Category Archives: Entertainment

#TrainYourBrainDay NJ’s Finest Escape Rooms!

escape room

Today is #TrainYourBrainDay! Looking to put your brain power to the test? An escape room is the perfect way to actively engage in some brain puzzles with your closest friends and family! The concept is simple—you are locked in room and must solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to escape in under 60 minutes. I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a few escape rooms with my family. It was a lot of fun—I highly recommend!

The first escape room I did was The Dorm Room at Amazing Escape Room in Princeton, NJ. As a college student, I thought it was really neat being able to do puzzles in a place that felt a lot like my college home! My first experience in an escape room was tough but definitely a great learning experience for future escape rooms. It laid the groundwork for being able to decipher clues and come up with strategic ways to solve the puzzles and riddles. Unfortunately, my group and I fell just short of escaping. We still had a great time!

The next escape room I did was Lost Jewel of Zanzibar at Escape Room Center in my hometown of Bridgewater, NJ. Set in Africa in 1930, the objective is to find a mystical gem from  a powerful warlord before time expires. I really liked the safari-adventure feel to this room. It almost felt like a Disney attraction! With a little more experience under our belts, my family and I were able to escape this room under 60 minutes. Woohoo!

My most recent escape room experience took place in Power Surge at Escape Garden State, minutes down the road from the #HipNJ HQ in Fairfield, NJ. This room takes place in Thomas Edison’s secret office. The goal is to access his secret work before time expires or else it will be gone forever. Personally, I thought this was the most challenging of the three I’ve done. It took a lot of ideas, guessing, and yes some clues from the Game Master, but we were able to escape! It was definitely my family’s most impressive escape yet!

If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to test your puzzle-solving skills, check out any of the locations I mentioned. The staff was very accommodating and the whole experience was seamless, fun, but definitely a challenge!

New Jersey escape rooms can be found in Princeton, Bridgewater, Fairfield, Hoboken, Atlantic City, Cherry Hill, Hackensack, and Freehold.

“Pac The House” Second Season at HACPAC

The Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance and the City of Hackensack are proud and excited to announce the return of the “PAC The House” at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC). This is the second season of the event, set to include John Pizzarelli, Elijah Bland, Amy Helm, Flor De Toloache and Marc Cohn

On Friday, October 5th, John Pizzarelli, a Paterson Native, starts the series off. Pizzarelli has over 20 solo albums, and has also performed on songs by Paul McCartney, James Taylor and Rosemary Clooney. In the recent years, he’s toured North America, South America, Asia and Europe, performing shows centered on Frank Sinatra’s centennial, the songs of Johnny Mercer, Paul McCartney and Nat King Cole. 

Elijah Bland is next, on Saturday, November 3rd. Bland is a self taught musician, who began playing the piano at 5 years old. He found his own voice, which led him to become an independent recording artist. Bland has performed at B.B. King Blues Club, SOB’s, 54 Below, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), and DC’s historic Howard Theater with artists like  Stanley Clarke, Yolanda Adams, Lenny Williams and George Duke.

On Saturday, February 2nd, Amy Helm takes the stage. Amy is a singer-songwriter who served in her father Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band, as a backing musician. Amy is currently about to release her second solo album, “This Too Shall Light”, on Sept. 21 and tours year-round. 

Then, on Saturday, March 9th, the all-female Mariachi band, Flor de Toloache, will be performing. The band is named after the flower used in Mexico as a love potion and was formed a decade ago. Their critically-acclaimed debut album received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2015 and they are currently touring in support of their latest album “Las Caras Lindas.” 

Finally, on Saturday, April 6th, Grammy-winner Marc Cohn closes out this year’s “PAC The House” series. The singer-songwriter hit the music scene in the 90s when his debut album went Platinum. His most recent work, “Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities,” was released in 2016 and he has toured recently with Michael McDonald. 

This event is sure to include some first-class entertainment that you do not want to miss! Tickets are on sale now. Get ready to see these artists “PAC the House”!

 

Pioneer Productions Presents- The Living Room Series

Pioneer Productions Presents- The Living Room Series

Pioneer Productions kicks off its new Living Room Series with Women’s Work an evening of songs by female songwriters. Conceived and performed by singer/storyteller Wendy-Lane Bailey & composer/pianist Michele Brourman it has a funny, sometimes challenging but always defiantly feminine viewpoint that brings the worlds of Broadway, pop, and country together in one show.

The Living Room Series focuses on intimate concerts in non-traditional venues. “Putting great performers together with an audience in a cozy space can create magic. There are fewer barriers which helps make real connection,” says Dan Vissers, Pioneer’s artistic director. “I can’t think of a better way to start things off than with Wendy-Lane -she’s smart, witty, has great musical taste, and always takes the audience on a great ride!”

Bailey and Brourman have worked together for almost a decade. Brourman produced Bailey’s debut recording Breathing featuring two of Brourman’s songs. “I knew Michele’s songs before I knew Michele the person,” says Wendy-Lane, “It was love at first listen. Plus It’s wonderful to work with someone who gets you and takes your ideas and adds things that make them even more exciting”.

Bailey has collected a unique group of tunes spanning generations and genres. ”I wanted it to be fun and surprising and upend what audiences think they know. Almost everyone knows Ring of Fire was a hit for Johnny Cash, but how many people realize that it was June Carter Cash who wrote it ?” says Bailey.

Women’s Work plays September 16th at 6:00 PM at the Arthur Murray Studios, 26 Bloomfield Ave. 2nd Floor, Denville, NJ 07834. Tickets are $25 and may be obtained at womenswork.brownpapertickets.com . Further information about Pioneer Productions may be found at their website www.pioneerproductionscompany.org .