Only in Jersey: 3/9/12

TGIF! Time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Chaz Brown: Hope he's good at juggling.

Jerseyans and reality shows go together like, well, peas and carrots. Case in point: A “Top Chef: Texas” contestant (who was eliminated in the qualifying rounds) from Voorhees will compete in Bravo’s latest food-based competition, “Around the World in 80 Plates,” beginning Wednesday, May 9. Chaz Brown, the chef de cuisine at New York’s Fatty Crab, will battle against 11 experienced cooks in culinary challenges across the globe. The show, which is hosted by Curtis Stone and Cat Cora, sounds like a combination of “Top Chef” and CBS’ “The Amazing Race.” Here’s hoping the French Culinary Institute grad never hears the unfortunate words, “I’m sorry to tell you, but you’ve been eliminated from the race.”

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Only in Jersey: 3/6/12

It’s Tuesday! Time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

The Vanity Fair spread includes new images of the cast (some of those last seen alive, above, and dead, below) by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz./Photo credit Vanity Fair

This year marks five years since HBO’s brilliant, Jersey-immersed series “The Sopranos” ended. And the April issue of Vanity Fair commemorates the anniversary with a look back at the show, which includes new interviews with all of the principals, including Clifton/North Caldwell-raised creator David Chase and stars James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) of Park Ridge, Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi) and more. Among the interesting tidbits:

Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante) talks about the infamous (off-camera) scene in which he kills Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo): “So for – whatever – six hours, you have to beat this girl up, drag her out of the car, throw her on the ground. That was really difficult. I felt so exhausted at the end of that day. I said to Drea, ‘You better win the damn Emmy after all this, you know, make it worth it.’ And she did.”

David Chase originally wanted Steven Van Zandt for the role of Tony Soprano.

Tony Sirico (Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri) and Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo) auditioned for Corrado “Uncle Junior” Soprano, but Dominic Chianese got the part.

Steven Schirripa (Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri) wore fat suits for the first two seasons of the show: “And then I guess, in Season Four, David thought I was fat enough on my own, so he let me get rid of it.”

Steven Schirripa talks about the pay dispute between James Gandolfini and HBO, which delayed filming: “After Season Four, Jim called all the regulars into his trailer and gave us $33,333 each, every single one of us… That’s like buying everybody an SUV. He said, ‘Thanks for sticking by me.'”

Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) on the series controversial ending: “I thought it was a great ending. A lot of people hated it and thought it was a cop-out, but I thought it was the proper way. Knowing David Chase, he never liked to wrap things up neatly. I never expected it to be either a cliffhanger so people would wait for the movie or wait for another season or just some like really final thing. But I think he’s (Tony) dead, is what I think. David was trying to put us in the place of the last things you see before you die. You remember some little details and something catches your eye and that’s it. You don’t know the aftermath because you’re gone.”

You can see more of Annie Leibowitz’s images here. If you are a big “Sopranos” fan, you will definitely want to pick up Vanity Fair this month!

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Only in Jersey: 3/1/12

It’s the first of March – Bunny Bunny to you! It’s time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

"Property Virgins": Taking a bite out of Central New Jersey./Photo credit HGTV

Recent episodes of HGTV’s “Property Virgins” with new host Egypt Sherrod were filmed all over Central New Jersey last summer. This week’s episode, titled “Love at First Site,” features a newlywed couple from Staten Island who look at homes in Red Bank, Hazlet, Old Bridge, and Matawan. That episode repeats at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 19. A second Jersey-centric episode, “Character Building,” centers on a single mom looking for a home in Dunellen. That episode repeats at 6 p.m. Monday, March 19. While I miss “Property Virgins'” original host, Sandra Rinomato, I appreciate the new season’s tri-state house searches and think Egypt does a good job hosting the show. (Unlike the mess HGTV made of my other favorite series, “Real Estate Intervention.”)

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Only in Jersey: 2/22/12

Happy Wednesday!  It’s time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Whitney Houston: We will always love you JUST LIKE THIS.

Another day, more Whitney Houston drama. In addition to the pop star’s Westfield cemetery plot being indefinitely closed to the public, tabloid rag The National Enquirer has made the tacky, tasteless decision to publish – on its front page, no less – an unauthorized photo of the Newark/East Orange native in her casket. The photo was apparently taken by someone who attended the visitation at Newark’s Whigham Funeral Home last week, and the natural assumption is that that same someone made beau coup bucks by selling it to the Enquirer. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to remember Whitney alive – and obviously her family wants us to, as well, otherwise they would’ve opened the casket during the televised funeral on Saturday.  The sight of her lifeless body (even if the funeral home’s restorative artist did a beautiful job) is the last thing I want to see as I’m checking out at the grocery store.

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Only in Jersey: Remembering Whitney

Of all of the moving, beautifully spoken and sung tributes made today in memory of Newark-born superstar Whitney Houston, perhaps the most memorable of all was the one sung in her own voice, as her casket was carried from New Hope Baptist Church.

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RIP, Whitney.

Newark will always remember you./Photo credit The Associated Press

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