Archives for posts with tag: Asbury Park

A great story by Michael Washburn about Asbury Park that ran in the New York Times on June 15, 2012. . .

WHILE towns along the Jersey Shore reinvented themselves during the boom of the aughts, sprouting boutique hotels and upscale restaurants, Asbury Park retained a refreshing, rare Americana charm. Restaurants — and boutique hotels — arrived, but they have had to share the Boardwalk with nostalgic attractions like a pinball museum and a psychic. And a majestic urban ghost presides over it all: the Boardwalk ends at the magnificent shell of a 1920s-era casino and carousel house.

If Asbury Park’s history of bust and rebirth offers a lesson, it’s that hard luck inspires good times.

“There’s nothing like it in the world,” said Marilyn Schlossbach, a co-owner of the three-year-old Langosta Lounge (1000 Ocean Avenue; 732-455-3275;, a beachfront restaurant featuring “vacation cuisine” like Haliimaile rigatoni: shrimp, scallops and asparagus served in a cilantro, macadamia nut pesto.

Such pride is abundant in Asbury Park, which emerged from decades of economic hardship five years ago and blossomed into a progressive community that preserved what Ms. Schlossbach calls its “peculiar quirkiness.”

The last 18 months have been particularly transformative for one formerly forlorn area. Enlivened by a group of entrepreneurs mostly in their late 20s and early 30s, Bangs Avenue has become a hip extension of Asbury Park’s robust cultural and culinary scene.

“Last year at this time there was nobody,” Paul Cali said recently as he motioned toward the bustle of Bangs Avenue. “Now it’s a neighborhood.” Mr. Cali, 30, is the co-owner of Cafe Volan (510 Bangs Avenue; 732-455-3399;, a relaxed, airy cafe a stroll from the ocean. In addition to brewing coffee with rich, sophisticated textures, Cafe Volan, which opened a year ago, has become a social centerpiece for the newly invigorated street.

Blue Hawaii, a vintage clothing shop, Wood Shop Skateboards, and ReBearth Artist Boutique have all recently opened, and none of the shop owners is older than 40.

Across the street from Cafe Volan is Sweet Joey’s (523 Bangs Avenue; 732-455-3183;, a bespoke denim shop that also offers vintage clothes. Joey Pisch, 31, opened the shop in May 2011, where he works alongside his father, Vlado, the house tailor. “My father started making jeans in the ’70s for his friends,” Mr. Pisch said of his father’s life in Communist Czechoslovakia, “because Western jeans cost a month’s wages.” Vlad jeans, as they’re called, run around $300.

Like the rest of Asbury Park, the Bangs Avenue scene is welcoming and unassuming, but the Colonel’s Kissing Booth (516 Summerfield Avenue; 732-455-3500) sets new standards of friendliness. Its small, well-executed menu features brunch standards — omelets, burgers — and its owner, Shiah Blau, 25, seems equally energized by his food and his community. “Once you get here, you feel at home,” Mr. Blau said of his restaurant and his hometown. And you can’t help but feel at home there since the staff consists of Mr. Blau, his mother, his two sisters, and his best friend.

Of course, Asbury Park is known for music and its famous former resident Bruce Springsteen. Both the historic Stone Pony and Asbury Lanes, a perfect blend of music venue and well-scuffed bowling alley, still host bands, and the town was recently overtaken by the Asbury-born Bamboozle Festival’s 90,000 fans, many of whom showed up for local heroes Bon Jovi. The Press Room (610 Bangs Avenue; 732-455-5945;, an intimate, sleek rock venue owned by the locals Alicia and Trip Brooks, just opened this year but has already secured a position in the town’s genealogy. In February, Mr. Springsteen played a surprise show there, and the photos for his “Wrecking Ball” album were shot at the club.

“It’s a town that looks to keep the people that care about it,” Ms. Schlossbach of the Langosta Lounge said.


An exhibition called “The Sum of Their Parts” is running at the Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts, in Asbury Park, through February 24, 2012.

Art History is full of composite creatures – the Chimera, the Sphinx, the Griffins, Pan, the Minotaur, the Mermaid, Pegasus, Medusa, the Satyr, the Centaur, — the list goes on and on. The idea of these creatures from mythology and fantasy has rapidly become more plausible with advancements in genetic engineering. This show investigates how artists today interpret and address the idea of creatures that are the sum of some quite different parts.

Artists included in this show are Jean Pierre Arboleda, Kate Clark, Katie Hoffman, Angie Mason, Inna Rasumova, Jack Thompson, and Kelly Vetter.

A recent article about SICA in The New York Times:

SICA’s website:

street logging, asbury park, nj

What do you do at the end of an easy monday when there’s no waves to be had?

A beautiful short film, shot and edited by Paul Cali.

A short by our friend Douglas Parent. . . an official selection at last year’s New York Surf Film Festival.



** The New York Surf Film Festival strives every year to curate an exhibition of the highest quality surf films from around the world.  We create an annual pilgrimage that gives the surfing community and general public a spotlight in the city to celebrate the filmmaking craft,  honor the heritage, and learn about the new movements within and surrounding the surf lifestyle.  We connect  filmmakers, athletes, friends and family together to enjoy the beauty and stories that are captured on camera.

What do you do at the end of an easy monday when there’s no waves to be had?

A beautiful short film, shot and edited by Paul Cali.

A screening of the 1975 documentary Heartworn Highways, followed by an opportunity to speak with the film’s producer, Graham Leader.

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2011, at 8pm
Venue: Cafe Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Host: Rick Barry, singer/songwriter and founder of Asbury Rock Star Charities.
Admission: $10  All admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.


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 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.


Beginning his career as an art dealer, Graham Leader produced HEARTHWORN HIGHWAYS in 1976 with filmmaker Jim Szalapski – a feature documentary on Nashville’s progressive country music “outlaws” which was warmly received at the 1979 Sundance Film Festival. Released on DVD in 2003 with 65 minutes of previously unseen material, HEARTHWORN HIGHWAYS, received broad acclaim in the music press. The re-mastered soundtrack issued in 2006 by Hacktone Records also won rave reviews.

In 1990, Leader produced SHUTTLECOCK starring the late Alan Bates and Lambert Wilson. Adapted by Tim Rose Price from the novel by the award-winning author Graham Swift the film was directed by Andrew Piddington (The Killing Of John Lennon). SHUTTLECOCK opened the 1991 San Sebastian Film Festival.

In 1991, Leader optioned “Killings,” a short story by Andre Dubus, and began developing a feature film adaptation with screenwriter Rob Festinger. In 2000, the film – later titled IN THE BEDROOM – was directed by Todd Field and starred Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl. IN THE BEDROOM
Was acquired by Miramax at Sundance in 2001, where it won The Special Jury Prize. In 2002, the film won a Golden Globe Award for Sissy Spacek’s performance and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Leader’s interest in art and new technologies led him to produce THE SAFFRON LIMITED (2005), a six minute digital short film capturing the dazzling, ephemeral spirit of artist Christo’s installation, “The Gates, Central Park, New York.”

CHILDLESS, the first film wholly financed and produced by Leader’s company GRANITE FILMS, stars Barbara Hershey, Joe Mantegna, Jim Naughton, and Diane Venora. Recently completed, the film is conceptually unique and was made entirely using cutting edge digital technology.