RED BANK RENEWS PUSH FOR LATE CLOSINGS

rb-late-nightBars and restaurants are doing their job keeping doors open late, some say, but more merchants must stay open to attract more visitors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As Red Bank continues to claw its way out of an economic hole it hasn’t seen since the we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-it Dead Bank days, Mayor Pasquale Menna tends to periodically jab downtown’s retailers with a reminder that it’s going to take work to bring Red Bank back as a top destination in the region and beyond.

Lately, though, he’s taken a firmer approach.

At a council meeting last month, when two requests for car shows on Broad Street appeared on the agenda, he paused from the typical rubber-stamping of such requests.

“This is a chance to tickle, pinch, smack our retailers to stay open on Sunday,” Menna said, and then pointed to Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams, who was seated in the audience. “Get the word out. Tell them to stay open on Sunday. I might start smacking instead of pinching.”

It was another lash at a limp horse he’s been flogging since before Red Bank’s business dipped with the national economy. For years, Menna has been urging merchants to move away from the nine-to-five mindset and keep the lights on after dark and on Sunday, when too many stores, he says, are closed.

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THIEF RETURNS GUITAR

lakata-guitar-090811Dale Lakata’s guitar at Jamian’s Thursday evening. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The man whose plucking of a performer’s beloved acoustic guitar from a Red Bank bar was captured on video surveillance early Monday has returned the instrument.

Jamian’s Food & Drink owner Jamian Laviola tells redbankgreen the thief walked into the Monmouth Street bar Thursday afternoon, instrument in hand, and expressed remorse for what he’d done.

“He said, ‘I was drunk, that’s not me, I’m not like that,” Laviola said as he awaited the arrival of borough police, who wanted the guitar as evidence.

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WHEN HARRY SALLIES FORTH IN RED BANK

harry-connick-jr-new-appr_t588A renaissance guy in Red Bank: Harry Connick Jr. makes his first-ever two night stand at the Count Basie this week — and the man from NOLA might stand a bit of sightseeing while in town.

By TOM CHESEK

They walk among us, sometimes — shopping in the broad daylight of Broad Street, spelunking the nooks and crannies of the Antique Center, sampling the fare at everything from the most sophisticated sit-downs to way-cool WaWa.

We’re talking celebrities, baby — many of them in town for a whistle-stop tour gig at the Count Basie Theatre. While the pimped-out tour buses come and go outside the Monmouth Street landmark with regularity, however, every so often a headline act plants it here in the greater Red Bank Green for something more than a one night stand. So it is this Wednesday and Thursday, as the Count’s crib plays host to a still-young veteran who’s long worn the mantle of Renaissance Guy: Harry Connick Jr.

When the jazz pianist, pop stylist, songwriter, composer, Broadway leading man, screen actor and Krewe founder visits the Basie-birthing borough for a pair of concert events on April 20 and 21, he’ll be bringing along his big band (with perhaps a separate trailer just to tote that résumé) in a full-on recreation of his most recent studio set, the collection of jazz and pop interpretations known as Your Songs. Having ably prosecuted his long-playing career through a deft mix of fanbase-friendly favorites and a pretty delightful flair for the unexpected, we’re hoping that New Orleans-rooted Connick (who, we should point out, maintains a place in the city with his family) gets to feeling a little exploratory during his hours in Red Bank — and we’re here to toss out a few suggestions to play that stay to the fullest.
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‘COUSIN EDDIES’ DO A CHARITY CRAWL

eddiecon11A cadre of ‘Cousin Eddies’ made their way around Red Bank Saturday night in a successful bid to get loopy and raise some money. (Photos courtesy of Robert Kern. Click to enlarge)

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Eighteen area men took to Red Bank’s bars and restaurants dressed in bathrobes and trapper hats Saturday night.

In a twist on Santacon, a somewhat raunchy gathering of faux Santa Clauses held annually in New York and elsewhere, the men did a pub crawl dressed as their favorite movie character: “Cousin Eddie,” from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Led by Chris Kenny of Shrewsbury and Dave Carr of Rumson, the mostly thirty-something robesmen hit more than a dozen watering holes on both sides of town, eating, indulging in cold beverages and shaking a pail all along the way to raise money for the Monmouth Day Care Center.

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A RANDOM WALK THROUGH A TODDLIN’ TOWN

A hot summer night, dazzling smiles, an irresistible rhythm, a bit of flesh revealed…

Saturday nights have been hopping in downtown Red Bank of late, so redbankgreen dispatched photographer Peter Lindner to the streets and bars last Saturday to capture the post-sundown vibe.

He filed this set of 102 shots, from the couple enjoying a quiet dinner to the guys and gals on the prowl to to the folks who make it all happen in an orderly, law-abiding sort of way. Enjoy!

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

ART: SUMMER EXPOSURES W/ RIVER VIEWS

eyehumlargeChicago artist Jay Ryan’s print promoting HUM AT MILLENNIUM PARK is among the new breed of gig posters on view at Red Bank Frameworks, in a show by the name of EYE + EAR.

• Thursday: LIVE WITH ART, at Butterfly Fine Arts. Natalia Bedaya’s all-new gallery at 116 Broad Street in Red Bank hosts a special reception for interior designers on Thursday evening between 6 and 9p. It’s part of a quarterly “Live With Art” event aimed at bringing fine art to the business environment, and there’s still time to register by emailing designers@butterflyfinearts.com.

