Bestselling Jersey City Memoir Seeks Funding for Documentary via Kickstarter

New York Times journalist and acclaimed memoirist Helene Stapinski is teaming up with experienced filmmakers to launch a Kickstarter campaign that will turn her bestselling book, Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History, into a long-form broadcast documentary slated to air on public television.

About the Book:

With deadpan humor and obvious affection, Five-Finger Discount recounts the story of an unforgettable New Jersey family of swindlers, bookies, embezzlers, and mobster-wannabes. In the memoir that reviewer Mary Karr calls “a page-turner,” Helene Stapinski ingeniously weaves the checkered history of her hometown of Jersey City– a place known for its political corruption and industrial blight– with the tales that have swirled around her relatives for decades. Navigating a childhood of toxic waste and tough love, Stapinski tells an extraordinary tale at once heartbreaking and hysterically funny.

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Official Press Release:

New York Times journalist and acclaimed memoirist Helene Stapinski is teaming up with experienced filmmakers to launch a Kickstarter campaign that will turn her bestselling book, Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History, into a long-form broadcast documentary slated to air on public television.

Stapinski, who published Five-Finger Discount in 2002, saw the corruption of 1970s Jersey City firsthand. Growing up in a family of swindlers, bookies, embezzlers, political “fixers” and mobster wannabes, Stapinski wrote about the cast of characters who colored her world and defined her understanding of life as it existed in Jersey City, then the poster child of urban political corruption.

Five-Finger Discount: The Documentary aims to bring Helene’s Damon Runyon characters and straight-shooting personal and political stories to a wide television audience. The film will feature rich gangland plots and poignant family episodes alongside tales of innocent victims and stoic domestic guardians. It will follow Helene’s escape from her sordid history to a future of her own design, alongside Jersey City’s own transformation from its grimy past to its glowing present.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says, “Five-Finger Discount is a book that is an institution in Jersey City, an institution in New Jersey, and it’s one literally across the country that I think many families can relate to.”

He continues, “If you love Boardwalk Empire, if you love stories about corruption, if you love stories about family, if you love comedies, this is a perfect fit. And this book is just a wonderful thing and we’re excited about the movie.”

The film is seeking $45,000 + for its next production phase and the crowdfunding site will run over 30 days. According to producer Rosanne Braun, “WNET is already on board, but in order to shoot the film the way we know it needs to be shot, we have to supplement our early funding with contributions from the book’s many fans as well as from the larger Jersey City community. We’re also reaching out to immigrant and urban history enthusiasts, to women’s groups and to people who just want to be associated with an entertaining and provocative movie.”

Besides Rosanne Braun, the Five-Finger Discount: The Documentary team includes widely-acclaimed documentary producer Charles Hobson, award-winning director Steven Fischler of Pacific Street Films and much-admired cinematographer John Miglietta.

Learn more about and contribute to the film here:

Merry Go-Go Shoppa-Palooza at Asbury Park – Fri, Dec 5, 2014

The Merry Go-Go Shoppa-Palooza is a one-of-a-kind shopping event featuring local artisans, crafters, and a variety of vintage and collectible resellers, food, and more! Photos with Santa will be available.

Date: Friday, December 5th, 2014; 5pm-11pm
Address: Asbury Park VFW, 701 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ
Cost: $2, Free with non-perishable food item

Press Release:

Come warm up on a chilly winter’s night, while supporting local artisans, crafters, and sellers of all things unique and getting all your holiday shopping done!

Featuring a variety of local artists, crafters, sellers of records, antiques, vintage clothing, plants, glassware, comics, musical instruments, and toys, polaroid pictures with Santa, homemade baked goods, hot food and refreshing drinks, the Merry Go-Go Shoppa-Palooza is a great way to spend a Friday night with the family!

Petunia Productions has partner with Jersey Shore Dream Center, in Asbury Park for this event. The dream center organizes and donates clothing, toys, healthcare/baby products to the local community as well as hosting a free hot meal every Thursday night to over 300 men and women in the surrounding community. They’re a great organization, dedicated to serving the community and we are honored to be able to contribute.

