36°F clear sky


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. 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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Big Brothers Big Sisters Buona SeraThe coming of Cinco de Mayo means good food, good drink and good times with friends, and revelers who gather on May 5 at Buona Sera Ristorante in Red Bank will help hundreds of area kids— while helping themselves to a taste of Mexican specialties, select beverages and delectable desserts.

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21 w front 082614The former Wayne’s Market on West Front Street is slated to open as a Jimmy John’s franchise owned by Gaslight Anthem bassist Alex Levine, at left below, and Matt Schaffert, right. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


levine schaffert 020116The owners of two Red Bank restaurants left Monday night’s planning board meeting with unanimous approvals, one to expand and the other to open.

Buona Sera, at Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street, won an OK for a plan for a 1,200-square foot addition that might accommodate up to 50 standing customers. And Jimmy John’s Deli, a sandwich franchise co-owned by a member of the rock band Gaslight Anthem, got a thumbs-up to open in the former Wayne’s Market space on West Front Street.

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rb snow 021814Val DeFazio clears snow from the awning of Buona Sera Ristorante on Monmouth Street in Red Bank Tuesday afternoon, when temperatures rose into the low 40s.

For the first time in what seemed like eons, residents of the Green woke Wednesday to find no snowflake symbols in near-term weather forecasts. The National Weather Service says Wednesday is likely to be rainy, with a high of 47 degrees. (Click to enlarge)


Just a week after Valentine’s Day, hearts were celebrated in Red Bank Thursday night not for love or romance, but for health, as Buona Sera Ristorante once again hosted “The Red Dress Event,” presented by Meridian CardioVascular Network to bring awareness to the risk of heart disease.

Women decked in their best little red dresses came out to enjoy cocktails, music and gorgeous designer gowns crafted by Vera Wang, Oscar De la Renta, Marc Jacobs, and Donna Karan, on display directly from New York Fashion Week’s ‘The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection.’ The celebrity fashion show itself played on  flat screens in the background as the dance floor turned into a swirling sea of red skirts and flashing lights.

redbankgreen‘s Danielle Tepper was there to capture the action.


Kenny Vance and the Planotones bring their supersmooth doo-wop to the Basie Saturday night. Below, quilts will be on display at the Middletown Township Public Library Saturday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

Friday, February 8

RED BANK: Psychic Lisa Williams will use the Count Basie Theatre stage at 8 p.m. to demonstrate her other-worldly abilities for $35-59 entry tickets. 99 Monmouth Street.

Saturday, February 9

SHREWSBURY: Stop by the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a free workshop with materials to create handcrafted valentines for that special someone. 1001 Route 35 North.

LITTLE SILVER: From 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sickles Market will offer a step-by-step tutorial on how to create beautiful floral arrangements, from assembly to aftercare. For $40, each participant will be able to take home their own five-inch glass cube filled with hydrangeas, gerber daisies, rose, and wax flowers. Space is limited and advance registration plus payment is required. 1 Harrison Avenue.

MIDDLETOWN: Rebecca’s Reel Quilters, an organization specializing in lessons and workshops for quilting enthusiasts, will be displaying their work at the public library at 1 p.m. Admission is free to those wishing to come and admire. The exhibit will continue during regular library hours through March 1. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: Kids five years old and up are welcome at a free craft party from 2 to 3 p.m. at Red Bank Public Library, where they can create their very own Valentines, including lollipop flowers and heart-shaped suncatchers. Registration is required. 84 West Front Street.

RED BANK: The Count Basie will host a Valentine concert at 7:30, featuring Kenny Vance and the Planotones, Terry Johnson’s Flamingos, Willie Winfield and the Harptones, Lewis Lymon and the Teenchords, Cleveland Still and the Dubs, Lenny Dell and the Dimensions and The Chantels. Tickets are $40-50. 99 Monmouth Street.

