Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

One Night At The Open Mic:

A Visit To Metuchen's To Be Continued Bookstore

Open Mic Jam
To Be Continued… Book Store/Boutique/Record Shop ( December 21, 2012

By Phil Rainone
Photos courtesy of Mark Harris Photography

Everybody’s In Showbiz!

Doing just about anything in a book store other than reading is usually not on anyone’s radar, but at To Be Continued… a new book store in Metuchen, reading and browsing through thousands of books and almost as many record albums are just a few of the many community, artistic, improvisation, and fun activities you’ll find here. If the room seems familiar, it’s because the building used to be home to The Raconteur, the used bookstore that regular hosted musical events and even staged radio plays. New owners Sergio Gonzalez and Karen Winters completely remodeled the space when they turned it into To Be Continued…

On this night, over a dozen musicians and fans crowded into the store to witness some high energy playing and storytelling at To Be Continued’s weekly open mic. The show is run by Danny Adlerman, whose quick wit and dedicated commitment to music and the community is as awe-inspiring as it is infectious. While he was setting up the makeshift stage with mics and amps with Sergio, Danny performed an old Kinks tune, “Everybody’s In Showbiz.” With just his electric/acoustic guitar in hand, he revamped the Kinks Klassic, rewiring it into an even slower cadence than the original. With a nod to Ray Davies’ satirical sense of humor, he turned it into a more homespun tale of Hollywood’s glory days. He would do the same thing later in the show as each of the dozen or so musicians took turns performing for about fifteen minutes or so, each.

Danny opened the show with “Five O’clock World,” a tale of 9-to-5 work week drudgery, then followed with Cat Steven’s tale of relationships, “Father & Sons.” Danny then amped up a full-tilt version of U2’s musical death march, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” With all those cool tunes sinking into your head, Danny opened a musical doorway that seemed to inspire the other musicians. The father and son duo of Steve and Julian Beal (on guitars and vocals) swept us into a nostalgic euphoria with a few 60’s pop rock classics. Dylan’s rebellious folk rocker “I Shall Be Released,” was followed by a cover of The Byrds. Seeing them performing the songs bridged the generation gap quite nicely. Both musicians looked like they were having a blast and us right along with them.

Besides the musicians, there were also poets. Carl P. Klapper ( who wrote “The Washington Poems,” among other works which can be found at To Be Continued…) read from one of his books. His insightfulness and passion brought the words on the pages to life. After a few more musicians played, without an introduction, Oscar Z. (0dogg) strode up to the podium and got right into the nuts and bolts of his new autobiography, Against All Odds . When Oscar read his poems, you felt more like he was sitting there with you one-on-one, rather than a group of over thirty people. For all the pain that he’s suffered in his lifetime (he’s in his thirties), none of it is a match for his heart-felt passion, humanity, and wicked sense of humor.

Devilishly Diverse!

The jam lasted well over four hours (starting at 7pm), with as much diversity as there was community. Rich Prestia performed a devilishly tasty cover of Focus’ “Hocus Pocus,” and got as much laughter from it as it did to make many jaws drop in cool amazement!
Between the musicians and the poets, you got the feeling that the book store was more like a place to exchange ideas, play music, share in a community, and have an overall blast! There’s a lot of love and tender loving care that goes into each event or show here, and it’s infectious! There was also free cookies given out by a local business courtesy of:

To Be Continued… is not a chain, but a really cool “Mom & Pop” store-if you mom and pop were as cool as Sergio and his wife Karen. Upcoming events include local favorites Death by Improv on Thursday, January 31 at 7pm. Admission is $5. Check for upcoming events.}

Is there a good open mic in your community? Send us an email and tell us about it!


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