D.J. Dennis Elsas Shares Music and Memories at MAM, 11/1

BY  |  Monday, Oct 20, 2014 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

dennis-elsas-studioFor more than 40 years, radio personality Dennis Elsas has been one of the most influential voices on FM radio. He was one of the pioneers of the progressive FM radio revolution on WNEW-FM, where his guests included Elton John, Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger and, most famously, John Lennon.

Elsas’ 1974 interview with Lennon, a two-hour discussion ranging from Lennon’s new album to his immigration issues to rare Beatles memories, is now part of the permanent collection of the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio). It’s also an important part of the award-winning 2010 PBS American Masters film LENNONNYC.

Elsas currently hosts a weekday afternoon program at WFUV. On his show, an eclectic mix of rock, folk, jazz and blues, he has interviewed artists ranging from Ringo Starr to Elvis Costello to Edie Brickell. He can also be heard Saturdays and Sundays on Sirius XM’s Classic Vinyl station, not to mention on numerous commercials, documentaries and promos.

He recently chatted with Baristanet about the early days of FM radio, the Lennon interview, and his upcoming multi-media show, “Rock ‘n Roll Never Forgets.”

How and when did you realize you wanted to be a DJ?

I don’t think I realized I could do this for a living until I was doing this for a living. I went to (Queens) College thinking I would be a lawyer, but a group of students started a radio station while I was there. I had always loved radio—I literally had a transistor radio under my pillow as a kid—so I auditioned to be a host. From all that listening to my transistor radio, I had learned how to both ask questions and listen, so they liked me. After I graduated, I was hired by a small station in Westchester and then WNEW.

What was WNEW like at the time?

It was seen as a very cool station; it had a definite swagger. When I started there in 1971, WNEW was at the forefront of the progressive FM radio movement. We were an eclectic bunch of DJs who had the freedom to pick the songs we would play. We were expected to play some hit songs, but we could also champion whatever obscure artist or music we felt passionate about.

Talk a bit about the John Lennon interview.

John was originally coming on the station to promote his new album, Walls and Bridges. I respected that that was why he was there, so I asked questions about it. I prepare a lot for an interview, and I think that must have made him feel comfortable on-air. Off-air, we chatted about the Beatles; it had only been four years since their breakup. I asked him if he would mind discussing the topic on-air, and he was happy to do so. He even took over as guest DJ for some of the interview, playing some 45s he had brought with him. The whole thing was unbelievable but actually unfolded very naturally.

Any artists you’d still love to interview?

Bob Dylan would be a fascinating subject, although very challenging. Likewise Neil Young. I’m sad that I never got to speak to George Harrison, since I interviewed the other three Beatles. And there’s a younger group called The New Pornographers that intrigues me. They obviously know their pop music history; latest album, Brill Bruisers, is an homage to the Brill Building in NYC.

Tell us about your upcoming show.

The title, “Rock ‘n Roll Never Forgets,” is actually the name of a 1976 Bob Seger song. My show is about friendship, loyalty and karma. Basically it’s highlights from my most memorable interviews, with visual accompaniment. There will also be a q-&-a with the audience at the end. It’s a very personal evening.

“Rock & Roll Never Forgets” will take place Sat. Nov 1 at 7 PM at MAM’s Leir Hall. Tickets are $15, $12 for MAM members.

Clybourne Park, Still Relevant, Deftly Explores Race, Class

BY  |  Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 8:55am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Clybourne ParkMontclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and director Susan Kerner delivers a hit with Clybourne Park, exploring race, class and the tensions that arise, now through October 19 at the L. Howard Fox Studio Theater.

Inspired by watching the 1961 film version of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun in seventh grade and also basing his piece on events Hansberry’s parents actually endured, playwright Bruce Norris wrote Clybourne Park as a response to the classic. He expands the story beforehand and afterward, with Karl Lindner from A Raisin in the Sun as a prime character. The award-winning play received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2011 and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2012. Continue Reading

Vaudeville is Alive and Well at Maplewood’s The Speakeasy

BY  |  Friday, Oct 17, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The SpeakeasyIn the 1920s, Maplewood was known throughout New Jersey for its Vaudeville. Long before it became a six-plex, the Maplewood Theater was a hotbed of talent; audiences were regaled with musicians, magicians, the beautiful, the sublime, and the surreal.

Studio B is bringing that tradition back with The Speakeasy on Saturday, October 25.

Studio B, an arts organization based in Maplewood and South Orange, has been producing vaudeville-style entertainment for the past 3 years. Among its regular line up of shows, The Speakeasy Series has served to showcase exceptional talent, entertain modern audiences, and – in Studio B honcho Marcy Thompson’s words, “tip our hat to a grand – and local – tradition.”

“Vaudeville belongs in the 21st Century. It’s perfect for today’s audiences and performers,” says Thompson. “The acts are designed to delight – and it give exposure to multiple performers at every performance. The best part is, anything goes.”

“Vaudeville is the grand daddy of pop culture. If you didn’t like an act, all you had to do was wait 10 minutes,” says Jenny Turner Hall, the other Studio B honcho.

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The Weekend: Art, Music, Food, Fun, and More

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 11:20am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Fright Night at the Museum

Lots of great events happening this weekend. We told you about:

But there’s more.

Here are some other weekend highlights:

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Sponsored: One of the Top 100 Craft Shows in the Country at Brookdale Park

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 5:00pm

Fall Fine Art and Crafts at Brookdale Park

New exhibitors in a variety of media will be joining over 160 fine artists and artisans attending the 15th annual Fall Fine Art and Crafts at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield/Montclair on October 18-19.  The show was selected as one of the top 100 fine art and fine crafts shows in America according to Sunshine Artist Magazine.

