WEEKEND: FIRST NIGHTERS, FARE-THEE-WELLS

SherMackHeatherMorganLisa Sherman and Sandy Mack bring their all-new Sherman Mack project to the Walt Street Pub Friday night. Below: painter Martin Kammler has the floor at BCC, for a close-up look at his creative process. (Top photo by Heather Morgan; click to enlarge)

Friday, November 22:

martinLINCROFT: He’s spoken of the physicality of his artistic process, which makes sense: when he’s not creating vividly visceral canvases, Martin Kammler approaches his other career as an in-demand personal trainer with equal intensity. The native of Essen, Germany visits the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery at Brookdale Community College to talk about his work and demonstrate his unorthodox, “paint on the floor” method in a presentation that begins at 7 pm. Take it here for details.

Before arriving at CVA, stop in at the Monmouth Museum (adjacent to the Brookdale Performing Arts Center) for the opening reception of Artists Celebrate the Holidays, a group show featuring “a vast representation of holiday celebrations from the traditional to contemporary works and installations.” Reception’s on from 6 to 8 pm, and the show remains on display during regular museum hours through January 5, 2014. It’s a first-nighter as well for the Holiday Gift Gallery, an annual array of handcrafted and other one-of-a-kind gifts (including jewelry, scarves, ceramics, home items and more) from local artists. There’s live music and refreshments also featured at the reception from 6 to 8pm, and the Gift Gallery stays open for business during regular museum hours through January 12.

apples-500x375The vendors of Red Bank’s foodie-fabulous Farmers Market fold their tents for the season after a final Sunday morning session. (file photo)

RED BANK: She’s the Rumson-based Songbird who booked the Count Basie stage for several big-band showcase concerts that displayed her versatile voice and dynamic entertainer skills to fine advantage. He’s the veteran virtuoso of the harmonica whose annual Harpin’ Help benefit concerts (plus countless star turns at summertime blues fests and all-star jams) have made him a Shore music scene mainstay. Together, Lisa Sherman and Sandy Mack are “fighting crime” as the co-commanders of Sherman Mack, a newly debuted blues/groove barband project that makes its first foray to Red Bank tonight at the Walt Street Pub. They’re not going it stone-alone of course. With expert help from a precision combo that includes Paul Avrutin, Joe D’Angelo and Sam Sherman, they’ll be breathing renewed life into deep album cuts and fan favorites from the Fabulous T-Birds, Los Lobos, Sam & Dave, and (you bet) the Rolling Stones.

November 22, 23, 24:

MIDDLETOWN/ SHREWSBURY/ RED BANK: In its annual holiday-season family show, Two River Theater Company revisits Kenneth Grahame’s beloved woodland characters for a new look at A Wind in the Willows Christmas, the original musical (with music by former NFL defensive tackle turned Grammy-winning songsmith Mike Reid) that’s been revised and revamped with new songs, new costumes, new production design and a greater emphasis on the Yuletide elements of the story.

The days prior to and during the run of Willows find TRTC teaming with numerous area libraries and arts organizations for a slate of One Book, One Community events  that continues on Friday evening with a Wind in the Willows Thanksgiving Good Time Show starring Miss Sherri Ehrlich. The fave kindie-rocker takes the stage of the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) for an event that will be recorded for NJ Public Television (to be aired on aired on Comcast Channel 20 and Fios Channel 26); tickets to the 4:30 pm show are $5 for all.

On Saturday at 1 pm, the administrative offices of the Community YMCA (170 Patterson Avenue in Shrewsbury) will be the setting for a Wind in the Willows Family Fun Day, in which kids can create masks inspired by the book, enjoy a free screening of the recent film, and take part in raffles. On Sunday, Two River Theater opens its doors for an Open Rehearsal, with all ages invited to get a sneak peek behind the scenes, meet the cast and creative team, and watch the show take shape in this one-time public event. Tickets are free, but must be reserved by calling the box office at (732) 345-1400. A Wind in the Willows Christmas runs December 7-29; take it here for a complete schedule of performances and special One Book, One Community events.

RED BANK: Meanwhile at the Count Basie Theatre, it’s the final weekend for the Phoenix Productions staging of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, with performances at 8 pm Friday and Saturday, and a final season-closing Sunday matinee at 3 pm. Take it here to reserve tickets — and here for the story about Phoenix’s Christmas and beyond, on redbankgreen.

Sunday, November 24:

RED BANK: The bracing river breezes of mid-November spell the season’s last call for one of the borough’s best-loved Sunday staples of local living — the Red Bank Farmers’ Market, the outdoor bazaar that commandeers the parking lot of the Galleria complex (Bridge Avenue and West Front Street) between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm. Make it a point to stock up on some locally grown seasonal produce, freshly baked goods, handmade preserves, sauces and more — and mark that calendar for Mother’s Day 2014, when the tents are set to be pitched once again.

LINCROFT: It’s an event that traces its origins to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 — an event of which the organizers observe, “the healing effect of the evening led us to repeat the event with presentations over the last thirteen years from the Muslim, Jain, Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Native American and UU communities.” Back for its 13th annual edition, the “United We Sing” Celebration invites people of all faiths to lend their voice and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House on West Front Street. Sponsored by the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought and the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, the free program welcomes the participation of children and families. Refreshments will be served after the conclusion of the 4 pm event. Take it here for details.