Oooh. Aaah. If it isn’t July 4 or a Fireworks Friday at the Blue Rocks, it has to be Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains. The next is August 13, Stravinsky ‘Stravaganza Saturday, when you’ll here such works as his Rite of Spring, Petrushka, and, for the finale, Firebird. Fountains dance and the sky explodes while you hear some of the world’s best-loved music in a whole new light. Reserve a space in the gardens after 3 p.m. Take a lightweight folding chair, or rent one for $5. (Supplies are limited.) Blankets are not allowed. For more, contact Longwood Gardens at (610) 388-1000 or longwoodgardens.org. Keep your eyes out for Mavis Staples in concert on Aug. 17.
Remember that The Brandywiners’ “Kiss Me, Kate!” runs Aug. 4-6 at Longwood Gardens’ Open Air Theatre. The piece has been a Broadway treasure since 1948. Men who love women, women who claim to hate men, gambling problems, thugs hell bent on collection—it all adds up to classic Shakespearean comedy tweaked for our time. Hear classic tunes such as “Wunderbar,” “Too Darn Hot,” “I Hate Men” and others. For tickets and information, visit brandywiners.org. Call Longwood at (610) 388-1000.
More from Longwood: With renewed interest in period instruments such as the wooden flutes of the Baroque, “Notes from the Forest” is especially timely. The exhibit shows what kinds of woods give musical instruments their distinctive sounds, as well as Steinway’s crafting of its famous pianos (inlcuding Lonwood’s own from 1923). The show will run until October 16. Visit the music room in the Conservatory, and celebrate the U.N’s declared Year of the Forest. For more, call (610) 388-1000, or visit longwoodgardens.org
Where will you see the next Bonnie Raitt? Only at the Riverfront Blues Fest, August 5-7 at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington, where you can see 23-year-old guitar phenom Joanne Shaw Taylor rip it up, followed by the likes of harpist James Cotton and his band, Tab Benoit, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Charlie Musselwhite and others. It’s one of the biggest, rockin’est parties of the summer. Make a day of it, or jam all weekend long. Tickets are $15-$50. Visit riverfrontbluesfest.com for more.
Yakime Brown’s large canvases burst with color and movement. See them at Gallery 919 Market in Wilmington starting Aug. 5. The former New Yorker, now of Bear, paints in acrylics with bold strokes of his palette knife and brush. The result is vibrant works that will most definitely stimulate your imagination. Seer more at AkelaArt.com, but nothing beats a real viewing, so visit the gallery anytime between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily (best gallery hours in the state). An opening reception on Friday is 4:30 p.m. till 8 p.m.
In a summer packed with fun events, The Freeman Stage reaches a zenith this month with Tribute Week, when some of the best performers in the business pay homage to some of the best performers in the business. See Tommy Edward as Rod Stewart on August 10, Jesse Garron as Elvis Presley on August 11, Mitch Seekins as Tony Bennett on August 12, then the great BeatleMania Live on August 13—with three complete, authentic costume changes and music from every Beatles era. You’ll swear they’re all the real deal. Bring a lawn chair—or dance like crazy. All shows begin at 7 p.m. Freeman Stage is at 36097 Sand Cove Road, Selbyville. For more, visit freemanstage.org.