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Ryan Murphy’s Over the Top “Hollywood” Delivers Just What Some of Us Need



In the Netflix show entitled “Hollywood”, Ryan Murphy dives headfirst into the lure and the legend of the glamorous dream factory of Hollywood in the 1940s. It’s a promising delight, especially in those opening scenes as we watch a gaggle of beautiful creatures climb that iconic Hollywoodland sign, hoping to high heaven that they will get to the top and find a place to stand tall and proud. To be someone, as one of the handsome leading wannabes say with the stereotypical desperation of a young boy wanting love and external validation, is what it is all about, to be a star and to sit at that powerful table that most can only dream about. This is a Ryan Murphy show no doubt, the second to come out of his five-year, $300m, free-rein deal with Netflix, and we can’t help but hope for some ridiculous fun and adventure, with a side of overt sexual fantasy thrown in for good measure.  He’s a man who likes to push hard on those boundaries set before him culturally, and even when I don’t particularly like the delivered product sometimes, the way he forces the issue onto the world is one I can’t help but embrace. Change is needed in our world, and the more one pushes confrontational images and ideas into the mainstream conversation, the better we all will be moving forward.

Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, David Corenswet, Jake Picking. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

“Hollywood” is a structural renovation fantasy. It presents a hopeful revisionary creation of a world that pushed harder to open the doors for those who never got the chance in real life.  This is for the many who hid in the shadows if they had that destructive option, or for those who were pushed powerfully aside against their free will, mainly because their differences were too impossible to closet. But it also shows the well-known dark underbelly of sex and seduction that existed in the shadows during the Hollywood Golden Age, which is somewhat based on aspects of the truth. One of the seedy sexualized side story sandwiched within the grand “Hollywood set-up is based, somewhat loosely, on the fantastically seductive memoir of Scotty Bowers. His Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars memoir chronicles his time working at a Los Angeles gas station, where he’d provide sexual services for the celebrity customers who came in for a fill. In the Netflix series, the magnificently charming Dylan McDermott (ABC’s The Practice) dons that pseudo-Bowers white uniform and plays the slick and effectively saucy Ernie, who manages and pimps out his handsome male employees for his and their financial good. He is not completely a product of Murphy’s over-sexualized imagination, but a pretty much well-known fact of old school Hollywood, or at least, one man’s version of it. Bowers, who died in 2019 at the age of 96, claimed in his book to have secretly run an escort ring for the rich and powerful, procuring sex partners for everyone including Rock Hudson, who is portrayed within by Jake Picking, Katharine Hepburn, and Cary Grant.

Dylan McDermott. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

How can I describe all that goes on in this sunny and dark optimistic view of a “Hollywood” that never really existed, at least in terms of all the racial, homophobic, misogynistic exclusion that occurred? So many high minded ideas are thrown at us, all revolving around those who were historically denied, excluded, and forced into hiding before our very eyes. We are quickly thrown into the ambitious pot with those beautiful players climbing the ladder to the top. One of the main cards is Jack Castello, played handsomely by the earnest David Corenswet (“The Politician“). His eyes are pretty and wide with innocent hope, feed by the simplistic belief that his background in the military and his chiseled handsome face will be enough to deliver him the stardom he so desperately wants.  He is that man who is the scared insecure boy at heart forever trying to show all that he is worth something, anything, to his pregnant wife who exists in a sorely underused plot device, and to his hometown folk.  He’s naive and hopeful, but that slowly gets stripped away, one scene after the other, as he begins to embrace his darkly conflicted ambitious self, when he starts to work at Ernie’s gas station, giving in to his financial need and exchanging his moralistic code for some hard-earned dollars.

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David Corenswet. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

