SummerStage, an annual fixture of outdoor arts and entertainment performances in New York's Central Park, will open with a weekend of blues-themed programming to coincide with the Congress-designated
SummerStage, an annual fixture of outdoor arts and entertainment performances in New York's Central Park, will open with a weekend of blues-themed programming to coincide with the Congress-designated "Year of the Blues."
On June 14, SummerStage will host a preview of Martin Scorsese's PBS documentary series "The Blues," featuring excerpts from films by Scorcese, Clint Eastwood, and others. The event will also feature a performance by blues musician/actor Chris Thomas King ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?"). The following night, guitarist Johnny Winter and harmonica player James Cotton perform.
The blues theme continues July 27 with a tribute to Janis Joplin featuring both of the singer's recording and touring bands, Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band. The event marks what would have been Joplin's 60th birthday.
Other performers scheduled to grace SummerStage this season include a previously announced double bill of Wilco and Sonic Youth (June 26-27), Chaka Khan (July 5), Elvis Costello and the Imposters (July 11), Ani Difranco (July 16), jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins (Aug. 9), and reggae singer Jimmy Cliff (Aug. 10). Also on the calendar are themed evenings of music and dance by artists hailing from Iceland, Canada, and New Zealand.
Presented by the City Parks Foundation, SummerStage will offer a total of 78 performances, encompassing artists from 23 nations. Thirty of the shows will be free of charge; eight shows will serve to benefit the SummerStage program. Series sponsors include Heineken, Chock Full o' Nuts, and Time Out New York magazine. The full schedule will be posted tomorrow (May 14) on the official SummerStage Web site.
Additionally, the City Parks Foundation's annual free City Parks Concert series will now include the 11th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. Last years' festival was cancelled due to lack of funding for the costs of producing the two-day outdoor event, which is now scheduled for Aug. 23 at the city's Marcus Garvey Park, and Aug. 24 at Tompkins Square Park. Artists have not yet been announced.