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RED BANK: VOICES & VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS

Vienna Boys CODAThe touring company of the venerable Vienna Boys Choir takes the Count Basie stage on Monday, December 15 — following a weekend of NUTCRACKER performances presented by Company of Dance Arts, and choreographed by Peter Anastos. 

The notion of Red Bank as the area’s unofficial Capital of Christmas Entertainment — and the landmark Count Basie Theatre as a veritable Santa’s Workshop of seasonal diversions that range from the sacred to the silly (and, in one upcoming instance, even the playfully profane) — is reinforced big-time over the course of the next week-and-change. Keep it tuned to redbankgreen for the details as they unfold — and keep it glued to the Basie seats for a ten-day sleighride that begins this very afternoon, December 13.

Like the Monmouth Civic Chorus presentation of Handel’s Messiah that preceded it on the Basie boards, the annual staging of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker by the borough-based Company of Dance Arts is one of those hometown traditions without which it simply “wouldn’t be Chrismas” —  a staple signifier of the holiday season in Red Bank for 29 years and counting, and an institution that’s employed the talents of generations of performers (in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances). Choreographed by the nationally renowned Peter Anastos — and mixing guest soloists from New York dance companies with local professionals and the young students of the CoDA company — the colorfully costumed production inaugurated its 2014 schedule with a special Friday morning school show on December 12, and returns for four public performances (1 pm and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday). Despite ever-changing casts — and the often significant ways in which both the Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank have changed over the past 30 years — the ballet remains a direct link to a simpler “small town” era of community life, and a great generator of memories, regardless of whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the 29th.

Tickets to any of the four performances of The Nutcracker ($20 – $40) can be reserved here.

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RED BANK: WATER METER FAQ POSTED

rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

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LINCROFT: ‘NIGHT VISITORS’ WELCOME

UUCMC Amahl and the Night VisitorsIt starts with the appearance of an unusually large star in the desert night sky — and for a young boy named Amahl, it heralds the appearance of three kings at his family’s humble home, seeking shelter for the night as they make their way to a place called Bethlehem.

First performed as a live TV special in 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors quickly took its rightful place among the Yuletide season’s best-loved musical masterworks — and continuing a local tradition, the contemporary opera will be staged at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14.

Presented at 7 pm on Saturday, and encoring at 6 pm Sunday, the family-friendly favorite is the second in a four-part Performing Arts Series at UUCMC; directed by Elaine Held (with co-musical direction by Louise Chernosky), and starring not one but two young local actresses as Amahl: Tara Lieneck of Middletown (at right in photo) featured on December 13, and Clara Randel of Aberdeen (left) taking over the role on December 14.

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RED BANK: PARK TO HONOR JOHNNY JAZZ

ralph johnny jazz gatta 2006

By JOHN T. WARD

rb jazz 082214 1 He presided over what had to qualify as one of the quirkiest neighborhood grocery stores in the history of retailing, let alone Red Bank.

Now, four years after his death, the beloved jazz-enthralled butcher known to all as “Johnny Jazz” is to about to get a neverending solo.

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RED BANK: LOCKSMITH SNAPS SHUT

dunlap 121014The successor to a knife-sharpening business that began in 1928, Dunlap Locksmith has called it quits. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallDunlap Locksmith, an 86-year-old Red Bank stalwart, has closed.

A notice posted on the White Street shop’s Facebook page says the store “locked its doors for the last time” on Saturday.

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RED BANK: PARTY LIKE IT’S SINATRA 99

RBJOConductor and arranger Joe Muccioli takes the baton once again as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents its eighth annual Sinatra Birthday Bash this Saturday, at Count Basie’s place — a set of swingin’ standards that features Red Bank’s Vance Villastrigo (right) among many others.

VANCE_VILLASTRIGODon’t look now, but this Friday marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. As a cause for song and festivity, it’s only the second most celebrated birthday in December — but for thousands of fans in the Chairman of the Board’s onetime Jersey stomping grounds, it’s an occasion in which Red Bank plays a significant role.

Count Joe Muccioli among the music-biz pros who’ve got their work cut out for them in the Sinatra Centennial year of 2015 — but that’s all down the road, as the man called Mooche has a big current project on his plate: the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the eighth annual edition of which arrives at the Count Basie Theatre on Friday night.

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RED BANK: SEAFOOD RESTAURANT SET TO OPEN

catch 121014 3catch 121014 2Continuing the rapid transformation of Red Bank into a dining mecca, the paper comes off the windows at 9 Broad Street as the seafood restaurant Catch opens Thursday night. At right: a calamari appetizer prepared in the kitchen of chef and partner Domenick Rizzo for a friends-and-family run-through Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: FREE PARKING, STROLLING SANTAS

rb parking 121112Kiss the kiosks goodbye for the next two weeks:. Visitors to downtown Red Bank will get a pass on having to pay for parking starting Thursday and running through December 25. The annual moratorium applies to lot and curb spaces, according to Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency will host an “open house” throughout the business district Thursday night, featuring store sales, refreshments, carolers, and the Barbizon Holiday Mannequins. New this year: strolling Santas, available to grace your selfies. (Photo by John T. Ward; click to enlarge)

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MIDDLETOWN: WIRY CHARACTER SIGHTED

mtown wire figure 121014The odd presence of a sketchy figure, seen leaning against a utility pole on Hubbard Avenue near West Front Street in Middletown Wednesday afternoon, seems to cry out for explanation – and puns. Got one?  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

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SHREWSBURY POLICE BLOTTER

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of November 21 to November 28, 2014.