The first 100 guests will receive goodie bags with samples and coupons for vendors featured at the event.

Garden State Wine Growers Association to Hold Holiday Wine Trail November 28 – 30

Official Press Release:

NJ’s Wineries Offer a Break from the Holiday Bustle

Beginning on Black Friday and continuing through the weekend, shoppers will have a few extra stops to make before rushing home with their treasures. Winery tasting rooms from Sussex to Cape May will invite one and all to travel the New Jersey Wine Trails, with special tastings, food pairings, discounts and sales. The annual Holiday Wine Trail is held statewide, at over 45 New Jersey wineries and vineyards.

As a special feature for the first time in 2014, many wineries will be giving away wreaths woven from grapevine, and holiday ornaments to decorate them. Wine trail travelers will receive a wreath and ornament at their first winery visit of the weekend, and then additional ornaments from each participating winery visit thereafter through Sunday. “It’s a gesture of appreciation to our patrons who support us throughout the year,” said association director John Cifelli. “The Holiday Wine Trail is already very popular across the state, and we hope this will encourage even more people to make supporting their local wineries a part of their holiday plans.”

With that support, New Jersey has carved out its place in the wine world in recent years, with 35 wineries opening their doors in the last ten years. Association Chairman Larry Sharrott recognizes this as a culmination of many factors. “It’s been a learning experience, both for producers and consumers. We’ve learned that the climate and soil is excellent for grape growing in NJ, and our patrons have learned that we can make many different types of quality wines here,” says Sharrott. “There’s an incredible amount of momentum in this industry, and the themed wine trail weekends are our chance to show it off a bit.”

UntitledEach winery puts its own spin on Holiday Wine Trail Weekend. Plagido’s Winery in Hammonton will offer light fare and tastings of developing wines from the barrel to complement their usual wine tasting. Guests here will keep the logoed glass. Villa Milagro Vineyards in Milford will have a Mexican theme, offering tiny tacos and bunuelos to celebrate the release of two new wines. Many others will have live music on some or all days, and most wineries have areas for seating to relax with a glass after the shopping hustle and bustle.

If you are in New Jersey, the nearest winery is never more than 45 minutes away. Tasting room hours vary but are generally open through the afternoon. Exact details of winery events, and a listing of wreath/ornament giveaway locations can be found by visiting The GSWGA has a full calendar of special opportunities to help you plan your visit to the rapidly increasing number of wineries across the state.

The GSWGA is a coalition of nearly 50 wineries and vineyards across New Jersey, dedicated to raising the quality and awareness of the New Jersey wine industry. For more information, please contact Executive Director John Cifelli at 908-866-6529 or

8 Events to Check Out this Weekend – Nov 21 – 23, 2014

Philcon 2014 - Nov 21 – 23


Started in 1936, Philcon features cutting-edge programming about literature, art, television, film, anime, comics, science, gaming, costuming and cosplay, music, and other topics of interest to fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. We will also have many other attractions, such as our awesome Art Show and Auction; a Vendors’ Room full of unique merchandise; a full slate of Children’s/Family programming; our Writer’s Workshop (featuring professional authors and editors); Concerts; the Time Traveler’s Masquerade Ball, our Masquerade/Costume Competition, and more!

Dates: November 21st – 23rd, 2014
Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel; 2349 Marlton Pike W, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Cost: $40 – $10. Register for Tickets Here

Like them on Facebook and Follow on Twitter @PhilCon

Cape May Holiday Preview Weekend – Nov 21 – 23

Get a head start on the Holiday season!  Santa and his elves have decked out the Physick Estate with thousands of lights and holiday trimmings. Enjoy a wide variety of holiday tours and food and wine events to get you into the Christmas spirit. Santa arrives at 7 pm to flip the switch for the festive Tree-Lighting Ceremony. That evening the Estate will be open for free, self-guided tours. Kids can take a ride on Santa’s Trolley and have a chance to visit with old St. Nick himself. Grown-ups will enjoy holiday ghost tales during Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides.

