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Fifteen offbeat works of art, framed and nailed to the wall for your perambulating perusal…that not only sums up our first recommended item in this roundup of the WetSide weekend wobble, but it encapsulates the wobble itself. It’s a Pictures-at-an-Exhibition promenade that begins with:
1. FRIDAY! John van Hamersveld: Graphic Works at Red Bank Frameworks. The man himself is not expected to be in attendance, but this reception for the latest installation at Red Bank Frameworks is worth checking out for a succinct retrospective look at some of the most burned-into-the-cultural-retina images of the surf-a-delic poster/graphics designer who famously created the poster for pioneer surf doc Endless Summer — and went on to visualize the vibes of The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and the Velvet Underground to name but a few. The works on paper, drawn from a half century of activity, remain on display during regular gallery hours through October 27 — and you’ll pin the details right here on the local Patch site. Red Bank Frameworks, 160 Monmouth St., Red Bank • 7-10pm
2. FRIDAY-SUNDAY! TOPDOG/ UNDERDOG at Two River Theater. It’s the FINAL WEEKEND for the Two River Theater Company revival of the Pulitzer-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by the playwright herself. Take it here for tickets — and look here for the review that we originally did for the Asbury Park Press. Two River Theater, Bridge Ave., Red Bank • 8pm Friday and Saturday; 3pm Saturday and Sunday/ $20 – $57
A baker’s dozen more to follow; flip the pixelated page for best results…
We promised that we wouldn’t continue to kill ourselves with these increasingly complicated Weekend Roundup features, but these particularly blastworthy last-gasp days of August simply cannot be ignored…so we’re gonna drop and give you a fast 28 from NOW thru Sunday, beginning TONIGHT with the return of the eber-intriguing, eber-elegant CHRISTINE EBERSOLE to the Upper Wet Side of NJ. Read on for more, much more…
THURSDAY: Christine Ebersole at the AxPAC. This is one of those events that we really should have been “on toppa” like flies on sherbert; like an arts journalist-slash-theater correspondent putting in for an interview with one of the most multi-faceted talents in the modern biz of stage. But we let the beat drop, and now we are “Ebersole humbled” so that we can only say Sorry About That, Chief, and Missed It By That Much.
A 2007 Tony winner for her vivid star turn in the improbable musical adaptation of Grey Gardens; a costar with Rupert Everett and Angela Lansbury in the 2K9 revival of Blithe Spirit; a winner of another, earlier Tony for 42nd Street and a much-lauded star of everything from Steel Magnolias to Dinner at Eight, Christine_Ebersole is brought down to earth only by some sillier TV work (Sullivan and Son; Retired at 35) and a not-so-A-list movie resume (uh, My Favorite Martian? My Girl 2? Richie Rich? Tom Selleck’s Folks!?!). And so we concentrate here upon her critic-conquering cabaret skills, her major concert work and the fact that this platinum-plated performer is appearing tonight right here on the Upper Wet Side of NJ, in the intimate auditorium of the AxPAC (at the JCC of Monmouth in Ocean Township). Tickets are not so much as you might think, too, and the opportunity to see this caliber of performer, in this custom-crafted a setting, might not soon present itself again. Axelrod Performing Arts Center, 100 Grant Ave., Ocean Township • 8pm/ $45 – $75 (reserve in advance)
But wait, there’s more: order in the next ten minutes and you’ll get…
Romanian-born painter, sculptor, field anthropologist and “sexual prankster” Dumitru Gorzo is giving the entire town of Red Bank HEADS, during an outdoor art show that’s visible at various locations from now through October 14.
The opening of an exclusive major exhibition of paintings by an internationally acclaimed artist would be a feather in the cap of any town on the map — and an absolute must for a cranny of culture that was ranked third on Smithsonian Magazine’s list of The 20 Best Small Towns in America.
If you’ve been wandering Red Bank in search of the New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art, don’t despair — simply set the controls for 99 Monmouth Street. Or 21 Bridge Avenue. Or 84 West Front Street, 50 Maple Avenue and a handful of additional addresses where the “floating” arts entity NJMoCA will be presenting HEADS, an ongoing, open-air (and in-your-face) “observation of the individual spirit” that takes to the borough’s exterior walls from these dog-star days of August, to the harvest-moon evenings of early autumn.
