john lennon

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“Life and Music of John Lennon” at Boonton Library, Boonton, New Jersey

Published May 7, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0016Keith Beck

Pear Tree Enterprises ( proudly presented “The Life and Music of John Lennon featuring Keith Beck (” last night at the Boonton Library

“The Life and Music of John Lennon” consists of a half hour biography presented by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, proprietor of Pear Tree. The bio is written so that audience members can join in and share their memories of John Lennon. The bio is followed by a half hour of live music by Keith Beck. Songs included: “Across the Universe,” “Imagine,” and “Oh Yoko” to name a few.

You Tube video from presentation:

Thanks so much to Stephanie Gabelmann for having Pear Tree come for the third time!

This presentation is available to libraries, assisted living facilities, senior groups, and more! For pricing and availability, contact Maryanne at:

SAM_0011Maryanne (left), Keith Beck (center) and Stephanie Gabelmann (library director)

“The Life and Music of John Lennon” at Roseville Manor, Newark

Published April 13, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9920Maryanne Mistretta and musician Keith Beck with Roseville Manor resident

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Pear Tree Enterprises ( presented “The Life and Music of John Lennon” which featured Keith Beck (

The presentation was fantastic as Keith rocked the house with John Lennon favorites including, “Oh Yoko,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Stand By Me,” and “Imagine.”

Now, perfect example of how healing music is — a room full of people, many with dementia, yet Keith hit the stage and they were singing along. At the end they were all screaming, “Come back every week!” It was absolutely precious. Great audience and a totally rewarding experience!! Keith is an awesome musician, gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes!

One resident was a huge Beatles fan and said she saw them back in the day! Lucky her!

Thanks so much to activities director, Amanda, for having us!

SAM_9921Maryanne with Amanda, Roseville Manor activities director

“The Life and Music of John Lennon” presentation is a half hour biography on John Lennon, followed by live music.

To book this presentation at your library, senior center, assisted living facility, rotary club, Jewish Community Center, etc. contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for pricing and availability at

“Danny Collins” Starring Al Pacino

Published April 19, 2015 by Maryanne

ImaginedPhoto swiped from movie promo

My husband and I ventured out to see “Danny Collins,” a movie we both waited several weeks to come to the theater. We both love Al Pacino. Actually, I just discovered him recently when I watched “Dog Day Afternoon” for the very first time (yeah, late bloomer in everything, including movies).

Al Pacino is a fabulous actor. He’s just got it all, looks, charm, natural humor. In the role of Danny Collins, he’s an aging superstar musician who has it all. Even at this stage of the game he’s singing to a packed house of adoring fans. (And, hey, Al Pacino can sing! The “hit” song “Sweet Baby Doll” is still stuck in my head). And at this stage of the game, along with the rock ‘n’ roll, sex and drugs are still a big part of Danny’s life.

It’s during a surprise birthday bash, when his friend/manager/confidante Frank Grubman (played by Christopher Plummer) gives him a gift — an undelivered John Lennon wrote to Danny Collins 40 years ago. Right then and there Danny starts reflecting on his life and thinking about making major changes. And the real push comes when he catches his girlfriend Sophie (Katarina Cas), who is supposed to be more than half his age, cheating. Though, ever the class act, Danny appears okay with it, encourages them to go back to what they were doing and that he’s leaving town indefinitely.

Danny goes out to find his grown son — who he never met (played by Bobby Cannavale) and lives in New Jersey. Danny checks into a hotel and makes it a temporary home — going as far as bringing a Steinway piano into the small room.

Immediately Danny starts falling for the hotel manager, Mary Sinclair, played by the ever beautiful Annette Bening. Mary is a younger woman, but closer to age-appropriate than Sophie was.

Mary is friendly, but not too impressed with Danny’s star status. She does note that her ex-husband was a big fan. Eventually they develop a strong friendship and Danny plans on making her his new girl.

Within a few days, Danny finds his son. His son is named Tom Donnelly. He took his mother’s name, for Danny was never in the picture. Tom Donnelly’s wife Samantha is played by Jennifer Garner. And Giselle Eisenberg is absolutely scrumptious as their little girl, Hope. Like her granddad, she can sing!

Danny tries to make up for lost time, but Tom won’t have it. Danny insists and even gets his granddaughter Hope into a school for children with ADHD, surpassing the 6-year waiting list.

By now Tom is warming up to his dad. Hope is told that Danny is her grandfather and things seem to be going on the right track. Meanwhile Danny’s been writing new music, which is different, more mellow, showing his growth. Mary likes the new song and agrees to let Danny take her to dinner if he plays it onstage.

Danny gets a gig in a small New Jersey night club. Everyone is there — his family, Mary and even the college kids he made friends with at the hotel. It’s more intimate and personal for Danny. He gets on stage and sits down at the piano to play his new song and the crowd starts screaming for his hit “Sweet Baby Doll.”

This moment reminded me, as a big music fan, of the story of Rick Nelson and his song “Garden Party.” No one wanted to hear his new songs, they were expecting “Hello Mary Lou.” In “Garden Party” there’s a reference to John Lennon when he sings, “Yoko brought a Walrus.” And throughout “Danny Collins” there is about 80 percent John Lennon songs used. It was definitely a powerful scene as Danny freaks out and goes with “Hey, Baby Doll” instead of his new song, then goes back stage to find Sophie with her boyfriend. She refers to Danny as her sugar daddy and they all start doing coke. Meanwhile Tom, Samantha and Hope go backstage. Hope screams “Grandpa!” and runs up to him, but once Tom sees what is going on, he immediately pulls Hope away from Danny. Once again Tom decides not to be in his father’s life.

