Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, August 23 2018

SIGHTS: Wooden Walls ArtWalk on the Asbury boards

The Asbury Park boardwalk is the setting on Thursday, August 23, as two of our favorite figures on the Asbury Park arts scene — Parlor Gallery co-owner and Wooden Walls Project curator Jenn Hampton, plus Paranormal Books & Curiosities proprietor and Asbury Park Tour Company historian Kathy Kelly— team up with the folks at the Red Bank-based nonprofit MonmouthArts for a special edition of the group’s ArtWalk events. Between 5:30 and 7:30 pm, Jenn and Kathy will be the guides for an up-close look at the acclaimed mural project (and a delve into the colorful history of the city’s famed waterfront) that includes an artist meet-’n-greet, access to a temporary installation in the Carousel building, and a post-tour performance art event (on the beach at Second Avenue) by Transformer’s Siren Arts series.

Grab-and-go drinks and snacks will be provided by Asbury Park Yacht Club, and participants get special discounts on exclusive Wooden Walls-themed towels, bags, and other merchandise available from Shelter Home. It’s a fundraiser for the ongoing programs of Monmouth Arts, with a portion of proceeds dedicated to the support of the Wooden Walls Project. Get tickets ($50, or $40 for Monmouth Arts members) online at— and mark your Carousel for 12 noon on Sunday, August 26, when artist Jeffrey Fulvimari is in the iconic roundhouse at the south end of the boards, for a FREE Live Paint Event.

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Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, July 26 2018

SOUNDS: Chris Robinson Brotherhood at the Stone Pony

He cut his national profile as the lanky lead vocalist of The Black Crowes — but it’s as the namesake nabob of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood that the LA rocker has been racking up the road miles (and the classic rock cred) in recent seasons. Pitched as a “farm to table psychedelic band” — and tied into Deadhead/jamband circles both spiritually and via their famous sit-in collaborators (plus at the graphics/ merch level) — the onetime side-gig has coalesced into an attraction all its own; as apt to explore an extended-length composition as it is to whip out a succinct take on milestones by Dylan, the Dead, Carl Perkins and Jimmy Reed. CBR plays a full length “Evening With” performance at the Stone Pony TONIGHT, July 26, with available tickets to the 7 pm show ($30) at

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

SCREENS: John Cleese and the ‘Holy Grail’ at Convention Hall

As a quick scan of the daily headlines could tell you, there are times when current events rival the most surreal and absurd of vintage Monty Python sketches — and such times all but cry out for our historic heroes of the projected image to step out from the screen, put it all into perspective for us, and, if necessary, tell us to go boil our bottoms. From out of the dim dark videotaped past of 1970s British import TV — and the cultiest corners of offbeat cinema — the one and only John Cleese is headed in our general direction; armed with a copy of the 1970s classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as a set of bonus-feature backstories that finds the “writer, actor, and tall person” appearing onstage at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall this Friday evening, July 20. The founding Monty member  — also present at the creation of The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda — has been barnstorming his way across America; telling stories, taking questions, and taking no prisoners as he offers some pointedly pithy observations on the curious social mores (and/or sociopathic morons) of his adopted homeland. Making his Asbury Park debut as an encore to his previous pit-stop at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, Cleese takes the stage following a 7:30 pm screening of Grail, the budget burlesque on the legends of King Arthur’s Round Table that spawned a surprise Broadway musical hit (Spamalot), and several generations of movie-quoting geek subculture.

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SOUNDS: James Maddock at Tim McLoone’s

When most recently seen in AP, Brit-born troubador James Maddock lent his sawtooth voice and social-justice sensibility to Willie Nile’s big birthday brobdingnag. Tonight at 8 pm, Maddock pays it forward, extending an invitation at his own headlined gig upside McLoone’s Supper Club to a fellow headliner whose Shoreside showcases have earned him a fervent local following. Best known for a cool cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (but quite the soulful songsmith in his own write), Jeffrey Gaines joins James at the boardwalk’s landmark roundhouse roadhouse penthouse for an evening that promises to draw from their collective 50-plus(!) years of recorded activity; a river that runs from beloved TV/movie soundtracks to compositions that caught the ear of no less a fan than Bruce Springsteen. Take it to for available seating and ticket info.

