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CBGBs Movie

Published November 8, 2013 by Maryanne

CBGB's movieI was there … in later years

I finally got to see the CBGBs movie (see my other blog about the nightmare of not being able to see it in the theater a few weeks ago): (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/cbgb-could-be-good-but-movie/)

After a friend told me it was On Demand, I just couldn’t start my day without watching it. Mainly because my friend John Holmstrom had a major role in it. He’s the creator of Punk Magazine and was played brilliantly by Josh Zuckerman. In fact, it was like the Punk magazine story was the official sidebar to the CBGBs story. And why not? Without writers and photographers, there is no story! Congrats to Holmstrom for finally getting his due — what an inspiration!

The movie is fast moving. The thing I love best about it, is that even though all of us punk rock fans know how the movie ends (with Hilly Kristal’s club becoming a success story), it was done so well that I found myself getting all goose-bumpy as I cheered him on — hoping the underdog would win, I got so lost in the movie I nearly forgot that in the end he does!

Hilly Kristal (Alan Rickman) and Cheetah Chrome (Rupert Grint) were my favorite characters. They were great to watch and their talent was phenomenal. They both were genuine with absolutely no over-acting (which is always a huge pet peeve of mine when watching movies or television).

The sound track was fantastic. They picked out the best songs from the bands that played there. I was so happy “Psycho Killer” was the Talking Heads featured song, and that they dug out “X-Offender” by Blondie.

When Patti Smith (Mickey Sumner) performs, they are out of synch with the music time line as she is doing her big hit with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night,” and that came out later, in 1979. BUT — the way it’s filmed, it’s more like a dream-like sequence, it doesn’t seem as if Smith is at CBGBs which allows the viewers (who know better) to imagine that Smith may even be daydreaming about the bigger and better things to come. So, bravo on that! (And I think Mickey Sumner pulled Patti off very well.)

Classic scenes include: when Cheetah Chrome (Rupert Grint) drops his pants in the middle of CBGBs to show Genya Raven (played by Stana Katic) he’s a true redhead; John Holmstrom (Josh Zuckerman) and Mary Harron (Ahna O’Reilly)  interviewing Lou Reed; and Hilly telling his daughter he was keeping all this CBGBs money in the freezer at his apartment. Good stuff!

Sweet side note, my friend Shel Stewart’s band Dorian Zero getting a mention! Go Shel!

My only disappointment was the Stiv Bators character, Justin Bartha, although Stiv’s boots were tough to fill as he was the coolest rock star ever to exist on this planet. Good try for being amazing enough to score the role, but not even close. It’s okay though, that was a tough one. Regardless, I have nothing bad to say about this movie. It’s a “right up there” bio-pic along with other great ones such as “The People Vs. Larry Flynt,” Man on the Moon” and “Walk the Line.”

I look forward to watching it again — tonite!

Oh, and about the bathroom — yes, it’s true the bathroom at CBGBs was absolutely disgusting but I must say, the bathroom at The World was equally horrific.

CBGB (Could Be Good But…) Movie

Published October 17, 2013 by Maryanne

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMe and Emily from All the Pretty Horses at CBGBs in 2004

When I heard they were making a movie about CBGBs I was excited. I missed the 1970s heyday, as I was too young, but did catch another generation of bands there in later days (from the 1980s to 2000s) — one of them being Jayne County who is on the soundtrack for the movie.

I’m not a musician, but one night I had the pleasure of being on the CBGB stage. It was for a battle of the bands. I was a journalist and suggested that Father Divine, from Montclair, enter the contest as I recently reviewed their CD for Aquarian Arts Weekly and also did a write-up in Montclair Times. They were great — and they won the contest.

I was seated at a table of celebrity judges: John Holmstrom, founder of Punk Magazine, plus-size model Mia Tyler and musician/producer, Genya Raven. When the emcee was too drunk to continue his job, it was Genya who suggested I emcee! It was a thrill to be on the famous CBGB stage.

So, that’s my little CBGB story. I’m no one famous. I wasn’t at CBGBs during it’s heyday. And even when I was old enough to go to night clubs and see bands legitimately, I was more of a Max’s Kansas (again, tail end, not heyday), Peppermint Lounge and Ritz kinda gal.

STILL — I’m all jazzed for the movie because A. the soundtrack and B. my very good friend John Holmstrom has a major role in the film, he’s played by Josh Zuckerman.

When my husband told me the movie was playing in South Orange, I was so happy! We set up a “date night” mid-week (last night) and decided to go after voting. I washed my hair and was all set for DATE NIGHT! And CBGBs!

