Archive for the ‘Branchburg, NJ’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: March 4, 2023] Zephyr: A Whirlwind of Circus

I didn’t realize that this cirque was put on by Cirque Mechanics, a group we have seen before.  (I had been calling it Cirque Zephyr).

It has bee a while since we’ve seen a Cirque, and this one looked a lot of fun (and it was so close).  The date was the same day as my mother-in-law’s birthday.  Initially I thought it might be fun to get tickets to this as a fun birthday activity.  But I soon discovered that the family was planning something much bigger.  So I didn’t bother to get tickets.

Here’s the description.  And I hope RVCC gets another Cirque performance soon.

Mechanical wonders, circus gadgetry, and astonishing acrobatics are all part of Cirque Mechanics’ new show Zephyr: A Whirlwind of Circus, inspired by the power of the wind and the human ingenuity that goes into harnessing it. Centered around a giant windmill mounted on a turntable, performers fly, balance, float on air, and defy gravity in an exhilarating whirlwind circus. Fall under the spell of turning gears and whooshing sails in this tale about the unrelenting tug-of-war between man and nature. Experience the artistry and thrill of acrobatic bicycles, foot juggling, hair hanging, and the mysterious wheel of destiny in this all ages show that’ll blow you away.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: July 24, 2021] Barenaked Ladies

Ten years ago we saw Barenaked Ladies at New Jersey Festival of Ballooning and it was pretty cool.  Hearing them sing Light Up My Room as the balloons lifted off was a cool moment to be sure.

I didn’t intend to see them on this summer’s tour because I don’t really like either of the bands they are playing with (and I’ve seen them a lot already).  But when I heard they were going to play the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning again, I was totally in.

Until I realized we’d already booked a vacation and would be away.  It would have been an appropriate return to concerts since I have seen them so much.  It also would have been fun since it was their first show in a couple of years.  But it was not to be.

So here’s the setlist from the show.  A few years ago I said I didn’t need to see BNL again because they tend to play the same songs every show.  That’s not exactly true, but they have said that they feel like they need to play a lot of their biggest hits for the fans.  So you get five or six of the same songs every show.   And yet, it’s been two albums since I saw them last, so they had five songs I’d never heard before. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 15, 2019] 42Ft-A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels

It has been a while since we’ve been to see a cirque.  For a time it seemed like we were seeing some kind of theatrical spectacle every six months or so.  S. decided to take her Scout troop to see this show and I was super excited to tag along.  Because RVCC has some amazing shows and the price is always right.

Cirque Mechanics are based in San Francisco and they have several shows that they put on.  But at heart

The shows, rooted in realism, display a raw quality, rarely found in modern circus, that makes their message timeless and relevant.  The stories are wrapped in circus acrobatics, mechanical wonders and a bit of clowning around.

That was absolutely true tonight.  This show specialized in strength, balance, physics (and the defiance of physics) and lots of humor. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 2, 2017] Golden Dragon Acrobats

Just over four years ago we saw the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform Cirque Ziva.  The founders of Golden Dragon Acrobats created Cirque Ziva as a special touring production in 2011. This show was quiet similar to that performance, (I wasn’t sure if, since it wasn’t called Cirque Ziva, it would be very different) but there were some minor changes that were pretty exciting.

More exciting was that since the kids were much younger four years ago, they didn’t exactly remember things that well, so they were pretty thrilled by everything.

I had mentioned that Cique Ziva had flash in costumes and sets.  For this show the costumes were certainly here, although the sets were pretty simple.

As you can see from the “setlists” below, the acts were pretty similar and in pretty much the same order.  The show opened with the thousand hands.

Since the acts were basically the same, I’m going to copy much of what I wrote then and see if I have any updates: (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 25, 2017] Water on Mars

I love finding family-friendly performers who do amazing things.  When I read about Water on Mars (their website is so spare–they need more publicity!), it sounded terrific:

Water on Mars is intense juggling for space stations! One hundred rings thrown, backflips landed, feet twisted, water flying through the air, 21 balls juggled and 15 pins spinning, all set to the pulsing rhythms of an electronic beat.The company is based in Stockholm, Sweden and consists of the three jugglers Wes Peden (USA), Tony Pezzo (USA), and Patrik Elmnert (SWE) who worked intensively for years to combine juggling with music and acrobatics—not to mention snow, chocolate, tap dance, and 400 rolls of tape!

So yes, this is a show of juggling.  But holy cow it is like nothing I have ever seen (I mean, look at the picture on the right). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 10, 2016] Doktor Kaboom! The Science of Santa

kaboomWe loved Doktor Kaboom! when we saw him last (which I didn’t even realize was less than a year ago).  His last show, Live Wire, mixed comedy, science and a hearty dose of believing in yourself.

And so did this one.  Indeed, this show wasn’t radically different from the previous one except that it was all about the magic of Santa Claus.  For as Doktor Kaboom! states: magic is simply science we can’t explain yet.  And in case you are worried about any Santa spoilers, the tagline reads: No iconic Holiday figures were harmed in the making of this show.

For background, the K in Doktor isn’t a zany spelling (thank goodness), it is because the good Doktor is German!  And when he asks you if you understand, you must shout JA!, not yeah or yuh or okay, but JA!

And he likes things to go Kaboom!  Ja?  JA! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 11, 2016] Doktor Kaboom!

drkAnyone named Doktor Kaboom sounds like a performer I want to see. Especially if his thing is that he mixes science and comedy.

I knew nothing about the man when we bought tickets at RVCC Friday night, but boy was I excited.  And so were the kids, who both love science and things that go Kaboom!

So Doktor Kaboom came out on stage and…lo and behold…the K in Doktor wasn’t a zany spelling (thank goodness), it is because the good Doktor is German!  And when he asks you if you understand, you must shout Ja!, not yeah or yuh or okay, JA!

And he likes things to go Kaboom!  Ja?  JA! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 6, 2016] Cashore Marionettes

cashoreSarah and Clark were both out on Saturday night, so I thought it might be fun to take Tabitha out to a marionette show at RVCC.

We had gotten the promotional material for it (there’s lots of puppets this season) and it seemed like a fun thing to do.

We got there early (it was general admission seating, and got in the second row).  And it was wonderful.  I was only sad for the puppeteer that it wasn’t more crowded (my constant complaint about RVCC shows–why aren’t more people going to them???).

2016-02-06 19.43.10Joseph Cashore is the creator and operator of all of the marionettes.  And while most of us think of marionettes as the puppet on the string and that giant T crossbar, Cashore has taken this art to levels that far exceed anything you can imagine.  I mean, check out thephoto on the left from the show we saw.  Look at that contraption!

cash3The puppets are puppet-sized and Cashore stands behind them–he doesn’t try to hide himself.  And he doesn’t need to. The puppets are so life-like (jointed in countless places) that you are totally sucked into their story.  Except for the few times when you have to watch his hands and wonder how that all works.  What kinds of things is he doing with those handmade (and decidedly NOT T-shaped crossbar) handles–some of which (like the elephant) have 42 strings on them! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 18, 2015] Danú

2015-12-18 21.01.52Two years ago we saw Danú play at RVCC.  They came back again this year.  We weren’t sure if we were going to go.  There were other possible plans in the works and should we bring the kids?  Well, S. and I had enjoyed it so much last time that we wanted to go again, and we decided to bring the kids.

It was the last night of their North American tour and while they were selling the same CD we bought last year (and most of that show was similar to the CD), they mixed it up a bit and played a bunch of different material.  And both kids enjoyed it.

Like last time, the six members were the same:

  • Benny McCarthy–button accordion
  • Dónal Clancy–guitar and storyteller (he’s the son of Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers and was in the band Solas).
  • Oisín McAuley–fiddle
  • Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh–vocals, flute and whistle.
  • Éamon Doorley–bouzouki
  • Martin O’Neill–bodhran and piano (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 22, 2015] Art of Time Ensemble

aotWhen I saw that the Art of Time Ensemble was coming to RVCC I was crazy excited.  Especially when I saw that Steven Page and Craig Northey would be singing with them.  I didn’t even care what it was they were doing, but when I saw that they’d be playing Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, I immediately got seats (3rd row!) and then tried to explain to Sarah what we’d be seeing.

The Art of Time Ensemble does many things although my exposure to them is through their string performances of rock songs

Led by Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, Art of Time Ensemble transforms the way you experience music. Fusing high art and popular culture in concerts that juxtapose the best of each genre, Art of Time entertains as it enlightens, revealing the universal qualities that lie at the heart of all great music.

This show was a string and brass (and piano, guitar, drum and possibly sitar) version of the classic Beatles album.  But it was more than just a symphonic version of the record.  The Art of Time Ensemble created new arrangements of the songs.  There were enough changes that it wasn’t always evident what song was being played–even though they played the album start to finish. (more…)

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