New Jersey Stage

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Asbury Park arts collective launches with a series of performances and talks featuring award-winning filmmakers, cartoonists, musicians and visual artists.

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Sonic Garden arts collective will present a line-up of diverse performances at Café Volan (510 Bangs Avenue) in Asbury Park, New Jersey, beginning on Thursday, September 29th and continuing through Tuesday, October 4th.

The series of performances will coincide with the alternative-music festival All Tomorrow's Parties, and will include film screenings, artist presentations, and musical performances by Academy Award-nominated filmmakers, a celebrated illustrator whose cartoons are seen in the pages of the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Esquire, a Grammy Award-winning musician/composer, and a world-renowned photographer whose work is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

"Our intention is very simple" said Sonic Garden's founder David Spelman, "We want to bring inspiration and ideas to the already vibrant mix of cultural offerings here on the Jersey Shore. I'm excited that we'll be providing a chance for audiences to get up-close-and-personal experiences with artists and musicians such as Vernon Reid, Ralph Gibson, and Andy Friedman and filmmakers Graham Leader and Aaron Schock."

Doug Parent, co-owner of Café Volan, where Sonic Garden's events are taking place, commented that, "the idea of hosting this series of cultural happenings just feels like a natural fit for us and we couldn't be more pleased to have the opportunity to share this with the community."

David Spelman is "thrilled that All Tomorrow's Parties is coming to town and it was never our intention to compete with them. We are big fans of ATP's musical taste and their noncorporate leadership style. Once we recognized the date overlap, we decided to embrace the situation and hope that what we're offering will be a nice counterpoint."

Tom Gilmour, Asbury Park's Director of Commerce and Economic Development, recently commented in the New York Times that "a lot of people have a very sentimental feeling about this city and are rooting for it to come back."  David Spelman couldn't agree more, and added that "I believe Asbury Park possesses an ideal mix of micro-urban characteristics, including restaurants, cafes, independent cinema, galleries, yoga studios, and boutiques.  Add to that the diverse mix of artists, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, surfers and the sizable gay community, and you get just the sort of mix that author and urban studies theorist Richard Florida cites as a key factor contributing to economic development. Florida believes that this ‘creative class' can foster an open, dynamic, personal and professional urban environment. This environment, in turn, attracts more creative people, as well as businesses and capital. We share his belief that attracting and retaining high-quality talent versus a singular focus on projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, and shopping centers, is an excellent use of a city's resources to promote long-term prosperity."


DATE: Thursday, September 29, 8 pm.
EVENT: Heartworn Highways; a rare screening of the 1975 documentary, followed by Q&A with the film's Academy Award-nominated producer, Graham Leader.

Film synopsis: Documentary filmmaker James Szalapski explores the more contemplative side of country music as he visits a handful of outstanding singers and songwriters, most of whom have chosen to work outside the confines of the Nashville establishment. Heartworn Highways features performances from Townes Van Zandt, who shows off his farm and discusses the pros and cons of drinking with a neighbor; Gamble Rogers, who demonstrates his hilarious and ingratiating performing style in a nightclub appearance; Guy Clark, who plays several fine songs in his kitchen; David Allan Coe, who discusses his criminal past during a concert at a prison; and the Charlie Daniels Band, as they gear up for a big show in a small town. Heartworn Highways also includes brief appearances from Rodney Crowell, Steve Young, and a young Steve Earle, a decade before he released his first album. While shot in 1975, Heartworn Highways wasn't released until 1981, by which time several of the performers' features had become considerably better known than they were in 1975.
Film trailer:
VENUE: Café Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
TICKETS: $10, all admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.

DATE: Friday, September 30, 8pm.
EVENT: Circo; the New Jersey premiere of the award-winning documentary, followed by a conversation and Q&A with the film's director Aaron Schock.

Film synopsis: The Ponce family's hardscrabble circus has lived and performed on the back roads of Mexico since the 19th century. But can their way of life survive into the 21st century? Against the backdrop of Mexico's collapsing rural economy, the ringmaster must choose between his family tradition and a wife who wants a better life for their family outside the circus.
The film recently won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Hamptons International Film Festival, took top prizes at festivals in Spain, New Zealand, and Sweden, and features an evocative score by the indie-rock band Calexico.
Film trailer:
VENUE: Café Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
TICKETS: $10, all admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.

DATE: Saturday, October 1


DATE: Sunday, October 2, 8pm.
EVENT: Vernon Reid; an evening of short films, video art, live music, and conversation with the Grammy-Award winning guitarist, sonic experimentalist and visual artist.

Vernon Reid is a Grammy Award-winning guitarist, composer and boundary-bending artist who began with the downtown New York jazz/funk/punk scene, lead the pioneering multi-platinum rock band Living Colour, and has collaborated with creative spirits ranging from Carlos Santana, Public Enemy, Defunkt, and Malian singer Salif Keita to choreographers Bill T. Jones and Donald Byrd.  He composed and performed Bring Your Beats, a children's program for BAM. He produces artists like James "Blood" Ulmer.  He composed the scores for Ghosts of Attica and Almost Home, and was the music supervisor for the Charles Stone film Mr. 3000, starring Bernie Mac.  He founded the Black Rock Coalition in 1984 to help combat the pigeonholing of African-American musicians.  A talented multimedia artist and curator, Vernon created Artificial Afrika, using animation, computer graphics and public domain media to explore historic, often racist, myths and inventions that continue to define the idea of Africa and its culture.
VENUE: Café Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
TICKETS: $10, all admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.

DATE: Monday, October 3, 8pm.
EVENT: Andy Friedman; an evening with the celebrated cartoonist-turned-country crooner.

His gag cartoons are seen by millions of people every week in the pages of The New Yorker, and other publications, but the songs written by the "hard scrabble singer-songwriter" (Time Out New York) and "erudite redneck" (Boston Globe) Andy Friedman aren't written for laughs. "Friedman has a mastery of wordy self-loathing that many white dudes with guitars would kill for," says the Nashville Scene. Friedman will discuss his late-blooming and unexpected transition from a mailroom jockey at the New Yorker into a full-time life as an illustrator and singer-songwriter on the road.
Also an internationally renowned editorial illustrator, Friedman's ink portraits of cultural luminaries appear in the pages of most popular periodicals, including The New Yorker—where he has been a regular contributor for over a decade, and where he has also published over a dozen gag cartoons under the pseudonym "Larry Hat"—New York Times, GQ, Rolling Stone, New York, Esquire, and scores of other newspapers and magazines around the globe
VENUE: Café Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
TICKETS: $10, all admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.

DATE: Tuesday, October 4, 8pm.
EVENT: Ralph Gibson; a lecture and image presentation by the world-renowned photographer and filmmaker.

Ralph Gibson studied photography while in the U.S. Navy and then at the San Francisco Art Institute. He began his professional career as an assistant to Dorothea Lange and went on to work with Robert Frank on two films. Gibson has maintained a lifelong fascination with books and book-making. Since the appearance of "The Somnambulist" in 1970, his work has been steadily impelled towards the printed page. To date, he has produced over 40 monographs, his most current projects being "State of the Axe" which was published by Yale University Press in Fall of 2008 and "Nude" by Taschen, 2009. His photographs are included in over 150 museum collections around the world, including the The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions.
VENUE: Café Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
TICKETS: $10, all admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.

Based in the micro-urban beach community of Springsteen lore, Asbury Park, NJ, Sonic Garden is an association of musos, writers, architects, baristas, painters, surfers and winos committed to pursuing artistic development through residences, exhibitions, and education programs which foster dialogue across disciplines and barstools.

More information on Sonic Garden:

David Spelman is a curator and music producer working in recordings, films, and live events. Best known as the founder and artistic director of the New York Guitar Festival, he's also acclaimed as an artistic advisor and guest curator for music festivals and performing-arts centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

More information on David Spelman:

We Love Coffee. . . almost as much as we love the sea. So why not build a cafe beside the Atlantic? Early mornings of thick salt air will accompany the delicate aromas of coffee from far away lands. As the tide will ebb and flow, stories will be told and creativity will flourish. It will be a place where quality and craft are evident in each cup, prepared under a watchful eye. We call this place eden; this is her first chapter.

Address: 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712