By mark-slade May 20, 2011

Dave Mason, Mayapple Festival, South Orange House Tour, and May Fest Is On!

Forget the torrential rains of the past week and your wet basement, and get out and enjoy the flood of great activities hitting our area this weekend instead
After a super soppy week in our towns, wouldn’t it be nice to get away from all those puddles and the mud for a few hours and enjoy something not wet this weekend?  Well, you’re in luck because there is a waterfall of fun heading our way this Friday through Sunday, with a near-endless list of events to check out.   Big highlights the next few days include a concert by rock legend Dave Mason, the Mayapple Festival in South Mountain Reservation, the South Orange House Tour, the Springfield Avenue Mayfest (which was postponed from last Sunday due to, *gasp*, rain), Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at SOPAC, and Shirley MacLaine’s daughter in a one-woman show.
Here’s the big list, from Friday through Sunday:
Meet the Author: Will Allison, Long Drive Home: In his riveting new novel, Will Allison, critically acclaimed author of What You Have Left, crafts an emotional and psychological drama that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father’s attempt to explain himself to his daughter — even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her.  Free, Friday, 7:30pm, Maplewood
Capturing Our Future Spring Gala: The South Orange Maplewood Mentor Program presents its Spring Gala with Guest Speaker Reverend Eric Beckham at 28 Baker Street in Maplewood, Ticket price includes cocktail hour, which begins at 6:00pm.  $75, Friday, 6:00pm, Maplewood
Grease, Jr at Seth Boyden Elementary School: It’s time to let your hair down and dance the night away! Seth Boyden Elementary School presents Grease, Jr., based on Broadway’s musical comedy phenomenon, for three performances only this weekend in the Seth Boyden Auditorium.  Grease, Jr., the rocking and rolling musical that was one of Broadway’s biggest hits, is a family friendly version that will have everyone tapping their feet and humming the tunes.  All proceeds from ticket sales support the Seth Boyden P.T.A.  $6-$12, All Weekend, 7:30pm, Maplewood
The Strollers, Round and Round The Garden: The play, by  Alan Ayckbourn is the third part of Ayckbourn’s trilogy, The Norman Conquests — where the audience watches in astonishment and hysterics as Norman wreaks havoc on his wife’s eccentric family. $13-$16, Friday and Saturday, 8:00pm, Maplewood
Curtains At Paper Mill Playhouse: Aspiring actor and detective Lt. Frank Cioffi is investigating the rising body count on the set of a Broadway-bound show and starting a romance with one of the actors.  Can he solve the case without becoming one of the victims? This musical mystery-comedy by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the award-winning composer and lyricist responsible for both Cabaret and Chicago, will have you on the edge of your seat, laughing!  Ticket Prices Vary, All Weekend, Millburn
2nd Annual Mayapple Festival: You’re invited to the second annual South Mountain Reservation Mayapple Festival on Saturday.  Sponsored by the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs, the South Mountain Conservancy, and local businesses, the event will feature activities for the entire family throughout the day at Summit Field.  These include hikes, a nature-themed art show and exhibits, and well-known local musical performers, raffles for camping equipment, and food concession.   In addition, an ultra-marathon and other long-distance trail races will start from the Locust Grove Picnic area. Free, Saturday, marathons at 6:00am and events all day, South Orange
Kids v. Cancer Book Sale Bake Sale: Kids v Cancer is a foundation formed in memory of Jacob Froman, who lost a very valiant fight against brain cancer a little over two years ago. The sale this year falls right on Jacob’s birthday, May 21st.  Proceeds will once again benefit Kids v Cancer (www.kidsvcancer.org), which promotes, among other amazing projects, getting increased funding put toward finding cures for childhood cancers.  Free, Saturday, 9:00am to 12:00pm, Maplewood
South Orange Public Bike Auction: A public auction will be held of found and unclaimed bicycles on Saturday at South Orange Police Headquarters, at 201 South Orange Avenue.  Bikes are sold “as is” and can be purchased by cash or check.  A preview of the bicycles for auction will commence at 9:00am.  Free, Saturday, 9:30am, South Orange
Friends of the Library Book Sale: The Friends of the Maplewood Library are hosting their annual book sale this weekend to benefit the library.  Sunday also will be “bag day”,  so come for a great value as you fill up your bag with as many books as you want.  Free, Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday, 11:00am to 5:00pm, Maplewood
2011 Gems of South Orange House Tour: The South Orange House Tour will feature homes from four centuries tracing the development of the Village from the valley to the top of First Mountain.  The Tour will begin at the South Orange-Vailsburg Methodist Church, 150 South Orange Avenue.  Tickets are $25 the day of the tour or $20 in advance. Note: the tour is not suitable for small children due to the presence of breakable objects, etc. in the tour homes.  $20-$25, Saturday, 11:00am to 4:00pm, South Orange
Maplewood Volunteer First Aid Squad Marathon: Join the Maplewood Volunteer First Aid Squad this Saturday and Sunday, for their 4th Semi-Annual CPR Marathon. They will be conducting multiple CPR, First Aid and Safety training programs. Take advantage of their excellent instructors, multi-media presentations and hands-on practice materials as you learn the skills needed to possibly save a life. You may take as many course as you’d like.  Free babysitting services also will be available.  $50 for 1st course and $10 each additional course, Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am to 7:00pm, Malpewood
Nancy Bohn: Original Brass Rubbings from England: Nancy Bohn will display and describe her unique collection of original brass rubbings at the 3rd Saturday Arts Night at the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County.  Free, Saturday, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Maplewood
Meet the Author: Ken Krimstein, Kvetch As Kvetch Can: Ken Krimstein has put together a matzo-ball-soup-through-your-nose funny collection of his unorthodox (sometimes Reform) Jewish-themed cartoons. This book will make you laugh, eat, and feel guilty all at once. Taking on all things “Tribe” from the High Holidays to J-date, Kvetch As Kvetch Can is the perfect guilty pleasure.  Free, Saturday, 7:30pm, Maplewood
