Loving the Lock Down!

Published March 23, 2020 by Maryanne

DSCF4759Outside, at least six feet away from the rest of the world

My husband and I are very social people. We don’t let any grass grow under our feet. We’re the types who are always going to parties, getaways, restaurants, and concerts; and double dates with other couples.

But on the other hand, we can be homebodies too. Some of our best memories include being stranded at home during Hurricane Sandy, snowstorms, very cold weather, and when one of us is sick.

So staying home like good citizens during the Corona Virus pandemic is not a bad thing for us. We’re enjoying the down time tremendously and the days are going faster than we’ve imagined.

And why shouldn’t we be enjoying ourselves? If this pandemic taught us anything, it’s that our precious lives can end with the blink of an eye. We’ve lived each day to the fullest before, so why not now?

We’ve fallen into this great groove where we’ll spend a little time outdoors on nice days (six feet away from others). I’ll pick up groceries once a week at my favorite natural market; and he’ll get the extras during the week.

As a public speaker who has lost all my recent gigs, I’m keeping up my speaking chops by creating You Tube videos every day. They are all Corona Virus themed and are meant to inspire others. Or accidentally be funny. For example, today I made a video to honor National Puppy Day, and spoke about how pets can soothing to us at such a crazy time. However, unbeknownst to me, my cats photo bombed, with the one sniffing the butt of the other! It was so funny, how could I not share?! Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onipyTq0q1g&t=2s

It’s nice to wake up in the morning with my husband and not have to be on a schedule. I like to write in my journal, give myself a facial, and then have our coffee together indulging in great conversation before I work out.

In between our creative projects and preparing meals, we’ll watch a little TV, listen to music, laugh, dance, sing, call our friends/family, and play with our kitties. Before retiring for the night I like to do a little reading.

We do stuff together, as well as give ourselves space. I’m very blessed to have married someone I could call my best friend. And someone I enjoy being locked down with.

This is a scary, and stressful time since we don’t know what’s going to happen next. And it’s great to have someone by your side, so get through it with.

Of course I’m looking forward to getting back to “normal” but in the meantime, this ain’t so bad.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

NJ Vocalist Working On New Projects During Coronavirus Lockdown

Published March 21, 2020 by Maryanne

EV3A4604 (2) (1)Stephen Fuller 

Stephen Fuller, of Newark, New Jersey, longs to see his kids and grandchildren who live in New York City, but that’s not an option. Neither is performing live shows.

Fuller has been a working musician, both solo and with a group for most of his adult life. With the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, all his gigs have been canceled. Nevertheless he is keeping himself busy organizing his taxes and preparing for a Lionel Richie tribute show. “It’s a perfect sound,” he said. “It’s going to be really good. He [Richie] did a lot of ballads and I love ballads. They really resonate with me.”

Growing up in Newark, Fuller was inspired by his neighbors who were into music. “They all took piano lessons,” he said. “The daughter ended up being a concert violinist.” But what really planted the seed was an eighth grade teacher who told him he had a nice voice.

Fuller attended Arts High School in Newark. Famous names who attended the school include: Melba Moore, Sarah Vaughn, and Savion Glover. While still in high school, Fuller worked in a professional choir, which paid for his voice and piano lessons. He received a scholarship to study at Westminster Choir College in New Jersey where he learned about singing and conducting with a choir.

He then went on to Colgate University, a liberal arts college, in Hamilton, New York. He joined the band Colgate 13 as lead vocalist. They traveled around the country, and the Virgin Islands. “I was so glad to get into that group,” he said. “They are friends for life.”

Colgate had concerts featuring Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers. Fuller had the opportunity to be the opening act for both artists. He continued to travel to England with Colgate 13 and ended up meeting Roberta Flack by taking a wrong turn in trying to find a bathroom!

Then Fuller married his first wife and moved outside of Kansas City, Missouri. He continued his music, singing for a band at a hotel. He also had his own group, The Stephen Fuller Quartet. And he sang the National Anthem for the NBA team. Fuller also recorded with a couple of songwriters. “We did original material,” he said. “Some was pretty good. I’m sorry it didn’t go anywhere.”

During his time in Kansas City, Fuller had two sons. When he returned to New Jersey, he joined some more bands including The Ted Klum Trio, and Vince Seneri in Platinum II.

An opportunity to perform in Japan came up, but Fuller had his family, and a day job at AT&T, which had him traveling the USA. Fuller continued to work full time and tried to sing in the evening, though his first wife didn’t like the idea of him singing.

For the next 25 years, he stopped doing music professionally. Instead, he sang at family events like weddings, and funerals. Then he got into real estate and was “so miserable.” For his health and sanity, Fuller left that business and returned to where his heart was — music.

Fuller divorced his first wife but said, “I got two great sons out of the deal.” Neither followed in Fuller’s steps as a musician. “They are smart,” he said, then chuckled. “They are both in finance.”

He met his second wife in the choir at his church. “We just hit it off,” he said. “Her daughter said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Fuller dated Mommy?'” Fuller beams when speaking of his wife, who is very supportive of him, and his music. “We go out of our way to do nice things for each other,” he said.

In 2012, Fuller joined Jazz Vocal Collective, which is a group of jazz singers supporting each other. Fuller currently works both solo, and with his band Armani, which was formed in 2016.

“We’ve got some good things coming up this year,” Fuller said, “We’ve done big shows and big shows are coming up, including a bunch of Nat King Cole Christmas shows.” The King Cole Show was originally part of a project created by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta called “The Learn & Listen Series,” which was presented in New Jersey libraries. Christiano-Mistretta would give a talk on the artist, followed by live music performed by Stephen Fuller. The Christiano-Mistretta/Fuller team also included Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra in the series.

Fuller looks forward to debuting his Lionel Richie tribute and some new things for jazz projects. And learning new songs to perform in the nursing homes and libraries. “I have a lot of new things that’s gonna make me better at the end of all this,” he said, regarding the corona epidemic. “I feel we’ll be okay, and we’re going to get through this too.”

For more information on Stephen Fuller, visit his website at: https://www.fullersounds.com/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

RIP Domenic Lombardi

Published March 3, 2020 by Maryanne

SAM_9246L-R, Domenic Lombardi, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, and Antoinette Lombardi

I was sad to get the phone call from Antoinette Lombardi, regarding the death of her dear husband, Domenic.

He died on Ash Wednesday. He was my client and I helped him write his memoir, “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” and get it published. The first printing was self published by Next Century and traditional publisher Higher Ground picked up the book for a second printing. I just spoke to his wife, Antoinette, and she told me two copies of the book are with him in the coffin. Godspeed Domenic. Thank-you for fighting for our country in the Korean War. I am so sad. He was an incredible human being. And they were amazing together.

If you’d like to read his memoir, visit: https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Why I Won’t Pay Big Money For Concerts

Published February 23, 2020 by Maryanne

Duran Duran concertMy husband and I at a Duran Duran show — FREE! 

I’ve been a music fan as soon as I knew what music was. Music was always playing in my house when I was a kid. And growing up, music was my priority in life. Mind you, I am not a musician; just a huge fan.

Concert going was always important to me. And even back in the day, growing up in an upper middle class family, tickets were overpriced. However, back then, you still had a fighting chance if you got to the mall early in the morning, you could score a front row seat for the regular ticket price before the scalpers got their grubby hands on them.

Then, things changed. You had no choice but to get tickets from scalpers. However, the most I paid to see a big name star, David Bowie, was $150 for 10th row center, during his Serious Moonlight Tour at Madison Square Garden in 1984.

David Bowie set the bar for me; he was worth it. And I subconsciously made a vow that I’d never pay more than $150 for a concert — over 30 years later, I stuck to it. The only other times I shelled out money close was $100 to see The Stones and $75 to see Prince.

Throughout the years, I’ve seen many big name concerts free because they were outdoors. OR, because, lucky, ambitious me, I was a journalist and was guest listed. And I have some friends in the music industry. And I married a musician. And I’m lucky. I’ve won tickets to see some great shows. And, last but not least, let’s not minimize the talent of our own friends who have made their way in the music industry on a smaller scale. Local talent should never be disregarded.

About 15 years ago I reconnected with a music loving friend I knew from high school. We went to many concerts together as teenagers; then a few as adults. She complimented me, saying that I was always up for a good time, and that I always had money to do things. She invited me to go to a concert with her that was well over $200. I declined. I couldn’t see the justification for paying that kind of money to see anyone when I’ve spent a lifetime of going to see music — GOOD MUSIC– for way less.

Here are some examples of great shows I’ve seen over the decades, for free, for winning, for being on the guest list (due to being a journalist or knowing someone), or for a real good deal. (Note: I’m not including concerts where people treated me as a gift).

Check it out….(note, all random off the top of my head, there are TONS more)

Free Outdoor Concerts

Elton John

Patti Smith

1910 Fruitgum Company

The Smithereens

Lou Christie

Tommy James

Gary Puckett

Ian Hunter

NY Dolls

Tom Tom Club

Peter Noone

Nancy Sinatra

The Turtles

Joan Jett

Chuck Berry

The Zombies

Sheila E.

