Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Dodge Poetry Festival, ‘Rocktopia,’ more

Dodge poetry 2018

Ntozake Shange will participate in the Dodge Poetry Festival.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Oct. 23:


The country’s largest poetry event this year will be the 17th biennial Dodge Poetry Festival, taking place at NJPAC and other Newark venues, Oct. 18-21. Participants will include former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Pulitzer Prize winners Sharon Olds and Gregory Pardlo, as well as Ntozake Shange (author of the play, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf”), Sandra Cisneros, Sapphire, Eileen Myles, Kwame Dawes, Alberto Ríos, David St. John, Henri Cole, Mary Ruefle and David Young. There will be more than 150 events over the four days, including interviews recorded for later broadcast on Krista Tippett’s public radio show, “On Being”; a collaboration between poet Gregory Orr and the musical group, The Parkington Sisters; and a music and poetry performance titled “In Praise: A Hundred Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Earth” and featuring the Newark Boys Chorus.


On Oct. 22, the Times Events series, sponsored by the York Times, will present an evening titled “The Stone Pony: Then and Beyond” at the legendary Asbury Park nightclub. The 6:30 p.m. event will include a conversation led by Times reporter Nick Corasaniti and featuring original E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez; former Stone Pony manager (and Springsteen Archives director at Monmouth University in West Long Branch) Eileen Chapman; and current Stone Pony manager Caroline O’Toole. Southside Johnny is listed as the event’s “special musical guest,” and will perform two acoustic songs. (He will NOT do a full set or have the full Asbury Jukes band with him.)

The cover of the 1998 album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Lauryn Hill will perform her landmark 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in its entirety, as well as other songs, at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m.

Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, who have spent a lot of time on the road since late 2016 — and released a new album, Soulfire, in 2017, as well as Soulfire Live! this year — will make the only New Jersey stop of their current tour at the Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.

• “The Music of Cream: 50th Anniversary Tour” will feature the music of the ’60s supergroup, as played by Ginger Baker’s son, Kofi Baker; Jack Bruce’s son, Malcolm Bruce; and Eric Clapton’s nephew, Will Johns. It comes to the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Oct. 20; and the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 23. Both shows are at 8 p.m.

• Los Lobos will team up with Funky Feat —featuring longtime Little Feat members Paul Barrere (guitar, vocals), Fred Tackett (guitar) and Kenny Gradney (bass), along with current Little Feat drummer Gabe Ford — for a show at BergenPAC in Englewood, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

The historic Harsimus Cemetery — yes, it’s a real cemetery — in Jersey City will host its annual Ghost of Uncle Joe’s Halloween Ball fundraiser, Oct. 20, featuring local bands covering the music of other bands: Sylvana Joyce & the Moment playing Queen, Universal Rebel playing Lauryn Hill, the Sensational Country Blues Wonders playing Hank Williams, and so on. The bands will perform from about 1 to 10 p.m.; also, five Jersey City clubs — FM, The Pet Shop, Low Fidelity and LITM and Porta Pizza — will host after-parties, with more cover sets by various bands. Proceeds will benefit the historic cemetery itself.


Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Iris DeMent performs at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m., with Ana Egge opening. On her last album, The Trackless Woods (2015), she set poems by the Russian writer Anna Akhmatova to music. This show was originally scheduled to take place in September, but was postponed due to illness. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 10 a.m. Oct. 19, with the word “DeMent” in the subject line.)

• “Rocktopia,” a concert that blends elements of classical music and classic-rock, had a Broadway run earlier year, and a touring version, featuring Dee Snider of Twisted Snider and former “The Voice” contestant Wé McDonald, stops at BergenPAC in Englewood, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. In the words of the show’s website: “The anthems of Queen and Journey meet the odes of Beethoven. The power of Zeppelin merges with the poetry of Puccini. The greatness of The Who blends with the grandeur of Strauss.”

The Rev. Stefanie Minatee and her Jubilation Gospel Choir will present a free concert honoring the singer and evangelist Dorothy Norwood at the Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church in Newark, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.

• Rio Mira — a collaboration featuring musicians from Ecuador and Colombia, including singer Karla Kanora — performs at the Hopewell Theater, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The group’s debut album, released last year, prominently features the marimba and is titled Marimba del Pacifico. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 4 p.m. Oct. 17, with the word “Mira” in the subject line.)


The Chicago-based Improvised Shakespeare Company will make up a Shakespeare-style play based on an audience-suggested title, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton.

A untitled work of art by Ric Ocasek.


In conjunction with “Ric Ocasek: Abstract Reality,” an exhibition of his visual art at the Wentworth Gallery at The Mall at Short Hills, the Cars singer-songwriter-guitarist will make an appearance there, Oct. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. The appearance is free and open to the general public, but RSVPs are strongly suggested. “I do canvases with acrylics, but my main medium is drawing on paper, mostly with colored markers,” he said in a press release. “Art is a way to release tension and to organize my thoughts. It’s something I do while pondering an outcome. The drawings start with a shape and explode from there.”


The Peak Performances series at Montclair State University presents the world premiere of the Liz Gerring’s Dance Company’s “field,” Oct. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. at MSU’s Kasser Theater. The work — the final part of a trilogy choreographed by Gerring& — was commissioned by Peak Performances and, according to a press release, “conceives and creates an atmosphere in which the elements — movement, sound, and light — combine to envelope and engage the audience within the unique space and dimensions of the Alexander Kasser Theater.”


A screening of the 1989 romantic comedy-drama “Say Anything” at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., will be followed by a conversation and question-and-answer session with one of its stars, John Cusack. (Note: This event was postponed from Sept. 16.)

We need your help!


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 $20, or any other amount, to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Leave a Review or Comment

Your email address will not be published.