Artists & Authors Symposium

2017 Symposium is a Winner

In its fifth year celebrating the genius of The Beatles, the Beatles at the Ridge Authors and Artists Symposium has recruited a highly-distinguished panel of Beatles authors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians for the September 15-16, 2017 “Summer of Love: 50th Anniversary” event.

Featured Authors for the gala weekend are Bruce Spizer and Jude Southerland Kessler. Both have written numerous books on The Beatles and are featured speakers at the Fest for Beatles Fans in New York and Chicago.

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Bruce Spizer is the leading Beatles music expert in America, having penned The Beatles are Coming!, The Beatles Story on Capitol Records (Vols. 1 and 2), The Beatles Swan Song, Beatles for Sale on Parlophone Records, The Beatles on Apple Records, and The Beatles Solo on Apple Records. Additionally, Spizer is a regular contributor to Beatlefan magazine and a speaker at Abbey Road on the River. He also created the questions for the Trivial Pursuit Beatles board game. In 2016, Spizer was the Grand Finale Speaker for the GRAMMY Museum of Mississippi Beatles Symposium.

Jude Southerland Kessler is the foremost John Lennon expert and the author of The John Lennon Series including Shoulda Been There (Lennon’s life from 1940-1961), Shivering Inside (1961-1963), She Loves You (1963-1964) and this year’s Should Have Known Better (1964-1965). She is also one of the authors of New Critical Perspectives on The Beatles: Things We Said Today. Kessler serves as the official blogger for The Fest for Beatles Fans and hosted “The John Lennon Hour” radio show for three years. She was the Chairperson for the GRAMMY Museum of Mississippi Beatles Symposium in 2016 and has been the Chairperson for Beatles at the Ridge’s Symposium since 2012.

Featured Artist for the Symposium is Enoch Doyle Jeter of Monroe, LA. Jeter is Artist in Residence at the University of Louisiana, Monroe and was the illustrator for Volume 3 in The John Lennon Series, She Loves You, creating 14 original lithographs for the book. He has been featured in one-man shows at Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana and Taos, New Mexico. Jeter is a gifted stone lithographer whose work was selected for the cover of Dr. Kit O’Toole’s 2015 book, Songs We Were Singing, and he has taught a seminar in lithography in Cork City, Ireland. Jeter will host two “art happenings” at the Ridge – involving elementary age children in one, and high-school aged children in the second.

Lanea Stagg, Jude Southerland Kessler, Bruce Spizer and Kit O'Toole

Lanea Stagg, Jude Southerland Kessler, Bruce Spizer and Kit O’Toole

Noted authors and artists for the September event also include Dr. Ken WomackLanea Stagg, Sara Schmidt, Dr. Kit O’Toole, Cameron Hicks, and Rande Monroe Kessler. Special vendors for this year’s event include Beatle collectibles expert Bud Loveall, poet Terri Whitney with her new book Any Rhyme at All, and noted Beatles blogger and author Sandi Borowsky.

Friday’s Events

The Artists and Authors Symposium will be held inside the very lovely Studio on Main Street, a gorgeous state-of-the-art venue. The Argenta Collection of rare Beatles photos will be on display inside the building.

2:00 p.m. Doors Open on 5th Annual BATR Authors and Artists Symposium
Located inside The Studio, 123 West Main Street, Walnut Ridge, AR

Argenta Collection of rare Beatles photos on display
“Bed-In for Peace” photo opportunity with John and Yoko
Authors and artists on hand for questions, chat, and book signings
Student entries in Little Dog at the Ridge Beatles art contest displayed/judged.

3:00-3:30 “Facebook LIVE” with BATR authors, artists, and film makers

3:30-4:30 “John Lennon Concert” featuring Alan Bernhoft

Live concert by one of America’s foremost John Lennon impersonators and musicians. Alan will perform Lennon/Beatles hits plus several of his own “Beatlesque” offerings.

4:30-5:30 p.m. Book Release Party in Honor of Featured Author, Bruce Spizer

Live Beatles music by 2015 Talent Contest Winner and musician, Cameron Hicks
Entries from Beatles-themed School Art Contest on display

5:30-5:45 p.m. Welcome and Introduction of Authors, Artists, Musicians, and Filmmaker

Jude Southerland Kessler, Symposium Chairperson

5:45 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Meet The Beatles People!

For the first time ever, the two stewardesses on board the Electra II airplane for The Beatles’ 1964 North American Tour will sit down with author Jude Southerland Kessler and with you…and tell their story! We will videotape this historic interview as Bettie & Eva tell their personal story of a month with The Beatles!

6:30 p.m. Featured Author: Bruce Spizer presents: “The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fans’ Perspective”

From New Orleans, LA, our distinguished Featured Author, Bruce Spizer, will offer a multimedia look at Sgt. Pepper 50 years later…from the perspective of Beatles experts and the “real” experts, the fans!