It’s all going so well, as we watch Jack embrace his sexual nature, until he gets confronted with pay-to-play homosexuality. He recoils almost too harshly, much to Ernie’s displeasure, but his desperation is greater than any other part of his soul, so he finds and recruits the handsome black, and gay Archie Coleman, played adorably by the very game and very sexy Jeremy Pope (MTC/Broadway’s Choir Boy), to step in and help out with all that stuff that he is uncomfortable with. One of those things turns out to be another handsome chiseled wannabe actor by the name of Roy Fitzgerald (how he found the money or the contact to drive into Dreamland is never fully explained, by why jump on the realistic bandwagon when so much else isn’t at all believable). Roy, played by the magnetic and stunning Jake Picking (“The Way, Way Back“) finds himself forbidden love within the arms of Archie, but he also fantastically finds himself an agent by the name of Henry Willson, played powerfully by Jim Parsons (“The Normal Heart”). Henry changes his name to Rock Hudson, but it comes with a big sexual price tag, a brand new big lesson to be learned at the instructional hand and mouth of Henry. It’s a story we have heard before, the infamous casting couch, but the homosexual encounters of this kind were always well concealed and ignored. Now they are shoved out, blatantly, into the realm of Netflix. You might find that overly sexualized decision on behalf of Murphy and “Hollywood” sensationalistic, but I’ll add, “why not?” The heterosexual version is almost a matter of fact in our culture, in terms of Hollywood history, so why shouldn’t this version, which was just as real and rampant, be out there and told just as blatantly and clearly as the other? Are we still that ashamed?

Patti LuPone. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Already higher up in the financial status ladder, standing strongly for all those women who should have had more power back then, Patti LuPone (West End/Broadway’s Company) plays with full-on gorgeousness the former silent movie star Avis Amberg. She is married to ACE Pictures’s big small-minded boss, played beautifully by Rob Reiner, but is struggling with her place in the world, both as a sexual woman and a smart executive. Avis is one of Ernie’s most generously kind customers at the station, and from the moment she drives into Jack’s world in episode one, she becomes a complementary force in the young actor’s career rise to the role of contract player at ACE Pictures. As the much-ignored wife of a studio head honcho, she has little to say or do in that world, that is until a shift in power compels her to grab hold of what she always unconsciously wanted, a say at the power player’s table, and LuPone is the perfect actor to grab hold of the part and the place. It’s good to see these women of a certain age, along with the fabulous Holland Taylor (Broadway’s The Front Page) as a wise and caring casting agent, embrace their sensual sexual selves, asking and seeking out fulfillment and finding it in exactly the way they want and desire.

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Darren Criss. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Meanwhile across town, there is another story to be played out, one where a strong-minded wannabe film director by the name of Stanley Ainsworth, played compassionately by the angel-faced Darren Criss, last seen as Versace’s murderer Andrew Cunanan, has a plan to make a film starring Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong, dynamically embodied by Michelle Krusiec (who wrote, directed, and performed in a one-woman show entitled “Made in Taiwan“). While hiding secretly his own half-Asian heritage, he tries with all his might to elevate the thrown-down Anna May by giving her a starring role in a film, but he is told by the beaten-down film executive Dick Samuels, perfectly played by Joe Mantello (Broadway’s The Glass Menagerie) that he needs a hit film first. Stanley picks up and falls in love with Archie’s powerful script that digs deep into the dreams and dismissals of the industry he loves, and sets out to make a film about the troubles of gambling everything for a life and career in the movies. It’s a classic tale, but the shift occurs when he alters his traditional plan to include and cast his black girlfriend, the lovely contract player Camille Washington, beautifully embodied by the stunning Laura Harrier (‘BlacKKKlansman‘), as the romantic lead, and not the traditional sassy-talkin’ maid. We know this would never have happened in the real 1940s Hollywood, but in Murphy’s vision of film history, we allow ourselves to dream and dive in, wishing this could have been the truth. We watch and hold tight to her ambitious rise and climb up that ladder against all odds, even as we know how impossible it would have been.

Michelle Krusiec. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Murphy’s “Hollywood” flies forward on the fantastical wings of ACE Pictures and the dreams of all these gorgeous young creatures standing outside the gates looking in with big dreams and high hopes, much like Murphy describes his own true self. It’s all about selling the screenplay, holding onto your dreams and your ambitions, and fighting for your place and your name. It drives home the ideals and plays with morality that is constantly being questioned and weighed against what we want and what we are told we need to do to get to the top of that Hollywoodland sign. It feels true in that somewhat fantastical sense, and maybe Murphy pushes the plate too forcibly into our view, but I don’t mind. Things need to change in our world, and if this is what is required, to not play safe and stay within the rules and boundaries set down by those who are scared, so be it.  I’ll take the gratuitous if it means normalizing the one simple fact of sexuality. Birds do it, bees do it, and educated fleas do it, so why can’t we all just get used to the idea that hungry men and women do it too, with wild fluidity, even if it doesn’t fit our moralistic high ground we say we stand upon.

