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RED BANK: BON JOVI WARMS UP CENTER

jon bon jovi, red bank, nj, Jon Bon Jovi at the ribbon cutting for the Hope & Comfort Warming Center, at 166 Shrewsbury Avenue, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank nj warming center 166 shrewsbury avenueWith a surprise snowstorm hinting at the need, a new ‘warming center’ for homeless men opened in Red Bank Thursday.

The warmup act for the ribbon cutting? None other than pop superstar Jon Bon Jovi.

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RED BANK: TRIBUTES TO CARPENTERS & MORE

Close To YouLisa Rock (center) and her band pay homage to the 1970s pop hits of The Carpenters in the stage show ‘Close to You,’ coming Thursday to the Count Basie. Jenna O’Gara (below) is among the singers going Back to the Eighties with Jessie’s Girl in a Friday night concert.   

Jenna O'Gara Jessie's GirlIt’s a non-alternative fact that some of the most legendary names in the music business — the Beatles, ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead — have plied their trade on the boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, represented (in spirit if not flesh) by a bold new breed of note-perfect, big budget traveling tribute extravaganzas.

Following on the heels of a weekend that saw the annual appearance of the ever-popular Elvis Birthday Bash (and a genuinely star-studded, sold-out recreation of The Band’s Last Waltz concert), the Basie keeps the tributes going this Thursday and Friday with some spot-on salutes to the 1970’s pop of The Carpenters, as well as the superstars (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince) who defined the MTV era of the 1980s.

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RED BANK: O’REE OF LOTSA FAITH

matt o'ree 2008Bon Jovi’s new touring guitarist Matt O’Ree, above, plays a special ticketed-event tribute to Eric Clapton at Jamian’s this Saturday, even as JBJ and the boys perform a preview of their new album, just up Monmouth Street at Basie’s place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

bon-jovi-eventFor fans of the homegrown institution that is Bon Jovi, the first night of October brings an event that seems gifted from the gods of classic rock: an exclusive preview concert, going on at Red Bank’s own Count Basie Theatre, an “intimate” affair in which JBJ and his core bandmates (David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald) perform the entirety of their new album This House Is Not For Sale — their 14th studio opus, and a release that’s slated to drop on October 21.

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MIDDLETOWN: EX-FINANCIER EYES TRENTON

phil murphy 051616 3Phil Murphy in a campaign photo, apparently taken at Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Middletown resident and former Democratic national finance chairman Phil Murphy has declared his run for New Jersey’s governorship, even though voters won’t cast their ballots for another 18 months.

Murphy declared his expected candidacy in a video released Monday on YouTube.

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RED BANK: BUY A BOWL, FEED A SOUL


bowls 4
An artist at work on a bowl for the event, and a sampling of the bowls available for purchase, below.
 (Photos by Bob McKay. Click to enlarge)

bowls 3For the second year in a row, the Red Bank-based Art Alliance of Monmouth County will host its Empty Bowls Project at JBJ Soul Kitchen this weekend.

A joint fundraiser to benefit Soul Kitchen and the alliance, the event features a sale of one-of-a-kind, locally made ceramic bowls.

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BON JOVI TO HOST CLINTON, BUT WHERE?

Bon Jovi house2Bon Jovi’s Middletown home, above, as seen in 2008. Below, Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, with Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna and former mayor Ed McKenna in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

bon-jovi-mayorsPop star Bon Jovi is planning to host a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a report by NJ.com.

The report doesn’t give the location of the event, but notes that the pop star and his wife, Dorothea, live in Monmouth County.

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RED BANK: CELEBRATING BANDIERA’S ERA

bandieraThe Hardest Working Musician in Shore Business, Bobby Bandiera writes his musical “Autobiography” in a special concert at the Count Basie on Saturday.

As commanding officer of the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue — and as a saloon singer supreme performing over the decades in the clubs, concert halls, tiki decks, taverns and dimly lit corners of coastal New Jersey — Bobby Bandiera has pretty much paid tribute to them all: the Beatles and the Stones; the Sun rockabillies and Motown soulmen; the AM radio one-hit-wonders and the FM rotation heavies.

So in a long, strange trip that’s taken him from smoke-choked pool halls and piano bars to the sold-out arenas of his road gig with Bon Jovi, there’s really only one career that still cries out for a proper salute: his own.

On Saturday night, Bandiera returns to Red Bank to address that glaring omission, with an “Autobiography” concert that assembles a rocking Rolodex of talented friends on the stage of one of the man’s favorite places to play, the Count Basie Theatre.

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AT BARNACLE BILL’S, VIEWS, VIBE AND VITTLES

010615 barnaclebills3A busy Tuesday night at Barnacle Bill’s, where the Tilefish Francaise swims in a pool of buttery, lemony sauce. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

010615 barnaclebills7How many years does it take for a saloon in a marina to become legendary? At the dead end of First Street in Rumson, Barnacle Bill’s has been searing burgers on an open grill and filling glasses at the bar for more than 40 years.

With high-top tables, coveted window seats overlooking our beautiful Navesink River and cozy family-sized tables in the slightly more gentrified dining room, it’s no wonder that there’s a waiting list any given night. In warmer weather, groups happily wait outside, taking in views of the river, the boats in the marina and the mansions on the bluff across the way. In frigid January, though, the waiting masses crowd around the fireplace in the bar area, children and adults making small talk with neighbors.
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RED BANK: SANTA BASIE, HURRY DOWN

Tim Kirk Love BobClockwise from top left: Jinglebell fundraiser concerts featuring Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express (December 18), Brian Kirk and the Jirks (December 20), Darlene Love (December 21) and Bobby Bandiera (December 22) provide the driving soundtrack to the holiday homestretch in the nights ahead.

The countdown to Christmas 2015 represents anything but a wind-down at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where a fast-moving flurry of high-profile benefit concerts promises to keep the place buzzing like Santa’s workshop-slash-fulfillment center during the holiday homestretch.

From the most big-hearted of local music mainstays, to the vintage hitmakers whose records landed on many a Boomer-era wish list — and on into the next generation of Shore scene stalwarts — the Basie boards will resound with a Wall of seasonal Sound, every note of it dedicated to a great cause and an all-’round generosity of spirit.

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RED BANK: BIG NIGHT FOR BON JOVIALS

Pop music hearththrob Jon Bon Jovi brings his side project, Kings of Suburbia, to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in a benefit performance for the  Parker Family Health Center Center on Shrewsbury Avenue Wednesday night. Even the LiveStream proceeds will be donated. Here’s a promo video posted on his Facebook page earlier this week. Will you be there? Watch it from home? (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: BON JOVI DONATION MISUSED?

murphy-plansRead Murphy in 2011. below, the fire and first aid squads were displaced from their home, which was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo above by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

sb fire house 040114The use of a $119,000 donation by pop star Bon Jovi for a new ambulance in Sea Bright has raised questions, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed one first aid squad ambulance and damaged another, “some in Sea Bright question how Bon Jovi’s generous donation — originally intended to purchase a new ambulance — instead was used to refurbish an old ambulance and buy a SUV that is used almost exclusively by Sea Bright’s part-time emergency management coordinator,” the Press reports.

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RED BANK: HUNGER ON THE TABLE

christie colicchio 093013Governor Chris Christie joined restaurateur Tom Colicchio, right, and an interviewer on stage at the Count Basie Theatre Monday afternoon for a discussion of the politics of combatting hunger. The four-hour afternoon program, called ‘Soul of Hunger,’ also brought together panelists from food pantries and supermarkets and featured a screening of the documentary, ‘A Place at the Table.’ (Click to enlarge)

M’TOWN: MAN CHARGED WITH DWI, LEWDNESS

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Michael Murphy, age 33, from Brainard Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on June 27, 2013 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Non-Support warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was help pending a court date.

• Stephen Smith, age 45, from Chapel Hill Road in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, arrested on June 26, 2013 by Patrolman Ryan Riffert on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Old Bridge Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

• Danny Skinner, 3rd, age 20, from New Street in Toms River, NJ, arrested on June 27, 2013 by Patrolman Thomas Russo on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $1,000.00 bail.

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RED BANK: A LESSON IN HEALTHY EATING

Chef Zeet Peabody shows Red Bank Primary School students around the Monmouth Street garden of the JBJ Soul Kitchen. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Brandy Balthazar’s third-grade class of English Language Learners at the Red Bank Primary School went on a health-conscious field trip earlier this week.

Wearing pedometers, they visited the stores Rincon and Juanito’s on Shrewsbury Avenue to learn about wholesome food choices, and then headed over to the JBJ Soul Kitchen on Monmouth Street, where chef Zeet Peabody happily showed them around the garden.

The Tuesday morning outing was part of Shaping Red Bank, a public health initiative started two and half years ago that addresses dietary causes of childhood obesity and diabetes through a coalition of local organizations, said Sandra Van Sant, Monmouth Regional Health Commission health officer.

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SLEDGER: FAKE-FARMER LAW NEEDS TEETH

A recently enacted state law aimed at culling ‘fake farmer‘ landowners “will eventually give local tax officials the power to force out fakers,” but doesn’t go far enough, the Star-Ledger says in an editorial published Friday.

Championed by state Senator and Red Bank resident Jen Beck – who won her seat in 2007 after a battling an opponent she tagged as a fake farmer – the reform bill signed by Governor Chris Christie this month goes too easy on wealthy individuals, developers and owners of office parks who took advantage of the old law to duck some $95 million a year in local taxes, the Sledger says.

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RED BANK: TEAK CLEARED TO RAISE THE ROOF

The Monmouth Street restaurant plans to offer light fare and cocktails on its second floor, an owner said. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Praised for adding “urban” flavor and criticized for adding to parking woes,  Teak resturant won approval Monday night to build the Red Bank’s first rooftop dining space.

Planning board vice chairman Dan Mancuso, who was on the short end of a 6-2 vote, blasted the expansion, which was alternately described as having a shortfall of 39 and 66 parking spaces.

“I’ve gotta tell you, you’re squeezing every inch out of this property, as the previous owner did,” he told co-owner Charlie Lyristis. “I don’t see this as a win for the town at all.”

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BON JOVI BURGLAR GETS FIVE YEARS

By JOHN T. WARD

An Ocean County man who last month admitting burglarizing the Navesink mansion of Jon Bon Jovi  was sentenced to five years in state prison Friday, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced.

Nick Tracy, 22, of Beachwood, pleaded guilty in state Superior Court in Freehold on September 5 to a monthlong break-in spree that netted him $300,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables from the home of the pop rocker and other well-heeled residents of the Middletown neighborhood.

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BON JOVI BURGLAR PLEADS GUILTY

Bon Jovi’s mansion on the Middletown side of the Navesink was one of the homes entered in the 2011 burglary spree, authorities said.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An Ocean County man faces up to five years in state prison following his guilty plea to breaking into a number of Middletown homes, including the riverfront mansion belonging to pop star Jon Bon Jovi, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Nick Tracy, 22, right, pleaded guilty to swiping more than $300,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables in a series of break-ins over the course of one month in the spring of 2011, according to an announcement by the prosecutor’s office.

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BANDIERA & BAND TAKE ON ‘SOLO’ BEATLES

Bandiera on the Run: Guitarist Bob Bandiera (at right) assembles the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue at the Basie Friday for a tribute to the post-Beatle careers of the Beatles.

By TOM CHESEK

Does guitarist and vocalist Bob Bandiera‘s musical versatility have any limits?

When he’s not busy maintaining a longstanding lieutenancy with Southside Johnny and the Jukes, the veteran of over 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs might be globetrotting as a touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. Back home in Jersey, Bandiera’s been known to plan the occasional holiday-season Hope Concert (a star-studded series that’s boasted the participation of Bruce Springsteen, Southside, JBJ and more), travel with Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express, and, somewhere in there, prosecute a solo career that’s seen him play everywhere from theater-scale venues to the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole.

But it’s the intermittent supergroup one-nighters by the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue at the Count Basie Theatre that have remained the best showcases of Bandiera’s virtuosity and encyclopedic mastery of pop music. Fronting a jukebox Justice League of talented friends from the regional bandscape, the guy who cut his teeth in such classic cover combos as Holme and Cats has conceived and performed tributes to favorite artists (Roy Orbison, Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees), as well as a Tribute to Trios, One Hit Wonders, Bands of Brothers and about a half dozen other theme-perfect entertainments.

On Friday, August 17, the-14 piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes at the Monmouth Street landmark for a special salute to the music of the Beatles. Special, because it’s a tribute to their solo careers, a rich vein of material from the years in which the former MopTops continued to write and make guest appearances on each other’s recordings — provided they didn’t all have to be in the same room together. The Legacy Rock Desk at redbankgreen spoke to Bandiera on why the 8 pm event may be even more special than we reckoned. Flip the record over for more.

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TEAK PLANS SECOND STORY AND DECK

A portion of the addition would allow for open-air dining overlooking Monmouth Street.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Just over a year after changing hands, Red Bank’s Teak restaurant is blowing through the roof.

The Monmouth Street eatery, with an Asian-fusion menu, has filed a request at the borough planning and zoning office to add a second story with both indoor and outdoor tables.

“My vision is to bring a little bit of Broad Street to Monmouth Street,” says vocal downtown promoter George Lyristis, who with his brothers Taso and Charlie own the Bistro at Red Bank and Zoe in Little Silver. They bought Teak last year with a group that includes Bon Jovi bandmember David Bryan.

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SOUL KITCHEN FINDS ITS FOOTING

Newly recruited general manager Ryan Timmons outside Soul Kitchen earlier this week. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Three months after opening, Soul Kitchen, the pay-what-you-can-or-work-it-off restaurant on Red Bank’s West Side, is  progresssing toward its goal of feeding the haves and have-nots in equal numbers, new manager Ryan Timmons tells redbankgreen.

About 30 percent of the restaurant’s patrons pay with vouchers earned through volunteer work at Soul Kitchen or a growing roster of other non-profits, Timmons said. The goal is a 50-50 mix among diners, and “the voucher-to-payment ratio is going up,” he said.

Meanwhile, paying customers are being generous when settling up bills via the discreet donation envelopes that servers present to them at the end of their three-course dinners, he said. The suggested donation is $10, but “very few” customers leave just that amount, he said, and instead pay more to help subsidize meals for others.

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GOT AN ACHE FOR BON JOVI?

jbj-advilJon Bon Jovi in the Advil commercial he shot in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

Back in September, redbankgreen told you about Jon Bon Jovi shooting a commercial for Advil at the Soul Kitchen, which hadn’t yet opened. Well, for all those fans with an ache for the pop star, here’s the spot, which debuts today.

Advil’s a backer of the JBJ Soul Foundation, which built and runs the pay-what-you-can restaurant on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.