jueves, 31 de agosto de 2017

Book review: New Paul McCartney biography full of fascinating anecdotes

Book review: New Paul McCartney biography full of fascinating anecdotes
Cheong Suk-WaiSenior Writer

Paul McCartney performing at Tinley Park, Illinois, last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

That is how ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has had to live after his creative powers peaked in his early 20s, as a biography of him shows

In his heyday with The Beatles, Paul McCartney sang for kings and queens, presidents and pretenders and, most often, for millions of hysterical women, who would throw sweets, underwear and themselves at him.

But McCartney, dubbed The Cute One by fans, never reckoned that he would one day take song requests from a member of the yakuza.

The singer landed up in Kosuge Prison in downtown Tokyo after a customs officer at Narita Airport found a large wodge of marijuana in his suitcase on Jan 16, 1980. That was just a few months after Guinness World Records declared him the most successful songwriter in history, having penned 43 songs that sold a million records or more, such as Penny Lane, When I'm Sixty-Four and Yesterday.

As his biographer Philip Norman, 74, writes in this new book: "He heard a shout from the yakuza's cell of 'Yesterday, please', a request with which it was clearly wise to comply.

"Their guard shouted for silence, but didn't enforce it as he was listening too." Instinctively, he adds, McCartney belted out another three Beatles hits for them.

After nine days behind bars, the Japanese dropped all charges against him because they said he had made a full confession, shown repentance and suffered "social punishment". He was deported right after that, much to the anguish of his following in Japan.

His yakuza howler is one of the hundreds of fresh and fascinating anecdotes in this new biography of the iconic band's most elusive member. The other three, his fellow Liverpudlians, were relatively open books compared to him: the anti- war activist John Lennon and his wild second wife, Yoko Ono; the taciturn, New-Agey George Harrison; and the well-meaning, oft- teased Ringo Starr.

McCartney's elusiveness, argues Norman, comes from having lost his midwife mother, Mary - who inspired his song Let It Be - to breast cancer when he was 14. From then on, he put a protective shell around his personal life or, as McCartney says in the book: "I was determined not to let it affect me. I carried on. I learnt to put a shell around me."

That shell led to him being seriously misunderstood now and then, such as the morning after Lennon was gunned down in New York by a crazed fan on Dec 8, 1980. In shock, all he could offer reporters while chewing gum was: "It's terrible news. We're all very shocked… it's a drag, isn't it? Okay, cheers."

In truth, he cried hard and long in private and reached out to Lennon's widow, Ono, to mend the fences between him and Lennon.

Norman, whose 1981 biography of The Beatles, Shout!, is still considered by many to be the best Beatles biography, had painted McCartney as the money-grubbing architect of the band's break-up in 1971. He reinforced this image further in his 2008 biography of Lennon, John Lennon: The Life, and then was audacious enough to suggest to McCartney in 2012 that the latter should allow him to write up his life story as a companion volume to his book on Lennon.

It was actually Norman's way of making amends. As he admits in this book: "Actually, if I'm honest, all those years I'd spent wishing to be him (McCartney) had left me feeling in some obscure way that I needed to get my own back."

Despite such vitriol under the bridge, in 2012, McCartney surprised him by giving him his "tacit approval" (read: help with contacts and material, but no direct involvement) to write the story of his life. That enabled Norman to, among other things, interview the legend's stepmother Angie, stepsister Ruth, in-laws, a lifetime of neighbours and staff, and even the McCartneys' regular cabby, Reggie McManus.

On the whole, McCartney comes off very well in this book, always keen to be decent and obliging to everyone, even if he did sue his bandmates to dissolve their business partnership right after they broke up.

When Lennon separated from Ono, it was McCartney who volunteered to play Cupid between them. When Harrison learnt that he had brain cancer, McCartney dropped everything to be with him. Stories abound of how McCartney would pay the hospital bills of friends' friends. And Lennon's mother-hen aunt Mimi, who had always looked down on McCartney for being from a bad neighbourhood, told Norman he was the only Beatle who kept in touch with her after Lennon's death.

Norman, who is meaty, juicy and acerbic in his storytelling, gives readers sharp snapshots of his subject, who is "a mix of ultra-trendiness and ultra-tradition" and who, despite being financially astute, worries so much that bankruptcy might be around the corner that he scolds his staff for popping a bottle of even celebratory champagne.

Compelling as the book is, it would not be of much value if it were just a straightforward recounting of a rock star's life.

It is actually a manual for survival especially if you, like McCartney, saw your creative powers peak in your early 20s and had to think up all sorts of ways to be here, there and everywhere to maintain your reputation as the world's most successful composer.

So even if you do not give a hoot about The Beatles, there is plenty of the tragicomedy of life in this book to beguile you.

