For its annual costume ball benefit, IS183 Art School of the Berkshires
, the innovative not-for-profit center for children and adults in Stockbridge, MA, practices what it teaches. Its fundraisers are displays of exuberant creativity, and this year's Rock the Opera dance party on March 1 at the Masonic Hall in Pittsfield should be just as effervescent as last year's "Kabuki-a-Go-Go" when its staff and supporters transformed the Berkshire South Community Center in Great Barrington into a pulsing, 1960's pan-Asian discotheque. Usually, you have to go to a fancy schmancy Bar Mitzvah to dance the night away in such a ridiculous, riotous fashion. But for $50, IS183 makes it possible to have a blast while supporting a cornerstone of our cultural community.
But what should you wear? You'll get plenty of ideas at Berkshire Masquerade in Pittsfield, which has an inventory of 10,000 costumes and is offering a 20% discount on rentals (10% on purchases) if you let them know you are going to Rock the Opera
. "Most of the people who've come in so far are going for the rock side," says manager Kara Demler. "But I could definitely set you up as an opera character. We have a lot of historical clothing. I am surprised nobody has come in asking for a Viking helmet. I sell those."
Berkshire Masquerade also sells theatrical wigs and makeup. "I can help you look like a punk rocker," she says. "I have Elvis suits. We can dress you up as Michael Jackson or Madonna." Costume rentals range from $20-$45 (before the discount.) The shop keeps irregular hours (Thursdays 12-6 and Saturdays 11- 1) but you can call ahead and make an appointment. "I am happy to open up for one customer if I have advance notice," she says.
• Berkshire Masquerade (393 North Street, Pittsfield; 413-442-6063), which keeps irregular hours, so call ahead
• Greystone Gardens
(436 North Street; Pittsfield, MA; 413-442-9291) specializes in Victoriana and is offering a 20% Rock the Opera discount.
• Petria Boutiq
(274 Main Street rear, Great Barrington; 413-528-1145), which carries vintage and "glam" clothing for women. Petria is offering a 10% Rock the Opera discount.
• Warner Theatre Costume Shop
in Torrington, CT, which has 8,000 square feet of professional-quality costumes.