The Life and Music of Johnny Cash

Published July 21, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0748Keith Beck

Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) was thrilled to present “The Life and Music of Johnny Cash” featuring Keith Beck (http://www.zigmanbird.com/) at the Caldwell Library, Caldwell, New Jersey, on Wednesday, July 21, 2016.

Once again we had a full house!

This was the third of a four-part series. Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta presents a half-hour bio on a famous musician, followed by a half hour of live music. Other artists include: Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley.

SAM_0749Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Caldwell Librarian Fran Larkey

SAM_0742Keith Beck and Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

For booking information contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

In God We Have Got to Trust

Published July 16, 2016 by Maryanne

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Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

God is real. God is all things. God is one.

If this is the truth, you will find God everywhere when you seek Him; like in your home, or better yet your heart.

I officially became a Christian in the early 1990s. And it’s no secret that I also respect other faiths, especially Buddhism. (Other Christians seem to have an issue with that, but it’s their problem if they choose to be judgmental).

Other Christians may also have a problem with the fact that I go to more than one church and I do not go very often. Yeah, I’m “one of those” (that’s how a pastor, who I’ll refer to as “Pastor D,” phrased it).

You see, I had a “favorite” church for sometime. What I love about this church (where I’m a member, but still do not consider it a “home church”) is that they have services on Christmas Day unlike many other churches. Also, they have the best Good Friday service. These are the times when I truly love to praise Christ in an open-setting.

But my “favorite” church is missing a little something. I can’t quite pinpoint it, so I continue to seek. A few months ago I tried a new one. This is the one where Pastor D speaks. The first time I liked it. They had a great live band. It was low-key, as in people and the pastor wore jeans, and I really did enjoy the sermons.

Pastor D said that if I came to the church three times I’d get a t-shirt; which I never did receive after my third time. Then I missed a few weeks, because as I said, I’m not a frequent church goer; especially after the last service which happened to dwell on giving 10 percent of your salary to the church. Big turn-off.

Even without church I have a very close relationship with God. I pray a few times a day. In fact, it’s the first thing I do in the morning. My husband is equally as spiritual. We pray and meditate together, regularly. My husband goes to my churches with me on occasion; as I go to his on occasion. He still goes to the same church he did growing up.

In addition to going to my “favorite” church and the Pastor D church, I sometimes visit others, as well as the Dharma Buddhist Center. But all of this is no one’s business except God’s. 

So, for a few months after trying Pastor D’s church, every week I was hounded by him via FaceBook e-mails. “Are you and your husband coming this week?”

The answer was often a polite, “No, not this week.”

In addition to the emails, Pastor D also put me in two prayer groups on FaceBook and would message me on a regular basis. At least three of these messages were what Pastor D referred to as “butt calls” where he sat on his phone and my number dialed accidentally.

Pastor D was overwhelming. It seemed like I was being forced to go to church because every week I had to come up with an explanation as to why I wasn’t going. If I said, “I’m just not feeling it,” I’m sure that wouldn’t sit right with him and I’d have to explain further.

Truth be told, if I go to church, or any spiritual/religious organization, it’s because I want to go, not because I’m guilt-ed into it.

A few nights ago I was watching an episode of “Dating Naked” and the two main contestants had to let dates go because they were too possessive. This reminded me of when I was single. I never liked boyfriends who made me feel trapped or smothered; those who would pout and call me names if they didn’t get their way.

The way Pastor D was behaving in his emails brought back those ugly memories of relentless boyfriends and I felt so pressured, I couldn’t hold back my feelings anymore. I told him how I felt.

Like a spoiled child, he defended himself by writing, “Shut up! I’d rather be overbearing than have someone feel like they are unloved because no one is reaching out to them.”

If he actually took the time to READ my FaceBook page, he’d know how busy and how loved I feel. I have the greatest husband in the world. My friends are incredible. And I’m so blessed by God to have a career that I love so much I never want to retire!

Making someone feel suffocated isn’t “caring” — it’s obsessive. It’s manipulative. And it’s scary. It doesn’t bring someone closer to you (or God), it pushes people away. It’s like the telemarketer that never takes your name off the list. When someone or something is always in your face, you feel like puking your guts out. It does not feel good at all.

You have to let people be! God knows their heart and why they may not want to go to church. The best things in life take time to grow. You can’t expect someone to fall in love with a certain church overnight!

I felt so judged by this pastor and was very disappointed. I felt that him writing “Shut up” to me was so cruel and unprofessional.

I tried to rationalize and told him he wasn’t being very nice to me.

And again, like a cry baby, he overreacts and sends me a photograph of a dolphin’s tail waving “good-bye” to me. Very un-pastor-like!

Then faster than a greased rat’s ass, he unfriended me and took me off all his prayer groups on Facebook.

