Friday, June 28, 2013

Stafford Township, NJ partners with Habitat for Humanity on COAH project

Sunbathing took on a whole different meaning for people in Ocean Acres on Saturday, June 15. The sound of laughter, light-hearted conversation and hammers pounding nails into wood echoed throughout the neighborhood in Stafford Township, NJ as Habitat for Humanity of Southern Ocean County members and other local residents gathered in the warm sun on Crest Avenue to help continue the formation of a single-family home.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
New Jersey Habitat volunteers help
build a house for a family in need.
Annmarie Eick, 51, and her son, Anthony Mastrandrea, 19, are the recipients of the one-story house, set on a beautiful piece of property with lush vegetation. The two have been renting in Barnegat since Eick divorced Mastrandrea’s father in 2010 and sold their home in Little Egg Harbor Township, which they owned for four years.
“We bought the (old) house when the market was high and, because of the divorce, had to sell it when the economy crashed and the market was low. I lost money on it, actually,” said Eick.
She said she was in a state of euphoria, speechless and crying, and even popped open a bottle of sparkling cider when Habitat told her that she and her son had been chosen as the recipients of the house project, which requires participants to make enough income to repay the mortgage.
“Habitat for Humanity is the bank,” stressed John Steele, the organization’s president. “Without the help of the people that volunteer their time, this is not possible. This is what we do. This is what the mission is, to provide simple, decent housing for everyone on the planet,” he added.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Mastrandrea and Eick take a moment to
acknowledge the volunteers and their efforts.
Since its inception in 1995, the local branch of the nonprofit organization has constructed more than 20 buildings in the area for local families that meet the organization’s home ownership selection requirements. But this particular project is the first to be led in partnership with Stafford Township. The development, which helps fulfill the town’s Fair Share Housing obligations in accordance with the state’s Council On Affordable Housing mandates, is being funded through an Affordable Housing grant provided by the township.
Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora and Council President Henry Mancini visited the site on Saturday afternoon to show their support. Praise was given to the “best construction crew” and for the project, the “American dream.”
“I’m working with mayors in a lot of towns, and we have had a tremendous, tremendous response from people in Stafford Township throughout Hurricane Sandy,” Spodofora said. “You guys have been out there regardless, before Hurricane Sandy, and you’ve always been doing a great job. As was mentioned by Mr. Steele, we have a total commitment toward your efforts and future, and we want more affordable housing here in Stafford Township.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Volunteers sign their names on the wall panels,
which will be become a part of the home.
“Council President Henry Mancini and I were talking before we got up here, and we’re so blessed to live in such a wonderful community that has so much to offer to people. But the community is the people. It’s what we’re all about, and I saw the volunteerism throughout Sandy, and I saw where we went throughout Sandy and where we are today. I think we’re truly a blessed town,” he added.
Spodofora went on to say Stafford Township had received word from FEMA on Friday, June 14, regarding the town’s new base flood elevation map.
“The elevations will be lower, and there are no V-zones left in Beach Haven West at all,” he stated. “Henry and I worked together on this; a lot of effort went into this. So this is just one step toward the rebuilding of our town. Stafford’s never down and out. We just have little bumps along the way, and we take care of them as we go along.”
The new map was released by FEMA on Monday, June 17.
Before the group sat down to indulge in lunch, a spread of hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and water, as well as chicken McNuggets and apple slices, donated by the local McDonald’s where Mastrandrea works as a shift manager, the heart-warming speech ended with a prayer led by Msgr. Ken Tuzeneu of St. Mary’s Parish.
“I apologize for being overdressed. I’m doing my other job at the same time,” he joked in typical form, while clad in clerical clothing.
After quickly recharging their bodies with enough sustenance to power them on, the group set back to work on the house.
Greg Muszynski, Habitat’s director of operations, said they had filed the building permits for the new home on Feb. 28. The lot was cleared in March, with the foundation, floor joists, block work and sub-flooring following thereafter. Saturday’s task included installing the wood framing for the walls. Mastrandrea helped put up the walls to his new bedroom.
The spirited group, which included students from Habitat’s Pinelands Campus Chapter and the All Saints Regional Catholic School in Manahawkin, where Eick works as a preschool teaching assistant, pledged to have the roof truss, and possibly the outside house sheathing, completed by the end of the day. They began working on the project at 8:30 a.m. and did not expect to be finished until 4 or 5 p.m.
The volunteers even took the time to sign their names on different pieces of wood, which would become part of the home.
Construction will continue on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, weather permitting. Steele said the house would take about another four months to complete.
“I’m praying for nice weather on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from now until Thanksgiving,” Eick said, laughing.
She and Mastrandrea hope to be in their new home by early fall.
“I’m really happy. (The house) is good for both of us,” Mastrandrea said. “We had a rough couple of years, and this has taken a lot of stress off of you,” he added, looking at his mother.
“But we held on,” said Eick. Anthony “has always lived in our own home. Renting was a big change; I felt bad for him.”
Habitat will begin working on a new house project, for a family in Little Egg Harbor, in the fall. Eick and Mastrandrea will help pay it forward by volunteering to help build the new house for another family in need.
“This is really overwhelming. People are giving up their own Saturday for us because they have hearts,” she said, smiling.
The optimistic grins and jovial nature of the group had Manahawkin resident Chris Stipicevic, a first-time Habitat volunteer, feeling overwhelmed, too.
“First of all, all these people are so much fun,” she said. Everyone’s smiling and kidding around with each other. When do you get to see people having fun dedicating their time to helping others build a new home on a Saturday in the summer?
“Many people have been helping each other a lot since (Superstorm Sandy). It forces people to get out of their own heads. There are no words to express the feeling you get while being a part of this. I’m definitely going to continue volunteering in the future,” she added.
Although Habitat’s Home Ownership Program is not accepting applications from individuals solely affected by Superstorm Sandy, the organization is taking Home Repair Program applications from local residents who have not received FEMA or insurance money and need help repairing damages. Visit or call 609-978-9984 for more information.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

