Kevin Smith, photo by Allan Amato
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Monmouth Arts will honor filmmaker and actor Kevin Smith, NBC newscaster Pat Battle, podcaster and actor Ming Chen, producer and founding partner of Sea.Hear.Now Tim Donnelly, manager of the Wonder Bar Debbie DeLisa and philanthropic organization Impact 100 Jersey Coast at Monmouth Arts After Dark, The Art of the Impossible on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at The Wonder Bar and Tim McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park, NJ.
This intimate evening will be filled with fantastically impossible illusions, trickery, and sleight of hand by two Masters of Illusions, Jeanette Andrews and Brandon Williams. Andrews, hailed as one of the most innovative illusionists in the world today, has staged hundreds of sold-out and standing-room-only performances. Williams, a mentalist, pickpocket, and magician, has worked for some of the most prominent names in magic and entertainment and garnered worldwide recognition amongst fellow magicians and A-list actors.
Asbury Park's well-known video DJ artist Adam Worth will awaken guests' senses by pushing the boundaries of what visual and audio art can be. This five-time NY Emmy-winning artist will showcase his unique style of 'visual turntablism' that combines a live visual element with traditional music mixing.
Past honorees include Max Weinberg, Blondie, David Bryan, Maureen Van Zandt, Bobby Bandiera, Jake Clemons, Chef David Burke, Jenn Hampton, Danny Clinch, Marilyn Schlossbach and Diane Turton. 2022 honoree Vincent Pastore will be in attendance again and leading a live appeal.
As the largest fundraiser for Monmouth Arts, the annual gala supports programs and services that enrich the local arts community, including grant opportunities, marketing support, art exhibitions, professional workshops, and programs like the Monmouth County Senior Art Show, Monmouth Arts Teen Arts Festival, and Creative Expressions Arts and Wellness program.
“This year we are thrilled to honor some of the most prominent and inspirational artistic figures with roots in Monmouth County,” said Teresa Staub, Executive Director of Monmouth Arts. “Their many years of impact on screen, stage and in studio deserve to be celebrated and we look forward to honoring each of them on September 28th. Our mission remains to help local artists and arts organizations within the county. We are proud that all funds raised from this event will support the local arts community.”
The Art of the Impossible Honorees:
Kevin Smith: Artistic Achievement Award – Excellence In the Arts. Kevin Smith is an American filmmaker, actor, comedian, comic book writer, author, YouTuber, and podcaster. He came to prominence with the low-budget comedy buddy film Clerks (1994), which he wrote, directed, co-produced, and acted in as the character Silent Bob of stoner duo Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob. Clerks won the "Award of the Youth" and the "Mercedes-Benz Award" at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, the "Filmmakers Trophy" at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards (Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Jeff Anderson for Best Debut Performance).
Jay and Silent Bob also appeared in Smith's later films Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks II and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which are set primarily in his home state of New Jersey. While not strictly sequential, the films have crossover plot elements, character references, and a shared canon known as the "View Askewniverse", named after Smith's production company View Askew Productions, which he co-founded with Scott Mosier.
Since 2011, Smith has mostly made horror films, including Red State (2011) and the "comedy horror films" Tusk (2014) and Yoga Hosers (2016), two in a planned series of three such films set in Canada dubbed the True North trilogy. Smith also executive produces Masters of the Universe: Revelation for Netflix and last year released the highly anticipated Clerks III from Lionsgate which also included a 50+ city theater screening and Q&A tour.
Smith owns Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey, a comic bookstore that became the setting for the reality television show Comic Book Men (2012—2018). Last year, he expanded his business empire by opening Smodcastle Cinemas, a movie theater in New Jersey.
As a podcaster, Smith co-hosts several shows on his SModcast Podcast Network, including SModcast, Fatman Beyond, and the live show Hollywood Babble-On. He is known for participating in long, humorous Q&A sessions that are often filmed for DVD release, beginning with An Evening with Kevin Smith.
