By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank preservationists expressed concern in recent days over the pending sale of two downtown buildings they believe have historic significance.
The second-floor reading room at the Red Bank Public Library (above) is the setting for this Saturday’s monthly River Read event, featuring Hungarian-born poet, theater producer and translator Dr. Gabor Barabas (below).
Audience regulars at the Long Branch professional playhouse New Jersey Repertory Company have come to appreciate the pre-show remarks given by the theater’s co-founder Dr. Gabor Barabas — introductions that are often illuminated by the retired neurologist’s recollections of his youth in his native Hungary, his fascination with the mythic popular culture of his adopted country, and his signature exhortation to “enjoy, enjoy the show” (to say nothing of those “deal of the century” subscription pitches).
An author, published poet and dramatist in “his own write” (he narrates his own poem “The Spider” in this animated short inspired by the late artist Louise Bourgeois) the NJ Rep executive producer has also garnered acclaim as a translator, with a specialty in the particularly challenging transition between English and Hungarian. On Saturday morning, March 11, the good doctor visits Red Bank Public Library as guest speaker on the topic of “Poetry in Translation.”
While the community-forum series that she’s moderated at Red Bank Public Library just observed its one-year anniversary, Gilda Rogers is scarcely the first Red Banker to issue the invitation “Let’s Talk About Race.” That distinction may go to T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928), the onetime slave turned pioneer black editor-publisher and crusading journalist — and this Wednesday evening, September 28, Fortune’s former home (on what’s now Drs. James Parker Boulevard) is the focus of a special discussion on the man named Fortune, and the ongoing efforts to recognize and represent his life’s work to the community.
Regular readers of redbankgreen‘s paperless pages have no doubt followed the story of the T. Thomas Fortune House, the National Historic Site that has fallen into a serious state of disrepair in recent years — along with a newly floated proposal to rehabilitate the deteriorating structure as a public-welcome community center, and centerpiece of a residential apartment development. During Wednesday’s 7 p.m. presentation in the library’s downstairs meeting room, attendees will be brought up to speed on the details of the plan, and how such a resource can best honor the legacy of the activist who was credited as “being the bridge to the modern day Civil Rights Movement.”
History and nostalgia will mix and mingle at the Red Bank Public Library on Saturday, October 17, when an antiques-roadshow-style event crosses paths with a records-digitization project.
One part of the event, dubbed “What’s In Your Attic?” and organized by the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library, connects local residents with expert appraisers to offer value estimates on antiques and collectibles.
The other enables patrons to preserve their own photos, films and other memorabilia on digital media.
It’s being branded by the Red Bank Public Library as “a dynamic series of discussions exploring race, cultural identity and class in the context of literary works,” and it’s presented under the title Let’s Talk About Race — the kind of call to action that often causes many otherwise well-intentioned souls to want to talk about anything else. But frank talk and community engagement have always been specialties of Gilda Rogers, whose old Frank Talk Art Bistro and Bookstore was the storefront setting for an expansive schedule of activities that ranged from personal appearances by famous writers, live jazz sets and civic debates, to pie-tastings, yoga classes, hair stylings, and invitations to share your favorite old record albums and dance.
Beginning this Wednesday evening, August 26 and continuing a once-monthly schedule through mid-November, Rogers serves as host, curator and moderator for a slate of free events in which “guest speakers and compelling mixed media will support the theme of these discussions” — offerings for which the author, activist, educator (Brookdale Community College, Red Bank Regional) and founder of Frank Talk Multimedia Network promises an open and honest dialogue.
Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee
Mayor Pat Menna is honoring three of his predecessors — and inviting the community — to the first annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for May 1st at The Oyster Point Hotel.
“Our committee is planning a great event and a fun evening, celebrating all things Red Bank,” noted the mayor. “We are fortunate to have three former mayors — Judge Benedict Nicosia, Assemblyman Michael Arnone and Mayor Edward McKenna — still here in the area, and we will be honoring them for their public service.”
Other honorees include Red Bank RiverCenter, which will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award; the Two River Theater, the Cultural and Arts Award; Gerry Eisner, the Historical Legacy Award; Downtown Investors, the Urban Development Award; and Seals Eastern, the Manufacturing and Technology Award.
It was about a year ago that the nonprofit Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library — in an effort to re-stabilize the beleaguered biblioteque during a challenging interlude in its long history — uncorked a fundraising vehicle of rare and winning vintage: a Wine Tasting Benefit that paired the holiday-season recommendations of Rumson’s own “Cork Maven” Kristi Nero with the complementary curd suggestions of Cheese Cave proprietor Stephen Catania.
On Tuesday, November 11, the festive sounds of popping and pouring will reverberate throughout the normally hushed corners of the historic Eisner Library building, when the Wine Tasting event returns for a second annual edition. Scheduled to run between 7 and 9:30 pm, the event will spotlight a selection of Faustini Wines from the winery’s Red Bank tasting room, in happy partnership with artisanal cheeses from the borough-based Cave. Also on hand will be hors d’oeuvres, sweets, a 50/50 raffle and locally sourced live music.