Life and Music of David Bowie at Kinnelon Library

Published September 17, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0279From left: Keith Beck, Kim Christian, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Rob Fusari

Sunday, Sep 17, Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com) presented “The Life and Music of David Bowie” at Kinnelon Library, Kinnelon, NJ.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, sole proprietor of Pear Tree, hosted the show, presenting a brief bio on David Bowie’s life, with a Q&A segment and the opportunity for audience members to share their memories of David Bowie. The audience was made up of over 50 people of all ages.

Keith Beck (www.zigmanbird.com) performed over a half hour of Bowie tunes including: Space Oddity, Andy Warhol, Ziggy Stardust, and Starman, which were extremely well received by the audience.

Then three-time Grammy winning producer, Rob Fusari (https://www.robfusari.com/) who had worked with ABC, Adam Lambert, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga … to name a few … performed his killer version of “Young Americans.”

To have this program at your library, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

We will travel! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and three time author. Her latest book, “The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

Stay Wild — Wildwood, New Jersey

Published September 7, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0144The gorgeous, retro, Starlux Hotel

Of all the places to travel, the one place I keep going back to is New Jersey’s Wildwoods. This hot vacation spot really does have it all. Whether you want to relax in the pool or hot tub — or on the beach; or enjoy nightlife, the boardwalk, and good eats, it’s just pure magic. People come from all over the world to vacation here. I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid and am always happy to come back again and again and again with my husband; even off season!

DSCF0101Outdoor patio at Epicure

Of course vacationers can pig out on every kind of Boardwalk food you can imagine, but I preferred the healthy route. It’s awesome when you can come home from a vacation weighing less than you did when you left for vacation! And Epicure really did the trick enticing my healthy palate. It was one of my favorite dining spots on the trip. I had a vegetarian chili with a beautiful salad, that featured the best miso dressing I ever had in my life.

DSCF0110Salad at Epicure

DSCF0158Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill

And then for even more good food and a nice dose of romance, head over to Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill and watch the sunset. Hint: If you don’t want to wait for a table inside, just go out back for appetizers. I had a huge salad of shrimp and lump crab meat; and a half dozen oysters, which satisfied and filled me. I never saw a restaurant that had an appetizer list three pages long.

DSCF0074Morey’s Piers

And, of course, you can’t forget the super long boardwalk, with several piers of amusements. It’s the best at night, when it’s all lit up. Check out that full moon in the background!

DSCF0078

Wildwood is known for preserving it’s mid-century aka “doo wop” architecture, which is why vacationing in the Wildwoods is more than a vacation — it’s a transport back in time.

DSCF0168Two-tiered Merry Go Round

These photos do no justice to the greatness that is The Wildwoods. You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself.

And for other Wildwood enthusiasts, I leave you with five famous words — “Watch the tram car please!”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award winning journalist and three-time author. A lover of retro, her fictitious book “Love Cats” takes place in the 1980s. Get your copy of “Love Cats” on Amazon today: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

 

Queen + Adam Lambert, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Published July 28, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2969Adam Lambert bows to original members Brian May and Roger Taylor

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Three years and two days after the first time I saw Queen with Adam Lambert (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/queen-adam-lambert-at-izod-new-jersey-july-24-2014/) I just had to see them again! My super cool husband took me to see Queen on Wednesday, July 26, 2018.

I am a die-hard Queen fan. I’d say they are probably my favorite band; and it’s nearly impossible to have a favorite band when you have over 1000 records/CDs in all genres of music. But I loved Queen so much when I first discovered them, probably around 1976, when I was only 12 years old. The first five albums were my favorites, but over the years I’ve expanded my horizons and embraced their entire body of work.

I was very lucky to have seen Freddie Mercury on tour with Queen in 1982, when I was 18. Though I envy my friends who are a bit older and saw Queen tour with Mott the Hoople.

When Freddie Mercury died, and there was a television tribute in his honor, I thought George Michael (RIP) would have been a phenomenal replacement. Then I saw Queen with Paul Rodgers and he was amazing. And so is Adam Lambert.

Always humble, Adam makes it a point, to the audience, that he is a Queen fan too. Throughout the show, he creates pure magic with original members Brian May and Roger Taylor; and Neil Fairclough who has been playing bass with Queen as long as Adam has been on board. And new kid on the block is drummer Tyler Warren who did a great duo with Roger Taylor.

This tour was a tribute to Queen’s album “News of The World.” But they only played three songs from that album “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and … one of the greatest moments of the evening “Get Down Make Love.” [Side note: I saw videos of them doing other songs from “News of the World” — and “It’s Late” blew me away! I wish they kept that song in the set, but there’s just so much in the Queen collection, perhaps they had to cut some out].

