Makin Waves Scene Report with PRINDIE Film Fest, Food for Thought, Freaky Mutant Weirdo Variety show, & More!

Also featured this week are The Cryptkeeper Five, The Ratchets, Crazy & the Brains, Sunshine & the Rain, The Brighton Bar, and Mint 400 Records.

   The Princeton Independent Film Fest will continue through Nov. 17 in and around Princeton with a fabulous panel of judges composed of award-winning filmmakers and industry professionals. Four features and 19 short award-winning films will be screened. The events will include special Q&As with visiting filmmakers, virtual reality demos, live music and nonprofits that are relevant to the different films for opportunities to get involved and make positive changes.

   Opening night on Nov. 14 featured four short films paired with a tasting of wine made in each of the works’ country of origin. “The Best Fireworks Ever” by Aleksandra Terpinska, “Nightmares by the Sea” by Skinner Myers, “Bonobo” by Zoel Aeschbacher and “Third Kind” by Yorgos Zois were screened.

   The festival will continue with a Q&A featuring Spike Lee Film Fund recipient Myrsini Aristidou on Nov. 15 at Princeton Garden Theatre. The night will start with Álvaro Gago’s “Matria,” winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the short category at Sundance Film Festival. Then Princeton University Women’s Center is sponsoring the Q&A with Aristidou, writer-director of the Sundance-nominated short film “Aria,” which will be screened. She will be traveling all the way from Cyprus to participate. To complete the evening, the feature documentary “Genderbende” will be shown.

   On Nov. 16, PRINDIE will feature a Q&A with student Academy Award winner Kevin H. Wilson at Princeton University’s McCosh Hall Room 50. Carl A. Fields Center for Equality + Cultural Understanding is sponsoring the Q&A and screening with Wilson, writer-director of “My Nephew Emmett,” which won last year’s Student Academy Award and was nominated during the main Oscar competition. The evening will end with a screening of “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” by RaMell Ross, winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Vision at Sundance this year. 

   On Nov. 17 also in McCosh Hall, Princeton University Film Society will present the remainder of in-competition films. In keeping with the theme of the environmental films that will be shown, Grist Fixers will teach how to navigate the ins and outs of addressing climate change in everyday interactions.Meanwhile, VR technology will be demonstrated and the festival’s closing film, the beautiful narrative “Three And A Half” by Dar Gai, will be screened by followed by an award announcement and celebration.

   Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge and its Food for Thought nonprofit host a holiday dinner for the homeless and the hungry. Given how much Langosta and adjacent Asbury Park Yacht Club do for the local music scene, I have organized four free shows to help offset the costs of those dinners via artist support, a silent auction for valuable sponsor prizes, a 50/50 raffle, individual donations and a canned food drive.

   The expanded Makin Waves Hunger Benefit for Food for Thought will take place Nov. 16 and 17 at Langosta and APYC. Uncooperative weather hit both establishments, their sister restaurant, Pop’s Garage Mexican Cantina, and other supportive Asbury Park businesses hard this summer, so it’s crucial that the community band together to continue Langosta’s longstanding charitable holiday traditions. This series of shows will do so with mixed bills that continues to unify the city’s and the state’s rap and rock music scenes. The shows will blend the hip-hop of Bulletproof Belv, Cook Thugless, Drew the Recluse, Chris Rockwelland Chill Smith, the rock of Matty Carlock, Sonic Blumeand Experiment 34, the funky pop of Des and the Swagmatics, Nalani & Sarinaand Evangelia, and the roots rock of Pamela Flores and Tara Dente. All artists are donating their time, talent and pay to help feed the needy during the holidays.

   It’s wonderful that Asbury Park has become such a great place to hear and see live rap music and that the rap and rock scenes have unified to present mixed bills and features, such as Carlock on Belv’s local hit, “Dark City Nights,” and their new song, “F Being Friends,” Black Suburbia Music’s Drew the Recluse on The Cold Seas’ new Bloodstain, and Chris Rockwell and Chill Smith’s collaborations with Pamela Flores and Tara Dente. Their work together and with the very hip hop-friendly Asbury Park Music Foundation inspired this fantastic lineup. See the event page linked above for exact set times.

   Highlights will include the revamped version of Rockwell & Smith’s single, “There Goes the Neighborhood,” which now features Dente. The track will drop Nov. 16 and will be played on Nov. 17 at APYC during what will be a tour homecoming show for Rockwell and Smith as they share the bill with Nalani & Sarina and Experiment 34.

Also, Sonic Blume’s set on Nov. 16 at APYC will be captured by Toms River artist Kristen Woolley of Eve’s Artistry in a live painting that immediately will be available in a weekend-long silent auction. The auction also will feature Makin Waves Resident Artist Patricia Arroyo of Asbury-based Arroyo Art Studio, plus valuable prizes donated by event sponsors Bond Street ComplexThe Brew TEA Spot, Russo Music, Langosta LoungePop’s GarageMOGO Korean Fusion Tacos, Silverball Museum Arcade, and Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery

The Freaky Mutant Weirdo Variety Show returns Nov. 24 to Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen with a four-hour extravaganza of music, performance and mash-ups to benefit Elijah’s Promise, Central Jersey’s largest anti-hunger agency. Organizers A Halo Called Fred and Lump ‘N’ Loaf Records have assembled a great cast of absurdity featuring Trio of Madness, King Missile’s John S. Hall, Karnevil Circus Sideshow, Coveilance Dance Project, I’ve Made Too Much Pasta, and Eric Vitner’s IdeaMachine Films.