'Sandy the terrapin' gives hope to LBI residents after storm

On Sunday, June 9, two Beach Haven residents received a bit of emotional closure to the harrowing effects of Superstorm Sandy. Friends Elisheva Chamblin and Jaime Baumiller said goodbye to Sandy, a 6-year-old diamondback terrapin turtle found seemingly lifeless the day after the storm blew through Long Beach Island more than seven months ago, when they released the reptile back into the bay.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Beach Haven residents say,
'goodbye' to the terrapin before
releasing her back into the bay.
The turtle was picked up by Chamblin the day after the storm. She said she found it lying upside down in front of the Spray Beach Inn on 24th Street in Spray Beach.
“It was in shock and had sores all over. So I picked her up, and I went home quickly because I thought, ‘Any minute she will die,’” Chamblin remembered.
Uncertain of what to do, Chamblin placed Sandy in a container filled with ocean water, as well as lettuce and grapes for food, something she said she had done before with turtles she had found as a kid.
“And, probably, that’s what I had left over from the storm,” she added, chuckling.
Chamblin began referring to the turtle as Tony Jr. in memory of her family’s previous pet. She later changed the name to Sandy after determining the turtle was a girl.
Though still alive, Sandy was not eating. Chamblin called the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor looking for help. Officials told her to release the turtle back into the wild.
“We did not want to send her back even though everyone said, ‘It’s indigenous, you should not keep it,’ Chamblin recalled. “It was cold, and we knew there was so much junk now in the bay. We said, ‘She will die’ because this is when they hibernate. So we decided to keep her.”
After a couple of weeks, Sandy still was not eating. Hoping to save the turtle, Baumiller decided to take her to New Egypt High School in Plumstead, where Baumiller works as a math and science teacher. Her classroom also includes a bearded dragon, brook trout, box turtles, tadpoles and a koi fishpond.
“As a science teacher, I would not recommend taking any animal from its natural habitat,” said Baumiller. “However, it was unclear at the time how the terrapin population would be affected by Superstorm Sandy. I took it upon myself to rehabilitate the terrapin, as well as educate my students of the importance of protecting the wetlands and estuaries to ultimately conserve this unique species.”
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Chamblin demonstrates how
much Sandy gas grown over
the past seven months.
Sandy was kept in the back of the classroom in a 55-gallon tank with UVA/UVB lighting and given live food to catch so she would not become dependent on humans for food; the process is known as imprinting. She began eating after a month and fed exclusively on live animals, including fish, grass shrimp and snails. The students even helped stun the animals with a flick of a finger so Sandy could feed and regain her strength.
Besides changing the water and observing the turtle, there was little personal interaction between Sandy and the students, Baumiller said.
“She was totally independent of humans, which is why I feel that she can be released back into the wild,” she said.
As residents and visitors splashed around in the bay water at the end of Taylor Avenue on Sunday, their pant legs rolled up and dripping, Chamblin and Baumiller and Baumiller’s 2-year-old daughter, Quinn, released Sandy back into the wild.
“Bye, bye,” shouted Quinn, waving to Sandy, whose head was sticking out above the rolling waves brought on by a passing boat.
“You’re going the right way, Sandy,” Chamblin chimed in.
“For me, it’s like a little bit of a closure,” Chamblin said. “The whole ordeal of the storm ended today. (Sandy) was found the first day, and we gave her life. She could have died, but she survived. Now she’s gone, and she will go on, and we will go on. We’ll see her babies,” she added, peering out toward the mainland.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Red Cross CPR/AED on LBI, blood drive in Tuckerton

Join the next generation of American Red Cross training. The nonprofit organization is hosting a class to train instructor candidates to teach the ARC’s CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers course. The class will be held on Wednesday, June 19, and Friday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Harvey Cedars Borough Hall, located at 7606 Long Beach Blvd. The $500 cost includes course materials. The online session, which provides an overview of the instructor course and the CPR/AED program, is approximately 2½ hours. The classroom session for practice teaching and evaluating skills is approximately seven hours.
Photo via HandsOn
American Red Cross volunteers help train
others how to properly conduct CPR/AED.
At the conclusion of the course, instructor candidates should be thoroughly familiar with the program materials and should be able to exhibit the characteristics required of an ARC representative and role model. Candidates should also be able to conduct courses in a manner that helps participants stay engaged in the learning process, perform applicable CPR and AED skills at the professional rescuer level, ensure participants’ health and safety during training, and maintain complete and accurate records and reports. Candidates should know how to monitor participants’ practice, provide positive, corrective feedback and encouragement consistent with the skill charts and skill assessment tools, and recognize the requirements in the skill assessment tools as criteria for ascertaining the proficiency of a participant’s performance.
To participate in the instructor course, instructor candidates must be at least 17 years of age on or before the last day of the instructor course and possess a current ARC CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers certification or equivalent. Prior to entering the first session of the instructor course, participants must have successfully completed the online session for the CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers Instructor course, including orientation to the ARC, orientation to the instructor course precourse exam and obtainment of the instructor’s manual and participant handbook. Visit or call 800-REDCROSS to enroll.
A blood drive will be held at the Red Men Lodge, located at 145 West Main St. in Tuckerton, on Friday, June 14, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Most healthy individuals 16 and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate. An ARC parental consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian is required for anyone 16 years of age. Photo ID is also required. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. To register, call 609-296-7023 or visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

LBI and mainland communities star in 'Landfall,' a documentary film on Superstorm Sandy

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for: Long Beach Island and Stafford Township will take the spotlight at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences on Sunday, June 16, at 3 and 6 p.m. during the world premiere of “Landfall: The Eyes of Sandy.” The film, produced by A.D. Pictures and sponsored by local apparel company Jetty, features the resurgence of the LBI communities and mainland, following in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Wine and cheese, as well as auction items will be available.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
"Landfall" Director Andrew Pearson shoots a
panoramic view of LBI residents who showed
up to be part of the documentary's final scene.

“‘Landfall’ captures the roller coaster of emotions that families,first responders, business owners and nonprofits experienced post-Sandy through the eyes of the individuals who were deeply affected,” the film’s press release states. “With no blueprint for a disaster of this magnitude, ‘Landfall’ pieces one together based on the uniting of people and organizations who are fighting to salvage a summer season in 2013 – one that identifies their livelihoods in a tourism-dependent region.”
The idea for the film came when Director Andrew Pearson of New Brunswick and Producer Corinne Ruff of Surf City crossed paths due to a candlelight vigil scheduled to take place in December at the Barnegat Lighthouse. The event was canceled because of inclement weather, but a documentary film was born in its place.
“From the initial meeting, the forces and factors that came together formed the perfect storm between Pearson and I,” said Ruff. “Our energy and vision gained momentum with a shared goal to capture the voices of hope and despair, creating an uplifting and positive dynamic throughout the course of the film.”
Pearson has been called “one of the leaders in the new generation of documentary filmmakers.” He has worked on projects for Sony Pictures Classics, DreamWorks, Gov. Chris Christie, PBS and a variety of other corporate clients across North America and Europe. Pearson has showcased his work in venues such as Tribeca Cinemas and the IFC Center in New York City, as well as The Discovery Network and the NBC Sports Network.
With “Landfall,” Pearson has returned to his home state to document the homegrown relief effort amidst a monumental reconstruction of the Jersey Shore.
All proceeds from the film will benefit the Jetty Rock Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization created with the goal of continuing to aid families, first responders, businesses and nonprofits with long-term needs in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Additional screenings will be held at Surflight Theatre on Friday, June 28, and Wednesday, July 3. Tickets to all screenings cost $20. Tickets are available online at They may also be purchased at the LBIF, located at 120 Long Beach Blvd. in Loveladies. Dial 609-494-1241.
For more information, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Craft beer writer doles out samples from East Coast Beer Co. at local NJ liquor store

Craft beer writer Jeff Linkous of Little Egg Harbor Township ditched the pen and paper on Friday night at Spirits Unlimited in Manahawkin to offer samples of beer brewed by East Coast Beer Co. Linkous, a part-time editor at The Press of Atlantic City and a former journalist with more than 30 years’ experience at the Asbury Park Press and The Associated Press, has been writing about beer since 2007. His interest in craft beer was piqued when he began homebrewing in the mid-1990s.
“I started giving up on Heineken and began drinking German imports and English beers,” he said.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Craft beer writer Jeff Linkous supports
one of his favorite local businesses,
East Coast Beer Company.
Linkous met up with the owners of ECB in 2009, when longtime friends John Merklin and Brian Ciriaco of Point Pleasant Beach quit their jobs and started up ECB full-time.
“I wrote about them in 2009, and now we have a good professional relationship,” Linkous said. “I write about New Jersey beer brands. That’s what I do,” he added.
On Friday night, Linkous offered samples of three out of four of ECB’s beers.
Beach Haus Classic American Pilsner launched as the company’s first beer in the summer of 2010. A smooth, golden and full-bodied beer, the pilsner is made purely of ingredients found in America, just as the early style demanded, pre-Prohibition.
“It’s a little lighter in body, but it’s really flavorful,” said Linkous. “It’s good for summertime and warmer weather, but people drink it year ’round.”
Beach Haus Kick Back Ale, an American amber ale, was introduced in May 2012. The slightly sweet and hoppy beer is well balanced. Linkous compared it to Bass Pale Ale.
“It’s not heavy or light. It’s easy drinking, good for hanging out in the back yard, talking and commiserating,” he said.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
East Coast Beer Co. offers four different
beers, including a seasonal dark lager.
ECB’s latest beer is the Beach Haus Cruiser IPA, an India pale ale, which launched in April. An American version of the historical English-style beer, the Cruiser is brewed using American ingredients and features a higher hop aroma and more bitterness than its European counterpart.
“It’s a hot style now,” said Linkous.
All the brews except the seasonal Winter Rental are currently available at Spirits Unlimited and other local outlets.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Structure fire consumes two-story residential home on LBI

