Reviews


We Have Issues Comic Shop 1

We_Have_Issues_Pic_1

Photo by: Pat McChesney

UPDATE: Unfortunately this store has closed.

When moving to the Corning, New York area I thought the closest comic book stores were in Elmira and Ithaca, but I seem to have been mistaken; there is one in Painted Post off of Route I-86 at exit 43. There stands a big brick building that they tell me use to be the Ames department store, but that has been long gone since the late 90’s early 2000’s. It’s now called the “Victory Highway Galleria of Shops”. Tucked in this Galleria of shops is a small and when I say small I mean a small shop that is a gem of a comic store called We Have Issues Comics. I am always dubious of comic stores in this kind of environment, they are usually run by an old comic book store owner who is trying to get out of the business and only has the back issues he couldn’t sell in his original store but I was pleasantly surprised with the We Have Issues shop.

When I walked into the shop Pat McChesney, the owner came up and welcomed me to his store and politely asked if I was buying or if I just was looking. I, unfortunately, had to tell him that I was only looking today, and he was fine about that and let me know it wasn’t a problem. While flipping through the books, I broke the conversational ice with my usual question for all the comic book shop owners when I first meet them “how is business going?”. He was frank and honest and told me business was good. We got to talking about comics and he knows his stuff, not just the current iteration of comics today but about the older comics of yesteryear.

One of the things on my mental checklist that I look for when I go to new stores is the owner. He is the face of the store and he makes the store a good one just as much as the inventory he has for sale. If the owner is passionate about his product and wants to succeed the store will succeed if he isn’t then the store will fail. The more the owner puts himself into the shop the more people will want to come back. Mr. McChesney is doing just that, putting himself and his passion for comic books into this store. He is one of the reasons I will go back.

The second thing on my list that makes me like or not like a store is appearance and layout of the store. When I walked into We Have Issues I was happy to find a clean and well-kept space. There was no boxes or clutter around on the floor, or a lot of non-comics merchandise for sale either.  The store is well lighted and not dingy, and it’s a comic store a parent wouldn’t have any problem letting their kids go to get comics and to look around. To me We Have Issues is the perfect example of the minimalist comic book store; due to the space constraints, it doesn’t have the mainstay selection of long boxes of back issues on display which is a refreshing thing for me, because I end up spending my whole time digging through them looking for a new find for my collection instead of checking out the store and talking with the owner or employees if they have time.

We_Have_Issues_Pic_2

Photo By: Pat McChesney

Third on my list is how diversified is his inventory? I was impressed with We Have Issues, it has most of the big names in comics on the shelf and some nice old ones as well. I didn’t see any of the weird comics I usually get, but he said he will order what I wanted. Saying that he does have pull lists for his customers. On an aside if you are so inclined to start a pull list at any comic store, not just We Have Issue please go pick them up on a regular basis, that’s money out of the store owners pocket when they just sit there.

A few things that I have an issue with is that a lot of his “current” back issues were already bagged and boarded, I like to be able to check out the art and to read the first page or so to really see if I want to buy the comic, especially comic characters that I have never read before. I am also a fan of a place to sit and check out my purchases and be able to talk with the other customers or employees catching up on the comic book world dirt which We Have Issues doesn’t have, but I understand with such a little space. Neither of these is a deal-breaker that would keep me from going back.

After 20 minutes hanging out and checking out the store and the owner I think We Have Issues has great possibility of maturing, growing and becoming my go to store while I am living in this area since it’s got a great owner, it’s clean and it’s right down the street from the house and work as long as I can get the “special” comic series that I like I am there. Remember new comic’s come in on Wednesday. Hope to see you all at We Have Issues.


