michael nesmith

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Creative Highlights of 2021

Published December 29, 2021 by Maryanne
Maryanne and Sammy

2021 was just as crazy as 2020. The pandemic neared an end, thanks to masks and vaccines, but then another strain came in and New York City is shut down again. But over here, in a small town in New Jersey, my husband and I continue to make our own magic as we navigate life’s ups and downs.

However, in due respect to our private lives, I’ve chosen to make this year end review more about creative projects (and threw in some shows we’ve seen). Of course there is much more to a year than this, but these are definitely the highlights! ENJOY!


January started off with lots of creative energy — and pretending to be a mess.

I modeled as a health care practitioner junkie for a photography contest. I collaborated with a doctor/photographer to illustrate opioid abuse in the health industry.

I also had a role in the ZOOM presentation, “The Holiday Channel Christmas Wonderthon” which aired on The Jesse Walker Show on You Tube. My character sociopath Carol was in love with the guy in the coma.

Me, in the upper left as crazy Carol


On March 14, I spoke about Women Empowerment at a local NJ venue. Here I am photographed with organizer, Carolyn M. Gourdine.

Maryanne with Carolyn Gourdine


In May I did an Over-50 model shoot for David Esposito. This was my favorite shot.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (Un-retouched photo by David Esposito)


In June, I was thrilled to have my poem, “All About Eve” included in a Black Lives Matter art show, hosted by the West Orange Arts Council. Here’s a candid shot from the event.


July was amazing because I was assistant to The Amazing Kreskin for four days in Boxwood, Massachusetts at ComicCon. It was a blast!

Maryanne and The Amazing Kreskin


September was double the modeling fun, as I got to work with two great photographers. Over 50 has never been so much fun!

Photo of Maryanne by Jeff Danze
Photo of Maryanne by Beautiful Photo Moments


My husband and I go to see so many concerts, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But The Smithereens always deliver! I was honored to meet Marshall Crenshaw for the very first time; and Smithereens guitarist, Jim Babjak 🎸

Marshall Crenshaw and Maryanne
Maryanne and Smithereens guitarist, Jim Babjak 🎸


Earlier this year I began taking art classes. By December, I got pretty good. This is a painting I did of birch trees at dawn.

Birch tree painting by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta


Earlier this year, we lost the incredible Lori Burton. I had the honor to meet her twice when I was a teenager. She was a great talent and a wonderful human being.

We also lost, rock legend photographer, Mick Rock. I was a fan of his work since I was 12. I was honored to not only review his photography show for New York’s Westsider in the 1990s, but I also had the chance to meet him.

Mick Rock, Maryanne, and Lenny Kaye, circa 1999/2000

And finally, on a very sad note, a photo tribute I did for Michael Nesmith who we lost this year. I was lucky to see him in the original Monkees tour in the 1980s and many more Monkees shows, including his own solo show; and finally with Mickey Dolenz, just a month or so before Nesmith passed. He was a great artist, and truly my favorite Monkee.

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

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees! (NJPAC, Newark, 5-24-14)

Published May 25, 2014 by Maryanne


It was so amazing going to see the Monkees Reunion, which I saw back in 1986. (And then saw Micky Dolenz perform solo in the ’00s and also Michael Nesmith solo two winters ago).

Their tour website has some great photos, plus the set lists: http://www.monkeesconcerts.com/blog/category/2014-monkees-tour

My photos would have been so much better if I was allowed to use “flash” but we were instructed not to.

SAM_4468Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork


SAM_4521My favorite, Michael Nesmith!

Second song he sang, I was already choked up in tears! His work just moves me!

SAM_4489The excitement goes on and on and on!

SAM_4499This Monkee’s Gone To Heaven

I got extremely teary-eyed during the Davy Jones tribute, “Daydream Believer.”  RIP to a legend!

SAM_4494The whole stellar band! Some are members of Nesmith’s family. 

The second girl to the right is Coco Dolenz, Micky’s sister.

SAM_4502My husband Dennis, Me and our friend Johnny

The Monkee Mobile!

