Randy Now, a Cranbury mailman by day and a musician/DJ by night,
“seems to have brilliantly blundered into his role as promoter, persuading emerging bands to stop in Trenton en route between New York and Philadelphia.”
Kate Newell retells the story in this week’s U.S. 1 Newspaper when she reports on the New Jersey Film Festival, which opens Saturday, January 31. In the film, “Riot on the Dance Floor: The Story of Randy Now and City Gardens,” she recounts, “director Steve Tozzi reopens the doors of the legendary City Gardens in Trenton, letting out all the grit and glory trucked in by the remarkable club promoter Randy Now.” Click here for her story. Also here’s an interview with former City Gardens bartender Jon Stewart
Randy Now now presents musicians at his new venue, the Man Cave in Bordentown.
Bet you didn’t know where Jon Stewart got his start. Amy Wuelfing, co-author of a new book on City Gardens, reveals that he started his stand-up career by bartending at that music club. Wuelfing, an ebullient redhead who is a VP at Caliper Corporation, brings her book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes, to the Daily Show tonight (if you are podcasting, that’s March, April 25).
How did I know? My friend, Kate Newell, interviewed Wuelfing for U.S. 1 Newspaper for a fun article entitled No Slam Dancing and Definitely No Selfies. Newell explains that City Gardens “was originally a late 1970s jazz club that opened in a old car dealer building on Calhoun Street and used the quasi-exotic moniker King Tut’s City Garden.”
Maybe you were a regular on Thursdays at legendary 90 cent dance nights. If so, you met Stewart, quoted in the book: “I went there by myself — that’s what a loser I was. It was one of the few places you could dance by yourself. You could wear a brooch and no one would say anything. It was the ‘80s. We all dressed like Molly Ringwald and didn’t know why. Even the guys.”
Big name acts got their start here. Big name acts who could come only on Thursdays were turned down here — because they would interfere with 90 cent dance night!
Newell asks — “How did this all happen in a bunker-like building, in an economically obliterated city with nothing but flyers and word-of-mouth promotion?” And answers.
It’s an amazing and entertaining story. Here ‘s a link to the book, and here’s one to the article on princetoninfo.com.
PS: Moms whose daughters are stage-struck or music-struck, there’s a lesson for you here. Your daughters can actually earn money AND follow their passion.