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Time to Redefine A Senior Citizen & Hold On To A Moment: A Continuing Journey to Jersey Centenarians               by Calvin Schwartz       September 27, 2016 Time to Redefine A Senior Citizen & Hold On To A Moment: A Continuing Journey to Jersey Centenarians by Calvin Schwartz September 27, 2016(0)

Time to Redefine A Senior Citizen & Hold On To A Moment: A Continuing Journey to Jersey Centenarians               by Calvin Schwartz       September 27, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love; tiptoeing through the tulips, having a warm gust of wind carry me back to a red mountain top in Sedona, Arizona, and a synchronistic meeting in a parking lot five years ago that got me an invite to Emily Cook’s 102nd Birthday Party. As an aspiring journalist for NJDiscover back then, I accepted that invitation. Who knew that it would help change the course of relevance and create a better awareness to passages and stages of life.

I went to Emily’s 102nd party and her 103rd and along the way became friends with her, visiting, sometimes randomly, but always managing to talk about her favorite President, Hoover. We didn’t see eye to eye on that. There was something precious about her; a living breathing Google trip back to the Depression. The foundation to seek out other Emily’s was secured. I began a series of interviews with other centenarians like the wondrous William Zimmerman, who told me about WWII, his Navy ship deployed at D-day and later in the Pacific theater. How vibrant and colorful their descriptions; how passionate and eager to contribute. How valuable their experience.

 

 

 

Deep inside my complicated cerebral cellular mechanisms, I began to focus on centenarians, senior citizens, assumptions, stereotypes and Charles Dickens’ Spirit of Christmas yet to be. Not yet a magnificent obsession, but this aging gig is on my mind. Yes, in 1965, I began taking my cocktail of between 40 and 60 supplements a day which I still do; some of which is designed to keep the cerebral faculties bristling with input and output.

There is a careful theme to this opening discussion. A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon at one of the world’s largest social media companies. When finished, somewhat tongue and cheek, I remarked, “Eureka, there is no one over 30 here!” Not necessarily true, but ball park stuff.  I did write a two-page observation about what over 30 people could contribute. I also frequently reference the 1976 movie ‘Logan’s Run.’ In that world, no one over 30 is around. Your hand lights up when you hit that magic age and you are vaporized.

 

 

 

A few months ago, I got involved as a mentor of sorts to a young executive team (no one over 23) at PeduL (pedul.com), a brave new company/ world of crowdfunding college tuition. The involvement reason is that all my years of corporate world (mostly & wonderfully at Luxottica Group/eyewear) with its concentration on communicative (talking) pursuits which ultimately could open doors for this very young team. Their generation texts; mine talks.

I co-host Rock on Radio; a few months ago, our guests were a punk rock band. I noted before broadcasting that I was a half-century older than each band member but the interview flowed seamlessly; perfect bonding.  Our NJ Discover LIVE TV Show, which I co-host, was recently added to the lineup of Rutgers University TV; a young audience that is so easy to relate to. There’s never a thought about age. So maybe we have to re-define what a senior citizen is?

 

 

With my background of coverage and concern with older folks, my friend, Darci Voight Kennedy, from We Care Adult Care in Middletown, NJ, (http://www.wecareadultcare.com/ ) has invited me for the past two years to be a special guest to interact and interview. Their facility focuses on day care for Alzheimer’s and dementia and what a caring amazing staff of professionals. Of course I found my friend Malcolm Murray (WWII Vet) again and we talked after the musical guest finished. They were honoring Adult Care Week. I also talked to Reese Woods, another Army Veteran who served post WWII in Germany for six years before a career with National Lead; he was just so colorful, expressive with a great sense of humor.

The group sang God Bless America then I asked to say a few words to the group. My theme was simple; how valuable and precious they are and still can give so much back. I mentioned my new career as a novelist and journalist after turning 65 and fielded a few questions like how was I able to do that? The answer is in the paragraphs above.

 

 

 

Now to Malcolm Murray, 95, meticulously dressed, smiling broadly, who waited. Affability consumed his face. He jumped up to shake hands and a photo-op. Malcolm was born in North Carolina. “I didn’t have a father so my mother raised me and my three brothers, Otto, David and Willie. My mother had a laundromat. I helped put them through school.” He spoke proudly about that. It was easy to hear it in his voice. I forgot his age. “You have to respect family.” That resonated with me. It still does.

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

 

 

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

Malcolm likes sports but mostly football and baseball and is a Dodgers and Mets fan. I like to probe techniques to longevity. He rarely ever smoked. As far as his favorite food, “Whatever I can get.” We both laughed. He likes Army movies because “I lived it.” “And music?” “I like everything. I like the Blues and Louis Armstrong.” I asked Malcolm if I could come back to talk some more. “I’d like that,” he said with authority. And then our handshake which lingered; it meant we liked each other and looked forward.  And I do. This was my second year in a row back with Malcolm.  I repeated some of our chat from last year. He was just as vibrant. And yes, maybe we should redefine.

NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker   bY   Calvin Schwartz  May 14th 2016 NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker bY Calvin Schwartz May 14th 2016(0)

NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker   bY   Calvin Schwartz  May 14th 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two days ago, I received an email from the White House Media Affairs that I was credentialed (for NJ Discover) to cover Rutgers 250th Commencement featuring President Barack Obama (44th President) as Commencement Speaker. I was thrilled beyond.

