RED BANK: TIME TO REMEMBER IS WRITE NOW

project-write-nowThe educational programs offered by the nonprofit Project Write Now are the beneficiary of a Night to Remember fundraiser Tuesday night at Two River Theater.

From press materials furnished by DNB Events and Project Write Now

If you’ve wondered about those “I remember…” collection boxes that you may have noticed at select businesses throughout Red Bank, they’ve got a story to tell — or rather, they’ve been placed there to collect the stories that you and your neighbors have to tell.

 

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RED BANK: THIRD NOVEL FOR BARTENDER

brandon zenner 052114the after war coverWhen he’s not pulling pints for the clientele of Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub, bartender Brandon Zenner (seen here in 2014) puts in long hours at his laptop, conjuring fictional worlds. His third novel in little more than two years, titled “The After War,” debuts this week. It’s a post-apocalyptic story based on an idea Zenner had almost two decades ago, when he was a 16-year-old student at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, and it’s available as an e-book here. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: “GAS MONEY” GETS HIM HERE

Troy Lewis copyIt’s a journey that begins in a little place called Saluda, Virginia (population 300), a road trip through physical and spiritual territory that’s limited only by our own storytelling abilities and available Gas Money.

In his book of that title, first-time author Troy Lewis delivers what his promo material calls “a heartwarming, honest narrative that shows how everyday people with whom we come in contact on a daily or occasional basis shape our lives forever.”

And on Saturday, Lewis makes his next stop on that journey with a visit to the the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury. Read More »

RED BANK: YOUNG READER’S A WORLD-BEATER

karina linares huerta 051116Red Bank Middle School seventh-grader Karina Linares Huerta Karina was honoroed by the Red Bank council Wednesday night for finishing first among 1.7 million students around the globe in the Achieve3000, an online literacy-improvement program.

Karina read and completed 170 specified activities, including 35 in one day, the most of any participant worldwide, to take home the top prize. 

Karina attended the council meeting with her mother, Zenaida Huerta, above, and her three younger brothers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: A LITTLE BOOK-LABELING PARTY

leighton lib 110915 2leighton lib 110915 1Kate Triggiano, who had a custom-built “little library” built and installed outside her Red Bank home for neighborhood kids last October, plans a book labeling party Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The aim of the event, to be held at Kitch Organic restaurant at 75 Leighton Avenue, is to apply labels to dozens of books donated to the library’s wish list on Amazon, Triggiano said. Participants are asked to bring scissors; kids are welcome if  they’re old enough to help.

Why label? “Because we respect the kids and trust them,” said Triggiano. “Because they cost nice people money. And because we don’t want someone taking them and selling them.”

Dubbed the Little Library on Leighton, the mahogany receptacle, built by custom woodworker David Halbout of Middletown, is in front of Triggiano’s home at 22 Leighton, and features children’s and young-adult literature.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: MIMI AT THE CROSSROADS

mimi cross 2Singer-songwriter-novelist Mimi Cross makes an appearance in Fair Haven Thursday to promote her new work of fiction, “Before Goodbye.”  (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

BeforeGoodbye-20232-CV-FT-v5“It was great to see everybody,” says Mimi Cross in reference to her performance last weekend at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, part of the annual Light of Day slate of musically minded benefit events. “I haven’t been playing much the past couple of years, and it was like coming home to family.”

Once a frequently sighted fixture on Shore area club stages — and a two-time Asbury Music Award winner for her self-released albums like Monkey Trap — the singer-songwriter soprano has indeed kept a low public profile since she became a mom. It’s an uncharacteristic stance for an artist who can boast of having shared stages with Bruce, Bon Jovi, Bonnie (Raitt), (Jackson) Browne, Lauryn Hill and Sting.

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RED BANK: BARTENDER/AUTHOR GOES FOR TWO

brandon zenner 052114whiskey devilsRed Bank bartender-turned-self-published novelist Brandon Zenner, seen here in 2014, is  in the running for a contract with Kindle Scout, an Amazon program in which readers vote on which works get published. An excerpt of the Dublin House barkeep’s second novel, “Whiskey Devils,” may be previewed and voted upon here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LINCROFT: BIG WORDS ON CAMPUS

Tim_SeiblesAward-winning poet Tim Seibles (above) and best selling author/graphic novelist Mat Johnson (below) wrap up this season’s Visiting Writers program at Brookdale tonight.

mat_johnsonA poet and a graphic novelist walk into a room — and for tonight’s final entry in the fall 2015 series of Visiting Writers events on the Lincroft campus, Brookdale Community College sets up a double-header event that hits the holiday-break interlude on a high note.