  • Five questions this book answers

  • What, and who, actually broke up The Beatles?
    What does talent need to succeed?
    3 How might you best handle a scandal?
    4 What should you look for in a business partner?
    5 Why is there still no band on a par with The Beatles?



As an up-and-coming entertainment reporter in the 1960s and the 1970s, British biographer, novelist and playwright Philip Norman had a ringside seat on the rise and fall of The Fab Four. He has translated his knack for winning their trust, and nose for good stories, into fly-on-the-wall accounts of their lives and times. In fact, this book is such a blow-by-blow account of every significant moment in Paul McCartney's life that you would be forgiven for thinking Norman was fulfilling an onerous official duty to set the record of the Beatle's life straight. His effort is magisterial yet his deft, tight and clean style makes poring over the book's 800-odd pages a pleasant jaunt.

This book is as good a read as The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards' much-lauded 2011 autobiography Life, which he wrote with the help of James Fox.


For someone who has written so much about musicians, including The Rolling Stones, Elton John and the late Buddy Holly, Norman is curiously at sixes and sevens in articulating the magic of music to the reader. He never gets into McCartney's creative process, much less how he arrived at such poetic perfection as Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird or Yesterday. Yesterday originally had the opening lyrics: "Scrambled eggs/Oh, my baby, how I love your legs".

McCartney's refusal to be directly involved in this biography also meant Norman could not interview him to tease out his thinking on shaping songs. It is a big miss in an otherwise fitting contribution to The Beatles pantheon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'Here, there and everywhere'.


  • By Philip Norman
    Back Bay Books, paperback/ 853 pages/$43.87 with GST from Books Kinokuniya and MPH or on loan from the National Library Board under the call number English 782.42166092 NOR -

  • Local infocomms history charted

  • The history of computerisation in Singapore comes alive in the new book Intelligent Island, curated by The Straits Times' former technology editor Grace Chng and her old friend P. Ramakrishna, the former director of industry development at the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.
    Join them and senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai at The Big Read Meet tomorrow as they chart the significant steps in Singapore's infocommunications revolution from 1981 to the present, from 6.30pm in The Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Board (NLB) headquarters at 100 Victoria Street.
    Note that NLB will do a video recording of this session. Sign up for it at any NLB e-Kiosk or go to www.nlb.gov.sg/ golibrary and sign up under "The Big Read Meet" there.

miércoles, 30 de agosto de 2017

One day in 1959 Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool

Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Saturday 29 August 1959

This was the opening night of a new social club for teenagers, based in the cellar of a large Victorian house at 8 Hayman's Green, Liverpool.

The Quarrymen on the opening night of the Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool, 29 August 1959

The club was run by Mona Best, mother of one Pete Best and owner of the house. She had bought it after winning a horse racing bet in the 1954 Epson Derby; it had previously been owned by the West Derby Conservative Club, and had 15 bedrooms and an acre of land.

Mona Best had the idea for opening the club after seeing a television report on the 2i's Coffee Bar in London's Soho district. The Casbah was intended as a members-only club for Pete, his younger brother Rory, and their friends.

She charged half a crown for annual membership, and served soft drinks, snacks and cakes. The Casbah also had, unusually for the time, an espresso coffee machine. When there weren't live performances Mona played records on a small Dansette record player, amplified through a 3" speaker.

The Quarrymen rocked the Casbah on seven occasions. The other dates were 5, 12, 19 and 26 September; and 3 and 10 October 1959. The Beatles played the venue a further 37 times: 17 and 31 December 1960; 15 and 29 January; 12, 19 and 26 February; 5, 12, 19 and 26 March; 6, 13 and 27 August; 10 and 24 September; 22 October; 19 and 24 November; 3 and 17 December 1961; 7, 14, 21 and 28 January; 4, 11, 18 and 25 February; 4, 11, 18 and 25 March; 1, 7 and 8 April; and 24 June 1962.

At this point their line-up was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown.

The Les Stewart Quartet, with George Harrison and Ken Brown on guitars, had been booked to perform on the opening night, but they cancelled after Stewart and Brown had an argument: Brown had missed a rehearsal as he had been helping Mona Best decorate the club.

The Quarrymen on the opening night of the Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool, 29 August 1959

As 300 membership cards had already been sold, Mona Best didn't want to cause disappointment on the club's opening night. Harrison suggested the Quarrymen play instead, and so they went round to arrange the booking.

While there, all four helped Mona finish decorating the club. Cynthia Powell also helped, and painted a silhouette of her future husband John Lennon on the wall; it can still be seen there today.

