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NJ Discover Explorations:   My Day at IDT CORPORATION in Newark   by Calvin Schwartz   March 20, 2017 NJ Discover Explorations: My Day at IDT CORPORATION in Newark by Calvin Schwartz March 20, 2017(0)

NJ Discover Explorations:   My Day at IDT CORPORATION in Newark   by Calvin Schwartz   March 20, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been thinking about the directional form this article should take. It’s been two hours on a college basketball filled Saturday afternoon staring at my computer screen, listening to folk songs from the sixties, reading a special book given to me at IDT last week, and finally exercising my free choice now, getting to that fork in the road and taking it; I’m going down the yellow brick un-orthodox road. There’s too much energy inside me.

So here we go with a bold statement about IDT and me. I wish I’d gone to a mathematician for the final approximations here but I think the odds of everything that has ensued with my burgeoning experience with IDT falls into the ‘billion to one’ category; a powerful distant number, hinting of a special synchronicity in the universe; a meant to be and something which you can’t make up, not even Jules Verne or George Orwell.

A brief (if I can be that) explanation. Last July, I began “mentoring” a few of my close Rutgers friends who started an amazing company called, PeduL, a crowdfunding source for college students to raise money for tuition.  We’d meet once a month over dinner and explore the inter-connectivity of our generations; millennials and a baby-boomer working together. A year or so ago, IDT Ventures in Newark (my hometown, birth city) headed by Jacob Jonas, reached out to PeduL and brought them into the IDT family. “IDT Ventures invests in early-stage startups and helps them rapidly develop their ideas and raise follow-up rounds of financing.” Last August, I went to IDT’s offices to interview the PeduL team for an NJ Discover Spotlight article. Confession; I didn’t know a lot about IDT other than it was a giant tele-communications company.

 

 

 

Chisa Egbelu, recent Rutgers graduate, (I mentioned “plastics” to him at graduation), and ‘Business Operator’ of PeduL took my wife and me on a brief tour of IDT’s offices which became for me, an amalgam of mind expansion and disbelief; this was an incredible sleeping giant of a company that was involved in so much diverse creativity. Standing outside of the IDT headquarters building after the PeduL interview, I stared, much like Deborah Kerr’s character in ‘Affair to Remember,’ looking up at the Empire State Building, and I knew there was something magical in that building. I just didn’t know what it was, yet.

In October, I was back at IDT, this time bringing the PeduL team to Senator Cory Booker’s office to see whether government can assist PeduL. PeduL as its founders envision it, would help divert some of the cost of college education away from government; the good old win-win situation. Two weeks ago, based on my relationship with PeduL and my journalistic proclivities at NJ Discover, Jacob Jonas called, inviting me to spend a day of illumination at IDT. I randomly mentioned to Jacob, my flying on a ten-hour trip last August, sitting on the flight next to David Polinsky, the President and General Counsel of Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company which IDT had just invested in. Mr. Polinsky was sitting next to Jacob as we spoke. This is just an elemental part of that billion to one premise. And I’ll leave it now for imagination and energy reclamation.  IDT also spun off an energy business (Genie Energy), a publishing and entertainment company (IDW Media), and an extremely popular phone personalization mobile application (Zedge). To top it off, IDT Entertainment, a former subsidiary of IDT Corp., used to do the animation work for the Simpsons!

 

That morning trip to IDT last week was punctuated with heavy downpours.  I encountered some flooding and aggravating traffic. As soon as I parked on the second level garage, the sun came out; one more function of synchronicity in the universe. Jacob met me in the lobby and my day of mind expansion was underway. There was a brief stop in CEO Howard Jonas’ office. The far wall was a montage of countless family photos. I thought instantly about tell-tale signs of a soulful, introspective, caring CEO, of, for and by the people.  Jacob presented me with copies of Howard’s bestselling books. I read one this afternoon: ‘I’m Not the Boss. I Just Work Here’.

As we strolled along the halls, Jacob pointed out some of IDT’s business divisions and gave a brief history of the company. IDT was started in 1990 by Howard Jonas, who began his legendary business career with a very successful hot dog stand as a young teenager in the Bronx.  I saw a striking logo on a wall, a hand holding a cell phone.  It’s part of their retail division, BOSS Revolution, which primarily services immigrant communities with payments and communications services.

Jacob set aside some time for me to meet with the man behind IDT’s PicuP division, Zali Ritholtz. My head was about to spin. I could tell by the degree of unbridled enthusiasm sitting across the desk. I looked at a large window overlooking downtown Newark where I arrived here on earth decades ago. He mentioned that a ‘Whole Foods’ was opening a new store across the street as we spoke.  I fastened my seat belt. Zali was pure lift-off the launching pad type of energy.

I didn’t really know PicuP except for Googling it the night before.  PicuP is a business phone service that answers, routes and manages inbound calls. “So tell me more, Zali.” He was quick and ready.  Funny about my journalism; I could tell there was an enthusiasm contagion in the office. PicuP is focused on serving small and medium sized businesses and startup companies. “The ultimate goal of PicuP is to help businesses manage all of their communication channels (phone, chat, messaging, social media, etc…) in an easy and efficient way.”

 

 

Zali told me a story of calling his cell phone provider. He was on hold for 10 minutes. The agent helped him and then asked him if he had any more questions. He hung up, but a few seconds later, he had another question. He had to call back and get a new agent. Zali added, “My vision of a perfect world; there should be a log of all my communications between the provider and myself. When I finish the conversation, a text comes in. Do I want to continue this conversation? You have options to continue through chat, SMS, phone call, video or any other medium the business offers. That would make life so much easier for the customer, making the business more successful in the long run.”  I realized this was the evolution of PicuP.

PicuP built a very simple, easy to use service. “Any small business can sign up completely for free and have a full phone system setup in less than 5 minutes. Get a phone number, welcome greeting (auto attendant), departments to group users and extensions, call screening, find me follow me, voicemail to email and more.”  Next Zali gave me the practical side of things. “Let’s say you take your family to Disney World. You are stuck because you want to disconnect from your business calls but still want to receive personal calls. It’s a very big challenge. You are choosing between losing business or losing family time.  PicuP gives you the ability to take your existing cell phone and have it serve as both your personal and your business phone so you can disconnect when you need to.”

I knew this could make people’s lives so much easier.  “PicuP’s vision is to bring all communications together under one hood. This is a game changer! It will change lives.” Then Zali explained how IDT recently acquired LiveNinja, a Miami-based startup on the cutting edge of B2C messaging technology. The plan is to integrate LiveNinja’s messaging solution with PicuP, further cementing IDT’s status as a leading innovator in B2C communications services. “LiveNinja’s offering allows customers visiting a business’s site to start conversations through a chat widget, and then move the conversation over to SMS so they can continue communicating even after they leave the site.” This was spot on with the PicuP vision. “Once the PicuP and LiveNinja integration is completed, the new offering will provide businesses with a communications solution, where they can speak to their customers through multiple channels including phone, messaging, chat, Facebook messenger and more, from their computer or mobile, combining the experience into one crisp and easy to use product. All the verticals of communication under one hood. Powerful!  The best part? You can try out PicuP’s basic plan completely for free. One phone number pulls everything together. As you grow your business, you can upgrade to larger plans.”

 

“It’s a wow,” I exclaimed.  My exuberant thinking was that for start-ups and small business, PicuP is like a ‘David Copperfield’ illusionist. When a business has all these tools, customers subliminally and consciously think, they are dealing with a large successful company. It’s like a silent salesperson. I know customers are not patient; they want quick responses. People also like to hang around success.  Make customers remember you. Zali mentioned that my friends at PeduL are using PicuP. It is a perfect smart world. “No more calling the dry cleaners and being placed on hold. Just text them.”  I said it again, “This is such a wow! And a game changer!”  For a third time that day, I realized that IDT is that sleeping giant at the precipice of changing our world.

