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A Night on the Red Carpet: Premiere of “Who’s Jenna…?” 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(0)

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.

PLEASE CHECK END OF ARTICLE FOR LINK TO TARA-JEAN VITALE’S VIDEO REPORT ON RED CARPET!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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 (Jenna)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.

 

I appreciate sharp dialogue in preciously funny situations. Tom Baldinger, writer, director, delivers that.  Some of the scenes were priceless like the  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.

PLEASE CHECK END OF ARTICLE FOR LINK TO TARA-JEAN VITALE’S VIDEO REPORT ON RED CARPET!!!

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.”

 

 

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.”

 

 

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.


Who’s Jenna…? Red Carpet – AsburyPark 5.20.16

 

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

 

 

New Jersey HALL of FAME 8th Annual Red Carpet Induction Ceremony – at Asbury Park Convention Hall –  April 7th, 2016 – by TaraJean McDonald Vitale New Jersey HALL of FAME 8th Annual Red Carpet Induction Ceremony – at Asbury Park Convention Hall – April 7th, 2016 – by TaraJean McDonald Vitale(0)

……..

Last night I had the privilege of honoring some of New Jersey’s BEST at Asbury Park’s magnificent Convention Hall Theater. My co-host Calvin Schwartz and I enjoyed greeting the honorees on the red carpet. The New Jersey Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates Garden State Citizens for their outstanding accomplishments. I am always impressed with the diversity of over achievers that are chosen for each year’s ceremony. Year’s passed the Inductees have included Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Stewart, Joyce Carol Oates, Tony Bennet, Whitney Houston, John Travolta, Dionne Warwick, Michael Douglas and Bruce Willis. And this year’s honored were equally impressive:

Class of 2015

James Fenimore Cooper – America’s National Novelist – “Last of the Mohicans”

William Fox of 20th Century Fox – His first film studio was in Fort Lee New Jersey

Lewis Katz – Founder and Director of Katz Foundation


Kool & The Gang
–  “Jungle Boogie”, “Funky Stuff”, “Ladies Night”, “Celebration”

Jack H. Jacobs – Medal of Honor, McDermott Chair of Humanities, On-Air Analyst for NBC

Derek Jeter – Five Time World Series Champion, Yankees All-Time Career Leader

Frank R. Lautenberg – Represented NJ in the United States Senate for five terms.

Bernard Marcus – Co-Founder of Home Depot

Christie Rampone – FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion & 3 time Olympic Gold Medalist

Jon Stewart – Television Host of The Daily Show – winning 18 EmmyAwards

Dick Vitale – American Basketball Sportscaster & Analyst, ABC, ESPN, NCAA, Olympic Games

Carla Harris – Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley and Gospel Singer

The evening began with the theater booming from the tremendous sound of the Glen Burtnik Band. Soon after we were treated to a wonderful rendition of Theme from New York, New York sung by Joe Piscopo, the Hall Of Fame’s Host. Among laughter and cheers Joe Piscopo sung about New Jersey’s greatest and most memorable places to love and avoid. Throughout the evening one by one the Honorees and their families accepted the prestigious awards. All who attended the ceremony that evening could sense the great privilege that each inductee felt who stood on the stage that night.

(Special thanks to photographer: Richard Elliott Hoynes)

After a great evening in Asbury, rubbing elbows with my long-lost cousin Dick Vitale, and serenading “Ladies Night” to Kool & the Gang, I am settling down with my better half to rent the “Last of the Mohicans” in honor of New Jersey’s Hall of Fame. Looking forward to next year’s Ceremony and finding out who will be chosen from the many supremely talented Jersey Citizens. Congrats to all New Jerseys Hall of Fame Inductees and Good Luck to all the Hopefuls!

TaraJean McDonald Vitale

Journalist & Radio Host & On-Air Personality, NJDiscover

yourstrulyTJ@wordpress.com

NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT:  A Conversation with ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO,  USMC, World Ranked Jiu Jitsu Fighter, PTSD & Bi-Polar Advocate & HIS MISSION to END STIGMA OF BIPOLAR     bY Calvin Schwartz   2-22-16 NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: A Conversation with ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO, USMC, World Ranked Jiu Jitsu Fighter, PTSD & Bi-Polar Advocate & HIS MISSION to END STIGMA OF BIPOLAR bY Calvin Schwartz 2-22-16(0)

NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT:  A Conversation with ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO,  USMC, World Ranked Jiu Jitsu Fighter, PTSD & Bi-Polar Advocate & HIS MISSION to END STIGMA OF BIPOLAR      bY Calvin Schwartz   2-22-16

 

 

 

 

 

I constantly marvel at the exigencies and mysteries of the universe. Just the other day, Einstein was proven correct again; scientists detected gravitational waves from the violent merger (not Wall Street but perhaps some parallel) of two black holes in deep space. My excitement comes from how the universe and synchronicity bring special people into my life.  There has to be a reason. Sometimes I think it’s the involvement of a special Saint. Last summer, on a warm humid night, I got a call from my friend Mike Marino, one of the funniest comedians in the country, also known as New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy. He invited me to come to Rumson, where his brother Paul Marino and his band were performing.  I’d meet several of Mike’s Jersey City (roots) friends from the old neighborhood. The invitation appealed to me. I love roots, colorful people and anything Mike.

