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COMEDIAN MIKE MARINO: ‘Up Close and Personal’ Concert July 29th Paramount Asbury Park   by Calvin Schwartz COMEDIAN MIKE MARINO: ‘Up Close and Personal’ Concert July 29th Paramount Asbury Park by Calvin Schwartz(0)

COMEDIAN MIKE MARINO: ‘Up Close and Personal’ Concert July 29th Paramount Asbury Park by Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Marino is coming back home to New Jersey and Asbury Park’s Paramount Theater on July 29th for ‘Up Close and Personal;’ a special backstage event with limited seating. But imagine being a few rows away from Mike and his incisive hysterical humor. The intimacy with Mike right there almost in your face like he’s in your den with a wet bar nearby, is priceless. Therefore, not to be missed. What could be better than the Jersey Shore, Asbury Park, Paramount, smell of ocean air, a myriad of food places to discover and the Bad Boy of Comedy; indeed, a mid-summer night’s dream. Thanks for coming home Mike.

 

 

 

I’ve been a huge fan of Mike Marino for the last four years since I first met him at the Asbury Park Comedy Festival.  Why not; I love to laugh for 90 minutes straight each and every time I see him; it’s this stressful world we live in. Mike has a unique handle, a release and grasp of our world.

The genius of Marino’s humor is to take our modern (expletive omitted) lives and shove it under a comedic microscope.  And when you see him in concert, you get a chance to see the ‘Marino’ face; how he loves to laugh with the audience at his own humor; that genuineness and warmth draws us in and embraces. Even more than that, my being a comedic snob, countless times looking at Mike on stage, I can’t help but see Jack Benny, who had one of the greatest comedic facial expressions as well as incredible timing. Benny was Johnny Carson’s all-time favorite; Mike Marino’s expressions and timing is right there with Jack Benny.  Remember his concerts are a comedic happening especially when he’s back home in front of a Jersey audience.

Calvin Schwartz  6-20-17  4:44PM

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS BENEFIT HOMETOWN HEROES   

 

Mike Marino’s Official BIO:

 

Mike Marino – affectionately known to thousands of his fans as New Jersey’s Bad Boy – is one of the most unique comics of our time. He has performed in every major comedy club from New York to Los Angeles including: The MGM Grand, Catch a Rising Star, The Comic Strip, Stand Up NY, The Improv, Rascals and The Icehouse. Mike, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, can be seen nightly as a top headliner at both the world famous Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He entered the world of theatre at an early age, and is a graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Mike has appeared in over 200 national television commercials, and has received a Best Actor Clio Award Nomination. He has acted in many Prime Time soaps and television shows including: As the World Turns, One Life to Live, Becker, Nikki, Frasier and Party of Five. His film credits include Crooks, Pizza with Bullets, Hangin’ in Hedo and Steven King’s Lucky Quarter.

 

 

MIKE’S CONTACT INFO

Website:    http://www.mikemarino.net

http://www.myspace.com/getthebat                                                                                                                                                                                  

http://www.twitter.com/mikedmarino

http://www.youtube.com/mikedmarino

Email:    mikedmarino@facebook.com

 

 

 

 

ROCK STAR CLOTHING INC.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

  RAY CATENA.COM

 

 

 

 

SURVEILLANCE 24       SURVEILLANCE 24

 

Carmine’s Pizza Factory

366 8th Street (Brunswick St. & 8th St.)

CARMINESPIZZAFACTORYJC.COM

 

COMPUTECHSUPPORT.NET

 

 

 

PUNZONE.COM    

 

 

 

 

 

ALSO MIKE MARINO CONTINUES HIS JERSEY SHORE APPEARANCES on AUG 7 at 8:30  PM 

 

 

201 Engleside Avenue

Beach Haven, NJ 08008

609-492-9477        https://www.surflight.org/

 

 

 

SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: FAMILY FUN NIGHT at Academy of Music & Dance in Spotswood, NJ June 25  by Calvin Schwartz SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: FAMILY FUN NIGHT at Academy of Music & Dance in Spotswood, NJ June 25 by Calvin Schwartz(0)

SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: FAMILY FUN NIGHT at Academy of Music & Dance in Spotswood, NJ June 25  by Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING YOUR HOSTS:  multi-media artist Mia (Maria) Savarese:   

MiaArtOnline.com

https://www.facebook.com/mariasavarese.miaart

Maria Savarese is a perfect spotlight personality. In our early days of friendship, strictly digital and fortified by our posts on Facebook walls, I began to notice her unique aura and zest for life. Her art intrigued. Exact chronology escapes me but after months of absorbing her art, suddenly one morning, we were talking on the phone; a logical inevitable extension of the phenomenon of Facebook friending.

And more logical extensions; one morning Maria, Tara-Jean  (my co-host at NJ Discover) and I were sitting at a diner in East Brunswick, coffee still steaming and eggs cooling, as our conversation took us deeply into Maria’s world of art and being a breast cancer survivor and how we could share her story; a perfect depiction of Jersey Strong.

Several times during our interview, she said, “a child is living inside me.” I understood that it was energy, spirit and exuberance (and a hint of innocence) reflected in her art which surrounded me. I reminded her about a Facebook picture of herself standing on a fallen tree perhaps 40 feet above a ravine and asked if she was scared. “Not at all; it was fun. It’s life.” Then she said, “to beat cancer is a gift. And I live my life now with that gift.”

Now she is directing her unlimited energies to helping co-ordinate Family Fun Night at Spotswood Academy of Music and Dance, with offerings of her art and jewelry creations, music, Christine Barath, psychic and medium, face painting, art and clay, mani/pedis, singing, food, games; an all-around fun night to kick off the summer season.  The night, in part is brought to you by The Academy of Music and Dance, Mozarts and Einsteins, a Preschool of Integrated Arts and Academics, LA Perfection Nails in Spotswood, Country Roads Day Camp, Top Ballers Athletics and Parties by Dylan & Company specializing in entertaining young children with music and Kumon Math and Reading Center of Spotswood.

At FUN NIGHT, Rock and Roll over to the Mia Art Activity Room to explore Mixed Media Art. Artists of all ages and skill levels, get ready to think outside the box to create one of a kind music themed pieces! (Some items will require pickup the next day, as we will be using glues, paints and clay).

CALVIN SCHWARTZ for NJ DISCOVER

FUN NIGHT SPONSORS   NOTE EACH SPONSOR WILL BE DONATING A RAFFLE PRIZE!!