SOUNDS: Robert Gordon at the Wonder Bar

“The old suits don’t fit me these days,” Robert Gordon told us in an interview several years back; an admission that the sharp-dressed, impeccably pompadoured, splendid splinter who introduced both Springsteen’s “Fire” and Marshall Crenshaw’s “Someday Someway” was casting a more formidable shadow in the wake of quitting smoking. “But not smoking anymore is what’s allowed me to keep my voice.”

And wotta voice it is; a big baritone instrument uncommon in most modern music, and a thing that’s matured into a smooth fine bourbon as the veteran vocalist (a member of CBGB’s original graduating class, as frontman of the punky combo Tuff Darts) continues his explorations of rockabilly, classic country, the Elvis legacy, and vintage pop artifacts ranging from Bobby Darin and Brenda Lee to The Hollies and (Nancy) Sinatra. Always an interpreter with impeccable taste in backing bands (past guitar lieutenants have included Duke Robillard, Chris Spedding, and the late uber-legends Danny “The Humbler” Gatton and Link Wray), the “Bad Boy” who takes it to the Wonder Bar this Friday, July 6 is “still around…I put a lot of crazy stuff behind me, and I’m up here, singin’ my ass off!” Tight Lipped opens, with doors at 8 pm and tickets ($20 advance, $25 at the door) gettable at

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Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, June 28 2018

SOUNDS on SCREEN: A Bite at the Opera, at the Crane House

She’s honored as an Asbury Angel, same as Clarence Clemons and a gallery of other late great Circuit rockers — but before she died in 2011, Madame Era Tognoli rocked an altogether different house as the founder of Metro Lyric Opera, the company that staged grand opera classics inside Asbury’s Paramount Theatre for an incredible fifty-one seasons. Each summer since her passing, Frank D’Alessandro of the historic Stephen Crane House has hosted a free series of Opera On Film events in her memory — and TONIGHT, June 28, the series returns for a seventh season; this time on Thursday evenings (a necessary move, given the increasing scarcity of parking on beach-season weekends). It’s a “Bite at the Opera” slate that couples a 5 pm screening inside the Crane’s newly air-conditioned Lecture Room theater, with a home-cooked light dinner following the film.

This Thursday’s feature is the 2003 production of Puccini’s Manon Lescault, starring Kiri Te Kanawa and Plácido Domingo. Doors open at 4:30 pm, with the 129 minute film followed by dinner (refreshments will also be served prior to the screening, which will also be preceded by a brief introductory talk). As always at the Crane House, there is no charge for the film or the food; donations are always appreciated on behalf of the Asbury Park Little League or AP Historical Society, and new friends are welcomed, as a true legendary local is paid tribute at one of the city’s “best kept secret” cultural gems. Follow The Stephen Crane House on Facebook for updates on additional Bite at the Opera events, on July 26 and August 23.

SOUNDS: Lisa Sherman’s Broadway & Beyond at Tim McLoone’s

As versatile as her own encyclopedic repertoire, vocalist Lisa Sherman has made herself at home in settings that have ranged from glamour-gowned cabaret and glittering disco revivals, to big-band bop and blue-jeaned blues jams with harpin’ helper Sandy Mack. She’s equally at home in venues as expansive as the Count Basie auditorium, and as exclusive as private-party patios — and on Friday, June 29, the Shore area native takes it topside to the panoramic penthouse of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, as the headline attraction for the revue Broadway and Beyond. Keynoting at 8:15 pm, it’s a set that finds the singing/dancing veteran of Broadway ensembles joined by Kristin Cochran (plus the assembled talents of Benny Gramm, Frosty Lawson, John Martin, John Micco, and Ralph Notaro, under the musical direction of Bob Himmelberger) in a guided tour of showtune-land that spans the songbook standards of Tin Pan Alley and the hit anthems of the present-day Theater District. All this, plus some of the most memorable themes from the movies…because, why not?

