andy kaufman

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Did You See the Movie?! Yes, But Real Life is Better!

Published July 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_2908Me, in front of Queen tour bus a few years ago

I loved the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But ever since it came out, I hesitate to wear my Queen t-shirt. Before the movie, if I wore a Queen t-shirt, true fans would speak to me about the band I loved so much since I was 12. And I’d have a conversation I’d truly enjoy; especially if fellow Queen fan was a little older than me and saw an earlier version of Queen. Or better yet, when they did the double bill with Mott the Hoople! I’m all ears to hear about that!

These days, when I wear a Queen shirt, it’s no longer about the rock band Queen, but the Hollywood movie about Queen, played by actors.

A typical conversation will go like this:

“You like Queen?”

“Yes, I saw them perform many times! Even with Freddie Mercury!”

“Did you see the movie?”

What’s wrong with that conversation? I share with you that I saw Queen perform with Freddie Mercury and you ask me if I saw the movie? I’m sorry for being a music snob, but this is just not right. A similar conversation happened regarding Elton John a few weeks ago. The song “Rocket Man” came on the radio in a store and a woman in passing said, “I love it!”

I said, “I saw him perform in concert twice. Once in Central Park, 1980; and in the ’90s at Madison Square Garden.”

I should have seen it coming…

“DID YOU SEE THE MOVIE?!”

I quickly walked away to avoid further conversation. YES, YES, YES, I SAW THE MOVIE! I thought to myself. It was a great movie! But why, all of a sudden, is a movie about an artist, played by an actor, more interesting than an live concert with that very artist performing?!  

Years ago I was working at a magazine. The vice president was an older gentleman, who happened to see Elvis Presley perform, as a warm-up act to Hank Snow! My mind was blown. I wanted details, details, details! And more details! Can you imagine seeing Elvis Presley as a warm up act?

Now imagine if I was to ask, “Did you see ‘Elvis and Me’?” What a conversation killer, right? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Don’t get me wrong, over the years I’ve seen many good movies about the lives of musicians, singers, and even criminals. But can I inspire you? Don’t stop at the movie. Instead, explore.

After I saw the movie “Man on the Moon,” I purchased anything I could get my grubby hands on about Andy Kaufman. I didn’t go around talking about the movie for months. I wanted MORE. Much more than a movie could offer. I read books written by people who knew him. I watched all the old “Taxi” shows that he was featured in. I watched Andy Kaufman in action on various television shows.

All this stuff took time to accumulate because back then it wasn’t as easy as it is today with all the internet access. Back then the internet was just taking off. Which brings me to being a young Queen fan and searching for months in the mid-1970s just to find their album Queen II in a record store. There was no Amazon back then.

But that was part of the fun! Digging for stuff about the real thing was cool. And uncovering real truths is cool. Like finding out that the REAL Mr. Arnstein wasn’t quite the charmer he was in “Funny Girl.” Like finding out the real Bonnie Parker wasn’t nearly as hot as Faye Dunaway. Like finding out the real Andy Kaufman was even more crazy than he was portrayed as in “Man on the Moon.” Like finding out the Doors concerts were much more mild than portrayed in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” movie. In fact, I was told by a person who went to a Doors concert that they were boring.

See, this is why you can’t rely on a movie alone. Movies are often Hollywood-ized. They take snippets of a life and put them into a 2.5 hour film. It’s entertaining, but it’s not the complete picture.

When I read on a Queen Facebook page that a fan saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” over 50 times since it came out last November, I cringed. Why not spend that time exploring the real work of Queen? They have a grand library of studio albums from 1973 to the time of Freddie Mercury’s death. Plus several live albums, videos, and books. My favorite is “Mercury and Me” by Jim Hutton. I loved the book so much that I reached out to Jim Hutton, via his publishing company. This was back in the 1990s, before everyone had email. I forgot I wrote the letter and about three weeks later I received a handwritten letter from Jim Hutton himself! The letter was actually a homemade card, featuring his new kitten in a Christmas tree, since he didn’t get to keep any of Freddie’s cats after Freddie passed away.

The takeaway here is, movies are all fine and good. Yes, we all love movies. Even me.

