Vichy Water – Author's Blog

April 12, 2015

It’s heavy. It’s not my brother or a hard rain but the old Upstage Club in Asbury Park, NJ, USA A Memorial? April 12, 2015 By Calvin Schwartz

It’s heavy. It’s not my brother or a hard rain but the old Upstage Club in Asbury Park, NJ, USA    A Memorial?           April 12, 2015       By Calvin Schwartz

 

the facade of the old Upstage at midnight. a meditative place

the facade of the old Upstage at midnight. a meditative place

the ascension of psychedlic stairs

the ascension of psychedlic stairs

 

 

This op-ed blog or whatever it is, structurally, is best designed to be that stream of almost absurd consciousness that I’ve grown accustomed to these past few literary years. Suddenly, last summer, I heard The Everly Brothers singing ‘Bye Bye Love’ in a pinball amusement place on Ocean Avenue in Belmar, New Jersey. It’s 1957 and my parents rented a bungalow for August. If I behaved all week, watched my three year old sister Hildy, walked her in a stroller around the block every weekday morning, then when my father came down by Jersey Central rail train on the weekend, the family would go to Asbury Park’s boardwalk on Saturday night. My first experienced love of the city.

 

 

 

local percussionists on the boardwalk. part of the musical magic of Asbury Park

local percussionists on the boardwalk. part of the musical magic of Asbury Park

with the President on the boardwalk by Convention Hall in a steady rain

with the President on the boardwalk by Convention Hall in a steady rain

 

I’ll get to the Upstage. What I’m doing now is creating the background to suggest I am eminently qualified to deliver all kinds of coinage (two cents) about the city of Asbury Park and this special place on Cookman Avenue that launched a thousand musical ships, future careers and dreams. Well maybe not a thousand. Let’s cut to four years ago. Suddenly, during the summer of 2011, I became a journalist covering all aspects of Monmouth County life. The epicenter of that life for me was Asbury Park. I’ve covered the President visiting the boardwalk, Zombie Walk, Jersey Shore Dream Center (food pantry & kitchen), NJ Hall of Fame Induction, Light of Day, Hurricane Sandy, Asbury Lanes and Dr. Sketchy, all the historic music venues, Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation, Asbury Park Comedy Festival, Bamboozle, Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Jersey Shore Arts Center (the old Neptune High Building, hmmm?) and have spent countless days and nights, seemingly full-time becoming a denizen of the boardwalk.

As much as four or five times a week, I absorbed music all over the city; even a collection of indigenous drummers, percussionists and hula-hoop purveyors on the boardwalk, before police would chase them away, all reveling naturally in self-expression before a setting summer sun. Yes, the ingredients of a real music city.

 

 

my posing in 2012 .at the Upstage.  the pose was suggested to me by a special photographer.

my posing in 2012 .at the Upstage. the pose was suggested to me by a special photographer.

Bruce Springsteen posing at the Upstage in 2011

Bruce Springsteen posing at the Upstage in 2011

 

A few years ago, I got off a tour bus in Asbury Park, part of the Springsteen Symposium at Monmouth University, and heard local historians/journalists(Jean Mikle and Stan Goldstein) talk about Bruce, Convention Hall and the Stone Pony. Later, we stood in front of a building signed ‘Extreme,’ (back in 2001, the first floor was a shoe store) the top two floors, windows extant but covered over with concrete, like deliberately sealing a part of its past; a sarcophagus perhaps. They explained the hidden floors were the old ‘Upstage Club,’ founded by visionaries Margaret and Tom Potter, where Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Little Steven Van Zandt, Vini Lopez, Garry Tallent and Danny Federici were all regulars from 1968 to 1971 until it closed permanently. The door was padlocked and the last four decade history was explained to the group. Actually there is no history just endless abandonment and rumors that it might be torn down for condos. Back then, it was an almost all night (no alcohol) club where creative young musicians performed and explored until early morning hours. It was all for music’s sake; a brilliant concept and launching pad of expression and destiny. How synchronistic; the granddaughter of Margaret and Tom  Potter, Carrie Potter Devening, published this wonderful book, ‘For Music’s Sake’ giving the history of the Upstage Club.  I was haunted standing there, looking up, imagining what it must’ve been like all those years ago with incredible musical talent that has gone on to the global stage. This was my first ‘Upstage’ exposure and the early particulates of the molecular energy that birthed my love affair with the building, its history, founders and supporters.

I was smitten with sentimentality and history. On several occasions, over the years, around midnight,(like the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere)  I went to Asbury Park on a meditative sojourn, stood outside the Upstage Club, looked up to a snow flurry or a starry summer sky and dreamed what was and what could be. I took pictures of the silence of the building and posted on social media. That’s when Carrie Potter Devening saw my posts, pictures and we became friends.

 

the first class of Asbury Angels

the first class of Asbury Angels

Tara-Jean McDonald Vitale interviewing Tony Pallagrosi for NJ Discover TV at Angels Induction.

Tara-Jean McDonald Vitale interviewing Tony Pallagrosi for NJ Discover TV at Angels Induction.

 

My dream collection process was accelerated; why couldn’t Asbury Park take its place as an international music destination so that one day it would be impossible to find a parking space on Cookman Avenue in the dead of winter; the city would be frenetic and alive with the sounds of music and the Upstage Club would again become that creative purist musical mecca. If you want to make it in New York, you have to make it at the Jersey shore first. If the club was crowded, I’d even sit on the floor, stare at vintage art on the walls and dreamily listen to music until 4 am, with just a cup of espresso. The music closed my eyes to dreams. I remember Robert Kennedy’s quote, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” The streams of consciousness remind me of a scene from Henry Fonda in ‘Mister Roberts.’ What’s this I hear, that so many in the Asbury Park concentric circles of commonality, are letting the concept of Margaret and Tom Potter, musical creativity and even the brick and mortar of the Upstage Club disappear.

 

at Angels Induction with Kevin John Allen, Carl Tinker West,Vini Lopez, Carrie Potter Devening

at Angels Induction with Kevin John Allen, Carl Tinker West,Vini Lopez, Carrie Potter Devening

with singer musician Joe Petillo who played at the Upstage.

with singer musician Joe Petillo who played at the Upstage.

 

More streams. There’s a skeleton of a building, concrete pillars and a make-shift fence surrounding the massive property; a project started and quickly abandoned years ago. It’s on Ocean Avenue, a few blocks from Convention Hall. Of course, it’s an eye-sore, but for me it dramatizes a part of the Asbury Park experience. On several occasions, I conducted tours of Asbury Park and explained to foreign visitors, this was actually a commissioned sculpture depicting the future rising of Asbury Park. I can’t remember if I ever finally told them the truth. It doesn’t matter. The only truth is there are so many circles (‘interest’ groups) that want Asbury Park to finally arrive, but with so many different agendas on pastel brick roads.

It’s really not my place here to talk about the haunting history and emotional evocation of this magical place, The Upstage Club; so much has been said, written, talked about on radio or in restaurants up and down our Jersey shore. It’s the lighting of a fire, somewhere (someone) and installation of commitment to keep the concept within the city alive (or perhaps a block away?). Carrie Potter Devening has been tirelessly working for the past ten years to keep it alive; perhaps make it a museum and night club (without alcohol) again. There are efforts to raise money to buy the building, petitions to all those circles rolling around.

 

 

with singer Sharon Lasher at the last walk through

with singer Sharon Lasher at the last walk through

 

 

with Tara_Jean McDonald Vitale on assignment with NJ Discover TV at Upstage

with Tara_Jean McDonald Vitale on assignment with NJ Discover TV at Upstage

In 2012, on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, was the Asbury Angels first induction ceremony. The Angels are people who’ve passed, but contributed much to the rich musical history of the city going back way before Margaret and Tom Potter, who were also inducted that September day.  Music came to Asbury Park basically from the day it was born in 1871. From John Phillip Sousa and the city’s own Arthur Pryor, one of the greatest trombone players, to the clubs along Springwood Avenue on the city’s Westside where the likes of Billie Holiday (who would’ve turned 100 as I’m writing this) Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and many other jazz and blues greats performed, to the Upstage, and right up to today, music is Asbury Park.

