Mat Kopec opened his first restaurant when he was still in his 20s; he bought it on Craigslist and turned it into White Star on Brunswick Street. That was two restaurants ago. Today, Kopec runs three eateries, White Star on Brunswick, White Star Warren St and his new place, Mathews Food & Drink on the corner of Bay & Grove – all three in Jersey City.
Mat (short for Mateusz) Kopec designed Mathews’ menu with Chef Jon Mecca and Chef Mike Kedala, formerly of One if by Land, Two if by Sea in Manhattan. The three decided to serve All American cuisine at Mathews that Kopec describes as, sophisticated, but presented in a casual style.
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.
Looking for somewhere to go check out our ARTScene section featuring listings for art, music, dance, theater and children’s activities and more.
HAMILTON SQUARE NORTH CONDOMINIUMS, 232 Pavonia Ave, JC. Opening Reception: Wed, Jan. 18, 6-8 pm: SHARED GAZE, UNCOMMON VISION, paintings by Jeanne Tremel and Eliot Markell.
LITM, 140 Newark Ave, JC. www.litm.com. Opens Tues, Jan. 3, 7-11:30 pm. Mia Buchanan’s UTOPIA. Mia Buchanan was born in Japan where she studied academic art and graphic design and continued her education at Parsons in New York. “Human imagination is a tremendous weapon for peace of mind. Imagination allows for correct decisions and responses. Imagination develops the fight against discrimination and hate.” $6 drink specials all night.
107 BOWERS GALLERY & ARTSPACE, 107 Bowers Street, C2, JC, (201) 280-04821, firstname.lastname@example.org. Opening Sun, Jan. 14, 2-5 pm through Feb. 1: THE COLLINS BROTHERS: A RETROSPECTVE. Octogenarian artist Myles Collins and his brothers Noel and Bill exhibit paintings along with Myles’ whimsical sculptures, works that go back to his days as a commercial artist in NYC. “Myles, 88, has lived in Jersey City Heights since 1963. He is a retired NYC commercial artist who continues to create every day, whether its paintings, sculptures or pen & ink drawings.” (See the inside artist feature on Myles Collins in this RVO issue.) Continue reading JANUARY 2017 ARTScene / Cultural Happenings in & around Hudson County →
Madame Claude Bis Walk down curtained Steps to a Hideaway of fine Wine & French Comfort Food
By Sally Deering
Alice Troietto and Mattias Gustafsson are familiar faces to the Downtown Jersey City crowd; their Madame Claude Café on 4th & Brunswick brought French cuisine to the urban dwellers who wanted something more than the usual neighborhood fare. Madame Claude Café has since closed its doors and reopened a bigger and better version of herself just down the street from her old digs.
Meet the new Madame Claude Bis just a few steps off Newark Avenue and down a small stairway where a red curtain beckons hungry city dwellers. Madame Claude Bis’s basement bistro casts low lighting and warm wooden tables and chairs that create a warm and friendly atmosphere. Where Madame Claude’s Café seated 32, the Bis (named for how Paris streets are numbered and not “bistro”) seats 80. The Bis also has a wine list and cocktails, unlike the Café’s BYOB policy. And on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 pm, Gustafsson transforms from restaurateur to balladeer when he and his band, Manouche Bag take to the stage to play gypsy jazz a la legendary Jhengo Reinhardt. The songs are in French and Gustafsson writes most of the band’s repertoire.
Art Transforms Cast Iron Lofts Hi-Rise into Urban Landmark
By Sally Deering
Photos by Fermín Mendoza
You can see it from Rt. 139 feeding into the Holland Tunnel or catch it from downtown Jersey City as you head into Hoboken. David Bowie’s image 18-stories high on the side of the Cast Iron Lofts in Jersey City, painted by international muralist Eduardo Kobra. Bowie passed-away January 10th of this year, but his music and artistry live on throughout the world; and Kobra’s mural is now part of the Jersey City landscape, an urban landmark and the latest addition to the Jersey City Mural Arts Program.
On Fri, Nov. 4, Mayor Steven M. Fulop, members of the City Council, local real estate developers, and local artists welcomed Kobra to Jersey City and thanked him for painting the dazzling, eye-catching image of David Bowie. Mayor Fulop held the press conference on the building’s 5th floor deck where visitors could get an up-close look at the mural, and meet and take pictures with Kobra who spent the past few weeks painting from a scaffold hanging 180-feet off the side of the Cast Iron Lofts hi-rise on Jersey Avenue. Continue reading KOBRA & BOWIE Int’l Muralist KOBRA paints 18-story David Bowie in Jersey City→
Holy Rosary Church celebrates 113th Italian Festival in Downtown JC
By Sally Deering
August nights are a time to celebrate when La Festa Italiana, the Old World Italian Street Festival hosted by Holy Rosary Church turns Historic Downtown Jersey City into five summer nights of music, dancing, food and fun!