John, Paul and George went around to see Mona, who told them they were welcome to play but she was still painting the cellar for the club's opening the following week. The three boys grabbed paintbrushes and helped her finish it off. John mistook gloss for emulsion - because of his short sight - which took days to dry.
The boys played at the club's opening on August 29, 1959, and I was there to watch them. They played with another lad, Ken Brown, on guitar, but without a drummer, as they couldn't find one. About three hundred people came along that night, and the boys played rock and roll hits for a couple of hours. The place heaved, with kids jiving and swinging, and the temperature soared until it was hard to breathe.
That was the evening when we first met the Beatles' future roadies, Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, both friends of Pete, but Neil was also his mother's boyfriend and the father of his younger brother, Roag [born in 1962].
Cynthia Lennon

The Quarrymen performed at the Casbah for for 15 shillings each. They had only one microphone, connected to the club's small PA system. John Lennon later persuaded Mona Best to hire an amateur guitarist called Harry to open for them, which allowed the group to use his 40-Watt amplifier.

The Casbah remained open as a music venue until 1962. It is now a Liverpool tourist attraction, still with its original decor preserved.


martes, 29 de agosto de 2017

Violin signed by Paul McCartney on the auction block

Paul Peabody, a Nyack resident, has played violin for the New York City Ballet for years, is auctioning off a violin, autographed by musicians and celebrities including Paul McCartney, Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder. Peabody, photographed Aug. 15, 2017 at The Beast With a Million Eyes Art Gallery in Nyack, will donate the proceeds to a few charities in India, including one that provide surgery for cataracts, and one that provides surgery for cleft palates.
(Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Violin signed by Paul McCartney, Celine Dion on the auction block
Peter D. Kramer
Published  Aug. 28, 2017

As a first violinist for New York City Ballet for nearly 40 years, Paul Peabody has played plenty of romantic music, from Faure to Prokofiev to Tchaikovsky.

He also created a violin solo on one of the most romantic singles of the 1990s, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," from the 1997 film "Titanic."

But the Nyack native isn’t romantic when it comes to one of his instruments, even though it chronicles nearly half his career. He’s auctioning it off to help several charities in India about which he is passionate.

 It’s a bright orange, acrylic, six-string Tucker Barrett “Luma” electric violin he played for more than 20 years, at the ballet and as a session musician alongside A-listers of music, stage, screen and ballet.

But don’t take Peabody’s word for it. His collaborators signed the instrument.  

There’s Paul McCartney’s autograph on the neck. And Celine Dion’s is over there. And Natalie Cole’s. Look on the back and you’ll see Sting and Willem Dafoe and Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, who added two other names: “Princess” and “Frixos,” characters they played in the 1994 film “Princess Caraboo.”

There’s Wynton Marsalis and Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill. Peabody played on Hill’s yet-to-be-released Christmas album. 

Paul Peabody, a Nyack resident, has played violin for the New York City Ballet for years, is auctioning off a violin, autographed by musicians and celebrities including Paul McCartney, Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder. The violin is on display at The Beast With a Million Eyes Art Gallery in Nyack. Peabody will donate the proceeds to a few charities in India, including one that provide surgery for cataracts, and one that provides surgery for cleft palates.  (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

It also has NYC Ballet luminaries, from chief Peter Martins to Shaun O'Brien, who danced with the ballet for 42 years, including more than 30 holiday seasons as Herr Drosselmeyer in “The Nutcracker.” He signed, appropriately, as Drosselmeyer.

There are others, including producer BabyFace and Stevie Wonder. Yes. Stevie Wonder.

The violin is on display at Nyack’s Beast With a Million Eyes Art Gallery, where owner Lex Reibestein says he thinks the instrument — accompanied by a certificate of authenticity — will appeal to a cross-section of bidders, from collectors of musical instruments to conservatories to autograph collectors. The silent auction closes Sept. 13.

Signature events

Each autograph comes with a story, a snippet of a life’s work with an instrument tucked beneath Peabody’s chin.

McCartney signed it at a rehearsal for the 2015 Kennedy Center premiere of “Ocean’s Kingdom,” a ballet piece NYC Ballet commissioned the former Beatle to write. Getting the autograph took some stealth.

“I thought of it like Jason Bourne,” Peabody says, referring to the action hero. “If I’m going to get a chance, I’m going to have a moment, if I get a moment.”

During a rehearsal break, Peabody hopped over the pit rail and stood with the neon orange instrument in front of him, hoping it would draw McCartney in.

It worked.

“I just stood there and finally he came over and said, ‘So what is that?’ I thought ‘It’s now or never.’ I walked past my big boss, Peter Martins, and said ‘Peter, you’ve already signed it.’”

Once face to face with McCartney, whose music played such an outsized role in his youth, whose every album release was an event, the best Peabody could muster was: “My name’s Paul, too.”

That was enough. Before long, McCartney was talking shop, asking Peabody his thoughts on the piece. Then he signed Peabody’s bright orange calling card.

Mission accomplished for the violin-toting Jason Bourne.

Paul Peabody, a Nyack resident, has played violin for the New York City Ballet for years, is auctioning off a violin, autographed by musicians and celebrities including Paul McCartney, Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder. The violin is on display at The Beast With a Million Eyes Art Gallery in Nyack. Peabody will donate the proceeds to a few charities in India, including one that provide surgery for cataracts, and one that provides surgery for cleft palates.  (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Celine Dion signed the violin at The Grammys when she sang “My Heart Will Go On.”

“I was concertmaster for the recording session and after everyone left, I stayed around and played some Celtic things and it was a hit,” Peabody recalls. His bit of improvisation was included in the song, which is one of the best-selling singles in history, having sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

Stevie Wonder’s was a tough get, but not for the reason one might think. The blind musician was accompanied by a wall of a man.

 “He had this 7-foot bodyguard named Love,” Peabody says with a laugh. “He didn’t make you feel loved. He took Stevie’s hand and guided it.”

Stevie Wonder’s signature was guided by Love. 

Pop culture cred 

Peabody sees the value of the violin for its sound and for its pop culture provenance.

“It’s certainly a very playable instrument. I know a lot of people with electric violins, but I don’t know anyone who has a six string. Tucker Barrett, who designed it, is retired now. Everybody knows him as a fine maker of these things, but he’s not doing it anymore. There’s no other violin in the world that has remotely the signatures that this does," he said.

An electric violin, Peabody points out, doesn’t resonate through the body the way a traditional instrument does. The energy goes down a wire and into an amp. A traditional violin makes a connection the player can feel. It reaches the heart.

Although the stories behind each signature clearly mean something to Peabody, there are a half-dozen life-changing charities in India – where he is a regular visitor – that touch his heart.

Those groups will benefit from the auctioning of the violin. Among them:

Smile Train, (www.smiletrain.org) which repairs cleft palates,
Help Me See, (helpmesee.org) which reverses cataract-induced blindness;
Pados, (www.pados.org) which plants trees in India.

Place a bid: You can see Paul Peabody's autographed violin at The Beast With a Million Eyes Art Gallery, 70 S. Broadway, Nyack, and place a bid in person or at 845-480-5233. The silent auction closes Sept. 13. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays. Email: beasteyesart@gmail.com. Check out The Beast with a Million Eyes Facebook page.

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lunes, 28 de agosto de 2017

Brian Epstein Exhibit Opens At The Beatles Story In Liverpool

Brian Epstein Exhibit Opens At The Beatles Story In Liverpool
By Tim Peacock
August 23, 2017

Brian Epstein Exhibit Opens At The Beatles Story In Liverpool

A new exhibit dedicated to the life and times of Brian Epstein has opened at The Beatles Story in Liverpool. The launch comes almost 50 years after the untimely death of the man who has often been referred to as the real ‘Fifth Beatle’.

The Beatles’ manager passed away on 27 August 1967 during the height of the Summer of Love, at the age of 32. The Fab Four were in Bangor, North Wales with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi when they received the news.

Going onto permanent display is Brian Epstein’s original wool and cashmere coat, a set of handwritten lyrics by Brian (which were never used by The Beatles), a fragment of original note paper, press cuttings and a draft letter from Brian to The Beatles circa March 1967.

The items will be exhibited within a newly refurbished NEMS area of the main exhibition at the Albert Dock. The room itself is a tribute to the Epstein family business, North End Music Stores, which Brian successfully managed during the 1950s.

Joe Flannery, booking officer for The Beatles and lifelong friend of Brian Epstein, says: “Brian was a strict business man who first got involved with The Beatles when he was running NEMS in Liverpool city centre. He truly loved The Beatles, and he demonstrated that by doing everything he could for them.

“It’s wonderful to see Brian’s jacket on display at The Beatles Story, he was always dressed so smartly, and was so visual and bright. I was always proud to be his friend and I’m still very proud to say I was his friend.”

Martin King of The Beatles Story also commented: “Brian was a great man, without his belief and enthusiasm there may not be a Beatles Story to tell. He had a style and sartorial elegance throughout his life, and it is fitting that we display some of his clothing that had him voted “Britain’s best dressed man under 30”. We pay honour to his legacy.”

sábado, 26 de agosto de 2017

Paul McCartney to write for former daily journalist’s new magazine

Paul McCartney to write for former daily journalist’s new magazine
by David Sharman 
Published 22 Aug 2017 
Last updated 24 Aug 2017

Sir Paul McCartney will write for the first edition of a former regional daily journalist’s new magazine.

The former Beatle is set to pen a ‘Last Word’ feature for Good Taste magazine, which has been created and edited by former Liverpool Echo entertainment writer Jade Wright.

Last year, while still working at the Echo, Jade became the first journalist at the newspaper to carry out a sit-down interview with both McCartney and fellow surviving Beatle Ringo Starr since the Liverpool group’s break-up more than 45 years ago.

She left the Echo earlier this year to found Good Taste, which aims to cover Merseyside’s hospitality sector and will go to print for the first time next month.