 

At a table in the rear were Mike Marino, John Freda, (a former boxer) Joe Weber, Bob Mattis and Cozmo. From a short distance, Cozmo looked fiercely ripped and intense; you could tell he worked out or something akin. I sat next and within an hour, knew he was a special guy with a personal history that they easily make powerful dramatic movies about.  Saying goodbye, I sensed a fast friendship forming. There was so much inside Cozmo that I wanted to learn about.  I sensed the ticking.

Slow forward a few months. Cozmo and I stayed in touch via Facebook, Twitter and a cell phone. I learned from all his videos, television interviews and print material as well as in his own voice, his incredible painful journey from a tumultuous childhood through the Marines, into PTSD, bipolar diagnosis and a world Jiu Jitsu ranking. He fights so well; productively channels all that strife and internal energy.  I’ve been watching Cozmo solely undertake a massive public relations program through social media to bring awareness to bipolar disease.  Quite impressively, he enlisted multi Emmy award winning  documentary film maker Glenn Holsten (OC 87 Recovery Diaries) to do a short video on Cozmo’s life roots in Jersey City called “Crazy Cozmo” — Veteran Marine With PTSD & Bipolar Disorder.”  This needs to be seen.

                                                                                                                                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMdOk8EgXtc

 

Cozmo corralled a few high profile friends on social media also personally dealing with bipolar; Mauro Ranallo (WWE) and Carrie Fisher (yes, ‘Star Wars’). He is one of the most unrelenting, eloquent and sensitive people I’ve ever met. He swept me up into his energy field (to end the stigma of bipolar) and moved NJ Discover and me to do a short profile video interview at our studio. Cozmo is riveting in life and on camera. Before anything else here, please go watch this NJ Discover video. Take 7 minutes and a few seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo960SxQOSY

After the release of this video, Cozmo intensified his campaign to end the stigma of bipolar. He asked if I could do a follow-up article to our video. This was his life’s mission. I wanted to be there for him. But as a writer, my effectiveness has always been my personal involvement and commitment to a subject. Bipolar was ostensibly not in my life. It would be hard for me to dig into my intestinal lining. Then an epiphany arrived on a cumulous cloud that simultaneously covered a Middlesex County cemetery; it was a realization that a dear special unique cousin is buried (two years ago) nearby. An hour before they buried him, his son, my second cousin, told me that my cousin was bipolar. It hit me like a mallet on my cranial soft spot now hardened. The world was crystal clear and strangely painful because I never knew in the six decades we were living cousins that he suffered from bi polar. And then Cozmo’s life mission to end the stigma of bipolar really hit me hard.

 

Everything made sense now. The stigma of bipolar hugely affected the relationship I had with my cousin. There were times of unpredictability and erratic unexplained behavior. I was hurt, dismayed and pulled away from the cousin I loved so much; sometimes for a decade. My cousin was me. I was him. To be just like him, I changed my whole life career path. He was older and wiser and I had to do anything to be close to him. The stories I could tell. Not now.  Then a few years ago, I got a call he was passing. We hadn’t seen each other in years; more unexplained behavior on his part. I visited him for the last time. It was strained and awkward but I made him laugh. I was empty, sad and never could figure him out. I loved my cousin but he always pushed away. Now I know and understand. He was bipolar and it was a stigma so he could never confide in me.  I am so grateful to Cozmo for getting me to think, feel and grasp his life’s mission; to end the stigma of bipolar. I remember when Michael Corleone touched the hand of his father Don Vito (The Godfather) in the hospital and said, “I’m with you now pop.”  And I said to Cozmo when I realized all this, “I’m with you now Cozmo.”  If only there was no stigma, and I knew all about my cousin, what wonderful life moments we could‘ve shared with transparent understanding.  I’ve taken a lot of time to develop all this stuff lining my stomach with emotion; it’s to help Cozmo’s cause.

A few weeks ago, snow was flurrying around, Cozmo came and sat around my kitchen table and we talked his mission, emotions and deep feelings. It’s my job now to harvest those words. It’s not going to be a bumpy night but a fascinating look into an intense tough guy and where this mental stuff came from.

 

 

“How and when does all this turmoil in your life begin?”  I knew some of the general background. Cozmo’s voice kicked up an octave. ” My biological father commited suicide by hanging himself. I’ve seen my first step father beat my mother. They were together for many years but never married but he also forced himself on her. He even threw a TV stand at his own mother; the product of a violent environment. I’ve seen him beat a guy over a parking spot. My first stepfather shot my second stepfather with a 22. Later the same day, he drove up to Mooanchie, New Jersey and killed himself inside of a Pontiac Bonneville with the same weapon. My first stepfather was the guy when my mother yelled, “Dad wants you,” I started crying. I didn’t know what was going to happen. That’s where my problems dealing with people and authority figures came from. That’s all I knew, how to survive.”

My wife, a former teacher, and preparer of lunch, asked, “What about school.” “I actually was a good student.” I wasn’t surprised about that. His eloquence and grasp are wonderful intellectual gifts.  “I was the guy that would hang out with the international students. I hate to say I felt pity but I wanted to protect them. My best friend was from Taiwan. We’d go to have lunch in a nearby cemetery to get away from the ghetto kids. He looked up to me. I was his protector. It made me feel better to help people.”

