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RED BANK: FORTUNE SMILES ON “LET’S TALK”

gilda rogers 072116Gilda Rogers returns as host when the Red Bank Public Library examines the borough’s historic T. Thomas Fortune House in a special edition of ‘Let’s Talk about Race.’

While the community-forum series that she’s moderated at Red Bank Public Library just observed its one-year anniversary, Gilda Rogers is scarcely the first Red Banker to issue the invitation “Let’s Talk About Race.” That distinction may go to T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928), the onetime slave turned pioneer black editor-publisher and crusading journalist — and this Wednesday evening, September 28, Fortune’s former home (on what’s now Drs. James Parker Boulevard) is the focus of a special discussion on the man named Fortune, and the ongoing efforts to recognize and represent his life’s work to the community.

Regular readers of redbankgreen‘s paperless pages have no doubt followed the story of the T. Thomas Fortune House, the National Historic Site that has fallen into a serious state of disrepair in recent years — along with a newly floated proposal to rehabilitate the deteriorating structure as a public-welcome community center, and centerpiece of a residential apartment development. During Wednesday’s 7 p.m. presentation in the library’s downstairs meeting room, attendees will be brought up to speed on the details of the plan, and how such a resource can best honor the legacy of the activist who was credited as “being the bridge to the modern day Civil Rights Movement.”

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RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK NAMES NEW TRUSTEES

rick-brandtPress release from Lunch Break Inc.

In a recent announcement, Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break named Rick Brandt (pictured) to the nonprofit’s Board of Trustees. At  27 years of age, the lifelong resident of Little Silver is both the newest and the youngest member of the board, and will be involved with several of their committees.

Other new members joining the Lunch Break Board are Trudy Parton (Little Silver), Stuart Sendell (Rumson) and Juanita Lewis (Red Bank).

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RED BANK: OYSTERFEST IS A PEARL OF A PARTY

rb oysterfest 092715 10The Guinness Oyster Festival returns Sunday for a “shuck and awe” day of food, beverage and entertainment that includes Tinton Falls pop singer Taylor Tote and band, below. (Top photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

taylor_tote_band_-_social_media_low_res_dsc_7778c-2As open-air diversions go in Red Bank, it’s the undisputed pearl of the season. And making its seventh annual stand, the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street municipal parking lot Sunday for an event that, as the name suggests, pairs the fabled allure of the briny bivalve and dozens of other culinary seductions with the “Irish aphrodisiac” known as —Guinness.

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ON THE GREEN: TOUCH A TRUCK — OR COPTER

092014 touchtruck19The kids are in the driver’s seat once more this Saturday at the annual Touch-a-Truck fundraiser in Red Bank, while Middletown Day offers an opportunity to get hands-on with a NorthSTAR emergency helicopter (below).

middletown-day-copter“Every kid stops and watches when a police car or fire engine races by,” says Monmouth Day Care Center exec director Heidi Zaentz — and this Saturday, they’ll have an opportunity to get up-close and hands-on with various trucks, tractors, and emergency vehicles — even an emergency Medevac helicopter at a couple of big yearly events that have become major fundraising vehicles in their own right.

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RED BANK: CASINO NIGHT PICKS UP STEAM

Press release from Red Bank Borough Education Foundation

rbbef_casino_night_2016Test your luck — and help the Red Bank public schools at the same time — when the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation hosts its Casino Night on Friday, September 30.

Scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Red Bank Elks Lodge #233 (40 West Front Street in Red Bank), the event will fund STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) projects at the borough’s schools. The STEAM curriculum is a priority for schools throughout the country, and the Education Foundation has made it its mission to promote these studies at the Red Bank public schools.

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ON THE GREEN: MUSIC, ART, WIND AND SEA

zero-waste-1

Dip a toe into the first wave of “zero waste” art…stick a finger into the winds of environmental activism…try one’s hand at any of the many recreational pursuits of coastal life as Local Summer continues apace on and near the ocean, bay and riverfront shores of our local parks.

