(MIDDLETOWN, NJ) -- The Middletown Arts Center is excited to reopen its gallery doors with a tribute to ‘80’s Rock and Metal music, The Decade That Rocked, an exhibition presenting the work of renowned Rock n’ Roll photographer, Mark “WEISSGUY” Weiss. Also on display is a collection of silkscreen prints created from Weiss’s iconic photographs by Steve Lacy, artist and news anchor from Fox 5 New York. The exhibition is on view now through August 15 and will celebrate Weiss’s birthday and his 40+ years of Rock n’ Roll photography with WEISSFEST 2021, three nights of exciting live entertainment events, from Thursday, June 24 to Saturday, June 26.
This special celebration will commence with an exclusive opening reception, “An Evening with Mark Weiss” on Thursday, June 24, featuring an acoustic performance of ‘80s songs by Cat Manning. The night will close with Manning’s incredible tribute to Janis Joplin, Just Like Janis. Wine, beer and light fare will be served. Tickets to the reception are required and all proceeds benefit the Middletown Arts Center. Tickets are available for purchase online.
The WRAT 95.9 DJ personality, Tom Hanley, will host a powerful schedule of performances on the MAC’s outdoor stage Friday, June 25, beginning at 5:00pm, with a special appearance by legendary drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, King Kobra, Blue Murder and more). The evening will feature Kodiak, playing original songs along with Van Halen songs. Keith Roth (Sirius XM and Electric Ballroom DJ) will follow with his band, Frankenstein 3000, with special guest Jerry Gaskill from Kings X, along with members from City Asylum, Moroccan Sheepherders and Fuzz The World, playing songs from the Ramones, Bowie, Alice Cooper, MC5, The Stooges and Velvet Underground and more raw powered Rock & Roll. JUST SABBATH will close the evening with a Black Sabbath music tribute.
Music from the ‘80s continues on Saturday, June 26 at 5:30pm, showcasing LITTLE OZZY, who was featured on Americas Got Talent and Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour show on the History Channel. Gemstone, made up of Rockit Academy alumni, will not only open the night’s performances, but make its debut, followed by Mötley Crüe tribute band, Sixx Seconds to Mars. Both nights’ concerts are FREE to attend and outdoors.
MARK “WEISSGUY” WEISS - Long-time, local resident, Weiss, aims to see the arts endure in his community and has organized the exhibition and related events as a fundraiser for the MAC which has suffered financially the past year due to Covid closings and severe flood damage.
“I am looking forward to sharing my exhibit in Middletown, N.J. where I lived for the last 30 years," said Weiss. "The Middletown Arts Center took a big hit during the Pandemic and I am committed to help any way I can to get it back on track. It is an amazing creative space giving a safe place to the arts and local establishments.”
Weiss currently donates a portion of proceeds from his CHARITYBUZZ auction sales of signed photography to the arts center. To place bids, please click here.
“We are so grateful to Mark for his generosity and support of the arts over the past several months and we are thrilled to celebrate the Rock n’ Roll era with Mark and his awesome photography and musical performances,” said Maggie O’Brien, Executive Director. “I know it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Mark Weiss set an unmatched standard for rock photography. Mark has been photographing Rock n’ Roll since a teenager in the ‘70s sneaking into concerts. In the following decade, he began touring with Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Ozzy, KISS and Van Halen, to name a few. He also photographed the covers of some of the biggest albums of the ‘80s, including Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry. Most recently his photograph of Van Halen graced the cover of LIFE magazine after the passing of iconic guitar player Eddie Van Halen. He embarked on a legendary career that took him around the globe and onto some of the most historic concerts including the U.S. Festival, Live Aid and the Moscow Peace Festival. Weiss presents many of these classic photos in the exhibition along with artifacts from his glory days including backstage passes, posters, tour books and tour jackets. Weiss will also be displaying the t-shirt worn on the banned Slippery When Wet cover.
“I was the guy the record companies would hire to shoot their publicity photographs and album covers. I did the Twisted Sister Stay Hungry and Come Out and Play covers which were a huge success, selling over a million copies. Everyone started calling me to shoot their album covers. Cinderella’s Night Songs, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet... I became fast friends and began traveling with them on their tour buses and private planes. It was a blast!” said Weiss.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The Decade That Rocked encapsulates the heyday of these rock and metal icons with images of a young Jon Bon Jovi at the Freehold Raceway in 1980; Ozzy Osbourne on the roof of Asbury Park’s Convention Hall in 1981; Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider taking on Washington, D.C., in 1985 for the Parents Music Resource Center hearings; Guns N’ Roses outside CBGB in Manhattan in 1987 and much more. When asked what Weiss’s favorite photo is in his amazing body of work, he answers the famous 1981 Circus Magazine cover featuring Ozzy Osbourne in his pink tutu.
Admission to The Decade That Rocked is free to the public, but donations are appreciated. Gallery hours are currently by appointment only. Please visit mac.ticketspice.com/the-decade-that-rocked or call the arts center to schedule an appointment. All artwork and photographs are available for purchase. For more information on Weiss and Lacy’s collaboration, visit weissguylacy.com.
The Middletown Arts Center is located at 36 Church Street in Middletown, NJ (next to the Middletown train station). Free parking is available onsite with additional free parking available in station metered lot weekday evenings after 6 p.m. and weekends. The Arts Center is an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility in Middletown, New Jersey that offers performances, exhibits, classes, demonstrations and camps centering on the arts. Its convenient location across from the Middletown train station on Church Street enables easy access and its expanded MAC Annex is minutes away at the Middletown Reformed Church’s Education Building. The MAC is operated by a non-profit 501c3, the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council which is dedicated to bringing quality arts programming and events to Middletown and surrounding communities.