7:00~1/11/12~Poetey Workshop

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Tonight at 7:00, I’m at the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge for Poets Wednesday. The poet tonight is Chris Rockwell, a favorite of mine.

He’s leading a poetry workshop and then reading his own work. I’m very excited about this!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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A few of my favorite things…

I hate to start out another blog post reflecting on how busy I’ve been, but yet again, that is the case!  Readers, I know you’re busy too…especially with this holiday season upon us.  But, hopefully it is a “good busy” for you, as it is for me.

Here is a quick list of things happening in and around NJ that are my current equivalent of “Doorbells and slaybells and schnitzel with noodles.”

Holiday Music!
Driving to and from a very busy itinerary these days, I’m happy to tune in and listen to the holiday music on Magic 98.3 (WMGQ).  They’ve been playing holiday music since just before Thanksgiving, and it’s helped me get into the spirit this season.   When you’re in the mood to jingle bell rock, or chill out with Frosty, Magic 98.3 is ready too.

Barron Arts Center
After finally getting to check (a really large and back-logged stack of) my mail yesterday afternoon, I saw that one of my favorite NJ poets, Chris Rockwell, is going to be at the Barron Arts Center in January!  I absolutely love that venue – it’s simple and has a lot of history, and when you attend an exhibit or see a show there, you really feel a special connection to the art and artists.

The Punk Rock Flea Market
Last weekend, friends from PA invited me to go with them to the Punk Rock Flea Marketin Philadelphia.  There, 300 vendors sold anything from old records and clothes, to original art and music, to food and furniture.  It was a cross between a traditional flea market and a craft fair.  It was a blast.  After the show, I learned that there was a similar event held last spring and will likely be one again this spring.  If you love flea markets – whether you’re punk or not – you should check it out.  (There will be a more detailed follow-up or two about this event and some of the artists we encountered there on Notes on the State of New Jerseysoon.)

Keep busy and have fun!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Interviews and NYC

Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing two very talented New Jersey musicians.

In the morning, I met Chris Rockwell at the Terrace Bagels & Cafe in Freehold.  There, we (ate delicious bagels with flavored cream cheese spreads like sun-dried tomato and blueberry, and) chatted about his upcoming performances with the Charm School Dropouts (there’s one this Friday at Bands on a Budget on Mattison Avenue in Asbury Park), as well as his new solo album coming out in the fall.  Information about this Friday’s show and other upcoming events can be found via Chris Rockwell’s  facebook page.  I’m certainly hoping to check out Friday’s show.

Later on, I spoke with Tom Brislin who is hard at work in Nashville, TN writing songs for his first solo album. He has turned to the Kickstarter campaign to fund his project, and you can read more about my interview with Tom Brislin on Notes on the State of New Jersey.

Today, I’m off to visit our neighbor, NYC, with some Jersey friends for lunch and a play in Central Park.

Hope you have a great day!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Beach Reviews and Chris Rockwell

Beach Reviews
Whenever I talk about going down the shore during the summer, the usual question that follows is, “Which beach do you go to?”  Well, it depends mostly upon with whom I go.  Some friends have favorite beaches and get badges for that beach, and that beach only, for the season.  Other friends choose their beach based on proximity to their homes.  For others, it’s all about tradition.

My kind of crowd - on the Asbury Park beach.

I’m not all that picky when it comes to choosing beaches, I suppose.  Give me some warm sand beneath my bare toes and some crashing surf to lull me into a nap, and I’m a happy girl.  My biggest criteria for enjoying a day on the beach is that it needs to be relaxing – and so, the less crowded it is, the better.  (Which is why I feel really lucky that my beach days can be during the week.  The weekends are just a little too hectic for me.)

Given that I don’t have an allegiance to any one beach over the other, I decided (yesterday while I was on the Asbury Park beach) that I am going to purposely try to go to a different beach each time this year. I’ll share my experiences and observations, and maybe a photo or two, in a column over at Notes on the State of New Jersey.

I know, I know.  This is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!

With Chris Rockwell when he came to visit our school.

Catching Up – Chris Rockwell
During those crazy, last few weeks of the school year, we were very lucky to have poet, Chris Rockwell, visit our school.  He performed and presented a workshop for our 7th grade students.  The kids were completely enthralled by him, and during the workshop it was hard to find anyone who wasn’t fervently on-task.  The kids were eager to share and perform the poems they wrote during the workshop.  They had an absolute blast!

Rockwell is from New Jersey and performs in, and hosts, events in the area.  He also travels across the country, performing his poetry and his music.  He’s young, energetic, and very talented – definitely someone you’ll want to follow!  I plan to see him perform live in the near future, and will keep you posted about it.

In the mean time, you can find him on facebookand listen to some of his work on myspace.

This video is of one of the poems Rockwell shared with our students (recorded at a different event).  Enjoy!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

“I’m Busy!”

There’s a scene from the very funny and very awesome movie Just Friends (which mostly takes place in New Jersey, by the way) that has been stuck in my mind all weekend.

Maybe you’ve seen it; it’s the scene where Ryan Reynolds’ character is talking to Amy Smart’s character in the bar – he’s trying to ask her out for a date – and Anna Faris’ character wants to get his attention so they can leave, but he shouts over at her in frustration, “I’m busy!”  Then, Anna Faris confusingly shouts the same thing right back at him, and it’s just a stressful moment, and hectic, and that’s pretty much the way I’ve felt the last few days.  

“I’m busy!”  And, I admit, slightly stressed.

Luckily, remembering the scene from the movie, and playing it over in my mind, has kept me from actually shouting at anyone.  And though I have been extremely busy lately, I’m happy to say that it’s all been good.  Really good.

It’s the end of the year wrap-up at school.  Student projects are all coming in.  Grades are being finalized.  We have amazing trips, events, and activities planned, including a very special visit from NJ poet Chris Rockwell!

And…I got to meet and talk with the ladies of The Real Housewives of New Jersey at an event in NYC this past week…I finally got to see Quincy Mumford perform live in Red Bank…I wrote a guest post for A Healthy Habit (ahem, about being busy – of all things!)…I’ve also started to make my own wine for the first time (a Syrah from Chile) with a group of friends at The Grape Escape in Dayton…NSNJ contributors have been at work on new projects…and we have an awesome new NSNJ logo in the works!

Like I said, it’s all really good stuff, and soon I will have detailed posts of all of these events and more to share with you.

For the time being, however, it’s just going to have to be, “I’m busy!”

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl