Greater Morristown will celebrate Black History Month this weekend with the story of African American soldiers in the Civil War, told at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum on Thursday.
On Saturday, the role of black churches in Morris County will be recounted during the annual meeting of the Morris County NAACP, at the Morris Museum, where works by top African American artists are on display.
This weekend you also can catch some great music, learn to bake a casserole, and introduce the kids to Revolutionary War plumbing (at the Ford Mansion) or 21st century LARPing (at the Hyatt Morristown).
For plenty more activities, see below…or check our handy calendar.
THURSDAY, Feb. 23:
Keyboard king Eric Hayes, who hosted some great Monday jam sessions in Morristown last year, is teaming with singer Amanda Dilly for a 7 pm cocktail concert at the Market Restaurant & Bar in Harding. Proceeds will benefit the Somerset Medical Center Foundation. The restaurant is at 995 Mount Kemble Ave. Call 908-502-5106 or see the musicians’ websites for more details.
Author Joe Bilby will discuss the role of black troops in the Civil War, and in other wars, at the fourth annual Black History Month program of the North Jersey Civil War Round Table. The talk starts at 7:14 pm at the Haggerty Education Center at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 53 E. Hanover Ave., Morris Township, opposite the Morris County Library. Admission is $5; first-time guests and students are free.
LARPing, anyone? Dreamation 2012 invades the Hyatt Morristown at 7 pm and refuses to retreat until Sunday night. In between, you can be a zombie or a steampunk in dozens of Live Action Role Playing (LARP) games. Or you can play poker, try the newest board games, watch animé, or just sit back and eat cupcakes and Pixy Stix, washed down with orange soda. Admission is $60 for the whole convention, or $25- to $40 per day, depending on the day.
Guitarist/singer Robert Cray, a five-time Grammy winner, comes to Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center at 8 pm. Singer Shemekia Copeland will join him. Tickets are $42-$67. Call 973-539-8008 for more.
FRIDAY, Feb. 24:
Another month has flown by…which means it’s time once again for the Bike Morristown end-of-the-month ride, starting behind town hall at 6:30 pm.
At 7:30 pm there is magic at the Mayo, with The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion. Tickets are $27-$47, at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center at 100 South St. Call 973-539-8008.
Rich Deans is a storyteller with a guitar; the Folk Project describes his songs as “novellas set to haunting melodies evocative of days past.” He performs at 8 pm at the Minstrel in Morris Township. Opening for him are the Folk Goddesses: Hillary Foxsong (from Gathering Time), Martha Trachtenberg (Buffalo Gals), and Judith Zweiman (Strike the Bell). Admission: $7; Jersey Arts cardholders get two-for-one admission for this show. The Minstrel is at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road.
SATURDAY, Feb. 25:
Gumshoe through the Great Swamp at 10 am. The Great Swamp Association will lead a hike to track down winter wildlife. Pre-register and then head to the Bluebird Parking Lot near 756 Pleasant Plains Road in Basking Ridge. Non-members are asked for a voluntary donation of $10 per adult and $5 per child (ages 6 to 17) or $30 per family. Call 973-538-3500 x22 for details.
Local artist Dan Fenelon, whose mind-bending sculptures and murals have been exhibited frequently in Morristown, has a show opening at the PNJP Gallery, at 92 Church St. in Montclair. The reception runs from 1 pm to 4 pm. The exhibition, which runs through March 3, features urban tribal paintings and represents a departure from the large-scale works for which he is best known.
The Morris County NAACP holds its annual meeting from 2 pm to 4 PM at the Morris Museum in Morris Township. A talk entitled, History of the Morris County African-American Church will be followed by tours of the Art in the Atrium exhibit, featuring works by prominent black artists.
Who needs the Oscars when you’ve got the Black Maria Film & Video Festival? Two screenings of the juried international competition come to the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morris Township, at 5 pm and 7:30 pm, with hors d’oeuvres and wine in between. Tickets for one show are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For both showings and the goodies, it’s $30 up front or $35 at the door. The fellowship is at 21 Normandy Heights Road; call 973-540-1177 or see the fellowship website for more details.
Classical and contemporary dance comes to the Mayo Center at 8 pm, with Previews and Pairs. The New Jersey Ballet’s Junior Company will dance with four of the ballet’s professional dancers. Tickets are $32 to $57. Call 973-539-8008 for details.
Jimmy Webb has penned hits for everyone from Glen Campbell to R.E.M. The Grammy winner will do things his way at 8 pm in Chatham, at the Sanctuary series. His opener is Broadway actress Mara Davi (A Chorus Line; No, No, Nanette), with pianist/composer Adam Waite. The Sanctuary is in the Presbyterian Church on Green Village Road. Tickets are $25.
The soulful sounds of the late Nina Simone will be celebrated by singer Chanda Rule at 8 pm at the Center for Spiritual Living, 331 Mount Kemble Ave. in Morristown. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 973-539-3114 for more.
SUNDAY, Feb. 26:
Take the kids on a tour of the historic Ford Mansion, starting at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. Role-playing, scavenger hunts, Park Rangers explaining 18th century bathrooms–there is something for everyone, 4th-grade and up. Admission: $4 per adult; at Washington Place in Morristown. Meet inside the Washington’s Headquarters Museum.
One Dish Wonders: Learn how to cook a mean casserole from Cynthia Triolo, resident chef of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, at 1 pm at the Arboretum, 353 E. Hanover Ave., Whippany. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Madison. Cost: $25. Call 973-326-7600.
Multiple religious traditions will be tapped for East West Spirit Songs, at 3 pm at Grace Episcopal Church, 4 Madison Ave., Madison. The program features Holst’s Vedic Hymns, Bach arias, Ravel’s Kaddisch, Spirituals, Paul Zeigler’s Sufi Songs and original poetry. The artists include: Patricia Ruggles, mezzo; Paul Zeigler, pianist and composer; Dr. Anne Matlack, organist and flautist; Seth Ruggles Hiler, baritone and fine artist; Robert Long, organist and tenor; Mariam Whiting Bora, recorder and alto; Nicolas Destino, violinist; Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, poet; Darren O’Neill, guitarist; and Jabez Van Cleef, poet. Admission is free; donations are welcomed. A reception follows the concert. Call 973-377-3950 for more.
The Mikado meets The Music Man in I’ve Got a Little Twist, a production by the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players at the Mayo Center at 3 pm. Tickets are $27-$37; call 973-539-8008 for more.
Ever wanted to try your hand at drawing? Find a pencil and pad and visit the 6 pm Open Drawing Session at Zebu Forno, 9 South St., Morristown. Three hours of live models, friendly tips and pizza cost just $10. Call 770-853-9727 for more information.
MONDAY, Feb. 27:
The 10th annual Taste of Morristown features samples from 35 local restaurants, from 6 to 9 pm at the Hanover Marriott on Route 10. Tickets are $60 and proceeds benefit charities of the Morristown Rotary.