On Tour: Long Branch, NJ

29 Feb

February 12, 2016 | Winding Stream | Long Branch, NJ

Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre! The last stop on the two-week On Screen/In Person tour.

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Another stimulating evening in another spectacular venue. It was nicely emceed by film student Anthony Capetti of the Monmouth Cinema Club who crafted a really terrific introduction pulling together elements of my bio that really explained my interest and affinity for music documentary.

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The Q & A was quite extensive and I enjoyed the depth of the questions. At the end of the evening I met a great group of people who were from the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, an organization committed to music history and education. They sponsor scholarships for students studying these musical genres and were really enthusiastic about the film’s potential to teach. It was a nice coming together of like-minded music lovers.

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I also got to meet Mame Green, a New Jersey native who is involved with the Salmagundi Club of New York City, a long-standing American arts organization going back to the 1870s. She and I enjoyed talking so much she offered to give me a late night tour of the nearby Asbury Park boardwalk, a great historic site in its own right and – for rock & roll lovers – the place immortalized in the title of Bruce Springsteen’s debut album “Greeting from Asbury Park, NJ.”

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It was bitter cold (the touted polar vortex was clearly on its way) but well-worth braving to see the remaining boardwalk buildings (most notably the Asbury Park Convention Center) and to marvel at the remains of the old casino and carousel. As an exercise in urban archeology this would be hard to top. And the dark, cloud dappled sky, the white noise of the waves, the faint twinkling of lights on a distant fishing boat, and the sound of music emanating from local boardwalk bars mixed with our conversation in the best possible way.

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Afterward we stopped for a drink at the Langosta Lounge, a local scene with lots of revelers. Upon entering the club I turned to look at the stage and there was the embodiment of the Carter Family’s legacy – a bunch of young musicians playing their hearts out on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar. Americana music is alive and well and living in Springsteen’s New Jersey (among other places).

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It’s been a great two-weeks on this tour, made very special by the incredible people I met. Interacting with lovers of all kinds of music, cinephiles, history buffs and those individuals who stretch themselves out of their comfort zone thanks to a natural curiosity – well, it’s a great privilege and honor to have this opportunity to meet them.  Thanks to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, to my hosts at the seven cities I visited, and to everyone who turned out. Memorable. Gratifying. Eye-opening.

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Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Beth Harrington.

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