Jacob walked in ready to continue our tour. I looked at both of them, with my actor straight face, remembering they just met me and don’t know my quirks and said, “You guys pissed me off today with all this amazing input and technology and game changing. I won’t be able to sleep for the entire next week as I’m processing and digesting all you’ve told me today. I hate not sleeping.”  We all laughed. They got my nuance spot on.

Jacob and I sat in a cubicle with a round table. We talked about IDT’s recent investment in Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, “a clinical-stage, oncology-focused pharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of therapies that exploit the metabolic differences between normal cells and cancer cells.” I reminded Jacob that in an earlier life, I was a pharmacist, educated down the street at Rutgers Pharmacy School. I was particularly interested in Cornerstone’s lead cancer drug, CPI-613, because I had Googled that too, the night before.  Jacob continued, “The theory is that CPI-613 selectively targets the indispensable energy production (metabolic) processes in cancer cells. These metabolic processes are essential to cancer cell multiplication and survival. CPI-613 has shown promising results in clinical trials.”

 

Jacob continued, “IDT is truly one of the most groundbreaking companies in New Jersey.  IDT has impacted a wide variety of industries: telecom, tech, entertainment, energy and now pharma. And that’s only the tip of iceberg. IDT Ventures is investing in local technology start-ups. IDT’s Boss Revolution division offers its suite of communications and payment services in over 35,000 bodegas around the country. IDT’s rapidly growing National Retail Solutions division is in the process of rolling out “The World’s Greatest Point of Sale Terminal” to IDT’s massive bodega network. I mentioned NJ Discover’s commitment to Latino culture with our October TV Show, “Neo Latino Artists Come to NJ Discover.” This got Jacob excited, “We have very deep ties with the Latino community. Many of our employees are Spanish speaking and are natives of Latin American countries. Boss Revolution is trusted by Latinos in America who use our communications and payment services to connect with and share resources with their families back home.”

I smiled and repeated how the IDT visit had pissed me off. I told Jacob “I’ll never sleep because IDT is such a sleeping giant.” Jacob corrected me, “IDT is a giant that is ready to roar”. There is so much in my head. Jacob smiled. We talked about future think and my coming back. There is so much more to learn and explore. Jacob asked if NJ Discover is mobile referring to a future TV Show on site.  I said, “We are mobile, hostile and agile,” making reference to the movie ‘Remember the Titans.’ Also appropriate with IDT, another titan. As I thanked Jacob and did the goodbyes with him and Chisa, I added, “Maybe when I do come back, someone will buy me a hot dog.” I’m not sure they heard me so I’m closing this article with it.

NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: MEET BECKY LYNE MASTERSON ; A Lifetime of Caring and Meaning   by Calvin Schwartz  March 8, 2017 NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: MEET BECKY LYNE MASTERSON ; A Lifetime of Caring and Meaning by Calvin Schwartz March 8, 2017(0)

 NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: MEET BECKY LYNE MASTERSON ; A Lifetime of Caring and Meaning   by Calvin Schwartz  March 8, 2017 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I jump into the spotlight verbiage of this article and talk about Becky Lyne Masterson, I just got one of those epiphanies preceded by a wondrous incandescent cerebral light bulb getting turned-on. I need to tell you about the etiology of these spotlight articles; a history lesson of sorts. It makes this article about Becky Lyne more salient and relevant.

Six years ago I met Tara-Jean McDonald Vitale, my co-host now on NJ Discover Live TV Show.  Shortly thereafter, she introduced me to NJ Discover, a full service amazing production company nestled here in Monmouth County. Then the two of us went on the road and brought news features, personalities and special places to the world of NJ Discover.  Our mantra was quickly illuminated. We would focus our energies and resources on elevating people and places of New Jersey; after all, NJ Discover is all about discovering those aspects of New Jersey which CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and even News 12 can’t begin to devote appropriate time. We can and do. It’s who we are.

There are seven million stories in the naked (city) New Jersey. There are people who give of themselves, are dedicated, driven, motivated and out there, often invisible, beneath the radar but part of the machinery of caring and sharing. It’s easy to interview Meryl Streep, a Senator or a bestselling author.  It’s harder to fit into a yellow or pastel submarine and get below the surface to substantive Jersey lives. The people “who do the real living and dying” (a line from “It’s a Wonderful Life”).  I had to get that favorite movie in here somehow.

 

Often in my writing, I bring in aspects of synchronicity, journeys and things meant to be. It’s part of who I am and a very long story.  A few weeks ago, I was asked by Laura Madsen, publicist and “a lady in red who writes,” to be an extra in Sean Guess’ new film ‘That’s Life,’ shooting a scene down the Jersey shore. I love the roar of the crowd and smell of greasepaint. A few minutes before the shoot, I met another extra in the film, Becky Lyne. Within a few synchronistic moments, we were talking about mental health, giving back, autism and relevance.  Her exuberance and devotion captured me as did that alluring smile. We kept talking. They were shooting in the next room. We kept hearing, “Quiet on the set.” I love that line.  But there it all was in that one brief shining moment. I wanted to learn more about her life and work with Developmentally Disabled Adults. Becky was the embodiment of all that NJ Discover Spotlight articles should be; a road on a journey to discover. I asked to interview her.

Cut to America’s Cup on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park on a Saturday morning, two weeks later. Firstly, Becky started working for the MENTOR Network (thementornetwork.com) in January. “The MENTOR Network is a national network of local health and human services providers in 35 states offering an array of quality, community-based services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain and spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries and illnesses; to youth with emotional, behavioral and medically complex challenges, as well as their families; and to elders in need of support.”  When I researched MENTOR, I was kind of amazed by all they do, and the fact I’d never really known about them upset me; my lack of awareness.   I apologized to Becky for not knowing.

 

 

I asked when this passion and need to care for special people began. She absolutely blew me away and totally surprised. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve been volunteering with my parents at functions with the Elks.” She worked Camp Discovery for ten summers through high school.  I was beginning to grasp that all of Becky’s life in caring and helping special people was an event of destiny. I thought of the movie, ‘Heaven Can Wait’ with Warren Beatty. As in the movie, she was destined from the early beginning to give back and care.

She talked about running the Special Children’s Committee at Tom Rivers Elks which gave out three scholarships. Part of her background expertise was also an employment specialist where she would teach and guide through the real world. In 1993 she graduated high school and college in 2009. Then in 2009, 2010, 2011 she taught basic skills Math and Language Arts in the Toms River school district. In September, 2012, they removed the basic skills program from the schools and two weeks later she found out she had cervical cancer and went ahead and beat it. “Once Sandy hit, I stayed busy with collecting donations and helping others even through my own surgeries.” Listening to Becky, for me, was an experience of being Jersey tough, resilience and a belief system that I rarely run into it. I was savoring every moment of our time together.

“I got involved right away in raising money for Sandy relief. We got eight planes of donations and ten trucks as well. The relief center was run by myself, my mom, and one other.”  Becky ran the relief center at the Elks until March, 2013. There was a party at the Elks where she met Caregivers of New Jersey and started working with them. “They deal with life plans and life skills. They got a grant and I became Disaster Case Manager where 75% had to have a disability. That was the grant.”

 

 

When the grant ended in May, 2013, she went to the Salvation Army in Toms River and did an 18-month gig “advocating for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, in every aspect of getting them back to their “new normal” into a safe, sanitary and secure home and assisted with the completion of county grants and helping them to receive monies through the unmet needs table.”