Pat Battle: Artistic Achievement Award - Journalism. Pat Battle is the co-anchor for NBC 4 New York’s “Weekend Today in New York” which airs Saturday mornings between 6:00 A.M. – 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. and on Sunday mornings between 6:00 A.M. – 8:30 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. Battle also serves as the station’s senior New Jersey correspondent. As part of NBC 4’s team-coverage of Hurricane Sandy, she won a National Emmy® and Edward R. Murrow award.
Battle’s reporting and anchoring was also a key component of NBC 4 New York’s award-winning COVID-19 coverage, honored in January, 2021 with the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for “creat(ing) a 360 view in real time of the coronavirus pandemic, with courageous and thorough reporting on the virus’s explosion in New York City.” The duPont has long been recognized as the broadcast, documentary and on-line equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, also awarded by Columbia University.
Pat joined NBC 4 New York in April 1996 from WCBS-TV, where for three and a half years, she was a general assignment reporter handling breaking news stories in the tri-state area. Her work earned her recognition as one of the best live reporters in the region.
Her efforts have been recognized by dozens of organizations -- from the Jackie Robinson Cultural Center to the Girl Scouts of America. Among other honors, Battle has won two New York Emmy awards for her work in television news. She was recognized in 2008 by the McDonald’s Corporation as a Broadcast Legend in the fast food company's Faces of Black History Campaign.
In the fall of 2010, Pat was diagnosed with breast cancer -- ductal carcinoma in situ -- and underwent surgery to remove the malignant cells from her right breast. She documented her personal journey, and in yet another public service, broadcast her story on "News 4 New York" at the close of Breast Cancer Awareness Month that October. Her story, and an hour-long special, "Talk for a Cure," aired the following day on "Weekend Today in New York," earned two New York Emmy nominations.
Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, Battle graduated from the University of Maryland’s School of Journalism in College Park. She is married and has three children.
Ming Chen: Maverick Award. Ming Chen is a podcaster, graphic designer, entrepreneur and reality TV cast member most known for the AMC TV show Comic Book Men. While in college at the University of Michigan he met filmmaker Kevin Smith when he developed a fan website based on the movie Clerks. Smith, who appreciated Chen’s work, reached out and asked him to create the Web site for his production company, View Askew Productions. Twenty Six years later, not only does Chen continue to work on many of Smith’s online projects, but he has also ventured into several other areas within the Kevin Smith empire, most recently hosting a weekly podcast called I Sell Comics! on Smith’s podcast network, SModCo.
During his free time, Chen serves on the board for the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County and the Garden State Film Festival. He also co-owns a podcast studio called “A Shared Universe” and is a partner in a coffee, gaming and comics café called “Coral Sword” in Houston, Texas with former major league ballplayer Hunter Pence. Chen has been married to his wife Debbie for 20 years and has two children, Lillian and Harrison, a dog named Joy and a cat named Scallion.
Tim Donnelly: Illuminator Award. Tim Donnelly got his start in music in 1991, working on the inaugural Lollapalooza festival for the Surfrider Foundation. As a writer, he worked for MTV, Surfing Magazine, and Relix Magazine, which led to working with his pal Danny Clinch on several music documentaries, including films on Pearl Jam and Bonnaroo. A move to Asbury Park 13 years ago led to producing events on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, including a pop-up gallery featuring local bands and surfing-related artists, he called Sea.Hear.Now.
After Superstorm Sandy, he rebuilt the dunes on the north and south end of Asbury Park and co-produced a relief concert called “On The Beach” to get Jersey Shore families back into their homes. He’s been the Producer of the Asbury Park Music + Film Festival since its inception and is a founding partner of one of the world’s most unique surfing contests, The Cold War.
He and his partners HM Wollman and Clinch formed Between The Sets and teamed with C3 Presents to take Sea.Hear.Now from a boardwalk bash to an international music and arts festival on the Asbury Park beach. Their formula of having old and new friends play music, make art, and surf for a September weekend has struck a chord with fans and the industry alike.
