DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Flashback: Beatles Spotted in DuPont Circle Mansion

This story 1st appeared in The Price Do DC on July 23, 2013

Do you want to know a secret?,
Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.

     - Lennon and McCartney

Now that Deep Throat has been uncovered, Washington's best kept secret is The O Mansion. 
    - Savannah Magazine

The Beatles in DC?
What could be more British than the Beatles? Maybe the birth of a royal British baby? But what if you could combine the two into a single celebration party. Well, blimey blokes ... you'd have one bangin' big British birth day/band bash, wouldn't ya.

That was the situation earlier this week when The Mansion on O Street hosted the wax likenesses of John, Paul, George and Ringo walking down Abbey Road, now a display in DC at Madame Tussauds Museum near Ford's Theater.

The precise date was chosen because it marked the 50th anniversary of the release in Britain of The Beatles' 1st album Please Please Me. But in a fortuitous turn of events, the party took on additional British significance when Kate and William (or Kate and William as they are known all over the world) proudly announced the delivery of an heir to the British throne earlier in the day.

The unique mansion is a fascinating DC attraction, albeit one that isn't quite as recognizable as the White House or the Lincoln Memorial. Defying a single descriptor, it is at the same time a hotel, museum, musicians' hangout, art and crafts display gallery, book repository (with more than 30,000 books), and party hall. It's kitschy, kooky, elegant, eclectic, mysterious, marvelous, and just a damned fun place to spend time.

Prior to the official presentation of the Beatles figures, guests, with early Beatles tunes as a soundtrack, explored the mansion/museum's 100 rooms with its 32 secret doors. My wife just kept saying "amazing, I love this place. Look at this" over and over.

O staffers had placed Beatles artifacts and memorabilia, including signed guitars, rare photos and a letter John Lennon wrote to a laundry, throughout the museum's 4 open floors.  Many of the guests took part in a special Treasure Hunt for All Things Beatles. Items to be found ranged from a picture of Yoko Ono with the founder of the mansion, H. H. Leonards Spero, to Sean Lennon's guitar.

In this bathroom,  John Lennon always shines on
The mansion was an especially appropriate place for the Tussauds Beatles night since one of its themed suites is named The Lennon Suite and features all things John. The suite includes a bathroom where the floor features an lighted image of Lennon. Then there is also the fact that H. H. (as she likes to be called) is on the Board of Directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Later, as many guests lined up to get a picture taken with their favorite Beatle, a singing-guitar playing group of musicians from Austin, Texas kept others swaying and singing along to Beatles songs.

On our walk back to the Dupont Circle Judy and I agreed that our 1st visit to the Mansion would definitely not be our last. You too can visit for the day or a stay. If you would like to spend a night or 2, prices range from $350 a night for a small bedroom to $25,000 a night for 20 bedrooms, 32 bathrooms, 10 whirlpool tubs, 6 steam showers, 2 rain showers and sauna, 11 kitchens, 2 elevators, 11 special event rooms, 18 fireplaces, 3 laundry facilities, 2 business centers, a game room, the Amnesia Room, an exercise room, and a private chef. But no matter what option you choose, as the Beatles themselves once sang, you will enjoy your magical mystery tour of the Mansion.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Of course, I had to get my picture taken with the likenesses of the 2 living Beatles and post it on Facebook, contending that I was at an exclusive DC party for the royal birth. And just in case you are wondering as I was, it takes 6 months and costs about $300,000 each to create a Madame Tussauds figure. By comparison, in 1963, the total session time cost for producing Please Please Me was £400, the equivalent of £10,000 today.
Paul, Ringo, and Dave

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