Scarfin’ It With The Armpit 3: “Authentic” Jersey Cuisine

Jersey Grub Truck

Eating in a Thai restaurant with nondescript decor and being served by a teen aged white kid with those huge black circular gauged earrings stretching his earlobes doesn’t make for an authentic Thai experience. Even restaurants in the world showcase in Epcot center employee waiters and chefs from the countries that they recreate. But what makes food authentic? Is it the way the food is prepared, where you eat it, who it’s served by, or all of the above?

Today I’m going to give you directions on how to make authentic Jersey grub. First, grow a five o’clock shadow, grab a cigarette, gain about 30 lbs and begin sweating. As the stereotypes dictate, this is a cook at a Jersey diner. If the stereotypes continue, he only knows how to cook up a pork roll egg and cheese sandwich, or anything greasy that has peppers and onions slathered on top. Despite what many “foodies” (I’m sorry to all my foodie friends but I hate that term) will lead you to believe, Jersey doesn’t really have it’s own cuisine since we are lucky to have a huge mish mosh of everything there is to offer. Sure we have about a half a million diners in our state, but the majority of our signature meals are very basic and nothing to describe as “mouthwatering” or “savory.” That’s not to say that meals at our restaurants can’t be described that way, it’s just that many of them don’t actually serve the type of “Jersey Grub” that THE JERSEY GRUB TRUCK offers.

Started by a Jersey guy who moved to the west coast, The Jersey Grub Truck can be seen all around Los Angeles. We are known for our blueberries and cranberries, but the Jersey Grub Truck serves mostly fat sandwiches. For instance, an L.A Weekly post highlighted that one of the menu items is The Fat Jerz Sandwich, which is hamburger, egg, pork roll, and BBQ sauce. Is it the pork roll that makes it Jersey? Can you incorporate salt water taffy or pork roll into any meal to give it that Jersey zest? Wow, that’s a stretch. The Sexy Armpit has already glossed over New Brunswick’s fat sandwiches featured on Man vs. Food, and that is essentially what the Jersey Grub Truck serves. The Jersey Grub Truck stole the idea of The Grease Trucks and brought it to Hollywood. If there’s one thing that Jersey is NOT, it’s Hollywood, and if you have not left Jersey that is precisely the reason why. Not only are we on opposite sides of the country, but we lead extremely different lifestyles. Regardless of our differences, I’m glad there’s a little more of Jersey being spread around L.A!

To get “real” Jersey grub, you don’t need to sing “Born To Run,” while cooking or stop at a catering truck. For tips on the best Jersey cuisine check out Jersey Bites and also read Pete Genovese’s book, Food Lovers Guide to New Jersey. But the best way to find authentic Jersey cuisine is to discover it for yourself. Your best bet is heading down to that family owned neighborhood dive, it will surprise you.

You can friend The Jersey Grub Truck on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter.

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Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” Scorches – Review by Jay Amabile

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Order Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” at this link for $10 bucks