Academy of Music and Dance is celebrating 25 years serving the communities of Spotswood, East Brunswick, Monroe and surrounding areas.  Specializing in all instruments (piano, guitar, violin, etc.) voice, musical theater, early childhood piano classes, rock bands and dance classes, they welcome students of all levels of ability and talent; from beginners to advanced.   Lessons and classes are offered weekday afternoons and evenings, and Saturday mornings and afternoons. Parents love saving time in their busy week coordinating lessons on multiple instruments and dance classes for all family members at the same time.  Located at 404 Main Street, Suite C in Spotswood.  (732) 251-3050 http://musicanddancenj.com/

The Academy is hosting the event and activities such as Dance! Dance! Dance!  and Name That Tune Escape Room.

 

 

 

Mozarts and Einsteins, a Preschool of Integrated Arts and Academics:  Dance,  Sing.  Play.  Laugh.  Learn.   Enrolling Infants/Toddlers, Ages 2 – 6, Full Day Kindergarten and Aftercare of the Arts (Grades 1st – 5th).  Now Enrolling for the 2017/18 School Year. http://www.mande-jamesburg.com/ 175 Gatzmer Avenue in Jamesburg, NJ.  (732) 521-2400

 

 

 

 

 

 

At LA Perfection Nails, you can get manicures, pedicures and waxing.  Walk-ins always welcome.  They offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience that you will want again and again.  http://www.laperfectionnailsspotswood.com/  404 Main St, Ste B Spotswood, NJ 08884- (732) 251 – 8484 or (732) 251 – 8585

LA Perfection Nails in Spotswood will be open for additional hours just for Family Fun Night!  Come in for a mani/pedis!  There will be Face Painting available for the kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parties by Dylan & Company specializes in entertaining young children with music!  Great for baby’s first birthday, toddler parties, holiday entertainment, preschool events and more.  They come to you for an hour of interactive and engaging activities.  Their Biggest Fans are Under Five!  www.PartiesByDylan.com (732) 536-0404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Barath     http://christinebarath.com/

Psychic/ Evidential Medium / tarot / Trance

A psychic reading I will use the cards. A mediumship read we will connect you with your loved ones in spirit …. I can also go into trance, after your medium read , your loved one, I will go into trance they will guide me to make you a gift of pottery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Roads, situated on a beautifully shaded, 26-acre campus is a quality premiere camp that has also stayed affordable for our generations of campers. This is a personal commitment we make to our camp families…to provide the best summer vacation a child can experience at the best possible price.

New campers are just friends we haven’t met yet!!  Call us today and start your Country Roads experience…become a Country Roader!

Country Roads Day Camp    139 Pinebrook Road   Manalapan, NJ 07726   732-446-4100 countryroadsdaycamp.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heritage Winery – At The Vineyard Show Episode 2 Heritage Winery – At The Vineyard Show Episode 2(0)

Heritage Winery – At The Vineyard Show Episode 2

JUNE 12th NJ DISCOVER LIVE TV SHOW:   JACKIE ATKINS, NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, CRYSTAL WOODS, American Natural Bodybuilding Federation; “World Class Women Athletes Where You Least Expect Them BUT Life Journeys MORE Amazing” with co-hosts Tara-Jean and Calvin.   TUNE IN!! JUNE 12th NJ DISCOVER LIVE TV SHOW: JACKIE ATKINS, NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, CRYSTAL WOODS, American Natural Bodybuilding Federation; “World Class Women Athletes Where You Least Expect Them BUT Life Journeys MORE Amazing” with co-hosts Tara-Jean and Calvin. TUNE IN!!(0)

JUNE 12 th NJ DISCOVER LIVE TV SHOW: JACKIE ATKINS, NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, CRYSTAL WOODS, American Natural Bodybuilding Federation; “World Class Women Athletes Where You Least Expect Them BUT  Life Journeys MORE Amazing” with co-hosts Tara-Jean and Calvin. TUNE IN!!

 

 

 

TUNE IN MONDAY JUNE 12th   8 pm at    njdiscover.com        ALSO SEEN REBROADCAST  on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV                                                       CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44, OLD BRIDGE TV CHANNEL 15, FIOS CHANNEL 22

HOW THE SHOW EVOLVED:

 

We’ve been doing our NJ Discover TV Show for three years. Each show has an origin, etiology, evolution but I never took the time to discuss in the promo article (which this is) how each show began and came together. But I must do it now; as I squint in the silvery light of the moon, stars and a passing asteroid in a perfect celestial benign alignment. Indeed, this show was meant to be with its provocative title, content and most importantly, special guests.

Last November I attended a comedy show at the Headliner Night Club produced by Matt Swartz. In between sets, he introduced me to his friend, Jackie Atkins and mentioned that she was in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. Being a consummate groupie, Jackie and I did a photo op. Her place in New Jersey history resonated with me for months, sensing she was ‘someone’ that would find a place at NJ Discover, after all, our mantra is to elevate and promulgate people and places of New Jersey. The notion of Jackie Atkins then resided in one of my cerebral storage units.

A month ago I received a Facebook message from Crystal Woods mentioning to me that she got my name from Tim Lucas, artist, also known as Dr. Sketchy. Crystal was looking for media coverage for an important American Natural Bodybuilding Federation event in September in Springfield.  She had asked Tim if he knew any good central Jersey journalists. The names of Tara-Jean and Calvin Schwartz surfaced. Before responding to Crystal, I did some googling and Facebook research and to my amazement, I discovered how accomplished she is in bodybuilding. A few days later, we spoke and the bright bulb went off and I retrieved memory bits about Jackie and asked Crystal if she was interested in being a guest on NJ Discover LIVE.  It happened right there on the spot. The alignment began.

Crystal was excited and aboard; so was Jackie a few days later. But it wasn’t until Tara-Jean and I went to visit Jackie at her Gleason’s gym, in Long Branch, that her incredible life’s journey crystallized. Tara-Jean and I looked at each other and we realized even more important than Jackie’s athletic prowess was her life’s meaning and accomplishment; certainly the ingredient of great television content. More celestial alignment followed when we went to see Crystal at Gold Medal Gym in Garwood. Almost Déjà vu  for us, as Crystal shared her life; a brave, dedicated and difficult journey. Their stories will make for hugely unique television; far from the mundane and easily the stuff they make bio-movies about. You’ll just have to tune in on Monday June 12th, and test my credibility and veracity. These are two amazing women.    CALVIN SCHWARTZ   May 27, 2017   11:11 PM

TUNE IN MONDAY JUNE 12th   8 pm at    njdiscover.com        ALSO SEEN REBROADCAST  on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV                                                       CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44, OLD BRIDGE TV CHANNEL 15, FIOS CHANNEL 22

MEET OUR GUESTS: BIO TIME

JACKLYN MICHELLE ATKINS (JACKIE ATKINS)     

SPECIAL LINK FOR JACKIE:

NJ Give a Kid a Dream site

www.njgakad.com

 

Jacklyn Michelle Atkins, also known as “Coach Jackie” is a native “Jersey Girl”, born in Monmouth Medical, Long Branch, NJ and residing now in Neptune, NJ. Jacklyn Atkins graduated from Red Bank Catholic High School. It was here that she began to excel as an accomplished athlete, competing in gymnastics, track and field and martial arts. Her accomplishments in track and field earned her notoriety, scholarships and an induction into the NJ Track & Field Hall of Fame. Jackie set records in the 440 yard dash in both regional and national competitions. She also anchored the championship RBC mile relay team at the Penn Relays.

