All posts for the month August, 2016

The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Ron Dante at Jonathan Dayton High, Springfield, NJ

Published August 17, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0928Ron Dante

Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, Jonathan Dayton High School, Springfield, New Jersey, hosted a five-star musical extravaganza featuring The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Ron Dante.

The Rip Chords ( — starring Richie Rotkin, Arnie Marcus, Mitch Schecter, Amy Lynne, Tony Tuttle, Mike Kelly and Randy Dance — were first up and wowed the audience with their classic surf/hot rod sounds. They performed their hits “Hey Little Cobra,” and “409” as well as a bunch of tunes from other artists of their era including a stand-out performance of Amy Lynne singing “Vacation.”

Original member Richie Rotkin was an exciting front man, showing off his groovin’ dance moves and later going into the audience shaking hands with fans. All members played instruments exclusive to the era, including the amps, creating an authentic sound.

Next up was The 1910 Fruitgum Company ( with line-up: Frank Jeckell (original guitarist), Mick Mansueto, Glenn Lewis, Bob Brescia, and Keith Crane.

This is one of my favorite live bands of all-time. I started seeing them about 15 years ago when they first reunited and still had original  drummer Floyd Marcus in the band at Tierney’s in Montclair, New Jersey. Since then, I must have seen them at least 10 more times and it never gets old. I had their records when I was a little girl and to this day my favorite songs are “Simple Simon” and “1-2-3 Red Light” which they do at every show. Other tunes in their set include: “Kicks” and “Midnight Confessions.” This band is just so much fun and so full of life. You’ll always be greatly entertained.

Finally the legendary Ron Dante was up ( He’s best known for singing for The Archies and The Cuff Links.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company stayed onstage to back Dante up, which was a perfect fit. Last month I saw Ron Dante perform two songs at an outdoor concert before the show got rained out (though I was thrilled to dance to “Sugar Sugar” in the rain!) This time fans got to see the full show and it was amazing. In addition to “Sugar Sugar,” Dante performed his hit “Tracy,” a song that always sent chills up my spine; it’s just an adorable love song. Dante also sang some of the jingles he wrote, like the theme for Almond Joy. Finally, he brought the house down with the grand finale of “Johnny B. Good.” His vocals sounded just as pristine as the records; a true class act.

With three great acts, the night ended way too soon.

After the show all band members stuck around for a meet and greet. It was my honor to get to meet all these legends; some for the first time and others again. When you’re in the company of musicians you loved since you were a kid, it’s always fun and magic!

SAM_0938From left: Frank Jeckell, Ron Dante, Me, Mick Mansueto, and Keith Crane

Thanks to Mick for arranging this magical spur of the moment shot! 

SAM_0916Richie Rotkin and Me — He’s awesome! 

SAM_0941Two handsome fellows; my husband Dennis and Ron Dante.

Thanks Ron for signing these rarities! 

Check out their websites for upcoming shows — these acts are not to be missed! — and background information, as this is all the REAL DEAL! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon in paperback only:

And on the 8th Day God Created Friendships!

Published August 15, 2016 by Maryanne


SAM_0898Joan, Me, Darlene 

Friends are such a blessing and I never take any of mine for granted.

August is my birthday month and this lunch date was the kick-off of many celebrations to come — including two other lunch dates with friends, celebrations with my husband, and celebrations with my husband’s family.

Over the weekend it was an honor to spend time with two of my closest friends Joan and Darlene. It was extra special because it was the first time they got to meet each other!

I met Darlene shortly after I started dating my husband, as she’s the long-term girlfriend of my husband’s cousin Tommy. Darlene and I hit it off immediately. Like two peas in a pod, we’re both into music, health, and animals. She’s like a sister to me. ❤

I’ve known Joan since high school. We can’t remember exactly how we met, but it seems like we’ve always been in each others lives. She made my teenage years incredible. We went to so many concerts and dance clubs together. One of my greatest “Joan” memories is dancing with her to “Hang On To Yourself” by David Bowie at the now defunct Aldo’s Hideaway, in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. That is our song. ❤

I love both of my ladies very much! ❤

This weekend Joan surprised me with a beautiful poem she wrote about our friendship. She gave me the A-OK to type it up into this blog.


Dear Maryanne,

A friendship’s memories are like the waves of the ocean coming in and washing over you.

The thoughts of innocent times, dancing and listening to music from so long ago seem like a dream.

Yearning to spend every moment with each other was the most important thing.

Not knowing what life had in store allowed us to be free, excited and limitless.