Best 13 of 2013

Published December 4, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1283Me earlier this year, at Arirang

It’s the end of 2013, and also the end of my second year as a blogger.

For those who follow me have picked up that “fun” and “positivity” are my middle names.

While this has been a trying year, as I’ve lost three very special loved ones — all in a row, I count my blessings that it’s been such a positive year as well with many new friends and amazing things happening in my career. It’s always so hard to pick “the best” but that’s the fun of it and of life itself, trying to figure it all out!

Love and blessings to all and thanks so much for your support!

1. Best Accomplishment: Definitely finishing my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.” It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and it will be published Spring 2014. I’m thrilled that so many people I highly admire are supportive of my endeavor and that I’ve received super cool endorsements from WMFU DJ Glen Jones, author/columnist Judy McGuire, and original Plasmatics drummer Stu Deutsch.

2. Most Amusing Accomplishment: I was sold! Back in Oct. 2010, I modeled a series of photographs for Darlene Foster (www.darlenefoster.com). In the past some of the postcards with my photo on them sold, but I was thrilled when a big one — “Deliverance” sold!

Darlene pic of maryanne“Deliverance” by Darlene Foster

3. My Favorite Headline: One of the hardest parts of being a journalist is writing a good headline. Most of my life during my writing career, I left that up to an editor. But I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself when I came up with “When Harry Met Sandy” for my blog about Prince Harry coming to the Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy! (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/when-harry-met-sandy/)

4. Interview of the Year: This year I’ve interviewed quite a few legends including comic David Brenner, NFL Star Eric Downing and Janis Ian. But my favorite interview was with Billy Childs of Britny Fox and Get the Led Out. That guy talked to me like he was my best friend for two hours straight! It was definitely a phone call to remember!

Billy ChildsWith Billy Childs, June 2013

5. Best Make-Up:Gabriel Cosmetics ZuZu Luxe. I love their products. You can’t beat hypoallergenic, cruelty free and a true quality product. I blogged about the goods back in May: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/love-for-gabriel-cosmetics-inc-zuzu-luxe-all-natural-no-animal-testing/

6. Best Healthy Treat: Chia Pod. Over the summer I discovered a simple, vegan, all natural treat called Chia Pod. Again, I was so excited, I just had to blog about it: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-pod/

7. Cutest Commercial: “Guess What Day It Is?” When my friend Darlene first sent me the link to the GEICO Hump Day Camel commercial I was thrilled! It was so funny I had to watch it over and over. I still get a kick out of it.

8. Best Drink: Moonstone Coconut Lemon Grass Sake, unfiltered. (By SakeOne).

9. Best Concert: I don’t know why I do this to myself, making myself pick a “best concert” every year. My husband and I must go to at least two or three concerts per month which brings us to … too many to choose! This year some of them included: The Dick Fox Doo Wop Extravaganza, Gary Numan, The Fab Faux (not once, but TWICE in one year!), The Smithereens and Gary Numan. But I have to say, Michael Nesmith at Union County Performing Arts Center tops them all. You can read all about my extraordinary experience here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/michael-nesmith-at-union-county-performing-arts-center-rahway-nj/

10. Best Tribute Band: Again, I don’t know why I do this to myself, making myself pick ONE favorite tribute band. With all the concerts I saw this year, some of the best tributes included: Abba Mania, The Fab Faux, One Night With Queen and Get the Led Out (to name a few). But I have to say, with no disrespect to the others, Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute trumps them all. Check out my blog here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/tusk-the-ultimate-fleetwood-mac-tribute-linden-new-jersey/ – and check back in a week or so, as I’ll be posting a review of their upcoming show in New Hope and an interview I did with the band a few months ago.

11. Best New Original Band: Stockton Bridge is my favorite new band this year. They are actually all the members of Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute. I was blown away when I received the CD in the mail. Every song was just super. You can go to their Face Book page and click on “Music Store” to hear them: https://www.facebook.com/stocktonbridgeband?ref=stream&filter=2

12. Best Song and Video: “Johnny Sincere” by The Deadbeat Poets. Wow, just wow! It’s that kind of song you can’t listen to just once. And it’s done so well too. I love everything about it.

13. Best Event: “Resintopia” I had the best time at plastic model kit and expo “Resintopia” this year, I’ve already penned in the date for next year! Check out my interview with founder/CEO Vincent Bordogna: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/interview-vincent-bordogna-ceofounder-of-resintopia/

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie Askew for giving it his best shot on “American Idol.” I loved Charlie and really wanted him to win.


Way too many losses this year, the public said good-bye to: Chrissie Amphlett, Ray Manzarek, Lou Reed and Senator Frank Lautenberg to name a few of my personal favorites.

And my personal losses were way too much to bear: My beloved Billy Cat, Joan Finn (my mentor and Montclair Times entertainment editor), my spiritual mentor Bayani Mendoza DeLeon (also famous musician in Philippines ), Uncle Bert and Uncle Tony.

Billy in the SkyBilly Cat, RIP

Michael Nesmith at Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway, NJ

Published April 13, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0562Famous Union County Arts Center, Rahway, New Jersey

(“School of Rock” was filmed here!)

SAM_0555Legendary Michael Nesmith (Photo by Dennis Mistretta)

Last night my husband and I enjoyed the most extraordinary evening — a performance by music legend, Michael Nesmith. We had fifth row!

Nesmith is mostly known for being in The Monkees. But what most people don’t realize is how many amazing songs he’s written for other artists and in his solo career. Two of my favorites are “Different Drum” and “Some of Shelley’s Blues,” which were recorded, beautifully, by Linda Ronstadt. And then hearing these gorgeous songs live, by the man who wrote them, was just off the hook. I got so choked up as I held back tears, I was totally moved.

He opened up with one of my other favorite Mike Nesmith songs, “Papa Gene’s Blues.” (Side note, my cat Billy likes this song. When we play it downstairs, he comes running down! So cute!) I also love “Joanne” which shows off the diversity in Nesmith’s voice, as he does some Slim Whitman type style vocals.

Also want to mention how NICE the Mike Nesmith fans were!! Everyone was talking to us. It was like one big party. People of all ages were there. Some so old, they probably saw the original Monkees back in the day! Definitely a diverse crowd and Nesmith got one standing ovation after another!

Prior to each song, Nesmith told a story about the song, painting a visual with his spoken words, which was equally as enticing as the music itself. I could have sat and listened to him tell stories all night and enjoyed it just as much!

So, I’ll shut up and let the concert speak for itself, as I found a You Tube video of the entire show, filmed a few weeks ago in Santa Cruz. The guy who filmed wasn’t as close as we were but you will get the gist.

Enjoy: Michael Nesmith in Santa Cruz, 2013

I want everyone to enjoy the original version of Joanne: Joanne

And cutie pie Michael Nesmith, when he was a young Monkee, doing “Different Drum”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDgF-A_kGVg

And here is Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys doing the song that made her famous, written by Nesmith:

Different Drum

Michael Nesmith, recording of “Some of Shelly’s Blues”: Some of Shelly’s Blues

The Monkees doing “Papa Gene’s Blues” (my cat Billy’s song): Papa Gene’s Blues

Note: Guitarist on “Papa Gene’s Blues” is James Burton — he played with Elvis!

SAM_0561Me (center) with Lauren Presley (left) and Suzi Colucci  (right) 

At the end of the show I ran into my friends Lauren and Susie from the punk rock band, “Candy Apple.” When I was a teenager I crashed a party they played at so I could meet them. Then a few years ago I met Suzi and Lauren on Face Book and  I was OFFICIALLY invited to their parties ever since! (Is that the coolest fun story or what?)

I’ll give a little shout out to them because they’re so awesome. Here’s one of their songs from Max’s Kansas reunion in 2010 at Otto’s Shrunken Head in NYC, playing their single “Stargazer” which I had a on 45 rpm record.

Stargazer – Candy Apple


My husband and our kitty, Billy

And when Dennis and I got home, we ended the evening listening to “Papa Gene’s Blues” for Billy, ’cause I love you and I know you love me!

(And as some of you know, my other cat Derick loves The Turtles). When it comes to music, my cats have GOOD TASTE!