After the last tour, I said that “Get Down Make Love” would be the perfect song for Lambert to deliver. Because it’s camp and fun — and so is he. He’s just that kind of entertainer, you can look at him and smile. He’s simply great at making people happy. Lambert is a five-star performer. He loves dressing up, he loves working the crowd, he embraces being on stage, yet never takes it for granted; and is so honest to always share that with his audience.

Another key song for Adam Lambert to sing was “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I said these lyrics: “I am a sex machine ready to reload; Like an atom bomb about to Oh oh oh oh oh explode” should be “like an ADAM bomb…” This song absolutely sums it up — how electrifying Adam is. And, never taking himself too seriously, he was a total pisser riding a pink bicycle during “Bicycle Races.”

He also did one of his own tunes “Two Fux” which seemed to be his rebuttal to critics. (Or maybe his turn to answer to Queen purists who don’t approve him filling in for Freddie?) While a great song, Adam Lambert should never have to explain himself. He was chosen to be in Queen, by original Queen members. After five years, I’d say he IS a Queen member.  Sure, nobody could take Freddie’s place (just like nobody could take retired member John Deacon’s place) or if the other original members left. The thing is — Adam Lambert is damn good and belongs with Queen. He has my stamp of approval as a great fit. He always did. Years ago I poo-pooed American Idol, but when my sister shared some of her video recordings of the show with Adam Lambert, I was hooked. Then when I heard he was touring with Queen five years ago, I said, “That is perfect!” I was right.

And it’s a beautiful thing to keep this music going on for generations to come! Adam Lambert is young, fresh, and exciting. He’s a team player and brings a lot to the band. I’d love to see a live album of this tour come out!

But back to the show … Guitar wizard Brian May is always mesmerizing, and hearing a bit of “Brighton Rock” during his solo totally wowed me. When May has his moments, you can close your eyes and be right at home on your bed listening to records — he is that precise. He also plays “Love of My Life” on his guitar (on the record Freddie played harp) and sings heavenly.  And bassist Fairclough’s shining moment was naturally during “Another One Bites the Dust.” I was glad to see he’s still with the band.

Now, let’s talk about the stage show. This time around was off the hook — with lazer lights, videos of Freddie, and a gigantic robot from the cover of “News of the World.” I highly recommend You Tube — though you truly had to be there to capture the essence of what it was.

Other favorite parts of the show, for me, were “Somebody to Love,” “Under Pressure” (which brought tears to my eyes, now that both Freddie and David Bowie are gone!), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” “I’m in Love with My Car,” and “I Want to Break Free.”

And, this concert fell on Roger Taylor’s birthday, so the audience joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to him! How cool is that? If you were there, you could personalize it and say that you sang Happy Birthday to Roger Taylor! At 68-years-old, he still has that sparkle in his eyes! I can’t believe, I’ve been a fan of Queen since they were all in their late 20s!

If I had to give any critique for the evening, I’d say I could do without the teazer — as hearing just part of a recording of “You Take My Breath Away” was a bummer. (I think back to 2014 when they played “Procession” before they came on and I was thinking they’d come out doing “Father to Son.” Keep dreaming, right?) Some of the other songs were cut short too, like “Bicycle Race” and to me, that’s like censoring a masterpiece. I understand a band can only play so long — and they played almost three hours, but I’d rather hear less songs, but played in their entirety.

But, yeah, still super high from the show that was two days ago. Another night with Queen that I’ll never forget! And hey, can I suggest another ultimate Queen song for Adam Lambert to do? I’d love to hear “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” live. How about it?

SAM_2907Me in front of Queen truck — That’s the logo Freddie Mercury designed based on the zodiac signs of the original members. 

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

 

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHANGES!

Published July 26, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2883New life, new hair! 

Last week I changed my hair. I haven’t been a redhead in a long time so when my new hairstylist/colorist encouraged me to go red, I went with it. The bottom half was done in foils and the top was a glaze, giving an ombre look (and when the glaze fades, as glazes do, my natural brown will look cool with the lighter shade of red, that’s like a strawberry blonde on the bottom). Note, this photo does nothing for the color — in real life it just pops!

Anyway, why the dramatic change in my hair? Because I had a dramatic change in my life!

It happened about a month ago, but haven’t told many yet. After working for myself for nine years, I took a full time job in the editorial department of a magazine!

For nine years I’ve worked as the sole proprietor of my business, Pear Tree Enterprises: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

When I first started Pear Tree, I had just left an editorial job I worked at for seven years and was trying to find myself. In the past nine years, being my own boss: I’ve helped at least 20 people write their books for publication; I’ve written my own two books (with a third coming out later this year, published by GenZ); I’ve become a public speaker, speaking on various topics at libraries throughout New Jersey, including my Learn & Listen series, which made the front page of The Caldwell News (http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html); I’ve also put an entire magazine together, learning to use a design program.

