Beatles companion brings personal story to Southwest Michigan gallery, theater
Published 9:00 am Friday, June 9, 2023
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — May Pang, a former music executive, personal assistant and production coordinator for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Lennon’s lover during the era known as “The Lost Weekend”, is visiting Michiana next week for two events.
On Monday, June 12, Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks will be screening the documentary “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story”, after which Pang will be present for a question and answer session. The following two days, Pang’s photography from that period will be on display and for sale at the Judy Ferrara Gallery, also in Three Oaks.
“It was time for people to hear my story,” Pang said, of the six year process of making the documentary. “You’re traveling this journey with me.”
The film, which she started working on in 2017, is meant to showcase an important time in both her life and that of John Lennon. Pang hopes to correct misconceptions and mistruths about the time the former Beatle referred to as “The Lost Weekend.” Until now, much of the tale has come from outside perspectives, but the documentary gives her a chance to tell the story from her own direct experiences. Already, she has had audiences tell her that the film has opened their eyes.
The name itself, “The Lost Weekend”, is misleading, as the time extended to nearly two years, from late 1973 through 1975. This time was known for Lennon’s high creative output, during which, Pang would take many candid photos of him. These photos of the artist in a comfortable, relaxed environment show a variation of the person seen in publicity photos.
“You see John through my eyes,” she said.
Pang’s work shows Lennon as he created and relaxed. He is seen in quiet moments, walking or with friends, and in significant moments, such as the only existing photograph of him signing the contract to dissolve The Beatles. Several of the photos show times in Santa Monica with Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Harry Nilsson.
When factoring in Pang’s time working for ABKCO Records, the management office at that time for Apple Records, her time around Lennon and the rest of the Beatles extends even longer. She recounted the tale of her college years, looking for a job when, on paper, she had no skills.
“I didn’t even know how to type,” she said.
An employment agency sent her to interview for a company in the same building as ABKCO. Though she walked out with little confidence in getting the job, she was excited when her friend pointed out the New York home of Apple Records. She decided she would simply walk in and ask for a job.
“If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get,” she said. “If it’s no, you haven’t lost anything.”
Though she was initially greeted negatively, she hung around long enough for a handful of workers to exit for lunch. The receptionist told them her reason for being there and they asked her to return for an interview. Answering yes to each question, whether or not she actually had the skills needed, May found herself with a job.
“It’s one of those things where you’re in the right place at the right time,” she said.
Her time there set her on a path into the world of the music business and its history. The list of artists Pang worked with is long and legendary, including Keith Moon, Johnny Winter, Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, and, of course, John Lennon. She assisted on the films “Fly” and “Up Your Legs Forever”. She was in the room for moments both historical and personal. She even sat in on the very last jam session between Lennon and McCartney. She hopes the documentary and her photographs will communicate the magic of that era.
“I think it gives more of an explanation of what happened during that time period,” she said.
The screening of “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” will take place at the Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks on Monday, June 12th at 6pm, with a Q&A with May Pang following. Tickets can be purchased at vickerstheatre.com. The photography exhibit will take place at the Judy Ferrara Gallery in Three Oaks from Tuesday, June 13th through Wednesday, June 14th. Details can be found at judyferraragallery.com. May Pang will be in attendance at the exhibit. Additional information on May herself and the tour can be found at maypang.com and rockartshow.com/collections/may-pang.
Justin Flagel is the founder of Red Chuck Productions, where he writes, tells stories, and creates new media. Follow his work at redchuckproductions.com. Feedback can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.