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.

Tickets for the full TEDx event (or for individual speaker segments) can still be obtained at, and the lineup of 30-some guest speakers and entertainers includes the following:


Ben Freeberg, standup comic

Alex Biese and Felicia Wellington, Asbury Park Press and Fan Theorypodcast


JT Bowen, vocalist of CC & the Red Bank Rockers

Arlan Feiles, singer-songwriter

Emily Grove, singer-songwriter


Paulina Porizkova(pictured), supermodel and actress, on How America Made Me a Feminist

Sebastian Terry, best-selling author of 100 Things

Michael Zapcicof AMC’s Comic Book Men


Lauren Cox, dancer and storyteller

John Dias, Artistic Director at Two River Theater

Karen McCartyon Creative Clowning

Lauren “Lolo” Pritchard, composer of the new musical Songbird, premiering in June 2018 at Two River Theater


Michela Martello, live mural painting

Lisa Russell, Emmy winning filmmaker


Jenn Hampton, Parlor Gallery and Wooden Walls Project (outdoor tour)

Felicia Simmons, AP Board of Education


Remy Arnouof Middletown High School South TED-Ed Club

Michael Blakeon Passion and Dance Over 50

Sarah Davanzoon Being Passionately Curious

Dr. Nicholas Despotidison raising children with healthy eyesight

Prof. Peter Grayon How Passionate Interests Develop

David Hernandezon the Passion for the American Dream

Karen Kendra Holmeson her journey as a Transgender American

Scott Hopeck, business strategist

Annica Linon a Passion for Running

Simon Nynens, business leader and philosopher

Olive Persimmonon Getting Your Mojo Back

Chris Powell, polar explorer

David Harry Stewarton the Written Off Generation

Heather Zeluffon Training Your Brain

SOUNDS: The Adlers at the Festhalle

It’s no accident, but the marvelously messy and merry mashup that constitutes the Sound of Asbury Park has an extra hop in its step these days — to say nothing of a little Oktoberfest spice in its sonic sausage. The non-stop party that is POLKA and OOM-PAH music is in the air, here on the cusp of summer, courtesy of the folks at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten. The latterday lakeside landmark — scene of a recent set by Jersey’s polka/ classic rock trailblazers Bavarski — kicks it up a knockwurst this Saturday afternoon, May 19, when The Adlers bring their old-school lesson plan to the wetside of the Cookman corridor. Rest assured this is no combo-come-lately of ironic hipsters in lederhosen, but a multi-generational mainstay of the celebration circuit that’s earned its reputation as “one of the busiest German-American party bands in the northeast.”  Founding guitarist Adi Adler and accordion-playing son Barry are joined by longtime drummer Eddie Spatarella, plus Johnny Grisbacher (sax and clarinet), John Miksza (lead guitar), Anthony Del Bagno (acoustic guitar and bass), and Dana Sylvander (trumpet), for a 4-7 pm stand that combines German-Austrian-Polish party faves with everything from “La Bamba” and “I’m a Believer” to a very cool version of The Mavericks’ “Come Unto Me.”


Boomer-generation natives of the greater New York metro area received some sad news recently, with the death at age 83 of Chuck McCann. The veteran actor and comedian was a familiar face and voice for decades, whether on the big screen (Foul Play, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Herbie Rides Again), TV commercials (the “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” bird; the “Hi Guy” neighbor on the other side of the mirror in those classic Right Guard spots), best selling comedy albums, prime time guest appearances, or Saturday morning favorites (Far Out Space Nuts, Fantastic Four, Duck Tales).

But it was the memory of his classic 1960s weekday kiddie shows (including The Chuck McCann Showand Laurel & Hardy) for WPIX channel 11 and WNEW channel 5 — shows that found the rotund performer singing, dancing, puppeteering, participating in daily original comedy sketches, and cavorting behind the scenes of the vintage television studios of midtown Manhattan — that made his passing such a bittersweet marker of lost youth and bygone times.

The man who co-founded the international Laurel & Hardy appreciation society Sons of the Desert (and who remained a close friend of Hugh Hefner up to the Playboy poobah’s 2017 death) appeared with his frequent co-star Tim Conway at Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium a few years back — but it was hardly the first time that McCann had worked in and around Asbury Park. Between 1968 and 1970, he starred in The Projectionist, an indie comedy film that’s enjoyed a great reputation among film critics — and on the afternoon of Sunday, May 20, the historic Stephen Crane House will present a free screening of this rarely revived feature; both as a tribute to Chuck McCann, and as the first entry in an occasional series of movies that were filmed in whole or in part around Asbury Park!

Written and directed by Harry Hurwitz, the story of a lonely movie house employee who leads a fantasy life in which he stars in his own epics (and inhabits the frame of some Hollywood classics) also stars Rodney Dangerfield, making his own film debut in the entirely unfunny role of Chuck’s abusive boss. While it’s set in NYC — with priceless views of old Times Square and The Cloisters — all of the scenes inside the movie house were filmed right here, at Walter Reade’s majestic (and long gone) Mayfair Theater. Fans of vintage Asbury memorabilia will want to spot glimpses of the grand theater’s unique décor; a piece of which (the wishing well outside the Crane House) resides now at the historic home, 508 Fourth Avenue in A.P.

Doors open at 2:30 pm for the May 20 screening event, with the 3 pm program beginning with a brief presentation on the career of Chuck McCann (and attendees welcome to stick around for a special bonus screening following the main feature). Admission is FREE of charge as always, with complimentary refreshments, and an invitation to make a donation to the Asbury Park Little League.

The movie matinee will also be the last weekend afternoon event at the Crane House for the duration of the summertime beach season, due to the burgeoning popularity of the Asbury Park waterfront and its attendant challenges with parking in the neighborhood — but fans of the Opera on Film events will be happy to know that our annual summer-season series will be alive and well and moving to Thursday evenings in June, July and August. Watch this space for details on these and other upcoming public events at the Stephen Crane House!

SOUNDS: Jake Miller at House of Independents

Surfing the waves of the millennial music industry, Jake Miller (above) emerged from out of the Miami suburbs on the momentum of a talent competition win, some virally viewed YouTube videos, and several high-profile exposures on big multi-artist benefit concerts. Far from a flash in the panhandle, the singer-rapper-pinup model is touring once more on the strength of his just-dropped TENTH studio recording (Silver Lining) — and on Wednesday, May 23, the prolific performer who kicked off his 2015 tour at Sayreville’s Starland Ballroom makes his Asbury Park debut, with a summer-season keynote set at House Of Independents. Having let go of some longstanding relationships (including a particularly troublesome one with his corporate record label), the maturing twentysomething artist hits the road energized by a new D.I.Y. work ethic, and new compositions that range from the introspectively personal to the electronically partystarting. Available tickets ($15) for the 8 pm show can be purchased through, or in person at Lola’s European Café right across Cookman Ave.

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