NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 86: Overkill’s 25th Anniversary T-Shirt

photos from Tshirtslayer.com

New Jersey metal band Overkill always offer some of the coolest looking rock t-shirts around. The shirt pictured above was printed up specially for their 25th anniversary show which took place minutes away from their where they originally formed, Sayreville’s Starland Ballroom. I love how they incorporated the Garden State Parkway sign into the tee on the front and the state of NJ on the back. Overkill has never been afraid to admit that they hailed from Jersey and that is awesome. Presently, Overkill is working on new songs for an album slated for release in early 2012.

*One of my favorite songs ever and a theme song I used when I worked in radio is Overkill’s Kick-Ass Cover of “Frankenstein.”

Colleen Fitzpatrick is November’s Garden State Playmate!

Colleen Fitzpatrick 1
With flu season in full effect I thought you might need some Vitamin C. Let us not forget about Old Bridge New Jersey’s Colleen Fitzpatrick, a singer, songwriter, and actress who is better known as our favorite ascorbic acid. Now, enjoy a megadose of Vitamin C, November’s Garden State Playmate.
Colleen Fitzpatrick graduated from Old Bridge High School in New Jersey and then New York University. Throughout high school she danced professionally and acted in high school plays. If you aren’t familiar with her, Vitamin C enjoyed her biggest surge of success in the the early 2000’s. After her original alt-rock band Eve’s Plum broke up, Fitzpatrick went solo in 1998 and signed with Elektra Records where she transformed from alt-rock chick into dance pop cutie.

Colleen Fitzpatrick 2

After scoring with her debut CD Vitamin C, Fitzpatrick became a household name, even if it was for a short time. The album featured the hits “Smile,” and “Graduation (Friends Forever)” which didn’t do much to cure the common cold, but blew up on the tween and high school scenes. She solidified her place in pop culture when there was a Vitamin C Mattel doll released as well as a lipstick shade by Tommy Hilfiger. Although she was a pop icon of the moment for the younger crowd, she was also recognized as a sex symbol for horny twentysomething dudes when she was included on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 of 2001. As an actress Fitzpatrick has appeared in such films as Liar Liar, Dracula 2000, Rock Star, and Get Over It among others.
Even though she’s not in the public eye anymore she continues to create new music. A new Vitamin C album was scheduled for 2007 in addition to an original children’s album by Fitzpatrick, but they have yet to be released. Most recently she has been writing and co-writing songs for tween stars like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato.

Here’s Vitamin C’s video for her single “The Itch,” starring another Jersey Girl, Kirsten Dunst!

Jersey Justice Film Review


Squeezing my way through the legions of people at this year’s Monster Mania Con wasn’t fun. Getting stuck behind attendees who stopped at every table to drool over the goods made for a really obnoxious trek around the dealer room. By the time I finished checking out everything of interest to me I was pretty fed up with the crowds and was about to call it a day when my attention was magically summoned to a poster on the wall in front of me. The poster was for an independent film called Jersey Justice, and sitting beneath the poster was it’s writer, producer, and director, John Charles Hunt, who was greeting people at his table. Naturally, I launched into curious mode and started rattling him off questions about his film. Without hesitation I picked up a copy after confirming that the film did indeed involve New Jersey. I popped it in and watched it as soon as I got home and it turned out to be the best purchase I made at the convention. 
John Charles Hunt’s company, Browntown Films, is named after the section of Old Bridge, NJ where he was raised. With Jersey Justice, the company has produced a film that expands on the genre of pulp drive in flicks by infusing a modern edge. For instance, the main character is a woman out for revenge, and while a “final girl” may be the norm in a horror movie, it’s a change of pace for this type of film. The story is also timely and deals with relevant issues since it involves the war in the middle east, references to rape, and well as gay/lesbian themes.

