RED BANK: FREE SHOW BY ARMY FIELD BAND

jazz-ambassadors-us-armyThe US Army Field Band’s “Jazz Ambassadors” unit deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for a free concert next Wednesday.

In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo to a Son Tropical big band.

When the uniformed members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band take the Basie stage next Wednesday, they’ll be carrying on a tradition that’s seen various iterations of the USAFB treat the Red Bank audience to a free display by the most formidable musical force in the free world.

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RED BANK: LUNCH WITH HOLIDAY EXPRESS

holiday express 121815 2It’s more than just music when Holiday Express pulls into Lunch Break, one of 81 stops the organization will make this holiday season. The Grinch, below, is always along for the ride. (Photos by Kate Beckett, above, and Susan Ericson, below. Click to enlarge)

tim-grinch-band-rblightingWith the Turning Point restaurant providing food for 400, volunteers from Holiday Express plan to make a special stop in Red Bank Saturday.

The non-profit purveyor of music, food, gifts, financial support, and human kindness during the holiday season has scheduled a full-band visit to Lunch Break from 10 a.m. to noon.

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CHURN: HOUSEWARES, TRAP DOOR AND MORE

kathleen conlon 081415 2Kathleen Conlon bought the onetime gas station that’s now Welcome Home, her housewares shop on East Front Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis installment of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn pops in on a new housewares-and-gifts shop in Red Bank.

We’ve also got an update on an escape-themed entertainment “house” planned downtown; the rebranding of Red restaurant; and a planned move by Red Ginger Home.

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CHURN: FEMME OUT, CHIKYBOOM IN

femme show 2 120612Ashley Dupré Earle, center, at a fashion show in her boutique in February, 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis installment of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn brings news of a lingerie store closing and a coffee shop getting a complete makeover, down to the name.

Ashley (nee Dupré) Earle, owner of Femme by Ashley, at 15 Broad Street, announced in an email to customers Wednesday that she’s closing the four-year-old lingerie and swimwear boutique to focus on raising her two children.

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RED BANK: MYSTERY-FILLED “HOUSE” TO OPEN

tone purzycki 071415Anthony ‘Tone’ Purzycki plans to create an immersive, puzzle-driven entertainment facility in the former Dunlap Locksmith building, at right above. Below, the front door.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb trap door 071415Where might you base a live entertainment called Trap Door Escape Room, in which participants are locked in a series of rooms and have to solve mind-bending puzzles to escape within a set time?

How about a building that already has a giant keyhole cut into the front door?

Fortunately for Anthony ‘Tone’ Purzycki and a partner, one happened to be available in Red Bank.

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RED BANK ON BALLOT FOR MAGAZINE HONOR

broad st rb 2 061512A view down Broad Street from 2012.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three years after its selection by Smithsonian Magazine as the third-best small town in America, Red Bank is on a ballot seeking to identify America’s “best town ever.”

By “ever,” Outside magazine means “this year.” And among the “towns” the borough is  competing against are New York, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. But still.

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ON THE GREEEN: A FAB, JAZZY WEEKEND

Susan Haugenes and Chuck Lambert perform with his full band in a free concert in Little Silver Sunday evening. Dead Bank is at the Walt Street Pub Friday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 2:

RED BANK: Fixx presents a lineup of live bands starting at 8 p.m. with Diego Allessandro & Lot 25 playing a few songs from their next album. Also on the bill: the Trouble, Frances Jones & the Saviors, Exit 117, Oblivion and headliner Negative Traction. No cover; 26 West Front Street.

MIDDLETOWN: In honor of the 36th anniversary of “the King’s” passing, the Middletown Arts Center presents two nights of free, hip-shaking Elvis Presley tribute performances. Bring blankets, chairs and snacks. Night one of the weekend concert, “Memories of Elvis,” begins at 8 p.m. 36 Church Street; parking is free.

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WEEKEND: FEASTS FOR ALL THE SENSES

Guitar slinger Matt O’Ree rocks Jamian’s, and an exhibit of contemporary at at Gallery U are among the weekend highlights. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, June 7

SHREWSBURY: Stay in touch with old friends using new technology. Alexander Saulon demonstrates how to use Skype and Facebook to connect with friends and family by using the guide he created to teach his mother. He will also discuss Internet security issues associated with social media websites. First Friday for seniors starts at 11 a.m. Middletown Public Library, 1001 Route 35.

RED BANK: VASARA, a group exhibition of contemporary art, celebrates its opening reception at Gallery U featuring mixed-media artwork by more than 20 talented artists. The reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 80 Broad Street.

RED BANK: Marty & the Martians invade the Walt Street Pub. The show starts at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

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WEEKENDER: CHANCES ARE, CATS WILL FLY

At the Basie Saturday afternoon: dogs and cats rescued from shelters and given a new, ahem, leash on life as circus performers. Matt O’Ree, below, brings his guitar chops to Jamian’s tonight.  (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 3:

RED BANK: The high-energy Marty and the Martians make their debut in a series of Friday night appearances at the Walt Street Pub, playing an upbeat set including hits by Neon Trees, U2, Foo Fighters and more. The show begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RUMSON:  Join the electro-acoustic/pop/rock singer Brian Bisbee at Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn, 132 East River Road, at 9 p.m.

