comment 0

NJ’s The Kootz Socially-Distance Rock Morris Plains

It was a wonderful Sunday evening, as The Kootz played its own rendition of classic pop tunes in front of an appreciative, socially-distanced crowd as part of Morris Plains Recreation 2020 Summer Concert Series at Roberts Garden at Glenbrook, off Rt. 202 (Speedwell Av.), in Morris Plains, N.J. 

The Kootz performed for two hours, playing classic hits from the Beatles, Donald Fagan, Nancy Sinatra, to the Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, The Pretenders, and The Motels. 

While rocking out, the band told entertaining stories about how they deceived their parents so they could attend Woodstock. But the highlight of the band was its talented drummer/singer, Rhonda Grindell, who delighted the crowd with her pleasant voice and stellar musical stylings. 

The Kootz will be performing on Tuesday at the Gazebo at Ginty Field; Woodland Avenue, Morris Township, N.J. Call: 973-326-7371 if you need more information. 

Follow The Kootz on Facebook and ReverbNation

Up next in the Summer Concert Series is London Calling, playing Beatles Covers. 

Watch The Kootz perform The Pretenders’ Back on the Chain Gang in the video below.  

 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

 

 

 

comment 1

Morris Plains Recreation to Feature 4 Summer Concerts at Roberts Garden in July

Providing New Jerseyans with some sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Morris Plains Recreation announced its Summer Concert Series at Roberts Garden at Glenbrook, off Rt. 202 (Speedwell Av.), in Morris Plains. 

On Sunday, July 5th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. the Garden State’s The Kootz will take center stage to perform its own rendition of classic pop tunes (rain date is July 6th).  

London Calling

London Calling rocking face coverings during a performance. Photo: Facebook.

Up next, on Sunday, July 12th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. the concert series will feature London Calling: a Beatles Tribute Band. It’s a must-see for fans of the fab four from Liverpool, England (rain date on July 13th). 

Millie’s Closet, a New Jersey-based band specializing in classic rock covers, as well as today’s and yesterday’s coolest tunes, will be hitting the stage on Sunday, July 19th, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m (rain date July 20th). 

On Sunday, 26th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Bootleg Version will be making its debut at the summer concert series (rain date on the 27th). 

Social distancing of six-feet or more and face coverings will be enforced; please bring hand sanitizer as an extra precaution if you so desire. If you have any other questions, please call 973-538-3455 for more information. 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

 

comment 0

Three Chatham, Madison, Summit, NJ Mexican Food Joints for Your Quarantine Appetites

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has been lingering on, but that doesn’t have to keep New Jerseyans from going out and grabbing some grub from a few of their favorite spots. 

Hey, did anyone say, Mexican? 

At these three Mexican delights–Tito’s Burritos & Wings Summit, Mexican Spice, FolkLore Artisanal Tacoyou can either order for delivery, or drive up and take out.

Either way, your mouth will feel like its celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  

Tito’s Burritos & Wings Summit356 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ 07901, Phone: 908.277.3710

Tito's

Tito’s Burritos Loaded Tacos!! (Photo: Facebook)

Usually packed with high school and college students, and outfitted with a California vibe, Tito’s is a great spot for quick, quality burrito and tacos, among other options such as the loaded nachos, quesadillas, and its vast gluten-free menu. 

On a sun-kissed day and benches around the corner, why not grab a taco, burrito, wings or chicken strips and munch to your heart’s delight? Or, take home to share with family and friends. It’s your call. 

I tend to favor anything with grilled chicken. Therefore, The Bird Is the Word (a grilled chicken burrito, with Tito’s cheeses, rice, black beans, sour cream, pico, and fresh guac)   and The Tito Chickito (a grilled chicken taco, with Tito’s cheeses, lettuce, and pico) are good ways to satisfy my tastebuds, as well as yours. 

Cutting carbs? Well, the burritos can be made into healthier bowl options. 

There are also four other Tito’s Burritos spots: Morristown, Ridgewood, South Orange, and Booton.

Mexican Spice — 7 Cross St. Madison — 973.822.0504

Mex Spice

Mexican Spice Tacos, with a side order of a churro!!

Mexican Spice, with a food truck stationed at 7 Cross St, in Madison, is another eatery offering good, quick bites. 