In January, 2016 she went back to Caregivers and became Support Coordinator.  This past July, Becky went to ARC and became an employment specialist. Of course I asked what it all entailed. “I have to help them gain confidence, respect and teach them what the real world is like. All of them are 21 and over and must have a high school degree.” All the while I’m listening to Becky, I’m trying to jump into her shoes. Can I even comprehend the devotion it takes to do this?  There are no marching bands, testimonial dinners, or basically anyone out there in Jersey land, including myself, who fathom and grasp this incredible devotion to people who are in need.

Now I really got blown away. In January, Becky started with MENTOR. Talk about unsung heroes. She became program coordinator for a residential house. “What is that,” I asked. “There are four individuals that live there. Two are wheel chair bound and two are ambulatory. There are three houses like this in Ocean County. I run the house. There are three shifts. We manage their lives. Some can’t talk. Some are blind.” I was quiet for a moment, digesting and absorbing. “But there are only four people you care for.  There are no big groups, or activities, or softball or parties or lots of aides and helpers. This is serious intensive care. There is no aspect of anything close to fun.”

 

 

Becky smiled, understanding my response. “You have to want to work here. It is a colorful world. Yes, there is always something happening. We do go to outings. They leave the house from 9 to 4pm. Go to day programs sometimes with arts and crafts.”  What she said was so powerful to me. I have to repeat it again. “You have to want to work here.”  Like the folk song from the sixties, this was my reason to believe in the value of epiphanies and why I’m writing an article about Becky Lyne Masterson.  This is a discovery for me, meeting this kind of devotion and life’s work. Nearing the end of our time together, she talked about her young daughter and son and how they’ve already expressed to her that when they grow up, they want to be just like her. I smiled thinking all about circles of life and continuity. I also thought about my work with discovery spotlights. Meeting Becky was spotlight right on and extending thanks to my friend, ‘synchronicity in the universe’, for meeting her on a film set.

NJ’s-Hollywood Songwriters Come to NJ Discover: An Evening with FRANKE PREVITE & ARLAN FEILES.  TUNE IN Monday March 6th  8 PM with hosts Tara-Jean & Calvin NJ’s-Hollywood Songwriters Come to NJ Discover: An Evening with FRANKE PREVITE & ARLAN FEILES. TUNE IN Monday March 6th 8 PM with hosts Tara-Jean & Calvin(0)

NJ’s-Hollywood Songwriters Come to NJ Discover: An Evening with FRANKE PREVITE & ARLAN FEILES. TUNE IN Monday March 6th 8 PM with hosts Tara-Jean & Calvin

 

TUNE IN MONDAY MARCH 6th  8 pm  at    njdiscover.com        ALSO SEEN on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44

It has long been our mantra at NJ Discover to elevate and promote the people and places of New Jersey. We like to think of ourselves as a positive force in the universe. We’ve grown these past six years from being an amazing full service video production company to also a specialized feature news entity fulfilling our mantra and these last few years also becoming a radio and cable TV Live show with an ever expanding audience in New Jersey.

We take a great deal of pride in the content of our character and shows; we never want to go on air just for the sake of hearing ourselves talk. We need diverse, fascinating, unique topics/guests who appeal to the same diverse audience and age demographic. We want everyone to like us (just as if we’re Life Cereal).

Our show on Monday  March 6th is right on target. Come spend an evening with FRANKE PREVITE (Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music; Best Song for 1987 for Dirty Dancing’s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”) And ARLAN FEILES (wrote & produced song, “First Time I Saw You” featured in Bruce Willis and John Goodman’s upcoming film “Once Upon A Time in Venice”

We’ll explore the music/business side of life and then segue to some of the personal particulates which make them flourish and achieve such exceptional creativity.

TUNE IN MONDAY MARCH 6th  8 pm  at    njdiscover.com    ALSO SEEN on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44

 

FRANKE PREVITE:

He was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey to Franke Previte, Sr., an opera singer.

Franke was with the New Jersey rock quintet Franke and the Knockouts as the singer and songwriter. Previously he had sung with the Oxford Watch Band and the heavy metal band Bull Angus. Franke and the Knockouts were signed by Millennium Records in 1981 and had three U.S. Top 40 singles and two Top 50 albums. Franke and the Knockouts’ biggest single, “Sweetheart”, was written by Previte and Knockout guitarist Billy Elworthy and became a Top 10 hit in 1981. The group’s other two Top 40 hits were “You’re My Girl” and “Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)”. The band switched to Music Corporation of America in 1984, but they split up around 1986. Franke Previte co-wrote music for the hit soundtrack to the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.

Franke won the Academy Award  for Best Achievement in Music; Best Song for 1987 for Dirty Dancing’s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” with co-composers John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz.

That same year Previte also received a Golden Globe and a Grammy nomination. Also the song (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life won the ASCAP song of the year award. And recently the song was chosen as ASCAP top 20 songs ever written, landing at number 15. Franke also was chosen as one of America’s top 25 songwriters to represent the USA in a songwriter summit in the USSR. Today Franke helps raise money for the charity THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK in Patrick Swayze’s honor. He continues to raise money for the charity with his new band, THE BROTHERHOOD. Franks says ” If you’re a songwriter then you’re in the Brotherhood.”

 

Franke also is Creative Director for “Decades of Divas” a dazzling musical journey through time with the world’s most influential women of song. DECADES OF DIVAS re-invents and revolutionizes music from the 1940s through the present. Popular New Jersey shore vocalist-dancer Lisa Sherman, the show’s creator, leads an arsenal of singers and musicians across a pair of nightclubs (G-Dog’s Jazz Café and the Roxie Lounge) and straight down Memory Lane, which runs between them, to evoke and pay tribute to the greatest divas we’ve embraced through the decades. Featuring the songs of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Carole King, Janis Joplin, Celine Dion, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Adele and so many more! Indeed, there is something in every genre for EVERY generation to enjoy

www.decadesofdivas.com

DECADES OF DIVAS has performed to rave reviews and wildly enthusiastic audiences since premiering in November, 2014 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJDECADES OF DIVAS features timeless music to an multigenerational, ageless demographic –a barrage of hits ,capturing one unforgettable song after another, from the 1940s to the present. Core demos: Men & Women 25 and up; LGBT Adaptable in customizable formats and time lengths, with orchestra or core band (4 to 12pieces with horns and violins), and option to insert legacy stars.

FRANKE PREVITE RECEIVING ACADEMY AWARD  IN 1988!!!

YOU TUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQS-OTFIC-s

Liza Minnelli and Dudley Moore presenting Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz the Oscar® for Best Original Song for “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing” at the 60th Annual Academy Awards® in 1988.

ALSO THIS JUST IN: LISA SHERMAN performing  Broadway and Beyond show April 22 at the Spring Lake Community Theater.

 

TUNE IN MONDAY MARCH 6th    8 pm  at    njdiscover.com    

ALSO SEEN on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44 

ARLAN FEILES

http://www.arlanfeiles.com

 

In the tradition of many great troubadours before him, Los Angeles native Arlan Feiles has made his way across the American landscape.  Along the way, Arlan has shared stages and worked with some of the great legends of Music. The Band, The late Warren Zevon, R’n’R Hall of Fame Produce Tom Dowd, Dave Grohl, Hot Tuna, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Warren Haynes, Dave Mathews, Bob Pollard, and many more.

                “Arlan is a gifted songwriter… with pulsating and passionate performances”

                                                                                              Sandra Schulman- Billboard Magazine

                 Tom Dowd and Chris Blackwell of Island Records signed Arlan to his first record deal. Demos, recorded with Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, became the inspiration for a new album. Tom Dowd and Arlan recorded “Troubled Monkey” that included tracks backed by the legendary group The Band, featuring the late great Levon Helm, the late great Rick Danko, and keyboardist Garth Hudson. 