In addition to her loving parents, Grace & Joseph Atkins, her track coach, Jack Rafter played an important role in her developmental years. Rafter taught the fundamentals of elite training, hard work, dedication and removing all obstacles as his training ethic and rules for living. Jackie’s coaching style is modeled after Rafter’s teaching and she recites many of his mottos during training sessions with the youth attending her gym.

 

 

Jackie attended North Carolina State University& CUNY and pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. In 1982 she began her career in Software Development.  During her professional career, Jackie always found time to volunteer teaching young athletes fitness, boxing and martial arts. In June 2012, Jackie retired after 28+ years of service from AT&T Bell Labs/Avaya as Executive Director of Research & Development. In her executive role, Jackie led global teams developing computer telephony software. Her team developed the first CTI application deployed in thousands of call center operations.

Jacklyn then stepped out on faith and pursued her passion – elevating & educating youth in boxing and in life.  Jackie revived the Long Branch PAL Boxing program and introduced life skills and youth martial arts to the curriculum. Jackie partnered with Bruce Silverglade of Gleason’s Gym Brooklyn, to birth Gleason’s Gym Jersey Shore in Long Branch, NJ and Gleason’s boxing at the Mercedes Club in Manhattan. Atkins continues to house the PAL program in support of the community of Long Branch and has partnered with Long Branch Police department and Youth Services to serve at-risk youth. She recently birthed the New Jersey Give a Kid a Dream Program (NJGAKAD).  The GAKAD program (www.njgakad.com) leverages the focus and discipline of boxing to engage at risk youth while supporting them with the challenges they face in today’s society. Jackie’s goal is for the youth to become CHAMPIONS of life… living a healthy, productive lifestyle inside and outside of the ring. As she has been given the opportunity to live life abundantly and achieve her goals, she truly believes every youth deserves the same chance…. Jackie fell in love with the sweet science during her teenage years while training at the Red Bank Police Athletic League.  Her accomplishments in boxing and martial arts earned her the Women’s 152 lb. National Golden Gloves title, Ringside World Champion at 141 and 152 weight classes and Women’s 2004 NJ Kickboxing Amateur champion. Atkins retired from kickboxing competition undefeated after earning her black belt in Shodokan, training and elevating with Grandmaster Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.

Jackie paved the way for women to compete in boxing at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She coached the newly formed team for two years, winning the first USIBA National Collegiate Championships in April 2012. In her first year at West Point, the team won the team title in addition to winning 4 National Gold medals, 4 National Silver Medals and one bronze medal. In Atkins’ second year coaching the team, the West Point Women’s Boxing team repeated their prior year performance, winning the 2014 USIBA National Collegiate team championship and bringing home 4 Gold Medals, 3 Silver and 1 Bronze. Atkins traveled with the New Jersey State Championship team to the USA Nationals in 2011 and 2012 bringing home Gold, Silver and Bronze.

As head coach, Atkins’ led the Long Branch Boxing team to victory claiming the 2012 female 141 lb. Golden Glove Championship, three 2012 New Jersey State Championships, three 2012 NJ Diamond Glove Champions, two 2013 NJ State Champions & New Jersey Diamond Glove Champions titles and in 2014, winning the gold in the novice 123 lb. weight class NJ Diamond Glove & New Jersey State Championships.

Coach Jackie was recently elected to the position of President for the NJ Association of USA boxing, after serving two terms on the Executive Board.  In 2014, Coach Jackie was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as Coach of the year. She is a nationally certified personal trainer, AIBA Star 1 Internationally accredited boxing coach, USA Boxing level 3 official and NJ State Athletic Board Inspector. Jackie recently completed Krav Maga International Instructor training certification in Tel Aviv, Israel in July 2014.

Jackie serves as President of the Lay Organization at Allen Chapel AME Church. She is the proud mother of two lovely daughters, Tynaya and Sade. Both girls have been very supportive of their mother and the many youths she has embraced over the years.

 

TUNE IN MONDAY JUNE 12th   8 pm at    njdiscover.com        ALSO SEEN REBROADCAST  on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV                                                       CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44, OLD BRIDGE TV CHANNEL 15, FIOS CHANNEL 22

CRYSTAL WOODS:      

 

 

 

I am a 42-year-old mother of two (ages 21 & 24) working full time as an RDA/CDA in private practice specializing in pediatrics and specials needs for the last 15 years and currently studying for my NSCA CPT.  When I’m not at work I spend my time helping others reach their fitness goals both for health and stage as a posing coach and co-owner of Team Synergy and Science.

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I could imagine myself happily engrossed in a fit lifestyle I would have laughed. I was very sedentary in my lifestyle, work, home, and the occasional event. I was very much a homebody just uncomfortable with myself and life. Now I can’t imagine life any other way, I have more confidence than I ever did not just with my outward appearance, but in my abilities. Touching other people’s lives, educating and helping them to live better fills my heart and lets me know I found my purpose in life.

In 2012 I decided to quit smoking, disgusted with what I was doing to my health and the way my hair, car, and clothes smelled I quit cold turkey. In an effort to stay focused and not relapse as well as gain more weight as a result of quitting I joined a gym. I had been active as a kid, playing sports and as a young adult chasing after two small children, but a gym was something new to me and I admit intimidating. I started out on the cardio equipment, but wanted something challenging and I was hungry to learn. I started asking the manager/ head trainer questions that he was very happy to answer and excited that a woman was interested in weight lifting. I began to train six days a week, getting stronger and more confident in my ability. At 5″2 and 127 pounds my trainer saw potential as a competitor and after much contemplation I decided to enter my first figure competition, but first I had to focus on training and nutrition.

In September of 2012 after 8 months of hard training, quality nutrition (macros, iifym) and almost 30 pounds I took the stage and won my first figure competition.

Over the last five years I have competed in 20 stage competitions earning my figure and bikini procards in multiple organizations, and when in the off season I like to compete in powerlifting in the 114 weight class (NJ State powerlifting record holder with the USAPL and WNPF) . As a way to give back to an amazing sport I sit on the board of the ANBF (American Natural Bodybuilding Federation) and frequently judge for multiple organizations.