Holland Taylor. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Pushing the cultural shift onto the dreamlike table of revolution, LuPone’s Avis makes the daring move to go against her hospitalized husband’s wishes, and green-lights an ambitious project named “Peg” written by the black writer, Archie. It’s a huge gamble, one that is pushed hard by the closeted film executive Samuels, played by Mantello, and Ellen Kincaid, the dynamic and strong-minded casting agent who is played gloriously by Taylor. We love Taylor’s Ellen, and we ride the well-dressed road she transverse, applauding the embracing of her desires and successes along the way. The film project is based on the life of a woman named Peg Entwistle who died of suicide after leaping off the “H” in the Hollywoodland sign, but after Avis talks about the director’s idea of casting a black actress in the lead at a luncheon with Eleanor Roosevelt, played deliciously by Harriet Harris (Broadway’s It Shoulda Been You“), the movie (and the television series) shift focus into an optimistic culturally dynamic dreamscape, with the film getting a new name and a new boundary-breaking stance that will, if it makes it through the fires of censorship, change Hollywood’s racial history. Sounds good, right? A completely and highly improbable twist for this timeframe, but deliciously good, exciting, and progressive.

Laura Harrier. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

The dreamlike revisionary development of Raymond and Archie’s movie, from “Peg” to “Meg”, represents all that “Hollywood” claims to be, a beacon of inclusion and openness within Hollywood and the artists within. The stance is wonderful significant, especially as we look around the world we currently live in. It’s highly high minded, equal only to Archie and Rock’s defiant acts of gay pride handholding that feels ever-so current and meaningful for those watching today. It’s a dreamland adventure that we can hold onto as a hopeful wish on a larger and more universal scale, rather than a plausible act of expression in that timeframe, but it is confidently told from a modernistic vantage point that feels exceedingly good, even if it also feels simplistic. It grabs hold of our collective hearts, telling the historical power of two men (or two women) showing their love and attachment for the world to see, watching marginalized people grabbing hold of their true selves against all obstacles while getting the support and care from those around them. It is a hopeful dream, and a sweet idea, something Murphy so wanted to play with. It doesn’t feel authentic by any means, but being seen like this, even if disparaged by those who feel he went over the top, is progress, and for that, I give “Hollywood” the respect it deserves.

Dream factory ... Mira Sorvino in Hollywood.
Mira Sorvino. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

It’s a complex broad-stroked gesture celebrating inclusion and queerness, while sadly disregarding the cruelty and inhumanity that has been seen on this journey. That side was delivered by people such as Parson’s demonic Henry Willson, who even asks for forgiveness, solely based on his shame and deep emotional wounds. Whether we find that forgiveness is up to you and to Rock, but even as the narrow-minded sentimentality lives innocently within “Hollywood”, the dream of a new kind of openness hopefully will fuel some changes in the same inequalities this television series attempts to reframe. It is sometimes ridiculous and overly stuffed with unrequired drama and over-the-top sexual gestures, but the silliness is also its fun.  We are not being asked to believe that this reformated revisionary fantasy can change the present moment, but maybe we can place some hope that the people in power will make bolder choices if this gamble pays off. Maybe they will rise up and combat internal prejudice, corruption, and sexual coercion within the machinations of an industry that needs an overhaul, all through the telling eyes of the #MeToo movement, dangerous as that sounds.

Dylan McDermott, Patti LuPone, Holland Taylor. Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

When customers drive into Ernie’s gas station during that first episode, they inform the handsome attendant that they “want to go to Dreamland.” It’s a theme that swims through the whole process, in a symbolic captivating way, much like the gorgeous naked football players who dive gracefully into a rich man’s late-night sex-fueled pool party. It’s sly and wickedly decadent (while being somewhat sanitized for our viewing pleasure or pain), daring us to throw away what we think we know, and give in to our fantasies of what might have happened had bravery enveloped the film industry then, or now. It’s the temptation to embrace a Dreamland version of a messy hedonistic time in Hollywood that lives somewhere inside Dylan McDermott’s sly winked performance, that is one of the true joys inside Murphy’s “Hollywood”. It’s where the fun lies, and it’s a place we happily want to go, to Dreamland and beyond. So dive in and enjoy, and don’t take it so seriously, ok, folks?


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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


Bad Cinderella To Livestream The Opening Of Act Two Tomorrow



The producers of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bad Cinderella are thrilled to announce that tomorrow, May 9 at 8:30pm ET, fans across the country will be able to tune-in LIVE as the opening of Act 2 – during the Queen’s Ball – is livestreamed for all to see.

The access the livestream, please visit

Bad Cinderella features a score by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tony Award-winner David Zippel, and is directed by Laurence Connor, with a book by Academy Award-winner Emerald Fennell and choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter.

The complete cast of Bad Cinderella includes Linedy Genao as Cinderella, Carolee Carmello as the Machiavellian Stepmother,Grace McLean as the ever-exacting Queen, Jordan Dobson as the heir-do-well Sebastian, Sami Gayle as the ditzy step-sister Adele, Morgan Higgins as the husband-hungry step-sister Marie, Christina Acosta Robinson as the all-seeing Godmother, and Savy Jackson as the Cinderella alternate, with Raymond Baynard, Michael Baerga, Lauren Boyd, Tristen Buettel, Kaleigh Cronin, Josh Drake, Ben Lanham, Angel Lozada, Cameron Loyal, Mariah Lyttle, Sarah Meahl, Christian Probst, Larkin Reilly, Julio Rey, Lily Rose, J. Savage, Tregony Shepherd, Dave Schoonover, Paige Smallwood, and Aléna Watters rounding out the Ensemble, and Alyssa Carol, Gary Cooper, Robin Masella, Michael Milkanin, Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, and Lucas Thompson as Swings.

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Off Broadway

The Mayor of Times Square meets Mark Twain



Mark Twain…we have all heard of him. We know he is significant. But what do we really know about a man that died in 1910?

Do we know that he lived to be 75? That he had a tragic life where he outlived his wife and two out of three of his daughters?

That he earned $250,000 a year (kinda like a gazillion dollars in today’s money), but like so many stories of celebrities today, he burned through this mountain of money and was broke and had to do around the world tours to earn some money back.     And why does the name Samuel Clemens ring a bell when we think of Twain?  Aha…that was his real name and Mark Twain was the pen name.

It is not all gloom and doom though. He does come out of it at least as a modest winner. After all, how many of us will go down in history and be known as a famous American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer.

Joe Baer, a retired Local One stagehand, wanted to support local fundraisers in the Hudson Valley and decided to put on one man shows and perform as Mark Twain.  Audiences ate up his unique interpretation of Twain that was part drama and part comedy…a dramedy. Now Samuel Clemens: Tales of Mark Twainwill be performing in Manhattan every Saturday at 8pm and every Sunday at 2pm from May 6 til June 25

I asked Joe what inspired him to do this show. “Mark Twain was a big influence in our world.   I read Tom Sawyer in middle school.  Reread both Huckleberry Finn and The Gilded Age. Then I saw Hal Holbrook do a one man show in 70’s.  I bought a copy of the VHS tape. Though enjoyable, it didn’t quite have as much of an impact on me as I remember it did in the 70’s.    I added different elements to my version.”  What are some of these differences I ask. “Mine is more about the interaction between Huck (as in Huckleberry Finn) and Jim the slave.  Also, Mark Twain had these snappers (iconic quotes). I am sure you heard some of these famous ones like,”  “If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything” or “Laughter is the only truly effective weapon that man possesses.”What should people expect to get out of your show?  “I hope they will learn more about historical dramedy. I look to personify rather than imitate Twain which is hard to do anyway since there are no existing recordings of his voice and very limited film.”What is your favorite part of the show? “When the audience laughs!   That is what I aiming for and I am confident they will be laughing throughout!!”

Samuel Clemens: Tales of Mark Twain. A contemporary new solo show written and performed by Joe Baer, melds history and story-telling with a satirical twist. This play tells the story of Samuel Clemens life with context and words from the pen of Mark Twain intertwined to reimagine this legend on the lecture circuit in the 21st century. The show highlights the ebbs and flows of this iconic American figure’s life against a visual backdrop of historical imagery. Performances start May 6 at the Actor’s Temple Theatre. The show is in 2 acts and 105 minutes. for tickets and information and also Today Tix, TDF and day of show at the TKTS booth.

You can listen to Eli’s podcast The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link:

To contact Eli,

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The Mayor of Times Square meets Gianni Russo who played Carlo Rizzo in The Godfather



Gianni Russo is a colorful character in real life as well as in the numerous movie roles he played. Best known for his role as Carlo Rizzi in the original 1972 film The Godfather, Russo sat down with me for a chat about his tell-all book Hollywood Godfather: My Life in the Movies and the Mob which describes in vivid detail his dual life in the movies and in the real life mob as a mafia associate. Wait til you hear about some of the incredible people he palled around with including some of the infamous ladies he was…well…let’s just say he was associated with.

When asked what it is what like growing up and how did he get involved with the mob, Gianni says he grew up on Mulberry Street in Little Italy and in 1949, he became bedridden and quarantined with polio for five years. Who was Gianni’s nurse in his ward at Bellevue? Carlo Gambino’s niece he says! Destiny? His primary source of entertainment and distraction from his distressed and depressed state was a transistor radio. When he turned on the radio, he discovered Frank Sinatra was born the same day.   He says Sinatra became his mentor and singing teacher. Gianni met a guy Sinatra knew by the name of Frank Costello (not to be confused with Lou Costello), the infamous mob boss of the Luciano crime family. Gianni used to sell ballpoint pens in front of the Sherry Netherland hotel and Costello would go there every morning for a shoe shine. “He gave me some money, some words of advice…and never took a pen (I’d hate to think where that pen may have eventually ended up if he did).  I stuck with Costello til the day he died in 1973.”  Right behind Gianni as we spoke on Zoom was a dining room table that can seat 16 people. As a different kind of wise guy that I am, I quipped about “if only that table could talk,” oh what interesting tales it can tell. Gianni found that amusing and said jokingly “I would be indicted again.”Oops. I asked Gianni to further elaborate on what exactly a Mafia Associate actually entailed. “That’s why I never got locked up. Carlo Gambino and Costello made sure that I was only a messenger.” He said he was even registered as a bona fide messenger and courier registered with Lloyd’s of London…pretty clever if you ask me.

What about this famous code of silence and why did wise guys start signing like canaries, I ask?  The new RICO laws (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) enacted in 1970 changed everything.  “The feds were allowed to take all of the assets you acquired while being in the mob.  Omerta went out the window.  Everybody became singing canaries.  That’s why these guys started flipping.”

What were the rules that Gianni knew to live by to keep Frank Costello on his good side?   “Don’t lie to me.  Be on Time.  Talk to Nobody.”In the late 1990’s, I once flew Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of “The Four Agreements” to New York to promote his mega bestselling book. With these new rules, I can now write a new book destined to be a bestseller called “The Three Agreements: A Mafia Guide to Not Getting Rubbed Out”…bada boom!

At the age of 25, Gianni came out of nowhere and was cast in the original Godfather movie as Sonny Corleone’s brother-in-law. How did he feel about getting that plum role?    “I am making a couple of thousand dollars a week already.  I just wanted to do it for ego.” Gianni says that after 45 minutes of rehearsal one day, Brando tells Coppola he has to rethink the part. Gianni puts his arm around Brando and says dead seriously “You get me fired, I will suck on your heart. You will bleed out here right now.”  Brando’s reaction?  Gianni says Brando told him “That was brilliant!” To Gianni’s amusement, he says Brando “thought I was acting.”I ask Gianni who is the most interesting person he worked with in his film career. “Brando! He was so generous.”

Then there’s the famous nightclub Gianni owned in Sin City, and the night where he shot and killed in self-defense, unknowingly, a henchman of notorious Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar and had to survive the hit that was put out on him. Perhaps the most remarkable revelation among many, was his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. What became of his dalliance with Hollywood’s most glamorous starlet of the day?  You will have to listen to my podcast to find out in an ending that even Hollywood couldn’t come up with!

You can listen to the Gianni Russo interview on The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link:

To contact Eli, email

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The Mayor of Times Square Interviews John Lennon’s Lover May Pang



May Pang had intimate insights into John Lennon that few people experienced.    She was Lennon’s lover during what has become known as the infamous “Lost Weekend” lasting 18 months from late 1973 through 1975. In the exclusive interview this week with her on The Motivation Show podcast, we discussed their brief, unusual & highly publicized relationship.  What kind of person in fact was John?  Surly, I asked?  “Not at all, he was really easy going,” Pang says.  They almost bought a home together in Montauk…who knew that?    One day in the east side apartment they lived in, the doorbell rings.  Who could it be?   “Who even knows we are here since we just moved in,” Pang muses.  Paul and Linda McCartney just popped in!   So much for the theory that Paul and John were not on speaking terms after The Beatles split.    How did she meet John?    Pang was looking for a job at Apple Records and viola…that was the record label founded by The Beatles in 1968…and the rest is history as she became John and Yoko’s personal assistant.   Pang’s fondest memories of Lennon?  A song that John wrote for her on the album: Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox).

