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All posts for the month January, 2015

Mike Moat & Golden Reflections “Eternally Elvis Show” Paramus, NJ

Published January 18, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_6801Mike Moat

Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I had one hell of a week. My bank account was hacked, I slipped on ice and chipped an old filling. Then my aunt died. So, after the funeral, I was elated when my sister told me one of her friends had an extra ticket to see an Elvis impersonator. I jumped on the chance to say, “YES!” The only thing that would have made the night even better was if she had two extra tickets so my husband could have attended too, since he’s a musician and fellow Elvis fan.

Back in 1989, I originally saw Mike Moat with my sister, mother and grandmother and he was fantastic. Shame I waited 25 years to see him perform again, as it was a class act! I immediately recognized that he had some of the same musicians with him — Rich Fontana on keyboards and his wife Debbie Moat (who is still cute as a button) on vocals. Two other family members are in the group: his brother, Bob Moat on lead guitar and his daughter, Michelle Moat on vocals. Other members include: Ron Graniero (drums), Andy Paleologos (bass), Phil Rinaldi (trumpet), John Urspruch (trumpet), Mike Mullan (saxophone) and Phil Jones (trombone) — who actually played with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell.

The first set was the entire “Aloha From Hawaii” album. My favorites from this were “Welcome to My World” (I went to the bathroom, called my husband and played a portion of this for him!), “Suspicious Minds,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and my all time favorite, “I’ll Remember You,” which always makes me cry, big time, since it’s the song that reminds me of my beloved Grandmother (and I’ll be using the lyrics for a fictitious scene in my third book, which I’m aiming to publish in 2016).

Mike Moat wore a replica of the “Aloha From Hawaii” jumpsuit (see picture above).

During intermission, my sister and I were determined to speak with Phil Jones. He was so awesome, taking to us for a very long time and letting us take pictures and signed the playbill. We also talked with Mike Moat, Debbie Moat, Michelle Moat and Rich Fontana.

Michelle Moat, excitedly shared with us, that she wanted to sing with her father since she was a little girl.

SAM_6813

Phil Jones, trombone, played with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton

Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

For the second set, Mike Moat returned to the stage wearing a replica of the famous Elvis “Peacock” suit. My favorite song of the second set was “How Great Thou Art,” which was powerful!

After the show ended, Mike returned to do four encore songs. The entire program was three and a half-hours!

I’ve seen so many incredible Elvis impersonators over the years, but what makes Mike Moat extra special is that he, and his wife, Debbie, truly care about their fans. Throughout the show, the two of them, acknowledged fans in the audience, pointing them out, mentioning their names, where they were from and speaking kind words about them. Mike Moat also jumped into the audience and went around from table to table to shake hands with fans. He also gave out more scarves (and Hawaiian leis) than any other Elvis impersonator I saw.

After the show ended, I jokingly told Mike Moat I’d see him again when we’re 75. But honestly, I prefer not to wait yet another 25 years to see this fine act again!

For more on Mike Moat & Golden Reflections, visit: http://www.mikemoat.com/

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Published January 12, 2015 by Maryanne

old-fashioned-service
Earlier today someone called my home. It was a bad connection and we could barely hear each other, like an overseas phone call.

The guy kept repeating, “You don’t know who this is?”

“No, I don’t know who it is. Tell me.”

Then the guy starts yelling at me, “Grandma! You don’t even know your own grandson?!”

I said, “I’m sorry, I’m not your Grandma. You have the wrong number.”

He apologized. After we hung up I laughed. Then I really thought about what had happened and how sweet it was that someone, somewhere, was calling their grandmother. And how lucky they were to still have a grandmother. I was touched.

West Orange Public Library Author Panel

Published January 9, 2015 by Maryanne

West Orange Library 1-8-15Me, second to left, holding “Guest List”

Last night I was on my very first author’s panel at The West Orange Public Library, along with four other authors.

It was exciting promoting “Guest List” as this may be the last promotion. My second book, “Love Cats” (my first fiction effort) will be coming out spring 2015.

“Love Cats” has an exciting update! I was just given permission from Hal Leonard to use lyrics from The Cure’s “The Love Cats” and Iggy Pop’s “Mass Production.”

I have a potential publisher interested and I should know by the end of January. If not, I’ll be self-publishing again.

To purchase “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” please visit: http://www.nextcenturystore.com/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist.html

New Outlook

Published January 6, 2015 by Maryanne

Snow

I used to be afraid of driving in the snow. But for 2015, I have a new outlook.

If I get killed in a car accident, that’s an OPPORTUNITY to come back and haunt everyone who was ever mean to me … while they are taking a shower … on the days they forgot to shave. So there!

“Love Cats” front and back cover reveal!

Published January 5, 2015 by Maryanne

Love Cats cover - new

Hey gang! This is my first shot at fiction! My second book “Love Cats.”

