Fireworks Are Now Legal In New Jersey, Sort Of

About a month ago, I came across a display like this at the grocery store.

Me: “Umm, are those fireworks? Aren’t they illegal in New Jersey?”

Grocer: “Not anymore. Governor Christie changed the law last year, so no more having to drive to Pennsylvania to buy fireworks.”

What’s the law? What’s allowed? Which fireworks do what?

The following is an excerpt from a humorous NJ.com article by Joe Atmonavage  with all the details.

Legal fireworks are so boring your neighbors won’t even call the cops

Last year, then-Gov. Chris Christie took a stand and signed a bill allowing anyone old enough to have a learner’s permit to twirl around with a sparkler if they so choose, taking New Jersey off the short list of states with blanket bans on fireworks. (Massachusetts now stands alone.)

Signed at the end of last June, the bill legalized “non-explosive, non-aerial” fireworks such as sparklers and party poppers. While shopping the selection of legal “fireworks” was overwhelmingly anti-climatic, setting them off was not as boring as “sparklers” and “party poppers” might sound.

We wanted to get a little bit of everything so we would be ready to show off to our friends and family on July Fourth just how cool New Jersey’s somewhat-new fireworks law is.

Choosing which fireworks to get is harder than it sounds. While you know that at the end of the day they practically all do the same thing (make sparks, create some noise, maybe change colors), the bright packaging with eye-catching images makes choosing a tad harder.

They had the classic pyro toys like sparklers (including neon ones!), snappers, smoke grenades, fountains, as well as small fireworks that don’t do all that much, like snakes in the grass, jumping jacks and something called a “gyro bloom.”

You can buy these in jumbo sets that can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can also buy them individually. We paid $66 for nearly 20 individual packages.

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The Decemberists, Music Video

Warning: This video is bizarre and political (and not a reflection of any particular point of view of mine).

So, what’s it doing on Bmore Energy?

  1. My daughter Morgan created the animation and directed the video.
  2. The fantastical animation, combined with black-and-white photos, is mesmerizing.
  3. It’s interesting to explore different ways stories can be told. You might think the video is compelling. Or disturbing. Or just not your cup of tea. I bet if there were a group of people watching the video, each would have a different opinion. Maybe they would discuss their points of view. I’d call that a thought-provoking story.
  4. IT WAS CHOSEN AS A VIMEO STAFF PICK! Wow!

The song Severed is from The Decemberists‘ album “I’ll Be Your Girl,” which is “intermittently political in its own way…it only addresses politics in the broadest sense,” said  Evan Rytlewski  on Pitchfork.com. Instead, the album captures the general frustration with the world right now.

“The Decemberists do a very particular thing – darkly ornate, literary-minded, self-consciously verbose Anglophile prog-folk-rock – exceedingly well,” said  onRollingstone.com. The Decemberists, an American indie rock band from Portland, Oregon, consists of Colin Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query and John Moen.

Related Posts:

Life is Beautiful Music Festival Video

Music Video, The Venus Project-(Won’t Hurt)

“Santa is a Psychedelic Mushroom,” Lapland Folklore

Reflections, Astonishing Animation and Interview with Morgan Gruer

Life is Beautiful Music Festival Video

Music with a Message

I am astonished by the gorgeous, detailed, layered and meaningful art and animation created by Morgan! She directed a promotional video for the Life is Beautiful Music Festival, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada September 21-23, 2018. According the festival’s homepage:

Every September we gather in the streets of Downtown Las Vegas to create a world that celebrates the beauty in ourselves and our surroundings.

A world in which music and art transform, positivity prevails, discovery ensues, inspiration overwhelms and creativity thrives.

A world that cannot be explained – it must be experienced.

Lyrics to All Together, the spoken-word poem by In-Q. 

