It looks like street artist Mr. OneTeas is at it again with his very fun Wack Donald’s Project, in which he paints the clown face of Ronald McDonald on various pop culture icons. I spotted John Lennon and Alfred E. Newman side by side on a traffic barrier at 26th Street and 11th Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District.
For Beatles fans who crave an authentic performance experience of the group’s expansive catalog of music, there is certainly no shortage of grand scale productions, which range from Rain and Let it Be on Broadway to 1964 The Tribute – an act that regularly sells out Carnegie Hall. But for fans who maintain a keen interest in the life and post-Beatles career of John Lennon specifically, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion offers something completely different.
Now in evening and matinee performances at the Union Square Theater, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, is an intimate, two-man show featuring esteemed actor and singer John R. Waters and accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta, which originally saw sell-out tours in the duo’s native Australia. While there are no dazzling lights, clever sets, informative backdrops or special effects to bolster this very stripped down production, what you get is a heartfelt acoustic performance (guitar and piano – and D’Arrietta’s piano playing is quite excellent) of a selection of over thirty of John Lennon’s best and most autobiographical songs – both written with Paul McCartney while in The Beatles, and written and recorded by Lennon as a solo artist.
Tying the musical numbers together is Water’s biographical narrative of John Lennon’s often traumatic youth and tumultuous adulthood, the ups and down of which are punctuated and fleshed out by songs he wrote at that time. Although Water’s speaking voice is appealingly similar to Lennon’s, his (often quite gravelly) singing voice is not, so don’t expect the “close your eyes and imagine it is really him” effect that you can get with so many tributes. Through a Glass Onion is really more like watching two hardcore John Lennon fans perform his songs and talk about his life in a pub setting. This may or may not be your thing, so just know what you are walking into a ahead of time.
In order to fit thirty songs into a 90-minute run time, many of the songs are performed as excerpts of various lengths, but you get the idea. Likewise, some liberty is taken with traditional arrangements, which finds “Help!” – one of The Beatles‘ most exhilarating anthems – performed almost as a dirge. Sometimes the alternative arrangements work and other times not so much.
It’s also unclear how much of the biographical information is simply improvised or creatively extrapolated based on various facts but, again, it is easy to imagine that Waters is speaking as Lennon and the story all comes together. As an aside, fans seeking more information about John Lennon’s life as a child and teenager, including the not-very-happy story about his relationship with his mother Julia – which had such a profound influence on so many of his songs — might be better served by the 2009 film, Nowhere Boy. You can find it on Netflix.
An added note about the venue, for those who’ve not yet been to the Union Square Theater, is that you are in for treat in this pristinely maintained, old school theater where every very comfy seat offers optimal viewing, so you don’t have to stretch your ticket buying budget to get the best seat in the house. The theater is also conveniently located three blocks uptown from the Union Square subway hub and is within blocks of dozens of excellent restaurants — so you can plan a night of it!
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion will run through February 22nd, 2015 at the Union Square Theater, located at 100 East 17th Street (Between Park Ave South and Irving Place), New York, NY 10003. Visit Lennon Onstage Dot Com for more information about the show, to get show times and to purchase tickets!
Snagged this one from the Huffington Post
The Beatles are credited with being the first to do many things such as printing lyrics on a pop album, creating music videos and holding a stadium concert, but most bizarre is their role in the “devil horns” hand gesture taking off. John Lennon’s cartoon figure on the Yellow Submarine cover is apparently the first time the symbol was on the cover of an album and is one of the earliest instances associated with a rock band, ever.
This song reminds me of going to Prom if Prom had been a halfway decent memory for me. See how many pop culture icons you can spot in this lovely and whimsical video by The Griswolds for their very sweetly romantic and nostalgia inducing song, “Red Tuxedo.” Find out more about The Griswolds at their FaceBook page, found at This Link! Enjoy!
On Thursday, February 6th, one of our favorite venues, the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street launched a truly exceptional photography show celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first arrival in the States in 1964.
This exhibit was curated by Julian Lennon, who personally selected 50 photographs of his late father, John Lennon, and his band mates Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison to honor the 50th Anniversary celebration, which has been marked by a variety of events this week including the Fest for Beatles Fans going on it NYC this weekend. Twenty-five photos are on exhibit at MHG’s New York space with an additional twenty-five on display at its sister gallery in Los Angeles.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the Opening Reception (Keep in mind that the quality of these original photographs is vastly superior to my representations).
Pattie Boyd, former wife of George Harrison and muse who inspired songs like “Something” and “For You Blue” was at the reception and graciously signed my copy of her book.
Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, This exhibit is not to be missed for any Beatles Fan.
The Morrison Hotel Gallery is now Located in its New Space at 116 Prince Street, Second Floor NYC.