New Jersey

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“The Last Picture Show” at Historic Art Center

Published March 12, 2022 by Maryanne

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see the name Union County Performing Arts Center come up quite a bit. It’s a historic theatre from 1928 in Rahway, NJ. “School of Rock” filmed some scenes there.

Last night my husband and I went to see “The Last Picture Show” directed by the late Peter Bogdanovich. Filmed in 1971, and set in a small town in Texas during the early 1950s, it was a somewhat dark, coming of age movie the featured some pretty cool old country tunes.

I’ll leave the rest as a surprise for those who didn’t see it (you can Wiki the plot though), but I’d like to share a little more about the experience in itself.

Prior to entering the theatre, we were greeted by a really cool guy called Jung Wombats who played guitar for us.

Me, with Jung Wombats

When we got inside, the theatre was giving away free popcorn and coffee. There was also a bar.

Prior to the main feature, we were treated to a guy playing the Wurlitzer, which you can see on the far left in this photo:

Maryanne and Dennis

Then the lights dimmed and before “The Last Picture Show” there were no “coming attractions.” Instead there was a Popeye cartoon from 1944! It was truly a journey back in time.

We are great fans of The Union County Performing Arts Center, and hope to return real soon!

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: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos

New Jersey Winter

Published February 25, 2022 by Maryanne
Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I love New Jersey. I love that we get four seasons. Winter is not my favorite season, autumn is, but you can’t deny how beautiful the snow is.

A few weeks ago, on Valentine’s weekend my husband and I went to see a cool play, “The Wedding Singer” (you may know the movie with Adam Sandler; it’s one of my favorites). It was a cold day and when we got out of the theatre, three hours later, the wind had picked up and it was dark at 6 p.m. I declined going out for dinner and said to my husband, “Let’s just go home and snuggle!”

As we drove down to the play, earlier in the day, there were so many photo opts. The shots I have in this blog are photos I took from the car, illustrating the beauty of New Jersey in winter.

Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

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: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos

‘To Sir With Love’ and ‘Lean on Me’ — Black Educators That Made a Difference

Published February 21, 2022 by Maryanne
Sidney Poitier and cast of “To Sir With Love”

Yesterday my husband and I saw “To Sir With Love” on the big screen. It’s not only Black History Month, but yesterday was the late Sidney Poitier’s birthday. He died earlier this year, but had he lived, he would have been 95 on February 20, 2022. The movie was shown at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey. This is where portions of “School of Rock” were filmed. My husband and I attended many shows at this theatre throughout the years, including their outdoor concert series prior to the pandemic.

“To Sir With Love” deals with social and racial issues at an inner city school in London. Poitier plays teacher Mark Thackeray, who is waiting to hear about an engineering job he applied for while teaching tough high school students. The movie also features Lulu in the cast of students and also singing her hit, “To Sir With Love.” I won’t give away the rest of it, for those who haven’t seen it, but I will say, I didn’t not expect to get so choked up about it. It was a fantastic movie.

While watching the movie, I was reminded of another male, Black professional who worked in the school system and also handled students with tough love. Paterson, New Jersey principal, Joe Louis Clark. I was honored to write about Clark, not once, but twice in my writing career. First for The Paterson Press, and later on, after his death, I wrote a Joe Clark tribute for Grey Journal: https://greyjournal.net/news/joe-louis-clark-nj-principal-who-inspired-film-lean-on-me-died-age-82/

Joe Clark inspired the 1980s movie “Lean on Me” which you can read more about in my article.

While one film is fictional and another is based on a true story, you can’t deny the impact these films had on society. With one more week of Black History Month, it’s a great time to check out either movie–or both.

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: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos

Happy National Play Outside Day – February!

Published February 5, 2022 by Maryanne
Snow Heart by Mistretta
Sunset by Mistretta

These two gems were taken last year–February 2021–as this year the temperatures in New Jersey are a bit too cold to play outside. But maybe today! It will only be in the mid-to-upper 20s, but the sun is shining!

The first Saturday of each month is National Play Outside Day, to encourage us to get out and have some fun, instead of the usual winter indoor fun like being snuggly, playing with our pets, listening to records, and watching television.

One of my favorite things to do outdoors in the winter is going for long drives, looking at the clouds, and the snow that remains on bare trees. It’s such a pretty time of year in New Jersey.

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: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

My Story Featured in an Upcoming Queen Book

Published October 21, 2021 by Maryanne
The above will be featured in an upcoming book by Richard Houghton

I told the story so many times about reaching out to Jim Hutton–and that he wrote back to me. I’m excited to have this story in an upcoming book so the rest of the world can know what a great guy he was. I highly recommend “Mercury and Me” for a true perspective of the relationship between Jim Hutton and Freddie Mercury. It’s poignant and at times hilarious.

After all these years, I still cherish the card. Now you can too, this is it! The kitten’s name was Minky.