During this time, I’ve been interviewed on blog talk radio shows across the United States; have been on well known NJ radio shows; and was featured on a Long Island cable show after starting a non-profit animal rights organization called R.O.A.R. (Respect Our Animals’ Rights) (https://respectouranimalsrights.wordpress.com/).

I’ve also done countless book signings and have met so many famous people I’ve highly admired.

So, with all this success, why would I ditch it all to go back to the so-called rat race?

Three words — I was exhausted.

Running your own show is hard. Trying to find the right help is harder. My husband put it best when he said that I never made the right connections to keep Pear Tree going on a full time basis. I’ve interviewed countless people to be my assistant, and I wasn’t “feeling it” for anyone.

Once I made the decision to re-enter the workforce, I decided to do it wisely. I took my time. I approached job hunting with the same seriousness as I did while looking for a husband. I found my soulmate in 2005 and have been happy together ever since. I was 42 at the time — a true late bloomer. I didn’t marry the first guy who asked me.

So, while seeking a job, I kept an eye out for all the signs of what could be right for me. I don’t even know how long I was actively looking because I didn’t make a job out of seeking a job. When I saw something desirable, I applied.

Then about a month ago, I was hired for TWO jobs! It was a tough decision because both were interesting and both were editorial related. Then I made the RIGHT CHOICE — and almost two months later, I am ecstatic! Not only do I have a position I deserve, with great team players, I can still work Pear Tree as a side gig. I am still giving lectures and helping people write books; as well as writing my own; and freelancing for a magazine I love and believe in. And it’s not like I’m “overworked” either. I simply do freelance work when I feel like it — an hour here, an hour there and the pay adds up. And it’s a damn good feeling to be able to pick and choose what you want to do in life — and the people you want to do it with!

Like being with the right mate, a marriage feels extremely free and liberating. That’s how it is when you have the right job. Work just never feels like work! It’s a time for learning. And I’m so fortunate to be working in a creative environment, using my talents. But best of all, I now have help. Working in a company means you’ll always have someone to fall back on; unlike running the whole show myself. That said, words just can’t express how happy I am!

Unfortunately I had to let some freelance things go like the low-paying blogging jobs; and doing lectures during the week, as I’m now limited to weekends. But to move ahead, you always have to leave some things behind. But it’s worth it. Everything fell into place in such a beautiful way. And while I was always pleased with my life and at times couldn’t imagine it getting any better — it always gets even better!

So, now, I’m officially part of the “rat race” — but it’s a cute rat race! Kinda like a pet rat race.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

Make Way for Happiness!

Published July 8, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2842Hello Happiness

This is why I’m more a believer in pronoia than karma …

First, I must explain “pronoia” since everyone knows what karma is. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition: “Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person. It is also used to describe a philosophy that the world is set up to secretly benefit people.”

Blessings in disguise are necessary to one’s evolution. It really sucks to be going through a bad time, but that’s what moves you to a better time. A quick example would be my career. Thanks to always trying to escape nasty people and office gossip, I’ve advanced myself to places I’ve always dreamed of. Starting out as a shipping clerk right after high school, I’ve learned all aspects of the working world — A/R, A/P, credit/collections — then went on to more creative venues, from typing, to proofreading, copy editing, writing features, learning design programs, and authoring three books. (As well as helping other people write their books). I am now superwoman. The more I learn, the higher my rates become; and the more I can pick and choose what work I want; and the more concerts I can go to, the more clothes I can buy, and the more vacations I can take. Go me.

Had I been someone who thrived on negativity, I would have stayed put. Fortunately bettering myself, away from back stabbers, always meant advancing in my career. Thank you Universe.

But pronoia doesn’t just work in career, it works in just about anything. A prime example happened a few weeks ago. I got hooked on a particular eatery and was spending much time (and money) there. However, I realized, being a health fanatic, the options were limited once I got bored with the dish I enjoyed most.

I also had to coach them to let them know there were certain items they put in their foods that I didn’t consider healthy, such as grains; almond or coconut milk from a brand that uses cane sugar; and bananas, which are extremely high carbs.

One day there was a new counter girl, having a hard time with my order. I was extremely patient, with a smile on my face. Fifteen minutes later, the grand finale was that she put granola on top of my finished product. (I do not like granola at all!)

I told her I was allergic, which gets you more compassion than just saying you do not like something — sometimes. But not this time. The owner was very snippy with me and said, “You’re allergic to nuts?!” as if I bothered her.

