70°F clear sky


leslies_sentinels“Sentinels” by Leslie Backlund whose works will be among those displayed Sunday at Shrewsbury’s Guild of Creative Art.

The virtual Art Walk is back on redbankgreen as February pops from the groundhog-hole with a newfound momentum toward those first gloriously slushy days of the long-awaited Big Thaw. Like charging into a snowdrift and hoping for the best, we proceed apace — and if the walking’s still a bit slippery out there, we did mention that we’re kicking it “virtual” in here.

This weekend brings an annual event that, while it doesn’t claim to compete for attention with the Super Bowl, remains an eagerly anticipated seasonal signifier around the greater ‘green. Hosted at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft and presented by the CBA Mother’s Club, the 36th Annual CBA Professional Art Show and Sale brings together some 100 pro artists from all over the region for a fundraiser that kicks off with a preview reception tonight. Tickets for the 7p event ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) benefit the school and include hors d’oeuvres, wine/beer open bar, live music, first dibs on all artworks offered for sale, plus unlimited return visits for the duration of the weekend.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday between 10a and 4p, with $5 admission once again dedicated to special event programs at CBA. There’s a 50/50 raffle, drawings for featured art works and refreshments available for purchase from “the unique Artist’s Palette Café.” Take it here for full details — and take it ’round the corner for more arty action.

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Ralph “Johnny Jazz” Gatta (pictured at left with Gilda Rogers of Frank Talk) is the subject of a special salute, and the Gambone Project provides the grooves, as the second annual Jazzy Father’s Day Brunch expands into the Two River Theater this Sunday.


Since opening the doors of her Frank Talk Art Bistro and Bookstore on Shrewsbury Avenue in autumn of 2008,  author and educator Gilda Rogers has kept her intimately scaled “cultural oasis” humming with activity — hosting everything from book signings, live music, film and theater, to yoga classes, hair makeover sessions, public forums with politicians and a high-profile appearance by Amiri Baraka last December.

When it comes to naming a single “signature event,” however, the Red Bank Regional faculty member doesn’t hesitate to cite A Jazzy Father’s Day Brunch at Frank Talk. Now in its second year, the party scheduled for this Sunday has quickly grown into a celebration of local lore and life that ought to be of interest to lovers of great sounds, fine food, dear old Dad and good old Red Bank, in no particular order.

Here in 2010, the brunch has expanded — not unlike Pop’s waistline — into the spacious new host venue of the Two River Theater. And, along with the home-cooked delights and homegrown sounds that have come to define the day, Sunday’s event will honor the “living legacy” of a notable neighbor who served as the inspiration for the Father’s Day affair — hipster historian and longtime West Side merchant Ralph “Johnny Jazz” Gatta.

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cyberbully1Kevin Clark, who runs Monmouth County’s computer crimes unit, gave a presentation on computer safety at Frank Talk on Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


The message Kevin Clark wants to deliver can’t be spread fast enough.

“Think before you click,” says Clark, director of the Monmouth County prosecutor’s computer crimes unit.

On the ‘duh’ scale, Clark’s maxim may be high up there. But when you get into the online world, the advice is still news to a lot of people, especially children and teenagers, he said.

That’s why Clark used the phrase several times throughout his presentation about cyberbullying and Internet safety to a small group of Red Bank dignitaries (and one curious teacher) on Saturday, with the goal of raising awareness to a new-ish brand of schoolyard teasing that has risen to new, dangerous heights in recent years.

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barak3Poet and author Amiri Baraka  just before he spoke to a captive crowd at Frank Talk. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)


He slipped slowly out of the back seat of a shiny black Mercedes-Benz with a slight hunch, shuffled into the storefront at 163 Shrewsbury Avenue, immediately took a seat and started thumbing through a book. It was not the entrance one might expect from a man who’s made his life creating, capturing and transferring an often radical and controversial energy.

But it only took a couple minutes and the reading of a poem on the death of Miles Davis from his book, Digging: The Afro American Soul of American Classical Music, for the Amiri Baraka that the crowd knew to break out of that fragile-looking shell and deliver. By the intense looks on the faces of the two dozen or so who waited the 90 minutes for him to arrive at Frank Talk to speak on Sunday, in celebration of the second day of Kwanzaa, the 75-year-old author, activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey could do nothing less even if he tried.

The crowd hung on his words as he reminisced about his halcyon days spent with jazz legends like Thelonius Monk and Nina Simone, or when he offered critical political analysis, some of it lighthearted.

“Somebody told me that the only reason Obama won is because his mother’s white,” Baraka said. “And I said, ‘All the presidents’ mother’s were white.”

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