The people at the Monmouth County Arts Council define “zero waste” art as that which uses all available materials; creating new objects of beauty and inspiration from formerly discarded castoffs — and when the first-ever Zero Waste Arts Fest comes to the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook this weekend, September 17 and 18, there won’t be a wasted moment or a wasted opportunity for family-friendly fun. Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, the festival highlights partnerships between locally based artists, art galleries and environmental activism organizations, as well as an interactive “live art” project coordinated by Lisa Bagwell (whose recycled-materials sculptures are a colorful and clever commentary on our disposable consumer culture). There’s live music (from Red Bank’s Rockit Live and others), kids’ activities, informative displays from a host of partner organizations, plus giveaways, shuttle bus tours of the Hook, and a whole lot more (including an after-hours Saturday night “1940s swing event” under the stars). Take it here to the All Good section of redbankgreen, for full details on events and entertainers, plus a complete rundown of participating co-sponsors and presenters.

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ON THE GREEN: BIG THEATER ON SMALL STAGES

gyp_35_retKate Pentek is the child vaudevillian who grows up to become burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee as the classic backstage musical ‘Gypsy’ comes to the Count Basie stage for two weekends. (Photo courtesy Phoenix Productions)

basie-gypsy-091416The waning weekends of summer are traditionally a prime time to dust off your first-night finery and head back to the “theatah.” And even as Red Bank’s resident professional stage company, the Two River Theater, opens its new season with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Greater Green’s three community troupes (that’s Phoenix Productions, Stone Church Players, and Monmouth Players) also are ready to raise the curtains on a variety of entertainments.

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ON THE GREEN: ART ‘N ABOUT ENDING SUMMER

quon-lollipop-clockDowntown Red Bank’s signature “Lollipop Clock” is among the local landmarks vividly envisioned by Mike Quon, below, in an exhibit currently on display at the Art Alliance.

quon1One of our favorite hometurf painters and a Latino artist collective with Jersey roots bring both well established and cutting-edge art to the Greater Red Bank Green as summer winds down.

Keynoting a new schedule of exhibition events at the Art Alliance of Monmouth County — and simultaneously looking wistfully back on the vibrantly colored experiences of the peak-season interlude — Fair Haven-based painter and illustrator Mike Quon marks “The End of Summer” with a solo show that opened this past weekend at the Monmouth Street studio space, and continues through September’s transitional journey into autumn.

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RED BANK: SALVATION ARMY HOLIDAY HELP

salvation-armyFor more than a century in the greater Red Bank area, the Salvation Army has helped needy neighbors throughout the community, and while the organization’s services are called upon all year long, the end-of-year holidays pose a special challenge to families who struggle to keep their loved ones fed and clothed — to say nothing of parents who wish only to put a smile on a child’s face at Christmastime.

Beginning next month, the Salvation Army Red Bank Corps will be accepting sign-up requests for 2016 Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance.

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RED BANK: TRACING FORTUNE’S FAMILY TREE

Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the Nfortune_091716Regular readers of redbankgreen have been kept abreast of the campaign to rescue and restore the T. Thomas Fortune House, the historic site that was once home to the pioneering African American journalist and publisher whose name adorns the property on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. While much work remains to be done toward the goal of transforming the boarded-up 19th century home into an educational and cultural center, a group of Monmouth County neighbors is also engaged in making the long-deceased Mr. Fortune into a still-vital presence; one with a message to convey to contemporary community members of all ages and backgrounds.

This Saturday afternoon, September 17, Red Bank’s Calvary Baptist Church will be the setting for another in a regularly scheduled series of meetings by the African American Genealogy Group. Beginning at 1 p.m., it’s a special edition of the event that takes place on the third Saturday of each month.

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RED BANK: MA RAINEY’S COMING TO TOWN

Arnetia_Walker_and_Doug_Doyle_WBGO_88.3_InterviewArnetia Walker is interviewed by WBGO radio’s Doug Doyle in a recent event at Two River Theater. The stage and screen actress steps/sings into the title role of MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, the season-opening show that goes up in previews this weekend. (Photos by Carmen Balentine)

Arnetia_Walker_HeadshotIt’s a more-or-less annual highlight of the new season at Two River Theater: a further exploration into the work of the late August Wilson, the celebrated African American playwright whose “Century Cycle” of dramas — ten somewhat interconnected plays, each one set in a different decade and illuminating another aspect of the black experience in America — has apparently become an unstated but ongoing project at the Bridge Avenue performing arts space.

