“Giving Tuesday,” founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd St. YMCA and the United Nations Foundation, was originally a “response to commercialism and consumerism” during the holiday season. It has since turned into an international day of giving.
Next Tuesday, Nov. 28, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with 94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for a day-long, live broadcast from the Basie to raise funds for the Veterans Tickets Foundation, or Vet Tix.
”An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be,” says a character in Oscar Wilde’s Victorian farce, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’
And just hours before the opening-night performance of the play at the Two River Theater in Red Bank Friday night, one of the theater’s employees was surprised by a real-life marriage proposal on the stage. (Photos by Yurik Lozano. Click to enlarge)
A UCrawl promo video showed scenes from an April, 2012, bar crawl it held in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Mayor Pasquale Menna says he wants Red Bank to adopt procedures for the approval of “bar crawls” after Belmar shut down one billed as “the largest charity bar crawl the town has ever seen” over a failure to obtain permits.
In a world where the spectre of all-out war can out-spook any hooded goblin, it might seem that the old Halloween haunts can no longer hold a flickering candle to the horrors of the day’s headlines. If anything, the cobwebbed corridors of a walk-through “haunted house” can creak with a reassuring nostalgia, as its familiar fiends create a welcome momentary refuge from the edgy uncertainties of the real world.
As if on cue, the fearless crew of Brookdale Haunted Theater is ready to serve with the return of the annual attraction that transforms Brookdale Community College’s Performing Arts Center into an indoor flesh-and-blood fright factory that runs for three big weekends, beginning — wait for it — Friday the 13th.
They’ve proven themselves to be hardy perennials on the year-round local music scene, but for fans of the Wag, there’s no denying that the season of outdoor concerts and sun-kissed festivals is the natural habitat for the Middletown-based band that can often be found free-ranging it in settings from the Fair Haven Municipal Dock and Little Silver Gazebo to the sidewalks and storefronts of downtown Red Bank and the great lawn at Lincroft’s Brookdale Community College.
With temperatures hovering in the mid-80s, it was “ten degrees too hot” to draw the usual elbow-to-elbow crowd to the eighth annual Guinness Oyster Festival in Red Bank Sunday, one vendor told redbankgreen.
“The weather is not our friend today,” said Jim Scavone, executive director of event sponsor Red Bank RiverCenter.
Still, the turnout was strong, he said, and “people here having fun, and they’re drinking lots of beer.”
Some pix from the event follow… (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Dozens of local politicians and players in the arts world turned out for the event. Below, Basie board members Steven Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A $23 million expansion of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre formally got underway Wednesday, beginning what’s expected to be a 20-month endeavor to turn the Vaudeville-era venue into a powerhouse for live performance and arts education.
The aim, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt told an al fresco gathering, is “to make Red Bank an example to the rest of the county of what it is possible to do” in elevating the arts.
From the neighbor’s house to the White House, there’s no denying that big rig trucks, emergency equipment and other heavy-duty machines hold a special appeal for kids of all ages — and when the opportunity presents itself to climb into the driver’s seat, it’s a rare treat indeed.
Ask the staff of Red Bank’s Monmouth Day Care Center and they’ll surely agree that the safely supervised combination of kids and trucks is a winning formula — and when the Touch-a-Truck event returns to the parking lot of Red Bank Middle School this Saturday morning, it will mark the eighth annual appearance of a successful FUNraising vehicle that’s well worth waiting for.
Canadian singer and guitarist Shawna Caspi headlines the latest in a slate of Earth Room Concert at the Unitarian Meetinghouse this Saturday.
Music fans here on the Greater Red Bank Green know that you can tune in to just about any genre in the area’s clubs, concert halls, community rooms and colorful festivals. From choral classics to classic rock; big band jazz to bluegrass Americana; a capella doo wop to alternative DIY, there’s always been a little something for every ear — although for the longest time, folk music aficionados had to bide their time between summertime special events and the odd little coffeehouse jam.
That all changed in 2016, when Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation hosted the first in a quietly ambitious Earth Room Concert Series — a slate of events that has matched international acts on the cutting edge of the contemporary folk scene with an appreciative local fanbase.