 

“Arlan is like a modern Bob Dylan, although he sings a sight better”

                                                                                               Tom Dowd- Producer

              In 1999 Arlan was recruited by award winning composer Stephen Trask to be the first to play his role as The Music Director, Skshp, in the first touring company of the Glam Rock Off Broadway hit show “Hedwig and The Angry Inch”. After the run, Arlan Returned to his new home in Brooklyn to form the group Gift Horse. Who’s hit “Ive Gotta Tell You” was featured in Ed Burns’ Sidewalks of New York. Arlan then went on to record two solo albums with the help of legendary Miami Producer Frank “Rat Bastard “ Falestra. The first, 2005’s “Razing a Nation”, was honored with the “Best Album of the year” award by the Miami New Times. The second album was the highly anticipated “Come Sunday Morning” for new label Not-Pop Records. “Come Sunday Morning” would go on to win the Asbury Music Awards “Best Album of the year” honors as well. Both Albums made strong showings on The Euro Americana chart and enjoyed radio play worldwide.

                             

“Razing a Nation is an American Classic”

                                                                                                  Uncle Mike- Two River Times

 

        Arlan continues to be extremely busy performing and enjoying a great deal of radio play, and T.V/ Film placements for many of his songs.  Most notably, Ed Burns’ “Sidewalks of New York” and the award winning film “Handsome Harry” starring Steve Buscemi and Jamey Sheridan. Currently you can hear 7 of Arlans songs on the now airing controversial MTV show “16 and Pregnant”.

 “If songwriters were bad weather, Hurricane Arlan would be a category 5…

he’ll blow you away”      Greg Baker- The Miami Herald

In 2012 Arlan released “Weeds Kill The Wild Flowers”. Joined by his group The Broken Hearted, Arlan has put together another great collection of songs that take the listener and Arlan full circle through an Americana voyage of truth and discovery. With Cover Art by Guided By Voices vocalist and collage artist Robert Pollard, this Album is a must own for any Audiofile. John Pfeiffer of the Aquarian says “If Come Sunday Morning was the crown Jewel, Weeds is the King”  Weeds  recently brought Arlan his 3rd  “Album of the Year” honor.  

 “Arlan writes with pinpoint accuracy, sings with unbridled conviction,

and plays his instruments with both soul and precision.”

                                                                                     Greg Trooper – Award winning Americana Songwriter

 2014 Arlan contributed the song ”Wake(Don’t Back Down)”,  to the international trailer for the Academy Award winning film The Dallas Buyers Club. And in 2015 “Step Into My Shoes” for Adam Sandlers The Cobbler Film Soundtrack

2016 wraps up with the release of two new albums. One live album “Arlan Feiles and the Broken Hearted Live From The Strand” featuring Jack Petruzelli, Bess Rogers, Eryn Shewell, Layonne Holmes, Dan Green and Michael Scotto; and the much anticipated new studio album “Stranger” which includes guest appearances by local Asbury talents Emily Grove, Eryn Shewell, and Stacey Smith. We also look forward to two Arlan Feiles songs featured in the upcoming Bruce Willis, John Goodman film “Once Upon a Time in Venice”

                                                                                Action Entertainment!!!

                                                          818-980-0889 

                                                 music@aaandaction.com

TUNE IN MONDAY MARCH 6th  8 pm  at    njdiscover.com    

ALSO SEEN on YOU TUBE TV, LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY TV, MONMOUTH COUNTY CABLEVISION CHANNEL 77, MONMOUTH COUNTY FIOS CHANNEL 44

 

“There’s No Place Like the Food Bank” 2017 Humanitarian Gala March 24th  40,000 Monmouth & Ocean County Children Are Hungry   by Calvin Schwartz   2-8-17 “There’s No Place Like the Food Bank” 2017 Humanitarian Gala March 24th 40,000 Monmouth & Ocean County Children Are Hungry by Calvin Schwartz 2-8-17(0)

“There’s No Place Like the Food Bank” 2017 Humanitarian Gala March 24th  40,000 Monmouth & Ocean County Children Are Hungry   by Calvin Schwartz   2-8-17

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m looking at the title of this article with hesitation. Have I committed ‘dichotomy’? On one hand, announcing and promoting a Humanitarian Gala at a Country Club and on the other hand, promulgating a disturbing statistic; an obscene amount of children are hungry here in Monmouth and Ocean County. My being here is to support and spread the word of the amazing work done by the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County and the special honorees at the Gala who give of themselves tirelessly and endlessly to the cause of fighting hunger here at home. A Gala is a wonderful vehicle to raise desperately needed funds to do the work of feeding the hungry. Soon I’ll lay down some hard money facts.

Those honorees are: Rena Levine Levy and Steven Levine from the WindMill Restaurants, Members of United Teletech Financial, Board Chairs Emeritus, Junior Humanitarian, Dominic Esposito, and Agency Partner, King of Kings Food Pantry.

I’m not new to the work of the Food Bank nor honorees, Rena Levine Levy and Steven Levine. All of my writing and journalism comes from living and learning first hand. There is no other real way. Five years ago, I learned about homelessness, spending time in a homeless tent encampment 22 miles from Monmouth County. (Tent City in Lakewood) Frankly, having never seen this side of life, I was changed forever. How people (over 100) survived (not lived), in tents for up to 12 years without running water or heat or electricity is horrifying.

 

 

 

Concomitant with being homeless is being hungry. I soon discovered the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County. I did spend several days there actually after Hurricane Sandy, learning, feeling, absorbing.  To augment my understanding of hunger (in America too), I attended a program at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank called the ‘The Soul of Hunger’ which was a lengthy community dialogue about Hunger in New Jersey. The afternoon began with a screening of the film “A Place at the Table,” and later Governor Christie and restaurateur Tom Colicchio joined moderator Willie Geist from ‘The Today Show.’  Point being, (my son uses this expression all the time) talking about hunger is a good process but the FoodBank needs you all year.  Again, I was changed forever as I learned about the insidious nature of hunger. Yes, our very neighbors could be hungry but would never reach out or say anything for fear of embarrassment which means their children are also hungry

 

 

 

 

“I’m walking here,” Ratzo said, (remember I’m a stream of consciousness writer). I just visualized Dustin Hoffman playing the role of Ratzo Rizzo in ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ a riveting film; it still bothers me. Rizzo was terribly hungry as he walked the city streets scrounging for food. Jon Voight (Joe Buck) in the movie crushed a cracker into a cup of ketchup and water for sustenance; just one of my images of hunger.  I remember Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ when the ‘Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come’ opens his coat to reveal two children who symbolize ignorance and want(hunger). And not much has changed since 1843. Actually things are even worse ergo part of the title of this article, 40, 000 children in Monmouth and Ocean County are hungry.

 

 

 

 

I know that honoree Steven Levine helped with food for people in the tents or after disasters as well as giving dinners in Asbury Park for the many needy.  I’ve been to the WindMill in Long Branch when Rena and Steven fed a large number of needy kids from nearby towns. But it’s their life commitment to giving back and working with the Food Bank, planning events to raise funds and being involved and caring.

Perhaps the most startling statistic to share here is that in 1980 there were 40 food pantries in America. Today, there are upwards of 40,000. One in ten people in Monmouth and Ocean County use the services of the Food Bank. Remember my article title; there are 40,000 hungry children in both counties. Why so critically important to raise funds (and why YOU are all needed to help at any level) is $1.00 raised can provide 3 meals!!!!

