WEEKEND: IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING

ice-boat-011011-500x375It’s an open house icebreaker when the nation’s longest-established ice boat club welcomes the public in from the cold for a Saturday of tours and presentations. Below, Bobby Bandiera brings the Rock ‘N Soul Revue back to the Basie for a Brill-iant bow to the hitmaking “American Troubadors.” 

Friday, March 21:

BobbyBandieraHallmarkIIok_zpsc164352eRED BANK: Taking the old recruitment slogan, “Join the Jovi and See the World” to heart, Bobby Bandiera has done his share of  globetrotting as touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. But when the veteran of more than 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs puts in to Shore, he tends to “relax” by staying audibly visible everywhere from the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole to the Count Basie Theatre, where he intermittently assembles the jukebox Justice League known as the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue for a special salute to the “American Troubadors.”

When the 11-piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes Friday night at 8 pm, Bandiera and bandmates (including star-quality songbird Lisa Sherman, and Joe Jackson’s longtime bassist Graham Maby) will be paying trib to the great songwriter-performers of what’s commonly called the “Brill Building” era of late 50s-early 60s pop – a teenaged Tin Pan Alley that spawned some of the earliest and most immediately exhilarating work of Carole King (“The Loco-Motion”), Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”) and Burt Bacharach (“Baby It’s You”). Tickets ($25 – $99) can be reserved right here.

Pinkolandia_-_2Family tragedies and closeted secrets are a bear, as PINKOLANDIA enters its final weekend of performances at Two River Theater. (Photo by T.C. Erickson) 

RED BANK: Yes, it’s got a talking bear. Stormtroopers with pig snouts. And even a Third Reich Ronald Reagan. But most of all Pinkolandia has the compelling story of two young Chilean-born sisters – adrift with their exiled family in a 1980s Wisconsin of baseball Brewers, Duran Duran and Dukes of Hazzard – who cope with feelings of anger and displacement by inhabiting their own private alternate realities. Monolingual observers might struggle with the Spanglish dialogue in the domestic sequences (not to mention the generally fractured nature of the fantasy-infused storyline), but Andrea Thome’s one-act play rewards as much as it challenges. Jose Zayas directs the Two River Theater Company production inside their “black box” Huber space — just as he did a 2012 reading at TRTC’s annual Crossing Borders Festival, and a fully staged 2013 engagement in NYC. Take it here for tickets to the show that presents its final weekend of performances: Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm.

Saturday, March 22:

RED BANK: While the winter of 2014 won’t likely be going down in the books as “the good old days” for too many of us, it did put a collective smile on the faces of the oldest established ice boating club in America – Red Bank’s own North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and yacht Club, who enjoyed an increasingly rare interlude of skate-sailing on the frosty flats of the frozen Navesink. This Saturday, the public can enjoy a similarly rare opportunity to have a close-up look at the clubhouse (foot of Union Street, adjacent to Marine Park) during a day of tours and presentations that begins at 8:30 am in the nearby Monmouth Boat Club, with coffee and bagels accompanying a discussion of “Iceboating in Europe and the United States.” A series of presentations follow at the Boat Club, with the hours between noon and 2 pm offering tours of the NSIBYC clubhouse and ice boat display. From noon to 2 pm, tours of the nearby North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club will be given. It’s all free, with more info available at the website of organizers, the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association – and it’s an event rescheduled from March 1, when the club hightailed it up to the frozen Hudson for an epic matchup that was chronicled here on redbankgreen.

LITTLE SILVER: Who says it’s not easy being green? Here on the greater Green, the Little Silver Woman’s Club plays host to a an Environmental Day event that puts a panorama of earth-friendly services and seminars — from a document shredding truck and composting workshop, to collections for used clothing and electronics — at the fingertips of borough residents, with one-stop-shopping convenience. Also on hand are a master gardener talk, informational display tables, and rain barrels (available for purchase with preorder). It all happens between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm; look here for a detailed schedule.

LINCROFT/ MIDDLETOWN: As we finally get to close the book on winter, we’re reminded that a new season brings with it a reading list packed with accounts of renewal and redemption — and Saturday afternoon brings two opportunities to meet the people who make those words spring to life. Emily Cappello was just 16 years old when she began work on Reasons Why — a highly personal memoir of her battles with depression and eating disorders in her high school years, framed as a frankly private conversation with the reader. Now a young published writer of 20, the author visits the Scroll and Pen Bookstore on the campus of Brookdale Community College, for a reading and signing session that begins at 1 pm (take it here for more info). From BCC, take it across town to the Middletown Township Public Library, where at 2 pm, local resident John J. Schaffer reads from and discusses his debut novel of the Civil War era, A Northern Rebel. It tells the story of Jameson Hartford, inheritor of an antebellum South Carolina plantation who becomes determined to free the slaves who live and work there — and whose love for a slave named Delilah exposes him to confrontation, treachery, and betrayal.

RED BANK: Classical music connoisseurs in and around Red Bank have long known that the borough has stood as the county’s capital for quality orchestral, chamber and choral concert offerings — all of it accessible minus the gown-and-tux price tags of the big-city halls and theaters. A big reason for that is the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music, whose monthly series of Saturday afternoon concerts (in the casual and quite convenient setting of their downtown White Street all-purpose room) resumes with a recital featuring MCM director Vladislav Kovalsky. The international Steinway artist will be joined on the 4 pm program by clarinetist (and acclaimed conductor of the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra) Roy Gussman, as well as cellist Jameson Platte. Free-will donations will be accepted at the door.

Then at 8 pm, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns once more to the Count Basie, this time with Gerard Schwartz at the podium, and NJSO concertmaster Eric Wyrick stepping into the soloist spotlight with a performance of Strauss’ Violin Concerto. Romantic-era composer Goldmark’s carefree overture and Shostakovich’s stirring Symphony No. 5 round out the program — and, as with all NJSO events, tickets for the 8 pm program ($20 – $85) are available NOT from the Count Basie Theatre box office, but by calling 1.800.ALLEGRO.

Sunday, March 23:

MIDDLETOWN: Why so downward facing, dog? If Beverly Burns has her druthers, the whole world will soon be getting to know the “very effective – and fun!– stress-reducing aerobic exercise” known as Laughter Yoga. A certified instructor in this most ha-ha of hatha disciplines, Ms. Burns invites suitably intrigued participants of all ages to shake off those residual winter blues with a free workshop at the Middletown Township Public Library that begins at 2 pm. Space is limited, and registration is encouraged by going online or calling (732) 671-3700, extension 320.

RED BANK: He’s long been one of the premier names in the jazz/rock nexus known as “fusion” music — and with the establishment of his Unity Band, benevolent guitar-god Pat Metheny has achieved a most elegant fusion of several disparate projects from his long recording and touring career. Representing entities that range from the legendary trio setting of Bright Size Life and bigger-band Secret Story, to the mindblowing steampunk tech of the Orchestrion, Metheny and company (Chris Potter, Ben Williams, Antonio Sanchez and Giulio Carmassi) bring it back to the Basie in a 7:30 pm event for which tickets ($35 – $75) can be reserved right here.