Arts Society of Kingston hosts evening of cabaret

Filmmaker Burrill Crohn (photo by Dion Ogust)

The Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) on Broadway will present an evening of cabaret on Saturday, October 20 at 8 p.m. Billed as “Entertainment for Adults,” the diverse offerings include the saxophone music of Gus Mancini, a spoken-word performance by poet Mike Jurkovic, a presentation by playwright Karen Rich and a screening of Playing with Parkinson’s. This inspiring film by Burrill Crohn is a portrait of Sangeeta Michael Berardi, a remarkable jazz musician who struggles to overcome the constraints of continuing to make music while suffering the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. The cost for the evening is a suggested $10 donation.

ASK was founded by local Kingston artists in 1995, and has since grown to become a nonprofit membership organization with more than 600 members from the ranks of both professional and emerging artists as well as supporters of the arts, who provide the community with a diverse range of visual art exhibitions, performances, workshops, classes and other arts-related programming.

The cabaret this Saturday will open with saxophonist Gus Mancini presenting a live performance from his CD In the Heat of the Saxophone, a collection of favorite standards that he has shared as co-producer of the Woodstock Roundtable on WDST-FM and in venues from the Copa Lounge to the River Boat in the Empire State Building. Poet Mike Jurkovic has more than 400 national and international publication credits, and is currently co-director of Calling All Poets at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon. Playwright Karen Rich will present a portion of You Don’t Say, in which two middle-aged friends deplore the wild antics of a bosom buddy. Rich developed the work at the ASK Playwrights’ Lab in Kingston, where she has also produced two short play festivals and an evening of monologues.

Burrill Crohn’s film Playing with Parkinson’s follows jazz musician Sangeeta Michael Berardi into the recording studio for the first time since he began suffering impaired movements and loss of coordination brought on by degenerative Parkinson’s Disease. The film documents his determination and his focus on transcending his limitations, even (incredibly) turning the physical restrictions imposed on him by Parkinson’s into a new musical approach, integrating the tremors into his playing and using his voice as an instrument when his fingers fail him.

Crohn has been a documentary filmmaker for more than 30 years, with a long list of credentials that include writing, producing and directing the A & E Network’s seven-part Women in Jazz series, narrated by Carmen McRae and Marian McPartland, and the History of Jazz series that combined narration and performance by Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea and Branford Marsalis with interviews with other musicians and archival film footage, shown on BRAVO, BBC and many other stations around the world. He was the founder and for many years the director of the In-the-Works Film and Video Festival in Woodstock.

The Arts Society of Kingston will host an evening of cabaret on Saturday, October 20 at 8 p.m., with a suggested donation of $10. The evening includes performances by saxophonist Gus Mancini, poet Mike Jurkovic, playwright Karen Rich and a screening of Playing with Parkinson’s, an inspiring film by Burrill Crohn about jazz musician Sangeeta Michael Berardi’s struggle to overcome the limitations of Parkinson’s Disease. The Arts Society of Kingston is located at 97 Broadway in Kingston. For more information, visit www.askforarts.org or call (845) 338-0331.

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