Since the festival's launch, Sea.Hear.Now has been nominated for a mid-sized festival of the year and named the most environmentally sustainable festival in the United States, more importantly, it has had a positive impact on the Asbury Park community, helping community-based non-profits.
Debbie DeLisa/The Wonder Bar: Business Leadership Award. Debbie DeLisa, a native of the Jersey Shore, is well known in the Asbury Park community for managing the iconic Wonder Bar for twenty years. Her friendly demeanor has made her a beloved figure in the area. Her experiences as a flight attendant and studying abroad inspired her to believe in the power of people to make a difference in their communities. Along with the support of her former boyfriend Lance Larson, a musical legend in Asbury Park, together they purchased the abandoned Wonder Bar building in 2002 and re-opened it that same year.
Several years later, Lance and Debbie sold Wonder Bar and Debbie remained on as the manager. The Wonder Bar, known for its live music and colorful paint job, is all about having fun. As the acting manager of Wonder Bar, Debbie has brought talented musicians to the intimate stage including longtime friend and legendary musician Bruce Springsteen. In addition to Bruce, many other wonderful musicians and actors have performed at The Wonder Bar but one of her favorites is Vincent Pastore, past recipient of Monmouth Arts Artistic Achievement Award and fellow advocate for animal rescue centers and veterans.
Thanks to the generosity of Madison Marquette, who encourages her to use the club for benefits, she has been recognized for numerous charitable endeavors for people and animals. Wonder Bar is not only known for its tunes and tiki bar but also the world-famous Yappy Hour, which was founded 16 years ago. Debbie's vision was and still is to raise money for dog rescue charities and also create a safe, and social place to bring your dog.
Impact 100 Jersey Coast: Community Service Award. Impact 100 Jersey Coast is a women’s grant making collective that funds high-impact grants to strengthen local nonprofit organizations addressing unmet needs of underserved populations in our community. Impact 100 includes women of different ages and backgrounds who combine charitable dollars, experience, and energy to make a tangible difference. As a grant making collective, Impact 100 Jersey Coasts' mission is to award membership-funded transformational funding to local nonprofit organizations while empowering women to improve their lives through philanthropy. Since its founding in 2015, the organization has awarded more than $2.4 million in funding to 28 local nonprofits. Impact 100 Jersey Coast ensures that the giving circle is inclusive and encompasses the richness of ideas, perspectives, and the participation of women representative of the broad diversity of our community and raise awareness of historic and systemic inequities and injustices, so often at the root of the inequality and disparity experienced by underserved communities throughout Monmouth County. Through Impact 100 Jersey Coast’s philanthropic vision, they create a space for learning and conversations that helps raise awareness of the needs of underserved populations in our community and leverage educational opportunities to enhance grantmaking with a keener understanding of how they can best support, identify and partner with nonprofit organizations across our community.
TICKETS: Two ticket tiers offer various levels of access to the event, including a VIP gala experience that includes a Smoke & Mirrors VIP Cocktail Party at 5:30pm and a Supernatural Dinner Celebration at 6:30pm.
Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling 732-212-1890. Tickets: VIP Ticket (Includes Smoke & Mirrors VIP Cocktail Party and Supernatural Dinner Celebration) - $240 | Supernatural Dinner Celebration Ticket - $195 | Twofer Supernatural Dinner Celebration - $360
Interested in sponsorship, advertising, or auction donations? Contact Development Manager, Stacy Cannamela at Stacy@monmoutharts.org.
Monmouth Arts is a leading, independent 501c(3) arts advocacy organization that delivers needed programs and services to artists, member organizations, and arts affiliates to ensure the arts thrive in and throughout Monmouth County. As Monmouth County’s official county arts agency, its mission is to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts. Monmouth Arts’ programs are made possible in part through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Commissioners, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.