Category Archives: Scene & Heard

Get the scoop on New Jersey’s hottest and hippest places to see and be seen. From the trendiest fashions and most stylish shopping spots, to delectable dining and eclectic events, Hip New Jersey breaks down the best places to shop, socialize, wine and dine in the Garden State. With sneak peeks at everything you need to know to stay in vogue, #HipNJ exposes everything our beautiful state has to offer.

“A Thousand And One Journeys: The Arab Americans” Documentary

By: Armand V. Cucciniello III

Actor Morgan Freeman once said, “Black history is American history.” The same might be said of Arab American history according to #HipNJ resident and independent filmmaker Abe Kasbo, who recently completed production of the first-ever documentary chronicling Arab immigration to the United States.

“A Thousand & One Journeys: The Arab Americans” brings to life the rich heritage of Americans of Arab descent and their contributions to American society and culture. The film presents an otherwise untold story of nearly 200 years of immigration history of peoples from the Levant, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula to the U.S. from the late 19th century to the present day.

Produced by Zeitoune FilmWorks, the film was the brainchild of Kasbo, a resident of West Caldwell who emigrated from Syria in 1980 at the age of 10.

“I grew up in Syria, I came here as an immigrant,” said Kasbo. “There are misperceptions about people from Syria and the Middle East, Arabs in general. I found that there’s an extraordinary chapter of American History missing that is built on these people and their accomplishments.”

Topics covered in the 86-minute documentary include immigration struggles, cultural practices, religion, family and folk traditions. The film brings a much-needed balance to the emotive political discourse in which Arab immigrants often find themselves.

“The Arab American story is unique because of what is happening right now [the widespread misconceptions about Arab Americans], because of what is happening in the political life cycle of the country,” Kasbo said. “It’s more important now than ever to be able to tell this story.”

Featured in the production are previously unseen historical film footage, antique photographs, and a series of interviews with prominent Arab Americans like M*A*S*H actor Jamie Farr, Senator George Mitchell, the late two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid, consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, White House correspondent Helen Thomas, General John Abizaid, and many others.

The stories narrated are, in many ways, similar to those told by other immigrant populations in the U.S., like the Italians and Irish. From economic and linguistic hurdles faced by immigrants, to overcoming stereotypes, the stories told – when juxtaposed next to other immigration narratives – are distinctly American.
“The story of Arab immigration is the American immigration story,” said Kasbo at a screening of the film at Seton Hall University in January. “And Arab American history is American history,” he added.

“A Thousand & One Journeys” was released in October 2015 and has been screened in New York City and various locations across the country. The film should be of interest to historians, anthropologists, folklorists, documentary film buffs, and the general public interested in immigration and American history.

Upcoming screenings of the film include the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City on April 2. To purchase a copy of the documentary, and for more information, visit the film’s website.

st. patrick's day

St. Patrick’s Day with Avison Young

You’re invited to the St. Patrick’s Day party of the season!

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino was at Iron Bar in Morristown to celebrate the luck o’ the Irish with commercial real estate powerhouse Avison Young.  This St. Patty’s Day tradition was started by Ed and Tom Walsh to celebrate their loyal customers, vendors and friends.

Partygoers enjoyed a complimentary top-shelf open bar and a delicious buffet spread.  In between snapping pics in the photo booth and engaging in high-level networking, guests jammed out to the rockin’ sound of HANKANDBEZZY.

“I’ve been playing this party forever,” proclaimed Joe Bezzone of HANKANDBEZZY and a longtime friend of Ed Walsh.  “Tonight we are going to do a mix of covers and originals.”  The originals are from HANKANDBEZZY’s album, “The Life and Times of the Middle Aged America” that’s out now on iTunes.

“The thing about this party is that it has 15-year-old roots,” explained Patrick Eichner of Avison Young.  “Everyone here knows it’s THE party to go to.  I wasn’t surprised to walk down at 6:30 and see the place packed.”

Avison Young is a Garden State organization that follows in the mantra of what Hip New Jersey is all about- work hard, play hard!

For more on Avison Young’s New Jersey office, visit their website.

May the luck o’ the Irish be with you on St. Patrick’s Day, and always!

Music Producer VALNTINO Is Spinnin’ Around the World

The DJ music scene is taking over the globe, let alone in the great #GardenState!

#HipNJ’s Kendall Zoppa recently sat down & chatted with world renowned music producer, VALNTINO! Creatively producing music since he was a senior in high school, VALNTINO started off DJ-ing at his high school basketball games to get the players & crowd pumped up!

Now, having traveled the world from Miami to Italy & working with shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti and business magnate Richard Branson, VALNTINO goes into gigs without having a plan of what he’s going to play – he goes with the feeling. No playlists necessary for this talented DJ – just the notion of the crowd gets him inspired as the show is going on.

Working on a mixes with Fatman Scoop is just one of many honors he has while working in the music industry. VALNTINO takes music to the next level by incorporating rock, electronic, EDM and 90s hip-hop for a new sound.

Bridging different types of genres together certainly gives VALNTINO a unique sound. Start spinnin’ your way to Spotify or iTunes & listen to VALNTINO’s new hit song, “Love’s the Answer” featuring GTO.

For more information visit www.VALNTINO.com!