union county performing arts center

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Todd Rundgren And Other Rockers Celebrate Bowie at Union County Performing Arts Center

Published October 28, 2022 by Maryanne

Todd Rundgren (photo by Dennis Mistretta)

It was a rock-star studded magical night!

My husband and I had 4th row, Todd Rundgren “Celebrating Bowie” Tour at the Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway, New Jersey. (This beautiful old theatre is where they filmed portions of “School of Rock” and I’m always happy to be there!)

In addition to Todd Rundgren, other musical great included: Adrian Belew (Bowie, NIN, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads), and CdB creator, producer, and featured artist Scrote bring Spacehog’s Royston Langdon, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, and solo artist Jeffrey Gaines with saxophone great Ron Dziubla (Jon Batiste, Joe Bonamassa), Narada Michael Walden bassist Angeline Saris, and drummer Travis McNabb (Sugarland, Better Than Ezra).

With a cast of such great talent, so many Bowie songs were done to perfection. I loved the way the show flowed from one song into another without any talking, until near the end when the band was introduced. Throughout the show, some songs got me choked up, like Sound & Vision, Starman, and All the Young Dudes; others made me dance in my seat, like DJ, Boys Keep Swinging, and Blue Jean.

But the real magic happened when Let’s Dance got half the audience up from their seats. This was my opportunity to go to the front of the stage, where I remained until the end of the show. The last song before the encore was All the Young Dudes. I turned around to see my husband smiling and waving to me. I motioned him to come to the stage with me. Arm in arm, we experienced the magic. It was a heartfelt moment, that song is the truest Bowie classic.

As an encore, the audience went wild to Suffragette City and Heroes.

Here is the set list and more photos!

Todd Rundgren, and Angeline Saris on bass (Photo by Dennis Mistretta)
Adrian Belew (Photo by Dennis Mistretta)
Jeffrey Gaines (Photo by Dennis Mistretta)

If you liked this blog, feel free to buy me a kombucha: https://ko-fi.com/maryannechristianomistretta

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

Visit my business page, Pear Tree Enterprises, at: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

“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

‘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

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

SAM_0567

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!