david bowie

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Life and Music of David Bowie at Kinnelon Library

Published September 17, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0279From left: Keith Beck, Kim Christian, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Rob Fusari

Sunday, Sep 17, Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com) presented “The Life and Music of David Bowie” at Kinnelon Library, Kinnelon, NJ.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, sole proprietor of Pear Tree, hosted the show, presenting a brief bio on David Bowie’s life, with a Q&A segment and the opportunity for audience members to share their memories of David Bowie. The audience was made up of over 50 people of all ages.

Keith Beck (www.zigmanbird.com) performed over a half hour of Bowie tunes including: Space Oddity, Andy Warhol, Ziggy Stardust, and Starman, which were extremely well received by the audience.

Then three-time Grammy winning producer, Rob Fusari (https://www.robfusari.com/) who had worked with ABC, Adam Lambert, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga … to name a few … performed his killer version of “Young Americans.”

To have this program at your library, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

We will travel! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and three time author. Her latest book, “The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

Best of 2016

Published December 29, 2016 by Maryanne

monkees-good-times

For so many people, putting “Best” and “2016” together is definitely an oxymoron, and in my world it’s no different. Personally, it was a bad year with many losses and tears. It all began with the death of David Bowie (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/rest-in-peace-to-the-prettiest-star-david-bowie/) Then my favorite cat of all time had to be put to sleep, at the age of 19 (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/rest-in-peace-derick-mommys-little-heart-6-24-96-to-4-29-16/). And finally, we said good-bye to my beloved father-in-law who passed at the age of 94 a few months ago (http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=181972211).

It was just one of those years where the “hits” just kept on coming and there’s not enough hours in the day for me to write about all of them.

Since I really don’t like to focus on negativity, let’s just say, THANK GOD for music; it’s what makes the world go ’round, and a salvation to many. Like every other year, 2016 was no worse in the music department. There were so many live performances my husband and I attended this year, including a few of his own with Rob Fusari and Pharoah. And my “Learn + Listen” series which made the cover of the Caldwell News: http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html

Lucky me, I also was blessed to write about many performances for various publications.

Whether it was outdoor concerts, or indoor venues, there was not one bad show in the lot. It’s always so hard to pick a “favorite” but as every music fan knows, there are those songs and moments that keep popping into your head, days, even weeks, after the show is over. To any musician who is reading, whether you’re mentioned here or not, if I approached you after a show, I sincerely loved your act.

That said, in my humble opinion, I’d like to present what I felt was the best on my radar this year. ENJOY!

BEST SONG/VIDEO – ROB FUSARI “Let Love Down” 

TOP THREE LIVE PERFORMANCES

1 – ROB FUSARI – The Bitter End, NYC, May 24, 2016

(“Your Trap” featuring Andrea Martin, Matt, Mario, Dennis, and The Constellations)

2 – SOUND + VISION: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE (Musical Direction: RICHARD BARONE) – Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

(“Fame” featuring Richard Barone, Jeffrey Gaines, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Nick Celeste. In other outstanding performances: Wesley Stace and Elvis Perkins)   

3 – PUNKY MEADOWS + FALLEN ANGEL BAND – B.B. Kings, NYC,  June 14, 2016

(“The Tower” featuring Punky Meadows, Danny Anniello, Chandler Mogel, Bob Pantella, Charlie Calv, Randy Gregg. Felix Robinson also performed on bass in this show)

 BEST ALBUM – THE MONKEES “GOOD TIMES” 

“She Makes Me Laugh” from The Monkees “Good Times” 

BEST VINYL – JACK WHITE “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

How cool to hear this on a record player! 

BEST MUSIC MOVIE – “LET ME DOWN HARD” 

Starring Keith Roth, DJ 95.9 The Rat “Electric Ballroom,” performs with Frankenstein 3000 and David Johansen; songwriter for Punky Meadows and so much more! 

BEST MUSIC BOOK – CARMINE APPICE “STICK IT!” 

