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Country singer Emmylou Harris is lending her considerable talents to Celebrate Brooklyn’s first-ever benefit concert on Aug. 7.

On tour with her band Spyboy, Harris is supporting her latest album, "Red Dirt Girl" (Nonesuch, 2000), and in the process will help the 23-year-old concert series sustain itself.

Jack Walsh, co-producer of Celebrate Brooklyn, explains that the concert series, which is free but carries a suggested admission/donation of $3, survives on the donations of audience members and sponsors, yet still needs additional revenue.

"We offer the audience ways to support the festival, like the slogan, ’Keep it great, give 3 at the gate,’ and the friends of Celebrate Brooklyn [membership program]. This was an idea we’ve seen other folks do - libraries do fundraiser concerts - and we’re a concert series. It made sense."

The August Celebrate Brooklyn lineup has a top-notch program ranging from film to dance to music, literally offering something for everyone. The series has commissioned dances by Ben Munisteri and rhythMEK, who have been deemed Celebrate Brooklyn’s artists-in-residence, for Aug. 4 at 7:30 pm.

Brooklyn’s own Mark Morris Dance Group will perform Aug. 10 at 8 pm.

For film buffs, "The Blue Angel" (1930) starring Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola, with an original score performed live by The BQE Project, will be a delight on Aug. 2 at 7:30 pm.

On Aug. 9 at 7:30 pm, the star-studded "Around the World in Eighty Days" featuring cameos by 40 stars and filmed on exotic locales around the world, will be screened.

On Aug. 3, Culture and Judah Eskender Tafari will perform reggae music, and on Aug. 11, the Boricua Festival, a celebration of Puerto Rican culture, will keep the audience dancing from noon to 9 pm.

The series ends with an African music festival blowout on Aug. 19, from 1 pm to 9 pm, featuring music from all over Africa and culminating with a performance by Senegalese Afro-pop superstar Baaba Maal at 7:30 pm.

Celebrate Brooklyn hopes its benefit concert will be its first annual fundraiser, but Walsh was also excited by the fact that it drew an artist of Harris’ stature to the Prospect Park Bandshell.

"She’s a great artist," said Walsh. "We have a lot of different cores to our audience, and she’ll appeal to our country fans. She’s a touring artist who is several cuts above anyone else we were able to present for free.

"We’ll see if this benefit concert idea is something we can make a part of each season. It’s a bit of an experiment. We’re hoping it’s another way our audience will support us, and see an incredible artist."

Emmylou Harris will perform at 7:30 pm at the Prospect Park Bandshell (Ninth Street at Prospect Park West in Park Slope). Tickets are $45 and $25 and are available through Ticketmaster, (212) 307-7171 and at prior Celebrate Brooklyn performances at the Information Booth. For more information, call (718) 855-7882, ext. 45 or visit the Web site at

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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