Vichy Water – Author's Blog

May 24, 2016

A Night on the Red Carpet: Premiere of “Who’s Jenna…?” film in Asbury Park NJ bY Calvin Schwartz May 24th 2016

A Night on the Red Carpet: Premiere of “Who’s Jenna…?” in Asbury Park NJ bY Calvin Schwartz May 24th 2016

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This article is comprised of three distinct sections. Firstly, my experience on the Red Carpet last Friday May 20th evening in Asbury Park at the House of Independents; noting one of my pastimes is absorption of extant energy fields at special events. I take a couple of deep inhalations, pinch myself, and whisper, “look at where I am, Mah.” I was thrilled to have been invited as a journalist. Secondly, although I am just short of a light year away from Siskel and Ebert, I will construct my review of the film. “Who’s Jenna….?” in my own inimitable style. Thirdly, I will reprise my article which appeared on NJ Discover last summer after I spent a morning on the Somerville, New Jersey set of the film.

 

 

 

 

Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz on Red Carpet

Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz on Red Carpet

The cast & director Thomas Baldinger

The cast & director Thomas Baldinger

 

SECTION ONE

It’s a funny thing how fast you can become an energy barometer at certain events. As soon as Tara-Jean Vitale, co-reporter and TV host with me at NJ Discover LIVE, arrived on Asbury Park’s Cookman Avenue House of Independents, a lengthy Red Carpet and backdrop secured along the façade, we both knew it was an electric night at the Jersey shore. We observed the early guests, splendidly dressed, were intermingling, smiling, hugging and posing. Yes, there was a certain air. The more guests arrived, more scenes of joy and hugs.  There were no ‘airs’ in the air around the theater. People were really glad to be there.  Bert Baron, (recent NJ Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Inductee) program director and morning drive show host from WCTC (1450 AM) was formally interviewing, freeing me to photo, absorb and mingle. Tara-Jean and I chatted with the film publicist and Lady in Red, Laura Madsen. She did good creating a sold-out event. By 7 PM, there was a flow through and around the Red Carpet of hundreds of people.

 

Laura Madsen & Bert Baron interviewing Tracey Birdsall

Laura Madsen & Bert Baron interviewing Tracey Birdsall

actors Bill Sorvino & Edwin Guerrero with Tara-Jean Vitale

actors Bill Sorvino & Edwin Guerrero with Tara-Jean Vitale

 

The cast arrived, euphoric and accessible. What I noticed when I spent time on the set and when some cast and young director Tom Baldinger appeared on NJ Discover LIVE TV SHOW and right in front of me on the streets of Asbury Park was that the cast and crew really liked each other; it was a real warmth, affection and respect.  I love hugs. I loved watching the cast at their premiere. I sensed the chemistry I was watching would translate to the film soon to be seen.

Suddenly a gust of wind blew a guest’s skirt over her head in a scene remindful of the iconic Marilyn Monroe picture. I actually caught it on camera (with proper permission). I sensed a true Hollywood evening. Cars on Cookman slowed down to check all the excitement. Slowly, the hundreds of guests, hugely anticipatory, made their way into the theater.

 

Kevin Cieri, Long Branch Cable Commission, portrait photographer Kathy Facciponti and actor Garry Pastore

Kevin Cieri, Long Branch Cable Commission, portrait photographer Kathy Facciponti and actor Garry Pastore

the Q & A with cast, crew & director

the Q & A with cast, crew & director

 

 

I’m jumping now to after the film. Cast and crew sat on stage graciously sharing and answering questions and always broadly smiling. The audience loved this. Then the iconic band, Slim Chance (Mario Casella) and The Gamblers, who did some of the original music in the film, performed at the after party. I’ve loved this band for years. They are simply electric just like the entire night had been. I moved to the front row while I had the chance. People started dancing. The cast were still hugging and posing. Then Slim Chance and The Gamblers performed “The Power.” One of my favorites. I pinched myself again.

 

 

at after party with Mario Casella, JT Bowen & Terry Camp

at after party with Mario Casella, JT Bowen & Terry Camp

Slim Chance & The Gamblers rocking the after party

Slim Chance & The Gamblers rocking the after party

SECTION TWO: A Review of “Who’s Jenna….?’