“I lived in this little cubicle. No one messed with me cause I knew who I was. Maybe that’s part of bipolar.” Cozmo talked about travelling the world. He loves castles; maybe that’s why he’s going to Prague in June.  Suddenly he was talking about cutting two people out of his life because of negativity and hypocrisy. And he recently wrote President Obama in the White House three times. Cozmo wants to sit down and enlist his help to end the stigma of bipolar. He reasoned that his second term is winding down and that he’d have more time now. Yes, if anyone can accomplish that, it’d be Cozmo; I’m a believer in him.  “I’m all about defying odds in life. I sent him a DVD with all my movies. Your NJ Discover interview was part of it too.”

 

I love his stream of consciousness thought process; rapid fire and bipolar fire; I wondered. Next Cozmo expounded on entering Guinness Records for the AB-Wheel & trying for a  world record, being ranked second in the world in Jiu Jitsu. That should impress the President.  It was shout out time for Cozmo’s sponsor, Scramble Martial Arts, “based in the UK, bringing me on board and sponsoring an old guy. They love my story trying to end the stigma.”

Scramble links as per Cozmo: www.scramblestuff.com         https://www.facebook.com/scramblers/

I asked Cozmo about his social media and growing friendship with WWE’s Mauro Ranallo and fellow bipolar personality. “I’m really excited to meet Mauro and do his podcast. If you think I have energy, he is unbelievable. His retweeting is a by-product of his mania. He is living his dream on overdrive. People’s twitter walls are bombarded.  He flies all over the country. Vince McMahon from WWE hired him.” Since Mauro was five years old, he wanted to work with WWE. Here is that one minute You Tube ‘Smackdown’ video of his joy and excitement of Mauro’s first match as per Cozmo.  Amazingly they met through twitter.  When they do the podcast together, Cozmo can’t wait to see the energy when two bipolar guys get together.  “He is spinning positive light, man.”

 Mauro Ranallo:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZlaq_NUTWU

 

 

It was just a matter of time before Cozmo talked about his great- grandfather Mickey Taylor, who was really Michael Consulmagno, but changed his name to the Irish version in order to get paid as a fighter. “Five foot five 200 pound Italian guy; 175 fights; only got knocked out once; and mauled Max Schmeling who knocked out Joe Louis. He beat Schmeling so bad, he was sent out of the camp. He died young; heart problems.”  It was a good segue to talk about racism and what his great-grandfather experienced being an Italian immigrant. “I get along with everyone but racism exists. My great-grandfather was feared in every boxing division. They ran away from him. But he had to hide his Italian heritage and blend in pretend Irish because of racism.”

“What about bipolar; Are there tell-tale signs?” “I’m not a doctor. But it’s erratic speech; going off on a tangent, trying to get so much out.” I thought to myself, how that was Cozmo but in a peculiar way, that seemed to endear him to me.  “I got fired by one company three times and brought back a fourth time.  They couldn’t deal with my antics. But I made them money. Maybe I have a little anger now because I’m fighting so hard.”

“No one talks about hyper sexuality and it’s hard for me to be with one woman.  And going way back in my memory, there was something you could call sexual abuse. I remember my grandfather touching me inappropriately. My uncle got wind of it and we never saw him again. And no one talks about debt and erratic spending. I’ve been in debt multiple times and got out. Funny everyone talks PTSD to me but not bipolar and I can control PTSD by controlling the triggers but not bipolar. I’m pushing so hard because my story is 100% legit.”  He thought for a moment then fired away trying to define his bipolar for me. “The sleeping disorder; I broke two cribs as a kid. When my step-father pushed me down the stairs, I was in a body cast and maybe that led to PTSD. When I’m in bed now, I have my head phones on and rock back and forth. Even after training, I still have energy. I don’t know if it’s the bipolar.”

Going off on a tangent, catching me by surprise, he mentioned his mother. “They used to call her the black widow. Two men committed suicide over her. When I tell this, it almost sounds like a fairytale and I’m making it up.”    Cozmo chuckled sardonically for a moment.  So I asked, “Did your mother try to protect you from all your abuse by your father and step-father?”  “By the time she settled in with the third guy, she went after me, telling me to get out. She wasn’t like that prior.” I shook my head in disbelief. So did my wife. Cozmo picked up on the head-shaking. “My mother’s brother was a real pimp; had the big hat with the feathers and purple outfit. He looked just like the Captain Morgan guy. He got one of the hookers pregnant and he died of heroin in California.”

Swirling around sensibilities, staring at a smiling Cozmo, I marveled at his calm adjustment to such trauma while he talked to us. I again thought what an amazing driven person, devoting his life for others, trying to end the stigma, but having endured so much. I thought about the universe; being grateful to have met Cozmo; a lot of things in perspective for me. I told him there is a movie waiting to be made.  I wanted to just keep talking, absorbing him; many lessons about life now knowing Robert Cozmo Consulmagno.  All the while we talked, my mind wandered erratically. I remembered to ask him about meds and bipolar. He was firm, emphatic. He took meds for a short period but got permission to stop; needed his mind and body to be clear, functioning and natural as best it could be. He does counseling a lot. A special human being was sitting next to me; a new friend for the long haul.  I’ve done my due diligence here, painting his picture and sharing the etiology of his dream to end the stigma of bipolar. Next was how to end this interview/article.

