The Beatle Brunch gang came prepared to “Pepper” the crowd with more than a thousand dollars in Beatles prizes at the most recent “Fest for Beatles Fans” annual celebration just outside New York, at the Crown Plaza Meadowlands.
Beatle Brunch Host Joe Johnson, with Tom Frangione, hosted three “Name That Beatle Tune” contests and three “Beatles Trivia” shows, doling out the new Billy Joel (with Paul McCartney) “Live at Shea Stadium DVD/CDs, tons of books, Brunch tote bags, posters, CDs and the brand new “Concert For George” blue-ray DVDs, and that was just a drop in the Pepperland bucket.
We also had a great time hosting the Beatle Brunch table and meeting and interviewing fans from all across the U.S. who stopped by to check out The Beatle Brunch Club and sign up for a membership. Members can play Beatle Brunch “on demand”, watch rare and custom videos, enjoy audio bites and rare tracks, catch the latest Beatles news, chat with fellow fans and even enjoy “The After Brunch”, a video segment on the site. We hooked up with Brunch artist, Anthony Parisi, who with his wife Mary and two girls Marissa and Melody, managed to take home three awards in the original art contest. Way to go Anthony!
In the main ballroom, we were treated to jams and concerts by The Dream Weaver Gary Wright, a most recent All Starr Band Member; guitarist extraordinaire, two-time Grammy Award winner and former Wing, Laurence Juber; Ringo’s former producer, Hudson Brother, the ever colorful Mark Hudson; another ASB member and member or Billy Joel’s band, Mark Rivera, plus Badfinger member Joey Molland along with Liverpool, the fest house band. In addition to the jams, LJ also gave us a personal concert in the Crystal Ballroom, much like the ones he treated us to on the Beatles Tribute Cruise just three weeks ago.
One of the shining stars of the fest was first time guest Freda Kelly, The Beatles Fan Club secretary (mentioned in the 1963 Beatles Christmas Message to the fans). Freda wowed the crowd with her stories of the “days” working with the most popular men on the planet, and is sure to be back for a future fest, says Mark Lapidos.
We met up with dozens of authors and friends, like Bruce Spizer, whose new book, “The Beatles For Sale on Parlaphone”, due out soon, gave an awe inspiring slide show to the Fest Fans. Jude Southerland Kessler, Larry Kane, Sid Bernstein, David Bedford, Larry Marion, Richard Courtney & George Cassidy, Susan Ryan and many others were there to treat everyone to their insights and specialties. Listen to featured interviews on our special “Meet The Beatles Authors” show later this year.
We hung out with Bob Abdou, the man behind the antics of The Beatles Puppet show. Bob got the whole place laughing and rolling with his family-friendly jokes and fun banter with the kids. Look for Bob’s appearance on an upcoming “After Brunch” and Joe J’s tête-à-tête with Sir Paul.
Special thanks to Al Sussman and the hat-sportin’ Don E. Gee, who regaled us with tales at dinner Saturday night. All in all, as promised by Mark and Carol Lapidos, “A Splendid Time Was Had By All”. We’ll see ya in Chicago the weekend of August 5th.