The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street, is known for its eclectic programming and this weekend is no exception.
Saturday night, join Julie Riccio and a host of performers for "Uke Night." No, it's not a tribute to the Boston Red Sox's first baseman (third baseman when needed); instead, it's an evening of music featuring the 4-stringed Hawaiian guitar. Some people may think of Do Ho, Tiny Tim or Arthur Godfrey (showing my age there) but the diminutive instrument has never fallen out of favor. George Harrison was an aficionado of the ukulele as is the modern "pop" group Magnetic Field's enigmatic front man Stephen Merrit.
At The Buttonwood, Riccio has enlisted her husband Peter (her musical partner in The Sawtelles) to open and close the show with 2 distinct duos. First up is The Poptelles and the name tells you that the music is bright and..well, "poppy." Also on the bill is singer-songwriter-baritone uke player Brian Skidmore & Trio, actor-singer-satirist Moose Karloff (great name for this weekend), Rich "Amazing Dick" Leufstedt, the duo of "Hot Time" Harv & J-Boy Shyne, and singer-songwriter Eric Paradine. Closing the show will the Riccio's "punk-rock" duo known as School Safety Patrol. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to www.myspace.com/ukenightct.
Sunday is a very busy day for the performance space. At 12:45 p.m., come meet Keith McHenry, co-founder of the FOOD NOT BOMBS social activist movement. In existence since 1980, the all-volunteer organization has provided vegetarian meals for people around the world. The group has not only been involved with major disasters such as the Asian Tsunami, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina but also works in war-torn areas in Africa.the Middle East and Eastern Europe. For more information, go to www.foodnotbombs.net.
At 3 p.m., join John Basinger as he enacts another chapter in his ongoing presentation of John Milton's "Paradise Lost." Basinger has memorized every word of Milton's epic and he brings the piece to life, helping one grasp the poet's message. It's a monumental task but, in Basinger's performance, one sees and hears the universal message, the brilliance of the writing and the great emotion encased in the stanzas.
At 7 p.m., the sounds of K.Page & Sleepwalker's Parade will fill the performance space. Based in Brooklyn, the quartet blurs the lines between rock, jazz, classical and avant-garde. Lead singer Page is a dramatic performer,with a voice and style that hearkens back to Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), folk chanteuses, blues belters, and punk-rock singers of the late 1970s. The lyrics glide between poetry and declamatory statements, surrealistic imagery and the blunt truth. In person, the band stretches out the material with long, jazz-inflected improvisations. To get a feel for the music, go to www.sleepwalkersparade.com.
To find out more about this weekend and the schedule for the upcoming weeks, go to www.buttonwood.org or call 860-347-4957.