Nothing is coincidence. I was thinking about writing this all day. A few hours ago, I watched World News Tonight. There was a segment on “Blessing Boxes” in a small Texas town. The box is set up on a street and people can drop off canned food, toiletries and other items for the needy. I watched a single woman with four children recently laid off from work use the “Blessing Box.” It was critical for feeding her young children. Hunger is all around and much too much in America at the advanced year of 2017. It’s so prevalent here in our two home counties so please reach into your conscious conscience and help OUR Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County. These are different times. We really do need each other.  And if you can help any aspect of the Gala, please do.

The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties website:  http://www.foodbankmoc.org/

 

Here are the flyers and information on the Gala:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW: An Evening with Actor Dave Paul  and ‘Company’   by Calvin Schwartz   Jan 27th 2017 INTERVIEW: An Evening with Actor Dave Paul and ‘Company’ by Calvin Schwartz Jan 27th 2017(0)

INTERVIEW: An Evening with Actor Dave Paul  and ‘Company’   by Calvin Schwartz   Jan 27th 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I continue to marvel (just like I’m a little kid, wondrously looking at the window of a toy store a few weeks before Christmas) at the exigencies and connectivity of Facebook and other realms of social media. Perhaps I can make the statement, even as a denizen of the sixties era, that social media has changed the course of the river of my life. So, yes, I dig social media. It digs me too. Somewhere, there is an essay tied into a prominent Saint dealing with people being brought together. Lost in space. This has been the set-up.

The forces of synchronicity and commonality came together back last June when Dave Paul and I connected on Facebook. We were now friends and communicated often through the utilization of the messenger service. Dave’s focus was when we could meet in real life and do that actor-journalist-interviewer thing. Right from the starting gate, I was intrigued with Dave’s aura of energy, confidence and love of acting. I’m partial to the acting profession; a long story. It took five laborious months of planning, cancelling and resetting appointments to finally settle in at the end of November.

 

 

 

I opened the door, there was Dave and fellow actor and friend Paul Vito (ergo, part of the ‘company’ of the night) We had spoken often in the preceding months so I really knew him to be the affable young actor standing in my hallway. Of course, I felt like it’s been years instead of our first live meeting. We sat down at that other social media phenomenon, a kitchen table, with two pizzas, one plain and one embellished, still warm. We ate and talked.

Dave is working on a movie, ‘That’s Life’ being filmed in Monmouth County by director, film maker Sean Guess. Synchronicity is alive. My very first video interview on a red carpet took place five years ago at Sean’s Red Bank premiere of ‘Nothing for Christmas.’  Dave continued, “When I was eight years old, my mother put in for me to be in Romper Room. But mom turned down the offer to do more. She got scared.” He graduated West Orange High School and his father wanted him to work in wall covering.

 

 

In 1996, ‘The Home Boy’ with Julie Brown was being filmed in West Orange and Dave became an extra. “I stayed for more scenes and got more into it.”  Then Dave talked about his athleticism. “The first time I went bowling, I bowled a 185, signed a PBA card and became a professional athlete in 2009.” He did some work at Bane Haunted House in Livingston which was interactive theater. By now, each of us had fully masticated a slice of pizza. The haunted talk segued into a discussion of para-normal investigations. Dave is multi-layered and we drifted around ghosts and electronic voice phenomenon.

“I did a skype audition for a western, but didn’t get the part. I made the last cut which fueled my energy. Along the way, there was six student films, background (extra) work.” I was fascinated when he told me, “I never did acting schools. I wanted to experience life which is the best way to learn. I like to be a renegade. Maybe it’s helping me be successful.”

He continued to do short films and student films. His confidence was rising. Next, Dave went to an independent film, ‘Dara Ju’ where he played an SEC investigator. The film is at Sundance as we speak. He laughed when he talked about playing an executive in Atlantic City. “On break, we gambled at the Borgata.”

 

 

In the movie, ‘The Set Up’ (2016) he plays ‘Ace’ a mob boss which appeared in the Urban Action Film Festival and was asked to act in the sequel. By now, our kitchen table group had maxed out on the second slice of pizza.  Dave talked about Paul Vito, their friendship and how he tries to get acting parts for him. For me, there was the depth of his character and loyalty which impressed. The doorbell echoed and a very fascinating Anngeannette Pinkston arrived; a very talented playwright, producer, author and part-time theatrical manager. The ‘company’ was complete.

‘Crow Hill’ is a web series for TV. He plays Paul, one of six zombie survivors. He also got Paul Vito a feature role in this film. All the while, through the past hour, I absorbed Dave’s devotion and passion to his craft, acting. The guy really loves what he does. I did my usual blink of an eye while my wife brought coffee and dessert. During the blink, I saw Dave as a guest on Jimmy Fallon. He had finally arrived and I had interviewed him way before Jimmy.

Angeannette’s play, “I Lost My Heart in Haiti” premieres in March at the Producers Club in New York City. I asked her about the story line. “One woman’s struggle to mend her heart as the country mends after an earthquake. I wrote each and every song.”

Dave’s list of credits is growing. His career is notable in its dedication and pursuit. I was impressed (so was my wife) when he told us that he played a disgruntled bank customer in a Christian Slater movie, ‘Mr. Robot’ on the USA Network and appeared background in ‘Vinyl.’

 

Dave met Paul on the set of ‘There’s No Way Out,’ a TV series now looking for a home on a major network. This past summer, I had a chance to work their red carpet after they finished shooting in Newark but I actually wound up in Senator Booker’s office down the street; a long story. Paul spent four years as a standup comedian and is still doing it. He finished a six-month course at the New York Film Academy.

Nobody did coffee and cake. But it was time to go introspective; a signature part of our interview time together; to get the essential Dave Paul. I asked Dave, “What makes you cry?” “Seeing my twins in an incubator. And if a loved one passes.”

“Do you have a philosophy by which you live?” “Loyalty and friendship is everything. When I pass, I want to be known as a true friend.” The best time in his life was when his three kids were born. “Amanda, 8, and the twins, Michael and Amy, 1 year. Of course special thanks to Jenn.” And the worst time in his life was when his grandpa died. “And now my uncle Jack who has Alzheimer’s. I’m dedicating my life to him.”

 

 

 

Hey Dave, “Does anything keep you awake?” “A good movie or sports.” His favorite movie, ‘Top Gun.’ He loves The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and James Dean. I didn’t tell him, but there was something about him, all the while sitting around the table, that reminded me of James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’

It was now a late November night. It was a fun time for me meeting this actor and his company. One last question. “Before I leave this earth, I won’t be satisfied until I…………….” A few seconds of thought until he answered. “Until I become an ‘A List’ celebrity, win a few nominations and give back to my family.”

I had an unusual request before he left; to sit with him on my dark cold leafy stoop outside and pose for a photo op; a long story. As Dave was walking to the car, I yelled about blinking my eye and seeing him on Jimmy Fallon. I’m not sure if he heard me.

 

 

 

 

YOU CAN FIND:     DAVE PAUL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010269757660

and MOB DIARIES PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Mob-Diaries-1075791545880165/

PAUL VITO: https://www.facebook.com/paul.laruccia/about?lst=1527695958%3A528167633%3A1485546938

ANNGEANNETTE PINKSTON: https://www.facebook.com/anngeannette.anngeannettepinkston

STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music – by TaraJean McDonald STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music – by TaraJean McDonald(0)

STARDUST – By TaraJean McDonald

STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music

Manny Cabo – singer, songwriter and motivational speaker

The stars were all aligned when Manny Cabo stepped on stage at auditions for NBC’s The Voice in 2015. Now, over a year later, he is still inspiring both the young and the not-so-young to believe in themselves and to accomplish their dreams. I had a chance to catch this rising star, in between his busy schedule, and to sit in his home studio and chat about what it takes to maintain your motivation and achieve your success – one step at a time.

