Brick City Gladiators rejoice: Newark’s Taste Venue to host ‘Scandal’ premiere viewing party

After a summer of wondering just where Olivia Pope was headed on that plane, "Scandal" fans will get some answers tonight as the show premieres on ABC at 9 p.m. And now Newark-area fans can enjoy the drama – widely heralded for its ability to produce reams of social media chatter – in the company of other "Gladiators": Taste Venue will be hosting a watch party tonight in its Suite53 lounge, including a happy hour to start at 6 p.m.

Taste Venue | 47 Edison Place | Newark, NJ

Acclaimed nanotechnology expert and researcher Somenath Mitra to receive seventh annual NJIT Board of Overseers Excellence in Research prize and medal

NJIT Distinguished Professor Somenath Mitra, Ph.D., whose pioneering research has spanned a spectrum of applications for carbon nanotechnology that address critical quality-of-life issues, will receive the seventh annual Board of Overseers Excellence in Research Prize and Medal on October 2.

Dr. Mitra has been instrumental in developing technology for photovoltaic cells — solar cells — that can be output on home-based inkjet printers to provide household power when exposed to the sun. Through nanotube technology, he has also advanced the development of sensors that could be used for continuous real-time monitoring of organic contaminants in air and water.

And Dr. Yeheskel Bar-Ness, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will receive the second annual Board of Overseers Excellence in Research Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long and distinguished career and for his substantial and notable research contributions to industry and academia. A prominent expert in wireless communications and signal processing for more than four decades, Dr. Bar-Ness directs The Elisha Yegal Bar-Ness Center for Wireless Communications and Signal Processing Research at NJIT, which has long been in the forefront of wireless technology.

“The purpose of the Excellence in Research Prize and Medal is to elevate the image of research on campus and in the community,” said Philip Rinaldi, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Energy Solutions and chair of the NJIT Board of Overseers. “As an alumnus and chair of the NJIT Board of Overseers, I am deeply honored to share in special recognition of the talent and dedication that continues to build our university’s stature worldwide.”

The award ceremony and premiere of research video profiles of Dr. Mitra and Dr. Bar-Ness will be streamed live October 2nd at 5:30 p.m.

The NJIT Board of Overseers is comprised of prominent volunteer alumni and friends of the university, as well as key administrators, including President Joel S. Bloom. It is the governing body for the Foundation at NJIT – the university’s fundraising arm – and has a joint fiduciary responsibility with the Board of Trustees for stewarding and developing NJIT’s endowment. Additionally, the board has initiated activities and events that increase NJIT’s visibility and prestige. These initiatives include establishing the Overseers Excellence in Research Prize and Medal, which was first presented in 2008.

Newark in Verse: Corner Store Classic by Myk Dyaleks

Corner Store Classic

by Myk Dyaleks

Hey Papi!
Let me get a corner store classic
Hot pastrami & cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, no mayo mustard please!
Hey where's Tony?
Where's the rows of low priced foods and products
Twenty-five cent chips chocked full of preservatives,
Fifty cent sodas, which are as advertised
"Cheap & Cold"
The sugar count is seven grams higher than it's name brand counterpart.
But it's still good with a corner store classic!
Hot pastrami & cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, no mayo, mustard please!
See Shop Rite doesn't have seventy-five cent flavor-aid.
Now & Laters, Frunas, Mike & Ikes, or Rap Snacks.
They won't take five now and the rest later.
They don't know my middle name is Pablo at Pathmark.
I didn't have my first job there after being caught stealing quarter cakes,
The Walmart woulda called the police,
He called my mother!
I knew better,
Though I acted like we were not acquainted.
Tony taught me how to make
Corner Store Classic,
Hot pastrami & cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, no mayo mustard please!
Why do I keep repeating the ingredients?
I want you to think about how simple happiness is.
How quickly a child's hard day can disappear into Big Business.
Listen gents, before you try to facilitate your fiction,
Placate me with your diction,
Understand that I am very aware of your plans,
Regardless of your change of it's moniker
Gentrification is the name we know it as.
I believe you call it "Progress".
I believe it's the perspective driven by the viewer,
Like 50 shots center mass to an unarmed man is reasonable fire.
Or the acquittal of barbarianism by a jury of one is due process.
No! Please don't disregard my lack of discipline towards the correct diet to mean I'm blind to the Cellophane mask you disguise your "enterprise" in.
I'm fully aware of the fact you want to change the face of my city from mulatto to pure blood caucazoid!
Trust me, I've studied your movements since Prince Street collapsed.
Black owned is becoming black foreclosed
Doors closed never to re-open
Cornerstones of our structure destroyed,
And you…you wait to clear the debris and turn our memories into franchise.
Disregarding our loyalty to our people and knowing we'd sell our brother's back into slavery for the right monetary standard.
Damn Devils!
Pirates, ravaging our fractured eco-structure,
To socially make a clean break between us and our zip code.
I see your ploys, I don't believe in action without motivation.
No, I will not trade my 108 for Foot Locker,
I will not trade my neighborhood library
For Barnes & Noble,
Your Borders do not contain the works of contemporary artists who are not on Amazon.
I will not trade my corner store classic
For Quiznos,
Not when the answers are yes.
Yes, we need to save our community
Yes, we need travel in packs like hungry wolves till these pigs take the beam off our backs.
Yes, send our children to public schools and demand they be taught to excel as opposed to survive.
So you go ahead chief…you and your brief case.
Three piece suit, wingtips, and slacked jaw at the fact that all of us are not asleep or mentally stripped raw like an open wound.
I'll still come through those doors screaming,
"Hey Papi,
Let me get a corner store classic,
Hot pastrami & cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, no mayo mustard please!
And give them the finger when they ask me,
"Would you like a scone with that latte?"