Mexican Spice serves up all the Mexican staples: tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, all of which are from decent to very good. 

I enjoy the Mexican Bowl, with chicken tinga, rice, beans, cilantro, onions, crema, salsa, and chips. But you can’t wrong with the tacos: either chicken tinga, pork carnita, or beef picadillo.

FolkLore 3

With a vast menu of delicious offerings, you can enjoy anything from tacos and quesadillas to burritos and nachos.

But it’s FokeLore Artisanal Taco’s devotion to quality ingredients, with added helpings of love and passion for crafting food, that separates it from the mundane Mexican establishments that crowd the New Jersey food landscape. 

With a vast menu of delicious offerings, you can enjoy anything from tacos and quesadillas to burritos and nachos.

But it’s FokeLore Artisanal Taco’s devotion to quality ingredients, with an added heaping helping of love, that separates it from the mundane Mexican establishments that crowd the New Jersey food landscape. 

The Tacos Cochinita Pibil — Mayan-style pulled pork, slow-cooked with citrus axitote (a spice made from the red seed of the annatto tree) and various Mexican herbs. I had a small bite of it and it was pretty darn good. 

But I summoned up a decent sized Burrito Bowl (sans burrito) with chicken, rice, black beans, cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a side of sour cream thrown into the mouth-watering mix.

Each level of the bowl you order comes with a choice of meat. For instance, I had two other types of meat from which to pick; either Pollo Asado or Carne Molida.

For a dollar more ($12.50), you get to select from six basic meat or chicken options. For another dollar ($13.50), you get five other choices, and for $14.50, you have four upper echelon meat or fish selections. 

Call (973) 377-5700 or visit www.folkloretaco.com to order.

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

comment 0

NJ’s Madison Dog Park Makes Dog Days Fun

Madison Dog Park

Look at me doing what I love, as the dogs wait so nicely for a treat. Maya is the brindle American Staffordshire Terrier doggie on the left.

Many dog owners in and around Madison, N.J.,  may not know that there’s a simple yet wonderful off-leash, fenced-in dog park — Madison Dog Park — located right in town, nestled in the back of Memorial Park, right off of Rosedale Avenue.

Madison Dog Park is easy to miss when you drive by Memorial Park, but it’s there, I assure you. 

While the ascetics aren’t much, Madison Dog Park does features some nice amenities: new dog waste containers with bags, a cool water fountain with several levels and sides, and a built-in water bowl.

Additionally, for the dog owners, there’s plenty of shade from trees so you won’t overheat during those blazing, humid days, and benches to sit and relax while your pooch frolics with other wonderful, cute pups.

water Fountain

Drink up, doggies!!

The one drawback is that it may be empty at times because of a lack of visual and digital visibility. But Madison Dog Park is still pretty new, so hopefully, that will change as the word gets out to Morris County dog owners at large. And you can always join Facebook groups for dog owners looking for pup playdates. 

Just make sure you follow the simple rules at Madison Dog Park, the ones most dog parks have: make sure your dog isn’t overly aggressive, pick up after them, no choke collars while playing, and make sure Fido is having as much fun as possible. 

Maya, Maggie, and I will see you soon at Madison Dog Park.  Woof! 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

 

 

comment 0

After Releasing 2 Tracks, Songstress Elizabeth Sage Set to Unleash Lastest Tune Want to be Free in June

Sage

Elizabeth Sage, an avid roller balder and talented artist, pictured here having fun in the sun.

Singer/songwriter Elizabeth Sage hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic prevent her from doing what she loves: create and release great music to the masses.

In fact, in a span of two and a half months, the Brooklyn-based bombshell will have released three tracks, with the third one, Want to be Free, due out on Thursday, June 11th, which, she noted, you can pre-save on Spotify: https://ffm.to/want2befree.

Want to be Free captures the internal struggle when we let fear of failure paralyze us,” Sage explained.  “Forget being stuck in quarantine. The worst is when you’re stuck in your mind. I wrote this song to set me free by reminding myself that just because I feel something negative will happen, doesn’t make it real. All decisions have some sort of consequence and you just have to accept that. Doing nothing is still a decision; it’s you saying no to all the things you could be saying yes to.”

