Archive for February, 2011

John Lennon’s Art Is A Fraud?

February 25, 2011

Does This Man Knowingly Sell Fraudulent Artwork?

I was so excited to take Mrs. LanceAround to see the artwork of John Lennon for Valentine’s day. She really admires John Lennon. I knew it would also make a great post for my readers. Before going, I did some research on the show.

That’s when I encountered this blog post by Gary Arseneau, who claims the entire John Lennon art show is a fraud!

In his blog, Gary has created an extensive, well documented text where he makes this claim. John Lennon was a pen and ink artist, yet the artwork in this show has color added. In some cases, the entire composition of a piece has been altered from the original drawings done by John. Signatures and chop marks are also postmortem additions, as is the creation of limited edition numbered prints.

According to Gary, these alterations, done after John’s death, mean that the artwork is a fraud.

I was devastated. Mrs. LanceAround is so ethical, it would crush her to learn that a display of Lennon’s work was a forgery. I decided to gather more information before telling Mrs. LanceAround what I discovered.

Brochure & Stickers at the Lennon Art Show

As we pulled up to the art show, I instantly recognized Rudy Siegel from the photos of him on Gary’s blog. I sat by the entrance and watched him greet everyone as they entered the show. He took a donation and gave them an “Instant Karma” sticker. At one point, I asked him pointedly if the artwork was all original John Lennon. He told me right away that John was a pen and ink artist and it was Yoko Ono who added the color to the pieces. He also spoke about the process of turning them into lithographs and adding signatures and chop marks.

I walked through the exhibit and observed the other employees from Legacy Fine Arts & Productions–the company Yoko hired to produce the show. They would hover around the crowded room and engage anyone who appeared interested in the art. It was obvious that they were trying to make a sale. I felt as though I were in a used car lot. Were the smiles phony or was I being unduly influenced by Gary’s blog?

I asked Rudy if I could interview him privately. He was busy at the front door, so I had to find one of his coworkers who could take his place while I spoke with him. I asked him directly about Gary’s accusation. When I mentioned Gary’s name, I noticed that the smile did not fade from his face, but I could sense some tension as he responded.

He said that Gary was someone who obviously had a grudge. When I asked if he felt that the artwork was fraudulent he responded by pointing out that he wouldn’t be doing an art show every week of the year if he thought the artwork was a fraud. I couldn’t help but notice that he did not directly state that the artwork was not fraudulent.

On the way home, I showed Mrs. LanceAround Gary’s article and told her about my interview with Rudy. As I suspected, it introduced some negative vibes into what was a very positive day.

So, is this artwork fraudulent?

I really don’t know. But I will share with you some of my opinions based on my research and observations…

–It is clear that the vast majority of artwork displayed in the show had many alterations from the original pen and ink drawings by John Lennon.

–These alterations were done at the behest of Yoko, who holds the legal copyright for John’s work.

–Could they have been more up front about how these pieces of art were created and altered–absolutely!

–The art show was a very smooth presentation where attendees were invited to enjoy “instant karma” and make a donation to charity. However, for me personally, all of this felt like a slick advertising ploy to use the legacy of John Lennon to make a sale.

–Does Yoko have the right to change John’s artwork, produce slick shows and use this venue as a way of making money? That’s debatable, but as John’s heir, I believe she does.

–Did John choose Yoko to be his wife and, upon his death, inherit the proceeds of his legacy and the right to do with this legacy as she sees fit? I don’t believe there is any doubt about this.

–Are there some people who wish John Lennon had chosen a spouse who would have made different choices regarding his artistic legacy?

Perhaps that’s the real question. I’m wondering if that is where Gary is coming from in his post.  I know it is a question that has been a topic of conversation for a lot of people over a very a long period of time.

The only thing I will say in conclusion is, based on my research and reading the comments from people who have purchased “art” at this show, I wouldn’t buy a piece from Legacy Fine Art and Productions anytime soon. The main reason for this is the testimonies on Gary’s blog indicate this artwork actually loses significant value after it is purchased–which says to me that there are too many people in the art world who do not believe it is worth what the production company is asking for it.

On the other hand, I did find going to the show to a very positive family experience. It was inspiring to listen to John’s music and see the artwork that was, at the very least and undeniably, inspired by John.

Prices Range From $200 to $20,000--But is it Art?

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John Lennon Art Show

February 23, 2011

20 Years Later John Lennon's Popularity Has Not Diminished

The day before Valentine’s Day I surprised Mrs. LanceAround by taking her to see an exhibit of artwork by John Lennon.

The 3 day exhibit was held in an empty storefront on Park Avenue in Winter Park, just north of Orlando. Winter Park is an upscale community. Park Avenue is loaded with art galleries, quaint restaurants and high end boutiques. It’s the perfect place to display John Lennon’s artwork.

There was a healthy crowd inside the gallery. A $2 suggested donation was collected at the door with the all the proceeds going to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission for help with the homeless. The door guardian gave each donor an “Instant Karma” sticker.

Mrs. LanceAround & #1 Daughter Loved the Art

Inside the gallery John Lennon’s music wafted through the air while guests walked around to peruse the artwork.  All of John’s art was done in pen and ink. There were even lithographs of hand written lyrics of some of John’s most popular songs. After his death, Yoko elected to create lithograph reproductions, add color and make some artistic changes to the design elements. Mrs. LanceAround became immersed in Lennon’s art and music and felt transported back in time to the peace, love and rock & roll era.