Featured is Tim Seibles, whose five volumes of verse have won him accolades from his peers (and, in the case of Fast Animal, placed him squarely in the running for no less an honor than the National Book Award).

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SEA BRIGHT: ALL-WELCOME WEEKEND AT UMC

Sea Bright United MethodistSea Bright United Methodist is the place to be this weekend for the official dedication of the relocated Sea Bright Public Library on Saturday, plus a Christmas Cantata and free community dinner on Sunday. 

Even as the people of Sea Bright got to work putting their beloved borough back together in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the loss of the town’s permanent public library continued to leave a hole in the heart of community life.

While the library’s circa-1976 J.W. Ross Cultural Arts Center building — razed amid some controversy in early 2014, as reported here on redbankgreen — sustained relatively light damage in comparison to other hard-hit neighboring structures, the decision was made to temporarily relocate rather than restore. This past summer saw the “small, friendly” Sea Bright Library open its doors inside the host walls of United Methodist Church at 1104 Ocean Avenue — and this Saturday, the borough officially cuts the ribbon, in an all-welcome event that boasts a bonus helping of seasonal cheer.

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RUMSON: ADULT BOOKS PROMPT R-FH DEBATE

siobhan fallon hogan 101315With emergency lights on because of a power outage, parent Siobhan Fallon Hogan urged parental choice in the books read by teens. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: See a statement from playwright Ariel Dorfman about this controversy appended to the bottom of this article.]

HOT-TOPIC_03It was a dimly lit and slightly damp night as about 150 members of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School community politely debated a stormy issue Tuesday: the place of two works of fiction in the curriculum.

Taking turns at a non-working microphone in an auditorium lit by emergency lights because of a power outage, a number of parents challenged the inclusion of two books on reading lists for juniors and seniors because of their adult themes and coarse language.

Led by former Saturday Night Live cast member Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the objectors insisted they were not out to ban or censor the books, but instead to call for a policy that would allow parents to choose substitute reading material they consider “age appropriate” for their children.

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FAIR HAVEN: TWO NOVEL ATTRACTIONS

ElisabethEganGlamour magazine book editor Elisabeth Egan (above) visits River Road Books on Thursday to read from and sign copies of her recently published A WINDOW OPENS…while fellow first-time novelist Barrie Levitt Knee arrives later this month to promote her debut book PLAIN JANE (below).

plainjaneTwo new novels; two stirring stories of contemporary women at a crossroads of life-choices. Both written by authors who are new to book-length fiction, and both the subject of special events at Fair Haven’s River Road Books here in October, a month when we shake the sand from those “beach reads” and find something a little more fireside-appropriate.

But don’t break out that Snuggie just yet, as one of the visiting authors might just inspire you to take it outdoors for one more cool-weather marathon.

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RED BANK: GO SET YOUR WATCHES

TKAMThe 1962 film version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ screens for free at the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday as River Road Books celebrates the July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s long-awaited followup, ‘Go Set a Watchman.’

It’s panning out to be the most eagerly anticipated event in the digitally driven, radically reconfigured 21st century publishing industry, one centering around a story that was pecked out on a manual typewriter nearly 60 years ago. The first book published by the reclusive novelist Harper Lee in more than half a century, Go Set a Watchman stands as a sequel to the author’s To Kill a Mockingbird, even though it was written – and subsequently filed away–  prior to that 1960 classic of modern American lit.

On Tuesday, July 14, Fair Haven’s River Road Books marks the official publication date of Watchman with a special event at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre: a free screening of the 1962 film version of Mockingbird.

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RED BANK: MENNA RETURNING TO WORK

rbpl menna 052915Mayor Pasquale Menna, below, plans to return to his mayoral duties this week. They include participation at a library event on Saturday. (Photo above by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 052614Getting back into the swing of things after open-heart surgery, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said he hopes to preside at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

But first, there are a couple of wedding ceremonies to officiate. And later this week, there’s an ice-cream party for kids at which he’s slated to do more than just make a cameo.

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RED BANK: A RIVER READ RETURN TO RBPL

Rbplwestroom

A second-floor reading room at the Red Bank Public Library is the setting for this Saturday’s River Read poetry-‘n-whatnot jam.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

In true hermit crab fashion, it’s a native offering that’s skittered from venue to venue around town – with past homes having included the Dublin House Pub, No Joe’s Café and the now-defunct Frank Talk on Shrewsbury Avenue.

