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MIDDLETOWN: A CURTIN CALL FOR FRIENDS

Cathy-CurtinCatherine Curtin, co-star of the hit Netflix series ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, visits Middletown Library on April 30 for a “Meet the Actress” event dedicated to the library’s projects and programs.

Press release from Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library

On the Emmy winning Netflix dark comedy series Orange Is the New Black, Catherine Curtin quickly made a vivid impression as Wanda Bell, the manipulative and mean-spirited Corrections Officer that the native New Yorker describes as “the wrong person in charge;” a “jealous, intimidating, bitchy and angry” martinet who rules her little realm by playing it any which way but nice.

When Curtin visits Middletown Township Public Library on Saturday, April 30, however, she’ll find herself receiving a warm and heartfelt welcome by a roomful of friends — the Friends of the MTPL, hosts of a “Meet the Actress” fundraiser dialogue event dedicated to funding the programs of the library at 55 New Monmouth Road.

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ON THE GREEN: WARMING CHAMBERS

radiancechamberensembleThe Radiance Chamber Ensemble brings a ray of sunshine to the Middletown Library Sunday with a free program that celebrates winter’s frosty pleasures.

As last weekend’s positively polar plunge confirmed, winter is still very much a thing in this neck of the Greater Red Bank Green. But if the season of the single digits boasts of any truly elegant pleasures, it’s the ability to warm oneself in front of a chamber-music hearth while the outside world goes slipping and cursing about its business.

And the days and nights to come offer music lovers several opportunities to slip into something a bit more civilized; all of them free of charge. Read More »

MIDDLETOWN LIONS, LIBRARY BOOST LITERACY

MTPL LIonsPress release from the Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library

On Wednesday, March 2, the Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library will team up with the Middletown Lions Club to host Read Across America Day: A Celebration of the Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss at Middletown Public Library. Going on between 4 to 7 pm, the free event is open to kids of all ages.

Children and their parents are encouraged to attend this fun, lively and interactive local event in Read Across America Day, an annual nationwide initiative that encourages the love of reading, and that pays tribute to the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The event will feature musical entertainment by Disc Jockey Steve Munger of No Limit Entertainment; balloon designing by Rick Jones of White Knight Balloons; face-painting by Christine Conrad of Middletown High School South; button-making; snacks, beverages and dessert cake; free souvenirs; and facilitated group reading circles.

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MIDDLETOWN PL HOSTS ‘TRASH TO TREASURE’

Press release from Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library

Trash_To_Treasure_SaleOn Saturday, February 6, Middletown Township Public Library will be the setting for a First Annual “Trash To Treasure” Sale event, hosted by the Friends of MTPL inside the library’s Community Room. Going on between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the event is open to the public and will feature over 20 tables of eclectic merchandise, including attic treasures, collectibles, jewelry, antiques, clothing, art, novelty items, baked goods and much more.

Tables are available for $25 to Middletown residents and to cardholders of the library who would like to sell merchandise. Table fees will benefit the non-profit organization Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library. There are a limited number of tables available, and registration must be completed with payment made by January 21. Registration is available by visiting the reference desk of the library., and more information is available by calling the library at (732)671-3700 or by emailing Friends of MTPL president Lori Anne Oliwa at LoriAnne@TheWriteAngles.com.

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MIDDLETOWN: WINNERS, SINNERS AND LOSERS

St VincentMelissa McCarthy and Bill Murray are neighbors thrown together by necessity in ST. VINCENT, one of the free movies screening in July at Middletown Library. 

The free Movie Mondays (and select Fridays) series of screenings continues through July in the climate controlled Community Room at Middletown Township Public Library — a summertime slate that focuses once again on some features of very recent vintage; nearly all of which saw release within the past twelve months.

The Monday matinees resume at 2:30 pm today, July 6 with Melissa McCarthy as a single mom who’s forced to enlist her drinking, gambling, entirely disagreeable next door neighbor (Bill Murray) as adult caregiver to her son — thereby initiating a scenario of illicit kicks and heartwarming bonding — in St. Vincent. The week is bookended with the latest in a recently established series of New Film Fridays, with Jennifer Lawrence and all-star supporting cast in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 — penultimate installment in the four-part “trilogy” adapted from Suzanne Collins’ phenom sci-fi series (and prelude to Part 2, scheduled for release this November).

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MIDDLETOWN: A WALL OF FRIENDS, AT MTPL

HelenErnieAntholisPastel paintings by Eleni and Ernest Antholis are among the works on display and on sale, during an “Off the Wall” fundraiser for Friends of the Middletown Library that includes a Saturday afternoon reception.