Its more than just competing, it’s the camaraderie in the gym, the support backstage, the community of likeminded people pushing one another to their best.

My nutrition is balanced for my goals as well as my mental health. I follow iifym (if it fits in your macros) adjusting choices depending whether I am in prep for a competition or off season trying to gain muscle.

I have no food allergies so there is no food group that I cut out of my diet and with a good metabolism even in my lowest deficit I am still able to enjoy most anything.

I always start my meals with a protein (chicken breast, ground turkey, lean steak, lean ground beef) and build my meals around that adding in carbs and fats. A typical day in prep looks like the following.

  1. 1 whole egg, 1 egg white on a flatbread
  2. Greek yogurt
  3. Salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, ground turkey, fat free Italian dressing
  4. Cottage cheese and blackberries
  5. Roasted red pepper Quinoa and lean ground beef
  6. Banana
  7. Turkey pepperoni, low fat sharp cheddar
  8. English muffin with peanut butter
  9. Gallon of water daily

 

 

Tracking my macros and following iifym allows me variety, flexibility, and more importantly allows me to still be able to enjoy time with family and friends for special occasions or at an event. As the saying goes “give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” After finding a fit lifestyle I now know how to eat for life not just for a moment.

When I am in my off-season the goal shifts from leaning out to giving the body a rest from being in a deficit and to gain muscle. This also provides a much needed mental break from the rigors of competition and constantly tracking to a laxer nutrition regimen. Preparing my food daily does not change and quality foods are still a must, however, what changes is the constant weighing of food gives way to eyeballing and if I fancy a small slice of cake at a party I allow myself the indulgence. The key is to find that ideal off-season weight, eating slightly above maintenance in conjunction with a good strength training program.

 

Three tips for newbies:

  1. Patience- there is a learning curve to meal prepping in the beginning, especially if you’re tracking macros, as with anything you will get better and quicker with practice.
  2. Variety- three benefits
  3. Vital nutrients you would otherwise miss
  4. Maintaining a good relationship with food.
  5. Allows better adherence for long term lifestyle goals.
  6. Preplan – The most time-consuming part of meal prep is protein. Have multiple protein sources pre-cooked for the week making each day quicker and easier.

Top 3 tips for losing weight:

  1. Constancy is the key to success, in your training and nutrition.
  2. Follow a good strength training program, building muscle increases metabolism.
  3. A caloric deficit is required to lose weight, as you reduce calories you may have a moment of weakness and indulge. Being human is ok, but don’t let that one indulgence derails your mindset. You can recover from a splurge by getting right back to it. Stay the course and you will succeed.

We don’t all start our journeys from the same place and our reasons for beginning are all different. Remember to always enjoy the process of learning and changing and never compare your journey to another person. This is an amazing life and living fit allows us to extend it to the fullest with quality.

TUNE IN MONDAY JUNE 12th   8 pm at    njdiscover.com        ALSO SEEN REBROADCAST  on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV                                                       CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44, OLD BRIDGE TV CHANNEL 15, FIOS CHANNEL 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NJ DISCOVER SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: Artist Mia Savarese is “Finding the Music: Mixed Media Art & Multi-Sensory Experience” June 3rd 7-9PM  by Calvin Schwartz NJ DISCOVER SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: Artist Mia Savarese is “Finding the Music: Mixed Media Art & Multi-Sensory Experience” June 3rd 7-9PM by Calvin Schwartz(0)

NJ DISCOVER SPECIAL COMING ATTRACTION: Artist Mia Savarese is “Finding the Music: Mixed Media Art & Multi-Sensory Experience” June 3rd 7-9PM  by Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not often these days of multitude event bombardment in central Jersey, that I take to basically urging folks to partake of a special event but here we go. We’ve got Mia (also known as Maria) Savarese, a single mother, passionate artist, jewelry creator and breast cancer survivor in an evening of her introspective earthy emotional art on display while simultaneously being infused with parallel universe music. And for added inducement, there’s a display of her imaginative jewelry (which is available to purchase). And this is a LOCAL show at nearby Academy of Music and Dance in  Spotswood, New Jersey.

And why my exuberance with this evening of art and Mia Savarese? Perhaps read excerpts from my NJ Discover interview with Mia (Maria) from January, 2014. I’m about to light your fire as mine was a few years ago.

Calvin Schwartz  May 23, 2017  11:11PM

 

 

JERSEY STRONG: MEET MARIA (MIA) SAVARESE:  MOTHER, ARTIST, AND CANCER SURVIVOR.    By Calvin Schwartz    January 5, 2014     

 

 

So where did I meet Maria Savarese?  At a local college art museum or bookstore on Route 18 or at a trendy Wi-Fi equipped coffee shop a few miles away from the bookstore? Actually we met on Facebook through the synchronicity and exigencies of social media; we probably had some of the same friends or perhaps Facebook nudged or poked one of us to friend the other. Well it happened; we friended and discovered; I like using the word ‘discover’ after all I write for NJ Discover.

And there was Maria’s Facebook picture wall replete with her essence as a modern artist, young mother and breast cancer survivor.     Maria Savarese is a perfect spotlight personality. In our early days of friendship, strictly digital and fortified by our posts on Facebook walls, I began to notice her unique aura and zest for life. Her art intrigued. Exact chronology escapes me but after months of absorbing her art, suddenly one morning, we were talking on the phone; a logical inevitable extension of the phenomenon of Facebook friending.

And more logical extensions; one morning Maria, Tara-Jean  (my co-host at NJ Discover) and I were sitting at a diner in East Brunswick, coffee still steaming and eggs cooling, as our conversation took us deeply into Maria’s world of art and being a breast cancer survivor and how we could share her story; a perfect depiction of Jersey Strong.

 

 

Then a few months ago, I visited her studio just as an autumn chill was heralding Halloween. She mostly grew up in Old Bridge and lives in Spotswood now where her studio is located. Actually the studio is a converted detached garage. When she first saw the hundred-year-old property, weeds had overgrown everything but she sensed it was all perfect just as she heard a woman playing a guitar on the other side of bushes and vines; their young daughters would become friends.

Several times during our interview, she said, “a child is living inside me.” I understood that it was energy, spirit and exuberance (and a hint of innocence) reflected in her art which surrounded me. I reminded her about a Facebook picture of herself standing on a fallen tree perhaps 40 feet above a ravine and asked if she was scared. “Not at all; it was fun. It’s life.” Then she said, “to beat cancer is a gift. And I live my life now with that gift.”

