You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
His BIG annual Bobfest celebration of Dylan’s birthday has grown to notch its first edition at the Count Basie Theatre…he’s performed the Nat’l Anthem at BIG League ballparks…and he counts among his BIG Scary Friends the Lt. Gov of NJ (aka his sister-in-law). That said, Pat Guadagno isn’t above scaling down his bigger ambitions to grace practically every bar up and down the Upper Wet Side with his presence all throughout the calendar year; rescuing the noble calling of “saloon singer” from Sinatra tux-’n-toupee stereotype and playing every room like it’s Camden Yards. This Wednesday, the veteran entertainer racks up another BIG credit…when he plays the Ed McMahon/ Doc Severinsen role to BIG Joe Henry, as the supersized DJ presents a live taping of a new radio variety show at the ONLY venue that’s round enough to contain him: McLoone’s Supper Club!
Whatta weekend: rained upon torrentially while hustling home from the Clash Fest tribute at The Press Room on Fri-dur-day night; rained upon intermittently while trying to meet up with some friends at Sunday’s Pride Fest. Stayed on the Dry Side for First Saturday’s round of gallery opening events, and took in the afternoon Pride Parade from the corner of our (alternately Sesame and seedy) block, under skies the color of 1960s-vintage Blue Laws.
But enough about you: we’re wringing out the mildew from our fave bowling shirts, and with a seven-day slate of activity staring us into submission, we’re primed to milDEW it AGAIN, beginning with the first of our June 4-10 picks that pick up right around the cattywampus corner…
MONDAY! Make It Real Benefit in Keyport. Up to Keyport — the “Pearl of the Bayshore” and one of the outermost limits of our Wet Side jurisdiction — for a special event that unspools within one of the region’s most uniquely deconsecrated dinespots: Trinity Restaurant, that former church turned culinary cathedral in downtown Keepers. It’s a fundraiser show spotlighting some special guests — and, while the ultimate target will be the way-past-politics goal of caring for sick children, the more immediate beneficiary is as delightfully goofy as it is refreshingly direct: help Garden State Players to put on a production of Footloose!
The fledgling community theater troupe founded by Lauren Matthews Raad and Chuck “fuckedupchuck” Cataia is looking to mount their staging of the smash movie-to-musical beginning August 10; a run which in turn will raise funds for the new Pediatric (NOT Podiatric) Care Center at Holmdel’s Bayshore Community Hospital. To that end, they’re calling on the services of none other than Brian Gaskill, the celebrated soap opera actor (pictured) who’s also got a touch of the poet — and to prove it, he’ll be reading from some of his own writings at the event, for which two dinner seatings (6 and 6:30pm) are offered in advance of the 7:30 show. Opening will be our personal favorite curmudgeonly humanitarian, “Mr. Words and Music” himself George Wirth — and a post-show meet ‘n greet is included in the ticket, with attendees welcome to bring their own original poetry and RSVPs accepted at 732.497.2998. Trinity Restaurant, 84 Broad St., Keyport • 6-9pm/ $55 dinner and show ($25 show only)
MONDAY! Nora Stevens at the Marimba in Asbury. The marimba never caught on much in the rock oeuvre beyond Ruth Underwood‘s tenure with Frank Zappa, or Ed Marimba in Captain Beefheart‘s band, or Brian Jones messing around on “Under My Thumb” or “Out of Time” — but the big, beautiful, hard-to-transport music machine has staked a comfortable niche in the realms of jazz, classical chamber repertory and that surprisingly diverse portfolio of new music written especially for the instrument — of which our own Leigh Howard Stevens has been tantamount to the Bach, the Hendrix, even the Zamfir of his chosen axe. And if it’s June, it must be time for the Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Festival, a generally below-the-radar event that gathers the nation’s premier classical marimbists in one seaside setting, with Ocean Grove and Asbury Park the host cities for music, master classes and mallets aforethought.
