entertainment

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Freddie Mercury, Bullied as a Young Boy

Published July 3, 2019 by Maryanne

Freddie Mercury as a BoyFarrokh Bulsara (photo found via Google Search)

The other night, my husband and I once again went to see our favorite Queen tribute band, Almost Queen (http://www.almostqueen.com/). Note that they have been around long before the successful Bohemian Rhapsody film. That said, if you’re a true Queen fan who loves the deep tracks, as well as the hits, be sure to check them out, as you will definitely hear some rare gems.

Anyway, before the show, I thought about how I’ve heard the stories of Freddie Mercury being bullied as a young boy because of his overbite. He was called a donkey by school bullies.

But did that stop him from becoming Freddie Mercury? Absolutely not.

If you’re having a hard time and being bullied, perhaps you have that special something that you can bring to the table by being YOUnique!

Check out my new video, where I speak about Almost Queen, Freddie Mercury, and how being bullied didn’t stop him from becoming a household name! (And if you like it, give me a thumbs up).

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

Youngsters Do Vinyl

Published June 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SinglesMy tattoo of the 45 rpm spindle

If I had a nickle for every middle-aged or old person who stopped me in the street and commented on my tattoo, “I bet young people don’t know what that is,” I’d have a hellavu lot of nickles. It’s almost as bad as people asking me, “How’s Gilligan?” whenever I say my name is Maryanne.

I’ve never been a fan of redundant comments, especially when they are incorrect.

Allow me to school MY generation (Generation X), and those who are slightly older (Baby Boomers)…

YOUNG PEOPLE LISTEN TO VINYL.

Yes, they do! This is not something I am making up. It’s a fact.

My husband and I are vinyl listeners and buy on a regular basis. We score records online, in record stores, and in antique/vintage shops. We always see young people buying vinyl. On Record Store Day there are more young people around to buy vinyl than older people. Young bands put out vinyl records. And they’ve been doing so for some time now.

Here’s a link to a recent article about the vinyl revival: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/millennials-are-going-nuts-for-vinyl-revival/

But I didn’t need an article to tell me that. In my line of work (writing/journalism/speaking) or even shopping for groceries, I chat with many young people who share their love for vinyl with me. Most of them get their vinyl/music passion from their cool parents. We’re living in a time where the generation gap is closer than ever. Kids are no longer at war with their parents. They bond. They do things together (especially going to concerts). So of course they share the same taste in music. That’s not surprising at all. Thanks to tribute bands, rock movies, radio stations that didn’t cave in to modern music yet, Sirius, You Tube, and many music stream stations, kids are exposed to the good stuff. Plus, there are so many bands around that emulate music from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Like all good things, you may have to dig for it, but it’s there.

Maybe 15 years ago young people disrespected parents, and older people in general. When I was in my late 30s and early 40s, I truly felt a gap from those 15, 10, and even seven years younger than me. It was uncomfortable and not fun. But young people today are the best younger generation ever. As a 50-something adult, I have to say I’ve never enjoyed talking to 20-somethings as much as I do now!

From those 30 and younger I’ve heard amazing things like:

“I’m sick of texting and considering giving up my phone.”

“Don’t underestimate me because I’m young. My parents have a record player in the basement.”

And in response to me sharing my story about oldsters commenting on my spindle tattoos, saying that young people don’t know what it is: “Of course I know what it is. How old do they thing my parents are?”

Young people checking out vinyl is also a matter of curiosity and exploration. During evolution, we have set backs, but life becomes full circle again. Young people have ears just like we do. They want to explore the sound on a record. Young people see a movie about Queen and they want more than what is just spoon-fed to them. Like it was when I was young, they want the records, they want the liner notes. It’s not just about Freddie Mercury and Queen’s greatest hits, they want to hear the deeper tracks.

For a very long time, we were experiencing a me-me-me generation. But that’s now a thing of the past too. In a month, I’ve had several young people ask me questions about my life, rather than just talk about themselves. This new generation is flipping the switch to something more positive and genuine. So why wouldn’t they listen to something more authentic like vinyl?

So, to all my middle-aged peers…

If you see someone cool in your age bracket with a 45-rpm spindle tattooed on them (and there are many — since I got mine in 1996, I’ve met at least three people with the same tattoo!) think twice before inserting foot in mouth…

  • I’m not dating myself. Young people know what a spindle is. And I predict within the next three years you’ll see young people getting spindle tattoos themselves.
  • Young people are COOL. Give them a chance and pay some attention to them!

