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May Pang's The Lost Weekend: A Love Story
24 April 2022
8.24pm
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Ron Nasty
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Well, this is a surprise, heard nothing about this being in the pipeline, premiering as part of the Tribeca Festival on 10 June, The Lost Weekend: A Love Story is a 97 minute documentary with May Pang giving her account of those years, and could prove a valuable addition to the filmography.

She was just a kid growing up in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s, the American-born daughter of Chinese immigrants who went to Catholic school, hated studying and fell in love with all things rock & roll, especially The Beatles. So when May Pang landed a gig at Apple Records, which quickly became working exclusively with John and Yoko as their full-time personal assistant, she found herself living a life beyond even her wildest dreams, all at the tender age of 19. Yet when the couples’ marriage began to disintegrate, Yoko convinced their young (i.e., easy to control) assistant that she was the safest bet to date a newly single John. Quickly the pair began what the singer would call his “Lost Weekend,” an 18-month-long whirlwind romance that took the two to the center of the madness of L.A.’s music scene, reunited a newly sober Lennon with his long-estranged son Julian, and reconnect the former Beatle to his love for rock & roll, and all as the new couple fell ever deeper in love.

With unbelievable access to rich archival footage, rarely-heard home recordings, and a collection of Lennon’s own quirky, evocative sketches, famed writer and music executive May Pang takes us on a deeply emotional journey through the 18 months that would shape her life and reinvigorate one of the greatest figures in music. Featuring interviews with famed rocker Alice Cooper, Apple Records manager Tony King, and legendary drummer Jim Keltner, and leading to a surprising and emotional ending, The Lost Weekend: A Love Story  is a funny, touching and vibrant portrait of first love, produced and directed by Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman and Stuart Samuels. —Cedar Sherbert

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25 April 2022
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meaigs
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Wow, that sounds exciting. Any idea how it will be available to watch?

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25 April 2022
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Timothy
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This is the type of film I want to see. Will be following this closely.

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27 April 2022
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I would love to see this film one day. 

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11 June 2022
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Toxic34
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May has somewhat exaggerated this period considerably. It’s not that she’s lying, of course she isn’t. But she’s made more of it and her role in John’s life than is actually the case. 

The whole “John and Yoko were going to get divorced and he was looking forward to life with May” simply doesn’t ring true. While they certainly had a very real relationship at this point, May was only a temporary presence for John at all points. All through this period, his only thoughts were of Yoko and wanting to return. And Yoko has said that, if anything, she was actually very reluctant for him to return, and that John basically really insisted on it and wore her down. After all, May was very different from Yoko and she couldn’t intellectually stimulate him the way Yoko could.

May is certainly free to believe what she wants, and she’ll definitely always believe that she was “the other woman”, even when the evidence against that stares her in the face. But to say “I got John and Paul to reconcile, I got John and Julian in communication” is giving herself too much credit. These events would’ve happened regardless. After all, Julian kept visiting John after he and Yoko reconciled, and even after Sean was born. John and Paul still kept in touch. May just happened to be there when the overtures were made, no more and no less.

This isn’t me being dismissive about the doc, it’s just that May seems to be building it up as an entire puzzle, instead of a piece of the larger puzzle that is John Lennon .

11 June 2022
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May Pang documentary premiered  last night at the Tribeca Film Festival to mostly good reviews.a-hard-days-night-john-3

Variety
June 11, 2022

 

‘The Lost Weekend: A Love Story’ Review: May Pang Tells Her Story, and a Piece of John Lennon ’s, in a Compelling Documentary
It fills in a famous episode in rock mythology, enriching the story. But it’s not the whole story.

By Owen Gleiberman

9a20f9ba3c80d6c187cadb32410e91f3.pngImage Enlarger


Courtesy the Collection of May Pang

The so-called Lost Weekend, when John Lennon , from late 1973 through ’74, separated from Yoko Ono and relocated to Los Angeles, where he became a hard-drinking rock-club night owl while carrying on an affair with the 22-year-old May Pang (who had been John and Yoko’s assistant), has long been part of rock mythology. It’s been covered by everything from E! documentaries to Albert Goldman’s “The Lives of John Lennon .” Like many Lennon observers, I’ve always felt like I knew the basic bones of it.

I knew that John and Yoko, after marrying in 1969 and seeming like inseparable soulmates in art and life, began to have problems as a couple. That Yoko, trying to save the marriage, made the decision to set up John with May Pang, basically instructing the two of them to have a romantic affair. That in L.A., John, for the first time since the breakup of the Beatles (and maybe since the Beatles began), let his hair down and began to enjoy a more relaxed, fraternizing, at times carousing rat-pack existence. That he became a fixture at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard along with Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, Bernie Taupin, Mickey Dolenz, and others who became known as the Hollywood Vampires. That after 18 months of partying and soul searching, John returned to Yoko, commenting at the time (in one of the wittiest quips of his life, which is saying something) that “The separation didn’t work out.” And that his decision to go back made the entire episode look like Yoko’s version of a Jedi mind trick.

The central figure in the new documentary “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” is May Pang, who has told her tale many times (in her memoir, and on talk shows like “Geraldo” — in the film, we see a lot of clips of those appearances). The movie, directed by Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman, and Stuart Samuels, is told entirely from her point of view. It’s a portrait of the May Pang who grew up in Spanish Harlem as a second-generation Chinese-American (“a minority among minorities,” she says), and how she fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll and fell into fame with a kind of karmic destiny.

