See Stars in Branchburg; Ask 'Are You Listening?' in Trenton
Two very different experiences to close August on a high note.
Last week brought several days of dark clouds and rain, and even though summer is beginning to wind down, it is time to consider an indoor activity just in case. This week, that activity is the Raritan Valley Community College’s Planetarium, which seems to be offering something for everyone during these last weeks of August.
Jerry Vinski directs the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium, located on the campus at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg. Alongside the educational aspects of the Planetarium’s offerings, the RVCC is also presenting a series of shows that are strictly for fun.
“We have a variety of star shows and laser concerts for all ages. Next week is the last offerings of our summer schedule,” Vinski said. Then he broke down the schedule: On Tuesday, “The Little Star That Could” and “Attack of the Space Pirates” at 3 p.m.; on Wednesday, “Rockin’” Rocket Ride” 2 p.m. and “Skylights” at 3 p.m.; and on Thursday “SETI” at 2 p.m. and “Laser Light” at 3 p.m.
“Summer Skies” will be shown Friday at 7:30 p.m. while the Planetarium presents the last of its summer laser shows highlighting the music of the Electric Light Orchestra at 8:30 p.m.
So are you ready to see the lasers dance to “Mr. Blue Sky?” We are, so we’ve made the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium our entertaining and dry day trip of the week.
DAY TRIPPER DIGEST
Estimated Travel Time: 45 minutes.
Why it’s Worth the Trip: Running until Aug. 26, take a colorful trip back in time—all the way back to the ‘70s—with laser lights synchronized to the music of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. The playlist includes hits like “Strange Magic,” “Do Ya,” “Evil Woman,” “Turn to Stone,” “Don't Bring Me Down” and more.
How to Get There from Here: Detailed driving directions.
You’ll Probably Get Hungry: Grab a meal at Moe’s Southwest Grill, Masa Sushi, Louka’s Last American Diner, Stoney Brook Grille, or grab a latte at Starbucks.
While You’re in the Area: Tour the Raritan Valley Community College Campus after dinner and before the show begins.
The Planetarium features a state-of-the-art digital projection system, and their website touts the set-up as “six powerful, high definition projectors combine real images and computer animations to create an immersive ‘you-are-there’ style experience. With DigitalSky 2, audiences feel as though they are zooming through the solar system, past the Milky Way, and to the very edges of the universe.”
Jerry Vinski also reminded visitors to check out what is available in the souvenirs department. “We also have a gift shop and a nice exhibit area that describes the size and scale of the universe, meteorites, star types and more,” he said.
All shows are $6 admission for all ages. Two shows on the same day is $11. Details atwww.raritanval.edu/planetarium.
Are You Listening?
New Jersey music writer Gary Wien will be hosting a celebration for his new book, Are You Listening? – The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 From New Jersey Artists at Trenton Social (former site of the Urban Word Cafe) in Trenton on Saturday, Aug. 20. Artists scheduled to perform at that show include The Successful Failures, Zak Smith Band, Jon Caspi and the First Gun, and The Amboys.
Wien listened to over 2,200 CDs by New Jersey artists released within that decade in order to assemble the book, and still managed to remain a music fan.
"I'm so glad to be able to have these artists be part of my book release party," Wien said. "My goal was always to mix local acts with artists from throughout the state. They are among the best songwriters in the state in my opinion."
Wien's first book, Beyond the Palace, was a detailed overview of the history of rock and roll music in Asbury Park. Since its release in 2003, Wien has gone on to be named Asbury Park's Top Music Journalist three times and published a successful arts monthly called Upstage Magazine for five years.
This book release party follows one held at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park on Friday, August 12. Additional release parties are being scheduled throughout the state.
Trenton Social is primarily a bar but serves tapas, a variety of sandwiches and salads. The venue is located at 449 South Broad Street in Trenton. For more information, visit trentonsocial.com.