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TV documentary explores arts’ role in Trenton redevelopment

“You want to change things, you have to support the arts,” says Will Kasso in tonight’s installment of the PBS series, “Driving Jersey.” “You have to infuse that. You have to give people a basis of culture. Without that, you have nothing.” Kasso is the creative director of Trenton’s Sage Coalition, devoted to inner-city beautification projects, and he’s interviewed under a mural of Mahatma Gandhi that he painted himself. In “Driving Jersey,” now in its fourth season, director Steve Rogers drives around the state, exploring various topics, and in this episode, subtitled “I See A Blank Canvas,” he looks the redevelopment efforts in Old Trenton neighborhood of state capital, and spends a fair amount of time focusing on the way arts are being used to make the city better. Continue Reading →

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‘Welcome to Paradise,’ Green Day at City Gardens

In honor of Green Day, which was named today as a 2015 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m taking today’s installment of the 350 Jersey Songs project from the band’s March 1994 concert at City Gardens in Trenton — an important stop for many punk and indie bands, both from Jersey and beyond, in the 1980s and early 1990s. Check out a clip of them performing “Welcome to Paradise,” sometimes obscured by crowd-surfers, below. The year 1994 was the turning point for Green Day. They released their breakthrough album, Dookie (which contains “Welcome to Paradise”), got lots of airplay on MTV, and performed on the Lollapalooza tour and at the Woodstock ’94 concert. With their riotous stage show, short, catchy punk-rock songs and overall air of youthful insolence, they didn’t really seem built to last; few would have predicted at the time that they would one day be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Continue Reading →

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