New Doc Sheds (More) Light on Life of Lennon

It’s hard to imagine that there be much left to learn about the world’s most well recognized and famous figures, but the new documentary “LennonNYC” does just that. 

In never-before heard audio and never -before seen film, LennonNYC shows John Lennon as a dad, husband, and New Yorker. The film will be officially premiere on PBS’s “American Masters” on November 22nd, but on Saturday, October 9, on what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday, a special screening of the documentary will be shown in Central Park.

Michael Epstein, who wrote and directed LennonNYC, said he sometimes felt like he was crashing a party he was never supposed to be at, learning all the behind the scenes aspects of Lennon’s life and personality. 

NBCNewYork asked him what his favorite uncovered Lennon tidbit was. Epstein said it was an audio recording of Lennon ordering sushi during one of his last recording sessions. Lennon tells his band-mates to order the sashimi and Tomago under Yoko’s name, because it would never get there if it had his name on it, Lennon says while giggling. It’s exactly moments like these, which the film tries to highlight. They are moments that show Lennon they way his friends like Jack Douglas, who was also his audio producer, knew him.

Douglas took NBCNewYork on a tour of Lennon’s old neighborhood, the Upper West Side, near the Dakota. Just down the street, where a Le Pain Quotidian now stands, was the cleaners where Lennon, himself, picked up all his cleaning. Douglas said, despite Lennon’s fame, he still had to present his cleaning stub. “No ticket, no laundry. It holds true for everyone”. Douglas said the biggest draw of New York for Lennon was that he “was just part of the neighborhood. That’s why [Lennon] loved New York, because he could come here and just be an “ex-Beatle”.

Douglas showed us the Prescriptions store on Columbus and 72nd that Lennon frequented, the place where he bought the now infamous silver jacket with the black fur collar, and the breakfast spot, Café La Fortuna, which is now a Hardware store, where Douglas and Lennon would eat egg-whites.

“He used to be the fat Beatle” that’s why there were egg-whites only Douglas explains, “he was doing yoga and meditating in the room next to the control room” during recording sessions.

We asked Douglas what he would say to Lennon is he had the chance today. “I would say, ‘what is it I don’t know’. It’s a trick question, because he used to say to me ‘you don’t know anything’. I used to think I knew everything.”

LennonNYC will be shown at the Summer Stage in Central Park on Saturday, October 9 at 7pm. Doors open at 6 and space is first-come-first serve.

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