 

 

 

 

 

a view of the silence of the  Upstage

a view of the silence of the Upstage

with Vini Lopez on stage by the famous holes.

with Vini Lopez on stage by the famous holes.

 

 

I met Carrie at the Angels Induction Ceremony, after her book, ‘For Music’s Sake’ signing in Convention Hall Arcade and later she facilitated my first visit to the Upstage Club. The building owner had graciously opened (for a few) the top two floors, left absolutely intact since 1971, with the walls still replete with unique psychedelic art. In the men’s room, I saw scrawled on the wall, ‘Steel Mill 1971.’(Springsteen’s early band).  There was a strange silence walking around; one of those hard to explain moments. I stopped in front a brightly painted psychedelic wall and posed for a picture by a photographer who took the same picture of Bruce Springsteen just a year earlier, when he stopped by for ostensibly the last time. Sentimentality crosses barriers of time, space and people.

 

 

 

 

 

with Carrie Potter Devening on the third floor

with Carrie Potter Devening on the third floor

Steel Mill 1971 scrawled on the mens bathroom wall.

Steel Mill 1971 scrawled on the mens bathroom wall.

 

Walking around in the sounds of silence of the Upstage, I asked questions of a few who were there when it mattered. Tom Potter wanted a place with no peer pressure, where you can refine your skills and play music if you were too young to play at bars; the beauty of a non-alcoholic stage and the fact the Upstage was never a business just a club. I wonder who wrote the book of love and if all the ‘circles’ realize this. Jam sessions would seemingly never finish. Vinnie Roslin once started a song and it lasted 140 minutes. Things happened fast at the young club. Sometimes before a band could come up with a name, the band broke up. But those days are long gone. Things are different now; sound, technology, smart phones, fracking and internet.

 

 

 

welcome to the Upstage

welcome to the Upstage

 

Carrie Potter Devening book "For Music's Sake" all about the Upstage

Carrie Potter Devening book “For Music’s Sake” all about the Upstage

 

My impulse as a sentimental journalist (oxymoron?) is to find a way to save this part of Americana and musical history. ‘You Can’t Go Home Again,” by Thomas Wolfe rings in my ear like a troublesome tinnitus. Perhaps you really CAN get home despite his admonition; so I’d like to believe. That’s why I’m doing this writing. Then slowly I turned around, came full circle and an epiphany (it was that strong) slapped sense and sensibility which means inevitability and probability. I heard what one of the E-Street Band members said that The Upstage is only brick and mortar and the memories last forever; some truth and maybe not an evasion. But what’s really important is the future of Asbury Park, NJ, USA. The concept of the Upstage Club must never fade away like an old general. The spirit must endure so today’s young musicians have something to propel Asbury Park into the future and a place where they are nurtured. And the future is slowly getting there. I have that dream of seeing Asbury Park as a global musical destination. Another ingredient is a first recording studio which is now here.  So to my ‘now’ epiphany, if its only brick and mortar, that’s alright ‘Mah’, we just have to keep the concept alive. The Upstage could find a different format if or when all the ‘circles’ decide to let the old tired walls come down.

 

 

 

the LAST jam session. and they all have wondrous smiles.

the LAST jam session. and they all have wondrous smiles.

 

the LAST picture in Black and White reminiscent of the black and white movie 'The Last Picture Show'

the LAST picture in Black and White reminiscent of the black and white movie ‘The Last Picture Show’

Sometimes I ask myself, whom I’m going to call now. Ghostbusters or all those ‘circles’ I know of? A few weeks ago, I received an invite to presumably the last walk through of the Upstage. Then the best; I went back to the future when Vini Lopez, Paul Whistler, Joe Petillo, Rich Gulya, Jon Sebastian Brice and Sharon Lasher took the stage with all the holes behind them, paint was peeling from ceiling and walls and they jammed for a last time like there is a tomorrow. A box of plaster pieces for souvenirs rested to stage right; we stuffed our pockets with history; a Berlin wall?  I closed my eyes for a few seconds while the band played on. I dreamed again. Being there fueled my writing this piece. I’ve now said my peace.  One final thought as the clock on my computer approaches 4:44 AM Sunday morning. There’s a wonderful historic building a block from Asbury Park that used to be the old Neptune High School a long time ago. Now it’s the Jersey Shore Arts Center.  I wrote a feature article about them for NJ The Shore Thing last September. Yet another Calvin epiphany hit me a year ago; a new Upstage Club? And I wonder who really wrote the book of love.

Post script:  Watch for acclaimed director Tom Jones’ film about The Upstage Club to be released next year.

Carrie Potter Devening book link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-Musics-Sake-Asbury-Parks-Upstage-Club-and-Green-Mermaid-Cafe/127404970667418?pnref=story

GoFund Me to raise money to buy the building: http://www.gofundme.com/6d1l6k

Sign the Petition at change.org to save The Upstage Club: http://chn.ge/1aGM1Zs

 

April 11, 2013

April 12th Miscellaneous: What Happens When I Look at a Picture. Not Quite 1000 Words. and Asbury Park on my Mind. April 12, 2013

Sometimes I have no clue where the time goes. I have been blogging here for 3 years and loved every evolution. When I started his blog, I was ‘home’ for the holidays and for 365 days a year so there was time to reflect and update the blog weekly. Then after two years, I became a journalist in (Asbury Park) Monmouth County, New Jersey and a few months after that started with NJ Discover TV and suddenly last autumn, I’ve got a whole new life. From whence I’ve become a music, art and para-normal journalist. I also still thrive on environmental reporting. But I can’t get to this blog as often as I’d like. You get pulled in new directions. This blog is my home. So is NJ Discover and Facebook. I do write very creative things daily on my Facebook wall (Cal Schwartz) and more so on my Calvin Schwartz-Cerebral Writer (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvin-Schwartz-Cerebral-Writer/258272024192114

wall. So if you’re reading this, come join me on Facebook, friend me and we’ll stay in touch. Yes I’ll always blog here.  I’ve also been asked to write a biography of  one of the most important figures in the global music world and I’m deeply honored and thrilled. That takes time away too. So in the interest of quirky fascinating blogs, I’ve chosen to bring some pictures and accompanying words from Calvin Schwartz-Cerebral Writer for this blog installment. They’re all short stories so to speak and most pictures I took exploring the world. Be well.
DSCN0582

 

with writer, actor, director Joe Basile of movie ‘West End’ (http://www.westendthemovie.com/home.html ) filmed on the Jersey Shore. for me a powerful character study which i loved. tonight film at Soho Intl Film Fest. it won in Garden State Film Fest where THIS pix taken last week Asbury Park paramount theatre. i orchestrated (in the orchestra section ) this pix. using special effect of sloping aisle so Joe looks so much taller. as i observed earlier Joe reminds me of a young (Rocky) Sylvester Stallone.(same multi-faceted) cal schwartz, writer, njdiscover.com
Please “LIKE” CALVIN SCHWARTZ-CEREBRAL WRITER.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvin-Schwartz-Cerebral-Writer/258272024192114?fref=ts

 

 

DSCN0555

 

 

i don’t sit still. watching a live radio WCTC broadcast last week. i snuck out. climbed stairs in the old paramount theater in Asbury Park. the 2nd floor. rather haunting. desolate. a few small lights in hallway. then to third floor. it was awful chilly on staircase. felt not alone. then i found this door to 3rd floor. but i stopped. the ambiance made me. i turned around. now i’ll always wonder what was behind the door. i just finished a banana. i need the potassium.