A winning burger at an old-school diner/bar and grill – R&M Restaurant & Bar

Photo by: William Bilancio

Photo by: William Bilancio

R & M Restaurant

Website


Address: 101 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, USA

Phone: (607) 936-9679

Hours:

  • Monday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Last weekend I went out with Marty to check out the Ferraris being shown on Market Street in the Gaffer District in Corning. As we were passing the famous R & M Restaurant, Marty saw they were open on a Saturday night and TOLD me that is where we were going to have dinner.I have been trying to get in to the R & M since I have been back in the area, but haven’t had the time or they have been closed. Many people have told me how great the burgers are there and I being a hamburger snob knew I was going to have to try them out.

You walk in to the R&M, which is just a medium space with about 10 tables and a bar and a small kitchen in the back; BAM the aroma of good cooked food from the kitchen hits your nose and your mouth starts to water and you realize this is a place that serves a great meal. There were a few tables taken, so Marty and I just grabbed a seat and waited. I noticed that there wasn’t any wait staff or bar tender around. The couple at the next table leaned over and handed us their menus and let us know they were done. The menu as you can see is pretty straightforward and simple.

We waited a bit and then a big bear of a man Bob Pierri the owner

Photo by: Don Cazentre | dcazentre@syracuse.com

Owner of the R&M Bob Pierri. Photo by:
Don Cazentre | dcazentre@syracuse.com

came out to take our orders. I felt bad for him; he told us that he had let the waitress go around 4:30 since it wasn’t busy at all. By the time we rolled in it was about 8pm two hours after his normal closing time for a Saturday, and he was in the kitchen making pancakes and burgers as well as taking orders and making drinks. But he was friendly and gracious and was doing great customer service. Marty dropped her fork and he was there in a flash with a new one.

R&M is known for their burgers and have won numerous awards for their burgers. This year R&M took the top prize as Judges’ Choice for burger in the Best Burger in Upstate New York contest with their “Big House Burger”.

Photo by: William Bilancio

Photo by: William Bilancio

Marty and I both had the quarter pound Cheeseburger with a side of fries. It took a while to get our food, but it was worth the wait. As I bit into the burger it just melted in my mouth and had a great flavor. The toppings lettuce, tomato and onions (I added mustard, which took the flavor to another level), were just right without them taking away from the flavor of the meat which was cooked to perfection of a medium burger. The bun the burger rested between was light and airy and had a great buttery taste and soaked up the juice from the burger but didn’t fall apart like a lot of other buns at other places.

The fries were hot and crispy and cooked just right and they stayed crispy even as they got cooler. I love a good order of fries and right now these are at the top of my favorite.

As a person who is always looking for a great burger, I think for now this burger is the best burger in the Corning area. I will be going back to try out some of the other things on the menu and definitely going to try the “Big House Burger”. I want to try to the Rigatoni and the Fish Fry. So if you were looking for a great meal I would go check out the R&M Restaurant.


Trenton Farmers’ Market – a great place to go fresh & local

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Farmer’s Market (credit: William Bilancio)

Trenton Farmers Market

Website

Address: 960 Spruce St, Trenton, NJ 08648, USA
Phone: (609) 695-2998

Hours: Open Now!

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The Trenton Farmers Market is located on the Trenton – Lawrence Township border at 960 Spruce Street. There has been a Trenton Farmers Market in existence since the early 1900’s when farmers came to Trenton to sell their goods in the area of what is now Route 29. In 1939 those industrious farmers started The Trenton Market Growers Co-op Associations, Inc. and purchased the land on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township. The existing location opened in June 1948 with outside stalls and when the roof was added it became a year round market and started selling bread, meat, and of course, Jersey farm fresh produce.

 

The Market today has over 38 vendors selling everything from vegetables, bread, meat and specialty goods. Depending on the time of year (and the growing season) there will be a different variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. It also sports a food court with delicious deli and bakery food which is also open year round.

I have been going to the Trenton Farmers Market for most of my life. It’s been my go-to market for seafood, bread, and produce. On a Saturday morning I always try to get up and head over to the market.  I wander the crowded busy aisles and look at all the fresh in-season produce and the best price for the things I need, depending on the recipes I have worked out for the coming week. What was intended as a quick run to the Market always turns into an hour long trip. I tend to get into conversations with the vendors and Market regulars.