On a week in which Long Branch-born Funk-Key Friend (and esteemed Member of Parliament) BERNIE WORRELL is due to receive the Key to the City of LB…see picks for Saturday, 6/30…another Local Boy Makes Good from a place that you may not have been aware of. Ocean Township native TIM HAUSER (third from left in the toon above) leads his fellow members of MANHATTAN TRANSFER back to the Count Basie Theatre, the venerable venue named for the iconic “Kid from Red Bank,” with whom Hauser and company actually collaborated back in the 1980s! Expect a special tribute to the Count at Thursday’s concert, exclusively for the hometown audience…and expect everything you’ll need to know and THEN some at the flip of the paperless page…
Douglas Ferrari, curator of the Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts, welcomes one and all to the 2012 edition of SculpToure in Asbury Park and Long Branch — and whether you’re driving an obscenely expensive Italian sports car or taking the shuttle, you’ll not want to miss this annual installation of three-dimensional visions, on view now through September 16.
We are BACK on the blog — and look out, we’re armed with CARTOONS, which we decided we’ll be messing around with on a trial basis as a way of paying tribute to some of our fave people on the local arts scene.
That said, we were never really “away” from our beat; just busying ourself with other work and sitting out both the (which unspooled just about a block and a half from our front door in Asbury town) in particular and Memorial Day weekend in general. Without bothering to get a press pass to the FlimFlamFest — and definitely without any desire to pay hundreds of bucks to see a bunch of 80s/ 90s oldie acts supported by bands who regularly play Starland Ballroom for cheap — we spent the weekend strolling about town; trolling for stories and listening to the featured acts loud ‘n clear through our living room window.
Stories of course were actually few (and then again, too few to mention) during what turned out to be one ruthlessly efficient exercise in crowd containment, corporate branding and controlled “chaos.” Having lived in Red Bank through many of those tense, claustrophobic Fireworks extravaganzas and music fests, we’d never seen such a well orchestrated movement of people and resources — to the point where, as reported elsewhere, the city’s streets remained eerily quiet. with parking spots staying vacant during what should have been one of the busiest weekends of the year, and many downtown merchants throwing in the towel early all three nights of the fest.
We weren’t immune to irrational Bamboozle Paranoia ourselves — in fact, in our gig as theater critic we passed on attending a May 19 opening night at Two River Theater in Red Bank (reckoning we’d have a better shot at battling the traffic Sunday afternoon), only to discover afterward that we’d missed an opportunity to meet ‘n greet one of our heroes and personal saviors — Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies!
Ah well, live and learn — or just be doomed to repeat, as Hornswoggle Fest recurs in AP next May. Molly Mulshine of the new online news site Asbury Park Sun (who did an ace job monitoring the real-time outlook around town that weekend) summed it up best in a feature article that appears in the current issue of TriCity News; for us it’s Excelsior and onward, into a newly summerized week of amusement and diversion — a few highly anticipated items from which we share with the flip of a paperless page…
Hello, Lloyd: One of the biggest events of the Whole Kid Year returns to Asbury town this weekend, when madcap mogul Lloyd Kaufman brings the TROMADANCE Festival back to the center Lanes for TWO big nights, May 4 and 5!
The MayDay claxon’s already sounded; things are getting tensely tight around Asbury Parque (and by extension, the Upper Wet Side) in anticipation of the blizzardlike blitzkrieg that is the Bamboozle Fest — a wristband Woodstock that not only corrals “the kids” for three days and nights within a space where people actually sorta/kinda live, but THIS year invites their fiftysomething parents to stay and do something other than idle in queue at the designated pickup/dropoff areas. More on THAT as it happens midmonth — for now the pace picks up considerably in and around the place Where Music Lollygags, and if you dare to stray from the clearly demarcated Festival Area you’re SURE to find something weirdly wonderful…
FRIDAY and SATURDAY! 13th Annual TromaDance Festival at Asbury Lanes. You don’t have to be a conventioneering connoisseur of the Troma Films brand to have a blast at this yearly freewheeling filmfest, but it helps to enter into the bargain with some working knowledge of the MegaLoBudget sleaze cinema “studio” that gave the world The Toxic Avenger (plus associated kid cartoons, sequels and Off Broadway musicals) — a brand that continues to survive, maybe thrive, in a climate where the Drive Ins, the home video market, and even FILM as we know it have effectively joined the body count of motion picture arts and sciences.