It goes without saying that none of the dynamic young vocalists and instrumentalists of Rockit! at the Basie were around for 1967’s fabled Summer of Love — and chances are excellent that few if any of their parents were, either. So perhaps their grandparents could tell them a thing or two about life a half a century ago, when the air was charged with ready-or-not change and momentum, not to mention patchouli oil.
Of course, you didn’t have to be there with flowers in your hair to recognize that the year was a pivotal one for the popular culture in general, and a fast-maturing rock music in particular. So when the kids from Rockit! take to the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank this Saturday evening, they’ll be channeling the spirit of the era’s most game-changing album — and welcoming an in-the-flesh veteran of a genuine hit-making institution.
By SUSAN ERICSON
Timing it just right, PieHole showed up for happy hour at BeachWalk’s Tiki Bar recently to find beers in hand and fishing poles in the Shrewsbury River for a snapper derby competition.
Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright has its fair share of bars, but this might be the only one where you’ll find children and adults competing for bragging rights and the prize of an overnight stay at the attached motel.
While the venerable venue once known as the Carlton can trace its cinematic lineage way back to the silent-screen age, the grand auditorium of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre put in many decades of service giving the local moviegoing audience what it couldn’t always get at home — from glorious technicolor and stereophonic sound to that all-important enticer known as air conditioning.
The Temple Bar at the Dublin House is a lively spot for music lovers on a warm Sunday evening. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
[Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly reported that Dead Bank was scheduled to play at the Dublin House on Saturday, August 5. They’ll be at Jamian’s Food and Drink that night.]
By SUSAN ERICSON
It’s twilight on a warm summer evening when PieHole strolls over to the Dublin House in Red Bank, taking in the sight of customers finishing their meals in the courtyard out front.
But we’re not here for dinner. Making our way through the side alley from Monmouth Street to the rear of the restaurant, we hear the deep, raspy strain of rock music and the low chatter of customers surrounding the bar named for a famous street in Dublin, Ireland: Temple Bar.
The Grand Central Echoes join the next-generation heirs to the Del Vikings and others for a Saturday night streetcorner serenade at Middletown Arts Center. (Photo courtesy Classic Urban Harmony)
For fans of that purebred strain of vocal soul known as Doo Wop, it’s become almost as much of a cause for discussion as keeping track of group personnel changes, recording dates, and other true-fan trivia. We’re talking here about the situation in which two or more competing groups each lay claim to the name of some classic hitmaking act — whether through the presence of a onetime member or by virtue of rights held by an outside party or promoter. It’s a sticking point that’s too often played out around courtrooms and conference tables, rather than on a battle-of-the-bands stage, where such matters might be more effectively resolved.
When the virtuoso voices transform Middletown Arts Center into an old-neighborhood hangout this Saturday night, the promoters (Coll Productions, teaming with Street Corner Sounds Society) will be spinning this record-hop in a way designed to put aside any “imposter band” acrimony — as A Tribute to Our Doo Wop Legends, in which a collection of veteran regional acts each pay harmonious homage to an earlier golden-age group who inspired them.
[UPDATE: This concert has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 10 at 7 p.m.]
It’s being promoted as a “Mid-Summer Neo-Classical Dream Piano Concert” — although perhaps the featured artist’s forte could be more precisely described as “Neo-Classical, tango, instrumental pop, easy listening and meditative music.”
If that still doesn’t narrow it down for you, then simply dispense with all categorical pigeonholes and enjoy the atmospheric musical mastery of Elven Chern when the musician, soprano, choral conductor and Argentine tango dancer visits the community room at Middletown Library for a free performance Saturday afternoon.
‘Parallax Dreams,’ directed by and starring Red Bank Regional’s John Tuohy, seen below at the awards ceremony.
John Tuohy, a 16-year-old rising junior from Little Silver took the top prize in the Big Dreams and Silver Screens Festival held in Rahway on June 3.
A colorful new mural bloomed to life on the Catherine Street wall of Kitch Organic restaurant in Red Bank over the weekend.
Executed by local children — and some adults who pulled a couple of all-nighters — the mural promotes two cultural events: the Indie Street Film Festival, which returns to town for a four-day run starting July 26; and the Crossing Borders Festival, featuring five days of free-admission Latino-flavored plays and food at the Two River Theater beginning August 2.
Artist Misha Tyutyunik, also known as MDot, created the design, reprising his role from the 2016 Indie Street mural on Monmouth Street. Click read more for additional pix. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)