Citing a phrase from the Gettysburg Address, “It is altogether fitting and proper,” that this historic opportunity was given to me. Back in 1969, I graduated from Rutgers and subsequently am on campus some 70 times a year for a variety of reasons; art, history, music, lectures, athletics, film and ‘sociology’. NJ Discover LIVE TV show (which I co-host with Tara-Jean Vitale) often features Rutgers ‘guests’ and programming topics. My first published novel, ‘Vichy Water’ uses Rutgers as a geographical backdrop.

 

 

 

 

I’ve been known to listen to Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ often and for long periods of time; there I’ve said it; I’m a huge sentimentalist.  Commencement is one of the most emotional events in the life; a beginning(commencing) of life as we know it. Yes, I am thrilled beyond. I hope to absorb, photographically capture and report back here on my wondrous journey to emotionalism and history tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, here is the Rutgers link to information and video streaming to watch ceremony tomorrow.  http://commencement.rutgers.edu/

NJ DISCOVER VIDEO SPOTLIGHT   ROBERT “COZMO” CONSULMAGNO; A Passionate Advocate/Patient for Mental Health (PTSD-Bipolar), World Ranked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion, US Marine Veteran:   bY Calvin Schwartz  November 24, 2015 NJ DISCOVER VIDEO SPOTLIGHT ROBERT “COZMO” CONSULMAGNO; A Passionate Advocate/Patient for Mental Health (PTSD-Bipolar), World Ranked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion, US Marine Veteran: bY Calvin Schwartz November 24, 2015(0)


NJ DISCOVER VIDEO SPOTLIGHT ROBERT “COZMO” CONSULMAGNO; A Passionate Advocate/Patient for Mental Health (PTSD-Bipolar), World Ranked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion, US Marine Veteran, Victim of Child Abuse and Fascinating Personality. HINT: Take 7 Minutes, WATCH the video and absorb this Dynamic Persona.    bY Calvin Schwartz November 24, 2015

 

 

Life is curiously synchronistic. Writing this, I’m thinking of an old TV Show, ‘Candid Camera’, when some of the verbiage consisted of “Just when you least expect it.”  It was a August mid-summer night’s dream, warm and breezy when comedian Mike Marino called and invited me to hang out with a gang of old Jersey City guys, assembling at Barnacle Bill’s in Rumson, mostly to hear Mike’s brother, singer Paul Marino and his band perform.  The Jersey City guys were seated in the back of the restaurant in a quiet little table. I felt Damon Runyon was nearby. I sat next to this ripped, powerful looking guy wearing an intimidating ‘The Warriors’ black tee-shirt. Cozmo’s look worked; I was intimidated.  Consulmagno  was born in Jersey City.

 

 

 

 

Then that funny thing happened when I least expected it.  After talking to Cozmo for a few minutes, while the rest of table engaged in Jersey City memories, I discovered that he is a sensitive, eloquent, passionate, yet quintessentially really tough, engaging and caring guy with a lot of baggage.  As he talked to me, I sat in disbelief; he was abused as a child; his father committed suicide, his step father beat him and his mother relentlessly. To escape and find an inner peace, he enlisted in the Marines and left the Marines honorably discharged with commendations and PTSD and an active Bi-Polar condition. I also had this sixth journalistic sense that one day I’d do a video and article about Consulmagno. And here we are; Déjà vu is all around.

 

 

 

You all should watch this seven minute video to experience the charisma and charm of Robert “Cozmo” Consulmagno. You’ll probably come away thinking like me; there is a Hollywood movie waiting to be made. He is actually precious, dynamic and unbelievable. His story cries out to all those who’ve yet to see or know him. Yes, he has PTSD and Bipolar. Yes, he is a World Ranked Jiu Jitsu fighter.  Yes, he had a grandfather, Michael Consulmagno (aka Michael Taylor) who knocked out Max Schmeling who knocked out Joe Louis. Yes he fights Jiu Jitsu to release that energy of mental disease. Yes, his mission in life is to stay alive and live a long life and to be a spokesperson for mental health and build that legacy. Yes, you all should watch this poignant interview; the best seven minutes spent in a long time. Tara-Jean Vitale and Calvin Schwartz ask the questions behind the scenes.

Also please check out the following Robert “Cozmo” Consulmagno LINKS:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/supercrazycozmo?fref=ts

Website: http://www.supercrazycozmo.com

Watch Emmy Award winning film maker Glenn Holsten’s seven minute film:   “Jersey City native, jiu-jitsu fighter tours old neighborhood and talks mental health”  http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2015/11/jersey_city_native_tours_old_neighborhood_in_web_f.html

“Marine Vet Says Jiu Jitsu Changed His Life”

http://www.military.com/video/specialties-and-personnel/veterans/marine-vet-says-jiu-jitsu-changed-his-life/4000866956001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A NIGHT AT THE STRAND” Celebrating 93 Years at the Strand Center for the Arts September 29th 2015 with Calvin Schwartz & Tara-Jean Vitale    bY Calvin  Schwartz  October 25th “A NIGHT AT THE STRAND” Celebrating 93 Years at the Strand Center for the Arts September 29th 2015 with Calvin Schwartz & Tara-Jean Vitale bY Calvin Schwartz October 25th(0)

“A NIGHT AT THE STRAND” Celebrating 93 Years at the Strand Center for the Arts September 29th 2015 with Calvin Schwartz & Tara-Jean Vitale    bY Calvin  Schwartz  October 25th

 

 

 

“A Night at the Strand” was one of those meant to be at events; anything involving that theater. Some four years ago, Tara-Jean and I discovered The Strand in Lakewood; this magical, beautiful, historic place of theater, music, comedy and acoustical wizardry. Three years ago we attended the 90th Gala and walked away meeting people who have influenced and changed the course of our lives. That Gala event was followed by so many other events we attended at The Strand; from Sandy relief concerts, to intimate and memorable ‘Backstage Pass’ events to great music and endearing holiday shows. Thanks right away to The Strand’s Lori Gilmore for inviting us.