Does rock music still exist? Aside from a few newer bands out there, rock music, albeit the good kind, seems to be nearly extinct. Truthfully, the suckyness of new rock music is one of the reasons why I stopped listening to radio almost 6 years ago. Think about how many rock stations folded or changed formats since that time. My main source for new music are blogs, iTunes, Pandora, MySpace, and any other bands space junk that’s floating around the Internet. What’s amazing is that even a routine task such as checking the Starland Ballroom’s concert schedule on their website lead me to discover a surprisingly awesome band, Scarlet Carson, who recently released their 2nd album Burn It All (available here). My curiosity was piqued, but I figured it was probably too good to be true. I gave the album a few in depth listens and in this review I’ll tell you whether Scarlet Carson is another flash in the pan or a force powerful enough to restore my faith in rock music.
While listening to Scarlet Carson’s fearless brand of rock and roll, I couldn’t believe these guys are from New Jersey. Labeling their type of sound as “Dirty Jersey Rock and Roll,” is brave since they are the first ones to step out of the shadow of “The Jersey Sound” i.e (Sinatra, Springsteen, The Rascals, The Jukes, Bon Jovi etc) and play what they want, not just what people think Jersey bands are supposed to sound like. Coming out of Jersey has only helped intensify their mighty ambitions. It’s not like they grew up around the corner from The Viper Room or The Whiskey, so lumping them into the same category as other rock bands is unfair. But, if you need some examples of what other bands Scarlet Carson might share the bill with at a rock festival, it would probably be Saliva, Papa Roach (who they are opening for at Starland on 4/18), and Pop Evil,  They have already played at CrueFest, so one thing is for sure, they are in NO WAY Nickelbacky. Lead singer and lyricist Santino Campanelli has more in common with Californians such as M.Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold and Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach than he does with any famous singer to ever come out of Jersey.
Their second release, Burn it All, is a superior rock album. In the first track, Overture, a transistor radio has lost its signal, similar to my search for good rock music, but soon the faint sounds grow clearer. Intense driving guitar chords and primal drum beats establish the scene. Finally we’ve got ourselves some rock and I’m sure as hell ready for it. The adrenalized title track features a ballistic guitar solo that will literally melt your brain and make your eyes go crossed. The song rises to a huge climatic finale and trails off with a soft reprise of the songs guitar riff. It’s a cool little reinforcement trick because it got stuck in my head and I wanted to hear it again already. But, with my senses elevated I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the album.
All of a sudden, a car engine ignites and screeches off as the headbanger “Gone Baby Gone” erupted from my speakers. It’s all about getting away from a chick who is total trouble. Like most of the tracks here, this modern rocker features another blazing guitar solo and sounds like it should be in the trailer for the next Fast and the Furious film. And, whether intentional or not, “Cherry’s On Top” has a riff that’s reminiscent of Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator.” The dilemma in this song is that there is some fine looking chick who is so super sexy. Hitting notes like crazy, frontman Santino wants to cover her “in whip cream cherry on top, I’m gonna lick it all off in all the right spots.” This track reflects the libidinous aspect of rock and is definitely not serious, depressing, or emo. Scarlet Carson shows that they are here to party and admire the finer things in life, like ’80s style red lipstick.
Up next is a resounding build up to what could be Scarlet Carson’s signature crowd interaction song. These guys aren’t only talking shit about “Sex Drugs and Rock N Roll,” they are living it. Their lyrics, liner notes, and full throttle commitment to making their rock star dreams a reality, shows there’s a genuine connection to many iconic bands who have lived this tawdry lifestyle before them. The difference? These guys are the first ones from Jersey to do it. Yeah sure we’ve had Bon Jovi and Trixter, but they were less concerned about the rock star lifestyle. Bon Jovi didn’t want to be associated with bands like GNR and Motley Crue because they feared that women and children wouldn’t come to their concerts. It was more socially acceptable to buy a Bon Jovi record or go to a Bon Jovi concert than it was Motley or even KISS. No matter what they tell you, parents feared bands like that because they heard news reports of sex, satanism, nudity, blood and all the other cool shit that is part of their aura. So I commend Scarlet Carson for being themselves from jump street. They better stay true to themselves though. I wouldn’t want to see them sell out and become Justin Bieber’s touring band or some crap like that. Even worse…don’t make a country album. Hey Scarlet – you’ve been warned!
Next, I used my keen deductive skills to determine that a drink pouring sound effect can mean only one thing: a drinking song, even more precisely “The Drinkin’ Song.” Following in the footsteps of distinguished predecessors such as KISS’ “Cold Gin,” AC/DC’s “Have a Drink on Me,” and Guns N Roses’ “Nightrain,””The Drinkin’ Song,” picks up where those anthems left off. Santino’s voice skyrockets into Myles Kennedy octaves here as he shouts, “Let’s get wasted tonight!”. It’s another standout track with layered vocals in the chorus, fist pumping “hey” chants, and a mesmerizing drum breakdown. Scarlet Carson is here to tell you that when you’re literally feeling like a gigantic heap of dung, a few drinks with your crew can help you “forget your worries, forget your problems…” I’m sure fans will be holding their drinks up during this one at the next concert – just don’t spill beer on me.
Whip out your iPhone, swipe your Zippo lighter app on, and bring down the pace a little bit “For Her Sake,” a surefire addition to Monster Ballads 2010. The low key mood doesn’t last that long because these guys aren’t done pummeling you. Get ready for the supercharged, punked out “P.L.A.D” (paid, laid, and die) that chronicles the nights when you wind up out drinking until 6am and waking up with random girls in random motels. Scarlet Carson’s lifestyle is fast paced, indulgent and in the moment, just like their tunes. Listen for the brass section in this track which proves to be a superb feature of its production.
Now we go from rock and roll revelry and drinking binges, into mind probing. What would a Scarlet Carson song sound like if they actually recorded a song inside their own heads? “My Own Head,” stands out from the rest because it’s methodical, reflective, and dark, but maintains harmonic accents. The remarkable production has helped create a very different mood in contrast to the rest of the album. I appreciate that they were brave enough to challenge themselves into creating a track with such a different vibe, and it worked. “My Own Head,” would make for an intriguing music video. If Tim Burton and Rivers Cuomo were hanging out tripping on acid and had a nightmare, this would be a perfect song to accompany it. Zach Braff will direct, I have it all planned out.
Growing up in Jersey, almost every kid dreams of living in California. The west coast seems so much more desirable and warm, and if the Beach Boys and David Lee Roth were telling us the truth, then the girls were wondrous. Don’t forget the ’80s hair band scene, replete with sexy strippers, liquor, and debauchery. What’s not to fantasize about? POOF! Back to reality and the mundane suburban rat race that defines many parts of the Garden State. It’s fitting that I listened to “West Coast Dreamer” when I was sitting in rush hour traffic on 287. This track provides a unique perspective that I haven’t heard thus far. It’s the story of a band from the east coast, dreaming of rock star status on the west coast. It’s almost as if Jersey is a c-ck blocker. It’s not easy trying to exist as a rock star or an aspiring rock star in NJ. For some reason, whether it’s an unwritten law of nature or whatever, NJ just stacks all the cards against you. Whereas you can head out to L.A and catch great rock bands almost every night of the week, all in a 2 mile vicinity. Come to Jersey and you’ll get a few good beer specials but you’ll be bombarded with tons of cover bands who perform rock versions of whatever songs are popular that weekend.
Just a warning, Scarlet Carson’s songs WILL make you instinctually play air guitar, headbang, and jump around like a madman. It might be a good idea not to listen in a place where you might look like a complete idiot. In the midst of your rock-out session, you might be wondering where Scarlet Carson’s monstrous sound comes from? The band is comprised of Santino’s clean scream, Stone’s slash-like guitar solos, Tommy Licore’s surging riffs on rhythm guitar, Mike O Mayhem’s crushing bass work, and Raab who pulverizes the drums.
Above all, the best attribute of Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” is its honesty. Santino writes his lyrics about being a loner focused on the bands dreams, and doing some hardcore partying in the meantime. They aren’t creating songs to market to the NFL or MLB like Bon Jovi, and they’re not formulating the next big wedding song, even though it sure would mean more cash, they are simply doing what they want to do. One of the reasons why rock music has been on the road to extinction is because bands don’t have the balls to highjack the reigns of rock. Scarlet Carson does, and they do it in style as they prove on “Burn It All.” In the immortal words of The Marvelous 3, Scarlet Carson has indeed “…brought back the rock.” www.scarletcarson.com