It’s being branded as an Off the Wall art exhibit; an event in which the multiple-media works of a couple of Middletown’s most prolific artists is “literally coming ‘off their walls’ to yours.” A benefit for the Friends of the Middletown Township Public Library, the installation (on view now inside MTPL’s Community Room gallery space) spotlights more than 100 original watercolor paintings, pastels, ink drawings and photographs — all of them the work of one particularly busy township-based couple, Helen (“Eleni”) and Ernest Antholis.

The artists (a sampling of whose works can be seen here) are expected to be present for the exhibit’s official opening reception this Saturday, June 13 from 2 to 4 pm. Attendees are invited to meet Eleni and Ernest; observe a pastel-painting demo, enjoy some complimentary refreshments, and browse a collection of work that’s available for purchase, with one third of all proceeds dedicated to the Friends of MTPL and their ongoing mission of helping make possible the library’s many art, music, film, lecture, and instructional programs for kids and adults.

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MIDDLETOWN: OSCAR FILMS AND OTHERWISE

Horrible-Bosses-2-Stills-Latest-WallpapersJason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis stumble into a life of crime in HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, one of the free movies screening in June at Middletown Library. 

They’re the recent movies that you were meaning to see — just not necessarily on a cell phone screen, while waiting in line for another movie. And, as opposed to most other methods of delivery, they’re also fabulously free; presented in the climate controlled Community Room at Middletown Township Public Library every Monday afternoon (and select Fridays) throughout the summer.

Following a Memorial Day break, the Movie Mondays series resumes at MTPL on June 1 with a 2:30 pm showing of the comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2 — in which the trio of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis find themselves swindled by prospective business partners, caught up in a convoluted kidnapping scheme, and forced to enlist the Horrible Bosses (including Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey) from the first film.

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MIDDLETOWN: ‘GYPSY TRAIL’ LEADS TO MTPL

gorillaGorilla Bob and the Champ join The Capo Brothers for a free Monday evening concert at Middletown Township Public Library.  

They describe themselves as Open Mic Gypsies — a group of have-guitar/ will-travel performers whose passion for playing often finds them at such Monmouth County locales as the Belmar Arts Center and Espresso Joe’s in Keyport. On Monday May 11, The Capo Brothers bring their original folk-rock songs (performed “on acoustic guitar in rounds”) to the Community Room of Middletown Township Public Library, in an evening event that finds the trio of Stefan Sartek, Jill Cagney and Patrick “Pat Cat” Taverna sharing the space with some favorite fellow travelers from the local gypsy trail.

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MIDDLETOWN: MAY MEANS MOVIES AT MTPL

tortillaThe 2001 feature TORTILLA SOUP screens on Monday 5/4, as one of the May series of free film events at Middletown Library. 

The monthly series of free Movie Mondays at Middletown Township Public Library continues here in May — and while April’s schedule centered around a food-and-beverage theme, this month extends the celluloid smorgasbord for the next couple of weeks, shifting gears (prior to a holiday break) into somewhat less digestion-friendly dramatic territory.

The banquet at the biblioteque continues this Monday, May 4, with director Maria Ripoli’s 2001 feature Tortilla Soup. Co-written by Ang Lee — the Taiwanese-born filmmaker who gave us everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi to Brokeback Mountain and the first Hulk movie — it’s a portrait of a Mexican-American patriarch and chef (Hector Elizondo) who seeks to reacquire his taste for better living, with the help of his daughters (Jacqueline Obradors, Tamara Mello). And if you’re wondering just what vintage to pair with such an offering, read on.

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MIDDLETOWN: RESCUING THE ‘LOST DOGS’

Spirit of the SatoProject Animal Worldwide partners with Middletown Township Library for a free Wednesday evening screening of the documentary SPIRIT OF THE SATO: The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs. 

From the city streets of San Juan to the most remote beaches, they’re among the most “invisible” of the homeless population. An estimated quarter of a million Sato (local slang for mixed-breed or “mutt”) dogs roam Puerto Rico, often abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves in a US territory where spaying and neutering animals is not common practice.

With the 2013 documentary Spirit Of The Sato, filmmaker Ellen La Torre took a quantum leap toward raising awareness of the plight of the Satos — drawing the participation of experts that include original “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan, and focusing on the efforts of Project Animal Worldwide, the Eatontown-based nonprofit organization presided over by La Torre. Partnering with dog-friendly Shore area businesses like Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar and entities like the Monmouth County SPCA, the people from PAW have run “Sato Reunion” missions to Puerto Rico; matching dogs with adopting homes throughout New Jersey and the region — and on Wednesday, April 29, the feature subtitled The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs receives a free screening at Middletown Township Public Library.