Remember Molly Ringwald’s sister in Sixteen Candles? The blonde, prim, proper, and perfect-haired bride who pops muscle relaxers? That was actress Blanche Baker and her role in Jersey Justice as middle aged suburban mom Polly O’Bannon is quite a departure from her snotty turn in Sixteen Candles. Polly’s son in the armed forces is being held in captivity in Baghdad, and several months after they get word of their sons death, her husband is killed right in front of her. She’s now bent on avenging his murder and stops at a gun shop expressing her intent to “hunt wild boar” and needs a gun with “that fast pump action thing…” Together, the gun store scene mingles with jazzy background music to create a fine bit of dark comedy. Later, Polly forces a biker gang to dance to music being played by a bar band. It was priceless.
The humor doesn’t end there, but the film also gets serious and balances itself out with tense, dramatic moments. As a fan of comedy, I appreciated the jokes and sharp dialogue. The film’s humor is certainly more prominent than the it’s poster and ads lead you to believe. There were some outright funny and shlocky moments, like after witnessing Polly’s husband get shot, a bystander calls the authorities and says “Yeah, I want to report a dead guy in an alley.” The deadpan delivery of lines like that may go over some people’s head’s, but not most.
The cast was gathered with help from the The Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Bo Svenson and Christopher Mann star along with several actors I haven’t seen before, but a few stood out in my mind. As Robbo, Eoin O’Shea reminded me of a sadistic version of Kevin Dillon’s Johnny Drama on Entourage, and I definitely would’ve liked to have seen more of the cute Natalia Jablokov.
As the detective threatening to give his rookie officer an enema with his boot, Jerry Lyden seemed to channel elements of Lt. Harris in Police Academy. The fact that coffee plays such an integral part of the cops job was hysterical, and his obliviousness to DVR was funny, but sadly realistic. Maria Soccor played the spunky bartender Felix Romeo, and when asked where she discovered the hot sauce on the hand trick, she replies “Nature Boy Ric Flair!” And finally, as the bad dude Carlo, T.J Glenn has one of the best lines in the movie: “You have got to be the dumbest bitch in New Jersey!”

The film begins in Pennsylvania but the mood of the film changes when Polly gets into New Jersey. Hunt elaborated to me that “it’s like Dorothy leaving Kansas for Oz.” Organized crime and biker gangs were instrumental in the plot, so Pennsylvania and Jersey served as perfect backdrops. Unlike the typical Jersey based stuff you’ve seen like The Sopranos, and The Toxic Avenger, this is a film that features the southern part of Jersey which, aside from Atlantic City, rarely gets much play in movies and TV. Although the majority of the movie was filmed in Doylestown in Bucks County PA, there were several towns in South Jersey that were either filmed in or just mentioned: Atlantic City, Tabernacle, Ocean City, Upper Township, Baptistown, and Woodbury. 
Jersey Justice is unabashedly packed with action, revenge, and it also had me laughing my ass off. For example some guys announce outside a bar that “dikes are in there with a shotgun!” while another replied “…are they naked?” But like I mentioned before, the film isn’t an all out comedy, and it did a excellent job maintaining it’s social criticisms of the justice system and the treatment of our troops and their families without bogging the film down in drama. Jersey Justice was definitely a fun throwback and kept my eyes glued to the TV. It reminded me of a movie I would’ve watched on WPIX 11 on Saturday afternoon when I was a kid. So get the DVD, pop some popcorn, grab yourself a cold one, and find out what good ol’ fashioned Jersey Justice is all about!
*John Charles Hunt is an awesome guy and was happy to answer my questions. His production company has more projects on the way such as a crime drama called “Pure Life,” and a holiday movie called “Christmas Heart,” so log on to browntownfilms.net for the latest and support independent filmmaking! 