If you’re not inspired by life, you’re not paying attention

Our world is beautiful beyond all comprehension

But we rarely look around

we’re so used to looking down

It can feel heavy when we even lift our heads up off the ground

We get lost inside of crowds

We forget that we belong

That our voices come together in this human song

It’s more than merely right or wrong, it’s learning how to get along

But it’s gets darkest right before the dawn

 

We are the rays emanating from the sun

Because faith is always blind

And the stories that we share become the mirror of our times

Our journeys intertwine, so the reflection is divine

I can see myself inside your eyes

We recognize the truth behind the disguise

Our struggles are the same

We have to celebrate the joy and celebrate the pain

We have to elevate the energy and rise to the task

Because change comes slow, but it happens fast

And since this moment doesn’t last our future is the past

But the answer has to first be asked

 

We call upon the dreamers, and the poets, and

the prophets, and the seekers, let your music reach out from the speakers, let it echo from the bleachers, from the artists to the teachers, from the painters to the preachers,

There is no one that will lead us, we the people are the leaders

And we don’t wanna wait on someone else to change the world

Or pawn it off on the next generation of boys and girls

There is no one that is coming

Because everyone is here

We can be found in the crowd from the sound of a cheer

 

So when it brings us all together

What will we have to say?

When it brings us all together

And the music starts to play

When it brings us all together

How will we own today?

Because life is beautiful

And it’s up to US to keep it that way

Music Video, The Venus Project – (Won’t Hurt)

My daughter Morgan directed this music video. Enjoy!
Georgia Nott, one-half of Kiwi duo Broods, has just released her first solo album. The Venus Project, Pt.1 was made completely by women and released on International Women’s Day. Here’s part one of Georgia’s interview with Marty Duda and a performance of Numb.
Lyrics to “Won’t Hurt”
I could know where I am and I’d still be lost
I could be lonely when the party is mine to host
For all the places I’ve been
I’ve only been skin and bone
So I wrap myself in you and pray that I’m not a ghost
I’m not a ghost
I could be screaming and you wouldn’t hear a word
For however heavy my heart is, my mind is worse
But all that you hear
Is confidence clear as day
So I wrap myself in you and pray that it won’t hurt
It won’t hurt
“It feels awesome to be surrounded by really super strong women that are changing how they present themselves to the world to bring about change and saying what they want to say.” Georgia Nott

Top Ten Cool Facts About The Shape of Water

I love going to the movies, so you might find it strange that I’ve never reviewed a movie on Bmore Energy before. Well, hon, I’m starting a new category because I loved The Shape of Water so much! It’s a modern fairy tale by director Guillermo del Toro who also directed the devastating but beautiful movie Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Doug JonesMichael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg is atmospheric, interesting, captivating, cruel, and different than anything I’ve ever watched. One of my daughters and I loved it so much that, after we saw it, we spent the rest of the evening on the computer searching for information about the story, characters, costumes, set, and how the movie was filmed.
And that was before it was nominated for an Oscar.
At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.
The Shape of Water is a $20-million Cold War-era fairytale about a mute cleaning lady, Eliza (Sally Hawkins), who stumbles upon a top-secret tank where a team led by the brutal Col. Strickland (Michael Shannon) experiment upon a mysterious Amazonian fish-man. As Eliza falls for the fish-man, aka the Asset, del Toro delivers his twist on Beauty and the Beast, one where the beast need not be a prince to be loved.
Top Ten Cool Facts About the Movie The Shape of Water:
  1. Some of the underwater Scenes were filmed using “dry for wet,” a technique where actors and props are suspended on wires and smoke is blown onstage. Bubbles and debris were added digitally to make the scenes look more realistic.
  2. It took three hours for Doug Jones to get into the Amphibian Man’s costume. Once he was in the suit, Doug Jones said, “I can’t see as well, I can’t hear much, I can’t feel much, and I got these webbed fingers on—I can’t do anything for myself.”
  3. The Amphibian Man’s gills were operated remotely by a mechanism tucked into the back of the suit.
  4. The Amphibian Man’s eyes were lenses created out of acrylic resin which snapped magnetically into a housing on Jones’ face. “For extreme close-ups, I had eyes that I couldn’t see anything out of,” Jones said. “I had to know the geography of the room pretty well before we put those eyes in. We had other versions of the eyes I could see a little bit more through — the pupils had been cut out for wide shots where I’d have to move across a room or swim around underwater.” Eye blinks, along with other “micro-expressions” such as the furrowing of the brow, were added digitally in post-production. Each shot, however, was based on scans of Jones’ own expressions.