Upcoming shows
4/17/10 at the Stone Pony for The Break Contest
4/18/10 w/Papa Roach at The Starland Ballroom
4/23/10 at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park
4/27/10 w/Saliva at The Highline Ballroom in NYC

MEME: 6 Random Things

The Rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each of the six persons know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I was tagged by Chris at When is Evil Cool?, an awesome pop culture blog that I’ve been reading for a few months now! Check it out! Thanks for tagging The Sexy Armpit Chris!

Pets

The only pets I’ve ever owned were a bird and fish. I would love to own a dog or cat but ultimately something always hinders me. Could it be because the bird and the fish died? It feels like a pet wasn’t meant for me even though I’d love some cuddly Gizmo type creature to hang out with when I get home from work. I’ve been looking into adopting a genetically engineered purple lynx named Bubastis. Hopefully Craigslist will have one…

Traveling

I’d like to do all of my traveling within the U.S via a Winnebago a la Lone Star. Many people I talk to put so much emphasis on visiting other countries, and I can understand why. There’s an abundance of beautiful places and cultures to discover around the world, but we in the U.S forget about our own 50 states. I love California, especially San Diego and Los Angeles. I would own property there if I had $$$. I’m thinking of borrowing Lone Star’s Winnebago and enlisting Barf to pilot the thing. Once we get some Jovi cranking, I’ll grab a few of my friends and make our way around the country. If Lone Star won’t give up his ride, then I’ll hit up David and see if he’ll let me borrow his alien ship Max from Flight of the Navigator. At the end of our country wide tour we’ll make our way home, which for my entire life has been right here in The Sexy Armpit aka New Jersey.

Childhood

My favorite period of my life is early childhood. No surprise there, right? I’d say from age 3 through 9 were my all time best years of my life. When gauged, my friends and co-workers frequently tell me that middle school, high school, and college are their favorite eras of their lives. The amount of great memories I have from childhood are innumerable. It’s not just hindsight, but I truly feel that it was just about as perfect as it could have been. I was able to enjoy everything from Three’s Company to the A-Team, He-Man and Thundercats, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Ghostbusters and the resurgence of Batman. The toys I got to play with will never be beaten. I was always using my imagination and people actually encouraged me to do so. I was on the cusp of the computer generation. I became familiar with computers from a class at school but my family didn’t own a PC until the mid ’90s. I was fortunate enough to have a mixture of influences from the late ’70s and the early ’80s.