Jim Hutton’s kitten, Minky, from a Christmas card he sent me in 1996.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City, NJ

Published November 10, 2020 by Maryanne

NJ Musicians, promoting one of my favs, Debbie Harry

My husband and I recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City. It was so cool I had to give them a big shout out via a blog.

First of all, I’d like to point out that my husband and I are diehard music fans, not “Greatest Hits” types, nor music streaming types. We like to have the actual albums/CDs/tapes. (And I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I wonder how many people had Cher’s “The Way of Love” single who know the flip side “Don’t Put It On Me” was just as great? I was always about both the A-sides and the B-sides.

That said, I went expecting nothing more than a fab time with my husband. We’re a great couple who make our own fun. As we were making our way to our room (we got lost–this place is huge!) I heard Blondie music. The song “X-Offender” which was not a big hit. I was shocked, and immediately got silly and started singing. Followed by that I heard Interpol and Generation X. Bands you don’t hear too often.

I’ve been to the Hard Rock in NYC and Atlanta, and have seen so much rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, but what got me the most excited was a letter Buddy Holly wrote to his family while he was on the road, before he hit it big.

Here, you can also see Elvis’ Rolls Royce, Joan Jett’s hand-written lyrics to “Bad Reputation,” costumes worn on stage from rock and pop stars including Ann and Nancy Wilson, Prince, The Beatles, and Cher, to name a few. There’s also guitars, footwear, and other artifacts. Not to mention lots of shopping. (A side note, the Hard Rock clothing and jewelry line is incredible. Shirts/sweaters/hoodies are form-fitting, cozy, and durable. Jewelry is also well-made).

In the Cafe itself, the food was good. The only issue I had was they were playing more sports videos than music videos. It is the Hard Rock Cafe, right? But that didn’t stop my husband and I from having fun.

There’s also a pool and spa. The room we had offered a super view of the city and water. But most impressive about the room is that they use soaps, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion from a company that doesn’t test on animals! I always bring my own stuff because I’m a cruelty-free supporter, so imagine how thrilled I was to see that!

The Hard Rock Hotel took great precautions due to Covid19. As you entered, your temperature was shown on a screen. There are social distancing Beatles “records” painted on the floor situated 6 feet apart. People stood on them while they waited on lines for restaurants and cafes.

Stores were careful too. You weren’t able to try stuff on, which made clothes shopping impossible. That was the only drawback.

I’m sure people want to know about gambling. I’m not a fan. Not for any moral reason, it just doesn’t amuse me. But, yes, gambling was in full swing.

The hotel staff was the best ever. They truly give the high hospitality. Everyone was so friendly and efficient. Service dogs are allowed inside the hotel and casino.

I highly recommend Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City.

For more information, visit: https://www.hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com/

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, 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

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Over 50 Modeling

Published October 21, 2020 by Maryanne

DSC-6670

October 2020, Weehawken, NJ

I was honored to work with photographer Joseph Shade of Crimrise Photography, last week. He’s an incredible photographer and we had a great time working together.

Autumn in New Jersey is absolutely amazing. It was so windy, especially by the waterfront, but as you can see in this shoot — it worked in our favor!

With this shoot, I want to encourage all women over 50 that we are still beautiful, relevant, and modern! I turned 57 on August 19 — and am proud of it!

Jeans by Democracy; shoes by Katy Perry Collections; Eye glasses by Guess.

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, 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

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

20 Things I Learned in 2020

Published September 21, 2020 by Maryanne

Twenty Things I Learned in 2020

  1. Life can change in an instant; embrace NOW!
  2. Grandma was right, “When your time is up, it’s up.” But if it’s not, 2020 taught us one thing — live for today; it’s a gift.
  3. I’m not as afraid of modern technology as I thought. Giving classes via ZOOM is FUN!
  4. Outdoor dining is fun too. The wind blows your long hair in your mouth as you eat, but that’s okay. Fresh air is good.
  5. If you can change and roll with the punches, you’ve nailed this!
  6. You can eat all the kale you want, but meditation is the ultimate in feeling good.
  7. During a major crisis, you can still thrive and be in control. April 2020, I made more money than I ever did in my life.
  8. Taking in a feral kitten is love. We can’t control the world, but we can embrace what we have in our own homes. Having a little soul to feed, train, and adore is the purest your heart can be!
  9. I can sing well when I put my mind to it.
  10. I did not write that sixth book during COVID19. And that is okay. Being lazy is okay.
  11. Discovering new parks in New Jersey is fun.
  12. Social distancing at restaurants is romantic, sitting far away from everyone else is like having the place to yourself.
  13. A crisis can bring others together, but don’t be blinded by this fact. People can still be jerks fighting over politics, smoking in public places, and cutting you off in traffic. We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go.
  14. Being locked down was NOT boring. It was fun. I loved spending so much alone time with my husband and lots of reading.
  15. Belonging to online shopping clubs like Stitch Fix and Daily Look, and having a personal stylist, is so much better than shopping in stores! I may never shop in a boutique again!
  16. Even if you’re not a fan of phones and apps, just belonging to Amazon Prime alone is worth it. Products coming to your home within two days without shipping charges is a wow for me!
  17. Staying home more often is healthier! It was a breeze staying in shape this spring and summer because I ate out less. Even with take-out or dining out on the weekends, I managed to stay in shape.
  18. You don’t miss indoor concerts when you can see live music outdoors.
  19. I was never a gym person. Now I’m the go-to person for recommending the best online home training videos. (One example: Lucy Squad!!)
  20. Now that indoor dining is an option again, choose restaurants that are more “old school” (where the owner comes to your table, where older people go). Sports bars and trendy vegan restaurants are are nightmare during this time–short staffed, long waits even with reservations, and people smoking in the dining areas because staff is afraid to say something to them. Try places like farm-to-tables, take-out places with a few spots for dining, and even diners. During these times, in my experiences, these are the types of eateries that truly have their act together.