LINCROFT: Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center will welcome jazz pianist Joe Accurso, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and guitarist Doug Clark at 8 p.m. for a cheap ($15-17 tickets) but jammin’ good time. Newman Springs Road.

Sunday, February 10

LITTLE SILVER: Sickles Market invites parents and kids to spend some quality time together and decorate one large heart shaped sugar cookie and six cupcakes to take home, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Only kids ages 6 to 12. Space is limited and advance registration plus payment ($25) is required. 1 Harrison Avenue.

RED BANK: Red Bank Regional’s THE SOURCE hosts a benefit at Buona Sera for the Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship Program for Latino students. The $40 admission includes a fashion show, lunch and coffee bar, plus a 50/50 raffle and raffle basket auction. 50 Maple Avenue.

MIDDLETOWN: The Creative Writing Majors of Red Bank Regional High School’s Performing Arts Academy will put on a free performance at the Main Library at 2 p.m. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: The Monmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform at Count Basie at 3 p.m. featuring Haydn, Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland’s ‘An Outdoor Adventure.’ Tickets are $35. 99 Monmouth Street.

LINCROFT: Postponed from last week due to inclement weather, the Chairish the Museum Silent Auction Finale Benefit at the Monmouth Museum features over 50 chairs decorated and designed by local artists, all of which are available for purchase. ‘Libations and light fare’ will be served during the 4 to 6 p.m. event. All proceeds from the $10 tickets benefit the educational programs at the Museum. 765 Newman Springs Road.

RED BANK: First Presbyterian Church will welcome young instrumentalists from Juilliard School and other prestigious academies at 7 p.m. as part of the free Tower Hill Concert Series. 255 Harding Road.


Singer, songwriter and Little Silver native Greg Trooper opens for Clint Black at The Y’s Goin’ Country for Kids benefit concert Saturday night at the Count Basie.


While he doesn’t usually make the short list of well-known musicians who’ve called the Jersey Shore their home, Little Silver native Greg Trooper has an uncanny knack for being on the scene wherever music happens — or is just about to happen.

The 56-year-old singer and songwriter was present and accounted for when the NYC folk clubs summoned forth a bold new crop of performers in the 1970s and ’80s. He was at large in Austin when that Texas town was tearing up the country music rulebook — and in Nashville when a next-generation Music City began to attract veteran Shorecats like John Eddie and Garry Tallent.

On Saturday, Trooper returns to Red Bank — the setting of many an after-school hangout back in the day — for a major benefit concert presented under the name Goin’ Country for Kids. A fundraiser for the Strong Kids Program at THE Community YMCA, the 8 pm show at the Count Basie Theatre finds Trooper appearing in support of country superstar Clint Black — himself a momentary son of the greater Red Bank green (and if you don’t believe us, check the NJ Wall of Fame at Murphy’s on Broad Street).

The solo acoustic set is expected to draw from his 25-year catalog of recorded work — a discography that includes 2011’s Upside Down Town, in which the darker vocal tones of the mature Trooper make a gritty but satisfying fit with a lyrical style that was always world-weary and wise beyond the composer’s years. The acclaimed songwriter’s songwriter would see his vivid vignettes interpreted by performers from Steve Earle (“Little Sister”) and Vince Gill (“We Won’t Dance”) to Lucy Kaplansky (“The Heart”) and Billy Bragg (“Everywhere”).

Working with such sought-after producers as Buddy Miller, Dan Penn and Tallent, Trooper has employed sensibly spare arrangements (spotlighting fiddles, pedal steel, accordion and some quietly intense guitar) in a way that presaged what we now call Americana — even as it avoided the potential embarrassments of Opryland fad and fashion.

redbankgreen has some Q’s and A’s with Trooper below. If you missed the Clint Black interview earlier this week, thumb it over to here.

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Clint Black’s portrait at Murphy Style Grill Wall. Black returns to the area where he lived as an infant when he headlines the Count Basie Saturday.


