Last month in May, Casino in the Park in Jersey City held its annual dinner for students at Snyder High School.
Bernie Sweeney owner of the Casino in the Park and Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands has been hosting and donating the Snyder High party for the past 11 plus years. As an alumni of the school and also an inductee into Snyder High School’s Hall of Honor since 1998 the party is Sweeney’s way of giving back to his old alma mater.
In those 11 plus years of hosting the Snyder party which equals to around 5000 dinners, Sweeney’s message to the young people at Snyder has always been study, work hard, and pay it forward to others.
The event is an exciting time for Sweeney, his wife Kathleen his sons and staff as told by Sweeney’s son Jay, ” For us at the Casino in the Park it is a joy to see these young people having a great time, they’re all great kids with good grades and all we ask is they go out and help others in their lives.” He Said. “Our one message through the years go out and do something wonderful for someone else.”
New Play at LaMama in New York based on The Carmelettes, the 1950s All-Girl Doo-Wop Group from Jersey City
By Sally Deering
When I think of girl groups that influenced my teen years, my mind goes straight to The Shangri-Las, four big-haired girls from Queens and their 1964 hit “Leader of the Pack.” That rocking tune about an ill-fated crush on a biker boy became the song for 60s teen-girl angst, inspiring us to iron our hair, slather our lips in Yardley pinks and Frug in white go-go boots.
Before the Shangri-Las and girl groups of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, there were girl doo- whop groups and one fondly remembered was The Carmelettes, a Jersey City trio of teen girls christened their girl-group name by their parish priest at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. In 1959, the girls Angela LaPrete, Vicky Cevetello and Virginia Verga recorded two songs, “My Foolish Heart” and “Promise Me a Rose,” and in 1960 “Aching for You” and “Something Tells Me I’m in Love.” They sang backup for Neil Sedaka’s hit “Oh Carol,” and Carole King’s hit “Oh Neil.” And when the group regrouped under the name “The Kittens,” (after Verga left for a solo career,) the LaPrete and Cevetello sang backup on several songs including the Top 40 hit “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” – which bombarded the airwaves during the summer of 1960.When the group disbanded in the 1961, the girls went on to start other careers and raise families. LaPrete married James Murphy (folks just know him as “Murphy”) and the couple raised their daughter Susan, who went on to earn a BFA in Drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and become a singer in clubs and cabarets while performing in Off-Off Broadway plays. A drama teacher at Snyder High School, Susan Murphy continues to reinvent herself and her latest career turn is her new play, “Girl/Group: A Daughter’s Tale” a personal piece about her mother’s life as a doo-whop singer and the affect it has had on Murphy’s life. (“Girl/Group: A Daughter’s Tale” features Murphy along with Tom Cappadona, Drew Citron, Alison Scaramella, and Jenna Smith and is directed by Mario Giacalone. It opens at LaMama’s The Club in New York City on June 17 and runs through June 26.)
International street artists like “Big Foot,” “Kid Zoom,” Jason Maloney and Ron English travel the globe creating art on the urban landscape. The artists – all world renown – paint murals on big concrete canvases like bridges, embankment walls and building facades that draw tourists, bring ka-ching to a city’s coffers and transform dilapidated structures into works of art. And because they’re painted on concrete walls, the artists’ works can’t be bought or sold or compete with the gallery sales of their paintings, so they do it all for free.
The Jersey City Street Art Initiative is like many public art happenings taking place in cities around the world. English, a Jersey City resident, worked with several street artists on a “Separation Wall” in Palestine and just returned from Miami, Florida where he was invited by real estate mogul Tony Goldwyn to create murals in a neighborhood of broken-down buildings to help transform it into a hip and happening hub of homes and restaurants. (Back in the day, Goldwyn initiated the transformation of Soho in New York City from a neighborhood of abandoned warehouses into a hip and thriving upscale arts district.) Continue reading WALL ART-INTERNATIONAL STREET ARTISTS TURN JERSEY CITY BLIGHT INTO PRICELESS ART→
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