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Beatles Symposium to host new Beatles author
Walnut Ridge, Arkansas -- Beatles at the Ridge is proud to welcome author Patricia Gallo-Stenman to their 2019 Symposium line-up. Stenman was selected as a teen reporter on the Fab Four during the 1960s in her local Philadelphia area. Penning a column called "Teen to Teen," she launched a writing career and went on to work as a staff writer for the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin. After attending Temple University and doing her graduate work at the University of Stockholm (Sweden) International Graduate School, Gallo-Stenman pursued a 25-year career as a journalist, writing about The Beatles for Discover and The Sunday Bulletin Magazine. But through it all, she has always remained a teen at heart and a devoted Beatlemaniac. Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series, and Lanea Stagg, author of The Recipe Record Series (co-chairs for Beatles at the Ridge) spoke recently with Gallo-Stenman.
Q: Patti, we're so excited to have you as a Guest Author at Beatles at the Ridge, 20-21 September 2019, to share the buzz that's been created over your new book, Diary of a Beatlemaniac: A Fab Insider's Look at The Beatles' Era. Give us a short synopsis of the book, if you don't mind. (Even though we read the excellent review in Beatlefan magazine! Bravo!)
Diary of a Beatlemaniac is an in-depth look at what made first-generation fans tick during Beatlemania's early days; each page relives the magic of the moment behind the scenes. The memoir is compiled from my 57-year-old diary, scrapbooks, photographs, and my original teenage newspaper columns. It offers a unique glimpse into the groovy days of the Sixties as seen through my eyes - a Philadelphia schoolgirl - and my Beatle Buddy friends. I track the milestones of the Beatles' era from the Ed Sullivan Show to the 1966 concert at Shea Stadium and beyond. It answers questions such as: How did young Beatlemaniacs think? How did we plan our attack, hoping to meet the group at a Philadelphia hotel? What did we wear and buy? Why?
The book also includes interviews with actor Victor Spinetti and top Philadelphia deejay Hy Lit. It was an honor to have author Larry Kane contribute the book's insightful foreword. As Foreword Reviews pointed out: "The diary goes a long way in explaining who the screaming, fainting, young women seen in footage of old Beatle concerts were, and why they were so overcome." I strongly believe the detailed documentation of a vintage fan retelling this slice of Beatle history will allow future generations to better understand the phenomenon of Beatlemania.
Q: You were tremendously involved in "The Beatles World" throughout the Sixties...so "connected" that you actually met key Beatles people, such as Victor Spinetti. What made you decide to wait until 2018 to write down that exciting story for other Beatles fans to enjoy?
The birth of this book has been a long process. I first scribbled in my diary in December 1962. In 1974, as a young reporter for the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin, I wrote a retrospective piece ten-years-after the Beatles for our Sunday magazine. "Dear John, Paul, George, Ringo: It was a very Hard Day's Night...But Let It Be" spotlighted early Beatlemania in Philadelphia through my eyes, using my diary and memories for reference. I kept those moments in the back of my mind during the following decades until 2004 when I took a pause in my career. I decided it was "now or never" for the diary and Sunday newspaper article to blossom into a memoir.
Actually, actor Victor Spinetti cheered me on. He graciously introduced me to his own London book agent! Decades earlier, I was co-president of The Official Victor Spinetti Fan Club of America Chapter One, founded in 1964. Since that time, we had remained good friends. So, finally, it all came together following several major stops and starts – and Diary of a Beatlemaniac was published by Cynren Press on October 9, 2018 – John Lennon's birthday.
Q: You know our BATR Symposium theme this year is "Beatles Memorabilia and Collectibles," and we're thrilled that as part of your presentation on Saturday, Sept. 21, you'll be displaying some of your special Beatles items. Tell us a little bit about those precious items you'll be sharing.
"Memorabilia" was not a familiar term to us original young fans in the mid '60s. Back then, Beatle items were not part of a serious collection, but merely Beatle souvenirs...or "junk" to our parents. We spent our measly allowances on a variety of Beatle fan magazines (for information), purchased Beatle buttons at city news kiosks, and cashed in our pennies for Beatle bubblegum cards at the candy store. The early stuff was for fun, and many Beatlemaniacs did not save much of what they collected. Some items fell apart, as they were cheaply made. My Beatle wigs wore out, as did my Beatle sneakers. And sadly, my "I LOVE PAUL" button was stolen, and my Beatles wallpaper was papered over! Furthermore, many moms cleaned out their teen daughters' closets, but I was a lucky pack-rat who carefully stored my Beatles stuff away – and thus, kept it all!
The following is my original list of some of the Beatle souvenirs owned by an average Beatlemaniac (me!) in the 1960s: Beatle albums, original Beatles buttons, John Lennon caps, Beatles scarves, a ceramic Beatles bracelet, a pair of Beatles-decorated sneakers, Four Remco Beatles dolls, a box of Beatles stationery, and 101 Beatle bubblegum cards! I also carefully preserved Beatles fan magazines, paperback books, a copy of John Lennon's In His Own Write, a copy of Brian Epstein's book, A Cellarful of Noise, a six-foot poster of Paul playing guitar, a four-foot wall poster of The Beatles, and two Beatles scrapbooks, crammed full of newspaper and magazine clippings.
Well Patti, we can't wait to see your Beatles "goodies," to learn more about your fun and insightful book, and to get to know you at Beatles at the Ridge, Sept. 20 and 21! Everyone is invited to hear Patti speak, free of charge, at our "Lunch and Learn" Session in The Studio on Main Street on Saturday, 21 September at noon. It will be GROOVY!
To learn more about Patti Gallo-Stenman go to www.diaryofabeatlemaniac.com.
To learn more about Beatles at the Ridge 2019 go to www.beatlesattheridge.com,
or find Beatles at the Ridge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BeatlesAtTheRidge/
Published March 28, 2019