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All posts for the month October, 2015

The Anderson Ponty Band

Published October 30, 2015 by Maryanne

Last night my husband and I had the honor of seeing the Anderson Ponty Band at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank. It was a magical musical journey featuring legendary Jean Luc Ponty (http://www.ponty.com/) on violin and Jon Anderson (http://www.jonanderson.com/news.html) of Yes on vocals.

It was the second date of their short US Tour promoting their album “Better Late Than Never.” And it sure was better late than never, for me, to see this incredible act, which is also composed of, according to Ponty’s website: on keyboards, Wally Minko; bass, Baron Browne; and drums, Rayford Griffin. and Jamie Glaser on guitar. They were all just so incredible, caressing the audience with elegant sound.

I came in, unfamiliar with their work, only knowing Yes tunes. As a very young girl, 13, I was turned on to Yes thanks to an older boyfriend. The song I latched onto was the enchanting “Wondrous Stories.” So, when I heard the first notes live, I nearly screamed. Tears fell down my face as Jon Anderson heavenly sang in his unique elf-like voice. Other Yes songs included “You and I” and “Roundabout.”

Aside from the Yes tunes, not knowing anything else, I loved it. It’s great to go to hear the unknown, it’s one immaculate surprise after another. A beautiful progressive rock show. And truly a religious experience.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.”

Happy National Cat Day!

Published October 29, 2015 by Maryanne

Derick and SparkyDerick and Sparky

Happy National Cat Day!

For the record, I love all animals, which is why I started my non-profit organization, ROAR (Respect Our Animals’ Rights) — you can “like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/respectouranimalsrights/?ref=bookmarks

But let’s be honest, cats have that extra something special. Most people think that cats are independent, but get to know a cat — I mean REALLY know a cat — and you’ll learn it’s just the opposite.

I’ve owned two cats in my life, Billy and Derick. Billy Cat died in 2013 at the age of 19. He was the biggest snuggle bunny you’d ever want to meet. Derick is now 19 and he can’t get enough attention, especially when company comes. He’s a very diplomatic cat who will go from one lap to the next and then cry when company leaves.

They are smart as whips and grow with you as the years go on. Which is why I just had to include a cat theme for my second book “Love Cats” (available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513).

I wrote “Love Cats” after Billy Cat died. I was going through such a hard time, writing a book with a cat theme helped tremendously.

“Love Cats” is a book about a rich, selfish, 20-something girl named Janey Peyton. It’s not cars and money this rich bitch wants, it’s love. And she goes about it all the wrong way, via sex, using people (and being used). She also hates cats. (Can you imagine?!)

But it’s two cats, Morticia and Pumpkin, who bring sweetness to Janey’s crass story. ❤ (And my Derick got to model with me for my author photo!)

Love Cats front and back cover

“Italian Food, Family & Community” at Haverstraw Library, New York

Published October 28, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_9004From left: Maryanne Mistretta, Carol Erickson, Mia Norrie

Thanks to the Haverstraw Library, Garnerville, New York (http://www.hkdpl.org/) for having Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta’s presentation “Italian Food, Family, and Community” on October 27.

Special guests were songstress Carol Erickson performing tunes by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra; and Mia Norrie singing Italian opera favorites.

Italian American Food, Family and Community

Between 1820 and 2004, about 5.5 million Italians immigrated to the United States. Italian women who arrived during the massive immigration period had to quickly adapt to new and unfamiliar social and economic conditions. Learn how, during that time frame, Italian women placed highest priority on family, remaining strong while adapting to new circumstances and used their home-based economic skills in order to avoid factory work.

Also discover how in the second half of the 20th century Italian American women excelled in practically all fields such as politics, television, health and more. And how today, even though many Italian Americans have inter-married within other ethnic groups, they kept a sense of their culture including Italian food, drink, art, and above all, family commitment – all of which has made its way into American culture.

To book this program for your library, senior group, rotary club, etc., contact Maryanne for pricing and availability at: MaryanneChristiano@gmail.com

Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, New York

Published October 25, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8921Horse Feathers restaurant

The last time my husband and I were in Tarrytown, New York, was October, 2011, just a month before our wedding day, November 9, 2011. In fact, it was a cute little boutique where I got my wedding dress!

Tarrytown is one of our favorite places, especially in October, because it’s so beautiful! We always make a double trip to see Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. And it was so cool going back, now as a married couple! ❤

Our first stop is always to grab a lunch at Horsefeathers: http://www.horsefeathersny.com/

Following lunch I was thrilled to find Trilogy Consignment on the other side of the street: http://www.consigntrilogy.com/

I found a few cool pieces in there, but what really impressed me was the positive body image messages taped on the walls of the dressing room. That great vibe will definitely have me shopping there again during our next visit.

