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James Dalton
Chorus and Verse Blog
Posted: December 7, 2009 03:25 pm (-06:00)
James Dalton
Singer/Songwriter/Performer
Jersey Shore Boys Take On MTV's Slanderous But Hilarious New Show

Yes! Plenty of grandiosity! Beach kids from Jersey, taking on MTV, or better yet, taking on MTV and Bravo, or better yet, taking on MTV, Bravo AND the stereotypes of the entire nation... I could go on, but why bore you with my awesome grandiosity?

Ok, here's the deal. This past summer, MTV took a bunch of self-proclaiming "guidos" and rented them a house in Seaside Heights for the season where they partied, acted like idiots and engaged themselves in ridiculous dramas all the while degrading the surrounding area and the reputation of what the Jersey Shore is. The show? It's called "Jersey Shore". There goes that brand...

Fast forward a few months to that previous spring when Bravo, in its genius, started airing "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" or, what I would like to call, the "Real Housewives of the North Jersey Mob". Well, I'm not really a guy that keeps up with such television, and by that, I mean scripted reality, but it is kinda hard to avoid hearing about, or somehow being affecting by, shows like this nowadays. Anyway, do you see where I am going with all this? Someone, somewhere feels like great television lies in taking bad stereotypes, encouraging them further and catching it all on video. And then make money off of it, regardless of who it hurts. Oh yeah, and why not stick it to New Jersey. Genius.

So what does all this have to do with me and am I one of the "Shore Boys" referenced in the title of this here blog entry? I am one of the Shore Boys, yes, and this has plenty to do with me. Why? Because I feel compelled to do something about it.

Ok, fast forward to a few months ago, when myself and another beach kid, Chris Rockwell, decide to put together a spoken word show that will feature our poems, stories and maybe a little music. After lots of discussion, we decide that since our show will be opening in the winter time, and since we are both beach kids, why not focus our theme around the Jersey Beach winters, the memories and images, the uniqueness of perspective of living and growing up in the resort towns during the offseason. This is what is ours as locals. Creatively, there was so much we could use to explore, and maybe this was a way, by creating this show, to celebrate what is ours as locals, the beautiful and vibrant offseason life, the real heart and soul of the Jersey Shore residents.

So, Chris and I were excited and went to work. Fast forward again to this past week, MTV's "Jersey Shore" airs, insulting shore residents and degrades the brand we need to survive as a tourist destination, but serves as a strange unifying force. I have always had a strong sense and pride in who I am and where I come from, and there aren't many other states that produce such feelings like ours, but even still, I haven't watched so many people rally together like this in ages.

There is loads of backlash on YouTube, Myspace and Facebook (one group is even organizing a protest for this Wednesday at www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=335227680370&index=1) and I think it's just begun.

What does all this have to do with me? My show opens this week, and I am happy to say that we are the exact opposite of what these shows are. We are not clichéd, nor are we trying to jump on tired stereotypes for the cheap laugh. We are pushing forward the truth that a couple Jersey Shore boys have heart and soul, that they try to engage themselves in creative pursuits, that there is a diverse population all living beautiful lives that are meaningful, not just along the coastline, but throughout all of New Jersey. WE ARE NOT SCRIPTED REALITY AND WE WILL NOT BE REPRESENTED BY IT.

I humbly ask you to come and see "OFFSEASON-Winter Words From the Jersey Shore". Chris and I are giving everything we have into these two upcoming performances. Even though that MTV show might be hilarious (because, really, who better to get those jokes than the people that have to actually have dealings with all those idiots) but it is still insulting and, so, we are going to do what we do and be who we are, real people from the beaches of New Jersey with a lot of heart and soul.

I know, I've written plenty and I thank you for reading, but here is the little blurb for the show:

After a year or two of discussions on the subject, poet Chris Rockwell and performer James Dalton are finally bringing a collaboration to the stage in the form of "OFFSEASON-Winter Words From the Jersey Shore". A pair of Jersey Shore natives, they met and became friends in the poetry readings and open mics of Monmouth County while James was taking time off the road to recover from a surgery on his vocal chords. Both shared an interest in unconventional and intelligent use of language and a hardy disdain for some of the clichéd and half-measured verse that was surrounding them.

"OFFSEASON" will find both artists exploring and celebrating the quieter times along the Jersey Shore, when the boardwalks are abandoned and the party seems over, the highways are lonely but the nor'easters come barreling in along the beaches and still plenty of heart and soul in the locals. Both Chris and James are very accomplished locally, with numerous Asbury Music Award nominations as well as Rockwell's naming of the 2006 Grand Slam Champion of Loser Slam(Monmouth County) and Dalton's repeated selection to represent the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. They've reached the national stage touring with major artists in both music and poetry and James has gone on to tour extensively on the international level across three continents. Each of them have released chapbooks of their work to much acclaim.

On December 11th, Chris Rockwell and James Dalton will hit the stage at the Show Room on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park to do two shows back to back, delivering a mix of poetry and storytelling with a little music thrown in. Both performers are excited, as this has been in the works for several years.

$10 in advance. $12 at the doors.

Advance tickets available at www.theshowroomap.com/BuyTickets.htm.

There will be a 7:00 and a 9:00 showing.

Questions? Comments? james_dalton@hotmail.com.

James Dalton
James Dalton is a New Jersey-based singer/songwriter/performer that has had his ups and downs but still pushes forward and stuff.
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