i made believe you were here last night
it was silly really,
thinking i felt the press of your flesh
you were a phantom
appearing at my side
and i saw you too,
that you-shaped outline
the one no doppelganger could reproduce
see, nobody else can ever fit that space you occupy
it’s been a long time since you stood on that one corner,
yet even today i saw you standing there
like that night, hands in your pockets, cigarette between those perfect lips,
i remembered everything and my body flushed,
you were here last night
skin against mine, recall set to 11 and you were here,
your weight crushing me ecstatic
verbal cues crashing endless
intertwined and off the charts
those times, when you’re here, like last night,
reminds me that time folds,
it twists and turns and touches me,
brings you right here, crushing me ecstatic
just like last night
I have been gifted with the honor and privilege of posting the following interview with Music Journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta http://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/about/ author of a book I can’t wait to sink my greedy little teeth into. Treat yourself to an early Holiday present, starting with a little taste of Maryanne as she talks to Cynthia Santiglia about some of her many adventures in the world of Rock and Roll. Believe me, you will be glad you did. ~ jb
Finding Your Way into Print: A Talk with Music Journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
By Cynthia Santiglia
The art of getting your name out there in the press, most musicians know, has a direct effect on exposure, and ultimately, on an artist’s bottom line. This comes more naturally to some than others. We spoke with author, respected music journalist and New York City music industry fixture Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for an insider’s perspective on musicians’ relationships with the press.
Cynthia: Tell us a little about your history in the music scene, Maryanne.
Maryanne: I’ve been a music fan since – forever. I remember being a little girl in the 1960s hearing all the top hits on the radio like Lou Christie, probably from age 3 onward. My mom loved Tom Jones and Barbra Streisand. My grandmother listened to WNEW-AM, so I was exposed to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. My grandmother also worked as a short order cook in a tavern. I’d go with her with a bunch of dimes for the jukebox that played current hits. There was a top 40 band that played there called Donna Lori and the Music Box. I was in awe of the singer who had long black hair like Cher.
So you got started young!
Absolutely! When I got older I started going to concerts and was fortunate enough to catch the tail end of the punk and new wave scene in NYC. I went to Max’s Kansas City, Peppermint Lounge, The Ritz – every night. You could go to Peppermint Lounge on a Monday night, and if you got there by 11 p.m. you only paid a penny to get in! I rarely got home earlier than 5 A.M. I’d write in my diary, take a shower and go to work. That was my life. I worked in the corporate world in my earlier days and took journalism classes on the side. Eventually, I started working for music companies like Latin Percussion and Long & McQuade Music.
How did you get into music writing?
Early on, I started helping a friend write a fanzine and really enjoyed that. And at all the corporate places I worked, I wrote for the company newsletters, I was always writing. In mid-1990s I started interviewing bands for Tattoo Review and In the Flesh magazines. After that it snowballed. I went on to write theatre reviews for several NYC newspapers like The Chelsea/Clinton News and the Westsider. Then I began writing for music.com, Punk, The Aquarian and The Montclair Times.
Do you think artists can really benefit from developing a rapport with their local music journalists?
Oh absolutely! Off the top of my head, I remember writing feature articles in The Montclair Times for bands that performed at Tierney’s a popular local venue. SO many people would come up to me and say, “I came because of your article!” Press really does help.
From your insider’s perspective, what do you think bands should do to get noticed? Is it all about the music, or is image as important as it seems?
I’m huge on image. I love all the Chers, the Freddie Mercurys, the Lady Gagas. I think if you’re on stage, you shouldn’t look like everyone else on the street. I love excitement and gimmicks. I still miss the onstage antics of The Plasmatics. You want to see a SHOW – cars blowing up, beautiful women, guys in tight clothes. Hell, you can even look like Meat Loaf and be sexy! When I was only 14, I saw him onstage acting all hot, rubbing up against Karla DeVito, it was mind blowing to a kid! He was wearing a tuxedo and was all sweaty. But he tapped into his confidence and it worked in his favor. Not to say I had a teenage crush on Meat Loaf – but I was in awe at how larger than life he appeared.
Do you think it’s easier to cultivate an entertaining image nowadays?
