NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 119: KISS at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City!

Today’s t-shirt memorializes the very KISS stadium concert at Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium in 1976! This tee is available at their official page KISSonline.com

Wow, we love demolishing stadiums in this state, don’t we? Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City was a baseball stadium that opened in 1937 and was demolished in 1985. Sure, it had its share of memorable sporting events and concerts, but one in particular featured my favorite band ever, KISS.

When you think of famed KISS concerts, you may think of Cobo Hall in Detroit, or even Madison Square Garden in New York City, but merely days after America’s Bicentennial 4th of July celebration, on July 10th, 1976, KISS played very first stadium show right in The Sexiest of all Armpits.

Headlining a big baseball stadium was no easy task. The band had to be louder and crazier than the crowd was, and naturally, KISS was up for the task. At the time, they were riding high on what would become their biggest album of all time, Destroyer, so they were properly equipped to blast everyone directly out of the stadium with their mammoth sound and explosions, and that’s exactly what they did.

For non-KISS fans, it’s easy to believe that if you’ve seen one KISS concert, you’ve seen them all, but I’m here to tell you that’s just simply not the case. There was a special kind of magic going on with the early KISS shows. A group of musicians with a wild idea to mix ghastly face paint, elaborate costumes, and an explosive stage show were still in their formative years as a band. Hell, much like some of their other early concerts, the Roosevelt Stadium show was filmed in black and white, lending it an even more macabre atmosphere. B&W is one quality that always intrigued me with early KISS shows and bootlegs, especially knowing that Gene is such a horror movie fanatic.

Many of you have lived through the many incarnations of KISS. For over 40 years now KISS has been evolving their music, their look, and their stage show. To me, nothing beats those early years. Their music was darker and more seedy, their look was more basic, albeit scary. I wasn’t lucky enough to live through their ’70s heyday, but I relived them on my own through VHS bootlegs as a kid. Now, all that footage is on DVD box sets and of course, YouTube! You can see footage from the Roosevelt Stadium show below.

*Opening for KISS at Roosevelt Stadium was The J.Geils Band and Point Blank. It’s a heinous crime that at of the time of this post this show was somehow not included in the notable KISS concert list on Wikipedia. That is totally insane. Someone please fix this!

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New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.83: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

The holiday rock extravaganza that is the world renowned Trans-Siberian Orchestra left their mark here in New Jersey – Jersey City to be exact. The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, their made for TV concert special that originally aired on the Fox Family Channel on December 14, 1999, was filmed here in Jersey’s most famous movie house that opened 70 years prior in 1929.

As we’ve mentioned many times before here at The Sexy Armpit, the classic Loews Jersey theater, located in Journal Square, is one of our state treasures and it’s actually a star of this production in its own right. The beautifully shot special highlights glimpses of the theater’s cavernous ceilings, and the rich, finely detailed interior. It’s fitting that the concert is titled The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, because I wouldn’t be surprised if the Loews Jersey theater has some ghosts of its own.

It’s not just you average concert. What makes this stand out is the combination of the thunderous music with striking holiday visuals that help weave in the plot of a runaway girl who wishes she’ll be welcomed back into her home by her family. The story begins on Christmas Eve where we join the girl as she hides in an abandoned theater – the legendary Loews Theatre in Jersey City.

The TSO are incredible musicians and it translates into their concerts which often evoke a haunting quality, ultimately they’re very uplifting, but there are elements that conjure up memories and emotions, especially during the holidays. This spectacle may give you feelings of inspiration, forgiveness, and in this case, you may recall a lost loved one, like the runaway daughter whose story unfolds during the concert.

Ten songs are blasted through in just under 45 minutes, so there’s no time to be bored. Some of the highlights include “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “Joy to the World,” as well as several guest performances, two of which were Jewel and Michael Crawford. I’d forgotten how lovely Jewel is and her version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was equally as enchanting. Later on, perhaps the key moment in the special is a resounding performance of “O Holy Night,” from the former Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford. If that didn’t awaken the ghosts in the theater nothing else could.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve is subtle yet bombastic, well crafted, and breathtaking. It will enhance your Christmas Spirit and it will also provide fare different than the typical stuff airing constantly on TV throughout December. It’s also perfect to play in the background while you’re putting decorations up or you have company over. Bonus if you have surround sound! You don’t have to be a huge TSO fan to fully enjoy this, but fans of rock music in general would get the most appreciation out of it, especially those from New Jersey. This special is still available on DVD.