Tattoos/Piercings

I have 3 tattoos and if they weren’t so damn expensive I’d have at least 3 more. Presently, a lightning bolt resides on my left shoulder, there’s a burst of flames shooting up from my lower abdomen, and I have a star with green fire on my right bicep. Both of my ears are pierced – my left ear has 2. There was no rhyme or reason to that, I just gave up on piercing after a while. I’d love to have my lower lip pierced on one side, (not in the center) I think it looks cool but my boss at work nixed the idea. In today’s world it doesn’t seem like a big deal considering all the different wacky things people are doing, but it’s a corporate environment so there’s supposed to be some sort of decorum. Boooo!

Fitness

I’ve been working out since I was 13 but I despise every second of it. I’m not one of those people who is all smiles after a workout. Sure, the endorphin rush makes me feel good, but who in their right mind wants to work out? Isn’t it so much more fun to vegetate, eat some snacks on the couch, and watch TV after a grueling day at work? I have to literally drag myself to the gym after work and it’s only a short trip down the street from my place! I actually do enjoy running and riding my bike, but only if it’s not cold outside. I’ve become quite the pussy over the years. Oh yeah…and I still watch cartoons and wrestling so SUCK IT!





Rock Band

I don’t ski, snowboard, rollerblade, or take part in rugby, but I do enjoy playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. My Rock Band 2 band name is The Big Titheads. I played for 3 hours straight the other night. I’ve got some pretty rad hair and a ridiculously slim waistline. It looks totally unhealthy come to think of it. I’m really into the hot female drummer I’ve enlisted. She’s got blonde hair with pink highlights and long pigtails. I don’t find it strange at all that I’m attracted to a girl made of pixels, they make those chicks hot on purpose! One of my favorite songs to play is “Pump it Up” by Elvis Costello, among others. I’ve also come to realize that my pinkies are completely useless.

You’re tagged!

Jason at Sonic Dork

Chunky B from Eclectorama

Reis from Geek Orthodox 

The Day the Earth Stood Still on the NJ Turnpike

In his review in the N.Y Times of the remake of The Day the Earth Still starring Keanu Reeves, A.O Scott fills in on the New Jersey aspect of the film:

“A metastasizing swarm of metal bugs — the best special effects in a movie
that often looks cheap and bedraggled — is dispatched to eat us and everything
we’ve made, or at least everything on the New Jersey Turnpike.

he goes on to say:

“Its scenario and many of its scenes feel ripped off rather than freshly
imagined — why do aliens always seem to end up in New Jersey?…”

Normally I don’t heed the majority of movie critic’s warnings but in this case I will. I can’t imagine this being mind blowing in any capacity. Even though Tom Cruise’s War of the World’s was filmed in NJ, I would personally still like to see some more alien action here. We’ve already seen Los Angeles and New York City have prominent roles in sci-fi and action films, so let NJ have a go at it for a while!

Review of ROCK OF AGES: It’s RAD!

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Could it be possible? Does history really repeat itself? I never thought it could happen, but after the rollicking good time I had at ROCK OF AGES on Sunday October 26th at The New World Stages in New York City, I really think it does.

When I was a little kid, tearing through issues of Metal Edge and plastering my walls with posters of GNR, Skid Row, and Poison; I dreamed of the sinful aura of debauchery, sleaze, and mayhem that the L.A sunset strip rock scene evoked. Meanwhile, my sister, in her teens at that time, sang along to all the songs that old worn out VHS tape of Grease cranked out incessantly.

Even as a kid I knew better than to believe life actually resembled how it was depicted in Grease. Anyone who’s gone to high school knows, that compared to the film Grease, high school could be a nightmarish, bleak, and horrible place. To my surprise, I graduated high school without engaging in one group hand jive, without ever having been stranded at the drive in, and my old 4-cylinder ‘87 Chrysler LeBaron didn’t, by any means, drive like “Greased lightning.” Life’s never as “peachy keen” as it is in the movies or on stage for that matter. I never thought for a second that the explicit, raunchy rock scene that was my obsession would ever be “Grease-ified.” Grease was originally a stage musical and just as it pulled from late ‘50s high school nostalgia, Rock of Ages embodies the excess and broken dreams on the ‘80s Sunset Strip. I was petrified that the attempt of glamorizing my beloved hairband era would be catastrophic. Would the play condescend and poke fun at the age of lipstick, plastic, and paint? Could Grease’s cigarettes, cheerleaders, and black leather biker jackets be interchangeable with the ‘80s themes of drug abuse, aquanet, spandex? I would soon find out!