About that movie thing: it’s an occasion to welcome a very special guest to the proceedings, in the person of Academy Award and Golden Globe winning songwriter Franke Previte. The Jersey-guy frontman of 80s hitmakers Franke and the Knockouts (“Sweetheart”) — and the composer/lyricist best known for Dirty Dancing and its blockbuster anthems “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” — joins Ms. Sherman (with whom he’s pictured here) for some potential-dynamite duets that are sure to include at least one of the aforementioned (and besides, when you’re up at Mr. McLoone’s roundhouse roadhouse, nobody but nobody puts Baby in a corner!). Take it to for available seating info and reservations.

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From classic Disco, Celtic punk and showband Soul — to Western swing, Millennial folk-alt-pop and even Gypsy dub — the days and nights to come represent a “seven day weekend” of sonic options in and around the bars, boards, bistros and bowling alleys of Asbury Park (or, looked at a different way, “just another week” here in that place Where Music Lives). So, even if you weren’t one of the lucky-lotto winners for a chance to see Bruce Springsteen perform the bottled-bubbly re-launch of the refitted SS Asbury Lanes, there’s still plenty of uber-classic to ultra-contemporary sounds for the asking (including the present-tense projects of not one but two Bruce-band drummers), and we’ve got a crazy calendar countdown of the highlights right here and now — along with a couple of exciting things happening in the realm of modern classic films and pop art nouveau — with the full accounting of weekly listings appearing in the printed pages of Asbury’s fightin’ fun-tab, The COASTER!

THURSDAY, June 14 delivers a special-treat act from ‘cross the pond to the sidewalkside windows of the Wonder Bar, when the long-running Leedsmen The New Mastersounds bring their organ-driven brand of so-cool-it’s-hot funk grooves to the Asbury circuit, on a perfect-matchup bill that finds the Shore’s own Hammond B-3 flying ace Matt Wade joining local funk-faves Waiting for Mongo for an opener set that’s an organ-ic meal in itself. Doors open at 8 pm, with tix ($25) reservable at

Meanwhile, over at downtown’s awesomely all-purpose auditorium House of Independents, the band MACK play what’s being billed as their final show, on a Thrillsday bill with Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son, The Burns and Tula Vera. Doors open at 7:30 pm, with eminently affordable $10 admission gettable at or in person/across the street at Lola’s European Café.

Working a territory that spans everything from bordertown Tex-Mex to Music Row country to the Latin-infused sounds of their native Miami, the Grammy winning, ultra-eclectic band of roots rockers The Mavericks have resisted easy branding every bit as much as their namesake livestock — but on FRIDAY, June 15, Raul Malo and the 2018 lineup of the long-established band (reunited a few years back to great) find themselves corralled for a couple of hours inside that venerable venue the Paramount Theater. Still riding the momentum of their 2017 self-release Brand New Day, the band takes the stage in an 8 pm show for which tickets ($18-$37) are available from

The night starts at the earlybird hour of 4:30 pm, when the gates of the Stone Pony SummerStage swing open for an outdoor outing by the LA-based dance-pop (by way of neo-soul) six piece Fitz and the Tantrums. The combo co-fronted by Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs appears with the X Ambassadors in a show for which tickets ($35 advance/ $45 d.o.s.) are at

Arguably the most unusual match-up of venue and vaudeville within the busy week happens at the Lakehouse complex HQ of The Asbury Park Music Foundation at 7 pm, when The Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd Anthony Fantano brings his brand of hip hop hilarity (purveyed under his alter ego Cal Chuchesta) and multi-media mayhem (courtesy of his award winning vlog The Needle Drop) to a fundraiser event on behalf of the Asbury Park Music Foundation’s educational programs, with admission ($15 advance; $20 d.o.s.; $40 VIP option) gettable from the APMF website.

