GreenMark Bio

Lenn, it was such a pleasure meeting you and working with you.  As a newcomer company participating for the first time with a booth at the Chicago Midwinter meeting, it is not atypical to have a disappointing level of interest, but as you experienced in the flesh, we had an overwhelming response.  Thank you for your lively participation.  You were engaged, very professional and a lot of fun, and we appreciate it tremendously.  Our booth was so very well attended all day long for all three days, with hundreds of leads generated.  Our team of 7 got along … brilliantly!
We certainly had a ton of fun, as the attached two PDF files will attest to.  We’re reserving these two files more for internal purposes, but I thought you’d enjoy seeing them.  We will plan to generate a shorter version that we will post on our website

Steven Bloembergen, Ph.D. Chairman and CEO
GreenMark Biomedical Inc.

EARCANDY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW/CD review

VILLAGE IDIOM A multi-faceted John Lennon tribute by Tim Biancalana Review and interview by Ronnie REVIEW

Lenn Johnston perfectly evokes both the spirit and imagery of John Lennon in one of the most original and effective tributes that I have ever heard (and seen). And it’s all ORIGINAL material written by Tim. VILLAGE IDIOM combines Lennon’s two books with the style of the Beatles 1966 Christmas record, complete with “John” reading his poems, set to sound effects. If John HAD recorded solo readings of his books, they would have sounded just like this! The CD comes with a booklet that includes Lennon-style illustrations with the words to the poems/stories/songs. Plus, Tim pulls off an effective George Harrison impersonation on one track – a parody of a real event that I’ve seen on a ’60s European news film, in which John is reading a story from his book and George interrupts saying, “I like this one better” as he rips the pages out of John’s book. Well, that was the real event – in Tim’s version, John tells George to go ahead and read it himself and the result is…well, VERY George (complete with sitar)!

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Lenn’s tribute is multifaceted – not only does he write original poetry and stories in the spirit of IN HIS OWN WRITE, but also writes Lennon inspired songs. The 4 songs vary in style representing Lennon’s career. “Doctor’s Office Blues” sounds like an out-take from the Spector “Rock ‘n Roll” sessions, “Nigel” emulates the 1966-era psychedelic Beatles, “Eat Little Sixteen” parodies their “Star Club” years and finally, “Samsara” which is a “Mind Games” styled song.

VILLAGE IDIOM not only perfectly captures the writing styles of Lennon, but his diction is flawless. I was also lucky enough to receive Tim’s promo video and I’ve gotta say – Tim bears an uncanny resemblance to a 1966 John, in mannerisms, voice and look. Hopefully, we’ll get a DVD from this multitalented Lennon tribute artist.

If you loved Lennon’s books, you are gonna LOVE this CD. It’s almost like a new book straight from John! Speaking of new book – the full-length book version of VILLAGE IDIOM will be released very soon.

 

INTERVIEW

What follows is an interview with Tim Biancalana (2-10-04)…

EC: I think your John Lennon tribute is simply amazing. Not only do you resemble John and have his mannerisms (I’m talking about your videotape), but you add to this by writing Lennon-styled poetry and songs! How long have you been doing the John Lennon tribute?

Lenn: Thank you very much. I’ve been a fan of Lennon since childhood and have been developing my tribute for the past three years. It’s true, I do resemble Lennon and have also been perfecting his mannerisms and voice for more than twenty years. It’s very timely that my book release also coincides with the anniversary of Lennon’s first book, “In His Own Write,” published on March 23, 1964, which became a best-seller.

EC: How did the poetry come about – did you write this style of poetry before you decided to do a Lennon tribute?

Lenn: First of all, I have always had a rather surreal and politically incorrect way of looking at things. I consider myself a social satirist and my poetry reflects my feelings about life and philosophy. I was inspired by John Lennon’s comedic and irreverent style even though the work is very much my own.

EC: How did the songs come about? What made you decide to solely do a Lennon tribute, instead of putting a ‘Beatles’ tribute band together?

Lenn: Some of the songs were originally humorous poems from my book, Village Idiom, which I started singing to see what they might sound like. I started thinking, “What’s a Lennon tribute without songs and music?” The song Samsara is the only one on the album that was specifically written as a song, i.e., most of the other songs are adaptations of poems from my book. Samsara, has a definite healing message, and reflects my beliefs about human suffering and we can rise above it. I loved writing it and when I played it back in my car the first time, I actually got a little misty-eyed and had to pull over for a minute. Ha! Ha!

