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MIDDLETOWN: MAY MEANS MOVIES AT MTPL

tortillaThe 2001 feature TORTILLA SOUP screens on Monday 5/4, as one of the May series of free film events at Middletown Library. 

The monthly series of free Movie Mondays at Middletown Township Public Library continues here in May — and while April’s schedule centered around a food-and-beverage theme, this month extends the celluloid smorgasbord for the next couple of weeks, shifting gears (prior to a holiday break) into somewhat less digestion-friendly dramatic territory.

The banquet at the biblioteque continues this Monday, May 4, with director Maria Ripoli’s 2001 feature Tortilla Soup. Co-written by Ang Lee — the Taiwanese-born filmmaker who gave us everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi to Brokeback Mountain and the first Hulk movie — it’s a portrait of a Mexican-American patriarch and chef (Hector Elizondo) who seeks to reacquire his taste for better living, with the help of his daughters (Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara Mello). And if you’re wondering just what vintage to pair with such an offering, read on.

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RED BANK: CELEBRATING BANDIERA’S ERA

bandieraThe Hardest Working Musician in Shore Business, Bobby Bandiera writes his musical “Autobiography” in a special concert at the Count Basie on Saturday.

As commanding officer of the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue — and as a saloon singer supreme performing over the decades in the clubs, concert halls, tiki decks, taverns and dimly lit corners of coastal New Jersey — Bobby Bandiera has pretty much paid tribute to them all: the Beatles and the Stones; the Sun rockabillies and Motown soulmen; the AM radio one-hit-wonders and the FM rotation heavies.

So in a long, strange trip that’s taken him from smoke-choked pool halls and piano bars to the sold-out arenas of his road gig with Bon Jovi, there’s really only one career that still cries out for a proper salute: his own.

On Saturday night, Bandiera returns to Red Bank to address that glaring omission, with an “Autobiography” concert that assembles a rocking Rolodex of talented friends on the stage of one of the man’s favorite places to play, the Count Basie Theatre.

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RED BANK: CRIME & ARREST REPORTS

AUTHORITIES_RB3The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of April 23 to April 30, 2015. This information is unedited.

CRIMES

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-24-15 at Montgomery Terrace. Victim reported that unknown person(s) let the air out of tire on parked vehicle. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Theft occurring at Tower Hill Drive residence on 4-23-15 and 4-25-15. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole cash and pair of gold and diamond earrings from residence.   Ptl. Shane Dengel.

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SHREWSBURY: MEANDERING OLD MONMOUTH

shrews historicClockwise from top left: the Shrewsbury Borough landmarks of the Friends Meeting House, Allen House, Old Christ Church and  First Presbyterian Church are among the historic sites on the Weekend in Old Monmouth Tour.

If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to take a closer look at the area’s many historic places, some of which you’ve surely passed by countless times on your way to someplace a bit less charming.

A series of free, self-guided tours of some 45 homes, meeting halls and houses of worship in Monmouth County, the eighth annual event (brought to you by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Monmouth County Historical Commission) runs four color-coded tour routes on Saturday (10 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 3 (12 – 5 pm) — with all stops on the tour synching up their visitation hours, and waiving any admission fees for the duration of the weekend.

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RED BANK: ‘BLUES’ ONE MORE TIME, AT TRTC

BLUES_Press_4Charles Weldon (left) counsels Brandon J. Dirden in YOUR BLUES AIN’T SWEET LIKE MINE, entering the final weekend of its world premiere run at Two River Theater. (Photos by Michal Daniel)

By TOM CHESEK

“I’m through with the interracial dating thing,” says the black homeless advocate Zeke (Brandon J. Dirden) to the white well-to-do writer Judith (Merritt Janson), in Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine. “OJ stupid-ass messed it up for the rest of us.”

Confrontational by nature (but not so consumed with anger that he can’t win an audience over with some pithy observations and well-placed laugh lines); at odds with American social attitudes (but not so beaten down by the system that he can’t sport a peacock-proud wardrobe), Zeke is an intriguingly inscrutable original — a fact not lost on Judith, whose interest in the educated former professional extends beyond a simple donation of clothing to the local shelter.

Their uneasy transaction sounds the keynote for Blues, the play written and directed by Tony-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson that wraps up its world premiere run this week at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

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RED BANK: COPS PUSH PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

rbpd 042915 3rb pedestrian 042915 2Red Bank police were out on Broad Street Wednesday afternoon for a brief pedestrian safety enforcement push. The effort resulted in five summonses issued to motorists and 13 warnings, some to drivers and some to pedestrians, said Chief Darren McConnell.

But the enforcement might easily have gone on for hours, judging by activity seen by redbankgreen. See below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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NAVESINK: PLAYERS WRAP UP A ‘PRESENT’

MonPlayersEric McDonough (center) and his fellow Monmouth Players serve up Noel Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER at the Navesink Arts Center.

Way back in 1953, a fledgling theatrical troupe by the name of Monmouth Players chose as its first fully staged production Blithe Spirit, a comedy from the quill of actor-director-producer-playwright-songwriter Noel Coward. Here at the close of its frankly astonishing 62nd consecutive season of entertainments — a track record unequalled by any other community stage company in the area — the Middletown-based Players have revisited the work of that master multitasker with a production of Coward’s Present Laughter that wraps up the 2014-2015 season in an elegant (and mischievously ticking) package.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: FULL CLOSURE FOR REPAIRS

oceanic bridge 060614 The 75-year-old span will be closed to all but marine traffic for three weeks starting May 26. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Previously unseen deterioration on the Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown will require a full shutdown of the span for three weeks following Memorial Day, Monmouth County reported Wednesday.

