Brandon Hernández 9:22 a.m., May 24
Beatles Stories screening (Oct. 2), Fab 4 Musical (Oct. 5), and BeatleFair Convention (Oct. 27)
SoCal Beatles fans will find several treats in their October goodie bags. First up is a DVD release and L.A. screening (Oct. 2) of Beatles Stories, a new documentary featuring stories about The Fab Four, told from the POV of their famous fans.
There's also the Del Norte High School String Quartet in San Diego lending their talents to a touring Beatles musical performing at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on October 5.
Then, there's the return (after an 8 year absence) of the local BeatleFair convention (Oct. 27), with rare performances by mainmen from Beatles lore like Tony Sheridan (in his only U.S. appearance of 2012) and local Beatleholics like Dave Humphries, Baja Bugs, and Bart Mendoza and True Stories. The event will feature Tom Quinn (of local tribute groups Pink Froyd and the Pink Floyd Experience) playing guitar with both Sheridan and Humphries.
Cinema Libre Studio is gearing up for the release of Seth Swirsky's documentary Beatles Stories, coinciding with the 50TH anniversary of the release of the band's first single "Love Me Do." The DVD features stories from Sir Ben Kingsley, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Henry Winkler, Jon Voight, and many more. Bonus features include thirty minutes of additional interviews with folks like Robert Lipsyte, Peter Tork, Denny Doherty, and Alan Livingston, as well as an extended interview with Norman Hurricane Smith (the Beatles' first recording engineer) and a director's commentary track.
The film will make its official theatrical premiere on Tuesday, October 2 at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, with future showings to be announced, and the DVD will hit stores and online outlets a few days later. http://www.egyptiantheatre.com
Songwriter Seth Swirsky grew up idolizing the Beatles. They greatly influenced his decision to pursue a career in music: he wrote "Tell it to My Heart," which became a hit for Taylor Dayne, and "Love is a Beautiful Thing," recorded by Al Green. A founding member of the 60s-influenced band The Red Button, in 2004 Swirsky performed at the Cavern Club, which the Beatles made famous so many years ago. While in Liverpool, Swirsky began asking the locals about the band. To his surprise, these strangers shared their fondest recollections about the band; treasured stories he had never heard before, which he captured on his hand-held video camera.
Swirsky then wondered how many more stories are out there that people have never heard before?
He set out, camera in hand, to talk to people who had crossed paths with his heroes. From Sir Ben Kingsley to Sir George Martin, and Beach Boy Brian Wilson to astronomer Brian Skiff, Swirsky filmed hundreds of personal recollections from people who knew them well, as well as those who just had an unforgettable encounter to share.
Over a period of eight years, Swirsky traveled around the world, filming a wide array of people, many themselves celebrities who wanted to share their stories. Sometimes, the stories even found him.
Others who shared their recollections of the Fabs include former Beatles recording engineers Norman "Hurricane" Smith, Ken Scott, and John Kurlander, along with Jackie DeShannon, Susanna Hoffs, Smokey Robinson, Henry Winkler, Jon Voight, Art Garfunkel, Davy Jones, and Graham Nash, among dozens of others. Swirsky found stories in unexpected places: neighbors, tour mates, business associates, and even former girlfriends.
A rundown of interviewees from the press release includes Luci Baines Johnson, Tony Bramwell, Iris Caldwell, Chris Carter, Ray Crump, Rod Davis, Jackie DeShannon, Henry Diltz, Jack Douglas, Bob Eubanks, Mim Flynn, Art Garfunkel, Frank Gifford, Justin Hayward, Susanna Hoffs, Mark Hudson, Jim Irsay, Larry Kane, Sir Ben Kingsley, Steve Kipner, John Kurlander, Denny Laine, Nancy Lee Andrews, Ray Manzarek, Sir George Martin, Joey Molland (Badfinger), Graham Nash, Rick Nielsen, Peter Noone, Jack Oliver, May Pang, Jimmy Pou, Smokey Robinson, Paul Saltzman, Cathy Sarver, Jerry Schilling, Brian Skiff, Norman Hurricane Smith, Victor Spinetti, Jon Voight, Klaus Voormann, Mitch Weissman, Bernie Williams, Brian Wilson, and Henry Winkler.
One quote from the film's press release comes from famous former neighbor Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), who says "The film is so fantastic, so from the heart and so wildly revealing. An epic and timeless masterwork."
Humphries' personal connection to the Beatles dates back to February 1964: The Beatles’ “Do You Want to Know a Secret” and “Love Me Do” dominated the U.S. and U.K. charts. The British songwriter remembers it well — he was there. Humphries moved to San Diego in 1996, but at one time the native of Durham City, in northeast England, was known as someone on the periphery of the Beatles story.
In fact, he holds the official title of “The Man Rejected by Apple Records [four times] More Than Anyone Else Alive.”
