Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Hedwig Does Asbury  

Baronet Theater
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
The rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is currently playing at the Baronet Theater in Asbury Park (every Saturday in April). It's the first time that the off-Broadway hit is being performed in NJ.

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a HedHead... Ever since I saw the original cast on MTV with Kurt Loder back in 1999 and had to buy the cast album the next day. So when I happened upon this performance, Lucky and I had to go.

It was fantastic! The "seen-better-days/slated for demotion by Asbury Partners" Baronet was an unlisted character in the musical, adding to the feel. And the cast/band was wonderful. The lead Bob Walker isn't as strong on the acting as role-creator John Cameron Mitchell BUT on vocals, a definite equal. His improv skills allow Hedwig to become a full character. For the $10 ticket price, you are not getting a "community theater experience" but rather a real & gritty, CBGB's rock-n-roll good time.

Just a bit of a warning... this is not a musical to bring your kids or grandma to, unless Granny's moshed with Sid Vicious and your kids are old enough to appreciate this generation's "Rocky Horror."

PS: Congrats to FrenchToastGirl for being named the 1000 Favorite blog by Blogger. See, the site re-do worked.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Rock, Rock, Rock, Rockaway Bedding  
Rockaway Bedding, yah...

Rockaway Bedding (where I bought my mattress years ago because they were the least "used carsaleman-like") is filing for bankrupcy
. They will be closing many of their non-NJ stores. But luckily for us, the Randolph-based chain so far isn't closing any NJ locations.

Which is good... I wouldn't want to have to buy from NY's 1-800-MATTRES (leave off the last "s" for savings") and Sleepy's (for the rest of your life)... their ad jingles are just more annoying!

Monday, April 09, 2007
HoJo Go Go  
Considering that the Howard Johnson's in Asbury Park has been cleaned out and will be filled with a new restaurant, this article about the end of an era seemed to fit.

Only 3 Howard Johnson’s restaurants still in business
WATERBURY, Conn. — And then there were three. Connecticut’s last Howard Johnson’s officially changed its name, leaving just three of the iconic orange-roofed restaurants in the nation.

The Brass House Restaurant has a new sign and the 20 employees have new black and burgundy uniforms, but the roof is still orange and the menu items are still mainly the same.

“We’re still going to have the staple, core items,” said Kristina Bakes, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Nicholas. “We will still have the all-you-can-eat clam and fish fry on Wednesdays and Fridays, and daily breakfast, lunch and dinner specials.”

Earlier this year, the Bakes were ordered to stop using the brand name, leaving Bangor, Maine, and Lake Placid and Lake George, N.Y., as the only towns that still have Howard Johnson’s restaurants.

Howard Johnson motor lodges still exist, but they’re not affiliated with the restaurants.

The La Mancha Group of New York owns the Howard Johnson’s brand for restaurants and food products.

The Bakes, who bought the Waterbury Howard Johnson’s in 1999, said they decided to give up the franchise because they weren’t getting enough corporate support. La Mancha bought the restaurant and food products brand from Wyndham Worldwide in 2004. Howard Johnson’s was founded in 1925 and grew to include more than 1,000 restaurants by the late 1970s. But over time, the chain suffered from aging facilities, a stale menu, lack of marketing or new ideas, and competition from other chains.


Saturday, April 07, 2007
Praise the Lord... Parking in AC!  
This photo of "Praise the Lord Parking" in Atlantic City was featured as this week's Photo of the Week on GoOutJersey, a new web guide about NJ. I wish them luck since it promises to be a great resource provided that they remember that Jersey actually extends down past Essex County unlike NJ Monthly (which has been called out on that several times, yet hasn't really done much to change).

PS: According to one of Peter Genovese's books, the owner of the parking lot and Born-Again Christian will also give you a free bible if you ask.

Thursday, April 05, 2007
Readington Robbery  
It's always weird to see places that you know being mentioned in the news.

Last week, it was a guy being beaten to death and then being dumped along with his car one block away from where my friends used to live. Today, it's a bank robber on the loose along Rt. 22. His two buddies are captured; one FBI agent is dead. Chances are that some of my friends in the Readington area had to make sure their doors were locked. Heck, by this time he could have made it to my town. I have to admit that when I heard the news story, I first thought... that's going to screw up the safety stats of that sleepy little town. to keep posted, go here.

PS: It's snowing! Not sticking, but snow nonetheless. Yes, it's April 5.
PPS: The Crosby-Nash show at the Basie's been finally rescheduled for October 17. Is it considered irony that I wanted to see the original show because Crosby is on my "see them before they die" list, and it's being rescheduled because of his "medical issues"?

OptiMystic about the future...  

Mystic Pizza
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
This week, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. To celebrate, Lucky took the day off from work and we went to Mystic, CT Sunday and Monday (That way, we didn't have to do the 2 day minimum for weekend stays... plus you save money on the rate). It wasn't that far and because we went up Rt. 95 during off-hours, it only took 3.5 hrs to get there from Central Jersey. We stayed in the downtown area. It kinda reminded me of more Spring Lake than New Hope with its type of gift shops and restaurants. Things were a bit pricey (average entrees around $15-24)but the food was pretty good. Did I mention the Tim Horton's?! That's how we saved $$ on lunch. Still think that Dunkin Donuts has the best doughy delicacies but Timmy does a fantastic job on soups.

We walked down to the Seaport which was lots of fun. Since it was a bit slow (but not as deserted as I expected), we got to chat with the guides. Can't imagine living for months/years at a time on a whale ship... the stink alone of the whale blubber!

We also visited the Mystic Aquarium. It was a decent sized aquarium, something that is a good size for someone with a kid. We watched the beluga whales being fed, learned that saying "starfish" is politically incorrect (they prefer to be called "seastars"), stayed for the sea lion show, and ended the visit by seeing what Dr. Robert Ballard's done with his deep sea explorations.

Popcorn at the Ground Round

Our anniversary dinner was at the Mystic Ground Round nearby. I remember GR fondly before they disappeared from NJ about 20 years ago... the free popcorn, the flickering old movies on the screen, the yummy fried food. Well, the popcorn is still there, but no movies and the food was worse than a Chili's. So I think I'll stick with the memories from my childhood... the food was better.

Happy Cotton Anniversary, Lucky!

PS: OptiMystic is the name of the eye doctor's office in Mystic... Lots of stores there with punny names.

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