Over at the space-age saucer that was the legendary boardwalk HoJo’s, original Springsteen Band drummer (and R&R Hall o’ Famer) Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez joins fellow Shore scene stalwart Paul Whistler in their dynamic duo project Dawg Whistle, downstairs at Robinson Ale House, while Bruce backing vocalist Layonne Holmes joins the ten-piece showband Motor City Revue for a topside turn at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club. Both sets start at 8 pm, with admission to the upstairs show priced at $20.

Speaking of the Dropkick Murphys — which we will be, momentarily — former DMs vocalist Mike McColgan brings his Boston-bred Street Dogs to the House of Indies for an 8:30 pm set and a $16 ticket…while garage-goth Britpunks The Horrors (pictured) make their local debut, bringing everybody down (but in a good way) at the newly ball-polished Asbury Lanes, in a 9 pm set for which tix ($18) can be gotten at…then at 10 pm, the latterday landmark Langosta Lounge brings back the one-of-a-kind singing cowboy sounds of Jet Weston and His Atomic Ranch Hands to the boardwalk restaurant’s stage, for a set of truly vintage country-western crooners that’s unlike anything else you’ll experience Shoreside this season.

Then, at the party-starting hour of 11 pm, connoisseurs of classic DISCO are encouraged to take it just a few dance steps into nearby Neptune (and a couple of hours later into the heart of the nightlife), where The Headliner musters up a must-see bill honoring the numerous influences that supercharged modern club dance music in the 1970s and 80s. It’s a three-for-all highlighted by Carol Douglas, whose trailblazing hit “Doctor’s Orders” rewrote the prescription for danceable R&B way back in 1974 — and the beat continues nonstop with Cory Daye, (pictured), whose vocals helped put the swing into the Dr. Buzzard blockbuster “Cherchez La Femme” in 1976 (as well as subsequent solo outings and projects with Kid Creole and the Coconuts). Representing the early 1980s is the 21st century incarnation of Lime, the Quebecois dance-synth duo whose hitmaking legacy (“Your Love,” “Babe We’re Gonna Love Tonight”) survived the divorce of original husband-wife members Denis and Denys LePage — as well as Denis’s transgender rebranding — through the onstage performances of singers Rob Hubertz and Joy Dorris.

SATURDAY, June 16 brings some legendary localoids back to the Stone Pony stage, courtesy of E Street Band timelord Max Weinberg’s Jukebox; a collaboration with The Weeklings’ Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger and John Merjave about which more deep-dish detail can be found elsewhere on this same space…meanwhile the House of Indies highlights Asbury’s own prolific/eclectic millennial rockers Deal Casino in a record release event keyed to their ep Isadora Duncan. Tickets are $8 for the 7:30 pm show that further features Sonic Blume and Well Wisher, and Haunt Club.

From legendary locals we go to The Undesirable Tenants, the name bestowed upon a project that spotlights the skills of veteran Shore music makers Rich Oddo, Phil Rizzo and Bon Jovi tour guitarist/ championship bluesman Matt O’Ree (pictured), joined for a 7:30 pm set at The Saint by Tom Donovan and the double-drumming brothers Gonzalez. Tickets are a recession-busting ten bucks, from…back at the Langosta Lounge, Jersey alterna-rock legend Don Dazzo (Whirling Dervishes, Everlounge) plays special guest DJ for a 10 pm Mermaid Dance Party designed to wet the whistle for the upcoming fourth annual Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids, about which much more to come in these pixilated pages.

