Lollipop Motel Album Launch Brought Beachy Fun to North Jersey

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam at the Old Mogul Theatre in Montclair, NJ for the album release celebration of Lollipop Motel

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam with The Defending Champions’ horn section. Photo by Bob Didner

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Last week we celebrated the launch of our beachy new family rock album Lollipop Motel right in our hometown’s new venue The Old Mogul Theatre. We used our imaginations to transform this historic dance hall into a a boardwalk scene, complete with beachy music, boardwalk games, treats, face painting and arts & crafts. We also invited families to bring their beach blankets and dress for the beach.

You can help yourself to Lollipop Motel instantly via download; 50% of your download purchase will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if you order by May 31! 

Miss Nina and Baze (from Baze and His Silly Friends) open the show for Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam at the Old Mogul Theatre in Montclair.

Miss Nina Meets Baze! Photo by Bob Didner

To help us kick off the celebration we had a first-ever live performance by Miss Nina and Baze (Baze and His Silly Friends) together onstage. They made a great duo for kids’ music; Miss Nina said she’d be Baze’s silly friend for the occasion, and between their silly renditions of Wheels on the Bus and Ants Go Marching, they set the perfect tone for the show to follow. An interesting link between Baze, Miss Nina and me, is that Baze produced her newest album Every Day’s Your Birthday as well as our Lollipop Motel.

Anne from Painted Faces and Other Places paints a beautiful butterfly on Hoppin' Holly's face

Anne Malone from Painted Faces & Other Places. Photo by Bob Didner

Joann from the Old Mogul Theatre cooked up and served the concessions while Anne from Painted Faces and Other Places sponsored both the face painting and the arts & crafts activities, aided ably and happily by Margaret and Quin, two talented young artists she instructs. Quin also jumped in to make our boardwalk style games more of an authentic beach experience – when kids played the bowling game or shot a basket they won a colorful Hawaiian ‘lei’ necklace.

Jungle Gym Jam with Ron "Polka Dot!" Albanese singing "The Ultimate Frisbee" at Old Mogul Theatre in Montclair

Special guest Ron “POLKA DOT!” Albanese. Photo by Nicole Gray

Our live performance (which Joann called the best from us that she’d seen in years of booking us for the Crane Park Festival and other shows in town) was enhanced with the horn section of The Defending Champions and a special guest appearance by Ron “POLKA DOT!” Albanese on our duet “The Ultimate Frisbee.” Our harmony singer “Cowgirl Casey” McCleary completed a duet rendition of “Free to Be…You and Me” with The Defending Champions back onstage for that grand finale. “Awesome Amy” brought the house down with her puppetry portrayal of “Bruce” the Jersey Dinosaur. “Rockin’ Ross” Kantor and “Charming Chip” Moore created a rock-steady rhythm section that really drove the new tunes; we performed the new album in track order.

You can help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with your Lollipop Motel album download purchase through May 31. We donate 50% of download proceeds to Chloe’s Friendship Circle’s Campaign! Please download today! 

We were especially happy to have members local and international children’s music media in attendance. NJ Mommy Blog creator Nicole brought her family along and had run a ticket giveaway leading up to the performance in her article previewing the event. Here’s NJ Mommy Blog’s review of both the live event and the album itself.

It was also an amazing privilege to be joined by 6-year-old podcasting phenom Chloe from Chloe’s Friendship Circle, along with her parents who co-write and produce the show and her little brother Brody. Chloe’s presence was extra special because she had inspired me to donate 50% of album download proceeds and 10% of CD sales proceeds to her campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The audience seemed to appreciate our partnership, buying CD’s in good numbers to help the cause and take a little bit of summer with them wherever they go!

Hoppin' Holly and Grandma at the boardwalk-style bowling game we set up at the album launch party.

Let’s bowl! Photo by Bob Didner

Special thanks to my parents for being at so many of my shows since I was a kid, my friends Nicole & Allan, Naomi & Manny and their kids, who have been so kind and supportive of us as musicians and as people especially over the past year with all the unique challenges we’ve faced through our kidney transplant and its aftermath.

It sure was great to pretend a theatre in North Jersey was a Jersey Shore beach with the families in attendance. How does your family get involved in pretend play? Please comment below.

One thought on “Lollipop Motel Album Launch Brought Beachy Fun to North Jersey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *