D.I.Y. N.J.

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. 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

D.I.Y. N.J. Part V: CoolDad Music

CoolDadMusic has become a champion of emerging bands such as Dentist, Lowlight and the RocknRoll Hi-Fives that are breaking out of New Jersey. He capturing them in action through his camera lens as well as capturing their sound through his reviews, which go beneath the surface to really give the reader a sense of what each band’s sound is all about. CoolDad’s influence even goes beyond the computer screen as he has also become a curator of live events in Asbury Park that helps introduce new talent to broader audiences. Continue reading

D.I.Y. N.J. – Bill Zebub: King of the Bs

I just made accidental eye contact with Bill Zebub, the King of the B-Movies and now find myself gravitating toward his merch booth as if pulled by a tractor beam. As I get closer, I see the array of DVDs that he is selling and there’s no turning back… or is there? There isn’t. Continue reading