Sage released One More Time in mid-May and In My Space in March, both of which Mike Davidson of Plaid Dog Recording produced. Rich Pilkington produced Want to be Free

One More Time” captures infatuation,” while “In My Space is about wanting to get to know someone more intimately,” Sage elaborated. “Everyone has that desire, even if they aren’t touchy, huggy people. I wanted to capture that feeling.”

Sage used her background as a licensed mental health counselor to help her envoke feelings and emotions throughout each danceable, popish tune, which she mentioned she penned last summer.

One more time

One More Time by Elizabeth Sage.

But Sage didn’t claim a favorite tune. “I’m extremely proud of all three songs,” she said, with a gleeful yet playful smile. 

As gifted as Sage is, she didn’t bring the tracks to fruition without a measure of help from friends, family, and her fans, who helped fund her venture through her Indiegogo campaign. 

“I’m so grateful to those who believed in me enough to financially support that EP,” Sage said in all honesty.  

The In My Space video displays a recent trend: it features everyone filming themselves dancing and lip-synching while in quartine mode.

To listen to Sage’s music, watch her videos, and view her website, visit the following links: ElizabethSagemusic.com, Facebook, Youtube, TwitterInstagramBandcamp, and Spotify 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

comment 0

Chatham Author, Lisa Tognola, to Appear at Short Stories Bookshop in Madison, NJ

lisas-media-photo___04141512959

Lisa Tognola — As Long As It’s Perfect Novel.

On Thursday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m., Chatham, New Jersey, author Lisa Tognola will onhand at Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub in Madison for an intimate reading, Q&A, and signing of her book, As Long As It’s Perfect — a novel about a couple who try to build their dream house and find it comes with a ton of conflict as well as humor. 

A Los Angeles transplant, Tognola is a  is a freelance writer, social worker, and a former humor columnist at The Alternative Press. 

Please visit Short Stories at http://www.shortstoriesnj.com/ for more information on upcoming events and book signings and Tognola’s blog at https://mainstreetmusingsblog.com/.

Don’t forget to support your local, independent book store. 

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

comment 0

Mob Mentality Two-Episode TV Pilot Premiers to Trilled Audience at SVA Theater

Mob Mentality

Jack Spiegs, Mike Taverna, Colin Van Wye Star in Mob Mentality Series.

Writer-director Isis Djata will be the first to tell that she is one of the last people you would expect to make a mobster TV show, being an Afro-American woman and law school graduate with zero film-making experience. 

But after approximately two years, Djata, who also created and acted in the combined two-episode pilot, defied the odds stacked against her and brought Mob Mentality to life, as it premiered on Wednesday before a packed audience at the SVA Theather in Chelsea, Manhattan.  

“For me, I didn’t get a lot of respect doing this,” the Bronx native — who wore many hats during the production of Mob Mentality — told the crowd at the TV show’s unveiling. “A lot of people took me as a joke, and I didn’t mind. I just kept my head down and kept working. I didn’t have time to pay attention to naysayers.” 

The highly-anticipated combined two-pilot episode follows Carmine “Car” Ponte Jr., played by actor Jack Spiegs. Ponte Jr. is the son of a reputed mob boss released from federal prison after eight years. While behind bars, Ponte Jr. earns his psychology degree.

Low on cash, however, he lands a job as a psychologist at a school for troubled teens. Seeing that he cannot survive on his measly do-gooder’s salary, Ponte Jr. decides to return to his old mob lifestyle, yanking him back into a world of drugs, booze, and unbridled Sodom and Gomorrah mayhem.

Ponte Jr. blends his unconventional adolescent-helping ways during the day with his violent, neck-breaking tendencies at night, making him a walking enigma. 

Seemingly made for the role of the long-haired Ponte Jr., Spiegs lends his gripping portrayal of the ruthless hooligan to his Yonkers, N.Y, roots and solid acting chops.

“Somethings I drew from my real-life experience, and everything else was method acting, fellows,” Speigs quipped to the audience. 

An accomplished professional wrestler whose gimmick is a take on the Man of Steel, Mike Taverna said his Anthony Sorrentino tough-guy character, which is opposite of his baby face in-ring persona as Mike Verna, will take his acting career to new heights. 

“This (Mob Mentality) allows me to kind of go away from what I do in the ring, which is pretend to be Superman,” the Mob Mentality co-star Taverna explained. “And take on roles that are a little more challenging, and take my career as an actor to the next level.” 