Ms. Marvel #1 – Review by Mike Wirth a.k.a @IdiotAtPlay

I’m going to refrain from getting into my preference for DC over Marvel. Not avoiding it for any other reason that I would never argue that one is better than the other because I feel that neither side is better overall. Yes, Marvel may be putting out better, more lucrative movies and they have a more strategic long term vision for their product, oh, and they’re now owned by DISNEY. But with all those words that I just typed – all I really need to type in defense of DC is one word. BATMAN. So let’s not fight, OK? Moving on…

Mike Wirth, my friend of nearly 20 years, and co-everything on The Sexy Armpit show, has a badass blog of his own called Idiot At Play. If you haven’t visited it, I recommend clicking over there because he’s been banging out posts like a crazy person. Much like you see here at The Sexy Armpit, Mike reviews comics, movies, TV shows, and random events. Somewhere in all of that he finds the time to write actual books, like his first novel The Non-Linear Flow of the Universal Tides which you can buy basically wherever books are sold. I have the utmost respect for a guy who can write a blog, help me film YouTube videos with a sludge puppet, and write books, all while working full time. Dude makes me proud and ashamed of myself at the same time.

Back to the subject at hand. After I read about the new Ms.Marvel operating in New Jersey I had a few people e-mail and tweet me about it to see if I was aware of it. I was, but it never hurts to bring it to my attention again since stuff in my brain has a limited shelf life nowadays! Mike was the first to tweet me about it and although he thought it might be a good story for The Sexy Armpit, I always looked at him as my go-to Marvel Comics expert. Originally I wanted him to do a guest post on here, but he’s got a blog of his own so it makes much more sense for you to click over to the link below and read all about the new Ms. Marvel who hails from Jersey City:

*Is it me or does the Ms. Marvel cover remind you a little bit of the cover of Supergirl #1 from 1996?

Screw Jaegers, We’ve Got MEGAS XLR!

What do you do when your country is being attacked by giant Kaiju monsters? Call the Transformers? I think not, they already have enough on their plates! In the sci-fi movie Pacific Rim, released today, Jaegers are the giant robots that have been created to combat the Kaiju monsters in the film which are similar to Godzilla. The “mechas,” or robots, require two pilots on the same wavelength to control each massive machine. Since I haven’t seen Pacific Rim yet, I can’t say if the Jaegers are successful in their defense of the country, but if they wind up having some trouble, I can recommend some help.

One of my favorite, albeit short lived, Cartoon Network shows was Megas XLR. Pre-dating Pacific Rim by 9 years, Megas XLR, a show about a giant robot resurrected in a Jersey City junkyard, premiered in 2004 on the Toonami block. It’s also important to mention that the Transformers live-action film didn’t hit theaters until 3 years later! Enough bragging though, Megas XLR wasn’t just a show about an eXtra Large Robot, it also featured a couple of standard issue Jersey slacker dudes. They snack, sip Slurpees, and listen to loud rock music. Extremely common behavior for indigenous slackers.

Coop (Picture Reaper’s Tyler Labine) and Jamie, our “heroes,” purchase the robot for a dollar since it was laying amongst the debris in the local junkyard. Coop, the mechanic, fixes up the severely damaged robot, gives the towering machine a slick flaming paint job, attaches it’s new head – a ’70s muscle car similar to a Plymouth Barracuda, and uses a video game controller to drive it around.

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To promote the show at the San Diego Comic Con previous to it’s premiere, Cartoon Network gave out a very limited amount of small statues of Megas XLR. For the Jersey pop culture obsessed, this is one of the coolest pieces to have in your collection. Knowing something this badass came out of one of our filthy, fictional junkyards and was fixed up and controlled by 2 Jersey slackers makes it that much more special to me.

Megas XLR did not garner a huge fan base at the time but, it certainly has gained a cult following. As for the latest status on the show, last year, the show’s creators tweeted about the possibility of bringing Megas XLR back. Presently, all the episodes are available on iTunes, but, there’s never been an official DVD release. Here’s to hoping Pacific Rim packs a wallop at the box office this weekend. Success like that could create a big demand for robot related programming, and there’s no better animated sci-fi action comedy than MEGAS XLR!

New Jersey Runs On Dunkin’!

