Thursday, November 1, 2012

Monty Python, The Beatles, & Me

Extracts from my diary about my Las Vegas trip
I am in Vegas right now! Been here for a few days already and will be leaving in two days' evening.
The day we arrived (well, night) it was around ..10 PM.. or so (Vegas time, not Miami.) and while the partying was just getting started, we were so tired. We went to our room, ordered lots of room service and basically turned in, exhausted. The next day, Saturday, my Mom and I visited the Secret Garden & Dolphins (there is a baby dolphin name Sgt. Pepper) with lions, leopards, and tigers- even 5 baby cubs that were from the same litter from Florida; however no one knew where in Florida. The garden belongs to Siegfried and Roy-this Mirage hotel was where they usually perform but ever since Siegfried got mulled by a tiger, they don't perform so basically the Cirque du Soleil & the Beatles LOVE took over. After we went back to our room to chill out and took a nap, we got ready to go to the Wynn hotel to see Monty Python's Spamalot which I paid for. It was written by Eric Idle with the approval from Michael Palin, Terry Jones & Gilliam, and John Cleese; it was also a winner of some Tony awards. Spamalot is a bit of a parody of the Holy Grail movie (I love that movie!) with new stuff, songs, and a little reference here and there from the series like the fish slapping dance, a line from the Lumberjack song, Spam, and Always Look at the Bright Side of Life from Life of Brian movie. The show was starred by John O'Hurley; it was VERY FUNNY!!!! I laughed so hard- it was great! So glad and worth it to see. Missed it when they were down in Miami earlier this year. My mom wants to buy the soundtrack which is pretty much available. Before the show, we passed the time of gambling- I played what I played at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino- the Wheel of Fortune slots- I didn't do the one with one bar, I suck on that! I did pretty well considering. After the show, we went back to the Mirage Hotel and gambled some more. My mom went to do Blackjack while I hogged the I Dream of Jeannie slot machine which carried Barbara Eden's voice. I did pretty poorly at first even to the point where I only had one credit and then all of the sudden it went to 6,000 credits (which is about $300). $100 is 2,000 credits. But did I quit then? No! I kept going like a true gambler. Eventually though, it was almost ..3 AM.. and I was starting to nod off to sleep so I quit- I got $120 and went back to the hotel room. My mom was already asleep.

The following day (yesterday) was day one of Beatles' fest. In the morning, while I was sleeping, my mom went down to the pool for 45 minutes to an hour when she returned, got ready for the day. Had breakfast at the Roasted Bean and made our way to the Beatles' fest area. We were pretty early so we hung out, talking to other Beatle fans and finally got our wristbands but it didn't open for another 30 minutes, so hung out some more until the doors opened. I made a beeline for Pattie Boyd's room where her Photos were on display on one side of the room as well as Photos with her and George and her modeling as well as some outfits that she wore in the '60's. Pattie wasn't there yet but her art manager was and the person who was selling some of Pattie's merchandise was there. The art manager promised to call Pattie to find out where she was (fixing her hair…just like Eric's Wonderful Tonight song!) so I looked around while waiting. I just wanted to get this over with! I already had my long-waited questions set but prayed that I wouldn't say something stupid, like who was better in bed- George or Eric? However I knew she wouldn't answer that. I think it is fair to say that she loved them both but needless to say that George was the love of her life (hey, she said so!). She came in and as she was walking by me, I complimented on her outfit- she said "Thank you" very politely and I was like "Oh My God! She saw me, she heard me, AND she spoke to me!!!" Pattie Boyd, who has seen George Harrison naked, spoke to me!!! I had already bought a few things as well as having my little notebook (which provides some past autographs from 2005's Super Soap Weekend and 2006's Beatlesfest) I got from Mariska Hargitay's site some years back (unfortunately they don't sell it anymore, just a little hand-size notebook). I had made a special page just for her to sign in but in order for that to happen, I had to pay $25! Stupid idea I think, but I didn't say anything. I was just happy that she would sign it. I was the second person to do the meet-greet thing, even took a picture of Sandy (the woman in front of me, also a members of some Pattie Yahoo Groups that I belong to) with Pattie. I was nervous like you would never believe, my hands were shaking. Then it was my turn. She signed 3 things for me- my autograph/scrapbook, a picture, and a collage-y poster of hers that I had gotten just a few minutes prior to her arrival. I spelled out my name for her and then asked my long-waited questions. I asked if she and Maureen ever made peace after what happened (Maureen and George had a brief affair) before Maureen died: Pattie said yes- I am glad at that. Then I asked if she and Cynthia are still friends: they are but they haven't spoken recently (hey, maybe it'll inspire Pattie to ring Cynthia up for a chat!). She said that Cynthia lived in ..Isle of Man.. but I corrected her- she now lives in Spain! Damn aren't I bad to correct her! But it's the truth….I asked if she read "John", Cynthia's own book. Pattie answered that she started to read it but hadn't finished as she got busy with other things. I told her that Cynthia wrote very nice things about her and Pattie seemed pleased about it. While she was signing my notebook, I complimented on the photo of her and George that she took herself with the roses in the background- very beautiful and she echoed me. I left her room (also got a picture with her- my arm was around her! She had her arm around me!) and left. Man I'm such a nerd, a giddy nerd. I felt such an "OMG!!!! feeling. I called Cindy right away and told her what just happened before hanging up to go into the flea market to have my wallet drained with lots of goodies.