But, don’t stop there. You can start by getting out of the theaters and going to a live show. It’s fun and exciting. Explore more of a band; not just the greatest hits. Take movies with a grain of salt. See it once or twice. If you have to see it again, wait at least a year. In the meantime you can learn more from reading books, watching interviews on You Tube, and purchasing full albums or CDs, not just the songs you like. You might just surprise yourself and say, “Real life is better!”

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“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

Okay is not “okay.”

Published February 27, 2015 by Maryanne

okayWhen did society stop being cool?

Even in the 1990s we still used peace signs and said things like “jazzed.” Then fast forward to the 21st century and we’re using awkward words like “gelly” for “jealous” and “besties” for “best friend.” All this modern day baby talk makes me cringe. But the most cringe-worthy of all is those ever-so-annoying email responses that simply read “okay.” No “love” no “xxoo” no “gotcha” … just “okay” with an angry period.

Or at least the period seems angry, as a simple “okay.” is so hard to translate via email. You wonder, “Is something wrong?” “Is this person mad?”

If the person sending the email at least took an extra two seconds to add a “cool” next to the “okay” — “okay, cool!” then you see the difference, right?

“Okay” is only cute in the real world, especially when comedian Andy Kaufman used to say, “Okay? OKAY!” It should never, ever, ever be written in an email because the translation is obnoxious and condescending. It’s the equivalent to the passive/aggressive: “yes, dear” or “fine.”

Then to use words said by even more annoying types, no I am not “over-reacting” or “too sensitive” nor do you have to “walk on eggshells” around me.

I’m just an old-fashioned romantic. Someone who prefers people in general to go the extra mile. And I don’t care if you’re only typing with your thumbs. Make the effort to put “love” or “best wishes” or “hugs” or even a smiley face at the end of an email. Show the person you’re writing to that they are worth it and that you like them, so they know you’re not mad. Isn’t it so much better to imagine the person on the receiving end of an email smiling, not worrying about why you wrote back a one-word answer?

So let’s make our lingo hip again, whether it’s spoken in real life or in your email.

Okay? OKAY!

 

 

 

 

Are You Elvis Tonight?

Published February 8, 2013 by Maryanne

Elvis Hawaii

We’re having a snowstorm here in New Jersey, a cold and snuggly day and still a long way from the outdoor summer concerts my husband and I love to go to so much. Each year we always seem to catch an Elvis impersonator at these outdoor shows and they are always great. Other times we’ll actually splurge and see an Elvis impersonator at a dinner show, a concert hall, or even an local dive bar. When it comes to Elvis impersonators, the King will live on forever!

One of my favorite Word Press blogs is Pompadour (http://elvistributeartist.wordpress.com/) a tribute to Elvis impersonators.

In honor of Elvis impersonators, I’d like to bring attention to three who are real characters, but characters with a lot of substance.

ENJOY!

andy kaufman as elvis

Andy Kaufman, as Elvis

The late Andy Kaufman adored Elvis and was impersonating Elvis when he was still alive. The real Elvis Presley saw Kaufman’s act and said he was the best Elvis impersonator at the time.

Here’s a video of Andy as Elvis. If you watch this one, please watch to the very end to really get the gist of Kaufman’s humor. It’s legendary and Kaufman never fails to make me laugh and smile.

Orion Elvis ImpersonatorJimmy “Orion” Ellis

Jimmy Ellis, best known as Orion sounded just like Elvis, but as for looks, not so much, so he created a mystery by performing masked. Because he sounded so much like Elvis, some who believed that Elvis was still alive thought Orion just might be Elvis!

What I loved most about Orion was that he did some songs that Elvis never did, but he made them Elvis songs, such as “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. If Bobby Goldsboro’s version of “Honey” didn’t make you cry, Orion’s definitely will!

Sadly Orion died tragically. He was gunned down in his pawn shop in December 1998. Both Orion and his ex-wife who were working together both ended up dead.

In honor of Orion, please enjoy his gorgeous version of “Honey,” from his CD “Reborn.”

El VezEl Vez

El Vez is a kitschy Mexican American artist. He’s still alive and has about 12 albums worth of satire Elvis songs. He performs with the El Vetts ladies who are his back up singers.

Check out El Vez doing “Suspicious Minds” as “Immigration Time”‘: “Ready Steady Go”; and “Kids of America.” Sounds nothing like Elvis, looks nothing like Elvis, but a helluva lot of fun!