RED BANK: BASIE STARTS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Dozens of local politicians and players in the arts world turned out for the event. Below, Basie board members Steven Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A $23 million expansion of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre formally got underway Wednesday, beginning what’s expected to be a 20-month endeavor to turn the Vaudeville-era venue into a powerhouse for live performance and arts education.

The aim, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt told an al fresco gathering, is “to make Red Bank an example to the rest of the county of what it is possible to do” in elevating the arts.

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RED BANK: STUDENT FILMFEST RETURNS

Sock Monster,’ by Middletown South sophomore Victoria Pater, is among the finalists in the High School category of this year’s Project FX festival at the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday.

High school and college student filmmakers from all over New Jersey — including two from here on the Greater Red Bank Green — are among the finalists who will see their short works displayed on the big screen of the historic Count Basie Theatre when the Project FX statewide film competition invites the public to its third annual festival this Saturday.

Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest assembles hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries each year, showcasing young talent in acknowledgment of the DIY revolution that’s placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS STAR AT ROCKIT GALA

Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

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RED BANK: CAUSE AND FX, AT BASIE FILMFEST

dan_ratherBroadcast news legend Dan Rather joined Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton and other esteemed adjudicators for PROJECT FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s annual competition for New Jersey student filmmakers. The winning entries receive a free public screening this Sunday afternoon, April 17.

Project FX logoThe revolution that placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere — and the social media mechanism that allows neighborhood auteurs to have their work be viewed by mass audiences — is at the heart of Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide film competition for students of New Jersey high schools and colleges.

Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest collected hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries between October 2015 and March 2016 — and on Sunday, April 17, the winning films will be showcased on the big Basie screen during a second annual Project FX Festival that also features workshops with film industry professionals.

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RED BANK: FILM FEST FINALISTS NAMED

Brian O'HalloranPress release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has revealed the films that will compete in its second-ever Project FX statewide student film festival and competition, taking place at the Red Bank theatre on Sunday, April 17.

The competing films – ten entries from Garden State high schoolers, and an additional ten entries from students attending New Jersey colleges – are viewable now at projectFXbasie.com and facebook.com/projectFXbasie. The public can have their say by “liking” or “sharing” the films on Facebook, which will figure into each film’s final score.

Films will also be viewed and voted on by a panel of esteemed adjudicators, including Sony Pictures Classics co-founder and Middletown resident Tom Bernard; Oscar winner Timothy Hutton; Oscar nominated screenwriter James Schamus, legendary broadcast journalist Dan Rather, Clerks and Mallrats star Brian O’Halloran (pictured), United Talent Agency Independent Film Group head Rena Ronson, Breaking Bad cinematographer Peter Reniers and others.

The Project FX Festival will also feature a panel discussion featuring industry experts and a discussion / audience Q&A on breaking into Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Entry into the festival is free, though advance tickets must be obtained by visiting www.countbasietheatre.org.

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RED BANK: A VERY SPECIAL ‘FX’ FOR BASIE

Tim HuttonAcademy Award winner Timothy Hutton (above) joins CLERKS star Brian O’Halloran (below) on the panel of esteemed adjudicators who will select finalists in the Count Basie Theatre’s annual Project FX competition for New Jersey student filmmakers. The deadline for entries has been extended until March 1, 2016.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Brian O'HalloranThe Count Basie Theatre has extended its entry deadline and announced its panel of esteemed judges for Project FX, its statewide student film festival presented by Bank Of America and Sony Pictures Classics.

Students aged 16-25 and presently enrolled in a Garden State-based high school or college now have until midnight on March 1, 2016 to enter their films at www.projectfxbasie.comThe top vote-getter in each category will win a paid internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics in New York, as well as a screening during the first-ever Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank in July. Second place winners in each category will receive Sony video cameras, while third-place finishers will receive a $500 cash prize.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS NEW TO BASIE BOARD

van zandt2Middletown’s own local guy made good, musician-actor-producer-activist Steven Van Zandt, is pictured outside the Count Basie Theatre in a 2008 file photo. Van Zandt, his wife Maureen and five other area residents were named as the newest members of the Basie’s boards of trustees and directors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Entertainers Maureen and Steven Van Zandt are among seven area residents who have been elected as the newest members of the boards of trustees and directors for the Count Basie Theatre. The couple, who were previously named recipients of the Basie’s inaugural Vanguard Awards, join a roster of new board members that also includes Kainos Capital partner Sarah Bradley, marketing professional Robert Chandler, Grunin Foundation director Jeremy Grunin, River Capital Group chairman Mario Monello, and Meadowbrook Industries owner-president Peter T. Roselle.

For Steven, it’s the latest manifestation of a long association with the historic venue, where he performed (back in its days as the Carlton Theatre) a now-legendary 1977 concert in which he subbed for an ailing Southside Johnny as frontman of the Asbury Jukes, the Stone Pony house band that he co-founded in the early days of that Shore circuit landmark.

The longtime Springsteen lieutenant, bandleader, songwriter, actor (The Sopranos, Lillyhammer), human rights activist, radio personality and producer — whose latest project is a well-received new album from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love — teamed with the Boss and fellow E Streeters for a 2008 benefit show at the Basie, and joined Maureen in helping coordinate a recent performance by Rockit for Kids, the Basie’s in-house “school of rock program,” in conjunction with the 2014 Vanguard Awards ceremony.

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RED BANK: A RED-CARPET, NAME-DROP NIGHT

Drummer_Carmine_Appice_(right)_works_with_Basie_Rockit!_students_in_advance_of_their_Vanguard_Awards_performance_on_August_29th.Legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice, above at right works with members of the Rockit! band in preparation for Saturday’s show, which also honors local music legend Bobby Bandiera, below.

bandieraA lieutenant governor, a captain of industry and a rock ‘n roll field marshal are the honorees — with some music royalty in the house — when the Count Basie Theatre presents its 2015 Vanguard awards in Red Bank Saturday night.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDT IN THE VANGUARD

van zandtMiddletown’s own “Little” Steven Van Zandt — photographed outside the Count Basie Theatre in 2008 — is one of the inaugural recipients of the Basie’s Vanguard Awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

When the students of Rockit! at the Basie take the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Friday for their annual summer concert, A Tribute to Woodstock and The Age of Aquarius, they’ll be sharing the boards with a genuine Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — Middletown’s own contribution to E Street history (and King of Most Media) Steven Van Zandt.

The musician, arranger, producer, actor, writer, director, human rights activist, and international radio DJ will be taking time out from his myriad of projects to accept one of the Basie’s inaugural Vanguard Awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. He’ll be joining his wife Maureen Van Zandt, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry and Monmouth County Arts Council executive director Mary Eileen Fouratt during a ceremony at the August 22 event.

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BASIE NAMES FIRST VANGUARD AWARDS

van zandtSteve Van Zandt, seen here outside the Count Basie Theatre in 2008, is one of the inaugural recipients of the Basie’s Vanguard Awards honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician and actor Steven Van Zandt and his wife Maureen Van Zandt, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry and Monmouth County Arts Council executive director Mary Eileen Fouratt were named as the recipients of the Count Basie Theatre‘s inaugural Vanguard Awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. The first class of Vanguards will be honored during an event at the Basie on Friday, August 22.

Also that evening, Rockit! at the Basie will present its annual summer concert, A Tribute to Woodstock and The Age of Aquarius. The show will feature curation and input from Mr. Van Zandt himself, and monies raised from the concert will go towards future Rockit! scholarships, the theatre’s bus-in program offering area districts and students a low-cost option to experience the theatre’s cultural programming, and for professional development sessions associated with Mr. Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll: An American Story program.

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