As you are all painfully aware, I am dreadfully behind on my blogs. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that I’m now writing about a very cool convention I attended in NOVEMBER: BeatExpo, my first Beatles convention! Scholastic armed me with some Lonely Hearts Club postcards and my friend Natalie and I decided to take a journey down Abbey Road (or more accurately, to Stamford, CT).
Highlights from the weekend include:
SID BERNSTEN - Mr. Bernstein is the promoter credited for starting the British invasion of the 60s by bringing the Beatles to the United States. He booked the Beatles at Carnegie Hall for their infamous 1964 concert and brought them back to perform at Shea Stadium – the first band to ever perform at the baseball stadium. Mr. Bernstein has also worked with the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, among others. Needless to say, this guy is a legend.
Mr. Bernstein was signing copies of his autobiography, “It’s Sid Bernstein Calling…” so I bought a book and waited in line to get his autograph. I gushed when I met him and told him that as a publicist, he is a constant source of inspiration. He looked at me and said, “Are you married?” To which I replied, “No, sir.” He then gestured at the seat next to him and said, “Well, come here and sit next to me.” He didn’t have to tell me twice!! He was such a sweet and kind man. To sit next to the person who had worked so closely with The Beatles was very humbling. Oh, the stories he could tell (which he does in his excellent book).
GREG HAWKES – There was a concert to kick-off the festival and featured some fabulous Beatles cover bands (Penny’s parents would not have approved of my behavior!). Greg Hawkes, keyboardist of The Cars, did an amazing solo set with the ukulele. I was waiting for him to perform “Something” because George Harrison (who wrote “Something”) was a big ukulele player, and generally people (including Sir Paul) play “Something” on the uke. Of course, I REALLY had to use the restroom, so I stepped out for two minutes and missed the beginning. Mr. Hawkes was my favorite performer of the evening. He gave a very heartfelt performance and hung out with people afterwards. Very classy person. When I returned home the next day, I immediately went on iTunes and downloaded The Cars Essentials.
PETER TORK – Peter Tork, from The Monkees, also performed at the concert. This was a huge kick for me because Nickelodeon started airing reruns of The Monkees when I was in middle school and I became a ridiculously huge Monkees fan. It was very fun to see Peter these many, many years later performing both Monkees and Beatles songs. [Fun fact: I saw Micky Dolenz perform at an Art and Music Festival in my town a few years ago, so that leaves Davy Jones (who was my favorite) and Michael Nesmith. Guys, consider yourselves warned.]
THE FANS – I loved meeting fellow Beatles fans. After the concert on opening night, a bunch of fans gathered in the hotel lobby with guitars for an impromptu Beatles sing-along.
THE CONVENTION – Yes, I was there for a convention after all! So much merchandise. Seriously, so much merchandise. I’m not really into crowds so we didn’t stay on the convention floor very long. And surprisingly, I didn’t leave with that much stuff. But I did leave with some new friends, memories and fabulous songs in my head.
‘Til next time, Elizabeth