Taverna went on to say that Djata turned down two network offers because they wanted to recast the TV show and take it into an entirely new direction. But she rejected them both and stayed loyal to her cast and vision, much to the actors’ delight. 

“We started doing this about two years ago,” he said. “It started with a sizzle reel, and it evolved over the time that we’ve been doing it. And during that process, Isis actually received two offers from network television, to pick up the show. And those two networks wanted to recast everybody, change her direction, and basically make the show their own. So she said, ‘Go Fuck Yourself.'” 

The Mob Mentality combined two-episode pilot features many laughs, cringe-worthy scenes, and twists and turns that will leave you begging for more. 

Djata said she is in the process of pitching Mob Mentality to several networks.

Meanwhile, for more information on Mob Mentality, visit:  www.MobMentality.tv; http://www.instagram.com/mobmentalitytheseries;  www.Facebook.com/mobmentalitytheseries

Please watch the preview clip here: https://vimeo.com/372141899

— Jerry Del Priore 

 

 

 

comment 1

Madison’s Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub is More than Your Average Bookstore

By Jerry Del Priore

IMG_0385

Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub Displays Latest Book for Sale.

Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, which owner Barbara Short and her daughters opened in 2014 in downtown Madison, New Jersey, is a lot more than just a local, independent bookstore. 

Sure, it sells all types of booksbut it’s also a spot for people who may be in the area for all kinds of reasons — from waiting for their children to finish one of the many classes and activities Madison has to offer or taking a stroll after a delicious meal at one of area’s many eating establishments — to stop in and enjoy perusing the store’s amazing books (what else?) and unique gift items.

There is plenty of seating where they can also sip on a hot or cold drink from the Bookstore Cafe located right in the store while reading.

Madison has a thriving downtown community where, “There’s a lot of pass-through traffic, and when I talk to them, I hope to get them in as regular customers,” general manager Merril Speck said. 

Short Stories also has an upper room that functions as a community space for people to gather for various reasons. There is currently a group that meets there on Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., to play Mahjong, a tile-based game that was developed in China during the Qing dynasty and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. This group is open to any seasoned players as well as those interested in learning. Just drop in and join in on the fun.

Short Stories offers many other free events and activities in the upper room. Every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Short Stories holds Storytime for pre-k children. There are also poetry readings, held by Arts by the People, every first Wednesday of the month.

Additionally, the bookstore hosts author events and occasionally has local musical acts. This Thursday, October 24th, from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Running Late, an eclectic neo-nineties alternative rock/pop band out of Madison, will be performing at the bookstore.

The following night, there will be a live recording of the Perennials Podcast. Host Victoria Russell will be discussing the psychology of Harry Potter with Drew University Professor of Psychology Dr. Jill Cermele. This event will run approximately two hours and is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. Suggested for teens and older.

Past book signings include Katie Arnold, a former Madison resident who wrote the book Running Home: A Memoir, the story of a woman who used the power of ultra long-distance running to heal and change her life.

Plus, upcoming signings will feature award-winning Chatham author Jennifer Voigt Kaplan, who will be signing copies of Crushing the Red Flowers on Saturday, November 23rd (call 973-845-6086 for time). Kaplan’s book is scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 19, and copies will be available for purchase at the store for the signing.

You can also buy quirky greeting cards from Laughing Elephant and Shannon Martin,  journals, socks, candles, various cool chachkies, and soak in the charming atmosphere while viewing the eye-popping, rotating art, which is up for sale.

IMG_0386

You can purchase socks, bags, bookmarks, and other great items at Short Stories Bookstore and Community Hub in Madison, New Jersey.

So, as you can see, it is more than your average bookstore — something Short set out to accomplish when she first launched the store five years ago, according to Speck. 

“It’s built into the name now; it’s Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub,” Speck said. “It’s a mouth full. That’s a big brand to have to put together. But that was important to Barabara when she created the store, that it’s not just a place where you buy something.

“An independent bookstore is meant to be a place to come and hang out, have a coffee, talk to a neighbor you meet here,” the Indiana native continued, “and if you want to look at a book, not buy it, or buy it, that’s great, too.”

