Archive for the ‘New Jersey News’ Category

Cezanne Comes to Montclair

August 30, 2009

The signs have been up for what seems like years, decorating Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair like Christmas. Well, the Cezanne and American Modernism exhibit finally opens at the Montclair Art Museum on Sept 13.

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

The high-profile show for the low-profile museaum will certainly receive it’s fair share of attention in the coming weeks, but Peggy McGlone at NJ.com has a real nice piece about how the show was conceived by MAM curator Gail Stavitsky and trustee Adrian Shelby and the difficulties in putting together the exhibit, which features 18 Cezanne works along with 118 others indfluenced by the French painter.

It’s worth the read to wet your appetite for what should be a highlight of the fall in Northern NJ.

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Gators Gone Wild – Jersey Style

August 29, 2009
Aligators in New Jersey

Aligators in New Jersey

Apparently, alligators have moved north to Sparta. Global warming, illegal pet, sewer escape: you decide.

Alligator Found on Deck in Sparta

Bob Dylan, Long Branch and The Fuzz

August 26, 2009

Did you hear the one about Bob Dylan wandering around the Jersey shore. If you haven’t then this is one of the odder tales of the year. Could be something straight out of Weird NJ. So far ABC News has the best write up.

Springsteen Lets Fans Down, Adding New ‘Final’ Show Smacks Them in the Face

June 4, 2009

Usually, when Bruce Springsteen adds shows to his tour, especially here in Jersey, it’s a good thing. However, this week’s announcement that two more shows were added to the alleged-final -concert stand at Giants Stadium actually was bad news for a sizeable number of Bruce Springsteen fans.

The original three shows sold out so “due to overwhelming” demand and more shows were added. Thee shows were billed as the “final” concerts at Giants stadium. This means people who bought tickets to the Oct. 3 show [in the interests of full disclosure Jerseycool is one of those people]  thinking that would be the last concert ever at Giants stadium now have tickets to the next to-next to- last show at the stadium. Not bad but it isn’t the LAST show.

Some people have become blasé about this. There hasn’t really been any outcry in the media except for a few message boards online. In all honesty, this affects truly only the 70,000 so suckers who bought the Oct. 3 show. Still it doesn’t make it right.

Artist do this all the time. Last year Billy Joel sold out the final show at Shea Stadium and then sold another final show at the stadium. People at the first show got to see a great show; people at the last got to see Paul McCartney. It simply isn’t the same.

Bruce Springsteen is a different story. He has always presented an image of being for his fans and coming on the heels of recent problems with Ticketmaster, it’s sad to say but Springsteen seems to have lost his mojo as the man of the people.

Some will say, well, they didn’t expect these shows to sell out and they want to accommodate as many people as possible. Poppycock.

They could have easily back-added shows and left the Oct. 3 date as the final show. This would have been fair and it would have been honorable, but I suppose the lure of being able to market a second FINAL show was too much to pass up. Who knows? Maybe a third Final show will be added. Heck, maybe Springsteen will be singing Jingle Bells at the Stadium in a foot of snow on Dec. 24.

It seems anything goes these days. Perhaps we’ve come to expect this sort of soft consumer abuse. The added shows will sell out. People who bought the Oct. 3 show will either accept the fact they were scammed or they will need to try to upgrade to the new final show at the stadium. Either way, 70,000 fans will have a bad taste in their mouth when these shows come up in the fall.

Bad job Sports Authority.

Bad job Bruce.

JerseyCool hopes the money is worth it.

Best Places in NJ: The Meadowlands?

September 20, 2007

As a lifelong Giants fan Jerseycool’s heart always skips a beat on Route 3 when passing the soon to be torn down stadium. But even we would be hard pressed to call the Meadowlands a work of art.

Surprise, surprise the Sports Complex made the list off “150 Best Buildings and Places.

Other places of note include Penn Station in Newark, Newark Symphony Hall, Liberty Science Center, Lucy the Elephant and Montclair’s very own downtown district.

NJ.com has a nice piece about the list on its site today.

