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The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra returns for its season at SPAC on Wednesday—my, how the summer is flying by—with an excellent program under the baton of maestro Charles Dutoit.

Pianist Yefim Bronfman will be featured soloist on the second Brahms piano concerto, and the Philadelphians themselves will be the star in a performance of the stirring Ravel arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

The centerpiece of the evening, though, is Aaron Copland’s equally stirring Lincoln Portrait, with Alec Baldwin reading the words of Abraham Lincoln. Everyone from James Taylor to Gore Vidal to some fellow named Barack Obama has performed this part; Baldwin will be in fine company.

Also: Ticket sales for the New York City Ballet were up this year; how about we manage a similar bump in sales for Those Fabulous Philadelphians, mmm-kay?

The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform Wednesday (Aug. 5) at 8 PM at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs). Amphitheater tickets are $31 to $72.50; lawn seats are $18. There will be a pre-performance talk with Yefim Bronfman at 7 PM. For more info, call the box office at 587-3330.

Berkshire Fringe Festival

In 2003, a young trio of Berkshire natives—graduates of Bard College at Simon’s Rock and multidisciplinary emerging arts professionals all—were inspired to establish a center for new work in the heart of the Berkshires.

The result was Bazaar Productions, Inc., and the Berkshire Fringe Festival, a 21-day festival of new works in theater, dance, film, and music by artists drawn from around the country. Since its inception, the festival has hosted more than 200 artists, and premiered 60 full-length works.

This year’s lineup includes an array of new works—from The Gay Agenda’s Great Big Broadway Show (a satirical musical about two young men who have been sequestered in their basement for years with nothing to listen to but original cast recordings) to Elephants and Gold (a physical exploration of archeology and human identity)—as well as complimentary workshops, a free music series, and talkbacks with the artists.

The Berkshire Fringe Festival runs every day but Tuesday through Aug. 17. All festival events take place at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock (84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, Mass.). Tickets to main events are $15; opening nights are pay-what-you-will. For a complete schedule of events, or to purchase tickets, visit berkshirefringe.org or call (413) 320-4175.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs drop-kicked their way onto the indie rock scene at the turn of the millenium, they were on the front end of a postpunk revival, and the buzz compared them to Blondie and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Now, the bangs, the eyeliner, and the erotic growl have come to define the zeitgeist—and have spawned plenty of performers to whom Karen O is the most apt reference. In short: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have caught on in a big way. Lucky for us, they’ll make their final American stop in Clifton Park before heading out on an international tour.

On the heels of It’s Blitz!, YYY have wrapped their leather-clad rock in a slipperly coat of vinyl, pumped it full with synthesizers and drum machines, and added eyeballs, lots of eyeballs. This time around, they make it very hard for hipsters to uphold that stigma about not dancing. Might as well just give in.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs play Northern Lights (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park) on Saturday (Aug. 1) at 7 PM. Tickets are $25. Call 371-0012 for more info.


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