CLEAN UP YOUR ACT, STREETLIFE’S COMING

img_6371721Buskers, like this unidentified trio from Streetlife 2009, are warming up their pipes for the 2010 edition. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s getting closer to that time when the streets of Red Bank become dotted with guitar slingers, mimes and magicians on Saturday nights as part of the summer-long StreetLife series.

But first, they must demonstrate their street creds.

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KABOOMERS MULL TWO-DAY FEST

kaboom-riversideLive entertainment at Riverside Gardens and Marine parks is already a staple of the annual fireworks show. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The KaBoom brand may be expanding in Red Bank.

Although the move isn’t yet official, officials are slipping the name Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink under the umbrella of KaBoomfest! in order to fit in with a plan to make the show a two-day event this year.

KaBoom! committee member Charles Moran told redbankgreen Tuesday that the committee is seeking local approvals to add a day-long an evening concert and festival to the Independence Day weekend.

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BASIE MARQUEE GETTING A FRESH LOOK

springsteen-basie-marqueeBy September, a new electronic marquee should be hanging over Monmouth Street, theater officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The familiar sight of a man using a long pole to change the names of the acts on the Count Basie Theatre marquee will soon be a memory.

The Red Bank venue, which recently earned historic landmark status, is heading into what CEO Numa Saisselin calls the “Let’s Face It” phase of a multimillion dollar, multiyear renovation project.

It starts with an updated marquee and will finish with a new facade, one that will nod to the building’s past, he says.

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IN oRBit: PRINE RIB FOR MUSICAL GOURMETS

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He claims to have sworn off doing interviews forever and a day; he’s never had a hit record, and the guys from TMZ likely ignore him when he goes traipsing through airport terminals. But when John Prine takes the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday, he’ll be squinting down a full house of fanatical followers for whom the 63 year old Grammy winner (left) is a writer and performer of rare and sublime talent.

In today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we call upon Tim Cronin — the man at the front of the Ribeye Brothers and the back of Jack’s Music — for an appreciation of the singer-songwriter who’s proven his bonafides among discerning music fans coast to coast. All this plus the latest mystical gleanings from The Orb listings database, ONLY from the paperless offices of that office-less paper, Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: COUNT, BARRON, THE WHOLE DECK

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You find the most interesting people passing through town — and over in the pixelated pages of Red Bank oRBit, we try to flag them down and introduce them to you.

Today’s edition of our satellite site for culture vultures offers up a special treat — a conversation with Kenny Barron (left), the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters award winning pianist who’s coming to the Count’s Crib this Thursday as a headline attraction in the touring Monterey Jazz Festival Allstars. We asked Red Bank’s own globe-trotting maestro and jazz expert Joe Muccioli to sit down with for a chat with this most formidable cat (we’re not worthy; we’re not worthy).

wiliamdcohansmallBefore all that, we’ve got a reminder that this Wednesday evening brings a rare opportunity to meet investigative journalist and bestselling business writer William D. Cohan (right), the author of the all-too-real life thriller House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street. He’ll be bringing his tense account of the collapse of  Bear Stearns to Kim Widener‘s NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on the Left Bank of Red Bank for an event that’s catered by Monmouth County’s own international celebri-chef David Burke.

Beautiful music, symphonic aromas, ominous notes of ruin — it’s all in the air, today and all week long in Red Bank oRBit!

BASIE THROWS A BONE TO SNOWED-OUT FANS

Count Basie Theatre CEO Numa Saisselin.

Hoping to appease Steve Winwood fans who couldn’t make the musician’s concert because of  Wednesday’s blizzard, officials at the  Count Basie Theatre are offering them free seats to one of four upcoming performances by other artists.

They’re also attempting to clarify the position the theater found itself in as weather forecasts grew ominous in the days leading up to the show. Canceling the concert would have meant a “crippling financial loss” approaching $100,000, Basie CEO Numa Saisselin says in a letter to ticketholders posted overnight on the theater’s website.

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RED BANK ARTS ON TAP FOR STATE AWARDS

two-river-theater-extAmong the candidates for ‘best professional theater’ is the Two River Theater.

Several mainstays of Red Bank’s celebrated arts venues and entertainment scene, including two whose future ties to town are uncertain, are up for the Discover Jersey Arts People’s Choice Awards for 2009.

The Two River Theater CompanyCount Basie Theater and the Borough of Red Bank are all nominated. So is the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, which may not happen at its usual spot in Marine Park this June due to major construction there.

Also on the ballot is the capricious Red Bank International Film Festival, which went on hiatus for 2008 and popped up again last May, shrunken and no longer actually in Red Bank.

But those whose box offices still buzz within the borough borders are imploring anyone with a mouse and internet connection to support their local arts scene as it competes against the state’s other nominees.

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IN oRBit: A TOAST TO MR. NEW YEAR’S

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You remember New Year’s, don’t you? Once an occasion that combined the classy sophistication of beer-pong with the naughty thrill of sleep deprivation, it’s the one stop on the calendar that can cost even more than it promises. But if the thought of spending one more post-midnight moment watching Dick Clark give his wife a jellyfish kiss leaves you colder than  a Times Square curbside, may we humbly nominate one of our own for the ceremonial title of MISTER New Year’s Eve.

With a decade of December 31 concerts at the Count Basie Theatre to his credit, Southside Johnny Lyon is no latecomer to this game, having seen it all — from the Y2K buggery of 1999 to the “Y go on” of 2008 — as he and the Asbury Jukes deposited local audiences safely and swingingly on the other side of New Year’s time and time again. While Southside and his marvelous organization tune up for their eleventh annual Red Bank ring-in, we here at Red Bank oRBit raise our glass this day to the man, the band, and the plan that’s made this tradition one of the many fine things about living where we do.

Then stop in at our checkpoint tomorrow as we run down a bevy of countdown options, any and all of them a grand alternative to yet another 40-hour Twilight Zone marathon. Be kind to your bartenders, your bridge tenders, your servers of chicken tenders, and we’ll “see you next year,” right here in Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: A VISIT FROM ST. (BURT)NIK

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With the calendar ticking off the days til the 25th, today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit brings you an exclusive interview with a character who, once each year, journeys here from some frozen far-north outpost to set up shop with some crafty helpers — on a mission to bring toys, clothes and essentials to our neediest neighbors.

If you guessed our “get” was Saint Nick, well, that’s close enough for rock and roll, we suppose. It’s actually the saintly Glen Burtnik (right), who returns to the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday night for the nineteenth edition of his long-running Xmas Xtravaganza, an annual Good Samaritan groovefest that’s helped even more people than it’s managed to crowd onto the stage.

A veteran of both Styx and Beatlemania, the hitmaking singer and songwriter (he’s just returned from the Russian front on a tour with the latest edition of Electric Light Orchestra) is also famous for his little black book of big scary friends — an unspecified set of which will be showing up in Red Bank for this weekend’s concert. We’ve got the goods from Glen right here — along with a reminder about a special day of care and feeding at Jack’s Music — in Red Bank oRBit!