Top 12 Events of Week: Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, Springsteen exhibition, more

smithereens hoboken crenshaw fest

The Smithereens featuring Marshall Crenshaw, will perform in Hoboken on Oct. 3.

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


The Smithereens, featuring Marshall Crenshaw on lead vocals and guitar, will headline the free, annual fall edition of the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, taking place on Washington Street from the Observer Highway to 7th Street, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Other performers will include singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston, the Karyn Kuhl Band and Ernie Brooks’ Tape Hiss band. Ernie Brooks — a member of Jonathan Richman’s beloved Modern Lovers band in the ’70s who later worked with the avant-garde musician Arthur Russell — plays Modern Lovers and Russell material and more in Tape Hiss, also featuring Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. Other performers on the festival’s three stages (one of which will be devoted to children’s entertainment) will include Manouche Bag, Milton, Swingadelic, Orquesta La Experiencia and Tony Corrao (a past winner of Hoboken’s annual Sinatra singing contest). Art displays, vendors and family entertainment will also be available on Washington Street, which will be closed to traffic for the occasion.

Bruce Springsteen’s signature guitar — the one seen on the cover of the Born to Run album. Clarence Clemons’ saxophone. Stage clothing and accessories from Springsteen and E Street Band members. The ticket booth from the Tunnel of Love Tour stage set. All of these items and more will be on display in “Bruce Springsteen Live!,” an exhibition — co-curated by the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University in West Long Branch — that will open at the Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark on Oct. 1 and run through March 20 before moving to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in the fall of 2022. The exhibition will also include live performance footage, exclusive interviews, concert posters and photography, and interactive displays.


Chris Botti, Dee Dee Bridgewater, The Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, Terence Blanchard, Robert Randolph and Jazzmeia Horn will be among the performers at the Fall 2021 edition of the Exit Zero Jazz Festival, taking place Oct. 1-3 at Ferry Park in North Cape May plus a Beach Stage at Cape May Convention Hall, with nighttime shows at Carney’s on Beach Avenue.

• Chris Stapleton will bring his “All American Road Show” to three area venues in October, with different supporting casts. He’ll perform with The Marcus King Band and Caylee Hammack at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, Oct. 1; with The Marcus King Band and Yola at Madison Square Garden in New York, Oct. 8; and with Sheryl Crow and Kendell Marvel at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Oct. 9. All shows are at 7 p.m.

Roy’s Hall in Blairstown will resume presenting concerts Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. with the roots-rock band Yarn, with other upcoming shows including singer-songwriter Forrest O’Connor with Isaac Eichman, Oct. 8; the jazz trio Hobgood, Robbins and Latham, Oct. 9; bluegrass band Sideline, Oct. 15; and Little Feat member Scott Sharrard, Oct. 16.

The progressive-rock festival ProgStock takes place at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, Oct. 1-3, with Percy Jones MJ12 (with special guest Alex Skolnick of Testament), Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius, Rachel Flowers, McNally Waters, Jane Getter Premonition, Alan Hewitt & One Nation and others.



• John Cleese of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame presents a show with the intriguing title of “Why There Is No Hope” — described by one critic as a “lecture on people’s, and society’s, inescapable idiocy” — at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.


The long-awaited “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” will open in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 1. Set in the ’60s and early ’70s, the film features Michael Gandolfini (the late James Gandolfini’s son) as the young Tony Soprano, though it does not focus on him. (Read review here and see trailer below.)


Succeed2gether’s Montclair Literary Festival takes place Oct. 2-3, mostly in-person though with some events online, and mostly free though with some events requiring paid tickets. Participating authors will include Joyce Carol Oates (discussing her novel “Breathe” and also engaging in a discussion on “Mystery, Suspense and the Novel”), Steven Van Zandt (discussing his memoir “Unrequited Infatuations”), Colm Tóibín (discussing his novel “The Magician”), Henry Winkler (discussing his Hank Zipzer and Alien Superstar children’s books series), Paul Auster, Jonathan Alter, Katie Kitamura, Christina Baker Kline, Jonathan Santlofer, Mona Awad and many others. Proceeds will benefit Succeed2gether, a Montclair-based organization that addresses unequal access to educational resources for low-income Essex County families.

Squonk’s “Hand to Hand” show.


The multimedia troupe Squonk will present its “Hand to Hand” show, combining progressive-rock music and giant hand puppets that dwarf the musicians, Oct. 5 at 2 and 6:30 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the Bandshell at Ramapo College in Mahwah. There is no admission charge but advance tickets are required. Visit

The State Theatre in New Brunswick, which has undergone extensive renovations during the pandemic, will have a ribbon cutting and marquee lighting event, Oct. 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., before starting to present shows again on Oct. 8. DJ Larry Sargent will provide music outside the theater and, at 6 p.m., after the ribbon cutting and marquee lighting, the theater will open its doors for free self-guided tours, with soft drinks, popcorn and commemorative souvenirs free as well. The first shows at the reopened theater will be the Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical, “Escape to Margaritaville,” Oct. 8-10.

The Jersey City Theater Center‘s Immigration Arts Summit, taking place at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m., will bring together artists, members of local arts organizations and other community leaders from the Tri-State area for talks and presentations, with Natu Camara, a singer-songwriter and activist from Guinea, performing at 5:15 p.m.


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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