RED BANK: HOFFMANN LEAVING REC JOB

Charlie Hoffmann with parks attendant Celestine Woods at Riverside Gardens Park in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Charlie Hoffmann, who has directed Red Bank’s parks and recreation department for the past five years, is leaving town.

The announcement of his departure at the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday sparked a “pile-on” of praise for Hoffmann’s work, which included organizing everything from sports and cultural offerings to this weekend’s Spring Egg Hunt.

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SANDY HOOK: SPRINGSTEEN BUSTED FOR DWI

Bruce Springsteen outside the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njCould Bruce Springsteen be in need of a presidential pardon soon?

The rock star was arrested for DWI and other charges at Sandy Hook in November, federal officials confirmed Wednesday.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Among the many events organizers hope to bring back in 2021: the Red Bank Classic 5k, slated for June 19. A list of event dates is up for approval by the council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets with a busy agenda of financing actions, hirings and more Wednesday.

There’s also something missing, though numerous commenters have demanded it: changes to the meeting protocol covering… public comment.

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RED BANK: HOLIDAY DELIGHTS A-POPPING

Red Banker Mike Quon, below, is among the visual artists and craftsmakers selling their wares in a pop-up bazaar in the former Alfonso’s Bakery storefront on Broad Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

The holiday season is popping in Red Bank, with a number of organizations applying the retail ‘pop-up‘ concept in coming days, not just to storefronts but also to entertainments.

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RED BANK: LOW-KEY TREE LIGHTING

Red Bank’s official Christmas tree, a blue spruce donated by the Jennings family of Little Silver, was installed in Riverside Gardens Park over the past weekend. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lighting of the tree will be a low-key affair.

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FAIR HAVEN: WITCHES’ WHIMSY ON THE WATER

About two dozen witches swapped their brooms for self-propelled watercraft in the Navesink River off Fair Haven Saturday.

The aim of the “somewhat impromptu” coven convening was to “to bring a bit of whimsy and fun to an otherwise tricky (no pun intended) and difficult year,” said Rachel Griffin, who organized the event with Cassie Conley. Inspired by a Witch Paddle that takes place in Mystic, Connecticut, Griffin said she and Conley hope to make it an annual outing for charity.

Check out more photos below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: DiNIZIO SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE

The Basie marquee in 2018 touted a concert in memory of Smithereens’ singer Pat DiNizio, below.

Press release issued Monday  by the Count Basie Center for the Arts:

On what would have been the Smithereens’ lead singer’s 65th birthday, details were announced today for the 2021 Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship, named in honor of the New Jersey band’s legendary frontman, who passed away in December 2017.

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RED BANK: DEBUT VOGEL LINEUP SLATED

The Vogel will host its first performance October 22. (Photo courtesy of Basie Center. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank plans to get back to the business of entertaining with the opening of a new theater dubbed the Vogel this month.

Kicking things off with a two-night stand starting October 22 is singer/guitarist Grace Potter, the Basie said in an announcing the first five acts for the freshly constructed space.

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RED BANK: BASIE TO OPEN NEW VENUE

The Vogel features socially distant tables. (Photo courtesy of Basie Center. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter seven months in darkness, the Count Basie Center for the Arts plans to snap the lights back on in October.

The Red Bank venue announced Tuesday that it will again host indoor performances with the opening of The Vogel, seating audiences of up to 150 in a new space built for up to 800.

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RED BANK: GRUNIN TO CHAIR BASIE BOARD

Jeremy Grunin, left, with Basie Center President and CEO Adam Philipson. (Mark Sullivan photo. Click to enlarge.)

[Press release]

The Count Basie Center for the Arts, the not-for-profit performing arts center with a mission to “Inspire, Educate and Entertain,” announced today that Jeremy Grunin has accepted the role of Chairman of its Board of Trustees.

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RED BANK: FOOD FESTS OUT, CONCERTS IN

weeklings red bank njThe Weeklings, who’ve performed at past food festivals in town, will get a starring slot at a concert in Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe sun has set on the possibility that downtown Red Bank will host one or maybe even two food festivals this autumn.

Instead, business promotion agency RiverCenter has put six outdoor concerts on the district’s dance card – but you’ll have to pay to attend.

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RED BANK: BASIE TAKES OVER MOVIE THEATER

For several months, posters outside the pandemic-idled Bow Tie Cinemas have read: “This is not a Hollywood ending. This is a Red Bank beginning.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDespite facing an uncertain post-pandemic future itself, Red Bank’s Count Basie Center for the Arts has added a two-screen movie theater to its portfolio.

The entertainment juggernaut has taken over the former Bow Tie Cinemas venue on White Street, the Basie said in an announcement Monday.

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RED BANK: TRTC REGRETS CASTING CHOICES

The reading’s cast includes, in top row: Blair Brown, Michael Cumpsty, Oakes Fegley, Bill Irwin, Kevin Isola and Karl Kenzler; bottom, Bebe Neuwirth, Duane Noch, Gregory Noll, Steven Skybell, Phillipa Soo and Sam Waterston. (Two River Theater photo. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: On July 31, the Two River Theater announced a cancellation of this event, with automatic refunds to be made to ticketholders. In addition, the theater said it is “planning a public forum to continue this complex conversation about representation in the theater.”]

Red Bank’s Two River Theater Company issued an apology Tuesday for “not having cast more artists of color” in a star-studded play reading scheduled for next week.

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RED BANK: BASIE PLANS DRIVE-IN CONCERT

Jersey shore favorites Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes will play for an audience watching from parked vehicles. (Video by Basie Center. Click to enlarge.)

Darkened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s Count Basie Center for the Arts is taking its act to the track.

The storied venue plans to host a July 11 drive-in concert by  Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport on July 11.

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RED BANK: TWO FALL FESTIVALS? MAYBE…

red bank oysterfest 2019 The annual Guinness Oyster Fest in September could be followed just three weeks later by the International Beer, Wine & Food Fest, usually held in April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith a calendar decimated by the COVID-19 crisis, Red Bank appears to be in for an unusually quiet summer.

But as summer edges into autumn, two of the town’s largest annual food festivals could occur within three weeks of one another, redbankgreen has learned.

Here’s a lookahead at the pandemic’s impacts on the summer calendar.

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RED BANK: BASIE FILM FEST GOES VIRTUAL

Wondering how to fill the hours while housebound by the COVID-19 pandemic? You might binge on the 27 bitesized movies in the Count Base Center for the Arts Teen & College Film Fest, which this year is a virtual affair.

Here are three entries, one from each category: middle school (above), high school and college (below).

After you’ve watched these, hop over to the festival page, watch the 24 others, and cast your vote for the your favorites.

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RED BANK: BAGPIPER CLOSES THE DISTANCE

Maintaining a safe distance from passersby, bagpiper Doc Saphire plays a bit of ‘Danny Boy’ outside his Red Bank home Wednesday evening. 

Because they can’t get together to perform and practice under COVID-19 directives, Saphire and his fellow members of the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch have embarked on a 100-day campaign of playing a song each night through the Fourth of July, he said. Wednesday night’s performance was his first from his Prospect Avenue porch.

“Once the crisis is over, anybody who wants to learn, we’re giving free lessons,” Saphire said. “If I can do it, anybody can.”  (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: MARQUEE TOUTS OPTIMISM

red-bank-basie-marqueeIts lineup of shows canceled under the near-lockdown we’re living with to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank has repurposed its marquee.

The marquee now displays messages of “optimism from our local heroes,” the Basie said in a press release. They include quotes from part-time borough resident Jon Stewart and other New Jersey stars.

More below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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