 

 

This night was quite special from the moment we arrived in the Gallery for the reception. It’s a funny thing when you’ve been to a plethora of events over the years; you can tell almost instantly, there was something different this night; perhaps the air of excitement, accomplishment, future think and change. Tara-Jean and I acknowledged instantly there was that palpable energy in the room. Good journalists need to pursue.  Tara-Jean asked, “What’s going on. Everybody is so upbeat and anticipatory.” Lori spot on introduced us to Anthony D’Amato (known on stage as ‘Remember Jones’) He was named the new producing artistic director of the Strand. His responsibilities include working closely with management, giving input in production and show prospects, producing his own theatrical and music events and probably a myriad of other job descriptions.  His persona was electric, dynamic, indefatigable and youthful. Actually he is very young.

 

We asked Anthony about his history. “I used to usher here when I was 12 years old. I would pick up trash in the aisles. From there, I became a performer then a director and recently put on my own music events here. In the past I’ve been able to turn small theaters-outdated- into something with a social scene. That’s my goal for here. The artistic vision for me is NOT to put on musicals and plays yet, but first we need to establish this area again as some sort of social scene.-a hang-out for all ages to be comfortable which is not easy.”

 

 

I thought it was all a process. Tara-Jean mentioned hearing rumblings that this gallery area will be made into a night-club. Anthony chimed in, “Right. This gallery space is completely under-utilized….as a performance space, there will be a stage built here, different colors and designs, art on the walls, music on stage. The bar is always happening with comfortable vibes. The food is comfortable. The seating is comfortable; a place where 20 somethings and older can hang out in. Scott McFadden, our Board President thought this all was an East Village thought-kind of like Asbury Park when it started to revitalize…I talk to a lot of 20 somethings (I thought to myself Anthony looks exactly like a 20 something) and there is no place for them to go and be entertained, have a few drinks and not feel like they are at a bar. They want somewhere that is comfortable…We’ll have a place for people to stay in Lakewood rather than go somewhere else; that’s my goal.”

 

 

 

I said, “You give this theater youth.”  Anthony smiled, “Exactly. I call myself the Jimmy Fallon hire. What he’s brought to the Tonight Show…I want to make this a national venue. Scott (McFadden) is great to work with. He’s a music fan. On Halloween, I’ll have a 40 piece band.”  We thought Anthony was that new revitalized exciting face of The Strand. He was that palpable energy in the room.

 

 

 

 

There was endless food and drink in the Gallery donated by friends of The Strand; Eddie Testa, Chicken Town, Steve Levine, WindMill, Mike Scotto, Oscar’s Italian Restaurant, Dina Warren, Dina’s Catering and Amy Levine, Takes the Cakes. I picked a bad night to be in the middle of the Paleo diet. Oh well. In between food and drink there was a ceremony in the theater honoring local mayors including Lakewood, Brick, Howell for their great support of the arts. The theater, built in 1922, has such wonderful history; built as a Broadway venue for those vacationing in Lakewood.  We’re told the acoustics are world class; you can be standing at the back wall of the stage, talking and they can hear you at the last row of the theater. Music for the Gala was provided by the incomparable duo of Kevin Gilmore and Scott Solomon.

 

 

 

I caught up to a fellow Rutgers alum and Strand board member, Jeffrey Gerstenblatt. “It’s a great night for us. Help’s us raise money and book the kind of shows we like to book here….when people come for the first time, they see what an experience it is to watch a show here and they want to come back.” Fran Whitney, from The Strand, reiterated the changes being made and turning the Gallery into a night-club setting. Moments later we were introduced to Chris Everett, exuberance personified. “We want to insure this beautiful building continues to be a center for artistic endeavors….Everything technical that happens here is my job; staging, lighting, sound, making people fly, all the fun stuff. If no one notices us, we did our job right because that is the magic of theater.” Tara –Jean wanted to know why The Strand is special. Chris explained, “It was designed to be a Broadway theater….In the 20’s and 30’s Lakewood was a vacation destination…literally it is a replica of a New York City theater.  We can do all these Broadway shows right here; One of the top four acoustically designed buildings in America.”

 

 

I strolled past the magnificent cake honoring The Strand, artistically created by Amy Levine from Takes the Cakes.  I stared for a few minutes; the cake is not on the Paleo diet. No one would know but me. Just then, Glen Harrison, Lakewood attorney and Board member, rescued me into conversation. I turned my back on the cake.  I asked Glenn what this night meant to him. “What I’d like to see is The Strand continue as a center for the arts for many years to come…I actually came to the theater 50 years ago, when I was around ten. It was a movie theater back in the 60’s.  We paid 50 cents on Saturday morning, watched movies and cartoons. Its’ had many incarnations over the years. Now across the board, there are all kinds of events for everybody, geographically and demographically….Being a 501C3, we fight for the grant money.”