A fully involved structure fire consumed a two-story residential home on Old Whaling Lane, located in the Dunes section of Long Beach Township, on Monday, June 3. The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical due to Superstorm Sandy damage, as stated by John Pasola, Ocean County’s deputy chief fire marshal.
Photo via Facebook
The Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co. was
the first to respond to the June 3 fire.
“There was one big ball of fire,” he said. The house “collapsed to the ground. There’s not much to see,” he added.
Pasola responded to the fire at 3:48 a.m.
Adjacent houses to the east and west of the destroyed home sustained significant damage, according to Pasola. A third home, on the northwest side of the fire, suffered rooftop damage from flyover embers.
“There may be more that we don’t know about until people do come down and actually see,” said Pasola.
The area was engulfed in flames when the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co. responded to the 3:31 a.m. call. Mutual aid from the Surf City Volunteer Fire Co., High Point Volunteer Fire Co., Barnegat Light Volunteer Fire Co. and the Stafford FAST team helped put out the fire. 
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, June 7, 2013

1932 Steinway piano returns to LBI inn after water damage

A historic piano, resurrected from bay water damage, begins a new chapter in its already-rich life story. The Gables Inn’s 1932 Steinway M baby grand piano returned to its home in Beach Haven on Saturday after spending a year in repair at the Steinway factory in Astoria, Queens, N.Y. The heirloom instrument, number 897 of only 900 made, received $42,000 in restorations after being damaged by 550,000 gallons of bay water, which was used to help put out the bed and breakfast’s $1.2 million brush fire on Easter Sunday last year.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Mike Bingham puts the finishing touches on
The Gables' 1932 Steinway piano.
“Within 24 hours (of the fire), the water from the firemen came trickling down through the ceiling. It broke a hole in the ceiling directly above the piano and basically poured into the piano,” said 30-year piano technician Mike Bingham, who has been maintaining the Steinway piano since Gables’ owner Sondra Beninati purchased it in 2005. “By the time I got here, the water was gone, but you could see the rust already accumulating on all the strings. The electronic components were destroyed, and the whole piano was basically saturated,” he explained, while taking a break from connecting the instrument’s new player piano system.
The new system allows the piano, with the tap of an iPod, to play thousands of different songs that were recorded by well-known, accomplished artists.
“Their rendition, their version comes through because it’s their touch. It’s not just a recording. The piano is emulating their nuance and their special talent,” said Bingham.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Longtime jazz pianist
Steve Kramer seranades
guests at the local inn.
The piano itself had to be totally rebuilt. Fortunately, it was able to be taken apart and put back together with all-new components, layer by layer. It received a new ½-inch-thick spruce soundboard, cast-iron harp, steel-drawn wires and strings, brass pedals, tuning pins, hammers, felts and a refinished mahogany case. All 12,116 Steinway parts are genuine, as promised by Steinway’s restoration center.
“If somebody else other than Steinway had fixed it, it would have no value. It would no longer be a Steinway,” said Beninati. “When you’re really having a fine supper, to have music playing and to have it be from a live instrument and a fine instrument, is a wonderful thing. This piano has a clarity to it that is like nothing else,” she added.
The piano is said to be worth around $85,000.
“It’s obviously the focal piece of this Victorian (building), and it hails sort of from that era,” said Bingham. “Even if it was manufactured maybe later than that, it evokes that charm that you associate with an elegant restaurant like this with fine music playing.”
Bingham spent five hours getting the piano ready for proper use. At 6 p.m., the instrument was turned over to Steve Kramer, 56, a long-time jazz pianist who has been playing at The Gables for the past two years whenever possible.
The musician, a lifelong Long Beach Island visitor who has a second home in Brant Beach, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston after falling in love with the piano – something he attributes to his parents, who often listened to jazz music. He started playing publicly when he was 15 years old. After college, he began playing at the Comedy Connection (now The Wilbur Theatre), a well-known comedy club in Boston, for comedians who later acquired fame and fortune, such as Steven Wright and Lenny Clarke. Soon after, he traveled with Artie Shaw playing big band music, and then with the Ice Capades, playing for Olympic gold medalists Scott Hamilton and Dorothy Hamill.
“I always came back to Long Beach Island in the summer, though, whenever I could get back to Jersey. It’s the place I’ve always come to. It basically brings back memories,” said Kramer.
Kramer was walking around Beach Haven two years ago when he happened upon The Gables and heard the Steinway piano playing from a distance. After he asked to play, Beninati realized Kramer and the piano belonged together.
“He loves the piano, and the piano loves him back,” she said.
Kramer’s performance on Saturday night proved this to be true. Sitting at the piano under a dazzling chandelier while guests conversed over dinner, their faces illuminated by flickering candlelight, Kramer filled the dining room with easy-listening music by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and even The Beatles. The music emanating from the keys of the piano added an elegant touch to the already gracious atmosphere.
“You cannot find places anymore that have real pianos that are in decent shape, where you can play cocktail music for diners,” Kramer said. “There’s music in a lot of places for bands or duos, but for easy listening, nice music, to have a piano is impossible to find anymore. But this place has a real piano. This place is like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It’s perfect; it’s what I’ve been looking for. There’s no place like this anywhere. The ambience is completely unique, the food is top-notch, and of course the service is, too.
“Music is a reflection on everything, so I look at it as being an instrumental part in the dining experience,” he added. “I play so people can still enjoy their meal and their conversation. Every once in a while, if they sit back while they’re sipping their glass of wine, they go, “This piano music is really nice.” It adds to the atmosphere. It’s part of the whole experience of dining. It’s really a big part of the success of any place; the owners of The Gables understand that.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nite Crawlers help revive blues music at Dutchman's, LBI

