in-progress" production on March 21 prior to its world premiere at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

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Crowd favorite Car Seat Headrest returns to the museum in April.

Killam said the musicians "fell in love with Mass MoCA when they were here" for their blowout performance last February.

"They reached out and said, 'We have a new set and performance we need to work on and we'd like to come back and spend a week with you all and try it out on your audience. So here they come again," she said. "They'll be here for a week. They'll be working in the Hunter Center. New set, new music, new lights, new stage performance and then, they're going to show it to us first on April 25."

Other residencies include drummer Ian Chang on Jan. 18, director and playwright Peter Glazer's staged adaptation of "The Celestials," based on the book of the same name by Williams College professor Karen Shepard on May 7 and a concert by Raga Maqam on May 9.

Major performances of the season include Liz Phair on May 16; choreographer Gregory Maqoma's "Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Bolero" performed by the Vuyani Dance Theatre, a co-presentation with Jacob's Pillow on Feb. 1 and a live-recording of the podcast Criminal on Feb. 22. Returning for another season are the popular Thursday night documentary film series, which kicks off on Feb. 13 and the Club B-10 concert series.

Club B-10 performances include M.A.K.U. Soundsystem on Jan. 25; Jaleel Shaw on Feb. 15; Sam Evian on Feb 29. Comedian Becca Blackwell will take the stage on March 7, followed by Treya Lam on March 14, Roger C. Miller and Ludovico Ensemble on March 28. Bell Orchestra, featuring Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry and Sarah Neufeld, will appear on April 4 — a stop on the instrumental band's first tour in 10 years.

The High Mud Comedy Festival, headlined by John Early, returns to the Hunter Center on April 17 and 18. The two-day festival's remaining line up will be announced at a later date.

Mark Stewart and Karen Curlee will kick off the inaugural Live Music at Studio9 at Porches with "The Music of Cole Porter" on April 21. FreshGrass will present Michael Davies and Friends, featuring Jacob Jolliff, on May 2.


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