 

 

 

She was originally from Flushing, Queens and took art lessons when she was eight and tried being a gymnast. “My hands always had to be busy so I made a lot of doll’s clothes. And I always see something inherent in things.”  Then I said, “I can easily see this energy inside you.” She added, “I made my prom dress in high school after I took sewing. It’s still hanging in my closet.”

Cut to adult times. Maria got a job working at the Flemington Craft Festival. “They helped me make jewelry, work with clay and ceramics. When I was at Brookdale College, I also learned pottery. And this summer I finally got my kiln.” Her smile is magic and effusive as she pointed, “my grandmother’s chest of draws is over there.” I commented on the vast array of materials and props in her studio.

“Everything has a purpose. We should stop throwing things away. I’m like an environmental artist. I use things from the environment in my art which means I love to work in collages and mixed media.” Art drives her. She loves to bring families together, help children and make the world a better place. That certain smile persisted throughout our interview. Maria talks about her daughter with more than pride; with amazement as her daughter reads and writes incessantly. “Emma is growing up.”

 

 

Again her smile warmed the studio. I asked about her environmentalism. “I don’t use pesticides in my garden and love the Native American way of life.” Her work has appeared in an art exhibition in New Brunswick and in other galleries and has sold fast. A deep breath followed; a smile changed to introspection. “The main thing going forward for me is I’m looking for my art partner and looking for something different. And people are now finding me and my art.”

I asked Maria what inspires; “Teaching, communicating, being in the moment when something triggers an idea. Working with senior citizens and young children,” “And what about your art goals?” “I would love my art to be understood and appreciated and for it to be in more current shows. It’s not about money but about being who you are and not afraid.”

It was a good time to ask who her life’s heroes are. “Ellen Degeneres; she represents strength, inspiration, life and change for so many people. Then she makes you smile and laugh as well.”  My thought process told me that’s exactly what Maria Savarese does to people in her world; provide strength and inspiration. Kind of like a complete circle and a good place to shut off my reporter’s microphone/recorder.

MIA CONTACT INFO:  Facebook Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/228421484313059/

Maria Savarese (Mia) Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mariasavarese.miaart

Mia Art Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MiaArtOnlineStore/?pnref=story.unseen-section

NJ DISCOVER  January 2014 article:  http://bit.ly/19NM4l5

NJ DISCOVER LIVE TV SHOW “A NIGHT IN THE ART GALLERY” featuring Mia Savarese  YOU TUBE LINK:  http://bit.ly/2qU1C3j

 

At The Vineyard Show, Four Sisters Winery – Tutorial At The Vineyard Show, Four Sisters Winery – Tutorial(0)

New Jersey wines are being recognized nationally for their excellence in renowned wine competitions and the industry has seen tremendous growth with over 50 licensed wineries now operating in the state. The Garden State Wine Growers Association’s (GSWGA) ongoing mission has been to increase the awareness, appreciation and quality of wines produced in New Jersey.  The At the Vineyards YouTube show puts the spotlight on vineyards throughout the state and allows consumers to see how each visit to a winery provides a unique experience.  Join us as we profile individual winemakers and owners at vineyards across New Jersey.  Join us and explore New Jersey Wine Country with the At the Vineyards Show.

The At the Vineyards series is funded through  a USDA Crop Grant and by the Garden State Wine Growers Association.

MY NEW BALANCE:  A GIRL ON A JOURNEY TO A BALANCED LIFE & WRITING ABOUT IT ALONG THE WAY: MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY      By Holly Chok  May 20, 2017 MY NEW BALANCE: A GIRL ON A JOURNEY TO A BALANCED LIFE & WRITING ABOUT IT ALONG THE WAY: MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY By Holly Chok May 20, 2017(0)

MY NEW BALANCE: A GIRL ON A JOURNEY TO A BALANCED LIFE & WRITING ABOUT IT ALONG THE WAY: MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY          By Holly Chok     May 20, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY NEW BALANCE

A GIRL ON A JOURNEY TO A BALANCED LIFE & WRITING ABOUT IT ALONG THE WAY.     By Holly Chok 

 

Editor’s Note:  by Calvin Schwartz

I’ve expressed it often, the joys of synchronicity, networking and social media and how they can enrich the soul. Two months ago, I was a panelist at Rutgers University, “Road to Communication and Media Kickoff” as part of Career Services. It was well attended by communication students and afterwards, the five panelists continued to engage students. For me, it’s the ‘post’ panel time, which reinforces the entire event.

One of the students I met “post” event was Holly Chok. More importantly and what I’ve always encouraged when I participate in student-alumni events, is continuing dialogue, social networking contacts, and even mentoring; generations sharing and working together.

Holly and I did just that, staying in touch. A few weeks ago, she shared a link to her blog, “MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY” https://mynewbalance.wordpress.com/mental-illness-my-story/

I read it immediately and was mesmerized with her eloquence, bravery, honesty, writing style and willingness to give back and help others by sharing. And I thought about how a young college student was so frank and outspoken with her personal life; not easy to do in our world. It hit me after I read it again, that this should be shared with a much wider audience, so I asked her permission to share here on NJ Discover.

 

 

MY NEW BALANCE

A GIRL ON A JOURNEY TO A BALANCED LIFE & WRITING ABOUT IT ALONG THE WAY.

 

 

ABOUT HOLLY:  Hello, all! I am a college student who loves her coffee, and is devoted to promoting positive body image, healthy lifestyles, and balanced mindsets. I cannot thank you enough for joining me on my journey to wherever this blog may take me!

mynewbalanceblog@gmail.com

Instagram: @hollychok

 

 

 

 

 

MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY   HOLLY CHOK

 

Prior to diving into my experience with mental illness, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to visit and read my personal story. I hope that it brings to light mental illnesses; diseases which are too often darkened and concealed from the public. However, if you find yourself struggling while reading, I advise you to stop and take a moment. At this point, I encourage you to visit the “Helpful Links” tab on this site for a list of vital resources devoted to helping you through this tough time.

Note: This posting will contain images of my experience, however, these images are not to say that mental illnesses have a certain “look.” In fact, eating disorders especially, affect people of all races, socioeconomic statuses, and physiques. A common misconception with eating disorders is extreme weight loss, however, this is NOT the case. *

If someone asked me when I began to struggle with a mental illness, I couldn’t answer; it kind of just, in lack of other words, “happened.” My family and friends can attest to this, as if you ask any of them, it felt as though the “happy” Holly was one day laying in a hospital bed, on the brink of death.

 

 

However, if I had to guess, I would say high school is when I began to transform from the typical teen to someone I couldn’t recognize. While I had always maintained honor roll, participated in sports and clubs, and had an active social life; it wasn’t always easy. While on the surface I was homecoming queen, on my class student council, and a leading member on my cross country team, I never felt as though all these accomplishments were ever enough.

