James Wiener always wanted to be a star. Instead, he became a dentist. But that doesn't mean he's giving up on his dream.
The 45-year-old former Longport resident will get a taste of what being a rock star is all about Friday when he opens for George Thorogood at the House of Blues in Atlantic City under his stage alias, Jimmie Lee - The Jersey Outlaw.
The Voorhees, Camden County resident, whose father Irv Wiener, 80, still lives in Longport, said his group of dental practices in the Cherry Hill area earns the money to support his family as well as his hobby.
Although he played in many bands over the years, his musical career started to take a serious turn 10 years ago, when he hired Philadelphia producer David Ivory (The Roots, Patti LaBelle) to give his music a makeover.
"He liked what he heard, but he made my music much more commercial and marketable," said Wiener, who describes his music as country rock-infused blues. "A musician friend of mine told me, ‘You're so passionate. Get a real producer.' And that's what I did."
The Mainland Regional High School graduate said gigs such as Friday's - he also has opened for the Kentucky Headhunters and Kenny Chesney - can hopefully get him some exposure and lead to bigger things. But he knows he won't be giving up his day job anytime soon.
"I look at this as a hobby, and I basically pay to play as a struggling musician," said Wiener, who has released six albums. "Music was never about the money for me. I always wanted to be in the limelight and be a star. But I am not delusional. I realize I'm middle-aged, so I'll take what I can get at this point."
Stafford Township's Ron Ott and Peter, Nick and Anthony Gramiccioni recently joined the ranks of Eagle Scouts. All attend or have attended Southern Regional High School. ... Little Egg Harbor Township's Annice Rainone, a ninth-grade history teacher at Southern Regional High School, received a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute to attend a seminar on Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg College later this year. Rainone will delve into the problems Lincoln, one of her favorite political speakers, faced as president. ... Jewish Family Service recently installed its new board and honored members for their years of service. Taking offices are Linwood's Eric Wood (president), Egg Harbor Township's Mitchell Gurwicz (vice president/treasurer), Linwood's Richard Wise and Margate's Beverly Rubin (vice presidents), and Egg Harbor Township's Jennifer Weissman (secretary). Honored for their service were Galloway Township's Carol Noto (20 years), Pleasantville's Theresa Maddox (10 years), Ocean City's Adam Fishman (outstanding service), Northfield's Theresa Williams (emerging professional), Somers Point's Nancy Thomas (Heart and Soul award) and Egg Harbor Township's Jim McGuigan (leadership).
Short Stories compiled by Emily Brill.
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