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The Fest for Beatles Fans 2010: Day 1
[Posted by Jude Kessler on Saturday, 03/27/10 12:58 pm] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

The best part about The Fest for Beatles Fans is its unwavering tradition and its unpredictable variety. Yes, I know those two characteristics clash! But let me explain. Despite the fact that, year after year, many things remain exactly the same at the 36-year-old-fest (going on this weekend in the Meadowlands Crowne Plaza, just outside New York City), an equal number of events are new and fresh and exciting!

This year, for example, there are many first-time Beatle authors at the Fest whose faces, stories, and incredible books give Fab Four devotees something to get excited about!

Foremost among these is former children's book writer, Judith Kristen. A long-time and most accomplished writer of stories about rescue dogs and cats, Kristen has this go-round created a book for Baby Boomers and really, for anyone who loves John, Paul, Ringo, and especially George! A Date With A Beatle is Kristen's first book for those over age 11, and it rocks. It chronicles her very devoted attempt to somehow, someway win a date with George Harrison.

"I wanted more than just a glance from those chocolate brown eyes of his," Kristen told a ballroom full of listeners at the Friday Night Author's Panel. "I wanted a special moment with George...all on my own!" And she set out to accomplish just that.

Click here to see a larger image
Author Judith Kristen and Andrew

Attending nine (Number 9, Number 9) Beatles concerts - including the Shea Stadium classic in '65! - Judy jumped through an inordinate amount of hoops to get Harrison to notice her. At the Washington, D.C. concert, for example, she lunged for his Beatle boots, ripping her dress and smashing her face into the floor! And that is just one episode in her mad story of a fan's singled-minded pursuit.

Kristen's ability to spin a good yarn (albeit a true one) comes easily to her after "ghost writing" two books for her Old English Sheepdog, Henley Harrison West. (Ahem!) Henley, who was abused and neglected before being adopted by Judy, tells children - ages 7-11 - about the path he followed to a good home and a fulfilling life. "Just because your life begins unfortunately," Henley (Judy) writes, "it doesn't have to remain a tragedy. You can choose to have a happy ending."

Judith Kristen is no stranger to a fairy-tale ending herself. After years of taking on "pay work" as a writer - technical journals, astrological predictions, and menu texts - Judith was blessed with the chance to "write the books inside of her" when she met, fell in love with, and married Andrew West. "Mr. Wonderful," she says, cutting her eyes at Andrew coyly, "worked at 'a job' twelve hours a day to free me up so that I could really create the things I yearned to create."

A Date With A Beatle is certainly proof of her ability to write creatively and to do it well. With rave reviews from Bill Harry, Dennis Mitchell, and Tony Bramwell, the quick-read is selling quite briskly at the fest. Every person who has ever cooked up a scheme to meet a Beatle (or any famous celebrity) can identify with the teenage enthusiasm, antics, and reckless abandon that sent Judy and her best friends, Patty and Shelly, on a collision course with destiny and George Harrison.

You can meet Judy Kristen and get an autographed copy of her book at this weekend's Fest for Beatles Fans, or go to to order one.


Beatles News guest-blogger Jude Southerland Kessler is author of the acclaimed John Lennon docu-novel Shoulda Been There

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