After I took my seat, I immediately basked in the authentic set design by Beowulf Boritt, who also worked on The Toxic Avenger Musical. The stage was created to look like the interior of the fictitious Bourbon Room, which is reminiscent of the Whiskey or the Rainbow in L.A. The walls of the theater were plastered with concert posters while billboards hung from high above. A Jack Daniels advertisement asks “I did what with my sister?” and another one points out, in case you haven’t heard, Arsenal’s new CD “I Want Your Cans” is in stores now.

Pink lights drenched the inside of the Bourbon room. Rock memorabilia adorned the walls. There was a Pink flying V, collages of rock stars, and framed pinups of Motley Crue, Guns and Roses, and Poison among others. The main focal point of the Bourbon Room was it’s small stage where a lot of bands began their rock dreams. (Stone Pony anyone?) Onstage there was a dingy bathroom that served as the butt of a few jokes, and center stage featured a revolving room that provided background for various scenes. Oh yeah, I know you’ll like this part…there was a stripper poll on each end of the stage. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is YES! Did they get used? What kind of a question is that? A good question actually, because now’s a good time for me to mention that when I’m reincarnated in my next life, I’ve signed a definitive, definitely happening, contractually binding, legal document that professionally and law abidingly states that I will come back as one of the two brass stripper polls on the Rock of Ages stage. Triple Stamped. For the honor of Grayskull. And that’s the bottom line cause I just said so!

Right about now a message over the P.A system states there should be NO flash photography unless you’re willing to show your boobs! YEAH BABY! I won’t spoil too much for you, since the Rock of Ages marketing team utilized the “less is more” idea and it worked. All online and print ads tout the play’s great tunes. It seemed as if name dropping the bands was enough since the house was PACKED! The vague propaganda turned out to make the play an unexpected blast.

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At the crux of the play there’s a love story between Drew (Constantine Maroulis) and Sherrie (Kelli Barrett). It’s the typical story of a couple of ‘80s L.A dream chasers who fall for each other. Boy works at a bar and hopes to make it big as a rock star. When boy gets noticed by a talent manager, he suggests that boy change his whole look and go on a “mall tour.” Girl dreams of being an actress but plans fizzle out and works as a waitress, then climbs ranks to become a stripper. Even though the story is simple and reminiscent of others you may have heard before, I dig the message of the play. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want on your quest, it doesn’t mean your dreams are necessarily broken, you may just find that you have better dreams.

When we’re off cloud 9 with the two lovebirds, the city government is attempting to clean up the Sunset Strip and make it more family friendly. One of the establishments that would be effected is the Bourbon Room, so it’s manager Dennis, (the skilled Adam Dannheisser) does his best to stop this insanity. Like the good natured hippie he is, he doesn’t want his bar to close or his staff to be out of jobs. Dennis comes up with the idea to call in a favor from Stacee Jaxx, a Steel Pantheresque lead singer of a wildly popular band called Arsenal. (CD just dropped) I laughed deliriously at Will Swenson’s flashy performance which reminds us of how pompous, arrogant, and egotistical many of the great ’80s hair band frontmen were. Other superior performances include the refreshing Kelli Barrett as Sherrie, the over the top hysterical Mitchell Jarvis as Lonny the narrator, and Wesley Taylor as the gay German (ok so he’s not gay just German.)

The ensemble cast featured some hot dancers who weren’t afraid to show some butt cheeks and rock skimpy lingerie. Don’t be a prude, that’s how it was in the ‘80s! The ‘80s hair band era was instrumental in providing me with a template of the ideal woman. White leather jacket, short skirt, crimped hair, high heel boots, and stockings, don’t you remember? Duh. Rock of Ages featured an immensely talented actress, dancer, and singer Angel Reed. I definitely had a crush on her like a little kid watching Dial MTV during the hair band days and seeing that girl with the white leather jacket on. Or maybe it was Club MTV, it escapes me. Either way, she was hot, and she has her own exotic dance DVD that all you women should pick up and let her teach you how to dance for your man. While you’re at it check out all of Angel’s other projects like her music and modeling gallery! You really need to experience Rock of Ages just to watch some of Angel’s moves with the aforementioned poll that I will become in my next life. Yay! I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait to die!

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Jay and Angel Reed

I didn’t go into the play with too many expectations since I managed to avoid reading reviews of the show. Although I could imagine what’s being said, since for the past several years it seems like shitting on ‘80s bands is the trendy thing to do. But now is the time that the up and coming bands are citing bands like Guns, Motley, and Poison as major influences. (rightfully so!) It’s time that this era got some credit! If it becomes known for anything, Rock of Ages, pays tribute to the ‘80s rock era in a monumental way. The classic songs that help the play rumble on become even more transcendent. (u shut up now)

Bo Bice sucks and Constantine should’ve been runner up on Idol in ’05. Some of the notes he hit in Rock of Ages almost exploded the Bourbon Room, which would’ve sucked cause he was trying to help save it! His mastery of this style of rock truly wins the audience’s approval as his character Drew shows off his rock chops.

