Friday my friend Roc surprised me. He invited me to a show and on the way there he asked which Beatle I liked best. I should have gotten the hint, but... I answered "Ringo because I love that 'Caveman' movie. " Roc groaned. What he meant was musically and for me that's a toss up between George and John. I think "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is one of the best songs ever, but I'm also a big fan of much of Lennon's work... well... who doesn't like "Imagine"?
What this all led to was one of the best stage shows I've ever seen- "Just Imagine" at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. The premise is that God has given John Lennon an opportunity to share his life through story and song for one last night. It stars Tim Piper (who has played Lennon in numerous films, shows and events, including Legends In Concert in Las Vegas), who is superb. Piper not only has the look and sound down, but he has a wonderful warm rapport with the audience and makes you feel like you're sitting with him in his living room rather than watching an actor in a play.
Piper is backed by an equally talented band- guitarist Don Butler, bassist Greg Piper, keyboardist Morley Bartnoff and drummer Don Poncher. The script is well done, as it highlights important things and offers a few tidbits that you probably didn't know about the Beatles too. The song selection left me thinking about what a hard job it would be to pick the right tunes for the show.... sure, you can't include everything, but very little seemed to have been missed here, plus there were a few lesser known numbers that were a joy to hear.
On the theater's behalf, I was immediately charmed by the seating sections- Cavern Club, Strawberry Field or Abby Row. The seats were comfy and the bathrooms were clean. My only gripe is the sound- when the full band was playing it got a little loud for me, but I popped in my earplugs (I'm sensitive to loud noise so I always carry a pair) and was fine.
It's been a week and I'm still humming the songs and raving about "Just Imagine," I recommend it to Beatles fans, music fans and anyone who wants a terrific - and memorable - night out. SoCal people~ catch it in L.A. before it goes on tour, as I'm sure it will. For more info, visit http://www.justimaginetheshow.com/
Saturday night I went to the Caltech Folk Music Society's concert with Kenny White (http://www.kennywhite.net/ ) and Cheryl Wheeler (http://www.cherylwheeler.com/ ). It sounds strange, but I can't recall when I laughed so much during a concert...White and Wheeler both offered up a selection of uber-funny songs with a few serious ones too. Their musicianship is excellent and I'd go see them again.
Sunday I went to Catharae's hafla (belly dance party). My drummer Ric was sick, so I danced to two recorded pieces- "Jemiliah," a veil number, and "Technicolor Phase" by Owl City, during which I used all three of my swords. I must have done well, Catharae gave me kudos on my veil work and Shahira praised my sword work. I have studied with both of these women, who are terrific dancers and teachers. It was nice to see all the different dancers in the show as each had their own take on the art.
The rest of my week has been quietier-- I've just been sewing like a madwoman, working on my new Renaissance Faire/dance costume. I'm down to my handwork, putting on all the embellishment now.
Today, however, I had a big thrill, as my guest post is up on the 2 or 3 Lines music blog ( http://2or3lines.blogspot.com/ ) you can read it here:
Also, coming up soon there's lots o' fun. Auditions for the next Pasadena Doo Dah Parade queen are on April Fool's Day, for information, visit www.insidesocal.com/doodah or http://www.pasadenadoodahparade.info/.
If you're in the Pasadena (or nearby) area and blog or tweet, you're invited to come to a new monthly meetup held 9 a.m. on the first Friday of the month at the Pasadena Star-News office, 911 E. Colorado Blvd. Our first meeting is on April 6. Questions? DM me on Twitter @mickieszoo or email email@example.com
In rotation this week: Xander Demos, The Ugly Club, Owl City, Severin Browne and Joe Walla.
Photos we got 'em: A photo from "Just Imagine"- thank you Greg!, a delightful pic of reader Bobby's cat Junior on the "bonnet" of his 1957 Jaguar and two animal photos off the web that made me smile.
Thought o' the week: It's a gift to be simple. Remember that song? We sang it in school as children and it took years for me to fully understand it. All this holing up and sewing at home has me appreciating the quieter, simpler times. Not that I would miss any opportunity to get out and enjoy live music, dancing or anything that's fun, but sometimes it's nice to unplug.
I think that we're connected too much nowadays and I know I'm not alone in this opinion. It seems as if you can't even eat lunch without Facebooking or Tweeting it and frankly I don't really care if you prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter (unless I'm making your lunch).
On the other hand, there's a score of people up in arms over privacy. Hey, you're the one posting it for the world to see. I don't care what anyone says, there is no privacy on the Internet. That's why when you read my blog I often use only first names or monikers for people and sometimes I may be a bit vague. I'm not being a bad journalist or trying to be rude to my readers, I'm just protecting some of my privacy. Of course, with today's technology you probably ALREADY know what I'm going to have for lunch...
Keep on rockin'