If I could go back in time and be that 17-year-old girl again, I would want it to be with you.

Happy Blessed Birthday my Friend

Love, Joan





UjENA Swimwear, Now and Then

Published August 7, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0869Age 52

Several months ago I won a $100 gift certificate from UjENA:

I don’t know how this company slipped off my radar over the years, because their swimsuits are truly the best! I should know, I’ve been buying them since I was in my early 20s. And now, just 11 days short of 53-years-old, I’m still a fan!

The suit is comfortable, classy, and age-appropriate. Today at the beach my husband couldn’t keep his eyes off me. He kept saying, “That’s a great suit!”

You too can be the belle of the beach with UjENA! You deserve it! ❤

And now for a little retro action, here I am in 1986, age 22, wearing my UjENA suimsuit!

SAM_5900Age 22

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions:

The British Invaded Mendham on July Fourth Weekend

Published August 3, 2016 by Maryanne

carnaby streetCarnaby Street

This article originally appeared in the Mendham News. 

The British Invaded Mendham on July Fourth Weekend

By Maryanne Christiano Mistretta

It was the 1960s British Invasion all over again Sunday, June 3, when New Jersey rock outfit Carnaby Street performed at the Borough Park Gazebo in Mendham. Over 200 people, of all ages, and all areas, gathered together to enjoy Mendham’s picturesque park setting.

The band executed spot-on recollections of British artists such as Herman’s Hermits “Something Good,” The Zombies “Time of the Season,” The Kinks “Well Respected Man,” The Rolling Stones, “Out of Time,” and an epic rendition of The Who’s “See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You” which had about a dozen happy kids dancing and doing gymnastics on the well groomed lawn in front of the pergola.

After a 90 minute set, Carnaby Street ended the show with a magnificent tribute of Simon and Garfunkle’s “America” in honor of Independence Day.

“That was my favorite,” said 5-year-old Fiona Carty, enthusiastically. “It made me feel good.”

Ten-year-old Lexie Hammel added, “That was my favorite too. I liked the music and it was fun to dance.”

After the show, excitable children ran to the stage asking the band members for autographs. But this is nothing new to Carnaby Street singer and guitarist, Chris Roselle, of Bordentown, who has been playing professionally since 1982, right after he graduated high school.

His first band was The Characters. “We played in New Jersey doing covers then went to all originals,” said Roselle. “We played the Dirt Club and were on the original circuit.”

In 1986 The Characters had an opportunity to perform at the 20th Anniversary Monkees Convention, which coincided with The Monkees reunion tour – which helped skyrocket The Characters popularity. The Characters also cut an album with Chip Douglas from The Turtles, who also produced The Monkees.

Roselle officially stayed with The Characters, fronted and led by Danny Solazzi, until 1987. Today The Characters still perform regularly on the NJ club circuit, as well as at The Monkees Conventions and other retro conventions such as The Brady Bunch conventions. On occasion Roselle will resume his original post in the band to help out.

In addition to playing lead guitar/vocals in Carnaby Street, Roselle also plays lead guitar and sings with Rave On, a Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison tribute band.

Carnaby Street has been around since 1995, with Roselle joining the following year. The band is based around the British Invasion music and other artists of the 1960s. “It’s just a love for that music,” Roselle said.

In addition to Roselle, Carnaby Street is made up of Dino DiMartino of Madison, on drums and vocals; and Pete Bremy of Stanhope, on bass guitar and vocals. Chris Breetveld of Maplewood was the substitute bassist for Sunday night’s show.

Roselle’s love for music began as a child. He started out listening to old school country music like Johnny Cash and Buck Owens. “My intro to music was what my father was listening to,” he said. “Then I found Elvis and The Beatles.”

He got his first guitar at 12 and started playing with guys in the neighborhood doing Beatles songs. “Not singing,” Roselle said. “Learning the instruments.”

Roselle was raised in a musical family. His father played guitar and his mother played piano. But Roselle was the only one that took it to a professional level.

Though Roselle put out a solo project 10 years ago, he feels he’s better at interpreting other people’s songs rather than writing his own. He said, “Johnny Rivers was notorious for that; Elvis too. Not to put me on those guys’ levels. I’m not a songwriter, that’s all.”

He continued, “My purpose of doing Carnaby Street and Rave On – this is my way of carrying the torch. Even though we did a CD of Roy Orbison, I want people to listen to the original songs.”