In Rock of Ages some of the songs you hear are taken right from the hair band era, while others are simply pop rock, but all of them work into the show’s plot. Songs from the following artists are featured in the play: Asia, Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, Poison, Extreme, Mr. Big, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Steve Perry, Pat Benatar, Quarterflash, and even Survivor!

Even though the music gives the show its gusto, it’s actually responsible for my only complaint. The musical is made up of storm trooping assembly of songs that only a late night CD box set infomercial with Bret Michaels could envy. The massive list of songs are finely weaved into the plot like the hairs on Bret Michaels head. Some of my favorite rock classics are featured in the show, so what’s the problem here, Jay? Some of the songs seem to be overused. I heard enough of Warrant’s “Heaven” when I sang along with it daily back in ’89. (By the way people get with the program! Jani Lane is OUT of Warrant again! That news didn’t interrupt your local affiliates broadcast of the last presidential debate? That’s weird because on my TV Riki Rachtman broke in just before McCain said “Joe the Plumber” for the 68th time and broke the news) Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” and a few others seemed to be utilized several times at points when an original riff would feel more natural. Rock of Ages might benefit from sprinkling in a few original tunes in between the massively popular ones. How about an original Arsenel song? Arsenal, for those who don’t know, are the ‘80s rock band that is asked (blackmailed) to play at the Bourbon room to save the bar. (CD in stores now)

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I’m a sucker for a T-Shirt, especially those emblazoned with a logo for a fictitious band. If the band happened to be from Jersey then I might just spontaneously combust. Whenever I go to a show or concert I look for that specific T-shirt that jumps out at me literally, and seduces me with a one liner like: “I wanna be on you…” After the show I strolled by the schwag station and almost yelped like a fat girl who can’t keep a secret and got a hand over her mouth. I then blacked out for a moment and came to. In my hands was a sparkling, magical, authentic ARSENAL concert T-shirt. Of course, the logo rips off Anthrax and Metallica but c’mon, what do you expect from a fictitious band! It was brought to my attention that if I looked at the back of the shirt, all the stops listed for their Cocked and Loaded tour are in New Jersey towns!

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How RAD is that? And I don’t mean that in the Rock Against Drugs type of way. (That line I just ripped off was courtesy of Drew, Constantine’s character) Is Arsenal supposed to be from New Jersey? Perhaps that’s why Stacee Jaxx, while adorned in white spandex, unleashes a perverted, priceless rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”? I’ll take it!

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After you check out Rock of Ages, you’ll be thanking me. You too will come to appreciate the many facets of “Rusty Trombonering,” Warrant’s “Heaven,” and the atmospheric appeal of the Fogmaster 5000. Your arms will be super strong after holding up that keychain flashlight in place of a lighter during ballads. Oh, and you’ll also be thanking me because you scored points with your girlfriend. Theater tickets are a better gift idea than the run of the mill stuff, so buy her a pair of tickets for the holidays! For you ladies out there, your boyfriend will be elated that he can bring beers and adult beverages into the theater. That satisfies the alcohol lovers and those yearning for a true ‘80s sunset strip vibe.

Writer Chris D’Arienzo, Director Kristin Hanggi, and Choreogrpaher Kelly Devine are responsible for making Rock of Ages a play that feels like the kind of movie you watch a million times and remember all the dialouge. Keep in mind that you can only own a DVD for several generations, Rock of Ages the musical is off-Broadway NOW, so don’t miss out! Oh and some advice from Lonny the narrator: before you head to the show, if you’d like to make your experience more authentic you may want to set yourself up with an eight ball of crystal meth and get a sixer of Diet Shasta. Dude, it’s amazing.

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Jay and Adam Dannheisser “Dennis”
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Jay and Mitchell Jarvis

The Sexy Armpit visits Blood Manor New York City’s Premier Haunted Attraction

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Zombie Girl: Come see me later and I’ll give you a Brazilian on your head.
Jay: No, I’m gonna give you a Brazilian!
Zombie Girl: Too late!

This was an exchange I had with just one of the many wickedly costumed dwellers of Blood Manor whom I encountered as they lurked about at Home the swank club/lounge underneath the haunted attraction. I’ve heard of New York City’s Blood Manor before but I never experienced it. While at the Monster Mania Con I noticed a bunch of postcards ads for it on a vendor table. The Sexy Armpit was lucky enough to enjoy the special press preview of Blood Manor. The building is closer to Penn Station than I realized and it only took about 10-15 minutes to walk there from MSG. (542 W. 27th Street) I have to hand it to the organizers of this attraction since they truly built up my anticipation and curiosity as to what kind of terror I’d find within the walls of Blood Manor. If you’re saying to yourself “But Jay, it’s a haunted house, if you’ve been in one, you’ve been in them all.” Then you simply have not experienced the better ones. Blood Manor is one of the best I’ve been through.