Next stop was the incredible Dutch Cemetery, where we saw the Headless Horseman!

SAM_8963Headless Horseman

SAM_8950View of Headless Horseman from inside church window

SAM_8953Headless Horseman

SAM_8970Such a beautiful horse

We found a cozy spot in the cemetery to sip on mead wine and pumpkin ale and enjoying the gorgeous weather. Then we went into town for some more shopping.

SAM_8989Me in my funky, snuggly new hat!

SAM_9002We caught the full moon!

SAM_8995Heading home over the Tappan Zee Bridge

SAM_8998Twilight at Tappan Zee

And that concludes another beautiful day!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available in Kindle and print on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Raise-a-Girl Non-Profit Organization

Published October 24, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8887Left, founder Mildred Volcy and Maryanne Mistretta

It was such an honor to volunteer as a speaker with the non-profit organization Raise-a-Girl, founded by Mildrene Volcy, and empower young girls!

SAM_8894Maryanne Mistretta

For more information on Raise A Girl, visit: https://twitter.com/RaiseAGirl

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and public speaker. Her book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” has a strong anti-bullying message (though recommended reading with parental guidance). “On the Guest List” is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

To book Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for a speaking engagement, contact her at: MaryanneChristiano@Gmail.com

I Don’t Wear Yoga Pants

Published October 22, 2015 by Maryanne

bullshit

Ages ago, it was really cool to be spiritual … when no one else was.

I secretly studied the works of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky with a mentor. The catch metaphysics phrase of the 1980s was “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” And sure enough, at the age of 24, I met a man twice my age (though so wise he seemed even three times my age). We studied together intensely for eight months. During this time I stopped drinking, stopped clubbing, didn’t watch television and read over 100 books about various sources of spirituality including: Teachings of the Far East, Finding of the Third Eye, The Aquarian Christ, and Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson.

Back then this knowledge was sacred. I covered my books in brown paper bags so no one would know what I was reading. I entered a journey beyond this world. It was a true blessing.

Then a few years later, I found Jesus Christ and became a Christian. Even knowing all this esoteric knowledge, I felt the strongest connection to Jesus. Nevertheless, unlike the stereotype Christian, I still drew from my knowledge of other cultures and religions and the really deep stuff like Gurdjieff. In 1989 I coined the phrase “spirit whore” meaning I was all over the place spiritually. I liked that a lot. Being non-committing and feeling safe in any place of worship.

Fast forward to the modern world. It’s no longer the 1980s and thanks to Oprah, the sacredness of spirituality has been brought to the masses. That would be fine, as it is the Age of Aquarius and people should know this stuff. HOWEVER … it’s a shame that Jesus Christ isn’t acknowledged in the mix. It’s cool to be anything but a Christian. So this is what these modern day new-agers use as a way to one-up: “I’m so worldly, I’m so spiritual, I’m better than you because you’re JUST A CHRISTIAN.”

It’s become a sad hip phrase for middle-aged women to make it KNOWN: “I’m spiritual, not religious.” It’s an ugly mantra I’ve been enduring for the past several years — said more and more frequently.

The “I’m spiritual, not religious” sing song haunts me as I try to sleep at night, so much so that I swear it must be a chant to bring satan out of hiding. It’s like chalk on a blackboard, just a pathetic way of saying, “I’m better than you.” URGH, how it makes me cringe! So much so that I’ve come up with the snarky phrase that I’m sharing all over social media:

“Spiritual not religious” gives middle-aged hipster women something else to do
… besides Whole Foods and Botox.
When something that was once beautiful has become so blown out of proportion that people are using it as a way to seem hip and condescending — I’m sorry, it’s not spiritual.
Perhaps these “spiritual” criers should seek out religion, if not for anything else, for balance.
They are too ignorant to realize that they are behaving the same as the holier than thou super-saved Christians who believe in a monstrous god who damns everyone to hell.
maryanne backI don’t wear yoga pants
But they are worse. They are disguised in designer clothing, yoga pants, botox, and hair straighteners. A new vision of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Modern new-agers are just as judgmental as super-saved Christians. And that ain’t nothing special.

 

Don’t Ever Friend a “Fan”

Published October 22, 2015 by Maryanne

Selena's MurderFan murdered superstar Selena

A year ago when I published my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) it was suggested by an author friend that I start a Facebook page. Over the years I’ve had so many problems on Facebook, I didn’t like the idea. However, I started it up once again because it did help sell a lot of books. Then once I started doing book signings, “strangers” started coming to my events and “friending” me on Facebook. I had a very hard time using the word “fans.” It sounded so … so … so old and weird, like I was Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and the “little people” were peons buying my product.