Paul McCartney on the "Out There" tour 2014
Paul McCartney on the “Out There” tour 2014

Said Jade: “It’s such an honour to have Sir Paul McCartney doing our Last Word feature in the first edition.

“I’ve been lucky enough to interview him a number of times over the years and he’s always been hugely supportive.

“Last time we met I was heavily pregnant with my little girl Beatrice, who shares her name with his daughter, and we had a chat about my plans for the future.

“When I launched the magazine I asked him for some words on Meat Free Monday, not expecting he’d be able to do anything, so when the answer came back I was over the moon.”

Related image

viernes, 25 de agosto de 2017

Musical art by Yoko Ono and more at FSW's Fluxus exhibit in Fort Myers

 Yoko Ono's billboard for the “FluZUsic/FLUXUS MUSIC” exhibit at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in south Fort Myers.
(Photo: Special to The News-Press)

Musical art by Yoko Ono and more at FSW's Fluxus exhibit in Fort Myers
Published   Aug. 23, 2017 
Updated   Aug. 25, 2017

It’s playful. It’s random. It’s Fluxus.

What other art movement would ask people to take off their shoes and walk through a giant box of beans? Or make “music” by chewing carrots?

All in the name of art.

Just don’t try nail down precisely WHAT Fluxus is, though. That’s part of the appeal, says Bob Rauschenberg Gallery director Jade Dellinger.

“If you can define it, it’s not Fluxus,” Dellinger says, paraphrasing a quote from Fluxus artist Ben Patterson. “And, really, it comes to that.

“Fluxus comes out of Dada. It can be seen as a sort of anti-art.”

Allison Knowles' "Bean Garden" lets people take off their shoes and walk through a big box of dry beans. The sounds are amplified by microphones to become a kind of music. The piece is part of the “FluZUsic/FLUXUS MUSIC” exhibit at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in south Fort Myers. (Photo: Special to The News-Press)

A new exhibit at Rauschenberg Gallery takes a close look at the musical aspect of Fluxus, the 60s and 70s art collective inspired by composer John Cage and his penchant for using randomness and audience participation in his work. 

“Cage was really the progenitor,” Dellinger says. “He’s the one from which all of this really springs."

The exhibit opens Friday and features work and artifacts from Cage, Yoko Ono, George Maciunas, Geoffrey Hendricks, Allison Knowles, Nam June Paik, Philip Corner and more. 

The international Fluxus movement included artists, musicians, designers, dancers, architects, chefs and more. Now many of those artists are dead, Dellinger says, and the remaining ones are in their 70s and 80s.

That’s why Dellinger wanted to do a survey of their work and their lasting influence. The south Fort Myers gallery has already featured exhibits of work by several Fluxus artists, including Ono, Corner and Cage — Dellinger’s first exhibit at the gallery was in 2012.

“I felt like, five years in, we should do a show that really explores the history,” Dellinger says. “I think it’s an important time to do a historical examination of Fluxus."

The movement has continued to be an influence on experimental art and music in the 21st century, Dellinger says. “It’s really hard to put a finger on how to define it. But it’s clearly been incredibly influential. It’s a movement that I think will continue to resonate.”

The new art exhibit is called "FluZUsic/FLUXIS MUSIC." Corner came up with the Dr. Seuss-like word FluZUsic ((pronounced Flue-ZOO-sick), Dellinger says. “There’s a playfulness to it.”

(Photo: Photo by Tom Haller)

The interactive, immersive exhibit includes Knowles’ Zen-like “Bean Garden”: An 8- by 12-foot wooden box filled with 3,000 pounds of dry Great Northern beans. Microphones under the box pick up the sounds of feet and beans, Dellinger says, and they amplify those sounds to create a sort of music.

“It’s kind of like a sandbox,” he says. “People take off their shoes and walk through it. …. It allows people to be playful and walk through the beans.

“And I gotta tell you: It feels amazing. It’s a visceral experience. Your feet feel massaged. It’s a totally therapeutic thing to do.”

Another piece, Corner’s “Carrot Chew,” asks viewers to participate by chewing on raw carrots and making “music” as they follow along to a rough musical score.

 “He (Corner) sort of sees it as a score for a musical production,” Dellinger says, “but with music coming from the audience as they chew carrots.”

Other pieces include Piak’s video portrait of Cage, self-playing musical instruments by Joe Jones (they use motors to beat tambourines and guitar strings) and an original art billboard by Ono.

Ono’s billboard is located on U.S. 41 in south Fort Myers near the intersection of Gladiolus Drive. It features big black letters on a plain white background: “I LOVE YOU EARTH.”

The message refers to the title of one of Ono’s songs, Dellinger says, and also ties in to her interest in environmental issues such as fracking.

