April “AJ” Lee Is November’s Garden State Playmate!

“Growing up this New Jersey native faced multiple hardships, overcoming extreme poverty and even homelessness. But through it all, she never lost sight of her lifelong goal to thrive as a Diva in WWE.” 

In a strange twist, November’s Garden State Playmate was actually once known as Miss April early in her career. Some personalities in pro wrestling wind up changing their names more than they change their ring attire, but in AJ Lee’s case it has only signified her ascent to stardom. For those WWE fans out there you know her simply as A.J, the cute and energetic diva from Union City, New Jersey.


Unlike many of the WWE Divas who have won contests or were simply models plucked off a magazine page, AJ has worked hard to climb the pro wrestling ladder. As Miss April she started out in New Jersey’s female indy promotion, WSU. Not too long after that she signed with Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE’s developmental company. From there, now known as A.J, she made it to WWE’s NXT show and presently she can be seen on Friday Night Smackdown in tag team action as The Chickbusters with fellow Diva, Kaitlyn.


AJ, a Pisces, is constantly described as a comic book and video game lover. She was trained by her ex boyfriend, a Sexy Armpit favorite, New Jersey’s own Jay Lethal! Her fast, high flying style is “inspired by the likes of Rey Mysterio, Macho Man Randy Savage, and WWE Hall of Famer Ricky The Dragon Steamboat…” according to her bio on WWE.com. I’m sure you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more from AJ as WWE seems to be working her into bigger storylines. On a recent episode of Smackdown it was hinted that her character may have a thing for another indy favorite who made it big, Daniel Bryan.

Debbie Harry is September’s Garden State Playmate!


When a sultry blonde female begs you to “Call Me,” One Way or Another I would hope that you do it. I’ll feel bad if she leaves you Hanging on the Telephone, but that only proves that she has a Heart of Glass. You’d probably feel better if you met up with her In The Flesh and Ripped Her to Shreds but you couldn’t bring yourself to do it because she’s still your Sunday Girl. You should probably just make up and bring her to the Jersey Shore when the Tide is High.


In the slim chance that you are completely brain dead, you may not have noticed that the previous paragraph is speckled with references to songs made famous by Blondie. And yes, Blondie is a band, but their name is also synonymous with their iconic lead singer Debbie Harry. September’s Garden State Playmate was born in Miami, Florida but grew up in Hawthorne, NJ where she graduated high school. Harry holds a degree from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ and later became a dancer in Union City, NJ. Her sexy and smart attitude and NJ roots make her an obvious selection for GSP.

Harry, a former Playboy Bunny, was best known for her music but she has starred in a long list of movies as well. Some of her well known performances include Union City (filmed in Jersey), Roadie, Rock and Rule, Videodrome, and Tales from the Darkside; The Movie. In addition to films, Harry has made many TV guest appearances on The Muppet Show, and Pete and Pete (a beloved NJ show) among others.


Music stars from Madonna to Gwen Stefani can all owe a debt of gratitude to Debbie Harry for paving the way for modern female pop-rock singers. Believe it or not, she and her bandmates are often cited as early pioneers of hip-hop music on MTV. Her band is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she’s had her own Barbie doll, and in 1983, Harry starred in Teaneck Tanzi, The Venus Flytrap, a wrestling themed Broadway play. Even with the star power of the inter-gender wrestling champion, the mighty Andy Kaufman, and with a township in Bergen County, NJ as it’s namesake, it closed after only one performance. Harry has stated in an interview with The Gothamist that one of the reasons she took the role was because she was a big fan of pro wrestling at the time! Blondie is presently on tour and will join The Pretenders for several shows in Australia in November.

*Blondie’s next album Panic of Girls is slated to be released very soon. Check out the official Blondie website for the latest news.

Blondie’s “Union City Blue” Video

The video for Blondie’s “Union City Blue,” released in 1979, was filmed right on the docks in Union City, NJ. The track was featured in Oliver Stone’s 1981 horror film The Hand and it’s also been covered by Radiohead and The Black Kids w/ Cut Copy. Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry grew up in Hawthorne, NJ and was once a dancer in Union City. If you’ve never visited New Jersey, this video provides you with some magnificent scenic visuals. Note to self: that didn’t sound anywhere near as dryly sarcastic as intended. Also of note, Union City is the site of The Park Theater where a few of New Jersey’s most prominent pop culture moments have taken place, namely the recording of George Carlin’s “What Am I Doing in New Jersey?”

George Carlin: What am I Doing in New Jersey?

On March 25th & 26th, 1988, at the Park Theater in Union City NJ, the eternal KING of comedy George Carlin recorded a special for HBO called What am I Doing in New Jersey? Though it’s not considered his best work, Carlin fearlessly attacked controversial topics head on using his legendary wit and sarcasm. Sure, it’s a 20 year old comedy special, but the ideas Carlin explores and rips on are still fresh and relevant today.


Carlin fiercely kicks the show off with his gripes of Reagan’s government. The Reagan White House vowed to the American people that they’d get government off their backs, but still ’till this day decide what you can read, and what broadcasters can say on the radio. Carlin tore right into the idea of the FCC and how they pointlessly horn in on our 1st amendment right. The bits on Ronald Reagan are obviously dated but if you really wanted to, it’s entirely possible to substitute George W. Bush and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. From there, he blew “right to lifers” out of the water, and did a hysterical bit on Civil War reanactors: “…they should use live ammunition!”


Carlin is at his best as he details ironic and sometimes bizarre aspects of American culture:

This is a place where gun store owners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs! And now they’re thinking about banning toy guns, and they’re gonna KEEP the fuckin’ REAL ones!

Later on in the show, Carlin deals with some of the most appropriate topics for a show in NJ, such as traffic and driving:

“…New Jersey deserves the title “Toll Booth Capitol” of the United States of America.”

“…you can’t back out of your driveway in New Jersey without some schmuck in a hat wants 50 cents! And i don’t mind payin’ tolls, but every 27 feet? Bullshit!

“…so I say let ’em be honest, let ’em put it right on the license plates, New Jersey: The Tollbooth State. What does it say now? The Garden State, haha, sure, if you’re growing smokestacks…YES.”

I like New Jersey…I even have one of those t-shirts you guys sell, “Kiss Her Where It Smells Take Her to New Jersey”…so I like the place…”

Carlin also offers some helpful tips and hints on improving your life:

how to get rid of counterfeit money: put it in the collection plate at church. See how often the simple solution will elude us?

“…someone asks you what time it is, say, well it’s either 6:15 or Mickey has a hard on.”

Keeping with the driving and traffic topic, signs and stickers on cars get Carlin fired up. He also offers a few suggestions on how to deal with a cop when you get pulled over.

In his review of the comedy album, JT Griffith of AllMusic.com had this to say: “The main weakness of What Am I Doing in New Jersey is that it doesn’t have any choice takes on the “Garden State” at all. What a missed opportunity. Overall, a light and entertaining comedy album, but not a groundbreaking or challenging one. ” I concur with JT. I would’ve liked to hear more of Carlin roasting New Jersey, but at the time, in ’88, making fun of NJ guido’s wasn’t as popular of a trend as it is now. Perhaps riffing on Joe Piscopo or Pork Roll sandwiches didn’t entice Carlin very much either and I think this HBO special was better off for it. Regardless of it’s shortcomings, What am I Doing in New Jersey is another quite entertaining entry in Carlin’s extensive discography. It’s available on CD and DVD.

** Built in 1931, The Park Theater Performing Arts Center features the the longest running passion play in the United States which details Christ’s last days. It’s now in it’s 94th season. Judging by their website, it looks like there aren’t many big names performing there anymore.