Registration for Stevens’s 33rd annual slate of Summer Marimba Seminar lectures and workshops has long since closed, but that’s only bad news if you’re a hammerin’ hopeful who was looking to spend a pleasant Jersey Shore late-spring studying with the best in the business. If you’d simply like to sit back and hear the best in the business at work, you’ve got several chances to intersect with the current slate of recitals going on at two musically mindful Asbury Park houses of worship — including Holy Spirit Church on Second Avenue, where Nora Stevens assumes the Musser-Stevens Grip in a concert tentatively slotted for 7pm. The recital series continues this Friday, June 8 when Greg Zuber comes to Trinity Episcopal Church on Asbury Avenue — scene of a followup concert on Tuesday, June 12 featuring Michael Burritt. Trinity is still the scene on June 15, when Tom Burritt performs in a 7pm showcase — and the series concludes on Monday, June 18, when Leigh Howard Stevens returns to Holy Spirit to show all these young upstarts how it’s done. A donation of at least $7 to $10 per person is accepted for the benefit of the host churches at each event. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Holy Spirit Church, 705 Second Ave., Asbury Park • 7pm/ $7-10 suggested donation
TUESDAY! Punk Rock Happy Hour at the Brighton. We’ve often bemoaned the fact that we’re but a step removed from the streets, the Hudson Trail hobo encampments or Ocean County’s Tent City at any given time — and then we think about the ongoing journey of our pal Russ “Puss” Bucci (of The Book Pit and Pink Frog fame); a man who’s made his home at various times in his old store, in a van, under the dance floor at Chubby’s and, quite literally, in Lousy Land. On Tuesday evenings, however, HOME is The Brighton, as Russ and his co-host, The Graveyard School‘s Kim Kaos, invite one and all to a low-impact night of “music videos, movies, pool table action and the cheapest drink specials this side of Gotham City,” whatever that means. Rumors abound as well of Tequila specials and hot dog baskets, and if you’re a punk of a certain age we do declare you’ll find some solace there, as you hoist a Frosted Mug ‘neath the reflected glory of the Brighton Wall O’ Fame. Contact email@example.com. Brighton Bar, 121 Brighton Ave., Long Branch • 7pm/ no cover
WEDNESDAY! Big Joe Henry Variety Show at McLoone’s Supper Club. Anyone who’s ever caught a personal appearance by radio’s Big Joe Henry could tell you that the weekend oldies man from the otherwise execrable Jersey 101.5 never does anything in a small and quiet manner — but with his latest move, the rotund host with the robust baritone is almost surreptitiously becoming some kind of contender for the crown of King of Most Media. Tonight, Big Joe climbs the stairs of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club on the Asbury Park boards, parking it at the fabled doo-wop “Howard Jetsons” for the taping of The Big Joe Henry Variety Show, a pilot for a prospective regional cable TV show that co-stars Pat Guadagno and The Big Band, with musical guests including blonde bombchelle Lisa Bouchelle (herself hostess of local cable’s Rock Star Kitchen) and “rock and roll dollbaby”/ Man of a Thousand Personae Little Isidore, as well as “renowned accordion player Bruce Gassman, and magic acts” (Sullivan-style variety is BACK, baby). Take it here for tix. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 8pm/ $15
THURSDAY! Dr. Sketchy’s Crazy Sexy Cat Ladies at Asbury Lanes. While the occasional cat lady does continue to make headlines — and while it’s seldom anything that anyone would consider sexy — the folks at the local Dr. Sketchy franchise have come up with a way to reclaim the good name of Cat Ladies — by having fun drinking, drawing (for a cause), taking photos or “just hanging.” The retro rec room turned alterna-arts odditorium that is Asbury Lanes is once more the scene for a sketch session that boasts more than a dozen live ‘n lovely models, a “dedicated photo area” and a full 100% of the evening’s proceeds going the nonprofit spay/neuter endeavor Animal Birth Control Inc. Bring your own art supplies; don’t worry about your skill level and just have a blast being part of this savvy spin on an age-old hipster activity. Asbury Lanes, 209 Fourth Ave., Asbury Park • 7pm/ $15
THURSDAY! Rock the Dock in Sea Bright. To the Sea Bright strip we go, and for a blast of original music for a change, as the Red Bank-based Coastal NJ chapter of WGIRLS.org hosts its second annual Battle of the Bands fundraiser contest at The Dockside. We’re not really familiar with any of the bands on the lineup (see them here), but that’s kind of the beauty part, y’see, because the top three of these hungry and ambitious young combos will be in the running to “win a paid outdoor performance on the boardwalk and multiple four (4) hour recording sessions at Macro Sound Studio in Union, NJ.”