  5. Green is the movie’s dominant color. Production designer Paul Austerberry said “everything inside [Elisa’s] home hinted at water or the ocean.” Her “world is water surrounded with cyan, blues, aged texture and furniture shaped with curves, while [Gile’s] place is bounded by gold and mustard colors to signify warmth and empathy.”
  6.  Green is carried further. It’s the color of the antagonist’s candies, Giles’ pie, and the lab’s interior, creating an unsettling mood and grimy and steamy feel. “The color teal is spread methodically throughout the hallways and detailed in the tile of the lab to signify the future. It even shows up when Strickland purchases his new Cadillac, ‘the car of the future.’ Strickland’s office is also tied into the theme, with greenish-blue tiles creating the backdrop to the glass-enclosed command center that sits high above the floor.”
  7. The main character is mute. “Elisa only communicates through sign language and body movement – the flick of an eyebrow, a shrug, a tender smile. To prep, Hawkins honed in on the role’s physicality, taking ASL lesson.”
  8. The antagonist, Richard Strickland’s bathroom routine shows how strict and scheduled he is with the world and himself.
  9. Of  his character Strickland, Michael Shannon said, “The only thing with the candies, I kept trying to add it to more and more scenes. I thought if we were going to do the candy, we should do it wholeheartedly. And the candy really is insightful in terms of knowing where Strickland is at psychologically. His relation to the candy tells you kind of what’s going on in his head.”
  10. The movie was shot in 45 days.

Did you see The Shape of Water? What did you think?

 Click here to watch a “Making of” Featurette on You Tube.

Three Berry Lovely Hostess Gifts

Chocolate-covered raspberries from Sweet Nothings.

One of the best things about summer is getting together with friends. With less carpools and craziness, it’s nice to hang out and catch up. I love that the day seems longer. Last night, we left a concert in our town’s park about 9pm and it was still light.

Summer invitations mean hostess gifts. Here are three berry-lovely ideas.

I found this adorable strawberry basket filled with chocolate-covered raspberries at Sweet Nothings, a chocolate shop in Summit, NJ. How easy is this to make yourself? All you need is a basket, filler “grass,” and candy or berries. How about making a berry mix? Wrap the mix in plastic wrap and nestle it inside the basket. Tie a bow and off you go!

Hand-thrown berry bowls filled with local berries.

Berry bowls aren’t just pretty, they’re practical since they are small colanders. I made the two ceramic bowls above, but I’ve seen them in several stores. How sweet would it be to give the hostess a berry bowl already filled? Want to make it even sweeter? Bring along whipped cream and (dare-I-say?) chocolate sauce.

Photo of Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries from bettycrocker.com.

I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture the last time I made Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. Click here for a recipe. Know what’s fun about making these? Finishing up the leftover melted chocolate at home.

Berry-yummy!

Sources: Sweet Nothings  and bettycrocker.com

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway

My daughters outside of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Manhattan.

Looking for a show to see? Are you a Roald Dahl fan? Both?

“Unwrap a world of pure imagination.”

My youngest daughter loves Broadway shows, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than to surprise her with tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical in Manhattan?  We appreciate Roald Dahl’s dark humor and twisted characters (We loved “Matilda the Musical.”), not to mention that Willy Wonka is played by Christian Borle who was excellent as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten.”

One of my favorite childhood movies was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I saw the newer version, and didn’t mind Johnny Depp playing a deeply disturbed Willy Wonka, but Gene Wilder’s Wonka stuck in my psyche.

The musical is wonderful! The set design is clever, interesting, colorful and illusional. The larger than life characters are modern, and each has his/her own “voice.” The humor is both timeless and relevant to the times, and, of course, of course, the story is evergreen. The messages that imagination is valuable, dream big, and work for your passion makes me–sniff-a little weepy.

Oh and, hon, the Oompa Loompas are hysterical!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical

I thought most people knew the story, but at the Broadway show the woman sitting behind us seemed genuinely surprised when Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop met their sweet rewards, and when Charlie Bucket was the last child standing. The show’s website describes the story like this:

Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.

Birthday girl.

Have you seen a good show lately? I’m always interested in what else is on stage.