“FluZUsic/FLUXUS MUSIC” continues through Nov. 11. Friday's opening day includes an 11 a.m. lecture and demonstration by Knowles and a public reception from 6-8 p.m.

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells (News-Press) (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter), @crunnells1 (Instagram)

If you go
What: “FluZUsic/FLUXUS MUSIC” exhibit
Where: Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College, 8099 College Parkway S.W., Building L, south Fort Myers.
When: Opens Friday and continues through Nov. 11. Opening day includes an 11 a.m. lecture and demonstration by artist Allison Knowles and a public reception from 6-8 p.m.
Admission: Free
Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Info: 489-9313 or rauschenberggallery.com

Current Event

jueves, 24 de agosto de 2017

'The Compleat Beatles': 10 Takeaways From Great, Overlooked Fab Four Doc

'The Compleat Beatles': 10 Takeaways From Great, Overlooked Fab Four Doc
How George Harrison's mom nurtured her son's talent, what George Martin saw as the band's key song and more from the classic out-of-print 1982 film
By Colin Fleming
AUG 23 2017

If you're looking for documentaries on the Beatles, you don't have a shortage of options, with two of the splashier offerings being, of course, the Anthology series, and Ron Howard's Eight Days a Week.

The latter is blessed with rich, high-quality, color footage of the years when the Beatles went global, a band as world-brightening rocket that would sometimes pause itself to blast out 30 minutes' worth of songs on a stage. The Anthology boasted amusing, fulsome commentary from the surviving Beatles, with John Lennon piped in from archival recordings. It was as close as you got to the four men sitting down for a repast, post-1970, and sharing what it had all been like.
But one Beatles doc you might not know – and its cause has not been helped by not having an authorized DVD release yet – is 1982's The Compleat Beatles, written by David Silver, directed by Patrick Montgomery, and narrated by Malcolm McDowell, chief droog from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Clocking in at two hours – and titled in the spirit of The Compleat Angler, England's definitive book on fishing, from 1653 – The Compleat Beatles tells the band's entire story, from pre-fame days, with checkpoints at each album, right up through the breakup. It's brimming with keen musical analysis, and a coterie of voices you normally don't get with a Beatles documentary.
For a long time, in the VHS era, it was a staple of high-school music teachers, starting 35 years ago in the summer and fall of '82. If you were lucky enough to have had the TV set wheeled in by a Beatles-mad instructor, you know this is a special film.
Here are 10 reasons to check out this overlooked masterwork of the Beatles' cinematic canon.
The Compleat Beatles (1982)
1. Writer David Silver had a pitch-perfect understanding of the Beatles' career arc – and importance in their time and beyond."Poets of a generation, heroes of an era," The Compleat Beatles begins, with Malcolm McDowell reciting Silver's lines with Shakespearean gravity. This is to be a proper assessment of a band that was so much more than a rock & roll collective, something we're made to feel immediately. "Like all poets and heroes, they reflected the spirt of their times." The early sequences in the film present footage of a bygone Liverpool, which looks pretty grim, as if nothing mercurial could emerge from this seaport. When the opening chords of the Beatles' cover of Chuck Berry's "Rock and Roll Music" kick in, the film itself seems to pop with possibility, as if infused with Beatle-esque spirit. There was nothing the band couldn't do, and now there will be nothing this movie can't do.
2. Gerry Marsden was an ace witness to what the Beatles were doing.The leader of Gerry and the Pacemakers, perpetual Liverpudlian also-rans, Gerry Marsden was always broad-spirited when it came to talking about the band that so outpaced his own, but you don't get to hear him very much on film. Here he explains how the Liverpool acts were able to transform skiffle into something far grittier from what he terms the "ackky dacky" sounds of Lonnie Donegan. First he whips out a guitar to show how Donegan would play "Jambalaya," before remarking "we'd get the record and we'd rock it up a little bit," entering forth into a cool little demonstration. It's a great primer for how the Northern bands were able to develop their own sound from what was a reductive, chipper genre in skiffle.
The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers
3. Early manager Allan Williams was quite the character.Williams liked his tall tales, and the Beatles basically screwed the guy over after he hooked them up with Hamburg and they jumped ship for Brian Epstein, but Williams clearly loved reminiscing about his relationship with the band, which would continue on for a while still. (And resurface later when the legality of the Hamburg Star Club tapes was in dispute.) He describes a letter from Howie Casey of Derry and the Seniors begging him not to send "that bum group the Beatles" over to Hamburg, for fear that this would mess up everyone else's good thing. Williams then goes on to (accurately) describe the style of then-drummer Pete Best as not very clever. Hardly a feeling-sparer, which is probably why the likes of John Lennon liked him – at least for a while.