More from Myk Dyaleks:


It’s Sharpe James versus Joseph DiVincenzo on…the tennis court?

This Saturday, September 27, the Weequahic Park Sports Authority will host a "Tennis Family Fun Day" at the park near the Elizabeth Avenue and Lyons Avenue entrance. A flyer touting the event, which will run from 3pm to 6pm, also teases a "special contest" between former Newark mayor Sharpe James and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr.

tennis fun day

“Sanctuary” series to feature month-long event schedule celebrating the LGBT Newark club, ballroom, and party scenes

Rutgers University-Newark’s Queer Newark Oral History Project has partnered with Yendor Productions to present “Sanctuary:  A History of Queer Club Spaces in Newark,” a free series of art, literary and historical events this October.

The events will begin with an art exhibit on the theme of club space as sanctuary, opening on October 11, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., at 765 Broad Street, 7th floor.  

Next, Rutgers University-Newark’s Paul Robeson Center will host “Out in Newark!  Queer Club Spaces as Sanctuary,” on Thursday, October 16, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Promoters, performers and participants from Club Zanzibar, the House of Jourdain, Bliss Entertainment, Ms. Theresa Productions, and other legendary and contemporary Newark-based LGBT and LGBT-influenced performance and party spaces will discuss the worlds they made inside their clubs, the care they took of one another during tragedies including the AIDS crisis, and the impact that their creativity had on larger national trends of music, fashion, dance, and generational self-expression.

On Friday, October 17, “Sanctuary” presents spoken word performers, including both youth and established poets, who will perform at the Broad Street exhibit space at 7:00 p.m.

Then on Sunday, October 19, “Sanctuary” will host a Tea Party, a special film screening and panel discussion, in conjunction with the GET DOWN Campaign’s No More Stigma Film Series, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. also at the Broad Street exhibit space. “Sanctuary” will culminate with “Fire and Ice: The FireBall Returns,” featuring lip-synching, dance, and live performance. The FireBall will be held at the Robert Treat Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and will be a benefit for Newark’s LGBT Community Center.  

“’Sanctuary: A History of Queer Club Spaces in Newark’ exemplifies the Queer Newark Oral History Project’s ongoing efforts to enable public, intergenerational discussions of LGBT life in Newark,” said Prof. Beryl Satter of the Federated Department of History at Rutgers-Newark. “Our city’s clubs, bars, parties, discos, and ballroom houses have long been sites of LGBT solidarity and sustenance. ‘Sanctuary’ honors this history by using the story of queer club spaces to uncover and celebrate the remarkable resilience, caring and creativity of queer Newark residents.” 

According to Rodney Gilbert of Yendor Productions, “The Sanctuary events of October 2014 will be the beginning of an outreach to LGBT people and their supporters in every ward in Newark.  We are an integral part of this city’s cultural fabric and we always have been.  ‘Sanctuary’ gives proof of that fact.  We need to show the truth of our past in order to have an inclusive and enriching future for all people in Newark.”

Coalition seeks voter support to help keep New Jersey green with “yes” vote on Question 2

Keep the Garden in the Garden State” was the message when the NJ Keep It Green Coalition kicked off its campaign to urge New Jersey voters to support Public Question 2 on the November 4 ballot with a "yes" vote at an event hosted by Greater Newark Conservancy at its Prudential Outdoor Learning Center in Newark. The Coalition includes more than 185 park and conservation organizations working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites.

Senators Bob Smith and Christopher “Kip” Bateman and assemblyman John McKeon, bipartisan sponsors of the legislation, were joined by Senator Tom Kean, Jr., Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, a long list of environmental organization representatives, Conservancy staff, student interns and Newark residents to urge voter support.