I was shocked. That was definitely was a first! I never in a million years would expect to be fighting with a pastor on a beautiful afternoon.

God gives us free will to choose and pastors should too. If pastors can’t trust in God and have to unfairly control people to go to church, they do not have good leadership qualities.

I’m hurt, but not broken. Behavior like this is exactly what turns people away from churches and Christianity in general. It’s so sad that Pastor D missed the point of what God is — free will.

Nevertheless, I stand strong in my faith and will continue to pray for God’s guidance. I trust He will let me know, whether He wants me in a church, or to pray from home as I’ve been. It’s His call, not mine. But it’s God that I trust. Not man. And I will continue my Christian practices, with my Bible  … in my home and in my heart.❤

As for the pastor, I hope he’s asking for God’s forgiveness not only for the pain he caused me, but because had he done this to someone who wasn’t as strong in their faith as I am, he would have turned that person far away from God. This is the exact reason why people hate Christians. And sometimes you can’t blame them.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” — a POSITIVE rock ‘n’ roll memoir available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Learn & Listen: Frank Sinatra” Starring Stephen Fuller

Published July 14, 2016 by Maryanne

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Stephen Fuller

Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) was thrilled to present “The Life and Music of Frank Sinatra” featuring Stephen Fuller (http://www.fullersounds.com/) at the Caldwell Library, Caldwell, New Jersey, on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.

It was a full house, with a waiting list!

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Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta presented a half hour biography on Hoboken’s famous entertainer, followed by live music from Stephen Fuller. Songs included “New York, New York,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “My Way.”

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Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Stephen Fuller

Thanks so much to Fran Larkey of Caldwell Library for hosting this program!

And thanks to Su Mead of the upcoming Eerie Art Cafe, Bloomfield, for coming out to support. The Eerie Art Cafe will be featuring programs such as this!

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Sue Mead of the upcoming “Eerie Art cafe” and Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

To book this program in your library, senior center, JCC, or rotary clubpr, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and author. Her first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon in paperback editon only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

 

Amani (Peace)

Published July 11, 2016 by Maryanne

Amani

Meet Amani!

Amani means “peace” in Swahili. The group was formed to share the concept of peace through music, performing for people of all ages, races, and religious affiliations.

The core group includes veteran musicians: Marty Eigen: sax and flute; Fred Fischer: keyboards; and Stephen Fuller:vocals. In addition, Amani has a pool of talented musicians that can be added as needed.

Amani performs hits from a variety of genres including The Great American Songbook, Gospel, R&B, jazz, Bossa nova, and Broadway. The extensive repertoire can be tailored into a program that will make your event a joy for all who are lucky enough to have the experience of hearing the group.

Their repertoire includes the following favorites:

Fly Me to the Moon – F. Sinatra
Kansas City – W. Harrison
Fields of Gold – Sting
Volcano – J. Buffet
Stand By Me – B. E. King
Can’t Help Falling in Love – E. Presley
Old Man River – Show Boat
Waiting in Vain – B. Marley
AMANI is available* to perform at libraries, festivals, art centers, weddings, corporate events, bar and bat mitzvahs, restaurants, clubs, senior facilities, house parties, and all special occasions.
*Where wheelchair accessibility is available.
For pricing and availability contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at 908-276-1514

Confidence and Self-Love Isn’t Narcissism

Published July 9, 2016 by Maryanne

Believe-in-Yourself-

“Narcissist” seems to be the catch-insult of the 21st Century people use when they can’t disagree like an grown adult and instead resort to name-calling.

Since I’ve caught a few people — college educated ones at that — misusing the word as an attack, I’d like to examine the word further.

Number one, let’s be clear, once and for all … a “narcissist” isn’t someone who rightfully defends his/herself. Nor is it someone who has high self-esteem and confidence.

The true definition of a narcissist is someone who has an excessive — or erotic interest in one’s self or one’s appearance.

Loving your appearance isn’t exactly a bad thing. It was said that Marilyn Monroe was caught looking at herself lovingly in the mirror. I’d love to be so beautiful that I could look at myself in the mirror and says, “Damn, I’m a fox!” Who wouldn’t?!

kitten lion

Yeah, I got it going on! 

But even if you’re not the prettiest, looking in the mirror and thinking you’re simply A-OK, is definitely something to aspire to. Feeling good on the inside transcends to feeling good on the outside. The world needs more of that.

Some of the most confident people I know are most generous in complimenting others and giving to others. Whereas a narcissist — an inflated sense of self-worth — has more to do with insecurities than confidence.

Of course people who have no love for themselves are going to be haters towards those who do. Hence misuse of the catch-word “narcissist.” So if someone calls you a narcissist, they are most likely subconsciously reflecting on his/herself and his/her exaggerated sense of importance in making someone feel “little” about his/herself in order to feel “big.”