 

 

 

 

 


DSCN7996

 

 

lately. sitting in a remote spot. on a beach. or on the 2nd floor backstage of an old theatre which is probably haunted i think about things. the pursuit of clarity. i carry a camera to facilitate. never carried a camera before. suddenly last summer i started. PIX: sunday from the electricity of the JAM awards in Ocean Grove (444 feet from Asbury Park) near the very end of the 7 hour show, a band on stage and i drifted far away. long ago. and i was moved. and remote. and how i wished my father had remote control growing up.

 

 

 

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when i was in kindergarten i couldn’t sit still. i wandered around. never raised my hand. called out things in class and annoyed the teacher who wrote my parents a letter. eisenhower was just elected president. perhaps the letter writing today is substituted for chemicals. point being. i was sitting in the Paramount theatre in Asbury Park on friday part of Garden State Film Festival and while WCTC 1450 was doing live broadcast(with Bert Baron) i couldn’t sit still. i explored the deep recesses of the greasepaint and theatre. backstage and upstairs where the temperature seemed to drop 20 degrees. hey it gets hot tomorrow in jersey (80 degrees)

 

 

 

 

 

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sometimes i like to slip thru barricades and go where i’m not supposed to.captain kirk went to places beyond. i remember a 60’s song, imagination. there was this huge party on the beach blanket. people were playing bingo. PIX: roaming around on day before Garden State Film Festival at Asbury Park convention hall. indeed greetings and lights and ocean. Festival concludes today. “you should’ve been there”

 

 

 

 

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it’s 4:21 am. it’s either quite late or eerily early. most pictures i post here are from my own taking. i looked for a while and i couldn’t find that certain feeling of expression. but i have sources. i’m a journalist after all. so here’s a strange pix. a year or so ago in my blog at vichywater.net i used to tackle some consumerism issues. i strayed. but earlier today i heard a report about drug stores(chains mostly) and the prices they charge. i used to be a pharmacist in an earlier life on another planet. now i can say how some unsuspecting americans are raped by out of control prices. a month supply of a generic statin drug is $20 at a ware house pharmacy and $150 at a neighborhood national chain. is there a better word than rape. i think it’s time to watch wuthering heights again.. and to pretend i am heathcliffe.

 

 

 

 

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perhaps a cosmic magnetic phenomenon but i am always drawn to the jersey shore. even yesterday. a cold wind. but i found my way to Asbury Park and watched rebuilding and construction. i climbed over a barricade and took pixs. a worker approached and asked if i was with the city of Asbury Park. he told me i need a hard hat to be on the construction site. i said (quoting the terminator) “i’ll be back” knowing i didn’t have a hard hat in the trunk. but i had telescopic lenses. and the jersey strong shore will be open for memorial day.

 

 

 

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i don’t know. there is a certain beauty to urban art. decay. abandonment. disrepair. so i stared at this scene in long branch nj. actually on the set of a movie, ‘The Soulless’ appropriately dealing with zombies and other matters. far from an amusement park with ice cream, cotton candy, dreams and rides back to the future. i enjoy the solitude of urban settings and wonder when and who and why. some times i wonder about picking up a blowing in the wind piece of paper. holding it. and then writing about it. imagination. “the origin of dirt’. hey its tuesday. yogurt with pineapple. somewhere up north maybe its pasta.

 

 

 

 

 

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i ponder the phenomenon of urban living. spatial requirements. concrete roads as opposed to clay to ride bikes on. often i’ve tried to gather the gumption to find a cabin like henry (d. thoreau) did. i travel often the introspective highway to see if i could support myself in a cabin (sustainability is a hot buzz word). then the truth slaps me hard. i snap out of it. and realize i need suburban living. and get this. i’ve come to accept i am addicted to the smell of new jersey car exhaust in the morning. sitting around walden pond even though its commercialized now can not afford me the car exhaust i need.

 

 

 

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fri night. a view of backstage at a backstage event at the strand theatre in lakewood nj (built in 1922) the band, ‘slim chance and the gamblers’ dazzled. funny, curious. i was in lakewood exactly one week before when Tent City residents went to court to fight for human dignity and their tents. later around midnight i walked around the deserted streets of lakewood. papers blew in the wind. reminded me of sagebrush. tumbleweed. i was in the western town dodge city. billy the kid told me to ride out of town. and not to stop. then i realized i was all alone. “shane, come back”

 

 

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i hung out at the MET museum in NYC. quite frankly i love museums in nyc. a long time ago i used to go and study etchings with a notebook. better than a singles bar. now it is pure absorption. i was fascinated with sculptures in the atrium adjacent to a cafeteria. and i smiled at the oblivious scene all around. in their own worlds of egg salad wraps and decaf coffee. it also reminded of a scene from hitchcock’s ‘north by northwest’. when the gun goes off. except a little boy puts his hand over ears before shot. happy thursday.

 

 

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omigosh its 1:11 am friday. i write best with the sounds of silence all around. its been a long time since everyone on the street where i lived went bowling. well, once a month anyway. then after to a local diner for french fries and gravy. there were no tuna wraps back then. no wraps at all. now its rap. my parents balked when bill haley and the comets started. they were hooked on benny goodman, duke ellington and glenn miller. for a long time i wondered about getting the perspective from where the bowling pins hung out. what they see and feel. so i ventured. so i saw. not sure i felt yet. maybe friday at 1 pm on the steps of the ocean county court house. thanks to Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park New Jersey

 

 

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someone recently asked why idea of cerebral writer. a long story. lot of roads. inspirations. observations. spiritual interventions. and of course an on going process. i was thrilled hanging with auguste rodin and other cerebral statues in an urban museum. later when the museum lights were off, i walked into the world of Egyptian antiquity. they make movies about these experiences. pix: me and Balzac athlete. i would’ve taken him one on one in a nearby playground but i wasn’t dressed for it.

 

 

 

 

me

me

                                                                                                                                                                         Please “LIKE” CALVIN SCHWARTZ-CEREBRAL WRITER.                                                                                                                              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvin-Schwartz-Cerebral-Writer/258272024192114?fref=ts

September 26, 2012

Asbury Angels Induction Ceremony: Asbury Park NJ Sunday 9/23. A New Film: ‘Just Around the Corner: The Story of Bob Benjamin’ screened at Bruce Springsteen Symposium at Monmouth University.September 26, 2012

Asbury Park

Asbury Park

THE ASBURY ANGELS

 

 

My blog. My blog. My kingdom to find more time like the old days (2 years ago) when I blogged once a week or so. Life is beautiful and accelerating beyond comprehension. Sometimes I think that my writing and music journalistic pursuits are leading me to a non-snow covered mountaintop in Tibet where I’ll be able to see forever but  it has to be a clear day. It’s a clear day right now in central Jersey.  So I’ll get there and get back to my blog, my love, and my forest through trees and a babbling brook of streams of consciousness; in time. Meantime, I went to this most amazing ceremony in Asbury Park this past Sunday honoring the Asbury Angels, those who have passed on but have given their molecular energies and spirit to the phenomenon of Asbury Park music. Here’s some of what I took away. But also at the end of this Asbury Angels piece is a very unique review of a new film, ‘Just Around the Corner: The Story of Bob Benjamin.’ Why unique review? It’s just one word. “Riveting.”

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Jackie Pappas from Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce with introduction to ceremony. not a cloud in the sky

 

Asbury Park

part of the crowding of the boardwalk for the ceremony.

 

 

Twenty minutes before the Asbury Angels ceremony. Shooting down Asbury Avenue for the 78th time this year; that’s an approximation but probably close. I’ve developed a love affair to remember with Asbury Park and find myself there three or four times a week; hey, I’m a music, art, environmental and evolving cerebral journalist and Asbury has morphed into a renaissance/ re-birth. I’ve been saying for some time now in my writings that part of this dynamic is the celestial descending of particulates of molecular energy from the living and past musical history of this town; I’m saying that the world knows about Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Vini Lopez, and the vast array of current performers whose roots came from Asbury.