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RED BANK: AFTER 26 YEARS, BARR ZONES OUT

donna smith barr 042815 2Zoning officer Donna Smith Barr leaves the job this week after 26 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

people-in-the-newsThe cliches compete: it’s tempting to say Donna Smith Barr has had a front-row seat on Red Bank’s two-decade-long bounceback from “Dead Bank” to today’s bustling burg. But it’s probably more accurate to say she’s been the gatekeeper.

Whether you wanted to put a deck on your house or turn a downtown store into a restaurant, Barr’s office has been the first stop at borough hall. And if she spoke or wrote the word “variance” in response, it probably wasn’t your last, as it would mean the time and expense of making one’s case before the zoning or planning board.

“I’m glad I don’t have to tell people they need variances anymore,” Barr told redbankgreen Tuesday. A single instance is one thing, “but when you do it for 26 years, that’s enough.”

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX UP NEARLY 7 PERCENT

suzanne viscomi 042815Suzanne Viscomi, of the board’s finance committee, speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The typical Red Bank homeowner will pay $100 more this year to support the borough school district, following the board of education’s adoption of the 2015-’16 budget Tuesday night.

The $24.85-million spending plan, which one board member opposed, calls for a 6.95-percent local tax increase.

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MIDDLETOWN: RECENT ARRESTS

Recent arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2On April 23, 2015 Officers Adam Colfer, Brian McGrogan and Kent Thornton responded to a burglary in progress at a Seabreeze Avenue residence. Upon arrival the officers were informed that the suspect had run from the residence carrying a machete. The officers searched the area and located the suspect, identified as Brian O’Herron, age 29, from Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown, NJ.

The investigation conducted by the officers resulted in O’Herron being charged with Burglary, Violation of a Court Order, Criminal Restraint, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Terroristic Threats, Harassment and Resisting Arrest. He was held on $200,000.00 bail set by Judge Escandon.

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RUMSON: BLITHEWALD GARDEN IN PHOTOS

rumson blithewald 1 rumson blithewald 3The April 20 fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald, which was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase in the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser, occurred the same morning that landscapers had put the finishing touches on a yard design called the Secret Garden.

Red Bank-based Siciliano Landscape, which oversaw the project with a landscaper from Marlboro, has posted a gallery of before-and-after photos of the garden, along with a link for those wishing to donate to the VNA. The now-canceled home tour was to be the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. (Photos courtesy of Siciliano Landscape. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: JIRKS AND SERAPHS UNITE

kirkJirks bandleader Brian Kirk plays springtime Santa with a benefit concert for Middletown’s Mater Dei Prep high school, Thursday night at the Count Basie.

STSemailIn an interview that appeared previously here on redbankgreen, businessman and bandleader Brian Kirk discussed what it takes to put on a big benefit concert — musing to the effect that “maybe I get whatever organizational skills I have from my mother, who used to work as a volunteer at St. Mary’s Thrift Shop in New Monmouth — they ran a tight ship over there!”

A party-starting pro with an ear for a crowdpleasing tune and an eye for a serious cause, the man who produces the annual “Santa for…” shows at the Count Basie Theatre (and who brought us years of Dunesday beach-concert benefits in Sea Bright) returns to the Red Bank stage on Thursday — this time rallying to the aid of Mater Dei Prep, the Middletown-based Catholic high school (and companion institution to both his elementary-school alma mater and that legendary thrift shop).

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MIDDLETOWN: RESCUING THE ‘LOST DOGS’

Spirit of the SatoProject Animal Worldwide partners with Middletown Township Library for a free Wednesday evening screening of the documentary SPIRIT OF THE SATO: The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs. 

From the city streets of San Juan to the most remote beaches, they’re among the most “invisible” of the homeless population. An estimated quarter of a million Sato (local slang for mixed-breed or “mutt”) dogs roam Puerto Rico, often abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves in a US territory where spaying and neutering animals is not common practice.

With the 2013 documentary Spirit Of The Sato, filmmaker Ellen La Torre took a quantum leap toward raising awareness of the plight of the Satos — drawing the participation of experts that include original “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan, and focusing on the efforts of Project Animal Worldwide, the Eatontown-based nonprofit organization presided over by La Torre. Partnering with dog-friendly Shore area businesses like Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar and entities like the Monmouth County SPCA, the people from PAW have run “Sato Reunion” missions to Puerto Rico; matching dogs with adopting homes throughout New Jersey and the region — and on Wednesday, April 29, the feature subtitled The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs receives a free screening at Middletown Township Public Library.

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RED BANK: TWO SAVED AFTER BOAT FLIPS

rb h20 rescue 042715 1The sailboat, seen above, righted itself after its two occupants were rescued, a witness said. Below, one of the two people rescued gets some medical attention. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb h20 rescue 042715 2Two boaters were pulled from the chilly Navesink River when their sailboat capsized in brisk winds off Red Bank Monday morning.

The pair were pulled to safety by kayakers, police said.

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