Everything was running smooth as silk. We voted quickly, got to the theatre (which was in a lovely artsy area near Seton Hall University) and parked with no problem. It was a gorgeous night in October.

SAM_2642CBGB movie at 7:30

SAM_2634We’re here! Going to see CBGB’s movie — yeah!

We went inside and it was just us — and another couple. The entire theatre was EMPTY.

My husband made a joke that we were at a private showing. I took advantage running up and down the aisles, jumping in front of the screen and taking photos.

Then the movie started. It looked amazing. Excellent cinematography. Then I saw my friend John Holmstrom’s name and I screamed, “YAY!”

Then …. it dawned on us …. there was NO SOUND!

My husband and the other woman in the audience went to complain to management. The answer they got was, “We’re working on it.”

Nothing happened. They just couldn’t get the sound working.

Now, my husband is very tech savvy, and the other guy in the audience worked as a cameraman for CBS. Both offered to try to get the sound going, but the management wouldn’t have it. “We can’t just let people go back there.”

Since it was a DVD, not film, the woman had a genius idea. She wanted to BORROW the DVD, leave her license there, and then have Dennis and I over their house for wine and a movie! How sweet is that? I was in shock of the kindness of strangers. But the management said, “No.”

The other couple said they were dying to see the movie because they were big CBGB goers back in the day. And the guy had a cousin who was in The Shirts. They seemed so cool and it would have been so much fun to hang out with potential new friends. But it wasn’t happening …

So, this was the only night it was playing in our area. Otherwise we’d have to drive to NYC, which is out of the question due to being actively busy both socially and business, so there are major time constraints.  (We could do it on a Sunday, but hey, it’s October, my favorite month of the year and I don’t want to be cooped up in a movie theatre in the afternoon).

We got a refund and tickets for a future movie. I’m totally bummed because “CBGB” is the only movie out I wanted to see. I’m not a movie person. The last movie I saw was “Frankenweenie” — a year ago!

“That really looked like it was going to be a good movie,” my husband Dennis said as we walked out.

So, I guess we will wait until the DVD comes out. Which means it will probably be a great movie because everything I ever had to wait for in my life was well worth waiting for!

UPDATED SIDE NOTE: I just realized Village Voice used the same headline I did in an earlier article about the movie! This was strictly coincidence.

The Conversation: In the Mind of an Artist’s Model

Published June 10, 2013 by Maryanne

The ConversationThe Conversation (photo by Darlene Foster)

Saturday I blogged about going to see my friend Darlene’s artwork at the Montclair Art Museum: (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/happy-national-best-friend-day/)

As some of you know, I did a series with Darlene, modeling for several of her pictures in October, 2010, which was not only extremely fun, but extremely creative as we spent over eight hours together doing all different types of photos.

From that day moving forward, I always wondered what the photos would look like, what Darlene would do with them, and if anyone would buy pictures of me, as art.

Prior to meeting Darlene, I’ve modeled for other artists. One did sculptures, using me as the muse. I became a bronzed fairy, as well as a demon. After working hard for an entire summer, the grand opening happened and one of the sculptures sold immediately. But I never knew who it was sold to. And that bummed me out.

Since then I always wondered how other art models felt, not knowing who is buying them.

In one of the antique shops my husband and I frequent, there’s a painting of a sexy young guy with long blonde hair, shirtless and in jeans. It’s not mind-blowing sexy, but kind of fun and goofy. It reminds me of a young Iggy Pop, but healthier. I favor that painting and always see if it’s still there. Then I wonder … how recent is the painting? Is the guy old now? How old? Old enough to be my dad? Was he a friend of the artist? What is the story behind the painting? Does he live around here? Did he model a lot for the artist, or was this the only one? How much did he get paid? Did he enjoy it? There is always so much behind what you see.

So, fast forward to Saturday, it was so cool that the timing was perfect; as soon as Gina and I got to Darlene’s booth, a lady bought a postcard with my photo on it — “The Conversation.”

Just as I arrived, Darlene said, “And here’s the model.”

I smiled and said hello to the lady, who was around in her 60s, slim and stylish with the most adorable leopard print flats.

I wanted to get a photo of the lady who purchased a postcard with my photo. I wanted to have a part of her, as she had a part of me (and of Darlene). As I can never totally feel comfortable being center of attention. I like a party. I want everyone around me to be a star as well. (But I chickened out, because I am just so awkward around people sometimes).

Sometimes I’ll check out a Twitter page of a musician, writer or model I’m interested in. I see all these people tweeting them, giving them praise and compliments. And rarely will a celebrity write back. I understand that it’s not good to engage with a fan because someone could be a stalker. But if I had that many fans, I doubt I could hold back and not engage.

