Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, April 19 2018

Keepers of the punk flame invade the market stalls and mini-malls for an entirely respectful “wreck-a-store-day” weekend…the mayor and friends saddle up the Pony during a Rodeo for Recreation…acapella devotees go LIVE without a net, on the Pollak stage…magical PJs at the Paramount, and a Lenny Centennial at the APAC…Runapalooza pounds the boards for the Special Olympics NJ…trash is treasure is TRUE at an Earth Day After Party…and a wise old Byrd comes back to roost on the MU campus.

It’s WHAT’S UP in and around Asbury town these next seven days and nights…check the printed pages of THE COASTER for the full rundown of music, movies, art, theater and more…and dig if you will the highlights HERE, on the upperWETside!

SCENES: A Weekend of Punk Rocking ‘n Shopping

Here in the place Where Music Lives, old-timers are still talking about the time that Michigan-based proto-punk godfathers The Stooges and the MC5 waged informal band-battle at the old Sunshine In…while over at Convention Hall, fellow Wolverine staters Grand Funk Railroad added to a legendary 1960s/70s roster that famously included Jim Morrison and The Doors. On the unofficial high holy day of 4/20, those concert memories of yore flashback in style, as our still-standing Circuit landmark the Wonder Bar hosts a Tribute Fest that features Black Licorice as Grand Funk; Manzo Rising summoning the Lizard King and company; Future Now kicking out the jams as MC5, and the Street Walking Cheetahs channeling the raw power of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. It’s all-in at 7 pm for Friday’s fest, with tickets ($10 advance, $12 at the door) gettable at wonderbarasburypark.com.

Any vinylphile could tell you that April 21 is Record Store Day at indie institutions like Holdfast and Groovy Graveyard — and on Saturday afternoon, the latter outpost of pop culture (inside the Shoppes at the Arcade, 658 Cookman Ave) celebrates Platterday with another in a series of super-fun live music presentations on the upper level of the engagingly offbeat mini-mall. Returning to the Graveyard shift FREE-for-all at 4 pm are the Brunswick-based cowpunk/psychobilly cats The Junk Rumblers (pictured above), followed at 5 pm by Asbury’s own unique band of pirate-themed punkaneers, The Jolly Daggers (featuring merrily moonlighting members of such upstanding organizations as Battery Electric and The Black Flamingos).

The weekend’s worth of alternative NOWstalgia comes to a climax on Sunday, April 22, when the forces of Groovy join more than 100 other local/regional purveyors of vinyl records, CDs, movies, magazines, books, toys, collectibles, wearables, and MORE for the springtime edition of the Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market. Hosted inside Convention Hall, the three-ring flea circus opens its big heart to all, and its doors at 10 am, with admission $5 between 11 am and 5 pm (and an earlybird rate of $10 for savvy scouters). There’s live and DJ music in the air as well, with a full rundown of vendors viewable at asburyparkpunkrockfleamarket.com.

SCENES: Mayor’s Rodeo for Recreation

Back after a one year hiatus, the country/western-themed fun(d)raising event saddles up the Stone Pony for a Thursday evening hoedown designed to fund scholarships for Asbury Park kids who wish to attend the city’s six-week summer camp programs. The 2016 event exceeded all expectations, and on Thursday evening between 6 and 11:45 pm, Mayor Moor and company aim to break that bronc with an event that includes a BBQ buffet dinner and one-hour open bar, a Coyote Ugly dance, a rootin’ tootin’ fireworks display, and a live set by Asbury’s own R&B range riders and NeoSoul guitarslingers, Des and the Swagmatics (pictured). Cowpoke attire is optional but hardly discouraged — and there’s still time to make a donation or take part in the fun, by contacting Leesha Floyd (732-502-5759 or Leesha.floyd@cityofasburypark.com) or Cassandra Dickerson (732-502 5755 or Cassandra.dickerson@cityofasburypark.com).

