Calling all Cinemafiles – all is not lost now that Oscar season is history. 


Thanks to the Asbury Park Film Initiative your viewing displeasure does not have to include “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop II.”


Film lovers can unite compliments of Ocean Grove resident V.J. Carbone and Langosta Lounge’s Marilyn Schlossbach – co-founders of the Asbury Park Film Initiative – for fab flicks screened at an equally fab location. 


“We created APFI to bring great independent films to the city,” said V.J.  “Marilyn and I would like the Film Initiative to be similar to the Angelica Film Forum, in New York.” 


This program is for the community by the community – which you know I love – rising from one night last summer.


“In June we screened a documentary about surfing and more than three hundred people came,” said Marilyn.  “Afterwards, V.J., my husband Scott and I talked about the opportunity to bring great films to the area all year round.” 


The three brainstorm each month’s film selections.  Wonderful V.J. – fancy pants vice president of publicity for Focus Features (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Atonement,” “Milk”) secures the licensing. 


One blustery December Sunday, I went to the screening of “White Christmas.”  I also saw the compelling documentary “Man on a Wire and attended the packed-house New Jersey premier of “Milk” at Clearview’s Middlebrook Cinema, with an after party at Marilyn’s restaurant.     


Showings are on the Paramount Theatre’s 60 by 40 foot screen.  It’s a great space to take a mental vacation and watch a movie – for free.  The grandeur of a live theatre space for the simplicity of these fine film selections is fan-tabulous.  The only thing missing is decadent movie theatre popcorn.


Mondays, you are cordially invited for dinner and a movie.  Price fix dinners are offered at Langosta Lounge, The Harrison, Stella Marina and Salt Water Grill.


Coming soon, film screenings on the beach on a huge inflatable screen and more exclusive New Jersey film previews. 


Every month, our city has more and more wonderful things to offer – all thanks to the passion of the people. 


Briefly:  For me – like a lot of us – walking into a car service center is as unfamiliar and scary as walking into a shooting range.  In this economy, I wanted to share with you how I – with a tip toe out of my comfort zone – avoided wasting hundreds of dollars. 


Last week, I called the dealer to replace the low-beam that was out on my Acura.  The service rep told me the cost would be $280 and if there was something else wrong, it may cost an additional $1,000.  I was beyond upset. 


A kind stranger suggested I buy the light bulb on Ebay and install it myself leveraging instructions from the internet ( – not from the excessively complicated car manual. 


The lightbulb cost $40 and took 15 minutes to replace – saving me the six-hundred percent dealer markup.


I also recently got my tires replaced for more than $400 less at Costco than Acura.


Bottom line: it takes a kick in the butt, but I learned that I can do this stuff and not be dependent on others for simple projects.  If I can do it, anyone can.