But when the poetry event known as River Read: Words by the Navesink sets up shop this Saturday morning at the Red Bank Public Library, it will mark a welcome return for the monthly series that was unfortunately evicted from that riverview roost when the library was temporarily forced to cancel its Saturday programming.

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RUMSON: CBI CALLS FOR POETRY ENTRIES

Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

National Poetry Month is just around the corner in April, and the library committee at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will once again be hosting Café Pinsky 2015: The Poet Next Door, an evening of readings by local Jewish poets.

Named for Long Branch native Robert Pinsky, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, the free event will take place on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7 pm.  In addition to poetry, the evening will feature music, light refreshments, coffee and tea. All are welcome to attend.

Published and unpublished local Jewish poets are invited to enter up to two poems each to the Library Committee by  Monday, March 30, 2015. There is no entry fee.

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FAIR HAVEN: NOVELIST ON RETURN VISIT

KatieCoyleAuthor and Fair Haven native Katie Coyle makes a homecoming sojourn to River Road Books this Thursday for a reading and signing keyed to her novel ‘Vivian Apple at the End of the World.’

When the debut young-adult novel by Katie Coyle first saw print, it was in the United Kingdom under the title Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.

For its stateside publication, though, the young-adult adventure tale has been rebranded as Vivian Apple at the End of the World — a situation not unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which the Fair Haven native cites as the book that supercharged her own literary ambitions into being.

The 2004 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — since transplanted to San Francisco — makes a homecoming appearance here on the Green Thursday night when she stops in at River Road Books for a 7 p.m. reading and signing session timed to the book’s appearance under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint.

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LINCROFT: MONSTER IN THE HALLS

A snippet of a 2008 interview with the author Victor LaValle.

It’s a place where a literal monster roams the long, institutional, fluorescent-lit halls — a buffalo-headed beast that stalks the overly medicated residents of a state mental hospital, and just one of many challenges faced by Pepper, the “one sane man” protagonist of The Devil in Silver.

The 2012 novel by Victor LaValle is one of several acclaimed works — including the American Book Award winner Big Machine — that will be read and discussed by the Queens-born author when the monthly series of Visiting Writers resumes at Brookdale Community College Wednesday evening.

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RED BANK: MOCKINGBIRDS GO BY THE BOOK

rbpl bird 071414 4rbpl bird 071414 1A vigilant pair of northern mockingbirds have set up house for their chirping newborns hidden in a bush near the entrance to the Red Bank Public Library. Though library staffers cordoned off the bush with yellow tape, the adult birds – which the National Audubon Society describes as “strongly territorial” occasionally swoop down on  visitors.

“You might experience a flutter of wings on your shoulder or back as they try to protect the nest,” a note taped to the library door explains. “They have startled people, but not harmed them.”

The note includes this passage from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird:”

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where_061214Do you know Where this week’s photo was shot? Take a guess! Please send your answer to wherehaveiseenthis@redbankgreen.com.

Last week’s Where? It showed… well, it may have been hard to make out at first because of the odd angle. But it was a view down a stairwell through a metal railing to a multicolored floor of bright hues.

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RED BANK: AUTHOR EMERGES FROM THE CELLAR

brandon zenner 2 052114Brandon Zenner at his basement writing table. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For 11 sunlight-deprived years, he’s slung drinks and traded banter with customers at the Dublin House in Red Bank. And for a good chunk of that time, he’s spent his free time in a dim, prosaic Red Bank basement, typing away at a windowless desk near a clothes dryer.

But until earlier this year, when he self-published a 294-page novel titled “The Experiment of Dreams,” Brandon Zenner kept his literary ambitions to himself.

“I never told anybody I was a writer,” Zenner told redbankgreen recently. For one thing, “sports is big in a bar. Writing is not,” he said.

Besides, “it’s just easier not to have to talk about it” and instead just do it, he said.

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RED BANK: ONLY LOSERS LEFT ALIVE

Nicole_diner_1Poet and Slam Master Nicole Homer coordinates the regular series of Loser Slam poetry events at Two River Theater, the latest edition of which returns to the upstairs Mastrobuono Library on Monday, May 5.   

According to Nicole Homer, a live-action Loser Slam poetry event is a thing that’s “louder, more uproarious” than an oh-so-civilized, lectern-and-water-pitcher reading — but if you’re expecting maybe a contentious crowd of hipster hecklers and mic-hogging Me-Firsters, the poet, teacher and Slam Master assures one and all that the twice-monthly Monday events in Red Bank foster “a friendly vibe…we go out of our way to establish a community feeling, to make every new person feel at home.”