Dates: November 21st – 23rd, 2014
Address: 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ
Cost: Depends on Activity. See Website

The Beard and Mustache Championship of the Universe - Nov 22

Live from the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, NJ; The Beard & Mustache Championship of the Universe!!! Presented by The Garden State Beard & Mustache Society and Good Time Tricycle Prod. Hosted by Brian O’Halloran (Clerks, Mallrats, Clerks II) & Adam Realman (Coney Island Icon)! Crash land on America’s playground this No Shave November to take part in unique show that guarantees Out of This World Good Times!

Sideshow by Adam Realman!
Burlesque by The Peek-A-Boo Revue!
Live Music by Restorations!

Category Info/ Registration/ Ticketing :

Date: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014; 7pm
Address: Golden Nugget; 1 Castle Boulevard; Atlantic City
Cost:$25 GA, $35 to compete. Get tickets HERE


Ocean Grove 19th Annual Indoor Craft Fair - Nov 22

Free admission. Free craft drawings. Sixty tables of high quality hand crafted items.  Lunch and baked goods available.

Date: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014; 9am  to 4pm
Address: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church; 80 Embury Ave., Ocean Grove, NJ
Cost: Free

Dunellen Indoor Flea Market & Christmas Bazaar – Nov 22

Beautiful handmade & custom holiday decors, candy, merchandise and crafts.Gently used items from mom’s attic, dad’s garage, and the kid’s closets and toy bins are available priced to sell. A wide variety of brand name vendors – Origami Owl, Mary Kay, Pink Zebra, Thirty-one, Touchstone Crystal, Scentsy, Avon, Home Décor, and so many more brand consultants. Jewelry, scarves, handbags, Kid’s clothes, and housewares. Food and beverages available all day!

Date: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014; 8am to 5pm
Address: Dunellen American Legion Post 119; 137 New Market Rd., Dunellen, NJ
Cost: Free

Christmas Craft Show – Nov 22 & 23

This Craft Show should be your first stop for holiday shopping. Enjoy many delightful new crafts as well as old favorites. Highlights include, jewelry, hand painted clothing, silk flower arrangements and many forms of art. There will be a Chance Auction on Saturday.

Dates: November 22nd & 23rd, 2014; 9:30am to 4pm Sat and 2pm Sun
Address: St. Francis Community Center; 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Township, NJ
Cost: $2

AGNJ Presents “Yesterday’s News”, Opening Reception – Nov 23


Arts Guild New Jersey is pleased to present “Yesterday’s News, curated by Douglas Ferrari. The exhibition, which opens on November 23 and runs through December 18, 2014 will have a free, public reception on Sunday, November 23, 1-4 PM, at Arts Guild New Jersey.

When you look at the overwhelming amount of unused newspapers it is not surprising that, in recent times, many artists have taken up the mantel of recycling “Yesterday’s News” in their work.  Although newspaper as art medium is not breaking news, the manner in which this collection of artists uses it is definitely unique, different, and newsworthy.  Some use it as a design element, some as a structural component, some as a source of inspiration, and some sublimate this printed trash into objects of beauty.  However you view it, these artists will convince you that there is something to be said about “Yesterday’s News”.

The artists who are participating in this exhibition are Fanny Allié, Aileen Bassis, Riccardo Berlingeri, Richard Buntzen, Kelly Clark, Chris Pelletiere, and Geoffrey Stein.

Date: Sunday, November 23rd, 2014; 1pm t 4pm
Address: 1670 Irving St,  Rahway, NJ
Cost: FREE

Kinnelon Arts & Crafts Holiday Fair - Nov 23

Hosted by the Women of Smoke Rise Club and held in Kinnelon High School, this first time holiday arts & crafts fair promises to become another successful JC Event. It will feature over 100 artisans displaying and selling their original handmade works such as gift items, accessories, sculptures, personalized items, photography, pottery, jewelry, decorative fiber works, metal works, paper, stone, and so much more.There will be a children’s “hands on” craft area (free), exhibitors demonstrating their works as well as light music and good food being sold.