More importantly, though, he said, “It’s a place to facilitate conversation,”  

But if you’re in the market for the latest page-turner or a timeless classic, Short Stories has them as well, including the presently-popular The Handmaid’s Tale, Ann Patchett’s Dutch House, Where the Crawdads Sing, and all seven Harry Potter books. 

If you’re in Madison or nearby, make your way over to Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, where they’re helping to change the world (or at least New Jersey), one page at a time. 

For more information on bookstore events, log onto http://www.shortstoriesnj.com.

 

comment 0

FolkLore Artisanal Taco Makes Tacos Great Again in Chatham, NJ

By Jerry Del Priore

FolkLore

FolkLore Artisanal Taco

Move over Taco Bell and Chipotle, there’s a new legendary Mexican eatery in Chatham, New Jersey called FolkLore Artisanal Taco, which just opened its doors on Thursday to a plethora of hungry patronages, according to the owner. 

With a vast menu of delicious offerings, you can enjoy anything from tacos and quesadillas to burritos and nachos. But it’s FokeLore Artisanal Taco’s devotion to quality ingredients, with an added heaping helping of love, that separates it from the mundane Mexican establishments that crowd the New Jersey food landscape. 

My girlfriend Maggie and I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of FokeLore Artisanal Tacos, which also has an outpost in West Orange. 

FolkLore 3Surrounded in a simple yet traditional Mexican decorated atmosphere, Maggie ordered the Tacos Cochinita Pibil — Mayan-style pulled pork, slow-cooked with citrus axitote (a spice made from the red seed of the annatto tree) and Mexican herbs. I had a small bite and it was pretty good. 

But I summoned up a decent sized Burrito Bowl (sans burrito) with chicken, rice, black beans, cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a side of sour cream thrown into the mouth-watering mix. FolkLore 4

Each level of the bowl you order comes with a choice of meat. For instance, I had two other types of meat from which to pick; either Pollo Asado or Carne Molida.

For a dollar more ($12.50), you get to select from six basic meat or chicken options. For another dollar ($13.50), you get five other choices, and for $14.50, you have four upper echelon meat or fish selections. 

All in all, I went with the healthiest option, in my opinion, while leaving full and satiated. 

We didn’t order dessert, but they do serve churros with either Nutella or Dulce de Leche and Flan — a sweet dessert that is prepared with whole eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, though there are different variations made throughout Latin and South American cultures. 

For more information, log onto www.folkloretaco.com (641 Shunpike Rd., Chatham, NJ.) 

 

 

comment 0

All-Star Band Rocks The Beatles’ 50th Anniversary of the White Album: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today, in Morristown, NJ

By Jerry Del Priore 

1200px-Todd_Rundgren_at_Revolution_Live_(cropped)

Todd Rundgren.

Sunday night, my girlfriend Maggie and I had the opportunity to see the super rock group comprised of Christopher CrossTodd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Jason Scheff (Chicago) and Joey Molland (Badfinger), plus Musical Director: Joey Curatolo (the musical director of RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles) at Morristown Performance Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown, New Jersey. 

The rock n roll giants joined forces to celebrate The Beatles 50th Anniversary of the White Album: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – Tour 2019 – A Tribute To The Beatles’ White Album — presented by Flower Power Concerts, Inc. 

Much to our delight, the All-Star band did not disappoint. The group opened up with a cool, rocking rendition of Back in the U.S.S.R, with Rundgren and Dolenz sharing lead vocals. 

From there, they went into Dear Prudence. The band also sang other classic Beatles tunes such as BlackBird, Birthday, Helter Skelter, Revolution, Honey Pie, and Bungalow Bill, among other memorable Fab Four tunes. 

Additionally, each member belted out some of their own songs. Dolenz performed The Monkeys’ I’m a Believer (written by Brooklynite Neil Diamond) and Plesant Valley Sunday; Rundgren sang Hello It’s Me Again and I Saw the Light; Cross cruised through Sailing and Ride Like the Wind; Scheff sang Chicago hit Hard to Say I’m Sorry; Molland: Baby Blue and No Matter What.   

Wow. Those tracks brought me back to a simpler time when music and songwriting really mattered. But I digress.

All in all, it was an amazing show, one that brought out a range of demographics, which all went home as happy as we did, I’m sure. 

Watch the Video Below of Christopher Cross Singing Blackbird