WEEKEND: FOOD, FISHING, AND FUNDRAISING

authorsAuthors May Becker, Susan E. Davis and Lisa Borders appear at libraries and bookstores around the greater Green on Saturday afternoon. Below, Michael Morch, Jennifer Grasso, Laura Gepford and Ian Brown-Gorrell head up the cast in Phoenix Productions’ staging of ‘White Christmas.’

White_Christmas_4bThe days and weeks leading up to Thanks Thursday and Black Friday buy us a little more time to approach the holiday season at our own pace… a chance to chill in the outdoors with a few more hours of autumn sun, or to head home and curl up with some comfort food and a good book.

Friday, November 15:

RED BANK: Or, you could just cut to the chase and surrender to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the season-closing musical entertainment from Phoenix Productions on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre. Come for tonight’s opening performance at 8 pm, and you’ll get more than just a jaunty romance-in-rhythm packed with Berlin blockbusters like “Happy Holiday,” “Blue Skies” and the title tune — you’ll get a shot at the traditional Phoenix 50/50 raffle and, as is traditional on Opening Night, you’ll get a first look ahead to the borough-based troupe’s 2014 season. Show continues through November 24; take it here to reserve tickets — and here for our feature on some exciting new developments at the Phoenix fun factory.

RUMSON: He’s fronted the 21st century edition of Blood Sweat & Tears; subbed for Belushi in The Original Blues Brothers Band; shared stages with everyone from Boy George to B.B. King, and toured the region’s roadhouses with his own Hudson River Rats (an upstanding organization that boasts legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie). You might recall blues-rock belter and ace harmonicat Rob Paparozzi from those open-air Red Bank Jazz & Blues Fests of yore — but when Rob and Friends take it indoors to Barnacle Bill’s for some Friday night sets, they’ll be tearing the roof from the joint with a harpin’ helpin’ of houseparty hospitality, and the kind of star quality that keeps paparazzi flashbulbs a-poppin’.

Saturday, November 16:

SANDY HOOK: One year ago, the Sandy-savaged Hook remained closed off to public access for an indefinite period — but for those who haven’t been out on the peninsula for a while, the local chapter of the American Littoral Society is offering a chance for fisherfolk of all ages and skill levels to enjoy a morning/early afternoon Surf Fishing Clinic on the beach. An instructor will cover the basics of casting, knot tying, lure/bait selection, and “reading” a beach, and the society will furnish rods, reels and tackle if needed. Attendees are urged to bring their own lunch (fishing gear too, if you’ve got it) and to meet at 8 am at Building 18 on Hartshorne Drive. Space is limited, and advance payment ($20 per member family; $40 non-member families) is required. Take it here for details.

SHREWSBURY/ MIDDLETOWN/ FAIR HAVEN: Saturday morning and afternoon brings several opportunities for book lovers — beginning readers as well as adults — to meet the people who make the books, starting with an 11 am appearance by Woodland Party co-author May Becker at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury. During this interactive Family Fun Storytime event, Becker will talk about how she collaborated with her daughter Wendy Burke to create a story based on a song she made up when she was teenager more than 70 years ago. Ages 6 and up are invited to hear the story, share some music and create a craft based on characters from the book. The event is free but space is limited, and registration is required.

At 2 pm, Middletown Township Public Library hosts writer, speaker and Licensed Physical Therapist Susan E. Davis in a free discussion designed to “help pet owners navigate the veterinary physical therapy and rehabilitation field throughout the animal’s lifespan.” The author of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer — a professional who transitioned from human practice to working with animals, and who operates the animal therapy practice Joycare Onsite LLC — covers topics ranging from ailments of aging pets, therapeutic exercises and injury prevention, to stem cell procedures, Reiki and prosthetics.

There may no longer be a bookstore chain by the name of Borders — but for novelist Lisa Borders, a dedicated local shop like River Road Books is a rare and welcoming place. At 4 pm, the Fair Haven indie hosts the award-winning writing teacher and author of Cloud Cuckoo Land in a reading and signing appearance keyed to her new book, The Fifty-First State. Set in the fictional South Jersey city of Floyd (inspired by Millville, where Borders went to high school), the novel details the life changes experienced by an estranged half-brother and -sister in the wake of their parents’ sudden deaths — a forced reunion that sees them “grow in ways they never expected…(and) discover that even in death’s wake, lives can change for the better.”

Sunday, November 17:

RED BANK: Meanwhile over on Monmouth Street, Carter and Cavero Old World Olive Oil Company hosts a “Fresh Harvest” Tasting and Cooking Demo that boasts the participation of Shore-based Celeb Chef Diane Henderiks. The caterer, dietitian, food writer and fitness instructor (scheduled to appear on Hallmark Channel’s The Better Show this Thanksgiving Day) will be offering tips on fresh fall dishes and healthy holiday-time eating; she’ll also be taking orders for Thanksgiving catering,, including discounted advance orders for one of her signature creations, Diane’s Famous Thanksgiving Bread Cornucopia.

MIDDLETOWN: His own credo is simple enough: ”Show up, do a good job, and give the people more than their money’s worth!” Ask Bruce Springsteen, and he’ll tell you that “The mighty Max Weinberg, star of late-night television, found a place where Bernard Purdy, Buddy Rich, and Keith Moon intersected, and he made it his own.”

The longtime drummer for the E Street Band (and session ace for everyone from ex-Beatles, Dylan and Little Richard, to Meat Loaf, Tony Bennett, and Tom Jones) visits the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) for a 7 pm “Evening With” fundraiser for the township’s Arts Foundation, hosted by Tom Cunningham of 105.7 The Hawk and presented as a talk-show style Q&A. Call (732)706-4100 for last-minute tickets — and take it here for the story on redbankgreen’s AllGood section.