Date: Sunday, November 23rd 2014; 10am to 5pm
Address: Kinnelon High School; 121 Kinnelon Rd., Kinnelon, NJ
Cost: $2, $1 Seniors, 12 and under Free

Only 2 Hours Left! The Big Brew Sussex Beer Festival Twitter Contest – Win 2 Free Tickets!

Time is running out on a chance to win!

Big Brew Sussex Beer Festival is a perfect opportunity for beer aficionados to meet and hang out. With over 250 unique tastings it’s a great place to discover new beers and speak to brewery representatives. Great craft beer, food trucks, fire pits, music and an ugly sweater contest!

I am giving away  2 FREE tickets to the event via Twitter!

Here’s How to Enter the Twitter Contest:
1. You must “Follow” New Jersey Isn’t Boring (@njisntboring) and The Big Brew Beer Festival (@bigbrewbeerfest)on Twitter. I will check!
2. When you see a post promoting the contest on Twitter (including the link to this blog post), you must RT it!
3. A winner will be chosen TONIGHT Monday, November 17that 8pm on Twitter. I will post and direct message the winner!

Good luck!

Official Press Release:

The Big Brew Beer Festival is coming to Sussex County, NJ!

After the resounding success of the Big Brew Beer Festival events in Morristown, New Jersey, and Westchester County, New York, the Big Brew Sussex Beer Festival will have its inaugural launch on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ (Inside the Conservatory and Outside in the Courtyard).

Big Brew Sussex Winter Fest will feature:
Over 200 Unlimited Craft Beers
7 Gourmet Food Trucks (including  award-winning The Cow & The Curd and their Wisconsin-battered cheese curds, Empanada Guy, Fired Up Flatbread, Waffle De Lys, Oink & The Moo BBQ and The Taco Truck)
Fire Pits
Ugly Sweater Contest

VIP ticket holders will enjoy:
Early admission
Over 20 additional special craft beers (available throughout the event)

Great food (served during the VIP extra hour) provided by VIP sponsors Forno Italiano of Sparta and Trinity in Newton

Big Brew Sussex Beer Festival is also a benefit for the Newton Fire Museum.

Don’t Wait to Purchase Tickets!

Pricing will increase 2 weeks and 1 week before event

Tickets are available at:

$10 off with Promo Code: NJISNTBORING

Date: Saturday, December 13th, 2014
Address: Sussex County Fairgrounds 37 Plains Rd, Augusta, NJ
Cost: $55 GA, $80 VIP, $10 Designated Driver. Ticket Price increases on Nov 29th. Get Tickets HERE

Diner Round Up – Cross Mill Diner in Lakewood

On a dark and stormy night (the picture above is a googled image, it was too dark and rainy to take my own) my husband and I trekked to Lakewood to visit the Cross Mill diner. We had a Groupon that was expiring so we had to get it done. Although it took a long time, I’m glad we took the journey!

After an almost hour drive in traffic/rain we were not in a great mood, but the friendly staff and ambiance of the diner helped greatly.

We were both in a soup mood, so I went for my go to soup – matzoh ball. It was very good!

For my main meal I landed on an eggplant parm sub. It was really fantastic, not too messy and very filling. The fries were AMAZING. I’m glad I didn’t sub them out.


My husband got something I feel most Jerseyans would appreciate: A Lumberjack burger! A burger topped with pork roll and American cheese. Nom nom nom.


Overall, the diner experience was great. The diner is clean, the staff is kind and the food was delicious.

Basic Info
Address: 1200 River Ave, Lakewood Township, NJunnamed3
Phone: (732) 730-8100

You can see their full menu on their website:

Diner Facts:
24 Hours – No
Parking Lot – Yes
Liquor License – No – but it’s BYOB
Salad Bar – No
Homemade Desserts – I don’t think so. If I’m wrong let me know

Call for Artists: New Jersey Isn’t Boring Art Show, Deadline to Submit in 2 Weeks!

A “New Jersey Isn’t Boring” art show to be held at Arts Guild New Jersey in Rahway, March 22nd – April 16th, 2015.

Right now there is an OPEN CALL  TO ARTISTS for this show. It’s FREE to submit. Deadline to submit is November 30th, 2014. Only two weeks left!

NJIB logo

Details on the Art Exhibit:
If there is one thing that all New Jersey residents know to be true it’s that New Jersey it’s that people who live in it love it, and outsiders have a bad impression of it. Years of terrible reality television shows have tarnished the reputation of the great, Garden State. It’s time for people to get back to appreciating a state that is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, great food, eclectic culture and so much more. New Jersey is becoming a stereotype and it’s time for things to change.

What most people don’t know about New Jersey is how much there is to do – including a big art scene all throughout the state. Many artists work and live in New Jersey, participating in local art shows, street fairs and craft shows. This is a chance for artists to display their art work which will represent New Jersey in a new, exciting way.

It’s time to prove that New Jersey Isn’t Boring!

The intention of the exhibit is to provoke a new audience to take a new look at New Jersey. Artists must be residents of New Jersey and their art work must reflect some aspect of New Jersey. The exhibition is open to all visual artists working in any media (photography, painting, sculpture etc).  Artists must be a minimum age of 18 to enter. Artwork must have been completed in the past 5 years, and may not have been exhibited previously at the Arts Guild New Jersey.

The art work MUST represent and stick to the theme of New Jersey.

Deadline to submit is November 30th, 2014.

Selected art work will be exhibited from March 23rd – April 16th, 2015 at Arts Guild New Jersey: 1670 Irving St, Rahway, NJ. There will be a free, opening reception on Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 from 1pm to 4pm.
Selected art work will also be highlighted on

You can submit to the show via this link or by visiting Remember, the Deadline is November 30th, 2014.

About Arts Guild New Jersey:

Arts Guild New Jersey is a non-profit center for the arts located at 1670 Irving St. at Seminary Avenue in the Downtown Arts District of the City of Rahway.

Arts Guild New Jersey presents a yearly program of fine art exhibitions as well as three semesters of multi-week art classes for adults, teens and children, one-day workshops for adults, summer art workshops for kids and teens, and a variety of secondary art and cultural events, such as lectures and seminars.

The Art exhibits at the Guild focus primarily on the presentation of works by notable emerging New Jersey artists. We feature a wide range of mediums (painting, prints, photography, mixed media collage, construction/assemblage, sculpture, etc.) and a broad range of styles from photo realism to complete abstractions. Our exhibits aim to present an overview of current or enduring trends and directions in the contemporary art of New Jersey’s arts community.

It is the mission of Arts Guild New Jersey to present high level arts programs for the benefit of residents in Central and Northern New Jersey. We promote a broad range of the arts and the value of the arts for all people. Since 1999, the Guild has provided an increasing range of art events, activities and programs for a multi-county audience.

Address: 1670 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ 07065
Contact: (732) 381-7511 or info
Like them on Facebook Arts Guild New Jersey and Follow on Twitter @ArtsGuildNJ

Want Me to Promote Your Event? Submit by Nov 17 (Free Promo)

Please submit events prior to Monday, November 17th (before I go on vacation) with as much info as possible (pictures, social media sites, press release, dates, address, cost etc). If your event is not coming up quickly, you can send me your event info after Thanksgiving.  Anything sent between Nov 18th – Nov 27th will most likely not be able to be posted until after I return.

Submitting an event is easy: Just send me your press release, info, pictures etc to It’s completely FREE to promote through me, all I ask is that we cross promote! If you do not cross-promote…this is how I feel:

You can also submit via the website. Use this link.