How can you not ask a fan — someone who is very interested in YOU — questions about his/herself as well? How can one be so nonchalant about an opportunity right in front of them? Am I satanic because I want to be like God — all knowing? Because I have so many questions about people … and life in general? Am I like the nosy aunt everyone avoids? I’d like to just think I’m pretty darn amazing because I care so much and am genuinely interested in people. Or am I a control freak because I can’t sit back, relax and just be a subject — I have to take the reins and be the creator, the interviewer, the editor, etc.

As a writer, once in a blue moon I’ll get an email from someone praising my work (not talking about blogging, talking about my published work). I always answer. Always.

My favorite email was when a Cyrinda Foxe fan contacted me about by article on Cyrinda Foxe that was published in Punk (http://www.punkmagazine.com/stuff/morestuff/cyrinda_foxe.html). When something like this happens, it keeps the article alive … keeps it going … brings back the wonderful memories of when the article was actually created. When I sat in Cyrinda’s hotel room for four hours, interviewing her at first, then turning off the tape recorder and just enjoying each other as friends. And then later having dinner together.

So that two minute transaction of a lady purchasing a postcard, by Darlene Foster, that I modeled for three years ago, brought back a ton of amazing memories … the fun I had with Darlene that day, the laughter, the creativity, the awesome lunch we had, and the fact that my life was so great I had gotten into a car accident earlier that day yet kept going because I was so happy nothing was going to stand in my way!

And I’d love to know what was going on in the purchasers life too — on that exact day. But, of course, I may never know.

 

Aquarian Arts Weekly Makes Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

Published May 12, 2012 by Maryanne

I am thrilled that New Jersey’s Aquarian/Arts weekly has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Aquarian debuted in 1969, but I discovered it when I was a teenager, circa 1980. I’d walk to the Quick Check across the street from my high school to buy the magazine when I was 16 or 17 to see what bands were playing. Not that the information did me any good, as we didn’t have “all ages” shows back then. So, the big thing, for me, was seeing what bands were in record stores signing autographs, or performing at Great Adventure.

Other than getting music news, the Aquarian played a role in my career — on a few levels. It was the first newspaper to ever publish a letter that I wrote. At age 17, I trashed another letter writer who put down punk rock. My letter had to be at least 500 words (hand-written, as there were no home computers for the middle class in 1981) because it took up an entire column! I defended punk rock and told the world that teenage girls knew that The Clash stood for much more than “Mick Jones is so cute.” And what great people The Plasmastics were because they were so loyal to their fans.

When I was 19, I started designing crossword puzzles by hand (the American Society of Mechancial Engineers later published one in their newsletter). Again — by hand — because there were no home computers to do these things on. While my idea for a rock ‘n’ roll crossword puzzle was declined back then (they later had someone else do them!) I got to speak on the phone with the founder, James Resinbrink, pitching my idea!

By age 28, I made it in the Aquarian again. This time, it was modeling for a Fender guitar promotion ad for Long & McQuade Music (a Canadian music chain, and the only store in the U.S. was in New Jersey!)

I was dressed in a black teddy, in the best shape of my life, with cherry red lipstick, and the headline to the ad read, “How Would You Like to Take This Baby Home?” And in a subhead, underneath, “Of course we mean the guitar!” Ooh-la-la!

Friends that I haven’t heard from in years called me up to say how “killer” that ad was!

A few years later, my friend, actor, Scott Schiaffo, had a feature in the Aquarian because he was the Chewlies man in Kevin Smith’s film “Clerks.” During this time, 1994 (I was 30), I was on a compilation tape with Scott, called, “See It Feel It Hear It Vol. 1.” I read my own poetry, with Scott playing guitar in the background. Scott promoted this tape in his article and once again, my name was in print in The Aquarian.

And finally, in 2002, at age 39, I had my own goth column in the Aquarian! I got to interview amazing people like: The Nuns, Diamanda Galas and Lydia Lunch!

During that time period I also did CD reviews and part-time copy-editing for The Aquarian.

The goth column was a short run, but I didn’t mind because I was working full time at another newspaper and also deejaying in NYC.

Who knows if I’ll ever be a part of The Aquarian again. It’s not something I’m actively pursuing, as I’m pretty burnt out on writing about music since during my career I’ve also written for music.com, Punk Magazine (which is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and participated in a column called “On That Note” for The Montclair Times.

There may have been more things of significance with my involvement with the Aquarian that I’m forgetting due to the fact that just so much that has always been going on in my life.

But, wow, I’m so happy that a music newspaper from New Jersey, that played a role in my life made it big time!

My husband and I will save the special pull-out section, as an ad for his 1980s band, Pharoah is also in there!