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WEEKENDER: SHAPING BODY, SOUND AND ART

Josh Zuckerman is at Red Bank’s Walt Street Pub tonight. (Click to enlarge)

For the first weekend of 2013, here are some fun ways to keep busy on the Green …

Friday, January 4

RED BANK: Free yoga session at the Red Bank Public Library at 1 p.m. by Amy Richardson. No registration required, bring your own mat. 84 West Front Street.

RED BANK: The Josh Zuckerman Band, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, returns to the Wall Street Pub for a free set of original rockers and favorites at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: World class championship blues guitarist Matt O’Ree will visit Jamian’s Food & Drink for a free Friday night set starting at 8 p.m. 79 Monmouth Street.

NOTE: The Holiday Express fundraiser at Sickles Market, which was postponed by Hurricane Sandy until tonight, has again been postponed out of respect for the Sickles family, which lost its matriarch, Adelaide Sickles, at age 81 earlier this week. A new date for the event has not yet been announced.

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RED BANK NAMED 3RD-BEST TOWN IN U.S.

The magazine’s ranking is based on cultural offerings in towns of 25,000 or fewer residents.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Smithsonian Magazine calls Red Bank the third-best small town in America in its May issue.

On a list of 20 small towns towns rich in culture, the town came in behind only Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Taos, New Mexico, the magazine reported.

That gives Red Bank bragging rights over places like Princeton (number 12) and Key West, Florida (16) –not to mention the thousands that didn’t make the list.

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MENNA: RED BANK NEEDS MORE NIGHT ACTION

wfront-2The mayor says entertainment ventures could help fill empty storefronts. Above, two long-time vacant spaces on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

Citing a surplus of vacant storefronts and not enough for visitors to do after-hours, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Monday called for law changes to allow more nightlife attractions downtown.

Menna got the ball rolling on what he said would be a process to come up with zoning changes to allow such ventures as billiards parlors, small movie theaters, and places offering “digital entertainment” in the district.

“People say, ‘we love coming to Red Bank, but after we have dinner and drinks, we want to do more,'” he said.

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IN oRBit: STILL TALKIN’ WITH HIS TONGUE

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit takes it to the river, even halfway around the world, to introduce you to a couple of guys — one an old familiar face, the other a creative young upstart — who are delivering some intriguing words and music within borough borders this weekend.

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While most folks know veteran singer-songwriter (and part-time Monmouth County resident) Steve Forbert for his smash 1979 hit “Romeo’s Tune,” the Grammy-nominated folk-rock master has been a favorite of area audiences for decades now. So it makes sense that Brookdale Community College’s listener-supported radio station  90.5 The Night turned to him to kick off their summer series of free Songwriters in the Park concerts in Riverside Gardens. Dorothy Creamer interviewed Forbert in advance of Friday night’s show — an exclusive chat in which we find out, among other things, why he’s taken to writing songs on leaves.

This weekend also marks the inaugural event in the Frank Talk Reading Series — a monthly offering organized by Middletown poet/ Merchant Marine John Petrolino and presented at Gilda Rogers‘ pleasing literary salon on Shrewsbury Avenue. We talk to the veteran ship’s engineer about life on a vessel parked off the western coast of Africa — and why he likens himself to a Death Star contractor.

The quirkiest characters in town are stopping by our table to talk — and you can join us, all week long, in Red Bank oRBit .

IN oRBit: IN THE MIDDLE, ON THE AISLE

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Just in case the past weekend’s lovely weather was too much for your rain-addled sensibilities, today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit offers up a few suggestions from the Great Indoors of our fair Shore.

kellycorrigansmall

First, we take it to Book It! Events in Shrewsbury, where Kim and Jacquie are preparing to welcome another special guest author — columnist and memoirist Kelly Corrigan, whose new book The Middle Place juxtaposes her personal cancer struggles with sketches of her life as a mother, a daughter and a sister — that Middle Place between generations from which so much inspiration is drawn. The best-selling writer comes to The Grove this Wednesday evening for a personal appearance and book signing.

From there it’s down to Deal, where the Axelrod Performing Arts Center is the starting point for the fourth annual Jersey Shore Film Festival, an extended event that previews Wednesday and opens officially on Sunday with a pair of full-length documentaries on the past, present and future of education. We’ve got a rundown of the highlights for this year’s JSFF, which continues through July 19 and includes a slate of Jewish-themed offerings that range from Darren Aronofsky’s maddeningly paranoid Pi, to Al Jolson in the original Jazz Singer.

Also a reminder to look to The Orb each week for the details on the new season of free outdoor family films going on at places like Riverside Gardens (where Madagascar screens tomorrow evening) and the Sea Bright beach (where the first Ice Age movie plays to the beach chair and blanket set, also tomorrow). We’ll have updates also this week on the other exciting things happening at Riverside Gardens, including Thursday’s Comcast Jazz in the Park series, and the Friday slate of Songwriters in the Park — including an interview with series keynoter Steve Forbert. All here in the pixelated pages of Red Bank oRBit!