50 Years of Beatles’ Memories

It was a Friday…I remember it well. My Dad, an eager, young architect couldn’t wait to see the new JFK Airport and I was excited by his enthusiasm.  We ventured into the weekend traffic to pick up my aunt at the airport and drove into history.  Hoards of screaming girls were everywhere.  Imagine if that were to happen today. They’d shut the airport down, thinking it was an army of invading terrorists.  How things have changed.

I knew The Beatles were coming to town.  We all did.  How could you not.  It was the first thing in just over two months to take our minds off the great national tragedy we had suffered with the Kennedy assassination.  As with any period of grief, it is different for everyone but when a nation shares such an overwhelming loss, the cloud of grief lingers because of the shared miasma.  When a ray of difference breaks through the cloud, there is no holding back the light that permeates everywhere.  The Beatles were the ray of light a nation in mourning needed.

Who knew what would happen next?  Come Sunday night my Dad asked, “So, are you going to watch The Beatles?”  Silly question, my family watched Ed Sullivan every night.  This would be no different.  Yeah, right.

Ed Sullivan smiles while standing with The Beatles on the set of his variety show on Feb. 9, 1964.

Express Newspapers/Getty Images

“Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles.”

That’s all it took.  We were hooked.  We were sucked into their world and they changed our world for the better.  My Mom and I laughed when the graphic under John’s picture read “Sorry, girls, he’s married.”  That’s OK, we still had three others to dream about.

Their music was inspiring and uplifting at a time when a nation needed something to drag it from the abyss.  Thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo for showing us the light. Thank you Mom and Dad for indulging my every Beatle whim for the rest of my life.

I went to Liverpool last year for my first Beatles’ journey, day trippin’ in Liverpool.  The BEST trip of my life and I can’t wait to go back.

A Time to Kill on Broadway

When my past as a college theater critic collides with my present as a litigator, a happy-stance happens on Broadway in “A Time to Kill,” Rupert Holmes’ dramatic adaptation of John Grisham’s first legal thriller.  I am leaving the multiple ethical issues presented to the play’s protagonist, attorney Jake Brigance, to my legal musings over at the NYS Bar Association blog for the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law section.

Here, for Lady Litigator, I am merely a fan, a theater-goer who has not enjoyed a legit production in a long time and was quite happy to spend 2.5 hours with “A Time to Kill.”  For fans who did not read the 1989 book or see the 1996 film starring Matt McConaughey & Sandra Bullock, this staged production has some twists absent from both the book and the film and force the observer to perhaps think in a new way.

Sure racial bigotry still exists, especially in the deep south and this story takes place in race torn Mississippi, where a young black girl is viciously and brutally assaulted, raped and hung by two drugged out white men.  Her distraught father, Carl Lee Hailey, retaliates by gunning them down inside the courthouse and political and racial upheaval ensures.

The ensemble cast is brilliantly led by Sebastian Arcelus as Brigance and John Douglas Thompson as Carl Lee with veteran “legal” actor Fred Thompson (“Law & Order”) as the judge and Tom Skerritt as drunken, disbarred  attorney Lucien Wilbanks, a mentor to Brigance.

The story has a timeless quality thanks to the directing of Ethan McSweeney and the wonderful sets of James Noone.  The courtroom’s turntable stage is front and center but scenes change effortlessly as prison cells and living rooms are moved in and out with suspended walls.  However, this story takes place as much inside as outside the courtroom where the worlds of the KKK and the NAACP collide in protests in this small southern town.  The noise, the rancor, the visual imagery are all highlighted on multi-media screens suspended to the rear of the courtroom, out of view from the proceedings where justice is supposed to be blind.  But is it?

While those around Brigance try to make this case all about race, from Carl Lee’s plot and ponderings about a white jury to the politically ambitious prosecutor’s insistence that color does not play a role in HIS courtroom, the idealistic, young attorney focus on the humanity of the case.  He makes the predominantly white jury see the facts through the eyes of a father.  How would they react if this happened to their daughter, granddaughter, niece?  In the words of the defendant, “God had a son.  He didn’t have a daughter.”

Digital Estate Planning

In death you can only leave so much of what you owned during life.  Basically, if you don’t own it at death then you can’t pass it along to your grateful heirs.  I didn’t really think much about it until today when the lovely Lynda Baquero from News 4NY dropped by to chat about it. (look for the interview on News 4 NY in a few weeks)

So much of our lives are lived online yet rarely do we think about what will happen to our cyber lives once we go to the great social network in the sky.  Do you really own all that you seem to buy?  Not quite.

Illustration courtesy:  Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Illustration courtesy: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you purchase and eBook, song or movie from an online provider as a digital download, you DO NOT OWN the book, tune or flick.  You merely pay for a license to use it during your life and are not bestowed with the right to assign/give it to anyone else.  Surprise!  Bet many of you didn’t know that.  It’s not the same as back in the days of the Frick Collection or Rockefeller Library when big collections meant something and were valuable.

The files you download to your device will generally remain with your device, some as long as the account remains viable and others remain on the device indefinitely.  Yet, read the fine print, the terms and conditions of purchase.  You can’t pass that content to anyone else so if you give a fully loaded old Kindle to your niece or friend, it’s questionable whether you have the right to do so.  Sure, you can give them the physical object of the device itself but you probably don’t have the right to pass its contents to anyone else.

Therefore, the short answer is that when you die, so does your right to any of these digital files, meaning you cannot pass them along in your will.  On the other hand, if you owned actual books and discs at your death, you could bequeath those by the truckload.

We live in an electronic age when the only thing that has changed is how we share information.  The actual task of estate planning is still the same and as painful for most people who shudder at facing their own mortality.

So, what do you do with your cyberlife, social connections, photos and more?  We’ll tackle that next week.