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: KEEPING IT LIT, ALL WEEK

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As you probably gathered from our pixelated pages, we at Red Bank oRBit have a thing for words, whether doing it by-the-book or via the noble blurt of the spoken spiel. In today’s edition we run down four worthwhile events going on in and around the greater orbit — all of them linked by nothing less or more than the power of words to compel, cajole, console or confront.

There’s Hungarian-born novelist Joseph Kertes, coming to Red Bank’s Two River Theater on Tuesday to discuss Gratitude, his historical novel of one family’s Holocaust. There are the Dickman Brothers (identical twins Matthew and Michael, above), the enfants terribles of modern American poetry who visit Monmouth University on Wednesday afternoon. There’s E. Benjamin Skinner, the journalist who penetrates the shadowlands of the modern slave trade in A Crime So Monstrous (he’ll be at Brookdale Community College on Wednesday night). And there’s Asbury Park’s homegrown spoken word artist TIGGA, who has some powerful things to say about his city in a special Thursday night program at The Showroom.

We’ve got the deep-dish detail on all these offerings (with way more to come all this week), as we count down to the final rattling breaths of the Naughty Aughties, right here in Red Bank oRBit!

IN oRBit: GONNA RAISE SOME FUNDS

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has the first-out-of-the-box word on an upcoming appearance by Alec Baldwin, star of stage, screen and, well, message machine.

Baldwin will be visiting he Two River Theater this November for an informal Q&A, a fundraiser for the Rumson-based Junior League of Monmouth County and its slate of volunteer programs; we’ve got the details and the pertinent links. And if Baldwin’s not your political bag of tea, we hear there’s still tix available for Jackie Mason at the Basie this weekend.

We’ve also got the scoop on an event going on this Sunday at the Middletown Arts Center: a fundraiser for the 4H Kids for Kids and their efforts in helping The ARC of Monmouth mount its annual Spring Prom for our developmentally disabled friends and neighbors. Josh Zuckerman and Beth Arentsen are the headliners for a pair of shows. Besides a penchant for volunteering their considerable talents, the two singer-songwriters share a fine guitar player in Steve DeVito. We’ve got an exclusive chat with Steve, the organizer of this annual concert and one of the genuine good guys on the local music scene, right here where you’re forever reading it first — Red Bank oRBit.

IN oRBit: WEE WILLIE, WELL-GOTTEN GAINES

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has an exclusive interview with a performer who’s always been something of a favorite around these parts — Jeffrey Gaines, the singer and songwriter who famously dueled with Peter Gabriel some years back over who would have the biggest hit with “In Your Eyes.”

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A frequent visitor to the greater Red Bank area, Gaines was one of the stars of last May’s Band Together For Survival benefit at the Basie. This Sunday, June 28, he’ll be back in the borough for a special show at The Downtown. We talked to him about Red Bank, his Pennsylvania roots, and some places that can’t be triangulated on Google Earth.

From there, it’s a quick look at The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), the actual title of a speed-record spoof of all 37 Shakespeare comedies, tragedies and — in the form of an onstage football game — regal histories. Devised by a British improv troupe, the show comes to the historic and slightly haunted environs of the Woods Theatre at Monmouth U, for the first in its 2009 Shadow Lawn series of summertime stage presentations.

Like a lost packet of Astronaut Ice Cream, it’s all there, going round and round, forever in oRBit.

IN oRBit: PEOPLE FROM YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

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Don’t look now, but some of your neighbors are up to some pretty extraordinary things — and in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we call on a couple of them.
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First, there’s Cara Salimando, a Little Silver resident who’s just finished her junior year at Red Bank Regional and a talented singer-songwriter who’s going to be very visible around area music venues this summer, including two appearances during this weekend’s Wave Gathering festival in Asbury Park. We talk to the 17 year old performer about past influences, future plans — and a little present in the form of a major-label recording contract.

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Next, oRBit docks at River Road Books in Fair Haven, where Rumson resident and veteran sailboat skipper William H. White pays a visit to read from and sign copies of the latest in his series of historical high-sea adventure novels, When Fortune Frowns. It’s a ripping-good read drawn from the controversial circumstances and completely bizarre aftermath of the infamous HMS Bounty mutiny. We chat with the author for a bit of background on Cap’n Bligh and Mr. Christian, an opinionated overview of sailing the Two Rivers, and a tantalizing hint about his next project.

All this plus sexiest TV news anchor Jack Ford, here on the only website that dares to be bullish on bookish people — Red Bank oRBit!