What are you waiting for? I’ll promote your event, county fair, restaurant opening, Happy Hour deals…whatever! (I will not promote anything negative, bigoted, racist etc)

All you need to do is EMAIL me. (Facebook, Twitter messages get lost in the shuffle of social media. Email is the best way to contact me)

I hope to hear from YOU soon!

Take Pet Photos with Santa to Support A Pathway to Hope – This Saturday, Nov 15, 2014

A Pathway to Hope is hosting their annual pet photos with Santa! Bring the dogs, kids, cats, guinea pigs and the entire family out for a fun photo shoot. Photos are just a $10 donation and will be emailed. All proceeds benefit A Pathway to Hope.

You can also get your holiday shopping started with the goodies from Jake’s Place as well as Pathway rescue tees and tote bags. They will also have some adoptable cats on hand, goody bags for everyone and refreshments.

For additional info visit


Date: Saturday, November 15th, 2014; 12pm – 4pm
Address: Jake’s Place, 1621 Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne, NJ
Cost: $10 – all proceeds go to A Pathway to Hope

About A Pathway to Hope

A Pathway to Hope is a  foster based rescue dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of abandoned dogs and cats, with a focus on special needs cases, south to north rescue of northern breed dogs, local rescue of stray cats and all breeds of dogs and community outreach to further the cause of rescue.

We are dedicated to:
South to north rescue of northern breed dogs
Local rescue of all breeds with a focus on pitbulls
Rescuing dogs with special needs, medical concerns or behavior needs, specifically those overlooked as seemingly less adoptable
Local rescue of stray and feral cats
Participating in a Feral Cat Safety Initiative including trap, neuter and release, food stations, and housing for inclement weather.
Educating the community about the need to spay and neuter their pets, proper pet care, and the commitment of caring for an animal for its entire life.
Support of other rescues through fundraising efforts and facilitating adoptions.
Networking with other organizations in a effort to save more animals.
Providing opportunities for pet owners to utilize our obedience and behavioral training resources.

Like them on Facebook

Learn All About Todd Shelton, a Local NJ Menswear Business


Ten miles from Manhattan, within one factory, the Todd Shelton brand designs, makes, and sells directly to the men who wear its clothing. The brand owns its manufacturing and fosters an individual relationship with each customer. It offers a unique experience unavailable in any store. It is pure commitment, unrivaled in fashion.

Press Release:

Todd Shelton is an East Rutherford-based menswear designer. Todd is originally from Tennessee, but has lived in Jersey City since he first moved to NJ in 2000. Todd began the company in 2002 (at night, after work) but struggled with quality issues related to outsourcing to Asia. He re-shored to US manufacturers, but was underwhelmed, which ultimately led him to build our East Rutherford factory in 2012. We design, make and ship our American-made clothing directly from our NJ factory. We sell exclusively through our website at


The brand’s collections are defined by consistency and purpose; sensible fabrics, reserved color palettes, and meticulous stitching. All of our American-made clothing offers exquisite tailoring and custom fit options. We are very proud of the exceptional customer service we provide.


We know nothing improves a look faster than improving how clothing fits. Being an online retailer, we fit our customers right the first time. We recently soft-launched our Fit Kit home try-on program. A Fit Kit consists of fit-evaluation pants that simulate the fit and sizes of our jeans. We send out nine pair of lightweight Fit Kit pants, which give our customers 18 fit options to evaluate – included in their package are samples of denim fabric allowing them to select a denim. Customers can request a free Fit Kit prior to ordering jeans. We highly recommend our new customers participate in the Fit Kit program. You can see more about our fit kit at

In addition, we welcome customers to visit our factory and showroom in East Rutherford. Customers get a factory tour and have the ability to try on clothing in-person. Once here,  customers will learn where, how, and by whom their clothing is made. Customers can come meet the brand by making an appointment through our website at

Follow on Social Media:

Best selling products include:unnamed4

Our Pro selvedge dark wash jean

Our Poplin shirt in blue gingham