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RED BANK: A WALK WITH LIFE AND ART

calpulli2The dancers and musicians of Mariachi y Calpulli Mexican Dance Company perform at the Count Basie on Cinco de Mayo, capping Thursday’s MoCo ArtWalk experience in Red Bank.

MoCo-Walking-TourIt’s being billed as the first in a new series of “MoCo Artwalks,” and hosted by the folks at the Monmouth County Arts Council and designed to give arts aficionados a strolling/rolling and altogether unique perspective on some fascinating goings- on in and around the MoCo (Monmouth County) Arts Corridor — a scintillating strip of station stops along the Matawan-to-Manasquan stretch of the North Jersey Coast Line.

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LINCROFT: PARK IT HERE, FOR MUSIC ‘N ART

BlueTrainLive musical performances by acts including Peter V and Blues Train (above), plus displays of art by Grace Modla (below) and others, are on the bill this Saturday and Sunday, during the Creative Arts and Music Festival at Thompson Park.

Grace ModlaIt doesn’t tend to get the sort of advance press accorded parking-lot-packing events like Red Bank’s Riverfest and recent Beer Wine and Food Fest — but if you’re on the lookout for a casual, comfortable mid-spring weekend’s event in a setting that offers plenty of breathing room, free parking, free admission and a chance to join in the arty fun, you’d do well to check out the Creative Arts and Music Festival, the 2016 edition of which sets up at Thompson Park for a two-day stay, beginning at 11 a.m. this Saturday, April 30.

A presentation of the folks at the Monmouth County Park System, the rain-or-shine event spotlights the sights and sounds of some of the county’s most creatively oriented citizens, including an indoor stroll-through expo of some 20 visual artists and crafters. Also included: a slate of 14 musical acts on two stages (and in a variety of styles), with a schedule inside the park’s Theater Barn programmed by the nonprofit organization Musicians on a Mission.

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LINCROFT: BIG (AND LITTLE) DOGS ON CAMPUS

Parker-SPCA-Dog-Walk-4-25-15The Monmouth SPCA’s Dog Walk and Pet Fair returns to the Brookdale campus Saturday. Local rockers the Wag, below, will be there to set tails a-wag. (Photo below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

the wag 062114Back for its 22nd annual edition — the third since finding a “new leash on life” as a springtime event — the Monmouth County SPCA Dog Walk and Pet Fair commandeers the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College for a colorful five-hour festival Saturday.

A benefit for the programs and services of the MCSPCA, the “Paws for a Cause” walk is just the centerpiece of a slate of activities for adults, kids and canines, bolstered by some 100 vendor booths, adoption and microchip clinics, a 50/50 raffle, food trucks, face painting, “pupparazzi” photos, “cutest tricks” contest and even a “Canine PUPtials” wedding chapel.

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RED BANK: A SPLASHY DEBUT FOR PHOENIX

little mermaidsCat Tierney, seen at right with the other Daughters of Triton, stars as Ariel in the staging of “The Little Mermaid that begins a Red Bank run Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

littlemermaid2016After 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.

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RBR: ROSS, FIVE MORE TO JOIN HALL OF FAME

dean ross 030714Red Bank business owner Dean Ross, seen here in 2014, is among six alumni tapped for induction into RBR’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Six graduates of Red Bank Regional High School or its predecessor, Red Bank High School, have been named for induction into the school’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame this week.

Included are three people who work in human health; a financial advisor; an Army captain; and a local retailer.

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RED BANK: PRINCE FANS RAIN PURPLE @BASIE

rb purple rain 042416 4

rb purple rain 042416 15Hundreds 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)

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RED BANK: FOOD & MUSIC FEST SPRINGS BACK

   RBIFF 042714 80Sunny and cool temperatures are forecast for Sunday’s festival, held in Red Bank’s White Street parking lot. This year’s version will highlight the roster of Heineken-owned beers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RBIFF 042714 75

It’s being touted as the fifth annual edition — and if you don’t happen to have any memory of the previous four (possibly due to eat, drink and general merriment), it could be because what was once the “Red Bank International Flavour Festival” has returned, rebranded and bigger than ever, as the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

One of the more popular and successful seasonal attractions to pitch its tent in Red Bank within recent years, the family-friendly happening from promoter RUE Events commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday for an afternoon-and-evening that mixes many of the best-liked attributes of the old-time Red Bank Food Festivals and the latter-day Oysterfests.