4. George Harrison's mom deserves serious props.The Compleat Beatles does an excellent job of synthesizing how the Beatles came together in their pre-fame years (complete with an image of John Lennon's report card decrying his "insolence"), with a clear, concise chronology, and valuable insight directed towards the subject of George Harrison and his mother. Most Beatles studies focus, in terms of maternal subjects, on Lennon and his mother, Julia, and Paul McCartney and his late mother, Mary, but Mrs. Harrison knew a thing or two about rocking out. "To his classmates, George Harrison was the boy whose father drove the bus they all rode to school," McDowell states. "His mother sat up with him night after night as he taught himself how to play Buddy Holly songs," with his inclusion in the Quarrymen assured because "his mother could tolerate their noisy rehearsals." Way to go, Mrs. H.
George Harrison with his mum
5. Reeperbahn mainstay Horst Fascher was one badass MF.The Compleat Beatles makes commendable use of the underrated Star Club material to soundtrack several scenes, and it's a delight when self-professed Beatles protector Horst Fascher turns up on camera. He made sure that they didn't get in too much distress on their first Reeperbahn forays, or, as he puts it in the film, "If you are in trouble with some girls who are prostitutes, and you don't know the girls are prostitutes, and the pimps find out, you can get in a lot of trouble," which made Horst the guy to seek out to cure your ills and keep your ass intact, given that he was a former boxer who had been booted from competition for killing a sailor in a street fight. Ah, Hamburg.
6. The Litherland Town Hall show from December 27th, 1960, was the watershed gig of the Beatles' career.The film also features a number of segments with Bill Harry, a friend of the band who was instrumental in spreading the good word about them in Liverpool – even before they deserved it – with his Mersey Beat magazine, which documented the comings and goings of life on the local beat scene. Harry gives the backstory for the gig that would change the Beatles' career. "They came back from Hamburg still as an unknown band," Harry remembers, but he promoted they hell out of them, "because they were close friends of mine." This got a promoter to book them at Litherland Town Hall, shortly following Christmas in 1960. Allan Williams was there, too. "The moment the Beatles struck up and did their stomping, every kid froze, and then they ran to the stage and started screaming." That would be the gist of a lot of what was to follow.
7. According to George Martin, "Yesterday" was the crucial pivot point for the band's sonic development.Martin is eloquent throughout The Compleat Beatles: erudite, dapper, utterly sure of himself, being interviewed in a recording studio by his console, with no Beatles intruding with misremembered bits of info, something that dogged the Anthology. It's just Martin, holding a master class in what it was like from his end to work with these guys. "They always wanted to have new ideas and sounds coming through. I found that they were almost more inquisitive than I was. In fact, in the end, it kind of exhausted me. Sometimes they knew what they wanted to do, but more often than not, they didn't," coming across like Yoda both frustrated and blown away by the gifts of Luke Skywalker. Regarding "Yesterday": "It isn't really a Beatles song," Martin remembers saying to McCartney, then goes through how he made his pitch for the Beatles to forsake their standard drum-bass-guitar attack, which would become, through various methods, the mode of the future.

8. The doc features the coolest, trippiest, most cost-effective visual evocation of "Tomorrow Never Knows" ever filmed.McDowell's narration intones that "Two of John's songs 'She Said She Said' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows' were the results of his recent experiments with drugs" – fair enough – as a quick tour of Revolver begins, but what follows is brilliant: Using only the cover of the album, director Montgomery, through a series of sweeps, pans and fast dissolves, gives us something of a visual acid trip, as "Tomorrow Never Knows" blasts from the soundtrack. Once you see the effect, it's hard to disgorge it from your mind each time going forward that you hear that mindblower of a track.

9. The band's final world tour was pure terror, and no film better evokes it.With a collage of on-the-street interviews, footage from Beatles record burnings and people getting hurt at shows as frantic MCs plead for calm,The Compleat Beatles provides a strong sense of why touring had to stop for the band. As the footage unfurls, there's a low droning figure in the soundtrack, sort of like the protracted hum of the final chord on the Sgt. Pepper album stretched out for several minutes. We also get a self-righteous cop in Minneapolis who goes on at some length about how much he hates the Beatles: "As far as Beatle music, I could care about it not one bit personally ... one of their group, with the British accent, told us they would never come back to Minneapolis, and I told him that would be too soon for me."
10. In Martin's view, the Beatles were fated to become huge.George Martin has a lot of key lines regarding his four upstarts and their career. At one point he states, "Without Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn't have existed," by which he means that success would not have come to them and they would not be the galvanic entity we all know. But Martin is in downright Socratic mode, though, when he ventures towards a larger explanation for that success. "I think that the great thing about the Beatles was that they were of their time, their timing was right. They didn't choose it – someone chose it for them. But the timing was right, and they left their mark in history because of it."

miércoles, 23 de agosto de 2017

Paul McCartney offering fans the chance to sing with him as part of new charity campaign