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D&D’s Limited Edition New Jersey DDestinations Collection Mug
The weather was so beautiful yesterday that I decided to take the back roads home from work. I even got really crazy and opened the sunroof. Something was missing though.

I felt like getting a pumpkin iced coffee from D&D. As it turns out, there’s no shortage of Dunkin’ Donuts locations in New Jersey, but what that actually means is that there’s one every 400 feet. I was near the Fanwood, NJ location so I pulled in. Whoa, long line! Usually the line is long for the breakfast rush, but at 5pm? Something told me not to jump in line right away.
Before I staked my claim on line behind the teenage girls that just got out of dance class, and the three stoner kids pooling their change together to buy vanilla bean Coolattas, I happened to notice a shelf with mugs to the right of the cash register, so I waltzed over to browse. As I got closer, I saw a bunch of ceramic mugs that said “New Jersey” on them. At first, I was in disbelief that D&D would offer a state branded mug, but it was real and it was begging me to bring it home.

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The packaging that housed the mug clued me in that it’s part of D&D’s limited edition “DDestinations” mug collection. $5.99 was a fair price considering it’s a gigantic mug, well let me rephrase that, it’s actually more of a VAT. I won’t have to go back for refills with this one, especially since I also use mugs for other random beverages. The graphics on the ceramic mug are FAR from mind blowing, but the idea is still pretty neat. The colors are in line with D&D branding and the graphics feel like they are straight out of the ’70s or ’80s. These mugs are already popping up on eBay for $20 bucks, so if this kind of memorabilia appeals to you, then grab your state’s mug in-store while you can.
Most of the locations and points of interest depicted on the mug were easily identifiable, but I had a hell of a time attempting to figure out what the tall building was in the photo posted on the top right. After a lot of Google image searching and help from a friend we determined it’s a really poor interpretation of Goldman Sachs Tower in Jersey City, NJ.
In addition to Goldman Sachs Tower, the other points of interest were easy to figure out. You can see Ellis Island Immigration Station, Absecon Light House, Lucy The Elephant, a few acres of farmland, Atlantic City, and possibly Branchbrook Park in Newark which is known for the largest collection of Cherry Blossom trees in the U.S. I can’t officially say that’s what those trees are intended to represent, but I’m relatively certain. Can’t wait to fill this up with some D&D pumpkin or toasted almond coffee.

Before and After: Silent Bob The Goon

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Technically Bob The Goon came way before Silent Bob, so that rejected Wheel of Fortune clue doesn’t really work. But it is true that there is a connection between these two beloved Bobs – and it’s more than just their names!

Bob The Goon is a character created for the 1989 Batman movie. Played by Jersey City’s own Tracey Walter (who has appeared in TONS of films and TV shows), Bob The Goon was The Joker’s main lackey. Putting it more simply, he was Joker’s NUMBER ONE GUY!!!

5 years after Batman, in 1994, Kevin Smith’s alter ego Silent Bob debuted in his own film Clerks. Silent Bob is the quiet, chilled out partner of his friend stoner friend Jay (Jason Mewes) and they later go onto several more cinematic adventures together.

As recently revealed by Kevin Smith on his Fatman on Batman Podcast, Bob The Goon was actually an inspiration for Smith in creating the Silent Bob character. Episode #8 (available on iTunes) is all about The Dark Knight Rises and like all the rest of the episodes – it’s totally FREE! You can’t beat that, thanks Kevin!

It’s pretty awesome that we New Jersey fanboys can be proud that not only Kevin Smith is a local icon,  but Bob the Goon is as well. Read more about Joker’s #1 guy in this post.

Holy Bat-Weekend!

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If you haven’t had your fill of comic cons and pop culture conventions this year, you can take a ride to Teaneck, NJ this weekend for the NJ Comic Expo. It’s a great chance to pick up holiday gifts for the geek in your family. There will be tables filled with comics, collectibles, and other cool stuff. Also on hand will be comic artists and special guests.
On Saturday night to coincide with this “bat-vention,” you can attend a special showing of the 1966 Batman film at the Loews Jersey Theater at Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ. http://loewsjersey.org/

*In other Bat-news: New Jersey’s Ledger Live on NJ.com interviewed The Sexy Armpit about our theory that Batman’s Gotham City is actually New Jersey, not New York City!

11/12 and 11/13
Teaneck Armory
1799 Teaneck Road
Teaneck NJ 07666