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Laying down some tracks: to state THE OBVIOUS, one of the better bands on the fractured and fragmented Wetside scene is having a Record Release Party tonight; just one of many goings-on we can pretty much experience from our front porch this weekend.
3pm Wednesday April 25, and we’re getting a whiff of nostalgia in and around Asbury’s Convention Hall — if you call circa 1990 your idea of nostalgia. Not a blamed or blessed soul in sight within the Grand Arcade; no shops open; a clear cannonball shot both north AND south of here on the boards. Even the gulls and pigeons have gone off to scout other fastfood pastures.
This momentary snapshot was well out of date by the weekend, of course, and we offer it up only as a final echo of the Off Season That Wuz (within the Winter That Wun’t) here on the cuspidor of the summer-season corridor. It’s a season that was more or less heralded by the beauty-sleep-disturbing blare of a marching band on the morning of April 27; a neighborhood drumline blast that assembled to welcome the flyby of the retired Space Shuttle with a somehow appropriate quote from Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2.”
From here on in around these blocks by the beach and boards, it’s time to batten down the hatches for Bamboozle’s burb-oid blizzard; to convert front lawns into parking lots and psych ourselves into a sleepless, senses-working-overtime parsing of the passing parade. It all starts NOW, with…
SATURDAY! Record release party for THE OBVIOUS at Asbury Lanes. Only those who are downright oblivious could develop an immunity to the charms of The Obvious, the greater Asbury punkpop combo that’s been helping to keep the electric garage door open in a landscape of acoustica Americana “authentica” and songer/singwriter narcissimo. Fronted by the ravishing Surojanie “Angie” Sugrim, the four-piece 2012 edition of the band that was last seen backing original Sugar Hill Gang old-schooler Wonder Mike at last month’s Garden State Film Festival has a new EP to peddle (Maybe She’s Bored With It) and a place to peddle it, tonight at the everlovin’ Asbury Lanes.
Produced by Bouncing Souls guitarist Pete “The Pete” Steinkopf at the Bouncing boys’ secret clubhouse recording studio in Asbury Park (on the same street as the groovy grotto where we peck out this blogfest), the record will be the centerpiece of an evening in which Angie and company are joined by a most solid lineup that further boasts Chemtrail, Lost in Society and Give Me Static — with admission a measly five bucks, there in the retro rec room and alterna-arts odditorium that hosted another high-artistic-value session by Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School on that selfsame afternoon. Asbury Lanes, Fourth Ave., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $5
There’s more in store within upperWETside’s home neighborhood this weekend, and “It’s All Within Reach” (one of many failed promo campaigns from the much-maligned Gannett media octopus) with the flip of a pixelated page…
SATURDAY! Asbury Park Musical Memories at the Berkeley. A collaboration between filmmaker Susan Pellegrini‘s synergy productions with Monmouth University and Asbury Park High School, the documentary feature Asbury Park Musical Memories is screened as the centerpiece of an official launch event for the new nonprofit org Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation. We had occasion to see part of this ambitious oral-history project during the aforementioned Garden State Film Festival, and it’s an engaging chronicle of several decades in the life of the city Where Music Lives (and laughs, and loves) — from the expected Springsteen-Pony-Upstage yadda, to an edu-taining exploration of the Springwood Ave R&B scene that had been all but swept under the rug for a generation.
A project that pretty much assumed a life of its own in the wake of 2011′s Where Music Lives campaign (itself spurred into being by Asbury’s selection as host city for a touring Smithsonian exhibit), the doc shows at 8pm inside the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (following a brief ceremony with Pellegrini and Asbury’s Minister of Good Times Tom Gilmour), with a “Meet & Greet with the musicians” after-party at 9:30 inside the hotel’s own Dauphin Grill restaurant. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave. at Sixth Ave., Asbury Park • 7:45pm/ FREE with ticket
SATURDAY! Jersey Shore Roller Girls at Convention Hall. The fast-track, flat-track rollerderby action returns to the space above the briny surf, as the Jersey Shore Roller Girls AllStars meet the PRG Block Party (the exhibition unit of the phar-phamed Philly Roller Girls) in a high profile milestone for the fast-growing JSRG brand. It’s all ages (21 to drink, natch), with discounts for kids 10 and under or active military, and tix available here or from your favorite local Roller. A portion of proceeds benefit the Animal Welfare Committee of Point Pleasant Borough— and don’t forget to keep your wristband for entry to an After Party across the street at the Wonder Bar, following the match. Convention Hall, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $20 ($15 military; $10 kids under 11)
SUNDAY! Asbury Park Restaurant Tour. Hard to believe this is the first-ever such culinary tour event here in what’s fast become a destination town for dining, but the best part is that you never forget your first time — and for four hours this April 29, the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce offers up a strolling smorgasbord made up of some 25 bistros, boites, bakeries, beaneries and (juice/coffee) bars within city limits. They’ll be serving up “small bites and one-of-a-kind sampling experiences” to the epicurious, with a $30 wristband (limited quantity still available day of event from the C of C Visitor Trailer at Press Plaza) allowing access as well as free shuttle transport to and fro and thereabouts. The Chamber will also furnish “a tasting guide and map of participating sites as well as offers from local merchants,” and will be awarding prize packages that include an Asbury Park Seasonal beach badge “and other fun surprises to ‘Top Tasters’.” Take it here for a full rundown of participating parties. Locations around Asbury Park Boardwalk, Cookman Avenue and Main Street • 12-4pm/ $30 wristband
SUNDAY! Bettina May Pin Up Class at Asbury Lanes. Back down the street to everyone’s favorite Alternative to the Alternative, as Asbury Lanes welcomes a return visit from Burlesque babe, blogger and boudoir-art bombshell Bettina May. An authority in the art ad science of the vintage “pin-up” photography of the Bettie Page/ Irving Klaw era, the Canadian coquette will be once again conducting an afternoon seminar in hair, makeup and posing techniques, with a CD of your professional quality va-va-voom sitting session ready to take home for more fun and adventure. Take it here to register online, or sign up for encore sessions on May 27 and June 10. Asbury Lanes, Fourth Ave., Asbury Park • 12:30 – 6:30pm/ $195 to participate in full session; $50 to observe hair/makeup demos
SUNDAY! The 2012 JAM Awards at Atonement Church. It’s just the second annual edition for the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards, but within a remarkably short timeframe this loose and lively consortium of unplugged songpluggers has managed to put a significant stamp upon the live music scene within Asbury town and assorted points up and down the Upper Wet Side of NJ. This Sunday evening, the auditorium of Atonement Lutheran Church is the red-carpet setting for a night of performance and applause that caps off an ambitious online voting campaign. Many of this site’s favorite local performers — including George Wirth, Mike Patrick, The Wag and Jon Caspi (pictured above in a shot by Brenda Wirth) himself nominated for Male Performer, Male Vocalist, Top Pop AND Best Song — will be on hand entertaining, presenting and keeping their best game poker faces as they rip open the envelope puh-leez. All guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items, which will be donated to the Church’s food bank as well as to the charities of Musicians on a Mission. Atonement Lutheran Church, 308 First Ave. (at Heck St.), Asbury Park • 4pm doors/ $10 (includes drinks and dinner)