Looking for a live band that plays pop, hip-hop and other modern dance tunes? Then the Nite Crawlers are not for you. The local five-piece band, which originally emerged in 1986 with lead singer and harmonica player Roy Hollingshead of Manahawkin, is not interested in playing teenybopper music. Set up inside the dining room of The Dutchman’s Bavarian Tavern on Friday night, the group busted out some seriously loud blues-roots rock, a mix of traditional, downhome-style blues with a daring, rock edge. Set lineups included both original and cover songs from bands such as The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Cray, Guitar Slim and Ronnie Earl.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Roy Collingshead, the only original
member of the band, takes a break
from singing to blow out a few notes
on the harmonica.
“Cover bands usually play the same kind of stuff. We’re keeping blues alive because it’s good music,” said guitarist Paul Strong “All Night Long” of Manahawkin, who has been playing with the band for more than 10 years. “It’s like telling old folk stories that were passed down from the cotton fields in Mississippi to Chicago to New Orleans and to New Jersey. We do it with a little bit of rock because that’s what we grew up on. We didn’t all grow up picking cotton, so we’re trying to authenticate it,” he explained.
Other band members include guitarist Dave Jones of Manahawkin, who also plays with Third Watch, as well as solo; bassist Al Scherr of Lanoka Harbor, “the new kid on the block,” who picked up the instrument again in the mid-1990s and has been with the band for the past two years; and Jim Devaney of Parkertown, a self-taught drummer and a former captain of the Long Beach Township Police Department.
The group’s affinity for blues and rock music began years earlier and has not waned – a parallel that stimulates a genuine talent during the band’s live performances.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
The Nite Crawlers get the weekend started
with some loud blues-roots rock at
The Dutchman's near LBI.
“I always loved blues even before I really knew it,” said Strong. “When I was younger, I wanted to be Jimi Hendrix or Kiss, and Jimmy Paige, who was one of the greatest blues thieves of all time. Just ask Bruce Springsteen. He was influenced by all kinds of blues artists. I was influenced by a lot of local guys, too,” he added.
The band, clad in casual attire, including jeans, button-down T-shirts and sneakers or dress shoes, started playing its first set around 9 p.m. and didn’t stop for nearly two hours. Playing long sets is the band’s signature style.
“It costs a lot to go out, and you have to run the gauntlet with the police. We want to give people what they paid for,” said Strong. “And really, we just want to play; we don’t want to quit. Sometimes we’ll play a whole gig without a break for 3½ hours, and we don’t even know it. Breaks wear you out,” he added.
“If we take a break, I’ll have to go take a nap,” Scherr joked.
Although members of the packed audience, ranging in age from 25 to 55, did not brave the dance floor until 10:15, nobody could sit still. Everyone was caught bouncing to the music in their chairs as Hollingshead worked the harmonica and blew out high notes that would leave anyone else breathless. Fans clapped along to the quick tempos, nodding their heads, tapping their feet and even wiggling their toes. As cymbals crashed and guitar and bass strings wailed, the audience devoured snacks, sipped on cocktails and chatted in between. Applause erupted after each completed song, followed by cheers and high whistles.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Jim Devaney, a self-taught drummer,
loses himself in one of the band's
original songs.
The band’s good, but everybody left the bar to go watch them,” said Andy Essinger, bartender at The Dutchman’s.
The band’s unique charm appeared to be the cause. Its easy-going demeanor helped keep the audience feeling comfortable and free to vibe.
Hollingshead’s son, Roy, 28, and his long-time friend Jeffrey Kostiuk of Manahawkin, were not reluctant to express their enthusiasm for the band’s talent.
“I’ve been listening to the band since I was 2 years old. It’s in my blood,” said Roy, pounding his beer glass on the table to the beat of one of the band’s original songs, “One More Round.”
“It’s Friday night, and it’s early in the season, right after the storm. I should be in bed right now, but these guys are great. I have to go to work tomorrow, but I wouldn’t miss this,” added Jeffrey.
Although the night started out strong, half of the crowd ditched the show after the first set – a reason Hollingshead said the band has started playing earlier happy-hour performances.
“We have a more older following, and they don’t want to stay out until 1 or 2 in the morning. So we try to play longer sets so they get to hear a lot of good music,” he said.
“It’s time for a blues revival,” added Strong. “Hopefully Dutchman’s can facilitate that, and we can be a part of it.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mashwork Orange offers live mash-ups of the latest songs