Originally kickstarted in Park City, Utah as a freebie flip-off to the corporate-indie Sundance suckfest, TromaDance returns in its 13th annual edition to the atom-age Asbury Lanes this Friday and Saturday (May 4-5), with that most Fellini-esque of neighborhood rockbars playing host for the fourth(?) time to a no-charge, “No VIP” event in which “celebrities and fans are treated equally.” Lording over the affair once more is that Disney of Disturbia, that David O. Sleazenik, that Louis B. Mayhem mogul of madness — Troma chief, producer, director and sometime actor Lloyd Kaufman.
Some three dozen shorts from filmmakers all over the world (none of whom need to pay an entry fee) will be screening over the course of the weekend, with each night also spotlighting a new feature-length fracas. Friday’s full-lengther will be Manborg, a “cult-tastic throwback to 80s sci-fi action films like ROBOCOP and THE TERMINATOR” from Steven Kostanski and the Astron-6 Video collective — in which “a soldier, brought back to life as a cyborg, fights alongside a band of adventurers against demon hordes in a dystopian future.”
That latest from the director of Father’s Day will show at 8pm on May 4 (program starts at 7pm) — and at that same hour on Saturday, it’s a free screening of The FP, a grindhouse gangbang co-directed by the sibling tagteam of Jason and Brandon Trost, the amped-up cinematographers behind the likes of Crank: High Voltage and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Brother Jason stars in this story of “two gangs locked in a turf war in rural wasteland Frasier Park, in the deadly arena of competitive dance-fight video game” — a “fury of fierce footwork, triumphant montages and neon street wear” that features as narrator none other than James Remar of The Warriors (and, lately, Dexter). Take it here for Dorothy Creamer’s interview with Yale alumnus (and former GWB classmate) Kaufman, conducted for our old Red Bank oRBit site and archived for your enlightenment here on the upperWETside. Asbury Lanes, Fourth Ave., Asbury Park • 7pm/ FREE!
That ain’t even the one-sixth of it; flip the record over for more…
Polly, Unsaturated: Poet, painter, priestess of (re)purpose Kathy “Polly” Polenberg — taking a brief breather from creating the scenery and the awesome “Audrey II” for the Forrestdale School production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS — is among the artists represented in AWAKENINGS, the new installation at Gallery U in Red Bank.
“Freedom of Choice is what you got/ Freedom FROM Choice is what you want” sang the sage men in the flowerpot hats back around 1980-’bouts. It’s a bluesy lament we can simp-athize with, if for no other reason than the fact that our nights generally present such a senses-shattering range of options, invites and tentative commitments. The situation practically guarantees that somebody, somewhere who was kind enough to invite us to their event will be stood up in favor of some equally nice person (or, as happened all too many times this winter, a “Dirty Stay-at-Home” night of cartoon reruns).
Beggars, they say, can’t be choosers — but for experienced freeloaders, the world’s an erster. See if you can help us choose between competing options over the next seven days, March 16 through March 22..