7:30 p.m. Winners of “Little Dog at the Ridge” Beatles Art Contest Awarded

Lanea Stagg, author of Little Dog at the Ridge will award prizes to the 8 artists who created the wonderful original pictures for her new book!

7:35 p.m. Book Signing for All Authors

Saturday’s Events

Outdoor Activities:

Face painting
Wall Chalk Art Creation

1:00-1:30 p.m. Poetry Reading/Open Mic Time led by Beatles poet, Terri Whitney

Located at The Spiders Webb Book Store on Main Street
Poet Terri Whitney will share several fun and touching selections from her new book, Any Rhyme at All, and then she’ll encourage YOU to get up and share your poems about the Fab Four! It’s an Open Mic, so “please please Terri” and bring your Beatles and rock’n’roll poetry to share!

Activities Taking Place Inside The Studio, 123 Main Street:

9:00-9:45 a.m. “Doughnuts, Milk, and a Book” Time for Kids/Parents for Reading of the brand new book, Little Dog at the Ridge by Lanea Stagg

Author Lanea Stagg, creator of The Recipe Records Series and the children’s Little Dog Series, will share her delightful new book, Little Dog at the Ridge, with your children as they enjoy a breakfast treat! Coffee will be provided for parents! There will be a discussion/coloring time after Lanea’s reading!

10:00-10:45 a.m. Art Happening for Elementary School Children with Featured Artist Enoch Doyle Jeter

Great fun is in store as our Featured Artist and the University of Louisiana “Artist in Residence,” Doyle Jeter, will help children create a unique Beatles poster! Kids K-6th grade will create something very special to be hung inside The Studio throughout the year!

11:00-11:45 a.m. Multimedia presentation with Beatles author, Sara Schmidt “George Harrison’s Other Summer of Love!”

Noted researcher, Sara Schmidt of and author of Happiness is Meeting the Beatles! will share a poignant moment with Beatles fans…photos and info from the summer that George Harrison spent in America…BEFORE The Beatles arrived!

Noon-12:45 p.m. “Beatles Lunch and Learn” with Beatles author, Dr. Kit O’Toole “A Journey through the Musical World of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

They may be the act you’ve known for all these years, but the Beatles were also innovators in words and sound. Nowhere was this more evident than on their 1967 masterpiece. Join Kit as she guides you through the writing and recording of Sgt. Pepper; you will never hear the album the same way again

***Please bring in sack lunches or lunch purchased at one of our vendors. Enjoy as you listen!

1:00-2:00 p.m. Sneak Peek Showing of “The Summer of Hate,” a new Beatles-related film by Cevin Soling

Innovative film maker Cevin Soling will compare/contrast the summer just prior to the “Summer of Love” in this revealing, eye-opening, and thoughtful documentary about 1966. After the film, Cevin will answer your questions about this powerful upcoming film.

2:00-3:00 p.m. Jude Southerland Kessler’s “Sneak Peek of Vol. 4 in The John Lennon Series, Should Have Known Better”

Foremost John Lennon expert, Jude Southerland Kessler, will share a very rarely told true story about The Beatles’ 1964 tour with a wonderful surprise guest at the end of her presentation. This is going to touch your heart! You don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask questions of someone who was really there with the Fab Four!

3:00-3:30 p.m. Beatles Sing-Along and Jam with Cameron Hicks

Gifted teen musician and BATR’s “Talent Contest Winner,” Cameron Hicks will remind you why you’re here at the festival: Beatles music!!! After the first few songs, participants will be encouraged to join Cameron with guitars, tambourines, ukes, etc. to sing and play along!

3:45-4:30 p.m. Art Happening for Middle School and High School Students with Featured Artist: Enoch Doyle Jeter

Gifted lithographer, Doyle Jeter, who was the illustrator for Vol. 3 in The John Lennon Series, She Loves You, and did the cover art work for Dr. Kit O’Toole’s Songs We Were Singing, will guide teens in creating an “outside-the-box” art project to hang in Walnut Ridge throughout the year. Music, fun, artistic expression…all guided by one of the South’s most noted artists!

4:45-5:30 p.m.  Beatles at the Ridge Symposium “Grand Finale” with Beatles author, Dr. Ken Womack “A Musical Fragmentation Grenade: Sir George Martin and the Making of Sgt. Pepper”

Respected Beatles music expert, Dr. Ken Womack (also author of Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of The Beatles) will close this year’s Symposium with an exciting glimpse into his new work, the ONLY biography on Sir George Martin, Maximum Volume. Please stay after the presentation for a party celebrating Dr. Womack and his new book!

Throughout Saturday, visit our authors, artists, and filmmaker in their booths outside, and visit vendors Yvette Jeter of Ma Mere Potpourri and Bud Loveall in their booths – all located on NW Second Street. In the event of inclement weather, vendors and authors will be indoors.