Here goes.  “One last question for you, Cozmo;  “before I leave this earth, I won’t be satisfied until I…..”” He took just a second to answer, gently smiling, “Until I am the face of PTSD and bipolar.”

COZMO CONTACT INFO AND PLEASE CONTACT HIM:

supercrazycozmo(Twitter)

Website  http://www.supercrazycozmo.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/supercrazycozmo

 

 CALVIN SCHWARTZ CONTACT INFO:

Calvin Schwartz:  https://www.facebook.com/cal.schwartz.5             http://www.vichywater.net/

Twitter:  @earthood    Instagram:  cal_schwartz  

  Linked In:  Calvin Schwartz    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SPECIAL NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: Healthy Pursuits, NEOS ZOE (New Life) and MARYANN CASTELLO , Holistic Health Practitioner      bY Calvin Schwartz   January 25, 2016 A SPECIAL NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: Healthy Pursuits, NEOS ZOE (New Life) and MARYANN CASTELLO , Holistic Health Practitioner bY Calvin Schwartz January 25, 2016(0)

A SPECIAL NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: Healthy Pursuits, NEOS ZOE (New Life) and MARYANN CASTELLO , Holistic Health Practitioner      bY Calvin Schwartz   January 25, 2016

 

Those that know my writings and musings these last few years, probably also know I’m always looking to define and redefine myself. A couple of Decembers ago, I learned about a new word being admitted into the dictionary; the ceremony of sorts was taking place on the ‘Today Show.’ The word was ‘flexitarian;’ someone who doesn’t really eat animals with four legs but poultry and fish. Hey, that’s me since 1975. I suppose a flexitarian is a flexible vegan if that makes sense. Why mention this here and now? Because part of my defining journey is to shoot for transhumanist status or finding ways to live healthfully and productively until you’re 150 and doing the stuff you like to do and keeping asterisks handy for the things you can’t do. So, since 1965, I started taking 40 supplements a day; today it’s up to 60.

 

 

 

My defining quest is active and broadened. These past few years, I pursue a wide variety of healthful courses. I’ve got myself a research Conestoga wagon, and am always revolving around learning and researching. I’ve also come to realize that we all need to be our own health advocate. We live in a busy world of input and overbookings and excessive waiting room times. The inevitable by-products for me are discovering personal asterisked practitioners; essential for becoming that elusive centenarian.

 

 

Over a year ago, I had a whole new shoulder with titanium put in; they sawed out my tired old bones. This was done at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. Seventeen months since the operation and I’ve yet to take one pain med for the shoulder.   A year ago, electro-physiologically, renegade atrial-fibrillation cells were removed. I needed dental implants done a few years ago, but my jaw bone had receded so my friend and periodontist, implanted cow bone and the three implants are functional and wonderful. A year ago, I had some normal aches and pains around the body, and saw a bio magnetic practitioner to tune me up. In July, I saw a renowned integrative physician on Park Avenue, New York City.  Extensive blood tests, hour long consultations and putting me on the paleo-diet; three months later, I had lost 30 pounds and took my cholesterol down to 129; almost too low.

 

 

 

There is a new practitioner for me to add to my repertoire; the preceding paragraphs begin to set up my introduction of Maryann Castello, from Neos Zoe Wellness Center in Cranford. How I met Maryann, is for me, fascinating. I was co-hosting Danny Coleman’s Rock on Radio; the show is also streamed. A few months ago, Maryann called in to speak to our musical guest, Ryche Chlanda. She saw me engaging our guest; I was upbeat and charming. A few weeks later Maryann messaged during the show and asked Danny what was bothering me; she could see I had issues of discomfort and pain (from the video stream) I did but I thought I acted normally. Her insight and introspection from watching the live stream was almost haunting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks later, I drove up to Cranford to meet Maryann at Neos ZoeWellness Center in Cranford. We talked all kinds of shop for several hours which was preamble for my visit in early January when I’d spend seven hours exploring “new life through balanced healing.”  Prior to my day long visit to experience much of what she provides, Maryann emailed me 20 pages of medical and nutritional history and information forms to fill out. The thoroughness and exacting nature of technique was impressive. I wondered how the information would be inculcated into my ‘appointment.’   Maryann devised the form over years of training.

 

 

She showed me listings of courses she has taken, education completed. I remarked that it’s enough for two Master’s Degrees. Officially she is an LMT, HHP, CL.N and Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner.  Next up, I was in a room, dimly lit and surreal in feel; an exam room. I asked what a Licensed Massage Therapist means. “You deal with discomfort (not pain),” she answered. Then I was shoeless and sockless facilitating the immersion of my feet into a warm aroma therapy foot bath. Lavender was used to relax muscles in feet and calm the body.  Each step, Maryann carefully explained. While this was going on, Maryann went over the pages of my medical and nutritional history. I liked that hands-on, meticulous  approach.