Scarfin’ It with The Armpit

Hamburgers,New jersey,North Brunswick
Blitzburgers in North Brunswick
Regardless of America’s obesity epidemic, hamburgers seem to be more popular than ever. Blitzburgers is capitalizing on this popularity with their own eclectic array of burgers, along with chicken burgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, and paninis. Perusing the Blitzburgers menu will give you a case of the old momentary “decisions, decisions” disease. You’ll really have to use process of elimination to determine which burger you’ll order since the menu, specifically their burger repertoire, is so huge. I ordered #21, The All American Burger with American Cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onion, ketchup and mustard, although I was secretly fantasizing about #19, the Jersey Shore Burger which includes pork roll, fried egg, and american cheese, mmm…aka The Burger that WON’T get you abs like The Situation’s. The burger was awesome, but the only aspect of it that disappointed me was that it had two patties in it. I was only expecting one and two slabs of meat not only make the burger sloppier, but I also felt kind of disgusting after eating such a gigantic burger. Blitzburgers also has another location in New Brunwick.
468 Renaissance Blvd. East
North Brunswick, NJ
New Brunswick,New Jersey,Hambugers
Sliders Bar and Grill in New Brunswick
The Tex Mex Chicken Slider with avocado and monterey jack cheese was a perfect sized portion so I didn’t feel stuffed before heading to The Stress Factory later that night. The chicken patty was cooked just right and was very flavorful, but my only gripe with this slider was that the bun was too small for the patty. I understand the concept of a mini burger, but the roll did not cover the circumference of the patty, which bothered me. As you can see, the presentation is trendy and more upscale but the prices are very reasonable. The decor at Sliders is very cool, equipped with TV’s all around, they boast an awesome bar, and bubbly waitresses who aim to please.
378 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
chicken,cuban,food,new jersey
My Cuban Rose in Kenilworth
We started with a couple of empanadas and then what was delivered to me was the most massive, gigantic piece of breaded chicken I’ve ever seen in my life. I originally wanted a pork dish but they were out of the breaded pork entree so I played it safe. The chicken was brought to the table and my girlfriend noticed that it looked like the shape of the United States. At first I wasn’t sold, but when you really look at it, it does bare a resemblance, although conspicuous by its absence is Texas. The chicken was crispy, delicious, and very thin. On the side they give the option of black beans and rice, but I recommend the option of the black beans and rice mixed together. I wound up taking much of the dinner home because there was so much food. I think I got another 2 meals out of the leftovers! There’s a laid back atmosphere at My Cuban Rose, although the waitresses seemed like they were too busy to pay proper attention to each table. I also had a hard time understanding our waitress since she had a very thick accent. My Cuban Rose also offers catering, takeout, and hand rolled cigars.
625 North Michigan Avenue
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
Thai food,Edison,New Jersey
Thai Thai Cuisine in Edison
Thai Thai Cuisine’s service was top notch and the food was right on par with the best Thai food that I’ve had. My girlfriend and I started off with an awesome appetizer of Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. For our meals we ordered the Pad Thai, and I requested mine HOT. It was an exceptional meal and did indeed provide a good amount of heat, but of course I had a gripe. All of the shrimp pieces still had their tails, and that pissed me off because if the tails were removed I could’ve scarfed down the whole meal without having to pinch out the shrimp meat. I like when that stuff is taken care of by the restaurant before I dig in. It was a minor annoyance but it grew worse when I realized that I ate a piece of shrimp with its tail and I didn’t care much for that at all. Overall, Thai Thai Cuisine is a definite winner if you’re fan of Thai food. You can also visit their other location in Old Bridge.
Thai Thai Cuisine
Shop Rite Strip Mall
Route 1 and Old Post Road
Edison, NJ 08817

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.23: Gene Simmons Comes to Old Bridge


I never thought the God of Thunder himself would grace Old Bridge, NJ with his presence. KISS sings about losing their minds in Detroit Rock City, and meeting girls in the Ladies Room, but apart from concerts, the hottest band in the world have not yet had an intimate encounter with the toxic waste capital of the world, until now.