I’m waiting to hear from a publisher in L.A. and I should know something in the next two weeks. If not, I’m self-publishing again with Next Century, as I love working with them. And if that’s the case, it will be published in February.

Here’s the back:

Love Cats - Back cover

Can Paleo and Vegan Co-Exist? Yes, yes, yes!

Published January 2, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8649Grass-fed beef and salad = perfect meal!

If someone told me, a year ago, that I’d be consuming grass-fed beef, I’d laugh in their face. Since the age of 23, late 1986, I became a vegetarian. And stayed a vegetarian for the next 28 years.

During the course of those 28 years, I’ve stayed very true to my path and in the mid-1990s I stopped buying products that tested on animals as well. No leather bags or leather jackets and absolutely no beauty products that tested on animals. I even went a step further, not consuming alcoholic beverages that were processed through a bone-char filter.

And during that time, I’ve respected all people’s choices. I was told by many that I was their favorite vegetarian because I didn’t judge others. In other words, I wasn’t a fanatical PETA card carrier.

One time I was dining out with an artist couple who were about 15 years older than me. When I ordered, it was obvious I was vegetarian. The husband commented that he and his wife were also vegetarians, but as they got older, they felt they needed a little extra, so once a month, they’d have some beef. I respected that and didn’t argue. I never felt that all people were meant to be vegetarian. Anti-animal testing was — and still is — more important to me than what people ate. And what works at one point, may not always work. Bodies change as we grow older and we make adjustments.

A few months before my 51st birthday, I wasn’t feeling up to par. And I was always the “go to” person when it came to health. I do not look my age. I’ve always had a ton of energy. And I get up at the crack of dawn even on weekends. I’ve practiced yoga since fourth grade. It didn’t make sense not to feel optimal. Then I remembered what the artist said.

I spoke with a holistic healthcare practitioner and he said I’d probably feel better if I ate a little bit of meat. After much research, I decided to give paleo a go. I eased into it. First I gave up gluten. Then a month later I gave up grains. And finally I said a little prayer to the animals added chicken and meat back into my diet. I felt AMAZING!

But what bugs the shit out of me, is how many of my “vegetarian” (not vegan) friends started judging me. The hypocrisy was mind blowing!  All of a sudden, in their eyes, I was this satanic animal killer for eating grass-fed beef (even thought I was still anti-animal testing, only drinking vegan alcohol, and still refusing to eat pork). 

And the “vegetarians” went on their merry way wearing their “MEATLESS” badges as they guzzled wine made from fish bladders, cheese made from the lining of a sheep’s stomach, and continued dying their hair with Loreal — one of the biggest offenders in animal testing. And let’s not forget desserts made with conventional milk, cheese, eggs and butter. Oh, but a gal’s gotta have dessert, right? Never mind what processed foods do to our environment.

After all that critique from vegetarian friends, I thought, okay, maybe now at least my meat eating friends will be on my side. But they didn’t get it either. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when my meat eating friends made the assumption that I was now pigging out on White Castles.

Then I decided to face my biggest fear — telling my VEGAN friends I was now PALEO.

But guess what? Surprise, surprise! They were the most compassionate and understanding of everyone! Wow, I thought to myself, somebody gets it! In fact, I’m now closer to my vegan friends as a paleo eater than I was when I was simply a vegetarian.

Vegans understand that eating grass-fed beef from a farm (once a month or so) is more environmentally responsible than eating soy and other processed foods.

As a paleo eater, I’m now eating more like a vegan as I consume more vegetables, fermented foods, and seaweeds. And I keep a variety of organic teas in my home too. Vegans love this!

And what’s really cool is that on paleo you don’t have to eat animal protein every single day! Sometimes I’ll even go two or three days in a row where I eat no animal products at all and feel fabulous. Only a vegan can understand that, since they don’t eat animal products at all.

When it comes to health, I truly believe that paleo eaters and vegans do the most research and take care of themselves the best. Like paleo people, many vegans are also grain free, sugar free and gluten free. They also understand the concept of telling each other what is in the food. They read labels and are compassionate to the dietary needs of others. And they do research — a lot of it. For vegetarians, they are just in denial when it comes to finding out what they really are eating. I was the exception. Whenever I mentioned to other vegetarian friends what animal by-product was in something they were eating, they turned a blind eye and ate it anyway. Vegans would never!

Both paleos and vegans don’t count calories, skip meals or over-exercise. They just have a sixth sense about being full and naturally stay at a perfect weight for their height (and age!)

Being environmentally conscious is a way of life for both paleos and vegans. We all love to practice yoga and qi-gong. We love to meditate and walk around barefoot. We enjoy buying second-hand clothing so the dye of a new outfit doesn’t seep into our skin. We are works in progress, trying consciously to make the world a better place to live. We stand up for what we believe in, no matter what, as we certainly don’t throw all caution to the wind in order to get a cheap alcohol buzz.

In fact, I have so much fun with my vegan friends because they don’t need to drink in order to unwind!