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Follow the Movie: Liam Neeson stars in “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” which gets a sneak preview screening  in Red Bank Thursday.

“Follow the money,” said the shadowy figure known as Deep Throat to reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), in the fact-based thriller All the President’s Men.

Many years later, the informant who helped break open the Watergate investigation was revealed to be former FBI associate director W. Mark Felt,subject of a new bio-drama that stars Liam Neeson and screens in a special sneak-preview showing this Thursday at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

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The reverb-drenched surf rock sounds of  the Sharkskins close out the concert season on the Fair Haven Municipal Dock Thursday night.

From star-kissed surf and free-range country to plein-air pickin’ and fresh-air film, the season of outdoor diversions remains very much in effect on the Greater Red Bank Green. We’ve got the roundup of public-welcome events under the summer sky — and over the next seven days and nights — all of them free as a breeze.

It all starts tonight, weather permitting, with the latest installment of the Summer 2017 Movies in Riverside Gardens Park series, sponsored by Red Bank Parks and Recreation and brought to you by Shore Flicks.

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The Count Basie’s free summer film series continues on Tuesday with screenings of ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and Guardians of the Galaxy.’ 

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.

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The Gracie and the Dudes ice cream stand in Riverside Gardens Park is the place to be a sultry summer evening. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


Riverside Gardens Park, sandwiched between West Front Street and the Navesink River in Red Bank, is a hive of activity on warm summer nights. Swarms of kids stop by to view the boats on the river, catch a glimpse of the sunset and maybe enjoy the weekly entertainment put on by the folks at the borough Parks and Rec department.

Enticed by the aroma of fresh baked waffles being shaped into cones, PieHole finds a place in line to see what everyone is ordering at the Gracie and the Dudes ice cream stand there.

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Mark Frost plays Kevin Smith in the biopic ‘Shooting Clerks,’ which screens at the second Monmouth Film Festival at the Two River Theater this weekend.

It seems that no sooner had the last of the popcorn been swept after the recent Indie Street Film Festival than another weekend-long celebration of independent cinema prepared to unspool in Red Bank, the town that Nicholas Marchese calls “the arts mecca of Monmouth County.”

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Lead festival organizer Jay Webb, right, with guests at Wednesday night’s opening reception on the patio of the Count Basie Theatre. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

With a display of carved-surfboard art, a New Jersey premiere screening of Dave Made a Maze and a DJ’d after-party at three separate venues, the second annual Indie Street Film Festival officially got underway in Red Bank Wednesday evening, ushering in a four-days-and-nights slate of screenings, panels, workshops and get-togethers with an admirable “Cannes-do” spirit.

A project of the fillmajer cooperative Indie Street (working in partnership with Red Bank RiverCenter), the sequel to last year’s inaugural event looks to make a long-running “tentpole franchise” of the venture. It’s a multi-venue happening that offers plenty of reasons to visit the borough’s theaters, restaurants and nightspots — or even its best-kept-secret middle school auditorium — during that time of year when the beaches make their biggest bid for buzz.

Take it here for info on individual event tickets and festival passes — and read on, for a rundown of goings-on between through Sunday. Read More »


A portion of the colorful mural painted earlier this month on the Catherine Street wall of Kitch Organic heralds the second annual coming of the Indie Street Film Festival, co-founded by Jay Webb, below.

To Wanamassa resident Jay Webb, losing oneself in the flickering lights of a hushed, darkened room is only part of the joy of a film festival for cinephiles. Another is getting together and gabbing about what they’ve seen, and who’s doing what in an art form wholly dependent on collaboration.

Which is one reason the schedule for the second edition of the Indie Street Film Festival, which returns to Red Bank next week, is studded with community events in between screenings of some 60 films.

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Week two of this summer’s Movies in the Park series in Red Bank features an entry from the ‘Star Wars’ catalog. Below, Layonne Holmes fronts the Motor City Revue in a return to Sandy Hook Wednesday.  

There’s a chance to imagine yourself as part of the biggest franchise in film fantasy history. Some power pop on the dock. A heat-blast of Latin-flavored jazz in the park. A little beach-music soul on the sands. And one of the world’s most beloved plays on yonder grassy knoll.

It’s all going on beneath the setting sun and stars of the Greater Red Bank Green — and all fabulously free of charge in the evenings to come.

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‘Parallax Dreams,’ directed by and starring Red Bank Regional’s John Tuohy, seen below at the awards ceremony.

An enigmatic short film by a Red Bank Regional sophomore, shot in and around Red Bank, was a double prize winner at a student film festival last month.

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.

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Stake out your place on the grassy slope; bring a lawn chair, a food drive donation…and come in costume as your favorite GREASE character…when free summer movies return to Riverside Gardens Park on July 11.

Don’t look now, but tomorrow night, July 11, marks the start of the tenth season since the folks at Red Bank Parks and Recreation got into the movie business, with the free summertime schedule of Movies in Riverside Gardens Park. And, unlike a lot of casual family-fun activities under the sun and stars, this might be an occasion worth dressing up for.

