Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grand Rivers

There’s a resort in Grand Rivers, Kentucky called Green Turtle Bay Marina and Resort. The WannaBeatles went there to play Marina Day on Saturday August 13. Thanks to Dennis’s negotiating skills, we were also offered two nights free stay with our wives at the resort.
The poster for Marina Day, showing some of the activities offered for families and kids

It started with Dennis being hired to play the event as a children’s entertainer, which is another side of Dennis’s entertainment empire. He convinced the resort that The WannaBeatles would be a good addition to their concert stage, scheduled immediately after his set as a children’s entertainer.

As the date drew near, Dennis passed along information about the offer for us to stay at the resort, reminding us to answer yes or no, and to confirm the reservations. It sounded like a great opportunity for a free brief vacation for The Good Yoko and me. 

The Good Yoko (also known as Holly, excellent wife of WannaBeatle Bryan) was recovering from hip replacement surgery, and deserved a break. She had returned to work, which meant we could leave that Friday around 5 pm, and arrive around 9 pm at GreenTurtle Bay.

Dennis also took advantage of the extra night at the resort, but his wife Lori wasn’t available.

Good Yoko and I were delighted with the place - a cozy, clean, very well supplied nautically themed cottage, with complete kitchen, living room, deck, and supply of fun movies in VHS and DVD. We enjoyed Mel Gibson in “What Women Want.”
A spider web we discovered on our deck

This cell phone photo does nothing to convey the charm and beauty of our setting. It reflects Good Yoko’s natural scientific curiosity, and reminds us how we were surrounded by the quiet and serenity of nature, with bright stars visible in the night time sky. It was a great escape from the stress of city life. 

The next morning, we enjoyed coffee on the deck, in the sunshine, with dappled light from the trees dancing across the table. We could see the lake through the trees, with yachts and sailboats in the water. Then we proceeded to Dockers, the nearby diner, for a late Saturday morning breakfast, joining Dennis, who had spent the night in a cabin in another part of the resort.

Good Yoko, Dennis, and Bloggin' Bryan

It was a great change from normal gig stress to have an entire day to unload, set up, and sound check. Good Yoko captured some of the relaxed mood later in the day as Dennis and I just goofed off.
Getting silly

Nathan and David arrived later in the day, and we attended to our professional obligations.
Dennis as children's entertainer

Good Yoko by WannaBeatles banner
Dennis onstage talking to young fan

One fan we noticed there was young Stone - a boy who has recently started playing guitar, inspired by The Beatles, via The WannaBeatles. We had met him the previous week, sitting in the front row at our show at Discovery Park.
Stone, with the WannaBeatles CD he got the previous week, in a photo his mother took and posted on Facebook

After the show, we packed our cars, then gathered at the Commonwealth Yacht Club, and enjoyed dining out together.

Nathan, David and Dennis
David, Dennis and Nathan ordering
BC and Good Yoko

After dinner, David and Nathan both drove home so they could do their Sunday morning gigs. Dennis stayed overnight, as did Good Yoko and me, enjoying the fresh country air, sleeping late. We had a late breakfast at Docker's again, then drove back to Nashville. 

Green Turtle Bay was a surprisingly pleasant gig, blended into a very enjoyable micro-vacation. It’s good to be a WannaBeatle.

-Bloggin Bryan 20October2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Discovery Park

Like most people in Nashville, The WannaBeatles had never heard of Union City, Tennessee. But thanks to the industrious efforts of our resident genius Dennis, we had a gig there August 6. 

That morning, we loaded our trailer and headed west on I-40, turning north to go through Martin. It was another half hour before we discovered a fantastic place called Discovery Park. 

We were impressed with the sign as we entered.
The fancy sign at Discovery Park
Our name in lights...

Discovery Park is an elaborate tourist destination containing educational displays, historic buildings, dinosaur bones, full-scale aircraft, restaurants, and other activities, all centered around a space age architectural marvel that reminded us of the Wizard of Oz.
Welcome to the Land of Oz

We drove around to a tent covered outdoor stage, where a friendly crew introduced themselves and helped us carry our gear to the stage.