Photo via Mashwork Orange
Mashwork Orange, a club DJ's mix come to life.
ON TAP: Mashwork Orange
HOME BASE: Nyack, N.Y.
STYLE: A modern-day dance, pop, hip-hop cover band playing unique mash-ups of today’s hottest songs.
LINEUP: Six lads named “Alex.” Alex Prime, guitar and vocals; Alex Goloss, guitar and vocals; Alex Trevar, bass; Alex Sneety, keys; Alex Razz, drums; Alex Holla, guest vocals.
SOUND BYTE: In an era where the club scene thrives on DJs, Mashwork Orange lends its crowd that same dance experience by playing today’s best songs from the hottest artists, including Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and more. The group, clad in full costumes and makeup, delivers the explosive energy that only a live-performing band can provide.
TWO’S TAKE: Fans of Anthony Burgess's literary cult classic A Clockwork Orange who also love to ball.
BE THE JUDGE: Sunday, June 23, at the newly renovated Joe Pop’s Shore Bar and Restaurant, located at 2002 Long Beach Blvd. in Ship Bottom.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pop/rock cover band, Punch Bully, the 'human hit machine'

Photo via Facebook
ON TAP: Punch Bully
HOME BASE: Cranford, N.J.
STYLE: Fun pop, R&B, rock and dance cover songs from the ’50s to today
LINEUP: Dave Artiaga, lead vocals; Sami Eldebs, guitar and backing vocals; Josh Starter, bass; Dave Cecconi, guitar and backing vocals; Fausto Artiaga, drums and backing vocals
SOUND BYTE: Punch Bully is the human hit machine, an explosive live act bringing the best rock, pop, hip-hop, dance, nu-metal and top 40 tracks to the show. By merging a constantly growing set list with an exhilarating stage performance, Punch Bully is proving itself night after night as a talented entertainment force with staying power for years to come.
TWO’S TAKE: Punch Bully’s fans want to dance. And from the first drum beat to the last cymbal crash, that’s what they do.
BE THE JUDGE: Friday, August 16, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Nardi's Tavern, located at 11801 Long Beach Blvd. in Long Beach Township.

– Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.