All the artwork is limited edition lithographs, serigraphs or copper etchings hand reproduced from the original drawings. They can be purchased for between $200 and $20,000. Legacy Fine Arts and Productions is the company hired by Yoko Ono to produce this art show. They travel around the country, producing 25 shows per year. At least six employees from Legacy were hovering through the crowd, eager to engage viewers and talk about the art.

Mrs. LanceAround was in tears. Having grown up during the turbulent 60s, John Lennon holds a special place in her heart. Just as she was turning 30, he was murdered. His message of love & peace, his music and his art have always been a source of inspiration for her.

She has passed along her love of Lennon and the Beatles to her children. Today, Number One Daughter and Number One Son enjoyed this Valentine’s present with her. They spent about an hour walking the exhibit and celebrating the life and legacy of John Lennon.

Just Imagine…

Baseball Spring Training in Florida

February 15, 2011

"Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack..."

Kids dream about watching their baseball idols play ball.

Sure, you can go to the nearest ballpark (assuming one is close by) during the thick of baseball season. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat somewhat close to the field. A player may even glance your way.

Lots of Helmets...

Here’s a better idea–spend your vacation in central Florida during the March spring training season. In addition to being right next to the best theme parks in the world, you and your youngster can watch the big name players in the intimate setting of a spring training ballpark.

Lots of Balls...

One of the best venues is the Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, spring training home of the Houston Astros, and just a stone’s throw from Disney World. (Also, the Atlanta Braves have their spring training in a wonderful facility inside Disney World!)

Lots of Equipment...

Lots of Laundry!

In these smaller ballparks all the seats are close to the field and it’s much easier to see the players and get into the feel of the game. “You can even hear the grunts and all the infield chatter,” remarked one of my colleagues as we toured the Astros spring training complex.

The ballpark is more intimate, the tickets are much cheaper, the fans are enthusiastic, the facilities are first rate and they play all the other big league teams. They even have an “autograph alley” down the third base line where your youngster can fulfill their fantasy of rubbing shoulders with one of the game’s great players.

Pete Rodriquez is the Sports Facility Manager responsible for the Osceola County Stadium Complex. He gave LanceAround a tour of the facility, including this photo of him posing in the full body spa. He says the spa can be heated before the game to loosen the muscles or made cold after the game to reduce the swelling.

The Full Body Spa at the Houston Astros Spring Training Locker Room

Heck, where I come from we just call this a swimming pool!

Inside the Locker Room

It’s an impressive facility–as you would expect for a place that caters to multi-million dollar sports stars. Yet, of the millions of tourists who come to this area, relatively few of them ever see it. For the lucky readers of my blog who are searching for “more than a mouse”™ a Houston Astros or Atlanta Braves spring training game is a perfect change of pace.

How To Become A Professional Baseball Umpire

February 11, 2011

Kissimmee is the Best Place to Learn to be an Ump!

If you want to learn how to cut hair, you go to a cosmetology school.  If you want to learn how to sell real estate, you go to a real estate school. But where do you go if you want to learn how to be a big league umpire?

Umpire school, of course!

And the most prestigious umpire school is Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring located right here in Kissimmee, FL.  Even if you only want to remain an amateur at the college, high school or community level, you can improve your game by attending this five week long academy.

Academy of Professional Umpiring

The course ranges in price from $2,250 for a local commuter with no meal plan to $4,250 for a private hotel room including breakfast and dinner. (Daily lunch is included in the tuition for all students.) The average student pays $2,950 for the course, shared hotel room and lunches. They are on their own for breakfast and dinner.

Jim Evans is the perfect person to run an umpire school.  He has 32 years of professional umpiring experience in addition to a teaching certificate. As an umpire in four world series, nine league championship series and three all star games–two of them behind the plate–he offers a wealth of knowledge to his students.

He’s also a very hands-on teacher who is present all day, every day, at his academy. He even stays at the same hotel as his students.

Richard Has a Dream...

One such student this year is Richard Riley from Springfield, VA. He is currently a real estate agent, but dreams of one day being a big league umpire. Richard has experience umpiring for community and high school games. Next year he may try his hand at some college games–but only if he does not catapult to his dream of becoming a big leaguer.

The academy is a rigorous course. The student-teacher ratio is 7 to 1. Each day begins promptly at 8am with a classroom session. There is 270 hours of supervised instruction, another 40-50 hours of homework, small group work, 20 sessions in the indoor batting cages, videotape cage work and training at the world class facilities of the Osceola County Stadium complex.

If your home run is to be a professional baseball umpire, it’d be a safe bet to attend the academy, located just down the line from Disney World. Don’t be left out, you’re sure to have a ball. Wow, does it strike you that these puns are really foul?

Okay, then, I’m Going, Going, Gone!

Batman Returns Batmobile Up For Auction

February 9, 2011

Authentic Batmobile From the Movie Batman Returns Was Up For Auction

Film buffs attending the Mecum Auto Auction in Kissimmee this January got a real treat.  A vehicle on auction was an original Batmobile from the movie Batman Returns.

This is one of the actual Batmobiles driven by Michael Keaton during the film and brought to you via video by LanceAroundOrlando. [Note: The auction you hear in the background is not for the Batmobile]:

Apparently, the auction of the Batmobile was not successful as the Batmobile is still available for sale here.

Here are the signs that were on the Batmobile:

Sign on Batmobile

 

Mecum Auction Sheet