Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ 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.

Advertisements

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.

Cake Boss Is Fun And Filling

June 30, 2009

Cake Boss
10 p.m. Mondays, TLC
Cake Boss Website

I know there are a lot of you out there in withdrawal now that “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” has wrapped up, so if you are Jonesing for a Jersey fix we thought we would draw your attention to TLC’s Cake Boss.

The realty show follows the adventures of the “crew” at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken. JerseyCool has caught the past two episodes and, though we are sure the Italian Anti-Defamation League is probably not a fan, we found the show to be a creamy treat.

Buddy Valastro is the "Boss" in Cake Boss

Buddy Valastro is the "Boss" in Cake Boss

Cake Boss is centered on Buddy, the son of the original owner and “Cake Boss” of the shop. Most episodes feature two or three of the more elaborate requests that come into the bakery. There are plenty of wedding cakes for sure, but there’s also a graveyard zombie cake, a roulette table and,most recently, an elaborate, old-style Italian wedding cake build around a cage with live doves.

There are also customers. Some easier to deal with than others.
The crew at Carlo’s is mostly made up of family-members and long-time bakers, some who worked for buddy’s father, now deceased. Buddy’ mother is also a flamboyant character, in one recent episode taking her son to task for making “one of those cakes”, otherwise known as an erotic, bachelorette party cake.

Cake Boss has been carefully baked by TLC. Featured after the network’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8” it was destined to succeed. However, it remains to be seen if it can carry the night now that “J&K+8” is officially on hiatus.

TLC has built a nice promotional site for the show. There is the obligatory blog, or flog from Buddy depending on how you look at it, and there is also a sketch book featuring the cakes seen on the show.
For those interested in the craft and artwork involved in making some of these culinary delights there are probably better shows out there (Ace of Cakes comes to mind). Cake Boss is much more like a light, family sitcom. If it weren’t a reality show, it might make for a good sitcom pilot.

As over the top and camera mugging as the show can get (in this week’s episode two bakers go to a park to try and capture doves for the wedding cake above, C’mon!), the show at its center has a good heart.

While some of JerseyCool’s more militant Italian brethren may have some bones to pick with the stereotypes on the show, most of us will be reminded of the old-style family bakeries we all grew up around.
Perfect as a dessert and perfect for summertime viewing.

New Jersey is YankeeLand

June 11, 2009

If you think more people in New Jersey wear pinstripes, you’re right. At least so far as their baseball rooting interests are concerned.

NY Yankees Logo

NY Yankee fans rule NJ

A new Quinnipiac University poll found that Yankee fans outnumber Philly and Mets fans combined in the Garden State. The numbers are particularly strong in North Jersey, not surprisingly.

“Dress New Jersey baseball fans – men and women, young and old – in Yankee pinstripes. There are just about as many Yankee fans as there are Phillies and Mets backers combined. Only in the Philadelphia suburbs do the Phillis dominate,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

One interesting side note is that Red Sox nation has about 5 percent of the fans in New Jersey. Since the Yankees can’t seem to beat the Sox this season those 5 percent are living mighty high on the hog right now.

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.

Nirvana Will Wait a Little Longer for Xanadu

June 1, 2009

An article on NYTimes.com [At $2.3 Billion, This Mall Could Be Too Big to Fail] today recounts the troubled history of the Xanadu project at the Meadowlands. The troubled übermall was supposed to have opened last Fall and the ribbon cutting has now been postponed indefinitely. Many in parties in the story are quoted as saying the project is sumply too big to fail. Well, tell that to someone who used to work at Lehman Brothers.

Anyone who has driven by recently has been hit by the fear that Garden Staters will be left with nothing but an ugly eyesore off of Route 3 and the turnpike for years to come. However, it appears the inside seems to look nice, according to the article. Something to look forward to if and when Xanadu ever opens.

NOLA in New Brunswick? The Old Bay Might Be It

June 1, 2009

Old Bay Restaurant
61-63 Church Street
New Brunswick, NJ, 08901
732-246-3111
http://www.oldbayrest.com

Recently, we took a road trip from Jerseycool headquarters in Montclair down the Garden State Parkway to our old stomping grounds in New Brunswick. The town has changed quite a bit over the last decade. Obviously, there is still a college-town feel, all of the well known haunts along Easton Avenue are there –  the Scarlet Pub, Ye Old Queens Tavern and the Knight Club – The Court Tavern is still rocking, but the Melody Bar is long gone, and that, my friends, is more than a little sad.

The Old Bay Restaurant, New Brunswick, NJ

The Old Bay Restaurant, New Brunswick, NJ

Among the changes Jerseycool found one constant. There is still good food to be found and we’re not talking about the Grease Trucks. We dined at the Old Bay Restaurant, which has been serving New Orleans style cuisine, in downtown New Brunswick since 1987. The restaurant was gutted and remodeled in 2004 with a greater emphasis put on the bar area. However, the remodel did nothing to the great food, service and atmosphere at the Old Bay.

The standard New Orleans fare is all there including, Shrimp Creole, Crawfish Etouffee and Chicken and Sausage Jumbalaya. There’s also some exotic fare – well exotic for Creole cooking – namely a Duck and Orzo Jumbalaya, as well as Pecan encrusted Catfish.  Jerseycool had the fish special, a Pecan encrusted Grouper, which was tasty as all hell.