The list was compiled by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects and obviously there will be a considerable amount of debate. For example, in Morris County the Vanderbuilt-Twombly Mansion atThe Mansion at FDU Fairleigh Dickinson University was left off the list, as were the grounds, which for this alumni were quite stunning and designed by the same fella who did that big park in the middle of Manhattan. Let’s call that one a miss.

The Mansion at FDU

To each his own. The list is high on parks and buildings but ommits the state’s sprawling civil engineering achievements, such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Pulaski Skyway. I dare anyone to drive the pike at night near Exit 13 and not be awed by the sheer industrial art. Or pass through Cheesequake State Park on the Parkway and not be floored as to how the road and natural landscape form an almost seamless union.

JC

Springfield, Vermont, Edges out Springfield, NJ

July 23, 2007

Following up on an item we posted a few weeks ago, the town of Springfield, VT, hosted the premier of the Simpson’s movie. Springfield’s from across the country sent films promotional films to producers touting why their Springfield should hose the tournament. Ironically, Springfield, VT, wasn’t even invited to participate in the contest, which was won based on a poll in USAToday. However, a strong lobbying effort got them in and, apparently, an even stronger film won the town the contest.

No word on where Springfield, NJ, finished in the contest. The Simpson’s Movie opens this weekend in theaters other than Springfield.

Think Traffic Is Bad? You’re Right

June 29, 2007

Jerseyans wondering just how bad you have it in terms of traffic congestion can now rest assured that their perception is indeed reality. It’s pretty bad.

New Jersey interstates ranked third in traffic jams in the nation, bested only by California (1) and Minnesota (2). However, including all roads, New Jersey, for apparently the 8th year in a row, had the worst road congestion.

Looking to escape this, well, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming all had no congestion problems.

JC

Springfield, NJ: Homer of the Simpsons?

June 20, 2007

Yes, friends Union County’s Springfield, NJ, has entered into a competition to become the premier city for the Simpson’s movie, which opens July 26.

Community members completed a video for the competition yesterday, according to a piece on NJ.com. More than 70 other Springfields across the country have entered.

It’s always been a bit of a mystery as to what state the Simpsons is set in. For some reason, Springfield, KY, sticks in our head but trying to sort through the 2 billion some Simpson episodes is a bit hard.

If they win, how cool would it be for the town of Springfield, of course, working against the town might be the fact it doesn’t have a movie theater. Doh!

JC

What Really Happened on The Sopranos Final, A Reader Shares

June 15, 2007

I’m sure this is going to be a debate for a long time to come but we got an interesting theory in the e-mail from a reader and with permission thought we’d share. We still think the ending is too ambiguous to say Tony Soprano is or isn’t dead but we will give David Chase this, it sure has been fun speculating. Thanks to Victor D’Altorio for sending this in.

JC

Last Sunday night, David Chase delivered a brilliant, knockout finale of The Sopranos that was so Tony Sopranounexpected and sly that seemingly most of America missed a key element while they waited for Tony to be riddled with bullets by Phil Leotardo’s guys.

In the next 60 seconds of his life, Tony Soprano will almost certainly get whacked, if all goes as planned. But what many Americans, who reportedly were offended in huge numbers by the “ambiguity” of the final episode, seem to have missed, is not whether or not Tony gets whacked, but by whom.

Tony was not, or more properly, will not get whacked by Phil Leotardo’s goons. He will be murdered by a hit man hired by his own traitorous goon, “Patsy” Parisi, who masterminded the perfect murder of Tony Soprano with the help of his studly son, who, conveniently, is engaged to Tony’s daughter, Meadow.

In the scene following Bobby Bacala’s funeral, with the whole clan gorging on baked ziti, Parisi motions his other son over and whispers some instructions, wearing a very serious face. Something is being plotted. In another key scene, Little Carmine mediates the conflict between Tony and Phil’s henchman and forces Phil’s boys to agree to take the target off Tony. Tony also wants their help locating Phil, but they refuse to go that far. This is not a red herring. Phil’s guys are no longer after Tony. They are grudgingly resigned to Phil’s murder. Phil went “too far.”