I had always been a perfectionist; it was in my blood. My parents are the two hardest-working of individuals I know, and my brother is just a natural genius. Needless to say, I strived for the best, and only the best for myself. This is not to say I blame anyone for my eating disorder; so many factors go into the onset of these illnesses – factors which I’ll never truly know.

Senior year of high school, spring-time if I remember correctly, it began to really hit me. At the time I didn’t know what “it” was, but I knew something wasn’t right. For this reason, I chose to go the college closest to me, because deep-down I knew that this “it” did not want me to go far away for school; regardless of all the acceptances and scholarships I received.

 

 

 

As summer progressed, and college came closer, my stress grew larger. While Rutgers was close enough to commute, I had committed to living in the dorms. What should have been an exciting decision, was a terrifying one, as the “it” that I was talking about before, was just growing worse and worse.

That is when my habits, like “healthy” eating and exercising, grew into obsessions. If someone asked me what was most important to me at this time in my life, I would say the gym, eating “right,” and then everything else. I spent the whole summer malnourished and exercising until my lungs couldn’t take anymore; and then I’d wake up and do it all again the next day. Pounds were shedding off my body, but for my troubled mind, this was not enough validation that perhaps I was doing “too much.”

Prior to the school-year starting, I knew that something was wrong, yet I didn’t know “it” was an eating disorder just yet. However, my obsession with food and the gym was too strong for me to move into the dorms. For this reason, I opted-out, and decided to live at home. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if I decided to move away, but one thing about living at home was keeping my same, dangerous obsession with food and the gym – an obsession my eating disorder loved.

This obsession carried with me the whole first semester of college. I did one of three things: attend class, work out, or sleep. My social life came to a halt; I can’t say I went out with friends more than once a month – if that. Every day was just filled with thoughts of working out and eating ‘right.’ However, this routine was just making me more malnourished, weak, and slowly, but surely, killing me.

As I walked out of my last final of the semester, my physical body was alive, but inside, I was already dead. I felt weak, dizzy, and barely even mobile. I felt so bad that later that night, I paid my (first) visit to the ER.

I don’t remember this visit much, in fact, I just remember being completely “out-of-it.” Nothing significant was discovered (or so I thought). I thought it was just further justification that my obsessions and habits were normal; that being well-below a healthy weight was normal. Little did I know what would the next week of my life would entail.

While at the time I was disappointed this happened “behind my back,” I am glad doctors noticed that I wasn’t “normal.” It turns out that they gave my mother a phone number for an eating disorder program at the hospital, which she was told to call and set up an appointment. I was scared, shocked, but when approached by her about it I agreed; I should follow through with that appointment.

A week later, I showed up at the ED center, confident as ever I would be sent home once again, just like that first ER visit. After all, in my disordered mind, everything I was doing was “normal.” However, when examined by the doctors, my vitals told a different story. My pulse came back at a whopping 28 beats/minute. I was literally on the verge of dying from a heart attack.

 

From that moment, I was rushed back to the ER and admitted later that night. I will never forget it, as it was the last day of 2015. Yep, I watched the ball drop in Times Square on my little emergency room TV. Happy New Year? It was pathetic, but boy, it was necessary.

From that point on, I spent a month in inpatient treatment, and further months in an outpatient setting. I gained much needed weight, but also tools to help me cope with the underlying emptiness causing my disorder. I had to take the semester off from college, which the perfectionist in me hated, but that was necessary too.

I write this story a year later; happy, healthy, and in what I consider-to-be full recovery. I still see doctors, but I am doing well for myself. My health is in order, and I have that peace of mind that I lost some-time-ago. I still have my struggles on a daily basis, but I am dealing with it, one day at a time.

I have found my new balance, which is why I named this blog as such. Now that I have reached this healthy point in my life, I am ready to share my struggles, offer advice, and hopefully inspire those reading that there is light on the other side. Mental illness, as I know from experience, is so real. However, I hope by sharing this, I can help break the negative stigma which unfortunately encompasses it.

Thank you for reading, as always.                              Lots of love, Holly ❤

 

BLOG: “MENTAL ILLNESS: MY STORY” https://mynewbalance.wordpress.com/mental-illness-my-story/

STARDUST: “There is no greater thing that one can do than to serve other people.” – Beverly Bova Scarano – Hosted by TaraJean McDonald STARDUST: “There is no greater thing that one can do than to serve other people.” – Beverly Bova Scarano – Hosted by TaraJean McDonald(0)YouTube Preview Image

CALICO CAT THRIFT SHOP – STARDUST

“There is no greater thing that one can do than to serve other people.” – Beverly Bova Scarano

The Calico Cat Thrift Shop is nestled in the community of Middletown and is a representation of the town’s dedication to providing food and necessities for the less fortunate. This is where we found Stardust. Beverly Bova Scarano is an avid philanthropist and committed activist for the poor and struggling families in New Jersey. Her passion and drive and her exuberant dedication has inspired so many teens and young adults to join the battle against hunger in New Jersey.

Video: Tour the Calico Cat Thrift Shop and Cupboard & Pantry

For Beverly it all started many years ago when she was a young girl of 21, working at her local town hall in New Jersey. She had just learned that her beloved President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As a young person she was very inspired by the President and his vision. She always remembered his quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” She had always felt that she had to do something with her life; she wanted to find her purpose and make a meaningful impact in the world. So, after the tragic death of her President, she decided join the Peace Corp. After months of training she was sent to the Philippines to work in the school system teaching English as a second language and helping in the community. When she came back to America after 2 years nothing was the same for her.

Beverly Inspires the Youth to join the Movement to Fight Hunger in their local communities.

How can you help get your children involved with the movement to feed the hungry?

Visit Calico Cat to volunteer for community services, sort food and box food. Getting involved with Boys and Girls Scouts as they promote many of the principles focused on helping in the community. Get involved with a Church or Synagogue that has an outreach program. The Bayshore Lunch Program needs volunteers once a month!

Calico Cat Cupboard & Pantry – Community Outreach Group #732-671-2304,

email: comments@monmouthcog.org

 Interview:

Beverly Bova Scarano, (Philanthropist & Youth Leader)

Janice Liebenow, (Pantry & Cupboard Coordinator)

There are stars all around us in the universe – After stars were formed, the intensity of their energies caused them to explode – their stardust traveled through the universe eventually clumping together to give birth to planets.

The earth is formed from stardust. Our bodies are formed from the earth – so in essence we are all made up of stardust. Every one of us is made up of stardust – the famous and the not so famous; the people who we look up to and admire, and the people who are homeless on the streets. I interview people who shine. Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. But you are going to learn something about their lives, their passions and what motivates them. And in the end, I hope you realize that we all have the ability to shine, because after all – we are StarDust.