AUTHORITIES_SBURY2-2014Crimes

Report of Theft in the area of Avenue of the Commons on 11/25/14. Victim reports property taken by unknown subject(s). Damages totaling $422.00. Ptl. Derek Myers investigating.

Arrests

Sharryn Czeslaw, female age 50 of Eatontown was arrested on 11/23/14 for Shoplifting in the area of Broad Street by Ptl. Jessica Boyd.

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RED BANK: BOND INTRO LEGIT, O’HERN SAYS

menna o'hern seal 010114Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, right, with Mayor Pasquale Menna earlier this year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A push by Red Bank’s Democrat-controlled council to pass a $2.2 million water-meter-replacement bond by the end of the year can move forward, according to borough Attorney Dan O’Hern.

O’Hern tells redbankgreen that Mayor Pasquale Menna’s belated “tiebreaker” vote to introduce the bond last week was permissible, even though the mayor is allowed under state law to vote only in the event of a council tie. The council vote was two in favor and one opposed, with one abstention.

But the abstention, by soon-to-depart Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, was tantamount to a “no,” O’Hern said Monday, citing recent cases involving Newark and Hoboken.

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RED BANK: SETTING SEITZ ON NATURE

Rocks_Beach_Arubarszrsz“Rocks Beach Aruba” is among photographer Colin Seitz’s beautiful scenes of nature — in unnaturally beautiful black and white — on display starting Friday at McKay Imaging Gallery.

“More than one year ago, Colin Seitz walked through our door seeking, among other things, a show in our gallery,” explain Robert McKay and Elisabeth Koch-McKay, the visionary husband-wife photographer team behind downtown Red Bank’s McKay Imaging gallery. “We told him that his work was really quite beautiful, but that we wanted to see a lot more of it!”

Taking that as a cue, Seitz spent much of the next year out-of-doors, building up a body of work centered around the natural landscape, as rendered in richly detailed black and white — a decision that, in the words of the Brick-based lensman, “enables me to emphasize the magnitude of the scene without oversimplifying it with color.”

True to their word, the McKays have given Seitz the wall-space real estate (and the prime-time shopping season scheduling) for his first solo show of silver photographic prints.

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SEA BRIGHT: STREETS INUNDATED AGAIN

SB FLOOD 120914 1SB FLOOD 120914 2In a scene reminiscent of the early hours of Hurricane Sandy, a paddleboarder made the most of opportunity and took to the streets of Sea Bright Tuesday morning. “The wind is rough,” he told redbankgreen as he worked his way past the Sea Bright Supermarket.

Many of the borough’s side streets were flooded in the convergence of a wind-driven downpour and Shrewsbury River high tide, as were stretches of Ocean Avenue, which remained open to traffic.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

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RUMSON: DRIVER RESCUED FROM FLOODING

RUMSON flood 120914 1 A car sits in the center of Waterman Avenue, its emergency lights still flashing, moments after its driver was rescued Tuesday morning. Below, a pickup truck abandoned near the boat ramp on Avenue of Two Rivers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RUMSON flood 120914 2One motorist was rescued and another abandoned his inundated truck as the worst flooding to hit Rumson since Hurricane Sandy swamped low-lying areas of Rumson, police Chief Scott Paterson said Tuesday.

Borough police rescued an unidentified female motorist from her car after it became stuck in floodwaters on Waterman Avenue at about 11 a.m. Paterson tells redbankgreen.

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FAIR HAVEN: A VERY MEWY CATSMAS

SallyWmsPeteCatRumson-based cat care consultant Sally Williams visits River Road Books on Friday, as part of a festive feline-themed event that also includes a reading from the latest adventure of Pete the Cat.

Call it a sign of these digitally enabled times if you will, but CATS only just seem to be coming into their own after all those eons of patient catnapping — and to prove it, River Road Books will be hosting an afternoon event that’s all about our furry friends this Friday, December 12.

Scheduled for the hours of 3 to 5 pm, the event boasts an appearance by a local resident with a particular expertise in cats and their caretakers — Rumson-based Sally Williams, whose cat behavioral consulting business The Contented Cat offers a range of services that include adoption counseling, environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement and yes, kitty Reiki. The Monmouth SPCA volunteer and blogger will speak about her “cat whispering” career, on a day that also features a drop-in by an especially famous feline.

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