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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...1/3/19
By Danny Coleman
originally published: 01/03/2019
"I think that when people think you have an agenda it makes them very uncomfortable."
Perhaps no truer words have been spoken, especially if one is involved in the entertainment industry. However on occasion there are those who stick out like the proverbial sore thumb because they are honest in their attempts to do as they say and passionate in their beliefs.
Janet Rothstein is one such person, a person who has long standing ties to an Ocean Grove community which she is helping to revive through the arts, ties to the building from which she operates Cafe` Artiste and a passion to bring live original music to the forefront; for no other reason than to give artists a place to be heard.
"I first started in music with my former husband years ago; we had a recording studio," she said as she recounted the beginning of her journey. "We had some very interesting people come through, Howard Stern, Tom Petty but my whole life I've been coming here every summer to Ocean Grove. My parents were from Jersey City and every summer we'd come down here and now I kind of do the same thing, I live in New York City but I'm here sometimes Sunday through Wednesday. Years ago I worked with my friends as a waitress at hotels, I modeled off and on in New York City, then I got involved in film and worked as a DJ to pay my way through film school which was cool. It was a different time back then but there are so many talented people out there now; so I've always been into music."
The Jersey Shore Arts Center sits at 66 South Main Street (Rte. 71) where Ocean Grove, Neptune and Asbury Park converge in a tributary of options for those seeking entertainment. Unfortunately the current structure was not always as it is now; years of neglect and political wrangling allowed the building to fall into disrepair and it almost suffered the fate of the wrecking ball had it not been for a concerned group of alumni along with Janet and her father's vision.
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"I started at the Art Center because of my father; he bought it for a dollar in 1997 because they were going to tear it down," she said with a tone of mild disbelief. "The people from the class of 1940 Neptune High School didn't want that to happen because it was their high school so they approached my father and asked him to make it an art center. So my father went and got grants and with the help of volunteers he was able to get it started and now there's dance and guitar rooms and every room has an artist in it but what wasn't here was music; so I said to my father that we needed film and music so that's when I started Cafe Artiste."
"This is my baby, I wanted to bring original music here, I am the director of special events for the center so I started by bringing in a movie on the Saturday after Thanksgiving; a sing along and then we had some film shows but music is what I love. So I thought; what can I do and why not start showcasing songwriters? A friend of mine was with me as I was sitting around deciding what to call this and they said, "Well we don't want to call it the dining room; why not call it Cafe Artiste?"
So with the building secured and a background in music, film and a love of art; Rothstein continued to develop her plan and the room once used for meals to boot.
"There was a banister and windows and a chandelier; as I said, this whole building was bought for a dollar and all of the volunteers did the woodwork. That platform over there was a dining area but if you look at it that shouldn't be anything other than a stage. So I thought, OK for two months we're going to try doing original music and see what happens and then; OK how can we make it special so that the artists are treated with respect and the audience really listens? So that's why I thought about every little detail that would make that happen, even to the point where there is no crunchy food (laughs). When you have a vision, I believe that you stick with it just like my father did with this building; this building had snow on the first floor because it was supposed to be torn down and the roof was open but he had a vision. I had a vision as to how this ought to be and I said to the others, just trust me and that's basically how I got it started."
Janet paid attention to details that many may never notice as she set her vision into motion. Maybe it's a product of her sound engineering days or maybe it's just great instinct but the design is akin to layering music tracks so that each supports the other; noticeable only if removed.
"There was no original music here so I brought in film and decided to bring in original artists. We don't have prints of famous artists on the wall, we have original art. I decided to make it a show with five artists, only original music, every artist gets four or five songs and we give them an audience to listen. The chairs are arranged so that they all face the stage; you're sending a message to the people as soon as they walk in that the artist is the focus. There's no bar, no coffee grinder, we sell things on the side, everything is two dollars, everything is quiet, water is free but it's not about the food although we like to make money to support ourselves; we keep it a little more artisan. We serve coffee in a mug not a paper cup, so it is all about respect for the artist and to have created a room where their whole song gets heard. Artists like George Wirth and Frank Lombardi who write music that are stories; it would be a shame to miss part of their songs because what they and others do are create images and that's basically my passion. I'm a songwriter myself and I think, if I wanted to play my original music; how would I want it to be? That's what this is about, everything is designed to be quiet so that the music is heard."