StarDust: “There is no greater thing that one can do than to serve other people.” – Beverly Bova Scarano – Hosted by TaraJean McDonald

TaraJean is a versatile journalist who has produced numerous segments for NJDiscover. She is experienced in Production and Post Production of TV Commercials, Live News Coverage, TV Entertainment Segments and Live Theatrical Events. She runs the gamut from writing to shooting to scripting to editing to post-production. She studied Communications specializing in Advertising at Fordham University, New York City, but her passion for creativity and expression moved her beyond a Bachelor of Arts degree to where she also studied Theatre and Performance at both Fordham and Roundabout Theatre. Her incandescent spirit took her ultimately to the stage and television in Metropolitan New York as an aspiring actress. Along the way, with a few blinks of an eye, TaraJean was married and raising three young daughters. Next, TaraJean harnessed that spirited energy, becoming editor of Our Town, a Monmouth County newspaper and appearing as a TV host for local Channel 77. The next perfect fit for TaraJean was to channel her unlimited energy in central Jersey working with NJ Discover as TV Host, Reporter, Writer and Producer. She consistently brought a special warmth, caring, insight and humanity to her stories and her reputation flourished with on sight reporting about Hurricane Sandy, homelessness and Tent City, pervasive hunger in New Jersey, and Jersey’s iconic music and film scene. She is the epicenter of what’s happening around the county and state. Almost evolutionary, TaraJean went on to co-host NJ Discover LIVE radio and cable TV and still manages time (quintessential juggler) to be Reporter, SpokesModel, Copywriter, Producer, Journalist and now Sr. Editor for Fashion Haunts Magazine.  Blog: YoursTrulyTJ.com

Harry Filkin – EVENT:  Album Release Party!  5/20 Showtime at 8PM The Wonder Bar – by TaraJean Harry Filkin – EVENT: Album Release Party! 5/20 Showtime at 8PM The Wonder Bar – by TaraJean(0)

Harry Filkin is a well known American singer and songwriter on the Jersey Shore. Harry Filkin has been writing songs for four decades. He will be releasing his first all – original album on May 20th. Harry is a founding member of several successful Jersey Shore bands, most notably Holme, a well-known rock band from Belmar NJ.  He has played on stage numerous times with Bruce Springsteen and Bobby Bandiera. He co-founded and performed on rhythm guitar and vocals with Cats on a Smooth Surface when it was the house band at The Stone Pony in the late 70’s through the 80’s. And he was a founding member of The Diamonds, an all original rock and soul band at the Jersey Shore.

Now Harry will be releasing his first very own original album. Harry’s smooth voice and compelling lyrics have given this album it’s captivating charm and allure. A powerhouse of songs that will surely be a hit for all generations.

Don’t miss this event! RipTide Records is hosting an album release party Saturday May 20 at the famed Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ.

The album features eleven new songs including, “ Blood of my Blood” that was written for Harry’s longtime friend and band mate, Hans Peter Schulle, after the unexpected death of his son Sean in 2012 . “ I am very close to Peter and the words and music just came to me shortly after his death,” said Filkin. “It was very different from any song I’ve ever written.”

The album was arranged, produced and mixed by veteran Jersey Shore producer/singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler.Marc assembled a power house band including : The Spin Doctors ’ Aaron Comess on Drums, Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz) on Bass, Andy Burton (John Mayer) on Keyboards, and Tommy LaBella (10, 000 Maniacs) on Saxophone. Other musicians and singers on Harry’s debut album include Graham Maby (Joe Jackson), Freedom Bremner (Screaming Headless Torsos), Rodney Howard (Gavin DeGraw), with Joel Krauss, Peter Schulle, Arne Wendt, Dave Anthony, John Martin, Steven Salcedo, Milton Vann , Layonne Holmes, Khadija h Mohammed and Lawrence Anthony.

The new album was masterfully engineered by Joe DeMaio at Shorefire Recording Studios in Long Branch , NJ .

Everyone attending gets a copy of the album with a $12 cover charge!  Thank you Harry!

Tickets can be purchased at the Stone Pony Box Office or Ticketmaster at this link: http://bit.ly/harryfilkinCD

 

 

***********************************************************

Posted by TaraJean:

 

TaraJean is a versatile journalist who has produced numerous segments for NJDiscover. She is experienced in Production and Post Production of TV Commercials, Live News Coverage, TV Entertainment Segments and Live Theatrical Events. She runs the gamut from writing to shooting to scripting to editing to post-production. She studied Communications specializing in Advertising at Fordham University, New York City, but her passion for creativity and expression moved her beyond a Bachelor of Arts degree to where she also studied Theatre and Performance at both Fordham and Roundabout Theatre. Her incandescent spirit took her ultimately to the stage and television in Metropolitan New York as an aspiring actress. Along the way, with a few blinks of an eye, TaraJean was married and raising three young daughters. Next, TaraJean harnessed that spirited energy, becoming editor of Our Town, a Monmouth County newspaper and appearing as a TV host for local Channel 77. The next perfect fit for TaraJean was to channel her unlimited energy in central Jersey working with NJ Discover as TV Host, Reporter, Writer and Producer. She consistently brought a special warmth, caring, insight and humanity to her stories and her reputation flourished with on sight reporting about Hurricane Sandy, homelessness and Tent City, pervasive hunger in New Jersey, and Jersey’s iconic music and film scene. She is the epicenter of what’s happening around the county and state. Almost evolutionary, TaraJean went on to co-host NJ Discover LIVE radio and cable TV and still manages time (quintessential juggler) to be Reporter, SpokesModel, Copywriter, Producer, Journalist and now Sr. Editor for Fashion Haunts Magazine.

It Continues To Be a Brave New World: First Annual  IDT Hackathon  April 22nd -April 23rd Newark NJ   by Calvin Schwartz   May 8, 2017 It Continues To Be a Brave New World: First Annual IDT Hackathon April 22nd -April 23rd Newark NJ by Calvin Schwartz May 8, 2017(0)

It Continues To Be a Brave New World: First Annual IDT Hackathon April 22nd -April 23rd Newark NJ by Calvin Schwartz May 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDT HACKATHON EVENT

Thinking back over the past few years, I wonder how many times I’ve invoked references to a brave new world. I do know; I’ve been stingy. There has to be extant reasons and perfect celestial alignments. Several months ago, I was invited to attend IDT Corporation’s First Annual Hackathon by IDT Ventures head, Jacob Jonas. I sensed something special, brave, cutting edge(new) and celestial.