Pay a visit to Red Bank’s Murphy Style Grill and you’ll encounter muralist Andrew Sabori’s Wall of Fame panorama featuring famous people from New Jersey. Take a closer look and you’ll probably wonder why — nestled in with familiar homegrown heroes like Jack Nicholson, The Chairman and The Boss — you’ll find the black-hatted country music superstar Clint Black.

Although he forged his traditionalist sound in the honkytonks of his Houston hometurf — and despite venturing forth into much of the world from his present Nashville base of operations — Black can claim a pedigree on the greater Red Bank green, where he was born 50 years ago and, according to some sources, where his family briefly resided prior to young Clint’s first birthday.

On Saturday, July 28, the platinum-plated singer, songwriter, producer and occasional actor makes a Red Bank homecoming of sorts, when he headlines The Y’s Goin’ Country for Kids — a benefit for The Community YMCA and a show that finds the Count Basie Theatre  also playing host to another local boy gone country: Little Silver native Greg Trooper.

It’s a road stop that holds special significance for Black, whose 25-year recorded catalog has garnered him more than a dozen number one hits, a trophy case of awards and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Having met all the Nashville milestones (and dueted with everyone from Waylon Jennings to Monty Python’s Eric Idle), the AMA Favorite New Artist of 1990 entered the new millennium with some of the most intriguing music of his career. He’s also co-starred in a series of family-friendly Flicka flicks, guested in movies and countless TV shows, composed original music for the upcoming stage extravaganza Aussie Adventure, and continues to serve as honorary chair for the nonprofit research and awareness organization International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF).

Scroll on down for our interview with the Man Named Black, and tune in Friday for our interview with show-opener Greg Trooper of Little Silver.

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It’s not just Mother Nature’s recent toying with the thermostat that’s giving us a taste of spring in February.

Every year at this time, Red Bank’s temperature rises for a few hours as hundreds of women, most of them bedecked in luscious red, gather for drinks, dancing and a good cause: ‘The Red Dress Event,’ hosted by Meridian Women’s Heart Connection.

Once again, on Thursday night, stunning designer gowns from New York’s Fashion Week were on display at Buona Sera Restaurant, where a ballroom turned into a scarlet ocean and the dance floor was jumping.

redbankgreen was there, natch.


basie-plansCount Basie Theatre’s Executive Director Numa Saisselin at Monday night’s planning board meeting. Below, a rendering of the patio addition. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


basie-patioThe Count Basie Theatre‘s latest installment in a multi-year, multi-million dollar enhancement got the green light from Red Bank’s planning board Monday night.

Pending the acquisition of two lots previously on loan from theater pals Friends of The Basie, the landmark venue will pour concrete on a vacant swath of dirt and gravel to create an open-air mingling area for shows, plus parking spots for tour buses, freeing up coveted street space for guests.

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buona-sera-parking2Buon Sera now has dibs on a primo parking lot in downtown Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)


A parking lot once coveted by Red Bank officials is doing double duty, but still for the private sector.

Buona Sera restaurant now has nighttime and weekend dibs on a lot at the corner of Monmouth Street and Maple Avenue that’s reserved during school hours for Red Bank Catholic High School.

The popular restaurant and catering hall entered into a contract with property owner Stavola Leasing to use the lot last week, said Buona Sera owner Chris Mariano.

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heart_truth1Designer creations from the Red Dress Collection at NYC’s Fashion Week will be on display at Buona Sera on February 24, as part of Meridian’s Heart Month fundraiser.

It’s an evening out on the town, at one of the hottest nightspots on the greater Green, and it’s strictly ladies only — but this is one event for which that little black dress is going to have to stay home on the hanger.

When the third annual Red Dress Event returns to Red Bank next Thursday, February 24, the guests of honor will be a selection of six top-designer crimson creations from the Red Dress Collection, seen during Fashion Week  2011 in NYC.

Still, while the evening promises to set any fashionista’s pulse racing, at the heart of the festivities is a serious subject — as serious as the disease that’s been branded the Number One killer of women.

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