(more…)


The Collector’s Corner-Double Play of Burlington, NJ is a bust for this Comic Book Guy

A few months ago I ended up at the Burlington Center Mall in Burlington NJ in my travels. It was a little depressing walking around the mall; I stopped counting empty stores at 10. I have been to this mall a few years ago and I remembered there was a comic book store in the mall, so I went looking to see if it was still in business. The Collector’s Corner-Double Play was still open and I really wish it hadn’t been.

I have never been a fan of comic book stores in malls. They are usually too small, cramped and it seems they don’t have much storage space for surplus inventory, things not being used or old merchandise not for sale anymore. I can’t count the times I have been to a comic book store in a mall and the owner of the store has the vacuum cleaner stored in the corner because there is no closet or storage room. So stuff is usually piled up in the corners or behind the counter. The other issue is that when the owner realizes that comic books aren’t really selling they start adding other products such as sports memorabilia, sports trading cards, gaming and other non-comic book merchandise.

So I ended it up in the Collector’s Corner-Double Play in the Burlington Center Mall and right away I realized that this store really needs to change or close. There were boxes piled up all over the place. The aisles were hard to get through and that made it hard to look at any of the back issues and other merchandise in the store. It seemed very cluttered and not well-organized or clean.

When I walk into a comic book store I like to be greeted and made to feel welcome to the store. This didn’t happen when I walked in; the gentleman behind the counter (who I am guessing was the owner) was on the phone the whole time I was in the store and seemed more concerned with his fantasy sports team then making a sale or making prospective customers feel welcome.
Collector's Corner-Double Play
There was another “customer” in the store who seemed to want to ask the sales person a question about a comic book and was totally ignored and left without making a purchase. As I stated it was hard to get to the back issues boxes. I will say that the new comic books were laid out nicely and he had a good choice of titles. The one thing about the way the new comics are displayed is that he did it on shelves that had the comics lying flat; I am a person who thinks that displaying them upright is a better way, but that is a personal bias.

I have been in comic book stores all over the NJ/NY/PA area and the Collector’s Corner-Double Play made the top 10 list of stores I would not go back to; its at about a 5 on that list. I would go back if I am at the mall but I will not be going back to Burlington just to go to the Collector’s Corner-Double Play.


The Allman Brothers & Widespred Panic in Camden for a night of great music

So last night The Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic played at the Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly the Twitter Center) in Camden, NJ. Widespread Panic came on stage promptly at 7:00pm. I had forgotten that Jimmy Hearing was playing guitar for them. He use to play with The Allman Brothers, Jazz is Dead, Phil and Friends and The Dead. The whole band sounded great and I was glad to finally see them. Jimmy was working it and his playing was outstanding. They played 2 hours and it was packed full of great music. I was very impressed with them, and since I have only heard a few things of there’s and I think this show has made me a fan. I will be downloading some other shows to get a better feel of them.

Here is the Widespread Panic playlist from last night:

Lil Kin >
Radio Child
Up All Night
Can’t Get High >
Fishwater >
Christmas Katie >
Travelin’ Light
Diner >
Space Wrangler
Blackout Blues
Junior >
You Should Be Glad
Tall Boy
Climb To Safety

The Allman Brothers took the stage around 9:50pm and hit the ground running with Statesboro Blues. Even though the weather was hot and humid the band sounded great. I haven’t seen the brothers in about 2 years and I was very impressed at how well Derick Trucks has grown into the band. Greg sounded great and he hasn’t lost his grove, he pounded on the keys and never sounded better. Of course Warren Haynes sounded great so not much to say there. A few of the members of Widespread Panic joined the band for a few songs. I thought Jimmy playing with band was good, it was one of the best Dreams and One Ways Out I have heard in a long time.