Perhaps an hour elapsed with my feet in the warm bath with probing conversation. Next was applied kinesiology. I was intrigued as she measured the strength of my arm as I pushed hers. She kept a hand on my head and turned it over and my strength was weaker revealing a negative energy. I continued to be transfixed with her thoroughness and expertise. She performed a palpation response; checking muscle points for proper nutrition. Next was ‘Energy Work’ and Jin Shin Jyutsu(JSJ) which was chosen specifically for me. As she explained, “creates a flow of energy in certain pathways.”  She used fingers with minimal pressure, redirecting energy flow to help eliminate stress and relieve discomfort. Indeed, I was hugely relaxed.

There was a neuro-muscular evaluation referencing the form I filled out and we discussed. Hours had passed; I was in a special zone, quiet, twilight and healing; it was omnipresent. I liked it.  And I suppose it’s always about the best for last. Maryann performed a combination of medical, Swedish and Shiatsu massages leaving me in that euphoric elevated state of well-being (hard to describe) but so well worth the trip.

It’s because of how I felt before, during and after my session with Maryann Castello did I decide to do this ‘Spotlight’ article on NJ Discover as well as my commitment to exploring health, body and mind care. I’m very snobbish when it comes to medical and personal care; that was the point of the beginning of this article. There are several different ways to look at the care and services Maryann provides; it’s an affordable necessity or affordable luxury. It all works. She works. Neos Zoe works.

Neos Zoe, LLC “New Life Through Balanced Healing” 230 Centennial Avenue Cranford, NJ 07016

www.neoszoe.com          info@neoszoe.com

 

 

 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL HOLIDAY QUIRKY BLOG 2015  bY Calvin Schwartz   December 24th 2015 1:11pm A CHRISTMAS CAROL HOLIDAY QUIRKY BLOG 2015 bY Calvin Schwartz December 24th 2015 1:11pm(0)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL HOLIDAY QUIRKY BLOG 2015  bY Calvin Schwartz   December 24th 2015 1:11pm

 

 

It’s always complicated for me writing a holiday blog; emotions run all over the place. Holiday movies fuel the energy of my creativity and wisp me around mostly Jersey memories.  A few minutes ago, I watched “Miracle on 34th Street” with Maureen O’Hara and child actress Natalie Wood. The movie was made in 1947. The black and white film depicted post war life in New York City perfectly. I said to my wife how much I loved and appreciated the writing of the movie. How perfect an ending to see ostensibly, Kris Kringle’s cane; it makes you believe in everything about the movie. A few years ago after watching “The Wizard of Oz,” for the 44th time, I realized it would’ve been a perfect ending if Dorothy was wearing the slippers back in Kansas after she woke up. Oh well; back to the holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right after I’m finished writing this blog, I’ll hop on my exercise bike and pedal full throttle for 90 minutes while watching “A Christmas Carol.” How I look forward to Christmas Eve and Alastair Sim as Scrooge.  Christmas has poignant meanings for me.  I celebrate Christmas in my own way. In my first novel, ‘Vichy Water,’ my main character, Elvin, goes to Power, Montana on Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass. Funny thing, it’s on my bucket list as well but that is a very long story. But there is an extant year- long meaning of Christmas for me; it involves awareness and proactivity with homelessness and hunger. This too is a long story.  Perhaps I can explain a bit with reference to one of my favorite movies(holiday and all year), ‘A Christmas Carol’ starring Alastair Sim from 1951.

 

 

 

 

There have been a number of actors playing Scrooge. For me it’s only Alastair Sim. The tech noir film ambiance lends itself perfectly to the time Charles Dickens wrote the novella in 1843. A few things about the movie still hold on to my soul. The Ghost of Christmas Present reveals to Scrooge two emaciated children, clinging to his robes, and names the boy as ‘Ignorance’ and the girl as ‘Want’. The spirit warns Scrooge, “Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”, dramatizing the book’s social message.

Here’s where the movie’s theme gets relevant, timely and fascinating. “Want” is a powerful force. In 1843, people wanted and needed. Of course Scrooge asked, “Are there no work-houses?”  In 1980, there were 40 Food Pantries/Food Banks in America and today there are 40,000; a devastatingly incomprehensible example of want and need beyond most of our comprehension. A dollar donated to a food bank can buy three meals. Last week, this factoid about the low prices of gas was published and astonished me. Because of the low price of gas (fuel) America is saving $350 million a day. I played around with the numbers. If all of us took $1 of savings a week and donated to local food banks, can you imagine what a special Christmas season and all year for up to 50 million Americans who are hungry?

 

 

 

Continuing Charles Dickens’ theme of “WANT” in the movie ‘A Christmas Carol’, I bring to this blog the news about a report that NASA had some involvement in: “NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It’s Not Looking Good for Us.”  Look for yourself:

http://mic.com/articles/85541/nasa-study-concludes-when-civilization-will-end-and-it-s-not-looking-good-for-us#.VjOCwS6Mi

“It is an independent study by university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity.”  There are five risk factors for societal collapse (population, climate, water, agriculture and energy).  The report says that the sudden downfall of complicated societal structures can follow when these factors converge to form two important criteria. “The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.” What does this all mean to me in this Holiday blog?  Dickens was enduringly smart. Want is the root of so many problems. The holidays should be a good time for all us Earth inhabitants to look at the less fortunate; a powerful message of the season.