For more information on Carnaby Street visit:

For more information on Mendham community events visit:

 Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.” Her book is available on Amazon:

Retro Raw Food Interview – 2009

Published August 3, 2016 by Maryanne


Maryanne, 2009, age 46

From 2003 to 2010, I was eating a very high raw diet. I was interviewed by Jenni for a blog in Finland. I thought it would be fun to revisit the interview and photograph. Note, I am no longer a raw foodist; just eating clean, whole foods. 

This is the English translation. 

Interview: Mary Anne

Dear readers of my blog. I had the honor and pleasure to interview an American friend of mine, Mary Anne, about raw foods and her diet.
Hello Mary Anne and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by me! First things first, please tell my readers more about yourself? Hello, my name is Mary Anne Christiano. I’m 46-years-old and living in Union County, New Jersey, USA, with my boyfriend and our kitties. I run my own home-based business editing books, doing research projects and some artist representation.

When did you first change your diet and why? I first changed my diet to high raw the summer of 2003. I had just turned 40 and wasn’t feeling right. I asked my mom how she felt in her 40s and she said, “I felt great in my 40s!” So I knew something was wrong. I kept getting sick. I had insomnia. I was too hyper and irritable. I had stomach issues.

What kind of stomach issues did you have? Constipation and stomach aches. So after intensive internet research, I decided to give up foods with artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, chemicals and also coffee, breads, pastas, and sugar. I started concentrating on a high raw food diet. Within weeks I felt better, but it took a few years to tweak the diet to perfection.

When did you become interested in raw foods and what motivated you to try the raw food diet? I think the first time I heard of raw foods was a few years earlier. It didn’t appeal to me, as I loved cooked foods: pastas, Indian foods, gourmet vegetarian food like vegetarian chili and lasagna. But I kept coming across articles and after reading all the positives, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Have you ever been 100% raw? Yes, I’ve been 100 percent raw, but not for very long. Maybe 10 or 12 days at the most.

Where did you find information about raw foods? Everything off the internet. It was hard to find raw food books and when I did, they were very expensive and most were just recipes to make with a dehydrator. I never liked dehydrated food. It was always too heavy for me. When I think of raw food, I think of a fantastic salad mixed with all sorts of goodies, or fresh fruit. The dehydrator isn’t the way to go. The only raw book I really liked anyway was “Raw Knowledge” by Paul Nison. He interviewed 25 raw foodists and they all had different approaches to the raw lifestyle.

Did you get to know other raw foodists? I’ve met quite a few, but no one I am close with. I think many of them are too fanatical about the lifestyle, making it seem cult-like.

Have you ever met any celebrity raw foodists? I’ve interviewed Carol Alt over the phone for an article. She’s definitely an inspiration because she does it her way. She’s not a vegan and she said she goes off the raw food diet during hockey season. I like the way she thinks because she keeps it real.

That’s interesting, because in Finland a lot of people automatically think think that raw food means VEGAN raw food.  Have you eaten any raw animal foods during your raw food journey and if so, what kind of products? The raw animal foods I ate were: organic raw eggs, raw fish and raw milk cheese.

Any criticism about the raw food movement in America? I find most of the criticism comes from people who don’t understand it. People would see me eating an entire pineapple and say, “Wow, you can eat all that?” Yet the same people will eat 3 or 4 slices of pizza and not think anything of it.

And the positive stuff? The positive stuff is that everything you put into your body, you get back ten-fold. I stay thin without over-exercising or counting calories. I rarely get sick anymore. I have a ton of energy. My blood work is excellent.

Tell me about Raw Food restaurants you’ve been to! Any particular restaurants you recommend for traveling Finns?  The best raw food restaurant is Pure Food and Wine in NYC. It’s pricey and you’ll get a five-star treatment. The waiters are the best. The food is absolutely amazing. They also have vegan wines and unpasteurized sake. So a great place for a celebration. They also have a nice garden you can dine in if the weather is nice. There is another raw restaurant in NYC that is cafeteria style, called Bonobos. They have durian “ice cream” (which is just pure frozen durian!)

Where do you usually shop food and why? I shop for food everywhere. It takes about five stores to buy everything I want. There is no perfect store that has everything. But I do like to support the smaller health food stores rather than supermarket chains, so I do that as much as possible.

What’s your take on vitamin supplements? I feel supplements are over-rated, but they do have a purpose. I don’t take a multi-vitamin, but rather concentrate on what I need: Vitamin D and B-12 are very important for me because I’m a vegetarian. I recently had a bone mass test and I am nowhere near having any bone loss. That is pretty impressive considering women start losing bone mass at age 35.

