I had the great pleasure of meeting a highly entertaining man who is a heck of a good sport. The hilarious and nuttily charming Tony Bramwell was at Fab Four Fest this weekend, and I collared him several times for photos,an autograph, and to ask a question or two.Tony, or “Tone”, as they called him, is the last man standing from the original tight circle of The Beatles, and he definitely had some stories to tell. His book, Magical Mystery Tours, is one of the favorite volumes in my collection; it’s a heartwarming and often very amusing look at life with the Beatles from someone who was there from the very beginning as a childhood friend.
Starting at bottom left, clockwise in the photo with Tony are Paulie, Johnny, Georgie and Ritchie ModFop. Thanks to Smits and her sis for helping me wrangle the puppets, my husband Steve for being lightning-fast with the camera, and of course Tony, who seemed almost startled by all the little fuzzy faces.:D
I desperately wanted a photo of Tony with all four of the ModFops. The ModFops are so new I haven’t even had a chance to blog about them yet. Among my numerous Beatle-influenced characters, I decided I needed to have some that would actually have a real purpose beyond being just another Liverpudlian-accented character in one of my short shows I’m planning. I have wanted to do quickie public service announcements on my YouTube channel for ages–similar to the ones I loved seeing on Saturday morning as a child. While I was creating the ModFops, I went through many,many many different choices of what sort of fur they would have; they are also a slight tribute to Ollie of Kukla Fran and Ollie, having long spotted necks and long heads with a cute little tuft of hair on top. The fur I finally landed on was a fabulous green-spotted fur I saw only once, bought a yard of, and then never saw again. When I took this fur out of storage, it all came together in a rush;–Green Spots with the ModFops: short films about recycling and green living! I think the Beatles would have liked something along those lines, so here’s to you and taking care of the Earth, guys.:)
I had started them early enough to take them to the FFF;that of course would be their other hook— being a very,very loose Beatles tribute. However, a problem with a fabric order that was paid for but never shipped caused some last-minute problems and I ended up not being able to make their topknots out of the long fur I wanted. A perfectly-matched feather boa saved the day, and now I can’t imagine them having anything else. They were supposed to have little shirt collars and ties, but there was not time to make them. Also, they are supposed to have long, long tails, being generally salamander-shaped, but there really isn’t enough of the fur left. It was a tight situation making all four of them out of what I had!
L-R: Ritchie, Paulie, Johnny and Georgie.
Anyway, back to the Fest. Also in attendance was Nancy Lee Andrews, a model-turned-rock-photographer who was once Ringo Starr’s girlfriend and(I think)fiancee’. She was promoting her book, A Dose of Rock n’ Roll, and selling prints of her many photos of Ringo, George, and numerous other rock stars prominent in the 70’s. Sweet and fun as well as totally adorable, Nancy graciously talked about the situations behind many of her photos and answered lots of questions. I took out Ritchie, the “Ringo” of the ModFops, and showed her.
She was petting him and making the cutest boo-boo face. Ritchie’s nose bends a bit to one side, and she told me that that was actually accurate. 🙂
Then, an unusual thing happened. See, my policy is to never, ever let another person except Steve put on my puppets; it’s not really a personal thing, it’s just that usually men want to operate them and be goofy with them, and men have big hands. My puppets are made for my small hands, and a guy who has no idea what he’s doing with a puppet tends to stretch the face, pop seams and turn the puppet into a grotesque gargoyle. But Nancy reached for Georgie when I took him out, and she seemed so charmed when she said, “Oh, can I? Can I try him on?” I couldn’t resist. So she had Georgie and I took Ritchie, and we rubbed noses.
Just like Eskimoses!
Then she took Georgie off but continued to hold him and pet him.”He’s so soft!”
May Pang was also at the Fest, and I have always found her to be very friendly and interesting, however, in the hubbubb I completely forgot to get her photo with Johnny.
My pal Smits was there, and the main reason I know about the Fest and go every year. Since she is the big Ringo fan ( we love our Economy Class Beatles) I of course had to show her Ritchie and get a photo. She also brought her newest member of her puppet troupe, Lolly!
(more pics of our mayhem to follow as soon as we get them all traded between us)
Steve did a funny clip with Georgie talking about our hotel in Nashville, the Hotel Preston. Stay tuned!
The Hotel Preston is loaded with fun and funky artwork, and its elevators are lined with mock red cowhide. I think Georgie had a little “spot envy”.:)
When Tony saw Ritchie, he pointed at his nose and laughed and said, “Oh, you’re cruel! What a cruel woman you are!”
It was a fun and fascinating weekend. Thanks to the celebrities, puppet wranglers and understanding husbands who made it Fab!