I saw and met with Nancy Lee Andrews who dated Ringo from 1974-1980 who was very kind. I had a wrong impression of her- thinking she was a bitch for breaking up Ringo and Maureen but I no longer think that. She was really lovely, really friendly. Besides, Ringo didn't want to be married anymore and live in Los Angeles- I believe he loved Maureen but something changed, perhaps her affair with George? It seemed complicated yet understandable in a way. I got Nancy's book "A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll" and a free photo (of Ringo, dressed, in a bathtub).

Then I met Deborah Chesner, a photographer who was friends with Maureen in the 1970s and has a book "Everyone I Shot is Dead". I bought it with a picture as well and asked, of course; about Maureen- I loved the photos of Maureen with her children at Friar Park in 1977. She was very hands on, as was Ringo (according to Nancy). Deborah also revealed (well, more so today at her discussion in the video room) that when he had surgery on his intestines, he stayed with Maureen to recover- of course not in a romantic way. Deborah recognized their bond, wondered why they ever broke up. It was very obvious that Ringo and Maureen still loved each other, caring for one another, loyal, trusting- Ringo was even at her bedside when she died back in 1994 and from my understanding he was very devastated by her death. I think he still misses her in a way, which is really sweet.

Afterwards I went to see Billy J. Kramer, who, unfortunately, I was not very impressed by. This lady who was sitting next to him was telling another about what Billy's real name is and it was John who inserted J in his stage name as it sounded better. I chimed in, saying that it was for Julian, John marking the birth of his son, but Billy didn't know until later (he didn't like the name but Brian agreed it sounded better and Billy did respect Brian's word for it). I asked Billy if he had met Julian (no) while he signed my book and then took a big bite of his meaty sandwich- so I got no picture- which I am not really bothered by it. I get that he was hungry but geez dude. I will say that later during the conversation with Martin Lewis, he praised Brian who was a great manager and should be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, deserving his credit.

I heard (well saw) Pattie's conversation- starting a bit of her childhood, to modeling, getting the part in "A Hard Day's Night" (even said her one like "Prisoners!") and dating George, and that was it for the day. Found Mom, went to our room for a quickie relax moment before getting dinner and seeing LOVE- what a great show! Awesome! Worth it! Then I went back to I Dream of Jeannie, hoping to have some luck again but it ended up pretty bad! My pride was so bruised- I found my mom playing Blackjack, telling her about it. Got some cokes and chips to go to my room and ordered pizza from room service to nurse my pride and swear off gambling for the rest of the time. Before the pizza came, Mom came in with the similar blues and I shared my pizza.

The next day (today) we both got up pretty late, ordered room service for breakfast, getting ready for another round of Beatles' fest. Of course I spent a lot of money as I did the other day like a mad woman. Got Mark Hudson's autograph and picture (very kind man- he had worked with Ringo and is the Uncle to Kate Hudson) and pretty much mosey-posey around. Saw Deborah's presentation and then Jorie's which was after in the video room and quickly went to the main ballroom to listen to Pattie's second conversation- mostly about taking pictures, and the meditation experience. Donovan later snuck up behind her, surprising her and they posed on the stage- it had been 40 years since they all went to India. Later on, I went back to her room to see her film she had on and spoke to her merchandise man (I found out that she was going to see LOVE for the first time that same day, the 10 PM show) and then struck a conversation with one of the security men about songs written for Pattie including For You Blue which is a great song. He wasn't sure about it so…I asked Pattie myself. She said yes and I asked about I Need You which was in the "Help!" movie but she doesn't really recall the song- I kinda joked (& meant it too) of digging into it and listening to it which she agreed about with a chuckle. Amazingly enough, I was feeling casual around Pattie unlike yesterday where I was shaking around all sorts of emotions! Then I spoke to another 'fest security who was really REALLY!!! CUTE! Oh lordy lordy lordy (paging Jack Tripper from Three's Company) But he lives in Vegas as I live in ....Miami.... so that is a pretty downer deal! Crap. Had dinner at the Odna and had a convo with a couple next to us before going back to our room.

Tomorrow is our final day here in Vegas before we leave back to Florida- it is also the last day of the 'fest but for us it'll be more like a half-a-day. I will be able to see Pattie's final part of her conversation with Martin Lewis. I miss home, I miss Snowball and Missy.

Well at this time I am on the plane headed to Ft. Lauderdale to go home. They have a stupid rule for the first row of coach- purses and bags go in the top shelf thing. What the hell is that all about? Who was the person who came up with that rule? Maybe some uptight paranoid idiot with a strong voice who threaten to boycott. That is normally the reason.

Anyway, Tuesday (the first of July) was the last day of the fest and we kept it short as we thought that we were leaving that night. We saw Pattie talk mostly the era of the '60's to be in London, her time with Photography which she is doing these days. They kept it in the time she was with George rather then expanding with Eric Clapton: reason being that, well, Eric was not a Beatle! She revealed also their favorite films to watch at home (she was the one to put the film in it's projector) and singing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" with George singing Sonny's part and Pattie singing Cher's- however they never met them. Also, of course it is pretty known about the love of Monty Python series and also loved to watch Laugh In. As for comedians, Billy Donnelly (did I spell that right?) was their favorite. She talked about home movies that while they were in Hawaii (actually Tahiti) John and George filmed a little movie wearing Cynthia and Pattie's wigs- she has no idea where the film is today! That would be awesome to see! I hope it is in tact- perhaps Cynthia, or Olivia, or Yoko has it…ha, maybe Yoko destroyed it as she seems to enjoy erasing John's pre-Yoko life.

Before Pattie's chat, Mom and I went to the Discussion room where I took place for a round of trivia with Joe Johnson (who I've met previously twice) and Tony Perkins (who've I met previously once). I was runner up by answering two questions (Beatles' second Ed Sullivan appearance whereabouts and their last public performance together but I was out-done by a man who was too quick to raise his hand! Well just as well since we already have the Grand prize: The McCartney Years on DVD.

Afterwards, Mom and I went to the flea market to meet-and-greet- not buy more stuff as we had already packed. I did get a picture with Billy J. Kramer before he binged into another meaty sandwich. My mom also met Mark Hudson and Nancy Lee Andrews. I stuck around with Nancy for a few minutes, wanting to get a few things straight: mainly her relationship with Maureen. Well she did not break them up as they already were estranged however she was named as a cause for Ringo & Maureen's divorce because Ringo asked her to- to protect his children so they wouldn't hate their mother and 'Uncle' George. Eventually they did find out many years later but at the time they were very young. Maureen did like Nancy- she was nice and caring to her children and were friends up until Maureen died with an occasional lunch. In fact, not long after Ringo got together with Barbara, Maureen tried to find Nancy a husband! Holy cow! I asked her about Cynthia; recently, Nancy went out with her and May Pang, having a great time in New York.

Well we started to leave, got a taxi to go to the airport however my mom got our dates mixed up! We were to leave the following day (Wednesday)…I knew that! I KNEW that we were to arrive the same day as the Ringo Starr concert in Ft. Lauderdale but my Mom was convinced that we were leaving day…honestly! Part of me thought that was funny and to gloat but I was pissed off- I had to carry around heavy freakin' bags around!! So we went back to the Mirage hotel to check back in, got in another different hotel room which the bed was MUCH better previously and also, what the hell am I going to do the rest of the day before heading out to the airport? Well went back to gambling and yep, my bad luck continued- I lost…I lost quite a bit of money and that did NOT make me happy. Son of a bitch! So I went to the Beatles LOVE area, plopped on the floor, making sure I was not in the way, and played with my cell phone while singing along Beatle tunes. Then I decided to drink my bottled Coke that had been in my purse most of the day and well, it exploded! Could my day get any worst? (Actually it did but I am not going to tell you- figure it out!). Finally some hours later, grouchy me and my happy Mom (who won some money in Blackjack) went to the airport and some hours later, after security checks and all that wonderful process, boarded our flight back home to which we arrived in the early hours of the morning. Got home, got my car out of the garage, Snowball and Missy hid from us- well Snowball I did see but she didn't want to deal with us- she was mad for leaving them alone. Went on the computer to chat with S-giraffe who was miserable during my absence and then crashed on my bed before my Mom woke me up to get ready for the Ringo concert!

What better way to end the Beatley vacation? To see an actual Beatle! He played What Goes On and Oh My, My, which two songs he rarely ever plays in concert. Also Billy Squier was there playing Stroke (but not Everybody Wants You which I like) and heard a few familiar songs from the other All Starr band. We all got to yell out Happy Birthday to Ringo who I think was touched by that (his birthday is July 7).

Well that's the end of my exciting vacation. Worth to take! Wish I could take home that cute security guard though…too bad I didn't get him to marry me ha ha! Well hey, we were in Vegas with hundreds of quickie wedding chapels…hee hee couldn't resist! Oh well…well anyway he liked heavy music, like the Pantera kind of stuff while I'll go as far as Motley Crue could take me.

P.S. I'm pissed off- ALL of my photos of Pattie, including the one with me and her did not come out at all...damn it...well I guess I'll scan in the items that she signed for me- at least it's still proof that I have met her...I'm still pissed off about it.

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