STAGES: PJ Masks at the Paramount

Move it on over, Justice League and Avengers — the bedtime hours belong to PJ Masks, the animated Disney Junior series in which a trio of intrepid kids transform by night into animal-powered superheroes, thanks to magical amulets and some very special pajamas. A favorite of young viewers, the show has spawned PJ Masks Live, a colorful, “fully immersive musical production” that comes to the Paramount Theater stage on Friday, April 20. Subtitled Time to Be a Hero, the show features an energetic cast of live actors as the nocturnal good guys Catboy, Owlette and Gekko — along with original songs, choreographed action, and the equally vivid villainy of Romeo, Night Ninja, and Luna Girl. Tickets for either of the two Paramount shows (3 pm and 6 pm) range from $27.50 to $57, and can be reserved via ticketmaster.com or the venue box office.

STAGES: A Lenny Centennial at APAC

He bestrode the worlds of classical music and the Broadway stage in the second half of the Twentieth Century — a household-name celebrity who led the New York Philharmonic to its greatest heights; released dozens of seminal recordings; composed everything from devotional cantatas to the jazzy juvenile-delinquent anthems of “West Side Story,” and introduced a generation to the classics of its cultural heritage through his Young People’s Concerts and television programs. On the 100th year of his birth, the late Leonard Bernstein is remembered through his works in A Time for Us: The Leonard Bernstein Centennial, a pair of concert events at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center (100 Grant Ave. in Deal Park). Dr. Ryan Brandau and the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus join soloists and orchestra for a program that mixes the best loved “West Side” selections (“Maria,” “Tonight,” “America” and more) with highlights from the scores of “On the Town” and “Candide,” as well as vocal and symphonic works from the Manhattan-based master’s long career. It’s a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, produced in partnership with Cabaret for Life, and it goes up at 8 pm on Saturday, April 21 (plus a 3 pm Sunday matinee on April 22), with tickets ($38-$42 adults) available at axelrodartscenter.com.

SCENES: Runapalooza on the Asbury Boardwalk

Asbury Park has hosted major music festivals under the banner of Lollapalozza; welcomed canines and human handlers to Bullypalooza and Pugapalooza yappy-hour sessions — and, every spring, invited runners of all shapes and shoe sizes to the famous boards for the annual RunAPalooza slate of race events. Presented by the Jersey Shore Running Club on Saturday, April 21, the major fundraiser for Special Olympics New Jersey includes a 5K run and a Half Marathon that take in many of the scenic sights of the city’s waterfront — as well as a 26 mile Relay Marathon that traces an oceanfront route from Seaside Heights to Convention Hall, where an afterparty completes the day’s activities. While registration for the 5K and Relay are closed (there may still be openings to take part in the Half Marathon), all are invited to cheer on the participants as they take the sea air in frankly awesome style. Full details are online at runapalooza.org.

SOUNDS: A Doo Wop Explosion at MU

Back for a third annual edition on the Monmouth U campus, Doo Wop Explosion transforms the Pollak Theatre stage into a streetcorner in the old neighborhood, as several generations of top vocal talent from Philadelphia, Jersey, and NYC’s boroughs work “live, without a net” in an acapella showcase curated by music historians Charlie and Pam Horner of Classic Urban Harmony. Forming the foundations of everything from the most heartbreaking ballads of love to the wildest early rock and roll, this is pure people-powered soul that’s too vital to keep in a museum, and on Saturday night, April 21, the eras are bridged in grand style when doo wop pioneer Gaynel Hodge (pictured) — a singer, pianist, arranger, charter member of The Platters and author of the platinum-selling Penguins hit “Earth Angel” — joins Philly’s Quiet Storm as special guest. Piscataway’s Re-member Then is further featured on the multi-band bill that floats its first note at 7 pm; tickets ($25 – $55) can be reserved at Monmouth.edu/arts.

