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Selling “Guest List” at Montclair Street Fair

Published June 14, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4884Me, center, with Diane and Gerard Barros

Today was an absolutely PERFECT day to be out selling copies of my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” at a Montclair Street Fair.

SUPER SPECIAL THANKS to Robert Greco of Atelier Couture (http://atelier516.blogspot.com/) for letting me share a table with photographer/author/poet Robert P. Langdon (http://robertplangdon.blogspot.com/). I had a blast guys! All your friends were great too!

Thanks to:

My Pear Tree (http://www.peartreeenterprises.com/) clients Diane and Gerard Barros  (http://barrosmelody.com/) for coming out to support.

To my friends Diane and Mike McGowan — it’s always a pleasure to see them! (And if you have a copy of Guest List, Diane is in a few of my adventures!)

And to Neal Cavallo of Ladida, which has supported local artists, poets, musicians, etc. for a couple decades now. If it wasn’t for Neal’s Ladida shows, where I performed my poetry and spoken word, in the early 1990s, I would have never had the confidence to pursue a writing career! It was so great seeing Neal for the first time since the early 1990s!

SAM_4878With Robert Langdon

SAM_4879With Robert Greco

SAM_4882

The band pictured above was AMAZING!!! The best band of all three that played. They did originals and a super cover of a Smiths song. Unfortunately I did not get their name, as they were playing across the street from where I was selling. If anyone out there knows who this band is, please come forward and tell me their name!

SAM_4883A Ladida reunion with Neal Cavallo!

SAM_4887With Mike and Diane McGowan, two of my favorite people!

If anyone is interested in purchasing “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Father & Daughter Reunited After 20 Years!

Published June 9, 2014 by Maryanne

vintage-dads-day

Well, here’s an inspiring, heart-warming story for all of you — and it’s WordPress related!

I played a role in, helping a father (my friend Bob Farina, former marine and Plasmatics roadie) reconnect with his daughter, Cheyenne!

Last September I shared an excerpt from my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (before it was published) on WordPress. It was about “Over the Rainbow” a very unique health food store in Montclair owned by Bob Farina.

His daughter Cheyenne contacted me on that blog, asking if I could help her look for her dad. Cheyenne was living in North Carolina. Here’s the original blog, with her comments in the comment section: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/over-the-rainbow/

I was rummaging through an old box because I knew I had Bob’s number somewhere. I finally found a number, but it was disconnected. So I figured, as a last resort, I’d write a letter to the editor of The Montclair Times to see if anyone knew of his whereabouts. The day that it was published, I got a call THAT NIGHT from a Montclair resident who knew Bob personally. She gave me his number, I called him and he called Cheyenne that very night!

You can read the full story here: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/going-over-the-rainbow-1.1031461?page=all

Get your tissues out, you will definitely get teary eyed!

 

Saturday = Friendship Day!

Published March 8, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3725Linda and me!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been putting almost every Saturday aside to lunch with a friend. Had a wonderful time today with fellow vegetarian Linda! Lunch, shopping and a walk in the park. I love Saturdays.

Like all my friends, Linda is one of the most positive people I know! Definitely a five-star day!

New Jersey has been having a helluva winter … colder than usual and one snow storm after another. But today it was warm enough for a cute jacket.

SAM_3729Anderson Park, Montclair, New Jersey

Over the Rainbow

Published September 17, 2013 by Maryanne

over the rainbowSomewhere Over the Rainbow

An excerpt from my upcoming book, “On the Guest List”

Working in Montclair I soon discovered a unique health food store called Over the Rainbow – not to be confused with the nursery school of the same name.

Turned out, the owner, Bob Farina, was an old acquaintance, the Plasmatics fan. He didn’t remember me, even though I showed him some pictures of me as a teenager, over 20 years ago. I was now 38, but Bob thought I was only 24 so he had a hard time putting two and two together.

Bob Farina and his assistant Andy Loria were the salt of the earth. They kept their prices very low, which was unheard of in Montclair. They also fed the homeless and always sold cheap clothes for the homeless.

Over the Rainbow was like a shrine to the Plasmatics. Pictures of the late Wendy O. Williams, who died in 1998 due to a self-inflicted gun wound, were all over the place, including a copy of The Vegetarian Times, when Wendy O. was on the cover.

Bob shared with me that Wendy O. was the reason he got into health and she inspired him to open his store. Bob knew Wendy very well because he was not only known as the biggest Plasmatics fan, but he also did pyrotechnics for their live performances.

In addition to having all the Plasmatics memorabilia, Bob ran cool videos of movies such “The Wizard of Oz” and Laurel and Hardy flicks such as “March of the Wooden Soldiers” throughout the day. Bob also allowed a homeless woman to stay in his store during the cold winter months. He even set up a table and chair for her in the window store front.

It was so cool going to this bizarre punk rock luncheonette on a regular basis. This was something you just didn’t see – not even in New York City!