STARDUST: Host TaraJean McDonald

Photo Credits: Calvin Schwartz

Photo of TaraJean Credit: Manny Cabo

https://www.mannycabomusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/mannycabomusic

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 write about 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: A Revolution Of Peace, Love & Music – hosted by TaraJean McDonald   Blog: YoursTrulyTJ.com

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.

 

A Journey to Awareness When You Least Expect It: Appreciating Latino Culture   by Calvin Schwartz     Jan 14th 2017 A Journey to Awareness When You Least Expect It: Appreciating Latino Culture by Calvin Schwartz Jan 14th 2017(0)

A Journey to Awareness When You Least Expect It: Appreciating Latino Culture   by Calvin Schwartz      Jan 14th 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article title is aptly constructed. You go through life in Central Jersey and it seems sometimes you’re a million miles away from relevance and meaning. But it’s the same everywhere. Five years ago, when I was just beginning my journalism career, I happened upon Tent City, a plot of forest land in Lakewood, New Jersey where up to 100 people (humans) were living in tents for up to ten years, homeless and without electricity or running water. I least expected homelessness 20 miles from my home in comfortable Monmouth County. Ocean County had no provisions for homeless. Spending time there, I was changed irrevocably; I became aware of the devastating hopelessness of homelessness. Awareness is a gift.

The gifts were many as a journalist these past five years. I also learned about hunger, musicians, autism, bipolar and PTSD. Then suddenly last summer, in August, I received an email from Monmouth Museum, actually while I was reclining on a beach chair at the Dead Sea in 111-degree temperature. I was invited to attend the September opening exhibit of an emerging artist, Dion Hitchings. It was mid-September when I found myself at the museum checking out a fascinating exhibit. The artist used Cheerio and donut boxes instead of canvas. When I finished, museum public relations head, Laura Oncea, asked if I’d like to see a new exhibit that was being set-up in the main hall; Neo-Latino: Critical Mass. The curator, Monica Camin and assistant, Nicole Sardone were busy setting up. I walked in, looked to my left and saw Ricardo Fonseca’s “An Act of Love -Trumpet!” It was captivating and riveting and made me think. I love to think.  My wife and I absorbed the exhibit. I was hooked and engrossed but turned down an invitation to attend the exhibit opening reception on September 16th.

 

Driving home, perhaps less than a mile from the museum, my friend, epiphany, helped me reverse my decision. I called and accepted the invitation for the reception. Epiphany reminded me that at the reception, there would be a gathering of some of the most prominent Latino artists in the country; some were PhDs and professors; all accomplished and successful. But present, beneath my soft cutaneous surface, were old and new stereotypes, many stuck in the current political climate. I hate stereotypes and falling into traps without being open minded. I’m confronted by my own lack of awareness of Latino (Hispanic) culture and that frustrated that it existed in me. I never want to be on an ignorant bus driving along a Gulf of Mexico highway. I keep seeking understanding, relevance and diversity as I go through the maturation process. In thirty years or so, minorities in America will be a majority. Isn’t it a good time to absorb, appreciate new vistas of culture?  Challenge your own assumptions.

 

The exhibit at Monmouth Museum,’ Neo Latino: Critical Mass’ was conceived at this pivotal time for the Latino voice, in the midst of an historic election and would stress the Latino cultural and socio-political experience. A collective of diverse artists was created to express a Latino voice in this new century. For me, that time has arrived; long overdue. Artists with roots or ties to Argentina, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Portugal and Spain were represented.  Before the reception, I sat in the garden (It was a late summer warm night) with the collective creators and curators, Raul Villareal, Dr. Jose Rodeiros, Monica Camin and Olga Mercedes Bautista. And then my favorite lightbulb went on; their energy lit my fire and I suggested doing an NJ Discover LIVE TV Show to further bring awareness to their work, culture and art. It was agreed and we did the show in October. Here is the link to “Neo Latino Artists Come to NJ Discover Live TV.” Please check it out. You’ll get a chance to see and hear about some of the representative art.  It was a great show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMzmocQpu5s

 

 

A few weeks later artist (his work combines design, digital manipulation, digital art illustration, photography and sometimes animation and sound) Ricardo Fonseca invited me to attend the ‘We Are You Project’ Poetry Anthology Reading on October 27th at New York’s Nuyorican Café on the lower East Side. Another evening, this time with some of the country’s most prolific, prominent Latino poets. For me, it was a continuance of my recent journey to Latino cultural awareness. A commitment to mind expansiveness and learning. This notion securely etched in the stone of my determination. I let Woodstock in 1969 and Dr. King’s March on Washington and “I Have a Dream” speech in August, 1963 pass me by. No more moments in life would be unattended. Even though that night produced a cold heavy rain storm, I trained into the city with Monica Camin, curator of the “Neo Latino-Critical Mass” exhibit.

Indeed, so well worth the drenching trip. The café was alive with Latino artists and poets, dramatically reading some of their works. I had a chance to meet and chat with Dr. Carlos Hernandez, former President of New Jersey City University, Mario Tapia, President of the Latino Center on Aging and Duda Penteado, artist, poet and Brazilian-American. All three, so instrumental in putting this night together and more importantly, developing new, transcultural tools to help the emerging modern Hispanic population. Represented this night was work from the Beat Generation with George Nelson Preston. I was a happy guy. It brought me home to where/when I came from. There was so much more words/works that harvested emotion, diversity, passion, freedom and justice. I could write pages now about what I absorbed. I felt so elevated being there. I was alive again. I love the feeling of input and knowledge and involvement. Best if you all catch a flavor of the individual works that night, Go to:

http://www.weareyouproject.org/

and visually journey into the culture. Their culture is part of our American culture. It’s who we are; a nation of immigrants and a melting pot of diversity and creativity. I marvel at the universe for lighting my fire and bringing me here to awareness. There is a purpose to things; an order in the universe. Earlier this summer, I had a chance to interview Laurie Hernandez, a 16-year-old American- Latino gymnast just before she left for the Olympics where she won a Gold and Silver Medal. A few months ago, she dazzled America winning ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Then in November, I went to an evening of Comedy at the Headliner in Neptune Township featuring Peaches Rodriguez, a well-known Latino comedian.

 

My journey these past few months has been very special absorbing Latino culture as part of the promise of America. I’ve also done serious work with education and the promise it affords our future. I feel like I’m on that mountain top, looking down, beyond my long white beard which touches my knees. I understand things better now. I know education is what can help so many problems of the world. It’s a gift we need to share. I’m on a wonderful path. I love awareness and Latino culture. For me, it’s all a wondrous beginning; a new world; and an expected lot of miles yet to travel. And so it goes.

 

A Holiday Party Experience at McGuire Air Force Base/Fort Dix  by Calvin Schwartz   1-3-17 A Holiday Party Experience at McGuire Air Force Base/Fort Dix by Calvin Schwartz 1-3-17(0)

A Holiday Party Experience at McGuire Air Force Base/Fort Dix  by Calvin Schwartz   1-3-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays are times of introspection and gratitude. Some years ago, I met Steven Levine from the WindMill Restaurants at the Jersey Shore. He has been involved in giving back to the communities in many ways. During Hurricane Sandy, he was there feeding people made homeless by the storm as well as rescue workers. A few weeks ago, he invited me to the Asbury Park VFW, where he sponsored a large community Christmas dinner and Toy boutique for kids along with Pastor Isaac Friedel of the Jersey Shore Dream Center. Indeed, I was grateful to be part of the spirit of the season. Later, he asked if I’d like to go to a Holiday Hanukah Party he was involved in at McGuire Air Force Base and Fort Dix. Along with his family, he was providing toys for tots. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time at a military base at the holidays; actually my first substantive time spent at a military base so very close to home.

