Sunday, August 16, 2009

The more they saw Chris Montez at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, the more they wanted to call him and say "Let's dance!"

The Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans is winding down tonight-- if "winding down" is the right description for an all-star rock 'n'roll blowout capping s weekend that starred the likes of Ronnie Spector, Earl Slick and two of The Hudson Brothers, among others with longstanding Beatles connections.

As thousands of fans passed through the O'Hare Hyatt Regency Hotel on the most humid day of the summer, the name most talked about as a future Fab Fest fave was that of Chris Montez, featured in a preview of Frozen Pictures's new project, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story, that opened the Fest on Saturday with a grand screening in the Grand Ballroom and created more buzz this afternoon with a more intimate encore showing followed by a lively Q&A with director-writer-producers Brett Hudson and Burt Kearns.

Montez' winning personality, guileless honesty and brilliant talent as a singer and musician were equalled by the surprising story of his experiences headlining over the Beatles on the UK tour that coincided with the release of their first album and the first stirrings of Beatlemania.


The duo promised the film will debut at a Fest for Beatles Fans in 2010, and there's already talk of Chris Montez appearing along with it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beatles Fan Fest goes wild for Chris Montez

There were cheers, laughs and even gasps as the preview of the new film, El Viaje de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story, was unspooled this afternoon at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago.

Directors Brett Hudson and Burt Kearns took the stage in the Grand Ballroom of the O'Hare Hyatt Regency Hotel to introduce the work-in-progress about the influential singer and musician who headlined a UK tour in 1963 with the Beatles as his opening act. Co-headliner Tommy Roe was another fan favorite as he and Montez revealed behind-the-scenes nuggets, breaking news and making history with untold stories (hence the gasps) before hundreds of Beatles fans.

Directors Kearns and Hudson introduce the film
(Fellow producer and Director of Photography Joachim Blunck remained in LA)

"This was the audience we were most nervous about," said Kearns after the credits rolled. "They know the history. They know the Beatles story. If we could tell them something new, we we were on the right track."

"And we did," added Hudson. "It went over really well."

Hudson and Kearns, who've brought the Frozen Pictures flick The Seventh Python to two past Beatle fan fests, say the final work will encompass all of Montez' career and influence. They hope to bring it to a Beatle fest in the Spring.

Before the 34-minute preview was shown, fans were stunned by the trailer for an upcoming Frozen Pictures production, Apple Pie Heroes, which chronicles a reunion of The Hudson Brothers.

The Fest for Beatles Fans hosts a second screening of both works tomorrow at 1:30, followed by a Q&A with our pals from Frozen Pictures.

The Seventh Python movie and two-thirds of The Hudson Brothers combine for a historic evening at The Comedy Shrine

The Comedy Shrine in Naperville, Illinois was the center of the show business universe last night with a screening of The Seventh Python and a performance by its producer Brett Hudson and brother Mark Hudson in a special evening outside Chicago.

Frozen Pictures' acclaimed, award-winning film about Monty Python cohort Neil Innes made its fourth Chicago area appearance at the legendary comedy club and museum, while the Hudson brothers took time from their fan-flocked weekend at the Fest for Beatles Fans at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.

The crowd of comedy and music fans gave a rousing reception to both segments of the evening. A delay in getting the Hudsons from the Beatlefest to the club was covered by a raffle and a Q&A by Seventh director Burt Kearns that began to reach its stretching point around the time he played the audience music from his iPhone to explain Frozen Pictures' new film about Chris Montez (which will be previewed at noon today at The Fest for Beatles Fans).

It was generally agreed that the Hudsons were hilarious, working off Mark Hudson's solo show material that was highlighted by his story of a Hudson Brothers song about Joni Mitchell whose trajectory to hit status was derailed by the line, "Joni, I want you to blow me..." The fact that the next phrase was "blow me a kiss..." didn't matter.

The Comedy Shrine, with its extensive comedy collection (just about every inch of the 4800 square-foot place is filled with comedy memorabilia), is one of the most unique attractions in all of America. Located in an upscale minimall in downtown Naperville, the pop culture treasure is the brainchild and labour of love of veteran comedian and Emmy winner Dave Sinker, a longtime friend of the Hudsons.

Dave Sinker in his Comedy Shrine

More on The Comedy Shrine to come...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Surprises" promised as Chris Montez movie gets Saturday morning preview at Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans

Our pals at Frozen Pictures tell us they've just left the F&F Digital Post facilities in Los Angeles with copies of their special Beatlecentric preview of their new nonfiction film project, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story.

Next stop is Chicago for special screenings of the half-hour teaser of a musical documentary about the Mexican-American rock and pop legend. The film is the first in-depth look at Montez's career, which has spanned almost fifty years, developing alongside artists like Ritchie Valens, The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Beatles and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, with an influence that extends from punk rock to roots rock to lounge and easy listening.



The big screening will take place at 11 am Saturday morning in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago's O'Hare Hyatt Regency Hotel, as the "Early Bird Special" before doors open for the latest Fest for Beatles Fans. Screenings of Frozen Pictures' Neil Innes film, The Seventh Python, drew upwards of a thousand people and standing ovation at past Beatlefests. The film will also be screened Sunday afternoon, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

"We've got all kinds of surprises in store," says Burt Kearns, who directed along with Brett Hudson. "Beatles fans will be arguing on the way out the door-- and they'll have a lot more to look forward to."

The Chris Montez project, described by Hudson as "an only-in-American tale," was produced by Hudson, Kearns and Joachim Blunck, who's also Director of Photography. Filming continues after the crew returns from Chicago, where they're also showing The Seventh Python Friday night at the nearby Comedy Shrine club.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunday night in Tulsa: There will be Bloodline

Producer RenĂ© Barnett brings her controversial, acclaimed documentary film Bloodline back home to Oklahoma on Sunday, August 16th, in an exclusive one-night-only event at Tulsa’s historic Circle Cinema.

The movie investigates the popular theory that Jesus Christ married and fathered children with Mary Magdalene, finding the real story behind The Da Vinci Code. It caused a furor upon its release in theatres, has been presented around the world, and has only grown in popularity and influence since its release on DVD.

René Barnett is a native Oklahoman who worked for years with director Bruce Burgess on the project, presents the film on Sunday at 7 pm. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session that's bound to be spirited.

Barnett is a veteran producer whose television credits include Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Strange Universe. She is also host of the syndicated radio program Night Vision.

She got her start in radio at KAKC in Tulsa, as the newscaster who also provided occasional live sound effects on "Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi's Unfilmy Can Festival," a zany late night show featuring Tulsa natives Gailard Sartain and Gary Busey.

Bloodline runs at 7 pm Sunday night. The Circle Cinema is located at 12 South Lewis (at 1st Street) in Tulsa. More information at 918-592-FILM and the cinema website.