Above: Public radio powerhouse Ira Glass brings his broadcast mojo to the stage of the Count Basie while, below, Elvis is back in the building, in the person (or persons) of Scot Bruce and Mike Albert.
Friday, January 17:
RED BANK: “Red Bank’s a beautiful town,” the professional Elvis Presley tribute artist Scot Bruce told us a few years back. “The King is alive and well around there.”
Never more so than January, when Scot teams up with fellow Presley-digitator Mike Albert for an Elvis Birthday Bash that comes to the Count Basie Theatre in its ninth annual edition at 8 pm. It’s a Kingly keynote to a weekend of sights, song, story and socializing that follows the tried-and-true template of “Elvi” events past. Bruce opens the show with a hip-shaking evocation of the early-days Elvis;, the stylistic savant who changed the course of mighty rivers way more than Superman ever did. He’s followed on the bill by Albert’s spot-on channeling of 1970s Elvis — he of the rhinestoned jumpsuits, championship belts, oversized shades and jet-black helmet of lacquered hair. Take it here for tickets ($20 – $40) — and flip the record over for more TCB action this weekend.
Saturday, January 18:
RUMSON: The fabled watering hole and former speakeasy known as Murphy’s Tavern is the setting for the first in a planned series of fundraisers for the 2014 Rumson St. Patricks Day Parade, with the public invited to help the organizers of the second annual event subsidize costs and disperse donations to local charities. It’s an afternoon of music, food and socializing that happens between the hours of 1 to 5 pm, with a $10 admission offering a complimentary buffet, live irish music and the promise of surprise guests. Take it here for more on the March 2014 event and its recently announced Grand Marshal, here on redbankgreen.
LINCROFT: If it’s mid-January at the Monmouth Museum, it’s time for the first and biggest gallery group show of the calendar year — the Juried Art Exhibition, the 35th annual edition of which unveils with an Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony from 4 to 6 pm. It’s the third year for the show since the Museum (adjacent to the Performing Arts Center on the Brookdale Community College campus) took over full sponsorship of the event that was established by the Monmouth County Arts Council, with Stacey Smith of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers as guest juror, and the showcase of the area’s leading visual artists remaining on display through March 9.
The opening of the Juried Exhibition also marks the first look at “Chairish the Museum,” the annual fundraising promotion in which a panorama of creative folk — working largely with items that have been salvaged from attics, curbside collections and yard sales — transform humble chairs into “works of art that are both sculptural and utilitarian” for the benefit of the Museum’s art and educational programs. It’s a project that’s seen the likes of Queen Latifah, Rachel Ray, Ralph Nader and others custom-decorate (or at least autograph) some of the entries — and the 2014 event will feature “an expanded array of artful furniture and accessories in addition to chairs…we invite artists to create mirrors, lamps, trays, tables, vases, and more!” All items will be displayed in the Museum’s Nilson Gallery through February 8, whereupon they’ll move to the Main Gallery on February 9 for a big Silent Auction Finale.
RED BANK: Frequent navigators of these pixelated pages know the multi-talented Jim Willis as the primary byline on redbankgreen‘s foodie-fabulous PieHole page — to say nothing of his career as a sought-after tech wizard and co-founder of the Safe Routes Red Bank project. We suspect that if the borough-based Willis had his druthers, however, he’d spend his days and nights making like the immortal Jerry in Dead Bank, the cleverly named and logo’d Grateful Dead tribute (Jim, bassist Nash Aliaga, keyboard man Jack Pyrah, drummer Jason LaViola, percussionist Barry Schneider) that casts its spell at borough nitespots ranging from the Dublin House and Walt Street Pub to Molly Maguire’s — and Jamian’s Food and Drink, to which the fivesome returns for some Saturday night sets that draw from decades of the Dead, plus Dylan and other delights. Check the band’s Facebook page for schedule updates, setlists, sound links and more.
Sunday, January 19:
LINCROFT: The Sunday Morning Dialog series at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County continues, with a remembrance of the old Middletown Folk Festival that examines the local institution’s lifespan between the years 1968 to 1984. Dick and Marlene Levin, co-directors of the fondly recalled cultural event for all of those 17 years, discuss the origins, the history, and the lasting impact of the annual festival that in its heyday was attended by some 30,000 music lovers. It’s free of charge to attend, with the 9 am presentation preceded by complimentary refreshments.
Bring it back to the UUCMC Meeting House for the latest in the long-running Social Action Film series of free screenings, with a 6 pm showing of the 2009 documentary feature The People Speak — adapted from the late Howard Zinn’s book A People’s History of the United States, and the inspiration behind a recent live event at Red Bank Public Library. Celebrity voices (including Bruce Springsteen, Morgan Freeman, Pink, Bob Dylan, Kerry Washington, Sean Penn, and producers Matt Damon and Josh Brolin) channel the words of ordinary/ extraordinary Americans through their letters, diaries, speeches and other writings, with a smattering of song and the narration of author-educator Zinn.
RED BANK: Garrison Keillor aside, what works within the medium of radio has historically been an uneasy fit with the live performance stage — but when Ira Glass drops in at the Count Basie Theatre, he’ll be showing us all How It’s Done, without so much as a single song or dance. The celebrated host/ producer/ face/ voice of public radio’s This American Life brings his engagingly low-key manner and his all-encompassing passion for The Story to a presentation entitled Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass, in a 7 pm event that promises to illuminate “what makes a compelling story, where they find the amazing stories for their show, how he and his staff are trying to push broadcast journalism to do things it doesn’t usually do.”
Recreating the sound and the spirit of his internationally followed weekly broadcast and podcast, the serial Peabody Award winner (and Emmy winner too, for the short-lived cable TV version of his signature program) employs live narration and pre-recorded materials to capture the essence of some of Life’s most “funny and memorable moments,” with the emphasis as always on the human element. Tickets ($25-$65) can be reserved right here.