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RED BANK: MA RAINEY’S BLOCK PARTY @TRTC

Brandon J DirdenReturning star Brandon J. Dirden (above) is among the cast members expected to attend — while J.W. Lawson and Dean Shot (below) bring the live blues tunes — as Two River Theater keynotes the season opening-production of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ with a Friday evening “block party.”

JW Lawson Dean ShotWhile we’re still a few Saturdays away from the start of the new 2016-2017 schedule at Two River Theater, the Red Bank performing arts space is keeping it outside for the moment — with a special event that harnesses the magic-hour mojo of the late-summertime season and sounds an early keynote for a blues-infused season opener.

That inaugural production is “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the August Wilson ensemble piece that opens September 16 as the latest in Two River’s ongoing exploration of the late African American playwright’s “century cycle” of dramas. The special event is a Taste of the Blues Block Party that rocks the theater’s open-air patio with a Friday evening fricassee of live music, dancing, locally sourced cuisine, and “a chance to meet and mingle with the cast.”

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RED BANK: BASIE ROLLS (WITH) THE DICE

Andrew Dice ClayThe old greaser’s pompadour has thinned; the paunch squeaks and strains against the trademark leathers, and the glasses could have come straight off the face of your great-aunt Totsie — but let no one say that the biggest/baddest of standup comedy’s many self-proclaimed Bad Boys has lost any modicum of his mojo at the mic.

Besides, even the most outrageously offensive rants, rhymes and roast-ready insults of Andrew Dice Clay read anymore like Tuesday morning’s tweets from the 2016 Presidential campaign playbook. And when “the only performer ever banned for life from MTV” (or first contestant ever thrown off Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” or SNL host who inspired the most cast member walk-outs) takes the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Thursday night, August 25, he’ll be once more ascending a career rollercoaster that’s taken him from multi-night sellouts of Madison Square Garden, to a humbling stint beneath the low ceilings of basement comedy clubs — and a return to form in front of theater-sized crowds.

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RED BANK: MCAC EXEC STEPS DOWN, MOVES UP

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Mary Eileen FourattAfter 19 years at the Monmouth County Arts Council — 17 of them as Executive Director —Mary Eileen Fouratt (pictured right) will be stepping down to take a position with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Fouratt, who first served as Community Arts Director in 1997, became Executive Director in 1999 when the Monmouth County Arts Council and Count Basie Theatre separated into two nonprofit entities.

Fouratt’s tenure has seen unprecedented growth for Monmouth Arts, including the development of the award-winning Monmouth County Arts Plan “Envision, Imagine, Create,” and the MoCo Arts Corridor, a creative placemaking and marketing initiative. She led the MCAC’s response to Hurricane Sandy, ArtHelps, and under her leadership Monmouth Arts has received a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council every year since 2006.

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RED BANK CHARTER STEM PROGRAM SETS SAIL

RBCS summer STEMPress release from Red Bank Charter School

Jayshawn Banks, an eighth grade student at Red Bank Middle School, peeks above the top of his laptop — just enough time to compare the sailboat blueprint he’s developing on his screen with the real dinghy that is being assembled just a few feet away.

Jayshawn’s classmate, Shelly Vasquez, a seventh grader at Red Bank Charter School, does the same. Both are intent on the task at hand: to build a sailboat. And while both students know they can get quick answers from their teachers in the room, they remain steadfastly independent, choosing to work with their peers instead.

“We feel like architects,” Jayshawn said. “And when we run into problems, we know we can ask the teacher, but we’d rather figure it out ourselves.”

This balance of independence and collaboration is a hallmark of the five-week RBCS Summer Institute, available to all elementary school-aged children.

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ON THE GREEN: GOOD TIMES, GOOD CAUSES

basie fields 052516 1Count Basie Field (above) is the setting for a day of “play ball” and picnicking organized by Lunch Break this Saturday…while Middletown’s New Monmouth Diner calls in the classic cars (below) for a Monday evening fundraiser.