After catching a glimpse of Gene’s sprawling mansion on A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels, you’d never understand why he would want to leave the place, especially to fly to New Jersey!
GENE: “We’re going to the east coast”
SHANNON: “What’s it called Genie?”
GENE: “Old Bridge, New Jersey”
In the season 4 episode “Godfather Gene,” a friend of the Simmons family, Uncle Tony, asked Gene to be the Godfather of his grandchild. Being the nice, sweet Demon that he is, Gene accepts. When landing in Newark Liberty International airport, the first impression of the state is far from favorable. The industrial backdrop visible from the NJ Turnpike is not exactly an accurate example of how the rest of the state looks. In sum, NJ’s hellish compared to sunny California.
Aside from the areas of the state you’ll see when landing in Newark, there are actually plenty of beautiful towns, gated communities, and mansions here. Uncle Tony clearly lives in one of these ritzy areas. It’s a part of Old Bridge that I’ve never had the privilege of driving through before.

Uncle Tony welcomes Gene and Shannon with a “Welcome to New Joisey.” Here’s the thing about that: If you aren’t from New Jersey then you should be aware that NOBODY talks like that in this state. In fact, somehow, we NJ folks get blamed for the terrible offenses against the English language that New Yorkers and Staten Islanders have committed. I’ll admit, there’s certain idiosyncrasies in the speech of Jerseyites, but they aren’t as prevalent as the rest of the population has been made to believe.

The episode is chock full of terrible Jersey stereotypes, a Soprano’s-esque intro montage signalling their arrival in NJ, and too many bad Godfather impressions to count! It’s also worth noting that Uncle Tony is a not a good representation of males living in Jersey. Not all of us walk around the house pretending to be “Goodfellas” to our guests, and surprisingly, we’re all not living in the past.
Shannon Tweed left NJ with the idea that the women in the state are all backward and still living in “barefoot and pregnant days.” In the episode, the ladies of Uncle Tony’s family served the men, waiting on them dotingly until Shannon helped them turn the tables on the guys. Shannon baffled, said, “Why can’t them come out and get it themselves?” Shannon also stated that “The women’s movement hasn’t hit home there because it’s not welcome…no one opens the door for it.” Shannon, please, take it from a guy who knows first hand, the women here in Jersey are quite independent and you don’t want to mess with them! It’s a safe bet that the producers of the show urged everyone to play up the “old fashioned Italian” angle for the show, but they claim it’s “reality” right?

Tony’s 1st question: “Can you smell my meatballs?”
Residents of California, New York, and Florida are numb to hearing their sports venues, addresses, and local establishments named dropped on TV and in movies. For example, if you’re a life long New York City resident, then it’s no big deal for you to pass by a film crew or to turn on HBO and catch a scene in a movie that was filmed in the building you live in. Although Jersey has a rich history in entertainment, and it’s the birthplace of the earliest films, we’ve never enjoyed the prominence that the aforementioned states have in the media until The Sopranos premiered.
The Sopranos brought several NJ towns, a local ice cream parlor, and an average strip club into the minds of millions of viewers everywhere. It made us feel important. So, when I heard Uncle Tony tell Gene Simmons that “there’s two malls, the East Brunswick Mall on 18 or Freehold Mall take 9 south,” my face lit up. The thought of The Demon stomping around The Sexy Armpit is so cool. Even Shannon paid a visit with the other women to the popular Ciccone’s Italian Deli in Old Bridge.
Of course the episode wasn’t without wacky hijinks. Gene ran into a speed bump on his mission to become Godfather. Tony’s church prohibited Gene from being a Godparent because he’s Jewish. In an attempt to prove himself to the priest who handled the baptism, he not only unleashed all of his religious knowledge onto the priest, but he also frantically served as safety patrol for local school kids. Those kids have no idea how lucky they were to have had the legendary Dr. Love help them into their cars that day! In the end, all the loose ends were tied up and Gene was able to become Godfather. If only Gene spit the Holy water onto the babies head while churning out a bass solo, that would’ve been an awesome ending.

Gene rocking NJ designer Marc Ecko’s Cut & Sew shirt
Old Bridge, NJ is also known for being the town where the metal band Overkill formed, the hometown of Brian O’Halloran, Dante from Clerks fame as well as pop singer/actress Vitamin C.