I’ve got a long history of movie watching and appreciation. It’s quirky and obsessive. Ten years ago, I was watching ‘Casablanca’ for the 44th time and at the last scene, when Bogart shoots Major Strasser, Claude Rains picks up a bottle of Vichy Water, 1942’s version of our bottled water. Rains throws the bottle into the garbage. I let out a scream. There was a novel in my head in that one second. Five years later, ‘Vichy Water,’ my first novel was published. I tell this story here to dramatize my affection with movies and how powerful an influence in my life. Over the years, I’ve developed my personal movie rating system. It’s simple enough and it works. I judge a movie by whether I would see it again; simple. I’ve seen ‘The Godfather’ again and again(embarrassed how many times). ‘Casablanca’ those 44 times. Sometimes I’ll see a movie again just for a particular scene.

Yes, I’d see ‘Who’s Jenna……?’ again. This was a delightfully funny film with adult film references, a little blackmail, frenetic dialogue (and well delivered) and romance. Without giving too much away, Bill Sorvino’s character, Jonathan has a girlfriend. His best friend, Andy, is obsessively, therefore comically convinced she looks like an adult film star and that leads to comedic romps. The plot thickens with a ‘familial’ twist.

 

Mario Casella & Lisa Sherman on stage

Mario Casella & Lisa Sherman on stage at after party

 

I appreciate sharp dialogue in preciously funny situations. Tom Baldinger, writer, director, delivers that.  Some of the scenes were priceless like the old credit card commercial. That’s why I’ll see it again. The acting ensemble is quite accomplished which translates (for me) to a healthy infusion of their improvisational/ad libing skills in the filming. You can sense they’re having fun together filming and embellishing. Tom, I get the feeling openly welcomed their ‘addition’ skills.

I’m a facial expression guy. I pay attention to faces in situations. Their acting gives me my facial expression fix. It’s there. Props to this special cast including Tracey Birdsall, Bill Sorvino, Joseph D’Onofrio, Garry Pastore (who just makes me laugh throughout film), Edwin Guerrero, Lenny Venito, Vic Dibitetto, Michael Tota, Jill Christy Reiss and cameos including The Sopranos Vincent Pastore.   I’m a Jersey guy since birth. I love the fact it’s a Jersey film; familiar sights and sounds.

 

 

SECTION THREE: SPOTLIGHT: ON THE NEW JERSEY SET OF FILMING “WHO’S JENNA…..?”   And A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR TOM BALDINGER   bY Calvin Schwartz    September 9th 2015

 

with film public relations & the Lady in Red blogger Laura Madsen on the set of 'Who's Jenna....?' last summer.

with film public relations & the Lady in Red blogger Laura Madsen on the set of ‘Who’s Jenna….?’ last summer.

 

Hooray for social media, networking and circles of commonality. For the last several years, Laura Madsen, publicist and innovative writer/blogger at http://www.theladyinredblog.com/ and I have travelled in similar circles of commonality (as I call it). Our energies and passions emanate from Jersey life and the arts. If you’ve read my musings over the past few years, I’ve postulated that Jersey has become the pop culture capital of America and Laura is always at the epicenter. For verification of the postulate, just look at ‘The Soprano’s’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’, “Jersey Boy’s’, ‘Jersey Shore’, ‘Jersey Housewives’, ‘Garden State’, and ‘Jersey Girl’.  Laura and I never had the opportunity for the sharing of notes and synchronicities; we never met formally.

A few weeks ago, Laura contacted me via Facebook and asked if I’d like to cover the filming of a feature film, “Who’s Jenna…..?” which is a comedy  written by award winning producer, director Tom Baldinger from 624 Productions, LLC, a New Jersey based company. Laura hinted that the film title had something to do with an adult film star but that’s all she said. My response to her was immediate and decisive; “I’d love to hang around the set and do some absorbing and interviewing for NJ Discover.”

The next decision for me was where to surface for the best absorption opportunity. The filming was taking place at the Lakewood Country Club for an on-location golf scene or the following day at Verve Restaurant in Somerville.  I surmised that it’s best not to hang around a hot golf course as Jersey was in heat wave, so I opted for the cool basement confines of Verve for the shooting of a dinner scene. And I’d get a chance to hang a bit with actor Garry Pastore; I’ve been a fan for years.

Time constraints of being on set and getting a few minutes to chat (at the break) with director Tom Baldinger made me formulate a direction I wanted to take with this coverage. I’m quick to admit that my experience of being on sets is somewhat limited although I was on set back in the 90’s with Meryl Streep, William Hurt and Renee Zellweger and wound up in the Christmas scene in ‘One True Thing.’ My focus for “Who’s Jenna….?”  was the art of detail and precision in the film making process.