This was another outdoor summer gig where rain clouds entered into the equation. It was sunny when we arrived, and set up went like a normal gig.
Unloading the trailer
Dennis and guys sound check
Moving the drum riser: putting some muscle into it
Setting up amps onstage

In the distance we could see a rain cloud heading our way. It ended up hitting us around 5 pm. As it approached, we put tarps over all our gear, then took golf carts to the central building where we had dressing rooms and dinner waiting.
Dennis and Nathan cover keyboard
Pulling the tarp over the drums
Speakers under tarps
Leaving a wet stage
Here comes the rain

On the golf cart ride back and forth between the stage and the magic castle, we saw other features of the park. 
Riding in the golf cart

Passing the log cabins, demonstrating life in the 1800's

Plane on display

Approaching the magic castle, 
also known as Discovery Center
Nathan and David in motion
Dennis during ride, featuring a rare glimpse of his forehead

We learned that a local businessman, Robert Kirkland, had donated the 50 acres and $80 million to create Discovery Park, fulfilling his vision of inspiring and educating children and adults, along with putting Obion County on the map, so to speak. Discovery Park, located along the still being constructed I-69, has attracted a million visitors in its first three years of existence.

Once inside the magic castle, we discovered a multi-story atrium with full scale dinosaur skeletons. 
Dinosaur bones in lobby
More dinosaur bones
Another view of dinosaur

We were served a nice supper by some nice folks at the center, and changed into our stage clothes. Then we took the golf cart back to the stage. 

There was rainwater to remove from the stage. Our sound crew used window washing tools to scrape it off.
Sweeping water off stage
More sweeping water
Sweeping water once more

The rain had come and gone, and a crowd began to show up, bringing their own folding chairs.
Dennis onstage with view of crowd
Dennis and assistant at merch table display

There was still time before the show for a walk around the grounds. 
Just a hint of rainbow
Life-size poster for our show

The staff of Discovery Park helped warm up the crowd with announcements, and by shooting tee shirts into the crowd with an air powered howitzer made from a large plastic cylinder.
Preparing to launch a tee shirt
Shooting another tee shirt into the crowd

This creative use of a plastic cannon reminded us of the verse about beating swords into plowshares.

We had a great time playing for the crowd, and discovering Discovery Park. 
The Land of Oz after the rain

One final gesture of the evening was our signing a barbecue pit with permanent silver markers. It's normal for us to sign CDs and other souvenirs at the end of each show, but this was the first time we had signed a huge metal drum.
Signing the barbecue pit

So one Saturday afternoon, we discovered Discovery Park. We were impressed with what it is, and the people who run it.  We were blessed by the experience. 

We returned to Nashville a little wiser and happier than we were when we woke up that day.

Bloggin’ Bryan 18october2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Puckett's and Friends

Puckett’s Grocery is about as close as we get to a regular home town gig. We’ve been playing the Franklin Puckett’s for almost as long as we’ve been The WannaBeatles.

That means that our shows there are largely social events. At least that’s the way it appears from the cell phone photos taken at our most recent show there, Friday August 5.

So here are the results: a few shots of us getting ready to play, and a few more of our friends who came out to see us that night.
Nathan and David getting ready
Dennis acts up
Dennis and guys onstage as we're announced
Our banner, inserted behind drums
Our sound man Allan Waugh, our friend Carol 
(occasionally known to get up on the dance floor) and David
Jeff and Joann Seligman at table, Nathan in background

Holly (aka Good Yoko) and her fun sister Dana, who was visiting from Savannah. This was Holly's first night out since having hip replacement surgery three weeks before. Thanks, Dana, for making it possible, and such fun!

Everybody had a good time.

It’s always good to see our friends, and Puckett’s is just about the friendliest place we play.

-Bloggin’ Bryan 12October2016