Devaluing another person as a weapon is narcissism in the worst degree. I always say to belittle is to BE LITTLE. 

 

 

So you see, narcissism isn’t about confidence, but rather insecurity. Narcissists are the ones who add “friends” on Face Book just to show off what they have, rather than taking the time to get to know someone. They hide behind a shield of false friendships or anything else that is false. I’ve known one who hid behind a false sense of empathy, expecting a “medal” for being “so upset” over the news of the world. However, when I shared my concern about a sick relative, she showed no compassion.

Narcissism is someone who constantly talks about his/herself and doesn’t give others a chance to talk.

Narcissism is the person at the party who won’t say “hello” unless someone says “hello” first.

Narcissism is being obsessed with money and bragging about it.

Narcissism is always trying to one-up someone.

Narcissism is the person who expects people to chase after him/her and never initiates phone calls.

Narcissism is someone who fishes for compliments (with excessive photos of his/herself on Facebook) and never gives anyone else a compliment.

Narcissism is a taker. Someone who won’t attend an event if it isn’t about him/her. Someone who will expect others to do things for him/her and not give back in return.

Narcissism is someone who is too jealous to compliment someone on his/her success because it isn’t about him/her.

And, most narcissistic of all is attacking someone by using the word “narcissist.” Because like my grandmother once said, “It takes one to call one.”

 

 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats.” The very selfish lead character was inspired by witnessing many takers on Facebook. “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

 

 

 

1910 Fruitgum Company and Ron Dante Show Rained-Out

Published July 4, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_05961910 Fruitgum Company

For nine years, every July 4th my husband Dennis and I loved going to see The 1910 Fruitgum Company at a park in Springfield, New Jersey, and this was the first year it got rained out after only a few songs!

From the get-go it didn’t look too good in the sky and for some reason the band started a half hour later than they were supposed to. (We actually got there early thinking maybe they’d start the show early because of the rain).

The band only got to do a few songs including their hits “Goody Good Gumdrops” and “Indian Giver” before the rain started. Original member Frank Jeckell jokingly put a towel over his head.

SAM_0602Original 1910 Fruitgum Company member Frank Jeckell

While the 1910 Fruitgum Company played in the rain, my husband noticed the legendary Ron Dante (of The Archies) standing by the side of the stage. We walked over to meet him. He was awesome! He signed one of my husband’s CDs and took a picture with me.

SAM_0601Ron Dante and me

After The 1910 Fruitgum Company cut their set short (so short I didn’t get to hear my two favorite songs, “1-2-3 Red Light” and “Simon Says”) Ron Dante came onstage, backed by The 1910 Fruitgum Company and did “I Want Candy.”

The rain was really coming down at this point, so he cut to the chase and did his biggest hit “Sugar Sugar.”

At least I got to dance to part of the legendary song before the sound guy pulled the plug.

My husband and I came home soaking wet, but we had FUN!

Oh, is that fireworks I hear — or thunder?

Happy Fourth of July

Father’s Day is for Fathers … Period

Published June 19, 2016 by Maryanne

Father's Day

There seems to be an annoying trend going around. I don’t know exactly when it started, but this year it’s more obvious than ever. The trend is women celebrating their mothers on Father’s Day because they feel their moms are like both a dad and a mom.

If a single mom does the work of two, more power to her. But taking a special day that’s reserved for dad and making it all about “YOU” is just another screwed up thing that is wrong in this world today.

You see, I don’t have a dad either. My mom was a single mom who worked incredibly hard to take care of me and my younger sister. She had a full time job and a part-time job on weekends for years. The thing is … I celebrated her a month ago … on Mother’s Day.

And today is Father’s Day, a day for all the good dads to have their glory. By saying “a mom who is a dad” on this day takes away from all those amazing men who are doing their job. And what about all the single dads who have custody of their kids and are also “like a mom too”? There are plenty out there!

As someone who doesn’t even have a dad, I still find it highly insulting to all the dads in the world that now have to share their special day with the self-absorbed people who have to make it all about themselves. To declare to the world on Father’s Day that their mom is “like a dad” because their dad is a deadbeat is just ridiculous. Love your mom, of course, but let those who are blessed to have incredible fathers have their time in the sun.

Today is Father’s Day … period. It’s a day to celebrate the male energy … to celebrate all our friends who are dads, uncles, nephews, cousins, and/or father-like figures. It’s about the positive that men bring to the table. The strong traits such as courage, confidence, protection, as well as the tender traits good men have such as sensitivity and compassion.

For one day, let’s get our minds off ourselves and make it about other people. If the day isn’t all about you, the world won’t come to an end if you’re happy for somebody else!

So eat some humble pie, and give the thumbs up to a father you know … he doesn’t have to be YOUR father!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! 

 

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