"Our first show was July 11, 2017 and the first couple of months I had three artists but now five seems like a good number in case someone backs out; which has only happened twice and the one called me from the hospital with appendicitis and said she couldn't make it. So I put it out there that the artists are going to get respected and they consider it an honor to play here which is lovely because I want them to feel that way. We charge five dollars at the door just so we can cover our expenses and people can come as early as 5:30 p.m. for the sound check; everything is acoustic based, no drum sets. This is about their music and how they wrote it in its purest form."
Rothstein estimates that she's, "Read over 350 bios from more than 200 artists," because she believes that the audience should know a bit about who they are watching perform.
"I like to say something before each artist takes the stage, I ask them to send me a bio. If you go to see Billy Joel everyone knows about the band and knows about his life so I like to say something about the artists so you can connect with them; artists like Dave Vargo who has performed with so many people such as Whitney Houston. I wanted to make it a show, not just an open mic so I branded it, "Cafe Artiste The Listening Room" but I'm kind of the "Lone Ranger" out here because we haven't really advertised and it's acoustic based, no drums, I want it to be based on hearing the music and the melodies and the lyrics."
Now a year and a half in from its inception, the word is spreading and more and more people are sharing Janet's vision; as she and it continue to grow she stresses the importance of the venue's mission.
"There's an online form that the artists can use to sign up and I make sure that I check everyone out; not that I discriminate but that's how I determine the order of the show and I also mix up the styles of each performer. It took a while to get where we are now; at first it was just the artists paying the five bucks but I knew that if it I could get it out on social media that it would catch on. So once I have my five artists I promote the show on social media and I tell the artists that they can do four or maybe five songs or 15 minutes of their original music only; no cover material here. This is a chance for you to play your own music. Every time one of these artists gets up on stage and I look around during the event and everyone is engaged and I know that they got something out of it; I get a thrill and it makes me happy."
Not one to rest on her laurels, Rothstein is constantly seeking ways to enhance the experience for the audiences.
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"We might have a professional dancer from downstairs come up and start a show, I like to shake things up; we may have a magician, a comedian, I don't know. Every artist gets video recorded, we shoot their performance but I'm doing this alone so I think I need to hire an intern because I have over 400 videos (laughs) but no matter what we do it's about promoting original music."
"I see this going into social media and promoting artists with live feeds, I see other acts coming in here and using this space for other nights; I think it's my calling card and it's a good thing to do for other artists. We've got requests to hold CD release parties here and I'm hoping that by the end of fall in 2019 to put together all of this audio and video and having something in a theater like a gala; sounds good right? I would like to have three cameras recording in here and make a live YouTube feed, possibly a recording studio if I can make it happen."
Part of the charm of the room is its links to the past. One such connection is a very large painting of the venue itself with an artist's depiction of the elder Rothstein in the foreground. Janet is quick to mention that many of the things in the venue were recycled; including this unique work of art as well as some of the interesting side/opening acts that the Cafe` has brought forth.
"Molly Johnson; that picture used to be a table and she turned it into a painting. Every week we have a live artist here; some paint the show and some paint during the show. We've had a rock 'n' roll doll maker, origami, fabric art, oils; something different because I don't want it to be boring and these aren't just average artists."
Some people have a knack for getting things done and obviously Rothstein is one of them. The fervor with which she attacks this project is incomparable and her accomplishments thus far should be rightfully lauded but like all else she strives to make it better and can not always do it alone.
"I've booked speakers like Oprah, I've had a recording studio, I've worked with David Geffen, I went on tour doing sound for Phoebe Snow but what I am is an organizer; I love to put things together. I like being healthy and I cherish every day, I value feeling good; if I'm at the club I want to be the DJ, I find it hard to go somewhere and just be there because I like to be involved and do things; it's a personality thing" and after taking a moment to laugh at herself she stated the obvious. "We ask for donations because we are looking to buy sound equipment because right now we are relying on the generosity of others. I'm so busy trying to get it to work, we could use some sponsors; I'm just so busy trying to get it up, running and ready to go; this is about people and their stories. We have a Cafe Artiste Go Fund Me page if anyone wants to help us with a donation and in turn help the artists as well."
Plans, plans and more plans are formulated but for the moment she is focused on creating the best possible experience she can once a week and watching it blossom.
"Right now I've only got Tuesdays covered, I figure if you do it and you do it well and do it consistently then the people will come. I've got performers asking to come back and I just think that the energy in this whole building is great; who knows where we will go from here!"
To discover more about the Jersey Shore Arts Center and Cafe` Artiste, please visitwww.jerseyshoreartscenter.org.
