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Driven: Revealing the Real New Jersey

Driving Jersey unveiled two new episodes of its program exploring the lives of real New Jersey residents — one being Middletown's Bruce Gallipani of Rockit.

Asking someone to tell you their favorite song is simple. Getting them to sing it, well, that's something else.

For the folks from Driving Jersey, it's not about the easy answer, the quick hit, or the instant reaction. Here, the camera keeps recording, the microphone holds firm. See, it's not really about naming your favorite song. It's about expressing how this one song, of all the songs, is your song. It's about showing what you're wiling to do, what you're willing to show what, exactly, your favorite means.

At the Carlton Lounge of the Count Basie Theatre, videographer and "conversationalist" Steve Rogers, one half of the duo behind Driving Jersey, debuted two of the programs new shows to an audience of a few dozen. The Thursday event was a fundraiser for the show, which began online, earned Rogers and his partner Ryan Bott an Emmy nomination, and now shows sporadically on NJTV — what was previously NJN.

Though the show doesn't exactly cover the cost of making it, yet, Rogers said as long as there are New Jersey stories to tell, he's going to tell them.

"One of the things my daughter scolds me for is talking to strangers," Rogers, who said he comes from a family of talkers, told the crowd during a question and answer portion of the show. "; they love to tell you how they feel; what they think."

The two new shows, which will air eventually on NJTV, covered three topics. The first show split its time between the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck operated by Red Bank resident Adam Sobel, and an art project in Vineland, a diverse but economically disadvantaged city in the bowels of southern New Jersey. The second program, one filmed over eight weeks, .

It was through this video that Rogers hooked up with Basie CEO Numa Saisselin. The two talked and decided to help set up a fundraiser for Driving Jersey.

"(Rockit's) a great program that gives kids the opportunity to do something they might not normally have the opportunity to do. I think Steve captured that feeling," he said. "I've seen all of these kids, I've sat through many Rockit concerts, and it's fun to see them on the screen getting some recognition."

What could have been a simple look at a kids rock outfit chooses, like most Driving Jersey programs, to delve deeper. In less than 30 minutes we learn about the drive and motivation steering the students, as well as the relationships they've forged in the fire that is rock 'n roll.

It's just another look at the New Jersey Rogers knows and loves.

"This is homegrown stuff," he said. "It's definitely the antidote to what the national media paints us as." He continued, "Someone asked me what I'll do when I'm done Driving Jersey. I don't think that's possible."

To see Driving Jersey check your local listings or visit the Driving Jersey website at www.DrivingJersey.com.


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