Category Archives: Rising Stars

Hip New Jersey sits with the state’s up-and-comers before they hit the mainstream. We’ll find out what motivates them on their journey to the top!

New York Red Bulls

The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be over, but you can still catch some competitive, high-energy “fùtbol” action right here in #HipNJ!

Red Bull Arena in Harrison is home of the New York Red Bulls, one of Major League Soccer‘s premiere franchises.  Red Bull Arena has set the standard for other MLS venues across the country, and rivals as one of best around the world.

There isn’t a bad seat among the 25,000 that’s housed in this state-of-the-art facility. Red Bull Arena is also easily accessible for #HipNJ fans, via public transportation including the PATH Trains and NJ Transit to the Harrison Station

#HipNJ caught up with Melissa Brennan, Red Bulls Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships, and she talked about how the Red Bulls team with their sponsors- many of whom are major Garden State corporations- to give spectators an entertaining game-day experience.  

One of the Red Bulls’ key sponsors is Affinity Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Basking Ridge.  VP of Marketing & eCommerce, Jean-Albert Maisonneuve, spoke to #HipNJ about Affinity’s involvement in the Red Bull Fan Zone.  Affinity’s portion includes a fun photo booth, cool giveaways and an awesome virtual soccer game.  Other experiences in “The Zone” include a street team performing tricks, music and the Coors Light Cold Zone (a beer garden) for the older fans.  All of these elements provides an amazing atmosphere for fans of all ages.

For more on Affinity and to enter to win a VIP New York Red Bulls experience, visit their Facebook page.  Hurry, their contest ends July 18th!

Off-Broadway Star Kimberly Aliano

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino recently went backstage with Off-Broadway star Kimberly Aliano, who is currently crooning in “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” and “My Big Gay Italian Funeral.”

“I am a big advocate for the gay and lesbian community, so to appear in these shows is very special for me, in more ways than one,” proclaimed Kimberly.

“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” satirizes the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage while drawing on larger than life gay and Italian characters. Kimberly marries the two principles, Anthony Pinnunziato and Andrew Polinski.

“My Big Gay Italian Funeral” picks up where “Italian Wedding” leaves off, at the funeral of Anthony’s father Joe. Kim plays Fanny Zucchiatti, owner of the Spectrum Gay Nighclub in Brooklyn.

Her latest “Funeral” performance- on Father’s Day- was dedicated to her dad.  Gary Potenzone, Sr., co-owner of the legendary Apollo Flag Company, passed away earlier in 2014.  (Apollo is now owned by Kimberly’s mother, Deborah and uncle, Albert Potenzone).

“I couldn’t think of a better gift to give him in heaven than singing and acting in his memory,” Kimberly bittersweetly explained.

While Kim confidently struts her stuff on stage, her road to stardom hasn’t been easy. Kimberly has struggled with her weight her entire life- a plight that the image-driven music industry hasn’t been sympathetic towards.

“I had a lot of doors shut in my face because of my appearance,” said Kimberly, a plus-size model and children’s book author (“Chubby…is everywhere!”) Despite the obstacles, Kimberly’s pipes have landed her cushy gigs, including singing for President George W. Bush at Drew University.

When Kimberly isn’t performing, the lifelong Totowa resident likes to chill at home with her husband, Giovanni, and her two kids, Vincenza (6) and Antonio (1). She is very involved in charity work, and helps out at her siblings’ store, Sweets and Stuff by Apollo.

Something tells us that her schedule is going to get a lot busier!

The Jersey Devil Movie

Hell has a new exit and by the looks of it, Jersey is about to get even hotter!

“The Jersey Devil” is a new indie comedy about a new devil taking reign over the underworld and his attempt to revamp its image. After an extensive search, he decides that relocating to Jersey City, New Jersey was the perfect move for his “makeover.”

HipNJ’s Peter Falzo visited the set of the new movie and sat down with director and co-writer, Joseph Pepitone, and others involved with the film to get the low-down on this “new hell.”

The new devil comes to Jersey City with the mindset of making hell “cool, sexy, and edgy”, and this idea represents how Jersey City is in the midst of its own rebirth.   The city welcomed the opportunity to host the film’s production, and the cast and crew were able to shoot on-location in JC’s prime landmarks:  City Hall, New Jersey City University, and The Landmark Lowes Jersey Theatre, where our interview took place.

The film’s Garden State pride extends to its talented actors.  Clifton native Keith Collins, also known as “The New Devil”, said it the best: “Jersey is my home and home is where the heart is. So what place is better to shoot a film about Jersey than Jersey itself?”

To stay updated on “The Jersey Devil”, like them on Facebook and check out the full synopsis and cast and crew information on IMDb.