La Festa Italiana2016 begins Wed, Aug. 10, and continues through Sun, Aug. 14, on Sixth & Brunswick Streets. On these five summer nights, the neighborhood surrounding Holy Rosary Church will come alive with rocking dance music, games of chance, kids’ activities, and a wide-array of delicious foods and libations. La Festa Italiana runs from 5 pm-11 pm Wednesday-to-Friday, and 3 pm-11 pm Saturday & Sunday. The last night (Sunday) at 11 pm, the “Super 50/50” Raffle winner will be chosen. Last year’s ticket-holder won over $10,200.
La Festa Italiana honors the veneration of Maria SS. Dell’Assunta & San Rocco, and offers the Downtown community the opportunity to party with its neighbors. This year’s La Festa Italiana features live bands, fun for the kids, food and souvenir vendors and Italian delicacies made by Holy Rosary Church parishioners like Fresh Hot Zeppoles, lemony Limoncello and “Our Famous Rice Balls”. Continue reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE… La Festa Italiana 2016 promises Fun, Dancing and Great Food→
Never mind getting upstaged by fancy swordplay or an actor taking too long for his death scene. Hudson Shakespeare Company’s adaptable actors must endure teens on skateboards, barking dogs, ambulance sirens, even low-flying helicopters while they project the dense and rhyming lines of The Bard.
Such is the actor’s life when performing with the Hudson Shakespeare Company, now in its 25th year. This summer, the ensemble puts on three Shakespeare plays and will bring Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 to Hamilton Park on Thurs, Aug. 18 at 7 pm. Admission is free thanks to support from the Hudson County Office of Cultural Affairs and other supporters of the arts.
On a recent Thursday evening, local park-goers gathered in Hamilton Park for Edward III.
July 16 & 17th -2-Day Show brings Boho Artscene Uptown
“Cheesesteak Stand” by Ken Delaney
By Sally Deering
On the weekend of July 16 & 17, Hendrickson’s Corner on 31st & Broadway will be serving its usual menu on its main floor while upstairs it will host a feast for the eyes when the “We the People” Art Show gets underway.
Mile Square Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence Debuts new Solo Show
By Sally Deering
A life in the theater can be a wonderful journey if he or she sticks it out long enough and for actor and playwright Joseph Gallo, his long day’s journey in the theater continues to be mined with opportunities. He just had two of his plays published by River City Books; and as playwright-in-residence at Mile Square Theatre (MST) in Hoboken, Gallo is about to debut his newest one-man show, LONG GONE DADDY directed by MST artistic director Chris O’Connor. Performances begin July 20 and run through August 7 in the company’s new theater on the corner of 14th & Clinton.
Prior to this, Gallo workshopped his play Two-Man Kidnapping Rule at MST. It was later produced by the New Ohio Theatre in New York, and published in Smith & Kraus’s anthology 2012 Best Men’s Stage Monologues and Scenes. As a solo writer/performer Gallo appeared in the original production of his one-man show My Italy Story at Penguin Rep in Stony Point, NY, which later had its debut Off-Broadway at the 47th Street Theatre in New York, starring Danny Mastrogiorgio (“…a compelling page turner.”—The New York Times). An avid storyteller, Gallo won a StorySLAM championship at The Moth in NYC. Continue reading LONG GONE DADDY -Actor, Playwright Joe Gallo of Hoboken debuts New Play on Fatherhood→
There’s an old saying, “write what you know” and for music writer Jim Testa of Weehawken, the words fit like an old pair of jeans. Testa writes the music column CONSTANT LISTENER for The Jersey Journal and has covered the rock and roll music scene since the 1980s, when Maxwell’s was the go-to club to see new bands and local indie labels produced their records. Testa wrote about bands when they were still unknowns, offering insightful commentary about their work in his weekly column. Like Chicago-based music writer Jim DeRogotis (who is from Jersey City and worked as a reporter for several local papers) Testa continues to be an important voice covering today’s music scene.
Testa’s career in music sways from writing to performing. A guitarist, Testa’s played in bands since his teen years. These days, he performs locally and recently recorded a new EP at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen in Bushwick, five songs he wrote – political songs like those of Phil Ochs, witty tunes evoking Tom Lehrer, and love songs, too. The EP, AMERICAN SPIRITS AND ARTISANAL CHEESE, can be purchased online at Jimtesta.bandcamp.com.