Public Question 2 asks voters to dedicate existing state funds to protect clean water and ensure that future generations continue to have access to parks, open spaces, farmland and historic treasures. The funding will replenish the now-depleted Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs, and continue funding to improve water quality, remove and clean up underground storage tanks and clean up polluted sites.

“Through programs such as Green and Blue Acres, farmland preservation and historic preservation the state has been able to set aside hundreds of thousands of acres of land for the public’s well-being and enjoyment, but tremendous needs remain,” Senator Smith stated. “It is imperative to vote yes on November 4 to protect the state’s drinking water and last remaining open spaces for the health of our communities and future generations.”

Robin Dougherty, Greater Newark Conservancy’s Executive Director, pointed out that Public Question 2 is as important for urban cities like Newark as it is for suburban and rural communities statewide. “There is clearly a demand for more parks and open spaces in cities like Newark,” said Dougherty. “Since 2004 when we first opened the Prudential Outdoor Learning Center, more than 30,000 local schoolchildren have experienced the wonder of the natural world through educational field trips to our Center, which was made possible in part by Green Acres funding.”

Greater Newark Conservancy provides a range of programming at the Center throughout the year, and is a participant in the Newark Youth Leadership Program (NYLP), providing Newark high school and college youth with job training experience, leadership development, exposure to different career options in environmental and horticultural fields and opportunities for pursuing a college education. At the kickoff event, students in the NYLP program provided tours of the Center and staffed a farm stand with Newark Fresh produce for sale grown on urban farms the Conservancy manages in the City.

Supporters say Public Question 2 will ensure stable funding for the preservation and care of open space, parks, farmland, historic sites and flood-prone areas by reallocating 4 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues that are already dedicated to environmental programs through fiscal year 2019, and dedicating an additional 2 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues from fiscal year 2020 going forward.

Open space, farmland and historic preservation programs received an average of $200 million annually under the 1998 Garden State Preservation Trust. Under the ballot question, preservation programs would receive approximately $71 million annually for the first four years, and then $117 million annually thereafter, providing reduced but critical baseline funding without raising taxes. In addition, approximately $30 million annually will be provided for programs to improve water quality, remove underground storage tanks before they leak and clean up polluted sites.

Additionally, for the first time ever, a provision for stewardship is included that will require some funds to go toward helping take better care of the parks and natural areas New Jersey already has. It will fund repairs, restoration and improvements to parks, natural areas and lakes, rivers and streams across New Jersey, which the ballot question's supporters say will make it easier for the public to visit and enjoy them.

“I was proud to sponsor this measure and urge my fellow citizens to vote yes for Public Question 2 on November 4,” concluded Assemblyman McKeon. “This funding is a necessary investment in our quality of life as well as our economy, as studies show that every $1 invested in state preservation programs returns $10 in economic value.”

Students plan a “showdown” at Newark Public Schools headquarters on September 10th

Hundreds of Newark students participated in a protest and march organized by the Newark Student Union and NJ Communities United Tuesday morning. Students and their supporters marched from three different high schools before converging in front of the Essex County Courthouse. From there, the students marched through downtown Newark, eventually gathering at Military Park where students participated in courses on the History of Student ActivismArt-Making for Activists, and a workshop on Student Rights.

The plan for Wednesday, September 10 is for the Newark Students Union will be joined by a dozen Newark-based community organizations, the NJ Students United group, the Philadelphia Students Union and the New York Students Union.  Demonstrators plan to take their protest directly to Newark Public Schools headquarters.

“Today was a peaceful demonstration,” said Roberto Cabanas, community organizer with NJ Communities United. “Tomorrow’s action will be more dramatic.”

“We are building a movement to take back democratic local control of our schools,” said Kristin Towkaniuk, president of the Newark Students Union. “Our action tomorrow will be an escalation demonstrating the community’s unrest over Chris Christie’s efforts to privatize our public schools.” Christie recently vetoed a bill that would have required public hearings over school closures even when the district is state-run, as Newark Public Schools are.

Image: Newark Students Union Facebook page

Newark in Verse: Street Lights

This piece originally appeared on, and is republished with permission from the author.

Submit your poetry about Newark to

Street Lights

by Jane Lopez

It is about the street lights, the housing projects, the cookouts. It’s about the Division of Youth and Family Services, the PR Day Parade, the bodegas, the Cherry Blossom Festival, the street fights, the smell of cement in the air after a hot summer’s day rain.

It’s the Temptations, MJ, and the cassette tape collections of Motown’s greatest.

It’s about fried chicken, mud pies, visits to Mom, an interracially mixed surrogate family.

