NEW RESTAURANT COMING TO STATION?

78-bridge-2-121311The exterior of 78 Bridge Avenue, and below, an interior view showing the rear carriage-house doors. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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In recent years, it’s been an ironware store, a teahouse and a teahouse-plus – a place, that is, where one might buy and consume food along with hot beverages, but no cooking could occur.

All have failed. But the building’s owners believe the former home of two editions of NovelTeas, located across Bridge Avenue from the Red Bank train station, is ready for a full-fledged restaurant.

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NOVELTEAS BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER

rotondas-1The future of NovelTeas will be written by the Rotonda family, including siblings Vic Jr. and Nicole. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

novelteas1The news traveled fast — Facebook fast. As NovelTeas founder Kim Widener posted last Friday: “NovelTeas has a new owner and will be re-opening tomorrow.”

Sure enough, come Saturday afternoon, the book salon/ tea room/ gift boutique — established by Rumson resident Widener in 2009 on the “Left Bank” of Red Bank, and closed in recent weeks — was abuzz with activity, with new proprietors welcoming customers in search of a last-minute MomsDay notion or sundry.

Taking over the shop at 78 Bridge Avenue are two generations of the Rotonda family of Toms River; dad Vic, mom Teri, son Vic Junior, and daughter Nicole — a lecture agent by trade, and a media pro that Widener praised as “extremely energetic and creative” and “very connected.”

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ART WALK: THE GALOSHES EDITION

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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FUNDRAISERS BRING WARMTH TO AREA

toy-story-3-disney-pixarBuzz, Woody and the gang are back for one more big-screen adventure, when TOY STORY 3 returns for a special showing at Clearview Cinemas to benefit Bridge of Books.

Done2While wobbling and shivering across the frozen tundra of what can only be called Red Bank Greenland, you’d do good to bear in mind that in the Caribbean, the sun is shining and the thermometer is expected to hit the low to mid 80s. And you’ll have Done Good to bear in mind that in Haiti, the hard-hit victims of last year’s earthquake are still in need of a helping hand.

One is being extended to the beleaguered nation from Red Bank’s own Pilgrim Baptist Church. From now until Wednesday, February 16, the Haiti Relief, Recovery and Restoration Initiative of Red Bank (in partnership with Aslan Youth Ministries) is seeking donations of school supplies — everything from pencils, erasers, crayons and rulers to composition books and solar calculators — for distribution to elementary school students in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The small northeastern city will be the site of a groundbreaking for a new community medical clinic, and a Mission Work Team from the Initiative will be delivering the school supplies when they travel to Ouanaminthe on the week of February 21-27.

You can drop off donated items at Pilgrim Baptist (172 Shrewsbury Avenue); you can learn more about the Mission Work Team trip by calling Bernadette Marshall or Pastor Terrence Porter at (732)747-2348 — and you can brace yourself for another seasonal blast of Done Good action, right around the corner.

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TXT TEES = :)s 4 3 TWEENS

texties11Two young girls model shirts designed by three local kids. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI texties2

Sally Carden had a serious OMG moment Thursday night.

She was sitting at NovelTeas in Red Bank, coloring and munching cookies, surrounded by dozens of kids and adults wearing T-shirts that she and her two cousins had designed and were at that moment debuting.

It struck the Monmouth Beach nine-year-old that she was officially a small business owner.

“It feels really, like, cool, because it’s a business we started,” Sally said.

The business is Texties, a line of T-shirts that feature the shorthand language and emoticons used in text messages — things like ‘BRB‘ and a 21st century take on the classic smiley face.

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NOVELIST GETS UNDER THE MARITAL HOOD

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Journalist, novelist and proud blogger Debra Galant parks it at NovelTeas on Bridge Avenue this Saturday for an event keyed to her new book CARS FROM A MARRIAGE. (Photo by Frances Pelzman Liscio)

By TOM CHESEK

When the 2010 Liberty Hose Red Bank Firefighter 8th Annual Car Show takes over downtown Red Bank’s White Street parking lot this Sunday, classic car-noisseurs know just what to expect — from the bodacious Dagmars of a Chevy Bel Air and the perky nacelles of a Mercury Turnpike Cruiser to the more equine musculature of 60s ponycar projects like your Mustangs, Camaros and ‘Cudas.

A day earlier and a few blocks west at NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts, all eyes will be on a Galant — not the long-running bestseller of the Mitsubishi product line, but Debbie Galant, a woman who’s been as much a part of the suburban landscape as the sensibly sporty sedan with whom she shares a name.

The self-described author, mogul, mother, wife — a transplant from Virginia to north Jersey’s verdant green — is parking it at Kim Widener‘s book salon/ tea room/ gift boutique for something of a literary “car show,” an event that’s keyed to the recent publication of Cars from a Marriage, an “auto-biography” that “explores marriage through the lens of the various cars that the couple owns during their 20 years together.”

It’s the third novel (Rattled and Fear and Yoga in New Jersey are the others) for the former New York Times columnist; a regular contributor to national magazines who’s best known around the ‘green as the founder and editor of Montclair-based Baristanet — an acclaimed and award-winning news website that’s been an inspiration to many a placeblogging hyperlocal, including, ahem, redbankgreen.