SCENES: Earth Day After Party at Art629

Artists, musicians and green builders convene at Art629 Gallery on Tuesday, April 24, for an Earth Day After Party that focuses on the facts and fictions surrounding TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency), the new national community Zero Waste standard promoted by Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI). Representatives from the organization’s NJ chapter will be present at Pat Schiavino’s downtown art space (629 Cookman Avenue in AP), for a 2:30 pm “This is TRUE” presentation that explains howe TRUE can be a realistic strategy toward achieving the “Sustainable Trifecta” of Zero Energy, Water and Waste.

The afternoon/ evening event also serves as a preview for “Recycled,” a new Schiavino-curated group exhibit showcasing works (by Joe Harvard of Cookman Ave’s gARTen project, among others) that employ reclaimed materials. The artwork remains on display at the gallery following the April 24 event (call 732-859-1458 for gallery hours).

A presentation of the Asbury Underground festival, the Earth Day After Party also boasts a unique networkingevent, Celebrating Sustainability, featuring locally grown cuisine and music by DIY rock band Homeless Apians — who perform “using instruments made from discarded waste, making a quite literal statement for sustainability in the music world.” Kevin Grossman’s Sun Lab Studio, which helps artists perform and record music at remote locations using only the power of the sun, will power much of the event through their mobile solar music studio. Tickets for the afternoon lecture, credentialed webinar broadcast, and evening Celebrating Sustainability events are available online, at usgbnc.wildapricot.org.

SOUNDS: Roger McGuinn at Monmouth U

Wednesday, April 24 sees the latest in a long line of visits to the Monmouth University campus by Roger McGuinn, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose signature 12-string jingle-jangle and deep musical roots helped to redefine American rock for a generation and beyond. It also serves to mark the continuation of a happy collaboration between the co-founder of The Byrds and the Center for the Arts program; one that’s capped many a springtime schedule with Guitar Circle workshops and other added attractions.

The 75 year old singer-songwriter and folk-roots archivist originally known as Jim McGuinn was already a young veteran of the jug-band hootenanny scene (via associations with the Chad Mitchell Trio and The Limeliters) before he donned granny glasses and mod threads to take up guitars against the British invading forces of the mid-1960s. In league with his Byrds mates David Crosby and Gene Clark, McGuinn helped the band stake out a patch of musical turf all its own — one that would connect transistor-radio pop to a deeper cultural current, and, with the recruitment of Gram Parsons, jumpstart the modern country-rock movement.

The seminal group whose jet-setting tour schedule inspired the trippy psychedelic classic “Eight Miles High” stayed grounded in a folk foundation that saw them introduce a generation of young listeners to the songs of Bob Dylan (“Mr. Tambourine Man,” “My Back Pages”) and Pete Seeger (“Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “The Bells of Rhymney”). While these days McGuinn has ditched the airport lifestyle in favor of a WiFi-equipped van, his standing as a musical traveler remains strong — as witness The Folk Den Project, a multi-CD set that draws from an encyclopedic portfolio of traditional songs uploaded to the artist’s website.

When he returns to the Pollak Theater stage for the first time since the renovation of Monmouth’s flagship performing arts venue, McGuinn will once more thrill his generations of fans with an “Easy Rider” trip through time — and in so doing, have the time of his life — highlighted by solo acoustic re-imaginings of familiar Byrds classics (“I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star,” “Mr. Spaceman,” “Chestnut Mare”); later milestones like the McGuinn Clark & Hillman hit “Don’t You Write Her Off,” and tributes to favorites that range from Leadbelly to Joni Mitchell, and even The Turtles.

It’s an experience underscored with fascinating backstories of the selected songs, and a frankly awesome facility that can transform a full-band rock classic like “Eight Miles” into a one-man tour de force. All in a night’s work for an American original who looks back with a curator’s  scholarly sensibility — and simultaneously forward, as a passionate advocate for do-it-yourself tech and peer-to-peer communities. “So much older then,” as they say, “…and younger than that now.”

Tickets for Wednesday’s concert are priced at $25 and $35, with a Gold Circle seating option of $50, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. While you’re there, check out the details on a special June 7 event that brings McGuinn’s fellow former Byrd David Crosby to the Pollak Theatre, for his first solo concert appearance on the MU campus.