 

filming a very funny scene. and that's all I can say about that

filming a very funny scene. and look at those serious faces

Laura’s phone messaging last Wednesday morning got me to Verve’s rear parking lot (on foot), through a rear kitchen door, down a steep stairway, through a narrow hallway to a basement dining room, filled with tables and patrons (all actors).  I never asked if this was an active part of the restaurant or just the basement set for a very funny scene. Seated at a large table, with cameras aimed, were actors Garry Pastore, Lenny Venito, Vic Dibitetto (also a very funny comedian whom I saw recently at Count Basie Theater at a Frank Sinatra Birthday Party), and Bill Sorvino, playing the lead role of Jonathan Burke. Next, Laura introduced me to the film director, Tom Baldinger; first and lasting impressions were that of an affable, intense, creative, focused force in the universe. It’s funny how fast you can “size” people. Waiters started bringing steaming plates of pasta, meat balls, chicken and foot long sausage in front of the seated actors; it was 10 AM.  Someone yelled, “Get the Dunkin Donuts coffee cup off the table.” Actor Michael Tota introduced himself. He and I have been part of central Jersey concentric circles; we never met live, but knew of each other.

Readers can go to the film website for more plot/story information. http://www.624-productions.com/#!whos-jenna/c6h0n

The basement area was relatively small; an additional eight tables or so had ‘diners’ (actors) to make for a perfectly realistic restaurant set; the table next had a woman and her young daughter. The small room size and 90-degree outdoor heat made the set challenging.  I watched the crew fill the four actors’ wine glasses half-way with grape juice.  The wine glasses would be an interesting focus for me; the exact level of the juice in the glass was maintained for the next 94 minutes (multiple takes) that I watched from the rear side behind the cameras where Laura and I were positioned. As they were ready to shoot the scene, I heard “Quiet on the set.”  I smiled. This was real.

 

more from on the set & that funny scene.

more from on the set & that funny scene.

 

I won’t give much away but the scene was hysterically funny as the four actors ate (pretended to eat as the sausage maintained its great length throughout), drank, conversed and laughed. I love watching eyes of the actors moving from person to person; just that small detail embraced me. Watching my friend Garry Pastore talk/act/move his eyes/laugh and then greet Michael Tota’s character when he walked over was perfectly real. There was a poignant albeit funny story going on.  Director Tom Baldinger meticulously instructed Michael Tota how to grab himself while talking and then look at Vic Dibetto’s character. It had to be the same grab in every take. The repartee with Lenny, Bill and Garry was priceless. I’d love to use their words the next time I go to my primary care physician and see how it’s received. I savored every minute of absorption.

Something else I noticed; about the crew; a special esprit de corps. They were a well-oiled machine, anticipating, performing, and functioning like the offensive backfield of a local college football team. They loved what they were doing and with whom; their director. I like to observe those elements. The body heat generated in the basement’s close quarters moved me to Main Street in Somerville for an hour until I caught up with director Tom Baldinger just before lunch.

I mentioned to Tom that I have a relatively undiscerning eye when it comes to matters of film making but I’m a HUGE movie fan going to back to 1939 vintage. Tom was engaging and thrilled to be chatting. Once I flipped on my reporter’s recorder, he started. “For me it’s very important that what’s said-dialogue is not just dialogue-there’s a purpose to why people say certain things. That’s why when I write my scripts, I try to be very careful with the words that are said. I try to make sure that the voices are separate from each other-that the characters are separate.  There is a voice in each one of them. When you are on set, everything has to have a place because I’ve seen tons of movies-big budget films; sometimes the detail is not there. For me there are a lot of people watching movies who will not like a movie because there is something wrong-a missing detail-or if dialogue doesn’t match up correctly-or characters not really synching together. That’s very important to me.”

Interviewing director Thomas Baldinger

Interviewing director Thomas Baldinger

I mentioned, “Translates down to your crew. I was watching them measure grape juice in a glass to make sure it was exact level.”  “It’s all about continuity. How many times have you seen a movie where the glass is half-full and in the next shot- it’s the same conversation- the glass is either empty or not there. I was watching a movie last night-‘Mission Impossible 3’ and saw where all the extras were and I have to give a lot of credit to J.J. Abrams. A lot of time you’ll see movies with extras. They are in the shot then they are not there. My crew; I have to be honest with you. The meticulous and tight atmosphere really comes from them because I think they see me as a visionary. I’ve built this and I’m not trying to sound egotistical but I’ve built this company and in some ways they look at me as their leader and so they are on the ride. They want-they feel this is going to be successful. They want to be on the same boat. I’ve always set goals and reached my goals. I think that’s why everybody on this crew wants to do everything perfectly because they want to take this next step into this industry.”

