Lollapalooza and Berklee: New BFFs
What with Stephen Sondheim acting like a total prig over the ART’s Diane Paulus and her reworking of Porgy and Bess, it’s been a fun ride this week to watch the arts news … and way more fun than the ride on the stock market. Below are items that hit the BoMag arts desk this week:
The Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship: One item intrigued me above all: The newly-established Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship was just announced at Lollapalooza’s 20th anniversary show in Chicago. Yes, the music festival that helped launch a generation of tatted, pierced hipsters wielding guitars is now offering financial aid to the tatted, pierced hipsters wielding their guitars on Mass. Ave. And as if to prove that Alternative Nation has been a corporate-run movement longer than an indie one, this thing is being endowed by Goldman Sachs Gives, the investment bank’s philanthropic arm. Snarkiness aside, the baseline is that it’s a four-year, full-tuition scholarship, and that can only be applauded. And besides, we need to always remember how many cool rock and jazz musicians have come out of Boston, so in this weird time, it’s great to see that the money is there to keep it going.
Dropkick Murphys’ Shamrock-N-Roll: The Dropkick Murphys continue to assemble a huge extravaganza called Shamrock-N-Roll, and this week, they announced the latest addition to the swelling slate of Irish-themed rock bands is none other than the legendary Stiff Little Fingers. Who, you might ask? Well, the Stiff Little Fingers never had the same success, but they were basically Northern Ireland’s answer to the Clash back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Fierce, political punk rock in the finest tradition, a tradition they helped create, by the way. Check out their best-known song, “Alternative Ulster,” for an astringent taste.
National Poetry Slam: And, in case you took your eye off the cultural calendar, we are in the thick of the National Poetry Slam, hosted right here in Boston and Cambridge this year. Go the NPS site to see where the venues are for each night — the finals are at the Berklee Performance Center Monday night — and you can track the scores of the competition for each bout right here.
Porgy and Bess: The praised or maligned, but definitely much anticipated Porgy and Bess opens next week at the A.R.T., and then we’ll get to see if Sondheim is sage or Paulus prevails. I put my money on the latter, but I’m a little biased: As long as it’s done with enough respect and not for sheer novelty, I think it’s exciting to see occasional revivals of classic works that don’t treat them like museum pieces, and Porgy’s been preserved in amber for far too long. Everything I’ve seen, heard, and reported has shown me that Paulus and her crew are treating this classic right.
Massachusetts Dance Festival: Also, the Massachusetts Dance Festival is at BU this weekend and out in Amherst two weeks from now. Featuring modern, ballet, African, and contemporary Indian dance, after this long dry summer, it should help slake the thirst of those with a terpsichorean jones.