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:

“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

 

‘Pat DiNizio Way’

Published May 5, 2018 by Maryanne

Pat DiNizio Way

Pat DiNizio Way (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Scotch Plains Township Ceremoniously Unveils ‘Pat DiNizio Way’ in Honor of Late Smithereens Frontman

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

(Artical originally appeared in Scotch Plains Monthly)

Smithereens fans, friends, family, and township officials gathered on April 17, 2018, at Montague Avenue, at the corner of Westfield Avenue, for the official Pat DiNizio Way street unveiling

Pat DiNizio, frontman for The Smithereens passed away December 12, 2017, at the age of 62. He was a proud resident of Scotch Plains.

“It’s a little bittersweet for us. Obviously, we’d rather have him than the sign,” said Paul “Paulie” J. Smith, who grew up in Scotch Plains with DiNizio. “It’s very heart warming for the town we grew up in to give him recognition. It’s emotional he’s not here anymore. Deep inside he’d feel touched and honored. He was humble, he’d be a little embarrassed about the recognition.”

Jim Babjak, Smithereens guitarist agreed. “He’d say, ‘Don’t make a big deal of it’ on one hand, but he’d be winking; Pat would be very honored.”

Babjak performed a Smithereens song, “Life is So Beautiful” prior to the street unveiling. He also gave a heartfelt speech, ending with, “He was a real trooper, he kept playing to the very end.”

Severo Jornacion, Smithereens bassist, who was able to fly in from L.A., said, “Of all places Pat lived in his life, Scotch Plains was his favorite.” He reminisced about the places in Scotch Plains that Pat took him to, like Alfonso’s Pizzeria, Stage House Tavern, and even the local Quick Check.

Band members Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros weren’t there, but Babjak read emotional messages from them, as well as a heartrending letter from DiNizio’s daughter, Elisabeth.

Musician Rick Winowksi, who played in Pat’s other band, The Scotch Plainsmen, performed a poignant song he wrote in honor of DiNizio.

Mayor Al Smith said the he “got emails from all over the country. Best thing we could do is have a street named after him.”

Township Manager Al Mirabella said, “I wish we weren’t here. I wish Pat was here. I’m glad you are here to honor Pat. Pat was a real fan of Scotch Plains and we’re a real fan of his.”

Bill King, fan and friend, said “We’re still mourning. His voice is so full of emotion reflected in his songs. One thing was evident; how much he loved his mom.”

After each speaker at the podium shared their memories of Pat, there were cheers and tears from the audience. It was truly a moving event. After the unveiling Antoinette DiNizio, Pat’s mom, made an appearance. She proudly spoke about her beloved son to the many who approached her.

Fan Frank Lima, who spearheaded the event, said, “Pat’s one of the greatest songwriters. I’m sad the whole thing had to happen. I’m glad to get the whole ball rolling. [Regarding the street naming].”

The Smithereens sold millions of records/CDs of melodic pop alternative hits like “A Girl Like You,” “Only a Memory,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” and “Blood and Roses.”

For more information on The Smithereens, visit the official website at: officialsmithereens.com.

To see original article, including more photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, visit: https://rennamedia.com/scotch-plains-township-ceremoniously-unveils-pat-dinizio-way-in-honor-of-late-smithereens-frontman/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Rebel Press: https://www.rebelpress.com/product/on-the-guest-list/

 

 

The History of Motown

Published February 11, 2018 by Maryanne

IMG_1117 (1)

From left: Audience member, Librarian Kassundra Miller, Stephen Fuller, and Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Saturday, February 10, 2018, Pear Tree Enterprises presented “The History of Motown” featuring music by Stephen Fuller.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta gave a 45 minute talk on Berry Gordy’s Motown artists, followed by live music from Stephen Fuller (https://www.fullersounds.com/).

The audience sang along and danced to artists like The Temptations and Michael Jackson.

To see when the next program is visit Pear Tree Enterprises at https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

To book this program for your school, library, or senior group, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

 

“The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury”

Published February 5, 2018 by Maryanne

Jayne's picture 1

Jayne's picture 2

Rob Fusari and Maryanne Christiano Mistretta (photos by Jayne DiGregorio)

Pear Tree’s Learn & Listen Series presented “The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury” (February 4, 2018) at Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon, New Jersey.