I am a huge Lennon fan and have always been fascinated by his life, his humor, his mind, and his creative view of things. Even though I am an actor, I had to learn the guitar to complete the picture. I’ve always had the ability to sing like Lennon.

EC: Speaking of a Beatles tribute band, how do you present your material live? Do you do ‘one-man shows’?

Lenn: My one-man show, “Village Idiom,” is currently in development. I plan to be performing in LA theaters and various venues this year during the 40th Anniversary of the Beatles first visit to America. Actually, my show is similar to Hal Holbrook’s original one-man show based on the life of Mark Twain, which ran for many years. It will feature myself and will include a multimedia presentation of my illustrations to create a total experience. I will be playing guitar live to my accompanying backing tracks along with projected visuals of my original illustrations. It will be all smoke and miracles.

EC: After seeing your videotape promo, I couldn’t help but wonder if you have thought of a DVD release? I mean, the visuals that you present in the videotape are really effective!

Lenn: Thank you. Yes, after having completed the book and CD I am happy to say that the next step is a DVD of Village Idiom, my one-man show. The promo video you saw was merely a low budget test run at doing just that.

EC: Your website says that you are an actor. What other roles have you played other than John Lennon?

Lenn: Yes, I am a professional SAG actor. I’ve done roles in various films and TV. Some of the films/shows have been distributed in Italy, (Italian is my second language), and others have not yet seen U.S. distribution. In the future I would love to do a film based on Village Idiom, which would include animation. At present I am in a controversial new film called “Callback” which is in its screening stage. I am also being considered for some national TV commercials right now, obviously not as John Lennon. In my career, I’ve played both comedy and dramatic roles. Some of which include a hotshot salesman, a mobster, a cab driver, a bar tender, and recently a frustrated actor, that one was a stretch. Ha! You can learn more about my acting career in my bio on my website www.villageidiom.com

EC: How have you been promoting your CD and book? TV appearances? Any kind of tour?

Lenn: Right now we have the Village Idiom book and CD available on my website, and we are working with Ingram Book Company for nation-wide distribution. We are sending the book and CD out to reviewers as we speak. I am expecting a book tour and signing events to happen this year.

EC: Finally, when can we expect a follow up CD or book?!

Lenn: Are you kidding? Getting my mind to be quiet is a real challenge. I already have several new pieces in the works, which come to me whether I like it or not. Again I’m always gathering ideas for new material for second book and CD

Right now my main focus is to launch Village Idiom in the United States and the UK. I’ve merely tapped my creativity, and Village Idiom is only the first of many works to come.

PACIFIC REPERTORY

Monterey County Weekly
by Ryan Masters

But the trippiest part of the whole shebang is Lenn Johnston. The guy looks, but more importantly sings, exactly like the young John Lennon. Johnston has obviously studied Lennon—right down to his awkward expressions and mannerisms. It’s not just convincing, it’s spooky—especially on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination.

 

Pac Rep’s ‘Roots of Rock’ is a rousing, roof-raising hit
by MAC McDONALD of GO! Magazine

Excerpt:

Although very few of the performers in the show actually look or sound like the artists they’re portraying, except for Poelle’s Holly and Lenn Johnston’s amazing, dead-on (sorry) impression of John Lennon’s voice and looks, nobody in the enthusiastic audience seemed to mind.

PARIS MATCH

‘The Last Supper’ – Photographer: Rancinan

NEW YORK ROCKS

Strawberry Fields – Central Park Lenn Johnston Interview

TELENOR SWEDEN

 [commercial and campaign] “Great Words from Famouse People”

HARDROCK HOTEL LENNON ROOM Tour

Lenn Johnston and Oso Oyes [pictured below] are honored to give tours of a best-kept secret: the Hard Rock Hotel’s VIP-ONLY, “Lennon Room” in Orlando, where one can view personal items of John Lennon’s. This one-of-kind collection includes the white suit John wore for the cover of Abbey Road, the wicker couch from John’s sunroom at his Weybridge Estate [1964-68] on which he wrote many Beatles songs; actual platinum records, drawings by John; an airline menu signed by all four Beatles from their first flight to the USA, and many other one-of-a-kind items. There is also a replica of John’s white grand piano used in Imagine – each key signed by a great recording artist – among them, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Fats Domino and Herbie Hancock. 