From SUNDAY Jazz Brunch at McLoone’s (10:30), to live music on the Wonder Bar’s Yappy Hour Deck (3 pm) and the return of the Sandy Mack Sunday Jam at the Asbury Hotel’s Soundbooth Lounge (4 pm), the so-called Day of Rest offers NO rest for wicked-cool music fans on June 17, as the Stoney SummerStage opens its gates at 5 pm for a twi-night doubleheader that pairs Boston’s gloriously shillelagh-kicking Celtic punks the Dropkick Murphys with the West Coast’s own similarly festive Flogging Molly, in a frantic fleadh for which tickets ($50.50) can he had at…then at 7:30 pm, Alec Ounsworth and the 2018 edition of his long-running Philly-based alt-pop band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah take the House of Independents stage, with an “open your mouth say aahhh”  intro set by another Asbury area favorite, Dentist. It’s $18 from or the cross-Cookman box office.

The big story on an unusually manic MONDAY, June 18 is of course the pre-announced surprise appearance by Bruce Springsteen, taking the night off his Broadway engagement to officially bless the remade/remodeled Asbury Lanes in the company of Boss-photog Danny Clinch and his Tangiers Blues Band. It’s a sold-out event staged in benefit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (with a lucky hundred Asbury Parkers having been awarded sought-after tix in an online lottery last week), and it’s topped by Portugal. the Man, with the Grammy winning hitmakers (“Feel It Still”) from Wasilla, AK making their own Asbury debut in the 8 pm concert that’s made national headlines.

Not to be outdone, the House of Indies offers up another local debut for an act that’s generated a great deal of excited buzz, the improbably named duo I Don’t Know How But They Found Me. Composed of former members of Panic! At the Disco and Falling in Reverse, the bass-and-drums band has been playing hide-and-seek with record labels for a couple of seasons now; their music — with heavy strains and veins of 70s glam and 80s new wave — is on display in a 7 pm show (opened by Cherry Pools), for which tickets are priced at $15.

While TUESDAY is generally the province of Café Artiste Songwriters Showcase at Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center, the Lanes resets the pins on June 19 for yet another Asbury first: an appearance by Brit millennial popster Bishop Briggs, who’s touring on the momentum generated by her full-length debut Check Your Scars — this after having already scaled the Billboard charts, appeared on national TV, toured with major acts and made good on top festival stages. Doors open 7 pm and tix are $20 for the show, with opening set by LIFT.

WEDNESDAY may represent a daunting working-week hump for some, but out on the sands of the Anchor’s Bend seaside stage (just off the north end of Convention Hall), the segue into summer is smooth, as Shoreggae perennials the Predator Dub Assassins work a June 20 entry in their weekly sandy stand; one that presages the June 21 coming of the 2018 Jams on the Sand series…at House of Independents, the air is charged with electricity, as veteran Britpunks Charged GBH (the first word is often silent) join Piñata Protest, School Drugs and Nervous Triggers for an Asbury whistle-stop on their frankly awesome 40th anniversary tour, with showtime at 7:30 pm and tix at $20.

All this and it’s not even officially Summer yet…tune in next week…and there’s still more where that came from, with the full listings of live and DJ music available in the printed precincts of The Coaster.


A made-in-mainstream-Hollywood cult classic if ever there was one, Rob Reiner’s 1987 film of William Goldman’s fractured-fairytale novel The Princess Bride continues to win new generations of fans — and on the evening of Saturday, June 16, Asbury Park’s oldest standing movie house invites one of the movie’s major stars to step out from the storybook screen, for an in-person Evening with Cary Elwes that brings the actor (and author of the 2014 book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride) to the Paramount Theater stage for a live appearance. The leading man discusses his dream role of swashbuckling Westley, his co-starring cast of vivid characters, and the film’s path from moderate box-office success to world conquest, during a Q&A session that follows the 7:30 pm screening. Available tickets are $39.50 in advance from, with copies of Elwes’s book available for purchase at the event.

SIGHTS: BEYOND POP ART at Parlor Gallery

When it first turned heads (and set the fine art world on its ear) more than 60 years ago, Pop Art was already an avenue that looked simultaneously forward and back — an in-your-face commentary on modern American life that drew from decades of hard-sell images (product packaging, comic books, movie star iconography, various accepted social wisdoms), to paint a portrait of a consumerist culture amusing itself into mutually assured extinction.

