This year, locals got to experience spectacular theater from members of the Hudson County Theater Alliance, live comedy shows in Hoboken, and all-day art events in Jersey City.
The live music scene continued to burgeon, with performances by world renowned musicians at the biannual Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, at the free HRPAC concerts in Weehawken, and at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. (See related music story on p. 2.)
In addition, there were plenty of free festivals in all the towns during the summer.
While we can't name all the events, we can tell you about a few of our favorites. Read on!
Those looking for a way to experience the arts on a budget needn't worry. Jersey City has the quarterly event, "JC Fridays," which brings fine art, performance, and music to the masses at the change of every season.
The event has grown to attract over a thousand people to each "Friday." The event will expand next year with a joint partnership with the city of Jersey City, Cultural Affairs, the Division of Economic Development, and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation.
Christine Goodman, founder of Art House Productions and creative mind behind "JC Fridays," was recently awarded a proclamation for her efforts by Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
In 2008, don't be surprised to see art events in your neighborhood, as the event has grown to include more artist collaborations and local businesses.
The Hudson County Theatre Alliance, which includes many local companies, formed as a way for the theater companies to share resources and talents.
Although the individual theater groups don't work together on every project, they do for the annual Hudson County One-Act Festival, which is held every fall at the Center for Performing Arts at DeBaun Auditorium in Hoboken.
This September, the alliance performed original comedy and drama. It included performances by: Art House Productions, The Attic Ensemble, DeBaun's company - The Theater Company, company members of gaia studio, Hudson Exploited Theater Company, and J City Theater.
Now in its second year, the festival has found an audience and a format that attracts theater fans of all ages.
Laugh 'til you cry
Now you don't have to travel to Manhattan to see great comedians. This year, Hoboken experienced a resurgence in comedy.
In June, Danny Aiello started a comedy club upstairs at Tutta Pasta, 200 Washington St. in Hoboken. The show, which is held on Thursdays on the second floor of the restaurant and is called Danny's Upstairs, features well-known comedians from the circuit.
It is hosted by Laura Nikifortchuk, and Aiello and his celebrity friends are on hand during the show.
The Goldhawk, 936 Park Ave., holds several different comedy shows each month.
Once a month on a Sunday, the group Comedy Without Reservations performs standup. The group consists of Jim Dodge, J-L Cauvin, Josh Kaufman, and Pat Breslin, who invite different guest comedians to each show.
The Goldhawk also hosts the "world's best comedy trio," The Lifetime Guarantee, on one Wednesday out of each month. The trio (featuring Jim English, Darrin Hall, Justin Janosko) sings their way through their original, irreverent material. The guys have an album, which features many of their popular comedy songs such as "The Only White Guy," "Making Babies," and "New York City." They have developed quite a local following, packing the back room of the Goldhawk the nights they perform.
Films in Hudson County
In June, locals got a glimpse of celebrities at the Hoboken International Film Festival. The week-long festival includes screenings, industry panels, and star-studded events, including a keg party and screening of "Beer League" with Hobokenite and Stern show regular Artie Lange.
Danny Aiello held a day of screenings at Stevens as well. It included several favorite films of the renowned actor who has appeared in dozens of films. In addition, the dramatic and moving film "The Shoemaker" was shown.
The film is the first part of the trilogy of a film about the events of Sept. 11. Locals were also treated to a concert by Aiello and his band.
At the closing awards ceremony at Stevens, two-time Academy Award winner Charles Durning accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award.
But the film festival is only a small part of the film world. Both Hoboken and Jersey City have served as the backdrop for many movies that were shot here by local filmmakers and others, including Hobokenite Robert Capelli, whose film shoot last March included Tom Berenger, Busta Rhymes, Arturo Gatti and others.
Jersey City resident and producer R.J. Harper gained notice from his short film "Typecasted," which won Best Comedic Short at the 2006 New York International Film & Video Festival.
Yet these are just a few of the local talented filmmakers who live and work nearby.
Keep reading the Current for more entertainment news!
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