Here is The Allman Brothers playlist from last night:

Statesboro Blues
Les Brers In A Minor
Come and Go Blues
The Sky Is Crying
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
I Walk On Gilded Splinters
with John Bell, guitar & vocals; Sonny Ortiz, percussion
Trouble No More
Good Morning Little School Girl
with Jo Jo Hermann, piano; James van de Bogert, drums
Revival
The Weight
with Jo Jo Hermann, piano
Dreams
with Jimmy Herring, guitar; James van de Bogert, drums
One Way Out
with Jimmy Herring, guitar

Encore
Whipping Post

Now to the down side of the night. At this show there were 2 different types of fans. The we are going to get so drunk and wasted that we will look and act stupid all night and the we come to a show to actually see the show and have a good time and actually remember the show the next night.

I see these types of fans at most shows I go to. The first type get so drunk and stoned that they weave all over the place and act like fools, then they usually pass out and miss the show. We had a whole row of them in front of us last night. They enjoyed the whole two hours of Widespread Panic and the whole break before the Brothers then when the Brothers hit the stage they droped like flies and were asleep by the end of the second song.

It just doesn’t make sense to me why you would pay good money to see a show and then get so wasted you miss most of it and then feel sick the next day.

I also don’t understand those who leave the show in the middle of it to go home? But that’s a whole different post.


Free The Dead

Last night my cousin Henry and I piled into the truck and headed into New York City to see The Dead at the Roseland Ballroom. It was a free show that you had to enter an e-mail to get tickets. There were three intimate shows or “sets” last night including ours. The first set was at the Angel Orensanz Theatre with just Bobby, Phil and Warren doing and Acoustic set, the second show was at the Gramercy Theatre with the Full Electric Band and they ended at the Roseland Ballroom.

The show was supposed to start at 11pm and the doors opened at 8pm. We were in line and read for the doors to open. I have never been in the Roseland without over 500 people, but last night when we walked in at 8pm it was empty and was total great. We were the first to use the mens room which was empty as well which is nice not having to fight for the can. We found the Rose Bar in the back that we didn’t know existed. After exploring a little we made camp along the VIP stage wall and got comfortable. We just hung back and watched as the room filled and started hearing about the other two shows that The Dead just finished, and that they were great.

The show started promptly at 11:20pm. and ran to about 1:20pm.

Full Electric Band
Roseland Theatre

  • Althea
  • Cassady
  • Uncle John’s Band>
  • Eyes of the World>St Stephen>
    Dark Star>Sugar Magnolias
  • E: Not Fade Away

The band was tight and in great form, Warren was still working off the lyric book but it was the first round of shows and the tour doesn’t offically start till April, 12 in North Carolina. Bob did mess up a few words in Cassidy but over all it was a good show.

As for the crowd it was great. It was true blue Deadheads with an age range that ranged from grade school kids to the over 70’s set, that were there to see the band. Before the show it was a whole bunch of catching up with old friends and making new ones with those around you, but once the band hit the stage it was all about the music for the crowd and catching the vibe and letting your self flow with it. On the VIP stage there was one woman who was dancing even to the band tuning up before the first song…she was floating on the vibes coming form the “music” and she didn’t stop dancing till the music stopped…she was in constant motion. There were a few to drunk and too baked people…I seem to always get one right in front of me, who thinks he can dance and then proceeds to bang into me and last night was no different. This guy at least apologized but also wanted to tell me his life story while the band was playing. Finally his buddy got him to move up front and that was the end of him. Other then him there was a good vibe throughout the ballroom.

Sure the show was short and the wait was long but the tickets were free and the band was in great form and the crowd over all was the perfect crowd to see the show with. These three shows were put together for the fans to experience The Dead in and intimate atmosphere and that’s what was achieved. I love seeing bands in venues like the Roseland Ballroom, Irving Plaza or The TLA in Philly. So if you can get tickets for any of the shows on this tour I would recommend getting them and going and enjoy the music and vibe, of course it won’t be as intimate as these shows, but they will be worth going to. I am now off to figure out how to get at least two or three tickets for the two shows at the Spectrum in Philly.