Taking it further I added, “I’ve watched a melding of you all there.” Tom said, “Yes.” “I was so impressed with the detail. When Michael comes over to Garry at the table, you tell him exactly what to grab and do.”  Tom added, “Yes, when we shoot the reverse, we need to see him grab himself and that action-when we’re in post, you see Vic’s reaction. It makes my editor’s job so much easier. And when you are sitting around the post, you are not saying we forgot that or look at that.”

The night before I heard interesting news about Apple and the film business; “Your work as an Indie film maker has an interesting future. Apple announced yesterday it may give money to Indies.” “I hope so. I heard a little about that. I work on Wall Street and I’ve been out of work mode for the last week or two. My father who actually works for Bloomberg said you have to check this out. When I get a moment, I’ll read about it; very interesting.”

 

director Thomas Baldinger and Calvin Schwartz calling it a wrap.

director Thomas Baldinger and Calvin Schwartz calling it a wrap.

 

 

I thought Apple wants to do what Netflix is doing. Tom was quick to comment. “That is where the market seems to be going; where the industry is going and I’m going to quote a famous actor hearing him talk about Indie films. Alec Baldwin was on Howard Stern show a few weeks ago. He was talking about how film has changed over past 20 or 30 years; that now big budget movies are all technical, special effects, CGI. Not that the big budget films don’t get into the story or content but they are more Marvel and super heroes. I love those movies and I’m there with the popcorn, but the Indie industry-that’s where you get down into characters, stories and dialogues and really get into it. What the Indie film industry has done-it has born the writer-director and sometimes that’s good-sometimes bad because studios say we only have $250,000 to spend. We can’t spend another $100,000 for a director, so let’s make the writer the director. That’s a bad choice but when you have a good script and a good writer who can be a director, studios need to take that into consideration. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime-all that stuff; it’s really starting to blow up. Quite frankly, ‘House of Cards;’ I said to my wife last year that they don’t have to win an Emmy; just be being nominated, Netflix was doing cartwheels down the hallway because they knew all of a sudden they got something and now everybody else is trying to do it.”

I asked Tom about quality. “Quality is better. I mean we’re shooting with a red camera where some of those shows you see with bigger name people are shooting with the same equipment. We’re trying to bring high quality products with lower budgets and eventually, hopefully somebody like Apple will say I like your product and I want to put more money into it and give us an opportunity to do even more.”

Tom smiled, took a deep inhalation and was ready to go on talking. It was I who suggested that he eat lunch but that down the road a spell, he should come on NJ Discover Live Radio/TV show with the cast and Laura Madsen and continue our chat. After a firm hand-shake cementing the deal and a photo-op of course, I was on the road again, heading to Yurcak Field on Rutgers campus with NJ Discover broadcasting the television coverage of the Skye Blue FC Professional Women’s Soccer match against Kansas City. A bunch of questions suddenly popped into consciousness on Route 287 to ask Tom and the cast. It would wait until October 5th for NJ Discover’s Live Show with them. We move fast here in Central Jersey.

 

IMDB “Who’s Jenna…..”  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4317858/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

Jersey Shore Retro Blog Kevin Cieri:  https://jerseyshoreretro.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/nj-discover/

624 Productions:  http://www.624-productions.com/

Laura Madsen Blog:   http://www.theladyinredblog.com/

Calvin Schwartz   www.vichywater.net

 

March 24, 2016

LINDA CHORNEY: Music, Passion and her film, ‘The Opening Act’ A Review bY Calvin Schwartz 3-24-16 | Grammy

Filed under: November 2009 — Tags: , , , , — earthood @ 11:04 am

LINDA CHORNEY: Music, Passion and her film, ‘The Opening Act’  A Review  bY Calvin Schwartz  3-24-16

 

 

1

Linda Chorney

Linda Chorney

 

The refreshing documentary, The Opening Act, shoots from the hip. There is never a lull or lapse.  Linda asked me in a Sally Field childlike enthusiasm and innocence, “You really liked it?”  Chorney, although secure with her musical ability, was not so sure if she had any business being in the film business. After viewing The Opening Act, she does.  I answered, “Yes, it was a purist form of frenetic Linda.” “What’s frenetic?” she asked. “Frenetic Linda means frenzied but in a good way. You are non-stop energy and spontaneity.” She creates a special microscope of a film dedicated to creative people like herself. Her energy coming to life in the film is purposefully, obviously for the armies of future musicians coming up; they should all see this film. She explains, “This is about independent musicians. You are not alone. It’s to show the ‘non-musician’ world how much time, money, pulling favors and groveling goes into the process and hopefully acts as a cheap therapy session for musicians.”