Stick_it_book_01Honest; and in a strange way, endearing! Loved it!

And, again, because some things have to be said more than once, in my own little world, quite a few super cool things happened to ease the pain of the sadness, like going to see so much live music, being around amazing people, being able to write for a living — and public speaking (which includes music and health programs!) Not to mention, my incredible husband who is my rock through all the hardships and triumphs. All in all, there were two stand-outs that made this year incredible.

First I got a new kitty, Nicholas Gray; my husband and I adore our new snuggle bun! How can you not?

DSC_0137Nicholas Gray

And, thanks to Ashley Valentin-Patino, I became a professional wedding officiant, and will be marrying many more people in 2017! Speaking of “bests” Ashley’s wedding to Mitchell was not only the best of 2016, but aside from my own, I’d say the best wedding of all time!

May 2017 will bring more love, music, and happiness to the world! Grim Reaper — be gone with you!

sam_1357Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Ashley Valentin-Patino

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist, available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

To contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, write her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Sound + Vision: The Music of David Bowie

Published December 17, 2016 by Maryanne

outpost

Saturday, Dec. 16, I won tickets to see the David Bowie tribute “Sound + Vision: The Music of David Bowie” at Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, New Jersey.

The show was definitely in the Top 3 of all the performances I saw this year! I think they blew our minds. The Sound + Vision performance, which was directed by Richard Barone, was euphoric and touching. Over 20 songs were interpreted in honor of David Bowie, with almost all getting standing ovations.

My favorites:

  • Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber (BSA) opening up the first set with “Sound + Vision” — from my favorite album “Low.”
  • Followed by Wesley Stace, with Richard Barone on stylophone performing “Space Oddity.”
  • “The Man Who Sold the World” with Richard Barone and Nick Celeste
  • “Ziggy Stardust” by Richard Barone, glammed out in a red sequin jacket for the Ziggy tunes.
  • “Breaking Class” by BSA; another “Low” epic.
  • “Fame” by Jeffrey Gaines.
  • “Fashion” by BSA.
  • “Modern Love” by Wesley Stace.
  • “Lazarus” by Elvis Perkins, with Danielle Aykroyd on autoharp. From David Bowie’s last album, it was truly a tear-jerker.
  • “Heroes” by All (I counted at least 15 musicians onstage)
  • And the grand finale “Let’s Dance”

The Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber is made up of: Jared Michael Nickerson (bass); Leon Gruenbaum (keys); Ben Tyree (guitar); Trevor Holder (drums); Mikel Banks (vocals); Shelley Nichole (vocals).

And a shout out to School of Rock Montclair — warming up with Bowie hits. Standouts were “Golden Years” and “Under Pressure.”

Outpost in the Burbs posted several videos of the Sound + Vision performance on YouTube.

Sound + Vision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVE1ziiwLTg

Fame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuHruIiTMns

Ziggy Stardust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVE1ziiwLTg&t=132s

Thanks to such great talents for an epic evening. David Bowie will live forever in the hearts of both musicians and fans. This show was definitely proof of that! I truly wish they would do this show over and over again.

all

 From left: Danielle Aykroyd, Jeffrey Gaines, Mikel Banks, Shelley Nichole, Richard Barone, Elvis Perkins, Nick Celeste, and Wesley Stace (Photograph by Mair Lewandowski-Reitz)

sam_1796

Mairr (left) and I — before our mascara ran all over our faces, in memory of Bowie

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List” available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

 

Rob Fusari — The Bitter End

Published May 25, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0145Rob Fusari and Andrea Martin

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Last night Rob Fusari put on an electrifying performance at Paul Colby’s The Bitter End, on Bleecker Street, NYC.

The theme of the performance was The Beatles vs. David Bowie; with unique musical spins on both artists, as well as incredible originals in the mix. The show was put together in such a short time, Fusari joked that he didn’t even know the last names of the band members and introduced them simply as Matt (guitar), Mario (drums) and Dennis (bass). With four back-up singers known as The Constellations and special guest singer Andrea Martin, it was a surreal, five-star extravaganza — a true class act!