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, 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

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

Blinded by The Light = BEST MOVIE, EVER!

Published August 25, 2019 by Maryanne

Sarfraz ManzoorSarfraz Manzoor

First off, let me just say this is not a movie review. It’s more of a personal account of why I thought “Blinded by the Light” was the best movie I ever saw in my entire life!

I went in last night, thinking it was another beautiful date night with my husband. From the trailers, I knew the movie was going to be fun, and funny. Little did I know how much depth it was going to have, and that it was based on a true story.

While many of us will never know the tragedy of prejudice, which brought tears to my eyes, many of us growing up in the 1980s know the struggle between child/young teen and parents who don’t understand our hopes and dreams. This was a time when there was still a great generation gap between parent and teenager. (Unlike today when parents are best friends with their kids).

When Sarfraz’s father ripped up his Bruce Springsteen tickets, a part of my heart was ripped out. I had a similar experience when my mother ripped up my beloved Queen posters when she was mad at me. That happened when I was 12, and all these years later, it still cuts me like a knife, seeing my young mom standing on my bed tearing down what was to me, my life. I wanted to die right then and there.

Like Sarfraz, I started writing poetry as a teenager, as well as song lyrics I hoped friends from bands would use. (One friend said he’d pay me $100 to use one line. I said, “You could have it for free as long as I could write more songs for you.” That never happened. And another friend stole my lyrics. I realized it later while I was sitting at a bar in a nightclub and I heard my lyric being sung onstage. I was devastated. When I confronted him, he said, “It was just one line.” But it was a great line.) The struggle was real.

You always see movies about how music inspires aspiring musicians to start a band. But this just may be the first and only movie about how music inspires a young journalist.

Before I became a professional journalist, I began reading my poetry to an audience. A girl wanted to interview me for a fanzine. She shamed me by putting every “um” and “uh” I said during the interview. (And later she wondered why I didn’t compliment her on the interview. Well, duh!)

When she asked who inspired me, I rattled off the names of musicians and bands. She insisted I tell her which WRITERS inspired me. Okay, Patti Smith and Jim Morrison wrote poetry, so AGAIN, I tell her about musician who inspired me. She didn’t get it. I could have said e.e. cummings, whose work I carried around with me in my wallet. But, no, I was stubborn and I wanted anyone reading the fanzine to KNOW I was inspired by music. ….And still am. I need music like I need oxygen.

Music fans, whether it’s Bruce Springsteen or not, can relate to “Blinded By the Light” replicating that intense feeling of discovering music that you relate to for the first time and how it can get you moving. Whether it’s writing, starting a band or just getting out! Like a few weeks ago when I first discovered the music of Sierra Ferrell and insisted that my husband take a trip with me to see her in Kingston, N.Y. because, I said, “She’s going to get really big and we may someday regret seeing her in small club.” So we went, and had a fantastic time. She’s the best thing in music since Amy Winehouse! Well guess what? She’s now signed to Rounder Records!

I just ordered Sarfraz Manzoor’s book, “Greetings from Bury Park.” I need to support this author who wrote such an intense account of his life. Like his quest to meet Springsteen, I am now on a quest to meet Sarfraz Manzoor. Just a few weeks ago both he and Bruce Springsteen were in New Jersey for the premiere of the movie!

I missed it. And of course I would. I’m not a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I only have one album, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” which is his best! But perhaps now I may explore more of his music. Ain’t that the way it goes? But more so, I want to explore Sarfraz Manzoor. After all, we authors have to support each other! (Especially authors who are moved by music).

Tell me, readers, how does music inspire you? 

Blinded by the Light: https://www.warnerbros.com/movies/blinded-light

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

 

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