Summer Guide: Hit the Arts Road!

Weekend trips to cultured places

The Amtrak Acela runs like poetry in motion—Leonard Nimoy's—but hop on the comfy-yet-inefficient train to Boston (technically Cambridge) anyhow, where the American Repertory Theater is set to explore the inner lives of the once-accursed Boston Red Sox in the world premiere of a musical called Johnny Baseball (through June 27). It's not likely to play well in New York, but it will give Newyorquinos the exotic flavor of life in enemy territory. While Western Massachusetts' Williamstown Theater Festival (June 30–August 20) plays it safe this summer with "American Classics" including, drearily, Our Town—a text unenlivened since the Wooster Group did it in blackface in 1981—their "Nikos Stage" takes a risk on three world premieres by alt-theatermakers Mat Smart, Amy Herzog, and Michael Kimmel.

Alt-rock hipster types who venture to the New Brooklyn—Philadelphia, that is—in search of dreamy/gloomy music will find plenty at the Northern Liberties Music Festival (June 5) and the 2nd Street Festival (August 1). Heavier on hip-hop (and presumably lighter on hipsters) will be Camp Bisco outside Schenectady (July 15–17), whose performers include Ghostface Killah, Method Man, LCD Soundsystem, and Disco Biscuits. The same month, Grass Roots in Ithaca (July 22–25), with Rusted Root, Burning Spear, and Merle Haggard performing, promises to be heavy on hemp, both in terms of garments and smokeables. The eternal truth about the countryside remains: You're sure to return to the city feeling relaxed.

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