 

As a journalist and human, nearly three years ago, I became involved with Tent City in Lakewood, New Jersey where 100 homeless humans lived in tents for up to 12 years because Ocean County had no provision for the homeless. Then two years ago, I became involved with the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, writing several articles about hunger and “want” and need. Then I went to an all-day event in Red Bank dealing with hunger. Then there’s Dickens in 1843 warning about ‘Want’ and I say to myself nothing has changed here on earth and in America since 1843. Want and Ignorance and Hunger not only exist but have grown in scope from 40 to 40,000.

 

 

 

 

On a more upbeat(after all it’s the holidays) extraction from the movie; the scene on Christmas morning when Scrooge wakes up and realizes he’s still alive and can change the course of his life by being a better, giving, and grateful human. The sheer joy and excitement of revelation propels Scrooge to stand on his head on a sofa which is priceless. Later on, I love what he says to Bob Cratchit, “I haven’t lost my senses, I’ve come to them.” Therefore I’ve added this scene to my bucket list.  Someday I’ll come to that moment of sheer joy and find reason to stand on my head; hopefully on a morning local television program. Scrooge and I are about the same age so if he can stand on his head so can I. If we could move in the right direction fighting hunger and homelessness, I’d stand on my head.

It’s the holidays which are full of dreams and wide-eyed children.  I’m wide eyed right now finishing this blog and wishing everyone the same thing Tiny Tim wished.

Have a Merry Happy Healthy Wondrous

Calvin Schwartz, writer, co –host NJ Discover Live, co-host, Rock on Radio with Danny Coleman and citizen of New Jersey , USA

CONTACT INFO:    njdiscover.com      vichywater.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cal.schwartz.5

Cerebral Writer:

https://www.facebook.com/Calvin-Schwartz-Cerebral-Writer258272024192114/?fref=ts

 

 

SPOTLIGHT: ON THE NEW JERSEY SET OF FILMING “WHO’S JENNA…?”   AND A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR TOM BALDINGER   bY Calvin Schwartz    September 9th 2015 SPOTLIGHT: ON THE NEW JERSEY SET OF FILMING “WHO’S JENNA…?” AND A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR TOM BALDINGER bY Calvin Schwartz September 9th 2015(0)

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

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 a 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.

 

 

 

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 a young girl in the scene being filmed. 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.

 

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 Dibitetto’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 told 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.”

 

 

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.”

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 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

NJDiscover   http://www.njdiscover.com/wp1/

Calvin’s Blog:  http://www.vichywater.net/blog/

 

WATCH FOR OCTOBER 5th NJDISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW  also featured on Long Branch Cablevision Channel 20 with Director, and Cast of “Who’s Jenna………..?”

GOINGS ON AND WORTHWHILE: NJ Emerging Artists Series; SHERRY RUBEL; CHANGING PERSPECTIVES/Photography now at  The Monmouth Museum bY Calvin Schwartz    July 20, 2015 GOINGS ON AND WORTHWHILE: NJ Emerging Artists Series; SHERRY RUBEL; CHANGING PERSPECTIVES/Photography now at The Monmouth Museum bY Calvin Schwartz July 20, 2015(0)

GOINGS ON AND WORTHWHILE: NJ Emerging Artists Series; SHERRY RUBEL; CHANGING PERSPECTIVES/Photography now at The Monmouth Museum bY Calvin Schwartz    July 20, 2015

Let me cut to the essence. This art exhibit focuses on homelessness here in New Jersey. How I arrived here, living comfortably in suburban Monmouth County, far removed from homeless images except an occasional sighting of people sleeping on the floor in Penn Station, NYC or down 33rd Street in the midst of winter, is a brief story of synchronicity and being in the right place.

Over three years ago, on Easter Sunday, I was asked to cover a musical concert rally for the homeless living in Tent City, Lakewood. From a distance, I saw a yellow school bus deposit residents of Tent City at the plaza during the concert. There were grilled hot dogs and tables of donated clothing waiting for them. I was too far away to interact.  Minister Stephen Brigham spoke about the needs of the homeless and the shortcomings of Ocean County.   At the end of the day, I packed up my camera, went home for a warm  dinner and forgot about that day only after writing an article on the great music heard which was organized by Rosemary Conte.

 

A few months after Sandy devastated, I was at a benefit concert at McCloone’s in Asbury Park.  Rosemary Conte performed again and just after, she introduced me to Sherry Rubel, who was involved in promoting the concert. A month later, Sherry and I had coffee in East Brunswick and subtlety I was being inculcated into the world of Tent City and homelessness. A few weeks later, Tara-Jean Vitale, co-host at NJ Discover TV, and I were walking around the snow covered dirt roads of Tent City. It was cold, stark and numbing to see how people survived in just tents without electricity, running water or heat. I’d never be quite the same again thanks to Sherry’s activism and soul. Before its ultimate date with bulldozers, I’d been to Tent City several times.

