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Scribe Blessings Moments Definition Past Past
Brave and Crazy
Randomly Buggered
A Heart Too Big for the World
By: Dawn Saylor
Jersey Mike.jpgHARRISBURG, PA—The band loads in the back door, which is propped open by a yellow snow shovel. Speakers roll by the locker that wears its years like medals of honor: A Springsteen setlist from Hershey, a Bon Jovi advertisement, and a mish-mash of peeling stickers from seven years of bands. Freddie, the hundred-year-old elevator, eases up to the second floor. The equipment moves to the front while the bartenders cut fruit and move bar stools. “Jersey” Mike Van Jura crosses the room with a carrier full of Starbuck’s coffees. They’re expecting a crowd tonight. The line to get in winds down the concrete stairs, and the chatter of the customers echoes against sound check.
Text Box: "Jersey” Mike Van Jura. Courtesy of Dani Fresh Photography 2012            Born in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Van Jura moved to Harrisburg in 2003. An outspoken supporter of local music as well as his home state, Sarah Staub recalls that he didn’t know at first if Harrisburg “was that [crappy] of a city or whether he was just new and viewed it through different eyes.” He could be prickly and cranky, as likely to argue, as he was to instruct a person in the proper high-five technique and then by you a beer. Over his time spent here, he would change the face of the Harrisburg music community. In a city filled with bars, he built up the scene that would later attract major bands like Cracker, Lucero, and The Hold Steady; as well National solo acts such as Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and Mike Doughty, former lead singer of the band Soul Coughing.
On Feburary 11, 2005, “Jersey Mike” booked his first show at The Abbey Bar at Text Box: Quagmire Swim Team at The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company November 2012.Quagmire Swim Team.jpgAppalachian Brewing Company. It was the Brewery’s first Anniversary Party and featured some of the staples of the Harrisburg music community: The Green Onions, Sarah B, ADG, Herbie, and SPOTUS. For Van Jura, it began a seven and a half year journey to become the city’s biggest music promoter and created several close friendships that would develop over those years.
Roundtable Presents was formed in 2004. It was a collective idea: a collaborative made up of several friends who brought local music out of the basements and into the bars. The year before creating a partnership with Appalachian Brewing Company found Roundtable Presents booking local acts in small bars like the State Street Station in West Fairview. Sarah Staub, a real estate agent and eventual partner with Van Jura in what evolved in 2010 into Greenbelt Events, was part of that collective.
          Staub met Van Jura in 2003 at a Medeski, Martin, and Wood concert at The Chameleon Club in Lancaster, after following his car down the shoulder past miles of bumper to bumper traffic. She remembers discovering that they were both “cool and hip” and had a mutual friend Sarah Firth, who would become part of Roundtable Presents. Staub spent the next year traveling down from Penn State University Park to hang out with Van Jura. Over the next year, Roundtable Presents would come together. When she speaks of the group, she recalls that it was “minds figuring out how to do things when we had no idea.” It was during this time that the two of them took a trip to see Keller Williams at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. She remembers that it was then that they decided they “wanted to, someday, to do a Keller Williams show…at ABC.” On January 13, 2011 that dream happened and Keller Williams played the Abbey Bar.
          Over the years, Jersey Mike would bring hundreds of shows, and several national touring acts, to the Abbey Bar and surrounding area. Staub worked with him closely, giving him room to take risks, a strength that he returned with his belief in her. He had no idea who The Hackensaw Boys were, until she encouraged him to book them. She returned his faith when he wanted to bring The Lumineers to The Abbey Bar, which she considers one of her favorite shows that played there.
          Alec Simmers officially met Van Jura in October 2008, though he had been in the scene already for years. In January 2009 he took over running sound for friend, Corey Anthony, who was “burnt out from the brutal years of local bands” in January of 2009. As he puts it, “he waltzed in as it really began to grow.” One year later the collective idea would become a business in the form of Greenbelt Events. Text Box: (From left to right) Van Jura, Erin Walter, Dawn Saylor, and Matthew McConaghy in Philadelphia for The Hold Steady February 2008.HoldSteadyPhilly.jpgSimmers considers the turning point for Van Jura to be his booking of popular indie rock band The Hold Steady. On May 12, 2007, Van Jura put on his first sold-out show at The Abbey Bar with his favorite band. The line wound down the stairs, out the door, and down to the next block.
He remembers the nights that he would get a random text from Jersey and they would go out drinking on the town. It was during one of these nights that they were sitting downstairs atcv Pub. Van Jura told him he was trying to get The Lumineers to play at The Abbey Bar, which Simmers considers one of his favorite bands to play The Abbey Bar, along with We Were Promised Jetpacks, The War on Drugs, and Marcy Playground. During the sound check with Marcy Playground, he remembers a particularly entertaining disagreement involving the lead guitar’s feedback and a whistling bass player. As Van Jura once quoted The Hold Steady “Some nights it's just entertainment and some other nights it's work.”
Some of the people closest to Jersey Mike were those who worked at Appalachian Brewing Company over the years. Tommy Foley, a bartender there, has been present for more shows than most. He first met Van Jura in 2008 when he was managing Malone’s, a restaurant and bar on Derry Street. He talked him into booking shows for him on the weekends when he needed a break. It was an opportunity that would financially allow Van Jura to expand his contacts by attending the Pollstar conference in LA. Text Box: My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult at The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company.My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.jpgA year later found Foley stepping back from his involvement at Malone’s. He remembers speaking with John Trainer, the owner of Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, and Van Jura’s “arch nemesis.” Foley was

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Opinions? 


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Current Location: mchomeytown
Presently I am : ahhhhhhh

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Funeral poem from Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W. H. Auden (1907-1973

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Presently I am : accomplished accomplished

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 There's so much I wish to tell you. So much i don't allow myself to say. It's the yesterdays that haunt me. that run me screaming throught the hallways of my own dreams and wish ill upon me. 
but i know better. i know there's nothing to be said or done to forget you or me or the moments when you remember I exist, which aren't very many but I hold out hope anyway. I type and breathe and try to believe but there isn't anything left to believe in about us is there. You shok me awake from a dream only to leave me shivering on the doorstep of reality and expect to play fair from now on but you don't seem to realize there isn't much I believe in anymore save for me and you and the hope that it wasn't all an object lesson in understanding. because I don't understand. I don't get how you should feel about me one moment and forget I exist the next. 
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