In other words, get those classic poodle skirts and leather jackets down from the attic — because when John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John light up the big inflatable Shore Flicks screen at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the smash 1978 musical Grease, the Parks and Rec people will be looking for a few good Dannys, Sandys, Rizzos and Kenickies, with a costume competition that promises prizes (and a whole lot of post-prom bragging rights).

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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)

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Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke star inhe bio-pic feature ‘Maudie,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

She was the very definition of an “outsider artist:” a young woman crippled by arthritis and living a below-radar existence as a housekeeper in a Nova Scotia fishing village, whose colorful way of seeing the world elevated her to the status of Canada’s most cherished folk-art painter. Just as unlikely, and equally compelling, is the bond between Maud Lewis and her employer, the relationship at the heart of the biographical feature film “Maudie.”

A 2016 festival favorite that’s slated for general release in the United States on Friday, the film from director Aisling Walsh gets a sneak-peek screening Thursday as part of a special series at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

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Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane and  Arnaud Viard star in ‘Paris Can Wait,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

It maybe has some catching up to do with the likes of Cannes, but when it comes to being a mecca for first-run independent/”arthouse” feature films, Red Bank has long led the local pack — a fact that’s attributable primarily to White Street’s Bow Tie Cinemas (and its predecessor, Clearview Cinemas).

For most of the new millennium, the downtown movie house has done duty as official host venue for a series of sneak-preview screening events, spotlighting festival-favorite indies before they go into general release. Part of a long-running partnership between borough-based nonprofit Monmouth Arts and Sony Pictures Classics (the major distributor whose president, Tom Bernard, makes his home in Middletown), the series unspools once more this Thursday, May 11, with a 7:30 p.m. showing of “Paris Can Wait.”

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Press release from Indie Street Film Festival

Attention independent filmmakers – Sunday, May 7 is the final submissions deadline for the second annual Indie Street Film Festival (ISFF), set for July 26-30, 2017.

Taking place at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank — including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School —  the festival will host attendees from around the world, but will maintain the grit and hard-working attitude that both New Jerseyans and Independent filmmakers have shared for decades.

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Linguist David J. Peterson discusses his creation of the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for ‘Game of Thrones’ at Brookdale Community College this Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

In an age when many of the planet’s lesser-spoken dialects are feared to be on the verge of dying out, it might surprise you to note that the art of language invention is on the rise — and that a thirty-something guy from California named David J. Peterson is surfing the crest of this man-made wave.

A cult celebrity, thanks largely to his work on TV’s Game of Thrones, for which he crafted the Dothraki and Valyrian languages, and the Marvel Universe franchise — where his Dark Elf dialogue made beautiful music in Thor: The Dark World — Peterson has been sparking renewed interest in constructed linguistics through YouTube videos and personal appearances. And this Thursday, the man who can truly claim to have “the best words” will have the podium when he comes to Brookdale Community College. in Lincroft

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Sock Monster,’ by Middletown South sophomore Victoria Pater, is among the finalists in the High School category of this year’s Project FX festival at the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday.

High school and college student filmmakers from all over New Jersey — including two from here on the Greater Red Bank Green — are among the finalists who will see their short works displayed on the big screen of the historic Count Basie Theatre when the Project FX statewide film competition invites the public to its third annual festival this Saturday.

Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest assembles hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries each year, showcasing young talent in acknowledgment of the DIY revolution that’s placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere.

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Signage touting the Asbury Park Press brand will be installed in front of the stage and projected elsewhere in the venue before and after shows. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


After some 90 years as a lights-down sanctuary from the outside world, visitors to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre will be greeted by heavy pre- and post-show branding by the Asbury Park Press starting Tuesday.

According to an “exclusive” report about itself Monday, the Neptune-based Press will have its name in lights throughout the entertainment space: in front of the stage, on a drop-down screen, and on the walls before and after performances and during intermissions.

“You will be seeing an act that is performing on the Asbury Park Press Stage,” Basie CEO Adam Philipson is quoted as saying.

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Casey Affleck stars in tonight’s showing of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, one of the heavily favored Oscar contenders being presented on the Count Basie screen at a pleasingly retro ticket price.  (Amazon Studios)

It happens every year at this time: the kind of awards-season buzz that turns the most casual-viewing couch potato into the most discerning of armchair film critics and festival adjudicators. As the February 26 airdate of the 89th Academy Awards draws closer, film fans scramble to catch up with as many of the nominated features as there are hours in the week — and the Count Basie Theatre is there to meet them, with a special slate of screenings that spotlights some of 2016’s most acclaimed releases, at a price of admission that’s a throwback to some twenty years ago.

The schedule that kicked off on January 31 with the noir western Hell or High Water (four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture) continues tonight, February 15, with a 7 p.m. screening of a “little” movie that’s made a big splash with audiences from here to Sundance: the drama Manchester By The Sea.