OCTOPUS' GARDEN ARTICLE

LENN JOHNSTON INTERVIEW

Octopus’ Garden:  Hi Lenn. Thanks for the taking the time to talk to us.

Lenn Johnston:  Hi Tom, thank you for this opportunity. It’s an honor to be with you and your readers.

OG: You are one of the most authentic John Lennon’s that I have seen. Your John Lennon Tribute presentation is superb. How long have you been taking on John’s persona and what led to your decision to become so immersed in becoming “John Lennon”?

LJ:  Thank you.  I was fortunate to have been introduced to The Beatles’ music when I was only a toddler, so I’ve been a fan since then.  I’ve been taking on John’s persona since 2003, though I’d conceived of a John Lennon Tribute long before. The idea was, and still is, my wish to carry on what John had never gotten to finish when his life was taken from him.  My burning question is, How can we bring John back to life and let him speak?   Really, how do we do that?  Because it’s important, it’s necessary, in the modern world, that we have John’s voice and participation here.

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OG: Not only do you have the voice and vocal, complete with accent, spot on but you have John’s mannerisms down perfectly. How hard was it develop the whole package?  And is John your favorite Beatle?

LJ:  John has always been my favorite Beatle. As a child I studied The Beatles album covers, connecting the face with the lead vocal of the song, to figure out who was who. The vocals I liked best were John’s; I also thought he was the coolest looking of the four. I would listen very closely to songs and the reruns of Beatles films, mainly A Hard Day’s Night, when they aired on tv, and I’d imitate the voices even way back then.

OG: I would imagine that you have a special routine when you take on the role of John. What process do you go through when going from Lenn Johnston to John Lennon?

LJ:  Another tribute act and close friend of mine has said, “After you have done a character for so many years, you start to really look like them and ‘become’ them”.  That’s what has happened. But in preparing for my radio show and my film and play, which are currently in the writing stage, I hear John’s voice in my head, either speaking or singing, and it’s instantaneous. The other piece though is feeling who John is and what he’d do in any given situation. As an actor, that is a discipline, but now it comes naturally.

BAY TV - Liverpool

“Imagine All The People Meeting John Lennon” (John is still here)

I was spending a few days in New York one winter photographing spiritual icons for a personal project using a special pinhole camera. The John Lennon “Imagine” Memorial in Central Park was at the top of the list of subjects. It was a sunny day but frigid morning as I entered Central Park at 59th street and began my pilgrimage, quietly walking amongst the trees toward 72nd Street. The big, naked deciduous trees looked like people with outstretched arms. They all radiated power. The phrase “Imagine all the people” kept running through my head.

Most of the photos in this icon series had some kind of statue or figure in the image. But in Central Park there is no head of Lennon, just one word sitting on the ground waiting for people to “pick it up” and do something with it. I had been there several times before and I wondered how I would feel when I got there this time. What kind of photo could I make using the one word, “Imagine”? It is an idea so simple that anyone can say it and believe it. But it was John Lennon who took it to another level and made it something to strive for.  I walked on with “imagine all the people” as my mantra.

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I approached the Imagine Memorial and surprisingly found a big crowd. It was the end of the Christmas Holiday week and about 60 people, mostly tourists, were gathered round offering flowers, hugging, humming, and talking in a mix of languages. The different small groups with people of all ages, including children, seemed to easily blend into one family. The scene fit the photo idea I had been imagining: John’s message in the center, surrounded by the power of the people.

But that day even better synchronicity occurred for my desired shot. John Lennon was there in the flesh. A near-perfect John lookalike dressed in long black coat and round spectacles was milling about chatting with “his” fans. It didn’t matter to anyone that “John” was Lenn Johnston, an actor, musician, and poet. He perfectly embodied the mood and manner of John as a tribute to the man who has always inspired him. Lenn does “John Lennon Shows”, videos, music, and writing in a way that some reviewers see as the channeling of John himself. Lenn sees it as one way to keep John’s message alive, while including his own Lennon-influenced songs and poetry in his repertoire.

Lenn and I connected easily and he happily posed for me. Better than I imagined, I got the photo I wanted. The essence and heart of the word Imagine combined with the reincarnation of John to remind me not to give up but to “Imagine all the people living life in peace”.

To follow, a piece written by icon photographer Edward Levinson for a special Japanese book-magazine (“mook”), John Lennon; His Life And Music, Kawade Publishing, 2010:

By Edward Levinson