2017, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Horror, New Jersey, Oni Haunts, Reviews

Passaic, New Jersey Haunted Attractions: Brighton Asylum 2017 Review

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I visited Brighton Asylum on it’s first operating day of the 2017 season. Brighton Asylum is located in North New Jersey in an industrial area–and that really sets the mood for the terror to come. I’ve visited Brighton Asylum with Oni in many past seasons, but this was my first solo trip, and I had a great time again.

As a side note: It’s often great to visit events very early in the season–for most people haunted attractions aren’t on their radar until close to Halloween–but if you go early you’ll have a great time with a shorter line to get in. With shorter lines they also tend to pulse entry to the attractions–so you’ll have a much more individualized experience and won’t have the pressure of people in front or back of you in the attraction spoiling things. Just a tip for the those wanting to get a great experience.

Brighton has provided a great experience in the past (2015 review), and this year was no different. One of the new additions for this year was breaking up their attraction into 2 sections–each with their own entrance: The Tunnel, and Brighton Asylum. While in some cases this would lead to making things just 2 shorter experiences–in this case both walk throughs seemed longer than the original it was split from (so, basically, they carved off the section that was The Tunnel portion and made it into it’s own long attraction).

I absolutely loved the new starter area for The Tunnel. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a special room where you sit down….and stuff happens to you. It was unexpected and a great start to the attraction. I love the creativity and new direction this added to things. The rest of the haunt was filled with actors and animatronics that were well placed. The group I went in with were constantly screaming. This attraction, along with Brighton Asylum, is filled with doctor/medical horror, with an addition of “wasteland/cannibal” style crazy stuff.

Brighton Asylum and The Tunnel have a good combination of atmospheric setups, jump scares, animatronics, and actors. One thing to note: They do have some “difficult to traverse” sections, where the floor moves, or requires crawling, or some type of movement which may be difficult for older people or those with some disabilities–so be aware of this in advance–I find this a great thing that adds to the experience though. They also added on a “foam room” at the end of Brighton Asylum–you can go around it, but if you go through be prepared to be a bit wet and a bit foamed up afterward. (one of the women I went through the attraction with ended up with a “foam tiara” on her head–we all were laughing like crazy when we got out).

This location feels to me like the north’s version of Netherworld. They both take what works great and add on new things each year to bring it to a new level. If you are in the New Jersey area you really need to check out Brighton Asylum / The Tunnel.

Lastly, I want to add a shout out to the group that adopted me for the trip through Brighton Asylum–Emily and the rest, you guys made it fun, and I wish you well on the rest of the season. It made my night to hang out with a group that loved haunted attractions as much as I do (and thank you for the suggestions on some others to check out).

2017, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Horror, Oni Haunts, Pennsylvania, Reviews

GUEST POST: Haunted Attraction Review: Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Field of Screams

Disclosure: Oni and I were invited out to the media day event at Field of Screams and were provided VIP passes to tour their houses and events this year–Oni was in LA at the time, so I brought with me some newbies to the event to see their reaction to what has historically been one of my favorite haunted attraction locations. They had some great set ups showing the history of the event:

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When you enter Field of Screams, you immediately realize it isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill haunted attraction location.

2017, General, music

Review: Plini / Nick Johnston @ The Roxy in Los Angeles 8/29/17

I’m back!

I moved to L.A. because of my love of music, so of course I already went to my first concert. There was no way in hell that I would miss the chance to see Plini and Nick Johnston live at The Roxy on the Sunset Strip.

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Before I permanently left New Jersey I made a point to buy every album that Nick and Plini have ever put out. You know – just in case my finances got hit during this move. I have my priorities straight.

Another band that I bought everything from before moving here was Animals as Leaders – more on that later.

I won’t be detailing the set list because I’m not google. I’m here to talk about what it was like to actually go to this show.

Mike Dawes:

I got there later than I wanted to and so my biggest regret is that I missed Mike Dawes who happened to perform at this particular show. This guy is amazing. Just look at this shit:

He reminds me a bit of Jon Gomm but has a completely unique point of view that makes you feel like your face just got stampeded sideways by a metric ton of bears or something. I can’t explain it. Watch the video because wow, guys. I am going to be following his work and getting his album. I’m definitely going to be in the audience at the next show of his that I can get to.

Nick Johnston:

I arrived right when Nick Johnston went on. Holy shit, guys.

The thing about Nick’s work is that his phrasing and melodic composition is always strong, but his most recent album, Remarkably Human is his best work to date. He has Gavin Harrison on drums and Bryan Beller on bass for the album but they aren’t touring with him.

Remarkably Human really transcends way past the combo bonus of it’s parts. I think that a key to this is because of (I think it was) co-producer Scott Giffin’s addition of the piano into the mix which REALLY compliments Nick’s melodies. The reason why is that it’s unexpected. I’d have NEVER thought a piano would add much to an instrumental guitar album, but it does. It creates such an appropriate atmosphere without sacrificing Nick’s impact or authenticity.

The live show is just as good if not better than the album.

You can imagine how happy I was when Bryan Beller actually came out as a surprise guest for 2 of my favorite songs. He’s one of my favorite bassists because his style is extremely expressive and just petulantly joyful. He’s able to hold together any song no matter how chaotic and combative the rest of the composition is, yet somehow still makes space to play around. He handles the job but maybe will tie your ear dick to a flaming T-Rex when you aren’t looking is basically what I mean.

