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All You Need Is Cash
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I went to Beatlefe…er The Fest For Beatles Fans for the first time in two years. If you've never been, I highly recommend attending one. There are three a year, one in Vegas, one in the New York metro area and the one in Chicago. It's not quite like going to Liverpool, but anything Beatle-related can be found there. Not that it's affordable, but if you want to order a Beatle-themed jukebox, you can.
I went with the idea of spending a little money. I recently passed a very important test, which means I'll have a decent-paying job. So I felt like I could part with a little cash. The Marketplace is in the lower level of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, with several vendors hawking everything from memorabilia, records, t-shirts, jewelry, accessories, you name it, you'll probably find it. It's usually a good idea to make the rounds first, before pulling out your wallet. I was intent on finding a hoodie, but wasn't impressed with the selection. The first thing I saw that was tempting was a selection of Beatle rugs. However, at $225 each, I felt like I couldn't quite spend that much. But eventually I will have the Blue Meanie rug, because it will be the center point of my dining room. It makes me want to dismantle the table and start decorating.
However, the next jaw-dropping item I saw was way more affordable. I first spotted the "Working Class Hero" shirt that I see every year at the same vendor, but this year, one shirt blended the best that pop culture history has to offer. It featured the entire cast of The Simpsons doing a parody of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover. All the details were there, from "The Simpsons” spelled out at the bottom with pink doughnuts, to Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie dressed up in the satin uniforms. I knew I had to have it. At $18, it meant I didn't have to haul out a charge card to buy it. I put it on shortly thereafter and got two compliments back to back. It's such a cool shirt, I may have to frame the damn thing. It's JUST THAT COOL.
The Fest For Beatles Fans (thank Yoko for that ponderous title; it used to be Beatlefest before she threw a fit some years back) is not all about buying stuff; there are trivia contests, an art contest and show, a memorabilia exhibit, artwork by the Beatles themselves as well as other artists, a chance to record a karaoke version of your favorite Beatles song and have it videotaped for posterity, musicians gathered around the hotel lobby for impromptu sing-alongs, and the Beatles Sound-alike contest. To be more accurate, it's not really a sound-alike contest. I think they're calling it "Beatles Opportunity Knocks." It's quite obvious that eight-year-old girls who enter the contest (and they do) will sound nothing like John, Paul, George, OR Ringo. Sometimes there are interesting interpretations of Beatles songs, which don't sound like anything the Beatles ever did.
And then, there's Danny Donut. I first encountered this performance artist/musician/comedian ten years ago when he entered the contest with his presentation of "Lucy is Disguised as Linus." He usually does a parody of a Beatles song, complete with props. I don't know if he's ever won, but this year, since he's such a tradition, he was the opening act for the Beatles Opportunity Knocks finals. He saluted the various guests at Beatlefest with a parody of "Here Comes The Sun." If you want to check out his work, visit his website, DannyDonuts.com.
Of course, there's Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band that did dead-on versions of "Because," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." They also performed with Mark Hudson and Terry Sylvester, who joined the Hollies when Graham Nash left.
But all this fun isn't cheap. I was a bit surprised when I bought my ticket and it was significantly more than in years past. But as the Beatles said, "a splendid time is guaranteed for all." There's no generation gap here. Babies share the same space with people in their 80s. And good karma abounds.
Unless, of course, you're a fan of Yoko. This is the place to go if you want a t-shirt or bumper sticker that says, "Still Pissed at Yoko." Care to take two potshots at once? Then maybe the "Even Heather Has a Leg Up on Yoko" shirt is more to your liking.
Just make sure you bring plenty of money.