Weirded out by “fan” I started calling those who brought my book, my “beloved readers.” It sounded more endearing than “fans.” But deep down, I wanted my readers to really be friends. They were buying my books and I felt I owed them my life. Dumb move. Making friends with fans is the biggest mistake any author, artist, actor, or musician can ever do. Fans are not friends.

Take the extreme case of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, singer, songwriter, fashion designer who was murdered by a crazed fan. Her family told Selena she was too trusting. And her murderer confessed she killed Selena because she was jealous.

I too, was told all my life that I was too trusting. I’m friendly and personable and make friends very easily. Only to get stabbed in the back over and over again. I’m honest. I’m sweet. And I’m vulnerable. Twice in this past week I was told I was “too nice.”

I said to my husband, “I need to harden up.”

He said, “No, being sweet is what makes you special. You just have to remember, these people are not your friends.”

I’ve learned (the hard way) there’s a place for fans — in the audience. Do not exchange phone numbers. Do not friend them on Facebook. Do not let them take you out to dinner. Do not meet them for lunch. If they give you a gift, kindly accept it.

Learn how to be a respected author because you paid your dues in getting there. There is no shame in calling someone a “fan.” You earned the right to say that. You don’t always have to be so humble. Humble means people will take advantage.

As much as we’d like to believe everyone is equal, we are not.

Let’s be real. We’re not in the same league as Oscar winners and rock stars. And on that same note, our fans are not in our league either. Even if we’re just doing book signings in libraries in front of a small audience and getting royalty checks every few months, it’s a helluva lot more than most people are doing and that will provoke jealousy (the root of all evil).

People can be very nice to your face and stab you in the back. They might be excited and honored to be your friend at first. They may introduce you as their “author friend.” They may put great reviews of your product on Amazon. They may come to your events and tell you how beautiful you are. This doesn’t make them a “friend.” It’s like the old saying, “Easy come, easy go.” When people put you up on a pedestal, they’ll be the first to knock you down when they find out you’re human.

Or as the ego always dictates, they’ll knock you down when they find out you disagree with them politically, or spiritually, or even if you eat meat and they don’t.

We live in a crazy ego-driven world; people are control freaks and users. People only love you when it’s working to their advantage. Everyone loved the All American Ricky Nelson until he grew his hair long. That is what his song “Garden Party” is about — not pleasing others. Others don’t want you to have an  opinion of your own. If it doesn’t match theirs, you’ll have hell to pay.

I won’t get into the ugly side of being an author because some fans are so vain they’ll probably think this blog is about them. So let’s just say nasty people are good at it because that’s where their heart is — in a nasty place. If only that energy was directed into doing something creative, they’d be the ones signing autographs too. But they’re not … so the smoke starts coming out of the noses and the eyes turn green with envy.

Though I take my chances in writing this to: #1 bring awareness, as you’ll never know who you are helping (hence my “Why Are Women Catty?” blog I wrote several years ago and is still getting a ton of “hits”); and #2, blow steam. I believe a good vent, even if it’s cryptic, is very healthy. This is why I am 52-years-old and have a beautiful head of natural shiny chestnut brown hair — not dyed! (And this is where people say, “Get the fuck out of here!” and can’t believe it. But, yeah, I don’t lie. I’m honest to a fault!)

But back to keeping fans in their place … This is why my husband advises: “Stick with your peers.”

Those peers are my true friends who I can fight and disagree with, but who will never, ever really hurt me. Those peers are also the super cool acquaintances I’ve made in the creative world — the deejays who will have me on their radio shows or simply give me a shout out; my fellow authors who will surprise me with an email; the celebrities I’ve interviewed who on rare occasions drop me a line — even years after I’ve interviewed them; the librarians who book my programs; and anyone I work with in the art/music/publishing media world. That’s why I love my career so much, it’s about being with your friends and doing a little bit of work — an easy, breezy, enviable life.

So, to any new authors reading, I say, appreciate who you are and be real about it. Don’t humble yourself so much like I did that you put yourself in a vulnerable spot, set up for abuse. (Note: This is why famous celebrities on Facebook and Twitter DO NOT interact with their fans).

Have a little pride in yourself and realize that it’s OKAY to have fans and enjoy the fact that you do. Just keep them at bay. This way when you inadvertently piss them off, the worst thing they can do to you is write you a bad review. And at worst, bad reviews are pretty funny. At best, they are bad-ass because it means people are reading — and that’s just what a writer wants!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta’s second book “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513). Her former fans loved it!