 

 

Linda on an Asian tour

Linda on an Asian tour

Variety & Linda & the Grammy's

Variety & Linda & the Grammy‘s

 

Since I watched the film a day before we talked, I was replete with emotional recall. I told Linda, “The film gives the audience a great picture of what life is like in the music business. It isn’t all Adele. It’s not really just about you.”

She dug my description, and continued, “Yeah, a lot of people were expecting this film to be about my story – ya know, the Grammy thing. That’s coming later, in a feature film with a bigger budget. But I thought this message was important and timely, as the music business has drastically shifted, causing musicians to be paid fractions of pennies, rather than dollars for their recordings.”

 

 

with Linda Chorney after an interview a few years ago

with Linda Chorney after an interview a few years ago

on the set of Opening Act

on the set of Opening Act

 

Linda Chorney is a muse of sorts; a force inspiring thought and creativity.  I know firsthand.

It seemed like old times; sitting down and chatting with her for this interview. It seems like only yesterday when Scott Fadynich, her husband, invited me to hear her sing at Olde Freehold Day. That was August, 2011. Scott saw my posts on Facebook and thought I was a quirky writer/blogger, so he reached out. He is always promoting Linda. It was also my second month as a journalist. A few months later, I did my very first journalistic interview with Linda in Sea Bright, overlooking a river with Jersey seagulls flying overhead. Perhaps the birds were harbingers. Linda’s interview that day helped to launch my new career. And now, five years later, there’s a full circle here.  And no treatise or interview with Linda should proceed without mentioning the fact she made history for being the first Independent artist to be nominated for Best Americana Album Grammy; after playing in bars for 30 years.

I told Linda right from the start of our interview that I wanted not only to share my adjectives about ‘The Opening Act,’ but it was quintessential to my thought process to highlight the unexpurgated Linda with my readers. Yes, I suppose a bit out of the ‘Private Parts’ school; people always want to hear what she has to say. I’d gladly go down the quirky question brick road. But taking a page from her book; I’m going to digress, egress, progress and jump into her movie and glittering, unique personality that radiates from Arizona to Jersey.

 

Linda at book release party

Linda at book release party

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Linda Chorney arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Singer Linda Chorney arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

 

The film moved basically frenetically. (There’s that word again) Honesty was mirrored in a roller coaster of her emotions; you felt her depression worrying about weight gain or the long hard road for the film’s financial success. The fact she wore no make-up in many shots was a special effect in itself. She wanted it to be natural and real as possible. “I did everything including the editing. I had to cut out 37 minutes.  It was a challenge. I didn’t want it to be boring. I shot most of it myself, asides to the camera, “selfie-style”. I hoped there was a certain charm to that.”

There was. The film is charming; a perfect adjective to describe Linda’s labor of love. She also did the sound, color correction; and, of course, the music. She actually calls herself “Jackass of all Trades.”

I asked about the title of the film, The Opening Act. “The original title was actually ‘Why Bother?’  In this new millennium of streaming, hardly anyone buys albums anymore. Musicians are losing money recording these days, hence, at some point they have to ask themselves, well, at least I do, over and over again while bashing my head against the wall – why bother?” She reached out to her cousin Robin Russin, a successful screenplay writer and filmmaker in Hollywood, who also helped edit her book, “Who the F**K is Linda Chorney”, and asked him to screen the film before she released it. Expecting him to “rip her a new ahole”, she was pleasantly surprised when he called her with a rave review. There was just one thing; the title. “It has a negative connotation, and I found the film to quite frankly be inspiring. How about calling it “The Opening Act?”

 

 

 

 

after reviewing a music gig along the Jersey shore

after reviewing a music gig along the Jersey shore

at Sea Bright Pizza

at Sea Bright Pizza

While watching the film, you feel like you are right there in the passenger seat, as she recruits friends, family, and strangers to do a new wacky music video. In typical Linda panache, this wonderful song (full of messages, but in diversionary Chorney style) is called ‘The Cantina’ which describes inane Arizona laws where you can carry a gun but can’t drink a beer in public risking arrest. Her ‘embraceable you’ personality and spontaneity invites a local mariachi band, Mariachi Sol Azteca, to partake in the insanity. They are very entertaining.

You will come to appreciate her fortitude by working in 102-degree heat and many sleepless nights, as she creates. She is a perfectionist. And although you will laugh through her winging it style and journey, you may also shed a tear.

I am a movie snob; totally appreciate the art of making a movie. Movies helped change my life. I’ve walked out of movies that didn’t meet my expectations or wasted my time. So in critiquing movies, I must call it as I see it no matter what. There is my need of walking away from a film with knowledge and intestinal lining feelings; emotion. I remember the scene of her waiting to hear if she’d be opening for the Beach Boys. It was weeks. She was down and said, “People have important things to do and you’re not one of them, so get over it.” This sustained her. For me a riveting quote. Linda Chorney made a good film.

 

 

from the film, local mariachi band, Mariachi Sol Azteca

from the film, local mariachi band, Mariachi Sol Azteca

on the set of Opening Act

on the set of Opening Act

 

Not to give away the plot, but she did open for the Beach Boys. I asked how it felt.  She chuckled first, “It was awesome although I don’t know if Mike Love knew he was standing on top of my Mom’s ashes.” Her mother’s death was that recent. A typical Linda thing to do. “My mother was a HUGE influence on my music. Everybody’s parents; all they want for their kids is happiness and success. I’m sure parents of musicians, who supporting their kids learning an instrument, or any of the arts, will relate to the film.”

I told her it was quirky question time. “Be Linda.”  Q1 – What makes you cry? “Mostly tears of joy for beautiful things. Nature. When I see real family love. Friggin’ strangers in an airport greeting each other with hugs – like grandparents hugging their grandchildren. Waterworks. Then there are the sad ones; sometimes when I drove home from my gigs in smoky bars. I’d think why am I here?  When am I going to get my break? Then I did or so I thought. The backlash from the Grammy nomination made me shed a tear. Then I look at problems in the world. I make fun of myself. “Oh, poor Linda got nominated for a Grammy, wah wah. Shut the fuck up! Your life is good.”

 

 

Linda's Book

Linda’s Book

 

 

Q2 – Is there a philosophy by which you live? She was quick to answer, “Keep it real.”  Q3 – Is there a best time in your life? “When I am creating.” Q4 – Is there a worst time? “When I am standing still, not creating.” Linda is often awake at night. “Everything keeps me up. My brain.” Q5 – Strongest childhood memory?  “Piano Lessons, listening to great music and dancing with my family, lots of Beatles, being bribed through quiet contests in the car, and rewarded with Chinese food every Sunday…I always lost.” Q6 – I wondered if there was a big misconception about her. “My honesty is misconstrued for being blunt or rude.” Q7 – fill in the blank. “Before I leave this earth, I won’t be satisfied until I _____________.” Also a quick response, “Make the movie about my book.” (She is currently working on the screenplay, and might do a little shooting while on the Jersey Shore in April.)

Of course I asked about her fondest memory of the Jersey Shore. I knew her answer. I’ve been there with her and Scott a few times. “Sea Bright Pizza!” She continues, “And that will be the first thing I eat when I get back for the film fest. Wanna meet us for a slice of eggplant?”

There are interviews and interviews. I’ve done my share. Musically speaking of course, my time spent with Linda Chorney for this interview was rare, precious and beautiful. I can’t wait for Saturday, April 9th for the premiere of “The Opening Act” at the Asbury Park Music in Film Festival at the Salt Theater at noon.  She will do a little talk, a little singing and Q&A. Yes, it seems like old times having her and Scott back by the Atlantic Ocean making music and sharing passions.

Film, Festival Tickets are available at http://apmff.com/schedule-tickets/

 

“Opening Act” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZypajZ6_sA

 

Linda Chorney website:  http://www.lindachorney.com

 

Calvin Schwartz  website:  vichywater.net

Facebook:  Cal Schwartz    and  Calvin Schwartz-Cerebral Writer

July 9, 2015

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: THE JERSEY SHORE July 9th 2015 bY Calvin Schwartz

Filed under: November 2009 — Tags: , , , , , , , , — earthood @ 1:43 pm

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: THE JERSEY SHORE  July 9th 2015   bY Calvin Schwartz

 

My first memory sort of. Belmar beach summer of '48

My first memory sort of. Belmar beach summer of ’48

 

 

 

It’s the old proverbial; who better to write an article on memories of the Jersey shore. My ‘involvement’ begins before I was born, when my parents went to the Buena Vista, a Belmar hotel, for the weekend as WWII was slowly winding down in late 1944. They stayed in the attic; nine months later I arrived. When I was ten, my parents started renting a bungalow in Belmar for August. That first summer of ’55, I discovered the pinball arcade, navigating the dust underneath the machines for lost coins, the Shark River Jetty, its meditative properties and the olfactory sensations of the boardwalk, in part, which smelled like a telephone pole back in Newark.

