book thoughts: The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Usually I wait until the end of the next month to post the books I have read but this book…this book needs it’s own entry.

I had already had it on hold because BEATLES and then it won the Eisner Award for best non-fiction graphic novel. And let me tell you, it DESERVED IT.

First of all, the story. I’m a HUGE Beatles fan, I know who Brian Epstein was. But this story, which was both well researched but then also elaborated on in ways that the author admits are fiction since he has no way of knowing what the exact conversations were like between Brian and other people. This isn’t The Beatles story, this is Brian’s story, with the Beatles as a backdrop. It’s the story of a young man, trying to find his place in the world. But it’s not just as simple as being successful. Brian Epstein was gay and in the 1960s, being gay in the UK was ILLEGAL. So here is a man who is in charge of the band that becomes the symbol of “All You Need is Love” and he feels like he can never be loved. It’s heartbreaking.

And then the artwork. Oh my god, it is just beautiful. There is nothing more to say, it is just so gorgeous, so well laid out. The colors are perfect. The imagery…

This book has so much to offer. Even if your knowledge of the Beatles is just a few songs, the basic history, this book is worth looking at to see the social and cultural issues that are the same and that have changed (or have they?). It’s a look into that world, a peek behind the curtain of the man behind Beatlemania. Of the naive and innocent man who tried so hard to dive into a business he knew nothing about, and how it pulled him under.

Go get this book now. You can read it in an afternoon. But it will stay with you long after.

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‘Into the Woods’ teaser

Disney released the teaser trailer and some production photos from their upcoming big screen adaptation of the 1986 Tony Award Winning Broadway Musical Into the Woods yesterday. And the images awoke a part of me that I hadn’t seen in a long time – my musical theater geek.

She had been kept at bay by simple Disney musical like Tangled and Frozen but seeing the trailer (even though it has not hint of singing in it) made me long to hear all of those beautiful songs.

Into the Woods is one of my favorite musicals, one that I have adored since childhood. We taped it off of PBS, back when they would show the top Broadway hits on Great Performances (is this still a thing? It should be! I can’t afford tickets to New York, let alone Broadway plays). I watched it over and over, had the soundtrack. Pretty much it is embedded in my brain for all time. So you can imagine that after viewing the trailer I went into full “When Fangirls Attack” mode and bemoaned the lack of x, y, z and there was much “But Bernadette Peters OMG!” and shaking my head.

But I’ve calmed down now. I realized that this is actually a great opportunity for a new generation to be introduced to this play. Looking at the stills that were released, it looks like they are even keeping set changes to a minimal, as most of the actors are photographed in the same wooded area. It might be okay after all.

I’m still nervous, but again I have to remember that one of my other favorite childhood musical is A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Forum and I only ever saw that on VHS for the longest time (until I convinced my high school to do a production of it my senior year…ah the memories). ANYWAY, I’m sure Sondheim fans in 1966 were having the same feels as I am today when they saw the trailer for that movie in the theaters. Puts it all in perspective.

Of course, now I have the soundtrack to the Nathan Lane production from the early 90s and know all the songs that were left out of the movie. (OMG what might they leave out of Into the Woods???) And one of those songs is perfect for when I’m faced with learning about my favorite books, comic book, broadway musical being transferred to the big screen — I’m calm…oh so calm…oh so [screams internally]