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The dress code is casual and parking is free as the annual bargain bonanza returns to downtown Red Bank starting Friday. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

In fast-moving, forever evolving, Retail Churn-ing Red Bank, well-entrenched local traditions are increasingly rare. So when it comes to a decades-spanning institution like the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale, the benefit can be as much about providing continuity for longtime locals as it is about the thrill of discovery for relative newcomers.

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Lead festival organizer Jay Webb, right, with guests at Wednesday night’s opening reception on the patio of the Count Basie Theatre. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

With a display of carved-surfboard art, a New Jersey premiere screening of Dave Made a Maze and a DJ’d after-party at three separate venues, the second annual Indie Street Film Festival officially got underway in Red Bank Wednesday evening, ushering in a four-days-and-nights slate of screenings, panels, workshops and get-togethers with an admirable “Cannes-do” spirit.

A project of the fillmajer cooperative Indie Street (working in partnership with Red Bank RiverCenter), the sequel to last year’s inaugural event looks to make a long-running “tentpole franchise” of the venture. It’s a multi-venue happening that offers plenty of reasons to visit the borough’s theaters, restaurants and nightspots — or even its best-kept-secret middle school auditorium — during that time of year when the beaches make their biggest bid for buzz.

Take it here for info on individual event tickets and festival passes — and read on, for a rundown of goings-on between through Sunday. Read More »


A company of young tap-dance talents brings the work of two top choreographers to the stage of Two River Theater this Sunday, with the Syn•Co•Pate production of ‘Sights and Sounds.’

The interval between mainstage seasons at Red Bank’s Two River Theater has seldom been one of rest, and this one’s no exception. Witness the annual occurrence of the Crossing Borders Festival (about which more to come here on redbankgreen), the Summer Jazz Café slate that calls closing time this weekend.

This Sunday evening, Two River continues its industrious ways when choreographers Nick Dinicolangelo and Emily Shoemaker bring ‘Sights and Sounds’ to the Bridge Avenue venue.

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Recent Red Bank Regional graduate Kent Hottmann of Shrewsbury returned to his Monmouth Day Care Center alma mater to complete his Eagle Scout project, a music wall.  

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

In a July 15 ceremony held at Shrewsbury Presbyterian Church, recent Red Bank Regional High School graduate Kent Hottmann of Shrewsbury was honored as an Eagle Scout, becoming the 111th scout with Shrewsbury’s Troop 50 to earn Scouting’s highest award since the Troop’s inception in the 1930s.

To satisfy the requirements for the rank, Kent performed over 100 community service hours, and provided service and leadership as an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader for his troop. For his Eagle Scout project, Kent went back to his earliest days of pre-school, to improve the children’s playground at his Red Bank “alma mater,” Monmouth Day Care Center.

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Saxman smoothie Dave Koz joins funky bassmaster Larry Graham for a summit of musical styles as the Count Basie Theatre inaugurates its Summer jazz Fest series this Wednesday. 

One’s a platinum-plated instrumentalist whose smooth stylings have seen him top the charts as a bandleader and make beautiful music with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Stevie Nicks. The other’s a pioneer of slapping/thumping funk bass technique who wowed the crowd at Woodstock, climbed the Billboard R&B charts and took his place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Together on the road this summer, Dave Koz and Larry Graham are living proof that jazz is a big tent, and when the co-headliners roll into Red Bank this Wednesday, they’ll be sounding the keynote to the 2017 Summer Jazz Fest schedule at the Count Basie Theatre.

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A portion of the colorful mural painted earlier this month on the Catherine Street wall of Kitch Organic heralds the second annual coming of the Indie Street Film Festival, co-founded by Jay Webb, below.

To Wanamassa resident Jay Webb, losing oneself in the flickering lights of a hushed, darkened room is only part of the joy of a film festival for cinephiles. Another is getting together and gabbing about what they’ve seen, and who’s doing what in an art form wholly dependent on collaboration.

Which is one reason the schedule for the second edition of the Indie Street Film Festival, which returns to Red Bank next week, is studded with community events in between screenings of some 60 films.

