Viva John Lennon: Jenny Luna may be a dreamer, but she's not the only one

Jenny Luna wasn't even alive when John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980, let alone when the Beatles took the world by storm in the early '60s. After discovering the band on the radio at age 12, she became a Beatlemaniac, and a John girl at that. "John was very punk rock before punk rock even existed," said the 30-year-old Luna. "He always did what he wanted to do, never backed down, and there is something very honorable in that."

For the last two years Luna has placed a Lennon altar on her front yard every December 8, with an mp3 blasting Lennon songs all day long. "Making this made me feel I was part of the vigils at Strawberry Fields and the Dakota in New York. I figured, if I couldn't go there, I'd bring them here."

But she also dreamed of taking her little altar to everyone with the help of local like-minded bands who would be willing to honor the memory (and the songs) of the late Beatle with an all-day event of Beatles and Lennon covers. I know what you're thinking: there's nothing worse than hearing bad Beatles covers, right? Having an all-day tribute show like that is a risky move. But the event immediately caught my attention: as a Beatlemaniac myself, it always moves me to see a new generation digging the Fab Four. And the first one to accept the offer was Mrs. Howl.

"They jumped right at the opportunity," said Luna. "That enthusiasm is what I was looking for. I went for the immediate yeses, because those are the true fans."

Not everyone was so into Luna's dream. "Some well-known bands didn't want to take part because I told them they couldn't do their own songs," Luna said. "They'd ask, 'The whole set has to be Lennon?' and I would be like, 'Uh… Yes. Hello?!'"

After Mrs. Howl closes the day as the final band (their set starts at 8:10 p.m.), a candlelit vigil will take place. With so many acts (17, according to the latest lineup) playing sets of no more than 20 minutes, factoring in the time for soundchecks, will everything run smoothly enough so that everyone will get to play?

"Yes, bands will be able to soundcheck, and I'm hoping for a speedy set up/break down," Luna said. "It'll run OK if we all just work together and I have some open spots just in case things get a little hairy that can help remedy time lost. I'm keeping the faith. All bands must be done before nine so the candlelight vigil can start at the right time. It's going to be alright. We'll have John on our side."

Lennon Lives feat. Alex Scheel (Pop Pistol), Mrs. Howl, MiK! (Wings of Valkyrie), Thumper D, Greg Pittman (The Dangerfields) and more (complete schedule on the Lennon Lives Facebook page)

Free (donation of can goods and/or blankets to be donated to a charity to be determined)
2pm-9pm Sat, Dec 8
306 Austin
(210) 319-8155

Working Class Heroes

The music starts at 2:30 p.m. (complete set list at the Lennon Lives event page on Facebook). Here are some highlights.

5:10pm: Pop Pistol's Alex Scheel ("Mind Games")

6:50pm: Phonolux's Buddy Calvo with bandmate Art Guillermo and band ("Mother," "Hey Bulldog," "How Do You Sleep," "Don't Let Me Down")

7:30pm: Ledaswan ("Happy Xmas (War is Over)"

7:50pm: Lonely Horse ("I Want You (She's so Heavy)," "Dig a Pony," "Working Class Hero," "I am the Walrus," "A Day in the Life")
"I heard of Lonely Horse at the Fall Fall Fall Fest on November 10," Luna said. "When Nick [Long] started singing, I immediately imagined them doing 'I Want You (She's So Heavy).' I chased them after the show and begged them to play that song for the event. It turned out they already played that song, so it was perfect."

8:10pm: Mrs. Howl They want to keep their set list a surprise, but offered that they will do "Across the Universe," "Beatles style with a Mrs. Howl twist," according to guitarist Laurel Dagger.