PICTURED: Musician Chris Hillman (left) will chat with Ivor Davis during Up Close and Personal on Jan. 21. Photo submitted

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer


Move over, David Letterman — there’s a new celebrity interview series coming to town. The Museum of Ventura County (MVC) presents Ivor Davis: Up Close and Personal, debuting Jan. 21 via Zoom. In each hour-long segment, Davis, longtime journalist, author and sometime Ventura County Reporter contributor, will speak with one of the many talented and interesting people that call Ventura County home.

“We’ve got such amazing talent in Ventura County that many of us don’t appreciate,” says Davis. “I thought we could talk to people who are known but live quietly in our community.”

Davis is a seasoned lecturer who has hosted several talks at MVC. He has recently discussed his books The Beatles and Me On Tour, sharing stories from the Beatles’ first American tour in 1964, and Manson Exposed: A Reporter’s 50-Year Journey into Madness and Murder, about his time covering the Manson Family murders of 1969 for the Daily Express.

“I enjoy doing the programs for the museum,” he says. “I’ve got some following. So they asked me to do an interview series.”

Up Close and Personal came out of Behind the Scenes with Ivor Davis, a virtual series exclusively for MVC members that ran from August through October 2020 and gave audiences an insider’s look at Hollywood, politics and the music industry. The series was so popular, MVC decided to create something available to the whole community.

The first segment takes place on Thursday, Jan. 21, and features Davis speaking over Zoom with country rock legend Chris Hillman, a singer, songwriter, musician and founding member of The Byrds who has worked with the likes of Gram Parsons, David Crosby and Tom Petty (who, shortly before his death in 2017, co-produced Hillman’s album Bidin’ My Time). Hillman, who lives in Ventura, will talk about his recently published memoir, Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond, and share stories from his decades in the folk, rock and country music scenes.

“I know Chris Hillman because we live not far from each other. We have a huge amount of stuff in common,” Davis says. “The Byrds were so heavily influenced by the Beatles . . . so we had a conversation about that and stayed in touch. He’s a rock star but lives low key. His autobiography is a wonderful guide to rock and roll history . . . and many of the people Chris in his career knew, worked with and played with.”

Davis will delve into all this and more with Hillman on Up Close and Personal.

Two more segments — featuring actor and Ojai resident Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Cat People) and lawyer and Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra pianist Miriam Arichea — are planned for Feb. 4 and Feb. 25, respectively. All segments are free and open to the public, although registration is required. 

Davis says that if the series proves popular, it will continue. He cites Eric Burdon (lead singer of British Invasion band The Animals), game show host Bob Eubanks, champion surfer Mary Osborne, KCLU News Director Lance Orozco, and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard as part of his “wish list” of people he’d like to interview on upcoming segments, given the chance. 

“There are many wonderful personalities in Ventura County!” he says with enthusiasm.

Ivor Davis: Up Close and Personal with Chris Hillman takes place on Thursday, Jan. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Free; registration is required. For more information and to register, visit venturamuseum.org/event/ivor-davis-up-close-and-personal-with-chris-hillman/.