It also represented a fun and thrilling ride that hasn’t shown signs of slowing down here in Twitter-speed 2018, and beginning this Saturday evening, June 16, Asbury Park’s premier Pop Art paradise — that’s Jenn and Jill’s ever-seductive Parlor Gallery on the downtown “arts block” — presents Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am, a new group show that examines “Art Beyond Pop” through the curated contributions of more than a dozen different explorers of the realm. Opening with a free public-welcome reception between 7 and 11 pm (and continuing at the 717 Cookman Ave space through a date TBA), the display is highlighted by works from Greg Gossel (above left), whose nationally and internationally exhibited creations offer “a visual history of change and process that simultaneously features and condemns popular culture.” Of special interest to art enthusiasts — although not necessarily reproducible in the proverbial family newspaper — is Bri Cirel (above right) and her series of “Dicks,” a hilarious running tour of art history that lovingly parodies the work of everyone from Magritte to Haring, through the twists and turns of the male member.

Also featured are works by Peter Adamyan, Craig Skibs Barker, BNS, Michael Forbes, Ray Geary, Joshua Horkey, Indie 184, Trevor Mikula, Andy Pawlan, Dominique Steffens, David Williams, and Andre Veloux.


From moonlighting movie stars to daylighting doctors…honorary Shore rockers to homaging rappers…a dose of The Dude high atop the Asbury, and a dash of striptease down below…there’s definitely something in the air with the coming of Memorial Day Weekend, a ready-or-not rendezvous with destiny that starts here and eeYOW! We’ve got some highlighted recommendations for you…be you tourist, townie, or tardis-tripping time lord…and we’ve got the FULL rundown of music, movie, comedy and special event listings ONLY in the printed pages of greater Asbury Park’s fightin’ weekly, The COASTER!

SOUNDS: Kiefer Sutherland at the Stone Pony

Local audiences have become accustomed to the spectacle of musically curious actors passing this way with projects that have seemed alternately heartfelt (Bacon Brothers, Jeff Daniels) and hardly-so (Russell Crowe, Keanu Reeves). But when Kiefer Sutherland returns to the Stone Pony stage for a Memorial Weekend Friday encore, he’ll roll into town as a pre-seasoned veteran who racked up a lot of life experience by the time he recorded his debut disc, 2016’s Down in a Hole. With a reverent approach to straightforward country/rock; a voice whose lower register edges ever closer to Tom Waits, and a new album apparently being prepped for release, the star of screen and screen has braved enough high-profile stages (including the Grand Ole Opry) and logged enough road miles to have truly earned the designation of Survivor. Available tickets, $27.50 in advance, can be purchased at

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A smorgasbord of savvy speakers get PASSIONate at the Paramount…the sound of Asbury Park gets seriously POLKA-fied at everyone’s favorite Festhalle…a former flavor-du-jour from the major label exurbs finds his INDEPENDENT voice, in a House call to the Cookman corridor…while a PROJECTIONIST pays tribute to a childhood icon, AND a lakeside Asbury landmark. It’s WHAT’S UP for the week ahead, and we’ve got the highlights right here right now…while the printed pages of THE COASTER carry your full rundown of sights, sounds, screens, and scenes!

SCENES: TEDx Asbury Park at the Paramount

“PASSION” is the theme for this year’s TEDx Asbury Park, the sixth annual edition of the happening that commandeers the Paramount Theatre stage on Saturday, May 19 for a day-long menu of dynamic speakers, storytellers, songsmiths and celebs. A hyper-local and independent offshoot of the international TED talks, the event that began life as TEDx Navesink (with early host venues that included Red Bank’s Two River Theater and the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) has found its happiest harbor here in Asbury town, the Shore area’s crossroads for so much of what’s most exciting in art, commerce, and the marketplace of ideas. Far from a snoozefest in a stodgy lecture hall, the TEDx AP program is at its best a confluence of the people, the projects and the progressive thinking that will shape our shoreline in the seasons to come — with maybe just a healthy dose of ego.

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