Now that all of Acrassicauda's moved to Jersey they're making that state all the rage right now (look, even MSNBC thinks so, even though they clearly don't have a clue that reporting means more than barfing up a hairball of someone else's information). Well, there's one guy who pretty much organizes and/or publicizes every show and party in Jersey City and his name is Dancing Tony. He compiles this thing called the "Rockit Docket," and it's not like he culls it from other blogs—he just knows everyone. That pretty much makes him the Swearengen of Jersey City's Deadwood. Jersey City's just about as corrupt, and has about the same murder count as Deadwood, so that metaphor works in many ways. We decided to check in with this guy and see what kind of "cool" and "hip" stuff is going on out there.
Vice: You apparently know everyone in New Jersey. How? And more importantly, why?
Dancing Tony: I've been sequestered here all my life. I was born in Hackensack, went to school in Montclair, and I've lived in Jersey City for almost 13 years. I'm not a musician. Getting to know people or be known blossomed when I began to throw house/apartment parties every three months. I had them on three-day weekends, when most of my neighbors would be away. Things got more institutionalized when I started hoteling my neighbor and hiring a clean-up crew.
Ok, so wait, you put your neighbors up so you can throw crazy parties? What happens at these parties? Is NJ really that nuts?
We would have about 150 people come through the course of an evening. We'd have costumed themed parties like Superheroes and Villains, the Jersey City Olympiad, and the We Come in Peace Party and get a good draw of creative people. They started at about ten and ended after sunrise. Sorry, I can't vouch for the rest of New Jersey.
Sounds "wild." What have people said about these parties?
Maybe the best compliment I have ever received was "dude great party." Also, I used to have shows and parties about twice a month at a gallery until the city—and I guess I could say specifically the fire department and the zoning office—gave us the thumbs down. Or maybe just a certain finger up. They also shut down my annual Shangri-la Music Festival twice. With thousand dollar fines looming over our head, we took a party time out.
Why did the zoning office shut you down? I heard rumors that they don't let you party because of some crazy ordinance that says listening to music makes people piss in public.
"Making a scene" doesn't count with the city. Plus, maybe the fire department was expecting an encore performance of the Great White tragedy? Let's be real, only a lack of sufficient bathrooms makes you pee in public. If you want to read citizen-activist complaints about abandoned dog poop, check this out.
Tell me more about the Jersey's Draconian anti-party laws.
Jersey City's Cabaret Law dates back to the Colonial Days of the British Empire. The only acceptable forms of dancing were outlined in the Harpsichord Act of 1772. Specifically, they cited that "only subjects owning more than 14 Hectares of land shall be permitted to entertain guests with music that emanates from instruments that require no electrical current. Furthermore, the use of savage-like drums shall be considered an offense against the monarchy and punishable by death."
Even though modern electrical amplifiers were not invented at the time, the English Empire learned that Benjamin Franklin was conspiring to form a new group AC/CC or the Atlantic Current Continental Congress.
I can not confirm or deny that footnote to history, as you know Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of our country who liked to bang it out with slaves and smoke hemp.
Even though you're only a mile away from the city Jersey kind of seems like a ghost town, but I hear rumors that it's supposedly a lot weirder than anywhere in the city. Aren't most shows there in a hair salon or something? How do you find out about this stuff?
Balance Hair Salon/World of Style Vintage (they share a space) does host entertainment. Bands play on the sidewalk and comedians and vocalists perform in the display window. If I told you that I had live Jazz an Organic Bakery last Thursday, I would not be talking about a new style of muffin. Really there are four or five places that host live music in down town Jersey City. The Lamp Post is a neighborhood bar that hosts live music but unfortunately has the ambience of your friend’s basement. Recently, IM Automata Chino opened in a former Chinese take-out. Other than this, no further comment. I prefer people to be scared of us, it helps them justify that they are better people.
It sounds like you’ve got a lot of strikes against you. Why not just move over to the other side of the river?
I've got 13 years of clutter in my apartment that cannot be moved. But don't worry, I am more than willing to visit East Jersey City.