Songs included: “Heroes” (Bowie), “Under Pressure” (Bowie/Queen), “Young Americans” (Bowie), “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (Beatles), “Don’t Let Me Down” (Beatles), Fusari’s original “Don’t Let Love Down,” and Andrea Martin performing a gorgeous version of “Paparazzi” (which Fusari co-wrote and produced for Lady Gaga).

I can go on and on and on, but I’m purposely leaving out major musical high points of the evening, because if this particular show ever happens again, one should be surprised! ❤

A big shout-out to Paul Colby’s The Bitter End! The staff was incredibly attentive to patrons with fast and friendly service. (As a side-note, I had the honor of interviewing the late Paul Colby in his Montclair home over a decade ago before his passing. I have an autographed copy of his book, “Hanging Out in America’s Nightclub” in my collection. )

For more information on Rob Fusari, visit: http://robfusari.com/

For more information on Andrea Martin visit: http://rocnation.com/artists/andrea-martin-2/

For more information on The Bitter End, visit: http://www.bitterend.com/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Missing Grandma As I Mourn the Death of Bowie

Published January 16, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_5579Me with Grandma, 1994

Monday started off with the biggest dark cloud ever when we learned of the death of David Bowie. Something so traumatic always brings me back to the most important person I ever lost — my grandmother. She would have understood the pain of the loss, that all of us are feeling. Yes, ALL of us.
That’s why grandmothers are much more special than grandfathers will ever be. It’s just that old, yin energy that makes an old or old(er) woman so incredibly special.  Grandmothers know how to comfort. She was there for me when Freddie Mercury died. She was a good listener. A skill so many lack.
She listened to me. And she would have listened to YOU too! So many of my friends always remind me of sharing a late night cup of coffee with Grandma.
We were so blessed not only to be living during a time when David Bowie could be our muse, but more so that the world knew greatness and made him famous so everyone (those with good taste) could learn of his art.
My grandmother wasn’t famous, but that funeral home was jam-packed when she died. And I am so lucky I was one of God’s chosen people to be blood-related to her. The night before David Bowie died, Grandma came to me in a dream and said, “Hold me.” I was freaking out wondering what that dream meant, until I realized she wanted to comfort me over the loss of David Bowie.
❤ Missing you more than ever, Grandma. And thank you! ❤

Rest in Peace to The Prettiest Star, David Bowie

Published January 11, 2016 by Maryanne

David Bowie - Mick RockDavid Bowie photograph by Mick Rock

My Monday started off beautifully. Really cool comments and emails from great people. Then I found out that falsely accused Coyote Shivers was finally out of jail! And more than thrilled that the magazine I’ve been acting as managing editor for during the past few months is closing this week and our first issue will be out February!

Then I heard the news. It was mentioned in a Mick Karn tribute group that David Bowie was dead at the age of 69. My heart dropped and I had no energy to read anything other than to find out what happened … cancer.

How could this be? The news was kept secret from the press. He just put out a new album. And just a few days ago it was his 69th birthday. My husband and I celebrated by watching the Ziggy Stardust concert.

My husband heard me crying, as my office is next to our bedroom. “David Bowie died,” I said as I cried in his arms. As I am sure many are crying today. David Bowie was an icon to most of us, in our youth. When I was first aware of him, I was probably around 12, reading Creem and Circus magazines. I started buying his records. My all time favorite was “Low” produced by Brian Eno.

In 1984 I saw David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight Tour, 10th row center at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time I spent a crazy amount of money on a ticket. I even got one of the moon balloons, as the show ended with hundreds of them flying over Madison Square Garden.

Around that same time I saw Iggy Pop perform at The Ritz. I don’t remember if it was before or after the show, but I was walking to the upstairs bar and heard a loud voice, “EVERYBODY MOVE TO THE RIGHT!”