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Week two of this summer’s Movies in the Park series in Red Bank features an entry from the ‘Star Wars’ catalog. Below, Layonne Holmes fronts the Motor City Revue in a return to Sandy Hook Wednesday.  

There’s a chance to imagine yourself as part of the biggest franchise in film fantasy history. Some power pop on the dock. A heat-blast of Latin-flavored jazz in the park. A little beach-music soul on the sands. And one of the world’s most beloved plays on yonder grassy knoll.

It’s all going on beneath the setting sun and stars of the Greater Red Bank Green — and all fabulously free of charge in the evenings to come.

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“Loving” by Edy Ottesen and “Choose Meaning Over Emptiness” by Tyrell Masse can be seen in the group show installation ‘Now and Then,’ opening Wednesday at the Oyster Point Hotel. 

“It doesn’t take long to figure out that I love brilliant color once you have viewed a few of my paintings,” says Edy Ottesen. “But, I can slip off the wagon sometimes and go all greys and monochromatic.”

A Brooklyn-bred painter who divides her time between Red Bank and Boca Raton, Florida, Ottesen is one of several locally connected creative women who now and then assemble to display their wares in a group-show setting — and beginning with an opening reception this Wednesday evening, the “gang of four” will join forces for an eighth consecutive year with “Now and Then,” the latest in a series of art installations at Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel. Read More »


Some 30 Red Bank restaurants, shops and eateries — including Playa Bowls, above— will take part in a new summer schedule of Food and Wine Walk events beginning Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Between the weekend barbecues, the tented food fests and other open-air opportunities for grabbing a bite, it can be a bit difficult to digest all the options available to the free-ranging foodie here in the good old summertime.

If the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter have their way, however, we can simply let our feet carry us about the borough’s sidewalks and storefronts during the latest in a summer series of Food & Wine Walk events.

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“Urban Icon” (left) and other paintings by Ron Haywood Jones are on display at Detour Gallery beginning with a Saturday reception.

He refers to his creations as “Urban Industrial Futuristic Cave Paintings” — a time-tripping, tale-spinning body of work that’s supercharged with elements of cityscape murals, colorful commercial art, cheerfully appropriated characters from classic cartoons and recurring icons like the “Urban Ghost” that lends its house-haunting imprimatur to his large mixed-media canvases.

A native of Michigan and a graduate of Parsons School of Design, Ron Haywood Jones becomes the latest in a series of attention-compelling creatives to be given a solo show spotlight at Red Bank’s Detour Gallery, beginning with an opening reception Saturday evening.

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Stake out your place on the grassy slope; bring a lawn chair, a food drive donation…and come in costume as your favorite GREASE character…when free summer movies return to Riverside Gardens Park on July 11.

Don’t look now, but tomorrow night, July 11, marks the start of the tenth season since the folks at Red Bank Parks and Recreation got into the movie business, with the free summertime schedule of Movies in Riverside Gardens Park. And, unlike a lot of casual family-fun activities under the sun and stars, this might be an occasion worth dressing up for.

In other words, get those classic poodle skirts and leather jackets down from the attic — because when John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John light up the big inflatable Shore Flicks screen at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the smash 1978 musical Grease, the Parks and Rec people will be looking for a few good Dannys, Sandys, Rizzos and Kenickies, with a costume competition that promises prizes (and a whole lot of post-prom bragging rights).

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A colorful new mural bloomed to life on the Catherine Street wall of Kitch Organic restaurant in Red Bank over the weekend.

Executed by local children — and some adults who pulled a couple of all-nighters — the mural promotes two cultural events: the Indie Street Film Festival, which returns to town for a four-day run starting July 26; and the Crossing Borders Festival, featuring five days of free-admission Latino-flavored plays and food at the Two River Theater beginning August 2.

Artist Misha Tyutyunik, also known as MDot, created the design, reprising his role from the 2016 Indie Street mural on Monmouth Street. Click read more for additional pix. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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With 370 vehicles on display, there wasn’t enough room for “one more Volkswagen” at the 15th annual Doc Holiday Classic Car Show in Red Bank Sunday, according to firefighter Bobby Holiday, son of the late volunteer for whom the event is named.

Blue skies and tolerable summer temperatures drew a large crowd to the event, which featured blinding chrome, vivid color and a wide array of automotive designs. Pop the hood for more pix below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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There’s no telling who will make an appearance when the members of Liberty Hose Fire Company return to White Street this Sunday for the annual Red Bank Firefighters (a.k.a. Doc Holiday) Classic Car Show.

They may have been forced to “get out of Dodge” when the borough auctioned off their landmark White Street firehouse back in 2014 — but that hasn’t stopped the members of Red Bank’s Liberty Hose fire company from bringing their Doc Holiday Car Show back to the “Ol’ Car Corral” of the White Stree parking lot each year at this time.

Returning for a 15th annual fantasia of classic chrome, fabulous fins, atom-age accents, polished power plants and bodacious Dagmars, the local tradition otherwise known as the Red Bank Firefighters Car Show (and named unofficially in honor of volunteer responder Robert “Doc” Holiday) takes center stage again this Sunday.

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Harmonica/vibes virtuoso Hendrik Muerkens (right, with vocalist Angelita Li) joins his Samba Jazz East combo to inaugurate a new series of Summer Jazz Café events Friday and Saturday at Two River Theater.

“We’ve curated this summer series for more than a decade now,” says Joe Muccioli, noted conductor/arranger, impresario and artistic director of Red Bank-based Jazz Arts Project. “Each night is truly a unique experience, paying homage to a bygone era of swinging, yet elegant café society.”

Whether he’s auditioning hopefuls for the annual Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Basie; kicking it old-school scholarly via his Talkin’ Jazz lectures; working with the student cats and kittens of the Jazz Arts Academy, or programming the summertime Jazz in the Park series at Riverside Gardens, the man called “Mooche” is one passionately productive guy — but perhaps his greatest passion is reserved for Summer Jazz Café, the annual slate of intimate weekend occurrences that return to the borough of Basie this Friday and Saturday.

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Jennifer Lakefield has been named as the new Chairperson of the Board, for the Shrewsbury-based nonprofit The Community YMCA.  (Photo by PeterMurphy)

Press release from The Community YMCA

In an annual meeting that took place on June 14 at the Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, The Community YMCA named several Red Bank area residents to official positions, and elected Jennifer Lakefield as chairperson and chief volunteer officer of the Shrewsbury-based nonprofit’s Board of Directors.

A resident of Colts Neck and managing director of Red Bank-based ZAIS Group, Lakefield will provide leadership to the 20-member board, which sets strategic direction and policy to guide the Y’s work of strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. She succeeds Joseph Oriolo of Shrewsbury, and will serve a two-year term ending in 2019.

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Yes Yes Nonet: Saxman/bandleader Mike Kaplan and his Nonet sound a brassy keynote for a new summer series of free Jazz in the Park concerts Thursday night at Riverside Gardens.  

“Summertime, and the livin’s easy,” sang Satchmo and Ella in their symphonically jazzy take on Porgy and Bess — but if you’re one of the folks from the Jazz Arts Project, you might find the season of beach blankets, barbecues and bug zappers to be busier than a drum solo by the late great Buddy Rich.

It’s an interlude that swings things in classic night-owl style via this weekend’s inaugural entry in the long-running Summer Jazz Cafe series — about which more to come here on redbankgreen. But before all that, Red Bank-based nonprofit that brought you December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash and April’s Talkin’ Jazz lecture series jumps into July with the first in a weekly Thursday schedule of free Jazz in the Park events at Riverside Gardens.

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The most recent Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest, held in April, raised $15,000 for two charities: borough-based Parker Family Health Center and Shrewsbury-based Holiday Express. Jim Scavone, executive director of event host Red Bank RiverCenter, presented checks of $7,500 to each organization at Wednesday’s borough council meeting.

Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, above, played at the festival with his side project, The Shirleys. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Brooklyn-based Phish tribute band Uncle Ebenezer migrates into Red Bank for a Friday night jam at Jamian’s.

Mixed in among one of the busiest bar and restaurant scenes in Monmouth County, Jamian’s Food and Drink has long been a nightlife standardbearer in downtown Red Bank.

In addition to weekly gigs by Shore legends Bobby Bandiera and Pat Guadagno, plus reggae masters Random Test and one of the area’s most enduring open-mics, Jamian LaViola’s watering hole adds to its musical menu this Friday with a special catch-of-the-day: Phish tribute band Uncle Ebenezer.

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Johnny Sansone (left) is joined by guitarist John Fohl (right) for a special “Reckless Steamy Nights” house party that brings a blast of N’awlins heat to Red Bank’s Woman’s Club Friday night.

For the latest in their long-running series of monthly Reckless Steamy Nights live music events, the folks at the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation are cranking up the burners and serving up a fiery gumbo laced with the flavors of New Orleans.

Going up this Friday at the old Anthony Reckless estate (home of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank), the 8:30 p.m. house party throws open the door for a Big Easy bluesman of impeccable credentials: singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Sansone.

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Teal Wicks (right) stars as the title character — with bride and groom Jane Bruce and Eric William Morris as frontier friends — as “The Ballad of Little Jo” enters its final week of performances at Two River Theater. (photo by T. Charles Erickson)

It’s always a pleasure to see the physical space and human resources of Two River Theater Company employed to their full potential, and with the current mainstage musical The Ballad of Little Jo, TRTC artistic director John Dias and company have crowned their 2016-2017 season with a polished production that packs something of a homegrown pedigree; that doesn’t skimp on the quality or quantity of assembled talent — and that speaks to the American soul in all of its conflicted, enterprising, ambitious, messy and often melancholy glory.

Co-written by, developed and directed here by Dias — and adapted from a 1993 film of the same name — the show that made its formal debut some 17 years ago at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre has traced a journey to the Red Bank stage almost as long as that of the real-life 19th century woman whose story (very loosely) inspired it. It’s a journey that enters its final stretch for the time being, as the production wraps its limited engagement with eight more performances, today through Sunday, June 25.

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A 15-foot-long T-Rex puppet from Field Station: Dinosaurs, seen here in 2012, returns to the Red Bank Public Library Tuesday. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

He’s scaly, maybe a bit scary, some 15 feet long, and usually spotted in the company of a singing paleontologist known as the Dinosaur Troubador. He’s the traveling T-Rex from Bergen County attraction Field Station: Dinosaurs, and he’s returning to libraries in Red Bank and Middletown this week.

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The Fab Faux take the Basie stage Saturday for a full-on recreation of the revolutionary Beatles album ‘Revolver.’ (Photo by Michael Weintraub)

In a season that’s justifiably obsessed with the golden anniversary of a little phonograph record by the name of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it might be easy to overlook the album that truly made the Pepper platter possible: Revolver, the 1966 Beatles release that kicked off the Fab Four’s focus on studio projects in earnest — and an idea-packed long-player that more than a few observers consider to be the greatest rock album of all time.

For the 16th edition of what’s become a dependable signifier of summer in Red Bank, the super-sessionman Beatle-reboot known as the Fab Faux takes the stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Saturday night for a performance of Revolver in its entirety, plus a mixed set of classic hits.

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Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke star inhe bio-pic feature ‘Maudie,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

She was the very definition of an “outsider artist:” a young woman crippled by arthritis and living a below-radar existence as a housekeeper in a Nova Scotia fishing village, whose colorful way of seeing the world elevated her to the status of Canada’s most cherished folk-art painter. Just as unlikely, and equally compelling, is the bond between Maud Lewis and her employer, the relationship at the heart of the biographical feature film “Maudie.”

A 2016 festival favorite that’s slated for general release in the United States on Friday, the film from director Aisling Walsh gets a sneak-peek screening Thursday as part of a special series at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

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