And many, many more!

On The Guest List

Blondie

Tom Petty & Stevie Nicks

The Pixies

The Plasmatics

Diamanda Galas

Duran Duran

Judy Collins

Roger McGuinn (The Byrds)

The Fab Faux

Tommy James

And many, many more!

Tickets I Won

Richard Barone (The Bongos)

Jeffrey Gaines

Rain (Beatles Tribute)

Probably more, but I can’t remember unless I go to my diaries.

(And don’t get me started on tickets I won but couldn’t attend for whatever reason, urgh! Still kicking myself for not going to see the late Hasil Adkins at Maxwell’s in Hoboken!)

Shows I paid $10 or less! 

Sierra Ferrell (upcoming artist, Rounder Records)

Ratt (1980s hair metal band)

Brute Force (Apple Records Recording Artist)

And many, many more!

Maybe I’m blessed, or just spoiled, but with so many great musical acts out there, and so many opportunities to see cheap or free shows, why should I shell out big bucks to ticket agencies? It’s definitely not necessary. Especially since, when you think about it, what goes up eventually must come down. Not to put anyone down–no way, I love these musicians way too much–but it’s just a great fact for us fans that in years to come, one of your favorites that was charging a ton of money in a large venue will perform for much less (or even free) in a smaller venue in years to come. Just a few years ago I saw Cher in a theatre in Maryland for under $40.

What was your favorite cheap or free concert? What was the most you ever spent on a concert? How do you justify it? 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

Don’t Worry Gen X’er, it’s OK to be in your 50s and love Billie Eilish

Published February 16, 2020 by Maryanne

Billie Eilish albums

I love Billie Eilish. (And I’m in my 50s).

Right now my favorite song of hers is “I Wish You Were Gay” but as all music fans know, as you embrace an artist, the more you listen to the records/CDs your favorites flow from one to another, like the waves in the ocean.

When I discover an artist, I have a pattern. First I go on a You Tube binge of their music. When I get to the point of “Wow, I like every single song…” that’s when I go out and buy whatever music is available so I can listen more authentically, in my house or in a car, and not in my home office on a computer screen. And then make it a mission to go see this artist perform live.

Yeah, I admit it. I’d love to go see Billie Eilish perform, even though I’m old enough to be her grandmother.

And I’m not the only one who feels that way. I recently saw a few comments on social media. People in their 50s, 40s, 30s, and even early 20s saying they feel weird that they are enjoying the music of a teenager.

I say, WHY NOT? We were all teenagers once ourselves. Though, depending on when you were born, not always having the music of other teenagers to enjoy. When I was a teenager, there were no teenagers making music for me. When the Stones were teenagers, I was a baby. When I was 13, my favorite band Queen were already in their 30s; even The Bay City Rollers were in their 20s when I was 13.

Then I discovered The Runaways. They were older teenagers when I was 13. By the time I got to see Joan Jett, when I was 17, The Runaways already broke up. By now Joan Jett was already in her 20s.  Nevertheless, I was right in front of the stage when I saw her perform and she put her guitar right in front of my. I strummed it and she smiled at me. That was thrilling!

Throughout my teens and 20s, I never thought about my age when I went to shows because all the bands I resonated had a good five years or more on me. (Some musicians were my mom’s age and I never even realized it until they died and you learn their age — like Lux Interior of The Cramps).

All the bands I loved and went to see were older — Blondie, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, The Pixies, Cher… the list goes on and on. To this day, the oldest artist I saw perform, bless his soul, was Les Paul.

Of course time goes on, and you’re going to get older. If you’re a die hard music fan, and still exploring new tunes, well, it’s inevitable at some point you’re going to be older than the bands you go to see. For example, I was 30 when I got hooked on D-Generation. The lead singer, Jesse Malin was five years younger than me. It was the first time I felt “old” even though I didn’t look or feel it.

Then, in my early 40s, I discovered the music of HIM. I have a good 14 years on the lead singer Ville Valo. At the age of 42, I was hesitant to go see them in concert because I thought I’d be the oldest one there, assuming everyone in the audience was going to be the band’s age or younger (at the time most members were in their late 20s). I wrote, anonymously, on a HIM message board, “How would you feel if you saw someone in the audience, around your mom’s age, wearing a HIM t-shirt.”

