Back in March, redbankgreen was the first to tell you about a nascent project called the Tri-City Arts Tour, a big-tent sort of event under which the artizens of Red Bank, Asbury Park and Long Branch would join forces for a three-day celebration of all that’s innovative, interactive and infotaining here in our corner of America’s artland.

Call it the Axis of Ego if you will, but there’s no denying that the “TriCities” of Monmouth County remain the area’s magnets for anything remotely interesting in the realms of art, music, film, theater and special events. There are occasional exceptions to that rule, but you get the feeling that without this troika, we’d all be logging a lot more hours at the local stripmall (not that we haven’t spent a pleasant Saturday or three sipping coffee and reading magazines for free at Borders).

In recent years, the fertile triangle defined by the TriCities has offered up scenes such as a singing Russell Crowe; Bruce Springsteen jamming with Brian Wilson; and a murderous Macbeth devised by mischievous magic man Teller.

We’ve seen Stephen Colbert performing a dramatic play reading; Joe Piscopo singing for his supper at a downtown restaurant; and Crispin Glover commandeering a mothballed movie house for an evening of weirdness. There was lesbian guerrilla theater in the living room; chamber recitals at a car dealership; variety burlesque and stag films at a bowling alley. All that, plus the return of roller derby.

Anyone who tells you there’s nothing to do hereabouts might as well be saying there’s no place to park in Red Bank. You simply have to look.

This weekend, the lookin’s easier.

A loose-knit alliance of such arts/civic entities as the City of Long Branch Urban Enterprise Zone, Red Bank Rivercenter, Asbury’s ArtsCAP and the Monmouth County Arts Council has put together something called the Tri-City Arts Tour — and it’s got nothing to do with Dan Jacobson’s TriCity News. Rather, Arts Tour assembles a gamut of free and ticketed events — some previously scheduled, others created expressly for the occasion — and has packaged them under one banner to underscore the richness of the culture on offer in this triangular patch of Monmouth County.

The events all take place this weekend. Herewith, some thumbnails of what Arts Tour has to offer:

Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery and A Marriage: Fresh off the phenomenal success of Macbeth, Two River Theater Company‘s Aaron Posner directs his own musically enhanced adaptation of a tale by that hot new writer who penned the recent Broadway outing Is He Dead? (June 6, 7 & 8 at Two River Theater.

Two Rivers Art & Antiques Show and Garden Tour: The annual gathering of top East Coast dealers in fine art and antique furnishings returns to the coolly cavernous confines of the Red Bank Armory Ice Complex on June 6 and 7. Tours of some of the most gorgeous gardens in the greater RB oRBit depart from the show site on Saturday and Sunday mornings; a Friday night preview party is accessed with ticket priced at $175 in advance.

Photographs by Stewart Halperin: Based in St. Louis, the veteran lensman is more citizen of the world; images of his travels across six continents are highlighted by extraordinarily color-dense pix from Venice (June 6 & 7 at Asher Neiman Gallery).

MOOD INDIGO and GLASS: Concurrent displays of jury-selected work by local artists and artisans (June 6, 7 at Art Alliance of Monmouth County).

Bank of America Presents StreetLife: The popular Saturday night free performance series returns to locations around downtown, with a rotating roster of musicians, poets and variety acts taking to the storefronts and cobblestones (7-10p on June 7).

Over in Long Branch, the Arts Tour highlights a set of offerings that includes the premiere engagement of the comedy Women Who Steal at New Jersey Repertory Company (June 6-8); a clown-packed FunFest on the great lawn near Pier Village (June 8 at 1p), and the fifth annual Fresh Meat/Young Blood exhibition of “New Jersey’s New Masters” at the colorful canning factory-cum-cutting edge gallery Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts (June 6-8). The SICA space will also be curating a new edition of last year’s acclaimed Sculptoure, in which LB’s downtown and boardwalk areas become a vast open-air gallery for some truly amazing large-scale sculpture installations.

Asbury Park springs into action with a full slate of custom-crafted offerings for Arts Tour weekend, including live jazz and experimental theater at Mattison Park restaurant (June 6,7,8); a Walk of Art downtown display complete with street performers (6-10p June 6; 12-10p June 7; 11-4p June 8); and an all-day Art Show and Market at the Carousel Arcade that features a block-long, “make your mark” mural project. There’s jazz at the train station by Dorian Parreott; a full slate of music and performance acts on a Cookman Avenue mainstage, and even an historic trolley tour hosted by Helen-Chantal Pike (10-2p June 7).

Full disclosure: redbankgreen/redbankoRBit‘s Tom Chesek had a hand in Arts Tour’s PR.

Email this story