A New Home (TBA) to Set the Stage for Popular Arts Center
By Sally Deering
Stepping inside Art House Productions’ performance space behind One PATH Plaza in Jersey City, Meredith Burns tiptoes through rows of stage lights, piles of discarded scenery and the ghosts of plays, musicals, art exhibits and dress-up fundraisers that took place within its walls all these years. But the past is the past and Art House Productions is about to take up residence in a new space with Burns as its new executive director. There’s still lots to be done and some big shoes to fill.
Those shoes belong to Christine Goodman, who served as Executive Director of Art House since the non-profit first opened its doors 15 years ago on McWilliams place near Hamilton Park, then moved to bigger digs on Magnolia Street near Journal Square. As Art House’s executive director, Goodman – who is leaving to spend more time with family – directed most of Art House’s plays, oversaw the INKubator writers’ workshop and STAGES! program for kids ‘bitten by the acting bug.’
Changing of the guard:
Christine Goodman, Meredith Burns,
and a young fan.
“Meredith is exactly the kind of visionary we need to bring us into this next phase of growth,” Goodman says. “Our Board of Trustees did a thoughtful, in-depth search to find the best fit for our organization, and I believe they found the right person. I have always believed in succession planning as a hallmark of an organization’s long-term success. It is truly an exciting new day at Art House.”
On Palisade Avenue in the Jersey City Heights, a colorful neighborhood pub “Fox & Crow” serves all-American burgers, cocktails shaken & stirred and a root beer float that could land Junior in the principal’s office. On weekends, the backroom “Parlour” with its own bar, and family-style tables becomes a small club with a dazzling array of singer-songwriters, bands, and spoken-wordsmiths.
More hippie than dippy, Fox & Crow (named for the owners, Arthur and Sarah Johnson’s daughter Rebecca who loved the nursery rhyme) Fox & Crow opened in February 2015, and has since become a cool neighborhood go-to place for tasty American dishes, knee-bending cocktails like the Sly Fox and the Shy Fox and lively entertainment. On a recent Saturday night, Vicky Cristina Barcelona – a three piece all-girl group that performs Tom Waits’ songs knocked the socks off the audience.
“Our family loves to eat and drink, and have a good time,” Rebecca says. “We wanted to create an atmosphere that was warm and welcoming, serving wholesome food at decent portions without pretensions. We also wanted to replicate the pub atmosphere you find in Europe, where the entire family is welcome, from babies to dogs. We wish we could also welcome dogs, waiting for New Jersey to change its ways!”
Fox & Crow’s pub menu is tasty and minimal with several appetizers and a dozen or so sandwiches (and a salad) to choose from. Starter/Munchies include Hand Cut Pub Fries, and Wings served Chili, BBQ, Buffalo, and Jabanero & Honey-style, and Art’s Nachos with a choice of cheese, jalapeno peppers, pico de gallo, sour cream or black beans. ($6-$8)
Burgers take center stage and come in lots of variations including Old Blue (blue cheese), California Club, and Black Bean. For seafood lovers there’s the Krabby Patty with Asian slaw; the Spicy Crow, fried chicken with chipotle mayo and avocado; and the Cheese Me Please Me grilled cheese with Gouda, Gruyere-Cheddar on sourdough bread. The Mariner, sesame-crusted pan-seared tuna with ginger soy sauce is also a popular dish. ($11-$15). There’s a beet salad, too. ($12)
For those looking for something sweet with a little kick, the (alcoholic) Root Beer Float is made with “Not Your Father’s Root Beer”, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream ($10).
“The menu has grown with us,” Rebecca says. “We have had input from talented chefs, friends, and family. Brunch is the collaborative product of my mother, and local resident and New York chef Ben Kurst and expertly prepared by our in-house chef Marcos Mendoza. Brunch is special as Sunday breakfast has always held a special place in my family’s week. When home for holidays, we all gather at the kitchen table and dad will make his signature eggs, bacon and home-fries. The dish ‘Artie’s Breakfast’ on the brunch menu is a nod to him.”
Weekend Brunch also features Locals Only pork roll, egg, cheese, and home-fries; Fox & Crow Burger with fried egg, bacon, cheddar; Smoked Salmon Hash; Savory or Sweet Ricotta Toast, Avocado Toast; and, French Toast ($8-$14). Modcup Coffee is the house coffee ($2); and Mimosa, Bellini or Bloody Mary cocktails keep things fizzy. ($4-$6)
The kitchen stays open late; Sunday through Wednesday till 11:30 pm; and Thursday through Saturday till Midnight. The bar has a huge choice of beers and cocktails. The Parlour presents live entertainment, and a monthly Spoken Word series hosted by James Ruggia and RNA. Curator Margo Parks of Jersey City scouts the talent and books the performers.
It’s been two years since Fox & Crow first opened and in those two years, it’s grown a lot, Rebecca says. When her family decided to become restaurateurs, the whole thing came together without much maneuvering.
“We did not spend months scouting a space, the F&C albeit a tremendous amount of work, was quite a serendipitous venture,” Rebecca says. “My father acquired the property and had the option to lease the bar or take the business on himself. I have experience in branding and interiors, my partner Rowen works in hospitality, and my mother and father possess an innately hospitable spirit having come from large families and raising their own. The majority of people we knew from the neighborhood we had met in Modcup coffee, the market, or venues downtown. We felt at home surrounded by bohemian and ingenious spirits. We decided to take a chance, combine our efforts and create the Fox & Crow.”
New Owners offer Framing, Photo-Printing & Venue for Artists
Paintings by the late Elmira Wood and photographs by Mickey Mathis on view at Galleria Hudson in Jersey City.
By Sally Deering
Downtown Jersey City, on the corner where Jersey and Newark Avenues meet, Galleria Hudson frame shop just got a little more interesting. John and MaryJean Frohling and MaryJean’s son Henry Greenfield took over Galleria Hudson just a few months ago and made some changes. Along with framing services, and large-format photo-printing, Galleria Hudson now offers local artists a venue to show their work.
February is Black History Month, and the Frohlings and Greenfield are spotlighting local photographer Mickey Mathis, a Jersey City resident who can be seen, camera in hand, strolling through local neighborhoods capturing light as it spills onto buildings, and freeze-framing moments in time. Mathis has been chronicling Jersey City’s neighborhoods for more than 20 years. He made his mark as a New York photographer taking pictures of celebrities and big events like the Ali-Frasier fight. Continue reading ART MATTERS Galleria Hudson Jersey City Celebrates Black History Month→
The Supper Bell by the Bar keeps it all in the Family
By Sally Deering
Chef Dan Latham grew up in Upstate New York and studied cooking at the Culinary Institute of America. He and his wife, Kris, a seasoned pastry chef are the proud owners of Latham House, a handsome restaurant on Marin Boulevard tucked inside the heart of Grove Street’s transportation hub in downtown Jersey City. Their partner is Mike Ryan, a busy and popular Jersey City restaurateur.
Latham House stands out with a beautiful atmosphere of dark woods, white walls, and a long row of gray-marbled tabletops for two that fill the center of the dining room. Beautiful roomy booths with green-tufted banquettes to lean back on come with super-sized windows offering nice views of downtown Jersey City. Off to the right near the kitchen, there’s a bar, and near the bar, there’s a Supper Bell that has an historic place in the Latham family scrapbook.
A View of the Artist who Creates Watercolors and Sculptures around & about Hudson
By Sally Deering
Steve Singer’s watercolor paintings are soft impressions of Jersey City’s architecture and streets, like watery snapshots of urban landscapes and passing moments.
Singer’s work will be part of the new show BORDERLESS, a month-long series of art, plays and dance that address the effects of Globalization, presented by Jersey City Theater Center and Gallery. BORDERLESS opened Fri, Feb 3, from 6-10, with an evening of performances along with the gallery exhibition curated by Lucy Rovetto.
MILE SQUARE THEATRE, 1400 Clinton St, HOB, wwwmilesquaretheatre.org. (201) 683-7014. Feb 3-26: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! “Mile Square Theatre opens its 2017 season with hit musical, a real treat for the entire family. This comic musical includes the whole gang from the beloved comic strip Peanuts: bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder who doesn’t give her the time of day, perfectionist Sally is still mocking blanket-toting Linus, Snoopy is in the doghouse, and ‘blockhead,’ himself, Charlie Brown is in rare form. Brief vignettes span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day.” Shows are Friday at 7 pm; Saturday at 2 pm and 6 pm; and, Sunday at 11 am and 3 pm. Tix: $30; Student/Senior: $15. Recommended for audiences 5 and up. For school show booking and information, contact Erin: email@example.com.
JERSEY CITY THEATER CENTER, Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Ave, JC. www.jctcenter.org.Thurs, Feb. 9 through Thurs, Mar. 23, JCTC in partnership with the Writers Theatre of NJ presents BORDERLESS, NEW PLAY FESTIVAL. Thurs, Feb. 9, 7-10 pm: FOURTH PLANET, by Dano Madden, a staged reading. “As Dr. Violet Garcia attempts to be chosen for the first human mission to Mars, she is forced to confront the possibility of losing her most important relationships on Earth. Fourth Planet is a play about the future of humanity and what scientific advancement and sacrifice look like through a very personal lens.” Reading followed by Talk-Back.
WORD BOOKSTORE, 122 Newark Ave, JC, Tues, Feb. 7, 7:30-8:30 pm: Elan Mastai Presents “ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS” W/ JONATHAN TROPPER. “You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary. Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.”Continue reading Art Listings ARTScene Cultural Happenings in & around Hudson through February 15th, 2017→
Spacious for a neighborhood deli, Salumeria Ercolano (Deli) on West Side Ave in the Marion Section of Jersey City is a great place for authentic Italian cuisine on the go. You’re also welcome to dine–in; the deli seats about 70 and offers a relaxed, casual atmosphere to enjoy some very tasty Italian sandwiches and main dishes. The deli’s warm and friendly vibe comes from owners Nat and Nancy Rescigno who turned an old coat factory into a deli & eatery people where people can relax with a good meal.
“We get a big lunch crowd,” Nat says. “City workers, police, firemen, business people in the area.”
“We also have summer seating outside,” Nancy adds.
Along with a great sandwich menu, Salumeria Ercolano offers hearty main dishes sure to satisfy those who love real Italian food. Chef Carmine Matteo, who grew up in Italy and learned how to authentic Italian cuisine at a Culinary School in Italy, offers specials of the day like Filet of Sole Stuffed with Crabmeat; and Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Tomato Bruschetta.
“Keep it simple,” Chef Matteo says. “The less ingredients, the better. Let the food speak for itself.”
Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Schroeder, Sally & Charlie Brown on Stage Feb. 3-26
By Sally Deering
In 1967, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown opened Off Broadway at Theater 80 in the East Village, and 50 years later it still charms and delights audiences of all ages. Songs like “Suppertime” and “Happiness” are classics of musical theater and cartoonist Charles M. Schultz’s characters Snoopy, Lucy and Charlie Brown are as iconic – and adorable – today as they were back then.
Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken opens its 2017 season with You’re a Good Man, CharlieBrown beginning Friday, Feb. 3 and running through Sunday, Feb. 26. The musical, featuring Schultz’s Peanuts Gang is a series of vignettes about Lucy who worships Schroeder who worships Beethoven; curious Sally and Linus, who doesn’t feel complete without his blanket; and Charlie Brown and his funny, loyal and precocious pup, Snoopy. Mary Kate Burke directs with musical direction by Terri Gorgone, and choreography by Sarah Weber-Gallo. Jen Price-Fick designed the set.
Spotlights Performers that Connect with Jersey City’s Diverse Community
By Sally Deering
The stage isn’t very big at Fox & Crow, the hip pub and “parlour” on Palisade Ave. in The Heights. Nevertheless, it’s a great Jersey City venue for some pretty big talent and nobody knows that better than the club’s music curator/booking manager Margo Parks.
For more than a year now, Parks has been scouting the acts for Fox & Crow; just one of her many jobs in the music industry. She also works at Kaleidoscope Sound recording studio in Union City and books talent for the annual A-Town Get Down in Savannah, Georgia. Married to popular musician Walter Parks (lead guitarist for the late and great Ritchie Havens), Margo Parks books gigs for her husband’s band, Swamp Cabbage, too. Although not a musician, per se, Margo Parks spends most of her time and energy with musicians– and that’s just fine with her. Continue reading PARLOUR MUSIC Margo Parks books the Acts that Draw the Crowds at Fox & Crow→
Fox & Crow in Jersey City spotlights performers that connect with Jersey City’s diverse community and the woman behind finding these performers in Jersey City’s is Margo Parks. Read Sally Deering’s interview with Margo Parks in this issue.
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