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MIDDLETOWN: WHEN THE SUN HITS YOUR EYE

dave delucaIt’s been called the Italian Decade — that pop-music moment between the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the British Invasion of the Beatles and their peers, a time when a resurgent Frank Sinatra staked his claim as Chairman of the Board, and when Dean Martin, Perry Como and Tony Bennett brought a smoothly passionate brand of crooning to radio airwaves, Billboard charts and nightclub stages.

Characterized by songs that range from old-country favorites like “O Sole Mio” and “Volare” to fun novelties like “That’s Amore” (“when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”), the music of the Great Italian-American Songbook is celebrated in style this Saturday, when singer Dave DeLuca brings his program That’s Amore to Middletown Township Public Library for a free afternoon concert.

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MIDDLETOWN: MAKING A MEAL OF A MOVIE

the-trip-to-italy-rob-brydon-steve-coogan1-600x337Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan star in THE TRIP TO ITALY, one of a smorgasbord of “food themed films” that screen for free during Mondays in April at Middletown Library. 

Whoever opined to the effect that there’s “no such thing as a free lunch” would do well to visit the Middletown Township Public Library here in April, where every Monday afternoon spotlights a different cinematic confection; centered around a foodie theme and served up absolutely free of charge. With all screenings beginning at 2:30 pm, it’s a celluloid smorgasbord that boasts some bold international flavors, some spicy scripting, and maybe just a little bit of scenery-chewing on the part of the actors.

The four-course matinee commences this Monday, April 6, with a showing the 2014 British dramedy The Trip to Italy. Steve Coogan (soon on display in the Showtime series Happyish) and Rob Brydon co-star in director Michael Winterbottom’s film as “themselves;” a pair of talkative friends who maintain an ongoing dialogue (on life, love and other weighty things) while competing for the viewer’s attention with some spectacular scenery and a spread of regional culinary delights. Edited into feature-length format from a 2014 BBC series, it’s a sequel to 2010’s The Trip, in which Rob and Steve similarly tour northern England — and it serves as an engaging appetizer, for the schedule that follows.

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RED BANK, MIDDLETOWN: JOYFUL NOISES

BrandauMuenchDr. Ryan Brandau leads the Monmouth Civic Chorus in song, Sunday at Tower Hill Church — while pianist Julia Muench salutes her immigrant heritage in a free Monday evening concert at Middletown Library. 

Vibrant vocal music in Hebrew and Latin — and a musical history lesson accented with the German immigrant experience in America — are on tap in the days and nights to come, courtesy of some of the area’s premier performers.

Up at Tower Hill Church — aka First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank — Dr. Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus inaugurate their 2015 slate of public-welcome concerts with A Joyful Noise this Sunday.

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MIDDLETOWN: MOVIE MAYHEM MATINEE

Tom-Cruise-Edge-of-TomorrowBegin Again: The Tom Cruise sci-fi suspenser EDGE OF TOMORROW screens for free at Middletown Library, kicking off a month of Movie Monday matinees. 

With the “what-were-we-thinking” hiccup of the Academy Award season now a fast-fading memory, Middletown Township Public Library continues its ongoing series of free movie screenings with another month-long slate of recent feature film releases; another chance to catch up with both the multiplex blockbusters and the arthouse curios that slipped between the sprockets.

It’s been called “the best video game you’ll never be able to play;” a smash-up sci-fi epic that unspools like a “Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers” story pitch. Riding a recent wave of futurama action roles, Tom Cruise stars as an awkward and reluctant warrior whose bum luck in the heat of battle — he’s repeatedly killed in action, only to be time-looped back into the fray — finds him forever poised at the Edge of Tomorrow. Kick-ass mentor Emily Blunt molds Cruise into a fighting machine capable of taking on the alien nasties, and Doug Liman directs the 2014 thriller that screens in MTPL’s Community Room today, March 2 at 2:30 pm — with much more to come.

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M’TOWN: INTIMATE CLASSICS, REVERENT JAZZ

JoelDeWittJohnGronertViolinist Joel DeWitt (left) presents a program of chamber duets at Middletown Library on Monday evening…while drummer John Gronert (right) is among the cats taking part in a February 19 jazz service at Lincroft Presbyterian.  

The post-Valentine days and evenings offer discerning music lovers a chance to get all intimate with their preferred sounds — be it a chamber recital at the bibliotheque, or the return of a rather unique public-invited Jazz Service at a local place of worship.

This coming Monday, February 16 sees the Community Room of the Middletown Township Public Library welcoming back an artist who’s frequently made himself at home in that cozy venue, for the latest in a series of MTPL-produced classical music offerings. Violinist Joel DeWitt teams with pianist Brian Gilmore, for a 7 pm session spotlighting masterful duets by Mozart, Debussy and Prokofiev. It’s an hour-long program, for which no advance registration is necessary (and admission is of course fabulously free).

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