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RED BANK: STRAWBERRIES, STARS ‘N STRIPES

hottaters2 copyThe Hot Taters return to First Presbyterian Church on Tower Hill as part of the festivities for the annual Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival. 

It wasn’t so very long ago that July 3 packed an altogether different vibe than the relatively sleepy pre-holiday interlude we now get in Red Bank. But while the yearly KaBoom fireworks extravaganza last lit things up five years ago, up on Tower Hill, you’ll find another long-running holiday weekend tradition continues to make a glorious noise.

Now in its 28th annual edition,the First Presbyterian Church hosts the yearly Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival returns Sunday, offering up a selection of delectable homemade desserts and sweet, sweet American music.

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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: 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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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: 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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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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RUMSON: SINGER JAZZES UP CAREER VIA PUNK

deborah dutcher phil kuntz 100515-v2 (2)Deborah Dutcher and Phil Kuntz, above, and the proposed album art, which offers homage to both Elvis Presley and the Clash, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

deborah doctor punk 100515It was no accident that Deborah Dutcher ended up touring Europe for 13 years with lead roles in such shows as “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Singing show tunes professionally was pretty much all she ever thought of doing.

“My mom tells that from the moment I could speak, I wanted to be a singer,” Dutcher told redbankgreen last week. “And I had major follow-through. I never deviated.”

That laser focus, supplemented by a heavy diet of Barry Manilow and the Carpenters, also ensured that Dutcher ended up knowing diddly about punk rock. So when her friend and fellow Rumson resident Phil Kuntz suggested she record an album of punk classics as a way of restarting her career after a decade off, Dutcher was in unfamiliar territory.

The Buzzcocks? The Sex Pistols? Who were they?

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FAIR HAVEN: CAPPING A SPARKLING DAY

061315fhday59061315fhday33Hundreds of Fair Havenites spent the afternoon and evening in the open air of Fair Haven Fields Saturday, enjoying the fourth annual Fair Haven Day, an event begun in 2012 to commemorate the borough centennial.

Kids limboed, danced to the Jukebox Criminals and built ice cream sundaes; adults enjoyed a range of culinary offerings, as well as beer and sangria; and the whole thing was capped once again with a spectacular fireworks show.

redbankgreen was there, camera in hand, to capture the vibe for those who missed it, or just want to relive it. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: A YEAR LATER, STRINGS RESOUND

rb strings 061814 4Student musicians preparing to rehearse at the middle school last June, above, and performing at the borough sidewalk sale a month later. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Wayne Woolley. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb strings 072614A year after budget cuts appeared to doom the strings program at the Red Bank primary and middle schools, the band is back.

As part of the the borough-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert, strings players from the two-school district will take the stage of the vaunted Count Basie Theatre for a song Saturday.

But the appearance signals more than mere survival of a music program that was on the verge of disappearing when $80,000 was cut from the district 2014-’15 budget, advocates said. Rather, it marks the culmination of a community-wide effort to restore the program and position it for the future.

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RED BANK RIVERFEST: IT’S A WRAP

052915rivfest30052915rivfest36Scenes from the weekend-long Red Bank Riverfest, which attracted thousands of visitors to in Marine Park Red Bank.

Were you there? Take it past the “read more” to see if the roving lenses of redbankgreen got your picture. (Photos by Susan Ericson, Trish Russoniello and John T.Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: SOAKING IN THE FLAVOUR

rbiff 042515 20042615 rbflavourfest11Thousands of strolling-and-eating springtime revelers flooded the White Street parking lot for the annual Red Bank International Flavour Festival on a cool, partly sunny afternoon Sunday.

As usual, redbankgreen was there to capture dozens of sweet and savory moments. Are you in one of our photos? Check out the full array below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson, Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR RETURNS

RBIFF 042714 27Last year’s International Flavor Festival in Red Bank’s White Street parking lot served a variety of choice tidbits. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

RBIFF 042714 22With sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s in the forecast, the Red Bank International Flavour Festival should pack the White Street parking lot once again this Sunday.

The first food festival of the year in a restaurant-crazy town is like opening day for revelers and foodies alike. Seventeen or so of the borough’s finest eateries will be on hand to dispense culinary treats – savory, sweet, and exotic, including:

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RUMSON: WARMING UP A CHILLY NIGHT

120714 rumson xmas4Tim McLoone, flanked by Rudolph, Santa and Frosty, rocked the gazebo in Victory Park. Rudolph also made the rounds in the crowd, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120714 rumson xmas11 Victory Park was awash in lights and music as Tim McLoone and the Shirleys headed up Rumson’s Christmas tree lighting Sunday night.

Mayor John Ekdahl nominated a second-grader from the Deane Porter School to perform the task of pushing the button to light the tree and the Tower singers from Rumson-Fair Haven High School offered a selection of holiday tunes while Linda Walton’s catering company helped the crowd ward off the night’s chill with hot chocolate and home baked cookies.

Were you among those singing-in the holiday season? Check below for more pictures.

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RED BANK: SANTA & KIDS HUDDLE IN THE RAIN

rb tree lighting 120614Santa Claus and friends attempted to find some shelter from the rain as Red Bankers gathered for the annual West Side Tree Lighting at the pocket park on Shrewsbury Avenue Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge)