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Halloween Double Feature Starring Kids, For Kids

Published October 11, 2013 by Maryanne

WestfieldPhoto by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Last week I had the opportunity to preview Westfield’s Hedgehog and Feather’s Halloween production of “Creature Double Feature II: The Mummy – The Wolfman.”

Here is the article I wrote: http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/westfields-hedgehog-and-feather-to-present-hallo

It was so cool getting a sneak preview of the kids in action and always a pleasure to work with director Ty Jacobs and producer Sara Hedgepeth, as this was my second article this year for Hedgehog and Feather theatre.

Another One From The Falls!

Published August 4, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1790Reporter at work!

Here’s another article I wrote with the Great Falls as background: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Summer_jazz_concerts_kick_off_at_Patersons_Great_Falls.html?c=y&page=1

This article also appeared in New Jersey’s Bergen Record newspaper.

My mom called me this morning, excited. So cute!

Celebrating!

Published August 1, 2013 by Maryanne

my new carHappy August!

This month not only marks the month that I turn 50, but also the month that I’m five-years self-employed!

I marked both occasions by purchasing a brand new automobile. Nothing extravagant, just a beautiful Hyundai Accent 2013 in Ultra Black. This is the kind of car I love and am used to driving. The above photo is a base model, but I got one with all the extras: all the power stuff, and some extras I won’t even use.

I’m so happy!

 

It was sad letting that cute little car go. It was also a Hyundai Accent, with a flip color purple/blue. I had many a good time in there, especially when I got to drive down the shore to see clients. And my husband and I took the baby on so many trips. I try to block that part out of my head that I had to let go of the old car, I was so very attached. It was bittersweet taking all my stuff out of the old car and transferring it to the new car.

Last time I got a new car it was when I first registered the name of my company, Pear Tree Enterprises. I remember what hard work it was going down to the courthouse and going through many years of files to make sure there weren’t any other companies in my county with that name.

It’s been a long road with many ups and downs, especially with this bad economy — but, wow, I did it! I reached the five-year mark and I am so happy!

And here’s my latest newsletter with all the great things I’ve been doing this past month: http://www.peartreeenterprises.com/

 

No More BOE Meetings For Me, Hooray!

Published June 12, 2013 by Maryanne

board of ed

For the past two months I’ve been reporting on Board of Education meetings every other Tuesday night for an online newspaper. I never linked them in my blog because I felt that unless you lived in the town, it would be a boring read. And since most of my readership, according to my stats, are from other countries, I felt a local BOE meeting wasn’t worth blogging about. I didn’t even include these meetings in my website/newsletter.

I wasn’t crazy about covering BOE meetings. In fact, that was the least thing I looked forward in my work week. But it was something different, it was uncovered ground for me, therefore a bit of a challenge and a learning experience, so I pushed myself.

My husband was proud of the work I did and so encouraging. I used to love coming home late and he’d be waiting for me. He’d sit with me in my office, as I sipped wine and typed my article and we’d have a few laughs over what was discussed at the meeting.

Last night the BOE meeting ran from 7:30 to 11:30 — a four hour meeting! This was just absurd. Then I had to come home and write the first article (note: the meeting was so long, at least I got to break it up into two articles). But today I can work more leisurely on the second article which I’ll do after lunch. I’m procrastinating because I’m “just not that into it.”

Now, mind you, I am not one to complain about working many hours. I worked at a New York City weekly for some time in the past. I was used to crazy hours. Every Tuesday night I worked until at least 11 p.m., then I had to commute home to NJ (which took about 40 minutes, but at least I could sleep on the train or bus).

The punch line is, the NYC weekly was very generous and classy. If there was an emergency and you had to stay later than you planned, you were not only given a bonus, you could be sent home in a cab rather than having to use mass transit, which was always nice. (And one time I did some work for Conde Nast and got sent home in a town car — even nicer!)

When an online newspaper doesn’t have it in the budget to compensate when a writer goes above and beyond, it’s time to say so long and allow the universe to open up to newer things. Perhaps I am spoiled, but I do know when something isn’t working to my advantage and it’s time to just say “no.”

I told my editor, this morning in an email, “This is not for me.”

Although the BOE meetings were a very small chapter in my career, I am just so happy that small chapter has come to an end.

So, moving forward, I’m sticking to the writing jobs that are working for me: covering school events because I LOVE talking to the kids and it’s so rewarding; interviewing musicians because the comped tickets for shows and concerts are the greatest perk of being a writer; writing for the health magazine because it’s fast easy work that pays generously and I get to help/inspire people; and managing my five senior entertainers because they are so loyal to me and appreciate my good work.

The door is now open for more possibilities. Universe, bring it on!

 

 

My article/interview with Billy Childs (of Britny Fox and Get the Led Out)

Published June 7, 2013 by Maryanne

Billy Childs - Britny FoxBilly Childs

Two days ago I had a blast interviewing Billy Childs for an upcoming Get the Led Out show at SOPAC in South Orange. We talked for 1.5 hours — the longest phone interview I ever did in my career!

Enjoy my full article here: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/get-the-led-out-will-perform-at-sopac-june-21

Interesting side note, Billy Childs recorded at House of Music in West Orange, New Jersey, with Britny Fox around the same time as my husband’s ’80s hair band Pharoah recorded there.

Their website, which you can find via my article has some cool videos so you can see them performing. They truly are an amazing band. I look forward to the show later this month!

Hyundai Gives $75,000 for Pediatric Cancer Patients in Paterson

Published May 31, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0961Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Wednesday morning I headed out to St. Joesph’s Hospital in Paterson to cover this amazing story: http://www.northjersey.com/news/health/Hyundai_gives_75000_for_pediatric_cancer_patients_in_Paterson.html

The children moved me to tears! So inspirational!

And for the record, I’m proud to drive a Hyundai — 2009 Accent model, flip color blue/purple, yeah!

(And St. Joseph’s is the hospital I was born in! So great that they are doing such wonderful things!)

Paterson Student Wins State Prize for Poem Inspired by Holocaust Film

Published May 14, 2013 by Maryanne

Elizabeth Poetry Contest - this oneElizabeth Dronnette (Photo courtesy of teacher Courtney Goch)

I had yet another rewarding experience interviewing a Paterson Rosa Parks student, Elizabeth Dronnette who won a state poetry contest. Elizabeth was inspired by the film “Only a Number” about a Holocaust victim.

You can read my full article here (and definitely go to page two where you can see Elizabeth’s beautiful poem!)

http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/Paterson_student_wins_state_prize_for_poem_inspired_by_Holocaust_film_.html?c=y&page=1

My Best Advice to New Reporters – Pen and Pad!

Published May 14, 2013 by Maryanne

pen and pad

Over the weekend when I was talking about my work, someone asked me why I don’t just record everything.

NO!

That, is the biggest mistake ever. I’m sorry to enlighten you, but even with all this modern technology, we are not immortal. Things break, dysfunction, error, etc. But nothing is more reliable than being a good listener, taking fast notes and even a class in shorthand will be very helpful. What’s the worst that can happen? Pen run out of ink? There’s always another. Just make sure you bring a lot of paper with you on your assignments. Reporters notebooks can be found in any stationary store. Awkward, juggling a camera and notepad? Yeah, but it’s worth it.

This advice from a person who takes pride in the fact that I’ve never misquoted anyone in my 18-year professional writing career. Old fashioned perhaps, but why fix something that’s not broken. Go by the tried and true methods. One of the greatest assets of a good reporter is the ability to take good notes.

 

Write to Live, Live to Write!

Published May 3, 2013 by Maryanne

Photo by Ray LitterioMe, from Spring, 2010 (Photo by Ray Litterio)

All week I’ve been putting up articles I’ve had published and haven’t shared anything about my life! I’ve been so busy attending reporting events, even on Sunday, and working on my book, that I’ve had little time for myself except for a bike ride here and there.

I’m just so ecstatic that I’ve been writing so much, the time is just flying by in perfect synch with the most gorgeous weather we’re having here in New Jersey. 

I’m so happy with my three news editors, along with my editor at the Skinny News magazine; as well as all the musicians I manage. I may be managing two more people in the near future, one an author, the other a playwright. Contacts I’ve made through my writing career. I am very excited!

This week was fairly easy. I was only on the road reporting three days (Sunday, Tuesday evening and Thursday morning) and spent a lot of time working on my book (up to Chapter 14, up to 6 with the editing).

The other day I was riding my bike, completely euphoric thinking to myself, wow, I’m writing a book! I still can’t grasp the concept that I’m actually doing it. I finally chose a title: “On the Guest List.”

And I just completed editing the book I’ve been doing with Stefanie for the past few months, “Moonstone Dream.” Her party will be in Montclair in a few weeks. I’m also looking forward to another Dead Man’s Curve (a fun, outdoor event with surf bands, hot rods and celebrities from yesteryear). The car shows and summer concerts will be starting up soon. Yay!

A little downer — my two old cats aren’t doing two well. Derick, 17, has thyroid issues (which have been under control thanks to medication). Billy, 19, has been hiding a lot, losing a lot of weight (down to just six pounds). Round one blood work said minor thyroid but possibly kidney issues. We’re waiting for the second round of blood work. So please keep our kitties in your prayers.

Because of work, I missed a lot of church, but I was so happy to write an article for the church bulletin, which honors an 89-year-old member who has been in the church since 1956.

Every morning I start my day off in prayer and reading the Bible, before I do anything else. It gives me focus and perspective and a beautiful start to the day.  As some of you may know, my eyesight is bad. If I’m not wearing contact lenses, I am wearing thick Buddy Holly glasses. And when I am wearing contact lenses, I wear glasses over them to read. But I keep having dreams that I see perfectly without glasses/contacts. The other night I was in bed with my husband and I saw his face better than usual. I take all this as a message from God — that I am “seeing” the light. My life has never been so perfect as it’s been since I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior. I just love being a Christian and having that feeling of heaven on earth constantly.

And last but not least, I am so in love with my husband and so blessed to have him by my side in all I do.

So that’s my last week or so, in a nutshell. Life is good. Life is a blessing!