Starting now, West Orange residents can go enjoy music, comedy, spoken word and art every day or night this week without leaving the township. They can go easy on their pocket books, too. Some of the evening events and all of the exhibits are free and none cost more than $18. There’s a bonus feature, too — you will be hearing many world class artists who call West Orange or bordering towns home.
To start with the visual arts, Arts Unbound Gallery has their annual juried show, "Originals: The Celebration of Self-Expression," running through Nov. 28 at their 544 Freeman Street gallery as well as their holiday shop there and in Maplewood. "Echoes of Autumn," a two man photography show starts at on Thursday, Nov. 17 and features the works of West Orange Art Council’s Bill Cofone and Mansa Mussa, two of the main photographers behind
West Orange based artist Nancy Gail Ring opens her latest show "What You Got Is to Be" at the New Jersey Arts Incubator this Friday evening, Nov. 18 with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Many area art lovers were on hand to admire her previous show, earlier this fall.
At the West Orange Public Library, on view now through Dec. 15 during regular daytime and evening hours at the West Orange Public Library (WOPL) is a 12-piece show of intriguing collages by West Orange based artist Lisa Suss. If her name sounds familiar, there's good reason: she is the director of visual arts and curator at the JCC MetroWest and serves on both the Valley Arts District and West Orange Arts Council boards.
The latter, under the leadership of Heidi Sussman, puts up a monthly art show at the WOPL and Suss’ attracted a lot of positive comment at the opening this past Wednesday, Nove 9. "I love the colors," said West Orange poet Peg Vassallo;
"They're like miniature time capsules," said fellow collagist Bob Freese.
It's an intriguing and engaging 12-piece show featuring works from three of Suss’ series including "Time Zones" and "False Economies." "I think in series," Suss said. Using maps, marbleized paper, paper money and the stuff of discarded children’s board games and learning tools, Suss creates a world that draws you in — one part metaphysical contemplations on time and place; the other part humor. And definitely bring the kids!
You can take a look at the collages if you head over to the library on Thursday night, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. to hear local writers representing fiction, nonfiction, adult and children’s literature read from their work, talk about inspirations drawn from living around here and share the inside of their getting published.
The authors include Michelle Cameron, George J. Hill, Henry Hoyt, Sanford Josephson, Linda Lauren, Patricia B. Schoeler, and Tynia Thomassie.
West Orange’s Josephson and Thomassie can be the pivot points to talk about music. Starting tonight with the "Cecil's Big Band," continuing on Tuesday evening — more about that in a moment — and this weekend are many opportunities to hear a handful of West Orange’s world class musicians perform for the home crowd. This weekend, Thomassie, of the West Orange High School Language Arts department, can be among those celebrating the CD release of "Blue Strike" by her guitarist husband Dave Stryker at Cecil’s Jazz Club. Sets start at 9 p.m. and there is a $15 music charge on the weekend; $7 for the big band, and dining.
Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. the marvelous vocalist Sarah Partridge from South Orange accompanied by pianist Allen Farnham inaugurate a three-part jazz series, "Music in the Moonlight; An Intimate Evening" series organized for Luna Stage Theater Company by Josephson, a much published jazz writer.
Afterwards, you can stroll over to the nearby Hat City Kitchen where West Orange based blues guitarist and vocalist Al Gold brings in his "The Mighty Suburban Rhythm Kings" group starting at 9 p.m. Gold returns to Hat City on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. to host the very popular "Blues Jam" that pack the place two Sunday’s a month. Contact the restaurant for music charges.
But don’t wait for the weekend for great music. Audiences liked guitarist Bob DeVos — full disclosure, my husband — and pianist Oscar Perez so much this past September at the "" that the two West Orange based masters are teaming up again with some very hip material that you can hear for free this Tuesday Nov. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Café at the West Orange Whole Foods Market as part of the market’s weekly Gibson Guitar/Baldwin Piano Jazz Series.
Perez is also celebrating the release of his most recent CD, "Afropean Affair." The series is produced by West Orange guitarist Paul Abler and wife Yashmin Charnet Abler; see the whole schedule at Bossa Nova Music Productions.
And, bring kids of any ages.
Finally, definitely not for kids — you have to be 21 or over with ID — is the return of Stand Up Comedy Night at Luna Stage on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. hosted this time out by Michael Che and featuring nationally known comedians Jeffrey Joseph, Phoebe Robinson and Emma Willman. It will cost you $15 in advance or $18 at the door.
So, before being engulfed by the holidays, get out and see and hear.