Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

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Blues & Jazz returns!

September 3, 2009

Every year in September, we present a little something called the New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival at the Backstage Jazz Club. It’s 3 days and 6 sets of Blues and Jazz by some of the top musicians in the Blues & Jazz biz. What’s unique about these performances is that both the performers and the attendees sit on the stage, creating an intimate jazz club kind of setting (only 200 seats). Even the entrance to the festival, which is down the alley by the stage door has that small jazz club feel. I have many memories from these festivals and I have met many talented musicians. One of my favorite sets was Jon Faddis with Jimmy Heath. Heath, now 82 years old, can still jam with the best of them, not to mention he is one of the sweetest guys I have ever met. I was able to take a little footage (see below) of their performance at the 2007 festival…the video was filmed a little far back as if I was a fly on the wall, but it’s still cool to watch.
–Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations

The 2009 New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival line-up includes:

Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers
Thu, September 24 at 8pm & 10pm

Marcia Ball
Fri, September 25 at 8pm & 10pm

Yellowjackets
Sat, September 26 at 8pm & 10pm

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube.

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May is over, but tough times are still ahead

June 5, 2009

So, we did it. We survived the busy month of May…a month of Gala craziness and the arrival of a brand new outdoor festival. Both of which were two very different events for the State Theatre. The Gala, which takes months and months of planning, is a night of cocktails, entertainment, dinner, dancing, auctions, and the works. This year’s theme was a tribute to the movies and leading the concert was long-time Academy Awards® Music Director and Oscar® Award-winning composer Bill Conti (composer of the Rocky theme). The Gala, which is our big annual benefit, helped to raise $570,000 for the theater. It was a success, and a big one in these economic times.

Now, shifting gears, one week after the Gala on May 23, we held our first annual Urban Arts Festival. From reading our previous blog posts, you know that this was no easy task for us. It was tough…with no background in programming urban artists, very little time, and a very tight budget; it had the possibility of being a dud. However, I am happy to tell you that it wasn’t! It was a blast! It truly went off without a hitch, well without any major problems anyway. Sure, we had a few sound issues (an outdoor stage will do that) and what not, but that’s it.

(Above: A short video from Urban Arts featuring the local dance group Strickly Street)

So, for us at the State Theatre, May has been a good month. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our season. Now, we look to the new fiscal year (ours begins in July) and we start planning for it now in June. It’s going to be a tough year for the arts and we hope to meet the challenge.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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The Urban Arts Festival is Here! What Do We Do Now?

May 22, 2009
So, after months and months of planning, it’s here and it’s tomorrow, Sat, May 23…the State Theatre’s first annual Urban Arts Festival. It’s an all-day (12pm-8pm) outdoor festival and we’ve booked so many acts, it’s unbelievable. Very quickly, this venture into new territory, the urban arts, has gone from “what do we do and how do we do it,” to “what do we do with all these big plans now?”

We have booked 20 plus acts, and scheduled 2 open mic times for local spoken word poets, and all of that must fit into 8 hours…that is going to be some crazy turnaround time for our stage hands. And that is not to mention we have all sorts of other stuff going on at the same time including free workshops, a 25 ft mural project and a hanging “art happening” or art installation, both of which are open to the public for participation. Nevertheless, we are confident in our plans and we just hope that people like what we have put together. We just have to remember, this is the “first annual” Urban Arts Festival, which means you never know…stay tuned (or just stop by!).

For more information on the Urban Arts Festival, visit: http://www.statetheatrenj.org/urban_arts. The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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Twitter and the Arts, perfect together

April 3, 2009

Last minute changes to the program, new discounts, added shows, these are all things that happen on a daily basis in the theater business. So, how do you go about giving people the 411 as soon as possible? Snail mail? Forget it, 2-3 days later is way too long. E-blast? What if you need to tell someone something that they need to know before the end of the day? The answer, Twitter.

Twitter is quickly becoming the best way to communicate with constant updates and instant feedback to questions. Plus it lets people know that you are around and when you are around, which makes the theater an approachable and accessible place. It’s a connection that isn’t made with an email announcement, people can’t ask an email questions, but they can ask the person tweeting. The State Theatre has only had an account for a couple of months, but it’s already proving to be worth the time and effort and it’s only going to get better. Go Twitter.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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An Urban Arts Festival for New Brunswick, New Jersey

March 27, 2009
For years now, we at the State Theatre have been trying to put together an Urban Arts Festival, a celebrated community experience of music, dance, poetry, and art. And now with the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, our dreams have come true and the date is set for Saturday, May 23. Now if we can only figure out what exactly what we want to do….

The city of New Brunswick is a diverse city, so planning for the festival (which will be free of charge) has been harder than we could ever imagine. We are currently in the process of booking local acts for an outside stage that will be open on the street in front of the State Theatre from 12:30pm to about 6pm. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done in just under 2 months (and that’s not to mention the evening performances on the State Theatre stage and the day-time workshops we want to do). There are TOO MANY options (and time is running out) and how often can you say that in times like these?! I guess what it comes down to is that we are very thankful for this opportunity, and we want it to be the best it can be, so our emotions and expectations are running high. And for lack of a better phrase, THE HEAT IS ON!

Performers scheduled for the Urban Arts Festival so far include Mayhem Poets and performance poet Glenis Redmond. If you are a solo performer or part of a group that would like to perform at the Urban Arts Festival, contact Andrew Fishman: afishman@StateTheatreNJ.org. No phone calls, please.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.