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.


Pinstripe Blues: Will Ticket Prices Change the Spirit of Yankee Stadium

March 29, 2009

I remember back in the mid-1990s driving to Yankee Stadium with a friend from Connecticut for a ballgame between Seattle and New York. The Yanks were slowly coming out of their decade long funk and it was a chance to see Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime as well as an exceptional Mariners team.

We parked, walked up to the box office, and for $20 a ticket we had field level seats along the first base line. I don’t remember how the game turned out for the Bronx Bombers but all-in-all it was a great way to spend an evening in the summer.

I’ve been thinking about this night recently because single-game tickets for the Yankees went on sale this week. I’ve spent a good bit of time trolling Ticketmaster with some fairly depressing results.

I looked into getting tickets for the opening series at the stadium against Cleveland. The moment of gratification I felt when four tickets popped up for my request was tempered when I saw the $900 price tag per ticket. Yes, for a mere $2,700 I could treat the family to similar seats that I got for $40 a little e more than a decade ago. I let those tickets go.

I tried a few other games, the best I could do was a pair of $375 field level seats for a series against Detroit in July. The priciest, a whopping $2,700 a ticket for seats against the world champion Phillies, albeit 5th row, field level seats. Sorry Yankees, at those prices I need a seat in the dugout next to Derek Jeter, perhaps a ride home from Jeter after the game as well.

It’s been well-chronicled this past week what cathedrals have been built in the Bronx for the Yankees and over in Queens for the Mets. It’s also been well-chronicled what premiums have been paid by fans to see these monuments to baseball extravagance.

Little has been written so far about what has been lost. The days of the average fan walking up to a gate and gaining entrance may be gone, at least in the short-term. Little has been mentioned how the pursuit of corporate-cash in the form of premium seating and luxury-box style amenities will change the atmosphere of baseball in New York.

Despite the sky-high free-agent salaries, which in the past were driven mostly by television revenues, a night at Yankee stadium always had a blue-collar feel. From the bleacher creatures-to the field level there was no mistaking it for opposing teams. You were in hostile territory, expecting harassment from hard-working citizens of the tri-state. Will the $2,500-a-ticket corporate clients manning the lower bowl of the stadium display the same passion? I’m not optimistic.


Of Property Taxes and Rebates

March 11, 2009

Paul Mulshine has a good piece on NJ.com today about Gov. Corzine’s new tax plan.

While we have been know to take Mr. Mulshine to task now and again. In particular, comparing Bruce Springsteen to Jimmy Buffet still casts grave doubts about Paul Mulshine’s credibility.

Still, the irony laced piece is a good read and in these times there’s something juxtaposing lines like this

“To help pay for the rebates, we have proposed eliminating the property tax deduction next year for everyone but seniors.”

Gov. Jon Corzine said it Tuesday during his budget speech. I still can’t believe I heard it.

Alive and Well in Montclair

March 9, 2009

Hello Kiddies. It’s been quite some time since my last post but JC’s creative juices are flowing this Sunday evening so, while I won’t make any promises, keep checking back and you might find some words of wisdom, or two or three in this digital place.

Just to catch everyone up, it’s been a year of change for JC, The paying gig, which was challenging enough, became more so once the bottom fell out of the economy last Fall. Many of you out there are sailing the same iceberg-bound luxury liner, so I ain’t complaining.

Life also became more complicated with the arrival of Little J in September, JerseyCool’s first attempt at genetic replication.

With all that’s going on, I’m not sure if JerseyCool will be the same sort of blog it’s been. At this point, the Stuffed Rigatoni at Nauna’s is about as fine dining as we get.

Still, there are pearls of wisdon to be had, well, at least a few grains of sand.

So fellow travelers if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.


Ahem, Bad Pizza in Montclair?

March 28, 2008

Dear loyal Jerseycool readers,

Someday our day boss will get off of his ass and hire enough staff to let Jerseycool maintain this blog better than he has over the past several months. However, until that  day comes, or until the recession makes Jerseycool our full-time gig, we will pick an choose our moments. This is one of those moments.

We turn our attention to Joel Schwartzberg’s blog on NJ.com where he subtly implies that one of the local pizza haunts up here in Jerseycool central was less than superb the other night.

Now we can list our favorites for Joel: Naunas, Mama Leone’s, Villa Victoria, Marzulla’s but JC thought our readers should have a crack at this one. So here it is folks. Fire away at Joel and tell him where he about your favorite Montclair Jersey pizza.


Intrigued by In Treatment

March 10, 2008

I’ve been giving HBO a hard time ever since The Sopranos went off of the air, finding it hard to justify the $10-$12 I donate to the company’s coffers each month, and when I first saw the promos for In Treatment I didn’t hold out much hope that things were going to get much better.

Slowly but surly though the show has grown to become an addictive part of the week. Sure it helps that it’s on about five times a day but a show like this is worthy of praise.

If  you’ve missed it, Gabriel Byrne, he of the mighty Irish brogue, treats four different patients, one each day of the week and then finds himself seeking therapy for his own failing marriage. The patients can be a bit of a cliche. There’s the non-functional fighter pilot, impotent and potentially gay (played by a terrific Blair Underwood, almost making up for his cameo on The New Adventures of Old Christine), a suicidal teen hiding a past that may include sexual abuse, a waring couple whose marriage becomes endagered after years of trust issues. Oh and there’s the thirtysomething bombshell who is in love with Paul and who Paul has fallen in love with.

The show would be just one long In Treatmentbitch-fest if not for the fifth therapy session of the week. Paul’s own treatment session with Dianne Wiest, his former mentor. The sessions between Byrne and Wiest are electric and both should start making room for the Emmy that will surly come to both.

Byrne has never been this good. He’s an absolute God in sessions with his patients and then turns into the greatest prick of all time in his own sessions as he attempts to justify his own ethically-challenged behavior. The central question here is whether or not Paul is a good therapist? Is he helping his patients to find their way in the world or is he simply too self-absorbad to be doing anyone, including himself, any good.

Byrne has created the least likeliest hero this side of Gregory House, but the underlying theme here is that maybe there are no heroes — no right paths in therapy — and the specter of two people, therapist and patient, clinging to one another as they try to make sense of their wounded lives is utterly riveting.


Good Luck to Boken’s Borgella

February 14, 2008

There’s a nice piece about American Idol hopeful and Hoboken native Joanne Borgella over on NJ.com today.  We haven’t heard enough of the singer who is also a plus-sized model to handicap her chances but here’s hoping that no risqué photos of her pop up online like a certain other Garden State hopeful from last season.

BTW, in case you missed it. This season’s Idol contests are the most talented the show has ever had. Ryan Seacrest pointed that out for the 533rd time last night.


It Was a Very Good Year

December 19, 2007

Art Namendorf over at the Artful Diner has listed his top restaurants for 2007. No JerseyCool favorites made the list but for the most part we’ve found the Artful Diner to be spot on. So heres an early gift for foodies.


Holiday Flicks at Loews in Jersey City

December 14, 2007

LookMiracle on 34th Streeting for a little holiday cheer this weekend? Well the Loews Theater in Jersey City is showing Miracle on 34th Street tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Mary Poppins tomorrow at 6 p.m.

Santa will be at the theater from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Santa will pose for digital photos at $3 a pop but if you bring a wrapped toy St. Nick will throw the picture in for free.

A little fun before the big storm hits.


Sesame Adds Flavor and Flair to Eastern Cuisine

December 2, 2007

400 Bloomfield Ave.
Montclair, NJ, 07042

I have a friend who won’t eat at a Chinese restaurants that has pictures of the food on the wall. Well, Sesame in Montclair would be on the short list of Chinese places she can eat at since you won’t find any pictures on the wall, instead there are large photos of scenes from ordinary life in China on the nicely decorated interior of Sesame.

Boasting a red brick interior and two-tiered dining hall, Sesame has the look and feel of an Italian restaurant. It sits in the same building as the historic Roberts Wellmont Theater and you can see attention has been paid to maintain the same historic feel.

The food lives up to the surrounding. We dined there a few weeks back and as always we sampled the steamed dumplings, which were warm and flavorful. Several groups around us ordered groups of appetizers and picked off of each others plates, which isn’t a bad strategy for groups since the menu is extensive without the daily specials.

We settled on the Moo Shu Pork and C had the duck special. Often JC finds duck to be a bit on the fatty side but Sesame’s was tender, juicy and well proportioned. The Moo Shu comes in a large plate and the initial plan was to bring home leftovers for lunch but it was simply too good to not finish off.

My personal best Moo Shu is still over at the Bean Curd in Chatham but Sesame’s isn’t far behind. If I was blindfolded and doing a taste test, not sure which would come out on top.

Sesame is open for lunch and dinner and there is a jazz brunch on Sunday, which is a holdover from the Blue Sky Café days at the same location.

If you are looking for quality Chinese food that goes beyond the typical menu, Sesame is will meet your need.