This year, due to the timing of Emancipation Day, a local Washington D.C. holiday, Americans get a three-day reprieve on their income tax filings. So why not take advantage of this (very) brief tax break and, rather than pour over tax forms and bang on a calculator all weekend, take your family out instead. You can attend a local book discussion, maybe see some theater or enjoy a music concert or two, drive over to the zoo or take a field trip outdoors for some great bird watching.
Big highlights to keep in mind this weekend include a celebrity book signing on Friday as Gwyneth Paltrow autographs copies of her new cookbook at Williams-Sonoma in Short Hills; the Seton Hall University Theater Council stages their production of Neil Simon's always fun whodunit Rumors; Maplewood's 27th annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place for the little ones this Saturday in Memorial Park; and well-known locals and even more well-known jazz greats Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes swing it at SOPAC on Saturday night.
Remember, you can always get your taxes in on Monday, when it is officially due by. In fact, we hear that the 33rd Street Main Post Office in New York City is quite lovely on late Monday nights!
Here's your full weekend rundown:
- SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Presentation: SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) from Millburn High School will be giving a presentation on the dangers of texting, drinking, and talking while driving, at the DCH Millburn Audi. Millburn Short Hills Red Cross will also do a presentation on first aid and safety. SADD will also have a small gift auction/raffle. All are welcome. Free, Friday, 4–6p.m., Maplewood
- Gwyneth Paltrow Book Signing at Williams-Sonoma: You're invited to a special book signing at Williams-Sonoma with Gwyneth Paltrow on Friday at 5:00pm. She will be signing copies of her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness. Space is limited to the first 400 ticketed customers. Please visit or call Williams-Sonoma at The Mall at Short Hills to purchase your books and secure a ticket. Books will be on sale starting April 13, however you may pre-order your book to secure a ticket now. Only copies of My Father's Daughter purchased at Williams-Sonoma will be signed. Proof of purchase is required. Book purchase, Friday, 5 p.m., Short Hills
- Night Moves at the Turtle Back Zoo: Come see the zoo in a different light! Learn all about what animals do at night on this unique guided tour. Don't forget your flashlight. Tours begin at 8:00pm and are sent out in 10 minute intervals thereafter. The admission window will be open from 7:30-8:30pm. The average tour time is one hour and the tour is not recommended for children under 5. Pre-Registration is required and there will be no registrations allowed the night of the event. Space is limited. $7, Friday, 8 p.m., West Orange
- Neil Simon's Rumors at Seton Hall University: The SHU Theatre Council proudly presents Neil Simon's Rumors! When a group of high-society friends get together for a dinner party, they find that the hostess is missing and the host, who happens to be the Deputy Mayor of New York City, has shot himself through the earlobe. Try to follow as the guests hilariously try to decipher what has occurred. $3-$5, Thursday-Saturday, 8p.m. / Sunday, 2p.m., South Orange
- NJ Audubon Birding Field Trip: South Mountain Reservation: The Audubon Spring field trips offer the opportunity to see species of birds that are passing through New Jersey on their way to breeding territories farther north and migrants that are returning to the state to nest. The trips also offer a chance to learn the territorial songs and behavior of birds that are residents all year long. This is a wonderful time of year to visit the Essex County parks. The group will hike several trails in search of early signs of spring. Target species include early spring migrants and the last of the winter sparrows. Meet up at the parking lot of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. Pre-registration is required. $6-$8, Saturday, 8:30am–12:00pm, West Orange
- Millburn's Annual Egg Hunt begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Taylor Park, Millburn, and begins promptly. If you're late you might miss it. This popular event is sponsored by the American Legion Post 140, the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Chamber of Commerce and the Recreation Department. Children pre-school through second grade are invited to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the children who find the “special” eggs. The hunt will be held rain, shine or snow and outdoors if at all possible – please dress appropriately and bring your own basket or container to hold your eggs. Free, Saturday, 10 a.m., Millburn
- Cooking Demonstration and Technique Classes at Williams-Sonoma: This weekend at Williams-Sonoma, you're invited to a special book signing and cooking demonstration on Saturday with Erin McKenna, who will be signing copies of her new cookbook, BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles, plus, on Sunday, an Eggs: Sweet & Savory Technique Class, where a Williams-Sonoma culinary expert will teach you some of their sweet and savory favorites as they celebrate the egg! The Sunday class size is limited, so call to reserve your space and for information on class times and further details. Free, Saturday / Sunday, Times Vary, Short Hills
- LDS Church Palm Sunday Concert: On Palm Sunday, the Short Hills congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present its annual Palm Sunday concert. This free musical event is open to the general public. The concert will feature the talents of New Providence locals and professional singers Jamie Baer Peterson and Dallyn Vail Bayles, in addition to choral selections performed by the congregational choir. Free, Saturday, 7:00pm–8:30pm, Short Hills
- Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes at SOPAC: Husband and wife, Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, team up for a performance of impassioned, eclectic, and extraordinary piano duets. For more than a decade, pianist Bill Charlap has been forging a solo career characterized by swing, eloquence and a romantic musical sensibility. Twice Grammy nominated, he has released five albums for Blue Note records that have afforded him an increased visibility as one of jazz's foremost pianists. Renee Rosnes is one of the premier jazz pianists and composers of her generation. Having toured and recorded with many of the world's greatest musicians, her resume reads like a who's who of jazz. Ms. Rosnes has released nine inspired recordings on the Blue Note label, which have collectively garnered four Juno awards. $35-$55, Saturday, 8 p.m., South Orange
- Slurp, Slouch and Schmooze at the JCSS Model Seder: Join the Jewish Cultural School & Society (JCSS) for a model Passover Seder in the Secular Humanist Jewish tradition at the DeHart Community Center in DeHart Park. Interfaith families are welcome. Suggested family donation varies from $10-$30, Sunday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Maplewood
- Words Bookstore presents Jael McHenry: Words' book readings continue this month with Jael McHenry, author of The Kitchen Daughter, a book about a young woman with Asperger's … and a magical talent. The Kitchen Daughter has been described as "...'Julie & Julia' meets Jodi Picoult in this poignant and delectable novel with recipes, chronicling one woman's journey of self-discovery at the stove." Words is proud to present Ms. McHenry within one week of the publication of her new novel, slated to be one of the season's most talked-about books both within and outside the autism community. Free, Sunday, 2 p.m., Maplewood
- Orla Fallon of Celtic Woman at SOPAC: Orla Fallon, former singer/harpist with the group Celtic Woman, has also recorded with the legendary Irish group Clannad and the acclaimed choral group Anuna. From the village of Knockananna in Ireland, Orla’s renditions of traditional Irish airs, many sung in Gaelic, and her self-penned compositions have been described as “haunting and deeply moving.” Her first album debuted on the Billboard World Music Top Ten. Experience the musical beauty of Orla Fallon. $30 to $40, Sunday, 7 p.m., South Orange
- Curtains at The Paper Mill Playhouse: Begins April 27
- Spring into Maplewood: April 30
- Studio B Story Slam: April 30
- Cora Hartshorn Arboretum 2nd Annual Ar-B-Que: April 30
- South Orange River Day: May 1
- The Strollers, Round and Round The Garden: Begins May 13
- Millburn Classic Car Show: May 15
- Springfield Avenue MayFest 2011: May 15
- SOPAC 2011 Spring Gala featuring The Midtown Men: June 04
- Maplewood/South Orange Artists Open Studios for Tour: June 05
- 5th annual Celebrate South Orange: June 11
Donald Pun lives in Maplewood and posts the event round-up column for our area here each weekend. Previously, he was a regular contributor for the NY Times' Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn Local blog section.