BCC ArtFor the latest in the new season of monthly exhibitions at their Monmouth Street gallery space, the members of The Art Alliance of Monmouth County have issued a challenge to art teachers and other educators from the area’s places of higher learning — by inviting them to put their own works forward for public scrutiny.

Beginning with an opening reception on Saturday, January 10, a total of 40 faculty and staff members from both Brookdale Community College and Monmouth University will take part in a special Invitational Show, curated by BCC professor and painter Colleen Lineberry. The group show spotlights pieces in a variety of media — among them “Blue Furry Cacti on Pink and White Marbled Mountain” (pictured), a gouache painting by Brookdale’s Shaden Mousa.

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Home-Show-in-ArenaOnline shopping was never like this: Brookdale Community College hosts the brick ‘n mortar bazaar that is the 25th annual Jersey Shore Home Show, one of a pair of three-day special events happening this weekend on the Lincroft campus. 

It’s a strolling smorgasbord of product showcases and demos — everything from spas to sponges, bath stalls to burglar alarms, flagpoles to floor coverings, stonework to solar panels, windows to water treatments, and every helpful/ healthful thing between.

Now marking a quarter-century as a form of therapy for cabin fever in the drab foothills of the calendar year, the Jersey Shore Home Show returns to the Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College for a 25th annual edition.

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121814 caruso2Frank Caruso signs a copy of ‘Outlaw Pete,’ which he illustrated. Below, Caruso added an on-the-spot illustration to each book he autographed. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


121814 caruso3Jerry Ferrara had heard the ballad ‘Outlaw Pete’ at a Bruce Springsteen concert, but he had “never heard of Frank Caruso” until Caruso illustrated the song’s tale in book form.

But there Ferrara was Thursday night, standing in line at Brookdale Community College’s Pen and Quill Bookstore, to meet the illustrator and have his books signed.

“If Springsteen shows up, well, that would be a bonus,” he told redbankgreen.

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MM galleryThe Holiday Gift Gallery at Monmouth Museum returns on Tuesday — and continues through January 11 — for the benefit of late-blooming gifters.

For something that seems to start as early as Back to School Days, the holiday shopping season never seems to have enough hours and days loaded up on the back end. It’s not so much that “we need a little Christmas, right this very moment” — it’s that we need a lot more moments, right now and on into the new calendar year.

It’s for straggling souls that one of the Red Bank area’s unsung treasures, the Monmouth Museum, maintains an annual Holiday Gift Gallery that offers up eleventh-hour shopportunities beginning Tuesday.

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Outlaw Pete Caruso“Outlaw Pete” illustrator Frank Caruso, at right with Bruce Springsteen in a recent “Daily Show” appearance, brings their book to the Brookdale Community College campus Thursday.

Its author flat-out declares that it’s not technically a child’s bedtime story, even if its many inspirations include the “Brave Cowboy Bill” tales he used to hear as a young child. He’s also forthcoming about the notion that he “didn’t have much to do with it,” although he’s dutifully promoted the project in venues that range from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to the Times Book Review.

Still, the fact remains that the new book Outlaw Pete takes its title and its text from Bruce Springsteen’s song of that name, a gunslinger epic that opened his 2009 long-player Working on a Dream. As illuminated by artist Frank Caruso, the eight-minute song becomes an illustrated fable of what Springsteen describes as “a man trying to outlive and outlast his sins.” And on Thursday, December 18, the artist comes to the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College for a signing event at the school’s Student Life Center building.

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Camelot_press_photo_4A special performance of CAMELOT on December 13, captioned for Spanish-speaking audience members, is among a slate of free events designed for Monmouth County’s Latino community at Two River Theater. (Photo by T.C. Erickson)

Press release from Two River Theater Company

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, has announced a series of free events and productions for Monmouth County’s Latino community and Spanish-speaking audiences throughout the month of December. Tickets to the three events on December 13 and 21 are free of charge to Latino and Spanish-speaking patrons.

The special schedule begins with a free event presented under the name Nosotros: A Community Gathering and Sharing of Stories. Hosted inside Two River’s Marion Huber Theater on the afternoon of Saturday, December 13, the 4 pm event is hosted by playwright Tanya Saracho (a writer for television’s Looking and Girls) and Jerry Ruiz (director of Two River’s annual Crossing Borders festival of new Latino plays), as part of a project in which they will collaborate with Two River on creating an original play inspired by Monmouth County’s Latino community.

Saracho and Ruiz invite members of the community to share stories from their lives at the gathering, with no theatrical or public speaking experience necessary to participate. For more information or to reserve a spot, patrons should call (732)345-1400 (English) or (732)936-8843 (Spanish).

There’s more in store this month at Two River — including specially captioned performances of Two River Theater Company‘s current musical production Camelot, and this year’s upcoming all-ages family show.