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Asbury Angels Founder Tony Pallagrosi introducing inductees/bios.

 

Asbury Park

 

 

Yes, for me this energy  is absolutely palpable. Last summer I remember walking down Cookman Avenue and looking across the street at several houses. One had a pastel green back porch; a young teenage boy was playing a guitar and gyrating. I was certain he was pretending /dreaming ‘Springsteen.’  I thought to myself; it’s the sprinkled particle energy of the living legends. I also thought while heading down Asbury Avenue, adhering to the speed limit, passed an Italian restaurant and beautiful red brick church, that I was heading to an emotional poignant ceremony honoring particulate energy of Asbury music history of those who have passed on.

 

 

 

Asbury Park

cutting the ribbon. hugely moving ceremony to unveil Angels.

 

Asbury Park

the plaque unveiled honoring Clarence Clemons

 

 

 

 

Iconic Tony Pallagrosi, so deeply involved in the musical and philanthropic composition of Asbury Park founded the Asbury Angels.  “The mission of the Asbury Angels is to honor and memorialize the lives and history of members of the Asbury Park musical community, including but not limited to, musicians, tech support persons, DJs, journalists, club owners, record company personnel, managers and promoters.”

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Tara-Jean Vitale(editor, producer at NJ Discover) interviewing Tony Pallagrosi

 

Asbury Park

writer Calvin with Kevin John Allen(Lonely Teardrops Band) & Marc Ribler (& Friends ROCK tuesday nights at McCloones Boardwalk)

 

NJ Discover’s team, Tara-Jean Vitale (editor, producer) and I quickly slammed car doors in front of the Stone Pony, and joined the hundreds assembling on the boardwalk for the induction of the 2012 class (first one) of the Asbury Angels. Jackie Pappas from the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce introduced Tony Pallagrosi who read brief biographies of the inductees. Families and friends applauded each reading; the ocean glistened in the background; the sky was perfectly blue and the weather Gods cooperated. The night before, Pallagrossi hinted, Springsteen’s concert at Met Life stadium was rain delayed until 10:30pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

writer Calvin with Kevin John Allen, Carl Tinker West (Bruce Springsteen’s 1st manager) Vini Lopez(with leg up) and Carrie Potter Devening (author of a amazing book “For Music’s Sake Asbury Park’s Upstage Club & Green Mermaid Cafe: The Untold Stories”) after a very poignant Asbury Angels Induction Ceremony on the boardwalk at Asbury on sunday. this day was powerful stuff

 

 

 

I listened to every word of each bio. These were legends and icons that did so much for Asbury music. I kept thinking in the midst of the throngs consuming the whole width of the boardwalk, that someday these Angels would’ve contributed to making Asbury Park one of the world’s music destinations. I want to think everyone thought like me. After all, look at the depth, range and impact of these Angels. Its two days later as I write this. I’m still intestinally queasy. I was so moved being there.

As each name was read, a plaque on a boardwalk bench was unveiled with the bio of the Angel.  Huge scissors were summoned to cut the yellow ribbon to share the memorial for the ages. It was Asbury Park’s walk of fame.  The 2012 Asbury Angels are: Arthur Willard Pryor, Bobby Alfano, Larry ‘Bozo’ Blasco, Bill Chinnock, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, John Luraschi, Joe Arthur Major, Arthur Morris, Tom and Margaret Potter, and Moe Septee.  When the ceremony was over, I watched people hugging and shaking hands, photographers capturing plaques, old friends seeing one another after decades, smiles and bittersweet  teary eyes; a panoply of emotions.  I did my joyous deep inhalation/exhalation. “Hey Mah, look where I am,” and thought ten thousand people should’ve been here to experience this. (Or more)

You can find the biographies and information on the Asbury Angels here:

http://asburyangels.com/default/index/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

 

 

INTRODUCING THE FILM  “JUST AROUND THE CORNER”  The Story of Bob Benjamin.

A POWERFUL RECOMMENDATION (I rarely do this)     http://www.amazon.com/Just-Around-Corner-Bob-Benjamin/dp/B008B49FHG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348600934&sr=8-2&keywords=just+around+the+corner+dvd

 

On a Thursday(first day of 4) night, two weeks ago I attended, ‘Glory Days, A Bruce Springsteen Symposium’ at Monmouth University. It was an academic, musical and geographical adventure into the world of Bruce Springsteen. On that first night in Wilson Hall at Monmouth University there were two special events as part of the symposium; a ‘Songwriters by the Sea’ concert with gifted singers, Joe Rapolla and Joe D’Urso; in a room of indescribable ambiance so their acoustical  music lifted me a few thousand miles away. That’s what this ‘Songwriters by the Sea’ series does to me every time. The concert was preceded by a special screening of the new film, ‘Just Around the Corner: The Story of Bob Benjamin.’  Sometimes I’m less of a reviewer or journalist but a conduit of feeling emotions and expressing my environment when doing so. Thus an observation about the viewing audience and me: it was about as silent and intense absorbing/viewing a film as I’ve ever seen. A human interest and story of courage. So my only one word  review so to speak, “riveting.”  Probably means if you follow my one word lead; pick up a copy at Amazon and other places.

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Pix: Bob Benjamin, Joe D’Urso, Joe Amodei at Q/A. at the screening at Monmouth University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 14, 2012

Olympic Memories: Flo Hyman. Royal Caribbean Nightmare. Please Let My Apples Turn Brown. Dr Sketchy Asbury Park N.J. I Am a New Word in the Dictionary: Flexitarian. August 14, 2012

Asbury Park

it’s me the blogger who is sometimes sporadically tardy

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to talk about Asbury Park; it’s becoming a real love affair to remember; me and that Jersey shore town with all kinds of magical musical Springsteen energy and history. The Olympics are now over and I was glued to my television set just like I was back in 1968, 1972 and every four years (not 1980, Jimmy) through most of my relevant life. Speaking of glue, a dermatologist just told me a few weeks ago that when I get those little cracks in my fingers which annoy and cause depressing pain, I should get crazy glue and blast the suckers shut. I was a little hesitant about the crazy glue thinking it’s almost irreversible so instead I used hoof lacquer (the stuff for horses) and it worked. I just thought about the Jane Fonda 1969 movie, ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’  I think they take old race horses now and ship them to Mexico to be made into human food stuffs.

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Olympic great volleyball player Flo Hyman. always one of my heroes.

 

 

I love watching the Olympics; every four years I get a generation older; could’ve started and finished another college education and the Olympics come back. I’m four years older, wiser and that far removed from ever being an athlete in the Olympics. If I lived to be 100 years old, then the most Olympics I could ever see would be just 25 summer classics and that’s pushing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Carli Lloyd scored the winning gold medal goal against Japan with seconds left. A Rutgers graduate too.

 

 

 

 

How I wish there was a bucket floating around a Jersey shore jetty that would lift and move me to attend an Olympics live. Imagine sitting in Wembley stadium last week and watching Carli Lloyd (Rutgers University) score two goals to give USA the gold medal in Women’s football (soccer) over Japan.  I sometimes think about Olympian Flo Hyman. I wonder how many viewers of NBC’s Olympic coverage know who she was; yes, an Olympian and not that long ago. I lament that more folks don’t know who she was and what she contributed to team USA winning a silver medal. Flo passed away much too young yet she impacted me enough to be blogging about her now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

Jesse Owens. always an Olympic hero

 

 

In 1974, Hyman was a member of the US volleyball team, but the team did not play in the 1980 Olympic Games; the United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics because the Russians were messing around in Afghanistan.  I still remember Flo Hyman’s fast, hurting volleyball spike that hits at 100 mph. I loved to watch her play just like I do now with Misty Mae and Kerri. At the 1984 Olympics, Hyman, the tallest and oldest member of the team, led the US to the silver medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

First Lady Michelle Obama and Mayor Cory Booker at my grammar school, Maple Avenue where I was always tardy.

 

 

After the Olympics, Hyman moved to Japan, where she played for the Daiei team. In the summer of 1986, she intended to return to the United States permanently, but never got the chance. On January 24, 1986, Hyman collapsed while sitting on the bench.  She told her team to keep fighting, then moments later slid to the floor and died. It was a condition called Marfan’s Syndrome which affects tall people. I’m 6’5” and I still think about Flo Hyman, Jesse Owens and Bob Mathias among others. With respect to universe connectivity, I wonder why thoughts of Flo Hyman are always with me. One more Olympic thought; international sport and athletes are a beautiful thing. I get all choked up watching humanity interact on playing fields. Its 1960’s love and peace and gives the species and our globally warmed world, hope. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the species all signed the Kyoto protocol a month after the Olympics?

 

 

Asbury Park

Leaving Bayonne on Royal Caribbean under the Verrazano Bridge

 

 

Seemingly there’s always a reason why my blog gets tardy grades. I remember my Maple Avenue School in Newark in the 1950’s. Mrs. Obama visited my old grammar school a couple of years ago. The school report cards are still in my basement protected from rising hurricane waters so I can show grandchildren way in the future that their grandfather got unsatisfactory grades in tardiness. I was always late; still am. Even yesterday, in New York City hanging out with a social media guru, she told me that my tardiness may be a passive aggressive behavior disorder. I tongue and cheeked her (aggressively denying her notions) that I’ve been to a geneticist and my tardiness is chromosomal so I live with it and endear myself to readers, friends and family so my extant tardiness is overlooked. Therefore this blog is a little tardy (late) because I was away for 10 days on a cruise to the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

a view from the deck. it’s big.

 

 

As I go through the maturation process like fine wine or cheese, I’ve grown less accustomed and enamored with flying; perhaps a fear too; perhaps a lack of control (back in June, 1974 for about a half-hour I thought about taking flying lessons). Recent vacations have been designed around avoidance of Newark Airport and leaving on jet planes. Enter Bayonne, New Jersey and the cruise ships which leave for points south. Bayonne is a mere 20 minutes and one Turnpike toll away. In July we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas ship for a 10 day cruise to Bermuda and the Caribbean. We subliminally thought this was an elegant cruise line; we didn’t do enough homework. My blogging herein is to convey the message ‘buyers beware.’

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

working out in the empty ship gym. where did all the flowers and people go.

 

 

No long laborious cruise diary necessary here; just the facts. Ten minutes in the stateroom, our olfactory sensation is bombarded by sewage odors. Three days later and a very uncaring, unresponsive housekeeping staff finally partially tends to the odors. We got a bottle of merlot for our troubled nostrils. I forgot to tell the housekeeping executive that since I saw the movie ‘Sideways’ a few Christmas vacations ago, I don’t drink “effen” merlot anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

the infamous towel line. all that humanity waiting to get or return towels.

 

 

Food presentation was better back in 1955 at Maple Avenue School. I know lettuce is lettuce but throw a doily and some creativity into presentation. Three thousand passengers got one partially working low fat frozen yogurt machine. And afternoons were partially consumed by long lines waiting to take out or return pool towels. They don’t trust us anymore and throw our towel names into computers. Failure to comply is a $25 charge/towel.

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

the boat in dock in bermuda

 

I wanted to wear a badge of honor: “I don’t drink so leave me alone and stop hovering over my lounge chair with melted iced concoctive drinks. I want peace in my time.´ Neville Chamberlain said that peace thing before World War II. They never stop hawking drinks. We didn’t have time to arrange a tour of San Juan that the ship provided for $49.95/person. It was a two hour bus tour around new and old San Juan. After leaving the ship once we docked in San Juan, a street tour service asked if we wanted a two hour tour of new and old San Juan for $10/person. We did. And this part of the blog is over. Oh and be careful of Royal Caribbean potato salad. It’s spiked with ham. And I am a flexitarian.

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

a cemetery in old San Juan

 

Yes, flexitarian is in the blog title. So this now becomes the perfect segue. Just this morning I was listening to the ‘Today Show’ and a segment on new words being added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. ‘F-bomb’ and ‘gassed’ (drained of energy), ‘tipping point’ (means we haven’t signed the Kyoto protocol and our earth is near tipping point so we’ll never be able to fix our planet so good-bye Miami and New Orleans and Key West. (Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet memories). Finally flexitarian. I am so redeemed. I’ve been calling myself a flexitarian for several years; way ahead of trending and lexicographers. A flexitarian is a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat, poultry or fish. I stopped eating red meat in 1975 (a long story) but I do eat chicken, turkey and fish. I’m so proud I’ve been officially defined now.

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

the bird is real. hanging around the pier. $10 to sit on your shoulder. i’m too tall i reasoned.

 

Finally along the health related thoughts (remembering I’m also a trans-humanist and aspire to live to 150 years). There is now an apple that has been genetically modified not to turn brown. The Arctic Apple created by Okanagan Specialty Fruits is an apple that won’t turn brown when cut or bruised, keeping its perfect appearance. The brown harmless hue that develops when you bruise, bite or slice an apple comes from polyphenol oxidase (PPO) The company science team replaces a variety’s PPO-producing genes with “silenced” (low PPO-producing) versions extracted from other apples, aided by time-proven biotechnology tools. This results in apples that don’t produce enough PPO to brown. And I  wonder. Hey Mah, tell them to leave my apples alone. There’s this Russian scientist who someday will be able to take my entire cerebral essence (every cell, neuron, synapse) and transplant it into a Terminator cyborg and I get to live forever. By then, my blogs will never be late. Promiso.

 

 

 

 

 

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public speaking in old San Juan. and i have no further aspirations.

 

 

 

Finally last week I attended this Dr Sketchy Asbury Park event at Asbury Lanes and I loved it for a myriad of journalistic and sociological reasons. Here’s my words (pixs) describing my observations. I’m smiling. It’s purist fun being a writer, blogger and a fan of Andy Rooney, Charles Kuralt and Flo Hyman:

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

the morning sailing back to Bayonne by the Verrazano. where was everybody. at the last buffet meal.

 

 

There’s a recurring theme to my words and explorations this past year. “I love Asbury Park.”  Sometimes I feel like Winston Zeddemore, the character from ‘Ghostbusters’ when he proclaims at the end of the movie, “I love this city.” I do. But it’s Asbury Park. I’ve been saying for a long time as well that I keep feeling a magic dust constantly descending upon this New Jersey seaside city. Part of the dust is definitely a Bruce Springsteen affectation; pure magic and inspirational. You can feel it everywhere. Good old palpable dust that moves you to creativity and dreams. If you want a piece of it, to experience it, then come to Asbury Park.

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

asbury lanes, asbury park at night. scene of dr sketchy. and my shadow in in bottom of pix. how rod serling is that.

 

 

Asbury Park is becoming that iconic cultural hub for music, art, theater, food and walks on boards. I suppose there’s nothing quite like salt air, inhaled deeply to sweep you back to seeing news reports of President Eisenhower playing golf or Good Humor ice cream trucks pushing Chocolate Éclair bars; obviously my favorite; toasted Almond in second place.  Part of the allure of diversity of culture in Asbury Park is Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School. I think it’s time to tell the deal with Dr. Sketchy and why I have so much fun attending (as a journalist).

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park

sketching models at dr. sketchy

 

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is both a burlesque cabaret and life drawing event originating in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was founded in New York City in 2005, by illustrator and former artist’s model Molly Crabapple and illustrator A.V. Phibes. They’ve grown globally with branches all over.  As of September 2007, Dr. Sketchy’s branches exist in 100 cities around the world. Branches vary in their conservatism and the skill of their artists. Asbury Park’s Dr Sketchy brings in eclectic, beautiful, charming, and fun models. I’ve been to several events which are always themed. Several months ago it was ‘vampires.’ The other evening was ‘horror.’ Sociologically speaking it’s quite an event; artists sketching and photographers capturing.

 

 

 

 

 

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with dr sketchy models courtney wood and jess stroh. and i always thought i was 6’5″. are times changing??

 

 

 

Asbury Park’s Asbury Lanes has hosted several Dr. Sketchy events. For a small cover charge you’ve got up to four hours of sketching models and themes. Poses range up to five minutes and sometimes you feel as if you’re on a movie set. Props and music put you in the themed mood; sometimes the models even act as impromptu judges for a captured particular sketch. Tim, the franchisee has been particularly gracious and helpful in keeping me in the information loop.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tim from Dr Sketchy presiding over a sketching contest with models.

Asbury Park

candles and bowling balls occupying same rack at asbury lanes. and welcome back to the future.

 

Back to Asbury Lanes; as one donut chain advertises; it’s definitely worth the trip to set a bowling foot back in time to bygone days of the Lone Ranger, Pac Man, Photo Booths, Art Deco paintings and posters garnishing the walls and a bar that reminds me of Jack Torrance and red-rum and Stephen King.  Even the water fountain belongs in a hip-hop museum. Everything about Dr Sketchy Asbury Park is in good taste and fun. The models are professional, outgoing, and intelligent and yes, beautiful. Usually a professional photographer takes part of the bar area and recreates scenes and themes with the models.  I could learn to be a photographer if I keep hanging around.

 

 

 

 

 

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a surreal look at the lanes. bowl a game?

 

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more asbury lanes, asbury park back to the future props.

 

This particular night was ‘horror’ themed so I got to see a replica chain saw, a few skeleton face wall paintings and I even got a chance to personally administer a massage to a skeleton resting comfortably on a bar stool. Everybody goes out of their way to make your Dr. Sketchy time enjoyable and fun. So my advice as a fun journalistic advisor (consigliere) for central Jersey and the Jersey shore folks or even NYC, New Hampshire or Maryland folks is not to get thee to a nunnery but to a future Dr. Sketchy event preferably at Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park and have some sociological fun. You’re in Asbury Park, so grab dinner beforehand. And yes Virginia, you could probably bowl a few games.  Speaking of the ‘Terminator’ before: this is a perfect time to close this blog by saying “I’ll be back,” but probably tardy. But isn’t this worth the wait?

 

 

 

More Asbury Park Calvin articles:  http://www.njdiscover.com/wp1/2012/08/i-love-asbury-park-series-dr-sketchy-at-asbury-lanes-august-4-2012-by-calvin-schwartz/

 

Asbury Park

dr sketchy theme ‘horror’ so i’m administering massage therapy to a skeleton.

 

Asbury Park

yup the terminator and i too will be back but probably tardy.

 

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE OF ARLAN FEILES AND HIS NEW CD. “Weeds Kill the Wild Flowers” Arlan is a wondrous singer and lyricist. I keep listening and drifting all over my life and his words.

http://www.arlanfeiles.com/    

 

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Asbury ParkAsbury Park

 

 

 

A SPECIAL COMMERCIAL FOR MOSTLY NEW JERSEY EYES ONLY:

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NJ Discover is excited to announce that we have partnered with the leading Social Media Ad Delivery and Management Company that specializes in getting your video seen by your targeted audience. 

We now have the ability to promote your video to a specific demographic locally and nationally.

NJ Discover will produce your video and air it on NJ Discover’s local TV Show.

NJ Discover’s team will manage your Social Media paid advertising campaign and promote your video throughout the internet.

In addition, NJ Discover can air your 30-second TV Commercial on major networks like CNN, OWN, TLC, MTV, etc.

 

NJ Discover is the only Full Service Production Company and Advertising Agency!

 

Step into the world of TV & Social Media and get your company Discovered!

 

 

For more information visit our website:

www.NJDiscover.com

Sales office: 732-303-8844

 

 

 

 

 

NOW HERE THIS:   another  bit of an advertisement.  BUT there’s a very unusual upbeat funny precious 2 minute video involving 102 year old Emily Cook who talks about the life briefly and then invites me back to her room. Not to be missed especially the last 23 seconds.   PLEASE  check it out and share it.

 

emily cook video she’s 102 years old:  http://www.hooplaha.com/getting-better-all-the-time/

 

HooplaHa Videos and Article LINKS Asbury Park

 

Feinstein: Female Pilot:

Judy Feinstein pilot:  http://www.hooplaha.com/no-rearview-mirror/

 

Fatherhood:   http://www.hooplaha.com/fatherhood/

 

Ida Gonzalez: A Mother’s Journey to Light:  http://www.hooplaha.com/a-mothers-journey-to-light/

 

Common Sense Approach to Common Sense: http://www.hooplaha.com/common-sense-approach-to-common-sense/

 

Flexitarianism: http://www.hooplaha.com/flexitarianism/

Meryl Streep and Me:   http://www.hooplaha.com/meryl-streep-and-me/

 

A Real College Pep Band Video (yes 85 seconds):

rutgers pep band video:   http://www.hooplaha.com/rutgers-rah-a-college-pep-band/

 

Also a very worthwhile cause to read up on:

Butterfly Circle of Friends.    http://www.butterflycircleoffriends.org

 

MY CONTACT INFORMATION

website:  http://vichywater.net

Facebook:  Cal Schwartz

Twitter:  Earthood

Email: earthood@gmail.com

 

 

 

book trailer. hey its 65 seconds long

 

Vichy Water Book Trailer:  Vichy Water BOOK TRAILER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Asbury Park

 

IMPORTANT LINK

 

If on Facebook check out this NJ Discover site: Asbury Parkhttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000125711074

OR   www.njdiscover.com

 

 

 LINKS TO VIDEOS.  Please Watch.

 

1.   ZOMBIE WALK   October 22, 2011

Zombie Walk Asbury Park

 

2.  VETERANS DAY NJ VIETNAM MEMORIAL

Nov 11, 2011   Veterans Day at NJ Vietnam War Memorial

3.  RANDALL HAYWOOD & VICTOR JONES JAZZ CONCERT

Nov 19, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

May 30, 2012

Bluefin Tuna: Here, There and Radioactive. Bamboozle Asbury Park: I was there with an Asterisk. Backstage Pass: SONGWRITERS BY THE SEA. Strand Theater. Lakewood, NJ May 30, 2012

Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin Tuna

 

Did you notice the three topics of this blog begin with the letter ‘B.’ Of course there’s no real burning, bombastic, believable Bluefin tuna reason for the employment of the letter ‘B.’ It just happened and I went  with the basic flow.  I strived for ‘B’s’ all throughout school years; basic elementary, high school and lots of college (the equivalent of seven years. They’re reasons for that. A documented allergy in the late 1960’s to rice paddies and tropical foliage). So why do I have ‘B’ as a grade goal? Because I’m a realist; I was not put on this good earth (Pearl Buck) to get A’s nor was I supposed to be a Kentucky Derby jockey or miner for bituminous coal. Nor am I one of those folks who always win raffles, door prizes, lotteries, poker, or picking winners (handicapper) at race tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

tsukiji fish market and tuna. imagine $172,000 for one of these.

 

 

Fourteen years after we landed on the moon, I went to Monticello Racetrack with perhaps one of the great handicappers of all times. He never loses. Some people never win. Of course most people break even. We pooled our resources and bet on 23 separate horses to win in the first five races. It was a sure thing to win once but we didn’t.  Two years ago, my son and I took a Touchdown Club bus to an away game. Fifty-two seats on the bus. Fifty door prizes like tee-shirts and beer mugs. Two people did not win; my son and I. Inheritance of innate qualities is a fascinating subject. It makes me think of the old blood-brain barrier and why some people need a foot long hot dog or foot long Cheech joint. Speaking of hot dogs, I haven’t had one since 1975 when I slipped into a lonely Essex County foggy night, got off a train from New York City and became a Flexitarian (no red meat).

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

a Bluefin tuna. since they are almost extinct I couldn't find a real picture. not.

 

 

Since I do not eat red meat and believe my current colon to be worthy of a Life Magazine pictorial, I became an obsessive tuna fish connoisseur which meant travelling mostly up and down the east coast, looking for perfect waves and tuna fish. I’m a Jersey guy but found marvelous tuna fish salad in Owings Mills, Maryland. I’ve been known to travel hundreds of miles out of my way to salivate over perfect tuna. After years of going out of my way, I had the tuna analyzed; artificial sugar and a dash of ketchup; a bit disarming.

 

But soon a sister-in-law from Long Island came to the rescue; tuna fish with jalapeno and red peppers; heavenly stuff. Wishing there was no such thing as mercury; my tuna consumption went from three times a week to monthly. I miss my Bluefin tuna and the old days when the Good Humor man used to drive around pushing Toasted Almond bars.

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

sprucing up asbury lanes for bamboozle

Bluefin Tuna

setting up one of Bamboozle sound stages.

 

The North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is almost extinct. I read awhile back there were only 25,000 left in the whole world mostly because of over fishing and disregarding international guidelines. A single North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna sold for $172,400 at the first auction of 2001 at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. Yes, the Japanese use tuna in sushi. And speaking of the Japanese, Pacific Bluefin Tuna has been showing up on our west coast carrying radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States; this is the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance. Researchers were startled about this. The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. And I love when they say, “But the levels still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Finally turning basically serious, there’s a video you all ought to watch about radioactivity, Fukushima and the tsunami which we hear so little about any more. There’s segue to Chernobyl where a million died as a result. Enough said. Here’s a YouTube link:

Dr Helen Caldicott – Fukushima Nuclear Disaster- You won’t hear this on the Main Stream News:

Dr Helen Caldicott Fukushima Nuclear disaster

 

Bluefin Tuna

Bamboozle by Convention Hall

Bluefin Tuna

A Bamboozle water delivery

 

 

Now to Bamboozle in Asbury Park last weekend: 100,000 people showed up over the course of three days to hear music from Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters and much more. I live 23 minutes from Asbury Park and could’ve even taken a train. A long time ago in a galaxy far away in Maplewood, New Jersey, I had my hand on a car door handle about to jump into a car of long- haired college kids and head to a similar weekend of music at Woodstock. A first fiancé warned me not to go; she wouldn’t be there if I did. So I didn’t; been lamenting 40 years especially since a first marriage lasted less than four years.

But Bamboozle was different. My wife blessed me to go (without her). But I’ve spent so much time these months going to countless concerts, musical venues, Backstage events, meeting musicians and covering, writing, filming, reviewing and reveling in this Jersey music world, that I felt energy is better spent when I can be the only media personality (NJ Discover TV) devotee.

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

Setting up Bamboozle

Bluefin Tuna

of course i couldn't fit both legs in batmobile. which means batman probably wasn't 6'5". phone rang. i answered it. pix at bamboozle

 

But I did go Friday morning to Bamboozle while they were finishing setting up. I walked around with my camera and took pictures and talked to early arrivers and adapters. And I absorbed some elemental energy; two hours later I was satiated and awarded myself an asterisk for being at Bamboozle. I’ve talked to lots of folks since; It’d be nice next year if I did go and even better if the Bamboozle hierarchy allowed the 100,000 people to walk down magical Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park and have dinner and check out art galleries and antique malls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

just before hitting asbury park i found this crow in the next town over in bradley beach

 

 

 

 

 

Now to this phenomenal acoustical Backstage event which I recently went to at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, New Jersey. Here’s the deal. Filled with emotion and wonderment at being there; introspective percolation and intestinal lining excavation produced the following (and its ‘funny’ the things that music and words make you think about. Powerful stuff-good music)

 

 

SONGWRITERS BY THE SEA.  The Strand Theater. Lakewood, NJ.  By Calvin Schwartz

 

Bluefin Tuna

backstage ambience at Strand

 

 

I was picturing something new, filling with anticipation and even uncertainty and whispering words of a long forgotten gut wrenching song, “What’s it all About, Alfie?” Why am I whispering words and not singing? Because I can’t sing and I wish I could since the time my Newark elementary school put on a musical play in the auditorium. A picture of then President Eisenhower hung just to the right of the flag. Kids who could sing got special attention and privileges. I wish I could sing.

 

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

Legendary Garland Jeffreys singing backstage close to audience

 

This night was special. I was driving down foggy misty Route Nine from Springsteen’s Freehold, New Jersey, toward Lakewood’s Strand Theatre for my first indoctrination into a wondrous backstage event. Alas, I can’t sing but I can write visually and sail through streams of consciousness and imagination. I was picturing things as my right hand negotiated a steering wheel. It was ‘conjure-up things’ city on a strangely empty highway.  Suddenly I was at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands (I still call it that). Seventy thousand fans were yelling “Bruce.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

Jerzy Jung. keyboard.

 

 

 

My seats were humble and I was without binoculars. Just to see his face up close would’ve been everything. All of a sudden, as I passed a diner and barren parking lot, I was in a small Vermont town where a veterinarian’s assistant was the mayor.  A group of 44 people were gathered on her green lawn in front of a porch that circumnavigated the house built by relatives of Ben Franklin. A musical porchfest was going on. I parked my car, walked over; everybody greeted me and I saw the lips of the singers moving and felt the exhaled breath of each word.  And I heard every word. They were singing just to me.  Relevance was my new favorite buzz word. The fog was thick; I couldn’t see the porch anymore.

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

Guy Davis. amazing blues and harmonica

 

 

 

 

 

A sign on the roadside welcomed me to Lakewood. Now back in Jersey and about to enter the world of a porchfest on a backstage of an historic theatre. Slip me into the world of art deco and put me next to a radio to hear President Roosevelt or Mayor LaGuardia.  My anticipation was as thick as ketchup; the French banned this red food stuff in their schools; I remembered and smiled about the quirky randomness of my thinking. I was cylinder firing away because of my extreme excitement to be at a backstage event.  I was following maze like theater corridors and magic marker signs leading to back stage at the Strand Theatre. I was really there.

 

Bluefin Tuna

Garland Jeffreys singing

 

I’m a native Jersey guy who likes history. The Strand opened in 1922 when Lakewood was actually popular with the rich and famous of the day like Rockefeller. The theater was built with a sense of acoustics as many performances of the day were solo acts. And here I was, about to walk onto the stage of the Strand for a magical acoustics evening. The Strand was signed into the National Register of Historical Places in 1982. My tripod, mono-pod and TV camera were gently deposited on the floor as ‘Songwriters by the Sea’ co-founder Joe Rapolla greeted me within my first few steps on stage. In 2008, Joe Rapolla and Joe D’Urso created the concept of ‘Songwriters’ who performed then in Asbury Park at America’s Cup Coffee. After a year in Asbury Park, the concept grew in popularity with audiences and they expanded to Backstage at the Strand in March, 2009.

 

 

 

 

Bluefin Tuna

Joe Rapolla singing

 

I need to qualify my writing style; strictly from the gut and reflective how songwriter performers emote while the surroundings add ambience to my writing soul. Joe Rapolla’s poignant life and musical journey has already hyper sensitized my words and observations. Therefore, this is not a review.

For the first half, I decided to plant my TV camera in the back of the stage which was several rows away from the songwriters. I wanted to feel songwriter intimacy and connections being part of the real audience.  I flicked the camera on auto and spiritually drifted. The old renovated theater was dark and empty; light from the stage managed to illuminate the first few rows of seats.  Dimly lit chandeliers added to surrealism; for me a silence you could see. Silence was part of the history in the walls; Burns and Allen once performed here; so did the Scarecrow, Ray Bolger. I heard Gracie’s shrill voice.