Plini:

Plini’s work is, in my opinion, the type of music that can grab your central nervous system and rewrite its programming faster than a kick to the ladysack. He’s able to tell stories with sound that transport you elsewhere in unconventional ways that adhere to your spine. The sounds he chooses to work with and how they are put together are a bit different than the usual. I’d argue he sorta created his own genre. His work tends to feel like it transfixes you into the world it lives in. It’s uniquely calming and powerful, which is a hard balance to achieve. I really enjoyed Handmade Cities.

I was not sure how that would translate live.

Spoiler: It worked. Very well.

Not only did the live execution of the songs work, but I thought it was a nice touch to have the audience do the vocal part at the end of Every Piece Matters:

But that wasn’t all. Jake Howsam Lowe from The Helix Nebula was the second guitarist.

I’ve been following Jake’s work for a while now ever since I heard his solo on ibuiltthesky’s The Sky is Not the Limit album on YouTube, which I also bought. (Notice a pattern?)

I recall listening to it being like “Ok this is simple ok…whoa wait…FUCK SHIT FUCK WHAT GOD HOLY. SHIT.” Jake can just drive you anywhere with his work and you may or may not want to go but you’ll go either way. Because Hell Yes.

I needed to take a second to calm down after he punted me out of the 36th floor of a skyscraper with that one.

This show was amazing! Holy shit, you guys. Apparently everyone in Los Angeles came out on this night – even Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders and Brendon Small were there.

You can imagine how I nearly shat out the window and vomited out of my eyeballs when Tosin Abasi and from Animals as Leaders came out at the end to jam.

I had been totally gutted awhile back when I couldn’t make it to see Animals as Leaders live because I was preparing to exit New Jersey. I’ve been following AAL ever since I discovered Tempting Time on YouTube awhile back. What is that? 5/4? 19/16? 23/16? ALL OF THEM?

I’m dead:

I’m going with, “All of them.” Tosin is one of those guitarists that just makes you want to practice. A lot. And then some more.

After a major life change, Los Angeles just reached out and made it clear to me that it was going to welcome me. This is where I belong. This is where the music that I like lives. I’m free to study and become the musician I always wanted to become without reproach. It’s all up to me now.

I stayed up until almost 3AM drinking in the Rainbow room in some bizarre alternate universe with, like, 80% of the musicians I listen to and who inspire me to study to be the best guitarist and vocalist that I can be. I met so many cool people and they even saw fit to let me backstage where I basically just talked about dicks and butts a lot. (The usual. You know. I keep it real so no one gets confused.)

The next day I practiced for hours after I woke up wondering if this was actually real life or was this like some bizarre dream that ends in a David Hasselhoff parody comprised of chipmunks like the last dream I had.

Answer: I did not see the Hoff so I guess it was real.

The only thing that I have left to say is: Yes, they are all phenomenal live and they are super sweet guys. The Plini / Nick Johnston tour may be the best tour of the year. You should not miss this one. The Los Angeles show was something super special way beyond what anyone could have imagined. When I left for L.A. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with this blog. But I know now that it’s time to refocus myself here onto what has always been the most important thing in my life ever since 5 year old me heard Van Halen, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden for the first time.

Music.

I have so much to share with you about my new life and adventures in SoCal. Just you wait until I get back from running PotterVerse. :)

SEE THIS TOUR!

2017

Goodbye, New Jersey. Hello, Los Angeles!

So, yeah. I’m moving to Los Angeles right now to start the next chapter of my life. It should be interesting adjusting to a new culture. I’m terrified, but I feel like a change is exactly what I need in order to find myself again. I have to pack in a short space of time and still haven’t found a permanent place to live. But I have found a few batshit crazy trainwreck people trying to sublet.

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When I get settled, I’ll announce my next projects here. In the meantime follow me on Twitter and Facebook. and I’ll also see you at PotterVerse and (Re)Generation Who!

2017, Oni's Life

I’m tapping out for a bit

Hi all,

I haven’t updated this blog in a bit because on a 1 to 10 scale of “How are you doing today?” I am at a -50.

My friends getting sick and dying, I’m working ridiculous hours to pay my bills plus unpaid work on my cons. (No, I don’t get any $ from the cons.) My health is falling apart for over 7 months now which will explain to you why I haven’t posted all that much.

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The reason that I start blogging things here and they fizzle out is because I have to keep stopping to focus on the life and con work because both of those things directly and indirectly affect my ability to pay my bills.

I love writing to you. I love sharing my life. I also love helping people feel better and to be better in their lives. But all of my online work I’ve done for free. I actually have paid to do it for free since 2003. That isn’t sustainable. I also realize that I’ve never asked for it before, either.

You have to either enjoy something (and have the free time to devote to it) or get paid fairly in order to do something. I no longer have any free time.

I’m sorry for those of you emailing me asking me for advice or help with your lives or your creative businesses. I can’t help for free like I used to anymore.

I’m taking some time off now to focus on running the most amazing Harry Potter Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. (Come out and see us! It’s going to be our best work yet!)

I’ll be back soon with a new format here – one that likely will be supported by a Patreon or something. I need to solve the problem, “How can I do the awesome stuff people enjoy from me and earn a living wage for it?”

Hey, if you have any suggestions, email me from the top nav bar. This blog has always been for you so your feedback and support is going to dictate what happens next. :)

And do sign up for my mailing list to be alerted for when I relaunch.