More to the point, the all and everything of proceeds will benefit the Lakewood nonprofit Women of Purpose Ministries, a non-profit organization in Lakewood, NJ that’s “committed to bring healing and purpose to disadvantaged women and girls…their programs provide women and the girls the skills, knowledge, and self-confidence, making them productive members in their community.” It’s a mission statement that jibes with that of WGIRLS, which “provides underprivileged women and children across Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties with the support and resources necessary to achieve health, happiness, and the ability to lead productive and successful adult lives.” Tix ($40 in advance and buyable right here) include open bar with beer, wine and sangria plus a dinner buffet; for more info call 732.682.6584 or email Brittany Levendusky at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dockside, Ocean Ave., Sea Bright • 6-9pm/ $45
FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY! NJ Seafood Festival in Belmar. Calling all fishy ‘ficionados, mollusk mavens and diggers of shellfish pursuits: this is The Big One as far as well-entrenched local foodfests go; a genuine homegrown alternative to the usual itinerant carny fare and cherished tradition that comes equipped as well with crafters, live music and other picture postcards. Worth parking the car where you will and hoofing it up or down the boards. Silver Lake Park, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Belmar • 12-8pm Friday; 11am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday
FRIDAY! Robert Gordon at The Wonder Bar. In a conversation we had a while back, Robert Gordon told us, “I’ve seen a lot of my friends pass away, and I could have been one of the lost ones…but I’m still around; I put a lot of crazy stuff behind me, and I can honestly say I’m out here singin’ my ass off!” Once a sharp-dressed badass who helped usher in the 1970s-80s rockabilly revival; now Social Security years old and a good deal heavier than that circa-1977 skinny guy with the impossible coiff; the man who introduced both Springsteen’s “Fire” (the song the Boss originally penned with hopes that Elvis would sing it) and Marshall Crenshaw’s “Someday Someway” has lost none of the power in his “smooth fine bourbon” of a baritone; a rare voice that put forth a catalog of crazy-cat rockers and romantic crooners chosen with the eye and ear of the true connoisseur. Having made quite a few retrun trips to Asbury town in recent months, he returns to the snackbar, stage and sidewalkside windows of der Vunderbar, with The Unknowns as “who-dat” openers and a special late nite set by Dr. Phil and the Heartattacks. Wonder Bar, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $18 advance, $20 door
SATURDAY! Jersey Shore Roller Girls DERBY WARS at Convention Hall. Not sure which one represents the Empire and which is the Rebel Alliance, but when the Jersey Shore Roller Girls take it back to Asbury’s Convention Hall, they’re all pretty much skating delightfully on the dark side. The fast-track, flat-track rollerderby action returns to the space above the briny surf, when the Murder Beach Militia meet the Right Coast Rollers, in a DERBY WARS benefit for the Army FRG (Family Readiness Group), with special guests “Vader’s 501st Legion.” The whistle blows at 8pm inside ConHall for the big match that’s all ages (21 to drink, natch), with discounts or kids 12 and under or active military, and tix available here or from your favorite local Roller. 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 10)
SATURDAY! NJ Gay Mens Chorus in AP. Director Steven Russell and the Princeton-based NJGMC visit Asbury’s Trinity Church for a concert centered around the theme “Our Quest for the West” — a musical journey that “will regale audiences with American classics” emanating “from the Jersey Shore, across great rivers and fruited plains.” Take it here for advance tix. Trinity Church, 503 Asbury Ave., Asbury Park • 8 – 9:30pm/ $15 advance, $20 door
SUNDAY! Pay It Forward benefit at The Press Room. You’ve heard of the concept of Paying It Forward — maybe you’ve spotted the “signature trademarked white and purple bracelets” in your travels and wondered, Hey, What Gives? Well, tonight at downtown Asbury’s breakout rockbar The Press Room, a pretty incredible lineup of affable Avengers assembles to entertain AND enlighten as to the nonprofit Pay it Forward Experience and its humanitarian efforts on the global stage.
Band and solo performers include some of the most awesomely gifted on the Wet Side soundscape — among them Americana ace Kevin John Allen, sonic adventurer Colie Brice, jamband funkster Poppa John Bug, rockological Ph.D. Jon Caspi, seductive songstress Jerzy Jung, old soul Quincy Mumford, country kingpin Michael Patrick and many more too numerous to mention (tho’ we don’t mind mentioning you can find a full roster right here). Also on the agenda are a “silent auction, special door prize, and other surprises throughout the day,” with all proceeds dedicated to the Pay It Forward message — and all musicians in general remaining, as Eric Clapton has said, “a soft touch for a charitable cause.” The Press Room, 610 Bangs Ave., Asbury Park • 2-10pm/ $10
SUNDAY! Peter Biedermann at Middletown Main Library. From the most neglected corners of the Upper Wet Side comes this under-the-radar event that those who are passionate for truly masterful instrumental music might not want to miss. The community room of the Middletown Township Public Library — one of our fave bibliotecques in the area, to be sure — is the setting for a free performance by guitarist Peter Biedermann that stands as a followup to his well-received previous concert at MTPL. Performing a program of originals on “6, 8, and 12 string guitars in unique tunings combined with various electronic processing devices,” the veteran composer — a man who’s been likened to Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Ralph Towner, Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges (we’ll throw in the California Guitar Trio too for good measure) will “demystify the mystery” of his complex yet crowdpleasing technique in an interactive discussion. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended; free tickets are available in person at the Library Reference Desk or by calling 732.671.3700 ext. 320. Middletown Township Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Rd., Middletown • 2:30pm/ FREE