May Pang and John Lennon's Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend: A Love Story

Vortex. Love. Icon. These terms came to mind as I was glued to every detail of The Lost Weekend: A Love Story. This is not your ordinary documentary.  Nor is it a reinvention of the same story.  

Vortex: "A whirling mass….that sucks everything near it toward its center….drawing in… all that surrounds it..".  There's no question that in the nearly 60 years since the onset of The Beatles, that anything and everything related has fascinated the masses to a seriously refined degree. Musicians. Historians. Producers. Engineers. Critics. You name it. Stories get told and retold over and over. The Beatle vortex is alive and well to this day. But imagine, if you can, what it might like to be THEM. Or THEIR families. Or THEIR love interests, dead center in that vortex??? 

As I watched May Pang tell HER story (and it's finally HER story, not years of retold heresay and diatribes), what struck me was this young, strong "anchor" thrown into the middle of chaos. Into the biggest vortex there is. As her childhood backstory is told, it becomes clear why she was so strong and resilient. Clear eyed at such a young age, she stitched Lennon's personal life together in a beautiful patchwork from the frayed pieces he inadvertently created (reunited with his son Julian, ex wife Cynthia, and McCartney). He was incredibly prolific and creative during this time, called "The Lost Weekend" (#9 Dream, Mind Games, Whatever Gets You Through the Night). Surprisingly, May's association with the Lennons goes WAY back further into the history of the Beatles than you might know, which is highlighted in this doc (like during the Imagine sessions). Even more complex was the situation in which May was thrown. Working for two bosses who, along with their own growing personal conflicts, eventually are giving conflicting orders to May. Micro vortex in the middle of a GIANT vortex. 

Enter the towering figure and fascinating presence of Lennon. No matter where you are in the world, you know who he is. Whatever he did, good or bad, the vortex followed. And sometimes the story told, and retold, isn't always correct. This is a refreshingly, new look at Lennon's life from the eyes and direct experience of May Pang. In HER words from HER lens on iconic moments in music history (including his time w Harry Nilsson, the Phil Spector sessions and more), May had a front seat in this vortex and the stories she tells are fascinating. In a twist of fate, she also became the centerpiece of Lennon's love and admiration. The telling of this love story was as compelling and beautiful as it was complicated, and at times what I might imagine to be, devastating with no closure or answers. 

While it might be easy to judge, in the end, these were real people trying to navigate life with the craziest deck of cards, dealt in the middle of a vortex not of their choosing. People are complex. Childoods are complex. Relationships are complex. Life is complex. Every decision affects everything else. And so forth. 

Age does not always equate to maturity (as is evident by the alcohol infused antics at the Troubadour. Then again, there was alcohol). May was the voice of reason in the middle of chaos with the most iconic legend of our time while simultaneously maintaining a love relationship with that legend.  I can't imagine anyone else walking through that vortex of fire unscathed. Yet here she is. While we will always have the "what ifs" with Lennon, (what if he had lived?), this was a refreshingly new "piece of fabric" sown by May into the Beatle's historical tapestry. "And in the end" of the documentary, was a beautiful way to tie it all together. A new layer of that (Glass) Onion…..if you will. (Puns, very intended)

A must see for any Beatle fan or historian. 

Jeri Palumbo

Producer, Engineer, Freelance Writer

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