D.I.Y. N.J.

Weird NJ Presents – D.I.Y. N.J. (DO IT YOURSELF NEW JERSEY)
By Matt Chrystal (WNJ correspondent)

These days, you can’t venture too far in any direction in New Jersey without tripping over a pop-up-punk-rock flea market or bazaar, a record show or swap, an outdoor festival, a farmer’s market or a comic-toy- tattoo convention… and that’s a good thing! In fact, it’s a great thing… it provides an alternative to the mainstream shopping mall-big box-big business formats that have become all too commonplace in the world around us. These “alternative events” allow for customers and the curious to get a taste of homemade goods (goods that are actually good and actually made in a home) and sample products made with care (that are made by actual people who actually care)… it provides an atmosphere for people to meet and socialize… and it provides an “X marks the spot” on the map of NJ for people to find obscure treasure! But for me… the real treasure can be found by talking to the vendors, the creators and the entrepreneurs who are out there following their dreams and really doing it themselves.

There are some truly amazing stories out there about the journeys of New Jerseyans, who woke up one day and decided it was time to set out against the grain to follow their visions through to fruition. So, to kickoff the summer of 2016, each week I will be spotlighting a DIY brand that is raising hell, going wild or otherwise “Breaking Bad” in the good ole’ Garden State.
This weekly series will explore the who’s, how’s, why’s and what’s happenin’ behind several of New Jersey’s most unique and interesting DIY brands. I’ll check in on tattoo artists, pomade purveyors, hot sauce hawkers, craft beer brewers, emerging bands, classic barbers, b-movie makers, burlesque dancers, beard growers, music bloggers and record company reps as they as strive to find a release from the typical constraints of normal society and follows their transformation from hopeful upstarts to badass entrepreneurs.

D.I.Y.N.J. – Makin Waves

Saturday, Oct. 22nd Makin Waves Rock Circus Showcase variety show is being produced by veteran NJ music columnist, Bob Makin and is set to debut at Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse. The showcase boasts a stellar lineup that incorporates up-and-coming names from the worlds of music, sideshow and burlesque.
I enjoy shows like this where I can be introduced to new acts that I might not have otherwise seen or go to a gig where I get to see weird worlds collide. All the variety breaks things up a bit and offers something fun for everyone. Continue reading

D.I.Y.N.J. Part XI Breaking Bargain Bins with COMIC TRIPS

Weird NJ correspondent Matt Chyrstal attempts to keep up with the adventures of Paul Brown and Kat Habrukowich creators and stars of the web series, Comic Trips. The series has accurately been labeled as the “American Pickers for 80’s babies” and has already logged in five seasons plus several special episodes (Drunk Toy Review, What’s in the Box? Contest Giveways, Twinkie Taste Test, etc). Paul and Kat are powerhouses of positivity and pop culture knowledge. They are out and about, cruising down the nostalgia highway on a mission to find key issues, vintage toys and unique collectibles. Continue reading

D.I.Y.N.J. Part X: Breaking Batty with BAT FACTORY

Bat Factory can no longer be considered a secret as a result of Jodi’s tireless do-it-yourself work ethic, resourcefulness and imagination. And sure, Bat Factory can still be referred to as “underground,” in the sense that her unique conceptions are far from the everyday, the run-of-the-mill prints or wall hangings for sale at Pottery Barn. Continue reading

D.I.Y.N.J. Part IX: Breaking Waves–Asbury Park Surf Music Festival

I am flying high over Tupelo, Mississippi with America’s hottest band… and we are all about to die! Ok, you got me… I’m at an Aloha Friday party on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, enjoying my second, possibly fourth Asbury Boogie (rye whiskey, dark rum, pineapple, lemon and passion fruit) and hanging with the husband and wife DIY duo of Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell. Continue reading

D.I.Y.N.J. Part VIII: Breaking Burly

Matt Chrystal interview Minnie D’Moocha, Viktor Devonne and Vonka, three sensational performers who are breaking bad and literally busting out of the garden state, has led me to the conclusion that burlesque performers and cosplayers are kinda like Transformers… yup, there’s more than meets the eye. I have some more research to do, so let’s hear it from these three movers and shakers (pun intended) as they answer my ten questions for D.I.Y.N.J. Continue reading

D.I.Y. N.J. Part VII: Jeff Crespi Rocks!

If you’ve been to any musical event in New Jersey, whether a major concert or a small club gig somewhere, you’ve probably seen him, prowling around at the edge of the stage, in the thick of the action with one camera in front of his face and several others slung from his neck and shoulders. But who is that man behind the lens who seems to be omnipresent wherever Rock n Roll is taking place in our state? WNJ reporter Matt Chrystal catches up with the ubiquitous shutterbug and asks him 10 questions about just how and why Jeff Crespi Rocks. Continue reading

D.I.Y. N.J. Part VI: Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market

Mr. Kuzemka has taken the term “DIY” to the next level. His idea of hosting a gallery event where small business vendors and artists can show off and peddle their goods has progressed into a thrice-yearly, weekend long emporium extravaganza that brings in thousands to New Jersey’s capitol city. In the midst of all the preparation for this upcoming installment of the TPRFM, Joseph F. Kuzemka found the time to answer my 10+ questions for this week’s edition of #DIYNJ… Continue reading