Posts Tagged ‘N.J.’

We Promise Not To Call Her An Ex-Jailbird Again, So Can We Interview Martha Stewart About Her HSN Debut?

July 14, 2010

Martha, daughter of Nutley, has HSN given you our interview request yet?

HSN Wednesday released the details of Martha Stewart’s July 19 premiere on the home shopping network.

But we’ve got more important matters on our mind. We’re wondering what’s the status of our interview request with Stewart, who hails from a town we lived in for more than a dozen years: Nutley, N.J.

Maybe a week or so ago we got a general press advisory from HSN’s outside PR firm asking if we would like to interview Stewart. This was after we broke a story about her coming to HSN, and referred to her as “an ex-jailbird” in our headline. That was very childish of us, but it is the truth. But she had paid her debt to society.

Anyway, we put in our interview request back then. Still not a peep from HSN.

The press release Wednesday says that “the business impresario and lifestyle icon will bring her expertise to HSN during a special series of shows showcasing Martha Stewart Crafts products.”

Martha, as the press release refers to her, will also be introducing the Cricut Cake Martha Stewart Crafts Edition, a cake decorating machine that you’ll never see in out kitchen. We haven’t even put our oven on since March, which was to cook a DiGiorno frozen pizza that our cheap date didn’t even want to pay for.

Stewart’s new machine, which is co-branded with Cricut Cake and Martha Stewart Crafts brands and has Martha Stewart-designed cartridges, will launch exclusively on HSN.

“Our Martha Stewart Crafts line is so innovative, that we have decided to partner with HSN to provide consumers with a new set of tools that will forever change the way they craft and create,” the icon herself said in a canned statement. “In addition, our new Martha Stewart Crafts Edition Cricut Cake machine will enable home cooks to transform the things they bake into works of art and wonder. I look forward to July 19 when we will present our unique products on HSN.”

Stewart, who once had a line on QVC, will be joined on-air on HSN will be Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia crafting expert Alex Perruzzi, who will help demonstrate the many creative items being presented throughout the day. Key items from the Martha Stewart Crafts line include the Martha Stewart Crafts Punch and Stamp Kit, Large Circle Cutter, a 24-pk Iridescent Glitter Kit, the Scoreboard Kit, Essential Tool Kit, Essential Glitter Kit, and the Essential Punch Kit.

Following Stewart’s debut in July, HSN will continue to offer customers valuable crafting tips and new innovations from her popular Martha Stewart Crafts line throughout the fall.

“We are thrilled to develop a long-term partnership with a lifestyle icon like Martha Stewart who is an inspiration to fans everywhere,” HSN CEO Mindy Grossman said in her canned statement. “We are confident Martha’s innovative products will resonate with a growing number of HSN customers who look to us as a crafting destination.”

We Visit “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”‘s Brownstone For A Super Bowl Party, And Why We Cheered For The New Orleans Saints

February 8, 2010

The Brownstone is owned by Real Jersey Housewife Caroline Manzo's (second from left) husband. She and her sister Dina (far right) are married to brothers.

We just got back from a great Super Bowl Party that was held at the Brownstone in Paterson, N.J.

If you didn’t watch Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” then that doesn’t mean anything to you.

But if you were a fan, like us, you know that the Brownstone, a beautiful catering hall, is owned by the husband of “Jersey Housewives” Caroline Manzo, whose sister Dina was also on the hit reality show. Some scenes from “Housewives” were shot at the Brownstone.

We looked, but didn’t see, either of the Manzo sisters, who are married to brothers.

The Super Bowl party, held by New Jersey State Rep. Dave Russo, R-40th District, was more like a wedding, with several hundred people. The room was huge, with beautiful table settings and down-and-dirty Super Bowl food — mini-hamburgers, sausage and peppers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, cotton candy, you get the idea.

We were invited by dear friends who are friends of Assemblyman Russo. We helped out by selling raffle tickets at the shindig, and had a hunch that we would win something (we are aligned with the source). And we did win item No. 28, our lucky birthdate number, which was a gift basket with various cheeses.

We left after halftime, and got home in time to see the New Orleans sail to victory. In between munching on fattening french fries, we had been rooting for them.

First of all, the hell with the Colts, they beat the New York Jets. But more importantly, we love New Orleans.

In our prior life, we were assigned a story to go down to NOLA just about two months after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The story was to not only describe how Cox Cable in New Orleans got its system back up and running after the deadly storm, but to convey the emotional impact this tragic disaster had on Cox employees.

We loved New Orleans and had been there often before Katrina. And the resolve and resilence of the Cox crew post-Katrina was inspiring.

These are people who, after being evacuated to Baton Rouge, watched Katrina on TV and broke into tears when they recognized flooded areas and realized their homes were under water.

One Cox dispatcher, still inside the Big Easy, saved more than 100 people by rescuing them with his duck boat.

After the storm the Cox GM, Greg Bickett, at one point was trying to get his operation in order while also arranging for the body of one of his employee’s relatives to be moved from a street downtown to a mortuary.

“It was just this Kafka-esque kind of moment,” Bickett told us back then.

Katrina had done more than $115 million in damage to Cox’s New Orleans system, and we wrote a series of stories on the cable company’s comeback, including this one and this one.

The Cox folk took us to areas the public was still barred from, and we stood on New Orleans’ Ground Zero, on the very spot where the levees breeched.

Congratulations Saints! New Orleans is back indeed.

And for those who come here solely for the dish on home shopping, here’s a tidbit for you: QVC is selling Saints’ Super Bowl merchandise like hats and HSN had items like a Saints fireplace screen for sale.

Over at ShopNBC, the official NFL Super Bowl gear includes a football signed by Drew Brees for $500.

‘Jersey Shore’ Appearance, Arranged For A Montclair Nightclub’s Grand Opening, Has Lead To Its Grand Demise

January 29, 2010

The appearance of the Jersey Shore cast at a Montclair nightclub grand opening wasn't exactly a charm

For those who care, the Montclair, N.J., nightclub that caused a near riot in our quiet hometown when it featured an appearance of the cast of “Jersey Shore” has been shut down, according to the The Montclair Times.

It seems the landlord of the venue at 501 Bloomfield Ave., Dick Grabowsky, has terminated the would-be 10-year lease for Lounge 501. A week ago, the night club kicked off its grand opening by having the cast of MTV’s controversial reality show come in for an appearance.

But 1,300 people showed up, the crowd got rowdy and disruptive, fights broke out, and police had to shut down the streets in the area.

The club operator, Timothy Ricks, has loads of financial problems and trouble with a liquor-license transfer.

In any event, Grabowsky told the Montclair Times he’s talking to potential new operators for the space that are “financially capable of bringing a professional and respectable venue to Montclair.”

Makeup Queen Bobbi Brown Tells New York Times How She Hires Staff

January 25, 2010

Bobbi Brown — the makeup diva, QVC vendor and fellow Montclair, N.J., resident — did a Q&A with The New York Times Sunday.

The interview, headlined “High Heels? They Just Don’t Fit,” is in part about how Brown hires employees. It was run as a “Corner Office” column.

After going through outplacement — and getting schooled on resumes, interviewing and “PARS” and “CARS” — it’s a little shocking to see Brown say that that she knows within the first two minutes of an interview if she likes the person or not. And if she likes them, they’re in.

Brown also says that she never looks at a person’s resume until she sits down with them for the interview. Then she has them take her through their resume.

We like that approach. No trick questions. No “what’s your biggest weakness” or “where do you want to be in five years” crap.

Brown, whose Montclair studio is within walking distance of our condo, has several shows on QVC today.

She has several cosmetic items that are only available on QVC.

In her interview, Brown also says that she is not a corporate type, that she prefers the comfort of sneakers over high heels.

‘Jersey Shore’ Cast Appearance In Montclair Sparks Mini-Riot: Stay In Seaside, All You Jerks

January 24, 2010

Jersey Shore govones, stay out of Montclair!

We recently wrote about the town we grew up — namely, Parsippany, N.J. But guess who caused a mini-riot in Montclair, N.J., the leafy, quiet suburb where we live now. Yes, the crew from MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” Or the promise of seeing the crew from “Jersey Shore.”

The slicked back gang of self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes were supposed to made an appearance Friday at a new club in town, 501 Lounge, on Bloomfield Avenue. The venue’s marquee said, “Meet the ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast, Jan. 22.”

Anyway, The Star-Ledger has a story about the brouhaha that broke out when about 2,000 rowdies turned up to say hi to The Situation and Snooki, whose escapades in Seaside Heights, N.J., were chronicled in “Jersey Shore.”

Montclair called out the police and the fire department. Backup game from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and nearby Glen Ridge. The area between Park Avenue and North Fullerton (the street we live off) was closed down to traffic. Apparently, the fun at the club included several fist fights.

Four people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and drunken driving, according to the Ledger. Hell, you get that kind of thing at breakfast on a weekday morning in Seaside Heights.

Our favorite post on the story was this one: “If there was ever a time we needed a couple of thugs from Newark to do a drive-by in Montclair, this would’ve been it. Where are the brothers when you need them?”

A few hours before this ruckus, we were just accoss the street watching “Crazy Heart” at the Clairidge Theater. Jeff Bridges was great, by the way. But by the time the fun started at the 501 Lounge, we were tucked away in bed (although we had trouble sleeping, and were tossing and turning that night).

Our Hometown, Parsippany, N.J., Helped Create The Lady Gaga Monster

January 22, 2010

We’re plugging our hometown, Parsippany, N.J., today. That’s because we were surprised, and pleased, to learn that the suburb we grew up with has a connection to our latest obsession, Lady Gaga.

The Newark Star-Ledger Friday has a story headlined “Gaga Begins in Jersey: Pop Diva Found Her Sound — And Name — As Stefani Germanotta in Parsippany.”

Lady Gaga is the media darling, dance-music diva who has carefully crafted an image that centers on her outrageous outfits and makeup. But she can sing. We love her latest hit, “Bad Romance,” and last night must have played its video — an S&M-inspired set piece — at least 20 times. Yes, we know we’re nuts.

But how many times have you told a guy, or a girl, “I don’t want to be friends”? That one of the best lines in “Bad Romance.”

According to the Ledger, Lady Gaga (real name the aforementioned Stefani Germanotta) developed her outrageous stage persona and came up with her name when she was working with music producer Rob Fusari at a studio in Parsippany in 2006.

While they were working, Lady Gaga and Fusari would have lunch at the Chili’s on Route 46, a place we’ve gone with our parents to eat many times.

According to the Ledger story, “Lady Gaga” is a reference to the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga,” which was one of Fusari’s favorite songs. He would sing it when Germonotta came into the studio. One day Fusari sent Germonaotta a text that referred to “Radio Ga Ga,” but he claims there was an autocorrect and “Radio Ga Ga” became “Lady Ga Ga.”

Germonotta loved it, and chose it has her stage name, according to the Ledger.

And like that other Italian-American bad girl, Madonna, Lady Gaga references her Catholic background in her videos. In “Bad Romance,” for example, she makes the sign of the cross during one of her dance numbers. And she’s wearing a gemstone cross over her crotch at one point.

Parsippany is about 45 minutes away from New York City, and you likely have not heard of it. It is also the hometown of “30 Rock” actress Jane Krakowski, who used to act in the local community Barn Theater with our long-lost friend Mark Phelan.

Oxygen Jumps On the Jersey Reality-TV Bandwagon, In The Wake Of ‘Real Housewives Of New Jersey’ and ‘Jersey Shore,’ With ‘Jersey Couture’ Show

January 11, 2010

Oxygen's potential show Jersey Couture is about a Freehold, N.J., women's formalwear boutique that sells dress like this.

Well, we’ll be damned. Jersey girls rule on reality TV.

Our beloved Garden State, the new mecca for reality-TV producers, will be the site of yet another “docu-soap.” This one, in development by the women’s network Oxygen, has a working title of “Jersey Couture,” echoing the name of that overpriced brand for tween and teen girls, Juicy Couture.

The show was announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, a shindig we attended last year, just two weeks before we were abuptly laid off. NewJerseyNewsroom.com just posted our story on “Jersey Couture.”

From what we understand, “Jersey Couture” is about an upscale Freehold, N.J., women’s formalwear shop, Diane & Co. It is owned by Diane Scali and her family.

“From canary yellow beaded sheaths to gold lamé, the Scali family offers over-the-top dresses to satisfy every girl’s special event needs,” Oxygen said in a press release.

New Jersey, once the butt of jokes, is now the new hot spot for reality-TV shows that in many cases play on stereotypes the rest of America has about us. We’ve had Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” TLC’s “Cake Boss” and “18 Kids and Counting,” and Style Network’s “Jerseylicious,” which debuts in March.

We wrote about this new trend in Jersey-set programming for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, where experts told us that TV producers believe that the Garden State’s “loud and proud” residents are perfect for reality-TV shows.

Before Oxygen's Jersey Couture will be Style Network's Jerseylicious, which is about the women of the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. You go Jersey girls!

“Jerseylicious” is about the women who run the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. We visited the place during one of the last weeks it was shooting in December, and filed a package of stories for NewJerseyNewsroom.com.

As for “Jersey Couture,” here’s the sketchy info that Oxygen has provided.

“With a no nonsense attitude, the Scali family’s extravagant dress store is the premiere glamour stop in New Jersey,” Oxygen said in its TCA press release. “Get ready for the Cinderella experience of a lifetime. Whether it’s for her bride’s maid’s needs or her high school prom frills, when it comes to ‘what to wear’ to that elegant affair, no one gets the job done like the ladies at Diane & Co.”

Remember that “Jersey Couture” is just in development, which means Oxygen has not committed yet to pick it up as a series.

Is Martha Stewart Giving Out Dennis Basso’s QVC Faux Mink Throw Wednesday?

December 16, 2009

Fashion designer Dennis Basso had QVC’s Today’s Special Value Tuesday, a faux mink throw for $47.

On QVC’s 10 p.m. “Tuesday Night Gifts” show, Basso was on with host Lisa Mason. We were working on a story for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, so we were were only half listening.

But we heard Basso say he will be on the Martha Stewart (a native of Nutley, N.J.) show Wednesday.

According to Mason, “Martha Stewart will be giving this exact same throw” (as the QVC TSV) to her audience members. We don’t watch Martha, so we don’t even know if she has a studio audience.

As Mason pointed out, QVC customers had first dibs on this “hot” faux mink item, which also had a matching pillow for $29 and a TSV Extra, a matching teddy bear, for $18. Cute.

Jersey Guy Kurt Sutter Ends FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ With Several Cliffhangers, As He Writes, Directs And Acts In The Season Finale

December 2, 2009

Kurt Sutter, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

Jersey boy Kurt Sutter did himself, and the state, proud with the finale Tuesday of his creation, FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

Sutter, a native of Clark, N.J, wrote, directed, executive produced and even acted in the 13th episode of the second season of “SOA,” as fans of the show refer to it.

The episode was called “Na Triobloidi,” Gaelic for “the troubles,” a term referring to the period of Protestant-Catholic conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the late 1990s.

We profiled Sutter in October for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, writing two companion stories, one an interview with him and the other on his views about the TV industry.

We did the phone interview after Sutter — who in his bio said he was “raised in the soul-numbing, homogenous suburbs of Central New Jersey” — had just finished directing the “SOA” finale. We asked him how he thought viewers would respond to the season’s end of this tale about a motorcycle club in Charming, Calif.

Center, Charlie Hunnam, right Ron Perlman, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

“I think people will like it,” Sutter said. “The trick with the finale is often the same trick you have with the premiere episode: Honoring the arc that existed before you and to bring some closure to that, and enticing the audience and setting up something they potentially might want to continue on the ride with.”

Sutter, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

He went on, “And I think I was able to that with last year’s finale and hopefully we’ll do the same with this year’s finale, so there is some conclusion to the arc that we played out and an introduction of something new – not so much as a cliffhanger so much as it is thematically where we might lead to if there’s a third season.”

In fact, the finale episode had lots of action and several cliffhangers.

Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Photo By Prashant Gupta, FX

Henry Rollins, the punk rocker who played the White Supremacist who raped the main character’s mother, Gemma, is shot to death by the son Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam. Motorcycle matriarch Gemma is played by Katey Sagal, who is married to Sutter.

In the episode, Gemma kills the daughter of the brains behind the White Supremacy movement — and instigator of the rape — Ethan Zobelle. The daughter had lured Gemma to the attack. As the show ends, Gemma is on the lam.

Zobelle, played by Adam Arkin, is about to be killed by the SOA when they have to take off because Jax’s baby son has been kidnapped by an IRA guy who the SOA has been gunrunning wth.

The villain escapes in a boat with the babe-in-peril as Jax and the gang watch helplessly on the dock. Meanwhile, Zobelle flees the U.S. in a chartered jet.

Sutter as Big Otto

Showrunner Sutter, who started out his career as an actor, has appeared in several of the episodes this season, playing Big Otto, a SOA member who is in prison. He is beaten by White Supremacists, who stick a broomstick in his eye. But he gets his revenge at the end, when he stabs his attacker in the neck.

Sutter doesn’t have to do much physically to pass for a SOA member, with his long hair, tribal tattoos and rugged good looks.

And here’s another “SOA” tidbit for you: The evil AFT agent June Stahl is played by actress Ally Walker, who is married to FX president John Landgraf.

Here’s the blog we did about our experience with Sutter.

We’re going to miss “SOA” on Tuesday nights.


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