I’ll end here because I was always taught not to give the ending of a movie. But if you want to laugh AND cry, go see this!

SAM_7118Me and my husband enjoying the movie

Chapter 2 of My Music Book

Published March 26, 2013 by Maryanne

Lori BurtonLori Burton inspired me! (Photo from Google Search)

Here is chapter 2 of the music memoir I am working on. Any feedback appreciated.

CHAPTER 2 – Number 9 Dream

High school was not a fun place for me and I never got why. It wasn’t until many later years, when I started my own home-based business that I learned I am way too creative to live by any structure. And I am not a team player either.

I did my duty and got good grades in some classes like art, music theory (I, II and III), creative writing, English and child development. And got by the skin of my teeth in other areas, including gym, which is surprising because later in life I became a health advocate who exercises regularly and follows a pretty impressive health regimen.

I found it so hard to fit in with other kids. No one really interested me except a dreamy poetic soul named Sandy who I became friends with. Sandy, like me, wore satin pants to school. She once told me, “When I brought these pants I said, ‘Good-bye to Sandra Dee’” quoting from the popular movie “Grease.” Like me, Sandy was trying to find her way. But Sandy found her niche with the smart kids who wrote for the school newspaper and those who went to Bible studies; whereas I never found my niche, only a part of me could connect with any given group. I just couldn’t commit myself as others did. I was too much a free spirit.

I crossed my school days off the calendar like a prisoner counting down his jail time. I dreamed about being like the rock chicks and rock muses I saw in Rock Scene magazine. I bleached my hair blonde to look like they did – Cyrinda Foxe, Debbie Harry, Cherie Curie and Nancy Spungeon.

Needless to say, this did not fly in 1979 where suburban kids in Little Falls, New Jersey were still grasping on to the Summer of Love and thought Jim Morrison was God. All fine and good, but at the time I fancied myself a modern girl at heart and was more into The Sex Pistols (but kept my Doors records stashed away in a closet because every so often I liked hearing the song “Touch Me.”)

My room didn’t even look like the rooms of other kids – well, at least not the girls, who kept dolls on their canapé beds. The walls of my bedroom were plastered with Creem magazine covers. And my prized collection was a beautiful bookcase my mom got me, where the bottom part was large enough to fit records. My growing album collection was filling up the bookcase nicely.

Kids in school threw rocks at me because I wore a lot of eye make-up and had bleached blonde hair with the roots showing. Extremely tame compared to what rock kids eventually morphed into in years to come. Today young people have magenta hair and facial piercings, and depending on where you live, it’s socially accepted. But sad to say bullying is still a very serious issue, which no child or teen should have to endure.

Even though my musical tastes were more modern than my school mates, I did get along fine with my music theory class and spent some time hanging out with some of the guys in that class, like my friend Teddy, an easy going, laid back Dead Head who was very nice to me and allowed me into his circle, even though some of his friends didn’t get me.

Teddy had a very cool cousin, George Hall who went to another school in West Milford, but came down to visit from time to time. George and I were both very into music and became friends fast. We went to see the movie “Hair” one night and the next night George invited me over to dinner at his father’s.

His father, Warren Hall, lived in a townhouse, The Claridge House in Verona owned by his girlfriend, Lori Burton (Cicala). Lori was a famous singer and song writer. She sang back up with May Pang and John Lennon on his song, “Number 9 Dream.”

The gold record was hanging up in the dining room. She also wrote the song, “Ain’t Gonna Eat out My Heart Anymore” which was recorded by the Rascals, as well as one of my favorite bands at the time, Angel. So needless to say, I was impressed to have met her.

I got along great with Lori and she was a loyal friend to me even when not in my presence. George once told me he shared with Lori that I was having problems with other kids in school because I had bleached blonde hair and wore heavy eye make-up.

But Lori defended me and said, “So what’s a little bit of eye make-up?” Little did she know at the time her words changed my life.

While guidance counselors and the school psychiatrist felt it best that I change my image to fit in with the other students, I stuck to my guns and continued to be the “me” I felt most comfortable with.

The only time I ever looked somewhat like the other students was one Halloween when I came to school without make-up and wore jeans and a Grateful Dead t-shirt I borrowed from a girl who borrowed my clothes to be a rock chick. Everyone told me I looked pretty without make-up, but it just wasn’t me. I couldn’t wait to get back to being the real Maryanne again the next day. Back to normal. My normal.

Thank you, Lori Burton, for making me realize that everyone has their own personality and should embrace wherever they are at – at that moment.

No one should change for anyone. I’m glad I didn’t.

 By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, COPYRIGHT 2013

December 8, a legend born, a legend died

Published December 8, 2012 by Maryanne

Jim MorrisonJim Morrison, born, Dec. 8, 1943 (died July 3, 1971)

John LennonJohn Lennon, died, Dec. 8, 1980 (born Oct. 9, 1940)

Today is a bittersweet coincidence in musical history. We celebrate the birthday of the late Jim Morrison; and reflect on the death of John Lennon. Two amazing artists who contributed so much greatness to the world of music.