So in closing as I have said in the past “The Grateful Dead might not be the best at what they do, but they are the only ones that do what they do.”

Here are the Set Lists for the other two “sets”

Bob, Phil & Warren Acoustic
Angel Orensanz Theatre

  • Dire Wolf
  • Bird Song
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Pride of Cucamonga
  • Lazy River Rd
  • KC Jones
  • E: Ripple

Full Electric Band
Gramercy Theatre

  • Jam>Playin’ in the Band>Good Lovin’>
  • The Wheel>Franklin’s Tower
  • E: Touch of Grey

Lawrence Grill (3)/5) on Yelp.com

Nice Atmosphere and good selection

Took my parents and sister in-law here the other day for dinner. I had been here a few times for the bar but this was the first time for any food.

My mom and I got the…


A night at Irving Plaza with Waren Haynes and Friends

It was titled “Warren Haynes all star jam at Irving plaza on March 28th 2007.” It was an OK show. It had it’s high points and it’s low points. The biggest low point being that the show started an hour late. It was scheduled to start ate 9 with doors opening at 8. Well we were in line by 7:30 and they opened the doors early which was no big deal since the night was warm and the crowed was friendly. But then we had to stand around for 2 hours till Warren finally came out and started the show with an acoustic version of “A Million Miles From Yesterday” which went right into “Sad And Deep As You” He was then joined but Edwin McCain
the first of may friends of the night. The first hour was all acoustic till Susan Tedeschi came out and did 2 great songs which she forgot the words on the last one and blamed her Irving Plaza bad luck. After she was done Warren came out and was joined by Greg Allman and they did 2 acoustic songs with Greg on lead vocals. Then the first break of about 30 min. (another low point)

The break was over and the Allman Brothers band came out to a loud cheer and went right into “Come and Go Blues” and then right into one of the best versions of “Jessica” I have heard in a few years (high point). We got another 15 – 30 min break while the next band set up.

The Derek Trucks band minus Derek came out with Susan Tedeschi on lead guitar and vocals on “Evidence”. For the rest of the set Derek was playing and Susan was singing. She has a great set of pipes and a great stage presence. Derek has defiantly come into his own and is playing the best he has in years. (On a side note if you missed the article about him in Rolling Stones Magazine try to get a hold of it and give it a read.)Another 30 min break while Matt Abts tuned his drums and the band I guess went out for pizza or something (Big Low Point). Warren’s wife Stefani Scamardo came out and thanked the fans for coming out and telling us that we are the real reason they do this and that this show was for us…well next time you are doing a show for us how about
starting on time.Mule finally came out and kicked it right off with “Hammer And Nails”. The band was tight and the “friends” were a perfect fit for the night. They did a 5 song set and the encore.

We had to bail before the encore to catch the last train out of New York for the night.

I think the show over all was a great show and we saw and heard some great music. Like I said waiting an extra hour for the show to start sucked and I know the delay was for the venu to sell more alcohol and that Warren and the band are known to start late but an hour is crazy, but I would do it again. If they had started at least a 1/2 hour late they cold have played more music for the fans…since the show was for us.

As my cousin said while we were waiting it’s these little shows that you get great live music and pairings of musicians you wouldn’t get other wise. I am a big fan of the “Jam Band” genre and it is shows like this that make this kind of music great.