I was scared. I thought someone was hurt. But the voice came from a bodyguard who was accompanying David Bowie down the stairs. The legend walked right past me and I was close enough to see his two different sized pupils in his eyes.

In 1987 I saw David Bowie perform again; the Glass Spider Tour, this time in what was once called Giant’s Stadium in New Jersey.

I had tickets to see David Bowie in 1998, at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC, but he had laryngitis and canceled the show. I didn’t know until I got there, so I took a cab ride downtown to see Shane McGowan perform instead.

I loved Bowie’s movies too, “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “The Hunger,” and “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” were my favorites.

Almost everyone I know has a story about meeting David Bowie. All the stories are either heartfelt or ridiculously funny. I never met him, but he seemed to be an incredibly kind man with a great sense of humor.

One year prior to her death, I interviewed Cyrinda Foxe, who dated David Bowie while he was with his first wife, Angie. She was in his Jean Genie video. And he was very supportive of her when she had brain cancer, telling her she had to have a “good wig” and making her laugh. Cyrinda spoke to me about Bowie in this interview: http://www.punkmagazine.com/stuff/morestuff/cyrinda_foxe.html

My heart goes out to every Bowie fan out there … this is a very tough day in the music world, indeed.

SAM_9492My moon balloon from David Bowie’s “Serious Moonlight Tour”

 Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are!

Published July 3, 2015 by Maryanne

records 2The best girls are diehard music fans!

Big truth here (and what my husband says makes me special ♥).

Whenever there’s an event, other wives/girlfriends run off to smoke a cigarette, take selfies in the bathroom, check their smart phones …. whatever! But I’m happy being left behind with my very good looking husband and all the other guys talking about MUSIC!

An interesting stereotype right? But 90 percent of the time it is true.

I’ve been a diehard music fan since I was a kid. (It’s all documented in my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X). And from day one, it was apparent that girls weren’t as interested in music as I was. One of my touchy little girlfriends scolded me saying I talked about Freddie Mercury too much. My mom said she was right.

I felt defeated until I realized, that’s exactly the kind of girl a guy likes — one who knows music. And for that very reason, I always had more guy friends than girlfriends. A guy once said to me, “Every girl wants to be told she’s different. But you … you’re really different!”

I wrote about this on Face Book yesterday and surprisingly, I got the “thumbs up” from quite a few of my female friends! It lead to an hour long conversation from one girl I was friends with in the 1990s. We took a walk down memory lane discussing all the bands we saw together and then shared the highlights of some of our favorites that we saw in later years. It was the most fun I had on Face Book in ages and I don’t see something like that happening again soon, as females bonding over music is rare. This is why, in my second book, “Love Cats” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/) I had two girlfriends, Janey and Valerie, being big music fans.  This way, the book could be more attractive to male readers who normally wouldn’t read chick lit.

Actor Scott Schiaffo, best known for his role as the Chewlies Man in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” endorsed “Love Cats” saying, “Maryanne’s zeal for life and passion for creativity shines through in all of her work. Here in her first book of fiction she gives us multidimensional characters mitigating love and growing pains as they manicure their pop culture lifestyle at the tail end of the ’80s. It’s romance — Gen X style! I could not get enough of Janey and Beck.”

I was thrilled that Scott enjoyed my little romance novel. Of course with so many musical references you can’t go wrong when it comes to hip guys from the Gen X generation! And that’s just it … guys who are big music freaks really are the best guys. I always found musicians and music fans to be the deepest, smartest, funniest, dedicated and most honest. Sure, there are some that fit the stereotype of being cheaters and assholes, but there’s definitely more that are not. In our circle, all the musicians and music lovers are super guys that anyone would enjoy being around. Hey, maybe that’s why I don’t mind being left at bar with them!

So, ladies, perhaps I can inspire you … when your group runs off to wherever for whatever, why not stay behind? That’s where all the fun is!

Now enjoy some cool tunes: