Summer is Beatles Time
A busy month in Santa Fe… Our usual summer activities have transformed and we are finding news ways to have fun.
For me, August always meant attending The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and meeting with friends and family; this year our Fest was Virtual. We Beatles Fans met up in a massive 3-day Zoom Festival; we enjoyed live-streamed music, panel discussions, and interactive presentations. I hosted the “Happily Ever After in the Marketplace” Zoom Room, where we presented the Fest Store, huge Memorabilia collections, and my specialty, the Art Room.
When Fest is live and in person, we meet in a hotel – in Chicago, it’s the Hyatt in Rosemont (though some of you may remember the Palmer House in 1977) – and I am in charge of a large room dedicated to Fan Art. I receive and display Fan Art in all sorts of media, run the Art Contest, and present the Awards. This year, our Fan Art was displayed on a Facebook page, and our Zoom Room was dedicated to live events. Although our new platform was limiting in some sense, Virtual Fest was an exciting opportunity to expand outside of the usual Art Room experience.
On Friday, we showed a slide show of the Art Room from the 1970s to the present, using photos from the Fest Archives. On Saturday, three Beatles Fan Artists welcomed us into their studios, in Brooklyn, upstate New York, and the west suburbs of Chicago. The three artists - Marlene Weisman, Regina Gelfer, and Sandra Ragan - have radically different approaches, media, and points of inspiration. This visit led to a lively discussion with the zooming audience about the nature of art and what motivates action in art.
We dedicated Saturday evening to a special presentation - a Retrospective on one of our most popular Fan Artists from the Fest in Chicago, Nicole Nigh Hondros. Working with photos and stories from her husband, her mom and her good friends Danny Donuts and Barb Charteris Raudonis, as well as my own archives, I compiled a slideshow. We gave Beatles Fans from around the world the opportunity to enjoy her unique creations. Nicole started submitting her work to the Fest when she was a teen; her work explored the unusual art media and extreme scale variations. Sadly, Nicole died two years ago, and is missed by her family, friends, and all of us at the Fest.
On Sunday, I was pleased to host photographer John Hester, who has been taking photos of Fest guests since the 1990s. He showed us over two dozen of these, including Billy Preston, Astrid Kirchner, Pete Best, Patti Boyd and many others. John, who is based in New Jersey, was able to share his work to a whole new audience.
Our unique situation this year has thrust us into the present! We were able to link artists and audiences from around the world, show slides and retrospectives, which we hadn’t been able to do previously. When we meet in hotel again (Next Year!!), I can’t wait to incorporate these innovations.
A few weeks before this Virtual Fest, I connected with some Beatles fans for a charity fundraiser called Rock n’ Pies at the Wolf’s Den which helped raise some dollars for My Block My Hood My City (MBMHMC Chicago). I donated an Original Collage to the raffle, and it was won by a Beatles fan who turned out to be a neighbor in River Forest, IL, where I lived before moving to Santa Fe. I also performed a fun bit of zoomed theater, with my Troika cohorts Victoria Pichla Luz and Walter Podrazik – it involved handing a plate of pie “through the screen” to them, some 1,500 miles away! I had to bake a pie to make this comedy bit work; it was delicious! (Cherry-peach-apricot crumb top)
This is the first time I am in Santa Fe in Mid-August. I am discovering the beauty that is here in these warm days and cool nights, hitherto unknown to me. Meteor showers! Awesome! My little garden is offering its modest harvest (…praying for rain). My daughters assure me Santa Fe always had mosquitoes in August; I remain doubtful. We have weekly dinners outdoors, inspired by global cuisine – this week: poké and musubi! As lovely as these summer days and evenings have been, I am looking forward to spending my August in Chicago next year.
Love is worth the risk.
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.