For a Thursday night this was a formidable graveyard smash. Filing in were the super cool hip and trendy group of TV, radio, and print folks with their ultra fashionable messenger bags. (I packed light a cell phone and ice breakers) We all assembled in the sleek Home lounge while enjoying drinks from the bar and watching scenes from horror films on the large drop down screen. It was like a Disney character breakfast except for it being evil, twisted, in the evening, lacking breakfast food, and no shortage of Vodka. That’s smart, give your visitors a bunch of cocktails and then let them loose in a haunted house where they’ll no doubt be so scared and disoriented that they’ll piss themselves. I love it when a plan comes together! The bartender thought he was Ashton Kutcher and he even had one of those plastic hair bands holding his long hair back. You need to remember, this is New York we’re talking about…everyone wishes they lived in L.A but they’re all really from Jersey.

My friend Steve and I were about to sit down on a leather bench until the moment we realized we wouldn’t be doing much relaxing. All of a sudden a freaky fellow welcomed the crew to Blood Manor and began rapping “The Blood Manor Theme Song” which was actually an awesome song with a hip hop vibe to it. It definitely begs to be a part of the Halloween playlist on my iPod. Just as the song started blaring, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Samara, and a host of other characters made their presence known by greeting each and every person in the lounge by scaring the bejesus out of them. Freddy Krueger kept clinking the blades of his gloves together by my ears and telling me in that slithery voice of his that I was an easy target, which was a correct assumption since he successfully startled me numerous times throughout the night. Later, a little gothic girl who reminded me of one of those living dead dolls came over and stared at us with her huge innocent eyes as if she was confused as to why we just murdered her entire family. We actually didn’t murder her fam but she sure as hell made it seem like we did! The actors did not break character once and their costumes and makeup were exceptional. The oddities continued haunting us until the first group was let into the elevator and finally brought into Blood Manor.

Going into too much detail about the specific rooms inside of Blood Manor would spoil your experience. But I’m feeling generous so I’ll give you a few teasers: The Electrocution is sickeningly realistic, you also may want to reconsider your appointment for that makeover at the beauty parlor, you’ll feel like you’re in another world in the 3-D room with surreal blacklight murals all over the walls, then there’s the Saw room, and of course the boiler room. There are some genuinely unsettling parts of the walk through. The actors do a helluva job of freaking you out without touching you or doing anything crazy. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be more taken aback by some of the unexpected scares rather than the blatant ones. Some of the most fun moments come when you’re unsure of where you’re going in complete darkness. I must say that the finale is the best part. If you make it that far…

Once you’re out of Blood Manor alive, it feels like it didn’t take very long to get through. This might be the “I had so much fun effect” where you’re having such a good time that you had no concept of time or it’s just over too quickly (insert sex joke here). Infusing some good old fashioned carnival simplicity might do the trick. One way the attraction could improve is by possibly adding in a few different transitional areas without actors in between the main rooms. Doing that would make the ride longer as well as calm your senses a bit before you get the shit scared out of you by some of the actors again. These rooms could be just for viewing only and they don’t need to be elaborate. Another aspect that Blood Manor and other haunted houses lack is the presence of ghosts. With all the concentration on such iconic and recognizable horror movie characters, a simple eerie light show projecting some apparitions might work perfectly. Not everything has to be so “in your face.” Ghosts are spooky, just think back to the first time you saw one sitting in your cart the first time you went on the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney.

Blood Manor capped off an amusing night filled with scares, adult beverages, and me almost breaking my nose. In addition to it’s proximity to Penn Station, Blood Manor will not take a big chunk out of your night. Go ahead, plan a night out in New York but if I were you, I’d make Blood Manor you’re first destination rather than you’re last mwahahahaha!!!

The Sexy Armpit’s Review of The CW’s 90210

I’ve admitted so much embarrassing stuff about myself on this blog that relaying my anticipation for the new 90210 rehash wouldn’t make things any worse. Earlier tonight the new 90210 hit the CW airwaves and it would be wrong if I didn’t share my thoughts on the show with you.

