Summer Fun in Westchester: Music, Movies, Art, and Theater


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You might think that, once summer is in full swing, our best venues go into a reverse-hibernation, to awaken again only when the weather gets cold and the fall cultural season ramps up. Not so. Westchester is bustling year-round—summer being no exception—and you can still find great music, movies, art, and theater all the way through the dog days. Here, your best bets.

Tomorrow Never Knows: Deconstructing The Beatles’ Revolver
June 7
The Picture House, Pelham
(914) 738-7337; thepicturehouse.org

Instead of looking here, there, and everywhere for a thorough decoding of one of The Beatles’ most acclaimed albums, you simply need to ask Scott Freiman. The composer, producer, and self-professed Beatles expert uses audio tracks, video clips, and heard-through-the-grapevine anecdotes to explain how the Fab Four created Revolver, paying special attention to the innovative production techniques. Freiman will also stick around after his presentation to answer any lingering questions you may have (but we’ll answer the first one for you—no, there is no real Eleanor Rigby).

Matthew Sweet: The Girlfriend Tour
June 23
Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown
(914) 631-3390; tarrytownmusichall.org

Alternative-rocker Matthew Sweet has written many songs that were mix-tape must-haves in the 1990s, but none so much as his lovelorn anthem “Girlfriend.” Sweet will play the Girlfriend album in its entirety at the Tarrytown Music Hall. The concert is a better-late-than-never celebration of the album’s 20th anniversary (which passed in October 2011, if you didn’t feel old already).

Pirates of the Hudson: The Siege of Sleepy Hollow
June 30 to July 1 and July 4 to July 8
Philipsburg Manor, Sleepy Hollow
(914) 631-8200; hudsonvalley.org

Avast! Landlubbers and salty sea dogs alike converge on the grounds of Philipsburg Manor, where pirates have invaded and are ready to trade their treasures. While you send your kids off to crawl through an almost-life-sized shipwreck, learn to swordfight, get a temporary tattoo, and embark on a far-reaching treasure hunt, you can park yourself in the tent with the wenches and listen to live pirate music while hoisting a hearty libation from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

Photo by Tom Nycz

Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle
July 11
Avon Theatre Film Center, Stamford, CT
(203) 967-3660; avontheatre.com

You’d think a little wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod wouldn’t cause so much of a kerfuffle—but when one was proposed, adamant forces gathered both for and against it. At stake: the future of American power. Cape Spin gets to the heart of what’s going on with the project, giving an impartial view of both sides of the argument. The Avon Theatre will screen the film as part of its “Documentary Night” series, and a Q&A with directors John Kirby and Robbie Gemmel and producers Libby Handros, Daniel Coffin, and Josh Levin will follow the screening.


Kenny Loggins
July 25
Paramount Center for the Arts, Peekskill
(914) 739-2333; paramountcenter.org

Quick: What’s your favorite ’80s movie? Chances are, no matter what you said, Kenny Loggins is on the soundtrack. Proof: He did “I’m Alright” for Caddyshack, “Nobody’s Fool” for Caddyshack II, “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, and, of course, the title track to Footloose. (That’s not even counting the theme to House at Pooh Corner.) Even if you’re not a movie fan, you’ve got to cut loose. Check out Loggins as he plays songs from throughout his career at the Paramount Center for the Arts.

Boston
July 22
Westchester County Center, White Plains
(914) 995-4050; countycenter.biz

Westchester might be lacking in arenas, but there’s certainly no shortage of arena rock—at least not when Boston performs at the Westchester County Center. The band hasn’t had a new album in a decade, going back to 2002’s Corporate America, but that means that more time will be devoted to the classics, like “Amanda,” “Rock & Roll Band,” and “More Than a Feeling.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
August 2 to August 26
Westchester Broadway Theatre, Elmsford
(914) 592-2222; broadwaytheatre.com

Putnam County, for xenophobes, borders us to the north, so you might spot similarities between this musical’s characters and your neighbors. Sure, it might seem like an innocuous subject—middle school students competing in a spelling bee—but you can catch some digs about parenting and over-programming young children. (Not that parents in Westchester would be able to relate.) Music comes courtesy of William Finn, the award-winning songwriter behind Falsettos, who was nominated for a Tony for Spelling Bee’s score.

Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio
August 4
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts Katonah
(914) 232-1252; caramoor.org    

Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck has won 14 Grammy Awards—and seemingly never in the same category twice. (He’s won for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Best Country Instrumental Performance, Best Contemporary World Music Album, and so on.) So, what style is he trying these days? He’s definitely back to jazz music—yes, there is such a thing as a jazz banjo—and he’ll perform with the Marcus Roberts Trio as part of the Caramoor International Music Festival.

Lenny Pickett with the Borneo Horns
August 15
Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah
(914) 232-9555; katonahmuseum.org

Who is Lenny Pickett? Just the musical director at Saturday Night Live and a former Tower of Power member. Downbeat magazine called the saxophonist’s recording with the Borneo Horns “a brilliantly creative use of acoustic instruments.” Lenny Pickett and the Borneo Horns will perform outdoors in the Katonah Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden as part of John Scofield’s “Shades of Jazz.” The best part: Before the show, the grounds are open for picnicking among the art.

Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry
August 25 to March 3
Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
(203) 869-0376; brucemuseum.org

When the temperature ratchets up, you might feel like you’re living out in the desert. But we don’t have the cool plant life or crazy animals that the American Southwest has. If you really want to feel like a desert denizen, check out the Bruce Museum’s Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry. The exhibition’s centerpiece: a life-size diorama with live cacti and other plant life found in the Sonoran Desert. It won’t give Westchester the dry heat of Arizona, but the rest will be close enough.
 

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