Humphries’s appearance at the 2003 BeatleFair allowed him to meet and play with another figure from the Beatles’ past: Tony Sheridan, for whom the Fab Four played on their first-ever recording, “My Bonnie,” credited to Tony Sheridan and the Silver Beetles. While Sheridan was at BeatleFair, Humphries talked him into cowriting and recording a song in Mission Hills: “38 Days” appears on the 38 Days CD self-released by Humphries. The recording was made easier due to Sheridan’s longtime keyboard player Wolfgang Grasekamp living in La Mesa.
Humphries also tried to get onetime Beatles drummer Pete Best to participate in the “38 Days” recording, since Best was in town at the same time for BeatleFair. It was rumored that Best’s reaction to the invitation was “Show me the money.” Best’s agent reports that he’s paid $4000 to appear anywhere and upwards of $6000 to $10,000 if he performs.
At least being rejected by the Beatles has paid off for someone.
38 Days earned Humphries a nomination at the 2006 San Diego Music Awards. The disc includes two tracks featuring Sheridan on guitar.
Humphries shared his own Beatles Story with the Reader, remembering the night John Lennon died, on December 8, 1980.
“It was just like another normal December morning in Durham, northeast England, cloudy and a little cold. I heard my dad go off to work and before long would hear my mother shout up the stairs, 'Are you getting up?' But today she didn't do that, today it was 'John Lennon has been shot.'”
“A sick feeling consumed me. I didn't know how to handle this. Of course we'd had deaths in the family, but this was different, it felt as if my youth had been torn away. My hero was gone, a man whom I felt I had known personally since 1963, a man I admired, a man who together with his three mates inspired me, made me laugh out loud, made me pick up the guitar, a man murdered by a bastard with a gun. I recall the BBC showed Help! that night. I didn't watch, didn't see any of the news reports, couldn't; I don't know now how I got through the days or nights. I tried to avoid friends, couldn't discuss it -- just felt raw. It was months before I could listen to John's voice without filling up and breaking down. John, who gave so much to the world, murdered for what?”
Bart Mendoza, who'll perform at BeatleFair with his band True Stories, shares his own Beatles Story. "Growing up, I was a music fan and, therefore, a Beatles fan. Paul was my fave, but John, George, and Ringo were right behind. A local TV showing of A Hard Day's Night I caught as a ten-year-old in 1972 (thanks, Bob Dale!) inspired me to form a band."
"How could anyone watch the closing segment and not want to be a musician?"
The Del Norte High School String Quartet in San Diego will lend their talents to a touring Beatles musical performing at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on October 5.
In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is a retelling of the iconic band's story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring live music performed by tribute band Abbey Road.
Luke Lin (first violin), Casey Zhang (viola), Julia Zhu (second violin), and Takamu Maruo (cello) will perform “Eleanor Rigby”, “Yesterday” and “Imagine” with the show’s cast, who both portray the Beatles and perform their music live. Del Norte Orchestra Director Jennifer Kitelinger is rehearsing the quartet for the show.
Luke Lin is a junior and has been playing the violin for six years. He performs with the Del Norte Orchestra and his church quartet. In addition to performing classical music, Luke enjoys playing soccer and basketball. He won an award in Chinese school for handwriting and hopes to attend UCLA and major in computer engineering.
Casey Zhang began playing the viola two years ago after playing the violin since the fourth grade. “I like the deeper sound of the viola,” said the sophomore. “I enjoy performing in front of audiences because I want them to enjoy the music and hopefully they will want to come back.”
She is a member of the number one tennis junior varsity doubles team at the Del Norte. Casey enjoys reading, writing and taking care of her infant niece, Katie. She volunteers with the Youth Care Club, a fundraising group for Chinese children. “I am not familiar with Beatles music, but I’m looking forward to this new experience,” said Casey.
Julia placed first place in the H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition, an instrumental competition. Her hobbies are 3D animation and cross stitching. Julia hopes to attend medical school.
Takuma Maruo, a sophomore, has been playing the cello for five years. He performed for a musical festival in Luxembourg while in middle school. He plays with the school orchestra and performed for two years with the San Diego Youth Symphony. He plays water polo and swims on Del Norte’s junior varsity squads. Takuma hopes to attend UCSD or University of Washington and go to medical school.
The musical reenacts a scene with Paul McCartney playing "Yesterday" for the first time in studio for Beatles' producer George Martin, explaining that the song came to McCartney fully composed in his sleep and that he envisioned a string quartet accompaniment. During this scene, the quartet joins the musician portraying McCartney to perform the song.
In My Life gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles - from Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, to the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium’s 50,000 + screaming fans and their final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices. With manager Brian Epstein serving as Narrator, In My Life allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view.
Here's the deets: In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles performs at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, October 5 at 7:30 pm.
All regularly priced tickets are $10 off with the coupon code "beatles" through September 28 online at www.powaycenter.com or by phoning the box office at (858)748-0505. Tickets are regularly $20 - $35. The Poway Center is located at 15498 Espola Road in Poway 92064.
The show is family friendly.
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