Oh my goodness, I received so much support from the younger generation, saying how cool it was that I was in my 40s and I liked HIM. Then when I went to see them for the first time, I saw so many young women, paired with their moms, singing song lyrics together, arm in arm. It was beautiful — mothers and daughters connecting over live music.

I think it will totally be the same way if and when I go see Billie Eilish live. People will be connecting over the music, irregardless of ages.

Thinking back to when I was a teenager, I wanted attention from adults. Teenagers today are no different. When I see teenagers in the streets, I’ll smile and they are very quick to smile back. Some even say “Hi” or compliment me on my pinkish hair.

Generation gaps are closing in. It’s not the 1950s anymore; hell, it’s not even the 1990s anymore. We’re living in an amazing time where people of all ages are relating to each other better than ever. (Or maybe I’m delusional because I’m not a parent, just a cool aunt?) Who knows for sure, but I truly believe there’s only a generation gap if we allow there to be one. Always keep your eyes/ears out for game-changing new artists, because that’s something that will go on in time until we die. Thank God for that!

 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why You SHOULD Work With Friends

Published January 26, 2020 by Maryanne

Darlene Asbury Park

The Friends That Create Together, Stay Together! 

Pictured in photo, left, Darlene Foster, right Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

URGH! A few days ago I overheard someone utter that dreadful cliche, “You shouldn’t work with friends.” Yeah, say that to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!

Like the Glitter Twins, I’m here to prove that silly saying wrong. Hear me out…

I’ve found my magical “glitter twin” in not only my husband, but in many friends! But before I share the magic, here are my top reasons why it’s best to work with friends/lovers:

  • You already like/love each other, so you are off to a good start. There’s no tension, no “breaking the ice,” and the competitiveness is healthy — you want each other to succeed.
  • True friends/true lovers are NOT jealous of each other.
  • You thrive off of your creative differences.
  • You move ahead faster because you know each other well.
  • Celebrations of success are that much sweeter.

Working with someone you don’t know very well (or don’t like) never brings a project to fruition. Countless times I’ve stopped editing or ghost writing a book because I couldn’t stand the person I was working with. I’ve had dream jobs I’ve quit because my co-workers were the pits (and came out ahead of the game with the next job or project – go me!)

So, if someone tells you it’s not a good idea to work with a friend or a lover, I’m here to prove them wrong. Of the hundreds of friend/lover collaborations I’ve done over the years, here are a handful of my random favorites (in no particular order).

The Hounds of Winter “Come On Christmas”  

The above video was made possible by people in my circle who are all forever connected, Ric Pink; vocals; Tom DiPaolo: guitars; Dennis Mistretta (my husband): bass; Tom Corea: drums; and I did backing vocals at the last minute. Oh, and my good friend Darlene Foster (long-time girlfriend of the guitarist Tom DiPaolo) created the cover art. The CD was made in 2012. Note, sometimes Tom Corea’s wife Carol plays instruments on the CDs too.

Seltzer’s Rainbow Heart 

Editing “Seltzer’s Rainbow Heart” for my good friend Jayne DiGregorio, was super fun. It was the beginning of many projects we have done together. I’ve helped her promote the book, wrote about her Care Bear non-profit for newspapers, and we worked together on other projects too. Working together was never a problem, it only brought us closer.

Darlene Foster 

Ten years ago I modeled for my artist/photographer friend Darlene Foster. And some of the photos sold too! Since then she’s designed two of my book covers, and is a current participant in my upcoming book, “Fantastic without Plastic” (a book about positive, attractive women who look/feel amazing while shunning plastic surgery and Botox).

And while my husband is a humble person who doesn’t like to be called out in blogs or on Facebook, I have to override him this time to say that he’s the one person I can count on who ALWAYS (and I do mean ALWAYS) reads my articles. He comes to as many of my speaking engagements as he can (and gives me rides too!) and cheers me on when I come up with new ideas. When I’m feeling down, he’s the one I can count on to remind me, I’ve got a name.

Can you get all that from a mere acquaintance or someone in an office you barely know?! ABSOLUTELY NOT!

And all that said, if I need to work with someone, I will call on a my husband or a friend first! I know they are reliable, fun, hard-working, and creative. It’s a joyful existence for sure!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Latest Book in Barnes & Noble!

Published January 12, 2020 by Maryanne

DSCF4690

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, author of

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero”

Being a 5x author, I’m no stranger to seeing my books on Barnes & Noble online, but this is the first time I ever saw one of my books in a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Friends have purchased my books from Barnes & Noble bookstores and showed me photos of the books in the stores. But it’s definitely a first for me, and it was a thrill!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9