Globe West people

Concord author writes a John Lennon biography

Concord resident Tim Riley was 10 years old when he saw “Let it Be’’ in a movie theater in Boulder, Colo., in 1970. He was already familiar with a few of the Beatles’ hits, but was fascinated with the band’s “humble gesture’’ of allowing fans to observe them rehearsing works in progress for their album of the same name.

“It’s a weird movie to have such a profound impact on a little kid,’’ said Riley, “but it was my introduction to rock history through the Beatles.’’

Riley, a classically trained pianist, music critic for National Public Radio, and journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston, has since enjoyed a lifelong passion for the Beatles. His new book is a critical biography of the group’s most politically active member, John Lennon.


Riley has previously written four books about popular music, including “Tell Me Why,’’ a critical overview of the entire Beatles catalog. He said he didn’t expect to become a Beatles scholar, but was inspired to write “Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music - The Definitive Life’’ by the volume of recordings and information that has emerged in recent years.

Riley’s book, published in September by Hyperion, explores the connection between Lennon’s personal life and his work, as well as his contradictions: a British art student who popularized a previously uniquely American style of music; his commitment to the band’s productivity, even throughout periods of heavy drug use; and why he is viewed so much differently in America than in England.

“John Lennon was an intensely controversial figure when he was alive,’’ Riley said. “I want to put readers back in that era and remind them that his life was messy and complicated, and he wasn’t the saint he’s been portrayed as since he died.’’


For more information, visit

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES: Dr. Karen Hsu Blatman of Brookline knows what it is like to live with food allergies in the family. At 7 p.m. Tuesday, she will offer practical tips for parents and others during a meeting of the Metro-Boston Allergy and Asthma Educational Support Group at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Blatman will share her perspective and personal approaches in her presentation, “Making Your Life Work: Practical Tips from an Allergist and Mother of a Child with Food Allergies.’’ She practices in the allergy and immunology department at Brigham and Women’s Ambulatory Care Center in Brookline.

The free program is sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“This will be a great opportunity to share strategies for staying safe and sane, and get some good ideas about how to juggle the food allergy concerns of different members of your family,’’ said Sharon Schumack, director of education for the foundation’s New England chapter.

For more information on the program, a free copy of “Eating Out With Food Allergies, ’’ and checklists for managing food allergies in school and child care, call 781-444-7778 or visit

EDUCATIONAL VISION: Natick residents Renée and Steven Finn will be honored for their generosity and vision in founding the MetroWest Jewish Day School during the school’s 10th anniversary Winter Lights Gala, to be held at 5 p.m. next Sunday at Gann Academy, 333 Forest St. in Waltham.


The benefit event will include a buffet dinner, music, a student presentation, and live auction to support the school’s science and technology initiative. In its ninth academic year with students in kindergarten through Grade 7, the school draws students from two dozen communities to its campus on Upper Joclyn Avenue in Framingham.

For more information, visit, or call Jan Moidel Schwartz at 508-620-5554 or e-mail jan.schwartz@

LEGAL KUDOS: Ashland resident Loretta Auer, chief information officer at a Boston law firm, Fish & Richardson PC, recently received this year’s Leadership Award from the International Legal Technology Association. Auer was recognized for her efforts to improve administrative systems and staff productivity while mentoring and developing an information technology management staff that embraces emerging technologies.

Newton Highlands resident Thomas Brown, a principal at Fish & Richardson, was recently selected as one of this year’s “40 Under 40’’ honorees by Boston Business Journal. The trade magazine recognizes 40 area leaders, all under age 40, for their outstanding accomplishments professionally and in the community. Brown specializes in patent litigation and prosecution in the area of computer science and technology.

YOUNG AND SUCCESSFUL: Stephanie Kaplan of Newton was recently named by to its list of “25 Under-25 Best Young Entrepreneurs’’ for her role in a digital media start-up operation,

Kaplan is a cofounder, and serves as chief executive and editor-in-chief of the online magazine for college women, which supplements national content with local contributions from chapters at 200 colleges across the country.


Kaplan is a 2006 graduate of Newton North High School and a 2010 graduate of Harvard University.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at