Beach Weekend: Jersey Shore
One question I always get when interviewed is “What destination surprised you?” I usually talk about Berlin, Nicaragua, Cambodia, but now I have a new addition to that list: New Jersey.
Jersey has a certain reputation perpetuated by shows like Jersey Shore and The Sopranos; hysterical as Jersey Shore is and as groundbreaking as The Sopranos were, what those shows don’t portray is the common “good people” population that is as abundant as the gun-carrying, over-tanned and gelled.
I met most of those good folks at Yappy Hour at Wonder Bar, which has to be the happiest place on earth. Every Thursday they open up their back patio to the dogs and owners of Asbury Park. There’s a dog pool, a sandy area and of course plenty of butts to sniff. A local adoption agency was there as well to team up dogs with loving homes. In one hour I fell in love with a Burmese Mt. Dog named Hannah, and then there was Buddha, the 25-pound flatulent Pug.
I got to hang out with Lance Larson who is the heart and soul of Asbury Park.â€¨Lance has been deeply entrenched in the music scene here since the 60s. (It’s his red baseball cap in the back pocket on The Boss’s infamous album cover.) His girlfriend Debbie runs a cat shelter and they host Yappy Hour at Wonderbar. I think I love these people.
A highlight for me was getting to meet Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon and Tommy Shaw of Styx today, as their music was a part of the soundtrack of my permed hair and designer jean wearing youth. I got to sing ONSTAGE with them as well. I was so nervous that I asked if I could have stiff drink before I went onstage. All they had was Merlot!
Another rockin’ good time was had when I got to try my hand at Roller Derby. As soon as I walked into the Colliseum I knew I was going to have a good night. Over 50 women skating around in fishnet stockings and tutus. These were the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. I got a quick lesson from Malicious Megs, AC Skater, and Black Eyed Betty. My roller girl name? MC Slamher. And my signature move — green eggs and SLAM!
When I asked the ladies whose ages ran from 21 to 52 why they did it they replied, “Let’s just say we’re not into Pilates.”
It was a total thrill being out there in the rink and all the women were just fantastic in choreographing some moves so I wouldn’t end up in traction. On one of my last go’s around the rink, I fell and the bruise that developed over the next few days was a work of art. It was like its own blue-ribbon prize and I wanted so badly for people to ask me how I got it just so I could say in a tough but nonchalant voice: “Roller Derby.”