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
Thurs. "Pasta and Sinatra Night"
Wed. 10 p.m. (TBA)
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton
Sat. 2 p.m. Gallery Talk w/ Diana Weymar and Nelson Hancock of "All That You Leave Behind." (FREE admission)
Sun. 2 p.m. Fiesta Del Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day). $10 (Suggested donation)
19 Everett Alley Trenton
Wed. 11 a.m. "Nicolette Print" Open Studio
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
Thurs. 9 p.m. Trivia
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Jam
Wed. 7 p.m. Karaoke
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Gary Reed & Arturo
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 7 p.m. Dave Dales Trio
Sun. (12 p.m.) Brunch w/ Ottmar (6 p.m.) Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Tony Alosi
Wed. 6 p.m. Cindy Ruenes Duo
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Byrd
Sat. 10 p.m. Sir Xerri
Broken Goblet Brewing
1500 Grundy Lane Bristol, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Dana Collins
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Kinky Quizzo
BT Restaurant & Tavern
2031 Route 130 South Burlington
Fri. 9 p.m. Union
24 Passaic Street Trenton
Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam
Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet)
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
931 Chambers street Trenton
fri. 6 p.m. "First Friday"
Mon. 8 p.m. "Art Chill Night"
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
Fri. 9 p.m. Jim Delre Band
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays"
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie & Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval
Classics Books and Gifts
4 West Lafayette Street Trenton
Sat. 2 p.m. Classic's Open Mic feat. Stacey Williams
125 South Main Street Hightstown
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Laura Cheadle
Common Sense Brewing
102 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Sat. 6 p.m. Open Mic Night
2 North Main Street Yardley, PA
Thurs. 9 p.m. Brandon Warrick
Fri. 9 p.m. Acoustic Martin
Sat. 9 p.m. Sweet Willie Davis & Joey Rebel
Curly's at the Nest
1492 Woodbourne Road Levittown, PA
Fri. 7 p.m. NannyDust
Sat. 7 p.m. Open Juke Box
Diamond's of Hamilton
661 Route 33 Hamilton
Fri. (6 p.m.) The Swing of Things w/ Sofia Solimando (10 p.m.) DJ Frank Oliveti
Sat. 6 p.m. Tymes 2
Sun. 10 a.m. "Jazz Brunch"
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
Thurs. 8 p.m. Cecil Middleton
Fri. 8 p.m. Angus
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch" feat. David Dzubinski (9 p.m.) Gypsy Mother
Sun. 11 a.m. "Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton
Mon. 8 p.m. Keith Lesnick Trio
Wed. 8 p.m. Melissa Wegfahrt
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia Night
Fri. 9 p.m. In The Groove
Sat. 9 p.m. Jim Delre Band
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Joe Vadala
Grounds For Sculpture
80 Sculptors way Hamilton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Sing Along with Sculpture" w/ Seward Johnson
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
Thurs. 8 p.m.
Fri. (7:30 p.m.) Newtown School of Rock (9:30 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (4 p.m.) Newtown School of Rock (8:30 p.m.) Late Last Night (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music Showcase" Hosted by Pat Foran
5 South Greenwood Avenue Hopewell
Fri. 8 p.m. "This Really Happened..." Storytelling at Hopewell Theater feat. Andrew McGill, Robin Bady, Ian Steffe,`Kathryn Weidner. $19.73
Sat. (12 p.m.) Family Fun Concert w/ "Green Planet. $19.73/$24.73 (Includes $5 concession credit) (8 p.m.) Seamus Egan Project. $28.79, $32.52, $34.12
Hopewell United Methodist Church
20 Blackwell Avenue Hopewell
Fri. 6:30 p.m. Open Mic
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
Thurs. 6 p.m. Doris Spears feat. Phil Orr & More
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic/Karaoke
Fri. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Just Us
Sat. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Living The Dream
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Piano, Bass, Jazz
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Irish Rover Station House
1033 Bellevue Avenue Langhorne, PA
Sat. 9 p.m. The Dadz
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
Fri. 6 p.m. Matt Backes
Sat. 2 p.m. Jim Gaven
Sun. 2 p.m. Ronnie Brandt
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. Ernie White Band
Sat. 9 p.m. Asylum Choir
All shows 21+
869 Bustleton Pike Richboro, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Ladies Night"
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Night
Jimmy's Firestone American Grill
140 Route 130 South Bordentown
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Bar Games and Trivia"
John & Peter's
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa
Fri. 9 p.m. Billy Walton Band
Sat. (3 p.m.) Ben Davis (9:30 p.m.) Rainbow Fresh
Sun. 9:30 p.m. Dan Beaver Band
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Bay Nice