Formed in 2006 at Brookdale Community College, the Loser Slam collective bounced around to various venues in Monmouth County before being invited by Two River Theater Company to bring their popular spoken word/ performance poetry competitions to the Two River building’s Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library — the recently refurbished second-floor space equipped with a fireplace, coffee/ snack bar, wood bookshelves, and room for 30 to 40 attendees. It’s there that Nicole and her partners return on the evening of May 5, for three rounds of creative competition, audience interaction, and a traditional open mic for aspiring performance poets.

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WEEKEND: ALL YOUR EGGS, MANY BASKETS

TROUBLE_press_1It’s opening weekend for the Two River Theater Company production of TROUBLE IN MIND, above. Below, the kids from Rockit! polish Janis Joplin’s PEARL as part of the annual Brookdale Guitar Festival. (TRTC photo by T. Charles Erickson) 

Friday, April 11 – Sunday, April 13: 

view_image.aspRED BANK: Although the late Alice Childress is known these days primarily as author of the young adult novel A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich, among her many firsts and foremosts was becoming the first African-American woman to have one of her plays produced in New York. She also became the first female playwright to win an Obie Award, for a 1955 play entitled Trouble in Mind.

On Friday night at 8 pm, Two River Theater Company opens a new production of the comedy-drama directed by the acclaimed Jade King Carroll, associate director for the recent Broadway Streetcar Named Desire. It’s a “backstage” portrait of a multi-racial theatrical troupe, a play-within-a-play about a Southern lynching, and the fireworks that fly when the show’s black leading lady (Brenda Pressley of TRTC’s In This House) questions the inaccuracies and stereotypes being perpetuated by her white director (fellow Two River returnee Steven Skybell).

Surprisingly resonant today, the oft-overlooked play costars Tony winner Roger Robinson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), with McKinley Belcher III, Jonathan David Martin, Brian Russell, Hayley Treider, Amirah Vann — and Robert Hogan, the octogenarian character ace of stage and screen interviewed here on redbankgreen, when he starred in Two River’s recent On Borrowed Time. The show continues with performances at 3 pm and 8 pm Saturday, as well as 3 pm Sunday; take it here for schedule details and tickets ($20-$65). Then stick around after Sunday’s matinee show (or drop in free of charge at 5:30 pm), when director Carroll is joined by Pressley, TRTC Artistic Director John Dias, and her longtime associate, Tony winning actor-director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, for a panel discussion on “Modern African American Theater (1950s to Today),” presented as part of Two River’s “Exploration of Justice” slate of special events.

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RED BANK: TRUSTEES PAN BOROUGH BUDGET

barbara withers 032714Barbara Withers, a resident of the Atrium at Navesink senior complex, implores the board to preserve a book-delivery service for its residents. Below, board president John Grandits, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna outside the library meeting room. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

grandits menna 032714A plan by the Menna administration to rewrite the proposed Red Bank Public Library budget and undo the recent layoff of half its staff got a cold reception from the library trustees Thursday night.

One or two of the suggested changes, such as leaving the soon-to-be-vacated job of the library director unfunded, appear to be “illegal,” trustee Brigid McCarthy told a packed meeting of library supporters.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna, displaying obvious frustration with what he called “drama” surrounding the borough’s recommendations, said the standoff can and will be quickly resolved, even if he has to take unilateral action.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS MAY BE REVERSED

rbpl sale 2 020213The fate of jobs for three full-time librarians is still up in the air. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials said they are working toward a budget fix that might undo the layoff of half the staff at the borough library two weeks ago.

At Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, administrator Stanley Sickels said he and borough CFO Eugenia Poulos had developed an alternative to the library’s budget that might “maintain the full-time staff.”

Now, attention turns to the eight-member library board of trustees, which gathers Thursday night in what may be its best-attended meeting in history.

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RED BANK: BOARD DEFENDS LIBRARY LAYOFFS

rbpl board 022714 1The library board of the trustees at a meeting in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Responding to “misinformation” and “half-truths… stretched beyond their limits” surrounding layoffs of half the staff at the Red Bank Public Library last week, the library’s board of trustees is pushing back.

In a question-and-answer document prepared by six of eight board members and obtained by redbankgreen, the trustees say that personnel costs accounted for 95 percent of the library budget before the layoffs, which affected six of the 11 staff members.

The layoffs were part of a library “reorganization” that “eliminates our deficit, allows us to right-size the Library for the budget, and sustains the Library for the future,” the trustees say in the Q&A. “The solution implemented [at a board meeting following the layoffs] on March 13 was just one step in a much larger process that began in 2013 when it became clear that even with stringent cuts in expenditures last year, the Library was living beyond its means.”

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