   The Cryptkeeper Five have signed with Richmond-based Say-10 Records, which will re-release last year’s best-ever record by them, The Stronghold, with a vinyl-only bonus cover of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.” The veteran Trenton-based act are touring with Stringer Nov. 15 at Metropolitan, Annapolis, Md.; Nov. 16, Wonderland, Richmond; Nov 17, Studio Brew, Bristol, Va.; Nov. 19, Southgate House, Newport, Ky.; Nov 20, Slash Run, Washington D.C., and Nov 21, The TUSK, Philadelphia.

   Then TCK5 have two amazing shows coming up at Millhill Basement in their hometown. On Nov 23, they’ll participate in a punk-rock tribute as The Ramones in an evening that also will feature the debut of Trenton Makeage, a local all-star tribute to The Descendents that features Joe Kuzemka of Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market and Pork Chop Express Booking on vocals and tireless drummer Chris Pierce, who’ll also play with School Drugs in tribute to The Gorilla Biscuits. Pissed will round out the night with a tribute to The Bouncing Souls. Then on Dec. 21, the Makin Waves-sponsored Cryptkeeper Five Christmas Spectacular also will feature The Vansaders, Hot Blood, and White Cactus.

STREAM The Ratchets:

Speaking of Bouncing Souls, two new records were produced by their guitarist, Pete Steinkopf by The Ratchets and Crazy & the Brains. The Ratchets will play Nov. 23 at Asbury Park Brewery to celebrate the release of First Light, via Pirates Press Records. The comeback outing is the veteran punk’s first record in more than a decade so the label put together a box set of the band’s debut EP, first LP, Glory Bound, as well as “First Light” and a collection of demos and unreleased material called Odds & Ends. The Ratchets also will play Nov. 24 at Creep Records, Philadelphia, before a week-long tour of Europe that kicks of Dec. 15 in Belgium.

   Like the summer EP, Out in the Weedz, the forthcoming Crazy & the Brains LP, Into the Ugly, was produced at Steinkopf’s Little Eden studio in Asbury Park. In support of their first full-length since 2013’s Let Me Go, the Jersey City-based band will embark upon a three-week predominantly East Coast tour with Leftover Crack and Negative Approach that will include area dates Nov. 25 at Lost Horizon, Syracuse, N.Y.; Nov. 27, Mohawk Place, Buffalo, N.Y.; Dec. 1, Underground Arts, Philadelphia, and Dec. 2, Brooklyn Bazaar; Dec. 3. Crazy & the Brains also will play a hometown gig Dec. 22 at FM Bar. Into the Ugly drops Nov. 23.

STREAM Sunshine & the Rain “Today”:

   Jersey City’s Sunshine & the Rain have released their sophomore album, Beneath the Stars, on Ernest Jenning Record Co. Jangly and harmonic, the LP lives up to the duo’s pedigree. Former members of The Black Hollies, Justin and Ashley Morey were married in 2013 at the seminal Jersey indie-rock club Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Shortly thereafter, they wrote their first single, 2015’s “Can’t Stop Thinking About You b/w Pale Blue Skies,” which they followed last year with the Jon Spencer-produced “In the Darkness of My Night” recorded at Sonic Youth’s Echo Canyon West studio. Beneath the Stars holds fast to the band’s pop sensibility with a shift from twisted psychedelics to ‘80s synth pop, glittery new wave and piano-tinged ‘70s soft rock. Expect a tour to be announced soon.

STREAM Ruby Bones:

   Mint 400 recording acts Ruby Bones and aBIRD will celebrate a joint release party on Nov. 15 at Pet Shop Bar in Jersey City. Ruby Bones’ Laserfeatures three impressive songs, while aBIRD is working Hard Times in Two Dimensions, a synth-driven departure from Adam Bird’s rock ‘n’ roll approach to his former band, Those Mockingbirds. Sharing the bill to the free show will be Pioneer the Eel.

   Ruby Bones also will play Nov. 17 at William Carlos Williams Center in Rutherford with QL and Rosey Bengal and Dec. 14 at Stosh’s in Fair Lawn with Mint 400 label mates Tony Saxon, Fairmont, Stuyvesant and The Foxfires. Coming up, Mint 400 also will present the following shows:

  • The Milwaukees, Yawn Mower, The Vice Rags, Tide Bends, and The Adventure Soundtrack, Nov. 16, Stosh’s;
  • “Stuff This in Yer Face,” a showcase of original Thanksgiving songs by Deena & Jon from The Cucumbers, David Rieth, Kevin and Oliver Liebkemann, Dave Kleiner & Liz Pagan, and Frank Ippolito to benefit the Human Needs Food Pantry of Montclair on Nov. 17 at Stosh’s in association with You Don’t Know Jersey and Cocotazo Media;
  • Reese Van Riper, Son of the Velvet Rat, Rosey Bengal, Fairmount and Jaren Love of Pittsburgh’s The Lampshades, Nov. 30, Stosh’s;
  • The Good Silver, Son of the Velvet Rat and Jaren Love, Dec. 1, Krogh’s, Sparta, and Delicate Flowers, Joy Cleaner and Jaren Love, Dec. 2, Pet Shop Bar.

   Congrats to the Brighton Bar, the subject of a documentary to be presented by the Rock & Roll Forever Foundation on Nov. 28 at West End Arts Center in Long Branch. The free 7 p.m. screening will be preceded with 5:30 p.m. cocktail party at the Brighton. Made by Long Branch High School students, the film is part of the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries series.

   Also coming up at the Brighton on Nov. 17 will be an appearance by punk legend Walter Lure and his band the Waldos. For a long while, Lure played with Johnny Thunders, including the post-New York Dolls band The Heartbreakers. Opening will be The Sacred and Running Backwards, featuring members of The Aristocants.

Bob Makin is the reporter for a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at