 

 

 

Old friends Dina Warren and Jesse Warren walked over.  Dina exclaimed this was her first night of being involved in The Strand as co-house manager. “We’re very proud to raise money and keep this all going. I love this beautiful place.” Jesse said, “Looking forward to this theater being on top in New Jersey. I’m a co-founder with Terry Camp of Big Road Productions. We’ll be here in 2016 bringing some great shows.”

 

 

We looked to complete the essence of our journalistic endeavors by cornering board president, Scott McFadden right in the epicenter of the Gallery.  Right away he spoke about honoring the local mayors and thanking them formally on stage for their contributions to their communities. We asked about his functions on the board. “One of my functions is to try and raise money-keep it going. It’s very difficult with non-profits now. A lot of funds have been diverted to Sandy restoration and recovery…even though it is somewhat concluded, it (money) hasn’t found its way back into other areas (arts) again. Fund raising is a real challenge for us. Keeping it going and keeping the theater alive-that’s our focus.”   Scott told us that bringing Anthony D’Amato here is one of the things he’s most proud of. “He played a Backstage Pass for us and did the Joe Cocker show. In between, I read about him and mutual friends told me about him also. I decided one day to talk to him and I finally asked, “Hey, how’d you like to be our artistic director?” First time we talked for 1 ½ hours and the second time for 2 ½ hours. We just clicked on our vision….he knows the scene and I know money. He’s absolutely brilliant… Once people come here, they’ll come back. How do you get them here the first time-that’s what we’re striving for.”

 

 

 

It was time for us to meet the mayors who had just been honored. Mayor John Ducey from Brick loves The Strand because it’s so close to home.  “It’s in our backyard and they are doing so many great events. You are hearing buzz around town about The Strand.” Tara-Jean asked about his noticing more events taking place here. “I’ve heard buzz the last few weeks that ‘Almost Queen’ is coming. Usually you hear about Count Basie but all of a sudden there is definitely a buzz….Anthony is awesome-a lot of energy.” Tara-Jean next asked about the neighborhood.  “People think there’s nothing else to do here. Tonight’s the first time I heard about re-doing the Gallery-remodeling it with food and drink.” We three shook our heads in agreement that it was a brilliant move.

Mayor William Gotto from Howell was waiting for us (the media). “I’ve known Scott (McFadden) for years. It’s humbling to get an award from The Strand. I don’t think we should get awards. It’s what we do. I’m a big supporter of the arts. My family is involved. I’d like to get here a lot more often. I think residents of Howell should take advantage of this beautiful facility. It’s hard to support the arts with the budgets the way they are but the last few years we’re starting to do more things…We want to let people know from a publicity standpoint that it’s here and doing good for the community.”

Tara-Jean and I have been to two out of the last four Gala nights at The Strand. Why; because we love the theater and have been to so many events here. It’s that precious magic ride to the splendor of art deco and the 1920’s and real theater.  There was a group of Strand officials gathered in the lobby. I decided to be theatrical in my exit.  I turned, smiled and said, “I’ll be back,” in a deep voice.  And we will.

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

NOW ON YOU TUBE: NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW  with special guests comedian Mike Marino (running for President)  and Super Bowl Champion Tim Wright with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz  7-28-15 NOW ON YOU TUBE: NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW with special guests comedian Mike Marino (running for President) and Super Bowl Champion Tim Wright with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz 7-28-15(0)

NOW ON YOU TUBE: NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW  with special guests comedian Mike Marino (running for President)  and Super Bowl Champion Tim Wright with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz  7-28-15

 

 

LINK TO YOU TUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgxms5LZNk&feature=share

 

Yes, it was a really great show with the lightning fast funny comments from NJ Bad Boy of Comedy Mike Marino who is running for President and the introspection and insights from Tim Wright, a 3rd year NFL player who had his Super Bowl ring prominently displayed. Both guests have Jersey shore roots. Mike              (   mikemarino.net   ) also talks about his upcoming big concert in Asbury Park at the Paramount Theater on August 15th and Tim Wright (    www. THEWRIGHTWAY ACADEMY.ORG   )  talks about his Wright Way Academy and Friday Night Lights camp for kids teaching them athletics, academics and life and of course NFL experiences.

There’s even a monologue about bio- magnetism and integrative medicine and the institution of moving and downsizing.  It’s a very special hour.

And now we’re also pleased to announce that the show also can be seen on Long Branch Community Television Channel 20 (LBCTV20) the entire month of August.

LINK TO YOU TUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgxms5LZNk&feature=share

 

 

HEY, WE’RE RUNNING  OUT OF EARTH TIME. COMING ATTRACTION: THIS WEDNESDAY APRIL 22 EARTH DAY. ONLY NEW JERSEY SCREENING OF POWERFUL ENVIRONMENTAL FILM  ‘PLANETARY’  AT CROSSROADS IN GARWOOD NJ.  READ ALL ABOUT IT.   CALVIN SCHWARTZ HEY, WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF EARTH TIME. COMING ATTRACTION: THIS WEDNESDAY APRIL 22 EARTH DAY. ONLY NEW JERSEY SCREENING OF POWERFUL ENVIRONMENTAL FILM ‘PLANETARY’ AT CROSSROADS IN GARWOOD NJ. READ ALL ABOUT IT. CALVIN SCHWARTZ(0)

HEY, WE’RE RUNNING  OUT OF EARTH TIME. COMING ATTRACTION: THIS WEDNESDAY APRIL 22ND EARTH DAY. ONLY NEW JERSEY SCREENING OF POWERFUL ENVIRONMENTAL FILM ‘PLANETARY’ AT CROSSROADS IN GARWOOD NJ.  READ ALL ABOUT IT.   CALVIN SCHWARTZ  APRIL 20, 2015

 

Somehow I feel a full circle coming on.  On April 22nd 1970, a year after graduating from Rutgers University, the first Earth Day was held and I’ve been involved ever since. A few days ago, I met(for NJ Discover) with Dr. Lauren Laurino, ND and Lee Frankel of the Crossroads night club in Garwood, New Jersey. We three realized how critically important it was for New Jersey to join the other 90 theaters all over the world showing the environmentally haunting, poignant, beautiful documentary, ‘Planetary.’