FRIDAY 3/16: AWAKENINGS in Red Bank… Since they hit the Red Bank ground running with the opening of their second gallery space (a hiptown homestead of the original Montclair location), the folks at GALLERY U have brought a “freath o’ bresh air” back to the borough’s largely dormant artscape — and beginning this evening, the busy Broad Street hive hosts a new “mixed medium group show;” an assembly of more than 20 “established and emerging artists” spearheaded by Laura Brunetti (of Caring Canvas Project fame). There’s live music by The Aster Pheonyx Project — and among the many other creative folk represented will be one of our fave locals, Kathy Polenberg, a seemingly tireless creator of indoor/outdoor art, poetry, prose, theatrical scenery (including an awesome made-from-scratch killer plant for a school staging of Little Shop) and home accents that’ll make YOUR expensive decorator take a long walk off a very short Pier One. Gallery U and Boutique, 80 Broad St., Red Bank • 6-9pm/ FREE
…or Colin & Brad at the Basie? In an interview we did several years back with rubberfaced improv action figure Colin Mochrie, the star of TV’s long-(re)running Whose Line Is It Anyway? opined that “We have more of a communal, collaborative relationship with the audience than an adversarial one…you’re laughing from a different part of your brain.” For the better part of the past decade, Mochrie and his fellow Whose Line veteran Brad Sherwood have made an entirely planned and non-spontaneous point of performing an annual show at the Count Basie Theatre — and on March 16, The Two Man Group returns to Red Bank for another evening of impishly improv’d interactions including, but not limited to, “Standing, Sitting, Bending,” “Helping Hands” and the dreaded Blindfold Mousetrap Alphabet Game. Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank • 8pm/ $19.50 – $49.50
…but that ain’t the 1/7 of it; flip the pixelated page for enough pulse-pounding choices to knock you clear into next Thursday…
The Glamour Girls canvases of Holly Suzanne Rader — exemplified here by a detail from DICK & CANDY — are on display during a reception for GLAMit, this Saturday evening at Glen Goldbaum’s two neighboring Bridge Avenue salons.
His parties, alive with art and music and anybody-who’s-anybody people, are precisely the sort of under-the-radar events that you’d spend all night seeking out if you were looking for that elusive “something completely different” — the kind of happenings that should by all rights be too-cool and impossibly exclusive, were it not for the fact that they’re fully free of charge and open to friends old and new.
Last we looked in on Glen Goldbaum, the superstar Manhattan stylist turned catalyst for a creative new vision on Red Bank’s west side was hosting an event branded as Bewitched, a “magical evening of fantasy, hair, art and more” that transformed his two neighboring Bridge Avenue hair/ eye/ makeups (Glen Goldbaum 72 and Lambs & Wolves Den of Beauty) into an environment populated by winged fantasy characters, live mannequins and guest conceptualizers from Asbury Park’s Cookman Avenue “Arts Bloc.”
This Saturday, Feb the 11, the “Left Bank” block opposite the NJ Transit station stop will be the scene for GLAMit, a solo art installation (keyed to New York Fashion Week 2012) that celebrates “old Hollywood glam with a modern feminine edge” through the paintings and three-dimensional work of Holly Suzanne Rader. The Tennessee-bred artist will be on hand for a reception that spotlights her unique miniature paper dresses (composed of paper mache, vintage book pages, clip art and assorted items) as well as her Glamour Girls paintings — a series of homages to “retro bombshells, lusty pin-ups and the timeless Hollywood divine” that are “candy coated” with the artist’s engagingly repurposed found objects.
“I feel that the dress is more than a garment…it tells a story,” says Rader of her magnificent minis. “This collection is inspired by nature, poetry, fairytales, historical heroines, daydreams and other romantic notions.”
The Saturday reception, too groovy to be contained within a single storefront space, runs from 7 to 10 pm — with Rader’s art remaining on display through February and March — and we get off on telling you where else to go this weekend, beginning with a Friday fricasee that lies right around the clickable corner.
TRAGEDY returns to Asbury Lanes, as the ONLY metal Bee Gees tribute you’ll need see this weekend puts on their bowling shoes for a bit of Saturday Night Kegler — while lensman Mike McLaughlin is among the vibey visionaries represented in PINK NOISE, the 3rd Anniversary group show opening at Parlor Gallery.
All in all, it wasn’t the best week in which to be PINK.
Between the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s face-reddening “Pink-Gate” PR debacle, and the viral backlash against the infamous McNuggets “Pink Slime” photo, the once-proud color of Barbie and Elvis and Quisp was looking a beat-up and pulpy shade of purple by Friday. Which is why Pink Noise, the official Third Anniversary group show installation at Asbury Park’s pop-art paradise Parlor Gallery, could not have arrived with better timing to pull the PINK back from the BRINK.