And now, the light goes green on seven questions for Debra Galant…

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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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A SPOT OF SUNDAY TEA

chorney1Linda Chorney professed her love for Tea Party tweaker Jon Stewart Sunday during the making of a music video for her tune, “The Teabag Party.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank had a tea party of its own on Sunday, although it was far from the pot-banging, Palin-esque affairs of recent vintage.

This one was a retort to the Tea Party movement, and leading the party was Linda Chorney, a politically involved Bostonian who assembled some of her closest friends and strangers to shoot a video for her song, “The Teabag Party,” at NovelTeas on Bridge Avenue Sunday.

Rather than scathing political criticism, this party took a lighthearted tone, with song lyrics such as, “Socialist/Communist/ We’re gonna teabag you while we do the twist.” Read More »

A SECOND CHANCE AT HAPPINESS

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From the Today Show to her appearance tomorrow night in Red Bank, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT author Gretchen Rubin has followed her bliss right to the Number One spot on the NY Times bestseller list.

The pursuit of happiness can take you to some pretty unexpected places — just ask Gretchen Rubin, whose own chronicle of the year she spent “test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier” has taken the former US Supreme Court clerk straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.

Tuesday night, April 13, the author of The Happiness Project follows her bliss to Red Bank, where she’ll visit NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts for a sold-out reading and signing appearance that was originally scheduled for what turned out to be a decidedly snowy evening back in February.

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IN oRBit: MOVERS & SHAKERS & MORE

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He’s a mover, a shaker; a go-to guru and a “Maharishi of Make It So.” He’s seldom seen in the spotlight, but he’s seen the biz from both sides now, be it in the backing band (that’s him on the second LP by the Asbury Jukes) or in the front office.

In today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we track down Tony Pallagrosi (left) for a rare Friday feature interview, as he and Concerts East partner Jerry Bakal visit NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on Bridge Ave for an ultimate-insider talk on the Big Beat — the bands, the bars, the biz, the beef and the ballyhoo. Not to mention such burgeoning projects as the annual Light of Day benefit concerts.

This being a particularly busy weekend on the Shore springscape, we’ve got lots more to call your attention to — including a highly anticipated fundraiser for former Red Bank neighbor Cheri Jiosne in Asbury Park; a close-up performance by Brian O’Halloran of Clerks fame (who we understand wasn’t even supposed to be here), a special appearance by film composer and fright-flick aficionado Christopher (HELLRAISER) Young and scores more, all of it here in Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: THE WAR AT HOME

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Dad was the famous novelist who wrote From Here to Eternity; Mom was a glamorous being who was friends with people like Jackie O — and home was Paris in the 1960s, where some of the world’s most renowned writers, artists and actors regularly came to visit, and the drinks flowed, and flowed and flowed.

Novelist and educator Kaylie Jones (right) would seem to have had a storybook upbringing— but as we observe in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, it was an environment where “keeping up with the Joneses meant going drink-for-drink against people who could be as competitive about their consumption of cordials as they were in their passionate professional pursuits.” With the publication of her memoir Lies My Mother Never Told Me, Jones details the devastation that alcoholism wrought upon a family in which literature and liquor were given equal heft.

The author comes to Red Bank tonight for a reading and signing appearance at NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on Bridge Avenue — and we’ve got an exclusive interview, right here in the paperless pages of Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY TALK

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The pursuit of happiness can be a pretty serious undertaking for anyone to whom it was ever promised in writing — and, as you’ll learn in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, one seriously happy writer has managed to cut through the static of the self-helpers and the life-coachers with a book that’s making a lot of people rethink some of the most cherished myths regarding that smiley state of being. For example, money can buy happiness. And not only can you not “have it all,” you never really wanted it in the first place.

The Happiness Project is an account by Gretchen Rubin (left) of “the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.” It’s a popular book (with accompanying blog) that’s taken the former US Supreme Court clerk to some interesting places — like the Today show and the top of the NY Times bestseller list. On Thursday, the author comes to Red Bank for a reading and signing appearance at Kim Widener‘s new NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on Bridge Avenue.

Unfortunately for happy-come-latelys, that event is now sold out, but we’ve got an exclusive interview (well, we’re sharing her with Ann Curry) with the woman who’s brought a whole new “app” to “happy,” and there’s a lot to learn — including the meaning of the mystery word “shticklet” — right here in Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: COUNT, BARRON, THE WHOLE DECK

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You find the most interesting people passing through town — and over in the pixelated pages of Red Bank oRBit, we try to flag them down and introduce them to you.

Today’s edition of our satellite site for culture vultures offers up a special treat — a conversation with Kenny Barron (left), the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters award winning pianist who’s coming to the Count’s Crib this Thursday as a headline attraction in the touring Monterey Jazz Festival Allstars. We asked Red Bank’s own globe-trotting maestro and jazz expert Joe Muccioli to sit down with for a chat with this most formidable cat (we’re not worthy; we’re not worthy).

wiliamdcohansmallBefore all that, we’ve got a reminder that this Wednesday evening brings a rare opportunity to meet investigative journalist and bestselling business writer William D. Cohan (right), the author of the all-too-real life thriller House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street. He’ll be bringing his tense account of the collapse of  Bear Stearns to Kim Widener‘s NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on the Left Bank of Red Bank for an event that’s catered by Monmouth County’s own international celebri-chef David Burke.

Beautiful music, symphonic aromas, ominous notes of ruin — it’s all in the air, today and all week long in Red Bank oRBit!