Diner car showFrom the files of redbankgreen‘s All Good section come several reminders that the season for doing good doesn’t take a vacation during these dwindling doggy days of summer — and that the mornings and evenings ahead continue to offer still more ways to walk, run, cruise, or even head-first slide into serving the greater good.

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RED BANK: SONGS FOR A SUMMER NIGHT

Alexis-RoddaShe’s been hailed as an artist possessed of “a lovely voice, full of color and body in every register, and the poise to perform unselfconsciously in an intimate space” — a setting of which the reviewer observed, “can be more of a challenge than a large hall with 3,000 people.”

When soprano Alexis Rodda performs a Thursday evening concert at St. Anthony of Padua, she’ll be working on a scale that’s cozier than Carnegie — but she’ll also be feeling very much at home, as the Red Bank resident is a regular choir member at the Bridge Avenue house of worship. And, together with pianist Manon Hutton-DeWys, she’ll help to inaugurate a new series of public-welcome music presentations at St. Anthony’s.

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RUMSON: CLINGING JELLYFISH GONE FOR NOW?

navesink rally 081116 2A slide shown during a presentation on clinging jellyfish by Montclair State University marine biologist Paul Bologna. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Aside from the fact that they’re dime-sized and pack a truck-sized wallop in their sting, not a lot is known about clinging jellyfish. But a recent profusion of the creatures in waters in and off New Jersey has led to some insights, a marine biologist told a gathering in Rumson Thursday night.

One is that they’re a favored meal or sea nettles, larger jellyfish also known for their sting. Another is that, for this summer at least, the sea nettles may have eaten them all.

“They’re kind of gone for the season,” Paul Bologna, director of marine biology and coastal sciences at Montclair State University, told attendees at a Rally for the Navesink organized by Clean Ocean Action and other environmental groups and held at the First Presbyterian Church.

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RED BANK: SEX, LINES AND ADHESIVE TAPE

Zac CavaluzziThe “adhesive studies” of artist-ilustrator Zachary Cavaluzzi are on display beginning with a Saturday night reception at Glen Goldbaum’s Lambs and Wolves salon.

Tape Babes“I created the space to host different things other than hair,” Glen Goldbaum told redbankgreen a few years back, in discussing Lambs and Wolves, the sister salon to his original Glen Goldbaum 72 on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.

“I thought, ‘Why does this have to be just a hair salon?’”

True to his concept, the celebrated stylist has used the walls, counters and couches of his space at 66-D Bridge as a storefront gallery for art happenings, fantasy-inspired dress-up parties, “Literary Vixens” book events and (most recently) an “Art Inspired Makeup Demo,” in conjunction with the first ArtWalk event organized by the Monmouth County Arts Council.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS STAR AT ROCKIT GALA

Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

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RED BANK: HOLLARS FOR DOLLARS, AT BOW TIE

Still from "The Hollars", 2014, Director: John KrasinskiActor-director John Krasinski  pushes a pregnant Anna Kendrick in ‘The Hollars,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

In addition to helping make downtown Red Bank a Milk Dud mecca for first-run independent/”arthouse” feature films, White Street’s Bow Tie Cinemas (and its predecessor, Clearview Cinemas) has done duty as official host venue for an attraction all our own: a series of sneak-preview screening events, spotlighting festival-favorite indies before they go into general release.

Part of a long-running partnership between the borough-based Monmouth County Arts Council and Sony Pictures Classics (the major distributor whose president, Tom Bernard, makes his home in Middletown), the sneak-peek series has offered Red Bank-area audiences a first look at works from veteran auteurs (Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola) and first-timers alike.

This Thursday, it’s “roll ’em” once more, with a 7:30 p.m. showing of “The Hollars,” a comedy-drama directed by (and starring) a familiar face from the workplace.