Perhaps when you get to be a certain age, that critical epiphany about the planet Earth arrives at sensibility; I’ve been there actively for a few years to the extent, philosophically, that nothing really matters here on earth except the planet’s continuing existence and we’re really running out of time.  We all (7 billion of us) seem to live for the day in varying degrees of excesses. When and how do we really start making a lasting difference? Because it’s not working. From all I learned about ‘Planetary,’ this film  can be that emotional, spiritual realization to move us to more action before we run out of time.  Kind of like a ‘Moonstruck’ slap in the face.

So I think if you’re under 30 or even over 30, and a Jersey person living anywhere within 100 mile radius of Garwood, please please (2 ‘pleases’ together is as heavy as I ever get) make that effort to join us Wednesday night and begin your own arrival and spiritual elevation to making a difference here on earth. And bring friends and teenagers; it’s their inherited planet.  And this just in, world renowned mime, Janet Carafa is coming from New York to join us and present a special short mime act, ‘Gaia’ she created especially for our Wednesday together.

Calvin Schwartz  April 20, 2015

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE!!!!!   https://www.facebook.com/events/1600245936883099/

CHECK OUT FILM TRAILER:   http://www.xxroads.com/#!film/ct4g

 

 

OFFICIAL SUMMARY OF THE FILM:

PLANETARY is a feature length documentary that expands on the mind-blowing perspective shared by astronauts and indigenous elders alike – that each and every one of us is inseparable from each other, the planet and the universe as a whole, a realization that is both humbling and comforting. If more of us start to experience the simple truth of our interdependence and connection, we believe there is hope for the next stage in our human journey. PLANETARY is meant to inspire awe and wonder by seeing things as they are, placing our individual stories in the context of the larger planetary / cosmic story.

Ultimately, the film makes the assertion that we are in the midst of a global crisis, brought on by a disconnection from Earth and from each other. Stephen Apkon, president of associated production company Reconsider, said of the film, “At the heart of all of our environmental and social challenges is a profound disconnection with the natural world. Planetary deals with this magnificently – not from a place of fear, but of affection. For this planet we call home and for the experience of life itself.”

 

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN BRINGING FILM TO CROSSROADS IN GARWOOD ON WEDNESDAY APRIL 22ND :

LEE FRANKEL:  The Crossroads in Garwood NJ is a entertainment venue that hosts a over 100 events of various genre on and off site each month.  For the past 19 years, the owner Lee Frankel has utilized The Crossroads as a platform to bring community together through music festivals, comedy, shows, film and other events throughout New Jersey.

On Earth Day 4.22.2015 The Crossroads will be hosting the only screening in the State of the documentary film Planetary. The film will be screened in over 90 theatres Worldwide and has been brought to NJ by none other than NJ’s own “Dr Ren, America’s Holistic Sweetheart.”

DR.LAUREN LAURINO, ND: founded the State’s first Holistic Chamber of Commerce and currently hosts the first Holistic Lifestyle segment called “Think Healthy with Dr. Ren” on Public Access Television- UnionTV34. [ https://vimeo.com/channels/863110 ]  With 15 years in private and public event coordination, ‘Dr. Ren’ has been involved in various media and educational based projects independently and through the New York Open Center. (The largest Holistic Urban Learning Center in the World opencenter.org)  She is part of the films social media crew and is known for her ‘Holistic Health Crusade’ or Natural health advocacy. Dr. Ren recently won the Higher Achievement Award from the American Naturopathic Medical Association and a CA State Senate award for Outstanding Community Service.  ‘Dr. Ren’ hope’s this film will further encourage a sense of community and awareness that in this critical time we must come together to preserve our Garden State and ensure it’s sustainability.

CALVIN SCHWARTZ: is a novelist (‘Vichy Water’) and journalist for NJ Discover writing about homelessness, hunger, environment, music and co-hosts Rock on Radio.

LINKS TO THE ABOVE:     www.Xxroads.com            www.Laurenlaurino.com                      www.njdiscover.com

 

 

‘PLANETARY’ PEOPLE

JEFF GITTERMAN: Keeping it ‘Consciously Jersey’ Associate Producer ALSO of Gitterman Wealth Management in Iselin and co-author of  Beyond Success , which is a Holistic Approach to money management was one of the large driving forces in helping the film get off the ground.

GUY REID: ‘Planetary’ film director was on MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com/greenhouse/watch/interrupting-our-worldview-through-film-429137475580 ) the other day and spoke about the feedback Planetary Collective has received since the films world premiere at SXSW on 3/14/15. He and viewers have reported that the film is creating an emotional and cognitive shift globally.

During the Environmental Film Festival in Washington DC at the National Geographic Theatre Director Reid commented that: “The best review on the film I have received as of yet was from ‘Dr. Ren’. Turns out she had a spontaneous Kundalini Awakening while Lawrence Ellis was speaking.” Luckily for Dr. Ren she was sitting in VIP between Director Reid’s mother, who flew in from London and a Holistic Nurse. When questioned as to what happened Dr Ren stated “I’ve been practicing Kundalini Yoga for a decade and a half and have only read about spontaneous awakenings. In the book ‘Kundalini Rising’ I remember reading that it can happen at any given time and sometimes in a crowded place. Thankfully the nurse next to me had a clue. I remember becoming very hot, lightheaded and my heart started racing. She took me outside into the hallway and monitored me until I felt grounded. I thought it was pretty cool that this happened during my third time watching the film in it’s entirety and have heard others report similar experiences since then.”

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL MIME GUEST JANET CARAFA: Is a founder of the NY Entertainment Connection and Art of Mime will be introducing the NJ exclusive premiere of Planetary at the Crossroads in Garwood. She will be performing a piece she has created for this special event called “Gaia”. Janet is a world renown Mime who was taught and directed by the legendary Marcel Marceau. With many notable productions to her name, Janet event produced the 911 memorials at Madison Square Garden and Ground Zero working with the Port Authority of NY and NJ. She even produced ‘NJ Welcomes the World’ to greet players and fans with her ‘YES Team’ during last years Superbowl week at Newark Airport.

“We are thrilled to have Janet Carafa introduce the film in Mime. Her silent movements speak a universal language which go beyond borders amplifying the message of the Planetary Collective.” -Dr. Ren, America’s Holistic Sweetheart at the NJ Earth Day Premiere

http://www.artofmime.com/

http://www.nyentertainmentconnect.com/allpages/gala.htm

https://vimeo.com/88357762 << Superbowl week welcoming video with yes team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge,  Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM   By Calvin Schwartz SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge, Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM By Calvin Schwartz(0)

 SPECIAL MUSICAL COMING ATTRACTION: Vini Lopez, Acoustic Lounge,  Freehold, Thurs. May 29th 7 PM   By Calvin Schwartz   

 

 

 

 

The Acoustic Lounge has become a musical magnet in downtown Freehold with all its history and obvious links to rock and roll and now they are bringing, most appropriately, Vini Lopez, recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, original drummer in E-Street Band to host a very special night. For me, the consummate music groupie, when  Vini Lopez shows up with his band ‘License to Chill’ it usually foretells amazing music, friends, that certain special central Jersey palpable electricity conducting musical guests,  surprises and a priceless night.

 

 

 

 

 

Tara-Jean Vitale (NJ Discover producer) and me and Vini Lopez. more hanging out

 

 

 

Admission is simply bringing a can or box of food for St.Peter’s  Food Bank. And with the pulse of what’s happening and purist energy and creativity, the night is aptly co- sponsored by ‘Big Rooney Productions” and Freehold Recreation.  Not to be missed!!    Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Party!!! Vini (from Bruce & the E Street Band) w/his band “Licence to Chill” and many, many special guests will be on hand to celebrate his award and his willingness to give back to the community. Admission is a can or box of food for our St. Peters (Freehold) Food Bank. Event co- sponsored in part by BigRooney Rooney & our Freehold Recreation (Olde Freehold Day staff) volunteers.”

 

 

 

 

A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi  by Calvin Schwartz A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi by Calvin Schwartz(0)

 A MAJOR COMING ATTRACTION: ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ Symposium at Rutgers University June 28th (free) featuring appearance by inventor (radio) Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi  by Calvin Schwartz

 

 

 

Those of you who have been following my writings about musings, journeys and adventures over the past two years for NJ Discover, should know I take great pride in discovering New Jersey and for the most part never sit still. My thinking is there’s ample time down the yellow brick road to sit in front of a television on a sofa with plastic slip covers or on a front porch with a glass of prune juice on the rocks. Point being; there is so much life to be lived. I do report here at NJ Discover’s website often on events which I believe makes life (here in Jersey) fascinating and unique. When I do report on an upcoming event, it’s tantamount to hugely endorsing and urging readers to attend; something of value and extraordinarily worthwhile so get off the sedentary sofa.  HERE IS THE LINK FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER (FREE) FOR THE SYMPOSIUM: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/njinvents_agenda

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago I found out about this most amazing event being held at Rutgers University called ‘New Jersey-The State of Invention’ to be held on the afternoon of June 28th (Saturday). Those of you that know me also recognize I’m a consummate groupie; introduce a ‘celebrity’ to an event and I’m in line at 4 AM for tickets. So when I heard that world famous inventor Guglielmo Marconi’s daughter Elletra Marconi was coming to America and New Jersey and Rutgers to participate in this symposium in June, I was thrilled beyond words. So here are my words urging folks to attend this free event. By the way Guglielmo Marconi won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and is known for his work on long distance radio transmission (the radio pioneer) And his daughter Elletra will be part of this wondrous symposium.

 

 

 

 

Paul Israel, one of the symposium organizers and speakers emailed me some comments on the historical talks that are part of the symposium. “These include a talk by myself on the evolution of invention and innovation from the machine shops of Speedwell Village, that spawned the Morse telegraph, to the industrial laboratories innovated by Thomas Edison.  The other two talks are by staff of the IEEE History Center, which joined us in developing the proposal.  Alex Magoun, former director of the Sarnoff Library (the successor to RCA Labs) will talk about research and innovation at RCA Labs and Sheldon Hochheiser, formerly corporate historian of AT&T will discuss the rich history of innovation at Bell Labs.