 

 

 

 the Buena Vista Hotel in Belmar where I was conceived in Nov 1944

the Buena Vista Hotel in Belmar where I was conceived in Nov 1944

 

dad & me belmar 1948

dad & me belmar 1948

The essence of the shore begins about six to ten blocks away from the sand and beach.  Somehow only in Jersey, with the flatness of the geography of shore towns, from a distance, you can see the end of New Jersey and America; the vast blueness of ocean and sky meeting. That view is priceless and exciting. It’s that first shore sighting; a giant window to memories and new daily beach badge experiences. Yes, the beach badge, with its convoluted pin affixed to bathing suit. If only a season badge someday.

 

As I interviewed a diverse group of Jerseyans, many mentioned unique shore smells. Author Karen Kenney Smith, remembering a summer week spent at Asbury Park’s Atlantic Hotel liked the “musty smell of the tired carpet.” Moist ocean air everywhere contributed. Rock on Radio personality Danny Coleman focused on the panoply of boardwalk smells. They were pure Jersey food on boardwalk smells but, “Pizza aroma was everywhere.”  Musician Carmen Cosentino still loves the smell of “peanuts on the boardwalk.” He explained somehow it mixes with the salt air of Jersey’s Atlantic Ocean and has this additive effect of making you want peanuts even more.

 

 

 

 

1938 Belmar. My uncles/aunts . funny thing this couid be any year on a jersey beach

1938 Belmar. My uncles/aunts . funny thing this couid be any year on a jersey beach

 

 

I’m not sure how I started talking about the hair-do of the Jersey shore but maybe we have our own home-grown style. Insurance industry analyst Susan Michelle’s grandmother’s friends always had their hair in a net sitting on the beach with cigarettes dangling from lips. A card game was always going on. Carmen’s thought on hair, “Jersey women had the strangest hair-do; it looked like a bee-hive.”   Kathy Sinnott’s grandmother left the beach every day at 3PM to prepare for happy hour.

“And what happened when you left the Jersey beach to go back to your houses?”   Kathy showered outside in the backyard in unique wooden showers with plank floors. It was to get rid of the sand fast. Susan used outside showers too or sometimes just a quick hose down on the back lawn covered with neatly manicured weeds and occasional crab grass.

 

 

 

 

Bradley Beach  1950's

Bradley Beach 1950’s

Asbury Park 1960's

Asbury Park 1960’s

 

I drifted into a serious line of questioning; parents and kids. Yes the Jersey shore fostered a special life-long bond and memory pool with relationships of kids to parents. Back then, people knew you as a kid and who you belonged to. Kathy remembered long talks with her Dad sitting on a porch or backyard before heading to the boardwalk. You always saw kids with parents hanging together. The shore was built for kids and parents. Retired Pharmacist Jack Cobin told about grandmothers sitting on benches and watching kids carefully and mother’s telling you not to go into the water for an hour after eating. “Kids in the neighborhood hanging out was like the Wonder Years; a naïve innocent time,” Kathy added. Writer and blogger Kevin Cieri thought, “Family time was playing Skeeball together.” Billie Jo McDonald, with more recent memories of the shore, would walk her children to the beach in November and wait for storms. For the homeschooling kids, they’d spend the first day of school on the beach.  “It got to be that the kids could read the riptide. The Jersey beach was a grounding spot.”

 

Ocean Grove memories

Ocean Grove memories

Boardwalk

Old Boardwalk

 

Food is Jersey definitive. Everyone remembers. It was the Good Humor ice cream truck. For me in the 50’s, it was a bakery truck driving up and down the beach streets with bread and cake stuff out of the rear.  I heard recollections about Syd’s, Vic’s, Zelbe’s, Max’s and The WindMill for hot dogs.  Despite the admonition of Thomas Wolfe that you can’t go home again, The WindMill is still purveying hot dogs today.  Also mentioned as a memory were soft-shelled crab sandwiches and salt water taffy right out of the local ocean; it tasted better indigenous. Kohr’s Custard in a cone; Karen once dropped her cone and to this day it’s always in a cup for her. Sandwiches were always taken to the beach, sometimes packed in shoe-boxes. French fries came in brown paper bags with small wooden forks and vinegar instead of ketchup.