• Friday: SUMMER EXPOSURES at the Art Alliance. Officially closed for the summer as of June 23, the Art Alliance of Monmouth County gallery at 33 Monmouth Street will nevertheless play host to a special warm-weather display of nature images by two area photographers — Stephan Lowy of Oceanport and Eric Sambol of Brick — beginning Friday afternoon. Proceeds of sales from the show benefit the nonprofit Move For Hunger, an initiative that encourages people who are selling their homes and relocating to donate unopened food that they will not take to their new destination, arranging for the items to be delivered to local food banks throughout the country. The exhibit continues through July 13 between the hours of noon and 10p, Wednesdays through Sundays.

• Saturday: RIVER VIEWS Cocktail Gala, Exhibition and Sale. Since one never knows where they’ll be setting up easel next, the Plein Air Painters of the Jersey Coast tend to show up in the most unexpected places. On the evening of Saturday the 26th, they’ll be showing up at an uncharacteristically great-indoors setting on the picturesque banks of the Navesink, as Riverview Medical Center Auxiliary hosts a special 6-9p reception, art show and sale featuring the works of the PAPJC. Spotlighting “paintings of views from some of the most beautiful homes on the Jersey Shore,” the event takes place in the Blaisdell Lobby at RMC, with proceeds from the sale dedicated to the hospital’s Jane H. and John Marshall Booker Cancer Center. Attendees are encouraged to make reservations ($50) at (732)530-2480 or (732)431-1986.

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LIKE A JUNEBUG ON A GALLERY WALL

picture-5Dub-ble vision: The landmark Dublin House is among the people, places and things rendered in ecstatically bold strokes by illustrator Mike Quon, in a first-ever art installation at NovelTeas in Red Bank.

It’s time once again for a virtual “Artwalk” — come on in, the watercolor’s fine — and what follows here are some picks for the coming days and nights at the storefront galleries and public spaces of the Green.

• FRIDAY: Photographer Michael Hynes at The Monmouth Museum. As part of the Emerging Artists series, the Monmouth Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) spotlights a set of compelling black and white images by Middletown-based lensman Hynes — featuring scenes of his native Ireland as well as his adopted home on the Jersey Shore. Hynes is expected to be present at the opening, from 6p to 8p, and he’ll return to the museum on the evening of June 16 for another in its regularly scheduled series of Artist Talks. Exhibit continues during normal museum hours through July 3; check website for admission info.

• SATURDAY: Rahway Art Hive at Jamian’s Food & Drink. The Rahway Art Hive? It’d sound downright sci-fi sinister if it didn’t sound so simultaneously intriguing. Based in our sister city just up the NJ Transit tracks, the creative cooperative (and accompanying art gallery) presents its first Monmouth County “away game” show as the June feature at Jamian LaViola‘s eponymous Monmouth Street bistro, an offering curated as always by Red Bank painter (and Jamian’s mixologist) Travis Radcliffe. Beginning tonight and continuing through June 30, the work of Jim McKeon and company is on display at the restaurant that opens up its inviting “convertible” facade when the weather gets warm. Your host Jamian caters the cool cuisine at a reception at 8p.

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ART BAR

img_6796010810Painter Medy Quiroz at the opening of the two-artist show at Jamian’s Thursday night. Below, a bar patron takes in a Quiroz triptych. (Click to enlarge)

Live music venue; bar; restaurant; art gallery; place for knitters to drink — or should that be, “a place for drinkers to knit?”

Whatever. Continuing its evolution into a kind of one-stop cultural center, Monmouth Street’s Jamian’s Food and Drink last night kicked off its latest monthlong display of artwork.

The show is dominated by the large abstracts of Red Bank painter Medy Quiroz.

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IN oRBit: WEISSGUYS AND GOOD NEIGHBORS

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit looks in on a couple of our favorite restaurants — not so coincidentally run by a couple of our favorite restaurateurs, both of them avid surfers — with an eye toward some special events that they’ll be presenting in the nights to come.

First, we’ll head over to musician-friendly Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank, where some pretty famous faces are expected to be hanging around throughout the month of December. It’s all thanks to another of proprietor Jamian LaViola‘s monthly art exhibits; this one a display of photographs by Mark Weiss (above), the local-dude-made-good who’s long specialized in shooting such stars of arena-scale rock as Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith and Kiss.

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Then we take it down to Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boards, scene of a hugely successful Holiday Soup Kitchen event this Thanksgiving past — where owner and tireless driving force Marilyn Schlossbach (right, with niece) plans to celebrate her popular spot’s first birthday this week by giving back to the community once again, in the form of a “fundraiser fiesta” for the Hispanic Affairs and Resource Center. We’ve got pix from Thanx plus the story on Chef Marilyn’s many irons in the fire; served up with a side of the freshest and tastiest events from the coming week — only in Red Bank oRBit.

SIP ONE, PURL TWO

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Red Bank’s knitters sure know how to have a good time.

Longtime redbankgreen readers may recall our March 2007 feature story about Wooly Monmouth, the Monmouth Street knitting-supply store that doubles as an Algonquin roundtable of sorts for the pointy-needle set.

It’s a place where, one night a week,  food, conversation and the occasional bottle of wine flow amid the constant knitting and purling.

Last night, a handful of the Wooly Monmouth faithful took their moveable feast down the street to the open-air bar/restaurant Jamian’s, for the first of what organizer and Wooly Monmouth owner Dori Cohen Kershner says  will be a monthly event.

Why the change of venue? “I like to knit, and I like to drink,” Kershner says with a laugh.

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