Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Newark Museum of Art reopens, Groove in the Grove fest, more

newark museum of art reopens



Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through June 9.


The state’s largest museum, the Newark Museum of Art, reopens June 3, with timed visits required. Among the exhibitions is “Wolfgang Gil: Sonic Geometries,” described on the museum’s website as a “multi-sensory experience of space, shape, and sound (that) presents sound sculptures by Wolfgang Gil in the context of abstract art from the Museum’s collection.”

Also, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra‘s “Arts in the Garden” series in the museum’s Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden begins June 9 at 7 p.m., with a concert titled “Arts in the Garden: Togetherness with DBR.” Curated by NJSO resident artistic catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain and featuring eight NJSO musicians, the concert will feature the premiere of “Can You See?,” a commissioned work by composer Allison-Loggins Hull, as well as works by Roumain, Bach, Mozart, Paquito D’Rivera and others.

Proof of vaccination is required for all museum visitors and concert attendees.

A new exhibition, “The Social Fabric: Black Artistry in Fiber Arts, An Exhibition in Homage to Viki Craig,” opens at the Morris Museum in Morris Township on June 4 and runs through Oct. 24. It featured 50 works by more than 20 artists (including Craig) and is the result of a new partnership between the museum and the Morristown-based Art in The Atrium organization; according to the museum’s website, the partnership is “dedicated to showcasing the diversity of Black art.” Craig is the ATA co-founder and quilter who died in 2018.




The Black Potatoe Music Festival was presented for the last time in 2019. But it will live on, in a sense, at this year’s 10th (and final) annual edition of the Groove in the Grove Indie Music Festival at Vasa Park in Budd Lake, which takes place June 6 from noon to 7 p.m. Black Potatoe’s traditional headliner, the Matt Angus Thing, will headline, and the rest of the lineup is packed with Black Potatoe regulars.

Performers on two stages will include Kathy Phillips, Gregg Cagno, e’lissa jones, Kate & Paul, The Sharar Sisters, Loretta Hagen, Ed Seifert, Marion Halliday, Robinson Treacher, John Beacher, Julia Krafton and Jackie Rudy. The event is presented by the Skylands Songwriters Guild and hosted by Arlington Lodge 62 of the Vasa Order of America.

Postponed in 2020, the annual Atlantic City Beer and Music Fest returns at a new, outdoor venue, Bader Field, June 4-5. Musical acts for the three sessions include Knuckle Puck, The Early November and Pronoun, June 4 at 8 p.m.; Less Than Jake, The Suicide Machines and Concrete Castles, June 5 at noon; and Face to Face, Forgivers and Tie Goes to the Runner, June 5 at 6 p.m. More than 100 breweries will participate, and other attractions include a chicken wing eating contest, and laser tag.

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn created its outdoor Brookside Cabaret series last summer in response to the pandemic, and will resume shows at it this week, starting with Susan Speidel and Joe Regan, June 9-10 at 7:30 p.m. (seating begins at 5:30 p.m.). The series features music — in some cases, by singer-actors who have appeared at the Paper Mill and/or on Broadway — for patrons who sit at tables, with food available from the Paper Mill’s F.M. Kirby Carriage House Restaurant.

For a complete list of shows, visit



• Naughty Humphrey, The Katie Henry Band and Bombed Opera will perform at a food Truck Festival at Donaldson Farms in Hackettstown, June 5 from noon to 8 p.m. Donaldson Farms will also present Friday night concerts throughout the summer, starting June 18 with The Bob Lanza Band.

For a complete schedule, visit

• Trend Coffee and Tea House, the Montclair venue that often presents live music and displays art by local artists on its ways, has been badly hurt by the pandemic. A GoFundMe campaign has been started and Montclair’s Crane Park will be the site of a fundraiser and tribute to the club, June 5 from 2 to 6 p.m., with Meg Patrick hosting and performers including Rick Winow, Jonny & the Lounge Wizards, Chris Bolger & Friends, High Mileage, The Yardbird Chasers, Jeff Hays & the Whole Shebang, Rostafa & Co., and the Michael Reitman Band.


An annual event since 2003, Stéphane Wrembel’s Django a Gogo Festival — celebrating the music of the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt — will take place June 3-6 this year at The Woodland in Maplewood and Drom in New York, with four concerts and a two-day guitar workshop.

For the complete schedule, visit

The free Sunset Jazz Series at Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront begins June 7 at 7 p.m., with singer Jazzmeia Horn.

For the complete schedule, visit

gwen charles

The dance, “Coup,” is part of “Loneland.”


The female-centric dance company The Moving Architects will stream “Loneland,” June 3 at 7:30 p.m. “Loneland” features dances performed in site-specific locations along with company dance works translated to the screen, and behind-the-scenes footage. According to a press release, the film “rises out of a year of isolation with shuttered dance studios and venues, each dancer emerging to share her powerful voice.”


The Vanguard Theater in Montclair will celebrate its opening with screenings of its film of Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World,” June 4-5 at 8 p.m. and June 6 at 2 p.m. The June 4-5 screenings will also include ribbon-cutting ceremonies, refreshments, and talk backs with members of the film’s creative team and cast.

To see what’s coming up at the theater, visit

The 12th annual Long Beach Island Lighthouse International Film Festival, last year, featured a combination of drive-in and online events, and the 13th edition, scheduled for June 3-6, shifts to a different combination, with both drive-in and indoor settings for its screenings, panel discussions and workshops.

Visit for complete listings.

“Who the F… Is Roger Rossmeisl,” available for streaming June 5 as part of the (online-only) summer edition of the 2021 New Jersey International Film Festival, is an documentary exploring the life of a little known guitar-maker who played a big role in the huge burst of popularity of the electric guitar that took place in the ’50s and ’60s, as well as a look at why fine craftsmanship in guitar-making matters to musicians.

Check out my review here. And for information on this film and other streams being offered by the festival, which lasts from June 4 to June 13, festival offerings, visit


The Garden State Comic Fest, which bills itself as “the premier comic event in New Jersey,” returns at a new venue, at The Mills at Jersey Gardens Mall Elizabeth, June 4-6, with dozens of vendors, appearances by comic book artists and actors, and more.


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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