Masters of the Vocal Symphony by Summit Chorale: The concert which will be held at Prospect Presbyterian Church in Maplewood,  will feature Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Theresienmesse, and will mark Summit Chorale’s second collaboration of the 2010-2011 season with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra.  $10-$25, Saturday, 7:30pm, Maplewood
South Orange Symphony Concert: The South Orange Symphony, under the direction of Robert Helmacy, will hold the final performance of its 62nd season on Saturday at South Orange Middle School. The concert features 2010 Artist Competition winner Hye-woon Kate Lim, who will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.  The Symphony will also perform Stravinsky’s Firebird ballet music suite and Weber’s Overture to Turandot.  Free, Saturday, 8:00pm to 9:30pm, South Orange
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars: The All Stars are a group of musicians who escaped the horrific violence of Sierra Leone’s civil war, landed in a West African refugee camp and formed a band to keep their spirits up and their hopes alive. From these humble beginnings the band has now grown to be an international musical sensation.  Their live shows (where you can’t stop yourself from dancing) and their musical message have earned them devoted fans around the world. $25-$35, Saturday, 8:00pm to 10:00pm, South Orange
Solidarity Singers Annual Ethical Culture Society Concert: The Solidarity Singers, led by Bennet Zurofksy, will offer a program of songs Sunday morning at the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County.  The Singers sing songs in English, Spanish and Yiddish dealing with labor issues affecting public and private sector employees, union organizing, civil rights and current issues such as globalization, child labor and the exploitation of workers everywhere.  Free, Sunday, 11:00am to 12:30pm, Maplewood
Maplewood MayFest: MayFest celebrates its 10th anniversary as one of Maplewood’s largest events and the signature event of the Springfield Avenue Partnership this Sunday. This year’ s activities will include a petting zoo with over 40 animals and 4 ponies, a kiddie train, inflatable rides, a balloon animal maker and much more.  Local bands will keep you tapping your toes while you are tempted by over 125 vendors, and their delicious tasty treats.  A car show featuring custom and special interest cars will also be on display.  Free, Sunday, 11:00am–5:00pm, Maplewood
Walk This Way: The After School Program of Maplewood / South Orange will be holding their annual family walking event on Sunday in Maplewood’s Memorial Park. The event, which highlights the group’s commitment to promoting physical activities and healthy eating choices for children and families, will have dancing, games, balloons, face painting, water, popcorn and giveaways for registered walkers.   $2-$3, Sunday, 2:00pm, Maplewood
One Woman Show LUCKY ME: Sachi Parker, daughter of Shirley MacLaine, will perform her one woman show LUCKY ME at the Burgdorff Center of The Performing Arts this Sunday as a semi-staged reading with no intermission, to be followed by a Q&A session.  Written by Sachi Parker and Frederick Stroppel, this performance is in preparation for a New York production in the fall of 2011.  $10, Sunday, 3:00pm, Maplewood
Gershwin and Friends: The Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey will perform works of great American composers, including Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and more at the Community Congregational Church.  Free (Donations are welcome), Sunday, 3:00pm, Short Hills
Juilliard @ SOPAC: Tristan Piano Quartet: The Tristan Piano Quartet will be playing an eclectic program this Sunday at SOPAC exploring four centuries of Piano Chamber Music, including works by Mozart, Astor Piazzolla, Schubert, and Brahms.  $12-$15, Sunday, 3:00pm to 5:00pm, South Orange
Classical Chamber Music Concert: St. George’s Episcopal Church boasts a wealth of talented musicians who, each year, join forces and collaborate on a program of diverse and entertaining classical chamber music.  This Sunday, you can hear them perform a variety of music including sacred, operatic and secular vocal works, French music for clarinet and piano, and a piece by Astor Piazzolla for flute and classical guitar called The History of the Tango.  The concert will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.  $5.00 (suggested donation), Sunday, 4:00pm to 6:00pm, Maplewood
Fish and Chips Dinner to Benefit Habitat for Humanity Newark: Join in at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church on Sunday for a family-friendly fish and chips dinner to benefit Habitat for Humanity Newark. Enjoy a scrumptious meal of fish, side orders and dessert. An alternative chicken dish will be available. Dinner will be held outside this year (weather permitting), so you are encouraged to bring a blanket if you prefer picnic style.  $7.50-$15, Sunday, 5:00pm to 7:00pm, Maplewood
Rock & Roll Legend Dave Mason Live at Temple B’nai Jeshurun: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dave Mason and his band will headline the Brotherhood Concerts event Sunday at Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills. Radio legend and rock historian Pete Fornatale is co-host of the all-request benefit concert that will feature many of Mason’s electrifying solo hits, including Only You Know and I Know and Show Me Some Affection.  Proceeds from the concert will go to the Brotherhood of Temple B’nai Jeshurun to support community-based charitable organizations.  Ticket Prices Vary, Sunday, 7:00pm, Short Hills
Meet the Author: Dani Shapiro, Devotion: A Memoir: Settling into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was — a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists?  What did it all mean?  Devotion is a spiritual detective story, a literary excavation to the core of a life. At once poignant, funny, intensely personal, and completely universal, it is the story of a woman whose search for meaning in a constantly changing world ultimately leads her home.  Free, Sunday, 7:30pm, Maplewood

Donald Pun lives in Maplewood and posts the event round-up column here each weekend. Previously, he was a regular contributor for the NY Times’ Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn Local blog section.