Red Bank regulars know her from many different settings, and wearing many figurative hats — from faculty member at Red Bank Regional and coordinator of special community outreach initiatives for Two River Theater, to local talk show host, and onetime proprietor of Frank Talk Art Bistro, a much-missed Shrewsbury Avenue storefront that was as delightfully difficult to summarize as the woman who put her stamp on it.
Writer, activist and producer Gilda Rogers remains very visible around Red Bank in the coming days, beginning with an appearance at the Red Bank Public Library on Wednesday, July 13. Scheduled for 7 p.m., it’s the latest event in the library’s monthly Author Talk series; a session that finds the author of “Arrested Development: The State of Black Achievement and Education in Hip Hop America” discussing her debut as a dramatist, with a work entitled “Supernatural: The Play.”
Told through the eyes of women of color and centered around the theme of “being your authentic self,” the play was first seen by the public at New Brunswick’s Crossroads Theater, and has since gone on to an extended engagement in Los Angeles (an Off Broadway run in NYC is planned for November of this year). Rogers will discuss the origins of the theatrical work, as well as its relevance to the lives of women of all ethnic backgrounds, in the free event for which reservations are recommended at (732)842-0690.
Next Monday, July 18 finds Gilda Rogers sharing some personal insights once more with a Red Bank audience — this time at the Bridge Avenue studio space of the nonprofit Project Write Now, where she’ll be discussing her involvement with the volunteer effort to rescue and restore the historic T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.
One of only two National Historic Landmarks associated with African American history in New Jersey, the house was once home to T. Thomas Fortune, the pioneering 19th century black journalist and social activist. As seen in a series of reports here on redbankgreen, the now-shuttered and badly deteriorated property — most recently home to a commercial bakery operated by its owners, the Vaccarelli family — has been the focus of the T. Thomas Fortune Project and its ongoing drive to purchase the site with the aim of converting it to a museum and cultural center (go here for our story on a recent bid to combine a condo project with the historic restoration). Rogers will talk about how a health crisis led to “a life transformation and the discovery of a meaningful pursuit” in the Fortune House project, during the 7 p.m. talk for which a suggested (per-family) donation of $25 will help fund the after-school writing program and other community work at Project Write Now. Take it here to register or call (908)675-0467.