In the photos that we saw at the time of her and John, she always had a waifish beauty, and a certain mystery behind those tinted hexagon glasses. But in “The Lost Weekend,” we see that May Pang was a tough ambitious city girl, who spoke with a slight but blunt New York accent, and that after dropping out of college she had the chutzpah to talk her way into a job at the Apple Records offices on Broadway. She was a schmoozer, and when she began to work for John and Yoko, doing every makeshift task available — avant-garde film production assistant, costume designer — she had an ebullient smile and an easy-to-be-with vivacity. She was fun but circumspect (she didn’t drink or do drugs).

The documentary is Pang’s diary-like account of how the Lost Weekend played out, week by week, emotion by emotion, and on that score it offers a fascinating, revealing, and sometimes moving portrait of John Lennon unmoored, trying to find himself in a world that had caught up to him. The movie is also a portrait of Pang’s romantic passion, which as she portrays it was both innocent and deeply serious. To say that she was in over her head would be an understatement. She was 10 years younger than Lennon (and 17 years younger than Yoko), who was her boss and a Beatle. Once they were together, Yoko would phone her incessantly, wanting to know what was happening. It was all a lark; Pang was just going with the flow. But she relates, with a dailiness that’s convincing, how she and John became convivial and erotic companions, their affair rooted in a genuine affection and in Lennon’s discovery that he didn’t have to live in a way that was always so chained to his legend. (In the early ’70s, he’d become a real political scold; after the drubbing received by 1972’s “Some Time In New York City ,” that was part of what he was letting go of.)

There’s amazing archival material throughout, and it gives you an unusually rich sense of what Lennon was like away from the limelight. The dark side is very much there. We hear Pang’s stories about how Lennon, in a drunken fit of confronting his demons, smashed up their place in L.A., and how he would hit her sometimes. And there are startling photographs that document the recording of “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the album of early rock chestnuts that Lennon made with Phil Spector, who was entering his full mad-dog phase. But according to Pang, the fabled tales of Lennon’s misbehavior, as when he and Harry Nilsson, after too many Brandy Alexanders, got kicked out of the Troubadour nightclub for heckling the Smothers Brothers, were more the exception than the rule. It’s no coincidence that he reconciled with Paul during this period. In a way that’s as casually stirring as it it surprising, we see them bury the acrimony and rediscover their friendship.

The narrative that shapes “The Lost Weekend” is May Pang’s gently building insistence that she and Lennon were truly in love. And we have to take that on faith, since it’s all very subjective and not necessarily borne out by what happened. Did Yoko really set the whole thing up? According to May Pang, she totally did, walking into Pang’s office at the fortress-like Dakota, where John and Yoko had moved to feel more secure (Lennon, at that point, was being seriously harassed by the FBI, since President Nixon wanted him deported), and basically giving her an executive order: You’re going to have a relationship with John. Yoko had observed John’s infidelity, so she figured that she would let him stray with a woman she could control. It was, by any standard, a decision of seriously kinky manipulation.

Yet this was the bed-hopping, do-what-you-feel ’70s, so it all seemed a little less weird at the time. It wasn’t Yoko’s idea that the two of them move to L.A.; that was John’s impulsive decision. The documentary chronicles how after about a year there, they returned, just as impulsively, to New York, moving into a small apartment on E. 52nd St., where they lived through the first months of 1975. We see Pang’s photograph of Bob Gruen snapping his famous photograph of Lennon in a New York City T-shirt. One night, she and John saw a UFO from the rooftop (Lennon’s description and sketch of it are haunting), and according to Pang they were talking about buying a house in Montauk.

But Yoko had already re-entered the picture, showing up backstage to see John at the premiere of an Off Broadway show based on “Sgt. Pepper .” There are moments in the film when Yoko, to say the least, does not come off well — notably in Pang’s description of how Yoko attempted to cut off Lennon’s relationship with his son, Julian. Julian is interviewed throughout the film, and he (like his mother, Cynthia) maintained a close bond with Pang. That Pang helped to bring John and Julian back together, despite Yoko’s machinations, seems more convincing than not.

What doesn’t seem convincing, at least as the film presents it, is the final twist in this extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll soap opera. After John, seemingly out of nowhere, goes back to Yoko, and Pang confronts him about it, he says, quite simply: She’s letting me come back. Letting him? That doesn’t square with what the film has implied — that Lennon had drifted away from Yoko. His comment suggests that their separation was always contingent on an understanding between them. But that’s something we’d have to guess at, since the life of John Lennon remains, for all the ways it’s been chronicled, not quite knowable. “The Lost Weekend” is a compelling movie and a valuable puzzle piece, but it’s only pretending to be the whole puzzle.

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14 June 2022
10.41pm
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This is one thing I’m definitely interested in.

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16 June 2022
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Ron Nasty
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A short clip…

Love the end bit. Lots in there even though it’s not much over a minute.

Hopefully we’ll get news that it’s got a distributor soon.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

16 June 2022
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Pennys Poppies
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It’s look great, I love the animation part !

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Rube
17 June 2022
9.28am
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Rube
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It’s a very good trailer. I’m looking forward to seeing the full documentary. 

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17 June 2022
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