Sunday, July 28, 2019

An Abundant Life - On Point

I went to The Archer the first time more than a year ago, and I have been wanting to write about it ever since, but one thing leads to another, the weather is crazy and people's schedules get busy and somehow it took me a much longer time to get back for a blog post than I had wanted it to. The Archer is a very special place, though, so it's in a way not surprising that it's taken so long for this blog to happen. In its own wonderful way The Archer feels like it's lost in time, or at least lost in another place, the mountains of Colorado, perhaps or maybe even Utah, or maybe somewhere closer to its Jersey City home like Pennsylvania, but wherever it feels like it is, though it's not far off the beaten track of downtown Jersey City, somehow when you walk through the doors you find yourself somewhere completely else.

Jen Scott was my guide to the menu and the wine and cocktail lists both times I ventured into this new and adventurous horizon, and a wonderful guide she is. Savvy and friendly, warm and witty, Jen was a part of The Archer from the beginning and she still helps out in any place where she's needed, whether serving or hosting or entertaining inquisitive visitors like me. The first night I went there they had a live band, something that is a regular occurrence, and I found out from Jen when I went back that they not only have the same regular roster of performers that they had in the beginning, there are staff members who have been there the whole time as well. That's not something that is usually found - once upon a time in New York City at some of the older more venerable places you might find that life-long waiter or bartender who has grown with the restaurant or local watering hole, but many times these days, especially in a place like Jersey City, you might find more often that people go from one place to the next searching for the next best thing. But I guess they've found the best thing at The Archer and don't need to look any further, and I can understand why they feel that way because it's really something special.

Founded by Kent Baker and Jesse Weeks, who both live in Jersey City and share a love of that urban place while still entertaining a fast friendship with all things that bring a feeling of the hunters' lodges from the places where they grew up, The Archer has that rare quality of being able to remind us of those things that have to do with the great outdoors and hunting while still keeping it cozy enough so that urbanites looking for a comfortable and stylish hangout as well as non-meat eating foodies can feel right at home. The result is a menu as ecclectic as it is delicious, with game meats like Venison, Elk and Bison and cured meats and cheeses sidling up to sandwiches made from richly flavored collard greens and cabbage that remind the tastebuds in every way like the rich taste of a corned beef sandwich. It was amazingly fun both times I visited to try the cocktails and a few tastes of the different wines on the list because right down to the spirits and wines everything has been selected with great care for maximum flavor and delicious melding and layering of tastes. From craft cocktails made from top quality liquors and a whiskey list that boasts over 300 types of mainly bourbon and that also includes Irish, American, Scotch and Japanese Whiskey straight down to the carefully selected beers and wines, there is something for everyone and for every mood and season at The Archer. From a warm October Wild Boar Sloppy Joe to a cooler Negroni Week plate of summer heirloom roasted carrots, the food is delicious, healthy and fun. And if you're in the mood for singing, dancing, or just sitting back and having a listen over a Chef's Selection of Meats and Cheeses complete with pickled gherkins, you'll find just what you need every night of the week. 

The Archer
176 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey




Jannie Susan

Sunday, July 21, 2019

An Abundant Life - Phenomenal

The first word that came to my mind to describe the Artist, Model, Singer, Songwriter, Actor and Fashionista Aaron Paul is phenomenal. I met Aaron at City Opera Thrift Store during a special evening they host annually titled "Divas Shop For City Opera" because when I first saw him I thought he was fabulous. He is not only extremely attractive, but there is something attracting about him, a certain something that not everyone has and that only the most memorable performers do. You feel drawn into his orbit, intrigued and interested and also in a very lovely and wonderful way welcomed into the presence of someone you feel intensely is truly great. After I introduced myself I told him that I absolutely loved what he was wearing - a man who is stylish and not run of the mill is rare to find, and he was wearing one of my favorite colors of electric blue sprinkled throughout his attire like stardust. I was enchanted, and because I only had a short amount of time to stay that evening because I had an appointment somewhere else, I asked him if I could take his photograph and follow up about a blog post.

He got in touch with me soon after, and that began a lovely getting to know you season that involved some very lovely parties and events to launch his newest single. He also invited me to his video launch party where I met Montgomery Frazier, the Image Guru who has been a stylist for the stars for years and is one of my own personal icons since I first found out how powerful music and fashion working together could be. I've been a long time fan of MTV and rock and pop videos, all the way back to the time when I first saw a very young David Bowie's early cinematic creations. Those performances of the greats over the years changed my life in ways that it's not easy to describe - music is powerful and music videos bring the music to life in ways that hit every sense and sensibility, and to meet a stylist like Montgomery Frazier who created not only the looks for the videos but for the stars themselves was a breathtaking moment. The very way that each one of us views the world has something to do with how Montgomery Frazier has styled it, and the things that we aspire to have very much to do with the way he has helped us envision our lives. In Aaron's new video and his new single "Fashion" Montgomery Frazier plays a pivotal role. Throughout the song which is a marvelously danceable and mixable mix of music and fashionably iconic moments, Montgomery's voice is heard speaking his signature statements and commenting on the action. At the end when Aaron and Montgomery face off for the last time, there is a very special seemingly off the record discussion between them that brings us right into their world, creating a feeling of camaraderie in their adventures. Aaron has the last word as he tells Montgomery, the guru of fashion gurus that this is Aaron's song, and it is, but with Montgomery along for the ride we can all have so much fun.

Aaron Paul is one of those rare performers who is able to create groundbreaking work while still giving a nod and a wink to those amazing performers who have gone before him. He is his own phenomenon but there are so many shades and tones in his presence that bring back the history of rock and pop and bring it into the new days we're living in. And indeed the great George Wayne who I was also honored to meet at one of Aaron's fabulous and fashionable evenings named Aaron to his Downtown 100 and has given him his seal of approval. It was Simon Cowell who discovered Aaron, and helped launch him to super-stardom when he brought him into the UK boy band Apart as its front man. After performing with them for several years and achieving worldwide fame, Aaron moved to New York City from his native London and began a critically acclaimed career as a Solo Artist, Host and Author, as well as earning his badge as one of Us Weekly's Magazine Fashion Cops because of his expertise as a host and stylist.

Aaron also brings joy with him, something so important for these days we're living in now, a joie de vivre that is contagious and that overflows into the room around him wherever he is. On the night of his video release party, though it was a rainy night outside, inside was such a beautiful party because of the light-filled and delightful energy he brings with him. It made me think back to my early days in New York City, going to clubs that made everything seem possible and that the world around was glittering with gold. Aaron Paul is a superstar, and it's exciting to have been a part of this journey. I wish him all the best as he flashes forward into the future.

Aaron Paul
Resident Diva
At Divas Shop For City Opera
With Photographer And Makeup And Hair Consultant
Joseph Boggess
At City Opera Thrift Store
New York City

At His Video Release Party
For "Fashion"
With George Wayne And Montgomery Frazier
At Gospel
281 Lafayette Street
New York City

With Luciana Pampalona And Bryan Griffin

A Gorgeous Vision
To Add To The Party Glow

"Fashion" Music Video Promo
Photograph Courtesy of Aaron Paul
Photo Credit Bryan Griffin Photography

"Dance America" Poster
Photograph Courtesy Of Aaron Paul
Photo Credit Nathaniel Johnston Photography
Artwork By Sascha Sekinger For Mr Artwork

Invitation To
George Wayne's Downtown 100
Image Courtesy Of Aaron Paul

The Incomparable Fashion Guru
Montgomery Frazier
Photograph Courtesy Of Aaron Paul
Photo Credit Luciana Pampalona

Photograph Courtesy Of Aaron Paul

Divas Shop For City Opera Thrift Store Promo
Photograph Courtesy Of Aaron Paul
Photo Credit Joseph Boggess Photography


Jannie Susan

Sunday, July 14, 2019

An Abundant Life - Sea Life

I've written about the beautiful Artist Alberte Bernier in these pages before, but a few months ago when I heard that she would be having a solo show at the Chashama Space For Artists on West 37th Street, I marked it in my calendar and though I had a busy evening that night, I made sure to get there. Alberte is one of those rare people who not only creates beautiful work, but she is a beautiful soul, a lovely woman inside and out whose work is a reflection of the beauty within. Her show "Of The Sea" was inspired by her past, growing up on an Island and being drawn to the water in the many places where she has traveled and lived since then. There is something about Alberte that I hope she won't mind me sharing, she loves children and babies, and there is a new baby in her family named Ocean whose presence in her life was one of her inspirations for this show. New life, the life of her past and history, all washing together into the present bring a sense of the calmness and lovely beauty of the ocean along with all of its excitement and strength and ever changing motion. Each piece she has created has something three dimensional. Using found objects, drift wood, shells, and pieces of material and netting, she has created a world within the space where the show was held that brings you a breath of the sea and brings you into each piece that is a world of its own.

As we looked at the show together on the last day, I saw some things that I hadn't seen at the opening. On one piece in particular I began to notice that she had painted on the drift wood that adorned the painted waves. Something happened in that moment of time, because the paint on the driftwood became not just paint but a representation of moss and other sea growth and drew the viewer into the painted canvas in a way that bridged the lines between representation and realism, abstract art and sculpture and the images they represesented to the Artist and to the viewer. The real piece of wood seemed to be drifting on real waves, and the painted waves were no longer just paint but three dimensional as the viewer was drawn into the coolness and depth and color of the multi-hued blues and turquoises of the sea.

In a lovely touch, at the opening Alberte wore a turquoise dress, and I said as I arrived that she looked like she was the title of her work, "Of The Sea," and she answered, "I am!" She was born by the ocean and it is so much a part of who she is and what she knows in the depths of her being, and this show begins to share that feeling with all of us who see it. On a hot day in Manhattan we too could feel like we were in an ocean place, drifting on the waves of the sea.

Alberte Bernier
"Of The Sea"
At Chashama
Space For Artists
266 West 37th Street
New York City


Jannie Susan