Pang who is also a photographer, took candid photos of Lennon in a comfortable, relaxed environment.   A collection of these private photographs, which were lying dormant for so many years, were newly discovered by Pang and will be on display in various cities.  The exhibition entitled, “The Lost Weekend – The Photography of May Pang” coincides with the feature film documentary “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” that premieres in theaters beginning April 13th.

Billed as “a weekend that lasted 18 months and a love story that took 50 years to tell,” The Lost Weekend: A Love Story (from Iconic Releasing) explores that 18-month relationship spanning 1973 to 1975 that May Pang enjoyed with John, his Chinese American assistant turned lover (according to Pang, on Yoko’s insistence which she later regretted). John had a very artistically and commercially productive period post-Beatles during the Pang relationship—with the albums “Mind Games,” “Walls and Bridges,” which included his only #1 Hit Single “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” “Rock and Roll” and collaborations with Elton John, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, and Ringo among others. Also, on that album Pang can be heard on the song “#9 Dream” where she whispers John’s name in the song.  As a typically naïve 22-year-old navigating her first unforgettable love, Pang revisits that younger self, and reveals what that was like.

Pang says John even asked her what she thought of Paul and John starting to write together.  Pang told John she thought that was a good idea.  Holy cow…just imagine how that would have turned out and how many more millions of record sales that would have resulted in!   With Pang encouraging Lennon to reconnect with his family and his friends, it ultimately led to a brief reunion with Paul McCartney and a memorable jam session between the iconic Beatles writing dup.. Pang also says she arranged a reunion with Julian Lennon and his father after three years.  One of Pang’s photographs of Julian Lennon graces the cover of Julian’s latest album entitled “Jude.”

“The Lost Weekend – The Photography of May Pang” exhibition provides fans a rare opportunity to view John Lennon through another lens of someone who knew him intimately during one of the most creative periods of his life. Pang’s photos will be on display and available to purchase for these two weekend days only. This your chance to meet May Pang who will be signing copies of her fine art photographs for customers at City Winery NYC, 25 11th Avenue (at 15th Street), Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9.

Admission to the exhibit is free to the public and all works are available to purchase. Advance tickets to the film premiere screening are on sale now at: Watch the trailer here:

On Sunday at City Winery, the fabulous Beatles band “Strawberry Fields” will be performing their weekly Ultimate Beatles Brunch concert at noon (admission required, tickets available at so two great reasons to stop in!

Listen to the exclusive interview with May Pang on The Motivation Show podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, IHeart Radio, etc. or click this Spotify link:  Email me with questions at

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Shabbat Across America & Potluck Shabbat Dinner Plus Purim Celebration and Original Spiel: Spielin in the Rain



Shabbat Across America & Potluck Shabbat Dinner on Friday, March 3rd. Dinner at 5:30 PM, Service at 6:30 PM.  ome to sing, pray, learn, and celebrate Shabbat!  Hundreds of synagogues across the continent will take part in this international Jewish event to celebrate what unifies us. Please bring a dairy/fish/veggie dish or drink to share. Yani Leiter will play the piano.

On Monday, March 6, 6:30 PM. come to laugh, sing, and celebrate! Original Spiel by comedian Bob Greenberg with Professional Actors of The Actors’ Temple: Aron Bederson, Barbara Bova, Marjorie Conn, Ron Cavallo, Bob Greenberg, Rabbi Jill Hausman, Elizabeth Hayden, Jeff Passero, and Pianist Rachel Kaufman.

Refreshments follow the service. In Person and on Zoom: Dial 1-646-876-9923, Meeting ID: 955 755 5342 and Password 497495 OR pwd=NXd5ZmUrdWY0YVdWeW1WUGtqdEtXdz09
The Actors’ Temple, 339 West 47th Street (betw. 8th & 9th Aves),, 212-245-6975.
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