It’s a bonus that in this day and age creativity is more acceptable. When I was a kid, I got rocks thrown at me for going to school with a little Clash button on my t-shirt that you could barely notice. I’m so happy for kids today. I see kids in the suburbs walking to school with Mohawks and pink hair – it’s great! They’re adorable and so much more open-minded towards each other. You’ll see the geek with glasses hanging with a friend who has a shaved head. I wish life was like that when I was young. Not to downplay the seriousness of how bullying still exists … [sighs] some steps forward and many steps back, right? But back to style, even for myself, I want people to look at me and think, “She’s a music journalist or music lover.” Over the years I’ve had so many people approach me and ask if I was in a band. I have a visible tattoo of a 45 rpm adaptor on my wrist that I got to celebrate having my first music article published world-wide. I just think people – men and women — are more beautiful when they stand out a little bit. Be YOU-nique – it’s a great cliché to live by!
When you were covering bands, how did you like best to be approached?
Usually it was me doing the approaching. I was always on the outlook for bands/musicians to interview. At The Montclair Times I was on the list for all the record labels. I’d get stuff in the mail and ferret through to see what CDs I’d want to review and who I’d want to interview. Or an editor would approach me with a story. Very rarely did bands approach me – no one knew who I was, ha-ha! *smiles*
Were there turn-offs that made you less interested in an artist’s story, even if you liked the music?
Oh my God, yes! When I was in my early 20s, I lived with a guy who had a cousin that was the lead singer of well known goth band. I loved the music and went to see them several times. Yet the cousin hated me. I later found out it was because I looked like a girl who broke his heart – but still, definitely no reason to be hatin’! It’s not my fault she was cute, right? This guy never said “hello” to me. I said “Hi” but he didn’t answer. He’d call my home and ask for the guy I was living with, never acknowledged that I was there. A total creep! And this was a guy I sat next to at weddings because I dated his cousin a long time! So, it’s not like he didn’t know me, yet he was still rude. Anyway, years later when I was writing for The Aquarian, I got an email from his publicity person – in the subject line: An Interview MUST! (How obnoxious, right?) I deleted it. Never interviewed the guy. Had zero interest.
That’s a good example of how sometimes it’s about what NOT to do. Any tips for artists who want to go after media coverage, but don’t know where to start?
Definitely call all the local newspapers. Contact magazines. Journalists are so easily accessible. One of my editors used to tell everyone his phone number was listed in case anyone ever needed him. I think promotion is so key. Get a good publicity person! Get on the local radios. Get in all the newspapers. Also make sure you have a great publicity shot. I’ll never forget interviewing David Johansen for The Montclair Times and receiving a measly black and white shot from his publicist. We wanted to put him on the cover of the entertainment section, but we couldn’t because black and white wasn’t cover material. The publicist couldn’t get us a color picture, so we ended up putting a local musician named Cate on the cover. Cate was a perfect example of a musician who knew how to promote himself. He was always sending us press releases, updating us on where he was performing. Hell, the dude even made all natural Cate cookies with his picture on them – and they were delicious!
Your upcoming book is called “On the Guest List”- sounds like you have a ton of interesting stories to tell that both musicians and fans will love hearing! What inspired you to document your experiences in a memoir?
It was never on my agenda to write a book. One day my husband and I were talking to a guy, Ron, who owns a small video store at Collingwood flea market down the Jersey shore. He is really into punk music and we hit it off. I told him a few funny stories and he said, “I’d read a book with stories like that.” I said, “Really?” I never thought my life was special, but the thing is – my story is everyone’s story. I’d like to believe there’s a little something that anyone can latch onto – even if they are not on the same page with music. Judy McGuire, columnist/author, wrote one of my endorsements. She gave a great compliment saying that unlike other rock ‘n’ roll memoirs, I start as a music fan and end a music fan. There’s no drug addiction or downward spiral. It’s just a happy, feel good story. I will share that the edge of the book is that I am very against certain negative things in life such as jealousy and bullying – and I make it no
secret how I feel about that. I hope the book will inspire young kids who are being bullied and make them realize, there’s a big world out there and there’s a place for everyone to feel they fit in. For me, it was always with the musicians. Hell, I can’t even brush my teeth without a record on! I need music – almost constantly!
Can you give us a little sneak peek?
I’m often getting myself into these “I Love Lucy” screwball comedy situations. One time I got locked in Max’s with friends- and we had to break out! Within minutes the cops came and we ran for our lives. Another time I was with a friend who was interviewing Cheetah Chrome for a radio show. I somehow got locked in his bathroom! Another bathroom story … over the years I somehow ended up being friends with Lenny Kaye of The Patti Smith Group. A new magazine I was writing for was having a premier party at Sapphire Lounge in the East Village. I casually invited Lenny, never thinking he’d show. Well, here I am in this dinky bathroom and the editor knocks on the door, “Maryanne, your guest Lenny Kaye is here!” I already had a few beers, and you know how that is – so I’m trying to rush my business- just to greet Lenny Kaye!
Haha! It’s going to be such a fun read. Thanks so much for talking with us today, Maryanne!
Cynthia Santiglia is a freelance writer, copyeditor, singer, and swing shift convenience store clerk. Love notes welcome at MissCynthiaSantiglia@gmail.com
those infrequent daily moments,
(monday through friday excluding holidays),
these are the moments i hold onto
because your words give me strength to make it through
it doesn’t take much to keep me going
but somehow in this crazy world
only you can calm my inner storm
with nothing more than a word,
the thought of me crossing your mind
can give me superpowers
i can take on the world with a smile
deep and true and caused by you,
there is nothing special you say, no magic words
known only to the two of us,
i lie, because every word you utter is magic
an impromptu ‘hey’ sent my way can change my point of view
it’s a shame i wasn’t phonable this morning,
i could have used your strength
….it’s going to be a long weekend…
it takes everything i have
to hold myself back,
to not laugh too hard along with everyone else
because you’re the one meant to make the people happy,
but you were also made for me,
when you catch my eye in that way you do
my knees buckle as i melt into a puddle of me,
anxious to do those things,
the ones that make your eyes roll back
but invisibility isn’t always an option,
so we carry on, and
i can’t crawl between your legs when you strum my pain,
or show you that little thing i can do with my tongue,
the one that makes you growl
perhaps you’re made of magnets,
or some sort of mathematical scientific thing beyond my comprehension,
because everyone hovers in your atmosphere
while i try to keep my flames from flaring,
my heart pounding to beat the band
complicated by that look you throw my way,
that’s when my body smiles secretly in return
and temptation laughs
Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible
by Krista on November 26, 2013
Tell us about the favorite dish or food that you simply cannot turn down.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us TEMPTATION.
ripped in so many pieces
there’s no way to keep count,
there are tiny little music boxes in my head
but each one has it’s own voice and they all talk at once,
the music has gone silent though
so i try to focus, you know i really do try,
to my dismay though, i never live up,
i only live down,
it’s all in where you stand,
where your point of view originates
but i vibrate
and my focus gets wobbly
it changes from day to day,
or moment by moment,
they are all the same after all,
AUTHORS NOTE: Random unexpected photos I’ve snapped over the past year…please enjoy, and Mom, I still miss you everyday
Unexpected Seagull at Lobster House Cape May
Unexpected Snow in March 2013 Cape May Washington Mall
i wonder if it was intentional
of course i know it was inevitable
but the question remains
was it intent
or random happenstance
that resulted in my toes curling
just from the timbre of your voice
and the permanent smile you carved into places
i wasn’t even aware i had,
you gave me a gift
just by breathing the same air i do,
sense plays no part in this,
common or otherwise
we play the cards we are dealt
any way we can to survive,
intentional or not makes no difference
every card we play leads to the same outcome,
there are no deal-breakers,
not where you’re concerned,
you earned that a long time ago
without even trying
once upon a time a soul was torn apart,
eons ago, maybe it was a star
or a rock, the substance doesn’t matter,
it waited, like we all sometimes do,
in the end it all came together,
because if you believe hard enough it comes true,
that’s one of the things you taught me
only you used better words,
i get it now
at least more than i did before
because i understand there are no deal-breakers,
not where you’re concerned
you see, i have eons to spare
Keeping myself busy while James was gone kinda sucked, no pun intended.
I was bemoaning his absence to myself because everyone else was sick and tired of hearing me whine about it out loud. Even I was getting sick of hearing me talk about him, I was making my own damn self cranky.