On Thursday December 29th we formed a mini caravan of a WindMill truck and a Suburban carrying toys and Steven’s wife, daughter and friends and my wide-eyed self; I was going to spend time with our military. After security check-in, we arrived at the activity center which was hosting the party. Being a few hours early, afforded us time to explore. I was overwhelmed with the vastness of the base. I rolled down a window and took pictures (with permission). In the distance, many fuselages of transport planes waiting. One nearby, obviously retired, stated, ‘US Air Force’. Subliminally, I instantly thought about freedom and the power of America and what our military does to preserve freedom. It hit me that fast. That’s what seeing that plane so close did to me.

Next stop, more practically speaking, was a shopping mall and food court; the Military BX, as big as any vast modern mart store; and yes, I was aware of the great prices the military paid. Sitting with our group in the food court, I watched soldiers, families passing by. How do I explain this? How did I sense that esprit de corps and belonging? But I did. Smiles all around; how easy it must’ve been for the passing military personnel to sense I was a civilian wearing my traditional Rutgers cap.

 

 

If I was alone driving, I’d still be lost like the man who was never found after taking a Boston subway ride (an old Kingston Trio folk song.) It was a city in itself; many thousands stationed here. With a few twists, turns, round-about, passed a Subway sandwich shop and gas station, we were back at the activity center, now readied for the party. A few camouflaged soldiers, whom we met earlier, welcomed us back and helped unload the toys. A young sergeant and I talked about Indiana and her being a Hoosier. The room was decorated with tables Hanukah themed and forty or so guests were treated to traditional holiday foods like potato latkes. The kids got toys and games.

What I did notice was the multi-cultural flavor of the party. Yes, A Jewish holiday but personnel were diverse making it even more holiday spirited. For me, always extant in absorption of emotions and feelings, there was a warmth, caring and sharing in the room. It was a strong feeling. For those moments, I wondered what’d be like to serve and be stationed here and what I missed. Also present were a group of Jewish War Veterans. One veteran introduced me to the last living dog that worked in 9-11. She rescued two NY PATH policemen buried under building Seven. The veteran still trains canines.

 

 

What cemented the warm feelings even more was the announcement that New Jersey’s Brigadier General, Michael L Cunniff and Base Commander Col. Frederick D. Thaden were at the party and each was given the honor of lighting a candle on the Menorah. A very special feeling of inclusion and bonding. A very modern military. I had time to chat with both Military Chaplains and with Commander Thaden. Perhaps, my NJ Discover journalism travels would bring me back here and how I’d love that.

The night concluded with traditional songs and jelly donuts (part of the holiday) And in keeping with the ‘donut’ theme, the experience was well worth the trip. I keep thinking about the military, the base, freedom and the holiday of Hanukah which is all about freedom.  I’ve been telling my world all about my time at McGuire and Fort Dix; how much it meant to me. A few asked, as a journalist, would I ever go up in a fighter plane? I suggested they have a donut.

 

 

 

5th Annual Big Man’s Birthday Bash:  Saturday January 7th 2017    by Calvin  Schwartz 5th Annual Big Man’s Birthday Bash: Saturday January 7th 2017 by Calvin Schwartz(0)

5th Annual Big Man’s Birthday Bash: Saturday January 7th 2017 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s my essential basic blink of an eye the day before New Years’ Eve as I reminisce the evolution of Annual Big Man’s Birthday Bash and other matters of special sentimentality. Our NJ Discover crew/family has been at all four prior Bash’s. I remember the first one in Asbury Park when we magically worked the red carpet interviewing the musicians and celebs, so loyal and devoted to Clarence, his memory and cultural impact. The void of loss has been dramatic and enduring. How special it has been to remember the Big Man in this way, honoring his birthday and bringing the essence of Jersey talent together for one rocking electric eclectic night of music.

It has become that winter highlight of revelry and music along the Jersey shore; something we all look forward to and thank the Clemons’ Family and Big Road Productions for bringing it all together. Yes, it seems only in Jersey along the shore at Bar A; a cacophony of Jersey iconic symbols. This year’s musical lineup is nirvana.  Enough said. See you there on January 7th. Happy Birthday Big Man!!

Calvin Schwartz  December 30th  2016  (probably the last time I write 2016)

 

 

 

 

THE 5th ANNUAL BIG MAN’S BIRTHDAY BASH is one week away! – January 7th at Bar A   

 

https://big-road.ticketleap.com/5th-annual-big-mans-birthday-bash/

UPDATES!

Now joining the line-up:

MANNY CABO (from NBC’s “The Voice”)

FRANKE PREVITE (writer, “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack hit songs)

LISA SHERMAN

BIG BANG BABY (Shore Legends)

Featured performers with THE BIG RoaD ALL-STAR BAND for the finale set:

GARY U.S. BONDS
JOHN CAFFERTY and TUNES (The Beaver Brown Band)
JOHN EDDIE (Playing a full set with His Dirty OL’ Band)
RICKY BYRD
J.T. BOWEN
REMEMBER JONES
EDDIE TESTA
JoBONANNO
KILLER JOE
“THE PHILLY ELVIS”
BRIANA AUTIERO

THE BIG RoaD ALL-STAR BAND will feature:    

MARK LEIMBACH (Gary U.S. Bonds)
HAL SELZER (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Rock of Ages”)
CARL GENTRY (Jon Bon Jovi’s Kings of Suburbia)
ED HORNE (JoBonanno and the Godsons of Soul)
LANCE HYLAND STARK (Gary U.S. Bonds)
TONY PERUSSO (Jon Bon Jovi’s Kings of Suburbia, The Jukes)
TOMMY LABELLA (Holme, 10,000 Maniacs)
BOBBY FARRELL (The Jukes)
ROSE HAVRON (vocals)

Note: The “Rock of Ages” Band (previously announced) will no longer be performing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE 5th ANNUAL BIG MAN’S BIRTHDAY BASH AT BAR ANTICIPATION ON JANUARY 7, 2017

Lake Como, NJ – On January 7, 2017, the Jersey Shore celebrates the birthday of
the late and legendary, Clarence Clemons, with THE 5th ANNUAL BIG MAN’S BIRTHDAY BASH at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, NJ. The event presents a historic gathering of All-Star, legendary musicians and will benefit CFC Loud N Clear and TOPAC (The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation), both recognized 501(c)(3), non-profit organizations that support those addicted to drugs.

This year’s 5th Anniversary show, which runs all day and night, will feature headliners:

 The show, which kicks off at 2:00 p.m. (full line-up below) and is expected to run until 1:00 a.m., will also feature guest jams and artist collaborations that are a long-time tradition at the Shore.

Nick Clemons states, “My father always taught me to ‘give back’ and remember the less fortunate. I try to do that and CFC Loud N Clear and TOPAC do great work at a time that New Jersey still has its worst heroin epidemic ever.”

This is the 5th year that Clemons and his team have produced the Birthday Bash. Co-producer/Terry Camp of BIG RoaD is an attorney and long-time member of the Jersey Shore music community. He recalled, “When Clarence passed, Wonder Bar in Asbury Park hosted the Sensational Soul Cruisers and The Nick Clemons Band for a memorial show in July 2011. Bruce was kind enough to join us that epic night and we’ve been building on it since – selling out Wonder Bar in December 2012, packing Martell’s in Point Pleasant January 2014, and the last two years at Bar Anticipation. The show gets bigger and bigger every year – and for the 5th Annual Bash, we’ve secured this incredible line-up.”

BIG RoaD’s Jesse Warren lost his brother, Scott Warren, to a heroin overdose on March 26th, 2015. Warren states, “The heroin addiction crisis in Monmouth and Ocean Counties has been building for many years and has, unfortunately, received national note. We are all responsible to keep the issue front and center in our communities.”

