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!

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.

Breaking Bad News Foundation

)

Communication skills are often difficult to master, and it is a skill that few people are trained in. With that notion comes a four-letter word: HOPE.  The BBN Foundation hopes to change that for the medical world; they teach physicians how to properly deliver bad news to patients, while still shining some light on a negative situation.

HipNJ’s own Gina Cernielia attended the BBN Foundation’s fundraising gala at The Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, NJ.  The night was dedicated to raising money to help properly train physicians on delivering bad news to patients. Gina was able to talk to various members of the foundation including president, Dr. Anthony Orsini, about the meaning behind the organization.  Dr. Orsini explained that their ultimate goal is to support and provide educational programs that promote effective and compassionate communication in healthcare.

Other notable guests of the evening included keynote speaker Scott Chesney, who gave a rousing speech about how important strong communication skills are in helping the plight of distressed patients and their families.

“The BNN Foundation is creative, innovative, and they are doing something special that has really changed the way that doctors interact with patients and parents. Bad news is never easy, but how it is delivered can make a difference,” Scott touted to HipNJ on the red carpet.

For more information about the Breaking Bad News Foundation or on how to make a donation, please visit their website at www.bbnfoundation.org.