Top 10 Arts Events of the Week: Fest for Beatles Fans, Chris Rock, Hoboken Literary Weekend, more

peter jackson get back

Director Paul Jackson will appear at the Fest for Beatles Fans via Zoom.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through April 7.


Peter Jackson (the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” director who also directed the revelatory Beatles documentary “Get Back”) and “Let It Be” movie director Michael Lindsay-Hogg will appear via Zoom at this year’s Fest for Beatles Fan, which takes place at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, April 1-3. In-person Fest guests will include Wings member Laurence Juber, Beatles friend and colleague Billy J. Kramer, Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band drummer Gregg Bissonette, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, Don Dannemann of the band The Cyrkle (who opened for the Beatles in 1966) and Chris O’Dell (who worked for The Beatles in the ’60s and remained a friend of theirs later).

Live music will be offered throughout the three days, on two stages, by Juber, Kramer and bands including Liverpool, Cellophane Flowers, Blac Rabbit and The Wag. Other attractions include a Beatles marketplace, a Beatles museum, a Beatles auction, Beatles-oriented children’s entertainment, charity raffles and a “fan jam.” There will also be lookalike, soundalike, art, trivia and “Name That Tune” contests.

This will be the first in-person edition of the annual Fest since the pandemic began. “Virtual tickets,” for those who want to watch all the action from home, are also being sold.

The Ukrainian folk group DakhaBrakha.

• DakhaBrakha — a Ukrainian folk group that also draws on elements of various world music traditions, and is associated with the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art — performs at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 2 at 8 p.m. The group’s United States tour follows a recent series of shows in France. After one of the shows in France, the band posted on Facebook, “These concerts were truly special. The French public sympathized and lived these hours with us. These were moments of unity and solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Once again we were convinced that we have to do exactly this.”

Singer and guitarist Jimmy Vivino — well known to music fans as a member of the Max Weinberg 7, the leader of the “Conan” house band Jimmy Vivino & the Basic Cable Band, the Beatles tribute group The Fab Faux and other projects — is currently playing guitar and singing with Canned Heat, the blues-rock band whose fame peaked with their performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. The group also features original Canned Head drummer Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra along with harmonica player, guitarist and vocalist Dale Spalding, and bassist Rick Reed. The group performs at the Stanhope House, April 2 at 8 p.m.

The SFJAZZ Collective performs at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Since 2004, this leaderless group, based at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, has had a constantly changing lineup. Current members include Gretchen Parlato and Martin Luther McCoy on vocals, Chris Potter on saxophones, David Sánchez on saxophones, Etienne Charles on trumpet, Warren Wolf on vibraphone, Edward Simon on keyboards, Matt Brewer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. The group’s latest CD — New Works Reflecting the Moment, recorded live in October — features original songs inspired by racial injustice, the pandemic, political polarization and other current issues, as well as covers of songs such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw it Away” and the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 3 p.m. April 4 with the word “SFJAZZ” in the subject line.)

The tribute band Best of Foo will perform Foo Fighters songs — and, undoubtedly, pay tribute to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins — at a benefit for the organ donation foundation, The Sharing Network, April 1 at 8 p.m. at Asbury Lanes. The U2 tribute band U2 Nation will also perform.

Chris Rock will bring his Ego Death World Tour to Atlantic City, April 2.


Less than a week after joking about Jada Pinkett Smith at The Oscars — and being hit onstage by her husband, Will Smith, because of it — Chris Rock will perform standup comedy at the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, April 2 at 7 and 10 p.m. It won’t be his first time back on a stage. His Ego Death World Tour began with a March 30 show at The Wilbur in Boston, which kicked off a three-night stand there. About a month ago on Instagram, Rock described the Ego Death World Tour as “all new material introspective very personal and very funny. Can’t wait to show you.” He talked about the Smith incident only briefly at The Wilbur, March 30.


Ethan Stiefel, who became American Repertory Ballet‘s artistic director in the summer of 2021, has choreographed a new version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that will premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, April 1 at 7:30 p.m., April 2 at 2 and 7 p.m., and April 3 at 2 p.m. The production will be performed in collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and feature Felix Mendelssohn’s 19th century score, with additional music written by Erich Wolfgang Korngold for the 1935 film version.

According to the Urban Bush Women troupe, its “Hair & Other Stories” is “a dance-theater work that explores race, identity, and ideas of beauty through the lens of Black women’s hair. It reflects on what constitutes freedom, liberation, and release in our everyday struggles to rise to our Extra-ordinary Selves in extraordinary times.” “Hair & Other Stories” will be performed at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. and April 2 at 2 p.m.




Richard Thompson will discuss his memoir “Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967-1975” with Hoboken-based musician James Mastro and play a few songs at the second Hoboken Literary Weekend, taking place April 1-3 at Little City Books. Thompson’s appearance will take place April 3 at 5 p.m. and can also be seen via a livestream. Other authors scheduled to appear include John Scalzi, April 1 at 7 p.m.; Alex Wellerstein, April 2 at 1 p.m.; Weike Wang, April 2 at 2:30 p.m.; Kirstin Valdez Quade, April 2 at 4:30 p.m.; Fintan O’Toole, April 2 at 6:30 p.m.; and Colm Tóibín, April 2 at 8 p.m. There will also be panel of Young Adult authors, April 3 at 3 p.m.; a lineup of comedians, April 3 at 7 p.m.; and a discussion featuring Mile Square Theatre artistic director Kevin Free and John Eric Scutchins, director of the current MST production “The Niceties,” April 2 at 6 p.m.

The Hoboken Historical Museum presents a “Something New (Jersey)” poetry festival, with free readings by RescuePoetix, Eliot Katz and Tamara Zbrizher, April 3 at 4 p.m., and reg e. gaines, Megha Sood and Frank Messina, April 10 at 4 p.m. The museum’s poet-in-residence, Danny Shot, will host both programs.


“In Time and In Tide” by Armisey Smith and “Red Portraits” by Caren King Choi at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through April 1)

“Black & White to Magnificent Color!,” group show at Watchung Arts Center (Through April 9)

“The Forest” at New Jersey Repertory, Long Branch. (Through April 10)
“Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through April 10)

“The Maximum Minimum” at Gallery Space, Rahway. (Through April 15)

“The Niceties” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through April 17)

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through May 8)

“Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 26)


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