Back to Meadow. The perfect way to a don’s heart is through his daughter. (Don Corleone’s story in The Godfather opens on his daughter’s wedding day, when he can refuse no request.) Handsome, successful (in fact, perfect) young Parisi sat opposite his parents in Tony and Carmela’s living room in the final episode, and cooed in solicitous tones to Miss Meadow Soprano that she must learn not to “devalue” herself. The complex drama beneath the words and glances in this scene provide clues to the culmination of this genius plot to murder Tony Soprano, which has been subtly unfolding all season.

Early in the scene, Tony asks the Parisis, “Where’s your other son?” Patsy’s drunken wife, obviously embarrassed by the question, replies that they didn’t think he was invited, since wedding planning was the purpose of the get-together. A few moments later, Carmela suggests to Tony that Parisi’s glass needs a refill. Parisi starts to get up, and is admonished by Tony to stay seated in an ugly little exchange of looks between the men, which belies their camaraderie as future in-laws. Watch the look on Parisi’s face after Tony hands him the drink and turns away. It is the look of a murderer eager for impending satisfaction. He’s the Judas.

Tony and Carmela were not happy, remember, when Meadow started dating the Parisi boy. But as the season progressed, the boy won their hearts. He stood up and protected their daughter against a thug who made an obscene remark to her when they were together in a coffee shop several episodes back. The thug was likely paid by Parisi to insult her, so his son could look good defending her. And now Meadow’s Knight in Shining Armor is making career connections for her with his law firm – with an astronomical starting salary that made Tony and Carmela burst into genuinely joyous whoops and smiles. When was the last time anything made these two that happy? Plus, the Parisi boy treats their little girl like a queen, which is certainly not something any of her other suitors on the show have done.

And what better time to whack one’s boss without getting caught than when you know a rival don has drawn a target on his back? Perfect timing, since Tony and the audience are expecting Phil’s goons to do the job.

David Chase employed this same brilliant timing a few seasons ago when Janice murdered her husband just as Tony was putting a hit on him. We were all bracing for Richie Aprile’s assassination by Tony’s guys, and in one of the most shockingly effective surprises in Sopranos history, Janice had a fit of I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Gonna Take It Anymore and shot him first.

Parisi’s plan has worked like a charm. Nobody in Tony’s camp, including Tony, has had any idea that Parisi wants him dead. Nor, apparently, did the viewing audience. Tony feels relatively safe having dinner out because he knows Phil’s guys are no longer after him. And he’s correct – they aren’t. Parisi’s son knows exactly where Tony will be having dinner with the family on a few hours notice, because, as Meadow’s fiance, he has a direct line to the girl. Carmela informs Tony when she arrives for their fateful Last Supper that Meadow will be late because she is at a doctor appointment changing her method of birth control. The look on Tony’s face shows his discomfort, but also his acceptance of young Parisi as her lover.

Pundits and critics who have weighed in have primarily focused on the simplistic question of does Tony get whacked or doesn’t he? This is David Chase we’re talking about folks, remember? The creator of this amazingly original, dizzyingly complex series, who has given us one of the most exquisite viewing experiences of our lives and kept us hooked year after year. How can people possibly have underestimated him, and missed all the fun? The darned thing was a whodunit – and nobody noticed!

The rest of the fun, then (and there’s much more to come, now that we know Who Killed Tony Soprano), is in How It Happens. If all goes as plotted, Tony gets it right in the head. No question. And his wife, the supreme enabler of his violent, sociopathic life, gets to sit and watch – talk about the perfect karmic end of her story. And so do his deeply troubled son and seemingly bright, successful daughter. His son is already in the booth, and his daughter will be sitting next to her dad by the time the gunman emerges from the bathroom in a moment. She’s running, don’t forget.

So, the assassin comes out of the bathroom (just as Michael Corleone did before he murdered his father’s rival don and a police chief). He will extend his arm in classic style, plug Tony a few times in the head and the heart, drop the gun, and walk fast down the central corridor of the coffee shop. And the posse of boys loitering at the bakery case, his backups, will make sure he gets out cleanly. Simple. Classic.

But what if Meadow arrives just at the moment the gunman emerges from the bathroom (they’re both moving fast)? Now all bets are off. She could easily get shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like the poor girl who got an unplanned whacking when Tony’s guys thought they were killing Phil and offed the wrong man.