I decided it was a “must” to write an article about Bob Farina and Over the Rainbow for The Montclair Times. After my article was published, Bob offered me free lunches every day as a thank-you. I only accepted once. I wouldn’t possibly take another free lunch from a struggling business that often fed the homeless!

Bob said he loved the article, that it was well-written and accurate. “I’ll cherish the article,” he added.

I was honored.

I spent so much time at Over the Rainbow that Bob started ordering me around as if I worked there. It was hilarious! If it wasn’t, “Mare get the phone!” it was me teaching customers how to prepare seaweed, or putting napkins on the table. I would have loved to officially work there part-time if they were thriving as a business, but sadly they weren’t.

Within a year, Over the Rainbow went out of business.

I think the problem with Bob, as a business man, was that he was too honest, selling everything at cost. I brought shampoo there for $3 that would have cost $9 in another store.

After “Over the Rainbow” closed, I cringed at the thought of what stuffy, over-priced ugly “upscale” clothing store would replace the old spot.

I almost cried as I shook hands with Bob and Andy and said “good-bye.”

It was the end of something special, devastating, really. And I wondered, Where will the homeless lady go to eat now?

Hunger Construction

Published June 19, 2013 by Maryanne

Hunger ConstructionI just saw a genius concept — a lunch truck with healthy options!

Hunger Construction (http://hungerconstruction.com/) was parked outside of the Montclair Public Library. The sign that said “VEGAN OPTIONS” caught my eye such as seasonal vegetables and bean dishes. Sweet potato ice cream sounded interesting too.

I didn’t try anything, but I think this is a terrific idea, especially for ball games and outdoor events, because usually the only vegetarian choice is a pretzel and options are always a good thing.

Kudos to these guys for thinking of us vegetarians!

Darlene Foster’s Work at Montclair Art Museum

Published June 8, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1169Me by one of the photos I modeled for in 2010

SAM_1163Darlene and her hunny, Tommy

Always a pleasure to see Darlene and Tommy!

Here are links to my favorite artists from the show today:

#1 Darlene Foster (http://www.darlenefoster.com/)

#2 Rita Flores (http://ritaflores.wordpress.com/)

# 3 Dave Dziemian (http://www.davedziemian.com/)

The show at the museum will still be going on tomorrow if anyone from NJ wants to check it out!

All work is available for under $500!

Montclair Museum Event Celebrates Paterson’s ‘Past and Future’

Published April 29, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0731Paterson national park superintendent Darren Boch (left)

with Leonard Zax, president of the Hamilton Partnership

Yesterday I had the pleasure of covering this amazing event at Montclair Museum: http://www.northjersey.com/montclair/Montclair_Museum_event_celebrates_Patersons_Past_and_Future.html

So cool that my former hometown, Montclair, had a featured event on the town I was born in, Paterson!

SAM_0725One of the Paterson inspired pieces by Oscar Bluemner

I honestly wish I had better pictures to post. The event was at a weird time from 12 to 1:30, so I was very hungry for lunch and couldn’t wait to get to Veggie Heaven. Luckily Montclair Museum had healthy Terra chips to hold me over!

All in all, it was a great, gorgeous day! Spring has sprung in New Jersey.

Letter to the Editor, re: Wreckless Driving

Published February 15, 2013 by Maryanne

Letter to the Editor

I wanted to share with all of you a letter I just had published in The Montclair Times: http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/191157581_Letter_to_the_Editor__There_s_no_hurry_that_s_worth_the_worry.html

I’m so glad this was published because maybe SOME DAY people will get behind the wheel and think of other people besides themselves and how fast they want to get somewhere.

It was bad enough being a witness to the crazy driver in a school zone, but I know, in my heart, if I EVER had to be a witness to someone hurting a child, it would probably be the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

PLEASE THINK TWICE ABOUT SPEEDING/CUTTING PEOPLE OFF/DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD/NOT LETTING PEDESTRIANS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY/MAKING YOUR OWN ROAD RULES

ESPECIALLY IN A SCHOOL ZONE!!!!

child traffic

I’m Cited in Wikipedia As a Reference!

Published November 20, 2012 by Maryanne

A professional writer since 1995, so many people ask me what is it like having my name in print.

By now, you’d like I’d be used to it, and I kinda am, but sometimes things just pop up in my writing career that really get me excited. Like when The Aquarian/Arts Weekly got into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — EVERY SINGLE ISSUE is in the Hall of Fame, which means many issues with interviews I did with amazing musicians, my CD reviews, and even though I modeled for a guitar ad at age 28 that was featured in the Aquarian in 1991, it’s the fact that my writing is in there that makes me get all giddy!

So just a few minutes ago, I was researching something that I wanted to write about on my Maryanne’s Jukebox blog page and I came across this page in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Montclair,_New_Jersey

It’s a List of famous people from Montclair.