“Fuck this,” I said to my reflection as I applied a coat of Chanel red to my pouting mouth. That whole vampires-have-no-reflection thing was really nothing more than a parlor trick we used when it came in handy. I mean really, how the hell else would we put on makeup without a mirror?
“I’m out of here Rupert. I’ll be back before dawn.” Rupert, as usual, ignored me as he continued licking his paws. He really needed his nails cut but I refused to get him declawed; his nails were his protection whenever he snuck out, declawing my cat would be no different than me being defanged.
It was a beautiful fall night, the moon was half full surrounded by a sky full of stars, the temperature just chilly enough to wear my new favorite leather jacket. I do look good in red.
I decided to walk to the bar, it was just a few blocks away and I was hoping the walk would cool me down because I was nearing the point of fuming. I mean I get it, I understand that James has obligations, it comes with the title of Master Vampire but he’s been gone a little too long for my liking.
I miss him so much.
As I turned the corner I saw him. Leaning back against the cold brick wall we’d leaned against so many times, one hand in his front pocket, the other hand cupped around a cigarette.
“James! You’re back!” I couldn’t contain my excitement, my whole world changed when I was anywhere around him so I jumped up into his arms.
Only problem was he didn’t hold his arms out to catch me and I landed hard on my ass.
“Oh Elizabeth, you make it so easy to fuck with you,” he was laughing at me and if there is one think that drives me crazy is when someone laughs at me. But James?
“Come on Lizzie, I know you’re a little slow on the uptake but what’s it going to take to penetrate that empty head of yours?” He took one last drag of his cigarette then flicked it near me. “Let me say this in words you can understand, leave me the fuck alone.”
Without waiting for an answer James turned his back on me and walked away.
“James?” I tried calling after him but nothing came out. He’d shocked me into silence.
I stood frozen in shock. This made no sense.
Something was off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but there was no way in hell James would speak to me like this.
Even at his worst, he wouldn’t, he couldn’t, not my James.
As I watched him walk away from me, crossing the street into the cemetery I replayed the scene in my head. He’d been gone before but he always came back and we always-
“Wait a minute,” I mumbled. “That son of a bitch! I’m going to kill him.”
I tore after him hoping I could keep my temper in check long enough to find out where James was before I kicked his twin brother’s undead ass.
Of course they were identical because my life was turning into one big cliché. Unlife. Whatever.
My mind was churning as I dashed after him wondering why James neglected to mention his brother was his twin brother.
I didn’t take kindly to being made to look the fool but trying to pass himself off as the dick-version of James really pissed me off.
He was so cocky as he walked away he didn’t even notice me until he was flat on his back.
I have to admit the sound of his head bouncing off the ground gave me more pleasure than it should have.
Grabbing him by the collar as I straddled him to hold him down, I leaned into his face , I couldn’t believe how much he looked like James. Speaking of…
“Where’s your brother you fucking asshole?”
I was pissed. Anger is a good strength multiplier, as much as he struggled he couldn’t get loose from my grip.
“Lizzie, come on, calm down! I was joking, lighten up!” He was laughing again, bad for him.
I had caught him off guard when I first dove at him out of the darkness but it was the knife I held to his throat more than me holding him down. I pulled back a little, blade with me, and punched him in the mouth with my other hand.
“Ow!” He was still laughing and I was not happy. “Knock it off Liz, I was just fooling around!”
“First of all, fuck you,” I said calmly. “Second of all,” I punched him again. “And thirdly, where’s your brother?”
He looked at me like I was nuts as my knife was now perilously near his own.
“Hey! Watch where you’re pointing that thing! And what are you talking about?”
The last shred of control I had over my temper was about to snap.
“You called him for help, what was it this time? What did you do now? You know he always comes running to your rescue whenever you call him to get you out of your latest mess, grow the fuck up already!”
I gave him the glariest glare I could muster. “Now where is he?”
James’s face stared at me, pale and serious, but it was his twin brother’s voice that came out of his mouth.
“Lizzie, I didn’t call James. That’s why I’m here, I can’t get in touch with him.”
AUTHORS NOTE: Lizzie and James have been working undercover, I was inspired today by my deliciously evil muse Alice, so here is, as Alice says a “fragment”…because Muses know special things…