Here is the set list:

Warren Haynes Solo Acoustic
01 Intro 00:27.52
02 A Million Miles From Yesterday 03:40.67
03 Sad And Deep As You * 04:49.31

Warren Haynes & Edwin McCain
04 Sign On The Door 07:11.25
05 Crazy 06:09.07

Warren Haynes, Kevn Kinney & Edwin McCain
06 Good Country Mile 07:13.74
07 Trail Of Seasons 05:24.24
08 I Shall Be Released # 06:28.30

Susan Tedeschi
09 Till The Earth Runs Dry 03:08.58
10 Shelter 05:02.40

Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes Acoustic
11 All My Friends 05:15.04
12 These Days 06:02.02

Allman Brothers Band
13 Come And Go Blues 06:32.17
14 Jessica 12:41.56

Derek Trucks Band with Susan Tedeschi
15 Evidence $% 08:02.39
16 I Wish I Knew 06:50.12
17 Only You Know And I Know 04:28.73
18 The Weight %+ 12:18.23

Gov’t Mule featuring Kofi Burbridge on Keys
19 Hammer And Nails 06:29.66
20 32/20 Blues ^ 07:51.67
21 Same Thing ^& 13:17.44
22 Straight To Hell @ 09:27.58
23 Turn On Your Lovelight ! 08:19.22
Encore:
24 That’s What Love Will Make You Do ~ 12:03.08

Total: 169:16.74

  • with Kofi Burbridge

with Susan Tedeschi

$ no Derek
% with Eric Krasno
+ with Edwin McCain
^ with Audley Freed
& with Charlie Drayton
@ with Kevn Kinney, Edwin McCain, Tony Mason and Lenny Kaye
! with Col. Bruce Hampton, Audley Freed, Tony Mason & Jay Collins
~ with Brian Mitchell, Jay Collins, Tony Mason and Audley Freed


How to Eat Dinner in Princeton NJ

Step 1: Very slowly and carefully, leave Princeton.

I was looking up info on a restaurant that a friend of mine recommended and stumbled on to the “How to Eat Dinner in Princeton” page.  It was written by an Assistant Professor of Mathematics that use to work at Princeton U.

The listing of restaurants to try is perfect and he’s even got DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie in Trenton on the list. So if you are going to go out to dinner in the Princeton area check out the How to Eat Dinner in Princeton NJ page.


Great to See Phill & Friends agian…the only true band that plays the best of the Dead

Headed to The Tower Theater last night with my cousin Henry for a night with Phil & Friends. Neither of us has seen P&F in over 3 years. We have either missed when he was close by. This was a new set of Friends since the last time we saw him. The only ones left from the Quintet was Rob Borraco and Phil himself. Phil has added Joan Osborn, Larry Campbell (guitar+more) Jeff Sipe (drums), and Barry Sless (guitar, pedal steel). It was a good show the crowd was great. We weren’t even in our seats for more than 3 min when a guy 3 rows back ralphed on the floor and it moved downhill to row L..so Henry and I headed down to the front and were there for the whole show. On an aside..why do the ushers even bother to get the standing crowd back to there seat? As a crowd Deadheads are the most laid back group of concert goers…just let us be and let us enjoy the show. I think it’s a Philly thing..when I see a show in NYC I never get hassled for being down front or off to the side. Last night I saw more people getting hassled for being up front…but anyway the show was great..it did drag in a few spots but the band kicked it right back up.

Joan is defiantly a great improvement to the band. She stayed right out there danced during the jams and had a great voice and did great justice to the music….

Here is the setlist:

Set 1:
Spacey Jam (Joan harmonizing)>
Crazy Fingers> Jam>
Alligator> Jam>
Easy Plateau> Jam (Joan harmonizing)>
No More Do I> Althea
Cosmic Charlie

Set 2:
Jam> New Speedway Boogie>
Jam> Bartering Lines> Jam>
Death Don’t Have No Mercy> Jam>
Lady With A Fan> The Wheel>
Terrapin Station> Space> Rosemary
Turn On Your Lovelight>
Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms>
Turn On Your Lovelight

Encore:
Donor Rap/Intros
Mason’s Children

Wish I was able to go to all 3 nights because tonights and tomorrows should really rock…

I’m Listening to Viola Lee Blues – Phil & Friends – Providence, RI February 22, 2006