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RED BANK: ONCE MORE ‘ROUND THE RIVER

rb paddle 091215 5Press release from Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham

If you have always wanted to kayak or try to paddle board on the Navesink River, but never knew how to get to it, now is your chance! On Saturday, September 10, Red Bank residents and visitors will once again have the chance to demo a kayak, paddle board, rowing shell, or try a class in paddle board yoga — and all for free — at the 6th Paddle the Navesink Day.

Going on from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the event takes place at Maple Cove (foot of Maple Avenue), the only public access site in Red Bank where you can hand launch a small non motorized craft in the Navesink River.

Just West of Maple Cove is Navesink River Rowing, which will be holding an open house to offer people the chance to demo a rowing shell and get information regarding their adult and youth rowing programs.

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ON THE GREEN: FUN UNDER THE SUN & STARS

rb movies park 072616 2Outdoor movie screenings and canoe rentals highlight a week of outdoor offerings in local parks.

Thompson Park canoePay no attention to those displays of back-to-school supplies, and put aside all thoughts of pre-season football, post-season baseball, and campaign-season roller derby. Yes, the summer of 2016 is still a thing (even at the Rio Olympics, where technically it’s winter), and the parks, beaches and portable stages of the Greater Red Bank Green still offer a plethora of open-air entertainments and recreational options in the coming days and nights — almost all of them free of charge.

It begins tonight, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of a truly golden oldie, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, pick up some cooling seasonal treats from Gracie and the Dudes, and enjoy Dorothy and the Dudes as they once again undertake the screen’s most memorable road trip. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes (including a recently added batch of fishy features at Sea Bright’s Municipal Beach) — then take it around the bend for more fun beneath the sun and stars.

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SANDY HOOK: CLINGING JELLYFISH TARGETED

clinging_jelly_newA closeup view of the clinging jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens), an invasive species from the Pacific Ocean that packs a painful sting. (Photo courtesy of  the American Littoral Society. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The clinging and stinging jellyfish that prompted the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association to cancel this summer’s River Ranger program is clearly something to be avoided.

Still, the American Littoral Society is hoping to get a closer look at the dime-sized creatures.

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RED BANK: DONATION AIDS ADDICTS

Christian Peter Lisa Rick StavolaLeft to right: former NFL football player and Tigger House Foundation board member Christian Peter is pictured with the Foundation’s founders Lisa and Rick Stavola, in front of the Alton A. Hovnanian Emergency Care Center at Riverview Medical Center.

Press release from Riverview Medical Center Foundation

The nonprofit Riverview Medical Center Foundation has announced a gift of $120,000 from the Tigger House Foundation that will support the addition of an Addictions Counselor in the hospital’s emergency department.

The addition of a licensed chemical dependency counselor to the Alton A. Hovnanian Emergency Care Center would provide timely and critical assessment and outreach to patients during severe times of need. Funding from Tigger House will be instrumental in helping Riverview create this new position, ensuring a licensed Addictions Counselor will be available in the hospital’s emergency department to address patients’ needs in a timely manner, seven days a week.

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RED BANK: FREE SUMMER FILMS AT THE BASIE

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.The 2015 Disney/Pixar hit “Inside Out” screens Saturday morning at the Count Basie Theatre, part of a free Summer Film Series that resumes on August 10 with the Mel Brooks monster-mash “Young Frankenstein.”

Young_Frankenstein_movie_posterThe doldrums of summer are prime time for free outdoor movie series like the long-running Tuesday attractions at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park and Sea Bright’s Movies on the Beach. Still, there’s no time like the sweltering present to enjoy the cooling comforts of climate control, and no better place to enjoy a classic moviegoing experience than at Monmouth County’s longest-running picture show, the historic Count Basie Theatre.

Ninety years after its 1926 debut as a venue for the latest in silent films, the former Carlton Theater keeps the big screen a-flicker in the weeks ahead with a special four-part Summer Film Series that’s free of charge.

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