It’s about everything and nothing. The pick-it, a pack of Kool’s cigarettes, the Star-Ledger, Budweiser, bid whist, spades, and temporary vacations at the county jails and state prisons.

It’s about repping your block, dreams of finding your way out, food stamps, fatherless daughters, summer rides to the South, sleepovers with burnt Betty Crocker cake.

It was yellow stained walls, black power, Grammy Awards, and the three blocks’ walk to and from school.

It’s about survival and finding yourself only to lose it again.

It’s about Bible verses, summer camps, and Sunday school. It’s your word against mine, hopscotch, double dutch, fire hydrant pools, and hours playing Green Light Red Light and Mother May I.  

It’s Easter Sunday at Keansburg Beach, The Boys and Girls Clubs, Georgia King Village, the red brick streets that kissed the foundations of the red brick skyscraping low-income projects.

It’s about penny candy, the dirty old mattress in the empty lot used to practice our next Olympic-winning gymnastic flip off the old abandoned rusted car adjacent to it.

It’s the abandoned homes with broken windows, crackheads, and dope fiends. It’s about the merchandise that fell off the back of the truck.

It’s the cop cars, the fire engine’s siren, the constant loudness of the block, and cornrows that were decorated with beads and held at the end with aluminum foil.

It’s the short ride with the Brownie Girl Scout team, drive-bys, stolen cars, empty plastic marijuana bags on the ground, crack vials, and used needles.

It’s about chitterlings, corn bread, collard greens with turkey neck bone, speedy jobs and my first summer crush.

It’s about the color of my skin. Was she white? Is she black? Why she rocking those cornrows with her hair long down her back? She can’t even speak Spanish.

It’s about defending what you never really understood.

It’s the drug dealers, the free summer school lunches, arts and crafts hosted by the local public school.

It’s the house parties, club music, fresh kicks, and the long hours on the stoop doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the street lights to come on.

Image credit: Flickr user wan mohd. Used under Creative Commons

New program for Newark-area small businesses will let owners leverage savings for credit history

The greater Newark-based business alliance ForwardEverNJ will be kicking of its "Six Month Small Business Credit Builder Challenge" in collaboration with City National Bank on Wednesday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The program will enable participants to have their savings reported to credit bureaus as on-time payments, helping to build a positive credit history even as they save money. Those that complete the challenge will also receive a business credit card.

ForwardEverReMIXX | Congregation Ahavas Sholom (free parking), 145 Broadway, Newark | RSVP:

The Newark Adventure Squad’s mission: Find fun in Brick City

They don't base jump, practice parkour or exact vigilante justice around town. Instead, the Newark Adventure Squad is all about enjoying more everyday exploits in the city.

“There’s good in Newark. A lot of people don’t know about it, but it’s here,” said Jamaal Cobbs. Cobbs is a lifelong Newark resident who attended NJIT for his undergraduate studies. He's worked at a law firm for ten years and often finds time to volunteer at the Newark Bike Exchange on Washington Street.

“I sometimes help out [manager] Ryan Reedell organize bike rides, and one day he was unable to go,” said Cobbs.

It was on that day when Cobbs would go on a bike ride with Sarah Kate Clark, Trino Morgado, and Denis Vidal. During the ride, they talked about creating a group where everyone could keep in touch. The foursome revisited the idea over sushi afterwards.

“We were all just like, 'So let’s get this group idea going. Let’s get it rolling,'” explained Cobbs. “So we tried to figure out a name.”

Eventually someone proposed the name "Newark Adventure Squad". “It sort of just stuck,” said Cobbs. Little did Cobbs know that the Newark Adventure Squad would grow to 15 members the following week, and boasts 51 members a year later.

The group is mostly made of Newark residents, but not all. “Anybody can join if they’re committed and serious about meeting new people, hanging out in Newark, and having some fun,” said Cobbs.

While the Newark Adventure Squad initially focused on bike riding, it has expanded to include the interests of its growing membership, and is even something of an information outlet about things going on in Newark.

“We do different events, parties, game nights, some potlucks, we volunteer, and we’ve gone to some Red Bulls games,” said Cobbs. “Not every member has a bike, so we do different things.”

The Newark Adventure Squad tries to schedule one to two events a month, but some of its members hold smaller events on a much more frequent basis.

The next major event is scheduled for Sunday, September 7. The squad will celebrate its one-year anniversary.

“I’m going to have a party in my backyard for the group,” says Cobbs. “I’m going to do a barbeque and set up a television so people can watch football.”

“We really just try to provide people who come to Newark, who want to have fun in Newark, a way to easily enjoy themselves and not get caught up in all the negativity,” said Cobbs. “Newark isn’t all bad, and they can find out what’s really going on through us and understand that there’s a lot of fun things to do all over Newark.”