The goal of the symposium is to explore New Jersey’s rich history of creating and commercializing telecommunication and electrical technologies as part of a larger effort to develop the industrial history of New Jersey and to make this largely neglected but vital aspect of the state’s history more widely available.”

Please register early. I did. And to think we all get a chance to get back on campus and hangout in a college library and spend a perfect afternoon. Once again, HERE IS THE LINK FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER (FREE) FOR THE SYMPOSIUM: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/njinvents_agenda

Calvin Schwartz, May 9th 2014   11:11 am

 

 

Now here is some quick information on the symposium and an agenda. 

 

 

 

Saturday, June 28, 2014
1:00-4:30
Scholarly Communication Center, 4th Floor, Alexander Library
Exhibit and Reception: 4:30-6:00

 

 

AGENDA:

Moderator: T. Corey Brennan, Associate Professor of Classics, Rutgers University

1:00-1:15 The Library role in documenting and fostering Invention
Marianne Gaunt, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries
1:15-1:25 Marconi Park and Introduction for Ellectra Marconi
Brian D. Levine, Mayor, Franklin Park
1:25-1:45 “My father, Guglielmo Marconi, his legacy, and his floating laboratory-the yacht Elettra”
Princess Elettra Marconi Giovannelli
1:45-2:00 Break
2:00-2:30 From Machine Shops to Industrial Laboratories: New Jersey and the Reinvention of Invention
Paul Israel, Director of Edison Papers Project
2:30-3:00 More than a Room of One’s Own: Inventive Spaces at RCA’s Labs: 1930-1987
Alex Magoun, Outreach Historian, IEEE History Center
3:00- 3:30 The View from Murray Hill: Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey, 1941-1983
Sheldon Hochheiser Archivist and Institutional Historian, IEEE
3:30-3:40 Introduction: Rutgers invents the Future, the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium
Francesca Giannetti, Digital Humanities Librarian, Rutgers-New Brunswick Libraries
3:40-4:10 Project NEMO: Nautical Explorer for Marine Operations
Ian Abraham, Gabriel Blanco, Kostyantyn Budzan, Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium Participants
4:10-4:30 New Jersey Inventions on the Digital Highway
Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian and Linda Langschied, New Jersey Digital Highway Manager
4:30-6:00 Reception, featuring foods invented in New Jersey and exhibits, artifacts from the Edison Papers, the NEMO project,

Progetto Marconi (Boston, MA), the InfoAge Science History Center (Belmar, NJ) and The New Jersey

Digital Highway digital collection, New Jersey: State of Invention. Princess Elletra Marconi Giovannelli

will also sign her book, a memoir of her father, during the reception

 Program Organizers: Grace Agnew, John Brennan, Paul Israel, T. Corey Brennan, Linda Langschied, and Francesca Giannetti.

Contact Grace Agnew, Conference organizer, for more information: gagnew@rutgers.edu

NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: SPECIAL COMEDY COMING ATTRACTION: May 17th, Mike Marino, Sunda Croonquist, Michael ‘Wheels’ Parise  and hosted by Ronnie Marmo. Union County Performing Arts  Center, Rahway NJ   By Calvin Schwartz NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: SPECIAL COMEDY COMING ATTRACTION: May 17th, Mike Marino, Sunda Croonquist, Michael ‘Wheels’ Parise and hosted by Ronnie Marmo. Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway NJ By Calvin Schwartz(1)

NJ DISCOVER SPOTLIGHT: SPECIAL COMEDY COMING ATTRACTION: May 17th, Mike Marino, Sunda Croonquist, Michael ‘Wheels’ Parise  and hosted by Ronnie Marmo. Union County Performing Arts  Center, Rahway NJ   By Calvin Schwartz

 

 

THIS JUST IN:  The entire concert cast (Mike Marino,  Sunda Croonquist, Ronnie Marmo, Michael Parise) and Cylk Cozart will be in New Jersey a week before the May 17th concert  shooting  a TV pilot called “Reconstructing Jersey” which is the story of Mike Marino growing up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.   April 30th 2014

 

 

 

Let me share the reasons why you all should catch this very special night of comedy. This event is celestial with the perfect alignment of the moon, earth, stars and Garden State Parkway which helps you to get to Rahway and this special comedy show.

Website for tickets and info:  www.ucpac.org

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the best way to begin a serious comedy announcement/article (oxymoron?) is to credential myself in order to strive for the utmost credibility with a growing global readership. So here goes. Back in the late 1960’s (it was so late, the summer of 1971 slipped in quietly) the Broadway play ‘Lenny’ opened to critical acclaim. Being a recent college graduate, I needed to expand my cultural horizons and saw the play and in the process discovered the genius of comedian Lenny Bruce, who thereafter set my standard of excellence in social contemporary comedy. Then 41 years later (2012), almost to the day, I discovered the genius of comedian Mike Marino in Asbury Park, a mere 55.8 miles from where I saw ‘Lenny’. Mike was performing at the first Asbury Park Comedy Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I mention Lenny Bruce is my metamorphosis (since buying all his vinyl albums) into a 6’5” comedic snob. I need sharp incisive cerebral worldly comedy to laugh. Mike delivers that. And concomitantly (along the way), I’ve become a huge fan of Mike Marino. 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 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, being a comedic snob, countless times looking at Mike, 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.

 

 

 

 

Then last summer, I had the opportunity (which became a thrill) to see Sunda Croonquist perform at the Second Annual Asbury Park Comedy Fest. Sunda dazzled with her sharp, quick wit (cerebral intelligent humor) and I got a chance to chat with her back stage. Sunda’s humor is rare, precious and beautiful as she is. What’s particularly meaningful for me as a comedic snob is Sunda’a ability to reach (in an extremely personal way) every single person in the audience. Hemingway wrote effectively because he lived each and every story. He drove an ambulance in World War I and then wrote ‘A Farewell to Arms,’ about an ambulance driver.

So what does this Hemingway reference have to do with Sunda Croonquist?  Of course I should (and will) emphasize you need to be there at the May 17th concert to absorb the humor of Sunda. Shortly into her act, you’ll understand how she so effectively and personally reaches you (makes you identify) She’s this dynamo of personality and like the Hemingway of comedy(she  constructs comedy from her so many varied viewpoints of life) just made this up because I saw her last summer and I get it.

 

 

 

 

This is pretty cool and right out of my synchronistic spiritual world remembering I’m writing about this comedy show on May 17th and in the first paragraph here, I made reference to my attachment to Lenny Bruce. Well Ronnie Marmo is the host of this comedy  evening. He’s quite an impressive producer, actor, and writer. A few years ago The Edison Valley Playhouse staged the one man show “Lenny Bruce is Back (and boy is he pissed).” Of course Ronnie Marmo had the lead in the play and of course I sat in the fifth row and I was riveted by his acting and the play and now I get a chance to see him again. Synchronicity is alive and well.

I have not had the pleasure to catch Michael ‘Wheels’ Parise in concert yet. May 17th will be my first exposure and I’m hugely looking forward. Michael is a comedic pioneer going back to his touring with one of the most controversial comedians of the day, Andrew Dice Clay.

The preceding paragraphs help to answer and expound on my original statement; let me share the reasons why you all should join us on May 17th at the Union County Performing Arts Center for a very funny night.

CALVIN SCHWARTZ  April 29, 2014

 

 

SPONSORS OF THE COMEDY SHOW

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Marino 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

 

 

Sunda Croonquist BIO

At a chance encounter in New York City, Croonquist was joking around at a party when she met Jackie Mason, who told her to seriously consider doing stand-up comedy and with her husband’s encouragement, took a comedy class and had her first paid gig within weeks. Her first performance was at a club called Don’t Tell Mama.

Croonquist has produced her own comedy shows including: “Femmes Fatales” one of the longest running female comedy showcases for NY’s Toyota Comedy Festival for eight years. She is also the Chairperson for the Annual “Laugh Off”, an event that brings awareness to Gilda’s Club in Northern New Jersey. This is a cancer support group that was formed by comedian Gilda Radner.

 

 

Ronnie Marmo BIO

Ronnie has produced 30+ stage plays including the critically acclaimed Bill W and Dr. Bob (which has enjoyed hundreds sold out performances over the last nine years, West of Brooklyn with Jerry Ferrara, Bent with Tyler Christopher, What the Rabbi Saw with Eva Longoria, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and  Subway Series.

Ronnie’s feature films include West of Brooklyn with Joe Mantegna (available on DVD), Limbo Lounge with Tamara Braun, Fish Without A Bicycle with Brian Austin Green, and Another Happy Ending. He also starred in the short film, Stage 4, filmed at Theatre 68.

Some of the plays Ronnie has directed include Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love, Sex and the IRS, 68 Minutes, Saint Nick, Something About Something That Means Something, Life in Session, Resting In Pieces, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Subway Series.

Ronnie has guest starred on Jag and Young and the Restless. He enjoyed a three-year run on ABC’s General Hospital in the role of Ronnie Domestico.

He has also starred in over 30 stage plays including two six-month runs of the one man show Lenny Bruce is Back (and boy is he pissed). He toured with the Broadway National touring company as Tony/Barry in Tony and Tina’s Wedding.

 

 

Michael ‘Wheels’ Parise BIO

25 year veteran comedian Michael Wheels Parise. ‘Wheels’ has been the opening act for Andrew Dice Clay for over 20 years stemming from their Brooklyn days back at Pips Comedy Club on Emmons ave in Sheepheads Bay.as well as numerous appearances on HBO, and Late Night Talk Shows. Wheels has starred in movies such as “Meet Wally Sparks” with Rodney Dangerfield as and “A Low Down Dirty Shame” with Keenan Ivory Wayans and Jada Pinkett Smith, just to name a few.

Wheels Also Costarred in a VH-! Reality Show called “Dice Undisputed” with Andrew Dice Clay in 2008. After spending 20 years in Hollywood California at the World Famous Comedy Store as a house favorite, he decided to make Las Vegas his new home with his family. Still having a passion for comedy and acting he decided to bring his act to Vegas and can be seen headlining all the clubs Las Vegas as well as all over the country.

Michael Wheels Parise just launched “Parise Group Productions”, a production company/marketing group. PGP Studio is located at 2790 East Flamingo Rd. Ste F Las Vegas Nevada, 89121. PGP is currently seeking podcast productions and video productions to be produced on location.

Michael Wheels Parise has been a comedian for over 25 years, most of those years, touring with the most controversial comedian of our time, Andrew Dice Clay. Starting in the comedy trenches in New York to becoming a International favorite as well at the # 1 comedy club in The world, the Comedy Store in Los Angeles CA. Wheels had one thing on his mind “Making it”. Now is his time!

 

 

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