Along a media superhighway studded with pop-cultural milestones, one boulder-size birthday looms especially large here on the threshold of summer 2016. And this Memorial Day weekend, the Count Basie Theatre does its part to celebrate the golden jubilee of a genuine boomer-era phenomenon when it hosts a 50th-anniversary tour appearance by the Monkees.
Pat Guadagno (above) celebrates Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday on the Count Basie stage, while Arlan Feiles (below) takes it to the patio, during Thursday night’s 18th annual “Bobfest.” (Top photo by John Posada)
Don’t look now, but Tuesday marks the milestone 75th birthday of Bob Dylan, the American original whose distinctive songcraft and famously Neverending Tour have served as voice and inspiration to a generation and then some.
In the case of Pat Guadagno, a lifelong admiration for Dylan’s words and music inspired the Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme to forge his own lasting contribution to the legend of the Bard of Hibbing, Minnesota — a highly anticipated annual event called Bobfest, which returns to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for its 18th edition Thursday.
It’s a double bill that brings together a seminal British band that experienced its greatest success after breaking up, and a late-60’s hitmaker whose group has been branded by no less an authority than Steven Van Zandt as “the first rock band in the world.”
While you ponder that, make a pilgrimage to the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday night, when the venerable Red Bank venue hosts a pair of acts who regularly scaled the pop-chart heights in that music-mad decade of the 1960’s and have returned to the touring circuit with an inspired vengeance: the moody British Invasion quintet the Zombies, and the Young Rascals ringmaster Felix Cavaliere.
Next-generation swing-king Louis Prima Jr. and his Witnesses bring their brand of raucous rhythm and jet-fueled jive to Red Bank Thursday night.
If they know anything at all about the legendary singer, songwriter, jazz trumpeter and popularizer of hepcat slang Louis Prima, most folks might stop at “Just a Gigolo/ I Ain’t Got Nobody,” a rockingly over-the-top medley that was famously revived note-for-note by Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. Those a bit further in the know could vouch that Prima was the guy who wrote the original version of Benny Goodman’s big-band epic “Sing Sing Sing,” and who provided the voice of King Louie in Disney’s 1960s animated feature The Jungle Book.
While a cerebral hemorrhage silenced the catalyzin’ King of Swing 41 years ago, his spirit is alive and well — and this Thursday night, Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses testify to that effect, on the Red Bank stage of the Count Basie Theatre.
A scan from a flyer given out at Wednesday’s council meeting shows a rendering of the proposed mural, at left, and the building it would go on. At bottom right is a 150-foot-tall mural the artist, Misha Tyutyunik, helped create in SoHo. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The borough council greenlighted the makeover Wednesday night after an organizer of a film festival scheduled to hit town this summer offered it as what he called a “gift” to the town.
Piano virtuoso Ron Levy (above) guests with the Monmouth Symphony in a season-capping event, Saturday night at the Count Basie. Up on Tower Hill, baritone Gerald Metz (below) is among the vocal artists teaming up in HEAVENLY HARMONY for the Monmouth Civic Chorus.
There are surely worse dilemmas to be had in this world; more difficult choices to be made. But for local lovers of the classical repertory, this weekend poses quite the pickle, with two Red Bank venues hosting must-see events presented by a couple of the best-loved borough-based performing arts organizations.
It begins up on Tower Hill this Friday, when the Monmouth Civic Chorus continues its current season at First Presbyterian Church with a display of Heavenly Harmony that draws from the “visionary and triumphant” work of some choral music masters.
Then, on Saturday, down on Monmouth Street, the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra concludes another successful season at the Count Basie Theatre with an eclectic concert highlighted by an audience favorite that’s been called the ultimate musical marital aid and audio aphrodisiac. Read More
By JOHN T. WARD
Bruce Springsteen is selling one of two neighboring homes in Rumson, and the buyer is a pro basketball player with New Jersey roots, redbankgreen has learned.
According to a contract filed with the Monmouth County Clerk, Springsteen has agreed to sell a Bellevue Avenue property he owns through a trust to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Randy Foye.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore.
Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
Red Bank Patrolman Stan Balmer and the police department’s K-9, Hunter, above, were among the role-model guests at the borough parks and recreation department’s first Mother-Son event, held Saturday at the Senior Citizens Center. Balmer recounted that a knife-wielding man dropped his weapon recently only after Hunter was brought into the situation.
Also offering presentations were 90-year-old World War II veteran Lou Parisi, of Loch Arbor, below; a borough firefighter; and a massage therapist. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In recent years, the Riverside Gardens concession booth has been open only during borough events in the park, and managed by borough employees and volunteers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream, which has a seasonal store in Sea Bright and one in Long Branch that’s open year-round, won council approval Wednesday night to lease the borough-owned facility for two years.
After rising to the occasion last year with such gravity-defying entertainments as Mary Poppins and Peter Pan, the folks at Phoenix Productions in Red Bank dive deep for their inaugural production of the 2016 season: the Disney musical The Little Mermaid, which surfaces for a two-weekend run at the Count Basie Theatre.
Hundreds of Prince fans turned out at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a free screening of his film,”Purple Rain,” Sunday night, and many honored his memory by donning their finest purple garments, jewelry and lipstick. Check out our photos, below.
Though Prince had never performed at the venue, Basie CEO Adam Philipson said theatre staffers wanted to turn the rock star’s sudden death last Thursday into an opportunity for “joy,” and quickly obtained rights to show the film. Attendees asked to bring canned food for donation to Lunch Break, a Red Bank soup kitchen. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
The Count Basie Theatre invites the community to a public screening of PURPLE RAIN this Sunday night, April 24th at 8pm.