Sequels and spin offs have made entertainment their bitch. This 90210 redux could have easily been the CW’s new generic teen drama for the fall season, but with a few tweaks and script changes, presto changeo…we have 90210. Again. Obviously I’m not opposed to seeing the famed characters I grew up watching like Brenda and Kelly return. One might consider them milfs at this point but I’m pretty sure they were just thrown in to grab the old school viewers of the original series. For those who were on board in the ’90s, the show uses a new recording of the same theme song, Kelly has evolved organically into a guidance counselor, and Nat still runs the Peach Pit.

The Wilson’s are a family who have moved from Kansas to Beverly Hills so Dad (played by Silk Stalkings Rob Estes) could take a principal job. Puhlease! If the girls I knew in high school had been in school with a principal who looked like Estes they’d all be mastering the art of getting called into the principals office so they could play the naughty little school girl. It seems unrealistic to me, but this is Beverly Hills we’re dealing with. Rob Estes is married to Lori Loughlin who is a fine woman and I’ll leave it at that, I’ll keep my comments to myself since she’s still ignoring my calls. Loughlin is a bit stiff in this role and I’m hoping she’ll loosen up a little as the season unfolds. Let’s face it, no wife in her right mind would be as calm and collected as Lori Loughlin was after finding out the secret that her husband has a grown child from a previous relationship.

The family lives with Rob Estes’ mom, a former Hollywood actress played by Jessica Walter of Arrested Development. Her role isn’t that much different from that of Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. As Tabitha, she’s a Long Island Iced Tea lovin‘ grandmother. She loves to tell anecdotes about her days as an actress, specifically one about the time when Ricardo Montalbon cracked an egg on her ass.

Shenae Grimes plays Annie, the main character. She looks exactly how I’d picture the daughter of Estes and Loughlin to look so the casting was brilliant there. Annie isn’t the hottest chick ever so it’s more believable as she stands out from the rest of the girls in Beverly Hills, (you know the old adage that girls from Kansas can’t be as hot as those in California.) Coming from Kansas you’d think Annie’s mom would be just a little bit happy that she has adjusted at Barry Allen speed. But no! Let’s get all up in arms about our daughter meeting a rich guy and having him take her out to an expensive restaurant that happens to be far away in his own JET. That’s every mother’s dream and Loughlin is all angry about it. Come on Lori, stop being Rebecca! I wonder if she’d like it better if Annie wound up dating a creepy rapist?

There’s no badass guys like Steve Sanders or Dylan Mckay, but we do have Ethan the manwhore played by Dustin Milligan. He got head in his car even though he’s got a girlfriend, and he tried to make up for it by giving his girlfriend a limp rose. What an asshole! Milligan reminds me of a young John Travolta mixed with the pothead from Road Trip. And guess who plays his grandmother? Linda Gray, SUE ELLEN FROM DALLAS! Seeing that surprise was possibly the highlight of the entire 2 hour premiere. Anyway, I command you to bring back Ian Ziering or Luke Perry! Absent are the badass guys that I used to look up to like the Dylans of the world. These f’n new guys are all apologizing and emotional and in touch with their feelings! What happened to all the west coast assholes? Grow some balls 90210! We need some danger!

Gushing about this 90210 rehash is not what I’m here to do. I did have a few complaints. First, there were a few moments where the “California talk” was played up a little in the dialogue. These kids just moved from Kansas and you would never know it. They were from Kansas? If there’s a Beverly Hills in Kansas then I’d believe it! Yeah totally…to the max! Also, the show seems to be playing to a younger crowd than it’s predecessor. With shenanigans like copying book reports, not making the lacrosse team, and letting pigs loose onto the football field, I wonder what other kind of wacky Saved By The Bell hijinks will be happening in future episodes? Why not get Screech in on this while we’re at it? Hopefully the drama gets trumped up a little because there’s some stiff competition with shows like Gossip Girl. Might I say that The O.C blows all of these shows out of the water in terms of acting, and dialogue? Yes I might.

Apparently I don’t wish they all could be California girls anymore. It seemed like Brenda was thrown in as an afterthought even though she was pretty much the main character in the original series. In one scene of the premiere, call me crazy, but Brenda appears to have horrible teeth and long sideburns. And blogger extraordinaire Silver played by Jessica Stroup looks ridiculously emaciated. Can we get her an In and Out Burger or something? I thought girls in Southern California were smart enough to know that anorexia isn’t healthy nor cool? I could see it now…on a very special 90210…

Judging by the premiere, 90210 wasn’t so bad and I’m definitely going to give it a few more episodes to work out it’s kinks. But if the sound keeps cutting out on my Comcast HDTV I’m going to freaking blow the set top box up cause they f—ing suck ass. I love paying close to $200 bucks for shitty cable service. I should be swimming in the Wilson’s pool in Beverly Hills, that’s how good my cable service should be for that kind of money!