And since I wrote for the Montclair Times for seven years, I interviewed a ton of famous Montclairians. But in this particular reference, they mention my article with musician Ty Taylor from 2005. (See reference citation #102). Unfortunately the website was changed after I left the newspaper and many articles no longer exist on the world wide web. But anyone who is feeling ambitious can always go to the Montclair Public Library where they archive all the issues back to the 1800s and they can be viewed on microfilm. (Which reminds me, I used to write a column for The Montclair Times called “Looking Backward” where I’d go view the old newspapers on microfilm and pick out the top stories from 100 years ago today, 75 years ago today, etc. It was a very rewarding thing to get paid for, let me tell you!)

There are so many fine talents who live or lived in Montclair, New Jersey, this list should definitely be more extensive and maybe eventually it will be. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five or 10 more that I’ve interviewed that should be in there.

But, needless to say, seeing my name on this massive list made me very happy this morning!

So, as I once saw on a Lou Christie shirt  …. “Google me!”

A Sauce To Die For!

Published July 14, 2012 by Maryanne

The following is an article I wrote, published in The Montclair Times, January 11, 2006, after I interviewed Sopranos actor, Joseph R. Gannascoli, who had created an all natural Italian pasta sauce.

Quite a few people got a kick out of the fact that Gannascoli admitted to me — a reporter — that he was a food fence!

I asked him, “Is this ON THE RECORD?”

He said, “Yes.”

So, here is the full article, one of my favorites that I ever wrote — ENJOY!

The Sauce of All Sauces: ‘Sopranos’ Actor Joseph Gannascoli Creates Sauces ”To Die For’

By Mary Anne Christiano of The Montclair Times

Most chefs say their sauce is to die for, but when the chef is a gangster, he might mean it a little more literally.

Or maybe not. After all, this chef only plays a gangster on TV.

Joseph Gannascoli, who plays Vito Spatafore on “The Sopranos,” the noted series on HBO cable television, has crafted natural, additive-free sauces to be introduced in his new book “A Meal to Die For.” Both the book and the sauces made their debut on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

There are three sauces to choose from: “Roasted Garlic and Eggplant,” “Wild Mushroom” and “Sunday Sauce.” According to Gannascoli, his sauces feature ingredients, such as wild mushrooms, not often used in other sauces on the market today. The garlic in the “Roasted Garlic and Eggplant” sauce is roasted, not sautéed, which makes the taste sweeter, and there is sherry in the Sicilian “Sunday Sauce.”

Gannascoli, who recently lost 160 pounds, said he tries to eat healthy and that’s why he decided to concoct sauces without any preservatives. “I’d like to see my sauces in Trader Joe’s,” he said. “It’s a novelty.”

While the sauces start out with pretty basic ingredients, Gannascoli suggests doctoring them up. For instance, olives and capers can be added to the “Sunday Sauce” and put over fish. “If I wanted to cook mussels, I can add white wine to the ‘Sunday Sauce,'” he said. Gannascoli also suggests putting the “Wild Mushroom” sauce on pizza.

Before Gannascoli got into acting, he was a chef for 20 years. “People always loved my sauce,” he said. Leaving law school, Brooklyn-born Gannascoli decided to open up a restaurant in Manhattan.

The self-taught cook has been inventing dishes since his youth. He said, “When I was a kid I wanted to be this great chef. All cuisine is interesting, Japanese, New Orleans, Italian …”

During the 1980s and 1990s Gannascoli fulfilled his childhood dreams by opening up a few restaurants while dabbling in acting. But he said he always got bored and started gambling. After losing $60,000, Gannascoli paid off his debts and decided to pursue acting in Los Angeles. He made a few movies but couldn’t take being away from home.

“I went home, opened up a few more restaurants, didn’t gamble as much,” Gannascoli said.

Then Gannascoli got the break he was waiting for, being cast as the character Vito Spatafore in HBO’s Emmy Award-winning show, “The Sopranos.”

It’s possible that Gannascoli’s fictitious character in the show about organized crime in New Jersey lives in Montclair. “I think my home is in Montclair, or close to it,” he said. Gannascoli lives in Long Island and is not too familiar with the area.

After reading a story about a gay character involved in organized crime, Gannascoli decided he wanted his character Vito to be unique and suggested they make him come out on the show. When asked if Gannascoli’s character Vito is anything like him, he said, “No, I love women too much. I just got married!”

However, the character in Gannascoli’s book, “A Meal to Die For” is so similar to Gannascoli he says it’s almost autobiographical.

“It’s based on my life,” he said. “It’s a culinary novel of crime. I think it would make a great movie. It has food. It has the mob. It’s funny.”

The lead character, Benny Lacoco, is a “food fence” who wants to become a great chef. Lacoco moves hot items such as olive oil and expensive wine.

“I was a food fence for five or six years,” said Gannascoli. “But I never got ‘pinched’ [arrested] as they say.”

But even as a food fence, Gannascoli stayed true to his exquisite culinary tastes — if the quality wasn’t there, he said he wouldn’t sell it.

In the future, Gannascoli hopes to get into a bigger food line. He said, “Barbecue sauces, spreads, olive oils … I want to pitch my own cooking show. I want to expand and do as much as I can, while I can.”