Arts Briefs: Paradise City Arts Festival, an arts presentation by new immigrants in western Massachusetts, and more

  • “Universe-sunset,” welded bronze and found objects by James Kitchen, who will be exhibiting at the Paradise City Arts Festival. Paradise City Arts Festival

  • “Tame Your Fears,” digital photo-collage printed on metal by Joanne Delomba, who will be exhibiting at the Paradise City Arts Festival May 28-30. Image courtesy Paradise City Arts Festival

  • Identical twins and opera singers John, left, and Jim Demler play versions of themselves in the musical cabaret “My Evil Twin” at the Center for the Arts. CONTRIBUTED/DANIEL KELLER

  • Members of The Hatchery Company, teen dancers at the School for Contemporary Dance & Thought, perform two shows in Northampton June 4. Image courtesy SCDT

  • “The earth smelled of cattle and bluegrass,” an illustration from the book “Prairie Days” by Micha Archer; it’s part of the exhibit “Generations” at R. Michleson Galleries. Image from Michelson Galleries website

Published: 5/20/2022 8:34:49 AM
Paradise City Arts Festival returning to fairgrounds

NORTHAMPTON — Just a couple years past its 25th anniversary, the Paradise City Arts Festival returns to the Three County Fairgrounds on Memorial Day weekend, with over 200 artists showcasing paintings, photographs, jewelry, fine furniture and more.

The pandemic forced the festival online in 2020 and in the spring of 2021, but Paradise City came back to Northampton last fall and now returns with workshops, artist demonstrations, live music, and a special exhibit: “Something Wild,” in which artists create work that pushes against boundaries.

A silent auction of donated art from Paradise City exhibitors will raise funds for Northampton’s International Language Institute of Massachusetts (ILI), which provides free English classes for new arrivals from all over the world.

Visiting hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 29, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 30. Tickets are $14 (online) and $16 (at the door) for adults and $8 for students; free for children 12 and under. Visit for more information.

‘Immigrant Voices’ back live at the Shea Theater Sunday

TURNERS FALLS — After two years of being forced to share their performances online, members of the immigrant community of western Massachusetts are returning to the stage for a show that celebrates their artistic traditions.

“Immigrant Voices: A Celebration of the Arts” takes place May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Shea Theater and will include dancers from Nepal, Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador; singers from El Salvador and Chile; a poet from Spain; a Kenyan fashion show; and more.

The arts event is produced by the Center for New Americans, the Northampton-based nonprofit group that offers free classes in English for adult immigrants, as well as citizenship and immigration legal services.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance through the Center for New Americans’ website, Ticket buyers are also encouraged to make a donation to create a bank of tickets for the center’s students so that they can attend the festival.


‘My Evil Twin’ at NorthamptonCenter for the Arts

NORTHAMPTON — Sibling rivalry gets a unique treatment in “My Evil Twin,” a cabaret-style musical theater production that stars two real-life identical twins, Jim and John Demler, in a story that encompasses their careers as opera singers and the ups and downs of their relationship.

The show, which takes place May 26 at 7:30 p.m. and May 28 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in the flex space at 33 Hawley St., the Northampton Community Arts Trust building, had been scheduled to run last August but was postponed due to a COVID outbreak among production personnel.

“My Evil Twin” has been created by playwright and librettist Harley Erdman, who teaches at UMass Amherst, and composer/lyricist Eric Sawyer of Amherst College. They previously joined forces on two acclaimed operas, “The Garden of Martyrs” and “The Scarlet Professor,” based on historical events in the Valley. Direction is by Ron Bashford, who teaches theater and dance at Amherst College.

Sawyer’s songs “blend opera with elements of Broadway and pop,” according to program notes, giving the Demler twins the opportunity “to unleash their virtuosic basso voices with madcap energy and emotion.”

For more information, including details on the arts center’s COVID policy, and to purchase tickets ($20), visit and follow the link for “events.” You can also call (413) 230-0799.

Teen dancers to show their stuff

NORTHAMPTON — Members of Hatchery, the teenage dance company of the School for Contemporary Dance & Thought, will present new works in “Ready to Connect,” a live performance at the Workroom at 33 Hawley on June 4. There are two shows, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The 20 teen dancers, ages 13 to 18, of Hatchery come from across the Pioneer Valley and, like so many performers, have struggled with the pandemic for two years. This year, a videographer and sound designer have joined the company to create original material with the dancers and prepare for a return to live performance.

“Ready to Connect” includes the world premieres of new work by The Hatchery Company and guests Angelica Polk, Ellie Goudie Averill, Amelie Stevens, and seniors Maria Dean and Stella Templin.

Tickets range from $5 to $15 and can be purchased by visiting and following the links for “Ready to Connect.” Also be sure to check the site’s COVID policies.


Art in the family

NORTHAMPTON — “Generations,” an exhibit at R. Michelson Galleries, offers some unusual pairings: work by artists who have been longtime clients of the gallery alongside art by their children.

For example, the exhibit, which runs through the end of May, includes work by Micha Archer, the Valley illustrator, children’s book author and educator (and 2022 Caldecott Honor winner) who uses paint, gouache, pen and ink, and collage in her work. Paired with that are collages by her son, Max Strong, who lives in Morocco and creates his work from materials he finds on daily journeys.

Other parent-child combinations in “Generations” are Jerry and Brian Pinkney, Jules and Kate Feiffer, and Dennis Nolan/Lauren Ainsworth Mills and their daughter, Genevieve May.


A water crisis

EASTHAMPTON — Last summer Serious Play, the Valley theater ensemble, unveiled its biggest production ever, “Moving Water,” a meditation on climate change and dwindling global water supplies that incorporated sound and music, movement, drama, video, rolling scaffolding and even a rain shower on stage.

“Moving Water” gets a new platform when the production has a two-night run in the Cahners Theater in Boston’s Museum of Science May 24-25.

These 7 p.m. weekday shows are not “usual times for presenting theater,” says Serious Play Director Sheryl Stoodley, “but these are unusual times, and the Museum’s Subspace Series has invited us to take part in their climate crisis discussion.” Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (617) 723-2500.

— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer

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