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Beatlemania rocks Danvers; Red Sox GM turns Esquire `rebel'

COME TOGETHER For casual fans of the Beatles, their names might not mean much. But to those who still live and breathe the lads from Liverpool -- and that'd be just about everyone who went to "The Fest for Beatles Fans" at the Sheraton Ferncroft Hotel in Danvers over the weekend -- Neil Innes, Robert Freeman, and Mark Hudson are a big deal. "Basically," said Mark Lapidos, who created this traveling road show 29 years ago, "the crowds come because the Beatles were the most important cultural phenomenon of the last millennium. . . . It never gets old." Over three days, thousands of fans waited in long lines to meet Innes (the brains behind the Beatles parody, the Rutles), and even Hudson, whose claim to Beatles fame is tenuous: the former Hudson Brother has produced Ringo Starr's last three CDs. Freeman photographed John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the early days and did five of the band's early album covers.

YOU DON'T SAY The boy GM of the Boston Red Sox, Theo Epstein, is featured in the new issue of Esquire magazine, out tomorrow, identified as one of the "radicals and rebels" who are making the world a better place to live. (We'd be satisfied if he could make Fenway a cheaper place to see a ballgame.) Epstein acknowledges that some of his moves this season worked (David Ortiz) and some didn't (Ramiro Mendoza). "I would have liked our bullpen to have performed better."

DATELINE MEDFORD If, as cynics say, writing about music is like dancing about architecture, what's talking about war like? We'll find out tonight when Hafez Al-Mirazi, Washington bureau chief of Al-Jazerra, the Arab language TV network, speaks at the Fletcher School at Tufts. On Wednesday, New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh will be at Tufts to discuss the war and its potential effect on the 2004 presidential election.

SIGHTINGSForget the lunar eclipse on Saturday. At Davio's in Park Square on Friday, there was a convergence of power in the private dining area made up of FleetBoston honcho Anne Finucane and her husband, talk-radio guy Mike Barnicle, former GE bigwig Jack Welch, and historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Goodwin. Hanging out at Boston Rocks over the weekend was Chris, the UMass at Dartmouth student who appeared on MTV's "Real World" in Paris. "CT" was with Comedy Connection headliner Tommy Davidson.

PLAY NICEThe costars of "The Fabulous Invalid," opening Friday at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, sat down last week with wannabe thespians at Emerson College. Steve Hendrickson and the lovely Alice Ripley (whose performance in "Side Show" earned her a Tony nomination) told the students they'd better be nice if they want to get ahead. "The theater is a family. You have to know the right people," said Ripley. "That's just the way it is." The play is being directed by Emerson faculty member (and Obie Award winner) Melia Bensussen. Names can be reached at or at 617-929-8253.

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