 Courtesy of Omaze

Paul McCartney offering fans the chance to sing with him as part of new charity campaign
ROCK 107


If you’ve ever dreamed of singing with Paul McCartney, maybe you’ll be amazed to learn you actually have the chance to do it…as part of a new charity initiative launched at the Omaze fundraising platform. The former Beatles star is offering a VIP experience giving one winning bidder and a guest the opportunity to sing his classic Fab Four song “Get Back” with him in front of a small audience during soundcheck before his September 21 concert at Barclays Center in New York City.
The winner of the experience also will get two tickets to the show, and will be flown to New York and be treated to a stay at a four-star hotel.
Fans can enter by visiting Omaze.com/Paul and donating as little as $10, although the more money you contribute, the better your chances of winning. Funds raised by the initiative will benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which provides Transcendental Meditation education programs to at-risk young people, domestic-violence victims, veterans suffering from PTSD and others.
In other news, McCartney apparently had fun on Tuesday checking out the solar eclipse that was viewable throughout the U.S. The rock legend’s daughter Mary posted a photo of her dad looking at the sun with special eclipse-viewing glasses on her Instagram page.
Sir Paul begins a new series of U.S. tour dates on September 11 in Newark, New Jersey.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


@paulmccartney #eclipse2017 🌕🌖🌗🌔🌓🌒

martes, 22 de agosto de 2017

Paul McCartney’s original handwritten score for The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby is going up for auction

Paul McCartney’s original handwritten score for The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby is going up for auction
Adam Bloodworth
Monday 21 Aug 2017

Paul McCartney's original handwritten score for The Beatles Eleanor Rigby up for auction
The original score signed by Paul McCartney (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The score Paul McCartney wrote for The Beatles’ hit song Eleanor Rigby is going up for auction.

The original score was only discovered recently when an estate of the Rigby family was left to a family member, along with a treasure trove of old memories.
The score of the hit song was written to include four violins, two violas and two cellos.
It was handwritten by Beatles producer George Martin, and signed by Paul, as he wrote the lyrics to the song, which had overriding themes of loneliness.

Paul McCartney's original handwritten score for The Beatles Eleanor Rigby up for auction
The song marked a change in direction for the band (Picture: Getty Images)

The song featured on  the 1966 Beatles album Revolver, and became famous for its hand in re-positioning the band as more experimental because it wasn’t considered a pop or rock song.
The song’s mature themes also aided the song in reaching new audiences beyond its young fan base.

Paul McCartney's original handwritten score for The Beatles Eleanor Rigby up for auction
The full manuscript (Picture: STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Paul Fairweather, who works at Omega Auctions, said: ‘I expect there to be fierce bidding from across the globe.’
The score is written in pencil and includes a note explaining that the song was to be recorded at Abbey Road studio, where the Beatles were famously photographed crossing the road.
The score will be up for auction at the Beatles Memorabilia Auction in Warrington, England, on September 11.

Beatles' handwritten Eleanor Rigby score goes on auction
The piece of memorabilia, signed by their late producer George Martin and Paul McCartney, is expected to fetch £20,000.
Monday 21 August 2017

The original handwritten score for the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby is to be sold alongside the grave deeds of the supposed muse.
The piece of memorabilia, handwritten and signed by Paul McCartney and their late producer George Martin, is expected to fetch £20,000.
The score includes notes specifying that it was to be recorded at London's Abbey Road Studio number two and that four violins, two violas and two cellos were to be used.
"Each item is fantastic, unique and of significant historical importance in itself, so to have both come up at the same time is an incredible coincidence," said Paul Fairweather from Omega Auctions, which is selling the items.
"I expect there to be fierce bidding from across the globe."
George Martin produced the hit Eleanor Rigby
Image:Late Beatles producer George Martin worked on the hit Eleanor Rigby
In a separate lot, the grave deeds of a woman named Eleanor Rigby, who many believe served as inspiration to the 1966 hit, will also be sold.
That includes a miniature Bible, dated 1899, with the name Elenor Rigby handwritten inside - which is expected to sell for £5,000.
The grave was found in the 1980s, in St Peter's churchyard in Woolton, Liverpool, where McCartney met John Lennon at a party in 1957.
A miniature bible, dated 1899 and with the initials ER (believed to stand for Eleanor Rigby) written inside
Image:A miniature bible, dated 1899 and with the initials ER written inside
The two Beatles revealed they used to take shortcuts through the church grounds, and rumours started that she was the same Eleanor Rigby who wore "the face that she keeps in a jar by the door".
McCartney has always refuted the theory, insisting that the name Eleanor was inspired by actress Eleanor Bron, who starred in The Beatles' film Help!
The surname Rigby, he said, was the name of a wine merchant.
"Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictitious character that I made up," he said in 2008.
"If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me."
The sale will take place at the Beatles Memorabilia Auction in Warrington on 11 September.