billing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center runs the
gamut from big-name rock and pop acts to power players from
the worlds of classical music and ballet. So, when you summon
up your favorite memories of the venue, a large percentage
of you may recall August picnics and the lulling tones of
Sweet Baby James, or tailgate parties and the preshow chatter
about whether Neil would play “Powderfinger,” or maybe a
tarragon chicken salad and a thrilling rendition of Schumann’s
Liederkreis. But what about the jazz, man?
Though neo-traditionalists, old-school hard boppers and
fusion freaks alike will tell you that the American jazz
scene is a tough sell, SPAC is now presenting its 25th annual
Jazz Festival on Saturday and Sunday, and in a press release
that virtually crows, SPAC’s president and executive director,
Herbert A. Chesbrough, promises that this year’s quarter-century
celebration will be one to remember: “This 25th anniversary
of celebrating jazz artists is especially exciting because
the talent in the lineup seems to summarize the level of
excellence in performance and reputation the Jazz Festival
has achieved here.” Yes, of course, he would say that, but
when you get a gander at the list of scheduled artists,
you may suspend your cynicism just a bit.
On Saturday (June 29), the doings are doing from noon to
midnight, and some of the amphitheatre highlights include
the famed four-part harmony of the Manhattan Transfer (celebrating
an anniversary year themselves, their 30th); a superstar
tribute to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, featuring
Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove (pictured);
smooth jazz operator Dave Koz & Friends; the politically
outspoken, multiethnic legends War; jazz violinist Regina
Carter’s quintet; and innovative interpreter of standards
and master of the improved “rant,” Kurt Elling.
Saturday’s gazebo stage boasts, among others, the funk/jazz
fusion of Gerald Veasely, vocalist Sunny Sumter, and the
area’s own jazz trooper Cole Broderick.
On Sunday (June 30), the amphitheatre performances run from
noon to 10:30 PM and boast a bevy of fabulous female vocalists,
including Natalie Cole, daughter of legendary singer Nat
King Cole, and Cassandra Wilson, who’s become the darling
of jazz critics in recent years. In the gazebo on Sunday,
you can catch the Marie St. Louis Concert Series with Living
Daylights, the Ray Vega Latin Jazz Sextet and the Onaje
Allan Gumbs Group, among others.
Tickets for the Freihofer’s Jazz Festival are available
by phone through the SPAC box office at 587-3330 and at
all Ticketmaster locations (476-1000). Tickets for the Saturday
show are $50 for the amphitheatre, $32.50 for the lawn if
purchased in advance. Lawn tickets for the day of the show
are $35. Tickets for the Sunday show are $45 amphitheatre,
$30 lawn advance, $32.50 lawn day of show. Children’s tickets
will be available for reduced prices on both days. For more
information, call the SPAC box office at 587-3330.
It’s being billed as an “East Coast film festival like you’ve
judging from the lineup of renowned guests, big-deal presenters
and edgy up-and-comers, we’re beginning to think this weekend’s
Manchester Film Festival might live up to its hype.
Consider just a sampling of what this event has to offer:
Novelist John Irving (author of The World According to
Garp and The Cider House Rules) will do a reading
of his screenplay A Son of the Circus, featuring
Treat Williams and F. Murray Abraham; Elliot Grove of London’s
Raindance Film Festival will present seminars on low- and
no-budget filmmaking and writing hot scripts; IMAX director
and cinematographer David Breashears will show his latest
documentary, Kilimanjaro: to the Roof of Africa;
and OOMFF! The Digital Cinema Event will take place all
weekend long at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester, featuring
a wide variety of nuts-and-bolts workshops for digital filmmakers.
There will be tons more seminars and competitions, live
readings and panels, showcases and awards—and screenings,
screenings, screenings. It’ll cost a mere $5 a pop to get
into each panel showcase film. A Native Vision film showcase
will take place today (Thursday) from 9 AM to 5:45 PM, for
example, featuring a documentary called Redskins, Tricksters
and Puppy Stew by Great Ojibway filmmaker Drew Haydon
Taylor on comedians in the Native American community; Contact
the People, a short montage of images of Native Americans;
and the Doe Boy, a film about a young Cherokee man
stigmatized by a handicap. Tomorrow (Friday), you can check
out the Women 2002 Panel, in which actress Ally Sheedy,
producer Heather Rae and screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein
will discuss their personal and professional lives. The
discussion will be followed by screenings of four documentaries
from the Women Who Make Movies organization. There’s plenty
more to choose from, but we don’t have the space to list
them all here, so if you want to get the complete schedule,
And of course, what would a film festival be without an
opportunity to rub elbows with the aspiring and accomplished
filmmakers of the day? Wannabe screenwriters will get a
chance to pitch their ideas to a jury of industry experts
at Friday night’s “Live Ammunition” party, and on Saturday,
mingle with filmmaking minds at a Vermont-themed party complete
with Donkey Ball, beer, barbecue and live music from the
Chris Kleeman Band and the Samples.
The Manchester Film Festival will take place from Thursday
(June 27) through Sunday (June 30) at various locations
in Manchester Center, Vt. Tickets range from $5 to view
a single panel-showcase film to $10 to view a single feature
film to $25 to attend the John Irving reading to $50 for
a one-day pass and $750 for the entire weekend’s events.
For more information on the Manchester Film Festival, call
(802) 362-9960 or visit the Web site (here it is, one more
time) at www.manchesterfilmfest.com.
Zwerger’s Land of Oz; Gustav
Norman Rockwell Museum and the Clark Art Institute are both
opening new exhibits this weekend as part of the Vienna
Project, a six-month series of exhibitions and special events
celebrating the art and culture of Vienna, Austria.
Tomorrow (Friday), the Norman Rockwell Museum (Route 183,
Stockbridge, Mass.) will open Lisbeth Zwerger’s Land
of Oz, an exhibit which features 38 original watercolors
and pencil drawings by Austrian illustrator Zwerger. The
artwork reflects the artist’s perspective on Frank L. Baum’s
classic, The Wizard of Oz. The exhibit will continue
through Sept. 2. For more information, call (413) 298-4100.
On Saturday, the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute
(Williamstown, Mass.) will open Gustav Klimt Landscapes,
which features Klimt’s landscapes, created from the 1890s
until the artist’s death in 1918. These large-scale paintings
depict the orchards, woods, gardens and mountains of his
home in Austria. This exhibit will continue through Oct.
13. For more information, call (413) 458-9545.