Maryanne, a Queen fan since the 1970s, began the presentation by talking about the life of Freddie Mercury, born in Zanzibar, an island on the East Coast of Africa; how he worked at the Kensington clothing market in England, and soon became a member of Queen; his life with Mary Austin and Jim Hutton; and his solo career.

Audience members were invited to share their memories of Queen.

Maryanne ended the “Learn” portion of the show by reciting the lyrics to the Queen song “Teo Torriatte” first in Japanese, then in English.

Then Maryanne made the audience clap to the tune of “We Will Rock You” to cheer Rob on to the stage.

Rob Fusari, three-time Grammy Award winning producer, put on an incredible performance, singing, playing keyboards, and guitar, and telling stories about each song. He performed “Radio Gaga,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are the Champions,” and “The Great Pretender.”

Rob ended the show by encouraging the audience to sing the chorus of “We Are the Champions.” The energy in the room was electrifying! The audience wanted an encore, and several audience members cheered for an original, which he did.

It was a show many will never forget! Freddie Mercury would be proud.

Jayne's picture 8.jpgRob Fusari (photo by Jayne DiGregorio)

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

For more information on Pear Tree Enterprises, visit: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

Charlie Fusari Recreates the Magic of Michael Jackson

Published January 10, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF1238Charlie Fusari

Charlie Fusari is a college student and a huge Michael Jackson fan. He expresses his admiration for Jackson through song; and truly recreates Jackson’s magic!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Charlie was a guest of Pear Tree Enterprises, and sang Jackson’s songs for the presentation, “The Life and Music of Michael Jackson” at the Elmwood Park Public Library, Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

Prior to the performance, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, presented a bio on Michael Jackson, giving the audience the opportunity to share their Michael Jackson memories and ask questions. During the lecture, Charlie wowed the audience doing Michael Jackson’s signature dance move, “The Moonwalk.”

Jackson songs performed by Charlie included: “I’ll Be There,” “Human Nature,” and “She’s Out of My Life.” Charlie ended the show belting out a heartfelt version of “Ben.”

When the show ended, the audience wanted an encore, so Charlie Fusari performed his original, “Trying to Find My Lane.”

During the performance, Charlie was assisted on keyboards by his uncle, Rob Fusari, who is a three-time Grammy Award winning producer.

DSCF1243.JPGCharlie Fusari and Rob Fusari

To hear Charlie Fusari’s music, both originals and covers, visit SoundCloud: https://m.soundcloud.com/charlie-fusari

And you can hear his single on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/trying-to-find-my-lane-single/1316307936

For more information on Pear Tree’s Learn & Listen series, visit: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

 

 

Rest in Peace, David Cassidy

Published November 22, 2017 by Maryanne

David CassidyDavid Cassidy (photo by Dennis Mistretta)

The photo above was taken by my husband when David Cassidy was shaking my hand. I’ll never forget being in the front at his concert, 2011, the first time I ever saw David perform. The women in the audience were screaming hysterically. At one point David Cassidy walked off stage because they wouldn’t stop screaming.

I didn’t scream. The little I knew about David Cassidy was that he wanted to be taken seriously as an music artist. I stood in silence, watching the show with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face.

While other women were raising their Partridge Family album covers, trying to get David’s attention, it was my husband who got David’s attention and pointed to me. David walked right over and shook my hand. We were ecstatic. We loved him and he acknowledged us.

I was too young to have a crush on David Cassidy back in the day. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s (20 some years after the Partridge Family reached it’s peak) that I realized how great he was. Not only could he sing, but he was also a phenomenal drummer. But what really made me adore David Cassidy was his book, “C’mon Get Happy.” David Cassidy was a real bad ass — my kind of person! He was funny, he was wild, and he was real. I always imagined meeting him and telling him how much I loved his book. Unfortunately that never happened.

Like other fans, and more so for fanatics, I spent the last few days shedding tears over his failing health. When I woke up this morning, my husband told me the sad news, “David Cassidy died.” We hugged each other. It’s tragic that we are now living in a world without David Cassidy. But now he is out of his suffering, may he rest in peace.

It was my husband who  totally hipped me to the musical genius of David Cassidy. He had not only Partridge Family albums, but David Cassidy solo albums. We saw David Cassidy in concert together, twice. We even visited the New Jersey home he grew up in and took photographs of each other in front of it. And shared many laughs over the jokes David Cassidy told on stage — especially about himself. He seemed like such a sweet, down to earth guy. And taken from earth way too soon.

Yesterday was our loss, and heaven’s gain. David Cassidy, We KNOW we LOVE YOU! ❤