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Press release from Brookdale Community College

On the evening of Wednesday, December 10, Brookdale Community College will host a free information session for its award-winning paralegal studies program.

Community members are invited to meet with program faculty, tour campus facilities and learn about the paralegal profession. The information session will be held at 5:30 pm in Room 204 of Larrison Hall on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus. It is free and open to the public.

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Painter_Nell_by_Robbin_HollandIn addition to being an award winning author and historian, Nell Painter is indeed a painter — and she’ll be displaying and discussing her work (such as ‘Beloved She Saw Her,’ pictured) this Thursday at Brookdale Community College. (Top photo by Robbin Holland)

BelovedsHeSawHerOrange-digitalcollageShe’s got a doctoral degree in American History from Harvard; a BS in anthropology from UC Berkeley; fine art degrees from Rutgers and the Rhode Island School of Design. She’s taught History at Princeton, UNC Chapel Hill, and been awarded honorary degrees from Yale, Dartmouth College, SUNY New Paltz, and Wesleyan. She’s been a Fulbright scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow, and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities award.

And if that still fails to impress, she arm-wrestled Stephen Colbert on national television.

When author and historian Nell Painter comes to campus on Thursday, December 4, it will be the sprawling Lincroft layout of Brookdale Community College, where the 72 year old Newark resident arrives not as a Visiting Writer, but a Visiting Artist — a celebrated Painter in much more than name only.

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Rabbi-Brooks-SusmanPress release from Brookdale Community College

“We are living in a age of polarization,” observes Christopher Bellitto — and with religion-based tensions running high throughout the world, trying to make sense of things could be a job befitting the special skills of the God Squad.

A professor of history at Kean University, Dr. Bellitto has appeared on CNN, the History Channel and other national media outlets as an expert on church history and Catholicism. He’s teamed in the God Squad with Rabbi Brooks Susman (pictured), a humanities instructor at  Brookdale Community College and the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Am in Freehold.

On Thursday, December 11, the popular duo of speakers will present “Jews and Christians, Words and Deeds,” on BCC’s Lincroft campus; a lively, dynamic, pre-holiday examination of the texts that serve as the basis for Western faith belief.

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JuliaAlvarezPeteSmithIN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES author Julia Alvarez visits Brookdale Community College on Tuesday, in the culmination of The Big Read 2014 slate of events. (Photo by Pete Smith)

Inspired by the 1960 murders of sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal — founders of the Dominican underground movement that opposed the rule of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo — the novel In the Time of the Butterflies marked the 20th anniversary of its original publication this year, by being selected as the subject of the second annual Big Read initiative for Monmouth County.

While the setting for the book by Julia Alvarez is specific to the Dominican Republic in the 1950s, the themes — freedom, equality, human rights — are universal. Beginning early last month, the slate of Big Read events organized by The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange) at Brookdale Community College went well beyond the printed page, encompassing art exhibits, musical performances, screenings of the 2001 Butterflies feature film, and a program of dramatic readings at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

This Tuesday, November 25, The Big Read 2014 comes to a head with a visit by Julia Alvarez herself, as the author travels to BCC’s Lincroft campus for a pair of personal appearances.

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Press release from Brookdale Community College

In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College will offer free HIV testing at the Lincroft campus on Thursday, December 2.

All community members are invited to stop by between 10 am and 2 pm, enjoy complimentary refreshments and help fight for an “AIDS-free generation” during this event, a partnership with the Prevention Resource Network and Project REAL, an Asbury Park-based LGBTQ Youth Drop-In Center funded by the New Jersey Department of Health’s Division of HIV, STD and TB Services.

The confidential, rapid HIV tests will be administered by the Mobile Testing Unit of Prevention Resource Network, a federally funded community outreach program administered by the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey. Results are available within 20 minutes.

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raguActor and playwright Frank Ingrasciotta performs his Off Broadway solo show BLOOD TYPE: RAGU at Middletown Arts Center on November 15 as part of a new series of Savor the Arts events.

It’s called Savor the Arts — “a series of culture-specific events that blend performances with culinary tastings, exhibits, workshops, armchair travel presentations and more” — and it’s a multi-sensory whirlwind that begins this weekend, when the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) invites the public to immerse itself in the culture of Italy (and, by extension, the Italian-American experience).

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Maureen MauroFamed “Medium Next Door” Maureen Hancock and Chef Mauro of Carlo’s Bakery are among the special guests, as the NJ Women’s Expo commandeers Brookdale’s Collins Arena for two days of “especially for women” seminars and demos.

“Gather your gal pals and treat yourselves,” it says here, “to the best local shopping, fashion, entertainment, food, travel, cosmetics and so much more.”

When the New Jersey Women’s Expo comes to the campus of Brookdale Community College for a fourth annual edition this weekend, it will commandeer the event floor and walkways of the Robert J. Collins Arena for two late morning/ afternoon sessions of product and service displays, health and beauty seminars, guest speakers and fashion shows (featuring the students of Red Bank’s Barbizon School of Modeling). It will feature a “Wellness Begins in Bed” panel presented by medical professionals from primary sponsor Meridian Health. And, it will entice attendees to venture into the wooded wilds of Lincroft by giving us something we can’t get at home: real live TV personalities.

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haunted-theater-a-haunted-attraction-nj_4009The friendly staff of Brookdale Haunted Theater creaks open the doors of the community college’s Performing Arts Center for the latest edition of their live-action eekscursion, beginning this Friday night.

It’s the longest established live haunted-house attraction on the greater Red Bank Green — and even if the real-life horrors of Superstorm Sandy forced it to go truly dark a couple of Octobers back, Brookdale Haunted Theater managed to rise again, undead and undaunted, for a successful 2013 season of the witch.

The hooded goblins and snooded ghouls are once again at large on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, as the walk-through frightfest commandeers the school’s Performing Arts Center for two pre-Halloweekends.

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A snippet of a 2008 interview with the author Victor LaValle.

It’s a place where a literal monster roams the long, institutional, fluorescent-lit halls — a buffalo-headed beast that stalks the overly medicated residents of a state mental hospital, and just one of many challenges faced by Pepper, the “one sane man” protagonist of The Devil in Silver.

The 2012 novel by Victor LaValle is one of several acclaimed works — including the American Book Award winner Big Machine — that will be read and discussed by the Queens-born author when the monthly series of Visiting Writers resumes at Brookdale Community College Wednesday evening.

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JuliaAlvarezAuthor Julia Alvarez is among the special guests taking part in the slate of events for The Big Read 2014, beginning this Monday and centered around her novel IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES. Inset: art by Carlos Frias.

Carlos Frias artThe setting is specific: the Dominican Republic, during the time of the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. The themes, however, are universal — freedom, equality, human rights.

Inspired by the 1960 murders of the three Mirabal sisters, and marking the 20th anniversary of its original publication this year, the novel In the Time of the Butterflies becomes the centerpiece of the second annual Big Read campaign at locations in and around the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College.

Beginning on Monday, October 6 (and “keynoted” with a late-innings appearance by the novel’s author Julia Alvarez), The Big Read 2014 is organized by The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange) at BCC, in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts and its “initiative to revitalize the role of reading in American popular culture and inspire all citizens, young and old, to participate,” in the words of Chhange Coordinator Deborah Degnan.

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Kabir-Singh-1000x750Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh comes to the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College for the latest in a continuing series of Laugh at Lunch events.

Personally, we find very little that’s funny about cafeteria pizza — but “Laugh at Lunch,” the long-running series of celebrity comedy matinees at the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College, may be one of the Best Kept Secrets in local entertainment circles.

Presented by the Student Life and Activities committee, the monthly standup sets have brought some of the nation’s best up-and-coming talents (and more than a few seasoned veterans of shows like Chelsea Lately) to the Lincroft campus for noontime gigs that are offered up free of charge to anyone with a valid student ID. On Tuesday, September 30, Student Life puts forth the first LAL event of the semester, when busy West Coast-based club comic Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh brings his rapid-fire observations on dating, sex and stereotypes to the SLC’s Navesink Room.

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David Burstein gives a TEDx talk on the power of Millenials.

Press release from LWV of NJ

On Saturday, October 11, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey will hold a public-welcome educational forum entitled “Engaged and Empowered: A New Generation of Leaders.”

Hosted on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, the program of workshops and presentations will discuss and explore political engagement and activism among Millennials — the generation commonly defined as those born in the early 1980s into the early 2000s.

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The students of the Brookdale Community College Theater Club bring the irreverent black comedy DOG SEES GOD to the stage of BCC’s Performing Arts Center, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Looking back on it, Charles M. Schulz must have had some pretty well thought-out reasons not to have ever aged his classic Peanuts characters out of their frozen-in-time childhood moment — and with Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, the audience can see for themselves how the neuroses, personality quirks and phobias of Charlie Brown and his friends might have gotten the better of them in young adulthood.

Something of an antidote to You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the rarely revived play by Bert V. Royal makes itself visible for three free performances at Brookdale Community College, September 11 through 13. A presentation of the school’s Theater Club, the 2004 “unauthorized parody” goes up at BCC’s Performing Arts Center on the Lincroft campus.

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jacquie-lee-nbc-630x359 copyTHE VOICE singing sensation Jacquie Lee joins the Rock and Roll Chorus for a special Saturday night concert at Brookdale’s Collins Arena, dedicated to ongoing post-Sandy relief efforts in Union Beach.

She made a nationwide splash last year on The Voice, when the 16-year old was hand-picked by Christina Aguilera to join her team on the NBC competition series. Before Jacquie Lee was through, she’d surged past all but one of her fellow contestants (Tessanne Chin) — and made fast Twitter fans of eminently droppable names like Jennifer Hudson and Lady Gaga.

Drop Jacquie Lee’s name around the Count Basie Theatre, and you’ll hear congratulations, exultations — but little in the way of surprise, since the graduate of the Basie-based Rockit! program already had all observers convinced that hers was a rare and rocketing talent. Having gone on to release a Top 20 iTunes single (“Broken Ones”) and taken to the touring circuit with Chin and some of their fellow Voice finalists, the Colts Neck teen returns to the greater Green this Saturday, August 23, as headliner of a special benefit concert event at Brookdale Community College.

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The Summer Shakespeare Ensemble returns for its annual plein-air production at Brookdale Community College, as A WINTER’S TALE continues for four more evening performances, July 17 – 20.

Is it a tragedy or a comedy? A breath mint or a candy mint? Scholars refer to William Shakespeare’s late-career play The Winter’s Tale as a “problem” play; a twisted romance that traces a dark and unhappy path for many of its characters (there’s that notorious stage direction “exit, pursued by a bear”), while not being above injecting a dose of magical serendipity in the service of a happy ending. The play, which opened last weekend as the latest in the long-running Summer Shakespeare Ensemble series at Brookdale Community College, continues just the way the Bard meant it — out of doors, under the sun and stars, on the lawn adjacent to Larrison Hall on the Lincroft campus — for four more performances, July 17 through 20.

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Press release from Brookdale Community College

Writers and readers of all ages and experience levels are invited to attend the first Aspiring Writers Conference at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft on June 27. The conference, held at the Warner Student Life Center on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus, is open to anyone over the age of 16.

Four accomplished Brookdale faculty members and the founder of the Red Bank Blogging Club will give a series of lectures on memoir writing, blogging, narrative medicine and the personal and professional benefits of creative expression. The conference will run from 10 am to 3 pm, featuring both a morning and an afternoon session. Lunch will be provided.

Two lectures will be offered simultaneously in both the morning and the afternoon sessions, allowing attendees to select the talks they are most interested in.

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Di-Ionno-Headshot_Full-001-featuredStar-Ledger journalist Mark DiIonno is the guest speaker for a Wednesday evening reception “Celebrating Past, Present and Future,” at the county Park System’s Thompson Park headquarters.

“Celebrating Past, Present and Future” is the broad-reaching theme  — and New Jersey’s 350th birthday year is the occasion — as the Thompson Park homebase of the Monmouth County Park System hosts a special opening reception in advance of Thursday’s 2014 NJ History and Historic Preservation Conference at Brookdale Community College.

On Wednesday evening, June 4, an assembly of historians, academics, civic dignitaries and preservation-minded members of the general public will convene inside the Thompson Hall administrative building at the county park on Newman Springs Road, for a 5:30 pm event that should be of interest to anyone who’s interested in the rescue and renovation of such historic sites as Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune House, and Little Silver’s Parker Homestead. A benefit for the nonprofit New Jersey History Advocates, the event boasts the participation of a uniquely Jersey voice — that of Star-Ledger ace reporter Mark DiIonno.

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Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the N

Press release from The T. Thomas Fortune Project

On Saturday, June 14, the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Project will present a symposium at Brookdale Community College entitled “Shining a Light on Today: The Legacy of T. Thomas Fortune.”

Described as “A Window into the World of Post-Reconstruction,” the symposium will be hosted in the Twin Lights Room of the Warner Student Center at BCC, from 9 am to 1 pm. The day will begin with a continental breakfast, immediately following by a panel discussion. The keynote address will be delivered by Walter Greason, History Professor at Monmouth University.

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Kitty GenoveseThe infamous 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese will be remembered as part of the Evening of International Psychology and Poetry Performances program Wednesday night at Brookdale Community College.  

Each year for the past couple of decades, faculty members at Brookdale Community College have teamed for a project with an unusual name: the Evening of International Psychology and Poetry Performances, the 19th annual edition of which takes place inside BCC’s Warner Student Life Center on April 30.

A forum for students and educators to share poetic work that “reflects courage, wisdom, or temperance,” the free public event has historically showcased readings in both English translation and a variety of original languages. And when the 7 pm program commandeers the SLC building’s Navesink Room on Wednesday, it will celebrate the spirit of the “everyday heroes” who walk among us.

At the same time, the event will mark a grim anniversary, with special appearances by two men with a living connection to one of the most infamous tragedies in modern American history.

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