The photographic art exhibit of Sherry Rubel’s emotional journey into Tent City and homelessness is now at The Monmouth Museum until August 9th.  Her photos (art) are stark, expressive and black and white; for me a magnetizing effect that deposits me right back to Tent City with feeling and raw emotion. I call her photos “earthy art.” They grab your sensibility and ultimately, for viewers, may possess the energy of involvement. Visiting the Monmouth Museum is one of those perfect night/day adventures. Red Bank, with its plethora of eateries a few minutes away, adds to allure of Sherry’s exhibit, the Museum’s offerings and a perfect family cultural outing.

 

For more info:  @RevivalVillage        https://www.facebook.com/tentcitybook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOTLIGHT: A Magical Night at Skye Blue FC, WOMEN’S Professional Soccer vs Portland; Day after Ticker Tape Parade.  July 17th 2015   bY Calvin Schwartz SPOTLIGHT: A Magical Night at Skye Blue FC, WOMEN’S Professional Soccer vs Portland; Day after Ticker Tape Parade. July 17th 2015 bY Calvin Schwartz(0)

SPOTLIGHT: A Magical Night at Skye Blue FC, WOMEN’S Professional Soccer vs Portland; Day after Ticker Tape Parade.  July 17th 2015     bY Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

I’ve been a sports fan for a long time. Early recollections go back to the Brooklyn Dodgers winning the World Series in 1955 when I ran home from grammar school to watch the last few innings on black and white television. And yes, the Boston Celtics with Bill Russell and Bob Cousy kept me shooting a basketball in my backyard in the middle of winter, late at night, with the help of a 40 watt lamp I made in wood-shop.

When my son was ten, I took him to our first Rutgers University football game. The following few years, I got season tickets for Rutgers football, men’s and women’s basketball. My son’s high school girls’ basketball team was ranked 11th in the country at one point. Suddenly, I had discovered the thrill of women’s sports and went to almost every one of their high school games over a three year period.

 

 

 

 

Along the way, I wrote a novel, ‘Vichy Water,’ and one of my main character’s role model/heroes was Althea Gibson, the great tennis player. Then I discovered Rutgers Women’s soccer. A full circle of commonality and synchronicity brought me to my first professional Women’s soccer match a few months ago as NJ Discover partnered with Skye Blue to produce its 2015 online game (match) broadcasts. I watched in awe as New Jersey’s team, Skye Blue FC took on Houston Dash with Carli Lloyd,Morgan Brian and Meghan Klingenberg from the USA World Cup Team.  Both teams were replete with USA World Cup Soccer Team members; of course it was exciting to see world class soccer, intense competition, thousands of Jersey fans cheering at Rutgers Yurcak field; the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

 

 

 

 

Next up was the World Cup Women’s Soccer tournament. Like many millions of fans here in the United States, I was totally mesmerized and captivated through the entire tournament. And yes, after each US goal scored, I jumped up, flailed my hands, and yelled encouragement and support; I was alone in the den but wished I was there. The final match against Japan was the perfect scripted ending until last Saturday night when Skye Blue FC played Portland at Rutgers.

 

 

 

As I arrived at the soccer complex before 7 PM, a few cumulous clouds in the most perfect blue sky, after all it was a Skye Blue match; you could sense a special excitement in the air, the day after the ticker-tape parade for the World Cup Champions in New York City. The parking lots were filled; as were the stands.

While I watched intently, jumping up for almost goals, I thought about what a special night out it was. To be part of the excitement of professional women’s soccer, turning around to see exuberant faces, the euphoric soccer kids and being able to grab a beer and a snack at half-time; all part of the magic of the night. Often, I’ve urged readers to get off their sedentary sofa and get out into the world and partake. Skye Blue is a sublime sofa evacuator and New Brunswick, with a multitude of eateries, is three minutes away.

The best part of the night; after the match, the Skye Blue players signed autographs for the legions of fans for an hour at the railing. Christie Rampone, from the World Cup Championship team, kept reaching for fan’s cell phones for ‘selfies.’ Present and signing autographs also were Kelley O’Hara (Skye Blue) Alex Morgan, and Tobin Heath (Portland) all from the World Cup championship team; a most perfect quintessential fan friendly experience. Skye Blue won 1-0.

Next home game: Saturday July 25th   7 PM

For more Skye Blue FC info: http://www.skybluefc.com/

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: THE JERSEY SHORE  July 9th 2015   bY Calvin Schwartz MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: THE JERSEY SHORE July 9th 2015 bY Calvin Schwartz(0)

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.”

 

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.

 

 

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.

“Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series. Meet Malcolm Murray (only 93) at ‘We Care Adult Care’ in Middletown. WWII Veteran with General Patton.   bY Calvin Schwartz  June 4th 2015. “Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series. Meet Malcolm Murray (only 93) at ‘We Care Adult Care’ in Middletown. WWII Veteran with General Patton. bY Calvin Schwartz June 4th 2015.(0)

“Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series. Meet Malcolm Murray (only 93) at ‘We Care Adult Care’ in Middletown. WWII Veteran with General Patton.   bY Calvin Schwartz  June 4th 2015.