So what is a Hackathon?  This was my first impulse to discover.  A hackathon is like a race (marathon) event where software developers, programmers, graphic designers, interface folks, project managers, all work together in an intensive collaboration over a relatively short period of time. The finish line is the creation of practical applications of software with a specific focus, in this case, the best messaging, payments, or communications related mobile app. There are teams put together, each member bringing an expertise to their cubicle of residence, where they spend those intimate hours competing against the other teams in their own field of dreams (cubicles).

A brief article departure. Watch how I develop this. For the longest time, I’ve worried about our planetary home (earth) with some indigenous problems like climate change, ocean’s rising and running out of fish, 300 million people in Asia without drinking water; all illustrative of things often running through my mind.  I am unsure if we, the species, can effectively solve these problems and save our aging planet. Then came my six hours in Newark at IDT headquarters, observing the energy and composition of the competing teams. I haven’t felt this earthly emotional in a while.

At IDT, I saw youth and exuberance. Some were in high school and college, representing wonderful diversity in culture, geography and sociology. All the participants were accomplished and focused.  After a few hours, I realized earth does have a better future with the likes of these kids competing here; they were dedicated imaginative thinkers.  What I saw was so uplifting and revolutionary; this is a brave new world of knowledge and youth. I was grateful to IDT for investing in youth, promise, tomorrow and for inviting me.

 

 

On the fourth floor, around 5:30 PM on Sunday April 23rd, I met with Jacob Jonas who briefed me on the final stages of the Hackathon which would run to 11 PM. My mission as a journalist was to absorb. I looked over my shoulder; there was a large cubicle which served as home for one of the teams. The conference table was strewn with lap-tops, wires, water bottles, soda cans (some with sugar, some not), coffee cups and a vast array of back-packs. On the floor were several sleeping bags, visually depicting the hard reality of the event; the sleeplessness and urgency of the competitors. This was serious business. Teams stayed overnight working diligently to get to the finish line. I just remembered what Adrienne told Rocky Balboa, “Win Rocky Win.”

 

 

 

The commonality of two people wearing hats in a place where most were hatless brought me to Golan Ben Oni. Of course I was wearing my Rutgers hat. Golan was much more fashionable. If he was here on a Sunday evening, it must be for a reason. We leaned on a desk to chat.

Golan is the CIO of IDT Corporation; that’s chief information officer and he’s been at IDT since 1995 when he arrived and planned on staying only a few weeks. His father was a food scientist for Planter’s and Fleishman’s Yeast.  The family arrived from Israel and soon settled in California where Golan enrolled at University of California at Berkeley when he was sixteen.

He’s been asked to teach at Rutgers Business School and help with the executive program. He is captivating and actually disarming, leaning on a desk and chatting, wearing a hat; his knowledge, brilliance and depth are on a proverbial other planet. His teenage son, busy on a lap-top, did our photo-op. Golan was thrilled to school me on the mechanics of the Hackathon.

 

Next, Golan introduced me to Tom Brennan, OWASP(owasp.org) Board of Directors. More brave new world for me. OWASP has 55,000 members in 110 countries and their function is to raise visibility for software security. Who knew this kind of organization exists? Tom was a judge in the first round of Hackathon presentations along with Zev Green, IDT’s Director of Emerging Technologies; Nathaniel Ritholtz, IDT Software Engineer; Jonathan Hyman, CTO of Appboy; Anthony Delgado, CTO of FOWNDERS; Sharon Ptashek, Senior Manager, Mobile & Emerging Platforms at CBS Interactive. Each team had five minutes to present their projects to the judges followed by five minutes of Q&A.

 

 

 

 

 

First place was awarded to ‘Chill’ which is an app where you and your friends stream videos over your phones while still being able to talk to each other. The first place prize they received was an iPad Mini 2 for each winner. The winners, Shaoliang Zhong and Xiaohang Su grew up together in China and now attend Stevens and NYU respectively. Second place winners won: Discovery HD+ Drone and third place won 32 GB Rasberry Pi 3.

Winners of the AI competition (team that best incorporated artificial intelligence into their Hackathon project) received an Amazon Echo sponsored by FOWNDERS.  And speaking of FOWNDERS, (fownders.com) based in my birth city of Newark, they are doing amazing things to “educate, inspire and empower the next generation of leaders” as a social impact accelerator taking on qualified startups who have proven market fit and display modern innovation; more brave new world applications for me to absorb.

One of the other teams, finishing in third place, developed ‘Man Cave Sharing’ which is like Airbnb for Man Caves. With my own proclivity to special sports Sundays, I was fascinated by their entry; more brave new world and personal visual projections of great places to hangout, shoot pool and watch a professional sport final on a giant TV screen far from the maddening sounds of homeward bound interruptions.

 

 

IDT VENTURES SHOWCASE EVENT:

But the Hackathon was not the only tech-friendly event that happened this weekend. Before the final Hackathon presentation and the awards ceremony, IDT also hosted a Ventures Showcase event for six local startup companies that have synergies with IDT Corporation’s core businesses: Payments Tech, Messaging Apps, Communications Tech, and Technology that Serves Unbanked and/or Immigrant Communities. The Ventures Showcase companies (including the three teams in the IDT Ventures incubator program: PeduL, UpChannel, and ImaliMobile) all have strong synergies with IDT’s core businesses and/or target markets.

Last summer, I spent the day at IDT interviewing Chisa Egbelu and Kayla Jackson from PeduL for NJ Discover. PeduL is an online crowdfunding tool that connects students with the resources and support they need to pursue higher education. That article can be seen at: http://bit.ly/2aVGwJb

Each team had ten minutes to present and five minutes for Q & A with the panelist judges consisting of Shmuel Jonas, CEO of IDT; Jacob Jonas, Director of IDT Ventures; Scott Smedresman, Partner at McCarter & English; Aaron Price, Founder and CEO of Propelify. The other companies presenting were Debitize, Stellar Employ and Modern Lend. Listening to all six ingenious presentations continued my yellow brick road journey to that brave new world. I did manage to remark to one of the team members, in keeping with my article theme, that when I grew up in Newark, my world of knowledge came from seven black and white television stations that went off the air at midnight followed by test patterns (remindful of ‘Poltergeist’) until the next morning. “They’re here.”

 

 

Before the actual finals began, a splendid buffet of Chinese food was presented to the assembled. I indulged, then explored and pinched myself (which I do only in moments of disbelief) that I was witness to this wondrous display of future think, exuberance, youth, imagination and earth hope. And I hope the decision making folks, if liking this article (expression) invite me back next year (2018) for my brave continuing new observations at IDT’s  2nd Annual Hackathon in my birth city, Newark.

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