Co-sponsored by Rose Squared Productions, Inc. and the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs,  from 10 am to 5 pm, rain or shine, this free to the public show celebrates American Craft Week by exhibiting American made, hand crafted work, in jewelry, fiber, leather, glass, metal and wood as well as fine art, sculpture and fine photography.

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FYI, GMO OMG Screening Tomorrow in Montclair

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

GMO OMGThe Montclair Office of Environmental Affairs, Community Green, and Food & Water Watch will host a free public screening of “GMO OMG” at the next Green Film Series on Thursday, October 16, 6:30 pm at the Montclair Public Library.

GMO OMG is a new film that explores the controversial role of genetically modified foods (GMOs) in our global food system, and the potentially dangerous consequences that GMOs pose for public health and our environment.

Directed by Jeremy Seifert, “GMO OMG” searches for answers about GMOs and how they affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice. It is a timely, informative, and entertaining documentary about the question of who controls the future of our food.

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Giveaway: Tickets to Songwriters By The Sea Show at Outpost in the Burbs

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

willie nile

WINNER: Congratulations to ladygwyneth!

Songwriters By The Sea hosts, and accomplished New Jersey songwriters, Joe D’Urso and Joe Rapolla, will bring their popular songwriters series to Outpost In The Burbs this Friday, October 17 and Baristanet has two tickets to give away to one lucky reader!

The series, which began as an intimate, casual coffeehouse jam in Asbury Park, NJ has evolved into a regional and national brand. The series has attracted the attention and participation of many of the most revered singers and songwriters. Friday night’s show features the tireless touring Greenwich Village troubadour, Willie Nile.

Willie makes a stop at the Outpost right in the middle of his European tour where he’s been showcasing songs from his new CD, American Ride.

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Montclair Center Presents A Little Night Art XIV

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

A Little Night Art XIV

Pico Design Jewelry, Matisse prints, Diane Israel, and Claire Rosen

This Friday, October 17 Montclair Center presents its annual celebration of art and culture — A Little Night Art XIV.

The evening celebrating our vibrant visual arts community offers a self-guided art walk from 6 pm – 9 pm  among 23 venues around Montclair Center.  Gorgeous jewelry, photography fine art and more.

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Bound For Broadway, Can-Can Brings Frothy Fun to Paper Mill Playhouse

BY  |  Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Photo: Jerry Dalia. Kate Baldwin (La Mome Pistache) and the company of Can-Can.

Photo: Jerry Dalia. Kate Baldwin (La Mome Pistache) and the company of Can-Can.

Take a trip back in time to 1893, and the Bal du Paradis, a dance hall in Montmartre, where the forbidden dance (no, not the Lambada) is the Can-Can Supreme.

Back then the dance — involving saucy show girls baring more than a peep of ruffled panties — (positively tame by today’s standards) was shocking, but worth breaking the law for, as Pistache, a brassy, defiant cafe owner, does in Can-Can, the Broadway-bound revival of Cole Porter’s classic musical which kicks off the Paper Mill theater’s season.

Photo: Matthew Murphy. Sarah Marie Jenkins, Michael McArthur and Evan Kasprzak.

Photo: Matthew Murphy. Sarah Marie Jenkins, Michael McArthur and Evan Kasprzak.

The audience is in on all the illicit fun from the start, as Pistache, played winningly by Kate Baldwin, speaks directly to various audience members, engaging, flirting and gently teasing, as if we were all favorite guests at Bal du Paradis. The result is an intimate affair, drawing the viewer in to Pistache’s struggle with both the law and the return of a former love, Aristide Forestier, played by Jason Danieley, now a judge who can’t look past Bal du Paradis’ law-breaking dance.

And it’s all about the dance, as Can-Can shines with its choreography, especially the show-stopping title number, a nonstop acrobatic, high-stepping, skirt-swirling tour de force. Also memorable for its movement — the duel scene between Aristide and critic/villain Hilaire Jussac consummately played by Michael Berresse.

Photo: Matthew Murphy. From left to right: Jason Danieley, Greg Hildreth, Justin Robertson and Mark Price.

Photo: Matthew Murphy. From left to right: Jason Danieley, Greg Hildreth, Justin Robertson and Mark Price.

Comedy relief comes often from Greg Hildreth, who plays the hapless sculptor Boris Adzinidzinadze with vigor. The show is vocally strong throughout, but especially Porter’s classics “I Love Paris” and “C’est Magnifique” done justice by sultry chanteuse Baldwin who commands the stage in every scene.

Catch it before it goes to Broadway? Yes you Can-Can.

What: Can-Can

Where: Paper Mill Playhouse, Brookside Drive, Millburn

When: through Oct. 26

Papermill.org, 973-376-4343

Support Cope Center: 5th Annual Blues & BBQ, 10/17

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 11:55am  |  COMMENTS (0)

cope bbqEnjoy a cool evening of blues and BBQ to support Cope Center on Friday, October 17, 7-11 p.m., at the Montclair Golf Club. Continue Reading

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Holsten's is a favorite of my 3-year-old daughter. She asks for it whenever we say "Where do you want to go for dinner?" And she prefers their homemade candy to their ice cream. I think she especially loves the family memories we've made there since she was a baby... and the stuffed animals don't hurt. Congratulations to our friends at Holsten's on 75 years!

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