Set in the Massachusetts coastal town of that name, the tale of old wounds, second chances and heavy burdens stars Casey Affleck in his Golden Globe winning turn as Lee, an emotionally scarred handyman who’s forced to return to his old hometown when he’s named the guardian of his recently deceased brother’s teenaged son. Coming out of left field to score six major Oscar nominations — for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor (young Lucas Hedges), Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams as Lee’s ex-wife), plus Kenneth Lonergan’s original screenplay and direction — the film is all the more impressive for having catapulted its distributor Amazon Studios into the big leagues of Oscar-lauded contenders.

A presentation of the Count Basie Theatre Cinema Society, tonight’s showing of Manchester by the Sea plays at Monmouth County’s longest continuously operating movie venue for just $5 per ticket (or free of charge, for Cinema Society members). Buy two admissions for $15, and receive a $10 concessions vouchers — and take it here to reserve.

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Robert De Niro in ‘The Comedian,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

It’s the latest entry in a series that’s offered a first look at features by Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. And this Thursday, audiences here on the Greater Red Bank Green have an opportunity to catch Robert De Niro in The Comedian one day prior to its going wide on screens from coast to coast.

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Monty Python Holy GrailMonty Python co-founder John Cleese (at lower left in above photo, and below in 2016) makes his Count Basie Theatre debut introducing a Sunday evening screening of the 1975 comedy classic ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’

John CleeseYou know you’ve drifted into uncharted cultural waters when the co-founder of the most cheerfully anarchic comedy institution of all time likens your nation’s new presidential administration to a “pirate ship” — with the man who famously brought you the “Dead Parrot” sketch going on to brand the skipper of that ship as “delusional.”

Having returned in recent years to his British birthplace (where he advocated for Brexit-ing the European Union) after some two decades as a resident of the United States, John Cleese comes to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for the first time this Sunday, when the self-described “writer, actor and tall person” hosts a special screening of one of his troupe’s finest celluloid moments, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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Spike WilnerThe “Earth Room” of Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse is the setting this Sunday, for a free winter’s afternoon jazz concert featuring pianist Mike “Spike” Wilner.

Its “Earth Room” sanctuary has served for years as the greater Red Bank green’s go-to venue for guest lectures on progressive causes, in addition to regularly scheduled Social Action Film screenings of hot-topic documentaries — and, beginning in 2016, a slate of concert events that’s placed some internationally acclaimed modern folk music artists in front of Monmouth County audiences for the very first time.

This Sunday afternoon, January 29, Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County becomes a jazz club, albeit one that trades the candlelit-cool night owl vibe for the streaming light of the stained glass windows and the afternoon delights of pianist Spike Wilner.

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Ghostbusters-2016The 2016 remake of ‘Ghostbusters’ screens for free at Middletown Library as part of a program that also features a Sunday afternoon “one-man musical” performance by veteran recording artist Danny Rongo, below. 

Danny Rongo smallFrom junior chess to “dress for mess;” from writers’ workshops to Pokemon swaps, the folks at the Middletown Township Public Library have built a schedule of wintertime events, clubs and activities that form a welcome mat for all ages and all corners of the Greater Red Bank Green.

It’s an ongoing slate of programming that continues through the coming weekend with a tale of true-life adventure, a “one man musical,” and a movie matinee — all free of charge.

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project-fx-2017Press release from Count Basie Theatre

PROJECT FX 2017, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition presented by Bank of America, is live at www.projectFXbasie.com. Starting now, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics, a high-end Sony camera and $1,000 cash at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Count Basie Theatre will proudly host the daylong PROJECT FX Festival, which will include workshops with film industry professionals, plus a showcase of the top vote getters in both the high school and college categories.

PROJECT FX is open to students enrolled in any New Jersey high school or college as of September 1, 2016. Students now have until Sunday, February 5 (extended from the originally announced date of January 15) to enter their films, which will then be judged upon by a panel of regional and industry-wide experts. Last year’s PROJECT FX competition and festival attracted more than 80 high school and college applicants from throughout the state. Go here to view last year’s finalists.

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raiders-of-the-lost-ark-chamberTwo globe-trotting adventurers — the legendary Indiana Jones (above), and genuine living legend Pinchas Zukerman (below) — team up with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a pair of upcoming events at the Count Basie. 

pinchas-zukermanCarrying a decades-long beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre into a new calendar year, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank twice in the wintry nights ahead — once as the grand accompanists to a seemingly ageless cinematic spectacle of treasure hunting, and again in the company of an “international treasure” guest artist and conductor.

Even if you’ve seen it anywhere from one to a thousand-and-one times (and the jury’s still out as to which dedicated uber-fan has logged more lifetime hours in its thrall), you’ve probably never experienced Raiders of the Lost Ark like you will on Friday, January 6, when conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos and the NJSO perform a live, full-orchestra accompaniment to the 1981 franchise film as it plays on the big Basie screen.

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