Right then and there I made up my mind that I would never step foot in that place again. I never really felt comfortable there to begin with. It was just an all around bad vibe as they tended to cater to people they knew personally, making it clique-ish. Plus, that day I saw fruit flies on their samples. It was no longer an inviting place to eat.

Is this the universe speaking? You bet! Read on …

I spent 45 minutes on the internet looking for another healthy place to eat in the area. Well, I found one that was much healthier — all raw vegan foods with no processed sugar, no grains, and many items minus bananas! I’ve been going every day since. The service is better. The owner even came out to shake my hand for writing a good review about them. That’s the way to go!

But wait, there’s more!

You get “points” for your purchases! Now, not only is this place, healthier and friendlier than the first place, but less expensive. And with the points, I’ve already had two free healthy desserts (made from natural, organic fresh fruit and cacao).

Then the real reward is that going to this place takes me through the back roads, avoiding all traffic. So instead of just looking at cars, I can see deer (and fawn!) romping, rabbits, swans, etc. It’s an all around prettier trip.

If you pay attention to pronoia, you will see how it happens often. Bad things almost always push you in a better direction. If you feel uncomfortable in your place of worship,  job, or the person you are with, it’s definitely the universe (or God!) telling you that you belong somewhere else, or with someone else.

While “pronoia” is the official term, I like to call these things The Parable of Sonny & Cher. As the story goes, Sonny and Cher were so down on their luck, they had to sell all the furniture in their home to make ends meet. This is when Sonny Bono wrote their hit “I Got You Babe.”

Did you ever lose it all, then get your dream job? Or win the lottery?

Did someone you love deeply die recently? If so, watch how many great things start happening to you almost immediately afterwards. Whether it’s the universe repaying you for your loss; or your loved one, now in heaven, taking care of you from above — it’s a given that tragedy leads to precious gifts.

Did you ever have a horrible day, followed by a fantastic evening? That is also pronoia at work. Bad things motivate you to grab the good. It’s a survival mechanism.

How has pronoia worked for YOU? Feel free to share your stories; I’d love to hear them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

 

 

 

 

Rocking Old Gracefully

Published June 24, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_1712Rock Wife, night on the town

SAM_2602What a rock wife really looks like! 

A few weeks ago I went to get my haircut at a different salon and I heard something I never ever heard before … The hairstylist said she couldn’t picture me at a rock club; noting that I was quiet and dressed conservatively that day.

For a person who never gave a shit about hair, nails, or styles; has tattoos; and wears heavy eyeliner — all the time — this was an absurd thing to hear. (Especially since on that particular day I was bra-less).

But, after giving it much thought, yeah, I guess I do look conservative in a day and age where everything goes. From as far back as 15, I dressed “different.” But in the late 1970s, a ton of make-up, messy hair, leather jacket, and lots of new wave and punk buttons was considered radical. I got bullied for how I looked back then. Now, no one would bat an eye. Ahead of my time? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fast forward a few years … I’ll never forget when I started dressing conservative, or what they’d call today “business casual.” I was in my late teens and a male friend I had a crush on said he liked the “secretary look.” I cleaned up my act of leather, ripped jeans, combat boots, and bleached blonde hair and started buying more fashionable clothing. But that got old and for the next 30 years I flip flopped back and forth between edgy and radical to simply pretty — or as the old friend would say, the secretary look.

The thing is, I was never one to pigeon-hole myself into just one look like I did as a teenager. The first time I left my punk look behind, I’d go back again and again and again, but I grew tired of people staring and calling me “punk” 24/7. In time, I liked having a choice. I’d punk out — or rock out — at a club, but then be more subtle at other times. (Nevertheless, I still stood out for the very reasons mentioned in the second paragraph).

Call me a sell-out, a cop-out, or a poser, but I know what is in my heart. I can love music without advertising it. I have one small tattoo, on my wrist, of a 45-rpm spindle, which is my “music charm” and that says it all. I don’t need to dye my hair some pastel color, continue shopping at Trash and Vaudeville, or pierce my face to make a statement. Anyone who knows me, knows I am the biggest music freak ever.

The thing is, I love to shop anywhere and everywhere. I’ll try all kinds of styles. And like my eclectic taste in music, I feel I’m equally as diverse in dress. That’s the greatest thing about being a woman — being able to experiment with clothes, hairstyles, and make-up.

I think it’s essential to really know what looks good on you as you age. I take all those “Over 50 dos and don’ts” with a grain of salt and just work the looks as I go along. There are some things I highly doubt I’d ever wear again; others I can still get away with; and then others I’m not quite there yet (so I’ll just say “no” to the jogging suits, for now!)

If this makes me the kind of person one couldn’t picture at a rock club, I am fine with that. I prefer outdoor oldies concerts, these days, anyway.

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

She’s also the author of the steamy 1980s romance, “Love Cats” also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1