 

 

Parkway traffic assuming headed to shore

Parkway traffic assuming headed to shore

Empress Hotel Asbury Park.

Empress Hotel Asbury Park.

 

Amusements on the beach boardwalk were endless; every town from Asbury Park to Point Pleasant had pastimes. For me, if I behaved during the week and watched my infant sister Hildy, the family would go to Asbury Park on Saturday. The merry-go-round was mostly magical. I never grabbed the brass ring.  Pinball in the arcades was prolific on boardwalks, Ocean Avenue or in memory. Today, the Pinball Museum in Asbury Park captures the particulates with vintage games like the Gottlieb and Williams machines. And back to the future with an original game, the baseball pinball where you can even adjust the pitch speed. Susan remembers the ‘Grabber Machine’ which she played all summer long trying for that elusive big prize; one year she won and still talks about it. Ironically, the other day, a local television news story focused on that machine. They reported the machine is programmed (fixed) to not yield a winner until all the prizes inside were paid for. Bingo had its fans in Bradley Beach. And of course Palace Amusements and Tillie and Seaside stirred memories.  Music wise, it’s easy for me to write about The Upstage Club in Asbury Park, open from 1968 to 1971 (I’ve been researching it) where the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Vini Lopez and Steven Van Zandt started out. And you played volleyball on the beach even under the light of the silvery moon.  Film maker Chris Eilenstine remembers, “There was always something to do.”

 

Jersey shore youthful boating

Jersey shore youthful boating

There is a life cycle to the Jersey shore. Many towns had pavilions where little kids hung out, sometimes with arts and crafts. Then teen dances sprung up in those VFW or religious halls after a day of listening to transistor radios on the beach. Jack reminded that Loch Arbor beach, adjacent to Asbury Park, became a college hang out.  Shore towns sometimes mirrored different ethnic enclaves. Humorously, Carmen told me that his father bought a house in Bradley Beach and when he dated a Bradley Beach girl, he was instructed by the date to hide his crucifix under his shirt; a scene right out of the movie ‘Goodfellas’ (celebrating a 25th anniversary) Chris, to this day, says “I love the diversity, the great culture play, small town feel and originality of the Jersey shore and you can hop on a train and be in New York City in an hour.”

Pondering a good visual to portray the Jersey shore when I was listening to the Everly Brothers sing ‘Bye Bye Love’ in 1955, I just thought of the movie ‘The Summer of ’42.’ Jersey shore was small towns, simple beach structures, like on the island in the movie. Stores were basic and general. Painted paper sale signs hung on windows; beach chairs and umbrellas on the sidewalks creating impulses to buy. Movie theaters boasted they had air-conditioning, were mostly double feature and had that beach dank damp smell.  I want to say I saw ‘Now Voyager’ starring Bette Davis down the shore one summer.  Some towns were regal with their Victorian architecture; I’m thinking Ocean Grove and Spring Lake. Jersey shore is old and historic.

 

Pinball Museum Asbury Park

Pinball Museum Asbury Park

On Belmar beach contemporary times

On Belmar beach contemporary times

 

There’s a paradox to the crowds and long lines of summer; the solitude and introspection of the winter months at the Jersey shore. Some towns turn off traffic lights in winter. Back in college, I used to get the key to my friend’s beach house in Bradley Beach and go there to study. It was cold but eerily quiet and productive. David McMahon, from 40 Foot Hole Studios, would rent a shore house for the winter for its ultimate peace and solitude. “I love the winters down there. I’d just bundle up and sit by the ocean.” That’s the other side of the shore; the down winter time; something which provides a unique identity. You can be in a state with eight million neighbors but find this spiritually special desolate shore place in a world all by itself with few winter neighbors and even fewer year-around pizza establishments.

And finally what is that common denominator that makes the Jersey shore unique, memorable and passed down from generation to generation?  It’s the people of Jersey who’ve won their independence from New York and Philadelphia these past years. New Jersey is hot culturally and media wise. Just look at national pop culture; The Soprano’s, Boardwalk Empire, Jersey Shore, Jersey Housewives, Garden State, Jersey Boys; and of course Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi globally. What really is that bond that puts the whole state together then and now; that matrix of shared pride and experience; that place we all rushed to re-build after Sandy and showed our resilience to the world? It’s the Jersey shore. And I still remember it like it IS yesterday.

 

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

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