On Saturday June 25, Downtown North Adams was full of lights, free concerts, galleries and business open late. Among the concerts was a midnight performance by, Dj Spooky That Subliminal Kid and Todd Reynolds under The Mohawk Theatre Marquis. Main Street was shut down so that concertgoers could dance in the street in front of the theatre.
In the context of a busy stretch of Main Street, what was perhaps most notable about the scene was the manner in which passers-bys slowed or came to a complete halt, participating in a collective spectatorship. There were, for a brief time, two parallel speeds –that of the traffic and that of the viewers who seemed to experience time in a much more deliberate dance party.
Elsewhere, “XMALIA,” a multi-media performance that combines live and recorded music, taxidermy, video projections and (aerial) movement. Artists C. Ryder Cooley features songs about extinct animals such as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Pyrenean Ibex and the Xerces Butterfly, sung by a lonely mortician who summons the animals back to life for her Graveyard Cabaret. A landscape of video and sound weaves the songs together, revealing a narrative about a musician who finds a home amidst the graves of extinct animals. All of this was performed at “XMALIA”, a DownStreet Art Gallery, creating a site-specific interaction between the architecture of the empty storefront address at 26 Holden Street, the sinuous beauty of human-animal relations, and haunted circus scenes.
Other events in and around downtown were equally captivating. C. Doctor Shocked-Her w/ Big Red, Spit Vicious, and Matt Capek chilled out local Teenagers at TEENSPACE, 26 Holden St., Marafanyi Drum, Dance & Song and Bongo Love and Outspoken got people in the dancing mood with fuses of original songs and traditional West African rhythm and dance.