Bash details and frequent updates are at the Facebook Event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1136914146385578/?ti=icl

Doors open at 1:00 p.m. and live music begins at 2:00 p.m. The show is expected to end by 1:00 a.m. Tickets are $45 Advance and $60 Day of Show. They may be purchased on line at:

https://big-road.ticketleap.com/

The BIG RoaD All-Star Band
Created by Terry Camp and Jesse Warren from an August 13, 2015 40th Anniversary “Born to Run” show, this 10-piece, BIG All-Star band is backed by the best of the Jersey Shore including former Asbury Jukes, current (Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia members, and many local and national musicians and featured vocalists.

About CFC Loud N Clear
From the Family of Mark and Lynn Regan: CFC Loud N Clear was developed in light of our family’s personal journey through addiction. In 2012 after many Intensive Outpatient Programs, several in-patient treatment centers and years of an uphill battle, we discovered the gaps in the system and realized a need for diverse programs of extended after care. Daniel Regan developed an after-care system for himself with the help of his mother, Lynn Regan. After a while, people started to want to know how they did it and wanted a recovery plan set up for themselves. The family decided from that point that everyone deserves access to an after-care program and they created CFC Loud N Clear. The first year after treatment is the most crucial year in someone’s recovery. CFC will help guide you through your first year and beyond. CFC Loud N Clear believes in providing many roads to recovery, thus giving our members many positive, proven options that resonate with them. We also recognized the need for safe, sober socialization and created a social calendar filled with fun, laugh-inducing activities. Daniel and Lynn Regan are highly involved in the field of prevention and saw the importance of giving back and preventing others from going down the wrong road. Thus, CFC got its name, Coming Full Circle. We are proudly more than just a recovery program. CFC provides services for Prevention, Intervention and Recovery with a seamless integration of the three, making it a full circle.http://www.healingus.org/

About TOPAC
TOPAC intends to maximize the benefits of the passage of The Overdose Prevention Act, (OPA) by: Educating the public of its passage and the details regarding the 911 portion of the bill which may give immunity to those reporting an active overdose. Providing resources to improve the availability of Naloxone, the drug that can reverse the process of opioid overdose and for the training of law enforcement officers, first responders, and concerned citizens in its administration. Providing resources for clinical detoxification and recovery treatment for individuals whose lives have been saved by such an intervention. TOPAC’s founder, Paul Ressler, is a longtime advocate for addiction prevention, recovery, and treatment as well as an influential supporter of the Overdose Prevention Act (OPA) passed in May 2013.Mr. Ressler’s mission is simple and profound: to save lives and prevent the heartache that he knows so intimately. Corey Ressler, Mr. Ressler’s son lost his life to a drug overdose on July 14, 2010. Corey was only twenty-two years. His phone registered a 911 call but it had never been completed. http://overdosepreventionagency.com/

About NCB Productions
NCB productions is an acronym for Nick Clemons Productions.Nick is joined at NCB by Barbara Caprioni, who serves as Publicist.
While Nick’s other artistic interests include acting and performing, building a production company has been an objective to help foster and develop other musicians, as well as produce events for charity. Nick was a co-producer of two Asbury Park Comedy Fests and presents this 5th Annual Big Man Birthday Bash along with BIG RoaD.

About BIG RoaD
BIG RoaD is an entertainment production company formed by Terry Camp, an attorney with Budd Larner, P.C., Short Hills, NJ and long-time member of the Shore music community, and Jesse Warren of Howell, NJ. Camp and Warren have collaborated on past, charitable events including the August 13, 2015 “Born to Run” 40th Anniversary show that sold out Bar Anticipation, “Big Man Bash 3 and 4” and “Christmas Comes Early” at Bar Anticipation on November 19, 2015. On March 18, 2016, BIG RoaD was honored by CFC Loud and Clear for its charitable efforts and raising awareness on the State’s heroin epidemic. The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed March 18, 2015 “BIG RoaD Day” in Monmouth County.
https://www.facebook.com/CampWarrensBIGRoaD

 

AN NJ DISCOVER FRIEND SETS NEW WORLD RECORD IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ; CONGRATS TO ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO     by Calvin Schwartz   December 23rd 2016 AN NJ DISCOVER FRIEND SETS NEW WORLD RECORD IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ; CONGRATS TO ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO by Calvin Schwartz December 23rd 2016(0)

AN NJ DISCOVER FRIEND SETS NEW WORLD RECORD IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ; CONGRATS TO ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO     by Calvin Schwartz   December 23rd 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is filled with synchronicity and candid camera moments; when you least expect it, something of value happens and it takes some qualitative time to fully evaluate and comprehend. Nearly 18 months ago, quite innocently, I was invited to sit in at a Rumson watering hole as a bunch of Jersey City natives were taking in the Paul Marino Band. Paul’s brother, Mike Marino, Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy invited me to hang out. I told him I was a Newark native but it was all good. At the table was an empty seat next to Robert Cozmo Consulmagno. By the time the evening wound down, and the music stopped, I had bonded with Cozmo beyond what I first thought(impressions) and had heard some of his life’s story.

Cozmo is an incredibly ripped and iron pumped 44-year-old, a former Marine and victim of childhood abuse, that only an upcoming book can do justice to. After five years serving his country as a Marine, he was diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar disease, meaning he was permanently disabled. His journey all these years since has been well documented.

NJ Discover, over these past 18 months, has taken Cozmo into our family. His spirit, dedication and drive continually serve as powerful lessons for our audience and for all of us at NJ Discover. We’ve video interviewed Cozmo at our studio and had him as a special guest along with 16 time Philadelphia Emmy Award winning documentarian, Glenn Holsten on our NJ Discover LIVE TV Show, the segment called “Tough Guys Who Achieve.” All those video links are included herein. Cozmo has become my brother. I care about him. I’m so proud of him.  Through all this time, Cozmo has dedicated himself to bringing awareness on a national level of bipolar disease. This is his dream and source of renewable energy.

 

 

 

 

What better way to raise awareness, than to go for a world record, with Guinness in mind, in a highly visible place like Washington, DC. Yes, Cozmo was been a world ranked Jiu Jitsu fighter, now boxes, and is a constant denizen of the gym, working his body into an art form. So his world record would be in the Ab Wheel and how many of this difficult maneuver can he do in an hour. He has worked closely with the Veterans Administration and DAV in Washington, who actually hosted the event this past Tuesday December 20th. Here is a video link to the DAV hosting the event when Cozmo did 524 Ab Wheels in one hour!

https://www.facebook.com/DAV/videos/10157982355770387/

 

Cozmo on NJ Discover LIVE TV Show. “Tough Guys Who Achieve”   http://bit.ly/1N5cCwa

Cozmo Interviewed on NJ Discover in Studio   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo960SxQOSY

 

From DAV site:   We have the final count!! Robert Cozmo Consulmagno just did 524 standing ab rolls in 1 hour! Great job, Cozmo!!*

Setting a Guinness World Records with Robert Cozmo Consulmagno! This U.S. Marine Corps veteran and DAV life member endured years of social dysfunction, until he figured out he was struggling with PTSD and bipolar disorder. These days he’s fighting those invisible injuries through his work with DAV Chapter 37 in Somerville, N.J., and in the community of Morrisville, Pa., just across the state line.

That is the message that he wants other veterans to understand, “I want to spread a message of hope to other veterans. You can overcome obstacles, something is going to work for you, and you have to find what that something is for you.”

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is a leading nonprofit that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families.

 

WISHING YOU ALL MERRY HAPPY HEALTHY HOLIDAYS

Calvin Schwartz, written on the night before Christmas Eve

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