 

 

 

 

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attentive audience

 

 

 

D’Urso (remember we’re dealing with two Joe’s) introduced the first group of songwriters.  Cat Cosentino (from Oceanport and proud of it) and Bobby Mahoney (only 17 and therefore couldn’t avail himself of a real drinking bar in the rear) were the young rising stars. Tom Breiding is from West Virginia while Bill Toms is near Pittsburgh. Bill talked to us like we’re in his living room back home. “The hardest person to get to know is yourself.”  Then the song words , “I’ve made peace now with a stranger in me.” Backstage means stark silence except for voice echoes. He sang to me. Three rows in front, a man on the aisle rubbed his cuticles. Why write about that; because of the intimacy of backstage; sensitivity and in tune with the immediate world. I pinched myself; purist joy what I was part of; affluent, audible, flowing, meaningful words. I was back in the Meadowlands briefly, starved for wordy echoes.

 

 

 

 

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Tom Brieding. Bill Toms. Cat Cosentino. Bobby Mahoney

 

 

Cat’s first song was dedicated to her parents; her voice melodiously electric. Bobby sang “A Delicate Fall from Grace;” which reminded of a whip ride back in Newark; that sudden acceleration.   Tom Brieding sang about finding one another as we drift between stars. What meant everything to me being backstage is I heard every resonating word. The singers told stories. “You talking to me,” then I told the taxi driver to let me be. I love backstage.  A man on the left, two rows down took a swig of beer; the bottle level was half-way.  Then I saw a leg wearing cargo shorts stretch out in the aisle, moving to the beat of the music; the calf muscle flexed visibly. Gosh, I was in an electronic hyper state. The Strand environment worked magic.  Then I whispered to myself (I also do that in states of elation), “Thank you Rapolla and D’Urso.”

 

 

 

 

 

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backstage silence

 

 

Intermission and time to position the camera on the side of the stage; different absorption I imagined. Both Joe’s would sing. And Garland Jeffreys, a living legend; I was a few feet away. Guy Davis; unbridled energy and blues.  Jerzy Jung;( her real name) with keyboard inches away from me. Joe D’Urso, a Bronx native, sang, “I’ll prove it won’t be dark, all the stars will be out tonight.”  While singing ‘Chocolate Man,’ Davis touched the audience.(proximity and sensation). And to hear every breath Garland Jeffreys took while singing ‘Coney Island Winter,’ was nirvana. “Hey Mah,” I was in that place of magic. I don’t know where James Cagney came from. Maybe I do know. I’m backstage clicking my heels.

 

 

 

 

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Joe D'Urso

 

 

 

 

Then Do-Wop from D’Urso and the gang. He really corralled me all the way back to Newark, New Jersey, with the words, “Why must I be a teenager in love.” The power of backstage music, I thought. The Good-Humor man was selling this new ‘Toasted Almond’ bar.  Jerzy spoke about any woman or girl who ever felt unsure of herself. Soon, I was sitting around a fire place with a few fraternity brothers; Harvey had a guitar and was singing a folk song; ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.’  I tried to sing along. They told me to stop.  I heard Rapolla’s wooden stool scrape along the stage. I was back on stage in awe, amazed at the clarity of the stool scraping noise.

 

 

 

 

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Joe Rapolla

 

 

 

 

Every word from Garland Jeffreys was heard while he was way down in Spanish town.  And when he wasn’t singing, I watched him tap his feet to the beat. How many singers have I seen do that; certainly not from the running track in Madison Square Garden or standing chest to shoulder in a bar or in a park with a makeshift bandstand and hundreds of beach chairs as forward motion impediments.

Joe Rapolla talked about giving kids advice on love. “Don’t be afraid to throw your heart on the wind.” You’ll never know feelings of songwriters unless you are backstage.  All of a sudden Bill Murray pounded a clock radio alarm at 6:00 AM.  ‘Groundhog Day’ flashed. I didn’t want this night to end. Later Jerzy said that uncertainty wasn’t a bad thing. And the harmonica playing by Davis was riveting.  Jeffreys walked into the audience while singing ‘New York skyline.’ Everybody was singing now. Disbelief; I noticed the shadow that the microphone wire cast on the stage floor. It was a giant shadow.  Jeffreys’ voice was a giant voice.  ‘Wild in the Streets’ with all the cast closed this backstage event. When the show was over, I mingled with the singers. Accessibility was in the theater air ducts.  I thanked both Joe’s for their remarkable vision. And I marveled again about noticing the shadow of Jeffrey’s microphone wire. But that’s this incredible backstage world; heightened awareness and sensitivity beyond imagination.

 

 

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Garland Jeffreys and me

 

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the lonely silent darkened theater awaiting backstage pass

 

 

‘Songwriters by the Sea’ series is a musical atom; protons, electrons, neutrons firing away. My mind fired away and still does. It moves me to write impassioned commentary for people to escape from sedentary sofas. But what would happen to intimacy and interaction?  I thought of the word ‘secret.’ I also knew I was in a special place with special people for several hours and my atoms were musically innervated like never before.  Then I thought about my not ever being able to sing but it didn’t make a difference anymore. I was part of singing for every millisecond I was backstage.

Here is an old fashioned PS to this article. I went home and found Joe Rapolla’s cover of Elton John’s ‘Daniel.’ I listened several times in a row because I read his bio and I was still in that heightened electronic sensitized state from being backstage all night. So here’s a link:  http://www.myspace.com/joerapolla/music/songs/daniel-14555208

And I’m still listening.

 

 

 

NOW HERE THIS:   a bit of an advertisement. I don’t do those very much here. BUT there’s a very unusual upbeat funny precious 2 minute video involving 102 year old Emily Cook who talks about the life briefly and then invites me back to her room. Not to be missed especially the last 23 seconds.   PLEASE  check it out and share it.

http://www.hooplaha.com/getting-better-all-the-time/

 

HooplaHa Videos and Article LINKS          Bluefin Tuna                                

 

Judy Feinstein: Female Pilot:

Judy Feinstein pilot:

http://www.hooplaha.com/no-rearview-mirror/

Fatherhood:

http://www.hooplaha.com/fatherhood/

Ida Gonzalez: A Mother’s Journey to Light:

http://www.hooplaha.com/a-mothers-journey-to-light/

Common Sense Approach to Common Sense:

http://www.hooplaha.com/common-sense-approach-to-common-sense/

Flexitarianism:

http://www.hooplaha.com/flexitarianism/

 

Meryl Streep and Me:

http://www.hooplaha.com/meryl-streep-and-me/

 

 

 A Real College Pep Band Video (yes 85 seconds):

http://www.hooplaha.com/rutgers-rah-a-college-pep-band/

 

Also a very worthwhile cause to read up on:

 Butterfly Circle of Friends.    http://www.butterflycircleoffriends.org

 

MY CONTACT INFORMATION

website:  http://vichywater.net

Facebook:  Cal Schwartz

Twitter:  Earthood

Email: earthood@gmail.com

 

 book trailer. hey its 65 seconds long

 Vichy Water Book Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qj2ko9gcC_M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qj2ko9gcC                     

 

IMPORTANT LINK

If on Facebook check out this NJ Discover site:Bluefin Tuna

 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000125711074

OR   www.njdiscover.com

 

LINDA CHORNEY’S GRAMMY NOMINEEE ALBUM:

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LINKS TO VIDEOS.  Please Watch.

1.   ZOMBIE WALK   October 22, 2011

Zombie Walk Asbury Park

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfFA-y115nc&feature=autoshare

2.  VETERANS DAY NJ VIETNAM MEMORIAL

Nov 11, 2011

Veterans Day at NJ Vietnam War Memorial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYwkaa_xreg&feature=related

3.  RANDALL HAYWOOD & VICTOR JONES JAZZ CONCERT

Nov 19, 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNohzH8AHvM&feature=player_embedded

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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