Just as they did with last September’s production of “Seven Guitars,” the folks at Two River are kicking off the new 2016-2017 slate of shows with a bluesy keynote from the house of Wilson: the playwright’s 1984 Broadway breakthrough “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Going up in previews beginning this Saturday night, September 10, and set inside a recording studio in 1927 Chicago, the music-infused ensemble drama is a bit unusual, in that it’s only one of the Cycle that’s not based in Wilson’s hometown of Pittsburgh. And, as the title suggests, it’s the only one of the ten that boasts a central character drawn from real life.

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RED BANK REC HOSTS CONCERT FOR THE KIDS

wagRiverside Gardens is the scene on the evening of Saturday, September 17, when Red Bank Parks and Recreation and co-sponsor Riverview Medical Center host a first annual Concert for the Kids in support of youth sports programs. Two popular area-based bands — The Wag (pictured; 5:30 p.m.) and Woodfish (7:30 p.m.) will help “ensure that any child who wants to play sports or attend our camps is able to do so, even if their family is facing a financial hardship,” in the words of Parks and Rec’s Charlie Hoffman. There’s no admission charge to attend the event, but a suggested donation of $10 is welcome.

RED BANK: SIGN UP NOW FOR BASIE ACADEMY

Press release from Count Basie Theatre 

count-basie-performing-arts-academyA wide variety of instructional programs and workshop — including classes aimed at pre-school children, members of the Latino community, and students with Autism Spectrum Disorder — are available now, as the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy announces the opening of registrations for its fall 2016 semester, which begins on September 26 and concludes in December.

Private, one-on-one lessons, adult classes in public speaking, acting and voiceovers will also be held during the fall semester, in addition to classes in musical theatre, acting for the stage, TV and film. Young musicians can explore Rock and Jazz through courses offered with Basie partner programs Rockit! and Jazz Arts Project. In addition to the popular returning programs, several new Academy offerings will be on the schedule:

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RED BANK: AN ARTY START TO RECOVERY

Press release from Frame to Please

Art of RecoveryAs a keynote to Mental Health Awareness Week in early October, members of nonprofit organization Shore House will display their artistic talents at an “Art of Recovery” exhibit presented by Art from the Heart, the charitable endeavor established by the owners of Frame to Please.

Hosted at the gallery space inside the Galleria building (2 Bridge Avenue, corner of West Front Street) the exhibit opens with a public-welcome reception on Sunday, October 2 from 12 to 3 p.m., and remains on display through the end of January 2017.

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RED BANK: BASIE OFFERS BOY, ROY AND MORE

culture-clubBoy George (above, second from right) reunites with Culture Club for a Tuesday night concert at the Count Basie…while Bob Bandiera (below) presents a long-awaited tribute to Roy Orbison on Friday.

BandieraThe highly anticipated reunion of one of the most attention-compelling hit machines of the Reagan years…a delayed tribute to a musical guardian angel…a decades-spanning retrospective of radio hits, from the cats who were there…and the return of a platinum-plated band from the aughties that refuses to be regarded as oldies; all coming to the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre in the nights ahead.

It all begins tomorrow night, September 6, with the long-overdue return to our shores of a group that scored multiple smash hits, netted even more magazine covers, and turned mainstream pop culture topsy-turvy back in the golden age of MTV. Reconvening with the original lineup of Culture Club (Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay) for the American leg of a well-received international tour, Boy George has managed to remind back-in-the-day fans (and next-generation converts) that he and his mates were pretty much the top pop group of their mid-1980s moment; topping the US charts with “Karma Chameleon” and scaling the Billboards with a string of hits that included “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Time,” “Church of the Poison Mind,” and “The War Song” to name but a few. Take it here for tickets to the 8 p.m. show ($69 – $149) and here to purchase the $350 “VIP Experience” — then flip the record over for more vibrations on the Basie boards.

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