Westchester County Arts and Culture Events for August 2012: Blues Traveler, k.d. lang, Béla Fleck, and More




Not-So-Baby Blues
It’s hard to believe Blues Traveler is celebrating their 25th anniversary—it doesn’t seem that long ago that the band’s mega-hit, “Run Around,” was playing on the radio in an infinite loop. (The song went on to be the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history at the time.) They’re celebrating with a two-CD retrospective, aptly titled 25, and a cross-country tour, including a stop at the Paramount Center for the Arts on August 23.

Cutting Edge
People may read books about famous actors or directors, but not too much is known about the lowly film distributor. Jeff Lipsky was one of those, striving to get artsy films like My Dinner with Andre and Stranger Than Paradise—not to mention the films of his mentor, John Cassavetes—to the big screen. Now, he’s a director in his own right, creating three of his own films: Childhood’s End, Flannel Pajamas, and Twelve Thirty. The latter two will screen at the Jacob Burns Film Center on August 29, and Lipsky will be on hand to answer questions about them and his behind-the-scenes career.

Photo Courtesy of The Jacob Burns Film Center

Photo courtesy of Caramoor

Banjo on His Knee
Pop (music) quiz: What versatile banjoist has been nominated in more Grammy Award categories than any other musician, including the pop, jazz, instrumental, world music, classical crossover, urban/alternative, and country categories? If you answered Béla Fleck—well, he’s arguably the most famous banjoist working today, so it was probably a lucky guess, but you’d be right. Fleck has experimented with all these styles of music and many others, all while picking away on his trusty banjo. Now he’s back to jazz, performing with the Marcus Roberts Trio at Caramoor’s International Music Festival on August 4.

Country Craving
Just when you start to forget about  k.d. lang, she pops back onto the music scene with something impressive. Her newest outing, the alt-country-sounding Sing It Loud, inspired the Los Angeles Times to write that lang is “an over-the-top romantic, riding the octaves with a Roy Orbison sense of drama.” She’ll perform those melodramatic tunes with her new band, the Siss Boom Bang, at the Ridgefield Playhouse on August 14.

Spell Check
We’re so glad that, when William Finn—creator of the razor-sharp musical Falsettos—decided to write a musical about the Hudson Valley area, his laser-focused target found Putnam County instead of Westchester. This way, we can all enjoy the result of his work, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, without feeling bad about ourselves as parents. The show follows a group of youngsters dealing with the pressure to become the spelling-bee champion. See who gets the trophy at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, where the show will run from August 2 to August 26.