Of course, they’d never purposely whack Meadow. There’s a code of honor about that. But the assassin will certainly do whatever is necessary to ensure Tony’s murder, and if Meadow is in the way, well, anything could happen. Would AJ leap up out of the booth to stop the killer’s escape? He’s seated on the outside, and could easily try to block the man’s path. Will Carmela watch the murder of her daughter, then her husband, and then her son? She and Tony are trapped in the inside seats against a low wall sporting a juke box riddled with classic American tunes.

And remember that other guy who came into the place who you thought might be the assassin at first? Redneck-looking guy in a plaid shirt, wearing a USA hat? Could he jump up and interfere with the assassin’s exit? Might he be carrying a gun? He sure looks like a member of the NRA.

If you play it out in the cinema of your mind’s eye, all the endlessly, violently balletic possibilities unfold, and it’s so much more perversely entertaining than just seeing Tony get shot. Our love of these characters has been admittedly perverse from the start. So Chase gives us the privilege of letting our imaginations take flight. But American viewers don’t like using their imaginations. Tie it up with a bow, and hand it to me.

Since the airing of the last episode, David Chase has been quoted as saying that if you watch the episode carefully, “It’s all there.” What on earth do people think he’s referring to? Some stale plot to kill Tony by Phil Leotardo that we’ve all known has been coming for weeks and weeks? Chase is a great artist. Among the very, very best this country has ever produced.

He’s not an entrepreneur, like most of the hacks who create television shows and movies in this country and are eager to pander to an audience that wants an easy-to-understand story, characters who wear hats that are clearly black or white, and lots of violence. (In other words, David Chase is not to television what George W. Bush is to politics.)

But it was this spoon-fed type, capital-letters resolution that most of the American public seemingly expected to see last Sunday night, regardless of what Chase has provided them throughout the series’ run. There have always been complaints when Chase has neglected to meet viewers’ basest expectations because of our lamentable habit of watching without an ability or willingness to see. Talk about casting pearls before swine.

Victor D’Altorio

Excitables For the Weekend of June 8-10

June 8, 2007

Tony and CarmelaReally there’s only one thing to get excited about this weekend and that’s the Tony Awards Sunday nigh. Oh, we kid, no offense to Broadway but all eyes will be tuned to HBO on Sunday night as one of the greatest achievements in television history comes to a close.

No, we’re not overstating the matter. The Sopranos, all 86 episodes of them, have been the closes television comes to great literature ever. All do respect to past culture benchmarks such as All In The Family, MASH, Cheers and Seinfeld, this serial has been Shakespearean in its ability to capture American life in all its anxiety at then end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century.

Of course, all of this can blow up if David Chase delivers a clunker of a final. Somehow, we doubt it though. This last season, which was broken up into two parts over a considerable period of time, has been building to an endpoint. How it ends is the great mystery and what will happen has been the subject du jour on most of the talk shows, news programs and Internet pundits for the past few weeks.

Whatever happens our cultural landscape will be a little duller and a little less full come Monday morning.

To celebrate EW.com has a countdown of the 10 best episodes and NJ.com, which is treating the last episode like the loss of a loves on, has a bevy of multimedia including a last supper guide, fan pictures of Soprano sites and more.

Other items of note this weekend:

Oceans Whatever – the vanity trip continues for George Clooney and his merry band of stars as the latest in the Ocean’s remake, Ocean’s 13, joins the plodding summer movie scene.

Springsteen Returns – With little fanfare a new Bruce Springsteen album landed in stores this Tuesday. Live in Dublin, not so much an album as a chronicle of Springsteen folk, jazz, gospel inspired concerts from last summer available on CD, DVD and Blue-Ray. We picked it up and found that if you liked the Seeger Session folk album you’ll probably like the live versions as well. Of particular note, is the wild swing rearrangement of Springsteen’s “Open All Night”, the waltz –inspired version of his “If I Should Fall Behind” and the gospel standard “This Little Light of Mine.”

It’s not an E-Street record and for that a broad swath of Springsteen fans will omit the disc from their collection. Their loss.

Happy Weekend Everyone

JC