Plus, Farm to Fork Week in South Jersey, AC Freebies and Drew Toonz.
Persuasions Celebrate 50th in Somers Point
On the Tuesday before the Persuasions are set to perform a free concert on the beach in Somers Point (July 20, 6:45-8pm. with The Shakes playing from 8:15pm on), founding member and 69-year-old vocalist and song connoisseur Jimmy Hayes takes a call to chat about the legendary a capella group’s 50 years of success, a milestone the New York-based singing group is celebrating this year. Prior to the call, Hayes and his group are putting together their set for the Somers Point show. “Yeah, we’re just working it out now,” says Hayes. Starting out in the 1960s, and taking their name from a Bible passage, the Persuasions went on to work with an eclectic cast of musical characters including Frank Zappa, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, and appearing in several recently filmed documentaries. Over the past 25 years, the group has lost a trio of its founding members (Toubo Rhoad in 1988; lead vocalist Jerry Lawson left in 2003; and the great Sweet Joe Russell, who passed away at 73 this past May), but has remained a constant touring and recording force. The group has always been known to sing songs they love, from whatever genre or songwriter, but over the past several years, has released tribute albums to the Beatles, Grateful Dead, U2, and, most recently, Bob Dylan (the exceptional Knockin’ on Bob’s Door). “They sent us The Essential Bob Dylan, and we had heard some of the songs, but not all of them,” says Hayes. “We chose to record the ones we liked.” This includes the apocalyptic minor blues of Dylan’s Oscar-winning song “Things Have Changed.” Hayes, who adds (after a request from this writer) that the group will try to work that tune into its set Friday night — along with music from throughout the group’s 50 years — says the next album project could be an album full of Bob Marley tunes.
(Click here to read interview with Jimmy Hayes) — Jeff Schwachter
Farm to Fork Week
South Jersey’s local farmers and restaurants are teaming up for the 6th Annual Farm to Fork Week (July 22-28), allowing patrons to indulge in four-course pre-fixed meals in a collaborative effort to expose the benefits (environmentally, fiscally, and taste-bud-wise) of buying and eating local. Hosted by the South Jersey Independent Restaurant Association (SJ HOT Chefs), Farm to Fork Week celebrates the growing alliance between local farmers and restaurants and proves that Jersey does deserve their tasteful title of “the Garden State.” Over 30 South Jersey restaurants will concoct four-course meals out of almost all locally grown ingredients, highlighting diverse and delectable locally grown fresh produce that is sure to tingle your taste buds. Prices range from $25-$35. At each restaurant, local farmers will inform diners about the process of growing and harvesting the foods and about the advantages of buying local. Buying from local farmers and eating at restaurants that support local farmers, insures that the money you spend stays in your neighborhood, as well as helps cut down on fossil fuel pollution from airplanes that ship imported produce. Health-wise, by using local foodstuffs, Farm to Fork “can better control the purchase of produce not sprayed with harmful insecticides and toxins sometimes used.” Farm to Fork also has a simpler mission, to explore the variety of flavors, products, and fresh produce that local farmers have to offer. SJ HOT Chefs concern themselves with authenticity and uniqueness, exploring the multitudes of tastes they can derive from fresh, organic local ingredients. Rather than eating at another food chain, which only supports big businesses and outsourcing, SJ HOT Chefs suggest you experience something less predictable, and more innovated, less customary, and more extraordinary. Therefore, Farm to Fork Week brings to you a variety of options that come right from your backyard, allowing you to experience a true dining adventure. (See sjhotchefs.com for more info.)— Lindsey Appleton
DO AC for Free
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Heck, even Bill Gates would take free stuff if he could get it. Well, in Atlantic City there’s plenty of free entertainment taking place all summer long. Quality, complimentary entertainment and events are being presented through sponsorships, entertainment grants and funding from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), including Movies Under the Stars three nights per week on 16- by nine-foot portable screens equipped with 400-watt speakers every Sunday at Brighton Park (Indiana Avenue and the Boardwalk), Monday at Gardner’s Basin (north end of New Hampshire Avenue) and Friday at Bartram Place and the Boardwalk (in the lower Chelsea section). This week’s films include The Karate Kid (Fri., July 20), Avatar (Sun., July 22) and Kung Fu Panda (Mon., July 23). All Movies Under the Stars begin promptly at dusk. The schedule is subject to change and cancellation due to inclement weather. For more information, call 344-8338 or see njcrda.com. Additional free DO AC! entertainment includes a phenomenal 3-D sound-and-light spectacular called “Duality” that takes place twice per hour, every evening, after dark at Kennedy Plaza in front of Boardwalk Hall; a Farmer’s Market on Thurs., July 19, at Center City Park on Atlantic Avenue (9am-3pm) featuring live Hawaiian Luau entertainment from noon-2pm; and the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation’s Jazz & Doo Wop Summer Concert Series on Thurs., July 19, featuring Webb Thomas Superband and opening act Tony Perez (7pm). For other fun ways to DO AC! this summer, check the calendar of events at doatlanticcity.com. — Ray Schweibert
"We felt that divine intervention came in some place, to put this group together, because this is a group that didn’t know each other. We didn’t grow up together; we all grew up in different parts of the South, different states. And we all came to New York, around the same time, and moved into the same neighborhood, and we would go in the park everyday and play basketball and start singin’."
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