One of the highlights was an agave flavored Magic Hat pilsner called Odd Notion that our server said had just made its way down from Burlington, Vermont. Unlike a lot of flavored beer, the agave was subtle and didn’t overwhelm the beer. The Old Bay prides itself on its beer selection, especially its selection of Louisiana’s Abita beer on tap. Our recommendation foodies is to skip the vino and treat yourself to one of the specialty beers, which you are unlikely to find on tap anywhere else in the area.

Prices are moderate with Jumbalaya costing about $14 while a whole crispy Snapper will run you $26.

The atmosphere also did not disappoint. We did not stay to hear the band going on after 10 p.m. but a steady stream of blues was played throughout the night, not loud enough to drown out the person sitting across from you but loud enough to let you know The Old Bay was about having a good time. Live music is still played at the Old Bay on weekends and the restaurant hosts a number of festivals including, Octoberfest, Halloween and, of course, Mardi Gras.

Getting to the Old Bay is still not exactly fun. New Brunswick’s hopping restaurant scene, especially on Church Street means parking can be an adventure. The early and lucky can find on-street parking but most will need to make do with the parking deck across the street.  We arrived for a 7 O’clock reservation and were at the top of the parking deck.

The Old Bay is walking distance from the train station in New Brunswick and, though not next door to the theater’s on George Street, is close enough to be considered walking distance.

There are fancier locales in New Brunswick but for a fun night out or a casual dinner there is little to quibble with the Old Bay.

NJ.com Goes Fishing for Some Tales

May 28, 2009

NJ.com has a new wrinkle to its usual sand and beach blogging fare. This year they are running a Jersey Shore Confessional. The new blog is made up of posts from shore goers wanting to relieve themselves of some guilt. There are no entries as of now but we suppose the hope is to get some of those titillating shore dramas onto the site. Yeah, we suppose NJ is also hoping to get some readers, too. Especially, in the18-34 demographic, but we digress.

There’s nothing revolutionary here. Sites where people can confess their sins, real, fake or imagined, have been around for awhile. However, JC can’t recall a major media site, no less one sponsored by an old-school newspaper like the Star Ledger, getting into this game.
No doubt, just like the shore, there will be some tall-fish tales going on but it could turn into the killer user interaction feature that NJ.com has been looking for. At least this will be more interesting than the Munchmobile.

Something tells me we’ll be hearing a lot about this blog as the summer goes on.

Springsteen’s Gets a New Beat from J Street

May 28, 2009

Bruce Springsteen has a new toy and his name is Jay Weinberg.  JerseyCool was in the house at last week’s Springsteen show and couldn’t help but feel that , even though the Mighty Max Weinberg was missed, this younger Weinberg has added a new dimension to the E-Street band.

Jay Weinberg, Max’s 18-year-old son, was tapped to play drums for most of Springsten’s latest tour because Max has been tied down rehearsing for his new gig as Conan O’Brien’s band leader on the new Tonight Show.  The results reveal a promising career for the junior Weinberg and a re-energized Springsteen on stage.

Several times during last Thursday’s show the Boss beamed, almost with fatherly pride, at Jay Weinberg. The pride was well placed as Jay added a new dimension to old standards like Badlands, Prove It All Night and Adam Raised a Cain. Some of these oldies but goodies sounded almost brand new with the hard pounding Weinberg, who with flowing black hair and beard looks like he would be more comfortable behind the kit for Metallica than the near-60-something Springsteen.

Springsteen has been on a good run of late. Ever since his Seeger Sessions Project when he took on hits from the 60s – the 1860s – he has been rejuvenated on stage.  For his Magic tour, Springsteen began collecting signs from audience members and performing some of his most-requested numbers like Rosalita, Incident on 57th Street and Kitty’s Back.

The Boss has continued this practice into his new shows, performing requested covers from artists as diverse as The Ramones and Bob Dylan. The new energy is even enough to forgive Springsteen some of his more indulgent choices, such as the long, long, Land of Hope and Dreams and the Seeger sessions holdover, American Land, which is a barnburner of a closing tune, but feels out of place with his most recent material.

Springsteen’s music from his latest album is almost an afterthought on this tour. On a good night, he’ll barely perform four songs from Working on a Dream, which is his third solid E-Street Band album this decade. It is almost as if he is having so much fun with the bad that he can’t stand to disappoint his fans by missing any of his greatest hits.

It’s easy to quibble over song choices, but as Springsteen chugs on toward his 60th birthday these is nothing but positive vibes coming out of E Street these days.

Closing Giants Stadium

Springsteen is in Europe now but swings back to the US for more tour dates in the Fall. He’ll be closing out Giants Stadium on Oct. 2, a show that is being billed as the last musical show at the stadium before it is torn down.

The show’s are already sparking controversy as tickets have popped up on broker sites before they go on sale Monday.

For Springsteen’s part let’s hope there isn’t a repeat of the Ticketmaster malfunctions that plagued the Meadowlands shows. Let’s also hope that the Oct. 2 date is, indeed, the last advertised show. People are still feeling burned after Billy Joel added a new “final” show at Shea Stadium well after tickets went on sale.