I attended my first Beatles Night at the AIR Studio Gallery back in 2016. I had recently moved into the Lace Mill and a new neighbor asked if I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure, but when he said it was the house across from Boice’s dairy, the one with the Bernie sign in the window, I was in. I had been curious about the place for a while. We didn’t know it just yet, but we were about to walk into a wonderland of warmth and food and dogs and music that would add up to what seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime evening.
There was a round-robin of musicians, sharing the stage in different configurations, singing and playing their hearts out for the audience. The audience was everywhere — singing along in the rows of chairs near the musicians, snacking in the kitchen, talking in the living room and maybe dancing. I’ve been back several times since then, and it has never disappointed.
The room itself is one of the biggest draws — there are lava lamps, Beatles albums, books, drawings, tapestries, figurines. A few aliens, some beautiful art. The phrase “feast for the eyes” comes to mind, but it’s a feast for the heart, really. The room is so full of history, so many things everywhere to tug at your memory, make you nostalgic, make you smile remembering some stellar night some time ago. Surprisingly, though, it’s the bathroom that’s the most fun. Collages of all the Christmas cards the family has sent out, over decades, cover the walls. Christmas cards painted by our host and his children, with verses from John Lennon and different Beatles themes.
The studio and gallery are in the home of Jimbo Marzano and Nina Silverman, and a few months ago they announced they had bought a new house, and our nights of music and camaraderie might end. There was one last Beatles Night, and most of the regulars were there — Bobby Kennedy (his real name, but more shockingly, his mom’s real name is Jacqueline and his dad was a campaign manager!). Barry Miller gives us some great harmonica. Pete Santora (who starred in Beatlemania on Broadway!) and Graham Dawson were missing, but Bill and Bruce Sconzo, the Marbletown Boys, kept the music alive, along with a guy named John playing some marvelous little instrument I’ve never seen before. Tom Raider played, and Kazuma Oshita and Youko Yamamoto, who are opening Gomen Noodle on Broadway, added their own warmth to the room. We all lamented the end of an era, or as I like to say, AIR-a. They took pity on us, and in the midst of moving to a new home … they planned one more!
Join Jimbo and Nina at Beatle Bash Night this Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m., corner of Tremper and O’Neill in Midtown. If you have time, bring something to share. Wear your dancing shoes, and prepare to sing your heart out.