 

 

As a newbie journalist, I go through certain exercises prior to writing an article. Reflection on how the story came about leads me to what I call the ‘excavation;’ all that I need to do to dig the article out of my intestinal lining. Some in the field might just call it the ‘digging deep’ phase. Looking back on the subject matter, I marvel at the different abounding forces that got me involved in writing and interviewing centenarians or those approaching it.

My mother always told me that one day she wouldn’t be here. I never paid attention because the concept was remote and not real. She was always there. Suddenly one day she wasn’t.  I realized there was so much I needed to ask her; so much to learn about our roots in Russia, my grandparent’s arrival in America, what she did in the war (WWII) and familial things. So now I’ll never know.  I never sat down with my father-in-law and talked about WWII.  When I thought about talking, I kept putting it off. Thing is, I never talked to any aging relative about roots and history so now I’m devoid and lost and sorry. There is a lesson here. Take advantage and make the time. There’s a wonderful invention called palm-size recorder. It holds maybe a thousand hours and promises.

 

 

A few years ago through synchronicity and the universe, I became a journalist and just after that, a dirt road, a parking spot and a newspaper publisher who told me about Emily Cook’s 101st Birthday Party at Regal Pointe which I attended. Emily and I became friends for the next two years. She invited me back to her room; her life was fascinating. I was on a mission to be aware and to learn as much as I could about aging and aged.

Early this year, Emily’s (who passed last year) residence home called me about Hattie, turning 100. I went to that party and talked with her. A few months later, unrelated, I got a message from an executive of the State Theater in New Brunswick. His father, William, was turning 100. William is most amazing just like his stories were. Here is the link to my “William” article. (http://www.njdiscover.com/wp1/2015/03/hold-on-to-a-moment-a-journey-to-jersey-centenarians-a-series-meet-william-theodore-zimmerman-world-war-ii-veteran-march-14-2015-calvin-schwartz/ )  We talked for an hour. Thusly my journalistic series evolved; “Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians.” I now have my chance to do what I should’ve been doing for decades.

 

 

A few weeks ago my friend  Darci Voigt Kennedy called me about ‘We Care Adult Care, Inc.’ in Middletown. For me adult day care would be a new learning experience. They have several nonagenarians and a centenarian for me to absorb. Just as I arrived and was taken into the main day room, they were singing the Star Spangled Banner; some stood at attention, hands over heart.  As this is day care, everyone is bused from home. The facility focuses on Alzheimer’s and dementia but many are vital, sharp and charming. Next, I was given a tour and immediately felt an unusual esprit de corps amongst personnel and the senior adults; it was a spirited, caring, active environment aptly named ‘We Care.’  Since this was part of Older Persons Month, the Mayor of Middletown, Stephanie Murray, walked around the room, individually greeting the fifty seniors and engaging each. One of the seniors told the mayor she was in the movie ‘Godfather.’ I can’t believe I forgot her name and role. I’m such a huge Don Corleone groupie.

 

My reason for being there was in the back lunch room a distance away from the singing and music.  Malcolm Murray, 93, meticulously dressed, smiling broadly, waited. Affability consumed his face. He jumped up to shake hands and a photo-op. Malcolm was born in North Carolina. “I didn’t have a father so my mother raised me and my three brothers, Otto, David and Willie. My mother had a laundromat. I helped put them through school.” He spoke proudly about that. It was easy to hear it in his voice. I forgot his age. “You have to respect family.” That resonated with me. It still does. He mentioned a brother in the Navy, a para-trooper and the last brother was an engineer.

He joined the Army in 1942 and was trained at Camp Robinson in Arkansas. In Mid-October, 1942, Malcolm was deployed to England. “In 1944, I went to France as part of D-Day. I didn’t know whether to be scared or not. I was in a tank battalion under General George Patton. We got to within three miles of Berlin. I loved General Patton. I met him. He called me ‘son.’ I loved being in a tank.” Then Malcolm said something profound.  “I think everyone should be in the Army to protect the country and learn discipline.”

 

 

 

After the war he came back to North Carolina and worked on a fishing boat. Again Malcolm moved me. “I wanted my kids, Maxine and Malcolm, to have an education so I worked hard. This is what my wife and I talked about.” Eventually Malcolm moved to New Jersey and joined a local labor union out of Matawan. When I asked him what the greatest change he observed in his life, he said, “labor unions.” His favorite President was Franklin Roosevelt.

I told him he was in such good shape and so sharp to talk to. “How come?” I asked. “I worked hard all the time.”  Malcolm likes sports but mostly football and baseball and is a Dodgers and Mets fan. I like to probe techniques to longevity. He rarely ever smoked. As far as his favorite food, “Whatever I can get.” We both laughed. He likes Army movies because “I lived it.” “And music?” “I like everything. I like the Blues and Louis Armstrong.”

In the distance from the day room, I heard the disc jockey playing ‘Pennsylvania Polka’ which reminded me of the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ with Bill Murray (coincidentally). I love that movie. I’d love to do a bit of reliving myself so I asked Malcolm if I could come back to talk some more. “I’d like that,” he said with authority. And then our handshake which lingered; it meant we liked each other and looked forward.  And I do.

Calvin Schwartz

  For more information:  ‘We Care Adult Care’ call 732-741-7363 or http://wecareadultcare.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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