Paramount Backstage Presents: Graham Parker – The Most Restless Night On The Planet – June 27

Sammy Boyd is leading the way as the area’s most creative promoter. Instead of just shoveling an overabundance of crazies into a room featuring too many bands and not enough sanely priced booze, Mr. Boyd and company sat down and asked the one, simple question that has eluded many promoters.

That question is, “How can I present a show with a minimum of heartache and a maximum of value?” Well, besides his fun-filled Thursdays that have featured Pat DiNizio over at Langosta (Pat continues his musical and comical foray at the Crossroads in Garwood), Boyd has unleashed his brand new insiders experience called Paramount Backstage. Featuring a bona-fide feel of what it’s like to be in the envious position of the laminated ones, Boyd and support point girl Judy Yaccarino give attendees an Epcot-like experience as an inside “beautiful person” in the music business.

Let me explain. You will enter through the simple, but hallowed backstage door, a door that has ushered in everyone from Jimi Hendrix to The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Tony Bennett and yes, Bruce Springsteen. Ever wonder what it might feel like to pass the same way as one of the greats? Well, that question is answered as you walk into one of the world’s most famous doors located on the north side of the historic hall.

As you enter, you are greeted by courteous and respectful staff. You are not jostled and corralled by some Shrek-looking galoot grunting out stern commands or forcing you to scurry into the nosebleed seats. And if that isn’t a pleasant enough change of pace, you also receive a genuine complimentary backstage pass that allows you to roam freely within the show parameters. And yes, they serve alcohol. With only about 200 seats on the stage, there isn’t a bad seat in the house, or, in this case, on the stage.

The first show featured Williams Honor and as an attendee, I have to say it was a beautiful experience. The sound is pristine, and the atmosphere is extremely intimate. There were several times when the lovely Reagan Richards was speaking, and I thought she might be addressing me. Alas, she wasn’t, but it’s that intimate and Williams Honor put on a great, home-cooked, country-tinged show. Seating is directly on the stage, affording a view of the act, and behind them, a beautiful view of the seating areas, a look most concertgoers never get to experience.

Speaking of an experience, Boyd and company will be opening that simple Matrix door to let you walk amongst the very epitome of rock and roll greatness. Graham Parker returns to the Jersey Shore this very weekend of June 27. Parker hardly needs an introduction by me, but to say his music is influential is an understatement of the greatest kind.

Emerging from Britain’s “pub rock” scene in the 1970s, Parker was the influential father figure of guys like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. For over 30 years, Parker has been laying down the rock and roll law. His combination of raw, bar band punk, and gritty Americana essence crash head on into an intricate styling of R&B, soul and country twang. Decades into a fabled reputation as the top dog of inventive, snarling rock, Parker finds himself, as his bio states, “At the absolute top of his game.”

And that’s the importance of Paramount Backstage Presents. Boyd is bringing real and vital music right to your very lap. Well, you probably can’t get Graham to sit on your lap (hmm) but you get the idea.

Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are moving fast, so head over to, Stone Pony Box Office and the Paramount Box Office (on show night).


Exhibit No.9 “Normal Is Boring” Human Wreckage, Bohdan Burenko, Tonya Lee, Tom White – July 3 – July 30, 2015

            With art houses regaining a foothold on Cookman Avenue and beyond, there are a plethora of considerations for anyone who understands (and appreciates) the language of visual communication. With well-known rooms such as Parlor Gallery, Gallery 13, SICA and Exhibit No.9 leading the way, aficionados of the art world can literally “see it all” without leaving the lane.

            But please, don’t think that this is some tourist strip where everyone is selling the same Velvet Elvis because if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll be gravely disappointed. Each distinct room offers talented and rising locals, national artists, as well as international stars from the art world. Presentations are very much in synch with the common thread of this town. History, music, community and social interaction flow fast and furious as each brand rises to the occasion. The latest in this round robin of artistic reaction takes place at 550-102 Cookman Avenue.

            The visionary offering of director Tom White, Exhibit No.9 is a room that I’ve visited in past months. Their guided tour was not only an interesting foray into the “behind the scenes” life of an art house, but the array of quality focused me on the fact that these guys are serious when it comes to bringing intricate originality to town.

            Exhibit No.9’s latest event offering is called “Normal Is Boring,” a group exhibition of paintings, mixed and experimental media expressing radical freedom and form through unconventional and destructive design.

The first artist up is Human Wreckage. By assembling images culled from varied historical frames ranging from mid-century pop to antiquity, the artist’s work evokes an ethereal timelessness. The artist’s unwavering adherence to the hand-cut collage format is essential. The history of each element is as crucial to the narrative as the subject itself. Each cut into the paper releases the ghosts of history.

            Bohdan Burenko (Kiev, Ukraine) – Bohdan is fast emerging on the Eastern Europe art scene. His style is raw and visceral. Using portraiture, he explores the ugliness and destructive nature of humanity. Various labels can be used to describe his work: existential neo-expressionism, neo cubism or existential geometry. He draws inspiration from the media, people, spirituality, photography, vintage illustrations and quantum mechanics. One can see the influences of Basquiat and Bacon in his paintings.

            Tonya Lee (Asbury Park, NJ) – Tonya, as their press release states, is an intriguing player raised on the salt of the Atlantic foam by a shark’s tooth hunter and a mythmaker. Her work is about combining shapes, patterns, moments and pauses derived from passive spaces, fleeting thoughts and changing meteorological winds. In a multi-disciplinary process combining painting, drawing, collage and construction, her intent is to explore the aesthetic oppositions of rigidity, gesture, heed and neglect. She has an MFA in painting and is an Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She is also an Adjunct Instructor in the Art and Design Department at Monmouth University.

            Tom White (Asbury Park, NJ) – Tom’s experimental photography is miles above the norm. He uses organic and geometric design concepts to deconstruct and reconfigure his images. As his bio states, he exploits the “gut response to natural and industrial subject matter, texture and color but intends that the resulting images challenge the way we perceive the use of photography.” In some of his work, he uses an experimental print process to construct the final image. Tom is a coveted and published designer that has prospered as an image maker for more than two decades. He is also Exhibit No.9’s director as well as the printmaker and director of nine Surf Editions, the gallery’s print studio.

            Exhibit No.9 of Asbury Park is a gallery and contemporary art studio where both artists and patrons can meet and connect with the genuine art world. Gallery events include exhibitions, seminars and artist talks. Located in Asbury Park, between New York City and Philadelphia, Exhibit No.9 is situated in the heart of a magnetic urban renaissance that attracts people, culture and art forms from around the world.

            Exhibit No.9 will be unveiling their tumultuous trio of interpretation beginning on July 3 and running through the end of the month. If you’re looking for something that is a true step up in regards to challenging the restless mind, come down and take a look at the most original artwork on the planet.

            Exhibit No.9 is at 550-102 Cookman Avenue in the park that cooks long after dark. For more information, check them out over at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*/ ?>