What are some of the strangest things you’ve eaten since you discovered raw foods Well I’m always finding bizarre fruits, but the strangest of all is one called “Monstera.” You have to wait for the fruit to shed it’s outer layer before you can eat it. It’s ugly as all hell! It looks like a prehistoric monster!

Your favorite raw food ever? Definitely the durian!

Can you tell my readers what IS durian, where do you buy it, what it tastes like and how to eat it! A durian is a fruit from Thailand. It has a spiky outside and inside it’s a pudding. It tastes like a combination of hazelnut and vanilla with a touch of garlic. It can be bought in most Asian markets.

Do you eat any of the so called superfoods and how do you eat them? I’ve tried all the super foods. I think they are over-priced and over-rated. For awhile I loved gogi berries and cacao and put them in smoothies. I got burnt on them. If I never eat another gogi berry for the rest of my life that’s fine with me!

Have you noticed raw foods changing your psychological well being? Raw foods made me more calm and patient. But prior to discovering the lifestyle I’ve always been true to who I am and happy about it.

Does diet cure everything? How important part does diet play in health and do you believe there other other aspects that are equally important? I’m not sure. Diet can help a lot, but I believe there are other factors that contribute to good health: lifestyle, environment, exercise, love, music, having pets, doing something you love for a living … But when people say things like, “Oh you eat so healthy, but you’ll probably get run over by a truck” I just laugh … Having a long life would be a bonus, but while I am here I want to feel the best I could. I’d rather feel good, not worry about my weight and have a lot of energy eating like I do than eating crappy food and feeling like I have a hangover!  I know one cancer patient who is doing extremely well with a high raw diet. She’s definitely a success story and most of her cancer cells shrunk. I wish we could hear more stories like that. But I don’t think it’s that simple. I may sound cynical, but I’ve seen too much of people really taking care of their health, yet dying way too soon!

The Raw food movement is very young in Finland and there is a growing interest in superfoods. People talk about raw cacao, coconut water, maca powder ja goji berries. What would you want to tell someone who is getting into raw foods, just starting to change their diet and eating superfoods? Any warnings or advice? My advice is one size does not fit all. The raw food lifestyle may or may not fit for you. Eating as raw as possible is good for your body, but it may or may not be good to be 100 percent raw. Listen to your body, to how you feel. Don’t be a victim of raw dogma. Also, think about what you are adding to your diet, not what you are giving up. Instead of saying, “I can’t eat sugar anymore” say, “Wow, I can try all these wonderful fruits and vegetables!” A warning would be: don’t go crazy with dried fruits. They are very bad for your teeth.

Can you describe your current diet? Currently I am eating about 60 percent raw and low acid foods. I am a vegetarian, but not vegan. For breakfast I’ll have rennetless cottage cheese with organic blueberries; and a green smoothie (mixed organic greens blended with banana and chlorella). Lunch will be a big salad mixed with lots of organic vegetables and include seaweed for good hair. Dinner will either be an entire honeydew, watermelon and maybe a sweet potato. I started adding pastas back into my diet. I’ll sometimes eat brown rice pasta or I will have a low-acid sugar or carb treat like chips or a pastry.

Any favorite recipe you want to share? I like to shred beets, garlic and carrots in a blender, then add apple cider vinegar and flaxseed oil and wrap the mixture in nori. I call this Mary Anne’s Beet Goes On Salad!

Thank you, Mary Anne, so much for this wonderful interview and may you live long and prosper!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a two-time author, award-winning journalist and a public speaker. She’s available to speak at libraries, schools, senior centers, JCC’s, etc. For availability and pricing, contact Maryanne at: 
















photos: Mary Anne Christiano’s personal archive

Interview and translation: Jenni / Hunajataivas, hunajameri

© 2009

Garden of Life – Raw Vegan Protein Powder

Published August 3, 2016 by Maryanne

Garden of Life

The other day I won a 23.4 ounce tub of raw organic protein (chocolate) from Garden of Life. It’s delicious and filling.

The product is vegan, though I am not. I like to blend it with either goat’s milk yogurt or water and two raw pastured eggs (and fresh blueberries!). This product blends so easily and there is no aftertaste.

Interesting, a few days before winning the product, I was re-reading “Patient Heal Thyself” by Jordan S. Rubin of Garden of Life. And in an effort to recharge my health regimen, I went back to eating all whole foods and feel amazing.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and author and public speaker who has a great passion for health. Her health-oriented lectures are available to libraries, senior groups, Jewish Community Centers, etc. For more information and availability, email Maryanne at: