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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket
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?

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket
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.

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 4: Marc Ecko Rutgers Line

Photobucket
At first glance, choice selections from Marc Ecko’s various clothing lines look way too cool for me to wear. If there’s no Batman symbol or no trace of Gob from Arrested Development, I won’t even try to put the shirt on. In the case of Ecko’s clothing line, I must make an exception. This guy is responsible for really some freakin’ cool and inventive attire. It takes a brave company to give Star Wars proper respect in the apparel market, and Ecko did just that. Take a look at an old Armpit post where I snapped some pics of Vader, Yoda, Chewie and a Stormtrooper modeling the Ecko Star Wars line at Macy’s. Honestly, even though he’ll deny it, Vader was totally making love to the camera. Chewbacca may very well be the next Hansel, he’s so hot right now. Well, actually, he didn’t do that great at all, he was awkward, but I shot him a thumbs up anyway since it’s not wise to upset a Wookie.

In addition to the Star Wars line, the company is also responsible for the Ecko Unlimited, Zoo-York, MMA, and G-Unit lines, and has also teamed up with the tween queens Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens. In 2008,¬†Ecko, a major proponent of New Jersey and former Rutgers University student, designed an entire clothing line inspired by NJ’s Scarlet Knights last year.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Lifestyles of the Rich in New Jersey

I bet there’s tons of people around the country who had no idea that New Jersey was home to so many celebrities. The majority of these celebs own gratuitously huge dwellings that sit on endless amounts of land. I immediately began wondering where I can creepily view Spytech style aerial shots of these celebrity homes? And whammo! Just the other day my boss at work pointed me to a cool time wasting site called Virtual Globetrotting which searches all 50 states for satellite views of celebrity homes and various other POI’s. To look up your state, click here. Now, let me show you just some of the pretentious homes that belong to the stars that reside in The Sexy Armpit a.k.a NJ:

Chris Rock, Alpine NJ
Photobucket

Jon Bon Jovi, Red Bank NJ
Photobucket

Eddie Murphy Englewood, NJ
Photobucket

Bruce Springsteen, Rumson NJ
Photobucket

Mark Ecko, Bernardsville NJ
Photobucket

Joe Piscopo, Califon NJ
Photobucket
Perhaps NJ ain’t so scuzzy after all, huh?

Star Wars Gang Runway Modeling Ecko Line at Macy’s

Here’s some pics I snapped at Macy’s of Darth, Yoda, Boba, Chewie, and a Stormtrooper sashaying around in the new Marc Ecko Star Wars clothing line. I could almost hear Vader talking to Boba Fett “You’re money baby! You’re money!” Sucks for Ecko and Macy’s, but I think more people would actually want to buy the masks rather than the clothes.

Photobucket
Photobucket

DAAAMN YODA! those are some big ass hands for one little dude! And Chewie looks like he’s wearing a toupe!

Photobucket

He’s One Sexy Sith:
Photobucket