For more than 15 years, the Northampton International Film Festival has been inspiring artistic development in the world's filmmakers, celebrating the art of cinema and the introspection it elicits from audiences. Each year, a panel of industry experts carefully vets thousands of submissions from around the globe, selecting only those films that communicate diverse cultural perspectives through varying visual styles and narrative modes. These documentaries, feature-length films, and shorts seek to build a bridge between seemingly disparate backgrounds and traditions with thought-provoking commentary and enriching stories. This global festival ends with a rousing awards ceremony to honor standout films and snub the assistant key grip's contributions once again, for what must seem like the 8,000,000th time in history.
A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
A fountain's mists drift over a cool, quiet water outside the windows of Vito's By the Water, where chefs have been cooking up traditional Italian food for many years. Following recipes that have been in the owner's family for years, they craft traditional entrees such as New York strip steak with demi-glace or lobster ravioli with vodka-cream sauce. They also adorn thin and Chicago-style deep-dish stuffed crusts with quality toppings such as baby clams, breaded eggplant, and seasoned ricotta.
Vito’s has also sponsored a “So You Think You Can Cook” competition, handing the kitchen over to nine aspiring chefs for a three-day cook-off. Like many timed cooking competitions, this one required the chefs to create a dish using a mystery ingredient, such as bacon or love. The winner received a farm-to-table dinner for 10.
The MASS MoCA ushers visitors through its doors for the museum's first-ever bluegrass festival, unleashing the toe-tapping rhythms of established musicians as well as rising talent. Saturday's shows commence at 6 p.m. with an acoustic set by Dave Mayfield of The David Mayfield Parade. His performance takes place during the museum's reception for its newest outdoor expansion, The Speed Way, which contains three new works of art, a 1.5-acre asphalt meadow, and Van Gogh's long-lost collection of elbow macaroni. Saturday evening's recitals end with the thigh-slapping pluck of The Infamous Stringdusters at 9:30 p.m. in the Hunter Center. Sunday kicks off the day's festivities at 11 a.m. with Aoife O'Donovan of Crooked Still before attendees retreat to the galleries to hear the ramshackle concoctions of the Ramblin Jug Stompers. Guests migrate back to Courtyard C at 5 p.m. for the festival's final performance by the established tunesmiths of the Yonder Mountain String Band. All festival passes include admission to the museum's galleries, allowing patrons to peruse the exhibits and determine which painting would look best on their home refrigerator.
The storied performers of Journey delight fans with powerful guitar, catchy hooks, and virtuosic singing. Lead singer Arnel Pineda's octave-smashing range combines with guitarist Neal Schon's monumental chords and the musical teamwork of Ross Valory's bass, Jonathan Cain's keyboard, and Deen Castronovo's drums, creating tuneful tapestries that inspire ears like a stirring soliloquy from a bald eagle. Touring in support of its new album, Eclipse, the band is able to draw upon an aural arsenal that includes hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," and "Faithfully." The power balladeers of Foreigner and Night Ranger supplement the sonic revelry with their own swelling melodies and heart-inflating emotion. The concert takes place at the open-air Comcast Theatre, with Groupon holders welcome to sit, stand, or mime anywhere on the expansive lawn. Chair and blanket policies vary from concert to concert, so guests should call ahead to determine what items can be toted along.