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Arts Previews

  • The Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair takes place Dec. 6-7 at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Submitted photo

  • Celtic fiddler Katherine First is one of the two featured performers for the next Song & Story Swap in Amherst, on Dec. 7. Submitted photo


Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Dual fiddlers at Song & Story Swap

“Fiddlers extraordinaire” Katherine First and Cynthia Thomas will be the featured performers at the next Song & Story Swap in Amherst, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at The Nacul Center, 592 Main St.

Initially trained as a classical violinist, First has become known as a “standout Irish fiddler,” according to publicity notes, studying in Ireland and playing in the Celtic Rock band Dicey Riley for 17 years. She currently performs with roots band Appalachian Still, swing/blues group The Johnny Memphis Band, and her own Celtic band, Katherine First and Kitchen Party.

Thomas, meantime, a member of the band French Press, draws her repertoire from Québécois, Breton, French, and Cajun fiddle tunes.

The Song & Story Swap is open to members of the public of all ages as performers or audience members. Admission is free, with a suggested minimum donation to artists of $7.50.

Books, books, and more books

The Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair will take place Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Northampton Center for the Arts, in the city’s Community Arts Trust building at 33 Hawley Street. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and admission is free.

The fair includes close to 30 exhibitors, including antiquarian booksellers, book artists such as engravers, book designers and bookbinders, and paper-makers, as well as fine letterpress publishers from Western Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

A number of special events such as talks and round-table discussions will take place in the week up to the fair. To learn more about these and about specific exhibitors, visit northamptonbookfair.com.

Fall Studio productions at Smith College

Two free theater productions are on tap at the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre, at Smith College’s Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7. Productions begin at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

The first play is “Things We said Today” (also called “Helter Skelter”) by Neil LaBute, in which a seemingly innocuous conversation between a couple unwittingly brings them face to face with the fractures in their marriage. The second production is Edward Albee’s one-act 1983 play “Finding the Sun,” in which four couples confront their own controversies and mysteries.

These student-directed plays are described as “intimate, minimally produced shows” with other Smith students, creating the opportunity to showcase the talents of young theater artists. No reservations are required, but early arrival is strongly recommended.