Imagine Kanye West and his entourage blowing into Jersey City to check out its club scene. That’s exactly what happened on Feb. 11th when West made a surprise visit to The Dopeness on Second Street. The rapper stopped by The Dopeness to check out the club’s vibe and according to owners Anthony Gude, Steven Schlatmann and Jonathan Scanlon, West sat and listened to the band on stage, shook hands with fans and then blew out the door with his entourage. He connected with The Dopeness and that’s exactly what Gude, Schlatmann and Scanlon want as the take-away for all their customers.
With a pending liquor license, it’s BYOB at The Dopeness. They offer a kooky menu of comfort foods – much of it bacon-wrapped – and entertainment that’s anything goes. And, of course, that dopeness vibe.
“We’re like a local arts venue,” Schlatmann says. “Some artists are good at what they do. We host them to build their networks. The Jersey City artist community is a big supporter.”
Actors, playwrights, choreographers, musicians – artists who have longed for a new performance venue in Jersey City will be happy to learn two new spaces are opening up on Newark Ave: Merseles Studios on the second floor of the Monaco Lock building, and White Eagle Hall which is being renovated from a Turn-of-The 20th Century meeting hall to a space for rock ‘n’ roll just like Hoboken’s former icon Maxwell’s.
Together, Merseles Studios and White Eagle Hall stand under the umbrella of the newly-formed Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC), which is under the leadership of Artistic Director Olga Levina and Executive Director Ben LoPiccolo – both married to the project and each other. The couple’s dream of offering Jersey City artists new performance venues to express their art is a personal as well as professional achievement and the beginning of a journey that will likely be as interesting as the artists performing there.
Cutting edge rock ‘n roll and comfort food that won’t bust your wallet are just two great reasons why Maxwell’s in Hoboken still grooves as a club and restaurant. Ever since the 1980s, Maxwell’s has been the Hoboken venue for up-and-coming bands and some famous ones, too, like Bruce Springsteen who filmed his “Glory Days” video at Maxwell’s, directed by filmmaker John Sayles who lived down the block.
Singer songwriter Jennifer Knapp returned from a seven-year hiatus with her new album Letting Go (Gravlin/RED), released on May 11th 2010. The Grammy nominated, Dove Award winning artist is currently on a cross-country tour, which included performances at SXSW and the re-vamped Lilith Fair.
Recorded in Nashville, Letting Go was produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Martha Wainwright, and Amy Grant) and features ten intimate folk, country-tinged rock songs showcasing her astonishing straightforwardness and spirituality.