With most of the dance performances we see, the choreography and artists have barely reached their 100th anniversaries. Big whoop. Instead, why not take in an art form that’s been around for several millennia. Shen Yun Performing Arts showcases parts of traditional Chinese culture, including classical music and dance. Fine, there’s some new bits thrown in the mix, too, including original compositions for the Shen Yun orchestra and high-tech digital backgrounds they perform in front of. Everything comes together to express both ancient legends and modern tales of courage, and you can see it all at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College on August 22.
Life is good for singer/songwriter Josh Ritter. After conquering the world with his previous album, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, this May returns with a follow-up, So Runs the World Away. (Perhaps you heard his single, “Change of Time,” on the radio.) All Music Guide calls the album “equally steeped in Southern and Midwest Gothic Americana,” and Spin magazine writes that “Ritter’s wordplay can be dense, but his warm, inviting voice makes it a pleasure to unravel.” Want to try for yourself? Ritter will perform at the Tarrytown Music Hall on August 7.
At Your Mercer
When you think of classic songs like “Moon River” and “The Days of Wine and Roses,” of course you remember the timeless melodies—but you shouldn’t overlook the evocative lyrics. Johnny Mercer wrote—and won Oscars—for both those songs, as well as unforgettable numbers like “Jeepers Creepers,” “Fools Rush In,” and “Summer Wind.” This month, noted cabaret star Andrea Marcovicci brings those words to life with her show, “Skylark: Andrea Marcovicci Sings Johnny Mercer,” on August 21. (She’ll throw in some tunes by Mercer contemporaries like Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Hoagy Charmichael, and Henry Mancini, too.) The event is a benefit for Copland House at Merestead, with proceeds going toward renovations at the manor, and ticket prices include light bistro fare and a post-concert reception with Marcovicci.
A Likely Story
Texting is terrific and all, but you can never really tell a truly great story via text. Experience the lost art of storytelling at the Mohegan Colony’s 10th Annual Storytelling/Music Festival on August 14. Some of the most esteemed professional storytellers, including Hudson Valley favorite Jonathan Kruk, will gather alongside poets, writers, and musicians for a day of performances on two stages. Stick around after sunset, when torches and candles will be lit and the program will switch to spooky ghost stories. If you’re feeling inspired, you also can sign up for the open mic. The whole thing takes place at the historic Mohegan Colony in Crompond.
Photo by Tom O’Connell
Our waterfront is everything. We head to the Hudson or the Sound when we’re looking for entertainment, a gorgeous alfresco view, or just a place to relax. Sure, our rivers may be the center of county life now, but what role did they play in the 18th and early 19th centuries? Find out at River Day, which takes place August 1 at Van Cortlandt Manor. There, your family can take a ride on the river, try fishing, and even help build a boat with local organizations. Landlubbers can participate in drier activities, like hearth cooking, brick making, and storytelling.
What to add to your Netflix queue this month.
DVD Release Date: August 3, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Who says that the U.S. has a monopoly on gritty crime films? This French crime film seems ready to challenge Scarface for its crown, after racking up a slew of awards nominations—including nods from the Academy Awards and Golden Globes—and bringing home the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie follows a teenage prisoner who starts to run errands for a jailbird gang leader, and rises through the prison’s social ranks. Watch your back, Goodfellas.
DVD Release Date: August 3, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
We know there’s been a glut of superhero and comic-book movies out there recently. Kick-Ass distinguishes itself by being about kids-turned-crime-stoppers who…watch a lot of superhero and comic-book movies. It also makes some effort to show the effects of these ultra-violent, candy-colored worlds on the normal teenage mind (while also having some really cool, candy-colored action scenes). Bonus points go to Nicholas Cage—mentor to and father of a pre-teen superhero—for channeling the weirdest Adam West imitation ever for his character, “Big Daddy.”
Lost: The Complete Collection
DVD Release Date: August 24, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
The answer to the island’s mysterious, six-seasons-in-the-making secrets was…that?! If you’re a Lost fan and still feel the need for more island info, you can comb through this mega-collection’s 30 hours of bonus materials for clues (or just re-watch every episode of every season). Included in this box set are featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes, and an intriguing-sounding “new chapter of the island’s story.” And, if you’ve never seen Lost, you can use this collection to catch up and figure out what the heck everyone’s been talking about for the past six years. (Smoke monsters?)