Sat. 9 p.m. Deep Release
Wed. 8 p.m. Drop the Beat Bingo
10 West Ferry Street New Hope, PA
Fri. 7 p.m. Jager Soprano
Sat. 7:30 p.m. Ian Lander
Sun. 11 a.m. "Jazz Brunch" feat. Brian Morris
Marcellos Coal Fired Restaurant & Pizza
206 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Sun. 10 a.m. "Blues Brunch"
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 10 p.m. Beer Pong Night
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Wed. 9 p.m. "Karaoke Time" w/ Kirchner Entertainment
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase
New Jersey WeedMan's Joint
322 East State Street Trenton
Thurs. 6 p.m. "420 Smoking Word"
Fri. 8:30 p.m. "420 Fire Friday"
Sun. 2 p.m. Sugar Magnolia Sundaze
2043 Route 130 South Florence
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Super Dave
Fri. 9 p.m. Uneverno
Sat. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri Band
Old Town Pub
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Thurs. 8 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia
Fri. 9 p.m. Deuces Wild
Open Arts PAC
146 Route 130 South Bordentown
Sat. 7 p.m. "Tickle My Funny Bone Comedy Show" Hosted by ToppFlight, feat. Snacks and Redsnapper. Doors open at 6 p.m., $15 (advance)
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
1339 River Road Titusville
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
Fri. 9 p.m. (TBA)
Sat. 9 p.m. Audio Pilot
River Cat Cafe`
142 South Main Street New Hope, PA
Mon. 6 p.m. "Monday Night Jazz"
Rossi's Bar & Grill
2110 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
Thurs. 7 p.m. Ernie White
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
Fri. 8 p.m. Keith Franklin
Sat. 8 p.m. Jackie Jones
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Rick Fiori Jazz Trio
101 Scotch Road Ewing
Sat. 8 p.m. Three Strands. $20
Sun. (3 p.m.) Taarka. $20 (7:30 p.m.) "My One and Only and Deva Troy" w/ Elena Marino. $20
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
Fri. 10 p.m. Dice Band
Sat. 10 p.m. Nami Lane
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
Fri. 9 p.m. One Flight Up
Sat. 9 p.m. Extreme measures
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Blues Open Mic Hosted by Steve Guyger
Sat. 7 p.m. Maggs & Bud
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Session Jazz Night
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton
Sun. 1 p.m. "Winery Sunday Music Series" Greg McGarvey
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Jon Savage & The Rockers
The Cure Insurance Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
Check website for upcoming events
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA
Fri. 7 p.m. Gabriel Donohue
Sat. 7 p.m. Ray Coleman
Sun. 2 p.m. Thomas Johnston
The Five Four Bar & Grill
8919 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Fri. 9 p.m. Well Strung
Sat. 9:30 p.m. The Bambu Weasels
Wed. 7 p.m. "Lyrical Conundrums" w/ Cara & Righteous
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
Fri. 8 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Tues 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. (5 p.m.) "Happy Hour with Prince" w/ DJ Darius the 1st (10 p.m.) Paper Shakers
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
Sun. 3 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Bill Monach Jr.
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
Sat. 9 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke
The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Sat. 9:30 p.m. The Ess Gees
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Sycamore Grill
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Dan Ward
Fri. 8 p.m. Stage Left
Sat. 8 p.m. Plush Duo
Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
Fri. 9 p.m. David Falcone
Sat. 9 p.m. Billy Walsh
Wed. 9 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Jerry Monk
All Shows 21+
702 Pine Street Trenton
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic.
Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays" w/ Bockman
Trenton Coffee House and Records
750 Cass Street Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. "Electronic Winter" feat. The Weathered Underground meets Data_Wolf w/ special guest Dirty Old Robot
449 South Broad Street Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday: "You Know My Steez" by Jimmy Giambrone
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Benny P
Triumph Brewing Company
(New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Fri.10 p.m. Foxcats. $5 (cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. New Pony. $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage
All shows 21+
Triumph Brewing Company
138 Nassau Street Princeton
Fri. 10 p.m. The Wood Vibrations
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock Night
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
Working Dog Winery
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown
Sat. 1 p.m. Williamsboy
Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar
82 East Afton Avenue Yardley, PA
Sat. 8 p.m. Mike Meade
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.