Why not something like Python or Ruby?
Sure, it's not going to cross over easily from your previous knowledge of Basic, but it fits the bill for easy-to-learn with just enough power to get things done.
Also, at risk of finding myself within critical ballistic trajectory of kinetically impelled mephitic S. Lycopersicum fruiting bodies, let me suggest something more advanced but along the lines of what you asked for: A community-based and maintained programming language...
D is a systems programming language. Its focus is on combining the power and high performance of C and C++ with the programmer productivity of modern languages like Ruby and Python. Special attention is given to the needs of quality assurance, documentation, management, portability and reliability.
The D language is statically typed and compiles directly to machine code. It’s multiparadigm, supporting many programming styles: imperative, object oriented, and metaprogramming. It’s a member of the C syntax family, and its appearance is very similar to that of C++.
Although virtually unknown except for a few folks who appreciate what it's trying to do, it fits your idea of a language somewhere between "Those from academia with radical new paradigms and those from large corporations with a focus on RAD and the web."
A steeper learning curve than your beloved VB of course, but HEY; while we're being different and all, why not give it a look-see?