A chance to feel “In the Pink” is especially needed here in a week with the news that Asbury Lanes — that Cold War-era tenpins taproom turned kitschy-cool alterna-arts odditorium — had been sold by its longtime owner to local developers Pat Fasano and Vince Gifford. It’s a bit of news that set off brain-alarms in anyone for whom the Lanes has served as everything from Fellini-esque corner bar, to a destination worth crossing several state lines to reach — and, justified or not, it was a potential tragedy that put many of us on a reflexive “Save the Roller Disco” alert straight out of 80s movies like Xanadu and Lunch Wagon.
Of course, the Lanes is no stranger to Tragedy, having hosted this hemisphere’s premier all-metal tribute to the music of the BeeGees many times over the years. Tonight, February 4, the 2012 edition of the continent-crossing metalizers (brothers Barry Glibb, Mo’Royce Peterson, and Robin Gibbens, with little brother Andy Gibbous Waning on bass and family patriarch The Lord Gibbeth, on drums) retakes the center Lanes in a late-skewed setsnack for which your award-winning DJ Jack the Ripper will serve as “amuse bouche.”
Before that, however, the windows of the Cookman Avenue arts bloc’s Parlor Gallery will be steaming up like an electric casserole dish, as First Saturday rages in downtown Asbury and some dozen music-minded artists (including DEVO poindexter Mark Mothersbaugh) team up for a de-waxing blast of Pink Noise.
The announcement that fab favorite son James McCartney will be playing his first area gig at Asbury’s Wonder Bar has the place Where Music Lives all a-twitter over the possibility that Sir Mac might make it a knight on the town.
We’re back again, with the first in what’ll at the very least become a weekly roundup of artzen-entertainment news, reviews, abuse…and the steady, suppurating ooze of outlandish rumor and speculation; all of it centered around this nifty nexus we call the Upper Wet Side of NJ.
Here in a week when an expanded slate of Light of Day events (about which more to come) shines an unnatural but entirely welcome light upon January’s midwinter lulldrums, it kind of figures we’d be off looking underneath some darker rocks for our livelihood, but away we go…
I ‘BURY’D PAUL: Just announced for The Wonder Bar on the night of February 3 is what looks to be the NJ debut of James McCartney, the moonfaced Moptop scion (and hair apparent?) whose following in the fab footsteps of Zak Starkey, Dhani Harrison and Sean Lennon brings him to the Colonies for the first time as a headlining touring musician later this month — and to the same crossroads that’s hosted the likes of Nick Clemons, Bill Haley Jr. and John Carter Cash.
The rumor mill — which is already “Paul Is Dead” wrong as far as this being young Jimmy Mac’s US debut (he visits the Sundance Film Festival and gets in at least a couple of NYC appearances before 2/3) — has been abuzz ‘n a-Twitter over reports that patriarch Sir Paul McCartney has “been spotted in the area;” a slice of Shore in which the elder McCartney’s Jersey-born newlywife Nancy Shevell is said to own some property on the balmy Atlantic coast.
Talk of The Sir making like The Boss for the Friday night fracas at Der Vunderbar is just exactly that — but we continue to dig the reinvented, reinvigorated circuit signifier as the looser, friendlier, more playful alternative to the Stone Pony’s stultifying sense of self; not the least reason for which is the human/humane Tillie-face put upon the operation by longtime linchpins Lance and Debbie. It’s an attitude more corner bar than corporate branding, with a musical menu that ranges from oldschool reverent to ever so slightly experimental, plus a neighborhood touch that extends from the ever-popular Doggie Yappy Hour to our fave sidewalkside snack bar, and the fact that passersby can enjoy the featured acts gratis courtesy of the north-side windows and convenient smokers-deck loudspeaker — the very antithesis of the Stoney’s stonewall fortress feel.
More in store here — including some potential personnel shakeups at a high-profile local venue, a rumored game-changer arrival to downtown Asbury, and a plea from a hard-luck former figure on the Jersey Shore rockarena…