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Jersey Shore CookbookFrom guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.

It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Jerseybites.com) Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.

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Patrick MonaghanPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

On March 17, Red Bank Regional High School senior Patrick Monaghan of Little Silver came in second in the very competitive New Jersey Regional Poetry Out Loud State Championship. This was the second visit to the competition’s stage for the celebrated RBR thespian, who has won the Regional competition for the past two years.

For his performance at the College of New Jersey, Patrick performed William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes as well as two other selections: Or by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young.

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PoetryOutloudPressPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

In late February, Patrick Monaghan of Little Silver, a VPA drama major at Red Bank Regional High School, won the New Jersey Regional Poetry Out Loud Region 3 Semi-finals held at Two River Theater. The Little Silver junior is the first student to advance this far in the competition in the six years that RBR has been participating in the event, in which competitors were represented from numerous towns in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer Counties.

For his first place regional performance, Patrick performed “Self Inquiry Before the Job Interview” by Gary Soto, “Sonnet 55” by William Shakespeare, and “So This is Nebraska” by Ted Kooser. He shared the top honor with a student from Piscataway High School, and the two winners went on to compete in the State Championship in Princeton on March 13.

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In this video from last May, Olivia Mullen, then a junior at Red Bank Catholic, gives a taste of the English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Competition, which returns to Brookdale Community College Saturday. Below, a Martha Rand portrait from the show opening Friday night at Gallery U. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, March 1 

MIDDLETOWN: Girls in grades 5 to 10 are invited to discuss Cynthia Lord’s Touch Blue with their moms at this free monthly event held at the main library hosts at 2 p.m. for the mother-daughter book club. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at GalleryU for SWART (Social Work Works), a special exhibition of artwork by New Jersey social workers and art therapists. Joann Lense and Martha Rand are among the 17 contributing artists represented in the exhibit, which will remain on display until March 23. 80 Broad Street.

RED BANK: An opening reception will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at McKay Imaging Gallery for “The Silence After,” a new exhibit showcasing local scenes of “Sandy’s new landscape” by photographer Mike McLaughlin. The exhibit continues through March 14. 12 Monmouth Street.

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Upcoming: Thursday, August 16

Red Bank Flavour, a culinary campaign driven by the borough’s restaurants and food stores, presents “A Night on the Navesink: A Flavour Summer Soiree” at the Molly Pitcher Inn on Thursday, August 16.

Held at Red Bank’s newly renovated riverfront hotel, the evening, co-sponsored by hotel owner J.P. Barry Hospitality, will offer guests culinary samplings from more than 20 borough eateries, as well as wine samplings, libations and craft beer selections from New Jersey breweries.

A portion of proceeds from “A Night on the Navesink” will benefit Lunch Break and the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation.

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Olivia Mullen ducked into a Red Bank store to get out of the wind so she could recite a bit of the Bard for redbankgreen earlier this week.


As Olivia Mullen knows, the works of William Shakespeare are a fundamental component of any acting student’s growth as a performer. The Red Bank Catholic junior has shared passions for drama and music, and to her ear, Shakespeare embodies both.

“Shakespeare’s work is beautiful,” she told redbankgreen this week. “It comes to me almost like a song. I’m not nervous performing it.”

Mullen’s heartfelt appreciation of the Bard of Avon won her a spot in the 29th annual English-Speaking Union‘s National Shakespeare Competition held in New York last month.

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