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RED BANK: FREE ‘PURPLE RAIN’ SHOW @BASIE

prince purple rainIn honor of the late, great Prince, the Count Basie Theatre will screen his blockbuster film, “Purple Rain,” on Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

just_inPress release from the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank:

The Count Basie Theatre invites the community to a public screening of PURPLE RAIN this Sunday night, April 24th at 8pm.

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LINCROFT: EARTH ROOM TO KENNEDYS

643_TheKennedysfinal1It’s called the Earth Room Concerts series — mainly “because of the attractive stained glass in the sanctuary where concerts are held,” but also in a way that the new slate of programming at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County takes a more expansive worldview of the kinds of music currently in regular rotation on Shore area stages.

Designed to “fill a local gap” by bringing nationally known folk and singer/ songwriter artists to Monmouth County — acts that are more commonly seen and heard at festivals and venues in NYC and North Jersey — the series fulfills its mission from the get-go in its inaugural show this Saturday evening, April 23, when the UUCMC Meetinghouse gives the greater Red Bank audience its first-ever local look at an acclaimed modern folk duo that’s been enchanting listeners on both sides of the Atlantic for decades: the husband/wife team known as The Kennedys.

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RED BANK: IN THE MOOD FOR BIG SOUND

INTHEMOOD_SHOWMAINPICA big band and an energetic troupe of singers and dancers bring that 1940s vibe back to the Count Basie Theatre Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

There’s the Andrews Sisters’ rollicking reveille “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Bing Crosby’s jumped-up “Swingin’ on a Star.” Benny Goodman’s pounding epic “Sing! Sing! Sing!” Glenn Miller’s signature slow-dance “Moonlight Serenade.”

While they might date from your great-grandma’s era of USO shows and network radio, they represent the music of youth — the soundtrack for a country tested by the Great Depression and a Second World War, but ready to seize its moment on the global stage.

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RED BANK: BANDIERA & CO. HONOR BOWIE

basie bowieBobby Bandiera, below, honors the late David Bowie with a special tribute concert in Red Bank Saturday night. (Click to enlarge.)

Bandiera 2016It was originally supposed to go down as a tribute to the pop music legend with the omnipresent shades and the hi-lonesome voice: Mr. Roy Orbison.

But when word got out that David Bowie had passed away on January 10, Bob Bandiera switched strategies as quickly as the late, great “Thin White Duke” himself explored musical personas in a career lasting some 50 years.

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RED BANK: GRIFFIN AND BEAR IT

kathy-griffin-at-tyler-shieldsKathy Griffin, the flame-haired comic with the celeb-roasting style, returns to Red Bank for a Friday night funny-fight at the Basie. (Photo by Tyler Shields)

She’s got a trophy case full of accolades — including two Emmys and a Grammy — but Kathy Griffin didn’t get where she is by making nice with the targets of her comic flamethrowing.

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RED BANK: A BARD AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Actor-singer-composer-musician Rinde Eckert talks about creating the music for the Two River Theater production of “Pericles,” which begins previews this weekend. (Video courtesy of the Two River Theater.)

Even as passionate a cheerleader as Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias is forced to admit that Pericles, Prince of Tyre is “one of Shakespeare’s plays that has frustrated his fans” —  the result of its being “most obviously the result of a quirky collaboration with another playwright (or two).”

A sprawling smorgasbord of mythology and melodrama that boasts sensational plot points (incest! pirates! sexual slavery!) and more scenery than can be chewed through in a single sitting, the late-period romance fairly begs, as Dias declares, for “an interpretive team of theater artists who love it for the splendor of its quirks, while working to bring its disparate selves together.”

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RED BANK: PUSCIFER, DION & “EMILY”

James Maynard KeenanMaynard James Keenan (above) brings the rock theatrics \ of Puscifer’s “Money $hot” Tour to Red Bank in a Count Basie debut tonight — while Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci (below) returns for a Thursday night streetcorner serenade. 

The never-ending rock show rolls on at the Count Basie Theatre, as the nights ahead see several generations of chart-toppers and Grammy winners deliver decades-spanning retrospectives, conceptual stage shows and, at least in one case, a smidgen of “bone breaking fun” to the Red Bank stage.

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